Free Essay: Pride The word pride in itself isn't an important word but it's meaning implies many things. There are several different definitions for pride.
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Jardim Bela Vista. Jardim Belmar. Jardim Cachoeira. Jardim Castelo Branco. Jardim Champgnat. Jardim Cinelandia. Jardim Colonial. Jardim Cybelli. Jardim Darcy Alves Ripamonte. Jardim Das Acacias. Jardim das Aroeiras. Jardim Das Palmeiras. Jardim do Cedro. Jardim dos Hibiscos.
Jardim Do Sol. Jardim Doutor Paulo Gomes Romeo. Jardim Emilia. Jardim Esmeralda. Jardim Florestan Fernandes. Jardim Gabriela. Jardim Heitor Rigon. Jardim Helena. Jardim Herculano Fernandes. Jardim Imperial. Jardim Interlagos. Jardim Jandaia. Jardim Javari. Jardim Juliana. Jardim Luciana II. Jardim Macarengo. Jardim Macedo. Jardim Manoel Penna. Jardim Marchesi.
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Jardim Maria Goretti. Jardim Maria Imaculada II. Jardim Maria Regina. Jardim Martins. Jardim Morumbi I. Jardim Mosteiro. Jardim Niagara II. Jardim Nova Yorque. Jardim Novo Mundo. Jardim Olhos Dagua. Jardim Orestes Lopes de Camargo. Jardim Ouro Branco. Jardim Paiva. Jardim Palmares. Jardim Palma Travassos. Jardim Patriarca. Jardim Paulista. Jardim Paulistano. Jardim Pedra Branca. Jardim Piratininga.
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Jardim Porto Seguro. Jardim Primavera. Jardim Recreio. Jardim Recreio Bandeirantes. Jardim Recreio dos Bandeirantes. Jardim Roberto Benedetti. Jardim Saint Gerard. Jardim Salgado Filho. Jardim Santa Cecilia. Jardim Santa Cruz I.
Jardim Santa Genebra. Jardim Santa Luzia. Jardim Sao Gabriel. Jardim Veredas. Jardim Zara. Jd Humberto Pereira Lima. Localidade De Benfica. Loteamento Ponte Alta. Maria Gorete. Marinas Portobello. Moradas da Serra. Parque Anhanguera. Parque Das Andorinhas. Parque das Andorinhas. Parque Das Figueiras. Parque das Oliveiras. Parque Das Oliveiras. Parque Dos Bandeirantes. Parque dos Bandeirantes. Parque dos Lagos. Parque Dos Lagos. Parque Dos Lima. Parque dos Pinus.
Parque Enseada. Parque Franville. Parque Industrial Adib Rassi. Parque Industrial Avelino Alves Palma.
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Parque Industrial Coronel Quito Junqueira. Parque Industrial Lagoinha. Parque Industrial Tanquinho. Parque Quinta das Paineiras. Parque Recanto Lagoinha. Parque Residencial Emir Garcia. Parque Residencial Isaura. Parque Residencial Lagoinha. Planalto Verde. Pontal De Santa Maria. Portal da Mata. Portal Do Alto.
60 Writing Topics for Extended Definitions
Portal do Alto. Praia das Palmeiras. Presidente Dutra. Quinta Da Alvorada. Quinta da Primavera. Quinta Da Primavera. Quintino Facci I. Quintino Facci II. Recanto Das Flores. Recanto das Palmeiras. Recanto Do Rio Pardo. Recanto Dos Passaros. Recanto Las Palmas. Recreio Anhanguera. Recreio Bandeirantes. Recreio Beira Rio. Recreio Campo Belo. Every nation contemplates itself through the medium of self-conceit, and draws conclusions to its own advantage, which individuals adopt to themselves with complacency, because they confound and interweave their private with their national character.
The inhabitants of most countries, great or small, powerful or otherwise, value themselves upon a certain something, of which they believe themselves to be exclusively possessed, and are apt to view every thing that re lates to this particular point of honour, both in themselves and others, with prejudice and prepos session. A powerful state may overawe, may destroy the dependence of its weaker neighbour, but can never bring its inhabit ants to be humble; every thing else may be taken away, but their good opinion of themselves will remain.
The Doge of Genoa, who had the ho nour of submissively begging pardon of the haughty Lewis the fourteenth in his palace at Versailles, for the trouble that Prince had been put to in bom barding his native city, saw nothing, amidst all the splendour of that magnificent court, so worthy of admiration, as the Doge himself. National advantages are either imaginary or real: in the former case, when a nation unjustly pretends to the possession of great advantages, its pride is arrogance; in the latter, the pride arising from the consciousness of possessing greater worth than others, when well founded, may be called a noble pride, which arrogance can never be; for that always implies an unjust, an overweening, pre ference of ourselves.
The nature of my subject requires uncommon li berality of sentiment, and the strictest regard to equity, to avoid giving any reasonable cause of com plaint against me. It is an arduous and difficult undertaking to attack men in their tenderest point, to delineate with forcible strokes the foibles and ridiculous characteristics of the most considerable nations, and, penetrating through the exterior ap pearances and prejudices of mankind, to lay before the reader a true picture of their actions and mo tives, so as not to offend any one, and to steer at an equal distance between the opposite extremes of fawning flattery and wanton satire.
