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of all that buy or sell, of all that wish to keep or improve their possessions, of all that desire to be rich, and all that desire to be wise.*
* Of this preface, Mr. Boswell informs us that Dr. Johnson said he never saw Rolt, and never read the book. - The booksellers wanted a preface to a Dictionary of Trade and Commerce. I knew very well what such a dictionary should be, and I wrote a preface accordingly.” This may be believed ; but the book is a most wretched farrago of articles plundered without acknowledgment, or judgment, which, indeed, was the case with most of Rolt's compilations.
TO THE TRANSLATION
FATHER LOBO'S VOYAGE
THE following relation is so curious and entertaining, and the dissertations that accompany it so judicious and instructive, that the translator is confident his attempt stands in need of no apology, whatever censures may fall on the performance.
The Portuguese traveller, contrary to the general vein of his countrymen, has amused his reader with no romantic absurdities or incredible fictions ; whatever he relates, whether true or not, is at least probable ; and he who tells nothing exceeding the bounds of probability: has a right to demand that they should believe him who cannot contradict him,
He appears, by his modest and unaffecting narration, to have described things as he saw them, to have copied nature from the life, and to have consulted his senses, not
* For an account of this book, see the Life of Dr. Johnson prea fixed to this edition.
his imagination. He meets with no basilisks that destroy with their eyes; his crocodiles devour their prey without rears; and his cataracts fall from the rock without deafening the neighbouring inhabitants.
The reader will here find no regions cursed with irremediable barrenness, or blessed with spontaneous fecundity ; no perpetual gloom or unceasing sunshine ; nor are the nations here described either devoid of all sense of humanity, or consummate in all private and social virtues ; here are no Hottentots without religion, polity, or articulate language ; no Chinese perfectly poJite, and completely skilled in all sciences; he will discover what will always be discovered by a diligent and impartial inquirer, that wherever human nature is to be found, there is a mixture of vice and virtue, a contest of passion and reason ; and that the Creator doth not appear partial in his distributions, but has balanced in most countries their particular inconveniences by particular favours.
In this account of the mission, where his veracity is most to be suspected, he neither exaggerates overmuch the merits of the Jesuits, if we consider the partial regard paid by the Portuguese to their countrymen, by the Jesuits to their society, and by the papists to their church, nor ago gravates the vices of the Abyssinians; but if the reader will not be satisfied with a popish account of a popish mission, he may have recourse to the History of the Church of Abyssinia, written by Dr. Geddes, in which he will find the actions and sufferings of the missionaries placed in a different light, though the same in which Mr. Le Grand,
with all his zeal for the Roman church, appears to have seen thein.
This learned dissertator, however valuable for his industry and erudition, is yet more to be esteemed for having dared so freely, in the midst of France, to declare his disapprobation of the patriarch Oviedo's sanguinary zeal, who was continually importuning the Portuguese to beat up their drums for missionaries who might preach the gospel with swords in their hands, and propagate by desolation and slaughter the true worship of the God of peace.
It is not easy to forbear reflecting with how little rea. son these men profess themselves the followers of JESUS, who left this great characteristic to his disciples, that they should be known by loving one another, by universal and unbounded charity and benevolence.
Let us suppose an inhabitant of some remote and superior region, yet unskilled in the ways of men, having read and considered the precepts of the gospel, and the example of our Saviour, to come down in search of the true church ; if he would not inquire after it among
the cruel, the insolent, and the oppressive ; among those who are continually grasping at dominion over souls as well as bodies ; among those who are employed in procuring to themselves impunity for the most enormous villainies, and studying methods of destroying their fellow creatures, not for their crimes but their crrors ; if he would not expect to meet benevolence engaged in massa cres, or to find mercy in a court of inquisition, he ould not look for the true church in the church of Rome,
Mr. Le Grand has given in one dissertation an example of great moderation, in deviating from the temper of his religion ; but in the others has left proofs, that learning and honesty are often too weak to oppose prejudice. He has made no scruple of preferring the testimony of father Du Bernat to the writings of all the Portuguese Jesuits, to whom he allows great zeal, but little learning, without giving any other reason than that his favourite was a Frenchman. This is writing only to Frenchmen and to papists ; a protestant would be desirous to know, why he must imagine that father Du Bernat had a cooler licad or more knowledge, and why one man, whose account is singular, is not more likely to be mistaken than many agreeing in the same account.
If the Portuguese were biassed by any particular views, another bias equally powerful may have deflected the Frenchman from the truth; for they evidently write with contrary designs ; the Portuguese, to make their mission seem more necessary, endeavoured to place in the strongest light the differences between the Abyssinian and Roman church ; but the great Ludolfus, laying hold on the advantage, reduced these later writers to prove their conformity. '. Upon the whole, the controversy seems of no great importance to those who believe the Holy Scriptures sufficient to teach the way of salvation ; but, of whatever moment it may be thought, there are no proofs sufficient to decide it.
His discourses on indifferent subjects will divert as well ás instruct ; and if either in these, or in the relation of father Lobo, any argument shall appear unconvincing, or