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Title: Sketches of the Fair Sex, in All Parts of the World
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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[Illustration: DEATH OF CLEOPATRA. Page 201.]







Entered according to act of congress, in the year 1841, by


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.

In the following Pages,

It is our design to present a pleasing and interesting miscellany, which
will serve to beguile the leisure hour, and will at the same time couple
instruction with amusement. We have used but little method in the
arrangement: Choosing rather to furnish the reader with a rich profusion
of narratives and anecdotes, all tending to illustrate the


to display its delicacy, its sweetness, its gentle or sometimes heroic
virtues, its amiable weaknesses, and strange defects--than to attempt an
accurate analysis of the hardest subject man ever attempted to master,

It will be seen that we do not set down Woman as a cipher in the account
of human beings. We accord to her her full share of importance in the
world, and we have not attempted to relieve her from a sense of her
responsibility as an accountable being. Above all, we have not failed to
impress upon her the obligations she is under to CHRISTIANITY, whose
benign influences have raised her to be the companion and bosom-friend
of man, instead of his mere handmaid and dependant. It is religion that
must form such a character as the following, which though applied by
Pope to one of the most accomplished women of his time, is that of a
CHRISTIAN WIFE in every age and station,--

  "Oh! blest with temper whose unclouded ray
  Can make tomorrow cheerful as to-day:
  She who can love a sister's charms, or hear
  Sighs for a daughter with unwounded ear;
  She who ne'er answers till a husband cools,
  Or, if she rules him, never shows she rules;
  Charms by accepting--by submitting sways,
  Yet has her humor most, when she obeys."

By causing the character of woman to be more thoroughly discussed and
better understood;--by making it more frequently the theme of rational
meditation to the young and ardent, who, from the force of defective
education, are apt to regard all "the sex," beyond a very limited
circle, as mere accessaries to animal enjoyment,--whose peace they may
wound without compunction, and whose happiness they may peril without
reflection,--we feel that we shall do both sexes a good service, and one
for which as they advance in life, and in their turn become husbands,
wives and parents, they will thank our little book, as having helped
them to know themselves and each other.


  African Women,                                         43
  Adultery, punishment of                               155
  Bathing at Rome,                                       31
  Betrothing and Marriage,                              104
  Chinese Women,                                         40
  Chinese Bridegroom,                                    41
  Cæsar, Anecdote of                                    157
  Celibacy of the Clergy,                               160
  Cleopatra, Death of,                                  199
  Courts of Love,                                       172
  Courtship, ancient Swedish                            176
  Courtship, Grecian                                    165
  Courtship, Eastern                                    168
  Condition of Women in the 8th Century,                 52
  Egyptian Women, Ancient                                13
  Egyptian Women, Modern                                 15
  Euthira, desperate act of                             162
  Eastern Women,                                         37
  English Women,                                         62
  First Woman,                                            9
  Female Friendship,                                    109
  Female Delicacy,                                       30
  French Women,                                          53
  French Girls,                                          55
  Female Simplicity,                                     71
  Female Inferiority, idea of                            67
  Females during the age of Chivalry,                    48
  First Kiss of Love,                                   198
  Grecian Women,                                         19
  German Women,                                          99
  Grecian Courtezans,                                    20
  Greeks, religious festivals of                        180
  Grecian Ladies, luxurious dress of                    164
  Girls sold at Auction,                                153
  Husbands, on the choice of                            114
  Italian Women,                                         57
  Influence of female society,                           83
  Immodesty at Babylon,                                 173
  Indecency at Adrianople,                              175
  Lucretia and Virginia,                                182
  Ladies of Lapland and Greenland,                      177
  Matrimony, an essay on                                203
  Matrimony among the French                             55
  Matrimony in three different lights,                  103
  Magnanimity of Women,                                  77
  Monastic Life,                                         89
  Marriage Brokers at Genoa,                             60
  Marrying, power of                                    159
  Noah's three sons,                                     43
  Nuptial Ceremonies,                                    66
  On looking at the picture of a beautiful female,      183
  Persian Women,                                         17
  Philtres and charms, power of                         167
  Roman Women,                                           24
  Roman Oppian Law,                                      29
  Russian Women,                                         65
  Spanish Women,                                         60
  St. Valentine's Day,                                  171
  Sentimental Attachment,                                92
  Sale of a wife,                                       154
  Saxons and Danes, long hair of                        170
  Venus de Medici,                                      194
  Women, Art of determining the figure, beauty, habits,
    and the age of                                      185
  Women in the Patriarchal ages,                         10
  Woman in Savage Life,                                  32
  Woman in times of Chivalry,                            45
  Women in Asia and Africa,                              79

  "Sketches indeed, from that most passionate page,
  A woman's heart, of feelings, thoughts, that make
  The atmosphere in which her spirit moves;
  But like all other earthly elements,
  O'ercast with clouds; now dark, now touched with light,
  With rainbows, sunshine, showers, moonlight, stars,
  Chasing each other's change. I fain would trace
  Its brightness and its blackness."



The great Creator, having formed man of the dust of the earth, "made a
deep sleep to fall upon him, and took one of his ribs, and closed up the
flesh instead thereof. And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from
man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man." Hence the fair sex,
in the opinion of some authors, being formed of matter doubly refined,
derive their superior beauty and excellence.

Not long after the creation, the first woman was tempted by the serpent
to eat of the fruit of a certain tree, in the midst of the garden of
Eden, with regard to which God had said, "Ye shall not eat of it,
neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die."

This deception, and the fatal consequences arising from it, furnish the
most interesting story in the whole history of the sex.

On the offerings being brought, and that of Abel accepted, Cain's
jealousy and resentment rose to such a pitch, that, as soon as they came
down from the mount where they had been sacrificing, he fell upon his
brother and slew him.

For this cruel and barbarous action, Cain and his posterity, being
banished from the rest of the human race, indulged themselves in every
species of wickedness. On this account, it is supposed, they were called
the _Sons and Daughters of Men_. The posterity of Seth, on the other
hand, became eminent for virtue, and a regard to the divine precepts. By
their regular and amiable conduct, they acquired the appellation of
_Sons and Daughters of God_.

After the deluge there is a chasm in the history of women, until the
time of the patriarch Abraham. They then begin to be introduced into the
sacred story. Several of their actions are recorded. The laws, customs,
and usages, by which they were governed, are frequently exhibited.


The condition of women among the ancient patriarchs, appears to have
been but extremely indifferent. When Abraham entertained the angels,
sent to denounce the destruction of Sodom, he seems to have treated his
wife as a menial servant: "Make ready quickly," said he to her, "three
measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes on the hearth."

In many parts of the east, water is only to be met with deep in the
earth, and to draw it from the wells is, consequently, fatiguing and
laborious. This, however, was the task of the daughters of Jethro the
Midianite; to whom so little regard was paid, either on account of their
sex, or the rank of their father, as high priest of the country, that
the neighboring shepherds not only insulted them, but forcibly took from
them the water they had drawn.

This was the task of Rebecca, who not only drew water for Abraham's
servant, but for his camels also, while the servant stood an idle
spectator of the toil. Is it not natural to imagine, that, as he was on
an embassy to court the damsel for Isaac, his master's son, he would
have exerted his utmost efforts to please, and become acceptable?

When he had concluded his bargain, and was carrying her home, we meet
with a circumstance worthy of remark. When she first approached Isaac,
who had walked out into the fields to meet her, she did it in the most
submissive manner, as if she had been approaching a lord and master,
rather than a fond and passionate lover. From this circumstance, as well
as from several others, related in the sacred history, it would seem
that women, instead of endeavoring, as in modern times, to persuade the
world that they confer an immense favor on a lover, by deigning to
accept of him, did not scruple to confess, that the obligation was
conferred on themselves.

This was the case with Ruth, who had laid herself down at the feet of
Boaz; and being asked by him who she was, answered, "I am Ruth, thine
handmaid; spread, therefore, thy skirt over thine handmaid, for thou art
a near kinsman."

When Jacob went to visit his uncle Laban, he met Rachel, Laban's
daughter, in the fields, attending on the flocks of her father.

In a much later period, Tamar, one of the daughters of king David, was
sent by her father to perform the servile office of making cakes for her
brother Amnon.

The simplicity of the times in which these things happened, no doubt,
very much invalidates the strength of the conclusions that naturally
arise from them. But, notwithstanding, it still appears that women were
not then treated with the delicacy which they have experienced among
people more polished and refined.

Polygamy also prevailed; which is so contrary to the inclination of the
sex, and so deeply wounds the delicacy of their feelings, that it is
impossible for any woman voluntarily to agree to it, even where it is
authorized by custom and by law. Wherever, therefore, polygamy takes
place, we may assure ourselves that women have but little authority, and
have scarcely arrived at any consequence in society.


Wherever the human race live solitary, and unconnected with each other,
they are savage and barbarous. Wherever they associate together, that
association produces softer manners and a more engaging deportment.

The Egyptians, from the nature of their country, annually overflowed by
the Nile, had no wild beasts to hunt, nor could they procure any thing
by fishing. On these accounts, they were under a necessity of applying
themselves to agriculture, a kind of life which naturally brings mankind
together, for mutual convenience and assistance.

They were, likewise, every year, during the inundation of the river,
obliged to assemble together, and take shelter, either on the rising
grounds, or in the houses, which were raised upon piles, above the reach
of the waters. Here, almost every employment being suspended, and the
men and women long confined together, a thousand inducements, not to be
found in a solitary state, would naturally prompt them to render
themselves agreeable to each other. Hence their manners would begin,
more early, to assume a softer polish, and more elegant refinement, than
those of the other nations who surrounded them.

The practice of confining women, instituted by jealousy, and maintained
by unlawful power, was not adopted by the ancient Egyptians. This
appears from the story of Pharaoh's daughter, who was going with her
train of maids to bathe in the river, when she found Moses hid among the
reeds. It is still more evident, from that of the wife of Potiphar, who,
if she had been confined, could not have found the opportunities she
did, to solicit Joseph to her adulterous embrace.

The queens of Egypt had the greatest attention paid to them. They were
more readily obeyed than the kings. It is also related, that the
husbands were in their marriage-contracts, obliged to promise obedience
to their wives; an obedience, which, in our modern times, we are often
obliged to perform, though our wives entered into the promise.

The behavior of Solomon to Pharaoh's daughter is a convincing proof that
more honor and respect was paid to the Egyptian women, than to those of
any other people. Solomon had many other wives besides this princess,
and was married to several of them before her, which, according to the
Jewish law, ought to have entitled them to a preference. But,
notwithstanding this, we hear of no particular palace having been built
for any of the others, nor of the worship of any of their gods having
been introduced into Jerusalem. But a magnificent palace was erected for
Pharaoh's daughter; and she was permitted, though expressly contrary to
the laws of Israel, to worship the gods of her own country.


The women of modern Egypt are far from being on so respectable a
footing as they were in ancient times, or as the European women are at

In Europe, women act parts of great consequence, and often reign
sovereigns on the world's vast theatre. They influence manners and
morals, and decide on the most important events. The fate of nations is
frequently in their hands.

How different is their situation in Egypt! There they are bound down by
the fetters of slavery, condemned to servitude, and have no influence in
public affairs. Their empire is confined within the walls of the Harem.
There are their graces and charms entombed. The circle of their life
extends not beyond their own family and domestic duties.

Their first care is to educate their children; and a numerous posterity
is their most fervent wish. Mothers always suckle their children. This
is expressly commanded by Mahomet:--"Let the mother suckle her child
full two years, if the child does not quit the breast; but she shall be
permitted to wean it, with the consent of her husband."

The harem is the cradle and school of infancy. The new born feeble being
is not there swaddled and filletted up in a swathe, the source of a
thousand diseases. Laid naked on a mat, exposed in a vast chamber to the
pure air, he breathes freely, and with his delicate limbs sprawls at

The daughter's education is the same. Whalebone and husks, which martyr
European girls, they know not. They are only covered with a shift until
six years old: and the dress they afterwards wear confines none of their
limbs, but suffers the body to take its true form; and nothing is more
uncommon than ricketty children, and crooked people. In Egypt, man rises
in all his majesty, and woman displays every charm of person.

The Egyptian women, once or twice a week, are permitted to go to the
bath, and visit female relations and friends. They receive each other's
visits very affectionately. When a lady enters the harem, the mistress
rises, takes her hand, presses it to her bosom, kisses, and makes her
sit down by her side; a slave hastens to take her black mantle; she is
entreated to be at ease, quits her veil, and discovers a floating robe
tied round her waist with a sash, which perfectly displays her shape.
She then receives compliments according to their manner: "Why, my
mother, or my sister, have you been so long absent? We sighed to see
you! Your presence is an honor to our house! It is the happiness of our

Slaves present coffee, sherbet, and confectionary. They laugh, talk and
play. A large dish is placed on the sofa, on which are oranges,
pomegranates, bananas, and excellent melons. Water, and rose-water
mixed, are brought in an ewer, and with them a silver bason to wash the
hands; and loud glee and merry conversation season the meal. The chamber
is perfumed by wood of aloes, in a brazier; and, the repast ended, the
slaves dance to the sound of cymbals, with whom the mistresses often
mingle. At parting they several times repeat, "God keep you in health!
Heaven grant you a numerous offspring! Heaven preserve your children;
the delight and glory of your family!"

When a visitor is in the harem, the husband must not enter. It is the
asylum of hospitality, and cannot be violated without fatal
consequences; a cherished right, which the Egyptian women carefully
maintain, being interested in its preservation. A lover, disguised like
a woman, may be introduced into the harem, and it is necessary he should
remain undiscovered; death would otherwise be his reward. In that
country, where the passions are excited by the climate, and the
difficulty of gratifying them is great, love often produces tragical


Several historians, in mentioning the ancient Persians, have dwelt with
peculiar severity on the manner in which they treated their women.
Jealous, almost to distraction, they confined the whole sex with the
strictest attention, and could not bear that the eye of a stranger
should behold the beauty whom they adored.

When Mahomet, the great legislator of the modern Persians, was just
expiring, the last advice that he gave to his faithful adherents, was,
"Be watchful of your religion, and your wives." Hence they pretend to
derive not only the power of confining, but also of persuading them,
that they hazard their salvation, if they look upon any other man
besides their husbands. The Christian religion informs us, that in the
other world they neither marry, nor are given in marriage. The religion
of Mahomet teaches us a different doctrine, which the Persians
believing, carry the jealousy of Asia to the fields of Elysium, and the
groves of Paradise; where, according to them, the blessed inhabitants
have their eyes placed on the crown of their heads, lest they should see
the wives of their neighbors.

To offer the least violence to a Persian woman, was to incur certain
death from her husband or guardian. Even their kings, though the most
absolute in the universe, could not alter the manners or customs of the
country, which related to the fair sex.

Widely different from this is the present state of Persia. By a law of
that country, their monarch is now authorized to go, whenever he
pleases, into the harem of any of his subjects; and the subject, on
whose prerogative he thus encroaches, so far from exerting his usual
jealousy, thinks himself highly honored by such a visit.

A laughable story, on this subject, is told of Shah Abbas, who having
got drunk at the house of one of his favorites, and intending to go into
the apartment of his wives, was stopped by the door-keeper, who bluntly
told him, "Not a man, sir, besides my master, shall put a mustachio
here, so long as I am porter." "What," said the king, "dost thou not
know me?" "Yes," answered the fellow, "I know that you are king of the
men, but not of the women."


Woman, in ancient Greece, seems to have been regarded merely in the
light of an instrument for raising up members of the state. And surely
it may be said of them that they nobly fulfilled this duty. The
catalogue of heroes and sages which shine in Grecian history bright and
numerous as stars in the firmament, are so many testimonials to the
faithfulness of Grecian women in this respect.

The sexes were but little society for each other. Even husbands were, in
Sparta, limited as to the time and duration of the visits made to their

That women in ancient Greece did not enjoy that delicate consideration
which other refined nations accord to their sex, may be inferred from
the inferiority of the apartments allotted to them. The famous Helen is
said to have had her chamber in the attic; and Penelope, the queen of
Ulysses, descended from hers by a ladder.


The rank which the courtezans enjoyed, even in the brightest ages of
Greece, and particularly at Athens, is one of the greatest singularities
in the manners of any people. By what circumstances could that order of
women, who debase at once their own sex and ours--in a country where the
women were possessed of modesty, and the men of sentiment, arrive at
distinction, and sometimes even at the highest degree of reputation and
consequence? Several reasons may be assigned for that phenomenon in

In Greece, the courtezans were in some measure connected with the
religion of the country. The Goddess of Beauty had her altars; and she
was supposed to protect prostitution, which was to her a species of
worship. The people invoked Venus in times of danger; and, after a
battle, they thought they had done honor to Miltiades and Themistocles,
because the Laises and the Glyceras of the age had chaunted hymns to
their Goddess.

The courtezans were likewise connected with religion, by means of the
arts. Their persons afforded models for statues, which were afterwards
adored in the temples. Phryne served as a model to Praxiteles, for his
Venus of Cnidus. During the feasts of Neptune, near Eleusis, Apelles
having seen the same courtezan on the sea-shore, without any other veil
than her loose and flowing hair, was so much struck with her appearance,
that he borrowed from it the idea of his Venus rising from the waves.

They were, therefore connected with statuary and painting, as they
furnished the practisers of those arts with the means of embellishing
their works.

The greater part of them were skilled in music; and, as that art was
attended with higher effects in Greece than it ever was in any other
country, it must have possessed, in their hands, an irresistible charm.

Every one knows how enthusiastic the Greeks were of beauty. They adored
it in the temples. They admired it in the principal works of art. They
studied it in the exercises and the games. They thought to perfect it by
their marriages. They offered rewards to it at the public festivals. But
virtuous beauty was seldom to be seen. The modest women were confined to
their own apartments, and were visited only by their husbands and
nearest relations. The courtezans offered themselves every where to
view; and their beauty as might be expected, obtained universal homage.

Greece was governed by eloquent men; and the celebrated courtezans,
having an influence over those orators must have had an influence on
public affairs. There was not one, not even the thundering, the
inflexible Demosthenes, so terrible to tyrants, but was subjected to
their sway. Of that great master of eloquence it has been said, "What he
had been a whole year in erecting, a woman overturned in a day." That
influence augmented their consequence; and their talent of pleasing
increased with the occasions of exerting it.

The laws and the public institutions, indeed, by authorizing the
privacy of women, set a high value on the sanctity of the marriage vow.
But in Athens, imagination, sentiment, luxury, the taste in arts and
pleasures, was opposite to the laws. The courtezans, therefore may be
said to have come in support of the manners.

There was no check upon public licentiousness; but private infidelity,
which concerned the peace of families, was punished as a crime. By a
strange and perhaps unequalled singularity the men were corrupted, yet
the domestic manners were pure. It seems as if the courtezans had not
been considered to belong to their sex; and, by a convention to which
the laws and the manners bended, while other women were estimated merely
by their virtues, they were estimated only by their accomplishments.

These reasons will in some measure, account for the honors, which the
votaries of Venus so often received in Greece. Otherwise we should have
been at a loss to conceive, why six or seven writers had exerted their
talents to celebrate the courtezans of Athens--why three great painters
had uniformly devoted their pencils to represent them on canvass--and
why so many poets had strove to immortalize them in verses. We should
hardly have believed that so many illustrious men had courted their
society--that Aspasia had been consulted in deliberations of peace and
war--that Phryne had a statue of gold placed between the statues of two
kings at Delphos--that, after death, magnificent tombs had been erected
to their memory.

"The traveller," says a Greek writer, "who, approaching to Athens, sees
on the side of the way a monument which attracts his notice at a
distance, will imagine that it is the tomb of Miltiades or Pericles, or
of some other great man, who has done honor to his country by his
services. He advances, he reads, and he learns that it is a courtezan of
Athens who is interred with so much pomp."

Theopompus, in a letter to Alexander the Great, speaks also of the same
monument in words to the following effect--"Thus, after her death, is a
prostitute honored; while not one of those brave warriors who fell in
Asia, fighting for you, and for the safety of Greece, has so much as a
stone erected to his memory, or an inscription to preserve his ashes
from insult."

Such was the homage which that enthusiastic people, voluptuous and
passionate, paid to beauty. More guided by sentiment than reason, and
having laws rather than principles, they banished their great men,
honored their courtezans, murdered Socrates, permitted themselves to be
governed by Aspasia, preserved inviolate the marriage bed, and placed
Phryne in the temple of Apollo!


Among the Romans, a grave and austere people, who, during five hundred
years, were unacquainted with the elegancies and the pleasures of life,
and who, in the middle of furrows and fields of battle, were employed in
tillage or in war, the manners of the women were a long time as solemn
and severe as those of the men, and without the smallest mixture of
corruption, or of weakness.

The time when the Roman women began to appear in public, marks a
particular era in history.

The Roman women, for many ages, were respected over the whole world.
Their victorious husbands re-visited them with transport, at their
return from battle. They laid at their feet the spoils of the enemy, and
endeared themselves in their eyes by the wounds which they had received
for them and for the state. Those warriors often came from imposing
commands upon kings, and in their own houses accounted it an honor to
obey. In vain the too rigid laws made them the arbiters of life and
death. More powerful than the laws, the women ruled their judges. In
vain the legislature, foreseeing the wants which exist only among a
corrupt people, permitted divorce. The indulgence of the polity was
proscribed by the manners.

Such was the influence of beauty at Rome before the licentious
intercourse of the sexes had corrupted both.

The Roman matrons do not seem to have possessed that military courage
which Plutarch has praised in certain Greek and barbarian women; they
partook more of the nature of their sex; or, at least, they departed
less from its character. Their first quality was decency. Every one
knows the story of Cato the censor, _who stabbed a Roman Senator for
kissing his own wife in the presence of his daughter_.

To these austere manners, the Roman women joined an enthusiastic love of
their country, which discovered itself upon many great occasions. On the
death of Brutus, they all clothed themselves in mourning. In the time of
Coriolanus they saved the city. That incensed warrior who had insulted
the senate and priests, and who was superior even to the pride of
pardoning, could not resist the tears and entreaties of the women.
_They_ melted his obdurate heart. The senate decreed them public thanks,
ordered the men to give place to them upon all occasions, caused an
altar to be erected for them on the spot where the mother had softened
her son, and the wife her husband; and the sex were permitted to add
another ornament to their head-dress.

The Roman women saved the city a second time, when besieged by Brennus.
They gave up all their gold as its ransom. For that instance of their
generosity, the senate granted them the honor of having funeral orations
pronounced in the rostrum, in common with patriots and heroes.

After the battle of Cannæ, when Rome had no other treasures but the
virtues of her citizens, the women sacrificed both their jewels and
their gold. A new decree rewarded their zeal.

Valerius Maximus who lived in the reign of Tiberius, informs us that, in
the second triumvirate, the three assassins who governed Rome thirsting
after gold, no less than blood, and having already practised every
species of robbery, and worn out every method of plunder; resolved _to
tax the women_. They imposed a heavy contribution upon each of them. The
women sought an orator to defend their cause, but found none. Nobody
would reason against those who had the power of life and death. The
daughter of the celebrated Hortensius alone appeared. She revived the
memory of her father's abilities, and supported with intrepidity her own
cause and that of her sex. The ruffians blushed and revoked their

Hortensia was conducted home in triumph, and had the honor of having
given, in one day, an example of courage to men, a pattern of eloquence
to women, and a lesson of humanity to tyrants.

During upwards of six hundred years, the _virtues_ had been found
sufficient to please. They now found it necessary to call in the
_accomplishments_. They were desirous to join admiration to esteem,
'till they learned to exceed esteem itself. For in all countries, in
proportion as the love of virtue diminishes, we find the love of talents
to increase.

A thousand causes concurred to produce this revolution of manners among
the Romans. The vast inequality of ranks, the enormous fortunes of
individuals, the ridicule, affixed by the imperial court to moral ideas,
all contributed to hasten the period of corruption.

There were still, however, some great and virtuous characters among the
Roman women. Portia, the daughter of Cato, and wife of Brutus, showed
herself worthy to be associated with the first of human kind, and
trusted with the fate of empires. After the battle of Phillippi, she
would neither survive liberty nor Brutus, but died with the bold
intrepidity of Cato.

The example of Portia was followed by that of Arria, who seeing her
husband hesitating and afraid to die, in order to encourage him, pierced
her own breast, and delivered to him the dagger with a smile.

Paulinia too, the wife of Seneca, caused her veins to be opened at the
same time with her husband's, but being forced to live, during the few
years which she survived him, "she bore in her countenance," says
Tacitus, "the honorable testimony of her love, a _paleness_, which
proved that part of her blood had sympathetically issued with the blood
of her spouse."

To take notice of all the celebrated women of the empire, would much
exceed the bounds of the present undertaking. But the empress Julia the
wife of Septimius Severus, possessed a species of merit so very
different from any of those already mentioned, as to claim particular

This lady was born in Syria, and a daughter of a priest of the sun. It
was predicted that she would rise to sovereign dignity; and her
character justified the prophecy.

Julia, while on the throne, loved, or pretended passionately to love,
letters. Either from taste, from a desire to instruct herself, from a
love of renown, or possibly from all these together, she spent her life
with philosophers. Her rank of empress would not, perhaps, have been
sufficient to subdue those bold spirits; but she joined to that the more
powerful influences of wit and beauty. These three kinds of empire
rendered less necessary to her that which consists only in art; and
which, attentive to their tastes and their weaknesses, govern great
minds by little means.

It is said she was a philosopher. Her philosophy, however, did not
extend so far as to give chastity to her manners. Her husband, who did
not love her, valued her understanding so much, that he consulted her
upon all occasions. She governed in the same manner under his son.

Julia was, in short, an empress and a politician, occupied at the same
time about literature, and affairs of state, while she mingled her
pleasures freely with both. She had courtiers for her lovers, scholars
for her friends, and philosophers for her counsellors. In the midst of a
society, where she reigned and was instructed. Julia arrived at the
highest celebrity; but as among all her excellencies, we find not those
of her sex, the virtues of a woman, our admiration is lost in blame. In
her life time she obtained more praise than respect; and posterity,
while it has done justice to her talents and her accomplishments, has
agreed to deny her esteem.


The Roman women, as well as the Grecian, were under perpetual
guardianship; and were not at any age, nor in any condition, ever
trusted with the management of their own fortunes.

Every father had power of life and death over his own daughters: but
this power was not restricted to daughters only; it extended also to

The Oppian law prohibited women from having more than half an ounce of
gold employed in ornamenting their persons, from wearing clothes of
divers colors, and from riding in chariots, either in the city, or a
thousand paces round it.

They were strictly forbid to use wine, or even to have in their
possession the key of any place where it was kept. For either of these
faults they were liable to be divorced by their husbands. So careful
were the Romans in restraining their women from wine, that they are
supposed to have first introduced the custom of saluting their female
relations and acquaintances, on entering the house of a friend or
neighbor, that they might discover by their breath, whether they had
tasted any of that liquor.

This strictness, however, began in time to be relaxed; until at last,
luxury becoming too strong for every law, the women indulged themselves
in equal liberties with the men.

But such was not the case in the earlier ages of Rome. Romulus even
permitted husbands to kill their wives, if they found them drinking

Fabius Pictor relates, that the parents of a Roman lady, having detected
her picking the lock of a chest which contained some wine, shut her up
and starved her to death.

Women were liable to be divorced by their husbands almost at pleasure,
provided the portion was returned which they had brought along with
them. They were also liable to be divorced for barrenness, which, if it
could be construed into a fault, was at least the fault of nature, and
might sometimes be that of the husband.

A few sumptuary laws, a subordination to the men, and a total want of
authority, do not so much affect the sex, as to be coldly and
indelicately treated by their husbands.

Such a treatment is touching them in the tenderest part. Such, however
we have reason to believe, they often met with from the Romans, who had
not learned, as in modern times to blend the rigidity of the patriot,
and roughness of the warrior, with that soft and indulging behavior, so
conspicuous in our modern patriots and heroes.

Husbands among the Romans not only themselves behaved roughly to their
wives, but even sometimes permitted their servants and slaves to do the
same. The principal eunuch of Justinian the Second, threatened to
chastise the Empress, his master's wife, in the manner that children are
chastised at school, if she did not obey his orders.

With regard to the private diversions of the Roman ladies, history is
silent. Their public ones, were such as were common to both sexes; as
bathing, theatrical representations, horse-races, shows of wild beasts,
which fought against one another, and sometimes against men, whom the
emperors, in the plenitude of their despotic power, ordered to engage

The Romans, of both sexes, spent a great deal of time at the baths;
which at first, perhaps, were interwoven with their religion, but at
last were only considered as refinements in luxury. They were places of
public resort, where people met with their acquaintances and friends,
where public libraries were kept for such as chose to read, and where
poets recited their works to such as had patience to hear.

In the earlier periods of Rome, separate baths were appropriated to each
sex. Luxury, by degrees getting the better of decency, the men and women
at last bathed promiscuously together. Though this indecent manner of
bathing was prohibited by the emperor Adrian; yet, in a short time,
inclination overcame the prohibition; and, in spite of every effort,
promiscuous bathing continued until the time of Constantine, who, by the
coercive force of the legislative authority, and the rewards and
terrors of the Christian religion, put a final stop to it.


Man, in a state of barbarity, equally cruel and indolent, active by
necessity, but naturally inclined to repose, is acquainted with little
more than the physical effects of love; and having none of those moral
ideas which only can soften the empire of force, he is led to consider
it as his supreme law, subjecting to his despotism those whom reason had
made his equals, but whose imbecility betrayed them to his strength.

Cast in the lap of naked nature, and exposed to every hardship, the
forms of women, in savage life, are but little engaging. With nothing
that deserves the name of culture, their latent qualities, if they have
any, are like the diamond, while enclosed in the rough flint, incapable
of shewing any lustre. Thus destitute of every thing by which they can
excite love, or acquire esteem; destitute of beauty to charm, or art to
soothe, the tyrant man; they are by him destined to perform every mean
and servile office. In this the American and other savage women differ
widely from those of Asia, who, if they are destitute of the
qualifications necessary for gaining esteem, have beauty, ornaments, and
the art of exciting love.

In civilized countries a woman acquires some power by being the mother
of a numerous family, who obey her maternal authority, and defends her
honor and her life. But, even as a mother, a female savage has not much
advantage. Her children, daily accustomed to see their father treat her
nearly as a slave, soon begin to imitate his example, and either pay
little regard to her authority or shake it off altogether.

Of this the Hottentot boys afford a remarkable proof. They are brought
up by the women, till they are about fourteen years of age. Then, with
several ceremonies they are initiated into the society of men. After
this initiation is over it is reckoned manly for a boy to take the
earliest opportunity of returning to the hut of his mother, and beating
her in the most barbarous manner, to show that he is now out of her
jurisdiction. Should the mother complain to the men, they would only
applaud the boy for showing so laudable a contempt for the society and
authority of women.

In the Brazils, the females are obliged to follow their husbands to war,
to supply the place of beasts of burden, and to carry on their backs
their children, provisions, hammocks, and every thing wanted in the

In the Isthmus of Darien, they are sent along with warriors and
travellers, as we do baggage horses. Even their Queen appeared before
some English gentlemen, carrying her sucking child, wrapt in a red

The women among the Indians of America are what the Helots were among
the Spartans, a vanquished people obliged to toil for their conquerors.
Hence on the banks of the Oroonoko we have heard of mothers slaying
their daughters out of compassion, and smothering them in the hour of
their birth. They consider this barbarous pity as a virtue.

