REFLECTIONS ON Courtship and Marriage: IN TWO LETTERS TO A FRIEND. Wherein a Practicable PLAN is laid down for OBTAINING and SECURING CONJUGAL FELICITY.


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Gentlemen and Ladies,

IT is judged proper to acquaint you, that the ensuing Sheets were convey'd to the Press, thro' a Channel whose original Source is concealed from our Know­ledge. You will find the Author did not intend it for Publick View, for indeed there are such evident Marks of a Dishabille, and such a careless Negligence of Dress, that tho' it may be allowed to pay a Morning Visit to an intimate Friend, it was not dres­sed by the Writer to entertain Company, but stole by a private Way, unshav'd and unshifted, to the Closet of his Friend. Whe­ther by the Death of its Author, or his Friend, or by what other fortuitous Turns, it at length arrived to the Press, and now presents itself to publick Observation, we cannot inform you; but that the Author is [Page iv]ignorant of its Publication, as we are igno­rant of him or her, and that no dishonoura­ble Breach of Confidence has been made, there are many concurring Circumstances to per­suade us of.

Let it therefore be considered (tho' the Press now gives it a publick Relation) as really a private Entertainment in its Design, originally given behind the Curtain of a ve­ry intimate Friendship; but Death, or some other Incidents have drawn up that Curtain, and exhibited to publick Light this private Scene of Friendly Intercourse; where the Mind gives a Vent to its Feelings, without any studious elaborate Preparation; where the Sentiments flow like a natural Cascade, rudely beautiful, tho' not regularly charm­ing, with more native Impetuosity than methodical H [...]mony.

It is nevertheless apprehended, tho' these REFLECTIONS were designed only for pri­vate Entertainment and Use, the Publicati­on of them may yield Pleasure and Utility to the younger Part of each Sex; and may, perhaps, tend to discountenance the false, unnatural, and insolent Ridicule, that fre­quently [Page v]endeavours to bespatter and affront the Conjugal Tie; which is, and has ever been, the sacred Cement of all Societies; and which has had the Approval and Vene­ration of the best and wisest Minds in all Ages: The Common-place Witticisms a­gainst this amiable and desirable Union, are indeed such low, wretched Stuff, as to be with Indignation excluded from all polite Conversations.

The Author of the following Reflecti­ons, endeavours to lay a practicable Plan, by the Execution of which, the matrimonial State may produce such a Crop of Felicity, as to make it highly worthy the Pursuit of every reasonable and virtuous Mind. Had he wrote for publick View, he would pro­bably have appeared in a more full and re­gular Dress, — but that has already been a­pologized for. We shall only therefore de­clare our Opinion, that his Plan carries Reason and Conviction with it; and might perhaps more fully have done so, had he consider'd his Subject by Way of Contrast, as forcibly as he has in the Abstract: For whoever has observ'd the declining Days of [Page vi]Old Batchelors in general, may see their un­connected, unrelative State in Society, tot­tering to their Graves in a gloomy Solitude, or, at best, only attended by a few artful rapacious Vultures, who impatiently wait for their Pray. No tender affectionate Companion, of similar Mind and Manners, whose constant Sunshine of Love, warm'd the Spring and Summer of his Days, and now with an unalterable Friendship and Fellow-feeling, accompanies him Arm-in-Arm thro' the dreary Wilds of his Winter, with the Guard of a Son or Sons, whose fi­lial Piety and manly Vigour, is ever ready to protect him from the Insolence of others, or to defend him from those Calamities to which our feeble Age exposes us; surroun­ded with a prattling Offspring fondly cares­sing their hoary Grandsire, and blooming a Prospect of future Honour and Virtue. What exquisite Sensations this Patriarchal Breast must feel! What heavenly Raptures his Soul must glow with! MATRIMONY may, upon our Author's Plan, acquaint us with them. — But these divine Supports are as [Page vii]little to be expected by an Old Batchelor, as in our Power to describe.

Our Author's Reflections may furthermore convince the Fair Sex, that tho' Fortune may buy them a mercenary Tyrant; tho' Beauty may provoke their Ruin, or attract some Fop or Coxcomb; yet. Good Sense, and real Merit only, will touch the Heart of, and maintain their Influence over, Men of true Worth and Knowledge: That the Charms of Judgment, Discretion and good Temper, are the only lasting Foundations upon which matrimonial Felicity can be built: That the Cultivation of their Minds is absolutely necessary to the Production of their Happiness; that Love will soon starve without Friendship; and finally, that the Standard of human Felicity in [...] is the PRACTICE OF WISDOM AND [...] so also of the Conjugal Union in [...]

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YOU tell me the Dispute which was carried on in our Company the other Day, has rather made you a Sceptick to both, than a Convert to either Side of the Question: And you desire my deliberate Sentiments on the Subject of that Afternoon's Argument.

YOU have an unquestionable Right to ask me: I wish my Answer may prove satisfactory.

MARRIAGE, you know, was the Topick of our Conversation, and the Subject of our Dispute. We [...] [Page 2]Schemes of that kind on his Hands; and was therefore so far unbiassed.

YOU may remember many sprightly Things were said against that Scene of Life; some very plausible Ones.

IT was alledged, on the one Hand, that the Edu­cation of Women, in general, must naturally give them a strong Biass to Dissembling and Affectation, the Turn of Thinking, which, for the most Part, they early imbibe; the too much Attention, and Artifice they are taught to bestow on their Persons; the trifling, and often ill-judged Accomplishments, by which their Ambition is excited, and in which, for the most Part, they so studiously endeavour to excel.

BY this Method of Management they are polished to a superficial Lustre, dazle our Sight, and work up our Passions. But, for that End, the substantial Culture of their Minds is grosly neglected; true good Sense, and sound Judgment; the inestimable Per­fections of a generous, an open, and noble Mind, are but little considered in their [...]lu [...]tions.

HEREBY are they quite unfitted for the delicate Pleasures of a rational Esteem and the Godlike Joys of a manly Friendship.

NOT having therefore the requisite Fund of sub­stantial Worth to raise the Thought, and touch the Heart; to be an agreeable Companion, and a steady Friend; and only striking the Springs of Passion and Appetite; when those are deaden'd, as they naturally [...] be by Possession, the Joys of Wedlock grow [...] insipid, sicken and die away, leaving us in [...] [...]oom, a vain and capricious, and empty and [Page 3]insignificant Companion, with perhaps a helpless Infant or two, to increase our Care and Vexation.

IS there, was it asked, any thing so engaging, so eligible in this social Scheme of Life, as to induce a Man of Sense and Judgment to embrace it; to quit for it, the free, the easy and independent Pleasures of a single Life; where, cool and unmolested, he ex­alts and improves his Understanding in the Treasures of ancient and modern Learning; unshackled from the Cares of a Family; unclogg'd by that perplexing Chain, a petulant, or a weak, or a fantastick Wife, relaxes himself with the agreeable Conversation of polite, chearful, and witty Companions.

IS there, was it added, any Comparison between the two Scenes of Life?

IT was observed by the Advocates on this Side of the Question, that a debauched, dissolute Life, was not pleaded for; but that there was a justifiable Mean betwixt both Extreams, more choice-worthy than either, and which a Man of Prudence and Discretion might hit upon.

AND here, you may remember, a Gentleman in Company, spoke to the following Purpose:

THE Description which has been given of the Education of our Modern young Ladies, and its malignant Influence, is, I must confess, but too just, and too general. And tho' many, in Pictures of this Kind, often di [...]ver too much Coarseness in their Paint, yet, I think, this has been touched as becomes the Hand of a Gentleman, and one that desires to reason, not inveigh.

THE Inferences which throw themselves on us by the Questions asked, have great Plausibility, [Page 4]and, generally considered, carry with them a Weight, near, and almost, to Conviction.

BUT, Gentlemen, I wou'd beg Leave to ob­serve, that tho' the common Education of young Ladies is chiefly extended no father than to super­ficial and exterior Accomplishments; and that their Behaviour is rather owing to a Sort of mechanical Influence, than to Sentiments from Reason and Judgment; that Reading, and Reflection are too much neglected by them, or ill regulated; that their Taste of real Worth and Merit in Men and Things, is thereby render'd very defective, and often shows itself to be mighty ridiculous; that their Passions are rather kept under Restraint by the common Rules of Decorum, than by any ra­tional Conviction of a real beautiful, and deformed in Characters, independant on who sees, or who knows; that they aim more to catch the Eyes, than penetrate the Heart, to blow up the Passions, than to secure the Understandings of their Admi­rers; that Esteem and Friendship are more remote from their Attention, than frothy Compliments and foppish Rant.

NOTWITHSTANDING all this, I conceive, Gentlemen, where the Dispositions of a young Lady are not of a bad Turn by Nature, whatever little Weeds may be sprung or springing up from the unhappy Influence of her Education, are to be cleared; her Mind and Temper still ca­pable of such Cultivation by a skilful Address, as to render her very worthy Esteem and Friendship to a Man of Sense, worthy his Choice, as a Com­panion for Life.

I am persuaded no one in this Company will [Page 5]assert, Women are by Nature constituted incapable of Friendship, or any social Charms which our Sex possesses. Every Person here is better versed in History and human Nature.

WHAT then should obstruct their shining in so exalted a Light?—Why Education, the trifling and narrow Extent of Thinking which that ac­customs them to, &c. &c.

BUT in young Minds, for of such only I speak, where there are common, docile and pliable, Dispo­sitions, Is it an insuperable Task to raise in them an Ambition for good Sense, and a judicious Taste? There are many Passions to work upon, which a nice and gentle Hand may manage to his Purpose; there are the Seeds of Reflection, and tho' they may lie under Rubbish, 'tis to be cleared away; they may be sown in good Ground, and by mind­ing Times and Seasons, and dealing tenderly with them, they will bring forth a Crop of happy and useful Reflections.

BUT suffer me, Gentlemen, to go yet farther. Allowing what we have said on the Education of young Ladies to be all true; do not our Sex too often compleat what that has begun? do we not in general flatter them with a Heap of bombast Stuff, and then laugh at them for seeming pleased with it? Do we not blow up their Vanity and Con­ceit, with Notions of that Merit to which they have no just Title? And gloss over their silly Airs and Follies with false Applause, and Epithets of Ap­probation? Do we not generally converse with them in a Language of Rhodomontade and Nonsense?

How then, is it possible for them to improve; How to discern real from false Excellence, who [Page 6]seldom hear a Word of Sense, and less of Truth? 'Tis this Sort of Treatment young Ladies meet with in common Life, and too much of this Kind we carry with us when we make our matrimonial Addresses; to which, and our subsequent Impru­dences after Marriage, I cannot but ascribe the many just Satires that are thrown out against it.

'BUT wou'd we'—Here the Discourse was interrupted by a Circumstance which I doubt not you well remember.

HAD the Gentleman proceeded, your Opinion might possibly have been determined, and pre­vented me an Attempt, for which I fear I am not sufficiently qualified.—However I will not add to the Trouble of your Perusal any further Apologies, which are in general the Effects more of Vanity than Modesty.

