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Title: Advice to Young Men - And (Incidentally) to Young Women in the Middle and Higher Ranks of Life. In a Series of Letters, Addressed to a Youth, a Bachelor, a Lover, a Husband, a Father, a Citizen, or a Subject.
Author: Cobbett, William, 1763-1835
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Advice to Young Men - And (Incidentally) to Young Women in the Middle and Higher Ranks of Life. In a Series of Letters, Addressed to a Youth, a Bachelor, a Lover, a Husband, a Father, a Citizen, or a Subject." ***


And (Incidentally) to Young Women, in the Middle and Higher Ranks of Life.
In a Series of Letters, Addressed to a Youth, a Bachelor, a Lover,
a Husband, a Father, a Citizen, or a Subject.



(From the Edition of 1829)
Henry Frowde
Oxford: Horace Hart
Printer to the University


1. It is the duty, and ought to be the pleasure, of age and experience
to warn and instruct youth and to come to the aid of inexperience. When
sailors have discovered rocks or breakers, and have had the good luck to
escape with life from amidst them, they, unless they be pirates or
barbarians as well as sailors, point out the spots for the placing of
buoys and of lights, in order that others may not be exposed to the
danger which they have so narrowly escaped. What man of common humanity,
having, by good luck, missed being engulfed in a quagmire or quicksand,
will withhold from his neighbours a knowledge of the peril without which
the dangerous spots are not to be approached?

2. The great effect which correct opinions and sound principles, imbibed
in early life, together with the good conduct, at that age, which must
naturally result from such opinions and principles; the great effect
which these have on the whole course of our lives is, and must be, well
known to every man of common observation. How many of us, arrived at
only forty years, have to repent; nay, which of us has not to repent, or
has not had to repent, that he did not, at an earlier age, possess a
great stock of knowledge of that kind which has an immediate effect on
our personal ease and happiness; that kind of knowledge, upon which the
cheerfulness and the harmony of our homes depend!

3. It is to communicate a stock of this sort of knowledge, in
particular, that this work is intended; knowledge, indeed, relative to
education, to many sciences, to trade, agriculture, horticulture, law,
government, and religion; knowledge relating, incidentally, to all
these; but, the main object is to furnish that sort of knowledge to the
young which but few men acquire until they be old, when it comes too
late to be useful.

4. To communicate to others the knowledge that I possess has always been
my taste and my delight; and few, who know anything of my progress
through life, will be disposed to question my fitness for the task. Talk
of rocks and breakers and quagmires and quicksands, who has ever escaped
from amidst so many as I have! Thrown (by my own will, indeed) on the
wide world at a very early age, not more than eleven or twelve years,
without money to support, without friends to advise, and without
book-learning to assist me; passing a few years dependent solely on my
own labour for my subsistence; then becoming a common soldier and
leading a military life, chiefly in foreign parts, for eight years;
quitting that life after really, for me, high promotion, and with, for
me, a large sum of money; marrying at an early age, going at once to
France to acquire the French language, thence to America; passing eight
years there, becoming bookseller and author, and taking a prominent part
in all the important discussions of the interesting period from 1793 to
1799, during which there was, in that country, a continued struggle
carried on between the English and the French parties; conducting
myself, in the ever-active part which I took in that struggle, in such a
way as to call forth marks of unequivocal approbation from the
government at home; returning to England in 1800, resuming my labours
here, suffering, during these twenty-nine years, two years of
imprisonment, heavy fines, three years self-banishment to the other side
of the Atlantic, and a total breaking of fortune, so as to be left
without a bed to lie on, and, during these twenty-nine years of troubles
and of punishments, writing and publishing, every week of my life,
whether in exile or not, eleven weeks only excepted, a periodical paper,
containing more or less of matter worthy of public attention; writing
and publishing, during _the same twenty-nine years_, a grammar of the
French and another of the English language, a work on the Economy of the
Cottage, a work on Forest Trees and Woodlands, a work on Gardening, an
account of America, a book of Sermons, a work on the Corn-plant, a
History of the Protestant Reformation; all books of great and continued
sale, and the _last_ unquestionably the book of greatest circulation in
the whole world, the Bible only excepted; having, during _these same
twenty-nine years_ of troubles and embarrassments without number,
introduced into England the manufacture of Straw-plat; also several
valuable trees; having introduced, during _the same twenty-nine years_,
the cultivation of the Corn-plant, so manifestly valuable as a source of
food; having, during the same period, always (whether in exile or not)
sustained a shop of some size, in London; having, during the whole of
the same period, never employed less, on an average, than ten persons,
in some capacity or other, exclusive of printers, bookbinders, and
others, connected with papers and books; and having, during these
twenty-nine years of troubles, embarrassments, prisons, fines, and
banishments, bred up a family of seven children to man's and woman's

5. If such a man be not, after he has survived and accomplished all
this, qualified to give Advice to Young Men, no man is qualified for
that task. There may have been natural _genius_: but genius _alone_, not
all the genius in the world, could, without _something more_, have
conducted me through these perils. During these twenty-nine years, I
have had for deadly and ever-watchful foes, a government that has the
collecting and distributing of sixty millions of pounds in a year, and
also every soul who shares in that distribution. Until very lately, I
have had, for the far greater part of the time, the whole of the press
as my deadly enemy. Yet, at this moment, it will not be pretended, that
there is another man in the kingdom, who has so many cordial friends.
For as to the _friends_ of _ministers_ and the _great_, the friendship
is towards the _power_, the _influence_; it is, in fact, towards _those
taxes_, of which so many thousands are gaping to get at a share. And, if
we could, through so thick a veil, come at the naked fact, we should
find the subscription, now going on in Dublin for the purpose of
erecting a monument in that city, to commemorate the good recently done,
or alleged to be done, to Ireland, by the DUKE of WELLINGTON; we should
find, that the subscribers have _the taxes_ in view; and that, if the
monument shall actually be raised, it ought to have _selfishness_, and
not _gratitude_, engraven on its base. Nearly the same may be said with
regard to all the praises that we hear bestowed on men in power. The
friendship which is felt towards me is pure and disinterested: it is not
founded in any hope that the parties can have, that they can ever
_profit_ from professing it: it is founded on the gratitude which they
entertain for the good that I _have done_ them; and, of this sort of
friendship, and friendship so cordial, no man ever possessed a larger

6. Now, mere _genius_ will not acquire this for a man. There must be
something more than _genius_: there must be industry: there must be
perseverance: there must be, before the eyes of the nation, proofs of
extraordinary exertion: people must say to themselves, 'What wise
conduct must there have been in the employing of the time of this man!
How sober, how sparing in diet, how early a riser, how little expensive
he must have been!' These are the things, and _not genius_, which have
caused my labours to be so incessant and so successful: and, though I do
not affect to believe, that _every young man_, who shall read this work,
will become able to perform labours of equal magnitude and importance, I
do pretend, that _every_ young man, who will attend to my advice, will
become able to perform a great deal more than men generally do perform,
whatever may be his situation in life; and, that he will, too, perform
it with greater ease and satisfaction than he would, without the advice,
be able to perform the smaller portion.

7. I have had, from thousands of young men, and men advanced in years
also, letters of thanks for the great benefit which they have derived
from my labours. Some have thanked me for my Grammars, some for my
Cottage Economy, others for the Woodlands and the Gardener; and, in
short, for every one of my works have I received letters of thanks from
numerous persons, of whom I had never heard before. In many cases I have
been told, that, if the parties had had my books to read some years
before, the gain to them, whether in time or in other things, would have
been very great. Many, and a great many, have told me, that, though long
at school, and though their parents had paid for their being taught
English Grammar, or French, they had, in a short time, learned more from
my books, on those subjects, than they had learned, in years, from their
teachers. How many gentlemen have thanked me, in the strongest terms,
for my Woodlands and Gardener, observing (just as Lord Bacon had
observed in his time) that they had before seen no books, on these
subjects, that they could _understand_! But, I know not of anything that
ever gave me more satisfaction than I derived from the visit of a
gentleman of fortune, whom I had never heard of before, and who, about
four years ago, came to thank me in person for a complete reformation,
which had been worked in his son by the reading of my two SERMONS on
_drinking_ and on _gaming_.

8. I have, therefore, done, already, a great deal in this way: but,
there is still wanting, in a compact form, a body of ADVICE such as that
which I now propose to give: and in the giving of which I shall divide
my matter as follows. 1. Advice addressed to a YOUTH; 2. Advice
addressed to a BACHELOR; 3. Advice addressed to a LOVER; 4. To a

9. Some persons will smile, and others laugh outright, at the idea of
'Cobbett's giving advice for conducting the affairs of _love_.' Yes, but
I was once young, and surely I may say with the poet, I forget which of

  'Though old I am, for ladies' love unfit,
  The power of beauty I remember yet.'

I forget, indeed, the _names_ of the ladies as completely, pretty nigh,
as I do that of the poets; but I remember their influence, and of this
influence on the conduct and in the affairs and on the condition of men,
I have, and must have, been a witness all my life long. And, when we
consider in how great a degree the happiness of all the remainder of a
man's life depends, and always must depend, on his taste and judgment in
the character of a lover, this may well be considered as the most
important period of the whole term of his existence.

10. In my address to the HUSBAND, I shall, of course, introduce advice
relative to the important duties of _masters_ and _servants_; duties of
great importance, whether considered as affecting families or as
affecting the community. In my address to the CITIZEN or SUBJECT, I
shall consider all the reciprocal duties of the governors and the
governed, and also the duties which man owes to his neighbour. It would
be tedious to attempt to lay down rules for conduct exclusively
applicable to every distinct calling, profession, and condition of life;
but, under the above-described heads, will be conveyed every species of
advice of which I deem the utility to be unquestionable.

11. I have thus fully described the nature of my little work, and,
before I enter on the first Letter, I venture to express a hope, that
its good effects will be felt long after its author shall have ceased to



12. You are now arrived at that age which the law thinks sufficient to
make an oath, taken by you, valid in a court of law. Let us suppose from
fourteen to nearly twenty; and, reserving, for a future occasion, my
remarks on your duty towards parents, let me here offer you my advice as
to the means likely to contribute largely towards making you a happy
man, useful to all about you, and an honour to those from whom you

13. Start, I beseech you, with a conviction firmly fixed on your mind,
that you have no right to live in this world; that, being of hale body
and sound mind, you have _no right_ to any earthly existence, without
doing _work_ of some sort or other, unless you have ample fortune
whereon to live clear of debt; and, that even in that case, you have no
right to breed children, to be kept by others, or to be exposed to the
chance of being so kept. Start with this conviction thoroughly implanted
on your mind. To wish to live on the labour of others is, besides the
folly of it, to contemplate a _fraud_ at the least, and, under certain
circumstances, to meditate oppression and robbery.

14. I suppose you in the middle rank of life. Happiness ought to be your
great object, and it is to be found only in _independence_. Turn your
back on Whitehall and on Somerset-House; leave the Customs and Excise to
the feeble and low-minded; look not for success to favour, to
partiality, to friendship, or to what is called _interest_: write it on
your heart, that you will depend solely on your own merit and your own
exertions. Think not, neither, of any of those situations where gaudy
habiliments and sounding titles poorly disguise from the eyes of good
sense the mortifications and the heart-ache of slaves. Answer me not by
saying, that these situations '_must be_ filled by _somebody_;' for, if
I were to admit the truth of the proposition, which I do not, it would
remain for you to show that they are conducive to happiness, the
contrary of which has been proved to me by the observation of a now
pretty long life.

15. Indeed, reason tells us, that it must be thus: for that which a man
owes to favour or to partiality, that same favour or partiality is
constantly liable to take from him. He who lives upon anything except
his own labour, is incessantly surrounded by rivals: his grand resource
is that servility in which he is always liable to be surpassed. He is in
daily danger of being out-bidden; his very bread depends upon caprice;
and he lives in a state of uncertainty and never-ceasing fear. His is
not, indeed, the dog's life, '_hunger_ and idleness;' but it is worse;
for it is 'idleness with _slavery_,' the latter being the just price of
the former. Slaves frequently are well _fed_ and well _clad_; but slaves
dare not _speak_; they dare not be suspected to _think_ differently from
their masters: hate his acts as much as they may; be he tyrant, be he
drunkard, be he fool, or be he all three at once, they must be silent,
or, nine times out of ten, affect approbation: though possessing a
thousand times his knowledge, they must feign a conviction of his
superior understanding; though knowing that it is they who, in fact, do
all that he is paid for doing, it is destruction to them to _seem as if
they thought_ any portion of the service belonged to them! Far from me
be the thought, that any youth who shall read this page would not rather
perish than submit to live in a state like this! Such a state is fit
only for the refuse of nature; the halt, the half-blind, the unhappy
creatures whom nature has marked out for degradation.

16. And how comes it, then, that we see hale and even clever youths
voluntarily bending their necks to this slavery; nay, pressing forward
in eager rivalship to assume the yoke that ought to be insupportable?
The cause, and the only cause, is, that the deleterious fashion of the
day has created so many artificial wants, and has raised the minds of
young men so much above their real rank and state of life, that they
look scornfully on the employment, the fare, and the dress, that would
become them; and, in order to avoid that state in which they might live
_free_ and _happy_, they become _showy slaves_.

17. The great source of independence, the French express in a precept of
three words, '_Vivre de peu_,' which I have always very much admired.
'_To live upon little_' is the great security against slavery; and this
precept extends to dress and other things besides food and drink. When
DOCTOR JOHNSON wrote his Dictionary, he put in the word pensioner thus:
'PENSIONER--_A slave of state_.' After this he himself became a
_pensioner_! And thus, agreeably to his own definition, he lived and
died '_a slave of state_!' What must this man of great genius, and of
great industry too, have felt at receiving this pension! Could he be so
callous as not to feel a pang upon seeing his own name placed before his
own degrading definition? And what could induce him to submit to this?
His wants, his artificial wants, his habit of indulging in the pleasures
of the table; his disregard of the precept '_Vivre de peu_.' This was
the cause; and, be it observed, that indulgences of this sort, while
they tend to make men poor and expose them to commit mean acts, tend
also to enfeeble the body, and more especially to cloud and to weaken
the mind.

18. When this celebrated author wrote his Dictionary, he had not been
debased by luxurious enjoyments; the rich and powerful had not caressed
him into a slave; his writings then bore the stamp of truth and
independence: but, having been debased by luxury, he who had, while
content with plain fare, been the strenuous advocate of the rights of
the people, became a strenuous advocate for _taxation without
representation_; and, in a work under the title of '_Taxation no
Tyranny_,' defended, and greatly assisted to produce, that unjust and
bloody war which finally severed from England that great country the
United states of America, now the most powerful and dangerous rival that
this kingdom ever had. The statue of Dr. JOHNSON was the first that was
put into St. PAUL'S CHURCH! A signal warning to us not to look upon
monuments in honour of the dead as a proof of their virtues; for here we
see St. PAUL'S CHURCH holding up to the veneration of posterity a man
whose own writings, together with the records of the pension list, prove
him to have been '_a slave of state_.'

19. Endless are the instances of men of bright parts and high spirit
having been, by degrees, rendered powerless and despicable, by their
imaginary wants. Seldom has there been a man with a fairer prospect of
accomplishing great things and of acquiring lasting renown, than CHARLES
FOX: he had great talents of the most popular sort; the times were
singularly favourable to an exertion of them with success; a large part
of the nation admired him and were his partisans; he had, as to the
great question between him and his rival (PITT), reason and justice
clearly on his side: but he had against him his squandering and
luxurious habits: these made him dependent on the rich part of his
partisans; made his wisdom subservient to opulent folly or selfishness;
deprived his country of all the benefit that it might have derived from
his talents; and, finally, sent him to the grave without a single sigh
from a people, a great part of whom would, in his earlier years, have
wept at his death as at a national calamity.

20. Extravagance in _dress_, in the haunting of _play-houses_, in
_horses_, in everything else, is to be avoided, and, in youths and young
men, extravagance in _dress_ particularly. This sort of extravagance,
this waste of money on the decoration of the body, arises solely from
vanity, and from vanity of the most contemptible sort. It arises from
the notion, that all the people in the street, for instance, will be
_looking at you_ as soon as you walk out; and that they will, in a
greater or less degree, think the better of you on account of your fine
dress. Never was notion more false. All the sensible people that happen
to see you, will think nothing at all about you: those who are filled
with the same vain notion as you are, will perceive your attempt to
impose on them, and will despise you accordingly: rich people will
wholly disregard you, and you will be envied and hated by those who have
the same vanity that you have without the means of gratifying it. Dress
should be suited to your rank and station; a surgeon or physician should
not dress like a carpenter! but there is no reason why a tradesman, a
merchant's clerk, or clerk of any kind, or why a shopkeeper or
manufacturer, or even a merchant; no reason at all why any of these
should dress in an _expensive_ manner. It is a great mistake to suppose,
that they derive any advantage from exterior decoration. Men are
estimated by other _men_ according to their capacity and willingness to
be in some way or other _useful_; and though, with the foolish and vain
part of _women_, fine clothes frequently do something, yet the greater
part of the sex are much too penetrating to draw their conclusions
solely from the outside show of a man: they look deeper, and find other
criterions whereby to judge. And, after all, if the fine clothes obtain
you a wife, will they bring you, in that wife, _frugality, good sense_,
and that sort of attachment that is likely to be lasting? Natural beauty
of person is quite another thing: this always has, it always will and
must have, some weight even with men, and great weight with women. But
this does not want to be set off by expensive clothes. Female eyes are,
in such cases, very sharp: they can discover beauty though half hidden
by beard and even by dirt and surrounded by rags: and, take this as a
secret worth half a fortune to you, that women, however personally vain
they may be themselves, _despise personal vanity in men_.

21. Let your dress be as cheap as may be without _shabbiness_; think
more about the colour of your shirt than about the gloss or texture of
your coat; be always as _clean_ as your occupation will, without
inconvenience, permit; but never, no, not for one moment, believe, that
any human being, with sense in his skull, will love or respect you on
account of your fine or costly clothes. A great misfortune of the
present day is, that every one is, in his own estimate, _raised above
his real state of life_: every one seems to think himself entitled, if
not to title and great estate, at least _to live without work_. This
mischievous, this most destructive, way of thinking has, indeed, been
produced, like almost all our other evils, by the Acts of our Septennial
and Unreformed Parliament. That body, by its Acts, has caused an
enormous Debt to be created, and, in consequence, a prodigious sum to be
raised annually in taxes. It has caused, by these means, a race of
loan-mongers and stock-jobbers to arise. These carry on a species of
_gaming_, by which some make fortunes in a day, and others, in a day,
become beggars. The unfortunate gamesters, like the purchasers of blanks
in a lottery, are never heard of; but the fortunate ones become
companions for lords, and some of them lords themselves. We have, within
these few years, seen many of these gamesters get fortunes of a quarter
of a million in a few days, and then we have heard them, though
notoriously amongst the lowest and basest of human creatures, called
'_honourable gentlemen_'! In such a state of things, who is to expect
patient industry, laborious study, frugality and care; who, in such a
state of things, is to expect these to be employed in pursuit of that
competence which it is the laudable wish of all men to secure? Not long
ago a man, who had served his time to a tradesman in London, became,
instead of pursuing his trade, a stock-jobber, or gambler; and, in about
_two years_, drove his _coach-and-four_, had his town house and country
house, and visited, and was visited by, _peers of the highest rank_! A
_fellow-apprentice_ of this lucky gambler, though a tradesman in
excellent business, seeing no earthly reason why _he_ should not have
his coach-and-four also, turned his stock in trade into a stake for the
'Change; but, alas! at the end of a few months, instead of being in a
coach-and-four, he was in the _Gazette_!

22. This is one instance out of hundreds of thousands; not, indeed,
exactly of the same description, but all arising from the same copious
source. The words _speculate_ and _speculation_ have been substituted
for _gamble_ and _gambling_. The hatefulness of the pursuit is thus
taken away; and, while taxes to the amount of more than double the whole
of the rental of the kingdom; while these cause such crowds of idlers,
every one of whom calls himself a _gentleman_, and avoids the appearance
of working for his bread; while this is the case, who is to wonder, that
a great part of the youth of the country, knowing themselves to be as
_good_, as _learned_, and as _well-bred_ as these _gentlemen_; who is to
wonder, that they think, that they also ought to be considered as
_gentlemen_? Then, the late _war_ (also the work of the Septennial
Parliament) has left us, amongst its many legacies, such swarms of
_titled_ men and women; such swarms of '_Sirs_' and their '_Ladies_';
men and women who, only the other day, were the fellow-apprentices,
fellow-tradesmen's or farmers' sons and daughters, or indeed, the
fellow-servants, of those who are now in these several states of life;
the late Septennial Parliament war has left us such swarms of these,
that it is no wonder that the heads of young people are turned, and that
they are ashamed of that state of life to act their part well in which
ought to be their delight.

23. But, though the cause of the evil is in Acts of the Septennial
Parliament; though this universal desire in people to be thought to be
above their station; though this arises from such acts; and, though it
is no wonder that young men are thus turned from patient study and
labour; though these things be undoubted, they form no reason why I
should not _warn you_ against becoming a victim to this national
scourge. For, in spite of every art made use of to avoid labour, the
taxes will, after all, maintain only _so many_ idlers. We cannot all be
'_knights_' and '_gentlemen_': there must be a large part of us, after
all, to make and mend clothes and houses, and carry on trade and
commerce, and, in spite of all that we can do, the far greater part of
us must actually _work_ at something; for, unless we can get at some of
the taxes, we fall under the sentence of Holy Writ, 'He who will not
_work_ shall not _eat_.' Yet, so strong is the propensity to be thought
'_gentlemen_'; so general is this desire amongst the youth of this
formerly laborious and unassuming nation; a nation famed for its pursuit
of wealth through the channels of patience, punctuality, and integrity;
a nation famed for its love of solid acquisitions and qualities, and its
hatred of everything showy and false: so general is this really
fraudulent desire amongst the youth of this now '_speculating_' nation,
that thousands upon thousands of them are, at this moment, in a state of
half starvation, not so much because they are too _lazy_ to earn their
bread, as because they are too _proud_! And what are the _consequences_?
Such a youth remains or becomes a burden to his parents, of whom he
ought to be the comfort, if not the support. Always aspiring to
something higher than he can reach, his life is a life of disappointment
and of shame. If marriage _befal_ him, it is a real affliction,
involving others as well as himself. His lot is a thousand times worse
than that of the common labouring pauper. Nineteen times out of twenty a
premature death awaits him: and, alas! how numerous are the cases in
which that death is most miserable, not to say ignominious! _Stupid
pride_ is one of the symptoms of _madness_. Of the two madmen mentioned
in Don Quixote, one thought himself NEPTUNE, and the other JUPITER.
Shakspeare agrees with CERVANTES; for, Mad Tom, in King Lear, being
asked who he is, answers, 'I am a _tailor_ run mad with _pride_.' How
many have we heard of, who claimed relationship with _noblemen_ and
_kings_; while of not a few each has thought himself the Son of God! To
the public journals, and to the observations of every one, nay, to the
'_county-lunatic asylums_' (things never heard of in England till now),
I appeal for the fact of the vast and hideous _increase of madness in
this country_; and, within these very few years, how many scores of
young men, who, if their minds had been unperverted by the gambling
principles of the day, had a probably long and happy life before them;
who had talent, personal endowments, love of parents, love of friends,
admiration of large circles; who had, in short, everything to make life
desirable, and who, from mortified pride, founded on false pretensions,
_have put an end to their own existence_!

24. As to DRUNKENNESS and GLUTTONY, generally so called, these are vices
so nasty and beastly that I deem any one capable of indulging in them to
be wholly unworthy of my advice; and, if any youth unhappily initiated
in these odious and debasing vices should happen to read what I am now
writing, I refer him to the command of God, conveyed to the Israelites
by Moses, in Deuteronomy, chap. xxi. The father and mother are to take
the bad son 'and bring him to the elders of the city; and they shall say
to the elders, This our son will not obey our voice: he is a _glutton_
and a _drunkard_. And all the men of the city shall stone him with
stones, that he die.' I refer downright beastly gluttons and drunkards
to this; but indulgence short, _far short_, of this gross and really
nasty drunkenness and gluttony is to be deprecated, and that, too, with
the more earnestness because it is too often looked upon as being no
crime at all, and as having nothing blameable in it; nay, there are many
persons who _pride_ themselves on their refined taste in matters
connected with eating and drinking: so far from being ashamed of
employing their thoughts on the subject, it is their boast that they do
it. St. Gregory, one of the Christian fathers, says: 'It is not the
_quantity_ or the _quality_ of the meat, or drink, but the _love of it_
that is condemned;' that is to say, the indulgence beyond the absolute
demands of nature; the hankering after it; the neglect of some duty or
other for the sake of the enjoyments of the table.

25. This _love_ of what are called 'good eating and drinking,' if very
unamiable in grown-up persons, is perfectly hateful in _a youth_; and,
if he indulge in the propensity, he is already half ruined. To warn you
against acts of fraud, robbery, and violence, is not my province; that
is the business of those who make and administer _the law_. I am not
talking to you against acts which the jailor and the hangman punish; nor
against those moral offences which all men condemn; but against
indulgences, which, by men in general, are deemed not only harmless, but
meritorious; but which the observation of my whole life has taught me to
regard as destructive to human happiness, and against which all ought to
be cautioned even in their boyish days. I have been a great observer,
and I can truly say, that I have never known a man, 'fond of good eating
and drinking,' as it is called; that I have never known such a man (and
hundreds I have known) who was worthy of respect.

26. Such indulgences are, in the first place, very _expensive_. The
materials are costly, and the preparations still more so. What a
monstrous thing, that, in order to satisfy the appetite of a man, there
must be a person or two _at work every day_! More fuel, culinary
implements, kitchen-room; what! all these merely to tickle the palate of
four or five people, and especially people who can hardly pay their way!
And, then, the _loss of time_: the time spent in pleasing the palate: it
is truly horrible to behold people who ought to be at work, sitting, at
the three meals, not less than three of the about fourteen hours that
they are out of their beds! A youth, habituated to this sort of
indulgence, cannot be valuable to any employer. Such a youth cannot be
deprived of his table-enjoyments on any account: his eating and drinking
form the momentous concern of his life: if business interfere with that,
the business must give way. A young man, some years ago, offered himself
to me, on a particular occasion, as an _amanuensis_, for which he
appeared to be perfectly qualified. The terms were settled, and I, who
wanted the job dispatched, requested him to sit down, and begin; but he,
looking out of the window, whence he could see the church clock, said,
somewhat hastily, 'I _cannot_ stop _now_, sir, I must go to _dinner_.'
'Oh!' said I, 'you _must_ go to dinner, must you! Let the dinner, which
you _must_ wait upon to-day, have your constant services, then: for you
and I shall never agree.' He had told me that he was in _great distress_
for want of employment; and yet, when relief was there before his eyes,
he could forego it for the sake of getting at his eating and drinking
three or four hours, perhaps, sooner than I should have thought it right
for him to leave off work. Such a person cannot be sent from home,
except at certain times; he _must_ be near the kitchen at three fixed
hours of the day; if he be absent more than four or five hours, he is
ill-treated. In short, a youth thus pampered is worth nothing as a
person to be employed in business.

27. And, as to _friends_ and _acquaintances_; they will _say_ nothing to
you; they will _offer_ you indulgences under their roofs; but the more
ready you are to accept of their offers, and, in fact, the better
_taste_ you discover, the less they will like you, and the sooner they
will find means of shaking you off; for, besides the _cost_ which you
occasion them, people do not like to have _critics_ sitting in judgment
on their bottles and dishes. _Water-drinkers_ are universally _laughed
at_; but, it has always seemed to me, that they are amongst the most
welcome of guests, and that, too, though the host be by no means of a
niggardly turn. The truth is, they give _no trouble_; they occasion _no
anxiety_ to please them; they are sure not to make their sittings
_inconveniently long_; and, which is the great thing of all, their
example teaches _moderation_ to the rest of the company. Your notorious
'lovers of good cheer' are, on the contrary, not to be invited without
_due reflection_: to entertain one of them is a serious business; and as
people are not apt voluntarily to undertake such pieces of business, the
well-known 'lovers of good eating and drinking' are left, very
generally, to enjoy it by themselves and at their own expense.

28. But, all other considerations aside, _health_, the most valuable of
all earthly possessions, and without which all the rest are worth
nothing, bids us, not only to refrain from _excess_ in eating and
drinking, but bids us to stop short of what might be indulged in without
any apparent impropriety. The words of ECCLESIASTICUS ought to be read
once a week by every young person in the world, and particularly by the
young people of this country at this time. 'Eat modestly that which is
set before thee, and _devour_ not, lest thou be _hated_. When thou
sittest amongst many, reach not thine hand out first of all. _How little
is sufficient for man well taught! A wholesome sleep_ cometh of a
temperate belly. Such a man _riseth up in the morning_, and is _well at
ease with himself_. Be not too hasty of meats; for excess of meats
bringeth sickness, and choleric disease cometh of gluttony. By surfeit
have many perished, and he that _dieteth himself prolongeth his life_.
Show not thy valiantness in wine; for wine hath destroyed many. Wine
measurably taken, and in season, bringeth gladness and cheerfulness of
mind; but drinking with excess maketh bitterness of mind, brawlings and
scoldings.' How true are these words! How well worthy of a constant
place in our memories! Yet, what pains have been taken to apologise for
a life contrary to these precepts! And, good God! what punishment can be
too great, what mark of infamy sufficiently signal, for those pernicious
villains of talent, who have employed that talent in the composition of
_Bacchanalian songs_; that is to say, pieces of fine and captivating
writing in praise of one of the most odious and destructive vices in the
black catalogue of human depravity!

29. In the passage which I have just quoted from chap. xxxi. of
ECCLESIASTICUS, it is said, that 'wine, _measurably_ taken, and in
_season_,' is a _proper thing_. This, and other such passages of the Old
Testament, have given a handle to drunkards, and to extravagant people,
to insist, that _God intended_ that _wine_ should be _commonly_ drunk.
No doubt of that. But, then, he could intend this only _in countries in
which he had given wine_, and to which he had given no cheaper drink
except _water_. If it be said, as it truly may, that, by the means of
the _sea_ and the _winds_, he has given wine to all _countries_, I
answer that this gift is of no use to us _now_, because our government
steps in between the sea and the winds and us. _Formerly_, indeed, the
case was different; and, here I am about to give you, incidentally, a
piece of _historical knowledge_, which you will not have acquired from
HUME, GOLDSMITH, or any other of the romancers called historians. Before
that unfortunate event, the _Protestant Reformation_, as it is called,
took place, the price of RED WINE, in England, was _fourpence a gallon_,
Winchester measure; and of WHITE WINE, _sixpence a gallon_. At the same
time the pay of a labouring man per day, as fixed by law, was
_fourpence_. Now, when a labouring man could earn _four quarts of good
wine in a day_, it was, doubtless, allowable, even in England, for
people in the middle rank of life to drink wine _rather commonly_; and,
therefore, in those happy days of England, these passages of Scripture
were applicable enough. But, _now_, when we have got a _Protestant_
government, which by the taxes which it makes people pay to it, causes
the _eighth part of a gallon_ of wine to cost more than the pay of a
labouring man for a day; _now_, this passage of Scripture is not
applicable to us. There is no '_season_' in which we can take wine
without ruining ourselves, however '_measurably_' we may take it; and I
beg you to regard, as perverters of Scripture and as seducers of youth,
all those who cite passages like that above cited, in justification of,
or as an apology for, the practice of wine-drinking in England.

30. I beseech you to look again and again at, and to remember every word
of, the passage which I have just quoted from the book of
ECCLESIASTICUS. How completely have been, and are, its words verified by
my experience and in my person! How little of eating and drinking is
sufficient for me! How wholesome is my sleep! How early do I rise; and
how '_well at ease_' am I 'with myself!' I should not have deserved such
blessings, if I had withheld from my neighbours a knowledge of the means
by which they were obtained; and, therefore, this knowledge I have been
in the constant habit of communicating. When one _gives a dinner to a
company_, it is an extraordinary affair, and is intended, by sensible
men, for purposes other than those of eating and drinking. But, in
_general_, in the every-day life, despicable are those who suffer any
part of their happiness to depend upon what they have to eat or to
drink, provided they have _a sufficiency of wholesome food_; despicable
is the _man_, and worse than despicable the _youth_, that would make any
sacrifice, however small, whether of money or of time, or of anything
else, in order to secure a dinner different from that which he would
have had without such sacrifice. Who, what man, ever performed a greater
quantity of labour than I have performed? What man ever did so much?
Now, in a great measure, I owe my capability to perform this labour to
my disregard of dainties. Being shut up two years in Newgate, with a
fine on my head of a thousand pounds to the king, for having expressed
my indignation at the flogging of Englishmen under a guard of German
bayonets, I ate, during one whole year, one mutton chop every day. Being
once in town, with one son (then a little boy) and a clerk, while my
family was in the country, I had during some weeks nothing but legs of
mutton; first day, leg of mutton boiled or _roasted_; second, _cold_;
third, _hashed_; then, leg of mutton _boiled_; and so on. When I have
been by myself, or nearly so, I have _always_ proceeded thus: given
directions for having _every day the same thing_, or alternately as
above, and every day exactly at the same hour, so as to prevent the
necessity of any _talk_ about the matter. I am certain that, upon an
average, I have not, during my life, spent more than _thirty-five
minutes a day at table_, including all the meals of the day. I like, and
I take care to have, good and clean victuals; but, if wholesome and
clean, that is enough. If I find it, by chance, _too coarse_ for my
appetite, I put the food aside, or let somebody do it, and leave the
appetite to gather keenness. But the great security of all is, to eat
_little_, and to drink nothing that _intoxicates_. He that eats till he
is _full_ is little better than a beast; and he that drinks till he is
_drunk_ is quite a beast.

31. Before I dismiss this affair of eating and drinking, let me beseech
you to resolve to free yourselves from the slavery of the _tea_ and
_coffee_ and other _slop-kettle_, if, unhappily, you have been bred up
in such slavery. Experience has taught me, that those slops are
_injurious to health_: until I left them off (having taken to them at
the age of 26), even my habits of sobriety, moderate eating, early
rising; even these were not, until I left off the slops, sufficient to
give me that complete health which I have since had. I pretend not to be
a 'doctor;' but, I assert, that to pour regularly, every day, a pint or
two of _warm liquid matter_ down the throat, whether under the name of
tea, coffee, soup, grog, or whatever else, is greatly injurious to
health. However, at present, what I have to represent to _you is the
great deduction, which the use of these slops makes, from your power of
being useful_, and also from your _power to husband your income_,
whatever it may be, and from whatever source arising. I am to suppose
you to be desirous to become a clever and a useful man; a man to be, if
not admired and revered, at least to be _respected_. In order to merit
respect beyond that which is due to very common men, you must do
something more than very common men; and I am now going to show you how
your course _must be impeded_ by the use of the _slops_.

32. If the women exclaim, 'Nonsense! come and take a cup,' take it for
that once; but hear what I have to say. In answer to my representation
regarding the _waste of time_ which is occasioned by the slops, it has
been said, that let what may be the nature of the food, there must _be
time_ for taking it. Not _so much_ time, however, to eat a bit of meat
or cheese or butter with a bit of bread. But, these may be eaten in a
shop, a warehouse, a factory, far from any _fire_, and even in a
carriage on the road. The slops absolutely demand _fire_ and a
_congregation_; so that, be your business what it may; be you
shopkeeper, farmer, drover, sportsman, traveller, to the _slop-board_
you must come; you must wait for its assembling, or start from home
without your breakfast; and, being used to the warm liquid, you feel out
of order for the want of it. If the slops were in fashion amongst
ploughmen and carters, we must all be starved; for the food could never
be raised. The mechanics are half-ruined by them. Many of them are
become poor, enervated creatures; and chiefly from this cause. But is
the positive _cost_ nothing? At boarding-schools an _additional price is
given_ on account of the tea slops. Suppose you to be a clerk, in hired
lodgings, and going to your counting-house at nine o'clock. You get your
dinner, perhaps, near to the scene of your work; but how are you to have
the _breakfast slops_ without _a servant_? Perhaps you find a lodging
just to suit you, but the house is occupied by people who keep no
_servants_, and you want a servant to _light a fire_ and get the slop
ready. You could get this lodging for several shillings a week less than
another at the next door; but _there_ they keep a servant, who will
'_get_ you your breakfast,' and preserve you, benevolent creature as she
is, from the cruel necessity of going to the cupboard and cutting off a
slice of meat or cheese and a bit of bread. She will, most likely, toast
your bread for you too, and melt your butter; and then muffle you up, in
winter, and send you out almost swaddled. Really such a thing can hardly
be expected ever to become a _man_. You are weak; you have delicate
health; you are '_bilious_!' Why, my good fellow, it is these very slops
that make you weak and bilious; And, indeed, the _poverty_, the real
poverty, that they and their concomitants bring on you, greatly assists,
in more ways than one, in producing your 'delicate health.'

33. So much for indulgences in eating, drinking, and dress. Next, as to
_amusements_. It is recorded of the famous ALFRED, that he devoted eight
hours of the twenty-four to _labour_, eight to _rest_, and eight to
_recreation_. He was, however, _a king_, and could be _thinking_ during
the eight hours of recreation. It is certain, that there ought to be
hours of recreation, and I do not know that eight are too many; but,
then observe, those hours ought to be _well-chosen_, and the _sort_ of
recreation ought to be attended to. It ought to be such as is at once
innocent in itself and in its tendency, and not injurious to health. The
sports of the field are the best of all, because they are conducive to
health, because they are enjoyed by _day-light_, and because they demand
early rising. The nearer that other amusements approach to these, the
better they are. A town-life, which many persons are compelled, by the
nature of their calling, to lead, precludes the possibility of pursuing
amusements of this description to any very considerable extent; and
young men in towns are, generally speaking, compelled to choose between
_books_ on the one hand, or _gaming_ and the _play-house_ on the other.
_Dancing_ is at once rational and healthful: it gives animal spirits: it
is the natural amusement of young people, and such it has been from the
days of Moses: it is enjoyed in numerous companies: it makes the parties
to be pleased with themselves and with all about them; it has no
tendency to excite base and malignant feelings; and none but the most
grovelling and hateful tyranny, or the most stupid and despicable
fanaticism, ever raised its voice against it. The bad modern habits of
England have created one inconvenience attending the enjoyment of this
healthy and innocent pastime, namely, _late hours_, which are at once
injurious to health and destructive of order and of industry. In other
countries people dance by _day-light_. Here they do not; and, therefore,
you must, in this respect, submit to the custom, though not without
robbing the dancing night of as many hours as you can.

34. As to GAMING, it is always _criminal_, either in itself, or in its
tendency. The basis of it is covetousness; a desire to take from others
something, for which you have given, and intend to give, no equivalent.
No gambler was ever yet a happy man, and very few gamblers have escaped
being miserable; and, observe, to _game for nothing_ is still gaming,
and naturally leads to gaming for something. It is sacrificing time, and
that, too, for the worst of purposes. I have kept house for nearly forty
years; I have reared a family; I have entertained as many friends as
most people; and I have never had cards, dice, a chess-board, nor any
implement of gaming, under my roof. The hours that young men spend in
this way are hours _murdered_; precious hours, that ought to be spent
either in reading or in writing, or in rest, preparatory to the duties
of the dawn. Though I do not agree with the base and nauseous
flatterers, who now declare the army to be _the best school for
statesmen_, it is certainly a school in which to learn experimentally
many useful lessons; and, in this school I learned, that men, fond of
gaming, are very rarely, if ever, trust-worthy. I have known many a
clever man rejected in the way of promotion only because he was addicted
to gaming. Men, in that state of life, cannot _ruin_ themselves by
gaming, for they possess no fortune, nor money; but the taste for gaming
is always regarded as an indication of a radically bad disposition; and
I can truly say, that I never in my whole life knew a man, fond of
gaming, who was not, in some way or other, a person unworthy of
confidence. This vice creeps on by very slow degrees, till, at last, it
becomes an ungovernable passion, swallowing up every good and kind
feeling of the heart. The gambler, as pourtrayed by REGNARD, in a comedy
the translation of which into English resembles the original much about
as nearly as Sir JAMES GRAHAM'S plagiarisms resembled the Registers on
which they had been committed, is a fine instance of the contempt and
scorn to which gaming at last reduces its votaries; but, if any young
man be engaged in this fatal career, and be not yet wholly lost, let him
behold HOGARTH'S gambler just when he has made his _last throw_ and when
disappointment has bereft him of his senses. If after this sight he
remain obdurate, he is doomed to be a disgrace to his name.

35. The _Theatre may be_ a source not only of amusement but also of
instruction; but, as things now are in this country, what, that is not
bad, is to be learned in this school? In the first place not a word is
allowed to be uttered on the stage, which has not been previously
approved of by the Lord Chamberlain; that is to say, by a person
appointed by the Ministry, who, at his pleasure, allows, or disallows,
of any piece, or any words in a piece, submitted to his inspection. In
short, those who go to play-houses _pay their money to hear uttered such
words as the government approve of, and no others_. It is now just
twenty-six years since I first well understood how this matter was
managed; and, from that moment to this, I have never been in an English
play-house. Besides this, the meanness, the abject servility, of the
players, and the slavish conduct of the audience, are sufficient to
corrupt and debase the heart of any young man who is a frequent beholder
of them. Homage is here paid to every one clothed with power, be he who
or what he may; real virtue and public-spirit are subjects of ridicule;
and mock-sentiment and mock-liberality and mock-loyalty are applauded to
the skies.

36. 'Show me a man's _companions_' says the proverb, 'and I will tell
you _what the man_ is;' and this is, and must be true; because all men
seek the society of those who think and act somewhat like themselves:
sober men will not associate with drunkards, frugal men will not like
spendthrifts, and the orderly and decent shun the noisy, the disorderly,
and the debauched. It is for the very vulgar to herd together as
singers, ringers, and smokers; but, there is a class rather higher still
more blamable; I mean the tavern-haunters, the gay companions, who herd
together to do little but _talk_, and who are so fond of talk that they
go from home to get at it. The conversation amongst such persons has
nothing of instruction in it, and is generally of a vicious tendency.
Young people naturally and commendably seek the society of those of
their own age; but, be careful in choosing your companions; and lay this
down as a rule never to be departed from, that no youth, nor man, ought
to be called your _friend_, who is addicted to _indecent talk_, or who
is fond of the _society of prostitutes_. Either of these argues a
depraved taste, and even a depraved heart; an absence of all principle
and of all trust-worthiness; and, I have remarked it all my life long,
that young men, addicted to these vices, never succeed in the end,
whatever advantages they may have, whether in fortune or in talent. Fond
mothers and fathers are but too apt to be over-lenient to such
offenders; and, as long as youth lasts and fortune smiles, the
punishment is deferred; but, it comes at last; it is sure to come; and
the gay and dissolute youth is a dejected and miserable man. After the
early part of a life spent in illicit indulgences, a man is _unworthy_
of being the husband of a virtuous woman; and, if he have anything like
justice in him, how is he to reprove, in his children, vices in which he
himself so long indulged? These vices of youth are varnished over by the
saying, that there must be time for 'sowing the _wild oats_,' and that
'_wildest colts_ make the _best horses_.' These figurative oats are,
however, generally like the literal ones; they are _never to be
eradicated from the soil_; and as to the _colts_, wildness in them is an
indication of _high animal spirit_, having nothing at all to do with the
_mind_, which is invariably debilitated and debased by profligate
indulgences. Yet this miserable piece of sophistry, the offspring of
parental weakness, is in constant use, to the incalculable injury of the
rising generation. What so amiable as a steady, trust-worthy boy? He is
of _real use_ at an early age: he can be trusted far out of the sight of
parent or employer, while the 'pickle,' as the poor fond parents call
the profligate, is a great deal worse than useless, because there must
be some one to see that he does no harm. If you have to choose, choose
companions of _your own rank in life_ as nearly as may be; but, at any
rate, none to whom you acknowledge _inferiority_; for, slavery is too
soon learned; and, if the mind be bowed down in the youth, it will
seldom rise up in the man. In the schools of those best of teachers the
JESUITS, there is perfect equality as to rank in life: the boy, who
enters there, leaves all family pride behind him: intrinsic merit alone
is the standard of preference; and the masters are so scrupulous upon
this head, that they do not suffer one scholar, of whatever rank, to
have more money to spend than the poorest. These wise men know well the
mischiefs that must arise from inequality of pecuniary means amongst
their scholars: they know how injurious it would be to learning, if
deference were, by the learned, paid to the dunce; and they, therefore,
take the most effectual means to prevent it. Hence, amongst other
causes, it is, that their scholars have, ever since the existence of
their Order, been the most celebrated for learning of any men in the

37. In your _manners_ be neither boorish nor blunt, but even these are
preferable to simpering and crawling. I wish every English youth could
see those of the United States of America; always _civil_, never
_servile_. Be _obedient_, where obedience is due; for, it is no act of
meanness, and no indication of want of spirit, to yield implicit and
ready obedience to those who have a right to demand it at your hands. In
this respect England has been, and I hope always will be, an example to
the whole world. To this habit of willing and prompt obedience in
apprentices, in servants, in all inferiors in station, she owes, in a
great measure, her multitudes of matchless merchants, tradesmen, and
workmen of every description, and also the achievements of her armies
and navies. It is no disgrace, but the contrary, to obey, cheerfully,
lawful and just commands. None are so saucy and disobedient as slaves;
and, when you come to read history, you will find that in proportion as
nations have been _free_ has been their reverence for the laws. But,
there is a wide difference between lawful and cheerful obedience and
that servility which represents people as laying petitions 'at the
_king's feet_,' which makes us imagine that we behold the supplicants
actually crawling upon their bellies. There is something so abject in
this expression; there is such horrible self-abasement in it, that I do
hope that every youth, who shall read this, will hold in detestation the
reptiles who make use of it. In all other countries, the lowest
individual can put a petition into the _hands_ of the chief magistrate,
be he king or emperor: let us hope, that the time will yet come when
Englishmen will be able to do the same. In the meanwhile I beg you to
despise these worse than pagan parasites.

38. Hitherto I have addressed you chiefly relative to the things to be
_avoided_: let me now turn to the things which you ought _to do_. And,
first of all, the _husbanding of your time_. The respect that you will
receive, the real and _sincere respect_, will depend entirely on what
you are able _to do_. If you be rich, you may purchase what is called
respect; but it is not worth having. To obtain respect worth possessing,
you must, as I observed before, do more than the common run of men in
your state of life; and, to be enabled to do this, you must manage well
_your time_: and, to manage it well, you must have as much of the
_day-light_ and as little of the _candle-light_ as is consistent with
the due discharge of your duties. When people get into the habit of
sitting up _merely for the purpose of talking_, it is no easy matter to
break themselves of it: and if they do not go to bed early, they cannot
rise early. Young people require more sleep than those that are grown
up: there must be the number of hours, and that number cannot well be,
on an average, less than _eight_: and, if it be more in winter time, it
is all the better; for, an hour in bed is better than an hour spent over
fire and candle in an idle gossip. People never should sit talking till
they do not know what to talk about. It is said by the country-people,
that one hour's sleep before midnight is worth more than two are worth
after midnight, and this I believe to be a fact; but it is useless to go
to bed early and even to rise early, if the time be not well employed
after rising. In general, half the morning is _loitered_ away, the party
being in a sort of half-dressed half-naked state; out of bed, indeed,
but still in a sort of bedding. Those who first invented _morning-gowns_
and _slippers_ could have very little else to do. These things are very
suitable to those who have had fortunes gained for them by others; very
suitable to those who have nothing to do, and who merely live for the
purpose of assisting to consume the produce of the earth; but he who has
his bread to earn, or who means to be worthy of respect on account of
his labours, has no business with morning gown and slippers. In short,
be your business or calling what it may, _dress at once for the day_;
and learn to do it _as quickly_ as possible. A looking-glass is a piece
of furniture a great deal worse than useless. _Looking_ at the face will
not alter its shape or its colour; and, perhaps, of all wasted time;
none is so foolishly wasted as that which is employed in surveying one's
own face. Nothing can be of _little_ importance, if one be compelled to
attend to it _every day of our lives_; if we _shaved_ but once a year,
or once a month, the execution of the thing would be hardly worth
naming: but this is a piece of work that must be done once every day;
and, as it may cost only about _five minutes_ of time, and may be, and
frequently is, made to cost _thirty_, or even _fifty minutes_; and, as
only fifteen minutes make about a fifty-eighth part of the hours of our
average day-light; this being the case, this is a matter of real
importance. I once heard SIR JOHN SINCLAIR ask Mr. COCHRANE JOHNSTONE,
whether he meaned to have a son of his (then a little boy) taught Latin.
'No,' said Mr. JOHNSTONE, 'but I mean to do something a great deal
better for him.' 'What is that?' said Sir John. 'Why,' said the other,
'teach him _to shave with cold water and without a glass_.' Which, I
dare say, he did; and for which benefit I am sure that son has had good
reason to be grateful. Only think of the inconvenience attending the
common practice! There must be _hot water_; to have this there must be
_a fire_, and, in some cases, a fire for that purpose alone; to have
these, there must be a _servant_, or you must light a fire yourself. For
the want of these, the job is put off until a later hour: this causes a
stripping and _another dressing bout_; or, you go in a slovenly state
all that day, and the next day the thing must be done, or cleanliness
must be abandoned altogether. If you be on a journey you must wait the
pleasure of the servants at the inn before you can dress and set out in
the morning; the pleasant time for travelling is gone before you can
move from the spot; instead of being at the end of your day's journey in
good time, you are benighted, and have to endure all the great
inconveniences attendant on tardy movements. And, all this, from the
apparently insignificant affair of shaving! How many a piece of
important business has failed from a short delay! And how many thousand
of such delays daily proceed from this unworthy cause! '_Toujours prêt_'
was the motto of a famous French general; and pray let it be yours: be
'_always ready_;' and never, during your whole life, have to say, '_I
cannot go till I be shaved and dressed_.' Do the whole at once for the
day, whatever may be your state of life; and then you have a day
unbroken by those indispensable performances. Begin thus, in the days of
your youth, and, having felt the superiority which this practice will
give you over those in all other respects your equals, the practice will
stick by you to the end of your life. Till you be shaved and dressed for
the day, you cannot set steadily about any business; you know that you
must presently quit your labour to return to the dressing affair; you,
therefore, put it off until that be over; the interval, the precious
interval, is spent in lounging about; and, by the time that you are
ready for business, the best part of the day is gone.

39. Trifling as this matter appears upon _naming_ it, it is, in fact,
one of the great concerns of life; and, for my part, I can truly say,
that I owe more of my great labours to my strict adherence to the
precepts that I have here given you, than to all the natural abilities
with which I have been endowed; for these, whatever may have been their
amount, would have been of comparatively little use, even aided by great
sobriety and abstinence, if I had not, in early life, contracted the
blessed habit of husbanding well my time. To this, more than to any
other thing, I owed my very extraordinary promotion in the army. I was
_always ready_: if I had to mount guard at _ten_, I was ready at _nine_:
never did any man, or any thing, wait one moment for me. Being, at an
age _under twenty years_, raised from Corporal to Serjeant Major _at
once_, over the heads of thirty Serjeants, I naturally should have been
an object of envy and hatred; but this habit of early rising and of
rigid adherence to the precepts which I have given you, really subdued
these passions; because every one felt, that what I did he had never
done, and never could do. Before my promotion, a clerk was wanted to
make out the morning report of the regiment. I rendered the clerk
unnecessary; and, long before any other man was dressed for the parade,
my work for the morning was all done, and I myself was on the parade,
walking, in fine weather, for an hour perhaps. My custom was this: to
get up, in summer, at day-light, and in winter at four o'clock; shave,
dress, even to the putting of my sword-belt over my shoulder, and having
my sword lying on the table before me, ready to hang by my side. Then I
ate a bit of cheese, or pork, and bread. Then I prepared my report,
which was filled up as fast as the companies brought me in the
materials. After this I had an hour or two to read, before the time came
for any duty out of doors, unless when the regiment or part of it went
out to exercise in the morning. When this was the case, and the matter
was left to me, I always had it on the ground in such time as that the
bayonets glistened in the _rising sun_, a sight which gave me delight,
of which I often think, but which I should in vain endeavour to
describe. If the _officers_ were to go out, eight or ten o'clock was the
hour, sweating the men in the heat of the day, breaking in upon the time
for cooking their dinner, putting all things out of order and all men
out of humour. When I was commander, the men had a long day of leisure
before them: they could ramble into the town or into the woods; go to
get raspberries, to catch birds, to catch fish, or to pursue any other
recreation, and such of them as chose, and were qualified, to work at
their trades. So that here, arising solely from the early habits of one
very young man, were pleasant and happy days given to hundreds.

40. _Money_ is said to be _power_, which is, in some cases, true; and
the same may be said of _knowledge_; but superior _sobriety_, _industry_
and _activity_, are a still more certain source of power; for without
these, _knowledge_ is of little use; and, as to the power which _money_
gives, it is that of _brute force_, it is the power of the bludgeon and
the bayonet, and of the bribed press, tongue and pen. Superior sobriety,
industry, activity, though accompanied with but a moderate portion of
knowledge, command respect, because they have great and visible
influence. The drunken, the lazy, and the inert, stand abashed before
the sober and the active. Besides, all those whose interests are at
stake prefer, of necessity, those whose exertions produce the greatest
and most immediate and visible effect. Self-interest is no respecter of
persons: it asks, not who knows best what ought to be done, but who is
most likely to do it: we may, and often do, admire the talents of lazy,
and even dissipated men, but we do not trust them with the care of our
interests. If, therefore, you would have respect and influence in the
circle in which you move, be more sober, more industrious, more active
than the general run of those amongst whom you live.

