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Title: An essay in defence of the female sex - In which are inserted the characters of a pedant, a squire, - a beau, a vertuoso, a poetaster, a city-critick, &c. in - a letter to a lady.
Author: Drake, Judith
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)



[Illustration:

  THE COMPLEAT BEAU

  _This vain gay thing sets unfor man, But seem^t fate attends him
  The powd’ring Barber first began, The Barber Surgeon endst._
]



                                   AN
                                 ESSAY
                           In Defence of the
                             _FEMALE SEX_.


                       In which are inserted the

                               CHARACTERS

                                   OF

                         _A Pedant_,
                         _A Squire_,
                         _A Beau_,
                         _A Vertuoso_,
                         _A Poetaster_,
                         _A City-Critick_, &c.


                         In a Letter to a Lady.


                         Written by a Lady.


        _Since each is fond of his own ugly Face;
        Why shou’d you when we hold it break the Glass?_

                                      Prol. to Sir _F. Flutter_.


                               _LONDON_,

 Printed for _A. Roper_ and _E. Wilkinson_ at the _Black Boy_, and _R.
           Clavel_ at the _Peacock_, in _Fleetstreet_, 1696.



        _To Her Royal Highness the Princess_ Anne _of_ Denmark.


 _MADAM_,

If in adventuring to lay this little Piece at your Highnesses Feet, and
humbly beg your Royal Protection of it, I have presum’d too far, be
pleas’d to impute it to your own, most gracious Goodness, the knowledge
of which encourag’d me. Our Sex are by Nature tender of their own
Off-spring, and may be allow’d to have more fondness for those of the
Brain, then any other; because they are so few, and meet with so many
Enemies at their first appearance in the World. I hope therefore to find
pardon, if like an indulgent Parent, I have endeavour’d to advance my
first Born, by entering it very early into your Highnesses Service.

I have not presum’d to approach your Highness out of any Confidence in
the merits of this Essay, but of the Cause which it pleads, wherein the
Honour of the whole Sex seem’d to exact of me no less a Patronage than
that of the Best, as well as Greatest among ’em, whom they are all
ambitious to see at their head. I have only endeavour’d to reduce the
Sexes to a Level, and by Arguments to raise Ours to an Equallity at most
with the Men: But your Highness by Illustrious Example daily convinces
the World of our Superiority, and we see with wonder, Vertues in you,
Madam, greater than your Birth. In this I am peculiarly happy, that I am
exempted from the common Task of other Dedicators, who lie under an
Obligation of publishing to the World those Excellencies of their
Patrons, which perhaps appear no where but in their Epistles. In me it
were as great folly, to pretend to make known the Illustrious Quallities
of your Highness, as it wou’d be to go about to demonstrate by Argument,
that the Sun shin’d, to a Crowd that are warm’d by the Influence of it.

I had attempted the Character of a consummate Woman, could I, tho’ but
faintly have shaddow’d the inimitable Graces of you Highness; but the
impossibillity of that Task forc’d me to desist. It were easy here to
lanch into those glorious particulars, which affirmed of any other than
your Royal Highness, would have been extravagance of Flattery; but to
you Injustice, and in me the highest presumption, to attempt with my
feeble Hand those Perfections, which the ablest must fall infinitely
short of. The lustre of your Royal Vertues, Madam, like the Sun, gives
us warmth and light, and while at a modest distance we admire it,
improves our sight, which too bold a view confounds, yet the meanest and
most ignorant see those Glories, which the most exquisite Artist can
never express. The World therefore will rather justify than comdemn my
conduct, if I do not wrong so bright an Original with a dark obscure
Copy.

_Madam_, Tho’ the world may condemn my performance, it must applaud my
choice in this Address, and own that had I known as well how to Argue,
as to Instance, I must infallibly have Triumph’d over all Opposition. It
may be easie to evade, or baffle the force of my Arguments, but it is
impossible without the utmost Stupidity, and Injustice to deny the
manifest Advantages of those Illustrious Graces, which raise your
Highness so far above theirs as well as your own Sex. In this I have
imitated the conduct of prudent Generals, who, when they doubt the
sufficiency of their strength, retire to some strong Fort, and rest
secure There is yet another Reason, _Madam_, which tho’ the least
justifiable, was nevertheless most prevalent with me to devote this
Essay to your Highness. My Ambition to shew the profound Respects I have
always had for your Highness, would not suffer me to let slip any
occasion of expressing it, even tho I blush for the meanes of it. Thus I
find my self reduc’d by my Zeal, to the condition of poor Tenants, who
must expose their Poverty, to shew their Affection to their Lord in a
worthless Present. I am sensible of the rashness of my Ambition in
aspiring to the Patronage of Your Highness, and the need I have of an
Apology; but were I able to make one as I ought, I should have taken
care to have had less occasion for it. Yet I doubt not from Your
Goodness that Indulgence, which I cannot expect from Your Justice, nor
but that you will (like Heaven, whose more immediate Images Princes are)
accept my unprofitable Service, for the sincerity with which it is
tender’d. If my unfeign’d Submission may procure pardon for my
Presumption, that Your Happiness may equal Your illustrious Vertues, and
Your Royal Person be as far out of the reach of Fortune, as your Fame
and Honour of Detraction, shall ever be the prayers of

                                        Madam,

                                            _Your Royal Highness’s
                                                most Humble, most
                                                    Obedient, and most
                                                        Devoted Servant_



                                PREFACE.


_Prefaces to most Books, are like Prolocutors to Puppet-Shows, they come
first to tell you what Figures are to be presented, and what Tricks they
are to play. According therefore to ancient and laudable Custom, I have
thought fit to let you know by way of Preface, or Advertisement, (call
it which you please) that here are many fine Figures within to be seen,
as well worth your curiosity, as any in_ Smithfield _at_ Bartholomew
_Tide. I will not deny, Reader, but that you may have seen some of ’em
there already; to those that have, I have little more to say, than that
if they have a mind to see them again in Effigie, they may do it here.
What is it you wou’d have? Here are St._ George’s, Batemans, John
Dories, Punchinello’s, _and the_ Creation of the World, _or what’s as
good; here’s the_ German Artist _too, or one that can show more Tricks
than he: If all this will not invite you, y’are grown more squeamish of
late, Gentlemen, than you us’d to be, and the poor Bookseller will make
but an indifferent Market of you. Well, let the worst come to the worst,
’tis but shifting the scene to_ Smithfield, _and making an Interest in
half a dozen Vizor-Masks to be sure of your Company: But he, good Man,
is desirous to please you at first hand, and therefore has put a fine
Picture in the front to invite you in, so like some of you (as he
protests) that you ought never look in a Glass again, if it offends you.
For my part, I declare, he has acted clear against my Opinion in this
case, and so he has been told; for many a poor Man has lost the showing
of his Monster, by gratifying the curiosity of the gaping Crowd with too
exact a picture without doors. Besides, there’s an unlucky Rogue of a
left-handed Barber, that looks like an ill Omen in the beginning. He was
told too, that if he wou’d please most of you, he ought to take example
by your Glasses and flatter you. Yet he continued obstinate and
unmoveable to all these weighty Reasons, and is so fondly bent for his
Picture, that he resolv’d against all advice to have it. Nay, and he
wou’d have Rhimes underneath it too, which, he says, weigh more with
you, than all the Reason in the world. I thought fit to let you know
this, that the Bookseller might not lose the credit of his Fancy, if it
takes with you, as he is perswaded it will. For you must know, I am a
great lover of strict Justice, and therefore would by no means Rob, or
Defraud him of the Glory of his Invention, or by any sinister way
sullie, or diminish the Honour, or Reputation of his Parts and
Ingenuity. For the same Reason likewise I must acquaint you, that the
Rhimes are none of mine neither; and now my Hand is in, I don’t much
care if I tell you, that I am not very good at that ingenious
Recreation, called_ Crambo, _from which some rise to be very
considerable Rhimers. This now is more then I was oblig’d to tell you,
and therefore I hope no body will deny, but that I deal ingenuously at
least with you._

_This one would think were Preface sufficient; but there are some Men so
impertinently curious, that they must needs have a Reason for every
thing, that is done in the World, tho’ it were in their favour (for
which perhaps it were hard to give a good one) when it were their
Interest to be satisfied, and thankful without further enquiry. To
comply therefore in some measure with the humour of these People, if any
such think fit to peruse this Book, I must tell ’em very freely, that I
was so far from aiming to oblige, or disoblige ’em by it, that it was
never intended for their View. It was occasion’d by a private
Conversation, between some Gentlemen and Ladies, and written at the
request, and for the Diversion of one Lady more particularly, by whom
with my consent it was communicated to two or three more of both Sexes,
my Friends likewise._

_By them I was with abundance of Complements importun’d to make it
publick; now tho’ I do with good Reason attribute much more, of what was
said to me upon this Occasion, to their good Breeding and Friendship,
than to their real Opinions of my Performance; yet I have so much
satisfaction in their Sincerity, and Friendship as to be confident they
would not suffer, much less perswade me to expose to the world any
thing, of which they doubted so far, as to think it would not be
tollerably acceptable. Nor have I less assurance of their Judgment and
Skill in things of this nature, beside that I have been inform’d by some
of ’em, that it has been seen, and favourably receiv’d by some
Gentlemen, whom the world thinks no incompetent Judges. After all this
Encouragement, I suppose, I shall not be thought vain, if, as I pretend
not to the applause, so I fear not the contempt of the world: Yet I
presume not so far upon the Merits of what I have written, as to make my
Name publick with it. I have elsewhere held, that Vanity was almost the
universal mover of all our Actions, and consequently of mine, as well as
of others; yet it is not strongenough in me, to induce me to bring my
Name upon the publick stage of the World._

_There are many Reasons, that oblige me to this cautious, reserv’d way
of procedure; tho’ I might otherwise be very ambitious of appearing in
the defence of my Sex, cou’d I perswade my self, that I was able to
write any thing sutable to the dignity of the Subject, which I am not
vain enough to think. This indeed is one Reason, because I am sensible
it might have been much better defended by abler Pens; such as many
among our own Sex are; though I believe scarce thus much wou’d have been
expected from me, by those that know me. There is likewise another
Reason, which was yet more prevalent with me, and with those few Friends
whom I consulted about it, which is this; There are a sort of Men, that
upon all occasions think themselves more concern’d, and more thought of
than they are, and that, like Men that are deaf, or have any other
notorious Defect, can see no body whisper, or laugh, but they think ’tis
at themselves. These Men are apt to think, that every ridiculous
description they meet with, was intended more particularly for some one
or other of them; as indeed it is hard to paint any thing compleat in
their several Kinds, without hitting many of their particular Features,
even without drawing from them. The knowledge of this, with the
consideration of the tenderness of Reputation in our Sex, (which as our
delicatest Fruits and finest Flowers are most obnoxious to the injuries
of Weather, is submitted to every infectious Blast of malicious Breath)
made me very cautious, how I expos’d mine to such poisonous Vapours. I
was not ignorant, how liberal some Men are of their Scandal, whenever
provok’d, especially by a Woman; and how ready the same Men are to be
so, tho upon never so mistaken Grounds. This made me resolve to keep ’em
in Ignorance of my Name, and if they have a mind to find me out, let ’em
catch me (if they can) as Children at Blindmans Buff do one another,
Hoodwinkt; and I am of Opinion I have room enough to put ’em out of
Breath before they come near me._

_The Event has in Effect prov’d my suspicions Prophetick; for there are
(as I am inform’d) already some, so forward to interest themselves
against me, that they take Characters upon themselves, before they see
’em; and, for fear they should want some Body to throw their Dirt at,
with equal Ignorance, and Injustice Father this Piece upon the
Gentleman, who was so kind as to take care of the Publication of it,
only to excuse me from appearing. This made me once resolve to oppose my
Innocence to their Clamour, and perfix my Name, which I thought I was
bound to do in Justice to him. In this Resolution I had persisted, had
not the very same Gentleman generously perswaded, and over-rul’d me to
the contrary, representing how weak a defence Innocence is against
Calumny, how open the Ears of all the World are, and how greedily they
suck in any thing to the prejudice of a Woman; and that (to use his own
Expression) the scandal of such Men, was like Dirt thrown by Children,
and Fools at random, and without Provocation, it would dawb filthily at
first, though it were easily washt off again: Adding, that he desir’d me
not to be under any concern for him; for he valued the Malice of such
men, as little, as their Friendship, the one was as feeble, as tother
false._

_I suppose I need make no Apology to my own Sex for the meaness of this
defence; the bare intention of serving ’em will I hope be accepted, and
of Men, the Candid and Ingenuous I am sure will not quarrel with me for
any thing in this little Book; since there is nothing in it, which was
not drawn from the strictest Reason I was Mistress of, and the best
Observations I was able to make, except a start or two only concerning
the Salique Law, and the_ Amazons, _which, if they divert not the
Reader, can’t offend him_.

_I shall not trouble the Reader with any account of the Method I have
observ’d, he will easily discover that in reading the Piece it self. I
shall only take notice to him of one thing, which with a little
attention to what he reads he will readily find to be true, that is,
that the Characters were not written out of any Wanton Humour, or
Malicious Design to characterize any Particular Persons, but to
illustrate what I have said upon the several Heads, under which they are
rang’d, and represent not single Men, but so many Clans, or Divisions of
Men, that play the Fool seriously in the World. If any Individual seem
to be more peculiarly markt, it is because he is perhaps more notorious
to the World, by some one or more Articles of the General Character here
given I am sure that there is no Man, who is but moderately Acquainted
with the World, especially this Town, but may find half a Dozen, or more
Originals for every Picture. After all, if any Man have so little Wit,
as to appropriate any of these Characters to himself, He takes a liberty
I have hitherto never given him, but shall do it now in the Words of a
Great Man_, If any Fool finds the Cap fit him, let him put it on.

_There are some Men, (I hear) who will not allow this Piece to be
written by a Woman; did I know what Estimate to make of their Judgments,
I might perhaps have a higher Opinion of this Triffle, than I ever yet
had. For I little thought while I was writing this, that any Man
(especially an Ingenious Man) should have the scandal of being the
reputed Author. For he must think it scandalous to be made to Father a
Womans Productions unlawfully. But these Gentlemen, I suppose, believe
there is more Wit, than they’l find in this Piece, upon the Credit of
the Bookseller, whose Interest it is to flatter it. But were it as well
written as I could wish it, or as the Subject wou’d bear, and deserves;
I see no reason why our Sex shou’d be robb’d of the Honour of it; Since
there have been Women in all Ages, whose Writings might vie with those
of the greatest Men, as the Present Age as well as past can testifie. I
shall not trouble the Reader with their names, because I wou’d not be
thought so vain, as to rank my self among ’em; and their names are
already too well known, and celebrated to receive any additional Lustre
from so weak Encomiums as mine. I pretend not to imitate, much less to
Rival those Illustrious Ladies, who have done so much Honour to their
Sex, and are unanswerable Proofs of, what I contend for. I only wish,
that some Ladies now living among us (whose names I forbear to mention
in regard to their Modesty) wou’d exert themselves, and give us more
recent Instances, who are both by Nature and Education sufficiently
qualified to do it, which I pretend not to. I freely own to the Reader,
that I know no other Tongue besides my Native, except_ French, _in which
I am but very moderately skill’d. I plead not this to excuse the meaness
of my Performance; because I know, I may reasonably be ask’d, why I was
so forward to write; For that I have already given my reasons above, if
they will not satisfie the Reader, he must endeavour to please himself
with better, for I am very little solicitous about the matter. I shall
only add, that for my Good Will I hope the Favour of my own Sex, which
will satisfie my Ambition._

   To the Most Ingenious Mrs. —— or her Admirable Defence of Her Sex.