I am then of that Gentleman's Opinion, whose Discourse was broke in upon:

THAT unhappy Matches are often occasioned by meer mercenary Views in one or both of the Parties; or by the headstrong Motives of ill conducted Passion.

THAT by a prudent and judicious Proceeding, in our Addresses to a young Lady of a good natural Temper, a probable Foundation may be laid for making her an agreeable Companion, a steady Friend, and a good Wife.

AND that after Marriage, by continuing in the Road of Prudence and Judgment, we may erect a Superstructure of as much real Felicity, and as refined an Enjoyment of Life, to its latest Period, as any other Scheme can justly lay claim to.

I shall give you my deliberate Thoughts on these four Particulars; the first, second and third, will be [Page 7]the Subject of this, the fourth that of another Letter; and, to be less confused, I shall put them under a Sort of Method.

SECT. I. Many unhappy Matches are occasioned by mer­cenary Views in one or both of the Parties.

THAT Luxury, and an expensive Manner of Life, is not less the Attention than the Ambition of most People in their several Classes; and that such a Turn of Mind must naturally and necessarily carry with it a violent and insatiable Thirst for Riches; to any Person of Observation and Reflection, is as obvious, on the one Hand, as 'tis consequential on the other.

'Tis as certain, that a Passion so prevalent, will, of Course, weigh down and stifle every noble, ge­nerous, and disinterested Sentiment.

WE see but too often, like a destructive Torrent, it hurries away all the Principles of Humanity, Friendship and Honour.

IN short—whenever Luxury, and an Ambition for Show and Grandeur, become our ruling Passion, the Love of Money, as being the necessary Means for attaining the other, will be proportionably strong: And whatever be our ruling Passion, it will swallow up all the rest, and be the governing Principle of our Actions.

A great Philosopher, and a Poet, that has, I think, no Equal in our Language, tell us,

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* The ruling Passion, be it what it will,
The ruling Passion conquers Reason still.

EVERY Man of Observation and Thought does, I believe, find, that exterior Show, and the Posses­sion of Wealth, is become the common Standard of Merit; that a slavish Obsequiousness is paid to it, at the Expence of all that is truly Great and Manly.

THE same little, sneaking, and selfish Spirit, is crept into our matrimonial Pursuits; and not, I think, less with the Fair than our own Sex.

WHAT abominable Prostitutions of Persons and Minds are daily to be seen in many of our Marriages! How little a Share has real Friendship and Esteem in most of them! How many play the Harlot, for a good Settlement, under the legal Title of a Wife! And how many the Stallion, to repair a broken For­tune, or to gain one.

ARE these Muckworms to expect any social Happiness with each other? shall their wretched Experi­ence be quoted as Instances to prove Matrimony unworthy our Choice?

As well two Mountains of Peru might meet,
And mix their Dross, to make a Bondage sweet.

THE real Felicity of Marriage does undoubtedly consist in a Union of Minds, and a Sympathy of Af­fections; in a mutual Esteem and Friendship for each other in the highest Degree possible. But in that Alliance, where Interest and Fortune only is consi­dered, those refined and tender Sentiments are nei­ther felt or known. And what are they exchanged [Page 9]for? Why, to make a Glare in the Eyes of the little and great Vulgar; to be hurried thro' Scenes of ridi­culous and treacherous Ceremony; to raise Envy in the weak and silly Part of the World, Pity and Con­tempt in the Wise and Judicious.

AND what are the Consequences to the Parties themselves? Why, at beft a cold, flat, and insipid Intercourse; void of the exquisite Relish of a sincere Esteem, and the divine Pleasures of a reasonable and honourable Friendship.—But more frequently the Iniquity of their interested Views, in one or both appears undisguised, is succeeded by Contempt and Disdain, and throws such a Fire of Contention and Uneasiness between them, as gives too just a Cause for that direful Simile, a Hell upon Earth.

IF the Happiness of a married Life does, as it most certainly must, arise from an unfeigned Esteem, and sincere Friendship for each other; how is it possible for such godlike Effects of flow from such diabolical Causes, as avaricious, mercenary, and selfish Views? Do such Dispositions, and can such dirty Souls, ever feel the pure and delicate Flame of a sin­cere Love? Of that mysterious Affection which swells the Heart, and overflows in the gentle Streams of an anxious Fondness? Can interested Designs, can those Slaves to Dross be animated with the Spirit of a generous, an elevated and inflexible Friendship? 'Tis inconsistent and repugnant to Reason and Na­ture: Gold is their Idol, 'tis that they wed.

To conclude, 'tis a Truth of the plainest Demon­stration, that Slaves to Fortune, or the Gratification of their own selfish Passions, who center their Views in Life within themselves, independant on the Foel­ings of others, are incapable of a sincere and steady [Page 10]Friendship; nor can their Hearts glow with the warm Benevolence of a tender Affection.

DOES it not then very evidently appear, that Mar­riages which are made on the meer Motives of Inte­rest, will naturally turn out, insipid, unhappy, and fatal Situations.

IF there can be found any Instances to the con­trary, they must be owing to a happy Chance; those who in so important an Engagement will trust to a Fors Fortuna for their Happiness, are not worth reasoning with. 'Tis true, we cannot arrive to Cer­tainty in human Contingencies, but when Reason, and the greatest Degree of Probability are against us, 'tis Madness, 'tis egregious Folly, to act in Contra­diction to them.

IT must not be inferred from the foregoing, that Prudence and Discretion with Regard to Fortune are to be banish'd from our Consideration. That wou'd be an Extream, on the other Hand, equally, or more subversive of our Happiness.

To talk of a Competence, is, in Effect, saying Nothing at all; what may be so to one Man, is not so to another. But this is certain: The nearer we bring our Desires of Living, and our Relishes of Pleasure, to the Necessities of our Nature, the more easy and certain will our Happiness be: And un­doubtedly Splendor and Magnificence, are more imaginary than real and necessary Ingredients to hu­man Felicity.

How much, or how little or Fortune will content us, depends chiefly on our own Way of Thinking. Be this as it will, it should seem very proper before all Marriages, for both Parties to know truly and fairly, what they have to expect on this Head, and [Page 11]seriously to consider with themselves, whether it will be sufficient so far to answer their Desires, as to prevent future Murmurings and Anxieties, and pru­dently allow them to enjoy Life as they intend. All Deceit herein should be carefully avoided, we may otherwise impose on our selves, and ruin all our fu­ture Felicity.

SECT. II. Unhappy Marriages are often occasioned from the Headstrong Motives of ungo­verned Passion.

THE cool and considerate Views of Interest, have taken so deep a Root even in very young Minds, that those feverish Marriages are not very common; and we are, I think, now a days, more li­able to them in our Dotage than our Bloom.

AN amorous Complexion, a lively Imagination, and a generous Temper, are so apt to be charm'd with an agreeable Person, the insinuating Accom­plishments of Musick and Dancing, un bon Grace, and a Gaietè de Coeur, that it is instantly transported, sighs, languishes, dies for Possession. In this dis­tempered Conditions, and amorous Fit of Madness, his sanguine and heated Imagination paints her out to him, in all the romantick Lights of an Arcadian Princess, an Angel Form, and a heavenly Mind, the Pride of Nature, and the Joy of Man, a Source of immorted Pleasures, Raptures that will never satiate, Bliss uninterrupted, and Transports too big for Ex­pression.—Bloated with all these nonsensical Ideas [Page 12]or Chimeras, worked up to a raging Fit of Enthusi­asm, he falls down and worships this Idol of his own intoxicated Brain, runs to her, talks Fustian and Tragedy by wholesale. Miss blushes, looks down, admires his Eloquence, pities the dying Swain, catches the Infection, and consents, if Papa and Mam­ma will give theirs.

THE old People strike the Bargain; the young Ones are mad and light-headed with those ravishing Scenes their warm Constitutions and distempered Fancies present to their View.

WELL, they are married, and have taken their Full of Love. The young Spark's Rant is over, he finds his imaginary Goddess meer Flesh and Blood, with the Addition of a vain, affected, silly Girl; and when his Theatrical Dress if off, she finds he was a lying, hot-brain'd Coxcomb.

THUS come to their Senses, and the Mask thrown off, they look at one another like utter Strangers, and Persons just come out of a Trance; he finds by Experience he fell in Love with his own [no] Ideas, and she with her own Vanity. Thus pluckt from the soaring Heights of their warm and irregular Pas­sions, they are vext at, and ashamed of themselves first, and heartily hate each other afterwards. From hence arise Reproaches, Contradictions, &c. Thus all their fantastick Bliss ends in Shame and Repen­tance.

IN serious Truth how can it be otherwise?

PASSIONS are extreamly transient and unsteady, and Love, with no other Support, will ever be short liv'd and fleeting. 'Tis a Fire that is soon extin­guished, and where there is no solid Esteem and well cemented Friendship to blow it up, it rarely lights [Page 13]again, but from some accidental Impulses, by no Means to be depended on; which a Contrariety of Tempers, the Fatalities of Sickness, or the Frowns of Fortune, may, for ever, prevent, as Age most certainly will.

BESIDES, in Marriages of this Kind, there is nei­ther Time nor Coolness sufficient, for fixing an Esteem and Friendship; and therefore the very Foundations for its lasting Happiness are wanting. May they fol­low, do you think? Alas how uncertain is that! and so many Probabilities on the contrary Side, that none surely but the most daring and inconsiderate People would run the Risque.

WHAT has been observed seems to point out, that a blind, a sudden and intoxicating Passion, has a natural Tendency, under its own Direction, to oc­casion unhappy Marriages, and produce Scenes of Grief and Repentance.

LET us, on the contrary, proceed with Deliberation and Circumspection. Let Reason and Thought be summoned before we engage in the Courtship of a Lady. Endeavour as much as possible, to stifle all those passionate and amorous Emotions, that wou'd cloud and bribe our Judgments. Let us seriously reflect, that Engagements of this Kind, are of the greatest Moment and Import to our future Happi­ness in Life. That Courtship brings on Marriage, and that makes all the Peace and Welfare of our Lives dependant on the Behaviour and Dispositions of another; a Matter of the utmost Consequence, and of which we cannot well think too long or too much. Let not therefore our Eyes or Passions pre­vail with us, to barter away all that is truly valuable in our Existence for their Gratification.

[Page 14] SOME Women have infinite Art, being early bred to disguise and dissemble; yet by a skilful At­tention, Calmness, and Impartiality, we may form a Judgment of their Characters in the main: Which we should endeavour to do, and compare them fairly with our own; see how they will correspond: Be nationally convinced of a Similitude in our Ways of Thinking, a Harmony in our Minds and Tempers, before we venture to change the Name of Mistress into that of Wife.

THUS let us deliberate, thus let us proceed, and thus arm our selves with Reason and Reflection in this great Affair. Lest by too much Warmth and Precipitancy, we draw those Miseries on our selves, which Repentance will neither assuage or remove.

HAVING now drove the mercenary Herd to their native Mines, and made evident their Unfitness for breathing the pure and generous Air of matrimonial Felicity; left the Inamoratoes to float in their Fool's Paradise with Novels and Romances; let us endeavour to fix our selves on the true Basis of conjugal Happiness, and see if we can hit upon the Path wherein an agreeable Companion, a steady Friend, and a good Wife, may be found.

