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sooner made themselves masters of their business, than they have been dismissed from their employments; and that this disgrace has befallen very many of them, not because they have deserved it, but because the people love to see new faces in high posts of honour.
It is a double misfortune to a nation, which is thus given to change, when they have a sovereign at the head of them, that is prone to fall in with all the turns and veerings of the people. Sallust, the gravest of all the Roman historians, who had formed his notions of regal authority from the manner in which he saw it exerted among the barbarous nations, makes the following remark : Plerumque regie voluntates, uti vehementes, sic mobiles, sæpe ipse sibi advorse. “The wills of kings, as they are generally vehement, are likewise very fickle, and at different times opposite to themselves.” Were there any colour for this general observation, how much does it redound to the honour of such princes who are exceptions to it!
The natural consequence of an unsteady government, is the perpetuating of strife and faction among a divided people. Whereas a king who persists in those schemes which he has laid, and has no other view in them but the good of his subjects, extinguishes all hopes of advancement in those who would
grow great by an opposition to his measures, and insensibly unites the contending parties in their common interest.
Queen Elizabeth, who makes the greatest figure among our English sovereigns, was most eminently remarkable for that steadiness and uniformity which ran through all her actions, during that long and glorious reign. She kept up to her chosen motto in every part of her life; and never lost sight of those great ends, which she proposed to herself on her accession to the throne, the happiness of her people, and the strengthening of the Protestant interest. She often interposed her royal authority to break the cabals which were forming against her first ministers, who grew old and died in those stations which they filled with so great abilities. By this means she baffled the many attempts of her foreign and domestic enemies, and entirely broke the whole force and spirit of that party among her subjects, which was popishly affected, and which was not a little formidable in the beginning of her reign.
The frequent changes and alterations in public proceed. ings, the multiplicity of schemes introduced one upon another, with the variety of short-lived favourites, that prevailed in their several turns under the government of her successors, have by degrees broken us into those unhappy distinctions and parties, which have given so much uneasiness to our kings, and so often endangered the safety of their people.
I question not but every impartial reader hath been be! forehand with me, in considering, on this occasion, the happiness of our country under the government of his present Majesty ; who is so deservedly famous for an inflexible adherence to those counsels which have a visible tendency to the public good, and to those persons who heartily concur with him in promoting these his generous designs.
A prince of this character will be dreaded by his enemies, and served with courage and zeal by his friends; and will either instruct us by his example to fix the unsteadiness of our politics, or by his conduct hinder it from doing us any prejudice.
Upon the whole, as there is no temper of mind more unmanly in a private person, nor more pernicious to the public in a member of a community, than that changeableness with which we are too justly branded by all our neighbours, it is to be hoped that the sound part of the nation will give no further occasion for this reproach, but continue steady to that happy establishment which has now taken place among us. And as obstinacy in prejudices which are detrimental to our country, ought not to be mistaken for that virtuous resolution and firmness of mind which is necessary to our preservation, it is to be wished that the enemies to our constitution would so far indulge themselves in this national humour, as to come into one change more, by falling in with that plan of government which at present they think fit to oppose. At least we may expect they will be so wise as to show a legal obedience to the best of kings, who profess the duty of passive obedience to the worst.
No. 26. MONDAY, MARCH 19.
Bella viri pacemque gerant, queis bella gerenda. Virg. WHEN the Athenians had long contended against the power of Philip, he demanded of them to give up their orators, as well knowing their opposition would be soon at an
end if it were not irritated from time to time by these tonguewarriors. I have endeavoured, for the same reason, to gain our female adversaries, and by that means to disarm the party of its principal strength. Let them give us up their women, and we know by experience how inconsiderable a resistance we are to expect from their men.
This sharp political humour has but lately prevailed in so great a measure as it now does among the beautiful part of our species. They used to employ themselves wholly in the scenes of a domestic life, and provided a woman could keep her house in order, she never troubled herself about regulating the commonwealth. The eye of the mistress was wont to make her pewter shine, and to inspect every part of her household furniture as much as her looking-glass. But at present our discontented matrons are so conversant in matters of state, that they wholly neglect their private affairs; for we may always observe that a gossip in politics is a slattern in her family.
It is indeed a melancholy thing to see the disorders of a household that is under the conduct of an angry stateswoman, who lays out all her thoughts upon the public, and is only attentive to find out miscarriages in the ministry. Several women of this turn are so earnest in contending for hereditary right, that they wholly neglect the education of their sons and heirs ; and are so taken up with their zeal for the church, that they cannot find time to teach their children their catechism. A lady who thus intrudes into the province of the men, was so astonishing a character among the old Romans, that when Amæsial presented herself to speak before the senate, they looked upon it as a prodigy, and sent messengers to inquire of the oracle, what it might portend to the commonwealth ?