Father Joseph Gumilla, reproving one of them for this inhuman crime,
received the following answer:--"I wish to God, Father, I wish to God,
that my mother had, by my death, prevented the manifold distresses I
have endured, and have yet to endure as long as I live. Had she kindly
stilled me in my birth, I should not have felt the pain of death, nor
the numberless other pains to which life has subjected me. Consider,
Father, our deplorable condition. Our husbands go to hunt with their
bows and arrows, and trouble themselves no farther: we are dragged along
with one infant at our breast, and another in a basket. They return in
the evening without any burden; we return with the burden of our
children. Though tired with long walking, we are not allowed to sleep,
but must labor the whole night, in grinding maize to make _chica_ for
them. They get drunk, and in their drunkenness beat us, draw us by the
hair of the head, and tread us under foot. A young wife is brought upon
us and permitted to abuse us and our children. What kindness can we show
to our female children, equal to that of relieving them from such
servitude, more bitter a thousand times than death? I repeat again,
would to God my mother had put me under ground, the moment I was born."

"The men," says Commodore Byron, in his account of the inhabitants of
South America, "exercise a most despotic authority over their wives whom
they consider in the same view they do any other part of their property,
and dispose of them accordingly. Even their common treatment of them is
cruel. For, though the toil and hazard of procuring food lies entirely
on the women, yet they are not suffered to touch any part of it, until
the husband is satisfied; and then he assign them their portion, which
is generally very scanty, and such as he has not a stomach for himself."

The Greenlanders, who live mostly upon seals, think it sufficient to
catch and bring them on shore; and would rather submit to starve than
assist their women in skinning, dressing, or dragging home the cumbrous
animals to their huts.

In some parts of America, when the men kill any game in the woods, they
lay it at the root of a tree, fix a mark there, and travelling until
they arrive at their habitation, send their women to fetch it, a task
which their own laziness and pride equally forbid.

Among many of the tribes of wandering Arabs, the women are not only
obliged to do every domestic and every rural work, but also to feed, to
dress, and saddle the horses, for the use of their husbands.

The Moorish women, besides doing all the same kinds of drudgery, are
also obliged to cultivate the fields, while their husbands stand idle
spectators of the toil, or sleep inglorious beneath a neighboring shade.

In Madura the husband generally speaks to his wife in the most imperious
tone; while she with fear and trembling approaches him, waits upon him
while at meals, and pronounces not his name, but with the addition of
every dignifying title she can devise. In return for all this submission
he frequently beats and abuses her in the most barbarous manner. Being
asked the reason of such a behavior, one of them answered, "As our wives
are so much our inferiors why should we allow them to eat and drink with
us? Why should they not serve us with whatever we call for, and
afterwards sit down and eat up what we leave? If they commit faults, why
should they not suffer correction? It is their business only to bring up
our children, pound our rice, make our oil, and do every other kind of
drudgery, purposes to which only their low and inferior natures are

The Circassian custom of breeding young girls, on purpose to be sold in
the public market to the highest bidder, is generally known. Perhaps,
however, upon minute examination, we shall find that women are, in some
degree, bought and sold in every country, whether savage or civilized.


The women of the East, have in general, always exhibited the same
appearance. Their manners, customs, and fashions, unalterable like their
rocks, have stood the test of many revolving ages. Though the kingdoms
of their country have often changed masters, though they have submitted
to the arms of almost every invader, yet the laws by which their sex are
governed and enslaved, have never been revised nor amended.

Had the manners and customs of the Asiatic women been subject to the
same changes as they are in Europe, we might have expected the same
changes in the sentiments and writings of their men. But, as this is not
the case, we have reason to presume that the sentiments entertained by
Solomon, by the apocryphal writers, and by the ancient Bramins, are the
sentiments of this day.

Though the confinement of women be an unlawful exertion of superior
power, yet it affords a proof that the inhabitants of the East are
advanced some degrees farther in civilization than mere savages, who
have hardly any love and consequently as little jealousy.

This confinement is not very rigid in the empire of the Mogul. It is,
perhaps, less so in China, and in Japan hardly exists.

Though women are confined in the Turkish empire, they experience every
other indulgence. They are allowed, at stated times, to go to the public
baths; their apartments are richly, if not elegantly furnished; they
have a train of female slaves to serve and amuse them; and their persons
are adorned with every costly ornament which their fathers or husbands
can afford.

Notwithstanding the strictness of confinement in Persia, their women are
treated with several indulgences. They are allowed a variety of precious
liquors, costly perfumes, and beautiful slaves: their apartments are
furnished with the most elegant hangings and carpets; their persons
ornamented with the finest silks, and even loaded with the sparkling
jewels of the East. But all these trappings, however elegant, or however
gilded, are only like the golden chains sometimes made use of to bind a
royal prisoner.

Solomon had a great number of queens and concubines; but a petty Hindoo
chief has been known to have two thousand women confined within the
walls of his harem, and appropriated entirely to his pleasure. Nothing
less than unlimited power in the husband is able to restrain women so
confined, from the utmost disorder and confusion. They may repine in
secret, but they must clothe their features with cheerfulness when their
lord appears. Contumacy draws down on them immediate punishment: they
are degraded, chastised, divorced, shut up in dark dungeons, and
sometimes put to death.

Their persons, however, are so sacred, that they must not in the least
be violated, nor even be looked at, by any one but their husbands. This
female privilege has given an opportunity of executing many
conspiracies. Warriors, in such vehicles as are usually employed to
carry women, have been often conveyed, without examination, into the
apartments of the great; from whence, instead of issuing forth in the
smiles of beauty, they have rushed out in the terror of arms, and laid
the tyrants at their feet.

No stranger is ever allowed to see the women of Hindostan, nor can even
brothers visit their sisters in private. To be conscious of the
existence of a man's wives seems a crime; and he looks surly and
offended if their health is inquired after. In every country, honor
consists in something upon which the possessor sets the highest value.
This, with the Hindoo, is the chastity of his wives; a point without
which he must not live.

In the midst of slaughter and devastation, throughout all the East, the
harem is a sanctuary. Ruffians, covered with the blood of a husband,
shrink back with veneration from the secret apartment of his wives.

At Constantinople, when the sultan sends an order to strangle a
state-criminal, and seize on his effects, the officers who execute it
enter not into the harem, nor touch any thing belonging to the women.

Every Turkish seraglio and harem, has a garden adjoining to it, and in
the middle of this garden a large room, more or less decorated according
to the wealth of the proprietor. Here the ladies spend most of their
time, with their attendant nymphs around them employed at their music,
embroidery, or loom.

It has long been a custom among the grandees of Asia, to entertain
story-tellers of both sexes, who like the _bards_ of ancient Europe,
divert them with tales, and little histories, mostly on the subject of
bravery and love. These often amuse the women, and beguile the cheerless
hours of the harem, by calling up images to their minds which their eyes
are forever debarred from seeing.

All their other amusements, as well as this, are indolently voluptuous.
They spend a great part of their time in lolling on skien sofas; while a
train of female slaves, scarcely less voluptuous, attend to sing to
them, to fan them, and to rub their bodies; an exercise which the
Easterns enjoy, with a sort of placid ecstasy, as it promotes the
circulation of their languid blood.

They bathe themselves in rose water and other baths, prepared with the
precious odors of the East. They perfume themselves with costly
essences, and adorn their persons, that they may please the _tyrant_
with whom they are obliged to live.


Of all the other Asiatics, the Chinese have, perhaps the best title to
modesty. Even the men wrap themselves closely up in their garments, and
reckon it indecent to discover any more of their arms and legs than is
necessary.--The women, still more closely wrapt up, never discover a
naked hand even to their nearest relations, if they can possibly avoid
it. Every part of their dress, every part of their behavior is
calculated to preserve decency, and inspire respect. And, what adds
lustre to of their charms, is that uncommon modesty which appears in
every look and in every action.

Charmed, no doubt, with so engaging a deportment, the men behave to them
in a reciprocal manner. And, that their virtue may not be contaminated
by the neighborhood of vice, the legislature takes care that no
prostitutes shall lodge within the walls of any of the great cities of

Some, however, suspect whether this appearance of modesty be any thing
else than the custom of the country; and allege that, notwithstanding
so much decency and decorum, they have their peculiar modes of
intriguing, and embrace every possible opportunity of putting them in
practice; and that, in these intrigues, they frequently scruple not to
stab the paramour they had invited to their arms, as the surest method
of preventing detection and loss of character.

A bridegroom knows nothing of the character or person of his intended
wife, except what he gathers from the report of some female relative, or
confidant, who undertakes to arrange the marriage, and determine the sum
that shall be paid for the bride. Very severe laws are made to prevent
deception and fraud in these transactions. On the day appointed for the
wedding the damsel is placed in a close palanquin the key of which is
sent to the bridegroom, by the hands of some trusty domestic. Her
relations and friends accompanied by squalling music, escort her to his
house; at the gate of which he stands in full dress, ready to receive
her. He eagerly opens the palanquin and examines his bargain. If he is
pleased, she enters his dwelling, and the marriage is celebrated with
feasting and rejoicing; the men and women being all the time in separate
apartments. If the bridegroom is dissatisfied, he shuts the palanquin,
and sends the woman back to her relations; but when this happens, he
must pay another sum of money equal to the price he first gave for her.
A woman who unites beauty with accomplishments brings from four to seven
hundred louis d'ors; some sell for less than one hundred. The apartments
of the women are separated from those of the men by a wall at which a
guard is stationed. The wife is never allowed to eat with her husband;
she cannot quit her apartments without permission; and he does not enter
hers without first asking leave. Brothers are entirely separated from
their sisters at the age of nine or ten years.


The Africans were formerly renowned for their industry in cultivating
the ground, for their trade, navigation, caravans and useful arts.--At
present they are remarkable for their idleness, ignorance, superstition,
treachery, and, above all, for their lawless methods of robbing and
murdering all the other inhabitants of the globe.

Though they still retain some sense of their infamous character, yet
they do not choose to reform. Their priests, therefore, endeavor to
justify them, by the following story: "Noah," say they, "was no sooner
dead, than his three sons, the first of whom was _white_, the second
_tawny_, and the third _black_, having agreed upon dividing among them
his goods and possessions, spent the greatest part of the day in sorting
them; so that they were obliged to adjourn the division till the next
morning. Having supped and smoked a friendly pipe together, they all
went to rest, each in his own tent. After a few hours sleep, the white
brother got up, seized on the gold, silver, precious stones, and other
things of the greatest value, loaded the best horses with them, and rode
away to that country where his white posterity have been settled ever
since. The tawny, awaking soon after, and with the same criminal
intention, was surprised when he came to the store house to find that
his brother had been beforehand with him. Upon which he hastily secured
the rest of the horses and camels, and loading them with the best
carpets, clothes, and other remaining goods, directed his route to
another part of the world, leaving behind him, only a few of the
coarsest goods, and some provisions of little value.

When the third, or black brother, came next morning in the simplicity of
his heart to make the proposed division, and could neither find his
brethren, nor any of the valuable commodities, he easily judged they had
tricked him, and were by that time fled beyond any possibility of

In this most afflicted situation, he took his _pipe_, and begun to
consider the most effectual means of retrieving his loss, and being
revenged on his perfidious brothers.

After revolving a variety of schemes in his mind, he at last fixed upon
watching every opportunity of making reprisals on them, and laying hold
of and carrying away their property, as often as it should fall in his
way, in revenge for that patrimony of which they had so unjustly
deprived him.

Having come to this resolution, he not only continued in the practice of
it all his life, but on his death laid the strongest injunctions on his
descendants to do so, to the end of the world."

Some tribes of the Africans, however, when they have engaged themselves
in the protection of a stranger, are remarkable for fidelity. Many of
them are conspicuous for their temperance, hospitality, and several
other virtues.

Their women, upon the whole, are far from being indelicate or unchaste.
On the banks of the Niger, they are tolerably industrious, have a
considerable share of vivacity, and at the same time a female reserve,
which would do no discredit to a politer country. They are modest,
affable, and faithful; an air of innocence appears in their looks and in
their language, which gives a beauty to their whole deportment.

When, from the Niger, we approach toward the East, the African women
degenerate in stature, complexion, sensibility, and chastity. Even their
language, like their features, and the soil they inhabit, is harsh and
disagreeable. Their pleasures resemble more the transports of fury, than
the gentle emotions communicated by agreeable sensations.


The times and the manners of chivalry, by bringing great enterprises,
bold adventures, and extravagant heroism into fashion, inspired the
women with the same taste.

The two sexes always imitate each other. Their manners and their minds
are refined or corrupted, invigorated or dissolved together.

The women, in consequence of the prevailing passion, were now seen in
the middle of camps and of armies. They quitted the soft and tender
inclinations, and the delicate offices of their own sex, for the
courage, and the toilsome occupations of ours.

During the crusades, animated by the double enthusiasm of religion and
of valor, they often performed the most romantic exploits. They
obtained indulgences on the field of battle, and died with arms in their
hands, by the side of their lovers, or of their husbands.

In Europe, the women attacked and defended fortifications. Princesses
commanded their armies, and obtained victories.

Such was the celebrated Joan de Mountfort, disputing for her duchy of
Bretagne, and engaging the enemy herself.

Such was the still more celebrated Margaret of Anjou, queen of England
and wife of Henry VI. She was active and intrepid, a general and a
soldier. Her genius for a long time supported her feeble husband, taught
him to conquer, replaced him upon the throne, twice relieved him from
prison, and though oppressed by fortune and by rebels, she did not
yield, till she had decided in person twelve battles.

The warlike spirit among the women, consistent with ages of barbarism,
when every thing is impetuous because nothing is fixed, and when all
excess is the excess of force, continued in Europe upwards of four
hundred years, showing itself from time to time, and always in the
middle of convulsions, or on the eve of great revolutions.

But there were eras and countries, in which that spirit appeared with
particular lustre. Such were the displays it made in the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries in Hungary, and in the Islands of the Archipelago
and the Mediterranean, when they were invaded by the Turks.

Every thing conspired to animate the women of those countries with an
exalted courage; the prevailing spirit of the foregoing ages; the terror
which the name of the Turks inspired; the still more dreadful
apprehensions of an unknown enemy; the difference of _dress_, which has
a stronger _effect_ than is commonly supposed on the imagination of a
people; the difference of religion, which produced a kind of sacred
horror; the striking difference of manners; and above all, the
confinement of the female sex, which presented to the women of Europe
nothing but the frightful ideas of servitude and a master; the groans of
honor, the tears of beauty in the embrace of barbarism, and the double
tyranny of love and pride!

The contemplation of these objects, accordingly, roused in the hearts of
the women a resolute courage to defend themselves; nay, sometimes even a
courage of enthusiasm, which hurled itself against the enemy.--That
courage, too, was augmented, by the promises of a religion, which
offered eternal happiness in exchange for the sufferings of a moment.

It is not therefore surprising, that when three beautiful women of the
isle of Cyprus were led prisoners to Selim, to be secluded in the
seraglio, one of them, preferring death to such a condition, conceived
the project of setting fire to the magazine; and after having
communicated her design to the rest, put it in execution.

The year following, a city of Cyprus being besieged by the Turks, the
women ran in crowds, mingling themselves with the soldiers, and,
fighting gallantly in the breach, were the means of saving their

Under Mahomet II. a girl of the isle of Lemnos, armed with the sword and
shield of her father, who had fallen in battle, opposed the Turks, when
they had forced a gate, and chased them to the shore.

In the two celebrated sieges of Rhodes and Malta, the women, seconding
the zeal of the knights, discovered upon all occasions the greatest
intrepidity; not only that impetuous and temporary impulse which
despises death, but that cool and deliberate fortitude which can support
the continued hardships, the toils, and the miseries of war.


When a man had said any thing that reflected dishonor on a woman, or
accused her of a crime, she was not obliged to fight him to prove her
innocence: the combat would have been unequal. But she might choose a
champion to fight in her cause, or expose himself to the horrid trial,
in order to clear her reputation. Such champions were generally selected
from her lovers or friends. But if she fixed upon any other, so high was
the spirit of martial glory, and so eager the thirst of defending the
weak and helpless sex, that we meet with no instance of a champion ever
having refused to fight for, or undergo whatever custom required, in
defence of the lady who had honored him with the appointment.

To the motives already mentioned, we may add another. He who had
refused, must inevitably have been branded with the name of coward: and,
so despicable was the condition of a coward, in those times of general
heroism, that death itself appeared the more preferable choice. Nay,
such was the rage of fighting for women, that it became customary for
those who could not be honored with the decision of their real quarrels,
to create fictitious ones concerning them, in order to create also a
necessity of fighting.

Nor was fighting for the ladies confined to single combatants. Crowds of
gallants entered the lists against each other. Even kings called out
their subjects, to shew their love for their mistresses, by cutting the
throats of their neighbors, who had not in the least offended.

In the fourteenth century, when the Countess of Blois and the widow of
Mountford were at war against each other, a conference was agreed to, on
pretence of settling a peace, but in reality to appoint a combat.
Instead of negotiating, they soon challenged each other; and Beaumanoir,
who was at the head of the Britons, publicly declared that they fought
for no other motive, than to see, by the victory, who had the fairest

In the fifteenth century, we find an anecdote of this kind still more
extraordinary. John, duke de Bourbonnois, published a declaration, that
he would go over to England, with sixteen knights, and there fight it
out, in order to avoid idleness, and merit the good graces of his

James IV. of Scotland, having, in all tournaments, professed himself
knight to queen Anne of France, she summoned him to prove himself her
true and valorous champion, by taking the field in her defence, against
his brother-in-law, Henry VIII. of England. He obeyed the romantic
mandate; and the two nations bled to feed the vanity of a woman.

Warriors, when ready to engage, invoked the aid of their mistresses, as
poets do that of the Muses. If they fought valiantly, it reflected honor
on the Dulcineas they adored; but if they turned their backs on their
enemies, the poor ladies were dishonored forever.

Love, was at that time, the most prevailing motive to fighting. The
famous Gaston de Foix, who commanded the French troops at the battle of
Ravenna, took advantage of this foible of his army. He rode from rank to
rank, calling his officers by name, and even some of his private men,
recommending to them their country, their honor, and, above all, to shew
what they could do for their mistresses.

The women of those ages, the reader may imagine, were certainly more
completely happy than in any other period of the world. This, however,
was not in reality the case.

Custom, which governs all things with the most absolute sway, had,
through a long succession of years, given her sanction to such combats
as were undertaken, either to defend the innocence, or display the
beauty of women. Custom, therefore, either obliged a man to fight for a
woman who desired him, or marked the refusal with infamy and disgrace.
But custom did not oblige him, in every other part of his conduct, to
behave to this woman, or to the sex in general, with that respect and
politeness which have happily distinguished the character of more modern

The same man who would have encountered giants, or gigantic
difficulties, "when a lady was in the case," had but little idea of
adding to her happiness, by supplying her with the comforts and
elegancies of life. And, had she asked him to stoop, and ease her of a
part of that domestic slavery which, almost in every country, falls to
the lot of women, he would have thought himself quite affronted.

But besides, men had nothing else, in those ages, than that kind of
romantic gallantry to recommend them. Ignorant of letters, arts, and
sciences, and every thing that refines human nature, they were, in every
thing where gallantry was not concerned, rough and unpolished in their
manners and behavior. Their time was spent in drinking, war, gallantry,
and idleness. In their hours of relaxation, they were but little in
company with their women; and when they were, the indelicacies of the
carousal, or the cruelties of the field, were almost the only subjects
they had to talk of.

From the subversion of the Roman empire, to the fourteenth or fifteenth
century, women spent most of their time alone. They were almost entire
strangers to the joys of social life. They seldom went abroad, but to be
spectators of such public diversions and amusements as the fashion of
the times countenanced. Francis I. was the first monarch who introduced
them on public days to court.

Before his time, nothing was to be seen at any of the courts of Europe,
but long bearded politicians, plotting the destruction of the rights and
liberties of mankind; and warriors clad in complete armor, ready to put
their plots in execution.

In the eighth century, so slavish was the condition of women on the one
hand, and so much was beauty coveted on the other, that, for about two
hundred years, the kings of Austria were obliged to pay a tribute to the
Moors, of one hundred beautiful virgins per annum.

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, elegance had scarcely any
existence, and even cleanliness was hardly considered as laudable. The
use of linen was not known; and the most delicate of the fair sex wore
woollen shifts.

In the time of Henry VIII. the peers of the realm carried their wives
behind them on horseback when they went to London; and, in the same
manner, took them back to their country seats, with hoods of waxed linen
over their heads, and wrapped in mantles of cloth, to secure them from
the cold.

There was one misfortune of a singular nature, to which women were
liable in those days: they were in perpetual danger of being accused of
witchcraft, and suffering all the cruelties and indignities of a mob,
instigated by superstition and directed by enthusiasm; or of being
condemned by laws, which were at once a disgrace to humanity and to
sense. Even the bloom of youth and beauty could not secure them from
torture and from death. But when age and wrinkles attacked a woman, if
any thing uncommon happened in her neighborhood, she was almost sure of
atoning with her life for a crime it was impossible for her to commit.


Though the ladies of France are not very handsome, they are sensible and
witty. To many of them, without the least flattery, may be applied the
distich which Sappho ascribes to herself:

"_If partial nature has denied me beauty, the charms of my mind amply
make up for the deficiency._"

No women upon earth can excel, and few rival them, in their almost
native arts of pleasing all who approach them. Add to this, an education
beyond that of most European ladies, a consummate skill in those
accomplishments that suit the fair sex, and the most graceful manner of
displaying that knowledge to the utmost advantage.

Such is the description that may safely be given of the French ladies in
general. But the spirit, or rather the _evil genius_ of gallantry, too
often perverts all these lovely qualities, and renders them subservient
to very iniquitous ends.

In every country, women have always a little to do, and a great deal to
say. In France, they dictate almost every thing that is said, and direct
every thing that is done. They are the most restless beings in the
world. To fold her hands in idleness, and impose silence on her tongue,
would be to a French woman worse than death. The sole joy of her life is
to be engaged in the prosecution of some scheme, relating either to
fashion, ambition, or love.

Among the rich and opulent, they are entirely the votaries of pleasure,
which they pursue through all its labyrinths, at the expense of fortune,
reputation, and health. Giddy and extravagant to the last degree, they
leave to their husbands economy and care, which would only spoil their
complexions, and furrow their brows.

When we descend to tradesmen and mechanics, the case is reversed: the
wife manages every thing in the house and shop, while the husband
lounges in the back-shop an idle spectator, or struts about with his
sword and bag-wig.

Matrimony among the French, seems to be a bargain entered into by a male
and female, to bear the same name, live in the same house, and pursue
their separate pleasures without restraint or control. And, so
religiously is this part of the bargain kept, that both parties shape
their course exactly as convenience and inclination dictate.

The French girls are kept under very strict superintendence. They are
not allowed to go to parties, or places of public amusement, without
being accompanied by some married female relation; and they see their
lovers only in the presence of a third person. Marriages are entirely
negotiated by parents; and sometimes the wedding day is the second time
that a bride and bridegroom see each other. Nothing is more common than
to visit a lady, and attend her parties, without knowing her husband by
sight; or to visit a gentleman without ever being introduced to his
wife. If a married couple were to be seen frequently in each other's
company, they would be deemed extremely ungenteel. After ladies are
married, they have unbounded freedom. It is a common practice to receive
morning calls from gentlemen, before they have risen from bed; and they
talk with as little reserve to such visiters, as they would in the
presence of any woman of refinement.

In no country does real politeness shew itself more than in France,
where the company of the women is accessible to every man who can
recommend himself by his dress, and by his address. To affectation and
prudery the French women are equally strangers. Easy and unaffected in
their manners, their politeness has so much the appearance of nature,
that one would almost believe no part of it to be the effect of art. An
air of sprightliness and gaiety sits perpetually on their countenances,
and their whole deportment seems to indicate that their only business is
to "strew the path of life with flowers." Persuasion hangs on their
lips; and, though their volubility of tongue is indefatigable, so soft
is their accent, so lively their expression, so various their attitudes,
that they fix the attention for hours together on a tale of nothing.

The Jewish doctors have a fable concerning the etymology of the word
Eve, which one would almost be tempted to say is realized in the French
women. "Eve," say they, "comes from a word, which signifies to talk; and
she was so called, because, soon after the creation, there fell from
heaven twelve baskets full of chit chat, and she picked up _nine_ of
them, while her husband was gathering the other _three_."

French ladies, especially those not young, use a great deal of rouge. A
traveller who saw many of them in their opera boxes, says, "I could
compare them to nothing but a large bed of pionies."

After the French revolution, it became the fashion to have everything in
ancient classic style. Loose flowing drapery, naked arms, sandaled feet,
and tresses twisted, were the order of the day.

The state of gross immorality that prevailed at this time ought not to
be described, if language had the power. The profligacy of Rome in its
worst days was comparatively thrown into the shade. Religion and
marriage became a mockery, and every form of impure and vindictive
passion walked abroad, with the consciousness that public opinion did
not require them to assume even a slight disguise. The fish-women of
Paris will long retain an unenviable celebrity for the brutal excess of
their rage. The goddess of Reason was worshipped by men, under the form
of a living woman entirely devoid of clothing; and in the public streets
ladies might be seen who scarcely paid more attention to decorum.


Dr Goldsmith thus characterises the Italians in general:

    "Could nature's bounty satisfy the breast,
  The sons of Italy were surely blest.
  Whatever fruits in different climes are found,
  That proudly rise, or humbly court the ground;
  Whatever blooms in torrid tracts appear,
  Whose bright succession decks the varied year:
  Whatever sweets salute the northern sky,
  With vernal leaves that blossom but to die:
  These here disporting, own the kindred soil,
  Nor ask luxuriance from their planter's toil;
  While sea-born gales their gelid wings expand,
  To winnow fragrance round the smiling land.

    "But small the bliss that sense alone bestows,
  And sensual bliss is all the nation knows.
  In florid beauty groves and fields appear,
  Man seems the only growth that dwindles here.
  Contrasted faults thro' all his manners rein;
  Though poor, luxurious; though submissive, vain;
  Though grave, yet trifling; zealous, yet untrue;
  And e'en in penance planning sins anew.
  All evils here contaminate the mind,
  That opulence departed leaves behind:
  For wealth was theirs, not far remov'd the date,
  When commerce proudly flourish'd thro' the state;
  At her command the palace learn'd to rise,
  Again the long fall'n column sought the skies;
  The canvass glow'd, beyond e'en nature warm;
  The pregnant quarry teem'd with human form.
  Till, more unsteady then the southern gale,
  Commerce on other shores display'd her sail;
  While naught remain'd of all that riches gave,
  But towns unmann'd, and lords without a slave;
  And late the nation found, with fruitless skill,
  Its former strength was but plethoric ill.

    "Yet still the loss of wealth is here supplied
  By arts, the splendid wrecks of former pride;
  From them the feeble heart and long fall'n mind
  An easy compensation seem to find.
  Here may be seen in bloodless pomp array'd,
  The pasteboard triumph, and the cavalcade;
  Processions form'd from piety and love,
  A mistress or a saint in every grove."

Almost every traveller who has visited Italy, agrees in describing it as
the most abandoned of all the countries of Europe. At Venice, at Naples,
and indeed in almost every port of Italy, women are taught from their
infancy the various arts of alluring to their arms the young and unwary,
and of obtaining from them, while heated by love or wine, every thing
that flattery and false smiles can obtain, in these unguarded moments.

The Italians, like their neighbors of Spain and Portugal, live under the
paralyzing influence of a religion that retains its superstitious forms,
while little of life-giving faith remains. Like them they have lively
passions, are extremely susceptible, and in the general conduct of life
more governed by the impetuosity of impulse than rectitude of principle.
The ladies have less gravity than the Spanish, and less frivolity than
the French, and in their style of dress incline towards the freedom of
the latter. Some of the richest and most commodious convents of Europe
are in Italy. The daughters of wealthy families are generally bestowed
in marriage as soon as they leave these places of education. These
matters are entirely arranged by parents and guardians, and youth and
age are not unfrequently joined together, for the sake of uniting
certain acres of land. But the affections, thus repressed, seek their
natural level by indirect courses. It is a rare thing for an Italian
lady to be without her _cavaliere servente_, or lover, who spends much
of his time at her house, attends her to all public places, and appears
to live upon her smiles. The old maxim of the Provençal troubadours,
that matrimony ought to be no hindrance to such _liaisons_, seems to be
generally and practically believed in Italy.

In Genoa, there are marriage-brokers, who have pocketbooks filled with
the names of marriageable girls of different classes, with an account of
their fortunes, personal attractions, &c. When they succeed in
arranging connections, they have two or three per cent. commission on
the portion. The marriage-contract is often drawn up before the parties
have seen each other. If a man dislikes the appearances or manners of
his future partner, he may break off the match, on condition of paying
the brokerage and other expenses.


As the Spanish ladies are under a greater seclusion from general
society, than the sex is in other European countries, their desires of
an adequate degree of liberty are consequently more strong and urgent. A
free and open communication being denied them, they make it their
business to secure themselves a secret and hidden one. Hence it is that
Spain is the country of intrigue.

The Spanish women are little or nothing indebted to education. But
nature has liberally supplied them with a fund of wit and sprightliness,
which is certainly no small inducement to those, who have only transient
glimpses of their charms, to wish very earnestly for a removal of those
impediments, that obstruct their more frequent presence. This not being
attainable in a lawful way of customary intercourse, the natural
propensity of men to overcome difficulties of this kind, incites them to
leave no expedient untried to gain admittance to what perhaps was at
first only the object of their admiration, but which, by their being
refused an innocent gratification of that passion, becomes at last the
subject of a more serious one. Thus in Spain, as in all countries where
the sex is kept much out of sight, the thoughts of men are continually
employed in devising methods to break into their concealments.

There is in the Spaniards a native dignity; which, though the source of
many inconveniences, has nevertheless this salutary effect, that it sets
them above almost every species of meanness and infidelity. This quality
is not peculiar to the men; it diffuses itself, in a great measure,
among the women also. Its effects are visible both in their constancy in
love and friendship, in which respects they are the very reverse of the
French women. Their affections are not to be gained by a bit of
sparkling lace, or a tawdry set of liveries. Their deportment is rather
grave and reserved; and, on the whole, they have much more of the prude
than the coquette in their composition. Being more confined at home, and
less engaged in business and pleasure, they take more care of their
children than the French, and have a becoming tenderness in their
disposition to all animals, except a _heretic_ and a _rival_.

Something more than a century ago, the Marquis D'Astrogas having
prevailed on a young woman of great beauty to become his mistress, the
Marchioness hearing of it, went to her lodging with some assassins,
killed her, tore out her heart, carried it home, made a _ragout_ of it,
and presented the dish to the Marquis. "It it exceedingly good," said
he. "No wonder," answered she, "since it was made of the _heart_ of that
creature you so much doated on." And, to confirm what she had said, she
immediately drew out her head all bloody from beneath her hoop, and
rolled it on the floor, her eyes sparkling all the time with a mixture
of pleasure and infernal fury.

A lady to whom a gentleman pays his addresses, is sole mistress of his
time and money; and, should he refuse her any request, whether
reasonable or capricious, it would reflect eternal dishonor upon him
among the men, and make him the detestation of all the women.

But, in no situation does their character appear so whimsical, or their
power so conspicuous, as when they are pregnant. In this case, whatever
they long for, whatever they ask, or whatever they have an inclination
to do, they must be indulged in.