41. As to EDUCATION, this word is now applied exclusively to things
which are taught in schools; but _education_ means _rearing up_, and the
French speak of the education of _pigs_ and _sheep_. In a very famous
French book on rural affairs, there is a Chapter entitled '_Education du
Cochon_,' that is, _education of the hog_. The word has the same meaning
in both languages; for both take it from the Latin. Neither is the word
LEARNING properly confined to things taught in schools, or by books;
for, _learning_ means _knowledge_; and, but a comparatively small part
of useful knowledge comes from books. Men are not to be called
_ignorant_ merely because they cannot make upon paper certain marks with
a pen, or because they do not know the meaning of such marks when made
by others. A ploughman may be very _learned_ in his line, though he does
not know what the letters _p. l. o. u. g. h_ mean when he sees them
combined upon paper. The first thing to be required of a man is, that he
understand well his own _calling_, or _profession_; and, be you in what
state of life you may, to acquire this knowledge ought to be your first
and greatest care. A man who has had a new-built house tumble down will
derive little more consolation from being told that the architect is a
great astronomer, than this distressed nation now derives from being
assured that its distresses arise from the measures of a long list of
the greatest orators and greatest heroes that the world ever beheld.

42. Nevertheless, book-learning is by no means to be despised; and it is
a thing which may be laudably sought after by persons in all states of
life. In those pursuits which are called _professions_, it is necessary,
and also in certain trades; and, in persons in the middle ranks of life,
a total absence of such learning is somewhat disgraceful. There is,
however, one danger to be carefully guarded against; namely, the opinion
that your genius, or your literary acquirements, are such as to warrant
you in disregarding the calling in which you are, and by which you gain
your bread. Parents must have an uncommon portion of solid sense to
counterbalance their natural affection sufficiently to make them
competent judges in such a case. Friends are partial; and those who are
not, you deem enemies. Stick, therefore, to _the shop; _rely upon your
mercantile or mechanical or professional calling; try your strength in
literature, if you like; but, _rely_ on the shop. If BLOOMFIELD, who
wrote a poem called the FARMER'S BOY, had placed no _reliance_ on the
faithless muses, his unfortunate and much-to-be-pitied family would, in
all probability, have not been in a state to solicit relief from
charity. I remember that this loyal shoemaker was flattered to the
skies, and (ominous sign, if he had understood it) feasted at the tables
of some of the great. Have, I beseech you, no hope of this sort; and, if
you find it creeping towards your heart, drive it instantly away as the
mortal foe of your independence and your peace.

43. With this precaution, however, book-learning is not only proper, but
highly commendable; and portions of it are absolutely necessary in every
case of trade or profession. One of these portions is distinct reading,
plain and neat writing, and _arithmetic_. The two former are mere
child's work; the latter not quite so easily acquired, but equally
indispensable, and of it you ought to have a thorough knowledge before
you attempt to study even the grammar of your own language. Arithmetic
is soon learned; it is not a thing that requires much natural talent; it
is not a thing that loads the memory or puzzles the mind; and it is a
thing of _every-day utility_. Therefore, this is, to a certain extent,
an absolute necessary; an indispensable acquisition. Every man is not to
be a _surveyor_ or an _actuary_; and, therefore, you may stop far short
of the knowledge, of this sort, which is demanded by these professions;
but, as far as common accounts and calculations go, you ought to be
perfect; and this you may make yourself, without any assistance from a
master, by bestowing upon this science, during six months, only one half
of the time that is, by persons of your age, usually wasted over the
tea-slops, or other kettle-slops, alone! If you become _fond_ of this
science, there may be a little danger of wasting your time on it. When,
therefore, you have got as much of it as your business or profession can
possibly render necessary, turn the time to some other purpose. As to
_books_, on this subject, they are in everybody's hand; but, there is
_one book_ on the subject of calculations, which I must point out to
you; 'THE CAMBIST,' by Dr. KELLY. This is a bad title, because, to men
in general, it gives no idea of what the book treats of. It is a book
which shows the value of the several pieces of money of one country when
stated in the money of another country. For instance, it tells us what a
Spanish Dollar, a Dutch Dollar, a French Frank, and so on, is worth in
English money. It does the same with regard to _weights_ and _measures_:
and it extends its information to _all the countries in the world_. It
is a work of rare merit; and every youth, be his state of life what it
may, if it permit him to pursue book-learning of any sort, and
particularly if he be destined, or at all likely to meddle with
commercial matters, ought, as soon as convenient, to possess this
valuable and instructive book.

44. The next thing is the GRAMMAR of your own language. Without
understanding this, you can never hope to become fit for anything beyond
mere trade or agriculture. It is true, that we do (God knows!) but too
often see men have great wealth, high titles, and boundless power heaped
upon them, who can hardly write ten lines together correctly; but,
remember, it is not _merit_ that has been the cause of their
advancement; the cause has been, in almost every such case, the
subserviency of the party to the will of some government, and the
baseness of some nation who have quietly submitted to be governed by
brazen fools. Do not you imagine, that you will have luck of this sort:
do not you hope to be rewarded and honoured for that ignorance which
shall prove a scourge to your country, and which will earn you the
curses of the children yet unborn. Rely you upon your merit, and upon
nothing else. Without a knowledge of grammar, it is impossible for you
to write correctly, and it is by mere accident if you speak correctly;
and, pray bear in mind, that all well-informed persons judge of a man's
mind (until they have other means of judging) by his writing or
speaking. The labour necessary to acquire this knowledge is, indeed, not
trifling: grammar is not, like arithmetic, a science consisting of
several distinct departments, some of which may be dispensed with: it is
a whole, and the whole must be learned, or no part is learned. The
subject is abstruse: it demands much reflection and much patience: but,
when once the task is performed, it is performed _for life_, and in
every day of that life it will be found to be, in a greater or less
degree, a source of pleasure or of profit or of both together. And, what
is the labour? It consists of no bodily exertion; it exposes the student
to no cold, no hunger, no suffering of any sort. The study need subtract
from the hours of no business, nor, indeed, from the hours of necessary
exercise: the hours usually spent on the tea and coffee slops and in the
mere gossip which accompany them; those wasted hours of only _one year_,
employed in the study of English grammar, would make you a correct
speaker and writer for the rest of your life. You want no school, no
room to study in, no expenses, and no troublesome circumstances of any
sort. I learned grammar when I was a private soldier on the pay of
sixpence a day. The edge of my berth, or that of the guard-bed, was my
seat to study in; my knapsack was my book-case; a bit of board, lying on
my lap, was my writing-table; and the task did not demand any thing like
a year of my life. I had no money to purchase candle or oil; in
winter-time it was rarely that I could get any evening-light but that of
_the fire_, and only my _turn_ even of that. And if I, under such
circumstances, and without parent or friend to advise or encourage me,
accomplished this undertaking, what excuse can there be for _any youth_,
however poor, however pressed with business, or however circumstanced as
to room or other conveniences? To buy a pen or a sheet of paper I was
compelled to forego some portion of food, though in a state of
half-starvation; I had no moment of time that I could call my own; and I
had to read and to write amidst the talking, laughing, singing,
whistling and brawling of at least half a score of the most thoughtless
of men, and that too in the hours of their freedom from all control.
Think not lightly of the _farthing_ that I had to give, now and then,
for ink, pen, or paper! That farthing was, alas! a _great sum_ to me! I
was as tall as I am now; I had great health and great exercise. The
whole of the money, not expended for us at market, was _two-pence a
week_ for each man. I remember, and well I may! that upon one occasion
I, after all absolutely necessary expenses, had, on a Friday, made shift
to have a halfpenny in reserve, which I had destined for the purchase of
a _red-herring_ in the morning; but, when I pulled off my clothes at
night, so hungry then as to be hardly able to endure life, I found that
I had _lost my halfpenny_! I buried my head under the miserable sheet
and rug, and cried like a child! And, again I say, if I, under
circumstances like these, could encounter and overcome this task, is
there, can there be, in the whole world, a youth to find an excuse for
the non-performance? What youth, who shall read this, will not be
ashamed to say, that he is not able to find time and opportunity for
this most essential of all the branches of book-learning?

45. I press this matter with such earnestness, because a knowledge of
grammar is the foundation of all literature; and because without this
knowledge opportunities for writing and speaking are only occasions for
men to display their unfitness to write and speak. How many false
pretenders to erudition, have I exposed to shame merely by my knowledge
of grammar! How many of the insolent and ignorant great and powerful
have I pulled down and made little and despicable! And, with what ease
have I conveyed upon numerous important subjects, information and
instruction to millions now alive, and provided a store of both for
millions yet unborn! As to the course to be pursued in this great
undertaking, it is, first, to read the grammar from the first word to
the last, very attentively, several times over; then, to copy the whole
of it very correctly and neatly; and then to study the Chapters one by
one. And what do this reading and writing require as to time? Both
together not more than the tea-slops and their gossips for _three
months_! There are about three hundred pages in my English Grammar. Four
of those little pages in a day, which is a mere trifle of work, do the
thing in _three months_. Two hours a day are quite sufficient for the
purpose; and these may, in any _town_ that I have ever known, or in any
village, be taken from that part of the morning during which the main
part of the people are in bed. I do not like the evening-candle-light
work: it wears the eyes much more than the same sort of light in the
morning, because then the faculties are in vigour and wholly
unexhausted. But for this purpose there is sufficient of that day-light
which is usually wasted; usually gossipped or lounged away; or spent in
some other manner productive of no pleasure, and generally producing
pain in the end. It is very becoming in all persons, and particularly in
the young, to be civil, and even polite: but it becomes neither young
nor old to have an everlasting simper on their faces, and their bodies
sawing in an everlasting bow: and, how many youths have I seen who, if
they had spent, in the learning of grammar, a tenth part of the time
that they have consumed in earning merited contempt for their affected
gentility, would have laid the foundation of sincere respect towards
them for the whole of their lives!

46. _Perseverance_ is a prime quality in every pursuit, and particularly
in this. Yours is, too, the time of life to acquire this inestimable
habit. Men fail much oftener from want of perseverance than from want of
talent and of good disposition: as the race was not to the hare but to
the tortoise, so the meed of success in study is to him who is not in
haste, but to him who proceeds with a steady and even step. It is not to
a want of taste or of desire or of disposition to learn that we have to
ascribe the rareness of good scholars, so much as to the want of patient
perseverance. Grammar is a branch of knowledge; like all other things of
high value, it is of difficult acquirement: the study is dry; the
subject is intricate; it engages not the passions; and, if the _great
end_ be not kept constantly in view; if you lose, for a moment, sight of
the _ample reward_, indifference begins, that is followed by weariness,
and disgust and despair close the book. To guard against this result be
not in _haste_; keep _steadily on_; and, when you find weariness
approaching, rouse yourself, and remember, that if you give up, all that
you have done has been done in vain. This is a matter of great moment;
for out of every ten, who undertake this task, there are, perhaps, nine
who abandon it in despair; and this, too, merely for the want of
resolution to overcome the first approaches of weariness. The most
effectual means of security against this mortifying result is to lay
down a rule to write or to read a certain fixed quantity _every day_,
Sunday excepted. Our minds are not always in the same state; they have
not, at all times, the same elasticity; to-day we are full of hope on
the very same grounds which, to-morrow, afford us no hope at all: every
human being is liable to those flows and ebbs of the mind; but, if
reason interfere, and bid you _overcome the fits of lassitude_, and
almost mechanically to go on without the stimulus of hope, the buoyant
fit speedily returns; you congratulate yourself that you did not yield
to the temptation to abandon your pursuit, and you proceed with more
vigour than ever. Five or six triumphs over temptation to indolence or
despair lay the foundation of certain success; and, what is of still
more importance, fix in you the _habit of perseverance_.

47. If I have bestowed a large portion of my space on this topic, it has
been because I know, from experience as well as from observation, that
it is of more importance than all the other branches of book-learning
put together. It gives you, when you possess it thoroughly, a real and
practical superiority over the far greater part of men. How often did I
experience this even long before I became what is called an author! The
_Adjutant_, under whom it was my duty to act when I was a Serjeant
Major, was, as almost all military officers are, or at least _were_, a
very illiterate man, perceiving that every sentence of mine was in the
same form and manner as sentences in _print_, became shy of letting me
see pieces of _his_ writing. The writing of _orders_, and other things,
therefore, fell to me; and thus, though no nominal addition was made to
my pay, and no nominal addition to my authority, I acquired the latter
as effectually as if a law had been passed to confer it upon me. In
short, I owe to the possession of this branch of knowledge everything
that has enabled me to do so many things that very few other men have
done, and that now gives me a degree of influence, such as is possessed
by few others, in the most weighty concerns of the country. The
possession of this branch of knowledge raises you in your own esteem,
gives just confidence in yourself, and prevents you from being the
willing slave of the rich and the titled part of the community. It
enables you to discover that riches and titles do not confer merit; you
think comparatively little of them; and, as far as relates to you, at
any rate, their insolence is innoxious.

48. Hoping that I have said enough to induce you to set resolutely about
the study of _grammar_, I might here leave the subject of _learning_;
arithmetic and grammar, both _well learned_, being as much as I could
wish in a mere youth. But these need not occupy the whole of your spare
time; and, there are other branches of learning which ought immediately
to follow. If your own calling or profession require book-study, books
treating of that are to be preferred to all others; for, the first
thing, the first object in life, is to secure the honest means of
obtaining sustenance, raiment, and a state of being suitable to your
rank, be that rank what it may: excellence in your own calling is,
therefore, the first thing to be aimed at. After this may come _general
knowledge_, and of this, the first is a thorough knowledge of _your own
country_; for, how ridiculous is it to see an English youth engaged in
reading about the customs of the Chinese or of the Hindoos, while he is
content to be totally ignorant of those of Kent or of Cornwall! Well
employed he must be in ascertaining how Greece was divided and how the
Romans parcelled out their territory, while he knows not, and apparently
does not want to know, how England came to be divided into counties,
hundreds, parishes and tithings.

49. GEOGRAPHY naturally follows Grammar; and you should begin with that
of this kingdom, which you ought to understand well, perfectly well,
before you venture to look abroad. A rather slight knowledge of the
divisions and customs of other countries is, generally speaking,
sufficient; but, not to know these full well, as far as relates to our
own country, is, in one who pretends to be a gentleman or a scholar,
somewhat disgraceful. Yet how many men are there, and those called
_gentlemen_ too, who seem to think that counties and parishes, and
churches and parsons, and tithes and glebes, and manors and courts-leet,
and paupers and poor-houses, all grew up in England, or dropped down
upon it, immediately after Noah's flood! Surely, it is necessary for
every man, having any pretensions to scholarship, to know _how these
things came_; and, the sooner this knowledge is acquired the better;
for, until it be acquired, you read the _history_ of your country in
vain. Indeed, to communicate this knowledge is one main part of the
business of history; but it is a part which no historian, commonly so
called, has, that I know of, ever yet performed, except, in part,
myself, in the History of the PROTESTANT REFORMATION. I had read HUME'S
History of England, and the Continuation by SMOLLETT; but, in 1802, when
I wanted to write on the subject of the _non-residence of the clergy_, I
found, to my great mortification, that I knew nothing of the foundation
of the office and the claims of the parsons, and that I could not even
guess at the _origin of parishes_. This gave a new turn to my inquiries;
and I soon found the romancers, called historians, had given me no
information that I could rely on, and, besides, had done, apparently,
all they could to keep me in the dark.

50. When you come to HISTORY, begin also with that _of your own
country_; and here it is my bounden duty to put you _well on your
guard_; for in this respect we are _peculiarly_ unfortunate, and for the
following reasons, to which I beg you to attend. Three _hundred years
ago_, the religion of England had been, during _nine hundred years_, the
Catholic religion: the Catholic clergy possessed about a third part of
all the lands and houses, which they held _in trust_ for their own
support, for the _building and repairing of churches_, and for the
relief of the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the stranger; but, at the
time just mentioned, the king and the aristocracy changed the religion
to _Protestant_, took the estates of the church and the poor _to
themselves as their own property_, and _taxed the people at large_ for
the building and repairing of churches and for the relief of the poor.
This great and terrible change, effected partly by force against the
people and partly by the most artful means of deception, gave rise to a
series of efforts, which has been continued from that day _to this_, to
cause us all to believe, _that that change was for the better_, that it
was for _our good_; and that, _before that time_, our forefathers were a
set of the most miserable slaves that the sun ever warmed with his
beams. It happened, too, that the _art of printing_ was not discovered,
or, at least, it was very little understood, until about the time when
this change took place; so that the books relating to former times were
confined to manuscript; and, besides, even these manuscript libraries
were destroyed with great care by those who had made the change and had
grasped the property of the poor and the church. Our '_Historians_,' as
they are called, have written under _fear_ of the powerful, or have been
_bribed_ by them; and, generally speaking, both at the same time; and,
accordingly, their works are, as far as they relate to former times,
masses of lies unmatched by any others that the world has ever seen.

51. The great object of these lies always has been to make the main body
of the people believe, that the nation is now more happy, more populous,
more powerful, _than it was before it was Protestant_, and thereby to
induce us to conclude, that it was _a good thing for us_ that the
aristocracy should take to themselves the property of the poor and the
church, and make the people at large _pay taxes for the support of
both_. This has been, and still is, the great object of all those heaps
of lies; and those lies are continually spread about amongst us in all
forms of publication, from heavy folios down to halfpenny tracts. In
refutation of those lies we have only very few and rare ancient books to
refer to, and their information is incidental, seeing that their authors
never dreamed of the possibility of the lying generations which were to
come. We have the ancient acts of parliament, the common-law, the
customs, the canons of the church, and _the churches themselves_; but
these demand _analyses_ and _argument_, and they demand also a _really
free press_, and _unprejudiced and patient readers_. Never in this
world, before, had truth to struggle with so many and such great

52. To refute lies is not, at present, my business; but it is my
business to give you, in as small a compass as possible, one striking
proof that they are lies; and thereby to put you well upon your guard
for the whole of the rest of your life. The opinion sedulously
inculcated by these '_historians_' is this; that, before the
_Protestant_ times came, England was, comparatively, an insignificant
country, _having few people in it, and those few wretchedly poor and
miserable_. Now, take the following _undeniable facts_. All the parishes
in England are now (except where they have been _united_, and two,
three, or four, have been made into one) in point of _size_, what they
were _a thousand years ago_. The county of Norfolk is the best
cultivated of any one in England. This county has _now_ 731 parishes;
and the number was formerly greater. Of these parishes 22 _have now no
churches at all_; 74 contain less than 100 souls each: and 268 have _no
parsonage-houses_. Now, observe, every parish had, in old times, a
church and a parsonage-house. The county contains 2,092 square miles;
that is to say, something less than 3 square miles to each parish, and
that is 1,920 statute acres of land; and the _size_ of each parish is,
on an average, that of a piece of ground about one mile and a half each
way; so that the churches are, even now, on an average, only about _a
mile and a half from each other_. Now, the questions for you to put to
yourself are these: Were churches formerly built and kept up _without
being wanted_, and especially by a poor and miserable people? Did these
miserable people build 74 churches out of 731, each of which 74 had not
a hundred souls belonging to it? Is it a sign of an augmented
population, that 22 churches out of 731 have tumbled down and been
effaced? Was it a country _thinly_ inhabited by miserable people that
could build and keep a church in every piece of ground a mile and a half
each way, besides having, in this same county, 77 monastic
establishments and 142 free chapels? Is it a sign of augmented
population, ease and plenty, that, out of 731 parishes, 268 have
suffered the parsonage houses to fall into ruins, and their sites to
become patches of nettles and of brambles? Put these questions calmly to
yourself: common sense will dictate the answers; and truth will call for
an expression of your indignation against the lying historians and the
still more lying population-mongers.



53. In the foregoing Letter, I have given my advice to a Youth. In
addressing myself to you, I am to presume that you have entered upon
your present stage of life, having acted upon the precepts contained in
that letter; and that, of course, you are a sober, abstinent,
industrious and well-informed young man. In the succeeding letters,
which will be addressed to the _Lover_, the _Husband_, the _Father_ and
the _Citizen_, I shall, of course, have to include my notion of your
duties as a _master_, and as a person employed by _another_. In the
present letter, therefore, I shall confine myself principally to the
conduct of a young man with regard to the management of his means, or

54. Be you in what line of life you may, it will be amongst your
misfortunes if you have not time properly to attend to this matter; for
it very frequently happens, it has happened to thousands upon thousands,
not only to be ruined, according to the common acceptation of the word;
not only to be made poor, and to suffer from poverty, in consequence of
want of attention to pecuniary matters; but it has frequently, and even
generally, happened, that a want of attention to these matters has
impeded the progress of science, and of genius itself. A man, oppressed
with pecuniary cares and dangers, must be next to a miracle, if he have
his mind in a state fit for intellectual labours; to say nothing of the
temptations, arising from such distress, to abandon good principles, to
suppress useful opinions and useful facts; and, in short, to become a
disgrace to his kindred, and an evil to his country, instead of being an
honour to the former and a blessing to the latter. To be poor and
independent, is very nearly an impossibility.

55. But, then, poverty is not a positive, but a relative term. BURKE
observed, and very truly, that a labourer who earned a sufficiency to
maintain him as a labourer, and to maintain him in a suitable manner; to
give him a sufficiency of good food, of clothing, of lodging, and of
fuel, ought not to be called _a poor man_; for that, though he had
little riches, though his, _compared_ with that of a lord, was a state
of poverty, it was not a state of poverty in itself. When, therefore, I
say that poverty is the cause of a depression of spirit, of inactivity
and of servility in men of literary talent, I must say, at the same
time, that the evil arises from their own fault; from their having
created for themselves imaginary wants; from their having indulged in
unnecessary enjoyments, and from their having caused that to be poverty,
which would not have been poverty, if they had been moderate in their

56. As it may be your lot (such has been mine) to live by your literary
talent, I will here, before I proceed to matter more applicable to
persons in other states of life, observe, that I cannot form an idea of
a mortal more wretched than a man of real talent, compelled to curb his
genius, and to submit himself in the exercise of that genius, to those
whom he knows to be far inferior to himself, and whom he must despise
from the bottom of his soul. The late Mr. WILLIAM GIFFORD, who was the
son of a shoemaker at ASHBURTON in Devonshire; who was put to school and
sent to the university at the expense of a generous and good clergyman
of the name of COOKSON, and who died, the other day, a sort of
whipper-in of MURRAY'S QUARTERLY REVIEW; this was a man of real genius;
and, to my certain personal knowledge, he detested, from the bottom of
his soul, the whole of the paper-money and Boroughmongering system, and
despised those by whom the system was carried on. But, he had imaginary
wants; he had been bred up in company with the rich and the extravagant;
expensive indulgences had been made necessary to him by habit; and, when
in the year 1798, or thereabouts, he had to choose between a bit of
bacon, a scrag of mutton, and a lodging at ten shillings a week, on the
one side, and made-dishes, wine, a fine house and a footman on the other
side, he chose the latter. He became the servile Editor of CANNING'S
Anti-jacobin newspaper; and he, who had more wit and learning than all
the rest of the writers put together, became the miserable tool in
circulating their attacks upon everything that was hostile to a system
which he deplored and detested. But he secured the made-dishes, the
wine, the footman and the coachman. A sinecure as '_clerk of the Foreign
Estreats_,' gave him 329_l._ a year, a double commissionership of the
lottery gave him 600_l._ or 700_l._ more; and, at a later period, his
Editorship of the Quarterly Review gave him perhaps as much more. He
rolled in his carriage for several years; he fared sumptuously; he was
buried at _Westminster Abbey_, of which his friend and formerly his
brother pamphleteer in defence of PITT was the _Dean_; and never is he
to be heard of more! Mr. GIFFORD would have been full as happy; his
health would have been better, his life longer, and his name would have
lived for ages, if he could have turned to the bit of bacon and scrag of
mutton in 1798; for his learning and talents were such, his reasonings
so clear and conclusive, and his wit so pointed and keen, that his
writings must have been generally read, must have been of long duration!
and, indeed, must have enabled him (he being always a single man) to
live in his latter days in as good style as that which he procured by
becoming a sinecurist, a pensioner and a _hack_, all which he was from
the moment he lent himself to the Quarterly Review. Think of the
mortification of such a man, when he was called upon to justify the
power-of-imprisonment bill in 1817! But to go into particulars would be
tedious: his life was a life of luxurious misery, than which a worse is
not to be imagined.

57. So that poverty is, except where there is an actual want of food and
raiment, a thing much more imaginary than real. _The shame of poverty_,
the shame of being thought poor, is a great and fatal weakness, though
arising, in this country, from the fashion of the times themselves. When
a _good man_, as in the phraseology of the city, means a _rich man_, we
are not to wonder that every one wishes to be thought richer than he is.
When adulation is sure to follow wealth, and when contempt would be
awarded to many if they were not wealthy, who are spoken of with
deference, and even lauded to the skies, because their riches are great
and notorious; when this is the case, we are not to be surprised that
men are ashamed to be thought to be poor. This is one of the greatest of
all the dangers at the outset of life: it has brought thousands and
hundreds of thousands to ruin, even to _pecuniary_ ruin. One of the most
amiable features in the character of American society is this; that men
never boast of their riches, and never disguise their poverty; but they
talk of both as of any other matter fit for public conversation. No man
shuns another because he is poor: no man is preferred to another because
he is rich. In hundreds and hundreds of instances, men, not worth a
shilling, have been chosen by the people and entrusted with their rights
and interests, in preference to men who ride in their carriages.

58. This shame of being thought poor, is not only dishonourable in
itself, and fatally injurious to men of talent; but it is ruinous even
in a _pecuniary_ point of view, and equally destructive to farmers,
traders, and even gentlemen of landed estate. It leads to everlasting
efforts to _disguise one's poverty_: the carriage, the servants, the
wine, (oh, that fatal wine!) the spirits, the decanters, the glasses,
all the table apparatus, the dress, the horses, the dinners, the
parties, all must be kept up; not so much because he or she who keeps or
gives them, has any pleasure arising therefrom, as because not to keep
and give them, would give rise to a suspicion _of the want of means_ so
to give and keep; and thus thousands upon thousands are yearly brought
into a state of real poverty by their great _anxiety not to be thought
poor_. Look round you, mark well what you behold, and say if this be not
the case. In how many instances have you seen most amiable and even most
industrious families brought to ruin by nothing but this! Mark it well;
resolve to set this false shame at defiance, and when you have done
that, you have laid the first stone of the surest foundation of your
future tranquillity of mind. There are thousands of families, at this
very moment, who are thus struggling to keep up appearances. The farmers
accommodate themselves to circumstances more easily than tradesmen and
professional men. They live at a greater distance from their neighbours:
they can change their style of living unperceived: they can banish the
decanter, change the dishes for a bit of bacon, make a treat out of a
rasher and eggs, and the world is none the wiser all the while. But the
tradesman, the doctor, the attorney, and the trader, cannot make the
change so quietly, and unseen. The accursed wine, which is a sort of
criterion of the style of living, a sort of _scale_ to the _plan_, a
sort of _key_ to the _tune_; this is the thing to banish first of all;
because all the rest follow, and come down to their proper level in a
short time. The accursed decanter cries footman or waiting maid, puts
bells to the side of the wall, screams aloud for carpets; and when I am
asked, 'Lord, _what_ is a glass of wine?' my answer is, that, in this
country, it is _everything_; it is the pitcher of the key; it demands
all the other unnecessary expenses; it is injurious to health, and must
be injurious, every bottle of wine that is drunk containing a certain
portion of ardent spirits, besides other drugs deleterious in their
nature; and, of all the friends to the doctors, this fashionable
beverage is the greatest. And, which adds greatly to the folly, or, I
should say, the real vice of using it, is, that the parties themselves,
nine times out of ten, do not drink it by _choice_; do not like it; do
not relish it; but use it from mere ostentation, being ashamed to be
seen even by their own servants, not to drink wine. At the very moment I
am writing this, there are thousands of families in and near London, who
daily have wine upon their tables, and who _drink_ it too, merely
because their own servants should not suspect them to be poor, and not
deem them to be genteel; and thus families by thousands are ruined, only
because they are ashamed to be thought poor.

59. There is no shame belonging to poverty, which frequently arises from
the virtues of the impoverished parties. Not so frequently, indeed, as
from vice, folly, and indiscretion; but still very frequently. And as
the Scripture tells us, that we are not to 'despise the poor _because_
he is poor'; so we ought not to honour the rich because he is rich. The
true way is, to take a fair survey of the character of a man as depicted
in his conduct, and to respect him, or despise him, according to a due
estimate of that character. No country upon earth exhibits so many, as
this, of those fatal terminations of life, called suicides. These arise,
in nine instances out of ten, from this very source. The victims are, in
general, what may be fairly called insane; but their insanity almost
always arises from the dread of poverty; not from the dread of a want of
the means of sustaining life, or even decent living, but from the dread
of being thought or known to be poor; from the dread of what is called
falling in the scale of society; a dread which is prevalent hardly in
any country but this. Looked at in its true light, what is there in
poverty to make a man take away his own life? he is the same man that he
was before: he has the same body and the same mind: if he even foresee a
great alteration in his dress or his diet, why should he kill himself on
that account? Are these all the things that a man wishes to live for?
But, such is the fact; so great is the disgrace upon this country, and
so numerous and terrible are the evils arising from this dread of being
thought to be poor.

60. Nevertheless, men ought to take care of their means, ought to use
them prudently and sparingly, and to keep their expenses always within
the bounds of their income, be it what it may. One of the effectual
means of doing this is to purchase with ready money. ST. PAUL says,
'_Owe no man any thing_:' and of his numerous precepts this is by no
means the least worthy of our attention. _Credit_ has been boasted of as
a very fine thing: to decry credit seems to be setting oneself up
against the opinions of the whole world; and I remember a paper in the
FREEHOLDER or the SPECTATOR, published just after the funding system had
begun, representing 'PUBLIC Credit' as a GODDESS, enthroned in a temple
dedicated to her by her votaries, amongst whom she is dispensing
blessings of every description. It must be more than forty years since I
read this paper, which I read soon after the time when the late Mr. PITT
uttered in Parliament an expression of his anxious hope, that his 'name
would be inscribed on the _monument_ which he should raise to '_public
credit_.' Time has taught me, that PUBLIC CREDIT means, the contracting
of debts which a nation never can pay; and I have lived to see this
_Goddess_ produce effects, in my country, which Satan himself never
could have produced. It is a very bewitching Goddess; and not less fatal
in her influence in private than in public affairs. It has been carried
in this latter respect to such a pitch, that scarcely any transaction,
however low and inconsiderable in amount, takes place in any other way.
There is a trade in London, called the 'tally-trade,' by which,
household goods, coals, clothing, all sorts of things, are sold upon
credit, the seller keeping _a tally_, and receiving payment for the
goods, little by little; so that the income and the earnings of the
buyers are always anticipated; are always gone, in fact, before they
come in or are earned; the sellers receiving, of course, a great deal
more than the proper profit.

61. Without supposing you to descend to so low a grade as this, and even
supposing you to be lawyer, doctor, parson, or merchant; it is still the
same thing, if you purchase on credit, and not, perhaps, in a much less
degree of disadvantage. Besides the higher price that you pay there is
the temptation to have what you _really do not want_. The cost seems a
trifle, when you have not to pay the money until a future time. It has
been observed, and very truly observed, that men used to lay out a
one-pound note when they would not lay out a sovereign; a consciousness
of the intrinsic value of the things produces a retentiveness in the
latter case more than in the former: the sight and the touch assist the
mind in forming its conclusions, and the one-pound note was parted with,
when the sovereign would have been kept. Far greater is the difference
between Credit and Ready money. Innumerable things are not bought at all
with ready money, which would be bought in case of trust: it is so much
easier to _order_ a thing than to _pay_ for it. A future day; a day of
payment must come, to be sure, but that is little thought of at the
time; but if the money were to be drawn out, the moment the thing was
received or offered, this question would arise, '_Can I do without it_?'
Is this thing indispensable; am I compelled to have it, or suffer a loss
or injury greater in amount than the cost of the thing? If this question
were put, every time we make a purchase, seldom should we hear of those
suicides which are such a disgrace to this country.

62. I am aware, that it will be said, and very truly said, that the
concerns of merchants; that the purchasing of great estates, and various
other great transactions, cannot be carried on in this manner; but these
are rare exceptions to the rule; even in these cases there might be much
less of bills and bonds, and all the sources of litigation; but in the
every-day business of life; in transactions with the butcher, the baker,
the tailor, the shoemaker, what excuse can there be for pleading the
example of the merchant, who carries on his work by ships and exchanges?
I was delighted, some time ago, by being told of a young man, who, upon
being advised _to keep a little account_ of all he received and
expended, answered, 'that his business was not to keep account books:
that he was sure not to make a mistake as to his income; and that, as to
his expenditure, the little bag that held his sovereigns would be an
infallible guide, as he never bought anything that he did not
immediately pay for.'

63. I believe that nobody will deny, that, generally speaking, you pay
for the same article a fourth part more in the case of trust than you do
in the case of ready money. Suppose, then, the baker, butcher, tailor,
and shoemaker, receive from you only one hundred pounds a year. Put that
together; that is to say, multiply twenty-five by twenty, and you will
find, that, at the end of twenty years, you have 500_l._, besides the
accumulating and growing interest. The fathers of the Church (I mean the
ancient ones), and also the canons of the Church, forbade selling on
trust at a higher price than for ready money, which was in effect to
forbid _trust_; and this, doubtless, was one of the great objects which
those wise and pious men had in view; for they were fathers in
legislation and morals as well as in religion. But the doctrine of these
fathers and canons no longer prevails; they are set at nought by the
present age, even in the countries that adhere to their religion.
ADDISON'S Goddess has prevailed over the fathers and the canons; and men
not only make a difference in the price regulated by the difference in
the mode of payment; but it would be absurd to expect them to do
otherwise. They must not only charge something for the want of the _use_
of the money; but they must charge something additional for the _risk_
of its loss, which may frequently arise, and most frequently does arise,
from the misfortunes of those to whom they have assigned their goods on
trust. The man, therefore, who purchases on trust, not only pays for the
trust, but he also pays his due share of what the tradesman loses by
trust; and, after all, he is not so good a customer as the man who
purchases cheaply with ready money; for there is his name indeed in the
tradesman's book; but with that name the tradesman cannot go to market
to get a fresh supply.

64. Infinite are the ways in which gentlemen lose by this sort of
dealing. Servants go and order sometimes things not wanted at all; at
other times, more than is wanted; at others, things of a higher quality;
and all this would be obviated by purchasing with ready money; for,
whether through the hands of the party himself, or through those of an
inferior, there would always be an actual counting out of the money;
somebody would _see_ the thing bought and see the money paid; and, as
the master would give the housekeeper or steward a bag of money at the
time, he would _see_ the money too, would set a proper value upon it,
and would just desire to know upon what it had been expended.

65. How is it that farmers are so exact, and show such a disposition to
retrench in the article of labour, when they seem to think little, or
nothing, about the sums which they pay in tax upon malt, wine, sugar,
tea, soap, candles, tobacco, and various other things? You find the
utmost difficulty in making them understand, that they are affected by
these. The reason is, that they _see_ the money which they give to the
labourer on each succeeding Saturday night; but they do not see that
which they give in taxes on the articles before mentioned. Why is it
that they make such an outcry about the six or seven millions a year
which are paid in poor-rates, and say not a word about the sixty
millions a year raised in other taxes? The consumer pays all; and,
therefore, they are as much interested in the one as the other; and yet
the farmers think of no tax but the poor tax. The reason is, that the
latter is collected from them in _money_: they _see_ it go out of their
hands into the hands of another; and, therefore, they are everlastingly
anxious to reduce the poor-rates, and they take care to keep them within
the smallest possible bounds.

66. Just thus would it be with every man that never purchased but with
ready money: he would make the amount as low as possible in proportion
to his means: this care and frugality would make an addition to his
means, and therefore, in the end, at the end of his life, he would have
had a great deal more to spend, and still be as rich as if he had gone
in trust; while he would have lived in tranquillity all the while, and
would have avoided all the endless papers and writings and receipts and
bills and disputes and law-suits inseparable from a system of credit.
This is by no means a lesson of _stinginess_; by no means tends to
inculcate a heaping up of money; for the purchasing with ready money
really gives you more money to purchase with; you can afford to have a
greater quantity and variety of things; and I will engage that, if
horses or servants be your taste, the saving in this way gives you an
additional horse or an additional servant, if you be in any profession
or engaged in any considerable trade. In towns, it tends to accelerate
your pace along the streets; for the temptation of the windows is
answered in a moment by clapping your hand upon your thigh; and the
question, 'Do I really want that?' is sure to occur to you immediately,
because the touch of the money is sure to put that thought in your mind.

67. Now, supposing you to have a plenty; to have a fortune beyond your
wants, would not the money which you would save in this way be very well
applied in acts of real benevolence? Can you walk many yards in the
streets; can you ride a mile in the country; can you go to half-a-dozen
cottages; can you, in short, open your eyes, without seeing some human
being, some one born in the same country with yourself, and who, on that
account alone, has some claim upon your good wishes and your charity;
can you open your eyes without seeing some person to whom even a small
portion of your annual savings would convey gladness of heart? Your own
heart will suggest the answer; and, if there were no motive but this,
what need I say more in the advice which I have here tendered to you?

68. Another great evil arising from this desire to be thought rich; or,
rather from the desire not to be thought poor, is the destructive thing
which has been honoured by the name of '_speculation_;' but which ought
to be called Gambling. It is a purchasing of something which you do not
want either in your family or in the way of ordinary trade: a something
to be sold again with a great profit; and on the sale of which there is
a considerable hazard. When purchases of this sort are made with ready
money, they are not so offensive to reason and not attended with such
risk; but when they are made with money _borrowed_ for the purpose, they
are neither more nor less than gambling transactions; and they have
been, in this country, a source of ruin, misery, and suicide, admitting
of no adequate description. I grant that this gambling has arisen from
the influence of the '_Goddess_' before mentioned; I grant that it has
arisen from the facility of obtaining the fictitious means of making the
purchases; and I grant that that facility has been created by the system
under the baneful influence of which we live. But it is not the less
necessary that I beseech you not to practise such gambling; that I
beseech you, if you be engaged in it, to disentangle yourself from it as
soon as you can. Your life, while you are thus engaged, is the life of
the gamester; a life of constant anxiety; constant desire to over-reach;
constant apprehension; general gloom, enlivened, now and then, by a
gleam of hope or of success. Even that success is sure to lead to
further adventures; and, at last, a thousand to one, that your fate is
that of the pitcher to the well.

69. The great temptation to this gambling is, as is the case in other
gambling, the _success of the few_. As young men who crowd to the army,
in search of rank and renown, never look into the ditch that holds their
slaughtered companions; but have their eye constantly fixed on the
General-in-chief; and as each of them belongs to the _same profession_,
and is sure to be conscious that he has equal merit, every one deems
himself the suitable successor of him who is surrounded with _Aides des
camps_, and who moves battalions and columns by his nod; so with the
rising generation of 'speculators:' they see the great estates that have
succeeded the pencil-box and the orange-basket; they see those whom
nature and good laws made to black shoes, sweep chimnies or the streets,
rolling in carriages, or sitting in saloons surrounded by gaudy footmen
with napkins twisted round their thumbs; and they can see no earthly
reason why they should not all do the same; forgetting the thousands and
thousands, who, in making the attempt, have reduced themselves to that
beggary which, before their attempt, they would have regarded as a thing
wholly impossible.

70. In all situations of life, avoid the _trammels of the law_. Man's
nature must be changed before law-suits will cease; and, perhaps, it
would be next to impossible to make them less frequent than they are in
the present state of this country; but though no man, who has any
property at all, can say that he will have nothing to do with law-suits,
it is in the power of most men to avoid them in a considerable degree.
One good rule is to have as little as possible to do with any man who is
fond of law-suits, and who, upon every slight occasion, talks of an
appeal to the law. Such persons, from their frequent litigations,
contract a habit of using the technical terms of the Courts, in which
they take a pride, and are, therefore, companions peculiarly disgusting
to men of sense. To such men a law-suit is a luxury, instead of being as
it is, to men of ordinary minds, a source of anxiety and a real and
substantial scourge. Such men are always of a quarrelsome disposition,
and avail themselves of every opportunity to indulge in that which is
mischievous to their neighbours. In thousands of instances men go to law
for the indulgence of mere anger. The Germans are said to bring
_spite-actions_ against one another, and to harass their poorer
neighbours from motives of pure revenge. They have carried this their
disposition with them to America; for which reason no one likes to live
in a German neighbourhood.

71. Before you go to law consider well the _cost_; for if you win your
suit and are poorer than you were before, what do you accomplish? You
only imbibe a little additional anger against your opponent; you injure
him, but do harm to yourself. Better to put up with the loss of one
pound than of two, to which latter is to be added all the loss of time,
all the trouble, and all the mortification and anxiety attending a
law-suit. To set an attorney to work to worry and torment another man is
a very base act; to alarm his family as well as himself, while you are
sitting quietly at home. If a man owe you money which he cannot pay, why
add to his distress without the chance of benefit to yourself? Thousands
of men have injured themselves by resorting to the law; while very few
ever bettered themselves by it, except such resort were unavoidable.

72. Nothing is much more discreditable than what is called _hard
dealing_. They say of the Turks, that they know nothing of _two prices_
for the same article; and that to ask an abatement of the lowest
shopkeeper is to insult him. It would be well if Christians imitated
Mahometans in this respect. To ask one price and take another, or to
offer one price and give another, besides the loss of time that it
occasions, is highly dishonourable to the parties, and especially when
pushed to the extent of solemn protestations. It is, in fact, a species
of lying; and it answers no one advantageous purpose to either buyer or
seller. I hope that every young man who reads this, will start in life
with a resolution never to higgle and lie in dealings. There is this
circumstance in favour of the bookseller's business: every book has its
fixed price, and no one ever asks an abatement. If it were thus in all
other trades, how much time would be saved, and how much immorality

73. As to the spending of your time, your business or your profession
is to claim the priority of everything else. Unless that be _duly
attended to_, there can be no real pleasure in any other employment of
a portion of your time. Men, however, must have some leisure, some
relaxation from business; and in the choice of this relaxation much of
your happiness will depend. Where fields and gardens are at hand, they
present the most rational scenes for leisure. As to company, I have
said enough in the former letter to deter any young man from that of
drunkards and rioting companions; but there is such a thing as your
quiet '_pipe-and-pot-companions_,' which are, perhaps, the most fatal
of all. Nothing can be conceived more dull, more stupid, more the
contrary of edification and rational amusement, than sitting, sotting,
over a pot and a glass, sending out smoke from the head, and
articulating, at intervals, nonsense about all sorts of things. Seven
years service as a galley-slave would be more bearable to a man of
sense, than seven months confinement to society like this. Yet, such is
the effect of habit, that, if a young man become a frequenter of such
scenes, the idle propensity sticks to him for life. Some companions,
however, every man must have; but these every well-behaved man will find
in private houses, where families are found residing and where the
suitable intercourse takes place between women and men. A man that
cannot pass an evening without drink merits the name of a sot. Why
should there be drink for the purpose of carrying on conversation? Women
stand in need of no drink to stimulate them to converse; and I have a
thousand times admired their patience in sitting quietly at their work,
while their husbands are engaged, in the same room, with bottles and
glasses before them, thinking nothing of the expense and still less of
the shame which the distinction reflects upon them. We have to thank the
women for many things, and particularly for their sobriety, for fear of
following their example in which men drive them from the table, as if
they said to them: 'You have had enough; food is sufficient for you; but
we must remain to fill ourselves with drink, and to talk in language
which your ears ought not to endure.' When women are getting up to
retire from the table, men rise _in honour of_ them; but they take
special care not to follow their excellent example. That which is not
fit to be uttered before women is not fit to be uttered at all; and it
is next to a proclamation, tolerating drunkenness and indecency, to send
women from the table the moment they have swallowed their food. The
practice has been ascribed to a desire to leave them to themselves; but
why should they be left to themselves? Their conversation is always the
most lively, while their persons are generally the most agreeable
objects. No: the plain truth is, that it is the love of the drink and of
the indecent talk that send women from the table; and it is a practice
which I have always abhorred. I like to see young men, especially,
follow them out of the room, and prefer their company to that of the
sots who are left behind.

74. Another mode of spending the leisure time is that of books. Rational
and well-informed companions may be still more instructive; but books
never annoy; they cost little; and they are always at hand, and ready at
your call. The sort of books must, in some degree, depend upon your
pursuit in life; but there are some books necessary to every one who
aims at the character of a well-informed man. I have slightly mentioned
HISTORY and Geography in the preceding letter; but I must here observe,
that, as to both these, you should begin with your own country, and make
yourself well acquainted, not only with its ancient state, but with the
_origin_ of all its principal institutions. To read of the battles which
it has fought, and of the intrigues by which one king or one minister
has succeeded another, is very little more profitable than the reading
of a romance. To understand well the history of the country, you should
first understand how it came to be divided into counties, hundreds, and
into parishes; how judges, sheriffs, and juries, first arose; to what
end they were all invented, and how the changes with respect to any of
them have been produced. But it is of particular consequence that you
ascertain the _state of the people_ in former times, which is to be
ascertained by _comparing the then price of labour with the then price
of food_. You hear enough, and you read enough, about the _glorious
wars_ in the reign of KING EDWARD the THIRD; and it is very proper that
those glories should be recorded and remembered; but you never read, in
the works of the historians, that, in that reign, a common labourer
earned threepence-halfpenny a day; and that a _fat sheep_ was sold, at
the same time, for one shilling and twopence, and a fat hog, two years
old, for three shillings and fourpence, and a fat goose for
twopence-halfpenny. You never read that women received a penny a day for
hay-making or weeding in the corn, and that a gallon of red wine was
sold for fourpence. These are matters which historians have deemed to be
beneath their notice; but they are matters of real importance: they are
matters which ought to have practical effect at this time; for these
furnish the criterion whereby we are to judge of our condition compared
with that of our forefathers. The poor-rates form a great feature in the
laws and customs of this country. Put to a thousand persons who have
read what is called the history of England; put to them the question,
how the poor-rates came? and nine hundred and ninety-nine of the
thousand will tell you, that they know nothing at all of the matter.
This is not history; a list of battles and a string of intrigues are not
history, they communicate no knowledge applicable to our present state;
and it really is better to amuse oneself with an avowed romance, which
latter is a great deal worse than passing one's time in counting the

75. History has been described as affording arguments of experience; as
a record of what has been, in order to guide us as to what is likely to
be, or what ought to be; but, from this romancing history, no such
experience is to be derived: for it furnishes no facts on which to found
arguments relative to the existing or future state of things. To come at
the true history of a country you must read its laws: you must read
books treating of its usages and customs in former times; and you must
particularly inform yourself as to _prices of labour and of food_. By
reading the single Act of the 23rd year of EDWARD the THIRD, specifying
the price of labour at that time; by reading an Act of Parliament passed
in the 24th year of HENRY the EIGHTH; by reading these two Acts, and
then reading the CHRONICON PRECIOSUM of BISHOP FLEETWOOD, which shows
the price of food in the former reign, you come into full possession of
the knowledge of what England was in former times. Divers books teach
how the divisions of the country arose, and how its great institutions
were established; and the result of this reading is a store of
knowledge, which will afford you pleasure for the whole of your life.

76. History, however, is by no means the only thing about which every
man's leisure furnishes him with the means of reading; besides which,
every man has not the same taste. Poetry, geography, moral essays, the
divers subjects of philosophy, travels, natural history, books on
sciences; and, in short, the whole range of book-knowledge is before
you; but there is one thing always to be guarded against; and that is,
not to admire and applaud anything you read, merely because it is the
_fashion_ to admire and applaud it. Read, consider well what you read,
form _your own judgment_, and stand by that judgment in despite of the
sayings of what are called learned men, until fact or argument be
offered to convince you of your error. One writer praises another; and
it is very possible for writers so to combine as to cry down and, in
some sort, to destroy the reputation of any one who meddles with the
combination, unless the person thus assailed be blessed with uncommon
talent and uncommon perseverance. When I read the works of POPE and of
SWIFT, I was greatly delighted with their lashing of DENNIS; but
wondered, at the same time, why they should have taken so much pains in
running down such a _fool_. By the merest accident in the world, being
at a tavern in the woods of America, I took up an old book, in order to
pass away the time while my travelling companions were drinking in the
next room; but seeing the book contained the criticisms of DENNIS, I was
about to lay it down, when the play of 'CATO' caught my eye; and having
been accustomed to read books in which this play was lauded to the
skies, and knowing it to have been written by ADDISON, every line of
whose works I had been taught to believe teemed with wisdom and genius,
I condescended to begin to read, though the work was from the pen of
that _fool_ DENNIS. I read on, and soon began to _laugh_, not at Dennis,
but at Addison. I laughed so much and so loud, that the landlord, who
was in the passage, came in to see what I was laughing at. In short, I
found it a most masterly production, one of the most witty things that I
had ever read in my life. I was delighted with DENNIS, and was heartily
ashamed of my former admiration of CATO, and felt no little resentment
against POPE and SWIFT for their endless reviling of this most able and
witty critic. This, as far as I recollect, was the first _emancipation_
that had assisted me in my reading. I have, since that time, never taken
any thing upon trust: I have judged for myself, trusting neither to the
opinions of writers nor in the fashions of the day. Having been told by
DR. BLAIR, in his lectures on Rhetoric, that, if I meant to write
correctly, I must 'give my days and nights to ADDISON,' I read a few
numbers of the Spectator at the time I was writing my English Grammar: I
gave neither my nights nor my days to him; but I found an abundance of
matter to afford examples _of false grammar_; and, upon a reperusal, I
found that the criticisms of DENNIS might have been extended to this
book too.

77. But that which never ought to have been forgotten by those who were
men at the time, and that which ought to be _made known to every young
man of the present day_, in order that he may be induced to exercise his
own judgment with regard to books, is, the transactions relative to the
writings of SHAKSPEARE, which transactions took place about thirty years
ago. It is still, and it was then much more, the practice to extol every
line of SHAKSPEARE to the skies: not to admire SHAKSPEARE has been
deemed to be a proof of want of understanding and taste. MR. GARRICK,
and some others after him, had their own good and profitable reasons for
crying up the works of this poet. When I was a very little boy, there
was a _jubilee_ in honour of SHAKSPEARE, and as he was said to have
planted a _Mulberry tree_, boxes, and other little ornamental things in
wood, were sold all over the country, as having been made out of the
trunk or limbs of this ancient and sacred tree. We Protestants laugh at
the _relics_ so highly prized by Catholics; but never was a Catholic
people half so much duped by the relics of saints, as this nation was by
the mulberry tree, of which, probably, more wood was sold than would
have been sufficient in quantity to build a ship of war, or a large
house. This madness abated for some years; but, towards the end of the
last century it broke out again with more fury than ever. SHAKSPEARE'S
works were published by BOYDELL, an Alderman of London, at a
subscription of _five hundred pounds for each copy_, accompanied by
plates, each forming a large picture. Amongst the mad men of the day was
a MR. IRELAND, who seemed to be more mad than any of the rest. His
adoration of the poet led him to perform a pilgrimage to an old
farm-house, near Stratford-upon-Avon, said to have been the birth-place
of the poet. Arrived at the spot, he requested the farmer and his wife
to let him search the house for papers, _first going upon his knees_,
and praying, in the poetic style, the gods to aid him in his quest. He
found no papers; but he found that the farmer's wife, in clearing out a
garret some years before, had found some rubbishy old papers which she
had _burnt_, and which had probably been papers used in the wrapping up
of pigs' cheeks to keep them from the bats. 'O, wretched woman!'
exclaimed he; 'do you know what you have done?' 'O dear, no!' said the
woman, half frightened out of her wits: 'no harm, I hope; for the papers
were _very old_; I dare say as old as the house itself.' This threw him
into an additional degree of _excitement_, as it is now fashionably
called: he raved, he stamped, he foamed, and at last quitted the house,
covering the poor woman with very term of reproach; and hastening back
to Stratford, took post-chaise for London, to relate to his brother
madmen the horrible sacrilege of this heathenish woman. Unfortunately
for MR. IRELAND, unfortunately for his learned brothers in the
metropolis, and unfortunately for the reputation of SHAKSPEARE, MR.
IRELAND took with him to the scene of his adoration _a son, about
sixteen years of age_, who was articled to an attorney in London. The
son was by no means so sharply bitten as the father; and, upon returning
to town, he conceived the idea of _supplying the place of the invaluable
papers_ which the farm-house heathen had destroyed. He thought, and he
thought rightly, that he should have little difficulty in writing plays
_just like those of Shakspeare_! To get _paper_ that should seem to have
been made in the reign of QUEEN ELIZABETH, and _ink_ that should give to
writing the appearance of having the same age, was somewhat difficult;
but both were overcome. Young IRELAND was acquainted with a son of a
bookseller, who dealt in _old books_: the blank leaves of these books
supplied the young author with paper; and he found out the way of making
proper ink for his purpose. To work he went, _wrote several plays_, some
_love-letters_, and other things; and having got a Bible, extant in the
time of SHAKSPEARE, he wrote _notes_ in the margin. All these, together
with _sonnets_ in abundance, and other little detached pieces, he
produced to his father, telling him he got them from a gentleman, who
had _made him swear that he would not divulge his name_. The father
announced the invaluable discovery to the literary world: the literary
world rushed to him; the manuscripts were regarded as genuine by the
most grave and learned Doctors, some of whom (and amongst these were
DOCTORS PARR and WARTON) gave, _under their hands_, an opinion, that the
manuscripts _must have been written_ by SHAKSPEARE; for that _no other
man in the world could have been capable of writing them_!