Misinterpretations, I am aware, can hardly be avoided. I may often appear to exemplify a nation al foible by that which may have been remarkable in one of its individuals; yet to allege on that account that I draw general inferences from few and partial observations, or that I cast on a whole nation the odium resulting from the defects of a few persons, would be doing me injustice. Illustrious characters of all professions are every where to be met with; and, in this work, I de fend the just claims of all nations to common sense and a good understanding, against the selfish mo nopoly which has been exercised by the vanity of a few.
I esteem and love persons of merit of what ever clime or religion, and glory in their regard; but this does not prevent my censuring as ridicu lous whatever really is so among the generality of their countrymen: this remark may peculiarly be applied to what I say respecting the Spaniards. It would be to form from my writings a very im proper idea of my real sentiments, and of the whole tenour of my life, to suppose that I entertain an aver sion to the English, whom I hold to be the wor thiest nation of the globe, notwithstanding the ill I have to say of them: amidst all my censures, I love the French, and highly respect many individu als among them: the Italians too are well worthy of my regard, on account of the fertility of their ge nius and the vivacity of their conceptions: yet none of these nations will I spare.
It states, that I have not indiscriminately passed my satirical censure on all nations; that I ought to have looked nearer round me, and might full as easily have traced in Germany, instances of the same ridiculous pride with which I made myself so merry when I find it in the French, the Spani ard, or the English, if I had but deigned to cast an eye on the circle more immediately within my own observation. Instances of the most laughable personal pride, it is true, are plentifully to be met with in the German universities, in the German cities, in the German nobility, and in short in every thing that may be called German; but instances of silly na tional pride occur but very seldom in people, who despise the works of their own artists, who give the preference to foreign manufactures, and to foreign learning, and occasionally console themselves by a comparison with the petty nation of the Swiss.
With what assurance could I have exposed the slight traces of national pride to be met with among the honest Germans, when one of the most learned men of our age reproaches them with the want of this useful folly as a very great national defect? This nation never theless hates and despises itself, purchases, praises, and imitates only what is foreign; it imagines that no dress can be elegant, no food or wine delicious or even palatable, no dwelling commodious, unless stuff, taylor, clothes, cook, wine, furniture, and architect, come to it at an excessive expence from abroad; and what adds a zest to all, from a coun try inhabited by its natural enemies.
This singular nation exalts and praises solely and above measure the genius and wit of foreigners, the poetry of fo reigners, the paintings of foreigners; and especi ally with regard to literature, foreign books written in the most miserable style, are solely purchased, read, and admired by these infatuated people, who know little even of their own history, save from the faulty, unfaithful, and malicious relations of fo reign authors.
Let others decide on the justice of this well-meant reproach; for me it only remains to inform the Parisian censor, that I am really no German, although I write German, and yield, in his opinion to none in the humility with which I address the Austrian and Swabian nobility, according to the custom of the country, using the title of Gracious Lord, and seem to him to sacrifice truth at the shrine of servile adulation.
FOLLY is the queen of the world, and we all, more or less, wear her livery, her ribbands, her stars, and her bells. Most men, being partial to themselves, esteem only their own image in others. The predominancy of vanity among mankind is what causes the number of the proud to be so great, since it is from vanity that all pride arises, while self-conceit which begets this vanity is by no means originally implanted in human nature, like that necessary self-love, which incites every crea ture to attend to its own preservation.
It seems rather an adventitious quality which must have arisen in a state of society, when the mind became capable of comparing itself with others, and which, in consequence, has been interwoven with our other assumed opinions, and pervades all our ac tions and motives. Self-conceit begets arrogance, haughtiness, va nity, frivolity and ostentation, and appears in va rious shapes, according to the difference it meets with in the natural intellects, in the mode of edu cation and of living, in the society, in the station, and in the rank and fortune of men. In little minds, whatever form it assumes, it is always folly; in minds more enlightened, it sometimes is linked with knowledge; in all it subsists either openly or in secret at the expence of others, especially where it is the only antidote against the malice with which a number of fools depreciate one wise man.
The self-conceit of every one must of necessity clash with that of his neighbour, and of course in crease by opposition; for whoever is not as much valued by others, as he thinks he deserves, esteems himself the more, by comparing their supposed ig norance, with his ideal worth; while by openly con temning his competitor, this last is likewise induced to fall into the same train of thinking with respect to his own advantages, which he, by the same mode of arguing, conceives to be superior to those of his neighbour, for exactly the same reason.
Now, as in both cases self-conceit in a lively temper becomes a passion, it leads us into innumerable errors, since passion al ways affects our sight in such a way, that we see but one side of the picture, in which too we are sure to behold no more than we chuse. We always return to the consideration of our dear selves, just as the imagination of a lover is ever recurring to the contemplation of his mistress; he neither sees nor regards any thing but the object of his affection. So too the self admirer is blind and deaf to all but his own astonishing perfections; he is provoked at whatever does not exactly coin cide with his ideas of them, and supposes that his own conviction of their existence is sufficient to render them equally discernible to all: as some years ago, a young English inamorato, possessed with the true spirit of Quixotism, constrained our inoffensive country people whom he met with in the fields round Lausanne, to confess that a certain young lady of Geneva, whom he named to them, was the most lovely of her sex, by threatening them with the point of his sword.
