J. Bonneau fecit.
Emblazoned circular portrait of a man identified by an overhead caption
A. Cowley, from which a fillet hangs with the words
Printed by T. Gardner.A. Cowley.Printed by T. GardnerLondon:
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 Dowager of Manchester, this Fourth Volume of the Female Spectator
is Moſt Humbly Inſcribed,
The Female Spectator.
As we are deſirous of preventing all Suſpicion of any Partiality in us to one Correſpondent more than another, we eſtabliſhed it as a Rule at our firſt ſetting out, that whatever we found proper to have a Place in theſe Eſſays, ſhould be inſerted in the Order in which it was received.
This Method, which we have all along punctually obſerved, we flatter ourſelves will excuſe us to the Authors of many excellent Pieces, which have lately been communicated to us for the Service of the Public, that we give the Preference to that of Eumenes, as being the firſt that came to Hand.Vol. IV. A Neither 004 A1v 4
Neither is it poſſible for any one to be deceived in this Point, were we capable of attempting it, becauſe the Dates of the Epiſtles themſelves would riſe up againſt us.
Thus much we thought it neceſſary to ſay, becauſe we are told ſome Whiſpers, of an Accuſation of this Nature, have been ſpread Abroad, to the Prejudice of that Character of Sincerity we are determined never to forfeit.To theFemale Spectator. Madam, Ihave ſo little Pretentions to the Title of an Author, that the Vanity which is imputed to them would be inſufferably ridiculous in me:――I am therefore ſo far from being any way diſguſted at your omitting ſome Part of my former Epiſtle, that I ſhould have readily excuſed your curtailing much more if you had found it proper. But how much ſoever I may be ſatisfied as to this Point, I cannot acknowledge myſelf ſo in another, and more material one.――I hoped to have found the Female Spectator would have improved on the few Hints I had given her, and exerted the Talent ſhe is ſo perfect a Miſtreſs of, in ſetting before the Eyes of my worthy Fellow-Citizens of London, what beſt becomes both their Intereſt and Reputation in the World. ‘The 005 A2r 5 The little you have ſaid, notwithſtanding, convinces me of the true Eſteem and Good- will you bear to a Body of People, who, if they are not at preſent the Envy of their Neighbours, it is wholly owing to themſelves, and at the ſame Time makes me fear you ſaid no more, only becauſe you find too much Reaſon to apprehend, that they are ſo far ſunk in Luxury, and an unhappy Infatuation, as to be ranked among the Number of the Incorrigibles. But, Madam, to do Juſtice to them, as well as to the Force of even that ſhort, though pathetic Remonſtrance, you were pleaſed to make, I muſt beg Leave to acquaint you, that there is more than one Family, to my Knowledge, who have had Senſe enough to be awakened by it from their long Lethargy, and to perceive the Precipice they were about unwarily to plunge into. Many more, I am apt to flatter myſelf, will be aſhamed of their paſt Conduct; and as I can aſſure you what you have ſaid has been in general well received, it is more than barely poſſible a much greater Succeſs will crown your Labours in the End, than even you yourſelf, with all your Spectatorial Capacity, can foreſee, or perhaps are fearful of being too ſanguine in the Expectation of. Time has brought greater Wonders to Perfection than this; and would you vouchſafe ‘ſometimes 006 A2v 6 ſometimes to mingle in your Lucubrations ſome Admonitions for ſo deſirable a Purpoſe, I do not doubt but you will one Day ſee the good Effects of it. In the mean Time I think it highly fit I ſhould comply with your Requeſt, and accordingly ſend you encloſed ſome farther Account of the Topſy Turvy Iſland, as I faithfully tranſcribed it from that Book of Voyages mentioned in my laſt. If it will afford any agreeable Reflections to your Society, or Entertainment to your Readers, I ſhall think myſelf happy in the Power of contributing to what I ſo ſincerely wiſh, being, with the greateſt Reſpect, Madam, Yours, and your fair Aſſociates, Moſt humble and moſt devoted Servant, Eumenes. Auſtin-Fryars, 1745-09-12Sept.12, 1745.
The following Piece is the Tranſcript our ingenious Correſpondent has obliged us with; which, it is eaſy to ſee, is compoſed of ſeveral ſelect Parts of the Hiſtory, ſuch as I ſuppoſe he found would be moſt pleaſing, or moſt proper to be inſerted in a Work of this Nature.The Topſy Turvy Iſland is ſo little known ‘in 007 A3r 7 in theſe Parts of the World, that the Adventures I am about to relate would ſeem dark and intricate, if not fabulous to my Readers, if I did not firſt give them ſome Idea of the Nature of the Place in which they were tranſacted. I ſhall therefore preſent them with a general and ſuccinct Account of ſuch Things as came within the Reach of my Obſervation, and leave thoſe which I confeſs myſelf to have been unable to fathom, to be ſupplied by Imagination; premiſing only thus much, that I will not impoſe on the Underſtanding of any one, by pretending to diſcover more than in effect I was able to do. As to the Geography it matters not, for I believe few will be ambitious of taking a Voyage thither; therefore conſequently would be of no manner of Service: Beſides, indeed, I muſt confeſs myſelf utterly incapable of relating in what Degree of Latitude this remote Country lies, arriving there by very extraordinary Means, and in which the Compaſs was entirely uſeleſs; ſo I ſhall only ſay, it is ſituated on a Branch of that wide Ocean which divides America from the reſt of the Globe, and paſſing by the Elbow, if I may ſo call it, of the Pacific Sea, runs through the Heart of that great Continent, which we, not having yet been able to explore, call by no other Name than that of Terra Incognita. ‘It 008 A3v 8 It would, doubtleſs, be eaſy for me to ſupply this Deficiency by Invention, and pretend to have ſaid the Iſland is North of ſuch a Place, and South of ſuch a Place, being in no Danger of being confuted by any preſent or future Columbus; but I was bred in a Deteſtation of all Deceit, and tho’ I am yet arrived, after ten Years Travels, at no higher Poſt than a Midſhipman, could not anſwer to my own Soul the Meanneſs of a Lye in any Shape, or to anſwer any End:—I therefore flatter myſelf, that the Diſcoveries I have been able to make will more than attone for the Want of thoſe, which, with all my Endeavours, I found it impoſſible to attain. As to the Climate it is exceeding healthy, and thoſe not only of the Inhabitants, but alſo Strangers who happen to come there, and value Life enough to take a proper Care of it, may live to an extreme old Age:――Nor did Heaven ever bleſs a Spot of Earth with a greater Plenty of every thing neceſſary for the Support of Nature: The Meadows are covered with the fineſt Cattle I ever ſaw, and abound with the moſt excellent Paſturage for their Nouriſhment:—Their Fields ſeldom fail to crown the Toil of the laborious Huſbandman with a full Crop:—Rivers which may vie with the moſt celebrated ones in Europe, and afford a vaſt Variety of delicious Fiſh:—Their Fruits are alſo exquiſite, and the Juice of ſome of them make a Wine not inferior to the beſt ‘Burgundy, 009 B1r 9 Burgundy, or Frontiniac; and the Kernels of others yield an Oil, at leaſt equal to that of Lucca:――Then they have ſuch a Glut of all kinds of Poultry, both wild and tame, that though it is of a more delicate Reliſh than any I ever taſted in theſe Parts of the World, the exceſſive Cheapneſs renders it Food only for the common People. Their Seaſons are little different from ours, excepting that the Days are conſiderably longer, and what is very ſtrange, leſs ſultry, even in the Meridian of the Sun, than we feel in its Decline:—The Air is wholly free from all Storms and Corruſcations, and whenever any Fog ariſes, it is always in the Night, and conſequently of but ſmall Annoyance. As to their Form of Government, they tell you, it is Republican; nor indeed, have they any King, Matters of State being tranſacted by a certain Number of Men, whom they chuſe among themſelves, and pay an implicit Obedience to, during the Time prefixed for their Rule, which is nine Years, at the Expiration of which they reſign their Authority, and others are called in. This they call a State of perfect Freedom, yet it is, in effect, the worſt of Slavery; and no Man has the Command of his own Property any more than under thoſe Governments Vol. IV. B ‘which 010 B1v 10 which are looked upon as moſt deſpotic. The Reaſon of it is this: The Iſland, though governed by its own Laws, is a kind of an Appendix to a great Monarch on the Continent, by whom it had formerly been conquered: This Prince, though he flatters them with a Shew of Liberty, has it always in his Power to enforce or ſooth them into Compliance with whatever he deſires; and ſhould theſe pretended Rulers in the leaſt offer to oppoſe his Will, he would come down with Fire and Sword, and lay the whole Country waſte: So that their Condition is infinitely worſe, than if it had been even under the worſt Princes of their own. But there is little Occaſion to expatiate on this Fate, becauſe every one knows the unhappy Situation of a Country, which, from being perfectly independent, is reduced to be no more than a Province to another. The preſent Race of the Topſy Turvyans are, however, too indolent to reflect on their Misfortunes, and being by degrees ſubjected to the Yoke, ſeem quite contented under it: They ſee, without repining, the richeſt of their Produce carried every Year to the Continent; all the Beauties of their Fields and Gardens ranſacked, what for ſo many Months they have been cultivating, born away before their Eyes, yet are content with the Gleanings of what ſcattered‘tered 011 B2r 11 tered Remnants they can pick up for their own Uſe. I am ſenſible this will ſcarce gain Credit in England, yet it is no more than a Truth my own Eyes have been witneſs of. As to their Laws, nothing can be better calculated for the Happineſs and well ordering of Society; but the Execution of them is entirely out of Uſe, and they hang up, like the Skin of an Allegator in an Apothecary’s Shop, rather for Shew than Service: Their Cuſtoms, Manners, and Behaviour are ſo much the Reverſe of what they were ſome Ages paſt, that one would think it impoſſible the Topſy Turvyans I ſaw ſhould ever be deſcended from Perſons capable of framing ſo excellent a Conſtitution, and Statutes for ſupporting it. Certain it is, notwithſtanding, that they were once a wiſe and gallant People; but Avarice on the one Hand, and Luxury on the other, have poiſoned and enervated all their nobler Paſſions, and rendered them, both in public and private Life, no leſs deſerving of Contempt than formerly they were of Veneration and Eſteem. The Iſland, though no more than an hundred and fifty Miles in Length, and not quite forty in Breadth, contains two Cities and ſeveral very populous Towns: There is alſo an B2 Univerſity, 012 B2v 12 Univerſity, or rather an Academy; but how much thoſe who are educated there, at leaſt thoſe of them who are too great to ſubmit to Rules, profit by their Studies, the Reader may gueſs, by what I have ſaid in another Place of their Conduct and Behaviour. The Youth, however, pride themſelves very much on their Return from thence, and look down with a kind of Scorn on thoſe who have not been allowed this ſeeming Advantage. As it will doubtleſs be expected I ſhould ſay ſomething of their Towns and Cities, I ſhall give as exact an Account of theſe alſo as poſſible:—Their Streets are, generally ſpeaking, very narrow, and the Buildings irregular, except in the Capital, where ſomewhat more Care and Skill ſeems to have been employed. It is very plain, that Architecture is a Science theſe Iſlanders were never practiſed in; for the Palaces of their greateſt Men, and even thoſe of the Theodo’s, or High Prieſts, are extremely rude and barbarous, though adorned, after their Manner, with precious Stones and Gold. I must obſerve, that Gold is not coined here, as in other Countries, into Money, nor will any that is ſo paſs among them; but it is uſed in Furniture, and bought with a kind of mixed Metal, which we have nothing in Europe‘rope, 013 B3r 13 rope, nor any where elſe in the known World, that ever I heard of, that in the leaſt reſembles it. Their Temples are very little ornamented, and leſs frequented; they are alſo for the moſt part low-roofed, and quite overlooked by the Palace of the Chief Theodo of that Diſtrict, who always lives near, and by his capacious Hall ſeems to be ſuperior to the Diety he pretends to ſerve. The Houſes of the Nobility, and great Officers of State, are not wanting in Richneſs, whatever Deficiencies there may be in Elegance; but thoſe of the inferior Gentry and Mechanics ſhew, by their Decay and wretched Appearance, the Hardſhips and miſerable Condition their Owners labour under. I have ſaid there were good Laws; but what will appear very ſtrange, throughout the whole Iſland there is not one Court of Judicature, all Affairs relating to Meum and Tuum being decided by the Perſons at the Helm; ſo that it often happens that the younger Branches of a Family inherit, and the elder are turned out to ſtarve, according as Intereſt and Favour directs. But as Gaming is the chief Buſineſs, as well as Amuſement of the Topſy-Turvyans, large Halls are erected for that Purpoſe, not only ‘in 014 B3v 14 in every Quarter of the Capital, but alſo in every Town, and even little Village. The Doors of theſe Halls being kept continually open, both Night and Day, it is amazing to ſee what Numbers of People are always crowding in to pay their Adorations to the Goddeſs Fortune, whoſe Image is placed at the upper End under a magnificent Canopy. —All Ages, all Degrees, all Sects, unite in this univerſal Worſhip:――All Reſerve,—all Pride of Birth,_――all Difference in Opinion is here entirely laid aſide:—The Prince and the Pedlar,—the Lady that keeps the Chariot, and the Drab that trowls the Wheelbarrow,—the Prude and the avowed Proſtitute,—the Eccleſiaſtic and the Ballad-ſinger are on equal Foot:――Nothing but Gain, dear Gain is regarded, and the Lord has as little Remorſe for winning from the Cobler all he is Maſter of in the whole World, though the Wretch hangs himſelf the next Morning for the Loſs, as he would for having got the ſame Sum, from him who could beſt ſpare it in the Company: But Ruin and Deſtruction are with them more Matters of Mirth and Deriſion than Pity or Relief. These are all the Edifices of Note that I remember, except the Theatre, which indeed is tolerable as to the Building, were it intended for another Uſe, but ridiculous for that to which it is put:――If originally erected for a 015 B4r 15 a Play-houſe, as they told me it was, never ſure was ſo great a Blunderer as the Architect; for the Stage being round in the Manner of a a Cock-Pit, thoſe of the Audience, who ſit in one half of the Circle, can only ſee the Actors Backs. I must own, indeed, that according to the Performances exhibited there, this is little to be regarded, for the Perſon who has the Management of this very grand Affair, as it is accounted, perceiving the Audiences begin to ſlacken, and at length become ſo thin, that there was ſeldom ſufficient to defray the Expence, in Compliance with the fantaſtic Humour of the Age, and bring more Company, introduced a new kind of Entertainment; which was to bring twenty or thirty Aſſes on the Stage, dreſſed in Ribbands, and hung round with Bells. This, like all other Novelties in ſo capricious a Nation, afforded infinite Satisfaction; and when the poor Creatures, unuſed to ſuch harneſſing, happened to bray, or to knock their Heads one againſt the other, as they often did, the whole Houſe ecchoed with Acclamations, as if ſome elegant Piece of Wit had been performed. Btut this Mode of Diverſion was but of a ſhort Continuance; for the Actors, jealous of theſe new Brothers, and fearing they ſhould loſe their Salaries if the Animal Creation got ‘the 016 B4v 16 the better of the Rational one, in the Approbation of the Town, ſet themſelves about contriving how they ſhould ſupplant them, which they effected by the following Method. They procured the Skins of ſeveral Sorts of Creatures, ſuch as Bears, Bulls, Babboons, Dogs, and Dragons, and having transformed themſelves into the Shape, acted the Manners, of theſe Animals ſo much to the Life, that they ſoon found their Labour had not been in vain:―― Much greater Applauſe was given to them in their Brute Characters than they ever had received in thoſe of Heroes and fine Gentlemen; perhaps too with good Reaſon, but of that I do not pretend to be poſitive. They ſtill, however, at leaſt at my leaving them they did ſo, continue to act Pieces or Interludes, which they divide into two Claſſes, and call either the Terrible or the Merry, meaning I ſuppoſe what we do by Tragedy annd Comedy; but I think that Diſtinction might very well be laid aſide in the Topſy Turvy Drama, being equally prepoſterous, out of Nature, and far from either Wit or Humour in the one, or Truth, Justice, or Propriety in the other. This indeed muſt be acknowledged, that their Drama is a true Picture of the Times, and ſo far juſtifiable; but how degenerate, how depraved muſt be the Taſte of theſe ‘wretched 017 C1r 17 wretched Iſlanders, to be pleaſed with ſeeing themſelves in ſuch a Mirror. Military Diſcipline is much practiſed among them:—Encampments and Reviews are frequent, and they make as good a Shew as any Nation in the World:—Better dreſs’d Soldiers I never ſaw, but as to their Proweſs I dare not anſwer;――as far as I could learn, it had not of many Years been put to any great Tryals, for though there were five Declarations of War againſt ſo many different Powers during the Space of eight Months, they were no ſooner made than Overtures of Peace ſucceeded, and all the mighty Preparations for War ceaſed and gave way to Dancing, and all kinds of Revels. This might be good Policy, did it ſerve to render them formidable to their Neighbours; —but, alas, all is no more than a Bounce;―― they menace loud――they bluſter for a while, then meanly ſue, and often purchaſe a Peace at a dear Rate. It is almoſt impoſſible to enumerate the many Treaties, the Alliances, the Leagues Offenſive and Defenſive, they entered into during the three Years I was ſo unfortunate as to be among them;—I ſay unfortunate, becauſe, though this Iſland abounds with every thing a Man can with any Shadow of Reaſon deſire, Vol. IV. C ‘yet 018 C1v 18 yet are there ſuch perpetual Alarms, that no one, who wiſhes a ſettled State of Life, can be eaſy under:—They are always threatning, yet always in Apprehenſions of ſomething worſe happening to themſelves than is in their Power to inflict on others, and frequently reminded me of that Paſſage in Holy Writ, The Wicked ſhall fear, where no Fear is. But what is more amazing, if poſſible, than all the reſt is, that they are always under the moſt Terrors where there is the leaſt Probability of Danger; guarding that Place in the ſtrongeſt Manner which is moſt diſtant from the Enemy, and leaving that which is moſt likely to be attack’d, wholly defenceleſs. To add to this, they are certainly the moſt officious buſy People in the World;—they cannot be eaſy without having ſome Hand, or being thought to have, in all the Tranſactions of the neighbouring Nations:—At one Time you would imagine they were endeavouring to bring about an univerſal Place; at another that they were ſtirring up all who liſten to them to War.—This meddling Humour frequently embroils them in Quarrels with thoſe it is moſt their Intereſt to be well with, and alſo involves them in Wars for the Concerns of others, while their own are totally neglected. ‘But 019 C2r 19 But as they are never long in the ſame Mind, one Campaign is ſufficient to make them as ſick of War as before it they were of Peace; and indeed if any of their Inclinations may be ſaid to be guided by Reaſon, this is, becauſe their Arms are generally very unſucceſsful.―― Experience, however, does not make them wiſe enough to avoid engaging a-freſh, as ſoon as any Opportunity preſents itſelf; and they would long ago have been all cut to Pieces, and their Iſland reduced to an Heap of Aſhes, had they not bought off the impending Ruin with thoſe Treaſures the Frugality of their induſtrious Anceſtors had left them; and which at my coming away I found were pretty near being wholly exhauſted: So that perhaps while I am writing this Account of their Conduct, it may have brought that Deſtruction on them with which they have long ſince been threatned, and it muſt be confeſſed, they but too juſtly merit. Yet notwithſtanding this acting in the general againſt all Rules of common Senſe, I found ſome few among them who had a greater Share of Reaſon:—Theſe ſaw the approaching Miſeries of their Country with ſtreaming Eyes, and Hearts overwhelmed with Anguiſh; ――they fail’d not to admoniſh, to reprove, and to oppoſe with all their Might every deſtructive Meaſure; but all they could do was ineffectual:—Their Advice was only laugh’d at, and their Perſons treated with Contempt. C2 ‘As 020 C2v 20 As theſe Men were the only converſable Set of Mortals I found in the whole Iſland, I paſt my Time chiefly with them, and by that Means became acquainted with many Things I could not otherwiſe have known. Speaking one Day of the ſtrange Irregularity, and capricious Contradictions in Conduct practiſed by the Topſy-Turvyans, one of thoſe I juſt mentioned, pretended to account for it by the following little Piece of Hiſtory, which, whether fabulous or true, may be an Entertainment to the Reader. Our Iſland, ſaid he, was formerly governed by Vice-Roys, who being veſted with an unlimited Authority by the Crown, we were happy or miſerable according to the Diſpoſition of this Delegate of Power:—All our Appeals and Complaints to the Continent were diſregarded, ſo that we frequently ſuffered great Impoſitions.――At laſt, being perſecuted by one, who excell’d in Cruelty and every kind of Wickedneſs all his Predeceſſors, the People united in a Combination againſt him;—his Palace was plucked to the Ground, and himſelf with all his Family deſtroyed:_—Others after him, attempting the ſame Things, were treated in the ſame Manner, ſo that for ſome Time none dar’d to exceed the Bounds a good Magiſtrate ought to obſerve; and we enjoyed a perfect Freedom and Tranquility for many Years. —O! had it but continued, how happy a Na‘tion 021 C3r 21 tion had we been! But alas! the Golden Days of the Topſy-Turvyans paſt away, and a ſad Change came on.――O! Æra fatal to our Glory, Intereſt, Virtue, Liberty, all that is worth a brave Man’s Care, when the deteſted Hiamack was ſent over to be our Vice-Roy:— Ruin, Perdition, Horror, Madneſs, was then let looſe among us, and everlaſting Shame with every Curſe that Thought can form is now entail’d upon us. Here the good old Man was obliged to pauſe, and give a looſe to that Torrent of Tears which this ſad Remembrance extorted from him; and I took the Opportunity of aſking, wherefore, if Hiamack behaved ſo ill, the People did not, as before, exert themſelves to the Ruin of their Oppreſſor? To which Queſtion, as ſoon as he had a little recovered himſelf, he replied. Madack, ſaid he, (which is the Appellation they give to all Strangers for whom they have any Eſteem, and come the neareſt to my Lord in Engliſh of any Title I know of,) Hiamack was too ſubtle to diſcover himſelf;――he appeared at his firſt coming among us to be all Courteſy and Gentleneſs; and as he was the greateſt Magician perhaps that the World ever knew, he made Uſe of his diabolical Art to betray us into what he eaſily foreſaw we were not to be forced. ‘Under 022 C3v 22 Under the Pretence of his great Love and Reſpect for the People, he ordered Banquets to be prepared one Day in a great Plain, to which he invited all Degrees, not excepting the very meaneſt of the Rabble:—This ſeeming Hoſpitality and Humility charm’d the whole Iſland;—all crowded to partake of it, and to bleſs the new Vice-Roy.――Thouſands were ſerved at once, and they withdrawn, freſh thouſands came, till all had ſwallowed down the worſe than poiſon’d Viands:—All but a few who being either out of the Iſland at that Time, or were detained by Sickneſs or other Cauſes from this Feaſt, among which happy Number were my Anceſtors and ſome others. For, O my dear Madack, purſued he, the curſt Magician, by ſome infernal Recipe, had given to this Food an infatuating Quality of ſo dire and miſchievous a Nature, that not only thoſe who eat of it, but all the Poſterity which ſhould deſcend from their Loins, from Generation to Generation, and from Age to Age, ſhould be deprived of all Power of judging for themſelves; of diſtinguiſhing between what is their Intereſt, and what is not; and in fine, from that Time forward become dead to all Senſe of what they were, or what they ought to be. It is impoſſible to expreſs the Agony this poor honeſt Topſy-Turvyan fell into, in concludingcluding 023 C4r 23 cluding his Narrative; which, but for the Pity I could not help feeling for him, would have made me laugh heartily.—I could never have expected ſuch a Reaſon for the Vices, Caprices, and Follies I had ſeen among theſe People, and to hear it accounted for in the Manner I now did, appear’d to me little leſs ridiculous than the Behaviour he aſcribed to ſo out-of-the-way a Cauſe. I believe he perceived by my Countenance what my Thoughts were on this Occaſion, and therefore added many Obſervations to aſſert the Truth of what he had been ſaying.――All the others alſo of the ancient Topſy-Turvyans, as they called themſelves, aver’d the ſame, and I found it a Tradition, which was the more eſtabliſhed, as it ſeemed impoſſible a whole People ſhould degenerate and become ſo directly the oppoſite of what they had been, if ſome ſupernatural Agency had not been employ’d to work the Change. That there are Drugs, which, without the Help of Magic, will work upon the Brain, and ſo ſtupify the Senſes, that they have no Power to operate; there was an Inſtance not many Years paſt in England, of a Nobleman who had a Potion given him by his Lady, which render’d him for many Years incapable of tranſacting any kind of Buſineſs, and it is thought the Ideotiſm would have laſted as long ‘as 024 C4v 24 as Life, had not Providence in a Manner almoſt miraculouſly reſtored him to his Reaſon. ’Tis probable, therefore, that this Hiamack might know the Nature of ſo pernicious a Recipe, and apply it to the unfortunate Topſy-Turvyans ; but then I cannot think the Infatuation could be of ſuch Force as to reach the Intellects of thoſe who ſhould be begot afterwards; I rather think, as it had an Effect to corrupt the Manners of the Fathers, the Sons as they grew followed that Example; their Poſterity ſtill did the ſame, and by this Means the Curſe which they imagined entail’d by Necromancy, became confin’d from Generation to Generation. But to relate Matters, not refine upon them, is I take it the only Buſineſs of an Hiſtorian, ſo I ſhall leave it to the Reader to judge as he thinks moſt reaſonable of the Cauſe of this Degeneracy of a once brave and nice People. As to the Navigation of the Topſy-Turvyans, it is no leſs comical than the reſt, though they boaſt much of it:――They have indeed a great Number of Veſſels, which are perpetually ſwimming up and down in the Pacific Ocean as the Tide directs, for they have neither Sails nor Ballaſt:――It is utterly impoſſible to give any Deſcription of them that would be intelligible to an European Reader, being built after a Form which there is nothing like in the whole 025 D1r 25 whole World:—It muſt be owned there is ſomewhat of Majeſty and Dread in their Appearance;—they are large and very high, and ornamented on the Top with a prodigious Number of Streamers, red, yellow, blue, and white, which are fixed on Poles on above another, and fall down, like Curls of a Perriwig, to the Surface of the Veſſel, the Sides of which are full of long Iron Spikes, a little like Javelins, the Points directed outwards:―― Theſe are the Weapons by which, in Fight, they think to annoy their Enemies; but I never ſaw them tried that Way, and fancy they would be able to do little Execution. As they know nothing of the Compaſs, and never travel out of their own Sphere, when they would have theſe Veſſels move to any particular Part, they guide them with a Sort of Paddles, thirty, forty, or ſometimes fifty Topſy Turvyans on a Side in one Bottom. It is thus that they convey themſelves to the Continent, whenever they have any Buſineſs to go there, either to carry the Produce of their own Iſland, or fetch what foreign Commodities they may have occaſion for. When they are not employed in theſe more neceſſary Avocations, they often form a kind of a Figure, dance on the Waters, making firſt a Circle, then paſſing between each other, which they do with incredible Swiftneſs, by the Vol. IV. D ‘Help 026 D1v 26 Help of their Paddles, the Veſſels being extremely light, and that Sea never diſturbed either with Storms from Above, or any interior Emotion of its own.
This is all Eumenes has thought to give us of that remote Country, and, it muſt be acknowledged, is ſufficient to ſatisfy the Curioſity of any one who is not deſirous of taking a Voyage thither; as I believe few will, who have this Idea of their Manners and Cuſtoms.
There are ſome Things ſo infinitely diverting in the Deſcription, that we found it utterly impoſſible to forbear laughing, though at the ſame time were filled with the greateſt Compaſſion for a People ſo loſt and ſo undone by their own Indolence and Luxury; for I am altogether of the ſame Mind with the Writer of the Account, that it ſcarcely happened by any ſupernatural Means.
When a Nation devotes itſelf to ſuch Studies and Amuſements as can no way contribute to the Glory or Intereſt of their Country, or to their own particular Reputation, they will infallibly become by degrees diveſted of all Senſe of Virtue, and, like the Topſy Turvyans, grow the Slaves of Vice and Folly.
I believe the World could never yet produce one Inſtance where true Spirit ſubſiſted after Honour was no more:—The one, indeed, is 027 D2r 27 is the natural Conſequence of the other; for a brave and honeſt Mind will be ever firm, conſtant, and unſhaken; it will dare all the Menaces of unwarrantable Power, and deſpiſe all undermining Artifices;—equally Proof againſt Force or Flattery: But, when once Vice gets Poſſeſſion of the Soul, it becomes mean and abject; it has no longer any Will, any Inclination of its own; the ready Tool of every ſoothing Offer, and lowly ſubmiſſive to every Command that ſhall be given.
It behoves, therefore, every Individual of every Country in the World, whatever may be told them, or how much ſeeming Cauſe ſoever they may have to flatter themſelves with an Aſſurance of Freedom, not to neglect ſearching, with the moſt enquiring and impartial Eye, into all that paſſes; to examine into the moſt hidden Motives; and, diſdaining to be guided by Appearances and fair Pretences, judge for themſelves, and boldly declare their Approbation or Diſapprobation of what is doing.
This alone is true Liberty; for where Freedom of judging or ſpeaking is a Crime, all other Indulgencies are but ſo many downy Linings, which at firſt may make the Yoke of Slavery ſeem ſoft and eaſy to be borne, which will wear away, when worn for any Length of Time, and then the rugged galling Load be felt with double Weight.I 028 D2v 28
I do not at all wonder that a People, who have no Ideas of the Chriſtian Religion, or indeed of any other that is conſiſtent with Reaſon, and are equally Strangers to every thing civilized and polite, ſhould be ſo ready to aſcribe all extraordinary Revolutions to Art Magic; ſince, even here in England, it was common, a very few Years ſince, to imagine Storms, Shipwrecks, and almoſt all Manner of ill Accidents, were occaſioned by the Force of wicked Spells: And the old Romans, who valued themſelves ſo much on their Underſtanding, as to look on all other Nations as barbarous and ſavage, were ſo addicted to this Opinion, that they imputed every thing that befel from the greateſt, down to the moſt minute Events, to the Power of Charms. As witneſs Virgil: Pale Phœbe, drawn by Spells from Heav’n deſcends,And Circe chang’d by Charms Ulyſſes’ Friends,Spells break the Ground and penetrate the Brake,And in the winding Cavern ſplits the Snake;Spells fire the frozen Veins.―― And again, By his dread Art the Negromancer boaſts,To call from forth their Caverns ſtalking Ghoſts,And from the Roots to tear the ſtanding Corn,Which whirl’d aloft to diſtant Fields is born,Such is the Strength of Spells.――
Our own Poets alſo, it is plain, have upheld the ſame Tenet: Shakeſpear in all his Plays is full 029 D3r 29 full of it, not even this Hiſtorical ones exempt. The great Revolution in Scotland he aſcribes to the Promiſe made by the Witches to Macbeth; and likewiſe brings that great, though wicked Man to ſhew an entire Dependance on them, and to conſult them in every thing, as we ſee by his earneſt adjuring them to ſpeak to him. If you can look into the Seeds of Time,And ſee which Grain will grow, and which will not,I conjure you, by that which you profeſs,To anſwer me.Tho’ you untie the Winds, and let them fightAgainſt the Churches; though the yeſty WavesConfound and ſwallow Navigation up;Tho’ Caſtles topple on their Warder’s Heads;Tho’ Palaces and Pyramids do ſlopeTheir Heads to their Foundations,Even till Deſtructions ſicken; anſwer me.
Dryden too, of much later Ages, was no leſs poſſeſſed of theſe Ideas, and in a great many of his Dramatic Pieces, as well as other Writings, ſhews himſelf very fond of giving Abundance of Power to Witches and Sorcerers. See what he ſays in his Tragedy of Tyranic Love. Him have I ſeen (on Iſter’s Banks he ſtood,Where laſt we wintered) bind the Headlong FloodIn ſudden Ice, and where moſt ſwift it flows,In Chryſtal Nets, the wond’ring Fiſhes cloſe;Then,030D3v30Then, with a Moment’s Thaw the Streams enlarge,And from the Maſks the twinkling Gueſts diſcharge.In a deep Vale, or near ſome ruin’d Wall,He would the Ghoſts of ſlaughter’d Soldiers call;Who ſlow, to mangled Bodies did repair,And loth to enter ſhiver’d in the Air;Theſe his dread Wand did to ſhort Life compel,And forc’d the Fate of Battles to foretel.In a lone Tent, all hung with Black, I ſawWhere in a Square he did a Circle draw:Four Angles made by that Circumference,Bore holy Words inſcrib’d of myſtic Senſe:When firſt a hollow Wind began to blow,The Sky grew black, and belly’d down more low.Around the Field did nimble Light’nings play,Which offer’d us by Fits, then ſnatch’d the Day.’Midſt this was heard the ſhrill and tender CryOf well-pleas’d Ghoſts, that in the Storm did fly;Danc’d to and fro, and skim’d along the Ground,Till to the Magic Circle they were bound.
In fine, the Poets of all Ages, but the preſent, by their Writings have greatly contributed to the Continuance of that Superſtition, which Prieſts in the more dark and uninformed Times for their own Intereſt began.
These Kingdoms are, however, now entirely freed from their former Errors on this Side; the Ex- 031 D4r 31 Example of the great World have put a Stop to all ſuch Follies in their Inferiors, which teſtifies the Influence they have. If they do not therefore endeavour to give as great a Check to Propenſities of a yet more dangerous Nature, the Faults of all thoſe beneath them, may, but with too much Juſtice, be laid to their Charge.
Let then thoſe of both Sexes, who ſhine in the higher Sphere of Life, become Models of Virtue to the reſt; and I dare anſwer, that in this imitating Age there will be few fond enough of Vice to be out of the Faſhion.
For, in fine, as I have already taken Notice, it is being wicked that renders us weak, and liable to fall into any Infatuation whatever; and when once perverted in our Principles and Underſtanding, what but Ruin muſt enſue!
But I fear growing too grave for the Generality of my Readers, and ſhall therefore cloſe this Subject with the Words of the Poet. Quem vult Deus perdere prius diementat.
We muſt not, however, forget to render Eumenes our moſt grateful Acknowledgments for the Favour he has conferred upon us; nor to aſſure him, that ſome Time before the Concluſion of theſe Lucubrations, we ſhall comply with what he ſeems to expect from us, as far as is in the Power of our Capacities; nothing being more dear 032 D4v 32 dear to us than the Honour and Intereſt of the City of London, and nothing conſequently more afflicting to us, than when we find Reaſon to believe any Numbers of it act in a Manner different from what might be expected from them.
But I doubt not by this Time the Town is ſufficiently impatient for what our learned Correſpondent Philo Naturæ has thought fit to convey to them by the Female Spectator; and it would be the utmoſt Injuſtice to delay the Satisfaction of a Curioſity ſo truly laudable, for any thing we might have to offer of our own.
Without then any farther Prelude, we ſhall give his Sentiments in the exact Words we received them.To the Female Spectator. Madam, The obliging Care you were ſo good to take, in ſo early inſerting the former Epiſtle, I did myſelf the Honour to ſend you, makes me vain enough to imagine a ſecond will find a no leſs favourable Reception. According to my Promiſe, therefore, I now venture to renew the Subject I before recommended, as the moſt pleaſing as well as uſeful Amuſement the Mind can be employed in; and which will always afford Matter to ſpeak, to think, and write upon; ſince in all ‘Seaſons 033 E1r 33 Seaſons of the Year, and in all Places whether Abroad or at Home, we ſhall always find ſomething new if we attend to it, which will conſequently furniſh us with new Ideas. The Earth, the Air, the Water, and even the common Fire we burn upon our Hearths, will, in a thinking Mind, produce abundant Theme for Speculation. I know not, Madam, if it were in your Time or not, but I remember, when I was a a Boy, the good Ladies were accuſtomed about this Seaſon of the Year, to be extremely buſy in drying and preſerving certain Herbs and Fruits, and diſtilling others, according to the Nature of the Plants, and the Uſes they were intended for, which I found every Woman of Condition then plumed herſelf very much on a perfect Underſtanding in. Wonderful Cures have I ſeen performed by the Help of Simples prepared in a proper Manner by theſe good Houſewifes; and many an elegant Deſert ſerved up in the midſt of Winter, without the Help of a Confectioner: But ſuch Avocations in theſe politer Days, are beneath the Attention of a fine Lady, and Heaven forbid that, old as I am, I ſhould render myſelf ſo obnoxious to the moſt charming Part of the Creation, as to adviſe them to return to that old-faſhioned Way of ſpending Time. Vol. IV. E But 034 E1v 34 But, methinks, it ſhould not be diſagreeable to them to enquire a little into the Nature of thoſe Herbs, which are commonly made Uſe of either in Food or Medicine.— The cooling Plantaine, the cardiac Angelica, the reſtoring Comfrey, the purifying Creſſes and Treſoil, and the Health-giving Sage, merit ſome Care to be taken of them, much more than any foreign Drugs whatever, which only ſerve to ſwell the Apothecary’s Bill: For the Reputation of the true Phyſician is owing merely to Simples, which are at laſt called in to rectify the Diſorders which more expenſive Preſcriptions perhaps may have occaſioned. I would not by this be underſtood to perſwade the Ladies to turn Phyſicians; they may amuſe themſelves with conſidering the Nature and Uſe of thoſe Plants, which grow every Day before their Eyes the whole Year round, without entering into any laborious Study about them. By obſerving the Product of the Earth, one may ſee, that God has made nothing in vain; for even thoſe very Weeds which we imagine ſhoot up ſpontaneouſly, and whoſe Uſes either in Food or Phyſic, if they really are indued with any, are not yet diſcovered by us, ſerve, however, for Nouriſhment and Shelter to many Animals, to whom the human Syſtem is very much indebted. They afford alſo a pleaſing Variety to the Eye, as they grow up and ‘mingle 035 E2r 35 mingle with the more valuable Plants, and ſometimes extract Juices from the Earth, which would be prejudicial to thoſe Things the Gardener makes it moſt his Care to cultivate. And now I have touched upon this Head, I cannot leave it without taking ſome Notice of a Weed which grows in ſuch Plenty, and ſcatters Seed in ſuch abundance, that there is hardly a Poſſibility of eradicating it totally from any Ground it once has taken Poſſeſſion of. Yet does not Nature, among all that Profuſion of Bleſſings ſhe beſtows, preſent us with any one Simple of ſuch univerſal Benefit in medicinal Preſcriptions, ſince there is ſcarce any Diſeaſe in which it does not help, and is in moſt a Specific. Nobody, who has the leaſt Underſtanding in Phyſic, but will know I mean the Nettle: Since there are many excellent Herbs whoſe Virtues muſt be allowed for the Cure of particular Diſorders; yet it is generally the Caſe, that what relieves in one, ſhall be prejudicial to another. Whereas the Nettle, if taken in Time, prevents thoſe Ailments to which the human Syſtem is moſt incident, and even after a too long Neglect of it, gives a certain Eaſe in what it is intended, without the leaſt ill Conſequence to any other Complaint with which the Patient may happen to be afflicted. E2 ‘ 036 E2v 36 Of this Plant, for I cannot bring myſelf to affront it ſo far as to call it a Weed, there are two known Sorts, the one has the Name of Dead Nettle or Archangel, the other is the Stinging Nettle, to which latter the Preference undoubtedly is due, as of more general Service, tho’ the other is a ſovereign Remedy in many Caſes. I have often thought the Qualities of the Stinging Nettle might be juſtly enough compared to thoſe of good Advice proceeding from an honeſt Heart, but delivered in Terms which, at firſt, ſeem to have too much Aſperity in them, and at firſt is not well reliſhed, but when reflected on maturely, the Merits of it will have their due Weight, and excite Gratitude and Love. A little Time, therefore, given to Conſideration of theſe, which are by a vulgar Eye looked upon as the moſt inſignificant Works of Nature, could not fail leading us to Contemplations of a more elevated Kind, and be one great Step towards rendering our Ideas ſublime, refined, and pure, and fit to travel through the immenſe Wonders of thoſe ſtarry Heavens, which we behold with ſo much Admiration. I cannot, Madam, but greatly lament that Interruption which deprived you and your fair Friends of a farther Proſecution of thoſe Enquiries you were about to make of the Planetary‘tary 037 37 E3r tary Worlds.—There, is indeed a Theme for the nobleſt Speculations.――There, may the moſt extenſive Genius be abſorbed and ſwallowed up in a ſeraphic Contemplation.—How muſt the Soul be diſſolved in humble Gratitude, and in Aſtoniſhment at the Power and Wiſdom of that Almighty and Incomprehenſible Being, who not only formed thoſe glorious Orbs, but preſerves them in ſuch an exact Order, that none of them ſhall tranſgreſs their Limits, or become prejudicial to the others. I must confeſs myſelf to be intirely of that Gentleman’s Opinion, who ſuppoſes all the Planets to be ſo many habitable Worlds; and that ſhort, but plain Reaſon he gives of it, of their being all illumined may, I think, convince any one who is not reſolved to adhere to no Tenets but his own. Had you paſt more Time, than I perceive you did, or at leaſt renewed your Viſit to the Teleſcope, when Saturn could be ſeen with the greateſt Advantage, you would plainly have diſcovered that Ring or Circle with which he is encompaſſed, to be of a much greater Brightneſs than the Moon at Full appears to us, near as ſhe is to the Earth. But I cannot help diſſenting from your ingenious Friend in one Particular, which is, that the Diſtance of this Planet would involve it in a moſt horrible Darkneſs for near half the ‘Year; 038 E3v 38 Year; and this Reaſon I give for contradicting what I know very well is not only his own, but alſo a received Opinion with moſt People. The farther this vaſt Planet is removed from our Sun, the nearer by Conſequence he muſt be placed to ſome other; for I think it has been agreed on by the moſt judicious Enquirers into the Heavens, that the fixed Stars, as we call them, are in reality ſo many Suns, which give Light to Planets of their own, and to whom that of ours appears as they do to us, no more than a fixed Star, whoſe Twinkle is ſcarce perceivable. Saturn, therefore, having this Advantage above all other Planets of our Syſtem, inſtead of being that dark, gloomy World we have all along believed him, muſt be the moſt enlightened of any.—Since one half of the Year he has our Sun, as all the Rules of Aſtronomy confeſs, and the other half is played upon by another Sun, which to us is ſcarce perceptible;――this, together with his own gorgeous Circle of Moons, muſt give him in a manner perpetual Day. This Opinion of Plurality of Worlds ſeems to me ſo far from being inconſiſtent with the Principles of Religion, that it very much enlarges our Ideas of the Almighty Wiſdom; and I cannot think but the Philoſophers of ‘former 039 E4r 39 former Ages, who imagined the Creation terminated with what they were able to diſcern, had very confined Notions of the great Author of Nature, and alſo an adequate Share of Vanity to flatter themſelves, that all thoſe great Orbs, which roll above our Heads, were made only to delight the Eye of Man. But every Age producing new Diſcoveries by the continual Improvement of that moſt uſeful Invention the Teleſcope, have made theſe later Times more wiſe; I mean thoſe of us who do not wilfully ſhut our Eyes to keep the Truth from gaining Entrance, and are afraid of being convinced. Among the Number of theſe, I once was acquainted with an Eccleſiaſtic, a very good Man, but of a moderate Underſtanding: Talking one Day upon this Topic, he ſaid, that to maintain there were any more Worlds than this we live in, was prophane and irreligious, and directly oppoſite to the Chriſtian Faith; for, cried he, if Chriſt died for us alone, what muſt become of all the Souls in thoſe other Worlds you talk of? To which I anſwered, though not without a Smile, which I found myſelf unable to reſtrain, and made, I could perceive, the good Clergyman entertain yet a worſe Opinion of my Piety than he had before, that it was poſſible thoſe Worlds might not have had Adams, ‘who 040 E4v 40 who had ſinned like our Forefather, and conſequently could not ſtand in need of the ſame extraordinary Manner of Redemption. This put him out of all Patience, and his Zeal carried him ſuch Lengths in the Arguments he made Uſe of, as nothing but a perfect Acquaintance with the Integrity of his Heart, could have made me pardon, or indeed have borne with any Temper. It is very ſtrange, methinks, that People ſhould be ſo fond of lugging Religion into Diſputes where it has no Kind of Concern.— Whether theſe Worlds have any Occaſion for a Saviour, or by what sort of Creatures they are inhabited, is not the Queſtion;—the Matter is, that it is reaſonable to ſuppoſe, that they are inhabited by ſome Sort or other, either of a ſuperior or inferior Nature to us, and alſo that every one of them is different from the other. Nature delights in Variety; every Element abounds with Species of a different Kind. A thouſand, and ten thouſand Sorts of Birds wing the Regions of the Air.――The Waters produce as great a Number of different Kinds of finny Inhabitants.—The Earth of Reptiles, Inſects, and Beaſts; and even Men, when born in different Climates, differ in Colour, Shape, and Manners from each other, almoſt as much as from the Brutes. ‘Ridiculous, 041 F1r 41 Ridiculous, therefore, would it be for us to imagine, the People of theſe foreign Worlds are like any thing we have ever ſeen, or can poſſibly have any Notion of:――God is infinite in all, and we may plainly ſee that no two of his Works have a perfect Reſemblance with each other. To be too inquiſitive, however, into Things in which we have no Concern, and which, with the utmoſt Labour, aſſiſted by the greateſt Learning and ſtrongeſt Capacity, we can never be able to penetrate, is doubtleſs both a Sin and a Folly:――Heaven has given us ſufficient Matter for Contemplation in the World we live in, and we ought not to pry into the Secrets of thoſe hid from us; but ſtill the Oppoſers of the Belief of a Plurality of Worlds are not to infer from thence that we ſhould refuſe giving Credit to ſo reaſonable a Tenet:— We may ſure allow that there are ſuch Worlds, without waſting our Time in vain Conjectures by whom peopled, or what Employments are in Faſhion there. Should any one be preſuming enough to pretend, that all the Wonders of the Univerſe had been ſhewn to him by Revelation, the Impoſition would immediately diſcover itſelf to be ſuch, ſince no Human Invention, how prolific ſoever, would be able to form any Ideas, much leſs to bring them into Deſcription, of the thouſandth or ten thouſandth Part of that Vol. IV. F ‘immenſe 042 F1v 42 immenſe Number of Worlds, whoſe Suns even we diſcover the Glimmers of through our Telleſcopes:――What then lie farther buried in the Boſom of Infinity!—Incomprehenſible! —Unfathomable, as the Almighty Former! We are, therefore, in no Danger of having our Underſtanding beguiled by any pretended Prophet on that Score; and to go about to deceive ourſelves, by the Formation of imaginary Syſtems, would be an Infatuation, even greater than any the preſent Age is guilty of. But the Goodneſs of Heaven has put enough within our Reach to compenſate for the Want of what is beyond it; and if we neglect, and think beneath our Notice thoſe Things God has given us a Capacity to comprehend, it is a Fault, I think, equal to that of endeavouring to explore what he has thought fit to conceal from us. Take Care, ſays the Marquis de St. Clou, in one of his Epiſtles to his Son, that you do not loſe the preſent Opportunities allowed you for Knowledge, in idly waiting for thoſe which may never happen to be preſented to you. You, Madam, and thoſe Ladies who are your Aſſociates, are highly to be commended, that in a Seaſon which preſented you no more agreeable Objects to employ your Speculations, you choſe, rather than be inactive, to obſerve ‘the 043 F2r 43 the Progreſs of the Growth of Snails, which, indeed, to a great many in the World, who fancy themſelves very diſcerning too, appears too contemptible to merit any Portion of Regard. Methinks, I ſee you buſying your fair Fingers in ſorting and ſprinkling fine Clods of Earth, that your Nurſery might be protected by them from the too ſevere Approaches of the Air:――I hear the Charge you give, that no one might diſturb the Bed you had ſo carefully prepared for them:—With Pleaſure I conceive the Aſſiduity with which you ran every Morning to examine if your Commands had been punctually obeyed, and how the little Animals throve under your Direction.— Let our polite Ladies and Gentlemen laugh at this Amuſement, I admire it, and wiſh it may find many Imitators. I am alſo of your Opinion, that a Snail, if ſtrictly examined, is not without its Beauties, eſpecially that Sort of them which feed chiefly on Flowers; nothing being more certain, than that they owe great Part of their Tincture from the Colour of what they eat; as we may ſee by thoſe who live in Cellars, and on old Walls, which have a dirty muddy Hue, conformable to the Places they inhabit, and from which they draw their Suſtenance. But I cannot paſs over this Subject withoutF2 ‘out 044 F2v 44 out acquainting you with an Experiment made by a certain Virtuoſo, a Friend of mine, on one of theſe Creatures:—Having obſerved that their Colour was in a great meaſure owing to their Food, he put one of them in a Box, and took Care to ſupply it every Day with freſh Flowers, of the moſt beautiful Kind the Garden would produce; but keeping it in a Room, where it had not the Benefit of the open Air, the Animal improved but little in its Beauty: He was at length ſenſible of the Deficiency, and carried it Abroad when the Sun ſhone out in the greateſt Brightneſs, and let it glide at Pleaſure, over the Greens, the Fruits, and Flowers, ſtill following and keeping it in his Eye:――This Pains did he take for ſeveral Weeks together, and had the Satisfaction to obſerve his Labour was not wholly loſt:―― The Creature did really grow more clear and tranſparent, and alſo ſeemed ſtronger, and more lively, if the Motion of a Snail can properly be called ſo. It came alſo into his Head to make a ſecond Experiment, which was this:—He had obſerved, that ſeveral Snails had a kind of Swellings or Inequality in their Shells, and ſome had them caſed in many Places like other little Shells growing out of the former: He took one of theſe, and making a ſmall Puncture in it, without hurting the Body of the Snail, he preſently found a Froth riſe from it, which in a ſmall Time became a Conſiſtence, and 045 F3r 45 and hardened ſo as to ſeem of a Piece with the main Shell:――He then broke off ſome Part of the Contour, by which the Animal appeared as it were half naked, but Nature had provided her with a Store within herſelf to repair her Manſion, and the ſame viſcous Juice, which he had ſeen fill up the Puncture, now roſe and tranſpired from every Pore, which thickening by degrees, became like the reſt of the Shell, and rendered it as large and as circular as before:—He perceived alſo a little Ridge between the new and old Parts, exactly reſembling ſuch as were in that Part which had not been broke; from whence he concluded, that the Shell was not entirely formed at firſt, or had any thing in itſelf which could increaſe its Dimenſions; but that the Power was wholly lodged in the Body of the Snail, which, as it increaſed in Strength and Bulk, threw out that Fluid which formed ſo many different Contours as there were Ridges; and that this alſo was the Cauſe of that Variety of Colours which we often ſee in the ſame Shell, but always ranged between theſe Ridges, or Piecings, as one may call them, the one never interfering with the other. But you will, perhaps, ſay, that the Gentletleman I have been ſpeaking of, as well as myſelf who relate theſe Experiments, might both of us have employed our Time better: If you do, Madam, I ſhall readily agree to your Opinion, becauſe we ought not to be ſo aſſiduousduous 046 F3v 46 duous in gratifying a meer Curioſity, as to neglect thoſe Reſearches which might be of real Utility. These Things, indeed, are Amuſements perfectly innocent, and if of no great Service to the World, or to ourſelves, are far from being any Prejudice to either:—It were to be wiſhed that others of a more dangerous Nature were exchanged for them. As I have already taken Notice, a Mind eager to enquire into the minuteſt Works of Nature, will be inſenſibly led to a Contemplation on the greateſt; and in all we ſhall find ſufficient for our Aſtoniſhment, and the exciting in us ſuch Ideas of the great Author of Nature, as cannot fail to fill us with the higheſt Senſe of the Infinity of his Goodneſs to all his Creatures, and to us in particular, to whom alone, of all ſublunary Beings, he has given the Power of Reaſon and Reflection. The meaneſt Creature, therefore, that the Air, the Earth, or Sea, or any Part of this great World affords, is not beneath our Conſideration. We can no where caſt our Eyes without beholding ſomething to admire; and tho’ to dwell too long on any one would be an Injury to the reſt, yet none ſhould be paſſed by without ſome Portion of our Notice. What I mean is, that I would have every ‘Gentleman 047 F4r 47 Gentleman and Lady, who have Leiſure to gratify their Curioſity, and at the ſame time improve their Underſtanding, to take, as it were, a ſuperficial View of the whole Creation, as far as lies in their Power, or they have Opportunities for; and though they are not enabled to give a particular Account of the Structure of any one Part, they will, notwithſtanding, have very juſt Notions of the whole; and alſo be convinced, by the little they can make familiar to their Obſervation, what Wonders lie beyond the reach of it. The vaſt, the indeed infinite Variety which a Study of this kind preſents us with, ſhould, methinks, ſtand in need of no other Recomcommendation:—How do we run madding after Novelties, which are ſo far from giving us either Profit or Improvement, that they ruin our Fortunes, and corrupt our Morals and Underſtanding, while Natural Philoſophy, every Day, every Seaſon, and in every Place, affords us freſh Subjects to entertain and to inſtruct. All Capacities, all Degrees, all Ages may in proportion be delighted, and made better by it. It is as Maſſenger, a very good Poet of his Time, elegantly expreſſes it. An univerſal Good,To Princes dearer than the Crowns they wear,Yet to the meaneſt Peaſant not deny’d.‘Nature,048F4v48Nature, impartial, opens all her StoresTo all alike;—who not partakes the BleſſingRobs his own Soul.―― But I am in very great Hopes, that as the Female Spectator has led the Way, a great many, not only of her own, but our Sex likewiſe, will follow her in theſe ſo beneficial Enquiries. I was about to conclude this tedious Epiſtle, but cannot do it till I have added a Word or two concerning Caterpillars:――I fancy, Madam, among the various Sorts you mentioned, you never happened to take Notice of one, pretty remarkable in its Kind, and is, in my Opinion, the moſt perfect Emblem of gaudy Slavery the whole Brute Creation preſents us with. The Caterpillar I mean, Madam, is of a dark Olive Colour, has two golden Liſts down its Back, and is in many Places ſprinkled with little Specks of the ſame gorgeous Hue: ――It would, indeed, be by much the moſt beautiful of the whole Species (not excepting thoſe you mention with the Amber Heads) were it not, that on its Neck Nature has placed a high Ridge exactly reſembling a Yoke:―― Of what Service this is to the Inſect I never could find out, nor could my ſpeculative Friend inform me; but to thoſe who look upon it, it appears a heavy Burthen, which impedes ‘their 049 G1r 49 their Motion, and often ſtops them when in Purſuit of any Advantage, ſo that it anſwers the Compariſon I juſt now thought on, of a People gay, glittering in all the outward Shew of Magnificence, but, in effect, Slaves, and Beaſts tramelled with a Load, which all the World beſides themſelves behold with Pity and Contempt. The next Excurſion you make into the Country, I beg you will beſtow a little Examination into theſe Inſects: To a Lady of your way of Thinking I imagine it will afford Matter for Reflections that may be uſeful to the Public, to ſee how theſe poor Creatures, after toiling and labouring to reach ſome favourite Bough, are obſtructed by what they carry on their own Necks, and liable to be thrown down by every little Twig that hangs cowring from above. As all the Decrees of Providence are wiſe and good, in relation even to the meaneſt Animal, we muſt ſuppoſe that theſe have not a Senſe of the Miſeries entailed upon them, otherwiſe it would ſeem as they were created only to be wretched. What a Degree of Inſtinct they have is not, however, in our Power to comprehend; but as they are ordained by Nature to wear this Mark of Servitude, and never knew a State of Liberty, nor did, by any Inadvertency or Folly Vol. IV. G ‘of 050 G1v 50 of their own, conſent to put it on, it is not to be doubted but that they are entirely eaſy under it. But I ſhall leave this Point to be diſcuſſed by the Female Spectator, when ſhe has given herſelf the Trouble to conſider it, and am, with the greateſt good Wiſhes for the Succeſs of your Endeavours, Madam, Your moſt humble Servant, and Admirer, Philo-Naturæ. Inner-Temple, 1745-09-15Sept. 15. P. S. I remember, Madam, your Seventeenth Book gave us ſome Expectation of a Letter from that worthy Gentleman, from whoſe Turret you had the Pleaſure of beholding the Planetary Regions: Not only myſelf, but a great many of your Readers to my Knowledge, are impatient for it, and I doubt not, but according to your Promiſe, you will favour us with it, as ſoon as it comes to Hand.
Though the ingenious Author of this Letter can write nothing amiſs, and every thing he has ſaid demands the moſt grateful Acknowledgments, yet our Society are, above all, charmed with the convincing Defence he has made of an Opinion ſome Zealots and Enthuſiaſts ſo much cry down, and endeavour to explode as unchriſtianſtian 051 G2r 51 ſtian and fabulous: I mean that of Plurality of Worlds, which I never yet could hear any one good Reaſon to condemn.
To make it, indeed, one of the Articles of our Faith would be a Fault, becauſe we have no Aſſurance given us of it, either in ſacred Writ, or by Tradition; but in a Matter of meer Indifference to Salvation, I think our Underſtanding may have Liberty to direct our Judgment, without any Danger of becoming too preſuming.
It is ſufficient certainly to content the Pride of Man, that all Things in this World were created for his Uſe; and it ſeems to be the extremeſt Arrogance, as well as Vanity, to imagine, that ſo many Orbs, vaſtly larger than this we inhabit, ſhould be formed only to delight the Wantonneſs of Sight, in looking at them in a clear Starry Night, and are in reality of no other Benefit to us.
