Monthly Archives: October 2007

Item of the Day: Cary’s New and Correct English Atlas (1793)

Full Title: Cary’s New and Correct English Atlas: Being a New Set of County Maps from Actual Surveys. Exhibiting All the Direct & Principal Cross Roads, cities, Towns, and most considerable Villages, Parks, Rivers, Navigable Canals &c. Preceded by a General Map of South Britain, Shewing the Connexion of one Map with another. Also A General Description of each County, and Directions for the junction of Roads from one County to Another. London: Printed for John Cary, engraver & Map-seller, No. 181, near Norfolk Street, Strand, Published as the Act directs Jany. 1st, 1793.

NOTE

For the more ready application of the Turnpike Roads given in this work, it is to be observed, that they are connected on the Maps from one country to another by reference letters at the extremity of each Map, unless adjacent places belonging to the adjoining county are given to each, so as to answer the same purpose of connecting by affording a similar reference.

The Route to London is also particularly described by London Road, or to London being added to such roads as lead to the Metropolis, so, on the contrary, may be traced the road from London to any distant place, being vice versa of the foregoing rule, and which, it is presumed, will answer the purpose intended, that of rendering a route, however detached in separate Maps, as easy to trace as if wholly connected.

ADVERTISEMENT.

The liberal encouragement which the Public are always ready in shewing to works where utility and improvement have been a principal object, induced the Proprietor to undertake the present Publication, full of the idea that his labour, in proportion to its merit, would find its reward: possessed of that opinion, he determined that no exertion on his part should be wanting to render the ENGLISH ATLAS as complete as the size of it could possible admit: that it is more so than any other work of this kind now extant, he thinks himself warranted in asserting: from having recurse to better materials than hitherto used for a work of this nature. The kind encouragement already shewn to this publication, by a very numerous and respectable subscription, has been a flattering testimony of the approbation of the Public, to whom the Proprietor begs leave to tender his sincerest acknowledgments for the partiality they have shewn him.

Added to the Descriptions of the Counties, the Directions for the Junction of the Roads (which was all that was at first intended to accompany the Maps) a complete Alphabetical List of the Market Towns is given, with the Days on which their Markets are held, and their distance from the metropolis; to which is subjoined, a Correct List of all the Post and Sub-Post Towns, with the Receiving Houses under each, throughout England and Wales; shewing the Rates of Postage, the Time of Arrival of the Post in the Country, and its Dispatch for London. –For which Information, as well as other Material Assistance in the completion of this work, the Proprietor is indebted to the liberal permission he was honoured with by the Right Hon. the Post-Masters-General, to resort to such official documents as enable him to vouch for the correctness and accuracy of these important articles.

Sanctioned by the kind protection the Public have shewn him, he presumes to offer to their notice a large MAP of ENGLAND and WALES, upon a scale of five miles to an inch, a size which enables him to lay down every Parish, (those excepted which are situated in large Towns) with the principal Gentlemen’s Seats, Roads, Rivers, and Navigable Canals, as well as other useful matter; and a particular attention will be paid to the Orthography of this Map, a circumstance so frequently complained of, (owing to the difference of pronunciation from the locality of situation) and which experience only can obviate.

N.B. A Specimen of the Work may be seen at J. Cary’s, Strand.

 

 

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Filed under 1790's, Atlas, England, Geography, Great Britain, London, Maps, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: The Busy-Body. — No. II. (1728-9)

Found In: The Works of Benjamin Franklin; Containing Several Political and Historical Tracts not Included in any Former Edition, and Many Letters Official and Private not Hitherto Published; with Notes and A Life of the Author. By Jared Sparks. Vol. II. Boston: Hilliard, Gray and Company, 1836.

THE BUSY-BODY.  — No. II.

TUESDA, FEBRUARY 11, 1728-9.

All fools have still an itching to deride,

and fain would be upon the laughing side. (Pope)

 

Monsieur de la Rochefoucault  tells us somewhere in his Memoirs, that the Prince of Conde delighted much in ridicule, and used frequently to shut himself up for half a day together in his chamber, with a gentleman that was his favorite, purposely to divert himself with examining what was the foible or ridiculous side of every noted person in the court. That gentleman said afterwards in some company, that he thought nothing was more ridiculous in anybody, than this same humor in the Prince; and I am somewhat inclined to be of this opinion. The general tendency there is among us to this embellishment, which I fear has too often grossly imposed upon my loving countrymen instead of wit, and the applause it meets with from a rising generation, fill me with fearful apprehensions for the future reputation of my country. A young man of modesty (which is the most certain indication of large capacities) is hereby discouraged from attempting to make any figure in life; his apprehensions of being out-laughed will force him to continue in a restless obscurity, without having an opportunity of knowing his own merit himself or discovering it to the world, rather than venture to oppose himself in a place where a pun or a sneer shall pass for wit, noise for reason, and the strength of the argument be judged by that of the lungs.