AND this we must enter upon by a prudent and judicious Courtship, which as 'twas before observed, is laying the Foundation of a happy Marriage.

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SECT. III. In our Addresses, let our Conduct be sincere, our Tempers undisguised; let us use no Artifices to cover or conceal our natural Frailties and Imperfections; but be out­wardly, what we really are within, and appear such as we design stedfastly to continue.

IN the gay Time of Courtship, it seems to be a general Practice with both Sexes, to conceal all personal Defects by every Artifice of Dress, &c.

THIS is not so politick; and may be attended with future Consequences very prejudicial. By so intimate an Union as that of Marriage, all bodily Defects will soon be discovered; and as Hypocrisy in the minutest Matters amongst Friends, is extreamly odious, those Defects will carry a Sting and Guilt with them, to which perhaps we may be never reconciled. Where­as had no Art been used for their Concealment, they might have caused little or no Concern.

NOTHING to a generous Mind is more ungrate­ful, than any Sort of Imposition from a Friend.

LOVE and Friendship are of so nice and dilicate a Texture, that Disingenuity in the smallest Matters should be avoided.

THESE Remarks may appear but of little Impor­tance, to People of a coarse and uponlished Taste, but I am persuaded they will have their Weight with those of a contrary Turn.

[Page 16] For my own Part, I wou'd, if any thing, be rather less careful and exact in my personal Appear­ance, before than after Marriage, because the Dif­ficulty of raising an Affection, is not so great, as that of preserving it; as every little personal Embel­lishment may be serviceable in the former Case, so it undoubtedly will in the latter.—But the Care of our Persons, will come under a more particular Ob­servation in my second Letter; and tho' 'tis seldom neglected before, yet 'tis often so notoriously after Marriage, that I believe many unhappy Ones are caused by it.

HOWEVER it be as to the Spruceness and Decora­tion of our Persons, I must affirm it a most dange­rous Folly, and Imposition highly culpable, to mask our Tempers, and appear what we really are not; to exhibit a forged Draught of our Minds and Disposi­tions in order to win the Affections.

I am really at a Loss to judge, whether the Absur­dity or Iniquity of such a Scheme be the greatest.

Is this Courship? Is this laying a Foundation for our future Happiness? Monstrous! But this is some­times, too often the Case with both Sexes. 'Tis really amazing how People can be so preposterously wicked, in a Correspondence of the most sacred and tender Kind, in the Consequences of which, all the future Happiness of their Lives may depend. How stupid, thus to study out own Ruin, by the infamous Deception of One, we choose for the Partner of our Joys and our Cares, the Companion of our Days and our Night! How shocking to set out with Fraud, and proceed with Deceit in such solemn Engagements! How shallow is the Cunning of such inconsiderate Minds! Must not all the Pleasures of Marriage be [Page 17]unanimous and inseparable? Do they not flow from real and unaffected Loveliness? Can we think the Cheat will lie long concealed in a Society so intimate? When Time and Eperience unmasks our assumed Appearances, shows us in our native Colours, and exposes that Reality we have so incustriously laboured to cover; can we expect Love and Esteem from any One whom we have so shamefully over-reached and ensnared? Surely no. On the contrary we shall en­tail on our selves, certain Indignation, and lasting Contempt.

—WE have raised and supported an Affection by false Appearance; when those are seen thro', as most certainly they will be, what Title have we to Love or Friendship? NONE, and consequently no Prospect of social Happiness

LET us, my Friend, on the contrary, observe a religious Sincerity, appear in our native Characters, undisguised and unaffected. If under those we gain Esteem and Friendship, our Prospects of maintaining them, are as secure, as our own Minds and Disposi­tions may be lasting.—Let us be outwardly, what we really are within, and appear in such a Character as we stedfastly disign to continue. Hereby we shall lay a strong Foundation for our future Happi­ness in Marriage.

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SECT. IV. Let our Manner of conversing with a Mistress be void of fulsome Flattery, and the ridiculous Bombast of Novels and Romances.

IT was an Objection, you may remember, made against Matrimony; that the Education of young Ladies, gave such a trifling turn to their Tempers, and Manner of Thinking, as rendred them unfit for the rational Pleasures of Society and Conversation.

ALLOWING this to be true, and in general but too true it really is, how prejudicial and fatal must Flat­tery be to such? And how completely must that Foppish Rant, called Gallantry, poison their Un­derstandings, and tend to destroy the Possibility of inspiring them with Sentiments of Reason and good Sense.

BY such a Proceeding, a Man naturally forms a young Creature, for a vain and insipid Companion; and if by that Means, he finds Matrimony to be an irksome and disagreeable Scence, what Wonder, and where does the Blame lye?

NOTHING more naturally carries us beyond our selves, and puffs us up with an over-rating Opinion of our own Merit; swells every Appearance of De­sert; so strongly intrenches our Frailties and Imper­sections, that Reason and Reflection are too much enervated to dislodge them; nothing more effectually spoils our Tempers, and corrupts our Judgments, [Page 19]than FLATTERY: It renders us positive in our Ig­norance, and impatient of Contradiction.

THEN that Hodge-Podge of Nonsense, which many call Making Love, is using a Woman to such intemperate and frothy Sallies of Fancy, such roman­tick and unmeaning Impressions; that sober Thought, and plain good Sense, are foreign to her Taste; and an Entertainment, to which being not used, she has no Goût or Relish.

WHAT an agreeable and pretty Sort of a Com­panion, what a comfortable Wife do we hereby contrive for our selves? And how ingeniously do we thus labour to make her a positive and empty, a conceited and fantastical Simpleton? thus modelled, we soon come to despise her, and curse our Mar­riage.

BUT some say this is the most certain and expe­ditious Way to gain the Affections of a young Lady, and that a Man would make but a dull and heavy Figure in their Eyes without it, and find his Attacks very unsuccessful.

THIS may be true with some, and 'tis no less a Mark of Merit, than a Point of great good Fortune, to meet with Insensibility from them.—

But 'tis far from being so with all; there are young Ladies, and many, with whom I am persua­ded a Man would find himself more acceptable and successful by a contrary Method: And to such only should every Man apply himself, for the valuable and lasting Felicities of a Conjugal Life.

IF we allow a Man may make a more speedy Conquest by Fustian and Flattery, yet whoever, me­thinks, reflects on the Consequences, should be convinced, that it must be fatal to the future Repose [Page 20]and Tranquility of his Life.—Let Coxcombs boast of such Triumphs, but Men of Sense will ever despise and shun them.

SECT. V. Let us my Friend, on the contrary, use her we design for a Wife and Companion, to the Conversations of sober Reason and good Sense: Endeavour by every probable Method, to inspire her with the Senti­ments of a rational Esteem, a generous and stedfast Friendship for us.—

HEREBY we have great Probability, and well grounded Expectations of securing to our selves an agreeable and entertaining Companion.

BY seasonably introducing into Conversation use­ful Subjects on human Life and Characters; by making solid and practical Reflections thereon, and engaging the Attention by a polite, and easy and lively Manner; we shall correct and strengthen the Judg­ment, enlarge the Faculties of the Mind, and raise the Soul to a free and generous Way of Thinking; drive out and extirpate, that childish, that little narrow-spirited Way of Thinking, that mean and injudicious Distrust; those low and pitiful Artifices, and that lurking Sort of Cunning, which is too much the Characteristick of many Women, is the Detestation of every great Mind, and the Abhor­rence of all ingenuous Spirits.

[Page 21] THERE is no Friendship or Confidence to be had with such dirty, tricking, low Minds; they are an utter Privation to all social Happiness, and when carried into a married Life, are insuperable Obsta­cles to its Welfare.

MANY proper Opportunities may likewise be found, for recommending the Perusal of elegant and improving Books, which by a good Choice and a judicious Taste, will have a very beneficial Effect on the Mind and Understanding.

BUT in all this, great Delicacy and a good Judg­ment is very essential; to distinguish nicely and to manage with Discretion, are highly necessary. We should be careful to cover our good Intentions with so engaging an Artifice, as by no Means to shock the Passions; render every Thing as a Matter rather of Choice and Taste than Prescription.

YOU will not, I am persuaded, so greatly misap­prehend my Meaning, under these Reflections, as to imagine I am pleading up for what is commonly understood by a learned and bookish Character in a young Lady; such a One as Mr. Pope paints out, a

"Wise Fool! with Pleasures too refin'd to please,
"With too much Thinking to have common Thought.

I am far from designing any such ridiculous Ex­treams. Nothing in Nature is, I think, more odious and contemptible than a female Pedant, a formal, a conceited and affected Wit; whose Brain is loaded with a Heap of indigested Stuff, and is eternally throwing up her confused Nonsense, in hard Words ill pronounced, jumbled Quotations misapplyed, and a Jargon of Commo. Places; in [Page 22]order to let you know she is a Woman of Reading; whereby she convinces you, she has taken a great deal of Pains to render herself a Fool of the first Class, and of the most irreclaimable Kind.

—THE Barking of a Lap-dog is not more grating to the Ear, than the Gibberish of their im­pertinent Clacks; and the Chatter of a Parrot infi­nitely more entertaining. In short, such Women are the Mountebanks of their own, the Dread and Contempt of our Sex.

BUT must these jingling Pretenders to Wit and Sense, exclude us from the delightful Harmony, the amiable Conversation of a modest and unaffected Fair One, in whom a good Understanding is joined with a good Mind.

How engaging are the Graces of such a Character! How insinuating are its Charms! How impercepti­bly does it win on the Mind! What a Flow of ten­der Sentiments, it diffuses thro' the Heart! Calms each rougher Passion, and swells the Breast with those exquisite Emotions that rife above all Description.

THUS to imitate, and if possible to equal this Character it is, that I wou'd have Conversation and Books rend. And I cannot but think, if thus adapted and directed, they wou'd have a great Efficacy to­wards it.

How great a Prospect, and what reasonable Hopes of Happiness, there must be with such a Compani­on, requires surely no Arguments to prove.

BUT the Truth is, we are either actuated by other Motives than a Regard to and Desire of social Hap­piness, or that we are hurried thro' Courtship, by an intemperate and unthinking Warmth: Hereby our Conversation is rendred either Designing or Ridiculous.

[Page 23] NOR is it less necessary to inspire our Mistress with the Sentiments of a rational Esteem, of a stedfast and generous Friendship.

IT has been already observed, that LOVE considered meerly as a Passion, will naturally have but a short Duration; like all other Passions 'tis changeable, transient and accidental. But Friendship and Esteem are derived from Principles of Reason and Thought, and when once truly fixed in the Mind, are lasting Securities of an Attachment to our Persons and For­tunes; participate with, and refine all our Joys; simpathize with, and blunt the Edge of every ad­verse Occurrence.—In vain should I endeavour to make an Elogium on true Friendship, in any Mea­sure equal to its sublime and exalted Value: There is no Good in Life comparable to it; neither are any, or all of its other Enjoyments worth desiring without it. 'Tis the Crown to all our Felicities; the Glory, and I think, the Perfection of our Natures. Life's a Wilderness without a Friend, and all its gilded Scenes but barren and tasteless.