It would be manifestly to the disadvantage of the British cause, should our pretty loyalists profess an indifference in state affairs, while their disaffected sisters are thus industrious to the prejudice of their country; and accordingly we have the satisfaction to find our she-associates are not idle
| Amæsia.] The story is told in Plutarch, (Numa, p. 77, ed. Par. 1624,) with this difference, that no name is mentioned, and that the pleading was in the forum, and not before the senate.
Dacier, indeed, in his notes on this place, mentions an Amasia Sentia, who pleaded before the prætor in a capital cause, but refers to no authority, and says nothing of consulting the oracle. Mr. A. seems to have jumbled these two stories together, and to have put Amæsia for Amasia.
upon this occasion. It is owing to the good principles of these his Majesty's fair and faithful subjects, that our country-women appear no less amiable in the eyes of the male world, than they have done in former ages. For where a great number of flowers grow, the ground at a distance seems entirely covered with them, and we must walk into it, before we can distinguish the several weeds that spring up in such a beautiful mass of colours. Our great concern is, to find deformity can arise among so many charms, and that the most lovely parts of the creation can make themselves the most disagreeable. But it is an observation of the philosophers, that the best things may be corrupted into the worst; and the ancients did not scruple to affirm, that the Furies and the Graces were of the same sex.
As I should do the nation and themselves good service, if I could draw the ladies, who still hold out against his Majesty, into the interest of our present establishment, I shall propose to their serious consideration, the several inconveniencies which those among them undergo, who have not yet surrendered to the government.
They should first reflect on the great sufferings and persecutions to which they expose themselves by the obstinacy of their behaviour. They lose their elections in every club where they are set up for toasts. They are obliged by their principles to stick a patch on the most unbecoming side of their foreheads. They forego the advantage of birth-day suits. They are insulted by the loyalty of claps and hisses every time they appear at a play. They receive no benefit from the army, and are never the better for all the young fellows that wear hats and feathers. They are forced to live in the country and feed their chickens; at the same time that they might show themselves at court, and appear in brocade, if they behaved themselves well. In short, what must go to the heart of every fine woman, they throw themselves quite out of the fashion.
The above-mentioned motive must have an influence upon the gay part of the sex; and as for those who are acted by more sublime and moral principles, they should consider, that they cannot signalize themselves as malecontents, without breaking through all the amiable instincts and softer virtues, which are peculiarly ornamental to womankind. Their timorous, gentle, modest behaviour ; their affability, meekness, good-breeding, and many other beautiful dispositions of mind, must be sacrificed to a blind and furious zeal for they do not know what. A 'man is startled when he sees a pretty bosom heaving with such party-rage, as is disagreeable even in that sex, which is of a more coarse and rugged make. And yet such is our misfortune, that we sometimes see a pair of stays ready to burst with sedition; and hear the most masculine passions exprest in the sweetest voices. I have lately been told of a country-gentlewoman, pretty much famed for this virility of behaviour in party-disputes, who, upon venting her notions very freely in a strange place, was carried before an honest justice of the peace. This prudent magistrate observing her to be a large black woman, and finding by her discourse that she was no better than a rebel in a riding-hood, began to suspect her for my Lord Nithisdale ; till a stranger came to her rescue, who assured him, with tears in his eyes, that he was her husband.
In the next place, our British ladies may consider, that by interesting themselves so zealously in the affairs of the public, they are engaged, without any necessity, in the crimes which are often committed even by the best of parties, and which they are naturally exempted from by the privilege of their sex. The worst character a female could formerly arrive at, was of being an ill woman ; but by their present conduct, she may likewise deserve the character of an ill subject. They come in for their share of political guilt, and have found a way to make themselves much greater criminals than their mothers before them.
I have great hopes that these motives, when they are assisted by their own reflections, will incline the fair ones of the adverse party to come over to the national interest, in which their own is so highly concerned; especially if they consider, that by these superfluous employments which they take upon them as partisans, they do not only dip themselves in an unnecessary guilt, but are obnoxious to a grief and anguish of mind, which doth not properly fall within their lot. And here I would advise every one of these exasperated ladies, who indulge that opprobrious eloquence which is so much in fashion, to reflect on Æsop's fable of the viper. “This little animal, (says the old moralist)
, chancing to meet with a file, began to lick it with her tongue till the blood came; which gave her a very silly satisfaction, as imagining the blood came from the file, notwithstanding all the smart was in her own tongue.”