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قراءة كتاب The Works of Samuel Johnson, Volume 06 Reviews, Political Tracts, and Lives of Eminent Persons

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The Works of Samuel Johnson, Volume 06
Reviews, Political Tracts, and Lives of Eminent Persons

The Works of Samuel Johnson, Volume 06 Reviews, Political Tracts, and Lives of Eminent Persons

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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BROWNE.

ASCHAM [89].

FOOTNOTES.




 

 

CONTENTS OF THE SIXTH VOLUME.


REVIEWS.

Letter on Du Halde's history of China.

Review of the account of the conduct of the dutchess of Marlborough.

Review of memoirs of the court of Augustus.

Review of four letters from sir Isaac Newton.

Review of a journal of eight days' journey.

Reply to a paper in the Gazetteer.

Review of an essay on the writings and genius of Pope.

Review of a free enquiry into the nature and origin of evil.

Review of the history of the Royal Society of London, &c.

Review of the general history of Polybius.

Review of miscellanies on moral and religious subjects.

Account of a book entitled an historical and critical enquiry into the
evidence produced by the earls of Moray and Morton against Mary queen of
Scots, &c.

Marmor Norfolciense; or, an essay on an ancient prophetical inscription
in monkish rhyme, lately discovered near Lynn, in Norfolk.

Observations on the state of affairs in 1756.

An introduction to the political state of Great Britain.

Observations on the treaty between his Britannic majesty and his
imperial majesty of all the Russias, &c.

Introduction to the proceedings of the committee appointed to manage the
contributions for clothing French prisoners of war.

On the bravery of the English common soldiers.


POLITICAL TRACTS.

Prefatory observations to political tracts.

The False Alarm. 1770.

Prefatory observations on Falkland's islands.

Thoughts on the late transactions respecting Falkland's islands.

The Patriot.

Taxation no tyranny; an answer to the resolutions and address of the
American congress. 1775.


LIVES OF EMINENT PERSONS.

Father Paul Sarpi.

Boerhaave.

Blake.

Sir Francis Drake.

Barretier.

Additional account of the life of Barretier in the Gentleman's Magazine,
1742.

Morin.

Burman.

Sydenham.

Cheynel.

Cave.

King of Prussia.

Browne.

Ascham.



 


REVIEWS.

 


LETTER ON DU HALDE'S HISTORY OF CHINA, 1738.

There are few nations in the world more talked of, or less known, than the Chinese. The confused and imperfect account which travellers have given of their grandeur, their sciences, and their policy, have, hitherto, excited admiration, but have not been sufficient to satisfy even a superficial curiosity. I, therefore, return you my thanks for having undertaken, at so great an expense, to convey to English readers the most copious and accurate account, yet published, of that remote and celebrated people, whose antiquity, magnificence, power, wisdom, peculiar customs, and excellent constitution, undoubtedly deserve the attention of the publick.

As the satisfaction found in reading descriptions of distant countries arises from a comparison which every reader naturally makes, between the ideas which he receives from the relation, and those which were familiar to him before; or, in other words, between the countries with which he is acquainted, and that which the author displays to his imagination; so it varies according to the likeness or dissimilitude of the manners of the two nations. Any custom or law, unheard and unthought of before, strikes us with that surprise which is the effect of novelty; but a practice conformable to our own pleases us, because it flatters our self-love, by showing us that our opinions are approved by the general concurrence of mankind. Of these two pleasures, the first is more violent, the other more lasting; the first seems to partake more of instinct than reason, and is not easily to be explained, or defined; the latter has its foundation in good sense and reflection, and evidently depends on the same principles with most human passions.

An attentive reader will frequently feel each of these agreeable emotions in the perusal of Du Halde. He will find a calm, peaceful satisfaction, when he reads the moral precepts and wise instructions of the Chinese sages; he will find that virtue is in every place the same; and will look with new contempt on those wild reasoners, who affirm, that morality is merely ideal, and that the distinctions between good and ill are wholly chimerical.

But he will enjoy all the pleasure that novelty can afford, when he becomes acquainted with the Chinese government and constitution; he will be amazed to find that there is a country where nobility and knowledge are the same, where men advance in rank as they advance in learning, and promotion is the effect of virtuous industry; where no man thinks ignorance a mark of greatness, or laziness the privilege of high birth.

His surprise will be still heightened by the relations he will there meet with, of honest ministers, who, however incredible it may seem, have been seen more than once in that monarchy, and have adventured to admonish the emperours of any deviation from the laws of their country, or any errour in their conduct, that has endangered either their own safety, or the happiness of their people. He will read of emperours, who, when they have been addressed in this manner, have neither stormed, nor threatened, nor kicked their ministers, nor thought it majestick to be obstinate in the wrong; but have, with a greatness of mind worthy of a Chinese monarch, brought their actions willingly to the test of reason, law, and morality, and scorned to exert their power in defence of that which they could not support by argument.

I must confess my wonder at these relations was very great, and had been much greater, had I not often entertained my imagination with an instance of the like conduct in a prince of England, on an occasion that happened not quite a century ago, and which I shall relate, that so remarkable an example of spirit and firmness in a subject, and of conviction and compliance in a prince, may not be forgotten. And I hope you will look upon this letter as intended to do honour to my country, and not to serve your interest by promoting your undertaking.

The prince, at the christening of his first son, had appointed a noble duke to stand as proxy for the father of the princess, without regard to the claim of a marquis, (heir apparent to a higher title,) to whom, as lord of the bedchamber, then in waiting, that honour properly belonged. —The marquis was wholly unacquainted with the affair, till he heard, at dinner, the duke's health drunk, by the name of the prince he was that evening to represent. This he took an opportunity, after dinner, of inquiring the reason of, and was informed, by the prince's treasurer, of his highness's intention. The marquis immediately declared, that he thought his right invaded, and his honour injured, which he could

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