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ORIGINAL PAPERS.

FOR THE EMERALD.

CURIOSITY.

An

formation sought, the mode of inquiry, and a number of other incidental peculiarities, may often make

a man's dignity or disgrace depend THE WANDERER,

on a question. Though froin its

object it would seem at all times to NO. 82.

show ignorance, it may yet be so put as to display information. It may evince that the inquirer rather

wanted knowledge confirmed by asWhey curiosity is said to be “a certaining the opinion of the person certain sign of vigourous intellect,” addressed, than original liglit comit must be understood to regard that municated; and though it require - curiosity only, which is manly and information on what is made its pertinent. This remark concerns

principal point, it may impart it on persons of mature age merely. For points incidental, that are really of the curiosity of infants can never be much more importance. Questions considered impertinent. To them

expose mental character. They are nothing is unimportant. Every ob- proofs of its investigation or indcject has the interest of novelty and lence, of its grossness or refinenient, is of charming importance. The

of its laxity or correctness. livelier the eyes of a child glisten interrogation may evidence the spirit with this lambent light, and the of research or supineness, intellecmore rapidly it plays off from its tual vigour or imbecility, elegance tongue, the lovelier the object, and

or uncouthness, peduntıy or polite the greater its promise of intellect.

learning. No one ornament or But the importance of infancy is the blemish of the human understandfrivolity of age. IThen the inui

ing, but may discover itself in a vidual becomes a man, he loses all

question. Nor is its power of right to think and talk, like a chiid. hibiting character confined to the He should forget the gambols of mind. The disposition is within infancy, and, with other childish its reach. “ Out of the abundance things, put away the interrogations of the heart the mou h speaketh.” and of levity, and the random sallies of the questions it asks sometimes beerratic curiosity.

tray what is the nature of that abunNothing may evince more mind dance. or more shamefully expose the want A general and constant recollecof it than a question. Though its tion of this importance of questions object be ever the same, to seek in would tend much to improve conformation, yet the character of the versation and refine social enjoy. person seeking, the nature of the in-1 ment. It would suppress idle words

Y

ex

VOL. 11

is and

This attention is necessary to secure But once fix curiosity, and the latenuity

and trivial or unmeaning inquiries. | tinction in the vocation, selected is It would operate no other constraint, life. It is therefore of the utmost in th than what good sense should ever importance, when once this sele. Lridge maintain over folly and garrulity, feel tion is made, that every facultyd tis is in the presence of worth. Should the mind should receive a sulse ace. indeed this be enough to strike some vient direction. Among these cun to pro of our genteel circles silent as the osity has the most powerful intro house of death, even this state would ence. Let a man bring every other wanted be preferable to that jargon of high faculty under complete subjectior, rejus life, which is heard in these Babels and this alone, in the end, will fie's ce wit of one language, these confusions of trate all his endeavours, and defeat as we ideas ten thousand times worse his objects of pursuit. He should th than any confusion of tongues. therefore not rest satisfied with hissi eiu

This constraint however would exertions when all other powers urinese rot operate to deaden but give new were subdued and bound down of scuou life to conversation. It would be the object. He must clip the wings fi city lopping off a few dead twigs to give of curiosity, or it will bear awaren the trunk fresh vigour. It might every thing in its flight. It has of exted indeed introduce on some occasions ten been said and with truth, that a pause of silence into company, a man must make a pleasure of busiwhich the tongue of flippant volu- ness, in order to succeed in the ac. bility is now glad to fill. But it is quisition either of fame or of fortune. ssion quite time genteel converse was He should consider bis object of raised from the chattering of mag- pursuit, the only object in nature of ! pios to the interchange of senti- and see nothing, but what led to an si ments between rational beings. wards it. Would he reach the goa?? de call

The Wanderer, like Goldsmith, He must press forward, and not be parvis componere magna," delivers delayed or drawn aside by any

obs

sad. his thoughts without method or con-ject, however striking, that may lar *nexion, and as he cannot, this hot in his way. Stubborn perseverance weather, stroll far even in the read- in exclusive attention to any one ober's good company, he will here just ject soon makes that object a farcur. notice the importance of giving pro- ite. It endears it by intimacyper direction to this inquisitive fac- Every object of pursuit, either useulty, and then throw himself again ful or scientific,gains upon acquaint

: Is the upon his couch, lazily crying out in ance. As Locke derives the first thing rather too good style for a lounger, itle to land from mixing labour sit the language of BURKE, « Leave with the soil, so a man gains rilie kvali me, oh, leave me to repose !" or interest in his profession or para ace in