HERE have I a copious Subject, to reflect on the many false Friendships there are in the World!— How few real and sincere ones!—How much talk'd of, how little meant, and less understood! No ge­nerous and disinterested Feelings of Mind, (the Essence of Friendship) can possibly display themselves, whilst mercenary Views, and selfish Designs the Princi­ples of Action.—But this is a Digression.

HOWEVER it be in common Life, there cannot certainly be any steady or lasting Happiness in a married One, where a mutual Esteem and Friend­ship, of the strongest and noblest Kind, does not subsist. Let it therefore be the sacred Business of [Page 24]our Courtship to cultivate One, and on no Account engage our selves in Wedlock without it.

I know of no Method, more likely to promote and secure it, than by being prepossessed with it our selves.

THERE is a Sort of attractive Force in similar Minds, as there is in Matter.

Great Minds by Instinct to each other turn,
Demand Alliance, and in Friendship burn.
Mr. Addison's Campaign.

'TIS a common Saying, that Love begets Love; that is not always true. But where there is any Si­militude of Minds, Sentiments of Friendship, will beget Friendship.

LET us then take every Opportunity of testifying our Esteem and Friendship: Court the Understand­ing, the Principles of Thought, and conciliate them to our own.

HEREBY we shall as it were enter into the Soul, and take Possession of all its Powers; this should be the Ground-work of Love, this will be a vital Principal to that, and make our Concord as lasting as our Minds are unchangeable.

THIS Subject should be often that of our Conver­sation; and we shoul particularly endeavour to fix right and just Notions concerning it. To inspire a certain Greatness of Mind, that scorns the least Fals­hood or Treachery; which no Distress can possibly shake, and which no Prosperity can ever relax. We should endeavour to fire the Soul (if you will allow me the Expression) with a Sort of heroick Enthusiasm, that no Decoys of Pleasure, no Terrors of Pain, [Page 25]should ever be capable of extinguishing, and rather to dare Matrydom than Apostacy.

THUS should we fortify the Principles of Friend­ship, in her we choose for a Wife, and, by every possible Method in our Power, fix the Root deep in her Soul. For unless both Minds burn with this noble and essential Flame, our Happiness in Marriage will have but a weak Basis, and a very slender Tye; every little Flurry of Humour, every little Blast of Adversity, will go near to overset the Bark of our Felicity: We shall at best toss about without a Rud­der and without a Compass.

BUT a fix'd Principle of Friendship will steady and secure us, and we shall glide o'er the Waves of Life, with Serenity and Confidence; prepared for Rocks and Quicksands, with unshaken Courage, and an equal Mind.—Thus chearful, happy, and resigned, steer a virtuous and invariable Course of Affection, 'till the Port of Mortality puts an End to our Voyage, having already anticipated that Heaven in each other's Love and Friendship, which we then go more fully to possess.

THUS, Sir, I have given you my Sentiments, in the first Place, on the Motives of Interest and of Passion, which when they become the leading and and prevailing Ones in our matrimonial Schemes, whatever other Ends we may gain by them, appear to me (considered as the ruling Principles of Action) so unlikely to produce the real Felicity of that Uni­on, as rather to the subversive of, and destructive to every social Pleasure, and the essential Founda­tions of conjugal Tranquility.

I have in the next Place attempted to lay before [Page 26]you, such a general Plan for our Conduct in Court­ship, as will, I apprehend, if judiciously and ho­nestly pursued, fix so reasonable and probable a Prosect of Happiness in Marriage, as to render that Scene of Life by no Means unworthy the Ap­probation and Choice of a wise and thinking Man.

NOR, on Examination, do I perceive any Thing in my Scheme too refined, or any ways impracti­cable, to a Man that unites in himself a good Head with a good Heart; a Character, under which an improving and grateful Experience has testified you to my Acquaintance and Friendship.

VICIOUS Minds and coarse Understandings, might, perhaps, laugh at these Things as chimeri­cal, and too fine spun for Practice. Whatever your Opinion may be, I rest assured, that neither Goodness of Judgment, nor Delicacy of Taste will be wanting to direct it.

YOU will consider it as the private Testimony of one Friend, to the Request of another. The Privacy and Indulgence therefore of a friendly Cor­respondence, will secure me from any of those severe or ill-natured Criticisms, to which publick Writers are always exposed. My Vanity does as little prompt me to seek Fame in that way, as my Capacity unfits me for it.

BE this Declaration sufficient.

I shall only add, that in my present Way of thinking, whenever I am inclined to pay my Court­ship to any Lady, it will be very much in the Way I have mentioned: I say, in some such Manner.

IF I am unsuccesful, I shall have the Consolati­on to think, there was not a requisite Harmony in our Minds and Tempers for a mutual Affection: [Page 27]If successful, I shall willingly and joyfully build the future Happiness of my Life on this Basis.

I am, &c.


You may perhaps think me guilty of an Omis­sion in the foregoing Reflections, in having said nothing with regard to the Consent of Parents. I shall therefore deliver you my Opinion in relation thereto as concisely as possible.

THAT there is a certain Authority lodged in Parents over their Children, and in consequence thereof, a certain Obedience due from Children to their Parents, are Truths derived from Nature, and founded in Reason, and have had the Concurrence of all Ages and all Nations.

History gives us Instances of this Obedience paid to Parents, in some of the most illustrious Characters of Antiquity; and even in respect of Marriage, as you may remember in the Life of CYRUS the Great.

WE have likewise many past and living Ex­amples, where the Authority of Parents over their Children in Marriages, has been most tyrannically and fatally exerted.

WITHOUT entering into a Train of Reasoning, I may venture to take it for granted;

THAT no parental Authority, that is repugnant to the Dictates of Reason and Virtue, or (which is the same Thing) the moral Happiness of our Na­tures, is any ways binding on Children.

To marry without a Union of Minds, a Sympa­thy of Affections, a mutual Esteem and Friendship for each other, is contrary to Reason and Virtue, the Moral Happiness of our Natures.

[Page 28] IT follows therefore that no parental Authority, thus to make ourselves unhappy by marrying, is any ways binding on Children.

To marry with a Union of Minds, &c. being therefore agreeable to Reason and Virtue, and the Moral Happiness of our Natures; 'tis evident that Parents have no Authority, founded in Truth or Nature, to hinder their Children from so doing.

THO' these Propositions, and the Inferences drawn from them, are, I believe, just and true; yet Children should undoubtedly be extreamly ten­der in thwarting the Wills of their Parents: Should be very careful, that their Passions do not blind, or their Caprice mislead them: Should with great Calmness and Impartiality reason with themselves: Appeal to their Parents, with great Deference and Humility: Consult with some wise and unbiassed Friend: Desire their Interposition. In short, do every Thing in their Power to convince and per­suade; and nothing but a manifest and conscious Violation of Reason and their real Happiness, should force them to oppose or disobey the Will of their Parents; especially to such as have ever behaved kindly, carefully and friendly to them: They have the greatest Authority over Children, that one Mortal can have over another.

How far it may be our Interest to obey or not, is a­nother Consideration. What has been said on the Ar­ticle of mercenary Views, may serve to determine us.

I conclude with the Lines of an anonymous Author,

Let no dire Threats, no kind Entreaties move,
To give thy Person where thou canst not love.
[Page 29]


HAVING laid out for our selves a general Plan of Conduct in Courtship, and considered it as the Foundation of our Happiness in Marriage; it now remains for us to erect the Su­perstructure of our Felicity in that State, which we shall endeavour to do by the fol­lowing Method of Behaviour therein.

[Page 30]

SECT. I. Prerogative and Dominion in Marriage, are often Matters of Dispute in Conver­sations; but more frequently the Causes of Animosity and Uneasiness to the Par­ties themselves.

THE Customs of different Nations have car­ried, and the Sentiments of many People do carry these Points much too high, and with a Seve­rity as unreasonable as unjustifiable.

WHATEVER tyrannick and arbitrary Power the Laws of a Country may give a Man over his Wife, or should they do the reverse, there is no such Kind of Dominion derived from Reason or Nature.

MARRIAGE, in my Sense of it, is a certain voluntary and mutual Contract between the Sexes, the End or Design of which is, or should be, their joint Happiness.

'Tis therefore absurd and ridiculous to suppose or conclude, that either Party do thereby consent or bind themselves over to an imperious or tyranni­cal Sway.

IT follows therefore that Marriage, does neither by the Laws of Nature or Reason, give either Par­ty a tyrannick and arbitrary Power over the other; and that the Exercise of such a Power, is contrary to the Will and Happiness of any rational Being; [Page 31]and must in consequence render a matrimonial Life uncomfortable and miserable.

To me there seems no other Standard of Obedi­ence, than REASON and PRUDENCE; in which I am supported by the learned and judicious Mr. Woolaston, who says, ‘I would have them live so far upon the Level, as (according to my con­stant Lesson) to be governed both by Reason. If the Man's Reason be the stronger, his Know­ledge and Experience greater, (as it is common­ly supposed to be) the Woman will be obliged on that Score to pay a Deference, and submit to him.’

THIS certainly is to put the Affair on a right Footing.

Now the foregoing Observations on Courtship presuppose, and indeed plainly determine, a superior Degree of Knowledge and Understanding in the Man: Consequently derives to him that Deference and Submission which is assigned by Mr. Woolaston.

REALLY Nature and the Circumstances of hu­man Life, seem to design for Man that Superiori­ty, and to invest him with a directing Power in the more difficult and important Affairs of Life.

WHERE this superior Capacity is not fixt in the Man, and that incumbent Subordination made a Rule of Conduct by the Woman, I should greatly mistrust the Happiness of their Condition. It must certainly break in upon our Scheme of Felicity, which supposes the former, and prepares the most probable Means for the latter, by fixing a Friend­ship and Esteem in the Woman, for the Mind and Understanding of the Man.

[Page 32] THIS will naturally give a Veneration for his Sentiments, and a persuasive Force to his Argu­ments: For where we esteem, and know we are esteemed. we are easily won and prone to Sub­mission [...] especially where we have a good Opinion, and a Sort of Reverence for the Under­standing and good Sense of the Person who calm­ly and kindly Reasons with us, and who we are convinced, makes our Welfare his supream and ruling Concern; this, by my Scheme, the Female must of course be conscious to before Marriage, and will be so after, if we continue in the same Road of friendly and affectionate Behaviour to her; if we are tender in opposing her Inclinations; if we reason with Delicacy, Coolness and Temper, supported by a Solidity and Strength of Judgment.

ALL this is no less the Duty, than the Prudence of a married Man.

IF on the contrary, he is pussed up with extra­vagant and ridiculous Notions of his Prerogative; fond of showing and exerting on every little Oc­casion a formal and magisterial Authority, to which little Minds are very subject: No wonder then, if Contention and Animosity are often their matrimonial Entertainment.

A Man of Sense and Breeding, will be as it were superior, without seeming to know it; and support his Influence with so great a Delicacy, that his Wife shall ever seem to be his Equal, make use of a thousand polite Methods even to elevate her Character. What an amiable and engaging Scene must such a Couple exhibit! How firm their Union! and how harmonious their Lives!