The women of England are eminent for many good qualities both of the
head and of the heart. There we meet with that inexpressible softness
and delicacy of manners, which, cultivated by education, appears as much
superior to what it does without it, as the polished diamond appears
superior to that which is rough from the mine. In some parts of the
world, women have attained to so little knowledge and so little
consequence, that we consider their virtues as merely of the negative
kind. In England they consist not only in abstinence from evil, but in
doing good.

There we see the sex every day exerting themselves in acts of
benevolence and charity, in relieving the distresses of the body, and
binding up the wounds of the mind; in reconciling the differences of
friends, and preventing the strife of enemies; and, to sum up all, in
that care and attention to their offspring, which is so necessary and
essential a part of their duty.

A woman may succeed to the throne of England with the same power and
privileges as a king; and the business of the state is transacted in her
name, while her husband is only a subject. The king's wife is considered
as a subject; but is exempted from the law which forbids any married
woman to possess property in her own right during the lifetime of her
husband; she may sue any person at law without joining her husband in
the suit; may buy and sell lands without his interference; and she may
dispose of her property by will, as if she were a single woman. She
cannot be fined by any court of law; but is liable to be tried and
punished for crimes by peers of the realm. The queen dowager enjoys
nearly the same privileges that she did before she became a widow; and
if she marries a subject still continues to retain her rank and title;
but such marriages cannot take place without permission from the
reigning sovereign. A woman who is noble in her own right, retains her
title when she marries a man of inferior rank; but if ennobled by her
husband, she loses the title by marrying a commoner. A peeress can only
be tried by a jury of peers.

In old times, a woman who was convicted of being a common mischief-maker
and scold, was sentenced to the punishment of the ducking-stool; which
consisted of a sort of chair fastened to a pole, in which she was seated
and repeatedly let down into the water, amid the shouts of the rabble.
At Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a woman convicted of the same offence was led
about the streets by the hangman, with an instrument of iron bars fitted
on her head, like a helmet. A piece of sharp iron entered the mouth, and
severely pricked the tongue whenever the culprit attempted to move it.

A great deal of vice prevails in England, among the very fashionable,
and the very low classes. Misconduct and divorces are not unfrequent
among the former, because their mode of life corrupts their principles,
and they deem themselves above the jurisdiction of popular opinion; the
latter feel as if they were beneath the influence of public censure, and
find it very difficult to be virtuous, on account of extreme poverty,
and the consequent obstructions in the way of marriage. But the general
character of English women is modest, reserved, sincere, and dignified.
They have strong passions and affections, which often develope
themselves in the most beautiful forms of domestic life. They are in
general remarkable for a healthy appearance, and an exquisite bloom of
complexion. Perhaps the world does not present a lovelier or more
graceful picture than the English home of a virtuous family.


It is only a few years since the Russians emerged from a state of

A late empress of Russia, as a punishment for some female frailties,
ordered a most beautiful young lady of family to be publicly chastised,
in a manner which was hardly less indelicate than severe.

It is said that the Russian ladies were formerly as submissive to their
husbands in their families, as the latter are to their superiors in the
field; and that they thought themselves ill treated, if they were not
often reminded of their duty by the discipline of a _whip_, manufactured
by themselves, which they presented to their husbands on the day of
their marriage. The latest travellers, however, assert, that they find
no remaining traces of this custom at present.

Russian fathers, of all classes, generally arrange marriages for their
children, without consulting their inclinations. Among the peasantry, if
the girl has the name of being a good housewife, her parents will not
fail to have applications for her, whatever may be her age or personal
endowments. As soon as a young man is old enough to be married, his
parents seek a wife for him, and all is settled before the young couple
know any thing of the matter.

Their nuptial ceremonies are peculiar to themselves; and formerly
consisted of many whimsical rites, some of which are now disused. On her
wedding day, the bride is crowned with a garland of wormwood; and, after
the priest has tied the nuptial knot, his clerk or sexton throws a
handful of hops upon the head of the bride, wishing that she might prove
as fruitful as that plant. She is then led home, with abundance of
coarse ceremonies, which are now wearing off even among the lowest
ranks; and the barbarous treatment of wives by their husbands is either
guarded against by the laws of the country, or by particular
stipulations in the marriage contract.

In the conversation and actions of the Russian ladies, there is hardly
any thing of that softness and delicacy which distinguishes the sex in
other parts of Europe. Even their exercises and diversions have more of
the masculine than the feminine. The present empress, with the ladies of
her court, sometimes divert themselves by shooting at a mark.
Drunkenness, the vice of almost every cold climate, they are so little
ashamed of, that not many years ago, when a lady got drunk at the house
of a friend, it was customary for her to return next day, and thank him
for the pleasure he had done her.

Females, however, in Russia, possess several advantages. They share the
rank and splendor of the families from which they are sprung, and are
even allowed the supreme authority. This a few years ago, was enjoyed by
an empress, whose head did honor to her nation and to her sex; although,
on some occasions, the virtues of her heart have been much suspected.
The sex, in general, are protected from insult, by many salutary laws;
and, except among the peasants, are exempted from every kind of toil and
slavery. Upon the whole, they seem to be approaching fast to the
enjoyment of that consequence, to which they have already arrived in
several parts of Europe.


It is an opinion pretty well established, that in strength of mind, as
well as of body, men are greatly superior to women.

Men are endowed with boldness and courage, women are not. The reason is
plain, these are beauties in our character; in theirs they would be
blemishes. Our genius often leads to the great and the arduous; theirs
to the soft and the pleasing; we bend our thoughts to make life
convenient; they turn theirs to make it easy and agreeable. If the
endowments allotted to us by nature could not be easily acquired by
women, it would be as difficult for us to acquire those peculiarly
allotted to them. Are we superior to them in what belongs to the male
character? They are no less so to us, in what belongs to the female

Would it not appear rather ludicrous to say, that a man was endowed only
with inferior abilities, because he was not expert in the nursing of
children, and practising the various effeminacies which we reckon lovely
in a woman? Would it be reasonable to condemn him on these accounts?
Just as reasonable, as it is to reckon women inferior to men, because
their talents are in general not adapted to tread the horrid path of
war, nor trace the mazes and intricacies of science.

The idea of the inferiority of female nature has drawn after it several
others the most absurd, unreasonable, and humiliating to the sex. Such
is the pride of man, that in some countries he has considered
immortality as a distinction too glorious for women. Thus degrading the
fair partners of his nature, he places them on a level with the beasts
that perish.

As the Asiatics have, time immemorial, considered women as little better
than slaves, this opinion probably originated among them. The
Mahometans, both in Asia and Europe, are said, by a great variety of
writers, to entertain this opinion.

Lady Montague, in her letters, has opposed this general assertion of the
writers concerning the Mahometans; and says that they do not absolutely
deny the existence of female souls, but only hold them to be of a
nature inferior to those of men; and that they enter not into the same,
but into an inferior paradise, prepared for them on purpose. Lady
Montague, and the writers whom she has contradicted, may perhaps be both
right. The former might be the opinion which the Turks brought with them
from Asia; and the latter, as a refinement upon it they may have adopted
by their intercourse with the Europeans.

This opinion, however, has had but few votaries in Europe: though some
have even here maintained it, and assigned various reasons for so doing.
Among these, the following laughable reason is not the least
particular--"In the Revelations of St. John the divine," said one, whose
wife was a descendant of the famous Xantippe,[1] "you will find this
passage: _And there was silence in heaven for about the space of half an
hour_. Now, I appeal to any one, whether that could possibly have
happened, had there been any women there? And, since there are none
there, charity forbids us to imagine that they are all in a worse place;
therefore it follows that they have no immortal part: and happy is it
for them, as they are thereby exempted from being accountable for all
the noise and disturbance they have raised in this world."

In a very ancient treatise, called the Wisdom of all Times, ascribed to
Hushang, one of the earliest kings of Persia, are the following
remarkable words: "The passions of men may, by long acquaintance, be
thoroughly known; but the passions of women are inscrutable; therefore
they ought to be separated from men, lest the mutability of their
tempers should infect others."

Ideas of a similar nature seem to have been at this time, generally
diffused over the East. For we find Solomon, almost every where in his
writings, exclaiming against women; and, in the Apocrypha, the author of
Ecclesiasticus is still more illiberal in his reflections.

Both these authors, it is true, join in the most enraptured manner to
praise a virtuous woman; but take care at the same time to let us know,
that she is so great a rarity as to be very seldom met with.

Nor have the Asiatics alone been addicted to this illiberality of
thinking concerning the sex. Satirists of all ages and countries, while
they flattered them to their faces, have from their closets scattered
their spleen and ill-nature against them. Of this the Greek and Roman
poets afford a variety of instances; but they must nevertheless yield
the palm to some of our moderns. In the following lines, Pope has
outdone every one of them:

  "Men some to pleasure, some to business take;
  But every woman is at heart--a rake."

Swift and Dr Young have hardly been behind this celebrated splenetic in
illiberality. They perhaps were not favorites of the fair, and in
revenge vented all their envy and spleen against them. But a more modern
and accomplished writer who by his rank in life, by his natural and
acquired _graces_, was undoubtedly a favorite, has repaid their kindness
by taking every opportunity of exhibiting them in the most contemptible
light. "Almost every man," says he, "may be gained some way, almost
every woman any way, can any thing exhibit a stronger caution to the
sex?" It is fraught with information; and it is to be hoped they will
use it accordingly.

    [1] Xantippe, was the wife of Socrates, and the most famous scold
        of antiquity.


Would we conceive properly of that simplicity which is the sweetest
expression of a well-informed and well-meaning mind, which every where
diffuses tenderness and delicacy, sweetens the relations of life, and
gives a zest to the minutest duties of humanity, let us contemplate
every perceptible operation of nature, the twilight of the evening, the
pearly dew-drops of the early morning, and all that various growth which
indicates the genial return of spring. The same principle from which all
that is soft and pleasing, amiable or exquisite, to the eye or to the
ear, in the exterior frame of nature, produces that taste for true
simplicity, which is one of the most useful, as well as the most elegant
lessons, that _ladies_ can learn.

Infancy, is perhaps, the finest and most perfect illustration of
simplicity. It is a state of genuine nature throughout. The feelings of
children are under no kind of restraint, but pure as the fire, free as
the winds, honest and open as the face of heaven. Their joys incessantly
flow in the thickest succession, and their griefs only seem fleeting and
evanescent. To the calls of nature they are only attentive. They know no
voice but hers. Their obedience to all her commands is prompt and
implicit. They never anticipate her bounties, nor relinquish her
pleasures. This situation renders them independent of artifice.
Influenced only by nature, their manners, like the principle that
produces them, are always the same.

Genuine simplicity is that peculiar quality of the mind, by which some
happy characters are enabled to avoid the most distant approaches to any
thing like affectation, inconstancy, or design, in their intercourse
with the world. It is much more easily understood, however than defined;
and consists not in a specific tone of the voice, movement of the body,
or mode imposed by custom, but is the natural and permanent effect of
real modesty and good sense on the whole behavior.

This has been considered in all ages, as one of the first and most
captivating ornaments of the sex. The savage, the plebeian, the man of
the world, and the courtier, are agreed in stamping it with a preference
to every other female excellence.

Nature only is lovely, and nothing unnatural can ever be amiable. The
genuine expressions of truth and nature are happily calculated to
impress the heart with pleasure. No woman, whatever her other qualities
may be, was ever eminently agreeable, but in proportion as
distinguished by these. The world is good-natured enough to give a lady
credit for all the merit she can possess or acquire, without
affectation. But the least shade or coloring of this odious foible
brings certain and indelible obloquy on the most elegant
accomplishments. The blackest suspicion inevitably rests on every thing
assumed. She who is only an ape of others, or prefers formality in all
its gigantic and preposterous shapes, to that plain, unembarassed
conduct which nature unavoidably produces, will assuredly provoke an
abundance of ridicule, but never can be an object either of love or

The various artifices of the sex discover themselves at a very early
period. A passion for expense and show is one of the first they exhibit.
This gives them a taste for refinement, which divests their young hearts
of almost every other feeling, renders their tempers desultory and
capricious, regulates their dress only by the most fantastic models of
finery and fashion, and makes their company rather tiresome and awkward,
than pleasing or elegant.

No one perhaps can form a more ludicrous contrast to every thing just
and graceful in nature, than the woman whose sole object in life is to
pass for a _fine lady_. The attentions she every where and uniformly
pays, expects, and even exacts, are tedious and fatiguing. Her various
movements and attitudes are all adjusted and exhibited by rule. By a
happy fluency of the most eloquent language, she has the art of
imparting a momentary dignity and grace to the merest trifles. Studious
only to mimic such peculiarities as are most admired in others, she
affects a loquacity peculiarly flippant and teazing because scandal,
routs, finery, fans, china, lovers, lap-dogs, or squirrels, are her
constant themes. Her amusements, like those of a magpie, are only
hopping over the same spots, prying into the same corners, and devouring
the same species of prey. The simple and beautiful delineations of
nature, in her countenance, gestures and whole deportment, are
habitually arranged, distorted, or concealed, by the affected adoption
of whatever grimace or deformity is latest or most in vogue.

She accustoms her face to a simper, which every separate feature in it
belies. She spoils, perhaps, a blooming complexion with a profusion of
artificial coloring, she distorts the most exquisite shape by loads or
volumes of useless drapery. She has her head, her arms, her feet, and
her gait, equally touched by art and affectation, into what is called
the _taste_, the _ton_, or the _fashion_.

She little considers to what a torrent of ridicule and sarcasm this mode
of conduct exposes her; or how exceedingly cold and hollow that ceremony
must be, which is not the language of a warm heart. She does not reflect
how insipid those smiles are, which indicate no internal pleasantry; nor
how awkward those graces, which spring not from habits of good-nature
and benevolence. Thus, pertness succeeds to delicacy, assurance to
modesty, and all the vagaries of a listless to the sensibilities of an
ingenuous mind.

With her, punctilio is politeness; dissipation, life; and levity,
spirit. The miserable and contemptible drudge of every tawdry innovation
in dress or ceremony, she incessantly mistakes extravagance for taste,
and finery for elegance.

Her favorite examples are not those persons of acknowledged sincerity,
who speak as they feel, and act as they think; but such only as are
formed to dazzle her fancy, amuse her senses, or humor her whims. Her
only study is how to glitter or shine, how to captivate and gratify the
gaze of the multitude, or how to swell her own pomp and importance. To
this interesting object all her assiduities and time are religiously

How often is debility of mind, and even badness of heart concealed under
a splendid exterior! The fairest of the species, and of the sex, often
want sincerity; and without sincerity every other qualification is
rather a blemish, than a virtue, or excellence. Sincerity operates on
the moral, somewhat like the sun on the natural world; and produces
nearly the same effects on the dispositions of the human heart, which he
does on inanimate objects. Wherever sincerity prevails and is felt, all
the smiling and benevolent virtues flourish most, disclose their
sweetest lustre, and diffuse their richest fragrance.

Heaven has not a finer or more perfect emblem on earth than a woman of
genuine simplicity. She affects no graces which are not inspired by
sincerity. Her opinions result not from passion and fancy, but from
reason and experience. Candor and humility give expansion to her heart.
She struggles for no kind of chimerical credit, disclaims the appearance
of every affectation, and is in all things just what she seems, and
others would be thought. Nature, not art, is the great standard of her
manners; and her exterior wears no varnish, or embellishment, which is
not the genuine signature of an open, undesigning, and benevolent mind.
It is not in her power, because not in her nature, to hide, with a
fawning air, and a mellow voice, her aversion or contempt, where her
delicacy is hurt, here temper ruffled, or her feelings insulted.

In short, whatever appears most amiable, lovely, or interesting in
nature, art, manners, or life, originates in simplicity. What is
correctness in taste, purity in morals, truth in science, grace in
beauty, but simplicity? It is the garb of innocence. It adorned the
first ages, and still adorns the infant state of humanity. Without
simplicity, woman is a vixen, a coquette, a hypocrite; society a
masquerade, and pleasure a phantom.

The following story, I believe, is pretty generally known. A lady, whose
husband had long been afflicted with an acute but lingering disease,
suddenly feigned such an uncommon _tenderness_ for him, as to resolve on
dying in his stead. She had even the address to persuade him not to
outlive this extraordinary instance of her conjugal fidelity and
attachment. It was instantaneously agreed they should mutually swallow
such a quantity of arsenic, as would speedily effect their dreadful
purpose. She composed the fatal draught before his face and even set him
the desperate example of drinking first. By this device, which had all
the appearance of the greatest affection and candor, the dregs only were
reserved for him, and soon put a period to his life.

It then appeared that the dose was so tempered, as, from the weight of
the principal ingredient, to be deadly only at the bottom, which she had
artfully appropriated for his share. Even after all this finesse, she
seized, we are told, his inheritance, and insulted his memory by a
second marriage.


A late eminent anatomist, in a professional discourse on the female
frame, is said to have declared, that it almost appeared an act of
cruelty in nature to produce such a being as woman. This remark may,
indeed, be the natural exclamation of refined sensibility, in
contemplating the various maladies to which a creature of such delicate
organs is inevitably exposed; but, if we take a more enlarged survey of
human existence, we shall be far from discovering any just reason to
arraign the benevolence of its provident and gracious Author. If the
delicacy of woman must render her familiar with pain and sickness, let
us remember that her charms, her pleasures, and her happiness, arise
also from the same attractive quality. She is a being, to use the
forcible and elegant expression of a poet,

  "Fine by defect, and admirably weak."

There is, perhaps, no charm by which she more effectually secures the
tender admiration and the lasting love, of the more hardy sex, than her
superior endurance, her mild and _graceful_ submission to the common
evils of life.

Nor is this the sole advantage she derives from her gentle fortitude. It
is the prerogative of this lovely virtue, to lighten the pressure of all
those incorrigible evils which it cheerfully endures. The frame of man
may be compared to the sturdy _oak_, which is often shattered by
resisting the tempest. Woman is the pliant _osier_, which, in bending to
the storm, eludes its violence.

The accurate observers of human nature will readily allow, that patience
is most eminently the characteristic of woman. To what a sublime and
astonishing height this virtue has been carried by beings of the most
delicate texture, we have striking examples in the many female martyrs
who were exposed, in the first ages of christianity, to the most
barbarous and lingering torture.

Nor was it only from christian zeal that woman derived the power of
defying the utmost rigors of persecution with invincible fortitude.
Saint Ambrose, in his elaborate and pious treatise on this subject,
records the resolution of a fair disciple of Pythagoras, who, being
severely urged by a tyrant to reveal the secrets of her sex, to convince
him that no torments should reduce her to so unworthy a breach of her
vow, bit her own _tongue_ asunder, and darted it in the face of her

In consequence of those happy changes which have taken place in the
world, from the progress of purified religion, the inexpressible spirit
of the tender sex is no longer exposed to such inhuman trials. But if
the earth is happily delivered from the demons of torture and
superstition; if beauty and innocence are no more in danger of being
dragged to perish at the stake--perhaps there are situations, in female
life, that require as much patience and magnanimity, as were formerly
exerted in the fiery torments of the virgin martyr. It is more difficult
to support an accumulation of _minute_ infelicities, than any single
calamity of the most terrific magnitude.


Where the human race has little other culture than what it receives from
nature, the two sexes live together, unconscious of almost any restraint
on their words or on their actions. The Greeks, in the heroic ages, as
appears from the whole history of their conduct, were totally
unacquainted with delicacy. The Romans in the infancy of their empire,
were the same. Tacitus informs us that the ancient Germans had not
separate beds for the two sexes, but that they lay promiscuously on
reeds or on heath, spread along the walls of their houses. This custom
still prevails in Lapland, among the peasants of Norway, Poland, and
Russia; and it is not altogether obliterated in some parts of the
highlands of Scotland and Wales.

In Otaheite, to appear naked or in clothes, are circumstances equally
indifferent to both sexes; nor does any word in their language, nor any
action to which they are prompted by nature, seem more indelicate or
reprehensible than another. Such are the effects of a total want of

Effects not very dissimilar, are, in France and Italy, produced from a
redundance of it. Though those are the polite countries in Europe, women
there set themselves above shame, and despise delicacy. It is laughed
out of existence, as a silly and unfashionable weakness.

But in China, one of the politest countries in Asia, and perhaps not
even, in this respect, behind France, or Italy, the case is quite
otherwise. No human being can be more delicate than a Chinese woman in
her dress, in her behavior, and in her conversation; and should she ever
happen to be exposed in any unbecoming manner, she feels with the
greatest poignancy the awkwardness of her situation, and if possible,
covers her face, that she may not be known.

In the midst of so many discordant appearances, the mind is perplexed,
and can hardly fix upon any cause to which female delicacy is to be
ascribed. If we attend, however, to the whole animal creation, if we
consider it attentively wherever it falls under our observation, it will
discover to us, that in the female there is a greater degree of delicacy
or coy reserve than in the male. Is not this a proof, that, through the
wide extent of creation, the seeds of delicacy are more liberally
bestowed upon females than upon males?

In the remotest periods of which we have any historical account, we find
that the women had a delicacy to which the other sex were strangers.
Rebecca veiled herself when she first approached Isaac, her future
husband. Many of the fables of antiquity mark, with the most
distinguishing characters, the force of female delicacy. Of this kind is
the fable of Actæon and Diana. Actæon, a famous hunter, being in the
woods with his hounds, beating for game, accidentally spied Diana and
her nymphs bathing in a river. Prompted by curiosity, he stole silently
into a neighboring thicket, that he might have a nearer view of them.
The goddess discovering him, was so affronted at his audacity, and so
much ashamed to have been seen naked, that in revenge she immediately
transformed him into a stag, set his own hounds upon him, and encouraged
them to overtake and devour him. Besides this, and other fables, and
historical anecdotes of antiquity, their poets seldom exhibit a female
character without adorning it with the graces of modesty and delicacy.
Hence we may infer, that these qualities have not been only essential to
virtuous women in civilized countries, but were also constantly praised
and esteemed by men of sensibility; and that delicacy is an innate
principle in the female mind.

There are so many evils attending the loss of virtue in women, and so
greatly are the minds of that sex depraved when they have deviated from
the path of rectitude, that a general contamination of their morals may
be considered as one of the greatest misfortunes that can befal a state,
as in time it destroys almost every public virtue of the men. Hence all
wise legislators have strictly enforced upon the sex a particular purity
of manners; and not satisfied that they should abstain from vice only,
have required them even to shun every appearance of it.

Such, in some periods, were the laws of the Romans; and such were the
effects of these laws, that if ever female delicacy shone forth in a
conspicuous manner, it was perhaps among those people, after they had
worn off much of the barbarity of their first ages, and before they
became contaminated, by the wealth and manners of the nations which they
plundered and subjected. Then it was that we find many of their women
surpassing in modesty almost every thing related by fable; and then it
was that their ideas of delicacy were so highly refined, that they could
not even bear the secret consciousness of an involuntary crime, and far
less of having tacitly consented to it.


The company of ladies has a very powerful influence on the sentiments
and conduct of men. Women, the fruitful source of half our joys, and
perhaps of _more_ than half our sorrows, give an elegance to our manner,
and a relish to our pleasures. They soothe our afflictions, and soften
our cares. Too much of their company will render us effeminate, and
infallibly stamp upon us many signatures of the female nature. A rough
and unpolished behavior, as well as slovenliness of person, will
certainly be the consequence of an almost constant exclusion from it. By
spending a reasonable portion of our time in the company of women, and
another in the company of our own sex, we shall imbibe a proper share of
the softness of the female, and at the same time retain the firmness and
constancy of the male.

As little social intercourse subsisted between the two sexes, in the
more early ages of antiquity, we find the men less courteous, and the
women less engaging. Vivacity and cheerfulness seem hardly to have
existed. Even the Babylonians, who appear to have allowed their women
more liberty than any of the ancients, seem not to have lived with them
in a friendly and familiar manner. But, as their intercourse with them
was considerably greater than that of the neighboring nations, they
acquired thereby a polish and refinement unknown to any of the people
who surrounded them. The manners of both sexes were softer, and better
calculated to please.

They likewise paid more attention to cleanliness and dress.

After the Greeks became famous for their knowledge of the arts and
sciences, their rudeness and barbarity were only softened a _few
degrees_. It is not therefore arts, sciences, and _learning_, but the
company of the other sex, that forms the manner and renders the man

The Romans were, for some time, a community without any thing to soften
the ferocity of male nature. The Sabine virgins, whom they had stolen,
appear to have infused into them the first ideas of politeness. But it
was many ages before this politeness banished the roughness of the
warrior, and assumed the refinement of the gentleman.

During the times of chivalry, female influence was at the zenith of its
glory and perfection. It was the source of valor, it gave birth to
politeness, it awakened pity, it called forth benevolence, it restricted
the hand of oppression, and meliorated the human heart. "I cannot
approach my mistress," said one, "till I have done some glorious deed to
deserve her notice. Actions should be the messengers of the heart; they
are the homage due to beauty, and they only should discover love."

Marsan, instructing a young knight how to behave so as to gain the favor
of the fair, has these remarkable words:--"When your arm is raised, if
your lance fail, draw your sword directly; and let heaven and hell
resound with the clash. Lifeless is the soul which beauty cannot
animate, and weak is the arm which cannot fight valiantly to defend it."

The Russians, Poles, and even the Dutch, pay less attention to their
females than any of their neighbors, and are, by consequence, less
distinguished for the graces of their persons, and the feelings of their

The lightness of their food, and the salubrity of their air, have been
assigned as reasons for the vivacity and cheerfulness of the French, and
their fortitude, in supporting their spirits through all the adverse
circumstances of this world. But the constant mixture of the young and
old, of the two sexes, is no doubt one of the _principal_ reasons why
the cares and ills of life sit lighter on the shoulders of that
fantastic people, than on those of any other country in the world.

The French reckon an excursion dull, and a party of pleasure without
relish, unless a mixture of both sexes join to compose in. The French
women do not even withdraw from the table after meals; nor do the men
discover that impatience to have them dismissed, which they so often do
in England.

It is alleged by those who have no relish for the conversation of the
fair sex, that their presence curbs the freedom of speech, and
restrains the jollity of mirth. But, if the conversation and the mirth
are decent, if the company are capable of relishing any thing but wine,
the very reverse is the case. Ladies, in general, are not only more
cheerful than gentlemen, but more eager to promote mirth and good humor.

So powerful, indeed, are the company and conversation of the fair, in
diffusing happiness and hilarity, that even the cloud which hangs on the
_thoughtful brow_ of an Englishman, begins in the present age to
brighten, by his devoting to the ladies a larger share of time than was
formerly done by his ancestors.

Though the influence of the sexes be reciprocal, yet that of the ladies
is certainly the greatest. How often may one see a company of men, who
were disposed to be riotous, checked at once into decency by the
accidental entrance of an amiable woman; while her good sense and
obliging deportment charms them into at least a temporary conviction,
that there is nothing so delightful as female conversation, in its
best form! Were such conviction frequently repeated, what might we not
expect from it at last?

"Were virtue," said an ancient philosopher, "to appear amongst men in a
visible shape, what vehement desires would she enkindle!" Virtue,
exhibited without affectation, by a lovely young person, of improved
understanding and gentle manners, may be said to appear with the most
alluring aspect, surrounded by the _Graces_.

It would be an easy matter to point out instances of the most evident
reformation, wrought on particular men, by their having happily
conceived a passion for virtuous women.

To form the manners of men, various causes contribute; but nothing,
perhaps, so much as the turn of the women with whom they converse. Those
who are most conversant with women of virtue and understanding, will be
always found the most amiable characters, other circumstances being
supposed alike. Such society, beyond every thing else, rubs off the
_corners_ that gives many of our sex an ungracious roughness. It
produces a polish more perfect, and more pleasing than that which is
received from a general commerce with the world. This last is often
specious, but commonly superficial. The other is the result of gentler
feelings, and more humanity. The heart itself is moulded. Habits of
undissembled courtesy are formed. A certain flowing urbanity is
acquired. Violent passions, rash oaths, coarse jests, indelicate
language of every kind, are precluded and disrelished.

Female society gives men a taste for cleanliness and elegance of person.
Our ancestors, who kept but little company with their women, were not
only slovenly in their dress, but had their countenances disfigured with
long beards. By female influence, however, beards were, in process of
time, mutilated down to mustaches. As the gentlemen found that the
ladies had no great relish for mustaches, which were the relics of a
beard, they cut and curled them into various fashions, to render them
more agreeable. At last, however, finding such labor vain, they gave
them up altogether. But as those of the three learned professions were
supposed to be endowed with, or at least to stand in need of, more
wisdom than other people, and as the longest beard had always been
deemed to sprout from the wisest chin, to supply this mark of
distinction, which they had lost, they contrived to smother their heads
in enormous quantities of frizzled hair, that they might bear greater
resemblance to an owl, the bird sacred to wisdom and Minerva.

To female society it has been objected by the learned and studious, that
it enervates the mind, and gives it such a turn for trifling, levity,
and dissipation, as renders it altogether unfit for that application
which is necessary in order to become eminent in any of the sciences. In
proof of this they allege, that the greatest philosophers seldom or
never were men who enjoyed, or were fit for, the company or conversation
of women. Sir Isaac Newton hardly ever conversed with any of the sex.
Bacon, Boyle, Des Cartes, and many others, conspicuous for their
learning and application, were but indifferent companions to the fair.

It is certain, indeed, that the youth who devotes his whole time and
attention to female conversation, and the little offices of gallantry,
never distinguishes himself in the literary world. But notwithstanding
this, without the fatigue and application of severe study, he often
obtains, by female interest, that which is denied to the merited
improvements acquired by the labor of many years.


The venerable _Bede_ has given us a very striking picture of Monastic
enormities, in his epistle to Egbert. From this we learn that many young
men who had no title to the monastic profession, got possession of
monasteries; where, instead of engaging in the defence of their country,
as their age and rank required, they indulged themselves in the most
dissolute indolence.

We learn from Dugdale, that in the reign of Henry the Second, the nuns
of Amsbury abbey in Wiltshire were expelled from that religious house on
account of their incontinence. And to exhibit in the most lively colors
the total corruption of monastic chastity, bishop Burnet informs us in
his "History of the Reformation," that when the nunneries were visited
by the command of Henry the VIII. "whole houses almost, were found whose
vows had been made in vain."

When we consider to what oppressive indolence, to what a variety of
wretchedness and guilt, the young and fair inhabitants of the cloister
were frequently betrayed, we ought to admire those benevolent authors
who, when the tide of religious prejudice ran very strong in favor of
monastic virginity, had spirit enough to oppose the torrent, and to
caution the devout and tender sex against so dangerous a profession. It
is in this point of view that the character of Erasmus appears with the
most amiable lustre; and his name ought to be eternally dear to the
female world in particular. Though his studies and constitution led him
almost to idolize those eloquent fathers of the church who have
magnified this kind of life, his good sense and his accurate survey of
the human race, enabled him to judge of the misery in which female youth
was continually involved by a precipitate choice of the veil. He knew
the successful arts by which the subtle and rapacious monks inveigled
young women of opulent families into the cloister; and he exerted his
lively and delicate wit in opposition to so pernicious an evil.

In those nations of Europe where nunneries still exist, how many lovely
victims are continually sacrificed to the avarice or absurd ambition of
inhuman parents! The misery of these victims has been painted with great
force by some benevolent writers of France.