But ſuppoſing it were even ſo, and that the Almighty Former of the wide Univerſe ſhould have really ordained all that the Eye can reach entirely for our Pleaſure, the Inventions of Art have preſented us with Objects which Nature had concealed:—We ſee, by the Help of Glaſſes, a Multitude of Maſſy Globes of Light, which, by their Remoteneſs, are not diſcernable by the naked Eye, and could not, conſequently, be intended for our Speculation:—Theſe then were not created either to light, to warm, or to chear G2 us 052 G2v 52 us with their Luſtre, ſince they are not to be felt or ſeen by us without the Pains of examining them through Telleſcopes, and then ſo faintly as to be but juſt diſtinguiſhable.
All that can juſtly be objected againſt any Arguments made Uſe of to prove the Reaſonableneſs of the Belief of a Plurality of Worlds, is, that to us who live in this, it is of no Manner of Concern, ſince there is not a Poſſibility of our travelling to them, or of ever becoming acquainted with the Inhabitants.
I have, indeed, heard ſome People fooliſh enough to maintain, that there will come a Time, in which the Ingenuity of Man ſhall invent Machines to carry him through the Air with the ſame Eaſe as we now paſs the Seas; which, they cry, ſeemed doubtleſs as impracticable at firſt as this does at preſent.
But thoſe who talked in this Manner affect to forget who was the firſt Navigator:――That God himſelf directed Noah how to build the Ark, which was to ſave the Remnant of the Creation, and alſo how to ſteer it, ſo as not to be ſwallowed up by thoſe Waters which laid waſte every thing beside:――It cannot, nor ought not be denied, that the ſame Almighty Power could not, if he pleaſed, inſtruct us in the Art of flying through the Air, by ſome Vehicle proper for our Conveyance; but then we are to conſider, that he never works by ſupernatural Means, but when G3r 053 53 when ſome extraordinary Exigence requires it, and without ſome Cauſe therefore, at leaſt adequate to that of the Deluge, we are not to expect ſuch Miracles.
Could the Regions of Air, indeed, afford any Shelter from that all-devouring Fire which, we are told, ſhall conſume the Earth, there might be ſome little Shadow of a Hope, that the Race of Man might be preſerved a ſecond Time by Means no leſs ſurprizing than the firſt: But of what Advantage would it be for us to fly, even though we had the Wings of an Eagle, or could ſoar with the King of Birds, at a Time, when the Heavens themſelves, at leaſt what we call ſo, ſhall be ſhrivelled up like a Parchment, when the Sun, and Moon, and Stars ſhall be diſſolved, and all become one general Conflagration!
But granting even all their wild Imaginations can ſuggeſt:――Suppoſing that ſome Carriage could really be found out to bear us through the Air from Kingdom to Kingdom, or to whatever Place we pleaſed of the Globe, we ſtill ſhould be able to diſcover as little of any other World as we do now ſtanding upon the Earth.
Every Orb has its own impenetrable Atmoſphere;—a Boundary which nothing that is mortal can overleap or paſs through; and whether, even when we have thrown off this Clog of Fleſh, the Soul will receive any Gratification of its enquiringquiring 054 G3v 54 quiring Nature in this Point, lies only in the Power of him who gave it to determine.
Here Reaſon is of no farther Uſe, it is wholly loſt in the Abyſs of Eternity, as the Poet truly ſays, Can Finite meaſure what is infinite?Reaſon, alas! is blind even to itſelf:Yet Man, vain Man, would with this ſhortlin’d Plummet,Fathom the vaſt Abyſs of Heav’nly Wiſdom.
Pleased as I am, therefore, in the Contemplation of innumerable Worlds, all created by one omnipotent omnipreſent Power, and conſiſtent with thoſe Notions we have, or ought to have of the Deity, as I think the Belief of them to be, I dare not preſume to put it in my Creed: Whether there are, or are not any other habitable Spheres is, I confeſs, not material; nor do I entertain the leſs Regard for thoſe who may happen to differ from me in this Opinion: I only ſay, that to indulge it, gives an innate Satisfaction; and, I think, enlarges thoſe Ideas it becomes every one to encourage.
I shall, however, urge the Topic no farther, but as to an Examination into the Nature of thoſe Things which are in the Compaſs of our Comprehenſion, and of which we daily receive the Benefit, I think no one can be excuſed who neglects an Opportunity of making it.This 055 G4r 55
This is, in effect, the moſt uſeful Branch of that Study which the worthy Philo-Naturæ, both in his former Letter, as well as this, ſo ſtrenuouſly recommends to all Degrees of People in Proportion to their Circumſtances and Avocations; for it is not to be ſuppoſed that either he, or any who wiſhes the Good of Mankind, would adviſe a Perſon to paſs that Time in inſpecting the Root of a Vegetable, or the Organs of an Inſect, which ſhould be employed in getting Bread for his Family.
Such Speculations, it is certain, beſt befit thoſe of the great World, or at leaſt ſuch as have Fortunes independent on Buſineſs, who have a Sufficiency of Leiſure, and will hardly find a more beneficial Way of filling up their vacant Moments.
Yet, though theſe happy few have it in their Power to make a greater Progreſs in learning the Beauties of Nature, there are ſcarce any who may not find ſome little Time, if they would be perſwaded to lay hold of it, in tracing the Outlines, as one may call them, of her Perfections: _―― The meaneſt Artificer allows himſelf ſome Holidays in the Year;—he walks the Fields, perhaps has a little Garden himſelf, and in the ſmalleſt Spot of Earth may find enough to afford him ſome Degree of Improvement and Pleaſure.
The Country Dame need not neglect her Dairy, 056 G4v 56 Dairy, yet be acquainted with the Properties of thoſe Simples which grow about her very Door: ――The Beaſts themſelves inſtruct us in the Virtues of many Vegetables, by their making Choice of the moſt proper in any Diſeaſe, to which their Kind is incident; and Hipocrates himſelf owed the Diſcovery of the wonderful Effects of an Elk’s Hoof, by perceiving that Creature, when ſick, always held his Foot for a long Time cloſe to his Ear.
As moſt of our worſt Diſorders ſpring originally from the Head, this great Phliiloſopher and Phyſician preſently imagined, that the Foot of this Animal might not only be of Service in any Obſtruction of the capillary Veſſels, but alſo in others, which in fact are occaſioned by the ſame Cauſe; and as he knew it could not be of any Prejudice to the Perſons on whom he made the Experiment, tried it with a Succeſs, which all ſucceeding Ages have had Reaſon to bleſs him for.
Many other great and valuable Secrets have been found out by an Obſervation of the Animal Creation:—For Example; the Virtues of the Plantain might, perhaps, have to this Day been unknown to us, had we not ſeen the Toad, when bloated and almoſt burſting with its own Venom, crawl to that healing Plant, and immediately regain Eaſe and recover Vigour.
But theſe are Reflections which the gay Part of my Sex, whether old or young, will tell me are 057 H1r 57 are not worth their Notice: If they find themſelves any way diſordered, they have their Phyſicians to apply to; and have no Occaſion to trouble themſelves with any thing relating to Medicine.
This I readily grant to be true, as to the higher Claſs; but for the more inferior Part of Womankind, I think the World will allow that it would be no Diminution to them to know a little of theſe Matters.
But, however incongruous it may be with the Character of a fine Lady to buſy herſelf about Vegetables, uſed either in the Kitchen or Diſtillery, it cannot be ſo to have a little Concern for thoſe that ſo much gratify her Smell and Sight; ――thoſe which ſhe wears in her own Boſom, and in her Hair, and are her moſt becoming Ornaments, even amidſt the Blaze of Jewels, and the glowing Gold of the richeſt and beſt fancied Brocade or Embroidery.
Flowers, and thoſe aromatic Greens with which our Gardens are covered, may be juſtly called the Regale that Nature preſents us with; and ſure, of all thoſe innumerable Pleaſures ſhe beſtows upon us, none can be ſaid to be more exquiſite.
The Jonquil, the Roſe, the Jeſſamin, the Orange-Flower, the Auricula, and a thouſand others, raviſh two of our Senſes with their Vol. IV. H Beauty, 058 H1v 58 Beauty, and the Fragrancy of their Odour.―― Scarce any Perſon ſo ſtupid as not to be charm’d with them.—They are, I think, the univerſal Taſte;――we not only ſee them in Gardens, but preſerved in Pots and China Baſons in Ladies Chambers; and, when deprived of the Originals by the cold Blaſts of Winter, we have them copied in Painting, in Japanning, and in Embroidery.
How then can we forbear viſiting our Green- Houſes ſometimes, and obſerving the Production, the gradual Growth, and the Preſervation of thoſe Plants and Flowers, which afford us ſo much Pleaſure!
Why ſhould our Gardeners be wiſer than ourſelves?――Why ſhould we put it in their Power to deceive us, and not be able to detect either their Negligence or Want of Skill in the cultivating a Produce we are ſo proud of, when brought to Perfection?
What can be more beautiful than an Aſſemblage of various Flowers, all growing on the ſame Tree; and, while we delight our Eyes with beholding it, would not our Pleaſure be ſtill more elegant in knowing how it comes to paſs?
Would it not furniſh agreeable Matter for Converſation, both to inform thoſe leſs knowing than ourſelves, and to be able to argue with thoſe 059 H2r 59 thoſe as pretend to greater Skill, on the wonderful Progreſs of the diſtinct Sap which feeds every different Flower, proceeding from ſo many Arms of the ſame Stem?
Among all the Occupations of Gardening, there is none ſo aſtoniſhing as Grafting; and we never can too much admire the Force of that Genial Juice, which, in a ſmall Sprig taken off one Tree and grafted into another, ſtill retains its primitive Nature; and even tho’ twenty various Kinds ſhould be inoculated in the ſame Manner, all of them would preſerve their native Purity without the leaſt Confuſion, or blending with each other:――So that the Flowers, ſent forth by theſe grafted Scions, no way differ in Colour, Scent, or Figure, from thoſe of their own Species, which grow naturally from one Stem.
Methinks it is a moſt becoming Amuſement, to Perſons of my Sex, to ſit by while the Gardener is performing ſo curious an Operation, nor in the leaſt beneath the Dignity of the greateſt Lady to aſſiſt his Work:――It requires the utmoſt Gentleneſs and Delicacy to cut the little Scion exactly to tally with the Cleft made in the Bark of that Stock in which it is intended to be grafted; and alſo afterwards to cloſe and ſwathe up the Trunk, that no chilling Air or Rain may penetrate, and prevent the Union of the one with the other, till an outer Bark ſhall grow over and cement them.H2 I know 060 H2v 60
I know that there are a great many People who have an Averſion to grafting Scions of different Natures, ſuch as the Apple and the Plumb, the Medlar and the Grape, or the Roſe and the Tulip, the Carnation and the Lilly, on the ſame Tree:――They cry it is an Abſurdity, —ſomething of a monſtrous Appearance, inſtead of a pleaſing Wonder; and that every different Fruit and Flower looks moſt agreeable, when ſupplied from its own Root, as ordained by Nature; any Innovation, or Breaking-in upon, of which, are of all things to be avoided.
But theſe Objections ſeem to me as proceeding only from a ſour cinical Diſpoſition: The Trial how far Art may be reconciled with Nature, is, in my Opinion, perfectly harmleſs; affords an innocent Amuſement; ſharpens Invention; and, as to its offending the Eye inſtead of pleaſing it, one may as well ſay that a Noſegay, or a Bough-Pot, does ſo, which are always compoſed of as many different Flowers as the Seaſon will permit.
I wonder People, who talk in this manner, do not condemn Nature herſelf for beſtowing on the Orange-Tree Fruit in its Maturity, quite green, and even in Bloſſom, all at the ſame Time; or explode the Plant, and turn it out of their Collections and Gardens, as an Abſurdity and a monſtrous Appearance.
Or rather, why do theſe Enemies to Art, in this 061 H3r 61 this Point, allow of it in others? Why do they form ſo many Parterres, Arcades, Trees cut in ſuch Variety of Figures, and Shrubs rounded in ſuch a manner by the Gardener’s Sciſſars, as not to ſeem they ever had been the Productions of Nature?—Why do they not ſuffer every thing to grow in that Luxuriancy and Wildneſs as we ſee in Forreſts, and uncultivated Deſarts?―― The Order and Regularity of a Garden ſeems, methinks, not to be correſpondent with their Notions.――Away with all Terraſſes, Caſcades, Paliſades, Bowers, and thoſe other Arrangements, which make the Difference between the Ground poſſeſſed by a Nobleman and that of a Peaſant:――Let every thing grow as the Soil and Air directs, and ſavage Simplicity be the only Beauties of a Rural Scene.
But, ſuppoſing we put all this out of the Queſtion, and confine our Speculations intirely to what is merely natural, we ſhall then never want a vaſt Sufficiency to entertain us:――The Circulation of that Fluid in Vegetables, which, with a regular and uninterrupted Motion, like the Blood in our own Veins, fills every little Twig with Spiral Vigour, if conſidered with the leaſt Attention, muſt excite in us a pleaſing Aſtoniſhment.
To behold the Progreſs of a Flower from its Infant Bud, then gradually increaſing, and at laſt opening its long-hid Beauties to our View, and charming us at the ſame Time with its refreſh- 062 H3v 62 refreſhing Odour, is certainly well worthy our Obſervation.
But the Senſes, methinks, ought not to ingroſs ſo glorious a Benefit: The Mind ſhould certainly come in for a much greater Part, and explore thoſe Wonders in them, which cannot fail of raviſhing all its Faculties.
Every Tree of the Forreſt, and Herbage of the Field, as well as thoſe nobler Plants which gain Admiſſion into our Gardens, are all crown’d with Flowers, more or leſs beautiful. Theſe Flowers produce a Seed which perpetuate the Species.—Some Seeds are incloſed in Fruits, others in Chives, which, when the Flower is withered, and in a manner dying, ſcatter themſelves into the Earth, and the next Year revive again in Plants.
To content ourſelves with taſting the Reliſh of thoſe luſcious Fruits, which, from Month to Month, are ſucceſſively preſented to us;――to ſmell the Fragrancy of ſome Flowers, and to look upon the variegated Beauty of others, is beneath the Dignity of a rational Being. If we go no farther than this, the Birds of the Air, the Beaſts of the Field, and even every creeping Inſect, enjoys the Charms of Nature in as great Perfection as we do.
Perhaps too, even the meaneſt Reptile may out-rival us in this Point; for, I think, it is agreed 063 H4r 63 agreed on by the Learned, that the Animal Creation in general have a quicker and more poignant Senſation than is beſtowed upon us.
It is in our Reaſon, and the Power of contemplating on the Bleſſings we receive, that the chief Happineſs of poſſeſſing them conſiſts.
It is that, more than his outward Form, which diſtinguiſhes Man from the reſt of ſublunary Beings: It is that which crowns him Lord of all; and if he wilfully degrades himſelf, and puts himſelf on a Level with his Subjects, he is unworthy of the Honour conferred upon his Species, and ungrateful to the Divine Beſtower.
Can it be ſuppoſed that the Almighty Wiſdom gave ſuch a Profuſion of Varieties merely to feaſt the Senſes of Mankind!――Senſes, which all the different Religions in the known World, the Mahometan not excepted, agree to teach us that we ought not to indulge to an Exceſs:— No, certainly;—no one who permits himſelf but a Moment’s Conſideration, will venture to affirm it.――They were, without all Queſtion, deſtined for a much nobler and exalted Purpoſe, to convey Inſtruction through the Canal of Pleaſure;――to inſpire us with the higheſt Ideas Human Nature is capable of conceiving, of that Divine Bounty to which we are indebted for them; to harmonize the Soul, and at the ſame Time to enable it to pour forth a due Tribute of Praiſe and Adoration.How 064 H4v 64
How ſtrangely incongruous is it, then, with Reaſon, or even with Common Senſe, to imagine, that all thoſe vaſt Bodies we ſee glitter in the Firmament, and even thoſe we do not ſee, are made wholly to ſerve us, yet think nothing of thoſe about us, the Benefits of which we receive every Moment, and of which we have the ſole Sovereignty; ſince we alone enjoy the Whole of what all other Creatures ſhare but their different Parts.
Man, if he ſurveys and reflects as he ought to do, on the innumerable Advantages, Conveniencies, and Pleaſures, which, wherever he ſteps or caſts his Eyes, inceſſantly ſurround him, has ſufficient in this World to gratify his Pride, without arrogantly pretending a Right over thoſe he knows nothing of.
Of this we are certain, that the Good Things of this World are given us for our Uſe and Contemplation, and to us alone, as alone capable of enjoying them truly.
But I ſhall now take my Leave of this Subject, which having carried me ſomewhat beyond my Intentions, I find it impoſſible to preſent the Ladies with the Mirror for true Beauty till next Month, when they may be certain of its being inſerted; with alſo ſome other very agreeable Pieces lately come to hand, calculated for general Service, but more particularly for thoſe of my own Sex.
End of the Nineteenth Book.
The Female Spectator.
Our Sex are, for the greateſt Part, ſo very fond of ſeeing their own Pictures, that I am afraid many of them will hbe diſobliged with the Female Spectator for having till now withheld from them the Mirror for True Beauty, which Philocletes was ſo good as to prepare for them.
But, notwithſtanding Curioſity is a Paſſion impatient for Gratification, I would adviſe my Sex to moderate it as much as they can, and take the Warning Philocletes himſelf gives in his Letter, which ſerved as a Cover to the Preſent he makes them, and is equally worthy the Attention of all who wiſh to find an agreeable RepreſentationIV. I preſentation 066 I1v 66 preſentation of themſelves, in a Glaſs, which has nothing of the Properties of thoſe they have been accuſtomed to look in.To the Female Spectator. Madam, Ishall make no manner of Apology for troubling you with the incloſed, becauſe it is evident by all thoſe Writings with which you have obliged the Public, that you have the Honour and Welfare of your Sex too much at Heart to be offended with any thing that can poſſibly tend to their Profit, Pleaſure, or Emolument. To lend, therefore, what helping Hand I can to ſo laudable an Endeavour, I take the Liberty to preſent them, by your Canal, with A Mirror for true Beauty, which to thoſe who are really poſſeſſed of ſo ineſtimable a Bleſſing, cannot but afford an adequate Satisfaction. But, as I would be ſorry to give Pain to any, even of thoſe leaſt deſerving Reſpect, I would have all who are conſcious of any ſecret Blemiſh, beware how they look into it, leſt, inſtead of meeting with an agreeable Object, they ſhould ſee ſomething which ſhould make them ſtart back with Horror and Amazement. It is not a Set of fine turned Features, a Complexion for Whiteneſs out-dazling the ‘new 067 I2r 67 new fallen Snow, or Cheeks of a more beautiful Tincture than the Damask Roſe:— It is not the Coral Lip, or Eyes that equal the Stars in Brightneſs, that can aſſure the curious Fair ſhe will find herſelf in this Mirror ſuch as ſhe appears in others. All theſe, and every other unſpeakable Grace on which the Sex moſt pride themſelves, are inſufficient to compleat the true Beauty, which it is abſolutely neceſſary to be poſſeſſed of, in order to find here ſuch a Reflection as thoſe who conſult it would deſire. Nothing is in fact true Beauty, but what is univerſally allowed to be ſuch;――what is every Man’s Taſte, and enforces Love and Admiration from all who behold it:――Now Beauty, taken in the common Acceptation of the Word, never can be ſo, becauſe there are almoſt as many different Opinions concerning the Requiſites for that Character, as there are different Fancies to be charmed by it. Our famous Engliſh Pindar, than whom no Man that ever lived was a greater Admirer of it, diſcovers, however, with the moſt admirable Propriety and Juſtice, the Impoſſibility of fixing a Standard for deciding what is, and what is not Beauty. ‘Beauty 068 I2v 68 Beauty, thou wild fanatic Ape,Which doſt in every Country change thy Shape;Here black, there brown, here tawney and there white:Who haſt no certain What nor Where,But varieſt ſtill, and doſt thyſelf declareInconſtant, as thy She-Profeſſors are. Dryden alſo has two excellent Lines to the ſame Purpoſe, in his Poem of Palamon and Arcite. The Cauſe of Love can never be aſſign’d,’Tis in no Face but in the Lover’s Mind. They muſt therefore be poſſeſſed of that kind of Beauty which hits every Inclination, who can view themſelves in this Mirror with any Satisfaction. Yet let not thoſe leaſt flattered by the World be afraid of looking into it, perhaps they will find Charms they have never before conſidered the Value of; and though they will not be vain on the Diſcovery, an innate Pleaſure, which no Words can repreſent, will be the Conſequence of it. Let not then Small Pox, Sickneſs, Old Age, or any other of thoſe Infirmities the Sex ſtand in ſo much fear of, deter any one from ſeeing her Reſemblance in the Mirror I now ſet before them; for I am very well aſſured, ‘that 069 I3r 69 that thoſe who expect to find the feweſt Perfections in themſelves, will, on looking ſeriouſly into it, confeſs the Picture truly amiable; and be eaſily reconciled to Nature, for having beſtowed on them Graces, infinitely ſuperior to any ſhe may have happened to deny them, be the Deficiency ever ſo glaring, or may have rendered them never ſo contemptible in the Eyes of the ill-judging. My Mirror has alſo this peculiar Property: —It is not like other Glaſſes daubed on one Side with Quickſilver, but clear, tranſparent as Innocence and Truth:――It not only ſhews the Perſon who looks into it herſelf, ſuch as ſhe is in reality; but diſplays impartially every Charm or Imperfection to thoſe who ſtand on the other Side, and even at a very great Diſtance from her. Even in an Age when the Fair Sex ſeem to ſtudy nothing ſo much as to deſtroy that true Beauty they received from the Hands of their all beneficent Creator, I hope there will be found among the Number of your Readers ſome who may fearleſs appear before this all betraying Glaſs:――At leaſt I might depend upon it, could I but as eaſily aſſure myſelf, that what the Female Spectator has taken the Pains to remonſtrate to them, had had its due Weight. But be that as it may, it is the Duty of all ‘thoſe 070 I3v 70 thoſe who wiſh well to the moſt lovely Part of the Creation, to neglect nothing that may add to their Charms. It is on this Occaſion, Madam, I am proud to enter into your Labours, and am, with the moſt unfeigned Reſpect, and Veneneration, Yours, and your worthy Companions, Very much devoted, and faithful Servant, Philocletes. 1745-09-16Sept.16, 1745. Cavendiſh-ſquare. A Mirror for True Beauty. Moſt humbly preſented to thoſe, who, on due Examination of themſelves, think proper to look into it, by their Moſt humble Servant, and ſincere Admirer, Philocletes. Approach, ye charming few!―― ye happy! Select whoſe interior Beauty ſhines through your outward Form, adding new Graces to what Nature gave; approach and ſee your lovely Portraitures faithfully diſplayed:――Behold Perfections in yourſelves‘ſelves 071 K1r 71 ſelves which is not in the Power of the Painter’s Art to copy, nor the moſt paſſionate and eloquent of your Lovers to deſcribe. And firſt, ye ſpotleſs Virgins, who having never known a married State, are equally ignorant of all tumultuous Deſires, all Impatience for entering into it:—You, who conſider the Difference of Sexes no farther than to take Care to behave in ſuch a Manner, as not to encourage any Preſumption in the one, or provoke the Malice of the other:—You, who deſpiſe the gay Fopperies of the Times, and find it ſufficient to appear once at each Place of preſent Reſort, to be able to ſhun them all for ever after:――You, who never knew a Thought, which to avow would call a Bluſh into your Cheeks:――You, who free from Pride, Affectation, Vanity and Ill-nature, divide your Hours between Acts of Duty and innocent Recreation,—fearleſs draw near, and behold the angelic Sweetneſs that dwells on every Feature;――ſee how the unblemiſhed Mind ſhines through the Eyes, diffuſing Chearfulneſs to all around, and making a kind of Heaven wherever you come. Next in true Beauty, ye chaſte Wives draw near!—You, whoſe pure Hearts never entertained one wandering Wiſh:—You, whoſe Inclinations, in all Reſpects in Life, have ſtill gone Hand in Hand, if not prevented the Will of him on whom Heaven has beſtowed Vol. IV. K ‘you: 072 K1v 72 you:――You, to whom all Mankind, beſides him you have ſworn to love, are but ſo many Pictures:――You, whoſe Oeconomy and prudential Care enables you to appear ſo as to make your Fortune ſeem double to what it is, yet whoſe Hoſpitality renders all eaſy who come near you:—You, who know how to repay the Endearments of the moſt tender Husband with ample Intereſt; and you, in whom the greateſt Provocations of an ill and cruel one cannot excite even the moſt diſtant Thought of injuring his Intereſt, Honour, or Reputation:――You, who either by your Wiſdom, and reſerved Behaviour, have avoided every thing that can be called Temptation; or by your firm Adherence to Virtue, have known how to teſtify a decent Abhorrence of them, in all Circumſtances and in all Events: ――Ye, glorious Patterns of Connubial Fidelity, may approach and view the awful Dignity that ſits enthroned upon your Brows, and ſheds a Luſtre over all your Perſons, at once commanding Love from all good Men, and Admiration even from the worſt. Last, but not leaſt in Fame, ye venerable Tribe of widowed Matrons! You, who have paſt with Honour your two firſt Stages of Life, and ſupport the third with a becoming Fortitude and Patience, behold in me your graceful Aſpects:—You, over whoſe unvariable Affection Death has no Power:—You, in whoſe faithful Hearts your Husband ſtill ſurvives: ‘You 073 K2r 73 You, who continue wedded to the Memory of your firſt Love, and fly all ſecond Offers, though accompanied with Titles, Wealth, and every gilded Proſpect, ſo enchanting to the leſs conſtant of your Sex:—You, whoſe happy Offspring feel not a Father’s Loſs in the rich Bleſſings of maternal Care and doubled Tenderneſs:—You, whoſe Example, and whoſe ſage Advice preſerves the Innocent, and reclaims the Guilty:—You, whoſe candid Praiſes give new Strength to Virtue, and whoſe mild Reproofs make Vice abhorrent of itſelf:――You, who know how to temper Gravity with Chearfulneſs, and to dreſs all, even the ſtricteſt Duties of a Woman and a Chriſtian in the Garb of Pleaſure:—You, who anſwer the Character the wiſeſt of Men gives of a virtuous Woman, That her own Works ſhall praiſe her in the Gates: That Praiſe will not only be yours, but you will ſee yourſelves in this Mirror, and be ſeen by others through it with Charms which will well compenſate for thoſe which either you have been denied by Nature, or which Time may have deprived you of: There will be ſomething an unſpeakable Majeſty, whether you look, or ſpeak, or move, creating Eſteem in every Beholder’s Heart; and you, and thoſe of the preceding Claſſes, will appear ſuch as our admirable Milton deſcribes the Mother of Mankind, while in her State of Innocence: Grace was in all her Steps, Heav’n in her Eyes!In all her Motions Dignity and Love. K2 ‘These 074 K2v 74 These are the true Beauties which alone can ſee themſelves with any Pleaſure; for as for thoſe who have forſaken Wiſdom and followed Folly, who have devoted themſelves to midnight Maſquerades, immoderate Gaming, forgot the Duties of their Sex and Place, and are in any reſpect the Reverſe of ſuch as I have deſcribed, they muſt not be angry with the Mirror, if it preſents them with Deformities they little expected:――If, inſtead of blooming Graces, and an attractive Air in their Complexion and Features, they find Wrinkles which no Coſmetick or Italian Fucus can fill up:—Dimneſs and ſinking in the Eyes, Contortions in the whole Face, ſuch as no ſtudied Arts can rectify, or bring back to their primitive Harmony:—Let, therefore, thoſe fly hence, leſt the too terrifying Repreſentation ſhould drive them into Frenzy; at leaſt let them take this Caution, to approach with Fearfulneſs, and by Degrees: Even that may ſerve to render their Blemiſhes leſs hideous than they would ſeem on a Surprize, and as they grow more ſenſible of themſelves, thoſe Blemiſhes would doubtleſs, if not quite wear of, become not ſo conſpicuous as before.
We think ourſelves obliged, in the Name of the whole Sex, to thank Philocletes, for the amiable Pictures he has given us of what is true Beauty in Womankind, through the three materialrial 075 K3r 75 rial Circumſtances in Life, and in which, indeed, all the others alſo are included.
For this Reaſon it is utterly impoſſible to add any thing on a Subject, which in the moſt brief and conciſe Manner he has given the fulleſt Idea of, and which to expatiate upon, would be not only needleſs, but inſtead of giving any Luſtre, would rather ſerve to take from that it has received from his more maſterly Genius, and render it more languid, and conſequently leſs effectual.
But, methinks, I hear ſome of our modiſh fine Ladies cry out,—What does the Man mean? —Does he think the Qualifications he ſets down would get any of us one more Lover in our Train? —Would they not rather render us the Jeſt of all the pretty Fellows in Town?—Others again, of a yet ſomewhat more ſerious Diſpoſition, will ſay, That if a Woman muſt anſwer in every Point to the Character he gives of true Beauty, there would be no ſuch Thing to be found among the Sex.
As to the firſt, it would be altogether in vain to make them any Anſwer, ſince it would doubtleſs be treated with the ſame Contempt as the Mirror itſelf; but as to the others, I would beg them to reflect, that it is in the Power of every Woman to be poſſeſſed of that true Beauty which Philocletes has delineated, and it is only the Libertine Part of the other Sex who ought to make a Queſtion of it.It 076 K3v 76
It is true, that all have not an equal Share of the Perfections of the Mind, any more than of the Body, but all may endeavour to improve thoſe they have; and that very Attempt would make them appear not altogether deformed, even in Philocletes’s Mirror.
But I have already, in a former Spectator, taken Notice, that if we took but half the Care of embelliſhing our intellectual Part as we do of ſetting off our Perſons, both would appear to much more Advantage.
Whether any Remonſtrances of mine, or others who are Well-wiſhers to the Sex, have been able to work the Effect they aimed at, is uncertain; we ought not, however, to give over, becauſe a Moment may bring about what whole Ages in vain have toiled for; and ſometimes a ſlight Word, which perhaps when ſpoken was unheeded, has afterwards recoiled upon the Memory, and made an Impreſſion on the Mind beyond what the moſt elaborate Treatiſes had done.
While therefore I am convinced within myſelf, that what I am doing is not only intended, but alſo may poſſibly make any of my Readers either better or wiſer, I ſhall eaſily abſolve myſelf for being leſs entertaining than many of them may deſire or expect from me.
It has, notwithſtanding, been hitherto the Care of the Female Spectator to mingle Pleaſure with 077 K4r 77 with Inſtruction, and we are far from diſcontinuing the ſame Meaſures, though it muſt be confeſſed we have of late purſued Subjects of a more ſerious Nature, than thoſe with which we at firſt ſet out.
But I truſt we ſhall eaſily be forgiven even by the gayeſt and moſt volatile, as Variety is always agreeable to them, eſpecially as we have now by us ſome Letters, which I am pretty ſure will be eſteemed of the amuſing kind, and with which we ſhall lard, as it were, our more grave Speculations, as often as the Order in which we receive them will permit.
The next, which at preſent demands our Attention, is a Piece, which, we dare depend upon, will be equally agreeable to the Gay and Serious, as it is of a like Concern to both, and done in a Manner which cannot but pleaſe all of a polite Taſte.To the ingenious Authors of the Female Spectator. Ladies, As it is not probable that any new Thing, eſpecially ſuch as are allowed worthy of reading, ſhould eſcape the Examination of the Female Spectator, I take it for granted, you are perfectly acquainted with a celebrated Piece, firſt publiſhed about two Years ſince, and is entitled, The Pleaſures of Imagination:――The ‘Subject 078 K4v 78 Subject is ſo copious, and the ingenious Author has treated of it in ſo philoſophical a Manner, that I have been in continual Expectation of ſeeing ſomething from you upon it. But as you have not thought fit to make mention of it in any of thoſe Eſſays you have hitherto publiſhed, I beg Leave to offer you ſome few Thoughts of my own, not on the Poem itſelf, but on the Matter it contains, which you are at Liberty either to publiſh or ſuppreſs, as you ſhall find moſt expedient. Imagination is, indeed, one of the great Prerogatives of Man; and I know not whether there is any other Thing which ſo much diſtinguiſhes him Lord of the whole Creation. It is this Aſſemblage or Aſſociation of Ideas which convinces us we have a Soul, and that that Soul is alſo of divine and immortal Exiſtence, by its partaking in a lower Degree of the Nature of Omniſcience; for to what elſe can be aſcribed, that Ability we find in ourſelves of ſeeing what is beyond the Reach of the Senſes? We not only have the Power of contemplating all in Nature, that is, all we can diſcern of Nature, but of ſoaring with the Wings of Fancy or Imagination to the intellectual World, and of converſing, as it were, with Beings of ‘a 079 L1r 79 a ſuperior Order, and which meer Fleſh and Blood could never attain to any Notion of. The enquiring Mind is ever ſearching, ever prying, ever impatient for Objects new, wonderful, and amiable; and what the Senſes cannot penetrate, nor even Reaſon fathom, Imagination flatters us with preſenting:――By this the pooreſt, and moſt abject in Condition may enjoy the Grandeur and Felicity of the moſt opulent;――the ill-treated Lover be in full Poſſeſſion of the Charms he languiſhes for, and the Captive in his Dungeon enjoy all the Sweets of Liberty.――What, in effect, cannot the Mind attain, when, conſcious of its Power, it preſerves a Harmony within itſelf, and diſdains to be affected with any thing relating to Senſation! O wondrous Gift! O favourite Bleſſing of all-beneficent Heaven, never to be too much prized; never to be too much acknowledged by the grateful, by the enlivened Heart! Yet may this excelling Benefit, like every other Good, be perverted; and inſtead of the Happineſs it was intended to confer upon Mankind, involve us in the very worſt of Miſeries. Let us, therefore, remember, that thoſe Ideas, which may be ſaid to compoſe Imagination, have equally the Means of giving Pain as Pleaſure:――That there are no Misfortunes,IV. L ‘tunes, 080 L1v 80 tunes, no Evils which can come in any Degree of Competition with thoſe Horrors the Mind is capable of preſenting:—It frequently, not only ſhews us adverſe Fortune in its worſt Form, but alſo images out Woes which never had a Being, even ſo far as to drive too many of us into Frenzy and Deſperation. How then is this to be avoided, will the Libertine demand?—The Queſtion is eaſily anſwered, by accuſtoming ourſelves to reflect, and contemplate only on ſuch Things as are worthy the Attention of a Rational Creature. For when we ſet our Hearts on the Purſuit of any thing beneath the Dignity of our Species, or give way to vain Paſſions and inordinate Deſires, though a ſanguine Conſtitution may enable us to form Ideas of the Gratification of them, perhaps even more pleaſing than the very Enjoyment might prove; yet are we in Danger every Moment of a ſad Reverſe:――That ſame Power of Imagination, which filled us ſo lately with Raptures, may give us adequate Horrors in Turn:――This is a Certainty which Numbers have experienc’d, and I believe Nobody will deny. When we delight in, and bend our Attention to the Wonders of the Creation, and the beautiful Produce of Nature, then indeed may Contemplation be raviſhed, even to an Extaſy; ‘the 081 L2r 81 the Mind will be elated with the Bleſſings it finds every where beſtowed upon it, and become all diſſolved in Joy and humble Gratitude. Would Man conſider as he ought the mighty Privileges of his Nature, how, half Divine, he was not formed to be engroſſed by low and ſenſual Objects; but has Faculties, which, if rightly applied, enable him to partake the Fellowſhip of Angels, and to converſe even with God himſelf; how much would he deſpiſe all the gaudy Trifles, which by their painted Shew attempt to lure him from his real Good, and with fictitious Proſpects of high Felicity betray him into Depths of Woe. Hence it follows, that Imagination, as it is capable of affording us the moſt exquiſite Satisfaction the Soul can know, while it is link’d to Clay, ſo it inflicts on us the bittereſt of Sorrows, and the moſt poignant Annguiſh. If we do not early harmonize our Minds, and accuſtom ourſelves to the Contemplation of the moral Virtues, to ſubdue our Paſſions, and give Reaſon an Opportunity to exert itſelf, we ſhall naturally be led aſtray by the Senſes to Aims, in which Imagination will at moſt afford us but a ſhort-lived Satisfaction. To well regulate our Thoughts was doubtleſs the Purpoſe of the ingenious Author of the Poem I mentioned, and which gave Occaſion L2 to 082 L2v 82 to my troubling you with this Epiſtle:――I am infinitely charmed with that agreeable Epiſode which ſo beautifully deſcribes Virtue always attended with Pleaſure, and ſhews how Man, when he forſakes the One, is ſure of being abandoned by the Other. But with all due Deference to this Gentleman’s Judgment, I think he has not ſufficiently painted out the Horrors which Imagination preſents, when we are deprived of the Society of theſe two amiable Companions:—Such a Repreſentation would not, indeed, have come properly in under the Title he has given his Poem; but if, inſtead of The Pleaſures of Imagination, which includes but one Part of the Queſtion, he had called it The Force of Imagination, he would then have had full room to exert the great Talent he has proved himſelf Maſter of, in ſhewing us the Whole of that extenſive Faculty. I am loth to think he ſuffered himſelf to be deterred from doing what would have rendered his Work ſo compleat, by any Apprehenſions of rendering it too ſerious for ſome of his Readers; I rather believe that he intends a second Part, in which all the Diſtractions which a diſturbed Imagination can inflict will be delineated in their proper Colours. In the mean Time, Ladies, I ſhould think it well worthy the Pen of a Female Spectator to ‘lay 083 L3r 83 lay down ſome Rules, by which the unwary Mind might be prevented from falling into any Dangers of the Kind I have mentioned. In my Opinion, one of the firſt is never to be too much attached to any one Thing in Life, or even to Life itſelf. To baniſh all kind of Arrogance from the Heart, and to fix a Reſolution of ſubmitting chearfuly to what Fate ordains, will alſo greatly contribute to render our Imaginations pleaſing. But above all Things to avoid Anxiety for the Knowledge of future Events:――’Tis ſcarce poſſible, but that though the Ideas we at firſt may form of them may be agreeable, and others of a different Nature will ſucceed, or at leaſt crowd in among them, to the Confuſion of our Peace. These Maxims, difficult as they may ſeem, may with a great deal of Eaſe be put in Practice, by a Mind which begins to make the Eſſay, before any vehement Paſſion gets Poſſeſſion of it, or ill Habits have corrupted it. The Advice which you, Ladies, have already given may go a great Way towards accompliſhing a Work ſo much to be wiſhed: To keep ourſelves always employed in ſome praiſe-worthy, or at leaſt innocent Studies, will doubtleſs prevent, in a great meaſure, all peſtilent‘lent 084 L3v 84 lent Fancies from getting any Entrance into the Brain. But as no Buſineſs, no Avocation whatever will bar the Intruſion of ſome Sorts of Paſſion, we are not to let any one Deſire get the better of us, but to check in their very Infancy all Emotions, whether of Pleaſure in the Imagination of ſucceeding, or of Pain in that of a Diſappointment:――Both are alike pernicious, becauſe the One is almoſt always the certain Conſequence of the Other. Even Friendship, the nobleſt, pureſt, and moſt exalted Paſſion of the Soul, ought alſo to have its Bounds:――To ſpeak in the Language of Divinity, whenever we love the Creature more than the Creator, we may expect ſome heavy Affliction to fall on us, either wounding us in our own Perſons, or in that of the Object of our too violent Affection: But ſetting aſide the Precepts of Religion, thoſe of common Reaſon and Experience will inform us, that Imagination will be very buſy in preſenting us with Ideas diſturbing to our Peace, whenever we are abſent from the Perſon who ſo much engroſſes our Cares. We ſhould therefore endeavour ſo to regulate all our Affections and Inclinations, even though of the moſt laudable Kind, that the over Aſſiduity for the Performance of one Duty ſhall not occaſion us to neglect the others, as ‘is 085 L4r 85 is too frequently the Caſe with the very beſt of People; for Devotion itſelf may become a Fault, when carried to a Pitch of Superſtition or Enthuſiaſm. In fine, whoever gives too great a Looſe to Imagination, will be in danger of feeling its Horrors as well as Pleaſures; and though nothing affords a Satisfaction equal to that of Contemplation on worthy Objects, yet when indulged to an Exceſs becomes the very reverſe, and fills us with Apprehenſions of Diſaſters which are without Exiſtence. I should, notwithſtanding, be ſorry, that what I have ſaid ſhould deprive any one of the Pleaſures of Imagination:――Let us, in the Name of God, enjoy them in as full a Manner as the beneficent Author intended; but let not the Power he has given us be abuſed, or proſtituted to Ends unworthy of it:――Let us confine our Contemplations to ſuch Objects as the Poem before me directs; let us ſtudy Natural and Moral Philoſophy, we ſhall find enough in them to entertain and charm the moſt extenſive Mind, and, if we deſcend no lower, can never feel the Woes of Imagination. All I have offered is only to warn thoſe who are addicted to Solitude and much Thinking, how they ſuffer Fancy to fix itſelf too intenſely on ſuch Things as can be of no Advantage‘vantage 086 L4v 86 vantage to them, but to have always in Mind the Petition Dr. Young makes to Heaven in the firſt Book of his excellent Poem, entitled The Complaint, or Night Thoughts, on Life, Death, and Immortality: The Words are theſe: Teach my beſt Reaſon Reaſon, to my WillTeach Rectitude. It is certain, that while uncorrupted Reaſon guides the Will we ſhall have no Imaginations but ſuch as are ſerene and pleaſing: We ſhall make the true Uſe of that Divine Gift which Heaven has left entirely to our own Management, and by that Permiſſion, as well as by the Gift itſelf, renders us little inferior to the Angels. But I fear being too tedious;――if the inſerting this, or any Hints taken from it, will be of the leaſt Service to you, or to your Readers, you may be aſſured it will afford one pleaſing Topic for Imagination to him, who is, with all poſſible Regard, Ladies, Your moſt faithful, and moſt humble Servant. Acasto. Oxford, 1745-09-20Sept. 20, 1745. I 087 M1r 87
I believe the greateſt Admirers of Mr. Akinſide’s Poem, will not be offended at any thing Acaſto has offered in relation to it:—It is, without doubt, an excellent Performance, truly poetic, elegant, full of noble Sentiments, and highly conducive to the End he propoſes by it; to harmonize the Mind, and awaken it to a juſt Senſe of the immenſe Obligations conferred on it by the Deity.
Yet I cannot but ſay, that it would have been of more general Service, had theſe Miſeries, which the Powers of Imagination are capable of afflicting, been delineated, with the ſame Energy and Spirit as the Pleaſures which ariſe from it.
The Reaſon is obvious, and needs no Explanation; ſince none but Minds refined and delicate are qualified to reliſh the One, but all may feel the Other in a more or leſs Degree.
A Person of weak Intellects, in attempting to ſoar too high a Flight, not ſeldom ſhares the Fate of Icarus, and, inſtead of the Wonders he is endeavouring to explore, falls at once into an irrecoverable Depth of Confuſion and Perplexity.
Whence is Madneſs,――whence is Deſpair, with all its Train of nameleſs Horrors, but from the Ideas which Imagination forms!
When Imagination is invigorated by any inordinate Paſſion or Deſire, as Acaſto moſt juſtly Vol. IV. M obſerves, 088 88 M1v ſerves, to what frightful Extravagancies may we not be tranſported?――Deeds, which in fact we ſhudder at, we then make no ſcruple to commit in Fancy;—indulge the guilty Wiſh, and ſatiate in Theory, Love and Revenge, till new Ideas riſe in the tormented Brain, and Diſappointment glares us in the Face;――then, doubly curſed, we are in that State of Mind which Milton ſo well deſcribes of our firſt Parents, after their Loſs of Innocence: They ſat them down to weep, not only TearsRain’d at their Eyes, but worſe, high Winds withinBegan to riſe; high Paſſions, Anger, Hate,Miſtruſt, Suſpicion, Diſcord, and ſhook ſoreTheir inward State of Mind, calm Region once,And full of Peace, now toſs’d and turbulent;For Underſtanding rul’d not, and the WillHeard not her Love, both in Subjection nowTo ſenſual Appetite, who from beneath,Uſurping over ſovereign Reaſon, claim’dSuperior Sway.
But however deſtructive the Powers of Imagination may be to ſome Minds, by being perverted, or too far exerted, the Poet in repreſenting the Pleaſures flowing from them, if rightly applied, cannot be condemned, becauſe, according to my Judgment, he confines thoſe Pleaſures entirely to the Contemplation of the Deity, and the all wonderful, beauteous, and diverſified Charms of Nature, and the laudable Imitation of every thing ſhe preſents that is great, lovely, or novel, which, as 089 M2r 89 as he truly ſays, are the three Qualities which chiefly ſtrike upon the Mind, and give Imagination Leave to play.
That beautiful Allegory in his ſecond Book, where he iuntroduces the Genius of the Human Specie, as chiding the narrow Conceptions of his Sons, and their unjuſt repining at Providence for particular Woes, gives us an inſtructive Leſſon of Fortitude, Humility, and Reſignation to the Divine Will, which conducts every Individual for the Good of the Whole.
His Quotation from Plato in the Marginal Notes on this Paſſage is alſo admirably adapted, and ſerves not only as an Explanation of his Meaning in the Poem, but very much enforces it; inſomuch, as it were to be wiſhed, many who call themſelves Chriſtians would conſider ſeriouſly of what this Heathen Philoſopher has ſaid, and they would then know better how to form both their Sentiments and Practice more agreeable to the Dignity of their Nature, ſetting aſide their Profeſſion, than they now ſeem to do.
Philosophy is indeed our great Reſource, when under the Apprehenſions, or real enduring Ills; and when we have ravaged all that has been urged in the voluminous Tracts of Religious Selfdenial and patient Suffering, thither we muſt come at laſt; as Lucretius, though in many Things blameable, in this ought to be regarded: Mr. Dryden, who certainly has done him Juſtice, has, M2 in 090 M2v 90 in more than one of his Works, taken Notice of ſome Lines from that great Author, which I think it will not be improper here to tranſcribe, as ſome of my Readers may poſſibly not have met with them, and ought to be well conſidered by every one. Oh! if the fooliſh Race of Man, who findA Weight of Cares ſtill preſſing on their Mind,Could find as well the Cauſe of this Unreſt,And all this Burthen lodg’d within the Breaſt;Sure they would change their Courſe; nor live as now,Uncertain what to wiſh, or what to vow.Uneaſy both in Country, and in Town,They ſearch a Place to lay their Fardel down:One reſtleſs in his Palace, walks abroad,And vainly thinks to leave behind the Load;But ſtrait returns: For he’s as reſtleſs there,And finds there’s no Relief in open Air.Another to his Villa would retire,And ſpurs as hard as if it were on Fire:No ſooner enter’d at his Country Door,But he begins to ſtretch, and yawn, and ſnore;Or ſeeks the City, which he left before.Thus every Man o’erworks his weary Will,To ſhun himſelf, and to ſhake off his Ill:The ſhaking Fit returns, and hangs upon him ſtill.No Proſpect of Repoſe,—no Hope of Eaſe,The Wretch is ignorant of his own Diſeaſe;Which091M3r91Which known, would all his fruitleſs Trouble ſpare;For he would know the World not worth his Care.Then would he ſearch more deeply for the Cauſe;And ſtudy Nature well, and Nature’s Laws.
Whoever indeed does this will find the Powers of Imagination pleaſing to him; but whoever neglects it, will have always ſomething, either real or ideal to torment him.
Every one knows, that it is the Property of a ſtrong and lively Imagination, to magnify all that is within its reach, which is not only all that is in Nature, but even beyond Nature:— It contents not itſelf with enhancing the Woes it finds, but creates new ones, and ſuch as are even morally impoſſible ſhould ever come to paſs.
It alſo very frequently happens, that in endeavouring to avoid an imaginary Ill, we run into a real one;—and ſo ſtrong has this Self-deception ſometimes been, that all the Remonſtrances made by our Friends, or by our own Reaſon, have proved ineffectual to eraſe an Impreſſion imprinted on our Minds meerly by ſome ſudden Fancy.
I once heard of a Man, who having dreamt his Houſe was on fire, could not be perſwaded after he was awake but that it was ſo:—He was certain he ſmelt Smoke, and the Fright depriving him of all Conſideration, he threw open his Doors, and cried out for Help:――The Neighboursbours 092 M3v 92 bours were inſtantly alarmed;――his Houſe full of People, and among the Crowd, a Number of thoſe Wretches, who watch for an Opportunity of profiting themſelves in ſuch Calamities, under the Pretence of aſſiſting the Perſon in Diſtreſs.
Every Room was carefully examined, and he was at laſt convinced, that Imagination had impoſed on his Underſtanding:—There was no Fire, nor the leaſt Appearance of any; but, poor unhappy Man, while he was buſy in ſearching one Chamber, the Plunderers ſtill ſtript the others, till they had left nothing for the Flames to deſtroy, if there really had been any:―― All was carried off in the Confuſion, none knew by whom, and he was left without a Bed to lie upon, or the leaſt Conveniency whatever.
On perceiving his Misfortune, the ſame Force of Imagination, which had firſt occaſioned, now repreſented it in more ſhocking Colours than it indeed deſerved, becauſe it ſeems he had a competent Eſtate in Land, which could neither be burned or ſtole away, and afforded more than a Sufficiency for his Support.
He thought, however, of nothing but periſhing for Want, and all the Terrors of ſuch a Condition at once aſſailing him, entirely unhinged Reaſon and Reflection, and hurried by the black Idea, he threw himſelf Headlong out of a Window, two Stories from the Street, where his Brains were daſhed upon the Pavement.Sad 093 M4r 93
Sad Inſtance what the Force of a perverted Imagination can perform! If the Story be true, which, though I will not pretend to affirm, muſt own, I can find nothing in it that is in the leaſt incompatible with Probability.
The Hiſtories of former Times preſent us with a Cloud of Teſtimonies, that not only private Men, but whole Nations have been ſo infatuated by Ideas of their own Formation, that they have run with the utmoſt Zeal and Precipitation, nay courted the very greateſt of Miſchiefs, on no other Motive than to be free from even the bare Apprehenſions of the ſmalleſt and moſt inconſiderable, were they in reality to arrive.
Let the Ring-Leaders of the Populace but once be fired with a ſtrong Imagination of any thing, be it never ſo oppoſite to Reaſon, Truth, or Juſtice, the whole Rabble catch immediately the Infection, join in full Cry, abetting with their whole Force the Madneſs. As the Poet ſays, Almighty Crowd! Thou ſhorten’ſt all Diſpute,Power is thy Eſſence, Wit thy Attribute;Nor Faith, nor Reaſon make thee at a Stay,Thou leap’ſt o’er all eternal Truths in thy Pindaric Way.Yet popular Applauſe, the noiſy PraiſeOf giddy Crowds, is changeable as Winds;Still vehement, often without a Cauſe:Servant to Chance, and blowing in the TideOf094M4v94Of ſwol’n Succeſs, but veering with its Ebb,It leaves the Channel dry.
But ſuppoſing that no Inconvenience, no Diſtaſter befalls us, beſides the Horrors we ſuſtain, by figuring to ourſelves Miſfortunes, ſure they of themſelves might be ſufficient to deter any reaſonable Perſon from giving way to them.
To be plain, I would, methinks, not have Contemplation confounded with the Powers of Imagination, the latter of which borders too much in Fancy and Fiction, whereas the other is under the Government of Reaſon, and is guided by Truth.
The learned Author, whoſe Poem gave Occaſion both for the Letter from Acaſto, and our Remarks upon it, is very copious in his Praiſes on Imagination, as it refines the ſublime and polite Arts of Poetry, Muſick, and Sculpture: There is no Queſtion to be made but in Imitation, it is not only a Help but an Inſpirer; but then we ought to obſerve, that every Science ſeeks to delight, not terrify the Mind.—When the famous Apelles attempted to draw the Picture of a Wretch expiring on the Rack, that Imagination, which he had been accuſtomed to exert in his more delightful Repreſentations, ſtood him in no ſtead in this:—Often he eſſayed, but eſſayed in vain; till enraged at the Diſappointment, he threw his Pallat at the Picture, Part of which, daubed as it was with various Colours, glancing 095 N1r 95 glancing on the Face of the Man he had been drawing, gave an Agony to the Features which his own Fancy was too compoſed to give him any juſt Idea of.
Let Imagination, however, be allowed to contribute greatly to the Works of Imitation; where it can poſſibly have no prejudicial Effect on the intenſe Mind, when once the Work is compleated, ſtill it will be found dangerous where no ſuch Avocation demands it, becauſe it being ſo active a Quality, it muſt have ſome Employment of one kind of other; and if great Care be not taken to provide ſuch for it as is conducive to Happineſs, there is more than a Poſſibility it will find ſuch for itſelf as leads to Miſery and Diſquiet.
The Marquis du Park, in his excellent Treatiſe entitled, Rules for the well regulating the Mind, gives us among many others this Maxim.Whenever a Receſs from Buſineſs, or the active Pleaſures of the World invites you to indulge Reflection and Meditation, chuſe for their Object only ſuch Things as may either improve or delight:—Endeavour, as much as poſſible, to avoid all Deſtraction of Ideas,— all wandering and confuſed Images; for on the being able to preſerve a clear, unmixed, and chearful Imagination, depends, in a great meaſure, the Conduct of your future Actions. Vol. IV. N Ima- 096 N1v 96
Imagination, ſays another great Author, is the Fountain Head, from which all the Movements of Life are derived:—Imagination is the Source of Contemplation,—Contemplation produces Deſign, and Deſign breaks forth in Action; ſo that if the firſt is vitiated and corrupt, all the others will naturally be impure.
Too much, indeed, cannot be ſaid to warn People of the Dangers of giving way to any gloomy diſcontented Thoughts; for, if in the leaſt indulged, they will infallibly grow upon the Mind, and form at laſt the moſt frightful and horrible Ideas.
TheFemale Spectator, therefore, is obliged to join with Acaſto in wiſhing, that the ſame kind Hand, which has ſo elegantly painted out to us the Pleaſures reſulting from Imagination, had alſo given a Picture of the Pains to which we may be ſubjected, in caſe the Powers of that extenſive Quality are not reſtrained within due Bounds, and under the Guidance of right Reaſon.
But ſhould that Gentleman either not think fit to treat upon the Subject, or be hindered from obliging the World by his other more profitable Avocation, Mira, our worthy Preſident, informs us, that a Friend of hers, who wants no Capacity for ſuch an Undertaking, is now writing a Poem on that Subject, which ſhe aſſures us there is no room to doubt will be very touching, as the Au- 097 N2r 97 Author himſelf has felt, in a very ſevere Manner, the Anguiſh he attempts to deſcribe.
If nothing of that kind, which his Modeſty may make him think better than his own, appears in Print, before he has concluded his Poem, we flatter ourſelves we ſhall have the Pleaſure to communicate it to the World in one of our future Lucubrations.
But our Correſpondents I am afraid by this Time begin to think themſelves neglected: I muſt, therefore, according to my uſual Cuſtom, go on with the ſeveral Letters I have been favoured with, at leaſt thoſe of them which are not improper to be inſerted in a Work of this Nature, I mean ſuch as to our Judgment appears ſo:――If at any Time we ſhould happen to be miſtaken, I truſt the Public will forgive it, as a Fault not proceeding from Deſign; and which, on a candid Remonſtrance from any of our judicious Readers, we ſhould endeavour to rectify by a future and more exact Circumſpection.
