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But as certain natural productions which are at first extremely nauseous to the sensual taste, become agreeable by repeated use ; so the fruits of science and the productions of genius, which are at first insipid or disgusting to the mental taste, are esteemed as luxuries when it is sufficiently refined to discover and to relish their sweets. There are indeed a few extraordinary instances where this capacity of enjoyment appears to be innate, but these are only exceptions to the rule, and do not invalidate its general application. There is here and there a mighty mind, which quickly disencumbers itself from the impediments with which Nature usually obstructs the march of intellect, and impatient of a gradual developement, displays at once its capacious powers, seizing upon every thing within its reach, and retaining whatever it grasps. While men of humbler abilities, the growth of whose talents is more tardy and less vigorous, deplore the many hours they have squandered, and the favourable opportunities they have neglected in these their most leisurable days, a genius of so superior an order can exultingly exclaim, “When I was yet a child, no childish play To me was pleasing; all my mind was set Serious to learn and know.” Though education operates with a powerful and transforming energy upon the juvenile understanding, eliciting rays of intelligence from the dullest capacity, infusing knowledge into the most obtuse comprehension, and producing a polished mind from the most rugged materials : yet its influence is gradual and progressive, and its effects can seldom be mistaken for that natural, undefinable pre-eminence which makes the child—a prodigy, and the man—a genius. There is certainly a period of life at which the cultivated faculties of the deep-read scholar and the refined philosopher are alike barren and unproductive with those of the illiterate peasant and the rude barbarian ; but it would be precipitate to infer fron hence, that no native inequality could possibly exist in their respective mental capacities. We presume it will not be disputed that there is a considerable disproportion in the bodily constitutions of different individuals; and if, at an early age, we are unable to decide with any degree of certainty on their comparative vigour, our
judgment can be less accurate in the intricate science of mind. The corporeal, the moral, and the intellectual temperament, are all greatly affected by circumstances ; but still it is evident, that there is by nature no small disparity in the powers of the body, the dispositions of the heart, and the energies of the mind. The robust frame, which a littie attention might have preserved in health, may through negligence languish with disease till it baffle all medical aid. Brilliant talents, which education would have given a brighter Instre, may be corroded by the rust of indolence—and virtuous principles, which good instruction might have ripened into Christian graces, may be so contaminated by bad example, as to lose all their benign influence. Happy are those parents who see health, talents, and virtue, enliven the countenances, illuminate the understandings, and soften the manners of their children; and wise are they if their efforts are directed to establish, to cultivate, and to secure, these essen
tial ingredients of temporal happiness. WILLIAM HENRY.
Fo the purpose of improving myself in my profession, and studying that part of it which is not to be learnt from books, I placed myself under the instruction of a special pleader of noie. He was one of the strangest geniuses ever known. A strong disposition for the law had made it the object of his earliest ambition ; and he so completely devoted himself to the study of it, as to have neglected or forgotten every other part of his education, with only so much knowledge of ancient literature as enabled him to translate the law-latin of a record, and of modern, to decypher the hotch-lot of bad Norman and French used in old legal proceedings, he had managed, and very deservedly, to attain a great eminence as a special pleader. His figure was ludicrous in the extreme ; he was little more than four feet high : his head enormously large ; two small grey eyes, surmounted with shaggy black eyebrows, twinkled over an enormous nose, which his frequent indulgence in an inveterate habit of drinking brandy had dyed of a rich purple hue, while the rest of his face was of a deep crimson— his hair was a grizzled mixture of black and white, and curled like the locks on a bullock's forehead. His tongue was so large as to prevent him from speaking fluently, or, when in an ireful mood, even intelligibly. He was a native of Northumberland, and he spoke the broadest dialect of that county, as if his throat was bored like a rifle barrel, and every word containing an IR seemed to cost him an extraordinary effort to utter. This circumstance, joined with his uncouth figure, had prevented him from appearing at the Bar, and he had therefore confined his practice to his chambers, in which branch he shone nuost conspicuously. Under this worthy I became initiated in all the technicalities of the English common law, and learned to contemplate the numerous chicaneries of a system, the greater part of which was formed in an age when the clear light of philosophy had not beamed on the world, and when the laws and liberties of the people were founded on and explained by fictions, as young children are taught to contemplate truths which
are too great for their comprehensions .