          Long have we sung the Fam’d _Orinda_’s praise,
          And own’d _Astrea_’s Title to the Bays,
          We to their Wit have paid the Tribute due,
          But shou’d be Bankrupt, before just to you.
          Sweet flowing Numbers, and fine Thoughts they writ;
          But you Eternal Truths, as well as Wit.
          In them the Force of Harmony we find,
          In you the Strength, and Vigour of the Mind.
          Dark Clouds of Prejudice obscur’d their Verse,
          You with Victorious Prose those Clouds disperse:
          Those Foggs, which wou’d not to their Flame submit,
          Vanish before your Rising Sun of Wit.
          Like Stars, they only in Themselves were bright,
          The whole Sex shines by your reflected Light.
            Our Sex have long thro’ Usurpation reign’d,
          And by their Tyranny their Rule maintain’d.
          Till wanton grown with Arbitrary Sway
          Depos’d by you They practice to obey,
          Proudly submitting, when such Graces meet,
          Beauty by Nature, and by conquest Wit.
          For Wit they had on their own Sex entail’d,
          Till for your self, and Sex you thus prevail’d.
          Thrice happy Sex! Whose Foes such Pow’r disarms,
          And gives fresh Lustre to your native Charms,
          Whose Nervous Sense couch’d in close Method lies,
          Clear as her Soul, and piercing as her Eyes.
          If any yet so stupid shou’d appear,
          As still to doubt, what she has made so clear,
          Her Beautie’s Arguments they would allow,
          And to Her Eyes their full Conversion owe.
          And by Experiment the World convince.
          The Force of Reason’s less, than that of Sense.
            Your Sex you with such Charming Grace defend,
          While that you vindicate, you Ours amend:
          We in your Glass may see each foul defect.
          And may not only see, but may correct.
            In vain old _Greece_ her Sages would compare,
          They taught what Men should be, you what they are
          With doubtfull Notiones they Mankind perplext,
          And with unpracticable Precept vext.
            In vain they strove wild Passions to reclaim,
          Uncertain what they were, or whence they came.
          But you, who have found out their certain Source,
          May with a happier Hand divert their Course.
          Themselves so little did those Sages know,
          That to their Failings We their Learning owe.
          Their Vanity first caus’d ’em to aspire,
          And with feirce Wranglings set all _Greece_ on Fire:
          Thus into sects they split the _Grecian_ youth,
          Contending more for Victory than Truth.
          Your Speculations nobler Ends persue,
          They aim not to be Popular, but true.
          You with strict Justice in an equal Light,
          Expose both Wit and Folly to our Sight,
          Yet as the Bee secure on Poyson feeds,
          Extracting Honey from the rankest Weeds:
          So safely you in Fools Instructours find,
          And Wisdom in the Follies of mankind.
            With purer Waves henceforth shall Satyr flow,
          And we this change to your chast Labours owe;
          Satyr before from a Polluted Source
          Brought Native Filth, augmented in its course.
          No longer muddy shall those Streams appear,
          Which you have purg’d, and made so sweet, and clear.
          Well may your Wit to us a wonder seem,
          So strong’s the Current, yet so clear the stream,
          Deep, but not Dull, thro’ each transparent Line
          We see the Gems, which at the Bottom shine.
            To your Correction freely we submit,
          Who teach us Modesty, as well as Wit.
          Our Sex with Blushes must your Conquest own,
          While yours prepare the Garlands you have won.
          Your Fame secure long as your Sex shall last,
          Nor Time, nor Envy shall your Lawrels blast.

                                      _James Drake._



 _The Reader is desir’d to excuse, and correct all Literal Escapes, and
                     to amend the following thus._

                               _Errata:_


Page 4. l. 10. for _Engenia_, read _Eugenia_, p. 10. l. 22. for _that_,
read _the_, p. 28. l. 16. for _Mammy_, read _Mummy_. p. 29. l. 13. for
_change_, read _chance_. p. 32. l. 4. for _Repetion_, read _Repetition_,
p. 53. l. 4. for _Essay_, read _Esop_. p. 53. l. 13 for _Messieurs_,
read _Sieurs_. p. 60. l. 2. read _upon us_. p. 84. l. 1. for _and
these_, read _these_. p. 103. l. 23. for _little_ read _little_. p. 111.
l. 12, for _ocsicaons_, read _occasions_. p. 113. l. 1 for _Master_,
read _Mastery_. p. 126. l. 20. for _as well_, read _as well as_. p. 143.
l. 9. for _inspire_, read _inspires_.



                                   AN
                                 ESSAY
                           In Defence of the
                           Female Sex, _&c._


The Conversation we had ’tother day, makes me, Dear _Madam_, but more
sensible of the unreasonableness of your desire; which obliges me to
inform you further upon a Subject, wherein I have more need of your
instruction. The strength of Judgment, sprightly Fancy, and admirable
Address; you shew’d upon that Occasion, speak you so perfect a Mistress
of that Argument (as I doubt not but you are of any other that you
please to engage in) that whoever, would speak or write well on it,
ought first to be your Schollar. Yet to let you see how absolutely you
may command me, I had rather be your _Eccho_, than be silent when You
bid me speak, and beg your excuse rather for my Failures, than want of
Complacence. I know You will not accuse me for a Plagiary if I return
You nothing, but what I have glean’d from You, when You consider, that I
pretend not to make a Present, but to pay the Interest only of a Debt.
Nor can You tax me with Vanity, since no Importunity of a Person less
lov’d, or valu’d by me than your self could have extorted thus much from
me. This Consideration leaves me no room to doubt but that you will with
your usual Candour pardon those Defects, and correct those Errors, which
proceed only from an over forward Zeal to oblige You, though to my own
Disadvantage.

The defence of our Sex against so many and so great Wits as have so
strongly attack’d it, may justly seem a Task too difficult for a Woman
to attempt. Not that I can, or ought to yield, that we are by Nature
less enabled for such an Enterpize, than Men are; which I hope at least
to shew plausible Reasons for, before I have done: But because through
the Usurpation of Men, and the Tyranny of Custom (here in _England_
especially) there are at most but few, who are by Education, and
acquir’d Wit, or Letters sufficiently quallified for such an
Undertaking. For my own part I shall readily own, that as few as there
are, there may be and are abundance, who in their daily Conversations
approve themselves much more able, and sufficient Assertors of our
Cause, than my self; and I am sorry that either their Business, their
other Diversions, or too great Indulgence of their Ease, hinder them
from doing publick Justice to their Sex. The Men by Interest or
Inclination are so generally engag’d against us, that it is not to be
expected, that any one Man of Wit should arise so generous as to engage
in our Quarrel, and be the Champion of our Sex against the Injuries and
Oppressions of his own. Those Romantick days are over, and there is not
so much as a _Don Quixot_ of the Quill left to succour the distressed
Damsels. ’Tis true, a Feint of something of this Nature was made three
or four Years since by one; but how much soever his Eugenia may be
oblig’d to him, I am of Opinion the rest of her Sex are but little
beholding to him. For as you rightly observ’d, _Madam_, he has taken
more care to give an Edge to his Satyr, than force to his Apology; he
has play’d a sham Prize, and receives more thrusts than he makes; and
like a false Renegade fights under our Colours only for a fairer
Opportunity of betraying us. But what could be expected else from a
Beau? An Annimal that can no more commend in earnest a Womans Wit, than
a Man’s Person, and that compliments ours, only to shew his own good
Breeding and Parts. He levels his Scandal at the whole Sex, and thinks
us sufficiently fortified, if out of the Story of Two Thousand Years he
has been able to pick up a few Examples of Women illustrious for their
Wit, Learning or Vertue, and Men infamous for the contrary; though I
think the most inveterate of our Enemies would have spar’d him that
labour, by granting that all Ages have produc’d Persons famous or
infamous of both Sexes; or they must throw up all pretence to Modesty,
or Reason.

I have neither Learning, nor Inclination to make a Precedent, or indeed
any use of Mr. W’s. labour’d Common Place Book; and shall leave Pedants
and School-Boys to rake and tumble the Rubbish of Antiquity, and muster
all the _Heroes_ and _Heroins_ they can find to furnish matter for some
wretched Harangue, or stuff a miserable Declamation with instead of
Sense or Argument.

[Sidenote: _Some advantages to be allow’d to the disparity of
           Education._]

I shall not enter into any dispute, whether Men, or Women be generally
more ingenious, or learned; that Point must be given up to the
advantages Men have over us by their Education, Freedom of Converse, and
variety of Business and Company. But when any Comparison is made between
’em, great allowances must be made for the disparity of those
Circumstances. Neither shall I contest about the preheminence of our
Virtues; I know there are too many Vicious, and I hope there are a great
many Virtuous of both Sexes. Yet this I may say, that whatever Vices are
found amongst us, have in general both their source, and encouragement
from them.

The Question I shall at present handle is, whether the time an ingenious
Gentleman spends in the Company of Women, may justly be said to be
misemploy’d, or not? I put the question in general terms; because
whoever holds the affirmative must maintain it so, or the Sex is no way
concern’d to oppose him. On the other side I shall not maintain the
Negative, but with some Restrictions and Limitations; because I will not
be bound to justifie those Women, whose Vices and ill Conduct expose
them deservedly to the Censure of the other Sex, as well as of their
own. The Question being thus stated, let us consider the end and
purposes, for which Conversation was at first instituted, and is yet
desirable; and then we shall see, whether they may not all be found in
the Company of Women. These Ends, I take it, are the same with those we
aim at in all our other Actions, in general only two, Profit or
Pleasure. These are divided into those of the Mind, and those of the
Body. Of the latter I shall take no further Notice, as having no
Relation to the present Subject; but shall confine my self wholly to the
Mind, the Profit of which is the Improvement of the Understanding, and
the Pleasure is the Diversion, and Relaxation of its Cares and Passions.
Now if either of these Ends be attainable by the Society of Women, I
have gain’d my Point. However, I hope to make it appear, that they are
not only both to be met with in the Conversation of Women, but one of
them more generally, and in greater measure than in Mens.

Our Company is generally by our Adversaries represented as unprofitable
and irksome to Men of Sense, and by some of the more vehement Sticklers
against us, as Criminal. These Imputations as they are unjust,
especially the latter, so they savour strongly of the Malice, Arrogance
and Sottishness of those, that most frequently urge ’em; who are
commonly either conceited Fops, whose success in their Pretences to the
favour of our Sex has been no greater than their Merit, and fallen very
far short of their Vanity and Presumption, or a sort of morose,
ill-bred, unthinking Fellows, who appear to be Men only by their Habit
and Beards, and are scarce distinguishable from Brutes but by their
Figure and Risibility. But I shall wave these Reflections at present,
however just, and come closer to our Argument. If Women are not
quallified for the Conversation of ingenious Men, or, to go yet further,
their friendship, it must be because they want some one condition, or
more, necessarily requisite to either. The necessary Conditions of these
are Sense, and good nature, to which must be added, for Friendship,
Fidelity and Integrity. Now if any of these be wanting to our Sex, it
must be either because Nature has not been so liberal as to bestow ’em
upon us; or because due care has not been taken to cultivate those Gifts
to a competent measure in us.

The first of these Causes is that, which is most generally urg’d against
us, whether it be in Raillery, or Spight. I might easily cut this part
of the Controversy short by an irrefragable Argument, which is, that the
express intent, and reason for which Woman was created, was to be a
Companion, and help meet to Man; and that consequently those, that deny
’em to be so, must argue a Mistake in Providence, and think themselves
wiser than their Creator. But these Gentlemen are generally such
passionate Admirers of themselves, and have such a profound value and
reverence for their own Parts, that they are ready at any time to
sacrifice their Religion to the Reputation of their Wit, and rather than
lose their point, deny the truth of the History. There are others, that
though they allow the Story yet affirm, that the propagation, and
continuance of Mankind, was the only Reason for which we were made; as
if the Wisdom that first made Man, cou’d not without trouble have
continu’d the Species by the same or any other Method, had not this been
most conducive to his happiness, which was the gracious and only end of
his Creation. But these superficial Gentlemen wear their Understandings
like their Clothes, always set and formal, and wou’d no more Talk than
Dress out of Fashion; Beau’s that, rather than any part of their outward
Figure shou’d be damag’d, wou’d wipe the dirt of their shoes with their
Handkercher, and that value themselves infinitely more upon modish
Nonsense, than upon the best Sense against the Fashion. But since I do
not intend to make this a religious Argument, I shall leave all further
Considerations of this Nature to the Divines, whose more immediate
Business and Study it is to assert the Wisdom of Providence in the
Order, and distribution of this World, against all that shall oppose it.

[Sidenote: _No distinction of Sexes in Souls._]

To proceed therefore if we be naturally defective, the Defect must be
either in Soul or Body. In the Soul it can’t be, if what I have hear’d
some learned Men maintain, be true, that all Souls are equal, and alike,
and that consequently there is no such distinction, as Male and Female
Souls; that there are no innate _Idea’s_, but that all the Notions we
have, are deriv’d from our External Senses, either immediately, or by
Reflection. These Metaphysical Speculations, I must own Madam, require
much more Learning and a stronger Head, than I can pretend to be
Mistress of, to be consider’d as they ought: Yet so bold I may be, as to
undertake the defence of these Opinions, when any of our jingling
Opponents think fit to refute ’em.

[Sidenote: _No advantage in the Organization of their Bodies._]

Neither can it be in the Body, (if I may credit the Report of learned
Physicians) for there is no difference in the Organization of those
Parts, which have any relation to, or influence over the Minds; but the
Brain, and all other Parts (which I am not Anatomist enough to name) are
contriv’d as well for the plentiful conveyance of Spirits, which are
held to be the immediate Instruments of Sensation, in Women, as Men. I
see therefore no natural Impediment in the structure of our Bodies; nor
does Experience, or Observation argue any: We use all our Natural
Faculties, as well as Men, nay and our Rational too, deducting only for
the advantages before mention’d.