78. MR. IRELAND opened a subscription, published these new and
invaluable manuscripts at an enormous price; and preparations were
instantly made for _performing one of the plays_, called VORTIGERN. Soon
after the acting of the play, the indiscretion of the lad caused the
secret to explode; and, instantly, those who had declared that he had
written as well as SHAKSPEARE, did every thing in their power _to
destroy him_! The attorney drove him from his office; the father drove
him from his house; and, in short, he was hunted down as if he had been
a malefactor of the worst description. The truth of this relation is
undeniable; it is recorded in numberless books. The young man is, I
believe, yet alive; and, in short, no man will question any one of the

79. After this, where is the person of sense who will be guided in these
matters by _fashion_? where is the man, who wishes not to be deluded,
who will not, when he has read a book, _judge for himself_? After all
these jubilees and pilgrimages; after BOYDELL'S subscription of 500_l._
for one single copy; after it had been deemed almost impiety to doubt of
the genius of SHAKSPEARE surpassing that of all the rest of mankind;
after he had been called the '_Immortal Bard_,' as a matter of course,
as we speak of MOSES and AARON, there having been but one of each in the
world; after all this, comes a lad of sixteen years of age, writes that
which learned Doctors declare could have been written by no man but
SHAKSPEARE, and, when it is discovered that this laughing boy is the
real author, the DOCTORS turn round upon him, with all the newspapers,
magazines, and reviews, and, of course, the public at their back, revile
him as an _impostor_; and, under that odious name, hunt him out of
society, and doom him to starve! This lesson, at any rate, he has given
us: not to rely on the judgment of Doctors and other pretenders to
literary superiority. Every young man, when he takes up a book for the
first time, ought to remember this story; and if he do remember it, he
will disregard fashion with regard to the book, and will pay little
attention to the decision of those who call themselves critics.

80. I hope that your taste would keep you aloof from the writings of
those detestable villains, who employ the powers of their mind in
debauching the minds of others, or in endeavours to do it. They present
their poison in such captivating forms, that it requires great virtue
and resolution to withstand their temptations; and, they have, perhaps,
done a thousand times as much mischief in the world as all the infidels
and atheists put together. These men ought to be called _literary
pimps_: they ought to be held in universal abhorrence, and never spoken
of but with execration. Any appeal to bad passions is to be despised;
any appeal to ignorance and prejudice; but here is an appeal to the
frailties of human nature, and an endeavour to make the mind corrupt,
just as it is beginning to possess its powers. I never have known any
but bad men, worthless men, men unworthy of any portion of respect, who
took delight in, or even kept in their possession, writings of the
description to which I here allude. The writings of SWIFT have this
blemish; and, though he is not a teacher of _lewdness_, but rather the
contrary, there are certain parts of his poems which are much too filthy
for any decent person to read. It was beneath him to stoop to such means
of setting forth that wit which would have been far more brilliant
without them. I have heard, that, in the library of what is called an
'_illustrious_ person,' sold some time ago, there was an immense
collection of books of this infamous description; and from this
circumstance, if from no other, I should have formed my judgment of the
character of that person.

81. Besides reading, a young man ought to write, if he have the capacity
and the leisure. If you wish to remember a thing well, put it into
writing, even if you burn the paper immediately after you have done; for
the eye greatly assists the mind. Memory consists of a concatenation of
ideas, the place, the time, and other circumstances, lead to the
recollection of facts; and no circumstance more effectually than stating
the facts upon paper. A JOURNAL should be kept by every young man. Put
down something against every day in the year, if it be merely a
description of the weather. You will not have done this for one year
without finding the benefit of it. It disburthens the mind of many
things to be recollected; it is amusing and useful, and ought by no
means to be neglected. How often does it happen that we cannot make a
statement of facts, sometimes very interesting to ourselves and our
friends, for the want of a record of the places where we were, and of
things that occurred on such and such a day! How often does it happen
that we get into disagreeable disputes about things that have passed,
and about the time and other circumstances attending them! As a thing of
mere curiosity, it is of some value, and may frequently prove of very
great utility. It demands not more than a minute in the twenty-four
hours; and that minute is most agreeably and advantageously employed. It
tends greatly to produce regularity in the conducting of affairs: it is
a thing demanding a small portion of attention _once in every day_; I
myself have found it to be attended with great and numerous benefits,
and I therefore strongly recommend it to the practice of every reader.



82. There are two descriptions of Lovers on whom all advice would be
wasted; namely, those in whose minds passion so wholly overpowers reason
as to deprive the party of his sober senses. Few people are entitled to
more compassion than young men thus affected: it is a species of
insanity that assails them; and, when it produces self-destruction,
which it does in England more frequently than in all the other countries
in the world put together, the mortal remains of the sufferer ought to
be dealt with in as tender a manner as that of which the most merciful
construction of the law will allow. If SIR SAMUEL ROMILLY'S remains
were, as they were, in fact, treated as those of a person labouring
under '_temporary mental derangement_,' surely the youth who destroys
his life on account of unrequited love, ought to be considered in as
mild a light! SIR SAMUEL was represented, in the evidence taken before
the Coroner's Jury, to have been _inconsolable for the loss of his
wife_; that this loss had so dreadful an effect upon his mind, that it
_bereft him of his reason_, made life insupportable, and led him to
commit the act of _suicide_: and, on _this ground alone_, his _remains_
and his _estate_ were rescued from the awful, though just and wise,
sentence of the law. But, unfortunately for the reputation of the
administration of that just and wise law, there had been, only about two
years before, a _poor_ man, at Manchester, _buried in crossroads_, and
under circumstances which entitled his remains to mercy much more
clearly than in the case of SIR SAMUEL ROMILLY.

83. This unfortunate youth, whose name was SMITH, and who was a
shoemaker, was in love with a young woman, who, in spite of all his
importunities and his proofs of ardent passion, refused to marry him,
and even discovered her liking for another; and he, unable to support
life, accompanied by the thought of her being in possession of any body
but himself, put an end to his life by the means of a rope. If, in any
case, we are to _presume_ the existence of insanity; if, in any case, we
are led to believe the thing _without positive proof_; if, in any case,
there can be an apology in human nature itself, for such an act; _this
was that case_. We all know (as I observed at the time); that is to say,
all of us who cannot wait to calculate upon the gains and losses of the
affair; all of us, except those who are endowed with this provident
frigidity, know well what youthful love is; and what its torments are,
when accompanied by even the smallest portion of jealousy. Every man,
and especially every Englishman (for here we seldom love or hate by
halves), will recollect how many mad pranks he has played; how many wild
and ridiculous things he has said and done between the age of sixteen
and that of twenty-two; how many times a kind glance has scattered all
his reasoning and resolutions to the winds; how many times a cool look
has plunged him into the deepest misery! Poor SMITH, who was at this age
of love and madness, might, surely, be presumed to have done the deed in
a moment of '_temporary mental derangement_.' He was an object of
compassion in every humane breast: he had parents and brethren and
kindred and friends to lament his death, and to feel shame at the
disgrace inflicted on his lifeless body: yet, HE was pronounced to be a
_felo de se_, or _self-murderer_, and his body was put into a hole by
the way-side, with a stake driven down through it; while that of ROMILLY
had mercy extended to it, on the ground that the act had been occasioned
by '_temporary mental derangement_' caused by his grief for the death of
his wife!

84. To _reason_ with passion like that of the unfortunate SMITH, is
perfectly useless; you may, with as much chance of success, reason and
remonstrate with the winds or the waves: if you make impression, it
lasts but for a moment: your effort, like an inadequate stoppage of
waters, only adds, in the end, to the violence of the torrent: the
current must have and will have its course, be the consequences what
they may. In cases not quite so decided, _absence_, the sight _of new
faces_, the sound _of new voices_, generally serve, if not as a radical
cure, as a mitigation, at least, of the disease. But, the worst of it
is, that, on this point, we have the girls (and women too) against us!
For they look upon it as right that every lover should be _a little
maddish_; and, every attempt to rescue him from the thraldom imposed by
their charms, they look upon as an overt act of treason against their
natural sovereignty. No girl ever liked a young man less for his having
done things foolish and wild and ridiculous, provided she was _sure_
that love of her had been the cause: let her but be satisfied upon this
score, and there are very few things which she will not forgive. And,
though wholly unconscious of the fact, she is a great and sound
philosopher after all. For, from the nature of things, the rearing of a
family always has been, is, and must ever be, attended with cares and
troubles, which must infallibly produce, at times, feelings to be
combated and overcome by nothing short of that ardent affection which
first brought the parties together. So that, talk as long as Parson
MALTHUS likes about 'moral _restraint_;' and report as long as the
Committees of Parliament please about preventing '_premature_ and
_improvident_ marriages' amongst the labouring classes, the passion that
they would _restrain_, while it is necessary to the existence of
mankind, is the greatest of all the compensations for the inevitable
cares, troubles, hardships, and sorrows of life; and, as to the
_marriages_, if they could once be rendered universally _provident_,
every generous sentiment would quickly be banished from the world.

85. The other description of lovers, with whom it is useless to reason,
are those who love according to the _rules of arithmetic_, or who
measure their matrimonial expectations by the _chain of the
land-surveyor_. These are not love and marriage; they are bargain and
sale. Young men will naturally, and almost necessarily, fix their choice
on young women in their own rank in life; because from habit and
intercourse they will know them best. But, if the length of the girl's
purse, present or contingent, be a consideration with the man, or the
length of his purse, present or contingent, be a consideration with her,
it is an affair of bargain and sale. I know that kings, princes, and
princesses are, in respect of marriage, restrained by the law: I know
that nobles, if not thus restrained by positive law, are restrained, in
fact, by the very nature of their order. And here is a disadvantage
which, as far as real enjoyment of life is concerned, more than
counterbalances all the advantages that they possess over the rest of
the community. This disadvantage, generally speaking, pursues rank and
riches downwards, till you approach very nearly to that numerous class
who live by manual labour, becoming, however, less and less as you
descend. You generally find even very vulgar rich men making a sacrifice
of their natural and rational taste to their mean and ridiculous pride,
and thereby providing for themselves an ample supply of misery for life.
By preferring '_provident_ marriages' to marriages of love, they think
to secure themselves against all the evils of poverty; but, _if poverty
come_, and come it may, and frequently does, in spite of the best laid
plans, and best modes of conduct; _if poverty come_, then where is the
counterbalance for that ardent mutual affection, which troubles, and
losses, and crosses always increase rather than diminish, and which,
amidst all the calamities that can befall a man, whispers to his heart,
that his best possession is still left him unimpaired? The
WORCESTERSHIRE BARONET, who has had to endure the sneers of fools on
account of his marriage with a beautiful and virtuous servant maid,
would, were the present ruinous measures of the Government to drive him
from his mansion to a cottage, still have a source of happiness; while
many of those, who might fall in company with him, would, in addition to
all their other troubles, have, perhaps, to endure the reproaches of
wives to whom poverty, or even humble life, would be insupportable.

86. If marrying for the sake of money be, under any circumstances,
despicable, if not disgraceful; if it be, generally speaking, a species
of legal prostitution, only a little less shameful than that which,
under some governments, is openly licensed for the sake of a tax; if
this be the case generally, what ought to be said of a young man, who,
in the heyday of youth, should couple himself on to a libidinous woman,
old enough, perhaps, to be his grandmother, ugly as the nightmare,
offensive alike to the sight and the smell, and who should pretend to
_love_ her too: and all this merely for the sake of her money? Why, it
ought, and it, doubtless, would be said of him, that his conduct was a
libel on both man and womankind; that his name ought, for ever, to be
synonymous with baseness and nastiness, and that in no age and in no
nation, not marked by a general depravity of manners, and total absence
of all sense of shame, every associate, male or female, of such a man,
or of his filthy mate, would be held in abhorrence. Public morality
would drive such a hateful pair from society, and strict justice would
hunt them from the face of the earth.

87. BUONAPARTE could not be said to marry for _money_, but his motive
was little better. It was for dominion, for power, for ambition, and
that, too, of the most contemptible kind. I knew an American Gentleman,
with whom BUONAPARTE had always been a great favourite; but the moment
the news arrived of his divorce and second marriage, he gave him up.
This piece of grand prostitution was too much to be defended. And the
truth is, that BUONAPARTE might have dated his decline from the day of
that marriage. My American friend said, 'If I had been he, I would, in
the first place, have married the poorest and prettiest girl in all
France.' If he had done this, he would, in all probability, have now
been on an imperial throne, instead of being eaten by worms at the
bottom of a very deep hole in Saint Helena; whence, however, his bones
convey to the world the moral, that to marry for money, for ambition, or
from any motive other than the one pointed out by affection, is not the
road to glory, to happiness, or to peace.

88. Let me now turn from these two descriptions of lovers, with whom it
is useless to reason, and address myself to you, my reader, whom I
suppose to be a _real_ lover, but not so smitten as to be bereft of your
reason. You should never forget, that marriage, which is a state that
every young person ought to have in view, is a thing to last _for life_;
and that, generally speaking, it is to make life _happy_, or
_miserable_; for, though a man may bring his mind to something nearly a
state of _indifference_, even _that_ is misery, except with those who
can hardly be reckoned amongst sensitive beings. Marriage brings
numerous _cares_, which are amply compensated by the more numerous
delights which are their companions. But to have the delights, as well
as the cares, the choice of the partner must be fortunate. I say
_fortunate_; for, after all, love, real love, impassioned affection, is
an ingredient so absolutely necessary, that no _perfect_ reliance can
be placed on the judgment. Yet, the judgment may do something; reason
may have some influence; and, therefore, I here offer you my advice with
regard to the exercise of that reason.

89. The things which you ought to desire in a wife are, 1. Chastity; 2.
sobriety; 3. industry; 4. frugality; 5. cleanliness; 6. knowledge of
domestic affairs; 7. good temper; 8. beauty.

90. CHASTITY, perfect modesty, in word, deed, and even thought, is so
essential, that, without it, no female is fit to be a wife. It is not
enough that a young woman abstain from everything approaching towards
indecorum in her behaviour towards men; it is, with me, not enough that
she cast down her eyes, or turn aside her head with a smile, when she
hears an indelicate allusion: she ought to appear _not to understand_
it, and to receive from it no more impression than if she were a post. A
loose woman is a disagreeable _acquaintance_: what must she be, then, as
a _wife_? Love is so blind, and vanity is so busy in persuading us that
our own qualities will be sufficient to ensure fidelity, that we are
very apt to think nothing, or, at any rate, very little, of trifling
symptoms of levity; but if such symptoms show themselves _now_, we may
be well assured, that we shall never possess the power of effecting a
cure. If _prudery_ mean _false_ modesty, it is to be despised; but if it
mean modesty pushed to the utmost extent, I confess that I like it. Your
'_free and hearty_' girls I have liked very well to talk and laugh with;
but never, for one moment, did it enter into my mind that I could have
endured a 'free and hearty' girl for a wife. The thing is, I repeat, to
_last for life_; it is to be a counterbalance for troubles and
misfortunes; and it must, therefore, be perfect, or it had better not be
at all. To say that one _despises_ jealousy is foolish; it is a thing to
be lamented; but the very elements of it ought to be avoided. Gross
indeed is the beast, for he is unworthy of the name of man; nasty indeed
is the wretch, who can even entertain the thought of putting himself
between a pair of sheets with a wife of whose infidelity he possesses
the proof; but, in such cases, a man ought to be very slow to believe
appearances; and he ought not to decide against his wife but upon the
clearest proof. The last, and, indeed, the only effectual safeguard is,
to _begin_ well; to make a good choice; to let the beginning be such as
to render infidelity and jealousy next to impossible. If you begin in
grossness; if you couple yourself on to one with whom you have taken
liberties, infidelity is the natural and _just_ consequence. When a
_Peer of the realm_, who had not been over-fortunate in his matrimonial
affairs, was urging MAJOR CARTWRIGHT to seek for nothing more than
'_moderate_ reform,' the Major (forgetting the domestic circumstances of
his Lordship) asked him how he should relish '_moderate_ chastity' in a
wife! The bare use of the two words, thus coupled together, is
sufficient to excite disgust. Yet with this '_moderate_ chastity' you
must be, and ought to be, content, if you have entered into marriage
with one, in whom you have ever discovered the slightest approach
towards lewdness, either in deeds, words, or looks. To marry has been
your own act; you have made the contract for your own gratification; you
knew the character of the other party; and the children, if any, or the
community, are not to be the sufferers for your gross and corrupt
passion. '_Moderate_ chastity' is all that you have, in fact, contracted
for: you have it, and you have no reason to complain. When I come to
address myself to the _husband_, I shall have to say more upon this
subject, which I dismiss for the present with observing, that my
observation has convinced me, that, when families are rendered unhappy
from the existence of '_moderate_ chastity,' the fault, first or last,
has been in the man, ninety-nine times out of every hundred.

91. SOBRIETY. By _sobriety_ I do not mean merely an absence of _drinking
to a state of intoxication_; for, if that be _hateful_ in a man, what
must it be in a woman! There is a Latin proverb, which says, that wine,
that is to say, intoxication, _brings forth truth_. Whatever it may do
in this way, in men, in women it is sure, unless prevented by age or by
salutary ugliness, to produce a moderate, and a _very moderate_, portion
of chastity. There never was a drunken woman, a woman who loved strong
drink, who was chaste, if the opportunity of being the contrary
presented itself to her. There are cases where _health_ requires wine,
and even small portions of more ardent liquor; but (reserving what I
have further to say on this point, till I come to the conduct of the
husband) _young_ unmarried women can seldom stand in need of these
stimulants; and, at any rate, only in cases of well-known definite
ailments. Wine! '_only_ a _glass or two_ of wine at dinner, or so'! As
soon as have married a girl whom I had thought liable to be persuaded to
drink, habitually, '_only_ a glass or two of wine at dinner, or so;' as
soon as have _married_ such a girl, I would have taken a strumpet from
the streets. And it has not required _age_ to give me this way of
thinking: it has always been rooted in my mind from the moment that I
began to think the girls prettier than posts. There are few things so
disgusting as a guzzling woman. A gormandizing one is bad enough; but,
one who tips off the liquor with an appetite, and exclaims '_good!
good!_' by a smack of her lips, is fit for nothing but a brothel. There
may be cases, amongst the _hard_-labouring women, such as _reapers_, for
instance, especially when they have children at the breast; there may be
cases, where very _hard-working_ women may stand in need of a little
_good_ beer; beer, which, if taken in immoderate quantities, would
produce intoxication. But, while I only allow the _possibility_ of the
existence of such cases, I deny the necessity of any strong drink at all
in every other case. Yet, in this metropolis, it is the general custom
for tradesmen, journeymen, and even labourers, to have regularly on
their tables the big brewers' poison, twice in every day, and at the
rate of not less than a pot to a person, women, as well as men, as the
allowance for the day. A pot of poison a day, at fivepence the pot,
amounts to _seven pounds and two shillings_ in the year! Man and wife
suck down, in this way, _fourteen pounds four shillings_ a year! Is it
any wonder that they are clad in rags, that they are skin and bone, and
that their children are covered with filth?

92. But by the word SOBRIETY, in a young woman, I mean a great deal more
than even a rigid abstinence from that love of _drink_, which I am not
to suppose, and which I do not believe, to exist any thing like
generally amongst the young women of this country. I mean a great deal
more than this; I mean _sobriety of conduct_. The word _sober_, and its
derivatives, do not confine themselves to matters of _drink_: they
express _steadiness, seriousness, carefulness, scrupulous propriety of
conduct_; and they are thus used amongst country people in many parts of
England. When a Somersetshire fellow makes too free with a girl, she
reproves him with, 'Come! be _sober_!' And when we wish a team, or any
thing, to be moved on _steadily_ and with _great care_, we cry out to
the carter, or other operator, '_Soberly, soberly_.' Now, this species
of sobriety is a great qualification in the person you mean to make your
wife. Skipping, capering, romping, rattling girls are very amusing where
all costs and other consequences are out of the question; and they _may_
become _sober_ in the Somersetshire sense of the word. But while you
have _no certainty_ of this, you have a presumptive argument on the
other side. To be sure, when girls are _mere children_, they are to play
and romp like children. But, when they arrive at that age which turns
their thoughts towards that sort of connexion which is to be theirs for
life; when they begin to think of having the command of a house, however
small or poor, it is time for them to cast away the levity of the child.
It is natural, nor is it very wrong, that I know of, for children to
like to gad about and to see all sorts of strange sights, though I do
not approve of this even in children: but, if I could not have found a
_young woman_ (and I am sure I never should have married an _old_ one)
who I was not _sure_ possessed _all_ the qualities expressed by the word
sobriety, I should have remained a bachelor to the end of that life,
which, in that case, would, I am satisfied, have terminated without my
having performed a thousandth part of those labours which have been, and
are, in spite of all political prejudice, the wonder of all who have
seen, or heard of, them. Scores of gentlemen have, at different times,
expressed to me their surprise, that I was '_always in spirits_;' that
nothing _pulled me down_; and the truth is, that, throughout nearly
forty years of troubles, losses, and crosses, assailed all the while by
more numerous and powerful enemies than ever man had before to contend
with, and performing, at the same time, labours greater than man ever
before performed; all those labours requiring mental exertion, and some
of them mental exertion of the highest order; the truth is, that,
throughout the whole of this long time of troubles and of labours, I
have never known a single hour of _real anxiety_; the troubles have been
no troubles to me; I have not known what _lowness of spirits_ meaned;
have been more gay, and felt less care, than any bachelor that ever
lived. 'You are _always in spirits_, Cobbett!' To be sure; for why
should I not? _Poverty_ I have always set at defiance, and I could,
therefore, defy the temptations of riches; and, as to _home_ and
_children_, I had taken care to provide myself with an inexhaustible
store of that '_sobriety_,' which I am so strongly recommending my
reader to provide himself with; or, if he cannot do that, to deliberate
long before he ventures on the life-enduring matrimonial voyage. This
sobriety is a title to _trust-worthiness_; and _this_, young man, is the
treasure that you ought to prize far above all others. Miserable is the
husband, who, when he crosses the threshold of his house, carries with
him doubts and fears and suspicions. I do not mean suspicions of the
_fidelity_ of his wife, but of her care, frugality, attention to his
interests, and to the health and morals of his children. Miserable is
the man, who cannot leave _all unlocked_, and who is not _sure_, quite
certain, that all is as safe as if grasped in his own hand. He is the
happy husband, who can go away, at a moment's warning, leaving his house
and his family with as little anxiety as he quits an inn, not more
fearing to find, on his return, any thing wrong, than he would fear a
discontinuance of the rising and setting of the sun, and if, as in my
case, leaving books and papers all lying about at sixes and sevens,
finding them arranged in proper order, and the room, during the lucky
interval, freed from the effects of his and his ploughman's or
gardener's dirty shoes. Such a man has no _real cares_; such a man has
_no troubles_; and this is the sort of life that I have led. I have had
all the numerous and indescribable delights of home and children, and,
at the same time, all the bachelor's freedom from domestic cares: and to
this cause, far more than to any other, my readers owe those labours,
which I never could have performed, if even the slightest degree of want
of confidence at home had ever once entered into my mind.

93. But, in order to possess this precious _trust-worthiness_, you must,
if you can, exercise your _reason_ in the choice of your partner. If she
be vain of her person, very fond of dress, fond of _flattery_, at all
given to gadding about, fond of what are called _parties of pleasure_,
or coquetish, though in the least degree; if either of these, she never
will be trust-worthy; worthy; she cannot change her nature; and if you
marry her, you will be _unjust_ if you expect trust-worthiness at her
hands. But, besides this, even if you find in her that innate
'_sobriety_' of which I have been speaking, there requires on your part,
and that at once too, confidence and trust without any limit. Confidence
is, in this case, nothing unless it be reciprocal. To have a trust-worthy
wife, you must begin by showing her, even before you are married, that
you have no suspicions, no fears, no doubts, with regard to her. Many a
man has been discarded by a virtuous girl, merely on account of his
querulous conduct. All women despise jealous men; and, if they marry
such their motive is other than that of affection. Therefore, _begin_ by
proofs of unlimited confidence; and, as _example_ may serve to assist
precept, and as I never have preached that which I have not practised, I
will give you the history of my own conduct in this respect.

94. When I first saw my wife, she was _thirteen years old_, and I was
within about a month of _twenty-one_. She was the daughter of a Serjeant
of artillery, and I was the Serjeant-Major of a regiment of foot, both
stationed in forts near the city of St. John, in the Province of
New-Brunswick. I sat in the same room with her, for about an hour, in
company with others, and I made up my mind that she was the very girl
for me. That I thought her beautiful is certain, for that I had always
said should be an indispensable qualification; but I saw in her what I
deemed marks of that sobriety of _conduct_ of which I have said so much,
and which has been by far the greatest blessing of my life. It was now
dead of winter, and, of course, the snow several feet deep on the
ground, and the weather piercing cold. It was my habit, when I had done
my morning's writing, to go out at break of day to take a walk on a hill
at the foot of which our barracks lay. In about three mornings after I
had first seen her, I had, by an invitation to breakfast with me, got up
two young men to join me in my walk; and our road lay by the house of
her father and mother. It was hardly light, but she was out on the snow,
scrubbing out a washing-tub. 'That's the girl for me,' said I, when we
had got out of her hearing. One of these young men came to England soon
afterwards; and he, who keeps an inn in Yorkshire, came over to Preston,
at the time of the election, to verify whether I were the same man. When
he found that I was, he appeared surprised; but what was his surprise,
when I told him that those tall young men, whom he saw around me, were
the _sons_ of that pretty little girl that he and I saw scrubbing out
the washing-tub on the snow in New-Brunswick at day-break in the

95. From the day that I first spoke to her, I never had a thought of her
ever being the wife of any other man, more than I had a thought of her
being transformed into a chest of drawers; and I formed my resolution at
once, to marry her as soon as we could get permission, and to get out of
the army as soon as I could. So that this matter was, at once, settled
as firmly as if written in the book of fate. At the end of about six
months, my regiment, and I along with it, were removed to FREDERICKTON,
a distance of a _hundred miles_, up the river of ST. JOHN; and, which
was worse, the artillery were expected to go off to England a year or
two before our regiment! The artillery went, and she along with them;
and now it was that I acted a part becoming a real and sensible lover. I
was aware, that, when she got to that gay place WOOLWICH, the house of
her father and mother, necessarily visited by numerous persons not the
most select, might become unpleasant to her, and I did not like,
besides, that she should continue to _work hard_. I had saved a _hundred
and fifty guineas_, the earnings of my early hours, in writing for the
paymaster, the quartermaster, and others, in addition to the savings of
my own pay. _I sent her all my money_, before she sailed; and wrote to
her to beg of her, if she found her home uncomfortable, to hire a
lodging with respectable people: and, at any rate, not to spare the
money, by any means, but to buy herself good clothes, and to live
without hard work, until I arrived in England; and I, in order to induce
her to lay out the money, told her that I should get plenty more before
I came home.

96. As the malignity of the devil would have it, we were kept abroad
_two years longer_ than our time, Mr. PITT (England not being so tame
then as she is now) having knocked up a dust with Spain about Nootka
Sound. Oh, how I cursed Nootka Sound, and poor bawling Pitt too, I am
afraid! At the end _of four years_, however, home I came; landed at
Portsmouth, and got my discharge from the army by the great kindness of
poor LORD EDWARD FITZGERALD, who was then the Major of my regiment. I
found my little girl _a servant of all work_ (and hard work it was), at
_five pounds a year_, in the house of a CAPTAIN BRISAC; and, without
hardly saying a word about the matter, she put into my hands _the whole
of my hundred and fifty guineas unbroken_!

97. Need I tell the reader what my feelings were? Need I tell
kind-hearted English parents what effect this anecdote _must_ have
produced on the minds of our children? Need I attempt to describe what
effect this example ought to have on every young woman who shall do me
the honour to read this book? Admiration of her conduct, and
self-gratulation on this indubitable proof of the soundness of my own
judgment, were now added to my love of her beautiful person.

98. Now, I do not say that there are not many young women of this
country who would, under similar circumstances, have acted as my wife
did in this case; on the contrary, I hope, and do sincerely believe,
that there are. But when _her age_ is considered; when we reflect, that
she was living in a place crowded, literally _crowded_, with
gaily-dressed and handsome young men, many of whom really far richer and
in higher rank than I was, and scores of them ready to offer her their
hand; when we reflect that she was living amongst young women who put
upon their backs every shilling that they could come at; when we see her
keeping the bag of gold untouched, and working hard to provide herself
with but mere necessary apparel, and doing this while she was passing
from _fourteen to eighteen years of age_; when we view the whole of the
circumstances, we must say that here is an example, which, while it
reflects honour on her sex, ought to have weight with every young woman
whose eyes or ears this relation shall reach.

99. If any young man imagine, that this great _sobriety of conduct_ in
young women must be accompanied with seriousness approaching to _gloom_,
he is, according to my experience and observation, very much deceived.
The _contrary_ is the fact; for I have found that as, amongst men, your
jovial companions are, except over the bottle, the dullest and most
insipid of souls; so amongst women, the gay, rattling, and laughing,
are, unless some party of pleasure, or something out of domestic life,
is going on, generally in the dumps and blue-devils. Some _stimulus_ is
always craved after by this description of women; some sight to be seen,
something to see or hear other than what is to be found _at home_,
which, as it affords no incitement, nothing '_to raise and keep up the
spirits_', is looked upon merely as a place _to be at_ for want of a
better; merely a place for eating and drinking, and the like; merely a
biding place, whence to sally in search of enjoyments. A greater curse
than a wife of this description, it would be somewhat difficult to find;
and, in your character of Lover, you are to provide against it. I hate a
dull, melancholy, moping thing: I could not have existed in the same
house with such a thing for a single month. The mopers are, too, all
giggle at other times: the gaiety is for others, and the moping for the
husband, to comfort him, happy man, when he is alone: plenty of smiles
and of badinage for others, and for him to participate with others; but
the moping is reserved exclusively for him. One hour she is capering
about, as if rehearsing a jig; and, the next, sighing to the motion of a
lazy needle, or weeping over a novel and this is called _sentiment_!
Music, indeed! Give me a mother singing to her clean and fat and rosy
baby, and making the house ring with her extravagant and hyperbolical
encomiums on it. That is the music which is '_the food of love_;' and
not the formal, pedantic noises, an affectation of skill in which is
now-a-days the ruin of half the young couples in the middle rank of
life. Let any man observe, as I so frequently have, with delight, the
excessive fondness of the labouring people for their children. Let him
observe with what pride they dress them out on a Sunday, with means
deducted from their own scanty meals. Let him observe the husband, who
has toiled all the week like a horse, nursing the baby, while the wife
is preparing the bit of dinner. Let him observe them both abstaining
from a sufficiency, lest the children should feel the pinchings of
hunger. Let him observe, in short, the whole of their demeanour, the
real mutual affection, evinced, not in words, but in unequivocal deeds.
Let him observe these things, and, having then cast a look at the lives
of the great and wealthy, he will say, with me, that, when a man is
choosing his partner for life, the dread of poverty ought to be cast to
the winds. A labourer's cottage, on a Sunday; the husband or wife having
a baby in arms, looking at two or three older ones playing between the
flower-borders going from the wicket to the door, is, according to my
taste, the most interesting object that eyes ever beheld; and, it is an
object to be beheld in no country upon earth but England. In France, a
labourer's cottage means _a shed_ with a _dung-heap_ before the door;
and it means much about the same in America, where it is wholly
inexcusable. In riding once, about five years ago, from Petworth to
Horsham, on a Sunday in the afternoon, I came to a solitary cottage
which stood at about twenty yards distance from the road. There was the
wife with the baby in her arms, the husband teaching another child to
walk, while _four_ more were at play before them. I stopped and looked
at them for some time, and then, turning my horse, rode up to the
wicket, getting into talk by asking the distance to Horsham. I found
that the man worked chiefly in the woods, and that he was doing pretty
well. The wife was then only _twenty-two_, and the man only
_twenty-five_. She was a pretty woman, even for _Sussex_, which, not
excepting Lancashire, contains the prettiest women in England. He was a
very fine and stout young man. 'Why,' said I, 'how many children do you
reckon to have at last?' 'I do not care how many,' said the man: 'God
never sends mouths without sending meat.' 'Did you ever hear,' said I,
'of one PARSON MALTHUS?' 'No, sir.' 'Why, if he were to hear of your
works, he would be outrageous; for he wants an act of parliament to
prevent poor people from marrying young, and from having such lots of
children.' 'Oh! the brute!' exclaimed the wife; while the husband
laughed, thinking that I was joking. I asked the man whether he had ever
had _relief from the parish_; and upon his answering in the negative, I
took out my purse, took from it enough to bait my horse at Horsham, and
to clear my turnpikes to WORTH, whither I was going in order to stay
awhile, and gave him all the rest. Now, is it not a shame, is it not a
sin of all sins, that people like these should, by acts of the
government, be reduced to such misery as to be induced to abandon their
homes and their country, to seek, in a foreign land, the means of
preventing themselves and their children from starving? And this has
been, and now is, actually the case with many such families in this same
county of Sussex!

100. An _ardent-minded_ young man (who, by-the-by, will, as I am afraid,
have been wearied by this rambling digression) may fear, that this great
_sobriety of conduct_ in a young woman, for which I have been so
strenuously contending, argues a want of that _warmth_, which he
naturally so much desires; and, if my observation and experience
warranted the entertaining of this fear, I should say, had I to live my
life over again, give me the _warmth_, and I will stand my chance as to
the rest. But, this observation and this experience tell me the
contrary; they tell me that _levity_ is, ninety-nine times out of a
hundred, the companion of _a want of ardent feeling_. Prostitutes never
_love_, and, for the far greater part, never did. Their passion, which
is more _mere animal_ than any thing else, is easily gratified; they,
like rakes, change not only without pain, but with pleasure; that is to
say, pleasure as great as they can enjoy. Women of _light minds_ have
seldom any _ardent_ passion; love is a mere name, unless confined to one
object; and young women, in whom levity of conduct is observable, will
not be thus restricted. I do not, however, recommend a young man to be
_too severe_ in judging, where the conduct does not go beyond _mere
levity_, and is not bordering on _loose_ conduct; for something depends
here upon constitution and animal spirits, and something also upon the
manners of the country. That levity, which, in a French girl, I should
not have thought a great deal of, would have frightened me away from an
English or an American girl. When I was in France, just after I was
married, there happened to be amongst our acquaintance a gay, sprightly
girl, of about seventeen. I was remonstrating with her, one day, on the
facility with which she seemed to shift her smiles from object to
object; and she, stretching one arm out in an upward direction, the
other in a downward direction, raising herself upon one foot, leaning
her body on one side, and thus throwing herself into _flying_ attitude,
answered my grave lecture by singing, in a very sweet voice
(significantly bowing her head and smiling at the same time), the
following lines from the _vaudeville_, in the play of Figaro:

  Si l'amour a des _ailles_;
  N'est ce pas pour _voltiger_?

That is, if love has _wings_, is it not _to flutter about_ with? The
wit, argument, and manner, all together, silenced me. She, after I left
France, married a very worthy man, has had a large family, and has been,
and is, a most excellent wife and mother. But that which does sometimes
well in France, does not do here at all. Our manners are more grave:
steadiness is the rule, and levity the exception. Love may _voltige_ in
France; but, in England, it cannot, with safety to the lover: and it is
a truth which, I believe, no man of attentive observation will deny,
that, as, in general, English wives are _more warm_ in their conjugal
attachments than those of France, so, with regard to individuals, that
those English women who are the _most light_ in their manners, and who
are the _least constant_ in their attachments, have the smallest portion
of that _warmth_, that indescribable passion which God has given to
human beings as the great counterbalance to all the sorrows and
sufferings of life.

101. INDUSTRY. By _industry_, I do not mean merely _laboriousness_,
merely labour or activity of body, for purposes of gain or of saving;
for there may be industry amongst those who have more money than they
know well what to do with: and there may be _lazy ladies_, as well as
lazy farmers' and tradesmen's wives. There is no state of life in which
_industry_ in the wife is not necessary to the happiness and prosperity
of the family, at the head of the household affairs of which she is
placed. If she be lazy, there will be lazy servants, and, which is a
great deal worse, children habitually lazy: every thing, however
necessary to be done, will be put off to the last moment: then it will
be done badly, and, in many cases, not at all: the dinner will be _too
late_; the journey or the visit will be tardy; inconveniencies of all
sorts will be continually arising: there will always be a heavy _arrear_
of things unperformed; and this, even amongst the most wealthy of all,
is a great curse; for, if they have no _business_ imposed upon them by
necessity, they _make business_ for themselves; life would be unbearable
without it: and therefore a lazy woman must always be a curse, be her
rank or station what it may.

102. But, _who is to tell_ whether a girl will make an industrious
woman? How is the purblind lover especially, to be able to ascertain
whether she, whose smiles and dimples and bewitching lips have half
bereft him of his senses; how is he to be able to judge, from any thing
that he can see, whether the beloved object will be industrious or lazy?
Why, it is very difficult: it is a matter that reason has very little to
do with; but there are, nevertheless, certain outward and visible signs,
from which a man, not wholly deprived of the use of his reason, may form
a pretty accurate judgment as to this matter. It was a story in
Philadelphia, some years ago, that a young man, who was courting one of
three sisters, happened to be on a visit to her, when all the three were
present, and when one said to the others, 'I _wonder_ where _our_ needle
is.' Upon which he withdrew, as soon as was consistent with the rules of
politeness, resolved never to think more of a girl who possessed a
needle only in partnership, and who, it appeared, was not too well
informed as to the place where even that share was deposited.

103. This was, to be sure, a very flagrant instance of a want of
industry; for, if the third part of the use of a needle satisfied her
when single, it was reasonable to anticipate that marriage would banish
that useful implement altogether. But such instances are seldom suffered
to come in contact with the eyes and ears of the lover, to disguise all
defects from whom is the great business, not only of the girl herself,
but of her whole family. There are, however, certain _outward signs_,
which, if attended to with care, will serve as pretty sure guides. And,
first, if you find the _tongue_ lazy, you may be nearly certain that the
hands and feet are the same. By laziness of the tongue I do not mean
_silence_; I do not mean an _absence of talk_, for that is, in most
cases, very good; but, I mean, a _slow_ and _soft utterance_; a sort of
_sighing out_ of the words instead of _speaking_ them; a sort of letting
the sounds fall out, as if the party were _sick at stomach_. The
pronunciation of an industrious person is generally _quick_, _distinct_,
and the voice, if not strong, _firm_ at the least. Not masculine; as
feminine as possible; not a _croak_ nor a _bawl_, but a quick, distinct,
and sound voice. Nothing is much more disgusting than what the sensible
country people call a _maw-mouthed_ woman. A maw-mouthed man is bad
enough: he is sure to be a lazy fellow: but, a woman of this
description, in addition to her laziness, soon becomes the most
disgusting of mates. In this whole world nothing is much more hateful
than a female's under jaw, lazily moving up and down, and letting out a
long string of half-articulate sounds. It is impossible for any man, who
has any spirit in him, to love such a woman for any length of time.

104. Look a little, also, at the labours of the _teeth_, for these
correspond with those of the other members of the body, and with the
operations of the mind. 'Quick at _meals_, quick at _work_,' is a saying
as old as the hills, in this, the most industrious nation upon earth;
and never was there a truer saying. But fashion comes in here, and
decides that you shall not be quick at meals; that you shall sit and be
carrying on the affair of eating for an hour, or more. Good God! what
have I not suffered on this account! However, though she must _sit_ as
long as the rest, and though she must join in the _performance_ (for it
is a real performance) unto the end of the last scene, she cannot make
her _teeth_ abandon their character. She may, and must, suffer the slice
to linger on the plate, and must make the supply slow, in order to fill
up the time; but when she _does_ bite, she cannot well disguise what
nature has taught her to do; and you may be assured, that if her jaws
move in slow time, and if she rather _squeeze_ than bite the food; if
she so deal with it as to leave you in doubt as to whether she mean
finally to admit or reject it; if she deal with it thus, set her down as
being, in her very nature, incorrigibly lazy. Never mind the pieces of
needle-work, the tambouring, the maps of the world made by her needle.
Get to see her at work upon a mutton chop, or a bit of bread and cheese;
and, if she deal quickly with these, you have a pretty good security for
that activity, that _stirring_ industry, without which a wife is a
burden instead of being a help. And, as to _love_, it cannot live for
more than a month or two (in the breast of a man of spirit) towards a
lazy woman.

105. Another mark of industry is, a _quick step_, and a somewhat _heavy
tread_, showing that the foot comes down with a _hearty good will_; and
if the body lean a little forward, and the eyes keep steadily in the
same direction, while the feet are going, so much the better, for these
discover _earnestness_ to arrive at the intended point. I do not like,
and I never liked, your _sauntering_, soft-stepping girls, who move as
if they were perfectly indifferent as to the result; and, as to the
_love_ part of the story, whoever expects ardent and lasting affection
from one of these sauntering girls, will, when too late, find his
mistake: the character runs the same all the way through; and no man
ever yet saw a sauntering girl, who did not, when married, make a
_mawkish_ wife, and a cold-hearted mother; cared very little for either
by husband or children; and, of course, having no store of those
blessings which are the natural resources to apply to in sickness and in
old age.

106. _Early-rising_ is another mark of industry; and though, in the
higher situations of life, it may be of no importance in a mere
pecuniary point of view, it is, even there, of importance in other
respects; for it is, I should imagine, pretty difficult to keep love
alive towards a woman who _never sees the dew_, never beholds the
_rising sun_, and who constantly comes directly from a reeking bed to
the breakfast table, and there chews about, without appetite, the
choicest morsels of human food. A man might, perhaps, endure this for a
month or two, without being disgusted; but that is ample allowance of
time. And, as to people in the middle rank of life, where a living and a
provision for children is to be sought by labour of some sort or other,
late rising in the wife is _certain ruin_; and, never was there yet an
early-rising wife, who had been a late-rising girl. If brought up to
late rising, she will like it; it will be her _habit_; she will, when
married, never want excuses for indulging in the habit; at first she
will be indulged without bounds; to make a _change_ afterwards will be
difficult; it will be deemed a _wrong_ done to her; she will ascribe it
to diminished affection; a quarrel must ensue, or, the husband must
submit to be ruined, or, at the very least, to see half the fruit of his
labour snored and lounged away. And, is this being _rigid_? Is it being
_harsh_; is it being _hard_ upon women? Is it the offspring of the
frigid severity of age? It is none of these: it arises from an ardent
desire to promote the happiness, and to add to the natural, legitimate,
and salutary influence, of the female sex. The tendency of this advice
is to promote the preservation of their health; to prolong the duration
of their beauty; to cause them to be beloved to the last day of their
lives; and to give them, during the whole of those lives, weight and
consequence, of which laziness would render them wholly unworthy.

107. FRUGALITY. This means the contrary of _extravagance_. It does not
mean _stinginess_; it does not mean a pinching of the belly, nor a
stripping of the back; but it means an abstaining from all _unnecessary_
expenditure, and all _unnecessary_ use, of goods of any and of every
sort; and a quality of great importance it is, whether the rank in life
be high or low. Some people are, indeed, so rich, they have such an
overabundance of money and goods, that how to get rid of them would, to
a looker-on, seem to be their only difficulty. But while the
inconvenience of even these immense masses is not too great to be
overcome by a really extravagant woman, who jumps with joy at a basket
of strawberries at a guinea an ounce, and who would not give a straw for
green peas later in the year than January; while such a dame would
lighten the bags of a loan-monger, or shorten the rent-roll of
half-a-dozen peerages amalgamated into one possession, she would, with
very little study and application of her talent, send a nobleman of
ordinary estate to the poor-house or the pension list, which last may be
justly regarded as the poor-book of the aristocracy. How many noblemen
and gentlemen, of fine estates, have been ruined and degraded by the
extravagance of their wives! More frequently by their _own_
extravagance, perhaps; but, in numerous instances, by that of those
whose duty it is to assist in upholding their stations by husbanding
their fortunes.

108. If this be the case amongst the opulent, who have estates to draw
upon, what must be the consequences of a want of frugality in the middle
and lower ranks of life? Here it must be fatal, and especially amongst
that description of persons whose wives have, in many cases, the
_receiving_ as well as the expending of money. In such a case, there
wants nothing but extravagance in the wife to make ruin as sure as the
arrival of old age. To obtain _security_ against this is very difficult;
yet, if the lover be not _quite blind_, he may easily discover a
propensity towards extravagance. The object of his addresses will, nine
times out of ten, not be the manager of a house; but she must have her
_dress_, and other little matters under her control. If she be _costly_
in these; if, in these, she step above her rank, or even to the top of
it; if she purchase all she is _able_ to purchase, and prefer the showy
to the useful, the gay and the fragile to the less sightly and more
durable, he may be sure that the disposition will cling to her through
life. If he perceive in her a taste for costly food, costly furniture,
costly amusements; if he find her love of gratification to be bounded
only by her want of means; if he find her full of admiration of the
trappings of the rich, and of desire to be able to imitate them, he may
be pretty sure that she will not spare his purse, when once she gets her
hand into it; and, therefore, if he can bid adieu to her charms, the
sooner he does it the better.

109. The outward and visible and vulgar signs of extravagance are
_rings_, _broaches_, _bracelets_, _buckles_, _necklaces_, _diamonds_
(real or mock), and, in short, all the _hard-ware_ which women put upon
their persons. These things may be proper enough in _palaces_, or in
scenes resembling palaces; but, when they make their appearance amongst
people in the middle rank of life, where, after all, they only serve to
show that poverty in the parties which they wish to disguise; when the
nasty, mean, tawdry things make their appearance in this rank of life,
they are the sure indications of a disposition that will _always be
straining at what it can never attain_. To marry a girl of this
disposition is really self-destruction. You never can have either
property or peace. Earn her a horse to ride, she will want a gig: earn
the gig, she will want a chariot: get her that, she will long for a
coach and four: and, from stage to stage, she will torment you to the
end of her or your days; for, still there will be somebody with a finer
equipage than you can give her; and, as long as this is the case, you
will never have rest. Reason would tell her, that she could never be at
the _top_; that she must stop at some point short of that; and that,
therefore, all expenses in the rivalship are so much thrown away. But,
_reason_ and broaches and bracelets do not go in company: the girl who
has not the sense to perceive that her person is disfigured, and not
beautified, by parcels of brass and tin (for they are generally little
better) and other hard-ware, stuck about her body; the girl that is so
foolish as not to perceive, that, when silks and cottons and cambrics,
in their neatest form, have done their best, nothing more is to be done;
the girl that cannot perceive this is too great a fool to be trusted
with the purse of any man.

110. CLEANLINESS. This is a capital ingredient; for there never yet was,
and there never will be, love of long duration, sincere and ardent love,
in any man, towards a '_filthy mate_.' I mean any man _in England_, or
in those parts of _America_ where the people have descended from the
English. I do not say, that there are not men enough, even in England,
to live _peaceably_ and even contentedly, with dirty, sluttish women;
for, there are some who seem to like the filth well enough. But what I
contend for is this: that there never can exist, for any length of time,
_ardent affection_ in any man towards a woman who is filthy either in
her person, or in her house affairs. Men may be careless as to their own
persons; they may, from the nature of their business, or from their want
of time to adhere to neatness in dress, be slovenly in their own dress
and habits; but, they do not relish this in their wives, who must still
have _charms_; and charms and filth do not go together.

111. It is not _dress_ that the husband wants to be perpetual: it is not
_finery_; but _cleanliness_ in every thing. The French women dress
enough, especially when they _sally forth_. My excellent neighbour, Mr.
JOHN TREDWELL, of Long Island, used to say, that the French were 'pigs
in the parlour, and peacocks on the promenade;' an alliteration which
'CANNING'S SELF' might have envied! This _occasional_ cleanliness is not
the thing that an English or an American husband wants: he wants it
always; indoors as well as out; by night as well as by day; on the floor
as well as on the table; and, however he may grumble about the '_fuss_'
and the '_expense_' of it, he would grumble more if he had it not. I
once saw a picture representing the _amusements_ of Portuguese Lovers;
that is to say, three or four young men, dressed in gold or silver laced
clothes, each having a young girl, dressed like a princess, and
affectionately engaged in hunting down and _killing the vermin in his
head_! This was, perhaps, an _exaggeration_; but that it should have had
the shadow of foundation, was enough to fill me with contempt for the
whole nation.

112. The _signs_ of cleanliness are, in the first place, a clean _skin_.
An English girl will hardly let her lover see the stale dirt between her
fingers, as I have many times seen it between those of French women, and
even ladies, of all ages. An English girl will have her _face_ clean, to
be sure, if there be soap and water within her reach; but, get a glance,
just a glance, at her _poll_, if you have any doubt upon the subject;
and, if you find there, or _behind the ears_, what the Yorkshire people
call _grime_, the sooner you cease your visits the better. I hope, now,
that no young woman will be offended at this, and think me too severe on
her sex. I am only saying, I am only telling the women, that which _all
men think_; and, it is a decided advantage to them to be fully informed
of _our thoughts_ on the subject. If any one, who shall read this, find,
upon self-examination, that she is defective in this respect, there is
plenty of time for correcting the defect.

113. In the _dress_ you can, amongst rich people, find little whereon to
form a judgment as to cleanliness, because they have not only the dress
prepared for them, but _put upon them_ into the bargain. But, in the
middle rank of life, the dress is a good criterion in two respects:
first, as to its _colour_; for, if the _white_ be a sort of _yellow_,
cleanly hands would have been at work to prevent that. A _white-yellow_
cravat, or shirt, on a man, speaks, at once, the character of his wife;
and, be you assured, that she will not take with your dress pains which
she has never taken with her own. Then, the manner _of putting on_ the
dress is no bad foundation for judging. If it be careless, slovenly, if
it do not fit properly, no matter for its _mean quality_: mean as it may
be, it may be neatly and trimly put on; and, if it be not, take care of
yourself; for, as you will soon find to your cost, a sloven in one thing
is a sloven in all things. The country-people judge greatly from the
state of the covering of the _ancles_ and, if that be not clean and
tight, they conclude, that all out of sight is not what it ought to be.
Look at the _shoes_! If they be trodden on one side, loose on the foot,
or run down at the heel, it is a very bad sign; and, as to _slip-shod_,
though at coming down in the morning and even before day-light, make up
your mind to a rope, rather than to live with a slip-shod wife.

114. Oh! how much do women lose by inattention to these matters! Men, in
general, say nothing about it to their wives; but they _think_ about it;
they envy their luckier neighbours; and in numerous cases, consequences
the most serious arise from this apparently trifling cause. Beauty is
valuable; it is one of the ties, and a strong tie too; that, however,
cannot last to old age; but, the charm of cleanliness never ends but
with life itself. I dismiss this part of my subject with a quotation
from my 'YEAR'S RESIDENCE IN AMERICA,' containing words which I venture
to recommend to every young woman to engrave on her heart: 'The sweetest
flowers, when they become putrid, stink the most; and a nasty woman is
the nastiest thing in nature.'

115. KNOWLEDGE OF DOMESTIC AFFAIRS. Without more or less of this
knowledge, _a lady_, even the wife of a peer, is but a poorish thing. It
was the fashion, in former times, for ladies to understand a great deal
about these affairs, and it would be very hard to make me believe that
this did not tend to promote the interests and honour of their husbands.
The affairs of a great family never can be _well_ managed, if left
_wholly_ to hirelings; and there are many parts of these affairs in
which it would be unseemly for the husband to meddle. Surely, no lady
can be too high in rank to make it proper for her to be well acquainted
with the characters and general demeanour of all the _female servants_.
To receive and give them characters is too much to be left to a servant,
however good, and of service however long. Much of the ease and
happiness of the great and rich must depend on the character of those by
whom they are served: they live under the same roof with them; they are
frequently the children of their tenants, or poorer neighbours; the
conduct of their whole lives must be influenced by the examples and
precepts which they here imbibe; and when ladies consider how much more
weight there must be in one word from them than in ten thousand words
from a person who, call her what you like, is still a _fellow-servant_,
it does appear strange that they should forego the performance of this
at once important and pleasing part of their duty. It was from the
mansions of noblemen and gentlemen, and not from boarding-schools, that
farmers and tradesmen formerly took their wives; and though these days
are gone, with little chance of returning, there is still something left
for ladies to do in checking that torrent of immorality which is now
crowding the streets with prostitutes and cramming the jails with

116. I am, however, addressing myself, in this work, to persons in the
middle rank of life; and here a _knowledge of domestic affairs_ is so
necessary in every wife, that the lover ought to have it continually in
his eye. Not only a _knowledge_ of these affairs; not only to know how
things _ought to be done_, but how _to do them_; not only to know what
ingredients ought to be put into a pie or a pudding, but to be able _to
make_ the pie or the pudding. Young people, when they come together,
ought not, unless they have fortunes, or are in a great way of business,
to think about _servants_! Servants for what! To help them to eat and
drink and sleep? When children come, there must be some _help_ in a
farmer's or tradesman's house; but until then, what call for a servant
in a house, the master of which has to _earn_ every mouthful that is

117. I shall, when I come to address myself to the husband, have much
more to say upon this subject of _keeping servants_; but, what the
lover, if he be not quite blind, has to look to, is, that his intended
wife know _how to do_ the work of a house, unless he have fortune
sufficient to keep her like a lady. 'Eating and drinking,' as I observe
in COTTAGE ECONOMY, came _three times every day_; they must come; and,
however little we may, in the days of our health and vigour, care about
choice food and about cookery, we very soon get _tired_ of heavy or
burnt bread and of spoiled joints of meat: we bear them for a time, or
for two, perhaps; but, about the third time, we lament _inwardly_; about
the fifth time, it must be an extraordinary honey-moon that will keep us
from complaining: if the like continue for a month or two, we begin to
_repent_, and then adieu to all our anticipated delights. We discover,
when it is too late, that we have not got a help-mate, but a burden;
and, the fire of love being damped, the unfortunately educated creature,
whose parents are more to blame than she is, is, unless she resolve to
learn her duty, doomed to lead a life very nearly approaching to that of
misery; for, however considerate the husband, he never can esteem her as
he would have done, had she been skilled and able in domestic affairs.