Man looks upon himself as the centre to which all created beings tend. Many orders of men have continually flattered themselves with the idea that they were the chief, if not the only objects of Divine Providence, and have, in consequence, ascribed innumerable effects of the general and re gular course of things, to an immediate interposi tion of the Deity, solely regarding themselves, ac cording as their prejudices, their passions, their in terest, or their vanity might incite them to believe. After the battle of Salamis, all the commanders were en joined to declare before the altar of Neptune, upon oath, who had conducted himself best on that day; every one of them claimed for himself the first palm, but they were unanimous in allotting the second to Themistocles.
All men prize above measure their own taste and favourite science, and esteem every one who has not a genius for that particular branch of knowledge, as unqualified. This is carried so far, that men often ridiculously conceive the delights of another world will be tasteless without the enjoy ment of their most cherished passion: the sports man believes that when he is freed from the narrow bounds of this nether world, his spirit will be eter nally happy in following the pleasures of the chace, from one planet to another, through the whole ex panse of heaven; and the alchymist entertains no doubt but that the elect will be blessed to all eter nity, in the perusal and contemplation of Paracelsus.
Harley was made an Earl and Lord Treasurer; and finding it confirmed, said, "Well, I wonder what the devil the queen could see in him; for I taught him to dance two years, and he was the greatest looby that ever I had to do with. Self-conceit always exalts a man above his pro per level, and perverts his right perception of the fitness of things. Every prince must have his court days and his ambassadors be his dominions three miles or three hundred in extent; every nobleman his attendants and pages, whether his revenue justifies such ostentation or not; and every shop keeper's wife, whether she sells tape by the yard or pins by the hundred for six days, must on the seventh, be a fine lady.
There is not a youth ful coxcomb in the universe who would barter his head for that of the most eminent genius; nor a wealthy scoundrel that cares for any kind of merit but the cunning that has brought him his riches; and no virtue can counterbalance the glit tering gewgaws of coronets and embroidery in the eyes of a titled ignoramus.
Those who indulge in self conceit generally go farther, and not only love their opinions like themselves, but look with scorn on all who entertain different ideas, and who do not exactly give the preference to what they esteem worthy of it. The idler pities the busy fool that is ever immersed in the occupations of trade; the hunter despises the fellow that cannot talk of dogs and horses; the gamester thinks those who care not for cards little better than clods; the burgo master who magisterially gives importance to trifles, and the counsellor who scribbles his decison on the cases that are brought for his consideration with the same ease as he gulps down his wine, ask with haughty self-sufficiency, what good the pedant does who can employ his time no better than to write a book?
One of the objects in which self-conceit most predominantly appears, is in matters of religion, and the opinion we entertain of our punctual discharge of the religious duties incumbent on us: it is sure, in this respect, to declare itself in an inexpressible contempt and pity of those who do not make such a public display of their piety as we do. Thus fools are ever making faces at each other, and jostling their empty noddles; and thus arise the many squab bles about trifles that daily occur in the world, and in which neither party are in the right or in the wrong.
Shallow-brained coxcombs entertain the most marked contempt for men of genius; the former are continually buzzing in the ears of the latter the barren objects of their trifling observations, and the uninteresting occurrences of their frivolous lives; while these cannot but behold with indif ference the flimsy materials which form the furni ture of their senseless pates, and, sighing at the in significancy of their conversation, turn with disgust from the daily round of the same remarks which neither instruct nor entertain.
Wise men and fools are there fore reciprocally tiresome and insipid to each other whenever they meet, and both repay themselves for the tormenting uneasiness they have felt, by mutual contempt. Professions likewise are animated with the same spirit of disdain towards each other, according to the ideas they have respectively formed of their utility and rank in society: the citizen despises the farmer; the seaman the soldier; the soldier the civilian; the civilian the ecclesiastic; and among ecclesiastics numberless are the pretences adduced to countenance their mutual contempt; while the courtier expresses his derision of them all.
Among the learned, mutual scorn is as common and apparent as among the most illiterate. A country alehouse-keeper has more esteem for one substantial farmer, than for all the wits in Christendom; the natural philosopher laughs aloud at the imbecility of the ethic philosopher, who foolishly supposes that the contemplation of the nature of men and of their actions, is of more consequence than the contemplation of the nature and actions of frogs; the mathematician's standard of excellence is his rule and compasses, his arithmetical tables, and decimal fractions, and these stupid inventions again are the derision of the metaphysician.
The question was once put in a mixed company at Paris, "what a metaphysician was? Such authors reverence their brethren who can write a folio, while be who can only fill a duodecimo, must be a very poor genius indeed; for to confine one-self to say more on a subject than is requi site for its discussion, proves, in their opinion, a de plorable sterility of intellect; they call writings of judgement, penetration, and elegance, unintelligi ble, trifling, frothy, sophistical, French nonsence: they dislike wit as eunuchs dislike love, and, being genuine pedants, call all such as are endowed with common sense with its purity and simplicity, the un enlightened herd; while these, on the other hand, think a fool's cap would be the most proper orna ment to set off the gravity and overbearing conceit, so visibly imprinted in their long and solemn visages.
Poets think very meanly of prose writers, for prose is the common vehicle of conversation; and when their works consecrated to immortality, expire be fore the next returning solstice after their birth, the perverted taste of the whole age is vehemently called in question; but they likewise despise each other, and of all their creditors, those to whom they owe a spite are the surest of punctual payment. The agreement or disagreement of ideas and sentiments, is the sure criterion by which to judge of the mutual esteem or contempt between the parties; whoever is much sought after by little minds, and can associate with and please the weak and ignorant, may well be suspected of similar dis qualifications, which is a consolatory reflection for the hatred which is generally entertained by the ignorant against the learned.
