Page images

ter; and may be compared, with Solomon's bride, to 'a lily

among thorns.'

A stateswoman is as ridiculous a creature as a cotquean. Each of the sexes should keep within its particular bounds, and content themselves to excel within their respective districts. When Venus complained to Jupiter of the wound which she had received in battle, the father of the gods smiled upon her, and put her in mind, that instead of mixing in a war, which was not her business, she should have been officiating in her proper ministry, and carrying on the delights of marriage. The delicacy of several modern critics has been offended with Homer's Billingsgate warriors; but a scolding hero is, at the worst, a more tolerable character than a bully in petticoats. To which we may add, that the keenest satirist among the ancients, looked upon nothing as a more proper subject of raillery and invective, than a female gladiator.

I am the more disposed to take into consideration these ladies of fire and politics, because it would be very monstrous to see feuds and animosities kept up among the soft sex, when they are in so hopeful a way of being composed among the men, by the septennial bill, which is now ready for the royal assent. As this is likely to produce a cessation of arms, till the expiration of the present parliament, among one half of our island, it is very reasonable that the more beautiful moiety of his Majesty's subjects should establish a truce among themselves for the same term of years. Or rather it were to be wished, that they would summon together a kind of senate, or parliament, of the fairest and wisest of our sister subjects, in order to enact a perpetual neutrality among the sex. They might at least appoint something like a committee, chosen from among the ladies residing in London and Westminster, in order to prepare a bill to be laid

before tlie assembly upon the first opportunity of their meeting. The regulation might be as follows:

“That a committee of toasts be forthwith appointed ; to consider the present state of the sex in the British nation.

· That this committee do meet at the house of every respective member of it on her; and that every one who comes to it shall have a vote, and a dish of tea.

“That the committee be empowered to send for billet-doux, libels, lampoons, lists of toasts, or any other the like papers and records.

" That it be an instruction to the said committee, to consider of proper ways and methods to reclaim the obstinately opprobrious and virulent; and how to make the ducking-stool more useful."

Being always willing to contribute my assistances to my country-women, I would propose a preamble, setting forth, " That the late civil war among the sex las tended very much to the lessening of that ancient and undoubted authority, which they have claimed over the male part of the island; to the ruin of good house-wifery; and to the betraying of many important secrets: that it has produced much bitterness of speech, many sharp and violent contests, and a great effusion of citron-water : that it has raised animosities in their hearts, and heats in their faces, that it has broke out in their ribbons, and caused unspeakable confusions in their dress : and, above all, that it has introduced a certain frown into the features, and a sourness into the air of our British ladies, to the great damage of their charms, and visible decay of the national beauty."

As for the enacting part of the bill, it may consist of many particulars which will naturally arise from the debates of the tea-table; and must, therefore, be left to the discretion aud ex

perience of the committee. Perhaps it might not be amiss to enact, among other things,

“That the discoursing on politics shall be looked upon as dull as“ talking on the weather.

“That if any man troubles a female assembly with parliament-news, he shall be marked out as a blockhead, or an incendiary.

" That no woman shall henceforth presume to stick a patch upon her forehead, unless it be in the very middle, that is, in the neutral part of it.

" That all fans and snuff-boxes, of what principles soever, shall be called in: and that orders be given to Motteux and Mathers, to deliver out, in exchange for them, such as have no tincture of party in them.

“ That when any lady bespeaks a play, she shall take effectual care that the audience be pretty equally checquered with whigs and tories.

“That no woman, of any party, presume to influence the legislature.

“ That there be a general amnesty and oblivion of all former hostilities and distinctions, all public and private failings on either side: and that every one who comes into this neutrality within the space of weeks, shall be allowed an ell extraordinary, above the present standard, in the circumference of her petticoat.

"Provided always, nevertheless, That nothing herein contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to any person or persons, inhabiting and practising within the hundreds of Drury, or to any other of that society in what part soever of the nation

* Looked upon as dull. Elliptically expressed to avoid the repetition of as. The sentence, if drawn out at length, would be, looked upon as bring as dull as.

in like manner practising and residing; who are still at liberty to rail, calumniate, scold, frown, and pout, as in afore-times, any thing in this act to the contrary notwithstanding."

No. 39. FRIDAY, MAY 4.

Prodesse quam conspici

It often happens, that extirpating the love of glory, which is observed to take the deepest root in noble minds, tears up several virtues with it; and that suppressing the desire of fame, is apt to reduce men to a state of indolence and supineness. But when, without any incentive of vanity, a person of great abilities is zealous for the good of mankind; and as solicitous for the concealment, as the performance of illustrious actions; we may be sure that he has something more than ordinary in his composition, and has a heart filled with goodness and magnanimity.

There is not perhaps, in all history, a greater instance of this temper of mind, than what appeared in that excellent person, whose motto I have placed at the head of this paper. He had worn himself out in his application to such studies as made him useful or ornamental to the world, in concerting schemes for the welfare of his country, and in prosecuting such measures as were necessary for making those schemes effectual: but all this was done with a view to the public good that should rise out of these generous endeavours, and not to the fame which should accrue to himself. Let the reputation of the action fall where it would; so his country reaped the benefit of it, he was satisfied. As his turn of mind threw off, in a great measure, the oppositions of

. So, is here used, as it often is, in our language, in the sense of prorided that.

envy and competition, it enabled him to gain the most vain and impracticable into his designs, and to bring about several great events for the safety and advantage of the public, which must have died in their birth, had he been as desirous of appearing beneficial to mankind, as of being so.

As he was admitted into the secret and most retired thoughts and counsels of his royal master, King William, a great share in the plan of the Protestant succession is universally ascribed to him. And if he did not entirely project the union of the two kingdoms, and the bill of regency, which seem to have been the only methods in human policy, for securing to us so inestimable a blessing, there is none who will deny him to have been the chief conductor in both these glorious works. For posterity are obliged to allow him that praise after his death, which he industriously declined while he was living. His life, indeed, seems to have been prolonged beyond its natural term, under those indispositions which hung upon the latter part of it, that he might have the satisfaction of seeing the happy settlement take place, which he had proposed to himself as the principal end of all his public labours. Nor was it a small addition to his happiness, that by this means he saw those who had been always his most intimate friends, and who had concerted with him such measures for the guarantee of the Protestant succession, as drew upon them the displeasure of men who were averse to it, advanced to the highest posts of trust and honour under his present Majesty. I believe there are none of these patriots, who will think it a derogation from their merit to have it said, that they received many lights and advantages from their intimacy with my Lord Somers : who had such a gen. eral knowledge of affairs, and so tender a concern for his friends,

a His life indeed seems, &c. A natural reflection, in a panegyric on Lord Somers, and in a paper written professedly in honour of the happy settlement.

« PreviousContinue »