[Sidenote: _Confirm’d from Experience of Brutes._]

Let us appeal yet further to Experience, and observe those Creatures
that deviate least from simple Nature, and see if we can find any
difference in Sense, or understanding between Males and Females. In
these we may see Nature plainest, who lie under no constraint of Custom
or Laws, but those of Passion or Appetite, which are Natures, and know
no difference of Education, nor receive any Byass by prejudice. We see
great distance in Degrees of Understanding, Wit, Cunning and Docility
(call them what you please) between the several Species of Brutes. An
Ape, a Dog, a Fox, are by daily Observation found to be more Docile, and
more Subtle than an Ox, a Swine, or a Sheep. But a She Ape is as full
of, and as ready at Imitation as a He; a Bitch will learn as many Tricks
in as short a time as a Dog, a Female Fox has as many Wiles as a Male. A
thousand instances of this kind might be produc’d; but I think these are
so plain, that to instance more were a superfluous labour; I shall only
once more take notice, that in Brutes and other Animals there is no
difference betwixt Male and Female in point of Sagacity, notwithstanding
there is the same distinction of Sexes, that is between Men and Women. I
have read, that some Philosophers have held Brutes to be no more than
meer Machines, a sort of Divine Clock-work, that Act only by the force
of nice unseen Springs without Sensation, and cry out without feeling
Pain, Eat without Hunger, Drink without Thirst, fawn upon their Keepers
without seeing ’em, hunt Hares without Smelling, _&c._ Here Madam is
cover for our Antagonists against the last Argument so thick, that there
is no beating ’em out. For my part, I shall not envy ’em their refuge,
let ’em lie like the wild _Irish_ secure within their Boggs; the field
is at least ours, so long as they keep to their Fastnesses. But to quit
this Topick, I shall only add, that if the learnedest He of ’em all can
convince me of the truth of this Opinion, He will very much stagger my
Faith; for hitherto I have been able to observe no difference between
our Knowledge and theirs, but a gradual one; and depend upon Revelation
alone, that our Souls are Immortal, and theirs not.

[Sidenote: _Experience of Mankind._]

But if an Argument from Brutes and other Animals shall not be allow’d as
conclusive, (though I can’t see, why such an Inference should not be
valid, since the parity of Reason is the same on both sides in this
Case.) I shall desire those, that hold against us to observe the Country
People, I mean the inferiour sort of them, such as not having Stocks to
follow Husbandry upon their own Score, subsist upon their daily Labour.
For amongst these, though not so equal as that of Brutes, yet the
Condition of the two Sexes is more level, than amongst Gentlemen, City
Traders, or rich Yeomen. Examine them in their several Businesses, and
their Capacities will appear equal; but talk to them of things
indifferent, and out of the Road of their constant Employment, and the
Ballance will fall on our side, the Women will be found the more ready
and polite. Let us look a little further, and view our Sex in a state of
more improvement, amongst our Neighbours the _Dutch_. There we shall
find them managing not only the Domestick Affairs of the Family, but
making, and receiving all Payments as well great as small, keeping the
Books, ballancing the Accounts, and doing all the Business, even the
nicest of Merchants, with as much Dexterity and Exactness as their, or
our Men can do. And I have often hear’d some of our considerable
Merchants blame the conduct of our Country-Men in this point; that they
breed our Women to ignorant of Business; whereas were they taught
Arithmetick, and other Arts which require not much bodily strength, they
might supply the places of abundance of lusty Men now employ’d in
sedentary Business; which would be a mighty profit to the Nation by
sending those Men to Employments, where hands and Strength are more
requir’d, especially at this time when we are in such want of People.
Beside that it might prevent the ruine of many Families, which is often
occasion’d by the Death of Merchants in full Business, and leaving their
Accounts perplex’d, and embroil’d to a Widdow and Orphans, who
understanding nothing of the Husband or Father’s Business occasions the
Rending, and oftentimes the utter Confounding a fair Estate; which might
be prevented, did the Wife but understand Merchants Accounts, and were
made acquainted with the Books.

I have yet another Argument from Nature, which is, that the very Make
and Temper of our Bodies shew that we were never design’d for Fatigue;
and the Vivacity of our Wits, and Readiness of our Invention (which are
confess’d even by our Adversaries) demonstrate that we were chiefly
intended for Thought and the Exercise of the Mind. Whereas on the
contrary it is apparent from the strength and size of their Limbs, the
Vigour and Hardiness of their Constitutions, that Men were purposely
fram’d and contriv’d for Action, and Labour. And herein the Wisdom and
Contrivance of Providence is abundantly manifested; for as the one Sex
is fortified with Courage and Ability to undergo the necessary Drudgery
of providing Materials for the sustenance of Life in both; so the other
is furnish’d with Ingenuity and Prudence for the orderly management and
distribution of it, for the Relief and Comfort of a Family; and is over
and above enrich’d with a peculiar Tenderness and Care requisite to the
Cherishing their poor helpless Off-spring. I know our Opposers usually
miscall our quickness of Thought, Fancy and Flash, and christen their
own heaviness by the specious Names of Judgment and Solidity; but it is
easie to retort upon ’em the reproachful Ones of Dullness and Stupidity
with more Justice. I shall pursue this Point no further, but continue
firm in my Persuasion, that Nature has not been so Niggardly to us, as
our Adversaries would insinuate, till I see better cause to the
contrary, then I have hitherto at any time done. Yet I am ready to yield
to Conviction, whoever offers it; which I don’t suddenly expect.

It remains then for us to enquire, whether the Bounty of Nature be
wholly neglected, or stifled by us, or so far as to make us unworthy the
Company of Men? Or whether our Education (as bad as it is) be not
sufficient to make us a useful, nay a necessary part of Society for the
greatest part of Mankind. This cause is seldom indeed urg’d against us
by the Men, though it be the only one, that gives ’em any advantage over
us in understanding. But it does not serve their Pride, there is no
Honour to be gain’d by it: For a Man ought no more to value himself upon
being Wiser than a Woman, if he owe his Advantage to a better Education,
and greater means of Information, then he ought to boast of his Courage,
for beating a Man, when his Hands were bound. Nay it would be so far
from Honourable to contend for preference upon this Score, that they
would thereby at once argue themselves guilty both of Tyranny, and of
Fear: [Sidenote: _Women industriously kept in Ignorance._] I think I
need not have mention’d the latter; for none can be Tyrants but Cowards.
For nothing makes one Party slavishly depress another, but their fear
that they may at one time or other become Strong or Couragious enough to
make themselves equal to, if not superiour to their Masters. This is our
Case; for Men being sensible as well of the Abilities of Mind in our
Sex, as of the strength of Body in their own, began to grow Jealous,
that we, who in the Infancy of the World were their Equals and Partners
in Dominion, might in process of Time, by Subtlety and Stratagem, become
their Superiours; and therefore began in good time to make use of Force
(the Origine of Power) to compell us to a Subjection, Nature never
meant; and made use of Natures liberality to them to take the benefit of
her kindness from us. From that time they have endeavour’d to train us
up altogether to Ease and Ignorance; as Conquerors use to do to those,
they reduce by Force, that so they may disarm ’em, both of Courage and
Wit; and consequently make them tamely give up their Liberty, and
abjectly submit their Necks to a slavish Yoke. As the World grew more
Populous, and Mens Necessities whetted their Inventions, so it increas’d
their Jealousy, and sharpen’d their Tyranny over us, till by degrees, it
came to that height of Severity, I may say Cruelty, it is now at in all
the Eastern parts of the World, where the Women, like our Negroes in our
Western Plantations, are born slaves, and live Prisoners all their
Lives. Nay, so far has this barbarous Humour prevail’d, and spread it
self, that in some parts of _Europe_, which pretend to be most refin’d
and civiliz’d, in spite of Christianity, and the Zeal for Religion which
they so much affect, our Condition is not very much better. And even in
_France_, a Country that treats our Sex with more Respect than most do,
[Sidenote: _Original of the Salique Law._] We are by the _Salique Law_
excluded from Soveraign Power. The _French_ are an ingenious People, and
the Contrivers of that Law knew well enough, that We were no less
capable of Reigning, and Governing well, than themselves; but they were
suspicious, that if the Regal Power shou’d fall often into the hands of
Women, they would favour their own Sex, and might in time restore ’em to
their Primitive Liberty and Equality with the Men, and so break the neck
of that unreasonable Authority they so much affect over us; and
therefore made this Law to prevent it. The Historians indeed tell us
other Reasons, but they can’t agree among themselves, and as Men are
Parties against us, and therefore their Evidence may justly be rejected.
To say the truth Madam, I can’t tell how to prove all this from Ancient
Records; for if any Histories were, anciently written by Women, Time,
and the Malice of Men have effectually conspir’d to suppress ’em; and it
is not reasonable to think that Men shou’d transmit, or suffer to be
transmitted to Posterity, any thing that might shew the weakness and
illegallity of their Title to a Power they still exercise so
arbitrarily, and are so fond of. But since daily Experience shews, and
their own Histories tell us, how earnestly they endeavour, and what they
act, and suffer to put the same Trick upon one another, ’tis natural to
suppose they took the same measures with us at first, which now they
have effected, like the Rebels in our last Civil Wars, when they had
brought the Royal Party under, they fall together by the Ears about the
Dividend. [Sidenote: _Amazons; why they rejected the Society of Men._]
The Sacred History takes no notice of any such Authority they had before
the Flood, and their Own confess that whole Nations have rejected it
since, and not suffer’d a Man to live amongst them, which cou’d be for
no other Reason, than their Tyranny. For upon less provocation the Women
wou’d never have been so foolish, as to deprive themselves of the
benefit of that Ease and Security, which a good agreement with their Men
might have afforded ’em. ’Tis true the same Histories tell us, that
there were whole Countries where were none but Men, which border’d upon
’em. But this makes still for us; for it shews that the Conditions of
their Society were not so easie, as to engage their Women to stay
amongst ’em; but as liberty presented it self, they withdrew and retired
to the _Amazons_: But since our Sex can hardly boast of so great
Privileges, and so easie a Servitude any where as in _England_, I cut
this ungrateful Digression short in acknowledgment; tho’ Fetters of Gold
are still Fetters, and the softest Lining can never make ’em so easy, as
Liberty.

You will excuse, I know Madam, this short, but necessary Digression. I
call it necessary, because it shews a probable Reason, why We are at
this time in such subjection to them, without lessening the Opinion of
our Sense, or Natural Capacities either at present, or for the time
past; beside that it briefly lays open without any Scandal to our Sex,
why our Improvements are at present so disproportion’d to those of Men.
I wou’d not have any of our little, unthinking Adversaries triumph at my
allowing a disproportion between the Improvements of our Sex and theirs;
and I am sure those of ’em that are ingenious Men, will see no reason
for it from what I have said.

After having granted so great a disparity as I have already done in the
customary Education, and advantagious Liberties of the Sexes, ’twere
Nonsense to maintain, that our Society is generally and upon all
accounts as Beneficial, Improving and Entertaining, as that of Men. He
must be a very shallow Fellow, that resorts to, and frequents us in
hopes by our means to make himself considerable as a Schollar, a
Mathematician, a Philosopher, or a States-man. These Arts and Sciences
are the result only of much Study and great Experience; and without one
at least of ’em are no more to be acquir’d by the Company of Men,
however celebrated for any or all of them, than by ours. But there are
other Quallifications, which are as indispensably necessary to a
Gentleman, or any Man that wou’d appear to Advantage in the World, which
are attainable only by Company, and Conversation, and chiefly by ours.
Nor can the greatest part of Mankind, of what Quallity soever, boast
much of the use they make, or the benefit they reap from these
acknowledg’d Advantages. So that Schollars only, and some few of the
more thinking Gentlemen, and Men of Business have any just claim to ’em.
And of these the first generally fall short enough some other way to
make the Ballance even. [Sidenote: _Character of a Pedant._] For
Schollars, though by their acquaintance with Books, and conversing much
with Old Authors, they may know perfectly the Sense of the Learned Dead,
and be perfect Masters of the Wisdom, be throughly inform’d of the
State, and nicely skill’d in the Policies of Ages long since past, yet
by their retir’d and unactive Life, their neglect of Business, and
constant Conversation with Antiquity, they are such Strangers to, and to
ignorant of the Domestick Affairs and manners of their own Country and
Times, that they appear like the Ghosts of Old Romans rais’d by Magick.
Talk to them of the _Assyrian_, or _Perssian_ Monarchies, the _Grecians_
or _Roman_ Common-wealths. They answer like Oracles, they are such
finish’d Statemen, that we shou’d scarce take ’em to have been less than
Confifidents of _Semiramis_, Tutours to _Cyrus_ the great, old Cronies
of _Solon_ and _Lycurgus_, or Privy Councellours at least to the Twelve
_Cæsars_ successively; but engage them in a Discourse that concerns the
present Times, and their Native Country, and they heardly speak the
Language of it, and know so little of the affairs of it, that as much
might reasonably be expected from an animated _Egyptian_ Mummy. They are
very much disturbed to see a Fold or a Plait amiss the Picture of an Old
_Roman_ Gown, yet take no notice that their own are thredbare out at the
Elbows, or Ragged, and suffer more if _Priscians_ Head be broken then if
it were their own. They are excellent Guides, and can direct you to
every Ally, and turning in old _Rome_; yet lose their way at home in
their own Parish. They are mighty admirers of the Wit and Eloquence of
the Ancients; yet had they liv’d in the time of _Cicero_, and _Cæsar_
wou’d have treated them with as much supercilious Pride, and disrespect
as they do now with Reverence. They are great hunters of ancient
Manuscripts, and have in great Veneration any thing, that has scap’d the
Teeth of Time and Rats, and if Age have obliterated the Characters, ’tis
the more valuable for not being legible. But if by chance they can pick
out one Word, they rate it higher then the whole Author in Print, and
wou’d give more for one Proverb of _Solomons_ under his own Hand, then
for all his Wisdom. These Superstitious, bigotted Idolaters of time
past, are Children in their understanding all their lives; for they hang
so incessantly upon the leading Strings of Authority, that their
Judgments like the Limbs of some _Indian_ Penitents, become altogether
crampt and motionless for want of use.

But as these Men, will hardly be reckon’d much superiour to us upon the
account of their Learning or Improvements, so neither will I suppose
another sort diametrically opposite to these in their Humors and
Opinions: [Sidenote: _Character of a Country Squire._] I mean those
whose Ancestors have been wise and provident, and rais’d Estates by
their Ingenuity and Industry, and given all their Posterity after ’em
Means, and Leisure to be Fools. These are generally sent to School in
their Minority, and were they kept there till they came to Years of
Discretion, might most of ’em stay, till they cou’d tuck their Beards
into their Girdles before they left carrying a Satchel. In conformity to
Custom, and the Fashion, they are sent early to serve an Apprenticeship
to Letters, and for eight or nine years are whipt up and down through
two or three Counties from School to School; when being arriv’d a
Sixteen, or Seventeen Years of Age, and having made the usual _Tour_ of
Latin, and Greek Authors, they are call’d Home to be made Gentlemen. As
soon as the young Squire has got out of the House of Bondage, shaken off
the awe of Birch, and begins to feel himself at Liberty, he considers
that he is now Learned enough, (and ’tis ten to one but his Friends are
wise enough to be of his Opinion) and thinks it high time to shake off
the barbarous Acquaintance he contracted, with those crabbed, vexatious,
obscure Fellows, that gave him so much trouble and smart at School,
Companions by no means fit for a Gentleman, that writ only to torment
and perplex poor Boys, and exercise the tyranny of Pedants and
School-masters. These prudent resolutions taken, his Conversation for
some years succeeding is wholly taken up by his Horses, Dogs and Hawks
(especially if his Residence be in the Country) and the more sensless
Animals that tend ’em. His Groom, his Huntsman, and his Falconer are his
Tutors, and his walk is from the Stable to the Dog-kennel, and the
reverse of it. His diversion is drudgery, and he is in highest
satisfaction when he is most tir’d. He wearies you in the Morning with
his Sport, in the Afternoon with the noisie Repetition and Drink, and
the whole Day with Fatigue and Confusion. His Entertainment is stale
Beer, and the History of his Dogs and Horses, in which he gives you the
Pedigree of every one with all the exactness of a Herald; and if you be
very much in his good Graces, ’tis odds, but he makes you the Compliment
of a Puppy of one of his favourite Bitches, which you must take with
abundance of Acknowledgments of his Civillity, or else he takes you for
a stupid, as well as an ill bred Fellow. He is very constant at all
Clubs and Meetings of the Country Gentlemen, where he will suffer
nothing to be talk’d or hear’d of but his Jades, his Curs, and his
Kites. Upon these he rings perpetual Changes, and trespasses as much
upon the patience of the Company in the Tavern, as upon their Enclosures
in the Field, and is least impertinent, when most drunk.