Among these witty gentlemen let us take a view of Ridentius. What a contemptible figure does he make with his train of paltry admirers! This wight shall give himself an hour’s diversion with the cook of a man’s hat, the heels of his shoes, an unguarded expression in his discourse, or even some personal defect; and the height of his low ambition is to put some one of the company to the blush, who perhaps must pay an equal share of the reckoning with himself. If such a fellow makes laughing the sole end and purpose of his life, if it is necessary to his constitution, or if he has a great desire of growing suddenly fat, let him eat; let him give public notice where any dull stupid rogues may get a quart of four-penny for being laughed at; but it is barbarously unhandsome, when friends meet for the benefit of conversation and proper relaxation from business, that one should be the butt of the company, and four men made merry at the cost of the fifty.

How different from this character is that of the good-natured, gay Eugenius, who never spoke yet but with a design to divert and please, and who was never yet baulked in his intention. Eugenius takes more delight in applying the wit of his friends, than in being admired himself; and if any one of the company is so unfortunate as to be touched a little too nearly, he will make use of some ingenious artifice to turn the edge of ridicule another way, choosing rather to make himself a public jest, than be at the pain of seeing his friend in confusion.

Among the tribe of laughers, I reckon the petty gentlemen that write satires, and carry them about in their pockets, reading them themselves in all company they happen into; taking an advantage of the ill taste of the town to make themselves famous for a pack of paltry, low nonsense, for which they deserve to be kicked rather than admired, by all who have the least tincture of politeness. These I take to be the most incorrigible of all my readers; nay, I expect they will be squibbing at the Busy-Body himself. However, the only favor he begs of them is this, that if they cannot control their overbearing itch of scribbling, let him be attacked in downright biting lyrics; for there is no satire he dreads half so much as an attempt towards a panegyric.

 

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Filed under 1720's, Franklin, Magazine, Newspapers, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: Junius’ Letters (1772)

Full Title:  The Letters of Junius.   Vol. I. London:  Printed for Henry Sampson Woodfall, in Pater Noster Row. MDCCLXXII. *

LETTER VII.

To Sir William Draper, Knight of the Bath.

SIR,

An academical education has given you an unlimited command over the most beautiful figures of speech. Masks, hatchets, racks, and vipers, dance through your letters in all the mazes of metaphorical confusion. These are the gloomy companions of a disturbed imagination; the melancholy madness of poetry, without the inspiration. I will not contend with you in point of composition. You are a scholar, Sir William, and, if I am truly informed, you write Latin with almost as much purity as English. Suffer me then, for I am a plain, unlettered man, to continue that stile of interrogation, which suits my capacity, and to which, considering the readiness of your answers, you ought to have no objection. Even Mr. Bingley promises to answer, if put to the torture.  

Do you then really think that, if i were to ask a most virtuous man whether he ever committed theft, or murder, it would disturb his peace of mind? Such a question might perhaps discompose the gravity of his muscles, but I believe it would little affect the tranquility of his conscience. Examine your own breast, Sir William, and you will discover, that reproaches and enquiries have no power to afflict either the man of unblemished integrity or the abandoned profligate. It is the middle compound character which alone is vulnerable: the man, who, without firmness enough to avoid a dishonourable action, has feeling enough to be ashamed of it.

I thank you for the hint of the decalogue, and shall take an opportunity of applying it to some of your most virtuous friends in both houses of parliament,

You seem to have dropped the affair of your regiment; so let it rest. When you are appointed to another, I dare say you will not sell it either for a gross sum, or for any annuity upon lives.

I am truly glad (for really, Sir William, I am not your enemy, nor did I begin this contest with you) that you have been able to clear yourself of a crime, though at the expence of the highest indiscretion. You say that your half-pay was given you by way of pension. I will not dwell upon the singularity of uniting in your own person two sorts of provisions, which in their own nature, and in all military and parliamentary views, are incompatible; but I call upon you to justiy that declaration, wherein you charge your ____ with having done an act in your favour notoriously against the law. The half-pay, both in Ireland and England, is appropriated by parliament; and if it be given to persons, who, like you, are legally incapable of holding it, it is a breach of law. It would have been more decent in you to have called this dishonourable transaction by its true name; a job to accomodate two persons, by particular interest and management of the castle. What sense must government have had of your services, when the rewards they have given you are only a disgrace to you!

And now, Sir William, I shall take my leave of you for ever. Motives, very different from any apprehension of your resentment, make it impossible you should ever know me. In truth, you have some reason to hold yourself indebted to me. From the lessons I have given, you may collect a profitable instruction for your future life. They will either teach you to regulate your conduct, as to be able to set the most malicious inquiries at defiance; or, if that be a lost hope, they will teach you prudence enough not to attract the public attention upon a character, which will only pass without censure, when it passes without observation.

JUNIUS. 