The importance of attention to ticular pursuit by the labour he empre. the nature and node of the inquiries ploys in it, and the greater the kzwe make has been suggested. bour, the better seems the title. But It is not every question, curiosity whatever be the means, the end endicula starts, that is a sign of vigour of in- must be effected, or it will be utterly tellect. If it were, the sign would impossible for any individual ever Seit in often exist where we should long to take that pleasure in his special look in vain for the thing signified vocation, so essential to success kello į to a man the fair reputation of his bour is over! We know the diffgeneral talents. But energy of cha- culties of this. We know the pleas. racter arises principally from dis-lures of curiosity. They are exquis

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ite in their kind. We are loth to out improvement, nor any cuty to. abridge them in their number. Still be slovenly performed. In avothis is necessary to secure enii- cations of daily necessity, correctnence. How many might have ness and even elegance is desirable, been proudly distinguished in every but the advantages they afford are walk of life, had they seasonably at- unfortunately too often pressed ou tended to this requisition ? They the mind by the inconveniencies rewere just ready to snatch the bays, sulting from a want of possession. once within their reach, when their There is no subject which so eveyes were turned towards some- idently exemplifies these remarks thing, that looked like a laurel, and as chirography, which is oftentimes, they eluded the grasp. The way- and most frequently by men of edWardness of fancy, the spirit of pro- ucation, most miserably neglected, miscuous inquiry, the eagerness for It is with that as with the language novelty must be repressed'. Want of conversation or the manner of of attention to this has materially social intercourse. Awkwardness lessened the number of our illustri- will spoil the effect of the best and ous characters in divinity, physic, most valuable matter, while eleand law. It makes individuals pis-gance and taste give attraction and mies and stints the growth of the beauty to the most dull and indisprofessions. So true ïs it, that cu- ferent. riosity, unless properly directed, in With these impressions I copy stead of being as it is by nature, a the subjoined remarks for your usecertain sign of a vigourous intellect, paper.

CLARENDON. is the cause, that all vigour of intelIect is at length completely de

One of the strangest of the many instroyed.

Y

consistencies observable in our way of thinking and acting, appears to me to be the neglect with which the mechanical art of writing is treated by inen of letters. The inability to read and write, places a man proverbially among the

most uninstructed of his species; yet To the Elitors of the Emerald.

how many deep scholars have we whose In the course of my reading this

skill in writing is so inperfect, that

they may be said to be destitute of the morning (as Junius expresses it) I faculty of making themselves intelligi. met with the following pertinent ble upon paper. If we reflect a mo: observations which I think worthy ment upon the vast importance of such a place in your miscellany of lite- a faculty, we shall be astonished at the

indifference with which the want of it is rałyre. An almost illegible band writing would think themselves indelibly dis.

habitually regarded ... Persons who is either a disgraceful incapacity or graced by the wrong pronunciation of a a ridiculous affectation which ought Greek or Latin word, are not ashamed by no means to be considered as a to acknowledge that they cannot write merit in the penman.

Whatever

a note to a friend cr a letter upon ne. is worth doing at all is worth doing having their meaning comprehended. -

cessary business with any certainty of well.

From the noblest efforts of Nay, they sometimes take pride in their ingenuity to the humblest exertions unskilfulness, as if it denoted that their of labour the wise man will be stren- hearis had been so much occupied as to uous to inark every action with his allow no exercise to their hands. Tie own characteristic proprieiy, and a presumption of a classical education :

truth is, that bad writing is in some soru saffer no opportunity to pass with.- for such is the admirable constitution of

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our grammar-schools, that few of them pher and his laborious historian, asf
have any provision for learning the use we trust will be read with attentia
of the pen, any more than the practice as well for its own merit as for is
of the common rules of arithmetic ; and reference to a very popular and
the necessity of scrawling exercises gaging performance. Emn’d.)
soon destroys any proficieney a boy may
have already made in the art of penman-

Having treasured up with won
ship. I know learned authors whose derful diligence the better part d'
manuscripts are as difficult to make out what had fallen from his late friend
as the legend of an ancient medal, to Johnson, in many of the conversa
the utter despair of press-compositors, I tions in which he had excited or list-
who can make no progress without a
decypherer at their elbow. No wonder ened to Johnson's wisdom and colo
if errata abound in their publications ; loquial eloquence, from the com-
of which it would be but just for them- mencement of their acquaintance 10
selves to take the blame, instead of the period of his friend's death, Bos-
throwing it upon the poor printers. I well now undertook to compose a
fancy, Mr. Editor, from the numerous
corrections I see occasionally made in ographical account of that wise and
your articles, you have some correspon- good man, in which those treasure
dents of this class. I revere their eru- gleanings from his colloquial di
dition, but am not inclined to admit, tates should be carefully interworci.
like what is said of physicians, that This book was, with much care
“the worse the scrawi, the dose the
better."

