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as that of being our own executioners. We know the worft that can happen in fupporting life under all its moft wretched circumftances and if we fhould be mistaken in thinking our duty to endure a load, which in truth we may fecurely lay down; it is an error extremely limited in its confequences, They cannot extend beyond this prefent existence, and poffibly may end much earlier: whereas no mortal can, with the leaft degree of affurance, pronounce what may not be the effects of acting agreeably to the contrary opinion. I am, &c.




Sept. 23, 1733.

IAM by no means in the sentiments of that Grecian of your acquaintance, who as often as he was preffed to marry, replied either that it was too foon or too late ; and I think my favorite author, the fenfible Montaigne, a little too fevere when he obferves upon this ftory, qu'il faut refufer l'op portunité à toute action importune: for,

higher of the genial bed by far, And with myfterious reverence I deem. MILTON.

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However, I am not adventurous enough to join with those friends you mention, who are foliciting you, it feems, to look out for an engagement of this kind. It is an union which requires fo much delicacy in the cementing; it is a commerce where fo many nice circumstances must concur to render it fuccessful, that I would not venture to pronounce of any two perfons, that they are qualified for each other.

I Do not know a woman in the world who seems more formed to render a man of fenfe and generofity happy in this state, than Amafia: yet I should scarcely have courage to recommend even Amafia to my friend, You have seen her, I dare fay, a thousand times; but I am perfuaded the never attracted your particular obfervation: for fhe is in the number of those who are ever overlooked in a crowd. As often as I converfe with her, she puts me in mind of the golden age; there is an innocency and fimplicity in all her words and actions, that equals any thing the poets have defcribed of those pure and artless

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artlefs times. Indeed the greatest part of her life has been spent much in the fame way as the early inhabitants of the world, in that blameless period of it, ufed, we are told, to difpofe of theirs; under the shade and shelter of her own venerable oaks, and in those rural amusements which are fure to produce a confirmed habit both of health and chearfulness. Amafia never faid, or attempted to fay, a fprightly thing in all her life; but he has done ten thousand generous ones; and if she is not the most confpicuous figure at an affembly, she never envied or maligned thofe who are. Her heart is all tendernefs and benevolence: no fuccefs ever attended any of her acquaintance, which did not fill her bofom with the most difinterested complacency; as no misfortune ever reached her knowledge, that The did not relieve or participate by her geperofity. If ever the fhould fall into the hands of a man fhe loves (and I am perfuaded the would efteem it the worst kind. of proftitution to refign herself into any other) her whole life would be one continued feries of kindness and compliance, The humble opinion fhe has of her own


uncommon merit, would make her fo much the more fenfible of her husband's; and thofe little fubmiffions on his fide, which a woman of more pride and spirit would confider only as a claim of right, would be esteemed by Amafia as fo many additional motives to her love and gratitude.

BUT if I dwell any longer upon this amiable picture, I may be in danger, perhaps, of resembling that ancient artist who grew enamored of the production of his own pencil: for my fecurity, therefore, as well as to put an end to your trouble, it will be best, I believe, to ftop here. I am, &c.


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WAS apprehenfive my laft had given you but too much occafion of recollecting the remark of one of your admired antients, that the art of eloquence is taught

by man, but it is the gods alone that in"fpire the wisdom of filence." That wildom, however, you are not willing I should


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yet practise; and you must needs, it seems, have my farther fentiments upon the subject of Oratory. Be it then as my friend requires; but let him remember, it is a hazardous thing to put fome men upon talking on a favorite topic.

ONE of the moft pleafing exercises of the imagination, is that wherein fhe is employed in comparing diftinct ideas, and difcovering their various resemblances. There is no fingle perception of the mind that is not capable of an infinite number of confiderations in reference to other objects; and it is in the novelty and variety of these unexpected connections, that the richness of a writer's genius is chiefly difplayed. A vigorous and lively fancy does not tamely confine itself to the idea which lies before it, but looks beyond the immediate object of its contemplation,and obferves how it stands in conformity with numberless others. It is the rogative of the human mind thus to bring its images together, and compare the feveral circumftances of fimilitude that attend them. By this means eloquence exercises a kind of magic power; fhe can raife innumerable beauties from the most barren fubjects, and


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