The following is a Complaint, grounded indeed on too common a Foundation, and in which melancholy Truth it is not to be doubted, but a great many of our Sex have ſufficient Cauſe to join in Conſort with the fair Author, though they have ſubmitted to their Fate in Silence, perhaps to the Ruin of their own future Peace.N2 To 098 N2v 98 To the Female Spectator. Madam, The good Advice you have given our Sex, and the Tenderneſs you have always expreſſed for our well doing in the World, emboldens me to become one of your Correſpondents, though, Heaven knows, little qualified to write to a Perſon of ſo polite a Taſte, much leſs to appear in Print. The Matter, however, will, I hope, excuſe the Manner in which I expreſs myſelf both to you and to the World; and as I have no other View in publiſhing my unfortunate Story, but to prevent others from being ſubjected to the ſame Fate, and giving you an Opportunity to expatiate on a Cruelty too much practiſed, and too little condemned by the Generality of People, I cannot, I think, be blamed, with any Shew of Juſtice, for ſo doing. Without any farther Apology then, Madam, permit me to acquaint you, I am the only Daughter of a Perſon, who, by his own Induſtry, and great Succeſs in Trade, has accumulated a very large Fortune; my Mother dying when I was very young, he made up up that Loſs to me by an extraordinary Care both of my Perſon and Education; the latter of which was indeed beyond what is ordinarily allowed by Perſons of his Station to their Children,‘dren, 099 N3r 99 dren, eſpecially Daughters; but as I was his all, and he declared againſt a ſecond Marriage, therefore was to inherit whatever he ſhould die poſſeſſed of, he told every body that he would bring me up ſo as not to let me be a Diſgrace to my Fortune. In this Reſolution he perſevered, till I arrived at the Age of Fifteen, or thereabouts, when I firſt began to perceive an Alteration: —Though Wealth continued to flow in upon him, and no Diſappointments happened in any of his Undertakings, he grew extremely parſimonious, and at laſt quite covetous:――He retrenched the Number of his Servants, the Diſhes on his Table, and even denied himſelf a Bottle of Wine in an Evening, a Thing he was wont to ſay he could not live without. Amidst this new Oeconomy it is not to be doubted but that I had my Share:――My uſual Stipend for Pocket Money was leſſened, had new Cloaths but ſeldom, and of a cheaper Sort than formerly, and was now never ſuffered to go to a Play, Opera, or any other public Diverſion; not that he diſliked them on any other Account than the Expence, but every Thing that exceeded the common Neceſſaries of Life he now looked upon as ſo many Extravagancies. This, Madam, you may perhaps imagine was a very great Mortification to me, and it would100N3v100 would, indeed, have been ſo, had I not been taken up at that Time, as it happened, with Thoughts which left me no room to conſider on any thing beſide. The Son of a Leiceſterſhire Gentleman, who, whenever he came to Town, lodged at our Houſe, found ſomething in me that he thought worthy of the moſt ſerious Attachment, and I, for my Part, had never ſeen any Man before him whoſe Idea was capable of giving me either Pain or Pleaſure in the leaſt Degree. In fine, having a mutual Affection for each other, it was eaſy for him to prevail on me to permit him to acquaint both our Parents with it:――The Suppoſition of my being a great Fortune made his liſten with a very favourable Ear to the Propoſal, and mine had no Objection to make, as the young Gentleman was Heir to a very good Eſtate, and had withall a fair Character from all that knew him. That Love which before we had kept a Secret from all the World, was now avowed to all our Friends and Acquaintance; and none among them but thought the Union between us, which was ſoon expected, would be extremely agreeable on all Accounts. For us, we thought of nothing, but indulging the gayeſt Hopes of future Felicity, and had not the leaſt Notion of any Diſappointmentment 101 N4r 101 ment in an Affair which was ſo well approved of by thoſe who had the Diſpoſal of us. But, alas! we ſoon found we had but deceived ourſelves, and that the enchanting Proſpect before our Eyes was no more than an Illuſion, which only ſerved to make the coming Miſfortune leſs eaſy to be borne:—The material Point to make us happy was yet wanting, though we had never once conſidered it:―― Our own Wiſhes, our Ambition centered only in the Poſſeſſion of each other, and we looked no farther. As we had converſed together ſome Time, the Father of my Lover thought it proper to aſk mine what Portion he intended to beſtow on me, that he might order his Lawyer to draw up Articles, and make a ſuitable Settlement on me. To this my Father anſwered, that there was no need of being at that Trouble; that as I was to have all he had after his Deceaſe, he did not think of parting with any Sum of Money by way of Portion before, which he might have occaſion for in Trade, and the other could not want, having ſo good an Eſtate. How much the Gentleman was ſurprized at ſo unexpected a Reply, I leave you to gueſs:— They had, it ſeems, a long Debate upon it however; but the one thinking it unreaſonable his Son ſhould marry on ſuch Terms, and the other being determined not to beſtow any Money‘ney 102 N4v 102 ney with me, they broke off the whole Affair, both mutually exclaiming againſt the Injuſtice of the other. My Lover was now forbid by his Father, ever to ſee or write to me any more, and I was told I ought to deſpiſe him, for all the Paſſion he pretended to have for me, was only for the Portion he expected to receive with me. I own to you, Madam, that at firſt this gave ſome Alarm to my Pride, but the dear injured Youth ſoon convinced me of his Fidelity, and diſintereſted Tenderneſs he felt for me, by making uſe of all the Arguments in his Power to prevail on me to be married in private; and when he found I would by no Means conſent to that, offered to lead me publicly to the Altar, though he ſhould by ſo doing incur the eternal Diſpleaſure of his Father, and be deprived of all he was born to poſſeſs. This Propoſal ſeemed more extravagant than the other, and young as I was, and as much as I loved, and ſtill do love, I could not think of gratifying that Love at the Expence of rendering myſelf, and the Perſon ſo dear to me, unhappy in every Circumſtance in Life perhaps for ever:――I obliged him, therefore, to be content with ſeeing me at a Friend’s Houſe where we ſometimes meet by Stealth, till Heaven ſhould be pleaſed to make ſome Alteration‘teration 103 O1r 103 teration in our Fate, by turning one, or both our Parents Hearts. A ſolemn Promiſe paſt, however, between us, never to liſten with an aſſenting Ear to any Offers of Marriage that might be made to either, but preſerve, through all Temptations whatever, both Heart and Hand for one another. This is now near three Years ſince, in which Time ſeveral very advantageous Matches have been propoſed to him, all which he has rejected with a Firmneſs, which well teſtifies both his Honour and his Love. But now, dear Female Spectator, comes the ſevereſt and moſt ſhocking Part of my Miſfortune:—It was not enough for my cruel Father to tear me from the only Man I ever did, or ever can love:—It was not enough that he reproached me in the moſt bitter Terms for not joining with him in railing againſt a Perſon, who, my Soul knew, merited the moſt exalted Praiſes:—It was not enough to withdraw all that Fatherly Affection he was accuſtomed to treat me with, and for theſe long three Years treat me rather as an Alien than a Child:—All this, I ſay, was not ſufficient, without entailing a Miſery upon me, which but with my Life I never can be eaſed of. In a word, Madam, he has provided a Vol. IV O ‘Huſband 104 O1v 104 Husband for me, to whom, if I conſent not to be a Wife, am to be turned out of Doors; without the leaſt preſent Support, or Hopes of any even at his Death:—That inſtead of the Bleſſings of a Father, I muſt receive only Curſes both living and dying: My Heart ſhudders while I am writing this, at the dreadful Remembrance of what he has ſaid to me on this Occaſion; and at the Impoſſibility there ſeems of my any way avoiding doing what will render me not only wretched to a Degree beyond what any Words can repreſent, but equally wicked by becoming perfidious and ungrateful to the dear and worthy Object of my firſt Vows. Several of our Relations perceiving my Averſion to this hateful Match, have uſed their utmoſt Intereſt with my Father not to force my Inclinations; but he continues inflexible, and their Sollicitations rather ſerve to make him haſten my Miſfortune than to ward it off; becauſe as he ſays he will not be teized on a Subject he is determined to perſiſt in. The grand Motive is, that the Perſon to whom my ill Stars have rendered me amiable, deſires no Money with me, and has it beſides greatly in his Power to be ſerviceable to my Father in his way of Buſineſs. These are the merits for which he is preferred:――Theſe make him in the Eyes of an avaritious Parent appear a ſuitable Match; ‘though 105 O2r 105 though to give his Character impartially, and without any of the Reaſons I have for an Averſion, the moſt indifferent and diſintereſted Perſon muſt allow, that his Form is very ungraceful, that he has the Misfortune of being lame in one Arm, that his Countenance is ſour, and that he is almoſt three Times my Age:— I ſay nothing of his Humour, becauſe I am not ſufficiently acquainted with it to be a Judge; but the World does not ſeem to think very favourably of it. I do not mention this, Madam, as having any Sway over my Mind, for were he, inſtead of the moſt diſagreeable, the moſt lovely Man Heaven ever formed, I ſhould deteſt him equally, if attempting to invade that Conſtancy I have promiſed to my firſt Love. Yet, Wretch that I am, I am upon the Point of doing what the moſt falſe and perfidious of my Sex could but do:—and in that Light ſhall I appear to all who know the Profeſſions of eternal Love I have made to him whom I am now about to render miſerable for ever.――My Wedding Cloaths are making, (wou’d to God it were my winding Sheet) and I muſt, in a few Days, be forced into a Bridal Bed by far more dreadful to me than the Grave. The only Eaſe under this heavy Affliction I can enjoy is, in the Hope my Story will influence you to ſay ſomething in your perſwaſive O2 ‘Manner 106 O2v 106 Manner that may have its due Weight with other Parents, (for I deſpair of mine being moved, even with an Angel’s Eloquence:) Unhappy as I am, I wiſh not to have any Sharer in the ſame Fate, though I am afraid too many have and will: That the Number may decreaſe, however, is the ſincere Prayer of, Good Madam, Your moſt unfortunate Servant, Monyma. Cheapſide, 1745-10-02October2, 1745. P. S. Next Thurſday is the Day appointed for my Doom, if it be poſſible for me to ſurvive till then:――Think of me with Compaſſion, ’tis all can now be done for me.
Hearts the leaſt ſenſible of the Woes of others cannot but be touched with the moſt tender Commiſeration for Monyma’s Condition, nor can any reaſonable Perſon ſeriouſly reflect on the Conduct of her Father in this Affair without paſſing the ſevereſt Cenſure on it.
Unaccountable is it, as well as unnatural, that Parents, who in general are fond of their Children while they are very young, can afterwards reſolve to make them for ever miſerable, only to gratify ſome ſordid Intereſt of their own.
Most indeed of thoſe who thus force the Inclinationsclinations 107 O3r 107 clinations of their Children, being paſt all Senſe of the ſofter Paſſions themſelves, think they are acting for their Good, while they oblige them to ſacrifice Love to Ambition; but the Father of this young Lady carry’d his Avarice to a much higher than one ſhall ordinarily hear of:――It ſeemed not to be ſo much what the World calls Intereſt, for her Sake, as for his own Selfiſhneſs in keeping his Money, that he forced her from a Man ſo dear to her, and compelled her to give herſelf to another equally hateful.
Detestable Propenſity, to what does it tranſport us?—Every noble, generous, or humane Sentiment is dead within us, when once it takes Poſſeſſion of the Soul:――Nay, we ſeem even abandoned by common Senſe, and act not only in direct Oppoſition to our Pretences, but likewiſe run counter to what we think or deſire within ourſelves.
Wethrow away our Eſtates, in the vain Hopes of doubling them:—We forfeit our Honeſty with the View of acquiring Honour:—We deſcend to the moſt contemptible and mean Actions in the Expectation of becoming great:—In a word, a Perſon whoſe Soul is devoted to Avarice or falſe Ambition, is guilty of all manner of Inconſiſtencies, and while intending to purſue good Fortune, blindly puſhes away the Goddeſs he adores.
There is beſides in this Paſſion, above all others, 108 O3v 108 others, an Obſtinancy that ſo far hardens the Heart, as to render it impenetrable to all the Aſſaults of Nature, as well as inflexible to the Remonſtrances of Reaſon and Religion.
Justly does our excellent Dryden, in his Play Amphitrion, make Jupiter ſay, ――When I madeThis Gold, I made a greater God than Jove,And gave my own Omnipotence away.
And the more humorous, though not leſs witty Poet, ſpeaking of Gold, tells us, that Money is ſtill the common ScaleOf Things by Meaſure, Weight, and Tale:Even in th’ Affairs of Church and State,It’s both the Balance, and the Weight.’Tis Beauty too ſtill in the Flow’r,That buds and bloſſoms at fourſcore:’Tis Virtue, Wit, and Worth, and allThat Men divine and ſacred call;For what’s the Worth of any thing,But ſo much Money as ’twill bring.
If it were poſſible for a generous Mind to be diverted with the Depravities of Human Nature, how would it make one laugh to ſee a Wretch hug himſelf for his Cunning and perfect Knowledge of the World, as he imagines, while perhaps he is the Dupe of thoſe who extol his good 109 O4r 109 good Senſe, and a Prey even to the very worſt of Sharpers!
There is not, in fine, a more high Road to Beggary than Avarice, yet will not the Fate of Thouſands warn others from falling into the ſame Snare.――They ſee a few have had the good Luck to amaſs great Sums, and every one fancies himſelf capable of managing ſo as to have the ſame Acceſſion.
Wretched Stupidity! Where to one that ſucceeds, a thouſand are undone.
But to return to the unhappy Monyma. The Female Spectator ſincerely wiſhes her Caſe had been ſooner communicated: All Remonſtrances on the one Side, or Advice on the other, would now come too late, if her Fate was really decided at the Time ſhe mentions in her Letter.
Otherwise there is no one Member of our Club, not even Euphroſine herſelf, who is the moſt perfect Pattern of an implicit Obedience I ever knew, but is of Opinion, that Monyma, circumſtanced as ſhe was, and under a former Engagement, might have refuſed entering into a ſecond without incurring any juſt Cenſure from the World.
We ſhould not have adviſed ſo far indeed as for her to marry her young Lover; for that would 110 O4v 110 would have been to have flown directly in the Face of Paternal Authority, and a Breach of Duty which no Exigence could have rendered excuſeable; but we think, at the ſame time, that ſhe might eaſily have been abſolved for perſiſting in her Refuſal of the other.
By debarring herſelf from purſuing her Inclination ſhe would ſufficiently have diſcharged all that Filial Duty demanded from her; and by continuing reſolute, to ſuffer any thing rather than yield herſelf to one for whom ſhe could have no Inclination, ſhe would have given a ſhining Teſtimony of Love and Conſtancy to him who ſeems ſo well to deſerve it from her:—Whereas, by acting in the Manner ſhe has done, ſhe has not only involved herſelf, but the Object of her Affection, in Miſeries, which, in all Probability, will be as laſting as their Lives.
I know very well it may be ſaid, by ſome over diſcreet Perſons, that ſhe had no other Courſe to take, and doubtleſs ſhe was of that Opinion herſelf, that if her Father had made good his Menace, and turned her out of Doors, ſhe muſt have been expoſed to Inſults, Reproaches, and all the Ills that Poverty brings with it.—But I can ſcarce think her Condition would have been ſo deſperate, even had her Father in reality abandoned her; ſhe has doubtleſs Relations and Friends, ſome of whom certainly have taken Pity of a young Creature that ſtood in need of their Aſſiſtance, by no other Crime than her ſtrict Adherence 111 P1r 111 Adherence to Love and Honour; or if, as indeed there are not many Inſtances of natural Affection in this Iron-hearted Age, all Hopes of this Kind had failed, that Education ſhe confeſſes to have had, might certainly have furniſhed her with ſome Means or other of Support.
Neither can we believe, without being uncharitable, that her Father would not in Time have relented, at leaſt ſo far as to take her home again, if not been brought to conſent to the Terms required of him for her more perfect Happineſs.
But when the indiſſoluble Union of Marriage is once formed, how diſagreeable ſoever it may be at firſt, it is the Buſineſs and the Duty of each, thus joined, to render themſelves, and Partner for Life, as eaſy as poſſible:—All After-Reflections,――all Struggles, ſerve only to render the Misfortune more grievous, and add new Weights to a Load already but too galling.
We therefore hope Monyma’s good Senſe will enable her to endeavour a Forgetfulneſs of every thing that may occaſion a Melancholly in herſelf, or a Diſſatisfaction to her Husband:―― Virtue, Religion, Reputation, Reaſon, and Intereſt all concur to exact it from her; and in fulfilling their Dictates, ſhe can only expect to find any true Eaſe or Conſolation.Vol. IV. P And 112 P1v 112
And this is all we have it in our Power to offer on her Account.
We ſhall now preſent our Readers with a Piece, which we may juſtly ſay is very curious, ſince we have received it from one of the beſt Judges the preſent Age affords; though, perhaps, to avoid the many Compliments might be made him on the Occaſion, he conceals himſelf from the Public under a feigned Name.To the Female Spectator. Madam, This brings you a Piece of Antiquity, which, I believe, you will think worthy a Place in your agreeable Miſcellany of beneficial and entertaining Topics:――It can indeed be called no other than a Fragment, but ſuppoſed to be wrote by the famous Ovid in his Baniſhment:――It certainly has a good deal of the Stile of that tender Poet, and in the Original diſcovers the utmoſt Purity of the Latin, as ſpoken at that Time, which, perhaps, was the moſt flouriſhing Æra for polite Literature the World has ever yet known. I dare anſwer you will not think it has loſt much by the Tranſlation, when I ſhall tell you it was put into Engliſh by Doctor Atterbury, late Lord Biſhop of Rocheſter, as a certain noble‘ble 113 P2r 113 ble Earl, from whom I received it, did me the Honour to aſſure me. I am, Madam, With the greateſt Reſpect, Your very humble, And moſt obedient Servant, Antiquarius. 1745-10-29October 29, 1745. Giles’s Coffee-houſe,
Here follow the Papers this obliging Correſpondent has favoured us with, and for which he has our moſt grateful Acknowledgments.Augustus Cæsar, to Livia Drusilla. Epistle the Firſt. Wonder not, O too lovely Wife of Tiberius! at receiving an Epiſtle from Auguſtus:—A Power ſuperior to my own, conſtrains me to implore from you that Pity and Protection for which ſo many Millions are indebted to me.—The preſent Situation of my Heart deprives me of all my former Dignity: I no longer glory in being Maſter of the World, unleſs I could boaſt at the ſame time of being the Maſter of your Heart.—I have ſeen you moſt adorable Livia, and if you either know yourſelf, or have in the leaſt conſidered the P2 ‘Con- 114 P2v 114 Confuſion of my Looks in that dear fatal Interview, there is no need to tell you that I love;—love, with a Paſſion worthy of your Charms, and of the Breaſt that harbours it:—A Paſſion ſuch as Livia only can inſpire,—Auguſtus only feel.—The Inventor of the Brazen Bull Perillus, who was the Inventor of the Brazen Bull, was the firſt encloſed in it, by Order of Phalaris, a Sicilian Tyrant. juſtly experienced thoſe Tortures his cruel Wit prepared for others; but I, in inſtituting an Entertainment Stage Plays, of which, according to Heylin and other Authors, he was the firſt Inſtitutor. which ſhould at once pleaſe and inſtruct my People, found a Deſtiny The firſt Time Auguſtus ſaw Livia was at the Theatre. no leſs ſevere than his. It is in your Boſom alone to reverſe the Sentence paſt on me by that God whoſe Laws perhaps I have hitherto too much contemned, and render me as happy as I now am the contrary. Think, therefore, think, divineſt Livia! that ſometnhing is due to my Sufferings, and yet much more to my Character, and you will then do all you can for your Lover, and your Emperor, Augustus Cæsar. Livia 115 P3r 115 Livia Drusilla, to Augustus Cæsar, her Lord and Emperor. Epistle the Second. You command me, O mighty Cæſar! to receive without Surprize the Honour of your Epiſtle:――How impoſſible is it for me to obey you:—I would fain perſwade myſelf, that the Race from which I ſprung,―― the Innocence of all my Actions,—my Husband’s Character and Services, and my own yet unſullied Fame, had ſet me above theſe Pleaſantries practiſed on Women of a different Stamp; and the Duty I owe my Emperor, forbids me to believe the little Beauty Heaven has beſtowed upon me capable of making any ſerious Impreſſion on a Heart, where Glory and Scribronia The Wife of Auguſtus. claim the ſole Dominion. —When I go about, therefore, to reconcile this Declaration, either with your Character or mine, I am equally at a Loſs; and the more I conſider what you are, or what I am, the more I become confounded:—O then, moſt ſacred Sir, have Pity on my Weakneſs, and ceaſe to perplex, with vain Ideas, a Mind, which has hitherto found its Felicity in Content, and wiſhes no more than to preſerve a due Medium between the two Extremes of Ambition, and a too abject Humility. Livia Drusilla. gAugustus 116 P3v 116 Augustus Cæsar, to Livia Drusilla. Epistle the Third. Is it then poſſible that you, whom it moſt concerns, ſhould be blind to the Symptoms of a Paſſion, which all my Care cannot conceal from the Obſervation of my whole Court: —Marcellus,— Aggrippa,— Mecænas,— Druſus, all ſee their Emperor is not what he was;―― Can Livia alone want Penetration?—No, no, fair Hypocrite! thoſe Eyes that pierced my Soul muſt look through it at the ſame Time: You are not leſs ſenſible of the Havock made by your Charms, than I am of the Force of them; and but counterfeit an Ignorance of thoſe Ills you are determined not to pity:— I flattered myſelf, however, that you would have made ſome Difference between me and other Men, and have anſwered with the ſame Plainneſs and Sincerity I wrote.――Remember, Livia, that I am Auguſtus, and in that Name have a Right to expect Obedience from even you; and if I lay aſide the Auuthority of my Place, the Requeſts I make, ought, notwithſtanding, to have all the Force of Commands: I ſhall, however, exact no more from you than the Confeſſion of a Truth, which you cannot but be aſſured of, not only from a Conſciouſneſs of your own Charms, but from the Profeſſions of him, who would ill become the Dignity he wears, could he be capable of Deceit; ‘and 117 P4r 117 and in the next Place, that you will ſeriouſly examine your own Heart, and let me know what Recompence you think is owing to the Sentiments you have inſpired in mine. Augustus Cæsar. Livia Drusilla, to Augustus Cæsar, her Lord and Emperor. Epistle the Fourth. Since then my Emperor inſiſts I ſhould look upon myſelf as ſomething worthy his Regard, I dare no longer preſume to doubt the Honour he confers upon me; and it is, perhaps, not the leaſt among the many Wonders of his Power, that it obliges me to break through all thoſe Rules of Modeſty and Humility I have hitherto obſerved, and not only acknowledge, that I think on the Conſideration he vouchſafes to have for me, as the ſupremeſt Glory a Mortal can receive, but likewiſe, that I feel a Pleaſure in the Conviction, which no Words are able to expreſs:――Yes, mighty Cæſar, as the Belief of your Affection ſpreads itſelf through my Imagination, my whole Soul enlarges to entertain the rapturous Idea:――That Beauty, which before I thought but meanly of, is now conſpicuous to myſelf, and I bleſs Nature for thoſe Charms which are happy enough to pleaſe the Maſter of the World:――Does then my Imperial Lord demand‘mand 118 P4v 118 mand what Recompence is due to me for ſo immenſe a Condeſcenſion?――Sure there can be nothing I either ought or would refuſe!―― Shall not the Love and Duty owing from every Subject be ever paid by me, accompanied with a Warmth and Zeal proportioned to the Vaſtneſs of my Obligation?――Shall I ever bend my Knees, or lift my Eyes to Heaven, without invoking every God for endleſs Bleſſings on your Life and Reign?――Shall not my Hopes, my Fears, my Wiſhes, my Devotions, be all centered in Auguſtus?――Will not that ſacred Name be ever in my Lips, and dwell within my Heart?――Theſe, indeed, are but ſmall Demonſtrations of that Gratitude which ſwells my Boſom; but, alas! they are all Fate puts it in my Power to give, and therefore will, I hope, be acceptable from Livia Drusilla. Augustus Cæsar, to Livia Drusilla. Epistle the Fifth. When I compare the former Part of your Epiſtle with the latter, I find an Inconſiſtency between them, which I am wholly at a Loſs to reconcile, and is far from that Plainneſs and Sincerity I both deſired and expected from Livia.—If to be beloved by me affords you any real Pleaſure, would you be ſo ſelfiſh as to engroſs it all, and leave me nothing but 119 Q1r 119 but the Pains of an ever-longing, ever-hopeleſs Paſſion?—And do you call it Gratitude to turn me over to other Hands for that Recompence I ought to receive from your own?—What Occaſion have you, O beautiful Livia! to trouble the Gods with Petitions for me, when they have conſigned to you the ſole Power of making me happy?—No, ſweet Evader, no; ſuch Orizons would be a Mockery both of Heaven and me:—I aſk no more than what you can beſtow; and if, as you ſay, you neither ought or can refuſe me any thing, why are my Joys immediately after bounded to the Half of what I aim to obtain,—and that too, I fear, but in Imagination only: For had I that Influence in your Soul you ſeem to flatter me with, ſure I am it would work too powerfully on the lovely Body to leave me long unbleſt: In fine, my Livia, the Paſſion I have for you is not of that airy Nature to be fed with Shadows:――I muſt poſſeſs you all; for if you know your Emperor, you alſo know it is not with imperfect Conqueſts he is accuſtomed to content himſelf. Augustus Cæsar. Vol. IV. Q Livia 120 Q1v 120 Livia Drusilla, to Augustus Cæsar, her Lord and Emperor. Epistle the Sixth. Why, O cruel Cæſar! if it may be permitted me to refuſe my Emperor, why do you take delight in reducing your Slave to a Dilemma, from which ſhe ſees no way to extricate herſelf!—Auguſtus was not wont to tax his Subjects beyond their Power:—O wherefore does he from Livia alone demand Impoſſibilities?—My Soul and all its Faculties are wholly devoted to my Emperor; what elſe remains of me is the Property of another:—Am I not the Wife of Tiberius?—Can I call back the Time that made me his?—Or will that Breath return, with which I ſwore inviolable Love, inviolable Duty!—Are not my Vows regiſter’d in the Lap of Juno?— The Goddeſs of Marriage. And does not the ſacred Tabulla A Scroll of Parchment in which all Marriages of Note were recorded. bear witneſs of them?—O well does my Lord and Emperor know, that there is nothing left for me to beſtow, and all I can do is to lament in ſecret my Incapacity of receiving an Honour, which would otherwiſe have rendered me the moſt happy, as well as moſt envyed of my Sex. Livia Drusilla. Augustus 121 Q2r 121 Augustus Cæsar, to Livia Drusilla. Epistle the Seventh. Tis well, fair Creature, ’tis well:――The Fire of Cæſar then is to be combated by the Froſt of Livia:—You are reſolved to hold yourſelf with all the Weapons your icy Virtue can ſupply you with.—But do you not remember, that the God under whoſe Banners I am liſted, is invincible?—You have indeed ſubdued Auguſtus, but cannot the Deity which animates him.—Ceaſe, therefore, ſo unequal a War, and be convinced that to yield in this Cauſe will be your greateſt Glory.—The Proconſul of Gallia is indeed your Husband, but he is ſenſible of what is owing to his Emperor, and if you reflect ſeriouſly on what Cæſar is, you will confeſs he has the Power to diſpenſe with Forms. Mæcenas, who is the Bearer of this, will tell you more than Time now permits me to write, and has my Commands not to leave you till you have aſſured him you will favour, with your Preſence, an Hiſtory informs us, this was the moſt ſplendid one was ever ſeen:――There were a thouſand Barges, gilt, illuminated with Lamps, and magnificently adorned with Streamers, on which were many curious Devices, repreſenting the Power of Love and Beauty:—All the great Perſons at that Time in Rome were preſent at it, the Feaſt laſted the whole Night,—Muſick playing all the while, from the Banks of the River. Entertainmentment 122 Q2v 122 ment I have prepared on the Tiber, in Honour of the Day that gave you to the World, for a Bleſſing to all Beholders Eyes, but moſt to Augustus Cæsar.
This it ſeems was the whole of what the noble Earl put into the Hands of Antiquarius, or at leaſt all he has obliged us with:—The World is too well acquainted with the Hiſtory of thoſe illuſtrious Lovers for us to add any thing on the Subject; neither is there any Occaſion for giving our Opinion on the Elegance and Spirit of the Letters:—All our Readers of Taſte muſt be charmed with the Love and Dignity which thoſe of Auguſtus teſtify, and confeſs that thoſe of Livia are perfectly agreeable to the Character of that Lady, artful and polite.
It is not to be doubted, but that many of our Readers would have been glad to have had a farther Continuance of the Correſpondence between two Perſons, who make ſo conſiderable a Figure in the Roman Hiſtory, and to have ſeen by what Arts Livia, after being the Miſtreſs of Auguſtus, prevailed on him to repudiate Scribonia, to whom he had been married ſeveral Years, and not only to ſeat her on the Imperial Throne, but alſo, perceiving he was not likely to have any Children by her, to adopt the young Tiberiusrius, 123 Q3r 123 rius, a Son ſhe had by her Huſband, to be his Succeſſor, in Prejudice of his own and more worthy Kindred,.
Others, on the contrary, may think it better I had suppreſſed the whole Piece:—They will ſay, perhaps, that when an unwarrantable Aim happens to be crowned with Succeſs, the whole Event ought rather to be concealed than publiſhed, leſt it ſhould give Encouragement to others to attempt the like, and that above all Things the Female Spectator, who ſets up for a Regulator of her Sex’s Conduct, ſhould not have exhibited a Character ſo fortunately vicious as was that of this Roman Empreſs.
There are Men (will they ſay) who may pretend as violent a Paſſion as Auguſtus, without feeling it, or having any Share of his Sincerity; and it is not to be contradicted, but that there are Women who may imagine their Charms of no leſs Force to retain a Heart they are deſirous of engaging, than thoſe of Livia could poſſibly be: —And then, will they cry, how little Likelihood is there that any Conſiderations, when prompted either by Love or Ambition, will deter them from taking the ſame Steps ſhe did?
I heartily wiſh, indeed, that the Vanity which, I confeſs, is but too inherent to our Sex, did not give ſome Countenance to an Objection of this Nature; for though one ſhould tell a young 124 Q3v 124 young Lady never ſo often, that her favoured Lover had not all the real Tenderneſs, Eſteem for her, and Conſtancy of Auguſtus, or that her own Beauty, Wit, and Capacity in every Point fell ſhort of what Livia was poſſeſſed of, it would be ſcarce poſſible to convince her of a Truth ſo diſpleaſing to thoſe two favourite and indulged Paſſions of the Soul.
History, however, muſt not be ſilenced, becauſe Matters of Fact, which ought not to be imitated, are therein related; nor ſhould the elegant Part of Mankind be deprived of ſo agreeable an Entertainment as the Writings of the Ancients afford, becauſe ſome of them have introduced Characters we could wiſh had never been in the World.
A Woman, whoſe Heart is truly guarded by Virtue and Religion, will never ſuffer a vicious Example to have any Influence over her; and ſhe who thruſts from her thoſe divine Aſſiſtants, need not be told there was a Livia, that proſpered and grew great by yielding to an unlawful Flame.
When theſe are once gone, a ſmall Temptation, alas! ſuffices; as our inimitable Shakeſpear truly ſays, ――As Virtue never will be mov’d,Tho’ Lewdneſs court it in the ſhape of Heav’n;So125Q4r125So Luſt, tho’ to a radiant Angel join’d,Will fly the Charms of a celeſtial Bed,And prey on Garbage.
It would be a happy Thing if there were no Preſidents of a much later Date than thoſe of Auguſtus and Livia, to juſtify the Frailties of both Sexes:――Theirs, I hope, will be of no ill Conſequence to the preſent Age; and as the Virtues of the old Romans are pretty much exploded on the Account of their being old-faſhioned, their Vices ſure will be rejected for the ſame, if no other, Reaſon.
Among our Letters we find one from a former Correſpondent, on the preſent Hurry of the Times; but as impatient as he ſeems for ſome Notice to be taken of it, we muſt beg to be excuſed till the Order of the Date becomes conformable to our Rules; and then, notwithſtanding the Averſion we have for meddling with Politics, he may depend on their being inſerted, with alſo ſome Remarks of our own on what he has advanced.
Lindamira too may expect the ſame Indulgence, though I know not whether, all Things conſidered, her Letter merits that Proof of our Complaiſance; but we ſhall always ſubmit private Pique to public Service.There- 126 Q4v 126
Therefore, as the Matter which has employed her Pen may be of Uſe to ſome, as doubtleſs ſome there are under the ſame Circumſtances, though I hope not many, her Sentiments on the Occaſion ſhall not fail of having a Place at a convenient Time: As for the Accuſations ſhe has been pleaſed to throw out againſt the Female Spectator, it is our Buſineſs to anſwer them as well as we can, and leave the Deciſion to that awful Tribunal the Public.
End of the Twentieth Book.
The Female Spectator.
Among the various kinds of Errors into which Human Nature is liable to fall, there are ſome, which People of a true Underſtanding are perfectly ſenſible of in themſelves, yet either wanting a Strength of Reſolution to break through what by long Cuſtom is become habitual, or by being of too indolent a Temper to endeavour an Alteration, ſtill perſiſt to act in Contradiction to the Dictates of even their own Reaſon and Judgment.
What we call Prejudice, or Prepoſſeſſion, is certainly that which ſtands foremoſt in the Rank of Frailties:――It is the great Ring-Leader of Vol. IV. R almoſt 128 R1v 128 almoſt all the Miſtakes we are guilty of, whether in the Sentiments of our Hearts, or the Conduct of our Actions.
As Milk is the firſt Aliment of the Body, ſo Prejudice is the firſt Thing given to the Mind to feed upon:――No ſooner does the Thinking Faculty begin to ſhew itſelf, than Prejudice mingles with it, and ſpoils its Operations.—Whatever we are then either taught, or happen of ourſelves to like or diſlike, we, for the moſt part, continue to like or diſlike to our Life’s End; ſo difficult is it to eradicate in Age that Tendency we have imbibed in Youth.
It is this fatal Propenſity which binds, as it were, our Reaſon in Chains, and will not ſuffer it to look Abroad, or exert any of its Powers:―― Hence are our Conceptions bounded; our Notions meanly narrow;—our Ideas, for the moſt part, unjuſt; and our Judgment ſhamefully led aſtray.
The brighteſt Rays of Truth in vain ſhine out upon us, when Prejudice has ſhut our Eyes againſt it:—We are rendered by it wholly incapable of examining any thing, and take all upon Truſt that it preſents to us.
This not only makes us liable to be guilty of Injuſtice, Ill-nature, and Ill-manners to others, but alſo inſenſible of what is owing to ourſelves: We run with all our Might from a real and ſubſtantialſtantial 129 R2r 129 ſtantial Good, and court a Phantom, a Name, a Nothing:――We miſtake Infamy for Renown, and Ruin for Advantage:—In fine, wherever a ſtrong Prejudice prevails, all is ſure to go amiſs.
What I would be underſtood to mean by the Word Prejudice, is not that Liking or Diſliking, which naturally ariſes on the Sight of any new Object preſented to us.—As for Example, one may happen to fall into the Company of two Perſons equally deſerving, and equally Strangers to us, and with neither of whom we either have or expect to have the leaſt Concern; yet ſhall we have, in ſpite of us, and without being able to give any Reaſon for it, greater good Wiſhes for the one than the other.—But this is occaſioned by that Simpathy and Antipathy, which, I think it is very plain, Nature has implanted in all created Beings whatſoever.
This, therefore, is what we call Fancy, and far different from that Prejudice I am ſpeaking of, and which, indeed, enters chiefly through the Ears:—When our Notions of Perſons and Things, which of ourſelves we know nothing of, are guided, and our Approbation or Diſapprobation of them excited meerly by what we are told of them, and which afterwards we can never be convinced is unjuſt, and perſevere in an Opinion, which no Proofs of Merit, or Demerit, can change; then it is that we may be ſaid to be governed by that ſettled Prepoſſeſſion ſo dangerous to the World, and to our own Characters, Intereſt, 130 R2v 130 Intereſt, and Happineſs; for the other is light, volatile, and of little Conſequence.
A very learned Author calls this unhappy Impulſe The Jaundice of the Mind, and I think there cannot be a more juſt Compariſon; for, as the Poet ſays, As all ſeems yellow to the jaundic’d Eye, So one may truly add, All takes from Prejudice’s Taint its Dye.
Could we once diveſt ourſelves of the Prepoſſeſſions we have received,――forget all the Stories we have been told, and examine all Things with the unbiaſſed Eye of Reaſon, how widely different from what they at preſent ſeem, would moſt of them be found!
I am very ſenſible, that this is a Task extremely difficult, becauſe the greateſt Miſtake of all that Prejudice makes us guilty of is, that of miſtaking that Enemy to Reaſon for Reaſon:—We look on its Dictates as the Dictates of Truth, and think we ſhould ſin againſt both Reaſon and Truth if we were not ſtrenuous in adhering to what we imagine is right.
We are all of us too apt to imagine we know ourſelves, when, in fact, there is nothing in the whole World to which we are greater Strangers:—Hard as it is to be perfectly acquainted with 131 R3r 131 with the Heart of a Perſon we converſe with, we can yet form by his Actions, his Words, or even his Looks, a more true Judgment of it than of our own.
And how, indeed, ſhould it be otherwiſe! Prejudice begets Paſſion, and Paſſion infallibly blinds our Eyes, and ſhuts our Ears againſt every thing that offers to contradict it.
That Paſſion eſpecially which is excited this way, is infinitely of the worſt Sort, becauſe all others, be they never ſo headſtrong and tenacious for a Time, will at length grow cool, and by Degrees ſubſide; but Prejudice keeps the Fire of Obſtinacy eternally alive, and ſtill finding freſh Fewel for its Support, renders it rather more ſtrong, than any way diminiſhed, or leſs fierce by Age.
Yet, blind as we are to this Error in ourſelves, how quick-ſighted are we to diſcover, and how ready to laugh at it in other People! Applauding our own Strength of Reaſon, and vain of a ſuperior Senſe of Things, a Perſon who is prejudiced, though he ſhould happen to be on the Side of Truth, is the perpetual Subject of our Ridicule; and often it proves, that he who thinks himſelf moſt free from it, is in reality more guilty than the very Man he condemns for it.
To be plain, the World is wholly governed by Prejudice, and I think it ſcarce poſſible to find any 132 R3v 132 any one Perſon, whoſe better Judgment is not in a more or leſs degree, perverted by it.
How vain then, and impertinent, will ſome of my Readers ſay are any Annimadverſions on it! Why any Pains taken to decry and rail againſt an Emotion, which is inherent to our Nature, and therefore not to be avoided!
To which I beg Leave to anſwer, that it is only inherent to our Nature, as Cuſtom, which, indeed, is ſecond Nature, has made it ſo; but not born with us, nor are we ſubjected to it by any Laws of Fatality.
It is only to the firſt Impreſſions the Soul receives, that thoſe indeliable Marks of Partiality I have mentioned, and which we ſee every where, are entirely owing: The unhappy Tendency, is not, therefore, properly ſpeaking, our own, but infuſed into us by others; and though, notwithſtanding it afterwards becomes ſo powerful as to put into Subjection all thoſe nobler Faculties, which are, indeed, the Gift of Heaven, yet is it ſtill but the Depravity of Human Nature, not Nature itſelf.
Parents, who are poſſeſſed with a ſtrong Opinion of any thing themſelves, are ſure to inſtil it into the Minds of their Children, and ſo render Prejudice hereditary: Whereas, if the young Mind were left to itſelf, Reaſon would have room to operate;――we ſhould examine before we judged, 133 S1r 133 judged, and not condemn, or applaud, but as the Cauſe deſerved.
Whoever is entruſted with the Care of Youth, as Parents are by Nature, and Governors, Tutors, and Preceptors by Commiſſion from them, ſhould, methinks, endeavour rather to calm than excite any violent Emotions in their Pupils:— They ſhould convince them that nothing but Virtue was truly worthy of an Ardency of Love or Ambition, and that Vice alone ought to be held in Abhorrence.
This would be a laudable Prejudice!――A Prejudice which would go Hand in Hand with Reaſon, and ſecure to us that Peace and Happipineſs which all other Prejudices are ſure to deſtroy.
What ſad Effects have not many Kingdoms experienced by the hereditary Prejudice between two powerful Families; who have hated each other meerly becauſe their Forefathers did ſo? As for Example; the Guelphs and Gibelines of Italy;—the Marius and Metelli of old Rome; and the Barons Wars of England.
National Prejudices are yet more dangerous, and indeed much more ridiculous:—What can be a greater Abſurdity than for one whole People to hate another, only for being born in a different Climate, and which they are taught to Vol. IV. S be- 134 S1v 134 believe, inſpires them with ſome Sentiments or Inclinations oppugnant to their own, though, perhaps, all this may be without Foundation.
Whoever, therefore, by his Example or Precept, labours to keep theſe fooliſh Animoſities alive, in my Opinion deſerves little Thanks from the World, either for his Wit, or Good-Will to Mankind: And as wiſe and great a Man as the late Earl of Rocheſter was in other Things, in this he teſtified a Partiality unworthy of his Character.
In his Poem on Nothing, which, it muſt be confeſſed, is a Maſterpiece, and wants nothing but Juſtice in ſome of the Alluſions to be eſteemed, not only the beſt he ever wrote, but even ſuperior to all others of the Kind, he has theſe Lines: French Truth, Dutch Proweſs, Britiſh Policy,Hibernian Learning, Scotch Civility,Spaniards Diſpatch, Danes Wit, are chieflyſeen in thee.
Now theſe Reflections, however juſt as to the general, are certainly the contrary as to Particulars:—I never can believe, that meerly being born in this or that Kingdom has any Influence over the Diſpoſition of the Natives:—It is certainly a very narrow way of judging.—In ſpite of the little Faith there is to be given to French Promiſes, or even Treaties, I cannot be ſo uncharitablecharitable 135 S2r 135 charitable as to believe there is no ſincere and honeſt People among that populous Nation; much leſs can I be brought to think, that every Man born in Holland would prefer Eaſe to Glory:—The Britiſh Policy may indeed ſometimes have been ſaid to nod, but then it has awaked, and rouſed itſelf again, to the Confuſion of all thoſe who thought to take Advantage of its Supineneſs.――As to the Learning of Hibernia, many of her Sons have given evident Proofs that Blunders are not entailed upon that Nation any more than others.—Then as to the Scots, none can diſpute a Poſſibility of their equalling in Politeneſs any Nation in the World, who remembers the late Dukes of Argyle and Hamilton, or has the Honour of knowing his Grace of Buccleugh, the Earl of Marchmont, and many others now living Ornaments of their Country, and the Delight of all who ſee them, and who have no need of being named to be diſtinguiſhed. ――The Spaniards, it muſt be confeſſed, move ſlow for the moſt part, yet there have been Inſtances of their being more alert.—Nor ought we to ſuppoſe the Danes are all inſipid Clods, becauſe our Libraries give no Proofs to the contrary.
But were what this noble Lord has here advanced ſtrictly true, yet as it helps to preſerve National Prejudice, and conſequently National Ridicule, he had much better have employed that prodigious Talent he was Maſter of another way.S2 Many 136 S2v 136
Many others beſide his Lordſhip have, with leſs Abilities, and more Ill-nature, done all in their Power to divide England againſt itſelf, and render County and County obnoxious to each other.―― The Stage, which was deſigned the School of Morality, and by mingling Pleaſure with Improvement, to harmonize the Mind, and inſpire Amity among Men, has, in ſome Theatrical Repreſentations, been moſt ſhamefully proſtituted to Ends, the very reverſe, and not only Gentlemen who happen to live out of London, but the moſt eminent Citizens who live within the Sound of Bow Bell, made a public Ridicule: A Country ’Squire and an Alderman of London are ſure to be the Characters to excite Laughter: ――Our modern Writers are more polite than Shakeſpear, Johnſon, and their Cotemporaries, who always made the Fools in their Plays Court- Paraſites, or at leaſt Jeſters, but the City and Country are now the only Places from which a Buffoon is to be picked.
The Sarcaſms vented here and elſewhere have often a Poignancy in them, which cannot but be reſented by thoſe who have Underſtanding enough to perceive when they are affronted, and ſometimes occaſion Heart-burnings againſt thoſe who encourage, and ſeem to be pleaſed with the Ridicule; which are no way agreeable to that Cordiality and Good-will which ought to ſubſiſt between every Community of a Nation, in order to render the Whole a truly happy People.
All this, and innumerable other Ills, are the Effects 137 S3r 137 Effects of that Prejudice I mean; but I was led into a Reflection on it by a late Inſtance, which, though in private Life, deſerves the Attention of the Public, as it may be a Warning againſt inſtilling into Youth Principles which are not to be eraſed in Maturity.
A Gentleman, who had acquired a conſiderable Fortune in the Mercantile Way, left at his Deceaſe a Son of about twelve Years of Age, and a Daughter of five: As the Mother was dead ſome Time before, the one was continued at Weſtminſter School, by the Perſons appointed for his Guardians, and the other committed to the Care of a Siſter of her Mother’s.
This good Lady was extremely fond of her young Charge, and, as ſhe grew up, neglected nothing that might render her perfectly accompliſhed:――The Means allowed her for Improvement were not thrown away; ſhe had a very good Capacity, and took ſuch a Pleaſure in learning whatever ſhe was taught, that the Progreſs ſhe made was infinitely beyond the Expectations of thoſe appointed for her Inſtructors.
To add to this, her Perſon was very lovely; Nature had beſtowed on her a thouſand Charms, and without being what one may call an exquiſite Beauty, there was ſomething in her yet more agreeable, and more formed to attract, than we often find in thoſe who are accounted ſo.Being 138 S3v 138
Being ſuch as I have deſcribed, it is not to be wondered at that there were many who thought her worthy of their ſerious Addreſſes; but though ſhe began early to have Admirers, ſhe ſeemed utterly inſenſible of any tender Emotions, and all the fine Things ſaid, and wrote to her, had no other Effect than to give her Diverſion.
Her Brother, after having perfected himſelf in every thing that was thought neceſſary for his Education at Home, was ſent Abroad to make himſelf acquainted with the Cuſtoms and Manners of other Countries; and after having paſſed ſome Time in France, and ſeen all Italy, returned a very accompliſhed and compleat Gentleman.
Sabina, for ſo I ſhall call this young Lady, was but between the Years of nineteen and twenty when he came back to England:――As they had not ſeen each other for above four Years, each found ſo many new Embelliſhments in the other, as rendered both extremely ſatisfied; few Brothers and Siſters ever loved with a more ſincere Affection, or would have gone greater Lengths to have obliged each other.
They were always proud of being ſeen together,――in the Mall, or at any Place of public Reſort, they were conſtant Companions:— They had been one Night at the Opera, when, as he was ſeeing her ſafe Home, as was always his Cuſtom, he ſaid laughing to her, I believe,lieve 139 S4r 139 lieve, Siſter, you have made a Conqueſt to Night; —I perceived a certain Friend of mine in the Pit, who ſeemed more engroſſed by you than any thing on the Stage.—I ſhould be ſorry, anſwered ſhe, in the ſame gay Tone, that any Friend of yours ſhould have ſo bad a Taſte as to let any thing draw off his Attention from thoſe delightful Sounds we have been hearing.
O, reſumed he, Muſick is an Incentive to Love, and as he did not hear that of your Voice, he might not loſe what iſſued from the Orcheſtra, by having his Eyes fixed upon your Charms, which they really were ſo ſtrongly, during the whole Entertainment, that I am ſure you muſt have taken Notice of it yourſelf, if you would confeſs the Truth.
It is ſo common, ſaid ſhe, for thoſe in the Pit to ſtare into the Boxes, that I ſhould have found nothing particular in what you tell me, had I really obſerved it, which I aſſure you, without any Affectation, I did not.
On this he rallied her a little on pretending to be abſolutely free from the Vanity, which the Men will have it is ſo inherent to our Sex, that none of us are without ſome Share; which ſhe returned, with equal Pleaſantry, on the Foibles of the other; and this Kind of Chit-chat brought them to her Door, where he took Leave of her, being engaged to ſup with ſome Gentlemen at a 140 S4v 140 a Tavern; and ſhe went in, and it is likely thought no more of what had paſſed between them.
It is poſſible alſo, that the young Gentleman himſelf had not been much in earneſt in what he ſaid, but if he was not at that Time, he certainly was very much ſo afterward.
The Friend he had mentioned to his Siſter happened to be one of the Company with whom he had engaged that Night.—He was a Gentleman of fine Parts and Education, had a very graceful Perſon, and was in Poſſeſſion of a large Eſtate in the Principality of Wales, of which he was a Native, and deſcended from an antient and worthy Family.
This Gentleman, whoſe real Name I beg leave to conceal under that of Luellin, was, in effect, very much charmed with Sabina, and not knowing who ſhe was, told her Brother he was an extreme happy Man, to have the Pleaſure of entertaining in ſo free a Manner, as he perceived he did, the fineſt Woman in the World.
To which the other replied in Terms which made him know the young Perſon he had ſo good an Opinion of was his Siſter; and what he ſaid being confirmed by another of the Company, who was alſo at the Opera, and had ſeen Sabina before, Luellin reſumed that Gaiety which was natural to him, but had been a little interrupted, while 141 T1r 141 while he knew not but in the Perſon of an intimate Friend he might find an Impediment to thoſe Deſires, which young as they were had already made a very great Progreſs in his Heart.
He made no farther Diſcovery of them that Night, however, but early the next Morning went in ſearch of the Brother of his Adorable; and having found him, after a very ſhort Prelude, acquainted him, that the Buſineſs he came upon was Love; that though he had ſeen his charming Siſter but once, he had for her all the Paſſion a Man could be poſſeſſed of:—That his Life would henceforward be a Burthen to him, if not bleſſed with the Hopes of paſſing it with her; and concluded with conjuring him by all their Friendſhip to introduce him to her, if her Heart was not already engaged, and to favour his Pretenſions with all the Intereſt Nearneſs of Blood gave him in her.
The Propoſal was too advantageous for Sabina not to make her Brother highly ſatisfied with it, and he told her Lover with the ſame Frankneſs as he had declared himſelf, that nothing in the World that he then knew of would be capable of affording him ſo perfect a Joy as to ſee a Union between two Perſons ſo dear to him.
He alſo aſſured him, that he had ſeveral Times talked to his Siſter on the Subject of Marriage, and ſhe had always anſwered him in ſuch a Manner, as knowing her Sincerity, and the ConfidenceIV. T fidence 142 T1v 142 fidence ſhe had in him, made him poſitive ſhe had not yet entertained any Thoughts of it, or given any Man the leaſt room to flatter himſelf ſhe preferred him above others.
To this he added, that he would go directly to her Lodgings, and prepare her to receive the Honour of a Viſit from him that very Afternoon.
Luellin embraced, and thanked him in Terms which teſtified the Fervency of his Paſſion, and after having, according to the Cuſtom of Lovers, a thouſand Times over renewed his Entreaties that he would be zealous in his Cauſe, and appointed the Place where he ſhould meet about the Hour of Tea-drinking, took his Leave with a Heart full of the moſt flattering Ideas of a ſpeedy Succeſs in his Deſires.
The Brother of Sabina, on the other hand, had never undertaken an Office more pleaſing to him; and not doubting but the Affair would be eaſily accompliſhed, as there was not the leaſt Exception could be made, either as to the Family, Fortune, Character, or Perſonal Accompliſhments of Luellin, gave himſelf not much Trouble to furniſh himſelf previouſly with Arguments to convince her of what he imagined ſhe would have Senſe enough to diſtinguiſh without the Help of Perſwaſion.In 143 T2r 143
In this Opinion he went to her Apartment, where finding her at Breakfaſt in a looſe Deſhabille, I am glad, ſaid he, I am come before you are dreſſed, for I expect you will equip yourſelf in the moſt becoming Manner you can, in order to rivet more ſtrongly thoſe Charms you have already thrown over a Heart I take upon me to recommend to your Acceptance.
She looked earneſtly at him as he finiſhed theſe Words, and finding a Mixture of Seriouſneſs and Gaiety in his Countenance, knew not well how to underſtand the Meaning of what he ſaid, or in what Manner to anſwer, but after a ſhort Pauſe, You are either in a very merry Humour this Morning, replied ſhe, and talk in this faſhion meerly to divert yourſelf, or elſe you want to prove that Vanity in me of which laſt Night you accuſed our whole Sex:—If it be the former, I ſhall be ready to join in any thing that gives you Pleaſure, but if the laetter, muſt aſſure you, I ſhall never think that Heart worthy of my Acceptance that is to be gained or preſerved by outward Shew.
Perfectly well judged indeed, my dear Siſter, replied he; but I expected no leſs from you, and ſpoke as I did only to give you an Opportunity of teſtifying that good Senſe, which can never fail both of engaging and making happy whoever you deſire to make ſo.――I hope alſo, continued he, growing yet more grave, it will ſo direct your Choice as to eſtabliſh a laſting Felicity for yourſelf.T2 After 144 T2v 144
Aefter ſhe had anſwered this Compliment in Terms ſuitable to the Occaſion, he told her, he thought it was now Time to think on Marriage, and that the Perſon he ſhould introduce that Afternoon, had all the Qualifications that a Woman could wiſh to find in a Partner for Life.— He proceeded to inform her, that he had begun an Acquaintance with him in Italy, that they had lived in the greateſt Intimacy ever ſince, Not a Secret in either of our Hearts, ſaid he, but what each communicated to the other:—I muſt therefore be allowed to be a competent Judge of his Principles, Humour, Fortune, and every thing belonging to him, and can venture to aſſure you all are ſuch as merit the Love and Eſteem of as many as have the Pleaſure of knowing him.
Such a Character from a Mouth which ſhe knew was incapable of deceiving her, rendered her more ſerious than ſhe would otherwiſe have been at a Propoſal of this Nature, and ſhe ſeemed to reliſh it with as much Satiſfaction as was becoming of her, or could be hoped for from a young Lady of her ſtrict Modeſty.
In fine, the Brother had all the Reaſon in the World to believe his Negotiation would be crowned with the Succeſs he wiſhed, and that he had inſpired her with a Prepoſſeſſion in Favour of this new Lover, which wanted nothing but the Sight of him to be ripened into Paſſion.
It is probable indeed his Conjectures would not 145 T3r 145 not have deceived him, had he not unhappily deſtroyed all he had been doing, by mentioning the Name and Country of the Perſon he recommended; an Error he could not be aware of, as he was wholly ignorant of that only Weakneſs which his Siſter had the Misfortune to be guilty of.
That Aunt with whom ſhe had been educated from her moſt tender Years, had, I know not on what Account, a ſtrong Hatred to every one that came out of Wales, which ſhe was continually teſtifying, in ſpeaking of that whole People in a moſt contemptible, opprobrious, and even ſcurrilous Terms; by this Means Sabina imbibed a Prejudice againſt them, which would not ſuffer her to think there could poſſibly be any ſuch Thing as Merit among them; and ſhe no ſooner heard her Brother ſay he was of that Country, than all her late Sweetneſs of Behaviour was converted into Sourneſs and Diſdain, and ſhe cried out in Tone full of Scorn and Deriſion— Heavens! Is it a Welch Man of whom you have been ſaying all theſe fine Things?
The Brother was ſtrangely ſurprized, as well he might, at a Turn ſo ſudden, and which he was ſo little able to comprehend; but ſhe ſoon unravelled the Miſtery, by railing, in the ſame Manner ſhe had been accuſtomed to hear her Aunt do, againſt that Country, and all the Natives of it.
It was in vain he repreſented to her the Injuſticejuſtice 146 T3v 146 juſtice of having an Averſion to the People of any particular Country;—in vain he recited many Examples of great and worthy Perſons who were born even in Climates where they could leaſt have been expected, or that he endeavoured with all his Might to convince her, that Wales had many Things to boaſt of beyond any other Part of his Majeſty’s Dominions:—The Prejudice was fixed and inexorably rooted in her Heart, nor could any thing he alledged make the leaſt Change in her Sentiments.
Well, Siſter, ſaid he at laſt, ſince I find my Arguments have ſo little Weight with you, I ſhall leave you to be convinced by your own Judgment, which I am very certain will direct you better when once you are acquainted with Luellin, whom notwithſtanding all your Prejudice I ſhall bring this Afternoon, and inſiſt on your receiving him as my Friend at leaſt.
Since you will oblige me to ſee him, anſwered ſhe, Decency compels me to treat him with Civility, if you had leſs Regard for him; but this you may expect, nor ought to take it ill of me, that if he makes any Declaration to me of the Kind you mention, I ſhall give him ſuch a Reply as will put a Stop to any future Thoughts of me, and convince him that I am determined, whatever be my Fate, never to wear a Leek in my Boſom.
It is utterly impoſſible to deſcribe how much the young Gentleman was aſtoniſhed and troubledbled 147 T4r 147 bled to perceive ſo obſtinate a Folly had Dominion over a Siſter, whoſe Underſtanding till now he had a high Idea of:—He doubted not, however, but the Sight of Luellin, who is deſervedly accounted one of the moſt handſome and beſt bred Men of the Age, would have the ſame Influence over her, as it had on all others who converſed with him.
He therefore offered no more in Oppoſition to her Humour, but flattering himſelf with the Pleaſure he ſhould afterwards have in rallying her on the Change in her Sentiments, took his Leave, with thanking her in an ironical Way, though gravely, for the Conſideration ſhe teſtified to have for him, in reſolving to uſe a Welch Man well becauſe he had a Value for him.
The full Belief he had that an Acquaintance with Luellin would make her of a quite different Way of thinking, and entirely extirpate that ridiculous Prejudice which had been inſtilled into her againſt all of his Country, prevented him from acquainting Luellin with any thing that had paſſed between them on that Score, and indeed gave him rather Hopes of Succeſs than the contrary; a Thing he afterwards very much repented of: But as he was deceived himſelf by a too good an Opinion of his Siſter’s Underſtanding and Penetration, he could not be blamed for deceiving his Friend.
He only told him, that in caſe he found Sabina at 148 T4v 148 at the ſecond Sight of her worthy of thoſe tender Inclinations the firſt had inſpired him with, he thought it would not be proper for him, as ſhe was of a Temper extremely reſerved, to make any Declaration of his Sentiments on that Head, till by a Repetition of his Viſit they ſhould become better acquainted.
This ſeemed ſo reaſonable, that, all impatient as the Lover was, he could not but approve of it, eſpecially as the other aſſured him, that in the mean Time he would labour for his Intereſt.
It is certain, that the Brother of Sabina adviſed him to proceed in this Manner, as he thought it would be the moſt effectual way of ſucceeding in his Wiſhes, becauſe as he found the Averſion ſhe had conceived againſt all thoſe of that Country Luellin was, he imagined, it muſt be ſome little Time before it could wear off, or even in caſe ſhe ſhould be convinced of her Error at firſt Sight of him, ſhe would then be aſhamed to confeſs it, and rather chuſe to do a Violence to her own Heart, than ſuffer it to be ſaid ſhe could ſo eaſily paſs from one Extreme to another.
What he thought on this Score was truly Nature, People do not care to acknowledge they have been to blame, and when they have appeared very tenacious in any Point, ſometimes are apt to perſiſt in it after their Reaſon gives the Lye to their Tongue.He 149 U1r 149
He therefore acted for his Friend in the moſt prudent Manner imaginable; but, alas! what Wiſdom is ſufficient to combat againſt Prejudice! Sabina could not but confeſs her Lover was a very handſome and accompliſhed Perſon, yet the Thoughts of his being Welſh, prevented any good Quality ſhe found in him from making an Impreſſion in her Mind in favour of his Hopes.
She performed her Promiſe to her Brother, indeed, and received him with Civility; but her Behaviour was ſo diſtant, and all ſhe ſaid accompanied with ſuch a gloomy Reſerve, as might eaſily ſhew any one, who was the leaſt acquainted with her Temper, how little ſhe was pleaſed with his Company.