* See previous entry on Junius for context and a biographical account at: https://18thcenturyreadingroom.wordpress.com/2006/03/06/item-of-the-day-junius-revisited-1769/

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Filed under 1770's, Political Commentary, Posted by Matthew Williams, Satire

Item of the Day: Dampier’s Voyage to New Holland (1699)

Full Title:

A Voyage to New Holland, &c. In the Year, 1699. Wherein are described, The Canary-Islands, the Isles of Mayo and St. Jago. The Bay of All Saints, with the Forts and Town of Bahia in Brasil. Cape Salvadore. The Winds of the Brasilian Coast. Abrohlo-Shoals. A Table of all the Variations observ’d in this Voyage. Occurrences near the Cape of Good Hope. The Course to New Holland. Shark’s Bay. The Isles and Coast, &c. of New Holland. Their Inhabitants, Manners, Customs, Trade, &c. Their Harbours, Soil, Beasts, Birds, Fish, &c. Trees, Plants, Fruits, &c. Illustrated with several Maps and Draughts, also divers Birds, Fishes, and Plants, not found in this part of the World, Curiously Ingraven on Copper-Plates. Vol. III. By Captain William Dampier. London: Printed for James Knapton, at the Crown in St. Paul’s Church-yard, 1703.

The Preface.

The favourable Reception my two former Volumes of Voyages and Descriptions have already met with in the World, gives me Reason to hope, That notwithstanding the Objections which have been raised against me by prejudiced Persons, this Third Volume likewise may in some measure be acceptable to Candid and Impartial Readers, who are curious to know the Nature of the Inhabitants, Animals, Plants, Soil, &c. in those distant Countries, which have either seldom or not at all been visited by any Europeans.  

It has almost always been the Fate of those who have made new Discoveries, to be disesteemed and slightly spoken of, by such as either have had no true Relish and Value for the Things themselves that are discovered, or have had some Prejudice against the Persons by whom the Discoveries were made. It would be vain therefore and unreasonable in me to expect to escape the Censure of all, or to hope for better Treatment than far Worthier Persons have met with before me. But this Satisfaction I am sure of having, that the Things themselves in the Discovery of which I have been imployed, are most worthy of our Diligentest Search and Inquiry; being the various and wonderful Works of God in different parts of the World: And however unfit a Person I may be in other respects to have undertaken this Task, yet at least I have given a faithful Account, and have found some Things undiscovered by any before, and which may at least be some Assistance and Direction to better qualified Persons who shall come after me.

It has been Objected against me by some, that my Accounts and Descriptions of Things are dry and jejune, not filled with variety of pleasant Matter, to divert and gratify the Curious Reader. How far this is true, I must leave the World to judge. But if I have been exactly and strictly careful to give only True Relations and Descriptions of Things (as I am sure I have;) and if my Descriptions be such as may be of use not only to my self (which I have already in good measure experienced) but also to others in future Voyages; and likewise to such Readers at home as are more desirous of a Plain and Just Account of the true Nature and State of the Things described, than of a Polite and Rhetorical Narrative: I hope all the Defects in my Stile, will meet with an easy and ready Pardon.

Others have taxed me with borrowing from other Men’s Journals; and with Insufficiency, as if I was not my self the Author of what I write, but published Things digested and drawn up by others. As to the first Part of this Objection, I assure the Reader, I have taken nothing from any Man without mentioning his Name, except some very few Relations and particular Observations received from credible Persons who desired not to be named; and these I have always expressly distinguished in my Books, from what I relate as of my own observing. And as to the latter; I think it so far from being a Diminution to one of my Education and Employment, to have what I write, Revised and Corrected by Friends, that on the contrary, the best and most eminent Authors are not ashamed to own the same Thing, and look upon it as an Advantage.   

Lastly, I know there are some who are apt to slight my Accounts and Descriptions of Things, as if it was an easie Matter and of little or no Difficulty to do all that I have done, to visit little more than the Coasts of unknown Countries, and make short and imperfect Observations of Things only near the Shore. But whoever is experienced in these Matters, or considers Things impartially, will be of a very different Opinion. And any one who is sensible, how backward and refractory the Seamen are apt to be in long Voyages when they know not whither they are going, how ignorant they are of the Nature of the Winds and the shifting Seasons of the Monsoons, and how little even the Officers themselves generally are skilled in the Variation of the Needle and the Use of the Azimuth Compass; besides the Hazard of all outward Accidents in strange and unknown Seas: Any one, I say, who is sensible of these Difficulties, will be much more pleased at the Discoveries and Observations I have been able to make, than displeased with me that I did not make more.

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Filed under 1690's, Explorations, Geography, Maps, Posted by Matthew Williams, Travel

Item of the Day: Aesop’s “The Lion and other Beasts” (1782)

Full Title: Fables of Aesop and Others: Translated into English. With Applications; And a Print before each Fable. By Samuel Croxall. Twelfth Edition, Carefully Revised, and Improved. London: Printed for W. Strahan, J. F. and C. Rivington, T. Caslon, S. Crowder, T. Longman, B. Law, C. Dilly, T. Cadell, J. Bew, T. Lowneds, R. Baldwin, W. Goldsmith, G. Robinson. J. Johnson, E. Newberry, W. Ginger, and B. Collins, M.DCC.LXXXII. [1782]

FAB. VI. The LION and other Beasts.

