In the center an angel sits on a throne. Next to it stand four figures, one holding a sword, one holding an anchor, and one leaning on a book entitled Morality. On its other side, five women dance in a circle; a serpent and staff lies next to them.
The Female Spectator.
Printed and publiſhed by T. Gardner, at
Cowley’s-Head, oppoſite St. Clement’s-Church
in the Strand. 1745M,DCC,XLV.
To Her Grace the Dutcheſs of Bedford, This Second Volume of the Female Spectator is Inscribed (With all due Submiſſion)
By Her Grace’s Moſt Devoted Servants,
The Female Spectator.
There is no one Thing more generally talk’d of, and ſo little underſtood, as the Sin of Ingratitude. All complain of it in others, but none acknowledge it in themſelves; tho’ few there are, even among the moſt generous ſpirited Perſons in the World, that are not at ſome Times compell’d, by an unavoidable Neceſſity, to Actions which may draw on them the Imputation of this Vice:――The Truth is, that to be totally free from it depends not wholly on ourſelves but on Chance, Circumſtances and the Influence of Paſſions:――One may be guilty of it even without knowing we are ſo; and innocent without the Direction of Principle.――There are indeed no eſtabliſhed A2 Rules 4 A2v 4 Rules for it, and the Definition is no leſs a Myſtery than the Philoſopher’s Stone.
I am led into this Reflection by a Letter that now lies upon the Table, and the Publiſher of theſe Monthly Lucubrations tells me was put into his Hands ſome Days ſince by a Perſon who had more the Appearance of a Spectre than a living Man:—I ſhall preſent my Readers with it, not only becauſe the Piece is pretty extraordinary in its kind, but alſo as it gave Occaſion to ſome Speculations which have not yet perhaps been hit upon by any of our Public Writers, and may be of Service in clearing up thoſe Ideas which at present ſeem confuſed and indiſtinct.
To the Female Spectator. Ladies, or Gentlemen, Madam, or Sir, Whether you are a ſingle or collective Body, whether Female, as you pretend, or Male, as the Strength and Energy of your Writings tempts me rather to believe; if you have a Human Heart you will pity the calamitous Circumſtance which occaſions this Epiſtle. Know then, good Spectator, without farther Ceremony, that it was my Misfortune (for ſo it hitherto has prov’d) to fall into the Acquaintance of a young Lady, who has every thing 5 A3r 5 thing in her worthy of univerſal Adoration;―― Fain would I give you the Picture of this Angel, but no Words can paint her ſuch as ſhe is; I will however venture on a Sketch, ſome Out-lines of her various Excellencies, and leave your own Imagination to fill them up. —Her Eyes,—Oh killing Eyes! ſeem to invite with their bewitching Softneſs the tendereſt Wiſhes, yet at the ſame time ſtrike an Awe into the boldeſt heart:—Her Skin is of a more dazzling Whiteneſs than new-fallen Snow, thro’ which, as Skhakeſpear ſays, the pure and eloquent Blood peeps in and out in moſt becoming Bluſhes:—Around her matchleſs Mouth a thouſand Loves and Graces continually play in dimpling Smiles:—Majeſty blended with a Look of Infant Innocence is diffus’d o’er every Feature:—Her Hair, her Hands, her Neck, her fine turn’d Shape, would ſingly charm the raviſh’d Gazer, but there is ſomething in her Air which not the moſt extenſive Fancy can form any Figure of, without having ſeen the Divine Original:—If ſhe but plays her Fan, takes Snuff, on the leaſt Motion of a Hand, a Finger, a ſparkling Dignity flies from her, filling all the Place.――What muſt ſhe then be when Dancing!—I once had the Honour to lead her up a Minuet; but oh God, how little was I capable of keeping Time to the Muſick, or obſerving any Step!—My ill Behaviour muſt have render’d me the Ridicule of the whole Company, had not every Eye been too much taken up with my adorable Partner 6 A3v 6 Partner to throw away a Look on me: She however took but too much Notice of it, and refuſed to dance with me any more, which you may believe threw me into the moſt mortal Agitations; but I ſhall give you, in the cloſe of this Epistle, a full Account of all my Sufferings from this Ungrateful Fair, in the mean Time I muſt proceed to the Detail of her Perfections: If there could be in Nature greater Charms than what are diſplay’d in her Perſon and Dancing, they would be found in the extatick Accents of her Voice:—Every Word ſhe ſpeaks is Harmony itſelf, but when ſhe ſings, the Soul of Muſick iſſues from her Lips:—What the celebrated Mr. Waller ſays of his Mira, may, I dare affirm, with infinitely more Juſtice be applyed to my adorable Arpaſia. The Wretch who from her Wit and Beauty flies,If ſhe but reach him with her Voice he dies, But it were an endleſs Taſk to enumerate the many Ways ſhe has of captivating Mankind; I will, therefore, only give you a brief Account of the Beauties of her Mind in her Conduct and Behaviour, and then have done. She maintains a perfect Chearfulneſs without the leaſt Mixture of Levity:—She is never the firſt in any Faſhion, and when enter’d into it goes not to the Extremity:――She chuſes 7 A4r 7 chuſes rather to wear Cloaths leſs rich than her Birth and Fortune will allow of, than to have the leaſt Appearance of Extravagance about her:—She preſerves a modeſt Reſerve, yet makes no Shew of it:—She goes but ſeldom to Places of public Diverſion, and never but in the Company of ſome near Relation:―― In fine, all her Actions are governed by a Prudence far above her Years, nor can Envy find any thing to traduce. Being ſuch as I have deſcrib’d, tho’ infinitely ſhort of what ſhe is, you will not wonder that I became enamour’d with her at firſt Sight, or that my Paſſion grew more ſtrong as I grew more acquainted with her Perfections: ――It was however accompanied with an Awe which would not ſuffer me to reveal what it was I felt for a long Time; but alas! there was little need of Words, every Look, every Action ſpoke the Meaning of my Soul, and ſaid I died for her:—Indeed I lived not but in her Preſence, and when abſent from her was but the Ghoſt of myſelf.—All my Friends took Notice of the Change in me, nor were long without diſcovering both the Cauſe and Object:—As they knew there could be no Objections on the Account of my Birth, Fortune, or Character in the World, they laugh’d at my Timidity, and at laſt inſpir’d me with Courage enough to declare myſelf, which you may be ſure I did in the moſt paſſionate and reſpectful Terms my Heart could dictate: 8 A4v 8 dictate:—But, O God! with what a ſtabbing Indifference did ſhe receive my Suit!—Had ſhe treated it with Scorn or Anger, I ſhould have been apt to have flatter’d myſelf either of theſe had proceeded from that Affectation young Ladies frequently aſſume on the firſt Addreſſes of a new Lover; but the cold Civility, the unmov’d Reſerve with which ſhe heard me, ſtruck like a Bolt of Ice through all my Soul, and gave a mortal Damp to all the Fires of Hope:—I grew pale,—I trembled,—I was ready to fall down in a Swoon at her Feet; and fearing I ſhould be guilty of ſomething unbecoming my Sex, took ſuch a haſty and confuſed Leave, that had the leaſt Sparks of Compaſſion harboured in her Breaſt, muſt have prevail’d on her to have call’d me back:――But alas! ſhe ſuffer’d me to depart without ſeeming even to obſerve my Diſorder:—Unequal’d Cruelty!――Barbarous Charming Maid!—Yet this is ſhort of what I afterwards experienc’d from her unrelenting Heart. The enſuing Night I paſt in Agonies too terrible for Repetition:—Sleep was an utter Stranger to my Eyes:—The next Morning was wholly taken up in forming a Letter to her, which at laſt I did tho’ in a moſt diſtracted Strain, in ſpite of all my Care, and writing over above an hundred Times in order to render my Meaning leſs deſerving her Ridicule:—Nothing notwithſtanding could have been more humble, 9 B1r 9 humble, more pity-moving:—Yet what was the Effect?—She opened, read, and ſent it back under a Cover, in which I found this rigorous Sentence. Sir, I am very much oblig’d to the high Opinion you have of my Merit; but as it ſeems to have given Birth to an Inclination, which I am certain will never be in my Power to encourage, muſt beg you will deſiſt your Viſits till you have ceas’d to think in the Manner you now profeſs to do of Arpasia. Nothing but Death itſelf could have inflicted more ſevere Pangs, than thoſe I felt at peruſing theſe few Lines:—I accus’d Fate, and the Ingratitude of my cruel Charmer, as I had Cauſe to do; yet ſtill I loved, and in the bittereſt Anguiſh my tortured Soul could feel, kiſs’d the Paper which contained my Doom: I never ſhould have done, ſhould I go about to relate the thouſandth Part of the Particulars of my sufferings; I will therefore only trouble you with no more than what is abſolutely neceſſary to let you into the true State of the Caſe:—Several of my Friends, ſenſible of my Condition, renewed their Endeavours for my Conſolation; and one of them being acquainted with the Father of Arpaſia, ſpoke to him in my Behalf; the old Gentleman ſeem’d highly ſatisfied with my Eſtate, Perſon, and Character, and ſaid he ſhould be very glad B to 10 B1v 10 to have me in his Family, provided his Daughter had the ſame Kindneſs for me; but added, he would never put any Conſtraint on her Inclinations, and therefore would give no poſitive Anſwer till he had diſcourſed with her on that Subject. Fain would thoſe who wiſh’d me well have perſwaded me that the Coldneſs Arpaſia had treated me with, ſprung only from not having the Sanction of her Father’s Commands to authorize a more kind Reception, and that every thing would now be according to my Wiſhes: But all they ſaid was ineffectual to remove entirely that Grief, which her Behaviour had ſettled on my Heart; and I remain’d fluctuating between Hope and Deſpair, till the Day appointed by her Father for giving a deciſive Anſwer being arrived, my Kinſman brought me a heavy Confirmation of what I moſt fear’d would be the Reſult,—That he had ſounded his Daughter’s Inclinations, and found they were not in my Favour; ſo deſir’d I would not give myſelf any farther Trouble. This Meſſage, tho’ dreſs’d up in many Compliments, threw me into a Fever:—My Life was despair’d of:—Freſh Applications were made both to Father and Daughter:—All were unſucceſsful; yet I recovered, if a Man may be ſaid to be ſo, who is continually waſting with inward Pinings:—I ſummon’d all my Courage, imagin’d I could content myſelf with ſeeing her, tho’ at a Diſtance, and quitted my Bed 11 B2r 11 Bed, in order to purſue her with my Eyes wherever ſhe went:—I had the cruel Bleſſing of beholding her at Church one Sunday Morning, and flattering myſelf with doing ſo in the Afternoon, went again, but the inexorable Creature was not there, though ſhe had never been known to miſs before:—I ſought her in the Park,—at the Opera,—the Play,—at each of theſe Places found her once, but no more. —In a Word, ſhe chooſe to deprive herſelf of every thing that gave her Pleaſure, rather than allow me that poor one of ſeeing the Face that had deprived me of all other Comforts:―― Was ever Ingratitude like this!—Was ever Fate ſo hard as mine!—Yet all ſhe does cannot abate my Paſſion; nor is it in her Power to hide herſelf ſo entirely, but that I ſometimes get a Glance:――In a Diſguiſe I watch about the Houſe, ſee her get into her Coach: ――ſee her with all that deluding Softneſs in her Eyes, which almoſt tempts me to give the Lye to my own Reaſon and Experience, and pronounce her as good-natured as ſhe is fair. My whole Time is taken up with haunting her in this Manner:—All Day I ſkulk in Corners like a Thief, and ſhun the Light, and at Night ſtand Centinel oppoſite her Chamber- Window, bleſt to ſee her Shadow through the Curtains, while undreſſing for Bed. B2 This, 12 B2v 12 This, worthy Spectator, is the ſole Buſineſs I am capable of purſuing:――This the ſole Pleaſure I can taſte; and in this I am wholly loſt to all my Kindred, Friends, Acquaintance, and almoſt to myſelf.—Never was there a Cauſe in which your Pen could be more worthily employed than in an Endeavour to preſerve the Senſes, the Life, nay the very Soul from Death of an unfortunate miſerable Man, who is ſo only by his having too great a Share of Love and Conſtancy for the moſt amiable Woman in the World. Exert then all your Eloquence to move the Heart of my obdurate Fair, to give her a lively Senſe of her Ingratitude, and convince her how ill ſo foul a Vice becomes ſo beauteous a Form:――She is a conſtant Reader of your Eſſays, a great Admirer of them, has often ſaid the World would be happy could it once be brought to follow the Maxims you lay down: ――Who knows, therefore, but ſhe may be wrought upon herſelf when ſo favourite an Advocate vouchſafes to plead:—Ingratitude is a copious Subject, or were it leſs ſo, my unhappy Story might give you a ſufficient Hint.— It is a Theme I think you have never touch’d upon, and perhaps will be no leſs agreeable to a great many of your Readers, than to the Sorrowful Amintor.
Poor Amintor! He is in a deſperate Situation indeed, and if the Female Spectator’s Pity will do 13 B3r 13 do him any good, I am commiſſioned by our little Club to tell him he is heartily welcome to it; but am ſorry to acquaint him withal, that we are afraid, by the Hiſtory he gives us of the Progreſs of his Paſſion, Pity will be all the Conſolation he will ever be able to procure. Nothing can be more plain, than that the Lady finds no Diſpoſitions in her Heart of that Kind, which he places his whole Happineſs in inſpiring: There is no accounting for Antipathies in Nature, nor is the ſtrongeſt Reaſon ſufficient to ſurmount them:—In vain his Love and Conſtancy have a Claim to her Regard:—In vain her Father’s Aſſent would authorize that Regard: —In vain a Parity of Age, of Circumſtances, of Birth, concur to render a Marriage between them ſuitable; if that ſecret Impulſe that rules the Heart be wanting, all other Conſiderations are of no force to attach.
This therefore being evidently the Cauſe that Amintor is rejected, he ought not to accuſe Arpaſia for what is not in her Power to remedy: —She can no more love him, than he can forbear loving her:—The Sentiments on each Side are involuntary; and where the Obligation is not of the Will, there can be no Ingratitude in refuſing the Recompence:—Not but it were to be wiſh’d, for the Happineſs of both, that Arpaſia could meet ſo ardent and ſo ſincere an Affection as that of Amintor, with an equal Warmth; but ſince it cannot be, and Nature is refractory, he ſhould endeavour rather to forget, and enable himſelf 14 B3v 14 himſelf to live without her, than perpetuate his Paſſion and Anxieties by any idle Hopes of living with her.
There are many Methods to be taken which may heighten and invigorate a Paſſion that has once gain’d Entrance; but no human Power can inſpire it in Contradiction to the Heart: All Attempts therefore that the Female Spectator could make for that Purpoſe would be Labour loſt; and Amintor ought to think it more kind in us to adviſe him to quit the vain Purſuit, than by pretending to plead in his Favour flatter him with deceitful Expectations, which would only ſerve to add to his Diſquiet in the End.―― Time, Abſence, and a conſtant Exertion of his Reaſon, may one Day reſtore his Liberty, but nothing can be done for him to make him eaſy in his Chains.
I would have him conſider, in the firſt Place, the invincible Obſtacle between him and the Accompliſhment of his Wiſhes; and in the next, that were there a Poſſibility of her ever being prevail’d upon, by a Romantic Generoſity, to give herſelf to him, and do a Violence to her own Inclinations for the Gratification of his, the Happineſs of ſuch a Union would be far from perfect:—A Paſſion ſo fervent as he pretends to be inſpired with, could never be ſordidly contented with being bleſs’d alone:—The chief Felicity of true Affection conſiſts in the Power of beſtowing it; and tho’ in full Poſſeſſion of the Body, 15 B4r 15 Body, he would ſtill lannguiſh in a conſcious Inability of having influenc’d the Mind.
I wonder that his own good Senſe did not long ago remind him of this Truth, as it ſeems not to have done by his never making any Efforts for ſubduing a Paſſion, which, from the very Beginning, threaten’d him with Deſpair:――He confeſſes ſhe received the firſt Overtures of it with a Coldneſs which had nothing of Affectation in it, and no ſooner knew the Motives of his Viſits than ſhe refuſed to see him any more: ――It was not poſſible for her to teſtify a more ſincere Diſlike of his Addreſſes, nor a greater Inclination to check in their Infancy Deſires, which by their Growth would be fatal to his Peace: —He might have loved a Woman (as too many ſuch there are) who, fond of Admiration even from the Man ſhe hated, would have encourag’d his Pretenſions;—fed his Flame with the Fewel of vain Hopes, only to make the Damps of her Diſdain more ſhocking, and then triumph’d in the Ruin ſhe occaſion’d: But Arpaſia I find by his own Confeſſion is not one of theſe;—ſhe has acted toward him with Honour and Diſcretion, and I not only acquit her of all Ingratitude, but pronounce Amintor the Perſon obliged; and he ought to take Care, that in not acknowledging he is ſo, he does not draw on himself that Imputation he unjuſtly offers to fix on her.
Ingratitude implies a Want of Will 16 B4v 16 Will when one has the Power of returning a real Benefit: Now this is ſo far from being the Caſe before us, that, as I think I have already proved, Arpaſia in the firſt Place is wholly deſtitute of Power to return the Benefit, if it were a Benefit, of Amintor’s Paſſion, and in the next to be loved by a Perſon one cannot love, is not a Benefit but a Perſecution; at leaſt, it is certainly ſo to this Lady, ſince it obliges her to impoſe a Baniſhment on herſelf from all the Places ſhe has been accuſtomed to frequent.
Besides, there is methinks a ſtrange Tenaciouſneſs in Amintor on the ſcore of his Paſſion: ――He ſeems to imagine it has a Right to engroſs all the Attention, all the Regard, all the Pity to itſelf:—If Arpaſia is in reality Miſtreſs of one half the Perfections he aſcribes to her, why ſhould they not have the ſame Effect on others? —Why ſhould he not have Rivals who may be as full of Love and Miſery as himſelf?—And whenever ſhe makes Choice of any one, will not all thoſe who are rejected have an equal Motive for Complaint and Title to Compaſſion?
On the whole, therefore, if in ſpite of all Perſuaſions, he will perſiſt in being his own Tormentor, hug his Diſquiet, and refuſe the only poſſible Means of Relief, he has nothing in this World to accuſe but an Obſtinacy of Nature in himſelf, which taking Part with his ill Stars prolongs their Influence, and doubles every Dart of Fate.’Tis 17 C1r 17
’Tis more than poſſible that among the Number of my Readers, there may be ſome in Amintor’s Condition, and partially induc’d, by a Parity of Circumſtances, to think I have dealt too ſeverely with him, and that inſtead of blaming his Behaviour, I ſhould have complied with his Requeſt, and reproach’d that of his Miſtreſs:―― Many alſo of my own Sex, who pride themſelves in the Multiplicity of their Admirers, may be fearful ſome of thoſe, who at preſent compoſe their Train, will be warn’d by the Example of Amintor to retreat while they have the Power of doing ſo; and wiſh my Pen once more in the Gooſe’s Pinion it was pluck’d from, rather than be employ’d in giving any Advice, which may be even ſuſpected as a Deſign to leſſen the Number of their Slaves: But it would ill become the Character of a Spectator, and Cenſor of Errors, (though a Female one) to flatter any thing that may be truly call’d ſo; and notwithſtanding all I might have to apprehend from the Deſpair of the one, and Malice of the other, I am determined always to continue my plain Dealing without reſpect of Perſons, which I am certain cannot fail of gaining the Approbation of the juſtly thinking Part of both Sexes, and will in the End deſerve the Acknowledgments of thoſe who at preſent may imagine they have Reaſon to reſent it.
Ingratitude is on all hands agreed to be a Vice moſt deteſtable both to God and Man, and any flagrant Inſtance of it draws on the guilty C Perſon 18 C1v 18 Perſon the ſevereſt Cenſure; yet, if we examine nicely into the Nature of Things, we ſhall find it next to an Impoſſibility to be wholly clear from it:—It is not only, as Dorax ſays, the Growth of every Clime, but of every Heart;— the moſt exalted Virtues cannot ſometimes be exercis’d without a Mixture of it:—The ſtricteſt Juſtice, the ſofteſt Clemency, may betray ſome Tincture of it; and what ſeems yet a greater Paradox, there may happen Occaſions, when to be truly grateful one muſt be a little ungrateful.
I remember that many Years ago I found in the Library of a very learned Relation of mine a little Book, entitled The Hiſtory of Crete; in which, tho’ there were many other curious Paſſages well worthy of Remark, one above all ſo much hit my Fancy, that it has ever ſince dwelt ſtrongly on my Mind. Beaumont and Fletcher doubtleſs thought as I did, ſince it was from thence they took the Hint for their excellent play call’d The Laws of Candy. The Story is this:
Once upon a Time (I know not in what Æra) there reign’d a King, who ſo much hated Ingratitude, that he made an Edict, whoever was found guilty of it ſhould be puniſhed with Death, and that the Sentence once paſt by the Court, there ſhould be no Appeal to any other Power, no Remiſſion but from the Complainant himſelf:—I do not find there was any Trial of this Nature during the Life of this good King, 19 C2r 19 King, but indeed he died in a ſhort Time after, and leaving his Son and Succeſſor an Infant, the Sovereign Power was during his Minority inveſted in the Senate.
The States of Candy Formerly call’d Crete. had for a long Time been at War with the Venetians, and muſt have been entirely overcome by that powerful Republic, had it not been for the extraordinary Valour of their General. It would be too tedious to recount what is there related of this great Man:—How when oppreſs’d with Numbers his ſingle Arm redeem’d the Honour of the Field: —How when cover’d o’er with Blood, and his whole Body ſeem’d but one great Wound, he ſpurn’d the Man who offer’d him a Litter, and graſping the Neck of his Horſe when he was no longer able to ſit upright, purſued in that Poſture the flying Foe:—How when any Advantage offer’d, he was the foremoſt to plunge into the rapid Stream,—to mount the Breach,—to leap the Parapet,—how neither craggy Rocks, nor fenny Marſhes could obſtruct his Paſſage:―― What Wonders he perform’d would be incredible to the preſent Times, nor are material to my Purpoſe; it ſhall ſuffice to ſay, he was look’d upon as the Guardian Angel of Candy, and ſo diſtinguiſh’d by all Degrees of People, more than by his Poſt, or the Name deriv’d to him from his Anceſtors.
Long did he retain theſe Honours unequal’d and alone, till heaven rais’d him a Competitor C2 in 20 C2v 20 in his own Son: The Youth whom he had train’d to Battle from his moſt early Years became in Time ſo to excel in it, that there was no Art of War, for which his Father was famed, but he knew how to practiſe it with a like Succeſs:— His Courage was not leſs, and his Strength and Activity of Body ſuperior:—He had highly ſignalized himſelf in two Campaigns, but in the third when the Venetians had aſſembled their whole Forces, commanded by the Dogue’s own Son in Perſon, this young Candyan Hero eſtabliſh’d a Reputation never to be eras’d.
The Troops of Candy were divided into two Armies, the one led on by the old General, the other by his Son; the former of which was able only to keep the Field, while the other entirely routed thoſe they were engag’d with, then march’d to the Relief of their former Companions; and gain’d ſo compleat a Victory, that the Venetian Priſoners themſelves confeſs’d, muſt entirely diſappoint all Hopes in the Republic of making Head again, at leaſt for a long Time, and be neceſſitated to ſue for Peace; all the Flower of their Nobility being either ſlain or taken: So great was the Slaughter, that the Living were ſcarce ſufficient in Number to bury the Dead.— To add to the Triumph of the young General, he had the Glory after a long Combat, where they fought Hand to Hand, to make the Dogue’s Son his Captive, and after him an old and moſt experienc’d Captain, on whom the Venetians much relyed 21 C3r 21 relyed, and on whoſe good or bad Succeſs that of the whole in great Meaſure depended.
The Joy and Acclamations with which theſe Warriors were received at their Return to the Capital, by the Senate as well as the Populace, was conformable to the Advantages they brought them; but ſoon this Sun of Triumph was overclouded by an unlook’d for Storm, which was very near overwhelming them all in Ruin and Deſtruction.
They had a Law in Candy which had subſiſted Time immemorial, that whoever was generally allowed to have done moſt Honour to his Country, in the Day of Battle, ſhould at his Return be gratified with any Demand he ſhould think fit to make.
On this aroſe a Conteſt between the two Generals, in which no Conſiderations of Blood, Duty, or Paternal Affection, could prevail on either to yield:—The Father knew, and regarded the Merit of his Son, yet thought to make a Sacrifice of his long-worn Honours would be a Recompence too great; and the Son, who on the leaſt Command of ſo excellent a Father would have readily laid down his Life, could not ſubmit to relinquiſh his Title to Glory, even to the Calls of Duty.
They both appear’d before the Senate, and made their reſpective Claims:—The Father pleaded 22 C3v 22 pleaded his ancient Services, the Son his late Succeſs, and the Advantages gained by it to the Nation, which was confirmed by Ambaſſadors that Moment arriving, with Orders to treat of Peace, as well as by the unanimous Voice of the whole Army.
The Matter was ſoon decided, and the young General was pronounc’d Deliverer of his Country, and requir’d to name the Boon he aſk’d: On which, to attone as he thought for the Umbrage he had given his Father, he requeſted a Statue of him might be erected, and all his glorious Atchievements engrav’d on the Pedeſtal. The whole Aſſembly wrung with Applauſes of his filial Piety, who having it in his Power to demand whatever he pleas’d, deſir’d no more than the Perpetuation of his Father’s Honours. But a quite contrary Effect had this Action on the Mind of him it was intended to oblige:— The old General, peeviſh through Age and Infirmities, and before chafed to think his Glories were about to be eclipſed by a Star, to which his Example had at firſt given Light, was ſo far from being pleas’d at this Proof of his Son’s Reſpect, that he rather look’d upon it as Oſtentation; and that he deſir’d not this Monument of his Father’s Victories, but to ſhew his own had ſurpaſſed them; and that what grateful Recompence was made, was made in Conſideration of his later and more meritorious Services. This Imagination, however unjuſt, ſunk ſo deeply in his Soul, that he retired to his Country Seat full of the utmoſt Diſ- 23 C4r 23 Diſcontent againſt his Son, whom he forbad ever to ſee him more, and renounc’d with the moſt bitter Imprecations.
The young General was beyond all Meaſure afflicted at the Diſpleaſure his Father had conceiv’d againſt him; and finding all the Submiſſions he could make ſerved rather to increaſe than dimuniſh it, fell into a Melancholly which all the Honours he received had not the Power to diſpel.
In the mean Time the Princeſs of Candy, Siſter to the late King, and Aunt to the preſent, fell deſperately in Love with him;—inſomuch that ſhe forgot her Dignity, and made him an Offer of her Perſon and Treaſures: But he, inſenſible to her Charms, and wholly devoted to make Peace with his Father, would conſent to marry her on no other Conditions, than firſt to ſend a Sum of Money to his Father to redeem ſome Lands, which by his former Liberality among the Soldiers he had been obliged to mortgage; and in the next, to keep the Thing an inviolable Secret.
This implacable old Man received thankfully the Donation as coming from the Princeſs; but being unhappily inform’d afterwards by ſome one ſhe had truſted, of the Love ſhe bore his Son, and that it was by his Inſtigation ſhe confer’d this Favour on him, inſtead of being appeaſed by this new Proof of filial Affection, became infinitely more 24 C4v 24 more irritated againſt him than ever; and to be reveng’d on the Inſult, as he term’d it, formed a Reſolution the moſt ſtrange and unnatural that ever was harboured by the Heart of Man.
Borne on the Wings of Fury, and deaf to all the Remonſtrances that were made him, he flew to the Capital and demanded Juſtice in the Execution of the Law againſt his Son, whom in a moſt pathetic Speech he accuſed of Ingratitude, repeated the various Obligations he had to him both as a Father and a Preceptor; proved that in the Heat of Battle, while yet a Novice in the Art of War, he had thrown himſelf between him and impending Danger; received the Wounds deſign’d for him, and Times unnumbered ſhielded him from Death:――For all which Bounties, added he, he ſtript me of the Glories I had gain’d before he had a Being; raviſhed from me the Prize of Fame, more dear to me than Life, and brought my Age with Sorrow to the Grave.
The young General refuſed to make any Defence, and hating a Life his Father’s Unkindneſs had made wretched, ſubmitted to the Sentence the Senate, tho’ unwillingly, were obliged to paſs on him.
This Intelligence no ſooner reached the Princeſs, than wild with Grief, ſhe ran to the Senate Houſe, and firſt by ſoft Perſuaſions endeavoured to move the Heart of the old General; but 25 D1r 25 but he continuing obdurate, ſhe vow’d then he ſhould ſuffer the ſame Fate with his innocent Son; and accuſed him of the higheſt Ingratitude to her, as being obliged to her for the Redemption of his Lands, he had contrived to deprive her of what he knew was the moſt dear to her.
Her Charge was too juſtly founded to be denied, and the Senate were compel’d to ſatiſfy the Demand ſhe made.
The young General, who had heard with an unſhaken Courage his own Doom pronounced, could not ſupport that of his Father; and revolving in his Mind what he ſhould do to ſave him, became in his turn an Accuſer of the Princeſs:—He urged, that having for a long Time ſought his Affections, ſhe had at laſt obtained a Promiſe of Marriage from him, on which ſhe pretended her Life depended, yet after ſhe had won him to her Will, had moſt ungratefully betrayed a Secret he had bound her to conceal, and by that fatal Diſcovery irritated his Father, and been the Cauſe of both their Ruin.
To this the amorous Princeſs pleaded Guilty, deſirous of dying with him ſhe loved, even cruel as he now ſeemed; and as no Perſon whatever was exempted by this Law from the Penalty, ſhe alſo was condemned to ſuffer with the reſt.
The Power of preventing ſo tragic a Scene lay wholly in the old General, who by remiting D the 26 D1v 26 the Offences of his Son, had obtained of the Princeſs Remiſſion for himſelf, as ſhe alſo had from her Lover; but not all the Arguments made uſe of by the Senate for this ſalutary Purpoſe, not even their Tears and Entreaties, could prevail on his inflexible Heart; and theſe three illuſtrious Perſonages were about to be conducted to their Fate, when a young Virgin, Daughter to the General, ruſhed into the Council Hall, crying with a loud Voice, as ſhe preſs’d through the Crowd, Stop, ſtop the Execution till my Claim is heard:—If theſe muſt ſuffer, ’tis fit others more guilty ſhall partake their Fate.
The Guards on this were ordered to bring back the Priſoners, and all waited with Impatience what this new Wonder was to produce, when the Maid with an undaunted Courage began to ſpeak to this Effect:
I think, ſaid ſhe, the Law againſt Ingratitude falls indiſcriminately on all found guilty of it; to which being anſwered by the Preſident, that it did. Then I accuſe you all, reſum’d ſhe, all you of the Senate!—All you, who having the Power and Treaſure of the Public inveſted in you, forgot the Services of this old Man, my Father, fifty Years your General, and ſtiled the Guardian Angel of his Country, and ſuffered him in Age to feel the Stings of Poverty, to be reduc’d even to Beggary, but for the Compaſſion of the Princeſs; while you yourſelves were rioting in that Affluence, preſerv’d for you by the beſt Part of his Blood.――If this is 27 D2r 27 is not Ingratitude, nothing can be call’d ſo:— Quit then your Seats, and be content to ſuffer the Puniſhment of your Crime.
Never was Conſternation equal to that which this Demand occaſion’d; the Populace ſeconded the Accuſation, and cry’d out for Juſtice:—All the Lords, which compoſed this auguſt Aſſembly, look’d one upon another without the Power of Speech:—What indeed could they ſay! How reply to ſo juſt, ſo ſelf-convicting a Charge!—The Law by which they were condemn’d, was wrote in Terms too plain for any Evaſion:――There was no Remedy to be found, and thoſe who but a Moment paſt had pronounc’d the Sentence of Death againſt others, were now compel’d to ſubmit to it themselves; the Soldiers immediately ſtript thoſe late Judges of their Robes, and rang’d them with thoſe who were before their Priſoners, in order to conduct them to the Place appointed for the Execution of Criminals.
How dreadful a Spectacle was this, the Princeſs, the two Generals, with all the Nobility and Magiſtracy of the Kingdom, about to be deſtroy’d at once!—Who, when they were no more, would be left to maintain Order among the People?— Where could there one be found to protect the Peace of Candy?—All Adminiſtration of public Juſtice muſt ceaſe:—All Laws be aboliſh’d, and the whole Realm involv’d in a wild Confuſion.D2 The 28 D2v 28
The old General could now hold out no longer, all his Obduracy melted at the Reflection of his Country’s Ruin; and as he knew his Breath was the Hinge on which the Lives of all depended, forgave his Son, his Son with Tears of Joy the Princeſs, and ſhe no leſs readily remitted the Offences of his Father;—the young Lady, by whoſe Stratagem this happy Change was wrought, deſired the Senate to reſume their Places, and all was now reſtor’d to its ancient Form; but the ſad Conſequences which this Law had like to have occaſion’d, and which it would always have been liable to draw on, made them unanimouſly agree to repeal it.
This little Abſtract from the Cretan Annals may ſerve to ſhew of how ambiguous and perplex’d a Nature Ingratitude is in reality:—How impoſſible it is to be entirely free from it ourſelves, and how readily we fix the Imputation of it on others:――In fine, there yet has never been, and poſſibly never will be a Standard found for it, by which one may truly know what is or is not ſo.
Lovers complain of it more than any People in the World, and indeed with the leaſt Reaſon; and a Woman, who has the Merit or the Chance of being addreſs’d by ſeveral, muſt of Conſequence be guilty of it, ſince in recompenſing one, ſhe muſt be guilty of what they will call Ingratitude to all the others.Every 29 D3r 29
Every one, who labours under any Diſtreſs in Life, is full of Accuſations on the Ingratitude of Perſons whom he either has, or imagines he has, confer’d ſome Obligation on at one Time or another; tho’ perhaps thoſe whom he thus brands were never ſenſible of any Favour receiv’d from him, or if they are, may not have it in their Power to return them in the Manner he expects.
It muſt be confeſs’d, there is in moſt of us a Partiality to ourſelves; we are too apt to magnify every good Office we do, and leſſen the Merit of thoſe we receive; and this is an innate Ingratitude, even tho’ we ſhould in Effect repay the Obligations confer’d on us a thouſand fold.
There is alſo a Partiality in us to one another; of two Perſons we may happen to be acquainted with of equal Merit, we often ſhall be led by a ſecret Propenſity which we cannot account, nor give any Reaſon for, to like the one much better than the other; and yet, perhaps, he who moſt ſhares our good Wiſhes is by the ſame Impulſe inclined to have the leaſt for us; and this is a Species of Ingratitude which we fall into unknowingly, or if we knew, have it not in our Power to avoid, becauſe it is implanted in our Nature, and not to be eradicated.
Reason, however, and a thorough underſtanding it in ourſelves, may put a Check on Inclination, and prevent the ill-judging Will from run- 30 D3v 30 running into Practice:—We may do a Violence to our own Hearts, and in our outward Behaviour give the Preference to thoſe who love us rather than to thoſe we love: But few there are will take this Pains, and I know not indeed whether we ought always to impoſe so ſevere a Taſk on ourſelves, or whether to perform it would in all Caſes be laudable, or even agreeable to the very Perſon for whoſe Sake we undertook it.
This brings to my Mind a Story, the Veracity of which I will not anſwer for, tho’ I have heard it well atteſted, and is not in itſelf impoſſible; for which Reaſon it may ſerve to corroborate what I have ſaid, proving how great a Command Perſons the moſt influenc’d by Paſſion or Prejudice may obtain over themſelves by the Strength of Reſolution, and alſo that there may happen Circumſtances, in which to exert that Strength of Reſolution would be rather a Fault than a Praiſe-worthy Action.
A Gentleman in the Weſtern Parts of England had two Daughters at Marriage Eſtate, the elder of whom was addreſs’d by a Perſon whoſe Birth and Fortune render’d him more than an equal Match; but notwithſtanding theſe Advantages join’d to a moſt graceful Form, and many great Accompliſhments of Mind, ſhe could not be brought to liſten to his Courtſhip with any Degree of Satisfaction, while her younger Siſter languiſhed in the moſt ardent Paſſion for him:—Her Love was of that pure and diſintereſtedintereſted 31 D4r 31 intereſted Kind, that tho’ by what ſhe felt ſhe was too well convinced that ſhe never could be happy without a Return in Kind; yet ſo much did ſhe prefer his Satisfaction to her own, that ſhe did him all the good Offices in her Power with her Siſter:――Their Father ſoon diſcover’d the different Inclinations of his Daughters, and fearing he ſhould never be able to bring the eldeſt to abate of her Averſion, and loth to loſe the Opportunity of ſo good a Match for one of them, would fain have endeavoured to turn the Current of the Gentleman’s Affections to the youngeſt; but all Efforts of that Nature were wholly vain,—his Reaſon avow’d the Merits of the kinder Fair,—it pointed out the laſting comforts he might enjoy with one who tenderly lov’d him; but his Heart refuſed to liſten to any other Dictates than its own, and ſhut out all Impreſſions but thoſe it had at firſt receiv’d:—Not all the Diſdain he was treated with by the one, had Power to abate the Ardour of his Flame; nor all the ſoft though modeſt Tokens of an Affection, adequate to her Siſter’s Hate, could in the other kindle the leaſt Spark:――A kind Look from the one had tranſported him beyond himſelf, but the tender Glances of the other ſerv’d only to add to his Diſquiet.
Thus did the beautiful Inſenſible, her hapleſs Siſter, and deſpairing Lover, unwillingly continue to torment each other, till one ill-fated Day put a final Period to all Uncertainty and vain Dependance.The 32 D4v 32
The Gentleman had lately bought a little Pinnace, beautifully ornamented and fitted up for Pleaſure; to this he invited the two Siſters, with ſeveral other Ladies and Gentlemen who lived near the Sea-Side, in order to give them a Regale on Board. The Weather being calm and clear when they ſet out, tempted them to ſail a conſiderable Diſtance from Shore; when all at once the Aſpect of the Heavens was changed, and from a moſt ſerene Sky became clouded and tempeſtuous:—The Winds grew every Moment higher, and blew ſo ſtrong againſt them, that in ſpite of their Intention they were borne ſtill farther out at Sea.――The Storm increaſing, the Veſſel being weak, and, as ſome ſay, the Mariners unſkilful, it bulg’d againſt a Rock and ſplit at the Bottom;—the Sea came pouring in on all Sides,—there was but a Moment between the Accident and ſinking,—every one was in the utmoſt Conſternation,—the Circumſtances admitted no Time for Conſideration,—all jump’d overboard, taking hold of thoſe they were moſt anxious to preſerve;—the Gentleman catch’d the two Siſters one under each Arm, and for a while, even thus encumber’d, combated the Waves; but his Strength failing, there was an abſolute Neceſſity to quit his graſp of the one in order to ſave the other, on which following the Emotions of his Gratitude rather than his Love, he let go the elder of theſe Ladies, and ſwam with the younger till he reach’d the Shore.
One of the Sailors, who had none under his Pro- 33 E1r 33 Protection, ſaw the Distreſs of her, whom her Lover had left floating, and catch’d hold of her Garments juſt as ſhe was ſinking; but Deſtiny forbad Succeſs to his Endeavours, a Billow too large and boiſterous for human Skill or Strength to cope with, came rolling o’er them both, and plung’d this unfortunate Lady, with her intended Deliverer, in the immenſe Abyſs.
Her Lover, who had juſt eaſ’d himſelf of his Burthen, beheld from Shore what had befallen her, and not able to ſurvive the Shock, turn’d to the Lady he had preſerved at the Expence of all he valued in Life, and with a Countenance full of Horror and Deſpair, ſaid to her, Madam, I have diſcharg’d my Debt of Gratitude to you for the unſought Affection you have for me,—I muſt now obey the Calls of Love, and follow her, whom to out-live would be the worſt of Hells. With theſe Words, they ſay, he threw himſelf with the utmoſt Violence among the Waves, which immediately ſwallowed him up.
The young Lady had neither Power nor Time to utter any thing to prevent ſo deſperate a Deed, and only giving a great Shriek fell down in a Swoon: In which Poſture ſhe was found by thoſe, who ſeeing the Diſtreſs of the Pinnace afar off, were coming to adminiſter what Relief the Occaſion would admit.
Now if this Fact be real it muſt be owned that the Gentleman carried his Gratitude to a E Degree 34 E1v 34 Degree which the French call Outrèé,—beyond Reaſon, and even beyond Nature, and in my Opinion was an Action too romantic to be recommended as an Example for Imitation. And tho’ the Perſon who related it to me extoll’d it as the higheſt Proof of Magnanimity; yet it appears to me as rather proceeding from a vain Deſire of doing ſomething to be talk’d of after Death, than the Effects of any real Virtue or Greatneſs of Mind.
These Refinings even on the moſt worthy Principles, theſe Over-ſtrainings of Nature, are certainly never of any Advantage to the Perſons themſelves, or thoſe for whoſe Sake they are ſuppoſed to go ſo much out of the common Road. —Extravagance and Exceſs will always be diſapproved by Reaſon and good Senſe, and when we are told of Actions, the Riſe of which we know not how to account for, they only ſerve to puzzle weaker Underſtandings, and render them unable to judge what is really laudable, or what is the reverſe.
There may happen Times when to be grateful may be a Vice; for Inſtance, if a Prince, Miniſter of State, General of an Army, or any other Perſon in a lower Station of Life, who has it in his Power to confer Promotion, ſhall ſhower his Favours on an unworthy Object, meerly to be grateful to the Love he bears him, thereby withholding Offices of Truſt and Profit from the more capable and deſerving: Such a Prince, Miniſter,niſter, 35 E2r 35 niſter, or whatever he be, is unjuſt, not only to thoſe who are rejected, but to a whole Nation, which, by this partial Indulgence, may be betray’d to Ruin in a more or leſs Degree, as the State is intereſted in the Employment or Poſt.
What paſſes for Gratitude is often no more than Self-love, as Actions proceeding meerly from Oſtentation are complimented with the Name of Liberality:—So near does Virtue border upon Vice, that they are ſometimes confounded even by the Breaſt that harbours them.—We think that we ought to do every thing in our Power for the Perſon who ſeems to love us, and is ready on all Occaſions at our Beck, and ſeldom conſider whether in returning a trifling Obligation, or perhaps the Shadow of one, we do not an eſſential Injury elſewhere.
There is, I think, an old Saying, that we ought to be juſt before we are generous; and as amiable a Quality as Gratitude for Benefactions truly is, we ſhould endeavour to find ſome other Ways, if poſſible, of teſtifying it than by thoſe which rob Merit of its Due; and if they are not in our Power, rather chuſe to ſeem ungrateful than be in reality baſe.――The Dilemma I confeſs is hard, and many a noble Spirit has been bewilder’d, and at a Loſs to chuſe between the two Extreams.
I was never better pleas’d in my Life, than at the Conduct of a Country Juſtice at the laſt E2 Election 36 E2v 36 Election for Members of Parliament:――Two Gentlemen of very oppoſite Characters and Principles ſet up againſt each other;—one of theſe, whom I ſhall call Macrobrius, had a little before procured an Enſign’s Commiſſion for a Nephew of the Juſtice’s, ſo thought himſelf certain not only of his Vote, but of all the Intereſt he could make for him in the County. He did not however fail going to him on that Occaſion, and the firſt Civilities being over, My good Friend, ſaid he, I ſuppoſe you know I intend to ſtand Candidate, and I believe are enough convinced of my Abilities and Good Will to my King and Country to be aſſured I ſhall not prove an unworthy Member, therefore I depend you will do all you can to ſerve me in this Matter.
The Juſtice ſhook his Head, but without any Heſitation made him this Reply:—Sir, I am perfectly acquainted with your Abilities;—but you muſt pardon me, if I think the other Gentleman, who is your Competitor, more qualified to be a Repreſentative of this County than you can pretend to be; not only becauſe he has a large Eſtate here, but becauſe he has no Manner of Dependance on the Court, and conſequently is leſs liable to be influenc’d:—For theſe Reaſons, therefore, I think myſelf obliged to uſe all the little Intereſt I have among my Neighbours that he may be choſen.
how! cry’d Macrobrius in a great Paſſion, Can you be ſo ungrateful!――Did not I give your Nephew a Pair of Colours the other Day?you 37 E3r 37
you did, Sir, return’d the Juſtice gravely, I thank you for the Favour:――I am not ungrateful and would return it in Kind:―― My Nephew wanted a Commiſſion, you got him one; and whenever you have any Dependant out of Employment, ſend him to me and I will make him my Clerk:――This, Sir, continued he, is all the Retaliation I can make, and I think the Difference of our Circumſtances conſider’d, is pretty adequate to the Obligation.
The would-have-been Member was ready to burſt with inward Rage at this Sneer, but knowing how great the Juſtice’s Influence was, he conceal’d it as much as poſſible, and omitted nothing that he thought might ſooth and bring him into better Humour; but his Flatteries as his Reſentment, were equally ineffectual, the Juſtice could not be prevail’d upon to ſacrifice his Honeſty to his Gratitude, and Macrobrius, to his great Mortification, was obliged to leave him as he found him.
When Favours are confer’d with a latent View of corrupting the Integrity of a Man, or the Chaſtity of a Woman, they ought, when diſcovered to be ſuch, to bring only Contempt on the Perſon who beſtows them:—Gratitude in this Caſe would be the worſt of Vices, and all Diſpoſitions towards it in the Heart, ſhould be baniſh’d as Traitors to Honour and Virtue.
People ſometimes out of an Exceſs of Good- Nature, or a timid Shamefacedneſs, think they may 38 E3v 38 may recede a little from their Strictness, in Compliance with the Deſires of a Perſon they have received ſome Obligations from; but let them take care, the leaſt yielding to an ill Action is inuring the Mind to it, and by Degrees takes away the Horror of it:—Nobody can ſay to themſelves thus far will I go, and no farther, as a late noble Peer and Poet elegantly expreſſes it:Of Honour Men at firſt, like Women nice, Raiſe Maiden Scruples at unpractis’d Vice: But once this Fence thrown down, and they perceive That they may taſte forbidden Fruit and live, They ſtop not here their Courſe, and enter’d in, Grow ſtrong, luxuriant and bold in Sin.
This Obſervation will ever hold good in high and low, in public and private Life; and, therefore, as Obligations are the Bribes by which cunning and deſigning Men expect to enliſt the more unwary into their Service, every prudent and honeſt Perſon will avoid receiving them from ſuch whoſe Principles they are not well aſſur’d of.
In fine, a very little Reflection may ſerve to convince us, that in a great Number of Caſes what the World calls Gratitude may be a Vice even from the Prince to the Peaſant; and in our Sex I dare ſay that nobody will deny but that a Woman who has a Number of Admirers cannot be- 39 E4r 39 behave to them in ſuch a Manner, as they will allow to be a grateful Return, without rendering herſelf an Object of everlaſting Infamy and Contempt.
It is greatly to be wiſh’d, for the Happineſs and Reputation of the Kingdom, that there were fewer Inſtances of this deſtructive Gratitude in both Sexes than ſome late Years have produc’d; and that we could prevail on ourſelves rather to return to the Ruſticity of the ancient Britons, than by this guilty Complaiſance to our Betrayers become acceſſary to our own Perdition, and entail Shame and Miſery on our Poſtetrity.
Let no one imagine that by pointing out the Rocks on which a Temper grateful to exceſs is liable to ſplit upon, I mean to recommend its oppoſite as the ſafeſt Rule to ſteer by:—For Heaven forbid that ſo pernicious a Doctrine ſhould ever be propagated:—All I have ſaid is no more than an Endeavour to rectify ſome Miſtakes concerning it, and to ſhew that what is call’d Ingratitude by the unthinking Part of the World is not always ſo, and that even if it were, could not ſometimes be avoided without running into Faults of an equally deteſtable Kind.
I have already more than once obſerv’d, that it requires the utmoſt Penetration and deepeſt Search to diſcover in ſome Circumſtances how one ought to behave in this Point; but then again there are others in which there is no room for Heſita- 40 E4v 40 Heſitation:—Duty, Reaſon, Honeſty, and Good-Nature plainly guide us to the Paths we ought to tread, and which in ſwerving from we can have no Excuſe.
In the firſt Place the Obligations we have to Heaven are ſelf-evident, not to mention our Exiſtence (which I have heard ſome People, who enjoy not every thing they wiſh for in this World, refuſe to acknowledge as a Bleſſing) nor our Redemption and Hopes of Immortality (which too many are hardy enough to call in Queſtion). Excluſive, I ſay, of all the glorious Proſpects of an hereafter; is not our Preſervation here amidſt innumerable Dangers, which, tho’ unſeen, unthought of, continually ſurround us, not worthy of much more Gratitude than is in our weak Capacities to pay?—Thoſe moſt defended from Hurts by the Affluence of Fortune and an indolent Life:―― Thoſe who loll in Coaches, and ſcarce lift their Hands to their Head, are every Moment liable to ſome inward Fraction which may throw into Diſorder their whole Frame.――I have heard Anatomiſts ſay, that did we know the Delicacy of the human Syſtem, the thouſand and ten thouſand Fibres, which like Threads run through every Part of the Body, and which if any one ſhould be crack’d or removed out of its Place would prejudice, if not bring total Deſtruction to the whole, we ſhould tremble at moving even a Finger, for fear of hurting their elaſtic Quality, and cry out with the Royal Pſalmiſt, Lord, 41 F1r 41 Lord, I am fearfully and wonderfully made!
Yet how are all our Motions ſo guided and directed by an inviſible Power, that very rarely any Accident of this Kind happens, even to thoſe who are continually employing themſelves in the moſt robuſt Exerciſes.
When we look around the amazing Scenes which this wide World affords, and conſider the various Produce of the Earth and Air, the unfathomable Deep, and the Rivers iſſuing from it, all created for our Uſe, and abounding with every thing neceſſary for our Support and Pleaſure; how can we ſufficiently teſtify our Gratitude to the Diſpenſer of theſe Bleſſings!—But if we lift up our Eyes to the immenſe Expance above, where Miriads of Miriads of Orbs, infinitely larger than that wherein we are placed, roll over our Heads, ſelf-poiz’d in Æther, and at the ſame Time reflect that ſhould one of theſe ſtart from its Sphere its Fall would cruſh this Globe to Atoms; how muſt our whole Souls diſſolve in grateful Contemplation on that Almighty Power, whoſe ſingle Fiat regulates their Motions, ſo as to be of no Prejudice to each other, or to us.
Those who diſbelieve, or affect to diſbelieve, all other Obligations, readily acknowledge themſelves bound by theſe, and are aſhamed and angry if but ſuſpected guilty of Ingratitude on this Score.F Our 42 F1v 42
Our Parents, as next to Heaven the Authors of our Being, and Protectors of our helpleſs Infancy, certainly claim the firſt and greateſt Share of our Love and Gratitude:—Never is it in our Power to recompence thoſe tender Cares they feel for us:—Yet what we can we ought:—Love and Reſpect to them are Duties ſo known and univerſally confeſs’d, that where a Perſon is viſibly wanting in either of theſe, he is deſervedly look’d upon as a Monſter. Moſt People, therefore, eſpecially of the better Sort, endeavour to maintain an exterior Shew of this Gratitude, tho’ too many have little of it in their Hearts.
Those alſo who under our Parents have the Care of our Education, ſuch as Tutors, Governors, or Governeſſes, if they have diſcharg’d the Truſt repoſed in them, by inſpiring us with true Notions of Honour and Virtue, juſtly demand our Gratitude; and we ought not only to acknowledge the Obligations we owe to their Integrity, but recompence it by all the Acts of Friendſhip in our Power.
Nor ought we to deny ſome Gratitude due to our menial Servants, when the Reſpect they pay us is accompanied with Love, and we perceive, as we eaſily may, that what they do for us proceeds from ſomething more than meer Duty.—Such a Servant is indeed a Jewel rare to be found, and deſerves to be uſed with all the Indulgence we can ſhew without leſſening our Authority.If 43 F2r 43
If, according to the different Relations they ſtand in to us, we treat any of theſe in an unbecoming Manner, we are guilty of an Ingratitude which no Excuſe can ſhadow over:—The Obligations I have mention’d are plain, convincing, and when not acknowledg’d, tho’ no human Law exiſt against the unnatural Propenſity.Heav’n ſeldom fails to puniſh it in Kind, Th’ Ungrateful does a more Ungrateful find.
There are alſo others more diſtant tho’ not leſs binding Debts of Gratitude owing from us, ſuch as that to a King when he is truly the Father of his People, when he places his chief Glory in the Happineſs of the Common-Wealth, when he exerts his Power only for our Protection, when he ſeeks no Pretences to oppreſs us with Taxations, nor permits a haughty over-grown Miniſter to inſult and ruin us:—To all the Members of a wiſe and uncorrupt Senate, who ſpeak the Senſe of thoſe whoſe Repreſentatives they are, who deſpiſe not our Inſtructions, but make their firſt Buſineſs the Redreſs of our Grievances, and by their upright Behaviour and ſteady Adherence to the Conſtitution, preſerve the Balance of Power between the King and People:―― To every Civil Magiſtrate, who is diligent in his Office for executing Juſtice, and maintaining Peace:—To thoſe of the Clergy, whoſe Piety, Charity, Temperance and Humility of Manners, are a Proof that they themſelves are convinced of the Truth of that Doctrine they preach:―― And laſtly, tho’ not leaſt worthy our ConſiderationF2 tion 44 F2v 44 tion and Regard, to the gallant Sailors, who are the Guardians of our Commerce Abroad, and the true and ſole Bulwark of our Iſlands from all foreign Force, who dare every Danger, endure every Hardſhip, that we may ſleep ſecurely and at Eaſe.
Whoever feels not a due Portion of Love and Veneration for theſe, or any of theſe, is unworthy to ſhare the Benefit derived from them, and ought to be baniſh’d to ſome other Country, where the very Reverſe of all theſe excellent Qualities are practis’d, and no ſuch Perſons as I have deſcrib’d be found.
I had wrote thus far the Senſe of our Society at our laſt Meeting, as near as I remember’d, and was proceeding with ſomething of my own, when Mira and Euphroſine came into the Room, and looking over my Papers, You have forgot, ſaid the former of theſe Ladies, to make any mention of Authors in your Detail of thoſe to whom the Public is oblig’d:――Pray, is laying out the Brain in an Endeavour to improve or to divert the World, of no more Eſtimation with you than to be paſs’d over in Silence?
Euphrosine ſeconded this Reproof, which I could not but allow the Juſtice of, and heartily aſk Pardon for ſo palpable an Omiſſion.
It is indeed to Books we owe all that which diſtinguiſhes us from Savages, and it would be ex- 45 F3r 45 extremely ungrateful to refuſe our Good-Will to the Compoſers of what affords us the greateſt of all Benefits, that of informing the Mind, correcting the Manners, and enlarging the Underſtanding.
What Clods of Earth ſhould we have been but for Reading?――How ignorant of every thing but the Spot we tread upon?――Books are the Channel through which all uſeful Arts and Sciences are conveyed:—By the Help of Books we ſit at Eaſe, and travel to the moſt diſtant Parts; behold the Cuſtoms and Manners of all the different Nations in the habitable Globe, nay take a View of Heaven itſelf, and traverſe all the wonders of the Skies.—By Books we learn to ſuſtain Calamity with Patience, and bear Proſperity with Moderation.—By Books we are enabled to compare paſt Ages with the preſent, to diſcover what in our Fore-Fathers was worthy Imitation, and what ſhould be avoided; to improve upon their Virtues, and take Warning by their Errors.—It is Books which diſpel that gloomy Melancholly our Climate but too much inclines us to, and in its room diffuſes an enlivening Chearfulneſs.—In fine, we are indebted to Books for every thing that can profit or delight us.
Authors, therefore, can never be too much cheriſh’d and encourag’d when what they write is calculated for public Utility, whether it be for Inſtruction or innocent Amuſement; and it muſt be 46 F3v 46 be confeſs’d would be a Proof of the moſt ſordid and ungrateful Spirit to deny the Recompence of their Labour, yet enjoy the Advantages of it.
It may, indeed, be objected, that many of them deſerve little Thanks for occaſioning that Waſte of Time the reading of them takes up; but the ſame may with equal Juſtice be alledg’d againſt all thoſe others in public Stations I have mention’d, ſince it is not to a bad King, a corrupt Parliament, an indolent Magiſtrate, a haughty, ambitious, or intemperate Clergyman, nor an unſkilful Sailor, any more than a weak, illiterate, or vicious Author, I pretend our Gratitude is due.
On the contrary, when thoſe who ſhould protect, enſlave us;—when thoſe who ſhould defend, betray us;—when thoſe who ſhould guide, lead us out of the Way; and thoſe, from whom we might expect Pity and Relief, only laugh at our Diſtreſſes and triumph in our Miſery; whatever Eminence they are placed in, or by what Name ſoever they are dignified and diſtinguiſh’d, merit, in Proportion to their Greatneſs, and the Power they have of doing Good or Hurt, only Reproaches utter’d in the utmoſt Bitterneſs of Heart.
But when any one, who has the Abilities, exerts them for the common Good of Mankind, the Pains taken for that Purpoſe deſerves not only bare Thanks, but the warmeſt Wiſhes of the Heart:—All who hear us ſpeak of a Praiſe-worthy Action without Praiſe would condemn us, for our 47 F4r 47 our own Sakes therefore we commend, but we feel for that of others:—True Gratitude kindles up the whole soul, and ſhews by the Manner more than the Matter of what we ſay, that it longs to manifeſt itſelf in ſomething more than Words.
There is certainly ſomething extremely amiable in a grateful Mind, and whoever is poſſeſs’d of it, tho’ he may be miſled by the Weakneſs of his Judgment to teſtify it in Things not altogether commendable, yet the Effects are deſerving Pardon for the ſake of the Cauſe; and ſuch a one can never be premeditately unjuſt or baſe.
But, after all that I have ſaid, my weak Endeavours only ſerve to ſhew how in ſome Inſtances Gratitude may be carried to an Exceſs, and how in others it never can extend itſelf too far, yet is the Definition ſtill a Secret;—a Gordian Knot, I fear, not to be untied by any human Skill. —To ſeparate and diſtinguiſh it from other Paſſions of a quite different Nature, which it either covers over or is mingled with, is an Intricacy impenetrable, but by him who ſees into the inmoſt Receſſes of the Heart.
Nothing is more common than for Actions which owe their Riſe meerly to Pride and Oſtentation to be miſtaken for this truly noble Principle:—Many a one has requited ſome trifling Obligation with another of the greateſt Conſequence, only to acquire the Reputation of a grateful Perſon; when at the ſame Time he has a thouſand Times 48 F4v 48 Times wiſh’d in ſecret that ſome Accident, of how dreadful a Nature he valued not, might render the other, whom he was about to favour, not in a Condition to receive it.
Sir Thomas Plauſible was one Day in Company at a Tavern when Word was brought him that young Wildman was arreſted and carried to Priſon for a large Sum of Money.—How! ſaid the Baronet, I wonder he would not ſend to me on the firſt Notice he had of this Affair:—If I had known he had laboured under any ſuch Apprehenſions it never ſhould have come to this.
Having expreſs’d himſelf to this Effect, he call’d haſtily for Pen, Ink, and Paper, and wrote a Note to his Steward, ordering him to go and releaſe the Gentleman immediately, paying the Debt and Charges, be the Amount ever ſo great. This he ſent by the Waiter, and perceiving ſo extraordinary an Act of Liberality to one who it was well known was in no Condition to repay it, or ever likely to do ſo, aſtoniſh’d all that were Witneſſes of it, which Sir Thomas perceiving, Gentlemen, ſaid he, I hate Ingratitude, Wildman it is true cannot be allowed to be a Man of much Merit in the World, but I owe him a Favour, and rejoice in an Opportunity to return it:――You muſt know, continu’d he, that about five or ſix Years ago, he was ſecond to a Couſin German of mine three Times removed, and till now Fortune never put it in my Power to convince him how ſennſibly I was touch’d with the Obligation.This 49 G1r 49
This ſtill more amaz’d the Company, and Sir Thomas heard nothing the whole Time he was with them but his own Praiſes:—The Thing afterwards made a great Noiſe in Town, and he paſſes to this Day for the moſt grateful and generous ſpirited Man in the whole World.
