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he determined to take revenge on her by making himself a good prose writer. As it is in this way that his pen has conferred great obligations on the world, it must be gratifying to learn by what means, humbly cir. cumstanced as he was, he acquired that perspicuity and ease so remarkable in his writings. This information must be peculiarly acceptable to such youth as are apt to despair of becoming good writers, because they have never been taught the languages. Ben's example will soon convince them that Latin and Greek are not necessary to make English scholars.
Let them but commence with his passion for knowledge; with his firm persuasion, that wisdom is the glory and happiness of man, and the work is more than half done.
Honest Ben never courted a young man because he was rich, or the son of the rich N. His favourites were of the youth fond of reading and of rational conversation, no matter how poor they were. “Birds of a feather do not more naturally flock together,” than do young men of this high character. This was what first attracted to him that ingenious young carpenter, Matthew Adams: as also John Collins, the tanner's boy. These three spirited youth after finding each other out, became as fond as brothers. And often as possible, when the labours of the day were ended, they would meet at a little school-house in the neighbourhood; and argue ou some given subject till midnight. The advantages of this as a grand mean of exercising memory, strengthening the reasoning faculty, disciplining the thoughts, and improving a correct and graceful elocue tion, became daily more obvious and important in their view, and consequently increased their inutual attachment. But from his own observation of what passed in this curious little society, Ben cautions young, men against that war of words, which the vain are too apt to fall into, and which tends not only to make them insupportably disagreeable through a disputatious spirit, but is apt also to betray into a fondness for quizzing, i for asserting and supporting opinions which they do not themselves believe. He gives the following as a case in point.
One night, Adams being absent, and only himself and Collins together in the old school house, Ben observed
that he thought it a great pity that the young ladies were not more attended to, as to the improvement of their minds by education. He said, that with their advantages of sweet voices and beautiful faces, they could give tenfold charms to wit and sensible conversation, making heavenly truths to appear, as he had somewhere read in his father's old Bible, "like apples of gold set in pictures of silver.”
Collins blowed upon the idea. He said, it was all stuff, and no pity at all, that the girls were so neglected in their education, as they were naturally incapable of it. And here he repeated, laughing, that infamous slur on the ladies,
“Substance too soft a lasting mind to bear,
At this, Ben, who was already getting to be a great admirer of the ladies, reddened up against Collins; and to it they fell, at once, in a stiff argument on the education of women-as whether they were capable of study. ing the sciences or not. Collins, as we have seen, led off against the ladies. Being much of an infidel, he took the Turkish ground altogether, and argued like one just soured and sullen from the seraylio. Women study the sciences indeed! said he, with a sneer; a pretty story truly! no sir, they have nothing to do with the sciences. They were not born for any such thing.
Ben wanted to know what they were born for?
Born for! retorted Collins, why to dress and dance; to sing and play; and, like pretty triflers to divert the lords of the creation after their toils and studies. This is all they were born for or ever intended of nature, who has given them capacities for nothing higher. Sometimes, indeed, they look grave, and fall into such brown studies as would lead one to suppose they meant to go deep; but it is all fudge. They are only trying in this new character to piay themselves off to a better effect on their lovers. And if you could but penetrate the bosoms of these fáir Penserosoes; you would find that under all this affectation of study they were only fatiguing their childish brains about what dress they should wear to the
next ball; or what coloured ribands would best suit their new lutestrings.
To this Ben replied with warmth, that it was extremely unphilosophical in Mr. Collins to argue in that way against the FAIR SEX-that in fixing their destination he had by no means given them that high ground to which they were entitled. You say sir, continued Ben that the ladies were created to amuse the men by the charm of their vivacity and accomplishments. This to be sure was saying something. But you might, I think, have said a great deal more; at least the Bible says a great deal more for them. The Bible, sir, tells us that God created woman to be the helpmate of man. Now if man were devoid of reason he might be well enough matched by such a monkey like helpmate as you have described woman. But, sir, since man is a noble Godlike creature, endued with the sublime capacities of reason, how could woman ever make a helpmate to him. unless she were rational like himself, and thus capable of being the companion of his thoughts and conversation through all the pleasant fields of knowledge?
Here Collins interrupted him, asking very sarcastically, if in this fine flourish in favour of the ladies he was really in earnest.
