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set of men as the literati of Pekin never was created! Every new acquaintance he made told him an anecdote of an old acquaintance which made his hair stand on end. Fi-ho-ti began to be alarmed. He contracted more and more the circle of his society; and resolved to renounce the notion of friendship amongst men of similar pursuits.
In the small circles, in the distant provinces, of the Celestial Empire, the writing of Fi-ho-ti were greatly approved. The gentlemen quoted him at their tea, and the ladies wondered whether he was good looking; but this applause—this interest that he inspired - never reached the ears of Fi-ho-ti. He beheld not the smiles he called forth by his wit, or the tears he excited by his pathos;all that he saw of the effects of his reputation was in the abuse he received in the Pekin journals: he there read, every week and every month, that he was but a very poor sort of creature. One journal called him a fool; another a wretch; a third seriously deposed that he was hump-backed; a fourth that he had not a shilling in the world. In Pekin, any insinuation of that last offence is considered as a suspicion of the most unpardonable guilt. Other journals, indeed, did not so much abuse as misrepresent him. He found his doctrines twisted into all manner of shapes. He could not defend them--for it is not dignified to reply to all the Pekin journals; but he was assured by his flatterers that truth would ultimately prevail, and posterity do him justice, “Alas!" thought Fi-ho-ti, "am I to be deemed a culprit all my life, in order that I may be acquitted after death? Is there no justice for me until I am past the power of malice? Surely this is a misfortune!”—Very likely;—it was the necessary consequence of REPUTATION!
Fi-ho-ti now began to perceive that the desire of fame was a chimera. He was vet credulous enough to follow another chimera, equally fallacious. He said to himself—“It was poor and vain in me to desire to shine. Let me raise my heart to a more noble ambition;—let me desire only to instruct others.”
Fraught with this lofty notion, Fi-ho-ti now conceived a more solid and a graver habit of mind: he became rigidly conscientious in the composition of his works. He no longer desired to write what was brilliant, but to discover what was true. He erased; without mercy, the most lively images—the most sparkling aphorisms-if even a doubt of their moral utility crossed his mind. He wasted two additional years of the short summer of youth: he gave the fruits of his labor to the world in a book of the most elaborate research, the only object of which was to enlighten his countrymen. “This, at least, they cannot, abuse,” thought he, when he finished the last line. Ah! how much was he mistaken!
Doubtless, in other countries the public are remarkably grateful to any author for correcting their prejudices and combating their foibles; but in China, attack one orthodox error, prove to the people that you wish to elevate and improve them, and renounce all happiness, all tranquility, for the rest of your life!
Fi-ho-ti's book was received with the most frigid neglect by the philosophers,-First, because the Pekin philosophers are visionaries, and it did not build a system upon visions-and secondly, because of Fi-ho-ti himself they were exceedingly jealous. But from his old friends, the journalists of Pekin–0 Fo!-with what invective, what calumny, what abuse it was honored! He had sought to be the friend of his race,-he was stigmatized as the direst of its enemies. He was accused of all manner of secret designs; the painted slippers of the Mandarins were in danger; and he had evidently intended to muffle all the bells of the grand pagoda! Alas! let no man wish to be a saint, unless he is prepared to be a martyr.
"Is this injustice?” cried Fi-ho-ti to his flatterers. "No," said they, with one voice; “No Fi-ho-ti,-it is REPUTATION!"
Thoroughly disgusted with his ambition, Fi-ho-ti now resolved to resign himself once more to pleasure. Again he heard music, and again he feasted and made love. In vain!—the zest, the appetite was gone. The sterner pursuits he had cultivated of late years had rendered his mind incapable of appreciating the luxuries of frivolity. He had opened a gulf between him and his youth;—his heart could be young no more.
One faithful breast shall console me for all,” thought he. “Yangy-se is beautiful and smiles upon me; I will woo and win her.”