by means of fables. How much the study of this system might have pleased me was not then to be inquired—the die was cast—l had fixed on the profession, and it was too late to retract; and as the laws, although I conceived they might be improved, were those of my country, and were as well regulated, and answered the purposes of civil liberty better than any other existing system, I determined to pursue the path I had chosen. Under this gentleman, therefore, I continued for two years, when I entered into business for myself, and in due course of time was called to the Bar. As I was unused to speaking in public, I much distrusted my powers of elocution; and for the purpose of getting rid of a diffidence which I felt would be extremely inconvenient and painful, I became a member of a public philosophical society, where subjects of general knowledge were discussed.—By the regulations of this Institution, it was strictly enjoined, that no questions relating to religion should be discussed; but in spite of this salutary restriction, it was not unfrequently that some of the persons speaking there took an opportunity of promulgating the sophistries of modern free opinions, as they are called,
and attacking the principles of religion and virtue under the colour of examining philosophical truths. I had been accustomed to regard every thing relating to religion with so much veneration, that the astonishment I felt at these attacks on it at first created an anxiety in my mind to refute then ; for this purpose, I busied myself in endeavouring to unravel the difficulties which presented themselves to me, and had recourse to those writers who had made those subjects the objects of their researches; but I found that all their arguments were built on foundations different from the acknowledged and confirmed authorities by which other philosophical maliers are to be determined, and that the veracity and credit of most of those principles on which I had relied as proofs were impeached, and endeavoured to be controverted by them. Not to trace the tedious progress of my errors any further, it is sufficient to say, that I was perplexed with doubts, nothing appeared to me certain, and I no longer relied with a firm conviction on those principles which had been the guide of my youth, and the criteria by which I had hitherto regulated all my actions. On an evening in the summer. I had been walking out ; and returning past a Roman Catholic Chapel, curiosity induced me to enter. In the frame of mind which I was then in, and with the sentinents which had been for some time growing on me. the ceremonies of this religion contributed only to strengthen my opinions. My attention was, however, soon attracted, by a female kneeling in a retired part of the chapel, which she seemed to have chosen for the purpose of shunning observation. I had never seen features so beautiful : the feeling of devotion which pervaded her feature was mixed with a deep sorrow, and frequent tears fell from her large dark eyes as they were upraised in prayer. When she had finished, she rose, and went out of the chapel. My curiosity was so strongly excited, that I followed her home. I found that she lived in a house occupied by French people. After I had seen her enter, I went into the shop, in which a French woman was engaged ; and under the pretence of purchasing some of her goods, I entered into couversation with her. I soon found she was quite willing to communicate ever thing she knew. I asked her who was the young lady I had seen enter. A French woman
is the last in the world to hinder any thing like F. and, with an archness which shewed she guessed the lady had made a conquest, she proceeded to give me all the information she possessed on the subject. She said the young lady was the only child of the late Comte de Montville, who had been massacred among the other nobility during the French Revolution; that the Comtesse, her mother, had fled to England with her daughter, without any other attendants than an Abbé, who had been patronized by the late Comte, and was much devoted to the family. On their arrival in this country, they were completely destitute, but that the Abbé, who was a very learned man, had gained a genteel living by teaching languages, and that the Contesse, who excelled in painting, added to their support by the exercise of that art; they lived very comfortably until about a month since; when the Comtesse, whose health had been gradually declining, and who had bewailed continually the sale of her husband, died. The Abbé, on the death of his patroness, had fallen sick, and was now dangerously ill ; , and if he should die, the poor young lady would be left destitute of friends—their income, she said, was now chiefly the produce of the young lady's exertions, who had been taught to paint by her mother—“But, Monsieur,” she added, “this affords a scanty subsistence, which -is the more straitened to procure medical assistance for the poor old man, whom the young lady attends on with almost filial affection.” This account raised greatly my curiosity ; and promising the communicative woman that I would call again, I retired home, and passed the night in dreaming of the lovely French lady, who had raised an emotion in my breast to which I had before been a stranger. (To be continued.)