The Lion and several other Beasts, entered into an Alliance offensive and defensive, and were to live very sociably together in the Forest, one Day, having made a sort of an Excursion by way of Hunting, they took a very fine, large, fat Deer, which was divided into four Parts; there happening to be then present, his Majesty the Lion, and only three others. After the Division was made, and the Parts were set out, his Majesty advancing forward some Steps, and pointing to one of the Shares, was pleased to declare himself after the following Manner: This I seize and take Possession of as my Right, which devolves to me, as I am descended by a true, lineal, hereditary Succession from the Royal Family of Lion: That (pointing to the second) I claim, by, I think, no unreasonable Demand; considering that all the Engagements you have with the Enemy turn chiefly upon my courage and Conduct: And you very well know that Wars are to be expensive to be carried on without proper Supplies. Then (nodding his Head towards the Third) That I shall take by Virtue of my Prerogative; to which, I make no Question, but so dutiful and loyal a People will pay all the Deference and Regard that I can desire. Now, as for the remaining Part, the Necessity of our present Affairs is so very urgent, our Stock so low, and our Credit so impaired and weakened, that I must insist upon your granting That without any Hesitation or Demur; and hereof fail not at your Peril.

The APPLICATION.

No Alliance is safe which is made with those that are superior to us in Power. Tho’ they lay themselves under the most strict and solemn Ties at the Opening of the Congress, yet the first advantageous Opportunity will tempt them to break the Treaty; and they will never want specious Pretences to furnish out their Declaration of War. It is not easy to determine, whether it is more stupid and ridiculous for a Community, to trust itself first in the Hands of those that are more powerful than themselves, or to wonder afterwards that their Confidence and Credulity are abused, and their Properties invaded.

 

 

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Filed under 1780's, Fables, Fiction, Literature, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: Travels of an Indian Interpreter (1791)

Full Title:

Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, Describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians; with an Account of the Posts Situated on the River Saint Laurence, Lake Ontario, &c. To which is added, a Vocabulary of the Chippeway Language. Names of Furs and Skins, in English and French. A List of Words in the Iroquois, Mohegan, Shawanee, and Esquimeaux Tongues, and a Table, shewing the Analogy between the Algonkin and Chippeway Lanugages. By J. Long.

London: Printed for the author; and sold by Robson, Bond-street; Debrett, Piccadilly; T. and J. Egerton, Charing-cross; White and Son, Fleet-street; Sewell, Cornhill; Edwards, Pall-Mall; and Messrs. Taylors, Holborn, London; Fletcher, Oxford; and Bull, Bath, 1791.

Of the Indians of the Five and Six Nations.

I shall now give a particular account of the Indians of the Five and Six Nations, and the reasons why they are so called, in order to enable the reader to form an idea of their consequence in a political point of view, as well as their importance on account of the fur trade; because of the vicinity of the American territories from Georgia to New England, gives the United States a great command and influence from their situation, and renders them more to be dreaded than even the French were in the zenith of their power, when it was universally known they had such an interest among the savages, as induced them to call the French their fathers, and of which so much yet remains, as to prompt them to retain a predilection in favor of the traders of the Gallic race who are settled among them.  

In 1603, when the French settled in Canada, part of the Five Nations resided on the island of Montreal, and were at war with the Adirondacks (who lived on the Uttawa, or grand river leading to Michillimakinac); these, considered the Five Nations as very insignificant opponents, and incapable of serious revenge, and they were held in as much derision as the Delawares, who were usually called old women or the Shawanees (who lived on the Wabach River), who were obliged to wear petticoats for a considerable time, in contempt of their want of courage, and as a badge of their pusillanimity and degradation.  But as no people can bear the imputation of cowardice or effeminacy as a national character, the chiefs determined to rouse their young men, and stimulate them to retrieve, or establish, a reputation; and inspiring them with heroic notions, led them to war against the Satanas, or Shaounons, whom they subdued with great ease. This success revived their drooping spirits, and forgetting how often they had been defeated by the Adirondacks, commenced hostilities against them; and availing themselves of the mean opinion their enemies entertained of their valour, gained the victory in several actions: and at last carried on a successful war against them even in their own country, obliging their former conquerors to abandon their native land, and seek refuge on the spot where Quebec is now situated.

Soon after the French arrived and had settled at Quebec, they formed and alliance with the Adirondacks against the Five Nations. The first engagement proved decisive in favour of the Adirondacks against the Five Nations. The first engagement proved decisive in favour of the Adirondacks, owing entirely to the use of fire arms having been introduced among them by their new allies, which the Indians of the Five Nations had never before seen. This alliance, and the consequent defeat was far from subduing or disheartening the Five Nations, but rather seemed to inspire them with additional ardour, and what they were deficient in military skill and suitable weapons, they supplied by strategem and courage. Although the French gained several advantages over them in the course of more than fifteen years, they at length were glad to bring the contest to a conclusion, by making a peace with them.

This shews that the Savages of the Five Nations are not easily to be conquered, and proves the necessity of preserving them in our interest, as long as we shall deem it expedient, from policy, to keep possession of Canada. This being admitted, it is certain that no method will more effectually conduce to that end, than retaining such barriers in our hands as will enable us to afford them protection, and supply them with arms and ammunition, and other necessaries, in time of danger.   