His grand Business is to make an Assignation for a Horse Race, or a
Hunting Match, and nothing discomposes him so much as a Disappointment.
Thus accomplish’d, and finish’d for a Gentleman, he enters the Civil
Lists, and holds the Scale of Justice with as much Blindness as she is
said to do. From hence forward his Worship becomes as formidable to the
Ale-Houses, as he was before Familiar; he sizes an Ale Pot, and takes
the dimensions of Bread with great Dexterity and Sagacity. He is the
terrour of all the Deer, and Poultry Stealers in the Neighbourhood, and
is so implacable a Persecutor of Poachers, that he keeps a Register of
all the Dogs and Guns in the Hundred, and is the Scare-Beggar of the
Parish. Short Pots, and unjustifiable Dogs and Nets, furnish him with
sufficient matter for Presentments, to carry him once a Quarter to the
Sessions; where he says little, Eats and Drinks much, and after Dinner,
Hunts over the last Chace, and so rides Worshipfully Drunk home again.
At home he Exercises his Authority in granting his Letters, Pattents to
Petitioners for erecting Shovel Board, Tables and Ginger Bread Stalls.
If he happen to live near any little Borough or Corporation that sends
Burgesses to Parliament, he may become ambitious and sue for the Honour
of being made their Representative. Henceforward he grows Popular, bows
to, and treats the Mob all round him; and whether there be any in his
Discourse or not, there is good Sense in his Kitchin and his Cellar,
which is more agreeable and edifying. If he be so happy as to out-tap
his Competitour, and Drink his Neighbours into an Opinion of his
Sobriety, he is chosen, and up he comes to that Honourable Assembly,
where he shews his Wisdom best by his Silence, and serves his Country
most in his absence.

I give you these two Characters, _Madam_, as irreconcileable as Water
and Oyl, to shew that Men may and do often Baffle and Frustrate the
Effects of a liberal Education, as well by Industry as Negligence. ’Tis
hard to say, which of these two is the more Sottish; the first is such
an Admirer of Letters, that he thinks it a disparagement to his Learning
to talk what other Men understand, and will scarce believe that two, and
two, make four, under a Demonstration from _Euclid_, or a Quotation of
_Aristotle_: The latter has such a fear of Pedantry always before his
Eyes, that he thinks it a Scandal to his good Breeding, and Gentility to
talk Sense, or write true _English_; and has such a contemptible Notion
of his past Education, that he thinks the _Roman_ Poets good for nothing
but to teach Boys to cap Verses. For my Part I think the Learned, and
Unlearned Blockhead pretty equal; for ’tis all one to me, whether a Man
talk Nonsense, or Unintelligible Sense, I am diverted and edified alike
by either; the one enjoys himself less, but suffers his Friends to do it
more; the other enjoys himself and his own Humour enough, but will let
no body else do it in his Company. Thus, _Madam_, I have set them before
You, and shall leave you to determine a Point, which I cannot.

[Sidenote: _The Education of the Female Sex not so deficient as commonly
           thought._]

There are others that deserve to be brought into the Company of these
upon like Honourable Reasons; but I keep them in reserve for a proper
place, where I may perhaps take the Pains to draw their Pictures to the
Life at full length. Let us now return to our Argument, from which we
have had a long breathing while. Let us look into the manner of our
Education, and see wherein it falls short of the Mens, and how the
defects of it may be, and are generally supply’d. In our tender years
they are the same, for after Children can Talk, they are promiscuously
taught to Read and Write by the same Persons, and at the same time both
Boys and Girls. When these are acquir’d, which is generally about the
Age of Six or Seven Years, they begin to be separated, and the Boys are
sent to the _Grammer School_, and the Girls to _Boarding Schools_, or
other places, to learn Needle Work, Dancing, Singing, Musick, Drawing,
Painting, and other Accomplishments, according to the Humour and Ability
of the Parents, or Inclination of the Children. Of all these, Reading
and Writing are the main Instruments of Conversation; though Musick and
Painting may be allow’d to contribute something towards it, as they give
us an insight into two Arts, that makes up a great Part of the Pleasures
and Diversions of Mankind. Here then lies the main Defect, that we are
taught only our Mother Tongue, or perhaps _French_, which is now very
fashionable, and almost as Familiar amongst Women of Quality as Men;
whereas the other Sex by means of a more extensive Education to the
knowledge of the _Roman_ and _Greek_ Languages, have a vaster Feild for
their Imaginations to rove in, and their Capacities thereby enlarg’d. To
see whether this be strictly true or not, I mean in what relates to our
debate, I will for once suppose, that we are instructed only in our own
Tongue, and then enquire whether the disadvantage be so great as it is
commonly imagin’d. You know very well, _Madam_, that for Conversation,
it is not requisite we should be Philologers, Rhetoricians,
Philosophers, Historians or Poets; but only that we should think
pertinently and express our thoughts properly, on such matters as are
the proper Subjects for a mixt Conversation. The _Italians_, a People as
delicate in their Conversation as any in the World, have a Maxim that
our selves, our Neighbours, Religion, or Business ought never to be the
Subject. [Sidenote: _Religion, &c. no proper subjects for mixt
Conversation._] There are very substantial Reasons, to be given for
these Restrictions for Men are very apt to be vain, and impertinent,
when they talk of themselves, besides that others are very jealous, and
apt to suspect, that all the good things said, are intended as so many
arguments of preference to them. When they speak of their Neighbours,
they are apt out of a Principle of Emulation and Envy, natural to all
the race of _Adam_ to lessen, and tarnish their Fame, whether by open
Scandal, and Defamatory Stories, and Tales, or by malicious
Insinuations, invidious Circumstances, sinister and covert Reflections.
This humour springs from an over fondness of our selves, and a mistaken
conceit that anothers loss is an addition to our own Reputation, as if
like two Buckets, one must necessarily rise as the other goes down. This
is the basest and most ungenerous of all our natural Failures, and ought
to be corrected as much as possible e’ry where; but more especially in
_Italy_, where Resentments are carried so high, and Revenges prosecuted
with so much Heat, and Animosity. Religion is likewise very tender
there, as in all other places, where the Priests have so much Power and
Authority. But even here, where our differences and Disputes have made
it more tame, and us’d it to rough handling, it ought carefully to be
avoided; for nothing raises unfriendly warmths among Company more than a
religious Argument, which therefore ought to be banisht all Society
intended only for Conversation and Diversion. Business is too dry and
barren to give any Spirit to Conversation, or Pleasure to a Company, and
is therefore rather to be reckon’d among the Encumbrances than Comforts
of Life, however necessary. Besides these, Points of Learning, abstruse
Speculations, and nice Politicks, ought, in my opinion, to be excluded;
because being things that require much Reading and Consideration, they
are not fit to be canvas’d _ex tempore_ in mixt Company, of which ’tis
probable the greatest part will have little to say to ’em, and will
scarce be content to be silent Hearers only; besides that they are not
in their nature gay enough to awaken the good Humour, or raise the Mirth
of the Company. Nor need any one to fear, that by these limitations
Conversation shou’d be restrain’d to too narrow a compass, there are
subjects enough that are in themselves neither insipid, nor offensive;
such as Love, Honour, Gallantry, Morality, News, Raillery, and a
numberless train of other Things copious and diverting. Now I can’t see
the necessity of any other Tongue beside our own to enable us to talk
plausibly, or judiciously upon any of these Topicks: Nay, I am very
confident that ’tis possible for an ingenious Person to make a very
considerable progress in most parts of Learning, by the help of English
only. [Sidenote: _Great Improvements to be made by the help of English
Books only._] For the only reason I can conceive of learning Languages,
is to arrive at the Sense, Wit or Arts, that have been communicated to
the World in ’em. Now of those that have taken the pains to make
themselves Masters of those Treasures, many have been so generous as to
impart a share of ’em to the Publick, by Translations for the use of the
Unlearned; and I flatter my self sometimes, that several of these were
more particularly undertaken by Ingenious, good Natur’d Men in Kindness
and Compassion to our Sex. But whatever the Motives were, the obliging
Humour has so far prevail’d, that scarce any thing either Ancient or
Modern that might be of general use either for Pleasure, or Instruction
is left untouch’d, and most of them are made entirely free of our
Tongue. I am no Judge either of the Accuracy, or Elegance of such
Performances; but if I may credit the report of Learned and Ingenious
Gentlemen, (whose Judgment or Sincerity I have no reason to question)
many of those excellent Authors have lost nothing by the change of Soil.
I can see and admire the Wit and Fancy of _Ovid_ in the Translation of
his Epistles, and Elegies, the softness and Passion of _Tibullus_, the
Impetuosity and Fire of _Juvenal_, the Gayety, Spirit and Judgment of
_Horace_; who, though he may appear very different from himself through
the diversity, and inequality of the Hands concern’d in making him speak
_English_, yet may easily be guess’d at from the several excellent
Pieces render’d by the Earl of _Roscommon_, Mr. _Cowley_, Mr. _Dryden_,
Mr. _Congreve_, Mr. _Brown_ and other ingenious Gentlemen, who have
oblig’d the Nation with their excellent Versions of some parts of him.
Nor is it possible to be insensible of the sweetness and Majesty of
_Virgil_, after having read those little but Divine Samples already made
Publick in _English_ by Mr. _Dryden_, which gives us so much Impatience
to see the whole Work entire by that admirable Hand. I have heard some
ingenious Gentlemen say, That it was impossible to do Justice in our
Tongue to these two last Celebrated Roman Poets, and I have known
others, of whose Judgments I have as high an Opinion, affirm the
contrary; my ignorance of Latin disables me from determining whether we
are in the right, but the Beauty of what I have already seen by the
means of those Gentlemen, has so far prejudic’d me in favour of the
latter; that might I have ’em entire from the same hands, I think I
shou’d scarce envy those who can tast the pleasure of the Originals. Nor
is it to the Poets only, that we stand indebted for the Treasure of
Antiquity, we have no less Engagements to those, who have successfully
labour’d in Prose, and have mads us familiar with _Plutarch_, _Seneca_,
_Cicero_, and in general with all the famous Philosophers, Orators and
Historians, from whom we may at once learn both the Opinions and
Practices of their Times. Assisted by these helps, ’tis impossible for
any Woman to be ignorant that is but desirous to be otherwise, though
she know no part of Speech out of her Mother Tongue. But these are
neither the only, nor the greatest Advantages we have; all that is
excellent in _France_, _Italy_, or any of our neighbouring Nations is
now become our own; to one of whom, I may be bold to say, we are
beholding for more, and greater Improvements of Conversation, than to
all Antiquity, and the learned Languages together. [Sidenote: _The name
of Learning unjustly restrained to the knowledge of Latin and Greek
only._] Nor can I imagine for what good Reason a Man skill’d in Latin
and Greek, and vers’d in the Authors of Ancient Times shall be call’d
Learned; yet another who perfectly understands _Italian_, _French_,
_Spanish_, _High Dutch_, and the rest of the _European_ Languages, is
acquainted with the Modern History of all those Countries, knows their
Policies, has div’d into all the Intrigues of the several Courts, and
can tell their mutual Dispositions, Obligations and Ties of Interest one
to another, shall after all this be thought Unlearned for want of those
two Languages. Nay, though he be never so well vers’d in the Modern
Philosophy, Astronomy, Geometry and Algebra, he shall notwithstanding
never be allow’d that honourable Title. I can see but one apparent
Reason for this unfair Procedure; which is, that when about an Age and
an half ago, all the poor Remains of Learning then in Being, were in the
hands of the Schoolmen; they wou’d suffer none to pass Muster, that were
not deeply engag’d in those intricate, vexatious and unintelligible
Trifles, for which themselves contended with so much Noise and Heat; or
at least were not acquainted with _Plato_ and _Aristotle_, and their
Commentators; from whence the Sophistry and Subtleties of the Schools at
that time were drawn. This Usurpation was maintain’d by their
Successors, the Divines, who to this day pretend almost to the Monopoly
of Learning; and though some generous Spirits have in good measure broke
the neck of this Arbitrary, Tyrannical Authority; yet can’t they prevail
to extend the name of Learning beyond the Studies, in which the Divines
are more particularly conversant. Thus you shall have ’em allow a Man to
be a wise Man, a good Naturalist, a good Mathematician, Politician, or
Poet, but not a Scholar, a learned Man, that is no Philologer. For my
part I think these Gentlemen have just inverted the use of the Term, and
given that to the knowledge of words, which belongs more properly to
Things. I take Nature to be the great Book of Universal Learning, which
he that reads best in all or any of its Parts, is the greatest Scholar,
the most learned Man; and ’tis as ridiculous for a Man to count himself
more learned than another, if he have no greater extent of knowledge of
things, because he is more vers’d in Languages; as it would be for an
Old Fellow to tell a Young One, his Eyes were better than his, because
he Reads with Spectacles, the other without.

[Sidenote: _English Books the best helps to Conversation._]

Thus, _Madam_, you see we may come in Time to put in for Learning, if we
have a mind, without falling under the Correction of Pedants. But I will
let Learning alone at present, because I have already banish’d it
(though not out of disrespect) from mix’d Conversation; to which we will
return, and of which the greatest Magazines and Supports are still in
Reserve. I mean the many excellent Authors of our own Country, whose
Works it were endless to recount. Where is Love, Honour and Bravery more
lively represented than in our Tragedies, who has given us Nobler, or
juster Pictures of Nature than Mr. _Shakespear_? Where is there a
tenderer Passion, than in the Maids Tragedy? Whose Grief is more awful
and commanding than Mr. _Otways_? Whose Descriptions more Beautifull, or
Thoughts more Gallant than Mr. _Drydens_? When I see any of their Plays
acted, my Passions move by their Direction, my Indignation, my
Compassion, my Grief are all at their Beck. Nor is our Comedy at all
inferiour to our Tragedy; for, not to mention those already nam’d for
the other part of the Stage, who are all excellent in this too, Sir
_George Etherege_ and Sir _Charles Sedley_ for neat Raillery and
Gallantry are without Rivals, Mr. _Wicherley_ for strong Wit, pointed
Satyr, sound and useful Observations is beyond Imitation; Mr. _Congreve_
for sprightly, gentile, easie Wit falls short of no Man. These are the
Masters of the Stage; but there are others who though of an inferiour
Class, yet deserve Commendation, were that at present my Business. Nay,
even the worst of ’em afford us some diversion; for I find a sort of
foolish Pleasure, and can laugh at Mr. _D——y_’s Farce, as I do at the
Tricks, and Impertinencies of a Monkey; and was pleased to see the
humour and delight of the Author in Mr. _H——n_’s Eating, and Drinking
Play which I fancy’d was written in a Victualling House. In short, were
it not for the too great frequency of loose Expressions, and wanton
Images, I should take our Theaters for the best Schools in the World of
Wit, Humanity, and Manners; which they might easily become by
retrenching that too great Liberty. Neither have the Poets only, but the
Criticks too Endeavour’d to compleat us; Mr. _Dennis_ and Mr. _Rimer_
have by their Ingenious, and judicious labours taught us to admire the
Beauties as we ought, and to know the faults of the former. Nor are we
less beholding to these for forming our Judgments, than to those for
raising our Fancies.

