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women as members of the body politic; since it is visible that great numbers of them have of late eloped from their allegiance, and that they do not believe themselves obliged to draw with us, as yoke-fellows, in the constitution. They will judge for themselves; look into the state of the nation with their own eyes; and be no longer led blindfold by a male legislature. A friend of mine was lately complaining to me, that his wife had turned off one of the best cook-maids in England, because the wench had said something to her fellow-servants, which seemed to favour the suspension of the Habeas Corpus act.
When errors and prejudices are thus spread among the sex, it is the hardest thing in the world to root them out. Arguments, which are the only proper means for it, are of little use: they have a very short answer to all reasonings that turn against them, 'Make us believe that, if you can;' which is in Latin, if I may, upon this occasion, be allowed the pedantry of a quotation, non persuadebis, etiamsi persuaseriš. I could not but smile at a young university disputant, who was complaining the other day of the unreasonableness of a lady with whom he was engaged in a point of controversy. Being left alone with her, he took the opportunity of pursuing an argument which had been before started in discourse, and put it to her in a syllogism: upon which, as he informed us, with some heat, she granted him both the major and the minor, but denied him the conclusion.
The best method, therefore, that can be made use of with these polemical'ladies, who are much more easy to be refuted than silenced, is to show them the ridi.culous side of their cause, and to make them laugh at their own politics. It is a kind of ill manners to offer objections to a fine woman; and a man would be out of countenance that should gain the superiority in such a contest. A coquette logician may be rallied, but not contradicted: Those who would make use of solid arguments and strong reasonings to a reader or hearer of so delicate a turn, would be like that foolish people, whom Ælian speaks of, that worshipped a fly, and sacrificed an ox to it. ?!
The truth of it is, a man must be of a very disputatious temper, that enters into state controversies with any of the fair-sex. If the malignant be not beautiful, she cannot do much mischief; and if she is,' her arguments will be so enforced by the charms of her person, that her antagonist may be in danger of betraying his own cause. Milton puts this confession into the mouth of our father Adam; who, though he asserts his superiority of reason in his debates with the mother of mankind, adds,
Yet when I approach
Authority and reason on her waitIf there is such a native loveliness in the sex, as to make them victorious even when they are in the wrong, how resistless is their power when they are on the side of truth! And, indeed, it is a peculiar good fortune to the government, that our fair malecontents are so much overmatched in beauty, as well as number, by those who are loyal to their king, and friends to their country.
Every paper, which I have hitherto addressed to our beautiful incendiaries, hath been filled with considerations of a different kind; by which means I have taken care that those, who are enemies to the sex, or to myself, may not accuse me of tautology, or pretend that I attack them with their own weapon.
For this reason I shall here lay together a new set of remarks, and observe the several artifices by which the enemies to our establishment do raise such unaccountable passions and prejudices in the minds of our discontented females.
In the first place, it is usual, among the most cunning of our adversaries, to represent all the rebels as very handsome men. If the name of a traitor be mentioned, they are very particular in describing his person; and when they are not able to extenuate his treason, commend his shape. This has so good an effect in one of our female audiences, that they represent to themselves a thousand poor, tall, innocent, fresh-coloured young gentlemen; who are dispersed among the several prisons of Great Britain; and extend their generous compassion towards a multitude of agreeable fellows that never were in being.
Another artifice is, to instil jealousies into their minds, of designs upon the anvil to retrench the privileges of the sex. Some represent the Whigs as enemies to Flanders lace; others had spread a report, that in the late act of parliament, for four shillings in the pound upon land, there would be inserted a clause for raising a tax upon pin-money. That the ladies may be the better upon their guard against suggestions of this nature, I shall beg leave to put them in mind of the story of Papirius, the son of a Roman senator. This young gentleman, after having been present in public debates, was usually teazed by his mother to inform her of what had passed. In order to deliver himself from this importunity, he told her one day, upon his return from the senate-house, that there had been a motion made for a decree to allow every man two wives. The good lady said nothing; but managed matters so well among the Roman matrons, that the next day they met together in a body before the senatehouse, and presented a petition to the fathers against so unreasonable a law. This groundless credulity raised so much raillery upon the petitioners, that we do not find the ladies offered to direct the lawgivers of their country ever after. i There has been another method lately made use of, which has been practised with extraordinary success; I mean the spreading abroad reports of prodigies, which has wonderfully gratified the curiosity, as well as the hopes of our fair malignants. Their managers turn water into blood for them; frighten them with sea-monsters; make them see armies in the air; and give them their word, the more to ingratiate themselves with them, that they signify nothing less than future slaughter and desolation. The disloyal part of the sex immediately hug themselves at the news of the bloody fountain; look upon these fish as their friends; have great expectations from the clouds; and are very angry with you,
you think they do not all portend ruin to their country.
Secret history and scandal have always had their allurements; and I have, in other discourses, shown the great advantage that is made of them in the present ferment among the fair ones.
But the master engine, to overturn the minds of the female world, is the danger of the church.' I am not so uncharitable as to think there is any thing in an observation made by several of the Whigs, that there is scarce a woman in England who is troubled with the vapours, but is, more or less, affected with this cry: or, to remark with others, that it is not uttered in any part of the nation with so much bitterness of tongue and heart, as in the districts of Drury-lane. On the contrary, I believe there are many devout and honourable women who are deluded in this point by the artifice of designing men. To these, therefore, I would apply myself, in a more serious manner, and desire them to consider how that laudable piety, which is natural to the sex, is apt to degenerate into a groundless and furious zeal, when it is not kept within the bounds of charity and reason. Female zeal, though proceeding from so good a principle, has been infinitely detrimental to society, and to religion itself. If we may believe the French historians, it often put a stop to the proceedings of their kings, which might have ended in a reformation. For, upon their breaking with the pope, the queens frequently interposed, and, by their importunities, reconciled them to the usurpations of the church of Rome. Nay, it was this vicious zeal which gave a remarkable check to the first progress of Christianity, as we find it recorded by a sacred historian in the following passage, which I shall leave to the consideration of my female readers. "But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.'
No. 33. FRIDAY, APRIL 13.
Nulli adversus magistratus ac reges gratiores sunt: nec immerito; nullis
enim plus præstant quam quibus frui tranquillo otio licet. Itaque hi, quibus ad propositum bene vivendi confert securitas publica, necesse est auctorem hujus boni et parentem colant.
SENEC. EP. 73. WE
E find, by our public papers, the university of Dublin have lately presented to the Prince of Wales, in a most humble and dutiful manner, their diploma, for constituting his royal highness chancellor of that learned body; and that the prince received this their offer with the goodness and condescension which is natural to his illustrious house. As the college of Dublin have been long famous for their great learning, they have now given us an instance of their good sense; and it is with pleasure that we find such a disposition, in this famous nursery of letters, to propagate sound principles, and to act in its proper sphere, for the honour and dignity of the royal family. We hope that such an example will have its influence on other societies of the same nature; and cannot but rejoice to see the heir of Great Britain vouchsafing to patronize, in so peculiar a manner, that noble seminary, which is perhaps at this time training up such persons as may hereafter be ornaments to his reign.