BUT how often where Courtship has been ill [Page 33]managed, and Marriage worse directed, do we see the Reverse of that lovely Scene?

WHAT Embroils about Trifles! What rude and shocking Expressions to each other! What imperti­nent and silly Disputes about Prerogatives! till they are in such a Ferment, as to be ready to cuff each other. In short, for want of Delicacy, Judgment and Temper, 'tis the constant Struggle of their Lives, to try, as the vulgar Proverb has it, who shall wear the Breeches.

To conclude: Let us, who aim at being truly Happy in Marriage, take the proper Steps in our Courtship for convincing the Lady, that we are best capable of directing and judging in the impor­tant Concerns of Life; and after Marriage, use the proper Methods to ascertain that Privilege.

SECT. II. All litigious Wranglings, and capricious Contentions, should be carefully avoided.

A LITTLE Observation and Reflection on the common Scenes of Matrimony, may supply us with many Instances, to show how much these trivial Jarrings spoil the Harmony, and interrupt the Felicities of it.

WHAT Fermentations and Heats often arise from breaking of China, disordering a Room, Dinner not being ready at a precise Hour, and a Thousand other such impertinent Bagatelles. I should also desire all the Train of fretful Aspirations, as Pshaw, Pho, &c. to be discarded. Give up Trifles, and [Page 34]not carry our Disputes on them too far.—It would be endless to enumerate these insignificant Fopperies of Contention; my Meaning may be easily conceived from the few I have mentioned.

BUT trifling as these Things may be in themselves, 'tis too notorious, they often occasion such Feuds and feverish Animosities amongst married People, as frequently give a bitter Tincture to, and discompose many Hours of their Lives; and are sometimes of so bad a Consequence, as to inflame their Minds with such Spleen and Distaste, that irreparable Breaches are thereby opened.

THE reproving each other before Company, and sparring as it were together, is mighty wrong, and very unpolite; it irritates themselves, and makes their Company very uneasy.

THESE Sort of matrimonial Squabbles, put one in Mind of a little venomous Infect they have in the West-Indies, like a Gnat, who, when they bite, create a great Itching, which if much scratched, raises an Inflammation so malignant, that a Leg has been lost by it, and sometimes, Mortifications ensue, that have been attended with Death.

THUS it often fares with these little Tumors in Matrimony: if we scratch and work them up with Wranglings and Capriciousness, they may come to that Malignancy, as to cut off many of our Pleasures, and at last give a mortal Wound to our Felicity.

LET us therefore determine to shun these whim­sical Follies, and guard our selves with Prudence and Temper, so as not to be surprized or unhinged by them; follow Mr. Pope's Advice on another Subject.

[Page 35]
At every Trifle scorn to take Offence,
It always shows great Pride, or little Sense.

PEOPLE of low Education and mean Understand­ings, conceive not the unamiableness of these rude Indiscretions: They rub on thro' thick and thin, with a mechanical Sort of Enjoyment, insensible to those Delicacies, which have a material Influence on Persons of good Breeding, and superior Sense.

SECT. III. We should on the contrary, cultivate Dis­positions of reciprocal Condescension, and such a Uniformity in our Tempers, that the Pleasures of One, may be the Pleasures of Both.

COMPLACENCY of Mind, an Ambi­tion to please each other, and oblige by all the little Turns of Behaviour, that so frequently will oc­cur to a polite and well disposed Inclination, must have a wonderful good Effect to support our Affec­tions, secure mutual Esteem and Friendship. Minds of any refined Cast, have an exquisite Relish for these soothing and expressive Marks of Tenderness, and they can't fail of meeting with a most grateful Reception.

WE should make it our mutual Study, to render our selves agreeable and amiable, by all the innocent [Page 36]Arts of Invention, and ever laudable Stratagem of Conduct: Remembring that wise and comprehen­sive Remark of old Ben. Johnson's, "That Love comes by Chance, but is kept by Art." Which should be wrote with indelible Characters on the Memory of every married Person.

THE Thought is very wittily expressed by the in­genious Dr. Swift, in Regard to the Ladies: That they lay Traps to catch Men's hearts, but make no Cages to keep them.

I must add another Quotation, from that valuable Author, last named, 'tis so very a propes to the Sub­ject we are on.

* "Let Prudence with good Nature strive,
"To keep the Flame of Love alive;
"Then, come old Age whene'er it will,
"Your Friendship shall continue still:
"Thus a mutual, gentle Fire,
"Shall never but with Life expire."

THE little Oversights and Sallies of Frailty, to which human Nature is ever liable, and from which the most perfect Characters are not exempt, should be passed over and die un-noticed.

WE should be ready to plead in Favour of each other in such Cases, and throw a Veil of Kindness and good humoured Condescension over them.

NOR is it of less Consequence to our Peace and Contentment, that there should be such a Unifor­mity in our Tempers, that the Pleasures of one, may be the Pleasures of Both.

How often do we see the Reverse of this create [Page 37]great Uneasiness amongst married People? The Husband despises and ridicules the Taste of his Wife: She abominates and censures his. Indeed, but too frequently both are culpable. Be that as it will, 'tis a bad Sign, and gives a shrewd Suspicion, they cannot be very happy with each other.

AMONGST those who have a real Esteem and Friendship for one another, there will, strictly speaking, be no Separation of Pleasures: For tho' one Party does not actually share in the other's Plea­sure, yet they will in Effect do it by the Force of Benevolence, and be pleased, because the other is so, whether they relish the particular Cause or not.

IN such Pleasures as 'tis proper and prudent for both to share, they should, I think, endeavour to unite their Tastes.

THE more unexceptionably that People in a mar­ried Life make the Pleasures of One become the Pleasures of Both, the more uniform and compleat will their joint Happiness be.

THIS alone seems to me a very full and suffici­ent Reason, for our Regard to the Precept laid down.

SECT. IV. Modesty and Decency in our Conduct and Persons, both in Publick and in Private, should most strictly be observed.

I DON'T know any Thing in the matrimonial Life, more essentially necessary towards its Hap­piness and Welfare, than a punctual and invariable Conformity to this important Regulation of our [Page 38]Conduct: To the Neglect and counteracting whereof, I impute more unhappy Marriages, than to any other Fault of Folly whatsoever.

A Mind insensible to the sacred Charms of un­affected Modesty, and the elegant Pleasures of De­cency, must surely be lost to every worthy, every noble, and every honourable Sentiment; must be brutalized to the greatest Degree, and have thrown off all that is truly lovely in the human Character.

THERE is a certain Parity and Decorum to be preserved in our most retired Pleasures. 'Tis no extraordinary Paradox, that a Man may himself de­bauch his own Wife; and a Woman harlotize with her own Husband.—But this Subject must be touched with great Nicety; therefore I shall only add, that even our most unobserved Behaviour, should carry with it such a Spirit of Refinement, as to pre­vent that vulgar and libidinous Degeneracy, which will infallibly blunt the Edge of our Joys, and in the End pall our Relish.

WE should likewise behave with a modest Delicacy in publick.

IN the really well-bred Part of the World, a great Elegancy, and a polished Neatness of Conduct, in married People towards each other, is inviolably preserved. Nothing is a mor evident Mark of a rustick and coarse Education, than a Want of this Discernment and polite Carriage.

ALL frothy Tendernesses and amorous Boilings-over are Insults on and Afronts to Company. What Entertainment is our Love, and are our Passi­ons, to People who do not feel the one, nor are to gratify the other? What a preposterous Regale are our Dalliances to such?

[Page 39] WE may put down these cooing Doves for ill-bred Fools, and very much suspect their Sincerity and Happiness.

TRUE Love, and a well settled Affection, has none of this luscious and nauseous Treacle in it. 'Tis a fine, pure Balsamick, that softens the Heart, and flows with an imperceptible Tide of silent and in­terior Movements.

LET then all these doating and luxurious Follies be banished from our Behaviour, and in their Room be substituted, a decent, a genteel, and easy Carriage, towards each other.

BESIDES all this, a Decency and Care of our Per­sons is to be added.

'TIS surprizing, tho' but too common to see (amongst both Sexes) many, who before Marriage were very assiduous, in the Adorning and Neatness of their Persons, that afterwards grow negligent and highly culpable thy the Reverse: Which Inattention and Remissness, I verily believe, is often one of the first and most effectual Methods to cool the Affec­tions, and estrange the Hearts of many a Couple. And herein, according to the most impartial Obser­vations I have made, the Ladies are most blameable.

THAT just Remark (in Page 35) of Ben. John­son's, and Dean Swift's witty Saying, which I quo­ted under the former Section, are very applicable here.

MANY more judicious Authorities I might add, to impress the great Prudence and Necessity of this Oeconomy and Cleanliness of Person and Dress after Marriage; for which, the inimitable SPECTATORS, TATLERS, and GUARDIANS, are among others great and zealous Patrons. There is an admirable Letter [Page 40]of the very ingenious Dean Swift's, to a new mar­ried young Lady, in which this very Thing is warm­ly recommended: The whole of it is wrote with so mach Judgment, good Sense, and fine Sprit, and so well adapted to my Design, that I shall give you a Copy of it at the Close.

TO a Man of any Delicacy, and even moderate Neatness, nothing certainly is more odious and un­grateful, than a slatternly and uncleanly Woman: 'Tis enough to quell his strongest Passions, and damp every fond and tender Emotion: 'Tis vastly more so in a Wife, than a Stranger, (for as to meer Person, the Keenness of Inclination is (I suppose) general­ly less, after than before full Possession) Therefore a slovenly and unfragrant One, in a Wife, must na­turally run a great Risque of weakning, if not ex­tinguishing Desire. Besides 'tis an Insult upon a Man's Taste, an Affront to his Senses, and bullying him to his Nose.

THIS Negligence and Dirtiness of Person, (if we expect or desire a Man to love us at the same Time) is taxing him with the Want of his Senses, with the Taste and Appetite of a Hog, whose Joy is Filth.

LET us survey the Morning Dress of some Wo­men.

DOWN Stairs they come, pulling up their ungar­ter'd, dirty Stockings—Slip-shod, with naked Heels peeping out—No Stays or other decent Convenien­cy, but all Flip Flop—A Sort of a Clout thrown about the Neck, without Form or Decency—A tum­bled, discoloured Mob, or Night Cap, half on, and half off, with the frowsy Hair, hanging in sweaty Ringlets, staring like Medusa with her Serpents—Shrugging up her Petticoats, that are sweeping the [Page 41]Ground, and scarce ty'd on,—Hands unwashed—Teeth furr'd—and Eyes crusted:—But I beg your Pardon, I'll go no farther with this sluttish Picture, which I am afraid has already turned your Stomach. If the Copy, and but an Imperfect one it is, be so shocking to us, what think you must the Original be to the poor Wretch her Husband, who, perhaps, for some Hours every Day in the Week, has the comfortable Sight and Odour of this Tatterdemalion. God help his Stomach! This is the real Pourtrait of many married Women, and the piteous Case of many a poor Soul of a Husband; unless when happily some Stranger is expected, then Madam takes care to appear clean, and there­by convinces her Husband, she is more anxious to please a Stranger than the Man who has chosen her as his Companion for Life.