These are the Sources from whence we draw our gayer part of
Conversation; I don’t mean in exclusion to the other parts of Poetry, in
most of which (as I have heard good Judges say) we equal at least the
Ancients, and far surpass all the Moderns. I honour the Names, and
admire the Writings of _Denham_, _Suckling_ and _D’avenant_, I am
ravish’d with the Fancy of _Cowley_, and the Gallantry of _Waller_. I
reverence the _Fairy Queen_, am rais’d, and elevated with _Paradise
Lost_, _Prince Arthur_ composes and reduces me to a State of Yawning
indifference, and Mr. _W—stl—y_’s _Heroicks_ lull me to Sleep. Thus all
Ranks and Degrees of Poets have their use, and may be serviceable to
some body or other from the Prince to the Pastry Cook, or Past-board
Box-maker. I should mention our Satyrists, but it would be endless to
descend to every particular, of these Mr. _Oldham_ is admirable, and to
go no further, the inimitable Mr. _Butler_ will be an everlasting
Testimony, of the Wit of his Age, and Nation, and bid eternal defiance
to the Wits of all Countries, and future Ages to follow him in a Path
before untrack’d. Our Prose Writers, that are eminent for a gay Style
and Iovial Argument, are so many, that it would swell this Letter too
much to name ’em, so that I shall only take notice, that whoever can
read without Pleasure, or Laughter, _The contempt of the Clergy_, and
the following Letters and Dialogues by the same Author, or the facetious
Dialogues of Mr. _Brown_ must be more Splenetick than _Heraclitus_, or
more stupid, than the Ass he laugh’d at.

Nor are we less provided for the serious Part; Morality has generally
been the Province of our Clergy who have treated of all parts of it very
largely with so much Piety, Solidity, and Eloquence, that as I think I
may venture to say, they have written more upon it than the Clergy of
all the rest of the World; so I believe no Body will deny that they have
written better. Yet I cou’d wish, that our Ingenious Gentlemen wou’d
employ their Pens oftner on these Subjects; because the severity of the
other’s Profession obliges ’em to write with an Air, and in a Style less
agreable, and inviting to Young People, Not that we are without many
excellent Pieces of Morality, Humanity and Civil Prudence written by,
and like Gentlemen. But it is the Excellence of ’em, and the ability of
our Gentlemen, which appears in the Spirit, Wit, and curious
Observations in those Pieces, which make me desire more of the same
Nature, Who can read the Essays of that Wonderful Man my Lord _Bacon_,
or the no less to be admir’d Sir _Walter Raleigh_’s, or Mr. _Osborns_
advice to a Son, the _Advice to a Daughter_, Sir _William Temple_’s, or
Sir _George Machenzie_’s Essays, Sir _Roger L’Estrange_’s Esop (to which
last we are likewise oblig’d for an incomparable Version of _Seneca_)
and abundance of others, without wishing for more from the same or the
like hands? Our Neighbours the _French_, have written a great deal of
this kind, of the best of which we have the benefit in _English_; but
more particularly the _Sieurs_, _Montagne_, _Rochefaucaut_, and St.
_Evremont_ deserve to be immortal in all Languages. I need not mention
any more, it is apparent from these that Women want not the means of
being Wise and Prudent without more Tongues than one; nay, and Learned
too, if they have any Ambition to be so.

The numberless Treatises of Antiquities, Philosophy, Mathematicks,
Natural, and other History (in which I can’t pass silently by, that
learned One of Sir _Walter Raleigh_, which the World he writ of can’t
match) written originally in, or translated to our Tongue are sufficient
to lead us a great way into any Science our Curiousity shall prompt us
to. The greatest difficulty we struggled with, was the want of a good
Art of Reasoning, which we had not, that I know of, till that defect was
supply’d by the greatest Master of that Art Mr. _Locke_, whose Essay on
Human Understanding makes large amends for the want of all others in
that kind.

Thus Madam I have endeavour’d to obviate all our Adversarie’s
Objections, by touching upon as great a Variety of things relating to
the Subject as I conveniently cou’d. Yet I hope I have troubled you with
nothing but what was necessary to make my way clear, and plain before
me; and I am apt to think I have made it appear, that nothing but
disencouragement or an Idle Uncurious Humour can hinder us from
Rivalling most Men in the knowledge of great Variety of things, without
the help of more Tongues than our Own; which the Men so often
reproachfully tell us is enough. This Idleness is but too frequently to
be found among us, but ’tis a Fault equally common to both Sexes. Those
that have means to play the Fool all their lives, seldom care for the
trouble of being made wise. We are naturally Lovers of our Ease, and
have great apprehensions of the difficulty of things untry’d; Especially
in matters of Learning, the common Methods of acquiring which are so
unpleasant, and uneasie. I doubt not but abundance of noble Wits are
stiffled in both Sexes, for want but of suspecting what they were able
to do, and with how much facility. Experience shews us every day
Blockheads, that arrive at a moderate, nay sometimes a great Reputation
by their Confidence, and brisk attempts which they maintain by their
Diligence; while great Numbers of Men naturally more Ingenious lye
neglected by, for want of Industry to improve, or Courage to exert
themselves. No Man certainly but wishes he had the Reputation in, and
were Respected and Esteem’d by the World as he sees some Men are for the
Fruits of their Pens; but they are loth to be at the pains of an
Attempt, or doubt their sufficience to perform; or what I believe is
most general, never to enquire so far into themselves, and their own
Abilities, as to bring such a thought into their Heads. This last I
fancy is the true Reason, why our Sex, who are commonly charged with
talking too much, are Guilty of Writing so little. I wish they would
shake of this lazy Despondence, and let the noble examples of the
deservedly celebrated Mrs. _Philips_, and the incomparable Mrs. _Behn_
rouse their Courages, and shew Mankind the great injustice of their
Contempt. I am confident they would find no such need of the assistance
of Languages as is generally imagin’d. [Sidenote: _Ignorance of Latine_
&c. _no disadvantage._] Those that have of their own need not graft upon
Foreign Stocks. I have often thought that the not teaching Women Latin
and Greek, was an advantage to them, if it were rightly consider’d, and
might be improv’d to a great heigth. For Girles after they can Read and
Write (if they be of any Fashion) are taught such things as take not up
their whole time, and not being suffer’d to run about at liberty as
Boys, are furnish’d among other toys with Books, such as _Romances_,
_Novels_, _Plays_ and _Poems_; which though they read carelessly only
for Diversion, yet unawares to them, give ’em very early a considerable
Command both of Words and Sense; which are further improv’d by their
making and receiving Visits with their Mothers, which gives them betimes
the opportunity of imitating, conversing with, and knowing the manner,
and address of elder Persons. These I take to be the true Reasons why a
Girl of Fifteen is reckon’d as ripe as a Boy of One and Twenty, and not
any natural forwardness of Maturity as some People would have it. These
advantages the Education of Boys deprives them of, who drudge away the
Vigour of their Memories at Words, useless ever after to most of them,
and at Seventeen or Eighteen are to begin their Alphabet of Sense, and
are but where the Girles were at Nine or Ten. Yet because they have
learnt Latin and Greek, reject with Scorn all _English_ Books their best
helps, and lay aside their Latin ones, as if they were already Masters
of all that Learning, and so hoist Sail for the wide World without a
Compass to Steer by. Thus I have fairly stated the difference between
us, and can find no such disparity in Nature or Education as they
contend for; but we have a sort of ungenerous Adversaries, that deal
more in Scandal than Argument, and when they can’t hurt us with their
Weapons, endeavour to annoy us with stink Pots. Let us see therefore,
_Madam_, whether we can’t beat them from their Ammunition, and turn
their own Artillery upon them; for I firmly believe there is nothing,
which they charge upon us, but may with more Justice be retorted upon
themselves.

They tax us with a long List of Faults, and Imperfections, and seem to
have taken a Catalogue of their own Follies and Vices, not with design
to correct them, but to shift of the Imputation to us. There is no
doubt, but particular Women may be found upon whom every charge may be
justified; but our Sex is not answerable for them, till they prove there
are no such Men, which will not be before Dooms-day. However, like ill
Neighbours they bring the Dirt out of their own Homes not out of
Neatness, but out of Envy to their Neighbours, at whose Doors they lay
it. But let them remove their Follies as oft as they please, they are
still as constant to them, as the _Needle_ to the _North Pole_, they
point them out which way soever they move. Let us see what these
Qualities are, they so liberally bestow upon us, and after see how they
fit the Donours, and survey ’em in their proper Figures and Colours. The
most familiar of these are Vanity, Impertinence, Enviousness,
Dissimulation, Inconstancy, _&c._

[Sidenote: _Vanity._]

To begin with Vanity, it is a Failing the greatest Part of Mankind are
tinctured with, more or less. For all Men are apt to flatter themselves
with a Fancy, that they have some one or more good Quallities, or
extraordinary Gifts, that raise ’em above the ordinary Level of Men; and
therefore hug and cherish, what they think valuable and singular in ’em.
It is never commendable, sometimes pardonable, when the excellencies are
real, and it is moderate so much must be allow’d to humane frailty. It
is ridiculous and intollerable when it is extravagant, misplac’d, or
groundless. It is very injudicious, and makes men commonly dote on their
Defects, and expose their blemishes by their Fondness, which makes ’em
more remarkable by the care and ornament bestow’d on ’em. It persuades
hard Favour’d and distorted Fellows to dress, and value their Persons,
Cowards to pretend to Courage, and provoke Beatings, Blockheads to set
up for Wit, and make themselves ridiculous in Print, Upstarts to brag of
their Families, and be reminded of the Garrets they were born, and the
Stalls they were brought up in. In Women the object of it is their
Beauty, and is excusable in those that have it. Those that have it not
may be pardon’d, if they endeavour at it; because it is the only
undisputed advantage our Sex has over the other, and what makes ’em
respected beyond all other Perfections, and is alone ador’d. In Men it
has not only this Object, but all those before mention’d, and a hundred
other. It is admirably seen in a Writing, reciting Fop Author, is in
full Lustre in a Beau, but its most unlucky Prospect is in a Swaggering
Coward, who is a Fool beyond the Conviction of Smart. [Sidenote:
_Character of a Bully._] His Courage is like an Ague Fit, that leaves
him upon a Fright, and returns when he is out of the reach of a Cudgel.
He spends much time in the Fencing School, and Fights briskly where
there is no danger of Wounds nor Smart. His Hands are instructed, but
his Heels do him all the Service. He is a nice observer of Punctilio’s,
and takes more Affronts than are given him. He draws first, and runs
first, and if ever he makes another Man run, it is after him. He is a
Pebble that sparkles like a Diamond, but wants hardness. He talks
perpetually of what he will do, but thinks continually of what he shall
suffer. He is often in Quarels, yet seldom in Rencounters, and is glad
of a Challenge, that he may know whom, and when to avoid. He brings up
the Rear at an Engagement, and leads the Van in the Retreat. He is a Man
of much Passion, but the most predominant is his Fear. He offers
affronts readily, but has too much honour to justifie them, and will
submit to any terms of satisfaction rather than occasion Blood-shed. He
is so full of Courage, that it boils over when there is no occasion, and
his _Sword_ and _Person_ are always at Leisure, and at your Service,
till you want them, and then to his great Trouble, he is always
indispensably engag’d otherwise. He wears _Red_, and a long _Sword_
openly to shew his Valour, and _Mail_, privately to shew his Discretion.
He threatens terribly, but he is like a Witch, if you draw Blood of him,
he has no power to hurt you. No Man shews or boasts more of his Scars
with less Reason. He scorns to take a blow in the Face, and a Back-piece
is as good to him as a whole sute of Armour. He is at first the Terrour
of all the _Young Bullies_, at last their Maygame, and they blood their
_Cub Hectors_ upon him, as they do young _Beagles_ on a _Hare_. Good
usage makes him insolent, but he fawns like a _Spaniel_ most upon those
that beat him. When he is discover’d by all the rest of the World, the
Cheat passes still upon himself, and he is pleas’d with the terrible
Figure he makes in his Glass, tho’ he is ready to shake at his own
Shaddow.

[Sidenote: _Character of a Scowrer._]

There are men of an humour directly opposite to this, yet e’ry whit as
Mad, Foolish, and Vain; these are your Men of nice Honour, that love
Fighting for the sake of Blows, and are never well but when they are
wounded They are severe Interpreters of Looks, are affronted at every
Face that don’t please ’em, and like true Cocks of the Game have a
quarrel to all Mankind at first sight. They are passionate Admirers of
scarr’d Faces, and dote on a Wooden Leg. They receive a Challenge like a
_Billet Douce_, and a home thrust as a Favour. Their common Adversary is
the Constable, and their usual Lodging the Counter. Broken heads are a
diversion, and an Arm in a Scarfe is a high satisfaction. They are
frugal in their expences with the Taylor, for they have their Doublets
pinkt on their Backs, but they are as good as an Annuity to the Surgeon,
tho’ they need him not to let ’em blood. _Flanders_ is their Mistress,
and a Clap from her carries ’em off the Stage. If they return, an
_Hospital_ is their Retreat, or the _Sheriff_ their Executour. These
two, _Madam_, are very different extravagances, and very strange one’s,
yet they are real, and such as appear every day. But, what is most to be
wonder’d at, arise both from the same Principle, and the same mistaken
Notion, and are only differenc’d by the diversity of Tempers in Men. The
common Motive to both is Vanity, and they jointly concurr in this
Opinion, that Valour is the most estimable, and most honourable Quality,
that Man is capable of; they agree in a desire to be honour’d and
fear’d, but they differ in their methods in persuing this common End.
The one is naturally active, bold and daring; and therefore takes the
true course to arrive at it by shewing what he can do, by what he dare
suffer, and his immoderate desire and indiscretion suffer him to know no
bounds. The other is mean Spirited and fearful, and seeks by false Fire
to Counterfeit a heat that may pass for genuine to conceal the Frost in
his Blood, and like an ill Actor, over-does his Part for want of
understanding it, which ’tis impossible he shou’d. Among peaceable Men,
and those of his own Temper he comes of with Colours flying, and those
are the Men he wou’d be valiant amongst only, cou’d he read Men’s
hearts. But the first Rencounter betrays the Ass thro’ the Lions Skin,
and he is Cudgel’d like an Ass in Spite of his Covering. It is our
happiness _Madam_, that we lie under no manner of Temptation from these
two Vanities, [Sidenote: _Imitation ridiculous._] whereof one is so
dangerous, the other so ridiculous. For all humours that are forc’d
against the natural bent of our tempers must be so. Nature is our best
guide, and has fitted ev’ry Man for somethings more particularly than
others; which if they had the sense to prosecute, they wou’d at least
not be ridiculous, if they were not extaordinary. But so prevalent are
our Vanity, and this Apish Humour of Imitation, that we persuade our
selves, that we may practise with applause, whatever we see another
succeed in, tho’ as contrary to the intent of our Nature, as Dancing to
an Elephant; so some Men that talk well of serious matters, are so mov’d
at the applause some merry Drolls gain, that they forget their gravity,
and aiming to be Wits, turn Buffoons; There are others, that are so
taken with the actions and grimace of a good Mimick, that they fall
presently to making awkard Faces and wry Mouths, and are all their lives
after in a Vizor, Maskt tho’ bare fac’d.

