I like your last letter, which gives me an account of yourself, and your own transactions; for though I do not recommend the EGOTISM to you, with regard to anybody else, I desire that you will use it with me, and with me only. I interest myself in all that you do; and as yet (excepting Mr. Harte) nobody else does. He must of course know all, and I desire to know a great deal.
I am glad you have received, and that you like the diamond buckles. I am very willing that you should make, but very unwilling that you should CUT a figure with them at the jubilee; the CUTTING A FIGURE being the very lowest vulgarism in the English language; and equal in elegancy to Yes, my Lady, and No, my Lady. The word VAST and VASTLY, you will have found by my former letter that I had proscribed out of the diction of a gentleman, unless in their proper signification of sizes and BULK. Not only in language, but in everything else, take great care that the first impressions you give of yourself may be not only favorable, but pleasing, engaging, nay, seducing. They are often decisive; I confess they are a good deal so with me: and I cannot wish for further acquaintance with a man whose first 'abord' and address displease me.
So many of my letters have miscarried, and I know so little which, that I am forced to repeat the same thing over and over again eventually. This is one. I have wrote twice to Mr. Harte, to have your picture drawn in miniature, while you were at Venice; and send it me in a letter: it is all one to me whether in enamel or in watercolors, provided it is but very like you. I would have you drawn exactly as you are, and in no whimsical dress: and I lay more stress upon the likeness of the picture, than upon the taste and skill of the painter. If this be not already done, I desire that you will have it done forthwith before you leave Venice; and inclose it in a letter to me, which letter, for greater security, I would have you desire Sir James Gray to inclose in his packet to the office; as I, for the same, reason, send this under his cover. If the picture be done upon vellum, it will be the most portable. Send me, at the same time, a thread of silk of your own length exactly. I am solicitous about your figure; convinced, by a thousand instances, that a good one is a real advantage. 'Mens sana in corpore sano', is the first and greatest blessing. I would add 'et pulchro', to complete it. May you have that and every other! Adieu.
Have you received my letters of recommendation to Cardinal Albani and the Duke de Nivernois, at Rome?
LONDON, October 9, O. S. 1749.
DEAR BOY: If this letter finds you at all, of which I am very doubtful, it will find you at Venice, preparing for your journey to Rome; which, by my last letter to Mr. Harte, I advised you to make along the coast of the Adriatic, through Rimini, Loretto, Ancona, etc., places that are all worth seeing; but not worth staying at. And such I reckon all places where the eyes only are employed. Remains of antiquity, public buildings, paintings, sculptures, etc., ought to be seen, and that with a proper degree of attention; but this is soon done, for they are only outsides. It is not so with more important objects; the insides of which must be seen; and they require and deserve much more attention. The characters, the heads, and the, hearts of men, are the useful science of which I would have you perfect master. That science is best taught and best learned in capitals, where every human passion has its object, and exerts all its force or all its art in the pursuit. I believe there is no place in the world, where every passion is busier, appears in more shapes, and is conducted with more art, than at ,Rome. Therefore, when you are there, do not imagine that the Capitol, the Vatican, and the Pantheon, are the principal objects of your curiosity. But for one minute that you bestow upon those, employ ten days in informing yourself of the nature of that government, the rise and decay of the papal power, the politics of that court, the 'Brigues' of the cardinals, the tricks of the Conclaves; and, in general, everything that relates to the interior of that extraordinary government, founded originally upon the ignorance and superstition of mankind, extended by the weakness of some princes, and the ambition of others; declining of late in proportion as knowledge has increased; and owing its present precarious security, not to the religion, the affection, or the fear of the temporal powers, but to the jealousy of each other. The Pope's excommunications are no longer dreaded; his indulgences little solicited, and sell very cheap; and his territories formidable to no power, are coveted by many, and will, most undoubtedly, within a century, be scantled out among the great powers, who have now a footing in Italy, whenever they can agree upon the division of the bear's skin. Pray inform yourself thoroughly of the history of the popes and the popedom; which, for many centuries, is interwoven with the history of all Europe. Read the best authors who treat of these matters, and especially Fra Paolo, 'De Beneficiis', a short, but very material book. You will find at Rome some of all the religious orders in the Christian world. Inform yourself carefully of their origin, their founders, their rules, their reforms, and even their dresses: get acquainted with some of all of them, but particularly with the Jesuits; whose society I look upon to be the most able and best governed society in the world. Get acquainted, if you can, with their General, who always resides at Rome; and who, though he has no seeming power out of his own society, has (it may be) more real influence over the whole world, than any temporal prince in it. They have almost engrossed the education of youth; they are, in general, confessors to most of the princes of Europe; and they are the principal missionaries out of it; which three articles give them a most extensive influence and solid advantages; witness their settlement in Paraguay. The Catholics in general declaim against that society; and yet are all governed by individuals of it. They have, by turns, been banished, and with infamy, almost every country in Europe; and have always found means to be restored, even with triumph. In short, I know no government in the world that is carried on upon such deep principles of policy, I will not add morality. Converse with them, frequent them, court them; but know them.
Inform yourself, too, of that infernal court, the Inquisition; which, though not so considerable at Rome as in Spain and Portugal, will, however, be a good sample to you of what the villainy of some men can contrive, the folly of others receive, and both together establish, in spite of the first natural principles of reason, justice, and equity.
These are the proper and useful objects of the attention of a man of sense, when he travels; and these are the objects for which I have sent you abroad; and I hope you will return thoroughly informed of them.