EXCUSE my Prolixity and Warmth on this un­savoury Article: I know your Temper, and my own corresponds with it. I am convinced this want of Decency and Cleanliness, is the ori­ginal Source of many Peoples Unhappiness in Marriage.

A constant Care and Study to preserve the Oeco­nomy and Sweetness of Dress and Person, must be of great Service to support Love and Esteem in Wedlock.

I don't hereby intend or mean Foppery or Fine­ry, but that Neatness and Cleanliness, which nei­ther is nor ought to be ashamed of seeing or being seen by any Body.

A Wife that is desirous of maintaining herself in the Affections of a Man of Sense and Spirit, should take as much Care of the Neatness of her [Page 42]Person, as if she was to be every Day a Bride; and whoever neglects this Conduct, must blame themselves, if their Husbands grow cool and indif­ferent; for it has a natural Tendency to make a Man so. It debases the Character of a Wife, and renders her cheap and unlovely.

SUFFER me yet to detain you with some Ex­tracts from Dean SWIFT's Poem, intitled, Strephon and Chloe; whose judicious and sprightly Senti­ments will in some Measure make you Amends for the Heaviness of mine. He says,

Fair Decency, celestail Maid,
Descend from Heav'n to Beauty's Aid.
Tho' Beauty may beget Desire,
'Tis thou must fan the Lover's Fire.
For Beauty, like supream Dominion,
Is best supported by Opinion:
If Decency brings no Supplies,
Opinion falls and Beauty dies.
Authorities both old and recent,
Direct that Women should be decent,
And from their Spouse each Blemish hide,
More than from all the World beside.
Unjustly all our Nymphs complain,
Their Empire holds so short a Reign,
Is after Marriage lost so soon,
It hardly holds the Honey Moon:
For if they keep not what they caught,
It is entirely their own Fault;
They take Possession of the Crown,
And then throw all their Weapons down.
Though by the Politicians Scheme,
Whoe'er arrives at Pow'r supream,
[Page 43] Those Arts by which at first they gain it.
They still must practise to maintain it.

To conclude, let us at all Times avoid every Thing that is really uncomely; and let not our Famili­arities run into the Extreams of a vulgar Rudeness and an unpolite Behaviour: Be as far removed from a stiff Formality, as an irregular Looseness of Con­duct.

THUS we shall support that Dignity in our own Characters, and that Respect for each other, as will derive to us both Honour and Happiness.

SECT. V. Each Person should be so duly attentive to their respective Province of Management, as to conduct it with the utmost Prudence and Discretion in their Power.

MARRIAGE, or an Union of the Sexes, tho' it be in it self one of the smallest Soci­eties, is the original Fountain from whence the greatest and most extensive Governments have de­rived their Beings.

'TIS a monarchical one, having REASON for its Legislator and Prince: An Authority more noble and sublime than any other State can boast of.

THIS Maxim, which reaches all Governments and Societies, is not less relative to the matrimonial One; to wit, That the Good of the Whole is main­tained [Page 44]by a Harmony and Correspondence of its seve­ral Parts to their respective Ends and Relations.

FROM this Comparison many demonstrative Ar­guments might be drawn, to illustrate and enforce what has been advanced in the first Section of this Letter.

THAT as Prince Reason (to carry on the Simi­litude) must act by a Sort of Vicegerency or De­putation, and that Honour, by the Rules of Ju­stice, and for the Good of the Whole, ought un­doubtedly to fall on the most capable and expe­perienced, which by our Scheme the Man will be—All Rebellion against this Vicegerent, whilst he acts in the Character of his Prince Reason, is extreamly wrong and undutiful; has a fatal Tendency to subvert the Tranquility and Or­der of the matrimonial State:—But we will leave these Politicks, and come to the Subject in hand.

WE just now observed, that the Well-being of Marriage, as of all other Societies, arose from a Harmony and Correspondence of its several Parts to their respective Ends and Relations.

THIS fundamental Truth has been hitherto con­sidered chiefly as it relates to the internal Charac­ters of the Conjugates: We shall now apply it to those practical ones which arise from the Manage­ment of Interest or Fortune, and what is called Housewifery.

THAT Part of Management which belongs to the preserving our Interest, or improving our For­tune, usually falls, and very properly, on the Man. And 'tis unquestionably incumbent on him, if he be a Man of Estate, and independant on any Busi­ness, to regulate his Equipage, his private and fa­mily [Page 45]Expences, according to the Income of his For­tune; and 'tis certainly a Point of Prudence not to live quite up to that; but to lay up a Fund, to which he may have recourse in any of those adverse Occurrences to which the most exalted Stations are liable, as also to provide for younger Children which he has, or may have. He should not con­fide too much in Stewards or Agents, but inspect his Property so much at least, as to be able to judge of their Conduct—He should not be indolently content with the formal Delivery of Accounts, but examine them, know why and wherefore he pays, and for what he is paid.

How fatal the contrary to all this has been to many Gentlemen of Fortune, and their Families, is so unhappily attested by many tragical Examples, as should, I think, be prevailing Arguments to en­force what has been said.

IF our Fortunes are thrown out in any Schemes of Basiness for Improvement, our Expences and Manner of Living should be proportionable to our Fund and Prospects of Success: And as the latter most commonly depend on Attention and Prudence, we should constantly govern our selves by them to the best of our Abilities. Avoid being engaged in any such precarious Schemes as by being abortive may utterly ruin us. As the Merchants say, we should not venture all on one Bottom, so as that the common Accidents of Winds and Weather may totally sink our Fortune. All our Engagements should be preceded by Fore-thought and Discretion: And in very important Ones 'twou'd be but just and prudent to inform and consult a Wise, whose intimate Concern therein does, I think demand it; [Page 46]the may be capable of giving us Advice that may be very serviceable; it will at least prepare her to bear, with us, any unfortunate Consequences that may attend us; and that is a very good Reason for her being informed.

To conclude, No ridiculous Vanity or foolish Ambition should suffer the Husband or Wife, in their Dress, Furniture, or whole way of Life, to exceed their Income or Fortune.

Their Appearance and Expences, should neither degenerate into Sordidness, nor run into a wild Ex­travagance.

THAT particular Part of Management called Housewifery, belongs to the Woman, and we shall comprise it under these three Divisions.


SHE should observe in the first Place a prudent Frugality

BY our former Doctrine a Wife will have a general Notion of her Husband's Circumstances; she should therefore in those Affairs which fall un­der her Inspection and Management, be so govern­ed by the said Circumstances, as to regulate her Houshold Expences by that just Proportion which his Fortune will afford.

AND as on the one Hand Discretion must pre­vent her from running into any lavish Extrava­gances, so on the other should a generous Temper make her scorn any Thing that is mean and pitiful. 'Tis the happy and judicious Medium between these two Extremes, that constitutes a prudent Fru­gality, and the true Excellency of Housewifery.

[Page 47] 'Tis one of the most amiable Lights a Wife can show her self in to publick Observation. It throws a Glory round her, which is not less to be reverenced than admired; does Honour to her Husband, and renders the Entertainment of her Guests elegant and pleasing. For as an imprudent Ostentation gives Pain and Ridicule; so any thing meanly penurious, raises Indignation and Contempt.

WOMEN often want Judgment to direct, and Souls to execute this skilful and lovely Medium of prudent Frugality, and thereby are either profuse or scandalously narrow.

'TIS therefore a Lesson highly necessary for them to learn; that all Vanity and Ambition of exceeding their Circumstances in this Part of Housewifery, is very ridiculous, and with all People of good Sense creates Pity for their filly Extravagance, and Con­tempt of their weak Understandings.

AND, on the other Hand, that every thing which is niggardly and stingy, or beneath what may justly be afforded, is the Mark of a little, grovelling, dirty Soul, and exposes us to the Jests and Laughter of all Observers—The next Thing is


How necessary this is to the Comfort and En­joyment of Life, and how detestable a sluttish, nasty Management, must be, are Things so very obvious, that little need be said to enforce it. But I must just mention one or two Faults in the Execution of this Part of Housewifery, which many Women are guilty of, and that I wou'd have avioded in our Scheme.

The one is the ill timing of Cleanliness, and the carrying it to such Extreams, that a Man's House [Page 48]is made an uneasy, and almost useless, Habitation to him. Some Women have such amphibious Dis­positions, that one would think they chose to be half of their Lives in Water; there's such a Clatter of Pails and Brushes, such Inundations in every Room, that a Man can't find a dry Place for the Sole of his Foot; so that what should tend to make a Man's House an agreeable and wholesome Dwel­ling, becomes so dangerous and unpleasant, that the Desire of Health and Peace drives him out of it. And these Overflowings of Neatness are often so ill timed, that a Man's Business is interrupted, and his Meals made uncomfortable by 'em. These Fish-wives have generally a great Fund of ill Nature, or a small one of good Sense.

ANOTHER Fault is that Bigotry and Passion for Neatness, which makes a Woman fretful and un­easy at every accidental or unavoidable Speck of Dirt, or the least Disordering of her Furniture: You must rub your Shoes till the Bottoms of your Feet are almost sore, before you are permitted to enter a Room. Then so many nonsensical Exhor­tations and impertinent Questions are propos'd, that one might enter a Garrison Town in War-time with-less ado. Such as, Pray don't meddle with that, and Pray don't put this out of its Place, that one would think there was a Spell on all the Fur­niture, or a Man was going to run away with Part of it.

THESE are all idle and childish Extreams: A prudent Housewife should so time her Neatness and Cleanliness, that it may be as little inconvenient and troublesome to a Man as possible, and support it with a graceful Ease, and a good-natured Sort [Page 49]of Indifference: The contrary has more of the Servant-Maid than the well bred Woman in it, and generally accompanies a low and mean Education.

THE third Thing in the Character of a good Housewifes, is A HARMONIOUS OECONOMY.

By which is meant, the maintaining Order, Peace and Tranquility, in her House; avoiding all noisy and turbulent Scolding, for which many pretended Housewifes are greatly blameable, make their Hus­bands, their own, and their Servant's Lives, uneasy.

MANY Ladies are apt to mistake this bustling and vociferous Turn for good Management; 'tis a great Mistake, and rather shows a Want Skill and Temper.

WHERE the Mistress of a Family understands her Business, carries her Authority with Resolution, and at the same time with good Nature and Huma­nity, Servants will naturally be obedient and di­ligent.

BUT where Ignorance is joined with a tyrannick and insolent Temper, there are generally Blunders and Remissness in Servants, Hatred of their Mi­stress, a constant Din and Contention between them. A Man had better live in a Paper-Mill, or a Fish­woman's Stall, than in such a House.

THESE Scenes are mighty unpleasant, very shocking, and highly prejudicial to the Tranquility of a married Life; are sure Signs of a brutal Temper, and a very vulgar Education.

WHEREAS a Woman of Judgment, an even Mind, and a polite Taste, will be obeyed and beloved by her Servants: All Things will go on smooth and quiet: Her Government will be mild, calm and [Page 50] harmonious: Her House the Habitation of Peace, Joy and Contentment!