Of a person we do not at all know, we form not an advantageous idea if we find he is the admiration of fools, for the centre of gravity itself is not so attractive as dulness to its counterpart. Where the prince is a fool, that country is the paradise of fools; like the ephemeral insects of a summer's day, the votaries of folly emerge from their retreats, and betake themselves to Court, the moment a soul congenial to their own ascends the throne; there they are in their ele ment; the most unmeritorious sycophants are ad vanced to the highest dignities; all that is fool ish, vicious and absurd, becomes fashionable, and is most decidedly preferred, while merit and parts retire dejected from the society of men, who hate what is not made after their own image.
He who has never travelled, who has read no thing, and who shuns the conversation of those who have, limits his ideas to what he daily sees around him, imagines that beyond the little span he inha bits there is nothing but wild uncultivated desarts and gloomy wildernesses; or forming his opinions of all that is beyond the circle of his own observa tion, by what is within it, he is like the Parisian mechanic spoken of in the account of an excursion from Paris to St. Cloud, who believed, that the hills bordering his view were uninhabited, and, from the horse-chesnut trees in the public walks at Paris, concluded, that all grain and pulse grew likewise on trees.
In Paris, for this reason, notwithstanding all that may be thought of it in other countries, it is by no means an object of ridicule for five or six city sportsmen to go a hunting in a coach with jack-boots, bag-wigs, guns, swords and pistols, who when they come to a proper place, take their stands behind so many trees, in order to let fly at any poor hare that may happen to run that way: for this reason the negroes paint their devils white and their god black; for this reason certain nations painted the goddess of love with monstrous breasts hanging down almost to her knees: and for this same reason it was, that on endeavouring to make an honest Swiss comprehend the extent of kingly wealth and magnificence, he asked with a proud consciousness of the importance of his rustic riches, "whether a king had a hundred head of cattle on the hill?
At the congress of Baden in , all the several plenipo tentiaries dined one day in public, and many people assembled round the table out of curiosity. The smaller and more insulated the place or society is in which we live, the lower and more con tracted are the opinions we form in consequence; and when we are ignorant of every thing beyond our narrow sphere of life, whereby to form a just estimate of things, we look upon our tenets as the only proper rule of judgment, being unacquainted with the existence, much less with the probable merits of any other.
The more abridged a man is in his knowledge, the higher does he value himself, and the more insolent does he behave towards others. He condemns every thought that does not flow from his own fruitful brain, and every action and fashion, of which he has not set the example. This defect is incurable in every man of note who inhabits a small town, when his mind is not more ex panded than the place of his residence; for he who is the man of most consideration in a little circle, will naturally detest extensive society, where he is sure to lose his pre-eminence, he will particularly be hostile to men of commanding understandings, and will avoid their conversation, for his soul will shrink from their scrutiny.
Men are infinitely more pleased with the company of such as out of com plaisance or ignorance accede to their absurd pro positions, than of those who insinuate that they are erroneous. The half animated oyster, confined within its shell, knows as much of the world, as a man in volved in this intellectual mist does of the real situ ation or value of things. Always surrounded by the same objects, he will never alter his creed; he will ever esteem his own belief as an incontrovert ible argument in every dispute; he is in himself all in all, and those who hold other principles, are blinded by falsehood.
This excessive self-esteem makes them look at all other persons and things through the wrong end of the perspective glass; and the value of all who are not of their stamp is imperceptible to their perverted vision. On this account the most unimportant trifles in their hands swell to matters of great mo ment; and thence also proceeds their opinion, that no one ever was, or ever will be capable of rivalling them in the greatness or usefulness of their exploits. It is the prevalence of this infatuation that solely oc casions the big swoln gravity, which is the soul of ad ministration in the petty jurisdiction of all countries.
These true and unexaggerated observations, prove that the generality of mankind are proud; that self-conceit is the fountain-head of pride; and that pride generates the most ridiculous arrogance; when stupidity and confined knowledge of things become by outward circumstances the companions of self-conceit. WHOLE nations think just as the generality of individuals do of their own advantages. We might safely conclude from the thoughts and opi nions of single persons, what their combined effects are in the community they belong to, did we not also directly know, that every nation must have the same manner of fashioning its ideas with the individuals who compose it.
All histories are memorials of the partiality of nations for themselves; the most civilized and the most savage people shew, that they believe they possess certain advantages, which they disallow to others; either the religious tenets they hold, their customs, their government, or some other peculiarity, is a pleasing subject of contemplation to them. As individuals, so villages, cities, pro vinces, nations, are infected with this darling self-conceit, and their own particular vain glory; and every member of the community, by a very natural chain of ideas, takes part in the general vanity, and joins with his village or his nation in railing at other villages and nations of the world.
Every nation is exceedingly pleased with itself, and considers all other societies of men, more or less, as beings of an inferior nature. A foreigner and a barbarian were synonomous terms among the Greeks; and were employed as such among the Romans; and are still so with the majority of the French nation. It happened at the court of Zell, in the time of the late duke, that the duchess who was of the French family of d'Olbreuse with some French noblemen were the only company at his highness's table; one of the Frenchmen suddenly exclaimed, "It is very droll indeed!
National contempt oftener arises from what strikes the senses than the understanding. At Vienna, at Paris, and at Rome, a Swiss and a brute were long esteemed equivalent denominations, and to speak honestly, I have myself felt abashed, when at Versailles I have compared the still and formal gait of the Swiss halberdiers, with the airy flippancy of the monkeys, who danced attendance at the levee.