But how little was this Man of Honour known! ――At the Time he was conferring this Favour on one of the moſt worthleſs of Mankind, and to whom in Effect he had not the leaſt Obligation, he refuſed to aſſiſt in the utmoſt Diſtreſs one who had been the Companion of his Youth, and whoſe Purſe he had commanded when their too expenſive mutual Pleaſures had reduced him to the Want of it?
This Gentleman, whom I ſhall call Loſtland, was born to a plentiful Eſtate, but by the Negligence or Knavery of his Guardians in the firſt Place, and his own too eaſy Temper in the next, was driven to great Neceſſities.—He lay ſick at that Time, and wanted many Things which his Condition requir’d:—He had wrote ſeveral Letters to Sir Thomas, reminding him of their former Friendſhip, which on his Part never had ſubſided, and requeſted ſome Relief in his preſent Exigence. —To all which this ſeemingly ſo grateful Man either return’d no Anſwers, or ſuch as contained trifling Excuſes:—Loſtland, unable to ſupport this Slight from a Perſon he thought he might have had ſome Dependance upon; ſunk beneath the Weight of it more than by that of his Diſtemper, G and 50 G1v 50 and died in a ſhort Time after:――So true are the Poet’s Words: Fate ne’er ſtrikes deep, but when Unkindneſs joins.
Many ſuch Plauſibles are there in the World, and ſo eaſy is it for the Hypocrite in any Virtue to deceive us by their ſpecious Pretences.
Opposite to theſe there is another Species of Mankind in the World, a Race of odd Mortals who boaſt of Juſtice, Generoſity, and talk loudly of their Gratitude, yet are blown up to that ridiculous Degree by Arrogance and Self-conceit, that they never think themſelves obliged; they imagine all that is done for them is their Due, and every Favour overpaid in the Acceptance.――- Bounties confer’d on them, in bare Compaſſion to their Wants, they call Policy in the Donor, to engage their Friendſhip and Good-Will; and ſet ſo high a Value on vouchſafing it, that if at any Time a Perſon to whom they may happen to owe the higheſt Obligations ſpeaks or looks not juſt in the Manner they approve, they will threaten to viſit them no more, and indeed be as good as their Word frequently, to the great Eaſe of thoſe who have endured their Company only thro’ an Exuberance of Good-Nature: But pleaſant enough is it to obſerve how they laugh and hug themſelves with the Thoughts of the Mortification thoſe are under who are deprived of the Happineſs of converſing with them.If 51 G2r 51
If a Perſon of this Humour happens to confer a Favour on any one, as his Pride, if he has the Power, will make him ready to do it, not only the Receiver, but all who are any ways related, he thinks bound to be his Slaves forever: ――They muſt no more have any Will, any Diſpoſition of their own, all muſt be govern’d by his ſuperior Judgment, and if he diſcovers they even think in a manner different from him, baſe, unworthy, thankleſs, are the kindeſt Epithets he beſtows on them.
Such a one it is equally dangerous to be civil to, or affront; but as they are never Diſſemblers, a ſmall Share of Diſcernment ſerves to point them out; whoever obliges them is a Prodigal in Goodneſs, but thoſe who can condeſcend to be oblig’d by them muſt have souls too mean to deſerve any Pity for the Treatment they receive.
There are beſides a third Sort leſs ſordid and deceitful than the firſt, and of a leſs perverſe and crooked Diſpoſition than the laſt deſcrib’d, and yet blameable enough too:—Theſe are abundantly grateful while you continue to oblige them, approach you with with more Submiſſions than you require of them, over-rate every thing you do for them, extol you to the Skies in all Company, and ſeem proud of acknowledging every Favour they have received:—But if at laſt they happen to requeſt any thing which it does not ſuit with your Convenience to grant, they ſet all that is paſt at nought, retract the fine Things G2 they 52 G2v 52 they have ſaid of you, and ſometimes even go ſo far as to load you with the moſt groſs Abuſe.
This is a Temper, which, as it ſhews itſelf not immediately, one cannot ſo well guard againſt; but when once diſcover’d ſhould be as much expoſed as poſſible, to prevent others from being deceiv’d by it.
No one who is a Self-Lover can ever be truly grateful or ſincere, for tho’ that Paſſion engages a Perſon to love all that love him for a Time, yet will it make him, on the firſt Proſpect of a greater Advantage, preſently tranſfer his Affections elſewhere.
As for the Gratitude of a Lover to his Miſtreſs, or a Lady to her Lover, I have already ſhewn in my Comments on Amintor’s Letter, that there is no ſuch Thing in reality, all the Actions being govern’d by a Paſſion which there is no over-ruling entirely, or if there be, that it is only when they conſent to marry thoſe they cannot love; for certainly that can never be a true Gratitude, tho’ it ſometimes bears the Name, which influences a Perſon to join in a Union for Life, with one, whom they muſt every Day render more miſerable, by giving every Day new Proofs of Averſion.
It is therefore always owing to ſome latent Self-Intereſt, when either Man or Woman conſents to do this Violence to Inclination.Amelia 53 G3r 53
Amelia, the great Fortune, yielded, after a long Courtſhip, to marry Melania, a Gentleman of a ſmall Eſtate: But wherefore did ſhe ſo? Only to conceal, under the Name of Wife, the Effects of her Criminal Converſation with Polities the Gameſter:—Yet ſhe will tell you ſhe gave her Perſon and Fortune to Melania merely as a Reward of his Conſtancy; and did this injur’d Huſband make any complaints of her Indifference and Contempt, or was obſerved to abate any Part of that Reſpect and Tenderneſs he treated her with before Marriage, all Mankind would brand him with the higheſt Ingratitude.
Could we look into the Secrets of the wedded World, I more than fear we ſhould find innumerable Inſtances, where Gratitude in both Sexes has been but the Pretext to maſk over ſome leſs laudable Motive.
There is, I think, another miſtaken Notion pretty general, and that is, when of two Perſons who long have lov’d, and given each other all the Proofs of Affection in their Power, the one ſhall fall off without receiving any Cauſe from the other, and for the ſake of a new Object forfeit all Vows, renounce all Obligations, and leave the forſaken Party to languiſh in vain Complainings: —In ſuch a Circumſtance, ungrateful is the Epithet commonly given to the Perſon guilty of violated Faith; but I can by no Means allow it to be juſt, becauſe I once more beg Leave to aſſert, that 54 G3v 54 that to love is not an Action of the Will, and we cannot pay any farther than is in our Power: A Perſon may change in the Manner I have mention’d, yet know the Change unreaſonable, and ſincerely wiſh there were a Poſſibility that the firſt Obligations ſtill retained their Force; therefore the Tranſition proceeds not from Ingratitude, but Weakneſs and Inſtability, a wavering and inconſtant Mind, which knows not how to ſettle, nor what would ſatisfy it.
Let no one think, however, that I mean to palliate the Crime of ſo groſs an Abuſe of Tenderneſs, by attempting to prove it cannot properly be call’d Ingratitude; on the contrary, the Man or Woman guilty of it in my Opinion merits the ſevereſt Cenſure, yet not ſo much, becauſe they change from one Object to another, as becauſe they did not well conſult their own Hearts before they made the firſt Overture:—A Paſſion inſpired by that Sympathy I have mention’d founded on Reaſon and recompenſed by Kindneſs, can never alter, and a Perſon who declares himſelf a Lover, ſhould firſt aſk himſelf the Queſtion, and be well aſſured he can be always ſo.
Nor can I call it Ingratitude between married Perſons, where one of them, by the arbitrary Power of Parents, ſhall be compell’d to give a Hand without a Heart, and is afterwards unable to ſubdue the fix’d Averſion, ſo far as to return the Affection of the other with any Degree of Tenderneſs.—Thisderneſs. 55 G4r 55 derneſs.—This is, I confeſs, a Caſe truly pityable on both Sides, but yet leaves no room for Reproach on either, unleſs the Party who diſlikes has ungenerouſly conceal’d it before Marriage, or the Party diſliked is fooliſhly obſtinate enough to run the Hazard of becoming more engaging afterwards.
In a Word, I can ſee no Ingratitude in Love Affairs except in one Circumſtance, which is this, —If a Perſon is extremely beloved by one, for whom he or ſhe, for I do not confine myſelf to Sexes, has neither Inclination nor Averſion, and to whom either to be united or not is a Matter of Indifference, yet endeavours to make the moſt of what Affection offers, by higling for more Advantages than his or her Fortune could any way pretend to, without that partial Affection, ſuch a Behaviour is indeed ungrateful as well as ſordid.
We frequently hear of Inſtances of this Kind, but I heartily wiſh that all ſuch thankleſs Perſons might meet the ſame Fate with one, whoſe Adventures, I believe, will not be diſagreeable to my Readers.
Celemena was the Daughter and ſole Heireſs of a Gentleman of a very large Eſtate, perfectly agreeable in her Perſon without being a Beauty; ſhe had a good Capacity and an excellent Diſpoſition:—Being ſuch, it is not to be wonder’d at that her Parents were extrememly tender of her, nor that they made her be inſtructed in 56 G4v 56 in all the Accompliſhments befitting a Perſon of her Sex and Fortune.
But that to which ſhe moſt apply’d herſelf was Muſick and Singing, ſhe would ſit the whole Day, if not call’d from it, at her Harpſicord, practiſing thoſe Leſſons which had been given her in the Morning, and by degrees became ſo attach’d to it, that in Effect ſhe regarded nothing elſe.――Her Governeſs often chid her for devoting herſelf ſo much to one thing, and reminded her, that tho’ Muſick was very agreeable, yet there were other Studies more worthy her Attention, and ought at leaſt to have their Share.―― This ſhe seem’d ſenſible of, but could not be brought to lay aſide her Books without Reluctance, and whatever ſhe employ’d herſelf in, the laſt new Song ran always in her Head:—When the Hour in which her Maſter in this Science accuſtom’d to viſit her approach’d, ſhe was continually looking on her Watch, and if he came not at the Moment ſhe expected, diſcovered an Impatience which was never ſeen in her on any other Score.
This, with ſome Glances ſhe was ignorant of herſelf, yet obſerv’d by the Governeſs, made that careful Creature tremble, leſt her young Charge ſhould be no leſs pleas’d with the Perſon of her Maſter than with his Art:—She kept thoſe Suſpicions however for ſome time to herſelf, but imagining that every Day gave her freſh Reaſons to believe they had not deceiv’d her 57 H1r 57 her, ſhe thought it her Duty to acquaint the Mother of Celemena with them.
The old Lady imparted what ſhe had heard to her Huſband, and on reaſoning on the Subject, when they conſidered their Daughter’s Youth, her exceſſive Fondneſs for Muſick, and the handſome Perſon of the Man in queſtion, they began to fear the Governeſs had not been miſtaken.
After debating what was beſt to be done in ſo vexatious an Affair, it ſeem’d moſt proper to them both, to diſcharge Mr. Quaver, for ſo I ſhall call him, from his Attendance, without giving any other Reaſon for it than that they thought Celemena had made a ſufficient Progreſs, and had no occaſion for further Inſtructions.
The putting this Reſolution into Execution convinced them, that what they fear’d was too ſure a Truth:—The Melancholly which Celemena fell into on the Loſs of this Maſter, ſhewed not only that ſhe loved, but alſo loved him to an uncommon Degree:—All that could be done for her Amuſement or Diverſion, had not the leaſt Effect, and the Diſorders of her Mind had ſo great an Influence over her Body, that ſhe fell in a ſhort Time into a violent Fever:—Her Life for ſome Days was deſpair’d of, but her Youth, Strength, and Conſtitution, joined with the Skill of the Phyſicians, at length repell’d that Enemy to Nature:—The Fever left her, but the Cauſe ſtill H re- 58 H1v 58 remaining, threw her into another Diſtemper, which threaten’d no leſs fatal, tho’ leſs ſudden Conſequences:—In fine, ſhe had all the Symptoms of a Conſumption, and thoſe who had the Care of her, both in her late and preſent Illneſs, eaſily perceiving that ſhe labour’d under ſome inward Grief, told her Parents, that without that were remov’d, it would be in vain for them to hope they ſhould preſerve their Daughter.
A second Conſultation was held on this afflicting News, between the Father, Mother, and Governeſs of the young Lady; the Reſult of which was, that the latter ſhould, by all the Stratagems ſhe could invent, draw her into a Confeſſion of the Truth:—They flatter’d themſelves, that if the Secret was once reveal’d, the Arguments they might make uſe of to her would enable her to overcome a Paſſion ſo unworthy of her; but if all fail’d, they resolved rather to gratify it than ſee her periſh in the hopeleſs Flame.
It was no difficult Matter for a Perſon, who by her Age doubtleſs had ſome time or other in her Life experienc’d the Paſſion ſhe was about to ſpeak of, to talk of it in ſuch a manner as ſhould diſcover the Progreſs of it in another. Celemena betray’d herſelf without knowing ſhe did ſo; and when ſhe found her Secret was reveal’d, ſcrupled not to confeſs, that ſhe took a ſtrange Liking of Mr. Quaver’s Perſon and Converſation from the firſt Time he was introduced to her;—that the more ſhe ſaw him, the more her Inclination increaſed,creaſed, 59 H2r 59 creaſed, till it entirely engroſſed her whole Heart; and that by what ſhe had endured ſince ſhe had been deprived of ſeeing him, ſhe was very well convinced ſhe could not live without him; but added, that ſhe believed he was ignorant of the Love ſhe bore him, At leaſt, ſays ſhe, I hope he is; for I ſhould dye with Shame, if I thought he ſuſpected me guilty of a Weakneſs which I cannot forgive in myſelf.
The Governeſs comforted her the beſt ſhe could, and perceiving that the Hurry of Spirits this Diſcourſe had put her in made her ready to faint away, exceeded her Commiſſion ſo far as to give her Hopes that if ſhe really loved to that Exceſs ſhe appear’d to do, and thought him worthy of being her Huſband, her Parents might be brought to conſent.
This ſeemed too great a Happineſs for the enamour’d Maid to give much Credit to; yet the Tranſport ſhe was in at the bare mention of it, and the Agonies ſhe fell into, as Reaſon abated the pleaſing Idea, aſſured the Perſon who was Witneſs of them, that there was do other Means of ſaving her Life than ſuch a Confirmation.
She went directly from her to the old Lady’s Apartment, and related to her the whole of what had paſs’d between them:—How great was her Affliction any one may gueſs: But flattering herſelf that Shame might work ſome Effect on her, ſhe bid the Governeſs let her know ſhe had acacquaintedH2 quainted 60 H2v 60 acquainted both her and her Father with the Secret, and you may tell her, added ſhe, that you have endeavour’d to prevail on us to comply with her Inclinations; but that the Surprize and Grief we are in at hearing ſhe had ſo much demean’d herſelf, as to entertain a Thought of ſuch a Fellow, made us give no Anſwer to what you ſaid.
The Governeſs went immediately about making this Eſſay, tho’ certain in her Mind of the little Succeſs it would have:—The Paſſion Celemena was inſpired with, was indeed too ſtrong to be overcome this way; and tho’ dutiful, and wanting in none of thoſe Reſpects owing from Children to their Parents, not all the Sorrows ſhe occaſioned them in this Point, had Power to turn the Current of her Affections.
Finding her Mother came not into her Chamber the next Day as uſual, ſhe doubted not but her Indignation againſt her Paſſion was at leaſt equal to the Grief for her Condition; and deſpairing of any Effect of her Governeſs’s Promiſes, her Heart, over-preſs’d beneath a Weight of Anguiſh, refuſed its accuſtomed Motion, and ſhe fell into Faintings, out of which ſhe was not without great Difficulty recover’d.
Her Mother diſtracted at the Danger of ſo darling a Child, cry’d out to her, that her Inclinations ſhould no longer be oppoſed,—that ſince Quaver was ſo neceſſary to her Life, he ſhould immediately be made acquainted with his good Fortune, 61 H3r 61 Fortune, and that the Moment of her Recovery ſhould join their Hands.
The Father, no leſs anxious, made the ſame Promiſe, which Celemena ſtill doubting the Performance of, they both confirmed with the moſt ſolemn Oath.
As it could not be ſuppoſed but that the Muſician would receive an Offer of this Nature with an Exceſs of Humility and Joy, he was ſent for, and told by the Parents of Celemena, that as notwithſtanding the Diſparity between them the young Lady had thought him worthy, they too dearly prized her to thwart her Inclinations, and would beſtow her on him in caſe he had no previous Engagement.
The Aſtoniſhment he was in at the Beginning of this Diſcourſe was very viſible in his Countetenance, but being Maſter of a good Share of Cunning it abated, and he not only recover’d himſelf entirely before they had finiſh’d what they had to ſay, but alſo reſolved what Anſwer he ſhould make.
He had heard the young Lady had been dangerouſly ill ſome Time, and that ſhe ſtill kept her Bed, and ſo ſudden and unexpected a Propoſal made to him by her Parents left no room to doubt the Motive of it; ſo without any Conſideration of what he owed either to her Love, or this Condeſcenſion in them, he meditated only how 62 H3v 62 how to make the beſt Bargain he could for his pretty Perſon, which he now thought he could not ſet too high a Value upon.
After having aſſured them that he was under no Engagement, and ſlightly thanking them for the Honour they did him in making choice of him for a Son in Law, he begg’d Leave to know what Portion they intended to give their Daughter.
Such a Queſtion from a Man, whom they expected would have rather thrown himſelf at their Feet all in Extacy and Tranſport, might very well aſtoniſh them:—They look’d one upon another for ſome Minutes without being able to reply; but the Father firſt regaining Preſence of Mind,—Mr. Quaver, ſaid he, ſince I am willing to give my Daughter to you, there is little room for you to ſuppoſe I ſhould beſtow a Beggar on you; but ſince you ſeem to doubt it, I will put Five Thouſand Pounds into your Hands for the preſent, and according as I find you behave will add to it.
Five Thouſand Pounds! cry’d the Muſician: Sir, I live very well as I am on my Buſineſs, and will not ſell my Liberty for twice the Sum.
Nothing could have been a greater Proof of the Conſideration this tender Father had of his Child, than that he did not reſent this Arrogance in the Object of her Affection, by ordering his 63 H4r 63 his Footmen to turn him out of Doors; but his Fears for her over-rul’d all he owed to himſelf, and he only reply’d, Well, Mr. Quaver, I will think of your Demand, and if you call Tomorrow will acquaint you with the Reſult.
’Twould be needleſs to repeat the Shock ſuch a Behaviour muſt be to Perſons of their Rank and Figure in the World; or how great an Aggravation it was to their Affliction, that Celemena ſhould have beſtowed her Heart on a Man whoſe Mind was as ſordid as his Birth was mean:—They were fearful of acquainting her with the little Regard he ſeem’d to have for her, but on her being extrememly urgent to know what had paſs’d at an Interview her Peace was ſo deeply intereſted in, they at laſt ventured to repeat not only the Demand that Quaver had made, but alſo deſcrib’d the inſolent Manner in which he ſpoke and look’d; but withall aſſured her, that for her Sake they would both forgive and comply with it.
Celemena liſten’d attentively to the Narrative, but ſeem’d much leſs troubled than their Apprehenſions had ſuggeſted:—She fainted not, ſhe even wept not, but after a little Pauſe thank’d her Father for the unexampled Tenderneſs he expreſs’d for her, and beſeech’d him, that ſince he was ſo good to grant every thing deſir’d by a Man, who, ſhe confeſs’d, was worthy of little either from him or herſelf, that ſhe might be placed the next Day in ſome Room, where ſhe might 64 H4v 64 might hear, unſeen by him, how he received the Condeſcenſion would be made him.
This Requeſt was eaſily granted, and when they were told he was below, a Servant was order’d to conduct him into a Room divided only by a thin Wainſcot from Celemena’s Chamber. She had quitted her Bed that Day, which for a long Time ſhe had not been able to do, and ſat with her Governeſs as cloſe as ſhe could to the Partition, ſo that ſhe could hear all that paſs’d with the ſame Eaſe as if ſhe had been in the Room with them.
Well, Mr. Quaver, ſaid the old Gentleman, I think you told me Yeſterday that the Price at which you ſet your Liberty was Ten Thouſand Pounds:—It is certainly a great Sum for a Perſon of your Vocation, who have no other Jointure to make my Daughter than a few Muſic Books; but as ſhe has ſet her Heart upon you, I will not refuſe you, and the Money ſhall be paid on the Dvay of Marriage.
Alass, Sir, reply’d the other, I am ſorry I was ſo unhappy to be miſtaken; I told you that I would not marry for twice the Sum you offer’d at firſt, which you may remember was Five Thouſand Pounds;――and I think you cannot give me leſs than fifteen Thouſand, and five Thouſand more at the Birth of the firſt Child; beſides, I expect you ſhould ſettle your whole Eſtate on me after your Deceaſe, that your Daughter, who I know is Heireſs, 65 I1r 65 Heireſs, may not aſſume too much, as many Wives do, when they have the Power of receiving Rents lodg’d in their own Hands.
At theſe Words the Father was oblig’d to ſummon all his Moderation, yet could not reſtrain himſelf from crying out, Heavens! What have I done to merit a Puniſhment ſo ſevere?—Unhappy Celemena, to love where there is nothing but what ought to create Contempt!
Whatever Opinion you may have of me, Sir, return’d Quaver with a moſt audacious Air, I know myſelf, and ſhall not abate an Ace of my Demand: If you think fit to comply with it I will make a good Huſband to your Daughter;—If not, I am your humble Servant:—She muſt die.
Celemena no ſooner heard this, than ſhe ſent her Governeſs to beg her Father to come into her Chamber before he made any farther Reply to what was ſaid; and on his entering threw herſelf at his Feet, and embracing his Knees with a Vehemence which ſurpriz’d him,—O, Sir, ſaid ſhe, by all the Love and Tenderneſs you have ever uſed me with, by this laſt, the greateſt Proof ſure that ever Child receiv’d, I conjure you, ſuffer not yourſelf nor me to be one Moment longer affronted and inſulted by that unworthy Fellow, whom I almoſt hate myſelf for ever having had a favourable Thought on:— Spurn him, I beſeech you, from your Presence;— I let 66 I1v 66 let him ſeek a Wife more befitting him than Celemena, who now hates and ſcorns him.
But are you certain, my Dear, ſaid this fond Father, that you can perſiſt in these Sentiments?
Forever, Sir, anſwered ſhe, and your Commands to unite me to ſuch a Wretch would now render me more miſerable, than two Days paſt your Refuſal would have done.
It is not to be doubted but that the old Gentleman was tranſported at this unlook’d for Change, and returning to Quaver, whom he found looking in the Glaſs, and humming over a Tune of his own compoſing, he told him, That the Farce was entirely over, Celemena had only a Mind to divert herſelf with his Vanity, which having done, he might go about his Buſineſs, for there was no Danger of her dying, unleſs it were with laughing at his ſo eaſily believing that to be ſerious which was only a Jeſt.
The Muſician, ſo lately blown up with Self- Conceit, was now quite cruſh’d at once; and as thoſe too ſoon elated with the Appearance of any proſperous Event are, with the ſame Eaſe dejected with the Reverſe, he look’d like one transfix’d with Thunder; but when he was about to ſay ſomething in a ſtammering Voice, by way of Reply,—the old Gentleman cut him ſhort, by telling 67 I2r 67 telling him in the moſt contemptuous Manner, That as neither himſelf nor his Daughter had any Diſpoſition to continue the Frolick, he had no more Buuſineſs there; but might go Home and dream of a fine Lady with fifteeen thouſand Pounds, and a great Eſtate.
To prove how much he was in earneſt, he rang his Bell, and ordered his Servants to ſhew him out; on which he muttered ſomewhat between his Teeth, and went away juſtly mortified, and ready to hang himſelf for what he loſt by his egregious Folly.
Celemena, perfectly cured of her Paſſion, and no otherwiſe troubled than aſhamed of having ever entertained one for a Perſon ſuch as he had now proved himſelf, ſoon reſumed her former Health and Vivacity; and was ſome time after married to a Perſon of Condition, who knew how to eſteem her as he ought.
This Behaviour in Quaver I will allow to be the higheſt Ingratitude, and am very certain there are many ſuch Examples of it in our Bargain-Makers for Marriage, though all have not the ſame Spirit and Reſolution Celemena teſtified in reſenting it.
Thus have I attempted to obviate ſome of thoſe Errors in Judgment, concerning the Crime of Ingratitude, which frequently miſlead the Mind; yet on the whole I muſt conclude as I began,gan, 68 I2v 68 gan, that there is no Poſſibility of tracing it in all Circumſtances and Caſes.
That I may avoid the Imputation of being guilty of it myſelf, I muſt not forget to acknowledge the great Favour I have receiv’d from the Public, by their Encouragement of theſe my Monthly Lucubrations, and also for Diſtrario’s Letter, which is juſt now come to Hand, and which I aſſure him shall be inſerted in the next Female Spectator, with the Sentiments of our Club on the Matter it contains.
End of the Seventh Book.
The Female Spectator.
Correspondents beginning to thicken upon us, and every one being deſirous of ſomewhat by way of Comment or Reply, due Order muſt be obſerved as to inſerting and anſwering the Letters as they come to Hand; we therefore hope thoſe of a later Date will not take it ill that we give the firſt Place to that of Diſtrario, as having been firſt received.
To the Female Spectator. Madam, The Juſtice you have done in recommending Dramatick Performances, before any other of the preſent more encourag’d Diverſions of the Town, renders your Monthly Eſſays a proper Vehicle to convey the Groans K of 70 K1v 70 of the Stage to the Ears of the Publick; nor can thoſe Gentlemen who unhappily have devoted themſelves to the Muſes, find any Means of making their Complaint with ſo much Probability of Succeſs, as through your nervous and pathetick Strains. Be not ſtartled, I beſeech you, at the Sight of this long Epiſtle, nor imagine it is my Intention to trouble you with any Animadverſion on the late or preſent Conteſts between the Patentees and Players, the Town is already ſufficiently peſter’d with Caſes and Replies, and I am afraid theſe idle Quarrels among themſelves will rather contribute to bring Acting in general into Contempt, than be of any Service to the Perſons concern’d in them. No, Madam, my Aim is to obviate the more real Misfortunes of the Theatres, and ſhew how the Drama is wounded through the Sides of thoſe by whom alone it can exiſt with any Honour or Reputation. There are two Reaſons commonly aſſign’d why the Nobility and better Sort of People have of late Years very much withdrawn that Encouragement they uſed to vouchſafe to the Stage.—The firſt is, that the Parts in which Wilks, Booth, Cibber ſenior, Oldfield, Porter, and ſome others appear’d in with great Propriety, are but ill ſupplied by their Succeſſors; but I cannot look on this as any real Objection, becauſe 71 K2r 71 becauſe it would be both cruel and unjuſt: Actors cannot always retain the ſame Faculties any more than other People, much leſs can they be immortal: Beſides, there are at this Time ſeveral whoſe Merit ought not to be abſorbed in the Regard we pay to the memory of thoſe who went before them. And if even they are leſs excellent, I do not perceive but the Audiences are ſatisfied with their Endeavours to pleaſe us, by imitating them as far as it lies in their Power.――The ſecond, were it founded on Truth, would be of Weight indeed, and that is, that there are now no Gentlemen of any Abilities that will write for the Stage, and that the Town is obliged to be content with ſeeing the ſame Things over and over again for ſeveral Seaſons together, without any one new Subject of Entertainment being exhibited. The latter Part of this Objection is founded on too known a Fact not to give ſome Credit to the former, eſpecially when propagated by thoſe whoſe Intereſt one would imagine it was to inculcate a contrary Opinion; but this it is I take upon me to confute, by diſplaying thoſe latent Motives which have occaſioned a Report ſo injurious to the preſent Age, that I wonder no-body has yet taken the Pains to examine into it. First, let us aſk the Queſtion whether there are, or are not, any ſurviving Genius’s truly qualified to write for the Stage?――I believe no-body will anſwer in the Negative, becauſe nothing could be more eaſy than to prove the 72 K2v 72 the contrary:—This being granted, let us aſk farther, whence it comes to paſs that every one ſhould now deſpiſe an Avocation which was once attended with conſiderable Profit, and ſo much Reputation, that ſome of our greateſt Men have valued themſelves more on their Talents this way, than on their Coronets:―― Strange it ſeems, that the Name of a Dramatick Poet ſhould at preſent be ſo contemptible, that no Person of real Abilities will chuſe to be diſtinguiſhed by it! Yet it is eaſily accounted for, if the tedious Delays, the ſhocking Rebuffs, the numberleſs Difficulties an Author is almoſt ſure to meet with in his Attempt to introduce any new Thing on the Stage, were laid open and conſider’d as they ought. A Perſon of Condition would make but an odd Figure, if, after having taken Pains to oblige the Town, and do Honour to the Stage, he ſhould be made to dance Attendance at the Levee of an imperious Patentee for Days, Weeks, nay Months together, and receive no other Anſwers than that he had not had Time to look over his Play;—that he had miſlaid it;―― or perhaps affects to forget he ever ſaw it:――. At laſt the Actors muſt be conſulted, and it often happens that thoſe among them who are leaſt capable of judging, are called into the Cabinet Council.――If any one of theſe happens to diſlike the Character he imagines will be 73 K3r 73 be allotted for him, then the whole Piece is condemned; and at the Concluſion of the Seaſon, or it is poſſible at that of two or three ſucceeding ones, the Author has it return’d, and is told, It is not Theatrical enough, a Term invented by this auguſt Aſſembly, to conceal their Inability of pointing out any real Faults, and the Meaning of which can neither be defined by themselves nor any body elſe. But you will ſay, Why ſhould they behave in this manner?――Is it not the Intereſt of both Manager and Actors to receive a good Play, which will be certain of putting Money in the Pocket of the one, and ſecuring the Payment of the Salaries of the other. To which I anſwer, That it is doubtleſs their their true Intereſt; but Avarice and Indolence render many People blind to what is ſo:―― The Manager flatters himſelf, that if the Town cannot have new Plays they will come to old ones, and he ſhall thereby ſave the Profits of the third Nights; and the Actors (thoſe I mean of them who are at what they call the Top of the Buſineſs, for the others have no Influence) having their Salaries fixed, think they have no Occaſion to take the Trouble of ſtudying new Parts, ſince they know they muſt be paid equally the ſame without it. These, Madam, are the falſe ill-judg’d Maxims by which both Patentee and Company are 74 K3v 74 are ſwayed to reject the moſt excellent Pieces ſubmitted to their Cenſure, and are the Motives which deter, as far as it relates to them, an Author from offering any thing to the Stage. Yet while I condemn the little Inclination thoſe Gentlemen for the moſt Part teſtify to oblige the Town, or give Encouragement to the Poets, I muſt do them the Juſtice to ſay that it has not been always owing to them that ſo many improveing and delightful Entertainments have been deprived of ſeeing the Light. There is another more terrifick Cloud from a ſuperior Quarter hangs over the Author’s Hopes, and threatens the Deſtruction of his moſt ſanguine Expectations. I believe neither yourſelf, nor any of your Readers will be at a Loſs to underſtand I mean the Licence-Office, at the Head of which a great Person is placed who cannot be ſuppoſed to have Leiſure to inſpect every one, nor indeed any of the Pieces brought before him; and there is much more than a bare Poſſibility that his Deputies may either through Weakneſs or Partiality err in their Judgment, and give an unfair Report; nay, ſome go ſo far as to imagine they are under a ſecret Compact with the Managers of both Houſes to reject indiſcriminately every Thing that comes, except recommended by the higher Powers; but this I am far from being able to lay to their Charge, nor do indeed think either the one or 75 L1r 75 or the other capable of entring into any ſuch Combination. But to what, unleſs one of the foregoing Reaſons, can we impute forbidding the Tragedies of Edwardand Eleonora, Guſtavus Vaſa, and ſome other excellent Performances, founded on the moſt intereſting Parts of Hiſtory, ſupported by various Turns and ſurprizing Incidents, and illuſtrated with all the Strength and Beauty of Language, eſpecially the former, which for every thing that can render a Piece improving and entertaining, finds itſelf not excelled (I had almoſt ſaid equall’d) by any Thing either of the antient or modern Writers.―― Yet was this admirable Play, when juſt ready to make its Appearance, forbad to be acted, the longing Expectations of the Publick were diſappointed, and we had been totally deprived of ſo elegant an Entertainment, did not, thank Heaven, the Liberty of the Preſs ſtill continue in ſome meaſure with us. Tho’ ſtript of all the Ornaments of Dreſs and Action, it gives in the Reading a laſting and undeniable Proof that it is neither Want of Abilities, or an Indolence in exerting thoſe Abilities, but Permiſſion to exhibit them in a proper manner, that the Stage at preſent affords ſo little Matter of Attraction. But I will now come to the Point which chiefly induced me to trouble the Female SpectatorL tator 76 L1v 76 tator with this Letter; and having enumerated the many Hardſhips Authors in general go through in attempting to get their Plays acted, I will proceed as briefly as the Circumſtance will admit, to lay before you thoſe which myſelf in particular has labour’d under. I must inform you, Madam, that I have wrote ſeveral Things which have not only been well received by the Publick, but have alſo been favoured with the Approbation of ſome of our beſt Judges; and that it was no leſs owing to their Encouragement than my own Ambition, that I reſolv’d to try the Force of my Genius in the Dramatick Way, which, according to one of the greateſt of our Engliſh Poets, ――Is a bold PretenceTo Learning, Breeding, Wit and Eloquence. I ventured at it, notwithſtanding; and, undeter’d by Example, launch’d into that Sea, on whoſe Rocks and Quickſands ſo many much more ſkilful Pilots than myſelf had been wrecked before my Eyes. To confeſs the Truth, I was greatly embolden’d by the Favour and Friendſhip of a Perſon of Condition, a Courtier, and who I imagin’d had Intereſt enough both with the Licenſer and Players to introduce whatever he ſhould recommend. But to return:— As 77 L2r 77 As my Genius inclin’d me chiefly to the Sublime, my firſt Attempt was Tragedy.―― The Part of Hiſtory I made Choice on, was the famous Combat between Edward, ſurnamed Ironſide, King of England, and the great Canute of Denmark.—There appear’d to me ſo true a Magnanimity and paternal Affection for his People in that heroick Prince, when, to ſave the Effuſion of their Blood, he ſet all his own, as well as Kingdom at Stake, and fought Hand to Hand with one who had no Equal but himſelf in Strength and Courage, while both Armies ſtood admiring Spectators only of his wondrous Valour, that I thought a more proper Subject could not have employed my Pen.—I am not apt to be vain of my own Performances, but the Friend abovemention’d aſſured me I had done my Part as a Poet; but withal ſaid, he was ſorry I had not pitched upon ſome other Story;—that this would never do; that it would be look’d upon as too romantick; —that Cuſtoms were entirely chang’d ſince the Days of Ironſide;—that Kings were now too ſacred to hazard their Perſons in that manner; and concluded with adviſing me not to expoſe it, as it would never paſs the Office, and might render me obnoxious. This was a very great Mortification to me, however I ſubmitted to his Judgment, and chang’d the Scene to the laſt Part of that glorious Monarch’s Life, where himſelf and Kingdom were betrayed and given up to Ruin, by L2 the 78 L2v 78 the Treachery and Avarice of his firſt Miniſter and Favourite, Edrick Duke of Mercia; but alas! my Patron diſapproved of this more than the former, and told me, A firſt Miniſter, eſpecially an ill one, ought never to be repreſented on the Stage; becauſe ſeditious People might take upon them to draw Parallels, thereby leſſening the Reverence due to thoſe in Power. I then took the Liberty of intreating he would recommend ſome Part of Hiſtory for me to write upon; but he told me, as to that, he had not Leiſure to think of ſuch Things; all he could do was to adviſe me either to find out or invent ſome agreeable Fable, where no King or Prime Miniſter of any ſort had any Buſineſs to be introduced; and above all Things not to lay the Scene in any of the independant Common-Wealths, becauſe, ſaid he, it may naturally draw you into ſome Expreſſions that may ſavour of Republicaniſm. Some Months I paſs’d in conſidering what he had ſaid, and ſearching Hiſtory in order to find out, if poſſible, ſome Event, the Repreſentation of which might be liable to none of theſe Objections; but the Thing was in itſelf an utter Impoſſibility, and all my Endeavours ſerved only to convince me it was ſo. My Ambition of acquiring the Name of a Dramatick Author not being quelled by the Diſappointments I receiv’d, ſtill flatter’d me with 79 L3r 79 with better Succeſs in the Comick Vein.—A Whim, which I thought would be entertaining enough, came into my Head, and I threw it immediately into Scenes, which I afterwards divided into five Acts, and gave the Piece the Title of The Blunderers, from two odd Fellows I had introduced, who were continually labouring to do and undo, and made whatever was bad ſtill worſe. But, good Madam Spectator, how ſhall I deſcribe the Paſſion my Friend was in at ſeeing this Title! If I did not know, ſaid he, that you were an honeſt Man, I ſhould take you for the moſt arrant Raſcal in the World:—What is it you mean by calling your Comedy the Blunderers? Are you inſenſible that the Jacobites, and Enemies to the Government, aſpers’d the late Miniſtry with the Name of Blunderers, and are they not beginning to load the preſent with the ſame odious Appellation?—I am ſurpriz’d a Poet can have ſo thick a Head. Tho’ what he accuſed me of had never before came in my Thoughts, I was now ſenſible I had committed an Error, and having confeſſed as much, told him, That the Title need be no Objection to the Play itſelf, which might with the ſame Propriety be called the Bubbles, there being ſeveral Characters in it which might well deſerve that Name. This, inſtead of appeaſing, as I expected it 80 L3v 80 it would have done, his Rage, more enflam’d it. —How, cried he, then I perceive you are aiming at Popularity:—You cannot be ſo ignorant as not to know, by the Bubbles will be underſtood the common People:――I will have no more to ſay to you or your Productions. He left me in ſpeaking theſe Words, nor could I prevail on him to renew our former Familiarity for a long Time; and I was ſo much diſquieted at the Thoughts of having ſo fooliſhly forfeited the Intereſt I before had with him, that I had no Capacity for writing any thing.— At length, however, he was reconcil’d; I recover’d his Eſteem, and with it my Inclination for the Drama, but told him, That the Miſtakes I had been guilty of had determin’d me not to go upon my own Bottom till I had more Experience, but would build on the Plan of ſome old Author, whoſe Fable could no way be brought into Compariſon with the preſent Tranſactions. This he ſeeming to approve of, I mention’d a Comedy wrote near a Century and a half ago, by one Drawbridge Court Belchier, a Gentleman it ſeems much applauded for his poetic Works in the Age he lived: The Title of it is, Hans Beer Pot, or the Inviſible Comedy of ſee me and ſee me not; which I had no ſooner repeated than he cried out,—You muſt not think of it;—it will be taken for a Reflection on the Dutch, who, you know, tho’ they have of late played 81 L4r 81 played a little the Will o’ the Wiſp with us, are, notwithſtanding, our good Friends and Allies, and muſt not be affronted. I knock’d under, in token of yielding myſelf in the wrong; and having read over a great many old Comedies in order to find one for my Purpoſe, I aſked what he thought of a Play of Middleton’s, called, A Mad World my Maſters.—On which he ſhook his Head and anſwer’d, That may affect ſome Princes of Germany;—I would not have you meddle with it. I then told him, that the Knight of the burning Peſtle, wrote by Beaumont and Fletcher, could not give Offence to any Party. You are deceived, ſaid he, who knows but it may with ſome ignorant People bring the nobleſt Orders of Knighthood into Contempt. Well then, reſumed I, the Iſle of Gulls, wrote by Mr. Day in the Reign of our Elizabeth of immortal Memory, may ſurely be moderniz’d, without incurring the Cenſure of any Party. Fye, fye, replied he peeviſhly, you are as ill a Judge of other Men’s Productions as of your own:――Such a Play would be look’d upon as a moſt ſcandalous Libel. Quite impatient to hit on ſomething out of the Reach of Cavil, I propoſed the Revival of 82 L4v 82 of Brenennoralt, or the Diſcontented Colonel, a Play of Sir John Suckling’s; but that it ſeems border’d too near on ſome late military Diſguſts.――. The Glaſs of Government, by Gaſcoigne, might alſo be conſtrued into an arrogant Attempt to point out Defects which ought to be concealed.――The Suppoſes, by the ſame Author, might affront a certain great Man who is thought to build all his Schemes on Suppoſition. By the Hog has loſt his Pearl, tho’ wrote by Taylor in the Year 16111611, I ſhould infallibly be underſtood to inſinuate a preſent Loſs of Britiſh Liberty.—Mr. Broom’s Play of the Court Beggar would be a glaring Inſult on ſome of the chief Nobility round Whitehall, and ſome other Places;—and the Court Secret, by Shirley, was a Thing too delicate to be pry’d into.—The Doubtful Heir, by the ſame Gentleman, and the Fall of Tarquin by Hunt, were equally rejected by this State Critic, tho’ without explaining his Reaſons for doing ſo on theſe two laſt. Judge, Madam, how much I was vexed and confounded at hearing Inuendoes, which one could not have imagin’d ſhould ever enter into the Heart of Man; but as I was reſolv’d to try this pretended Friend to the utmoſt, I told him, that ſince it was ſo impoſſible a Thing either to write a new Tragedy or Comedy, or to revive what had been wrote ſo many Ages paſt without giving Offence, I would content myſelf with modernizing an Interlude of more than 83 M1r 83 than two hundred Years old, compos’d by John Heywood, and intitled The four P’s. On this he pauſed a little, but at laſt reply’d gravely, That he could by no Means encourage me in any ſuch Attempt; for, ſaid he, by the four P’s may be implied Prince, Power, Parliament and Penſion,――or perhaps, People, Poverty, Priſon, and Petition:――No, Sir, no, continued he, avoid all ſuch ſeditious Allegories I beſeech you, or we muſt be no longer acquainted. This put me beyond all Patience, and I could not forbear anſwering with ſome Warmth, that I found he endeavour’d to pick Meanings where they were never intended. If the four P’s, ſaid I, contain any Allegory, why muſt it needs be a ſeditious one?—Why may they not as well be underſtood to mean Penitence, Pardon, Peace, and Plenty;—or if that ſhould ſeem a little ſtrain’d, in the preſent Age, may it not with greater Propriety be turned on the coquet Part of the fair Sex, and ſtand for Proud, Pretty, Prating, and Playful? This Argument, tho’ certainly reaſonable, had no manner of Weight with him, any more than ſome others I made uſe of for the ſame Purpoſe; and only ſerv’d to convince myſelf that there was no Poſſibility of writing any thing but what might be liable to Cenſure from thoſe who made it their Buſineſs to find Matter for it. M Thus, 84 M1v 84 Thus, Madam, I have pointed out the Obſtacles which lye in the Way of a Dramatic Author, and you will eaſily conceive the little Probability there is that a Perſon of Fortune will deſcend to that ſervile Dependance and Sollicitation now requir’d for the Admiſſion of his Play; and a Poet, whoſe ſole Support is his Muſe, is deterred from riſquing on ſo precarious a Hope that Time, which he is ſure to be largely paid for, if employed in the Service of ſome Perſons, not altogether convenient to name. Without ſome better Regulation therefore on the Part of the Theatres, and ſome Abatement of the preſent Severity on that of the Licenſer, the Town muſt deſpair of ſeeing any new Thing exhibited, the Drama be entirely neglected, and the Stage in a ſhort Time become a Deſart. Nothing can be more worthy the Pen of a Female Spectator than to ſet this Affair in a proper Light;—that good Nature you have ſo amiably deſcribed, requires it of you in behalf of diſtreſs’d Authors:—Juſtice demands you ſhould ſtand up in the Defence of an Inſtitution calculated for public Service;――and Reaſon will, I doubt not, engage you to exert yourſelf on ſo laudable an Occasion. I am, Madam, Very much your Admirer and Moſt obedient humble Servant, Distrario. 1744-10-21Oct. 21, 1744.85 M2r 85
We were pretty much divided in our Opinions on the firſt Peruſal of this Letter; but at laſt agreed, that tho’ the Complaints contained in it might be, and it is highly probable are perfectly juſt, yet Diſtrario may perhaps have taken the Latitude allowed to Poets, and repreſented Things ſomewhat higher than the Life.――We know not how to think that either of the Patentees, who are both of them Gentlemen of Families, and doubtleſs have had an Education conformable to their Birth, ſhould be able to bring themſelves to treat, even the leaſt meritorious of thoſe who endeavour to ſerve them and oblige the Town, with that Haughtineſs and Contempt he ſeems to accuſe them of. Good Manners is a Debt we owe to ourſelves as well as to others, and whoever neglects to pay it forfeits all the Pretenſions he might otherwiſe have both to the Love and Reſpect of the World. A civil Refuſal takes off the Aſperity of the Diſappointment, and is given with the ſame Eaſe as a more rough and poignant one: Sure therefore thoſe who are at the Head of an eternal Scene of Politeneſs, cannot ſo far vary from what they have continually before their Eyes. But as this is a Punctilio which regards only the Perſons of the Poets, who are very well able to return in kind any Slights they may imagine put upon them, and is of much leſs Conſequence to the Public than thoſe their Productions meet with, it were to be wiſh’d that ſome of the great World would vouchſafe to intereſt themſelves in this Affair, and not leave it at the Option of thoſe who live by the Good Humour of the Town, to M2 deprive 86 M2v 86 deprive the Town of any Entertainment it has a Right to expect from them.
As therefore there is an Office to forbid the Exhibition of ſuch new Plays as by it are judg’d to have any thing in them offenſive or indecent, it would not, methinks, be unbecoming the Wiſdom of the Legiſlature to erect one for the commanding and enforcing ſuch to be acted as on Peruſal are found proper to entertain a polite and virtuous Audience.
Such an Office, under the Direction of Gentlemen qualified to judge of Dramatic Performances, would take away all Occaſion of Complaint from the Poets, and be a Motive to induce many Gentlemen to write for the Stage, who, if it be as Diſtrario ſays, are now deterred from it.
Besides, to prevent the Shock an Author feels in having his Piece rejected, as well as all Jealouſies of Partiality in the Affair, every one might ſend his Play without ever being known from what Hand it came, till it had been approved and was ordered to be acted.
’Tis certain, that according to the Opinion we have of the Man, we are greatly prejudic’d in Favour or Diſlike of his Work; yet this is in truth a Piece of Injuſtice which we ought not to indulge ourſelves in.――It is poſſible to excel in one kind of Writing, yet be very bad in another:—Few there are, if any, whoſe Talents are 87 M3r 87 are univerſal.—Mr. Pope, whoſe poetical Works will always be read with an equal Share of Pleaſure and Admiration, had, notwithſtanding, no Genius to Dramatic Writing; and Mr. Rymer, that awful Critic on the Productions of his Contemporaries, that great Pretender to a Reformation of the Stage, by attempting to give a Proof what Plays ought to be, has only ſhewn how little he was qualified to write one: This, I believe, will be allowed by every one who has read his Edgar, a Piece which, after all his long Labour, can but at beſt be called correctly dull, ſince the two chief Beauties of Tragedy, Pity and Surprize, are entirely wanting in it. Yet doubtleſs the Town were in high Expectations of ſomething wonderful from a Pen which had been ſo ſevere on the Performances of others.
I therefore cannot help ſmiling within myſelf, when on the firſt Talk of a new Play being in Rehearſal, the Name of the Author is preſently enquir’d into, and a ſtrict Scrutiny made into the Merit of his former Works; and if he has wrote any thing, tho’ never ſo foreign to the Stage, that has had the good Fortune to ſucceed, People cry out,――Oh, if it is his, it muſt be good! and following this Concluſion, run the firſt Night to give an Applauſe to that which perhaps, after they have ſeen and well conſidered, they are aſhamed of having ever countenanc’d.
Nor am I leſs concern’d, and even ſhock’d, when I hear with what Contempt the Performancemance 88 M3v 88 mance of a young Author, who is in a manner but clambering up the Hill of Fame, is treated by ſome who ſpeak of it;—how they throw aſide his Tickets, and cry,――What obſcure Fellow is this?――What Stuff does he invite us to?— and either not go to his Play at all, or go with a Prepoſſeſſion which will not ſuffer them to give it a fair Hearing.
This is a Piece of Cruelty in ſome who would be thought good Judges, yet are entirely governed by Prejudice; and I have known has been practiſed long before thoſe new Hardſhips which Diſtrario complains of were ever heard of.
Such an Office, therefore, as I have mentioned, where Plays ſhould be candidly examined, without any Regard to the Merits of their Authors in other Reſpects, or even knowing who they were, would remedy all theſe Inconveniencies to the Poets, and alſo be a Means of obliging the Town with three or four at leaſt new Pieces every Seaſon at each Theatre.
As to the Power of forbidding Plays to be acted, now lodg’d in the Licenſer, it muſt be granted, that in an Age ſo diſſolute as this, there ought to be ſome Reſtraint on the Latitude Poets might otherwiſe take, and ſome whom I could name have taken, in Expectation of crowded Audiences of the looſer Part of both Sexes; but then methinks this Reſtriction ſhould have its Bounds. —Whatever is offenſive to the Majeſty of Heaven,ven, 89 M4r 89 ven, or of its Vicegerents on Earth, would be indeed very unfit Subjects to be exhibited on a Stage; but to reject a valuable Play for the ſake of ſuch ſtrain’d Inuendoes as the Friend of Diſtrario ſuggeſted, ſeems to overthrow that decent Liberty which in all Ages, and in all free Nations, has ever been allowed.
The Stage by its Inſtitution is the School of Virtue, and the Scourge of Vice; and when either of theſe noble purpoſes is defeated, it is no wonder that Perſons of true Senſe and Honour chuse to abſent themſelves, and oblige their Families to do ſo too.
The Tragedies of Edwardand Eleonora, Guſtavus Vaſa, Arminius, and ſome others forbidden by this Office from being acted, have dared the Teſt of Examination by appearing in Print; and I never yet found any one Perſon who could penetrate into the Motives which denied us the Pleaſure of ſeeing them repreſented.
If the true Amor Patriæ be a Virtue theſe Times are not aſhamed of, how muſt every Breaſt glow with the noble Ardour at the illuſtrious Example of Guſtavus Vaſa, and his brave Dalecarlians?――If the Deſire of attaining Glory and Renown for worthy Actions be a Principle which ought to be inculcated in the Young, and cheriſhed in the Old, Arminius affords Leſſons for the laudable Ambition?—And if Courage in Diſtreſs, Reſignation to Heaven, Faith, Love, Piety and 90 M4v 90 and Zeal, and every Virtue that can illuſtrate the Character of a Chriſtian Hero be deſerving our Regard, where can we find a greater Inſtance than in our gallant Edward?
The Ladies above all have Reaſon to regret the ill Treatment of this excellent Performance, ſince none was ever wrote could do greater Honour to the Sex.—The amiable Eleonora is a Character which I believe no other Hiſtory can parallel, and her Behaviour a ſhining Proof that Greatneſs of Mind, Fortitude, Conſtancy, and all thoſe Perfections which conſtitute a true Magnanimity, are not confined to the Male Gender.
It was however thought proper to ſuppreſs theſe Plays, and many others, as far as the Power of the Licenſer extended, and it is not our Province to examine into his Reaſons for ſo doing; but may allow, with Diſtrario, that when ſuch as theſe were not permitted, it is very difficult for an Author to find or invent any Story which may not be liable to ſome Objection, and ſuffer the ſame Fate.
If the Eye could be ſatisfied with ſeeing, or the Ear with hearing always the ſame Things over and over repeated, it muſt be own’d there are many old Plays which the beſt of our modern Poets would not perhaps be able to excel; but Nature delights in Variety, and tho’ it would be unjuſt and ungrateful to ſtrip the Laurels from the Brows of Shakeſpear, Johnſon, Beaumont and Fletcher, 91 N1r 91 Fletcher, Dryden, Otway, Lee, Congreve, and ſeveral other deſervedly admired Authors, to adorn thoſe who ſhall ſucceed them, yet we love to ſee a Genius the Growth of our own Times, and might find ſufficient Trophies for the Merits of ſuch, without any Injury to their Predeceſſors.
Those moſt impatient for new Plays deſire not, however, that thoſe which for ſo many Years have continued to divert and pleaſe, ſhould now be ſunk and buried in Oblivion.――The Poets I have mention’d will always preſerve the ſame Charms, and would do ſo yet more were they leſs frequently exhibited.――Some of Shakeſpear’s Comedies, and all his Tragedies have Beauties in them almoſt inimitable; but then it muſt be confeſſed, that he ſometimes gave a Looſe to the Luxriancy of his Fancy; ſo that his Plays may be compared to fine Gardens full of the moſt beantiful Flowers, but choaked up with Weeds through the too great Richneſs of the Soil: Thoſe therefore which have had thoſe Weeds pluck’d up by the ſkilful Hands of his Succeſſors, are much the moſt elegant Entertainments.
For which Reaſon I was a little ſurprized when I heard that Mr. Cibber, junior, had reviv’d the Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet as it was firſt acted; Cajus Marius being the ſame Play, only moderniz’d and clear’d of ſome Part of its Rubbiſh by Otway, appearing to ſo much more Advantage, that it is not to be doubted but that N the 92 N1v 92 the admirable Author, had he lived to see the Alteration, would have been highly thankful and ſatisfied with it.
It were indeed to be wiſhed that the ſame kind Corrector had been ſomewhat more ſevere, and lop’d off not only ſome ſuperfluous Scenes, but whole Characters, which rather ſerve to diminiſh than add to the Piece, particularly thoſe of the Nurſe and Sulpitius, neither of them being in the leaſt conducive to the Conduct of the Fable, and all they ſay ſavouring more of Comedy than Tragedy.—It is, methinks, inconſiſtent with the Character of a Roman Senator and Patrician, to ſuffer himſelf to be entertained for half an Hour together with ſuch idle Chat as would ſcarcely paſs among old Women in a Nurſery: Nor does the wild Behaviour and looſe Discourſe of Sulpitius at all agree with the Auſterity of the Times he is ſuppoſed to live in, or any way improve the Morals of an Audience. The Deſcription alſo of the Apothecary, tho’ truly poetical, and his meagre Appearance, always occaſion a loud Laugh, and but ill diſpoſe us to taſte the Solemnity of the enſuing Scene.
Mr. Otway was doubtleſs fearful of going too far, or he had removed every thing which prevents this Piece from being perfect.――It muſt be own’d he has improved and heightened every Beauty that could receive Addition, and been extremely tender in preſerving all thoſe entire which are above the reach of Amendment. Nor 93 N2r 93 Nor is his Judgment in this particular leſs to be admired than his Candour.――Some Poets, perhaps, to ſhew their own Abilities, would have put a long Soliloquy into the Mouth of young Marius, when he finds Lavinia at her Window at a Time of Night when it was but juſt poſſible for him to diſtinguiſh it was ſhe; whereas this judicious Emendator leaves his Author here as he found him; and indeed what could ſo emphatically expreſs the Feel of a Lover on ſuch an Occaſion as is couch’d in this ſhort Acclamation: ――Oh ’tis my Love!See how ſhe hangs upon the Cheek of NightLike a rich Jewel in an Ethiop’s Ear.
Nor is the Tenderneſs and Innocence of Lavinia leſs conveyed to us, when in the Fulneſs of her Heart, and unſuſpecting ſhe was overheard by any body, ſhe cries out, Oh Marius! Marius! wherefore art thou Marius?Renounce thy Family, deny thy Name,And in Exchange take all Lavinia.
I mention theſe two Places merely becauſe they ſtrike my own Fancy in a peculiar manner, for the whole Piece abounds with others equally ſtrong, natural, and pathetic, and is, in my Opinion, and that of many others, the very beſt and moſt agreeable of all the Tragedies of that excellent Author.N2 John- 94 N2v 94
Johnson’s Comedies, tho’ they have leſs of Fire and Fancy than moſt of thoſe of the foregoing Author, yet are infinitely more correct, therefore ſtand in need of little other Alteration than what the Omiſſion of ſome Scenes, which render them too long for Performance, muſt neceſſarily occaſion, and which is the Fault of moſt of thoſe who wrote in former Ages.
Beaumont and Fletcher have left us many excellent Plays; thoſe of them which are moderniz’d afford us very agreeable Matter of Entertainment, and there are many others which would be no leſs pleaſing, if revived with a very few Alterations.
Several alſo of Shirley, Broom, Maſseinger, and other antient Poets, under the Care of a ſkilful Hand, might come in for their Share of Applauſe. But I muſt ſtill agree with Diſtrario, that in Complaiſance to the paſt, the Stage ought not to be ſhut up from the preſent; ――that living Genius’s ſhould at leaſt be admitted to a Probation, and that our immediate Deſcendants ſhould not have it in their Power to accuſe us of a Partiality our Anceſtors were not guilty of.
But I am very much afraid the Apprehenſions Diſtrario labours under on this Head are too juſtly founded, and that the Perſon whom he conſulted on the Choice of his Fable, ſpoke no more than the Sentiments of thoſe in a ſuperior Claſs; and if this ſhould happen to be the Caſe, it 95 N3r 95 it will be in vain for us to hope for any new Performance in the Dramatic Way that will be worth our ſeeing.
It ſeems, however, extremely ſtrange that it ſhould be a Crime to repreſent on the Stage thoſe Tranſactions which are in Hiſtory, and everybody has the Privilege of reading and commenting on in any other kind of Writing.
But it may be thought impertinent by ſome, and too arrogant by others, in me to pretend to argue on a Matter equally impoſſible to account for as to remedy; I ſhall therefore forbear any farther Diſcourſe upon it, and proceed to the next Letter on the Table.
