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cated knot of civil wars that ever infested any poor unhappy country on which ALLA has denounced his malediction! · To let thee at once into a secret, which is unknown to these people themselves, their government is a pure unadulterated LOGOCRACY, or government of words. The whole nation does every thing viva voce, or by word of mouth, and in this manner is one of the most military nations in existence. Every man who has what is here called the gift of the gab, that is a plentiful stock of verbosity, becomes a soldier outright, and is for ever in a militant state. The country is entirely defended vi et linguâ, that is to say, by force of tongues. The account which I lately wrote to our friend, the snorer, respecting the immense army of six hundred men, makes nothing against this observation; that formidable body being kept up, as I have already observed, only to amuse their fair country women by their splendid appearance and nodding plumes, and are, by way of distinction, denominated the “ defenders of the fair.”
In a logocracy thou well knowest there is little or no occasion for fire-arms, or any such destructive weapons. Every offensive or defensive measure is enforced by wordybattle and paper-war; he who has the longest tongue, or readiest quill, is sure to gain the victory,—will carry horror, abuse, and ink-shed, into the very trenches of the enemy, and, without mercy or remorse, put men, women, and children, to the point of the-pen!
There are still preserved in this country some remains of that gothic spirit of knight-errantry, which so much annoyed the faithful in the middle ages of the Hegira. As, notwithstanding their martial disposition, they are a people much given to commerce and agriculture, and must, necessarily, at certain seasons, he engaged in these employments, they have accommodated themselves by appointing knights, or constant warriors, incessant brawlers, similar to those, who, in former ages, swore eternal enmity to the followers of our divine prophet.—These knights, denominated editors, or SLANG-WHANGERS, are appointed in every town, village, and district, to carry on both foreign and internal warfare, and may be said to keep up a constant firing “in words.” Oh, my friend, could you but witness the enormities, sometimes committed by these tremendous slang-whangers, your very turban would rise with horror and astonishment. I have seen them extend their ravages even into the kitchens of their opponents, and annihilate the very cook with a blast; and, I do assure thee, I beheld one of these warriors attack a most venerable bashaw, and at one stroke of his pen lay him open from the waistband of his breeches to his chin!
There has been a civil war 'carrying on with great violence, for some time past, in consequence of a conspiracy among the higher classes to dethrone his highness, the present bashaw, and place another in his stead. I was mistaken when I formerly asserted to thee that this disaffection arose from his wearing red breeches. It is true the nation have long held that colour in great detestation, in consequence of a dispute they had some twenty years since, with the barbarians of the British islands. The colour, however, is again rising into favour, as the ladies have transferred it to their heads from the bashaw's —- body. The true reason, I am told, is that the bashaw absolutely refuses to believe in the deluge, and in the story of Balaam’s ass;-maintaining that this animal was never yet permitted to talk, except in a genuine logocracy, where it is true his voice may often be heard, and is listened to with reverence, as “ the voice of the sovereign people.” Nay, so far did he carry his obstinacy that he absolutely invited a professed antidiluvian, from the Gallic empire, who illuminated the whole country with his principles--and his nose.* This was enough to set the nation in a blaze ;--every slang-whanger resorted to his tongue or his pen; and for seven years have they carried on a most inhuman war, in which volumes of words have been expended, oceans of ink have been shed, nor has any
* It is confessed, even by Mr. Jefferson's warmest admirers, that, when he invited Tom Paine to America, “ with prayers for the success of his useful labours," he committed a very indiscreet act; indeed, there cannot be a greater proof of it than the general detestation and contempt in which Paine was held by every respectable inhabitant of New York, where he resided. Not the most zealous partizan of Mr. Jefferson would notice him in public, and even those who professed to admire his writings were ashamed to be seen in his company. The conduct of the people, in this respect, was highly praiseworthy, and was a severe rebuke to the president for having invited such an infainous character into the country.
mercy been shewn to age, sex, or condition. Every day have these slang-whangers made furious attacks on each other, and upon their respective adherents, discharging their heavy artillery, consisting of large sheets, loaded with scoundrel! villain! liar ! rascal! numskull! nincompoop! dunderhead! wiseacre ! blockhead! jackass ! and I do swear by my beard, though I know thou wilt scarcely credit me, that in some of these skirmishes the grand bashaw himself has been woefully pelted! yea, most ignominiously pelted !
—and yet have these talking desperadoes escaped without the bastinado !
Every now and then a slang-whanger, who has a longer head, or rather a longer tongue, than the rest, will elevate his piece and discharge a shot quite across the ocean, levelled at the head of the emperor of France, the king of England, or, (wouldst thou believe it, О Asem,) even at his sublime highness, the bashaw of Tripoli! these long pieces are loaded with single ball, or langrage, as tyrant ! ušurper! robber! tiger! monster! and thou mayest well suppose they occasion great distress and dismay in the camps of the enemy, and are marvellously annoying to the crowned heads at which they are directed. The slang-whanger, though perhaps the mere champion of a village, having fired off his shot, struts about with great self-congratulation, chuckling at the prodigious bustle he must have occasioned, and seems to ask every stranger, “ well, sir, what do they think of me in Europe.” * This is sufficient to shew you the manner in which these bloody, or rather windy, fellows fight; it is the only mode allowable in a Logocracy, or government of words.