Most people ridicule foreign manners, be cause they differ from their own; and in this point, few are less blind and arrogant than the French courtiers, who, instead of seeing in Peter the Great, a monarch of genius, who travelled for the sake of improvement, and who had descended from his throne to attain the qualifications necessary to enable him to fill it again worthily, beheld in him no more than a foreigner, a brute, who being ig norant of French customs, and a stranger to their affectation and grimace, ought as soon as he came among them, to have studied their manners, and have taken a pattern of their undistinguished urba nity wherewith to civilize his Russian bears.
There are few authors who hear with temper a comparison between writers of their own nation and foreign literati; and let them be ever so unfair and virulent towards each other, they are at all times ready to unite in attacking a foreigner, who should dare to find fault with any one among them. The arrogant Greeks owed all their advantages, nay, their civilization, to foreigners: the Phenici ans taught them the use of letters, instructed them in the arts and sciences, gave them laws; the Egyp tians lent them the mythology on which they built their religion; yet Greece, favoured Greece, was in their eyes, the mother of all nations.
It is re marked, that the Greek historians seldom make use of foreign names, sometimes totally omitting them, but more commonly altering them with the most scrupulous attention to give them a Grecian turn and a more harmonious sound; and it is therefore not surprising, that in succeeding times, this vain-glorious people adopted the persuasion, that nearly all the other nations of the earth were colonies from Greece.
Many small towns in the Campania of Rome were the na tive places of Roman consuls, generals and em perors, and the present squalid inhabitants of such places speak of them as their townsmen and relations. The peasant, who can point out the spot where such or such an eminent character was born, firmly believes, in common with all the inhabitants round the sacred barn and hog-stye, or whatever else the Roman villa has been metamorphosed into, that their countryman, their progenitor, was the great est man history ever made mention of.
A single senator of Rome, deciding without appeal on the petty squabbles and disputes of the lowest order of citizens, is the actual representative of that tribunal to which the impressive majesty of the ancient se nate and of the Roman people is dwindled. He has four assessors called conservators, who are changed every quarter. The Trastaverini, that is the wretched militia of the ward of Trasta vera in modern Rome, the ancient Regio Transtibu rina, absolutely call themselves descendants of the Trojans of remote antiquity, and look upon the inhabitants of the other quarters of Rome as a mob of spurious Latians; and yet they value both, in the midst of their poverty and bigotry, as being citizens of ancient Rome, from whose former cou rage and inflexibility they are so far degenerated, that the very rare occurrence among them of the execution of a malefactor almost frightens them into fits.
All the modern inhabitants of Rome of the lower class, console themselves with the re membrance of the noble actions of their imagina ry progenitors, and this makes even misery in Rome assume the air of pride and disdain. Such families as cannot, even with the utmost oeconomy, attain the pleasure of hiring one, adopt another expedient to exhibit themselves: the mother dresses herself in the habit of a chamber maid, and in that character accompanies her daugh ter, tricked out in her holiday clothes, while the fa ther follows in procession with the proper accoutre ments of a lackey.
Englishmen themselves acknowledge, that they inherit from their ancestors a stupid prepossession against all other inhabitants of the globe. Foreigners are on such an occassion respectively saluted with the appellation of French puppy, Italian monkey, Dutch ox, or German hog.
The national preju dices of the English are also too conspicuous in their conduct towards the natives of their two sister king doms, that compose the British empire, who live un der the same king and the same government, and fight with them for one common cause. Nothing is more frequently heard in England, than, "thou beggarly Scott;" "thou blood-thirsty, impudent Irish lout:" and in general, an Englishman well stuffed with beef, pudding, and porter, heartily de spises every other nation of Europe.
The Yorkshire fox-hunter esteems himself co-equal with all the princes of the earth; for his fox-hounds are the best in the whole county. An Englishman to be sure, too, must solely, by being born a Briton, have an innate taste for works of genius, and be a thorough connoisseur in the fine arts; and although the pope has expressly prohibited the sale of any of the paint ings or sculptures of famous artists to strangers, yet these proud islanders on their visits to Italy expend yearly as much at Rome in statues and paintings as they used to do before; that is to say, they pur chase as much daubed canvass and broken marble as the money they have set apart for the acquisition of curiosities will command.
They say, "The French are po lite, witty, and easily elated, but they are a parcel of hungry slaves, and cannot call either their time, their purses, or their persons their own, for all is the property of their king. The Italians are with out liberty, morals, or religion. The Spaniards are brave, devout, and jealous of their honour, but poor and oppressed; and for all their bragging, that the sun never rises or sets in the Spanish dominions, they never dare make their freedom, learning, arts, manufactures, commerce, or atchievements, the sub jects of their boasts. The Portuguese, too, are all ignorant and superstitious slaves.
The Germans are always either in actual war, or recovering from its devastations. The Dutch lag behind in every vir tue, are deeply sunk in avarice, and are only roused from their natural supineness, to take an active part in trade, by the lust of gain. Switzerland is scarcely perceptible in the map of the world; and to draw our attention, the virtues of the Swiss ought to shine forth with the lustre of a diamond; but the diamond, if there be any, is by to means of the first water, and indeed tolerably opaque.
