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The beautiful part of this island, whom I am proud to number amongst the most candid of my readers, will likewise do well to reflect, that our dispute at present concerns our civil as well as religious rights. I shall therefore only offer it to their thoughts as a point that highly deserves their consideration, whether the fan may not also be made use of with regard to our political constitution. As a Freeholder, I would not have them confine their cares for us as we are Protestants, but at the same time have an eye to our happiness as we are Britons. In this case they would give a new turn to the minds of their countrymen, if they would exhibit on their fans the several grievances of a tyrannical government. Why might not an audience of Muley Ishmael, or a Turk dropping his handkerchief in his seraglio, be proper subjects to express their abhorrence both of despotic power, and of male tyranny? or if they have a fancy for burlesque, what would they think of a French cobbler cutting shoes for several of his fellow-subjects out of an old appletree? On the contrary, a fine woman, who would maintain the dignity of her sex, might bear a string of galley slaves, dragging their chains the whole breadth of her fan ; and at the same time, to celebrate her own triumphs, might order every slave to be drawn with the face of one of her admirers.
I only propose these as hints to my gentle readers, which they may alter or improve as they shall think fit : but cannot conclude without congratulating our country upon this disposition among the most amiable of its inhabitants, to consider in their ornaments the advantage of the public as well as of their persons. It was with the same spirit, though not with the same
politeness, that the ancient British women had the figures of monsters painted on their naked bodies, in order (as our historians tells us) to make themselves beautiful in the eyes of their countrymen, and terrible to their enemies. If this project goes on, we may boast, that our sister Whigs have the finest fans, as well as the most beautiful faces, of any ladies in the world. At least, we may venture to foretell, that the figures in their fans will lessen the Tory interest, much more than those in the Oxford Almanacs will advance it.
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 tongue-warriors. 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 Amaesia 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 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
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 inconveniences 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,
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,