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Philip Thicknesse
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 140 pages of information about A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, 1777.
the poorest peasants; whose tattered habits, wretched houses, and smiling countenances, convinced me, that chearfulness and contentment shake hands oftener under thatched than painted roofs.  We found one of these villagers as ready to boil our tea-kettle, provide butter, milk, &c. as we were for our breakfasts; and during the preparation of it, I believe every man, woman, and child of the hamlet, was come down to look at us; for beside that wonderful curiosity common to this whole nation, the inhabitants of this village had never before seen an Englishman; they had heard indeed often of the country, they said, and that it was un pays tres riche.  There was such a general delight in the faces of every age, and so much civility, I was going to say politeness, shewn to us, that I caught a temporary chearfulness in this village, which I had not felt for some months before, and which I intend to carry with me.  I therefore took out my guittar, and played till I set the whole assembly in motion; and some, in spite of their wooden shoes, and others without any, danced in a manner not to be seen among our English peasants.  They had “shoes like a sauce-boat,” but no “steeple-clock’d hose.”  While we breakfasted, one of the villagers fed my horse with some fresh-mowed hay, and it was with some difficulty I could prevail upon him to be paid for it, because the trifle I offered was much more than his Court of Conscience informed him it was worth.  I could moralize here a little; but I will only ask you, in which state think you man is best; the untaught man, in that of nature, or the man whose mind is enlarged by education and a knowledge of the world?  The behaviour of the inhabitants of this little hamlet had a very forcible effect upon me; because it brought me back to my earlier days, and reminded me of the reception I met with in America by what we now call the Savage Indians; yet I have been received in the same courteous manner in a little hamlet, unarmed, and without any other protection but by the law of nature, by those savages;—­indeed it was before the Savages of Europe had instructed them in the art of war, or Mr. Whitfield had preached methodism among them.  Therefore, I only tell you what they were in 1735, not what they are at present.  When I visited them, they walked in the flowery paths of Nature; now, I fear, they tread the polluted roads of blood.  Perhaps of all the uncivilized nations under the sun, the native Indians of America were the most humane; I have seen an hundred instances of their humanity and integrity;—­when a white man was under the lash of the executioner, at Savannah in Georgia, for using an Indian woman ill, I saw Torno Chaci, their King, run in between the offender and the corrector, saying, “whip me, not him;”—­the King was the complainant, indeed, but the man deserved a much severer chastisement.  This was a Savage King.  Christian Kings too often care not who is whipt, so they escape the smart.

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