The French in their own estimation are the only thinking beings in the universe. They vouchsafe sometimes to converse with strangers; but it is, as creatures of a superior nature may be conceived to converse with men, who of course derive the great est emolument and importance from such conde scension. Such among them are peculiarly disgust ing, who with pretended compassion, and an hate ful display of nice equity, deign to allow a few grains of genius or virtue to other nations; although it very plainly appears, that this favourable opi nion is not given to their merits; but is a sponta neous effusion of the exuberant politeness in these most courteous people.
These men surely will not have the effrontery to deny, that they look upon all nations who do not equal the French in power, or who are somewhat beneath them in smartness, or in a taste for the frivolous arts, that are the study and the glory of Frenchmen, as barbarians, and despise them accordingly. Their jestures, conversations, and writings, daily betray their firm persuasion, that there is nothing great, noble, or amiable out of their empire, and that nothing perfect can be produced any where else, but under the fostering patronage of their grand Monarque.
Where is the Frenchman who will deny, that his countrymen think themselves the first and greatest people of the globe? How ill can Mr. Lefranc, in one of the discourses he addresses to the king, brook the audacity of the English, who dare to put themselves on a level with the French; for Patin himself has said, "That the Britons were among men, what wolves are among the quadru peds? Esteeming themselves the first-born sons of nature, they will sometimes deign to look on their neighbours as their younger brethren, and will allow them to be laborious, tolerably good collectors, or epitomizers; nay, occasionally, men of penetration.
But why is Newton despised in France for his useful discoveries, because he did not espy all things? Why is Raphael himself called so poor and spiritless, and his divine picture of the transfiguration weak and lifeless? Innumerable in stances of that national pride, which allows no great men out of France, are too well known not to be the ridicule of other nations.
And let us only recollect, that it is a truth in the his tory of the progress of genius that at the same time that Italy possessed the most inimitable poets and actors, and that Shakespeare the bright morning star of the drama, broke forth in England, France could boast of none but the most wretched rhy mers. Upon the whole vanity and self-conceit are equal ly predominant in all nations.
The Greenlander, who laps with his dog in the same platter, despises the invaders of his country, the Danes. The Cos sacks and Calmucks possess the greatest contempt for their masters, the Russians. The Negroes too, though the most stupid among the inhabitants of the earth are xcessively vain.
Ask the Carribee In dians, who live at the mouth of the Oronoque, from what nation they derive their origin; they answer, "why, we only are men. Each nation, too, fashions its ideas of beauty or deformity by the resemblance or difference it per ceives between itself and others. The Indian fabu lists recount, that there is in those regions a country, all the inhabitants of which are hump-backed.
A well-shaped youth happened to visit this tract, whom the honest crook-backs no sooner saw, than they gathered round him to see the monstrous deformity of the stranger's figure, their astonishment at which was visible in every countenance, extending its effects even to the extremities of their hunches, and the ri dicule it occasioned burst forth in loud fits of laugh ter and derision. As the youth's good luck would have it, there was a wise man among this gibbous fraternity, who perhaps had before seen such a lusus naturae as straight-shouldered men; he addressed the multitude as follows: "My good friends, what are you about?
Hea ven created us well made and beautiful, and adorn ed our backs with graceful protuberances; let us then rather repair to the temple, and give thanks to the Eternal for these inestimable blessings. THE various appearances of national pride all converge to two distinct genera, each of them sub divisible into several species. Our vanity is never more pleased than when our imperfections are glossed over, except when they are even exalted into the very contrary advantages by the delusive power of adulation. Proceeding on this principle, a poet once ventured to compare the stature of a lady of high rank, who had no other personal defect than being very di minutive, to the towering cedar: the little creature, on hearing the author recite his verses, could not controul the lively sensations his flattery excited, but sat smiling on her chair.
Self-conceit builds on imaginary advantages or perfections the most ridiculous pride; like that with which a Spaniard or a Portuguese struts when he compares his nut-brown complexion with the swarthy hide of a Moor; or which puffs into consequence a burgher of Bern when he can fill his belly to the utmost. The inhabitants of the Ladrones believe, that their language is the only one in the world, and therefore that all the other nations of the earth are dumb.
The Turks, who are reproached for the inconsistency with which they distribute offices and places to such as cannot be supposed to have the proper qualification for filling them; when, for instance, they are accused with having put a toll-gatherer at the head of an army; reply with the greatest indignation, "That a Turk is fit for every thing:" nay, sultan Osman once made one of his gardeners viceroy of Cyprus, because he had seen him plant out cabbages in a particular clever manner.
When the Russian general, Apraxin, was upbraided with having suffered himself to be surpri sed by Marshal Lehwald, he coolly rejoined, "The Russians never employ either scouts or spies.
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Self-conceit towers to such an amazing height, and has withal so narrow a basis, that it is very ea sily overthrown, and its evident futility is often too great to require a refutation. Heartily welcome, therefore, for my part, are the Myrmidons who assisted at the siege of Troy, to the satisfaction of knowing that they were descended from indus trious ants; and the kings of Madara, to the ho nour of deriving their pedigree, in a right line, from a jack ass, on which account they always treat every long-eared brayer as a brother, and never fail when it rains to hold an umbrella over him, which they would not on any account do to his driver, as that would be a derogation of their dignity, for he is not a branch of their highly illustrious house.