Luellin, however, was not unhappy enough to diſcover it; and imputing that extraordinary Shyneſs he could not help obſerving in her merely to her Modeſty, propoſed to her Brother ſeveral Parties of Pleaſure for them there, but ſhe abſolutely declined making one in any of them.―― When he mentioned Ombre, ſhe ſaid ſhe hated Cards.—If taking a little Excurſion out of Town, a Country Ramble was her Averſion.――Ranelagh gave her the Vapours.――Vaux-Hall Gardens were too cold.—The Fireworks at Cuper’s were ſhocking.—The Seaſon for Plays was over for polite People.—And a Concert always made her melancholly.Vol. IV. U Besides 150 U1v 150
Besides all this, her Refuſals were given in a Manner, which had ſo much of Diſdain in it, as made her Brother bite his Lips with Vexation, and occaſioned him to ſhorten his Viſit, very much to the Diſſatisfaction of the other, who in ſpite of the Coldneſs, and, indeed, Ill-Nature of Sabina, thought her more charming at this ſecond Interview, than he had done at the firſt, and conſequently, was more in Love than ever.
The Brother, to avoid entring into any Diſcourſe with him, on a Topic which he could not anſwer to, without either deceiving, or giving Pain to his Friend, pretended an Engagement, and parted from him the Moment they left Sabina’s Lodgings.
As he had a very ſincere Friendſhip for Luellin, and the moſt tender Regard for the Welfare of his Siſter, to find ſhe was likely to continue refractory to what afforded ſo great a Proſpect of Happineſs to her, rendered him extremely uneaſy and perplexed.—Early the next Morning he went to her again, and after having taken the Privilege of a Brother in condemning her Conduct, and the fooliſh Prepoſſeſſion which had occaſioned it, the little Efficacy he found that had on her, made him once more have recourſe to the Arguments he before had urged, and endeavour to reaſon her out of a Prejudice, which had not the leaſt Foundation in Truth, or common Senſe.But 151 U2r 151
But had this Gentleman been endued with the Eloquence of an Angel, all he had ſaid would have been loſt on the perverſe, the obſtinate Sabina.――Equally deaf to his Remonſtrances or Perſwaſions, all he could get from her was, an Intreaty to perſecute her no more with any Diſcourſe on ſo diſagreeable a Subject, and to beg he would not take it ill, that, in this, ſhe never could be brought to acquieſce with his Opinion.
On his asking her, if ſhe found any thing diſagreeable, either in the Perſon or Converſation of Luellin, ſhe replied, that ſhe could not but allow he was handſome, genteel, had both Wit and good Breeding; but, notwithſtanding all this, as he was Welſh, he was her Averſion.
In fine, there was no prevailing on her to receive a ſecond Viſit; and ſhe proteſted ſolemnly that ſhe would never be troubled with him any more; adding, If you had that real Affection for me you pretend, and as I might expect from a Brother, you would be far from deſiring I ſhould put ſo great a Conſtraint upon myſelf, as to treat civilly, or even to ſit in Company with a Man of his Country.
In anſwer to this peremptory Refuſal, he could not help telling her, that he was ſorry he had been deceived in the good Opinion he had of her Underſtanding:—That he bluſhed for her Folly, and that, from this Time forward, he ſhould U2 look 152 U2v 152 look upon her, as utterly unworthy of the Happineſs ſhe rejected.
Such cruel Words from a Brother ſhe tenderly loved, made her burſt into Tears; but he was in reality too angry with her to be at all moved by them, and flung out of the Room, without even turning his Eyes on her.
Luellin, who little ſuſpected his Misfortune, had been in ſearch of this dear Friend and Confident, while he was with his Siſter, and not finding him at Home, went to every Place where they had been uſed to meet; but the other not knowing what to ſay to him, ſo induſtriouſly avoided him, that it was three or four Days before he could ſee him.
This made him imagine, that all was not ſo right as he at firſt had flattered himſelf with; that either the Brother did not ſincerely approve of his Alliance, or that Sabina herſelf was againſt it.—Impatient to be convinced, he went to his Lodgings, and waited there till he came Home, though it was late at Night.
The Brother of Sabina was a little ſurprized to find him there; and not very well prepared how to behave on this Occaſion, could neither deny that he had purpoſely ſhunned him, nor the Motive of his doing ſo.He 153 U3r 153
He let him into Part of the Averſion his Siſter had conceived againſt Wales, and owned he feared his being of that Country, would be an Objection not eaſy to be removed; but as he did not let him into the Whole of the Contempt ſhe was poſſeſſed of, nor all the Diſcourſe they had together on that Subject, the Lover ſtill retained ſome Hopes of getting over the Difficulty.
After a great deal of Talk on the Affair, it was agreed between them, that Luellin ſhould write to her; and, at the ſame time that he declared his Paſſion, give a Hint that he was not ignorant his Country was ſo unhappy as to be diſliked by her; and an Aſſurance, that if he ſhould be ſo fortunate as to ſucceed in his Pretenſions, he never would deſire her to ſet a Foot in Wales, nor would be there himſelf, but live with her either in London, or any other Place ſhe ſhould make Choice of.
This being reſolved upon, the Brother took upon him to be the Bearer, and alſo once more to exert all the Intereſt he had with her, in the Behalf of the Author, the truly devoted Luellin, as he ſubſcribed himſelf at the Bottom of his amorous Epiſtle.
So faithful was he in the Cauſe of his Friend, that he not only performed the Promiſe he had made him, but alſo gave ſo high a Character of him, and the Advantages would accrue to their Family by an Alliance with him to all their Kindred,dred, 154 U3v 154 dred, that Sabina could ſee none of them, without hearing ſomething of the Merits of Luellin, and how happy ſhe might be with him: To all which, ſhe returned much the ſame Anſwers ſhe had given her Brother, and ſometimes with more Sharpneſs.
That Gentleman, however, had the hardeſt Task to prevail with her to hear him read the Letter he brought to her; for all he could ſay was ineffectual to make her look upon it herſelf. And what in the End did all his Endeavours avail? Before he had well concluded, ſhe ſnatched the Paper out of his Hand, tore it, and ſtamped it on the Floor.
A Second Quarrel now aroſe between them on this Score;—he left her in a very great Paſſion, and went no more to viſit her; but her other Relations ſtill continued to argue with her in favour of Luellin, though to no manner of Purpoſe, unleſs it were to give her greater Opportunities of diſcovering her Obſtinacy in this Point.
Luellin in the mean Time, to whom the Brother was now obliged to relate the whole Truth, in order to cure him of a Paſſion which he was now convinced would never be returned, could not be perſwaded to deſiſt; and as there was no Poſſibility of bringing her to receive another Viſit from him, purſued her to Church, watched her wherever ſhe went, and would not be hindered 155 U4r 155 hindered from ſpeaking to her in what Place ſoever he ſaw her, or whatever Company was with her, though the reſpectful Compliments he made her were never anſwered but with Slights, and frequently with Affronts.
At laſt, quite tired out with the Perſecutions ſhe received on all Sides, ſhe went privately away into the Country, acquainting no one Perſon in the World, but a Servant who attended her, with the Place of her Retirement.
Her Brother, and all her Friends were very much troubled at her abſconding in this Manner; but the paſſionate Luellin was inconſolable:—So truly did his faithful Heart reſent this Uſage, that it threw him into a high Fever, out of which he was not without great Difficulty recovered.
It is not to be doubted, but that great Enquiries were made after the fair Fugitive; but ſhe had taken ſuch Precautions as to render fruitleſs all Endeavours for that Purpoſe, nor did any body hear the leaſt Word from her, till they heard Intelligence from herſelf, of what at firſt filled them with Aſtoniſhment, and very ſoon afterwards with Grief.
This young Lady, to amuſe herſelf as well as ſhe could in an Abſence from all her Kindred, and thoſe others ſhe had been accuſtomed to converſe with, went to all the little Diverſions the Place ſhe was in afforded: At one of theſe rural 156 U4v 156 rural Entertainments, ſhe happened to fall into the Company of a young Gentleman, who told her he had left London for a Time, meerly to ſhun the Solicitations he was plagued with to marry a Perſon for whom he could have no Inclinations.
This Parity, as ſhe thought, of Circumſtances, made her conceive a kind of Good-Will for him, which on his addreſſing her, as he ſoon did, on a more tender Score, grew up into a kind of an Affection.
She was ſo free as to tell him ſhe came into the Country on the ſame Account he did; and alſo to acquaint him with her real Name and Family, which till then ſhe had diſguiſed under a fictitious one.
Whether he at firſt intended this as a ſerious Affair, or only to divert himſelf, is uncertain, but it is not ſo that after he knew who ſhe was, he left nothing unſaid, or undone, that he thought might engage her.
Not that, as ſhe has ſince declared, ſhe was abſolutely in Love with him, but ſhe ſaw nothing where ſhe was, beſide himſelf, that ſeemed a fit Companion for her:――He pretended an Extremity of Paſſion for her, and that he had an Eſtate ſuperior to what her Fortune could expect; and all this joined with the Conſideration of ſilencing any Overtures that might be made by her Friends in the Behalf of Luellin, or any other ſhe 157 X1r 157 ſhe might happen equally to diſlike, prevailed on her to liſten to the Propoſals of this new Lover with a favourable Ear, and at length to give herſelf and Fortune entirely to him.
In fine, without conſulting one Friend, without the leaſt Enquiry into his Character and Circumſtances, or without any Settlement or Proviſion, ſhe married him, and in a few Days after came up a Bride to London, to the Surprize, as I have already ſaid, of all that knew her.
As her Husband’s Affairs were not immediately diſcovered, the diſintereſted Part of her Acquaintance paid their Compliments of Congratulation; but thoſe of her Kindred and intimate Friends, eſpecially her Brother, could not approve of her having taken ſo precipitate a Step, and were very fearful of the Event.
But not to prolong the Narrative beyond what is neceſſary, the unhappy Sabina had not been married a Month before ſhe found her whole Fortune was obliged to go for the Payment of her Huſband’s Debts;—that it had been really to avoid his Creditors, not a diſagreeable Match, as he had pretended to her, that brought him to that Part of the Country, where it was her ill Fortune to become his Prey;—and that he neither was in Poſſeſſion of, ever had been, or was born to inherit a ſingle Foot of Land, but had always lived a looſe idle Life, and Vol. IV. X in 158 X1v 158 in fine, was looked upon, and in effect was no other, than a common Sharper of the Town.
Difficult would it be for me to repreſent the Miſeries of her Condition, which were rendered yet more ſevere by the Conſciouſneſs of having, in ſome Meaſure, merited them by a Folly which ſhe could now find no Excuſe for.
After having lived for about half a Year with a Husband whom ſhe could no longer have the leaſt Regard for, and from whom, beſides the Deception he had been guilty of to her, ſhe received only ill Uſage, and experiencing all the Vexations of Reproaches from Abroad, and Want at Home, ſhe at length got rid of him:――He quitted her, and went to France, in queſt, as it is ſuppoſed, of new Adventures.
This fine, gay, obſtinate Lady, now is glad to accept of a Contribution made by her Friends for ſupporting her in a mean plain Way, viſited by few, reſpected yet by fewer, and careſſed by none; ſhe has Leiſure to reflect upon, and regret the unhappy Prepoſſeſſion which made her ſo induſtriouſly fly the Good Heaven proffered, in a wealthy, generous, and accompliſhed Man, and throw herſelf into the Arms of an abandoned Villain and Impoſtor.
Had that Aunt been living, who had inſpired her with ſo fatal a Prepoſſeſſion, ſhe would doubtleſs 159 X2r 159 doubtleſs have repented her of it; but Death, ſometime before Luellin had commenced his Suit, prevented her ſuffering any thing, either from Remorſe within herſelf, or from the Reproaches of others.
But while I truly commiſerate the Fate of Sabina, I cannot forbear accuſing Luellin of Want of Judgment, in perſiſting in his Suit, after being acquainted with the obſtinate Prepoſſeſſion of his Miſtreſs: In my Mind, it is a Kind of Quixotiſm, for Merit to combat againſt Prejudice.――In vain does Beauty, Wit, Bravery, Virtue, Courage, or every other excelling Qualification, that Nature, joined with Education, can beſtow, oppoſe itſelf againſt the Sails of that ſtupid Windmill in the Brain; and though the Poet ſays,The Brave and Virtuous conquer Difficulties, By daring to oppoſe them;
Yet I am of Opinion, that great Author thought not of Prejudice when he wrote theſe Lines, ſince that is a Difficulty not to be ſurmounted by any Services, and Deſervings, nor even any Conſiderations of Self-Intereſt whatſoever; but is, at the ſame Time, an Enemy to the Happineſs of the Perſon who harbours it, as much, if not more, than to thoſe who vainly endeavour to overcome it.
As for Luellin, however, he recovered of his X2 Fever, 160 X2v 160 Fever, and his Paſſion at the ſame Time; and ſoon after had the good Fortune to be married to a young Lady of great Merit herſelf, and truly ſenſible of his, with whom he now lives in all the Happineſs the World can give.
I heartily wiſh that Examples of the ill Conſequences attending an unreaſonable Prejudice, were leſs frequent; but I fear there are few into whoſe Hands this Piece may fall, who will not rather think it too common a Caſe to be inſerted, than too extraordinary to be believed.
Many, indeed, may laugh at the unfortunate Sabina, and plume themſelves on a ſuperior Underſtanding, which enables them to avoid either a too great Attachment, or too great an Averſion for any particular Place, or the Natives of it, and cry, They wonder the Woman could be so infatuated.—There certainly are worthy and unworthy Perſons born in all Climates. And yet theſe very Perſons, who talk in this Manner, are, perhaps, no leſs biaſſed, than the Lady they condemn, though on different Subjects.
If we could be ſenſible that ſtrong Liking or Diſliking we feel within ourſelves was Prejudice, that very Senſibility would go a great Way towards curing us of it; but the Miſchief, as I have already obſerved, but cannot too often repeat, is, that we miſtake the moſt blind Partiality for the moſt quick-ey’d Judgment, and think every Body in the wrong, who does not ſee as we do.It 161 X3r 161
It is therefore the Buſineſs of all who would wiſh to think or act like rational Creatures, on the firſt Emotions of an Inclination to favour or disfavour any particular Perſon or Thing, to ask themſelves the Queſtion, Why they do ſo?—To examine nicely into the Merits of the Cauſe, and weigh them in the Scale of Reaſon.—How would then what ſeems moſt ponderous often be found light as Air, and that which appears but of a feathery Subſtance, prove of more Weight than Gold!
Without this we never can be ſure of forming a right Judgment, or be capable of acting with even common Juſtice. Juſtice, the Queen of Virtues! (ſays our excellent Waller, in one of his moral and inſtructive Poems,) From our Complexion we are chaſte or brave;But this from Reaſon, and from Heav’n we have.All other Virtues dwell but in the Blood;This in the Soul, and gives the Name of Good!
Would one not think that Man was mad, who ſhould go all his Life in Leading Strings; yet what is it elſe than to adhere to any thing in Age, merely becauſe we were taught it in our Youth?
I am very ſenſible, however, that all that can be 162 X3v 162 be ſaid by me, or any one elſe, on this Subject, would have as little Efficacy, as preaching to the Winds or Waves.—There is no turning the impetuous Tide of Prejudice.—It bears down every Thing before it, and overflows all the Boundaries of Reaſon.
But wherefore has it this mighty Force?―― Why, by giving Way to it at firſt.—By ſuffering our nobler Faculties to be immerged in its bottomleſs Depth, for Want of taking a little Pains in the Exertion of them.
Diefficult it is to prevail on young Perſons to apply themſelves ſeriouſly to an Examination of themſelves, I mean their Paſſions and Inclinations: They are, for the moſt part, too volatile to fix the Mind in that State of Reflection which is abſolutely neceſſary to accompliſh ſo great a Work; and thoſe who are arrived at a more advanced Age, are generally too obſtinate and too proud, to recede from an Opinion they have for a long Time entertained.
It is not, therefore, ſo much the Perſons who are prejudiced, as thoſe who, like the Aunt of Sabina, inſpire that Prejudice, on whom the Blame lies of all the Ills ariſing from it.
I would therefore, methinks, fain prevail on thoſe who unhappily are governed by Prejudice, to keep it ſo far to themſelves, as not by Example, or Precept, to render others guilty of the ſame. 163 X4r 163 ſame.—To let the young and unbiaſſed Mind take its own Bent (excepting always in Matters of Religion and Morality) and let Reaſon freely operate.—The Almighty has given every one a ſufficient Share of that Divine Emanation to direct them to form a true Judgment of the Things of this World, or at leaſt ſo far as relates to his own Affairs, or the Good of Society in general.
As theſe Lucubrations are intended for the Good of the Publick, and the Advice contained in them flows from a ſincere Heart, and the warmeſt Wiſhes for the true Happineſs and innate Peace of all my Fellow-Creatures, I flatter myſelf there is nothing I have urged on this Head will give Offence to any.
And now having ſaid as much as I think proper, or can venture to do, though infinitely ſhort of ſo copious a Subject, I ſhall take my Leave of it at preſent, and proceed to another too predominant, though a leſs univerſal Error, and which has been, and ever will be, the Occaſion of much Diſquiet to thoſe guilty of it, as well as to thoſe who may happen to be piqued by it.
There is nothing requires a greater Delicacy of Sentiment and Expreſſion, than what we call Raillery; and a Perſon muſt be very polite indeed, who knows how to practiſe it, ſo as not to give Offence.
The Difference between Ridicule and Raillery is 164 X4v 164 is ſo very ſmall, that the one is often miſtaken for the other.—The latter, therefore, ought never to be attempted but by People of fine Taſte, nor played off but on thoſe equally qualified to return it; and as it has alſo ſome diſtant Affinity with Satire, ſhould never have for its Subject, Matters of a too ſerious Nature.—What expoſes any thing we wiſh to have concealed, though it may be done with an Air of Pleaſantry, leaves a Sting behind it which is not eaſily forgiven, and will be taken for Ridicule, whether meant as ſuch, or not.
Raillery is always perſonal,—Ridicule ought never to be ſo; and whenever the former is ſevere enough to have any Tincture of the latter, it becomes groſs, and deſerves being reſented as an Affront.
As ſo few, therefore, are capable of giving or receiving it in a proper Manner, and ſo many Precautions are neceſſary to be taken concerning it, that it would be well if the Humour were baniſhed out of Converſation intirely.
I know it is generally looked upon as an agreeable Method both of whetting and ſhewing Wit; and for that Reaſon, all who either have, or imagine they have, a Talent that Way, are extremely fond of exerting it.—There is a Saying much in the Mouths of the Vulgar, which is, Such a one had rather loſe his Friend than his Jeſt, and I am afraid too many, indeed, are of that Mind, 165 Y1r 163165 Mind, but how conſonant ſuch a Diſpoſition is, either with Prudence or Good-nature, I leave the more reaſonable Part of the World to determine.
To be merry ourſelves, or make Sport for others, on the Errors or Miſtakes of our Friend, or Companion, is certainly very unkind:—But if our Jeſt is on the Defects or Infirmities of his Perſon, it is cruel to the laſt Degree:—And if on his Misfortunes, monſtrouſly ungenerous and baſe: ――Yet theſe are the Topics which ſome would-be Wits make Choice of for the Entertainment of the Company they are in, who, perhaps, are diverted at the Expence of one who has it not in his Power to return the Inſult, though he is ſenſibly affected with it.
None but thoſe who feel the Stab a piquant Reflection ſometimes gives can know to pity the Pain of it;――Yet if you reproach the Perſon who inflicts it, he will tell you, he was only in Jeſt, and ſpoke as he did to excite a little Laughter; ſo that the moſt cruel Treatment that can be paſſes for innocent Chearfulneſs and Good- Humour, forgetting what Cowley ſays, There is a Sort of Smile,Which worſe than Anger does revile.
I know nothing in effect that ſticks longer on the Mind than a bitter Sarcaſm, eſpecially when conſcious of its having ſome Foundation in Truth.—But you will ſay this is not Raillery.—I Vol. IV. Y grant 166 Y1v 164166 grant it is not:—It is Ridicule,—it is Invective; yet it is that which with People of narrow Underſtandings paſſes for Raillery, and as ſuch is excuſed, if not applauded.
I believe nobody will deny, but that the French excel in this Branch of Art of Converſation all the Nations in the World, yet the Abbé de Bellegarde adviſes his Pupil to be very ſparing of his Wit that way.
Nothing, ſays that excellent Inſtructor of Youth, more ſhews the Quickneſs of the Genius than a genteel Raillery; yet if it be not directed with great Judgment, it degenerates into Groſsneſs, and turns to the Ridicule, not ſo much indeed on the Perſon levelled at in it, as on him that practiſes it.When you would give a looſe to Pleaſantry of this Sort, the Character of the Perſon you would railly, as well as the Topic for Raillery, ought to be well conſulted:—To take this Liberty with one who is your Superior is Inſolence:—With one too much beneath you, demeans yourſelf:—With Perſons far advanced in Years, or with thoſe of a melancholy Conſtitution, it is abſurd; and with Ladies, a Freedom which ſavours too much of Indecency. As your Sentiments are gay, to railly well, your Expreſſions muſt be ſo too, yet accompanied with a certain Softneſs, which will render‘der 167 Y2r 165167 der what you ſay tickling, not wounding to the Heart. It is a happy Talent, to know how to railly in ſuch a Manner, as while you divert the Company with affecting a Severity on ſome particular Action or Humour of any one, what has the Appearance of a Sarcaſm at firſt hearing, ſhall be found, when conſidered, the higheſt Praiſe could be given. Monſieur de Saintonge, excels this way as much as any Man I know.—He was one Day in Company with the Count de Buſſy, and ſome others, when on ſome Occaſion that Nobleman ſaid, he wondered any body could be covetous.―― How, my Lord, cried Saintonge immediately, can you be ſurprized at that in others, when you are ſo notoriouſly guilty of it yourſelf?――Is not your Lordſhip the moſt covetous Man in the World, who, not content with all the fine Eſtates you have in France, are continually purchaſing more in the Blue Plains?――Do not you lend your Money at more than Cent. per Cent. Intereſt above, and are not your Levees every Day crowded with the Lame and the Blind, and all kind of miſerable People for that Purpoſe? This was a Kind of Raillery which delighted all that heard it, and was the greateſt Compliment could be paid to the Count, who, every one knows, is an almoſt inimitable Pattern of Charity and Beneficence. Y2 But 168 Y2v 166168 But few there are who have a Genius and happy Turn of Thought and Expreſſion adapted to give all the Pleaſures of Raillery, and at the ſame Time avoid any of its Inconveniences; and even thoſe who have ſhould take care not to uſe it too frequently, leſt they ſhould be ſuſpected as incapable of being ſerious.
The ſame Author alſo, in another celebrated Piece of his, entitled The Government of the Tongue, has this Maxim:Never begin to ſpeak without firſt conſidering to whom you ſpeak, in what Manner you will ſpeak, and wherefore you are to ſpeak; for Words like Arrows ſhould never be thrown out, unleſs directed to the Mark propoſed by them. Whoever has Fire and Vivacity without Judgment, rides a young Horſe without a Bridle, and is ſure of being plunged into innumerable Difficulties and Dangers: Correct therefore the one, till your having attained the other is unqueſtionably confirmed; and chuſe rather to be taken for a Man too dull and phlegmatic, than for a vain Trifler, who talks of Things he knows not the Conſequence of.
I would not have any one imagine, that I have quoted the above Author, becauſe I think there are none of our Engliſh ones have ſaid as good Things on the Occaſion: I have only done it 169 Y3r 167169 it to ſhew, that though Raillery is ſo much in Vogue among the French, that no one is accounted qualified for polite Converſation without it; yet the wiſe and thinking Part of that Nation are for preſcribing ſo many Limits to it, as, if obſerved, muſt of Neceſſity render it leſs practiſed even there.
The true Genius of the Engliſh Nation is of a quite different Turn;—deliberate and ſedate, —rather wiſe than witty, and naturally more ſerious than gay:――Raillery, therefore, is not our Province, and the Affection of it fits but aukwardly upon us.
A certain noble Duke, now deceaſed, had, perhaps, as great a Talent for genteel Raillery as any Man that ever lived; yet a Lady of the Court, at that Time a celebrated Beauty, could never be prevailed upon to forgive his writing theſe Lines upon her. Belinda’s ſparkling Wit and EyesUnited caſt ſo fierce a Light,As quickly flaſhes, quickly dies,Wounds not the Heart, but burns the Sight.Love is all Gentleneſs, all Joy;Smooth are his Looks, and ſoft his Pace:Her Cupid is a Blackguard Boy,That runs his Link full in your Face.
We Women do not like the Impreſſion we make ſhould be eaſily eraſed; and therefore I cannot 170 Y3v 168170 cannot think it ſtrange this Lady ſhould conceive a laſting Reſentment againſt a Nobleman, whoſe Reputation of Wit made every thing he advanced paſs for Orthodox with all he converſed with, or who knew any thing of him.
It is certain her Charms had no Effect on him, or that the Deſire he had of mortifying her Vanity overcame all the Admiration he might have of her good Qualifications.――I do not pretend to relate the Motives of his writing that Poem; I can only ſay, that whatever was the Occaſion, it was more ſarcaſtic than could be expected from a Perſon of his Grace’s known Good-nature; and that when he could put Pen to Paper on ſuch a Subject, his ſatirical Humour prevailed over that Reſpect and Softneſs with which at other Times he was accuſtomed to treat the Ladies.
But when People without one Grain of Wit, Humour, or even common Senſe, ſhall pretend to ſay ſmart Things, and vent their little Malice, or perhaps Envy of ſome ſuperior Qualification, and call it Raillery, I would fain have thoſe who are Witneſſes of ſuch a Behaviour examine ſtrictly into it; and then, I am very certain, a great many of thoſe inſiduous Reflections, which are thrown out with an Air of Pleaſantry, and afford Mirth to the Hearers, would be found ſuch as demands the utmoſt Contempt and Indignation from all who have in reality any Underſtanding or Softneſs of Temper.I 171 Y4r 169171
I do not ſay, that all the Inſinuations thrown out proceed from any latent View of doing Miſchief to the Perſon they are levelled at under the Shew of Raillery:—There are ſome People, who in their Hearts wiſh no Hurt to any body, yet do a great deal without knowing it, meerly to acquire the Reputation of being very arch, as they call it; which is, by a great many in the World, looked upon as the ſame Thing as being very witty.
I would therefore have every one who are innocent of this Crime in the Intention, beware how they become guilty of it through Inadvertency: ――The Want of Thought creates many Miſchiefs among Mankind, and this is the Reaſon that none ought to ſpeak, till they have firſt reflected on every thing that may poſſibly be the Conſequence of what they ſpeak.
The Scripture tells us, that the Tongue is an unruly Member, and common Experience may convince us, that there is nothing which is more capable of bringing on all Kinds of Evils, Diſturbances and Heart-burnings among Society.
To this, the Advocates for Raillery may poſſibly alledge, that as the Perſon levelled at, is always preſent, they may have an Opportunity of returning it in kind, if true, or vindicating themſelves, if the contrary.
They muſt, however, either know, or conſider,der, 172 Y4v 170172 der, Human Nature very little, who argue in ſuch a Manner.――Some indeed will, doubtleſs, behave according to this Suppoſition: But there are others again, who, when pertly attacked, may want ſufficient Spirit, or Preſence of Mind, in that Inſtant, to make a proper Reply; and ſo ſuffer themſelves to be laughed out of Countenance.—Nor is this the worſt of it; by this Baſhfulneſs, which, as I ſaid before, all People cannot avoid, the Jeſt upon them is very likely to be believed to have ſomewhat more in it than it has in reality, and does a Miſchief, perhaps, without the Author intending, or deſiring, it ſhould.
The greateſt Evils often ſpring from the moſt minute Beginnings, and it would be a laſting Trouble on the Mind of any Perſon, who has the leaſt Senſe of Juſtice or Good-Nature, to find that by having let fall ſome inadvertent Expreſſion, and utterly without Deſign, he had been the Occaſion of deſtroying the Happineſs, or good Fame of another.
That this has frequently been the Caſe, I could produce many Inſtances, which have happened in the Compaſs of my own Knowledge and Obſervation, as a meer Citizen of the World, excluſive of my Spectatorial Capacity; but I think it would be altogether needleſs to recite any of them, becauſe it is a Truth which every one’s Experience may demonſtrate, without the Aid of Argument, 173 Z1r 171173 Argument, or other Proof, than what they may furniſh to themſelves.
But notwithſtanding all I have ſaid againſt Raillery, I am heartily vexed when I ſee People behave ſo as to render themſelves fit Subjects, not only for that, but for the ſevereſt Satire that can be thrown againſt them.—I mean, when they pretend to make a ſerious Matter of Reſentment of Things intended only for Sport.—But it is even more ridiculous, as well as unjuſt, when thoſe who lay hold of every Occaſion to laugh at their Neighbours, are not able to ſupport with any Degree of Moderation, the leaſt Liberty of that kind taken with any thing belonging to themſelves.
Yet there are ſuch unreaſonable Mortals in the World; but as I judge them too incorrigible, and too proud to regard any Admonitions from a Female Cenſor, I ſhall leave them to be corrected by the perpetual Broils and Diſquiets, ſuch a Diſpoſition of Mind muſt of courſe involve them in, while they continue to be of it.
As to thoſe whoſe more reſerved Temper keeps them from deſcending to any Diſcourſe which ſeems to them light and trifling, though it muſt be owned, that nothing can be more ill judged, than to treat them with it; yet when I ſee them inflamed with Paſſion, and ready to quarrel with the Perſon that offers it, I always think there is more Reaſon to bluſh for the extravagantIV. Z vagant 174 Z1v 172174 vagant Auſterity of the One, than the Imprudence of the Other.
Of this unhappy Temper was the late Mr. Dennis, who, though a good Poet, a much better Critic, and a Man of great Learning, and excellent Senſe in other Things, was ſo weak, as not to endure any Converſation that was not ſtrictly ſerious.—A Pun, Quibble, or Conundrum, were more terrible to him than a Cannon-Ball.—The leaſt Attempt toward Raillery, though not aimed at himſelf, was ready to throw him into a Fever, and he could not reſtrain himſelf even from abuſing thoſe who diſcovered a Propenſity that Way.
This rendered him a Companion but for a very few;—greatly leſſened that Love and Reſpect which were due to his good Qualities, and occaſioned many Sarcaſms upon him.――Mr. Pope, among others, exerciſed his ſatiric Talent in theſe Lines, which, being accounted very pictureſque, I ſhall tranſcribe. ――Appius reddens at each Word you ſpeak,And ſtares tremendous with a threat’ning Eye,Like ſome fierce Tyrant in old Tapeſtry.
It was certainly a Humour in him very unworthy of his Character; for though one cannot really approve of a thouſand Impertinencies one ſometimes hears in Company, it would be particularizing one’s ſelf too much, to diſcover any Uneaſineſs at them.Nay, 175 Z2r 173175
Nay, tho’ one ſhould find one’s ſelf ſingled out, to be the Butt of the moſt groſs, and even impudent of all that can bear the Name of Raillery, it would be ſtill the greateſt Mark of Diſcretion, not to appear offended at it.――The Italians have a Proverb, that the more you laugh, the leſs you will be laughed at.
Besides, to ſeem to take no Notice of an Inſult this Way, is the ſure Way of being revenged, without either Pain or Trouble to one’s ſelf; whoever is brutal enough to offer it, and finds it paſſes with Impunity, will imagine that every thing is permitted to him, and that he may ſay and do as he pleaſes, and in that Preſumption give himſelf ſuch a Latitude, as, without being a Prophet one may foretell, will ſooner or later meet with its due Correction from ſome one, or other, who has as little Prudence as himſelf.
Since then, to reſent where there is the greateſt Cauſe for it, is not to be permitted, how ſhall we excuſe thoſe to whom every little Pleaſantry, every Bon Mot, as the French term it, ſhall give Offence?—Certainly, there is nothing can be ſaid in Behalf of ſuch a Behaviour, and the Perſon guilty of it, merits the keeneſt Ridicule in the room of Raillery.
But, after all, is it not better to avoid ſhewing one’s Wit, in a Way which, with all the Precautions we can take, will be the Occaſion of Z2 Diſquiet 176 Z2v 174176 Diſquiet to ſome weak Minds, and create us Enemies of others?
I allow, indeed, that where a ſelect Company are met,—where all are of the ſame Way of Thinking,—all Harmony, Vivacity, good Senſe, and good Humour, a Round of Wit played off from one to another, will very agreeably paſs away an Hour, and be a delightful Relaxation from more ſerious Avocations.
But I need not ſay, how difficult ſuch a Congreſs is to be found among us.――Were it leſs ſo, the Subject would probably not have been taken Notice of in theſe Lucubrations.
We have the Authority of one of the very beſt and moſt knowing among our ancient Poets, to aſſure us of this Truth. Theſe are his Words: Men’s Tempers more than Faces differ;Even a Brother is not like a Brother:One ſhall be haughty, ſullen, and ſevere,The other all Complaiſance and Good Will.Strange is it the ſame Stem, ſame Juice, ſame Seed,Fruit of ſuch various Natures ſhould produce;Yet true, moſt true, Experience daily ſhews.How cou’dſt thou then, deluded Heart, e’er hopeA ſympathetic Influence in a Stranger!
Mr. Dryden alſo tells us, in one of his excellent Poems, ’Tis 177 Z3r 175177 ’Tis a meer Madneſs to expect to findIn a diff’rent Men, one and the ſelf-ſame Mind.
How, indeed, ſhould we imagine we can find that Unanimity with any other Perſon, which we cannot retain within ourſelves; as Dr. Garth juſtly expreſſes this Inequality of the Heart. Mankind one Day ſerene and free appear,The next they’re cloudy, ſullen, and ſevere,New Paſſions, new Opinions ſtill excite,And what they like at Noon, deſpiſe at Night;They gain with Labour, what they quit with Eaſe;And Health, for Want of Change, grows a Diſeaſe.Religion’s bright Authority they dare,And yet are Slaves to ſuperſtitious Fear.They councel others, but themſelves deceive,And tho’ they’re cozen’d ſtill, they ſtill believe,
I have now but one Thing more to add on this Occaſion, and that is a Word or two of Advice to thoſe who are, and reſolve to continue, Lovers of Raillery.
In the firſt Place, I would fain prevail on them, never to make Religion, in what Form ſoever practiſed, the Subject of it.—In the next, the Character of the Perſon they are about to railly, ought to be well conſidered.――It would ill become a gay young Perſon, to exert his Talent this Way on a Clergyman, or a Judge, becauſe the Goſpel and the Law demand our Reverence.—Nextrence. 178 Z3v 176178 rence.—Next to theſe, our Governors, Preceptors, or whoever has had the Care of our Education, ſhould be exempt from hearing any Marks of our Levity.
But to a Parent above all, we ſhould never forget that awful Diſtance, which the Laws of God and Man have ſet between us,—Whatever Fondneſs they may have for us,――whatever Liberties their Good-Nature may permit, the Indulgences we receive ſhould only increaſe our Love to them, not diminiſh our Reſpect.
It is too much if we are remiſs in their Preſence, in the Concealment of thoſe Things in our ſelves, which we are conſcious they will not, nor cannot approve, becauſe it diſcovers a Careleſsneſs inconſiſtent with the Homage due from us to the Authors of our Being; but when we take upon us to be merry at any little Paſſion or Humour we may happen to obſerve in them, there is ſomething ſo monſtrous in it, as muſt be ſhocking to every reaſonable By-ſtander.
Yet this is but too common among the gay young Gentlemen of our Times; and there are a great many who can be witty on no other Occaſion, than the Failings of their old Dad, or the good old Gentlewoman, their Mother.—The Veneration which a great Length of Days was accuſtomed to excite in all civilized Nations, ſeems now wholly loſt among us, and it is enough to be of an advanced Age, without any other Failing, 179 Z4r 177179 Failing, to be looked on as a proper Object for Raillery, if no worſe.
Few Sons behave like a young Gentleman, whoſe real Name I ſhall conceal under that of Belfont.――This worthy Example of filial Duty was Heir to a very large Eſtate; yet by the extreme Parſimony of his Father, denied many Things befitting his Age, Rank, and Fortune. He was obliged to avoid Company very much; and refuſe making one in many a Party of Pleaſure he would have been glad to have enjoyed. yYet did he take Care that all the Raillery on this enforced Frugality, ſhould fall rather on himſelf than him who was the Cauſe of it.
Never did any Son ſeem more contented with a Father—Never had any Father more Reaſon to think himſelf happy in a Son.
They lived intirely from any Reproaches on the one Side, or Repinings on the other, till young Belfont had attained to the Age of five and twenty, at which Time he thought to reap the Reward of his Obedience:――His Father having always aſſured him that he ſhould then be married to a young Lady, whom from his Childhood he had tenderly loved, and by whom he was no leſs beloved.—Part of the Eſtate was to be ſettled on them, and he now flattered himſelf with having it ſoon in his Power to live in a Manner more agreeable to his Inclinations than he could do while under the Direction of a Father,ther, 180 Z4v 178180 ther, who looked on every thing beyond the Neceſſities of Nature, as Luxury and Prodigality.
But it often happens, that when we imagine ourſelves moſt near the Attainment of our Wiſhes, ſome ſudden and unlooked-for Accident carries us fartheſt off; even ſo it proved with our young Lovers: The beautiful Sophia (for ſo I ſhall call the Lady) was to give further Teſtimonies of her Love and Conſtancy, by continuing to refuſe yet a longer Time, all other Offers for the Sake of Belfont, and Belfont to exerciſe his Patience, Submiſſion, and Obedience, in a Trial infinitely more ſevere than any he had before experienced.
Every Thing having been agreed between both their Fathers, the Marriage-Articles were ordered to be drawn; and being brought by the Lawyer in order to be approved and ſigned by the reſpective Parties, and no Objection being made by either of them, the Father of the young Lady aſked old Bellfont to ſet his Hand, on which he fell into a Cough, ſaid he was not well, that another Time would do, and went out of the Houſe in the moſt abrupt Manner that can be imagined, leaving Sophia, her Father, and the Lawyer in the utmoſt Surprize, as not being able to penetrate into the Meaning of ſo odd a Behaviour.
Early the next Morning the old Gentleman received 181 Aa1r 179181 received a Letter from him, containing theſe Lines:Sir, Marriage being a Thing of ſo much Conſequence to the Happineſs or Miſery of thoſe who enter into it, you cannot blame me for being more than ordinarily cautious on the Score of a moſt obedient and only Son:――And hope alſo you will agree with me, that they are both young enough to wait a little longer till Time and more Experience ſhall qualify them better, than we can yet ſuppoſe them to be, for the Management of a Family:—I do not doubt but it will ſeem ſtrange to you, that I ſuffered Things to proceed ſo far between them, as I am of this way of thinking; but you know a Moment will ſometimes produce Reflections which have lain dormant in the Mind for whole Years.—This is the Caſe with me, and I am now determined that Ned ſhall continue a Batchelor till a more proper Seaſon arrives for making him change his Condition.—If your Daughter lives ſingle till then, as I always intended it ſhould be a Match, and I believe they love one another, I ſhall be ready to perform my Part towards ſettling them together; if not, I wiſh her much Happineſs with whoever ſhe ſhall make Choice of, and am with a great deal of Sincerity, Sir, Your moſt humble, and moſt obedient Servant, Belfont. Vol. IV. Aa Never 182 Aa1v 180182
Never did any Conſternation exceed that which both Father and Daughter were in at the Receipt of this Letter:—They knew not what to think, nor how to fix on the Motive which had occaſioned ſo ſudden an Alteration.――At one Time they imputed it to ſome Caprice come into his own Head.――At others, they imagined it owing to ſome Fault in the young Gentleman; that either a new Attachment had made him deſirous of breaking off, or that he was guilty of ſome ſecret Vice, which the Father having juſt diſcovered, could not in Conſcience conſent to his Marriage till he ſhould be reclaimed from it.
They read the Letter over and over, examin’d with the utmoſt Nicety every Word, and the more they endeavoured to find the Meaning, the more they were at a Loſs, and confounded at the Intricacy.—Sophia, however, who could not be perſwaded that her Lover had any Hand in it, flattered herſelf that ſhe ſhould ſoon ſee him, and then the Myſtery would be unravelled.
But how much that poor young Gentelman ſuffered when he was told by his Father, that he muſt think no more of Sophia as a Perſon who was likely to be his Wife, is not to be deſcribed by any Words I am able to make uſe of.
At firſt a jealous Pang came over him;―― he imagined his Father had diſcovered ſomething in the Behaviour of that young Lady inconſiſtent with the Profeſſions ſhe had made him; but the old 183 Aa2r 181183 old Gentleman ſoon eaſed him of thoſe Apprehenſions, by allowing her all the good Qualities he could wiſh in a Daughter-in-law, except one.
And what, Sir, is that, cried young Belfont, with ſomewhat of an Impatience in his Voice and Looks? Frugality, replied his Father gravely, and I can never conſent that an Eſtate, which I have ſpent my whole Life in the Study of improving, ſhall be ſquandered away by the Wife of my Heir.
It was in vain that the Son aſſured him that he had never ſeen the leaſt Token of an extravagant Temper in Sophia:――That ſhe never frequented any expenſive Places of Diverſion, dreſſed not in the leaſt above her Station in the World, but rather beneath it, and deteſted Gamming. The old Man interrupted him by ſaying, All theſe Things I know as well as you; but it may be perhaps more owing to her Father’s good Oeconomy in debarring her, than her own natural Diſpoſition:—I would not have you, continued he, imagine yourſelf wiſer than your Father:—I tell you the Seeds of Profuſeneſs are in her Nature, and want but Opportunity to ſhoot in all the modiſh Luxuries of the Age:—I have obſerved that in her, which convinces me of it, nor ſhould the whole World perſwade me to the contrary:―― No, no, it is not in her Power to deceive my Penetration;—therefore I once more command you to think no more of her.Aa2 Young 184 Aa2v 182184
Young Belfont liſtened attentively while he ſpoke, but perceiving he did not mention the Proof he had received of her being of a Humour ſo different to what he approved, took the Liberty of entreating he would let him know what it was that had made him all at once entertain ſuch an Opinion of a young Lady, whom he had heard him ſo late praiſe for her Modeſty, Diſcretion, and good Management of her Father’s Houſe.
Aye, Aye, cried he, I then went with the Current of the World:――People may impoſe on me for a Time, but, thank Heaven, my Eyes are now opened:—So, Son, conquer this fooliſh Paſſion you have for her, and aſſure yourſelf, that nothing can make you ſo miſerable as the indulging it.
On this the young Gentleman told him, that his Commands were ever ſacred to him; but once more beſeeched him to let him into the Reaſons which induced him to lay this upon him, which, he acknowledged, was the moſt difficult to be obeyed of any he had yet enjoined.
The Reſpect and Humility with which he ſpoke made his Father think he ought not to deny him this Requeſt; ſo after a little farther Converſation, acquainted him with the mighty Diſcovery he had made of her Unworthineſs to come into their Family, which, as I doubt not but my Readers are as impatient for as I myſelf was on the 185 Aa3r 183185 the firſt hearing the Story, I ſhall relate, with as much Exactneſs as I can.
It being Winter, the two old Gentlemen with Sophia were ſitting near the Fire, while the Lawyer was at a Desk at the other End of the Room, correcting ſome Error he had made in the Marriage-Articles.—The Fire beginning to decay, the young Lady took the Poker and ſtirred it up; but, unfortunately for the Intereſt of her Love, turned one of the Cakes of Coals upſide down, ſo that the freſh Part fell into the Middle of the Grate, and by that Means became a bright Blaze, gave a great Heat, but was ſooner burned out, than it would have been, if in its former Poſition.
This appeared to old Belfont ſuch an Act of Extravagancy, or Careleſsneſs, that from that Inſtant he reſolved to break the Match: Certain within himſelf, that ſhe who was ſo little ſaving in Firing, would be no more ſo in other Things.
The Son could not hear a Reaſon of this Sort aſſigned for the Alteration in his Fortune, without bluſhing, with Surprize and Shame, at the ſordid Meanneſs of it; but, containing himſelf within thoſe Bounds of Reſpect he had always obſerved, and thought his Duty, to the Author of his Being, he only remonſtrated, that Sophia might not, juſt in that Moment, conſider the Value of Coals; or that, perhaps, the Cinder might fall in that Manner by meer Accident, without her intending it ſhould do ſo.But 186 Aa3v 184186
But he had little Time for any Arguments of that Nature; the Father cried out, there was no Excuſe to be made for her;—that the very Thing he urged in her Defence, was the Fault he accuſed her of;—that to want Conſideration, was to want every thing a Wife ought to be endued with;—and, at laſt, went ſo far as to menace his withdrawing all that paternal Affection he had hitherto treated him with, if he either viſited, or held any Correſpondence with her.
He too well knew the Obſtinancy of his Father, to offer any thing in Contradiction to what he ſaid; and, with a low Bow, promiſed an implicit Obedience to his Will, which ſo well pleaſed the old Gentleman, that he gave him his Promiſe, never to go about to compel him to marry any Woman he did not like, in return for his renouncing the Woman he did like, in Obedience to his Will.
Young Belfont was not ſo little ſincere in his Affection to his dear Sophia, as to refrain ſeeing her; though he ſtill preſerved all the Duty and Reſpect he owed his Father; for neither he thought obliged him to falſify his Vows, and, at the ſame time, do a Violence to his Inclinations, on ſo frivolous a Pretence.
He wrote to her, bewailing their mutual ill Fortune, and conjured her to meet him at the Houſe of a Perſon he knew he could confide in; ſhe 187 Aa4r 185187 ſhe complied with the Summons, and never was there a more melancholy Meeting than this firſt.—On her expreſſing her Aſtoniſhment at ſo ſtrange a Turn in his Father’s Sentiments, and deſiring he would acquaint her with what he knew concerning it, he looked down and ſighed, but made no Reply, though ſhe often renewed the Queſtion.
This made her imagine there was ſomething in it which he feared to relate, as knowing it would give her Pain, and doubted not but it was on the ſcore of getting a larger Fortune with ſome other, that his Father, who all the World knew was avaritious, had endeavoured to make him forego his Pretenſions to her.
As ſhe expreſſed her Belief of this, and would not be prevailed upon to think the contrary, he, at laſt, after having obliged her to a Vow of Secreſy, revealed to her the whole Truth, and the Converſation he had with his Father upon it.
This he was obliged to repeat ſeveral Times, before ſhe could be brought to give Credit; but when at laſt ſhe did, the Thing appeared to her ſo very ridiculous, that, in ſpite of the Trouble ſhe was in, ſhe could not forbear burſting into a loud Laughter, and cried out, Well, ſure I am the firſt that ever loſt a Husband for the turning of a Cinder!
He then told her that it was the Oddneſs of it, and 188 Aa4v 186188 and the Fears he had of expoſing his Father to the Ridicule of the World, which rendered him ſo unwilling to reveal it; but that he depended on her Promiſe of never divulging it; which ſhe readily renewed: After which they fell into more ſerious Converſation, the Reſult of which was, a ſolemn Proteſtation to preſerve themſelves each for the other, till Fortune ſhould more diſpoſe itſelf in favour of their Loves.
In fine, old Belfont died in a ſhort Time after, leaving his Son at Liberty to purſue his Inclinations.—The Father of Sophia at firſt was ſomething averſe to his Daughter’s receiving the Addreſſes of a Man who had once fallen off; but, on his being made acquainted with the whole Story, rather applauded the filial Piety of young Belfont, than condemned him for it.
These faithful Lovers have now been married near three Years, and reap the Reward of their mutual Fidelity, and invariable Affection.
But as the Reaſon of my relating this little Adventure, was to ſhew the Amiableneſs of a reſpectful Behaviour to Parents, I wiſh the Example of Belfont may have its due Influence on all young Perſons, particularly thoſe of my own Sex, in whom the contrary appears more ſhocking than in the other, as the Characteriſtic of Womanhood will not allow of many Liberties, which paſs uncenſured in the Men.
End of the Twenty-First Book.
The Female Spectator.
It has been ſo much our Cuſtom, during the Courſe of theſe Eſſays, to poſtpone whatever Offerings we had of our own to make the Public, in order to inſert thoſe of our Correſpondents, that it may perhaps ſeem ſtrange no Letter appeared in the Speculations of laſt Month, eſpecially as we had acknowledged the Receipt of ſeveral in the foregoing.
The Delay, however, was not occaſioned by our becoming either leſs grateful, or leſs complaiſant than heretofore, to thoſe who are pleaſed to favour us with ſuch of their Productions as are proper to find a Place in a Work of this Nature; but in reality, becauſe the Topics we happened to fall upon, and which ſeemed to us very Vol. IV. Bb neceſſary 190 Bb1v 188190 neceſſary to be mentioned, branched out to a much greater Length than we at firſt intended they ſhould.
But as Reparation is the beſt Apology for any thing that may be taken amiſs, we ſhall now give that Satisfaction which is expected from us.To the Authors of the Female Spectator. Ladies, The obliging Reception you were pleaſed to give to a former Narrative I ſent you, encourages me to approach you a ſecond Time with ſomething, which, if the Moral be rightly conſidered, cannot, I think, but afford very inſtructive Leſſons to the old as well as young of both Sexes. I ſhall, therefore, make no Apology for the Subject, but am ſenſible it may have ſuffered by my Manner of handling it; and ſhall be proud to ſee it appear in your Corrections and Emendations more worthy the Attention of the Town, and a Place in your agreeable Lucubrations. But as I am apprehenſive that thoſe ſurprizing Adventures, which befel the Heroine of the Story, may give it rather the Air of Romance than a genuine Account; and, conſequently, have leſs Effect on the Minds of the Readers than is requiſite, to make them avoid 191 Bb2r 189191 avoid the Errors of ſome of the Perſons concerned, and imitate the Virtues of the others: Permit me, Ladies, to aſſure the Public, that there is not one Incident inſerted which owes any thing to Fiction, but the whole is related with all the Exactitude and Simplicity of Truth. I have ventured to call it, The Triumph of Fortitude and Patience over Barbarity and Deceit.—If you think it an improper Title, after having weighed the Circumſtances and Event, I flatter myſelf you will change it for one more applicable to both.――Whatever other Alterations you ſhall be pleaſed to make, will rather be an Obligation than otherwiſe, to me, as well as to the World. I am, with the beſt Wiſhes to yourſelves and moſt laudable Undertaking, Ladies, Your very humble, and obedient Servant, Elismonda. P. S.On my looking over the Incloſed a ſecond Time, I find Reaſon to apprehend I have been ſomewhat too tedious in my Reflections on the different Occurences, as they preſented themſelves to me:――I beg therefore you will be ſo good as to curtail ſuch of them as would loſe their Merit (if they have any) by ‘being 192 Bb2v 190192 being too much ſpun out, and totally eraſe thoſe which are not to the Purpoſe.
I am very certain, that thoſe of my Readers, who remember that entertaining little Hiſtory, entitled, The Lady’s Revenge, inſerted in the fourteenth Book of the Female Spectator, will be convinced, that what this Lady has requeſted in her Poſtſcript is only owing to an Exceſs of Modeſty, and that Diffidence, which as inſeparable from good Senſe, before a long Experience of the moſt confirmed and general Approbation wears it off.
It befits me therefore to do her the Juſtice to ſay, that as I could find nothing in the former to correct, ſo in this am not Miſtreſs of any Expreſſions or Sentiments which could add in any Meaſure to that pathetic Energy, which ſhines in ſo agreeable a Manner throughout the whole Piece, eſpecially in thoſe Parts of it which ought moſt to affect the Heart, where, indeed, the Diſtreſſes ſhe deſcribes touch the very Strings of Life, and compel the Reader to feel the Woes he is told another has endured.
