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proaching to mediocrity. Thus we may distinguish in the world, those who want education, and those who want practice. Fine writing is often the effect of particular instruction; then it is connected with the situation or employment in life, and generally denotes it. Thus we immediately recognize the writing of a merchant and many other occupations, in which a careful hand is an indispensable requisite ; but where so much art is used, nature is scarcely perceptible. A practised eye may, however, distinguish several shades of difference connected with certain traits of the character; but in the subsequent observations we shall only comment on that writing, in the formation of which education has neither had too great nor too insignificant a share, and which may, therefore, be considered as natural.
It is in general very easy to discern the difference between the writing of the two sexes. If it were a part of our social regulations that women should adopt a particular style of their own; if models were presented to them for their imitation, different from those which are used to form the hand-writing of men, we might regard the distinction as independent of the character peculiar to each sex. But they learn from the same models, on the same principles, and from the same masters. It is true that women are less exercised in the art;-that the same degree of perfection is not required from them; still, whatever may be the difference which might result from these causes, it is by no means characteristic of the two kinds of writing. Want of practice and care may often be discovered in the hand-writing of a man; but there is always something decidedly masculine perceptible in its formation. Although a woman write well and with facility, in the like manner there is always a peculiarity which betrays We are far from asserting that we may not sometimes be deceived, but it is the same as in her physiognomy, which is equally remarkable for a distinctness of character, though in certain cases it may lead us into error.
Whoever suffers his opinions to be shaken by some exceptions, either will never form any judgment at all, or will be deceived more frequently
than he who is guided by general rules. It is a fact which must be obvious to all, that there is less strength, less firmness and boldness in the hand-writing of a woman, than in that of a man; and this not because it is necessary to possess these qualities in an eminent degree, to trace the characters which represent them. Women might probably write otherwise, but that they are not naturally so inclined. Endowed with less force they exert it less; their, slender hands lean more lightly on the paper ;— accustomed to more caution and reserve in their actions, their pens do not dash on with manly freedom. To this care is united a delicacy in the formation of their letters, and a gracefulness in the character, perfectly corresponding with their taste.
Every nation is distinguished by a physiognomy peculiar to itself. We discover the country of a foreigner by his features, his air, his language. Even the most trivial points conduce to develope his national character; it is observable more particularly in his gestures, and in his hand-writing. The choice of the form of the letters may be the effect of chance-may be borrowed from other countries; but it is always modified by that which adopts it. It is the genius of the people which produces the modification. The greater part of the po lished nations of Europe make use of the same form of letters; but the writing of each possesses a peculiar character. We thus distinguish an Euglishman, a Frenchman, or an Italian, as readily by his hand-writing as by his features or complexion. We shall confine ourselves to one observation as to the character of national writing. That of the Italians is remarkable for an extraordinary delicacy and suppleness; and these are the most prominent features of the genius of that nation.
The resemblance so frequently to be traced between members of the same family is also equally observable in their hand-writing. It is, perhaps, less striking, because the figure, address, voice, language, and manners, present a greater number of proofs, but it is not the less positive. It may, perhaps, be ascribed to their having received the same education, to their having been accustomed to follow the same models, and in some
degree, to imitate each other. But even allowing a certain influence to education, which would affect mainly the form of the letters, there will always remain modifications, governed almost entirely by the moral character. Education should only strengthen this resemblance, and not be the primary cause of it. Thus branches of the same family, who have been brought up together, sometimes write wholly unlike each other, whilst that of others very far distant, and who have received an entirely different education, is strikingly similar.
Of all the performances of man, nothing bears 80 exclusively the stamp of the individual, as his handwriting. Painters and Sculptors have some touch by which they are particularly distinguished; but to recognize an artist by his productions, it is necessary that long study should have perfected the taste, and exercised the judgment. Neither art or practice, however, is necessary to enable us to discover the hand of a person, whose writing we have seen before. It is so strongly indicative of the individual, that the legislature of every nation has attached more importance to a signature, than to the testimony of many witnesses.
Age, which weakens our bodily activity so materially, must necessarily impress a singular character on our hand-writing. The latter becomes fixed or set pretty nearly at the same period when the mental character is formed; it afterwards acquires the strength and boldness of manhood; and the vacillating hand of old age, so different from that of youth, obviously displays the ravages of time. Sickness may, during the vigour of our youth, render the hand unsteady; but if it does not extend its influence over the intellectual and moral faculties, the energies they enjoy will be secure, notwithstanding the indifferent shape of the letters.,
Any thing irregular is offensive to the eye of the lover of order; this is not the effect of reason, but of taste. Reason may strengthen this inclination, and appear the source of it; for there is nothing more agreeable to reason than order and regularity, which feeling is strong and undeviating, and displays itself in the principal circumstances of life. The handwriting will consequently exhibit
traces of it. It is the distinguishing feature of that of a merchant. ated by this sentiment, he would place but little confidence in one of his clerks, whose writing was careless and irregular, or slovenly, although perfectly legible. Every one is not endowed with a facility of writing with regularity. Those whose ideas are continually wandering, cannot, of course, fix their attention sufficiently to the subject; others write too rapidly, and are carried away either by natural vivacity, or else agitated by the emotion of the moment. Some, from that inconstancy which forms the basis of their character, often vary the proportions and distances; and many, from natural impetuosity of disposition, are unable to controul their own impulses. We may observe, therefore, that the love of regularity must coincide with several other qualities, in order that the desire of writing with precision may be carried into full effect.