'TIS a Truth, I believe, with very few Excep­tions, that a good Mistress makes good Servants.

PEOPLE of that Class are not without Gratitude, and a Sense of Merit.

WHERE Women are ever complaining of their Servants, it carries a strong Suspicion of their own Capacities and Temper.

WHEN a Mistress of a House is giving Orders to Servants, or talking to them, 'tis often done in such an imperious, bawling Manner, that she is heard from every Corner. This is very unpolite, and shows a little Mind, so swelled with Power, that 'tis unable to support it with Decency and Temper.

THESE Cattle are such domestick Evils, that one had better live in a Dutch Dram-Cellar, than with their horrid Clangor.

ON the whole, a Mistress of a Family should car­ry on her Administration in a mild and pacifick Man­ner, and if she has any Disputes with her Servants, conceal them from the Ears of a Husband and Com­pany, as much as possible: Have every Thing done quietly, and in order.

IF Servants won't be thus governed, discard them at once, and not suffer her own and her Husband's Peace to be destroyed by their Incorrigibleness.

THIS will make Home comfortable and agreea­ble; whereas the Want of this harmonious Oeconomy sours the Temper of a Woman, drives a Man out of his own House, makes Home his Aversion, and destroys that Serenity which is so very essential to the Felicity of all Society.

[Page 51] AND now let us stop and survey a Wife thus wisely and discreetly filling her Sphere of Action.

WHAT Veneration! What Praise! What Love and Esteem, can sufficiently equal her Merit!

THE Character of a Wife, can scarcely shine in a more exalted Point of Light, nor do a more publick Honour to herself and her Husband. Whoever possesses such a One, Joy will sparkle in his Eye, and Pleasure fill his Breast.

CAN the flashy and superficial Glare of Dress and Equipage, give a Title to such solid Excellence and substantial Worth? Positively NOT. The twinkling Lustre of a Chrystal, may as well equal the august Splendor of a royal Diamond.

ON the whole, each Party thus supporting their respective Administration with Prudence and Dis­cretion, will fix a Crown of Triumph on their Uni­on, be a lasting Cement to their Tranquility and Happiness.

AND now my Friend, your Task of Patience is drawing to a Conclusion.

CONFORMABLE to your Request, I have thrown before you my private Sentiments on the Subject of that Afternoon's Debate, which, you say, threw you into a Sort of Scepticism.—Whether my rough Thoughts may in any wise tend to determine your Opinion, I know not. If they give you any A­musement, to atone for the Trouble of Reading them, I shall be well pleased.—But if neither one nor the other, you must blame your Influence over me for their Impertinence.

FOR my own Part, I confess, to think it possible for a Man of Sense, of Honour and Virtue, to find [Page 52]Woman, in whose Society he may lay as probable a Foundation for the Enjoyment and Happiness of his Life by Marriage, and to superstruct as reasona­ble a Prospect of continuing his Felicity in that Uni­on, as any other Scheme of Life can lay claim to.

'TIS a Truth as universally experienced as owned, that no State of Life is exempt from the Alternatives of Pleasure and Pain, the bitter and sweet; and that a Perfection of Happiness is not the Lot of Humani­ty.

IF this be the Case with human Life in general, and its proper Character, MARRIAGE is not less worth your Choice, because it may have, or has, In­conveniencies and Alloys.—

IF those Inconveniencies and Alloys are necessarily greater, (without a proportionable Superiority of Pleasures) in a conjugal than a single Life, the lat­ter is undoubtedly to be preferred.—But I believe they cannot be proved necessarily so, only circum­stantially.—Well, the Question then is, Whether these circumstantial Impediments, which are, or may be, alledged against the Choice of a married Life, cannot, by a proper Conduct, in the Time of Court­ship, and after, be removed.

'TIS thought they may; and the Design of these Papers is to propose how, and by what Methods.

AND we conceive, the Observations made, and the Methods proposed, may be effectual, and are not impracticable, to put the married State not only on an Equality of probable Happiness with a single One, but to give it a Prospect of superior Felicity.

HOWEVER unskilfully this Argument may have been handled by me, and of how little Advantage [Page 53]soever my weak Attempts may have been to serve it; the Truth of the Propostions remain in Force.

FIRST. That unhappy Matches are often occasion'd by meer mercenary Views, in one or both of the Par­ties: Or by the head-strong Motives of ill-conduc­ted Passion.

SECONDLY, That by a prudent and judicious Pro­ceeding in our Addresses to a young Lady of a good natural Temper, we may lay a very good Foundation for making her an agreeable Companion, a steady Friend, and a good Wife.

AND Thirdly, That after Marriage, by conti­nuing in the Road of Prudence and Judgment, we may make the nuptial State as happy as we can promise our selves from any other.

To conclude, Sir, whenever I am inclined for a matrimonial Voyage, I shall endeavour thus to steer my Course, and if I cannot gain the Port by this Manner of Courtship and Conduct, I will rest con­tented with my present Condition.

IF, on the other Hand, I should thereby gain the Inclinations and Consent of a Lady, I shall endea­vour to support my Happiness in some such Manner as I have herein intimated.

I am, &c.
[Page 55]



THE Hurry and Impertinence of receiving and Paying Visits on Account of your Marriage, being now over, you are be­ginning to enter into a Course of Life, where you will want much Advice to divert you from falling into many Errors, Fopperies, and Fol­lies, to which your Sex is subject. I have always borne an entire Friendship to your Father and Mo­ther; and the Person they have chosen for your Husband, hath been, for some Years past, my par­ticular Favourite; I have long wish'd you might come together, because I hoped, that from the [Page 56]Goodness of your Disposition, and by following the Counsel of wife Friends, you might, in Time, make your self worthy of him. Your Parents were so far in the Right that they did not produce you much into the World, whereby you avoided many wrong Steps which others have taken, and have fewer ill Impressions to be removed: But they fail'd, as it is generally the Case, in too much neglecting to cul­tivate your Mind; without which it is impossible to acquire or preserve the Friendship and Esteem of a wife Man, who soon grows weary of acting the Lover, and treating his Wife like a Mistress, but wants a reasonable Companion, and a true Friend, through every Stage of his Life. It must be there­fore your Business to qualify yourself for those Offi­ces; wherein I will not fail to be your Director, as long as I shall think you deserve, it, by letting you know how you are to act, and what you are to avoid.

AND beware of despising or neglecting my Instructions, whereon will depend not only your making a good Figure in the World, but your own real Happiness, as well as that of the Per­son who ought to be the dearest to you.

I must therefore desire you, in the first Place, to be very slow in changing the modest Behaviour of a Virgin: It is usual in young Wives, before they have been many Weeks marry'd, to assume a bold forward Look and Manner of talking, as if they intended to signify in all Companies, that they were no longer Girls, and consequently that their whole Demeanor, before they got a Husband, was all but a Countenance and Constraint upon their Na­ture; whereas, I suppose, if the Votes of wise Men were gather'd, a very great Majority would [Page 57]be in Favour of those Ladies, who, after they were enter'd into that State, rather chose to double their Portion of Modesty and Reservedness.

I must likewise warn you strictly against the least Degree of Fondness to your Husband before any Witness whatsoever, even before your nearest Rela­tions, or the very Maids of your Chamber. This Proceeding is so exceeding odious and disgustful to all who have either good Breeding or good Sense, that they assign two very unamiable Reasons for it; the one is gross Hypocrify, and the other has too bad a Name to mention. If there is any Dif­ference to be made, your Husband is the lowest Person in Company, either at Home or Abroad, and every Gentleman present has a better Claim to all Marks of Civility and Distinction from you. Conceal your Esteem and Love in your own Breast, and reserve your kind Looks and Language for pri­vate Hours, which are so many in the Four and Twenty, that they will afford time to employ a Passion as exalted as any that was ever describ'd in a French Romance.

UPON this Head, I should likewise advise you to differ in Practice from those Ladies who affect Abundance of Uneasiness while their Husbands are abroad; start with every Knock at the Door, and ring the Bell incessantly for the Servants to let in their Master; will not eat a Bit at Dinner or Sup­per if the Husband happens to stay out; and re­ceive him at his Return with such a Medley of Chiding and Kindness, and catechising him where he has been, that a Shrew from Billingsgate would be a more easy and eligible Companion.

OF the same Leaven are those Wives, who when [Page 58]their Husbands are gone a Journey, must have a Letter every Post, upon pain of Fits and Histericks; and a Day must be fix'd for their Return Home, without the least Allowance for Business, or Sick­ness, or Accidents, or Weather: Upon which, I can only say, that in my Observation, those Ladies who are apt to make the greatest Clutter on such Occasions, would liberally have paid a Messenger for bringing them News, that their Husbands had broken their Necks on the Road.

You will perhaps be offended, when I advise you to abate a little of that violent Passion for fine Cloaths, so predominant in your Sex. It is a little hard, that ours, for whose Sake you wear them, are not admitted to be of your Council. I may venture to assure you, that we will make an Abatement at any Time of four Pounds a Yard in a Brocade, if the Ladies will but allow a suitable Addition of Care in the Cleanliness and Sweetness of their Per­sons. For the satyrical Part of Mankind will needs believe, that it is not impossible to be very fine and very filthy; and that the Capacities of a Lady are sometimes apt to fall short in cultivating Clean­liness and Finery together. I shall only add, upon so tender a Subject, what a pleasant Gentleman said concerning a silly Woman of Quality; that nothing could make her supportable but cutting off her Head, for his Ears were offended by her Tongue, and his Nose by her Hair and Teeth.

I am wholly at a loss how to advise you in the Choice of Company, which, however, is a Point of as great Importance as any in your Life. If your general Acquaintance be among Ladies who are your Equals or Superiors, provided they have nothing of [Page 59]what is commonly called an ill Reputation, you think you are safe; and this, in the Stile of the World, will pass for good Company. Whereas I am afraid it will be hard for you to pick out one Female Ac­quaintance in this Town, from whom you will not be in manifest Danger of contracting some Foppery, Affectation, Vanity, Folly, or Vice. Your only safe Way of conversing with them is, by a firm Resolution to proceed in your Practice and Behaviour directly contrary to whatever they shall say or do: And this I take to be a good general Rule, with very few Exceptions. For Instance, In the Doctrines they usually deliver to young mar­ry'd Women for managing their Husbands; their several Accounts of their own Conduct in that Par­ticular, to recommend it to your Imitation; the Reflections they make upon others of their Sex for acting differently; their Directions how to come off with Victory upon any Dispute or Quarrel you may have with your Husband; the Arts by which you may discover and practise upon his weak Side; when to work by Flattery and Insinuation, when to melt him with Tears, and when to engage with a high Hand. In these, and a Thousand o­ther Cases, it will be prudent to retain as many of their Lectures in your Memory as you can, and then determine to act in full Opposition to them all.

I hope your Husband will interpose his Au­thority to limit you in the Trade of Visiting; half a dozen Fools are in all Conscience as many as you should require; and it will be sufficient for you to see them twice a Year: For I think the Fashion does not exact, that Visits should be paid to Friends.

