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to be a great refolver of fpafms, and lubricator of the fibres; this power it probably owes to its fmoothnefs. For as its fluidity depends, according to the most general opinion, on the round ness, smoothness, and weak cohesion of the component parts of any body; and as water acts merely as a fimple fluid; it follows, that the cause of its fluidity is likewise the cause of its relaxing quality; namely, the smoothness and flippery texture of its parts. The other fluid vehicle of taftes is oil. This too, when fimple, is infipid, inodorous, colourlefs, and fimooth to the touch and tafte. It is fmoother than water, and in many cafes yet more relaxing. Oil is in fome degree pleasant to the eye, the touch, and the taste, infipid as it is. Water is not fo grateful; which I do not know on what principle to account for, other than that water is not fo foft and fmooth. Suppofe that to this oil or water were added a certain quantity of a fpecifick falt, which had a power of putting the nervous papillæ of the tongue into a gentle vibratory motion; as fuppofe fugar diffolved in it. The fmoothness of the oil, and the vibratory power of the falt,, caufe the fenfe we call fweetnefs In all fweet bodies, fugar, or a fubftance very little different from fugar, is conftantly found; every fpecies of falt, examined by the microfcope, has its own distinct, regukur, invariable form. That of nitre is a pointed oblong; that of fea-falt an exact VOL. I.



cube; that of fugar a perfect globe. If you have tried how smooth globular bodies, as the marbles with which boys amuse themselves, have affected the touch when they are rolled backward and forward and over one another, you will eafily conceive how sweetnefs, which confifts in a falt of fuch nature, affects the tafte; for a fingle globe, (though fomewhat pleasant to the feeling) yet by the regularity of its form, and the fomewhat too fudden deviation of its parts from a right line, is nothing near fo pleasant to the touch as feveral globes, where the hand gently rises to one and falls to another; and this pleasure is greatly increased if the globes are in motion, and fliding over one another; for this foft variety prevents that weariness, which the uniform difpofition of the several globes would otherwife produce. Thus in sweet liquors, the parts of the fluid vehicle, though most probably round, are yet fo minute, as to conceal the figure of their component parts from the nicest inquifition of the microscope; and confequently being fo exceffively minute, they have a fort of flat fimplicity to the taste, resembling the effects of plain fmooth bodies to the touch; for if a body be composed of round parts exceffively small, and packed pretty closely together, the furface will be both to the fight and touch as if it were nearly plain and fmooth. It is clear from their unveiling their figure to the microscope, that the particles of fugar


are confiderably larger than thofe of water or oil, and confequently, that their effects from their roundness will be more diftinct and palpable to the nervous papillæ of that nice organ the tongue: they will induce that sense called sweetness, which in a weak manner we difcover in oil, and in a yet weaker in water; for, infipid as they are, water and oil are in fome degree fweet; and it may be obferved, that infipid things of all kinds approach more nearly to the nature of sweetness than to that of any other taste.



IN the other fenfes we have remarked, that fmooth things are relaxing. Now it ought to appear that sweet things, which are the fmooth of taste, are relaxing too. It is remarkable, that in fome languages foft and fweet have but one name. Doux in French fignifies soft as well as fweet. The Latin Dulcis, and the Italian Dolce, have in many cafes the fame double fignification. That fweet things are generally relaxing, is evident; because all fuch, especially those which are most oily, taken frequently, or in a large quantity, very much enfeeble the tone of the ftomach. Sweet fmells, which bear a great affinity to fweet tastes, relax very remarkably. The fmell of flowers difpofes people


people to drowsiness; and this relaxing effect is further apparent from the prejudice which people of weak nerves receive from their ufe. It were worth while to examine, whether taftes of this kind, sweet ones, tastes that are caused by smooth oils and a relaxing falt, are not the originally pleafant taftes. For many, which ufe has rendered fuch, were not at all agreeable at first. The way to examine this is, to try what nature has originally provided for us, which fhe has undoubtedly made originally pleasant; and to analyse this provifion. Milk is the first fupport of our childhood. The component parts of this are water, oil, and a fort of a very sweet falt, called the fugar of milk. All these when blended have a great smoothnefs to the tafte, and a relaxing quality to the skin. The next thing children covet is fruit, and of fruits thofe principally which are sweet;" and every one knows that the fweetnefs of fruit is caused by a fubtile oil, and fuch falt as that mentioned in the laft fection. Afterwards, custom, habit, the defire of novelty, and a thousand other causes, confound, adulterate, and change our palates, fo that we can no longer reafon with any fatisfaction about them. Before we quit this article, we muft obferve, that as smooth things are, as fuch, agreeable to the tafte, and are found of a relaxing quality; fo, on the other hand, things which are found by experience to be of a strength

ening quality, and fit to brace the fibres, are almoft univerfally rough and pungent to the tafte, and in many cafes rough even to the touch. We often apply the quality of fweetnefs, metaphorically, to vifual objects. For the better carrying on this remarkable analogy of the fenfes, we may here call fweetnefs the beautiful of the tafte.



ANOTHER principal property of beautiful objects is, that the line of their parts is continually varying its direction; but it varies it by a very infenfible deviation; it never varies it fo quickly as to surprise, or by the sharpness of its angle to cause any twitching or convulfion of the optick nerve. Nothing long continued in the fame manner, nothing very fuddenly varied, can be beautiful; because both are oppofite to that agreeable relaxation which is the characteristick effect of beauty. It is thus in all the fenfes. A motion in a right line, is that manner of moving next to a very gentle defcent, in which we meet the leaft refiftance; yet it is not that manner of moving, which, next to a defcent, wearies us the leaft. Reft certainly tends to relax: yet there is a fpecies of motion which relaxes more than reft; a gentle ofcillatory motion, a rifing and falling. Rocking fets

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