But I ſhall not poſtpone the Curioſity I have excited; I do not doubt but the Public, by whom ſhe and I, and all who venture to appear in Print, are to be judged, will give that Approbation to her Work which it deſerves.The 193 Bb3r 191193 The Triumph of Fortitude and Patience over Barbarity and Deceit. A True History. Of all the Acts of Injuſtice which the Depravity of Human Nature can commit, there are none certainly deſerving to be more ſeverely cenſured, than that of Parents ſquandering away their Subſtance, and leaving their Children expoſed to Beggary and Contempt.— To render miſerable by our Neglect any thing whoſe ſole Dependence is upon us is highly ungenerous; but to rob thoſe of their Birth-right who but for us had not exiſted;—to make wretched what owes its Being to us, for the Gratification of ſome darling Paſſion in ourſelves, is ſuch a Piece of Cruelty, as one would not believe, if daily Obſervation did not convince us of it, any thinking Being could be guilty of. A Gentleman, to whom I ſhall give the Name of Extrodius, was left, by the good Management and Frugality of his Anceſtors, in Poſſeſſion of a very conſiderable Fortune.— He married a virtuous young Lady, by whom he had a very numerous Offspring; every Year bringing an Increaſe to his Family, one would imagine ſhould have made him induſtrious for the Improvement of a Patrimony, out of which ſo many had a Claim for Proviſion: But, alas! the immoderate Love of Pleaſureſure 194 Bb3v 192194 ſure prevailed above parternal Affection:—He was ſo paſſionately devoted to all the Luxuries of Life, that he ſeemed not content with thoſe he ſaw enjoyed by others, but was continually inventing new Modes of indulging every inordinate Inclination; and ſtill the more expenſive they proved, the more he hugged himſelf with having it in his Power to put them in Practice. But it was not long this worſt of Huſbands, and of Fathers, had the Means of rioting in ſuch Voluptuouſneſs:――A few Years waſted all he had been Maſter of in the World, and he fell into the extremeſt Poverty:—His Wife, who for ſome Time had languiſhed under the Apprehenſions of what was now come upon them, could not ſupport the Ills ſhe had foreſeen, and died of a broken Heart:—All their Children, except one, were ſeized with various Diſtempers, and bore their Mother Company in the Grave. Jemima, a Girl of about twelve Years of Age, was left alone to feel the Miſeries thoſe dear Relations were exempted from by Death, while he, who had brought them on all who ought to have been dear to him, ſeemed inſenſible of his Errors, and continued diſpoſing of every thing of Value, either about his Houſe and Perſon, till there was nothing left to ſell. He then tried his Credit with Kindred, Acquaintance, and Tradeſmen, but they all knew ‘too 195 Cc1r 193195 too much of his Circumſtances to comply with any Requeſts he made them of that Nature. Some Perſons, whom he had not dealt with before, indeed ſupplied him for a little while; but were no ſooner informed of the Truth of his Affairs, than they withdrew their Hands; and on his behaving toward them with more Haughtineſs than they thought befitting a Perſon by whom they were likely to be Loſers, threw him into Priſon, whence not one Friend made any Efforts to redeem him, and he died in a ſhort Time. Even the young Jemima might have been obliged to have recourſe to public Charity for a wretched Suſtenance, had not Dalinda admitted her into her Family.――This Lady was own Siſter to Extrodius, was a Widow, had a large Jointure, and no Child; yet did ſhe not take her little Niece through any Motive of Compaſſion or Affection; for, like her Brother, ſhe was too great a Lover of herſelf, and the Pleaſures of the World, to have the leaſt true Regard for any thing beſide, but meerly to avoid the Shame of having it ſaid, that one ſo near to her in Blood ſhould wear the Livery of the Pariſh. The Treatment, however, which the poor Creature received, was little better than what ſhe would have met with in any of thoſe Places from which her Aunt made a mighty Merit of preſerving her. Vol. IV. Cc ‘The 196 Cc1v 194196 The Education allowed her would not have been ſufficient to have enabled her to ſupport thoſe Shocks of Fate which afterward befel her, had ſhe not been endued by Nature with all thoſe Qualifications, which moſt others acquire but with Labour and Difficulty. Without the Help of Precept ſhe was bleſt with an innate Piety and Reſignation to the Divine Will:—Without any of thoſe Inſtructions, which are looked upon as neceſſary to good Breeding, ſhe had a native Affability and Sweetneſs of Deportment, which ſhamed all the formal Rules of Politeneſs and Decorum; and without the leaſt Advantage from Example, but far the contrary, could eaſily diſtinguiſh what Amuſements became a Woman of Honour to give into, and what did not. As ſhe knew very well the Misfortunes to which ſhe was reduced by her Father’s ill Management, and the little Proſpect ſhe had of living in the World according to her Birth, ſhe reflected, that all that could make her eaſy under her preſent or future Sufferings, was Patience and Humility, and therefore endeavoured as much as poſſible, not to think on the Pleaſures, which thoſe of great Fortunes were in Poſſeſſion of, but on the little Wants and Exigences of thoſe who either were born to nothing, or, like herſelf, were deprived of their firſt Hopes.—She obſerved, that to be poor, was not always to be miſerable; and that Riches ‘were 197 Cc2r 195197 were frequently not accompanied with Happineſs.—This enabled her to know, that Content was ſufficient to render any Station comfortable, and that without it all was Wretchedneſs. In fine, without any Aid from Books ſhe was a Philoſopher in her way of thinking at fifteen, and, perhaps, more truly ſo than the moſt celebrated of thoſe, whoſe Morals and Maxims are laid down before us, as the beſt Guides of our Sentiments and Actions. As to her Perſon, ſhe was of a middle Stature, perfectly well turned, eaſy and genteel in all her Motions:――If the Features of her Face could not be ſaid to be caſt in the Mould of Beauty, there was yet a great deal of Regularity and Harmony in them; which joined with a very delicate Complexion, fine Hair and Teeth, and a certain Sweetneſs, with the happy Compoſure of her Mind, diffuſed through all her Air, made her appear extremely lovely. Many there were who thought her ſo; but the Misfortunes of her Family prevented them from making their Addreſſes on an honourable Score, as did the Modeſty of her Behaviour from approaching her on any other; and ſhe lived till the Age of eighteen, without being able to ſay, ſhe had any one Man who had declared himſelf her Lover. Cc2 But 198 Cc2v 196198 But among the Number of thoſe who had long in ſecret admir’d her, there was one, whom I ſhall call Lothario, who preſuming on his great Eſtate, fine Perſon, and former Succeſſes with our Sex, at laſt ventured to tell her what none before him had ever done. This Gentleman had been a frequent Viſiter of Dalinda, and the Charms he found in her young Niece made him more ſo:――He had many Opportunities of entertaining the Object of his Paſſion without any Notice being taken of it by the other, who, as has been already obſerved, was not very aſſiduous concerning her; and he had the Artifice to contrive it ſo, as to be there as much as poſſible, when either by her being not up, or gone Abroad, he ſhould have no Interruption from that Quarter. Jemima thought it was her Duty in the Abſence of her Aunt, to entertain him with all imaginable Reſpect, before he diſcovered the Sentiments he was poſſeſſed of in favour of herſelf; and ſhe afterwards, at leaſt for a good while, was not ſenſible ſhe ought to change her Manner of Behaviour in regard to him. Whether it were that he had the Advantage by being the firſt that had diſcovered a Senſibility of her Charms, or whether it were that there was really ſomewhat more engaging in him than ſhe had ſeen in any other Man, is altogether 199 Cc3r 197199 altogether uncertain; but it is not ſo that her young Heart was inſenſibly caught with the fine Things he ſaid to her, and ſhe could not help feeling that Pleaſure which none but thoſe who love are capable of, whenever ſhe either ſaw or heard him. Great was the Progreſs he had made in her Affection, before ſhe ſuſpected he had any other Deſign upon her than ſuch as her Prudence, as well as Inclination, would permit her to encourage; but happening to be alone with him one Evening, he began to take ſome Liberties with her which very much alarmed her Modeſty, and puſhing him from her with all her Might, How, Lothario, cry’d ſhe, is this Treatment befitting you to give a Woman of Virtue? Or could you think me worthy of an honourable Paſſion, if I could ſubmit to bear it? These Words, and the Looks and Geſtures with which they were accompanied, ſoon made him deſiſt; but he knew ſo well how to excuſe the Boldneſs he had been guilty of by the Exceſs of his Paſſion, that the Woman in her Soul prevailed in his Favour, and ſhe conſented to a Reconciliation. How many are there of our too unwary Sex who would have thought no more of this Affair, but have received the pardoned Lover in the ſame Manner as though he never had offended, and by ſuch a Conduct emboldened ‘him 200 Cc3v 198200 him to traſgreſs again, perhaps to the utter undoing of the believing Maid. But it was not ſo with Jemima: He had no ſooner taken his Leave of her, and ſhe had Leiſure to reflect on what had paſſed between them, than all thoſe Apprehenſions, which are the ſureſt Guardians of Virgin Innocence, roſe in their full Force upon her troubled Mind.— On recollecting the many paſſionate and tender Declarations he had made to her, ſhe found there was not one that gave her any Aſſurance that he intended to paſs his Life with her: No Mention had ever been made of Marriage, and though he profeſſed to have for her the extremeſt Love that ever Man was poſſeſſed of, yet her own good Senſe, as well as the Report of the World, convinced her, that there requires more Art in the Proſecution of a lawleſs Flame, than in one whoſe End is Honour. She trembled, therefore, leſt in all he had ſaid to her he had no other Aim in View than her Ruin; and the ſecret Inclinations ſhe found towards him in her own Heart, heightened her Terrors on this Score:—She knew ſhe loved, and dreading, that in ſome unguarded Moment that Love might prove the Deſtruction of her Virtue, reſolved to ſound the Bottom of his Deſign, which if ſhe perceived was not conformable to thoſe Rules ſhe wiſhed it might be, to tear herſelf from his Converſation, dear as it was to her, and never ſee him more. ‘Let 201 Cc4r 199201 Let any Woman, who has ever known the Force of that Paſſion with which Jemima was actuated, well weigh the Struggles of a Soul thus divided between Love and Honour, and give her the Applauſe ſhe merits for ſo ſtrict an Adherence to the latter. She was, however, in ſome Debate within herſelf in what Manner ſhe ſhould break the Matter to him.—Her native Modeſty would not suffer her to be the firſt that propoſed Marriage, which ſhe thought ſhould always be the Province of the Man, and knew not how to frame her Mouth to utter what ſhe would have bluſhed to have heard from that of her Lover, much as ſhe in ſecret wiſhed it. To write her Mind alſo on this Affair ſeemed little leſs bold, but ſhe found an abſolute Neceſſity of knowing what ſhe had to expect from him; and this was the Method ſhe at laſt made Choice of. But how often did this innocent young Creature begin, and leave off,—examine what ſhe had ſaid,—then tear the Paper, as thinking it confeſſed too much.—Long it was before ſhe could find any Words which would not ſhock her Timidity, and at the ſame Time expreſs her Meaning. However, after various Efforts, that Reſolution which ſhe ſtill perſiſted in, enabled her to complete a Letter in theſe Terms: To 202 Cc4v 200202 To Lothario. Sir, The little Experience I have in writing Letters, eſpecially to your Sex, renders this a Preſumption, which can be excuſed by nothing but the Cauſe that enforces me to it. You know, Sir, the Misfortunes of my Family, and that I have nothing but my Virtue and Reputation that I can call my own:―― The firſt will doubtleſs call in Queſtion the two others, ſhould I continue to liſten to the Addreſſes of a Gentleman of your Fortune: —Permit me, therefore, for the future to deny myſelf the Honour of your Viſits; the Diſparity between us will not allow me to think you condeſcend to make them for any other End than your Amuſement, and how low ſoever I am reduced, have too much Pride to be the Property of it. Were it poſſible, which I am far from the Vanity of imagining, that you really found any thing in me worthy of a ſerious Attachment, you are very ſenſible I am under the Care of a Relation, who ought to be made acquainted with it, and whom you cannot ſuppoſe will make any Objections to what ſhe finds is for the true Intereſt of one who ſhares ſo much of her own Blood. In conſulting her on the Affair, you will give the beſt Proof of your Sincerity, and is the only Means to ſatiſfy the Scruples of Jemima. ‘This 203 Dd1r 201203 This ſhe ſent to him by a Chairman, not caring to entruſt it to any of Dalinda’s Servants, leſt they ſhould diſcover it to their Lady, whom ſhe was unwilling ſhould be let into any Part of the Secret, till Lothario himſelf ſhould reveal it, which ſhe was ſometimes ready to flatter herſelf he would do:—So eaſily are we led to believe what we wiſh. Satisfied, notwithſtanding, ſhe was within herſelf, that ſhe had by this Means diſcharged what her Virtue and her Prudence demanded from her; and for the reſt, ſhe had Piety enough to leave the Event to the Supreme Diſpoſer of all Things, and who, ſhe was well convinced, knew what was beſt for her. As for Lothario, it is certain that the Thoughts of making her his Wife had never once entered his Head; nor, it is probable, that had he foreſeen the Difficulties he now found in gaining his Point, he never had attempted to addreſs her at all; but the Humour of Mankind is ſuch, as not to endure being overcome, and to deſiſt after having proceeded ſo far, ſeemed to him a Meanneſs of Spirit, and he thought would argue a Puſilanimity and Diffidence in himſelf, which his Pride could by no Means ſubmit to. Her Letter, however, both aſtoniſhed, and gave him an infinite Vexation.――He eaſily perceived by it, that ſhe had much more ReſolutionIV. Dd lution 204 Dd1v 202204 lution and Strength of Mind than he could have poſſibly expected to find from a Perſon of her Years and Experience of the World, and how to anſwer it in ſuch a Manner as might effectually deceive her, and at the ſame time not prove himſelf a Deceiver, ſhould the Affair ever become public, took him up a long Conſideration. Puzzled as the innnocent Jemima had been in dictating her Epiſtle, Lothario, though an Adept in all the Arts of Intrigue, was not leſs ſo to make a proper Reply to it; nor, perhaps, would have been able to do it in ſuch Terms as would have been ſatiſfactory to her, and yet agreeable to his own Deſigns, had not an Invention come ſuddenly into his Head, perfectly conformable to the Baſeneſs of his Heart, and I believe, the only one that could have been found out to enſnare the Perſon, whoſe undoing he thought nothing too much to accompliſh. But, as the old Poet juſtly enough obſerves, ――What cannot wicked Will effect,When bound by no Reſtrictions but its own,And bent to act whenever it inclines? Thus Lothario having formed his Scheme, returned, to the plain Sincerity of Jemima, this ambiguous, but deluſive Anſwer. To 205 Dd2r 203205 To the Beautiful Jemima. Sweeteſt of Creatures, It were to attempt an Impoſſibility to go about to deſcribe that unſpeakable Rapture which overwhelmed my Heart at the Receipt of your dear Letter.—A thouſand and a thouſand Times I kiſſed the charming Name, before I had Power to examine the Contents to which it was ſubſcribed;—but when I had gained Power enough over myſelf to do it, good Heaven! how much was I ſurprized, not, my lovely Maid, at the Proof you ſeem to require of my Affection, but that there was a Poſſibility for you to doubt if any thing in my Power would be refuſed:――Every Requeſt, every Wiſh of yours ſhall always have with me the Force of Commands, and it would be the greateſt Joy Heaven could confer upon me to anticipate all you can have to deſire.—But I have much to ſay to you on that Head, and therefore entreat you will give me an Opportunity of revealing to you a Secret, which indeed I intended ſhould have died with me, but now find an abſolute Neceſſity of entruſting to you. Dalinda is this Evening, I know, engaged at Lady Rounciful’s, I will therefore come as if deſigning my Viſit to her, but beſeech you to be at Home, that I may offer you a more convincing Teſtimony of the ValidityDd2 “lidity 206 Dd2v 204206 lidity of my Flame, than that inſufficient one mentioned in yours. In the mean Time, my Angel, be careful how your too ſcrupulous Thoughts may wrong a Heart wholly devoted to you, and which will ever be ſo while Life remains in Your moſt paſſionate and faithful Admirer, Lothario. P. S. The Caution you obſerved in ſending to me, gives me the higheſt Idea of your Prudence and good Senſe; but you will find, when I have had the Pleaſure of imparting ſomething to you, that your good Angel had a Hand in inſpiring you with it on this Occaſion, and that there was an aſtoniſhing Neceſſity for the Happineſs of us both, that you ſhould act in the Manner you did. This Letter had all the Effect it was intended to have, in exciting the moſt impatient Curioſity in Jemima, and engaging her to allow him another private Converſation:――She longed with no leſs Earneſtneſs than himſelf for the appointed Time of her Aunt to go Abroad, and his Approach, that ſhe might have the Miſtery unravelled, and alſo hear what Teſtimony it was that her Lover intended to offer of the Sincerity of his Paſſion. ‘Instigated 207 Dd3r 205207 Instigated by Motives in which the moſt rigid Virtue can find nothing to condemn, ſhe received him with an obliging Softneſs, which he knowing her too well to ſuſpect of Affectation, looked on as a propitious Omen to his Wiſhes: But having before well weighed that ſhe wanted not Penetration, he had prepared and ſtudied over the Part he was to act, to the end that no unguarded Geſture or Expreſſion ſhould open a way for the leaſt Suſpicion to gain Entrance. His firſt Salutation to her had a more grave Air than ſhe had ever ſeen in him; and when they were ſeated, though he began to thank her for the Favour of her Letter, yet he ſeemed not in a Hurry to explain the Meaning of his Reply to it, and pretended a kind of an inward Agitation; when perceiving he was ſilent on that Subject, ſhe let fall ſome Words, as if ſhe was a little impatient for it. How ſevere is my Deſtiny, lovely Jemima! How difficult is it for me to behave in ſo critical a Conjuncture! ſaid he with a deep Sigh:—How were the Tranſports your dear Letter raiſed in me, allayed by the Command it contained! How terrible was it to me to find you exacted from me, as a Proof of my Love, what would be the Ruin of my Love to comply with, yet have it not in my Power to convince you it would be ſo without forfeiting my Honour: A Jewel ever ‘ſacred 208 Dd3v 206208 ſacred to me;—dearer than my Life, and next in Value to my Love! These Words inſtead of unfolding rather heightened the Myſtery, and Jemima not being able to conceive any Part of their Meaning, deſired he would be more plain. On which, Did you not inſiſt, anſwered he, that I ſhould reveal the Secret of my Paſſion for you to Dalinda? And was not the Injunction enforced by the cruel Menace of ſeeing me no more in caſe of a Refuſal? I know not, Sir, reſumed ſhe, bluſhing between Surprize and Shame, whether I might expreſs myſelf properly on that Occaſion; but certainly there was nothing ſo very difficult in acquainting an Aunt with the Sentiments you are poſſeſſed of for her Niece;—provided, continued ſhe with a half Frown, they are of a Nature you are not aſhamed to avow. Believe then, purſued he, after ſome Moments of a well counterfeited Diſturbance of Mind, that I had not waited for the Commands of Jemima to diſcover to her Aunt all I felt for her dear Kinſwoman, had not that Aunt given me too plain, too long, and too continued Proofs, that ſhe thinks more favourably of me than I every wiſhed. ‘How 209 Dd4r 207209 How, ſaid Jemima, aſtoniſhed beyond Meaſure, can ſuch a Thing be poſſible!――Then pauſed, and reflecting on many Paſſages ſhe had obſerved in the Conduct of her Aunt in regard to other Gentlemen, heſitated but a very little, before ſhe yielded all her Faith to what Lothario alledged. The Truth is, that Dalinda, to ſay no worſe of her, was one of the greateſt Coquets of the Age, vain, gay, and extravagantly envious and malicious againſt thoſe Charms ſhe ſaw prefered to her own; and this perfect Knowledge of her Diſpoſition made Jemima now reflect, which before ſhe had not done, that ſhe was not a very proper Perſon for a Confidant, even though ſhe had been leſs intereſted than Lothario pretended. She gave an implicit Credit, however, to what he ſaid: So liable does the being guilty of ſome Errors render us to be cenſured of others, of which we are perfectly innocent; for in fact there was not one Syllable of Truth in what this artful Man inſinuated of Dalinda’s Affection for him, and, it muſt be owned, he could not have hit on a more plauſible Invention to remove all the Scruples Jemima had entertained on his keeping his Paſſion for her a Secret to that Lady. Fearing, notwithſtanding, there might yet remain ſome Diffidence in her Breaſt, he ‘added 210 Dd4v 208210 added a thouſand little Circumſtances to corroborate the Truth of his Relation, as knowing, that on gaining this Point the Succeſs of his Deſign in a great Meaſure depended. Being convinced, by her Behaviour, that he had nothing to apprehend on that Account, he now began to renew the Buſineſs of his Paſſion;――ſeemed to chide the Diffidence ſhe had expreſſed of his Honour;――proteſted he never had a Thought or Wiſh tending to the Prejudice of her Virtue, and had no other Aim in View than making her his Wife. The Misfortunes of your Family, ſaid he, is of no manner of Conſequence to me, who, you know, have an Eſtate ſufficient to ſupport us in more Grandeur than is needful for Happineſs: But, continued he, I have a Mother, who, I grieve to ſay, is of a far different way of thinking:—All the Perfections that Heaven could beſtow on Human Nature would to her be of no Eſtimation, if Wealth and Opulence were not added.—This unhappy Temper in her has prevented me from making thoſe public Declarations I otherwiſe ſhould have been proud to have done, of my inviolable Attachment to you;――as ſhe has been the beſt and moſt tender Parent to me, notwithſtanding her Avarice, and is now extremely ancient; I tremble at the Thoughts of ſending her to her Grave perhaps ſooner than Nature intended, and with the Diſſatiſfaction of ſeeing me do the only Thing ſhe never would forgive in me. ‘Here 211 Ee1r 209211 Here he ceaſed to ſpeak, but Jemima’s Thoughts were at this Inſtant in too great Perplexity to make him any immediate Anſwer. In the mean time he looked earneſtly upon her Face, and eaſily perceiving, by the various Changes in her Countenance, every Emotion as it roſe and fell in her Soul, found his Work was not yet perfectly completed; and that alſo it required the whole Art he was Maſter of to beguile a Maid, whoſe own Innocence and Simplicity of Mind did not hinder her from being extremely cautious of the Wiles of others. He, therefore, firſt began by all the endearing Expreſſions that Love and Wit could form, joined with all the ſolemn Proteſtations that could inſure her of his Faith, to perſwade her to enter into a Contract with him, and exchange Vows to live mutually for each other, till the Death of the old Lady ſhould remove that only Impediment, which, he pretended, was between him and the Conſummation of his Happineſs. The Heart of Jemima was in reality too much engaged to him, without the Help of Vows, for her to be fearful of breaking thoſe ſhe ſhould make to him in favour of any other Perſon, though an Offer ſhould happen, of Vol. IV. Ee one 212 Ee1v 210212 one as much above Lothario in the Goods of Fortune, as Lothario was above herſelf. She looked, therefore, on this Requeſt as an undoubted Proof of his Love and Honour; and thought it would be equally ungrateful to him, as well as unjuſt to herſelf, not to comply with it:――The Engagement between them was as firm as Words could make it; but Jemima in that Moment conſidered not the Invalidity of a verbal Contract without Witneſſes, and never once exacted, or ever mentioned a Deſire that it ſhould be put into Writing; which, doubtleſs, was owing to the Hurry of Spirits the former Part of his Diſcourſe, concerning Dalinda, had put her into: And when afterwards ſhe had Leiſure to reflect, ſhe feared to betray a Want of Confidence in him, which ſhe knew not how far he might reſent. Both Parties were, indeed, well enough ſatiſfied with what they had done: Jemima imagined ſhe had by it ſecured herſelf a Huſband whom ſhe infinitely loved, and with whom ſhe ſhould one Day live in all that Splendor which is ſo enchanting to a young Heart, though never ſo well fortified with Virtue and Diſcretion.――Lothario, on the other hand, flattered himſelf, that he had by this Means put her off her Guard, and lulled to ſleep all thoſe Scruples which had hitherto prevented‘vented 213 Ee2r 211213 vented him from the Accompliſhment of his diſhonourable Deſign upon her Innocence. He would not, however, too ſuddenly ſeem to take any Advantage of the Contract, leſt ſuch a Behaviour ſhould, and would infallibly have done, make her believe, that all his Profeſſions of Fidelity were no other than Snares to deceive her; but gently and by Degrees he became more and more free, and whenever ſhe attempted to repulſe any Liberty ſhe thought too great――Are you not my Wife? would he cry to her; though the Ceremony of the Church be yet uncelebrated, the Vows we have exchanged are the eſſential Parts of Marriage;—you ought not then to deny every thing to my impatient Paſſion. To which ſhe always reſolutely anſwered, that ſhe ſhould ever look upon her Soul as his Wife, but as to her Perſon it muſt remain a pure and undefiled Virgin Bride, till thoſe myſtic Words ſhould be pronounced, which alone had the Power of converting two diſtinct Bodies into one. He affected to laugh at the logical Definition ſhe gave of the Union of Marriage; but was not a little diſappointed to find all the Artifices he had practiſed with ſuch Succeſs on others, had not the deſired Effect on her.―― He had now but one Card more to play, and that was to perſwade her to marry him privately;Ee2 ‘vately; 214 Ee2v 212214 vately; alledging, in the firſt Place, the Violence of his Paſſion; and in the next, the Danger of their ſecret Intercourſe being diſcovered by her Aunt; who, he ſaid, would doubtleſs be malicious enough to do every thing in her Power to ſeparate them for ever. This was an Offer which Jemima had not Power to refuſe, not only becauſe her Heart took Part in it, but alſo becauſe her Reaſon ſeemed to approve it. She reflected, that the ſacred Ceremony was not leſs binding for not making a great Noiſe:—That private Marriages were almoſt as frequent as public ones; that nobody could condemn her for ſecuring to herſelf ſo great a Fortune; and that, as it was the laſt and greateſt Teſtimony of his honourable Intentions towards her, it would be rather an overſtrained Modeſty than real Prudence to refuſe accepting it. There required therefore not many Atrguments to prevail on her to conſent to a Thing, which ſhe not only wiſhed for in her own Mind, but was convinced was right in itſelf; She agreed to be diſpoſed of by him in the Manner he deſired, provided only, that nothing of the neceſſary Forms of Marriage ſhould be wanting. He 215 Ee3r 213215 He told her, that he ſhould be no leſs careful than herſelf in that Point; that he had one Friend whom he would venture to confide in, and he it was that ſhould perform the Office of Father:――That he would take care to provide a Licenſe from Doctors Commons, and a Ring, only deſired ſhe would yield that the Ceremony might be performed in ſome private Room, becauſe it was impoſſible to anſwer, but ſome Accident might betray the whole Affair if it were celebrated in a Church, notwithſtanding all the Caution that could be obſerved. As ſhe knew nothing was more cuſtomary among Perſons of Condition than Marriages of this Nature, ſhe made not the leaſt Objection as to the Place he judged proper for the Performance. This material Point being ſettled, they proceeded to others in relation to her Way of Life after Marriage:――In the firſt Place, ſhe was to quit her Aunt’s Houſe on the very Day, and retire to Lodgings he ſhould prepare for her; and as they could not cohabit together, he was to paſs only as one of her Kindred when he came to viſit her: That whenever he went out of Town, he was to ſupply her with a Sufficiency to defray all Expenſes ſhe ſhould or could poſſibly be at till his Return:—That he ſhould write conſtantly, but without ſubſcribing‘ſcribing 216 Ee3v 214216 ſcribing his real Name, once at leaſt every Week, during his Abſence at any time; and that her Anſwers ſhould be always contrived, ſo as to paſs for thoſe of a Gentleman of his Acquaintance, in caſe any of them ſhould happen to be intercepted either by his Mother or any other Perſon. All theſe Preliminaries being fixed, to the Satisfaction of both Parties, Lothario prepared Lodgings for Jemima, a Ring, Licenſe, and every other Requiſite for the Nuptials the very next Day; and the enſuing one early in the Morning, ſhe packed up her Cloaths, and quitted her Aunt’s Houſe, leaving a Letter directed for her which contained theſe Lines. To my Honoured Aunt. Madam, An Opportunity now offering of eaſing you of the Trouble I have ſo many Years been to you, I gladly embrace it; and hope you will pardon my not acquainting you either with the Motives of my Departure, or the Place to which I go:――Be aſſured there are ſtrong Reaſons for my acting in this Manner; and that wherever I am, I ſhall do nothing that may call a Bluſh into the Face of any of my Family:――Think and ſpeak therefore favourably of me, I beſeech you, Madam, till the Situation of my Affairs permits me to acquaint you with the Truth, and “the 217 Ee4r 215217 the World ſhall be made ſenſible of the Fortune of, Madam, Your moſt obedient Niece, and humble Servant, Jemima. With a Heart perfectly at Eaſe, and unapprehenſive of any future Storms in her Voyage of Life, did our Jemima now launch out into the wide Ocean of the World:—She diſcerned not the Rocks and Sands which lay between her and the Harbour of calm Delights, ſo enchanting in the Proſpect:—Nor had ſhe Skill to ſee that gathering Clouds, which were that Inſtant preparing to burſt in Fury on her Head. It muſt be confeſſed, ſhe had behaved with a Diſcretion ſuperior to her Years, and ſuch as not all of our Sex, who love as well as ſhe did, would have been able to preſerve amidſt ſo many Temptations: But, alas! how weak are all the Efforts of Female Wit againſt a Lover armed for our undoing! Lothario, who meant nothing leſs than not to perform one Syllable of all the Promiſes he had made her, finding it impoſſible to gain her on any other Terms than Marriage, and bent not to be fruſtrated in his Wiſh, reſolved to humour her with a mock ‘Ceremony; 218 Ee4v 216218 Ceremony; and to that end got a Fellow who was a Dependant on him to perſonate a Clergyman; his own Valet de Chambre, whom ſhe had never ſeen, was habited like a Country Gentleman, and acted the Part of the Friend he had told her of in giving her Hand. To add to the ſeeming Sincerity of the Thing, when he pronounced after the ſham Parſon theſe Words, With all my Worldly Goods I thee endow, he put into her Hand a Purſe, containing two hundred Pieces of old Gold.—When the Ceremony was over, he invited the pretended Doctor and Gentleman, to partake of an Entertainment he had cauſed to be prepared at a neighbouring Tavern; but they both excuſed themſelves, being ordered to do ſo, fearing, no doubt, that Jemima might diſcover ſomething by their Behaviour, if with them of any long Time, that did not appear of a Piece with the Characters they repreſented. Not only in this, but in every thing elſe, he preſerved ſuch an extreme Caution to hinder her from having the leaſt Suſpicion how cruelly ſhe had been betrayed, that not even the bare Thought there was a Poſſibility of it ever once entered her Head. She lived therefore happy becauſe contented: She had not been accuſtomed to much public Diverſion; nor was ſhe ſo deſirous of it as moſt young People are:――Her Aunt, ‘though 219 Ff1r 217219 though the gayeſt Woman in the World, and a continual Sharer in all the modiſh Pleaſures of the Town, had always confined her at Home, working ſome curious Ornament or other for her Dreſs, or elſe employed in Family Affairs; ſo that living in the Manner ſhe was now obliged to do, in order for her Concealment, was not at all irkſome to her:—She had ſome Hours, almoſt every Day, the Company of the Man ſhe loved, and knew no Want of any other. But this Halcyon Seaſon laſted but a ſhort Time: Buſineſs or a Satiety of the Charms he had taken ſo much Pains to gain, now called him to the Country.――Prepared as ſhe was for it, by the Knowledge he did not live conſtantly in Town, ſhe could not think of parting without Agonies inſupportable:—He did not, indeed, fail to comfort her the beſt he could, and aſſured her he would contrive to make his Abſence as ſhort as poſſible; nor did her Inexperience of Mankind enable her to diſcover, that what he ſaid to her was rather Words of courſe, than flowing from the ſincere Ardors of Affection, ſo had not that Addition to her Griefs. Soon after he was gone ſhe found herſelf with Child, which before ſhe had been inſenſible of:—She wrote the News of it to him in the Character of a third Perſon, as had been agreed between them; and receiv’d for Anſwer, Vol. IV. Ff that 220 Ff1v 218220 that he would not have her under any Concern about her Pregnancy, for he ſhould not fail to take a proper Care both of her and the Infant ſhe ſhould bring into the World; but expreſſed nothing of that Satisfaction at hearing ſhe was about to make him a Father, as might have been expected from a Husband, who ſo tenderly loved his Wife, as ſhe had flattered herſelf he did her. She could not help being a little alarmed at it at first, but the Conſideration, that the Fears of intercepting might lay ſome Reſtraint upon him, joined to the Confidence ſhe had both in his Love and Honour, ſoon diſſipated all uneaſy Reflections on that Score. In about four Months after, he returned to Town; but his Preſence, which ſhe had imagined would give her perfect Happineſs, in a great Meaſure deſtroyed what ſhe had enjoyed in his Abſence.――While he continued in the Country, ſhe was every Day pleaſing herſelf, that the Time of his Approach ſtill grew more near, and indulging the Idea of thoſe Felicities ſhe doubted not but his coming would beſtow: But when ſhe ſaw him, how were all thoſe golden Hopes fruſtrated!—His Words, indeed, were obliging, but his Looks gave the Lie to his Tongue:—His Eyes, thoſe true Intelligencies of the Heart, no longer ſparkled with that impatient Ardor which once was the Indication of his Paſſion:—The Viſits he made ‘her 221 Ff2r 219221 her were much ſhorter than uſual:—He was always full of Buſineſs; always in a Hurry; and whenever ſhe mentioned the Condition ſhe was in, and ſeemed to lament, that a Child really begot in Honour ſhould, at its firſt Entrance into the World, be looked upon as the Offspring of Shame, he only affected to laugh at her Romantic Notions, as he called them, and ſaid he thought ſhe had Reaſon to be quite eaſy;――that the fineſt Women in the World had gone through the ſame; and that when once the Time arrived that he ſhould acknowledge her for his Wife, ſhe would be amply recompenced. All this Jemima knew as well as he, and had often reflected on as the only Comfort under her preſent Situation; but then ſhe thought the Remonstrance did not ſo well become his Mouth, and that the Delicacy of his Paſſion ſhould have made him rather grieve that ſhe could not appear at preſent with all the Advantages of being his Wife. She did not, however, make any Complaints on this Score; and though ſhe had too much Reaſon to ſuſpect a very great Decay in his Affection, yet ſhe only endeavoured, by all the Endearments in her Power, to awake it to its former Energy, without letting him know ſhe perceived any Alteration. Ff2 But 222 Ff2v 220222 But what ſecret Anguiſh ſhe endured while acting in this Manner, let any Woman, whoſe Prudence has enabled her to do the ſame, be Judge! As for Lothario, he gave himſelf no Trouble to dive into her Sentiments, but contented himſelf with finding ſhe made him no Reproaches.—The Truth is, he was now entirely taken up with a new Object:—The Charms of a Lady in the Country had rendered him utterly forgetful of thoſe he had left in Town; nor did his Return to Jemima call back any of thoſe Languiſhments he once had felt for her. He ſtayed no longer in London than ſome Buſineſs, which brought him up, abſolutely obliged him to do; and when he took his Leave of Jemima, ordered her not to write to him till ſhe ſhould receive a Letter from him, becauſe as he ſaid he was going to paſs the Hunting Seaſon with ſome Relations he had in a different County, and could not fix any Place to which they might with Safety be directed. This Story, though invented meerly to avoid the Trouble of her Letters, and the Pains of Diſſimulation in anſwering them, was believed as ſacred Truth by Jemima; and though ſhe regretted the Suſpenſion of the only Pleaſure‘ſure 223 Ff3r 221223 ſure ſhe could enjoy in his Abſence, yet ſhe did not, even in Thought, murmur at the Occaſion. But not to be too tedious:—He departed; many Weeks paſſed over without any Letter from him; and as the Expiration of her Pregnancy drew near, her Anxieties increaſed: But what was a conſiderable Augmentation of her Diſtreſs, the Perſons with whom ſhe lodged having all along regarded her as a kept Miſtreſs, and indeed had no Reaſon to do otherwiſe, told her, that ſhe muſt not expect to lye-in at their Houſe:—That her being there ſo long had occaſioned much Talk in the Neighbourhood, and that if ſhe did not ſpeedily remove, they ſhould be obliged to ſend to the Officers of the Pariſh. How hard was all this to be borne by a Woman, who was conſcious ſhe never had tranſgreſſed the Rules of Virtue, and deteſted far more than Death being the Creature they imagined! It was in vain ſhe offered to depoſite in their Hands more than the Sum that would have been demanded by the Pariſh; all ſhe could ſay had not the leaſt Effect on their inexorable Hearts.—They told her, that it was by the Reputation of their Houſe they lived, not by ſuch as ſhe; that they would have no Baſtard born among them; and in fine, reproached‘proached 224 Ff3v 222224 proached her in a Manner, which would have made any one, leſs ſincere to her Promiſe, declare the whole Truth: But the Duty ſhe owed Lothario as a Husband,—the Obligation he had laid her under of keeping their Marriage an inviolable Secret, and the firm Belief ſhe had that her Innocence would one Day be cleared, gave her Patience to ſuſtain, not only this Shock, but alſo many others which afterwards ſhe met with. Her Youth, however, her Condition, and the Good-nature and Complaiſance ſhe had always behaved with in their Family, at laſt wrought ſo far upon them, that they promiſed to ſpeak to a Midwife of their Acquaintance, with whom, they told her, ſhe might live till delivered of her Burthen, and if ſhe thought fit for a Sum of Money leave it behind her, to be diſpoſed of ſo as never to be troubleſome to her. The firſt Part of this Offer was too agreeable to Jemima not to be accepted with Thanks; but the latter ſhocked her Soul, to think there could be Women in the World capable of ſuch a Barbarity to their Children, as to leave them to the Mercy of thoſe mercenary Creatures. She expreſſed, notwithſtanding, no Part of her Sentiments on that Head to them, perceiving they were fixed in this Opinion, and any thing ſhe could urge in Vindication of herſelf, would ‘appear 225 Ff4r 223225 appear no more than the Affectation of a Virtue ſhe was far from putting into real Practice. A Bargain, though at a very extravagant Rate, being made, Jemima removed with an akeing Heart to her new Habitation; where, however, the fawning Behaviour of the Woman (which ſhe miſtook for true Good-nature and Compaſſion) rendered her in a little Time more eaſy. As ſhe had now more Reaſon than ever to be impatient for a Letter from Lothario, which till ſhe received ſhe could not write to him, and the People whom ſhe had lodged with had aſſured her, that the Moment one directed for her ſhould arrive they would ſend it to her, ſhe was alſo well ſatisfied on that Score. At leaſt ſhe was ſo till a much longer Time than ſhe expected was paſſed over without any Letter being brought; and the Hour of her Delivery being come, ſhe found herſelf the Mother of two Sons: Then it was ſhe began to think it cruel in him who alone had the Power of comforting her, to ſhew ſo little Regard to what might be her Fate. Let any one figure to themſelves the Melancholly of her Condition;—no Husband, no Relation, no one Friend about her to alleviate that Rack of Nature, in which all the Tenderneſs that can be ſhewn, and every Kind of ‘Con- 226 Ff4v 224226 Conſolation that can be given, is neceſſary to render it ſupportable:—Yet how light, how trifling, were the Sorrows ſhe now endured to thoſe which ſoon, very ſoon after, ſhe was obliged to bear! She had not been confin’d many Days to the maternal Bed before her Maid, whom ſhe had hired after leaving her Aunt’s Houſe, and had been recommended to her by the People with whom ſhe lodged, went privately away in the Night taking with her all of Value that the poor Jemima was Miſtreſs of, not only her Money, but her Watch, Tweezer, a Diamond Solitair, and ſeveral other Trinkets, which Lothario in his Days of Fondneſs had beſtowed on her, leaving her nothing for defraying the Expences of the Place ſhe was in, and ſupporting herſelf and Children, but a few Cloaths. It muſt be owned that this was a great Loſs, but Jemima felt not half the Weight of it at firſt:—She conſidered herſelf as married to a Man who could, and ſhe doubted not, would repair it amply; therefore made herſelf not much uneaſy about it. But when the Time, in which Women in her Condition uſually keep their Chamber, was expired, and ſhe had received no Letter from Lothario, then it was that ſhe began to feel how truly miſerable ſhe was:—No Nurſe ‘pro- 227 Gg1r 225227 provided for her Children;――no Money to defray the Charges of her Lying-in:――The late cringing Behaviour of the Midwife now turned to Sourneſs, and Threats of putting her out of the Houſe:――In this terrible Situation ſhe ventured to write to Lothario, and with much Perſuaſions prevailed with the Woman to permit her to ſtay till ſuch Time as ſhe might reaſonably expect an Anſwer. No Anſwer, however, coming, the cruel old Wretch compelled her to ſell her Cloaths, in order for the Payment of her Money; then turned her out of Doors with both her Children, for nobody would take the Charge of them, without Security that they ſhould not become burthenſome to the Pariſh. Behold her now a wretched Wanderer! no Friend to relieve her!—No Habitation in which ſhe might ſhelter herſelf and Infants from the Inclemency of the Air!――To have recourſe to her Aunt, ſeemed little promiſing; yet did ſhe venture to write to her, letting her know ſhe was married, though not to whom, and beſeeching ſhe would afford her ſome Relief, or at leaſt not to ſuffer her two Babies to periſh for want of proper Care being taken of them. She had got leave to ſit in a Shop while ſhe wrote and ſent this Letter by a Boy that run on Errands for the Neighbourhood; but Vol. IV. Gg that 228 Gg1v 226228 that inhuman Woman was ſo far from taking any Compaſſion on her Caſe, that ſhe ordered one of her Maids to go to the Place where the Boy had ſaid ſhe was, and tell her that ſhe would have nothing to do with her;――that if one Shilling would ſave her and her Brats from ſtarving, ſhe would ſooner throw it in the Kennel than beſtow it on her; and that if ſhe durſt to come into the Neighbourhood where ſhe lived, ſhe would ſend her to the Houſe of Correction. The poor Girl was obliged to obey her Lady in delivering this cruel Meſſage, but ſoftened it as much as her Capacity, or indeed the Meaning of it would bear. Tho’ Jemima, who knew perfectly well the Severity of her Aunt’s Temper, and had armed herſelf againſt the worſt ſhe had to expect, yet ſhe could not hear this unnatural Reply to her Requeſt without ſwooning away: The People of the Shop had the Compaſſion to give her a Glaſs of Water with ſome Drops, but as ſoon as ſhe recovered, deſired ſhe would go, as they knew not what might happen, and ſhe had two Children with her. Dalinda’s Maid could not forbear ſhedding Tears, to ſee a Perſon, on whom ſhe had waited, reduced to this miſerable Condition, and put three Shillings into her Hand, which ſhe ſaid was all ſhe at the Time was Miſtreſs of. Poor 229 Gg2r 227229 Poor Jemima thanked her with a Humility befitting her preſent State, but told her, that whatever the Opinion of the World might be of her, ſhe did not doubt but in a ſhort Time to be able to repay the Shillings ſhe had lent with more than an equal Number of Guineas. She then went to ſeveral Houſes which had Bills for Lodgings on their Doors, hoping to get ſome Shelter till ſhe could write again to Lothario; but the little Family ſhe had in her Arms prevented every one from taking her in, and it growing towards dark, ſhe was obliged to go to an Inn, where even there ſhe could not be admitted, till ſhe had conſented to be locked all Night into her Chamber; ſo fearful were they of her going away before they were ſtirring, and leaving the Children on their Hands. How dreadful was this Night to our unhappy Sufferer!—With what Floods of Tears did the fair Forlorn hang over the dear Babes, and mourn their Wants more than her own: —While they, inſenſible of their Misfortunes, fed from their Mother’s Breaſt, ſmiled in her Face, and ſeemed to chide her Griefs. Yet was ſhe not ſo loſt and overwhelmed as to be incapable of Reflection; ſhe remembered there was a juſt, a merciful, and an Almighty Power, who ſaw her Miſeries, and knew ſhe had not by any Act of Shame brought Gg2 them 230 Gg2v 228230 them upon herſelf, ſhe therefore doubted not but to find Relief from them, though by what Means ſhe could not foreſee. How great was the Conſolation which Religion now afforded her! Without that Aid ſhe had inevitably fallen into Deſpair, and perhaps been guilty of ſome Deed ſhocking to Nature; but her Piety gave her Courage prodigious, amazing, and not to be paralelled by any of our Sex! She had alſo the Power of conſidering what was moſt proper to be done: Money ſhe had none, but that poor Pittance ſhe received from the Charity of Dalinda’s Servant.――Friends ſhe had none;――ſhe had been kept ſo much confined by her Aunt, that ſhe had Acquaintance but with few;—an Intimacy with none; a Lodging ſhe found it was impoſſible to procure; What Remedy then remained?――Fate offered but one, and that was to declare the whole Secret of her Marriage with Lothario: —Had ſhe done that, ſhe thought it poſſible to find ſome Perſon who would ſupply her Neceſſities, at leaſt till he could be wrote to, and the Truth explained; but even this ſhe could not be aſſured of, and if ſhe had, could by no Means think of forfeiting the Promiſe ſhe had made Lothario, of keeping his Name and Engagement with her from the Knowledge of all the World, till after the Deceaſe of that Mother‘ther 231 Gg3r 229231 ther whoſe Peace he pretended was ſo dear to him. As ſhe could not be poſitive that he was either falſe or unkind, ſince many Accidents at ſuch a Diſtance might have prevented her receiving any Letter from him, ſhe reſolved to ſuffer any thing rather than violate her Faith. I can but die with my Little-Ones for Want, ſaid ſhe to herſelf, and Life would be a Misfortune to us without the Affection and Support of him from whom alone we can expect it. After many troubleſome and confuſed Thoughts, ſhe found the only Remedy for ſtarving was to beg; and ſince that muſt be the Caſe, it ſeemed better to her to get, by ſuch Means as ſhe could, into the Country where Lothario dwelt, than to ſtay in London without a ſettled Habitation:—She thought, if ſhe had but Strength to walk, the Sight of her Diſtreſs, and her two Children, would excite the Charity of ſome Perſons to give her ſomething toward helping her on her Way, and that when ſhe arrived near her Husband’s Seat ſhe ſhould be able to find out whether he was yet returned from the Excurſion he had told her of, and if he was, to ſend him an Account where ſhe was, and the Accidents which had brought her thither. Some may, perhaps, think this a ſtrange Reſolution,‘Re- 232 Gg3v 230232 ſolution, and find it difficult to believe it ever could be put in Practice:—Yet what elſe remained for her to do?—She had no other Reſource than that one, which, as I have already obſerved, ſhe was abſolutely determined againſt. Early the next Morning, therefore, did ſhe quit the Inn with her dear Load, and ſet out on her weary Pilgrimage:—What Adventures befel her in it ſhall hereafter be related, but we muſt now ſee what was become of Lothario. That gay, unthinking Rover now gave himſelf as little Concern about Jemima as about any of the former Victims of his too dangerous Allurements:――A ſerious Attachment had ever been the Subject of his Ridicule, and his Creed in the Affairs of Love, theſe Lines of Dryden’s: There’s no ſuch Thing as Conſtancy we call,Faith ties not Hearts, ’tis Inclination all;Some Wit deform’d, or Beauty much decay’d,Firſt Conſtancy in Love a Virtue made:From Friendſhip they that Landmark did remove,And falſly plac’d it on the Bounds of Love. A fine young Lady with a very large Fortune however being propoſed to him for Marriage, he either was, or imagined himſelf, very ‘much 233 Gg4r 231233 much in Love with her:――He was at leaſt enough ſo as that her Charms eraſed all the Impreſſion made by thoſe of the unfortunate Jemima; and though the firſt Letters of that poor Creature had reached his Hands, he happened to receive them at Times when he was in a Hurry going on ſome Party of Pleaſure or other with this new Idol of his Affections. I must do him the Juſtice, notwithſtanding, to ſay, that thoſe laſt, which contained the Hiſtory of her Diſtreſs, had not the good Fortune to meet him for ſome Time, the Reaſon of which was this:—He was at a very great Horſe-Race with his Charmer, her Uncle, and ſeveral other of her Relations; and not being altogether free from Vanity, as they rode round the Circle, he muſt needs, to ſhew his Skill in Horſemanſhip, oblige the Beaſt to prance and curvet more than at that Time he cared, he grew reſtive, and giving a ſudden Spring with all his Force, whether it were the Girts of the Saddle had not been taken due Care of, or whether the Strength of the Horſe exceeded the Art of the oſtentatious Rider, is uncertain; but he was thrown off, and dragged with one Foot in the Stirrup for ſeveral Yards, before any one could be quick enough to come to his Relief. By this Accident one of his Legs was broke, and his Body extremely bruiſed:――As the Seat of his Miſtreſs’s Uncle was much nearer than his own, he was carried there, and the moſt 234 Gg4v 232234 moſt skilful Surgeon in thoſe Parts immediately ſent for. Here he continued from the Time Jemima was turned out of her Lodging till ſhe had lain in, and was alſo cruelly forced from the Houſe of the Midwife:—What Letters ſhe ſent came ſafe to his Houſe, but the Tenderneſs of his Mother would ſuffer none to be ſent to him, as thinking, if they were of no Conſequence, it would be but impertinent to trouble him with them till he was more eſtabliſhed; and if they were ſuch as might be any way affecting to him, the Knowledge of their Contents might add to his Diſorder. This good Lady, however, had not the Curioſity to open any one that came, as there were ſeveral beſides thoſe from Jemima; for in fine, ſhe was in every thing, except her maternal Tenderneſs, the very reverſe of what her Son, to carry on his baſe Deſigns, had repreſented her. Heaven, long a Witneſs of the Wrongs Lothario had been guilty of to our credulous Sex, now thought fit to take the Part of Innocence betrayed and diſtreſſed:—His Leg was perfectly recovered, but thoſe inward Bruiſes he received brought on him a Decay, which was very viſible to himſelf as well as others; he had a continual Soreneſs at his Stomach, and an Oppreſſion at his Heart;—in ſhort, he ‘was 235 Hh1r 233235 was judged to be falling into a Conſumption, and the Change he felt in his Frame of Body made an adequate Change in his way of thinking.—He reflected on a thouſand Things he had been guilty of, which in the Time of acting he looked on only as the Amuſements of Youth, now as the Vices of it; and all thoſe wild Frolicks, which once he imagined conſtituted the Character of a fine accompliſhed Gentleman, ſeemed now to him to form that of an abandoned Libertine. As ſoon as he was able to endure his Coach, he was carried Home, where he met with all the Letters of Jemima, which, though being obliged to write in a myſterious Manner, did not ſufficiently deſcribe her Diſtreſs, nor indeed was then the worſt Part of it arrived, expreſſed yet enough to ſtrike him with Horror at the baſe Deception he had put on her at firſt, and his cruel Forgetfulneſs and Neglect of her afterwards. He wrote immediately one general Anſwer to all thoſe from her, letting her know the Accident that had befallen him, conjuring her to be eaſy and ſatisfied till ſhe ſaw him, which he told her, ſhould be as ſoon as Health would permit; but in the mean Time, encloſed a Bank Bill of an hundred Pounds in order to ſatisfy the fooliſh Scruples of the People ſhe was with. Vol. IV. Hh This 236 Hh1v 234236 This was directed to the Midwife’s Houſe, for in her laſt ſhe had acquainted him with being compelled to take that Aſylum, and arrived two Days after that in which Jemima was turned out of Doors; the Woman had the Impudence to open it out of Curioſity, believing ſhe ſhould never be called in Queſtion for it, or ſee Jemima more; but when ſhe found the Tenderneſs it abounded with, and the Air of Reſpect it carried, ſhe repented her of her Temerity, and ſealed it up again, with the Bill in it, in the beſt Manner ſhe could. Lothario in the mean Time became extremely ill, his inward Languiſhments every Hour increaſed;――he loathed his Food,— was unable to take any Repoſe, yet had not Power to quit his Bed:—The Phyſicians found him in a very deep Conſumption, and could not flatter his afflicted Mother with any Hopes of Life:—He eaſily judged by the Countenances of all about him, as well by what he felt within him, that he ſhould be but a very little Time a Sharer in this World:—The receiving no Anſwer from Jemima to his laſt Letter, greatly added to his Diſeaſe;—he concluded ſhe was dead,—perhaps, ſaid he to himſelf, through Grief of my Unkindneſs, and the barbarous Treatment of thoſe mercenary Wretches ſhe was thrown among. At other Times, Heavens! would he ſay, what a Monſter of Villany muſt I appear to the ‘World, 237 Hh2r 235237 World whenever this black Myſtery is unravelled!――Was it not enough, that I by Lies, and all the Stratagems that wicked Wit could form, betrayed her Innocence, and triumphed over a Virtue impregnable to common Arts; but I muſt alſo murder the unfortunate Victim of my wild Deſires!――’Tis poſſible too, added he, the little Wretches who owe their Being to me! Horrors unſpeakable attended theſe Reflections:—He fell into a kind of Deſpair; but in his calmer Moments wiſhed only that ſhe might be living, and that Heaven would allow him Life enough to make a Reparation for the Injuries he had done her, and the Miſeries ſhe had ſuſtained. Frequently revolving in his Mind what it was he ought to do, he grew at laſt reſolute to do it:――Accordingly he related to his Mother the whole Affair, ſhewing her Jemima’s Letters, and explaining every Paſſage: The old Lady was extremely amazed, but far from condemning the preſent Sentiments of his Heart.—But the bare acknowledging his Error did not now ſeem ſufficient for the penitent Lothario:—He diſpatched a Meſſenger to London, the very ſame Man who had performed the Office of Father in giving him her Hand; he had Orders to ſearch for her in all Parts, and not return till he had found her; and that in caſe he were ſo fortunate, to bring her down in a Coach and Six, with her two little ones, and Hh2 ‘proper 238 Hh2v 236238 proper Attendants for a Woman whom he declared his lawful Wife. Wonderful Reſolution!――But what cannot Sickneſs bring about!—When the gay Scenes of Life are all cloſed up;――when all the Companions of our former Pleaſures fly our Converſe, and we no longer are Society for any but the old and grave;—when melancholly Faces only approach the darkened Room;――when our Strength decays, all our Spirits languid, and Death knocks at the Heart; then it is that the Idea of our paſt Errors riſe in dreadul Proſpect before the Eyes of our Imagination, and menace future Woes. His Mind, however, was ſomewhat more compoſed after the Departure of the Meſſenger, but his Body had little or no Relief from Medicine:――His Mother was inconſolable, but did every thing in her Power to comfort him; and as ſhe found the Care of Jemima and his two Sons chiefly engroſſed his Thoughts, gave him continual Aſſurances, that if ſhe was ſo miſerable as to ſurvive him, thoſe Perſons ſo near and dear to him ſhould ſhare all her Tenderneſs. The Fellow entruſted on this Errand by Lothario, went about it with a great deal of Alacrity, not only as he ſaw his Maſter’s Peace, perhaps his Life, depended on the Succeſs of ‘it, 239 Hh3r 237239 it, but alſo as he had always thought what he had acted in regard to Jemima was treacherous and baſe. Having a good Horſe, and a willing Mind he reached London ſooner than could have been expected.—The firſt Place he went to was the Midwife, whom he rated bitterly for her Cruel Uſage of a young Lady, who, he ſaid, might eaſily be diſcovered, not to be one of thoſe who proſtitute themſelves for Hire.— She made what aukward Excuſes ſhe could; ſaid, It was Madam’s own Fault; if ſhe had told her the Truth, Care ſhould have been taken of her and her Children too. Then, to prove her Honeſty, delivered into his Hands the Letter, with the Bill before-mentioned in it. Thence he went to Dalinda, but with what a Torrent of Abuſe and Scurrility, did he hear the Reputation of the poor Jemima overwhelmed by this barbarous Woman! And when he endeavoured to put a Stop to it, by aſſuring her, that ſhe was his Maſter’s Wife, that he had declared her ſuch to his Mother, and all his Friends, and that he himſelf had been witneſs of the Marriage; ſhe either did not, or pretended not to believe one Syllable of what he ſaid, but perſiſted in calling her Vagabond, infamous Strumpet, and all the opprobrious Names that Malice could invent;――concluding with wiſhing ſhe and her Brats might be ‘dead, 240 Hh3v 238240 dead, that with them the Scandal ſhe had brought upon their Family might ceaſe. The Man was ſhocked at her Brutality; but perceiving, that the more he eſpouſed the Cauſe of this unhappy Creature, the more bitter ſhe grew, and alſo that there was no Intelligence to be gained from this Quarter, took his Leave, though not without telling her, he was certain that his Maſter, if he lived, would reſent the Treatment ſhe ſo unjuſtly gave his Wife. Where now to direct his Search he was wholly at a Loſs:――Being fully informed by the Midwife of the miſerable Condition in which ſhe left her Houſe, he had recourſe to all the Pariſh-Nurſes, Hoſpitals, Work-houſes, leaving no Place of Public Charity, without making the moſt ſtrict Enquiry; but not the leaſt Information could he receive, and after having rambled over this wide City and Suburbs for ſeveral Days without any Succeſs, he began to fear, leſt in that Depth of Miſery ſhe had been plunged into, ſhe ſhould have fallen into Deſpair, and put an End to her own Life, and thoſe which ſhe had no longer any Means of preſerving. With a Mind, which theſe Thoughts rendered very much troubled, did he ſet out for his Return, almoſt dreading to ſee his Maſter’s Face, ſince unable to carry home to him any ‘Part 241 Hh4r 239241 Part of what he ſo ardently wiſhed, that it ſeemed as if his Life depended on it. Jemima’s Sufferings were however not yet arrived to their Period; Heaven thought fit to try her yet a little farther, thereby to make her Virtue more conſpicuous:—While the Servant of Lothario was in queſt of her, with Honour, Peace, and Plenty in his Hand, ſhe was running through Dangers, Hardſhips, and Sorrows, which nothing but the Supreme Giver of Courage, and her perfect Confidence in him, could have enabled her to ſuſtain. Slow was the Progreſs ſhe made in her long Journey, not being able to travel more than five or ſix Miles in a whole Day, though it was then Summer, and the Sun ruled three Parts of the four and twenty Hours. It would be endleſs to recount the many Rebuffs ſhe met with when craving any Aſſiſtance to help her on her Way, and the Difficulty ſhe found in getting Lodging for herſelf and Little-Ones, even though ſhe offered to pay them for it before-hand:—The Wretches ſcrupled to give her Shelter becauſe ſhe had not a Paſs, and ſome were cruel enough to tell her, they were ſure ſhe had been whipt out of London; for were ſhe an honeſt Womean, the Magiſtrates would not have refuſed to give her that Teſtimony of her good Behaviour. ‘Some 242 Hh4v 240242 Some few indeed were more merciful, and whatever their Opinion might be of the Cauſe of her Diſtreſs, the Diſtreſs they ſaw in her excited their Charity, and for their own Sakes made them relieve her Wants. Alternately ſhe happened among Savages and Chriſtians, but even the latter, too much influenced by Appearances, were very ſparing of their Bounty; and it would have been utterly impoſſible for her, weakened as ſhe was by hard Living, and the immenſe Fatigue ſhe underwent, had not that Almighty Being, who when we think him fartheſt from us is often neareſt to us with his Aid, ſnatched her now almoſt ſinking Soul from the Miſeries in which it had ſo long been plunged, and graciouſly rewarded the Virtue it had tried. She had not reached quite the Mid-way to where ſhe wiſhed to be, before ſhe became ſo weak that ſhe rather crept than walked, and ſometimes was near falling:――Unable to ſupport the Weight of the two Children at once, ſhe would lay one down, and carry the other a little farther,—then place that in the ſame Manner, and go back and fetch him ſhe had left behind; by this Means, though ſhe eaſed her Burthen, ſhe increaſed her Steps. Either a Pebble, or ſome Piece of broken Glaſs in the Road, had cut one of her Feet; and ſhe ſat down under a Hedge, and plucked ‘off 243 Ii1r 241243 off her Shoe and Stocking, where perceiving the Blood run pretty plentifully, ſhe waſhed it with her Tears, and wiped it with a Handkerchief ſhe took out of a little Bag tied to her Side, and contained all the poor Neceſſaries ſhe had for herſelf and Infants. Little did ſhe think any Eye but that of Heaven ſaw her in this Employment, till having dreſſed her Wound, as well as ſhe could, and given Suck to both the Children, ſhe was preparing to proſecute her Journey in the ſame Faſhion, but was hindered by a Footman, who came running haſtily croſs the Field toward her. As ſoon as he came near enough to be heard by her, Stay, good Woman, ſaid he, you ſeem to be in an ill Condition to travel;—my Maſter and Lady, who have obſerved you, have therefore ordered you ſhould come to their Houſe and take ſome Refreſhment. She lifted up her Hands and Eyes to Heaven in Token of Acknowledgment, and ſaw, which before ſhe had not done, the Back Part of a fine Seat, which had a Summer Houſe on the Garden Wall, and directly oppoſite to the Place where ſhe had been ſitting. The Man took both the Children out of her Arms, and carried them for her, and ſhe followed, though with a very limping Pace, Vol. IV. Ii ‘through 244 Ii1v 242244 through a little Gate on the farther Side of the Field, which opened into the Back Part of the Houſe. Jemima was then conducted into a Parlour, where ſat a Gentleman and Lady both of Middle Age, but who had all the Virtues of Humanity imprinted on their Faces.――The Lady asked her ſeveral Queſtions, as whence ſhe came, how far ſhe intended to travel; and the Reaſon of her being reduced to ſuch a miſerable Situation; to the two former our Heroine anſwered with Plainneſs and Sincerity, but as to the latter only ſaid many odd Circumſtances had concurred to render her ſo.— The Gentleman then ſaid, I ſuppoſe you have loſt your Husband, perhaps before the Birth of theſe Children. No, Sir, replied ſhe, I hope he is ſtill living, and that the ſame gracious Power which has brought me ſo far on my Way, will in the End conduct me to him. As they perceived ſhe ſpoke with ſome Agitation, and the Marks of Grief were burſting in her Eyes, they would not trouble her with any farther Interrogatories, but ordered the Footman to let the Houſekeeper know, it was their Pleaſure this unfortunate Stranger ſhould have every thing needful for her Refreſhment. Nothing could be performed with greater Punctuality than theſe Commands; our fair Wanderer found herſelf treated with no leſs ‘Ten- 245 Ii2r 243245 Tenderneſs than ſhe could have been had ſhe been known for what ſhe was. But the Hoſpitality of thoſe worthy Perſons did not stop here. They would not ſuffer her to think of proſecuting her Journey in the Manner ſhe had done:――They informed her, that a Waggon always paſſed by that Road, which went to the Place to which ſhe was going, and ſhe ſhould be put into it with her Children, and Money given to defray the other Expences. This was joyful News indeed to Jemima, not only as it would be ſuch an Eaſe to her Fatigue, but alſo that ſhe ſhould arrive there much ſooner than ſhe could propoſe to do by the Way ſhe had hitherto travelled; and now all her Prayers to Heaven were that ſhe might find Lothario at her Arrival.—Should he happen to have left his Seat and gone to London, while I have been purſuing him with theſe weary Steps, ſaid ſhe to herſelf, it would be the extremeſt Malice of my Fate, and all I have ſo long ſuffered be but the Beginning of my Sorrows. But theſe deſponding Thoughts only juſt flaſhed upon her and were gone:—She would give way to nothing which ſhould render her unworthy the Care of Providence by diſtruſting it, and reſolute to be always thankful for the Good, and to endure with Patience Ii2 ‘all 246 Ii2v 244246 all the Ills it ſhould inflict, brought her Mind into that happy Compoſure, which meaner Souls are incapable of knowing. The third Day after her Arrival at this Aſſylum was that in which the Waggon uſually came by; but little did ſhe think ſhe was much nearer to the Accompliſhment of her Wiſhes than her moſt ſanguine Hopes could have flattered her with. How wonderful, how myſterious are the Ways of Heaven! By what unſeen, ungueſſed at Means are frequently the greateſt Events brought about! She roſe early in the Morning, to give as little Trouble to the Servants as ſhe could, and came down Stairs. As they were preparing her Breakfaſt, and ſhe was ſitting with one Infant in her Lap, and the other lying on a little Stool near her, a Footman came haſtily in, and called to the Butler, ſaying, John, here’s your Brother at the Gate. The Fellow ran haſtily, and preſently returned with a Perſon with him, whoſe Face Jemima thought ſhe was acquainted with. But on viewing him more attentively, and hearing him ſpeak, recollected it was no other man than him who had aſſiſted at her Marriage, and been paſſed upon her as a Country Gentleman. A Thousand various Thoughts at once ‘aſſailed 247 Ii3r 245247 aſſailed her:—To ſee before her Eyes a Perſon, who ſo well knew the Truth of her Engagements with Lothario, and at the ſame time to ſee him in a Character ſo widely different from what ſhe could have expected, raiſed in her ſuch confuſed Emotions as her Spirits were unable to ſuſtain, and ſhe fainted away. The Servants running to her Aſſiſtance, made the Stranger turn his Eyes that Way; but, good God! what was his Aſtoniſhment, his Joy, when in the Face of this fair Afflicted, he plainly diſcovered the Features of her he had with ſo much Pains been ſearching.— All the Time they were bringing her to herſelf, and ſome Moments after her Recovery, he was able to utter nothing but Acclamations of Tranſport, and ſhe herſelf was the firſt to gain Preſence of Mind to enquire about Lothario.—He then gave her a brief Detail of the Anxiety Lothario was in to ſee her, and the Impatience the good old Lady expreſſed to embrace her, and her two Grandchildren;— of the fruitleſs Enquiries he had made for her all over London, and how he was returning with a Heart oppreſſed with Grief, when he was ſo fortunate to call that Way to ſee his Brother. Tho’ Jemima did not comprehend the whole of the Affair, yet ſhe gathered enough by what he ſaid, to know that Heaven had ‘been 248 Ii3v 246248 been working very great Things in her Favour. The Eclairciſement, however, of her Quality and Condition was plain enough to all who heard it; but one of the Maids who had taken a particular Fancy to her, was ſo tranſported at it, that ſhe could not forbear running in to her Lady, and acquainting her with what had paſſed. The Lady herſelf was aſtoniſhed at ſo extraordinary an Event, and impatient to be confirmed, ſent for Jemima, and the Servant of Lothario, whoſe Maſter they were perfectly acquainted with. After having gratified her Curioſity to the utmoſt, and hearing the dangerous Situation of Lothario’s Health, thought no Time was to be loſt, and therefore told Jemima ſhe ſhould have her Coach and Six immediately got ready, which, as the Roads were good, would carry her home that Night. It would be needleſs to recite the Congratulations of the one Part, and the Acknowledgments of the other.—’Tis eaſy to ſuppoſe they were befitting the Perſons and Occaſion.—I ſhall only ſay, that the Lady would needs compel Jemima, to exchange the Habit ſhe had on for a rich Robe de Chambre of her own, and all other Things ſhe had Occaſion for. She alſo made the Children be wrapt in ‘fine 249 Ii4r 247249 fine Mantles, and as ſoon as every Thing was ready they ſet forward, attended by the Lady’s own Woman in the Coach, and a Servant on Horſeback. No ill Accident intervening, they arrived, about the Duſk in the Evening, at the Seat of Lothario, where Jemima had the infinite Satisfaction to find herſelf received with the extremeſt Tenderneſs by a Mother whoſe Character ſhe had formerly been made ſo much to dread. The firſt Teſtimony ſhe gave her of her Goodneſs, was to make Preſents to thoſe who had attended her, which were two Guineas to the Footman, three to the Coachman, and five to the Woman, into the latter of whoſe Hands ſhe alſo put a Letter ſhe had wrote to her Lady, full of Acknowledgments of the Favours ſhe had conferred on her Daughter- in-law, and Grandchildren, and entreating ſhe would accept of the ſmall Token of her Gratitude which ſhe encloſed in it, and was indeed a Diamond Ring of conſiderable Value. The Happineſs of Jemima would now have been perfect, had Lothario’s State of bodily Health been equal to that of his Mind; but alas his mortal Frame was too far exhauſted, and the Lamp of Life near being extinguiſhed on her Arrival――Great Precaution was taken, leſt 250 Ii4v 248250 leſt what he moſt deſired ſhould be fatal to him;—they did not therefore inform him all at once that ſhe was come, yet when he ſaw her, he fell into Faintings alarming to all preſent. It would be impoſſible to deſcribe the Concern that overwhelmed her tender Heart, and what a Mixture of Delight and Grief ſhe felt at the Marks of an unfeigned Affection he gave, on his Recovery, to herſelf and little ones. Perceiving within himſelf, however, that his Date of Life was almoſt expired, he ordered his Will to be made, in which he ſettled five hundred Pounds a Year by way of Jointure on his dear Wife, ſix thouſand Pounds as a Portion for his younger Son, with ſome few other Legacies, and the Bulk of his Eſtate on the firſt-born of Jemima. But I muſt not forget to inform my Reader, that in order to leave every Thing as ſecure as poſſible, he had the beſt Civilians as well as Divines conſulted on the Subject of his Marriage, who all agreed it was valid, and no Manner of Diſpute could afterwards ariſe upon it. His worldly Affairs being thus ſettled to his Mind, he devoted himſelf entirely to the Thoughts of a future State, and died in a few Days full of Reſignation and Compoſedneſs. ‘Such 251 Kk1r 249251 Such a Loſs could not but be very affecting to Jemima as well as to his Mother, but both theſe excellent Perſons were too well acquainted with their Duty not to ſubmit to the Will of Heaven; ſo I ſhall only ſay, that after the firſt Emotions were over, each endeavoured to conſole the other. Our Heroine indeed gave the trueſt Proof of her Affection, by forming, and perſevering in a Reſolution never to know a ſecond Bed, and by the Care of his Children’s Education, who promiſe to be hereafter ſhining Examples, that in an Age abounding with Vice and Folly, it is not impoſſible to be wiſe and virtuous. It is now ſixteen Years ſince the Deceaſe of Lothario, in which Time ſhe has rejected every Offer made her on the Score of Marriage, and has continued to live with the old Lady, and paid her all the Reſpect of a Daughter; and the other treated her in the ſame Manner as if ſhe had been her own:— An entire Harmony has always ſubſiſted between them, and the Story of Jemima’s Sufferings being ſoon made public, every Body admired the Proofs ſhe had given of ſo uncommon a Fortitude;—all but Dalinda, who had too much Envy in her Nature to hear of her Niece’s Happineſs, and the Praiſes given to her, without throwing out a thouſand invidious Reflections, which however were little regarded by thoſe who heard them. A Kk ‘pure 252 Kk1v 250252 pure and upright Mind will, like the Sun, ever get the better of all the Miſts of Detraction and Ill-nature. As one of the beſt of our Engliſh Poets ſays, Tho’ plung’d in Ills, and exercis’d in Care,Yet never let the noble Mind deſpair;For Bleſſings always wait on virtuous Deeds,And tho’ a late, and ſure Reward ſucceeds. But of all the Admirers of her good Qualifications, none was more ſincerely ſo, than that Lady by whom ſhe had been ſo bounteouſly relieved, and at whoſe Houſe ſhe fortunately met with the only Perſon who had it in his Power to put an End at once to her Fatigues. The two Families are perfectly united, and as neither of them are any great Lovers of the Town, whenever they make an Excurſion it is only to each other. And now let me end this tedious Narrative with wiſhing, that whenever any of my Sex ſhall be in the ſame Dilemma with Jemima, they may, by the ſame Fortitude and Patience, be extricated from it.