To the Female Spectator. Madam, As I look upon you to be a Perſon who knows the World perfectly well, and has the Happineſs of your own Sex very much at Heart, I wonder you have never yet thought fit to throw out ſome Admonitions concerning the immoderate Uſe of Tea; which however innocent it may ſeem to thoſe that practiſe it, is a kind of Debauchery no leſs expenſive, and perhaps even more pernicious in its Conſequences, than thoſe which the Men, who are not profeſſed Rakes, are generally accuſed of. This, 96 N3v 96 This, at firſt Sight, may be looked upon as too bold an Aſſertion, but, on a nearer Examination, I am perſwaded will be found no more than reaſonable, and will undertake to prove that the Tea-Table, as manag’d in ſome Families, coſts more to ſupport than would maintain two Children at Nurſe.—Yet is this by much the leaſt Part of the Evil;—it is the utter Deſtruction of all OEconomy,—the Bane of good Houſewifry,—and the Source of Idleneſs, by engroſſing thoſe Hours which ought to be employed in an honeſt and prudent Endeavour to add to, or preſerve what Fortune, or former Induſtry has beſtowed.――Were the Folly of waſting Time and Money in this manner confined only to the Great, who have enough of both to ſpare, it would not ſo much call for public Reproof; but all Degrees of Women are infected with it, and a Wife now looks upon her Tea-Cheſt, Table, and its Implements, to be as much her Right by Marriage as her Wedding-Ring. Tho’ you cannot, Madam, be inſenſible that the trading Part of the Nation muſt ſuffer greatly on this ſcore, eſpecially thoſe who keep Shops, I beg you will give me Leave to mention ſome few Particulars of the Hardſhips we Huſbands of that Claſs are obliged to bear. The firſt Thing the too genteel Wife does after opening her Eyes in the Morning, is to ring the Bell for her Maid, and aſk if the TeaKettleKettle 97 N4r 97 Kettle boils.—If any Accident has happened to delay this important Affair, the Houſe is ſure to eccho with Reproaches; but if there is no Diſappointment in the Caſe, the Petticoats and Bed-Gown are haſtily thrown over the Shoulders, Madam repairs to her eaſy Chair, ſits down before her Table in Querpo with all her Equipage about her, and ſips, and pauſes, and then ſips again, while the Maid attends aſſiduous to repleniſh, as often as call’d for, the drain’d Vehicle of that precious Liquor. An Hour is the leaſt can be allowed to Breakfaſt, after which the Maid carries all the Utenſils down to the Kitchen, and ſits down to the Remains of the Tea (or it is probable ſome freſh ſhe has found Opportunity to purloin) with the ſame State as her Miſtreſs, takes as much Time, and would think herſelf highly injur’d ſhould any one call her away, or attempt to interrupt her in it: So that, between both, the whole Morning is elapſed, and it is as much as the poor Huſband can do to get a Bit of Dinner ready by two or three o’Clock. Dinner above and below is no ſooner over, than the Tea-Table muſt be again ſet forth:—Some friendly Neighbour comes in to chat away an Hour:—Two are no Company, and the Maid being very buſy in cutting Bread and Butter, one ’Prentice is called out of the Shop to run this Way and fetch Mrs. Such-a- one, and another that Way to fetch Mrs. Such- a-one, 98 N4v 98 a-one, ſo that the Huſband muſt be his own Man, and if two Cuſtomers chance to come at the ſame Time, he frequently loſes one for want of Hands to ſerve them. It often happens, that when the Tea-drinking Company have almoſt finiſhed their Regale, and the Table is going to be removed, a freſh Viſitor arrives, who muſt have freſh Tea made for her; after her another, who is always treated with the ſame Compliment; a third, perhaps a fourth, or more, till the Room is quite full, and the Entertainment prolonged a conſiderable Time after the Candles are lighted, when the Days are of a moderate Length. This is ſufficient to ſhew the Loſs of Time both as to the Miſtreſs and Servants, and how much the Regularity of the Tea-Table occaſions a Want of Regularity in every Thing beſide; but, Madam, there is yet another, and more miſchievous Effect attends the Drinking too much of this Indian Herb. What I mean is too notorious a Fact not to be eaſily gueſſed at; but leſt it ſhould be miſconſtrued by any of your Readers, I ſhall venture to explain it. Tea, whether of the Green or Bohea kind, when taken to Exceſs, occaſions a Dejection of Spirits and Flatulency, which lays the Drinkers of it under a kind of Neceſſity of having recourſecourſe 99 O1r 99 courſe to more animating Liquors.――The moſt temperate and ſober of the Sex find themſelves obliged to drink Wine pretty freely after it: None of them now-a-days pretend to entertain with the one without the other; and the Bottle and Glaſs are as ſure an Appendix to the Tea-Table as the Slop-Baſon. Happy are thoſe who can content themſelves with a Refreſhment, which, tho’ not to be had in any Perfection in England, is yet infinitely leſs deſtructive to the human Syſtem than ſome others too frequently ſubſtituted in its Place, when it is found too weak to anſwer the End propoſed by taking it. Brandy, Rum, and other Spirituous Liquors, being of a more exhillearating Nature, at leaſt for the preſent, are become a uſual Supplement to Tea, and, I am ſorry to ſay, by their frequent Uſe grow ſo familiar to the Palate, that their intoxicating Qualities are no longer formidable, and the Vapours, Cholic, a bad Digeſtion, or ſome other Complaint, ſerves as an Excuſe for drinking them in a more plentiful degree, than the beſt Conſtitution can for any length of Time ſupport. Hence enſue innumerable Maladies, Doctor’s Fees, Apothecary’s Bills, Bath, Tunbridge, the Spa, and all that can deſtroy the wretched Huſband’s Peace, or impoveriſh him in his Fortune. O The 100 O1v 100 The more is his Affection for a Wife who takes ſo little Care of his Intereſt and Happineſs, and of her own Health and Reputation, the more will his Affliction be; and the leſs will ſhe be able to forgive herſelf, when brought by a too late and ſad Experience to a right way of Thinking. That you will therefore uſe your Endeavours that ſo great an Enemy to the Felicity of the meaner ſort of People may be baniſhed from their Houſes, is the unanimous Deſire of all Huſbands, and moſt humbly petition’d for by him who is, With the greatest Admiration of your Writings, Madam, Your most humble, and Moſt obedient Servant, John Careful. Fryday-Street, 1744-11-02Nov. 2, 1744.
I dare ſay one Half of my Readers will expect me to be very angry at this Declamation againſt an Amuſement my Sex are generally ſo fond of; but it is the firm Reſolution of our Club to maintain ſtrict Impartiality in theſe Lucubrations; and were any of us ever ſo deeply affected by the Satire, (which thank Heaven we are not) we ſhould, notwithſtanding, allow it to be juſt.
There cannot certainly be a Subject more tickling to the Spleen of the Ill-natur’d, or afford more 101 O2r 101 more Matter of Concern to the Gentle and Compaſſionate, than the Affectation of ſome Tradeſmen’s Wives in the Article Mr. Careful complains of; and, it muſt be own’d, he has done it in ſo Pictureſque a manner, that it is impoſſible to read him without imagining one ſees the ridiculous Behaviour he deſcribes.
No Woman, who is conſcious of being guilty of it, can, in my Opinion, behold herſelf thus delineated without a Confuſion, which muſt occaſion a thorough Reformation.
Tea is, however, in itſelf a very harmleſs Herb, and an Infuſion of it in boiling Water agrees with moſt Conſtitutions, when taken moderately; but then, it muſt be confeſs’d, we have Plants of our own Growth no leſs pleaſing to the Palate, and more effectual for all the Purpoſes which furniſh an Excuſe for the Afternoon’s Regale.
This is a Truth allowed by all, even by thoſe from whom we purchaſe Tea at ſo dear a Rate; but alas! the Paſſion we have for Exotics diſcovers itſelf but in too many Inſtances, and we neglect the Uſe of what we have within ourſelves for the ſame Reaſon as ſome Men do their Wives, only becauſe they are their own.
The three Objections which Mr. Careful makes, or indeed that any body can make againſt the Tea-Table, are Firſt, The Loſs of Time and Hindrance to Buſineſs;――Secondly, The O2 Expence; 102 O2v 102 Expence;――and, Laſtly, The Conſequences, often ariſing from it, Dram-drinking and Ill-health.
To the firſt it may be anſwered, that were Tea to be entirely baniſhed, and Baum, Sage, Mint, or any other Engliſh Herb ſubſtituted in its Place, and uſed in the ſame manner, the Effect would be the ſame as to that Point, becauſe the one would engroſs the Hours as well as the other. ――Nor does the ſecond carry any great Weight, the Expence of Tea itſelf, excluſive of thoſe other Apurtenances, which would be equally neceſſary with any other Herb is an Indulgence, which, where there is any thing of a Competency, might be allowed the Wife without Prejudice to the Circumſtances of her Huſband.――But the third is not ſo eaſily got over: This is what indeed renders the Uſe of Indian Tea, above all other, pernicious. None, I believe, that drink it conſtantly twice a Day, but have experienced the ill Effects it has on the Conſtitution:—They feel a ſinking of the Heart, a kind of inward Horror, which is no ways to be removed but by that dangerous Remedy Mr. Careful mentions, and which, in Time, proves worſe than the Diſeaſe itſelf.
It is therefore to be wiſhed, that People of all Ranks would endeavour to wean themſelves from it; and I have the more room to hope it will be ſo, becauſe Perſons of Quality, whoſe Example made it firſt the Mode, begin every Day to take leſs and leſs Pleaſure in the Tea-Table.—As it gain’d 103 O3r 103 gain’d not, however, Eſtimation all at once, we cannot expect it ſhould entirely loſe its Credit all at once; and thoſe who ſuffer by the Uſe of it, may comfort themſelves in the Aſſurance my ſpectatorial Obſervation gives them, that it is already very much declined.
I cannot conclude this Subject without repeating what was ſaid to me ſome Years ago by a certain Lady with whom I was intimately acquainted:—She was one of the greateſt Devotees to the Tea-Table I ever knew:—Bohea and Bread and Butter was her chief Suſtenance, and the Society of thoſe who loved it as well as ſhe did, her only Amuſement.—An Accident, not material to mention, ſeparated us for a conſiderable Time; but on the firſt Viſit I made her afterward, was very much ſurpriz’d to find ſhe had left off Bohea, and would drink only Green, which I thought more prejudicial to her Conſtitution than the other, ſhe being extremely lean, and inclining to a Conſumption.—Having expreſſed my Sentiments to her on this Head, I am ſenſible, replied ſhe, that it is very bad for me:— I have had continual Pains in my Stomach ever ſince I drank it, and cannot enjoy one Hour’s ſound Sleep in a whole Night:――Yet what can I do? ――I had rather endure all this than have my Brain diſordered, and I aſſure you, if I had continued the Uſe of Bohea but a very little longer, I ſhould have been mad.
These Words, delivered in the moſt grave and 104 O3v 104 and ſolemn Accents, made me not only then, but ever ſince, as often as I think on them, ſmile within myſelf at the Infatuation of making the drinking Tea of ſome kind or other of ſuch Importance, that there is no ſuch thing as quitting it, and to chuſe that ſort which will do us the leaſt Miſchief, is all we have to conſider.
As theſe Monthly Eſſays are publiſhed with a View of improving the Morals, not complimenting the Frailties of my Sex, thoſe who remember that Exceſſes in all Things are blameable, will not think what I have ſaid too ſevere.
In fine, nothing ought to be indulged till it becomes ſo far habitual, that we cannot leave it off without Difficulty, when we find it any way prejudicial or inconvenient.
The Snuff-Box and Smelling-Bottle are pretty Trinkets in a Lady’s Pocket, and are frequently neceſſary to ſupply a Pauſe in Converſation, and on ſome other Occaſions; but whatever Virtues they are poſſeſs’d of, they are all loſt by a too conſtant and familiar Uſe, and nothing can be more pernicious to the Brain, or render one more ridiculous in Company, than to have either of them perpetually in one’s Hand.
I know a Lady who never ſits down to Dinner without her Snuff-Box by her Plate, and another that cannot ſleep without her Bottle of Sal Volatile under her Pillow;—but I ſhall reſerve expatiat- 105 O4r 105 expatiating on the Folly and Miſfortune of this Bigotry of Cuſtom till ſome other Time, leſt the fair Author of the following Letter ſhould think herſelf neglected.
To the Female Spectator. Dear Female Sage, Ihave a vaſt Opinion of your Wit; and you may be convinced of it by my aſking your Advice;—a Compliment, I aſſure you, I never paid to my own Mother, or any Soul beſides yourſelf.—You muſt know that, among about half an hundred who make their Addreſſes to me, there are three who flatter themſelves with Hopes of Succeſs; and indeed with ſome Reaſon, for I have given to each of them all the Encouragement could be expected from a Woman of Honour:—But I will give you their Characters, and the different Sentiments they have inſpired me with, that you may be the better able to judge which of them I ought to make Choice of for a Partner for Life. The firſt is a tall graceful Man, of an honourable Family, has a large Eſtate, and offers me a Jointure beyond what my Fortune, tho’ it is very conſiderable, could demand: He is beſides addicted to no kind of Vice, and has the Reputation of a more than common Underſtanding; but, with all theſe good Qualities, there 106 O4r 106 there is ſomewhat in him that diſpleaſes me:— He ought, methinks, whenever we are alone together, to entertain me with nothing but his Paſſion; but, inſtead of that, he often talks to me on Subjects which he may eaſily perceive are not agreeable to my Humour, and are indeed too ſerious to ſuit with the Years of either of us, he being no more than three and twenty, and I but ſeventeen.—We were a Week ago to viſit a Relation of mine whoſe Houſe has a Proſpect of the Sea, and happening to look out of one of the Windows while we waited for my Couſin’s coming down, how do you think he diverted me? Why with ſome grave Reflections on that uncertain Element,――the unhappy Fate of brave Admiral Balchen,—and the Loſs the Navy and whole Nation had of him;—as if I had anything to do with the Admiral, the Navy, or the Nation: Would it not have better become him, ſince he muſt needs talk of the Sea, to have compared me to the Venus riſing out of it, or to the charming Hero, for whoſe ſake Leander ſwam the Helleſpont! I could give you a thouſand ſuch odd Inſtances of his Behaviour; and tho’ I am convinced that he loves me, becauſe he has rejected ſeveral Propoſals of more advantagious Matches in the precarious Hopes of obtaining me, yet he is ſuch a ſtrange Creature that he never once told me that he could not live without me, or ſwore, that if he could not have me, he would have nobody 107 P1r 107 nobody.—But I have ſaid enough about him, and will now go on to the ſecond. He is what you may call a Lover indeed ――He follows me wherever I go:—My Shadow, or the Dial to the Sun, is not more conſtant:—Then he is ſure to approve of all I ſay and do; and I frequently both act and ſpeak what my own Reaſon tells me is abſurd, merely to try how he will reliſh it:—But the poor Creature ſeems to have no Will but mine, and on my Conſcience I believe, were I to bid him cut off his right Hand, he would not heſitate to obey me.—When I but ſmile upon him, he is all Extaſy; and if I frown, his Countenance becomes ſo meagre, that you would think he had been ſick a Week.――I have been two or three times about to give him his final Anſwer, but was obliged to retract my Words to prevent his running himſelf through the Body.—In short, the Paſſion the Man has for me makes him quite ſilly, and the greateſt Objection I have againſt marrying him, is, that his exceſſive Fondneſs would render us the Jeſt of our Acquaintance.—As to the reſt, he has a very good Eſtate, a Perſon agreeable enough, a fine gilt Berlin, and the moſt beautiful String of Horſes, except his Majeſty’s, that ever I ſaw in my Life. The third is gay, witty, genteel, handſome as an Angel, and dreſſes to a charm:—He is intimate with all the great World, knows all Vol. II. P their 108 P1v 108 their Intrigues, and relates them in the moſt agreeable manner:—Then he has a delightful Voice, a tolerable Skill in Muſic, and has all the new Tunes the Moment they come from the Compoſer.――In fine, there is no one Perfection we Women admire in the Sex, that he does not poſſeſs in an infinite Degree.—We never are in the Mall, at the Play, Opera, Aſſembly, or any public Place, but all Eyes are fixed upon him, and then turned on me with a kind of malicious Leer, for engroſſing ſo pretty a Fellow to myſelf.—Such a Lover, you will own, might be flattering enough to the Vanity of any Woman; and I cannot ſay but it highly diverts and pleaſes me, to obſerve the little Artifices ſome, even among my own Acquaintance, put in Practice in hopes of gaining him from me. But yet in ſpite of all theſe engaging Qualities in him, in ſpite of the Gratification it gives my Pride to ſee myſelf triumphant over all who wiſh to be my Rivals, my Reaſon tells me he deſerves leſs of my Affection than either of thoſe I have been deſcribing, not only becauſe his Eſtate is leſs, but becauſe he ſeems to make too great a Merit of preferring me to the reſt of my Sex:—He is always telling me of the great Offers daily made to him;—of the Invitations given him by one celebrated Beauty, and the kind Glances he receives from another; and tho’ he always cloſes theſe Speeches with vowing it is not in the Power of any Thing to come 109 P2r 109 come in Competition with me, yet he ſeems, on the whole, to take more Pains to convince me how much he is beloved, than how much he loves; and this makes me conclude him to be what the World calls a Man too full of himſelf. This is as exact a Picture as I can give you of my three Lovers, and I do not doubt but you are impatient to know which of them it is my Heart is moſt inclined to favour.—I will tell you then, with the utmoſt Sincerity, that they have all their Places, and I am, as it were, divided among them.—The firſt has my Eſteem,—the ſecond my Pity,—and the third my Love:—But yet I have not ſo much Eſteem for the firſt, as ſhould occaſion me to deſpiſe either of the others I ſhould make Choice of; not ſo much Pity to the ſecond, as to engage me to allow any Favours prejudicial to whoever ſhould be my Huſband; nor ſo much Love for the laſt, as not to be able to withdraw it, if once I beſtow my Perſon on a different Object. As I am entirely at my own Diſposal, I would fain make ſuch a Choice as ſhould be approved on by the World, and afford the greateſt Proſpect of Happineſs to myſelf.— You being a Perſon who can be no way prejudiced in favour of any Pretenders to me, are beſt capable of adviſing me in ſo important an P2 Affair, 110 P2v 110 Affair, and, I flatter myſelf, will take the Trouble of giving me ſuch Reaſons for whatever Part you take, as will determine me to be wholly guided by your Opinion, and enable me to put an End to the long Suſpence the abovemention’d Gentlemen have languiſhed in, as well as the fluctuating Condition of my own Mind. A speedy and cordial Compliance with this Requeſt, will lay under the greateſt Obligation her who is, Dear Creature, Your conſtant Reader, And humble Servant,Bellamonte.Pall-Mall, 1744-11-07Nov. 7, 1744.
There is no Stage nor Rank in Life, that is not attended with ſome Portion of Diſquiet of one kind or other, and I do not doubt but this young Lady feels little leſs in the Uncertainty which of her Lovers it will beſt become her to make Choice of, than the moſt paſſionate of them does in the Fears of being rejected. However, if ſhe is really as ready to take Advice as the Female Spectator is to give it, the beſt in our Power ſhall be done to ſet her right.
It muſt be confeſſed ſhe is no leſs juſt than diſcerning in dividing the preſent Affections of her Soul.――The firſt of her Admirers demands all the Eſteem ſhe can beſtow.—The ſecond,cond, 111 P3r 111 cond, if ſincere, is indeed a pity-moving Character.—And the fine Perſon and Accompliſhments of the third, if really ſuch as ſhe imagines them to be, may claim ſome Share of Inclination. But as all theſe favourable Sentiments muſt at laſt center in one, and Eſteem, Pity, and Admiration blend to compoſe a perfect Tenderneſs, it would be well for her to conſider that the two laſt of themſelves, without more ſolid Merits to attract the former, can form but a ſhort-liv’d and unſubſtantial Paſſion.—Love is not deſerving to be called Love, when not accompanied by Friendſhip, and Friendſhip can only be founded on Eſteem.—He therefore who is found worthy of that, has a juſt Title to the other alſo, if no Diſparity of Age, Birth, Fortune, or a diſagreeable Form, forbids the ſoft Impulſe, and forces Nature to oppoſe Reaſon.
By this, I dare ſay, Bellamonte expects I will decree for her firſt Lover, as ſhe acknowledges none of the Impediments I have mentioned can be alledged againſt him; and if her extreme Youth will permit her to think with that Seriouſneſs the Matter requires, I am ſure ſhe has a ſufficient Fund of good Senſe to know that Things are not always what they ſeem.—A very little Obſervation will ſerve to inform her that the moſt dying Lover is frequently far removed from the moſt affectionate Huſband; and alſo, that a Man who values himſelf upon his perſonal Excellencies, has often been too careleſs of his mental Part, to be convinced within himſelf that Admirationration 112 P3v 112 ration ought only to be the Reward of acquir’d Virtues, not of ſuch caſual Perfections as a handſome Face, well-turn’d Limbs, or an agreeable Voice, which a thouſand Accidents may deprive him of, and conſequently convert the Love he ſo much plumes himſelf upon, into an adequate Contempt.
If her firſt-mention’d Lover does not on every Occaſion fall into Deſpair, and threaten to lay violent Hands on his own Life, as the ſecond does, it ſhews he has leſs of the Froth of Love, but does not denote he is not more full of the permanent and valuable Part; on the contrary, his Paſſion evaporates not in Words:—The Spirit remains entire within his Breaſt, and it is ſcarce to be doubted will laſt as long as Life.
But becauſe ſhe ſeems to have an equal Share of Good-Nature as of Wit, I would have her be under no Apprehenſions that any thing fatal will enſue on her refuſing the ſecond Lover; the Deaths threatened by a Man of his Caſt, are as fictitious as the Darts and Flames of his pretended Deity; and we often ſee thoſe of them who proſecute their Aim with the greateſt Vigour, bear a Diſappointment with the moſt Indifference. Much leſs would I have her imagine, that in preferring him to the others, ſhe ſhould be certain of retaining the ſame Power over his Will and Actions after Marriage as he now flatters her with.――Many Women have been deceived by this Shew of Obſequiouſneſs in thoſe who have afterward 113 P4r 113 afterward become their Tyrants, not remembering what the Poets ſays: The humbleſt Lover, when he loweſt lies,But kneels to conquer, and but falls to riſe,
But as mere Pity and Compaſſion is all our Bellamonte beſtows on this whining Strephon, I am under no great Concern for her on his Account: He may whiſtle out his Lamentations to the Fields and Groves, or what is every whit as likely, if not much more ſo, carry them to the Feet of ſome leſs obdurate Fair, without her breaking her Peace for his Relief.――I wiſh I could ſay the handſome, talking, rattling, ſinging Gentleman had no more Danger in him.―― The Heart is a buſy, fluttering, impudent Thing: It will not lye ſtill when one bids it, nor are its Dictates to be ſilenced by Reaſon, or guided by the Head; and if the Beau by his Dreſs, Addreſs, or any other Charm, has got an Entrance there, I am very much afraid poor Eſteem will come off a Loſer in ſpite of all can be urged by the Female Spectator.
I therefore ſincerely wiſh it may be as ſhe ſays;—that the Inclination ſhe confeſſes for him may not have been ſo firmly eſtabliſh’d, but that ſhe may be able eaſily to withdraw it; for to deal freely with her, there is no one Part of his Character which ſeems to promiſe her any laſting Happineſs.However, 114 P4v 114
However, the better to enable her to gain this Conqueſt over herſelf, I will give her ſome ſmall Sketches of thoſe Scenes which I may venture to affirm there is more than a Probability ſhe muſt make an Actor in, after prevailed upon to enter into a Marriage with this modern Narciſſus.
A week or ten Days paſſed over, for no more will I allow to the Douceurs of ſuch a Union, the Bridegroom riſes, ſays Good Morrow, Madam, perhaps beſtows a faint Kiſs, repairs to his Dreſſing Room, paſſes the whole Morning at his Toilet, then throws himſelf into his Chariot, goes to the Mall, imagines every fine Woman regrets his being married, and puts on all her Charms to ſupplant his Bride in his Affection:— Returns Home about three;—walks backward and forward in the Room humming over ſome dull Tune, and viewing himſelf in the Glaſs every Turn he takes.――Bellamonte looks on him all this while with wiſhing Eyes, ſays a thouſand tender Things;—He ſtill ſings on, makes no Anſwer.—Dinner is ſerved up:—She offers to help him, he coldly thanks her; and tho’ ſhe begins ever ſo many Subjects for Converſation, he enters into none, nor interrupts his Meal with any thing farther than an Aye, Madam, or a No, Madam:— If, by Chance, he ſays a civil Thing, the Sound diſcovers it to be forced from him rather by the Laws of good Breeding, than thoſe of Love, and he looks another Way all the time he ſpeaks. —She has too much Penetration not to diſcover 115 Q1r 115 the Change:—She weeps in ſecret, and her inward Griefs at length break forth in gentle Reproaches: This he thinks unreaſonable, and replies to with as much Peeviſhneſs as he dare, for fear of diſtorting the Muſcles of his Face; but ſhe is ſure to meet, as often as ſhe ſeems diſſatisfied with his Behaviour, this or the like Rebuff: —Gad, Madam, you are the moſt ungrateful Woman in the World:—You ought to be highly contented that I made you my Wife, in prejudice to ſo many fine young Creatures, who, it is well known, were dying for me.
This is all her Reſentment will be able to effect; and if ſhe endeavours to work by Fondneſs on his Indifference, tells him ſhe is never happy but in his Company, and begs him to take a little Tour with her among their Relations and Friends, or to paſs an Evening with her at ſome public Place or other ſhe may happen to think on, he will be ready to cry,――Laird, Madam, how ſilly you are!—Don’t you know that the moſt ridiculous Spectacle in Nature is a Man in Company with his Wife?
If Bellamonte can ſubmit to this Treatment, let her indulge her Inclination; but I am apt to imagine what I have ſaid will make her turn her Eyes into the World, where ſhe will find a ſufficient Number of Inſtances to prove this Truth, that a Man who admires himſelf, can never ſincerely admire any thing beſide.Q I 116 Q1v 116
I would alſo beg her to reflect that Marriage is a kind of Precipice, which, when once leap’d, there is no Poſſibility of reclimbing;―― and wary ought the Perſon who ſtands upon it to be, leſt, inſtead of a delightful Valley enamel’d with Flowers, blooming with perpetual Sweets, ſhe plunges not into one where Thorns and Briars are only ſhadowed over with a few gaudy Tulips and tall Sun-Flowers, that yield no Savour, and fade upon the Touch.
But to quit Allegory: The Gentleman firſt deſcribed appears to me to have in him all the Qualifications that can make a Woman of Merit, ſuch as I believe Bellamonte to be, truly happy in a Huſband; and is ſo far from coming into any Degree of Competition with his two Rivals, that in balancing between them ſhe has been guilty of an Injuſtice to him, which ſhe can no way repair but by giving herſelf ſpeedily to him, and thereby putting a final Period to the Hopes and Pretentions of every other Suitor.—I dare almoſt answer for him, that when the Eſteem ſhe now feels for him ſhall be converted into a more warm and tender Paſſion, ſhe will have no Occaſion to lament the Want of an adequate Return:—Honour, Good Senſe, Gratitude and Duty will ſerve as Oil to feed the Flame of conjugal Affection, and the Hymeneal Torch burn with its firſt Brightneſs to the End of Life.
I have dwelt the longer on this Subject, as I am compelled by a ſecret Simpathy to take a more 117 Q2r 117 more than ordinary Intereſt in the Fate of this unknown Lady; and alſo as it is probable there may be many into whoſe Hands theſe Pages may fall, who may equally ſtand in need of that Advice ſhe alone has vouchſafed to aſk: But I am now called upon to diſcuſs Topics of a higher and more public nature, and it is likely that, by this Time, a certain Gentleman, who has lately ſent me a very angry Letter, may be laughing in his Sleeve at me, as wanting either Courage to inſert, or Ability to anſwer it.—The firſt, however, he ſhall find himſelf miſtaken in; and as for the other, he may be ſure of an Attempt, at leaſt on all thoſe Heads which are proper for me to touch upon; thoſe which are not ſo, the Public will eaſily ſee into the Motives which oblige me to Silence, and on that Account excuſe it.
He ſhall, however, have no Pretence to accuſe me of ſtifling or ſuppreſſing any Reproaches made me: I ſhall preſent the Public with his Letter entire as I received it, without omitting or changing any one Word, Syllable, or even Period or Comma. Female Spectator Was the Superſcription on the Cover of this doughty Epiſtle; but on the Top of the Encloſure he ſalutes me in theſe Terms: Vain Pretender to Things above thy Reach! Then begins at the very Bottom of the Paper, Q2 thinking, 118 Q2v 118 thinking, perhaps, by that Piece of good Breeding, to ſoften the Aſperity of the Invectives he had brewed againſt me; or elſe to ſhew that, however unworthy I might ſeem in his Eyes as an Author, he would not forego the Decorum owing to me as a Woman.
Tho’ I never had any very great Opinion of your Sex as Authors, yet I thought, whenever you ſet up for ſuch, you had Cunning enough to confine yourſelves within your own Sphere, or at leaſt not to raiſe the Expectations of the Public by ſuch mountainous Promiſes as you have done, when you could not be inſenſible they muſt in a ſhort time diſcover themſelves to be but of the Mole-hill kind. Whatever Deſign you had in this it was a very ſhallow one, and betrays a Want of Judgment, which, to do you Juſtice, by your manner of handling ſome Subjects, I ſhould not have ſuſpected you guilty of. For God’s ſake, what could move you to make uſe of all thoſe pompous Flouriſhes in the ſixth Page of the firſt Book of the Female Spectator?—Did the Spies you boaſted of in every Corner of Europe, deceive the Truſt you repoſed in them? Or did you only dream you had eſtabliſhed ſuch an Intelligence?—The latter, I am afraid, is the moſt likely:――But did you never reflect that People would grow uneaſy at the Diſappointment, when, inſtead of that 119 Q3r 119 that full and perfect Account of the moſt momentous Actions you made them hope, they find themſelves for ſeveral Months together entertained only with Home-Amours, Reflections on Human Nature, the Paſſions, Morals, Inferences, and Warnings to your own Sex;―― the moſt proper Province for you, I muſt own, but widely inconſiſtent with the Propoſals of your firſt ſetting out. Every body imagin’d you had a Key to unlock the Cabinet of Princes,—a Clue to guide you through the moſt intricate Labyrinths of State,—and that the ſecret Springs of Ambition, Avarice and Revenge, which make ſuch dreadful Havock, would have been all laid open to our View.――Yet the eternal Fund of Intelligence you vaunted of, has given us not a Word of all this:――Not the leaſt Tittle from Flanders, Italy, Germany, France, or Spain:—Great Armies have been continually in Motion, and the firſt Monarchs in Europe at the Head of them:—The Rhine has been paſſed and repaſſed:—The Elb, Moldau and Neckar croſſed:—Cities have been depopulated:— Towns laid Waſte:—Ravage! burn! and deſtroy all before you,—Spare neither Sex nor Age, have been the Words of Command!—Sieges, Battles, Rencounters and Eſcapes have filled the World with Clamour, but not been able to move the peaceful Boſom of the Female Spectator:—Contributions, Loans, Subſidies, Military and Miniſterial Arts have drain’d the Suſtenancetenance 120 Q3v 120 tenance from the wretched Subjects of almoſt all the Kingdoms round us, even to Starving, yet the Female Spectator ſeems ignorant or inſenſible of their Calamities:—Excurſions, Incurſions, Invaſions, and Inſurrections have been talked of by every body but the Female Spectator:— Huge Fleets cover the Ocean with their ſpreading Sails, but not all the Wind that fills them wafts to the Female Spectator any Account to what Intent equipped, where directed, or what great Feats they yet have done, or are about to do. Do you not bluſh at all this?――Are you not under moſt terrible Apprehenſions that, inſtead of the Woman of Experience, Obſervation, fine Underſtanding, and extenſive Genius you would paſs for, you ſhould be taken for an idle, prating, goſſiping old Woman, fit only to tell long Stories by the Fire-ſide for the Entertainment of little Children or Matrons, more antiquated than yourſelf? I do assure you, I am truly aſhamed for you:――It is not my Nature to be ſevere on the Failings or Miſtakes of any one; and had your Boaſtings been leſs glaring, or your Execution of what you pretended to undertake, any way anſwered the Expectation of the Public, I would have been the laſt that ſhould have condemned you, but had overlooked ſmall Deficiencies in Conſideration of your Sex, and the Deſire you ſhewed of performing your Pro- 121 Q4r 121 Promiſes, which, at the Time of making, I ſhould have been charitable enough to have judg’d you thought leſs difficult to accompliſh than you afterwards found them. Yet were it ſo, ſome modeſt Apology methinks would have become you:――The leaſt you could have done was to have confeſſed your Inability, entreated Pardon of the Town for having impoſed on their Credulity, and as you now perceived you had overſhot your Mark, and had it not really in your Power to entertain them with Matters of any very great Importance, at leaſt to the Generality of your Readers, beſeeched them to accept of ſuch as fell within your Compaſs. To deal plainly with you, the beſt that can be ſaid of the Lucubrations you have hitherto publiſhed, is, that they are fit Preſents for Country Parſons to make to their young Pariſhioners; ――to be read in Boarding-Schools, and recommended as Maxims for the well regulating private Life; but are no way fit for the polite Coffee-Houſes, or to ſatisfy Perſons of an inquiſitive Taſte. Whether you have received any Remonſt rances of the Nature I now ſend you, and have thought it prudent to take no Notice of them, I will not pretend to ſay, nor do I accuſe you with it; but of this you may be certain, that I have alledg’d no more againſt you than is 122 Q4v 122 is the Senſe of moſt of the Wits, as well as Men of Faſhion I converſe with, as it is probable you may hereafter have further Reaſon to be convinced of from others beſide White’s Chocolate-Houſe, 1744-11-09Nov. 9, 1744 Curioſo Politico. P. S. To ſhew you that Malice had no Share in dictating the above Lines, if there is any Poſſibility of your mending your Hand, you are at your own Liberty to inſert them or not:—My Intention, in ſending them, being not ſo much to expoſe as to reprove, I ſhall be very glad to find that, by holding to you this faithful Mirror, you are enabled to wipe off whatever is a Blemiſh in your Writings, and for the future ſupply thoſe Deficiencies which you ſeem to me to have hitherto been wholly inſenſible of. ――Farewel.
I heartily thank Mr. Politico for the Permiſſion he is ſo good to vouchſafe me as to keeping his Reprimand a Secret; but it would be abuſing ſo extraordinary a Favour to accept it:—The Pains he has been at muſt not be totally thrown away, and whether I am able or not to improve by what he has wrote, it would be great Pity he ſhould not have the Satisfaction of ſeeing it in Print.
The Public will be the beſt Judges how far I deſerve 123 R1r 123 deſerve the Severity he has treated me with, and to them I readily ſubmit my Cauſe.
I do not pretend to deny but that, in the Introduction to this Work, I ſaid that I had found Means to extend my Speculations as far as France, Rome, Germany, and other foreign Parts, and that I then flattered myſelf with being able to penetrate into the Myſteries of the Alcove, the Cabinet, or Field, and to have ſuch of the Secrets of Europe, as were proper for the Purpoſe of a Female Spectator, laid open to my View; but I never propoſed, nor, I believe, did any body but this Letter-Writer expect that theſe Lucubrations ſhould be devoted merely to the Uſe of News- Mongers:—A Change-Broker might, I think, have as much Cauſe to reſent my taking no Notice of the Riſe or Fall of Stocks.
Several of the Topics he reproaches me for not having touch’d upon, come not within the Province of a Female Spectator; —ſuch as Armies marching,—Battles fought,—Towns deſtroyed,—Rivers croſs’d, and the like:—I ſhould think it ill became me to take up my own, or Reader’s Time, with such Accounts as are every Day to be found in the public Papers.
Oh but the Meaning of all this he calls upon me to unravel:—I muſt unfold the Myſtery, lay open the ſecret Springs which ſet theſe great Machines in Motion:—Why he has done it for me, Ambition, Avarice, and Revenge have ſet the Vol. II. R mighty 124 R1v 124 mighty Men of the Earth a madding, and there is indeed no other Myſtery in it than what all the World may, and do eaſily ſee into.
I grant ſome Turns and Counter-Turns in Politics have been too abſtruſe to be accounted for by the Rules of common Reaſon, and no way to be fathom’d but by that Intelligence he wants me to receive from the Cabinets where they were hatch’d;—and yet perhaps, if once revealed, there would appear ſo little in them, that one might juſtly enough compare them to the Knots Children tye at School in Packthread, only to puzzle one another to undo again.
Be that as it may;—how far ſoever the Female Spectator, or any one elſe, may be able to penetrate into theſe dark Paths of State, the Attempt of making them a common Road might be imprudent, and perhaps unſafe.
There is an old Adage in the Mouth of every one, viz.――All Things that are lawful are not expedient: To which one may add, that many Things are expedient, or neceſſary, which may not be deemed lawful: If either of theſe ſhould happen to be the Caſe, the Silence of the Female Spectator may very well be pardoned.
If Princes have a Mind to play at Bo-peep with each other, or with their reſpective Subjects, who ſhall dare to draw the Curtain, and call the Rabble in to be Witneſs of what they do!—We little 125 R2r 125 little People may hear and ſee, but muſt ſay nothing.――There are ſome ſort of Secrets which prove fatal if explored, and like maſſive Buildings erected by Enchantment, will not endure too near Approach, but fall at once, and cruſh the bold Inſpector with their Weight.
But I will not pretend to meaſure what Extent of Power the Guardian Angel entitled the Liberty of the Preſs may yet retain: Of this I am certain, that the better we regulate our Actions in private Life, the more we may hope of public Bleſſings, and the more we ſhall be enabled to ſuſtain public Calamities.
To check the enormous Growth of Luxury, to reform the Morals, and improve the Manners of an Age, by all confeſs’d degenerate and ſunk, are the great Ends for which theſe Eſſays were chiefly intended; and the Authors flatter themſelves that nothing has been advanced, but may contribute in a more or less Degree to the accompliſhing ſo glorious a Point.――Many little Hiſtories, it is true, are interſpers’d, but then they are only ſuch as ſerve to enforce Precept by Example, and make the Beauty of Virtue, and the Deformity of Vice ſink deeper into the Reader’s Mind.—When we would ſtrike at any favourite Paſſion, it requires the utmoſt Delicacy to do it in ſuch a manner as ſhall make the Perſon guilty of it aſhamed of being ſo, without being angry at the Detection; and no way ſo likely to R2 ſucceed 126 R2v 126 ſucceed, as to ſhew him the Reſemblance of himſelf in the Character of another.
Thus much I thought proper to ſay in Defence of myſelf and Partners in this Undertaking, which I doubt not but will be look’d upon as a ſufficient Anſwer to all the Objections Mr. Politico has ſtarted for the preſent, and hereafter perhaps we may be better Friends.
I readily agree with him, that the Public may reaſonably deſire and expect to be let into the Knowledge of Affairs which relate chiefly to themſelves.—In thoſe Countries which are under the Subjection of Tyranny and Superſtition,— where the deſpotic Will of the Prince is the ſole Law of the People, and Bigotry rides triumphant over Truth, all writing and ſpeaking of State Matters, and the Uſe of the Bible are equally forbid under the moſt ſevere Pains and Penalties. The Reaſon of this is plain, a very little Enquiry might detect the Frauds the Miniſtry put in Practice in the one, and the Perverſion of the other by the Prieſts; but in a Conſtitution ſuch as our’s happily is, there can be no ſuch Preſcription:—Every one here, who contributes to the Support of the Government, has a Right to be protected by the Government in any decent Attempt made for the Diſcovery of iniquitous Practices in thoſe of the higheſt, as well as the loweſt Stations of Life.
When Richard I. ſurnamed Cœur de Lyon, inſtigated 127 R3r 127 inſtigated by his Zeal for Chriſtianity, and the Example of divers Kings and Princes of thoſe Times, had determin’d to go to Jeruſalem and make War againſt the Infidels, many of his Subjects were greatly diſſatisfied becauſe of the Expence which muſt neceſſarily attend ſuch an Expedition, and which they expected muſt be levied from their Purſes.—This good King being informed of their Complaints, and truly ſenſible of the Dangers of incurring a national Diſaffection, bethought himſelf of an Expedient to enable him to purſue his Undertaking without burthening his People:――He mortgaged the City of London to the Knights of Malta for a conſiderable Sum of Money, which Obligation was to be diſcharged by ſtated annual Paymens out of his own Revenue: Nor was there any Tax or Impoſt laid on the Nation on account of this War, which occaſion’d one Jeofry Rudal, a Provencial Poet, who accompanied the King in his Embarkation to write this Stanza: The Engliſh Kings Account muſt giveTo all ſworn Leigemen how they live,Or from no Peril will they fend,Nor ought of Succour to him lend.
It would then be hard, if thoſe who contentedly bear the Expence of Fleets and Armies, of Subſidies, Negotiations, Congreſſes and Embaſſies, ſhould not have the Privilege of enquiring how, and for what Ends their Money is laid out.—The People of England have always been accounted tenacious 128 R3v 128 tenacious enough of their Liberty in this Point, and God forbid they ſhould ever wholly loſe that glorious Spirit, which in ſo many Inſtances has bore up againſt all the Efforts for introducing arbitrary Power, in whatever Shape, and by what Name ſoever diſguiſed, or endeavoured to be palliated.
The Power of making War and Peace, is indeed lodg’d in the Hands of whoever ſits upon the Throne:――It is the undoubted Prerogative of the Crown, and ſad would be the Day when either of the two other States of the Kingdom ſhould offer to infringe it:――Fatal Inſtances are on Record on this Score, ſuch as will, I hope, be a Warning to the lateſt Poſterity,— yet does not this Power, great and extenſive as it is, deny every Engliſhman the Privilege of enquiring by his Repreſentative in Parliament the Motives by which the Sovereign is induced to declare a War, or conclude a Peace.
It is an allowed Maxim, that the King himſelf can do no Wrong:—Whatever Miſtakes in Point of Government may happen, his ſacred Perſon is ſtill out of the Queſtion; but I know of no Law nor Reaſon to reſtrain us from examining into the Conduct of his Miniſters, his Admirals, or Generals, when ſuſpected to have taken Meaſures deſtructive, or to the Honour or Intereſt of the Kingdom.
The meaneſt Perſon has alſo an equal Right with 129 R4r 129 with the greateſt, to expect a ſatiſfactory Account in every thing relating to the Common-Wealth: —He has his all at Stake as well as the moſt Opulent, and in caſe of any foul or unſkilful Play in thoſe who are entruſted with the ſhuffling of the Cards, muſt ſhare in the ſame Ruin.
This is ſo juſt, ſo natural, and ſo conſiſtent with that Freedom which by our Conſtitution is entailed on us and our Poſterity, that thoſe who have attempted to urge any thing againſt it, have argued in ſo aukward and weak a manner, as plainly ſhews they were aſhamed of the Cauſe they had been prevailed upon to aſſert.
But tho’ this Curioſity be not only pardonable but laudable alſo, there may be Reaſons which render it improper, as I ſaid before, for any one to take upon themſelves to ſatisfy it, even tho’ they were poſſeſſed of the moſt ſure Materials and greateſt Abilities.
This may ſerve, however, to convince Mr. Politico that the Female Spectator is not altogether ſo indolent and inſenſible to public Tranſactions as he imagines; and if he allows (as ſure he muſt) that Virtue is the ſureſt Preſervative of Freedom, he muſt at the ſame time allow, that an Endeavour to rectify the Morals of Individuals, is the firſt Step ought to be taken for rouſing up a general Ardor for maintaining and aſſerting thoſe Privileges our Anceſtors purchaſed for us with their beſt 130 R4v 130 beſt Blood, and we have renewed the Leaſe of by almoſt all our Treaſure.
In this Road, therefore, I have travelled ſince the Beginning of theſe Lucubrations, and from this I ſhall not through the whole Courſe of them depart. But this I aſſure my Readers, and Mr. Politico in particular, that whenever any thing new and untouched on by other Authors ſhall preſent itſelf, I ſhall not fail to communicate it.
A Piece of the Nature I have mention’d, and entirely genuine, lies now before us on the Table, but being of too great a Length to inſert at this Time, muſt be deferred till the next Month, when the Public may depend on ſeeing it, with ſuch Animadverſions as the Nature of the Thing, and the Situation of the Times will admit.
End of the Eighth Book.
The Female Spectator.
What indeed is more fluctuating than human Promotion!—What more ſtrange than to ſee Perſons, who know very well that Wiſdom and Virtue are only capable of conſtituting true Greatneſs, purſue with Eagerneſs thoſe ſhadowy Honours which flow from Favour, Vol. II. S and 132 S1v 132 and the ſame Breath that gives, may in an Inſtant take away.
But tho’ the many notable Changes which have lately happen’d, and others daily expected to happen, naturally lead one into theſe Reflections, and likewiſe so much engroſs the preſent Attention of the Public, that we might poſſibly be excuſed from entering into any other Subject at this Time: Yet the Deſires, or rather the Challenge of Mr. Politico, the Promiſe made to the Town in our laſt, and the Gratitude due to the Gentleman from whom we received the following Piece, are Obligations which we cannot prevail on ourſelves to diſpenſe with on any Account whatever.
To the Female Spectator. Madam, It was my good Fortune to be very lately introduc’d to a polite Aſſembly, compos’d chiefly of Ladies, ſome of whom I found were Hanoverians, but ſpoke Engliſh perfectly well: One above the reſt diſtinguiſh’d herſelf in a manner no leſs agreeable than particular.—I know not how the Converſation happened to turn upon Politics, but ſomewhat being mention’d concerning the unhappy Antipathy there ſeem’d to be between his Majeſty’s Subjects of Great Britain, and thoſe of his German Dominions, it gave occcaſion to a Diſpute, in which the Lady above-mentioned, and one of our 133 S2r 133 our own Country had an opportunity of exerting, in a very great Degree, that Good Senſe and Eloquence they were both poſſeſs’d of; and they were indeed ſo equally capable of managing what they undertook, that the reſt of the Company took too much Pleaſure in hearing them, to offer any Interruption, by taking the Part either of the one or the other. There is certainly ſomething ſo perſwaſively pathetic in the Manner of your Sex, whenever you go about to plead the Cauſe of any thing you have a real Intereſt in yourſelves, that it gives a double Weight to all you ſay. I must confeſs, my Reaſon yielded to them both by Turns:—I was convinced, confuted, and convinced again as often as either of them ſpoke:—Every Argument urg’d by each of theſe fair Antagoniſts had greater force with me, than all Tully’s Orations could have had, even tho’ I had heard them deliver’d by himſelf, and accompanied with thoſe Graces which Hiſtory reports him ſo great a Maſter of, and records as inimitable. I thought I never owed ſo great an Obligation to my Memory, as when I found it had faithfully treaſured up whatever had been ſaid, during this whole Debate; which I put down in writing the Moment I came home, and now ſend it to you, as believing you would look upon it as no unwelcome Preſent. I 134 S2v 134 I shall be extremely glad to ſee it publiſhed through your Canal, with such Obſervations on the ſeveral Arguments, as you ſhall think proper to make.—If you ſhould happen to find any Errors, either as to Matters of Fact, or the Terms in which they are made mention of, I beſeech you to rectify them in juſtice to the Authors, who argued too much diſpaſſionately and unprejudiced to be guilty of any Miſtakes this way, and muſt therefore lie wholly on the Tranſcriber. I am, With very great Reſpect, Madam, Your moſt humble, And moſt obedient Servant, A.B. St. James’s-Street, 1744-11-16Nov. 16, 1744. P. S. You will perceive the Manuſcript begins after the Commencement of the Diſpute; the Reaſon of which is, that ſeveral others of the Company, having their Part in the Diſcourſe previous to it; and on the firſt Queſtions and Repartees made by the Ladies themselves, I had not the leaſt Notion of its becoming a particular Controverſy, it made the leſs Impreſſion on me, and I could not therefore be ſo exact, as I now wiſh I had been, in remarking what was ſaid on that Occaſion. 135 S3r 135 A Dialogue Between An Engliſh and a Hanoverian Lady: Wherein the Motives are laid open of that ſmall Share of ſincere Love or Eſteem which both Nations unhappily regard each other with. Hanoverian Lady.Whatever you alledge againſt us is Matter of Imagination only, whereas we have real and undeniable Facts to complain of againſt you:—Have you not deprived us of the Preſence of our dear Elector and all his amiable Family?――Do you not now engroſs all thoſe Bleſſings to which we have a natural Right, and grudge we ſhould have the leaſt Share in? ――What Heart-burnings?――What Murmurings are there among you on the leaſt Talk of his Majeſty’s viſiting his German Dominions, even when the Neceſſity of your own Affairs requires his Preſence on the Continent!—And is it not plain, that thoſe of us who attend him here are look’d upon as Intruders?――His very Menials are envy’d by a People who would enjoy all the Comforts of his Reign, yet refuſe the leaſt Encouragement to thoſe who were born in the ſame Air, and ſome of them nurtur’d from their Infancy near his Royal Perſon.—Can any thing be more cruel, more unjuſt to us, or indeed more diſ- 136 S3v 136 diſreſpectful to him, than to wiſh to take from him the Privilege of chuſing his own Servants! Engliſh Lady.I Believe, Madam, there are none amongſt us ſo blind as not to ſee the ineſtimable Benefits theſe Kingdoms have receiv’d from the Acceſſion of that illuſtrious Houſe, which now fills the Throne; nor were the Engliſh ever accounted an ungrateful or inhoſpitable People: Much leſs can thoſe Vices at preſent with any Shadow of Reaſon be imputed to us, when we have done all in our Power to teſtify the Senſe we have both of their late and preſent Majeſty’s Goodneſs to us in vouchſafing to take us under their Protection.—Have we not annihilated that Clauſe in the Act of Settlement which forbid them going to Hanover without Conſent of Parliament? Have we not readily augmented the Civil Liſt Revenue to almoſt double what was allowed in any former Reign?――Have we not relinquiſhed our ancient Privilege of tacking Redreſs of Grievances to the Money-Bills?—Have we not granted without Reſerve all the Supplies demanded, and aſſented to every Vote of Credit required of us?—Theſe, I take it, are not Acts of meer Duty, but of the moſt fervent Affection and implicit Faith, that ever any Monarch was regarded with by his Subjects: But tho’ I willingly allow that all we can pay is not too much, yet methinks it is ungenerous to leſſen the Merit of theſe Works of Supererrogation, by attempting to tinge them with a ſelf-intereſted Hue; for certainly it is far from the Intereſt of these Kingdomsdoms 137 T1r 137 doms that his Majeſty ſhould viſit Hanover ſo frequently, or that yielding to every Demand of the Crown is for the Advantage of our future Liberty, tho’ at preſent it may ſuffer no Prejudice by that Confidence. Hanoverian Lady.How eaſy it is to put a Gloſs on any thing!—A Stranger to the Affairs of England would imagine, by what you ſay, that the Prince lay under immenſe Obligations to the People; whereas, in reality, all you have done has only, under the Colour of Loyalty to him, been entirely to ſerve yourselves, as I doubt not to make appear to all who hear me. In the firſt Place, you had experienced the Benefits of his Majeſty’s Preſence at Hanover, by ſeveral Negotiations carry’d on there with a Success which, without him, could not have been hop’d for; and as you were involv’d in Perplexities by former Treaties, which you know not how ſoon might call for his Aſſiſtance to unravel, you wiſely judg’d it proper to cancel a Clauſe which might have detained him here, till it had been too late, either to enter into any Alliances for the Intereſt of Great Britain, or prevent thoſe which might have been formed againſt her by the Powers on the Continent. The Increaſe of the Civil Liſt Revenue, I think, has the next Place in your Roll of National Obligations: But, Madam, can you deny that in this England had not an Eye to her own Vol. II. T Grandeur? 138 T1v 138 Grandeur?—Does not the Magnificence of the Sovereign ſhew the Opulence of the Kingdom, and beſides gratifying a domeſtic Oſtentaion, does it not raiſe your Reputation Abroad, enlarge your Credit, and bring Foreigners to throw their Money into your Funds?—Yet in ſpite of all the Advantages it brought to yourſelves;—in ſpite of the real Neceſſity there was for ſupporting ſo many Branches of the Royal Family in a manner becoming their Dignity, I am ſorry to ſay this Addition was not made without a very ſtrenuous Oppoſition; and when granted, raiſed ſuch Murmurs, as ſome of you ought not to remember without bluſhing. As to the old Cuſtom of tacking Redreſs of Grievances to the Money-Bills, that muſt neceſſarily ſubſide when there were no longer any Grievances to complain of;—and that there were no real ones, is evident by the very Perſons who alone rais’d the Clamour, having ſince not only given up the Point, but alſo confeſs’d they were aſhamed of having ever aſſerted it. But above all I am ſurpriz’d, that a Lady of your good Senſe and Impartiality in other Things, ſhould mention the neceſſary ſupplies granted to his Majeſty as any particular Favour done to his Royal Perſon.—What muſt equip your Fleets? —Maintain your Armies?—Diſburſe the Subſidies paid to foreign Princes for their Aſſiſtance, or at leaſt their Neutrality?—What ſupport your Intelligence?—Enable you to keep Spies in every 139 T2r 139 every Quarter of the World, and many other Articles of Secret Service?――Is all this to be done with Air!—Will empty Words ſuffice to preſerve your Commerce, and defend you from the continually impending Dangers of Popery and Slavery?—The Obligation therefore on this Head is wholly from the People to the Prince, who exerts his Wiſdom and Goodneſs in laying out their Money to the beſt Advantage. This being granted, as it muſt by every thinking Perſon, Votes of Credit are no more than an Appendix to the Supplies allowed by Parliament, ſince they only enable his Majeſty to raiſe what Sums he ſhall have occaſion for, when the Members of both Houſes may be retired to their reſpective Seats, and at too great a Diſtance to be called together ſo timely as the Exigence of Affairs demands. Thus, Madam, have I in a few Words rendered it I think pretty obvious, that all thoſe boaſted Proofs of Love and Loyalty to your King are no more than ſo many Obligations to yourſelves; and that in not being always ready to confer them, you muſt be both a contemn’d and miserable People. Engliſh Lady.A Person of much leſs Wit and Eloquence than yourſelf, might eaſily maintain a Tenet, which is of too nice and delicate a Nature to be diſcuſs’d with that Freedom and Plain-Dealing Truth requires:――But I have T2 this 140 T2v 140 this Conſolation, that thoſe Replies which are improper for me to make may be found in the Speeches of ſeveral of our moſt worthy Repreſentatives in Parliament, as well as of thoſe who are now turned Apoſtates to the glorious Cauſe of Liberty. But, Madam, in my Opinion you have wandered from the Mark firſt levell’d at, and inſtead of proving that England had nothing to complain of on the Score of Hanover, as you ſeem’d to undertake to do, you confound the Obligations we have to his Majeſty with thoſe, you pretend, we have to love his Country.—This, I think, is not quite a fair way of arguing; but I ſhall follow you in your own way as far as it is convenient for me to do ſo, and perhaps even foil you at the very Weapons you have made Choice of. Supposing that all we have done has been no more than our Duty:—Suppoſing that we are at preſent under the moſt indiſpenſible Neceſſity of maintaining thoſe vaſt Armaments which are ſo expenſive and burthenſome to the Nation; and ſuppoſing thoſe Supplies and Votes of Credit, a Conſequence of that Neceſſity, which is not to be avoided, I beg you will anſwer me one ſhort Queſtion, Whether we were brought into that Neceſſity by any Circumſtance meerly our own, or whether we owe not ſo great a Misfortune to a Cauſe more remote, and which in fact we ought to have no manner of Concern with? Hano- 141 T3r 141 Hanoverian Lady.Did I not ſee into the Motives which induce you to make this Interrogatory, I ſhould be infinitely ſurprized to find you can affect an Ignorance of what none can really be uninformed:—You cannot ſure deny that Great Britain was under an immediate Neceſſity of entering into a War on the Continent on her own Score, tho’ ſhe appear’d only as an Auxiliary to the Queen of Hungary. Engliſh Lady.Whatever may be my private Opinion, Madam, the People in general think in a different way, tho’ indeed till they perceived the ſad Effects of carrying on the War at ſuch a Diſtance, their natural Generoſity made them readily enter into Meaſures for the Relief of that diſtreſs’d Princeſs.――But I ſhould be glad to know what other Intetreſt, except the Protection of her Fellow-Subjects of Hanover, Great Britain could propoſe to herſelf in ſuch a War? Hanoverian Lady.Now, Madam, you explain yourſelf, and ſhew, without Diſguiſe, that Inveteracy we have to complain of:—Yes, it is not difficult to make it appear, your own Intereſt was at the Bottom of all you have done for Germany;—as thus: Consider the exorbitant Power the Houſe of Bourbon now enjoys:—It has all France, in which Name are comprized a Congregation of various other Kingdoms, which later Ages have added to it:—Spain, and its almoſt boundleſs Dependences,pendences, 142 T3v 142 pendences, are under a Branch of the ſame Family; as alſo the Two Sicilies:—They are partly Maſters of the Empire, by having its preſent Head at their Devotion; and if his Britannic Majeſty had not interpos’d, how eaſy had it been for them to have ſubdued the King of Sardinia’s Dominions; then deprived the Queen of Hungary of all ſhe poſſeſſes in Italy?—The Auſtrian Inheritance in Germany had next become their Prey; afterwards they would have taken Portugal, then Flanders, and having ſwallowed up all theſe, pour’d down on the United Provinces, whence there would have been a ſmall Step to England.—What Courſe then could Great Britain take, but to endeavour to put a Stop to this ſpreading Evil, which, having over-run the reſt of Europe, would have ſeiz’d her at laſt? Engliſh Lady.A Career very extraordinary indeed! Not to be match’d in all the fabulous Conqueſts of Antiquity!—Thoſe of Amadis de Gaul, Don Bellianis of Greece, or the Seven Champions, are meer Trifles to it!――Why, theſe French and Spaniards are perfect Tygers for Nimbleneſs and Strength; but methinks the Auſtrians, Sardinians, Portugueſe, Flanderkyns and Hollanders are but little obliged to you for repreſenting them as ſuch tame Sheep to ſuffer themſelves to be devour’d without the Protection of an Engliſh Maſtiff! But to be ſerious: If there were the leaſt Foundation for Belief, that the Attempt you mentiontion 143 T4r 143 tion were practicable, or even intended, what Reaſon has Great Britain to take the firſt Alarm, which, by your own Confeſſion, would be the laſt would ſuffer by it?――It cannot be denied but that the Queen of Spain has very much at Heart the aggrandizing her Sons; and it may with Probability enough be ſuppoſed, that France would aſſiſt her Projects on that Head; the King of Sardinia therefore by his Situation may have ſomewhat to apprehend if the Settlement of the Infant Don Philip ſhould take Place, as his Dominions would then be in a manner hem’d in between thoſe of that Prince, and of France: But the King of Portugal you ſee is under no kind of Terror, and tho’ poſſeſs’d of Wealth that might well tempt an avaritious Conqueror, in Peace and Security enjoys his immenſe Treaſures, and looks with Pity on the Devaſtation that Jealouſy and Ambition have occaſion’d.—The Dutch too have ſeen a French Army in their Neighbourhood, and beheld the taking of Menin, Ypres, and Furneſe, without expreſſing any great Matter of Concern:— The Sweets of an uninterrupted Commerce had more Weight with it than all the Bug-bear Stories of univerſal Monarchy:—They could not think of parting with a real Good, which they every Day experienced, for an ideal Glory, in futuro, of contributing to ſupport the Balance of Power between the Houſes of Auſtria and Bourbon.— ’Tis true, that in Compliance with their Treaties, they at laſt gave ſome Aſſiſtance to the Queen of Hungary; but the many Pretences, the long Delayslays 144 T4v 144 lays they made, ſhewed with how much Unwillingneſs they were dragg’d to it, and how loth they were to break with France. And yet, Madam, it has always been allowed the Policy of Great Britain never to engage in a War on the Continent but in Conjunction with the Dutch, and being firſt ſollicited to it by them. ―― How ſtrange an Alteration is therefore in our Conduct ſince the Intereſt of Hanover has been made the Intereſt of England! And how little poſſible is it for us to regard, with any degree of Affection, a Country, whoſe Alliance has been ſo expenſive to us, and for whoſe Sake we are wounded in the moſt tender Parts, our Liberty and Glory. Hanoverian Lady.Not ſo haſty, good Madam; were all you ſay founded on real Fact, which I can by no Means allow, how does your Liberty or Glory ſuffer by any Conſiderations your Miniſtry may have teſtify’d for us? Engliſh Lady.I am ſorry, Madam, to find myſelf oblig’d by this Queſtion to give an Anſwer, which you may imagine, has ſomewhat of Sharpneſs in it; but all the Friendſhip and Complaiſance we would wiſh to pay to particular Perſons must yield to the Juſtice and Regard we ought to have for our Country:—I muſt therefore tell you, Madam, that Liberty is a meer Chimera, in a Land where none muſt hope for Favour, who do not adapt foreign Maxims in manifeſt Contradiction to their own 145 U1r 145 own.—And pitifully indeed the Glory and Renown of a Kingdom muſt be ſunk, when it deſcends to become the Province to a petty State; ſuch as Hanover once was, and would be ſtill, were England what it once was. Hanoverian Lady.All this is eaſily ſaid, and I know very well is the vulgar Cry;—but I call upon you to prove your Aſſertion, and ſhew what real Benefits have accrued to Hanover by the Acceſſion of her Elector to the Britiſh Throne. Engliſh Lady.This might eaſily be done by innumerable Inſtances; yet as it is not what Hanover has gained, but what theſe Realms have loſt, which juſtify’d the Complaint on our Side, I ſhall confine myſelf to that. The World beholds with Aſtoniſhment the Self-deſtructive Schemes which of late Years have been purſued:—The humbling ourſelves to almoſt every Power in Europe, the numberleſs Alliances we have entered into, and Treaties made and broke as often as the Intereſt of Hanover required it, are the leaſt we have done for that Electorate; yet ſo entirely did it engroſs our Attention, that nothing relating to ourſelves could come in for a Share: How neglectful did we ſeem of all that formerly was dear to us!—Commerce, the very Life and Soul of theſe Iſlands, was no more remember’d!—The Honour of the Britiſh Flag and the Sovereignty of the Seas became Vol. II. U an 146 U1v 146 an empty Name, no longer worthy our Regard, and the moſt glaring Inſults, cruel Depredations, and every kind of Outrage, the Avarice and Pride of Spain could treat us with, was with the moſt ſhameful Patience ſubmitted to. Our Trade to the Weſt-Indies near wholly loſt, our Colonies in the utmoſt Danger and daily menac’d by the unreſiſted Foe, cried loudly to us for Protection and Revenge; yet how deaf, how inſenſible, how incapable of being rous’d was this lethargic State for a long Time! and when compell’d, as it were, by the inceſſant Clamours of an almoſt ruin’d People, War was at laſt declar’d, the Manner in which it was carried on had more the Face of Pageantry than Reality. A gallant Fleet indeed was fitted out, which made a fine Shew at Spithead, and part of which defy’d the Spaniards quite as far as the Nore, while the Galleons and Aſſogues (Shameful Remembrance!) laden with Treaſure ſailed ſafe into their Ports. A most brave and worthy Admiral alſo with much ado obtained Permiſſion to go on an Expedition no leſs glorious for himſelf than ſerviceable to his Country, had it been accompliſh’d, as it queſtionleſs would have been, had Integrity at Home ſeconded his Zeal and Courage Abroad: But how cruelly and ſhamefully his glorious Projects were defeated none can be ignorant. In 147 U2r 147 In fine, the Miniſter then at the Helm had other Busineſs on his Hands than humbling the Pride of Spain; he call’d this War the Merchants War, and to the Merchants he left the Care of it: Nor was the Name ill-judg’d, ſince more was done againſt the Enemy by thoſe Ships which were equipt by the Trading Part of the Nation, than by the whole Royal Navy. But now the fatal Reaſon of this ſeeming Inactivity came out:—I ſay ſeeming, becauſe the Miniſter was not in effect lazy as to what concern’d his own Intereſt, Promotion or Security; and could he have found his particular Good in the Good of the Nation, he had doubtleſs had no other Point in View; but his Dependance lying a different way, he was oblig’d to purſue ſuch Meaſures as were inconſiſtent perhaps with his own Wiſhes, could they have coincided with his Ambition.—But to return,—The Miſtery was this: Jealousies of the new Emperor, and yet greater of Pruſſia, roſe on the Score of Hanover; and ſome Means to ſecure that darling Spot muſt be found, whatever became of Great Britain. A French Army in the Heart of Germany, and the piteous Complaints made by the Queen of Hungary, gave a Pretence for reviving the old Story of maintaining the Balance of Power; a Thing ’tis certain much to be deſired by all the inferior States, who in their Turns have been U2 equally 148 U2v 148 equally oppreſs’d by the Houſes of Auſtria and Bourbon, but wholly impracticable by any one Power:—Great Britain alone could never hope to do it, even at the Time of her greateſt Opulence; much leſs could ſuch viſionary Schemes now take Place with any thinking Perſon. Therefore to diſguiſe, as much as poſſible, the glaring Madneſs of ſuch an Undertaking, we were told the Dutch would go Hand in Hand with us:――That Ruſſia would bear a great Share in the Expences:――That Poland would furniſh all the Aſſiſtance in her Power; and Sardinia come heartily into the Cauſe. All which Expectations, except the laſt, we ſee have vaniſh’d into Air; and this perhaps had done the ſame, had not the Sums advanced by us to the Queen of Hungary, great Part of which was apply’d that way, ſerved to fix his Reſolution as to what Part he ought to take. The People thus cajoled, and made to believe what was doing was for the Honour of the Nation, came at firſt with a ſuppoſing Readineſs into this Project, concerted by one Miniſtry, and put in Execution by a ſucceeding one, with a Front which, I believe, no Age can parallel.―― The Balance of Power, Succeſs to the Queen of Hungary, and pulling down the French King, were the general Toaſts from the Table of the Peer to the Cobler in his Alehouſe; tho’ if we had once remembered ſome Treatment we had received from the late Emperor, and that too on the 149 U3r 149 the Account of Hanover, we ſhould have found ourſelves under little Obligation to be ſo warm in the Cauſe of his Daughter; nor at that Time had we any Manner of Reaſon to fall out with France. So ſtrong, however, was the Infatuation, and ſo vehement were we in the Intereſts of Germany, that our Concerns in the Weſt Indies and the daily Seizures of our Trading Veſſels by the Spaniards ſeem’d utterly forgotten, tho’ Bankruptcies at Home, like the Ghoſt of former Opulence, and depreciated Credit Abroad, ſtared us every Day full in the Face:—We acted indeed, as one of our Public-Writers took notice, exactly like a Man, who having his own Houſe on Fire left it, and ran to extinguiſh that of another at a great Diſtance off, while all belonging to himſelf periſh’d in the Flames. Now the whole Buſineſs was to raiſe Men and Money; every Street echo’d with Drums on the Score of the one, and our Senators rack’d their Brains on that of the other:—A difficult Taſk indeed, ſince every Produce, every Benefit of the Earth and Air were already under Impoſts which would ſcarce receive Addition; yet in ſpite of all this, new Ways and Means were found to furniſh the Sinews of War; Embarkations on Embarkations iſſued from our Ports, and Mercenaries were hired from every Quarter to aſſiſt this Expedition. But 150 U3v 150 But that which above all other Impositions calls moſt in Queſtion Britiſh Penetration is, that entering into this War only as Auxiliaries ourselves, we ſuffer’d Hanoverian Troops to be taken into our Service, and paid the Subjects of that Electorate for joining with us in Defence of their own Country. This is what will ſcarcely be credited in after Ages, eſpecially when to the Account of it ſhall be ſubjoined the ſhameful Behaviour of theſe Hirelings, and the Audacity and Ingratitude with which they treated thoſe to whom they owe their All. These, Madam, are ſome of the Reaſons which will not permit the People of England to look on their Fellow-Subjects of Hanover with ſo friendly an Eye as might be wiſh’d, and give a very great Alloy to the Value of thoſe Bleſſings we might otherwiſe enjoy in being govern’d by a Prince of that Country. Hanoverian Lady.And all theſe Reaſons, Madam, pompous as they ſeem at firſt View, will be found, on a nearer Examination, to be no more than Shadows formed by Engliſh Jealouſy and natural Diſcontent: The common People indeed of all Nations, as one of your own Poets elegantly expreſſes it, are ――A 151 U4r 151 ―― A ſcarce animated Clod,Ne’er pleas’d with ought above them, Prince or God. But the Engliſh, more than any Nation in the World, think they have a Right to be made acquainted with all the Miſteries of State; and if the leaſt Part, tho’ never ſo inconvenient to be made public, be denied them, they preſently form a thouſand Chimeras, which they as readily vouch for Truths. Besides, you have another odd Way, artful enough it muſt be confeſs’d, and that is to avoid the Indecency of accuſing your Prince with any thing you think a Miſcarriage in Point of Government, you lay the Blame wholly on the Miniſtry;—the Miniſtry give up the Liberties of their Country;—the Miniſtry are influenced by foreign Intereſts;—the Miniſtry does every thing that you imagine is, or would repreſent, as a Grievance to the Nation; when at the ſame time you know very well that the Miniſtry can do nothing without the Conſent of the King, and have been ſeldom known to adviſe any thing which may be diſpleasing to him, becauſe the very Exiſtence, as well as Continuance of their Miniſtry, depends wholly on his Royal Will:— This Mode of Speech is known to all Europe, so that every Invective publiſh’d againſt the Miniſtry teſtifies your Diſaffection to your King, as all your Murmurings against Hanover are so many Reflections on that Partiality you would have him 152 U4v 152 him be thought guilty of, to a Land which gave Birth to him, and all his great Progenitors. But admitting there were a Tenderneſs in him towards us, not altogether agreeable to the Britiſh Pride, which would engroſs all Regard, all Attention to itſelf, how unreaſonable is it in you to diſapprove that very Principle in him which you call ſo glorious in yourſelves!—Muſt he renounce all Affection, all paternal Love for a People he was born to govern, in order to humour thoſe he was call’d to rule over, meerly to protect and ſhield from the worſt Miſchiefs they could fall into?—He is your King ’tis true, and happy for you he is ſo, but he is ſtill our Elector and Sovereign, and cannot nor ought not to forget the Claim we have in him. Engliſh Lady.I thought, Madam, from the Beginning of your Diſcourſe, you were about to make ſome Attempt of confuting thoſe Arguments I urg’d to prove the Misfortunes Great Britain was brought into by her ſo ſtrict Alliance with Hanover; but I find you too wiſe to enter the Liſts on that Topic; and fall upon a Mode of Speech, as you call it, which, if no more, is both loyal and reſpectful in us, and ſhews how very loth we are to throw out any thing which may caſt a Blemiſh on the Luſtre of the Throne:――But, Madam, it would be eaſy to find Inſtances of Miniſters, who have abuſed the Royal Confidence, and given up the Glory of their Maſter at the ſame time that they had ſacrificed the Intereſt of the 153 X1r 153 the People, both which indeed, if rightly conſider’d, are eſſentially the ſame; but as ſuch a Diſcuſſion is altogether foreign to the preſent Debate between us, I ſhall leave you to make what Inferences you pleaſe, and only take Notice of the Juſtice of that Claim you ſeem to boaſt of, as to his Majeſty’s particular Attachment. Suppose, Madam, a Woman of an illuſtrious and ancient Deſcent, beautiful in her Perſon, unblemiſh’d in her Honour, and Heireſs of immenſe Wealth, ſhould throw herſelf into the Arms of a Man of ſmall Fortune, and only worthy of her by the Reputation of his Virtue. The Ceremony of Marriage over, and the Huſband in full and undiſturb’d Poſſeſſion of all that a reaſonable Mind could have to wiſh; what would the World ſay of him, if thus happy,— thus oblig’d, he continued his Attachment to a little Miſtreſs he had before enjoyed?—And what muſt the Wife feel, if he become froward and ungentle to her;—if he returned her Endearments only with Sullenneſs and Frowns;—if ſhe ſaw her richeſt Jewels converted into Ornaments for her tawdry Rival;—found her Coffers emptied; her Eſtate mortgag’d;――and all her late Affluence reduc’d to pinching Want?――Surely, when thus depreſs’d, tho’ Duty and Affection might reſtrain her from making any Complaints againſt her Huſband, ſhe could not be expected Vol. II. X to 154 X1v 154 to pay either Friendſhip or Eſteem to the Woman who triumphs over her deareſt Hopes, and is enriched only by her Spoils. Far be it from me to intimate that Britannia is this injur’d Wife, or make an Application ſo injurious to the known Wiſdom, Juſtice, and Goodneſs of his moſt ſacred Majeſty:—But while we acknowledge our Happineſs in having a King above all mean Prejudice or Partiality, we cannot avoid expreſſing ſome Diſcontent to find a petty State imagines ſhe has a Pretence to outrival us in his Royal Care and Affection. Hanoverian Lady.Meer Jealouſy and groundleſs Apprehenſions! But it is in vain to argue with your Nation on this Point:—The Engliſh it is known are no leſs poſitive than proud, and are not to be convinced, but by Time and Experience, that they have been in the Wrong; elſe it would be eaſy for you to ſee that whatever Inconveniences you may labour under for the Sake of Hanover, we endure no leſs on the Score of Great Britain. Engliſh Lady.That indeed appears a ſtrange Poſition!—I ſhould be glad to be inform’d as how? Hanoverian Lady.Nothing more eaſy than to oblige you, Madam;—as thus,—Being both Subjects of the ſame Prince, on any Broil Eng- 155 X2r 155 England ſhall happen to be involv’d in on the Continent, whatſoever Power is diſoblig’d will in Revenge immediately fall upon Hanover, not only as the neareſt, but as ſhe is the leaſt capable of defending herſelf:—So that our Country may become the Seat of War, perhaps be laid waſte, before any Succours from Great Britain can arrive, who, in ſuch a Caſe, I believe you will allow, ought to afford us her Protection. Engliſh Lady.Undoubtedly, Madam.— I grant alſo that the Apprehenſions you mention are fully juſtified by Reaſon;—but then that they are ſo is one of thoſe Misfortunes to us of which you are the innocent Cauſe; ſince to preſerve you from the Dangers to which you might be liable on our Account, we may be oblig’d to behave with greater Complaiſance to the Powers on the Continent than would be conſiſtent with our Intereſt or Glory. Hanoverian Lady.But as there is an abſolute Neceſſity for your acting in this Manner, you ought not to hate and upbraid us for every little Condeſcension you make. Engliſh Lady.Neither do we, Madam, yet we may wiſh it were not ſo. Hanoverian Lady.The ſame Liberty then with greater Reaſon may be allowed to us, ſince you can never ſuffer ſo much from yielding in X2 ſuch 156 X2v 156 ſuch trifling Points as would be required of you, either by any of the Powers of Germany, or by any Prince who may happen to have an Army in the Empire, as we muſt infallibly do by their Reſentment, ſhould you ever by any Act of Obſtinacy provoke them. Engliſh Lady.Yet as nothing is ſo dear as Glory to a brave People, how hard is the Dilemma, when either that or our Generoſity muſt be ſacrificed. Hanoverian Lady.Alas, Madam, it only ſeems ſo, becauſe whatever you find yourſelf oblig’d to do for us you do with Reluctance and Ill-will:—In fine, you envy us, are jealous of us, and induſtriously ſeek out Pretences for Complaint againſt us:—Whereas you ought rather to uſe your utmoſt Endeavours for baniſhing thoſe narrow ſelfiſh Views which keep up the Animoſity between us, to ceaſe all Revilings, all injurious Reflections, and at leaſt behave towards us as if you regarded us with a Siſterly Affection.—This I think it would become you to do for your own Sakes. Engliſh Lady.Madam, whatever Vices may be laid to the Charge of our Nation, none could ever yet tax us with that of Diſſimulation; and it would be ſtrange if we ſhould now begin to practiſe it in favour of a People from whom we 157 X3r 157 we cannot flatter ourſelves with even the moſt diſtant Hope of ever receiving the leaſt Obligation. ―― You muſt therefore make it very evidently appear, which I believe will be a pretty difficult Taſk, that it would become us, for our own Sakes, to feign this Siſterly Affection to Hanover. Hanoverian Lady.Because in the firſt place it would be a Proof of Love and Reſpect to your King; and in the next, while you enjoy the invaluable Bleſſings of his Reign, or after him of any of his Royal Deſcendants, even to the End of Time, there will always be an abſolute Neceſſity for the Intereſt of Hanover and Great Britain to be inſeparable.――So that I leave it to yourſelf, whether to ſubmit chearfully to what you may think an Inconvenience (tho’ I am far from allowing it to be ſuch) be not more prudent, than by continual Repinings, vain Clamours, and ridiculous Oppoſitions, loſe all the Merit of the Obligation (if it be one) both with his Majeſty and thoſe belonging to him, and proclaim at the ſame time to all the neighbouring Nations the Reſtleſsneſs and Quixotiſm of your own Natures. Engliſh Lady.Madam, I have done;— your laſt Argument is indeed not to be anſwer’d:—Whatever is unavoidable muſt be yielded to:—But however, we may ſay to ourſelves with the Poet, that Plea- 158 X3v 158 Pleaſure never comes ſincere to Man,But ſent by Heaven upon hard Uſury:And while Jove holds us out the Bowl of Joy,E’re it can reach our Lips, ’tis daſh’d with GallBy ſome left-handed God. Thus ended a Diſpute which I am of Opinion will give very near the ſame Satisfaction to the Readers as to thoſe who heard it.
