Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

The English and French are at present engaged in a very destructive war, have already spilled much blood, are excessively irritated, and all upon account of one side's desiring to wear greater quantities of furs than the other.

The pretext of the war is about some lands a thousand leagues off ; a country cold, desolate, and hideous; a country belonging to à people who were 'in possession for time immemorial. The savages of Canada claim a property in the country in dispute ; they have all the pretensions which long possession can confer. Here they have reigned for ages, without rivals in dominion, and knew no enemies but the prowling bear, or insidious tyğer ; their native forests produced all the necessaries of life, and they found ample luxury in the enjoyment. In this manner they might have continued to live to eternity, had not the English been ins formed that those countries produced furs in great abundance. From that inoment the country became an object of desire; was found that furs were things very much wanted in England; the ladies edged some of their clothes with furs, and muffs were worn both by gentlemen and ladies. In short, furs were found indispensably necessary to the happiness of the state; and the king was consequently petitioned to grant not only the country of Canada, but all the savages belonging to it, to the subjects of England, in order to have the people supplied with proper quantities of this necessary

!!BIT HOH commodity. So very reasonable a request was immediately But they quar


complied with, and large colonies were sent abroad to procure furs and take possession. The French, who were equally in want of furs, (for they are as fond of muffs and tippets as the English) made the very same request to their monarch, and met with the same gracious reception from their king, who generously, granted what was not his to give. Wherever the French landed, they called the country their own, and the English took possession wherever they came upon the same equitable pretensions. The harmless savages made no opposition; and could the intruders have agreed together, they might peaceably have shared this desolate country between them. relled about the boundaries of their settlements, about grounds and rivers, to which neither side could show any other right than that of power, and which neither could occupy but by usurpation. Such is the contest that no honest man can heartily wish success to either party.


Citizen of tbe World, let. xvii. I AM told that the famous combustion, raised some years ago at Hamburg, by one Krumbultz, a divine, and in which that free city had like to have perished, was occasioned by this momentouş question, namely, Whether in the Lord's should say, Our Father, or Father Our--a hopeful point of debate to be the cause of civil dissention !

How many peaceable nations have been robbed, how many millions of innocents, butchered out of mere honour, princely honour? His grace,


Vil 23



prayer we

liers, first duke of Buckingham, engaged his country in two mad wars at once, with the two greatest powers in Europe, because his honour had suffered a rebuff in his attempts to debauch two great foreign ladies. Europe was to be embroiled ; lives, treasure, and the safety of kingdoms to be risqued and thrown away, to vindicate, forsooth, his grace's debauched honour.

Cambyses, to revenge an affront put upon his father many years before by an Egyptian king in the business of sending him a wife, involved the world in a flame of war, and at the expence, perhaps, of a million of lives, and the destruction of kingdoms, did at last heroically vindicate his father's honour and his own, upon the bones of a dead king, whom he caused to be dug up, and, after many indignitics, cast into the fire.

White elephants are rare in nature, and so greatly valued in the Indies, that the king of Pegu, hearing that the king of Siam had got two, sent an embassy in form, to desire one of them of his royal brother at any price : but being refused, he thought his honour concerned to wage war for so great an affront. So he entered Siam with a vast army, and with the loss of five hundred thousand of his own men, and the destruction of as many of the Sie ameses, he made himself master of the elephant, and retrieved his honour..?

In short, honour and victory are generally no more than white elephants ; and for white élephants the most destructive wars have been often made. What man, free, either by birth or


[ocr errors]

pirit, could, without pity and contempt, behold, as in a late French reign he frequently might behold, a swarm of slavish Frenchmen, in wooden shoes, with hungry bellies, and no clothes, dancing round a may-pole, because their grand monarque, at the expence of a million of their money, and thirty or forty thousand lives, had acquired a white elephant, or in other words, gained a town or victory?

Cato's Letters, vol. ii. No. 48, and 57.
Antony. -Why did they refuse to march?
Ventidius. They said they would not fight for

Why should they fight indeed to make her conquer,
And make you more a slave? To gain you king-

Which for a kiss, at your next midnight feast,
You'll sell to her? Then she new names her

And calls this diamond such and such a tax ?
Each pendant in her ear shall be a province.

Behold, you powers,
To whom you have entrusted human kind!
See Europe, Afric, Asia, put in balance,
And all weigh'd down by one light worthless WO-


I think the Gods are Antonies, and give,
Like prodigals, this nether world away
To none but wasteful hands,

All for Love, act it.


[ocr errors]

1 PERPLEX'd with trifies through the vale of life,
Man strives 'gainst man, without a cause for strife ;
Armies embattled meet, and thousands bleed,
For some vile spot where fifty cannot feed.
Squirrels for nuts contend, and wrong or right,
For the world's empire kings ambitious fight.
What odds !-to us 'tis all the self same thing,
A nut, a world, a squirrel, and a king.

Nigbt, vol. i. p. 86.

Two thousand souls, and twenty thousand

ducats, Will not debate the question of this straw.


Hamlet, act. iv.

I see The inminent death of twenty thousand men, That, for å fantasy, and trick of fame, Go to their graves like beds; fight for a plot, Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause, Which is not tomb enough and continent To hide the slain.


[ocr errors]

Stript of her gaudy plumes and vain disguise, See where ambition mean and loathsome lies; Reflection with relentless hand pulls down The tyrant's bloody wreath and ravish'd crown. In vain he tells of battles bravely won, '.:. Of nations conquer'd and of worlds undone: I


« AnteriorContinuar »