and pains, composed, conducted
Lord Chesterfield, I think; has said, through the press, presented to the
that any man may write well if he public. Its composition delight-
pleases. I am not sure, that every man, fully soothed the author's mind
with any degree of pains, could write by calling up to him in retrospě•
elegantly; but I doubt not that he might tive view the associates, the anex
come to write legibly, and this is the
real object to be aimed at. There are ments, the conversations of the
hands which look very well, yet are ex. prime years of his past life. By
tremely illegible ; which is often the the public it was at first sight -
case with free running hands, when ceived with some measure of pro
written carelessly. And it appears to
me a fault in modern penmanship, that judice against it ; for who could
freedom and expedition are so much suppose that he who could not make
more in request than distinctness. The up a moderate octavo, without is
stiffer, more upright hands of our an: troducing into it a number of trife
cestors were more easily read ; and I upworthy to be written or read
repeat, that legibility is the fundamental should have furnished out two car
quality of good writing, to which every pious quartos of the biography off
thing else should be sacrificed,

single man of letters, otherwise this
by filling them with trifles to scese
in the proportion of a bag of chall
to a few grains of wheat? But every

reader was soon pleasingly dis
[The reading world, at all times inter.
ested in whatever is connected with

pointed, This work was quick the “ Man-mountain" of literature,

found to exhibit an inimitably fait the sage of Litchfield, has been late-ful picture of the mingled geri ly notified of an intention to repub- and weakness of the virtues and lish the memoirs of his life from the vices, the sound sense and the pen of James Boswell. From the dantry, the benignity and the F biography of the last gentleman we extract an account of this interesting

sionate harshness, of the great work. In an entertaining manner it excellent, although not cons gives a yiew of the eccentric philoso-| mately perfect man, the train

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AND ORIGINAL REMARKS.

whose life it endeavoured to unfold. such a master-piece in its particu. It appeared to be filled with a rich lar species, as perhaps the literature store of his genuine dictates, so elo- of no other nation, ancient or moc!quent and wise, that they need ern, could boast. It did not inhardly shun comparison with the deed present its author to the world most elaborate of those works which in another light than as a genius of he li inself published. Johnson was the second class ; yet it seemed to seen in it, not as a solitary figure, rank him nearer to the first than to but associated with those groupes the third. This estimation of the of his distinguished contemporaries character of Boswell's Life of Johnwith which it was his good fortune, son, formed by the best critics soon in all the latter and more illustrious after its publication, seems to have years of his life, often to meet and been since íully confirmed. I am to converse. It displayed many fine well persuaded that not one even af specimens of that proportion in the most successful of his contemwhich, in the latter part of the eigh- poraries at the Scottish bar could teenth century, literature and phi- have produced a work equally relosophical wisdom were liable to be plete with charmingly amusive elecarelessly. intermingled in the ordi- gance and wisdom.. nary conversation of the best company in Britain. It preserved a thousand precious anecdotical me

For the Emerald. morials of the state of arts, man

DESULTORY SELECTIONS, ners, and policy among us during this period, such as must be invaluable to the philosophers and antiquarians of'a future age. It gave, in the most pleasing mode of insti No one who ever had any contation, and in many different points nexion with a literary journal will of view, almost all the elementary deny the force of the following repractical principles both of taste and mark, and no scholar will peruse it of moral science. It showed the without adıniring the elegant mancolloqnial tattle of Boswell duly ner in which it is made. chastened by the grave and rounded “The task of a Journalist is often ineloquence of Johnson. It present- vidious and often irksome. Without a ed a collection of a number of the spirit of candour among the various most elaborate of Johnson's small-tribes of readers, vain is every attempt er occasional compositions, which cism whines, and party prejudice yells ;'

to please. Captiousness cavils, fanati. might otherwise perhaps have been 'but, in the manly exhortation of of Edentirely lost to future times. Shew- MUND BURKE,“ applaud us when we ing Boswell's skill in literary com- run; console us when we fall; cheer

us when we recover : but let us pass position, his general acquaintance with learning and science, his on--for God's sake let us pass on.”

Port Folio. knowledge of the manners, the for Where shall we find in the pages tunes, and the actuating principles of modern eloquence a more beauof mankind, to have been greatly tiful metaphor or correct extended and improved since the thought than in the following sentime when he wrote his Account tence from CURRAN? of Corsica, it exalted the character

He would not have the Press pre. of his talents in the estimation of sume to tell the viceroy that the prehe world ; and was reckoned to be rogative of mercy is a trust for the ben.

PERIODICAL PUBLICATIONS.

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