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diterranean, in the German and Indian Oceans, in Old France, New France, North America, the Leeward Islands, Germany, Africa, and Asia, we may fairly state the loss of men during the war at one hundred thousand. If this be the case, there must be a superplus of the other sex amounting to the same number, and this superplus will consist of women able to bear arms; as I take it for granted, that all those who are fit to bear children are likewise fit to bear arms. Now, as we have seen the nation governed by old women, I hope to make it appear that it may be defended by young women; and surely this scheme will not be rejected as unnecessary at such a juncture, when our armies in the four quarters of the globe are in want of recruits; when we find ourselves entangled in a new war with Spain, on the eve of a rupture in Italy, and indeed in a fair way of being obliged to make head against all the great potentates of Europe.
But, before I unfold my design, it may be necessary to obviate, from experience as well as argument, the objections which may be made to the delicate frame and tender disposition of the female sex rendering them incapable of the toils, and insuperably averse to the horrors of war. All the world has heard of the nation of Amazons, who inhabited the banks of the river Thermodoon in Cappadocia; who expelled their men by force of arms, defended themselves by their own prowess, managed the reins of government, prosecuted the operations in war, and held the other sex in the utmost contempt. We are informed by Homer, that Penthesilea, queen of the Amazons, acted as auxiliary to Priam, and fell valiantly fighting in his cause before the walls of Troy. Quintus Curtius tells us, that Thalestris brought one hundred armed Amazons in a present to Alexander the Great. Diodorus Siculus expressly says, there was a nation of female warriors in Africa, who fought
against the Lybian Hercules. We read in the Voyages of Columbus, that one of the Carribbee Islands was possessed by a tribe of female warriors, who kept all the neighbouring Indians in awe; but we need not go further than our own age and country to prove, that the spirit and constitution of the fair sex are equal to the dangers and fatigues of war. Every novice who has read the authentic and important History of the Pirates, is well acquainted with the exploits of two heroines, called Mary Read and Anne Bonny. I myself have had the honour to drink with Anne Cassier, alias Mother Wade, who had distinguished herself among the Buccaneers of America, and in her old age kept a punch-house in Port-Royal of Jamaica. I have likewise conversed with Moll Davis, who had served as a dragoon in all Queen Anne's wars, and was admitted on the pension of Chelsea. The late war with Spain, and even the present, hath produced instances of females enlisting both in the land and sea service, and behaving with remarkable bravery in the disguise of the other sex. And who has not heard of the celebrated Jenny Cameron, and some other enterprising ladies of North Britain, who attended a certain Adventurer in all his expeditions, and headed their respective clans in a military character? That strength of body is often equal to the courage of mind implanted in the fair sex, will not be denied by those who have seen the waterwomen of Plymouth; the female drudges of Ireland, Wales, and Scotland; the fishwomen of Billingsgate; the weeders, podders, and hoppers, who swarm in the fields; and the bunters who swagger in the streets of London; not to mention the indefatigable trulls who follow the camp, and keep up with the line of march, though loaded with bantlings and other baggage.
There is scarcely a street in this metropolis without one or more viragos, who discipline their husbands and domineer over the whole neighbourhood. Many months are not
elapsed since I was witness to a pitched battle between two athletic females, who fought with equal skill and fury, until one of them gave out, after having sustained seven falls on the hard stones. They were both stripped to the under-petticoat; their breasts were carefully swathed with handkerchiefs, and as no vestiges of features were to be seen in either when I came up, I imagined the combatants were of the other sex, until a bystander assured me of the contrary, giving me to understand, that the conqueror had lain-in about five weeks of twin bastards, begot by her second, who was an Irish chairman. When I see the avenues of the Strand beset every night with troops of fierce Amazons, who, with dreadful imprecations, stop and beat and plunder passengers, I cannot help wishing, that such martial talents were converted to the benefit of the public; and that those who are so loaded with temporal fire, and so little afraid of eternal fire, should, instead of ruining the souls and bodies of their fellow-citizens, be put in a way of turning their destructive qualities against the enemies of the nation.
Having thus demonstrated that the fair sex are not deficient in strength and resolution, I would humbly propose, that as there is an excess on their side in quantity to the amount of one hundred thousand, part of that number may be employed in recruiting the army, as well as in raising thirty new Amazonian regiments, to be commanded by females, and serve in regimentals adapted to their sex. The Amazons of old appeared with the left breast bare, an open jacket, and trowsers that descended no farther than the knee; the right breast was destroyed, that it might not impede them in bending the bow, or darting the javelin; but there is no occasion for this cruel excision in the present discipline, as we have seen instances of women who handle the musquet, without finding any inconvenience from that protuberance.
As the sex love gaiety, they may be clothed in vests of pink sattin and open drawers of the same, with buskins on their feet and legs, their hair tied behind and floating on their shoulders, and their hats adorned with white feathers: they may be armed with light carbines and long bayonets, without the incumbrance of swords or shoulder-belts. I make no doubt but many young ladies of figure and fashion will undertake to raise companies at their own expense, provided they like their colonels; but I must insist upon it, if this scheme should be embraced, that Mr. Henriquez's seven blessed daughters may be provided with commissions, as the project is in some measure owing to the hints of that venerable patriot. I moreover give it as my opinion, that Mrs. Kitty Fisher shall have the command of a battalion, and the nomination of her own officers, provided she will warrant them all sound, and be content to wear proper badges of distinction.
A female brigade, properly disciplined and accoutred, would not, I am persuaded, be afraid to charge a numerous body of the enemy, over whom they would have a manifest advantage; for if the barbarous Scythians were ashamed to fight with the Amazons who invaded them, surely the French, who pique themselves on their sensibility and devotion to the fair sex, would not act upon the offensive against a band of female warriors, arrayed in all the charms of youth and beauty.
ON A TASTE FOR THE BELLES-LETTRES.
Amidst the frivolous pursuits and pernicious dissipations of the present age, a respect for the qualities of the
understanding still prevails to such a degree, that almost every individual pretends to have a taste for the BellesLettres. The spruce 'prentice sets up for a critic, and the puny beau piques himself upon being a connoisseur. Without assigning causes for this universal presumption, we shall proceed to observe, that if it was attended with no other inconvenience than that of exposing the pretender to the ridicule of those few who can sift his pretensions, it might be unnecessary to undeceive the public, or to endeavour at the reformation of innocent folly, productive of no evil to the commonwealth. But in reality this folly is productive of manifold evils to the community. If the reputation of Taste can be acquired without the least assistance of literature, by reading modern poems and seeing modern plays, what person will deny himself the pleasure of such an easy qualification? Hence the youth of both sexes are debauched to diversion, and seduced from much more profitable occupations, into idle endeavours after literary fame; and a superficial false taste, founded on ignorance and conceit, takes possession of the public. The acquisition of learning, the study of nature, is neglected as superfluous labour; and the best faculties of the mind remain unexercised and indeed unopened, by the power of thought and reflection. False taste will not only diffuse itself through all our amusements, but even influence our moral and political conduct; for what is false taste, but want of perception to discern propriety and distinguish beauty.
It has often been alleged, that taste is a natural talent, as independent of art as strong eyes, or a delicate sense of smelling; and, without all doubt, the principal ingredient in the composition of taste is a natural sensibility, without which it cannot exist; but it differs from the senses in this particular, that they are finished by nature, whereas