In most of those pathetic histories that are founded on the abuse of
convents, the misery originates from the parent, and falls upon the
child. The reverse has sometime happened; and there are examples of
unhappy parents, who have been rendered miserable by the religious
perversity of a daughter. In the fourteenth volume of that very amusing
work, _Les Causes Celebres_, a work which is said to have been the
favorite reading of Voltaire, there is a striking history of a girl
under age, who was tempted by pious artifice to settle herself in a
convent, in express opposition to parental authority. Her parents, who
had in vain tried the most tender persuasion, endeavored at last to
redeem their lost child, by a legal process against the nunnery in which
she was imprisoned. The pleadings on this remarkable trial may, perhaps,
be justly reckoned amongst the finest pieces of eloquence that the
lawyers of France have produced. Monsieur Gillet, the advocate for the
parents, represented, in the boldest and most affecting language, the
extreme baseness of this religious seduction. His eloquence appeared to
have fixed the sentiments of the judges; but the cause of superstition
was pleaded by an advocate of equal power, and it finally prevailed. The
unfortunate parents of Maria Vernal (for this was the name of the
unfortunate girl) were condemned to resign her forever, and to make a
considerable payment to those artful devotees who had piously robbed
them of their child.

When we reflect on the various evils that have arisen in convents, we
have the strongest reason to rejoice and glory in that reformation by
which the nunneries of England were abolished. Yet it would not be
candid or just to consider all these as the mere harbors of
licentiousness; since we are told that, at the time of their
suppression, some of our religious houses were very honorably
distinguished by the purity of their inhabitants. "The visitors," says
Bishop Burnet, "interceded earnestly for one nunnery in Oxfordshire,
where there was great strictness of life, and to which most of the young
gentlewomen of the country were sent to be bred; so that the gentry of
the country desired the king would spare the house: yet all was


In the earlier ages, sentiment in love does not appear to have been much
attended to. When Abraham sent his servant to court a bride for his son
Isaac, we do not so much as hear that Isaac was consulted on the matter:
nor is there even a suspicion, that he might refuse or dislike the wife
which his father had selected for him.

From the manner in which Rebecca was solicited, we learn, that women
were not then courted in person by the lover, but by a proxy, whom he,
or his parents, deputed in his stead. We likewise see, that this proxy
did not, as in modern times, endeavor to gain the affection of the lady
he was sent to, by enlarging on the personal properties, and mental
qualifications of the lover; but by the richness and magnificence of the
presents he made to her and her relations.

Presents have been, from the earliest ages, and are to this day, the
mode of transacting all kinds of business in the east. When a favor is
to be asked of a superior, one cannot hope to obtain it without a
present. Courtship, therefore, having been anciently transacted in this
manner, it is plain, that it was only considered in the same light as
any other negotiable business, and not as a matter of sentiment, and of
the heart.

In the courtship, however, or rather purchase of a wife by Jacob, we
meet with something like sentiment; for when he found that he was not
possessed of money or goods, equal to the price which was set upon her,
he not only condescended to purchase her by servitude, but even seemed
much disappointed when the tender-eyed Leah was faithlessly imposed upon
him instead of the beautiful Rachel.

The ancient Gauls, Germans, and neighboring nations of the North, had so
much veneration for the sex in general, that in courtship they behaved
with a spirit of gallantry, and showed a degree of sentiment, to which
_those_ who called them barbarians, never arrived. Not contented with
getting possession of the person of his mistress, a northern lover could
not be satisfied without the sincere affection of her heart; nor was his
mistress ever to be gained but by such methods as plainly indicated to
her the tenderest attachment from the most deserving man.

The women of Scandinavia were not to be courted but by the most
assiduous attendance, seconded by such warlike achievements as the
custom of the country had rendered necessary to make a man deserving of
his mistress. On these accounts, we frequently find a lover accosting
the object of his passion by a minute and circumstantial detail of his
exploits, and all his accomplishments. "We fought with swords," says
King Regner, in a beautiful ode composed by himself, in memory of the
deeds of his former days, "that day wherein I saw ten thousand of my
foes rolling in the dust, near a promontory of England. A dew of blood
distilled from our swords. The arrows which flew in search of the
helmets, bellowed through the air. The pleasure of that day was truly

"We fought with swords. A young man should march early to the conflict
of arms. Man should attack man, or bravely resist him. In this hath
always consisted the nobility of the warrior. He who aspires to the love
of his mistress, ought to be dauntless in the clash of swords."

The descendants of the northern nations, long after they had plundered
and repeopled the greatest part of Europe, retained nearly the same
ideas of love, and practised the same methods in declaring it, that they
had imbibed from their ancestors. "Love," says William of Montagnogout,
"engages to the most amiable conduct. Love inspires the greatest
actions. Love has no will but that of the object beloved, nor seeks any
thing but what will augment her glory. You cannot love, nor ought to be
beloved, if you ask any thing that virtue condemns. Never did I form a
wish that could wound the heart of my beloved, nor delight in a pleasure
that was inconsistent with her delicacy."

The method of addressing females, among some of the tribes of American
Indians, is the most simple that can possibly be devised. When the
lover goes to visit his mistress, he only begs leave, by signs, to enter
her hut. After obtaining this, he goes in, and sits down by her in the
most respectful silence. If she suffers him to remain there without
interruption, her doing so is consenting to his suit. If, however, the
lover has any thing given him to eat and drink, it is a refusal; though
the woman is obliged to sit by him until he has finished his repast. He
then retires in silence.

In Canada, courtship is not carried on with that coy reserve, and
seeming secrecy, which politeness has introduced among the inhabitants of
civilized nations. When a man and a woman meet, though they never saw
each other before, if he is captivated by her charms, he declares his
passion in the plainest manner; and she, with the same simplicity,
answers, Yes, or No, without further deliberation. "That female
reserve," says an ingenious writer, [Dr Alexander,] "that seeming
reluctance to enter into the married state, observable in polite
countries, is the work of art, and not of nature. The history of every
uncultivated people amply proves it. It tells us, that their women not
only speak with freedom the sentiments of their hearts, but even blush
not to have these sentiments made as public as possible."

In Formosa, however, they differ so much from the simplicity of the
Canadians, that it would be reckoned the greatest indecency in the man
to declare, or in the woman to hear, a declaration of the passion of
love. The lover is, therefore, obliged to depute his mother, sister, or
some female relation; and from any of these the soft tale may be heard
without the least offence to delicacy.

In Spain, the women had formerly no voice in disposing of themselves in
matrimony. But as the empire of common sense began to extend itself,
they began to claim a privilege, at least of being consulted in the
choice of the partners of their lives. Many fathers and guardians, hurt
by this female innovation, and puffed up with Spanish pride, still
insisted on forcing their daughters to marry according to their
pleasure, by means of duennas, locks, hunger, and even sometimes of
poison and daggers. But as nature will revolt against every species of
oppression and injustice, the ladies have for some time begun to assert
their own rights. The authority of fathers and guardians begins to
decline, and lovers find themselves obliged to apply to the affections
of the fair, as well as to the pride and avarice of their relations.

The nightly musical serenades of mistresses by their lovers are still in
use. The gallant composes some love sonnets, as expressive as he can,
not only of the situation of his heart, but of every particular
circumstance between him and the lady, not forgetting to lard them with
the most extravagant encomiums on her beauty and merit. These he sings
in the night below her window accompanied with his lute, or sometimes
with a whole band of music. The more piercingly cold the air, the more
the lady's heart is supposed to be thawed with the patient sufferance
of her lover, who, from night to night, frequently continues his
exercises for many hours, heaving the deepest sighs, and casting the
most piteous looks towards the window; at which if his goddess at last
deigns to appear, and drops him a curtsey, he is superlatively paid for
all his watching; but if she blesses him with a smile, he is ready to
run distracted.

In Italy the manner of addressing the ladies, so far as it relates to
serenading, nearly resembles that of Spain. The Italian, however, goes a
step farther than the Spaniard. He endeavors to blockade the house where
his fair one lives, so as to prevent the entrance of any rival. If he
marries the lady who cost him all this trouble and attendance, he shuts
her up for life: If not, she becomes the object of his eternal hatred,
and he too frequently endeavors to revenge by poison the success of his
happier rival.

In one circumstance relating to courtship, the Italians are said to be
particular. They protract the time as long as possible, well knowing
that even with all the little ills attending it, a period thus employed
is one of the sweetest of human life.

A French lover, with the word sentiment perpetually in his mouth, seems
by every action to have excluded it from his heart. He places his whole
confidence in his exterior air and appearance. He dresses for his
mistress, dances for her, flutters constantly about her, helps her to
lay on her rouge, and to place her patches. He attends her round the
whole circle of amusements, chatters to her constantly, whistles and
sings, and plays the fool with her. Whatever be his station, every thing
gaudy and glittering within the sphere of it is called in to his
assistance, particularly splendid carriages and tawdry liveries; but if,
by the help of all these, he cannot make an impression on the fair one's
heart, it costs him nothing but a few shrugs of his shoulders, two or
three silly exclamations, and as many stanzas of some satirical song
against her; and, as it is impossible for a Frenchman to live without an
amour, he immediately betakes himself to another.

There is hardly any such thing among people of fashion as courtship.
Matters are generally so ordered by parents and guardians, that to a
bride and bridegroom, the day of marriage is often the second time of
their meeting. In many countries, to be married in this manner would be
reckoned the greatest of misfortunes. In France it is little regarded.
In the fashionable world, few people are greater strangers to, or more
indifferent about each other, than husband and wife; and any appearance
of fondness between them, or their being seen frequently together, would
infallibly make them forfeit the reputation of the _ton_, and be laughed
at by all polite company. On this account, nothing is more common than
to be acquainted with a lady without knowing her husband, or visiting
the husband without ever seeing his wife.


Of all the German females, the ladies of Saxony are the most amiable.
Their persons are so superiorly charming and preferable in whatever can
recommend them to be notice of mankind, that the German youth often
visit Saxony in quest of _companions_ for life. Exclusive of their
beauty and comeliness of appearance, they are brought up in a knowledge
of all those arts, both useful and ornamental, which are so brilliant an
addition to their native attractions. But what chiefly enhances their
value, and gives it reality and duration, is a _sweetness_ of temper and
festivity of disposition, that never fail to endear them on a very
slight acquaintance. To crown all, they are generally patterns of
conjugal tenderness and fidelity.

As they are commonly careful to improve their minds by reading and
instructive conversation, they have no small share of facetiousness and
ingenuity. From their innate liveliness, they are extremely addicted to
all the gay kind of amusements. They excel in the allurements of dress
and decoration, and are in general skilful in music.

The character, however, of the women in most other parts of Germany,
particularly of the Austrian, is very different from this.
Notwithstanding the advantages of size and make, their looks and
features, though not unsightly, betray a vacancy of that life and
spirit, without which beauty is uninteresting, and, like a mere picture,
becomes utterly void of that indication of sensibility, which alone can
awaken a delicacy of feeling.

As their education is conducted by the rules of the grossest
superstition, and they are taught little else than set forms of
devotion, they arrive to the years of maturity uninstructed in the use
of reason, and usually continue profoundly ignorant the remainder of
their days, which are spent, or rather loitered away, in apathy and

The principal happiness of the Austrian ladies of fashion consists in
ruminating on the dignity of their birth and families, the antiquity of
their race, the rank they hold, the respect attached to it, and the
prerogatives they enjoy over the inferior classes, whom they treat with
the utmost superciliousness, and hold in the most unreasonable contempt.
In the mean time, their domestic affairs are condemned to the most
unaccountable neglect. They dwell at home, careless of what passes
there; and suffer disorder and confusion to prevail, without feeling the
least uneasiness. Great frequenters of churches, their piety consists in
the strictest conformity to all the externals of religion. They profess
the most boundless belief in all the silly legends with which their
treatises of devotion are filled; and these are the only books they ever
read. The coldness of their constitution occasions a species of
regulated gallantry, which is rather the effect of an opinion that it
is an appendage of high life, than the result of their natural

It must, at the same time be allowed, that the Austrian women are
endowed with a great fund of sincerity and candor; and, though too much
on the reserve, and prone to keep at an unnecessary distance, are yet
capable of the truest attachment, and always warm and zealous in the
cause of those whom they have admitted to their friendship.

Though the Germans are rather a dull and phlegmatic people, and not
greatly enslaved by the warmer passions, yet at the court of Vienna they
are much given to intrigue: and an amour is so far from being
scandalous, that a woman gains credit by the rank of her gallant, and is
reckoned silly and unfashionable if she scrupulously adheres to the
virtue of chastity. But such customs are more the customs of courts,
than of places less exposed to temptation, and consequently less
dissolute; and we are well assured that in Germany there are many women
who do honor to humanity, not by chastity only, but also by a variety of
other virtues.

The ladies at the principal courts, differ not much in their dress from
the French and English. They are not, however, so excessively fond of
paint as the former. At some courts, they appear in rich furs: and all
of them are loaded with jewels, if they can obtain them. The female part
of the burgher's families, in many of the German towns, dress in a very
different manner, and some of them inconceivably fantastic, as may be
seen in many prints published in books of travels. But, in this respect,
they are gradually reforming, and many of them make quite a different
appearance in their dress from what they did thirty or forty years ago.

The inhabitants of Vienna lived luxuriously, a great part of their time
being spent in feasting and carousing. In winter, when the different
branches of the Danube are frozen over, and the ground covered with
snow, the ladies take their recreation in sledges of different shapes,
such as griffins, tigers, swans, scallop-shells, etc. Here the lady
sits, dressed in velvet lined with rich furs, and adorned with laces and
jewels, having on her head a velvet cap. The sledge is drawn by one
horse, stag or other creature, set off with plumes of feathers, ribbons
and bells. As this diversion is taken chiefly in the night time,
servants ride before the sledge with torches; and a gentleman, standing
on the sledge behind, guides the horse.


The marriage life is always an insipid, a vexatious, or a happy
condition, the first is, when two people of no taste meet together, upon
such a settlement as has been thought reasonable by parents and
conveyancers, from an exact valuation of the land and cash of both
parties. In this case the young lady's person is no more regarded than
the house and improvements in purchase of an estate; but she goes with
her fortune, rather than her fortune with her. These make up the crowd
or vulgar of the rich, and fill up the lumber of the human race, without
beneficence towards those below them, or respect towards those above
them; and lead a despicable, independent, and useless life, without
sense of the laws of kindness, good-nature, mutual offices, and the
elegant satisfactions which flow from reason and virtue.

The vexatious life arises from a conjunction of two people of quick
taste and resentment, put together for reasons well known to their
friends, in which especial care is taken to avoid (what they think the
chief of evils) poverty; and ensure them riches with every evil besides.
These good people live in a constant restraint before company, and when
alone, revile each other's person and conduct. In company they are in
purgatory; when by themselves, in hell.

The happy marriage is, where two persons meet, and voluntarily make
choice of each other without principally regarding or neglecting the
circumstances of fortune or beauty. These may still love in spite of
adversity or sickness. The former we may in some measure defend
ourselves from; the other is the common lot of humanity. Love has
nothing to do with riches or state. Solitude, with the person beloved,
has a pleasure, even in a woman's mind, beyond show or pomp.


At a very early period, families who lived in a friendly manner, fell
upon a method of securing their children to each other by what is called
in the sacred writings Betrothing. This was agreeing on a price to be
paid for the bride, the time when it should be paid, and when she should
be delivered into the hands of her husband.

There were, according to the Talmudists, three ways of betrothing. The
first by a written contract. The second, by a verbal agreement,
accompanied with a piece of money. And the third, by the parties coming
together, and living as husband and wife; which might as properly be
called marriage as betrothing.

The written contract was in the following manner--"On such a day, month,
year, A the son of B, has said to D the daughter of E, be thou my spouse
according to the law of Moses and of the Israelites; and I give thee as
a dowry the sum of two hundred suzims, as it is ordered by our law. And
the said D hath promised to be his spouse upon the conditions aforesaid,
which the said A doth promise to perform on the day of marriage. And to
this the said A doth hereby bind himself and all that he hath, to the
very cloak upon his back; engages himself to love, honor, feed, clothe,
and protect her, and to perform all that is generally implied in
contracts of marriage in favor of the Israelitish wives."

The verbal agreement was made in the presence of a sufficient number of
witnesses, by the man saying to the women, "Take this money as a pledge
that at such a time I will take thee to be my wife." A woman who was
thus betrothed or bargained for, was almost in every respect by the law
considered as already married.

Before the legislation of Moses, "marriages among the Jews," say the
Rabbies, "were agreed on by the parents and relations of both sides.
When this was done, the bridegroom was introduced to his bride. Presents
were mutually exchanged, the contract signed before witnesses, and the
bride, having remained sometime with her relations, was sent away to the
habitation of her husband, in the night, with singing, dancing, and the
sound of musical instruments."

By the institution of Moses, the Rabbies tell us the contract of
marriage was read in the presence of, and signed by, at least ten
witnesses, who were free, and of age. The bride, who had taken care to
bathe herself the night before, appeared in all her splendor, but
veiled, in imitation of Rebecca, who veiled herself when she came in
sight of Isaac. She was then given to the bridegroom by her parents, in
words to this purpose: "Take her according to the law of Moses." And he
received her, by saying, "I take her according to that law." Some
blessings were then pronounced on the young couple, both by the parents
and the rest of the company.

The blessings or prayers generally run in this style: "Blessed art thou,
O Lord of heaven, and earth, who has created man in thine own likeness,
and hast appointed woman to be his partner and companion! Blessed art
thou, who fillest Zion with joy for the multitude of her children!
Blessed art thou who sendest gladness to the bridegroom and his bride;
who hast ordained for them, love, joy, tenderness, peace and mutual
affection. Be pleased to bless not only this couple, but Judah and
Jerusalem, with songs of joy, and praise for the joy that thou givest
them, by the multitudes of their sons and of their daughters."

After the virgins had sung a marriage song, the company partook of a
repast, the most magnificent the parties could afford; after which they
began a dance, the men round the bridegroom, the women round the bride.
They pretended that this dance was of divine institution and an
essential part of the ceremony. The bride was then carried to the
nuptial bed, and the bridegroom left with her. The company again
returned to their feasting and rejoicing; and the Rabbies inform us,
that this feasting, when the bride, was a widow, lasted only three days,
but seven if she was a virgin.

At the birth of a son, the father planted a cedar; and at that of a
daughter, he planted a pine. Of these trees the nuptial bed was
constructed, when the parties, at whose birth they were planted, entered
into the married state.

The Assyrians had a court, or tribunal whose only business was to
dispose of young women in marriage, and see the laws of that union
properly executed. What these laws were, or how the execution of them
was enforced, are circumstances that have not been handed down to us.
But the erecting a court solely for the purpose of taking cognizance of
them, suggests an idea that they were many and various.

Among the Greeks, the multiplicity of male and female deities who were
concerned in the affairs of love, made the invocations and sacrifices on
a matrimonial occasion a very tedious affair. Fortunate omens gave great
joy, and the most fortunate of all others was a pair of turtles seen in
the air, as those birds were reckoned the truest emblems of conjugal
love and fidelity. If, however, one of them was seen alone it infallibly
denoted separation, and all the ills attending an unhappy marriage.

On the wedding day, the bride and bridegroom were richly dressed, and
adorned with garlands of herbs and flowers. The bride was conducted in
the evening to the house of her husband in a chariot, seated between her
husband and one of his relations. When she alighted from the chariot the
axle-tree of it was burnt to show that there was no method for her to
return back. As soon as the young couple entered the house, figs and
other fruits were thrown upon their heads to denote plenty; and a
sumptuous entertainment was ready for them to partake of, to which all
the relations on both sides were invited.

The bride was lighted to bed by a number of torches, according to her
quality; and the company returned in the morning to salute the new
married couple, and to sing _epithalamia_ at the door of their

Epithalamia were marriage songs, anciently sung in praise of the bride
or bridegroom, wishing them happiness, prosperity and a numerous issue.

Among the Romans there were three different kinds of marriage. The
ceremony of the first consisted in the young couple eating a cake
together made only of wheat, salt and water. The second kind was
celebrated by the parties solemnly pledging their faith to each other,
by giving and receiving a piece of money. This was the most common way
of marrying among the Romans. It continued in use, even after they
became Christians. When writings were introduced to testify that a man
and a woman had become husband and wife, and also, that the husband had
settled a dower upon his bride, these writings were called _Tabulæ
Dotales_ (dowry tables;) and hence, perhaps the words in our marriage
ceremony, "I thee endow."

The third kind of marriage was, when a man and woman, having cohabited
for some time and had children, found it expedient to continue together.
In this case, if they made up the matter between themselves, it became
a valid marriage, and the children were considered as legitimate.

Something similar to this is the present custom in Scotland. There, if a
man live with, and have children by a woman, though he do not marry her
till he be upon his death-bed, all the children are thereby legitimated
and become entitled to the honors and estates of their father. The case
is the same in Holland and some parts of Germany; with this difference
only, that all the children to be legitimated must appear with the
father and mother in church at the ceremony of their marriage.


It has long been a question, Which of the two sexes is most capable of
friendship? Montague, who is so much celebrated for his knowledge of
human nature, has given it positively against the women; and his opinion
has been generally embraced.

Friendship perhaps, in women, is more rare than among men; but, at the
same time, it must be allowed that where it is found, it is more tender.

Men, in general, have more of the parade than the graces of friendship.
They often wound while they serve; and their warmest sentiments are not
very enlightened, with respect to those minute sentiments which are of
so much value. But women have a refined sensibility, which makes them
see every thing; nothing escapes them. They divine the silent
friendship; they encourage the bashful or timid friendship; they offer
the sweetest consolations to friendship in distress. Furnished with
finer instruments, they treat more delicately a wounded heart. They
compose it, and prevent it from feeling its agonies. They know, above
all, how to give value to a thousand things, which have no value in

We ought therefore, perhaps, to desire the friendship of a man upon
great occasions; but, for general happiness, we must prefer the
friendship of a woman.

With regard to female intimacies, it may be taken for granted that there
is no young woman who has not, or wishes not to have, a companion of her
own sex, to whom she may unbosom herself on every occasion. That there
are women capable of friendship with women, few impartial observers will
deny. There have been many evident proofs of it, and those carried as
far as seemed compatible with the imperfections of our common nature. It
is, however, questioned by some; while others believe that it happens
exceedingly seldom. Between married and unmarried women, it no doubt
happens very often; whether it does so between those that are single, is
not so certain. Young men appear more frequently susceptible of a
generous and steady friendship for each other, than females as yet
unconnected; especially, if the latter have, or are supposed to have,
pretensions to beauty, not adjusted by the public.

In the frame and condition of females, however, compared with those of
the other sex, there are some circumstances which may help towards an
apology for this unfavorable feature in their character.

The state of matrimony is necessary to the support, order, and comfort
of society. But it is a state that subjects the women to a great variety
of solicitude and pain. Nothing could carry them through it with any
tolerable satisfaction or spirit, but very strong and almost
unconquerable attachments. To produce these, is it not fit they should
be peculiarly sensible to the attention and regards of the men? Upon the
same ground, does it not seem agreeable to the purposes of Providence,
that the securing of this attention, and these regards, should be a
principal aim? But can such an aim be pursued without frequent
competition? And will not that too readily occasion jealousy, envy, and
all the unamiable effects of mutual _rivalship_? Without the restraints
of superior worth and sentiment, it certainly will. But can these be
ordinarily expected from the prevailing turn of female education; or
from the little pains that women, as well as other human beings,
commonly take to _control_ themselves, and to act nobly? In this _last_
respect, the sexes appear pretty much on the same footing.

This reasoning is not meant to justify the indulgence of those little
and sometimes base passions towards one another, with which females
have been so generally charged. It is only intended to represent such
passions in the first approach; and, while not entertained, as less
criminal than the men are apt to state them; and to prove that, in their
attachments to each other, the latter have not always that merit above
the women, which they are apt to claim. In the mean time, let it be the
business of the ladies, by emulating the gentlemen, where they appear
good-natured and disinterested, to disprove their imputation, and to
show a temper open to _friendship_ as well as to _love_.

To talk much of the latter is natural for both; to talk much of the
former, is considered by the men as one way of doing themselves honor.
Friendship, they well know, is that dignified form, which, in
speculation at least every heart must respect.

But in friendship, as in religion, which on many accounts it resembles,
speculation is often substituted in the place of practice. People fancy
themselves possessed of the thing, and hope that others will fancy so
too, because they are fond of the name, and have learned to talk about
it with plausibility. Such talk indeed imposes, till experience give it
the lie.

To say the truth, there seems in either sex but little of what a fond
imagination, unacquainted with the falsehood of the world, and
warmed by affections which its selfishness has not yet chilled, would
reckon friendship. In theory, the standard is raised too high; we ought
not, however, to wish it much lower. The honest sensibilities of
ingenuous nature should not be checked by the over-cautious maxims of
political prudence. No advantage, obtained by such frigidity, can
compensate for the want of those warm effusions of the heart into the
bosom of a friend, which are doubtless among the most exquisite
pleasures. At the same time, however, it must be owned, that they often
by the inevitable lot of humanity, make way for the bitterest pains
which the breast can experience. Happy beyond the common condition of
her sex, is she who has found a friend indeed; open hearted, yet
discreet; generously fervent, yet steady; thoroughly virtuous, but not
severe; wise, as well as cheerful! Can such a friend be loved too much,
or cherished too tenderly? If to excellence and happiness there be any
one way more compendious than another, next to friendship with the
Supreme Being, it is this.

But when a mixture of minds so beautiful and so sweet takes place, it is
generally, or rather always the result of early prepossession, casual
intercourse, or in short, a combination of such causes as are not to be
brought together by management or design. This noble plant may be
cultivated; but it must grow spontaneously.


        Assist me, ye Nine,
        While the youth I define,
  With whom I in wedlock would class;
        And ye blooming fair,
        Lend a listening ear,
  To approve of the man as you pass.

        Not the changeable fry
        Who love, nor know why,
  But follow bedup'd by their passions:
        Such votaries as these
        Are like waves of the seas,
  And steer'd by their own inclinations.

        The hectoring blade
        How unfit for the maid,
  Where meekness and modesty reigns!
        Such a blundering bully
        I'll speak against truly,
  Whatever I get for my pains.

        Not the dogmatic elf,
        Whose great all is himself,
  Whose alone _ipse dixit_ is law:
        What a figure he'll make,
        How like Momus he'll speak
  With sneering burlesque, a pshaw! pshaw!

        Not the covetous wretch
        Whose heart's at full stretch
  To gain an inordinate treasure;
        Him leave with the rest,
        And such mortals detest,
  Who sacrifice life without measure.

        The fluttering fop,
        How empty his top!
  Nay, but some call him coxcomb, I trow;
        But 'tis losing your time,
        He's not worth half a rhyme,
  Let the fag ends of prose bind his brow.

        The guttling sot,
        What a conduit his throat!
  How beastly and vicious his life!
        Where drunkards prevail,
        Whole families feel,
  Much more an affectionate wife.

        One character yet;
        I with sorrow repeat,
  And O! that the number were less;
        'Tis the blasphemous crew:
        What a pattern they'll shew
  To their hapless and innocent race!

        Let wisdom then shine
        In the youth that is mine,
  Whilst virtue his footsteps impress;
        Such I'd choose for my mate,
        Whether sooner or late:
  Tell me, Ladies, what think you of this?

"The chief point to be regarded," says Lady Pennington in her Advice to
her Daughters, "in the choice of a companion for life, is a really
virtuous principle--an unaffected goodness of heart. Without this, you
will be continually shocked by indecency, and pained by impiety. So
numerous have been the unhappy victims to the ridiculous opinion, _a
reformed libertine makes the best husband_--that, did not experience
daily evince the contrary, one would believe it impossible for a girl
who has a tolerable degree of common understanding, to be made the dupe
of so erroneous a position, which has not the least shadow of reason for
its foundation, and which a small share of observation will prove to be
false in fact. A man who has been conversant with the worst sort of
women, is very apt to contract a bad opinion of, and a contempt for, the
sex in general. Incapable of esteeming any, he is suspicious of all;
jealous without cause, angry without provocation, his own disturbed
imagination is a continued source of ill-humor. To this is frequently
joined a bad habit of body, the natural consequence of an irregular
life, which gives an additional sourness to the temper. What rational
prospect of happiness can there be with such a companion? And, that this
is the general character of those who are called _reformed rakes_,
observation will certify. But, admit there may be some exceptions, it is
a hazard upon which no considerate woman would venture the peace of her
whole life. The vanity of those girls who believe themselves capable of
working miracles of this kind, and who give up their persons to men of
libertine principles, upon the wild expectation of reclaiming them,
justly deserves the disappointment which it will generally meet with;
for, believe me, a wife is, of all persons, the least likely to succeed
in such an attempt. Be it your care to find that virtue in a lover which
you must never hope to form in a husband. Good sense, and good nature,
are almost equally requisite. If the former is wanting, it will be next
to an impossibility for you to esteem the person, of whose behavior you
may have cause to be ashamed. Mutual esteem is as essential to happiness
in the married state, as mutual affection. Without the latter, every day
will bring with it some fresh cause of vexation, until repeated quarrels
produce a coldness, which will settle into an irreconcilable aversion,
and you will become, not only each other's torment, but the object of
contempt to your family, and to your acquaintance.

"This quality of good nature is, of all others, the most difficult to be
ascertained, on account of the general mistake of blending it with
good-humor, as if they were in themselves the same; whereas, in fact, no
two principles of action are more essentially different. But this may
require some explanation. By good nature, I mean that true benevolence,
which partakes in the felicity of every individual within the reach of
its ability, which relieves the distressed, comforts the afflicted,
diffuses blessings, and communicates happiness, far as its sphere of
action can extend; and which, in the private scenes of life, will shine
conspicuous in the dutiful son, in the affectionate husband, the
indulgent father, the faithful friend, and in the compassionate master
both to man and beast. Good humor, on the other hand, is nothing more
than a cheerful, pleasing deportment, arising either from a natural
gaiety of mind, or from an affection of popularity, joined to an
affability of behavior, the result of good breeding, and from a ready
compliance with the taste of every company. This kind of mere good humor
is, by far, the most striking quality. It is frequently mistaken for and
complimented with the superior name of _real good nature_. A man, by
this specious appearance, has often acquired that appellation who, in
all the actions of private life, has been a morose, cruel, revengeful,
sullen, haughty tyrant. Let them put on the cap, whose temples fit the
galling wreath!

"A man of a truly benevolent disposition, and formed to promote the
happiness of all around him, may sometimes, perhaps, from an ill habit
of body, an accidental vexation, or from a commendable openness of
heart, above the meanness of disguise, be guilty of little sallies of
peevishness, or of ill humor, which, carrying the appearance of ill
nature, may be unjustly thought to proceed from it, by persons who are
unacquainted with his true character, and who, take ill humor and ill
nature to be synonymous terms, though in reality they bear not the least
analogy to each other. In order to the forming a right judgment, it is
absolutely necessary to observe this distinction, which will effectually
secure you from the dangerous error of taking the shadow for the
substance, an irretrievable mistake, pregnant with innumerable
consequent evils!

