Wednesday, January 07, 2015

  "Don't always confine yourself to one sort of company, or to people of the same party or opinion, whether its in matters of learning, religion, or civil life; lest if you happened to be nursed up or educated in an early mistake, you will be confirmed and established in that same mistake if you converse only with people of the same thoughts and sentiments. A free and general conversation with people of various countries, and of different parties, opinions and practices, is of excellent use to undeceive us in many wrong judgments which we may have framed, and will help lead us to more just thoughts.
It is said, when the king of Siam, near China, first talked with some European merchants, who sought his favor to trade on his coast, he inquired of them some of the common appearances of summer and winter in their country; and when they told him of water growing so hard in their rivers, that men and horses could walk on it; and that rain sometimes fell down as white and light as feathers, and sometimes almost as hard as stones, he could not believe a word they said, for ice, snow, and hail, were names and things utterly unknown to him in his hot climate; her therefore renounced all traffic with them because he considered them shameful liars and would not allow them to trade with his people. See here the natural effects of gross ignorance.

Conversation with foreigners, on various occasions, has a happy influence to enlarge our minds, and to set them free from many errors and gross prejudices we are ready to believe concerning them." Isaac Watts.

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