118. The mere _manual_ performance of domestic labours is not, indeed,
absolutely necessary in the female head of the family of professional
men, such as lawyers, doctors, and parsons; but, even here, and also in
the case of great merchants and of gentlemen living on their fortunes,
surely the head of the household ought to be able to give directions as
to the purchasing of meat, salting meat, making bread, making preserves
of all sorts, and ought to see the things done, or that they be done.
She ought to take care that food be well cooked, drink properly prepared
and kept; that there be always a sufficient supply; that there be good
living without waste; and that, in her department, nothing shall be seen
inconsistent with the rank, station, and character of her husband, who,
if he have a skilful and industrious wife, will, unless he be of a
singularly foolish turn, gladly leave all these things to her absolute
dominion, controlled only by the extent of the whole expenditure, of
which he must be the best, and, indeed, the sole, judge.

119. But, in a farmer's or a tradesman's family, the _manual
performance_ is absolutely necessary, whether there be servants or not.
No one knows how to teach another so well as one who has done, and can
do, the thing himself. It was said of a famous French commander, that,
in attacking an enemy, he did not say to his men '_go_ on,' but '_come_
on;' and, whoever have well observed the movements of servants, must
know what a prodigious difference there is in the effect of the words,
_go_ and _come_. A very good rule would be, to have nothing to eat, in a
farmer's or tradesman's house, that the mistress did not know how to
prepare and to cook; no pudding, tart, pie or cake, that she did not
know how to make. Never fear the toil to her: exercise is good for
health; and without _health_ there is _no beauty_; a sick beauty may
excite pity, but pity is a short-lived passion. Besides, what is the
labour in such a case? And how many thousands of ladies, who loll away
the day, would give half their fortunes for that sound sleep which the
stirring house-wife seldom fails to enjoy.

120. Yet, if a young farmer or tradesman _marry_ a girl, who has been
brought up to _play music_, to what is called _draw_, to _sing_, to
waste paper, pen and ink, in writing long and half romantic letters, and
to see shows, and plays, and read novels; if a young man do _marry_ such
an unfortunate young creature, let him bear the consequences with
temper; let him be _just_; and justice will teach him to treat her with
great indulgence; to endeavour to cause her to learn her business as a
wife; to be patient with her; to reflect that he has taken her, being
apprised of her inability; to bear in mind, that he was, or seemed to
be, pleased with her showy and useless acquirements; and that, when the
gratification of his passion has been accomplished, he is unjust and
cruel and unmanly, if he turn round upon her, and accuse her of a want
of that knowledge, which he well knew that she did not possess.

121. For my part, I do not know, nor can I form an idea of, a more
unfortunate being than a girl with a mere boarding-school education, and
without a fortune to enable her to keep a servant, when married. Of what
_use_ are her accomplishments? Of what use her music, her drawing, and
her romantic epistles? If she be good in _her nature_, the first little
faint cry of her first baby drives all the tunes and all the landscapes
and all the Clarissa Harlowes out of her head for ever. I once saw a
very striking instance of this sort. It was a climb-over-the-wall match,
and I gave the bride away, at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, the
pair being as handsome a pair as ever I saw in my life. Beauty, however,
though in double quantity, would not pay the baker and butcher; and,
after an absence of little better than a year, I found the husband in
prison for debt; but I there found also his wife, with her baby, and
she, who had never, before her marriage, known what it was to get water
to wash her own hands, and whose talk was all about music, and the like,
was now the cheerful sustainer of her husband, and the most affectionate
of mothers. All the _music_ and all the _drawing_, and all the plays and
romances were gone to the winds! The husband and baby had fairly
supplanted them; and even this prison-scene was a blessing, as it gave
her, at this early stage, an opportunity of proving her devotion to her
husband, who, though I have not seen him for about fifteen years, he
being in a part of America which I could not reach when last there, has,
I am sure, amply repaid her for that devotion. They have now a numerous
family (not less than twelve children, I believe), and she is, I am
told, a most excellent and able mistress of a respectable house.

122. But, this is a rare instance: the husband, like his countrymen in
general, was at once brave, humane, gentle, and considerate, and the
love was so sincere and ardent, on both sides, that it made losses and
sufferings appear as nothing. When I, in a sort of half-whisper, asked
Mrs. DICKENS where her _piano_ was, she smiled, and turned her face
towards her baby, that was sitting on her knee; as much as to say, 'This
little fellow has beaten the piano;' and, if what I am now writing
should ever have the honour to be read by her, let it be the bearer of a
renewed expression of my admiration of her conduct, and of that regard
for her kind and sensible husband, which time and distance have not in
the least diminished, and which will be an inmate of my heart until it
shall cease to beat.

123. The like of this is, however, not to be expected: no man ought to
think that he has even a chance of it: besides, the husband was, in this
case, a man of learning and of great natural ability: he has not had to
get his bread by farming or trade; and, in all probability, his wife has
had the leisure to practise those acquirements which she possessed at
the time of her marriage. But, can this be the case with the farmer or
the tradesman's wife? She has to _help to earn_ a provision for her
children; or, at the least, to help to earn a store for sickness or old
age. She, therefore, ought to be qualified to begin, at once, to assist
her husband in his earnings: the way in which she can most efficiently
assist, is by taking care of his property; by expending his money to the
greatest advantage; by wasting nothing; by making the table sufficiently
abundant with the least expense. And how is she to do these things,
unless she have been _brought up_ to understand domestic affairs? How is
she to do these things, if she have been taught to think these matters
beneath her study? How is any man to expect her to do these things, if
she have been so bred up as to make her habitually look upon them as
worthy the attention of none but low and _ignorant_ women?

124. _Ignorant_, indeed! Ignorance consists in a want of knowledge of
those things which your calling or state of life naturally supposes you
to understand. A ploughman is not an _ignorant man_ because he does not
know how to read: if he knows how to plough, he is not to be called an
ignorant man; but, a wife may be justly called an ignorant woman, if she
does not know how to provide a dinner for her husband. It is cold
comfort for a hungry man, to tell him how delightfully his wife plays
and sings: lovers may live on very aërial diet; but husbands stand in
need of the solids; and young women may take my word for it, that a
constantly clean board, well cooked victuals, a house in order, and a
cheerful fire, will do more in preserving a husband's heart, than all
the '_accomplishments_,' taught in all the '_establishments_' in the

125. GOOD TEMPER. This is a very difficult thing to ascertain
beforehand. Smiles are so cheap; they are so easily put on for the
occasion; and, besides, the frowns are, according to the lover's whim,
interpreted into the contrary. By '_good temper_,' I do not mean _easy
temper_, a serenity which nothing disturbs, for that is a mark of
laziness. _Sulkiness_, if you be not too blind to perceive it, is a
temper to be avoided by all means. A sulky man is bad enough; what,
then, must be a sulky woman, and that woman _a wife_; a constant inmate,
a companion day and night! Only think of the delight of sitting at the
same table, and sleeping in the same bed, for a week, and not exchange a
word all the while! Very bad to be scolding for such a length of time;
but this is far better than the sulks. If you have your eyes, and look
sharp, you will discover symptoms of this, if it unhappily exist. She
will, at some time or other, show it towards some one or other of the
family; or, perhaps, towards yourself; and you may be quite sure that,
in this respect, marriage will not mend her. Sulkiness arises from
capricious displeasure, displeasure not founded in reason. The party
takes offence unjustifiably; is unable to frame a complaint, and
therefore expresses displeasure by silence. The remedy for sulkiness is,
to suffer it to take its _full swing_; but it is better not to have the
disease in your house; and to be _married to it_ is little short of

126. _Querulousness_ is a great fault. No man, and, especially, no
_woman_, likes to hear eternal plaintiveness. That she complain, and
roundly complain, of your want of punctuality, of your coolness, of your
neglect, of your liking the company of others: these are all very well,
more especially as they are frequently but too just. But an everlasting
complaining, without rhyme or reason, is a bad sign. It shows want of
patience, and, indeed, want of sense. But, the contrary of this, a _cold
indifference_, is still worse. 'When will you come again? You can never
find time to come here. You like any company better than mine.' These,
when groundless, are very teasing, and demonstrate a disposition too
full of anxiousness; but, from a girl who always receives you with the
same _civil_ smile, lets you, at your own good pleasure, depart with the
same; and who, when you take her by the hand, holds her cold fingers as
straight as sticks, I say (or should if I were young), God, in his
mercy, preserve me!

127. _Pertinacity_ is a very bad thing in anybody, and especially in a
young woman; and it is sure to increase in force with the age of the
party. To have the last word is a poor triumph; but with some people it
is a species of disease of the mind. In a wife it must be extremely
troublesome; and, if you find an ounce of it in the maid, it will become
a pound in the wife. An eternal _disputer_ is a most disagreeable
companion; and where young women thrust their _say_ into conversations
carried on by older persons, give their opinions in a positive manner,
and court a contest of the tongue, those must be very bold men who will
encounter them as wives.

128. Still, of all the faults as to _temper_, your _melancholy_ ladies
have the worst, unless you have the same mental disease. Most wives are,
at times, _misery-makers_; but these carry it on as a regular trade.
They are always unhappy about _something_, either past, present, or to
come. Both arms full of children is a pretty efficient remedy in most
cases; but, if the ingredients be wanting, a little _want_, a little
_real trouble_, a little _genuine affliction_ must, if you would effect
a cure, be resorted to. But, this is very painful to a man of any
feeling; and, therefore, the best way is to avoid a connexion, which is
to give you a life of wailing and sighs.

129. BEAUTY. Though I have reserved this to the last of the things to be
desired in a wife, I by no means think it the last in point of
importance. The less favoured part of the sex say, that 'beauty is but
_skin-deep_;' and this is very true; but, it is very _agreeable_,
though, for all that. Pictures are only paint-deep, or pencil-deep; but
we admire them, nevertheless. "Handsome is that handsome _does_," used
to say to me an old man, who had marked me out for his not over handsome
daughter. 'Please your _eye_ and plague your heart' is an adage that
want of beauty invented, I dare say, more than a thousand years ago.
These adages would say, if they had but the courage, that beauty is
inconsistent with chastity, with sobriety of conduct, and with all the
female virtues. The argument is, that beauty exposes the possessor _to
greater temptation_ than women not beautiful are exposed to; and that,
_therefore_, their fall is more probable. Let us see a little how this
matter stands.

130. It is certainly true, that pretty girls will have more, and more
ardent, admirers than ugly ones; but, as to the _temptation_ when in
their unmarried state, there are few so very ugly as to be exposed to no
_temptation_ at all; and, which is the most likely to resist; she who
has a choice of lovers, or she who if she let the occasion slip may
never have it again? Which of the two is most likely to set a high value
upon her reputation, she whom all beholders admire, or she who is
admired, at best, by mere chance? And as to women in the married state,
this argument assumes, that, when they fall, it is from their own
vicious disposition; when the fact is, that, if you search the annals of
conjugal infidelity, you will find, that, nine times out of ten, the
_fault is in the husband_. It is his neglect, his flagrant disregard,
his frosty indifference, his foul example; it is to these that, nine
times out of ten, he owes the infidelity of his wife; and, if I were to
say ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the facts, if verified, would, I
am certain, bear me out. And whence this neglect, this disregard, this
frosty indifference; whence this foul example? Because it is easy, in so
many cases, to find some woman more beautiful than the wife. This is no
_justification_ for the husband to plead; for he has, with his eyes
open, made a solemn contract: if he have not beauty enough to please
him, he should have sought it in some other woman: if, as is frequently
the case, he have preferred rank or money to beauty, he is an
unprincipled man, if he do any thing to make her unhappy who has brought
him the rank or the money. At any rate, as conjugal infidelity is, in so
many cases; as it is _generally_ caused by the want of affection and due
attention in the husband, it follows, of course, that it must more
frequently happen in the case of ugly than in that of handsome women.

131. In point of _dress_, nothing need be said to convince any
reasonable man, that beautiful women will be less expensive in this
respect than women of a contrary description. Experience teaches us,
that ugly women are always the most studious about their dress; and, if
we had never observed upon the subject, _reason_ would tell us, that it
must be so. Few women are handsome without knowing it; and if they know
that their features naturally attract admiration, will they desire to
draw it off, and to fix it on lace and silks and jewels?

132. As to _manners_ and _temper_ there are certainly some handsome
women who are conceited and arrogant; but, as they have all the best
reasons in the world for being pleased with themselves, they afford you
the best chance of general good humour; and this good humour is a very
valuable commodity in the married state. Some that are called handsome,
and that are such at the first glance, are dull, inanimate things, that
might as well have been made of wax, or of wood. But, the truth is, that
this is _not beauty_, for this is not to be found _only_ in the _form_
of the features, but in the movements of them also. Besides, here nature
is very impartial; for she gives animation promiscuously to the handsome
as well as to the ugly; and the want of this in the former is surely as
bearable as in the latter.

133. But, the great use of female beauty, the great practical advantage
of it is, that it naturally and unavoidably tends to _keep the husband
in good humour with himself_, to make him, to use the dealer's phrase,
_pleased with his bargain_. When old age approaches, and the parties
have become endeared to each other by a long series of joint cares and
interests, and when children have come and bound them together by the
strongest ties that nature has in store; at this age the features and
the person are of less consequence; but, in the _young days_ of
matrimony, when the roving eye of the bachelor is scarcely become steady
in the head of the husband, it is dangerous for him to see, every time
he stirs out, a face more captivating than that of the person to whom he
is bound for life. Beauty is, in some degree, a matter of _taste_: what
one man admires, another does not; and it is fortunate for us that it is
thus. But still there are certain things that all men admire; and a
husband is always pleased when he perceives that a portion, at least, of
these things are in his own possession: he takes this possession as a
_compliment to himself_: there must, he will think the world will
believe, have been _some merit in him_, some charm, seen or unseen, to
have caused him to be blessed with the acquisition.

134. And then there arise so many things, sickness, misfortune in
business, losses, many many things, wholly unexpected; and, there are so
many circumstances, perfectly _nameless_, to communicate to the
new-married man the fact, that it is not a real _angel_ of whom he has
got the possession; there are so many things of this sort, so many and
such powerful dampers of the passions, and so many incentives to _cool
reflection_; that it requires something, and a good deal too, to keep
the husband in countenance in this his altered and enlightened state.
The passion of women does not cool so soon: the lamp of their love burns
more steadily, and even brightens as it burns: and, there is, the young
man may be assured, a vast difference in the effect of the fondness of a
pretty woman and that of one of a different description; and, let reason
and philosophy say what they will, a man will come down stairs of a
morning better pleased after seeing the former, than he would after
seeing the latter, in her _night-cap_.

135. To be sure, when a man has, from whatever inducement, once married
a woman, he is unjust and cruel if he even _slight_ her on account of
her want of beauty, and, if he treat her harshly, on this account, he is
a brute. But, it requires a greater degree of reflection and
consideration than falls to the lot of men in general to make them act
with justice in such a case; and, therefore, the best way is to guard,
if you can, against the temptation to commit such injustice, which is to
be done in no other way, than by not marrying any one that you _do not
think handsome_.

136. I must not conclude this address to THE LOVER without something on
the subject of _seduction_ and _inconstancy_. In, perhaps, nineteen
cases out of twenty, there is, in the unfortunate cases of illicit
gratification, no seduction at all, the passion, the absence of virtue,
and the crime, being all mutual. But, there are other cases of a very
different description; and where a man goes coolly and deliberately to
work, first to gain and rivet the affections of a young girl, then to
take advantage of those affections to accomplish that which he knows
must be her ruin, and plunge her into misery for life; when a man does
this merely for the sake of a momentary gratification, he must be either
a selfish and unfeeling brute, unworthy of the name of man, or he must
have a heart little inferior, in point of obduracy, to that of the
murderer. Let young women, however, be aware; let them be well aware,
that few, indeed, are the cases in which this apology can possibly avail
them. Their character is not solely theirs, but belongs, in part, to
their family and kindred. They may, in the case contemplated, be objects
of compassion with the world; but what contrition, what repentance, what
remorse, what that even the tenderest benevolence can suggest, is to
heal the wounded hearts of humbled, disgraced, but still affectionate,
parents, brethren and sisters?

137. As to _constancy_ in Lovers, though I do not approve of the saying,
'At lovers' lies Jove laughs;' yet, when people are young, one object
may supplant another in their affections, not only without criminality
in the party experiencing the change, but without blame; and it is
honest, and even humane, to act upon the change; because it would be
both foolish and cruel to marry one girl while you liked another better:
and the same holds good with regard to the other sex. Even when
_marriage_ has been _promised_, and that, too, in the most solemn
manner, it is better for both parties to break off, than to be coupled
together with the reluctant assent of either; and I have always thought,
that actions for damages, on this score, if brought by the girl, show a
want of delicacy as well as of spirit; and, if brought by the man,
excessive meanness. Some damage may, indeed, have been done to the
complaining party; but no damage equal to what that party would have
sustained from a marriage, to which the other party would have yielded
by a sort of compulsion, producing to almost a certainty what Hogarth,
in his _Marriage à la Mode_, most aptly typifies by two curs, of
different sexes, fastened together by what sportsmen call _couples_,
pulling different ways, and snarling and barking and foaming like

138. But when promises have been made to a young woman; when they have
been relied on for any considerable time; when it is manifest that her
peace and happiness, and, perhaps, her life, depend upon their
fulfilment; when things have been carried to this length, the change in
the Lover ought to be announced in the manner most likely to make the
disappointment as supportable as the case will admit of; for, though it
is better to break the promise than to marry one while you like another
better; though it is better for both parties, you have no right to break
the heart of her who has, and that, too, with your accordance, and,
indeed, at your instigation, or, at least, by your encouragement,
confided it to your fidelity. You cannot help your change of affections;
but you can help making the transfer in such a way as to cause the
destruction, or even probable destruction, nay, if it were but the deep
misery, of her, to gain whose heart you had pledged your own. You ought
to proceed by slow degrees; you ought to call time to your aid in
executing the painful task; you ought scrupulously to avoid every thing
calculated to aggravate the sufferings of the disconsolate party.

139. A striking, a monstrous, instance of conduct the contrary of this
has recently been placed upon the melancholy records of the Coroner of
Middlesex; which have informed an indignant public, that a young man,
having first secured the affections of a virtuous young woman, next
promised her marriage, then caused the banns to be published, and then,
on the very day appointed for the performance of the ceremony, married
another woman, in the same church; and this, too, without, as he avowed,
any provocation, and without the smallest intimation or hint of his
intention to the disappointed party, who, unable to support existence
under a blow so cruel, put an end to that existence by the most deadly
and the swiftest poison. If any thing could wipe from our country the
stain of having given birth to a monster so barbarous as this, it would
be the abhorrence of him which the jury expressed; and which, from every
tongue, he ought to hear to the last moment of his life.

140. Nor has a man any right to _sport_ with the affections of a young
woman, though he stop short of _positive promises_. Vanity is generally
the tempter in this case; a desire to be regarded as being admired by
the women: a very despicable species of vanity, but frequently greatly
mischievous, notwithstanding. You do not, indeed, actually, in so many
words, promise to marry; but the general tenor of your language and
deportment has that meaning; you know that your meaning is so
understood; and if you have not such meaning; if you be fixed by some
previous engagement with, or greater liking for, another; if you know
you are here sowing the seeds of disappointment; and if you, keeping
your previous engagement or greater liking a secret, persevere, in spite
of the admonitions of conscience, you are guilty of deliberate
deception, injustice and cruelty: you make to God an ungrateful return
for those endowments which have enabled you to achieve this inglorious
and unmanly triumph; and if, as is frequently the case, you _glory_ in
such triumph, you may have person, riches, talents to excite envy; but
every just and humane man will abhor your heart.

141. There are, however, certain cases in which you deceive, or nearly
deceive, _yourself_; cases in which you are, by degrees and by
circumstances, deluded into something very nearly resembling sincere
love for a second object, the first still, however, maintaining her
ground in your heart; cases in which you are not actuated by vanity, in
which you are not guilty of injustice and cruelty; but cases in which
you, nevertheless, _do wrong_: and as I once did a wrong of this sort
myself, I will here give a history of it, as a warning to every young
man who shall read this little book; that being the best and, indeed,
the only atonement, that I can make, or ever could have made, for this
only _serious sin_ that I ever committed against the female sex.

142. The Province of New Brunswick, in North America, in which I passed
my years from the age of eighteen to that of twenty-six, consists, in
general, of heaps of rocks, in the interstices of which grow the pine,
the spruce, and various sorts of fir trees, or, where the woods have
been burnt down, the bushes of the raspberry or those of the
huckleberry. The province is cut asunder lengthwise, by a great river,
called the St. John, about two hundred miles in length, and, at half way
from the mouth, full a mile wide. Into this main river run innumerable
smaller rivers, there called CREEKS. On the sides of these creeks the
land is, in places, clear of rocks; it is, in these places, generally
good and productive; the trees that grow here are the birch, the maple,
and others of the deciduous class; natural meadows here and there
present themselves; and some of these spots far surpass in rural beauty
any other that my eyes ever beheld; the creeks, abounding towards their
sources in water-falls of endless variety, as well in form as in
magnitude, and always teeming with fish, while water-fowl enliven their
surface, and while wild-pigeons, of the gayest plumage, flutter, in
thousands upon thousands, amongst the branches of the beautiful trees,
which, sometimes, for miles together, form an arch over the creeks.

143. I, in one of my rambles in the woods, in which I took great
delight, came to a spot at a very short distance from the source of one
of these creeks. Here was every thing to delight the eye, and especially
of one like me, who seem to have been born to love rural life, and trees
and plants of all sorts. Here were about two hundred acres of natural
meadow, interspersed with patches of maple-trees in various forms and of
various extent; the creek (there about thirty miles from its point of
joining the St. John) ran down the middle of the spot, which formed a
sort of dish, the high and rocky hills rising all round it, except at
the outlet of the creek, and these hills crowned with lofty pines: in
the hills were the sources of the creek, the waters of which came down
in cascades, for any one of which many a nobleman in England would, if
he could transfer it, give a good slice of his fertile estate; and in
the creek, at the foot of the cascades, there were, in the season,
salmon the finest in the world, and so abundant, and so easily taken, as
to be used for manuring the land.

144. If nature, in her very best humour, had made a spot for the express
purpose of captivating me, she could not have exceeded the efforts which
she had here made. But I found something here besides these rude works
of nature; I found something in the fashioning of which _man_ had had
something to do. I found a large and well-built log dwelling house,
standing (in the month of September) on the edge of a very good field of
Indian Corn, by the side of which there was a piece of buck-wheat just
then mowed. I found a homestead, and some very pretty cows. I found all
the things by which an easy and happy farmer is surrounded: and I found
still something besides all these; something that was destined to give
me a great deal of pleasure and also a great deal of pain, both in their
extreme degree; and both of which, in spite of the lapse of forty years,
now make an attempt to rush back into my heart.

145. Partly from misinformation, and partly from miscalculation, I had
lost my way; and, quite alone, but armed with my sword and a brace of
pistols, to defend myself against the bears, I arrived at the log-house
in the middle of a moonlight night, the hoar frost covering the trees
and the grass. A stout and clamorous dog, kept off by the gleaming of my
sword, waked the master of the house, who got up, received me with great
hospitality, got me something to eat, and put me into a feather-bed, a
thing that I had been a stranger to for some years. I, being very tired,
had tried to pass the night in the woods, between the trunks of two
large trees, which had fallen side by side, and within a yard of each
other. I had made a nest for myself of dry fern, and had made a covering
by laying boughs of spruce across the trunks of the trees. But unable to
sleep on account of the cold; becoming sick from the great quantity of
water that I had drank during the heat of the day, and being, moreover,
alarmed at the noise of the bears, and lest one of them should find me
in a defenceless state, I had roused myself up, and had crept along as
well as I could. So that no hero of eastern romance ever experienced a
more enchanting change.

146. I had got into the house of one of those YANKEE LOYALISTS, who, at
the close of the revolutionary war (which, until it had succeeded, was
called a rebellion) had accepted of grants of land in the King's
Province of New Brunswick; and who, to the great honour of England, had
been furnished with all the means of making new and comfortable
settlements. I was suffered to sleep till breakfast time, when I found a
table, the like of which I have since seen so many in the United States,
loaded with good things. The master and the mistress of the house, aged
about fifty, were like what an English farmer and his wife were half a
century ago. There were two sons, tall and stout, who appeared to have
come in from work, and the youngest of whom was about my age, then
twenty-three. But there was _another member_ of the family, aged
nineteen, who (dressed according to the neat and simple fashion of New
England, whence she had come with her parents five or six years before)
had her long light-brown hair twisted nicely up, and fastened on the top
of her head, in which head were a pair of lively blue eyes, associated
with features of which that softness and that sweetness, so
characteristic of American girls, were the predominant expressions, the
whole being set off by a complexion indicative of glowing health, and
forming, figure, movements, and all taken together, an assemblage of
beauties, far surpassing any that I had ever seen but _once_ in my life.
That _once_ was, too, _two years agone_; and, in such a case and at such
an age, two years, two whole years, is a long, long while! It was a
space as long as the eleventh part of my then life! Here was the
_present_ against the _absent_: here was the power of the _eyes_ pitted
against that of the _memory_: here were all the senses up in arms to
subdue the influence of the thoughts: here was vanity, here was passion,
here was the spot of all spots in the world, and here were also the
life, and the manners and the habits and the pursuits that I delighted
in: here was every thing that imagination can conceive, united in a
conspiracy against the poor little brunette in England! What, then, did
I fall in love at once with this bouquet of lilies and roses? Oh! by no
means. I was, however, so enchanted with _the place_; I so much enjoyed
its tranquillity, the shade of the maple trees, the business of the
farm, the sports of the water and of the woods, that I stayed at it to
the last possible minute, promising, at my departure, to come again as
often as I possibly could; a promise which I most punctually fulfilled.

147. Winter is the great season for jaunting and _dancing_ (called
_frolicking_) in America. In this Province the river and the creeks were
the only _roads_ from settlement to settlement. In summer we travelled
in _canoes_; in winter in _sleighs_ on the ice or snow. During more than
two years I spent all the time I could with my Yankee friends: they were
all fond of me: I talked to them about country affairs, my evident
delight in which they took as a compliment to themselves: the father and
mother treated me as one of their children; the sons as a brother; and
the daughter, who was as modest and as full of sensibility as she was
beautiful, in a way to which a chap much less sanguine than I was would
have given the tenderest interpretation; which treatment I, especially
in the last-mentioned case, most cordially repaid.

148. It is when you meet in company with others of your own age that you
are, in love matters, put, most frequently, to the test, and exposed to
detection. The next door neighbour might, in that country, be ten miles
off. We used to have a frolic, sometimes at one house and sometimes at
another. Here, where female eyes are very much on the alert, no secret
can long be kept; and very soon father, mother, brothers and the whole
neighbourhood looked upon the thing as certain, not excepting herself,
to whom I, however, had never once even talked of marriage, and had
never even told her that I _loved_ her. But I had a thousand times done
these by _implication_, taking into view the interpretation that she
would naturally put upon my looks, appellations and acts; and it was of
this, that I had to accuse myself. Yet I was not a _deceiver_; for my
affection for her was very great: I spent no really pleasant hours but
with her: I was uneasy if she showed the slightest regard for any other
young man: I was unhappy if the smallest matter affected her health or
spirits: I quitted her in dejection, and returned to her with eager
delight: many a time, when I could get leave but for a day, I paddled in
a canoe two whole succeeding nights, in order to pass that day with her.
If this was not love, it was first cousin to it; for as to any
_criminal_ intention I no more thought of it, in her case, than if she
had been my sister. Many times I put to myself the questions: 'What am I
at? Is not this wrong? _Why do I go?_' But still I went.

149. Then, further in my excuse, my _prior engagement_, though carefully
left unalluded to by both parties, was, in that thin population, and
owing to the singular circumstances of it, and to the great talk that
there always was about me, _perfectly well known_ to her and all her
family. It was matter of so much notoriety and conversation in the
Province, that GENERAL CARLETON (brother of the late Lord Dorchester),
who was the Governor when I was there, when he, about fifteen years
afterwards, did me the honour, on his return to England, to come and see
me at my house in Duke Street, Westminster, asked, before he went away,
to see my _wife_, of whom _he had heard so much_ before her marriage. So
that here was no _deception_ on my part: but still I ought not to have
suffered even the most distant hope to be entertained by a person so
innocent, so amiable, for whom I had so much affection, and to whose
heart I had no right to give a single twinge. I ought, from the very
first, to have prevented the possibility of her ever feeling pain on my
account. I was young, to be sure; but I was old enough to know what was
my duty in this case, and I ought, dismissing my own feelings, to have
had the resolution to perform it.

150. The _last parting_ came; and now came my just punishment! The time
was known to every body, and was irrevocably fixed; for I had to move
with a regiment, and the embarkation of a regiment is an _epoch_ in a
thinly settled province. To describe this parting would be too painful
even at this distant day, and with this frost of age upon my head. The
kind and virtuous father came forty miles to see me just as I was going
on board in the river. _His_ looks and words I have never forgotten. As
the vessel descended, she passed the mouth of _that creek_ which I had
so often entered with delight; and though England, and all that England
contained, were before me, I lost sight of this creek with an aching

151. On what trifles turn the great events in the life of man! If I had
received a _cool_ letter from my intended wife; if I had only heard a
rumour of any thing from which fickleness in her might have been
inferred; if I had found in her any, even the smallest, abatement of
affection; if she had but let go any one of the hundred strings by which
she held my heart: if any of these, never would the world have heard of
me. Young as I was; able as I was as a soldier; proud as I was of the
admiration and commendations of which I was the object; fond as I was,
too, of the command, which, at so early an age, my rare conduct and
great natural talents had given me; sanguine as was my mind, and
brilliant as were my prospects: yet I had seen so much of the
meannesses, the unjust partialities, the insolent pomposity, the
disgusting dissipations of that way of life, that I was weary of it: I
longed, exchanging my fine laced coat for the Yankee farmer's home-spun,
to be where I should never behold the supple crouch of servility, and
never hear the hectoring voice of authority, again; and, on the lonely
banks of this branch-covered creek, which contained (she out of the
question) every thing congenial to my taste and dear to my heart, I,
unapplauded, unfeared, unenvied and uncalumniated, should have lived and



152. It is in this capacity that your conduct will have the greatest
effect on your happiness; and a great deal will depend on the manner in
which you _begin_. I am to suppose that you have made a _good choice_;
but a good young woman may be made, by a weak, a harsh, a neglectful, an
extravagant, or a profligate husband, a really bad wife and mother. All
in a wife, beyond her own natural disposition and education is, nine
times out of ten, the work of her husband.

153. The first thing of all, be the rank in life what it may, is to
convince her of the necessity of _moderation in expense_; and to make
her clearly see the justice of beginning to act upon the presumption,
that there are _children coming_, that they are to be provided for, and
that she is to _assist_ in the making of that provision. Legally
speaking, we have a right to do what we please with our own property,
which, however, is not our own, unless it exceed our debts. And, morally
speaking, we, at the moment of our marriage, contract a debt with the
naturally to be expected fruit of it; and, therefore (reserving further
remarks upon this subject till I come to speak of the education of
children), the scale of expense should, at the beginning, be as low as
that of which a due attention to rank in life will admit.

154. The great danger of all is, beginning with _servants_, or a
_servant_. Where there are riches, or where the business is so great as
to demand _help_ in the carrying on of the affairs of a house, one or
more female servants must be kept; but, where the work of a house can be
done by one pair of hands, why should there be two; especially as you
cannot have the hands without having the _mouth_, and, which is
frequently not less costly, inconvenient and injurious, the _tongue_?
When children come, there must, at times, be some foreign aid; but,
until then, what need can the wife of a young tradesman, or even farmer
(unless the family be great) have of a servant? The wife is young, and
why is she not to work as well as the husband? What justice is there in
wanting you to keep two women instead of one? You have not married them
both in form; but, if they be inseparable, you have married them in
substance; and if you are free from the crime of bigamy, you have the
far most burthensome part of its consequences.

155. I am well aware of the unpopularity of this doctrine; well aware of
its hostility to prevalent habits; well aware that almost every
tradesman and every farmer, though with scarcely a shilling to call his
own; and that every clerk, and every such person, begins by keeping a
servant, and that the latter is generally provided before the wife be
installed: I am well aware of all this; but knowing, from long and
attentive observation, that it is the great bane of the marriage life;
the great cause of that penury, and of those numerous and tormenting
embarrassments, amidst which conjugal felicity can seldom long be kept
alive, I give the advice, and state the reasons on which it was founded.

156. In London, or near it, a maid servant cannot be kept at an expense
so low as that of _thirty pounds a year_; for, besides her wages, board
and lodging, there must be a _fire_ solely for her; or she must sit with
the husband and wife, hear every word that passes between them, and
between them and their friends; which will, of course, greatly add to
the pleasures of their fire-side! To keep her tongue still would be
impossible, and, indeed, unreasonable; and if, as may frequently happen,
she be prettier than the wife, she will know how to give the suitable
interpretation to the looks which, to a next to a certainty, she will
occasionally get from him, whom, as it were in mockery, she calls by the
name of '_master_.' This is almost downright bigamy; but this can never
do; and, therefore, she must have a _fire to herself_. Besides the blaze
of coals, however, there is another sort of _flame_ that she will
inevitably covet. She will by no means be sparing of the coals; but,
well fed and well lodged, as _she_ will be, whatever you may be, she
will naturally sigh for the fire of love, for which she carries in her
bosom a match always ready prepared. In plain language, you have a man
to keep, a part, at least, of every week; and the leg of lamb, which
might have lasted you and your wife for three days, will, by this
gentleman's sighs, be borne away in one. Shut the door against this
intruder; out she goes herself; and, if she go empty-handed, she is no
true Christian, or, at least, will not be looked upon as such by the
charitable friend at whose house she meets the longing soul, dying
partly with love and partly with hunger.

157. The cost, altogether, is nearer fifty pounds a year than thirty.
How many thousands of tradesmen and clerks, and the like, who might have
passed through life without a single embarrassment, have lived in
continual trouble and fear, and found a premature grave, from this very
cause, and this cause alone! When I, on my return from America, in 1800,
lived a short time in Saint James's Street, following my habit of early
rising, I used to see the servant maids, at almost every house,
dispensing charity at the expense of their masters, long before they,
good men, opened their eyes, who thus did deeds of benevolence, not only
without boasting of them, but without knowing of them. Meat, bread,
cheese, butter, coals, candles; all came with equal freedom from these
liberal hands. I have observed the same, in my early walks and rides, in
every part of this great place and its environs. Where there is _one_
servant it is worse than where there are _two_ or more; for, happily for
their employers, they do not always agree. So that the oppression is
most heavy on those who are the least able to bear it: and particularly
on _clerk_, and such like people, whose wives seem to think, that,
because the husband's work is of a genteel description, they ought to
live the life of _ladies_. Poor fellows! their work is not hard and
rough, to be sure; but, it is _work_, and work for many hours too, and
painful enough; and as to their income, it scarcely exceeds, on an
average, the double, at any rate, of that of a journeyman carpenter,
bricklayer, or tailor.

158. Besides, the man and wife will live on cheaper diet and drink than
a servant will live. Thousands, who would never have had beer in their
house, have it for the servant, who will not live without it. However
frugal your wife, her frugality is of little use, if she have one of
these inmates to provide for. Many a hundred thousand times has it
happened that the butcher and the butter-man have been applied to solely
because there was a servant to satisfy. You cannot, with this clog
everlastingly attached to you, be frugal, if you would: you can save
nothing against the days of expense, which are, however, pretty sure to
come. And why should you bring into your house a trouble like this; an
absolute annoyance; a something for your wife to watch, to be a
constraint upon her, to thwart her in her best intentions, to make her
uneasy, and to sour her temper? Why should you do this foolish thing?
Merely to comply with corrupt fashion; merely from false shame, and
false and contemptible pride? If a young man were, on his marriage, to
find any difficulty in setting this ruinous fashion at defiance, a very
good way would be to count down to his wife, at the end of every week,
the amount of the expense of a servant for that week, and request her to
deposit it in her drawer. In a short time she would find the sum so
large, that she would be frightened at the thoughts of a servant; and
would never dream of one again, except in case of absolute necessity,
and then for as short a time as possible.

159. But the wife may not be _able_ to do all the work to be done in the
house. Not _able_! A young woman not able to cook and wash, and mend and
make, and clean the house and make the bed for one young man and
herself, and that young man her husband too, who is quite willing (if he
be worth a straw) to put up with cold dinner, or with a crust; to get up
and light her fire; to do any thing that the mind can suggest to spare
her labour, and to conduce to her convenience! Not _able_ to do this?
Then, if she brought no fortune, and he had none, she ought not to have
been _able to marry_: and, let me tell you, young man, a _small fortune_
would not put a servant-keeping wife upon an equality with one who
required no such inmate.

160. If, indeed, the work of a house were _harder_ than a young woman
could perform without pain, or great fatigue; if it had a tendency to
impair her health or deface her beauty; then you might hesitate: but, it
is not too hard, and it tends to preserve health, to keep the spirits
buoyant, and, of course, to preserve beauty. You often hear girls, while
scrubbing or washing, singing till they are out of breath; but never
while they are at what they call _working_ at the needle. The American
wives are most exemplary in this respect. They have none of that false
pride, which prevents thousands in England from doing that which
interest, reason, and even their own inclination would prompt them to
do. They work, not from necessity; not from compulsion of any sort; for
their husbands are the most indulgent in the whole world. In the towns
they go to the market, and cheerfully carry home the result: in the
country, they not only do the work in the house, but extend their
labours to the garden, plant and weed and hoe, and gather and preserve
the fruits and the herbs; and this, too, in a climate far from being so
favourable to labour as that of England; and they are amply repaid for
these by those gratifications which their excellent economy enables
their husbands to bestow upon them, and which it is their universal
habit to do with a liberal hand.

161. But did I _practise_ what I am here preaching? Aye, and to the full
extent. Till I had a second child, no servant ever entered my house,
though well able to keep one; and never, in my whole life, did I live in
a house so clean, in such trim order, and never have I eaten or drunk,
or slept or dressed, in a manner so perfectly to my fancy, as I did
then. I had a great deal of business to attend to, that took me a great
part of the day from home; but, whenever I could spare a minute from
business, the child was in my arms; I rendered the mother's labour as
light as I could; any bit of food satisfied me; when watching was
necessary, we shared it between us; and that famous GRAMMAR for teaching
French people English, which has been for thirty years, and still is,
the great work of this kind, throughout all America, and in every nation
in Europe, was written by me, in hours not employed in business, and, in
great part, during my share of the night-watchings over a sick, and then
only child, who, after lingering many months, died in my arms.

162. This was the way that we went on: this was the way that we _began_
the married life; and surely, that which we did with pleasure no young
couple, unendowed with fortune, ought to be ashamed to do. But she may
be _ill_; the time may be near at hand, or may have actually arrived,
when she must encounter that particular pain and danger of which _you
have been the happy cause_! Oh! that is quite another matter! And if you
now exceed in care, in watchings over her, in tender attention to all
her wishes, in anxious efforts to quiet her fears; if you exceed in
pains and expense to procure her relief and secure her life; if you, in
any of these, exceed that which I would recommend, you must be romantic
indeed! She deserves them all, and more than all, ten thousand times
told. And now it is that you feel the blessing conferred by her economy.
That heap of money, which might have been squandered on, or by, or in
consequence of, an useless servant, you now have in hand wherewith to
procure an abundance of that skill and that attendance of which she
stands in absolute need; and she, when restored to you in smiling
health, has the just pride to reflect, that she may have owed her life
and your happiness to the effects of her industry.

163. It is the _beginning_ that is every thing in this important case;
and you will have, perhaps, much to do to convince her, not that what
you recommend is advantageous; not that it is right; but to convince her
that she can do it without sinking below the station that she ought to
maintain. She would cheerfully do it; but there are her _next-door
neighbours_, who do not do it, though, in all other respects, on a par
with her. It is not laziness, but pernicious fashion, that you will have
to combat. But the truth is, that there ought to be _no combat_ at all;
this important matter ought to be settled and fully agreed on
_beforehand_. If she really love you, and have common sense, she will
not hesitate a moment; and if she be deficient in either of these
respects; and if you be so mad in love as to be unable to exist without
her, it is better to cease to exist at once, than to become the toiling
and embarrassed slave of a wasting and pillaging servant.

164. The next thing to be attended to is, your _demeanor_ towards a
young wife. As to oldish ones, or widows, time and other things have, in
most cases, blunted their feelings, and rendered harsh or stern demeanor
in the husband a matter not of heart-breaking consequence. But with a
young and inexperienced one, the case is very different; and you should
bear in mind, that the first frown that she receives from _you_ is a
dagger to her heart. Nature has so ordered it, that men shall become
less ardent in their passion after the wedding day; and that women shall
not. Their ardour increases rather than the contrary; and they are
surprisingly quick-sighted and inquisitive on this score. When the
_child_ comes, it divides this ardour with the father; but until then
you have it all; and if you have a mind to be happy, repay it with all
your soul. Let what may happen to put you out of humour with others, let
nothing put you out of humour with her. Let your words and looks and
manners be just what they were before you called her wife.

165. But now, and throughout your life, show your affection for her, and
your admiration of her, not in nonsensical compliment; not in picking up
her handkerchief, or her glove, or in carrying her fan or parasol; not,
if you have the means, in hanging trinkets and baubles upon her; not in
making yourself a fool by winking at, and seeming pleased at, her
foibles, or follies, or faults; but show them by acts of real goodness
towards her; prove by unequivocal deeds the high value that you set on
her health and life and peace of mind; let your praise of her go to the
full extent of her deserts, but let it be consistent with truth and with
sense, and such as to convince her of your sincerity. He who is the
flatterer of his wife only prepares her ears for the hyperbolical stuff
of others. The kindest appellation that her Christian name affords is
the best you can use, especially before faces. An everlasting '_my
dear_' is but a sorry compensation for a want of that sort of love that
makes the husband cheerfully toil by day, break his rest by night,
endure all sorts of hardships, if the life or health of his wife demand
it. Let your deeds, and not your words, carry to her heart a daily and
hourly confirmation of the fact, that you value her health and life and
happiness beyond all other things in the world; and let this be manifest
to her, particularly at those times when life is always more or less in

166. I began my young marriage days in and near Philadelphia. At one of
those times to which I have just alluded, in the middle of the burning
hot month of July, I was greatly afraid of fatal consequences to my wife
for want of sleep, she not having, after the great danger was over, had
any sleep for more than forty-eight hours. All great cities, in hot
countries, are, I believe, full of dogs; and they, in the very hot
weather, keep up, during the night, a horrible barking and fighting and
howling. Upon the particular occasion to which I am adverting, they made
a noise so terrible and so unremitted, that it was next to impossible
that even a person in full health and free from pain should obtain a
minute's sleep. I was, about nine in the evening, sitting by the bed: 'I
do think,' said she, 'that I could go to sleep _now_, if it were not
_for the dogs_.' Down stairs I went, and out I sallied, in my shirt and
trowsers, and without shoes and stockings; and, going to a heap of
stones lying beside the road, set to work upon the dogs, going backward
and forward, and keeping them at two or three hundred yards' distance
from the house. I walked thus the whole night, barefooted, lest the
noise of my shoes might possibly reach her ears; and I remember that the
bricks of the causeway were, even in the night, so hot as to be
disagreeable to my feet. My exertions produced the desired effect: a
sleep of several hours was the consequence; and, at eight o'clock in the
morning, off went I to a day's business, which was to end at six in the

167. Women are all patriots of the soil; and when her neighbours used to
ask my wife whether _all_ English husbands were like hers, she boldly
answered in the affirmative. I had business to occupy the whole of my
time, Sundays and weekdays, except sleeping hours; but I used to make
time to assist her in the taking care of her baby, and in all sorts of
things: get up, light her fire, boil her tea-kettle, carry her up warm
water in cold weather, take the child while she dressed herself and got
the breakfast ready, then breakfast, get her in water and wood for the
day, then dress myself neatly, and sally forth to my business. The
moment that was over I used to hasten back to her again; and I no more
thought of spending a moment _away from her_, unless business compelled
me, than I thought of quitting the country and going to sea. The
_thunder_ and _lightning_ are tremendous in America, compared with what
they are in England. My wife was, at one time, very much afraid of
thunder and lightning; and as is the feeling of all such women, and,
indeed, all men too, she wanted company, and particularly her husband,
in those times of danger. I knew well, of course, that my presence would
not diminish the danger; but, be I at what I might, if within reach of
home, I used to quit my business and hasten to her, the moment I
perceived a thunder storm approaching. Scores of miles have I, first and
last, _run_ on this errand, in the streets of Philadelphia! The
Frenchmen, who were my scholars, used to laugh at me exceedingly on this
account; and sometimes, when I was making an appointment with them, they
would say, with a smile and a bow, '_Sauve la tonnerre toujours,
Monsieur Cobbett_.'

168. I never _dangled_ about at the heels of my wife; seldom, very
seldom, ever _walked out_, as it is called, with her; I never 'went _a
walking_' in the whole course of my life; never went to walk without
having some _object_ in view other than the walk; and, as I never could
walk at a slow pace, it would have been _hard work_ for her to keep up
with me; so that, in the nearly forty years of our married life, we have
not walked out together, perhaps, twenty times. I hate a _dangler_, who
is more like a footman than a husband. It is very cheap to be kind in
_trifles_; but that which rivets the affections is not to be purchased
with money. The great thing of all, however, is to prove your anxiety at
those times of peril to her, and for which times you, nevertheless,
wish. Upon those occasions I was never from home, be the necessity for
it ever so great: it was my rule, that every thing must give way to
that. In the year 1809, some English local militiamen were _flogged_, in
the Isle of Ely, in England, under a guard of _Hanoverians_, then
stationed in England. I, reading an account of this in a London
newspaper, called the COURIER, expressed my indignation at it in such
terms as it became an Englishman to do. The Attorney General, Gibbs, was
set on upon me; he harassed me for nearly a year, then brought me to
trial, and I was, by Ellenborough, Grose, Le Blanc, and Bailey,
sentenced to _two years' imprisonment_ in Newgate, to pay a fine to _the
king_ of _a thousand pounds_, and to be held in heavy bail for _seven
years_ after the expiration of the imprisonment! Every one regarded it
as a sentence of _death_. I lived in the country at the time, seventy
miles from London; I had a farm on my hands; I had a family of small
children, amongst whom I had constantly lived; I had a most anxious and
devoted wife, who was, too, in that state, which rendered the separation
more painful ten-fold. I was put into a place amongst _felons_, from
which I had to rescue myself at the price of _twelve guineas a week_ for
the whole of the two years. The _King_, poor man! was, at the close of
my imprisonment, not _in a condition_ to receive the _thousand pounds_;
but his son, the present king, punctually received it _'in his name and
behalf_;' and he keeps it still.

169. The sentence, though it proved not to be one of _death_, was, in
effect, one of _ruin_, as far as then-possessed property went. But this
really appeared as nothing, compared with the circumstance, that I must
now have _a child born in a felons' jail_, or be absent from the scene
at the time of the birth. My wife, who had come to see me for the last
time previous to her lying-in, perceiving my deep dejection at the
approach of her departure for Botley, resolved not to go; and actually
went and took a lodging as near to Newgate as she could find one, in
order that the communication between us might be as speedy as possible;
and in order that I might see the doctor, and receive assurances from
him relative to her state. The nearest lodging that she could find was
in Skinner-street, at the corner of a street leading to Smithfield. So
that there she was, amidst the incessant rattle of coaches and butchers'
carts, and the noise of cattle, dogs, and bawling men; instead of being
in a quiet and commodious country-house, with neighbours and servants
and every thing necessary about her. Yet, so great is the power of the
mind in such cases, she, though the circumstances proved uncommonly
perilous, and were attended with the loss of the child, bore her
sufferings with the greatest composure, because, at any minute she could
send a message to, and hear from, me. If she had gone to Botley, leaving
me in that state of anxiety in which she saw me, I am satisfied that she
would have died; and that event taking place at such a distance from me,
how was I to contemplate her corpse, surrounded by her distracted
children, and to have escaped death, or madness, myself? If such was not
the effect of this merciless act of the government towards me, that
amiable body may be well assured that I have _taken and recorded the
will for the deed_, and that as such it will live in my memory as long
as that memory shall last.

170. I make no apology for this account of my own conduct, because
example is better than precept, and because I believe that my example
may have weight with many thousands, as it has had in respect to early
rising, abstinence, sobriety, industry, and mercy towards the poor. It
is not, then, dangling about after a wife; it is not the loading her
with baubles and trinkets; it is not the jaunting of her about from show
to show, and from what is called pleasure to pleasure. It is none of
these that endears you to her: it is the adherence to that part of the
promise you have made her: 'With my _body_ I thee _worship_;' that is to
say, _respect_ and _honour_ by personal attention and acts of affection.
And remember, that the greatest possible proof that you can give of real
and solid affection is to give her your _time_, when not wanted in
matters of business; when not wanted for the discharge of some _duty_,
either towards the public or towards private persons. Amongst duties of
this sort, we must, of course, in some ranks and circumstances of life,
include the intercourse amongst friends and neighbours, which may
frequently and reasonably call the husband from his home: but what are
we to think of the husband who is in the habit of leaving his own
fire-side, after the business of the day is over, and seeking
promiscuous companions in the ale or the coffee house? I am told that,
in France, it is rare to meet with a husband who does not spend every
evening of his life in what is called a _caffé_; that is to say, a place
for no other purpose than that of gossipping, drinking and gaming. And
it is with great sorrow that I acknowledge that many English husbands
indulge too much in a similar habit. Drinking clubs, smoking clubs,
singing clubs, clubs of odd-fellows, whist clubs, sotting clubs: these
are inexcusable, they are censurable, they are at once foolish and
wicked, even in single men; what must they be, then, in _husbands_; and
how are they to answer, not only to their wives, but to their children,
for this profligate abandonment of their homes; this breach of their
solemn vow made to the former, this evil example to the latter?

171. Innumerable are the miseries that spring from this cause. The
_expense_ is, in the first place, very considerable. I much question
whether, amongst tradesmen, a _shilling_ a night pays the average score;
and that, too, for that which is really _worth_ nothing at all, and
cannot, even by possibility, be attended with any one single advantage,
however small. Fifteen pounds a year thus thrown away, would amount, in
the course of a tradesman's life, to a decent fortune for a child. Then
there is the injury to _health_ from these night adventures; there are
the _quarrels_, there is the vicious habit of loose and filthy talk;
there are the slanders and the back-bitings; there is the admiration of
contemptible wit, and there are the scoffings at all that is sober and

172. And does the husband who thus abandons his wife and children
imagine that she will not, in some degree at least, follow his example?
If he do, he is very much deceived. If she imitate him even in drinking,
he has no great reason to complain; and then the cost may be _two
shillings_ the night instead of one, equal in amount to the cost of all
the bread wanted in the family, while the baker's bill is, perhaps,
unpaid. Here are the slanderings, too, going on at home; for, while the
husbands are assembled, it would be hard if the wives were not to do the
same; and the very least that is to be expected is, that the _tea-pot_
should keep pace with the porter-pot or grog-glass. Hence crowds of
female acquaintances and intruders, and all the consequent and
inevitable squabbles which form no small part of the torment of the life
of man.

173. If you have _servants_, they know to a moment the time of your
absence; and they regulate their proceedings accordingly. 'Like master
like man,' is an old and true proverb; and it is natural, if not just,
that it should be thus; for it would be unjust if the careless and
neglectful sot were served as faithfully as the vigilant, attentive and
sober man. Late hours, cards and dice, are amongst the consequences of
the master's absence; and why not, seeing that he is setting the
example? Fire, candle, profligate visitants, expences, losses, children
ruined in habits and morals, and, in short, a train of evils hardly to
be enumerated, arise from this most vicious habit of the master spending
his leisure time from home. But beyond all the rest is the
_ill-treatment of the wife_. When left to ourselves we all seek the
company that we _like best_; the company in which we _take the most
delight_: and therefore every husband, be his state of life what it may,
who spends his leisure time, or who, at least, is in the habit of doing
it, in company other than that of his wife and family, tells her and
them, as plainly by deeds as he could possibly do by words, that he
_takes more delight in other company than in theirs_. Children repay
this with _disregard_ for their father; but to a wife of any
sensibility, it is either a dagger to her heart or an incitement to
revenge, and revenge, too, of a species which a young woman will seldom
be long in want of the means to gratify. In conclusion of these remarks
respecting _absentee husbands_, I would recommend all those who are
prone to, or likely to fall into, the practice, to remember the words of
Mrs. SULLEN, in the BEAUX' STRATAGEM: 'My husband,' says she, addressing
a footman whom she had taken as a paramour, 'comes reeling home at
midnight, tumbles in beside me as a salmon flounces in a net, oversets
the economy of my bed, belches the fumes of his drink in my face, then
twists himself round, leaving me half naked, and listening till morning
to that tuneful nightingale, his nose.' It is at least forty-three years
since I read the BEAUX' STRATAGEM, and I now quote from memory; but the
passage has always occurred to me whenever I have seen a sottish
husband; and though that species of revenge, for the taking of which the
lady made this apology, was carrying the thing too far, yet I am ready
to confess, that if I had to sit in judgment on her for taking even this
revenge, my sentence would be very lenient; for what right has such a
husband to expect _fidelity_? He has broken his vow; and by what rule of
right has she to be bound to hers? She thought that she was marrying _a
man_; and she finds that she was married to a beast. He has, indeed,
committed no offence that _the law of the land_ can reach; but he has
violated the vow by which he obtained possession of her person; and, in
the eye of justice, the compact between them is dissolved.