"From what has been said, it plainly appears, that the criterion of this
amiable virtue is not to be taken for the general opinion; mere good
humor being, to all intents and purposes, sufficient in this particular,
to establish the public voice in favor of a man utterly devoid of every
humane and benevolent affection of heart. It is only from the less
conspicuous scenes of life, the more retired sphere of action, from the
artless tenor of domestic conduct, that the real character can, with any
certainty be drawn. These, undisguised, proclaim the man. But, as they
shun the glare of light, nor court the noise of popular applause, they
pass unnoticed, and are seldom known till after an intimate
acquaintance. The best method, therefore, to avoid the deception in this
case, is to lay no stress on outward appearances, which are too often
fallacious, but to take the rule of judging from the simple unpolished
sentiments of those whose dependent connections give them undeniable
certainty; who not only see, but who hourly feel, the good or bad effect
of that disposition, to which they are subjected. By this, I mean, that
if a man is equally respected, esteemed, and beloved by his dependants
and domestics, you may justly conclude, he has that true good nature,
that real benevolence, which delights in communicating felicity, and
enjoys the satisfaction it diffuses. But if by these he is despised and
hated, served merely from a principle of fear, devoid of affection,
which is ever easily discoverable, whatever may be his public character,
however favorable the general opinion, be assured, that his disposition
is such as can never be productive of domestic happiness. I have been
the more particular on this head, as it is one of the most essential
qualifications to be regarded, and of all others the most liable to be

"Never be prevailed with, my dear, to give your hand to a person
defective in these material points. Secure of virtue, of good nature,
and understanding, in a husband, you may be secure of happiness. Without
the two former it is unattainable. Without the latter in a tolerable
degree, it must be very imperfect.

"Remember, however, that infallibility is not the property of man, or
you may entail disappointment on yourself, by expecting what is never to
be found. The best men are sometimes inconsistent with themselves. They
are liable to be hurried, by sudden starts of passion, into expressions
and actions, which their _cooler_ reason will condemn. They may have
some oddities of behavior, and some peculiarities of temper. They may be
subject to accidental ill humor, or to whimsical complaints. Blemishes
of this kind often shade the brightest character; but they are never
destructive of mutual felicity, unless when they are made so by an
improper resentment, or by an ill-judged opposition. When cooled, and in
his usual temper, the man of understanding, if he has been wrong, will
suggest to himself all that could be urged against him. The man of good
nature will, unupbraided, own his error. Immediate contradiction is,
therefore, wholly unserviceable, and highly imprudent; an after
repetition is equally unnecessary and injudicious. Any peculiarities in
the temper or behavior ought to be properly represented in the tenderest
and in the most friendly manner. If the representation of them is made
discreetly, it will generally be well taken. But if they are so habitual
as not easily to be altered, strike not too often upon the unharmonious
string. Rather let them pass unobserved. Such a cheerful compliance will
better cement your union; and they may be made easy to yourself, by
reflecting on the superior good qualities by which these trifling faults
are so greatly overbalanced.

"You must remember, my dear, these rules are laid down on the
supposition of your being united to a person who possesses the three
qualifications for happiness before mentioned. In this case no farther
direction is necessary, but that you strictly perform the duty of a
wife, namely, to love, to honor, and obey. The two first articles are a
tribute so indispensably due to _merit_, that they must be paid by
_inclination_--and they naturally lead to the performance of the last,
which will not only be easy, but a pleasing task, since nothing can ever
be enjoined by such a person that is in itself improper, and a few
things will, that can, with any reason, be disagreeable to you.

"The being united to a man of irreligious principles, makes it
impossible to discharge a great part of the proper duty of a wife. To
name but one instance, obedience will be rendered impracticable, by
frequent injunctions inconsistent with, and contrary to, the higher
obligations of morality. This is not a supposition, but is a certainty
founded upon facts, which I have too often seen and can attest. Where
this happens, the reasons for non-compliance ought to be offered in a
plain, strong, good natured manner. There is at least the chance of
success from being heard. But should those reasons be rejected, or the
hearing them refused, and silence on the subject enjoined, which is most
probable, few people caring to hear what they know to be right, when
they are determined not to be convinced by it--obey the injunction, and
urge not the argument farther. Keep, however, steady to your principles,
and suffer neither persuasion nor threats to prevail on you to act
contrary to them. All commands repugnant to the laws of christianity,
it is your indispensable duty to disobey. All requests that are
inconsistent with prudence, or incompatible with the rank and character
which you ought to maintain in life, it is your interest to refuse. A
compliance with the former would be criminal, a consent to the latter
highly indiscreet; and it might thereby subject you to general censure.
For a man, capable of requiring, from his wife, what he knows to be in
itself wrong, is equally capable of throwing the whole blame of such
misconduct on her, and of afterwards upbraiding her for a behavior, to
which he will, upon the same principle, disown that he has been
accessary. Many similar instances have come within the compass of my own
observation. In things of less material nature, that are neither
criminal in themselves, nor pernicious in their consequences, always
acquiesce, if insisted on, however disagreeable they may be to your own
temper and inclination. Such a compliance will evidently prove that your
refusal, in the other cases, proceeds not from a spirit of
contradiction, but merely from a just regard to that superior duty which
can never be infringed with impunity.

"As the want of understanding is by no art to be concealed, by no
address to be disguised, it might be supposed impossible for a woman of
sense to unite herself to a person whose defect, in this instance, must
render that sort of rational society, which constitutes the chief
happiness of such an union, impossible. Yet here, how often has the
weakness of female judgment been conspicuous! The advantages of great
superiority in rank or fortune have frequently proved so irresistible a
temptation, as, in opinion, to outweigh, not only the folly, but even
the vices of its possessor--a grand mistake, ever tacitly acknowledged
by a subsequent repentance, when the expected pleasures of affluence,
equipage, and all the glittering pageantry, have been experimentally
found insufficient to make amends for the want of that constant
satisfaction which results from the social joy of conversing with a
reasonable friend!

"But however weak this motive must be acknowledged, it is more excusable
than another, which, I fear, has sometimes had an equal influence on the
mind--I mean so great a love of sway, as to induce her to give the
preference to a person of weak intellectuals, in hopes of holding,
uncontrolled, the reins of government. The expectation is, in fact, ill
grounded. Obstinacy and pride are generally the companions of folly. The
silliest people are often the most tenacious of their opinions, and,
consequently, the hardest of all others to be managed. But admit the
contrary, the principle is in itself bad. It tends to invert the order
of nature, and to counteract the design of Providence.

"A woman can never be seen in a more ridiculous light than when she
appears to govern her husband. If, unfortunately, the superiority of
understanding is on her side, the apparent consciousness of that
superiority betrays a weakness, that renders her contemptible in the
sight of every considerate person, and it may, very probably, fix in his
mind a dislike never to be eradicated. In such a case, if it should ever
be your own, remember that some degree of dissimulation is commendable,
so far as to let your husband's defects appear unobserved. When he
judges wrong, never flatly contradict, but lead him insensibly into
another opinion, in so discreet a manner, that it may seem entirely his
own, and let the whole credit of every prudent determination rest on
him, without indulging the foolish vanity of claiming any merit to
yourself. Thus a person of but an indifferent capacity, may be so
assisted, as, in many instances, to shine with borrowed lustre, scarce
distinguishable from the native, and by degrees he may be brought into a
kind of mechanical method of acting properly, in all the common
occurrences of life. Odd as this position may seem, it is founded in
fact. I have seen the method successfully practised by more than one
person, where a weak mind, on the governed side, has been so prudently
set off as to appear the sole director; like the statue of the Delphic
god, which was thought to give forth its own oracles, whilst the humble
priest, who lent his voice, was by the shrine concealed, nor sought a
higher glory than a supposed obedience to the power he would be thought
to serve."


I received the news of your marriage with infinite delight, and hope
that the sincerity with which I wish you happiness, may excuse the
liberty I take in giving you a few rules, whereby more certainly to
obtain it. I see you smile at my wrong-headed kindness, and, reflecting
on the charms of your bride, cry out in a rapture, that you are happy
enough without any rules. I know you are. But after one of the forty
years, which I hope you will pass pleasingly together, is over, this
letter may come in turn, and rules for felicity may not be found
unnecessary, however some of them may appear impracticable.

Could that kind of love be kept alive through the marriage state, which
makes the charm of a single one, the sovereign good would no longer be
sought for; in the union of two faithful lovers it would be found: but
reason shows that this is impossible, and experience informs us that it
never was so; we must preserve it as long, and supply it as happily as
we can.

When your present violence of passion subsides, however, and a more cool
and tranquil affection takes its place, be not hasty to censure yourself
as indifferent, or to lament yourself as unhappy; you have lost that
only which it was impossible to retain, and it were graceless amid the
pleasures of a prosperous summer to regret the blossoms of a transient
spring. Neither unwarily condemn your bride's insipidity till you have
recollected that no object however sublime, no sounds however charming,
can continue to transport us with delight when they no longer strike us
with novelty. The skill to renovate the powers of pleasing is said
indeed to be possessed by some women in an eminent degree; but the
artifices of maturity are seldom seen to adorn the innocence of youth:
you have made your choice, and ought to approve it.

Satiety follows quickly upon the heels of possession; and to be happy,
we must always have something in view. The person of your lady is
already all your own, and will not grow more pleasing in your eyes I
doubt, though the rest of your sex will think her handsome for these
dozen of years. Turn therefore all your attention to her mind, which
will daily grow brighter by polishing. Study some easy science together,
and acquire a similarity of tastes while you enjoy a community of
pleasures. You will by this means have many images in common, and be
freed from the necessity of separating to find amusement. Nothing is so
dangerous to wedded love as the possibility of either being happy out of
the company of the other: endeavor therefore, to cement the present
intimacy on every side; let your wife never be kept ignorant of your
income, your expenses, your friendships, or aversions; let her know your
very faults, but make them amiable by your virtues; consider all
concealment as a breach of fidelity; let her never have any thing to
find out in your character; and remember, that from the moment one of
the partners turns spy upon the other, they have commenced a state of

Seek not for happiness in singularity; and dread a refinement of wisdom
as a deviation into folly. Listen not to those sages who advise you
always to scorn the counsel of a woman, and if you comply with her
requests pronounce you to be wife-ridden.

I said that the person of your lady would not grow more pleasing to you;
but pray let her never suspect that it grows less so: that a woman will
pardon an affront to her understanding much sooner than one to her
person, is well known; nor will any of us contradict the assertion. All
our attainments, all our arts, are employed to gain and keep the heart
of man: and what mortification can exceed the disappointment, if the end
be not obtained? There is no reproof however pointed, no punishment
however severe, that a woman of spirit will not prefer to neglect; and
if she can endure it without complaint, it only proves that she means to
make herself amends by the attention of others for the slights of her
husband. For this, and for every reason, it behoves a married man not to
let his politeness fail, though his ardor may abate, but to retain at
least that general civility towards his own lady which he is so willing
to pay to every other, and not show a wife of eighteen or twenty years
old, that every man in company can treat her with more complaisance than
he, who so often vowed to her eternal fondness.

It is not my opinion that a young woman should be indulged in every wild
wish of her gay heart or giddy head; but contradiction may be softened
by domestic kindness, and quiet pleasures substituted in the place of
noisy ones. Public amusements are not indeed so expensive as is
sometimes imagined, but they tend to alienate the minds of married
people from each other. A well chosen society of friends and
acquaintance, more eminent for virtue and good sense than for gaiety and
splendor, where the conversation of the day may afford comment for the
evening, seems the most rational pleasure this great town can afford.

That your own superiority should always be seen, but never felt, seems
an excellent general rule. A wife should outshine her husband in
nothing, not even in her dress. The bane of married happiness among the
city men in general has been, that finding themselves unfit for polite
life, they transferred their vanity to their ladies, dressed them up
gaily, and sent them out a gallanting, while the good man was to regale
with port wine or rum punch, perhaps among mean companions, after the
compting house was shut. This practice produced the ridicule thrown on
them in all our comedies and novels since commerce began to prosper. But
now that I am so near the subject, a word or two on jealousy may not be
amiss; for though not a failing of the present age's growth, yet the
seeds of it are too certainly sown in every warm bosom, for us to
neglect it as a fault of no consequence. If you are ever tempted to be
jealous, watch your wife narrowly--but never tease her; tell her your
jealousy but conceal your suspicion; let her, in short, be satisfied
that it is only your odd temper, and even troublesome attachment, that
makes you follow her; but let her not dream that you ever doubted
seriously of her virtue even for a moment. If she is disposed towards
jealousy of you, let me beseech you to be always explicit with her and
never mysterious: be above delighting in her pain, of all things--nor do
your business nor pay your visits with an air of concealment, when all
you are doing might as well be proclaimed perhaps in the parish vestry.
But I hope better than this of your tenderness and of your virtue, and
will release you from a lecture you have so little need of, unless your
extreme youth and my uncommon regard will excuse it. And now farewell;
make my kindest compliments to your wife, and be happy in proportion as
happiness is wished you by, Dear Sir, &c.


  Ye fair married dames who so often deplore
  That a lover once blest is a lover no more;
  Attend to my counsel, nor blush to be taught
  That prudence must cherish what beauty has caught.

  The bloom on your cheek, and the glance of your eye,
  Your roses and lilies may make the men sigh;
  But roses, and lilies, and sighs pass away,
  And passion will die as your beauties decay.

  Use the man that you wed like your fav'rite guitar,
  Though music in both, they are both apt to jar;
  How tuneful and soft from a delicate touch,
  Not handled too roughly, nor play'd on too much!

  The sparrow and linnet will feed from your hand,
  Grow tame by your kindness, and come at command:
  Exert with your husband the same happy skill,
  For hearts, like your birds, may be tamed to your will.

  Be gay and good-humour'd, complying and kind,
  Turn the chief of your care from your face to your mind;
  'Tis thus that a wife may her conquests improve,
  And Hymen shall rivet the fetters of love.


Soon after the introduction of Christianity, St. Mark is said to have
founded a society called Therapeutes, who dwelt by the lake Moeris in
Egypt, and devoted themselves to solitude and religious offices. About
the year 305 of the christian computation, St. Anthony being persecuted
by Dioclesian, retired into the desert near the lake Moeris; numbers of
people soon followed his example, joined themselves to the Therapeutes;
St. Anthony being placed at their head, and improving upon their rules,
first formed them into regular monasteries, and enjoined them to live
in mortification and chastity. About the same time, or soon after,
St. Synclitica, resolving not to be behind St. Anthony in her zeal for
chastity, is generally believed to have collected together a number of
enthusiastic females, and to have founded the first nunnery for their
reception. Some imagine the scheme of celibacy was concerted between
St. Anthony and St. Synclitica, as St. Anthony, on his first retiring
into solitude, is said to have put his sister into a nunnery, which must
have been that of St. Synclitica; but however this be, from their
institution, monks and nuns increased so fast, that in the city of
Orixa, about seventeen years after the death of St. Anthony, there were
twenty thousand virgins devoted to celibacy.

Such at this time was the rage of celibacy; a rage which, however
unnatural, will cease to excite our wonder, when we consider, that it
was accounted by both sexes the sure and only infallible road to heaven
and eternal happiness; and as such, it behoved the church vigorously to
maintain and countenance it, which she did by beginning about this time
to deny the liberty of marriage to her sons. In the first council of
Nice, held soon after the introduction of christianity, the celibacy of
the clergy was strenuously argued for, and some think that even in an
earlier period it had been the subject of debate; however this be, it
was not agreed to in the council of Nice, though at the end of the
fourth century it is said that Syricus, bishop of Rome, enacted the
first decree against the marriage of monks; a decree which was not
universally received: for several centuries after, we find that it was
not uncommon for clergymen to have wives; even the popes were allowed
this liberty, as it is said in some of the old statutes of the church,
that it was lawful for the pope to marry a virgin for the sake of
having children. So exceedingly difficult is it to combat against
nature, that little regard seems to have been paid to this decree of
Syricus; for we are informed, that several centuries after, it was no
uncommon thing for the clergy to have wives, and perhaps even a
plurality of them; as we find it among the ordonnances of pope
Sylvester, that every priest should be the husband of one wife only; and
Pius the Second affirmed, that though many strong reasons might be
adduced in support of the celibacy of the clergy, there were still
stronger reasons against it.


At the end of the chapel is a large quadrangle, entered by a massive
gateway, surrounded by three stories of grated windows. Here female
negro pedlars come with their goods, and expose them in the court-yard
below. The nuns, from their grated windows above, see what they like,
and, letting down a cord, the article is fastened to it; it is then
drawn up and examined, and, if approved of, the price is let down. Some
that I saw in the act of buying and selling in this way, were very
merry, joking and laughing with the blacks below, and did not seem at
all indisposed to do the same with my companion. In three of the lower
windows, on a level with the court-yard, are revolving cupboards, like
half-barrels, and at the back of each is a plate of tin, perforated like
the top of a nutmeg-grater. The nuns of this convent are celebrated for
making sweet confectionary, which people purchase. There is a bell which
the purchaser applies to, and a nun peeps through the perforated tin;
she then lays the dish on a shelf of the revolving cupboard, and turns
it inside out; the dish is taken, the price laid in its place, and it is
turned in. While we stood there, the invisible lady-warder asked for a
pinch of snuff; the box was laid down in the same way, and turned in and


The disposition to take the veil, even among young girls, is not
uncommon in Brazil. The opposition of friends can prevent it, until they
are twenty five years old; but after that time they are considered
competent to decide for themselves. A writer describes the initiation of
a young lady, whose wealthy parents were extremely reluctant to have her
take the vow. She held a lighted torch in her hand, in imitation of the
prudent virgins; and when the priest chanted, "Your spouse approaches;
come forth and meet him," she approached the altar singing, "I follow
with my whole heart;" and, accompanied by two nuns already professed,
she knelt before the bishop. She seemed very lovely, with an unusually
sweet, gentle, and pensive countenance. She did not look particularly or
deeply affected; but when she sung her responses, there was something
exceedingly mournful in the soft, tremulous, and timid tones of her
voice. The bishop now exhorted her to make a public profession of her
vows before the congregation, and said, "Will you persevere in your
purpose of holy chastity?" She blushed deeply, and, with a downcast
look, lowly, but firmly answered, "I will." He again said, more
distinctly, "Do you promise to preserve it?" and she replied more
emphatically, "I do promise." The bishop then said, "Thanks be to God;"
and she bent forward and reverently kissed his hand, while he asked her,
"Will you be blest and consecrated?" She replied, "Oh! I wish it."

The habiliments, in which she was hereafter to be clothed, were
sanctified by the aspersion of holy water: then followed several prayers
to God, that "As he had blessed the garments of Aaron, with ointment
which flowed from his head to his beard, so he would now bless the
garments of his servant, with the copious dew of his benediction." When
the garment was thus blessed, the girl retired with it; and having laid
aside the dress in which she had appeared, she returned, arrayed in her
new attire, except her veil. A gold ring was next provided, and
consecrated with a prayer, that she who wore it "might be fortified with
celestial virtue, to preserve a pure faith, and incorrupt fidelity to
her spouse, Jesus Christ." He last took the veil, and her female
attendants having uncovered her head, he threw it over her, so that it
fell on her shoulders and bosom, and said, "Receive this sacred veil,
under the shadow of which you may learn to despise the world, and submit
yourself truly, and with all humility of heart, to your Spouse;" to
which she sung a response, in a very sweet, soft, and touching voice:
"He has placed this veil before my face that I should see no lover but

The bishop now kindly took her hand, and held it while the following
hymn was chanted by the choir with great harmony: "Beloved Spouse,
come--the winter is passed--the turtle sings, and the blooming vines are
redolent of summer."

A crown, a necklace, and other female ornaments, were now taken by the
bishop and separately blessed; and the girl bending forward, he placed
them on her head and neck, praying that she might be thought worthy "to
be enrolled into the society of the hundred and forty-four thousand
virgins, who preserved their chastity and did not mix with the society
of impure women."

Last of all, he placed the ring on the middle finger of her right hand,
and solemnly said, "So I marry you to Jesus Christ, who will henceforth
be your protector. Receive this ring, the pledge of your faith, that you
may be called the spouse of God." She fell on her knees, and sung, "I am
married to him whom angels serve, whose beauty the sun and moon admire;"
then rising, and showing with exultation her right hand, she said,
emphatically, as if to impress it on the attention of the congregation,
"My Lord has wedded me with this ring, and decorated me with a crown as
his spouse. I here renounce and despise all earthly ornaments for his
sake, whom alone I see, whom alone I love, in whom alone I trust, and to
whom alone I give all my affections. My heart hath uttered a good word:
I speak of the deed I have done for my King." The bishop then pronounced
a general benediction, and retired up to the altar; while the nun
professed was borne off between her friends, with lighted tapers, and
garlands waving.


  Hail, wedded love, mysterious law, true source
  Of human offspring, sole propriety,
  In Paradise of all things common else!

    By thee adult'rous lust was driven from men,
  Among the bestial herds to range; by thee,
  Founded in reason, loyal, just and pure,
  Relations dear, and all the charities
  Of father, son, and brother, first were known.

    Thou art the fountain of domestic sweets,
  Whose bed is undefiled and chaste pronounced.
  Here Love his golden shafts employs, here lights
  His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings,
  Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile
  Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendear'd,
  Casual fruition; nor in court amours,
  Mix'd dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball,
  Or serenade, which the starved lover sings
  To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain.


If chastity is none of the most shining virtues of the French, it is
still less so of the Italians. Almost all the travellers who have
visited Italy, agree in describing it as the most abandoned of all the
countries of Europe. At Venice, at Naples, and indeed in almost every
part of Italy, women are taught from their infancy, the various arts of
alluring to their arms, the young and unwary, and of obtaining from
them, while heated by love or wine, every thing that flattery and false
smiles can obtain in those unguarded moments: and so little infamous is
the trade of prostitution, and so venal the women, that hardly any rank
or condition set them above being bribed to it, nay, they are frequently
assisted by their male friends and acquaintances to drive a good
bargain; nor does their career of debauchery finish with their unmarried
state; the vows of fidelity which they make at the altar, are like the
vows and oaths made upon too many other occasions, only considered as
nugatory forms, which law has obliged them to take, but custom absolved
them from performing. They even claim and enjoy greater liberties after
marriage than before; every married woman has a cicisbey, or gallant,
who attends her to all public places, hands her in and out of her
carriage, picks up her gloves or fan, and a thousand other little
offices of the same natures; but this is only his public employment, as
a reward for which, he is entitled to have the lady as often as he
pleases at a place of retirement sacred to themselves, where no person
not even the most intrusive husband must enter, to be witness of what
passes between them. This has been considered by people of other
nations, as a custom not altogether consistent with chastity and purity
of manners; the Italians themselves however, endeavor to justify it in
their conversations with strangers, and Baretti has of late years
published a formal vindication of it to the world. In this vindication
he has not only deduced the original of it from pure Platonic love, but
would willingly persuade us that it is still continued upon the same
mental principles; a doctrine which the world will hardly be credulous
enough to swallow, even though he should offer more convincing arguments
to support it than he has already done.


So different over all the world are the sects of saints as well as of
sinners, that besides the Bramins, a set of innocent and religious
priests, who have rendered their women virtuous by treating them with
kindness and humanity, there are another sect of religio-philosophical
drones, called Fakiers, who contribute as much as they can to debauch
the sex, under a pretence of superior sanctity. These hypocritical
saints, like some of the ridiculous sects which formerly existed in
Europe, wear no clothes; considering them only as proper appendages to
sinners, who are ashamed, because they are sensible of guilt; while
they, being free from every stain of pollution, have no shame to cover.
In this original state of nature, these idle and pretended devotees,
assemble together sometimes in armies of ten or twelve thousand, and
under a pretence of going in pilgrimage to certain temples, like locusts
devour every thing on their way; the men flying before them, and
carrying all that they can out of the reach of their depredations; while
the women, not in the least afraid of a naked army of lusty saints,
throw themselves in their way, or remain quietly at home to receive

It has long been an opinion, well established all over India, that there
is not in nature so powerful a remedy for removing the sterility of
women, as the prayers of these sturdy naked saints. On this account,
barren women constantly apply to them for assistance; which when the
good natured Fakier has an indication to grant, he leaves his slipper,
or his staff at the door of the lady's apartment with whom he is
praying; a symbol so sacred, that it effectually prevents any one from
violating the secrecy of their devotion; but should he forget this
signal, and at the same time be distant from the protection of his
brethren, a sound drubbing is frequently the reward of his pious
endeavors. But though they venture sometimes in Hindostan, to treat a
Fakier in this unholy manner, in other parts of Asia and Africa, such is
the veneration in which these lusty saints are held, that they not only
have access when they please, to perform private devotions with barren
women, but are accounted so holy, that they may at any time, in public
or private, confer a personal favor upon a woman, without bringing upon
her either shame or guilt; and no woman dare refuse to gratify their
passion. Nor indeed, has any one an inclination of this kind; because
she, upon whom this personal favor has been conferred, is considered by
herself, and by all the people, as having been sanctified and made more
holy by the action.

So much concerning the conduct of the Fakiers in debauching women, seems
certain. But it is by travellers further related, that wherever they
find a woman who is exceedingly handsome, they carry her off privately
to one of their temples; but in such a manner, as to make her and the
people believe, that she is carried away by the god who is there
worshipped; who being violently in love with her, took that method to
procure her for his wife. This done, they perform a nuptial ceremony,
and make her further believe that she is married to the god; when, in
reality, she is only married to one of the Fakiers who personates him.
Women who are treated in this manner are revered by the people as the
wives of the gods, and by that stratagem secured solely to the Fakiers,
who have cunning enough to impose themselves as gods upon some of these
women, through the whole of their lives. In countries where reason is
stronger than superstition, we almost think this impossible: where the
contrary is the case, there is nothing too hard to be credited.
Something like this was done by the priests of ancient Greece and Rome;
and a few centuries ago, tricks of the same nature were practiced by the
monks, and other libertines, upon some of the visionary and enthusiastic
women of Europe. Hence we need not think it strange, if the Fakiers
generally succeed in attempts of this nature; when we consider that they
only have to deceive a people brought up in the most consummate
ignorance; and that nothing can be more flattering to female vanity,
than for a woman to suppose herself such a peculiar favorite of the
divinity she worships, as to be chosen, from all her companions, to the
honor of being admitted to his embraces; a favor, which her
self-admiration will dispose her more readily to believe than examine.


But it is not the religion of the Hindoos only, that is unfavorable to
chastity; that of Mahomet which now prevails over a great part of India,
is unfavorable to it likewise. Mahometanism every where indulges men
with a plurality of wives while it ties down the women to the strictest
conjugal fidelity; hence, while the men riot in unlimited variety, the
women are in great numbers confined to share among them the scanty
favors of one man only. This unnatural and impolitic conduct induces
them to seek by art and intrigue, what they are denied by the laws of
their prophet. As polygamy prevails over all Asia, this art and intrigue
follow as the consequence of it; some have imagined, that it is the
result of climate, but it rather appears to be the result of the
injustice which women suffer by polygamy; for it seems to reign, as much
in Constantinople, and in every other place where polygamy is in
fashion, as it does on the banks of the Ganges, or the Indus. The famous
Montesquieu, whose system was, that the passions are entirely regulated
by the climate, brings as a proof of this system, a story from the
collection of voyages for the establishment of an East India Company, in
which it is said, that at Patan, "the wanton desires of the women are so
outrageous, that the men are obliged to make use of a certain apparel to
shelter them from their designs." Were this story really true, it would
be but a partial proof of the effect of climate, for why should the
burning suns of Patan only influence the passions of the fair? Why
should they there transport that sex beyond decency, which in all other
climates is the most decent? And leave in so cool and defensive a state,
that sex, which in all other climates is apt to be the most offensive
and indecent? To whatever length the spirit of intrigue may be carried
in Asia and Africa, however the passions of the women may prompt them to
excite desire, and to throw themselves in the way of gratification, we
have the strongest reasons to reprobate all these stories, which would
make us believe, that they are so lost to decency as to attack the other
sex: such a system would be overturning nature, and inverting the
established laws by which she governs the world.


In Otaheite, an island in the Southern Ocean, we are presented with
women of a singular character. As far as we can recollect, we think it
is a pretty general rule, that whatever the sex are accustomed to be
constantly clothed, they are ashamed to appear naked: those of Otaheite
seem however to be an exception to this rule; to show themselves in
public, with or without clothing, appears to be to them a matter of
equal indifference, and the exposition of any part of their bodies, is
not attended with the least backwardness or reluctance; circumstances
from which we may reasonably infer, that among them, clothes were not
originally invented to cover shame, but either as ornaments, or as a
defence against the cold. But a still more striking singularity in the
character of these women, and which distinguishes them not only from the
females of all other nations, but likewise from those of almost all
other animals, is, their performing in public those rites, which in
every other part of the globe, and among almost all animals, are
performed in privacy and retirement: whether this is the effect of
innocence, or of a dissoluteness of manners to which no other people
have yet arrived, remains still to be discovered; that they are
dissolute, even beyond any thing we have hitherto recorded, is but too
certain. As polygamy is not allowed among them, to satisfy the lust of
variety, they have a society called Arreoy, in which every woman is
common to every man; and when any of these women happens to have a
child, it is smothered in the moment of its birth, that it may not
interrupt the pleasures of its infamous mother; but in this juncture,
should nature relent at so horrid a deed, even then the mother is not
allowed to save her child, unless she can find a man who will patronise
it as a father; in which case, the man is considered as having
appropriated the woman to himself, and she is accordingly extruded from
this hopeful society. These few anecdotes sufficiently characterise the
women of this island.


Our own times furnish us with an instance of a ceremony from which all
women are carefully excluded;[2] but the Roman ladies, in performing the
rites sacred to the good goddess, were even more afraid of the men than
our masons are of women; for we are told by some authors, that so
cautious were they of concealment, that even the statutes and pictures
of men and other male animals were hood-winked with a thick veil. The
house of the consul, though commonly so large that they might have been
perfectly secured against all intrusion in some remote apartment of it,
was obliged to be evacuated by all male animals, and even the consul
himself was not suffered to remain in it. Before they began their
ceremonies, every corner and lurking place in the house was carefully
searched, and no caution omitted to prevent all possibility of being
discovered by impertinent curiosity, or disturbed by presumptive
intrusion. But these cautions were not all the guard that was placed
around them; The laws of the Romans made it death for any man to be
present at the solemnity.

Such being the precautions, and such the penalties for insuring the
secrecy of this ceremony, it was only once attempted to be violated,
though it existed from the foundation of the Roman empire till the
introduction of Christianity; and this attempt was made, not so much
perhaps with a view to be present at the ceremony, as to fulfil an
assignation with a mistress. Pompeia, the wife of Cæsar, having been
suspected of a criminal correspondence with Claudius, and so closely
watched that she could find no opportunity of gratifying her passion, at
last, by the means of a female slave, settled an assignation with him at
the celebration of the rites of the good goddess. Claudius was directed
to come in the habit of a singing girl, a character he could easily
personate, being young and of a fair complexion. As soon as the slave
saw him enter, she ran to inform her mistress. The mistress eager to
meet her lover, immediately left the company and threw herself into his
arms, but could not be prevailed upon by him to return so soon as he
thought necessary for their mutual safety; upon which he left her, and
began to take a walk through the rooms, always avoiding the light as
much as possible. While he was thus walking by himself, a maid servant
accosted him, and desired him to sing; he took no notice of her, but she
followed and urging him so closely, that he was at last obliged to
speak. His voice betrayed his sex; the maid servant shrieked, and
running into the room where the rites were performing, told that a man
was in the house. The women in the utmost consternation, threw a veil
ever the mysteries, ordered the doors to be secured, and with lights in
their hands, ran about the house searching for the sacrilegious
intruder. They found him in the apartment of the slave who had admitted
him, drove him out with ignominy, and, though it was in the middle of
the night immediately dispersed, to give an account to their husbands of
what had happened. Claudius was soon after accused of having profaned
the holy rites; but the populace declaring in his favor, the judges,
fearing an insurrection, were obliged to acquit him.