The Indians who lie to the north of Philadelphia, between the provinces of Pennsylvania and the Lakes, consist of three distinct leagues, of which the Senekas, Mohawks, and Onondagoes, who are called the fathers, compose the first; the Oneidoes, Cayugas, Tuscororas, Conoys and Nanticokes, which are one tribe, compose the second, and these two leagues constitute what is called the Six Nations. The third league is formed of the Wanamis, Chihokockis, or Delawares, the Mawhiccons, Munseys, and Wapingers, to which may be added the Mingoes. The Cowetas, or Creek Indians, are also united in friendship with them.

Mr. Colden says, the nations who are joined together by a league or confederacy, like the United Provinces of Holland, are known by the names of Mohawks, Oneydoes, Onondagoes, Cayugas, and Senekas; that each of these nations is again divided into three tribes or families, who are distinguished by the names of Tortoise, Bear, and Wolf; and that the Tuscororas,  after the war they had with people of Carolina, fled to the Five Nations, and incorporated with them, so that in fact they now consist of six, although they still retain the name of the Five Nations. This union is of such long duration as to leave little or no traces of its origin.  

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Filed under 1790's, Canada, Colonial America, Indians, Posted by Matthew Williams, Travel

Item of the Day: Observations on the Act of Parliament Commonly Called the Boston Port-Bill (1774)

Full Title: Observations on the Act of Parliament Commonly Called the Boston Port-Bill; with Thoughts on Civil Society and Standing Armies. By Josiah Quincy, Jun’r. Boston, N.E.: Printed for and sold by Edes and Gill, in Queen-Street, 1774.

PREFACE.

THE Statute of the 14th George 3d, received in the last Ships from London, (entitled “An Act to discontinue, in such Manner, and for such Time as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, the lading or shipping of Goods, Wares, Merchandize, at the Town, and within the Harbour of Boston, in the Province of Massachusetts-Bay, in North-America,”) gave rise to the following OBSERVATIONS: —They will appear thrown together in haste; and as the Writer was out of Town on business, almost every day, the Sheets were printing off, no doubt many Errors of the Press escaped correction.

The Inaccuracies of a sudden Production from one of infirm health, perplexed with various avocations, will receive a mild censure: more material faults, FRIENDS may be prone to forgive; but from ENEMIES–public or private–we are never to expect indulgence or favor.

JOSIAH QUINCY, Junr.

Boston, May 14, 1774.

 

OBSERVATIONS, &C.

IN times of public calamity, it is the duty of a good citizen to consider. If his opportunities or advantages, for knowledge and reflection, are greater than those of mankind in general, his whole duty will remain undischarged, while he confines his thoughts to the compass of his own mind. But if danger is added to the calamity of the times, he who shall communicate his sentiments on public affairs with decency and frankness, merits attention and indulgence, if he may not aspire to approbation and praise.

Whoever attends to the tenor and design of the late act of the British Parliament for the BLOCKADE of this HARBOUR, and duly considers the extensive confusion and distress this measure must inevitably produce; whoever shall reflect upon the justice, policy and humanity of legislators, who could deliberately give their sanction to such a prceedure [sic]–must be satisfied, that the man, who shall OPENLY dare to expose their conduct, hazards fatal consequences. –Legislators, who could condemn a whole town unheard, nay uncited to answer. who could involve thousands in ruin and misery, without suggestion of any crime by them committed; and who could so construct their law, as that enormous pains and penalties would inevitably ensue, NOTWITHSTANDING THE MOST PERFECT OBEDIENCE TO IT’S [sic] INJUNCTIONS; I say, that legislators, thus formed as MEN, thus principled as STATESMEN, would undoubtedly imagine the attainder and death of a private individual, for his public animadversions, a less extraordinary act of power. But all exertions of duty have their hazard: –if dread of Parliamentary extravagance is to deter from public energies, the safety of the common wealth will soon be despaired of; and when once a sentiment of that kind prevails, the excess of present enormities so rapidly increase, that strides, at first appearance, exorbitant, will soon be found–but the beginning of evils. We therefore consider it as a just observation, that the weight and velocity of public oppressions are ever in a ratio proportionate to private despondency and public despair.

He who shall go about to treat of important and perilous concerns, and conceals himself behind the curtain of a feigned signature, give an advantage to his adversaries; who will not fail to stigmatize his thoughts, as the notions of an unknown writer, afraid or ashamed to avow his sentiments; and hence they are deemed unworthy of notice and refutation. Therefore I give to the world both my sentiments and and name upon the present occasion, and shall hear with patience him, who will decently refute what is advanced, and shall submit with temper to that correction and chastisement which my errors deserve.

 

 

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Filed under 1770's, American Revolution, Colonial America, Commerce, England, George III, Great Britain, Political Pamphlets, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: Walpole on Politics, Satire, etc. (1820)

Full Title: Private Correspondence of Horace Walpole, Earl or Orford. Now First Collected. In Four Volumes. Vol. III. 1735-1756. London: Printed for Rodwell and Martin, Bond-Street; and Colburn and Co., Conduit-Street. 1820.

To George Montagu, Esq.

Strawberry-hill, May 26, 1765.

If one of the one hundred events, and one hundredth part of the one hundred thousand reports that have passed, and been spread in this last month, have reached your solitary hill, you must be surprised at not a single word from me during that period. The number of events is my excuse. Though mine is the pen of a pretty ready writer, I could not keep pace with the revolutions of each day, each hour. I had not time to begin the narrative, much less to finish it: no, I must keep the whole to tell you at once, or to read it to you, for I think I shall write the history, which, let me tell you, Buckinger himself could not have crowded into a nut-shell.