Fi-ho-ti surrendered his whole soul to the new passion he had conceived. Yang-y-se listened to him favorably. He could not complain of cruelty; he fancied himself beloved. With the generous and unselfish ardor that belonged to his early character, he devoted his future years to-he lavished the treasure of his affections upon-the object of his love. For some weeks he enjoyed a dream of delight; he woke from it too soon. A rival beauty was willing to attach to herself the wealthy and generous Fi-ho-ti. “Why,” said she, one day, “why do you throw yourself away upon Yang-y-se? Do you fancy she loves you? You are mistaken; she has no heart; it is only her vanity that makes her willing to admit you as her slave.” Fi-ho-ti was incredulous and indignant. "Read this letter, said the rival beauty. "Yang-y-se wrote it to me but the other day.”
Fi-ho-ti read as follows:
“We had a charming supper with the gay author last night, and wished much for you. You need not rally me on my affection for him; I do not love him, but I am pleased to command his attentions; in a word, my vanity is flaitered with the notion of chaining to myself one of the most distinguished persons in Pekin. But-loveah! that is quite another thing."
Fi-ho-ti's eyes were now thoroughly opened. He recalled a thousand little instances which had proved that Yang-y-se had been only in love with his celebrity.
He saw at once the great curse of distinction. Be renowned, and you can never be loved for yourself! As you are hated not for your vices, but your success, so are you loved not for your ta
lents, but their fame. A man who has reputation is like a tower whose height is estimated by the length of its shadow. The sensitive and high-wrought mind of Fi-ho-ti now gave way to a gloomy despondency. Being himself misinterpreted, calumniated, and traduced; and feeling that none loved him but through vanity, that he stood alone with his enemies in the world, he became the prey to misanthropy, and gnawed by perpetual suspicion. He distrusted the smiles of others. The faces of men seemed to him as masks; he felt every where the presence of deceit. Yet these feelings had made no part of his early character, which was naturally frank, joyous, and confiding. Was the change a misfortune? Possibly; but it was the effect of REPUTATION!
About this time, too, Fi-ho-ti began to feel the effects of the severe study he had undergone. His health gave way; his nerves were shattered; he was in that terrible revolution in which the mind
—that vindictive laborer-wreaks its ire upon the enfeebled taskmaster, the body. He walked the ghost of his former self.
One day he was standing pensively beside one of the streams that intersect ihe gardens of Pekin, and, gazing upon the waters, he muttered his bitter reveries. “Ah!” though he, “why was I ever discontented with happiness? I was young, rich, cheerful; and life to me was a perpetual holiday; my friends caressed me, my mistress loved me for myself. No one hated, or maligned, or envied me. Like yon leaf upon the water, my soul danced merrily over the billows of existence. But courage, my heart! I have at least done some good; benevolence must experience gratitude-young Psi-ching, for instance, I have the pleasure of thinking that he must love me; I have made his fortune; I have brought him from obscurity into repute; for it has been my character as yet never to be jealous of others!”
Psi-ching was a young poet, who had been a secretary to Fi-hoti. The student had discovered genius and insatiable ambition in the young man; he had directed and advised his pursuits; he had raised him into fortune and notice; he had enabled him to marry the mistress he loved. Psi-ching vowed to him everlasting gratitude.
While Fi-ho-ti was thus consoling himself with the idea of Psiching's affection, it so happened that Psi-ching, and one of the philosophers of the day whom the public voice esteemed second to Fiho-ti, passed along the banks of the river. A tree hid Fi-ho-ti from their sight; they were earnestly conversing, and Fi-ho-ti heard his own name more than once repeated.
“Yes,” said Psi-ching, "poor Fi-ho-ti cannot live much longer; his health is broken; you will lose a formidable rival when he is dead.”
The philosopher smiled. “Why it will certainly be a stone out of my way. You are constantly with him, I think."
"I am. He is a charming person; but the real fact is, that, seeing he cannot live much longer, I am keeping a journal of his last days;
in a word, I shall write the history of my distinguished friend. I think it will take much, and have a prodigious sale."