Aefter thanking Mr. A.B. for the Favour he has done us in communicating this Manuſcript, I am deſir’d by our little Aſſembly to aſſure him, that if it has the ſame Effect on the Public as it has had on us, he will find his Opinion confirm’d in all Companies where the Female Spectator is admitted.
Nothing certainly is more pleaſing than when we find Arguments, eſpecially on any tender Point as this was, urg’d with Moderation and Sweetneſs:――The Temper with which theſe two Ladies carried on their Diſpute ought to make thoſe bluſh who cannot hear themſelves contradicted without Virulence and bitter Speeches.
At firſt reading I was indeed ſometimes in Pain for my Country-Woman, and trembled leſt the artful Evaſions, frequently going from the Point, blending Things proper to be diſcanted upon 159 X4r 159 upon with others which were not ſo, and many ſuch like Subterfuges practis’d by the other, ſhould have made her loſe that Patience and Calmneſs ſo becoming in an argumentative Diſcourſe; but to my great Satisfaction ſhe ſoon convinced me ſhe knew how to ſeparate thoſe Topics her Antagoniſt endeavoured to huddle together, and to be ſilent where Prudence required ſhe ſhould be ſo, as well as to treat with a genteel Irony thoſe Things which merited not a ſerious Reply.
There is ſomething which to me ſeems altogether unfair, and too much deſigning in the Method purſued by the Hanoverian Lady in this Debate.—She condemns the Engliſh for charging all Errors in Government on the Miniſtry, and attempts to prove what none of us either dare, or even wiſh to do, that the Miniſtry are only ſo many Tools to the Will of the King.—This I cannot forbear looking upon, and I believe every Body elſe will view it in the ſame Light, as an invidious Artifice to ſilence all Complaints of Grievances, or to render the Continuance a Breach of Duty and Reſpect to his Majeſty.
But this is a ſtale Pretence, and has been ſo often made uſe of by our Engliſh-Hanoverians, that it is grown Thread-bare:—The Tenet is now thrown out of Doors, and while there is any Spark of Liberty remaining, it will ſhew itſelf at leaſt in expreſſing our Diſlike of any Meaſures which tend to our Oppreſſion.It 160 X4v 160
It is an old but very true Maxim, that England can be undone only by herſelf:—Our Conſtitution, like a Wall of Braſs too thick to be broke through, too high to be overlook’d by the Power of the Crown, preſerves the People from any Encroachments from that Quarter; yet may this Wall be undermined by thoſe entruſted to repair and keep it, and it is therefore our Buſineſs to have a watchful Eye on whomſoever this weighty Truſt is repoſed, leſt for the Sake of private and particular Intereſt, that of the whole ſhould be utterly deſtroyed, and this glorious Fabrick, the Envy and Admiration of other Nations, and ſo long our Defence and Happineſs, thrown down, and all our boaſted Freedom periſh in its Ruins.
But I will not dwell on ſo ungrateful a Subject, nor alarm myſelf or Readers with Apprehenſions, which, whatever Foundation they may have had, ought now to vaniſh with the Power and Influence of thoſe Perſons by whoſe Conduct they were firſt excited.
What, tho’ Coronets adorn their Brows!— What tho’ they riot in the Spoils of ſuffering Millions, and ſecurely laugh at the Miſchiefs they have done, their Day is over, their Sting is ſpent, detected tho’ unpuniſh’d, the Beguilers can beguile no more, and all Dangers to our Civil Rights ſeem now as far as removed as thoſe we were lately threaten’d with from foreign Foes.The 161 Y1r 161
The Hanoverian Lady is ſo pleaſantly whimſical in her Deſcription of the galloping Progreſs of the French and Spaniſh Armies thro’ Italy, Germany, Portugal, Flanders, and the United Provinces, in order to reach theſe Kingdoms, that I thought we all, eſpecially Euphroſine, ſhould never have done laughing:—Nothing certainly could have been added to the Humour of this Raw-Head and Bloody Bones Expedition, unleſs the ingenious Inventreſs of it had made them call at Rome in their Way, and brought the Pope and the Pretender on their Backs.
Bless us! what a terrible Monſter is this Houſe of Bourbon! If theſe Ideas of it ſhould reach ſome diſtant Countries in Great Britain and Ireland, it might fright the good Women into Fits, and occaſion many a Miſcarriage, and thereby leſſen the Number of future Soldiers, which would be a great Prejudice to us ſhould the War continue, or we continue to be engag’d in it till the Queen of Hungary, the French King, or Spaniſh Queen are willing to recede from the Views they at preſent ſeem to have.
If any one ſhould think I treat this Matter too ludicrouſly, the Hanoverian Lady muſt bear the Blame, who has really put me quite out of the way of ſerious Reaſoning.
But I will return to myſelf as ſoon as I can; for going on in this wild way puts me in Mind of the old humorous Poet.Vol. II. Y What 162 Y1v 162 What need have we for Sack and Sherry, When our own Miſeries can make us merry?
This is not a Time indeed to laugh, and I heartily beg Pardon of my Country for it:—Inſtead of diverting the Thoughts of our Calamities, we ought rather to bend our utmoſt Endeavours for the Eaſe of them; which can only be procured by obſerving a ſtrict Oeconomy and Frugality in our Apparel, Food and Furniture; in fine, to retrench our Expences as to all the Neceſſaries of Life, as well as the Pleaſures of it, otherwiſe how ſhall we be for any long Time enabled to pay thoſe Taxes which are requiſite for the Support of the War; and to join in the moſt fervent Prayers to Heaven, that it may ſoon end in an honourable and laſting Peace, and the ambitious Great Ones of the World be made to ſee their Error, and bid Rapine and Devaſtation ceaſe!
But tho’, for the general Good of all Europe as well as ourſelves, we ought to wiſh the Broils on the Continent were amicably adjuſted, yet if the War ſhould conclude without receiving any Satisfaction on the Part of Spain, for the Inſults and Damages we have received from her, I believe no Briton will be ſorry to ſee the whole Force of our Arms turn’d againſt that haughty Power, in order to retrieve the Verdure of our too much blaſted Lawrels, preſerve our Commerce, and defend our Colonies.This 163 Y2r 163
This is truly our own War, and juſtifiable by all Laws both divine and human:—Here, if we conquer, we reap the Advantage of it ourſelves; beſides, Naval Fights, when made in good earneſt, are ſeldom unfortunate for England; but in a Land War there is much more than a Poſſibility of being undone by our own Victory, and becoming greater Loſers than thoſe we overcome.
But there is little left for me ſay on this Head, the Engliſh Championeſs has, in too pathetic a Manner, deſcrib’d the Wildneſs of our engaging in a War on the Continent, the much we have to fear, and the little we have to hope, whatever the Event ſhall happen to prove, for me to imagine any thing I could add would render it more plain.
Besides, after thoſe Clouds and Tempeſts with which the Bark of Engliſh Expectations has ſo long been loſt under the Direction of unſkilful, or unfaithful Pilots, a riſing Sun begins to dawn upon us, and promiſes to diſpel the horrid Gloom, calm the ſwelling Waves, and glad us with the near Proſpect of that wiſh’d for Harbour we have ſought, but ſought in vain, for many tedious Years.
Even now while I am writing, a Meſſenger of Joy arrives:—Fame sounds her Golden-Trump with Energy Divine, and thus reports:――Our Iſland’s Genius rouſes from his dreary Bed,―― ſhakes off inglorious Sloth, and once more active,Y2 tive 164 Y2v 164 tive, inſpires his choſen Sons with Godlike Fires to quell Oppreſſion, ſave the ſinking State, and recall long baniſh’d Virtue to her ancient Seat.
Midst all the Snares that artful Vice has laid to catch the Paſſions and enſlave the Heart:―― Midſt all the Numbers that have renounced their God, and bowed the Knee to Baal, a Patriot Band, an uncorrupted few have ſtill remained, unawed by Frowns, unbought by Smiles, or all the glittering Toys a Court beſtows; alike impregnable to Force or Fraud, Strangers at once to ſoftning Luxury and overbearing Pride, and Foes to all Ambition but that of doing Good.
Years after Years did they behold their Country’s falling Honours, but deceived with ſpecious Words, and outward Shews of Virtue, wiſe but yet unſuſpicious; and fearing by vindicating public Right to do a private Wrong, they bore with Temper what they ſaw with Grief; ’till bold Iniquity, of her own Accord, pluck’d off the Vizard of Hypocriſy, avowed her Influence, and diſclos’d the Traytors, by different Means to different Ends aſpiring, but all aſſiſting to bind Britannia in eternal Chains.
All was at Stake;—but one Step more was wanting to tread down Liberty, and erect an Idol of their own Formation in its Place:—Succeſsful Villany had well nigh gained its horrid Point, and 165 Y3r 165 and free born Souls had been compell’d to bend to Power illegal.
Now riſe theſe Sons of Honour, and tho’ long diſunited by the baſe Artifices of their common Foes, forget all petty Feuds, and reſolve to ſtem Deſtruction’s Tide, or periſh in the brave Effort.O Glorious Coalition!—O Criſis, never to be forgotten!
The noble Ardour kindled in their Veins repreſents the Occaſion ſuch as it is, admitting no Delay, and this bleſt Moment they haſten to the Throne, there will they proſtrate, fall, and never riſe till they have wrought upon the Royal Mind to liſten and give Sanction to their Suit.
This is the Boon they aſk, and are determined with all becoming Decency to aſſert:
That his Majeſty will vouchſafe Permiſſion, that all the Impoſitions, Deceits, Perjuries, Oppreſſions, Miſrepreſentations, and other enormous Crimes which theſe State-Harpys have been guilty of to the Nation, may be laid before him; and in Conſequence of a full Detection, that he will be pleas’d to render them for the future incapable of holding any Office, Poſt, or Employment, either in the Government or about his Perſon; and in fine, drive them forever from his Preſence, that his Royal Ear no more may be poiſoned by their Councils, nor the moſt faithful Sub- 166 Y3v 166 Subjects ever Prince could boaſt traduced by their Inſinuations.
This is the glorious Project which the Voice of Fame aſſures us is on Foot, and if once ripen’d into Action, how dear to the preſent Age, and how immortal to a long Succeſſion of Ages, will be the Names of all who have a Share in it!
Even ſhould any baleful Planet, Foe to England’s Glory, interpoſe with dark’ning Influence and blaſt the Attempt, the very making it is ſufficient to deſerve Statues more durable and more ornamented than any placed in the Capital of ancient Rome.
But let us not perplex ourſelves with idle Doubts, they ſay, Who fears his Fate deſerves it; and ſhould we imagine his moſt ſacred Majeſty will be deaf to the united Voice of his whole People, deliver’d to him by the moſt faithful, noble and wiſe of his Subjects, it would be an Injuſtice to his Goodneſs, which ſure no loyal Heart could ever forgive itſelf.
Let us rather rejoice in the almoſt certain Hope of ſeeing this Petition made and granted, —That thoſe Court Moths, thoſe Canker-Worms of State will be no longer ſuffered to gnaw even into the very Vitals of our Conſtitution, but be expell’d and driven from all the nobler Part of the Creation, and henceforth compell’d to aſſociate only with their Fellow-Inſects.In 167 Y4r 167
In lone Retirement let them repent, at leaſt regret their paſt Abuſe of Power:—Deprived of every Means to oppreſs or to betray the Innocent, let them upbraid and become Tormentors to each other:—Too mild a Doom for Crimes ſo conſummate, ſo complicated as theirs!—For if, as Cato ſays, ――What Pity ’tisA Man can dye but once to ſerve his Country! Certainly for thoſe Who truſted by their Country have betray’d it,To die but once is Puniſhment too ſmall.
But theſe truly worthy Patriots retain the ſame Moderation with which they have ever behav’d, and ſhew that tho’ now oblig’d to exert themſelves, they exert themſelves only to ſave Britannia, not to deſtroy the very worſt and moſt degenerate of her Sons.
What indeed can they deſire leſs, or what is more abſolutely neceſſary than that thoſe ſhould be removed, who if truſted would deceive, and if not truſted would be perpetually contriving Means to obſtruct all their Meaſures, and render abortive their beſt-concerted Schemes!
No Councils without a perfect Unanimity can proſper; but when Men, tho’ of never ſo different Intereſts and Principles in other Things, ſhall happen to agree and purſue with Vigour one favouritevourite 168 Y4v 168 vourite Point, be it of what kind ſoever, one ſeldom ſees them miſcarry in their Aim.
This Argument has a thouſand Times been made uſe of, both within and without Doors, by a late eminent fallen Patriot; he cannot therefore take it ill, or be ſurpriz’d that it is now urg’d againſt himſelf, tho’ he both may and ought to be aſham’d of having given the Occaſion.
Oh Curio! Curio! once ſo admired, ſo lov’d! ―― Moſt thought thee honeſt,――All believed thee wiſe;—thou Terror of one Party, Darling and chief Dictator of the other; how do the one deſpiſe, the other hate thee now! —Verres himſelf leſs ſhunn’d, and more excuſed.
Verres, train’d up from Infancy in the low Arts of Gain,—Stranger to Eaſe and Affluence, yet in his Soul vain-glorious and ambitious, might eaſily be tempted to join in any thing to raiſe his Fortune; which having done, in a ſhort Time, beyond what Hope could promiſe, the Sweets of ill-got Wealth, and the proſperous Succeſs of thoſe Crimes to which he owed it, embolden’d him to act ſtill greater, and to ſtop at nothing; and when at laſt ſwell’d to enormous Size, Juſtice began to ſhake the brandiſh’d Sword, in order to ward off the impending Stroke, he found himſelf oblig’d to purſue Meaſures more wicked yet, more miſchievous than ever:—As his Indigence therefore had led him, so his Security compell’d him to perſiſt.But 169 Z1r 169
But you, O Curio! had no ſuch Pretence; born to, and in Poſſeſſion of Demeſns ſufficient to prevent all ſordid Aims from entering your Breaſt:—Nurtur’d in Patriotiſm, long you trod the Path of Glory, and your Country’s Happineſs ſeem’d more your Aim than ought belonging meerly to yourſelf; or if you wiſh’d Reward, it was only becauſe it would be a Proof to after Times of Britiſh Gratitude, and ſhew your Labours had attain’d their End:—For more than twenty Years did you purſue this Verres;—explored his dark Deſigns, and oft prevented the Execution of them:—All Offers you rejected, all Menaces diſdained,—and firm in the Cauſe of Liberty, with unwearied Zeal ſpoke, wrote, and acted as became a Briton:—At laſt, the long-deſir’d,—the long-ſought Time arrived, to crown your Toils with an aſſured Succeſs:—Fortune herſelf ſeem’d weary of her Minion, and left him on the Verge of Ruin:――The meaner Inſtruments of his Oppreſſions already mourn’d his Fate, and trembled for their own:—Each honeſt Heart exulted, and Liberty ſecured with all its ſalutary Barrier Laws was now the general Hope:—This you beheld, and with what grateful Raptures each Eye look’d on you, and each Tongue ſpoke of you:――Every Relief from ill, every expected Bleſſing, they own’d chiefly to Curio owing:— Curio! the Friend of Public Good;—Curio! his Country’s Prop:—Agent of Heaven, to ſhield Britannia from impending Danger.Vol. II. Z Such 170 Z1v 170
Such Love, ſuch Praiſes as were ſhower’d upon you might have converted even Treachery into Truth, much more confirmed the Heart inured to Honour:――Yet then, O moſt infatuated, moſt ill-ſtarr’d of Men!—When arrived at the utmoſt Summit of human Perfection, you fell at once into the loweſt Abyſs of Infamy and Perdition:――Betray’d the People who ſo truſted in you;—renounced the Cause you had ſo long maintain’d;—favoured the Abuſe, and ſcreen’d the Abuſer you had ſworn never to quit till you had seen chaſtiſed.
Amazing Change! In one ill-fated Hour the Prize of your whole former Life wantonly thrown away; it cannot be call’d ſold, ſince barter’d for a Toy you might have even commanded, illuſtrated with real Glories had you remain’d yourſelf, not daub’d and tinſell’d over ſuch as this, which, inſtead of adorning, but deforms your Brows, and renders your Shame the more conſpicuous.
We all remember, nor can you ſure forget, how happy you ſeem’d to think yourſelf when the pernicious Scheme of the Exciſe was on Foot, and your Influence in the Senate had put to Shame the Miniſter and his Adherents!―― How true, how permanent an Honour then you thought it to make Millions happy!—And how laudable was that Ambition in you of receiving merited Applauſe!—When you beheld the beſt and wealthieſt of our Citizens waiting the hop’d but 171 Z2r 171 but fear’d Reſult of that important Hour:—You haſted to relieve their Anxiety, and ſaid aloud theſe remarkable Words: Gentlemen! Date your Liberties from this Day.
We do,—We do, Sir, replied they with a Shout that ſeem’d to ſhake the ſpacious Dome: —The joyful Tidings reſounded to the Gates of the Hall:—The Crowd without heard it, and eccho’d back the Cry of Liberty! Liberty! and no Exciſe!—Hung on your Chariot Wheels and bore you home in greater Triumph than old Rome e’er knew: While Verres, pale and trembling, ſculked amidſt his Guard of Hirelings, and ſcarce eſcap’d the juſt Reſentment of a People whoſe Slavery he had projected.
How truly glorious for you was this Night! ―― The Fires and Illuminations which blazed in every Street leſs proclaim’d the general Joy for the Benefit received, than that to you we owed it.—O had this Spirit ſtill exiſted in you, What might you not have been?――Shocking Reflection!—What are you now!—But I have done.—Verres and Curio link’d, compose a Prodigy ſuch as no paſt Age can parallel, and all future ones will ſtand aghaſt at the Deſcription of.
I forbear making any particular mention of the many Followers of this guilty Pair; who Z2 like 172 Z2v 172 like their Patrons, loſt in a Moment all their former Animoſity, and ſhook Hands with thoſe who not a Week before they had pursued to Deſtruction.
England, however, will reap this double Advantage from the Crimes of both Miniſter and Patriot:—The Detection of the One will, ’tis to be hop’d, deter all future Stateſmen from treading in the ſame Steps; and the Apoſtacy of the Other ſerve as a Warning to the Nation not to place too entire a Confidence in any Profeſſions whatſoever.
Those who ſincerely labour for their Country’s Welfare will certainly find their Reward in the Succeſs of their Enterprize; and if the great Work, which I hear is now in Hand, ſhould be accompliſh’d before theſe Lucubrations ſee the Light, I dare anſwer the Satisfaction will be too great to render ſtale or diſpleaſing what I have ſaid on the Occaſion.
However, till Suſpenſe is wholly ſwallowed up in Certainty, there will be Emotions in the Heart that will not ſuffer us to be quite compos’d: —We are, as it were, divided between Pain and Pleaſure, and having been already ſo often deceived, are apt to cry out in the Words of the Pſalmiſt: There is no Confidence in Man!A 173 Z3r 173
A Letter we have juſt received ſeems very much adapted to the fluctuating Situation of our preſent Expectations, and as it directs to that Side of the Queſtion, which will render us moſt eaſy, is highly proper to be inſerted in this Place.
To the Female Spectator. Madam, As you have hitherto ſeem’d to exert your ſpeculative Capacity wholly for the Improvement of the Morals, and a due regulating the Conduct; and in order to give Succeſs to your Endeavours, there is an abſolute Neceſſity to begin with the Paſſions, I flatter myſelf you will not think it impertinent in me to offer to your Conſideration ſome Reflections which caſually came into my Head this Morning. Hope and Fear are the firſt Paſſions that agitate the human Mind:—In our very Infancy they find Entrance, and operate before we are capable of receiving any other:—They guide our Actions in Maturity;—retain their Vigour even to extreme old Age, and never utterly forſake us till Death and Eternity cloſe the Scene, and leave nothing more to wiſh for. They are Paſſions, which if taken in a religious Senſe ſeem inſpired by the Creator himſelf; for what can more inſtigate us to Acts of Piety and Devotion than the everlaſting Rewards which Hope preſents in proſpect to the 174 Z3v 174 the virtuous Mind?—Or what Reſtraint from Crimes equal to that which ariſes from the Fear of thoſe tremendous Puniſhments threatned to the guilty?—But as this is a Truth none but Free-Thinkers and Deiſts will deny, I ſhall only mention a few of thoſe Advantages or Diſadvantages, the being poſſeſs’d of them is to our temporal Satisfaction and Happineſs. Hope is, in my Opinion, the moſt precious Good we can enjoy, our ſure Defence in all the Aſſaults of adverſe Fortune, and a main Step to the Attainment of more proſperous Events:—Whoever chides it from him, and encourages its oppoſite, ſinks beneath the Burthen of his Fate, and is in danger of riſing no more; but he who preſerves it will be climbing ſtill, and tho’ he may be oft repulſed, is untoiled with Diſappointment, and never loſes the Proſpect of his Wiſh.—Our inimitable Cowley has given us a beautiful Definition of this Paſſion in one of his Pindarick Odes; which, tho’ I doubt not but you have read, I cannot help tranſcribing for the Benefit of thoſe who may not: Hope of all Ills that Men endureThe only cheap and univerſal Cure!Thou Captive’s Freedom, and thou ſick Man’s Health!Thou Loſer’s Victory, and thou Beggar’s Wealth!Thou Manna which from Heav’n we eat;To every Taſte a ſeveral Meat!Thou175Z4r175Thou ſtrong Retreat! Thou ſure entailed Eſtate,Which nought has Power to alienate!Thou pleaſant honeſt Flatt’rer; for noneFlatter unhappy Man but thou alone!Hope, thou Firſt-Fruits of Happineſs,Thou gentle Dawning of a bright Succeſs,Who out of Fortune’s Reach doſt ſtand,And art a Bleſſing still in Hand.Happineſs itſelf’s all oneIn thee or in Poſſeſſion.Beſt Apprehender of our Joys, which haſtSo long a Reach, and yet can’ſt hold ſo faſt!Men leave thee by obtaining, and ſtrait fleeSome other way again to thee. It was chiefly by being ſtrongly poſſeſs’d of this Paſſion that Julius Cæſar gain’d the Battle of Pharſalia; and had Cato not been entirely abandoned by it, he had perſiſted in his Endeavours for the Liberty of his Country, and poſſibly retrieved it too. Alexander the Great thought ſo highly of it, that when choſen General of the United States againſt Perſia, he divided his whole Kingdom of Macedon among his Officers, giving Towns to ſome, Cities to others, and whole Provinces to thoſe whoſe Capacities in his Judgment merited them. Parmerio, who was one that profited by this extraordinary Bounty, beheld it with Surprize, and aſk’d his Majeſty what he reſerved for himself?――Hope! repliedplied 176 Z4v 176 plied that Prince, implying that he eſteemed it above every thing; and indeed his future Glories proved it was with Juſtice he did ſo, ſince it was by that encourag’d and embolden’d he acquired them. On what Purſuit ſoever the Soul of Man is bent, whether to the Attainment of Love, Honour, or Riches, how languid, how enervate will be the Efforts he makes, if not animated by the Hope of ſucceeding! Yet notwithſtanding this obvious Truth, thoſe People who judge of Things only as they appear to themſelves, are apt to turn this glorious Paſſion into Ridicule:—They look on a Perſon who aims at any thing which they imagine is out of his Reach, as an Extravagant, and treat all the Schemes he propoſes as ſo many viſionary Deluſions:—He is laugh’d at by his Enemies, and pity’d by his Friends, who perhaps by their miſtaken Counſels avert the Inſpiration of his good Genius, and turn him from the only Means by which he might arrive at Happineſs. But I would fain know of theſe obſtinate Opugners of Hope, what Reaſons they can give for our endeavouring to repel the Dictates of ſo pleaſing, and at the ſame time ſo beneficial a Paſſion:—For my Part I muſt confeſs it comes not within the reach of my Apprehenſion to conceive any thing their ſurly Wiſdoms can offer, that would be ſufficient to compenſate for what we 177 Aa1r 177 we ſhould loſe in being deprived of Hope, even tho’ it happen to be vain, becauſe the very Deception it puts upon us is a Bleſſing for the Time it laſts. The ancient Philoſophers have proved by Arguments, I think, unanſwerable, that the real Attainment of our Wiſhes brings with it no Proportion of Happineſs which can come in Competition with the Idea of it, while we remain in a State of Expectation:—If this is granted, it muſt alſo be confeſs’d, that thoſe delightful, thoſe rapturous Ideas are made ſo only by Hope, ſince it would be far from a Felicity to contemplate on a Good we wiſh, but are fearful will never be in our Poſſeſſion. In fine, while we have Hope we are all we would be, and when robb’d of that, all we would not be. How many living Spectres do we ſee who, loſt to Hope, wander about the World, ſo wan and pin’d with Care and Diſcontent, their very Souls would ſeem dead were it not that ever and anon their Starts and Groans diſcover they apprehend ſome worſe Calamity than what they feel already?—Theſe are the Slaves of Fear, the Antagoniſt of Hope, and the meaneſt, pooreſt of all Paſſions:――It makes the Wretch who harbours it anticipate the Ills he is doom’d to ſuffer, and tremble for others that Fate never intended to bring on him. Vol. II. Aa There 178 Aa1v 178 There is indeed but one Step between this Paſſion and Deſpair, and that is made only by ſome Remains of Hope, which however is a very unquiet Situation, because the Mind is perpetually toſs’d and knows not where to fix; ――all Joy one Moment, and all Grief the next;—ſometimes lifted up to the higheſt Pitch of rapturous Expectation; at others ſunk, abaſh’d, and trembling to purſue what moſt it wiſhes. But notwithſtanding all I have ſaid in the behalf of Hope, I must allow that there is Danger in indulging it too much:—Preſumption, Arrogance, and Self-Conceit are as frequently Attendants on this Paſſion, as a mean Baſhfulneſs, or a ſneaking Behaviour, and an Inability of exerting ourſelves in a proper Manner, are of its Oppoſite:――Hope is apt to inſpire us with too great a Warmth, Fear with too much Coldneſs. It is therefore the firſt Employment we ought to give our Reaſon to keep a due Medium;—to moderate both theſe Paſſions, and not to ſuffer the One to hurry us to any Actions unbecoming of our Characters and Stations in Life, nor the Other to with-hold us from the Purſuit of any thing that in itſelf is laudable, because it may ſeem attended with ſome Difficulties. It 179 Aa2r 179 It is alſo the Buſineſs of Wiſdom to conceal, as much as poſſible, the natural Propenſity we have to either of theſe Paſſions:―― To be conſcious of having teſtify’d a too ſanguine Hope in any thing we may chance to fail in the Attainment of, gives double Aſperity to Diſappointment;—and to ſhew we have been reſtrained by Fear from undertaking any thing for the Advantage either of ourſelves, our Friends, or Country, which has been eaſily accompliſh’d by another, makes us be look’d upon as unworthy the Reſpect or Confidence of the World. I may add to this, that Hope is apt to make us place too great a Confidence in Things and Perſons, as Fear, on the other Hand, inſpires us with too much Diſtruſt:—The One ſometimes renders us the Tools of our worſt Enemies, and the Other guilty of Injuſtice to our beſt Friends. Dissimulation therefore in this Caſe is no more than Prudence:—Happy is he who can ſeem to have no Exceſs of Hope or Fear of any thing; but more happy is he who knows how to command both, and has Penetration enough to diſcover when, and to which he ought moſt to incline! There are certainly many Things we ought to fear, and others which it would be unjuſt for us to hope:――Virtue and good Aa2 Mo- 180 Aa2v 180 Morality will point them out, as Wiſdom will direct in a great meaſure how either Apprehenſion or Expectation may be juſtify’d. But becauſe the Scale of human Probability frequently deceives us, and Events greatly depend on what we call Chance or Fortune, the ſafeſt way is not to build on any thing. To bear Proſperity with Temper, and Adverſity with Fortitude, is the trueſt and nobleſt kind of Heroiſm, the Crown as well as Proof of Virtue, and will render us more eaſy to ourſelves, more agreeable to our Neighbours, and more accceptable in the Sight of Heaven, than all the gilded Trophies of the Field, or Favours of a Prince. The Man then that would attain or preſerve this happy Situation, let him make all Things as indifferent to him as poſſible, but always take care rather to hope the beſt than fear the worſt. I am, Madam, Your very humble and Moſt obedient Servant. Eaton, 1744-12-14Dec. 14, 1744Philo-Serenitas.
The Concluſion of this Letter, tho’ perhaps not intended in a political Senſe, contains the beſt Ad- 181 Aa3r 181 Advice can be given us while in expectation of the Event at preſent depending.
Thehaving been deceived, does not imply we ſhall again be ſo, tho’ there is a Poſſibility we may, becauſe the best of Men are ſtill but Men: ―― All have Paſſions of one kind or other to gratify, and none can anſwer for himſelf, that in ſome unguarded Hour the Fiend within him may not prove too ſtrong for the Angel.
One of our Weekly Papers, of which a certain great Man before his Apoſtacy was ſaid to be the Patron, has given us ſome Maxims on this Head, which ought never to be forgotten; and as they cannot therefore be too often repeated, I ſhall give them in his own Words:When a Perſon in Power finds his beſt Endeavours to maintain his Popularity fruitleſs, if he finds his moſt innocent, nay meritorious Actions blaſted, and what he adminiſters for Nouriſhment converted into Poyſon; unleſs he is another Socrates or Confucius, his Heart muſt unavoidably be turned againſt us; and that Affection, that Zeal, and that Fidelity which was before divided between Prince and People will center in the firſt only, and thenceforward he may become so much a Prey to his Paſſions as to lay hold on every Opportunity to diſtreſs thoſe, whom he found it impoſſible to oblige. Let 182 Aa3v 182 Let it be a Rule with us then ſo to behave, as, that in caſe thoſe at the Helm ſhould deſert the Intereſt to which they owe their Greatneſs, they may have no Excuſe for their Apoſtacy. Liberty is the true Palladium of our State; and the meaneſt Briton is as much concern’d in its Preſervation as the greateſt:――Let every Briton then be as watchful over it as ever:――Let a blind Confidence be placed in no Man whatever:――It is what no honeſt Man would deſire, what no wiſe Man can expect, and what no wicked Man deſerves. But let us not fire the Beacon, and cry out the Enemy! the Enemy! before there is any viſible Danger. It is a good Thing to be upon one’s Guard: ――It is a very bad one to be in Confuſion. ――He that draws to defend himſelf when attack’d, is both wiſe and brave:――He that fences with the Wind is either a Bully or a Madman. If the preſent Managers act up to their Pretenſions, every honeſt Man in Great Britain will be in their Intereſt and at their Devotion: —If they fall ſhort of, or act in Contradiction to them, the Prejudice in their Favour will ſoon wear off; their Enemies will retort their own Arguments upon them; and, what is worſt of all, 183 Aa4v 183 all, Patriotiſm in State Affairs will run ſome riſque of being put on a footing with Hypocriſy in Religion, than which a more affecting Curſe can hardly viſit this Land of Liberty.
I need not tell my Reader that this was wrote at the Time of our late Jehu Miniſter’s firſt coming into Power, and when there were ſome who, as it prov’d, too juſtly apprehended that when he had catch’d the Fiſh he would throw away the Net.
We owe, however, ſome Obligation to him that he ſhewed himſelf ſo ſoon; a Man more artful and leſs daring might have proceeded by ſuch imperceptible Degrees as, before we were aware, might have entail’d Slavery in perpetuity on theſe Nations.
Long were we cajoled, and flatter’d out of our very Reaſon by his timid Predeceſſor; and perhaps had he not been forced by Counſels, not his own, into ſome Meaſures which diſcover’d the pernicious Mark he aim’d at, he might have compleated the Deſtruction he had begun.
The above Rules will therefore be of excellent Sercvice to us, if well obſerv’d, under all Adminiſtrations, even tho’ compoſed of Men, who, on the Score of former Patriotiſm, ſhould happen to be the greateſt Darlings of the Time; for, if we may credit the Poet,The 184 Aa4v 184 The Court’s a golden, but a fatal Circle, Upon whoſe Magic Skirts a thouſand Devils, In Cryſtal Forms, ſit tempting Innocence, And beckon early Virtue from its Centre.
But I am quite weary of the unfathomable Myſteries of State, and the yet more unfathomable Depths of great Men’s Hearts:—He who ſees all Things is alone able to unravel them; even Time itſelf cannot do it, for tho’ he brings all Actions to Light, the Motives of them frequently remain a Secret, and will do ſo to all Eternity.
The Author of the following Letter, notwithſtanding, ſeems to have a great Opinion of my Abilities this way; but I am afraid he will be of another way of thinking, when he perceives a Queſtion, which perhaps to him may appear to be of a Nature eaſily anſwered, is in reality too puzzling for my Comprehenſion.
To the Female Spectator. Worthy Dame, Tho’ I never found you ſet up either for a Britiſh Apollo or Athenian Mercury, nor had given out any Bills or Advertiſements to ſignify you reſolv’d all lawful Queſtions, yet I have Dependance enough on your Capacity and Good-Nature to flatter me you will give your caſting Vote in a Diſpute, in which all 185 Bb1r 185 all concern’d have agreed to ſubmit to your Deciſion. I was last Night engag’d in a good deal of Company at the Bedford-Head Tavern, Covent- Garden, when, among many other faſhionable Healths, Succeſs to the Queen of Hungary went chearfully round the Table. A certain Gentleman took Occaſion, on naming that Princeſs, to ſay that he thought Nature was growing frolickſome, and, ſwerving from her ordinary Courſe, had transfer’d thoſe Souls which ought to be confined to us of the Maſculine Gender into that of the Feminine: That Sex, ſaid he, has long been encroaching on our Province of Wit, but I think it is too much they ſhould rob us of our Glory likewiſe:—Some Share of Policy I am ready to allow them, but can by no means conſent they ſhould be Warriors. He then run great lengths in praiſe of her Hungarian Majeſty, as being above the little ſoftening Follies which are the Characteriſtick of Womanhood:—Intrepid, undaunted, and deſpiſing all Paſſions but thoſe of Glory and Ambition.――How truly noble, continu’d he, did ſhe behave, when News arrived that Prince Charles of Lorrain’s Army was all cut to Pieces, inſtead of putting Finger in Eye, as ſome Women would have done, and lamenting the untimely Fate of ſo many thouſand gallant Men, Vol. II. Bb No 186 Bb1v 186 No Matter for the Army, ſaid ſhe, if the General be ſafe.――What great Things would ſhe not be able to accompliſh at the Head of an Army if her Childing Condition did not prevent it? Another ſeeing him ſo warm, told him, that tho’ he could not but agree with him in what he ſaid of this German Heroine, yet he thought the Queen of Spain yielded to her in none of thoſe Points which ſeem’d ſo much to attract his Admiration:—That ſhe was no leſs anxious for aggrandizing her Family;— was no leſs inſenſible of thoſe tender Emotions which, as the Poet ſays, Drag Men backward from immortal Actions. That ſhe took no leſs Pride in Conqueſt;— was no leſs intrepid after a Deafeat;—no leſs inflexible to all Offers of Accommodation, unleſs they tallied exactly with her Wiſh; and in fine, that ſhe was in every thing as little of a Woman as the other could poſſibly be. This, the Champion for her Hungarian Majeſty denied, and the Arguments between them continued, till by Degrees every one in the Room liſted himself either on the one or the other Side:――The Numbers on both happen’d to be equal, and it was at length concluded to conſult the Female Spectator, and that we ſhould allow that Opinion to be moſt juſt which you ſhould pronounce to be ſo. I 187 Bb2r 187 I Forbear to acquaint you who I am, and alſo which Party I took, becauſe I would not be thought to influence you to any Partiality in my Favour: All are Witneſſes of what I write, and join to beg you will give Judgment with Freedom and Impartiality, which will confer a laſting Obligation on a Set of Gentlemen who are moſt of them your Subſcribers, and all Admirers of your Speculations, particularly him who at preſent muſt only be known to you by the Title of Your humble Servant, Bedford-Head Tavern, 1744-12-15Dec. 15, 1744. The Querist. P. S. Madam, If you think it improper to inſert this in your next Publication, or print any thing in Anſwer to it, pleaſe to favour us with your private Sentiments on the Debate, directed for me (as I have above ſubſcribed myſelf) to be left at Will’s Coffee-Houſe in Great Ruſſel-Street, Covent-Garden.
As I can perceive no Manner of Reaſon which ſhould oblige me to ſtifle this Epiſtle, unleſs, as I ſaid before, my Want of Power to comply with the Requeſt contained in it ſo definitely as may be expected, the Directions given in the Poſtſcript were altogether unneceſſary.
But to ſhew my readineſs to oblige my Correſpondent,Bb2 reſpondent, 188 Bb2v 188 reſpondent, I will give my Sentiments on the Matter in Queſtion to the beſt of my Judgment.
The Diſpute, I think, is, whether the Queen of Hungary or of Spain may be allowed to have the greateſt Share of Spirit:—A moot Point I muſt confeſs:――To conſider either ſingly one would imagine her Equal was not to be found; but when we come to compare them, not only the Conduct of both, but the Motives alſo of that Conduct, ought ſtrictly to be examined into.
The Queen of Spain being but ſecond Wife to the preſent King, diſdains the Sons born of her ſhould be Subjects of a Prince who is the Iſſue of a former Marriage; and to eſtabliſh them in ſome degree of Equality with their elder Brother, attempts to erect into Kingdoms certain Dominions, ſome of which ſhe looks upon herſelf as Heireſs, and ſet the Crowns of them upon their Heads.— The firſt of theſe Enterprizes has ſucceeded to her Wiſh:—Don Carlos is King of the Two Sicilies, and the Infant Don Philip, but for us, would be in a fair way of obtaining a no leſs powerful Monarchy.—It is not our Buſineſs to ſhew the Legality or Illegality of the Claims pretended to by this Princeſs; it is enough to ſay ſhe purſues her Aim with the utmoſt Vigour and Reſolution;—that no Diſappointments ſhake her Fortitude;—no Obſtacles alarm her Courage; and that by the Strength 189 Bb3r 189 Strength of her own Genius, more than by her Royal Conſort’s Armies, ſhe has got the better of Difficulties which were look’d upon by the reſt of the World as unſurmountable.
The Queen of Hungary, on the other Side, is the Heireſs of a Family, which ’tis well known had always an Eye towards rendering the Imperial Crown hereditary, and entailing it on a Prince of its own:—How far ſuch a View is conſiſtent with the Liberties of Germany, or the Privileges and Dignity of the Electoral Princes, I will not take upon me to ſay, nor is it any thing to the preſent Purpoſe; the late Emperor however had it no leſs at Heart than his Predeceſſors, as ’tis plain by his not ſuffering even the Duke of Lornrain ain, whom he intended ſhould marry his eldeſt Daughter, to be elected King of the Romans, flattering himſelf perhaps that he ſhould have a Son of his own.
This was a mortal Stab to the Ambition of the Arch-Dutcheſs Maria Thereſa, who at his Deceaſe inheriting the vaſt Dominions of both the Auſtrias, Hungary, Bohemia, Parma, Placentia, all the Milaneſe, and to theſe a long Et cetera of Appendixes, could not ſupport the Thought of ſeeing a Power above her, therefore reſolved to put all ſhe was in Poſſeſſion of at Stake rather than relinquiſh the noble Hope of being the firſt Potentate in Europe: —To this end ſhe proteſted againſt the Election of a new Emperor,—rais’d Armies to oppoſe him, 190 Bb3v 190 him,—ran in Perſon through Bohemia, Hungary, &c. &c.—encouraging her Subjects, and at the ſame time ſolliciting, bribing, and exciting all the neighbouring Princes to eſpouſe her Cauſe; —thoſe even who by reaſon of their Diſtance, and many other Motives, ſhe could the leaſt depend on for Aſſiſtance, ſhe made Tryal of, nor try’d in vain.
Tho’ oft repuls’d, and ſometimes on the Brink of loſing all, ſtill her unconquerable Will remained the ſame;――firm to her firſt Reſolves, ſhe has beheld Germany, that Country, which in all her numerous Manifeſtos, Reſcripts and Letters ſhe calls ſo dear, become the Scene of Confuſion and Devaſtation;――fearleſs, unmoved, while in the Road to Empire, tho’ wading thro’ whole Seas of Blood to reach the Goal.
A greater length of Time has indeed given her Majeſty of Spain more Opportunities to prove her Proweſs; but it is ſcarce to be doubted, but that if Fate prevents it not, either by cutting the Thread of Life, or throwing in her Lap whatever ſhe has to wiſh, her Royal Competitor in the Fame of Female Daring will not be behind-hand with her.
It muſt be confeſs’d, that at preſent they ſeem ſo much on an Equality, that I do not wonder the Number of thoſe Gentlemen who diſputed on this Head ſhould be equal too.But 191 Bb4r 191
But ſince my Opinion is abſolutely inſiſted on, I muſt ſay, that if the Queen of Hungary has in ſo ſhort a Time overtaken her Majeſty of Spain in her long Race of Glory and Ambition, we may expect ſhe will outſtrip her in the End, and therefore for that very Reaſon, if no other, to her the Palm, as it appears to me, muſt neceſſarily be due.
Thus far in anſwer to the Queriſt; but having enter’d into this Subject I cannot take leave of it without adding ſome Thoughts of my own, which in ſpite of me force themſelves into my Head whenever I hear any mention made of this enterprizing Queen.
Supposing that after having reduced all Germany, expell’d the Emperor, and ſeated the Grand Duke in the Imperial Throne, humbled the Power of France, and driven them from all their Holds in Flanders, ſhe ſhould take a Fancy to extend her Conquests to the United Provinces, is there not a Poſſibility Great Britain might have an unquiet Neighbour of her?――The Danger indeed is far remote, yet I think not more ſo than that which of late has rung ſo great a Peal in our Ears concerning the Deſigns of France againſt us, at leaſt from that Quarter.
O! but were this practicable, ſome will ſay, her Majeſty of Hungary is too much oblig’d to us ever to entertain any Deſigns to our Prejudice: To which it may be replied, that all Princes act not 192 Bb4v 192 not upon the ſame Principles with private Perſons; what in a Subject might be Ingratitude, Tricking, and Chicanery, is refined Policy in them, and for all the Outcry that we make againſt Violation of Treaties, that Prince who is entirely innocent of it may throw the firſt Stone.
In the mean time the Juſtice and Magnanimity of this Princeſs, methinks, would appear in a more advantageous Light, if ſome Equivalent were made to Great Britain for that Expence of Blood and Treaſure laviſh’d in her Cauſe, at a Time when it could ſo ill be ſpared, and when no other Power, without being largely paid for it, would eſpouſe her Cauſe. Oſtend, for Inſtance, is a Demeſn ſhe might very well afford to part with, and, as it would be of great Service to our Trade, give us a more plauſible Pretence for ſerving her than any we yet have been able to find.
End of the Ninth Book.
The Female Spectator.
Tho’ my late celebrated Brother, and many other Authors, have given the World their various Opinions concerning Jealouſy, I fancy it will not be impertinent to add ſomething to what has been already ſaid on a Subject which has, and will forever continue to create the moſt terrible Diſorder that can befal Mankind; not only becauſe whatever may ſerve as a Preſervative againſt it cannot be too often repeated, but alſo becauſe, I think, with all due Deference to thoſe who have hitherto treated on it, that they have not been ſo copious as might have been expected, and that the greateſt Part of Vol. II. Cc them 194 Cc1v 194 them have done it more Honour than it deſerves.
What I mean by doing it more Honour than it deſerves, is, that they ſpeak of it only as the Effect of a too ardent Love and Admiration of the Object; whereas, tho’ this may ſometimes be the Caſe, is far from being always ſo; and, I believe, we ſhall find no Difficulty to prove, that the Origin of it may more often be deduc’d from the very worſt inſtead of the nobleſt Paſſion of the Soul:—It may, indeed, with great Propriety, be call’d the Bane of Love; but whenever it is found the Offspring, it can only be of a baſe and degenerate Inclination, not of that pure and refined Paſſion which is alone worthy of the Name of Love.
This certainly can be denied by none who allow that true Love is founded on that Eſteem which the Opinion we have of the good Qualities of the Object excites in us; and, I believe, few Examples can be produc’d of the real and unfeign’d Permanence of the one, when the other wholly ceaſes to exiſt.
I believe I ſhall be eaſily underſtood to mean that Affection which is between Perſons who are either already married, or engag’d to be ſo to each other by mutual Aſſurances of a laſting Tenderneſs.For 195 Cc2r 195
For as to that Timidity which is the natural Companion of Love in its Infancy, and before it receives Encouragement neceſſary to ſtrengthen Hope, it proceeds only from a Diffidence of our own Merits, not from a Diſtruſt of the beloved Object, and can, with no degree of Propriety, be term’d Jealouſy.
As it is therefore only after being poſſeſs’d of all we had to wiſh, or having been flatter’d with a Belief we ſhould infallibly be ſo, that thoſe diſtracting Ideas, which conſtitute Jealouſy, can find any Entrance in the Brain; I think it ſufficiently juſtifies my Aſſertion, that this miſchievous Paſſion diſcovers rather the meaneſt Opinion of the Object than a too vehement Admiration, unleſs ſuſpecting a Perſon guilty of Perjury, Inconſtancy, and the moſt ſhocking and worſt kind of Deceit, can be call’d ſo.
There are People in the World who know not how to ſupport Proſperity, and when arrived at the End they long have labour’d under, find in themſelves ſomething which will not ſuffer them to be at quiet;—they have attained all,――they have no more to wiſh, and, like the Macedonian Conqueror, are vex’d they have nothing farther to oppoſe them:—This Reſtleſſneſs of Mind puts them on reflecting how, and by what means they may poſſibly be deprived of what they have acquired, and whatever is poſſible, they ſoon preſent to themſelves as highly probable too; and by degreesgrees 196 Cc2v 196 grees bring up into a downright Certainty of happening.