* The sage Mustapha, when he wrote the above paragraph, had probably in his eye the following anecdote, related either by Linkum Fidelius, or Josephus Millerius, vulgarly called Joe Miller,--of facetious memory.
The captain of a slave-vessel, on his first landing on the coast of Guinea, observed, under a palm-tree, a negro chief zitting most majestically on a stump, while two women, with wooden spoons, were administering his favourite pottage of boiled rice, which, as his imperial majesty was a little greedy, would part of it escape the place of destination and run down his chin. The watchful attendants were particularly careful to intercept these scape-grace particles, and return them to their proper port of entry. As the captain approached, in or der to admire this curious exhibition of royalty, the great chief clapped his hands to his sides, and saluted his visitor with the following pompous question, “ Well, sir! what do they say of me in England,"
I would also observe that their civil wars have a thousand ramifications.
While the fury of the battle rages in the metropolis, every little town and village has a distinct broil, growing like excresences out of the grand national altercation, or rather agitating within it, like those complicated pieces of mechanism where there is a “ wheel within a wheel.”
But in nothing is the verbose nature of this government more evident than in its grand national divan, or congress, where the laws are framed; this is a blustering windy assembly where every thing is carried by noise, tumult, and debate; for thou must know, that the members of this assembly do not meet together to find wisdom in the multitude of counsellors, but to wrangle, call each other hard names, and hear themselves talk. When the congress opens, the bashaw first sends them a long message (i. e. a huge mass of wordsvox et præterea nihil,) all meaning nothing; because it only tells them what they perfectly know already. Then the whole assembly are thrown into a ferment, and have a long talk, about the quantity of words that are to be returned in answer to this message; and here arises many disputes about the correction and alteration of “ if so be’s” and “ how so ever's.” A month, perhaps, is spent in thus determining the precise number of words the answer shall contain, and then another, most probably, in concluding whether it shall be carried to the bashaw on foot, on horseback, or in coaches. Having settled this weighty matter, they next fall to work upon the message itself, and hold as much chattering over it as so many magpies over an addled egg. This done they divide the message into small portions, and deliver them into the hands of little juntos of talkers, called committees : these juntos have each a world of talking about their respective paragraphs, and return the results to the grand di. van, which forthwith falls to and re-talks the matter over more earnestly than ever. Now after all, it is an even chance that the subject of this prodigious arguing, quarrelling, and talking, is an affair of no importance, and ends intirely in smoke. May it not then be said, the whole nation have been talking to no purpose; the people in fact seem to be somewhat conscious of this propensity to talk, by which they are characterized, and have a favourite proverb on the subject, viz. “ all talk and no cider;" this is particularly applied when their Congress (or assembly of all the sage chatterers of the nation) have chattered through a whole session, in a time of great peril and momentous event, and have done nothing but exhibit the length of their tongues and the emptiness of their heads.* This has been the case more than once, my friend; and, to let thee into a secret, I have been told, in confidence, that there have been absolutely several old women smuggled into Congress from different parts of the empire, who, having once got on the breeches, as thou mayest well imagine, have taken the lead in debate, and overwhelmed the whole assembly with their garrulity ; for my part, as times go, I do not see why old women should not be as eligible to public councils as old men, who possess their dispositions,—they certainly are eminently possessed of the qualifications requisite to govern in a logocracy.
Nothing, as I have repeatedly insisted, can be done in this country without talking; but they take so long to talk over a measure, that, by the time they have determined upon adopting it, the period has elapsed which was proper for carrying it into effect. Unhappy nation,-thus torn to pieces by intestine talks! never, I fear, will it be restored to tranquility and silence. Words are but breath,-breath is but air; and air put into motion is nothing but wind. This vast empire, therefore, may be compared to nothing more nor less than a mighty windmill, and the orators, and the chatterers, and the slang-whangers, are the breezes that put it in motion; unluckily, however, they are apt to blow difa ferent ways, and, their blasts counteracting each other, the mill is perplexed, the wheels stand still, the grist is un.. ground, and the miller and his family starved.
Every thing partakes of the windy nature of the governa ment. In case of any domestic grievance, or an insult from a foreign foe, the people are all in a buzz,--town-meetings are immediately holden, where the quidnuncs of the city repair, each like an Atlas, with the cares of the whole nation upon his shoulders, each resolutely bent upon saving his country, and each swelling and strutting like a turkey-cock, puffed up with words, and wind, and nonsense. After
* I am afraid that many persons will be inclined to find a great resemblance in this particular between the American congress and a certain assembly on this side of the Atlantic,