The ingenious Authoreſs of this Hiſtory has related all the Paſſages of it in ſo agreeable and inſtructive a Manner, that ſhe has left 253 Kk2r 251253 left little Room for any Additions from the Female Spectator.
Both Sexes may indeed find very good Leſſons for the Improvement of their Morals;— a juſt Remorſe ariſing from a Conſciouſneſs of Guilt in Lothario, Patience and Courage under the moſt ſhocking of all Diſtreſſes in Jemima, and Hoſpitality and Charity in that worthy Lady who relieved her, are all too beautifully painted, not to make the ſenſible Reader deeply affected with them.
I would fain, however, have the Ladies reflect on the Danger of clandeſtine Marriages;— there are Men, who, like Lothario, have the Power of deceiving, and not, like him, are capable of remembering they have done aught amiſs; and had Heaven not in a peculiar Manner touched the Heart of this once gay Rover, what muſt have become of the undone Jemima!—By what Means could ſhe have proved herſelf his Wife!—Would not the whole World have laughed at her aſſerting ſuch a Thing? And with all that Stock of Honour, Fidelity, and the thouſand other Virtues ſhe was Miſtreſs of, would ſhe have been look’d upon as any better than a Proſtitute, and muſt not herſelf and helpleſs Infants have been render’d as wretched and contemptible as they now are happy!
So many Circumſtances, ’tis true, concurr’d to make 254 Kk2v 252254 make her conſent to a Marriage of this Nature, that tho’ I trembled for the Event, as I was reading Part of her Hiſtory, I could find nothing to condemn in what ſhe did; but all are not furniſhed with the like Motives, yet headlong venture on what has no Medium in its Conſequences, but when failing to make them perfectly happy, is ſure to make them conſummately miſerable.
But as I intend hereafter to make this Subject a Part of my Lucubrations, I ſhall ſay no more of it at this Time, but conclude with wiſhing the amiable Jemima all the Satisfaction ſhe can hope for from Children who can never pay too much Duty to ſuch a Mother.
End of the Twenty-Second Book.
The Female Spectator.
As theſe Eſſays are now drawing toward a Period, and I am deſirous of obliging as many as I can of thoſe Correſpondents, who have any Pretence to the Favour of the Public, whether it be for Wit, Humour, or Matter of Improvement, my Readers ſhall this Month be entertained chiefly with the Works of others, in order as they come to Hand.To the Female Spectator. Madam, IWas one of the firſt who ſubſcribed to your Undertaking, and have ever ſince continued to do ſo; which is enough to convinceIV. Ll vince 256 Ll1v 254256 vince you how well I have been pleaſed with it, without making any farther Encomiums. But notwithſtanding the Satisfaction your Works in general have afforded me, you muſt allow me to tell you, that I think you a little in the wrong, in one Poſition you have advanced; and flatter myſelf you will pardon my taking this Liberty, ſince it is nothing you have Reaſon to be aſhamed of, and were only led into by an Exceſs (if I may ſo call it) of Sincerity and Openneſs of Heart. In your laſt Book of Volume the third, you were pleaſed to give us a Diſſertation upon Lying, which I believe charmed all your Readers, at leaſt it did as many as I heard mention it, which I aſſure you were no inconſiderable Body: And indeed you have ſo admirably painted out the Folly and Wickedneſs of that Vice, in the Inſtances you ſet before our Eyes of the boaſtful, the marvellous, the abuſive, and the evaſive Lye, as I think muſt render it deteſtable to thoſe moſt guilty of it.—I doubt not but it has had the good Effect you intended, and can really felicitate you on one Convert of my particular Acquaintance, who ſeldom uſed to come into any Company, without having ſome new Wonder to entertain them with; and ſince his reading your Book, is become ſo very ſparing of his Hyperboles, that he now ſcarce gives to Matters 257 Ll2r 255257 Matters of Fact, ſuch Epithets as they might juſtly merit.――So liable are we to fly from one Extreme to its contrary. And now, Madam, having told my ſincere Opinion, as to the greateſt Part of the the above-mentioned Eſſay, you muſt give me leave to be no leſs free, as to that which does not ſo well pleaſe me, giving you my Promiſe beforehand, to advance nothing through Partiality, or what I will not take upon me to defend by Arguments, which ſeem to me unanſwerable. To come then briefly to the Point. I think the Love you bear to Truth renders you guilty of a too great Auſterity, when you condemn thoſe things as highly criminal, which no Perſon of Underſtanding looks on as any other than meer Amuſement:—I mean the little Fictions with which our News-Papers every Day abound, and by their manifeſt Contradictions and Improprieties are highly diverting to the Reader. I can by no Means agree with you, that when Affairs are of ſuch a Nature as is improper to be communicated to the Public, all our Oracles ſhould ceaſe, and we be told nothing at all, rather than be impoſed upon, as you phraſe it, by fabulous Accounts; and the Reaſons why I cannot have the Honour to be of your Way of thinking are theſe: First, 258 Ll2v 256258 First, becauſe I take it for granted, no Man in his right Senſes can be impoſed upon by what is communicated to him in this Manner. And ſecondly, becauſe in Time of Calamity, every Thing that ſerves in the leaſt Degree to exhilerate the Spirits, and exerciſe the riſible Faculty, ought not to be depreciated. That this is the Effect of thoſe poor harmleſs Papers, which for a long Time have iſſued from the Preſs, I believe no Body will deny.—I appeal even to the Female Spectator herſelf, ſevere as ſhe is, if ſhe has not ſometimes been forced into a Smile at reading the grave Abſurdities they frequently contain. Those who are leaſt inclined to favour Pantomime, cannot forbear laughing, in ſpite of their Diſlike, at the little Tricks and Artifices of Harlequin; and certainly none we ſee, in thoſe Entertainments on the Stage, can be more ludicrous than the Intelligences I ſpeak of, and am defending, merely becauſe they are ſo. For Example, did ever the celebrated Mr. Lun whip with greater Agility through a Table Drawer, a Looking Glaſs, or Corner-Cupboard, than theſe Accounts make, whoever they have a Mind to kill or ſave, paſs from Death to Life, or from Captivity to Triumph? ――Have we not been told one Day, that a General 259 Ll3r 257259 General Officer, after his Throat being cut almoſt from Ear to Ear, was taken Priſoner, and his Wound ſewed up, but with very little Hopes of Life; and the very next, did not the ſame Paper inform us, that he was about one hundred Leagues diſtant from the Place where he was ſaid to be wounded, at the Head of his Regiment, ravaging the Country; and all this and many other ſuch Contradictions, in the Space of twenty-four Hours, without the leaſt Apology made for the foregoing Miſtakes? Which ſhews the Authors of them indeed above the Modeſty of deſiring they ſhould paſs for ſuch. Are not the greateſt Princes in the World repreſented to us under ſuch different Characters, that him who is called weak and wilful at one Time, at another is magnified for a ſecond Solomon?—As to Fleets, Embarkations, Armies, Battles, they are thrown together in a moſt pleaſant Medley, and Victories and Defeats given alternately to one Side and the other; ſo that neither can be ſaid to have any Cauſe to be offended, and the Reader at Home is diverted, or at leaſt amuſed at the Expence of no Body. Upon my Word, Madam, we ſhould paſs our Time at the Coffee-Houſes very dully, if it were not for theſe Fictions, which the more extravagant and enormous they are anſwer the End we propoſe by reading them the better. Therefore, 260 Ll3v 258260 Therefore, as they neither impoſe upon the Underſtanding, nor are any other Way hurtful, but on the contrary fill up the Vacuum in the Mind, which perhaps might be worſe employed, I will venture to pronounce them a Sort of Lyes, which plead their own Forgiveneſs. But there is yet another Motive, which methinks ſhould abate the Aſperity of a Female Spectator, which is, the Conſideration that theſe Inventions put Bread into Mouths which otherwiſe would want it――Many a wretched Author muſt ſtarve in his Garret if Extracts of pretended Letters from Abroad did not ſupport him: It is a Half Crown ſoon earn’d, and readily paid by the Publiſher, who finds his own Account in it by the Sale of his Paper. Numbers alſo of poor People, called Hawkers, get a comfortable Subſiſtence by retailing or lending out theſe daily Romances, which are equally amuſing to the Country as the Town. For Heaven’s Sake therefore, Madam, ceaſe to condemn what is ſo beneficial to the needy Part of Mankind, and ſo diverting to the better Sort; nor deſcend to paſs a ſerious Cenſure of ſuch Untruths as have it not in their Power to deceive. We ought methinks to conſider them in the ſame Light, with thoſe ‘Tales 261 Mm1r 259261 Tales of Giants and Fairies which Nurſes tell the Children they have under their Care, in order to keep them out of Miſchief, and pleaſe their Fancies as they ſit quietly by the Fire-ſide. I flatter myſelf, that what I have ſaid on this Head will be convincing not only to you, but to as many as ſhall read it; that the Accounts given in our News-Papers, deſerve not to be blended with thoſe other Lyes, which do ſo much Miſchief in the World; and am, however we may differ in this Particular, with the greateſt Admiration of your Writings in general, Madam, Your moſt humble and moſt devoted Servant, L. D. Little Britain, 1745-12-30December30 1745. P. S. I ſhould be glad to know your Sentiments on what I have advanced, and that I have your Pardon for the Liberty I take.
The latter of theſe Requeſts, the Gentleman may be aſſured of our Compliance with, not only by our inſerting his Epiſtle, but alſo by the Declaration we long ſince made, that every Correſpondent was free to ſpeak his Opinion; but deſire to be excuſed from making any Comment on his Poſition.—Our Readers will doubtleſs do it for us; and he will be the better Judge of Vol. IV. Mm what 262 Mm1v 260262 what the Public thinks of it, than if any Attempt were made by the Female Spectator, to influence either Favour or Cenſure.
The next that lies before us on the Table, is on a Subject, which tho’ more than once touched upon in the Courſe of theſe Lucubrations, can never be too often repeated, nor can pall upon the Mind of any juſtly thinking Reader.To the Female Spectator. Madam, As it is eaſy to perceive by thoſe Writings with which you have obliged the Public, that you are far from one of thoſe who believe the Doctrine of Non-Entity after Death, I fancy there is no Occaſion for an Apology for my ſending you a few looſe Thoughts which occaſionally occurred to me on reading ſome Paſſages in Lucretius. It is the Misfortune of this great Stickler againſt Futurity, and indeed of all thoſe who have copied after him, to fall into ſuch Contradictions, as I think muſt be manifeſt to any one who conſiders them; and which it would puzzle all their Learning and Philoſophy to reconcile. But it would be quite unfair to lay an Accuſation of this Kind, without producing ſome Proofs of the Truth of it. I ſhall therefore quote two or three Paſſages out of the many 263 Mm2r 261263 many might be brought from that Work, which for its Elegance and Purity of Stile is very juſtly admired, but I am ſorry to ſay has made but too many Proſelites. For the Benefit of thoſe who may not underſtand the Original, I ſhall give them as they are excellently well tranſlated by Mr. Dryden. Intending I ſuppoſe to guard his Readers, againſt the Fears of Death, he ſays, What has this Bugbear Death to frighten Man,If Souls can die as well as Bodies can?For, as before our Birth we felt no Pain,So, when our mortal Part ſhall be diſjoin’d,The lifeleſs Lump, uncoupled from the Mind,From Senſe of Grief, and Pain we ſhall be free;We ſhall not feel, becauſe we ſhall not be:Nay, ev’n ſuppoſe when we have ſuffer’d Fate,The Soul could feel in her divided State,What’s that to us? for we are only We,While Souls and Bodies in one Frame agree: Here I cannot forbear interrupting him by asking, What then? Suppoſe, as he ſays, that We are only We, while the Soul remains in the ſame Body it now is, if it is tranſlated into another, according to the Syſtem of Pythagoras, it is methinks but a poor Conſolation that future We ſhall ſuffer in another Form for the Crimes committed by us in the preſentMm2 ‘ſent 264 Mm2v 262264 ſent We. O but we ſhall know nothing of it, he tells us; for he goes on yet bolder ſtill. Nay, tho’ our Atoms ſtand revolve by Chance, And Matter leap into the former Dance. What Gain to us would all this Buſtle bring? The new-made Man would be another Thing. When once an interrupting Pauſe is made, That individual Being is decay’d: We, who are dead and gone, ſhall bear no Part In all the Pleaſures, nor ſhall feel the Smart, Which to that other Mortal ſhall accrue, Whom of our Matter Fate ſhall mould anew. For whoſoe’er ſhall in Misfortunes live, Muſt Be when thoſe Misfortunes ſhall arrive: And ſince the Man who is not, feels not Woe, (For Death exempts him, and wards off the Blow, Which we the living only feel and bear, What is there left for us in Death to fear? When once that Pauſe of Life, has come between, ’Tis juſt the ſame as we had never been. And again, by way of Corroboration to the foregoing Poſition, he adds, tho’ at ſome Diſtance, theſe Lines on the ſame Thought. Ev’n 265 Mm3r 263265 Ev’n in Sleep, the Body wrapt in Eaſe, Supinely lies, as in the peaceful Grave; And wanting nothing, nothing does it crave: Were that ſound Sleep eternal, it were Death. Then Death to us, and Death’s Anxiety, Is leſs than nothing, if a leſs could be: For then our Atoms, which in Order lay, Are ſcattered from their Heap, and puff’d away; And never can return into their Place, When once the Pauſe of Life. has left an empty Space: And therefore, if a Man bemoan his Lot, That after Death, his mould’ring Limbs ſhall rot; Or Flames, or Jaws of Beaſts devour his Maſs, Know he’s an unsincere, unthinking Aſs. The Fool is to his own Caſt-Offals kind: He boaſts no Senſe can after Death remain; Yet makes himſelf a Part of Life again: As if ſome other He could feel the Pain. If while he live, this Thought moleſt his Head, He waſtes his Days in idle Grief, nor can Diſtinguiſh ’twixt the Body and the Man: But thinks himſelf can ſtill himſelf survive, And what, when dead he feels not, feels alive: Then he repines, that he was born to dye, Nor knows in Death, there is no other He; No living He remains, his Grief to vent, And o’er his ſenſeleſs Carcaſs to lament. You 266 Mm3v 264266 You ſee, Madam, he all along acknowledges a Soul; then pray, what muſt become of Thought, Memory, and Reflection, (which were never yet denied to be Faculties of the Soul after this Pauſe of Life, as he calls it?—Would not paſt Tranſactions dwell on the ever-waking Mind, let it be lodged in what Habitation ſoever? And how therefore could the New Being be exempt from knowing, and conſequently from being affected with what it had done in the former one? To agree with him, in my Opinion, there is an abſolute Neceſſity to allow either that Matter is capable of Thought, or that Spirit is capable of Inſenſibility: Neither of which is conformable to Philoſophy or to Reaſon. Every one knows he thinks, remembers, compares, reflects, and judges; and we all know as well, that when the Soul is departed, the Clay that is left behind can do none of theſe.――Theſe, therefore, are manifeſtly the Properties of the Soul;—and this is ſufficient for the firſt Part of the Argument. Then as to the Inſenſibility of the Soul, Mind, or Spirit, call it by which Name you will, for they all anſwer the ſame Meaning, it is not in our Power to Forget many Things we perhaps would wiſh to do, nor to avoid Thoughts, which we never ſo much endeavour to bury in Oblivion.—The Soul, in ſpite of all our Efforts, 267 Mm4r 265267 Efforts, will ſtill exert itſelf, and even in Sleep preſent us with what Ideas it pleaſes:—The immortal Spark will ſhine through the thickeſt Miſts of Ignorance; and the moſt rude and untaught Savage will find he has ſomething in him, which is not in his Power to ſuppreſs. As Matter then can no Way be aſſiſtant to the Spirit, but is rather a Clog to it, certainly when ſeparated from that groſs Companion, it will act with yet greater Force or Freedom; nor can any Form it might hereafter be lodged in, deprive it of that Senſibility which is indeed its very Eſſence. It had doubtleſs been more artful in him to have omitted that unlucky Suppoſition that the Soul could feel in her divided State; than to pretend to prove it inſenſible of what it felt, whether tranſlated to a new Maſs of Matter, or re-united to the former. In fine, the Belief in Futurity, and Rewards and Puniſhments after Death, is plain and eaſy, agreeable both to Nature and Reaſon; implanted in the one, and confirmed to us by the other: While all Attempts made to overthrow it are perplexing, confuſed, abſtruſe, and ſerve only to ſhew their own Vanity and Fallacy, when ſeriouſly examined into, and can have an Effect on none but weak and irreſolute Minds. Whether 268 Mm4v 266268 Whether you read the Works of theſe Anti-Eternitarians, or hear their Diſcourſe on that Subject, you will always find them full of Contradictions; and even the beſt and moſt plauſible Arguments they can bring are founded on Suppoſitions, and ſupported by falſe Logic. It is, however, a great Misfortune to the Public, that they are ſuffered, nay, I fear encouraged, to broach their pernicious Notions, with the Boldneſs they do.—Some Authors of late Years, have looked big on the Reputation and Succeſs of Book and Pamphlets, which in the Memory of many ſtill living, would have been burnt by the common Hangman; and the Writers, Printers, and Publiſhers rewarded according to their Merit. Nothing affords greater Matter of Aſtoniſhment to Foreigners, than to ſee a People, who have paid ſo dear for their Religion, calmly, and without any Concern, behold that very Religion depreciated, ridiculed, and treated in a Manner which the worſt Enemies of Chriſtianity would have more Decency than to be guilty of. As we boaſt of being the pureſt Church in the World, and doubtleſs are ſo, we ought methinks to be aſhamed of being found ſo much leſs zealous in the Defence of our Principles, than thoſe are, who abound ‘with 269 Nn1r 267269 with Errors, and whoſe Faith is little better than Superſtition. But to put all Modes of Worſhip out of the Queſtion, for indeed what I have ſaid on that Head is digreſſive from my Purpoſe: What we call natural Religion, and is really ſuch as it requires no ſmall Art to erace it from the Heart, that inborn Principle which without the Help of Books or Precept, informs us there is a God, informs us alſo, that we have within us a Spark of his immortal Eſſence, which can never die, but muſt exiſt to all Eternity, in ſome State or another. The wildeſt Natives of Africa and America will tell you, that when they die, they ſhall go to another World beyond the Sun; and that they look upon that as their Home, not this they now inhabit.――The Notions of theſe poor Creatures cannot certainly be aſcribed to Prieſtcraft, as our modern Scoffers at Futurity are apt to call every thing that does not ſquare with their own Opinion:—No, it is the Creator himſelf who inſpires them with this Knowledge, in common with the reſt of the whole Human Species; though we, alas! too proud of our vain Learning, take Pains to darken this Light of Nature in us, and build new Syſtems of our own, to puzzle and diſtract ourſelves, and as many as will give Ear to them. Vol. IV. Nn But 270 Nn1v 268270 But I trouble you too long, and beſides am in Danger of growing too grave for a Work in which I hope the Honour of having this inſerted; I ſhall therefore take my Leave, wiſhing you and your fair Aſſociates all the Succeſs your Endeavours merit from the Publick; and then, I am ſure, you will have as much as you can poſſibly deſire. I am Madam, Your moſt humble, and moſt faithfully devoted Servant Extratellus. Bedford Row, 1745-01-02January 2d, 1745-6
If what this Gentleman has advanced, prove as agreeable to all who ſhall happen to read it, as it does to us, none will find Fault with its having a Place in this Eſſay; but I am ſorry to ſay that Sentiments, ſuch as his, are but too much exploded by the gay Part of the World, for me to hope they will have the Effect they ought, or that both of us could wiſh.
It is indeed, great Pity that thoſe who are ſo unhappy, as to have ſuch mean Notions of the Human Soul as to level it with the Animal, do not keep their Opinion to themſelves; for though I am entirely of Extratellus’s Mind, that thoſe who are influenced by it, can have no great Share either of Religion or true Underſtanding, and it can be no Honour to their Doctrine to make Proſelytes of ſuch; yet, as it may preventvent 271 Nn2r 269271 vent all Converts to a better, it were to be wiſhed that a Stop were put to all Licentiouſneſs of that Kind, which certainly does more Miſchief in the World, than all others put together.
I must alſo agree with him, that the Arguments made uſe of, againſt Exiſtence after Death, render thoſe who liſten to them very much diſturbed in Mind: The Reaſon of which is plain; They cannot entirely ſilence the Dictates of that Divine Emanation within them, it will rouſe itſelf in ſpite of all Efforts made to ſuppreſs it, and occaſion ſuch Struggles as muſt infallibly throw their Thoughts into a perpetual Confuſion.
But as I have, in ſeveral former Eſſays, ſufficiently declared my Sentiments on this Subject, I ſhall add no more to it at preſent, but proceed to the next Epiſtle, which by Order of Date claims a Place.To the Fair and Ingenious Authors of the Female Spectator. Ladies, It is highly probable, that what I am about to offer, is on that Subject, which, at firſt Peruſal, may be judged too trifling to be extremely well reliſhed, either by yourſelves, or the greateſt Part of your Readers; but as I flatter myſelf, that on a mature Conſideration it will appear of more Weight, I venture to ſend it; and ſhall make no Nn2 Apology 272 Nn2v 270272 Apology for doing ſo, ſince it is in your own Breaſts whether you will inſert it, or not. There is ſomewhat, methings, ſtrangely contradictory in the Judgment, Taſte, and Humour of our modern Wits.—A Man would be looked upon as an odd Fellow in Company, ſhould he pretend to find Fault with the Writings of the Ancients, or cavil at the Morals of the old Philoſophers:—Nay, our very Legiſlature has thought fit to build many of our Laws on the ten Tables of the Romans.――So high an Idea have we of former Ages, that when we labour to exalt any great Name of the preſent, we always find ſome Model among them to compare him to. An eminent Patriot is a ſecond Brutus, a ſucceſsful Warrior an Alexander or a Julius Cæſar, a good Poet a Horace or a Virgil, a beneficent Patron a Mecænas, an Orator another Cicero, and ſo on, as if it were impoſſible that Virtue and good Qualities ſhould be the Portion of theſe Times, and could only be copied from the paſt. Yet in ſpite of all this Veneration for the great Men of Antiquity, we in a Manner explode and affect to treat with Contempt a Science which was with them in the higheſt Eſtimation;—I mean, that of Aſtrology. Start not at the Name, good Ladies, I beſeech you; for before I have done, I hope to convince you, that the Study of the Stars, ſo far as ‘they 273 Nn3r 271273 they relate to human Events, is both reaſonable and beneficial. The firſt Argument againſt Aſtrology, and indeed that which moſt merits our Attention, becauſe founded on a Religious Principle, is, that we ought not to ſearch into the ſecret Things of God, and that it is taking from the Power of the Creator, to aſcribe any Influennce to the Creature. To the firſt Part of which I anſwer, that it ſeems not probable the Study of Planetary Aſpects ſhould be among thoſe ſecret Things into which we are forebidden to pry; becauſe had it been ſo, Man would not have been endued with Faculties capable of underſtanding any Part of the Meaning of thoſe various Motions and Phaſes a skillful Aſtronomer diſcovers in them.—The ſecond, methinks, has yet leſs Weight, and may be refuted by any one who conſiders that all Nature is governed by ſecond Cauſes,—that the Almighty Author, when he formed the Worlds, ordered it ſo, that every individual Being in them ſhould have Dependance on another, that is, a ſecret Sympathy, an Attraction, an Influence, which, without being felt, either by the Thing directed, or the Thing that directs, governs all with an irreſiſtable Impulſe. This is what we call the common Courſe of Nature, and when we ſee any Thing go ‘beyond 274 Nn3v 272274 beyond it, we juſtly look upon it as miraculous; for then the immediate Hand of God puts a Stop to the Movement of ſubordinate Powers, as when the Red-Sea was divided for a Paſſage for the Iſraelites in the Time of Moſes, and the Waters of Jordan for the ſame People to paſs over under Joſhua, and when the Sun ſtood ſtill at the Intreaty of that great Conqueror while purſuing his Enemies, and ſome other ſuch wonderful Inſtances, for which we have the Authority of Holy Writ. Theſe were Events, indeed, which no Aſtrology could foreſee, and were among the ſecret Things, which we ought not to attempt unravelling. Since the Diſperſion of the Jews, however, all Things have gone on in the ſame uninterrupted Round; and as God has given to Man ſuch intelligent Faculties, as to enable him to form a pretty exact Gueſs, at leaſt at what ſhall happen in the World he lives in, through the Influence of thoſe others, which roll above his Head, I ſee no Reaſon why he ſhould fold his Talent in a Napkin, eſpecially when the exerting it is of ſuch general Service as I ſhall preſently prove it may be. The ſecond Objection, and I am ſorry to ſay, the moſt made uſe of, is the Uncertainty of the Art, that it is liable to great Miſtakes, and that it is weak and ſuperſtitious‘ſtitious 275 Nn4r 273275 ſtitious to depend on any Thing prognoſticated that Way. I will not ſay but the Ignorance of ſome Pretenders may have given Occaſion to ſuch a Cenſure; but then it muſt be only with ſuch as do not reflect, how unjuſt it is to condemn the Whole, for a Part; there is no Art or Science whatever, to which ſome Profeſſors have not been, and always will be a Diſgrace: There have been, and ſtill are, bad Theologiſts, bad Philoſophers, bad Phyſicians, bad Compoſers of Muſic, and bad Poets; yet Divinity, Philoſophy, Phyſic, Muſick, and Poetry, have not loſt their Reputation, and wherefore Aſtrology ſhould do ſo, I cannot conceive. That the Stars have an Influence over the Minds and Diſpoſition of Men, according to the Aſpects under which they are born; and that ſuch an Influence may be known on conſulting the Natal Hour of a Perſon altogether unknown to the Aſtrologer employed in the Calculation, is certain. There is a famous Story on Record, which tho’ few are unacquainted with, I cannot forbear repeating, as it is ſo very applicable to my preſent Purpoſe. Socrates, that great Philoſopher and eminent Pattern of Continence, Sobriety, ‘Juſtice, 276 Nn4v 274276 Juſtice, Fortitude, and every moral Virtue, had, notwithſtanding, the Curioſity of knowing under what Aſpect he was born, and to that End gave the Hour and Minute of his Nativity, as it had been ſet down in Writing by a Perſon preſent at it, to one of the moſt celebrated Aſtrologers of thoſe Days, deſiring him to deal ingenuouſly with him, and conceal nothing that ſhould threaten. The Artiſt aſſured him of his Integrity in this Point, and promiſed to return with all the Satisfaction he could deſire in a few Days. It was, however, much longer before Socrates ſaw him again, and when he came, a viſible Diſpleaſure appeared in his Countenance.――He told the Philoſopher with ſome Warmth, that he had deceived him, in giving him a wrong Nativity; for it was an utter Impoſſibility he could be born at the Time he pretended. In vain for a great while did Socrates labour to perſwade him, that the Account was exact, that he had been aſſured by his Father, who had often examined it, that it was so; but at laſt the other ſuffered himſelf to be convinced, as his cooler Thoughts permitted him to reflect on the Character of the Perſon who he talked with, and how improbable ‘it 277 Oo1r 275277 it was he ſhould perſiſt in a Deception of that Kind. Well then, ſaid he, after he had pauſed a conſiderable Time, the Science of Aſtrology is all fallacious, I will inſtantly burn all my Books, and never more erect a Telleſcope, or caſt a Figure. In ſpeaking theſe Words he was going away, but Socrates plucked him back by the Sleeve, and with his accuſtomed Calmneſs, deſired he would tell him the Reaſon, why he all at once became an Enemy to an Art he had practiſed for ſo many Years, with ſuch Succeſs. Because, replied he, I am now very well aſſured, by the Examination of your Nativity, that it is not to be depended on; the Man born at the Time you were, ſhould be prone to Drunkenneſs, Laſciviouſneſs, unjuſt and cruel in his Nature, and in fine addicted to all Manner of Wickedneſs. Socrates ſmiled while he was ſpeaking, and perceiving he had done; If my Nativity, ſaid he, is the only Motive for you to entertain an ill Opinion of Aſtrology, baniſh it from your Thoughts, and rather magnify a Science which, in ſpite of Appearances, diſcovers the Truth without Diſguiſe.――Know, Friend, that I came into the World with all thoſe vicious Inclinations you have mentioned.—Nature intended me a Vol. IV. Oo Monſter, 278 Oo1v 276278 Monſter, but Reaſon has made me what I am. It has taught me to ſhut up all the Avenues of my Soul from every Temptation, the World and its unwarrantable Pleaſures, are continually offering:—It has ſhewn me the true Dignity of my Being, and convinced me that it is beneath the Human Species to purſue any unjuſt or oppreſſive Aims. Thus far we have from an Author of undoubted Credit; but I once met with a little Book in very old Latin, which adds, that the Aſtrologer having, by Socrates Deſire, preſented him with his Opinion of his Nativity, there were ſome Predictions in it which greatly ſerved to arm that Philoſopher againſt being diſmayed at the unhappy Fate he afterwards met with, and helped to make him behave, even in the Pangs of Death, in ſuch a Manner as to occaſion this Encomium to be wrote upon him by Juvenal, which I will give you as engliſhed by Mr. Creech. Exalted Socrates, divinely brave! Injur’d he fell, and dying he forgave; He drank the poyſonous Draught, With Mind ſerene, and could not wiſh to ſee His vile Accuſer drink as deep as he. Too noble for Revenge! which ſtill we find The weakeſt Frailty of a feeble Mind. Whether any Part of this Fortitude was owing to the Warnings by the Aſtrologer, I will 279 Oo2r 277279 will not take upon me to affirm, becauſe the Title Page of the Treatiſe wherein I have read it, being torn out, I neither know the Name of the Author, nor how far he may be depended on. But be that as it may, the former Part of the Story, the Truth of which I never heard called in Queſtion, is not only greatly to the Honour of the Science I am defending, as to the Certainty of it, but alſo proves it to be of real Service to Mankind. Every one is not endued with an equal Share of Penetration with the Philoſopher above-mentioned, and fewer yet will give themſelves the Trouble to examine impartially their own Hearts, and diſcover to what Propenſities their Nature moſt inclines them—. Would not then Aſtrology be a great Help to Perſons thus negligent?――Do they not ſtand in need of ſuch a Monitor to rouſe them from that Lethargy of Mind, which might otherwiſe ſuffer them to fall into Vices they would never be guilty of premeditately? Neither is it only to reſtrain the Growth of inordinate Inclinations, that I look on conſulting the Aſpects of the Planets at our Birth as highly beneficial, it is alſo as to the Conduct of our worldly Affairs, in the Choice of our Avocations; in fine, in every Thing that is material to our Happineſs. Oo2 ‘Numbers 280 Oo2v 278280 Numbers are there, who with the utmoſt Care and Induſtry find it impoſſible to proſper in the Buſineſs they have unhappily made Choice of, yet in ſome other might doubtleſs be more fortunate. As the Poet truly ſays, Heav’n has to all allotted, ſoon or late,Some lucky Revolutions of their Fate:Whoſe Motions, if we watch and guide with Skill,(For human Good depends on human Will,)Our Fortune rolls as from a ſmooth Deſent,And from the firſt Impreſſion takes the Bent:But if, unſeiz’d, ſhe glides away like Wind,And leaves repenting Folly far behind. By what Aids but thoſe of Aſtrology ſhall we be able to find when or what are thoſe lucky Revolutions? Or how ſhall we be able to diſcover that critical Point of Time, in which our Fortune may be ſeized?――Mr. Dryden therefore had certainly this Science in his Head when he wrote the Lines I have quoted, as likewiſe where he ſays: The Knight if often the Saddle thrown,But ’tis the Fault of Fortune, not his own:If Crowns and Palms the conqu’ring Side adorn,The Victor under better Stars was born. But to lay aſide the Authority of other Men’s Opinions, and make uſe of our own Reaſon and Obſervation; nothing is more ‘evident 281 Oo3r 279281 evident than that Numbers of People are thurſt into Offices, Vocations and Trades, for which they are not qualified, and conſequently cannot make any Figure in. He that gave the Soul has doubtleſs endued it with Faculties ſufficient to make the Body it inhabits happy; but as theſe Faculties are widely different, the Buſineſs is to find out to what Station or Calling in Life they are moſt adapted. Parents are often miſtaken even in the Genius’s of their Children, and we ourſelves cannot always judge, eſpecially in Youth, of our own Talents.—The Glare and Shew of a Profeſſion ſometimes miſleads us to make Choice of that which we are leaſt fit for, nor do we ſee our Error till too late to retrieve it. In a word, I will venture to give it as my firm Belief, and from which I never can depart, that whoever runs counter to the Planet which preſided at his Birth, tho’ he may be a good will never be a fortunate Man, and that it is more owing to the Neglect of that important Point, that we ſee ſo many miſerable People, than to any Miſconduct or Inadvertency they have been guilty of, in the Profeſſion they have unhappily taken upon them. Wherefore then are the Generality of People ſo much averſe to a Science, which ‘they 282 Oo3v 280282 they never can find Arguments to prove of any Prejudice, and they cannot deny but may be of ſuch univerſal Benefit?――Some there have been, I am confident, who have proved it ſo; yet ſwayed by the Opinion of the World againſt it, have ungratefully concealed the Means to which they owed their Succeſſes, and the aggrandizing their Families. I would not however, have any one infer, from what I have ſaid, that I am an Advocate either for common Fortune-telling, much leſs for Charms, Sybils, and Taliſmans.――No, Ladies, the one is abſurd and ridiculous, and the others, if of any Efficacy for what they are intended, muſt be indebted for it to ſuch Influences as ought not to be encouraged by any who call themſelves Chriſtians. All I contend for is, the ſimple Calculations of Nativities, by which a Perſon may be the more early and the better informed by what Inclinations he is likely to be guided, therefore enabled to put a more watchful Guard over ſuch as are pernicious, than he could be by any other Means, and alſo to judge what Avocation it will beſt become him to purſue. As for thoſe who pretend to laugh at the Influence of the Stars, becauſe, as they ſay, there is no Account to be given why any ſuch Sympathy ſhould be derived from them to the 283 Oo4r 281283 the Human Species, they would equally deny that of the Loadſtone over Steel, which they are as little able to account for, did they not every Day ſee the viſible Effects of it before their Eyes. But it is not for us to ask why ſuch Things are, it is ſufficient to know that ſuch Things are.――The great Author of Nature alone ſees into the Springs which put in Motion the Machine of this vaſt Univerſe, veiled even from Angels Eyes, and not to be accounted for, but by his own Almighty. Wiſdom. I shall therefore conclude with a Paſſage of Mr. Dryden’s Religio Laici, that when we go about to ſearch into the Myſteries of Providence, In a wild Maze our vain Endeavours end,How can the leſs, the greater comprehend?Or finite Reaſon reach Infinity?For what could fathom God, were more than He. But I muſt not fold up the Paper without aſſuring you, Ladies, that I am with very great Reſpect and good Wiſhes, Your moſt humble and moſt Obedient Servant, Philo Astrologio. Hampſtead, 1745-02-02February 2d. 1745 -6. ‘How 284 Oo4v 282284
How this Epiſtle will be reliſhed by the Generality of my Readers, I do not know, but I am perſwaded it will be approved by more than will care to acknowledge they do ſo.―― Many, I am very certain, wiſh in their Hearts that Aſtrology was more the Mode, though they will not be the firſt to promote it.
Exclusive of all the Advantages, and laudable Purpoſes my Correſpondent has mentioned, there is a ſecret Wiſh lodged in the Hearts of every one to dive into Events before they happen; and I am afraid the Number is not ſmall of thoſe who would make Uſe of this Art, to ſearch into the Affairs of other People, as well as their own, provided they could procure the Hour of any one’s Birth, whoſe Secrets they had an Inclination to diſcover.
But I do not alledge this as any Objection againſt Aſtrology; for the beſt Things may be perverted to ill Uſes.—For my Part, I am reſolved to ſtand neuter in the Argument; I have a very great Reſpect for thoſe delightful Orbs which twinkle over my Head, and afford me ſo much Satisfaction in a ſolitary Evening Walk, and ſhould be ſorry to ſay any Thing that might depreciate them; yet am one of thoſe who are afraid to aſcribe too much to their Influence.
The Story of Socrates at moſt but proves that 285 Pp1r 283285 that the Aſpect of particular Planets affect the Diſpoſition of the Perſon born under them; but his being able to ſubdue the Propenſities he had by Nature, is a clear Teſtimony, that what they incline, they have not the Power to inforce, and that their Almighty Maker is ſometimes pleaſed to ſhew there is no ſure Dependence but on Him alone.
Even our common Almanacks convince us, that the Dominion of the Stars over the Seaſons is far from being abſolute: We have had dry Weather when the Moon has been in Aquarius or Piſces, nor have the Pleiades always brought Rain with them; yet tho’ this ſometimes happens, I will not pretend to decry the Study of the Stars on that Score, becauſe it is more frequently true than fallible in its Predictions, as to the Weather at leaſt.
It may alſo be ſo in other Things; but, as I ſaid before, I ſhall leave the Point to be diſcuſſed by others.
All I ſhall venture to give on my own Judgment, is, that if the Cauſe Philo-Aſtrologiæ has undertaken to maintain, be in itſelf good, the Warmth with which he expreſſes himſelf is highly praiſe-worthy; and if a bad one, it muſt be owned he has well defended it. So that either Way he has the Acknowledgments of the Female Spectator.Vol. IV. Pp I come 286 Pp1v 284286
I come now to a Letter which I am certain none of my Readers will be ſurprized to find inſerted in a Work of this Nature, becauſe of the Service it may do to young unmarried Ladies, if rightly attended to.To theFemale Spectator. Worthy Madam, That tender Regard you expreſs for the Happineſs and Reputation of Human-Kind in general, but particularly for thoſe of your own Sex, emboldens the moſt unfortunate of Women to give you a Detail of the Sorrows ſhe labours under, and that fatal Error in Conduct, which has but too juſtly brought them on her. In disburthening myſelf this Way, I taſte the firſt Interval of Eaſe I have known for a long Time; but that is the leaſt Motive which induced me to write: The main View I have to deſire the Publication of my Caſe, is to warn all young Girls, of what Rank or Degree ſoever, from being guilty of the Fault I have been. But on peruſing this melancholly Epiſtle, you will be Judge how far it may deſerve the Attention of the Public, as to the Subject it contains; for as to the Stile, I have no Pretence to Wit or Elegance, and in my preſent ‘Situation 287 Pp2r 285287 Situation, cannot be ſuppoſed to range my Thoughts in that Order which the Preſs requires, and muſt therefore intreat the Favour of you to render them more methodical. Be pleaſed therefore, Madam, to permit me, in my plain Manner, to inform you, that I am the only Daughter of a Gentleman who makes no inconſiderable Figure in the World. Tho’ I had the Misfortune of loſing my Mother, ſhe dying when I was very young, I had not that of ſeeing any other in her Place; and my Father, tho’ naturally ſtern, ſeemed to take ſo much Delight in me, that he would frequently ſay, that as I had a Brother who would rob me of the Eſtate, he would take Care that I ſhould have a Portion, which ſhould intitle me to marry to a greater. His Fondneſs of me was ſo well known, that ſcarce had I attained the Age of fourteen, before there were ſeveral who deſired his Permiſſion to make their Addreſſes to me; but he, who it ſeems had higher Expectations for me, refuſed them, and the firſt Declaration of Love that was made to me, was by a young Gentleman, whom, unhappily for both, I became acquainted with at a Ball. The Paſſion he profeſſed for me was, alas! but too ſincere, as he afterwards gave fatal Proofs of.—My Heart was ſenſibly touched with the affecting Things he ſaid to me, and beingPp2 ‘ing 288 Pp2v 286288 ing too young, or at leaſt too indolent, to conſider the Conſequences, I encouraged his Hopes, as far as was conſiſtent with Modeſty and Honour. As he was a younger Brother, and had a very ſmall Fortune, it would have been Madneſs in him to apply to my Father.—Our Intercourſe was therefore obliged to be kept extremely private, nor did any one, but the Maid who waited on me, and was in the Secret from the Beginning, know any thing of my Acquaintance with him. It would be too tedious to relate the Contrivances I had to meet him: Sometimes I had the Vapours, and muſt have a Walk betimes in the Morning in the Park.――Sometimes I had a Fancy to ſee a Play incog.incognito and muſt go to Burton’s Box muffled up.—Sometimes affect to be a great Oeconomiſt, and go to Sales, in order to buy Bargains.—Nobody with me in theſe Excurſions but my Maid; becauſe, as I ſaid, taking a Fellow in a Livery would diſcover who I was, and fruſtrate my Intentions; and a Thouſand other ſuch Pretences, which were not in the leaſt suſpected, either by my Father, or any of the Family. Yet would you believe it, Madam, with all this Pains I took, I had in reality no ſettled Affection for him.—The Novelty of the Thing pleaſed my Vanity, and the Secreſy of ‘it 289 Pp3r 287289 it my Pride, in being able to circumvent my Father.――I was, however, deceived myſelf, for I imagined that my Paſſion was equal to that of any Heroine in Romance, and the Confeſſions I ſometimes let fall of this ideal Flame were ſuch as might well deceive the Perſon in whoſe Favour they were made. Nothing is more to be wondered at, however, than the Whim, for I can call it no other, did not tranſport me ſo far as to conſent to a private Marriage, which he was continually preſſing for; but whether I ought to impute it to my good or evil Fortune, I know not, that I could never be perſwaded to that, ſince I went ſo far as to promiſe, and to bind that Promiſe with many repeated Vows and Imprecations, never to be the Bride of any other Man. O, how thoughtleſs is Youth! How little capable of judging for themſelves, or of themſelves!―― Silvius, for ſo I ſhall call him, imagined he had gained a great Point in having engaged me in this Manner; but, alas! I conſidered little on it, and tho’ it is certain at that Time I intended to keep it, I never reflected how many Difficulties lay in the Way. But ſoon the Trial came. An Overture was now made to my Father, which he found too advantageous for me to be rejected by him. It was in favour of a young Gentleman, to ‘whom 290 Pp3v 288290 whom I ſhall give the Name of Celander. He was deſcended of a noble Family, had a very great Eſtate, and was poſſeſſed of all the Accompliſhments that can endear a Perſon of his Sex to one of ours. I had often heard him ſpoke of by ſeveral Ladies of my Acquaintance, and never without ſuch Praiſes as I muſt confeſs he merits.— I had ſeen him, too, but it was only en paſſant, or at the Opera; but that was enough to make me know he was handſome, well made, and perfectly genteel.――This, whenever any Diſcourſe happened concerning him, I always allowed, but indeed thought no farther on him, till my Father told me he had given him Leave to viſit me, and that he expected I would receive him as a Man whom he intended for my Husband. Impossible is it for me to expreſs the Agitation of my Heart, when I heard my Father ſpeak in this Manner. To be told a Man ſo much admired by the whole Town had ſingled me out as the only Object worthy of his Affection, was too flattering to my Vanity not to be pleaſing; but yet the Thoughts of marrying him, and abandoning my Silvius, gave a moſt terrible Alarm. In fine, I know not whether I was rejoiced or grieved. A Mixture of Pain and Pleaſure at once invaded me, and ſo hurried my Spirits, ‘that 291 Pp4r 289291 that I was unable to make any direct Anſwer to what my Father ſaid. He interpreted my frequent Change of Colour and incoherent Speeches, however, only to the Baſhfulneſs which a firſt Propoſal of that Kind might naturally occaſion, and as I had with much ado drauled out that I ſhould always be obedient to his Will, he was perfectly ſatisfied, and ſaid no more to me at that Time. The next Day Celander dined with us.— The Grandeur of his Equipage, and every Thing that appeared about him was ſufficient to dazzle ſo young a Heart as mine, but his Politeneſs could not but charm the moſt experienced one.――In the Afternoon, my Father took an Opportunity of leaving us together; and I muſt own that I found ſo infinite a Diſproportion between the Manner in which he addreſſed himſelf to me, and that of Silvius, as made me even then wonder how I could ever think the other worthy of my Attention. This, I ſay, I thought while I was with him, but when I was alone the Tenderneſs of Silvius, the Ardors he expreſſed for me, and all the Aſſiduities he had paid to me, turned the Balance of my Inclinations again on his Side, and I cryed to myſelf I never would be ſo ungrateful as to throw into Deſpair a Love I had encouraged and ſworn to recompence. ‘For 292 Pp4v 290292 For ſome Days I continued in this fluctuating State of Mind, loving both, yet neither as I ought to do, and therefore, in Fact, little deſerving myſelf of the Love of either. But is was my Fate to find more Sincerity than I merited. I am but too well convinced that the Profeſſions made me by each of them did not in the leaſt exceed the Dictates of their Hearts, and this it is that makes my Unhappineſs. Pardon, Madam, theſe Interruptions from the Thread of my Narrative, which the Remembrance of thoſe Times renders it impoſſible ſometimes to forbear; but I will now be as little tedious as poſſible, and haſten to the ſad Cataſtrophe. Celander at laſt gained an entire Conqueſt over me, and all that remained for Silvius was Pity.—The Promiſe I had made him, indeed, gave me Shocks, but they wore off, in the Conſideration that as I was not at my own Diſpoſal, a Vow of that Kind could not be looked upon as binding. My Father was highly ſatisfied on perceiving my Inclinations were conformable to his Deſires, and my Lover tranſported at the Conceſſions I made him.—There now remained nothing but the Drawing up the Marriage Articles, and New-Cloaths, and Equipages‘pages 293 Qq1r 291293 pages for the Solemnization of our Nuptials, and all thoſe Things were ordered, by both Parties, to be prepared with the greateſt Expedition. Silvius was ſoon informed of what paſſed in our Family, and not doubting the Truth of his Misfortune, by not having ſeen me in a much longer Time than we were accuſtomed to be abſent, wrote a Letter to me full of Complaints, and prevailed upon my Maid to deliver it, and endeavour to obtain an Anſwer. I could not help being a little moved at reading it, but hearing Celander was come in juſt as I had finiſhed, prevented all the Effects it might otherwiſe perhaps have had on me. I abſolutely refuſed to write, and to hinder him from doing ſo any more, bad the Maid tell him plainly that there was nothing farther for him to hope:—That my Father had inſiſted on my giving my Hand to Celander, and that I had reſolved not to run the riſque of diſobeying him. Some few Days after this, as I was in the Coach with Celander and a young Lady, going to take the Air in Hide-Park, it was my ill Fortune to ſee him in a Street we paſſed through: He ſaw me too, and gave me a Look in which I know not whether Deſpair or Rage was moſt predominant, and ſuited exactly Vol. IV. Qq ‘with 294 Qq1v 292294 with the Deſcription the Maid had given me of him, at the Time of her relating the Meſſage I had ſent by her, in Anſwer to his Letter. The unexpected Sight of a Perſon whom I had uſed ſo ill, gave me a very great Shock for the preſent; but I was too young, too gay, and indeed too well ſatisfied with my own Fate to be long under any Concern for that of another, whatever Obligations I had in Honour, Conſcience, or Generoſity to be ſo. Celander, who thought every Minute an Age, till he could call me his Wife, haſtened all the Preparations for our Wedding on his Part, and my Father, equally impatient for the Completion of a Union he no leſs wiſhed, being equally induſtrious, every Thing was got ready much ſooner than could have been expected, and we were married in the Preſence of the greateſt Part of the Kindred on both Sides, who all ſeemed to take Intereſt in our mutual Felicity. Three Days were ſpent in Rejoicings at my Father’s Houſe; after which we ſet out for a fine Seat Celander has at about forty Miles diſtant from London.――There I received the Compliments and Congratulations of all the Gentry of the County;—the Homage and almoſt Adoration of my Huſband’s‘band’s 295 Qq2r 293295 band’s Tenants and Dependants, and every Day, nay almoſt every Hour, preſented me with ſomething new, wherewith to flatter my Vanity and Pride. Yet all this was nothing to that raviſhing Content, which the exceſſive Tenderneſs of Celander afforded:—He was, if poſſible, more diligent in ſearching out Ways to pleaſe me, than before our Marriage.――The Name of Husband robbed me of nothing of the Obſequiouſneſs of the Lover; nor our Familiarity of the Reſpect he had always treated me with. A Happineſs, alas! too perfect to be permanent; yet might it have been laſting as my Life, had I never been guilty of any Thing to render me unworthy of it.――But it ſeemed as if Heaven, to puniſh my Breach of Faith the more ſeverely, had beſtowed on me ſuch a Profuſion of Bliſs only to make my ſucceeding Miſeries fall with the greater Weight. While theſe pleaſing Scenes continued, I never thought on Silvius, nor durſt my Maid, who I ſtill kept with me, ever preſume to mention him to me, as I had ſtrictly forbad her the contrary, till one unhappy Time—O, that ſhe had died before the Arrival of it, that ſo the fatal Secret of my Crime might have been buried with her! Then had I been preſerved from the Sorrows I endure, and the Qq2 moſt 296 Qq2v 294296 moſt excellent of Men, and beſt of Husbands, not deprived of his Tranquility. We had been in the Country, as near as I can remember, about ſix Weeks, when as I was alone one Morning in my Dreſſing-Room, this ill-starr’d Creature came in, and with a Look which expreſſed ſomewhat more than ordinary, begged I would give her Leave to reveal a Secret to me, which, ſhe ſaid, ſhe had long ſmothered in her Breaſt, but was now ſo uneaſy, that ſhe was ſure ſhe ſhould run mad, if ſhe were not permitted to divulge it. I, who imagined it was only ſome fooliſh Affair relating to herſelf, fell a laughing at her ſerious drawn-down Countenance, and bad her ſpeak what ſhe had to ſay at once. She then, after having afreſh begged my Pardon, told me that in five or ſix Days after our coming into the Country, ſhe was ſent for to a neighbouring Inn, where they ſaid a Relation of her’s juſt arrived from London deſired to ſpeak with her; but that on her being ſhewed into a Room, ſhe found the Perſon who waited for her was no other than the unfortunate Silvius. I no ſooner heard his Name, than I endeavoured to ſtop her from going any farther, by telling her I would hear nothing of him, and that knowing, as ſhe did, my Mind, it was ‘very 297 Qq3r 295297 very impudent, and what I never would forgive in her, to mention him to me. The poor Wench trembled while I ſpoke, but told me ſhe would not have diſobeyed me for the World in any other Circumſtance, but that ſhe could not ſleep in her Bed, and was ſo tormented in her Mind, that it was now impoſſible for her to refrain any longer.――Well, then, ſaid I, ſcornfully, what is this mighty Buſineſs? She then proceeded to relate a Tale too melancholly not to have touched the moſt diſintereſted Heart: She ſaid that never Man was more transformed; that he ſeemed rather a Spectre than real Fleſh and Blood; and that there was nothing but the Accents of his Voice by which ſhe could have diſtinguiſhed him.— That after having given Vent to the tumultuous Paſſions which raged within him, in Terms which teſtified the utmoſt Horror and Deſpair, he took a Letter out of his Pocket, and at the ſame Time drew his Sword, and pointing it to her Breaſt, ſaid that Moment ſhould be her laſt, if ſhe did not ſwear to deliver it into my Hands. It was in vain ſhe repeated to him the Injunction I had laid her under of never ſpeaking of him.――In vain ſhe urged that no Remonſtrance made to me could be of any Service to him, and would only give me Pain, as ‘I was 298 Qq3v 296298 I was married, and could now do nothing for him. All ſhe ſaid ſerved only to make him more vehement; and he inſiſted on her Oath, which ſhe was at laſt obliged to give, with the Addition of the moſt ſolemn Curſe upon herſelf, if ſhe fulfilled it not. She then told me, that the Fears of my Diſpleaſure had made her all this Time conceal it from me; but that, for a Week paſt, ſhe had dreamed continually of him, and had ſuch Terrors upon her Spirits on his Account, that ſhe verily believed he had laid violent Hands upon himſelf, and that his Ghoſt haunted her in this Manner for her Breach of Vow. I could not keep myſelf from being very much affected with what ſhe ſaid, but was much more ſo, when taking the Letter out of her Hand, I found it contained theſe Lines. To the fair perjured Lavinia. If I thought that what I am about to write would be capable of giving you any Pain, falſe, cruel, and ungrateful as you are, I could not have been enough Maſter of my Heart to ſend it; but I doubt not that you will be rather pleaſed to know you are going to be rid for ever of a Perſon whoſe moſt diſtant Looks would upbraid your Guilt.—Few are there, O moſt unjuſt Lavinia! who would not have taken Advantage of the Contract between us.—You know that you are mine, bound by “the 299 Qq4r 297299 the moſt ſolemn Vows, in Preſence of your Maid, whom I could compel to bear Teſtimony of the Truth; but the Generoſity of my Nature ſets me above all mercenary Views, and the Sincerity of my Love from doing any thing that ſhould expoſe, or render you unhappy. May Heaven be as forgiving, and you never have Reaſon to regret your Breach of Faith! To eaſe you of all Fears on my Account, and myſelf of the Diſcontent of breathing the ſame Air with one who has ſo cruelly deceived me, I quit England for ever. I cannot be worſe treated in the moſt barbarous Lands, than I have been in that which gave me Birth; and I leave my deareſt Friends without Reluctance, ſince by doing ſo, I leave alſo my bitter Enemy.—But who, beſides your faithleſs Self, knows whether I am the only Man has been betrayed by your Allurements! You may perhaps have practiſed the ſame bewitching Arts on others as well as me, and Numbers be involved in the ſame Deſpair I ſuffer. Even Celander, he who now lies in your Arms, ought not to depend on a Heart ſo inconſtant, ſo little capable of a true Affection. But I have done with my Reproaches, and in ſpite of the mighty Cauſe I have to hate you as my utter Ruin, have ſtill Love enough to wiſh you happy, if you can be ſo.――You ſee, tho’ you have made me wretched, it is not in your Power, however, to make me ungenerous,“generous, 300 Qq4v 298300 generous, and therefore ought to remember, with ſome Compaſſion at leaſt, Your once Adoring Silvius. Such a Letter as this you will own would have ſhocked any Woman, conſcious as I was, of deſerving all the ſevere Things contained in it; but I felt beſides an inward Terror, which, at that Time, I could not account for, but have ſince thought a Preſage of my approaching Diſaſter. I had read the fatal Scroll twice over, and was going to lock in into a Cabinet, when, on hearing Celander’s Voice, and thinking he was that Inſtant coming in, I fell into a Trembling, and thruſting it haſtily into the Wench’s Hand, bad her run and put it into the Kitchen Fire, there being none above Stairs; on which ſhe went out of the Room to do as ſhe was ordered, and I ſat down endeavouring to compoſe myſelf. But Celander not coming, and the Palpitation of my Heart rather increaſing than diminiſhing, I got up again, and ran down Stairs after the Maid, deſigning either to charge her to burn it directly, or to give it me again; I know not well what was in my Thoughts in the Confuſion I then was;—But, O good God! What became of me, when, as I ſet my Foot into a Parlour, thro’ which I was to ‘paſs, 301 Rr1r 299301 paſs, I ſaw my Husband with that Letter in his Hand, the Maid on her Knees before him, beſeeching him to return it to her, and the Countenance of both ſo wild and diſtracted, as left me no room to doubt the Truth of my ill Fortune. I have ſtumbled on a Secret, Madam, ſaid Celander, as ſoon as he perceived me, I little expected to find; but you may eaſily, and Silvius, too, forgive my Curioſity, ſince I ſhall ſuffer more than either of you. There needed no more to deprive me of all the little Senſes I was Miſtreſs of; and whether he added any thing farther I cannot ſay, for I fell into a Swoon that Inſtant.—Celander, as I afterwards heard, attempted nothing for my Recovery, but went out of the Room, ſtill keeping the Letter in his Hand. The Maid was alſo in a Condition little capable of aſſiſting me; however her Screams drew in other Servants, who, among them, brought me to myſelf, and carried me to my Chamber, where, being laid on the Bed, and every Body but ſhe who had been the Cauſe of this unhappy Accident being withdrawn, I was made acquainted with the Means by which it happened. That fooliſh Creature, it ſeems, had the Curioſity to examine the Contents of the Letter before ſhe deſtroyed it; and ſeeing Nobody in the Parlour, went in there to read it. She Vol. IV. Rr ‘happened 302 Rr1v 300302 happened to ſtand before a great Glaſs juſt oppoſite the Door, and Celander paſſing by, in order to come up to my Chamber, ſeeing her in this Poſition, and the Tears all the Time ſhe was reading running down her Cheeks, ſtopped to look at her. As he was perfectly gay and facetious in his Nature, and knew ſhe was a Favourite with me, he would be very often pleaſant with her, and finding ſhe continued ſo intent on the Paper, he ſtepped ſoftly behind her and ſnatched it out of her Hand, thinking to divert himſelf with the Fright he ſhould put her in. He had no Intention of reading it, it is certain, but had returned it to her, after having laughed a little at the Concern he gave her, if unhappily my Name had not ſtruck his Sight. That indeed occaſioned a different Turn, and he thought he had a Right to ſee what it contained. Thus, dear Female Spectator, was the whole Secret of my Crime diſcovered to him, from whom I had moſt Reaſon to wiſh it might be eternally concealed. What to ſay to evade, or to palliate the Matter, I was utterly incapable of reſolving: Sometimes I was for denying every thing, and pretend I never knew any ſuch Perſon as Silvius. At others, thought it beſt to confeſs ingenuouſly‘ouſly 303 Rr2r 301303 ouſly the Truth, and lay the Blame on Youth and Inadvertency. Celander, however, was not in haſte to put me to the Trial: He went Abroad directly, returned not Home till very late at Night, and then ordered a Bed to be prepared for him in another Chamber. This Behaviour gave me the moſt terrible Alarm: I thought it denoted an Indifference more cruel than the ſevereſt Reproaches could have been; and as I truly loved him, choſe to ſuffer every thing his Rage could inflict on me, rather than continue in the Suſpence I now was. I flew therefore to the Room where he was, and in the utmoſt Diſtraction conjured him to let me know the Cauſe of his forſaking my Bed. I was obliged to repeat the ſame Words, or others to the like Purpoſe, many Times, before I could prevail on him to ſpeak, tho’ all the Time he ſeemed to look upon me with Eyes more full of Grief than Anger. At laſt, I knew not, ſaid he, with a deep Sigh, till this unhappy Day, that I was the Invader of another’s Right, or that Lavinia could not make me bleſt without a Crime. On this I threw my Arms about his Neck, and told him, as well as I could ſpeak for Tears, that none but himſelf had any Right either to my Heart, or Perſon; and Rr2 ‘that 304 Rr2v 302304 that if, when I was a Girl, incapable of judging for myſelf, I had been guilty of ſome fooliſh Words in Favour of another, it merited not to be called a Crime. But wherefore ſhould I trouble you, Madam, with a Detail of what I ſaid, or his Replies; it is ſufficient to inform you, that he has an over Delicacy in his Nature, which all my Arguments, neither then, nor every ſince, tho’ a whole Year is now elapſed, could overcome. He not only cenſures me as guilty of Injuſtice, Ingratitude, Inconſtancy, and Perjury to Silvius, but alſo of Diſſimulation to himſelf; and will not be convinced that I preferred him to his Rival on any other Score than that of Intereſt. He often laments, in Terms which ſtab me to the Heart, that I have not a Soul full of as many Charms, as he ſtill continues to think are in my Perſon. To render me yet more unhappy, the public Papers gave an Account, that the Ship in which the deſpairing Silvius had embarked, was caſt away, and every Soul on Board periſhed in the Waves.――My Husband, on hearing it, preſently cried out, Ill-fated Lavinia! born for the Deſtruction of all who love thee!――Troubled as I was for a Man to whom I found I had been but too dear, I found ſome Conſolation, in the Hopes that Celander would, by his Death, be eaſed of thoſe ‘Scruples 305 Rr3r 303305 Scruples which had ſo long made him a Stranger to my Bed; but, alas! a fixed, inexorable Opinion of my Unworthineſs had taken ſole Poſſeſſion of his Mind, and neither Vows, Tears, nor every Endearment that Woman can put in Practice, have the leaſt Power to alter it. The moſt gloomy Sadneſs dwells upon his Brow.――He eats little,—ſpeaks yet leſs,—avoids Company,—takes no Diverſions, and ſometimes breaks into ſuch Starts of Horror, as give evident Teſtimony of his being in Danger of falling into a Condition more deplorable than Death itſelf. As I love him with the utmoſt Sincerity and Tenderneſs, judge how great my Diſtreſs muſt be even at ſeeing him thus, and how infinitely more in the Conſciouſneſs of being the Occaſion: But why do I appeal to you? It is not in the Power of your Spectatorial Capacity to make you conceive the thouſandth Part of what I feel; my Miſery is ſuch as only can be truly judged by one in the ſame wretched Circumſtances. But I will dwell upon the melancholly Theme no longer.—It was not the Imagination that my Story might be of ſome Service to our too unthinking Sex, that was the only Motive which induced me to write to the Female Spectator; I had indeed another, and more ſelfiſh one, and that is, if you do not think my Fault too great to be forgiven by ‘Heaven, 306 Rr3v 304306 Heaven, or commiſerated by Earth, to intreat you will ſay ſomething in Mitigation of it. Celander is a Subſcriber to your Books, and conſtantly reads them.—He will find the Truth of my Heart in the Account I have given you; and that, joined with ſome perſwaſive Arguments from your agreeable Pen, may, it is poſſible, retrieve ſome Part of the Bleſſings I once enjoyed, and preſerve from a total Deſpair her who is at preſent the moſt unhappy of all created Beings; yet, with the utmoſt Reſpect, Madam, Your moſt humble, and moſt obedient Servant, Lavinia. St. James’s, 1745-02-20Feb. 20, 1745-6, P. S. Madam, Diſeaſes of the Mind, as well as thoſe of the Body, if neglected, gather Increaſe of Strength every Day: I therefore beſeech you to delay the Publication of this, and what you ſhall think fit to ſay upon it, no longer than is conſiſtent with thoſe Rules you have eſtabliſhed.