These, and innumerable others of the like Nature, are the lesser Follies
of Mankind, by which their Vanity makes ’em fit only to be laugh’d at.
There are others, who by more studied and refin’d Follies arrive to be
more considerable, and make a great Figure and Party among their Sex.

[Sidenote: _Character of a Beau._]

Of the first rank of these is the _Beau_, who is one that has more
Learning in his Heels than his Head, which is better cover’d than
fill’d. His Taylor and his Barber are his Cabinet Councel, to whom he is
more beholding for what he is, than to his Maker. He is One that has
travell’d to see Fashions, and brought over with him the newest cut
suit, and the prettiest Fancy’d Ribbands for Sword Knots. His best
Acquaintance at _Paris_ was his Dancing Master, whom he calls the
Marquiss, and his chief Visits to the Opera’s. He has seen the _French_
King once, and knows the name of his cheif Minister, and is by this
suffciently convinc’d that there are no Politicians in any other Part of
the World. His improvements are a nice Skill in the Mode, and a high
Contempt of his own Country, and of Sense. All the knowledge he has of
the Country, or Manners of it, is in the keeping of the Valet that
follow’d him hither, and all that he retains of the Language is a few
modish words to lard his discourse with, and shew his Breeding, and the
names of his Garniture. He shou’d be a Philosopher, for he studies
nothing but himself, yet ev’ry one knows him better, that thinks him not
worth knowing. His looks and gestures are his constant Lesson, and his
Glass is the Oracle that resolves all his mighty doubts and scruples. He
examines and refreshes his Complexion by it, and is more dejected at a
Pimple, than if it were a Cancer. When his Eyes are set to a languishing
Air, his Motions all prepar’d according to Art, his Wig and his Coat
abundantly Powder’d, his Gloves Essenc’d, and his Handkercher perfum’d
and all the rest of his Bravery rightly adjusted, the greatest part of
the day, as well the business of it at home, is over; ’tis time to
launch, and down he comes, scented like a Perfumers Shop, and looks like
a Vessel with all her rigging under sail without Ballast. A Chair is
brought within the door, for he apprehends every Breath of Air as much,
as if it were a Hurricane. His first Vesit is to the _Chocolate_ House,
and after a quarter of an Hours Compliment to himself in the great
Glass, he faces about and salutes the Company, and puts in practice his
Mornings Meditations; When he has made his Cringes round, and play’d
over all his Tricks, out comes the fine _Snush Box_, and his _Nose_ is
Regal’d a while: After this he begins to open, and starts some learned
Arguments about the newest Fashion, and hence takes occasion to commend
the next Man’s Fancy in his Cloths, this ushers in a discourse of the
Appearance last _Birth Night_, or _Ball_ at Court, and so a Critick upon
this _Lord_, or that _Ladies_ Masquing Habit. From hence he adjourns to
the _Play-house_, where he is to be met again in the side Box, from
whence he makes his Court to all the Ladies in general with his Eyes,
and is particular only with the _Orange-Wench_. After a while he engages
some neighbouring Vizor, and together they run over all the Boxes, take
to Pieces every Face, examine every Feature, pass their Censure upon
every one, and so on to their Dress; here he very Judiciously gives his
opinion upon every particular, and determines whose Colours are well
chosen, whose Fancy is neatest, and whose Cloths fit with most Air; but
in conclusion sees no Body compleat but himself in the whole House.
After this he looks down with contempt upon the Pit, and rallies all the
slovenly Fellows, and awkard Beau’s (as he calls them) of t’other End of
the Town, is mightily offended at their ill scented _Snush_, and in
spight of all his _Pulvilio_ and _Essences_, is overcome with the stink
of their _Cordovant Gloves_. To close all, _Madam_, in the Mask must
give him an account of the Scandal of the Town, which she does in the
History of abundance of Intrigues real or feign’d; at all which he
laughs aloud and often, not to shew his satisfaction, but his Teeth. She
shews him who is kept by such a Lord, Who was lately discarded by such a
Knight, for granting favours too indiscreetly to such a Gentleman: who
has lately been in the Country for two or three Months upon
extraordinary Occasions. To all which he gives great attention, that he
may pass for a Man of Intelligence in another Place. His next Stage is
_Locket’s_, where his Vanity, not his Stomach, is to be gratified with
something that is _little_ and _dear_, _Quails_ and _Ortalans_ are the
meanest of his Diet, and a Spoonful of _Green Pease_ at _Christmass_,
are worth to him more than the inheritance of the _Feild_ where they
grow in _Summer_. Every thing falls in his Esteem, as it falls in price,
and he wou’d not so much as tast the _Wine_, if the hard name, and the
high rate did not give it a relish. After a glass or two, (for a Pint is
his stint) he begins to talk of his Intrigues, boasts much of the
Favours he has receiv’d, and shews counterfeit Tokens, and in
Conclusion, slanders some Lady or other of unquestion’d Vertue with a
particular fondness for him. His Amours are all profound Secrets, yet he
makes a Confidence of ’em to every Man he meets with. He pretends a
great reverence for the Ladies, and a mighty tenderness of their
Reputations; yet he is like a _Flesh Flye_, whatever he blows on is
tainted. He talks of nothing under Quality, tho’ he never obtain’d a
Favour, which his Man might not have for half a Crown. He and his
Footman in this Case are like _English_ and _Dutch_ at an Ordinary in
_Holland_, the Fare is the same, but the Price is vastly different. Thus
the Show goes forward, till he is beaten for Trespasses he was never
guilty of, and shall be damn’d for Sins he never Committed. At last,
with his Credit as low as his Fortune he retires sullenly to his
Cloister, the _King’s-Bench_, or _Fleet_, and passes the rest of his
days in Privacy, and Contemplation. Here, _Madam_, if you please wee’l
give him one _Visit_ more, and see the last _Act_ of the _Farce_; and
you shall find him (whose Sobriety was before a _Vice_, as being only
the _Pimp_ to his other _Pleasures_, and who fear’d a lighted _Pipe_ as
much as if it had been a great _Gun_ levell’d at him) with his _Nose
Flaming_, and his _Breath_ stinking of Spirits worse than a _Dutch
Tarpawlin’s_, and smoking out of a short _Pipe_, that for some Months
has been kept hot as constantly as a _Glass-House_, and so I leave him
to his Meditation.

You wou’d think it yet more strange, that any one should be _Slovenly_
and _Nasty_ out of _Vanity_; yet such there are I can assure you,
_Madam_, and cou’d easily give a description of ’em, but that so foul a
Relation must needs be Nauseous to a Person so Neat as your _Self_; and
wou’d be treating You as the _Country Squire_ did his _Court Friend_,
who when he had shew’d him all the Curiosities of his House and Gardens,
carried him into his Hogsties. But there are more than enow to justifie
what I have said of the Humour of _Diogenes_, who was as vain and as
proud in his _Tub_, as _Plato_ cou’d be in the midst of his fine
_Persian Carpets_, and rich _Furniture_. Vanity is only an Ambition of
being taken notice of, which shews it self variously according to the
humour of the Persons; which was more extravagant in the _Anti-Beau_,
than in the _Beau Philosopher_. Vanity is the veriest _Proteus_ in the
World, it can Ape _Humility_, and can make Men decry themselves on
purpose to be Flattered; like some cunning _Preachers_ that cry up
_Mortification_ and _Self-denial_ perpetually, and are pamper’d all the
while by the Zeal and at the Charges of their Followers, who are affraid
the good Man shou’d starve himself. It is the Blessing of Fools, and the
Folly of Ingenious Men. For it makes those contentedly hugg themselves
under all the scorn of the World, and the Indignities that are offer’d
’em, and these restless and dissatisfied with its applause. Both think
the World envious, and that their merit is injur’d, and it is impossible
to right either of ’em to their Minds; for those have no title to the
pretence of merit, and these not so much as they think they have. Yet it
is the Happiness of the first that they can think themselves capable of
moving _Envy_; [Sidenote: _Vanity a Blessing to Fools._] for though they
commonly mistake the Derision of Men, for their applause, yet Men are
sometimes so ill Natur’d as to undeceive ’em, and then it is their
Comfort, that these are envious Men, and misrepresent the Worlds opinion
of ’em. Cou’d these Men be convinc’d of their mistake, I see nothing
that shou’d hinder them from being desperate, and hanging or disposing
of themselves some other such way. For though a Man may comfort himself
under Afflictions, it is either that they are undeserved, or if
deserved, that he suffers only for Oversights, or rash Acts, by which
the wisest Men may be sometimes overtaken; that he is in the main
Discreet and Prudent, and that others believe him so. But when a Man
falls under his own _Contempt_, and does not only think himself not
wise, but by _Nature_ made absolutely incapable of ever becoming _Wise_,
he is in a deplorable _State_, and wants the common _Comfort_, as well
of _Fools_, as _Wise Men_, Vanity; which in such a Case is the only
proper _Mediatour_ of a _Reconcilement_. No Quality seems to be more
Providentially distributed to every Man according to his Necessity; for
those that have least Wit, ought to have the greatest Opinion of it; as
all other Commodities are rated highest, where they are scarcest. By
this means the level is better maintain’d amongst Men, who, were this
imaginary Equality destroy’d, might be apt to reverence, and idolize one
another too much, and forgetting the common Fate, they are all Born to,
pay Honours too near divine to their Fellow Mortals. But as the humour
of the World now runs, this sort of _Idolatry_ is scarce likely to come
into Fashion. We have too great an Opinion of our selves, to believe too
well of any one else, and we are in nothing more difficult than in
points of Wit and Understanding, in either of which we very unwillingly
yield the Preference to any Man. There is nothing of which we affect to
speak with more humility and indifference than our own Sense, yet
nothing of which we think with more Partiality, and Presumption. There
have been some so bold as to assume the Title of the _Oracles_ of
_Reason_ to themselves, and their own Writings; and we meet with others
daily, that think themselves _Oracles_ of _Wit_. These are the most
Vexatious Animals in the World, that think they have a Priviledge to
torment and plague every Body; but those most who have the best
Reputation for their Wit of Judgment; as _Fleas_ are said to molest
those most, who have the tenderest _Skins_, and the sweetest _Blood_.

Of these the most voluminous Fool is the Fop Poet, who is one that has
always more Wit in his Pockets than any where else, [Sidenote:
_Character of a Poetaster._] yet seldom or never any of his own there.
_Esop_’s _Daw_ was a _Type_ of him; For he makes himself fine with the
Plunder of all Parties. He is a Smuggler of Wit, and steals _French_
Fancies without paying the customary Duties. Verse is his _Manufacture_;
For it is more the labour of his Finger than his brain. He spends much
time in Writing, but ten times more in Reading what he has Written. He
is loaden constantly with more Papers, and duller than a _Clerk_ in
_Chancery_, and spends more time in _Hearings_, and _Rehearings_. He
asks your Opinion, yet for fear you shou’d not jump with him, tells you
his own first. He desires no Favour, yet is disappointed, if he be not
Flatter’d, and is offended always at the Truth. His first Education is
generally a _Shop_, or a _Counting-House_, where his acquaintance
commences with the _Bell-man_ upon a new Years day. He puts him upon
Intriguing with the _Muses_, and promises to _Pimp_ for him. From this
time forward he hates the name of _Mechanick_, and resolves to sell all
his stock, and purchase a Plantation in _Parnassas_. He is now a
Poetical _Haberdasher_ of _Small Wares_, and deals very much in
_Novels_, _Madrigals_, _Riddles_, _Funeral_, and _Love Odes_, and
_Elegies_, and other Toyes from _Helicon_, which he has a Shop so well
furnish’d with, that he can fit you with all sorts and Sizes upon all
Occasions in the twinkling of an Eye. He frequents _Apollo_’s _Exchange_
in _Covent-Garden_, and picks up the freshest Intelligence what _Plays_
are upon the Stocks, or ready to be launch’d; who have lately made a
good Voyage, who a saving one only, and who have suffer’d a Wreck in
_Lincoln_’s-_Inn-Feilds_, or _Drury-Lane_, and which are brought into
the Dock to be Careen’d and fitted for another Voyage. He talks much of
_Jack Dryden_, and _Will. Wyckerley_, and the rest of that Set, and
protests he can’t help having some respect for ’em, because they have so
much for him, and his Writings; otherwise he cou’d shew ’em to be meer
Sots and Blockheads that understand little of Poetry, in comparison of
himself; but he forbears ’em meerly out of Gratitude, and Compassion.
Once a Month he fits out a small _Poetical Smeck_ at the charge of his
Bookseller, which he lades with _French Plunder_ new Vampt in _English_,
small Ventures of _Translated Odes_, _Elegies_ and _Epigrams_ of Young
Traders, and ballasts with heavy _Prose_ of his own; for which returns
are to be made to the several Owners in Testers, or applause from the
Prentices and Tyre Women that deal for ’em. He is the Oracle of those
that want Wit, and the Plague of those that have it; for he haunts their
Lodgings, and is more terrible to ’em, than their Duns. His Pocket is an
unexhaustible Magazine of _Rhime_, and _Nonsense_, and his Tongue like a
repeating Clock with Chimes, is ready upon every touch to sound to ’em.
Men avoid him for the same Reason, they avoid the _Pillory_, the
security of their _Ears_; of which he is as merciless a Persecutor. He
is the Bane of Society, a Friend to the Stationers, the Plague of the
Press, and the Ruine of his Bookseller. He is more profitable to the
_Grocers_ and _Tabacconists_ than the _Paper Manufacture_; for his
Works, which talk so much of Fire and Flame, commonly expire in their
Shops in _Vapour_ and _Smoak_. If he aspire to _Comedy_, he intrigues
with some experienc’d _Damsel_ of the _Town_, in order to instruct
himself in the humour of it, and is cullied by her into _Matrimony_, and
so is furnish’d at once with a Plot, and two good Characters, himself
and his Wife, and is paid with a Portion for a Jointure in _Parnassus_,
which I leave him to make his best of.

[Sidenote: _Vanity Universal._]

I shall not trouble you with any more Instances of the foolish vanities
of Mankind; because I am affraid I have been too large upon that Head
already. Not that I think there is any Order or Degree of Men, which
wou’d not afford many and notorious instances for our Purpose. For as I
think _Vanity_ almost the Universal mover of all our Actions, whether
good or bad; so I think there are scarce any Men so Ingenious, or so
Vertuous, but something of it will shine through the greatest Part of
what they do, let them cast never so thick a Vail over it. What makes
Men so solicitous of leaving a Reputation behind ’em in the World,
though they know they can’t be affected with it after Death, but this
even to a degree of Folly? What else makes great Men involve themselves
in the Fatigues and Hazards of War, and intricate Intrigues of State,
when they have already more than they can enjoy, but an Itch of being
talk’d of and remembred, to which they sacrifice their present happiness
and repose?

