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shall not be lawful for above five of them to talk at the same time.
That if any shall detract from a lady's character, (unless she be absent,) the said detractress shall be forthwith ordered to the lowest place of the room.
That none presume to speak disrespectfully of his Majesty, or any of the royal family, on pain of three hours' silence. That none be permitted to talk spitefully of the court, unless they can produce vouchers that they have been there. That the making use of news which goes about in whisper, unless the author be produced, or the fact well attested, shall be deemed fighting with white powder, and contrary to the laws of war.
That any one who produces libels or lampoons, shall be regarded in the same manner as one who shoots with poisoned bullets.
That when a lady is thoroughly convinced of the falsehood of any story she has related, she shall give her parole not to tell it for a certain truth that winter.
That when any matter of doubt arises, which cannot otherwise be decided, appeal shall be made to a toast, if there be any such in the company.
That no coquette, notwithstanding she can do it with a good air, shall be allowed to sigh for the danger of the church, or to shiver at the apprehensions of fanaticism.
That when a woman has talked an hour and a half, it shall be lawful to call her down to order.
As this civil discord among the sisterhood of Great Britain is likely to engage them in a long and lingering war, consisting altogether of drawn battles, it is the more necessary that there should be a cartel settled among them. Besides, as our English ladies are at present the greatest stateswomen in Europe, they will be in danger of making themselves the most unamiable part of their sex, if they continue to give a loose to intemperate language, and to a low kind of ribaldry, which is not used among the women of fashion in any other country.
Discretion and good-nature have been always looked. upon as the distinguishing ornaments of female conversation. The woman, "whose price is above rubies," has no particular in the character given of her by the wise man,
more endearing, than that "she openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness." Besides, every fierce she-zealot should consider, that however any of the other sex may seem to applaud her as a partisan, there is none of them who would not be afraid of associating himself with her in any of the more private relations of life.
I shall only add, that there is no talent so pernicious as eloquence, to those who have it not under command: for which reason, women who are so liberally gifted by nature in this particular, ought to study, with the greatest application, the rules of female oratory, delivered in that excellent treatise, entitled "the Government of the Tongue." Had that author foreseen the political ferment which is now raised among the sex, he would probably have made his book larger by some chapters than it is at present: but what is wanting in that work, may, I hope, in some measure, be supplied by the abovewritten cartel.
No. 24. MONDAY, MARCH 12.
Bellum importunum, cives, cum gente deorum,、
A PHYSICIAN makes use of various methods for the recovery of sick persons; and though some of them are painful, and all of them disagreeable, his patients are never angry at him, because they know he has nothing in view besides the restoring of them to a good state of health. I am forced to treat the disaffected part of his Majesty's subjects in the same manner, and may, therefore, reasonably expect the same returns of good-will. I propose nothing to myself but their happiness as the end of all my endeavours; and am forced to adapt different remedies to those different constitutions, which are to be found in such a distempered multitude. Some of them can see the unreasonable, and some of them the ridi. culous, side of wrong principles, and, according to the different frame of their minds, reject an opinion as it carries in it either the appearance of wickedness, or of danger, or of folly.
I have endeavoured to expose in these several lights the notions and practices of those who are enemies to our present establishment. But there is a set of arguments, which I have not yet touched upon, and which often succeed, when all others fail. There are many who will not quit a project,
though they find it pernicious, or absurd; but will readily desist from it, when they are convinced it is impracticable. An attempt to subvert the present government is, God be thanked, of this nature. I shall, therefore, apply the considerations of this paper rather to the discretion than the virtue of our malecontents, who should act in the present juncture of affairs like experienced gamesters, that throw up their cards when they know the game is in the enemies' hand, without giving themselves any unnecessary vexation in playing it out.
In the reign of our two last British sovereigns, those who did not favour their interest might be ungenerous enough to act upon the prospect of a change, considering the precarious condition of their health, and their want of issue to succeed them. But at present we enjoy a king of a long-lived family, who is in the vigour of his age, and blest with a numerous progeny. To this we may add his remarkable steadiness in adhering to those schemes which he has formed upon the maturest deliberation, and that submissive deference of his Royal Highness both from duty and inclination, to all the measures of his royal father. Nor must we omit that personal valour so peculiar to his Majesty and his illustrious house, which would be sufficient to vanquish, as we find it actually deters, both his foreign and domestic enemies.
