The letter that could see (a find = ein Fundstück)

‘The Americans believed at first, Paper could speak, seeing People read in a Book.

They say, that an Indian Slave, who being sent by his Master with a Basket of Figs and a Letter, did by the Way eat up part of his Carriage, conveying the Remainder to the Person to whom he was directed, who having read the Letter, and not finding the Quantity of Figs there mention’d, he accuses the Slave of eating them, telling him what the Letter said against him: But the Indian confidently abjured the Fact, cursing the Paper as a lying Witness.

After this, being sent again with the like Carriage, and a Letter expressing the like Number of Figs to be deliver’d, he did again devour part of them by the way: But before he meddled with any (to prevent all Accusation) he first hid the Letter under a great Stone, assuring himself, that if it did not see him eat the Figs, it could never tell of him: But being now more strongly accused than before, he confessed the Fault, admiring the Divinity of the Paper.’

From:
A SHORT TREATISE UPON ARTS and SCIENCES, IN French and English, BY QUESTION and ANSWER. THE SECOND EDITION. Enlarged with an infinite number of things both Curious and Instructive. A Work very useful to those who desire to improve themselves in the French Tongue, containing a great Variety of Subjects. By JOHN PALARAIT, Writing-master, etc. to Their Royal Highnesses the DUKE, Princess MARY, and Princess LOUISA. LONDON: Sold by M. CHASTEL, Bookseller, in Compton-street, Soho; and by the Author in Greek-street, by Soho-square. MDCCXXXVI: in the  chapter ‘On languages’, pp. 29–30.

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