For your part, you will be content, though the house of Montagu has not made an advantageous figure in this political warfare, yet it is crowded with victory, and laurels you know compensate for every scar. You went out of town fightened out of your sense at the giant prerogative: alack! he is grown so tame, that, as you said of our earthquake, you may stroke him. The regency bill, not quite calculated with that intent, has produced four regents, king Bedford, king Grenville, king Halifax, and king Twitcher. Lord Holland is turned out, and Stuart Mackenzie. Charles Townshend is paymaster, and lord Bute annihilated; and all done without the help of the Whigs. You love to guess what one is going to say; now you may guess what I am going to say. Your newspapers perhaps have given you a long roll of opposition names, who were coming into place, and so all the world thought; but the wind turned quite round, and left them on the strand, and just where they were, except in opposition, which is declared to be at an end. Enigma as all this may sound, the key would open it all to you in the twinkling of an administration. In the mean time, we have family reconciliations without end. The king and the duke of Cumberland have been shut up together day and night; lord Temple and George Grenville are sworn brothers; well, but Mr. Pitt, where is he? In the clouds, for aught I know, in one of which he may descend like the kings of Bantam, and take quiet possession of the throne again.

As a thorough-bass to these squabbles, we have had an insurrection, and a siege. Bedford-house, though garrisoned by horse and foot-guards, was on the point of being taken. The besieged are in their turn triumphant; and if any body now was to publish Droit le Duc, I do not think the House of Lords would censure his book. Indeed the regents may do what they please, and turn out whom they will; I see nothing to resist them. Lord Bute will not easily be tempted to rebel when the last struggle has cost him so dear.

I am sorry for some of my friends, to whom I wished more fortune. For myself, I am but just where I should have been, had they succeeded. It is satisfaction enough to me to be delivered from politics, which you know I have long detested. When I was tranquil enough to write Castles of Otranto, in the midst of grave nonsense, and foolish councils of war, I am not likely to distub myself with the diversions of the court, where I am connected with a soul. As it has proved to be the interest of the present ministers, however contrary to their former views, to lower the crown, they will scarce be in a hurry to aggrandize it again. That will satisfy you, and I you know am satisfied if I have any thing to laugh at–’tis a lucky age for a man who is so easily contented.    

The poor Chute has had another relapse, but is out of bed again. I am thinking of my journey to France, but as Mr. Conway has a mind I should wait for him, I don’t know whether it will take place before the autumn. I will by no means release you from your promise of making me a visit here before I go.

Poor Mr. Bentley, I doubt, is under the greatest difficulties of any body. His poem, which he modestly delivered over to immortality, must be cut and turned, for lord Halifax and lord Bute cannot sit in the same canto together; then the horns and hoofs, that he had bestowed on lord Temple, must be pared away, and beams of glory distributed over his whole person. ‘Tis a dangerous thing to write political panegyrics or satires; it draws the unhappy bard into a thousand scrapes and contradictions. The edifices and inscriptions at Stowe should be a lesson not to erect monuments to the living. I will not place an ossuarium in my garden for my cat, before her bones are ready to be placed in it. I hold contradictions to be as essential to the definition of a political man, as any visible or featherless quality can be to man in general. Good night.

Yours ever.

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Filed under 1760's, 1820's, Letters, Political Commentary, Posted by Matthew Williams, Satire

Item of the Day: Letter from Mr. Adet to Mr. Pickering (15 November 1796)

Found In: State Papers and Publick Documents of the United States from the Accession of George Washington to the Presidency, Exhibiting a Complete View of our Foreign Relations since that Time. [Vol. II.] 1797. Boston: Printed and published by T.B. Waite & Sons; David Hale, agent for the States of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, 1815.

[Excerpted from pages 76-92]

Note from Mr. Adet, Minister Plenipotentiary of the French Republick, to Mr. Pickering, Secretary of State of the United States. Legation at Philadelphia.

The undersigned Minister Plenipotentiary of the French Republick, now fulfils to the Secretary of State of the United States, a painful but sacred duty. He claims, in the name of American honour, in the name of the faith of treaties, the execution of that contract which assured to the United States their existence, and which France regarded as the pledge of the most sacred union between two people, the freest upon earth: In a word, he announces to the Secretary of State the resolution of a government terrible to its enemies, but generous to its allies.

It would have been pleasing to the undersigned Minister Plenipotentiary to have only to express, on the present occasion, the attachment which his government bears to the American people, the vows which it forms for their prosperity, for their happiness. His heart therefore, is grieved at the circumstances, which impose upon him a different task. With regret he finds himself compelled to substitute the tone of reproach for the language of friendship. With regret also his government has ordered him to take that tone; but that very friendship has rendered it indispensable. Its obligations sacred to men, are as sacred to governments; and if a friend offended by a friend, can justly complain, the government of the United States, after the undersigned Minister Plenipotentiary shall have traced the catalogue of the grievances of the French Republick, will not be surprised to see the Executive Directory, manifesting their too just discontents.