That Perſon muſt have a very obdurate Heart indeed, who is incapable of being moved at the Afflictions of this Lady; but yet, notwithſtanding all the Pity we have for her, we cannot ſo much, as ſhe may wiſh, or perhaps expect, excuſe the Fault for which ſhe ſuffers.
It is a great Misfortune, when young Ladies, who have ſcarce quitted the Nurſery, think themſelvesſelves 307 Rr4r 305307 ſelves Women, and imagine they have a Right to act as they pleaſe, chuſe what Company they will, and are fond of having Secrets of their own; when, in reality, nothing can be for the Advantage of their Intereſt, or Honour, that is not fit to be communicated to their Parents.
Nothing methinks is ſo becoming as that modeſt Timidity, which all our Sex are born with, and is only in a Manner forced from us, by the Example of others more experienced. A Girl, who accuſtoms herſelf betimes to talk of Love and Lovers, will become an eaſy Prey to the firſt Offer.――It is therefore the Buſineſs of thoſe who have Charge of them, to keep their Minds employed on other Things, and never to let them hear any diſcourſe or read any Books, which may rouſe that Vanity of making Conqueſts, which, we muſt confeſs, is but inherent to us all when very young, and in ſome remains even to old Age.
I am afraid Lavinia, having the Misfortune to loſe her Mother, and being ſo much the Darling of her Father, was permitted to have too much of her own Will; and that though Silvius was the firſt who had the Temerity to addreſs her, yet doubtleſs ſhe had heard a great many Things ſaid of her Beauty.――How common a Compliment is it to the Parents, to cry, Miſs grows a Lovely Creature!――Well, ſhe’ll kill all the Men in Time!――What Eyes ſhe has!――How delicate her Shape! and ſuch like 308 Rr4v 306308 like Speeches, which poiſon the Mind of the poor Girl, and make her think there is nothing ſhe has to take Care on, but to embelliſh her Perſon, ſo that her better Part is wholly neglected, and every Precept for improving the Mind grows irkſome to her Ear, and makes not the leaſt Impreſſion on her Heart.
Whereas if ſhe heard only Praiſes for the Progreſs ſhe made in thoſe laudable Accompliſhments ſhe was allowed to be inſtructed in, her Thoughts would be wholly turned that Way.— She would conſider Knowledge as the moſt valuable Charm in Woman as well as Man, and not plume herſelf on thoſe Attractions which the Small-Pox, or any other Fit of Sickneſs, may deſtroy even in the Spring of Youth, and which in a few Years will infallibly fade.
It is greatly owing to theſe ill-judged Encomiums, that makes ſo mighty a Difference between the Underſtanding of the Sexes, and I may venture to ſay, becauſe I am pretty certain of the Truth of it, that if when Girls we were dealt with as Boys are we ſhould be much more on an Equality with the Men, when we come to be Women.
Neither ought even Wit to be too laviſhly indulged; for Wit without a due Balance of Judgment which cannot be expected from very early Years, is apt to degenerate into Pertneſs and a ſawcy Contempt of our Elders, than which nothing 309 Ss1r 307309 nothing is more dangerous both for the Manners and Morals.
A Mixture of this perhaps might alſo have been infuſed into Lavinia, or ſhe would not have dared to encourage a clandeſtine Courtſhip; much leſs, as ſhe herſelf acknowledges, took a Pleaſure in deceiving her Father.―― She muſt certainly have utterly renounced all Duty and Affection when ſhe could go ſo far as to diſpoſe of herſelf, not only without his Permiſſion, but to one who ſhe knew very well he never would be brought to approve.
She is notwithſtanding greatly to be pitied even for her Faults, ſince doubtleſs they aroſe from the Miſtakes I have mentioned in thoſe about her, and which by giving a wrong Bent to her Humour rendered her incapable of judging for herſelf.
Happy had ſhe been if ſhe had ſeen Celander, whom it is very plain ſhe truly loves, before her Acquaintance with Silvius, who it is as plain ſhe only imagined herſelf in Love with: Many there are, who like her have been thus ſelf-deceived, and it therefore behoves every young Perſon to be upon her Guard againſt theſe falſe Emotions of the Heart, which are ſeldom indulged without drawing on ſome fatal Conſequence.
As this unfortunate Lady was, however, ſo Vol. IV. Sſ far 310 Ss1v 308310 far ſwayed by them, as to enter into a ſolemn Engagement with her firſt Lover, I know not how, if ſhe had reflected at all on it, ſhe could anſwer to herſelf the Violation of it:—It is true ſhe never could have fulfilled it, at leaſt during her Father’s Life, without involving both herſelf and Silvius in all the Miſeries of Poverty; and as ſhe after loved another muſt have been yet more wretched in ſacrificing her Paſſion to her Promiſe; yet ſtill I am ſurprized that ſhe could be even for a Moment happy in giving to one thoſe Endearments which were the Right of another.
But her extreme Youth, and the Flatteries I have already ſaid, which without all Queſtion attended her Situation in Life, muſt plead her Excuſe; and the juſt Senſe ſhe now ſeems to have of the Error ſhe has been guilty of hinder us from being too ſevere.
Celander, methinks, ſhould be no leſs forgiving.――Her greateſt Fault was Inadvertency and Want of a due Examination into her own Heart; and few, alas! there are, who at her Years, are capable of doing it.――If any Suſpicion ever entered his Head, that her real Inclination kept Pace with her firſt Vow; that ſhe married him meerly for the Sake of Grandeur; and that Silvius had been the happy Man, had his Eſtate been equal; that Suſpicion ought to vaniſh on the Proofs ſhe now gives him of an unfeigned Affection.――Her Griefs and 311 Ss2r 309311 and her Diſtreſs at his eſtranged Behaviour ſhould convince him that it was Himſelf and not his Fortune, which prevailed on her to break through her Engagement and abandon his Rival to deſpair.
Besides, he ſhould conſider that whether at their Marriage ſhe was truly his Wife, as another had received her Faith, which indeed I am not Caſuiſt enough to determine; yet ſhe is now unqueſtionably ſo, as the Death of Silvius has releaſed her from all the Obligations ſhe raſhly had laid herſelf under to him; and I know not whether living with her in the Manner he does, is not an Error equal to that ſhe has been guilty of.
That he ſtill loves her, ſhe ſeems to believe, and if ſo, as ſhe may eaſily judge, his Behaviour can only be owing to an over Delicacy, which may be called a Virture in extreme, or Honour ſtrained to too high a Pitch; and in ſupporting which, he ſuffers himſelf, perhaps, greater Pains than he inflicts. It is as one of our Poets ſays, A raging Fit of Virtue in the Soul,’Tis Pride’s Original, but Nature’s Grave.
And our inimitable Cowley complains of it in theſe pathetic Terms: Have I o’ercome all real Foes,And ſhall this Phantom me oppoſe?Sſ2Noiſy312Ss2v310312Noiſy Nothing! Stalking Shade!By what Witchcraft wer’t thou made?Empty Cauſe of ſolid Harms,Foe to Peace, and Pleaſure’s Charms.
On the whole, it is my Opinion, he ought to take the mourning Penitent to his Arms, pardon and endeavour to forget what is paſt;—the ſad Miſtake, for which ſhe ſo much ſuffers, was made before ſhe ever ſaw him.――Him ſhe has never wronged: Silvius alone has Reaſon to complain, and Heaven to reſent her Breach of Vow. Celander has nothing wherewith to accuſe her on his own Part, and has no Pretence to make himſelf the Avenger of a Crime not committed againſt him.
Let him no longer, therefore, be the Cauſe of his own Unquiet, and of that of one ſo dear to him. Enough already has he ſacrificed to a Niceneſs, which, tho’ the Token of a Mind rich in Virtues is no more than a Weed ſpringing from a too luxuriant Soil, which ought to be plucked up, leſt it ſhould choak the nobler Plants.
But, if the Admonitions of a Female Spectator may want ſufficient Force to expel thoſe Clouds of Melancholly, which it ſeems invelop this Gentleman, let him hearken to what Mr. Dryden ſays, What then remains, but after paſt Annoy,To take the good Viciſſitude of Joy:To313Ss3r311313To thank the gracious Gods for what they give,Poſſeſs our Souls, and while we live, to live.
As to Silvius, Death ſcreens him from the juſt Cenſure we otherwiſe ſhould be obliged to paſs on his Behaviour; but tho’ the Grave is ſacred, and ſhuts out all Reproaches, thoſe who are living, and act as he did, muſt not eſcape untold the Error of their Conduct.
When a young Gentleman ſees a Lady whom he is inclined to love, he certainly ought, before he indulges the growing Paſſion, to reflect on all the Circumſtances between them, and be able to ſay to himſelf at leaſt, that the Attainment of his Wiſhes is neither a Thing impracticable, or would be attended with worſe Conſequences, than the Deprivation of them could be.
There is a Story very currently reported of a Journeyman Taylor, who ſeeing Queen Elizabeth go in her State Robes to the Parliament- Houſe, became ſo violently in Love with her, that he run mad upon it.――I think every Man is as little in his Senſes, who encourages an amorous Inclination, where there are no reaſonable Hopes of Succeſs; or if there are of gratifying his Paſſion, muſt inevitably be the Ruin of both their Fortunes.
This was evidently the Caſe of Silvius, and is of many more ſuch Inconſiderates; but I know what they alledge in their Excuſe: They tell you 314 Ss3v 312314 you Love is a Paſſion which no Human Reaſon can controul:—That it is not an Impulſe of their own Will, but is forced upon them by the irreſiſtible Influence of the charming Object; and therefore whatever Diſparity there may be between them and the Perſon they love, yet ſtill they muſt love on whatever ſhall enſue.
These Enamoratoes have ever in their Mouths ſome Piece of Poetry or other, which they imagine favours their Enthuſiaſm; and ſo great an Idol do they make of their Paſſion, that they even ſet it above all Laws, both Human and Divine. The following Lines are great Favourites with them, and never fail to be quoted when any Remonſtrances are made to them: ――No Law is made for Love;Law is for Things which to free Choice relate;Love is not in our Choice but in our Fate:Laws are but poſitive; Love’s Power we ſeeIs Nature’s Sanction, and her firſt Decree.Each Day we break the Bond of Human LawsFor Love, and vindicate the common Cauſe.Laws for Defence of civil Right are plac’d;Love throws the Fences down, and makes a general Waſte.Maids, Widows, Wives, without Diſtinction fall,The ſweeping Deluge Love, comes on, and covers all;For Love the Senſe of Right and Wrong confounds;Strong Love, and proud Ambition have no Bounds.Well 315 Ss4r 313315
Well, indeed, may it be called, as another great Author has it: The Frenzy of the Mind.
Yet will I take upon me to maintain, that in its Beginning, it may eaſily enough be ſubdued, by any thinking and diſcreet Perſon; but the Miſchief is, that ſome young People are ſo infatuated, as to imagine it a mighty pretty Thing to be in Love; that it adds to their Character, and affords room for them to ſay, and be ſaid to, a great many fine Things.—How have I ſeen ſeveral of both Sexes, who, without feeling the Paſſion, having dreſſed their Eyes in Languiſhments, ſighed by Rote, and affected all the Symptoms of the moſt dying Love; ſome of whom, by long counterfeiting the Infection, have at laſt caught it in Reality: As Cowley deſcribes it in a moſt admirable Manner: Unhurt, untouch’d, did I complain,And terrify’d all others with my Pain,But now I feel the mighty Evil:Ah, there’s no fooling with the Devil!So wanton Men, when they would others fright,Themſelves have met a real Spright.Darts, and Wounds, and Flame, and Heat,I nam’d but for the Rhyme, or the Conceit:Nor meant my Verſe ſhould raiſed beTo the ſad Fame of Prophecy.Truth316Ss4v314316Truth gives a dull Propriety to my Stile,And all the Metaphors does ſpoil.In Things where Fancy much does reign,’Tis dangerous too cunningly to feign.The Play at laſt a Truth does grow,And Cuſtom into Nature go.By this curſt Art of Begging I becameLame, with counterfeiting lame.My Lines of amorous DeſireI wrote to kindle, and blow others Fire.And ’twas a barbarous Delight,My Fancy promis’d from the Sight:But now, by Love, the mighty Phalaris, IMy burning Ball, the firſt do try.
But as to thoſe whoſe Hearts are inſenſibly attracted by the Perfections of a Perſon they may happen to ſee, and feel in themſelves the ſincere Tokens of a growing Paſſion:—Even thoſe, I ſay, if any material Impediements lie in the Way of their Deſires, may, if they will attempt to do it, conquer the Impulſe, powerful as it is.—Let them forbear all farther Interviews with the dangerous Object.—Let them ſhun the ſoftening Converſation of all who either are Lovers, or pretend to be ſo, and endeavour to fill their Minds with the Study of ſome Science or Art.—Abſence, Time, and Employment, will infallibly work a Cure, tho’ I will not argue but at firſt the Patient muſt undergo ſome Pain.
A young Sailor, who was paſſionately in Love with a Maid that had but one Eye, after having 317 Tt1r 315317 having been a three Years Voyage, went to viſit her on his Return, and imagined he found her quite different from the Perſon he ſo much doated on at his Departure:—Bleſs me! cry’d he, how you are altered ſince I went away! Why you have loſt one of your Eyes! On which ſhe laughed, and replied wittily enough, No, but I perceive you have found both yours.
While the Paſſion laſts, it doubtleſs gives Charms where there are none, and highly magnifies thoſe it really finds; but when it ceaſes, we ſee without a Miſt before our Eyes, and often are ſurprized at ourſelves for having been ſo much deceived.
But ſuppoſing the Object of our Affections to be in Fact poſſeſſed of the moſt conſummate Perfections; if thoſe Perfections cannot be attained, without Prejudice either to ourſelves or the Perſon we love, is it not the extremeſt Folly to purſue the Aim?—What Ideas could Silvius, who truly loved, or Lavinia, who imagined ſhe did ſo, form to themſelves of Happineſs in Life, by encouraging an Inclination for each other? What likelihood of compleating the Union they had vowed? Or if madly they had reſolved to enter into it, what but Miſery had attended it?――The Husband, unable to ſupport his Wife as ſhe had been bred, muſt have been doubly wretched, to ſee the Idol of his Soul languiſh under Wants he had not Power to relieve, and which he had brought her under; and the Vol. IV. Tt Wife 318 Tt1v 316318 Wife, grown wiſer by Calamity, would certainly have repented the Error of her Choice, and hated the Author of her altered State.――Diſcontent, Grief of Heart, Reproaches, would ſoon have uſurped the Place of fond Endearments, and he that loved, and ſhe that did not love, have been equally unhappy.
I believe, if we look into the World, we ſhall find no greater Evils in private Life, than what Marriages, whether clandeſtine, or openly ſolemnized, in Defiance of the Will of thoſe who ought to have the Diſpoſal of us, have occaſioned.
Obedience to Parents is an indiſpenſible Duty.—No one, how great ſoever, ought to think himſelf exempt from paying it. Decency and Good Manners require it. Natural Affection obliges to it. The Laws of Man enjoin it, and the Law of God not only commands it, but annexes to the fulfilling it a Promiſe of long Life in the Land which he ſhall pleaſe to give us.
Yet, notwithſtanding this, when a Parent through Avarice, Caprice, or Partiality, would force his Child to marry utterly againſt Inclination, I cannot think Diſobedience a Crime, becauſe we are not to obey our Parents in Things which are in themſelves unlawful; and certainly there is nothing more oppoſite to the Laws of God, and more contradictory to the Inſtitution, and even to the very Words of Marriage, than to vow 319 Tt2r 317319 vow an everlaſting Love to a Perſon for whom one has a fixed Averſion.
But tho’ we are not always bound to marry according to the Direction of our Parents, we ought not, however, to think ourſelves at Liberty to chuſe for ourſelves.—If we cannot bring our Hearts to correſpond with their Deſires, we muſt not be ſo wholly guided by our own, as to bring into their Family a Perſon whom they do not approve of.
In ſhort, it is the Opinion of the Female Spectator, that he, or ſhe, who cannot marry according to their Parents Liking, ought not to marry at all, at leaſt till the Deceaſe of thoſe Parents leaves them free to diſpoſe of themſelves.
It is, however, a very great Misfortune, methinks, that ſo many Places where young People may meet and undo themſelves for ever at Pleaſure are tollerated.—The Cuſtom of calling the Banes in the Pariſh Churches, as old faſhioned and vulgar as it is now eſteemed, prevented many a worthy Family from being brought into Affliction by the Folly of one inconſiderable Branch of it.
Marriages alſo in private Chambers, tho’ with the Conſent of Friends, and never ſo many Perſons preſent, ſeem to me to loſe great Part of their Solemnity.――If the Ceremony is allowed to be a Divine Inſtitution, and the Union of Hands and Heart, to be a Type of the Tt2 Myſtical 320 Tt2v 318320 Myſtical Union of Chriſt and his Church, certainly the moſt proper Place for the Celebration of it, is that which is conſecrated and ſet apart for Religious Rites.
I have the Honour to be entirely of the ſame Way of thinking with a late noble Lord, who ſaid he could not look on any Marriage as perfect which was not celebrated before the Altar, and obliged his Daughter, and the Bridegroom he had made Choice of for her, to be married at the Pariſh Church, though both of them were ſomewhat reluctant, as it was againſt the Mode.
The main Reaſon I have heard alledged againſt it is, that it is too great a Shock to the Modeſty of a young Lady to be given to a Man in the Preſence of ſo many People as generally crowd into the Church on ſuch Occaſions; but I could wiſh there were more of Sincerity and leſs of Sophiſtry in this Argument, and that the Brides of this Age would in other Reſpects diſcover an equal Share of Timidity with their Great-Grandmothers, who were not aſhamed to go to Church with the Man they loved, and was authorized by their Parents, or ſuch who had the Diſpoſal of them.
Some too, in order I ſuppoſe to prove themſelves good Proteſtants, will ſay, that a Marriage before the Altar makes it look too much like a Sacrament, and ſavours of the Church of 321 Tt3r 319321 of Rome; but all who talk in this idle Manner, I am afraid, are of the Number of thoſe who, to fly from Popery, run into Prophaneſs, and rather than put too great a Streſs on any of the Ordinances of the Church, deſpiſe and ridicule every Thing it enjoins,.
I am ſorry to ſay, that of theſe there are not a few; but as this is a Matter quite foreign to my preſent Purpoſe, and indeed I muſt acknowledge out of the Province of a Female Spectator, I ſhall add no more upon it.
All I would endeavour by this Animadverſion on Lavinia’s Letter is to perſwade the younger Part of my Sex, that it is highly unbecoming of them to entertain any Thoughts of Love or Marriage, till it is propoſed and recommended to them by thoſe under whoſe Government they are; and the elder to avoid all ſuch ſilly Compliments and Diſcourſes as may contribute to put into the Minds of thoſe under their Care, Ideas which otherwiſe perhaps they would have very little or no Notion of.
The Small-Pox is not half ſo great an Enemy to the Face as Flattery is to the Mind of a young Virgin.—It empoiſons all the noble Propenſities, turns every thing to Vanity, and makes her, inſtead of pleaſing others, look on nothing but herſelf as worthy of being pleaſed— She flies the Converſation of all thoſe who deal ſincerely with her, and is in Raptures with ſuch as 322 Tt3v 320322 as tend to the Praiſes of her Beauty.――She ſwallows greedily the moſt groſs and abſurd Encomiums, believes them all, and that ſhe merits even more than can be ſaid.—In this Imagination, blown up with Self-Conceit, ſhe grows above all Controul.—Her Words, her Actions are wholly under the Direction of her own Will, which influencing her only to the Gratification of her Paſſions and Humour, what but Ruin in its worſt Shape can be expected to enſue!
Of all the Virtues, there are none ought more to be inculcated into the Mind of a young Girl, than Modeſty and Meekneſs.――Vanity and Pride are perpetually endeavouring to force their Way into the Heart, and too much Care cannot be taken to repulſe their Efforts:—The more ſhe has of Beauty, the leſs ſhe ought to be told of it, and the ſtronger Arguments made Uſe of, to convince her of the little Value ſhe ſhould ſet upon it.
Nothing gives me more Pain than to ſee a Mother encourage her Children in what ſhe calls Spirit, and be rather pleaſed than offended at any pert Behaviour they may be guilty of, eſpecially when they are very young.――Poor Woman, ſhe does not conſider how this ſame Spirit will grow with their Years, and to what dangerous Lengths it may one Day tranſport them.
It is a Spirit not eaſily quelled when once raiſed, and I would have no Parents flatter themſelves 323 Tt4r 321323 themſelves with the Power of doing it; for when too much Lenity finds itſelf provoked to Auſterity, the Perſon it is exerciſed upon, inſtead of being humbled by the Change, becomes more perverſe, and not ſeldom flies into open Rebellion.
It is, therefore, in the moſt early Years of Life we ought to begin to be inſtructed in the Leſſons of Virtue, if it is expected we ſhould practiſe them when arrived to more Maturity. Juvenal truly ſays, Children, like tender Oziers, take the Bow,And as they firſt are faſhion’d always grow:For what we learn in Youth, to that aloneIn Age we are by ſecond Nature prone.
But I foreſee the little Reliſh ſome of my Readers, not only of the younger Sort, but of thoſe Parents who are miſled by a falſe Tenderneſs, will have for theſe Admonitions: A Conſciouſneſs, however, of having done what ought to be the Buſineſs of every public Writer, will conſole me under all the ſevere Things may happen to be ſaid of me.
A second Letter from Curioſo Politico came to hand; but tho’ there are many good Things in it, yet as it is on a Subject altogether improper for a Work of this Kind, we muſt deſire he will excuſe us for not inſerting it.
For the ſame Reaſon we muſt alſo reject that from 324 Tt4v 322324 from Alcander, as well as a Copy of Verſes from a nameleſs Author, intitled, A Poem on the preſent Poſture of Affairs, or a Trip to the North. The latter of theſe is a Piece which will doubtleſs take very well with the Town, if printed by itſelf; and I would therefore adviſe the Gentleman to let it appear; for which Reaſon we have left it with our Publiſher, who will deliver it to any one, who, by repeating ſome Lines contained in it, can prove he has a juſt Title to it.
The Letter ſigned S. S. S. is received, and the ingenious and judicious Author may depend on ſeeing it in our next Eſſay, it coming too late to be inſerted in this; otherwiſe the Honour he does this Undertaking, by communicating, thro’ our Canal, Sentiments ſo well worthy the Attention of the World, had been immediately publiſhed.
In the mean time deſire he will accept of our very ſincere Thanks, not only for that by which our Readers will have an equal Advantage with ourſelves, but alſo for the good Opinion he has ſo obligingly teſtified of the Female Spectator, in his Letter to the Publiſher.
End of the Twenty-Third Book.
The Female Spectator.
It is a very great Misfortune, that People will not give themſelves the Trouble to examine more nearly into the Nature of Things; eſpecially of ſuch as they have every Day in their Mouths, and would be thought to practiſe in their Behaviour.
It is this Inattention that renders us liable to ſo many Errors in Judgment, both in ourſelves and others.――Hence it is, that Good Taſte, Good Manners, and indeed all the Virtues are ſo little underſtood.—Hence it is, we are ſo often deceived by Semblances and vain Appearances, and miſtake the Shadow for the Subſtance.Vol. IV. Uu To 326 Uu1v 324326
To awaken the Soul, and rouſe it to a proper Exertion of its Faculty of Diſcernment, has been the chief Aim of theſe Lucubrations; ſince from a too great Supineneſs in this ſo material Point, flow, as from their Fountain Head, almoſt all the Errors we are guilty of.
The Letter I now preſent my Readers with, has in it ſomething ſo very delicate on this Subject, and is written in ſo elegant and maſterly a Manner, as cannot, I think, fail of invigorating the moſt Indolent.To the Female Spectator. Madam, I Obſerve, with great Pleaſure, that you cloſely tread in the Steps of your late Brother and Predeceſſor, the Spectator, of immortal Memory, in that Part of his Lucubrations where he endeavours to promote Religion, Morality, and Good Manners: And that, like him too, you are thankful for any Hint from an ingenuous Correſpondent, and have a very happy Talent of improving and enforcing it. A Design ſo noble claims the Aſſiſtance of every able Hand, and your inſtructive and good-natured Manner of executing it, encourages Perſons of all Ranks and Capacities to contribute ſomething to your Stock. Moved by theſe Conſiderations, I have ventured among others to caſt my Mite into your Treaſury; 327 Uu2r 325327 Treaſury; which, like the Widow’s, will, I hope, be rated, not according to the Value of the Gift, but the Intention and Abilities of the Donor:――The ſmalleſt Sum makes ſome Addition to the largeſt Heap; eſpecially when it hath paſſed thro’ your enchanting Hands, which have the Power of turning every Thing they touch into Gold. But not to keep you in Suſpence any longer, I ſhall take the Liberty of communicating to you, and through your Canal to the Public, an Obſervation that hath occurred to me, which I do not remember to have met with in any Author, That Good Manners do ſo neceſſarily attend upon Religion, that they are inſeparably linked together. As by Religion I mean, not the outward Profeſſion, or the moſt formal Shew of it, but that which grows in the Heart, and proceeds from a fixed Principle of Goodneſs and Conviction; ſo by Good Manners I would be underſtood to comprehend, not only the courtly Phraſe, the well-turned Compliment, or the eaſy Salute, but likewiſe that innate Deſire of pleaſing, that Fearfulneſs of offending, and that Sweetneſs of Diſpoſition, which may ſhine as much in the plain Countryman, as in the gaudy Courtier. There may be ſtrong Appearances of both theſe amiable Qualities without the Subſtance. Uu2 ‘But 328 Uu2v 326328 But when the Life and Soul of them is wanting, as the one is allowed by every Body to be Hypocriſy, ſo I would call the other only Good Breeding. Hence it is that many wicked Men often do virtuous and genteel Actions, becauſe they correſpond with their Intereſt, their Reputation, or the Faſhion of the Times; when they would not ſcruple to be guilty in private of the moſt baſe and unmannerly Behaviour. But true Religion and Good Manners, which are built upon a ſolid and unſhaken Foundation, are always uniform and conſtant, exerting themſelves in a proper Manner at all Times and to all People.—What therefore God hath joined together, let no Man put aſunder. Many Examples are to be met with in Holy Writ, to confirm the Truth of this Obſervation. Let us look over the hiſtorical Part of it, from Adam the firſt Man, down to St. Paul the laſt, but not, as he modeſtly calls himſelf, the leaſt of the Apoſtles; and a curious Reader will find numberleſs Inſtances to convince him how intimately theſe two Qualities are united together. Whenever we drop into the Story of a good Man, if the Narrative is of any Length, we ſhall certainly diſcover Traces of a courteous, affable, and generous Diſpoſition; and in the Character of the Wicked, there is always a Mixture of the Sour, the Churl, and the Moroſe. Give yourſelf the Trouble, Madam, to conſider‘ſider 329 Uu3r 327329 ſider this Subject, and expatiate upon it a little; and do not make a modeſt Excuſe, as you have ſometimes done, that it is an Undertaking more fit for a Divine: It may perhaps be ſo; and therefore I hope, if you will throw ſome further Light upon this Sketch, by a few Strokes of your maſterly Pencil, it may encourage a great Genius of that learned Body to work it up into finiſhed a Piece. I am perſwaded that a very uſeful and entertaining Treatiſe might be formed upon this Plan.――Many illuſtrious Examples might be diſplayed in an advantageous Manner for our Imitation: Many curious Remarks might be introduced for our Amuſement; and many inſtructive Concluſions might be drawn for our Improvement. As your Speculations are read with Pleaſure by ſeveral fine Gentlemen and Ladies, who would be aſhamed to be ſeen with a Bible in their Hands, they may poſſibly be ſurprized into a Conviction that it is not ſo old-faſhioned a Book as they are taught to believe it is. If they ſhould be tempted to lay aſide their Prejudices, and give themſelves the Trouble to look into it with a little Attention, they cannot turn over many Pages without finding ſtrong Inſtances of Good Manners; and in ſome Parts of it they will meet with ſuch beautiful Compliments, ſuch elegant Addreſs, and ſuch high Strokes of Politeneſs, as are not to be outdone ‘in 330 Uu3v 328330 in the moſt refined and accompliſhed Circles of Converſation.—They may likewiſe be induced to entertain a more favourable Opinion of Religion, when they ſee how greatly the World is indebted to it for that Sweetneſs of Temper, and that Eaſineſs of Behaviour, which render us, not only agreeable, but uſeful to one another. This is the original Spring form whence Good Manners naturally and neceſſarily flow: But Good Breeding, however commendable and decent, often ariſes from other Motives. For we ſhould diſtinguiſh between theſe, as we do between Religion itſelf and the ceremonious Part of it.—The One is the Subſtance, the Other is the Form.—The One is the inward Diſpoſition of the Heart; the Other is a graceful Manner of exerting it in our outward Practice. They are moſt valuable and praiſe-worthy when united together; but if the good Principle is wanting, the moſt courtly Addreſs is but fallacious Shew;—a kind of civil Hypocriſy. Again, ſome judicious Obſervations upon this Subject may ſerve to open the Hearts and extend the Charity of many ſtiff, tho’ perhaps well-meaning Chriſtians of all Communities, who profeſs a more than ordinary Strictneſs of Behaviour; but do it in ſuch an aukward, ill-natured and moroſe Manner, as to prejudice others into a ſettled Diſlike of Religion itſelf. Let them examine themſelves cloſely, whether this Sourneſs of Temper, and this Phariſaical Contempt‘tempt 331 Xx1r 329331 tempt of their Neighbours do not proceed from a Degree of ſpiritual Pride. It certainly grows from ſome bad Root, and ought by no Means to be charged to the Account of Religion; which will appear upon the niceſt Enquiry to encourage and promote whatſoever Things are lovely and of good Report. But, laſtly, a Sect of our Diſſenters may learn from hence, how greatly they are miſtaken in their Notions of imitating the Apoſtles and primitive Men, by an uncouth and unmannerly Behaviour. I will not uncharitably conclude, that their Peculiarity of Dreſs, and Bluntneſs of Speech, is the Effect of Singularity and Affectation; but I will venture to affirm, that Religion, and the Examples they quote, are in point againſt them. For we ſhall univerſally find that the good and great Men of old, conformed themſelves to the civil Modes and Phraſes of the Times and Places they lived in, and were moſt remarkably diſtinguiſhed by a courteous, reſpectful, and polite Behaviour. If you will give yourſelf the Trouble to improve theſe Hints, you will oblige, Madam, Your ſincere Admirer, S. S. S. Warwick, 1746-03-10March10, 1745-6.
I could wiſh thoſe of my Readers who ſhine in what they call High-Life, would ſeriouſly conſider, and well weigh the judicious and inſtructiveIV. Xx ſtructive 332 Xx1v 330332 ſtructive Diſtinction the Author of the above Epiſtle has made between Good Manners and Good Breeding; they would then ſee that the latter without the former can only impoſe upon the ignorant, or thoſe at a diſtance from them, but is ſeen through, and found of little Value by ſuch as are endued with any Share of Judgment, and approach them more nearly.
Good Breeding we owe meerly to the Care and Pains taken in our Education, and our Inſtructors and Governors merit the Praiſe of it more than ourſelves; but Good Manners are our own entirely, not learned by rote, borrowed or forced, as it were, into us by others; they are the immediate Workings of a Soul replete with Gentleneſs, Humanity, and every ſocial Virtue; and the more we diſcover of them, the more we reſemble the Great Author of our Being, who is the Source of all Goodneſs.
Well may this obliging Correſpondent ſay they go Hand in Hand with Religion, and cannot be put aſunder.—True Religion cannot be without Good Manners, becauſe the Properties of Good Manners are not only taught but inſpired into us by Religion.――The moſt frequently repeated Command given to us by the great Legiſlator of our Faith, and by all his Apoſtles after him, is, that we love one another: Now from Love flows Complaiſance, Humility, Sincerity, Charity, Benevolence, Hoſpitality, a Delight in pleaſing, and in fine every Thing 333 Xx2r 331333 Thing that can endear us to Mankind while on Earth, and render us fit for, and capable of enjoying that harmonious Communion we hope for hereafter.
Whoever is poſſeſſed of this Love, this good Will, this univerſal Tenderneſs for his Fellow-Creatures is incapable of giving Offence to any.――His Behaviour will be all Sweetneſs and Gentleneſs, even though he ſhould be entirely ignorant of the Rules of Good Breeding; and if he expreſſes himſelf in a leſs polite Manner, it will however be affectionate and kind;―― every thing he ſays and does will be accompanied with a certain Softneſs, which may well compenſate for the want of Elegance.
Were it poſſible that the whole Species of Human-Kind would each look on himſelf as but a Member of that great Body of which God himſelf is the Soul, how perfect would be the Happineſs of every Individual!――No Wants, no Miſeries, no Tears, no Lamentations would then diſturb the Quiet of the World, or deſtroy our Reliſh for that Profuſion of Comforts with which Heaven has ſo bountifully ſtored every Element for the Uſe and Service of us all in general; and whoever withholds from his Neighbour, and endeavours to engroſs as much as he can to himſelf, is guilty of the higheſt Injuſtice and moſt conſummate Arrogance, in ſo manifeſtly contradicting the Intention of the Divine Donor.Xx2 But 334 Xx2v 332334
But a Return to this State of Innocence and Purity is not to be expected; a Train of wicked Paſſions, natural to us as the Air we breathe, have now taken Poſſeſſion of the Heart of Man, and even our Reaſon, when moſt exerted, is often too weak to combat with them.――Pride, Luxury, Ambition, and Revenge make a terrible Havock of the nobler Propenſities, and enervate the Soul even in the beſt of us; ſo that we are compelled to ſay with St. Paul, The Good that I would, that I do not; and the Evil that I would not, that I do.
However, as the Deſire of being ſpoke well of, is natural even to thoſe who take leaſt Pains to deſerve it, methinks it is worth the while of every one to carry themſelves with Affability and Courteſy to all Degrees of People; ――to relieve the Wants of thoſe who ſtand in need of Compaſſion; and to be leſs ſevere in cenſuring and expoſing ſuch as may have been guilty of any Errors in Conduct. The Sums which to my Knowledge ſome People of Condition laviſh away on Trifles, many of which perhaps it would be better for them to be without, would purchaſe a thouſand Friends, and attract more real Admiration and Reverence, than the moſt glaring Equipage they can invent; and that Wit and Spirit they too frequently exert in malicious Sarcaſms, if employed in excuſing any falſe Step they may happen to be informedformed 335 Xx3r 333335 formed of, would loſe nothing of its Value by being accompanied with Good Nature.
I am very apt to believe that many who are not endued with the greateſt Sweetneſs of Diſpoſition, if they could once bring themſelves to act as if they were, would, by the Advantages they muſt neceſſarily find in Goodneſs, become in reality what they before but aſſumed the Shew of being: For if ill Habits by long Cuſtom grow into a ſecond Nature, and are ſcarce poſſible to be thrown off, though the Miſchiefs attending them are known and felt, good Ones muſt certainly have the ſame Effect, when we find Honour, Reputation, and Harmony of Mind are their Reward.
Good Breeding, by this Means converted into Good Manners, would be truly meritorious, and I know not if not more ſo, than to be endued by Nature with all the Qualities which incline to the Practice of them.
But to accuſtom onſelf to ſay nothing but kind and obliging Things, yet never do a juſt or generous one, unleſs Intereſt or Oſtentation excites, is, as the worthy Gentleman expreſſes it, no more than a civil Hoypocriſy.
This Topic puts me in Mind of an Affair which I was perfectly acquainted with the Truth of, and is ſo applicable to the Purpoſe, that I cannot help relating it, though the Reader muſt excuſe 336 Xx3v 334336 excuſe my mentioning the Country where it happened, or the Names of the Perſons concerned in it,
A certain Nobleman, who for his great Courteſy Affability, and ſeeming Sweetneſs of Diſpoſition, was the very Idol of the Populace, and the Delight of all thoſe who were admitted to a nearer Converſation with him, gave an Inſtance of this civil Hypocriſy: He was doubtleſs poſſeſſed of many excellent Qualities, though he wanted the Crown of all, Sincerity, as will too evidently appear by the Sequel of the Story I am about to relate.
This great and accompliſhed Perſon had the Misfortune to fall under the Diſpleaſure of his Sovereign, through the ſubtle Inſinuations of the then Prime Miniſter, who being a wicked and weak Man, except in a low mean Cunning, in which it muſt be owned he excelled, hated all who either had any real Merit, or were judged to have it.
He was not, indeed, abſolutely forbid the Court, but looked ſo coolly upon all belonging to it, that he ſeldom went there; and this abſenting himſelf gave his Enemy many Opportunities of miſrepreſenting him, and putting a falſe Colour on every thing he did.
It happened one Day that a Gentlewoman, who had frequent Occaſions of waiting on the Prime Miniſter, on account of a Buſineſs ſhe was 337 Xx4r 335337 was then ſolliciting, being deſired to ſtay in one of his Parlors till a Perſon was gone, with whom they told her he was at preſent engaged, ſhe ſaw ſoon after a Chair with the Curtains cloſe drawn, brought by the Door of the Room where ſhe was ſitting, and in a few Minutes a Gentleman come out of a Cloſet where the Prime Miniſter uſually received People who came to him on any private Affairs, and threw himſelf into it with the greateſt Precipitation, as if fearful of being ſeen, even by the Servants of the Perſon he came to.
So uncommon a Sight as a Chair being brought quite through the Houſe, joined with the extreme Caution of him that went into it, a little ſurprized her; but ſhe made no great Reflections on it at that Time, being preſently admitted to the Preſence of the Prime Miniſter; but before ſhe had concluded what ſhe had to ſay to him, his Valet de Chambre came in, and told him one of the Fathers of the Church deſired to ſpeak with him; on which he went haſtily out, leaving her alone in the Cloſet.
As ſhe ſat ruminating on her own Affairs, and far from any Curioſity for knowing thoſe of other People, her Eye, without her deſigning it to do ſo, chanced to glance on a Parchment which had been tied, but now lay half unrolled upon a Table near her, on the Top of which ſhe could not help ſeeing theſe Words, Articles of Impeachment for High Treaſon. This ſome- 338 Xx4v 336338 ſomewhat ſtartled her, and ſhe could not refrain looking a little farther, where ſhe read the Name of that Nobleman above-mentioned, and below that of another Perſon who ſhe had heard was his moſt bitter Enemy.
She not doubted, but that the Prime Miniſter and this other were hatching ſome Miſchief towards the noble Lord; and as ſhe had ſome ſmall Acquaintance with him, and had the higheſt Eſtimation for his Character, it aggravated the Indignation which ſhe could not but have felt at the Injuſtice attempted to be practiſed, had it been againſt a Perſon ſhe had thought leſs worthy.
She had no Time to examine into the Body of the Scroll. The Prime Miniſter returned, and after ſome Diſcourſe with him on the Buſineſs which had brought her thither, ſhe took her Leave, but with an Agitation of Mind, which required no leſs Preſence of Mind than ſhe was Miſtreſs of to conceal.
On her Return Home, and ruminating on what ſhe had ſeen, ſhe thought it her Duty to apprize the Nobleman of the Danger he was in, to the end he might be armed againſt it: For this Purpoſe ſhe wrote to let him know ſhe had a Diſcovery of ſomething, which it was highly neceſſary for his Intereſt, and even Safety, he ſhould be immediately acquainted with, and added, that if he would be at Leiſure ſhe would wait on 339 Yy1r 337339 on him that ſame Evening to explain the Matter.
To this he returned a very complaiſant Anſwer; but added, that being obliged to ſup with ſome Friends at a Villa he had ſome Diſtance from Town, he would order his Secretary to attend her, and entreated ſhe would communicate the Secret to him, which, he ſaid, might be done with the ſame Safety as to himſelf.
The Gentleman accordingly came, and in Compliance with the Requeſt made to her by his Lord, ſhe related to him the whole of what ſhe knew; and withal, that ſhe imagined, that the Gentleman ſhe had ſeen go away in the covered Chair, was no other than him whoſe Name ſhe had ſeen in the Parchment, as the Perſon who attempted to prove the Articles therein inſerted.
The Secretary ſeemed greatly aſtoniſhed, and as ſhe thought diſmayed at the Intelligence ſhe gave him: But, after having pauſed a little, There is nothing of Ill, ſaid he, that is not to be expected from the Malice and implacable Hatred of the Prime Miniſter; but as to the Suppoſition you mention of the Perſon who went out in that private Manner, being the ſame whoſe Name you ſaw in the Parchment, it is altogether groundleſs; for I am very certain he is not in this Kingdom, and that my Lord has taken effectual Meaſures to keep him where he is.
As the Lady had only bare Conjecture on her Vol. IV. Yy Side, 340 Yy1v 338340 Side, though backed with Probability enough, ſhe offered no more in defence of it, and the Secretary went away; but, as ſhe afterwards heard, took Poſt-Chaiſe immediately to his Lord, to acquaint him with what ſhe had told him, which convinced her how material he even then thought it, though he would not ſeem to do ſo.
The Nobleman, however, in this Point was leſs capable than his Servant of diſguiſing himſelf, as being more deeply intereſted; and ſent him again the next Day with many fine Compliments, and Expreſſions of the utmoſt Gratitude, to which was annexed a Requeſt of her uſing all her Efforts to come at the Truth, and find out, if poſſible, the Perſon in the Chair; adding, that whatever Pains or Expence ſhe ſhould be at in unravelling this important Myſtery, they ſhould certainly be amply recompenſed.
As ſhe knew and truly hated the Prime Miniſter’s baſe Arts, had a Veneration for the good Qualities of the Nobleman who requeſted this Favour of her, and doubtleſs had ſome Sparks of Curioſity herſelf, ſhe readily aſſured the Secretary, that nothing in her Power ſhould be wanting to ſatisfy his Lord’s Deſire; on which he renewed his Compliments, and ſaid he would attend her in a few Days; beſeeching, that if ſhe ſucceeded in her Enquiries before he came, that ſhe would ſend to him.
The various Stratagems to which ſhe was obliged 341 Yy2r 339341 obliged to have recourſe, in orde for this Diſcovery, would be too tedious to recount: It ſhall ſuffice to ſay, that ſhe gained her Point in leſs than a Week’s Time, and found ſhe had not been deceived in her firſt Thought, and that the Perſon who took ſo much Care to keep himſelf concealed, was the very individual He, whoſe Name ſhe had ſeen as the grand Accuſer of the noble Lord.
The next Requeſt made her in his Name by the Secretary, who came to her every Day, was to find out where this Incendiary was lodged, which, with a great deal of perſonal Fatigue, and no ſmall Expence of Money, ſhe at laſt attained the Knowledge of; but what cannot a ſincere Zeal, Curioſity, and ſome Mixture of Self-Intereſt accompliſh! Though born and bred to very great Expectations in Life, a Multiplicity of croſs Accidents had rendered her not of the Number of the Rich, though above the Contempt of Want; and, as ſhe had much to hope from the Favour of ſo great and honourable a Perſon, it doubtleſs added to her Diligence and Induſtry in ſerving him.
The Promiſes made her were indeed very great, and the Gratitude of the Nobleman exceeded in Shew even her own Imagination: After ſhe had acquainted him where his Adverſary was to be found, he ſent his Secretary to tell her, that he ſhould always acknowledge that he owed to her, if not his Life, his Honour, andYy2 what- 342 Yy2v 340342 whatever elſe was valuable in this World, and that he would, in a very few Days, convince her of the Senſe he had of the Obligation ſhe had conferred upon him, by making her Fortune as perfectly eaſy as ſhe had made his Mind.
The Service ſhe did him was certainly as great as ever Man received, for by this early Intelligence he found Means to circumvent all the Plots his Enemies were laying againſt him, reconciled himſelf to the good Graces of his Sovereign, bought off his grand Accuſer from the Intereſt of the Prime Miniſter; ſo that the Thing was intirely dropped, and never more attempted.— But to return to the Lady.
Some Weeks after her knowing the Nobleman was again in Favour paſt over, without her hearing any thing from him, or his Secretary, to the former of whom ſhe wrote a Letter, expreſſing the Satisfaction it gave her, to find the good Effect of what ſhe had done.
This was the moſt modeſt Method ſhe could take of reminding him, and one would think ſhould have been ſufficient to have made him aſhamed of having ſtood in need of it; but when one can bring oneſelf to do a baſe, or an ungenerous Action, one ſhall always eaſily find Ways to evade the Scandal of it.
He ſent a very civil, though cool Meſſage, by the Perſon who delivered the Letter into his Hands, 343 Yy3r 341343 Hands, importing that he had been extremely buſy of late, but would not fail of ordering his Secretary to wait on her in a ſhort Time.
She had too much Penetration not to diſcover there was more of the Courtier than the honeſt Man in this Behaviour, and after having vainly waited the coming of his Secretary for ſeveral Weeks, at laſt reſolved to make a Viſit to the Nobleman, and know her Doom from his own Mouth.
But in imagining ſhe could do ſo, ſhe was wholly miſtaken; on having ſent up her Name, inſtead of being admitted to his Preſence, as was uſual, before ſhe had conferred this Obligation on him, his Valet de Chambre brought down an Excuſe, that he was engaged in Company, and ſhould be glad to ſee her any other Time.
Resolving to ſee the Event, ſhe went again the next Day, and was then told he was indiſpoſed:—She repeated her Viſit on the third, he was ſtill out of Order:――On the fourth had the ſame Anſwer, though ſhe was no ſooner got Home all theſe Times, than ſhe ſaw him in his Chariot paſs by her own Door.
This was ſufficient to convince her, that the Benefit received was no longer thought worth acknowledging; however, ſhe went three or four Times afterwards, but he was then always from Home, ſo that ſhe found the Servants had a generalneral 344 Yy3v 342344 neral Order to refuſe her Admittance whenever ſhe came.
She then endeavoured to ſee the Secretary, but he was no leſs careful to avoid her than his Lord had been; on which ſhe ſent a little Billet to him, deſiring he would take hold of ſome Leiſure Moment to call at her Lodgings.
