A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 705 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 14.
Egyptians and Chinese.  On such subjects, it is certain, human ingenuity has been fruitful of extravagancies, and there is much less risk of absurdity if we abide by merely general inferences; but, on the other hand, it must be admitted, that these are often specious pretexts for avoiding the labours of enquiry, and have very rarely contributed any thing to the stock of useful knowledge.  Besides, they are often as fundamentally theoretic, as those more specific notions which they are used to supplant, though far less operative on the minds of those who maintain them, except indeed, in so far as a conceited indolence is concerned, of which, it is often difficult to say, whether they are the parent or the offspring.  But at best, your transcendental philosophers are very like those general admirers of the fair sex, who are ready enough to pay compliments which cost them just as little as they signify, but who are too fond of themselves, to squander away on a single individual, any portion of that affection which they think can be much better bestowed elsewhere.  Whereas, an attachment to some specific theory, like the ardour of a real lover, excites to active services and solicitous assiduity; and even when it does not obtain its object, is deserving of gratitude at least, and rarely fails to be rewarded by it.—­E.
[3] The poor fellow, Mr G.F. informs us, paid a fortnight’s confinement in irons for his frolic, a greater price, perhaps, the reader will think, than the matter deserved.  One shudders to imagine what would be his anguish at the simple disappointment of his purpose; but that it is possible might render him less sensible to the weight of his bonds.  That a solitary hopeless wretch, who had not a friend or relative in any other region of the globe, should form an attachment to these affectionate islanders, and attempt to settle in the midst of their proffered enjoyments, was so imperatively natural, that one cannot help feeling indignation at the mercilessness of an artificial discipline, which exerted so rigorous a retribution.  The advantages of this penal system must be great and obvious indeed, that can compensate for such enormous outrage on suffering humanity.  G.F. has allowed himself to reason on this subject, in a way not much calculated to ease the mind of his reader:  a short specimen may suffice.  “The most favourable prospects of future success in England, which this man might form in idea, could never be so flattering to his senses, as the lowly hope of living like the meanest Otaheitan.  It was highly probable that immediately on his return home, instead of indulging in repose those limbs which had been tossed from pole to pole, he would be placed in another ship, where the same fatigues, nocturnal watches, and unwholesome food, would still fall to his share; or though he were allowed to solace himself for a few days, after a long series of hardships, he must expect to be seized in the midst of his enjoyments, and to be dragged
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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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