174. The way to avoid the sad consequences of which I have been speaking
is _to begin well_: many a man has become a sottish husband, and brought
a family to ruin, without being sottishly _inclined_, and without
_liking_ the gossip of the ale or coffee house. It is by slow degrees
that the mischief is done. He is first inveigled, and, in time, he
really likes the thing; and, when arrived at that point, he is
incurable. Let him resolve, from the very first, _never to spend an hour
from home_, unless business, or, at least, some necessary and rational
purpose demand it. Where ought he to be, but with the person whom he
himself hath chosen to be his partner for life, and the mother of his
children? What _other company_ ought he to deem so good and so fitting
as this? With whom else can he so pleasantly spend his hours of leisure
and relaxation? Besides, if he quit her to seek company more agreeable,
is not she set at large by that act of his? What justice is there in
confining her at home without any company at all, while he rambles forth
in search of company more gay than he finds at home?

175. Let the young married man try the thing; let him resolve not to be
seduced from his home; let him never go, in one single instance,
unnecessarily from his own fire-side. _Habit_ is a powerful thing; and
if he begin right, the pleasure that he will derive from it will induce
him to continue right. This is not being '_tied to the apron-strings_,'
which means quite another matter, as I shall show by-and-by. It is being
at the husband's place, whether he have children or not. And is there
any want of matter for conversation between a man and his wife? Why not
talk of the daily occurrences to her, as well as to any body else; and
especially to a company of tippling and noisy men? If you excuse
yourself by saying that you go _to read the newspaper_, I answer, _buy
the newspaper_, if you must read it: the cost is not half of what you
spend per day at the pot-house; and then you have it your own, and may
read it at your leisure, and your wife can read it as well as yourself,
if read it you must. And, in short, what must that man be made of, who
does not prefer sitting by his own fire-side with his wife and children,
reading to them, or hearing them read, to hearing the gabble and
balderdash of a club or a pot-house company!

176. Men must frequently be from home at all hours of the day and night.
Sailors, soldiers, merchants, all men out of the common track of labour,
and even some in the very lowest walks, are sometimes compelled by their
affairs, or by circumstances, to be from their homes. But what I protest
against is, the _habit_ of spending _leisure_ hours from home, and near
to it; and doing this without any necessity, and by _choice_: liking the
next door, or any house in the same street, better than your own. When
absent from _necessity_, there is no wound given to the heart of the
wife; she concludes that you would be with her if you could, and that
satisfies; she laments the absence, but submits to it without
complaining. Yet, in these cases, her feelings ought to be consulted as
much as possible; she ought to be fully apprised of the probable
duration of the absence, and of the time of return; and if these be
dependent on circumstances, those circumstances ought to be fully
stated; for you have no right to keep her mind upon the rack, when you
have it in your power to put it in a state of ease. Few men have been
more frequently taken from home by business, or by a necessity of some
sort, than I have; and I can positively assert, that, as to my return, I
never once disappointed my wife in the whole course of our married life.
If the time of return was contingent, I never failed to keep her
informed _from day to day_: if the time was fixed, or when it became
fixed, my arrival was as sure as my life. Going from London to Botley,
once, with Mr. FINNERTY, whose name I can never pronounce without an
expression of my regard for his memory, we stopped at ALTON, to dine
with a friend, who, delighted with Finnerty's talk, as every body else
was, kept us till ten or eleven o'clock, and was proceeding to _the
other bottle_, when I put in my protest, saying, 'We must go, my wife
will be frightened.' 'Blood, man,' said Finnerty, 'you do not mean to go
home to-night!' I told him I did; and then sent my son, who was with us,
to order out the post-chaise. We had twenty-three miles to go, during
which we debated the question, whether Mrs. COBBETT would be up to
receive us, I contending for the affirmative, and he for the negative.
She was up, and had a nice fire for us to sit down at. She had not
committed the matter to a servant: her servants and children were all in
bed; and she was up, to perform the duty of receiving her husband and
his friend. 'You did not expect him?' said Finnerty. 'To be sure I did,'
said she; 'he never disappointed me in his life.'

177. Now, if all young men knew how much value women set upon this
species of fidelity, there would be fewer unhappy couples than there
are. If men have appointments with _lords_, they never dream of breaking
them; and I can assure them that wives are as sensitive in this respect
as lords. I had seen many instances of conjugal unhappiness arising out
of that carelessness which left wives in a state of uncertainty as to
the movements of their husbands; and I took care, from the very outset,
to guard against it. For no man has a right to sport with the feelings
of any innocent person whatever, and particularly with those of one who
has committed her happiness to his hands. The truth is, that men in
general look upon women as having no feelings different from their own;
and they know that they themselves would regard such disappointments as
nothing. But this is a great mistake: women feel more acutely than men;
their love is more ardent, more pure, more lasting, and they are more
frank and sincere in the utterance of their feelings. They ought to be
treated with due consideration had for all their amiable qualities and
all their weaknesses, and nothing by which their minds are affected
ought to be deemed a _trifle_.

178. When we consider what a young woman gives up on her wedding day;
she makes a surrender, an absolute surrender, of her liberty, for the
joint lives of the parties; she gives the husband the absolute right of
causing her to live in what place, and in what manner and what society,
he pleases; she gives him the power to take from her, and to use, for
his own purposes, all her goods, unless reserved by some legal
instrument; and, above all, she surrenders to him _her person_. Then,
when we consider the pains which they endure for us, and the large share
of all the anxious parental cares that fall to their lot; when we
consider their devotion to us, and how unshaken their affection remains
in our ailments, even though the most tedious and disgusting; when we
consider the offices that they perform, and cheerfully perform, for us,
when, were we left to one another, we should perish from neglect; when
we consider their devotion to their children, how evidently they love
them better, in numerous instances, than their own lives; when we
consider these things, how can a just man think any thing a trifle that
affects their happiness? I was once going, in my gig, up the hill, in
the village of FRANKFORD, near Philadelphia, when a little girl, about
two years old, who had toddled away from a small house, was lying
basking in the sun, in the middle of the road. About two hundred yards
before I got to the child, the teams, five big horses in each, of three
wagons, the drivers of which had stopped to drink at a tavern on the
brow of the hill, started off, and came, nearly abreast, galloping down
the road. I got my gig off the road as speedily as I could; but expected
to see the poor child crushed to pieces. A young man, a journeyman
carpenter, who was shingling a shed by the side of the road, seeing the
child, and seeing the danger, though a stranger to the parents, jumped
from the top of the shed, ran into the road, and snatched up the child,
from scarcely an inch before the hoof of the leading horse. The horse's
leg knocked him down; but he, catching the child by its clothes, flung
it back, out of the way of the other horses, and saved himself by
rolling back with surprising agility. The mother of the child, who had,
apparently, been washing, seeing the teams coming, and seeing the
situation of the child, rushed out, and catching up the child, just as
the carpenter had flung it back, and hugging it in her arms, uttered _a
shriek_ such as I never heard before, never heard since, and, I hope,
shall never hear again; and then she dropped down, as if perfectly dead!
By the application of the usual means, she was restored, however, in a
little while; and I, being about to depart, asked the carpenter if he
were a married man, and whether he were a relation of the parents of the
child. He said he was neither: 'Well, then,' said I, 'you merit the
gratitude of every father and mother in the world, and I will show mine,
by giving you what I have,' pulling out the nine or ten dollars that I
had in my pocket. 'No; I thank you, Sir,' said he: 'I have only done
what it was my duty to do.'

179. Bravery, disinterestedness, and maternal affection surpassing
these, it is impossible to imagine. The mother was going right in
amongst the feet of these powerful and wild horses, and amongst the
wheels of the wagons. She had no thought for herself; no feeling of fear
for her own life; her _shriek_ was the sound of inexpressible joy; joy
too great for her to support herself under. Perhaps ninety-nine mothers
out of every hundred would have acted the same part, under similar
circumstances. There are, comparatively, very few women not replete with
maternal love; and, by-the-by, take you care, if you meet with a girl
who '_is not fond of children_,' not to marry her _by any means_. Some
few there are who even make a boast that they 'cannot bear children,'
that is, cannot _endure_ them. I never knew a man that was good for
_much_ who had a dislike to little children; and I never knew a woman of
that taste who was good for any thing at all. I have seen a few such in
the course of my life, and I have never wished to see one of them a
second time.

180. Being fond of little children argues no _effeminacy_ in a man, but,
as far as my observation has gone, the contrary. A regiment of soldiers
presents no bad school wherein to study character. Soldiers have
leisure, too, to play with children, as well as with 'women and dogs,'
for which the proverb has made them famed. And I have never observed
that effeminacy was at all the marked companion of fondness for little
children. This fondness manifestly arises from a compassionate feeling
towards creatures that are helpless, and that must be innocent. For my
own part, how many days, how many months, all put together, have I spent
with babies in my arms! My time, when at home, and when babies were
going on, was chiefly divided between the pen and the baby. I have fed
them and put them to sleep hundreds of times, though there were servants
to whom the task might have been transferred. Yet, I have not been
effeminate; I have not been idle; I have not been a waster of time; but
I should have been all these if I had disliked babies, and had liked the
porter pot and the grog glass.

181. It is an old saying, 'Praise the child, and you make love to the
mother;' and it is surprising how far this will go. To a fond mother you
can do nothing so pleasing as to praise the baby, and, the younger it
is, the more she values the compliment. Say fine things to her, and take
no notice of her baby, and she will despise you. I have often beheld
this, in many women, with great admiration; and it is a thing that no
husband ought to overlook; for if the wife wish her child to be admired
by others, what must be the ardour of her wishes with regard to _his_
admiration. There was a drunken dog of a Norfolk man in our regiment,
who came from Thetford, I recollect, who used to say, that his wife
would forgive him for spending all the pay, and the washing money into
the bargain, 'if he would but kiss her ugly brat, and say it was
pretty.' Now, though this was a very profligate fellow, he had
_philosophy_ in him; and certain it is, that there is nothing worthy of
the name of conjugal happiness, unless the husband clearly evince that
he is fond of his children, and that, too, from their very birth.

182. But though all the aforementioned considerations demand from us the
kindest possible treatment of a wife, the husband is to expect dutiful
deportment at her hands. He is not to be her slave; he is not to yield
to her against the dictates of his own reason and judgment; it is her
duty to obey all his lawful commands; and, if she have sense, she will
perceive that it is a disgrace to herself to acknowledge, as a husband,
a thing over which she has an absolute controul. It should always be
recollected that _you_ are the party whose body must, if any do, lie in
jail for debt, and for debts of her contracting, too, as well as of your
own contracting. Over her _tongue_, too, you possess a clear right to
exercise, if necessary, some controul; for if she use it in an
unjustifiable manner, it is against _you_, and not against her, that the
law enables, and justly enables, the slandered party to proceed; which
would be monstrously unjust, if the law were not founded on the _right_
which the husband has to control, if necessary, the tongue of the wife,
to compel her to keep it within the limits prescribed by the law. A
charming, a most enchanting, life, indeed, would be that of a husband,
if he were bound to cohabit with and to maintain one for all the debts
and all the slanders of whom he was answerable, and over whose conduct
he possessed no compulsory controul.

183. Of the _remedies_ in the case of _really bad_ wives, squanderers,
drunkards, adultresses, I shall speak further on; it being the habit of
us all to put off to the last possible moment the performance of
disagreeable duties. But, far short of these vices, there are several
faults in a wife that may, if not cured in time, lead to great
unhappiness, great injury to the interests as well as character of her
husband and children; and which faults it is, therefore, the husband's
duty to correct. A wife may be chaste, sober in the full sense of the
word, industrious, cleanly, frugal, and may be devoted to her husband
and her children to a degree so enchanting as to make them all love her
beyond the power of words to express. And yet she may, partly under the
influence of her natural disposition, and partly encouraged by the great
and constant homage paid to her virtues, and presuming, too, on the pain
with which she knows her will would be thwarted; she may, with all her
virtues, be thus led to _a bold interference in the affairs of her
husband_; may attempt to dictate to him in matters quite out of her own
sphere; and, in the pursuit of the gratification of her love of power
and command, may wholly overlook the acts of folly or injustice which
she would induce her husband to commit, and overlook, too, the
contemptible thing that she is making the man whom it is her duty to
honour and obey, and the abasement of whom cannot take place without
some portion of degradation falling upon herself. At the time when 'THE
BOOK' came out, relative to the late ill-treated QUEEN CAROLINE, I was
talking upon the subject, one day, with _a parson_, who had not read the
Book, but who, as was the fashion with all those who were looking up to
the government, condemned the Queen unheard. 'Now,' said I, 'be not so
shamefully unjust; but _get the book_, _read_ it, _and then_ give your
judgment.'--'Indeed,' said his wife, who was sitting by, 'but HE
SHA'N'T,' pronouncing the words _sha'n't_ with an emphasis and a voice
tremendously masculine. 'Oh!' said I, 'if he SHA'N'T, that is another
matter; but, if he sha'n't read, if he sha'n't hear the evidence, he
sha'n't be looked upon, by me, as a just judge; and I sha'n't regard
him, in future, as having any opinion of his own in any thing.' All
which the husband, the poor henpecked thing, heard without a word
escaping his lips.

184. A husband thus under command, is the most contemptible of God's
creatures. Nobody can place reliance on him for any thing; whether in
the capacity of employer or employed, you are never sure of him. No
bargain is firm, no engagement sacred, with such a man. Feeble as a reed
before the boisterous she-commander, he is bold in injustice towards
those whom it pleases her caprice to mark out for vengeance. In the eyes
of neighbours, for _friends_ such a man cannot have, in the eyes of
servants, in the eyes of even the beggars at his door, such a man is a
mean and despicable creature, though he may roll in wealth and possess
great talents into the bargain. Such a man has, in fact, no property; he
has nothing that he can rightly call _his own_; he is a beggarly
dependent under his own roof; and if he have any thing of the man left
in him, and if there be rope or river near, the sooner he betakes him to
the one or the other the better. How many men, how many families, have I
known brought to utter ruin only by the husband suffering himself to be
subdued, to be cowed down, to be held in fear, of even a virtuous wife!
What, then, must be the lot of him who submits to a commander who, at
the same time, sets all virtue at defiance!

185. Women are a _sisterhood_. They make _common cause_ in behalf of the
_sex_; and, indeed, this is natural enough, when we consider the vast
power that the _law_ gives us over them. The law is for us, and they
combine, wherever they can, to mitigate its effects. This is perfectly
natural, and, to a certain extent, laudable, evincing fellow-feeling and
public spirit: but when carried to the length of '_he sha'n't_,' it is
despotism on the one side and slavery on the other. Watch, therefore,
the incipient steps of encroachment; and they come on so slowly, so
softly, that you must be sharp-sighted if you perceive them; but the
moment you _do perceive them_: your love will blind for too long a time;
but the moment you do perceive them, put at once an effectual stop to
their progress. Never mind the pain that it may give you: a day of pain
at this time will spare you years of pain in time to come. Many a man
has been miserable, and made his wife miserable too, for a score or two
of years, only for want of resolution to bear one day of pain: and it is
a great deal to bear; it is a great deal to do to thwart the desire of
one whom you so dearly love, and whose virtues daily render her more and
more dear to you. But (and this is one of the most admirable of the
mother's traits) as she herself will, while the tears stream from her
eyes, force the nauseous medicine down the throat of her child, whose
every cry is a dagger to her heart; as she herself has the courage to do
this for the sake of her child, why should you flinch from the
performance of a still more important and more sacred duty towards
herself, as well as towards you and your children?

186. Am I recommending _tyranny_? Am I recommending _disregard_ of the
wife's opinions and wishes? Am I recommending a _reserve_ towards her
that would seem to say that she was not trust-worthy, or not a party
interested in her husband's affairs? By no means: on the contrary,
though I would keep any thing disagreeable from her, I should not enjoy
the prospect of good without making her a participator. But reason says,
and God has said, that it is the duty of wives to be obedient to their
husbands; and the very nature of things prescribes that there must be _a
head_ of every house, and an _undivided_ authority. And then it is so
clearly _just_ that the authority should rest with him on whose head
rests the whole responsibility, that a woman, when patiently reasoned
with on the subject, must be a virago in her very nature not to submit
with docility to the terms of her marriage vow.

187. There are, in almost every considerable neighbourhood, a little
squadron of she-commanders, generally the youngish wives of old or
weak-minded men, and generally without children. These are the
tutoresses of the young wives of the vicinage; they, in virtue of their
experience, not only school the wives, but scold the husbands; they
teach the former how to encroach and the latter how to yield: so that if
you suffer this to go quietly on, you are soon under the care of a
_comité_ as completely as if you were insane. You want no _comité_:
reason, law, religion, the marriage vow; all these have made you head,
have given you full power to rule your family, and if you give up your
right, you deserve the contempt that assuredly awaits you, and also the
ruin that is, in all probability, your doom.

188. Taking it for granted that you will not suffer more than a second
or third session of the female _comité_, let me say a word or two about
the conduct of men in deciding between the conflicting opinions of
husbands and wives. When a wife has _a point to carry_, and finds
herself hard pushed, or when she thinks it necessary to call to her aid
all the force she can possibly muster, one of her resources is, the vote
on her side of all her husband's visiting friends. 'My husband thinks so
and so, and I think so and so; now, Mr. Tomkins, don't you think _I am
right_?' To be sure he does; and so does Mr. Jenkins, and so does
Wilkins, and so does Mr. Dickins, and you would swear that they were all
her _kins_. Now this is very foolish, to say the least of it. None of
these complaisant _kins_ would like this in their own case. It is the
fashion to say _aye_ to all that a woman asserts, or contends for,
especially in contradiction to her husband; and a very pernicious
fashion it is. It is, in fact, not to pay her a compliment worthy of
acceptance, but to treat her as an empty and conceited fool; and no
sensible woman will, except from mere inadvertence, make the appeal.
This fashion, however, foolish and contemptible as it is in itself, is
attended, very frequently, with serious consequences. Backed by the
opinions of her husband's friends, the wife returns to the charge with
redoubled vigour and obstinacy; and if you do not yield, ten to one but
a _quarrel_ is the result; or, at least, something approaching towards
it. A gentleman at whose house I was, about five years ago, was about to
take a farm for his eldest son, who was a very fine young man, about
eighteen years old. The mother, who was as virtuous and as sensible a
woman as I have ever known, wished him to be 'in the law.' There were
six or eight intimate friends present, and all unhesitatingly joined the
lady, thinking it a pity that HARRY, who had had 'such a good
education,' should be _buried_ in a farm-house. 'And don't _you_ think
so too, Mr. Cobbett,' said the lady, with great earnestness. 'Indeed,
Ma'am,' said I, 'I should think it very great presumption in me to offer
any opinion at all, and especially in opposition to the known decision
of the father, who is the best judge, and the only rightful judge, in
such a case.' This was a very sensible and well-behaved woman, and I
still respect her very highly; but I could perceive that I instantly
dropped out of her good graces. Harry, however, I was glad to hear, went
'to be _buried_ in the farm-house.'

189. 'A house divided against itself,' or, rather, _in_ itself, 'cannot
stand;' and it _is_ divided against itself if there be a _divided
authority_. The wife ought to be _heard_, and _patiently_ heard; she
ought to be reasoned with, and, if possible, convinced; but if, after
all endeavours in this way, she remain opposed to the husband's opinion,
his will _must_ be obeyed; or he, at once, becomes nothing; she is, in
fact, the _master_, and he is nothing but an insignificant inmate. As to
matters of little comparative moment; as to what shall be for dinner; as
to how the house shall be furnished; as to the management of the house
and of menial servants; as to these matters, and many others, the wife
may have her way without any danger; but when the questions are, what is
to be the _calling_ to be pursued; what is to be the _place of
residence_; what is to be the _style_ of living and _scale_ of expence;
what is to be done with _property_; what the manner and place of
educating children; what is to be their _calling_ or state of life; who
are to be employed or entrusted by the husband; what are the principles
that he is to adopt as to public matters; whom he is to have for
coadjutors or friends; all these must be left solely to the husband; in
all these he must have his will; or there never can be any harmony in
the family.

190. Nevertheless, in some of these concerns, wives should be heard with
a great deal of attention, especially in the affairs of choosing your
male acquaintances and friends and associates. Women are more
quick-sighted than men; they are less disposed to confide in persons
upon a first acquaintance; they are more suspicious as to motives; they
are less liable to be deceived by professions and protestations; they
watch words with a more scrutinizing ear, and looks with a keener eye;
and, making due allowance for their prejudices in particular cases,
their opinions and remonstrances, with regard to matters of this sort,
ought not to be set at naught without great deliberation. LOUVET, one of
the Brissotins, who fled for their lives in the time of ROBESPIERRE;
this LOUVET, in his narrative, entitled '_Mes Perils_' and which I read,
for the first time, to divert my mind from the perils of the
yellow-fever, in Philadelphia, but with which I was so captivated as to
have read it many times since; this writer, giving an account of his
wonderful dangers and escapes, relates, that being on his way to Paris
from the vicinity of Bordeaux, and having no regular _passport_, fell
lame, but finally crept on to a miserable pot-house, in a small town in
the Limosin. The landlord questioned him with regard to who and what he
was and whence he came and was satisfied with his answers. But the
landlady, who had looked sharply at him on his arrival, whispered a
little boy, who ran away, and quickly returned with the mayor of the
town. LOUVET soon discovered that there was no danger in the mayor, who
could not decipher his forged passport, and who, being well plied with
wine, wanted to hear no more of the matter. The landlady, perceiving
this, slipped out and brought a couple of aldermen, who asked _to see
the passport_. 'O, yes; but _drink first_.' Then there was a laughing
story to tell over again, at the request of the half-drunken mayor; then
a laughing and more drinking; the passport in LOUVET'S hand, but _never
opened_, and, while another toast was drinking, the passport slid back
quietly into the pocket; the woman looking furious all the while. At
last, the mayor, the aldermen, and the landlord, all nearly drunk, shook
hands with LOUVET, and wished him a good journey, swore he was a _true
sans culotte_; but, he says, that the 'sharp-sighted woman, who was to
be deceived by none of his stories or professions, saw him get off with
deep and manifest disappointment and chagrin.' I have thought of this
many times since, when I have had occasion to witness the
quick-sightedness and penetration of women. The same quality that makes
them, as they notoriously are, more quick in discovering expedients in
cases of difficulty, makes them more apt to penetrate into motives and

191. I now come to a matter of the greatest possible importance; namely,
that great troubler of the married state, that great bane of families,
JEALOUSY; and I shall first speak of _jealousy_ in the _wife_. This is
always an unfortunate thing, and sometimes fatal. Yet, if there be a
great propensity towards it, it is very difficult to be prevented. One
thing, however, every husband can do in the way of prevention; and that
is, _to give no ground for it_. And here, it is not sufficient that he
strictly adhere to his marriage vow; he ought further to abstain from
every art, however free from guilt, calculated to awaken the slightest
degree of suspicion in a mind, the peace of which he is bound by every
tie of justice and humanity not to disturb, or, if he can avoid it, to
suffer it to be disturbed by others. A woman that is very fond of her
husband, and this is the case with nine-tenths of English and American
women, does not like to share with another any, even the smallest
portion, not only of his affection, but of his assiduities and applause;
and, as the bestowing of them on another, and receiving payment in kind,
can serve no purpose other than of gratifying one's _vanity_, they ought
to be abstained from, and especially if the gratification be to be
purchased with even the chance of exciting uneasiness in her, whom it is
your sacred duty to make as happy as you can.

192. For about two or three years after I was married, I, retaining some
of my military manners, used, both in France and America, to _romp_ most
famously with the girls that came in my way; till one day, at
Philadelphia, my wife said to me, in a very gentle manner, 'Don't do
that: _I do not like it_.' That was quite enough: I had never _thought_
on the subject before: one hair of her head was more dear to me than all
the other women in the world, and this I knew that she knew; but I now
saw that this was not all that she had a right to from me; I saw, that
she had the further claim upon me that I should abstain from every thing
that might induce others to believe that there was any other woman for
whom, even if I were at liberty, I had any affection. I beseech young
married men to bear this in mind; for, on some trifle of this sort, the
happiness or misery of a long life frequently turns. If the mind of a
wife be disturbed on this score, every possible means ought to be used
to restore it to peace; and though her suspicions be perfectly
groundless; though they be wild as the dreams of madmen; though they may
present a mixture of the furious and the ridiculous, still they are to
be treated with the greatest lenity and tenderness; and if, after all,
you fail, the frailty is to be lamented as a misfortune, and not
punished as a fault, seeing that it _must_ have its foundation in a
feeling towards you, which it would be the basest of ingratitude, and
the most ferocious of cruelty, to repay by harshness of any description.

193. As to those husbands who make the _unjust_ suspicions of their
wives a _justification_ for making those suspicions just; as to such as
can make a sport of such suspicions, rather brag of them than otherwise,
and endeavour to aggravate rather than assuage them; as to such I have
nothing to say, they being far without the scope of any advice that I
can offer. But to such as are not of this description, I have a remark
or two to offer with respect to measures of _prevention_.

194. And, first, I never could see the _sense_ of its being a piece of
etiquette, a sort of mark of _good breeding_, to make it a rule that man
and wife are not to sit side by side in a mixed company; that if a party
walk out, the wife is to give her arm to some other than her husband;
that if there be any other hand near, _his_ is not to help to a seat or
into a carriage. I never could see the _sense_ of this; but I have
always seen the _nonsense_ of it plainly enough; it is, in short,
amongst many other foolish and mischievous things that we do in aping
the manners of those whose riches (frequently ill-gotten) and whose
power embolden them to set, with impunity, pernicious examples; and to
their examples this nation owes more of its degradation in morals than
to any other source. The truth is, that this is a piece _of false
refinement_: it, being interpreted, means, that so free are the parties
from a liability to suspicion, so innately virtuous and pure are they,
that each man can safely trust his wife with another man, and each woman
her husband with another woman. But this piece of false refinement, like
all others, overshoots its mark; it says too much; for it says that the
parties have _lewd thoughts in their minds_. This is not the _fact_,
with regard to people in general; but it must have been the origin of
this set of consummately ridiculous and contemptible rules.

195. Now I would advise a young man, especially if he have a pretty
wife, not to commit her unnecessarily to the care of any other man; not
to be separated from her in this studious and ceremonious manner; and
not to be ashamed to prefer her company and conversation to that of any
other woman. I never could discover any _good-breeding_ in setting
another man, almost expressly, to poke his nose up in the face of my
wife, and talk nonsense to her; for, in such cases, nonsense it
generally is. It is not a thing of much consequence, to be sure; but
when the wife is young, especially, it is not seemly, at any rate, and
it cannot possibly lead to any good, though it may not lead to any great
evil. And, on the other hand, you may be quite sure that, whatever she
may _seem_ to think of the matter, she will not like _you_ the better
for your attentions of this sort to other women, especially if they be
young and handsome: and as this species of fashionable nonsense can do
you no good, why gratify your love of talk, or the vanity of any woman,
at even the risk of exciting uneasiness in that mind of which it is your
most sacred duty to preserve, if you can, the uninterrupted

196. The truth is, that the greatest security of all against jealousy in
a wife is to show, to _prove_, by your _acts_, by your words also, but
more especially by your _acts_, that you prefer her to all the world;
and, as I said before, I know of no act that is, in this respect, equal
to spending in her company every moment of your _leisure_ time. Every
body knows, and young wives better than any body else, that people, who
can choose, will be where _they like best to be_, and that they will be
along with those _whose company they best like_. The matter is very
plain, then, and I do beseech you to bear it in mind. Nor do I see the
use, or sense, of keeping a great deal of _company_, as it is called.
What company can a young man and woman want more than their two selves,
and their children, if they have any? If here be not company enough, it
is but a sad affair. The pernicious _cards_ are brought forth by the
company-keeping, the rival expenses, the sittings up late at night, the
seeing of '_the ladies home_,' and a thousand squabbles and disagreeable
consequences. But, the great thing of all is, that this hankering after
company, proves, clearly proves, that _you want something beyond the
society of your wife_; and that she is sure to feel most acutely: the
bare fact contains an imputation against her, and it is pretty sure to
lay the foundation of jealousy, or of something still worse.

197. If acts of kindness in you are necessary in all cases, they are
especially so in cases of her _illness_, from whatever cause arising. I
will not suppose myself to be addressing any husband capable of being
_unconcerned_ while his wife's life is in the most distant danger from
illness, though it has been my very great mortification to know in my
life time, two or three brutes of this description; but, far short of
this degree of brutality, a great deal of fault may be committed. When
men are ill, they feel every neglect with double anguish, and, what then
must be in such cases the feelings of women, whose ordinary feelings are
so much more acute than those of men; what must be their feelings in
case of neglect in illness, and especially if the neglect come _from the
husband_! Your own heart will, I hope, tell you what those feelings must
be, and will spare me the vain attempt to describe them; and, if it do
thus instruct you, you will want no arguments from me to induce you, at
such a season, to prove the sincerity of your affection by every kind
word and kind act that your mind can suggest. This is the time to try
you; and, be you assured, that the impression left on her mind now will
be the true and _lasting_ impression; and, if it be good, will be a
better preservative against her being jealous, than ten thousand of your
professions ten thousand times repeated. In such a case, you ought to
spare no expense that you can possibly afford; you ought to neglect
nothing that your means will enable you to do; for, what is the use of
money if it be not to be expended in this case? But, more than all the
rest, is your own _personal_ attention. This is the valuable thing; this
is the great balm to the sufferer, and, it is efficacious in proportion
as it is proved to be sincere. Leave nothing to other hands that you can
do yourself; the mind has a great deal to do in all the ailments of the
body, and, bear in mind, that, whatever be the event, you have a more
than ample reward. I cannot press this point too strongly upon you; the
bed of sickness presents no charms, no allurements, and women know this
well; they watch, in such a case, your every word and every look: and
now it is that their confidence is secured, or their suspicions excited,
for life.

198. In conclusion of these remarks, as to jealousy in a wife, I cannot
help expressing my abhorrence of those husbands who treat it as a matter
for ridicule. To be sure, infidelity in a man is less heinous than
infidelity in the wife; but still, is the marriage vow nothing? Is a
promise solemnly made before God, and in the face of the world, nothing?
Is a violation of a contract, and that, too, with a feebler party,
nothing of which a man ought to be ashamed? But, besides all these,
there is the _cruelty_. First, you win, by great pains, perhaps, a
woman's affections; then, in order to get possession of her person, you
marry her; then, after enjoyment, you break your vow, you bring upon her
the mixed pity and jeers of the world, and thus you leave her to weep
out her life. Murder is more horrible than this, to be sure, and the
criminal _law_, which punishes divers other crimes, does not reach this;
but, in the eye of reason and of moral justice, it is surpassed by very
few of those crimes. _Passion_ may be pleaded, and so it may, for almost
every other crime of which man can be guilty. It is not a crime _against
nature_; nor are any of these which men commit in consequence of their
necessities. _The temptation is great_; and is not the temptation great
when men thieve or rob? In short, there is no excuse for an act so
unjust and so cruel, and the world is just as to this matter; for, I
have always observed, that, however men are disposed to _laugh_ at these
breaches of vows in men, the act seldom fails to produce injury to the
whole character; it leaves, after all the joking, a stain, and, amongst
those who depend on character for a livelihood, it often produces ruin.
At the very least, it makes an unhappy and wrangling family; it makes
children despise or hate their fathers, and it affords an example at the
thought of the ultimate consequences of which a father ought to shudder.
In such a case, children will take part, and they ought to take part,
with the mother: she is the injured party; the shame brought upon her
attaches, in part, to them: they feel the injustice done them; and, if
such a man, when the grey hairs, and tottering knees, and piping voice
come, look round him in vain for a prop, let him, at last, be just, and
acknowledge that he has now the due reward of his own wanton cruelty to
one whom he had solemnly sworn to love and to cherish to the last hour
of his or her life.

199. But, bad as is conjugal infidelity in the _husband_, it is much
worse in the _wife_: a proposition that it is necessary to maintain by
the force of reason, because _the women_, as a sisterhood, are prone to
deny the truth of it. They say that _adultery_ is _adultery_, in men as
well as in them; and that, therefore, the offence is _as great_ in the
one case as in the other. As a crime, abstractedly considered, it
certainly is; but, as to the _consequences_, there is a wide difference.
In both cases, there is the breach of a solemn vow, but, there is this
great distinction, that the husband, by his breach of that vow, only
brings _shame_ upon his wife and family; whereas the wife, by a breach
of her vow, may bring the husband a spurious offspring to maintain, and
may bring that spurious offspring to rob of their fortunes, and in some
cases of their bread, her legitimate children. So that here is a great
and evident wrong done to numerous parties, besides the deeper disgrace
inflicted in this case than in the other.

200. And why is the disgrace _deeper_? Because here is a total want of
_delicacy_; here is, in fact, _prostitution_; here is grossness and
filthiness of mind; here is every thing that argues baseness of
character. Women should be, and they are, except in few instances, far
more reserved and more delicate than men; nature bids them be such; the
habits and manners of the world confirm this precept of nature; and
therefore, when they commit this offence, they excite loathing, as well
as call for reprobation. In the countries where a _plurality of wives_
is permitted, there is no _plurality of husbands_. It is there thought
not at all indelicate for a man to have several wives; but the bare
thought of a woman having _two husbands_ would excite horror. The
_widows_ of the Hindoos burn themselves in the pile that consumes their
husbands; but the Hindoo _widowers_ do not dispose of themselves in this
way. The widows devote their bodies to complete destruction, lest, even
after the death of their husbands, they should be tempted to connect
themselves with other men; and though this is carrying delicacy far
indeed, it reads to Christian wives a lesson not unworthy of their
attention; for, though it is not desirable that their bodies should be
turned into handfuls of ashes, even that transmutation were preferable
to that infidelity which fixes the brand of shame on the cheeks of their
parents, their children, and on those of all who ever called them

201. For these plain and forcible reasons it is that this species of
offence is far more heinous in the wife than in the husband; and the
people of all civilized countries act upon this settled distinction. Men
who have been guilty of the offence are not cut off from society, but
women who have been guilty of it are; for, as we all know well, no
woman, married or single, of _fair reputation_, will risk that
reputation by being ever seen, if she can avoid it, with a woman who has
ever, at any time, committed this offence, which contains in itself, and
by universal award, a sentence of social excommunication for life.

202. If, therefore, it be the duty of the husband to adhere strictly to
his marriage vow: if his breach of that vow be naturally attended with
the fatal consequences above described: how much more imperative is the
duty on the wife to avoid, even the semblance of a deviation from that
vow! If the man's misconduct, in this respect, bring shame on so many
innocent parties, what shame, what dishonour, what misery follow such
misconduct in the wife! Her parents, those of her husband, all her
relations, and all her friends, share in her dishonour. And _her
children_! how is she to make atonement to them! They are commanded to
honour their father and their mother; but not such a mother as this,
who, on the contrary, has no claim to any thing from them but hatred,
abhorrence, and execration. It is she who has broken the ties of nature;
she has dishonoured her own offspring; she has fixed a mark of reproach
on those who once made a part of her own body; nature shuts her out of
the pale of its influence, and condemns her to the just detestation of
those whom it formerly bade love her as their own life.

203. But as the crime is so much more heinous, and the punishment so
much more severe, in the case of the wife than it is in the case of the
husband, so the caution ought to be greater in making the accusation, or
entertaining the suspicion. Men ought to be very slow in entertaining
such suspicions: they ought to have clear _proof_ before they can
_suspect_; a proneness to such suspicions is a very unfortunate turn of
the mind; and, indeed, few characters are more despicable than that of a
_jealous-headed husband_; rather than be tied to the whims of one of
whom, an innocent woman of spirit would earn her bread over the
washing-tub, or with a hay-fork, or a reap-hook. With such a man there
can be no peace; and, as far as children are concerned, the false
accusation is nearly equal to the reality. When a wife discovers her
jealousy, she merely imputes to her husband inconstancy and breach of
his marriage vow; but jealousy in him imputes to her a willingness to
palm a spurious offspring upon him, and upon her legitimate children, as
robbers of their birthright; and, besides this, grossness, filthiness,
and prostitution. She imputes to him injustice and cruelty: but he
imputes to her that which banishes her from society; that which cuts her
off for life from every thing connected with female purity; that which
brands her with infamy to her latest breath.

204. Very slow, therefore, ought a husband to be in entertaining even
the thought of this crime in his wife. He ought to be _quite sure_
before he take the smallest step in the way of accusation; but if
unhappily he have the proof, no consideration on earth ought to induce
him to cohabit with her one moment longer. Jealous husbands are not
despicable because they have _grounds_; but because they _have not
grounds_; and this is generally the case. When they have grounds, their
own honour commands them to cast off the object, as they would cut out a
corn or a cancer. It is not the jealousy in itself, which is despicable;
but the _continuing to live in that state_. It is no dishonour to be a
slave in Algiers, for instance; the dishonour begins only where you
remain a slave _voluntarily_; it begins the moment you can escape from
slavery, and do not. It is despicable unjustly to be jealous of your
wife; but it is infamy to cohabit with her if you _know_ her to be

205. I shall be told that the _law_ compels you to live with her, unless
you be _rich_ enough to disengage yourself from her; but the law does
not compel you to remain _in the same country with her_; and, if a man
have no other means of ridding himself of such a curse, what are
mountains or seas or traverse? And what is the risk (if such there be)
of exchanging a life of bodily ease for a life of labour? What are
these, and numerous other ills (if they happen) superadded? Nay, what is
death itself, compared with the baseness, the infamy, the never-ceasing
shame and reproach of living under the same roof with a prostituted
woman, and calling her your _wife_? But, there are _children_, and what
are to become of these? To be taken away from the prostitute, to be
sure; and this is a duty which you owe to them: the sooner they forget
her the better, and the farther they are from her, the sooner that will
be. There is no excuse for continuing to live with an adultress; no
inconvenience, no loss, no suffering, ought to deter a man from
delivering himself from such a state of filthy infamy; and to suffer his
children to remain in such a state, is a crime that hardly admits of
adequate description; a jail is paradise compared with such a life, and
he who can endure this latter, from the fear of encountering hardship,
is a wretch too despicable to go by the name of man.

206. But, now, all this supposes, that the husband has _well and truly
acted his part_! It supposes, not only that he has been faithful; but,
that he has not, in any way, been the cause of temptation to the wife to
be unfaithful. If he have been cold and neglectful; if he have led a
life of irregularity; if he have proved to her that _home_ was not his
delight; if he have made his house the place of resort for loose
companions; if he have given rise to a taste for visiting, junketting,
parties of pleasure and gaiety; if he have introduced the habit of
indulging in what are called '_innocent freedoms_;' if these, or any of
these, _the fault is his_, he must take the consequences, and he has _no
right_ to inflict punishment on the offender, the offence being in fact
of his own creating. The laws of God, as well as the laws of man, have
given him all power in this respect: it is for him to use that power for
the honour of his wife as well as for that of himself: if he neglect to
use it, all the consequences ought to fall on him; and, as far as my
observation has gone, in nineteen out of twenty cases of infidelity in
wives, the crimes have been _fairly ascribable to the husbands_. Folly
or misconduct in the husband, cannot, indeed, justify or even palliate
infidelity in the wife, whose very nature ought to make her recoil at
the thought of the offence; but it may, at the same time, deprive him of
the right of inflicting punishment on her: her kindred, her children,
and the world, will justly hold her in abhorrence; but the husband must
hold his peace.

207. '_Innocent freedoms!_' I know of none that a wife can indulge in.
The words, as applied to the demeanour of a married woman, or even a
single one, imply a contradiction. For _freedom_, thus used, means an
exemption or departure from the _strict rules of female reserve_; and, I
do not see how this can be _innocent_. It may not amount to _crime_,
indeed; but, still it is not _innocent_; and the use of the phrase is
dangerous. If it had been my fortune to be yoked to a person, who liked
'innocent freedoms,' I should have unyoked myself in a very short time.
But, to say the truth, it is all a man's own fault. If he have not sense
and influence enough to prevent 'innocent freedoms,' even _before_
marriage, he will do well to let the thing alone, and leave wives to be
managed by those who have. But, men will talk to your wife, and natter
her. To be sure they will, if she be young and pretty; and would you go
and pull her away from them? O no, by no means; but you must have very
little sense, or must have made very little use of it, if her manner do
not soon convince them that they employ their flattery in vain.

208. So much of a man's happiness and of his _efficiency_ through life
depends upon his mind being quite free from all anxieties of this sort,
that too much care cannot be taken to guard against them; and, I repeat,
that the great preservation of all is, the young couple living as much
as possible _at home_, and having as few visitors as possible. If they
do not prefer the company of each other to that of all the world
besides; if either of them be weary of the company of the other; if they
do not, when separated by business or any other cause, think with
pleasure of the time of meeting again, it is a bad omen. Pursue this
course when young, and the very thought of jealousy will never come into
your mind; and, if you do pursue it, and show by your _deeds_ that you
value your wife as you do your own life, you must be pretty nearly an
idiot, if she do not think you to be the wisest man in the world. The
_best_ man she will be sure to think you, and she will never forgive any
one that calls your talents or your wisdom in question.

209. Now, will you say that, if to be happy, nay, if to avoid misery and
ruin in the married state, requires all these precautions, all these
cares, to fail to any extent in any of which is to bring down on a man's
head such fearful consequences; will you say that, if this be the case,
_it is better to remain single_? If you should say this, it is my
business to show that you are in error. For, in the first place, it is
against nature to suppose that children can cease to be born; they must
and will come; and then it follows, that they must come by promiscuous
intercourse, or by particular connexion. The former nobody will contend
for, seeing that it would put us, in this respect, on a level with the
brute creation. Then, as the connexion is to be _particular_, it must be
_during pleasure_, or for the _joint lives of the parties_. The former
would seldom hold for any length of time: the tie would seldom be
durable, and it would be feeble on account of its uncertain duration.
Therefore, to be a _father_, with all the lasting and delightful ties
attached to the name, you must first be a husband; and there are very
few men in the world who do not, first or last, desire to be _fathers_.
If it be said, that marriage ought not to be for life, but that its
duration ought to be subject to the will, the _mutual will_ at least, of
the parties; the answer is, that it would seldom be of long duration.
Every trifling dispute would lead to a separation; a hasty word would be
enough. Knowing that the engagement is for life, prevents disputes too;
it checks anger in its beginnings. Put a rigging horse into a field with
a weak fence, and with captivating pasture on the other side, and he is
continually trying to get out; but, let the field be walled round, he
makes the best of his hard fare, and divides his time between grazing
and sleeping. Besides, there could be no _families_, no assemblages of
persons worthy of that name; all would be confusion and indescribable
intermixture: the names of _brother_ and _sister_ would hardly have a
meaning; and, therefore, there must be marriage, or there can be nothing
worthy of the name of family or of father.

210. The _cares_ and _troubles_ of the married life are many; but, are
those of the single life few? Take the _farmer_, and it is nearly the
same with the tradesman; but, take the farmer, for instance, and let
him, at the age of twenty-five, go into business unmarried. See his maid
servants, probably rivals for his smiles, but certainly rivals in the
charitable distribution of his victuals and drink amongst those of their
own rank: behold _their_ guardianship of his pork-tub, his bacon rack,
his butter, cheese, milk, poultry, eggs, and all the rest of it: look at
_their_ care of all his household stuff, his blankets, sheets,
pillow-cases, towels, knives and forks, and particularly of his
_crockery ware_, of which last they will hardly exceed a single
cart-load of broken bits in the year. And, how nicely they will get up
and take care of his linen and other wearing apparel, and always have it
ready for him without his thinking about it! If absent at market, or
especially at a distant fair, how scrupulously they will keep all their
cronies out of his house, and what special care they will take of his
_cellar_, more particularly that which holds the strong beer! And his
groceries and his spirits and his _wine_ (for a bachelor can _afford_
it), how safe these will all be! Bachelors have not, indeed, any more
than married men, a security for _health_; but if our young farmer be
sick, there are his couple of maids to take care of him, to administer
his medicine, and to perform for him all other nameless offices, which
in such a case are required; and what is more, take care of every thing
down stairs at the same time, especially his desk with the money in it!
Never will they, good-humoured girls as they are, scold him for coming
home too late; but, on the contrary, like him the better for it; and if
he have drunk a little too much, so much the better, for then he will
sleep late in the morning, and when he comes out at last, he will find
that his men have been _so hard_ at work, and that all his animals have
been taken such good care of!

211. Nonsense! a bare glance at the thing shows, that a farmer, above
all men living, can never carry on his affairs with profit without a
wife, or a mother, or a daughter, or some such person; and _mother_ and
_daughter_ imply matrimony. To be sure, a wife would cause some
_trouble_, perhaps, to this young man. There might be the midwife and
nurse to gallop after at midnight; there might be, and there ought to
be, if called for, a little complaining of late hours; but, good God!
what are these, and all the other _troubles_ that could attend a married
life; what are they, compared to the one single circumstance of the want
of a wife at your bedside during one single night of illness! A nurse!
what is a nurse to do for you? Will she do the things that a wife will
do? Will she watch your looks and your half-uttered wishes? Will she use
the urgent persuasions so often necessary to save life in such cases?
Will she, by her acts, convince you that it is not a toil, but a
delight, to break her rest for your sake? In short, now it is that you
find that what the women themselves say is strictly true, namely, that
without wives, _men are poor helpless mortals_.

212. As to the _expense_, there is no comparison between that of a woman
servant and a wife, in the house of a farmer or a tradesman. The wages
of the former is not the expense; it is the want of a _common interest_
with you, and this you can obtain in no one but a wife. But there are
_the children_. I, for my part, firmly believe that a farmer, married at
twenty-five, and having ten children during the first ten years, would
be able to save more money during these years, than a bachelor, of the
same age, would be able to save, on the same farm, in a like space of
time, he keeping only one maid servant. One single fit of illness, of
two months' duration, might sweep away more than all the children would
cost in the whole ten years, to say nothing of the continual waste and
pillage, and the idleness, going on from the first day of the ten years
to the last.

213. Besides, is the money _all_? What a life to lead!! No one to talk
to without going from home, or without getting some one to come to you;
no friend to sit and talk to: pleasant evenings to pass! Nobody to share
with you your sorrows or your pleasures: no soul having a common
interest with you: all around you taking care of themselves, and no care
of you: no one to cheer you in moments of depression: to say all in a
word, no one to _love_ you, and no prospect of ever seeing any such one
to the end of your days. For, as to parents and brethren, if you have
them, they have other and very different ties; and, however laudable
your feelings as son and brother, those feelings are of a different
character. Then as to gratifications, from which you will hardly abstain
altogether, are they generally of little expense? and are they attended
with no trouble, no vexation, no disappointment, no _jealousy_ even, and
are they never followed by shame or remorse?

214. It does very well in bantering songs, to say that the bachelor's
life is '_devoid of care_.' My observation tells me the contrary, and
reason concurs, in this regard, with experience. The bachelor has no one
on whom he can in all cases rely. When he quits his home, he carries
with him cares that are unknown to the married man. If, indeed, like the
common soldier, he have merely a lodging-place, and a bundle of clothes,
given in charge to some one, he may be at his ease; but if he possess
any thing of a home, he is never sure of its safety; and this
uncertainty is a great enemy to cheerfulness. And as to _efficiency_ in
life, how is the bachelor to equal the married man? In the case of
farmers and tradesmen, the latter have so clearly the advantage over the
former, that one need hardly insist upon the point; but it is, and must
be, the same in all the situations of life. To provide for a wife and
children is the greatest of all possible spurs to exertion. Many a man,
naturally prone to idleness, has become active and industrious when he
saw children growing up about him; many a dull sluggard has become, if
not a bright man, at least a bustling man, when roused to exertion by
his love. Dryden's account of the change wrought in CYMON, is only a
strong case of the kind. And, indeed, if a man will not exert himself
for the sake of a wife and children, he can have no exertion in him; or
he must be deaf to all the dictates of nature.

215. Perhaps the world never exhibited a more striking proof of the
truth of this doctrine than that which is exhibited in me; and I am sure
that every one will say, without any hesitation, that a fourth part of
the labours I have performed, never would have been performed, _if I had
not been a married man_. In the first place, they could not; for I
should, all the early part of my life, have been rambling and roving
about as most bachelors are. I should have had _no home_ that I cared a
straw about, and should have wasted the far greater part of my time. The
great affair of home being _settled_, having the home secured, I had
leisure to employ my mind on things which it delighted in. I got rid at
once of all cares, all _anxieties_, and had only to provide for the very
moderate wants of that home. But the children began to come. They
sharpened my industry: they spurred me on. To be sure, I had other and
strong motives: I wrote for fame, and was urged forward by
ill-treatment, and by the desire to triumph over my enemies; but, after
all, a very large part of my _nearly a hundred volumes_ may be fairly
ascribed to the wife and children.

216. I might have done _something_; but, perhaps, not a _thousandth_
part of what I have done; not even a thousandth part: for the chances
are, that I, being fond of a military life, should have ended my days
ten or twenty years ago, in consequence of wounds, or fatigue, or, more
likely, in consequence of the persecutions of some haughty and insolent
fool, whom nature had formed to black my shoes, and whom a system of
corruption had made my commander. _Love_ came and rescued me from this
state of horrible slavery; placed the whole of my time at my own
disposal; made me as free as air; removed every restraint upon the
operations of my mind, naturally disposed to communicate its thoughts to
others; and gave me, for my leisure hours, a companion, who, though
deprived of all opportunity of acquiring what is _called learning_, had
so much good sense, so much useful knowledge, was so innocent, so just
in all her ways, so pure in thought, word and deed, so disinterested, so
generous, so devoted to me and her children, so free from all disguise,
and, withal, so beautiful and so talkative, and in a voice so sweet, so
cheering, that I must, seeing the health and the capacity which it had
pleased God to give me, have been a _criminal_, if I had done much less
than that which I have done; and I have always said, that, if my country
feel any gratitude for my labours, that gratitude is due to her full as
much as to me.

217. _'Care'!_ What _care_ have I known! I have been buffeted about by
this powerful and vindictive Government; I have repeatedly had the fruit
of my labour snatched away from me by it; but I had a partner that never
frowned, that was never melancholy, that never was subdued in spirit,
that never abated a smile, on these occasions, that fortified me, and
sustained me by her courageous example, and that was just as busy and as
zealous in taking care of the remnant as she had been in taking care of
the whole; just as cheerful, and just as full of caresses, when brought
down to a mean hired lodging, as when the mistress of a fine country
house, with all its accompaniments; and, whether from her words or her
looks, no one could gather that she regretted the change. What '_cares_'
have I had, then? What have I had worthy of the name of '_cares_'?

218. And, how is it _now_? How is it when the _sixty-fourth year_ has
come? And how should I have been without this wife and these children? I
_might_ have amassed a tolerable heap of _money_; but what would that
have done for me? It might have _bought_ me plenty of _professions_ of
attachment; plenty of persons impatient for my exit from the world; but
not one single grain of sorrow, for any anguish that might have attended
my approaching end. To me, no being in this world appears so wretched as
an _Old Bachelor_. Those circumstances, those changes in his person and
in his mind, which, in the husband, increase rather than diminish the
attentions to him, produce all the want of feeling attendant on disgust;
and he beholds, in the conduct of the mercenary crew that generally
surround him, little besides an eager desire to profit from that event,
the approach of which, nature makes a subject of sorrow with him.

219. Before I quit this part of my work, I cannot refrain from offering
my opinion with regard to what is due from husband to wife, when the
_disposal of his property_ comes to be thought of. When marriage is an
affair settled by deeds, contracts, and lawyers, the husband, being
bound beforehand, has really no _will_ to make. But where he has _a
will_ to make, and a faithful wife to leave behind him, it is his first
duty to provide for her future well-being, to the utmost of his power.
If she brought him _no money_, she brought him _her person_; and by
delivering that up to him, she established a claim to his careful
protection of her to the end of her life. Some men think, or act as if
they thought, that, if a wife bring no money, and if the husband gain
money by his business or profession, that money is _his_, and not hers,
because she has not been doing any of those things for which the money
has been received. But is this way of thinking _just_? By the marriage
vow, the husband endows the wife _with all his worldly goods_; and not a
bit too much is this, when she is giving him the command and possession
of her person. But does she _not help to acquire the money_? Speaking,
for instance, of the farmer or the merchant, the wife does not, indeed,
go to plough, or to look after the ploughing and sowing; she does not
purchase or sell the stock; she does not go to the fair or the market;
but she enables him to do all these without injury to his affairs at
home; she is the guardian of his property; she preserves what would
otherwise be lost to him. The barn and the granary, though they _create_
nothing, have, in the bringing of food to our mouths, as much merit as
the fields themselves. The wife does not, indeed, assist in the
merchant's counting-house; she does not go upon the exchange; she does
not even know what he is doing; but she keeps his house in order; she
rears up his children; she provides a scene of suitable resort for his
friends; she insures him a constant retreat from the fatigues of his
affairs; she makes his home pleasant, and she is the guardian of his

220. In both these cases, the wife _helps to gain the money_; and in
cases where there is no gain, where the income is by descent, or is
fixed, she helps to prevent it from being squandered away. It is,
therefore, as much _hers_ as it is the husband's; and though _the law_
gives him, in many cases, the power of keeping her share from her, no
just man will ever avail himself of that power. With regard to the
_tying up_ of widows from marrying again, I will relate what took place
in a case of this kind, in America. A merchant, who had, during his
married state, risen from poverty to very great riches, and who had,
nevertheless, died at about forty years of age, left the whole of his
property to his wife for her life, and at her disposal at her death,
_provided that she did not marry_. The consequence was, that she took a
husband _without marrying_, and, at her death (she having no children),
gave the whole of the property to the second husband! So much for
_posthumous jealousy_!