Fancy is a creative Faculty, and when agitated by Fear, can work Wonders:—It forms Apparitions, and then ſhews them as real Subſtances;—it turns what is, into what is not, and converts nothing into ſomething;—it levels the Mountain, and exalts the Vale;—it unites the greateſt Contraries, and divides the firmeſt and moſt cemented Bodies;—in a word, it either makes or overthrows whenever it pleaſes, deſtroys the Order of all Things, and performs what Nature has not the Power to do. When Reaſon ſleeps, our mimic Fancy wakes,Supplies her Part, and wild Ideas takes,From Words and Things ill-ſuited and misjoin’d,The Anarchy of Thought, and Chaos of the Mind.
Thus by an Impatience of Temper, and the Force of Imagination, are many miſled to ruin their own Peace, and that of the Perſon they pretend to love; yet is this the leaſt unpardonable Source from which Jealouſy proceeds, becauſe it may, as the Poet ſays, be taken For the high Pulſe of Paſſion in a Fever!
And if the Faults of Love by Love are to be juſtified, thoſe who are rendered uneaſy on this Score 197 Cc3r 197 Score may the more readily excuſe the Effects, in conſideration of the Cauſe.
But what have they to alledge in Vindication of the Diſcontent they occaſion, in whom No Sign of Love remains,But that which ſick Men have of Life, their Pains!
Many there are, Heaven knows, too many of ſuch, whom a moderate Share of Obſervation may point out:—There are thoſe who, without being capable of feeling one tender Emotion, or having any true Regard even for the Perſon of him or her to whom they happen to be join’d, have diſcovered a Jealouſy, which has rendered all within the reach of its Effects, extremely miſerable.
This is, indeed, ſo common a Caſe, unnatural as it may seem, that I dare anſwer there is not one into whoſe Hands the Female Spectator may fall, that have not ſome time or other in their Lives had an Acquaintance with Families where it has happen’d; but following the received Maxim, that Jealouſy is the Effect of Love, have rather pity’d than condemn’d the Extravagancies they may have ſeen occaſioned by it.
But well may a diſintereſted Perſon judge in this Manner, when thoſe moſt concern’d, and beſt able 198 Cc3v 198 able to diſcover the Truth, have frequently been deceived; and when treated in the moſt cruel and injurious Manner have ſubmitted to it with a ſecret Satisfaction, and even plumed themſelves upon the Force of a Paſſion, which they imagin’d excited only by an Exceſs of Inclination.
This kind of Infatuation puts me in Mind of a Story I have heard of the Ruſſian Women, who, they ſay, look on Blows as the greateſt Proof of Affection their Huſbands can beſtow upon them; and if they are not well beaten, once a Day at leaſt, will run to their Friends and complain of the Injuſtice they are treated with.――Whether there is any Truth in this I will not pretend to ſay, having never yet employed any Silph in the Examination; but according to the Delicacy of my Country-Women in other Reſpects, it appears full as odd to me, that any of them can be pleaſed with ſuch Words and Actions as may juſtly be look’d upon in England equally injurious with Blows in the Territories of Ruſſia.
But as Vanity, and a high Opinion of Self- Merit, ſometimes renders one Party eaſy and contented, nay, as I before obſerved, even delighted with Reproaches and ill Uſage; ſo is it Pride, and an over-bearing Arrogance in the other, which will not ſuffer them to endure the leaſt innocent Civility to be paid to any but themſelves:—The Perſon to whom they have vouchſafed to give their Hand muſt not dare to think of any thing but pleaſing them;—no Merit but their 199 Dd1r 199 their own muſt be taken Notice of;――they muſt forgo all Complaiſance, all Decency, and be rude and ſavage to every one beſide;――a Smile, a Courteſy, is a Crime deſerving the moſt opprobrious Reflections, and they muſt behave in ſuch a manner, as to deſerve the Hatred and Contempt of all the reſt of the World, to engage a tolerable Regard from this over tenacious Partner for Life.
Another Humour there is alſo which very much prevails in ſome People, and that is, to avoid being thought weak and incapable of diving to the Bottom of Things, they affect to find out Myſteries in every thing;――they conſtrue into Meanings the moſt inſignificant Trifles;— their Eyes, their Ears are perpetually upon the Watch, and interpret the very humming over a Tune, and even the Gait of the ſuſpected Perſon, as Indications of ſome latent Plot to delude their Penetration.
Thus by endeavouring to be wiſer than their Neighbours, they become the veryeſt Fools in Nature; and while they imagine every Body ſtands in awe of their Diſcernment, are the Jeſt and Ridicule of as many as have any Acquaintance with them.
I must confeſs theſe over-cunning People are, of all others, moſt my Averſion, and certainly muſt be the moſt troubleſome to have any Concern with.—I once knew a Gentleman of this Vol. II. Dd Caſt, 200 Dd1v 200 Caſt, who had a very agreeable, and I dare anſwer, a very virtuous Woman for his Wife; but the poor Soul could not keep a Thread-Paper without his examining into it:—If a Servant happen’d to come into the Room, and whiſper’d her on any domeſtic Affair, ſhe muſt immediately repeat the Words that had been ſpoke; yet this was not thought ſufficient to be certain of not being impoſed upon; he would go immediately out of the Room, call for the Servant, and oblige her or him, whichever it were, to tell him on what Occaſion that Whiſper had been; and if every Word did not exactly agree with the Report his Wife had made, he preſently concludes there was ſome Deſign on Foot between them, to the Prejudice of his Honour, for the Prevention of which the Servant was that Inſtant diſcharg’d, and his Wife confin’d to her Chamber:—Nobody could ever knock at the Door without his running to the Window, then half way down Stairs, liſt’ning to what was ſaid: If too low a Voice deprived him of the deſir’d Intelligence, he would go into the Hall, and oblige the Perſon, whoever it was, to relate the whole Purport of their Errand in his Preſence:—In fine, it is impoſſible for any Family to ſuffer greater Perſecutions than what his did, through this Peculiarity of Temper, for in other Things he behav’d well enough.
There are ſtill a third Sort, induſtrious to torment themſelves and all about them:—Conſcious of former Crimes, they judge the Virtue of 201 Dd2r 201 of others by the Standard of their own; and imagine nobody has the Power of reſiſting a Temptation to which themſelves have yielded:—Theſe are not to be ſatiſfied by any Means that can be put in Practice;—tho’ Locks and Bars ſecure the Body, ſtill will they believe the Mind is roving, and be jealous of Intention:――the more is ſaid, and the greater Care is taken to eradicate theſe Apprehenſions, the deeper Root they take;—all is look’d upon as Hypocriſy and Diſſimulation, and reſented as an Aggravation of the Crime, and an Affront to their Underſtanding.
After all, what but Pride in the Women, and a too nice Senſe of Honour in the Men, occaſions moſt of the Jealouſies we hear of!――Love inſpires a noble Confidence, both gives and takes all decent Liberties, ſets every Action in the faireſt Light, nor will believe itſelf impoſed upon but by Conviction.
How great an Injuſtice is it therefore to this Paſſion to annex to it another of ſo pernicious a kind:—A late noble Poet has, in my Judgment, excellently deſcrib’d the Nature and Happineſs of a virtuous Love in theſe Words: Love, the moſt gen’rous Paſſion of the Mind,The ſofteſt Refuge Innocence can find:The ſafe Director of unguided Youth,Fraught with kind Wiſhes, and ſecur’d by Truth. Dd2The202Dd2v202The Cordial Drop Heav’n in our Cup has thrown,To make the nauſeous Draught of Life go down:On which one only Bleſſing God might raiſe,In Lands of Atheiſts, Subſidies of Praiſe:For none did e’er ſo dull and ſtupid prove,But felt a God, and bleſs’d his Power in Love.
Nobody will deny that this illuſtrious Author was perfectly acquainted with Human Nature, and all the Paſſions incident to it, nor that Mr. Congreve was leſs ſo, who having occasion to mention Jealouſy, has theſe Words: Vile Doubts and Fears to Jealouſy will turn;The hotteſt Hell in which a Heart can burn.
Had this judicious Gentleman thought that Jealouſy was any Conſequence of Love, he would doubtleſs have ſaid, A Love too fierce to Jealouſy will turn:
Whereas he ſays, Vile Doubts and Fears, &c.――Which, I think, plainly indicates he means a mean Diſtruſt, a Reſtleſſneſs of Nature, and an unſatisfied Diſpoſition, are the chief Materials on which Jealouſy is built.
But we need not quote Authorities, nor ranſack Texts, to prove a Truth, which, whoever takes Reaſon for their Guide, may eaſily explore on any Examination into their own Hearts.For 203 Dd3r 203
For my Part, tho’ I ſhould be extremely ſorry for the Sake of thoſe happy few whom Love has join’d in Marriage, that Jealouſy were a kind of Appendix to that Paſſion, yet I ſhould be equally rejoic’d to find wherever there is Jealouſy there were ſome Love, in conſideration of Millions who have all the Bitters of the One without any Mixture of the Sweets of the Other.
Aurelia had lived to the Age of Twenty-ſix, had known all the Gaities of Life, ſome ſay was not unacquainted with the Gallantries of it, taken in the worſt Senſe of the Word:—She then married with Lucilius, becauſe it was for her Intereſt and Reputation to do ſo, but without feeling for him the leaſt Spark of tender Inclination; yet had he not been two Months her Huſband before ſhe became exceſſively jealous of him;—any little Civility he paid to our Sex, tho’ before her Face, gave her the Vapours; but to be told he viſited any Woman of what Condition ſoever, threw her into Fits:—A Pinch of Snuff offered by him to a Couſin-German one Day occaſion’d a Quarrel between them, which ſhe would by no means make up till he had ſworn never to ſpeak to that Lady more:—She ſent Spies after him to watch wherever he went, and if inform’d he was at any Place ſhe did not happen to approve of his frequenting, work’d herſelf up into ſuch Agonies as terminated into real or feign’d Convulſions, which he was ſure to bear his Part of at his Return.Fa- 204 Dd3v 204
Fatiguing as ſuch a Life muſt nec eſſarily be for a Time, he bore it with a Temper which ſurpriz’d all who knew him;――humoured her tender Foibles, as he term’d them, to make her eaſy; debarr’d himſelf of every thing which he thought would give her the leaſt Subject for Diſcontent; and imputing all ſhe did to the Exceſs of her Love for him, not to ſeem ungrateful to it, counterfeited a Tenderneſs for her which his Heart had never avowed; for, in effect, there was as ſmall a Share of Inclination on the one as on the other Side.
The Matter was this:――An Uncle of Aurelia’s had in it his Power to be extremely ſerviceable to Lucilius in a Poſt he enjoyed under him and the old Gentleman thinking it neceſſary his Neice ſhould have the Sanction of Marriage to cover ſome Liberties which, to him, ſeem’d not becoming in a Virgin State, took upon him to make the Match between them.—The Thing was no ſooner propoſed than agreed to by both, as conformable to their ſeveral Intereſts; ſo that all the Proteſtations they made each other, during the ſmall Space of Courtſhip, were of a Piece with thoſe they continued after Marriage, unfelt by themſelves, and equally untouching to thoſe they were addreſs’d.
It was therefore wholly owing to the Good- Nature of Lucilius that he ſubmitted to obey whatever was dictated by the prepoſterous Jealouſy of his Wife, as that Jealouſy had indeed no 205 Dd4r 205 no other Source than what he leaſt imputed it to, an Extravagance of Pride and Vanity, to ſhew the World ſhe had Charms which could render a Huſband even more obſequious than a Lover.
As ſhe found her Account in treating him in this Manner, ſhe would doubtleſs have perſiſted in it, but how long his Patience and Philoſophy would have enabled him to ſuſtain it is altogether uncertain;――an Accident happened which put an End to their mutual Diſſimulation, and ſhewed thoſe ſublime Scenes of dying Love between them to be no more than Farce and Buffoonry.
It was a Cuſtom with Lucilius to riſe early, and walk an Hour or two before Breakfaſt, in the Park, into which their Houſe had a Back- Door:—In one of thoſe Mornings he took it into his Head to call on a Friend who lived in the Neighbourhood, for which Reaſon he made a Circuit, and return’d Home by the Street-Way; —He was within three or four Yards of his own Door, when he ſaw the Footman, that waited on his Wife, come out of the Houſe reading the Superſcription of a Letter he had in his Hand, and which, on the firſt Glimpſe he had of his Maſter, he put haſtily into his Pocket.
Lucilius either ſaw, or imagin’d he ſaw, a ſtrange Confuſion in the Fellow’s Face; and tho’ Jealouſy was a Paſſion he was wholly unacquainted with, yet there was a ſecret ſomething,thing, 206 Dd4v 206 thing, which he knew not how to account for, at that Inſtant puſh’d him on to inform himſelf to whom that Letter was directed:—In order to do this, without being taken notice of by any Perſons who might poſſibly be at their Windows, he ſtepp’d into a narrow Paſſage, which led into another Street, and having beckoned the Man to come to him, commanded him to deliver the Letter he had ſeen in his Hand:—The Fellow durſt not refuſe, and Lucilius was no leſs amaz’d than ſhock’d to find it his Wife’s Hand, and directed to one of the moſt diſſolute and notorious Libertines, tho’ a Man of Quality, in Town:— As that was not a proper Place to examine the Contents, he made the Fellow follow him into an adjacent Tavern, where he haſtily broke the Seal, and found it contain’d theſe Lines.
To the Agreeable Miramount. Sir, I Have conſidered on your Requeſt, and my Pity has at laſt prevail’d upon me to grant it;――all Things indeed ſeem favourable to your Wiſhes, Lucilius is engag’d for this Evening with Company, who, I know, will keep him late; but as I am under ſome Apprehenſions of being known at the Place mention’d in your’s, deſire our Rendezvous may be at the Bagnio in Long-Acre, where you may depend I ſhall come to you about Six:—Yet, dear Miramount, be aſſured, that nothing leſs than the Preſervation of a Life ſo valuable to the 207 Ee1r 207 the World as yours is, ſhould make me injure a Huſband who adores me to Diſtraction.—I rely on your Honour as to an inviolable Secrecy, and every thing elſe that can render me perfectly happy in being Your’s, Aurelia.
Had Lucilius really loved, how wretched muſt ſuch a Diſcovery of her Levity, Perfidy and Deceit have made him!—All indifferent as he was to her Charms, the Conſideration of his own Honour was too dear to him not to take all poſſible Methods to put it out of her Power to ſacrifice it.
After giving ſome Moments to Reflection, he examined the Fellow as to what he knew of his Lady’s Acquaintance with Miramount, when and where it had began, and how long there had been a Correſpondence between them.
These Enquiries were enforc’d by ſuch terrible Menaces, mingled with Aſſurances of Protection and Rewards if he reveal’d the whole Truth, that a Perſon of more Reſolution and Courage than could be expected in one of his Station, would have been won to anſwer every thing demanded of him.
He inform’d Lucilius, that he believed his Lady firſt ſaw the Gentleman in Queſtion at the Houſe Vol. II. Ee of 208 Ee1v 208 of Clelia, where ſhe frequently went to play at Cards;—and this, to the beſt of his Remembrance, was about three Weeks paſt; that they afterwards had met, either by Chance or Appointment, in the Mall, and that he had carry’d no more than one Letter to him, in anſwer, as he ſuppoſed, to one ſhe had received from him; that when ſhe delivered to him the foregoing, and that which his Honour had now intercepted, she had given him Money, and the ſtrictest Charge never to mention that there was any Intercourſe between her and Miramount; and promiſed him, if he were found faithful in this Affair, he ſhould be taken out of Livery and handſomely provided for.
Lucilius liſten’d to all with Agitations which it is eaſy for any one to conceive, but recovering himſelf as ſoon as he could, he call’d for Pen and Paper, and imitating his Wife’s Hand tolerably well, he copy’d her Letter Word for Word, only chang’d the Place of Aſſignation, from the Bagnio in Long-Acre, to the Swan at Chelſea, and having ſeal’d it, order’d the Fellow to carry that to Miramount, and bring what Anſwer he ſhould ſend to him, who would wait his Return at the Tavern where they now were.
The Footman had now no Inducement to be inſincere to his Maſter, for as the Affair was diſcover’d he had nothing to expect from Miramount in case he ſhould let him know what had happen’d, but was ſure to ſuffer all that the Rage of 209 Ee2r 209 of Lucilius could inflict on him if he were found to have acted contrary to the Orders he had given him.
The Anſwer which Miramount return’d was ſuch as might be expected, full of Acknowledgments and Proteſtations of an everlaſting Conſtancy and Love.—This Lucilius put into his Pocket, and bid the Man tell his Lady that her Lover had a great deal of Company with him, and could have no Opportunity to write without being taken Notice of, but that ſhe might be ſure of his obeying her with the utmoſt Punctuality.
Lucilius then went Home, breakfaſted as usual with his Lady, and ſo well conceal’d his Diſcontent, that ſhe had no Cauſe to ſuſpect any thing of what had happen’d: He ſtaid with her however as ſhort a Time as poſſible;—he dreſs’d, and having ſoon determin’d within himſelf what Courſe to take, went directly to her Uncle, and acquainted him with the Diſcovery he had made, and produc’d the Letter Aurelia had wrote to Miramount, with his Anſwer to it.
’Tis hard to ſay, whether the old Gentleman’s Surprize or Rage was moſt predominant; he was truly a worthy honeſt Perſon, and tho’ he had thought his Neice’s Conduct not altogether ſo prudent as he could have wiſh’d before Marriage, yet he never ſuſpected ſhe would have gone ſuch Lengths after being a Wife:――He was Ee2 for 210 Ee2v 210 for going with Lucilius, and joining with him in thoſe Reproaches her Guilt thus plainly proved might juſtify; but this injur’d Huſband would by no Means conſent to that:—He thought all they could ſay would have leſs Force, and the Shock of being detected loſe half its Force, if not given her at the very Place where ſhe intended to perpetrate her Crime:—He therefore propoſed that they ſhould go together to the Bagnio ſomewhat before the Hour in which ſhe had promised Miramount to come, and when expecting to be received with open Arms by a fond Lover, ſhe ſhould be ſaluted with the Frowns and Upbraidings of a wronged Huſband and incenſed Parent.
This the Uncle agreed to, and after Dinner was over at Home Lucilius perform’d his laſt Act of Diſſimulation towards his Wife by embracing her in the moſt ſeeming tender Manner, when he took Leave of her, in order to go, as ſhe imagined, to thoſe Friends, with whom, as ſhe had wrote to Miramount, he had promiſed to paſs that Evening; ſhe behaved to him with no leſs Softneſs, and conjured him not to leave her too long alone, but to return as ſoon as he could poſſibly diſengage himſelf with Decency.
How wretched, how contemptible a Figure did ſhe now make in his Eyes! But he conceal’d the Diſdain of his Heart under a fervent Kiſs, feeling however a kind of gloomy Satisfaction in his Mind at the Thoughts that now there would be an End of 211 Ee3r 211 of all Conſtraint, and he ſhould no more be under the Neceſſity of feigning Ardors to which his Nature had ever been repugnant.
Both, tho’ from very different Motives, were impatient enough for the appointed Hour; which being arrived, and the Uncle and Huſband waiting her Approach, the Clock had but juſt ſtruck when a Hackney-Chair brought the too punctual Fair into the Entry, whence ſhe was ſhewed up Stairs by a Waiter who had Orders what to do: ――How ſhe was confounded, when tripping gaily into the Room ſhe found who were there to receive her, any one may judge.
All her natural Aſſurance, of which few Women had a greater Share, was too little to enable her to bear up againſt a Sight more dreadful, more alarming to her guilty Mind than had a Meſſenger from the other World appear’d to admoniſh her of her Crime.
In the firſt Emotions of her Fright ſhe was about to run out of the Room, and with one Jump had got as far as the Door, when Lucilius took hold of her Arm and oblig’d her to come back,—Tho’ Madam, ſaid he with the moſt ſtabb niing Sneer, the agreeable Miramount is not here, and you are diſappointed of the Entertainment you expected, ſuch as a Huſband and an Uncle, who have both of them a due Senſe of your Merit, can afford, you may be ſure to find.She 212 Ee3v 212
She made no Anſwer to theſe Words, but threw herſelf into a Chair with a Look that ſhewed an inward Rancour, and would have made her paſs with any one who had been preſent and unacquainted with her Crime rather for the Perſon injur’d than the guilty one; ſo true is this Sentiment of the Poet: Forgiveneſs to the Injur’d does belong,But they ne’er pardon who have done the wrong.
But however the Greatneſs of her Spirit might have ſupported her againſt the Reproaches of a Huſband, thoſe her Uncle loaded her with, and the Sight of her own Letter wholly ſubdued her; and finding there was no Evaſion nor Poſſibility either of denying or excuſing what she had done, ſhe fell on her Knees, and with a Shower of undiſſembled Tears, confeſs’d her Fault, and begg’d to be forgiven.
After having endeavoured to make her ſenſible of her Fault, they acquainted her with the Reſolution they had mutually agreed to purſue, which was, that in conſideration of her Family no public Noiſe ſhould be made of it; but that to prevent her taking any future Steps to the Prejudice of her Reputation, and conſequently to the Honour of her Huſband, ſhe muſt paſs ſome time with an old Relation who lived at a great Diſtance from London, nor hope to return till ſhe had given evident Proofs of her Converſion:――Thisſion: 213 Ee4r 213 ſion:――This her Uncle told her it would become her not only to conſent to, but alſo to go with a Chearfulneſs which ſhould make every Body think it an Act of Choice.
It was to no Purpoſe ſhe entreated, in the moſt ſubmiſſive Terms, a Remiſſion of a Sentence ſhe acknowldg’d ſhe had but too juſtly incur’d:— In vain ſhe made the moſt ſolemn Vows and paſſionate Imprecations never to be guilty of any future Miſcarriage in Conduct; Lucilius was inexorable to all, nor did her Uncle attempt to render him more pliable:—She was that Night carefully watch’d, and early the next Morning ſent down into the Country with a Perſon, whoſe Integrity her Huſband could confide in, to attend her, and at the ſame time to keep a ſtrict Eye over her Behaviour.
It muſt be confeſs’d, that the Precautions taken to keep this Affair a Secret were perfectly prudent; for as the Crime of Aurelia had been only in Intention, the Law would not have allowed of a Divorce, yet that Intention was ſufficient to have rendered both of them the Subject of Ridicule; nor indeed was there any Poſſibility of their living together in any Harmony after ſuch a Diſcovery, even tho’ there had been a Certainty of her becoming a real Penitent.
Whether ſhe were ſo or not Heaven only can determine; but I am inform’d, that ſhe had not been many Weeks in that Retirement to which 214 Ee4v 214 which ſhe was baniſh’d, before the Grief and Shame either of being guilty, or of having been detected in it, threw her into a violent Fever, of which ſhe died, and left Lucilius no inconſolable Widower.
The Truth of this Affair had however remain’d a Secret, had her Lover been endu’d with the ſame Diſcretion as her Huſband; but that vain Man finding ſhe came not to the Swan as he expected, and on ſending the next Day to her Houſe being told ſhe was gone into the Couuntry, made him not doubt but that ſome Accident had diſcover’d their Correſpondence to Lucilius, and that he had taken this Method to prevent their Meeting; on which, partly inſtigated by Revenge againſt the Huſband, and partly by the Vanity of being thought to be too well with the Wife, he made a Jeſt, among his Companions, of the Jealouſy of the One and the Levity of the Other, and even ſcrupled not to expoſe the Letters of that unfortunate Lady as a Proof of what he ſaid.
He had ſo little Circumſpection as to whom he talk’d in this Manner, that it ſoon reach’d the Ears of Lucilius, who, unable to endure with Patience this Aggravation of the Insult offer’d to his Honour, ſent him a Challenge, which the other was too gallant a Man not to accept.— They met and fought, both were very much hurt, eſpecially Miramount, whoſe Wounds at firſt were reckon’d dangerous, but he recover’d of them as 215 Ff1r 215 as well as Lucilius, and had Honour enough, after he did ſo, to confeſs himſelf every way the Aggreſſor, and aſk Pardon for the Injury he had intended him, as well as for his fooliſh boaſting of it afterwards:—As all this happened before the Death of Aurelia, ’tis poſſible ſhe might, ſome way or other, be inform’d of it, and that might be one great Means of haſtening on her Fate.— She was a Woman of Underſtanding, and being ſuch, and in a Place where ſhe had no Enchantments to lull aſleep Reflection, could not be without a lively Senſe of that Shame ſhe had brought on herſelf and Family; for, as Mr. Waller elegantly expreſſes it, Our Paſſions gone, and Reaſon in the Throne,Amaz’d we ſee the Miſchiefs we have done.After a Tempeſt, when the Winds are laid,The calm Sea wonders at the Wrecks it made.
But it is not to my preſent Purpoſe to make any farther Comments on this Story, than as it proves the Aſſertion for which I related it, that there may be a great deal of Jealouſy without one Spark of Love:—Happy had it been for Aurelia had ſhe known the one as well as the other; for tho’ the former of theſe Paſſions might have been troubleſome to her Huſband, yet the latter would have ſecured him from receiving any Injuſtice from her, or Outrage from the World, and ſav’d herſelf from falling into the Infamy ſhe did.Vol. II. Ff It 216 Ff1v 216
It is, doubtleſs, a very melancholly Thing when a Woman of real Virtue, and who has a tender Affection for the Man to whom ſhe is married, either has, or imagines ſhe has, any juſtifiable Cauſe to ſuſpect he returns not the Love ſhe bears him with an equal Degree of Warmth; but much more ſo when ſhe fears he transfers thoſe Ardors, to which ſhe has an undoubted Right, to any other Object: Yet, excuſeable as Jealouſy may ſeem in ſuch a Circumſtance, it is to be wiſh’d, that every Wife would endeavour to diſcourage rather than liſten to any Reports made her from Abroad, that might tend to increaſe thoſe Suſpicions her too tender Paſſion may ſuggeſt:—To arm herſelf againſt any Inſinuations of that Kind, either from her own Heart, or the Malice, Folly, or miſtaken Zeal of thoſe ſhe converſes with; I would wiſh her to do Juſtice to herſelf, and conſider, that if even it were certain that her Huſband gave a looſe to an inordinate and temporary Pleaſure, her Mortification would be but momentary, and terminate to her Advantage:—He would, when once the hurry of a fleeting Paſſion was over, conſider the Merits of a Woman of Virtue, and who had Love enough for him not only to forgive, but overlook thoſe Failings which every Man has not always the Power to avoid falling into.
He that moſt loves Company finds a Pleaſure in a comfortable Receſs from it, at ſometimes, with his Wife and Family; but if he meets with Reproaches there, how juſtly ſoever he may deſerve them, 217 Ff2r 217 them, thinks the Dignity of his Nature affronted, and flies out again, and perhaps in Revenge runs into worſe Evils than thoſe for which he was before upbraided:—I know not if there can be a more lively Picture how little Force Female Arguments can have on a tranſgreſſing Huſband, than is given us by Mr. Dryden, in his Play of Aurenzebe, where he puts into the Emperor’s Mouth theſe Words: What can be ſweeter than our native Home!Thither for Eaſe and ſoft Repoſe we come:Home is the ſacred Refuge of our Life,Secured from all Approaches but a Wife:If thence we fly, the Cauſe admits no Doubt,None but an inmate Foe could drive us out:Clamours our Privacies uneaſy make,Birds leave their Neſts diſturb’d, and Beaſts their Haunts forſake.
Few Men of any Condition are groſs in their Amours, and wherever there is room to hope the beſt, a Wife ought never to harbour Fears of the worſt:—A thouſand Accidents may happen to which Rumour and Imagination may give the Face of Guilt, that in themſelves are perfectly innocent, but even when the Appearances are moſt ſtrong, it is Wiſdom to overlook them.
Besides, there is one Thing which in my Opinion ſhould deter a Woman of Virtue from diſcovering any Marks of Jealouſy, even where the moſt fragrant Proofs of the roving Inclination Ff2 of 218 Ff2v 218 of her Huſband might, according to ſome People’s way of thinking, be a Juſtification of it; and that is, becauſe the moſt abandon’d Proſtitutes of the Town, tho’ known to make Sale of their Endearments to any Purchaſer without Diſtinction, no ſooner find a Man weak enough to treat them in a manner to which their way of Living has no Claim, than they give themſelves an Air, on every little Abſence, to be extremely jealous;— they have Tears at Command;—can fall into Fits, and ſometimes play the Roxana, and menace the offending Keeper with a drawn Dagger: —Some Inſtances we have had where they have carry’d the Matter yet farther, and pierced in reality the Breaſt that durſt refuſe Obedience to the moſt unreaſonable or extravagant of their Demands:――A modeſt Wife ſhould therefore never affect the Virago, and for her own Sake be wary, even when moſt provok’d, that nothing in her Behaviour ſhould bear the leaſt Reſemb lance with ſuch Wretches.—I have in a former Spectator taken Notice, that it is not by Force our Sex can hope to maintain their Influence over the Men, and I again repeat it as the moſt infallible Maxim, that whenever we would truly conquer we muſt ſeem to yield.
To be jealous without a Cauſe, is ſuch an Injury to the ſuſpected Perſon as requires the utmoſt Affection and Good-Nature to forgive; becauſe it wounds them in the two moſt tender Parts, their Reputation and Peace of Mind; lays them under Reſtraints the moſt irkſome to Human Nature, or 219 Ff3r 219 or in a manner obliges them to Meaſures which are the Deſtruction of all Harmony.
Those few therefore who truly love, are in Poſſeſſion of the Object of their Wiſhes, and yet ſuffer this poiſonous Paſſion to diſturb the Tranquility of their Lives, may be compar’d to Miſers that pine amidſt their Stores, and are incapable of enjoying a preſent Plenty through the Fears of future Want.
That Deſire of prying into every thing a Huſband does, and even into his very Thoughts, appears to me rather a childiſh Fondneſs than a noble generous Paſſion; and tho’ it may be pleaſing enough to a Man in the firſt Months of his Marriage, will afterwards grow tireſome and inſipid to him, as well as render both of them ridiculous to others.
We may depend on this, that the moſt innocent Perſons in the World, in ſome Humours, or unguarded Moments, may happen to ſay or do ſomething which might not be altogether pleaſing to us to be inform’d of:—How mad a Thing then is it to ſeek out Occaſions of Diſquiet! Yet this too many Women are ingenious in doing, and afterwards no leſs induſtrious in throwing freſh Matter on the Mole-hill they have diſcovered, till they raiſe it to a Mountain:— Trifles perhaps too light to retain any Place in the Huſband’s Memory, and no ſooner over than forgotten, or if of Conſequence enough to be remember’d by him, are thought on with Re- 220 Ff3v 220 Remorſe, are reviv’d by Reproaches, and made ſeem leſs faulty than they are, by the Wife’s attempting to repreſent them as more ſo.
Nor is this all: Upbraidings when moſt juſt, if too often repeated, loſe their Force, and he to whom they are given becomes harden’d; but if wantonly thrown out, and to gratify a ſpleenatick or naturally ſuſpicious Temper, without any ſolid Foundation, they are intolerable to him, make him grow peeviſh, perverſe, and not ſeldom drive him to be in effect guilty of that which, without being guilty, he daily receives the Puniſhment of.
On the whole then, ſince Jealouſy is the worſt Rack the Heart that harbours it can poſſibly ſuſtain, is it not better to ceaſe thoſe Enquiries which can never give us a perfect Satisfaction, and as there is no proving what has no Exiſtence may be as laſting as our Lives; or if which ſhould chance to end in a Certainty of what is ſo dreadful to us in the Apprehenſion, muſt confirm us for ever miſerable!
Many a Man has been guilty of an Error, and on Reflection ſincerely repented of it, and become a more endearing Huſband than before; for it is by the Tribunal in our own Boſoms we alone are juſtify’d or condemn’d;—all Efforts from without are ineffectual to convince us we have done amiſs, if Conſcience does not take a Part in the Accuſation; and as Human Nature is 221 Ff4r 221 is averſe to all Compulſion, eſpecially from thoſe we think have no Authority over us, as in the Caſe of Huſband and Wife, the Pride of Contradiction has perhaps, more often than Inclination, occaſion’d that to happen which otherwiſe might have never been.
I have been ſorry to obſerve, that even among my own Sex, where an Error of this Kind is leſs excuſable than in the other, Revenge for having been unjuſtly ſuſpected, join’d with the Pride of being able to diſappoint all the Precautions of a jealous Huſband, has ſometimes been too ſtrong for that Virtue, which, without theſe additional Excitements, might never have been ſubdued.
Sabina was educated in the ſtricteſt Principles of Virtue, and in a Family where ſhe ſaw nothing but Examples of it before her Eyes; and Manilius, to whom ſhe was married very young, received the ſincereſt Congratulations of his Friends for having obtained a Lady who, they thought, could not but render him extremely happy; and there is no doubt but her Behaviour had every way anſwered the moſt ſanguine of their Expectations, had not his own imprudent Carriage to her, in that reſpect I have been ſpeaking of, perverted in her thoſe generous Sentiments ſhe receiv’d from Nature and from Precept.
When one would bring a Perſon of a Spirit off from any Propenſity, which either is, or we think 222 Ff4v 222 think a Fault, the greateſt Care ought to be taken that they may not imagine we take a Pleaſure in oppoſing them;—we ought rather to make them believe it is with the utmoſt Grief of Heart we cannot find in ourſelves the Power of approving what they do, and endeavour to win them by Endearments, not attempt to controul them by Authority.
Manilius had been a Man of Pleaſure, always profeſſed an Averſion to Marriage, and nothing but the extremeſt Paſſion could have made him change his Reſolution;—he was fifteen Years older than Sabina when ſhe became his Wife, and the Conciouſneſs of this Diſparity, join’d with the too great Succeſs he had formerly met with in his Amours, rendered him leſs confident than was conſiſtent with his Peace of Mind of the Virtue of this young Lady:—It had always been a Maxim with him that all Women were to be won, and that a Huſband ſhould never be too ſecure; and this made him, even from the firſt, keep a watchful Eye over all her Actions, Words, and Looks.
As ſhe was perfectly innocent, ſhe was ignorant of Circumſpection; nor ever had once a Thought of reſtraining herſelf from any of thoſe Liberties ſhe ſaw others take:――It was enough for her ſhe did no ill, and was alas too thoughtleſs what Pretences Ill-Nature might form to judge by Appearances:—She fell ſoon after her Marriage into 223 Gg1r 223 into Acquaintance, which took a greater Latitude than ſhe had been accuſtomed to ſee while in her Virgin State; but they were People of Condition, and Reputation too, and therefore ſhe made no Scruple of doing as they did:—She went frequently to the Public Diverſions of the Town,— and made one at moſt of the Aſſemblies;— Cards ſometimes engroſs’d a good Part of the Night; yet did ſhe not think all this an Error, becauſe ſhe perceiv’d it was the Faſhion:—Her Youth might eaſily have excuſed the inadvertent Steps ſhe took, ſince they were far from being guilty ones in reality, or in the Opinion of any other than Manilius; and had he in gentle Terms reminded her, that the leſs ſhe were ſeen at any of thoſe Places, the more it would redound to her Praiſe; and in the lieu of thoſe dangerous Amuſements prepared others to entertain the Sprightlineſs of her Humour, it would doubtleſs have been no difficult Taſk to have rendered her Conduct by degrees ſuch as he moſt deſired it ſhould be.
But inſtead of taking proper Meaſures to ſooth her from thoſe Pleaſures, ſo enchanting to our early Years of Life,――he received her with Frowns whenever ſhe happened to ſtay more late Abroad than he approv’d of; and at length finding that was not effectual, plainly told her, that if ſhe deſired to live well with him, ſhe muſt not only keep better Houurs, but alſo entirely refrain all Converſation with ſome particular Perſons of both Sexes, whom he nam’d to her.Vol. II. Gg The 224 Gg1v 224
The abrupt Manner in which he laid this Injunction was more diſobliging to her than the Injunction itſelf, unjuſt and cruel as it ſeem’d;— ſhe knew not how to ſupport ſuch an aſſuming and majeſterial Behaviour from a Man who, but a few Months paſt, had ſeem’d to have no Will but her’s, nor could conceive any Reaſon why the Name of Huſband ſhould convert the Slave into the Tyrant:――Her good Senſe, as well as the Precepts that had been given her on her Marriage, made her know the Man had a Superiority over his Wife, but then ſhe never imagined he was to exert it where nothing of an eſſential Wrong was done, and in ſuch Trifles as theſe Manilius took upon him to condemn:—She ſaw that all the Ladies of her Acquaintance allowed themſelves greater Liberties after they became Wives than they were permited to do before, and ſtung to the quick at this arbitrary Proceeding, reply’d to him, that he was extremely in the wrong to marry a Perſon whom he did not think capable of governing herſelf without his Direction;――that while ſhe could anſwer to herſelf what ſhe did, nor gave the World any Reaſon to call her Conduct in queſtion, ſhe did not look on herſelf under any Obligation to incur the Ridicule of as many as knew her, and live like a Recluſe, meerly to humour the Caprice of any one Perſon, even tho’ it were a Huſband.
This reſolute Anſwer, which was alſo accompanied with a Look and Tone of Voice denoting the Diſpleaſure ſhe was in, made him repent he had not 225 Gg2r 225 not teſtify’d his Diſlike of her Behaviour with ſomewhat leſs Auſterity;—he excuſed it however as well as he could, but as he ſtuck to his Point, and inſiſted on her keeping only ſuch Company as ſhould be approved by him, all he could ſay was far from abating her Diſcontent, and the Affection ſhe had for him too weak to hinder her from conceiving a Spite that made her take a Pleaſure in contradicting him.
In fine, his Remonſtrances had ſo ill an Effect, that inſtead of complying with the leaſt of his Deſires ſhe acted in every thing the very reverſe: —He interpreted all ſhe did in the worſt Senſe, and never Man was more uneaſy.
Those who knew the very Soul of Sabina aver, that it was impoſſible for any one to be more free from all guilty Inclinations; and tho’, it muſt be own’d, ſhe gave, more than became a Woman of ſtrict Honour, into all the Gaities of Life, yet they will have it, that ſhe did ſo more in Revenge to her Huſband, and to ſhew both him and the World that ſhe diſdain’d any Proofs of Submiſſion to a Will which ſhe thought too arbitrary, than to any vicious Propenſity in herſelf.
’Tis certain, indeed, that his Proceeding contributed a great deal towards bringing on the Misfortune he ſo much dreaded; becauſe it not only by degrees deſtroy’d all the Reſpect and Tenderneſs ſhe had for him, and render’d him Gg2 weak 226 Gg2v 226 weak and contemptible in her Eyes, but alſo gave Encouragement to Addreſſes, which no Man of Senſe will make to a Woman who lives in Harmony with her Huſband.
She was yet too young not to be pleaſed with Adoration, and being entertain’d Abroad with thoſe tender Declarations which Manilius, tho’ he ſtill lov’d her to Diſtraction, was too ſullen and diſcontented to flatter her with at Home:—His Preſence and his Houſe grew every Day more diſagreeable, and ſhe was never eaſy but when in other Company.
When a Woman once comes to be pleaſed with hearing fine Things ſaid to her, ſhe is in great Danger of being too much pleaſed with him that ſays them; and as I would have all Husbands take Warning by Manilius, not to urge or exaſperate a Wife too much, ſo I would have all Wives beware how on any little Diſcontent at Home they ſeek a Conſolation Abroad: —There are always ſly Seducers, who, like the Serpent in Eden, are on the Watch to betray Innocence; theſe no ſooner find any Diſſatisfaction between the wedded Pair, than they improve it by a thouſand ſubtle Inſinuations, till they have entirely ſtole into the Heart, and uſurp’d the Place of him who is the lawful, and ought to be the ſole Lord thereof.
But to return:――Among the many who took Advantage of the Diſagreement betweentween 227 Gg3r 227 tween Sabina and her Huſband, there was one whoſe Perſon and Addreſs gave a double Weight to the Arguments he made uſe of in order to widen the Breach;――ſhe found a ſecret yielding in her Heart to all he ſaid, and wiſhing to be totally convinced, eaſily became ſo:—Manilius long indifferent became diſagreeable, and at length hateful;――the Thoughts of living with him grew inſupportable, and on Perſwaſion of him who was the preſent Object of her ſofter Inclinations, ſhe one Night pack’d up all her Jewels, and the richeſt of her Cloaths, and quitted forever his Houſe and Preſence:――To avoid all Proſecutions, her Lover prevail’d on her to go with him to Boulogne in France, where, changing their Names, they eluded all Enquiry.
Manilius raved like a Madman, ſpared no Expence, of Pains or Money, to find the Place of her Retreat, or who it was that had ſeduced her; but all his Efforts were fruitleſs, ’till the Perſon, at whom his Revenge was levell’d, was no more.
Sabina enjoy’d but a very ſhort Time the Pleaſures of her guilty Flame;—her Lover fell into a Fever and dyed at Boulogne in leſs than two Months after her Elopement:――Thoſe Friends who were truſted with the Affair, in order to remit Money for the Expences of theſe ſelf-exil’d Pair, and inform them how Matters went, now thought themſelves no longer under any Obligations of Secrecy, and made no Scruple of 228 Gg3v 228 of divulging all that had been repoſed in them, ſo that too late for the Gratification of the only Paſſion now remaining in him, that of Revenge, he heard by whom he had been injur’d.
As for Sabina, the Sight of Death, and that of one ſo fatally dear to her, brought her to a more juſt way of Reaſon than ſhe had for ſome time paſt accuſtom’d herſelf; and reſolving to abandon the World, its deſtructive Pleaſures, its Follies, and the Shame which ſooner or later overtakes all thoſe who yield to its Allurements, ſhe entered into a Monaſtery, where ſhe ſtill lives a Penſioner, but with the ſame Strictneſs as thoſe who are profeſs’d Nuns and have taken the Veil.
These were the ſad Conſequences of a Jealouſy, which moſt People will cry aroſe from an Exceſs of Love, but I ſtill take upon me to maintain the contrary:—Manilius loved Sabina ’tis certain, yet was it not his Love, but the ill Opinion he had of Womenkind in general, which put him on thoſe miſtaken Meaſures to ſecure her to himſelf.
For my Part, I cannot help thinking but that this unfortunate Lady has a great Plea for Compaſſion; for tho’ no ill Uſage of what kind ſoever from a Huſband can excuſe us from revenging it in the Manner ſhe did, yet when one conſiders the Frailty of Human Nature, and how prevalent, eſpecially in our Sex, is that falſe Pride which prompts us to return Injury for Injury; we 229 Gg4r 229 we may juſtly ſay, that it is Pity a Mind of itſelf not diſpoſed to ill, ſhould receive any Provocations to be ſo.
Sabina, indeed, was bred up in the utmoſt Abhorrence of Vice; thoſe who had the Care of her Education told her what ſhe muſt do in order to acquire the Love and Eſteem of this World, and the Happineſs promiſed to the Virtuous in the other; but then they indulg’d her in all the modiſh Amuſements of the preſent Age, and ſuffered her to laviſh on them too much of that Time which ought to have been employ’d in improving her Underſtanding;――in fine, ſhe was train’d up in the Ways young Ladies in England ordinarily are; her Relations following the common Opinion, that to ſing, dance, play on the Spinet, and work at her Needle, are Accompliſhments ſufficient for a Woman:—Wit ſhe had enough, but was never taught that to accuſtom herſelf to Reflection was neceſſary to ripen that Wit into Wiſdom; and every one knows, that the One without the Other, like a Ship with too much Ballaſt, is liable to ſink with its own Weight.
We were beginning to lament the Misfortunes our Sex frequently fall into through the Want of thoſe Improvements we are, doubtleſs, capable of, when a Letter, left for us at our Publiſher’s, was brought in, which happening to be on that Subject, cannot any where be more properly insert ted than in this Place.To 230 Gg4v 230
To the Female Spectator. Ladies, Permit me to thank you for the kind and generous Taſk you have undertaken in endeavouring to improve the Minds and Manners of our unthinking Sex:—It is the nobleſt Act of Charity you could exerciſe in an Age like ours, where the Senſe of Good and Evil is almoſt extinguiſh’d, and People deſire to appear more vicious than they really are, that ſo they may be leſs unfaſhionable: This Humour, which is too prevalent in the Female Sex, is the true Occaſion of the many Evils and Dangers to which they are daily expoſed: —No wonder the Men of Senſe diſregard us! and the Diſſolute triumph over that Virtue they ought to protect! Yet, I think, it would be cruel to charge the Ladies with all the Errors they commit; it is moſt commonly the Fault of a wrong Education, which makes them frequently do amiſs, while they think they not only act innocently but uprightly;—it is therefore only the Men, and the Men of Underſtanding too, who, in effect, merit the Blame of this, and are anſwerable for all the Miſconduct we are guilty of:—Why do they call us ſilly Women, and not endeavour to make us otherwiſe?—God and Nature has endued them with Means, and Cuſtom has eſtabliſhedbliſhed 231 Hh1r 231 bliſhed them in the Power of rendering our Minds ſuch as they ought to be;――how highly ungenerous is it then to give us a wrong turn, and then deſpiſe us for it! The Mahometans, indeed, enſlave their Women, but then they teach them to believe their Inferiority will extend to Eternity; but our Caſe is even worſe than this, for while we live in a free Country, and are aſſured from our excellent Chriſtian Principles that we are capable of thoſe refined Pleaſures which laſt to Immortality, our Minds, our better Parts, are wholly left uncultivated, and, like a rich Soil neglected, bring forth nothing but noxious Weeds. There is, undoubtedly, no Sexes in Souls, and we are as able to receive and practiſe the Impreſſions, not only of Virtue and Religion, but alſo of thoſe Sciences which the Men engroſs to themſelves, as they can be:—Surely our Bodies were not form’d by the great Creator out of the fineſt Mould, that our Souls might be neglected like the coarſeſt of the Clay! O! would too imperious, and too tenacious Man, be ſo juſt to the World as to be more careful of the Education of thoſe Females to whom they are Parents or Guardians!―― Would they convince them in their Infancy that Dreſs and Shew are not the Eſſentials of a fine Lady, and that true Beauty is ſeated in the Vol. II. Hh Mind; 232 Hh1v 232 Mind; how ſoon ſhould we ſee our Sex retrieve the many Virtues which falſe Taſte has bury’d in Oblivion!—Strange Infatuation! to refuſe us what would ſo much contribute to their own Felicity!—Would not themſelves reap the Benefit of our Amendment? Should we not be more obedient Daughters, more faithful Wives, more tender Mothers, more ſincere Friends, and more valuable in every other Station of Life? But, I find, I have let my Pen run a much greater Length than I at firſt intended:――If I have ſaid any thing worthy your Notice, or what you think the Truth of the Caſe, I hope you will mention this Subject in ſome of your future Eſſays; or if you find I have any way err’d in my Judgment, to ſet me right will be the greateſt Favour you can confer on, Ladies, Your conſtant Reader, And humble Servant, Hampton-Court, 1745-01-12Jan. 12, 1744-5. Cleora.
After thanking this Lady for the Favour of her obliging Letter, we think it our Duty to congratulate her on being one of thoſe happy Few who have been bleſt with that Sort of Education which ſhe ſo pathetically laments the Want of in the greateſt Part of our Sex.Those 233 Hh2r 233
Those Men are certainly guilty of a great deal of Injuſtice who think, that all the Learning becoming in a Woman is confined to the Management of her Family; that is, to give Orders concerning the Table, take care of her Children in their Infancy, and obſerve that her Servants do not neglect their Buſineſs:—All this no doubt is very neceſſary, but would it not be better if ſhe performs thoſe Duties more through Principle than Cuſtom? and will ſhe be leſs punctual in her Obſervance of them, after ſhe becomes a Wife, for being perfectly convinced, before ſhe is ſo, of the Reaſonableneſs of them, and why they are expected from her?
Many Women have not been inſpired with the leaſt Notion of even thoſe Requiſites in a Wife, and when they become ſo, continue the ſame loitering, lolloping, idle Creatures they were before; and then the Men are ready enough to condemn thoſe who had the Care of their Education.
Terrible is it, indeed, for the Huſband, eſpecially if he be a Tradeſman, or Gentleman of ſmall Eſtate, who marries with a Woman of this Stamp, whatever Fortune ſhe brings will immediately run out, and ’tis well if all his own does not follow:—Even Perſons of the higheſt Rank in Life will ſuffer greatly both in their Circumſtances and Peace of Mind, when ſhe, who ought to be the Miſtreſs of the Family, lives in it like a Stranger,Hh2 ger, 234 Hh2v 234 ger, and perhaps knows no more of what thoſe about her do than an Alien.
But ſuppoſing her an excellent Oeconomiſt, in every Reſpect what the World calls a notable Woman, methinks the Huſband would be yet infinitely happier were ſhe endued with other good Qualities as well as a perfect Underſtanding in Houſhold Affairs:—The Governeſs of a Family, or what is commonly call’d Houſkeeper, provided ſhe be honeſt and careful, might diſcharge this Truſt as well as a Wife; but there is, doubtleſs, ſomewhat more to be expected by a Man from that Woman whom the Ceremony of Marriage has made Part of himſelf:—She is, or ought to be, if qualified for it, the Repoſitory of his deareſt Secrets, the Moderator of his fiercer Paſſions, the Softner of his moſt anxious Cares, and the conſtantly chearful and entertaining Companion of his more unbended Moments.
To be all this ſhe muſt be endued with a conſummate Prudence, a perfect Eveneſs of Temper, an unſhaken Fortitude, a gentle affable Behaviour, and a ſprightly Wit:—The Foundation of theſe Virtues muſt be indeed in Nature, but Nature may be perverted by ill Cuſtoms, or, if not ſo, ſtill want many Embelliſhments from Education; without which, however valuable in itſelf, it would appear rude and barbarous to others, and loſe more than half the Effect it ought to have.The 235 Hh3r 235
The younger Dryden’s Tranſlation of that admirable Satire of Juvenal has theſe Words: Children, like tender Oziers, take the Bow,And as they firſt are faſhion’d always grow:For what we learn in Youth, to that alone,In Age we are by ſecond Nature prone.
How much therefore does it behove thoſe who have the Care of Youth, to mould their tender Minds to that Shape which will beſt become thoſe Stations in Life they may be expected to fill.
Outr Sex, from their very Infancy, are encourag’d to dreſs and fondle their Babies; a Cuſtom not improper, because it gives an early Idea of that Care and Tenderneſs we ought to ſhew thoſe real Babes to whom we may happen to be Mothers: But I am apt to think, that without this Prepoſſeſſion, Nature would inform us what was owing from us to thoſe whom we have given Being:—The very Look and innocent Crys of thoſe little Images of ourſelves would be more prevailing than any Rules could be:—This the meereſt Savages who live without Precept, and are utterly ignorant of all moral Virtues, may inform us;――nay, for Conviction in this Point, we may deſcend yet lower, and only obſerve the tender Care which the Beaſts of the Field and the Fowls of the Air take of their young ones.To 236 Hh3v 236
To be good Mothers, therefore, tho’ a Duty incumbent on all who are ſo, requires fewer Leſſons than to be good Wives:――We all groan under the Curſe entail’d upon us for the Tranſgreſſion of Eve.
Thy Deſire ſhall be to thy Huſband, and he ſhall rule over thee.
But we are not taught enough how to lighten this Burthen, and render ourſelves ſuch as would make him aſham’d to exert that Authority, he thinks he has a Right to, over us.
Were that Time which is taken up in inſtructing us in Accompliſhments, which, however taking at firſt Sight, conduce little to our eſſential Happineſs, employ’d in ſtudying the Rules of Wiſdom, in well informing us what we are, and what we ought to be, it would doubtleſs inſpire thoſe, to whom we ſhould happen to be united, with a Reverence which would not permit them to treat us with that Lightneſs and Contempt, which, tho’ ſome of us may juſtly enough incur, often drives not only ſuch, but the moſt innocent of us, to Extravagancies that render ourſelves, and thoſe concern’d with us equally miſerable.
Why then, as Cleora ſays, do the Men, who are and will be the ſole Arbitrators in this Caſe, refuſe us all Opportunities of enlarging our Minds, and improving thoſe Talents we have received from 237 Hh4r 237 from God and Nature; and which, if put in our Power to exert in a proper Manner, would make no leſs their own Happineſs than our Glory?
They cry, of what uſe can Learning be to us, when Cuſtom, and the Modeſty of our Sex, forbids us to ſpeak in public Places?—’Tis true that it would not befit us to go into the Pulpit, nor harangue at the Bar; but this is a weak and trifling Argument againſt our being qualify’d for either, ſince all Men who are ſo were never intended for the Service of the Church, nor put on the long Robe; and by the ſame Rule therefore the Sons as well as Daughters of good Families ſhould be bred up in Ignorance.
Knowledge is a light Burthen, and, I believe, no one was ever the worſe for being ſkilled in a great many Things, tho’ he might never have occaſion for any of them.
But of all Kinds of Learning the Study of Philoſophy is certainly the moſt pleaſant and profitable:—It corrects all the vicious Humours of the Mind, and inſpires the nobleſt Virtues;—it enlarges our Underſtanding;—it brings us acquainted with ourſelves, and with every thing that is in Nature; and the more we arrive at a Proficiency in it, the more happy and the more worthy we are.—Mr. Prior tells us, On 238 Hh4v 238 On its beſt Steps each Age and Sex may riſe,’Tis like the Ladder in the Patriarch’s Dream,Its Foot on Earth, its Height beyond the Skies.
Many Examples have there been of Ladies who have attained to very great Perfection in this ſublime and uſeful Science; and doubtleſs the Number had been greatly increaſed but for the Diſcouragement our Sex meets with, when we aim at any thing beyond the Needle.
The World would infallibly be more happy than it is, were Women more knowing than they generally are; and very well worth the while of thoſe who have the Intereſt of the Female Part of their Family at Heart, to inſtruct them early in ſome of the moſt neceſſary Rudiments of Philoſophy:—All thoſe little Follies now aſcrib’d to us, and which, indeed, we but too much incur the Cenſure of, would then vaniſh, and the Dignity of Human Nature ſhine forth in us, I will venture to ſay, with, at leaſt, as much Splendor as in the other Sex.
All that Reſtleſſneſs of Temper we are accuſed of, that perpetual Inclination for gadding from Place to Place;—thoſe Vapours, thoſe Diſquiets we often feel meerly for want of ſome material Cauſe of Diſquiet, would be no more, when once the Mind was employ’d in the pleaſing Enquiries of Philoſophy;—a Search that well rewards the Pains we take in it, were we even to make no conſiderable Progreſs; becauſe even the moſt 239 Ii1r 239 moſt minute Diſcovery affords Matter for Reflection and Admiration.
Whether our Speculations extend to the greateſt and moſt tremendous Objects, or pry into the ſmalleſt Works of the Creation, new Scenes of Wonder every Moment open to our Eyes; and as Love and Reverence to the Deity is by every one allowed to be the Ground-Work of all Virtues and Religion, it is, methinks, no leſs impolitick than unjuſt to deny us the Means of becoming more good as well as more wiſe.
From the Brute Creation we may learn Induſtry, Patience, Tenderneſs, and a thouſand Qualities, which tho’ the Human Soul poſſeſſes in an infinitely larger Degree, yet the Obſervation how exercis’d by Creatures of inferior Specie, will oblige us to look into ourſelves, and bluſh at the Remembrance, that for want of Reflection we have ſometimes forgot what we are, and perhaps acted beneath thoſe very Animals we deſpiſe, and think on as no more than the Duſt from which they ſprung.
It is certainly a very great Misfortune as well as a Fault in us, that we are apt to have Pride enough to value ourſelves highly on the Dignity of our Nature, but yet have not enough to act up in any Meaſure to it:――This is, methinks, paying too great a Regard to Names, and neglecting Eſſentials.Vol. II. Ii The 240 Ii1v 240
The Men in this reſpect are, indeed, as much to blame as we, nay, much more ſo, thoſe at leaſt of a liberal Education, who having thoſe Advantages of Learning, which are deny’d to us, behave as tho’ they had never been inſtructed in any thing but how to indulge the Senſes in the moſt elegant Manner.
The Women, at worſt, could but act as many of the Men do who are refuſed no Improvements; ――they ought, therefore, to make Tryal of us, and not grudge the Expence of Books and Maſters to the one Sex any more than to the other.
If, by the Texture of the Brain, as ſome pretend to alledge, we are leſs capable of deep Meditations, and have a Multiplicity of volatile Ideas, which, continually wandering, naturally prevent our fixing on any one Thing; the more Care ſhould be taken to improve ſuch as may be of Service, and ſuppreſs thoſe that have a contrary Tendency.
That this is poſſible to be done, I believe, thoſe who reaſon moſt ſtrongly this way, and pretend to underſtand the Mechaniſm of our Formation beſt, will not deny.
But I agree no farther than in Suppoſition to this Common-Place Argument, made uſe of by the Enemies of our Sex:――The Delicacy of thoſe numerous Filaments which contain, and ſeparate from each other what are call’d the Seats of Invention,vention, 241 Ii2r 241 vention, Memory, and Judgment, may not, for any thing they can prove to the contrary, render them leſs ſtrong; but as I am not Anatomiſt enough to know whether there is really any ſuch Difference or not between the Male and Female Brain, I will not pretend to reaſon on this Point.
I have an Opinion of my own, which, being approv’d of by Mira and Euproſine, I will venture to declare, tho’ our noble Widow laughs at us all for it.――It is this:
The Vivacity of our Ideas,—the Quickneſs of our Apprehenſions, and thoſe ready Turns which moſt Women, much more than Men, have on any ſudden Exigence, ſeem to me to proceed from a greater Redundance of the animal Spirits; and if they ſometimes appear too confus’d and huddled, as it were, together, it is but like a Crowd of Mob round the Stage of a Mountebank, where all endeavouring to be foremoſt, obſtruct the Paſſage of each other.
If this ſhould happen to be the Caſe, as I ſhall always believe ’till convinced, by very good Reaſons, of the contrary, it is eaſy to check the too great Velocity of theſe Particles, by laying down one great Point, into which, as to a Center, they might all direct their Courſe.
The moſt ſubtil Spirits may be fixed by that Sovereign Chymiſt, ſolid Reflection:—Thought will give them a due Weight, and prevent their Ii2 Evapo- 242 Ii2v 242 Evaporation; but then the Subject muſt be delightful as well as ſerious, or the Mind may be in Danger of an oppoſite Extreme, and from being too giddy, become irrecoverably mop’d.
Philosophy is, therefore, the Toil which can never tire the Perſon engag’d in it;—all its Ways are ſtrewed with Roſes, and the farther you go, the more enchanting Objects appear before you, and invite you on.
That this Science is not too abſtruſe for our Sex to arrive at a great Perfection in, none can preſume to deny; becauſe many known Examples, both in ancient and modern Times, prove the Certainty of it.
Who has not heard of the fam’d Hypatia, who read Lectures of Philoſophy in the Public Schools in Alexandria, and of whoſe Eloquence and Wiſdom, St. Cyril, then Biſhop of that Place, ſtood ſo much in Awe, that finding it impoſſible to bring her over to his Opinion in Matters of Religion, he never reſted till he had found Means to take away her Life:――An Action for which he has been ſeverely reproach’d by after and leſs bigotted Ages.
Many others acquired an equal Share of Reputation with this fair Greek, but there is no need of ſearching Antiquity for that which the preſent Age gives an unqueſtionable Proof of in the celebrated Donna Lawra, who has not only diſputedputed 243 Ii3r 243 puted with, but alſo confuted the moſt learned Doctors in Italy, in thoſe Points on which they happen’d to differ from her.
Some Branches of the Mathematicks are also very agreeable and improving Amuſements for young Ladies, particular Geography, in which they may travel the World over, be acquainted with all its Parts, and find new Matter to adore the Infinite Wiſdom, which preſiding over and throughout ſuch a Diverſity of contrary Climes, ſuits every one ſo as to be moſt pleaſing and convenient to the Inhabitants.
