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Peoples and Places
"France is worse than Scotland in everything but climate. Nature
has done more for the French; but they have done less for
themselves than the Scotch have done."
His dislike of the French was well known to both nations, I
believe; but he applauded the number of their books and the
graces of their style. "They have few sentiments (said he), but
they express them neatly; they have little meat, too, but they
dress it well."
"No, Sir, if literature be in its spring in France, it is a
second spring; it is after a winter. We are now before the
French in literature; but we had it long after them. In
England, any man who wears a sword and a powdered wig is ashamed
to be illiterate. I believe it is not so in France. Yet there
is, probably, a great deal of learning in France, because they
have such a number of religious establishments; so many men who
have nothing else to do but study. I do not know this; but I
take it upon the common principles of chance. Where there are
many shooters, some will hit."