221. Where there are _children_, indeed, it is the duty of the husband
to provide, in certain cases, against _step-fathers_, who are very prone
not to be the most just and affectionate parents. It is an unhappy
circumstance, when a dying father is compelled to have fears of this
sort. There is seldom _an apology_ to be offered for a mother that will
hazard the happiness of her children by a second marriage. The _law_
allows it, to be sure; but there is, as Prior says, 'something beyond
the letter of the law.' I know what ticklish ground I am treading on
here; but, though it is _as lawful_ for a woman to take a second husband
as for a man to take a second wife, the cases are different, and widely
different, in the eye of morality and of reason; for, as adultery in the
wife is a greater offence than adultery in the husband; as it is more
gross, as it includes _prostitution_; so a second marriage in the woman
is more gross than in the man, argues great deficiency in that
_delicacy_, that _innate_ modesty, which, after all, is the _great
charm_, the charm of charms, in the female sex. I do not _like_ to hear
a man _talk_ of his _first wife_, especially in the presence of a
second; but to hear a woman thus _talk_ of her _first husband_, has
never, however beautiful and good she might be, failed to sink her in my
estimation. I have, in such cases, never been able to keep out of my
mind that _concatenation of ideas_, which, in spite of custom, in spite
of the frequency of the occurrence, leave an impression deeply
disadvantageous to the party; for, after the greatest of ingenuity has
exhausted itself in the way of apology, it comes to this at last, that
the person has _a second time_ undergone that surrender, to which
nothing but the most ardent affection, could ever reconcile a chaste and
delicate woman.

222. The usual apologies, that 'a _lone woman_ wants a _protector_; that
she cannot _manage her estate_; that she cannot _carry on her business_;
that she wants a _home for her children_'; all these apologies are not
worth a straw; for what is the amount of them? Why, that she _surrenders
her person_ to secure these ends! And if we admit the validity of such
apologies, are we far from apologising for the kept-mistress, and even
the prostitute? Nay, the former of these _may_ (if she confine herself
to _one man_) plead more boldly in her defence; and even the latter may
plead that hunger, which knows no law, and no decorum, and no delicacy.
These unhappy, but justly-reprobated and despised parties, are allowed
no apology at all: though reduced to the begging of their bread, the
world grants them no excuse. The sentence on them is: 'You shall suffer
every hardship; you shall submit to hunger and nakedness; you shall
perish by the way-side, rather than you shall _surrender your person_ to
the _dishonour of the female sex_.' But can we, without crying
injustice, pass this sentence upon them, and, at the same time hold it
to be proper, decorous, and delicate, that widows shall _surrender their
persons_ for _worldly gain_, for the sake of _ease_, or for any
consideration whatsoever?

223. It is disagreeable to contemplate the possibility of cases of
_separation_; but amongst the evils of life, such have occurred, and
will occur; and the injured parties, while they are sure to meet with
the pity of all just persons, must console themselves that they have not
merited their fate. In the making one's choice, no human foresight or
prudence can, in all cases, guard against an unhappy result. There is
one species of husbands to be occasionally met with in all countries,
meriting particular reprobation, and causing us to lament, that there is
no law to punish offenders so enormous. There was a man in Pennsylvania,
apparently a very amiable young man, having a good estate of his own,
and marrying a most beautiful woman of his own age, of rich parents, and
of virtue perfectly spotless. He very soon took to both _gaming_ and
_drinking_ (the last being the most fashionable vice of the country); he
neglected his affairs and his family; in about four years spent his
estate, and became a dependent on his wife's father, together with his
wife and three children. Even this would have been of little
consequence, as far as related to expense; but he led the most
scandalous life, and was incessant in his demands of money for the
purposes of that infamous life. All sorts of means were resorted to to
reclaim him, and all in vain; and the wretch, availing himself of the
pleading of his wife's affection, and of his _power over the children_
more especially, continued for ten or twelve years to plunder the
parents, and to disgrace those whom it was his bounden duty to assist in
making happy. At last, going out in the dark, in a boat, and being
partly drunk, he went to the bottom of the Delaware, and became food for
otters or fishes, to the great joy of all who knew him, excepting only
his amiable wife. I can form an idea of no baseness equal to this. There
is more of _baseness_ in this character than in that of the robber. The
man who obtains the means of indulging in vice, by robbery, exposes
himself to the inflictions of the law; but though he merits punishment,
he merits it less than the base miscreant who obtains his means by his
_threats to disgrace his own wife, children_, and _the wife's parents_.
The short way in such a case, is the best; set the wretch at _defiance_;
resort to the strong arm of the law wherever it will avail you; drive
him from your house like a mad dog; for, be assured, that a being so
base and cruel is never to be reclaimed: all your efforts at persuasion
are useless; his promises and vows are made but to be broken; all your
endeavours to keep the thing from the knowledge of the world, only
prolong his plundering of you; and many a tender father and mother have
been ruined by such endeavours; the whole story _must come out at last_,
and it is better to come out before you be ruined, than after your ruin
is completed.

224. However, let me hope, that those who read this work will always be
secure against evils like these; let me hope, that the young men who
read it will abstain from those vices which lead to such fatal results;
that they will, before they utter the marriage vow, duly reflect on the
great duties that that vow imposes on them; that they will repel, from
the outset, every temptation to any thing tending to give pain to the
defenceless persons whose love for them have placed them at their mercy;
and that they will imprint on their own minds this truth, that a _bad
husband_ was never yet _a happy man_.



225. 'Little children,' says the Scripture, 'are like arrows in the
hands of the giant, and blessed is the man that hath his quiver full of
them'; a beautiful figure to describe, in forcible terms, the support,
the power, which a father derives from being surrounded by a family. And
what father, thus blessed, is there who does not feel, in this sort of
support, a _reliance_ which he feels in no other? In regard to this sort
of support there is no uncertainty, no doubts, no misgivings; it is
_yourself_ that you see in your children: their bosoms are the safe
repository of even the whispers of your mind: they are the great and
unspeakable delight of your youth, the pride of your prime of life, and
the props of your old age. They proceed from that love, the pleasures of
which no tongue or pen can adequately describe, and the various
blessings which they bring are equally incapable of description.

226. But, to make them blessings, you must act your part well; for they
may, by your neglect, your ill-treatment, your evil example, be made to
be the _contrary of blessings_; instead of pleasure, they may bring you
pain; instead of making your heart glad, the sight of them may make it
sorrowful; instead of being the staff of your old age, they may bring
your gray hairs in grief to the grave.

227. It is, therefore, of the greatest importance, that you here act
well your part, omitting nothing, even from the very beginning, tending
to give you great and unceasing influence over their minds; and, above
all things, to ensure, if possible, _an ardent love of their mother_.
Your first duty towards them is resolutely to prevent their drawing the
means of life _from any breast but hers_. That is their _own_; it is
their _birthright_; and if that fail from any natural cause, the place
of it ought to be supplied by those means which are frequently resorted
to without employing a _hireling breast_. I am aware of the too frequent
practice of the contrary; I am well aware of the offence which I shall
here give to many; but it is for me to do my duty, and to set, with
regard to myself, consequences at defiance.

228. In the first place, no food is so congenial to the child as the
milk of its own mother; its quality is made by nature to suit the age of
the child; it comes with the child, and is calculated precisely for its
stomach. And, then, what sort of a mother must that be who can endure
the thought of seeing her child at another breast! The suckling may be
attended with great pain, and it is so attended in many cases; but this
pain is a necessary consequence of pleasures foregone; and, besides, it
has its accompanying pleasures too. No mother ever suffered more than my
wife did from suckling her children. How many times have I seen her,
when the child was beginning to draw, bite her lips while the tears ran
down her cheeks! Yet, having endured this, the smiles came and dried up
the tears; and the little thing that had caused the pain received
abundant kisses as its punishment.

229. Why, now, did I not love her _the more_ for this? Did not this tend
to rivet her to my heart? She was enduring this _for me_; and would not
this endearing thought have been wanting, if I had seen the baby at a
breast that I had hired and _paid for_; if I had had _two women_, one to
bear the child and another to give it milk? Of all the sights that this
world affords, the most delightful in my eyes, even to an unconcerned
spectator, is, a mother with her clean and fat baby lugging at her
breast, leaving off now-and-then and smiling, and she, occasionally,
half smothering it with kisses. What must that sight be, then, to the
_father_ of the child?

230. Besides, are we to overlook the great and wonderful effect that
this has on the minds of children? As they succeed each other, they see
with their own eyes, the pain, the care, the caresses, which their
mother has endured for, or bestowed, on them; and nature bids them love
her accordingly. To love her ardently becomes part of their very nature;
and when the time comes that her advice to them is necessary as a guide
for their conduct, this deep and early impression has all its natural
weight, which must be wholly wanting if the child be banished to a
hireling breast, and only brought at times into the presence of the
mother, who is, in fact, no mother, or, at least, but half a one. The
children who are thus banished, love (as is natural and just) the
foster-mother better than the real mother as long as they are at the
breast. When this ceases, they are _taught_ to love their own mother
most; but this _teaching_ is of a cold and formal kind. They may, and
generally do, in a short time, care little about the foster-mother; the
_teaching_ weans all their affection from her, but it does not
_transfer_ it to the other.

231. I had the pleasure to know, in Hampshire, a lady who had brought up
a family of ten children _by hand_, as they call it. Owing to some
defect, she could not suckle her children; but she wisely and heroically
resolved, that her children should hang upon no _other breast_, and that
she would not participate in the crime of robbing another child of its
birthright, and, as is mostly the case, of _its life_. Who has not seen
these banished children, when brought and put into the arms of their
mothers, screaming to get from them, and stretch out their little hands
to get back into the arms of the nurse, and when safely got there,
hugging the hireling as if her bosom were a place of _refuge_? Why, such
a sight is, one would think, enough to strike a mother dead. And what
sort of a husband and father, I want to know, must that be, who can
endure the thought of his child loving another woman more than its own
mother and his wife?

232. And besides all these considerations, is there no crime in robbing
the child of the nurse, and in exposing it to perish? It will not do to
say that the child of the nurse may be dead, and thereby leave her
breast for the use of some other. Such cases must happen too seldom to
be at all relied on; and, indeed, every one must see, that, generally
speaking, there must be a child _cast off_ for every one that is put to
a hireling breast. Now, without supposing it possible, that the hireling
will, in any case, contrive to _get rid_ of her own child, every man who
employs such hireling, must know, that he is exposing such child to
destruction; that he is assisting to rob it of the means of life; and,
of course, assisting to procure its death, as completely as a man can,
in any case, assist in causing death by starvation; a consideration
which will make every just man in the world recoil at the thought of
employing a hireling breast. For he is not to think of pacifying his
conscience by saying, that _he_ knows nothing about the hireling's
child. He does know; for he must know, that she _has_ a child, and that
he is a principal in robbing it of the means of life. He does not cast
it off and leave it to perish himself, but he causes the thing to be
done; and to all intents and purposes, he is a principal in the cruel
and cowardly crime.

233. And if an argument could possibly be yet wanting to the husband; if
his feelings were so stiff as still to remain unmoved, must not the wife
be aware that whatever _face_ the world may put upon it, however custom
may seem to bear her out; must she not be aware that every one must see
the main _motive_ which induces her to banish from her arms that which
has formed part of her own body? All the pretences about her sore
breasts and her want of strength are vain: nature says that she is to
endure the pains as well as the pleasures: whoever has heard the
bleating of the ewe for her lamb, and has seen her _reconciled_, or at
least pacified, by having presented to her the skin or some of the blood
of her _dead_ lamb: whoever has witnessed the difficulty of inducing
either ewe or cow to give her milk to an alien young one: whoever has
seen the valour of the timid hen in defending her brood, and has
observed that she never swallows a morsel that is fit for her young,
until they be amply satisfied: whoever has seen the wild birds, though,
at other times, shunning even the distant approach of man, flying and
screaming round his head, and exposing themselves to almost certain
death in defence of their nests: whoever has seen these things, or any
one of them, must question the _motive_ that can induce a mother to
banish a child from her own breast to that of one who has already been
so unnatural as to banish hers. And, in seeking for a motive
_sufficiently powerful_ to lead to such an act, women must excuse men,
if they be not satisfied with the ordinary pretences; they must excuse
_me_, at any rate, if I do not stop even at love of ease and want of
maternal affection, and if I express my fear, that, superadded to the
unjustifiable motives, there is one which is calculated to excite
disgust; namely, a desire to be quickly freed from that restraint which
the child imposes, and to _hasten back_, unbridled and undisfigured, to
those enjoyments, to have an eagerness for which, or to wish to excite a
desire for which, a really delicate woman will shudder at the thought of
being suspected.

234. I am well aware of the hostility that I have here been exciting;
but there is another, and still more furious, bull to take by the horns,
and which would have been encountered some pages back (that being the
proper place), had I not hesitated between my duty and my desire to
avoid giving offence; I mean the employing of _male-operators_, on those
occasions where females used to be employed. And here I have _every
thing_ against me; the now general custom, even amongst the most chaste
and delicate women; the ridicule continually cast on old midwives; the
interest of a profession, for the members of which I entertain more
respect and regard than for those of any other; and, above all the rest,
_my own example to the contrary_, and my knowledge that every husband
has the same apology that I had. But because I acted wrong myself, it is
not less, but rather more, my duty to endeavour to dissuade others from
doing the same. My wife had suffered very severely with her second
child, which, at last, was still-born. The next time I pleaded for _the
doctor_; and, after every argument that I could think of, obtained a
reluctant consent. Her _life_ was so dear to me, that every thing else
appeared as nothing. Every husband has the same apology to make; and
thus, from the good, and not from the bad, feelings of men, the practice
has become far too general, for me to hope even to narrow it; but,
nevertheless, I cannot refrain from giving my opinion on the subject.

235. We are apt to talk in a very unceremonious style of our _rude_
ancestors, of their _gross_ habits, their _want of delicacy_ in their
language. No man shall ever make me believe, that those, who reared the
cathedral of ELY (which I saw the other day), were _rude_, either in
their manners or in their minds and words. No man shall make me believe,
that our ancestors were a rude and beggarly race, when I read in an act
of parliament, passed in the reign of Edward the Fourth, regulating the
dresses of the different ranks of the people, and forbidding the
LABOURERS to wear coats of cloth that cost _more_ than _two shillings a
yard_ (equal to _forty shillings_ of our present money), and forbidding
their wives and daughters to wear sashes, or girdles, _trimmed with gold
or silver_. No man shall make me believe that this was a _rude_ and
beggarly race, compared with those who now shirk and shiver about in
canvass frocks and rotten cottons. Nor shall any man persuade me that
that was a _rude_ and beggarly state of things, in which (reign of
Edward the Third) an act was passed regulating the wages of labour, and
ordering that a woman, for _weeding in the corn_, should receive a penny
a day, while a _quart of red wine_ was sold for _a penny_, and a pair of
men's shoes for _two-pence_. No man shall make me believe that
_agriculture_ was in a _rude_ state, when an act like this was passed,
or that our ancestors of that day were _rude_ in their minds, or in
their thoughts. Indeed, there are a thousand proofs, that, whether in
regard to domestic or foreign affairs, whether in regard to internal
freedom and happiness, or to weight in the world, England was at her
zenith about the reign of Edward the Third. The _Reformation_, as it is
called, gave her a complete pull down. She revived again in the reigns
of the Stuarts, as far as related to internal affairs; but the
'_Glorious Revolution_' and its debt and its taxes, have, amidst the
false glare of new palaces, roads, and canals, brought her down until
she is become the land of domestic misery and of foreign impotence and
contempt; and, until she, amidst all her boasted improvements and
refinements, tremblingly awaits her fall.

236. However, to return from this digression, _rude_ and _unrefined_ as
our mothers might be, plain and unvarnished as they might be in their
language, accustomed as they might be to call things by their names,
though they were not so _very delicate_ as to use the word
_small-clothes_; and to be quite unable, in speaking of horn-cattle,
horses, sheep, the canine race, and poultry, to designate them by their
sexual appellations; though they might not absolutely faint at hearing
these appellations used by others; _rude_ and _unrefined_ and
_indelicate_ as they might be, they did not suffer, in the cases alluded
to, the approaches of _men_, which approaches are unceremoniously
suffered, and even sought, by their polished and refined and delicate
daughters; and of unmarried men too, in many cases; and of very young

237. From all antiquity this office was allotted to _woman_. Moses's
life was saved by the humanity of the Egyptian _midwife_; and to the
employment of females in this memorable case, the world is probably
indebted for that which has been left it by that greatest of all
law-givers, whose institutes, _rude_ as they were, have been the
foundation of all the wisest and most just laws in all the countries of
Europe and America. It was the _fellow feeling_ of the midwife for the
poor mother that saved Moses. And none but a _mother_ can, in such
cases, feel to the full and effectual extent that which the operator
ought to feel. She has been in the same state _herself_; she knows more
about the matter, except in cases of very rare occurrence, than any
_man_, however great his learning and experience, can ever know. She
knows all the previous symptoms; she can judge more correctly than man
can judge in such a case; she can put questions to the party, which a
man cannot put; the communication between the two is wholly without
reserve; the _person_ of the one is given up to the other, as completely
as her own is under her command. This never can be the case with a
man-operator; for, after all that can be said or done, the native
feeling of women, in whatever rank of life, will, in these cases,
restrain them from saying and doing, before a man, even before a
_husband_, many things which they ought to say and do. So that, perhaps,
even with regard to the bare question of comparative safety to life, the
midwife is the preferable person.

238. But safety to life is not ALL. The preservation of life is not to
be preferred to EVERY THING. Ought not a man to prefer death to the
commission of treason against his country? Ought not a man to die,
rather than save his life by the prostitution of his wife to a tyrant,
who insists upon the one or the other? Every man and every woman will
answer in the affirmative to both these questions. There are, then,
cases where people ought to submit to _certain death_. Surely, then, the
mere _chance_, the mere _possibility_ of it, ought not to outweigh the
mighty considerations on the other side; ought not to overcome that
inborn modesty, that sacred reserve as to their _persons_, which, as I
said before, is the charm of charms of the female sex, and which our
mothers, _rude_ as they are called by us, took, we may be satisfied, the
best and most effectual means of preserving.

239. But is there, after all, any thing _real_ in this _greater
security_ for the life of either mother or child? If, then, risk were so
great as to call upon women to overcome this natural repugnance to
suffer the approaches of a man, that risk must be _general_; it must
apply to _all_ women; and, further, it must, ever since the creation of
man, _always_ have so applied. Now, resorting to the employment of
_men_-operators has not been in vogue in Europe more than about seventy
years, and has not been _general_ in England more than about thirty or
forty years. So that the _risk_ in employing midwives must, of late
years, have become vastly greater than it was even when I was a boy,
or the whole race must have been extinguished long ago. And, then, how
puzzled we should be to account for the building of all the cathedrals,
and all the churches, and the draining of all the marshes, and all the
fens, more than a thousand years before the word '_accoucheur_' ever
came from the lips of woman, and before the thought came into her mind?
And here, even in the use of this _word_, we have a specimen of the
_refined delicacy_ of the present age; here we have, varnish the matter
over how we may, modesty in the _word_ and grossness in the _thought_.
Farmers' wives, daughters, and maids, cannot now allude to, or hear
named, without _blushing_, those affairs of the homestead, which they,
within my memory, used to talk about as freely as of milking or
spinning; but, have they become more _really modest_ than their mothers
were? Has this _refinement_ made them more _continent_ than those _rude_
mothers? A jury at Westminster gave, about six years ago, _damages_ to a
man, calling himself a gentleman, against a farmer, because the latter,
for the purpose for which such animals are kept, had a _bull_ in his
yard, on which the windows of the gentleman looked! The plaintiff
alleged, that this was _so offensive_ to his _wife_ and _daughters_,
that, if the defendant were not compelled to desist, he should be
obliged to _brick up his windows, or to quit the house_! If I had been
the father of these, at once, _delicate_ and _curious_ daughters, I
would not have been the herald of their purity of mind; and if I had
been the suitor of one of them, I would have taken care to give up the
suit with all convenient speed; for how could I reasonably have hoped
ever to be able to prevail on delicacy, _so exquisite_, to commit itself
to a pair of bridal sheets? In spite, however, of all this '_refinement_
in the human mind,' which is everlastingly dinned in our ears; in spite
of the '_small-clothes_,' and of all the other affected stuff, we have
this conclusion, this indubitable _proof_, of the falling off in _real_
delicacy; namely, that common prostitutes, formerly unknown, now swarm
in our towns, and are seldom wanting even in our villages; and where
there was _one_ illegitimate child (including those coming before the
time) only fifty years ago, there are now _twenty_.

240. And who can say how far the employment of _men_, in the cases
alluded to, may have _assisted_ in producing this change, so disgraceful
to the present age, and so injurious to the female sex? The prostitution
and the swarms of illegitimate children have a natural and inevitable
tendency to lessen that respect, and that kind and indulgent feeling,
which is due from all men to virtuous women. It is well known that the
unworthy members of any profession, calling, or rank in life, cause, by
their acts, the whole body to sink in the general esteem; it is well
known, that the habitual dishonesty of merchants trading abroad, the
habitual profligate behaviour of travellers from home, the frequent
proofs of abject submission to tyrants; it is well known, that these may
give the character of dishonesty, profligacy, or cowardice, to a whole
nation. There are, doubtless, many men in Switzerland, who abhor the
infamous practices of men _selling themselves_, by whole regiments, to
fight for any foreign state that will pay them, no matter in what cause,
and no matter whether against their own parents or brethren; but the
censure falls upon the _whole nation_: and '_no money, no Swiss_,' is a
proverb throughout the world. It is, amidst those scenes of prostitution
and bastardy, impossible for men in general to respect the female sex to
the degree that they formerly did; while numbers will be apt to adopt
the unjust sentiment of the old bachelor, POPE, that '_every woman is,
at heart, a rake_.'

241. Who knows, I say, in what degree the employment of _men_-operators
may have tended to produce this change, so injurious to the female sex?
Aye, and to encourage unfeeling and brutal men to propose that the dead
bodies of females, if _poor_, should be _sold_ for the purpose of
exhibition and dissection before an audience of men; a proposition that
our '_rude_ ancestors' would have answered, not by words, but by blows!
Alas! our women may talk of 'small-clothes' as long as they please; they
may blush to scarlet at hearing animals designated by their sexual
appellations; it may, to give the world a proof of our excessive modesty
and delicacy, even pass a law (indeed we have done it) to punish 'an
_exposure of the person_'; but as long as our streets swarm with
prostitutes, our asylums and private houses with bastards; as long as we
have _man_-operators in the delicate cases alluded to, and as long as
the exhibiting of the dead body of a virtuous female before an audience
of men shall not be punished by the law, and even with death; as long as
we shall appear to be satisfied in this state of things, it becomes us,
at any rate, to be silent about purity of mind, improvement of manners,
and an increase of refinement and _delicacy_.

242. This practice has brought the '_doctor_' into _every family_ in the
kingdom, which is of itself no small evil. I am not thinking of the
_expense_; for, in cases like these, nothing in that way ought to be
spared. If necessary to the safety of his wife, a man ought not only to
part with his last shilling, but to pledge his future labour. But we all
know that there are _imaginary ailments_, many of which are absolutely
created by the habit of talking with or about the '_doctor_.' Read the
'DOMESTIC MEDICINE,' and by the time that you have done, you will
imagine that you have, at times, all the diseases of which it treats.
This practice has added to, has doubled, aye, has augmented, I verily
believe, ten-fold the number of the gentlemen who are, in common
parlance, called '_doctors_'; at which, indeed, I, on my own private
account, ought to rejoice; for, _invariably_ I have, even in the worst
of times, found them every where amongst my staunchest and kindest
friends. But though these gentlemen are not to blame for this, any more
than attorneys are for their increase in number; and amongst these
gentlemen, too, I have, with very few exceptions, always found sensible
men and zealous friends; though the parties pursuing these professions
are not to blame; though the increase of attorneys has arisen from the
endless number and the complexity of the laws, and from the ten-fold mass
of crimes caused by poverty arising from oppressive taxation; and though
the increase of 'doctors' has arisen from the diseases and the imaginary
ailments arising from that effeminate luxury which has been created by
the drawing of wealth from the many, and giving it to the few; and, as
the lower classes will always endeavour to imitate the higher, so the
'_accoucheur_' has, along with the '_small-clothes_,' descended from the
loan-monger's palace down to the hovel of the pauper, there to take his
fee out of the poor-rates; though these parties are not to blame, the
thing is not less an evil. Both professions have lost in character, in
proportion to the increase in the number of its members; peaches, if
they grew on hedges, would rank but little above the berries of the

243. But to return once more to the matter of _risk_ of life; can it be
that _nature_ has so ordered it, that, as a _general thing_, the life of
either mother or child shall be in _danger_, even if there were no
attendant at all? _Can this be?_ Certainly it cannot: _safety_ must be
the rule, and _danger_ the exception; this _must_ be the case, or the
world never could have been peopled; and, perhaps, in ninety-nine cases
out of every hundred, if nature were left _wholly to herself_, all would
be right. The great doctor in these cases, is, comforting, consoling,
cheering up. And who can perform this office like _women_? who have for
these occasions a language and sentiments which seem to have been
invented for the purpose; and be they what they may as to general
demeanour and character, they have all, upon these occasions, one common
feeling, and that so amiable, so excellent, as to admit of no adequate
description. They completely forget, for the time, all rivalships, all
squabbles, all animosities, all _hatred_ even; every one feels as if it
were her own particular concern.

244. These, we may be well assured, are the proper attendants on these
occasions; the mother, the aunt, the sister, the cousin, and female
neighbour; these are the suitable attendants, having some experienced
woman to afford extraordinary aid, if such be necessary; and in the few
cases where the preservation of life demands the surgeon's skill, he is
always at hand. The contrary practice, which we got from the French, is
not, however, _so general_ in France as in England. We have outstripped
all the world in this, as we have in every thing which proceeds from
luxury and effeminacy on the one hand, and from poverty on the other;
the millions have been stripped of their means to heap wealth on the
thousands, and have been corrupted in manners, as well as in morals, by
vicious examples set them by the possessors of that wealth. As reason
says that the practice of which I complain cannot be cured without a
total change in society, it would be presumption in me to expect such
cure from any efforts of mine. I therefore must content myself with
hoping that such change will come, and with declaring, that if I had to
live my life over again, I would act upon the opinions which I have
thought it my bounden duty here to state and endeavour to maintain.

245. Having gotten over these thorny places as quickly as possible, I
gladly come back to the BABIES; with regard to whom I shall have no
prejudices, no affectation, no false pride, no sham fears to encounter;
every heart (except there be one made of flint) being with me here.
'Then were there brought unto him _little children_, that he should put
his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus
said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not to come unto me; for
of such is the kingdom of heaven.' A figure most forcibly expressive of
the character and beauty of innocence, and, at the same time, most aptly
illustrative of the doctrine of regeneration. And where is the man; the
_woman_ who is not fond of babies is not worthy the name; but where is
the _man_ who does not feel his heart softened; who does not feel
himself become gentler; who does not lose all the hardness of his
temper; when, in any way, for any purpose, or by any body, an appeal is
made to him in behalf of these so helpless and so perfectly innocent
little creatures?

246. SHAKSPEARE, who is cried up as the great interpreter of the human
heart, has said, that the man in whose soul there is no _music_, or love
of music, is 'fit for murders, treasons, stratagems, and spoils.' 'Our
_immortal_ bard,' as the profligate SHERIDAN used to call him in public,
while he laughed at him in private; our '_immortal_ bard' seems to have
forgotten that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were flung into the
fiery furnace (made seven times hotter than usual) amidst the sound of
the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music;
he seems to have forgotten that it was a music and a dance-loving damsel
that chose, as a recompense for her elegant performance, the bloody head
of John the Baptist, brought to her in a charger; he seems to have
forgotten that, while Rome burned, Nero fiddled: he did not know,
perhaps, that cannibals always dance and sing while their victims are
roasting; but he might have known, and he must have known, that
England's greatest tyrant, Henry VIII., had, as his agent in blood,
Thomas Cromwell, expressed it, 'his _sweet soul_ enwrapped in the
_celestial_ sounds of music;' and this was just at the time when the
ferocious tyrant was ordering Catholics and Protestants to be tied back
to back on the same hurdle, dragged to Smithfield on that hurdle, and
there tied to, and burnt from, the same stake. Shakspeare must have
known these things, for he lived immediately after their date; and if he
had lived in our day, he would have seen instances enough of 'sweet
souls' enwrapped in the same manner, and capable, if not of deeds
equally bloody, of others, discovering a total want of feeling for
sufferings not unfrequently occasioned by their own wanton waste, and
waste arising, too, in part, from their taste for these 'celestial

247. O no! the heart of man is not to be known by this test: a _great_
fondness for music is a mark of great weakness, great vacuity of mind:
not of hardness of heart; not of vice; not of downright folly; but of a
want of capacity, or inclination, for sober thought. This is not always
the case: accidental circumstances almost force the taste upon people:
but, generally speaking, it is a preference of sound to sense. But the
man, and especially the _father_, who is not fond of _babies_; who does
not feel his heart softened when he touches their almost boneless limbs;
when he sees their little eyes first begin to discern; when he hears
their tender accents; the man whose heart does not beat truly to this
test, is, to say the best of him, an object of compassion.

248. But the mother's feelings are here to be thought of too; for, of
all gratifications, the very greatest that a mother can receive, is
notice taken of, and praise bestowed on, her baby. The moment _that_
gets into her arms, every thing else diminishes in value, the father
only excepted. _Her own personal charms_, notwithstanding all that men
say and have written on the subject, become, at most, a secondary object
as soon as the baby arrives. A saying of the old, profligate King of
Prussia is frequently quoted in proof of the truth of the maxim, that a
woman will forgive any thing but _calling her ugly_; a very true maxim,
perhaps, as applied to prostitutes, whether in high or low life; but a
pretty long life of observation has told me, that a _mother_, worthy of
the name, will care little about what you say of _her_ person, so that
you will but extol the beauty of her baby. Her baby is always the very
prettiest that ever was born! It is always an eighth wonder of the
world! And thus it ought to be, or there would be a want of that
wondrous attachment to it which is necessary to bear her up through all
those cares and pains and toils inseparable from the preservation of its
life and health.

249. It is, however, of the part which the _husband_ has to act, in
participating in these cares and toils, that I am now to speak. Let no
man imagine that the world will despise him for helping to take care of
his own child: thoughtless fools may attempt to ridicule; the unfeeling
few may join in the attempt; but all, whose good opinion is worth
having, will applaud his conduct, and will, in many cases, be disposed
to repose confidence in him on that very account. To say of a man, that
he is fond of his family, is, of itself, to say that, in private life at
least, he is a good and trust-worthy man; aye, and in public life too,
pretty much; for it is no easy matter to separate the two characters;
and it is naturally concluded, that he who has been flagrantly wanting
in feeling for his own flesh and blood, will not be very sensitive
towards the rest of mankind. There is nothing more amiable, nothing more
delightful to behold, than a _young_ man especially taking part in the
work of nursing the children; and how often have I admired this in the
labouring men in Hampshire! It is, indeed, _generally_ the same all over
England; and as to America, it would be deemed brutal for a man not to
take his full share of these cares and labours.

250. The man who is to gain a living by his labour, must be drawn away
from home, or, at least, from the cradle-side, in order to perform that
labour; but this will not, if he be made of good stuff, prevent him from
doing his share of the duty due to his children. There are still many
hours in the twenty-four, that he will have to spare for this duty; and
there ought to be no toils, no watchings, no breaking of rest, imposed
by this duty, of which he ought not to perform his full share, and that,
too, without grudging. This is strictly due from him in payment for the
pleasures of the marriage state. What _right_ has he to the sole
possession of a _woman's_ person; what right to a _husband's_ vast
authority; what right to the honourable title and the boundless power of
_father_: what _right_ has he to all, or any of these, unless he can
found his claim on the faithful performance of all the duties which
these titles imply?

251. One great source of the unhappiness amongst mankind arises,
however, from a neglect of these duties; but, as if by way of
compensation for their privations, they are much more duly performed by
the poor than by the rich. The fashion of the labouring people is this:
the husband, when free from his toil in the fields, takes his share in
the nursing, which he manifestly looks upon as a sort of reward for his
labour. However distant from his cottage, his heart is always at that
home towards which he is carried, at night, by limbs that feel not their
weariness, being urged on by a heart anticipating the welcome of those
who attend him there. Those who have, as I so many hundreds of times
have, seen the labourers in the woodland parts of Hampshire and Sussex,
coming, at night-fall, towards their cottage-wickets, laden with fuel
for a day or two; whoever has seen three or four little creatures
looking out for the father's approach, running in to announce the glad
tidings, and then scampering out to meet him, clinging round his knees,
or hanging on his skirts; whoever has witnessed scenes like this, to
witness which has formed one of the greatest delights of my life, will
hesitate long before he prefer a life of ease to a life of labour;
before he prefer a communication with children intercepted by servants
and teachers to that communication which is here direct, and which
admits not of any division of affection.

252. Then comes _the Sunday_; and, amongst all those who keep no
servants, a great deal depends on the manner in which the father employs
_that day_. When there are two or three children, or even one child, the
first thing, after the breakfast (which is late on this day of rest), is
to wash and dress the child or children. Then, while the mother is
dressing the dinner, the father, being in his Sunday-clothes himself,
takes care of the child or children. When dinner is over, the mother
puts on her best; and then, all go to church, or, if that cannot be,
whether from distance or other cause, _all pass the afternoon together_.
This used to be the way of life amongst the labouring people; and from
this way of life arose the most able and most moral people that the
world ever saw, until grinding taxation took from them the means of
obtaining a sufficiency of food and of raiment; plunged the whole, good
and bad, into one indiscriminate mass, under the degrading and hateful
name of paupers.

253. The working man, in whatever line, and whether in town or country,
who spends his _day of rest_, or any part of it, except in case of
absolute necessity, away from his wife and children, is not worthy of
the name of _father_, and is seldom worthy of the trust of any employer.
Such absence argues a want of fatherly and of conjugal affection, which
want is generally duly repaid by a similar want in the neglected
parties; and, though stern authority may command and enforce obedience
for a while, the time soon comes when it will be set at defiance; and
when such a father, having no example, no proofs of love, to plead,
complains of _filial ingratitude_, the silent indifference of his
neighbours, and which is more poignant, his own heart, will tell him
that his complaint is unjust.

254. Thus far with regard to _working_ people; but much more necessary
is it to inculcate these principles in the minds of young men in the
middle rank of life, and to be more particular, in their case, with
regard to the care due to very young children, for here _servants_ come
in; and many are but too prone to think, that when they have handed
their children over to well-paid and able servants, they have _done
their duty by them_, than which there can hardly be a more mischievous
error. The children of the poorer people are, in general, much fonder of
their parents than those of the rich are of theirs: this fondness is
reciprocal; and the cause is, that the children of the former have, from
their very birth, had a greater share than those of the latter--of the
_personal_ attention, and of the never-ceasing endearments of their

255. I have before urged upon young married men, in the middle walks of
life, to _keep the servants out of the house as long as possible_; and
when they must come at last, when they must be had even to assist in
taking care of children, let them be _assistants_ in the most strict
sense of the word; let them not be _confided in_; let children never be
_left to them alone_; and the younger the child, the more necessary a
rigid adherence to this rule. I shall be told, perhaps, by some careless
father, or some play-haunting mother, that female servants are _women_,
and have the tender feelings of women. Very true; and, in general, as
good and kind in their _nature_ as the mother herself. But they are not
the _mothers_ of your children, and it is not in nature that they should
have the care and anxiety adequate to the necessity of the case. Out of
the immediate care and personal superintendence of one or the other of
the parents, or of some trusty _relation_, no young child ought to be
suffered to be, if there be, at whatever sacrifice of ease or of
property, any possibility of preventing it: because, to insure, if
possible, the perfect form, the straight limbs, the sound body, and the
sane mind of your children, is the very first of all your duties. To
provide fortunes for them; to make provision for their future fame; to
give them the learning necessary to the calling for which you destine
them: all these may be duties, and the last is a duty; but a duty far
greater than, and prior to, all these, is the duty of neglecting nothing
within your power to insure them a _sane mind in a sound and undeformed
body_. And, good God! how many are the instances of deformed bodies, of
crooked limbs, of idiocy, or of deplorable imbecility, proceeding solely
from young children being left to the care of servants! One would
imagine, that one single sight of this kind to be seen, or heard of, in
a whole nation, would be sufficient to deter parents from the practice.
And what, then, must those parents feel, who have brought this life-long
sorrowing on themselves! When once the thing is _done_, to repent is
unavailing. And what is now the worth of all the ease and all the
pleasures, to enjoy which the poor sufferer was abandoned to the care of

256. What! can I plead _example_, then, in support of this rigid
precept? Did we, who have bred up a family of children, and have had
servants during the greater part of the time, _never_ leave a young
child to the care of servants? Never; no, not for _one single hour_.
Were we, then, tied constantly to the house with them? No; for we
sometimes took them out; but one or the other of us _was always with
them_, until, in succession, they were able to take good care of
themselves; or until the elder ones were able to take care of the
younger, and then _they_ sometimes stood sentinel in our stead. How
could we _visit_ then? Why, if both went, we bargained beforehand to
take the children with us; and if this were a thing not to be proposed,
one of us went, and the other stayed at home, the latter being very
frequently my lot. From this we _never_ once deviated. We cast aside all
consideration of convenience; all calculations of expense; all thoughts
of pleasure of every sort. And, what could have equalled the reward that
we have received for our care and for our unshaken resolution in this

257. In the rearing of children, there is _resolution_ wanting as well
as _tenderness_. That parent is not _truly_ affectionate who wants the
_courage_ to do that which is sure to give the child temporary pain. A
great deal, in providing for the _health_ and _strength_ of children,
depends upon their being duly and daily washed, when well, in cold water
from head to foot. Their cries testify to what a degree they _dislike_
this. They squall and kick and twist about at a fine rate; and many
mothers, too many, neglect this, partly from reluctance to encounter the
squalling, and partly, and _much too often_, from what I will not call
_idleness_, but to which I cannot apply a milder term than _neglect_.
Well and duly performed, it is an hour's good tight work; for, besides
the bodily labour, which is not very slight when the child gets to be
five or six months old, there is the _singing_ to _overpower the voice
of the child_. The moment the stripping of the child used to begin, the
singing used to begin, and the latter never ceased till the former had
ceased. After having heard this go on with all my children, ROUSSEAU
taught me the _philosophy_ of it. I happened, by accident, to look into
his EMILE, and there I found him saying, that the nurse subdued the
voice of the child and made it quiet, _by drowning its voice in hers_,
and thereby making it perceive that it could _not be heard_, and that to
continue to cry _was of no avail_. 'Here, Nancy,' said I (going to her
with the book in my hand), 'you have been a great philosopher all your
life, without either of us knowing it.' A _silent_ nurse is a poor soul.
It is a great disadvantage to the child, if the mother be of a very
silent, placid, quiet turn. The singing, the talking to, the tossing and
rolling about, that mothers in general practise, are very beneficial to
the children: they give them exercise, awaken their attention, animate
them, and rouse them to action. It is very bad to have a child even
carried about by a dull, inanimate, silent servant, who will never talk,
sing or chirrup to it; who will but just carry it about, always kept in
the same attitude, and seeing and hearing nothing to give it life and
spirit. It requires nothing but a dull creature like this, and the
washing and dressing left to her, to give a child the rickets, and make
it, instead of being a strong straight person, tup-shinned, bow-kneed,
or hump-backed; besides other ailments not visible to the eye.
By-and-by, when the deformity begins to appear, the doctor is called in,
but it is too late: the mischief is done; and a few months of neglect
are punished by a life of mortification and sorrow, not wholly
unaccompanied with shame.

258. It is, therefore, a very spurious kind of _tenderness_ that
prevents a mother from doing the things which, though disagreeable to
the child, are so necessary to its lasting well-being. The washing daily
in the morning is a great thing; cold water winter or summer, and _this
never left to a servant_, who has not, in such a case, either the
patience or the courage that is necessary for the task. When the washing
is over, and the child dressed in its day-clothes, how gay and cheerful
it looks! The exercise gives it appetite, and then disposes it to rest;
and it sucks and sleeps and grows, the delight of all eyes, and
particularly those of the parents. 'I can't bear _that squalling_!' I
have heard men say; and to which I answer, that 'I can't bear _such
men_!' There are, I thank God, very few of them; for, if they do not
always _reason_ about the matter, honest nature teaches them to be
considerate and indulgent towards little creatures so innocent and so
helpless and so unconscious of what they do. And the _noise_: after all,
why should it _disturb_ a man? He knows the exact cause of it: he knows
that it is the unavoidable consequence of a great good to his child, and
of course to him: it lasts but an hour, and the recompense instantly
comes in the looks of the rosy child, and in the new hopes which every
look excites. It never disturbed _me_, and my occupation was one of
those most liable to disturbance by noise. Many a score papers have I
written amidst the noise of children, and in my whole life never bade
them be still. When they grew up to be big enough to gallop about the
house, I have, in wet weather, when they could not go out, written the
whole day amidst noise that would have made some authors half mad. It
never annoyed me at all. But a Scotch piper, whom an old lady, who lived
beside us at Brompton, used to pay to come and play _a long_ tune every
day, I was obliged to bribe into a breach of contract. That which you
are _pleased with_, however noisy, does not disturb you. That which is
indifferent to you has not more effect. The rattle of coaches, the
clapper of a mill, the fall of water, leave your mind undisturbed. But
the sound of the _pipe_, awakening the idea of the lazy life of the
piper, better paid than the labouring man, drew the mind aside from its
pursuit; and, as it really was a _nuisance_, occasioned by the money of
my neighbour, I thought myself justified in abating it by the same sort
of means.

259. The _cradle_ is in poor families necessary; because necessity
compels the mother to get as much time as she can for her work, and a
child can rock the cradle. At first we had a cradle; and I rocked the
cradle, in great part, during the time that I was writing my first work,
that famous MAÎTRE D'ANGLAIS, which has long been the first book in
Europe, as well as in America, for teaching of French people the English
language. But we left off the use of the cradle as soon as possible. It
causes sleep more, and oftener, than necessary: it saves trouble; but to
take trouble was our duty. After the second child, we had no cradle,
however difficult at first to do without it. When I was not at my
business, it was generally my affair to put the child to sleep:
sometimes by sitting with it in my arms, and sometimes by lying down on
a bed with it, till it fell asleep. We soon found the good of this
method. The children did not sleep so much, but they slept more soundly.
The cradle produces a sort of _dosing_, or dreaming sleep. This is a
matter of great importance, as every thing must be that has any
influence on the health of children. The poor must use the cradle, at
least until they have other children big enough to hold the baby, and to
put it to sleep; and it is truly wonderful at how early an age they,
either girls or boys, will do this business faithfully and well. You see
them in the lanes, and on the skirts of woods and commons, lugging a
baby about, when it sometimes weighs half as much as the nurse. The poor
mother is frequently compelled, in order to help to get bread for her
children, to go to a distance from home, and leave the group, baby and
all, to take care of the house and of themselves, the eldest of four or
five, not, perhaps, above six or seven years old; and it is quite
surprising, that, considering the millions of instances in which this is
done in England, in the course of a year, so very, very few accidents or
injuries arise from the practice; and not a hundredth part so many as
arise in the comparatively few instances in which children are left to
the care of servants. In summer time you see these little groups rolling
about up the green, or amongst the heath, not far from the cottage, and
at a mile, perhaps, from any other dwelling, the dog their only
protector. And what fine and straight and healthy and fearless and acute
persons they become! It used to be remarked in Philadelphia, when I
lived there, that there was not a single man of any eminence, whether
doctor, lawyer, merchant, trader, or any thing else, that had not been
born and bred in the country, and of parents in a low state of life.
Examine London, and you will find it much about the same. From this very
childhood they are from necessity _entrusted with the care of something
valuable_. They practically learn to think, and to calculate as to
consequences. They are thus taught to remember things; and it is quite
surprising what memories they have, and how scrupulously a little
carter-boy will deliver half-a-dozen messages, each of a different
purport from the rest, to as many persons, all the messages committed to
him at one and the same time, and he not knowing one letter of the
alphabet from another. When I want to _remember_ something, and am out
in the field, and cannot write it down, I say to one of the men, or
boys, come to me at such a time, and tell me so and so. He is _sure_ to
do it; and I therefore look upon the _memorandum_ as written down. One
of these children, boy or girl, is much more worthy of being entrusted
with the care of a baby, any body's baby, than a servant-maid with
curled locks and with eyes rolling about for admirers. The locks and the
rolling eyes, very nice, and, for aught I know, very proper things in
themselves; but incompatible with the care of _your_ baby, Ma'am; her
mind being absorbed in contemplating the interesting circumstances which
are to precede her having a sweet baby of her own; and a _sweeter_ than
yours, if you please, Ma'am; or, at least, such will be her
anticipations. And this is all right enough; it is natural that she
should think and feel thus; and knowing this, you are admonished that it
is your bounden duty not to delegate this sacred trust to any body.

260. The _courage_, of which I have spoken, so necessary in the case of
washing the children in spite of their screaming remonstrances, is, if
possible, more necessary in cases of illness, requiring the application
of _medicine_, or of _surgical_ means of cure. Here the heart is put to
the test indeed! Here is anguish to be endured by a mother, who has to
force down the nauseous physic, or to apply the tormenting plaster! Yet
it is the mother, or the father, and more properly the former, who is to
perform this duty of exquisite pain. To no nurse, to no hireling, to no
alien hand, ought, if possible to avoid it, this task to be committed. I
do not admire those mothers who are _too tender-hearted_ to inflict this
pain on their children, and who, therefore, leave it to be inflicted by
others. Give me the mother who, while the tears stream down her face,
has the resolution scrupulously to execute, with her own hands, the
doctor's commands. Will a servant, will any hireling, do this? Committed
to such hands, the _least trouble_ will be preferred to the greater: the
thing will, in general, not be half done; and if done, the suffering
from such hands is far greater in the mind of the child than if it came
from the hands of the mother. In this case, above all others, there
ought to be no delegation of the parental office. Here life or limb is
at stake; and the parent, man or woman, who, in any one point, can
neglect his or her duty here, is unworthy of the name of parent. And
here, as in all the other instances, where goodness in the parents
towards the children gives such weight to their advice when the children
grow up, what a motive to filial gratitude! The children who are old
enough to deserve and remember, will witness this proof of love and
self-devotion in their mother. Each of them feels that she has done the
same towards them all; and they love her and admire and revere her

261. This is the place to state my opinions, and the result of my
experience, with regard to that fearful disease the SMALL-POX; a
subject, too, to which I have paid great attention. I was always, from
the very first mention of the thing, opposed to the Cow-Pox scheme. If
efficacious in preventing the Small-Pox, I objected to it merely on the
score of its _beastliness_. There are some things, surely, more hideous
than death, and more resolutely to be avoided; at any rate, more to be
avoided than the mere _risk_ of suffering death. And, amongst other
things, I always reckoned that of a parent causing the blood, and the
diseased blood too, of a beast to be put into the veins of human beings,
and those beings the children of that parent. I, therefore, as will be
seen in the pages of the Register of that day, most strenuously opposed
the giving _of twenty thousand pounds_ to JENNER _out of the taxes_,
paid in great part by the working people, which I deemed and asserted to
be a scandalous waste of the public money.

262. I contended, that this beastly application _could not, in nature,
be efficacious in preventing the Small-Pox_; and that, even if
efficacious for that purpose, _it was wholly unnecessary_. The truth of
the former of these assertions has now been proved _in thousands upon
thousands of instances_. For a long time, for _ten years_, the contrary
was boldly and brazenly asserted. This nation is fond of quackery of all
sorts; and this particular quackery having been sanctioned by King,
Lords and Commons, it spread over the country like a pestilence borne by
the winds. Speedily sprang up the 'ROYAL _Jennerian Institution_,' and
Branch Institutions, issuing from the parent trunk, set instantly to
work, impregnating the veins of the rising and enlightened generation
with the beastly matter. 'Gentlemen and Ladies' made the commodity a
pocket-companion; and if a cottager's child (in Hampshire at least),
even seen by them, on a common, were not pretty quick in taking to its
heels, it had to carry off more or less of the disease of the cow. One
would have thought, that one-half of the cows in England must have been
_tapped_ to get at such a quantity of the stuff.

263. In the midst of all this mad work, to which the doctors, after
having found it in vain to resist, had yielded, the _real small-pox_, in
its worst form, broke out in the town of RINGWOOD, in HAMPSHIRE, and
carried off, I believe (I have not the account at hand), _more than a
hundred persons_, young and old, _every one of whom had had the cow-pox
'so nicely_!' And what was now said? Was the quackery exploded, and were
the granters of the twenty thousand pounds ashamed of what they had
done? Not at all: the failure was imputed to _unskilful operators_; to
the _staleness of the matter_; to its not being of the _genuine
quality_. Admitting all this, the scheme stood condemned; for the great
advantages held forth were, that _any body_ might perform the operation,
and that the _matter_ was _every where abundant_ and cost-free. But
these were paltry excuses; the mere shuffles of quackery; for what do we
know now? Why, that in _hundreds_ of instances, persons cow-poxed by
JENNER HIMSELF, have taken the real small-pox afterwards, and have
either died from the disorder, or narrowly escaped with their lives! I
will mention two instances, the parties concerned being living and
well-known, one of them to the whole nation, and the other to a very
numerous circle in the higher walks of life. The first is Sir RICHARD
PHILLIPS, so well known by his able writings, and equally well known by
his exemplary conduct as Sheriff of London, and by his life-long labours
in the cause of real charity and humanity. Sir Richard had, I think, two
sons, whose veins were impregnated by the _grantee himself_. At any rate
he had one, who had, several years after Jenner had given him the
insuring matter, a very hard struggle for his life, under the hands of
the good, old-fashioned, seam-giving, and dimple-dipping small-pox. The
second is PHILIP CODD, Esq., formerly of Kensington, and now of Rumsted
Court, near Maidstone, in Kent, who has a son that had a very narrow
escape under the real small-pox, about four years ago, and who also had
been cow-poxed _by Jenner himself_. This last-mentioned gentleman I have
known, and most sincerely respected, from the time of our both being
about eighteen years of age. When the young gentleman, of whom I am now
speaking, was very young, I having him upon my knee one day, asked his
kind and excellent mother, whether he had been _inoculated_. 'Oh, no!'
said she, 'we are going to have him _vaccinated_.' Whereupon I, going
into the garden to the father, said, 'I do hope, Codd, that you are not
going to have that beastly cow-stuff put into that fine boy.' 'Why,'
said he, 'you see, Cobbett, it is to be done by _Jenner himself_.' What
answer I gave, what names and epithets I bestowed upon Jenner and his
quackery, I will leave the reader to imagine.

264. Now, here are instances enough; but, every reader has heard of, if
not seen, scores of others. Young Mr. Codd caught the small-pox at a
_school_; and if I recollect rightly, there were several other
'vaccinated' youths who did the same, at the same time. Quackery,
however, has always a shuffle left. Now that the cow-pox has been
_proved_ to be no _guarantee_ against the small-pox, it makes it'
_milder_' when it comes! A pretty shuffle, indeed, this! You are to be
_all your life in fear of it_, having as your sole consolation, that
when it comes (and it may overtake you in a _camp_, or on the _seas_),
it will be '_milder_!' It was not too mild to _kill_ at RINGWOOD; and
its _mildness_, in case of young Mr. Codd, did not restrain it from
_blinding him_ for a suitable number of days. I shall not easily forget
the alarm and anxiety of the father and mother upon this occasion; both
of them the best of parents, and both of them now punished for having
yielded to this fashionable quackery. I will not say, _justly_ punished;
for affection for their children, in which respect they were never
surpassed by any parents on earth, was the cause of their listening to
the danger-obviating quackery. This, too, is the case with other
parents; but parents should be under the influence of _reason_ and
_experience_, as well as under that of affection; and _now_, at any
rate, they ought to set this really dangerous quackery at nought.

265. And, what does _my own experience_ say on the other side? There are
my seven children, the sons as tall, or nearly so, as their father, and
the daughters as tall as their mother; all, in due succession,
inoculated with the good old-fashioned face-tearing small-pox; neither
of them with a single mark of that disease on their skins; neither of
them having been, that we could perceive, _ill for a single hour_, in
consequence of the inoculation. When we were in the United States, we
observed that the Americans were _never marked_ with the small-pox; or,
if such a thing were seen, it was very rarely. The cause we found to be,
the universal practice of having the children inoculated _at the
breast_, and, generally, at _a month_ or _six weeks old_. When we came
to have children, we did the same. I believe that some of ours have been
a few months old when the operation has been performed, but always while
_at the breast_, and as early as possible after the expiration of six
weeks from the birth; sometimes put off a little while by some slight
disorder in the child, or on account of some circumstance or other; but,
with these exceptions, done at, or before, the end of six weeks from the
birth, and _always at the breast_. All is then _pure_: there is nothing
in either body or mind to favour the natural fury of the disease. We
always took particular care about the _source_ from which the infectious
matter came. We employed medical men, in whom we could place perfect
confidence: we had their _solemn word_ for the matter coming from some
_healthy child_; and, at last, we had sometimes to _wait_ for this, the
cow-affair having rendered patients of this sort rather rare.

266. While the child has the small-pox, the mother should abstain from
food and drink, which she may require at other times, but which might be
too gross just now. To suckle a hearty child requires good living; for,
besides that this is necessary to the mother, it is also necessary to
the child. A little forbearance, just at this time, is prudent; making
the diet as simple as possible, and avoiding all violent agitation
either of the body or the spirits; avoiding too, if you can, _very hot_
or _very cold_ weather.