Nor does the vanity of the Italians more move my spleen, who call the Germans downright blockheads because they do not know how to prepare any other poisons than can be counteracted by the physical art, or which appear in manifold symptoms; such as the inflam mation of the throat, the stomach, the intestines, or the discoloration, and incrustation of the skin; while, on the contrary, the cunning Italian can kill with poisons infinitely more powerful, subtle, and irremediable. THE vanity of mankind has ever filled the immense vacuity beyond the authentic memorials of the origin of every nation, with fabulous history; at pleasure removing their antiquity to the remotest ages, in order proportionally to increase its lustre.
Whatever an itinerant bard sung, or an orator rav ed, became frequently an universal tradition, and in process of time almost an article of religion. The probability of these flattering inventions could no more be called in question, when revered ages had sanctioned the opinion. A prodigy of antient times becomes too easily, in the eyes of purblind posteri ty, an undeniable truth, while the remoteness of the age precludes a proper search by which to distin guish falsehood from probability, and this again from certainty; and we are ever more averse to at tempt these disquisitions, if pride find its account in the well-invented fiction.
The Arcadians rejected with contemp tuous disdain the science of astrology, because they believed themselves antecedent to the moon. The Egyptians were persuaded they were the most an cient inhabitants of the earth; according to their chronology, their empire existed forty eight thou sand eight hundred and sixty-three years before the age of Alexander; it was first peopled by gods who were hatched from eggs, then by demi-gods, and lastly by men. The Japanese in the same manner suppose them selves to be lineally descended from gods.
They are much offended when their origin is deduced from the Chinese or any other oriental nation; but they have, nevertheless, the modesty to fix the com mencement of these gods, and do not entirely veil them in the darkness of eternity. Kuni-Toko-Dat-Sii-No-Mikotto, the first deity who arose from chaos, fixed his residence in Japan, which he created prior to all other countries: this divinity, with his six successors, form the dynasty of heavenly spirits who took Japan under their par ticular protection, the duration of which is stated to be an innumerable series of ages.
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The four last provided themselves with women, yet propagated one another in a supernatural way; till Isanagi-No-Mikotto learnt of the bird Isiatadakki, our by no means contemptible method of gene ration; but the line of heavenly intelligences in Japan was hereby broken and put an end to, for the race of the Isanagi lost its divine nature by this carnal innovation. Isanagi was translated, like his predecessors, from earth to heaven; and his son Tensio-Dai-Dsin, who is the same with the sun, commenced the dynasty of the five demi-gods, or gods incarnate, who, ac cording to the chronology of the Japanese, reigned in all, without interruption, for the space of two millions, three hundred, forty-two thousand, four hundred and sixty-seven years; from these it is pre tended that the whole nation descends, without ex ception; and the great pre-eminence of their Dairo arises from his being reputed the offspring of the eldest son of the first demi-god.
The history of this dynasty of god-men is preserved in the archives of the priest of the Sinto; and exceeds, in puerile tales and romantic fictions, all that ever the most extra vagant imagination engendered. In many towns and villages in Japan, memorials of these heroes are shewn; and their armour is hung up in their tem ples for the edification and adoration of the multitude.
The voluminous history of this empire begins, ac cording to du Halde, with the reign of the emperor Fo-Hi, who must have lived about two thousand five hundred years before the birth of Christ, at a time when the Assyrians were possessed of a series of astronomical observations. Notwithstanding the obscurity of this origin, the Chinese chronology descends from the reign of Yao in an uninterrupted succession of twenty-two dynasties to our times: some of them even carry back the commencement of their empire to an aera far beyond the creation of the world.
But this whole account, copied by fa ther du Halde from Chinese superstition, and though for well-known reasons, supported by Voltaire, has been wholly overthrown by a very learned Tartar, a man free from all Chinese prejudices, Nyen-Hy-Jao, viceroy of Canton, and with it its vast superstruc ture of vanity and pride.
The inhabitants of Indostan penetrate still deeper into the fabulous world. The history of the Malabars extends to an infi nite time: they will tell you of Darma, of Schoren, of Pandyen, and of many other kings, who must have lived long before the beginning of the world, according to our computation: but you must not ask them the names of princes who reigned only three hundred years ago, for of them they are to tally ignorant.
The yet uncivilized inhabitants of Paraguay give to the moon the endearing appellation of mother; and when their parent is eclipsed, they run out of their huts with the greatest activity, and making the most hideous lamentations, they shoot a vast number of arrows into the air, in order to defend the moon from the dogs who attack her, and want to tear her in pieces, which they take to be the cause of the obscuration of that luminary, and the shooting continues till it resumes its wonted brightness.
The Swedes have a long table of kings, in an uninterrupted chain of succession from Noah down to his present Majesty. Rudbeck, more concerned for the imaginary honour of his country than for his toric truth, gives the Swedish monarchy a duration of twenty centuries before the birth of Christ: whereas Rabenius expresses his doubts whether Sweden was even peopled so late as the beginning of the fifth century; and that, even according to Dalin's hypothesis, Sweden only emerged from the ocean about four hundred years before our aera, The Laplanders derive their origin immediately from a god, who produced at the same time both their ancestor, and the ancestor of the Swedes; but the latter, in a violent thunder storm, crept under a tree for shelter, while the courageous progenitor of the Laplanders remained inflexible and intrepid, ex posed to the whole force of the tempest under the scowling brow of heaven.