The talkers passed on
Fi-ho-ti did not die so soon as was expected, and Psi-king never published the journal from which he anticipated so much profit. But Fi-ho-ti ceased to be remarkable for the kindness of his heart and the philanthropy of his views. He was known in after life for the sourness of his temper and the bitterness of his satire. Was this deterioration of the kindlier elements of his nature a misfortune? Perhaps it might be so; it was the effect of his REPUTATION!
For the Delaware Register.
KNOWLEDGE. As it regards natural capacity, men are born nearly equal; but this equality is soon lost, by reason of accidental circumstances. Some are prevented by penury, or the sordid dispositions of those who have charge of their infancy, from acquiring the first rudiments of learning; while others are possessed of the advantages of fortune, and are dedicated from their birth to become worshippers at the temple of wisdom. Of these two classes, however, we find many emerging from the trammels of poverty, by which they seemed bound down to a life of ignorance, and by their own unaided industry and perseverance, gaining a high standing in the world of letters; while the favorites of fortune often sink below the grade of humblé mediocrity. The love of fame—to gain a name in the world's regard, prompts the poor student to submit to incessant toil and privation; while an indolent love of ease, represses the noble ardor of the soul in the rich, and makes him content with the groveling enjoyments of sense.
Knowledge is the result of observation and experience; and the great book of nature, which is spread open before us, furnishes lessons which may be studied, not only by the unlearned, but by those possessed of the greatest share of wisdom, without any fear of exhausting the subject. Those who find out most are but entered upon the verge of knowledge. But this idea of the utter hopelessness of attaining to the sunimit of knowledge, is not productive of painful emotions; on the contrary, it is a source of constant satisfaction, because we have not to fear satiety in its pursuit. Hence the superiority of intellectual pleasures over sensual, which soon satiate, and afterwards by constant repetition, disgust their votaries. Man in the infancy of the world had no othor book but that of nature, and no other teacher but experience. Every step he took in the pursuit of knowledge, was more or less in the dark; and he only learned by degrees to tread surely, by often stumbling in his course. Consequently, hoary age often found him more ignorant, than a child of seven years old of the present day. It is, however, wholly unnecessary to trace his upward progress, or to notice every step in his ascent of improvement, to the introduction of letters, and up to the present day, which is possessed of innumerable advantages, over the times past. Every age, even every annual division of time, brings with it an increase in knowledge, and furnishes ad. ditional facilities for its acquisition. In consequence of the broad diffusion of light, which science has caused to shine upon the world, even the unlearned are redeemed from that gross ignorance by which they were once enveloped; and natural phenomena which used to strike terror into the heart, are now sources of universal pleasure to all beholders.
An eclipse of the sun, before man had learned to account for, and calculate with unerring certainty its advent, was beheld with fear and trembling, as portending the anger of the Almighty, and the near approach of some dreadful calamity. Now, we all behold such an exhibition of the power of the Creator with exceeding satisfaction, and see in it an evidence of the admirable order of his works, as well as the promise of their stability. Well might the good doctor Young exclaim:
“An undevout astronomer is mad.” The advantages gained to the world, by the increase of knowlege is incalculable. By this means superstition is nearly banished from among us. We no longer fear the influence of superhuman beings upon our welfare, and are conscious, that in general our well being depends mostly upon our own conduct. We have learned to foresee and avoid danger--to select the healthy aliments for the support of life from those which are deleterious; in many cases to prevent deadly diseases, or to apply proper remedies for their cure. The mariner grown wise by his own and the experience of others who have preceded him in his occupation, observing the signs in the heavens while it is yet calm, and when not a ripple disturbs the motionless sca, furls his sails and prepares to meet the storm which he knows will soon burst with fury upon his ship. The knowledge of government has also become much more perfect, and the natural rights of man better understood and more generally acknowledged. The time has gone by when, nations called civilized, can be driven to the ranks of the army of a conqueror, to fight and die in a cause which has no justice on its side, and no other end in view but the personal aggrandizement of their king. It was well said by Cowper, that
“War is a game, which were their subjects wise,
Kings would not play at.” They are becoming fast wise enough to refuse their aid to unjust wars; and now disputes among nations, which at one time would have caused the destruction of hundreds of thousands of human