267. There is now, however, this inconvenience, that the far greater
part of the present young women have been _be-Jennered_; so that they
may _catch the beauty-killing disease from their babies_! To hearten
them up, however, and more especially, I confess, to record a trait of
maternal affection and of female heroism, which I have never heard of
any thing to surpass, I have the pride to say, that my wife had eight
children inoculated at her breast, and _never had the small-pox in her
life_. I, at first, objected to the inoculating of the child, but she
insisted upon it, and with so much pertinacity that I gave way, on
condition that she would be inoculated too. This was done with three or
four of the children, I think, she always being reluctant to have it
done, saying that it looked like distrusting the goodness of God. There
was, to be sure, very little in this argument; but the long experience
wore away the alarm; and there she is now, having had eight children
hanging at her breast with that desolating disease in them, and she
never having been affected by it from first to last. All her children
knew, of course, the risk that she voluntarily incurred for them. They
all have this indubitable proof, that she valued their lives above her
own; and is it in nature, that they should ever wilfully do any thing to
wound the heart of that mother; and must not her bright example have
great effect on their character and conduct! Now, my opinion is, that
the far greater part of English or American women, if placed in the
above circumstances, would do just the same thing; and I do hope, that
those, who have yet to be mothers, will seriously think of putting an
end, as they have the power to do, to the disgraceful and dangerous
quackery, the evils of which I have so fully proved.

268. But there is, in the management of babies, something besides life,
health, strength and beauty; and something too, without which all these
put together are nothing worth; and that is _sanity of mind_. There are,
owing to various causes, some who are _born_ ideots; but a great many
more become insane from the misconduct, or neglect, of parents; and,
generally, from the children being committed to the care of _servants_.
I knew, in Pennsylvania, a child, as fine, and as sprightly, and as
intelligent a child as ever was born, made an ideot for life by being,
when about three years old, shut into a dark closet, by a maid servant,
in order to terrify it into silence. The thoughtless creature first
menaced it with sending it to '_the bad place_,' as the phrase is there;
and, at last, to reduce it to silence, put it into the closet, shut the
door, and went out of the room. She went back, in a few minutes, and
found the child in _a fit_. It recovered from that, but was for life an
ideot. When the parents, who had been out two days and two nights on a
visit of pleasure, came home, they were told that the child had had _a
fit_; but, they were not told the cause. The girl, however, who was a
neighbour's daughter, being on her death-bed about ten years afterwards,
could not die in peace without sending for the mother of the child (now
become a young man) and asking forgiveness of her. The mother herself
was, however, the greatest offender of the two: a whole lifetime of
sorrow and of mortification was a punishment too light for her and her
husband. Thousands upon thousands of human beings have been deprived of
their senses by these and similar means.

269. It is not long since that we read, in the newspapers, of a child
being absolutely _killed_, at Birmingham, I think it was, by being thus
frightened. The parents had gone out into what is called an evening
party. The servants, naturally enough, had their party at home; and the
mistress, who, by some unexpected accident, had been brought home at an
early hour, finding the parlour full of company, ran up stairs to see
about her child, about two or three years old. She found it with its
eyes open, but _fixed_; touching it, she found it inanimate. The doctor
was sent for in vain: it was quite dead. The maid affected to know
nothing of the cause; but some one of the parties assembled discovered,
pinned up to the curtains of the bed, _a horrid figure_, made up partly
of a frightful mask! This, as the wretched girl confessed, had been done
to keep the child _quiet_, while she was with her company below. When
one reflects on the anguish that the poor little thing must have
endured, before the life was quite frightened out of it, one can find no
terms sufficiently strong to express the abhorrence due to the
perpetrator of this crime, which was, in fact, a cruel murder; and, if
it was beyond the reach of the law, it was so and is so, because, as in
the cases of parricide, the law, in making no provision for punishment
peculiarly severe, has, out of respect to human nature, supposed such
crimes to be _impossible_. But if the girl was criminal; if death, or a
life of remorse, was her due, what was the due of her parents, and
especially of the mother! And what was the due of the _father_, who
suffered that mother, and who, perhaps, tempted her to neglect her most
sacred duty!

270. If this poor child had been deprived of its mental faculties,
instead of being deprived of its life, the cause would, in all
likelihood, never have been discovered. The insanity would have been
ascribed to '_brain-fever_,' or to some other of the usual causes of
insanity; or, as in thousands upon thousands of instances, to some
unaccountable cause. When I was, in No. IX., paragraphs from 227 to 233,
both inclusive, maintaining with all my might, the unalienable right of
the child to the milk of its mother, I omitted, amongst the evils
arising from banishing the child from the mother's breast, to mention,
or, rather, it had never occurred to me to mention, the _loss of reason_
to the poor, innocent creatures, thus banished. And now, as connected
with this measure, I have an argument of _experience_, enough to terrify
every young man and woman upon earth from the thought of committing this
offence against nature. I wrote No. IX. at CAMBRIDGE, on Sunday, the
28th of March; and before I quitted SHREWSBURY, on the 14th of May, the
following facts reached my ears. A very respectable tradesman, who, with
his wife, have led a most industrious life, in a town that it is not
necessary to name, said to a gentleman that told it to me: 'I wish to
God I had read No. IX. of Mr. Cobbett's ADVICE TO YOUNG MEN fifteen
years ago!' He then related, that he had had ten children, _all put out
to be suckled_, in consequence of the necessity of his having the
mother's assistance to carry on his business; and that _two out of the
ten_ had come home _ideots_; though the rest were all sane, and though
insanity had never been known in the family of either father or mother!
These parents, whom I myself saw, are very clever people, and the wife
singularly industrious and expert in her affairs.

271. Now the _motive_, in this case, unquestionably was good; it was
that the mother's valuable time might, as much as possible, be devoted
to the earning of a competence for her children. But, alas! what is this
competence to these two unfortunate beings! And what is the competence
to the rest, when put in the scale against the mortification that they
must, all their lives, suffer on account of the insanity of their
brother and sister, exciting, as it must, in all their circle, and even
in _themselves_, suspicions of their own perfect soundness of mind! When
weighed against this consideration, what is all the wealth in the world!
And as to the parents, where are they to find compensation for such a
calamity, embittered additionally, too, by the reflection, that it was
in their power to prevent it, and that nature, with loud voice, cried
out to them to prevent it! MONEY! Wealth acquired in consequence of this
banishment of these poor children; these victims of this, I will not
call it avarice, but over-eager love of gain! wealth, thus acquired!
What wealth can console these parents for the loss of reason in these
children! Where is the father and the mother, who would not rather see
their children ploughing in other men's fields, and sweeping other men's
houses, than led about parks or houses of their own, objects of pity
even of the menials procured by their wealth?

272. If what I have now said be not sufficient to deter a man from
suffering _any_ consideration, _no matter what_, to induce him to
_delegate_ the care of his children, when very young, to _any body
whomsoever_, nothing that I can say can possibly have that effect; and I
will, therefore, now proceed to offer my advice with regard to the
management of children when they get beyond the danger of being crazed
or killed by nurses or servants.

273. We here come to the subject of _education_ in the _true sense_ of
that word, which is _rearing up_, seeing that the word comes from the
Latin _educo_, which means to _breed up_, or to _rear up_. I shall,
afterwards, have to speak of _education_ in the now common acceptation
of the word, which makes it mean, _book-learning_. At present, I am to
speak of _education_ in its true sense, as the French (who, as well as
we, take the word from the Latin) always use it. They, in their
agricultural works, talk of the 'éducation du Cochon, de l'Alouette,
&c.,' that is of the _hog_, the _lark_, and so of other animals; that is
to say, of the manner of breeding them, or rearing them up, from their
being little things till they be of full size.

274. The first thing, in the rearing of children, who have passed from
the baby-state, is, as to the _body_, plenty of _good food_; and, as to
the _mind_, constant _good example in the parents_. Of the latter I
shall speak more by-and-by. With regard to the former, it is of the
greatest importance, that children be well fed; and there never was a
greater error than to believe that they do not need good food. Every one
knows, that to have fine horses, the _colts_ must be kept well, and that
it is the same with regard to all animals of every sort and kind. The
fine horses and cattle and sheep all come from the _rich pastures_. To
have them fine, it is not sufficient that they have _plenty of food_
when young, but that they have _rich food_. Were there no land, no
pasture, in England, but such as is found in Middlesex, Essex, and
Surrey, we should see none of those coach-horses and dray-horses, whose
height and size make us stare. It is the _keep when young_ that makes
the fine animal.

275. There is no other reason for the people in the American States
being generally so much taller and stronger than the people in England
are. Their forefathers went, for the greater part, from England. In the
four Northern States they went wholly from England, and then, on their
landing, they founded a new London, a new Falmouth, a new Plymouth, a
new Portsmouth, a new Dover, a new Yarmouth, a new Lynn, a new Boston,
and a new Hull, and the country itself they called, and their
descendants still call, NEW ENGLAND. This country of the best and
boldest seamen, and of the most moral and happy people in the world, is
also the country of the tallest and ablest-bodied men in the world. And
why? Because, from their very birth, they have an _abundance_ of _good_
food; not only of _food_, but of _rich_ food. Even when the child is at
the breast, a strip of _beef-stake_, or something of that description,
as big and as long as one's finger, is put into its hand. When a baby
gets a thing in its hand, the first thing it does is to poke some part
of it into its mouth. It cannot _bite_ the meat, but its gums squeeze
out the juice. When it has done with the breast, it eats meat constantly
twice, if not thrice, a day. And this abundance of _good_ food is the
cause, to be sure, of the superior size and strength of the people of
that country.

276. Nor is this, in any point of view, an unimportant matter. A tall
man is, whether as labourer, carpenter, bricklayer, soldier or sailor,
or almost anything else, _worth more_ than a short man: he can look over
a higher thing; he can reach higher and wider; he can move on from place
to place faster; in mowing grass or corn he takes a wider swarth, in
pitching he wants a shorter prong; in making buildings he does not so
soon want a ladder or a scaffold; in fighting he keeps his body farther
from the point of his sword. To be sure, a man _may_ be tall and _weak_;
but, this is the exception and not the rule: _height_ and _weight_ and
_strength_, in men as in speechless animals, generally go together. Aye,
and in enterprise and courage too, the powers of the body have a great
deal to do. Doubtless there are, have been, and always will be, great
numbers of small and enterprizing and brave men; but it is _not in
nature_, that, _generally speaking_, those who are conscious of their
inferiority in point of bodily strength, should possess the boldness of
those who have a contrary description.

277. To what but this difference in the _size_ and _strength_ of the
opposing combatants are we to ascribe the ever-to-be-blushed-at events
of our last war against the United States! The _hearts_ of our seamen
and soldiers were as good as those of the Yankees: on both sides they
had sprung from the same stock: on both sides equally well supplied with
all the materials of war: if on either side, the superior skill was on
ours: French, Dutch, Spaniards, all had confessed our superior prowess:
yet, when, with our whole undivided strength, and to that strength
adding the flush and pride of victory and conquest, crowned even in the
capital of France; when, with all these tremendous advantages, and with
all the nations of the earth looking on, we came foot to foot and
yard-arm to yard-arm with the Americans, the result was such as an
English pen refuses to describe. What, then, was the _great cause_ of
this result, which filled us with shame and the world with astonishment?
Not the want of _courage_ in our men. There were, indeed, _some moral
causes at work_; but the main cause was, the great superiority of size
and of bodily strength on the part of the enemy's soldiers and sailors.
It was _so many men_ on each side; but it was men of a different size
and strength; and, on the side of the foe, men accustomed to daring
enterprise from a consciousness of that strength.

278. Why are abstinence and fasting enjoined by the Catholic Church?
Why, to make men _humble_, _meek_, and _tame_; and they have this effect
too: this is visible in whole nations as well as in individuals. So that
good food, and plenty of it, is not more necessary to the forming of a
stout and able body than to the forming of an active and enterprizing
spirit. Poor food, short allowance, while they check the growth of the
child's body, check also the daring of the mind; and, therefore, the
starving or pinching system ought to be avoided by all means. Children
should eat _often_, and as much as they like at a time. They will, if at
full heap, never take, of _plain food_, more than it is good for them to
take. They may, indeed, be stuffed with _cakes_ and _sweet things_ till
they be ill, and, indeed, until they bring on dangerous disorders: but,
of _meat plainly_ and _well cooked_, and of _bread_, they will never
swallow the tenth part of an ounce more than it is necessary for them to
swallow. Ripe fruit, or cooked fruit, if no _sweetening_ take place,
will never hurt them; but, when they once get a taste for sugary stuff,
and to cram down loads of garden vegetables; when ices, creams, tarts,
raisins, almonds, all the endless pamperings come, the _doctor_ must
soon follow with his drugs. The blowing out of the bodies of children
with tea, coffee, soup, or warm liquids of any kind, is very bad: these
have an effect precisely like that which is produced by feeding young
rabbits, or pigs, or other young animals upon watery vegetables: it
makes them big-bellied and bare-boned at the same time; and it
effectually prevents the frame from becoming strong. Children in health
want no drink other than skim milk, or butter-milk, or whey; and, if
none of those be at hand, water will do very well, provided they have
plenty of _good meat_. Cheese and butter do very well for part of the
day. Puddings and pies; but always _without sugar_, which, say what
people will about the _wholesomeness_ of it, is not only of _no use_ in
the rearing of children, but injurious: it forces an appetite: like
strong drink, it makes daily encroachments on the taste: it wheedles
down that which the stomach does not want: it finally produces illness:
it is one of the curses of the country; for it, by taking off the bitter
of the tea and coffee, is the great cause of sending down into the
stomach those quantities of warm water by which the body is debilitated
and deformed and the mind enfeebled. I am addressing myself to persons
in the middle walk of life; but no parent can be _sure_ that his child
will not be compelled to labour hard for its daily bread: and then, how
vast is the difference between one who has been pampered with sweets and
one who has been reared on plain food and simple drink!

279. The next thing after good and plentiful and plain food is _good
air_. This is not within the reach of every one; but, to obtain it is
worth great sacrifices in other respects. We know that there are
_smells_ which will cause _instant death_; we know, that there are
others which will cause death _in a few years_; and, therefore, we know
that it is the duty of parents to provide, if possible, against this
danger to the health of their offspring. To be sure, when a man is so
situated that he cannot give his children sweet air without putting
himself into a jail for debt: when, in short, he has the dire choice of
sickly children, children with big heads, small limbs, and ricketty
joints: or children sent to the poor-house: when this is his hard lot,
he must decide for the former sad alternative: but before he will
convince me that this _is_ his lot, he must prove to me, that he and his
wife expend not a penny in the _decoration_ of their persons; that on
his table, morning, noon, or night, _nothing_ ever comes that is not the
produce of _English soil_; that of his time not one hour is wasted in
what is called pleasure; that down his throat not one drop or morsel
ever goes, unless necessary to sustain life and health. How many scores
and how many hundreds of men have I seen; how many thousands could I go
and point out, to-morrow, in London, the money expended on whose
guzzlings in porter, grog and wine, would keep, and keep well, in the
country, a considerable part of the year, a wife surrounded by healthy
children, instead of being stewed up in some alley, or back room, with a
parcel of poor creatures about her, whom she, though their fond mother,
is almost ashamed to call hers! Compared with the life of such a woman,
that of the labourer, however poor, is paradise. Tell me not of the
necessity of _providing money for them_, even if you waste not a
farthing: you can provide them with no money equal in value to health
and straight limbs and good looks: these it is, if within your power,
your _bounden duty_ to provide for them: as to providing them with
money, you deceive yourself; it is your own avarice, or vanity, that you
are seeking to gratify, and not to ensure the good of your children.
Their most precious possession is _health_ and _strength_; and you have
_no right_ to run the risk of depriving them of these for the sake of
heaping together money to bestow on them: you have the desire to see
them rich: it is to gratify _yourself_ that you act in such a case; and
you, however you may deceive yourself, are guilty of _injustice_ towards
them. You would be ashamed to see them _without fortune_; but not at all
ashamed to see them without straight limbs, without colour in their
cheeks, without strength, without activity, and with only half their due
portion of reason.

280. Besides _sweet air_, children want _exercise_. Even when they are
babies in arms, they want tossing and pulling about, and want talking
and singing to. They should be put upon their feet by slow degrees,
according to the strength of their legs; and this is a matter which a
good mother will attend to with incessant care. If they appear to be
likely to _squint_, she will, always when they wake up, and frequently
in the day, take care to present some pleasing object _right before_,
and _never on the side_ of their face. If they appear, when they begin
to talk, to indicate a propensity to _stammer_, she will stop them,
repeat the word or words slowly herself, and get them to do the same.
These precautions are amongst the most sacred of the duties of parents;
for, remember, the deformity is _for life_; a thought which will fill
every good parent's heart with solicitude. All _swaddling_ and _tight
covering_ are mischievous. They produce distortions of some sort or
other. To let children creep and roll about till they get upon their
legs of themselves is a very good way. I never saw a _native American_
with crooked limbs or hump-back, and never heard any man say that he had
seen one. And the reason is, doubtless, the loose dress in which
children, from the moment of their birth, are kept, the good food that
they always have, and the sweet air that they breathe in consequence of
the absence of all dread of poverty on the part of the parents.

281. As to bodily exercise, they will, when they begin to get about,
take, if you let them alone, just as much of it as nature bids them, and
no more. That is a pretty deal, indeed, if they be in health; and, it is
your duty, now, to provide for their taking of that exercise, when they
begin to be what are called _boys_ and _girls_, in a way that shall tend
to give them the greatest degree of pleasure, accompanied with the
smallest risk of pain: in other words, to _make their lives as pleasant
as you possibly can_. I have always admired the sentiment of ROUSSEAU
upon this subject. 'The boy dies, perhaps, at the age of ten or twelve.
Of what _use_, then, all the restraints, all the privations, all the
pain, that you have inflicted upon him? He falls, and leaves your mind
to brood over the possibility of your having abridged a life so dear to
you.' I do not recollect the very words; but the passage made a deep
impression upon my mind, just at the time, too, when I was about to
become a father; and I was resolved never to bring upon myself remorse
from such a cause; a resolution from which no importunities, coming from
what quarter they might, ever induced me, in one single instance, or for
one single moment, to depart. I was resolved to forego all the means of
making money, all the means of living in any thing like fashion, all the
means of obtaining fame or distinction, to give up every thing, to
become a common labourer, rather than make my children lead a life of
restraint and rebuke; I could not be _sure_ that my children would love
me as they loved their own lives; but I was, at any rate, resolved to
deserve such love at their hands; and, in possession of that, I felt
that I could set calamity, of whatever description, at defiance.

282. Now, proceeding to relate what was, in this respect, my line of
conduct, I am not pretending that _every_ man, and particularly every
man living in _a town_, can, in all respects, do as I did in the rearing
up of children. But, in many respects, any man may, whatever may be his
state of life. For I did not lead an idle life; I had to work constantly
for the means of living; my occupation required unremitted attention; I
had nothing but my labour to rely on; and I had no friend, to whom, in
case of need, I could fly for assistance: I always saw the possibility,
and even the probability, of being totally ruined by the hand of power;
but, happen what would, I was resolved, that, as long as I could cause
them to do it, my children should lead happy lives; and happy lives they
did lead, if ever children did in this whole world.

283. The first thing that I did, when the fourth child had come, was to
_get into the country_, and so far as to render a going backward and
forward to London, at short intervals, quite out of the question. Thus
was _health_, the greatest of all things, provided for, as far as I was
able to make the provision. Next, my being _always at home_ was secured
as far as possible; always with them to set an example of early rising,
sobriety, and application to something or other. Children, and
especially boys, will have some out-of-door pursuits; and it was my duty
to lead them to choose such pursuits as combined future utility with
present innocence. Each his flower-bed, little garden, plantation of
trees; rabbits, dogs, asses, horses, pheasants and hares; hoes, spades,
whips, guns; always some object of lively interest, and as much
_earnestness_ and _bustle_ about the various objects as if our living
had solely depended upon them. I made everything give way to the great
object of making their lives happy and innocent. I did not know what
they might be in time, or what might be my lot; but I was resolved not
to be the cause of their being unhappy _then_, let what might become of
us afterwards. I was, as I am, of opinion, that it is injurious to the
mind to press _book-learning_ upon it at an _early age_: I always felt
pain for poor little things, set up, before 'company,' to repeat verses,
or bits of plays, at six or eight years old. I have sometimes not known
which way to look, when a mother (and, too often, a father), whom I
could not but respect on account of her fondness for her child, has
forced the feeble-voiced eighth wonder of the world, to stand with its
little hand stretched out, spouting the _soliloquy of Hamlet_, or some
such thing. I remember, on one occasion, a little pale-faced creature,
only five years old, was brought in, after the _feeding_ part of the
dinner was over, first to take his regular half-glass of vintner's
brewings, commonly called wine, and then to treat us to a display of his
wonderful genius. The subject was a speech of a robust and bold youth,
in a Scotch play, the title of which I have forgotten, but the speech
began with, 'My name is Norval: on the Grampian Hills my father fed his
flocks...' And this in a voice so weak and distressing as to put me in
mind of the plaintive squeaking of little pigs when the sow is lying on
them. As we were going home (one of my boys and I) he, after a silence
of half a mile perhaps, rode up close to the side of my horse, and said,
'Papa, where _be_ the _Grampian Hills_?' 'Oh,' said I, 'they are in
Scotland; poor, barren, beggarly places, covered with heath and rushes,
ten times as barren as Sherril Heath.' 'But,' said he, 'how could that
little boy's father feed _his flocks_ there, then?' I was ready to
tumble off the horse with laughing.

284. I do not know any thing much more distressing to the spectators
than exhibitions of this sort. Every one feels, not for the child, for
it is insensible to the uneasiness it excites, but for the parents,
whose amiable fondness displays itself in this ridiculous manner. Upon
these occasions, no one knows what to say, or whither to direct his
looks. The parents, and especially the fond mother, looks sharply round
for the so-evidently merited applause, as an actor of the name of
MUNDEN, whom I recollect thirty years ago, used, when he had treated us
to a witty shrug of his shoulders, or twist of his chin, to turn his
face up to the gallery for the clap. If I had to declare on my oath
which have been the most disagreeable moments of my life, I verily
believe, that, after due consideration, I should fix upon those, in
which parents, whom I have respected, have made me endure exhibitions
like these; for, this is your choice, to be _insincere_, or to _give

285. And, as towards the child, it is to be _unjust_, thus to teach it
to set a high value on trifling, not to say mischievous, attainments; to
make it, whether it be in its natural disposition or not, vain and
conceited. The plaudits which it receives, in such cases, puffs it up in
its own thoughts, sends it out into the world stuffed with pride and
insolence, which must and will be extracted out of it by one means or
another; and none but those who have had to endure the drawing of
firmly-fixed teeth, can, I take it, have an adequate idea of the
painfulness of this operation. Now, parents have _no right_ thus to
indulge their own feelings at the risk of the happiness of their

286. The great matter is, however, the _spoiling of the mind_ by forcing
on it thoughts which it is not fit to receive. We know well, we daily
see, that in men, as well as in other animals, the body is rendered
comparatively small and feeble by being heavily loaded, or hard worked,
before it arrive at size and strength proportioned to such load and such
work. It is just so with the mind: the attempt to put old heads upon
young shoulders is just as unreasonable as it would be to expect a colt
six months old to be able to carry a man. The mind, as well as the body,
requires time to come to its strength; and the way to have it possess,
at last, its natural strength, is not to attempt to load it too soon;
and to favour it in its progress by giving to the body good and
plentiful food, sweet air, and abundant exercise, accompanied with as
little discontent or uneasiness as possible. It is universally known,
that ailments of the body are, in many cases, sufficient to _destroy_
the mind, and to debilitate it in innumerable instances. It is equally
well known, that the torments of the mind are, in many cases, sufficient
to _destroy_ the body. This, then, being so well known, is it not the
first duty of a father to secure to his children, if possible, sound and
strong bodies? LORD BACON says, that 'a sound mind in a sound body is
the greatest of God's blessings.' To see his children possess these,
therefore, ought to be the first object with every father; an object
which I cannot too often endeavour to fix in his mind.

287. I am to speak presently of that sort of _learning_ which is derived
from _books_, and which is a matter by no means to be neglected, or to
be thought little of, seeing that it is the road, not only to fame, but
to the means of doing great good to one's neighbours and to one's
country, and, thereby, of adding to those pleasant feelings which are,
in other words, our happiness. But, notwithstanding this, I must here
insist, and endeavour to impress my opinion upon the mind of every
father, that his children's _happiness_ ought to be _first_ object; that
_book-learning_, if it tend to militate against this, ought to be
disregarded; and that, as to money, as to fortune, as to rank and title,
that father who can, in the destination of his children, think of them
more than of the _happiness_ of those children, is, if he be of sane
mind, a great criminal. Who is there, having lived to the age of thirty,
or even twenty, years, and having the ordinary capacity for observation;
who is there, being of this description, who must not be convinced of
the inadequacy of _riches_ and what are called _honours_ to insure
_happiness_? Who, amongst all the classes of men, experience, on an
average, so little of _real_ pleasure, and so much of _real_ pain as the
rich and the lofty? Pope gives us, as the materials for happiness,
'_health_, _peace_, and _competence_.' Aye, but what _is_ peace, and
what _is_ competence? If, by _peace_, he mean that tranquillity of mind
which innocence and good deeds produce, he is right and clear so far;
for we all know that, without _health_, which has a well-known positive
meaning, there can be no happiness. But _competence_ is a word of
unfixed meaning. It may, with some, mean enough to eat, drink, wear and
be lodged and warmed with; but, with others, it may include horses,
carriages, and footmen laced over from top to toe. So that, here, we
have no guide; no standard; and, indeed, there can be none. But as every
sensible father must know that the possession of riches do not, never
did, and never can, afford even a chance of additional happiness, it is
his duty to inculcate in the minds of his children to make no sacrifice
of principle, of moral obligation of any sort, in order to obtain
riches, or distinction; and it is a duty still more imperative on him,
not to expose them to the risk of loss of health, or diminution of
strength, for purposes which have, either directly or indirectly, the
acquiring of riches in view, whether for himself or for them.

288. With these principles immoveably implanted in my mind, I became the
father of a family, and on these principles I have reared that family.
Being myself fond of _book-learning_, and knowing well its powers, I
naturally wished them to possess it too; but never did I _impose it_
upon any one of them. My first duty was to make them _healthy_ and
_strong_ if I could, and to give them as much enjoyment of life as
possible. Born and bred up in the sweet air myself, I was resolved that
they should be bred up in it too. Enjoying rural scenes and sports, as I
had done, when a boy, as much as any one that ever was born, I was
resolved, that they should have the same enjoyments tendered to them.
When I was a very little boy, I was, in the barley-sowing season, going
along by the side of a field, near WAVERLY ABBEY; the primroses and
blue-bells bespangling the banks on both sides of me; a thousand linnets
singing in a spreading oak over my head; while the jingle of the traces
and the whistling of the ploughboys saluted my ear from over the hedge;
and, as it were to snatch me from the enchantment, the hounds, at that
instant, having started a hare in the hanger on the other side of the
field, came up scampering over it in full cry, taking me after them many
a mile. I was not more than eight years old; but this particular scene
has presented itself to my mind many times every year from that day to
this. I always enjoy it over again; and I was resolved to give, if
possible, the same enjoyments to my children.

289. Men's circumstances are so various; there is such a great variety
in their situations in life, their business, the extent of their
pecuniary means, the local state in which they are placed, their
internal resources; the variety in all these respects is so great, that,
as applicable to _every_ family, it would be impossible to lay down any
set of rules, or maxims, touching _every_ matter relating to the
management and rearing up of children. In giving an account, therefore,
of _my own_ conduct, in this respect, I am not to be understood as
supposing, that _every_ father _can_, or ought, to attempt to do _the
same_; but while it will be seen, that there are _many_, and these the
most important parts of that conduct, that _all_ fathers may imitate, if
they choose, there is no part of it which thousands and thousands of
fathers might not adopt and pursue, and adhere to, to the very letter.

290. I effected every thing without scolding, and even without
_command_. My children are a family of _scholars_, each sex its
appropriate species of learning; and, I could safely take my oath, that
I never _ordered_ a child of mine, son or daughter, _to look into a
book_, in my life. My two eldest sons, when about eight years old, were,
for the sake of their health, placed for a very short time, at a
Clergyman's at MICHELDEVER, and my eldest daughter, a little older, at a
school a few miles from Botley, to avoid taking them to London in the
winter. But, with these exceptions, never had they, while children,
_teacher_ of any description; and I never, and nobody else ever, taught
any one of them to read, write, or any thing else, except in
_conversation_; and, yet, no man was ever more anxious to be the father
of a family of clever and learned persons.

291. I accomplished my purpose _indirectly_. The first thing of all was
_health_, which was secured by the deeply-interesting and never-ending
_sports of the field_ and _pleasures of the garden_. Luckily these
things were treated of in _books_ and _pictures_ of endless variety; so
that on _wet days_, in _long evenings_, these came into play. A large,
strong table, in the middle of the room, their mother sitting at her
work, used to be surrounded with them, the baby, if big enough, set up
in a high chair. Here were ink-stands, pens, pencils, India rubber, and
paper, all in abundance, and every one scrabbled about as he or she
pleased. There were prints of animals of all sorts; books treating of
them: others treating of gardening, of flowers, of husbandry, of
hunting, coursing, shooting, fishing, planting, and, in short, of every
thing, with regard to which _we had something to do_. One would be
trying to imitate a bit of my writing, another _drawing_ the pictures of
some of our dogs or horses, a third poking over _Bewick's Quadrupeds_
and picking out what he said about them; but our book of never-failing
resource was the _French_ MAISON RUSTIQUE, or FARM-HOUSE, which, it is
said, was the book that first tempted DUQUESNOIS (I think that was the
name), the famous physician, in the reign of Louis XIV., _to learn to
read_. Here are all the _four-legged animals_, from the horse down to
the mouse, _portraits_ and all; all the _birds_, _reptiles_, _insects_;
all the modes of rearing, managing, and using the tame ones; all the
modes of taking the wild ones, and of destroying those that are
mischievous; all the various traps, springs, nets; all the implements of
husbandry and gardening; all the labours of the field and the garden
exhibited, as well as the rest, in plates; and, there was I, in my
leisure moments, to join this inquisitive group, to read the _French_,
and tell them what it meaned in _English_, when the picture did not
sufficiently explain itself. I never have been without a copy of this
book for forty years, except during the time that I was fleeing from the
dungeons of CASTLEREAGH and SIDMOUTH, in 1817; and, when I got to Long
Island, the _first book I bought_ was another MAISON RUSTIQUE.

292. What need had we of _schools_? What need of _teachers_? What need
of _scolding_ and _force_, to induce children to read, write, and love
books? What need of _cards, dice_, or of any _games_, to '_kill time_;'
but, in fact, to implant in the infant heart a love of _gaming_, one of
the most destructive of all human vices? We did not want to _'kill
time_;' we were always _busy_, wet weather or dry weather, winter or
summer. There was _no force_ in any case; no _command_; no _authority_;
none of these was ever wanted. To teach the children the habit of _early
rising_ was a great object; and every one knows how young people cling
to their beds, and how loth they are to go to those beds. This was a
capital matter; because, here were _industry_ and _health_ both at
stake. Yet, I avoided _command_ even here; and merely offered a
_reward_. The child that was _down stairs_ first, was called the LARK
_for that day_; and, further, _sat at my right hand at dinner_. They
soon discovered, that to rise early, they must _go to bed early_; and
thus was this most important object secured, with regard to girls as
well as boys. Nothing more inconvenient, and, indeed, more disgusting,
than to have to do with girls, or young women, who lounge in bed: 'A
little more sleep, a little more slumber, a little more folding of the
hands to sleep.' SOLOMON knew them well: he had, I dare say, seen the
breakfast cooling, carriages and horses and servants waiting, the sun
coming burning on, the day wasting, the night growing dark too early,
appointments broken, and the objects of journeys defeated; and all this
from the lolloping in bed of persons who ought to have risen with the
sun. No beauty, no modesty, no accomplishments, are a compensation for
the effects of laziness in women; and, of all the proofs of laziness,
none is so unequivocal as that of lying late in bed. Love makes men
overlook this vice (for it is a _vice_), for _a while_; but, this does
not last for life. Besides, _health_ demands early rising: the
management of a house imperiously demands it; but _health_, that most
precious possession, without which there is nothing else worth
possessing, demands it too. The _morning air_ is the most wholesome and
strengthening: even in crowded cities, men might do pretty well with the
aid of the morning air; but, how are they to _rise_ early, if they go to
bed _late_?

293. But, to do the things I did, you must _love home_ yourself; to rear
up children in this manner, you must _live with them_; you must make
them, too, _feel_, by your conduct, that you _prefer_ this to any other
mode of passing your time. All men cannot lead this sort of life, but
many may; and all much more than many do. My occupation, to be sure, was
chiefly carried on _at home_; but, I had always enough to do; I never
spent an idle week, or even day, in my whole life. Yet I found time to
talk with them, to walk, or ride, about _with them_; and when forced to
go from home, always took one or more with me. You must be good-tempered
too with them; they must like _your_ company better than any other
person's; they must not wish you away, not fear your coming back, not
look upon your departure as a _holiday_. When my business kept me away
from the _scrabbling_-table, a petition often came, that I would go and
_talk_ with the group, and the bearer generally was the youngest, being
the most likely to succeed. When I went from home, all followed me to
the outer-gate, and looked after me, till the carriage, or horse, was
out of sight. At the time appointed for my return, all were prepared to
meet me; and if it were late at night, they sat up as long as they were
able to keep their eyes open. This love of parents, and this constant
pleasure _at home_, made them not even think of seeking pleasure abroad;
and they, thus, were kept from vicious playmates and early corruption.

294. This is the age, too, to teach children to be _trust-worthy_, and
to be _merciful_ and _humane_. We lived _in a garden_ of about two
acres, partly kitchen-garden with walls, partly shrubbery and trees, and
partly grass. There were the _peaches_, as tempting as any that ever
grew, and yet as safe from fingers as if no child were ever in the
garden. It was not necessary to _forbid_. The blackbirds, the thrushes,
the whitethroats, and even that very shy bird the goldfinch, had their
nests and bred up their young-ones, in great abundance, all about this
little spot, constantly the play-place of six children; and one of the
latter had its nest, and brought up its young-ones, in a
_raspberry-bush_, within two yards of a walk, and at the time that we
were gathering the ripe raspberries. We give _dogs_, and justly, great
credit for sagacity and memory; but the following two most curious
instances, which I should not venture to state, if there were not so
many witnesses to the facts, in my neighbours at Botley, as well as in
my own family, will show, that _birds_ are not, in this respect,
inferior to the canine race. All country people know that the _skylark_
is a very shy bird; that its abode is the open fields: that it settles
on the ground only; that it seeks safety in the wideness of space; that
it avoids enclosures, and is never seen in gardens. A part of our ground
was a grass-plat of about _forty rods_, or a quarter of an acre, which,
one year, was left to be mowed for hay. A pair of larks, coming out of
the fields into the middle of a pretty populous village, chose to make
their nest in the middle of this little spot, and at not more than about
_thirty-five yards_ from one of the doors of the house, in which there
were about twelve persons living, and six of those children, who had
constant access to all parts of the ground. There we saw the cock rising
up and singing, then taking his turn upon the eggs; and by-and-by, we
observed him cease to sing, and saw them both _constantly engaged in
bringing food to the young ones_. No unintelligible hint to fathers and
mothers of the human race, who have, before marriage, taken delight in
_music_. But the time came for _mowing the grass_! I waited a good many
days for the brood to get away; but, at last, I determined on the day;
and if the larks were there still, to leave a patch of grass standing
round them. In order not to keep them in dread longer than necessary, I
brought three able mowers, who would cut the whole in about an hour; and
as the plat was nearly circular, set them to mow _round_, beginning at
the outside. And now for sagacity indeed! The moment the men began to
whet their scythes, the two old larks began to flutter over the nest,
and to make a great clamour. When the men began to mow, they flew round
and round, stooping so low, when near the men, as almost to touch their
bodies, making a great chattering at the same time; but before the men
had got round with the second swarth, they flew to the nest, and away
they went, young ones and all, across the river, at the foot of the
ground, and settled in the long grass in my neighbour's orchard.

295. The other instance relates to a HOUSE-MARTEN. It is well known that
these birds build their nests under the eaves of inhabited houses, and
sometimes under those of door porches; but we had one that built its
nest _in the house_, and upon the top of a common doorcase, the door of
which opened into a room out of the main passage into the house.
Perceiving the marten had begun to build its nest here, we kept the
front-door open in the daytime; but were obliged to fasten it at night.
It went on, had eggs, young ones, and the young ones flew. I used to
open the door in the morning early, and then the birds carried on their
affairs till night. The next _year_ the MARTEN came again, and had
_another brood in the same place_. It found its _old nest_; and having
repaired it, and put it in order, went on again in the former way; and
it would, I dare say, have continued to come to the end of its life, if
we had remained there so long, notwithstanding there were six healthy
children in the house, making just as much noise as they pleased.

296. Now, what _sagacity_ in these birds, to discover that those were
places of safety! And how happy must it have made us, the parents, to be
_sure_ that our children had thus deeply imbibed habits the contrary of
cruelty! For, be it engraven on your heart, YOUNG MAN, that, whatever
appearances may say to the contrary, _cruelty_ is always accompanied
with _cowardice_, and also with _perfidy_, when that is called for by
the circumstances of the case; and that _habitual_ acts of cruelty to
other creatures, will, nine times out of ten, produce, when the power is
possessed, cruelty to human beings. The ill-usage of _horses_, and
particularly _asses_, is a grave and a just charge against this nation.
No other nation on earth is guilty of it to the same extent. Not only by
_blows_, but by privation, are we cruel towards these useful, docile,
and patient creatures; and especially towards the last, which is the
most docile and patient and laborious of the two, while the food that
satisfies it, is of the coarsest and least costly kind, and in quantity
so small! In the habitual ill-treatment of this animal, which, in
addition to all its labours, has the milk taken from its young ones to
administer a remedy for our ailments, there is something that bespeaks
_ingratitude_ hardly to be described. In a REGISTER that I wrote from
Long Island, I said, that amongst all the things of which I had been
bereft, I regretted no one so much as a very diminutive _mare_, on which
my children had all, in succession, learned to ride. She was become
useless for them, and, indeed, for any other purpose; but the
recollection of her was so entwined with so many past circumstances,
which, at that distance, my mind conjured up, that I really was very
uneasy, lest she should fall into cruel hands. By good luck, she was,
after a while, turned out on the wide world to shift for herself; and
when we got back, and had a place for her to _stand_ in, from her native
forest we brought her to Kensington, and she is now at Barn-Elm, about
twenty-six years old, and I dare say, as fat as a mole. Now, not only
have I no moral _right_ (considering my ability to pay for keep) to
deprive her of life; but it would be _unjust_ and _ungrateful_, in me to
withhold from her sufficient food and lodging to make life as pleasant
as possible while that life last.

297. In the meanwhile the book-learning _crept in_ of its own accord, by
imperceptible degrees. Children naturally want to be _like_ their
parents, and _to do what they do_: the boys following their father, and
the girls their mother; and as I was always _writing_ or _reading_, mine
naturally desired to do something in the same way. But, at the same
time, they heard no talk from _fools_ or _drinkers_; saw me with no
idle, gabbling, empty companions; saw no vain and affected coxcombs, and
no tawdry and extravagant women; saw no nasty gormandizing; and heard no
gabble about play-houses and romances and the other nonsense that fit
boys to be lobby-loungers, and girls to be the ruin of industrious and
frugal young men.

298. We wanted no stimulants of this sort to _keep up our spirits_: our
various pleasing pursuits were quite sufficient for that; and the
_book-learning_ came amongst the rest of the pleasures, to which it was,
in some sort, necessary. I remember that, one year, I raised a
prodigious crop of fine _melons_, under hand-glasses; and I learned how
to do it from a gardening _book_; or, at least, that book was necessary
to remind me of the details. Having passed part of an evening in talking
to the boys about getting this crop, 'Come,' said I, 'now, let us _read
the book_.' Then the book came forth, and to work we went, following
very strictly the precepts of the book. I read the thing but once, but
the eldest boy read it, perhaps, twenty times over; and explained all
about the matter to the others. Why here was a _motive_! Then he had to
tell the garden-labourer _what to do_ to the melons. Now, I will engage,
that more was really _learned_ by this single _lesson_, than would have
been learned by spending, at this son's age, a year at school; and he
_happy_ and _delighted_ all the while. When any dispute arose amongst
them about hunting or shooting, or any other of their pursuits, they, by
degrees, found out the way of settling it by reference to some book; and
when any difficulty occurred, as to the meaning, they referred to me,
who, if at home, _always instantly attended to them_, in these matters.

299. They began writing by taking words out of _printed books_; finding
out which letter was which, by asking me, or asking those who knew the
letters one from another; and by imitating bits of my writing, it is
surprising how soon they began to write a hand like mine, very small,
very faint-stroked, and nearly plain as print. The first use that any
one of them made of the pen, was to _write to me_, though in the same
house with them. They began doing this in mere _scratches_, before they
knew how to make any one letter; and as I was always folding up letters
and directing them, so were they; and they were _sure_ to receive a
_prompt answer_, with most _encouraging_ compliments. All the meddlings
and teazings of friends, and, what was more serious, the pressing
prayers of their anxious mother, about sending them to _school_, I
withstood without the slightest effect on my resolution. As to friends,
preferring my own judgment to theirs, I did not care much; but an
expression of anxiety, implying a doubt of the soundness of my own
judgment, coming, perhaps, twenty times a day from her whose care they
were as well as mine, was not a matter to smile at, and very great
trouble it did give me. My answer at last was, as to the boys, I want
them to be _like me_; and as to the girls, In whose hands can they be so
safe as in _yours_? Therefore my resolution is taken: _go to school they
shall not_.

300. Nothing is much more annoying than the _intermeddling of friends_,
in a case like this. The wife appeals _to them_, and '_good breeding_,'
that is to say, _nonsense_, is sure to put them on _her side_. Then,
they, particularly the _women_, when describing the _surprising
progress_ made by their _own sons_ at school, used, if one of mine were
present, to turn to him, and ask, to what school _he went_, and what
_he_ was _learning_? I leave any one to judge of _his_ opinion of her;
and whether _he_ would like her the better for that! 'Bless me, so tall,
and _not learned_ any thing _yet_!' 'Oh yes, he has,' I used to say, 'he
has learned to ride, and hunt, and shoot, and fish, and look after
cattle and sheep, and to work in the garden, and to feed his dogs, and
to go from village to village in the dark.' This was the way I used to
manage with troublesome customers of this sort. And how glad the
children used to be, when they got clear of such criticising people! And
how grateful they felt to me for the _protection_ which they saw that I
gave them against that state of restraint, of which other people's boys
complained! Go whither they might, they found no place so pleasant as
home, and no soul that came near them affording them so many means of
gratification as they received from me.

301. In this happy state we lived, until the year 1810, when the
government laid its merciless fangs upon me, dragged me from these
delights, and _crammed me into a jail amongst felons_; of which I shall
have to speak more fully, when, in the last Number, I come to speak of
the duties of THE CITIZEN. This added to the difficulties of my task of
_teaching_; for now I was snatched away from the _only_ scene in which
it could, as I thought, properly be executed. But even these
difficulties were got over. The blow was, to be sure, a terrible one;
and, oh God! how was it felt by these poor children! It was in the month
of July when the horrible sentence was passed upon me. My wife, having
left her children in the care of her good and affectionate sister, was
in London, waiting to know the doom of her husband. When the news
arrived at Botley, the three boys, one eleven, another nine, and the
other seven, years old, were hoeing cabbages in that garden which had
been the source of so much delight. When the account of the savage
sentence was brought to them, the youngest could not, for some time, be
made to understand what a _jail_ was; and, when he did, he, all in a
tremor, exclaimed, 'Now I'm sure, William, that PAPA is not in a place
_like that_!' The other, in order to disguise his tears and smother his
sobs, fell to work with the hoe, and _chopped about like a blind
person_. This account, when it reached me, affected me more, filled me
with deeper resentment, than any other circumstance. And, oh! how I
despise the wretches who talk of my _vindictiveness_; of my _exultation_
at the confusion of those who inflicted those sufferings! How I despise
the base creatures, the crawling slaves, the callous and cowardly
hypocrites, who affect to be '_shocked_' (tender souls!) at my
expressions of _joy_, and at the death of Gibbs, Ellenborough, Perceval,
Liverpool, Canning, and the rest of the tribe that I have already seen
out, and at the fatal workings of _that system_, for endeavouring to
check which I was thus punished! How I despise these wretches, and how
I, above all things, enjoy their ruin, and anticipate their utter
beggary! What! I am to forgive, am I, injuries like this; and that, too,
without any _atonement_? Oh, no! I have not so read the Holy Scriptures;
I have not, from them, learned that I am not to rejoice at the fall of
unjust foes; and it makes a part of my happiness to be able _to tell
millions of men_ that I do thus rejoice, and that I have the means of
calling on so many just and merciful men to rejoice along with me.

302. Now, then, the _book-learning_ was _forced_ upon us. I had a _farm_
in hand. It was necessary that I should be constantly informed of what
was doing. I gave _all the orders_, whether as to purchases, sales,
ploughing, sowing, breeding; in short, with regard to every thing, and
the things were endless in number and variety, and always full of
interest. My eldest son and daughter could now write well and fast. One
or the other of these was always at Botley; and I had with me (having
hired the best part of the keeper's house) one or two, besides either
this brother or sister; the mother coming up to town about once in two
or three months, leaving the house and children in the care of her
sister. We had a HAMPER, with a lock and two keys, which came up once a
week, or oftener, bringing me fruit and all sorts of country fare, for
the carriage of which, cost free, I was indebted to as good a man as
ever God created, the late Mr. GEORGE ROGERS, of Southampton, who, in
the prime of life, died deeply lamented by thousands, but by none more
deeply than by me and my family, who have to thank him, and the whole of
his excellent family, for benefits and marks of kindness without number.

303. This HAMPER, which was always, at both ends of the line, looked for
with the most lively feelings, became our _school_. It brought me _a
journal_ of _labours_, _proceedings_, and _occurrences_, written on
paper of shape and size uniform, and so contrived, as to margins, as to
admit of binding. The journal used, when my son was the writer, to be
interspersed with drawings of our dogs, colts, or any thing that he
wanted me to have a correct idea of. The hamper brought me plants,
bulbs, and the like, that I might _see_ the size of them; and always
every one sent his or her _most beautiful flowers_; the earliest
violets, and primroses, and cowslips, and blue-bells; the earliest twigs
of trees; and, in short, every thing that they thought calculated to
delight me. The moment the hamper arrived, I, casting aside every thing
else, set to work to answer _every question_, to give new directions,
and to add anything likely to give pleasure at Botley. _Every_ hamper
brought one '_letter_,' as they called it, if not more, from every
child; and to _every_ letter I wrote _an answer_, sealed up and sent to
the party, being sure that that was the way to produce other and better
letters; for, though they could not read what I wrote, and though their
own consisted at first of mere _scratches_, and afterwards, for a while,
of a few words written down for them to imitate, I always thanked them
for their '_pretty letter_'; and never expressed any wish to see them
_write better_; but took care to write in a very neat and plain hand
_myself_, and to do up my letter in a very neat manner.

304. Thus, while the ferocious tigers thought I was doomed to incessant
mortification, and to rage that must extinguish my mental powers, I
found in my children, and in their spotless and courageous and most
affectionate mother, delights to which the callous hearts of those
tigers were strangers. 'Heaven first taught letters for some wretch's
aid.' How often did this line of Pope occur to me when I opened the
little _spuddling_ 'letters' from Botley! This correspondence occupied a
good part of my time: I had all the children with me, turn and turn
about; and, in order to give the boys exercise, and to give the two
eldest an opportunity of beginning to learn French, I used, for a part
of the two years, to send them a few hours in the day to an ABBÉ, who
lived in Castle-street, Holborn. All this was a great relaxation to my
mind; and, when I had to return to my literary labours, I returned
_fresh_ and cheerful, full of vigour, and _full of hope_, of finally
seeing my unjust and merciless foes at my feet, and that, too, without
caring a straw on whom their fall might bring calamity, so that my own
family were safe; because, say what any one might, the _community, taken
as a whole_, had _suffered this thing to be done unto us_.

305. The paying of the work-people, the keeping of the accounts, the
referring to books, the writing and reading of letters; this everlasting
mixture of amusement with book-learning, made me, almost to my own
surprise, find, at the end of the two years, that I had a parcel of
_scholars_ growing up about me; and, long before the end of the time, I
had _dictated many Registers_ to my two eldest children. Then, there was
_copying_ out of books, which taught _spelling correctly_. The
calculations about the farming affairs forced arithmetic upon us: the
_use_, the _necessity_, of the thing, led to the study. By-and-by, we
had to look into the _laws_ to know what to do about the _highways_,
about the _game_, about the _poor_, and all rural and _parochial_
affairs. I was, indeed, by the fangs of the government, defeated in my
fondly-cherished project of making my sons farmers on their own land,
and keeping them from all temptation to seek vicious and enervating
enjoyments; but those fangs, merciless as they had been, had not been
able to prevent me from laying in for their lives a store of useful
information, habits of industry, care, sobriety, and a taste for
innocent, healthful, and manly pleasures: the fangs had made me and them
pennyless; but, they had not been able to take from us our health or our
mental possessions; and these were ready for application as
circumstances might ordain.

306. After the age that I have now been speaking of, _fourteen_, I
suppose every one _became_ a reader and writer according to fancy. As to
_books_, with the exception of the _Poets_, I never bought, in my whole
life, any one that I did not _want_ for some purpose of _utility_, and
of _practical utility_ too. I have two or three times had the whole
collection snatched away from me; and have begun again to get them
together as they were wanted. Go and kick an ANT's nest about, and you
will see the little laborious, courageous creatures _instantly_ set to
work to get it together again; and if you do this ten times over, ten
times over they will do the same. Here is the sort of stuff that men
must be made of to oppose, with success, those who, by whatever means,
get possession of great and mischievous power.

307. Now, I am aware, that that which _I did_, cannot be done by every
one of hundreds of thousands of fathers, each of whom loves his children
with all his soul: I am aware that the attorney, the surgeon, the
physician, the trader, and even the farmer, cannot, generally speaking,
do what I did, and that they must, in most cases, send their _sons_ to
school, if it be necessary for them to have _book-learning_. But while I
say this, I know, that there are _many things_, which I did, which many
fathers might do, and which, nevertheless, _they do not do_. It is in
the power of _every father_ to live _at home with his family_, when not
_compelled_ by business, or by public duty, to be absent: it is in his
power to set an example of industry and sobriety and frugality, and to
prevent a taste for gaming, dissipation, extravagance, from getting root
in the minds of his children: it is in his power to continue to make his
children _hearers_, when he is reproving servants for idleness, or
commending them for industry and care: it is in his power to keep all
dissolute and idly-talking companions from his house: it is in his power
to teach them, by his uniform example, justice and mercy towards the
inferior animals: it is in his power to do many other things, and
something in the way of book-learning too, however busy his life may be.
It is completely within his power to teach them early-rising and early
going to bed; and, if many a man, who says that he has _not time_ to
teach his children, were to sit down, in _sincerity_, with a pen and a
bit of paper, and put down all the minutes, which he, in every
twenty-four hours, _wastes_ over the _bottle_, or over _cheese_ and
_oranges_ and _raisins_ and _biscuits_, _after_ he has _dined_; how many
he lounges away, either at the coffee-house or at home, over the
_useless_ part of newspapers; how many he spends in waiting for the
coming and the managing of the tea-table; how many he passes by
candle-light, _wearied of his existence_, when he might be in bed; how
many he passes in the morning in bed, while the sun and dew shine and
sparkle for him in vain: if he were to put all these together, and were
to add those which he passes in the _reading of books_ for his mere
personal _amusement_, and without the smallest chance of acquiring from
them any _useful_ practical knowledge: if he were to sum up the whole of
these, and add to them the time worse than wasted in the contemptible
work of dressing off _his person_, he would be frightened at the result;
would send for his boys from school; and if greater book-learning than
he possessed were necessary, he would choose for the purpose some man of
ability, and see the teaching carried on under his own roof, with safety
as to morals, and with the best chance as to health.

308. If after all, however, a school must be resorted to, let it, if in
your power, be as little populous as possible. As 'evil communications
corrupt good manners,' so the more numerous the assemblage, and the more
extensive the communication, the greater the chance of corruption.
_Jails, barracks, factories_, do not corrupt by their _walls_, but by
their condensed numbers. Populous cities corrupt from the same cause;
and it is, because _it must be_, the same with regard to schools, out of
which children come not what they were when they went in. The master is,
in some sort, their enemy; he is their overlooker; he is a spy upon
them; his authority is maintained by his absolute power of punishment;
_the parent commits them to that power_; to be taught is to be held in
restraint; and, as the sparks fly upwards, the teaching and the
restraint will not be divided in the estimation of the boy. Besides all
this, there is the great disadvantage of _tardiness_ in arriving at
years of discretion. If boys live only with boys, their ideas will
continue to be boyish; if they see and hear and converse with nobody but
boys, how are they to have the thoughts and the character of men? It is,
_at last_, only by hearing _men_ talk and seeing men act, that they
learn to talk and act like men; and, therefore, to confine them to the
society of boys, is to _retard_ their arrival at the years of
discretion; and in case of adverse circumstances in the pecuniary way,
where, in all the creation, is there so helpless a mortal as a boy who
has always been at school! But, if, as I said before, a school there
_must_ be, let the congregation be as small as possible; and, do not
expect too much from the master; for, if it be irksome to you to teach
your own sons, what must that teaching be to him? If he have great
numbers, he must delegate his authority; and, like all other delegated
authority, it will either be abused or neglected.