    [2] Masonry


There is amongst us a female character, not uncommon, which we
denominate the outrageously virtuous. Women of this stamp never fail to
seize all opportunities of exclaiming, in the bitterest manner, against
every one upon whom even the slightest suspicion of indiscretion or
unchastity has fallen; taking care, as they go along, to magnify every
mole-hill into a mountain, and every thoughtless freedom into the
blackest of crimes. But besides the illiberality of thus treating such
as may frequently be innocent, you may credit us, dear countrywomen,
when we aver, that such a behavior, instead of making you appear more
virtuous, only draws down upon you, by those who know the world,
suspicions not much to your advantage. Your sex are in general suspected
by ours, of being too much addicted to scandal and defamation; a
suspicion, which has not arisen of late years, as we find in the ancient
laws of England a punishment, known by the name of ducking-stool,
annexed to scolding and defamation in the women, though no such
punishment nor crime is taken notice of in the men. This crime, however,
we persuade ourselves, you are less guilty of, than is commonly
believed: but there is another of a nature not more excusable, from
which we cannot so much exculpate you; which is, that harsh and
forbidding appearance you put on, and that ill treatment, which you no
doubt think necessary, for the illustration of your own virtue, you
should bestow on every one of your sex who has deviated from the path of
rectitude. A behaviour of this nature, besides being so opposite to that
meek and gentle spirit which should distinguish female nature, is in
every respect contrary to the charitable and forgiving temper of the
Christian religion, and infallibly shuts the door of repentance against
an unfortunate sister, willing, perhaps, to abandon the vices into which
heedless inadvertency had plunged her, and from which none of you can
promise yourselves an absolute security.

We wish not, fair countrywomen, like the declaimer and satirist, to
paint you all vice and imperfection, nor, like the venal panegyrist, to
exhibit you all virtue. As impartial historians, we confess that you
have, in the present age, many virtues and good qualities, which were
either nearly or altogether unknown to your ancestors; but do you not
exceed them in some follies and vices also? Is not the levity,
dissipation, and extravagance of the women of this century arrived to a
pitch unknown and unheard of in former times? Is not the course which
you steer in life, almost entirely directed by vanity and fashion? And
are there not too many of you who, throwing aside reason and good
conduct, and despising the counsel of your friends and relations, seem
determined to follow the mode of the world, however it may be mixed with
vice? Do not the generality of you dress, and appear above your station,
and are not many of you ashamed to be seen performing the duties of it?
To sum up all, do not too, too many of you act as if you thought the
care of a family, and the other domestic virtues, beneath your
attention, and that the sole end for which you were sent into the world,
was to please and divert yourselves, at the expense of those poor
wretches the men, whom you consider as obliged to support you in every
kind of idleness and extravagance? While such is your conduct, and while
the contagion is every day increasing, you are not to be surprised if
the men, still fond of you as playthings in the hours of mirth and
revelry, ever shun serious connection with you; and while they wish to
be possessed of your charms, are so much afraid of your manners and
conduct, that they prefer the cheerless state of a bachelor, to the
numberless evils arising from being tied to a modern wife.


In a variety of parts of the Mogul empire, when the women are carried
abroad, they are put into a kind of machine like a chariot, and placed
on the backs of camels, or in covered sedan chairs, and surrounded by a
guard of eunuchs and armed men, in such a manner, that a stranger would
rather suppose the cavalcade to be carrying some desperate villain to
execution, than employed to prevent the intrigues or escape of a
defenceless woman. At home, the sex are covered with gauze veils, which
they dare not take off in the presence of any man, except their husband,
or some near relation. Over the greatest part of Asia, and some parts of
Africa, women are guarded by eunuchs, made incapable of violating their
chastity. In Spain, where the natives are the descendants of the
Africans, and whose jealousy is not less strong than that of their
ancestors, they, for many centuries, made use of padlocks to secure the
chastity of their women; but finding these ineffectual, they frequently
had recourse to old women, called Gouvernantes. It had been discovered,
that men deprived of their virility, did not guard female virtue so
strictly, as to be incapable of being bribed to allow another a taste of
those pleasures they themselves were incapable of enjoying. The
Spaniards, sensible of this, imagined, that vindictive old women were
more likely to be incorruptible; as envy would stimulate them to prevent
the young from enjoying those pleasures, which they themselves had no
longer any chance for; but all powerful gold soon overcame even this
obstacle; and the Spaniards, at present, seem to give up all restrictive
methods, and to trust the virtue of their women to good principles,
instead of rigor and hard usage.


If the laws forbidding the marriage of near relations with each other,
originated from the political view of preserving the human race from
degeneracy, they are the only laws we meet with on that subject, and
exert almost the only care we find taken of so important a matter. The
Asiatic is careful to improve the breed of his elephants, the Arabian of
his horses, and the Laplander of his reindeer. The Englishman, eager to
have swift horses, staunch dogs, and victorious cocks, grudges no care
and spares no expense, to have the males and females matched properly;
but since the days of Solon, where is the legislator, or since the days
of the ancient Greeks, where are the private persons who take any care
to improve, or even to keep from degeneracy the breed of their own
species? The Englishman who solicitously attends the training of his
colts and puppies, would be ashamed to be caught in the nursery; and
while no motive could prevail upon him to breed horses or hounds from an
improper or contaminated kind, he will calmly, or rather
inconsiderately, match himself with the most decrepid or diseased of the
human species; thoughtless of the weaknesses and evils he is going to
entail on posterity, and considering nothing but the acquisition of
fortune he is by her alliance to convey to an offspring, by diseases
rendered unable to use it. The Muscovites were formerly the only people,
besides the Greeks, who paid a proper attention to this subject. After
the preliminaries of a marriage were settled between the parents of a
young couple, the bride was stripped naked, and carefully examined by a
jury of matrons, when if they found any bodily defect they endeavored to
cure it; but if it would admit of no remedy, the match was broke off,
and she was considered not only as a very improper subject to breed
from, but improper also for maintaining the affections of a husband,
after he had discovered the imposition she had put upon him.


In Timor, an island in the Indian Ocean, it is said, that parents sell
their children in order to purchase more wives. In Circassia, women are
reared and improved in beauty and every alluring art, only for the
purpose of being sold. The prince of the Circassians demanded of the
prince of Mingrelia an hundred slaves loaded with tapestry, an hundred
cows, as many oxen, and the same number of horses, as the price of his
sister. In New-Zealand, we meet with a custom which may be called
purchasing a wife for a night, and which is proof that those must also
be purchased who are intended for a longer duration; and what to us is a
little supprising, this temporary wife, insisted upon being treated with
as much deference and respect, as if she had been married for life; but
in general, this is not the case in other countries, for the wife who is
purchased, is always trained up in the principles of slavery; and, being
inured to every indignity and mortification from her parents, she
expects no better treatment from her husband.

There is little difference in the condition of her who is put to sale by
her sordid parents, and her who is disposed of in the same manner by the
magistrates, as a part of the state's property. Besides those we have
already mentioned in this work, the Thracians put the fairest of their
virgins up to public sale, and the magistrates of Crete had the sole
power of choosing partners in marriage for their young men; and, in the
execution of this power, the affection and interest of the parties was
totally overlooked, and the good of the state the only object of
attention; in pursuing which, they always allotted the strongest and
best made of the sex to one another, that they might raise up a
generation of warriors, or of women fit to be the mothers of warriors.


Polygamy and concubinage having in process of time become fashionable
vices, the number of women kept by the great became at last more an
article of grandeur and state, than a mode of satisfying the animal
appetite: Solomon had threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and
virgins without number. Maimon tells us, that among the Jews a man might
have as many wives as he pleased, even to the number of a hundred, and
that it was not in their power to prevent him, provided he could
maintain, and pay them all the conjugal debt once a week; but in this
duty he was not to run in arrear to any of them above a month, though
with regard to concubines he might do as he pleased.

It would be an endless task to enumerate all the nations which practised
polygamy; we shall, therefore, only mention a few, where the practice
seemed to vary something from the common method. The ancient Sabæans are
not only said to have had a plurality, but even a community of wives; a
thing strongly inconsistent with that spirit of jealousy which prevails
among men in most countries where polygamy is allowed. The ancient
Germans were so strict monogamists,[3] that they reckoned it a species
of polygamy for a woman to marry a second husband even after the death
of the first. "A woman (say they) has but one life, and but one body,
therefore should have but one husband;" and besides, they added, "that
she who knows she is never to have a second husband, will the more value
and endeavor to promote the happiness and preserve the life of the
first." Among the Heruli this idea was carried farther, a woman was
obliged to strangle herself at the death of her husband, lest she
should, afterwards marry another; so detestable was polygamy in the
North, while in the East it is one of these rights which they most of
all others esteem, and maintain with such inflexible firmness, that it
will probably be one of the last of those that it will wrest out of
their hands.

The Egyptians, it is probable, did not allow of polygamy, and as the
Greeks borrowed their institutions from them, it was also forbid by the
laws of Cecrops, though concubinage seems either to have been allowed or
overlooked; for in the Odyssey of Homer we find Ulysses declaring
himself to be the son of a concubine, which he would probably not have
done, had any degree of infamy been annexed to it. In some cases,
however, polygamy was allowed in Greece, from a mistaken notion that it
would increase population. The Athenians, once thinking the number of
their citizens diminished, decreed that it should be lawful for a man to
have children by another woman as well as by his wife; besides this,
particular instances occur of some who have transgressed the law of
monogamy. Euripides is said to have had two wives, who, by their
constant disagreement, gave him a dislike to the whole sex; a
supposition which receives some weight from these lines of his in

            ne'er will I commend
  More beds, more wives than one, nor children curs'd
  With double mothers, banes and plagues of life.

Socrates too had two wives, but the poor culprit
had as much reason to repent of his temerity
as Euripides.

    [3] Monogamy is having only one wife.


As the appetite towards the other sex is one of the strongest and most
ungovernable in our nature; as it intrudes itself more than any other
into our thoughts, and frequently diverts them from every other purpose
or employment; it may, at first, on this account, have been reckoned
criminal when it interfered with worship and devotion; and emasculation
was made use of in order to get rid of it, which may, perhaps, have been
the origin of Eunuchs. But however this be, it is certain, that there
were men of various religions who made themselves incapable of
procreation on a religious account, as we are told that the priests of
Cybele constantly castrated themselves; and by our Saviour, that there
are eunuchs who make themselves such for the kingdom of heaven's sake.


The ancient Assyrians seem more thoroughly to have settled and digested
the affairs of marriage, than any of their cotemporaries. Once in every
year they assembled together all the girls that were marriageable, when
the public crier put them up to sale, one after another. For her whose
figure was agreeable, and whose beauty was attracting, the rich strove
against each other, who should give the highest price; which price was
put into a public stock, and distributed in portions to those whom
nobody would accept without a reward. After the most beautiful were
disposed of, these were also put up by the crier, and a certain sum of
money offered with each, proportioned to what it was thought she stood
in need of to bribe a husband to accept her. When a man offered to
accept of any of them, on the terms upon which she was exposed to sale,
the crier proclaimed that such a man had proposed to take such a woman,
with such a sum of money along with her, provided none could be found
who would take her with less; and in this manner the sale went on, till
she was at last allotted to him who offered to take her with the
smallest portion.--When this public sale was over, the purchasers of
those that were beautiful were not allowed to take them away, till they
had paid down the price agreed on, and given sufficient security that
they would marry them; nor, on the other hand, would those who were to
have a premium for accepting of such as were less beautiful, take a
delivery of them, till their portions were previously paid.


In England, the sale of a wife sometimes occurs, even at the present
day, of which the following is an example, from the Lancaster Herald.

"_Sale of a wife at Carlisle_--The inhabitants of this city lately
witnessed the sale of a wife by her husband, Joseph Thompson, who
resides in a small village about three miles distant, and rents a farm
of about forty-two or forty-four acres. She was a spruce, lively, buxom
damsel, apparently not exceeding twenty-two years of age, and appeared
to feel a pleasure at the exchange she was about to make. They had no
children during their union, and that, with some family disputes, caused
them by mutual agreement to come to the resolution of finally parting.
Accordingly, the bellman was sent round to give public notice of the
sale, which was to take place at twelve o'clock; and this announcement
attracted the notice of thousands. She appeared above the crowd,
standing on a large oak chair, surrounded by many of her friends, with a
rope or halter, made of straw, round her neck, being dressed in rather a
fashionable country style, and appearing to some advantage. The husband,
who was also standing in an elevated position near her, proceeded to put
her up for sale, and spoke nearly as follows:--'Gentlemen, I have to
offer to your notice my wife, Mary Anne Thompson, otherwise Williamson,
whom I mean to sell to the highest and fairest bidder. It is her wish as
well as mine to part for ever. I took her for my comfort, and the good
of my house, but she has become my tormentor and a domestic curse, &c.
&c. Now I have shown you her faults and failings, I will explain her
qualifications and goodness. She can read fashionable novels and milk
cows; she can laugh and weep with the same ease that you can take a
glass of ale; she can make butter, and scold the maid; she can sing
Moore's melodies, and plait her frills and caps; she cannot make rum,
gin, or whiskey, but she is a good judge of their quality from long
experience in tasting them, I therefore offer her, with all her
perfections and imperfections, for the sum of fifty shillings.'--After
an hour or two, she was purchased by Henry Mears, a pensioner, for the
sum of twenty shillings and a Newfoundland dog. The happy pair
immediately left town together, amidst the shouts and huzzas of the
multitude, in which they were joined by Thompson, who, with the greatest
good-humor imaginable, proceeded to put the halter, which his wife had
taken off, round the neck of his Newfoundland dog, and then proceeded
to the first public house, where he spent the remainder of the day."


As fidelity to the marriage-bed, especially on the part of woman, has
always been considered as one of the most essential duties of matrimony,
wise legislators, in order to secure that benefit have annexed
punishment to the act of adultery; these punishments, however, have
generally some reference to the manner in which wives were acquired, and
to the value stamped upon woman by civilization and politeness of
manners. It is ordained by the Mosaic code, that both the men and the
women taken in adultery shall be stoned to death; whence it would seem,
that no more latitude was given to the male than to the female. But this
is not the case; such an unlimited power of concubinage was given to the
men, that we may suppose him highly licentious indeed, who could not be
satisfied therewith, without committing adultery. The Egyptians, among
whom women were greatly esteemed, had a singular method of punishing
adulterers of both sexes; they cut off the privy parts of the man, that
he might never be able to debauch another woman; and the nose of the
woman, that she might never be the object of temptation to another man.

Punishments nearly of the same nature, and perhaps nearly about the same
time, were instituted in the East Indies against adulterers; but while
those of the Egyptians originated from a love of virtue and of their
woman, those of the Hindoos probably arose from jealousy and revenge.
It is ordained by the Shaster, that if a man commit adultery with a
woman of a superior cast, he shall be put to death; if by force he
commit adultery with a woman of an equal or inferior cast, the
magistrate shall confiscate all his possessions, cut off his genitals,
and cause him to be carried round the city, mounted on a ass. If by
fraud he commit adultery with a woman of an equal or inferior cast, the
magistrate shall take his possessions, brand him in the forehead, and
banish him the kingdom. Such are the laws of the Shaster, so far as they
regard all the superior casts, except the Bramins; but if any of the
most inferior casts commit adultery with a woman of the casts greatly
superior, he is not only to be dismembered, but tied to a hot iron
plate, and burnt to death; whereas the highest casts may commit adultery
with the very lowest, for the most trifling fine; and a Bramin, or
priest, can only suffer by having the hair of his head cut off; and,
like the clergy of Europe, while under the dominion of the Pope, he
cannot be put to death for any crime whatever. But the laws, of which he
is always the interpreter, are not so favorable to his wife; they
inflict a severe disgrace upon her, if she commit adultery with any of
the higher casts; but if with the lowest, the magistrate shall cut off
her hair, anoint her body with Ghee, and cause her to be carried through
the whole city, naked, and riding upon an ass; and shall cast her out on
the north side of the city, or cause her to be eaten by dogs. If a woman
of any of the other casts goes to a man, and entices him to have
criminal correspondence with her, the magistrate shall cut off her ears,
lips and nose, mount her upon an ass, and drown her, or throw her to the
dogs. To the commission of adultery with a dancing girl, or prostitute,
no punishment nor fine is annexed.


When Cæsar had subdued all his competitors, and most of the foreign
nations which made war against him, he found that so many Romans had
been destroyed in the quarrels in which he had often engaged them, that,
to repair the loss, he promised rewards to fathers of families, and
forbade all Romans who were above twenty, and under forty years of age,
to go out of their native country. Augustus, his successor, to check the
debauchery of the Roman youth, laid heavy taxes upon such as continued
unmarried after a certain age, and encouraged with great rewards, the
procreation of lawful children. Some years afterwards, the Roman knights
having pressingly petitioned him that he would relax the severity of
that law, he ordered their whole body to assemble before him, and the
married and unmarried to arrange themselves in two separate parties,
when, observing the unmarried to be much the greater company, he first
addressed those who had complied with his law, telling them, that they
alone had served the purposes of nature and society; that the human race
was created male and female to prevent the extinction of the species;
and that marriage was contrived as the most proper method of renewing
the children of that species. He added, that they alone deserved the
name of men and fathers, and that he would prefer them to such offices,
as they might transmit to their posterity. Then turning to the
bachelors, he told them, that he knew not by what name to call them; not
by that of men, for they had done nothing that was manly; nor by that of
citizens, since the city might perish for them; nor by that of Romans,
for they seemed determined to let the race and name become extinct; but
by whatever name he called them, their crime, he said, equalled all
other crimes put together, for they were guilty of murder, in not
suffering those to be born who should proceed from them; of impiety, in
abolishing the names and honors of their fathers and ancestors; of
sacrilege, in destroying their species, and human nature, which owed its
original to the gods, and was consecrated to them; that by leading a
single life they overturned, as far as in them lay, the temples and
altars of the gods; dissolved the government, by disobeying its laws;
betrayed their country, by making it barren. Having ended his speech, he
doubled the rewards and privileges of such as had children, and laid a
heavy fine on all unmarried persons, by reviving the Poppæan law.

Though by this law all the males above a certain age were obliged to
marry under a severe penalty, Augustus allowed them the space of a full
year to comply with its demands; but such was the backwardness to
matrimony, and perversity of the Roman knights, and others, that every
possible method was taken to evade the penalty inflicted upon them, and
some of them even married children in the cradle for that purpose; thus
fulfilling the letter, they avoided the spirit of the law, and though
actually married, had no restraint upon their licentiousness, nor any
incumbrance by the expense of a family.


Among nations which had shaken off the authority of the church of Rome,
the priests still retained almost an exclusive power of joining men and
women together in marriage. This appears rather, however, to have been
by the tacit consent of the civil power, than from any defect in its
right and authority; for in the time of Oliver Cromwell, marriages were
solemnized frequently by the justices of the peace; and the clergy
neither attempted to invalidate them, nor make the children proceeding
from them illegitimate; and when the province of New England was first
settled, one of the earliest laws of the colony was, that the power of
marrying should belong to the magistrates. How different was the case
with the first French settlers in Canada! For many years a priest had
not been seen in the country, and a magistrate could not marry: the
consequence was natural; men and woman joined themselves together as
husband and wife, trusting to the vows and promises of each other.
Father Charlevoix, a Jesuit, at last travelled into those wild regions,
found many of the simple, innocent inhabitants living in that manner;
with all of whom he found much fault, enjoined them to do penance, and
afterwards married them. After the Restoration, the power of marrying
again reverted to the clergy. The magistrate, however, had not entirely
resigned his right to that power; but it was by a late act of parliament
entirely surrendered to them, and a penalty annexed to the solemnization
of it by any other person whatever.


At a synod held at Winchester under St. Dunstan, the monks averred, that
so highly criminal was it for a priest to marry, that even a wooden
cross had audibly declared against the horrid practice. Others place the
first attempt of this kind, to the account of Aelfrick, archbishop of
Canterbury, about the beginning of the eleventh century; however this
may be, we have among the canons a decree of the archbishops of
Canterbury, and York, ordaining, That all ministers of God, especially
priests, should observe chastity, and not take wives: and in the year
1076, there was a council assembled at Winchester, under Lanfranc, which
decreed, that no canon should have a wife; that such priests as lived in
castles and villages should not be obliged to put their wives away, but
that such as had none should not be allowed to marry; and that bishops
should not ordain priests or deacons, unless they previously declared
that they were not married. In the year 1102, archbishop Anselm held a
council at Westminster, where it was decreed, that no archdeacon,
priest, deacon, or canon, should either marry a wife, or retain her if
he had one. Anselm, to give this decree greater weight, desired of the
king, that the principal men of the kingdom might be present at the
council, and that the decree might be enforced by the joint consent both
of the clergy and laity; the king consented, and to these canons the
whole realm gave a general sanction. The clergy of the province of York,
however, remonstrated against them, and refused to put away their wives;
the unmarried refused also to oblige themselves to continue in that
state; nor were the clergy of Canterbury much more tractable.

In the celibacy of the clergy, we may discover also the origin of
nunneries; the intrigues they could procure, while at confession, were
only short, occasional, and with women whom they could not entirely
appropriate to themselves; to remedy which, they probably fabricated the
scheme of having religious houses, where young women should be shut up
from the world, and where no man but a priest, on pain of death, should
enter. That in these dark retreats, secluded from censure, and from the
knowledge of the world, they might riot in licentiousness. They were
sensible, that women, surrounded with the gay and the amiable, might
frequently spurn at the offers of a cloistered priest, but that while
confined entirely to their own sex, they would take pleasure in a visit
from one of the other, however slovenly and unpolished. In the world at
large, should the crimes of the women be detected, the priests have no
interest in mitigating their punishment; but here the whole community of
them are interested in the secret of every intrigue, and should Lucinda
unluckily proclaim it, she can seldom do it without the walls of the
convent, and if she does, the priests lay the crime on some luckless
laic, that the holy culprit may come off with impunity.


In ancient and modern history, we are frequently presented with accounts
of women, who, preferring death to slavery or prostitution, sacrificed
their lives with the most undaunted courage to avoid them. Apollodorus
tells us, that Hercules having taken the city of Troy, prior to the
famous siege of it celebrated by Homer, carried away captive the
daughters of Laomedon then king. One of these, named Euthira, being left
with several other Trojan captives on board the Grecian fleet, while the
sailors went on shore to take in fresh provisions, had the resolution to
propose, and the power to persuade her companions, to set the ships on
fire, and to perish themselves amid the devouring flames. The women of
Phoenicia met together before an engagement which was to decide the fate
of their city, and having agreed to bury themselves in the flames, if
their husbands and relations were defeated, in the enthusiasm of their
courage and resolution, they crowned her with flowers who first made the
proposal. Many instances occur in the history of the Romans of the Gauls
and Germans, and of other nations in subsequent periods; where women
being driven to despair by their enemies, have bravely defended their
walls, or waded through fields of blood to assist their countrymen, and
free themselves from slavery or from ravishment. Such heroic efforts are
beauties, even in the character of the softer sex, when they proceed
from necessity: when from choice, they are blemishes of the most
unnatural kind, indicating a heart of cruelty, lodged in a form which
has the appearance of gentleness and peace.

It has been alleged by some of the writers on human nature, that to the
fair sex the loss of beauty is more alarming and insupportable than the
loss of life; but even this loss, however opposite to the feelings of
their nature, they have voluntarily consented to sustain, that they
might not be the objects of temptation to the lawless ravisher. The nuns
of a convent in France, fearing they should be violated by a ruffian
army, which had taken by storm the town in which their convent was
situated, at the recommendation of their abbess, mutually agreed to cut
off all their noses, that they might save their chastity by becoming
objects of disgust instead of desire. Were we to descend to particulars,
we could give innumerable instances of women, who from Semiramis down to
the present time, have distinguished themselves by their courage. Such
was Penthesilea, who, if we may credit ancient story, led her army of
viragoes to the assistance of Priam, king of Troy; Thomyris, who
encountered Cyrus, king of Persia; and Thalestris, famous for her
fighting, as well as for her amours with Alexander the Great. Such was
the brave but ill-fated Boadicea, queen of the Britons, who led on that
people to revenge the wrongs done to herself and her country by the
Romans. And in later periods, such were the Maid of Orleans, and
Margaret of Anjou; which last, according to several historians,
commanded at no less than twelve pitched battles. But we do not choose
to multiply instances of this nature, as we have already said enough to
shew, that the sex are not destitute of courage when that virtue becomes
necessary; and were they possessed of it, when unnecessary, it would
divest them of one of the principal qualities for which we love, and for
which we value them. No woman was ever held up as a pattern to her sex,
because she was intrepid and brave; no woman ever conciliated the
affections of the men, by rivalling them in what they reckon the
peculiar excellencies of their own character.


As the Greeks emerged from the barbarity of the heroic ages, among other
articles of culture, they began to bestow more attention on the
convenience and elegance of dress. At Athens, the ladies commonly employ
the whole morning in dressing themselves in a decent and becoming
manner; their toilet consisted in paints and washes, of such a nature as
to cleanse and beautify the skin, and they took great care to clean
their teeth, an article too much neglected: some also blackened their
eyebrows, and, if necessary, supplied the deficiency of the vermillion
on their lips, by a paint said to have been exceedingly beautiful. At
this time the women in the Greek islands make much use of a paint which
they call Sulama, which imparts a beautiful redness to the cheeks, and
gives the skin a remarkable gloss. Possibly this may be the same with
that made use of in the times we are considering; but however this be,
some of the Greek ladies at present gild their faces all over on the day
of their marriage, and consider this coating as an irresistible charm;
and in the island of Scios, their dress does not a little resemble that
of ancient Sparta, for they go with their bosoms uncovered, and with
gowns which only reach to the calf of their leg, in order to show their
fine garters, which are commonly red ribbons curiously embroidered. But
to return to ancient Greece; the ladies spent likewise a part of their
time in composing head-dresses, and though we have reason to suppose
that they were not then so preposterously fantastic as those presently
composed by a Parisian milliner, yet they were probably objects of no
small industry and attention, especially as we find that they then dyed
their hair, perfumed it with the most costly essences, and by the means
of hot irons disposed of it in curls, as fancy or fashion directed.
Their clothes were made of stuffs so extremely light and fine as to show
their shapes without offending against the rules of decency. At Sparta,
the case was widely different; we shall not describe the dress of the
women; it is sufficient to say that it has been loudly complained of by
almost every ancient author who has treated on the subject.


In the earlier periods of the history of the Greeks, their love, if we
may call it so, was only the animal appetite, impetuous and unrestrained
either by cultivation of manners, or precepts of morality; and almost
every opportunity which fell in their way, prompted them to satisfy that
appetite by force, and to revenge the obstruction of it by murder. When
they became a more civilized people, they shone much more illustriously
in arts and in arms, than in delicacy of sentiment and elegance of
manners: hence we shall find, that their method of making love was more
directed to compel the fair sex to a compliance with their wishes by
charms and philtres, than to win them by the nameless assiduities and
good offices of a lover.

As the two sexes in Greece had but little communication with each other,
and a lover was seldom favored with an opportunity of telling his
passion to his mistress, he used to discover it by inscribing her name
on the walls of his house, on the bark of the trees of a public walk, or
leaves of his books; it was customary for him also to deck the door of
the house where his fair one lived, with garlands and flowers, to make
libations of wine before it, and to sprinkle the entrance with the same
liquor, in the manner that was practised at the temple of Cupid.
Garlands were of great use among the Greeks in love affairs; when a man
untied his garland, it was a declaration of his having been subdued by
that passion; and when a woman composed a garland, it was a tacit
confession of the same thing: and though we are not informed of it, we
may presume that both sexes had methods of discovering by these
garlands, not only that they were in love, but the object also upon whom
it was directed.

Such were the common methods of discovering the passion of love; the
methods of prosecuting it were still more extraordinary, and less
reconcilable to civilization and to good principles; when a love affair
did not prosper in the hands of a Grecian, he did not endeavor to become
more engaging in his manners and person, he did not lavish his fortune
in presents, or become more obliging and assiduous in his addresses, but
immediately had recourse to incantations and philtres; in composing and
dispensing of which, the women of Thessaly were reckoned the most
famous, and drove a traffic in them of no considerable advantage. These
potions were given by the women to the men, as well as by the men to the
women, and were generally so violent in their operations as for some
time to deprive the person who took them, of sense, and not uncommonly
of life: their composition was a variety of herbs of the most strong and
virulent nature, which we shall not mention; but herbs were not the only
things they relied on for their purpose; they called in the productions
of the animal and mineral kingdoms to their assistance; when these
failed, they roasted an image of wax before the fire, representing the
object of their love, and as this became warm, they flattered themselves
that the person represented by it would be proportionally warmed with
love. When a lover could obtain any thing belonging to his mistress, he
imagined it of singular advantage, and deposited in the earth beneath
the threshold of her door. Besides these, they had a variety of other
methods equally ridiculous and unavailing, and of which it would be
trifling to give a minute detail; we shall, therefore, just take notice
as we go along, that such of either sex as believed themselves forced
into love by the power of philtres and charms, commonly had recourse to
the same methods to disengage themselves, and break the power of these
enchantments, which they supposed operated involuntarily on their
inclinations; and thus the old women of Greece, like the lawyers of
modern times, were employed to defeat the schemes and operations of each
other, and like them too, it is presumable, laughed in their sleeves,
while they hugged the gains that arose from vulgar credulity.


The Romans, who borrowed most of their customs from the Greeks, also
followed them in that of endeavoring to conciliate love by the power of
philtres and charms; a fact of which we have not the least room to
doubt, as they are in Virgil and some other of the Latin poets so many
instances that prove it. But it depends not altogether on the testimony
of the poets: Plutarch tells us, that Lucullus, a Roman General, lost
his senses by a love potion; and Caius Caligula, according to Suetonius,
was thrown into a fit of madness by one which was given him by his wife
Cæsonia; Lucretius too, according to some authors, fell a sacrifice to
the same folly. The Romans, like the Greeks, made use of these methods
mostly in their affairs of gallantry and unlawful love; but in what
manner they addressed themselves to a lady they intended to marry, has
not been handed down to us, and the reason we suppose is, that little or
no courtship was practised among them; women had no disposing power of
themselves, to what purpose was it then to apply to them for their
consent? They were under perpetual guardianship, and the guardian having
sole power of disposing of them, it was only necessary to apply to him.
In the Roman authors, we frequently read of a father, a brother, or a
guardian, giving his daughter, his sister, or his ward, in marriage;
but we do not recollect one single instance of being told that the
intended bridegroom applied to the lady for her consent; a circumstance
the more extraordinary, as women in the decline of the Roman empire had
arisen to a dignity, and even to a freedom hardly equalled in modern


It has long been a common observation among mankind, that love is the
most fruitful source of invention; and that in this case the imagination
of a woman is still more fruitful of invention and expedient than that
of a man; agreeably to this, we are told, that the women of the island
of Amboyna, being closely watched on all occasions, and destitute of the
art of writing, by which, in other places, the sentiments are conveyed
to any distance, have methods of making known their inclinations to
their lovers, and of fixing assignations with them, by means of
nosegays, and plates of fruit so disposed, as to convey their sentiments
in the most explicit manner: by these means their courtship is generally
carried on, and by altering the disposition of symbols made use of, they
contrive to signify their refusal, with the same explicitness as their
approbation. In some of the neighboring islands, when a young man has
fixed his affection, like the Italians, he goes from time to time to her
door, and plays upon some musical instrument; if she gives consent, she
comes out to him, and they settle the affair of matrimony between them;
if, after a certain number of these kind of visits, she does not appear,
it is a denial; and the disappointed lover is obliged to desist.