sey-turvey times, however, a transposition of beginnings and endings is no very, extraordinary occurrence, by which, as in a Hebrew book, we begin at the end; or like the retrograde pedestrian, we get forward by going backward; or like the lottery, in which the capital prizes are kept back to the last drawing, and the first object of every adventurer is made the last of his hope. —l expect, therefore, you will find in my postscript, what has, I think, been rather keenly said of all female postscripts, the matter and meaning of my epistle.—I want to ask you a question : and as women are in general fond of asking questions, I have left my inquiry to this supplementary part of my correspondence, as affording a better opportunity for such an investigation, than what the body of my letter could afford. For although you may think this body rather meagre and thin, yet it will not be difficult for me to prove, that it is perfectly fashionable in its form, and very genteel in its style.—Now this is the very thing that I want to ask you about—Pray, good Sir, what are we to take for the general meaning of those civil and obsequious terms with which our daily correspondence is subscribed by almost every individual who addresses his sentiments to us in epistolary correspondence, whether within the compass of an invitation, or extended to the three sides of a fashionable scrawl?—One is our humble servant —another is our obedient servant– a third our faithful servant—a fourth our obliged servant—a fifth our grateful servant—a sixth our devoted servant—a seventh is mine most truly– an eighth is your's most sincerely—or any body's else, &c. &c. &c. You must know, that I have frequently felt something like a delicate reluctauce to use these different modes of finishing my correspondence, when I have been totally unconscious of the sentiment which the words themselves convey—and this feeling has been considerably strengthened i; several instances of inconsistency between the profession of the writers and the purport of the letters.-The other day, my father, who is curate of the parish, received a most imperious reprimand from his rector, who resides in the country, and has not visited his parishioners in town or ascended his metropolitan pulpit for these three years, for having omitted weekly prayers on a 3 S
single Wednesday, after a close observation of all occasional and weekly duty for a quarter of a century—this letter was signed, your humble servant —when I'm sure the writer of it had as little pretension to humility, as the beadle of the parish in his new goldlaced coat and hat ; or, to step a little higher in simile, the gentlemen-churchwardens at a general vestry.—My brother, who is a very quiei sort of a man, and by no means apt to quarrel with any body, happened unfortunately to tread upon the toe of a passionate halfpay Hibernian officer in an invalid corps, as he was crowding into the Pump-room at Bath last week—the next imorning he was surprised by a challenge from this man of exNeme sensitiveness, who signed himself my brother's most obedient servant—he only requested the honour of killing him like a gentleman, for which he should always consider himself his most obedient.—My father also was addressed by the clerk of the parish this very morning, upon the subject of burial fees, which Mr. Amen had hitherto embezzled, in utter subversion of the curate's right—and then subscribed himself my father's failiful servant. —A very good young woman, who lives next door to me, was indiscreet enough to make a confidante, in an affair of affection, of one of those busy tattling females who are to be found in every neighbourhood—She also was the young woman's faithful servant, after having vainly attempted, in a long epistle of round-about explanation, to rove herself guiltless of a treachery which few women very readily pardon, that of supplanting her in the regards of her lover.—Our lawyer yesterday did my father the favour of insorming him that he had sent his bill of costs for defending, an unsuccessful suit—and although he has been the confidential attorney of our family for the last fifteen years, and has diminished our income by at least as many hundred pounds, he assured his employer, that unless he immediately paid the bill, he must expect proceedings against him forthwith for the recovery of the same, by his obliged servant, &c.— The philanthropic Mr W shewed me a note at the last anniver-ary of our female society, which he had received from one of our o jects, to whom, when in the most deplorable state of exigency, he had generously