History muſt not be omitted, as it cannot fail engaging the Mind to Attention, and affordding the ſtrongeſt Precept by Example:—The Riſe and Fall of Monarchies;—the Fate of Princes, the Sources from which their good or ill Fortune may be deduc’d;――the various Events which the Struggles for Liberty againſt arbitrary Power have produc’d, and the wonderful Effects which the Heroiſm of particular Perſons has obtained, both to curb Oppreſſion in the Tyrant, and Sedition in the Subject, affords an ample Field for Contemplation, and at the ſame time too much Pleaſure to leave room for any Amuſements of a low and trifling Nature.
These are what I would have the ſerious Employments of a young Lady’s Mind:――Muſic, Dancing, and the reading of Poetry and Novels may 244 Ii3v 244 may ſometimes come in by way of Relaxation, but ought not to be too much indulg’d.
But any Study, any Amuſement, ſhould be ſuited to the Genius and Capacity of the Perſon to whom it’s preſcrib’d:—I only mention theſe as worthy Employments of the Mind; there are others which perhaps may be equally ſo, and are to be adhered to, or rejected, according to the Judgment of thoſe who have the Government of Youth.
All I inſiſt on, and all I believe that Cleora, or any other Well wiſher to our Sex, and through us to the Happineſs of Mankind in general, can deſire, is, that the Talents with which we are born may not be ſtifled by a wrong Education.
I cannot, however, take leave of this Subject without anſwering one Objection which I have heard made againſt Learning in our Sex, which is, that the politer Studies take us off from thoſe that are more neceſſary, tho’ leſs ornamental.
I believe many well-meaning People may be deceived into this Opinion, which, notwithſtanding, is very unjuſt:—Thoſe Improvements which I have mention’d, ſublime as they are, will never be of Prejudice to our attending to thoſe lower Occupations of Life, which are not to be diſpenſed with except in thoſe of the great World. —They will rather, by making a Woman more ſenſible than ſhe could otherwiſe be, of what is either 245 Ii4r 245 either her Duty, or becoming in her to do, that ſhe will be doubly induſtrious and careful, not to give any Excuſe for Reproaches, either from her own Conſcience, or the Tongues of thoſe who would ſuffer by her Tranſgreſſion.
In a word, it is entirely owing to a narrow Education that we either give our Huſbands room to find fault with our Conduct, or that we have Leiſure to pry too ſcrutinouſly into theirs:—Happy would it be for both, were this almoſt ſole Cauſe of all our Errors once reform’d; and I am not without ſome Glimmerings of Hope that it will one Day be ſo.
The Ladies themſelves, methinks, begin to ſeem ſenſible of the Injuſtice which has long been done them, and find a Vacuum in their Minds, which, to fill up, they, of their own accord, invented the way of ſticking little Pictures on Cabinets, Screens, Dreſſing-Tables, and other little Pieces of Chamber-Furniture, and then varniſhing them over ſo as to look like one Piece of Painting; and they now have got into the Art of turning Ivory into whatever Utenſils they fancy:—There is no doubt but a Pair of Globes will make a better Figure in their Anti-Chambers than the Vice and Wheel; but great Revolutions are not to be expected at once, and if they once take it in their Heads to prefer Works of Ingenuity, tho’ in the moſt trifling Matters, to Dreſs, Gaming and rambling Abroad, they will, it is to be hop’d, proceed to more noble and elevated Studies.If 246 Ii4v 246
If the married Ladies of Diſtinction begin the Change, and bring Learning into Faſhion, the younger will never ceaſe ſolliciting their Parents and Guardians for the Means of following it, and every Toilet in the Kingdom be loaded with Materials for beautifying the Mind more than the Face of its Owner.
The Objection, therefore, that I have heard made by ſome Men, that Learning would make us too aſſuming, is weak and unjuſt in itſelf, becauſe there is nothing would ſo much cure us of thoſe Vanities we are accuſed of, as Knowledge.
A beautiful well dreſs’d Lady, who is acquainted with no other Merit than Appearance, never looks in her Glaſs without thinking all the Adoration can be paid to her, is too ſmall a Tribute to her Charms; and even thoſe of our Sex, who ſeem moſt plain in the Eyes of other People, never fail to ſee ſomething in themſelves worthy of attracting the moſt tender Homage.
It is meerly want of Conſideration, and the living, as moſt of us do, in a blind Ignorance of what we truly are, or what we ought reaſonably to expect from the World, that gives us that Pride, for which thoſe, who to our Faces treat us with the greateſt Reſpect, laugh at, and deſpiſe us for behind our Backs.
It has ever been agreed, by Men of the beſt Underſtanding, that the farther they go in the won- 247 Kk1r 247 wonderful Reſearches of Nature, the more abaſh’d and humble they are:—They see the unfathomable Depth before them, and with it the Inſufficiency of human Penetration:—The little they are able to diſcover convinces them that there are Things ſtill out of their reach, and even beyond their Comprehenſion; and while it raiſes their Ideas of the Almighty Wiſdom, puts an entire Check to all vain Imaginations of their own.
O but, ſay they, Learning puts the Sexes too much on an Equality, it would deſtroy that implicit Obedience which it is neceſſary the Women ſhould pay to our Commands:――If once they have the Capacity of arguing with us, where would be our Authority!
Now will I appeal to any impartial Reader, even among the Men, if this very Reaſon for keeping us in Subjection does not betray an Arrogance and Pride in themſelves, yet leſs excuſable than that which they ſeem ſo fearful of our aſſuming.
I will alſo undertake to prove, not only by my own Obſervation but by that of every Perſon who has taken any Pains to examine the World, that thoſe Women have always been the moſt domineering, whoſe Talents have received the leaſt Improvement from Education.
It may happen, indeed, that ſome might grow overbearing on ſuch Advantages, for there are Tempers too turbulent for any Bounds to reſtrain; Vol. II. Kk but 248 Kk1v 248 but I will at the ſame time maintain, that they would have been ſtill worſe if kept in Ignorance that to be ſo was a Fault:—Nature will always be the ſame, and ſhe who is prone to Pride and Vanity will give Teſtimonies of it, even tho’ ſhe has no one Perfection either of Mind or Body to ſerve as a Pretence.
But, as of two Evils the leaſt is to be choſen, is it not better, therefore, for any Man who has the Misfortune to have a termagant or imperious Wife, that when People ſpeak of her Behaviour they ſhould ſay, She is a Woman of an admirable Underſtanding and great Learning, ſhe only knows her own Merit too well; than to hear them cry, What a vain, idle, ignorant, prating Creature ſhe is?――I dare anſwer, there is not a Huſband in all Great Britain that would not be glad to hear the firſt rather than the laſt Character given of the Woman to whom he is united.
This, however, is certain, that Knowledge can make the Bad no worſe, and would make the Good much better than they could be without it.
If, therefore, the Parents of a young Lady thruſt her out into the World unfiniſh’d, as I may venture to call it, when no Care is taken of her better Part, it would not, methinks, be unbecoming in her Huſband to ſupply that Deficiency:— She would receive Inſtruction from his Mouth with double Pleaſure, and it muſt certainly be an infinite Satisfaction to him to perceive the Improvementment 249 Kk2r 249 ment his fair Pupil daily made under his Tuition: ――Nothing in my Opinion could more endear them to each other, nor be a greater Proof of their mutual Affection. Milton moſt elegantly expreſſes ſuch a Circumſtance in the Eighth Book of his Paradiſe Loſt, where Raphael being in Converſation with Adam on Matters then above the Comprehenſion of Eve, ſhe withdrew that ſhe might afterwards hear it from her Huſband. ――By his Countenance ſeem’dEnt’ring on ſtudious Thoughts abſtruſe; which EvePerceiving where ſhe ſat retired in ſight,With Lowlineſs Majeſtic from her Seat,And Grace, that won who ſaw to wish her ſtay,Roſe, and went forth among her Fruits and Flowers,To viſit how they proſper’d, bud and bloom,Her Nurſery; they at her coming ſprung,And touch’d by her fair Tendance gladlier grew,Yet went ſhe not, as not with ſuch DiſcourſeDelighted, or not capable her EarOf what was high:――Such Pleaſure ſhe reſerv’dAdam relating, ſhe ſole Auditreſs;Her Huſband the Relator ſhe prefer’dBefore the Angel, and of him to aſkChoſe rather: He, ſhe knew, would intermixGrateful Digreſſions, and ſolve high DiſputesWith conjugal Careſſes; from his Lip,Not Words alone pleas’d her.—O when meet nowSuch Pairs, in Love and mutual Honour join’d!Kk2 And 250 Kk2v 250
And again, ſpeaking of the Delights they found in each other’s Converſation; For while I ſit with thee I ſeem in Heaven,And ſweeter thy Diſcourſe is to my EarThan Fruits of Palm-Trees (pleaſanteſt to ThirſtAnd Hunger both from Labour) at the HourOf ſweet Repaſt: They ſatiate, and ſoon fillTho’ pleaſant; but thy Words with Grace DivineImbued, bring to their Sweetneſs no Satiety.
Where there is that Union of Hearts as well as Hands, which can alone anſwer the Ends for which Marriage was firſt inſtituted, the Huſband in finding his Precepts effectual and delightful muſt feel no leſs Rapture in himſelf, and Increaſe of Love for the dear Authoreſs of it, than the ſame incomparable Poet, juſt now quoted, aſcribes to the great Father of Mankind, when ſpeaking of Eve he defines the Paſſion he has for her, and the Motives of it in theſe Terms: ――It is notNeither her outſide Form ſo fair, nor oughtIn Procreation common to all Kinds,(Tho’ higher of the Genial Bed by far,And with myſterious Reverence I deem)So much delights me, as thoſe graceful Acts,Thoſe thouſand Decencies that daily flowFrom all her Words and Actions, mix’d with LoveAnd251Kk3r251And ſweet Compliance, which declares unfeign’dUnion of Mind, or in us both one Soul;Harmony to behold in wedded Pair.
Methinks it would be no Difficulty for two People who love each other as they ought, and ſome ſuch there doubtleſs are, to practiſe over a little of the Behaviour of our firſt Parents in their State of Innocence:—’Tis true, they would incur a good deal of Ridicule from the more gay and noiſy World on firſt attempting ſuch a thing, but that would wear off in time by their Perſeverance; and the Benefits accruing from it to all belonging to them, as well as to themſelves, would become ſo demonſtrative, as might, perhaps, induce the moſt Thoughtleſs to make tryal of ſuch a way of Life.
But all this, I doubt, will be look’d upon as viſionary, and my Readers will cry, that my Buſiſineſs, as a Spectator, is to report ſuch Things as I ſee, and am convinced of the Truth of, not preſent them with Ideas of my own Formation, and which, as the World now is, can never be reduc’d to Practice:――To which I beg leave to reply, that the Impoſſibility lies only in the Will;—much may be done by a ſteady Reſolution,—without it, nothing.
I do not, indeed, flatter myſelf with living to see my Counſel in this Point make any great Impreſſion;preſſion; 252 Kk3v 252 preſſion; the Mode is againſt me, and thoſe who may approve the moſt of what I ſay will yet be aſham’d to confeſs it. Cuſtom a Second Nature grows,And Law and Reaſon both o’erthrows.
Nothing certainly can be more ſtrange than that People, of even common Underſtanding, can ſuffer themſelves to be ſway’d to Actions and Behaviour repugnant to their own Hearts, and often unſuitable to their Circumstances, meerly becauſe ſome Perſons of Diſtinction have eſtabliſh’d it into a Faſhion; yet that it is ſo, every one knows, and any one who ſhould undertake to put a Stop to this almoſt univerſal Propenſity, at leaſt in this Nation, might, with equal Succeſs, endeavour to turn the Wind from one Point of the Compaſs to another with a ſingle Breath.
Monstrous Stupidity!—All Diſeaſes, all Imperfections of the Body, which thoſe in high Life would part with all their Grandeur to get rid of, are aped by the inferior World, and thought agreeable and genteel:――All the Vices and ill Qualities of the Mind are alſo ſanctify’d by Title and Opulence:――Whatever is a Defect either in Nature or Principle, preſently converts itſelf into the reverſe, is copy’d after, and perhaps excell’d by thoſe who care not what they are, ſo they are but like the Great.But 253 Kk4r 253
But of all the Follies which this Paſſion for Imitation occaſions, there is none more to be complained of by the Well-wiſhers of Mankind, than that which we daily ſee practiſed by married People; who, tho’ they really have a ſufficient Share of Tenderneſs for each other to anſwer all the Ends of that ſacred Inſtitution, and can neither of them find any Company Abroad whoſe Converſation to them comes in any Competition with that they leave at Home, yet are hardly ever ſeen together in public Places: When one goes out of Town the other ſtays behind; ſo that they ſeem rather like Buckets of a Well, that are always in a retrograde Motion, than Perſons who are by Love and Law inſeparably united:—And all this Violence they offer to themſelves meerly to avoid being call’d unpolite.
We are often told, that all the Calamities under which this Nation at preſent groans, are owing to the general Corruption and Depravity among us; and I believe no Perſon of Underſtanding will pretend to deny ſo notorious and ſo melancholly a Truth; yet will all Exhortations, all Remonſtrances, all Precepts be in vain to accompliſh a Reformation, without ſome very great Examples lead the way, and once more bring Virtue and Good-Manners into vogue.
It is not from below we are to expect any illuminous Emanations, nor would they have the neceſſary Influence; but when darted upon us from 254 Kk4v 254 from above, all ſee their Light and partake of the Bleſſings they beſtow. Virtue, tho’ adorn’d with all the Graces, in mean Perſons is no more than a dark Lanthorn giving Light only to him that carries it; but thoſe who ſit aloft wear a Sun upon their Breaſts, which all behold, admire, and are ambitious to follow.
End of the Tenth Book.
The Female Spectator.
Since the Publication of our laſt, two Letters are come to Hand; both which appear to us, and I believe will do ſo to every Reader, to have a viſible Tendency to the proving one great Point, and ſeem as if the Authors had Intelligence with each other, and only took different Routs to meet at the ſame Stage at laſt.
Be that as it may, tho’ the Subject has been of late very much exploded, eſpecially by thoſe who would be thought extremely wise, we ſhall not be afraid of being rank’d among the Set of weak Vol. II. Ll and 256 Ll1v 256 and old-faſhion’d Mortals, who ſtill give Credit to what was never queſtioned by our Fore-Fathers, and readily inſert, not only what theſe Correſpondents have favour’d us with, but alſo whatever may hereafter be communicated to us with the ſame View.
To the Female Spectator. Madam, I Peruſed, with an uncommon Satisfaction, your agreeable Eſſay of the Firſt of this Month, wherein you ſo juſtly and obligingly exhort your Sex to thoſe Avocations which can alone render them what they wiſh to be, our Equals, and what we heartily wiſh them to be, our Helpmates.――I do aſſure you, that tho’ a Man, I am none of thoſe lordly or tenacious Tyrants who would deny them any Privileges they are capable of making a good Uſe of, and will very readily allow, that it is a Duty incumbent on every Parent, Guardian or Huſband to improve, as much as in them lies, the Genius he may find in the Female he has under his Protection. Your recommending the Study of Philoſophy to the Ladies, as well as the many Reflections which I find ſprinkled thro’ your Works, convince me you are not wholly ignorant yourſelf in a Science you can ſpeak ſo feelingly upon: When I ſay Philoſophy, I mean that moſt uſeful Branch of it which teaches the Knowledge of 257 Ll2r 257 of one’s Self;—the true Nature of the nobler Part of our Being, the Soul;—its Manner of acting through the Organs of the Body; —wherefore ſo much circumſcrib’d;—and how it would operate if diſincumber’d from Matter. —I dare believe you have thought intenſely on all theſe Things; and tho’ no definite Anſwer can be expected, as it is impoſſible to arrive at Certainty where the Almighty himſelf has placed a Bar to human Penetration; yet to hear a Variety of Opinions in what ſo nearly concerns us, enlarges whatever Ideas we may have of our own, and affords a good deal of Pleaſure to a contemplative Mind. That we have Souls very different from what are to be found in any other Specie of created Beings we have any Acquaintance with, neither Lucretius nor any of his Followers ever pretended to deny; but then they bring Inſtinct in the Brute World ſo near to Reaſon in the Human, that the Preference given to the latter is very ſmall, if any:—They tell us, every Animal has a ſufficient Share of Sagacity to enable it to provide for its own Preſervation, which is more than we can always ſay of that Sovereign Reaſon we ſo much boaſt of, and pride ourſelves upon; ſince, liable to be ſubjected every Moment to Paſſions of various Kinds, it has not the Power of preventing us from falling into Miſchiefs the wiſer Beaſts avoid. How 258 Ll2v 258 How theſe unfortunate Propenſities got Entrance into our Nature,—by what Means they are to be reſtrain’d, and whether any farther Reward attends our Practice of Self-denial, than what a regular, or what is commonly call’d a virtuous Life affords us in this World, I leave to the Divines; all I am contending for is the the Superiority of Human Nature,—that the Sagacity of Animals is in no degree of Competition with our Power of Reflection, and that there is ſomewhat in the Soul which proves it of Divine Original, and in verity an Emanation from the Great Soul of all; and if ſo, that it muſt in itſelf be uncorruptible and immortal. Let thoſe then, who seem to take Delight in degrading their own Nature, by levelling it with that of the Brutes, pretend the Inſtinct of the one equals the Reaſon of the other;—that the intellectual Checks we feel on every Miſdoing is no more than the Prejudice of Education; —that Conſcience is an airy empty Name, and ſay with Mr. Dryden, By Education we are all miſled,So we believe, becauſe we ſo are bred:The Prieſt continues what the Nurſe began,And thus the Child impoſes on the Man. Let them, I ſay, purſue this Argument, weak and ill founded as it is; I will not go about to confute it, becauſe there is a nearer Way 259 Ll3r 259 Way to prove the Point in Queſtion, and is, I think, more demonſtrative than even Thought, Invention, Reflection, or any of thoſe Powers which are generally mention’d to diſtinguish the immortal from the animal Soul. There is a ſomething in us which neither Nurſe nor Prieſt could be able to inſpire us with;――a ſomething which we have not at Command, either to ſerve us when moſt we ſtand in need of it, or to chide from us, tho’ we ſhould never ſo much as attempt to do it; —it flaſhes upon us when we are not aware of it;――it is with us and is gone in the ſame Inſtant;—like Light’ning ſudden, ſtrong, and no ſooner found than loſt. What I mean are thoſe Starts of Preſcience which I never met any one yet that had deny’d he had experience’d in a more or leſs Degree: —At the Time when we are moſt relaxed from Thought and buſy Cares, perhaps laughing with our Friends over a chearful Bowl, a Ray of this Divine Attribute ſhall ſhoot upon us, and tell us that ſuch or ſuch a thing will happen; but then ’tis fleeting, tranſient, and vaniſhes in the ſame Inſtant that it came, and we know not that we ever had it till the Event it had foreſhewn arrives; then it returns to Memory, and ſeems to reproach the little Regard paid to it. It would be in vain to aſſert that all this is no more than the Reſult of former Thoughts, which 260 Ll3v 260 which when uncall’d recoil upon us, becauſe theſe Flaſhes of Fore-knowledge are frequently on Affairs we never thought upon, or had the leaſt Concern in, yet ſome time after when we hear of them we ſhall remember that we had a Warning of them. As ſuch ſudden Emanations therefore are prevented from being of any Manner of Service to us in the Conduct of our Worldly Affairs, by their not obtaining any Place in the retentive Faculty, and it would be the moſt daring Impiety to imagine, that the Great Author of Nature does any thing in vain, ought we not to believe them ſent to convince us we have within us a Part of his own Divine Eſſence, to raiſe in us a high Idea of the true Dignity of our Souls, to bleſs inceſſantly, and praiſe with humbleſt Gratitude the Beſtower of Privileges ſo immenſe, and to be careful not to commit any Action to render us unworthy of them! As among the many Arguments made uſe of in Favour of the Immortality of the Soul, I never found this had a Place; I ſhould not expect it would have much Weight if I were not convinced every Reader will find the Truth of it in his own Breaſt:――For my Part I look on it as a Proof beyond all Evaſion, and that it ſeems intended for an univerſal one, becauſe it ſtands in need of no Learning to ſupport it, and may be received by the meaneſt Capacity as well as by the moſt extenſive. In 261 Mm1r 261 In an Age ſuch as this, when the Belief of Annihilation is the Creed in vogue, all Attempts to prevent a Doctrine ſo abſurd, and of ſo manifeſtly wicked a Tendency, from taking too deep a Root ought to be encourag’d; for which Reaſon I flatter myſelf you will inſert this in the next Lucubrations you oblige us with; and if you are ſo good to ſubjoin your own Opinion of the Matter, I dare anſwer it will be perfectly agreeable to the greateſt Part of your Readers, and particularly to him who is, With the utmoſt Reſpect, Madam, Your moſt humble, And moſt obedient Servant, Platonides. Richmond, 1745-01-21Jan. 21, 1744-5. P.S. As thoſe intellectual Warnings above mention’d are more frequent with ſome People than others, I imagine a Hint how they might be improved would be of Service; but that as you and your fair Aſſociates ſhall judge convenient.
This new, and, I believe, indeed, before unthought of Notion very much charm’d us all; —we fell immediately into a little Reſverie, and after a ſhort Retroſpect into ourſelves, concurr’d in owning we had each of us felt that Flaſh of Preſcience which Platonides ſo emphatically deſcribes;II. Mm ſcribes; 262 Mm1v 262 ſcribes; we cannot therefore avoid giving it as our joint Opinion, that it muſt proceed from ſomething more than Chance, that ſuch a Ray of Knowledge, or of Inſpiration rather, ſhould all at once, and without any Endeavour or even Deſire of it, ſtrike upon the Mind; and that it is one of thoſe many Marks we carry about us, of being form’d according to the Image of our all-wiſe Creator.
Yet ſuch is the Stupidity and Blindneſs of the greateſt Part of Mankind, that we value ourſelves on Trifles, and take a Pleaſure in degrading the only Thing worthy of Regard,—the immortal Soul!――that which alone gives us the Title of Lords of the Creation, and a Right to diſpoſe of other Beings as we find neceſſary for our Support or Paſtime.
I believe it is agreed to by all, I mean of thoſe who agree to any thing beyond what the ſenſual Eye can penetrate into, that there are innumerable Orders of Beings between us and the great Author of all; and if ſo, how muſt theſe ſuperior Spirits commiſerate, for by the Excellence of their Nature they have it not in their Power to contemn our Foibles, how muſt it grieve them when they look down and ſee us priding ourſelves on a Set of well-turn’d Features, a delicate Skin, fine Hair or Teeth, which a thouſand Accidents may deprive us of in a Moment, and old Age infallibly decays, yet not only neglect, but deny we are in Poſſeſſion of that which no croſs Events, 263 Mm2r 263 Events, no Sickneſs, no Length of Days, nor Death itſelf can hurt;—that which will laſt when Time ſhall be no more, and tread in Glory the ſacred Rounds of vaſt Eternity!
An adequate Satisfaction muſt it alſo afford to the great Enemy of Mankind, while he flatters himſelf, that by ſo readily renouncing all Pretenſions to Immortality, we ſhall be, indeed, cut off from the Inheritance promiſed to the Children of God.
But I hope, and am perſwaded, that this Doctrine of Annihilation is but from the Lip;—that the Heart, at leaſt in moſt People, diſavows ſo low and groveling a Principle; and that they are only tempted to profeſs it in Complaiſance to ſome, who, to prevail on them to act as they would have them in this World, endeavour to make them think there is nothing either to be wiſh’d or dreaded in the next.
If there be any weak enough to adopt in reality ſo abſurd a Principle, it can be only thoſe who, indulging themſelves in a continual Series of Voluptuouſneſs, aſſign no other Employment for the Mind than the Study of new Pleaſures: ‐ Theſe are too impatient, or if you will, too indolent, to aim at any thing that is not in their immediate Graſp; and they would not deny themſelves the leaſt Enjoyment of the preſent now, even for the Aſſurance of a Mahometan Paradiſe in futuro.Mm2 There 264 Mm2v 264
There is certainly a Poſſibility for the Soul to be ſo abſorb’d in the Gratification of the Senſes, as to loſe for a Time all its Power of operating, and become as it were dead within us.
Nay, I have heard of People ſo far gone in this wretched Lethargy, as to repine at Nature for making them of Human Kind, and giving the Preference to the Brute Creation, meerly becauſe many of them are endued with higher and more poignant Senſations.
These may, indeed, well put themſelves on a Level with the Beaſts they imitate; and being by their Debaucheries rendered incapable of any Ideas of ſpiritual Felicities, take a Pleaſure in believing they ſhall be no more, when they can no more act as at preſent.
I think ſome Virtuoſos of the Royal Society ſome time ago had the Curioſity to try the Experiment, whether, by transferring the Blood of one Animal into another, the Nature of the Creature would be tranſmigrated alſo: How far they were ſatiſfied in this Point I either never heard or have forgot; but what occaſioned my making mention of the Whim was, that reaching the Ears of a young Surgeon, who had a great Ambition for being talk’d on, it put it into his Head to make the ſame Eſſay between a Man and a Cat:―― The Project ſo much pleaſ’d him, that he talk’d of nothing elſe in all Companies where he was admitted; and either being of that Opinion, or pre- 265 Mm3r 265 pretending to be ſo, that the Human and Animal Soul were of the ſame Nature, and lodg’d only in the Blood, became very entertaining among the looſer Part of his Acquaintance, by deſcribing to to them how his Cat-Man would ſit purring in the Chimney Corner, how he would fly at a Mouſe, play with it, and then growl over it while devouring it:—Nay, to ſuch a Height did his arrogant Prophanneſs carry him, that happening to be one Day in Company, among whom was a Clergyman, and talking in this manner, he directed his Diſcourſe particularly to him, and clos’d his Boaſtings with a What will become of your Trade now, Doctor?――When once I have made my Experiment, where will be the immortal Soul? —I gad you muſt leave off Preaching!――and ſuch like impious and impudent Sneers: To all which, as I was informed, the good Gentleman return’d only a Smile of Pity and Contempt.
This vain-glorious young Fellow was however ſo much in earneſt, that he was indefatigable in making Intereſt for a condemn’d Criminal, in order to carry his Scheme into Execution; but whether his Requeſt was thought improper to be granted, or that the Fellows themſelves choſe rather to ſuffer Death at Tyburn than to forgo their Human Nature, I am not poſitive; but this I know, that ſeveral Seſſions paſs’d over without his being able to procure a Perſon on whom he might make his Experiment.The 266 Mm3v 266
The Delays he met with not agreeing with the Impetuoſity of his Temper, and his Thirſt of Fame being far from abated, he bethought himſelf of another way to obtain it; inſtead of converting a Man into a Cat he undertook to change a Woman into a Rabbit:――The whole Town knows how this Artifice was carry’d on, and the Pains her late Majeſty took to detect the Impoſition, for which ſhe truly merited the Thanks and Praiſes, not only of her own Sex, but of all Mankind in general, who are, or ought to be equally intereſted in ſupporting the Dignity of Human Nature:—Would all the Great exert themſelves in the like Manner for the Detection of Frauds and Impoſitions in every Shape, and pluck the Vizard from the Face of Vice, Corruption and Exaction would ſoon be baniſh’d from the Nation, and even thoſe who neither fear’d nor hop’d a future World, become honeſt, when they found it was for their Intereſt in this to be ſo.
But to return to thoſe who may unhappily have ſuffered the Animal Soul to get the better of the Rational;――thoſe, I ſay, who allow no Heaven but what the Gratification of their inordi nate Appetites affords;――thoſe who not only believe themſelves, but take the Liberty of aſſerting before others, that their Paſſions were given them to indulge, and that Man has a Right to act whatever he has a Will to do; yet it is my firm Opinion, and I flatter myſelf not ill grounded, that even among thoſe, at leaſt the greateſt Part 267 Mm4r 267 Part of them, the immortal Mind will ſometimes riſe and give a ſecret Check to the Ill they otherwiſe would be guilty of:—’Tis true, they endeavour to diſguiſe the ſacred Impulſe by the Name of Morality; but pray what is Morality but Virtue? and what can inſpire us with Virtue, but that Ray of Divinity within us, call it by what Name you will, which alone can teach us the Difference between Good and Ill?—The Paſſions will never do it, and and the Senſes, their Inſtigators and Excitors, cannot be expected to plead againſt themſelves;—they have their Cravings, and fail not to torment the Breaſt when not indulg’d, ſo that even thoſe who would be blind to the Dignity of Human Nature cannot avoid being ſenſible of it at ſome times, tho’ at others an obſtinate Preerverſeneſs may prevail and give the Lye to Reaſon.
The Soul, however, at leaſt in the generality of People, acts moſt vigorouſly as the Paſſions grow weaker, and the Body is enfeebled by Infirmities or Age, and at the Pangs of Death diſcloſes itſelf in the moſt conſpicuous Light:—It then preſents us at one View with all the Good and Evil of our paſt Lives, diſguiſes nothing of what we have been, and perhaps imparts what we ſhall be:――This indeed is a Point which none of the Living can diſcuſs, but I have the Authority of ſeveral learned Men, who, from the Obſervations they made of ſome they happened to have been preſent with in the Moment of Diſſolution, thought they had Reaſon to believe that ſtrange 268 Mm4v 268 ſtrange and amazing Scenes were opened to the dying Perſon’s View, as Mr. Waller, who doubtleſs was of this Opinion, elegantly expreſſes it. Leaving the Old, both Worlds at once they view,Who ſtand upon the Threſhold of the New.
All this I know will be laugh’d at by our modiſh Sceptics;—they will aſk, who has returned from the other World to give us an Account? And what Proof beyond the Suppoſition of ſome few Viſionaries can be brought, that Spirit ſubſiſts when ſeparated from Matter?
To which for Anſwer I ſhall refer them to the Works of thoſe great and learned Authors, whoſe Judgment they preſume not to queſtion in other Things; and if they are not convinced by it in this, it would be the utmoſt Vanity to imagine any thing the Female Spectator can advance ſhould have greater Weight.
Not only the Divines and Poets of all Ages, but the beſt and wiſeſt of the ancient Philoſophers, have vindicated the Doctrine of the Soul’s Immortality, and exiſting in ſome future State, tho’ they agree not as to what Kind:—They differ’d according to the various Principles they believ’d and taught;—ſome providing for the Spirits of of the Deceaſ’d no more than two Places, the one of Happineſs the other of Miſery; while other Sects enlarged their Bounds to a Multiplicity of Worlds, each as they travelled through renderinging 269 Nn1r 269 ing them more pure, and bringing them nearer to Perfection; but all unite in the main Point, that from the Nature of God, and the Nature of our own Ideas, this Spot we now inhabit is but the firſt Stage the Soul has to make in her eternal Progreſs.
But I ſhall now preſent my Readers with the other Letter I made mention of, which, as it carries with it an Air of Veracity, may perhaps ſerve as a Proof that Death has no Power over the Soul, to thoſe who are not determined to ſhut their Eyes againſt Conviction.
To the Female Spectator. Madam, The preſent Age wantonly affecting to depreciate every thing relating to the intellectual World, without reflecting how ill an Effect it may have on the Morals and Manners of Poſterity, it is certainly the Duty of every juſtly thinking Perſon to contribute all in his Power towards eradicating thoſe abſurd Notions, which, I am ſorry to ſay, are induſtriouſly cultivated, and have taken but too deep a Root among us. To deny the Poſſibility of Spirits appearing after their Bodies are laid in the Earth, is flying in the Face of all Hiſtory both ſacred and prophane, yet how is ſuch an Opinion now laugh’d out of Doors!――Any one who attempts to Vol. II. Nn vin- 270 Nn1v 270 vindicate it is look’d upon by all his Acquaintance as a weak and ſuperſtitious Bigot:―― It is in vain to quote either the Old or New Teſtament, Ways are found out to evade the Authority of the ſacred Text, and ſome there are preſumptuous enough to avow their Diſbelief of every thing contained in theſe inſpir’d Writings. I am very ready to acknowledge there are many ridiculous Reports of Apparitions; but what of that? Muſt we diſcredit all Hiſtory becauſe ſome Romances have born that Title? Muſt we throw aſide all Accounts of Voyages and Travels, becauſe of thoſe preſented to us by Sir John Mandevil?—That were to baniſh the moſt uſeful parts of Learning out of the World, and I may with the ſame Juſtice infer, that to deny there ever were, or are any Appearance of deceas’d Perſons, meerly becauſe ſome idle Stories without Foundation have been rais’d concerning them, is going a great way toward renouncing a Belief of the Immortality of the Soul; the greateſt and ſevereſt Blow that can be given to all Virtue and Religion in general. I am apt to believe, Madam, from your Manner of Writing, that you are not of the Number of thoſe modern Infidels; nor are ſo tenacious on the Strength of your own Penetration, as to reject as fabulous whatever is not to be accounted for by Human Underſtanding. In 271 Nn2r 271 In this Confidence I will venture to give you a little Narrative of a ſupernatural Apperance, the Truth of which I am perfectly convinced of, as well as are ſeveral other Perſons of undoubted Credit now living. You have, without all Queſtion, heard of the celebrated Dutcheſs of Mazarine, Miſtreſs to King Charles II; the Lady of whom Mr. Waller, in his Deſcription of the fair Favourites of that Monarch, thus ſpeaks: When thro’ the World fair Mazarine had run,Bright as her Fellow Traveller the Sun,Hither at laſt the Roman Eagle flies,As the laſt Triumph of her conqu’ring Eyes. Nor is it likely you ſhould have been wholly unacquainted with the Character, if not the Perſon of Madam de Beauclair, who was no leſs admired and loved by his Royal Brother and Succeſſor, James II; but ’tis poſſible you may never have been told that there was a Friendſhip between theſe two Ladies, ſuch as is rarely to be found between Perſons of the ſame Sex, eſpecially of thoſe bred up in Courts: ――The Parity of their Circumſtances certainly contributed a good deal toward it; they had both loſt their Royal Lovers, the one by Death, the other by Abdication:—Both were Women of excellent Underſtanding;—both had enjoy’d all that the World could give, and when Nn2 272 Nn2v 272 I had the Honour of being acquainted with them, were arrived at an Age to deſpiſe all the pompous Vanities of it. After the Burning of Whitehall, they were allotted very handſome Apartments in the Stable Yard, St. James’s, but the Face of Public Affairs being then wholly changed, and a new Set of Courtiers as well as Rules of Behaviour came into vogue, they converſed almoſt only with each other. About this Time it was that Reaſon firſt began to oppoſe itſelf to Faith, or at leaſt to be ſet up againſt it by ſome who had an Ambition to be thought more penetrating than their Neighbours:――The Doctrine ſoon ſpread, and was too much talk’d on not to be frequently a Subject of Converſation for theſe two Ladies; and tho’ I cannot ſay that either of them were thoroughly convinced by it, yet the ſpecious Arguments made uſe of by Perſons of high Reputation for their Learning had ſuch an Effect on both, as to raiſe great Doubts in them concerning the Immateriality of the Soul, and the Certainty of its Exiſtence after Death. In one of the ſerious Conſultations they had together on this Head, it was agreed between them, that on whichever of them the Lot ſhould fall to be firſt call’d from this World, ſhe ſhould return, if there was a Poſſibiility of doing ſo, and give the other an Account in what Manner ſhe was diſpoſed of.—This Promiſe it ſeems was often 273 Nn3r 273 often repeated, and the Dutcheſs happening to fall ſick, and her Life deſpair’d of by all about her, Madam de Beauclair reminded her of what ſhe expected from her; to which her Grace reply’d, ſhe might depend upon her Performance. Theſe Words paſs’d between them not above an Hour before the Diſſolution of that great Lady, and were ſpoke before ſeveral Perſons who were in the Room, but at that Time they were far from comprehending the Meaning of what they heard. Some Years after the Dutcheſs’s Deceaſe, happening, in a Viſit I made to Madam de Beauclair, to fall on the Topic of Futurity, ſhe expreſſed her Diſbelief of it with a great deal of Warmth; which a little ſurprizing me, as being of a quite contrary way of thinking myſelf, and had always, by the Religion ſhe profeſs’d, ſuppoſ’d her highly ſo, I took the Liberty of offering ſome Arguments, which, I imagin’d would have been convincing to prove the Reaſonableneſs of depending on a Life to come: To which ſhe anſwer’d, that not all that the whole World could ſay ſhould ever perſwade her to that Opinion; and then related to me the Compact made between her and her dear departed Friend the Dutcheſs of Mazarine. It was in vain I urg’d the ſtrong Probability there was that Souls in another World might not be permitted to perform the Engagements they 274 Nn3v 274 they had enter’d into in this, eſpecially, when they were of a Nature repugnant to the Divine Will,—Which, ſaid I, has manifeſtly placed a flaming Sword between Human Knowledge and the Proſpect of that glorious Eden, we hope, by Faith, to be the Inheritors of hereafter:―― Therefore, added I, her Grace of Mazarine may be in Poſſeſſion of all thoſe immenſe Felicities which are promiſed to the Virtuous, and even now interceeding that the dear Partner of her Heart may ſhare the ſame, yet be deny’d the Privilege of imparting to you what ſhe is, or that ſhe exiſts at all. Nothing I could ſay made the leaſt Impreſſion; and I found, to my very great Concern, that ſhe was become as much an Advocate for the new Doctrine of Non-Exiſtence after Death, as any of thoſe who had firſt propoſ’d it; on which, from that Time forward, I avoided all Diſcourſe with her on that Head. It was not however many Months after we had this Converſation, that I happen’d to be at the Houſe of a Perſon of Condition, whom, ſince the Death of the Dutcheſs of Mazarine, Madam de Beauclair had the greateſt Intimacy with any of her Acquaintance:—We were juſt ſet down to Cards about nine o’Clock in the Evening, as near as I can remember, when a Servant came haſtily into the Room, and acquainted the Lady I was with, that Madam de Beauclair had ſent to intreat ſhe would come that 275 Nn4r 275 that Moment to her, adding, that if ſhe deſir’d ever to ſee her more in this World, ſhe muſt not delay her Viſit. So odd a Meſſage might very well ſurprize the Perſon to whom it was delivered; and not knowing what to think of it, ſhe aſk’d who brought it, and being told it was Madam de Beauclair’s Groom of the Chambers, order’d he ſhould come in, and demanded of him if his Lady were well, or if he knew of any thing extraordinary that had happen’d to her, which ſhould occaſion this hasty Summons. To which he anſwered, that he was entirely incapable of telling her the Meaning, only as to his Lady’s Health, he neither ſaw nor heard her complain of any Indiſpoſition. Well then, ſaid the Lady, a little out of Humour, I deſire you’ll make my Excuſe, as I have really a great Cold, and am fearful the Night-Air may increaſe it, but Tomorrow I will not fail to wait on her very early in the Morning. The Man being gone, we were beginning to form ſeveral Conjectures on this Meſſage of Madam de Beauclair, but before we had Time to agree on what might be the moſt feaſible Occaſion, he return’d again, and with him Mrs. Ward, her Woman, both ſeeming very much confus’d and out of Breath. O, 276 Nn4v 276 O, Madam, cry’d ſhe, my Lady expreſſes an infinite Concern that you refuſe this Requeſt, which ſhe ſays will be her laſt; ſhe ſays that ſhe is convinced of not being in a Condition to receive your Viſit Tomorrow; but as a Token of her Friendſhip bequeaths you this little Caſket containing her Watch, Necklace, and ſome other Jewels, which ſhe deſires you will wear in Remenbrance of her. These Words were accompany’d with the Delivery of the Legacy ſhe mention’d, and that, as well as Mrs. Ward’s Words, threw us both into a Conſternation we were not able to expreſs;—the Lady would fain have enter’d into ſome Diſcourſe with Mrs. Ward concerning the Affair, but ſhe evaded it by ſaying, ſhe had left only an under Maid with Madam de Beauclair, and muſt return immediately; on which the Lady cry’d all at once, I will go with you, there muſt be ſomething very uncommon certainly in this. I offered to attend her, being, as I well might, deſirous of getting ſome Light into what at preſent appear’d ſo myſterious. In fine, we went that Inſtant, but as no mention was made of me, nor Madam de Beauclair might not, probably, be inform’d I was with the Lady when her Servant came, Goodmanners and Decency oblig’d me to wait in a lower Apartment, unleſs ſhe gave leave for my Admittance. She 277 Oo1r 277 She was, however, no ſooner inform’d I was there than ſhe deſir’d I ſhould come up:—I did ſo, and found her sitting in an eaſy Chair near her Bed-ſide, and in my Eyes, as well as all thoſe preſent, ſeem’d in as perfect Health as ever ſhe had been. On our enquiring if ſhe felt any inward Diſorder within herſelf, which ſhould give room for the melancholly Apprehenſions her Meſſage teſtify’d, ſhe reply’d in the Negative; Yet, ſaid ſhe, with a little Sigh, you will ſoon, very ſoon, behold me paſs from this World into that Eternity which I once doubted, but am now aſsur’d of. As ſhe ſpoke theſe laſt Words ſhe look’d full in my Face, as it were to remind me of the Converſation we frequently had held together on that Subject. I told her, I was heartily glad to find ſo great a Change in her Ladyſhip’s Sentiments, but that I hop’d ſhe had no Reaſon to imagine the Conviction would be fatal: Which ſhe only anſwer’d with a gloomy Smile; and a Clergyman of her own Perſwaſion, whom ſhe had ſent for, that Moment coming in, we all quitted the Room, to leave him at Liberty to exerciſe his Function. It exceeded not half an Hour before we were call’d in again, and ſhe appear’d, after Vol. II. Oo having 278 Oo1v 278 having diſburthen’d her Conſcience, to be more chearful than before; her Eyes, which were as piercing as poſſible, ſparkled with an uncommon Vivacity, and ſhe told us ſhe ſhould die with the more Satiſfaction as ſhe enjoy’d in her laſt Moments the Preſence of two Perſons the moſt agreeable to her in this World, and in the next would be ſure of enjoying the Society of one, who in Life had been the deareſt to her. We were both beginning to diſwade her from giving way to Thoughts which there ſeem’d not the leaſt Probability of being verify’d; when ſhe put a Stop to what we were about to urge, by ſaying, Talk no more of that, ――My Time is ſhort, and I would not have the ſmall Space allowed me to be with you waſted in vain Deluſion:――Know, continued ſhe, I have ſeen my dear Dutcheſs of Mazarine:— I perceiv’d not how ſhe enter’d, but turning my Eyes towards yonder Corner of the Room, I ſaw her ſtand in the ſame Form and Habit ſhe was accuſtomed to appear when living;—fain would I have ſpoke but had not the Power of Utterance; ――ſhe took a little Circuit round the Chamber, ſeeming rather to ſwim than walk;—then ſtopp’d by the Side of that Indian Cheſt, and looking on me with her uſual Sweetneſs, Beauclair, ſaid ſhe, between the Hours of Twelve and One this Night you will be with me:――The Surprize I was in at firſt being a little abated, I began to aſk ſome Queſtions concerning that future World I was 279 Oo2r 279 was ſo ſoon to viſit, but on the opening of my Lips for that Purpoſe, ſhe vaniſh’d from my Sight I know not how. The Clock was now very near ſtriking Twelve, and, as ſhe diſcover’d not the leaſt Symptoms of any Ailment, we again aim’d to remove all Apprehenſions of a Diſſolution; but we had ſcarce begun to ſpeak, when on a ſudden her Countenance changed, and ſhe cry’d out, O! I am ſick at Heart!—Mrs. Ward, who all this while had ſtood leaning on her Chair, apply’d ſome Drops, but to no Effect; ſhe grew ſtill worſe, and in about half an Hour expired, it being exactly the Time the Apparition had foretold. I have been ſo particular in relating all the Circumſtances of this Affair, as well to prove I could not be deceiv’d in it, as to ſhew that Madam de Beauclair was neither vapouriſh nor ſuperſtitious, as many believe all are who pretend to ſee any thing ſupernatural:—I am, indeed, very ready to allow that the Force of Imagination may impoſe upon the Senſes, and that it frequently has done ſo, and that the Stories told us in our Infancy leave Ideas behind them, which, in our riper Years, are apt to make us fancyful; but in the Caſe I have mention’d there could be nothing of all this; the Lady you may perceive was ſo far from any Apprehenſions or Prepoſſeſſions of that Nature, that, on the contrary, ſhe look’d upon Oo2 them 280 Oo2v 280 them as ridiculous and abſurd, and could have been convinced by nothing but the Teſtimony of her own Eyes and Ears. It muſt be confeſs’d, ſuch extraordinary Means of warning us of our Fate but rarely happen, nor can it be ſuppoſed departed Spirits have the Power of viſiting us at Pleaſure; for which Reaſon I look upon all ſuch Agreements, as were made between theſe Ladies, as highly preſumptuous, and when permitted to be fulfilled, we are not to imagine it done to gratify the vain Curioſity of thoſe who doubt a future State, but to ſtrengthen the Faith of thoſe who believe in it. I think, therefore, whoever is well aſſur’d of the Truth of ſuch an Incident, ought to communicate it to the Public, eſpecially in theſe Times, when all the Belief of another World, on which of Conſequence our good Behaviour in this depends, ſtands in need of every Help for maintaining any Ground among us:―― In this View alone I have troubled you with ſo long an Epiſtle; leaving you at full Liberty, either to inſert the whole of what I have wrote, or to relate the Story after your own more more agreeable Manner. I am, Madam, Your conſtant Reader, And very great Admirer. A. B. Lincoln’s-Inn-Square, 1745-01-31Jan. 31,Our 281 Oo3r 281
Our whole little Society were very much touch’d on the reading of this Account, eſpecially Mira, whoſe Mother having been intimately acquainted with Madam de Beauclair, ſhe had heard ſpeak of that Lady as of a Woman of very great Capacity, and wholly free from thoſe Prejudices of Education, by which narrow Minds are liable to be impoſed upon.
For my Part, while I have the Authority of Holy Writ, the Judgment of the Fathers, and the Opinion of the beſt and wiſeſt of all Nations and Religions on my Side, I ſhall not be aſham’d to avow my Belief that Apparitions of departed Souls are not meerly traditional, nor aſhamed of any Imputation our modern Philoſophers may throw upon me for it.
It is certain, there have been ſo many trifling, and indeed ridiculous Reports, concerning Spirits and haunted Houſes, that ſeveral well-meaning Perſons, not able to credit all they hear, give Ear to nothing of that Nature, ſo that did the whole Proof of the Immortality of the Soul reſt in this Article, the Number of thoſe who place their Suummum Bonum in this World, would be greatly increas’d; but for the Comfort of us who have more exalted Ideas of the infinite Wiſdom, Juſtice, and Mercy of our Creator, there are a thouſand other no leſs convincing Teſtimonies, which, whoever wants in his own Breaſt, may find fully expatiated upon in a Multiplicity of learned Treatiſes.They 282 Oo3v 282
They ſay, what we wiſh we moſt readily believe; and if ſo, nothing, methinks, can be more ſtrange than that Man, ambitious and inquiſitive by Nature, ſhould, with ſo much Eaſe, give up his Hopes of Eternity; and make all he has to value himſelf upon, as well as all the Reſearches of the ever-enquiring Mind, depend on a little Breath, which the Fall of a Tile from a Houſe, or the moſt minute Accident, may deprive him of in a Moment, and which, without any Aſſault from without, he is ſure will one Day be taken from him.
Sure if that Spark of the Divine Eſſence, with which all of Human Race are more or leſs illumin’d, could ſuffer Annihilation, thoſe who deny themſelves poſſeſs’d of it, and expect to periſh as the Brutes, deſerve to do ſo.
The Folly or Madneſs of ſuch Notions would, however, like other Kinds of Idiotiſms, find Pity from their Fellow Creatures, were not thoſe poſſeſs’d of them wicked enough to endeavour to render the Infection univerſal:—Every one who thinks this way is indefatigable in his Labours to bring others into the ſame Opinion with himſelf:――A Mark of Envy and Malice little inferior to that Diſpoſition which Milton aſcribes to the fallen Angels; for what can be more calculated for the Deſtruction of Mankind, than to aboliſh that only Principle which can preſerve any Order among them:――For let us boaſt as much as we will of Morality, Honour, and Goodnature,nature, 283 Oo4r 283 nature, Paſſion will ſometimes o’erleap thoſe Bounds, even in the beſt of us, if not reſtrained by the Conſideration of Futurity. How juſtly does Shakeſpear expreſs this Sentiment in his Play of Hamlet, for if once we bring ourſelf to anſwer in the Negative this important Queſtion, To be, or not to be! it would be eaſy for the ungoverned Will to bear down every thing before it, and tread all Human Inſtitutions under Foot:—All Diſtinction between Right and Wrong would ceaſe:—Strength to overpower, and Cunning to circumvent, would be the only Virtues, and he that moſt excell’d in theſe be the moſt happy Man; as Mr. Dryden ſays: The World is made for the bold impious Man,Who ſtops at nothing, ſeizes all he can.
What, indeed, would be ſcrupled that afforded the Proſpect either of Profit or Pleaſure; nay would it be thought Wiſdom to heſitate in the Purſuit:—Life, we all know, is but of a ſhort Duration, and naturally attended with Cares and Diſeaſes; who would not then endeavour to ſweeten it as much as poſſible, and partake all the Enjoyments of the Senſes, while we have Power to do it, ſince in the Grave none are to be found, and we expect nothing beyond it!Thus 284 Oo4v 284
Thus would every one ſeek only his own Contentment and the Gratification of his Paſſions, without any Regard to what others ſuffered by them.
O, but you’ll ſay, there are Laws to preſerve Regularity among us, and ſevere Penalties to keep Vice in Bounds:—To which it may be anſwer’d, that if this Doctrine of a Non-Entity after Death ſhould become univerſal, the Corruption of it would, doubtleſs, be ſo too, and he who pronounced the Sentence, and he whoſe Buſineſs it was to execute it, would both equally be ſway’d; ſo that the Criminal would have little to fear;— where all are alike guilty, who will be hardy enough to throw the firſt Stone!
In a word, it is the Thoughts of this tremendous, yet deſirable Futurity, that keeps us all in Awe:――Mr. Locke has proved to a Demonſtration, that nothing is more inconſiſtent with itſelf than Human Nature:――No one is certain that he ſhall be of the ſame Opinion Tomorrow that he is Today; and thoſe who depend for any grateful Returns of Love, Friendſhip, good Office, or the Performance of any Promiſe or Vows, tho’ made in the moſt ſolemn Manner, on a Perſon who apprehends no Puniſhment hereafter, I am afraid will find themſelves miſerably deceived.
I am convinced, that were there a Window in the Breaſt, through which might be diſcover’d the ſecret 285 Pp1r 285 ſecret Receſſes of every Heart, we ſhould find ſome black and corrupted Seeds in all, which would verify the Poet’s Words, that All Men would be wicked if they durſt.
But this is a Principle the Latitudinarians abſolutely deny; and, if you will believe them, Honour is of itſelf ſufficient to hinder them from committing any Action to the Prejudice of Society and the common Good, tho’ never ſo pleaſing or intereſting to themſelves.
People, ſay they, who are govern’d by the Stories told them by the Prieſts, and ſquare their Actions according to the written Rules of Religion, have mean and mercenary Minds:—For their own Parts they are above the Hopes of Reward, or the Fears of Puniſhment, but will do all the Good they can notwithſtanding, becauſe it is conſiſtent with the Laws of Nature.
I could wiſh they would perform what they ſo loudly boaſt of, and really do all the Good they could even from this Motive; but I fancy, if we examine ever ſo ſlightly into the Behaviour of the greateſt Part of them, we ſhall find what they call doing of Good, is only what promiſes ſomething, which, at that time, they imagine a Good to themſelves.
But, methinks, there is ſomewhat ſtrangely farcical in their talking after this Manner:―― Vol. II. Pp Is 286 Pp1v 286 Is it not in the Expectation of Recompence, of ſome Kind or other, that all our Undertakings are ſet on Foot!—What are all our Emulations, our Struggles, our Endeavours, but the aiming at ſome Point, in the Attainment of which we place our Happineſs!――Are not the Hopes of Fame, Pleaſure, or Profit, the Bribes which inſtigate us in every thing we do!—The beſt, as well as worſt, are wholly govern’d by this View:—The nobleſt Virtues and the fouleſt Vices are alike excited by it, and tho’ they take different Paths to arrive at their Deſires, Self-ſatisfaction is ſtill the Center to which our Footſteps tend.
How prepoſterous, therefore, how abſurd is it, that People ſhall think no Toils, no Dangers, no Submiſſions, too much, in order to purchaſe ſuch a temporary and uncertain Happineſs, as the Toys of this ſhort Life can give; yet cry it is beneath the Greatneſs of their Souls to do any thing in the Hope of an everlaſting Reward in the Realms of never-fading Glory!
As to that thing call’d Honour, by which ſo many pretend to be reſtrained from being guilty of any mean or baſe Action, a Perſon, the leaſt converſant with the World, may be furniſh’d with innumerable Inſtances to prove it is no more than Sound;—pompous, indeed, but fleeting; empty, and variable as the Air, when not accompanied with Religion: The Conſideration how little it is to be rely’d upon, brings to my Mind an Event, which happened, ſome few Yeaars ſince, in a 287 Pp2r 287 a Family I was perfectly acquainted with, and which at the ſame Time made ſome Noiſe in Town, as the Perſons concern’d were of Condition and Figure.
Martius was a General in the Army, and, like the Patron of his Arms, was no leſs amorous than valiant, and ſerved both the Powers of Love and War with equal Succeſs: After a long Courſe of Triumphs in the Field and Ruelle, he was very near being foil’d by a young Lady, whoſe Innocence was equal to her Beauty, and who, on the firſt Diſcovery, made of his Inclinations, gave him a Rebuff, ſuch as he had not been accuſtomed to be treated with.
In vain he tempted her with all the Arts which artful Men practiſe on our too often unwary and believing Sex:—In vain he follow’d her with Preſents, Promiſes, Sighs, Tears, made uſe of every Argument that Love could dictate, or that Wit could form:—Her Virtue, like a Rock, was impregnable to all Aſſaults from without, and as little capable of being betray’d by any guilty Tenderneſs within.
Persecuted, however, with his continual Sollicitations, in ſpite of all the Methods ſhe could take to put a Stop to them in a Town where, being oblig’d to be often at public Places, ſhe was ſure of always meeting him, ſhe took a Reſolution to go into the Country to a Maiden Aunt, who, having but a ſmall Fortune, lived extremely Pp2 re- 288 Pp2v 288 retired; and rather chuſe to baniſh herſelf from all the Pleaſures of one of the moſt agreeable Cities in the World, than, by her Preſence, give the leaſt Encouragement to a Paſſion, which, as Martius was a married Man, ſhe could not even think on without Horror.
But let Virtue be ever ſo induſtrious for its Preſervation, Vice will ſtill be more ſo for its Deſtruction:—Martius found Means, by bribing one of her Father’s Servants, to diſcover the Place to which ſhe was retired, and borne on the Wings of furious Deſire, immediately purſued her thither; but not yet determined in his Mind how he ſhould proceed, conceal’d his Name and Quality, and lay privately at an Inn near the Houſe which Iſmenia (for ſo I ſhall call her) had made Choice of for her Aſylum,
While he remained thus perdu he was not idle in the Proſecution of that Deſign which had carried him ſo great a Diſtance from all his other Affairs in Life:――He made a ſtrict Enquiry concerning the Behaviour of Iſmenia, and hearing ſhe went but little Abroad, except to Church, and ſometimes to take a little Walk in the Fields, always accompanied by her Aunt, who, they told him, was in narrow Circumſtances, and alſo extremely covetous; he perceived there would be Difficulties in getting into her Company, which could no way be ſurmounted without the Aſſiſtance of that very Perſon to whom ſhe had flown for Protection.He 289 Pp3r 289
He therefore prevail’d upon the Woman of the Inn to engage the Aunt of Iſmenia to come to her Houſe, under the Pretence of having got a Hurt in her Leg, the old Lady being, as many of thoſe who live in the Country are, a very great Doctreſs.
While ſhe was there the General came into the Room, as if by Accident, and eaſily found Means to ingratiate himſelf:—The Landlady leaving them alone, as had been agreed between them, he let her know his Name and Quality, and then, having properly prepared her for the Declaration, acquainted her with the Paſſion he had for her lovely Neice, expatiated on the Length of Time he had ſuffered by her Cruelty, and clos’d his Speech with the Offer of a Bank Note of five hundred Pounds for her charitable Aſſiſtance in the Affair, and the Promiſe of as much more if he ſucceeded.
It is not to be doubted but ſhe made ſome Scruples at firſt; but his Rhetoric, together with that of the few Words which the Bit of Paper contained, ſoon ſilenced all Objections, and ſhe became entirely the Creature of his Will, and concerted with him on the moſt proper Meaſures to accompliſh it.
Little did poor Iſmenia apprehend the cruel Stratagem that was laid to enſnare her Innocence, when the next Day this wicked Aunt told her, that ſhe had hired a Chaiſe and Pair, and would 290 Pp3v 290 would take her out in the Afternoon, and ſhew her the Country, which as yet, ſaid ſhe, my dear Neice, you have ſeen nothing of.
The young Lady thought herſelf highly oblig’d for this Proof of her Love and Complaiſance, and accordingly dreſs’d herſelf as ſoon as Dinner was over in order to go.
The Chaiſe being come, they went together into it, and the Coachman had Orders to take a pretty large Circuit; during this Time Iſmenia was very agreeably entertain’d with the Proſpect of ſeveral fine Seats, which were ſcatter’d up and down, as well as with the Hiſtory of thoſe who lived in them, related to her by her Aunt, who was now in a moſt excellent Humour.
Two or three Hours were taken up in this Amuſement, after which the Aunt ſaid ſome Refreſhment would be neceſſary, and bad the Coachman ſtop at ſome Place of Entertainment where they might go in.
The Fellow, who was before inſtructed what he was to do, drove to the Gate of a Houſe which ſtood a little out of the Road, where they alighted, and went into a Room:――Wine and Cakes were call’d for, but how ſurpriz’d and terrify’d was Iſmenia, when ſhe ſaw the Man that brought them in was followed by Martius, who accoſting them with a gay Air, told them, that happening to be in that Part of the Country, and calling 291 Pp4r 291 calling at this Houſe to bait, he had ſeen them come out of the Chaiſe, and was rejoiced to meet ſuch good Company in a Place he ſo little expected them!
The Spirits of Iſmenia were in too great a Hurry to permit her to make any Anſwer to what he ſaid――but her Aunt, who pretended to have been formerly well acquainted with the General, talk’d to him with a great deal of Familiarity, and ſeem’d extremely pleas’d with ſeeing him:――Iſmenia, however, grew more and more uneaſy, and would have given the World for a Moment’s Opportunity to let her Aunt know the Deſigns he had upon her, not, in the leaſt, doubting but the old Lady would then haſten away as ſoon as Decency would permit.
After ſome Time Fortune favour’d her Wiſhes in this Point, Martius went out of the Room to give ſome Orders in the Houſe, and was no ſooner out of hearing, than ſhe diſburthen’d all the Fears her innocent Breaſt was full of; on which the treacherous Wretch affected ſome Surprize, but told her, that ſhe would have her be perfectly eaſy, ſince there could be nothing offer’d offenſive to her Modeſty while ſhe was preſent, and it would not look well to leave a Man of his Quality, and whom ſhe had known ſo long, in an abrupt Manner.Is- 292 Pp4v 292
Ismenia was a little ſatisfied with the Reaſons ſhe gave her, and the more ſo as ſhe perceived the General behaved to her with no other than a diſtant Civility, which ſhe imagined was entirely owing to the Reſtraint he was under on her Aunt’s Account; a handſome Collation being ſerved up, ſhe partook of it with little leſs Chearfulneſs than ſhe would have done had this ſo much dreaded Lover not been there.
It was now pretty late, yet ſhe durſt not preſume to ſet Limits to her Aunt’s Diſcretion; and finding ſhe mention’d nothing of going, thought it would ill become her to remind her of it:―― ’Tis certain they were all extremely gay, and Martius taking an Opportunity of drawing them to a Window to admire the Beauty of the Moon, which was then at her full Height, and ſeem’d to dance on a little River which ran oppoſite to the Houſe, the perfidious Aunt ſlipp’d out of the Room, unperceiv’d by Iſmenia, who at that Moment was taken up with the Softneſs of the Proſpect before her.
