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ever is remarkable in human life! and what surprising relations have Le Comte9 and others given of their appetites, actions, conceptions, affections, varieties of imaginations, and abilities capable of pursuing them! If under their present low circumstances of birth and breeding, and in so short a time of life, as is now allotted them, they so far exceed all beasts, and equal many men, what prodigies may we not conceive of those, who were nati melioribus annis, those primitive longæval and antediluvian man-tigers, who first taught science to the world!
This account, which is entirely my own, I am proud to imagine has traced knowledge from a foun tain, correspondent to several opinions of the ancients, though hitherto undiscovered both by them, and the more ingenious moderns. And now what shall I say to mankind in the thought of this great discovery? what, but that they should abate of their pride, and consider, that the authors of our knowledge are among the beasts. That these, who were our elder brothers, by a day, in the creation, whose kingdom (like that in the scheme of Plato) was governed by philosophers, who flourished with learning in Æthiopia and India, are now undistinguished, and known only by the same appellation as the mantiger and the monkey!
As to speech, I make no question, that there are remains of the first and less corrupted race in their native deserts, who yet have the power of it. But
• Father le Comte, a Jesuit, in the account of his travels.
the vulgar reason given by the Spaniards, "That they will not speak for fear of being set to work," is alone a sufficient one, considering how exceedingly all other learned persons affect their ease. A second is, that these observant creatures, having been eye-witnesses of the cruelty with which that nation treated their brother Indians, find it not necessary to shew themselves to be men, that they may be protected not only from work, but from cruelty also. Thirdly, they could at best take no delight to converse with the Spaniards, whose grave and sullen temper is so averse to that natural and open cheerfulness, which is generally observed to accompany all true knowledge.
But now, were it possible that any way could be found to draw forth their latent qualities, I cannot but think it would be highly serviceable to the learned world, both in respect of recovering past knowledge, and promoting the future. Might there not be found certain gentle and artful methods, whereby to endear us to them? Is there no man in the world, whose natural turn is adapted to manage their society, and win them by a sweet similitude of manners? Is there no nation where the men might allure them by a distinguishing civility, and in a manner fascinate them by assimilated emotions; no nation, where the women with easy freedoms, and the gentlest treatment, might oblige the loving creatures to sensible returns of humanity? The love I bear my native. country prompts me to wish this country might be Great Britain; but alas! in our present wretched divided condition, how can we hope, that
foreigners of so great prudence will freely declare their sentiments in the midst of violent parties, and at so vast a distance from their friends, relations, and country? The affection I bear our neighbour state, would incline me to wish it were Holland. Sed læva in parte mamilla Nil salit Arcadico. Is it from France then we must expect this restoration of learning, whose late monarch took the sciences under his protection, and raised them to so great a height? May we not hope their emissaries will some time or other have instructions, not only to invite learned men into their country, but learned beasts, the true ancient man-tigers, I mean of Æthiopia and India? Might not the talents of each of these be adapted to the improvement of the several sciences? The man-tigers to instruct heroes, statesmen, and scholars; baboons to teach ceremony and address to courtiers; monkeys, the art of pleasing in conversation, and agreeable affectations to ladies and their lovers; apes of less learning, to form comedians and dancing-masters; and marmosets, court pages and young English travellers? But the distinguishing each kind, and allotting the proper business to each, I leave to the inquisitive and penetrating genius of the Jesuits in their respective missions.
Vale et fruere.
CASTIGATIONUM IN ÆNEIDEM
ENEIDEM totam, Amice Lector, innumerabilibus pæne mendis scaturientem, ad pristinum sensum revocabimus. In singulis fere versibus spuriæ occurrunt lectiones, in omnibus quos unquam vidi codicibus, aut vulgatis aut ineditis, ad opprobrium usque Criticorum, in hunc diem existentes. Interea adverte oculos, et his paucis fruere. At si quæ sint in hisce castigationibus, de quibus non satisliquet, syllabarum quantitates, polyóμeva nostra Libro ipsi præfigenda, ut consulas, moneo.