This great prince is supported by the whole Protestant interest of Europe, and strengthened with a long range of alliances that reach from one end of the continent to the other. He has a great and powerful king for his son-in-law; and can himself command, when he pleases, the whole strength of an electorate in the empire. Such a combination of sovereigns puts one in mind of the apparition of gods which discouraged Eneas from opposing the will of heaven. When his eyes
were cleared of that mortal cloud which hung upon them, he saw the several celestial deities acting in a confederacy against him, and immediately gave up a cause which was excluded from all possibility of success.
But it is the greatest happiness, as well as the greatest pleasure of our sovereign, that his chief strength lies in his own kingdoms. Both the branches of our legislature espouse his cause and interest with a becoming duty and zeal. The most considerable and wealthy of his subjects are convinced, that the prosperity of our sovereign and his people are inseparable; and we are very well satisfied, that his Ma
jesty, if the necessity of affairs should require it, might find among the most dutiful of his subjects, men celebrated for their military characters, above any of the age in which they live. There is no question but his Majesty will be as generally valued and beloved in his British as he is in his German dominions, when he shall have time to make his royal virtues equally known among us. In the mean while we have the satisfaction to find, that his enemies have been only able to make ill impressions upon the low and ignorant rabble of the nation; and to put the dregs of the people into a ferment.
We have already seen how poor and contemptible a force has been raised by those who have dared to appear openly against his Majesty, and how they were headed and encouraged by men whose sense of their guilt made them desperate in forming so rash an enterprise, and dispirited in the execution of it. But we have not yet seen that strength which would be exerted in the defence of his Majesty, the Protestant religion, and the British liberties, were the danger great enough to require it. Should the king be reduced to the necessity of setting up the royal standard, how many thousands would range themselves under it! what a concourse would there be of nobles and patriots! we should see men of another spirit than what has appeared among the enemies to our country, and such as would out-shine the rebellious part of their fellow-subjects as much in their gallantry as in their cause.
I shall not so much suspect the understandings of our adversaries, as to think it necessary to enforce these considerations, by putting them in mind of that fidelity and allegiance which is so visible in his Majesty's fleet and army, or of many other particulars which, in all human probability, will perpetuate our present form of government, and which may be suggested to them by their own private thoughts.
The party, indeed, that is opposite to our present happy settlement, seem to be driven out of the hopes of all human methods for carrying on their cause, and are, therefore, reduced to the poor comfort of prodigies and old women's fables. They begin to see armies in the clouds,1 when all upon the earth hath forsaken them. Nay, I have been lately shown a written prophecy that is handed among them with great se
1 The superstition of the people is always ready to catch in times of public commotion; and a remarkable aurora borealis happened to set fire to it at that time.
crecy, by which it appears their chief reliance at present is upon a Cheshire miller who was born with two thumbs upon one hand.
I have addressed this whole paper to the despair of our malecontents, not with a design to aggravate the pain of it, but to use it as a means of making them happy. Let them seriously consider the vexation and disquietude of mind that they are treasuring up for themselves, by struggling with a power which will be always too hard for them; and by converting his Majesty's reign into their own misfortune, which every impartial man must look upon as the greatest blessing to his country. Let them extinguish those passions, which can only imbitter their lives to them, and deprive them of their share in the happiness of the community. They may conclude that his Majesty, in spite of any opposition they can form against him, will maintain his just authority over them; and whatever uneasiness they may give themselves, they can create none in him, excepting only because they prevent him from exerting equally his natural goodness and benevolence to every subject in his dominions.
No. 25. FRIDAY, MARCH 17.
Quid est sapientia? semper idem velle atque idem nolle. SENEC. If we may believe the observation which is made of us by foreigners, there is no nation in Europe so much given to change as the English. There are some who ascribe this to the fickleness of our climate; and others to the freedom of our government. From one or both of these causes their writers derive that variety of humours which appears among the people in general, and that inconsistency of character which is to be found in almost every particular person. But as a man should always be upon his guard against the vices to which he is most exposed, so we should take more than ordinary care not to lie at the mercy of the weather in our
As a means.] The use of the word means, in English, is remarkable, and may be thought capricious. It seems to be of French extraction. The French have, le moyen, frequently, but seldom, les moyens: we, on the contrary, prefer the plural termination, means; yet still, for the most part (though not always) we use it as a noun of the singular number, or as the French le moyen. It is one of those anomalies, which use hath introduced and established, in spite of analogy. We should not be allowed to say—a mean of making men happy.