But I shall carry these Considerations no farther; because I have
already singled out some of those many whose _Vanity_ is more
extravagant and ridiculous, than any our Sex is chargeable with, these
slight Touches may serve to let ’em see, that even the greatest, and
Wisest are not wholely exempt, if they have it not in a higher Degree,
tho’ they exercise it in things more Popular, and Plausible. I hope
therefore the burthen of this good Quality will not hereafter be laid
upon us alone, but the Men will be contented to divide the Load with us,
and be thankful that they bear less than their Proportion.

[Sidenote: _Impertinence._]

_Impertinence_ comes next under Consideration, in which I shall be as
brief, as I conveniently can, in regard I have been so long upon the
precedeing Head. _Impertinence_ is a humour of busying our selves about
things trivial, and of no Moment in themselves, or unseasonably in
things of no concern to us, or wherein we are able to do nothing to any
Purpose. Here our Adversaries insult over us, as if they had gain’d an
intire _Victory_, and the _Field_ were indisputable; but they shall have
no cause for _Triumph_, this is no Post of such mighty advantage as they
fondly persuade themselves. This _Presumption_ arises from an Erroneous
Conceit, that all those things in which they are little concern’d, or
consulted, [Sidenote: _Commonly mistaken._] are triffles below their
care or notice, which indeed they are not by Nature so well able to
manage. Thus, when they hear us talking to, and advising one another
about the Order, Distribution and Contrivance of _Houshold Affairs_,
about the _Regulation_ of the _Family_, and _Government_ of _Children_
and _Servants_, the provident management of a _Kitchin_, and the decent
ordering of a _Table_, the suitable _Matching_, and convenient
disposition of _Furniture_ and the like, they presently condemn us for
impertinence. Yet they may be pleased to consider, that as the affairs
of the World are now divided betwixt us, the _Domestick_ are our share,
and out of which we are rarely suffer’d to interpose our Sense. They may
be pleased to consider likewise, that as light and inconsiderable as
these things seem, they are capable of no Pleasures of Sense higher or
more refin’d than those of _Brutes_ without our care of ’em. For were it
not for that, their Houses wou’d be meer _Bedlams_, their most luxurious
Treats, but a rude confusion of ill Digested, ill mixt Scents and
Relishes, and the fine Furniture, they bestow so much cost on, but an
expensive heap of glittering _Rubbish_. Thus they are beholding to us
for the comfortable Enjoyment of what their labour or good Fortune hath
acquir’d or bestow’d, and think meanly of our care only, because they
understand not the value of it. But if we shall be thought impertinent
for Discourses of this Nature, as I deny not but we sometimes justly
may, when they are unseasonable; what censure must those Men bear, who
are prepetually talking of _Politicks_, _State Affairs_ and _Grievances_
to us, in which perhaps neither they, nor We are much concern’d, or if
we be, are not able to propose, much less to apply any Remedy to ’em?
Surely these are impertinent; not to call the _Beau_, or _Poetaster_ on
the _Stage_ again, whose whole Lives are one continued scene of Folly
and Impertinence; let us make the best of our _News Monger_.

[Sidenote: _Character of a Coffee-House Politician._]

He is one whose Brains having been once over-heated, retain something of
the Fire in ’em ever after. He mistakes his Passion for Zeal, and his
Noise and Bustling, for Services. He is always full of Doubts, Fears,
and Jealousies, and is never without some notable Discovery of a deep
laid Design, or a dangerous Plot found out in a _Meal Tub_, or
_Petticoat_. He is a mighty Listner after _Prodigies_, and never hears
of a _Whale_, or a _Comet_, but he apprehends some sudden _Revolution_
in the State, and looks upon a _Groaning-board_, or a _speaking-head_,
as fore-runners of the _Day_ of _Judgment_. He is a great Lover of the
King, but a bitter Enemy to all about him, and thinks it impossible for
him to have any but _Evil Counsellors_, and though he be very zealous
for the Government, yet he never finds any thing in it but _Grievances_
and _Miscarriages_ to declaim upon. He is a Well-wisher to the _Church_,
but he is never to be reconcil’d to the _Bishops_ and _Clergy_, and
rails most inveterately at the _Act_ of _Uniformity_. He hates
_Persecution_ implacably, and contends furiously for _Moderation_, and
can scarce think well of the _Toleration_, because it is an Act of the
State. He professes himself of the _Church_ of _England_, pretends to
like the Worship of it, but he goes to Meetings in spight to the
_Parson_ of his _Parish_. His _Conscience_ is very tender and scrupulous
in Matters of Ceremony, but it is as steely and tough as Brawn behind
his Counter, and can digest any Sin of Gain. He lodges at home, but he
lives at the _Coffee-house_. He converses more with _News Papers_,
_Gazettes_ and _Votes_, than with his _Shop Books_, and his constant
Application to the _Publick_ takes him off all Care for his _Private
Concern_. He is always settling the _Nation_, yet cou’d never manage his
own _Family_. He is a mighty Stickler at all _Elections_, and tho’ he
has no _Vote_, thinks it impossible any thing shou’d go right unless he
be there to Bawl for it. His business is at _Home_, but his thoughts are
in _Flanders_, and he is earnestly investing of Towns till the
_Sheriff’s Officers_ beleaguer his Doors. He is busie in forcing of
_Counterscarps_, and storming of _Breaches_, while his _Creditors_ take
his _Shop_ by surprize, and make Plunder of his _Goods_. Thus by mending
the _State_, He marrs his own _Fortune_; and never leaves talking of the
_Laws_ of the _Land_, till the Execution of ’em silence him.

This sort of Impertinents the _Coffee-houses_ are every day full of;
nay, so far has this contagious Impertinence spread it self, that
_Private Houses_, and _Shops_, nay, the very _Streets_ and _Bulks_ are
infected and pester’d with Politicks and News. Not a Pot cou’d go glibly
down, or a flitch go merrily forward without _Namur_, a while ago; ’twas
_Spice_ to the _Porter’s Ale_, and _Wax_ to the _Cobler’s Thread_; the
one suspended his Draught, and the other his Awl to enquire what was
become of the _Rogue_, and were very glad to hear he was taken, and
expected no doubt he shou’d come over and make ’em a _Holy-day_ at his
Execution. They were mightily rejoyc’d at the Arresting of the Mareschal
_Boufflers_, and made no question but they shou’d see him amongst the
rest of the _Beasts_ at _Bartholomew Fair_ for Two Pence. This Folly of
the _Mob_ was in some measure excusable, because their Ignorance led ’em
into an expectation of seeing what had given the World so much Trouble.
But those that have better knowledge of things have no such _Plea_, they
ought to have been wiser, than to have busied themselves so much and so
earnestly about affairs, which all their care and Sollicitude could have
no more influence upon, than over the Weather. ’Twas pleasant to see
what Shoals the report of the arrival of a _Holland_, or _Flanders
Mail_, brought to the _Secretary’s Office_, the _Post Office_, and the
_Coffee-Houses_; every one Crowding to catch the News first, which as
soon as they had, they posted away like so many Expresses to disperse it
among their Neighbours at more distance, that waited with Ears prickt up
to receive ’em, or walk’d uneasily with a Foolish Impatience to and from
the Door, or Window, as if their looking out so often wou’d fetch ’em
the sooner. Most Men in their News are like _Beau_’s in their Diet, the
worst is welcome while ’tis fresh and scarce, and the best is not worth
a Farthing when it has been blown upon; and commonly they fare like
_Beau_’s, are fond of it while ’tis young and insipid, and neglect it
when ’tis grown up to its full, and true relish. No sooner is it
rumour’d that a Breach is made in the _Castle Wall_, or the _White Flag_
hung out, but a _Council of War_ is call’d in every _Coffee-house_ in
Town; the _French_, and _Dutch Prints_, their Intelligencers are call’d
for immediately, and examin’d, and not a Shot is mention’d but they
start as if the Ball whizz’d just then by their Ears. After this follows
a serious debate about a general Assault, and whether they shall storm
immediately, or not; who shall begin the Attack; what Conditions shall
be granted on Capitulation. The Castle of _Namur_ thus taken, or
Surrender’d, they proceed to take their Measures, and settle the next
Campaign, and whatever harm we suffer by those mischeivous _French_ in
the Field, they are sure to take sufficient Revenge, and pay ’em off
Swingingly in the _Coffee-houses_: But as if this were not enough, Our
greatest Actions must be Buffoon’d in Show, as well as Talk. Shall
_Namur_ be taken and our Hero’s of the City not show their Prowess upon
so great an Occasion? [Sidenote: _City Militia._] It must never be said,
that the _Coffee-houses_ dar’d more than _Moor-Fields_; No, for the
honour of _London_, out comes the Foreman of the _Shop_ very Formidable
in _Buff_ and _Bandileers_, and away he marches with Feather in Cap, to
the general Rendezvous in the _Artillery Ground_. There these terrible
Mimicks of _Mars_ are to spend their Fury in _Noise_ and _Smoke_, upon a
_Namur_ erected for that purpose on a _Molehill_, and by the help of
_Guns_ and _Drums_ out-stink and out-rattle _Smith-field_ in all its
Bravery, and wou’d be too hard for the greatest Man in all _France_, if
they had him but amongst ’em. Yet this is but Skirmishing, the hot
Service is in another Place, when they engage the _Capons_ and _Quart
Pots_; never was Onset more Vigorous, For they come to Handy-Blows
immediately, and now is the real cutting and slashing, and Tilting
without Quarter, Were the Towns in _Flanders_ all wall’d with _Beef_,
and the _French_ as good meat as _Capons_, and drest the same way, the
King need never beat his Drums for Soldiers; all these Gallant Fellows
wou’d come in Voluntarily, the meanest of which wou’d be able to eat a
Mareschal, and whom nothing cou’d oppose in conjunction.

Nothing is more common, and familiar than this sort of Impertinence;
Most Men wou’d have little to do, did they busie themselves about
nothing, but what they understood, or were concern’d in. A Monkey is not
liker a Man in his Figure, than in his humour. How ready are all Mankind
to censure without Authority, and to give advice unaskt, and without
reason. They are very much mistaken, that think this forwardness to
thrust themselves into other’s affairs, springs from any Principle of
Charity or Tenderness for ’em, or the least Regard to the Welfare of
their Neighbours. ’Tis only a Vain Conceit that they are wiser, and more
able to advise, which puts ’em upon engaging in things they have nothing
to do with, [Sidenote: _Officious Impertinences._] and passing their
Judgments Magisterially on matters they have no Cognizance of, and
generally little Information, or Skill in. They are desirous the World
shou’d have as great an Opinion of ’em as they have of themselves, and
therefore impertinently interpose their own Authority and Sense, tho’
never so little to the purpose, only to shew how well they cou’d manage,
were it their Business; thus they advise without good intention, or
kindness, and censure without design, or malice to the Persons
counsell’d, or reflected on, These buzzing Insects swarm as thick every
where, and are as troublesome as _Muskettoes_ in the _West-Indies_. They
are perpetually in a hurry of Business, yet are forc’d to rack their
Inventions to employ their Leisure. They are very busie for every Body,
and serve no Body. They are always in hast, and think themselves
expected every where with Impatience, yet come sooner alwayes than they
are welcome. They will walk a Mile, and spend an hour to tell any one
how urgent their Business is, and what hast they are in to be gone.
Their Expedition is their greatest Loss, For Time is the only thing that
lies heavy upon their hands. They are walking _Gazetts_, that carry News
from one Neighbour to another, and have their Stages about the Town as
regular and certain, as a _Penny Postman_. Every Man is their
acquaintance, but no Man their Friend. They drudge for every Body, and
are paid by no Body, and tho’ their Lives be worn out in endeavours to
oblige all Mankind, when they die no one regrets their Loss, or misses
their Service.

There are another sort of Impertinents, [Sidenote: _Character of a
Vertuoso._] who, as they mind not the Business of other Men where it
concerns ’em not, neglect it likewise where it does; and amuse
themselves continually with the Contemplation of those things, which the
rest of the World slight as useless, and below their regard. Of these
the most Egregious is the _Virtuoso_, who is one that has sold an Estate
in Land to purchase one in _Scallop_, _Conch_, _Muscle_, _Cockle
Shells_, _Periwinkles_, _Sea Shrubs_, _Weeds_, _Mosses_, _Sponges_,
_Coralls_, _Corallines_, _Sea Fans_, _Pebbles_, _Marchasites_ and _Flint
stones_; and has abandon’d the Acquaintance and Society of Men for that
of _Insects_, _Worms_, _Grubbs_, _Maggots_, _Flies_, _Moths_, _Locusts_,
_Beetles_, _Spiders_, _Grashoppers_, _Snails_, _Lizards_ and
_Tortoises_. His study is like _Noah_’s Ark, the general Rendezvous of
all Creatures in the _Universe_, and the greatest part of his Moveables
are the remainders of his Deluge. His Travels are not design’d as Visits
to the Inhabitants of any Place, but to the Pits, Shores and Hills; from
whence he fetches not the Treasure, but the Trumpery. He is ravish’d at
finding an uncommon shell, or an odd shap’d Stone, and is desperately
enamour’d at first sight of an unusual markt Butter-flie, which he will
hunt a whole day to be Master of. He trafficks to all places, and has
his Correspondents in e’ry part of the World; yet his Merchandizes serve
not to promote our Luxury, nor encrease our Trade, and neither enrich
the Nation, nor himself. A Box or two of _Pebbles_ or _Shells_, and a
dozen of _Wasps_, _Spiders_ and _Caterpillars_ are his Cargoe, He values
a _Camelion_ or _Salamanders_ Egg, above all the Sugars and Spices of
the _West_ and _East-indies_, and wou’d give more for the Shell of a
_Star-fish_, or _Sea Urchin_ entire, than for a whole _Dutch_ Herring
Fleet. He visites Mines, Colepits, and Quarries frequently, but not for
that sordid end that other Men usually do, _viz._ gain; but for the sake
of the fossile Shells and Teeth that are sometimes found there. He is a
smatterer at _Botany_, but for fear of being suspected of any useful
design by it, he employs his curiosity only about _Mosses_, _Grasses_,
_Brakes_, _Thistles_, &c. that are not accus’d of any vertue in
Medicine, which he distinguishes and divides very nicely. He preserves
carefully those _Creatures_, which other Men industriously destroy, and
cultivates sedulously those Plants, which others root up as Weeds. He is
the Embalmer of deceas’d Vermin, and dresses his Mummyes with as much
care, as the Ancient _Egyptians_ did their Kings. His Cash consists much
in old Coins, and he thinks the Face of _Alexander_ in one of ’em worth
more than all his Conquests. His Inventory is a list of the Insects of
all Countries, and the Shells and Pebbles of all Shores, which can no
more be compleat without two or three of remarkable _Signatures_, than
an _Apothecaries_ Shop without a _Tortoise_ and a _Crocodile_, or a
Country _Barber_’s without a batter’d _Cittern_. A piece of Ore with a
Shell in it is a greater Present than if it were fine Gold, and a string
of _Wampompeag_ is receiv’d with more joy, than a _Rope_ of _Orient
Pearl_, or _Diamonds_ wou’d be. His Collection of _Garden Snails_,
_Cockle Shells_ and _Vermine_ compleated, (as he thinks) he sets up for
a _Philosopher_, and nothing less than Universal Nature will serve for a
Subject, of which he thinks he has an entire History in his _Lumber
Office_. Hence forward he _struts_ and _swells_, and despises all those
little insignificant Fellows, that can make no better use of those noble
incontestable Evidences of the Universal Deluge, _Scallop_ and _Oyster
Shells_, than to stew _Oysters_, or melt _Brimstone_ for _Matches_. By
this time he thinks it necessary to give the World an _Essay_ of his
Parts, that it may think as highly of ’em (if possible) as he does
himself; and finding _Moses_ hard beset of late, he resolves to give him
a lift, and defend his Flood, to which he is so much oblig’d for sparing
his darling Toys only. But as great Masters use, he corrects him
sometimes for not speaking to his Mind, and gives him the lie now and
then in order to support his Authority. He shakes the World to Atoms
with ease, which melts before him as readily as if it were nothing but a
Ball of Salt. He pumps even the Center, and drains it of imaginary
stores by imaginary Loopholes, as if punching the Globe full of holes
cou’d make his _Hypothesis_ hold Water. He is a Man of _Expedition_, and
does that in a few days, which cost _Moses_ some Months to compleat. He
is a Passionate Admirer of his own Works without a Rival, and
superciliously contemns all _Answers_, yet the least _Objection_ throws
him into the Vapours. He sets up for a grand _Philosopher_, and palms
_Hypotheses_ upon the World, which future Ages may (if they please)
expect to hear his Arguments for; at present he is in no humour to give
’em any other satisfaction than his own word, that he is infallible. Yet
those that have a Faith complacent enough to take a Gentleman’s word for
his own great Abilities, may perhaps be admitted to a sight of his grand
Demonstration, his _Raree Show_; the particulars of which he repeats to
’em in a whining _Tone_, e’ry whit as formal and merry, though not so
Musical, as the Fellows that used formerly to carry _theirs at their
Backs_. His ordinary discourse is of his _Travels under Ground_, in
which he has gone farther (if he may be believ’d) than a whole Warren of
_Conies_. Here he began his Collection of Furniture for his
Philosophical _Toy Shop_, which he will conclude with his Fortune, and
then like all Flesh revert to the place from whence he came, and be
translated only from one Shop to another.