As ſhe had ordered the Meſſenger to wait his Anſwer, it was impoſſible for him to avoid returning one; but it was only by Word of Mouth, that he had received no Commands from his Lord concerning her as yet, and whenever he did, he would not fail to wait upon her; and though ſhe continued for a long Time her Remonſtrances, and he lived five Years after, ſhe never received any other Acknowledgment than in Words, of the Service ſhe had rendered him.
Thus ended all her Expectations and Dependance on this Score.—Thus was teſtified the Gratitude and Honour of a great Man, who, on the Account of his Good Breeding and Affability, had acquired ſo high a Reputation of being poſſeſſed of every other excellent Qualification.
Not but he had in Effect done many generous Actions; but then it was, as my Correſpondent obſerves, where he was certain it would be either for his Intereſt or Character, by their being known and publicly talked of. Now here he had no ſuch Motive:—As the Affair tranſacteded 345 Yy4r 343345 ed by this Lady was of a ſecret Nature, and, if divulged, would have incurred the Diſpleaſure of the Prime Miniſter, he had nothing to apprehend from her Reſentment on the Forfeit of his Promiſe to her, nor could expect any thing to gratify his Oſtentation from her Good Will, had he fulfilled it: So that one may eaſily infer, that all his fine Qualities were ſuperficial, meer Shew, and ſtudied Artifice, and that he had really neither Honour, Gratitude, Good Nature, nor even common Honeſty, or Integrity; in fine, though he was a perfect Maſter of Good Breeding, he was utterly void of all Good Manners.
That true Benevolence and Sweetneſs of Diſpoſition which we call Good Manners, is, without all Doubt, the firſt and beſt of Virtues, becauſe all the others are, in effect, no more than meer Conſequences which neceſſarily attend upon it. —None who are poſſeſſed of it are capable of doing a premeditated bad Action:—I ſay premeditated, becauſe the Faults of Inadvertency are liable to us all, and will not only be repented of, but repaired, when Conſideration reſumes its Place.
But as amiable as Hoſpitality, Liberality, and Charity are, in relieving ſuch Diſtreſſes as are in our Power, yet are they all but exterior Branches of that ſublime Tree, which, like Jacob’s Ladder, has its Foot on Earth, and its Top above the Skies; and however beneficial they may be to Mankind, are yet infinitely ſhort of that innate Softneſs 346 Yy4v 344346 Softneſs and Sweetneſs, which not only diffuſes a divine Energy to the whole, but has peculiar Fruits of its own.
It is that interior Complaiſance I mean, which will not ſuffer us either to be angry with, or to deſpiſe thoſe whoſe Opinions may happen to be different from our own, whether it be in Religion, Politics, or any other Thing.
Those fatal Diſſentions among the Learned World, have been of ſad Diſſervice to Religion in general.――The Eſſential has been but too much loſt in the Ceremonial Part of it.—Weak Minds have been led aſtray, and divided in their Faith, ſo as not to know what they ought to obſerve; and the more Sullen and Moroſe are too apt to condemn all Parties, as they condemn one another, to the almoſt total Subverſion of that Reverence which ought to be paid, not only to Religion itſelf, but alſo to its Teachers, of what Sect ſoever; for as they doubtleſs all think themſelves in the right, and mean well, they ſhould be uſed well: Yet, as I have obſerved, and Hudibras ſays, That Obſtinacy’s ne’er ſo ſtiff,As when ’tis in a wrong Belief.
I must confeſs it has often been a Matter of the greateſt Aſtoniſhment to me, to ſee many Gentlemen, who preach the Goſpel of Chriſt, ſome of whom have large Capacities, and all of whom 347 Zz1r 345347 whom, it muſt be ſuppoſed, are perfectly acquainted with the Writings of the Apoſtles, behave ſo manifeſtly contradictory to both.—The firſt, methinks, ſhould inform them, that Religion conſiſts not in Forms; and the other in various Places enjoins us to be obedient to the higher Powers, when it does not interpoſe in any fundamental Points of Faith; which can be underſtood no otherwiſe than modeſtly to conform to that Mode of Worſhip which is called the Eſtabliſhed Church of the Country we live in, and the Ordinances of that Government by which we are protected.
The great Apoſtle of the Gentile World, in his firſt Epiſtle to the Corinthians, blames all thoſe who make unneceſſary Diſtinctions: Theſe are his Words, Every one of you ſays, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Chriſt. As if, purſues he in the next Verſe, Chriſt were divided.
We are not; however, to lay any ſtumbling Blocks in the Way of our weak Brethren; much leſs to judge of them with Severity, but rather to endeavour bringing them to a Union with us, by all manner of Tenderneſs and good Uſage.Vol. IV. Zz All 348 Zz1v 346348
All who profeſs Chriſtianity, much more the Teachers of it, ſhould rather go about to perſwade than enforce the Tenets they would recommend:――Indeed, as the admirable Author of the foregoing Letter juſtly ſays, all Religion that is from the Heart inſpires us with an adequate Share of Softneſs and Complaiſance.――I like Mr. Dryden’s Thought on this Subject extremely. Light’nings and Thunders, Heav’ns Artillery,As Harbingers before th’ Almighty fly:Thoſe but proclaim his Style, and diſappear;The ſtiller Sound ſucceeds, and God is there.
I am of Opinion that many might be won over by Lenity, which are inflexible to the ſtrongeſt Arguments, when delivered in an authoritative Way; but I am glad to find, that, by all the Obſervation which my Spectatorial Capacity enables me to make, the Clergy of the Church of England are infinitely leſs auſtere, than thoſe of the Sects which take, as it ſeems to me, indeed a kind of Pride in diſſenting from them.
Would ſome learned Pen take this Matter in Hand, and ſet the Beauty of Good Manners, and their natural and neceſſary Connection with Religion in a clear Light, I am ſatisfied we ſhould ſee a much greater Unanimity among the Profeſſors of it, than unhappily at preſent ſubſiſts.Examples 349 Zz2r 347349
Examples are certainly of great Weight, and one can ſcarce dip into any Hiſtory without finding ſome Perſon equally eminent for his Piety and Good Manners.――The Bible affords ſo many beautiful Contraſts between the Churl and the Humane, wherein the former is diſtinguiſhed by the Son of Belial, which is the Devil, and the latter is honoured with the Title of Beloved of Heaven, Child of God, and ſuch like glorious Epithets, as will make any attentive Reader dread and deteſt the Character of the one, and I ſhould think endeavour to imitate the Practice of the other.
I hope Mr.S. S. S. is miſtaken in imagining that any of thoſe who account themſelves of the Polite world, how thoughtleſs and inconſiderate ſoever they may ſeem, are yet ſo ignorant as to neglect either the Old or New Teſtament, becauſe they look upon them as old faſhioned; for it muſt be, and is acknowledged even by thoſe who leaſt obey the Precepts contained in them, that for Strength and Dignity of Sentiment, as well as Elegance of Stile, they infinitely exceed all other Writings whatever.
The greateſt and the beſt of Poets have aimed to copy after thoſe Sacred Writings; and the nearer they have approached to their Sublimity, the more they have been allowed to excel.Zz2 Iſaiah, 350 Zz2v 348350
Iſaiah, Ezekiel, and ſeveral others of the Prophets have in them Sentiments altogether magnificent; and tho’ wrote ſo many Ages ſince, are expreſſed in a manner which it is not eaſy to find many Moderns that can equal.
The Lamentation of the Royal Pſalmiſt over Saul and Jonathan is, methinks, extremely touching and elegant, as it is recorded in the Second Book of Samuel.How are the Mighty fallen! Tell it not in Gath, publiſh it not in the Streets of Askelon, leſt the Daughters of the Philiſtines rejoice, leſt the Daughters of the Uncircumciſed triumph. Ye Mountains of Gilboa, let there be no Dew, neither let there be Rain upon you, nor Fields of Offerings; for there the Shield of the Mighty is vilely caſt away, the Shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with Oyl. Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleaſant in their Lives, and in their Death they were not divided: They were ſwifter than Eagles, they were ſtronger than Lions.
But this is but one among ten Thouſand; and to mention any particular Paſſages, is a kind of injury to thoſe of equal Value paſſed over in Silence.――It is ſcarce poſſible to open the Bible 351 Zz3r 349351 Bible in any Part of it, without meeting with ſomething which demands our Attention, and obliges even thoſe who give leaſt Faith to the Facts contained in it, to acknowledge that in the Sublimity of Images it infinitely ſurpaſſes all that ever were wrote.
Many there are, however, who though charmed with the Deſcriptions they find in theſe inſpired Wrirtings, give too little heed to thoſe illuſtrious Examples of Virtue, recorded for our Imitation.――Such a Treatiſe, therefore, as the worthy Mr.S. S. S. mentions, would very much become the Pen, either of a Clergymen or any other Well-wiſher to the Reformation of Manners. And I am certain, by the Specimen he has been ſo good to give us, not only of his benevolent Diſpoſition, but alſo of his Abilities, he need go no farther than himſelf, to have what he profeſſes a Deſire of, accompliſhed in a manner wherein Edification and delightful Entertainment would be ſo blended, as to render it an Impoſſibility to divide them, and every Reader be compelled to grow wiſer and better without intending or ſeeking to be ſo.
Such a Book would be of infinitely greater Benefit to the World, than a whole Shelf full of Sermons.――People of this Age naturally fly whatever has the Air of Rule or Maxim.―― Precept appears too ſtiff and formal when clad in her own Garb, but when ornamented with the 352 Zz3v 350352 the gay Robe of Pleaſure, all will be ready to embrace her.
If Statutes, Medals, Monuments, and other public Teſtimonies of Gratitude, be allowed to thoſe who by their Courage defend us in the Field, or by their Wiſdom in the Cabinet protect us; ſurely they muſt be the Due of him who rectifies our Manners, and purifies the Mind, which alone can give us a true Reliſh for any Bleſſings we receive; and I know not if all the Acknowledgments we could make to ſuch a one, would be equal to the Obligation.
In the Mind is the true Seat of Happineſs, as the admirable Milton ſays, The Mind is its own Place, and in its ſelf,Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.
What then does he who fills it with Ideas capable and worthy of Felicity merit from our Hands!――The Almighty himſelf, who beſtows on us the diſtinguiſhing Faculty, can only challenge more.
But I fear I have ſaid too much on this Subject, unleſs I were able to ſay more to the purpoſe.――The Theme, I muſt confeſs, tranſported me, and Zeal is not always accompanied with Diſcretion.――I flatter myſelf, notwithſtanding, that I ſhall eaſily find Excuſe with thoſe I moſt deſire it from; and as for the others, ſhall 353 Zz4r 351353 ſhall endeavour to make what Atonement is in my Power.
To which End I now preſent them with a Letter which was left for us at our Publiſher’s by a Footman, the Richneſs of whoſe Livery ſpoke him belonging to ſome great Perſon. I only premiſe this for the ſake of ſuch as are Bigots to Grandeur: I am very well convinced the Female Spectator has Readers that will judge of Things by their juſt Weight and Meaſure, not by the exterior Appearance of the Donor.
But I will not delay the Curioſity theſe Words may perhaps have raiſed; take the Epiſtle therefore exactly as it came to Hand.To the Authors of the Monthly Pamphlet entitled The Female Spectator. Ladies, If ſuch you are, for you muſt know I very much Queſtion whether you are of the Feminine Gender or not.――By your growing weary of doing good, I ſhould imagine you were ſo; but then being weary of popular Admiration, almoſt aſſures me you cannot be of a Sex, whoſe whole Delight it is.――For God’s Sake what do you mean, by intending to throw away your Pen, juſt at the Time its Reputation is eſtabliſhed; and when not only myſelf, but a great many ‘others 354 Zz4v 352354 others had reſolved to ſend you ſomething to employ it?――I am very certain you have not yet gone through half the Topics that have a Claim to your Attention, and I muſt tell you have been expected from you. It muſt be owned you have given the Ladies a great many fine Leſſons for their Conduct in Life, which, if they attend to, will certainly make both themſelves and Husbands perfectly happy; but I do not perceive you have yet ever ſaid one Word concerning a very reigning Foible among them:—I give it no worſe a Name out of meer Complaiſance, for in effect it includes all that is cruel, unjuſt, ungenerous, and baſe:—What I mean is that enormous Vanity of attracting as great a Number of Lovers as poſſible, and giving an equal Share of Encouragement to all, keeping all in Hopes though there can be but one, and it very often happens that not one, ſhe ever deſigns to make happy. This I ſpeak of my own Experience, having made my Court to three Ladies ſucceſſively, who all raiſed my Expectations to the higheſt Pitch of flattered Love, then plunged me at once into the Gulf of Deſpair; ſo that had I felt but half the Paſſion I pretended for any one of them, I ſhould certainly have made my Quietus either by the Help of my Garter or a leaden Pill.――But thank Heaven the Flame was not ſo violent ‘as 355 Aaa1r 353355 as to ſcorch up my Reaſon: I ſtill retained a ſufficient Share to turn the Diſappointment they intended me upon themſelves, by ſhewing how little I was affected by it, and by teſtifying neither Envy or Malice againſt thoſe of my Rivals who happened to be retained after I was diſcharged, or rather had diſcharged myſelf on perceiving the Vanity of the Attempt. All Men, however, are not like me in this Point. I know ſome that have Hearts ſo very ſoft and pliant, that the firſt Impreſſion ſinks into them ſo deeply, as to become indelible, and not to be eraſed by Time, or ill Uſage. It is for the Sake of thoſe diſconſolate Lovers, that I would deſire you to ſet forth in their proper Colours, the Folly and Injuſtice the Women are guilty of in ſuch a Behaviour as I have mentioned. Beſides, in my Opinion, your Admonitions cannot warn them from any thing more detrimental to their own Characters, or which renders them leſs valuable in the Eyes of all Men of Senſe and Underſtanding. Yet, tho’ it may ſeem a Paradox, I have made a general Obſervation, that thoſe of the moſt ſparkling Wit, are the moſt notoriouſly guilty of this Folly; yet may it be eaſily reconciled, if we allow the late witty Earl of Rocheſter to be a Judge: He tells us, that it requires no ordinary Capacity in our Sex to make a Vol. IV. Aaa ‘compleat 356 Aaa1v 354356 compleat Coxcomb; a Coquet therefore, which is a She-Coxcomb, muſt be endued with a good deal of Wit, or ſhe would not ſucceed in her Endeavours.—I think the noble Lord I mentioned, exprſſes himſelf in theſe Words: He was a Fool thro’ Choice, not Want of Wit.His Foppery, without the Help of Senſe,Could ne’er have riſen to ſuch Excellence:Nature’s as lame in making a true Fop,As a Philoſopher; the very TopAnd Dignity of Folly we attainBy ſtudious Search, and Labour of the Brain;By Obſervation, Counſel, and deep Thought:God never made a Coxcomb worth a Groat.We owe that Name to Induſtry and Arts;An em’nent Fool muſt be a Man of Parts. The various Motions of the Eyes is an Art which every Woman is not verſed in: To know how to turn, to roll them into the Languſhing, the Inviting, or the Auſtere, and guide every Glance, not according to the Dictates of the Heart, but according as it contributes to riveting more faſt the Chains of the poor Puppy of a Lover, I muſt own cannot be put in Practice, but by Ladies of a great deal of Wit and Spirit. Such then being moſt worthy of the Care taken to reform them, the Female Spectator ought not, methinks, to neglect ſome little Pains for that Purpoſe. I Know 357 Aaa2r 355357 I know very well that thoſe who pretend to the moſt Honour and Modeſty, are not aſhamed of being thought Coquets, and only laugh at any Remonſtrances made them on that Head: They think that Youth licenſes all Manner of Affectations, and it is well if they continue it not in Age. For my part, though I will not argue as ſome do, that your Sex was created meerly for the Pleaſure and Convenience of Man, yet I may certainly, without giving Offence to any, ask whence it is that they derive the Privileges of impoſing and deceiving us with Impunity. If one of us is detected in making his Addreſſes to two Perſons at the ſame Time, he is preſently called a perfidious Villain, a Monſter, a baſe Betrayer, and every other reproachful Epithet that Language can ſupply; while the vain fluttering ſhe, who perhaps has rendered twenty unhappy by her Deluſions, ſhall glory in the Miſchiefs ſhe has cauſed, and triumph in proportion to the Number of Wretches ſhe has made. As you cannot be inſenſible of the Juſtice of this Charge, I flatter myſelf you will ſo far witneſs it as to uſe your utmoſt Endeavour for the ſuppreſſing this faſhionable Evil.—Some may perhaps bluſh at a Reproof from one of their own Sex, who would laugh at all the Complaints of ours.――Incorrigible as they are Aaa2 ‘looked 358 Aaa2v 356358 looked upon in this Point, the Diſcretion of ſome, and the Good Nature of others, may poſſibly be rouſed by your judicious and pathetic Remonſtrances: It is worth making the Trial at leaſt, and though you ſhould fail of the Succeſs you aim at, the Attempt will confer a laſting Obligation on our Sex in general, and in a particular Manner on him, who has the Honour to ſubſcribe himſelf, with the moſt perfect Regard, Ladies, Your Very Humble, and Moſt Obedient Servant, Veritatus. 1746-03-27March27, 1746. Bartlet-Square. P. S. I had forgot to acquaint you, Ladies, that the firſt of my three miſtreſſes, and indeed ſhe for whom I felt the moſt of what they call Love, hearing I had broke off with the other two, ſent a few Days ſince, deſiring me to call upon her.—Complaiſance would not ſuffer me to diſobey the Summons; I went, and at my firſt Entrance we both looked a little ſilly upon one another. As ſoon as I was ſeated, ſhe told me the Motive of her giving me that Trouble was to ask a Queſtion concerning a Family with whom I was acquainted. The Affair ſhe mentioned was not only a meer Trifle in itſelf, but alſo of a Nature which ſhe muſt be ſenſible I was utterly incapable of reſolving; ſo that it was eaſy to perceive Curioſity‘rioſity 359 Aaa3r 357359 rioſity was no more than a Pretence, in order to have an Opportunity of practiſing over again all thoſe Artifices, which once had been pretty near captivating me in good earneſt: But I am now grown too much experienced in the Sex, to be caught that Way; and if I ever reſign my Heart, it muſt be only where native Simplicity is the greateſt Charm. I Added this only to convince the Ladies, that nothing ſo much deprives them of that Admiration they are ambitious of, as taking Pains to attract it. Once more, good Female Spectator, believe me as above, Yours, &c.
Had this Gentleman deferred the Favour he hsa done us till the Publication of our laſt Eſſay, he would have ſpared that Part of his Requeſt relating to the Coquetry of our Sex; having ſufficiently teſtified our Diſapprobation of that indeed too reigning Foible.
We cannot but agree with him, that there is nothing more truly baſe and unjuſt, than encouraging a Plurality of Lovers; and as a coquetiſh Humour renders us contemptible in the Eyes of all Men of common Senſe, ſo a jilting one, for it can be called no other, makes us juſtly hateful.
Both theſe diſagreeable Propenſities will be avoided 360 Aaa3v 358360 avoided by a Mind devoted to Obedience, and which, as I have already ſaid, is determined to liſten to no Overtures of Love, or Marriage, till made to her by thoſe who have the Power of diſpoſing of her.
But while I ſo readily condemn my own Sex in this Particular, I cannot think the Men are to be wholly abſolved.—If they truly love, and have no other Aim than Honour, wherefore do they not ask Permiſſion, to make their Addreſſes, of thoſe Perſons, whoſe Conſent alone can give a Sanction to them?
Such a Manner of Conduct would infallibly prevent the Evil Veritatus with ſo much Reaſon complains of; ſince no Parent, or Governor, x would permit his Charge to entertain any Man in Quality of a Lover, but who he thought proper to recommend to her for a Husband.
Upon the whole, therefore, it ſeems to me to be greatly owing to themſelves, that Rivalſhip is ſo common. Every Man has an equal Right to make his Court to the Woman he likes; and where none are authoriſed to do ſo, and all have an equal Claim, it is no Wonder, if among a Multiplicity of Admirers, her Heart may fluctuate ſometimes in favour of one, and ſometimes of another, according as they may happen to pleaſe the Humour ſhe is in.
Besides, a Train of Lovers all dying, or pretendingtending 361 Aaa4r 356361 tending to do ſo, at our Feet, ſo feeds the Vanity of a young Girl, that it is a thouſand to one if ſhe is capable of feeling any other Paſſion; but when thoſe to whom ſhe is obliged to ſubmit, join in preſenting her a Heart they think worthy of her, ſhe will doubtleſs, unleſs a natural Antipathy prevents it, make both him and herſelf happy, in a conſtant and unproſtituted Affection; as I remember ſomewhere to have read. When fix’d to one, Love ſafe at Anchor rides,And dares the Fury of the Winds and Tides:But loſing once that Hold, to the wide Ocean borne,It drives at Will, to ev’ry Wave a Scorn.
Where the Lady indeed is intirely her own Miſtreſs, by being a Widow, or out of the State of Guardianſhip, and has only her Inclinations to conſult, a Gentleman who is at firſt encouraged, and afterwards diſcarded by her without any Reaſon for it, has very great Cauſe to think himſelf ill uſed.—Whether this was the Caſe of Veritatus, with any, or all his Miſtreſſes, he has not thought fit to explain, ſo I cannot ſay whether he is excuſable or not; but will venture to affirm, that whoever makes his Addreſſes to a Woman, not at her own Diſpoſal, without previouſly conſulting thoſe who have the Power over her, is guilty of a Folly which merits the Treatment he complains of.
He is not, however, much prejudiced by the Diſ- 362 Aaa4v 360362 Diſappointments he has received, as he himſelf acknowledges, and perhaps his Rivals were not more ſo. Few Men, now-a-days, break their Hearts for Love, and it muſt be owned the Sexes are pretty even with one another in this Article. If ſome are influenced by their Vanity, others are by ſelfiſh Views; and a true and perfect Paſſion, on either Side, is a kind of Prodigy, in this laughing, hoydening, careleſs Age.
One is almoſt tempted to believe, that for ſome Crimes committed by our Anceſtors, and which, it may be, we perſevere in, and inherit, as it were, with their Eſtates, that Heaven has curſed us with a Stupidity, a blockiſh Senſeleſsneſs, that will not permit us to diſtinguiſh what is for our own Advantage, nor that of the World we live in.—All ſeem eager to purſue their Intereſts, yet all run counter to what is truly ſo: And as was ſaid by Mr. Dryden of his Times, but may, much more properly, be applied to the preſent, All ſeek for Happineſs, but few can find;For far the greater Part of Men are blind.
Time and Deſtruction can only open the Eyes of thoſe devoted to their own Undoing; but when Affairs are irretreviable a late Repentance but aggravates the Evil.
It may be judged that on the Buſineſs of Love I am too ſerious; but I know nothing more 363 Bbb1r 361363 more concerns the Happineſs of Mankind than that by which their Species is to be propagated, and which by being ill conducted, makes all the Miſeries of civil Life.
A Man who is diſcontented in himſelf, and uneaſy with thoſe at Home, is an unfit Member of Society elſewhere.――He is indeed incapable of ſerving either his Friends, or Country.――He is peeviſh, perverſe, and takes a Pleaſure rather in promoting Diſcord, than Unity and Peace.
I would not therefore have the Men encourage any thing in the Miſtreſs, which they would not wiſh her to purſue, when ſhe becomes a Wife; and as much as I am an Enemy to Vanity in my own Sex, I am no leſs angry with the ridiculous Flatteries of the other, which often inſpire it, where it had no Root before, and where it is, cheriſhes and rears it often to an enormous Size.
I know very well how harſhly this will ſound in the Ears of our fine Ladies; nor will thoſe Gentlemen who have no other Merits to recommend them, than a few ſtudied Compliments, which ſerve for one, as well as another, reliſh it much better; but it has always been a Maxim with the Female Spectator, not to ſooth even the ſmalleſt Error, ſince often what we moſt neglect, and think a Matter of no Moment, leads us into Perplexities, from which we cannot, when we would, extricate ourſelves.Vol. IV. Bbb I 364 Bbb1v 362364
I am pretty certain of one Thing, which is that whatever Reſentment I may happen to incur, it will be very ſhort-lived, becauſe thoſe who I may be happy enough to touch, ſo far as to make them reflect what it beſt becomes them to do, will eaſily forgive the friendly Call that wakes them from a Slumber might be fatal to them; and thoſe who, reſolute to perſevere, deſpiſe for the preſent all friendly Warnings, I dare anſwer will feel Miſchiefs, which will convince them which of the two, their own Caprice, or the Female Spectator’s Advice, it moſt behoved them to purſue.
Many of the Subſcribers to this Undertaking, I am told, complain that I have deviated from the entertaining Method I ſet out with at firſt—That ſince the Second or Third Book I have become more ſerious.――That I moralize too much, and that I give them too few Tales.
To the greateſt Part of this Accuſation I muſt plead Guilty; but as all Criminals are allowed to make their own Defence, I do not doubt but I ſhall give ſuch Reaſons for my Conduct in this Point, as will ſufficiently juſtify me in the Opinion of moſt of my Readers. In the firſt Place it was neceſſary to engage the Attention of thoſe I endeavoured to reform, by giving them ſuch Things as I knew would pleaſe them: Tales, and little Stories to which every one might flatter themſelves with being able 365 Bbb2r 363365 able to find a Key, ſeemed to me the moſt effectual Method, and therefore began that Way, and proceeded by Degrees to more grave Admonitions. As Taſſo ſays in his Goffredo, Canto the firſt, Stanza the third. Thither thou know’ſt the World is beſt inclin’d,Where gay Parnaſſus his ſweet Shade imparts;And Truth convey’d in Words of ſoothing Kind,When read with Care will touch the dulleſt Hearts;So we, if Children young diſeas’d we find,Anoint with Sweets the Veſſels foremoſt Parts,To make them taſte the Potion ſharp we give;They drink deceiv’d, and ſo deceiv’d they live.
I was willing to treat them with the Tenderneſs of a Mother, but not, like ſome Mothers, to continue my Indulgence to their Ruin.――The Examples I gave of good and bad Behaviour, was not meerly to divert them, but to inſpire them with an Ambition of imitating the one, and a Care to avoid the other.
For this End it was I choſe to aſſume the Name of the Female Spectator rather than that of Monitor, as thinking the latter by diſcovering too plainly my Deſign, might in a great Meaſure have fruſtrated it with the Gay and Unreflecting, who are indeed thoſe for whom this Work was chiefly intended, as ſtanding moſt in need of it.3B2 Bad 366 Bbb2v 364366
Bad as the Times are, I am fully perſwaded, nay convinced, that there are no inconſiderable Number who approve this Undertaking, for the very Reaſon that ſome others are diſpleaſed with it, and that ſeveral of thoſe laſt mentioned have even been the better, and throwing aſide their Vanity and Affectation, have dreſſed themſelves in the Glaſs of Nature, and become that amiable Character which Sir William Davenant deſcribes in theſe Words. Stranger to Courts, but Courts could have undoneWith modeſt Looks, and an unſpotted Heart:Her Nets the moſt prepar’d could never ſhun;For Nature ſpread them in the ſpite of Art.
This I make no doubt will ſerve as a Vindication for my having ſeemed to ſwerve from what was miſtaken for my firſt Intention; and when it will I hope appear more generous and public- ſpirited than it had the Shew of, rather gain ſome new Friends, than create or exaſperate any Enemies.
I shall however oblige the Lovers of Amuſement, with one more Story before I conclude theſe Lucubrations; and would have the young Ladies take particular Notice of it, as it is a kind of Perſpective which ſhews the Pride of blooming Years and Beauty, in ſo ſtrong a Light as will make every one, endeavourvour 367 Bbb3r 365367 vour to vanquiſh it as much as poſſible in themſe lves.
Ariana was the Daughter of a dignified Clergyman, was perfectly agreeable in her Perſon, and had a good Share of Wit.――All this ſhe, to her great Misfortune, knew but too well, ſince her Vanity roſe to ſuch a Height as to obſcure every good Quality ſhe had received from Nature or Education,.
She looked upon herſelf as a little Goddeſs, and imagined ſhe was formed for univerſal Adoration.—Whoever did not flatter her Beauty ſhe hated, and deſpiſed all thoſe who did.— Neither Birth, Wealth, nor any kind of Merit had the leaſt Influence over her.—She thought no Man capable of deſerving her, and though every new Lover ſhe attracted gave her an exquiſite Pleaſure, ſhe felt yet more in uſing him ill.
Her Father happening to marry when he was of a very advanced Age, was almoſt ſuperannuated when Ariana began to be taken Notice of, and her Mother was weak enough to humour her in all her Affectations and Vanities, of which indeed ſhe had no ſmall Share of herſelf.――Both of them only laughed at the old Gentleman’s Admonitions, and would frequently compel him to go to Bed, while they went together to Court on a Ball Night, to a Maſquerade, or ſome other Party of Pleaſure, whence 368 Bbb3v 366368 whence ſometimes they returned not till Morning.
I was very intimate with Ariana, and ſhe profeſſed a more than ordinary Regard for me, yet could I never prevail with her to be ſerious, or to enter into any improving Converſation.――All her Diſcourſe was on her Lovers, and I never ſaw her in a compoſed Humour but once, nor could that indeed be juſtly called ſo, but rather a Fit of the Spleen, and happened on an Occaſion, which all my Readers, that are not ſuch as ſhe was, muſt think pretty extraordinary.
She told me that having been in a Diſpoſition to make Trial of the Paſſion of Dorimenes, one of her Admirers, ſhe had bad him never ſee her more, on which he had vowed not to outlive ſo cruel a Sentence, and ſhe expected no leſs than to have heard the next Day that he had poiſoned, ſhot, or ſtabbed himſelf, but inſtead of doing any of theſe, ſhe had juſt then met him in the Mall with two or three of his Companions, and a Countenance as gay and ſerene as ever.
This was a Mortification ſhe could not ſupport with Patience, and ſhe confeſſed to me, that for a long Time ſhe had wiſhed to have a Man die for her.――What avails it, cried ſhe, that a thouſand of them tell me they cannot live without me; the real Death of one of them would more eſtabliſh 369 Bbb4r 367369 establiſh my Reputation than all the fine Speeches they can make.
Another Time I happened to be with her when ſhe was dreſſing in a new Suit of very rich, and, I muſt own, well fancied Cloaths; after having asked my Opinion over and over concerning the Colour, the Making, Trimming, and every Particular, ſhe ſtarted up on a ſudden, and ſwam round the Room, as if leading up a Courant; then turned to the Looking Glaſs, and ſpreading her Petticoats, repeated in a kind of Rapture, theſe Lines from an old Poet: With what an Air ſhe ſpread her ſplendid Train,And ſwept the Youths along the Green.
Ah, my Dear, added ſhe to me, it is not Dreſs alone that captivates; it is the Air of the Perſon that does all.—Now do you think any body elſe would look ſo well as I do in theſe Cloaths?
I had often rallied her on this extravagant Self-Conceit, but without any Effect; and beſides, was not at that Time in a Humour to do it, ſo only told her, as I was not a Man, my Opinion of the Matter was of no great Conſeqence; on which ſhe burſt into a loud Laughter, and cried, that is true indeed!
It would be endleſs to recount half the Impertinences I have heard from the Mouth of this poor Girl; yet all I was Witneſs of were infinitely ſhort of what I had been told by others.—She was, 370 Bbb4v 368370 was, it is certain, a very Prodigy of Vanity, and, without being a Fool, was thoughtleſs, giddy, and unmeaning.
Often has it thrown me into the moſt melancholly Reflections, to ſee a young Creature, who really wanted no one Requiſite to be perfectly agreeable, take Pains to render herſelf ſo much the contrary by her Affectation, waſting all thoſe precious Hours in admiring her Face and Shape in a Looking Glaſs, which ought to have been employed either in Working, Muſic, Painting, or Reading ſome improving Books, and perverting that Capacity Nature had formed for the moſt uſeful Studies, into thoſe beneath the Dignity of a reaſonable Being of what Sex ſoever.
But I will not detain the Attention of my Reader with a too tedious Deſcription of this fine Lady; let any one only remember whatever various Follies the whole Sex has diſcovered, and then ſay to himſelf, they were all collected in Ariana.
Though the Number of thoſe who pretended a Paſſion for her, exceeded perhaps what any Woman in the World could boaſt of, yet not one of them ever gratified her Pride ſo much as to lay violent Hands upon himſelf on her Ill- Treatment, or even to come to the Point of Marriage on her more favourable Behaviour to him; and from fourteen to near four-and-twenty, ſhe con- 371 Ccc1r 369371 continued the general Toaſt, without being the Object of any particular Attachment.
But now began the ſad Reverſe of her Condition.――Her Father died, and that Income which had ſupported her Mother and herſelf in the greateſt Extravagances of Dreſs, and the Pleaſures of the Town, being dead with him, they ſoon experienced thoſe Wants they had never learned to pity in others.
Still inconſiderate however, and as thoughtleſs as ever, they went on in the ſame wild Way they had done, purchaſing and laviſhing Money on Things they had no Occaſion for, till what little Stock the old Doctor had left behind him, being quite exhauſted in Trifles, they were obliged to make away with their Jewels firſt, then Plate and Houſhold Furniture, and at laſt their very Wearing Apparel, for the common Neceſſaries of Life.
As their Conduct had never gained them any Reſpect from People of Underſtanding, ſo their Calamities excited but little Compaſſion.――The greateſt Part of thoſe with whom they had been moſt intimate, took all imaginable Care to avoid them, neither viſiting, nor admitting any Viſits from them, and a yet far greater Number treated them with Contempt. All Ariana’s Lovers forſook her, and ſhe had now ſufficient Leiſure to make thoſe Reflections, which, had ſhe done before, ſhe might perhaps have been happilyIV. Ccc pily 372 Ccc1v 370372 pily married, it is certain at leaſt not have fallen into thoſe Misfortunes ſhe was now involved in.
A worthy Prelate at laſt being informed of the old Lady’s Diſtreſs, allowed her a ſmall Penſion for Life, on which ſhe and her Daughter ſubſiſted, though in a very mean Way; but on her Death, which happened in leſs than a Year, Ariana was left wholly deſtitute.—The Biſhop defrayed the Charges of the Funeral, but withdrew his Pittance, telling this poor unhappy Creature, that as ſhe had Youth and Health, it would better become her to get her Bread by Service, than to live a lazy Life by Charity.
Doubtless this ſeemed at firſt a very hard Sentence to one accuſtomed only to command and be obeyed; but ſhe took his Advice, and went ſoon after to wait upon a Lady, who, like too many others, uſed her the worſe for being well born; tho’ the Excuſe ſhe made for her Harſhneſs was, that knowing in what Manner Ariana had lived, it was neceſſary to keep her under, ſince too great Encouragement might make her forget the Duties of her preſent Station, and relapſe into her former Follies.—As if Servitude was not a ſufficient Mortification, without the Addition of Ill-Treatment; but I am ſorry to have obſerved, that there are ſome who take a kind of Pride in the Afflictions and Depreſſions of ſuch who have been once their Equals.
Ariana was now looked upon to be grown as 373 Ccc2r 371373 as abject in her Notions, as ſhe had before been elated, and ſubmitted to every thing with a Patience which, ſome imagined, came pretty near Stupidity; but I am of a different Way of Thinking, and call it Reaſon and Reſignation to the Divine Will.—Not her own Choice, but an Accident that happened in the Family, ſeparated her from this firſt miſtreſs, but ſhe found not much more Indulgence from the ſecond ſhe lived with, and her Condition was extremely to be pitied, till Providence having, by its Chaſtiſements, brought her to a due Senſe of her former Miſconduct, thought fit to put an End to the Hardſhips ſhe had for more than eight Years ſuſtained, and caſt her Lot among thoſe who treated her with as much Kindneſs as the others had done with Severity.
A Person who had been Witneſs of ſome Part of her Sufferings took Pity on her, and recommended her to the Service of a Widow Lady, who, among her other excellent Qualities, has that of taking a Pleaſure in the Happineſs of all about her: With her this now-reformed Coquet ſtill lives, and is likely to do ſo till the Death of one of them enforces a Separation.—Thoſe few who are not too haughty to ſee Ariana in this reduced State, will own that her Converſation is now infinitely more worthy Eſteem, than when ſhe ſhone in Jewels and all the Pomp of Dreſs, and was the Belle of the Town.
The ſacred Writings tell us, that it is good Ccc2 to 374 Ccc2v 372374 to be afflicted; but happy are thoſe, who by well bearing their Calamities, convert them into Bleſſings.―― Ariana, by throwing off all her former Vanities, and retaining no Pride but that of preſerving her Chaſtity and Integrity amidſt many Temptations, proved, more clearly than ever it could have been in her Power to have done without this Change in her Condition, that ſhe had not only an excellent Underſtanding, but alſo that the Seeds of Virtue and Religion were thick ſown in her Soul, tho’ both had ſo long been obſcured, and lain dormant as it were, oppreſſed by flattered Follies, and the Prevalence of ill Example, from her who ought to have ſet only the beſt before her Eyes.
The Motives which induced me to give this little Narrative were various.――I could not take Leave without an Attempt to ſhew the Ladies how ridiculous all kinds of Vanity and Affectation make them appear, and that even thoſe who moſt flatter their Foibles, are often the firſt who expoſe and contemn them.――I had alſo a View of hinting to careleſs Parents, the juſt Cenſure they incur, by not cultivating, as it is their Duty to do, the Genius they find in their Children; and laſtly, to give an Inſtance of the Beautifulneſs of patiently ſubmitting to thoſe Puniſhments our Errors have juſtly drawn down upon us.
I dare anſwer Ariana finds a great deal of Comfort in having acted as ſhe has done ſince her Misfortunes, and that nothing but Miſery in Exceſs 375 Ccc3r 373375 Exceſs could poſſibly have attended a Perſeverance in that Impatience of Temper ſhe once fooliſhly teſtified, in the Diſappointment of not finding a Man weak and wicked enough to lay violent Hands on his own Life on her Account.
I am told ſhe has now not only Religion enough to make her ſincerely penitent for having laviſhed away ſo much of the Prime of Life, in a Behaviour ſcarce conſiſtent with Chriſtianity, and yet more blameable in a Daughter of one of the Paſtors of the Church, but alſo Philoſophy enough to relate and make a Jeſt of thoſe Follies in herſelf, which were leſs worthy of Condemnation.
When any one ſeems to condole her Miſfortunes, ſhe always ſtops their Mouths with aſſuring them ſhe is perfectly eaſy, and as ſhe ever was a great Lover of Poetry, frequently repeats to them theſe Lines, I think they are out of Sir Richard Blackmoor: Content alone can all our Wants redreſs;Content, that other Name for Happineſs.’Tis equal if our Fortune ſhould augment,And ſtretch themſelves to the ſame vaſt ExtentWith our Deſires; or thoſe Deſires abate,Shrink, and contract themſelves to fit our State.
Or theſe more elegant ones, from Dryden’s Tragedy of the Indian Emperor: We 376 Ccc3v 374376 We to ourſelves may all our Wiſhes grant;And nothing coveting can nothing want.
I could wiſh Mankind in general would ſet this as a Leſſon to themſelves; it would in a great Meaſure prevent the Growth of all thoſe Vices which are pernicious to Society, and create ſo much Diſturbance to the Breaſt that harbours them.
Content is the Offspring of Reaſon and Religion, and the Parent of all the Virtues. No wicked Man can ever be poſſeſſed of it, and no Man can poſſibly be good, who is an intire Stranger to it.
The ſerene and perfect Pleaſures this charming Quality affords, are ſo obvious, that methinks nothing is more amazing, than that any one ſhould quit them for uncertain wild Purſuits, which, if obtained, often prove the greateſt Curſe could be inflicted on us. As the Poet truly ſays: Ah! what is Man when his own Wiſh prevails!How raſh, how ſwift to plunge himſelf in Ill!Proud of his Power, and boundleſs in his Will!With Tyrant Paſſions preying on his Breaſt:Still craving, ſtill deſiring, ne’er at Reſt.God gives us what he knows our Wants require,And better Things than thoſe which we deſire.Some aim at Riches, Riches they obtain,But watch’d by Robbers, for their Wealth are ſlain.Some377Ccc4r375377Some pray from Exile to return, and comeFrom Climes more generous, to fall at Home;Murder’d by thoſe they truſted with their Life,A favour’d Servant, or a Boſom Wife.Such dear-bought Bleſſings happen every Day,Becauſe we know not for what Things we pray.
But I am very ſenſible that few are capable of taking this Advice; there is a reſtleſs Appetite in moſt of us, which will not permit us to enjoy the good Things we poſſeſs, through an Impatience of acquiring others, which to us ſeem better.
Yet what we can, we ought to do: It is in every one’s Power to uſe their beſt Endeavours to reſt ſatisfied with the Lot aſſigned them, ſince all our Struggles againſt Fate are vain, and ſerve only to render our Condition worſe than it would otherwiſe be, never to make a Change in it for the better.
Those who, like Ariana, have by their own ill Conduct brought on themſelves the Misfortunes they complain of, may indeed be allowed to look back with ſome Remorſe on the Miſtakes they have been guilty of; but then they ſhould not repine, and be ſullen, or peeviſh, under the Puniſhments they have juſtly incurred, but thank Heaven that they are no worſe.
But thoſe who happily, on the ſtricteſt Retroſpect, cannot tax themſelves with any groſs Error; and either through meer Caſualties, or unprovokedprovoked 378 Ccc4v 376378 provoked Ill-Treatment from the World, fall into a depreſſed and low State of Life, have great Reaſon to comfort themſelves with an aſſured Hope of being relieved from it; that is, if they do not, by their own Impatience of Temper, avert the Good which Divine Providence intends them.
Nothing certainly can be more oppoſite to Reaſon, than to add freſh Weight to the Load we feel, and weakening ourſelves by fruitleſs Struggles under it; ſince whatever is, muſt be. So juſt are the Poet’s Words, that I cannot forbear quoting them on this Occaſion.
The Pow’r that miniſters to God’s Decrees, And executes on Earth what he foreſees: Call’d Providence, or Chance, or fatal Sway, Comes with reſiſtleſs Force, and finds and makes its Way. Nor Kings, nor Nations, nor united Pow’r, One Moment can retard th’ appointed Hour: For ſure whate’er we Mortals hate, or love, Or hope, or fear, depends on Pow’rs above.
There is no one Virtue that more demonſtrates a truly noble Soul than Fortitude.――It is, indeed, the utmoſt Dignity of Human Nature, and brings it very near Angelic.
On the other Hand, there is nothing ſo much betrays a mean Mind and weak Capacity, as to repine and fret ourſelves at every little Event 379 Ddd1r 377379 Event that may happen to croſs our Inclinations, or Expectations.
The one commands the Reſpect of all who know us:――The other expoſes us to their Contempt:――The one ſets us above ill Fortune.――The other renders us unworthy of good.
I know very well that this is a Maxim much eaſier recommended to others than put in Practice by ourſelves; yet as there have been Inſtances of Perſons who labouring under the moſt ſevere Calamities, have brought themſelves to ſuch an Evenneſs and Steadineſs of Temper, as not to diſcover any Dejection, every one ought to exert their utmoſt Reſolution to imitate the Model.
Monsieur the Abbe de Bellgarde ſays, that in ſcorning to do a baſe Action, and in being above ſhewing ourſelves moved at thoſe done to us, conſiſts the only laudable Pride of a reaſonable Being.
That great Author himſelf met with many Things, which would have ſhocked any Man of leſs Philoſophy.――He was ill-treated by his Father, who gave away to a Son he had by a ſecond Marriage, that Patrimony the Abbè was born to inherit.――He was coolly looked upon by a Prince whom he loved, and from his Youth had ſerved with the greateſt Fidelity, and was moſt cruelly deceived by one he took to be his Boſom Vol. IV. Ddd Friend, 380 Ddd1v 378380 Friend, to the Ruin of almoſt all his little Fortune; yet Monſier de Pont, who wrote his Life, tells us, that he was never ſeen with a clouded Brow, nor heard to complain of the Injuſtice he ſuſtained; and it is for this greatly bearing his Misfortunes, that he beſtows higher Encomiums on him, than for all his other Virtues, and a Stock of Wit and Learning which very few Men of his Time could equal, and, if we may depend on Character, none be ſaid to excell.
Who would not therefore endeavour to attain that happy Compoſedneſs of Mind, which renders us ſo eaſy within ourſelves, ſo much endears us to our Friends, and makes our Enemies aſhamed of being ſo.
It is a very great Reflection, and I am ſorry to ſay too juſt a one, upon the Engliſh Na tion, that we have more Suicides among us in a Year, than in any other Place in an Age.—Whence can this unnatural Crime proceed, but from giving way to a Diſcontent which preys like a Vulture upon our very Vitals on every Accident that diſpleaſes us, fills us with black and diſmal Thoughts, and at length precipitates us into the utmoſt Deſpair!
Like all other ill Habits this muſt be ſuppreſſed in the beginning, or it will grow too mighty for Controul, if in the leaſt indulged.— To that end we ſhould never put the worſt Co- 381 Ddd2r 379381 Colours on Things, but rather deceive ourſelves with imagining them better than they are.
Of this I am perfectly convinced, both by Obſervation and Experience, that an eaſy and unruffled Mind contributes very much to the preventing many ill Accidents, and to extricate us out of thoſe Difficulties we are actually involved in: Whereas a Perſon of a fretful and diſcontented Diſpoſition is bewildered, as it were, amidſt his Troubles. His Thoughts are in a Maze, and Reaſon has no Power to point him out the Path he ought to take for his Redreſs.
Besides, as I have already hinted, every Diſappointment is not a real Misfortune, though blinded by our Paſſions we may think it ſo. I know a Gentleman, who, by the ſtrangeſt Accidents in the World, was twice prevented from going a Voyage which had the Proſpect of great Advantage to him: He thought himſelf the moſt unhappy Man that ever was, and could not help complaining in all Companies, how averſe Fortune was to his Deſires; but in a ſhort Time after, News arrived that both thoſe Ships, in which he had intended to embark, were loſt, and every Soul on Board them had periſhed in the Waves. This compelled him to acknowledge himſelf happy in the imaginary Diſappointment, and bleſs the Goodneſs of that Divine Power, he had ſo lately, under the Name of Fortune, accuſed of Cruelty.Ddd2 Another 382 Ddd2v 380382
Another, who was paſſionately in Love with a very beautiful young Lady, behaved himſelf in the moſt extravagant Manner on a Rival’s being preferred by her Father.—All his Acquaintance trembled, leſt ſome Act of Deſperation ſhould enſue; and it is much to be feared, they would not have been miſtaken, if in two or three Days after the Loſs of all his Hopes on her Account, he had not providentially diſcovered ſhe had been made a Mother two Years before by one of the Helpers in the Stable.
A Lady of my Acquaintance, who was brought near the Brink of Diſtraction for the Death of a Husband to whom ſhe had been married but two Months, and tenderly loved, ſoon found a Conſolation for her Loſs, in the Diſcovery that he had been an Impoſtor, had not an Acre of Land in the World, though he pretended himſelf in Poſſeſſion of a large Eſtate; and what was yet worſe, that he had been contracted to a Woman who was about to ſue him for half the Fortune he had received with her; and that if he had lived but a very little Time longer, ſhe muſt have been inevitably ruined.
The leaſt Obſervation may convince us in daily Inſtances, that what we moſt deſire, is in reality our greateſt Happineſs to miſs; but tho’ all ſee, and confeſs it in the Affairs of others, few can be perſwaded it is ſo in their own, till Time and Accidents open the Eyes of Reaſon.Blind 383 Ddd3r 381383
Blind to our own Good, as to our Faults, we hurry on precipitately to whatever Phantom Fancy ſets before us,—adore it as a Deity,—ſacrifice our all to it, and puſh from us with Vehemence and Contempt, the friendly Hand that aims to pull us back, though by Heaven itſelf directed.
I am not inſenſible that to be of a Diſpoſition not over anxious nor eager in the Purſuit of any Thing, is looked upon to ſavour too much of the Stoic, and by ſome is accounted even Dulneſs, Stupidity, and Sluggiſhneſs of Nature; it may indeed betray a Want of that Vivacity which is ſo pleaſing in Converſation, and renders the Perſon who poſſeſſes it, more taken Notice of than otherwiſe he might be; but then, if thoſe who argue in this Manner, would give themſelves the Trouble to reflect how dear ſometimes People pay for exerting that Vivacity, or rather, as the French term it, a bruſque Behaviour, none would wiſh to exchange the ſolid, ſerious, and unmoved Temper for it.
I am always extremely concerned, when I ſee People place their whole Happineiſs in the Attainment of any one Aim.――I ſcarce ever knew it to ſucceed without being productive of very great Miſchiefs.――We are ſo little capable of judging for ourſelves, that when the Almighty, offended with our Preſumption, gives his Fiat to our Wiſhes, they ſeldom come uncharged with Ills, which we then pray as earneſtlyneſtly 384 Ddd3v 382384 neſtly and with much more Reaſon to be delivered from.
Upon the whole, therefore, we ought to look on all the little Calamities of Life as things unworthy of wholly engroſſing our immortal Part.――Virtue and Wiſdom are the two only Purſuits where Ardency is reconciled with Reaſon: For the acquiring theſe, we cannot indeed be too eager. All the Zeal, all the Warmth we teſtify for them is laudable. The more we are poſſeſſed of them, the leſs we ſhall feel of an y other Wants: Beſides, we have this Reflection to encourage our Endeavours, that whoever is happy enough to arrive at any Degree of Perfection in the one, cannot fail of being in a great meaſure poſſeſſed of the other alſo.
Our inimitable Shakeſpear, who, of all the Dramatic Writers, in my Opinion, ſeems to take moſt Pains to inculcate thoſe Ideas, which alone can make us truly happy, adviſes us to remember, Our Lives are ſhort, but to extend that SpanTo vaſt Eternity, is Virtue’s Work.
But now it is Time to quit the Spectatorial Function, and thank the Public for the extraordinary Encouragement theſe Lucubrations have received; to thoſe who have favoured us with their Correſpondence, and who expreſs a Deſire of having the Work continued yet a longer Time, our 385 Ddd4r 383385 our Gratitude is particularly due: Though on a Conſultation of our Members, it is judged more for the Advantage of our Reputation, to break off while we are in the good Graces of the Town, than become tedious to any Part of it.
As we have more than once expreſſed our Intention of concluding with this Book, the Authors of ſeveral ingenious Letters, which came too late to be inſerted, will not, we hope, think themſelves neglected; ſince, as the Number of our Correſpondents has every Day greatly multiplied, it is likely the Female Spectator might be prolonged till we ceaſed to be, if a Finis to the Undertaking were not to be put, till either Matter failed us to write upon, or kind Aſſiſtance to it failed from other Hands.
But though we think convenient to drop the Shape we have worn theſe two Years, we have a kind of hankering Inclination to aſſume another in a ſhort Time; and if we ſhould do ſo, Notice ſhall be given of it in the public Papers, flattering ourſelves, that thoſe who have teſtified their Approbation of the Female Spectator, either by their Subſcriptions, or Correſpondence, will not withdraw their Favour from the Authors, in whatever Character we ſhall next appear.
Close as we endeavoured to keep the Myſtery of our little Cabal, ſome Gentlemen have at laſt found Means to make a full Diſcovery of it. They will needs have us take up the Pen again, and 386 Ddd4v 384386 and promiſe to furniſh us with a Variety of Topics yet untouched upon, with this Condition, that we admit them as Members, and not pretend to the World, that what ſhall hereafter be produced, is wholly of the Feminine Gender.
We have not yet quite agreed on the Preliminaries of this League, but are very apt to believe we ſhall not differ with them on Trifles, eſpecially as one of them is the Husband of Mira.
In the mean time, ſhould any one, from this Hint, take it into their Head, to publiſh either Book or Pamphlet, as wrote by the Authors of the Female Spectator, it may be depended on that whether we do any Thing ourſelves or not, we ſhall advertiſe againſt whatever ſhall come out that Way, and lay open the Impoſition.
End of the Twenty-Fourth and laſt Book.
Index to Books XIX, XX, XXI, XXII, XXIII, XXIV.
Being the Fourth and laſt Volume.
- Asses turned Actors, p. 15
- Animals, the Quickneſs of their Senſation, p. 63
- Acaſto, his Letter to the Female Spectator, p. 77.
- Allegory in Mr. Akinſide’s Poem recommended, p. 89
- Avarice, the Miſchiefs it produces, p. 107
- Antiquarius, his Letter to the Female Spectator, p. 112
- Advice to Monyma, p. 113
- Aunt, the Barbarity of one, p. 226228
- Aſtrology, a Vindication of it, p. 274276
- Ariana, her Character and Story, p. 365367
- Afflictions, ſometimes Bleſſings, p. 372374
- Caterpillars, one Sort of them compared to a gay enſlaved People, p. 49
- Citizens, how ridiculed on the Stage, p. 136
- Conti, Prince, his Character, p. 166168
- Clergy ſhould never be raillied, p. 175177
- Compaſſion, how amiable a Virtue, p. 242244
- Celander, his Character, p. 288290
- Church, the moſt proper Place for the Celebration of Marriage, p. 318320 Vol. IV. a Charity 388 a1v
- Charity in beſtowing and judging, recommended by the Female Spectator, p. 332334
- Coquet, a She-Fop, p. 353355
- Content, the Advantages of it, p. 373375
- Eumenes, his Letter to the Female Spectator, p. 4
- Enquiry into Public Affairs neceſſary, p. 27
- Elks Hoof, its great Virtues, p. 56
- Epiſtles from Auguſtus Cæſar to Livia Druſilla, and her Anſwers, p. 113
- Eliſmonda, her Letter to the Female Spectator, p. 188190
- Extrodius, his Character and Misfortunes, p. 191193
- Extratellus, his Letter to the Female Spectator, p. 260262
- Ezekiel, the Sublimity of his Style, p. 348350
- Freedom, ſome People think themſelves happy in the bare Name of it, p. 9
- Flying Machines, the Impoſſibility of their Uſe, p. 52
- Flowers, a becoming Ornament, p. 57
- Fortitude, a rare Example of it, p. 228230
- Fate, not to be withſtood, p. 299301
- Flattery, the Ruin of Youth, p. 319321
- Forms in Religious Worſhip too much adhered to, p. 344346
- Fortitude, the moſt noble of all Virtues, p. 376378
- Gold, the Uſe made of it in the Topſy-Turvy Iſland, p. 12
- Gaming, the great Buſineſs of the Topſy-Turvyans, p. 13
- Grafting, a moſt ingenious Invention, p. 59
- Good Taſte and Good Manners little underſtood, p. 324326
- Good Breeding alone a kind of civil Hypocriſy, p. 328330.
- Gratitude due to thoſe who write for our Improvement, p. 351353
- Luellin, his Story, p. 140
- Landlady, the Cruelty of one, p. 225227
- Lothario, his Character and Converſion, p. 234236
- L. D. his Letter to the Female Spectator, p. 254256
- Lies, ſome Sort of them defended, p. 255257
- Lucretius, ſome Criticiſms on his Poem, p. 261263
- Lavinia, her Letter to the Female Spectator, with her Story, p. 284286
- Love of one another, not only a moral, but religious Duty, p. 330332
- Lovers, a Multiplicity of them ought not to be encouraged, p. 352354
- Magic art, much depended on by the Ancients, p. 25
- Mirror for true Beauty, p. 70
- Maxims for regulating Imagination, p. 83
- Monyma, her Letter to the Female Spectator, p. 98
- Mother-in-law, the Goodneſs of one, p. 249251
- Marriage, clandeſtine, very dangerous, p. 251253
- Moroſeneſs in Religious Matters condemned, p. 329331
- Mind, the Seat of Happineſs, or Miſery, p. 350352
- Men to blame when they court without Permiſſion of Parents, p. 358360
- Moralizing, the Female Spectator accuſed of doing it too much; her Apology, p. 362364
- Myſtery of the Female Spectator’s Cabal diſcovered, p. 383385 Nettles, 390 a2v
- Philo-natura, his Letter to the Female Spectator, p. 32
- Plurality of Worlds, the Reaſonableneſs of believing them, p. 38
- Philocletes, his Letter to the Female Spectator, p. 66
- Pleaſures of Imagination, a Poem; ſome Animadverſions on it by Acaſto, p. 78
- Populace, how led by a few into Extremes, p. 93
- Parents, the Injuſtice of ſome of them, p. 102
- Prejudice, the Danger of giving way to it, p. 128.
- Prejudice, a ſtrange Inſtance of it, p. 145
- Parſimony, an odd Inſtance of it, p. 182184
- Providence, its Juſtice exemplified in a ſurprizing Manner, p. 244246
- Philo-Aſtrologio, his Letter to the Female Spectator, p. 269271
- Praiſing young Girls for their Beauty, a great Fault, p. 306308
- Prime Miniſter, his Character, p. 334336
- Stage Diverſions, very extraordinary in their Kind, p. 15
- Spells, the Force of them believed by moſt of the Ancients, p. 23 Ships, 391 a3r
- Ships, how built in the Topſy Turvy Iſland, p. 25
- Saturn, a new Hypotheſis concerning him, p. 39
- Snails, ſome farther Account of them, p. 43
- Senſes ought not to be too much indulged, p. 63
- Sabina, her Character and Story, p. 138
- Saintonge, Monſieur, his fine- turned Compliment, p. 166168
- Sophia, her Story, p. 178180
- Silvius, his Diſappointment and Deſpair, p. 296298
- Secret ſtrangely diſcovered, p. 299301
- Sailor cured of his Paſſion by Abſence, p. 314316
- Spirit not to be too much indulged, p. 320322
- S. S. S. his Letter to the Female Spectator, p. 324326
- Spiritual Pride Phariſaical, p. 329331
- Suicides, the great Number of them in England, p. 378380