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LITERARY WEEKLY INTELLIGENCER,
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27, 1793.
ON THE BENEFITS TO BE DERIVED
FROM FOREIGN TRAVELS.
-Facilis decensus Averni:
Noctes atque dies patet atri janua ditis.
Sed revocare gradum, superasque evadere ad auras,
To the Editor of the Bee.
I HAD HAD no conception of the extent of my old friend's genius, till in turning over a volume of Tournefort's travels, I found the following copy of a letter to his eldest son upon his travels. A. B.
CALEDONIUS RUSTICUS' LETTER TO HIS SON.
"I have three of your letters to acknowledge, one from Lyons, one from Blois, and the last from Paris. I am sorry to find you flying like a harlequin from place to place, without remaining long enough in any one to make useful observations.
"This is the ridiculous error of all our countrymen, and I thought I had said and written enough. to you upon the subject to have inclined you to follow my directions.
"The cause of this fatal error is to be found in the preposterous mode of British education. Young men of fashion are confined for ten or a dozen years to learn the word for a pen, in three or four different languages; and to read, write, compose, and harangue, in all these, before they have been taught to think, or to reason with discernment.
"While the real powers of the mind are thus laid asleep by mechanical and uniform employment, the brutal pafsions of the young animal, rising with the vigour and rage of his manhood, plunge him into all the excefses and miseries of debauchery. Street bullies, and bucks, and bloods, and dirty women of the town, become the real profefsors, whose vile lef ons they imbibe, and whose sentiments and manners they gradually acquire.
"hey then go abroad, to take what is called the tour of Europe, with a selfish, slavifh, pedantic, compagnon de voyage, commonly called a leader of bears; and after having played monkey tricks at all the fashionable courts in Europe, and been plucked and fleeced by fharpers and opera girls, they come. home when of age to join in recognizances with their worthy fathers; and, as a reward, are introduced into all the fashionable clubs as promising young men, tout a fait aimables et polis. Then you see them almost every night drunk in the boxes of the playhouse and opera house, flirting with the beau
115 ties of the day, who declare them to be charming young men ; but, Good la! Charlotte, how naughty and roguish!-I declare they flurry me exceedingly.
"Then they are brought into parliament, to decide on the great and intricate interests of the nation; or they go down to papa's family mansion, to surprise the girls at country hunts and afsemblies, and to follow a glorious pack of beagles, or fox hounds, to which they are gradually afsimilated, as they had been formerly to the other dramatis personæ at Eton, or Westminster.
"This is not the plan of operations, my dear son, that I adopted in your education; and you are responsible for a very different line of conduct. You must therefore prepare yourself for the very different expectations of your family, and of your country.
"There is scarce any country, how rude and uncultivated soever, where the inhabitants are not pofsefsed of some peculiar secrets, either in nature or art, which might be transplanted with success. Thus, for instance, in Siberian Tartary, the natives extract a pleasing invigorating spirit from milk, which is a secret, perhaps, unknown to the chemists of Europe. In the most remote parts of Hindostan they are pofsefsed of the secret of dying vegetable substances scarlet, and of changing lead into a metal which for hardness and colour is little inferior to silver.
"The power of the Asiatics in bringing down rain in parched seasons, and producing ice in the torrid
zone for cooling their fruits and liquors, Europeans are apt to treat as fabulous; as they would the laying the agitation of a sea surf on a rocky fhore, by pouring a few hogfheads of train oil upon it; or as they would have treated the secrets of gunpowder and the mariner's compafs, had they been told 600 years ago that the Chinese used such arts, and that of printing, before they were discovered in Europe.
"Of all the philosophers that have appeared, I most revere Bacon; that great and hardy genius. He it was, who, undaunted by the seeming difficulties that oppose new and extraordinary inventions, prompted the human curiosity to examine every part of nature, and to trust to experiment, without regard to ancient prejudices. It was he that exhorted man to try whether he could not subject the lightning of heaven, and the convulsions of the earth to human controul; and I am told there is a man in Pensylvania who rose from a printer's devil, who has verified one of these conjectures. Oh! had a man of this daring spirit; of this genius, penetration, and learning, travelled to the countries you propose to visit, what might not mankind expect? How would he have enlightened the regions to which he travelled! And what a vast variety of knowledge and useful improvement would he have brought back in exchange!
"My dear son, there is no country so hostile or barbarous that will not disclose all it knows, if it receives equivalent information. All your care in travelling fhould be to suit your conversation to the people of the country where you reside; study the
117 familiar phrases in their language of intelligence, without which nobody can ask a proper question; and as soon as you can ask questions properly, apply yourself in familiar conversation with eminent farmers, artists, and men of science. The information you may be able to give concerning your own country, will be an equivalent for the information you may receive. Curiosity will balance curiosity, and both parties will be satisfied and instructed. This, my dear son, is that citizenship of the world which I wish you to obtain; and which, by a noble institution, an apprenticeship at home, I have en, abled you to acquire abroad.
"Strive, my dear son, to obtain it! Make my heart and my soul to rejoice in your advancement in knowledge and virtue; and make to go down with joy to the grave, the gray hairs of your affectionate friend and father,
FRAGMENTS BY LORD BACON.
For the Bee.
**** Ir may be sayed that the marvellous age of Piatski, duke of the Poles, and of some other potentates, belyeth what I advance concerning health and longevity by temperance; but it is to bee duely pondered, that Piatski and others, who are introduced in impugnation of the thesis, were trained in rusticity, or certainly in simplicity of manners and