When Europe rose up against the Republick at its birth, menaced it with all the horrours of war and famine; when on every side the French could not calculate upon any but enemies, their thoughts turned towards America: A sweet sentiment then mingled itself with those proud sentiments which the presence of danger, and the desire of repelling it, produced in their hearts. In America they saw friends. Those who went to brave tempests and death upon the ocean, forgot all dangers, in order to indulge the hope of visiting that American continent, where, for the first time, the French colours had been displayed in favour of liberty. Under the guarantee of the law of nations, under the protecting shade of a solemn treaty, they expected to find in the ports of the United States, an asylum as sure as at home; they thought, if I may use the expression, there to find a second country. The French government thought as they did. Oh hope, worthy of a faithful people, how has thou been deceived! So far from offering the French the succours which friendship might have given without compromitting it, the American government, in this respect, violated the letter of treaties.

The 17th article of the treaty of amity and commerce of 1778, states, that French vessels of war, and those of the United States, as well as those which shall have been armed for war by individuals of the two states, may freely conduct where they please, the prizes they shall have made upon their enemies, without being subject to any admiralty or other duty; without the said vessels, on entering into the harbours or ports of France, or of the United States, being liable to be arrested or seized, or the officers of those places taking cognizance of the validity of the said prizes; which may depart and may be conducted freely and in full liberty to the places expressed in their commissions, which the captains of said vessels shall be obliged to show: And that on the contrary, no shelter or refuge shall be given to those who shall have made prizes upon the French or Americans; and that if they should be forced by stress of weather or the danger of the sea, to enter, they shall be made to depart as soon as possible.

In contempt of these stipulations, the French privateers have been arrested in the United States, as well as their prizes; the tribunals have taken cognizance of the validity or invalidity of these prizes. It were vain to seek to justify these proceedings, under the pretext of the right of vindicating the compromitted neutrality of the United States. The facts about to be stated, will prove that this pretext has been the source of shocking persecutions against the French privateers, and that the conduct of the Federal Government, has been but a series of violations of the 17th article of the treaty of 1778. . . .

Alas! time has not yet demolished the fortifications with which the English roughened this country–nor those the Americans raised for their defence; their half rounded summits still appear in every quarter, amidst plains, on the tops of mountains. The traveller need not search for the ditch which served to encompass them; it is still open under his feet. Scattered ruins of houses laid waste, which the fire had partly respected, in order to leave monuments of British fury, are still to be found. –Men still exist, who can say, here a ferocious Englishman slaughtered my father; there my wife tore her bleeding daughter from the hands of an unbridled Englishman. Alas! the soldiers who fell under the sword of the Britons are not yet reduced to dust: the labourer, in turning up his field, still draws from the bosom of the earth their whitened bones; while the ploughman, with tears of tenderness and gratitude, still recollects that his fields, now covered with rich harvests, have been moistened with French blood; while every thing around the inhabitants of this country, animates them to speak of the tyranny of Great Britain and of the generosity of Frenchmen; when England has declared a war of death to that nation, to avenge herself for its having cemented with its blood the independence of the United States. –It was at this moment their government made a treaty of amity with their ancient tyrant, the implacable enemy of their ancient ally. O! Americans covered with noble scars! O! you who have so often flown to death and to victory with French soldiers! You who know those generous sentiments which distinguish the true warriour! Whose hearts have always vibrated with those of your companions in arms! Consult them to-day to know what they experience; recollect at the same time, that if magnanimous souls with liveliness resent an affront, they also know how to forget one. Let your government return to itself, and you will still find in Frenchmen faithful friends and generous allies.

Done at Philadelphia, the 25th Brumaire, 5th year of the French Republick, one and indivisible (15th November 1796, O.S.)

P.A. Adet

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Filed under 1790's, Early Republic, Foreign Relations, France, Neutral Rights, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Privateers, United States

Item of the Day: Voyage to South-America (1758)

Full Title: A Voyage to South-America: Describing at Large the Spanish Cities, Towns, Provinces, &c. on the extensive Continent. Interspersed throughout with Reflections on the Genius, Customs, Manners, and Trade of the Inhabitants; Together with the Natural History of the Country. And an Account of their Gold and Silver Mines. Undertaken by Command of his Majesty the King of Spain, by Don George Juan, and Don Antonio De Ulloa, Both Captains of the Spanish Navy, Members of the Royal Societies of London and Berlin, and corresponding Members of the Royal Academy at Paris. Translated from the Original Spanish. Illustrated with Copper Plates. In Two Volumes. Vol. I. London: Printed for L. Davis and C. Reymers, against Gray’s-Inn-Gate, Holborn, MDCCLVIII. [1758]

 

A VOYAGE TO PERU.

BOOK I.

Reasons for this Voyage; Navigation from the Bay of Cadiz to Carthagena in America, and a Description of the Latter.

 

CHAP. I.

Motives of this Voyage to South America, with Remarks on the Navigation between Cadiz and Carthagena.