It was not, however, long before ſhe miſs’d her, and turn’d haſtily about;—ſhe look’d round the Room, and not ſeeing her, cry’d, in ſome Sort of Confuſion, Where is my Aunt? The General made only ſome ſlight Anſwer, and was endeavouring to engage her in Diſcourſe; but her Conſternation increaſing, ſhe liſten’d to nothing he ſaid, but was going to ring the Bell for the People of the Houſe to come up, in order to enquire where 293 Qq1r 293 where her Aunt was gone:—This he prevented her from doing, and plainly told her, the Lady on whom ſhe depended was gone home, and had left her under his Protection that Night.
Scarce could ſhe give Credit to ſo ſhocking a Truth, ’till fatally convinced of it, by finding ſhe did not return, and the Change of the General’s Behaviour:—He treated her, indeed, with no indecent Freedoms, but let her know ſhe was in his Power, and that he had taken too much Pains for the Procurement of this Opportunity to let it ſlip.
It is not in the Power of Words to expreſs the Terror, the Conſternation, the Agonies of Heart which the poor beguil’d Iſmenia now endur’d:—She wept, ſhe implored, and ſometimes had Courage enough to menace this Perſecutor of her Innocence; but he was as inflexible to all ſhe urg’d in the Defence of her Virtue, as ſhe had been to the Attacks he made upon it.
At length, whether it were that ſhe had drank more freely than ſhe was accuſtom’d, or whether her Reaſon was ſo far loſt by the Hurry her Spirits had ſuſtain’d in this Surprize, but all her Reſolution ſeem’d to flag, and ſhe conſented to go to Bed, on his ſwearing to her, upon his Honour, he would offer nothing to the Prejudice of her Virtue.Vol. II. Qq How 294 Qq1v 294
How little he kept his Word the Reader’s Thoughts, I dare ſay, will anticipate my Relation; but the Motive that induced me to preſent them with this Story was to ſhew how little Honour is to be depended upon when Paſſion intervenes, and how much the General ſpoke the Senſe of all his Sex, when Iſmenia reproaching him with his Breach of Honour, he reply’d laughing, Oh, Madam, we throw Honour aſide when we come between a Pair of Sheets.
In fine, Love, Intereſt, Ambition, or any other predominant Paſſion, will render us forgetful of what is owing to Honour or Morality, were it not for ſomething more than barely knowing what we ought to do, and we ſhould be apt to ſay with Abdalla in the Play: If when a Crown and Miſtreſs are in Place,Virtue intrudes with her lean holy Face,Virtue’s then mine, and I not Virtue’s Foe:Why does ſhe come where ſhe has nought to do?Let her with Anchorets, not with Lovers lie,Stateſmen and they keep better Company.
Since then the Belief of a future State is ſo neceſſary a Guard on our Behaviour in the present, we ought, methinks, to look on all thoſe who attempt to depreciate it, as the Peſts of Society, and common Enemies of Mankind.
On the other hand, all Encouragement ought to begiven to whatever may contribute to the ſtrength- 295 Qq2r 295 ſtrengthening our Faith in this ſo material a Point; that bad as Superſtition is repreſented, and really is, it can neither lead us into ſo many Errors in this World, nor ſo much endanger our eternal Happineſs in the next, as Infidelity.
This is an Aſſertion which, I am very ſenſible, there are many People will deny; but then they muſt be of that Sort who are either influenc’d by Self-conceit, or do not well conſider the Nature of the Queſtion; ſince thoſe who acknowledge a Deity muſt own, that to fear him in Exceſs with the Superſtitious, is more pardonable than not to fear him at all, with thoſe who think the Soul is mortal as the Body.
It is certain that the Belief of ſuch ſupernatural Apparitions, as Mr. A.B. gives an Account of, is no way eſſential to our Dependance on a Life to come: We may be perfectly aſſured within ourſelves of the latter, yet give no Credit to the former; but this I will venture to affirm, that whoever is convinced of the former has it not in his Power to make any Doubt of the latter.— We may exiſt to all Eternity, yet not be permitted to reviſit the Earth after our Departure from it; but we cannot poſſibly return after Death if our Spirits ceaſed entirely to exiſt.
For this very Reaſon, therefore, if no other, we ought not to reject, as fabulous, every thing that is told us concerning Apparitions; and I am amazed that they ſhould now fall into ſuch DiſcreditQq2 dit 296 Qq2v 296 dit with the World, after having prevail’d thro’ ſo many Ages without ever being call’d in queſtion.
Truth is not leſs Truth becauſe Falſhood ſometimes uſurps its ſacred Name:—If, as my Correſpondent obſerves, we are to believe only ſuch Things as never have been mingled with Lyes, we muſt believe nothing;――there have been, and ſtill are, falſe Hiſtories,—falſe Religions,—falſe Miracles,—and falſe Gods; but that is not a ſufficient Reaſon for us to think all are ſo.
The Author of Reflections on Learning has, indeed, taken a great deal of Pains to prove that nothing is to be depended upon; and it muſt be confeſs’d, that no Wit or Eloquence are wanting in that little Treatiſe to win upon the Reader; but I am afraid they are the only Merit of it, ſince we are all too apt to doubt, and ſtand in need of no Arguments to flatter us into an Opinion it is Wiſdom in us to do ſo; as Cowley emphatically complains: Ah mighty God! I ſpeak with Shame and Grief,Ah! that our greateſt Failings were Belief!
I am far, however, from maintaining that we are to give Ear, indiſcriminately, to every Story we hear:—In ſuch Things as relate to Human Affairs, our own Reaſon, and the Character of the Reporter is to be conſulted, but in ſuch as are 297 Qq3r 297 are meerly intellectual, and beyond Reaſon to comprehend, we are to believe there may be a Poſſibility of what has even never been reduced to Fact.
Had there never, in Effect, been any ſuch thing as a Spirit aſſuming either the Shape it wore in Fleſh, or that of any other, to render itſelf viſible to Mortal Eyes, we ſhould not, methinks, infer from thence that there are no Spirits, or that the Supreme Being cannot, if he pleaſes, commiſſion, or permit them to appear.
I know very well that in former Times Mankind has been very much impoſed upon by evil-minded People, who, for various Purpoſes, have forged long Narratives of ſtrange and wonderful Apparitions:――Some even in our Days have been deceived this way, and the too great Credulity of the Few to Improbabilities, made the Many aſham’d of giving their Aſſent even to what was otherwiſe:—Houſes have been reported to be haunted out of Malice to thoſe who own’d them: —Supernatural Warnings from the other World have been pretended, out of Hypocriſy, by thoſe who would be thought more holy, and conſequently more favoured by Heaven than their Neighbours:—The moſt abſurd and wild Stories have been told out of the meer Vanity of exciting Attention in the Hearers; and frightful Ghoſts and Spectres have been ſaid to appear, in order to raiſe Compaſſion to thoſe ſuppoſed to be perſecuted by them.But 298 Qq3v 298
But the Number of thoſe who, to ſerve ſome private End, have rack’d their Invention to impoſe on others is ſmall, when compared with thoſe who are themſelves impoſed upon by the Force of their own Imaginations:――There are People of ſo timid a Nature, that they take every Shadow, which the Moon makes by her Shine on diſtant Objects, for a Ghoſt:—I know one, who in other Things wants not Courage, yet happening to paſs, after Sunſet, through a Church-Yard in the Country, was ſo terrified with the Sight of on old Yew-Tree that grew there, that he fell into a Fit, which he might never have recovered from, had not ſome People wnho knew him chanced to come the ſame way, and ſeeing him lie there, apply’d proper Means to bring him to himſelf:— The firſt Uſe he made of Speech was to tell them, he had ſeen the Apparition of his elder Brother, who had died about a Year before; that he nodded his Head at him, and ſpread his Arms as though he wanted to embrace him:—On his pointing to the Place where he fancy’d he ſaw the Ghoſt, they preſently gueſs’d the Truth; but tho’ they endeavour’d to make him ſenſible of it, and alledg’d how great a Probability there was that his Eyes might be deceived by the Form in which the Tree was cut, yet either the Difference of the Attitude he now was in, or the Beams of the Moon playing leſs direct upon it than before, it appear’d not the ſame to him it had done, and he could not be prevailed upon for a great while to believe that he had not in reality ſeen a Spirit.It 299 Qq4r 929299
It is certain, that the Reflection which the Moon makes, or even a Twy-light, without the Aſſiſtance of that Planet on Objects, at ſome times gives them an Appearance very different to what they have in reality, and a Perſon of the beſt Senſe and Reſolution may at firſt Sight be a little ſtartled; but in ſuch a Caſe, I think, one ſhould call Reaſon to one’s Aid, and conſider how many Accidents may poſſibly occaſion ſuch a Deception of the viſual Ray before one conclude the Shade is a Viſitor from the other World.
But what is very ſurprizing, yet at the ſame time convincing, that the Soul holds more Acquaintance with intellectual Beings than ſhe informs the Body, is, that there are Perſons who do not believe, and conſequently do not fear Spirits, who have, on ſome Occaſions, been alarm’d, and before they were aware of it, caught, as it were, with a Kind of Terror at Images of their own Formation, which yet it would be impoſſible they could fall into, did not a ſupernatural Intelligence within, even in ſpite of themſelves, remonſtrate that ſuch Things might be.
A good pleaſant Inſtance of this Nature happened between ſeven and eight Years ago, when the Royal Vault in King Henry’s Chappel was opened for the Interment of her late Majeſty.
Every one knows that on thoſe Occaſions Weſtminſter-Abbey is a Place of great Reſort; ſome flocking thither out of Curioſity, others to in- 300 Qq4v 300 indulge their more ſolemn Meditations: By the former of theſe Motives it was, that five or ſix Gentlemen, who had dined together at a Tavern, were drawn to viſit that famous Repoſitory of the titled Dead: As they look’d down the ſteep Deſcent, by which ſo many Monarchs had been carry’d, to their laſt reſting Place on Earth, one cry’d, ’Tis helliſh dark,――Another ſtopp’d his Noſtrils, and exclaimed againſt the noiſome Vapour that aſcended from it.――All had their different Sayings, but as it is natural for ſuch Spectacles to excite ſome moral Reflections, even in the moſt gay and giddy, they all returned with Countenances more ſerious than thoſe with which they had enter’d.
Having agreed, however, to paſs the Evening together, they all went back to the ſame Place where they had dined, and the Converſation turning on a Future State, Apparitions, and ſuch like Topics; one among them, who was a perfect Infidel in theſe Matters, eſpecially as to Spirits becoming viſible, took upon him to rally the others, who ſeem’d rather inclinable to the contrary way of thinking.
As it is much eaſier to deny than it is to prove, eſpecially where thoſe that maintain the Negative will not admit, as valid, any Teſtimonies which can be brought in Contradiction to their own Opinion, he ſingly held out againſt all they had to alledge; at length, to end the Conteſt, they propoſed him a Wager of twenty Guineas, that as 301 Rr1r 301 as great a Hero as he pretended, or really imagined himſelf, he had not Courage enough to go alone, at Midnight, into the Vault they had been ſeeing that Day: This he readily accepted, and was very merry on getting ſuch a Sum with ſo much Eaſe.
The Money on both Sides was depoſited in the Hands of the Man of the Houſe; and one of the Vergers of the Abbey was ſent for, whom they engag’d, for a Piece of Gold, to attend the adventurous Gentleman to the Gate of the Cathedral, then ſhut him in and wait his Return.
Every thing being thus ſettled, the Clock no ſooner ſtruck Twelve than they all ſet out together; thoſe who had laid the Wager being reſolved not to be impoſed upon by his tampering with the Verger:—As they paſs’d along, another Scruple aroſe; which was, that tho’ they ſaw him enter the Church, how they ſhould be convinced he went as far as the Vault; but he inſtantly removed it by pulling out a Penknife he had in his Pocket:—This, ſaid he, will I ſtick into the Earth, and leave it there, and if you do not find it in the Inſide of the Vault, I will own the Wager loſt.
These Words left them nothing to ſuſpect, and they agreed to wait at the Door his coming out, beginning now to believe he had no leſs Reſolution than he had pretended.Vol. II. Rr ’Tis 302 Rr1v 302
’Tis poſſible the Opinion they had was no more than Juſtice, but whatever Stock of Courage he had on his firſt Entrance into that Antique and Reverend Pile, he no ſooner found himſelf ſhut into it alone, than, as he afterwards confeſs’d, he found a kind of ſhuddering all over him, which, he was ſenſible, proceeded from ſomething more than the Coldneſs of the Night.
Every Step he took was eccho’d by the hollow Ground, and tho’ it was not altogether dark, the Verger having left a Lamp burning juſt before the Door that led to the Chappel, otherwiſe it would have been impoſſible for him to have found the Place, yet did the faint Glimmering it gave, rather add to, than diminiſh the ſolemn Horrors of every thing around.
He paſs’d on, however, but proteſted, that had not the Shame of being laugh’d at prevented him, he would have forfeited more than twice the Sum he had ſtak’d, to have been out again.
At length, ſometimes groping his Way, and ſometimes directed by the diſtant Lamp, he reach’d the Entrance of the Vault;—his inward Tremor increaſed, yet determined not to be overpower’d by it, he deſcended, and being come to the laſt Stair, ſtoop’d forward, and ſtuck his Penknife, with his whole Force, into the Earth; but as he was riſing, in order to turn back and quit that dreadful Place, he felt ſomething, as he thought, ſuddenly catch hold of him, and pluck him 303 Rr2r 303 him forward; the Apprehenſions he before was in made an eaſy Way for Surprize and Terror to ſeize all his Faculties, he loſt, in one Inſtant, every thing that could ſupport him, and fell into a Swoon, with his Head in the Vault, and Part of his Body on the Stairs.
’Till after One, his Friends waited with ſome Degree of Patience, tho’ they thought he ſtay’d much longer in that Habitation of the Dead, than they could imagine a living Man would chuſe to do; but finding he came not then, began to fear ſome Accident might have befallen him, as indeed there had, tho’ they were far from ſuſpecting of what Kind;――but there being many Windings and intricate Turnings among the Tombs, it ſeem’d probable he might have miſtook his Way, and be unable to find it again thro’ thoſe Receſſes.
They debated among themſelves what they ſhould do in the Affair; the Verger they found, tho’ accuſtomed to the Place, did not care to go alone; therefore they reſolved to accompany him, and accordingly, preceeded by a Torch which a Footman belonging to one of the Company had with him, went into the Abbey, calling as they went, as loud as they could, thinking, that wherever he might be wandered he could not but hear their Voices.Rr2 No 304 Rr2v 304
No Anſwer, however, being returned, they moved on till they came to the Stairs of the Vault, where looking down they ſoon perceiv’d in what Poſture he lay, and the Condition he was in;—they immediately ran down to him, they rubb’d his Temples, unbutton’d his Cloaths, and did every thing they could think on to bring him to himſelf, but all in vain, and they were oblig’d to take him up, and carry him between two ’till they got out of the Abbey, when the Air coming freſh upon his Face he recovered of himſelf.
After two or three deep Groans, Heaven help me,—Lord have mercy upon me, cry’d he, theſe Words, and others of the like Nature, often repeated, very much ſurpriz’d them, but, imagining he was not yet perfectly come to his Senſes, they forbore ſaying any thing to him till they had got him into the Tavern, where, having placed him in a Chair by the Fire-ſide, they began to aſk him how he did, and how he came to have been ſo much diſordered; on which he acquainted them with the Apprehenſions he was ſeiz’d immediately after he had left them, and how having ſtruck his Penknife into the Floor of the Vault, according to his Agreement, he was about to return with all the haſte he could, when ſomething pluck’d him forward into the Vault, but added, that he had neither ſeen nor heard any thing but what his Reaſon might eaſily account for, and ſhould have come back with the ſame Sentiments he went, had not this unſeen Hand convinced him of the Injuſtice of his Unbelief.While 305 Rr3r 305
While he was making his Narrative, one of the Company ſaw the Penknife ſticking through the Fore-Lappet of his Coat, on which preſently conjecturing the Truth, and finding how deeply affected his Friend was by his Miſtake, as indeed were all the reſt, not doubting but his Return had been impeded by a ſupernatural Hand, he pluck’d out the Penknife before them all, and cry’d out, Here is the Myſtery diſcovered;—in the Attitude of ſtooping to ſtick this into the Ground, it happen’d, as you ſee, to paſs through the Coat, and on your attempting to riſe, the Terror you were in magnify’d this little Obſtruction into an imaginary Impoſſibility of withdrawing yourſelf, and had an Effect on your Senſes before Reaſon had any Time to operate.
This, which it is plain was the Caſe, ſet every one, but the Gentleman who had ſuffer’d ſo much by it, a laughing immoderately for a good while; but it was not eaſy to draw a ſingle Smile from him:――He ruminated on the Affair, while the others were talking gaily on it, and well remembering the Agitations he had been in, even while he paſs’d through the Cathedral, cry’d out, Well, there is certainly a Something after Death, or theſe ſtrange Impulſes on the Mind could never be:―― What is there in a Church more than in any other Building?――What in Darkneſs more than Light, which in themſelves ſhould have the Power to raiſe Ideas ſuch as I have now experienced?――Yes, continued he, I am convinced that I have been too pre- 306 Rr3v 306 preſumptuous; and whether Spririts be, or be not permitted to appear, that they exiſt I ever ſhall believe.
In this Opinion he has ever ſince continued, nor is it in the Power of any of thoſe who pretend to ridicule this Change in him, to bring him back to his former Sentiments.
How now ſhall this be accounted for?―― Can Human Reaſon inform us from what Source ſuch Tranſitions ſhall proceed?—from treating with the utmoſt Contempt every thing relating to the intellectual World, to become all at once one of the moſt ſanguine Believers in it, and to owe ſuch a Converſion to no Conviction of the Senſes, no Demonſtration from without, muſt certainly ariſe only from ſome ſudden Exertion of the Soul, which, for a Moment triumphing over all Impediments, compels us to ſee and to avow the Truth! ――If this Poſition ſhould ſeem too abſtruſe to any of my Readers, I think I cannot take any Way to render it more intelligible, than by illuſtrating it with a familiar Compariſon, which every one may experience:――If a Torch or any large lighted Taper is brought ſuddenly into a Room, the Beams that iſſue from it will be diſtinguiſh’d, let him ſhut his Eyes never ſo cloſely:――Even ſo do the Emanations of the Soul ſtrike ſometimes upon us, and dart through the thick Obſcurity of Fleſh.This 307 Rr4r 307
This is that Preſcience, that Divine Inſpiration which Platonides mentions; but tho’ he confines himſelf to thoſe ſudden Flaſhes which but ſhew themſelves and are no more, yet they ſometimes viſit us to greater Purpoſe, and leave laſting Impreſſions on the Mind.
Whether it is in the Power of our Human Reaſon, ſeconded by an ardent Deſire to aſſiſt the Soul in theſe Operations, I will not pretend to determine; but am ſenſible this is what our Correſpondent means by improving ſuch intellectual Warnings as we may ſometimes receive.
In my own Judgment it ſeems utterly impracticable, becauſe the Soul is of a Nature ſo infinitely ſuperior to the Body, that it can never be ſubjected to its Laws, or influenced by it, tho’ in a thing which would redound wholly to the Honour of itſelf. Mr. Dryden, in his excellent Poem call’d Religio Laici, moſt juſtly expreſſes this Sentiment: Dim as the borrow’d Beams of Moon and Stars,To lonely, weary, wand’ring Travellers,Is Reaſon to the Soul: and as on high,Thoſe rolling Fires diſtinguiſh but the Sky,Not light us here: ſo Reaſon’s glimm’ring RayWas lent, not to aſſure our doubtful Way,But guide us upward to a better Day.And308Rr4v308And as thoſe Nightly Tapers diſappear,When Day’s bright Lord aſcends the Hemiſphere,So pale grows Reaſon at religious Sight;So dies, and ſo diſſolves in ſupernatural Light.
Besides, were the Soul to communicate all it knows to the Body, what elſe ſhould we be but Matter ſpiritualiz’d!—a thing inconſiſtent in itſelf with all ſublunary Beings, and would neither be convenient, nor perhaps pleaſing to us;—even concerning thoſe Accidents which are to befall us here, of what Service would it be to foreknow what we are predeſtin’d to endure?
Our immortal, and juſtly celebrated Engliſh Pindar, has a Thought ſo applicable to this Subject, that I cannot forbear tranſcribing it, as nothing I am able to ſay can come ſo much up to it. In whatſoever CharacterThe Book of Fate is writ,’Tis well we underſtand not it!We ſhould go mad with too much Learning there.Upon the Brink of every Ill we did forſee,Undecently and fooliſhly,We ſhould ſtand ſhiv’ring, and but ſlowly ventureThe fatal Flood to enter:Since willing or unwilling, we muſt do it,They feel leaſt Cold and Pain who plunge at once into it.
I cannot here avoid taking Notice, tho’ ſomewhat foreign to my Purpoſe, if any thing can be 309 Ss1r 309 be called ſo, that tends to reforming the Follies of the Age, of that ridiculous Curioſity ſo many, eſpecially among my own Sex, are poſſeſs’d of, for the Fore-knowledge of Events; and the yet more ridiculous Faith they put in thoſe who impudently pretend to be acquainted with the Decrees of Fate.
Not only the Dealers in Aſtrology, who may be ſuppoſed to have taken ſome little Pains to attain the Art of deceiving, but Numbers of poor ignorant Creatures in this Town, who cannot read a Letter in a Book, pretend to read, in the Dregs left in the Bottom of a Coffee-Cup, whatever ſhall befall the Perſon that conſults them.
Others again, who affect to be more delicate and cleanly, have found a Way to make Fortune dance, in a Circle of Powder-Blue and Water; and ſome there are, who on cutting a Pack of Cards, and afterwards ſpreading them on a Table, preſent you with Love, Marriage, Law-Suits, Deaths, and what not?
It would be endleſs to recapitulate all the various Inventions which, of late Years, have paſs’d for Divination, and the Encouragement that has been given to them by Perſons of very high Rank and Figure in the World, as well as by the lower and more ignorant Claſs of People.
Astonishing is it to think, that ſuch mean Vol. II. Ss illiterate 310 Ss1v 310 illiterate Wretches, who, indeed, are no better than common Cheats and Vagabonds, ſhall have Admittance to the Cloſets of the Great, nay be careſs’d and entertained by them, and go away with repleniſh’d Pockets; when one perhaps of their own Blood, who happens to be unfortunate, ſhall either not be allowed Acceſs, or preſently diſmiſs’d with a ’Tis not in Power to do any thing for you; —you ſhould have taken more Care in Time, and not have brought yourſelf to this:――And ſuch like cruel Rebuffs.
Would a Woman of Condition but reflect how ridiculous a Figure ſhe makes, while condeſcending to ſit by the Side of one of theſe Creatures, and liſtening to every thing ſhe ſays as to an Oracle, ſure ſhe would bluſh to Death.
But this throwing aſide all juſt Diſtinction is, by much, the leaſt Part of the Evil that attends having any thing to do with Fortune-Tellers:— They for the moſt Part, by telling you ſuch Things as are common to every Body, and therefore cannot but be true, work you into ſuch an Opinion of their Skill, that you depend on what is moſt incredible; and ſometimes by their Hints, ſeemingly ſignificant Nods, Winks, and half Sentences, draw from you your deareſt Secrets, which they never fail to make their own Advantage of, tho’ to your utter Ruin.
I once knew a Lady, who in other Things wanted not a great Share of Underſtanding, and had 311 Ss2r 311 had alſo a ſufficient Number of Years over her Head to have defended her, as one would have imagined, from the Folly of giving into ſuch Fopperies, yet was ſo infatuated by one of theſe Coffee-throwers, as to engage her Huſband, whom ſhe had a great Aſcendant over, in an Affair which ended in the Deſtruction of himſelf and Family.
The Matter was this: The Gentleman happen’d to have a riſing Ground in one Part of his Eſtate, in the Country, which, ſome People imagined, had a Mine within it, and adviſed him to employ Men in digging it up; but the Experiment, on the moſt moderate Calculation, ſeem’d too expenſive to him to venture on ſo uncertain a Foundation, and the Thing was laid aſide for ſome time, and doubtleſs had continued ſo, but for a Woman of the Vocation I have mention’d.
The Lady was one Day very cloſe with this Creature over a Cup, when, among abundance of other Things, ſhe told her, there was a Hill of Proſperity for her Ladyſhip:――This Phraſe, it ſeems, is common among them, when they would make you believe you are about arriving at ſome good Fortune, nor did the Woman mean any more by it; but the Lady having this Mine in her Head, preſently imagined the Hill, which was thought to contain it, was denoted by the Coffee-Grounds, and aſk’d ſo many Queſtions concerning it, that the other eaſily found out the Secret, and accordingly pretended to ſee more Ss2 plainly 312 Ss2v 312 plainly this Mountain of good Fortune every Cup that was thrown:――In fine, having ſifted out every thing relating to the Buſineſs, ſhe proteſted that ſhe ſaw Numbers of Men buſy about this Hill, and at length went ſo far as to point out, with a Pin, the very Metal they brought out.
How ready are we to believe what we eagerly deſire! The Lady imagined ſhe ſaw Men loaded with Treaſure, and herſelf and Huſband ſitting in Splendor to receive it; and became as much aſſur’d within herſelf that all this would infallibly happen, as tho’ it had already done ſo.
The Conſequuence of this was, that ſhe ſuffer’d not her Huſband to enjoy one Moment’s Peace ’till he had employ’d Men, to the Number of three or four hundred, to dig up the Hill, and lay it entirely level with the Plain:—Nothing being found they ſearch’d yet deeper, ’till the late riſing Ground was now a low and dreary Vale. Any one may judge the Time and Money this muſt take up;—he mortgag’d his Eſtate Part by Part ’till he had no more Security to offer for the Sums borrow’d; and was at laſt oblig’d to ſell, and by Degrees became reduced, even to the loweſt Ebb of Fortune, inſtead of being raiſed, as he had been flatter’d with a Belief of, to the higheſt.
How many Animoſities have the idle Stories, told this Way, fomented among Families!—What Jea- 313 Ss3r 313 Jealouſies between married People!—The moſt innocent Actions are miſconſtrued,—the beſt Friends ſuſpected, if once Imagination preſents the Figure of a Snake or a Cat among the Grounds of the Coffee.—How monſtrous is this to Reaſon, and even common Senſe! Too low, indeed, for any long Animadverſion, and it muſt paſs among the Number of thoſe other foreign Follies, which, of late Years, have been tranſplanted into England.
But to return to that Subject, which, as I have already ſaid, both the above-cited Letters, in my Judgment, aim to prove; the Immateriality of the Soul, and its Power of operating in a more potent and extenſive Manner, when freed from corporal Incumbrances, than it can poſſibly do when clogged and perplexed with the Motions of Blood and Animal Spirits.
Those Flaſhes of Preſcience mention’d by Platonides are, indeed, a convincing Teſtimony, that the Divine Part in us may, for a Moment, break thro’ its Obſtructions; but thoſe ſtronger Preſages which our Dreams ſometimes afford, leave no room to doubt that it can act with infinitely more Vigour, when not reſtrained by the Agitations of the Body, or the buſy trifling Nothings of what the learned Doctor Burton, in his excellent and elaborate Treatise of Melancholly, calls the Animal Soul.That 314 Ss3v 314
That great Philoſopher, Phyſician, and Divine, makes it, I think, plainly appear that the Human Syſtem is actuated by two different Souls; the one of the ſame Nature with the Brute Creation, tends to the ſame Purpoſes, is governed by the Senſes, exiſts in the Blood, and when that ceaſes to circulate, dies with the Body: ――The other a Spark of the Divine Eſſence, immaterial, uncorruptable and immortal: To this belongs Invention, Judgment, Memory, Thought, Reflection and Contemplation: To this are owing thoſe Ideas which have the Power to render us in Theory, wherever, or whatever we wiſh: ――In fine, there is in this all that can fit us for everlaſting Happineſs, the Society of glorify’d Spirits, and the Preſence of the Supreme Author of our Exiſtence.
All theſe great Truths, Reaſon informs us in our waking Hours; but in our Sleep, when this Divine Part in us is unfettered by the Body, with what Alacrity does it exert itſelf! and how atteſt its Sovereignty over, and Independence on Matter!
We are, ſays the ingenious Author of Religio Medici, ſomewhat more than ourſelves in our Sleeps, and the Slumber of the Body ſeems to be but the waking of the Soul. It is the Ligation of Senſe, but the Liberty of Reaſon; and our waking Conceptions do not match the Fancies of our Sleeps.’Tis 315 Ss4r 315
’Tis certain we are then above Mortality, and the Soul has a free Intercourſe with ſupernatural Beings;—enjoys an unlimited Proſpect, and takes in all thoſe Wonders which frailer Senſe would ſhudder at, even if able to comprehend.
I am pretty well aware how much Raillery I may incur from ſome of my Readers for advancing this Poſition:—The ignorant Part of Mankind who cannot, or the indolent who will not, examine into the Nature of Dreams, regard them only as Fumes riſing to the Brain, from the Conſtitution of the Body, or the disjointed Ideas of ſome paſt Tranſactions, and laugh at all thoſe who make a ſerious Matter of them, as Enthuſiaſts, or ſuperſtitious Bigots.
But all this ſhall not deter the Female Spectator from aſſerting what ſhe is convinced of by her own Reaſon and Experience, as well as by the Teſtimonies of the moſt learned, wiſe, and unprejudiced Perſons of all Ages, all Religions, and all Nations.
But nothing I have ever read touch’d me ſo much, on the Subject of Dreams, as an Arabian Manuſcript, wrote, as the Title Page informs us, by a Jewiſh Rabbin, and was tranſlated into French, by one Monsieur de Clairville:—I believe it is ſtill in the Hands of ſome of the Oxford Family, for it was the Father of the late Earl who did me the Honour to give me the Peruſal of it.The 316 Ss4v 316
The Author does not pretend, that in Sleep the Soul is wholly free from the Co-operation of the Body, For if it were, ſays he, we ſhould no longer be in doubt of any thing: All the Myſteries of the Univerſe would be as familiar to us as the Flowers in our own Garden:—We ſhould not be Men but Angels, and enjoy the beatific Viſion before our Time of Probation was expired, and without having performed any one good Work to entitle us to it.
In fine, he lays down ſo many ſtrong Arguments to prove that the Soul is actually with God while the Body ſlumbers, that, I believe, the moſt learned of thoſe who would offer to conſult them, would find it a difficult Matter to ſucceed.
It may be objected, ſays he again, that ſome People in their Sleep are terrify’d with imagined Fires; others that they are falling into Waters; ſome that they fly through the Air with the ſame Lightneſs and Agility as a Bird; and ſome that they are labouring throuugh dirty Roads, or near being bury’d in the Ruins of a fallen Edifice. All which, it muſt be acknowledg’d, are occaſioned by the Conſtitution and different Humours of the Body; but even then, it muſt alſo be granted, that meer Matter could not produce theſe Images, and that it is the Soul, which in this Manner gives Warning of the Diſtempers which will predominate over us, and which perhaps we are at that Time unſuſpicious of, becausecause 317 Tt1r 317 cause theſe Dreams often happen before the corporeal Subſtance feels any Symptoms of them.
I have often thought that Mr. Dryden had ſeen, and took his Hint from this Treatiſe, by the Deſcription he gives of ſome kind of Dreams in his Poem of the Cock and the Fox. When Choler overflows, then Dreams are bredOf Flames, and of the Family of Red:Red Dragons, and red Beaſts in Sleep we view,For Humours are diſtinguiſh’d by their Hue;From hence we dream of Wars and warlike Things,And Waſps and Hornets with their double Wings.Choler aduſt congeals our Blood with Fear,Then black Bulls toſs us, and then Devils tear:In ſanguine airy Dreams aloft we bound,With Rheums oppreſs’d, we ſink in Rivers drown’d.
But, if it were to our Rabbin he was indebted for this Definition, he ſhould alſo have done him the Juſtice, or the World at leaſt, not to have ſtopped here, but to have ſhewn how he demonſtrates, that tho’ theſe Humours have an Influence over the Soul, (which, as he ſays, is not wholly diſengag’d from the Body) yet ſtill without that Soul, operating in Sleep, we could have no Foreknowledge of the Dangers to which our Syſtem is moſt liable.Vol. II. Tt To 318 Tt1v 318
To this it may, indeed, be anſwer’d, that Dreams are, for the moſt part, ſo incoherent, that they ſeem rather the Effect of a diſturb’d Imagination, than any Warnings from Above: I am ſenſible how much Weight this Objection carries with it, and ſhould yield to it in my own Opinion, did not my philoſophical Rabbin here alſo ſet me right.
He acknowledges that the Perplexity and Confuſion of thoſe nocturnal Images, frequently ſerve rather to diſtract the Brain, if too intenſely reflected upon, than any way inform us, either what we are, ſhall, or ſhould be; but this, he ſays, is owing to the Deficiency or Weakneſs of thoſe Organs, in which the Remembrance of what we have ſeen ought to remain upon, in order to return to us with any Perſpicuity, when we are awake: So that what the Soul beholds entire and diſtinct, appears to the Senſes disjointed, wild, and huddled; or if any particular Form dwells on the Idea, it ſeems as in a Miſt, and on endeavouring to behold more clearly, vaniſhes entirely from the Mind.
He enforces this Argument by ſeveral others, but as in doing ſo he made uſe of many technical Terms, I had not at that Time the Patience to go through with them as I ought, for attaining a perfect Underſtanding, yet comprehended, ſufficient as I then thought, to have talk’d very learnedly on the Matter.Time 319 Tt2r 319
Time and Experience alone can convince us all in what we are wanting: I have now enough of both, to make me ſenſible I am entering into a Point, not only too abſtruſe for me to pretend to diſcuſs, but alſo, perhaps, unintelligible to thoſe whom theſe Lucubrations are intended to reform:――What I would chiefly perſwade the Belief of is, the Excellency and Dignity of the Soul, that every one might have that juſt Value for it, as not to ſuffer the Senſes to prevail on the Body, for the Commiſſion of any Act unworthy of its Divine Partner and Companion; for whether the Preſages Dreams afford are owing to any latent Power the Soul has in itſelf, or to its immediate Communication with the Supreme Being, or with any ſubordinate Intelligence, is not the Point in View, or of any Moment to reſtrain our Irregularities; ſince the being convinced we have Souls, which muſt exiſt beyond the Grave, and are under a Neceſſity of being for ever happy or miſerable, is ſufficient to render us ambitious of doing thoſe Things that enable us to hope the One, and avoid, as far as in us lies, whatever may incur any Danger of the Other.
The Belief therefore of ſupernatural Appearances, the Regard we pay to Dreams, or thoſe Flaſhes of Preſcience in our waking Moments, are only ſo many Steps which lead to Faith in Immortality, and as ſuch ſhould rather be cheriſh’d than diſcourag’d.
As nothing is more plain, than that without Tt2 this 320 Tt2v 320 this Faith Religion cannot in reality ſubſiſt, it is ſtrange, methinks, that a People, who have paid ſo dear for Religion as we have done, ſhould be ſo eaſily brought to doubt of, if not contemn the very Foundation on which it is built.
Churchmen may flatter themſelves as much as they pleaſe, but without the Hope of Immortality all Religions, of what Mode ſoever, would be no more than an exterior Form, and even that too by Degrees would become neglected; Public Worſhip would ceaſe, and themſelves and Function be rendered wholly uſeleſs in the World.
How great a Pity is it, then, that this Pillar of our Faith is not more attended to, and that ſo much Time, Learning, and Eloquence, is laviſh’d in meer Trifles, which might be employ’d in the Support of this important Article!—True Devotion languiſhes while the Mind is divided, and taken up with Controverſies and Debates concerning Ceremonies, which in themſelves cannot be ſaid to be eſſential to Religion, and ſometimes prove prejudicial to it, by occaſioning weak Minds to ſet too high a Value on them, and miſtake the Shadow for the Subſtance.
True Religion is internal:――The nobleſt Temple of the Deity is the Heart of Man; and if Care be taken to adorn that with Zeal, Love, Integrity, Humility, and thoſe other Chriſtian Virtues, ſo often recommended in Scripture, the 321 Tt3r 321 the exterior Forms, which indeed tend more to the rendering our Devotion lovely in the Eyes of our Fellow-Creatures than in thoſe of Heaven, would be of little Prejudice, provided ſtill they were not neglected out of meer Oppoſition to the Eſtabliſh’d Church, and the neceſſary Order of its Government. Our Saviour came not with a gaudy Shew,Nor was his Kingdom of the World below.
I would not here be underſtood by any one as an Advocate for that ſlovenly Kind of Worſhip, practis’d by ſome of our modern Sectaries: On the contrary, I think, the Deity cannot be ador’d with too much Magnificence, nor approach’d with too much Reverence; nor can it be ſaid the Church has any one ſuperfluous Ceremony; but then I would not have the Pontificatibus come in any Competition with the Thing itſelf, for that would be the ſame as to value a fine Woman for the Sake of her Cloaths or Jewels.
To preſerve in our Hearts the Eſſence of the one, however, and the due Reſpect for the other, a firm and unſhaken Faith in Immortality is abſolutely neceſſary:――There is the great Hinge on which not only all Religion, but all Morality depends; and if that is once broken, both muſt fall to the Ground of courſe.
Might the Female Spectator preſume to remonſtratemonſtrate 322 Tt3v 322 monſtrate to the Reverend Clergy of every Perſwaſion, the Growth of Infidelity and Prophaneneſs at this Time, I am apt to believe they would throw aſide all Diſputes among themſelves, and unite their Labours for the convincing Mankind of the Truth of this fundamental Article.
But my Zeal may perhaps have carry’d me too great a length already:—People will ſay, I ought to confine myſelf to the World I am in, and not travel to thoſe of Futurity, unleſs I were able to diſcover more of them:――To the firſt Part of this Cavil I can only anſwer, that our well-doing here is ſo cloſely connected with our well-doing hereafter, that I found it impoſſible to ſeparate them; and that Religion and real Morality were, in effect, the ſame: Then as to the other, thoſe only who know how to deſcribe a Future State, ought to condemn my Ignorance of it; but it is my Happineſs that all Human Learning and Penetration are at a ſtand in this Affair, and the Idiot and Philoſopher are on a footing.
Saint Paul, the great Apoſtle of the Gentiles, is the only Perſon we read of who, while living, was ever favour’d with the Proſpect of eternal Glory; yet, after being rapt into the third Heaven, confeſſes himſelf unable to utter the Wonders he heard and ſaw, and tho’ poſſeſs’d of the moſt profound Learning of any Man of his Time, was even unable to determine whether he was in the Body, or out of the Body, when this peculiar Grace was beſtowed on him.The 323 Tt4r 323
The Purport of this little Eſſay is only to remind People of the Indignity they put on Human Nature, when they compare it with that of Brutes, and to prevail on them to cheriſh an aſſured Belief of that Immortality, which can alone render them worthy Members of Society while on Earth, and give them a Claim to the Bleſſings of it when they go hence;—that only Reflection which can afford the Poor any ſolid Comfort under their Misfortunes while living, and inſpire the more Proſperous with a contented Reſignation when dying.
Weak as my Endeavours are, they may poſſibly be affecting to ſome one Perſon; and if ſo, will much more than compenſaate for all the Raillery I may meet with from others, who would treat the moſt learned Work on this Topic with the ſame Deriſion.
The worſt that can be ſaid of this Attempt is, that it is the Overflowings of a Heart ſincere and ardent for the Happineſs of that Specie of the Creation, of which I have the Honour to be:— If every one thinks in the ſame Way, whatever Errors I have been guilty of will find an eaſy Pardon; and judging of the Act by the Intention, join with me in grateful Praiſe of that immenſe and gracious Power who made us what we are.
The two Letters ſigned Adraſta and Philenia are received, and ſhall not fail of being inſerted in the next Female Spectator; but that from Britanicus requires ſome Deliberation:—We know not 324 Tt4v 324 not how a Piece of that Nature may be reliſh’d at ſo critical a Juncture as this is; and if we ſhould find ourſelves oblig’d to delay, or entirely omit the Publication, flatter ourſelves he will excuſe it, as he may be aſſured it will not be the Effect of Choice, our Deſire being to oblige all our Readers, and our Correſpondents in particular, as far as is conſiſtent with Prudence, or the main Intention of theſe Lucubrations.
End of the Eleventh Book.
The Female Spectator.
The immoderate Love of Gaming, ſo prevalent of later Years, has been already touch’d upon in one of our former Eſſays; but as the Evil, inſtead of decreaſing, becomes every Day more ſpreading, the following Letter, which ſets forth the Folly and Madneſs of it in the moſt pictureſque Manner, may poſſibly make thoſe who were guilty aſhamed of being ſo.
To the Female Spectator. Madam, Had I no other Temptation for writing to you than barely making thoſe Acknowledgments which are due to you from all Vol. II. Uu your 326 Uu1v 326 your Sex, for your generous Endeavours to render us truly amiable, I could not reſiſt troubling you with ſuch Proofs of my particular Gratitude as are in the Power of a raw Country Girl. Instructions deliver’d in ſo cordial and polite a Manner, I ſhould think could not fail of having their Effect; at leaſt I have the Pleaſure of congratulating their Succeſs in a Place, which, tho’ a hundred Miles diſtant from London, has not been free from the Contagion of thoſe Follies, which I find reign here, as yet, to an unlimited Degree: I hope, however, a Day will come, when the Obſervations of thoſe Maxims the Female Spectator has ſo obligingly laid down, will be as much the Mode as the Errors they are intended to explode, at preſent ſeem to be. I came, Madam, to this great Town about three Months ago, which, till then, I had never ſeen: One of the firſt Viſits I made on my Arrival was to a Lady, who having received her Education in the ſame Place with me, I had been extremely intimate; as I knew ſhe was married to a Perſon in a high Station, and was oblig’d, by the Rank ſhe now held, to ſee a great deal of Company, I went in the Morning that I might have the Opportunity of talking to her with more Freedom than I could do before Strangers, and who, by the little I ſaw of London, I found were ready enough to laugh at the 327 Uu2r 327 the Simplicity of a Perſon who had lived always in the Country. It was between Eleven and Twelve when I came to her Door, where, after knocking a conſiderable time, a Footman, with his Night- Cap on, and pale, as juſt riſen from the Dead, came yawning forth, and, on my aſking for his Lady, O Gad, Madam, drawled he out, we had a Racquet here laſt Night, and my Lady cannot poſſibly be ſtirring theſe three Hours. I wondered what had happened, but would not aſk any Queſtions of the Fellow, ſo only left my Name, and ſaid I would wait on her at a more proper Time. From thence I went among the Shops, bought ſome Things I had occaſion for, then returned to my Lodgings, eat my Dinner, and about three made a ſecond Viſit to my Friend, having been all this Time very impatient to know what ill Accident had befallen her, for ſuch I judg’d the Fellow meant by a Racquet having been at her Houſe. I had the good Fortune now to be admitted, and found her at her Chocolate; ſhe had a Diſh of it in one Hand, and with the other ſeem’d very buſy in ſorting a large Parcel of Guineas, which ſhe divided in two Heaps on a Table that ſtood before her:――She roſe and received me with a great deal of Civility and Kindneſs, told me, ſhe was ſorry for my Diſappointment on my 328 Uu2v 328 my firſt Calling, but added, with a Smile, that when I had been a little while in Town, I ſhould learn to lie longer in Bed in a Morning. Still ſhe mentioned nothing of any Diſturbance that had happened, and appeared ſo perfectly eaſy and gay, that I knew not how to make any Enquiry concerning it, and had gone from her in a total Ignorance of the Matter, if ſhe had not ſet me right, by going on, I am not, ſaid ſhe, however, always altogether ſo late as I have been Today;—but you muſt know, I had a Racquet laſt Night;—no leſs than ſixteen Tables, and it was towards Five before we broke up:—I won, ’tis true; had charming Luck;—but ſee how I have been cheated;— all theſe, continued ſhe, pointing to the leſſer Heap of Gold, are counterfeit;—not one good Guinea among them. I was not quite ſo dull of Apprehenſion as not to perceive by this, that a Racquet was far from ſignifying what I had at firſt underſtood it; but, deſirous of being better informed, I made no Scruple of confeſſing my Ignorance, at which ſhe laugh’d heartily, but ſoon made me as learned in the Affair as I deſir’d to be: ――She told me, that when the Number of Company for Play exceeded ten Tables, it was called a Racquet, if under it was only a Rout, and if no more than one or two, it was only a Drum;—ſhe concluded with pitying thoſe of her Acquaintance, who, with all their Induſtry, could 329 Uu3r 329 could never raiſe their Drawing-Rooms above the latter. The erecting Gaming into a Kind of Science, inventing technical Terms for it, and glorying in attracting a Number of its Profeſſors, appeared to me no leſs ridiculous, than the Wonder I expreſs’d to hear her talk in this Manner, doubtleſs, did to her. I found I might eaſily have been admitted to this School of Politeneſs, as all Aſſemblies where Gaming is promoted are accounted; but I choſe rather to be of the Number of thoſe whom they call unbred Creatures, than purchaſe the Name of a fine Lady at the Expence of my Money, my Time, and Health, and what, I hope, will ever be with me of equal Eſtimation with any of them, my Reputation among the ſober, and more juſtly thinking Part of the World. Though I abſolutely refuſed to make one at thoſe nocturnal Meetings, I ſtill continue to viſit her at Times more agreeable to myſelf; by which Means I have the Opportunity of hearing what paſſes the Night before; the Elevation which ſome expreſs at a lucky run of Cards, and the Diſtraction of others at ill Fortune;—the little Shifts to which ſometimes the greateſt Ladies have recourſe, in order to ſupport their Credit at theſe Gaming-Tables, and the fatal Emergencies they are not ſeldom reduced 330 Uu3v 330 reduced to when oblig’d to diſcharge their Debts of Honour, for ſo they are all called that are this way contracted; but what amazes me more, is to find that there are Lady Sharpers, who ſtake falſe Money, and have even the Addreſs to exchange it for Sterling, unperceived by the Company; but theſe, it ſeems, know each other pretty well, and chuſe, if poſſible, to get to a Table, where there is no other of equal Dexterity in the Art:—Sometimes, however, it happens, that they play with one no leſs knowing than themſelves, as had been the Caſe with my Friend the firſt Time I ſaw her; but ſhe told me ſhe ſhould be even with the Perſon, and would take care the next Aſſembly Night to pay her Ladyſhip in her own Coin; for ſhe would ſet one to play with her that ſhe would have no Suſpicion of, and make her lay down the counterfeit Guineas, which would be eagerly graſped at, as real, by the other. What a ſtrange way is this of paſſing Time, and ſuffering Corruption to ſteal into the Heart by Methods, which, if diſcovered, ſerve only as Matter of Merriment? For I find cheating at Cards is almoſt as faſhionable as Cards themſelves; for my Part, the more I hear of it the more I am amaz’d:—If anything can demand the ſevereſt Cenſure of the Female Spectator, this ſurely does, ſince none, of all the Follies of the Age, is ſo every way deſtructive. Exert 331 Xx1r 331 Exert yourſelf, therefore, dear Madam, on this Occaſion, and make, if poſſible, the Ladies bluſh, at the Remembrance they have ever encourag’d, under the Name of Diverſion, a real Vice, and what has ever been accounted ſcandalous, even in the other Sex:—Remonſtrate to them the irreparable Injury they do themſelves and Families;—how by the Extravagancies they are guilty of at Play, they lay open all their Defects of Temper, and what, perhaps, may have greater Weight with ſome, how an ill run of Cards ſhall have the Power to wrinkle their Brows, and to diſtort all their Features, ſo as to change Beauty into Deformity. But it ill becomes me to give any Advice to one, who is ſo much better acquainted with all theſe Things than I can be:—If any thing I have ſaid may ſerve as a Hint, worthy the Improvement of your more judicious Pen, I ſhall think my Labour well beſtowed, who am, Madam, Your very great Admirer, And moſt humble Servant. Adrasta. York-Buildings, 1745-02-09FebFebruary. 9, 1744-5. P. S. I hear ſome Ladies and Gentlemen of the above-mentioned Claſs are preparing to go into the Country; if ſo, a ſeaſonable Warning from the Female Spectator may be infinitely ſerviceable,II. Xx viceable, 332 Xx1v 332 viceable, if it arrives before them at thoſe Places, where, otherwiſe, they may expect to be well paid for teaching the modiſh way of Gaming.
There is ſomething ſo cordial, and truly good-natured in this Concern of Adraſta, as cannot be too much praiſed:—I dare anſwer, by the Earneſtneſs with which ſhe writes, that whereever ſhe comes, playing, as now practiſed by many of the polite World, will never want a zealous Oppoſer; and it would be unjuſt not to congratulate her on that good Senſe, which ſo well defends her from the Prevalence of Example.
If ſhe is ſo little indebted to Time for her Experience as her Letter intimates, I am apt to believe ſhe has read and adopted that Maxim of the celebrated Monſieur L’Abbé de Bellegard, Vivez toujours comme ſi vous etiez Vieux, afin que vous ne vous repentiez jamais d’avoir été jeune.
Such a Precept was doubtleſs very neceſſary, and worthy the Obſervation of the French Ladies, whoſe natural Propenſity to Gaity ſeems to require ſome little Reſtrictions; but we, who are leſs volatile, are under no Neceſſity of laying any weight on the Conſtitution; a ſmall Share of Reflection will ſerve to inform us in what Manner we ought to behave, and leave us no Occaſion to anticipate the Auſterity of Age in order to hinder 333 Xx2r 333 hinder us from giving into any dangerous Amuſements.
Those who conſider the Value of Time will certainly allow no more of it, even to the moſt innocent Diverſions, than what is barely neceſſary to unbend the Mind from thoſe Occupations, which, if too intenſely attended to, might be of Prejudice to Health; much leſs will they ſquander away ſo ineſtimable and ſo irretrievable a Treaſure in that which, of all the Ways Invention ever yet found out for Recreation, has the leaſt to recommend it.
To view Gaming in its moſt inoffenſive Light, and abſtracted from all avaritious Ends, what is there in it ſo enchanting?—Does it exhillerate the Mind? Does it raiſe any Ideas worthy of a ſenſible Perſon?—Does it invigorate the Body, add to the Elaſticity of the Nerves, or render the Blood more pure and florid?—On the contrary, is not the Mind in a continual Perplexity, hurried inceſſantly between Hopes and Fears? Does it not feel the moſt terrible Alarms at the turning up of an unlucky Card? And is not the Body, by continuing ſo many Hours in one Poſture, coop’d up, as it were, at a Table, and without any ſignificant Motion, benum’d and almoſt debilitated?
I believe there can no one Entertainment (excepting this pernicious one) be named, wherein either the Mind or Body does not find ſome Relief; but in this both equally ſuffer, and the Xx2 Health 334 Xx2v 334 Health of the one, and the Underſtanding of the other are alike impair’d.
This is an undoubted Truth with all thoſe who are extremely fond of Play, and thoſe who are not ſo, tho’ they will never experience the ill Effects of it in their own Perſons, will ſee and pity them in others.
But, after all, how can this Method of miſpending Time, as now practiſ’d, bear the Name of Diverſion?—Is it not more a Buſineſs, a Vocation, than any other, I need not ſay a Perſon of Condition, can purſue, but even the meaneſt Tradeſman or Artificer, ſince there are few, even of the moſt ſervile and laborious Callings, which engroſs the Night as well as Day?—Nay every Day, ſince that which is by the Law of the Land peculiarly appropriated to the Worſhip of the Deity, we now ſee devoted to Gaming, inſomuch, that what Cowley ſays of his Miſtreſs may be applied to it. Thou robb’ſt my Days of Buſineſs and Delights;Of Sleep thou robb’ſt my Nights:Ah lovely Thief! what wilt thou do?What, rob me of Heaven too!And ev’n my Prayers do’ſt from me ſteal,That I with wild IdolatryBegin to God, and end them ſtill in thee.
An intimate Acquaintance of mine happened to be in a Coffee-Houſe, when a Gentleman that ſat 335 Xx3r 335 ſat near him aſk’d another if he would make one at a Party of Play the next Day. No, anſwered he, very unpolitely, as ſome of the Company thought, I never touch Cards on a Sunday. On which a loud Laugh enſued, and he who had given the Invitation, retorted, See the Difference between us;――I never play on any other Day.
But whether Things, if really innocent in themſelves, may become otherwiſe, when they take up any Part of the Sabbath, is not the Matter in queſtion; and tho’ much might be alledg’d on the Part of Decency and eſtabliſh’d Cuſtom, I ſhall leave that Point for others to diſcuſs, and only ſay, that if he who never play’d on a Sunday did little elſe than play all the Week beſide, he was more to be condemn’d than he who never play’d but on a Sunday, meerly for doing ſo; but then his boaſting of ſetting apart that Day for Pleaſure, which is conſecrated to other Purpoſes, had in it an Air of Prophaneneſs, which it would be difficult to excuſe.
I know very well, however, that there are People preciſe enough to cenſure me for not inveighing, with all my Might, againſt all Kinds of Diverſion taken on a Sunday; and theſe may perhaps look on what I have ſaid as a kind of Encouragement to Gaming on that ſacred Day; but the more judicious and unprejudiced Part of the World will ſee into my Meaning, and allow with me, that he who miſpends one Day in ſevenven 336 Xx3v 336 ven is ſix times leſs criminal than he who throws away ſix Days out of ſeven.
But it is my Opinion it need not be a Matter of Debate which of theſe two Perſons demanded the ſevereſt Cenſure, becauſe it is ſcarce probable that thoſe who make no Scruple of gaming on the ſeventh Day will abſtain from it the other ſix, nor that thoſe who devote themſelves to it for ſix Days ſhall ſtop on the ſeventh.
It ſeems indeed ſtrange, that any thing ſo conſtantly perſiſted in can continue to give Delight; —all other Pleaſures loſe their Reliſh, and grow tireſome by frequent Repetition; but the Love of Play is ſtill unſatiated, and we ſee People ſit down to it every Night with an Eagerneſs, which is amazing to thoſe who do not take Pains to ſearch into the Motive.
In fine, it is not the ſhuffling, cutting, and dividing a Parcel of painted Bits of Paper, which affords the Satisfaction; but the Proſpect of ſweeping the ſhining Stakes laid on the Table: Avarice is the great Incentive, and without the Hopes of Gain, Gaming would be looked upon as the moſt inſipid way of paſſing Time.
How many Eſtates, which have been impair’d by the Calamities of the Times, or the Luxury of their former Owners, are now devolv’d on Wretches, who, bred, perhaps, to drive a Coach, or trowl a Wheel-Barrow, have the Inſolence to vie 337 Xx4r 337 vie in Equipage and Grandeur with the Nobility!
What Numbers of the undone of both Sexes does every public Place preſent us with, who, led by the vain Hopes of mending a decay’d Fortune, have ſuffered themſelves to be ſtript of all, and are indebted to Charity for a miſerable Subſiſtance.
The Wiſdom of the Legiſlature has indeed given a great Check to public Gaming, and the Cognizance they have taken of it methinks ſhould make Ladies aſhamed of encouraging any ſort of Play at their Aſſemblies.—Shall the Drawing Room of a Woman of Quality be a Receptacle for Sharpers, however dignify’d or diſtinguiſh’d? ――Can ſhe behold her innocent fair Friend, ſuch a one, perhaps, as Adraſta, become the Prey of ſome deſigning Man, either in her Perſon or Fortune, and only laugh at the Ruin ſhe has promoted!—Can a Woman of Senſe ſacrifice her Converſation to every Fop, whoſe laced Coat and Impudence entitle him to Admiſſion!—O, would the Perſons of Condition but reflect how much they demean themſelves by mingling with the Herd who thruſt themſelves into Parties for Quadrille, Whiſt, and other Games, they would order their Tables to be burnt, and henceforward ſhut their Doors againſt all who have frequented them on this ſcandalous Score.
A profest Gameſter is a Bird of Prey, and without 338 Xx4v 338 without Diſtinction, devours the Vitals of all that come within the reach of his Talons:—This is ſo known a Truth, that it ſtands in need of no Arguments to prove it:—It is yet freſh in the Memory of every one, how the Son of a noble Lord was enſnared by two of his Companions, whom he alſo took to be his Friends, to ſet the Reverſion of the whole Eſtate, to which he was Heir, on a ſingle Stake; which being ſure of winning, they had a Lawyer ready in the Houſe with an Aſſignment, which they made him ſign the ſame Inſtant, and before he ſhould have Time to conſider whether there was a Poſſibility of warding off ſo terrible a Blow or not; and tho’ his worthy Father, being informed of the Frauds practiſed on his Son, took ſuch prudent Meaſures, as obliged thoſe Harpies to reſign their Prize; yet was the Attempt, one would imagine, ſufficient to have made all who heard of it beware with whom, and for what they played.
But alas! this has not been the laſt Example of thoſe Dangers to which all who love Gaming are expoſed:――Every Day produces new ones, and I am afraid will continue to do ſo, while there are any who are permitted to make an Avocation of an Amuſement, in itſelf but too pernicious to Society.
But there is one thing which, methinks, calls loudly for Redreſs and Reformation in a Civil Government, as highly derogatory to Nobility, and a very great Nuſance to the middling Rank of 339 Yy1r 339 of People. It is this: That there are at this Inſtant ſeveral reduced Perſons of Quality, who are obliged, for Bread, to give Sanction to the very worſt and loweſt Degree of common Cheats and Vagabonds; who, on allowing a Weekly Stipend out of their Gains, have the Privilege of practiſing what Frauds they pleaſe, on the Unwary, with Impunity.
This very Abuſe of the Power of tollerating Gaming, one would imagine, ſhould make Ladies, who have the good Fortune not to be under ſuch Neceſſities, not only forbear having any ſuch thing at their Aſſemblies, but alſo excite their Compaſſion to relieve the Diſtreſſes of thoſe of their own Rank, who are obliged to proſtitute their Titles for a Skreen to ſuch vile Purpoſes.
But to conſider it ſimply as an Amuſement, it muſt be allowed a very dangerous one, if we give ourſelves the trouble of reflecting on the innumerable Quarrels it has occaſioned between the beſt Friends, and neareſt Relations.—How little the moſt moderate are able to preſerve their Temper, and how a Word, perhaps the moſt inſignificant that can be, is ſometimes miſconſtrued into an Affront, and occaſions fatal Conſequences. Even among our Sex, Animoſities have been contracted at Play that have not eaſily wore off; and thoſe Revenges we are incapable taking ourſelves, have but too frequently been executed by third Perſons, and the Feuds, begun by the Wives, extended to the Huſbands.Vol. II. Yy But 340 Yy1v 340
But if none of the Conſiderations above recited are able to prevail with the Ladies (for whom I muſt confeſs myſelf the moſt concerned) I have a Propoſal to make to them, which, if complied with, may be of more Utility than any Remonſtrances made by others, or even the moſt vexatious Inconveniencies felt by themſelves.
It is this.—I would have placed, at the bottom of every Luſtre that hangs over each Table, a four-ſquare Looking-Glaſs, to the end that it ſhould be impoſſible for thoſe who play, to avoid ſeeing themſelves all the Time.—I am apt to believe the Sight of thoſe Countenances they ſometimes cannot help putting on, would render the Occaſion hateful, and they would thenceforward abjure an Entertainment ſo prejudicial to their Beauty.
I don’t doubt but the Gentlemen will laugh very heartily at this Project, but if thoſe of them who have Gaming Wives, Siſters, or Daughters, would inſiſt on the Execution of it, they would ſoon ſee the good Effect, or I am greatly miſtaken, and will be ready to own I know a little of the Diſpoſition of my Sex.
But enough of this for the preſent. As giving a wrong Bent to the Genius and Humour, is the Source not only of the Vice of Gaming, but all others, the Letter from Philenia, which my laſt gave the Promiſe of inſerting, will remind thoſe 341 Yy2r 341 thoſe who have not ſo early as they ought to have done, ſtudied their own Emolument, that it is never too late to retrieve that Character which all Women of true Underſtanding value themſelves upon, and be alſo a kind of Reprimand to the Men, for the little Account they make of a Female Capacity, and the ſlender Efforts made by even thoſe whoſe Buſineſs and Intereſt it is to cultivate the Talents they find in us.—I ſhall leave my Reader to judge of the Juſtice of thoſe Remarks contained in this Epiſtle; and as I ſhall hear, by my attending Silphs, what is ſaid upon it, anſwer hereafter the various Opinions which I doubt not but will be given upon it.