309. With regard to _girls_, one would think that _mothers_ would want
no argument to make them shudder at the thought of committing the care
of their daughters to other hands than their own. If fortune have so
favoured them as to make them rationally desirous that their daughters
should have more of what are called accomplishments _than_ they
_themselves have_, it has also favoured them with the means of having
teachers under their own eye. If it have not favoured them so highly as
this (and it seldom has in the middle rank of life), what duty so sacred
as that imposed on a mother to be the teacher of her daughters! And is
she, from love of ease or of pleasure or of any thing else, to neglect
this duty; is she to commit her daughters to the care of persons, with
whose manners and morals it is impossible for her to be thoroughly
acquainted; is she to send them into the promiscuous society of girls,
who belong to nobody knows whom, and come from nobody knows whither, and
some of whom, for aught she can know to the contrary, may have been
corrupted before, and sent thither to be hidden from their former
circle; is she to send her daughters to be shut up within walls, the
bare sight of which awaken the idea of intrigue and invite to seduction
and surrender; is she to leave the health of her daughters to chance, to
shut them up with a motley bevy of strangers, some of whom, as is
_frequently_ the case, are proclaimed _bastards_, by the undeniable
testimony given by the _colour of their skin_; is she to do all this,
and still put forward pretensions to the authority and the affection due
to a _mother_! And, are you to permit all this, and still call yourself
_a father_!

310. Well, then, having resolved to teach your own children, or, to have
them taught, at home, let us now see how they ought to proceed as to
_books_ for learning. It is evident, speaking of boys, that, at last,
they must study the art, or science, that you intend them to pursue; if
they be to be surgeons, they must read books on surgery; and the like in
other cases. But, there are certain _elementary_ studies; certain books
to be used by _all persons_, who are destined to acquire any
book-learning at all. Then there are departments, or branches of
knowledge, that every man in the middle rank of life, ought, if he can,
to acquire, they being, in some sort, necessary to his reputation as a
_well-informed_ man, a character to which the farmer and the shopkeeper
ought to aspire as well as the lawyer and the surgeon. Let me now, then,
offer my advice as to the _course_ of reading, and the _manner_ of
reading, for a boy, arrived at his _fourteenth_ year, that being, in my
opinion, early enough for him to begin.

311. And, first of all, whether as to boys or girls, I deprecate
_romances_ of every description. It is impossible that they can do any
_good_, and they may do a great deal of harm. They excite passions that
ought to lie dormant; they give the mind a taste for _highly-seasoned_
matter; they make matters of real life insipid; every girl, addicted to
them, sighs to be a SOPHIA WESTERN, and every boy, a TOM JONES. What
girl is not in love with the _wild_ youth, and what boy does not find a
justification for his wildness? What can be more pernicious than the
teachings of this celebrated romance? Here are two young men put before
us, both sons of the same mother; the one a _bastard_ (and by a parson
too), the other a _legitimate child_; the former wild, disobedient, and
squandering; the latter steady, sober, obedient, and frugal; the former
every thing that is frank and generous in his nature, the latter a
greedy hypocrite; the former rewarded with the most beautiful and
virtuous of women and a double estate, the latter punished by being made
an outcast. How is it possible for young people to read such a book, and
to look upon orderliness, sobriety, obedience, and frugality, as
_virtues_? And this is the tenor of almost every romance, and of almost
every play, in our language. In the 'School for Scandal,' for instance,
we see two brothers; the one a prudent and frugal man, and, to all
appearance, a moral man, the other a hair-brained squanderer, laughing
at the morality of his brother; the former turns out to be a base
hypocrite and seducer, and is brought to shame and disgrace; while the
latter is found to be full of generous sentiment, and Heaven itself
seems to interfere to give him fortune and fame. In short, the direct
tendency of the far greater part of these books, is, to cause young
people to despise all those virtues, without the practice of which they
must be a curse to their parents, a burden to the community, and must,
except by mere accident, lead wretched lives. I do not recollect one
romance nor one play, in our language, which has not this tendency. How
is it possible for young princes to read the historical plays of the
punning and smutty Shakspeare, and not think, that to be drunkards,
blackguards, the companions of debauchees and robbers, is the suitable
beginning of a glorious reign?

312. There is, too, another most abominable principle that runs through
them all, namely, that there is in _high birth_, something of _superior
nature_, instinctive courage, honour, and talent. Who can look at the
two _royal youths_ in CYMBELINE, or at the _noble youth_ in DOUGLAS,
without detesting the base parasites who wrote those plays? Here are
youths, brought up by _shepherds_, never told of their origin, believing
themselves the sons of these humble parents, but discovering, when grown
up, the highest notions of valour and honour, and thirsting for military
renown, even while tending their reputed fathers' flocks and herds! And,
why this species of falsehood? To cheat the mass of the people; to keep
them in abject subjection; to make them quietly submit to despotic sway.
And the infamous authors are guilty of the cheat, because they are, in
one shape or another, paid by oppressors out of means squeezed from the
people. A _true_ picture would give us just the reverse; would show us
that '_high birth_' is the enemy of virtue, of valour, and of talent;
would show us, that with all their incalculable advantages, royal and
noble families have, only by mere accident, produced a great man; that,
in general, they have been amongst the most effeminate, unprincipled,
cowardly, stupid, and, at the very least, amongst the most useless
persons, considered as individuals, and not in connexion with the
prerogatives and powers bestowed on them solely by the law.

313. It is impossible for me, by any words that I can use, to express,
to the extent of my thoughts, the danger of suffering young people to
form their opinions from the writings of poets and romances. Nine times
out of ten, the morality they teach is bad, and must have a bad
tendency. Their wit is employed to _ridicule virtue_, as you will almost
always find, if you examine the matter to the bottom. The world owes a
very large part of its sufferings to tyrants; but what tyrant was there
amongst the ancients, whom the poets did not place _amongst the gods_?
Can you open an English poet, without, in some part or other of his
works, finding the grossest flatteries of royal and noble persons? How
are young people not to think that the praises bestowed on these persons
are just? DRYDEN, PARNELL, GAY, THOMSON, in short, what poet have we
had, or have we, POPE only excepted, who was not, or is not, a
pensioner, or a sinecure placeman, or the wretched dependent of some
part of the Aristocracy? Of the extent of the powers of writers in
producing mischief to a nation, we have two most striking instances in
the cases of Dr. JOHNSON and BURKE. The former, at a time when it was a
question whether war should be made on America to compel her to submit
to be taxed by the English parliament, wrote a pamphlet, entitled,
'_Taxation no Tyranny_,' to urge the nation into that war. The latter,
when it was a question, whether England should wage war against the
people of France, to prevent them from reforming their government, wrote
a pamphlet to urge the nation into _that_ war. The first war lost us
America, the last cost us six hundred millions of money, and has loaded
us with forty millions a year of taxes. JOHNSON, however, got a _pension
for his life_, and BURKE a pension for his life, and for _three lives
after his own_! CUMBERLAND and MURPHY, the play-writers, were
pensioners; and, in short, of the whole mass, where has there been one,
whom the people were not compelled to pay for labours, having for their
principal object the deceiving and enslaving of that same people? It is,
therefore, the duty of every father, when he puts a book into the hands
of his son or daughter, to give the reader a true account of _who_ and
_what_ the writer of the book was, or is.

314. If a boy be intended for any particular calling, he ought, of
course, to be induced to read books relating to that calling, if such
books there be; and, therefore, I shall not be more particular on that
head. But, there are certain things, that all men in the middle rank of
life, ought to know something of; because the knowledge will be a source
of pleasure; and because the want of it must, very frequently, give them
pain, by making them appear inferior, in point of mind, to many who are,
in fact, their inferiors in that respect. These things are _grammar,
arithmetic, history_, accompanied with _geography_ Without these, a man,
in the middle rank of life, however able he may be in his calling, makes
but an awkward figure. Without _grammar_ he cannot, with safety to his
character as a well-informed man, put his thoughts upon paper; nor can
he be _sure_, that he is speaking with propriety. How many clever men
have I known, full of natural talent, eloquent by nature, replete with
every thing calculated to give them weight in society; and yet having
little or no weight, merely because unable to put correctly upon paper
that which they have in their minds! For me not to say, that I deem _my
English Grammar_ the best book for teaching this science, would be
affectation, and neglect of duty besides; because I know, that it is the
best; because I wrote it for the purpose; and because, hundreds and
hundreds of men and women have told me, some verbally, and some by
letter, that, though (many of them) at grammar schools for years, they
really never _knew_ any thing of grammar, until they studied my book. I,
who know well all the difficulties that I experienced when I read books
upon the subject, can easily believe this, and especially when I think
of the numerous instances in which I have seen _university_-scholars
unable to write English, with any tolerable degree of correctness. In
this book, the principles are so clearly explained, that the disgust
arising from intricacy is avoided; and it is this disgust, that is the
great and mortal enemy of acquiring knowledge.

315. With regard to ARITHMETIC, it is a branch of learning absolutely
necessary to every one, who has any pecuniary transactions beyond those
arising out of the expenditure of his week's wages. All the books on
this subject that I had ever seen, were so bad, so destitute of every
thing calculated to lead the mind into a knowledge of the matter, so
void of principles, and so evidently tending to puzzle and disgust the
learner, by their sententious, and crabbed, and quaint, and almost
hieroglyphical definitions, that I, at one time, had the intention of
writing a little work on the subject myself. It was put off, from one
cause or another; but a little work on the subject has been, partly at
my suggestion, written and published by Mr. THOMAS SMITH of Liverpool,
and is sold by Mr. SHERWOOD, in London. The author has great ability,
and a perfect knowledge of his subject. It is a book of principles; and
any young person of common capacity, will learn more from it in a week,
than from all the other books, that I ever saw on the subject, in a

316. While the foregoing studies are proceeding, though they very well
afford a relief to each other, HISTORY may serve as a relaxation,
particularly during the study of grammar, which is an undertaking
requiring patience and time. Of all history, that of our own country is
of the most importance; because, for want of a thorough knowledge of
what _has been_, we are, in many cases, at a loss to account for _what
is_, and still more at a loss, to be able to show what _ought to be_.
The difference between history and romance is this; that that which is
narrated in the latter, leaves in the mind nothing which it can apply to
present or future circumstances and events; while the former, when it is
what it ought to be, leaves the mind stored with arguments for
experience, applicable, at all times, to the actual affairs of life. The
history of a country ought to show the origin and progress of its
institutions, political, civil, and ecclesiastical; it ought to show the
effects of those institutions upon the state of the people; it ought to
delineate the measures of the government at the several epochs; and,
having clearly described the state of the people at the several periods,
it ought to show the cause of their freedom, good morals, and happiness;
or of their misery, immorality, and slavery; and this, too, by the
production of indubitable facts, and of inferences so manifestly fair,
as to leave not the smallest doubt upon the mind.

317. Do the histories of England which we have, answer this description?
They are very little better than romances. Their contents are generally
confined to narrations relating to battles, negociations, intrigues,
contests between rival sovereignties, rival nobles, and to the character
of kings, queens, mistresses, bishops, ministers, and the like; from
scarcely any of which can the reader draw any knowledge which is at all
applicable to the circumstances of the present day.

318. Besides this, there is the _falsehood_; and the falsehoods
contained in these histories, where shall we find any thing to surpass?
Let us take one instance. They all tell us, that William the Conqueror
knocked down twenty-six parish churches, and laid waste the parishes in
order to make the New Forest; and this in a tract of the very poorest
land in England, where the churches must then have stood at about one
mile and two hundred yards from each other. The truth is, that all the
churches are still standing that were there when William landed, and the
whole story is a sheer falsehood from the beginning to the end.

319. But, this is a mere specimen of these romances; and that too, with
regard to a matter comparatively unimportant to us. The important
falsehoods are, those which misguide us by statement or by inference,
with regard to the state of the people at the several epochs, as
produced by the institutions of the country, or the measures of the
Government. It is always the object of those who have power in their
hands, to persuade the people that they are better off than their
forefathers were: it is the great business of history to show how this
matter stands; and, with respect to this great matter, what are we to
learn from any thing that has hitherto been called a history of England!
I remember, that, about a dozen years ago, I was talking with a very
clever young man, who had read twice or thrice over the History of
England, by different authors; and that I gave the conversation a turn
that drew from him, unperceived by himself, that he did not know how
tithes, parishes, poor-rates, church-rates, and the abolition of trial
by jury in hundreds of cases, came to be in England; and, that he had
not the smallest idea of the manner in which the Duke of Bedford came to
possess the power of taxing our cabbages in Covent-Garden. Yet, this is
history. I have done a great deal, with regard to matters of this sort,
in my famous History of the PROTESTANT REFORMATION; for I may truly call
that famous, which has been translated and published in all the modern

320. But, it is reserved for me to write a complete history of the
country from the earliest times to the present day; and this, God giving
me life and health, I shall begin to do in monthly numbers, beginning on
the first of September, and in which I shall endeavour to combine
brevity with clearness. We do not want to consume our time over a dozen
pages about Edward the Third dancing at a ball, picking up a lady's
garter, and making that garter the foundation of an order of knighthood,
bearing the motto of '_Honi soit qui mal y pense_? It is not stuff like
this; but we want to know what was the state of the people; what were a
labourer's wages; what were the prices of the food, and how the
labourers were dressed in the reign of that great king. What is a young
person to imbibe from a history of England, as it is called, like that
of Goldsmith? It is a little romance to amuse children; and the other
historians have given us larger romances to amuse lazy persons who are
grown up. To destroy the effects of these, and to make the people know
what their country has been, will be my object; and this, I trust, I
shall effect. We are, it is said, to have a History of England from SIR
JAMES MACKINTOSH; a History of Scotland from SIR WALTER SCOTT; and a
HISTORY OF IRELAND from Tommy Moore, the luscious poet. A Scotch lawyer,
who is a pensioner, and a member for Knaresborough, which is well known
to the Duke of Devonshire, who has the great tithes of twenty parishes
in Ireland, will, doubtless, write a most impartial _History of
England_, and particularly as far as relates to _boroughs_ and _tithes_.
A Scotch romance-writer, who, under the name of _Malagrowther_, wrote a
pamphlet to prove, that one-pound-notes were the cause of riches to
Scotland, will write, to be sure, a most instructive _History of
Scotland_. And, from the pen of a Irish poet, who is a sinecure
placeman, and a protégé of an English peer that has immense parcels of
Irish confiscated estates, what a beautiful history shall we not then
have of _unfortunate Ireland_! Oh, no! We are not going to be content
with stuff such as these men will bring out. Hume and Smollett and
Robertson have cheated us long enough. We are not in a humour to be
cheated any longer.

321. GEOGRAPHY is taught at schools, if we believe the school-cards. The
scholars can tell you all about the divisions of the earth, and this is
very well for persons who have leisure to indulge their curiosity; but
it does seem to me monstrous that a young person's time should be spent
in ascertaining the boundaries of Persia or China, knowing nothing all
the while about the boundaries, the rivers, the soil, or the products,
or of the any thing else of Yorkshire or Devonshire. The first thing in
geography is to know that of the country in which we live, especially
that in which we were born: I have now seen almost every hill and valley
in it with my own eyes; nearly every city and every town, and no small
part of the whole of the villages. I am therefore qualified to give an
account of the country; and that account, under the title of
Geographical Dictionary of England and Wales, I am now having printed as
a companion to my history.

322. When a young man well understands the geography of his own country;
when he has referred to maps on this smaller scale; when, in short, he
knows all about his own country, and is able to apply his knowledge to
useful purposes, he may look at other countries, and particularly at
those, the powers or measures of which are likely to affect his own
country. It is of great importance to us to be well acquainted with the
extent of France, the United States, Portugal, Spain, Mexico, Turkey,
and Russia; but what need we care about the tribes of Asia and Africa,
the condition of which can affect us no more than we would be affected
by any thing that is passing in the moon?

323. When people have nothing useful to do, they may indulge their
curiosity; but, merely to _read books_, is not to be industrious, is not
to study, and is not the way to become learned. Perhaps there are none
more lazy, or more truly ignorant, than your everlasting readers. A book
is an admirable excuse for sitting still; and, a man who has constantly
a newspaper, a magazine, a review, or some book or other in his hand,
gets, at last, his head stuffed with such a jumble, that he knows not
what to think about any thing. An empty coxcomb, that wastes his time in
dressing, strutting, or strolling about, and picking his teeth, is
certainly a most despicable creature, but scarcely less so than a mere
reader of books, who is, generally, conceited, thinks himself wiser than
other men, in proportion to the number of leaves that he has turned
over. In short, a young man should bestow his time upon no book, the
contents of which he cannot apply to some useful purpose.

324. Books of travels, of biography, natural history, and particularly
such as relate to agriculture and horticulture, are all proper, when
leisure is afforded for them; and the two last are useful to a very
great part of mankind; but, unless the subjects treated of are of some
interest to us in our affairs, no time should be wasted upon them, when
there are so many duties demanded at our hands by our families and our
country. A man may read books for ever, and be an ignorant creature at
last, and even the more ignorant for his reading.

325. And, with regard to young women, everlasting book-reading is
absolutely _a vice_. When they once get into the habit, they neglect all
other matters, and, in some cases, even their very dress. Attending to
the affairs of the house: to the washing, the baking, the brewing, the
preservation and cooking of victuals, the management of the poultry and
the garden; these are their proper occupations. It is said (with what
truth I know not) of the _present Queen_ (wife of William IV), that she
was an active, excellent manager of her house. Impossible to bestow on
her greater praise; and I trust that her example will have its due
effect on the young women of the present day, who stand, but too
generally, in need of that example.

326. The great fault of the present generation, is, that, in _all_
ranks, the _notions of self-importance are too high_. This has arisen
from causes not visible to many, out the consequences are felt by all,
and that, too, with great severity. There has been a general
_sublimating_ going on for many years. Not to put the word _Esquire_
before the name of almost any man who is not a mere labourer or artisan,
is almost _an affront_. Every merchant, every master-manufacturer, every
dealer, if at all rich, is an _Esquire_; squires' sons must be
_gentlemen_, and squires' wives and daughters _ladies_. If this were
_all_; if it were merely a ridiculous misapplication of words, the evil
would not be great; but, unhappily, words lead to acts and produce
things; and the '_young gentleman_' is not easily to be moulded into a
_tradesman_ or a _working farmer_. And yet the world is too small to
hold so many _gentlemen_ and _ladies_. How many thousands of young men
have, at this moment, cause to lament that they are not carpenters, or
masons, or tailors, or shoemakers; and how many thousands of those, that
they have been bred up to wish to disguise their honest and useful, and
therefore honourable, calling! ROUSSEAU observes, that men are happy,
first, in proportion to their virtue, and next, in proportion to their
_independence_; and that, of all mankind, the artisan, or craftsman, is
the most independent; because he carries about, _in his own hands_ and
person, the means of gaining his livelihood; and that the more common
the use of the articles on which he works, the more perfect his
independence. 'Where,' says he, 'there is one man that stands in need of
the talents of the dentist, there are a hundred thousand that want those
of the people who supply the matter for the teeth to work on; and for
one who wants a sonnet to regale his fancy, there are a million
clamouring for men to make or mend their shoes.' Aye, and this is the
reason, why shoemakers are proverbially the most independent part of the
people, and why they, in general, show more public spirit than any other
men. He who lives by a pursuit, be it what it may, which does not
require a considerable degree of _bodily labour_, must, from the nature
of things, be, more or less, a _dependent_; and this is, indeed, the
price which he pays for his exemption from that bodily labour. He _may_
arrive at riches, or fame, or both; and this chance he sets against the
certainty of independence in humbler life. There always have been, there
always will be, and there always ought to be, _some_ men to take this
chance: but to do this has become the _fashion_, and a fashion it is the
most fatal that ever seized upon a community.

327. With regard to young women, too, to sing, to play on instruments of
music, to draw, to speak French, and the like, are very agreeable
qualifications; but why should they _all_ be musicians, and painters,
and linguists? Why _all_ of them? Who, then, is there left to _take care
of the houses_ of farmers and traders? But there is something in these
'accomplishments' worse than this; namely, that they think themselves
_too high_ for farmers and traders: and this, in fact, they are; much
_too high_; and, therefore, the servant-girls step in and supply their
place. If they could see their own interest, surely they would drop this
lofty tone, and these lofty airs. It is, however, the fault of the
parents, and particularly of the father, whose duty it is to prevent
them from imbibing such notions, and to show them, that the greatest
honour they ought to aspire to is, thorough skill and care in the
economy of a house. We are all apt to set too high a value on what we
ourselves have done; and I may do this; but I do firmly believe, that to
cure any young woman of this fatal sublimation, she has only patiently
to read my COTTAGE ECONOMY, written with an anxious desire to promote
domestic skill and ability in that sex, on whom so much of the happiness
of man must always depend. A lady in Worcestershire told me, that until
she read COTTAGE ECONOMY she had never _baked in the house_, and had
seldom had _good beer_; that, ever since, she had looked after both
herself; that the pleasure she had derived from it, was equal to the
profit, and that the latter was very great. She said, that the article
'_on baking bread_,' was the part that roused her to the undertaking;
and, indeed, if the facts and arguments, _there_ made use of, failed to
stir her up to action, she must have been stone dead to the power of

328. After the age that we have now been supposing, boys and girls
become _men_ and _women_; and, there now only remains for the _father_
to act towards them with _impartiality_. If they be numerous, or,
indeed, if they be only two in number, to expect _perfect harmony_ to
reign amongst, or between, them, is to be unreasonable; because
experience shows us, that, even amongst the most sober, most virtuous,
and most sensible, harmony so complete is very rare. By nature they are
rivals for the affection and applause of the parents; in personal and
mental endowments they become rivals; and, when _pecuniary interests_
come to be well understood and to have their weight, here is a
rivalship, to prevent which from ending in hostility, require more
affection and greater disinterestedness than fall to the lot of one out
of one hundred families. So many instances have I witnessed of good and
amiable families living in harmony, till the hour arrived for dividing
property amongst them, and then, all at once, becoming hostile to each
other, that I have often thought that property, coming in such a way,
was a curse, and that the parties would have been far better off, had
the parent had merely a blessing to bequeath them from his or her lips,
instead of a will for them to dispute and wrangle over.

329. With regard to this matter, all that the father can do, is to be
_impartial_; but, impartiality does not mean positive _equality_ in the
distribution, but equality _in proportion_ to the different deserts of
the parties, their different wants, their different pecuniary
circumstances, and different prospects in life; and these vary so much,
in different families, that it is impossible to lay down any general
rule upon the subject. But there is one fatal error, against which every
father ought to guard his heart; and the kinder that heart is, the more
necessary such guardianship. I mean the fatal error of heaping upon one
child, to the prejudice of the rest; or, upon a part of them. This
partiality sometimes arises from mere caprice; sometimes from the
circumstance of the favourite being more favoured by nature than the
rest; sometimes from the nearer resemblance to himself, that the father
sees in the favourite; and, sometimes, from the hope of preventing the
favoured party from doing that which would disgrace the parent. All
these motives are highly censurable, but the last is the most general,
and by far the most mischievous in its effects. How many fathers have
been ruined, how many mothers and families brought to beggary, how many
industrious and virtuous groups have been pulled down from competence to
penury, from the desire to prevent one from bringing shame on the
parent! So that, contrary to every principle of justice, the bad is
rewarded for the badness; and the good punished for the goodness.
Natural affection, remembrance of infantine endearments, reluctance to
abandon long-cherished hopes, compassion for the sufferings of your own
flesh and blood, the dread of fatal consequences from your adhering to
justice; all these beat at your heart, and call on you to give way: but,
you must resist them all; or, your ruin, and that of the rest of your
family, are decreed. Suffering is the natural and just punishment of
idleness, drunkenness, squandering, and an indulgence in the society of
prostitutes; and, never did the world behold an instance of an offender,
in this way, reclaimed but by the infliction of this punishment;
particularly, if the society of prostitutes made part of the offence;
for, here is something that takes the _heart from you_. Nobody ever yet
saw, and nobody ever will see, a young man, linked to a prostitute, and
retain, at the same time, any, even the smallest degree of affection,
for parents or brethren. You may supplicate, you may implore, you may
leave yourself pennyless, and your virtuous children without bread; the
invisible cormorant will still call for more; and, as we saw, only the
other day, a wretch was convicted of having, at the instigation of his
prostitute, _beaten his aged mother_, to get from her the small remains
of the means necessary to provide her with food. In HERON'S collection
of God's judgments on wicked acts, it is related of an unnatural son,
who fed his aged father upon orts and offal, lodged him in a filthy and
crazy garret, and clothed him in sackcloth, while he and his wife and
children lived in luxury; that, having bought sackcloth enough for two
dresses for his father, the children took away the part not made up, and
_hid it_, and that, upon asking them what they could _do this for_, they
told him that they meant to keep it _for him_, when he should become old
and walk with a stick! This, the author relates, pierced his heart; and,
indeed, if _this_ failed, he must have had the heart of a tiger; but,
even _this_ would not succeed with the associate of a prostitute. When
_this vice_, this love of the society of prostitutes; when this vice has
once got fast hold, vain are all your sacrifices, vain your prayers,
vain your hopes, vain your anxious desire to disguise the shame from the
world; and, if you have acted well your part, no part of that shame
falls on you, unless you _have administered to the cause of it_. Your
authority has ceased; the voice of the prostitute, or the charms of the
bottle, or the rattle of the dice, has been more powerful than your
advice and example: you must lament this: but, it is not to bow you
down; and, above all things, it is weak, and even criminally selfish, to
sacrifice the rest of your family, in order to keep from the world the
knowledge of that, which, if known, would, in your view of the matter,
bring shame on yourself.

330. Let me hope, however, that this is a calamity which will befall
very few good fathers; and that, of all such, the sober, industrious,
and frugal habits of their children, their dutiful demeanor, their truth
and their integrity, will come to smooth the path of their downward
days, and be the objects on which their eyes will close. Those children
must, in their turn, travel the same path; and they may be assured,
that, 'Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in
the land,' is a precept, a disregard of which never yet failed, either
first or last, to bring its punishment. And, what can be more just than
that signal punishment should follow such a crime; a crime directly
against the voice of nature itself? Youth has its passions, and due
allowance justice will make for these; but, are the delusions of the
boozer, the gamester, or the harlot, to be pleaded in excuse for a
disregard of the source of your existence? Are those to be pleaded in
apology for giving pain to the father who has toiled half a lifetime in
order to feed and clothe you, and to the mother whose breast has been to
you the fountain of life? Go, you, and shake the hand of the
boon-companion; take the greedy harlot to your arms; mock at the tears
of your tender and anxious parents; and, when your purse is empty and
your complexion faded, receive the poverty and the scorn due to your
base ingratitude!



331. Having now given my Advice to the YOUTH, the grown-up MAN, the
LOVER, the HUSBAND and the FATHER, I shall, in this concluding Number,
tender my Advice to the CITIZEN, in which capacity every man has rights
to enjoy and duties to perform, and these too of importance not inferior
to those which belong to him, or are imposed upon him, as son, parent,
husband or father. The word _citizen_ is not, in its application,
confined to the mere inhabitants of cities: it means, a _member of a
civil society, or community_; and, in order to have a clear
comprehension of man's rights and duties in this capacity, we must take
a look at the _origin of civil communities_.

332. Time was when the inhabitants of this island, for instance, laid
claim to all things in it, without the words _owner_ or _property_ being
known. God had given to _all_ the people all the land and all the trees,
and every thing else, just as he has given the burrows and the grass to
the rabbits, and the bushes and the berries to the birds; and each man
had the good things of this world in a greater or less degree in
proportion to his skill, his strength and his valour. This is what is
called living under the LAW OF NATURE; that is to say, the law of
self-preservation and self-enjoyment, without any restraint imposed by a
regard for the good of our neighbours.

333. In process of time, no matter from what cause, men made amongst
themselves a compact, or an agreement, to divide the land and its
products in such manner that each should have a share to his own
exclusive use, and that each man should be protected in the exclusive
enjoyment of his share by the _united power of the rest_; and, in order
to ensure the due and certain application of this united power, the
whole of the people agreed to be bound by regulations, called LAWS. Thus
arose civil society; thus arose _property_; thus arose the words _mine_
and _thine_. One man became possessed of more good things than another,
because he was more industrious, more skilful, more careful, or more
frugal: so that LABOUR, of one sort or another, was the BASIS of all

334. In what manner civil societies proceeded in providing for the
making of laws and for the enforcing of them; the various ways in which
they took measures to protect the weak against the strong; how they have
gone to work to secure wealth against the attacks of poverty; these are
subjects that it would require volumes to detail; but these truths are
written on the heart of man: that all men are, by nature, _equal_; that
civil society can never have arisen from any motive other than that of
the _benefit of the whole_; that, whenever civil society makes the
greater part of the people _worse off_ than they were under the Law of
Nature, the civil compact is, in conscience, dissolved, and all the
rights of nature return; that, in civil society, the _rights and the
duties go hand in hand_, and that, when the former are taken away, the
latter cease to exist.

335. Now, then, in order to act well our part, as citizens, or members
of the community, we ought clearly to understand _what our rights are_;
for, on our enjoyment of these depend our duties, rights going before
duties, as value received goes before payment. I know well, that just
the contrary of this is taught in our political schools, where we are
told, that our _first duty_ is to _obey the laws_; and it is not many
years ago, that HORSLEY, Bishop of Rochester, told us, that the _people_
had _nothing_ to do with the laws but to _obey_ them. The truth is,
however, that the citizen's _first duty_ is to maintain his rights, as
it is the purchaser's first duty to receive the thing for which he has

336. Our rights in society are numerous; the right of enjoying life and
property; the right of exerting our physical and mental powers in an
innocent manner; but, the great right of all, and without which there
is, in fact, _no right_, is, the right of _taking a part in the making
of the laws by which we are governed_. This right is founded in that law
of Nature spoken of above; it springs out of the very principle of civil
society; for what _compact_, what _agreement_, what _common assent_, can
possibly be imagined by which men would give up all the rights of
nature, all the free enjoyment of their bodies and their minds, in order
to subject themselves to rules and laws, in the making of which they
should have nothing to say, and which should be enforced upon them
without their assent? The great right, therefore, of _every man_, the
right of rights, is the right of having a share in the making of the
laws, to which the good of the whole makes it his duty to submit.

337. With regard to the means of enabling every man to enjoy this share,
they have been different, in different countries, and, in the same
countries, at different times. Generally it has been, and in great
communities it must be, by the choosing of a few to speak and act _in
behalf of the many_: and, as there will hardly ever be _perfect
unanimity_ amongst men assembled for any purpose whatever, where fact
and argument are to decide the question, the decision is left to the
_majority_, the compact being that the decision of the majority shall be
that of the whole. _Minors_ are excluded from this right, because the
law considers them as infants, because it makes the parent answerable
for civil damages committed by them, and because of their legal
incapacity to make any compact. _Women_ are excluded because husbands
are answerable in law for their wives, as to their civil damages, and
because the very nature of their sex makes the exercise of this right
incompatible with the harmony and happiness of society. Men stained with
_indelible crimes_ are excluded, because they have forfeited their right
by violating the laws, to which their assent has been given. _Insane
persons_ are excluded, because they are dead in the eye of the law,
because the law demands no duty at their hands, because they cannot
violate the law, because the law cannot affect them; and, therefore,
they ought to have no hand in making it.

338. But, with these exceptions, where is the ground whereon to maintain
that _any man_ ought to be deprived of this right, which he derives
directly from the law of Nature, and which springs, as I said before,
out of the same source with civil society itself? Am I told, that
_property_ ought to confer this right? Property sprang from _labour_,
and not labour from property; so that if there were to be a distinction
here, it ought to give the preference to labour. All men are equal by
nature; nobody denies that they all ought to be _equal in the eye of the
law_; but, how are they to be thus equal, if the law begin by suffering
_some_ to enjoy this right and refusing the enjoyment to _others_? It is
the duty of every man to defend his country against an enemy, a duty
imposed by the law of Nature as well as by that of civil society, and
without the recognition of this duty, there could exist no independent
nation and no civil society. Yet, how are you to maintain that this is
the duty of _every man_, if you deny to _some_ men the enjoyment of a
share in making the laws? Upon what principle are you to contend for
_equality_ here, while you deny its existence as to the right of sharing
in the making of the laws? The poor man has a body and a soul as well as
the rich man; like the latter, he has parents, wife and children; a
bullet or a sword is as deadly to him as to the rich man; there are
hearts to ache and tears to flow for him as well as for the squire or
the lord or the loan-monger: yet, notwithstanding this equality, he is
to risk all, and, if he escape, he is still to be denied an equality of
rights! If, in such a state of things, the artisan or labourer, when
called out to fight in defence of his country, were to answer: 'Why
should I risk my life? I have no possession but my _labour_; no enemy
will take that from me; you, the rich, possess all the land and all its
products; you make what laws you please without my participation or
assent; you punish me at your pleasure; you say that my want of property
excludes me from the right of having a share in the making of the laws;
you say that the property that I have in my labour _is nothing worth_;
on what ground, then, do you call on me to risk my life?' If, in such a
case, such questions were put, the answer is very difficult to be

339. In cases of _civil commotion_ the matter comes still more home to
us. On what ground is the rich man to call the artisan from his shop or
the labourer from the field to join the sheriff's possé or the militia,
if he refuse to the labourer and artisan the right of sharing in the
making of the laws? Why are they to risk their lives here? To _uphold
the laws_, and to protect _property_. What! _laws_, in the making of, or
assenting to, which they have been allowed to have no share? _Property_,
of which they are said to possess none? What! compel men to come forth
and risk their lives for the _protection of property_; and then, in the
same breath, tell them, that they are not allowed to share in the making
of the laws, because, and ONLY BECAUSE, _they have no property_! Not
because they have committed any crime; not because they are idle or
profligate; not because they are vicious in any way; out solely because
they have _no property_; and yet, at the same time, compel them to come
forth and _risk their lives_ for the _protection of property_!

340. But, the PAUPERS? Ought _they_ to share in the making of the laws?
And why not? What is a _pauper_; what is one of the men to whom this
degrading appellation is applied? A _very poor_ man; a man who is, from
some cause or other, unable to supply himself with food and raiment
without aid from the parish-rates. And, is that circumstance alone to
deprive him of his right, a right of which he stands more in need than
any other man? Perhaps he has, for many years of his life, contributed
directly to those rates; and ten thousand to one he has, by his labour,
contributed to them indirectly. The aid which, under such circumstances,
he receives, _is his right_; he receives it not as _an alms_: he is no
mendicant; he begs not; he comes to receive that which _the law of the
country awards him_ in lieu of the _larger portion_ assigned him by the
_law of Nature_. Pray mark that, and let it be deeply engraven on your
memory. The audacious and merciless MALTHUS (a parson of the church
establishment) recommended, some years ago, the passing of a law to _put
an end to the giving of parish relief_, though he recommended no law to
put an end to the enormous taxes paid by poor people. In his book he
said, that the poor should be left to the _law of Nature_, which, in
case of their having nothing to buy food with, _doomed them to starve_.
They would ask nothing better than to be left to the _law of Nature_;
that law which knows nothing about _buying_ food or any thing else; that
law which bids the hungry and the naked _take_ food and raiment wherever
they find it best and nearest at hand; that law which awards all
possessions to the _strongest_; that law the operations of which would
clear out the London meat-markets and the drapers' and jewellers' shops
in about half an hour: to this law the parson wished the parliament to
leave the poorest of the working people; but, if the parliament had done
it, it would have been quickly seen, that this law was far from 'dooming
them to be starved.'

341. Trusting that it is unnecessary for me to express a hope, that
barbarous thoughts like those of Malthus and his tribe will never be
entertained by any young man who has read the previous Numbers of this
work, let me return to my _very, very poor man_, and ask, whether it be
consistent with justice, with humanity, with reason, to deprive a man of
the most precious of his political rights, because, and _only because_,
he has been, in a pecuniary way, _singularly unfortunate_? The Scripture
says, 'Despise not the poor, _because_ he is poor;' that is to say,
despise him not _on account of his poverty_. Why, then, deprive him of
his right; why put him out of the pale of the law, on account of his
poverty? There are _some_ men, to be sure, who are reduced to poverty by
their vices, by idleness, by gaming, by drinking, by squandering; but,
the far greater part by bodily ailments, by misfortunes to the effects
of which all men may, without any fault, and even without any folly, be
exposed: and, is there a man on earth so cruelly unjust as to wish to
add to the sufferings of such persons by stripping them of their
political rights? How many thousands of industrious and virtuous men
have, within these few years, been brought down from a state of
competence to that of pauperism! And, is it just to strip such men of
their rights, merely because they are thus brought down? When I was at
ELY, last spring, there were in that neighbourhood, _three paupers_
cracking stones on the roads, who had all three been, not only
rate-payers, but _overseers of the poor_, within seven years of the day
when I was there. Is there any man so barbarous as to say, that these
men ought, merely on account of their misfortunes, to be deprived of
their political rights? Their right to receive relief is as perfect as
any right of property; and, would you, merely because they claim _this
right_, strip them of _another right_? To say no more of the injustice
and the cruelty, is there reason, is there common sense in this? What!
if a farmer or tradesman be, by flood or by fire, so totally ruined as
to be compelled, surrounded by his family, to resort to the parish-book,
would you break the last heart-string of such a man by making him feel
the degrading loss of his political rights?

342. Here, young man of sense and of spirit; _here is the point_ on
which you are to take your stand. There are always men enough to plead
the cause of the rich; enough and enough to echo the woes of the fallen
great; but, be it your part to show compassion for those who labour, and
to maintain _their rights_. Poverty is not _a crime_, and, though it
sometimes arises from faults, it is not, even in that case, to be
visited by punishment beyond that which it brings with itself. Remember,
that poverty is decreed by the very nature of man. The Scripture says,
that 'the poor shall never cease from out of the land;' that is to say,
that there shall always be some very poor people. This is inevitable
from the very nature of things. It is necessary to the existence of
mankind, that a very large portion of every people should live by manual
labour; and, as such labour is _pain_, more or less, and as no living
creature likes pain, it must be, that the far greater part of labouring
people will endure only just as much of this pain as is absolutely
necessary to the supply of their _daily wants_. Experience says that
this has always been, and reason and nature tell us, that this must
always be. Therefore, when ailments, when losses, when untoward
circumstances of any sort, stop or diminish the daily supply, _want
comes_; and every just government will provide, from the general stock,
the means to satisfy this want.

343. Nor is the deepest poverty without its _useful effects_ in society.
To the practice of the virtues of abstinence, sobriety, care, frugality,
industry, and even honesty and amiable manners and acquirement of
talent, the two great motives are, to get upwards in riches or fame, and
_to avoid going downwards to poverty_, the last of which is the most
powerful of the two. It is, therefore, not with contempt, but with
compassion, that we should look on those, whose state is one of the
decrees of nature, from whose sad example we profit, and to whom, in
return, we ought to make compensation by every indulgent and kind act in
our power, and particularly by a defence of their rights. To those who
labour, we, who labour not with our hands, owe all that we eat, drink
and wear; all that shades us by day and that shelters us by night; all
the means of enjoying health and pleasure; and, therefore, if we possess
talent for the task, we are ungrateful or cowardly, or both, if we omit
any effort within our power to prevent them from being _slaves_; and,
disguise the matter how we may, _a slave_, a _real slave_, every man is,
who has no share in making the laws which he is compelled to obey.

344. _What is a slave_? For, let us not be amused by _a name_; but look
well into the matter. A slave is, in the first place, a man who has _no
property_; and property means something that he _has_, and that nobody
can take from him without his leave, or consent. Whatever man, no matter
what he may call himself or any body else may call him, can have his
money or his goods taken from him _by force_, by virtue of an order, or
ordinance, or law, which he has had no hand in making, and to which he
has not given his assent, has _no property_, and is merely a depositary
of the goods of his master. A slave has _no property in his labour_; and
any man who is compelled to give up the fruit of his labour to another,
at the arbitrary will of that other, has no property in his labour, and
is, therefore, a slave, whether the fruit of his labour be taken from
him directly or indirectly. If it be said, that he gives up this fruit
of his labour by his own will, and that it is _not forced from him_. I
answer, To be sure he _may_ avoid eating and drinking and may go naked;
but, then he must _die_; and on this condition, and this condition only,
can he refuse to give up the fruit of his labour; 'Die, wretch, or
surrender as much of your income, or the fruit of your labour as your
masters choose to take.' This is, in fact, the language of the rulers to
every man who is refused to have a share in the making of the laws to
which he is _forced_ to submit.

345. But, some one may say, slaves are _private property_, and may _be
bought and sold_, out and out, like cattle. And, what is it to the
slave, whether he be property of _one_ or of _many_; or, what matters it
to him, whether he pass from master to master by a sale for an
indefinite term, or be let to hire by the year, month, or week? It is,
in no case, the flesh and blood and bones that are sold, but the
_labour_; and, if you actually sell the labour of man, is not that man
_a slave_, though you sell it for only a short time at once? And, as to
the principle, so ostentatiously displayed in the case of the _black_
slave-trade, that '_man_ ought not to have _a property in man_,' it is
even an advantage to the slave to be private property, because the owner
has then a clear and powerful _interest_ in the preservation of his
life, health and strength, and will, therefore, furnish him amply with
the food and raiment necessary for these ends. Every one knows, that
public property is never so well taken care of as private property; and
this, too, on the maxim, that 'that which is every body's business is
nobody's business.' Every one knows that a _rented_ farm is not so well
kept in heart, as a farm in the hands of the _owner_. And as to
_punishments_ and _restraints_, what difference is there, whether these
be inflicted and imposed by a private owner, or his overseer, or by the
agents and overseers of a body of proprietors? In short, if you can
cause a man to be imprisoned or whipped if he do not work enough to
please you; if you can sell him by auction for a time limited; if you
can forcibly separate him from his wife to prevent their having
children; if you can shut him up in his dwelling place when you please,
and for as long a time as you please; if you can force him to draw a
cart or wagon like a beast of draught; if you can, when the humour
seizes you, and at the suggestion of your mere fears, or whim, cause him
to be shut up in a dungeon during your pleasure: if you can, at your
pleasure, do these things to him, is it not to be impudently
hypocritical to affect to call him _a free-man_? But, after all, these
may all be wanting, and yet the man be _a slave_, if he be allowed to
have _no property_; and, as I have shown, no property he can have, not
even in that _labour_, which is not only property, but the _basis_ of
all other property, unless he have a _share in making the laws_ to which
he is compelled to submit.

346. It is said, that he may have this share _virtually_ though not in
form and _name_; for that his _employers_ may have such share, and they
will, as a matter of course, _act for him_. This doctrine, pushed home,
would make the _chief_ of the nation the sole maker of the laws; for, if
the rich can thus _act for_ the poor, why should not the chief act for
the rich? This matter is very completely explained by the practice in
the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. There the maxim is, that _every free man_,
with the exception of men stained with crime and men insane, has a right
to have a voice in choosing those who make the laws. The number of
Representatives sent to the Congress is, in each State, proportioned to
the number of _free people_. But, as there are _slaves_ in _some_ of the
States, these States _have a certain portion of additional numbers on
account of those slaves_! Thus the slaves are _represented by their
owners_, and this is real, practical, open and undisguised _virtual
representation_! No doubt that white men may be represented in the same
way; for the colour of the skin is nothing; but let them be called
slaves, then; let it not be pretended that they are _free men_; let not
the word _liberty_ be polluted by being applied to their state; let it
be openly and honestly avowed, as in America, that they _are slaves_;
and then will come the question whether men ought to exist in such a
state, or whether they ought to do every thing in their power to rescue
themselves from it.

347. If the right to have a share in making the laws were merely a
feather; if it were a fanciful thing; if it were only a speculative
theory; if it were but an _abstract principle_; on any of these
suppositions, it might be considered as of little importance. But it is
none of these; it is a practical matter; the want of it not only _is_,
but must of necessity be, felt by every man who lives under that want.
If it were proposed to the shopkeepers in a town, that a rich man or
two, living in the neighbourhood, should have power to send, _whenever
they pleased_, and take away as much as they pleased of the money of the
shopkeepers, and apply it to what uses they please; what an outcry the
shopkeepers would make! And yet, what would this be _more_ than taxes
imposed on those who have no voice in choosing the persons who impose
them? Who lets another man put his hand into his purse when he pleases?
Who, that has the power to help himself, surrenders his goods or his
money to the will of another? Has it not always been, and must it not
always be, true, that, if your property be at the absolute disposal of
others, your ruin is certain? And if this be, of necessity, the case
amongst individuals and parts of the community, it must be the case with
regard to the whole community.

348. Aye, and experience shows us that it always has been the case. The
natural and inevitable consequences of a want of this right in the
people have, in all countries, been _taxes_ pressing the industrious and
laborious to the earth; _severe laws_ and _standing armies_ to compel
the people to submit to those taxes; wealth, luxury, and splendour,
amongst those who make the laws and receive the taxes; poverty, misery,
immorality and crime, amongst those who bear the burdens; and at last
commotion, revolt, revenge, and rivers of blood. Such have always been,
and such must always be, the consequences of a want of this right of all
men to share in the making of the laws, a right, as I have before shown,
derived immediately from the law of Nature, springing up out of the same
source with civil society, and cherished in the heart of man by reason
and by experience.

349. Well, then, this right being that, without the enjoyment of which
there is, in reality, no right at all, how manifestly is it _the first
duty_ of every man to do all in his power to _maintain_ this right where
it exists, and to _restore_ it where it has been lost? For observe, it
must, at one time, have existed in every _civil_ community, it being
impossible that it could ever be excluded by any _social compact_;
absolutely impossible, because it is contrary to the law of
self-preservation to believe, that men would agree to give up the rights
of nature without stipulating for some _benefit_. Before we can affect
to believe that this right was not reserved, in such compact, as
completely as the right to _live_ was reserved, we must affect to
believe, that millions of men, under no control but that of their own
passions and desires, and having all the earth and its products at the
command of their strength and skill, consented to be for ever, they and
their posterity, the _slaves of a few_.

350. We cannot believe this, and therefore, without going back into
_history_ and _precedents_, we must believe, that, in whatever civil
community this right does not exist, it has been lost, or rather,
_unjustly taken away_. And then, having seen the terrible evils which
always have arisen, and always must arise, from the want of it; being
convinced that, where lost or taken away by force or fraud, it is our
very first duty to do all in our power to _restore_ it, the next
consideration is, _how_ one ought to act in the discharge of this most
sacred duty; for sacred it is even as the duties of husband and father.
For, besides the baseness of the thought of quietly submitting to be a
slave _oneself_, we have here, besides our duty to the community, a duty
to perform towards our children and our children's children. We all
acknowledge that it is our bounden duty to provide, as far as our power
will go, for the competence, the health, and the good character of our
children; but, is this duty superior to that of which I am now speaking?
What is competence, what is health, if the possessor be _a slave_, and
hold his possessions at the will of another, or others; as he must do if
destitute of the right to a share in the making of the laws? What is
competence, what is health, if both can, at any moment, be snatched away
by the grasp or the dungeon of a master; and his master he is who makes
the laws without his participation or assent? And, as to _character_, as
to _fair fame_, when the white slave puts forward pretensions to those,
let him no longer affect to commiserate the state of his sleek and fat
brethren in Barbadoes and Jamaica; let him hasten to mix the hair with
the wool, to blend the white with the black, and to lose the memory of
his origin amidst a dingy generation.

351. Such, then, being the nature of the duty, _how_ are we to go to
work in the performance of it, and what are our _means_? With regard to
these, so various are the circumstances, so endless the differences in
the states of society, and so many are the cases when it would be
madness to attempt that which it would be prudence to attempt in others,
that no _general_ rule can be given beyond this; that, the right and the
duty being clear to our minds, the _means_ that are _surest_ and
_swiftest_ are the _best_. In every such case, however, the great and
predominant desire ought to be not to employ any means beyond those of
reason and persuasion, as long as the employment of these afford a
ground for rational expectation of success. Men are, in such a case,
labouring, not for the present day only, but for ages to come; and
therefore they should not slacken in their exertions, because the grave
may close upon them before the day of final triumph arrive. Amongst the
virtues of the good Citizen are those of fortitude and patience; and,
when he has to carry on his struggle against corruptions deep and
widely-rooted, he is not to expect the baleful tree to come down at a
single blow; he must patiently remove the earth that props and feeds it,
and sever the accursed roots one by one.

352. _Impatience_ here is a very bad sign. I do not like your
_patriots_, who, because the tree does not give way at once, fall to
_blaming_ all about them, accuse their fellow-sufferers of cowardice,
because they do not do that which they themselves dare not think of
doing. Such conduct argues _chagrin_ and _disappointment_; and these
argue a _selfish_ feeling: they argue, that there has been more of
private ambition and gain at work than of _public good_. Such blamers,
such general accusers, are always to be suspected. What does the _real_
patriot want more than to feel conscious that he has done his duty
towards his country; and that, if life should not allow him time to see
his endeavours crowned with success, his children will see it? The
impatient patriots are like the young men (mentioned in the beautiful
fable of LA FONTAINE) who ridiculed the man of fourscore, who was
planting an avenue of very small trees, which, they told him, that he
never could expect to see as high as his head. 'Well,' said he, 'and
what of that? If their shade afford me no pleasure, it may afford
pleasure to my children, and even to you; and, therefore, the planting
of them gives me pleasure.'

353. It is the want of the noble disinterestedness, so beautifully
expressed in this fable, that produces the _impatient_ patriots. They
wish very well to their country, because they want _some of the good for
themselves_. Very natural that all men should wish to see the good
arrive, and wish to share in it too; but, we must look on the dark side
of nature to find the disposition to cast blame on the whole community
because our wishes are not instantly accomplished, and especially to
cast blame on others for not doing that which we ourselves dare not
attempt. There is, however, a sort of _patriot_ a great deal worse than
this; he, who having failed himself, would see his country enslaved for
ever, rather than see its deliverance achieved by others. His failure
has, perhaps, arisen solely from his want of talent, or discretion; yet
his selfish heart would wish his country sunk in everlasting
degradation, lest his inefficiency for the task should be established by
the success of others. A very hateful character, certainly, but, I am
sorry to say, by no means rare. _Envy_, always associated with meanness
of soul, always detestable, is never so detestable as when it shows
itself here.

354. Be it your care, my young friend (and I tender you this as my
parting advice), if you find this base and baleful passion, which the
poet calls 'the eldest born of hell;' if you find it creeping into your
heart, be it your care to banish it at once and for ever; for, if once
it nestle there, farewell to all the good which nature has enabled you
to do, and to your peace into the bargain. It has pleased God to make an
unequal distribution of talent, of industry, of perseverance, of a
capacity to labour, of all the qualities that give men distinction. We
have not been our own makers: it is no fault in you that nature has
placed him above you, and, surely, it is no fault in him; and would you
_punish_ him on account, and only on account, of his pre-eminence! If
you have read this book you will startle with horror at the thought: you
will, as to public matters, act with zeal and with good humour, though
the place you occupy be far removed from the first; you will support
with the best of your abilities others, who, from whatever circumstance,
may happen to take the lead; you will not suffer even the consciousness
and the certainty of your own superior talents to urge you to do any
thing which might by possibility be injurious to your country's cause;
you will be forbearing under the aggressions of ignorance, conceit,
arrogance, and even the blackest of ingratitude superadded, if by
resenting these you endanger the general good; and, above all things,
you will have the justice to bear in mind, that that country which gave
you birth, is, to the last hour of your capability, entitled to your
exertions in her behalf, and that you ought not, by acts of commission
or of omission, to visit upon her the wrongs which may have been
inflicted on you by the envy and malice of individuals. Love of one's
native soil is a feeling which nature has implanted in the human breast,
and that has always been peculiarly strong in the breasts of Englishmen.
God has given us a country of which to be proud, and that freedom,
greatness and renown, which were handed down to us by our wise and brave
forefathers, bid us perish to the last man, rather than suffer the land
of their graves to become a land of slavery, impotence and dishonour.

355. In the words with which I concluded my English Grammar, which I
addressed to my son James, I conclude my advice to you. 'With English
and French on your tongue and in your pen, you have a resource, not only
greatly valuable in itself, but a resource that you can be deprived of
by none of those changes and chances which deprive men of pecuniary
possessions, and which, in some cases, make the purse-proud man of
yesterday a crawling sycophant to-day. Health, without which life is not
worth having, you will hardly fail to secure by early rising, exercise,
sobriety, and abstemiousness as to food. Happiness, or misery, is in the
_mind_. It is the mind that lives; and the length of life ought to be
measured by the number and importance of our ideas, and not by the
number of our days. Never, therefore, esteem men merely on account of
their riches or their station. Respect goodness, find it where you may.
Honour talent wherever you behold it unassociated with vice; but, honour
it most when accompanied with exertion, and especially when exerted in
the cause of truth and justice; and, above all things, hold it in
honour, when it steps forward to protect defenceless innocence against
the attacks of powerful guilt.' These words, addressed to my own son, I
now, in taking my leave, address to you. Be just, be industrious, be
sober, and be happy; and the hope that these effects will, in some
degree, have been caused by this little work, will add to the happiness

      Your friend and humble servant,

            WM. COBBETT.

Kensington, 25th Aug. 1830.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Advice to Young Men - And (Incidentally) to Young Women in the Middle and Higher Ranks of Life. In a Series of Letters, Addressed to a Youth, a Bachelor, a Lover, a Husband, a Father, a Citizen, or a Subject." ***

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