THE heart of man is naturally inclined to attempt things, the advantages of which appear to increase in proportion to the difficulties which attend them. It spares no pains, it fears no danger in attaining them; and instead of being diverted from its purpose, is animated with fresh vigour by opposition. The glory, inseparable from arduous enterprises, is a powerful incentive, which raises the mind above itself; the hope of advantages determines the will, diminishes dangers, alleviates hardships, and levels obstacles, which otherwise would appear unsurmountable. Desire and resolution are not, however, always sufficient to insure success, and the best concerted measures are not always prosperous. Divine Providence, whose over-ruling and incomprehensible determinations direct the course of human actions, seems to have prescribed certain limits, beyond which all our attempts are vain. The causes his infinite wisdom has thought proper to conceal from us, and the result of such a conduct is rather an object of our reverence than speculation. The knowledge of the bounds of human understanding, a discreet amusement and exercise of our talents for the demonstration of truths which are only to be attained by a continual and extensive study, which rewards the mind with tranquility and pleasure, are advantages worthy of our highest esteem, and objects which cannot be too much recommended. In all times the desire of enlightning [sic] others by some new discovery, has rouzed [sic] the industry of man, and engaged him in laborious researches, and by that means proved the principal source of the improvement of the sciences.

Things which have long baffled sagacity and application, have sometimes been discovered by chance. The firmest resolution has often been discouraged, by the insuperable  precipes, which, in appearance, incircle his investigations. The reason of this is, because the obstacles are painted, by the imagination, in the most lively colours; but the methods of surmounting them escape our attention; till, smoothed by labour and application, a more easy passage is discovered.

Among discoveries mentioned in history, whether owing to accident or reflection, that of the Indies is of the least advantageous. These parts were for many ages unknown to the  Europeans; or, at least, the remembrance of them was buried in oblivion. They were lost through a long succession of time, and disfigured by the confusion and darkness in which they were found immersed. At length the happy aera arrived, when industry blended with resolution, was to remove all the difficulties, exaggerated by ignorance. This is the epocha which distinguished the reign, in many other respects so glorious, of Ferdinand of Arragon, and Isabella of Castile. Reason and experience at once exploded all the ideas of rashness and ridicule which had hitherto prevailed. It seems as if providence permitted the refusal of other nations, to augment the glory of our own; and to reward the zeal of our sovereigns, who countenanced this important enterprize; the prudence of their subjects in the conduct of it, and the religious end proposed by both. I mentioned accident or reflection, being not yet convinced, whether the confidence with which Christopher Columbus maintained, that westward there were lands undiscovered, was the result of his knowledge in cosmography and experience in navigation, or whether it was founded on the information of a pilot, who had actually discovered them, having been driven on the coasts by stress of weather; and who, in return for the kind reception he had met with at Columbus’s house, delivered to him, in his last moments, the papers and charts relating to them.

The prodigious magnitude of this continent; the multitude and extent of its provinces; the variety of its climates, products and curious particulars; and, lastly the distance and difficulty of one part communicating with another, and especially with Europe, have been the cause, that America, though discovered and inhabited in its principal parts by Europeans, is but imperfectly known by them; and at the same time kept them totally ignorant of many things, which would greatly contribute to give a more perfect idea of so considerable a part of our glove. But though investigations of this kind are doubtless worthy the attention of a great prince, and the studies of the most piercing genius among his subjects; yet this was not the principal intention of our voyage. His majesty’s wise resolution of sending us to this continent, was principally owing to a more elevated and important design.

The literary world are no strangers to the celebrated question that has lately produced so many treatises on the  figure and magnitude of the earth; which had hitherto been thought perfectly spherical. The prolixity of later observations had given rise to two opposite opinions among philosophers. Both supposed it to be elliptical, but one affirmed its transverse diameter was that of the poles, and the other, that it was that of the equator. The solution of this problem, in which not only geography and cosmography are interested, but also navigation, astronomy, and other arts and sciences of public utility, was what gave rise to our expedition. Who would have imagined that these countries, lately discovered, would have proved the means of our attaining a perfect knowledge of the old world; and that if the former owed its discovery to the latter, it would make it ample amends by determining its real figure, which had hitherto been unknown or controverted? who, I say, would have suspected that the sciences should in that country meet with treasures, not less valuable than the gold of its mines, which has so greatly enriched other countries! How many difficulties were to be surmounted in the execution! What a series of obstacles were to be overcome in such long operations, flowing from the inclemency of climates; the disadvantageous situation of the places where they were to be made, and in fine, from the very nature of the enterprize! All these circumstances infinitely heighten the glory of the monarch, under whose auspices the enterprise has been so happily accomplished. This discovery was reserved for the present age, and for the two Spanish monarchs, the late Philip V. and Ferdinand VI. The former cause d the enterprise to be carried into execution, the latter honoured it with his countenance, and ordered the narrative of it to be published; no only for the information and instruction of his own subjects, but also for those of other nations, to whom these accounts will prove equally advantageous. And that this narrative may be the more instructive, we shall introduce the particualr circumstances which originally gave occasion to our voyage, and were in a a manner, the basis and rule of the other enterprises, which will be mentioned in the sequel, each in its proper order. . . .

 

 

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Filed under 1750's, Explorations, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, South America, Spain, Travel