We shall see afterward when we come to treat of the matrimonial compact,
that, in some places, the ceremony of marriage consists in tying the
garments of the young couple together, as an emblem of that union which
ought to bind their affections and interests. This ceremony has afforded
a hint for lovers to explain their passion to their mistresses, in the
most intelligible manner, without the help of speech, or the possibility
of offending the nicest delicacy. A lover in these parts, who is too
modest to declare himself, seizes the first opportunity he can find, of
sitting down by his mistress, and tying his garment to hers, in the
manner that is practised in the ceremony of marriage: if she permits him
to finish the knot, without any interruption, and does not soon after
cut or loose it, she thereby gives her consent; if she looses it, he may
tie it again on some other occasion, when she may prove more propitious;
but if she cuts it, his hopes are blasted forever.


The human hair has ever been regarded as an ornament. The Anglo-Saxons
and Danes considered their hair as one of their greatest personal
beauties, and took great care to dress it to the utmost advantage. Young
ladies wore it loose, and flowing in ringlets over their shoulders; but
after marriage they cut it shorter, tied it up, and covered it with a
head-dress, according to the fashion of the times; but to have the hair
cut entirely off, was a disgrace of such a nature, that it was even
thought a punishment not inadequate to the crime of adultery; so great,
in the Middle ages, was the value set upon the hair by both sexes, that,
as a piece of the most peculiar mortification, it was ordered by the
canons of the church, that the clergy should keep their hair short, and
shave the crown of their head; and that they should not, upon any
pretence whatever, endeavor to keep the part so shaved from public view.
Many of the clergy of these times, finding themselves so peculiarly
mortified, and perhaps so easily distinguished from all other people by
this particularity, as to be readily detected when they committed any of
the follies or crimes to which human nature is in every situation
sometimes liable, endeavored to persuade mankind that long hair was
criminal, in order to reduce the whole to a similarity with themselves.
Amongst these, St. Wulstan eminently distinguished himself. "He rebuked,"
says William of Malmsbury, "the wicked of all ranks with great boldness,
but was _peculiarly_ severe upon those who were proud of their long
hair. When any of these vain people bowed their heads before him, to
receive his blessing, before he gave it he cut a lock from their hair,
with a sharp penknife, which he carried about him for that purpose; and
commanded them, by way of penance for their sins, to cut all the rest in
the same manner: if any of them refused to comply with his command he
reproached them for their effeminacy, and denounced the most dreadful
judgments against them. Such, however, was the value of their hair in
these days, that many rather submitted to his censures than part with
it; and such was the folly of the church, and of this saint in
particular, that the most solemn judgments were denounced against
multitudes, for no other crime than not making use of pen-knives and
scissors, to cut off an ornament bestowed by nature."


On St. Valentine's day, it is customary, in many parts of Italy, for an
unmarried lady to choose, from among the young gentlemen of her
acquaintance, one to be her guardian or gallant; who, in return for the
honor of this appointment, presents to her some nosegays, or other
trifles, and thereby obliges himself to attend her in the most
obsequious manner in all her parties of pleasure, and to all her public
amusements, for the space of one year, when he may retire, and the lady
may choose another in his place. But in the course of this connection it
frequently happens, that they contract such an inclination to each
other, as prompts them to be coupled for life. In the times of the
chivalry, we have seen that the men gloried in protecting the women, and
the women thought themselves safe and happy when they obtained that
protection. It is probable, therefore, that this custom, though now more
an affair of gallantry than of protection, is a relic of chivalry still
subsisting among that romantic and sentimental people.

But the observation of some peculiar customs on St. Valentine's day is
not confined to Italy; almost all Europe has joined in distinguishing it
by some particular ceremony. As it always happens about that time of the
year, when the genial influences of the spring begin to operate, it has
been believed by the vulgar, that upon it the birds invariably choose
their mates for the ensuing season. In imitation, therefore, of their
example, the vulgar of both sexes, in many parts of Britain, meet
together; and having upon slips of paper wrote down the names of all
their acquaintances, and put them into two different bags, the men drew
the female names by lot, and the women the male; the man makes the woman
who drew his name some trifling present, and in the rural gambol becomes
her partner; and she considers him as her sweetheart, till he is
otherwise disposed of, or till next Valentine's day provide her with


In Spain, during the Middle Ages, courts of Love were established. These
courts were composed of ladies summoned to meet together, for the
purpose of discussing, in the most formal and serious manner, "beautiful
and subtle questions of love." They decided the precise amount of
inconstancy which a lady might forgive, without lowering her own
dignity, provided her lover made certain supplications, and performed
certain penances; they took it into solemn consideration whether a lover
was justified, under any circumstances, in expressing the slightest
doubt of his lady's fidelity; they laid down definite rules, and
ceremonials of behavior, to be observed by those who wished to be
beloved; and gravely discussed the question whether sentiment, or sight,
the heart, or the eyes, contributed most powerfully to inspire


That modesty and chastity, which we now esteem as the chief ornament of
the female character, does not appear in times of remote antiquity to
have been much regarded by either sex. At Babylon, the capital of the
Assyrian empire, it was so little valued, that a law of the country
even obliged every woman once in her life to depart from it. This
abominable law, which, it is said, was promulgated by an oracle,
ordained, That every woman should once in her life repair to the temple
of Venus; that on her arrival there, her head should be crowned with
flowers, and in that attire, she should wait till some stranger
performed with her the rites sacred to the goddess of debauchery.

This temple was constructed with a great many winding galleries
appropriated to the reception of the women, and the strangers who,
allured by debauchery, never failed to assemble there in great numbers,
being allowed to choose any woman they thought proper from among those
who came there in obedience to the law. When the stranger accosted the
object of his choice, he was obliged to present her with some pieces of
money, nor was she at liberty to refuse either these, or the request of
the stranger who offered them, whatever was the value of the money, or
however mean or disagreeable the donor. These preliminaries being
settled, they retired together to fulfil the law, after which the woman
returned and offered the goddess the sacrifice prescribed by custom, and
then was at liberty to return home. Nor was this custom entirely
confined to the Babylonians; in the island of Cyprus they sent young
women at stated times to the sea-shore, where they prostituted
themselves to Venus, that they might be chaste the rest of their lives.
In some other countries, a certain number only were doomed to
prostitution, as it is supposed, by way of a bribe, to induce the
goddess of debauchery to save the rest.

When a woman had once entered the temple of Venus, she was not allowed
to depart from it till she had fulfilled the law: and it frequently
happened that those to whom nature had been less indulgent than to
others, remained there a long time before any person offered to perform
with them the condition of their release. A custom, we think, some times
alluded to in scripture, and expressly delineated in the book of Baruch:
"The women also, with cords about them, sitting in the ways, burn bran
for perfume; but, if any of them, drawn by some that passeth by, lie
with him, she reproacheth her fellow that she was not thought worthy as
herself, nor her cord broken." Though this infamous law was at first
strictly observed by all the women of Babylon, yet it would seem that,
in length of time, they grew ashamed of, and in many cases dispensed
with it; for we are informed that women of the superior ranks of life,
who were not willing literally to fulfil the law, were allowed a kind of
evasion; they were carried in litters to the gates of the temple, where,
having dismissed all their attendants, they entered alone, presented
themselves before the statue of the goddess, and returned home. Possibly
this was done by the assistance of a bribe, to those who had the care of
the temple.


In Adrianople and the neighboring cities, the women have public baths,
which are a part of their religion and of their amusement, and a bride,
the first time she appears there, after her marriage, is received in a
particular manner. The matrons and widows being seated round the room,
the virgins immediately put themselves into the original state of Eve.
The bride comes to the door richly dressed and adorned with jewels; two
of the virgins meet her, and soon put her into the same condition with
themselves; then filling some silver pots with perfume, they make a
procession round the rooms, singing an epithalamium, in which all the
virgins join in chorus; the procession ended, the bride is led up to
every matron, who bestows on her some trifling presents, and to each she
returns thanks, till she has been led round the whole. We could add many
more ceremonies arising from marriage, but as they are for the most part
such as make a part of the marriage ceremony itself, we shall have
occasion to mention them with more propriety under another head.


Grymer, a youth early distinguished in arms, who well knew how to dye
his sword in the blood of his enemies, to run over the craggy mountains,
to wrestle, to play at chess, trace the motions of the stars, and throw
far from him heavy weights, frequently shewed his skill in the chamber
of the damsels, before the king's lovely daughter; desirous of acquiring
her regard, he displayed his dexterity in handling his weapons, and the
knowledge he had attained in the sciences he had learned; at length
ventured to make this demand: "Wilt thou, O fair princess, if I may
obtain the king's consent, accept of me for a husband?" To which she
prudently replied, "I must not make that choice myself, but go thou and
offer the same proposal to my father."

The sequel of the story informs us, that Grymer accordingly made his
proposal to the king, who answered him in a rage, that though he had
learned indeed to handle his arms, yet as he had never gained a single
victory, nor given a banquet to the beasts of the field, he had no
pretensions to his daughter, and concluded by pointing out to him, in a
neighboring kingdom, a hero renowned in arms, whom, if he could conquer,
the princess should be given him: that on waiting on the princess to
tell her what had passed, she was greatly agitated, and felt in the most
sensible manner for the safety of her lover, whom she was afraid her
father had devoted to death for his presumption, that she provided him
with a suit of impenetrable armor and a trusty sword, with which he
went, and having slain his adversary, and the most part of his warriors,
returned victorious, and received her as the reward of his valor.
Singular as this method of obtaining a fair lady by a price paid in
blood may appear, it was not peculiar to the northerns: we have already
taken notice of the price which David paid for the daughter of Saul, and
shall add, that among the Sacæ, a people of ancient Scythia, a custom
something of this kind, but still more extraordinary, obtained: every
young man who made his addresses to a lady, was obliged to engage her in
single combat; if he vanquished, he led her off in triumph, and became
her husband and sovereign; if he was conquered, she led him off in the
same manner, and made him her husband and her slave.


The delicacy of a Lapland lady, which is not in the least hurt by being
drunk as often as she can procure liquor, would be wounded in the most
sensible manner, should she deign at first to listen to the declaration
of a lover; he is therefore obliged to employ a match-maker to speak for
him; and this match-maker must never go empty handed; and of all other
presents, that which must infallibly secures him a favorable reception
is brandy. Having, by the eloquence of this, gained leave to bring the
lover along with him, and being, together with the lover's father or
other nearest-male relation, arrived at the house where the lady
resides, the father and match-maker are invited to walk in, but the
lover must wait patiently at the door till further solicited. The
parties, in the mean time, open their suit to the other ladies of the
family, not forgetting to employ in their favor their irresistible
advocate brandy, a liberal distribution of which is reckoned the
strongest proof of the lover's affection. When they have all been warmed
by the lover's bounty, he is brought into the house, pays his
compliments to the family, and is desired to partake of their cheer,
though at this interview seldom indulged with a sight of his mistress;
but if he is, he salutes her, and offers her presents of reindeer skins,
tongues, &c.; all which, while surrounded with her friends, she pretends
to refuse; but at the same time giving her lover a signal to go out, she
soon steals after him, and is no more that modest creature she affected
to appear in company. The lover now solicits for the completion of his
wishes; if she is silent, it is construed into consent; but if she
throws his presents on the ground with disdain the match is broken off

It is generally observed, that women enter into matrimony with more
willingness, and less anxious care and solicitude, than men, for which
many reasons naturally suggest themselves to the intelligent reader. The
women of Greenland are however, in many cases, an exception to this
general rule. A Greenlander, having fixed his affection, acquaints his
parents with it; they acquaint the parents of the girl; upon which two
female negociators are sent to her, who, lest they should shock her
delicacy, do not enter directly on the subject of their embassy, but
launch out in praises of the lover they mean to recommend, of his house,
of his furniture, and whatever else belongs to him, but dwell most
particularly on his dexterity in catching seals. She, pretending to be
affronted, runs away, tearing the ringlets of her hair as she retires;
after which the two females, having obtained a tacit consent from her
parents, search for her, and on discovering her lurking place, drag her
by force to the house of her lover, and there leave her. For some days
she sits with dishevelled hair, silent and dejected, refusing every kind
of sustenance, and at last, if kind entreaties cannot prevail upon her,
is compelled by force, and even by blows, to complete the marriage with
her husband. It sometimes happens, that when the female match-makers
arrive to propose a lover to a Greenland young woman, she either faints,
or escapes to the uninhabited mountains, where she remains till she is
discovered and carried back by her relations, or is forced to return by
hunger and cold; in both which cases, she previously cuts off her hair;
a most infallible indication, that she is determined never to marry.


In several of the warmer regions of Asia and Africa, the little
education bestowed upon women, is entirely calculated to debauch their
minds and give additional charms to their persons. They are taught vocal
and instrumental music, which they accompany with dances, in which every
movement and every gesture is expressively indecent: but receive no
moral instruction; for it would teach them that they were doing wrong.
This, however, is not the practice in all parts of Asia and Africa: the
women of Hindostan are educated more decently; they are not allowed to
learn music or dancing; which are only reckoned accomplishments fit for
those of a lower order; they are notwithstanding, taught all the
personal graces; and particular care is taken to instruct them in the
art of conversing with elegance and vivacity; some of them are also
taught to write, and the generality to read, so that they may be able to
read the Koran; instead of which they more frequently dedicate
themselves to tales and romances; which, painted in all the lively
imagery of the East, seldom fail to corrupt the minds of creatures shut
up from the world, and consequently forming to themselves extravagant
and romantic notions of all that is transacted in it.

In well regulated families, women are taught by heart some prayers in
Arabic, which at certain hours they assemble in a hall to repeat; never
being allowed the liberty of going to the public mosque. They are
enjoined always to wash themselves before praying; and, indeed, the
virtues of cleanliness, of chastity, and obedience, are so strongly and
constantly inculcated on their minds, that in spite of their general
debauchery of manners, there are not a few among them, who, in their
common deportment, do credit to the instructions bestowed upon them;
nor is this much to be wondered at, when we consider the tempting
recompense that is held out to them; they are, in paradise, to flourish
forever, in the vigor of youth and beauty; and however old, or ugly,
when they depart this life, are there to be immediately transformed into
all that is fair, and all that is graceful.


A cause, which contributed to make the religious festivals of the Greeks
appear as amusements and diversions, was that ridiculous buffoonery that
constituted so great a part of them: it would be tedious to enumerate
one half of these buffooneries; but let a few serve as a specimen. At a
festival held in honor of Bacchus, the women ran about for a long time
seeking the god, who, they pretended, had run away from them: this done,
they passed their time in proposing riddles and questions to each other,
and laughing at such as could not answer them; and at last often closed
the scene with such enormous excesses, that at one of these festivals,
the daughters of Minya, having, in their madness, killed Hippasus, had
him dressed and served up to table as a rarity. At another, kept in
honor of Venus and Adonis, they beat their breasts, tore their hair, and
mimicked all the signs of the most extravagant grief, with which they
supposed the goddess to have been affected on the death of her favorite
paramour. At another, in honor of the nymph Cotys, they addressed her as
the goddess of wantonness with many mysterious rites and ceremonies. At
Corinth, these rites and ceremonies, being perhaps thought inconsistent
with the character of modest women, this festival was only celebrated by
harlots. Athenæus mentions a festival, at which the women laid hold on
all the old bachelors they could find, and dragged them round an altar;
beating them all the time with their fists, as punishment for their
neglect of the sex. We shall only mention two more; at one of which,
after the assembly had met in the temple of Ceres, the women shut out
all the men and dogs, themselves and the bitches remaining in the temple
all night; in the morning, the men were let in, and the time was spent
in laughing together at the frolic. At the other, in honor of Bacchus,
they counterfeited phrenzy and madness; and to make this madness appear
the more real, they used to eat the raw and bloody entrails of goats
newly slaughtered. And, indeed, the whole of the festivals of Bacchus, a
deity much worshipped in Greece, were celebrated with rites either
ridiculous, obscene, or madly extravagant. There were others, however,
in honor of the other gods and goddesses, which were more decent, and
had more the appearance of religious solemnity, though even in these,
the women dressed out in all their finery; and, adorned with flowers and
garlands, either formed splendid processions, or assisted in performing
ceremonies, the general tendency of which was to amuse rather than


The force of prejudice appears in nothing more strongly than in the
encomiums which have been lavished upon Lucretia for laying violent
hands upon herself, and Virginius for killing his own daughter. These
actions seem to derive all their glory from the revolutions to which
they gave rise, as the former occasioned the abolition of monarchy
amongst the Romans, and the latter put an end to the arbitrary power of
the decemviri. But if we lay aside our prepossessions for antiquity, and
examine these actions without prejudice, we cannot but acknowledge,
that they are rather the effects of human weakness and obstinacy than of
resolution and magnanimity. Lucretia, for fear of worldly censure, chose
rather to submit to the lewd desires of Tarquin, than have it thought
that she had been stabbed in the embraces of a slave; which sufficiently
proves that all her boasted virtue was founded upon vanity, and too high
a value for the opinion of mankind. The younger Pliny, with great
reason, prefers to this famed action that of a woman of low birth, whose
husband being seized with an incurable disorder, chose rather to perish
with him than survive him. The action of Arria is likewise much more
noble, whose husband Pætus, being condemned to death, plunged a dagger
in her breast, and told him, with a dying voice, "Pætus, it is not
painful." But the death of Lucretia gave rise to a revolution, and it
therefore became illustrious; though, as St. Augustine justly observes,
it is only an instance of the weakness of a woman, too solicitous about
the opinion of the world.

Virginius, in killing his daughter, to preserve her from falling a
victim to the lust of the decemvir Claudius, was guilty of the highest
rashness; since he might certainly have gained the people, already
irritated against the tyrant, without imbruing his hands in his own
blood. This action may indeed be extenuated, as Virginius slew his
daughter from a false principle of honor, and did it to preserve her
from what both he and she thought worse than death; namely, to preserve
her from violation; but though it may in some measure be excused, it
should not certainly be praised or admired.


  What dazzling beauties strike my ravish'd eyes,
  And fill my soul with pleasure and surprise!
  What blooming sweetness smiles upon that face!
  How mild, yet how majestic every grace!
  In those bright eyes what more than mimic fire
  Benignly shines, and kindles gay desire!
  Yet chasten'd modesty, fair white-robed dame,
  Triumphant sits to check the rising flame.
  Sure nature made thee her peculiar care:
  Was ever form so exquisitely fair?
  Yes, once there was a form thus heavenly bright,
  But now 'tis veil'd in everlasting night;
  Each glory which that lovely face could boast,
  And every charm, in traceless dust is lost;
  An unregarded heap of ruin lies
  That form which lately drew ten thousand eyes.
  What once was courted, lov'd, adored, and prais'd,
  Now mingles with the dust from whence 'twas raised.
  No more soft dimpling smiles those cheeks adorn,
  Whose rosy tincture sham'd the rising morn;
  No more with sparkling radiance shine those eyes,
  Nor over those the sable arches rise;
  Nor from those ruby lips soft accents flow,
  Nor lilies on the snowy forehead blow;
  All, all are cropp'd by death's impartial hand,
  Charms could not bribe, nor beauty's power withstand;
  Not all that crowd of wondrous charms could save
  Their fair possessor from the dreary grave.

    How frail is beauty, transient, false and vain!
  It flies with morn, and ne'er returns again.
  Death, cruel ravager, delights to prey
  Upon the young, the lovely and the gay.
  If death appear not, oft corroding pain,
  With pining sickness in her languid train,
  Blights youth's gay spring with some untimely blast,
  And lays the blooming field of beauty waste;
  But should these spare, still time creeps on apace,
  And plucks with wither'd hand each winning grace;
  The eyes, lips, cheeks, and bosom he disarms,
  No art from him can shield exterior charms.

    But would you, fair ones, be esteem'd, approved,
  And with an everlasting ardor loved;
  Would you in wrinkled age, admirers find,
  In every female virtue dress the mind;
  Adorn the heart, and teach the soul to charm,
  And when the eyes no more the breast can warm,
  These ever-blooming beauties shall inspire
  Each gen'rous heart with friendship's sacred fire;
  These charms shall neither wither, fade, nor fly;
  Pain, sickness, time, and death, they dare defy.
  When the pale tyrant's hand shall seal your doom,
  And lock your ashes in the silent tomb,
  These beauties shall in double lustre rise,
  Shine round the soul, and waft it to the skies.




External indications as to figure are required chiefly as to the limbs
which are concealed by drapery. Such indications are afforded by the
walk, to every careful observer.

In considering _the proportion of the limbs to the body_--if, even in a
young woman, the walk, though otherwise good, be heavy, or the fall on
each foot alternately be sudden, and rather upon the heel, the limbs
though well formed, will be found to be slender, compared with the body.

This conformation accompanies any great proportional developement of the
vital system; and it is frequently observable in the woman of the Saxon
population of England, as in the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, &c.

In women of this conformation, moreover, the slightest indisposition or
debility is indicated by a slight vibration of the shoulders, and upper
part of the chest, at every step, in walking.

In considering _the line or direction of the limbs_--if, viewed behind,
the feet, at every step, are thrown out backward, and somewhat
laterally, the knees are certainly much inclined inward.

If, viewed in front, the dress, at every step, is as it were, gathered
toward the front, and then tossed more or less to the opposite side, the
knees are certainly too much inclined.

In considering _the relative size of each portion of the limbs_--if, in
the walk, there be a greater or less approach to the marching pace, the
hip is large; for we naturally employ the joint which is surrounded with
the most powerful muscles, and in any approach to the march, it is the
hip-joint which is used, and the knee and ancle-joints which remain
proportionally unemployed.

If, in the walk, the tripping pace be used, as in an approach to walking
on tiptoes, the calf is large; for it is only by the power of its
muscles that, under the weight of the whole body, the foot can be
extended for this purpose.

If, in the walk, the foot be raised in a slovenly manner, and the heel
be seen, at each step, to lift the bottom of the dress upward and
backward, neither the hip nor the calf is well developed.

Even with regard to the parts of the figure which are more exposed to
observation by the closer adaptation of dress, much deception occurs. It
is, therefore, necessary to understand the arts employed for this
purpose, at least by skilful women.

A person having a narrow face, wears a bonnet with wide front, exposing
the lower part of the cheeks.--One having a broad face, wears a closer
front; and, if the jaw be wide, it is in appearance diminished, by
bringing the corners of the bonnet sloping to the point of the chin.

A person having a long neck has the neck of the bonnet descending, the
neck of the dress rising, and filling more or less of the intermediate
space. One having a short neck has the whole bonnet short and close in
the perpendicular direction, and the neck of the dress neither high nor

Persons with narrow shoulders have the shoulders or epaulets of the
dress formed on the outer edge of the natural shoulder, very full, and
both the bosom and back of the dress running in oblique folds, from the
point of the shoulder to the middle of the bust.

Persons with waists too large, render them less before by a stomacher,
or something equivalent, and behind by a corresponding form of the
dress, making the top of the dress smooth across the shoulders, and
drawing it in plaits to a narrow point at the bottom of the waist.

Those who have the bosom too small, enlarge it by the oblique folds of
the dress being gathered above, and by other means.

Those who have the lower posterior part of the body too flat, elevate it
by the top of the skirt being gathered behind, and by other less skilful
adjustments, which though hid, are easily detected.

Those who have the lower part of the body too prominent anteriorly,
render it less apparent by shortening the waist, by a corresponding
projection behind, and by increasing the bosom above.

Those who have the haunches too narrow, take care not to have the bottom
of the dress too wide.

Tall women have a wide skirt, or several flounces, or both of these:
shorter women, a moderate one, but as long as can be conveniently worn,
with the flounces, &c., as low as possible.


Additional indications as to beauty are required chiefly where the woman
observed precedes the observer, and may, by her figure, naturally and
reasonably excite his interest, while at the same time it would be rude
to turn and look in her face on passing.

There can, therefore, be no impropriety in observing, that the conduct
of those who may happen to meet the women thus preceding, will differ
according to the sex of the person who meets her.--If the person meeting
her be a man, and the lady observed be beautiful, he will not only look
with an expression of pleasure at her countenance, but will afterward
turn more or less completely to survey her from behind.--If the person
meeting her be a woman, the case becomes more complex. If both be either
ugly or beautiful, or if the person meeting her be beautiful and the
lady observed be ugly, then it is probable, that the approaching person
may pass by inattentively, casting merely an indifferent glance; if, on
the contrary, the woman meeting her be ugly, and the lady observed be
beautiful, then the former will examine the latter with the severest
scrutiny, and if she sees features and shape without defect, she will
instantly fix her eyes on the head-dress or gown, in order to find some
object for censure of the beautiful woman, and for consolation in her
own ugliness.

Thus he who happens to follow a female may be aided in determining
whether it is worth his while to glance at her face in passing, or to
devise other means of seeing it.

Even when the face is seen, as in meeting in the streets or elsewhere,
infinite deception occurs as to the degree of beauty. This operates so
powerfully, that a correct estimate of beauty is perhaps never formed at
first. This depends on the forms and still more on the colors of dress
in relation to the face. For this reason, it is necessary to understand
the principles according to which colors are employed at least by
skilful women.

When it is the fault of a face to contain too much yellow, then yellow
around the face is used to remove it by contrast, and to cause the red
and blue to predominate.

When it is the fault of a face to contain too much red, then red around
the face is used to remove by contrast, and to cause the yellow and blue
to predominate.

When it is the fault of a face to contain too much blue, then blue
around the face is used to remove it by contrast, and to cause the
yellow and red to predominate.

When it is the fault of a face to contain too much yellow and red, then
orange is used.

When it is the fault of a face to contain too much red and blue, then
purple is used.

When it is the fault of a face to contain too much blue and yellow, then
green is used.

It is necessary to observe that the linings of bonnets reflect their
color on the face, and transparent bonnets transmit that color, and
equally tinge it. In both these cases, the color employed is no longer
that which is placed around the face, and which acts on it by contrast,
but the opposite. As green around the face heightens a faint red in the
cheeks by contrast, so the pink lining of the bonnet aids it by

Hence linings which reflect, are generally of the teint which is wanted
in the face; and care is then taken that these linings do not come into
the direct view of the observer, and operate prejudicially on the face
by contrast, overpowering the little color which by reflection they
should heighten. The fronts of bonnets so lined, therefore, do not widen
greatly forward, and bring their color into contrast.

When bonnets do widen, the proper contrast is used as a lining; but then
it has not a surface much adapted for reflection, otherwise it may
perform that office, and injure the complexion.

Understanding, then, the application of these colors in a general way,
it may be noticed, that fair faces are by contrast best acted on by
light colors, and dark faces by darker colors.

Dark faces are best affected by darker colors, evidently because they
tend to render the complexion fairer; and fair faces do not require dark
colors, because the opposition would be too strong.

Objects which constitute a background to the face, or which, on the
contrary, reflect their hues upon it, always either improve or injure
the complexion. For this and some other reasons, many persons look
better at home in their apartments than in the streets. Apartments may,
indeed, be peculiarly calculated to improve individual complexions.


External indications as to mind may be derived from figure, from gait,
and from dress.

As to figure, a certain symmetry or disproportion of parts (either of
which depends immediately upon the locomotive system)--or a certain
softness or hardness of form (which belongs exclusively to the vital
system)--these reciprocally denote a locomotive symmetry or
disproportion--or a vital softness or hardness--or a mental delicacy or
coarseness, which will be found also indicated by the features of the

These qualities are marked in pairs, as each belonging to its respective
system; for, without this, there can be no accurate or useful

As to gait, that progression which advances, unmodified by any lateral
movement of the body, or any perpendicular rising of the head, and which
belongs exclusively to the locomotive system--or that soft lateral
rolling of the body, which belongs exclusively to the vital system--or
that perpendicular rising or falling of the head at every impulse to
step, which belongs exclusively to the mental system--these reciprocally
indicate a corresponding locomotive, or vital, or mental character,
which will be found also indicated by the features of the face.

To put to the test the utility of these elements of observation and
indication, let us take a few instances.--If, in any individual,
locomotive symmetry of figure is combined with direct and linear gait, a
character of mind and countenance not absolutely repulsive, but cold and
insipid, is indicated. If vital softness of figure is combined, with a
gentle lateral rolling of the body in its gait, voluptuous character and
expression of countenance are indicated.--If delicacy of outline in the
figure, be combined with perpendicular rising of the head, levity,
perhaps vanity, is indicated.--But there are innumerable combinations
and modifications of the elements which we have just described.
Expressions of pride, determination, obstinacy, &c., are all observable.

The gait, however, is often formed, in a great measure, by local or
other circumstances, by which it is necessary that the observer should
avoid being misled.

Dress, as affording indications, though less to be relied on than the
preceding, is not without its value. The woman who possesses a
cultivated taste, and a corresponding expression of countenance, will
generally be tastefully dressed; and the vulgar woman, with features
correspondingly rude, will easily be seen through the inappropriate mask
in which her milliner or dressmaker may have invested her.


External indications as to the personal habits of women are both
numerous and interesting.

The habit of child-bearing is indicated by a flatter breast, a broader
back, and thicker cartilages of the bones of the pubis, necessarily
widening the pelvis.

The same habit is also indicated by a high rise of the nape of the neck,
so that the neck from that point bends considerably forward, and by an
elevation which is diffused between the neck and shoulders. These all
arise from temporary distensions of the trunk in women whose secretions
are powerful, from the habit of throwing the shoulders backward during
pregnancy, and the head again forward, to balance the abdominal weight;
and they bestow a character of vitality peculiarly expressive.

The same habit is likewise indicated by an excess of that lateral
rolling of the body in walking, which was already described as connected
with voluptuous character. This is a very certain indication, as it
arises from temporary distensions of the pelvis, which nothing else can
occasion. As in consequence of this lateral rolling of the body, and of
the weight of the body being much thrown forward in gestation, the toes
are turned somewhat inward, they aid in the indication.

The habit of nursing children is indicated, both in mothers and
nursery-maids, by the right shoulder being larger and more elevated than
the left.

The habits of the seamstress are indicated by the neck suddenly bending
forward, and the arms being, even in walking, considerably bent forward
or folded more or less upward from the elbows.

Habits of labor are indicated by a considerable thickness of the
shoulders below, where they form an angle with the inner part of the
arm; and, where these habits are of the lowest menial kind, the elbows
are turned outward, and the palms of the hands backward.


External indications of age are required chiefly where the face is
veiled, or where the woman observed precedes the observer and may
reasonably excite his interest.

In either of these cases, if the foot and ankle have lost a certain
moderate plumpness, and assumed a certain sinewy or bony appearance, the
woman has generally passed the period of youth.

If in walking, instead of the ball or outer edge of the foot first
striking the ground, it is the heel which does so, then has the woman in
general passed the meridian of life. Unlike the last indication, this is
apparent, however the foot and ankle may be clothed.--The reason of this
indication is the decrease of power which unfits the muscles to receive
the weight of the body by maintaining the extension of the ankle-joint.

Exceptions to this last indication are to be found chiefly in women in
whom the developments of the body are proportionally much greater,
either from a temporary or a permanent cause, than those of the limbs,
the muscles of which are consequently incapable of receiving the weight
of the body by maintaining the extension of the ankle-joint.



The Venus de Medici at Florence is the most perfect specimen of ancient
sculpture remaining; and is spoken of as the Model of Female Beauty. It
was so much a favorite of the Greeks and Romans, that a hundred ancient
repetitions of this statue have been noticed by travellers. This statue
is said to have been found in the forum of Octavia at Rome. It
represents woman at that age when every beauty has just been perfected.