The pride which arises from the imaginary nobi lity of a nation, flows from the same source with that founded on antiquity, for we always think our nobility more ancient the less we are acquaint ed with its real age. A noble birth, when accompanied by a weak understanding, pro duces in the right honourable owner nought but arrogance; and self-conceit becomes noblemen who have the honour to be descended from heroes, and the misfortune to be dissimilar in every thing to the worthy founders of their race, as little as family pride does the man who boasts of the noble blood that runs in his veins, while he is without a pair of breeches.
In Spain, every farmer and every tradesman has his genealogical tables, which begin generally, as those of Welchmen do, at Noah's ark. This ima ginary ancestry forbids a Spanish countryman to plough his own ground; labour is, in his opinion, only fit for slaves; and the man who works two hours during the day, is of greater consideration and more noble blood, than he who employs six out of the twenty-four in useful occupation: he therefore gets a foreigner to take off his hands, the agricul tural part, and at the same time the profits arising from it, while he lounges at home thrumming over a tinkling guitar.
The common people in Spain think the French all beggars, because there is many a Frenchman who earns a livelihood there by manual labour: the Swiss will soon have the same reputation, for with heartfelt concern, even while now writing, I see whole droves of honest, sturdy, Roman Catholic Switzers, with their buxom wives and numerous children, pass by my windows in their way to Spain, to avoid, as they themselves say, starving at home.
The Florentine noblesse are uncommonly reserv ed and haughty towards strangers, who cannot prove their nobility, and may, perchance, be mere tradesmen; yet it is an acknowledged fact, that there is a little window towards the street in every palace or large house in Florence, with an iron knocker and an empty flask hung over it, as a sign, that wine is to be sold there by the bottle. At Verona, the person who conducts strangers to visit what is worthy of remark in that city, is a de cayed nobleman of one of the first families of the place. When one of my friends entered with this man into a coffee-house, he found his conductor was addressed, by his brother nobles, by the title of Excellence: such Eccellenza's abound in the public places of Naples, where they walk about in worn-out gold waistcoats, with well darned stock ings.
In the mountains of Piedmont, and in the county of Nice, there are some representatives of very an cient and noble families, reduced to the condition of common peasants, but they still retain the ancient pride of their houses, and boast of the noble blood that runs in their veins.
A gentleman, in travelling through these mountains, was obliged to pass the night in the cottage of one of these rusticated nobles, who called to his son in the evening, " Chevalier, a tu donne a manger aux cochons?
In order, however, to prevent their blood being adulterated by any mixture with that of the lower ranks, and to pro vide against the slippery conduct of their wives, they enacted, that nobility should only descend in the female line. Their children, both male and female, were stiled suns, and respected as such, but with this distinction, that in the males this privilege appertained only to one man, and became extinct at his death; the females were all born suns, and their male offspring are suns equally with their mothers, but the issue of these are not suns, but noblemen; their grandsons, honourable gentlemen; and their great grandsons, stinkards.
National pride, founded on imaginary antiquity, is, therefore, a great folly; which, however, many enlightened nations give into, and which pleases them as much as a genealogical parchment does a country gentleman, who, filled with ham and pease, plumes himself on his long line of ancestors. TRUE and false religion has ever been, among all nations, in narrow minds, an object of a particular pride, which soon becomes a branch of national pride: a bigot not only accounts his reli gion the only true one, but hates and despises eve ry other, and pronounces sentence of eternal dam nation on all who do not think, in this respect, ex actly as he does.
Religious pride consists in the prepossession we entertain of the infallibility of our religion, and the idea that it is the only one conducting to salvation; in consequence whereof the followers of every other doctrine are positively no other than steaks ready prepared for the devil's gridiron. A religion need not all be true to lead its followers to this point, for falsities are embraced with no less obstinacy than truths. Men ought not to pronounce so lightly on each other. The same God of love and charity will judge us all, and he will judge us according to the inte grity and sincerity with which we shall have served him.
If every one does not exactly take the nearest and best path, he is notwithstanding in a road that leads to the same end, which he will undoubtedly attain if he believes in revelation, whereby we are all taught to pass a virtuous and unspotted life, by which we become partakers of all the promises of religion. The hope of salvation is grounded on the moral character of a man, and not on his theology; not so much on his opinions and his knowledge, as on the worthiness, purity, and honesty of his life. Priests, of all religions, have ever vociferated to their followers over the whole world, "We only are in the right; it is our religion only that is the true one, and all others consist of nothing but the greatest absurdities, and the most abominable doctrines.
One system refutes the theology main tained and asserted by another system, and each dis proves what the other affirms. There is scarcely any error that is not defended by one sect or other as an undoubted truth. Each party glories in its proofs, and derides its antagonists most triumphant ly; each writes and affirms as if it were infallible, though they write and affirm the most contrary ten ets; as the force of their arguments is derived from the country in which they are adduced; for what in one place is accounted a divine truth, is twenty miles off esteemed a most palpable falsehood.
By this unreason ableness of both sides their animosity increases, and combatants and controversies, errors, heresies, here tics, and heretic revilers, multiply ad infinitum. All sects and religious parties have accordingly conceived themselves infallible; each entertains the miserable opinion, that among all the many religious communities, theirs alone possess the knowledge of divine truth in its purity, without considering that, in some points, others may be nearer the truth than themselves.
They reciprocally contemn, abhor, and reproach each other with blindness, obstinacy, hardness of heart, or deceit; they all believe them selves in the straight road to Heaven, and that all others are wandering in the path that leads to hell and perdition; they all call upon the testimony of one omniscient God, which when it comes to be narrowly looked into, proves to be no other than the testimony of their own sect.