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always mean, the offspring of innocence and of mirth; the distortions of countenance, produced by contempt, by insolence, by malice, or any other bad passion, belong to the quality called grinning, of which, as the very opposite of laughter, I may, perhaps, at a future period treat. No contemptible portion of understanding is requisite, in order to enable us to attain to any great share of risibility: curiosity and quickness of perception must precede, or laughter will not follow; without curiosity no attention can be roused; and where quickness of perception is absent, an impression will not easily be made. The Hottentot, the New Zealander, and the Esquimaux were found, by Cook, to possess neither curiosity nor the risible faculty ; but who ranks the Esquimaux, the New Zealander, or the Hottentot, very high in the scale of human excellence ? Under despotic governments, which fetter the mind, and cripple the intellect, no great risibility is to be expected, and no great risibility will be found; remember, that the genuine laughter of humanity, and the ridiculous grimace of monkeyism, are “wide as the poles asunder.” Brute beasts never laugh; and barbarians, who resemble brute beasts, are never seen to smile. Take a savage from his wood, his bog, his fastness, or his mountain, and in the place of stupid indifference and dull gravity, and soul-benumbing ignorance, by education substitute lively attention, cheerful gaiety, and elevating knowledge, and you will have transformed, into a risible animal, a wretch who was heretofore only fitted to range among the bestial herd. The old dictionary writers were so well aware that continual and systematic gravity was one and the same thing with stupidity, that they have ranked these words as synonimes; hence we see, under the article “grave, vide dull," and under the word “ dull, vide grave.” The proverbial want of risibility in the Spaniard, the German, and the Turk, is notorious to the whole world; but the Turk, the German, and the Spaniard, are all the victims of a bloody and an unrelenting despotism, in which, sense is an unpardonable crime, reason heresy, and knowledge inevitable death. The Dutch, 'tis true, are not bandaged by a despotic government, and are no laughers; but who ever accused the Dutch, or, if ever the accusation were laid, were they ever proved gnilty of having committed any depredations on the province of wit, of imagination, or of genius ? The French, even under the most iniquitous and horrible tyranny which ever tortured and desolated the human race, were risible animals; but the liveliness, and gaiety,

, and acuteness, and animation of the French, all tend strongly to prove that “the want of risibility is a mark of a weak and uncultivated intellect, a bad and a vitiated heart, or both.” The laughter loving goddess, however, seems more especially to have favoured Great Britain with her smiles, at least those parts of it called England and Ireland; for in Scotland, excepting in the Highlands, as far as I have been able, from a long residence and frequent travelling in the country, to observe, but little risibility is to be found. To descend from kingdoms to bodies, and to sects; we find those the most risible, whose religious tenets are the most pure, and whose intellect is the most expanded. The converse of this proposition is unfortunately known to be true by the whole world; the mostignorant, the most fanatic, the most bigoted, the most intolerant, the most prejudiced, the most bloody, the most pestiferous sect which ever disgraced the sacred name of religion, is also the most gloomy, the most taciturn, and the most abhorrent from laughter. Among individuals, we find those who have the greatest range of intellect, the most extensive variety of knowledge, the most acute penetration, and the least of gall and bitterness and malignity, to be the most prone to risibility. Socrates was a great laugher, and my Lord Bacon relished a joke; Chesterfield advises his son, Dormer Stanhope, not to give way to laughter, because it is vulgar, and ungenteel, and unbecoming. But Chesterfield, though not of weak intellect, will still come within the pale of the assertion, “that a want of risibility is a mark of a weak and uncultivated intellect, a bad and a vitiated heart, or both.” When we are in company, to whom

do we most fondly attach ourselves to whom is our heart knit in the strongest bonds of affection—to whom are we most cordially inclined ? to the sullen, the taciturn, the gloomy, the morose, the stupid, the watchful, the prying, the suspicious ? or to the open, the gay, the cheerful, the unsuspecting, the jocund, the lively, the intelligent, the risible ? For my own part, it is no small commendation, in my opinion, when I am informed that such a person is

a good laugher.” When we are told by Solomon, “ that even in laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of that mirth is heaviness;" we are not to understand the laughter of humanity, but that contortion of countenance which proceeds from wicked and vile passions, and to which I have before given the denomination of “

grinuing." I shall, in a future essay, attempt to shew, by tracing risibility up through some of her gradations from the broad and coarse merriment of the unrefined peasant, to the hearty but cultivated laugh of the highly intellectualized philosopher, that the more a human being extends his know

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