(To be continued.)
Aug. 30. HE principle of the Poor Laws (compulsory relief) is radically bad, because it absolutely tends to produce the evil which it professes to redress. By being a bounty in favour of idleness and improvidence, it gives one shilling to a person, who, by the dependence upon the system, loses the habit aud necessity of acquiring two. Except with relation to age, infancy, or infirmity, it gives an inviduous eleemosynary aid by legal enactment to the most unworthy part of the poor; plainly informing the better sort, that they are to look for no other reward for their privations and industrious habits, than compulsory contribution.-1 do not wish to speak on this subject from speculative data. Hitherto no remedy has been found for imposition, but the establishment of a well-conducted Workhouse, and publication of the names of the paupers. I am in the habit of attending the Parochial Vestry of the village where I reside, and know that the rates were reduced in one year from 1000l. to 5007. without inhumanity, because the Workhouse system was enforced. St. Paul says, "If a man will not work, neither shall he eat;" and upon this authorized principle, I presume that a drunken or idle pauper should
be consigned to the house of correction, and food of every kind be refused, until he had performed every day one-third more labour than that done by workmen in a state of liberty. The produce of these earnings I would devote to the family of such pauper (if he had any); if not, to the Overseer of his Parish, for charitable distribution among those poor who did not receive aid. At present the earnings of all Prisoners go to the County stock, after deduction of a certain part by way of fee to the Prison-keepers; and what with the lenity of the Magistracy, in respect to the quantum of labour, and the humanity, sometimes false philanthropy, of the whole system, imprisonment loses its corrective power, and becomes a mere change of residence. I would add to this a power in the Overseers to demand, upon oath, a statement of the manner in which every pauper applying for relief had disposed of his earnings for some time past; and would institute a Board of Commissioners, consisting of Independent Gentlemen, like those of the Assessed Taxes, who should direct the masters of workmen, with families, to set apart weekly a certain sum, where the wages of such workmen exceeded a given amount: The sums so accumulated to be devoted to the use of the workmen under certain emergencies. This is a method which I know to have been successfully practised upon the establishment of infant manufactories; and, if it be true, that in the iron trade, men have been known to earn 31. a week, and boys 18s. I really cannot see any infringement of English Liberty, in acting paternally towards those, who, certainly in money matters, behave much like children. I have heard that Mr. Whitbread, father of the late eminent Parliamentary character, used to inquire of each of his dependants, how much he had saved at the end of the year; and add a contribution, upon the principle of the parable of the Talents, according to the respective savings.
Entertaining, as I do, a decided opinion, that any thing short of an eligible system of colonization will only prove a palliative, never a cure of the evil of excessive population, I have confined myself to simple experiments, which have been successfully treated.
Here I beg to draw your readers' attention to a pamphlet which has been already noticed in your pages (i. 537. ii. 39), "Hints towards an attempt to relieve the Poor-Rate."
The leading object of it is to recommend prohibition of Parochial Relief to all persons, who marry below the age of thirty, except under very urgent necessity, and that from the age of thirty to fifty none shall have an allowance exceeding 5s. per week (p. 5.)
Now, says Dr. Johnson, "All positions are great, in proportion as they are not limited by exceptions." The poor marry, not because they are disposed to settle in such a state, but because the Bastardy Laws leave no alternative between matrimony or imprisonment, or emigration. For my own part, I believe that the Poor-rate system itself is in principle and operation so bad, as jointly tending to corrode the morals of the poor, and property of the rich, that I conceive any emendations to be merely props of a house, of which the foundation is unsound. In fact, I think that a fund ought to be raised for the poor, but that relief from that fund ought not to be matter of course, as it now is, except with relation to infants, invalids, deserted females, and persons under extraordinary circumstances; at all events, that hard work should be the sole condition upon which relief in this compulsory form should ever be obtained under other circumstances. I mean to say, that a person claiming parochial relief, should not be able to obtain it, if in good health, unless be performed as much work, as can be done in the day, by the job, not by the time; for fear of work is the only preventive of application.
In no Pa
One observation more. rish in this Kingdom is there a sufficient number of sempstresses. Every family knows the utility and scarcity of such persons. Mistresses of fami lies have not time to attend to the affairs of such wasting extravagant persons, as Shirts, and Stockings, and Childrens' Frocks. Every village of one thousand souls could employ at least twenty sempstresses; and ten botching taylors. I throw out this hint to Overseers, under the hopes that cripples and sickly paupers may be instructed in these employs.