"The Venus de Medici at Florence," says a distinguished writer, "is like
a rose which, after a beautiful daybreak, expands its leaves to the
first ray of the sun, and represents that age when the limbs assume a
more finished form and the breast begins to develop itself."

The size of the head is sufficiently small to leave that predominance to
the vital organs in the chest, which, as already said, makes the
nutritive system peculiarly that of woman. This is the first and most
striking proof of the profound knowledge of the artist, the principles
of whose art taught him that a vast head is not a constituent of female
beauty. In mentioning the head it is scarcely possible to avoid noticing
the rich curls of hair.

The eyes next fix our attention by their soft, sweet, and glad
expression. This is produced with exquisite art. To give softness, the
ridges of the eyebrows are rounded. To give sweetness, the under eyelid,
which I would call the expressive one, is slightly raised. To give the
expression of gladness or of pleasure, the opening of the eyelids is
diminished, in order to diminish, or partially to exclude, the excess of
those impressions, which make even pleasure painful. Other exquisite
details about those eyes, confer on them unparallelled beauty. Still,
this look is far from those traits indicative of lasciviousness, with
which some modern artists have thought to characterize their Venuses.

Art still profounder was perhaps shown in the configuration of the nose.
The peculiar connexion of this sense with love was evidently well
understood by the artist. Not only is smell peculiarly associated with
love, in all the higher animals, but it is associated with reproduction
in plants, the majority of which evolve delicious odors only when the
flowers or organs of fructification are displayed. Connected, indeed,
with the capacity of the nose, and the cavities which open into it, is
the projection of the whole middle part of the face.

The mouth is rendered sweet and delicate by the lips being undeveloped
at their angles, and by the upper lip continuing so, for a considerable
portion of its length. It expresses love of pleasure by the central
development of both lips, and active love by the especial development of
the lower lip. By the slight opening of the lips, it expresses desire.

These exquisite details, and the omission of nothing intellectually
expressive that nature presents, have led some to imagine the Venus de
Medici to be a portrait. In doing so, however, they see not the profound
calculation for every feature thus embodied. More strangely still, they
forget the ideal character of the whole: the notion of this ideal head
being too small, is especially opposed to such an opinion.

Withal, the look is amorous and languishing, without being lascivious,
and is as powerfully marked by gay coquetry, as by charming innocence.

The young neck is exquisitely formed. Its beautiful curves show a
thousand capabilities of motion; and its admirably-calculated swell over
the organ of voice, results from, and marks the struggling expression of
still mysterious love.

With regard to the rest of the figure, the admirable form of the mammæ,
which, without being too large, occupy the bosom, rise from it with
various curves on every side, and all terminate in their apices, leaving
the inferior part in each precisely as pendent as gravity demands; the
flexile waist gently tapering little farther than the middle of the
trunk; the lower portion of it beginning gradually to swell out higher
even than the umbilicus; the gradual expansion of the haunches, those
expressive characteristics of the female, indicating at once her fitness
for the office of generation and that of parturition--expansions which
increase till they reach their greatest extent at the superior part of
the thighs; the fulness behind their upper part, and on each side of the
lower part of the spine, commencing as high as the waist, and
terminating in the still greater swell of the distinctly-separated hips;
the flat expanse between these, and immediately over the fissure of the
hips, relieved by a considerable dimple on each side, and caused by the
elevation of all the surrounding parts; the fine swell of the broad
abdomen which, soon reaching its greatest height immediately under the
umbilicus, slopes neatly to the mons veneris, but, narrow at its upper
part, expands more widely as it descends, while, throughout, it is
laterally distinguished by a gentle depression from the more muscular
parts on the sides of the pelvis; the beautiful elevation of the mons
veneris; the contiguous elevation of the thighs which, almost at their
commencement rise as high as it does; the admirable expansion of these
bodies inward, or toward each other, by which they almost seem to
intrude upon each other, and to exclude each from its respective place;
the general narrowness of the upper, and the unembraceable expansion of
the lower part thus exquisitely formed;--all these admirable
characteristics of female form, the mere existence of which in woman
must, one is tempted to imagine, be even to herself, a source of
ineffable pleasure--these constitute a being worthy, as the
personification of beauty, of occupying the temples of Greece; present
an object finer, alas! than nature seems even capable of producing; and
offer to all nations and ages a theme of admiration and delight.

Well might Thomson say:--

  "So stands the statue that enchants the world,
  So bending tries to veil the matchless boast,
  The mingled beauties of exulting Greece."

And Byron, in yet higher strain:--

  "There, too, the goddess loves in stone, and fills
  The air around with beauty;
                        within the pale
  We stand, and in that form and face behold
  What Mind can make, when Nature's self would fail;
  And to the fond idolaters of old
  Envy the innate flash which such a soul could mould.

  We gaze and turn away, and know not where,
  Dazzled and drunk with beauty, till the heart
  Reels with its fulness; there--forever there--
  Chained to the chariot of triumphal Art,
  We stand as captives, and would not depart."



  Away with those fictions of flimsy romance!
    Those tissues of falsehood which folly has wove!
  Give me the mild beam of the soul-breathing glance,
    Or the rapture which dwells on the first kiss of love.

  Ye rhymers, whose bosoms with phantasy glow,
    Whose pastoral passions are made for the grove,
  From what blest inspiration your sonnets would flow,
    Could you ever have tasted the first kiss of love!

  I hate you, ye cold compositions of art;
    Though prudes may condemn me, and bigots reprove,
  I court the effusions that spring from the heart
    Which throbs with delight to the first kiss of love.

  Oh! cease to affirm that man, since his birth,
    From Adam till now, has with wretchedness strove;
  Some portion of paradise still is on earth,
    And Eden revives in the first kiss of love.

  When age chills the blood, when our pleasures are past--
    For years fleet away with the wings of the dove--
  The dearest remembrance will still be the last,
    Our sweetest memorial the first kiss of love.


_See Frontispiece._

The Princess of antiquity, most renowned for her personal charms, was in
her unrivalled beauty, her mental perfections, her weaknesses, and the
unhappy conclusion of an amorous existence the counterpart of the most
beautiful queen of later times, the unfortunate Mary of Scotland.

Cleopatra was the daughter of Ptolemy Auletes, king of Egypt. She was
early given to wife to her own brother, Ptolemy Dionysius, and ascended
the throne conjointly with him, on the death of their father. It was
doubtless the policy of the kingdom thus to preserve all the royal
honors in one family--the daughter being the queen, as well as the son
king of the country. But her ambitious and intriguing spirit, restrained
by no ties of reciprocal love to her husband, who was also her brother,
sought for means to burst a union at once unnatural and galling: and the
opportunity at length arrived. Julius Cæsar, the conqueror of the world,
having pursued the defeated Pompey into Egypt, there beheld Cleopatra in
the zenith of her beauty; and he before whose power the whole world was
kneeling, prostrated himself before a pretty woman. The following is the
account of her first introduction to Cæsar, as given by the historian.
It shows that she had no maidenly scruples as to the mode of attaining
her ends.

Her intrigues to become sole monarch, had made her husband-brother
banish her from the capital. Hearing of the arrival of Cæsar, she got
into a small boat, with only one male friend, and in the dusk of the
evening made for the palace where Cæsar as well as her husband lodged.
As she saw it difficult to enter it undiscovered by her husband's
friends, she rolled herself up in a carpet. Her companion tied her up at
full length like a bale of goods, and carried her in at the gates to
Cæsar's apartments. This stratagem of hers, which was a strong proof of
her wit and ingenuity, is said to have first opened her way to Cæsar's
heart, and her conquest advanced rapidly by the charms of her speech and
person. The genius of Shakspeare has well depicted the power of her
beauty at this time. He makes her to say, at a later period of life,
when chagrined at the expected desertion of another lover,--

          "Broad-fronted Cæsar!
  When thou wast here above the ground, I was
  A morsel for a monarch: And great Pompey
  Would stand, and make his eyes grow in my brow;
  There would he fix his longing gaze, and die
  With looking on his life."

But Cleopatra, who was not less remarkable for her cunning than for her
beauty, knowing that Cæsar was resolved to be gratified at whatever
cost, determined that the price should be a round one: the terms of his
admission to her arms, were that Cæsar should expel her brother from the
kingdom, and give the crown to her; which Cæsar complied with. Cleopatra
had a son by Cæsar called Cæsarion.

In the civil wars which distracted the Roman empire after the death of
Cæsar, Cleopatra supported Brutus, against Antony and Octavius. Antony,
in his expedition to Parthia, summoned her to appear before him. She
arrayed herself in the most magnificent apparel, and appeared before her
judge in the most captivating attire. Though somewhat older than when
she drew Cæsar to her arms, her charms were still conspicuous;

  "Age could not wither her, nor custom stale
  Her infinite variety. Other women cloy
  The appetite they feed. But she made hungry
  Where most she satisfied."

Her artifice on this occasion succeeded; Antony became enamoured of her,
and publicly married her, although his wife the sister of Octavius was
living. He gave Cleopatra the greater part of the eastern provinces of
the Roman empire. This behaviour was the cause of a rupture between
Octavius and Antony; and these two celebrated generals met in battle at
Actium, where Cleopatra, by flying with sixty sail of vessels, ruined
the interest of Antony, and he was defeated. Cleopatra had retired to
Egypt, where soon after Antony followed her. Antony stabbed himself upon
the false information that Cleopatra was dead; and as his wound was not
mortal, he was carried to the queen, who drew him up by a cord from one
of the windows of the monument, where she had retired and concealed

Antony soon after died of his wounds, and Cleopatra, after she had
received pressing invitations from Octavius, and even pretended
declarations of love, destroyed herself by the bite of an asp, not to
fall into the conqueror's hands. She had previously attempted to stab
herself, and had once made a resolution to starve herself. But the means
by which she destroyed herself, is said to produce the easiest of
deaths: the Asp is a small serpent found near the river Nile, so
delicate that it may be concealed in a fig; and when presented to the
vitals of the body, its bite is so deadly as to render medical skill
useless, while at the same time it is so painless, that the victim
fancies herself dropping into a sweet slumber, instead of the arms of
death. So Cleopatra, while she is applying the venomous reptile to her
bosom, (as represented in the Frontispiece,) is supposed to use language
like the following,--

  "Dost thou not see my baby at my breast,
  That sucks the nurse asleep?"

Thus, after having chained in her embrace the two greatest generals that
the Roman empire had produced, Julius Cæsar and Mark Antony, at the
periods when they were respectively arbiters of the world's fate,
perished Cleopatra by her own hand.

Cleopatra was a voluptuous and extravagant woman, and in one of the
feasts she gave to Antony at Alexandria, she melted pearls into her
drink to render the entertainment more sumptuous and expensive. She was
fond of appearing dressed as a goddess; and she advised Antony to make
war against the richest nations, to support her debaucheries. Her beauty
has been greatly commended, and her mental perfections so highly
celebrated, that she has been described as capable of giving audience to
the ambassadors of seven different nations, and of speaking their
various languages as fluently as her own.

How vain are the possessions of beauty, power, personal and mental
accomplishments, if to these are not united virtuous principles. All
history, as well as all experience, is full of examples calculated to
impress the great lesson that

  "VIRTUE alone is HAPPINESS below."


Socrates, being asked, whether it were better for a man to marry, or to
remain single, replied,--"Let him do either, he will repent of it."

The philosopher spoke 'like an oracle,' leaving the world as much in the
dark as to his views of the comparative advantages of matrimony and
celibacy, as they could have been before. But a vast majority of men
have chosen, since they must repent of one or the other, to repent of
marrying, deeming perhaps that this repentance is "_the repentance which
needeth not to be repented of_."

We shall conclude our little treatise on "the sex," with a few remarks
on the subject of--we were about to say--Happiness,--but as we are
content that every married man and woman should judge for themselves as
to the happiness of the married state, we will simply style it an ESSAY

No event is more important, and none is conducted, on many occasions,
with less prudence, than Marriage. Providence has allowed the passions
to exercise a powerful influence in this matter, otherwise the cares and
anxieties with which it is attended would deter most persons from
launching their bark of earthly happiness on the great ocean of
matrimony. But too frequently the passions are the only guide, and these
stimulate to bewilder: they exhibit pleasing and attractive imagery, and
then the possession destroys the bliss.

Love is a pleasing but exciting passion. The eye is delighted by form,
manners, and the expression of the features, the ears by musical
language, and the imagination paints future joys; all of which
contribute to one great principle, that of receiving happiness from
those we love, and evincing love for those from whom we derive our
happiness. As the crystal streams are absorbed by the sun, and
distributed as brilliant clouds in the heavens, and then fall and run in
their accustomed channels, and thus the rivers supply the clouds, and
the vapors the rivers, so is the interchange between love and happiness.
This will agree with the opinion that love may be occasioned suddenly,
because enjoyment is expected; or it may arise gradually, because the
unattractiveness which first existed, may be succeeded by attraction.

There was no appointment by nature of particular persons for each other;
but we may expect among a great variety of occurrences to meet with some
singular and astonishing coincidences. Human beings appear to be left in
this respect, as in many others, to their own judgment. If they act
discreetly, they enjoy the comfort of it; but if otherwise, they bring
upon themselves a disadvantage.

The happiness arising from an union depends chiefly on the character of
the persons who are concerned in it. If men and women were as consistent
and virtuous as they should be, the connubial bond would be soft and
pleasant; but as these effects do not always arise, where is the fault?
Which is better, or more worthy, the male or the female sex? This is
rather a difficult question; and let the palm of superior merit be
awarded to either, the imputation of prejudice would be connected with
the decision. But fortunately there is little difference: one varies
from the other in particular qualities; but if the aggregate of merit be
taken in each, the amount will not differ much. Education forms the
principal variation: men are instructed in the more active and laborious
employments, women in the more sedentary and domestic. Dr Southey says,
that "if women are not formed of finer clay, there has been more of the
dew of heaven to temper it." Richard Flecknoe, a contemporary with
Dryden, observes of the female sex,--"I have always been conversant with
the best and worthiest in all places where I came; and among the rest
with ladies, in whose conversation, as in an academy of virtue, I learnt
nothing but goodness, and saw nothing but nobleness." It must be
granted, that women in general possess more of the sweetness and
softness of human nature, while men are endowed with more vigorous
virtues; women are gifted with more fortitude, and men with more valor.

Jeremy Taylor says,--"Marriage hath in it the labor of love, and the
delicacies of friendship; the blessings of society, and the union of
hands and hearts."

Cowper has also alluded to the advantages of a matrimonial settlement,--

  "O friendly to the best pursuits of man,
  Friendly to thought, to virtue, and to peace,
  Domestic life in rural pleasure pass'd."

Marriage is frequently an union of interest: the happiness of one is
made a source of enjoyment to the other. It is for life, because it is
most agreeable with the inclination of mankind that friendship, esteem
and love should be permanent. In this instance a continuance of the
union constitutes no small part of the bliss. The expectation of a
durable connection makes men careful, otherwise they would marry and
unmarry every week. There is, by the arrangement of the Almighty, a
comparative power or influence vested in the man, because, agreeably
with all good government,--

  "Some are, and must be, greater than the rest;"

but then, as Dr Beattie observes, "the superiority vested by law in the
man is compensated to the woman by that superior complaisance which is
paid them by every man who aspires to elegance of manners." And besides
this, the husband has frequently the nominal, while the wife has the
actual power:--

  "Like as the helme doth rule the shippe,"

so she regulates all the household affairs. This is proper, when the
husband allows it; and he ought to do so, when his wife is capable of
managing these things; but when the inclinations of his Eve run
perversely, when he is conscious that he has reason on his side, and she
only folly, and yet he is vacillating and yielding, he is unmanly and
inconsistent; he sacrifices future happiness to present peace. Every
woman, it must be granted, is not a sensible one; and "there is
nothing," as Lord Burleigh observed to his son, "more fulsome than a she
foole." If Socrates had properly controlled his Xantippe before her
disorder had increased beyond cure, it would have contributed to her
happiness and his own. Prince Eugene observed, on one occasion, rather
satirically, that love was a mere amusement, and calculated for nothing
more than to enlarge the influence of the woman, and abridge the power
of the man. Goldsmith's Hermit said to his lovely visiter,--

  "And love is still an emptier sound,
    The modern fair one's jest;
  On earth unseen, or only found
    To warm the turtle's nest."

But love is an actual, a powerful, and a beneficial principle, if it be
properly regulated. Among married persons there ought to be as much love
as would induce either to yield in trifling matters; and there ought to
be as much reason as would enable both to act correctly. Matrimony
should be something like the union of the ivy and the oak: the latter is
firm, and capable of supporting its more tender companion; the ivy,
however, must follow in some measure the humors and windings of the oak;
but they grow together, and the longer they continue the more closely
they are united. There have been many instances of great attachment.
Porcia, the wife of Brutus, when she heard of her husband's death
swallowed burning coals that she might go with him. Alceste, wife of
Admetus king of Thessaly, sacrificed herself for the safety of her
husband. This monarch was ill; and when the oracle was consulted, it was
declared that he would not recover except some friend would die for him;
and as no one else would do so, the wife heroically drank a cup of
poison. Paulina the wife of Seneca in his old age, was young, beautiful,
and accomplished; and she was so much attached to her husband, that when
the veins of Seneca were opened by the command of Nero, she caused her
own to be cut, that she might also bleed to death. When Conrad III. had
taken the town of Winsberg in Bavaria, he allowed only the women to go
out; but they had leave to carry with them as much as they pleased. They
loaded themselves, therefore, with their husbands and children, and
brought them all out on their shoulders! When love is genuine; when
professions are sincere, and the practice agreeable therewith; when
health is enjoyed, and as many comforts as are necessary for this life;
when children grow up in vigor, good behaviour, and mental improvement;
when old age is solaced by the company of each other, and the kind
attention of daughters and sons; then matrimony is a cause of

But if all these enjoyments were the lot of every married person, men
would become too much contented with the present life, and they would
scarcely think, as they sail on smoothly, of the haven, for which they
are bound. Besides, the fascinations of domestic life would attract
them from many duties which they owe to their fellow creatures. There
are then many disadvantages connected with matrimony. There is so
much ignorance, perverseness, undue inclination for power, disposition
to contradict, anger, jealousy, hatred, and versatility among human
beings that many unpleasant occurrences will necessarily arise, and
especially in the marriage state, because here most of these feelings
are brought into action, and are most sensibly felt by those who are
subject to their influence. He that paints the experience of human
life in brilliant colors only gives a flattering and deceptive
representation,--he may just as well pretend that the heavens are
always cloudless. People soon discover that there are sorrows in the
world as well as joys, unpleasant as well as pleasant events; hence
arises the advantage of examining, of pointing out, and endeavoring
to avoid "the ills which flesh is heir to." The perpetuity of marriage,
under pleasing circumstances, is its most lovely character; but the
same peculiarity, under a different aspect, is its principal source of
misery. It is too frequently a state of bondage, "which thousands once
fast-chained to quit no more." But what exists, and cannot be removed,
should always be borne as patiently as possible; and thus we may keep a
cheerful heart, when another, less prudent, would be gloomy. Besides, an
ill temper makes every condition of life unhappy; a cheerful disposition
will throw a gleam of sunshine over the scenery of a November day. Some
people, very foolishly, make themselves uneasy because they are bound.
Sir Jonah Barrington seems to think it a natural propensity. He
says,--"The moment any two animals, however fond before, are fastened
together by a chain they cannot break, they begin to quarrel without
any apparent reason, and peck each other solely because they cannot get
loose again." But it must be remembered that people enter into marriage
with a knowledge of the permanency of the union, and perhaps they seldom
repent, except they had been deceived; and this we may hope would not
occur frequently. After the Romans had introduced a law of divorce, no
respectable person, for the space of forty years, availed himself of it.
Divorcement was much practised among the Jews, and was productive of
great evil. One of the Jewish doctors asserted, that if a man beheld a
woman who was handsomer than his wife, he might put away his wife and
marry her; and thus all the wives in Judea, except the handsomest, might
have been divorced. Josephus observes, on one occasion, very
coolly,--"About this time I put away my wife, who had borne me three
children, not being pleased with her manners."

One cause of unhappiness in a married state, is too little affection;
and in other instances, although affection may be possessed, it is not
shown. Montesquieu observes, "that women commonly reserve their love for
their husbands until their husbands are dead." Sometimes a mortal hatred
springs up, which induces a man, like Henry VIII., to cause the murder
of those whom he has sworn to love and preserve; or a woman, like Livia,
to poison her husband. Not only is a great dissimilarity of rank and
condition a cause of dislike, but a great variation in age is frequently
the cause of distrust and unhappiness. The proportion which Aristotle
suggests (a man of thirty-seven to a woman of eighteen,) may be
appropriate in one respect, but it is objectionable in others. The life
of the female is just as long as that of the male; and the union of
middle age and youth, where the one is twice as old as the other, will
not always allow an uniformity of feelings and disposition. The case of
Seneca (to which we have alluded,) and that of Sir Matthew Hale, are
exceptions. Youth is generally gay, thoughtless, and frivolous; but
life, in more advanced periods, is sober, thoughtful, and dignified. A
husband should not be deemed a teacher or guardian for the wife so much
as a companion; and the wife should not be considered as guardian for
the husband: there ought to be a mutual sympathy, and in most respects
an equality of influence.

Jealousy is a passion which allows the hapless possessor to enjoy
neither rest nor confidence. It is frequently the companion of love.
Shakspeare says,

  "For where love reigns, disturbing jealousy
  Doth call himself affection's sentinel."

When this principle obtains possession of the breast, it destroys the
health and spirits: the streams which gladden the heart become
corrupted, and productive of rage and melancholy. Jealousy is like the
snake which insidiously entwines itself around its victim; or like the
bohun upas of Java, which diffuses death. The bright beams of hope,
which cheered the possessor, and carried his vision to distant days and
distant scenes of enjoyment, are all eclipsed by this pillar of
darkness. Moliere the poet was endowed with an eminent genius--he was
esteemed as the first wit in Europe; but his wife was faithless, and no
enjoyment, or success, or honor could tranquillize his mind, and make
him happy. The attractions of youth and beauty will sometimes excite an
illicit passion, but the indulgence of this feeling is the path to
anxiety and degradation. The female may be less faulty; but she will be
the greater sufferer; for, with regard to her lawful companion,
confidence is changed to timidity, love to hypocrisy, and a continual
fear torments her, lest accident or malice should discover her
imprudence. How dearly is the pleasure of a moment procured when it is
purchased by years of unhappiness! On the other hand, it is extremely
unreasonable for some persons to indulge as they do, their natural
disposition of suspicion, and thus make others unhappy. Where virtue
only exists, it is a most grievous hardship that the possessor should be
subject to the penalty of vice. Nothing should be made with more caution
than a decision in which the innocent may receive the odium which
belongs to the guilty.

Sometimes the worst sort of accomplishments are brought by a lady into
the marriage state: she may be capable of singing admirably, of dancing,
of painting, of performing skilfully on the harp or piano, of making
ingenious trinkets and ornaments; all this may be well enough for an
unmarried lady, but of what use are they in a state of matrimony? It is
true, that if she be favored with a handsome fortune, she may indulge
herself agreeably with her inclination, and employ others to manage her
household affairs; but not many are thus situated; and, even in this
case, there are duties which belong to the wife, in regard to her
husband and children, which would occupy pretty much of her time. It is
still worse if she be fond of dissipation,--of routs, balls, and public
amusements; if she fly abroad in pursuit of a phantom while domestic
enjoyment is neglected. A good wife will endeavor to make herself happy
at home, and she will try to make all at home happy: she should endeavor
to make the pathway of life cheerful by her smiles and attention, so
that her husband may be delighted with his dwelling, and find it his
happiest place; and that the children may be regulated with all
necessary care.

A good temper is essential for matrimonial happiness. An habitually
irritable or gloomy disposition is a source of misery to the possessor
and to others. A dark and murky cave could as well throw out a cheerful
lustre, as a surly person communicate happiness to those around him.
Obstinacy must not be indulged by either party; for, as the bond of
union cannot be easily broken, if one be perverse the other must bend.
If two trees be bound tightly together, and both be stiff, the cords
will probably break; if not immediately, they will when the cords become
weaker: and thus with regard to matrimony, what God has joined together,
the perversity of human beings will put asunder. Obstinacy in trifling
matters in the marriage state is an evidence of little love and a bad
heart; but if trifling matters appear important, and the gaining of
every point be as the taking of a citadel, the person is wrong in his
judgment; he is insane, or partially so. Many worthy women have been
cursed with worthless husbands; but, unfortunately, the grievances of
the female sex have been less frequently known than those of the men;
for women are not authors, and men are frequently so; consequently, in
all estimates of the comparative merit of the sexes, it must be
remembered that more has been said on the one side than on the other.
Home, however, is the castle of the wife, if she be a good one; here she
keeps her permanent abode, agreeably with the injunction of St. Paul.
The husband is absent the principal part of his time, may there not
therefore, on some occasions, be too greet an inclination in the lady to
consider herself as the governor of the establishment, while the husband
may be deemed a visiter, rather than the master? This would not arise in
the breast of an amiable and affectionate wife, but it has sometimes
arisen; for, unfortunately, all wives have not been good ones. Jerome
Cardan was so unfortunate as to have a wife who was proverbial for her
ill temper and arbitrary conduct. John Knox said of Lord Erskine, "He
has a very Jezebel to his wife." Salmasius, the opponent of Milton, was
made perpetually uneasy by a similar thorn. The unfortunate husband was
a Frenchman, and Milton said (as Dr Johnson observes,) "Tu es Gallus,
et, ut aiunt, nimium gallinaceus." Milton himself seems to have suffered
from a similar cause, for he evinces so much hostility to the female
sex, that no other reason would so naturally account for it. He

                            "O why did God,
  Creator wise, that peopled highest Heaven
  With spirits masculine, create at last
  This novelty on earth, this fair defect
  Of nature, and not fill the world at once
  With men and angels without feminine?"

Milton adds a great deal more, which, if he had a high opinion of woman,
even his anxiety to make his character of Adam consistent would not have
demanded. An amiable temper on the part of a wife, with her own natural
softness, and an inclination to yield in unimportant matters, will not
only increase love, but power; for in this respect, agreeably to the
opinion of Prince Eugene, love is power.

Marriage is sometimes made a matter of mere convenience; people enter
into it with as much indifference as they would into any other
speculation, and when one companion dies they take another. In the book
of Tobit we have an account of Sara, the daughter of Raguel, who had
been favored with seven husbands, whom "Asmodeus the evil spirit had
killed." Love must be exceedingly pliable, it must be love to man, and
not to a man, that would suffer a woman to transfer her affections seven
times. It would be a ludicrous occurrence, if, upon any particular
occasion, a man's three or four wives, or a woman's three or four
husbands, should "burst their cerements," and visit their former
dwelling. What astonishment! What uplifted hands and distended
eyeballs! What speechlessness and violent speeches,--reproaches and
animosities! When the Duke of Rutland was Viceroy of Ireland, Sir John
Hamilton attended one of his Grace's levees. "This is timely rain," said
the Duke, "it will bring every thing above ground."--"I hope not, my
Lord," replied Sir John, "for I have three wives there." Marriage may be
well extended to two wives and two husbands in succession; this, in some
cases, is necessary; but when it goes to three or four it is
objectionable. The man who moves from place, sometimes living here and
sometimes there, will never gain a pure and ardent love of home; by the
same rule, a succession of wives will only induce an habitual or
mechanical regard to the wife for the time being; in the same way as
loyalty may be transferred from one sovereign to another. Besides, a
family with different degrees of relationship and with different
interests is formed, and this contributes nothing towards domestic
tranquillity. There may be some particular cases in which the evils to
which we have alluded may not arise; these may be deemed exceptions.

There are some sorrows peculiar to matrimony; and some which, though
they fall on other conditions of life, are felt more heavily when they
intrude themselves within the boundary of connubial love. Poverty and
sickness are more grievous evils under circumstances of this sort;
because a man feels not only for himself, but for others. How dreadful
must it be when the husband beholds his wife in squalid misery. What are
the feelings of a mother when she sees her innocent children suffering
from hunger! And when the iron hand of affliction presses upon the brow
of a husband or a wife, and the sharp arrows of pain occasion groans, is
there not an almost equal anguish is the breast of an affectionate
partner? And when the heavy clouds of sorrow gather around at the
anticipated separation of those who had lived in the bonds of
harmony--when the chilly arms of death are held out to clasp him, or
her, who had been used to a more tender embrace, how dreadful is that
period! Is not the woe of separating generally in the same proportion as
the bliss of uniting? And is it not a valuable loan to be paid by a
mighty sacrifice?

Unhappiness may be occasioned by indulging an undue degree of love.
Sentimental bliss is generally followed by sentimental sorrow;
consequently, people may love one another too ardently, so as to make
the thought of parting a source of misery. If two plants grow up
together, imparting to each other shelter and fragrance, it may
contribute to their mutual advantage; but if they become so closely
united as to grow from the same stalk, and depend on the same nutriment,
then take away one, and both will perish. Connubial love should,
therefore, be regulated by reason. Extremes are seldom durable. Violent
love in the marriage state may change to hatred; and an unusual quantity
expended on the husband or wife, may occasion a lesser degree of regard
towards others. It is not an uncommon event for external enemies to
occasion harmony at home; and harmony at home, or the yielding to the
foolish notions of each other, may occasion enemies without. So
difficult is it to act consistently, and to live in peace with all men!
But the Scripture demands it, and we have a long period for studying our

In matrimony it is necessary that many things should contribute to a
permanency of enjoyment. A good temper on both sides; property enough to
supply the wants of a family; good health; children--not too many, nor
too few, nor all of one sex; a continuance in each other's society, till
both pass away gradually as the twilight into darkness: but, if chilly
poverty exert its influence; if the husband or the wife be ill-tempered;
if he or she be unfaithful or jealous; if love be followed by hatred; if
one be taken, and the other left in solitude; if children be imperfect
in birth, or habitually sickly, or drop off in early years as unripe
fruit; if sons prove vicious, and daughters bring disgrace on themselves
and their families; if the extravagance of children bring their aged
parents in sorrow to the grave; where, then, will be the pleasure of
matrimony? The cares of a family, when the family is large and unruly,
are more perplexing than the cares of a state. Cardan confessed, that
out of four great troubles which he had experienced, two arose from his
children. When Thales was asked why he did not marry, he replied,
"because I want no children." One of the ancient sages was so much
impressed with the disappointments and anxieties of matrimony, that when
he was asked, at what time, a man should marry? replied, "If he be
young, not yet; if older, not at all."

This sentiment however, so repugnant to all our ideas of social
improvement, as well as to the command of our Creator, who presented
woman to man as a helpmate, because it was not good that he should live
alone, and demanded of them to "be fruitful and multiply," will find no
advocates except among the disappointed, the ignorant, and the
abandoned. "The love of woman" is a feeling too deeply rooted in the
breast of man, and the reality of domestic felicity has been too long
tested by experience, for either to be sacrificed on the altar of the
revilers of matrimony, whether they be libertines, weak husbands, or
misnamed "philosophers."

  The dearest boon from Heaven above,
    Is bliss which brightly hallows home,
  'Tis sunlight to the world of love,
    And life's pure wine without its foam.
  There is a sympathy of heart
    Which consecrates the social shrine,
  Robs grief of gloom and doth impart
    A joy to gladness all divine.

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    | Transcriber's Note                                           |
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    | Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. Details    |
    | are provided in the source of the associated html version.   |
    | Archaic spellings have been retained.                        |
    |                                                              |

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large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.