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have formed a fine picture of man inhabiting some primeval

source:newstime:2023-12-06 10:14:29

LONDON, October 9, O. S. 1749.

have formed a fine picture of man inhabiting some primeval

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.

have formed a fine picture of man inhabiting some primeval

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.

have formed a fine picture of man inhabiting some primeval

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.

I receive this very moment Mr. Harte's letter of the 1st October, N. S., but I never received his former, to which he refers in this, and you refer in your last; in which he gave me the reasons for your leaving Verona so soon; nor have I ever received that letter in which your case was stated by your physicians. Letters to and from me have worse luck than other people's; for you have written to me, and I to you, for these last three months, by way of Germany, with as little success as before.

I am edified with your morning applications, and your evening gallantries at Venice, of which Mr. Harte gives me an account. Pray go on with both there, and afterward at Rome; where, provided you arrive in the beginning of December, you may stay at Venice as much longer as you please.

Make my compliments to Sir James Gray and Mr. Smith, with my acknowledgments for the great civilities they show you.

I wrote to Mr. Harte by the last post, October the 6th, O. S., and will write to him in a post or two upon the contents of his last. Adieu! 'Point de distractions'; and remember the GRACES.