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women, as it only serves to aggravate the hatred and animosities that reign among men, and in a great measure deprives the fair sex of those peculiar charms with which nature has endowed them.
When the Romans and Sabines were at war, and just upon the point of giving battle, the women who were allied to both of them, interposed with so many tears and entreaties, that they prevented the mutual slaughter which threatened both parties, and united them together in a firm and lasting peace.
I would recommend this noble example to our British ladies, at a time when their country is torn with so many unnatural divisions, that if they continue, it will be a misfortune to be born in it. The Greeks thought it so improper for women to interest themselves in competitions and contentions, that for this reason, among others, they forbad them, under pain of death, to be present at the Olympic games, notwithstanding these were the public diversions of all Greece.
As our English women excel those of all nations in beauty, they should endeavour to outshine them in all other accomplishments proper to the sex, and to distinguish themselves as tender mothers and faithful wives, rather than as furious partisans. Female virtues are of a domestic turn. The family is the proper province for private women to shine in. If they must be showing their zeal for the public, let it not be against those who are perhaps of the same family, or at least of the same religion or nation, but against those who are the open, professed, undoubted enemies of their faith, liberty, and country. When the Romans were pressed with a foreign enemy, the ladies volun
tarily contributed all their rings and jewels to assist the government under the public exigence, which appeared so laudable an action in the eyes of their countrymen, that from thenceforth it was permitted by a law to pronounce public orations at the funeral of a woman in praise of the deceased person, which till that time was peculiar to men.
Would our English ladies, instead of sticking on a patch against those of their own country, show themselves so truly public-spirited as to sacrifice every one her necklace against the common enemy, what decrees ought not to be made in favour of them !
Since I am recollecting upon this subject such passages as occur to my memory out of ancient authors, I cannot omit a sentence in the celebrated funeral oration of Pericles, which he made in honour of those brave Athenians that were slain in a fight with the Lacedæmonians. After having addressed himself to the several ranks and orders of his countrymen, and shown them how they should behave themselves in the public cause, he turns to the female part of his audience ; 'And as for you, (says he,) I shall advise you in very few words : aspire only to those virtues that are peculiar to your sex ; follow your natural modesty, and think it your greatest commendation not to be talked of one way or other.'
Women and Liberty.
It is with great satisfaction I observe, that the women of our island, who are the most eminent for virtue and good sense, are in the interest of the present government. As the fair sex very much recommend the cause they are engaged in, it would be no small misfortune to a sovereign, though he had all the male part of the nation on his side, if he did not find himself king of the most beautiful half of his subjects. Ladies are always of great use to the party they espouse, and never fail to win over numbers to it. Lovers, according to Sir William Petty's computation, make at least the third part of the sensible men of the British nation ; and it has been an uncontroverted maxim in all ages, that, though a husband is sometimes a stubborn sort of a creature, a lover is always at the devotion of his mistress. By this means, it lies in the power of every fine woman, to secure at least half a dozen able-bodied men to his Majesty's service. The female world are, likewise, indispensably necessary in the best causes, to manage the controversial part of them, in which no man of tolerable breeding is ever able to refute them. Arguments out of a pretty mouth are unanswerable.
There are many reasons why the women of Great Britain should be on the side of the Freeholder, and enemies to the person who would bring in arbitrary
government and Popery. As there are several of our ladies who amuse themselves in the reading of travels, they cannot but take notice, what uncomfortable lives those of their own sex lead, where passive obedience is professed and practised in its utmost perfection. In those countries, the men have no property but in their wives, who are the slaves to slaves : every married woman being subject to a domestic tyrant, that requires from her the same vassalage which he pays to his sultan. If the ladies would seriously consider the evil consequences of arbitrary power, they would find, that it spoils the shape of the foot in China, where the barbarous politics of the men so diminish the basis of the female figure, as to unqualify a woman for an evening walk or country-dance. In the East Indies, a widow, who has any regard to her character, throws herself into the flames of her husband's funeral pile, to show, forsooth, that she is faithful and loyal to the memory of her deceased lord. In Persia, the daughters of Eve, as they call them, are reckoned in the inventory of their goods and chattels : and it is a usual thing, when a man sells a bale of silk or a drove of camels, to toss half a dozen women into the bargain. Through all the dominions of the Great Turk, a woman thinks herself happy, if she can get but the twelfth share of a husband, and is thought of no manner of use in the creation but to keep up a proper number of slaves for the commander of the faithful. I need not set forth the ill usage which the fair ones meet with, in those despotic governments that lie nearer us. Every one hath heard of the several ways of locking up women in Spain and Italy; where, if there is any power lodged
of the sex, it is not among the young and the beautiful, whom nature seems to have formed for it, but among the old and withered matrons, known by the frightful name of gouvernantes and duennas. If any should allege the freedoms indulged to the French ladies, he must own that these are owing to the natural gallantry of the people, not to their form of government, which excludes, by its very constitution, every female from power, as naturally unfit to hold the sceptre of that kingdom.
Women ought, in reason, to be no less averse to Popery than to arbitrary power. Some merry authors have pretended to demonstrate, that the Roman Catholic religion could never spread in a nation where women would have more modesty than to expose their innocent liberties to a confessor. Others of the same turn have assured us, that the fine British complexion, which is so peculiar to our ladies, would suffer very much from a fish-diet : and that a whole Lent would give such a sallowness to the celebrated beauties of this island, as would scarce make them distinguishable from those of France.
I shall only leave to the serious consideration of the countrywomen, the danger any of them might have been in, (had Popery been our natural religion,) of being forced by their relations to a state of perpetual virginity. The most blooming toast in the island might have been a nun; and many a lady, who is now a mother of fine children, condemned to a condition of life, disagreeable to herself and unprofitable to the world. To this I might add, the melancholy objects they would be daily entertained with, of several sightly men delivered over to an inviolable celibacy.