given a ten pound check, to prevent a seizure of the bed from under him ; —this man told Mr. W -— , that he was very sorry to trouble him, but he had from pressing necessity altered his ten into twenty—and sensible of the risk which he had run, he had gone to France, and was his grateful servant.—The Bishop of L had given a living to one of his clergy, which the Reverend Gentleman had accepted upon its being understood he would be expected to give it up, in honour. to his lordship's nephew, when he should be of age to take priest's orders; — the worthy incumbent, when applied to about that period, wrote to the bishop, that he could not in conscience think of trespassing so far upon the statute against Simony, and therefore hoped his lordship would excuse his devoted servant, &c.—I am, Mr. Editor, a spinster on this side of thirty. —and was lately addressed by a young mau who is with a conveyancer in Chancery-laue — At the time that he obtained thc assent of my father to make his declaration, which was accepted by me, the suit to which I have alluded was pending for the recovery of a pretty large estate in Herefordshire—my lover had proceeded with much prudent circumspection, and had asked the lawyer what expectation of success his client might form—the limb of the law, to keep up the best appearance of hope for his own sake, and shrewdly guessing that his report would be communicated to us by the young man himself, though not perhaps accompanied with the disclosure of the inquiry, told him, that there was not the least doubt of the decision being in our favour—The contrary result, however, soon altered my lover's views, and I received a very judicious conge, signed, “Your's most sincerely,” &c. Now, Mr. Editor, all this has puzzled me a good deal, and I really wish to know how we are to account for the incongruity between the substance of such #. and their respective subscriptions of profession.—it is a difficulty which I know has, in some degree or other, been felt by every one who does not allow the pen to use expressions which the heart disavows. —I cannot help thinking, that the simple “ Pale” of the Romans was a far more conscientious mode of subscribing a letter, than these methods of a hollow and unincauing courtcsy
for farewel may be a wish that even the angry man—the duellist—the violator of a trust, or the betrayer of a secret—the ungrateful object of our generosity, or the faithless lover, might use with propriety. The reprimanded might apply it as an admonition— “take care for the future.” The chalenged might interpret it into—“if you escape a hair trigger you will be well off.” The person-betrayed, might read it as–" let your experience make you wise.” The forsaken maiden, might accept it as advising her—“to look out for another husband.” And thus the receiver of a letter would be at no loss to reconcile the contents with the assurance of the writer. I confess, Mr. Editor, I think this would be an instance in which this classical age might be considerably improved, and the no-meaning of such complimentary forms would no longer remain as a reproach upon the sincerity of its epistolary style. Now, Sir, I do expect that my postcript will vindicate the substance of my letter; and that should you insert both in the next Number of your amusing Miscellany, as you have already disposed of many of my humble contributious, you will reasonably believe, that I am, very truly, your obliged and humble servant; and that in the full extent of the word, I may add the Roman / ale—“go on and prosper.” — Or as it it is simply translated by the gentle Quaker. o FARE THE E W Ell! Amen (orner, Mov. 29th, 1817.
that can improve the mind, form the heart, and refine the manners, of any stripling youth just stepping into manhood, I have the boldness to declare; and this assertion I am sorry to be able to ground upon the evidence which the premature old men of the day, and the more juvenile profligates of fashionable notoriety, bear to the truth of it. Under the sanction of a decent exterior (I beg their pardon for using so homely a word, which their vocabulary does not contain) these ephemerals of vitiated gentility, take the liberty of committin any outrage upon the laws of mora life while they can contrive to keep on the safe side of those judicial restrictions which the courts below are vulgar enough to enforce upon such fringey remnants of half-titled frivolity, these infinitesimals of negative nobility, with as little regard for their nominal pretensions, as they would exercise towards any of the humbler Sabbath-breakers and midnight revellers of St. Giles's, who boast of the patronymic “O’s, and Ap's, and Mac's, of their highblooded progenitors. You are just young enough, G–, to be led into error; and I hope not so far matured in it, as to shut your heart against parental exposure of it. You will perhaps admit, that the observation and experience of a father, may have put him in possession of that knowledge of the world, which although it adds but little to his own store of wisdom, yet gives him an opportunity of preventing his son from becoming the dupe and victim of the folly of others. I will conclude, then, that you admit the possibility of this acquisition on the part of one, who lived at least a quarter of a century before you were born ; and who, during your progress towards the years of discretion, has seen just enough of the maxims and manners of this very best company to discover, that the surest proof of discretion is, to shuu the intercourse of those who so unwarrantably assume this characteristic, with as much anxiety as he would avoid the association of persons infected with a pestilential disease. Indeed, I never knew a young man who has once suffered himself to surrender his time to the risk of such contamination, but has found himself under the urgent necessity of yielding his obligations one by one, of religious, moral, and social duty, to the influen