Imatges de pàgina
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IF man were not attached, by a sublime instinct to his native country, his most natural condition in the world would be that of a traveller. A certain degree of restlessness is for ever urging him beyond his own limits. He wishes to see every thing, and is full of lamentations after he has seen every thing. I have traversed several regions of the globe, but I contess that I paid more attention to the deserts than to mankind, among whom, after all, I often experience solitude.

I sojourned only for a short period among the Germans, Spaniards, and Portuguese; but I lived a considerable time in England; and as the inhabitants of that kingdom constitute the

only people who dispute the empire of the French,* the least account of them becomes interesting

Erasmus is the most ancient traveller, with whom I am acquainted, that speaks of the English. Hie states that, during the reigu of Henry VIII. he found London inhabited by barbarians, whose huts were full of smoke. A long time afterwards, Voltaire, wanting to discover a perfect philosopher, was of opinion that he had found this character among the Quakers upon the banks of the Thames. During his abode there the taverns were the places, at which the men of genius, and the friends of rational liberty assembled. England, however, is kuown to be the country, in which religion is less discussed, though more respected than in any other; and where the idle questions, by which the tranquillity of empires is disturbed, obtain less attention than any where else.

* This was written at the time that all the continental

powers of Europe had been couquered by the arms of Napoleon, and had acknowledged his title.


appears to me that the secret of English manners, and their way of thinking is to be sought in the origin of this people. Being a mixture of French and German blood, they form a link of the chain by which the two nations are united. Their policy, their religion, their martial habits, their literature, arts, and national character appear to me a medium between the two. They seem to have united, in some degree, the brilliancy, grandeur, courage, and vivacity of the French with the simplicity, calmness, good sense, and bad taste of the Germans,

Inferior to us in some respects, they are superior in several others, particularly in every thing relative to commerce and wealth. They excel us also in neatness; and it is remarkable that a people, apparently of a heavy turn, should have, in their furniture, dress, and manufactures, an elegance in which we are deficient. be said of the English that they employ in the labours of the hand the delicacy, which we devote to those of the mind.

The principal failing of the English nation is pride; which is indeed the fault of all man

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kind. It prevails at Paris as well as London, but modified by the French character, and transformed into self-love. Pride, in its pure state, appertains to the solitary man, who is not obliged to make any sacrifice ; but he, who lives much with his equals, is forced to dissimulate and conceal his 'pride under the softer and more varied forms of vanity. The passions are, in general, more sndden and determined among the English ; more active and refined among the French. The pride of the former makes him wish to crush every thing at once by force ; the self-love of the other slowly undermines what it wishes to destroy In England a man is hated for a vice, or an offence, but in France such a motive is not necessary; for the advantages of person or of fortune, success in life, or even a bon mot will be sufficient.

This animosity, which arises from a thousand disgraceful causes, is not less implacable than the enmity founded on more noble motives. There are no passions so dangerous as those, which are of base origin ; for they are conscious of their own baseness, and are thereby rendered furious. They endeavour

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