Never more so. in all my life, replied Ben, rather nettled.
What that the women were as capable of studying the sciences as the men?
Yes, that the women are as capable of studying the sciences as the men. And
pray, sir, continued Collins, tauntingly, do you know of any young woman of your acquaintance that would make a Newton?
And pray, sir, answered Ben, do you know any young man of your acquaintance that would? But these are no arguments, sirbecause it is not every young man or won an that can carry the science of astronomy so high as Newton, it does not follow that they are incapable of the science altogether. God sees fit in every age to appoint certain persons to kindle new lights among men. And Newton was appointed greatly to enlarge our views of celestial objects." But we are not thence to inter that he was in all respects superior to other men, for we are
told that in some instances he was far inferior to other
Collins denied that Newton had ever shewn himself, in any point of wit inferior to other men.
No, indeed, replied Ben; well what do you think of that anecdote of him, lately published in the New England Courant from a London paper?
And pray what is the anecdote? asked Collins?
Why it is to this effect, said Ben-Newton, mounted on the wings of astronomy, and gazing at the mighty orbs of fire above, had entirely forgotten the poor little fire that slumbered on his own hearth below, which presently forgot him, that is in plain English, went out. The frost piercing his nerves, called his thoughts honie, when lo! in place of the spacious skies, the gorgeous antichamber of the Almighty, he found himself in his own little nut-shell apartment, cold and dark, comparatively as the dwelling of the winter screech-owl. He rung the bell for his servant, who after making a rousing fire, went out again. But scarcely had the servant recovered his warm corner in the kitchen before the vile bell, with a most furious ring, summoned him the second time. The servant flew into his master's presence. Monster! cried Newton with a face inflamed as if it had been toast. ing at the tail of one of his comets, did you mean to burn me alive? push back the fire! for Gud's sake push back the firy, or I shall be a cinder in an instant!
Push back the fire! replied the servant with a growl, zounds, sir, I thought you might have had sense enough to.push back your chair!
Collins swore that it was only, a libel against Sir Isaac.
Ben contended that he had seen it in so many different publications, that he had no sort of doubt of its truth; especially as Sir Hans Sloan had backed it with another anecdote of Newton, in the same style; and to which he avers he was both eye and ear witness.
And pray what has that butterfly philosopher to say against the immortal Newtoni asked Collins, quite angrily.
Why, replied Ben, it is this: Sloan, stepping in one day, to see Sir Isaac, was told by his servant that he was up in his study, but would be down immediately; for there, sir, you see is his dinner, which I have just set on the table it was a pheasant so neatly browned in the roasting, and withal so plump and inviting to the eye, that Sloan could not resist the temptation; but venturing on his great intimacy with the knight, sat down and picked the delicious bird to the bone; having desired ihe cook in all haste to clap another to the spit. Presently down came Sir Isaac-was very glad to see bis friend Sloan-how had he been all this time? and how did he leave his good lady and family? you have not dined?
Very glad of it indeed; very glad. Well then, come dine with me. Turning to the table, he sees the dish empty, and his plate strewed with the bones of his favourite pheasant-Lord bless me! he exclaimed, clasping his forehead, and looking betwixt laughing and blushing, at Sloan-what am I good for? I have dined, as you see, my dear friend, and yet I had entirely forgot
I don't believe a syllable of it, said Collins; not one syllable of it, sir.
No, replied Ben; nor one syllable, I suppose, of his famous courtship, when sitting by an elegant young lady, whom his friends wished him to make love to, he seized her lily white hand. But instead of pressing it with rapture to his bosoin, he thrust it into the bowl of his pipe that he was smoking: thus making a tobaccostopper of one of the loveliest fingers in England; to the inexpressible mortification of the company, and to the most dismal scolding and screaming of the dear creature!
'Tis all a lie, sir, said Collins, getting quite mad, all a confounded lie. The immortal Newton, sir, was never capable of acting so much like a blockhead. But supposing all this slang to be true, what would you infer from it, against that prince of philosophy? Why I would infer from it, replied Ben, that though a great man, he was but a man. And I would also infer from it in favour of my fair clients, that though they did not make Sir Isaac's discoveries in astronomy, they are yet very capable of comprehending them. And besides, I am astonished, Mr. Collins, how any gentleman that loves himself, as I know you do, can thus traduce the ladies.