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in strength and resolution, I would humbly propose, that as thero is an excess on their side in quantity to the amount of one hun. dred thousand, part of that number may be employed in recruiting the army, as well as in raising thirty new Amazonian regiments, to be commanded by females, and serve in regimentals adapted to their sex. The Amazons of old appeared with the left breast bare, an open jacket, and trousers that descended no farther than the knee; the right breast was destroyed, that it might not impede them in bending the bow, or darting the.jave

but there is no occasion for this cruel excision in the present discipline, as we have seen instances of women who handled the musket, without finding any inconvenience from that protuber.

lin;

ance.

As the sex love gayety, they may be clothed in vests of pink satin and open drawers of the same, with buskins on their feet and legs, their hair tied behind and floating on their shoulders, and their hats adorned with white feathers: they may be armed with light carbines and long bayonets, without the incumbrance of swords or shoulder-belts. I make no doubt but many young ladies of figure and fashion will undertake to raise companies at their own expense, provided they like their colonels; but I must insist upon it, if this scheme should be embraced, that Mr. Hen. riquez's seven blessed daughters may be provided with commissions, as the project is in some measure owing to the hints of that venerable patriot. I moreover give it as my opinion, that Mrs. Kitty Fisher shall have the command of a battalion, and the nomination of her own officers, provided she will warrant them all sound, and be content to wear proper badges of distinction.

A female brigade, properly disciplined and accoutred, would not, I am persuaded, be afraid to charge a numerous body of the enemy, over whom they would have a manifest advantage; for if the barbarous Scythians were ashamed to fight with the Amazons

who invaded them, surely the French, who pique themselves on their sensibility and devotion to the fair sex, would not act upon the offensive against a band of female warriors, arrayed in all the charms of youth and beauty.

ESSAY XVII.

ON A TASTE FOR THE BELLES-LETTRES.

Amidst the frivolous pursuits and pernicious dissipations of the present age, a respect for the qualities of the understanding still prevails to such a degree, that almost every individual pretends to have a taste for the Belles-Lettres. The spruce 'prentice sets up for a critic, and the puny beau piques himself upon being a connoisseur. Without assigning causes for this universal presumption, we shall proceed to observe, that if it was attended with no other inconvenience than that of exposing the pretender to the ridicule of those few who can sift his pretensions, it might be unnecessary to undeceive the public, or to endeavor at the reformation of innocent folly, productive of no evil to the commonFealth. But in reality this folly is productive of manifold evils to the community. If the reputation of taste can be acquired without the least assistance of literature, by reading modern poems and seeing modern plays, what person will deny himself the pleasure of such an easy qualification ? Hence the youth of both kies are debauched to diversion, and seduced from much more profitable occupations, into idle endeavors after literary fame; and a superficial false taste, founded on ignorance and conceit, takes possession of the public. The acquisition of learning, the study of nature, is neglected as superfluous labor; and the best faculties of the mind remain unexercised and indeed unopened, by the power of thought and reflection. False taste will not only diffuse itself through all our amusements, but even influence our moral and political conduct; for what is false taste, but want of perception to discern propriety and distinguish beauty?

It bas often been alleged, that taste is a natural talent, as independent of art as strong eyes, or a delicate sense of smelling; and, without all doubt, the principal ingredient in the composition of taste is a natural sensibility, without which it cannot exist; but it differs from the senses in this particular, that they are finished by nature, whereas taste cannot be brought to perfection without proper cultivation ; for taste pretends to judge not only of nature but also of art; and that judgment is founded upon observation and comparison. What Horace has said of genius is still more applicable to taste.

« Natura fieret laudabile carmen, an arte,

Quæsitum est. Ego nec studium sine divite vena,
Nec rude quid prosit video ingenium: alterius sic
Altera poscit opem res, et conjurat amice.”-Art. Poet.

'Tis long disputed, whether poets claim
From art or nature their best right to fame;
But art, if not enrich'd by nature's vein,
And a rude genius of uncultur'd strain,
Are useless both ; but when in friendship join'd,
A mutual succor in each other find.-- Francis.

We have seen genius shine without the help of art; but taste must be cultivated by art, before it will produce agreeable fruit. This, however, we must still inculcate with Quintilian, that study, precept, and observation, will nought avail, without the assistance of nature :—“Illud tamen imprimis testandum est, nihil præcep ta atque artes valere, nisi adjuvante naturâ.”

Yet even though nature has done her part, by implanting the seeds of taste, great pains must be taken and great skill exerted,

in raising them to a proper pitch of vegetation. The judicious tutor must gradually and tenderly unfold the mental faculties of the youth committed to his charge. He must cherish his delicate perception; store his mind with proper ideas; point out the different channels of observation; teach him to compare objects; to establish the limits of right and wrong, of truth and falsehood; to distinguish beauty from tinsel, and grace from affectation; in a word, to strengthen and improve by culture, experience, and instruction, these natural powers of feeling and sagacity, which constitute the faculty called taste, and enable the professor to enjoy the delights of the Belles-Lettres.

We cannot agree in opinion with those who imagine that nature has been equally favorable to all men, in conferring upon them a fundamental capacity, which may be improved to all the refinement of taste and criticism. Every day's experience convinces us of the contrary. Of two youths educated under the same preceptor, instructed with the same care, and cultivated with the same assiduity, one shall not only comprehend, but even anticipate the lessons of his master, by dint of natural discernment, while the other toils in vain to imbibe the least tincture of instruction. Such indeed is the distinction between genius and stupidity, which every man has an opportunity of seeing among bis friends and acquaintance. Not that we ought too hastily to decide upon the natural capacities of children, before we have maturely considered the peculiarity of disposition, and the bias by which genius may be strangely warped from the eommon path of education. A youth incapable of retaining one rule of grammar, or of acquiring the least knowledge of the classics, may nevertheless make great progress in mathematics; nay, he may bave a strong genius for the mathematics, without being able to comprehend a demonstration of Euclid; because his mind conceives in a peculiar manner, and is so intent upon contemplating the object in one particular point of view, that it cannot perceive it in any other. We have known an instance of a boy, who, while his master complained that he had not capacity to comprehend the properties of a right-angled triangle, had actually, in private, by the power of his genius, formed a mathematical system of his own, discovered a series of curious theorems, and even applied his deductions to practical machines of surprising construction.

Besides, in the education of youth, we ought to remember, that some capacities are like the pyra præcocia ; they soon blow, and soon attain to all that degree of maturity which they are capable of acquiring; while, on the other hand, there are geniuses of slow growth, that are late in bursting the bud, and long in ripening. Yet the first shall yield a faint blossom and insipid fruit; whereas the produce of the other shall be distinguished and admired for its well-concocted juice and exquisite flavor. We have known a boy of five years of age surprise every body by playing on the violin, in such a manner as seemed to promise a prodigy in music. He had all the assistance that art could afford; by the age of ten his genius was at the acmé; yet after that period, notwithstanding the most intense application, he never gave the least signs of improvement. At six he was admired as a miracle of music; at six-and-twenty he was neglected as an ordinary fiddler. The celebrated Dean Swift was a remarkable instance in the other extreme. He was long considered as an incorrigible dunce, and did not obtain his degree at the university but ex speciali gratiâ :* yet, when his powers

* ["Swift has himself stated that he was stopped of his degree for dulness and insufficiency, and that he was admitted in a manner little to his credit, called ex speciali gratiâ. The words used by him only mean, perhaps, that he gained his degree rather by favor than merit, though no such entry was placed upon the register.”—Sir Walter Scott: Prose Works, voi. ii. po 466, ed. 1834.)

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