To the Female Spectator., Madam AFormer Eſſay of Yours, I think it was Book the Fourth, wherein you ſo agreeably diſcant on the Miſ-uſe of Time, charm’d me to a very great Degree, and alſo has given me Courage to add ſome crude Notions of my own concerning it.—You ſeem to think, that it is to this all our Misfortunes, all our Irregularities are owing; and to me it is plain, that if we were well inſtructed in our Youth, of the true Value of Time, we could not poſſibly do amiſs. But on whom ſhall the Blame of this be laid, if not on our Governors?—Thoſe who have the Care of us in our moſt early Years, ſhould inform us, that, of all our Jewels, none are ſo in- 342 Yy2v 342 ineſtimable as Time;—that a Moment loſt is never to be retrieved; and that if we huſband well the preſent, it will produce a Crop hereafter, that may not only ſerve us for our whole Lives, but entail eternal Bleſſings on our Names, by rendering our Virtues immortal in a late Poſterity. A Letter ſubſcribed Cleora, which you have favoured the Public with inſerting in your tenth Book, has very pathetically ſet forth the Remiſneſs of the Men in this Point; and your Remarks upon it have been very convincing to me, and many other of your Readers, that there are Women capable of attaining a thorough Knowledge in the moſt abſtruſe Sciences; yet, as I am alſo convinced by an Examination into myſelf, that every one is not ſo, or, at leaſt, that we cannot all have Patience to go through the Drudgery of School-Learning, methinks it would not be unbecoming the Politeneſs of our Engliſh Wits, to take the ſame Methods of inſtructing us as they do in France. I had the Pleaſure of being in that elegant Country for three Years, and but for the unhappy Eruption between the two Nations, had not ſo ſoon left it.—I was highly ſatisfied at my firſt coming among them, to ſee the Reſpect paid in general to our Sex, but infinitely more to find they ſo well deſerved it, by their moſt agreeable Manner of Converſation: Beſides, that eaſy Freedom, which is the Eſſence of good 343 Yy3r 343 good Breeding, I diſcovered, even among very young Ladies, a Skill in Philoſophy, Geography, and other Sciences, which ſurprized me, as not being able to comprehend how, at an Age when we in England know little beyond our Muſic-Books and Dancing, they ſhould attain ſuch a Compaſs of Learning, as I imagined, would require a long and continued Application; but my Wonder ceaſed, when I perceived, that, to ſpeak juſtly of things, was rendered as eaſy to them as to ſpeak at all, and by a way which I doubt not but you are as well acquainted with as myſelf; but leaſt any of your Readers ſhould be ignorant of it, permit me to inform them, that all Men of Learning, Wit, and Genius, have not only a free Acceſs to the Ladies, but are received by them with particular Marks of Diſtinction.— They have them with them at their Toilets, in all their Parties of Pleaſure, and never think a Company compleat, in which there are not mingled one or more who is celebrated for his Capacity and fine Senſe. The Time which we allow to Milliners, Mantua-makers, and Tire-women, is with them taken up in the Converſation of Men of Letters; for tho’ the French Ladies are certainly the genteeleſt Creatures upon Earth, they take the leaſt Pains to be ſo of any.—They leave the whole Care of their Dreſs to their Women, and never think of what they are to wear, till it is brought to them, and put on. Not 344 Yy3v 344 Not that the Diſcourſes with which they are entertained by theſe great Men, have any thing in them that ſavour of Pedantry, or that can make a Lady conſider herſelf as with her Tutor.—On the contrary, all they ſay is a continual round of Gaiety and ſprightly Wit; yet is their very Raillery on ſuch Subjects, as mingle Information with Delight; and I proteſt to you, Madam, I have been ſometimes more edified by a ſingle Sentence laugh’d out, than by a formal, ſtiff, pedantick Harangue of an Hour long. But this is the leaſt Advantage a French Lady reaps from her Regard for Men of Learning.— Has ſhe an Inclination to Philoſophy, Theology, Hiſtory, Aſtronomy, or in fine, any particular Study, ſhe has only to make Mention of it, and is certain of receiving a Letter the next Day, in which is contained the whole Pith and Marrow of the Science, and at one View takes in the Subſtance of I know not how many Volumes. The Men are the induſtrious Bees, which ſuck the Sweets of many Author’s Works, and having collected whatever they find worthy, preſent it in the moſt conciſe and briefeſt Manner poſſible to the Lady who expects this Tribute from them, and honours it with her Acceptance. By 345 Yy4r 345 By this Means they are enabled to make a Part in Converſation on all ſorts of Subjects,— and thoſe among them who are leaſt inclin’d to think intenſely, have yet ſo general a Knowledge of every thing, as may make them paſs for very learned with thoſe who do not enter into any deep Arguments. Why, dear Female Spectator, is it not ſo with us? I am ſure we have Men whoſe Capacities are at leaſt equal to any that France produces.—Is it then owing to their Indolence and Diſregard for our Sex, or to our own Remiſſneſs and Neglect of thoſe who perhaps have not the Advantage of Title and Eſtate, to render their Abilities conſpicuous?—I ſincerely wiſh, for the Honour of my Country- Women, that this latter is not the true Motive. I am apt to believe, did a Woman of Quality expreſs a Deſire of being inſtructed in this agreeable Way, in any thing ſhe is ignorant of, no Man of Letters but would rejoice in the Opportunity of obliging her, and at the ſame Time of teſtifying his own Abilities. In France a little Copy of Verſes, or a wellturn’d Epigram, is ſufficient to recommend the Author to the firſt of the Nobility, and frequently to the King himſelf.—There ſuch-a-one is not only taken Notice of, but always provided for in a handſome Manner; whereas, I am ſorry to obſerve, that here nothing is more contemptible than a Needy Wit. They are excludedcluded 346 Yy4v 346 cluded the Converſation of the great World, and ſeldom permitted even to ſee the Faces of thoſe who cannot but allow the Merit of their Works. The Ladies however, methinks, ſhould have more Softneſs; and if they could bring themſelves off from theſe darling Foibles, which at preſent engroſs too much of their Time and Attention, I dare anſwer they would find ſo much Pleaſure in improving their Genius’s by the Means I have been deſcribing, that they would look on a Man of Wit, as not only an agreeable, but a neceſſary Appendix. But, as you have in ſeveral of your inſtructive Lucubrations taken Notice, this muſt be deſpaired of, till Recollection ſhall once more take Place, and the preſent abſurd and prepoſterous Inventions for killing Time (as they juſtly term it) be expelled this Iſland, and driven back to their native Climes, where Talents for more elegant and polite Entertainments have been ſeldom known. If you ſhould think what I have ſaid too ſevere, I ſubmit to your Correction; but if not, ſhall look on your teſtifying an Approbation, by giving it a Place in your next Book, as the greateſt Honour can be confer’d on, Madam, Your Conſtant Reader, And Humble Servant,Philenia. Whitehall, 1745-02-14Feb. the 14th, 1744-5347 Zz1r 347
Nothing certainly can be more juſt than what Philenia has advanced, and it were greatly to be wiſhed her Propoſal could be brought into Execution; but I am afraid it will be attended with more Difficulty than ſhe at preſent may be aware of. —She ſeems not to have ſufficiently conſider’d the different Tempers of the two Nations, and that what in France is looked upon as no more than, what it indeed is, innocent Gallantry, might here be cenſur’d as an unbecoming Familiarity. Our Fathers, our Brothers, our Huſbands are, perhaps, more tenacious of the Honour of their Family than they need to be: The phlegmatic Diſpoſition of the Engliſh can ill endure any Galliardiſms in the Females belonging to them; they would be apt, ſome of them at leaſt, to think the Admiration we profeſt for Learning, was only a Veil to cover our Admiration of the Person who poſſeſſed it; and though it muſt be own’d, that our Sex at preſent indulge very great Liberties, yet, as the Number of Men of Wit is but ſmall, an Intimacy with one of thoſe is look’d upon as infinitely more dangerous than that with a thouſand Beaus.
It is evident enough, that the Men in general imagine they find their Account in permitting us to trifle away our Time in Follies, which renders us ridiculous Abroad, and inſignificant at Home.—A Piece of Cruelty indeed, which but ill agrees with their Profeſſions, but is what we muſt reſolve to bear, till we can pluck up Spirit to aſſert the Dignity of our Natures, and of ourſelves, throw off thoſe ſenſeleſs Avocations, that Vol. II. Zz make 348 Zz1v 348 make the fineſt among us of no more Account than a pretty Play-thing.
Yet let it not be ſaid we are the only thoughtleſs, gawdy Flutterers of the human World:— There are Men-Butterflies as well as Women:— Things that are above the Trouble of Reflection, and ſuffer themſelves to be blown about by every Wind of Folly.—Whatever has the Name of Novelty will carry them through thick and thin;—led by that reſiſtleſs Charm, no matter if the Chair be overturned, the gilded Chariot broke, and the Coachman’s Neck into the Bargain, ſtill they preſs on a mingled motley Crowd; as witneſs the Audiences at the Little Theatre in the Hay-market, to ſee the Entertainment of the Dutch Children, as they were called, though moſt of whom were bred up to the Tumbling Art in Broad St. Giles’s and White-Chapel, and hack’d about at all the petty Wells near London, while Shakeſpear and Otway warbled their pathetic Strains to empty Boxes at Covent-Garden and Drury-Lane.
I must confeſs, that I was not ſorry to hear that there were at leaſt an equal Number of Men as Women at theſe Raree-Shews, becauſe that whatever Infatuation our Poſterity may be guilty of, it cannot be ſaid that it deſcended to them wholly by the Mothers Side.
They ſay, Extremes are never of long Continuance, and if ſo, one might flatter oneſelf that the 349 Zz2r 349 the prepoſterous Taſte now reigning is arrived at its Zenith, and People by degrees would recover their Senſes. A Piece left for us the other Day at our Publiſher’s, expoſes, with ſo much Wit and Humour, the Depravity of the preſent Genius in Matters of Entertainment, that I think thoſe moſt immerged in the Lethargy of Folly and Stupidity, muſt be quickened by it into a Senſe of Shame.
To the Fair Authors of the Female Spectator. Ladies, The following Scene, which I beg leave to tranſmit you, is part of a Dramatic Plan, intended to have been worked up into a Farce, as a Satire upon the Puppet Patrons and Patroneſſes of this politely learned Age; but finding the Humour a good deal diverted, by a vehement Purſuit in our fine Ladies and Gentlemen of another kind, I mean, in a profund Application to the important Solution of a Conundrum, I have thought proper to drop the Deſign, imagining however, that this little Opening will ſerve to give an Idea of the laudable Views of an Undertaking our People of Taſte have been ſo laviſh in encouraging. I am, Ladies, Your moſt Humble Servant, J. J. 1745-03-01March the 1ſt, 1744-5 Bedford Coffee-Houſe, Covent-Garden. scene 350 Zz2v 350 scene, Townley’s Lodgings. Enter Townly and Servant. Town. ――Who are below, ſay’ſt thou? Serv. ――In the firſt place, Sir, there’s your Honour’s Whiſt Maſter,――but, I think, you would not ſee him. Town. ――Pox take the ſcientifical Trifler,— I’ll have no more of his Leſſons. Serv. ――And in truth, Sir, you are very much in the right; for by what I have obſerved, he has taught you the Game ſo learnedly, that you play it worſe than you did before you ever ſaw his Face, and have continued on the loſing Hand, till, Thanks to his Inſtructions, you are ſome Thouſands leſs in Bank, and if you went on much longer you might ſoon have nothing more to loſe. Town. —And who is there elſe? Serv. —Why, Sir, there’s that ſtrange, ſqueaking, medely Thing of the doubtful Gender, Mr. Mollman, whom the Ladies run ſo mad after,— though the Duce take me if I can find out for what, with all my Penetration.――Would your Honour pleaſe to ſee him? Town. —Aye, aye, ſend him up. Exit Serv. I want to hear a little about his Scheme,――’tis the Talk of every Company one goes into. Re- 351 Zz3r 351 Re-enter Servant introducing Mollman with a Fan and ſeveral Puppets. Moll. —(in an effeminate Voice) Dear Mr. Townly, you ſee I can’t paſs by the Lodgings of a Man of Wit and Pleaſure.――You muſt ſubſcribe to my ſweet Puppets here.――I have been juſt buying a Huncamunca Fan for Miſs Puppet Dapper of Leadenhall Street , who wears one as big as Herſelf――ha, ha, ha:――I ſuppoſe you know the Ladies of the Beau-monde have declared War againſt the Citizens? Town. —War, as how, Mr. Mollman? Moll. —Why, my Dear, there is not a Face in the City of any Note, but what is to be taken off to the Life in my Puppet-Shew; and let me alone to mimic their Voices. Town. —So, I find, you are going to revive, as it were, the old Comedy in a Puppet-Shew? Moll. —Gad’s Curſe, I don’t know what you mean by old Comedy,――but look you here, my pretty little Precious!――here’s a Curioſity―― ſhewing a large Puppet obſerve, my Dear, ―― this is Alderman Brawn—as like as two P’s, —mind his Treble Chin――his Pent-houſe Eyebrows, and his promontary Belly;――and this is Mrs. Puppet Atlas.――(ſhewing another), a Director’s Wife. You would ſwear ’twas ſhe herſelf.—Lady Betty dreſſed the Alderman, and Lady Charlotte, the Director’s Wife.—Well, they are ſweet Creatures. Town. The Ladies, I perceive, are in full Employment for you. Moll. 352 Zz3v 352 Moll. Oh! Aye—They are ſo delighted.— Lud! they have no other Paſtime;—no other Enjoyment.—Gad’s Curſe! My little Rogue, I can do any thing with them. Town. And they with you, I ſuppoſe, without any Danger to their Reputations? Moll. You may be as ſatirical as you will, but the little Devils can’t live without me, my Dear. Chucking him under the Chin. Town. Hands off, if you pleaſe, till I know more of your Undertaking.—Pray, do the Men work for you, too? Moll. Oh! Aye,—and help to contrive ſo purely!—Why, there’s Lord John, and Lord Charles, and Gad’s Curſe, fifty more of them, are reſolved to ſupport the Scheme.—They have all of them their Reaſons, my Dear. Town No doubt:—The Ladies, I ſuppoſe, encourage it, as a Satire upon our Sex, to ſhew, that they think the Men of this Age little better than Puppets; or, perhaps, they may have our Stage-Entertainments in view, which they may not judge quite as rational as a Puppet-Shew; or, perhaps, both they and the Men may be of Opinion, that no Actors can ſo well ſupply the Want of Italian singers as Puppets. Moll. Ah, Gad’s Curſe, you are witty.—I’ll tell them what you ſay.—Come, your Ten Pieces, my Dear. Town. To be ſure, Sir—I muſt make one in your noble Liſt.—There, Mr. Mollman, Gives him the Money Moll. 353 Zz4r 353 Moll. You’re very good, my Dear.—Adieu, my pretty little Precious.—I have a thouſand Places to go to. Exit Mollman. Town. Adieu, my egregious Coxcomb, or rather Knave; for when Vice wears the Mask of Folly, it becomes moſt dangerous.—I deſpiſe the Puppy and his Project; but there’s no ſupporting Life without doing as others of the great World do.—Beſides, my dear Flirtille is of the Number of his Admirers, and the Policy of Love demands my Compliance. Præterea Nihil.
What a Pity, what a Misfortune to the World!—Scarce can all the good Senſe contained in this little Sketch of the ingenious Author’s Capacity make us forgive his Bit of Latin at the End.—No more after this?—Yes, I hope he will think better; and as every Day affords freſh Matter for a ſatiric Genius, he will not fail of exerting that Talent which Nature has ſo bounteouſly endowed him with, for the Reformation of Mankind, and never drop his Pen till he has accompliſhed the laudable End;—an End which Men and Angels will approve, and even ſhould he fail in the Succeſs, the very Attempt would aſſure to him the Bleſſings of the Deſerving, the untainted Few below, and the more permanent and valuable Rewards above.Never 354 Zz4v 354
Never did any Age like this require a Juvenal:—Bury’d, as it were, in Luxury and Folly, gentle Strokes would have no Effect; the ſevereſt Laſh of Satire ſhould be employed, and dealt about impartially on all; for as all Modes, whether good or evil, are originally form’d by the great World, and gradually deſcend to their Inferiors, there muſt the Rectification begin, if we would hope to ſee any Amendment.
But to return. This little Scene is ſo very deſcriptive of that Puppet-Shew Project, which at preſent engroſſes the Attention of ſome of our Nobility, that I cannot but think, had the Author purſued his firſt Intention, and exhibited it on the Stage, it would have had ſo good an Effect as to make the Undertakers convert the Images they had been ſo long in dreſſing into Fuel for their Chambers. But ſince we are to deſpair of this Experiment, and may poſſibly, in a little Time, have Tickets to invite us to the ſqueaking Entertainment, Euphroſine propoſes, by Way of Retort, to make a Party among her City-Friends, and have another of the ſame Nature preſented at Guildhall.――She has already marked out the Characters, the principal of which are theſe:
Lady Gaylove, a Beauty of ſixty-ſix, in a Pink and ſilver Sack, ſitting at her Toilet, daubing her hollow Cheeks with Carmine, in a great Hurry to go to the Drawing-Room, and fretting that the 355 Aaa1r 355 that the Man in Racquet-Court does not bring the laſt new Set of Teeth ſhe beſpoke.
Lord Lumpiſh, half aſleep in an eaſy Chair, with the Calves of his Legs where Nature had placed his Ancles; one of his Arms hanging down like a Pump-Handle, and the other in his Boſom, with Lady Frolick pouring a Glaſs of Viper Wine down his Throat.
Lady Buxom, with one Petticoat and a Bed- Gown, lolling on a Couch, and Mr. Prettyman, her Groom of the Chambers, tying up her Garters.
Lord Manly in a Chairman’s Coat over his Cloaths, carrying Lady Rounciful, muffled up in his Arms, and Doctor Goodfee following, with a new-born Child wrap’d up in Purple Velvet.
Lord Humdrum with his Spectacles on, learning the Game of Whiſt of Mr. Hoyle.
Sir Dubious Eitherway in Petticoats, and a long Riding-Hood, ſculking into a Hedge Tavern near Charing-Cross.
Lady Goggle kiſſing her Monkey, and calling him his Grace, and her dear Angel.
Sir Thomas Spindle in deep Conſultation with a Jew-Quack, how to repair the Defects of Age, and faſt Living.Vol. II. Aaa The 356 Aaa1v 356
The Earl of Baſemetal tearing ſome old News-Papers, and the Counteſs beating her Coachman, for giving Way to Lady Haughty’s new gilt Chariot.
John Waver Eſq; jumping between two Stools.
Sir Neceſſary Matchlove, teaching his Wife’s Woman to embroider; and Mr. Peacock threading the Needles.
Lady Rattle in a red Surtout, and Hat and Feather, driving her Footman in a Chaiſe and four, to Pimlico.
A humorous Scene between Lady Turnup and a noted Pawnbroker, about ſome Jewels left in his Hands, the laſt loſing Night at Whiſt.
A very tragical, hyperbolical Scene between Lady Ample, and an old Earl, ſuppoſed to be at the Point of Death.
Another ranting Scene between the ſame Lady and her Rival, Mrs. Triton, whom ſhe unfortunately happened to meet on the Stairs, as ſhe was going down all in Tears.
A solemn Scene of chuſing a Member by Ballot, for the moſt venerable and honourable Society of Whiſt-Players at White’s Chocolate- Houſe.And 357 Aaa2r 357
And the whole to conclude with a grand Hottentot Dance led up by a high-hip’d, plump young Man of Quality, and one of the Siſterhood of Drury-Lane, at a celebrated Revel-Houſe in Covent-Garden Piazza.
All the Perſons and Places to be repreſented to the Life; but for the Benefit of thoſe who may never have ſeen the Originals, a Punch to come in between every Scene, and explain the Meaning to the Audience.
This, with other Improvements, which will doubtleſs be made before the Performance is exhibited, I am very apt to believe will turn the intended Satire on the City, entirely on the contrary Party, and make the Mention of a Puppet- Shew hereafter more ſhocking to the Ear than Wormwood to the Palate.
Euphroſine, however, has too much Good- Nature to be the firſt Aggreſſor, and keeps her Deſign in petto till the Execution of the other, and then neither Mira, nor our noble Widow, will deny ſhe has ſufficient Authority to proſecute it.
The Ladies of St. James’s Quarter are certainly a little taken off their Edge, by the Publication of ſome Conundrums, which I ſuppoſe are what Mr. J――J―― has a View to in his Letter. They are indeed the fitteſt Entertainment for the preſent Age, that has appeared in Print a good while; far exceeding Jo. Miller’s Aaa2 Jokes, 358 Aaa2v 358 Jokes,—Spiller’s Jeſts, —Pills to purge Melancholy, or any other Performance of either Player or Poet of Moorfields, and anſwers the Purpoſe admirably well, at leaſt if it were, as I am informed, intended only as a Teſt of the Taſte of our refined Wits, and compoſed by three or four merry Companions over a Bottle, with a Wager laid, that not above one out of twenty very fine Ladies and Gentlemen, but would pleaſe themſelves more on the Character of being able to ſolve even the moſt intelligible Conundrum in the whole, than on that of the moſt learned, brave, virtuous, or diſcreet Perſon of the Age.
How ſtrange a Reverſe has a few Years brought about in the Temper and Genius of the Engliſh Nation! Could our Forefathers pop up their Heads, and ſee the Behaviour of their degenerate Race, they ſurely would repent they ever gave us Being. Yet, if we may believe a noble Poet, Time ſenſibly all Things impairs,Our Fathers have been worſe than theirs,And we than ours; next Age will ſeeA Race more profligate than we,With all the Pains we take, have Skill enough to be.
I hope, however, that his Lordſhip was leſs a Prophet than a Poet, elſe what virtuous Man would wiſh to leave an Offspring behind him!It 359 Aaa3r 359
It is certain, indeed, that when People of Reaſon have been enſnar’d by any Inadvertency, or hurried by any violent Paſſions, ſo as to commit the greateſt Irregularities, and even though they ſhould perſiſt in a long Series of them, Time would at laſt bring Shame in his Hand, and ſtrike them with Remorſe.—They would deteſt their paſt Conduct, and give the ſtrongeſt Admonitions to warn their Poſterity from being guilty of the ſame.
But the Misfortune is, that now-a-days People ſeem to have entered into a Combination to thruſt even common Senſe out of Doors.―― Wicked enough ’tis true we are, but yet we are more fooliſh.――The Crimes we act have no kind of Meaning in them, and we run into Vices, meerly becauſe they are Vices, and not becauſe we find either Pleaſure or Profit in purſuing them.
A Depravity of Taſte, and a mean Dejection of Mind, are the Snares from which proceed moſt of the evil Things we ſee practiſed,――the Firſt miſguides our Choice, and gives it a wrong Propenſity; and the Second renders us unable to aſſert the Dignity of our Reaſon, in rejecting, with the utmoſt Diſdain, whatever is repugnant to it.
So yielding, alas! are we to what others do, that every one ſeems to have no Judgment of his own: 360 Aaa3v 360 own:――In our Dreſs, our Diverſions, our Oeconomy in our Families, and even in our Religion, we are ſolely ſwayed by thoſe above us; and if half a ſcore leading People that I could name, were it convenient, were to ſhew the Example, I doubt not but we might be brought to jump over a Stick as Dogs do in the Street.
But I am weary of a Subject no leſs diſagreeable to my own Humour, than it will be to thoſe of my Readers, who may happen to ſee too great a Likeneſs of themſelves in the Mirror I have preſented them with; but to make the beſt amends I can, will now give the Ladies a little Story, the Truth of which I can aver, that may convince them how much it is in the Power of a fine Woman to convert Barbariſm into Elegance, and call the latent Seeds of Wit forth from the coarſeſt Soil of Ruſticity.
A Country Gentleman of my Acquaintance had a Son of ſo ſullen, rough, and untractable a Temper, that all the Education he beſtowed on him, which was very liberal, ſeem’d wholly loſt upon him.—The only thing he made the leaſt Improvement in was Latin:—Dancing, Muſick, or any of the politer Accompliſhments, were his Averſion.—He ſlew all genteel Converſation, and hardly ſpoke but when he was in Company with thoſe Men who work’d at mending Hedges, filling up Ditches, and ſuch like Occupations, whoſe Labours he would frequently aſſiſt, and ſeemed mighty well pleaſed: In fine, he was the exact Modeldel 361 Aaa4r 361 del of Dryden’s Cymon, and cannot be ſo well deſcribed as in that Poet’s Words. A clowniſh Mien, a Voice with ruſtick Sound,And ſtupid Eyes that ever lov’d the Ground.The ruling Rod, the Father’s forming Care,Were exerciſed in vain, on Wit’s Deſpair;The more inform’d the leſs he underſtood,And deeper ſunk by flound’ring in the Mud.His Corn and Cattle were his only Care,And his ſupreme Delight a Country Fair;His Quarter-Staff, which he coud ne’er forſake,Hung half before, and half behind his Back;He trudg’d along, unknowing what he ſought,And whiſtled as he went for want of Thought.
How great a Trouble this muſt be to his Friends and Family any one may judge!—All Means were tried to render him more like others of his Rank and Condition, but tried in vain:— He ſtill continued the ſame Clod, and was even ſo obſtinately doltiſh, that the more he found they took Pains to reform him, the more he was bigotted to his Ruſticity.—If the Gentlemen of the County invited him to a Hunting-Match he was ſure to refuſe them, but would run ten Miles to ſee a Bull-baiting, or a Cudgel-playing.—To hear his Siſter play on the Spinet made his Head ach, but he could ſit whole Hours with Pleaſure to liſten to a Bag-pipe. In fine, never was a more compleat Clown, and ſo continued till he arrived at the Age of Twenty; but then, when all 362 Aaa4v 362 all hopes of his Amendment were paſt, a Change no leſs ſurprizing than pleaſing to all his Friends appear’d in him.
An Orphan Beauty, to whom his Father was Guardian, came down to paſs ſome Part of the Summer-Seaſon at their Seat.—The Charms of her Perſon were ſuch as might attract as many Admirers as Beholders, yet were they infinitely ſhort of the more valuable Perfections of her Mind.
She was affable, good-natured, chearful, had an uncommon Love for Learning, and had made a good deal of Progreſs in ſuch of the Sciences as were looked upon by thoſe who had the Care of her Education, becoming in a Perſon of our Sex.――To add to all this, ſhe was entirely free from Pride, Affectation, and every modiſh Foppery of the Times, though bred in London, and then no more than Seventeen, an Age in which few can boaſt of being wholly free from them.
Our modern Cymon heard much talk of this fine young Lady’s coming, before her Arrival, and of the many Perfections ſhe was Miſtreſs of; but he regarded nothing that was ſaid on that Score, nor had he the leaſt Curioſity to ſee an Object, of whoſe Praiſe all Tongues were ſo full.
He knew the Day ſhe was expected, but ſome Country-gambol took him abroad, and he ſaw her 363 Bbb1r 363 her not till the next Morning; the Hour however in which he did was the laſt of his Liberty.— He inſenſibly loſt all Inclination for his former Pleaſures, and wiſhed only to do that which might be approv’d by her.
As he found ſhe lov’d Reading, he began to love it too, and would paſs ſeveral Hours of the Night in that Employment, that he might be able to have ſomewhat to entertain her with the next Day.
Happening to come into the Parlour one Day when his Siſter and ſhe were dancing a Minuet together to divert themſelves, he fretted inwardly that he had ſo much neglected that Accompliſhment, and deſired his Father to give orders that the Dancing-maſter, whom before he had bad get out of the Houſe, might attend him again.――Muſick now alſo grew in great Eſteem with him, and as he ſtill remember’d ſome Touches on the Baſs-Viol, he had once more recourſe to his Books, and ſoon improved himſelf enough to keep Company with that Inſtrument to his Siſter’s Spinet, and the more delightful Voice of the fair Occaſion of ſo wondrous a Change.
The Fields and Meadows now no longer afforded him any Pleaſure, unleſs when Celia (for ſo he afterwards called her) was walking in them; he no longer talked of Arable and Paſture, boaſted of his leaping over five-bar Gates, or tumbling Vol. II. Bbb a 364 Bbb1v 364 a pretty Wench on a Hay-ſtack; or that he had been the loudeſt at a Wake or Sheep-ſhearing.―― He was indeed the very Reverſe of all he had been; and perfectly ſenſible of the Time he had loſt, endeavour’d to retrieve it by a continual Application. So great is the Force of Love, when ――Not of a vicious KindIt does to nobleſt Acts enflame the Mind;Awakes the ſleepy Vigour of the Soul,And, bruſhing o’er, adds Motion to the Pool:Induſtrious how to pleaſe, improves our PartsWith poliſh’d Manners, and adorns with Arts.Love firſt invented Verſe, and form’d the Rhime,The Motion meaſur’d, harmonis’d the Chime;
And ſo indeed it proved with our Country Inamorato: I have already obſerv’d that the Latin Tongue was the only Thing they could beat into his dull Brains; he made however no great Progreſs in it till after his Acquaintance with this Lady, but hearing her repeat with an admirable Grace, ſome Tranſlations of the Odes of Horace, and other antient Poets both Greek and Latin, he was aſhamed to think he had not a perfect Underſtanding in thoſe two Languages, therefore endeavoured to perfect himſelf in the one, and begin to ſtudy the other with all his might.
What will not a Mind reſolved, and unwearied Application be able to produce! The Paſſion he was inſpir’d with for the amiable Celia, the Conſciouſneſs how little he was worthy of her as he 365 Bbb2r 365 he then was, and the ardent Wiſhes he had to render himſelf more ſo, enabled him to work Wonders, and a few Weeks accompliſhed that which the ſame Number of Years had fail’d to do, and which perhaps had never been, had Celia never come into the Country.
How great a Tranſport this unexpected, this unhoped for Alteration gave to his Father’s Heart, none who has not been a Parent can conceive; nor was he leſs ſatisfied to find it occaſion’d by ſo worthy an Object: But though he, and indeed the whole Family, perceived that Love, and Love alone had wrought this Miracle, none gave the leaſt Hint of it before him, thinking it moſt prudent to ſuffer him to purſue his own Method in that Point, and contented themſelves with encouraging him in his Studies, and furniſhing him with every thing neceſſary for the Proſecution of them.
He tranſlated ſeveral little Pieces out of the Claſſick Authors, highly to the Approbation of his Father, and a Gentleman who was now appointed for his Tutor, and taken into the Houſe for that Purpoſe; among other Things, the Story of Jupiter and Europa, as he found it in Moſcus, very much hit his Fancy, and he took more than ordinary Pains in putting it into the moſt elegant Engliſh he could; for now as Love had inſpired him with an Ambition for Learning, ſo it prompted him to make known the Motive of his Wiſhes, which yet he had never dar’d to do even by the moſt 366 Bbb2v 366 moſt diſtant Hint. The Method he took was this:
He tranſcribed his Tranſlation very fair, ornamented it with many Flouriſhes of the Pen, and put all the Capitals in Gold and Red, and when he had made it as fine as poſſible, encloſed it with a Dedication in Verſe, the firſt Eſſay of his Youthful Muſe, which the Reader may ſuppoſe was obliged to go through many Alterations before brought to what it was when he took Courage to preſent it to his adorable Celia.
Having at laſt finiſhed it, he ſhew’d it to his Tutor, making him a kind of a Confident not directly of his Paſſion, but as if he intended it a Tribute of Gallantry to a young Lady who was his Father’s Gueſt: The Gentleman laughed within himſelf at the Caution and Modeſty of his Pupil, but very well knowing his Patron’s Mind, applauded the Deſign, praiſed his Poem, and encouraged him to preſent it.
But I will delay no longer the Attention of the Publick, which, I dare ſay, have Curioſity enough to be impatient for this Production.
To the moſt amiable Celia, with the Fable of Jupiter and Europa from Moscus. Madam, The Fable in the following Lines will prove How ſharp, how poignant are the Darts of Love Not 367 Bbb3r 367 Not only Men ſubſcribe to Beauty’s Sway, But Charms like Your’s even Gods themſelves obey. Europa’s Fate the Truth of this diſplays; Europa was the Celia of thoſe Days: Europa’s Charms could make ev’n Jove forego The Joys of Heaven for greater Joys below: In a Diſguiſe he woo’d, and gain’d the Maid, And all the Bleſſings he received repaid. Her Virgin Heart at firſt with Tears was preſt, Tears fill’d her Eyes, Sighs heav’d her Snowy Breaſt: She never yet had by Experience prov’d What ’twas at once to love, and be belov’d: But ſoon as e’er the thrilling Dart ſhe feels, And warm Ideas ſpeechleſs Joys reveals, Tears flow no more, no labouring Sighs ariſe, Love fires her Breaſt, and ſparkles in her Eyes: Her mantling Blood a new-born Vigour gains, Delights her Heart, and revels thro’ her Veins. Pleaſures too great to name ſhe now receives, Pleaſures ſo great ſhe hardly knows ſhe lives. What Moſcus wrote, for You I ſtrive t’expreſs, And put Europa on an Engliſh Dreſs. To You I dedicate my Days, my Hours; Nay every Minute of my Life is Yours! Whate’er I do to You ſhall ſtill belong ’Tis you inſpire, and you ſhall grace my Song. Europa of herſelf muſt fly to You; What her Charms did of Old, Your’s now can do, Nay more, to Your’s a greater Power is given; Her’s drew Jove from, Your’s raiſe a Man to Heaven. Ac- 368 Bbb3v 368 Accept, moſt excellent Lady, of this humble Offering, as it is the firſt Trial of a Muſe which owes its Being to you, and ſhall ever be devoted to you, with all Zeal and Fidelity, by your adoring Strephon.
There is, in my Opinion, ſomething of Nature in this Poem more touching to the Heart than the moſt maſterly Strokes of Art.— Celia diſdain’d not to accept it with all the Sweetneſs imaginable; but tho’ ſhe was not ignorant of the Paſſion ſhe had inſpired him with, any more than others who ſaw the Effect of it, yet ſhe ſeemed not to have the leaſt Suſpicion of it, and feigned to look not only on this Dedication, but alſo on every other Token of what he felt, as proceeding from no more than meer Complaiſance.
But the Time in which ſhe had always intended to return to London drawing near, poor Strephon began to be extremely melancholly, and the Father apprehending ſome ill Conſequence from this Separation, thought it beſt no longer to defer acquainting his Charge, with the Effects her Beauty had produced, and prevail with her, if poſſible, to tarry a little longer with them. He told her, that if his Son continued to improve, as he had begun ſince ſhe had been their Gueſt, he flattered himſelf ſhe would not think him unworthy of the Happineſs to which he found he had aſpired, and that, for his own part, as he had 369 Bbb4r 369 had always loved her as a Daughter, he wiſhed for nothing ſo much, as to make her ſuch.
Celia was not at all ſurpriſed at this Declaration; on the contrary, ſhe had expected it for ſome Time before, therefore was not unprepared with an Anſwer. The Perſon of Strephon had nothing in it diſagreeable, and the Thoughts that all the Pains he took to regulate his Behaviour, was intirely owing to his Deſire of pleaſing her, had more Weight than had ſhe found him the moſt accompliſhed Man on Earth.—Her Generoſity made her compaſſionate his Love, and her Prudence remonſtrated to her, that it was not likely ſhe ſhould ever have an Offer of more Advantage; for indeed ſhe had but a ſmall Fortune, and he was the Heir of a very large Eſtate, ſo that ſhe had not the leaſt Repugnance to the Match.
She replied to the old Gentleman, that the Obligations ſhe had to him for the great Care he had taken of her, had made her conſider him in the ſame Light as a Father; that the young Lady his Daughter was extremely dear to her, and that Strephon, as being the Son and Brother of two Perſons, who were the firſt in her Eſteem and Love, could not be altogether indifferent to her; but added, that they were both too young yet to think of Marriage, and that probably his Mind might change on the Sight of ſome Object more agreeable than herſelf; but if it happened that he continued in the ſame Way of thinking, ſhe 370 Bbb4v 370 ſhe knew not how to refuſe any thing to a Family to whom ſhe owed ſo much.
The Father was rejoiced to find ſhe had not an Averſion to his Son; and as he himſelf thought they were both of them young enough, was not in haſte for compleating the Marriage, only begg’d ſhe would not think of leaving them; for, ſaid he, as it is ſolely to your Preſence I owe a Son worthy of being called ſo, there is too much Reaſon to fear your Abſence will make him relapſe into his former ſelf.
Tho’ I think there is not any Danger of ſuch a Misfortune, anſwered ſhe, ſmiling, yet, Sir, it is ſufficient to engage my Stay, that you are pleaſed to command it.
In fine, ſhe continued with them the whole Winter, during which Time Strephon made vaſt Improvements; and, being emboldened by his Father, by Degrees found Words to expreſs the Paſſion he was poſſeſt of in ſo pathetic a Manner, that Celia confeſſed her Senſibility of it, and the enſuing Spring the Nuptials were ſolemnized to the extreme Satisfaction of all the Parties concerned.
I hear that he became a moſt accompliſhed Perſon, and what may juſtly be called a fine Gentleman, tho’ not in the modern Acceptation of the Word; and that no Age ever produced a more happy Pair than Strephon and Celia, which Names 371 Ccc1r 371 Names they ſtill retain among their Intimates, in Memory of their firſt Love.
As nothing but the Power of Beauty could have rouſed this young Gentleman from a Stupidity which ſeemed natural to him, I cannot help laughing to think what a Mixture of Dolt and Fop there had been in him, had his Miſtreſs been like ſome fine Ladies that I know in the World. The Clown had ſtill remained in him, and when his Outſide had been transformed into a Beau, there could not have been a more comical Compoſition.
Such Animals, however, are ſometimes to be met with even in this great Metropolis; and it would be extremely to the Glory of our Sex, if they would oblige all their Lovers to become rational Creatures before they accepted their Addreſſes. But alas! while Puppet-Shews and Conundrums take up their Attention, no ſuch Thing is to be expected:—While the Women continue to be attached to Trifles, the Men will alſo continue to encourage them in the Hope of pleaſing; and as Strephon endeavoured to render himſelf worthy of a Woman of Senſe, by becoming Maſter of ſuch Accompliſhments as he found were neceſſary for that End, ſo will all who really love, affect to be what will be moſt engaging to the Object of his Affections.
I therefore maintain, that every beautiful Woman ought to anſwer for all the Follies Vol. II. Ccc of 372 Ccc1v 372 of her Admirers, provided that ſhe continues them in her Train; and that it may not be ſaid I lay too great a Streſs on the Influence of my own Sex, I would alſo have every Man of Senſe condemned for the Impertinencies committed by the Woman he makes his ſerious Addreſſes to.――As the mutual Deſire of pleaſing each other in both Sexes is natural and laudable, each would doubtleſs be reform’d when they found it the only way to anſwer that great End.
Vices are more eaſily left off than Follies.— Conſcience, though uncalled and unconſulted, will ſometimes interpoſe, and ſtop us even in the very Act of any thing that is truly criminal. But Reaſon is not always ſo officious: Our good Senſe is often lulled aſleep by our Vanity, and while we think we do no Harm, we think we may do any thing.
Follies however, when too much indulged, frequently lead us into Vices before we are aware, and are the more dangerous as we perceive not where we are going till too late to retrieve ourſelves, and we have nothing but a ſad Repentance to befriend us.
The Love of Gaming, being fond of every new Trifle, and a continual Habit of rambling from one publick Place to another, are of this Sort; and I may ſay they are Captains-General of that 373 Ccc2r 373 that Army of Errors, which enable us to combat againſt Virtue, and will in Time overthrow it. Ill Habits gather by unſeen Degrees:As Brooks make Rivers, Rivers run to Seas.
I would have every Woman of common Underſtanding ask herſelf the Queſtion, if it is not more Honour to her to be ſeriouſly praiſed and admired by one Man of Senſe, than to have the unmeaning, idle, hyperbolical Compliments of twenty fluttering Coxcombs!
But as I have already at various Times in the Courſe of theſe Speculations taken Notice, ſo I cannot forbear again repeating, that it is wholly owing to the want of a due Reflection, that we ſee People ſo generally run contrary, as it were, to every thing that is their true Intereſt to purſue.
I don’t find but that even now, on the reading or being told the Hiſtory of any great and memorable Perſon, the Auditors are ſenſibly affected, and ready enough to give ſuch-a-one the Praiſes they deſerve.――Why therefore are they not fir’d with an Ambition of emulating them? —Why does not every Woman aim at being a Cornelia?—Why do not the Men copy after a Scipio or a Brutus?—Both Sexes, and all Degrees and Ranks, may find Models, not only among the Antients but Moderns, by which they ought to ſquare their Actions, if they would but conſiderCcc2 ſider 374 Ccc2v 374 ſider how infinitely it would become them to do ſo.
But thinking ſeriouſly is a Fatigue which thoſe of the polite World cannot ſupport: It muſt therefore be ſome demonſtrative Proofs, that to deſerve is the only way to receive Applauſe, than can change the preſent faſhion of Behaviour.
For Example, would a few ſparkling Beauties, ſuch as Amabella, Martilia, and ſome others, who unhappily permit themſelves to be gallanted by a Train of Coxcombs which every Day follow them in the Mall, play with their Fans in the Boxes at the Opera and Play-Houſes, and boaſt of being admitted even at their Toylets, reſolve henceforward to have no Society but with Men of Wit, Honour, and Reputation, how ſoon would Merit become the Mode, and all kinds of Foppery be left off.
Then on the Side of the Men, Porphirio, Albinus, Portius, and all who are celebrated for their Wit and fine Taſte, muſt renounce all Converſation with the Fair Hoydens of the Age, and ſay fine Things to none but who are qualified to make them proper Anſwers.
I remember to have heard, that in the Reign of King Charles the Second, a Time in which they ſay Britiſh Wit and Elegance were at their height, that Monarch being walking in the Mall one 375 Ccc3r 375 one Day, was infinitely charmed with the Beauty of a young Lady who happened to be there, and after having paſt her in two or three Turns, at length went up to her and accoſted her with an Air of Gallantry and Good-Breeding peculiar to himſelf; to which ſhe made very awkward Replies: And when he told her, that Beauty ſuch as her’s, would add to the Splendor of a Court, It may be ſo, cried ſhe, but I ſhall never go there.—Why, demanded the King? Becauſe I won’t, reſum’d ſhe. This Behaviour in a Moment cur’d the amorous Prince of all the Paſſion ſhe had inſpir’d him with, and he turned from her with as much Contempt as he had approach’d her with Admiration, ſaying, Fair and Fooliſh! What a Pity it is when a Woman loſes by her Tongue all the Advantages her Eyes have gain’d!
’Tis certain indeed, from all Accounts of this Prince, that liable as he was to the Force of Beauty, and to be taken with every new Face that had any thing lovely in it, Wit only was capable of making a laſting Impreſſion on him, either in Men or Women.――All his Miſtreſſes were famous for Vivacity of Genius, and though there might be then, as well as now, ſome heavy-headed Courtiers about him, yet thoſe with whom he paſt his private Hours were all Men of the moſt elevated Capacities.
The Love of ingenious Converſation deſcended from the Throne to every Thing beneath; and 376 Ccc3v 376 and if that Age might be called an Age of too much Gallantry, as doubtleſs it was, there was a certain Delicacy in Amours which cannot be alledged in Favour of the preſent.――This is ſaid by Perſons who are leaſt inclined to palliate Vice, and cannot be ſuſpected of Partiality to one Period of Time, any more than to another.
I don’t know how it is, ſaid a Friend of mine, who in his Youth, I ſuppoſe; might be of the gay World, but the Men of theſe Days are ſtrangely happy:――In my Time a fine Woman was not to be gain’d without a long Application, and a thouſand Teſtimonies of an unfeign’d and conſtant Regard; but now a Game of Romps, or a lucky Run at Cards, reduces the vanquiſh’d Fair to accept of what Condition the Conqueror is pleaſed to give.
How wiſely did the Antients aſſign two Cupids of ſuch different Natures, to preſide over amorous Affairs!—the One all Tenderneſs and Truth, inſpiring no inordinate Deſires, but meek, humble, and aiming at the Satisfaction of the Object beloved;—the Other rampant, preſuming, regarding only Self-gratification, and trampling under foot all Conſiderations that offer to oppoſe it.
Can our Sex then, whoſe Characteriſtick is Softneſs and Gentleneſs, prefer the latter to the former, and forgo even Nature! Surely no, if mid- 377 Ccc4r 377 midnight Riots drown not all Reflection, or ſome fatal Exigence render it of no Force.
I Remember to have ſeen in a Library belonging to one of my Relations, a little Book entitled The Card of Fancy; it was, I believe, one of the firſt Eſſays of Printing in England, and both the Characters and Language ſo obſolete, that it was ſcarce intelligible to a modern Reader. Perhaps the very being ſo, heighten’d my Curioſity; and my extreme Deſire, ſeconded by the Skill of the Owner of the Library, made me in a little Time able to comprehend the Contents; which were a Collection of ſeveral remarkable little Hiſtories with proper Remarks on each, which ſerved as a kind of Moral to direct the Reader how to make his own Improvement of the Paſſages he found there.
There were ſeveral pompous Accounts of the Tilts and Tournaments of former Times made in Honour of our Sex, and what wonderful things Love enabled his Votaries to perform in the Preſence of their Miſtreſſes; eſpecially if they were honoured with a Scarf, Ribband, or Glove, wherewith to ornament their Helmet; but there was one which above all the reſt took my Humour, as I thought it more diſplay’d the Power of that little Deity, which once made a great Noiſe in the World, than any I had ever heard or read of. Some of thoſe who think the Female Spectator worth their Peruſal, may poſſibly be as well pleaſeded 378 Ccc4v 378 ed with it as I was, and in that Hope I take the Liberty of preſenting it as a great Curioſity.
A former Eſſay of mine has mentioned, on a different Occaſion, one Jeffery Rudell a young Nobleman of Provence, a fine Country now appertaining to France, but formerly a Feoff of the Empire. The Book, from which I took the Narrative I am about to give, deſcribes him as one of the handſomeſt and moſt polite Perſons of the Age he liv’d in. King Richard the Firſt of England, who, for his undaunted Spirit, was ſurnamed Coeur de Lyon, having paſt ſome Part of his Youth in Provence, became exceedingly intimate with him; and when he came to the Crown ſent to intreat he would not forget their former Friendſhip ſo far as not to make him a Viſit: Jeffery Rudell accepted the Invitation, came over, and was the firſt that revived Poetry in England, after it had lain dormant ſeveral hundred Years: There are Verſes of his compoſing ſtill extant in the Hands of ſome of the antient Nobility and Gentry of this Kingdom, and Mr. Rhymer tells us, that there are many more in the Library of the Grand Duke of Tuſcany.
When King Richard made his Cruſade in the Holy Land, this Jeffery went with him, and prov’d himſelf no leſs a Hero in the Time of Battle, than he was a Courtier in the Times of of Peace.—He was a Priſoner with that Prince in Germany, when on his Return from fighting the 379 Ddd1r 379 the Battles of Chriſt, he was ſeiz’d by the treacherous Duke of Auſtria, and detained three whole Years for ſo exorbitant a Ranſom as ſcarce the whole Wealth of England could diſcharge: An Obligation to the Houſe of Auſtria which many Ages had cauſe to remember; but Time eraſes all Things, and we are a forgiving People.―― This however is not to the Purpoſe of my Hiſtory, the preſent Deſcendant of that Family will doubtleſs make Attonement for all the Injuries offered to us by her Predeceſſors, as well as amply recompence the Favours ſhe in Perſon has received.
Liberty at laſt regain’d, he came not with the King to England, but paſs’d into Bretagne, the Inheritance of Prince Geofry Brother to Coeur de Lyon, and who was Father to that unhappy Arthur, who loſt his Life in the Uſurpation of his Uncle John. There did he hear ſuch Wonders of the Beauty, Wit, Learning, and Virtue of the Counteſs of Tripoly, that he became more truly enamour’d of her Character than is common in our Days, for Men to be with the moſt perfect Original that Nature ever fram’d, or Art improved.
Neither his Friendſhip for Prince Geofry, nor the Perſwaſions of the Nobility of Bretagne, by whom he was extremely reſpected and beloved, could prevail on him to ſtay any longer Vol. II. Ddd there. 380 Ddd1v 380 there.――He hir’d a Veſſel, and with the firſt fair Wind ſet Sail for Tripoly.
But though his Paſſion made him thus obſtinately bent to forſake all that beſides was dear to him in the World, and run ſuch Harzards for the Sight of the beloved Object; yet his good Senſe ſometimes remonſtrated to him, that the Adventure he undertook, had in it ſomething romantick, and the Uncertainty how he might be received on his Arrival, filled him with the moſt terrible Agitations.
To alleviate the Melancholly he was in, during his long Voyage, he pour’d out the Overflowings of his Soul in many Odes and Sonnets, but as they were all in the Provencial Tongue, I forbear to tranſcribe them; only, to ſhew in what manner the Poets of thoſe Days wrote, will give my Readers one, as I find it tranſlated into Engliſh by Mr. Rhymer:I. Sad and heavy ſhould I part, But for this Love ſo far away Not knowing what my Ways may thwart, My Native Land ſo far away. II. Thou that of all Things Maker art, And form’ſt this Love ſo far away; Give Body’s Strength, then ſhan’t I ſtart, From ſeeing her ſo far away. 381 Ddd2r 381 III. How true a Love to pure Deſert, Is Love to her ſo far away! Eas’d once, a Thousand Times I ſmart, Whilſt, ah! ſhe is ſo far away. IV. None other Love, none other Dart I feel, but her’s ſo far away, But fairer never touch’d an Heart, Than her’s that came ſo far away.
My Author ſays, that never Voyage was more unproſperous, that they had great Storms, which obliged them more than once to put into Port to refit, and ſometimes were ſo becalmed that the Ship could not make any way, but ſeem’d almoſt motionleſs: But their worſt Misfortune was, they were attacked by two Turkiſh Galleys, who, but for the extraordinary Valour and Conduct of Jeffery Rudell, had made them all Priſoners.—He received however ſeveral Wounds, the Anguiſh of which joined to his other fatigues, and the more ſevere Anxiety of his Mind, threw him into a languiſhing Diſtemper which every Moment threatened Diſſolution.
They met by Accident with a Ship bound for the Southern Part of France, which being ſo near his own Country, he was very much perſwaded by the Commander to go on board him, and turn back: He alledged to him, that in the Con- 382 Ddd2v 382 Condition he then was, nothing could be more proper than to proſecute his Intention; that probably his native Air might be of Service to him, and that when he was recovered, he might again ſet out for Tripoly with more Probability of Succeſs.
But all this, tho’ highly reaſonable, had no Effect.—The weak and decayed Situation of his Body had no Influence over his Mind, which, wholly taken up with the Perfections of the beautiful Counteſs, made him reſolute to proceed, whatever ſhould be the Conſequence.
In fine, he continued his Voyage, and no ill Accidents afterward intervening, arrived ſafe at his ſo much wiſh’d for Port.—When he was told, as he lay in his Cabin, that they had dropt Anchor, and were in View of the Towers of Tripoly, he lifted up his Hands and Eyes to Heaven, giving Thanks, that, after all his Sufferings, he had the Happineſs, at laſt, of breathing the ſame Air with that admirable Lady he had come ſo far in Search of.
One who was leſs a Lover than he was, would have thought this a poor Compenſation, when, with all the Efforts he made, he found himſelf unable to riſe out of his Bed, but he received much more than he expected, or indeed had Reaſon to do. The Counteſs being informed who was in the Veſſel, and the Motive which had brought him there, as well as the Condition to which 383 Ddd3r 383 which he was reduced, had Gratitude and Compaſſion enough to come to viſit him, ardently wiſhing, that this Condeſcenſion might reſtore him to that Health he had loſt for her Sake; but alas! he was too far gone; inexorable Death triumphed over the pureſt Love that ever was.— His Eyes were cloſed, as thoſe about him thought, for ever, but ſuddenly opened, on his hearing ſhe was there: She took him by the Hand, and, in the ſweeteſt Accents, told him ſhe was pierced to the Heart to think ſo worthy a Man ſhould have expoſed himſelf to ſuch innumerable Dangers.—All, all, cry’d he, eagerly gazing on her as tho’ he would carry her Image with him to the other World, all my Sufferings in beholding you are overpaid. He concluded this Expreſſion with a fervent Kiſs on her Hand, and in that Action expired.
So rare an Example of an unfeigned Affection, muſt have neceſſarily affected any Woman of a generous Soul; but it made ſo deep an Impreſſion on that of this amiable Counteſs, that ſhe lamented his Loſs as of a Lover who had long been dear to her: She devoted all that Tenderneſs to his Memory, which, had he lived, had rendered him the happieſt of Mankind.— She had his Body conveyed on Shore, and buried in the moſt ſumptuous Manner, and erected for him a Tomb of Porphiry and Jaſper intermixed, with an Epitaph in Arabic Verſe;—had all his Sonnets and Odes curiouſly copyed over in 384 Ddd3v 384 in Letters of Gold; and, after ſhe had done all ſhe could think on to perpetuate his Name, ſhe took a vow of Chaſtity, founded a Monaſtery, of which ſhe herſelf was Abbeſs, and endowed it with her whole Fortune.
I could wiſh this Story had a more fortunate Concluſion, and that, for the Encouragement of ſuch Lovers as the Provencial Nobleman, it had related the Triumphs of his Marriage, rather than the Magnificence of his Obſequies; but as the Motive of my inſerting it was to ſhew the Ladies what Influence they might have over the Men, by behaving ſo as to acquire a Character like that of the Counteſs of Tripoly, thoſe who wiſh’d to be loved as ſhe was, may poſſibly become her Imitators.
It is my Deſign, in ſome future Eſſay, to lay down a few Maxims and Rules of Conduct collected from ſeveral of the moſt learned and polite Authors of all Ages, which, if followed, will well ſupply every Deficiency in Nature, give Charms to the plaineſt Face, and render Beauty infinitely more conſpicuous.
A second Letter from Britanicus is come to Hand, but the ſame Reaſon which depriv’d the Publick of the Satisfaction it might have received by the former, holds good alſo againſt this; though ſo great a Regard have we both for 385 Ddd4r 385 for the Subject, and his moſt juſt and agreeable manner of handling it, that we ſhall run the hazard of offending thoſe few who may think themſelves too ſeverely dealt with, in order to oblige the more valuable, and we hope more numerous Part of our Readers, and readily inſert it in our next Publication; provided he conſents to our omitting the Prophecy, and the three laſt Lines of his fifth Paragraph, as well as changing the initial Letters of proper Names for fictitious ones.
It will be eaſy for him to conceive the Neceſſity there is of doing this, if it appears in Print; and will therefore pardon the Propoſal, and favour us with his Reſolution upon it.
A letter ſign’d Dorinda, another H. L. and a third Claribella, are all of them recieved; the two firſt will not fail to have a Place in our next Lucubrations; but the other, by reaſon of its length, muſt be defer’d till the Month following, when the Lady may depend on ſeeing the Story it contains made as publick as our Canal will permit, and alſo thoſe Obſervations which ſhall occur to us on a mature Conſideration of the Matter.
If our Opinion ſhould happen (as I fear it will) in ſome meaſure to vary from that the fair Author is of at preſent, we flatter ourſelves ſhe will excuſe it, on Account of that Sincerity and Impartialitypar- 386 Ddd4v 386 partiality we are determined to preſerve through the whole Courſe of theſe Eſſays.
The Verſes of Simonides do not at all accord with the Rules we have preſcribed ourſelves;— they may poſſibly be more agreeable to the Publiſhers of ſome of our Weekly Papers. Therefore, if the Author has no other Copy than that which he ſent to us, to prevent him from the Mortification of having his Wit thrown away, it ſhall be left at our Publiſher’s, where, if he pleaſes to call, it will be returned, without one Word borrow’d or embezzled.
End of the Twelfth Book.An angel on a pedastal floats above a town while a smaller winged figure kneels beside the pedestal.
Index to Books VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, Being The Second Volume.
- Amintor, his Letter to the Female Spectator, p. 4
- Arpaſia, her Character. p. 5
- Antipathies in Nature not to be acounted for. p. 13
- Authors deſerving to be encouraged. p. 46
- Amelia, her Reaſon for marrying Melania. p. 53.
- Arminius, a Play. p. 89
- Affectation of a Lady concerning Drinking of Tea. p. 103
- Ambition, its Power on the Queen of Hungary. p. 189
- Aurelia, her Story. p. 203
- Annihilation, the Doctrine of it believed but by few. p. 264
- A. B. his Letter. p. 269
- Apparitions, not always to be rejected. p. 297
- Adraſta, her Letter. p. 325
- Crete, or Candy, a Story taken from the Annals of that Country. p. 18
- Country Juſtice, his blunt Reply to a Gentleman about to ſet up for Member of Parliament. p. 37
- Celemena, her Story. p. 55
- Caius Marius, not enough modernized. p. 92
- Curioſo Politico, his angry Letter. p. 117
- Commerce, of late too much neglected p. 145
- Curio, his Character, and Apoſtacy. p. 168
- Compariſon between the Queens of Hungary and Spain. p. 186
- Cautions againſt Jealouſy. p. 216
- Cleora, her Letter. p. 230
- Cyril, Biſhop of Alexandria, his cruel Zeal. p. 242
- Country Lady, her Surprize on viſiting a Friend in Town. p. 326
- Conundrums, much in Vogue with People of Quality. p. 349
- Distrario, his Letter on the Difficulty of getting a new Play acted. p. 70 Vol. II. Eee Diſ 388 Eee1v
- Diſpute between an Engliſh and Hanoverian Lady. p. 135
- Diſſimulation not natural to the Engliſh. p. 156
- Dreams not always to be contemn’d. p. 315
- Drum, a Term uſed by Ladies who keep Aſſemblies. p. 328
- Excess in any thing a Fault. p. 36
- Edwardand Eleonora, an excellent Play. p. 80
- Engliſh fond of Exotics. p. 101
- Equality between the Sexes dreaded by the Men. p. 247
- Examples of Virtue, from whom they would be moſt ſerviceable. p. 253
- Euphroſine, her Deſign to bring Court Puppets into Guildhall. p. 354
- Female spectator’s Advice to Amintor. p. 14
- Ditto to Bellamonte. p. 116
- Female Spectator, ſeverely cenſured. p. 121
- Futurity, the Certainty of it. p. 127
- Freedom impoſſible to be ſupported without Virtue. p. 129
- Fame, her Report. p. 164
- Fancy, its great Power. p. 196
- Falſe Pride. p. 239
- Fortune tellers, the Folly of giving Credit to them. p. 310
- French Ladies, how eaſily they improve themſelves. p. 343
- French Gentlemen, their Readineſs to oblige. p. 345
- Follies more difficult to be ſhook off than Vices. p. 370
- Ingratitude, the Difficulty of defining it. p. 1
- Inſtances where Gratitude is owing. p. 40
- John Carefull, his Letter. p. 95
- Jealouſy, its Sources. p. 196
- Immortality of the Soul, the Belief of it abſolutely neceſſary. p. 283
- J. J. his Letter. p. 349
- Jeoffry Rudell, his Story. 378
- Influence, how great the Ladies had in former Times. p. 379
- Plausible, Sir Thomas, his Character. p. 48.
- Pretenders to Magnanimity. p. 51.
- Poets how uſed by Players. p. 37
- Plays forbid without any Reaſon given by the Licencer. ibibid. Partiality, how blameable. p. 87
- Platonides, his Letter. p. 257
- Preſcience, Starts of it experienced by ſome People. p. 259.
- Philo-Serenitas, his Letter. p. 173
- Philenia, her Letter. p. 341
- Part of an intended Farce. p. 350
- Self-sufficient People never to be obliged. p. 50
- Stage ought to be the School of Virtue. p. 39
- Shakeſpear, in what faulty. p. 91
- Sabina, her Story. p. 221
- Study of Philoſophy recommended. p. 237
- Self-Satisfaction the univerſal Aim. p. 286
- Stratagems practiſed by Lady Gameſters. p. 530328
- Strephon and Celia, their Story. p. 360
- Strange Example of the Force of Love. p. 380
End of Vol. II.