[Page 60] I advise that your Company at Home should con­sist of Men, rather than Women. To say the Truth I never yet knew a tolerable Woman to be fond of her own Sex. I confess, when both are mix'd and well chosen, and put their best Quali­ties forward, there may be an Intercourse of Ci­vility and Good-will, which, with the Addition of some Degree of Sense, can make Conversation or any Amusement agreeable. But a Knot of Ladies got together by themselves, is a very School of Im­pertinence and Detraction, and it is well if those be the worst.

LET your Men-acquaintance be of your Hus­band's Choice, and not recommended to you by any She-companions; because they will certaintly fix a Coxcomb upon you, and it will cost you some Time and Pains before you can arrive at the Knowledge of distinguishing such a one from a Man of Sense.

NEVER take a favourite Waiting-Maid into your Cabinet-Council, to entertain you with Hi­stories of those Ladies whom she hath formerly serv'd, of their Diversions and their Dresses; to insinuate how great a Fortune you brought, and how little you are allow'd to squander; to appeal to her from your Husband, and to be determined by her Judg­ment, because you are sure it will be always for you; to receive and discard Servants by her Ap­probation or Dislike; to engage you, by her Insinu­ations, into Misunderstandings with your best Friends; to represent all Things in false Colours, and to be the common Emissary of Scandal.

BUT the grand Affair of your Life will be to gain and preserve the Friendship and Esteem of [Page 61]your Husband. Your are married to a Man of good Education and Learning, of an excellent Under­standing, and an exact Taste. It is true, and it is happy for you, that these Qualities in him are adorn'd with great Modesty, a most amiable Sweet­ness of Temper, and an unusual Disposition to So­briety and Virtue; But neither Good-nature nor Virtue will suffer him to esteem you against his Judgment; and although he is not capable of using you ill, yet you will in Time grow a Thing indiffe­rent and perhaps contemptible; unless you can sup­ply the Loss of Youth and Beauty with more du­rable Qualities. Your have very few Years to be young and handsome in the Eyes of the World; and as few Months to be so in the Eyes of a Hus­band, who is not a fool; for I hope you do not stil dream of Charms and Raptures, which Mar­riage ever did, and ever will, put a sadden End to Besides, your's was a Match of Prudence and com­mon Good-liking, without any Mixture of that ridiculous Passion, which has no Being but in Play-Books and Romances.

You must therefore use all Endeavours to attain to some Degree of those Accomplishments which your Husband most values in other People, and for which he is most valued himself. You must improve your Mind, by closely pursuing such a Method of Study as I shall direct or approve of You must get a Collection of History and Travels, which I will recommend to you, and spend some Hours every Day in reading them, and making Extracts from them, if your Memory be weak. You must invite Persons of Knowledge and Under­standing to an Acquaintance with, you, by whose [Page 62]Conversation you may learn to correct your Taste and Judgment; and when you can bring yourself to comprehend and relish the good Sense of others, you will arrive in time to think rightly your self, and to become a reasonable and agreeable Com­panion. This must produce in your Husband a true rational Love and Esteem for you, which old Age will not diminish. He will have regard for your Judgment and Opinion in Matters of the greatest Weight; you will be able to entertain each other without a third Person to relieve you by find­ing Discourse. The Endowments of your Mind will even make your Person more agreeable to him; and when you are alone, your Time will not lie heavy upon your Hands for want of some trifling Amusement.

As little Respect as I have for the Generality of your Sex, it hath sometimes moved me with Pity, to see the Lady of the House forced to withdraw immediately after Dinner, and this in Families where there is not much Drinking; as if it were an established Maxim, that Women are uncapable of all Conversation. In a Room where both Sexes meet, if the Men are discoursing upon any general Subject, the Ladies never think it their Business to partake in what passes, but in a separate Club enter­tain each other with the Price and Choice of Lace, and Silk, and what Dresses they liked or disap­prov'd at the Church or the Play-house. And when you are among yourselves, how naturally, after the first Complements, do you apply your Hands to each others Lappets and Rufles, and Man­tua's, as if the whole Business of your Lives, and the publick Concern of the World, depended upon [Page 63]the Cut or Colour of your Dresses. As Divines say, that some People take more Pains to be dam­ned, than it would cost them to be saved; so your Sex employs more Thought, Memory and Appli­cation, to be Fools, than would serve to make them wise and useful. When I reflect on this, I cannot conceive you to be human Creatures, but a Sort of Species hardly a Degree above a Monkey; who has more diverting Tricks than any of you, is an Animal less mischievous and expensive, might in time be a tolerable Critick in Velvet and Brocade, and, for ought I know, would equally become them.

I would have you look upon Finery as a ne­cessary Folly, as all great Ladies did, whom I have ever known: I do not desire you to be out of the Fashion, but to be the last and least in it. I expect that your Dress shall be one Degree lower than your Fortune can afford; and in your own Heart I would wish you to be an utter Contemner of all Distinctions which a finer Petticoat can give you; because it will neither make you richer, handsomer, younger, better natur'd, more virtuous, or wise, than if it hung upon a Peg.

IF you are in Company with Men of Learning, tho' they happen to discourse of Arts and Sciences out of your Compass, yet you will gather more Advantage by list'ning to them, than from all the Nonsense and Frippery of your own Sex; but if they be Men of Breeding as well as Learning, they will seldom engage in any Conversation where you ought not to be a Hearer, and in time have your Part. If they talk of the Manners and Customs of the several Kingdoms of Europe, of Travels into re­moter [Page 64]Nations, of the State of their own Country, or of the great Men and Actions of Greece and Rome; if they give their Judgment upon English and French Writers, either in Verse or Prose, or of the Nature and Limits of Virtue and Vice, it is a Shame for an English Lady not to relish such Discourses, not to improve by them, and endeavour, by Reading and Information, to have her Share in those Entertainments, rather than turn aside, as it is the usual Custom, and consult with the Woman who sits next her, about a new Cargo of Fans.

IT is a little hard, that not one Gentleman's Daughter in a Thousand should be brought to read or understand her own natural Tongue, or be Judge of the easiest Books that are written in it; as any One may find, who can have the Patience to hear them, when they are dispos'd to man­gle a Play or a Novel, where the least Word out of the common Road if sure to disconcert them. It is no Wonder, when they are not so much as taught to spell in their Childhood, nor can ever attain to it in their whole Lives. I advise you therefore to read aloud, more or less, every Day to your Husband it he will permit you, or to any other Friend, (but not a Female One) who is able to set you right; and as for Spelling, you may compass it in time, by making Collections from the Books you read.

I know very well that those who are commonly called learned Women, have lost all Manner of Credit by their impertment Talkativeness and Con­ceit of themselves; but there is an easy Remedy for this, if you once consider, that after all the the Pains you may be at, you never can arrive, in [Page 65]Point of Learning, to the Perfection of a School­boy. The Reading I would advise you to, is only for Improvement of your own good Sense, which will never fail of being mended by Discretion. It is a wrong. Method, and ill Choice of Books, that makes those learned Ladies just so much worse for what they have read. And therefore it shall be my Care to direct you better, a Task for which I take my self to be not ill qualify'd; because I have spent more time, and have had more Opportunities than many others, to observe and discover from what Sources the various Follies of Women are deriv'd.

PRAY observe how insignificant Things are the common Race of Ladies, when they have passed their Youth and Beauty; how contemptible they appear to the Men, and yet more contemptible to the younger Part of their own Sex; and have no Re­lief bat in passing their Afternoons in Visits, where they are never acceptable; and their Evenings at Cards among each other; while the former Part of the Day is spent in Spleen and Envy, or in vain Endeavours to repair by Art and Dress the Ruins of Time. Whereas I have known Ladies at Sixty, to whom all the polite Part of the Court and Town paid their Addresses, without any farther View than that of enjoying the Pleasure of their Conversation.

I am ignorant of any one Quality that is amiable in a Man, which is not equally so in a Woman: I do not except even Modesty and Gentleness of Na­ture. Nor do I know one Vice or Folly which is not equally detestable in both. There is indeed one Infirmity which seems to be generally allow'd you, I mean that of Cowardice: Yet there should [Page 66]seem to be something very capricious, that when Women profess their Admiration for a Colonel or a Captain on Account of his Valour, they should fancy it a very graceful becoming Quality in them­selves to be afraid of their own Shadows; to scream in a Barge when the Weather is calmest, or in a Coach at the Ring; to run from a Cow at a hun­dred Yards Distance; to fall into Fits at the Sight of a Spider, and Earwig, or a Frog. At least, if Cowardice be a Sign of Cruclty, (as it is generally granted) I can hardly think it an Accomplishment so desirable as to be thought worth improving by Affectation.

AND as the same Virtues equally become both Sexes, so there is no quality whereby Women en­deavour to distinguish themselves from Men, for which they are not just so much the worse, except that only of Reservedness; which however, as you generally manage it, it nothing else but Affectation or Hypocrisy. For as you cannot too much dis­countenance those of your Sex, who presume to take unbecoming Liberty before you; so you ought to be wholly unconstrain'd in the Company of de­serving Men, when you have had sufficient Expe­rience of their Discretion.

THERE is never wanting in this Town, a Tribe of bold, swaggering, rattling Ladies, whose Talents pass among Coxcombs for Wit and Humour; their Excellency lies in rude choquing Expressions, and what they call Running a Man down. If a Gen­tleman in their Company happens to have any Ble­mish in his Birth or Person, if any Misfortune hath befallen his Family or himself, for which he is a­sham'd, they will be sure to give him broad Hints [Page 67]of it without any Provocation. I would recom­mend you to the Acquaintance of a common Pro­stitute, rather than to that of such Termagants as these. I have often thought that no Man is oblig'd to suppose such Creatures to be Women; but to treat them like insolent Rascals disguis'd in female Habits, who ought to be stript and kick'd down Stairs.

I will add one Thing, altho' it be a little out of Place which is to desire, that you will learn to [...] and esteem your Husband for those good Qualities which he really possesseth, and not to sancy others in him which he certainly hath not. For altho' this Letter is generally understood to be a Mark of Love, yet it is indeed nothing but Af­fectation or ill Judgment. It is true, he wants so very few Accomplishments, that you are in no great Danger of erring on this Side; but my cau­tion is occasion'd by a Lady of your Acquaintance, marry'd to a very valuable Person, whom yet the is so unfortunate as to be always commending for those Perfections to which he can least pretend.

I can give you no Advice upon the Article of Expence, only I think you ought to be well in­form'd how much your Husband's Revenue a­mounts to, and be so good a Computer as to keep within it, in that Part of the Management which falls to your Share; and not to put your self in the Number of those politick Ladies who think they gain a great Point, when they have teaz'd their Husbands to buy them a new Equi­page, a lac'd Head, or a fine Petticoat, without once considering what long Scores remain unpaid to the Butche.

[Page 68] I desire you will keep this Letter in your Cabi­net, and often examine impartially your whole Conduct by it: And so God bless you, and make you a fair Example to your Sex, and a perpetual Comfort to your Husband and your Parents. I am, with great Truth and Affection,

MADAM, Your most faithful Friend, and humble Servant.

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