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ing the state of lace, bugles, or beads for the current year, or to furnish any patterns that may be ordered by the Committees.

In such an assembly as this, it seems almost, indeed quite impossible, that any of the late enormities in dress could have been tolerated. There


be some careless and indifferent to the interests of their constituents, as is the case in all mixed assemblies; but few, I think, would

propose any thing so contrary to feminine delicacy and character, as what has lately issued from behind the counter, or been hatched in the back-parlour. The eloquent speakers and distinguished members of this assembly would consider, that, whatever


be the primary use of clothing, the art of dress is the art of pleasing, and that nothing can long please, which creates a blush in the wearer, and disgust in the beholder. And as it is undeniable that the party to be pleased is of great consequence in the community, it would rest with the wisdom of this Parliament to determine whether upon special occasions, such as a motion for stripping, certain gentlemen might not be examined at the bar, with regard to the probable effects of such a measure upon their hearts. · Had this precaution been taken

years ago, there can be little doubt that

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many females who have lost all attraction, would have been enabled to face their enemies as they did in former days, and would not have exchanged the artillery of the eyes, for the more vulgar weapons of bare elbows and shoulders.

In such an assembly as this, too, I am hopeful that harmony would seldom be disturbed, as in another great Senate, by party. work, or party-principles. There might, indeed, be now and then sharp debates, and it might often be necessary for the Speaker to determine how many were to harangue at one time ; but we can scarcely suppose that it would be divided into a ministry and an oppósition, for it is of the very essence of dress tó follow the majority. Men may act very perversely in questions of peace or war; but there would be little room for animosity in discussing the height of a turban or the colour of a shawl. Men may be warm on extending the militia, or increasing the army; but there would be more liberality in puckering a handkerchief, or gathering up a petticoat ; in enacting a pokebonnet, or proposing an amendment in the straw-hat bill. I have no doubt, indeed, that all the members would be so duly impressed with a sense of the importance of their office,





as to discuss with most becoming temper, the dimensions of the square bust, the curvature of ringlets, the necessity of indispensables, the side over which the veil is to fall, and the manner in which the dress should be broached on the shoulder, with every other circumstance of equal importance to captivate and conquer.

In proposing this scheme, I hope my readers will allow that I can have no other object in view than the interest of the fair parties principally concerned, who lie at present at the mercy

of a limited number of persons who have taken upon them to modify the powers of English beauty. Of late I perceive that monthly edicts of dress are regularly published, which I can consider in no other light than so many usurpations on the good taste of my fair countrywomen, and as tending to give uniformity and sameness, where taste and nature would prescribe an interesting and captivating variety. This would be scarcely tolerable even if all the sex had been made in one mould ; but, when we consider that in spite of every effort and wish to the contrary, some are tall and some short, some burly and some thin, it is an absurd aim to establish an uniformity which must give to one class a preposterous appearance, and make others place a dependence on dress who have little occasion for any adscititious ornaments. And I hope that whether the scheme I have proposed shall be adopted or not, the time is not far distant when


female readers will discard their Magazines of Fashion, consult their looking-glasses, and recollect that the only ornaments which will always captivate are not those which can be bought in the shops, or repaired by the month.

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“Castigatque, auditque dolos—.”


VIRG. " Where laws are dup'd, 'tis not unjust nor mean, To seize the proper time for honest spleen.”


February 1807 THERE

HERE are few subjects which seem to have perplexed writers more, than what estimate they ought to form of the

mankind are making in wisdom and virtue. So opposite are their opinions on this subject, that some refer all that is wise and good to certain past . happy days, of which they can know very little; and others bid us look forward to some future glorious æra, of which they can know nothing. Some maintain that we are amazingly degenerated from our wiser and better ancestors, while others congratulate themselves on living in an age enlightened beyond any former, and fast approaching to perfection.


Whoever takes the trouble to examine these positions with attention, and to weigh the arguments and proofs by which they are to be confirmed, will probably find his mind alternately perplexed and informed, and be unable absolutely to join either party. All the conclusion he can draw with any degree of certainty will probably be, that there is more wisdom and virtue in the world than some will allow, and less use made of them than others think there ought. It would appear, that every age has contributed something to our stock of materials, but that they are allowed to remain unemployed, owing to a discovery many persons have made of certain substitutes for Wisdom and Virtue, which answer their purpose just as well.

The question of general improvement or degeneracy, however, seems of late to have been

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