This, _Madam_, is another sort of Impertience our Sex are not liable to;
one wou’d think that none but _Mad Men_, or highly _Hypochondriacal_,
cou’d employ themselves at this rate. I appeal to you, or indeed to any
Man of Sense, whether acts like the wiser Animal; the man that with
great care, and pains distinguishes and divides the many Varieties of
Grass, and finds no other Fruit of his labour, than the charging of his
Memory with abundance of superfluous Names; or the Ass that eats all
promiscuously, and without distinction, to satisfy his _Appetite_ and
support _Nature_. To what purpose is it, that these Gentlemen ransack
all Parts both of _Earth_ and _Sea_ to procure these _Triffles_? It is
only that they may give their Names to some yet unchristen’d Shell or
Insect. I know that the desire of knowledge, and the discovery of things
yet unknown is the Pretence; But what Knowledge is it? What Discoveries
do we owe to their Labours? It is only the Discovery of some few
unheeded Varieties of Plants, Shells, or Insects, unheeded only because
useless; and the Knowledge, they boast so much of, is no more than a
Register of their Names, and Marks of Distinction only. It is enough for
them to know that a _Silk Worm_ is a sort of _Caterpiller_, that when it
is come to maturity Weaves a _Web_, is metamorphos’d to a _Moth-Flye_,
lays Eggs, and so Dies. They leave all further enquiry to the Unlearned
and Mechanicks, whose business only they think it to prosecute matters
of Gain and Profit. Let him contrive, if he can, to make this _Silk_
serviceable to _Mankind_; their _Speculations_ have another _Scope_,
which is the founding some wild, uncertain, conjectural _Hypothesis_,
which may be true or false; yet Mankind neither Gainers nor Losers
either way a little in point of _Wisdom_ or Convenience. These Men are
just the reverse of a _Rattle Snake_, and carry in their _Heads_, what
he does in his _Tail_, and move Laughter rather than Regard. What
improvements of _Physick_, or any useful Arts, what noble Remedies, what
serviceable Instruments have these _Mushrome_, and _Cockle shell_
Hunters oblig’d the World with? For I am ready to recant if they can
shew so good a Med’cine as Stew’d _Prunes_, or so necessary an
Instrument as a _Flye Flap_ of their own Invention and Discovery. Yet
these are the Men of exalted Understandings, the Men of elevated
Capacities, and sublime Speculations, that Dignifie and Distinguish
themselves from the rest of the World by Specious Names, and Pompous
Titles, and continue notwithstanding as very _Reptiles_ in Sense, as
those they converse so much with.

I wou’d not have any Body mistake me so far, as to think I wou’d in the
least reflect upon any sincere, and intelligent Enquirer into Nature, of
which I as heartily with a better knowledge, as any _Vertuoso_ of ’em
all. You can be my Witness, _Madam_, that I us’d to say, I thought Mr.
_Boyle_ more honourable for his learned Labours, than for his Noble
Birth; and that the _Royal Society_, by their great and celebrated
Performances, were an Illustrious Argument of the Wisdom of the _August_
Prince, their Founder of happy _Memory_; and that they highly merited
the _Esteem_, _Respect_ and _Honour_ paid ’em by the Lovers of Learning
all _Europe_ over. But tho’ I have a very great Veneration for the
_Society_ in general, I can’t but put a vast difference between the
particular Members that compose it. Were _Supererogation_ a Doctrine in
Fashion, ’tis probable some of ’em might borrow of their Fellows merit
enough to justifie their Arrogance, but alas they are come an Age too
late for that trick; They are fallen into a Faithless, Incredulous
Generation of Men that will give credit no farther than the visible
Stock will extend: And tho’ a Vertuoso should swell a Title-Page even
till it burst with large Promises, and sonorous Titles, the World is so
ill natur’d as not to think a whit the better of a Book for it. ’Tis an
ill time to trade with implicite Faith, when so many have so lately been
broken by an overstock of that _Commodity_; no sooner now a days can a
Man write, or steal an Hypothesis, and promise Demonstration for it
hereafter in this or the next World; but out comes some malicious Answer
or other, with Reasons in hand against it, overthrows the credit of it,
and puts the poor Author into Fits. For though a great Philosopher that
has written a Book of three Shillings may reasonably insult, and despise
a six penny Answer, yet the Indignity of so low pric’d a Refutation
wou’d make a _Stoick_ fret, and _Frisk_ like a Cow with a Breeze in her
Tail, or a Man bitten by a _Tarantula_. Men measure themselves by their
_Vanity_, and are greater or less in their own Opinions, according to
the proportion they have of it; if they be well stock’d with it, it may
be easie to confute, but impossible to convince ’em. He therefore that
wou’d set up for a great Man, ought first to be plentifully provided of
it, and then a Score of _Cockle Shells_, a dozen of _Hodmandods_, or any
Trifle else is a sufficient Foundation to build a Reputation upon. But
if a Man shall abdicate his lawful Calling in pure affection to these
things, and has for some years spent all the Time and Money he was
Master of in prosecution of this Passion, and shall after all hear his
_Caterpillars_ affronted, and his _Butter-flies_ irreverently spoken of,
it must be more provoking to him, than ’tis to a _Lion_ to be pull’d by
the _Beard_. And if, when to crown all his Labours, he has discover’d a
Water so near a kin to the famous one, that cou’d be kept in nothing but
the hoof of an Ass, that it was never found but in the _Scull_ of the
same _Animal_; a Water that makes no more of melting a _World_, than a
_Dutchman_ does of a _Ferkin_ of _Butter_; and when he has written a
Book of Discoveries, and Wonders thereupon, if (I say) the Impertinent
Scriblers of the Age, will still be demanding _Proofs_ and writing
_Answers_, he has reason to throw down his _Pen_ in a rage, and
pronounce the world, that cou’d give him such an interruption, unworthy
to be blest with his future labours, and breath eternal Defiance to it,
as irreconcilable, as the quarrel of the Sons of _Oedipus_. To which
prudent Resolution, let us leave him till he can recover his Temper.

These Instances, _Madam_, will (I hope) suffice to shew that Men are
themselves altogether as impertinent, as they maliciously misrepresent
us. It is not for want of plenty of others that I content my self with
these; but I am not willing to trouble you with any of an inferiour
Character. These are all impertinents of _Mark_ and _Note_, and have
severally the good fortune to find crowds of _Fools_ of their own Sex to
applaud and admire them. _Impertinence_ is a failing, that has its
_Root_ in _Nature_; but is not worth Laughing at, till it has receiv’d
the finishing strokes of Art. A Man through natural defects may do
abundance of incoherent, foolish Actions, yet deserve _Compassion_ and
_Advice_ rather than _Derision_. But to see Men spending their Fortunes,
as well as Lives, in a course of _Regular Folly_, and with an
industrious, as well as expensive Idleness running through tedious
_Systems_ of impertinence, wou’d have split the sides of _Heraclitus_,
had it been his fortune to have been a Spectator. ’Tis very easie to
decide which of these _Impertinents_ is the most signal; the _Vertuoso_
is manifestly without a Competitour. For our Follies are not to be
measur’d by the degree of _Ignorance_, that appears in ’em, but by the
Study, Labour and Expence they cost us to finish and compleat ’em. So
that the more Regularity and Artifice there appears in any of our
Extravagancies, the greater is the folly of ’em. Upon this Score it is,
that the last mention’d deservedly claim the preference to all others;
they have improv’d so well their Amusements into an Art, that the
_Credulous_ and _Ignorant_ are induc’d to believe there is some secret
Vertue, some hidden Mystery in those darling toys of theirs; when all
their Bustling amounts to no more than a learned _Impertinence_, (for so
they abuse the Term) and all they teach Men is, but a specious expensive
method of throwing away both Time and Money.

I intend not in what remains to trouble you with any more such
instances; because I am sensible these have already swell’d this
_Letter_ to a _Volumn_, which was not at first my intent. I shall
therefore dispatch the remaining part of the charge in; as few Words as
possible. [Sidenote: _Dissimulation became necessary._] Amongst the rest
_Dissimulation_ is none of the least _Blemishes_, which they endeavour
to fix upon us. This Quality, though it can’t upon any occasion deserve
the name of a _Vertue_, yet according to the present Constitution of the
World, is many times absolutely necessary, and is a main ingredient in
the Composition of Human Prudence. It is indeed oftentimes criminal, but
it is only accidentally so, as Industry, Wit, and most other good
Qualities may be, according, to the Ends and Purposes to which they are
misemploy’d. Dissimulation is nothing but the hiding or disguising our
secret thoughts, or Inclinations under another appearance. I shall not
endeavour to absolve our Sex wholly from all use of this Quality, or Art
(call it which you please) because I think it may upon many occasions be
used with Innocence enough, and upon some can’t without great Imprudence
be omitted. The World is too full of _Craft_, _Malice_, and _Violence_,
for absolute _Simplicity_ to live in it. It behoves therefore our Sex as
well as the other to live with so much Caution, and Circumspection in
regard to their own Security, that their Thoughts and Inclinations may
not be seen so naked, as to expose ’em to the _Snares_, designs, and
practices of _Crafty Knaves_, who wou’d make a property of ’em; or lay
’em open to the wicked _Efforts_, and mischievous Impressions of _Envy_,
or _Malice_, whose pleasure springs from the hurt of others. Nothing
gives our Adversaries so great an advantage over us, as the knowledge of
our Opinions, and Affections, with something agreable to which they will
be sure to bate all their Traps and Devices. For this reason it is that
it has been Proverbially said of Old, that, _He that knows not how to
dissemble, knows not how to live_. The Experience of all Ages since has
confirm’d this Observation, and ours no less than any of the Preceding.
This premis’d, I suppose no Wise Man will blame our Sex for the use of
an Art so necessary, to preserve ’em from becoming a _Prey_ to every
designing Man, an Art of which himself must make great use to deserve
that Title. Yet I am afraid, that upon enquiry our Sex will not be found
to have so much of it as is requisite, at least not generally; Our
sedentary Life, and the narrow Limits to which our Acquaintance, and
Business are Circumscrib’d, afford us so little Variety, so regular a
Face of things, that we want the means of obtaining the Mastery of so
useful an Art, which no question but we shou’d as soon acquire as Men,
had we but equal Opportunities. Hence it is that _Women_ are more apt to
show their _Resentments_ upon all _Provocations_ than _Men_; and are
thought naturally more _Peevish_ and _Captious_, by those that apprehend
not the true reason; Whereas _Men_ are altogether as _Stomachful_, and
take _Offence_ as soon, but they cover and suppress their Indignation
better, not with a design to forget any Injury receiv’d, but to wreak
their _Revenge_ more covertly and effectually. This is another advantage
Men derive from liberty of Conversation and promiscuous Business,
wherein the Variety of Contingencies they have to provide against, and
the Diversity of Tempers they deal with, force ’em to turn and wind
themselves into all _Shapes_, and accommodate themselves to all Humours.
There is indeed yet a higher sort of _Dissimulation_, [Sidenote:
_Dissimulation when criminal._] which is always Criminal, that is when
Men not only cloud their real _Sentiments_ and Intentions, but make
Profession of and seem zealously to affect the contrary; this by a more
proper and restrain’d Name is call’d _Deceipt_, and is always us’d in an
ill Sense. This Art is most practic’d in Courts where _Policie_, and
_Ambition_ reign; there You may see _Enemies_ hugging and caressing one
another with all outward _Expressions_ of _Tenderness_ and _Friendship_
imaginabe, while they are secretly contriving each others ruine. There
you may see Men cringing to those, they wou’d _Spurn_ if they durst, and
_Flattering_ those they despise and rail at behind; their _Backs_, The
Court is a place where we come very rarely otherwise than as
_Spectators_, not as _Actours_; as _Ornaments_, not as _Instruments_;
and therefore are seldom involv’d in the guilty Practices of it. Nor is
it the Court only, but all Places are infected with this Vice, where
there is any Encouragement of Profit or Pleasure to be hop’d from
successful Treachery, of which no Place is so barren as not to afford
some. This Deceipt is so far from being the Vice of our Sex, that they
are the common Object on which it is daily practic’d: Nothing is more
frequently met with than false Love in Men, [Sidenote: _False Love
commonly practic’d._] which is now grown so familiar, that a Company of
Six of both Sexes can scarce meet, but a _Sham Passion_ commences
immediately, is urg’d, protested, and sworn to be real with all
imaginable Violence. If these false Arts, mock sighing, and Dying
prevail upon any foolish, easie, credulous _Woman_, the _Sham Lover_ is
blown up with the Success, he is big and in Labour till he be deliver’d
of the Secret, which with great satisfaction he proclaims in all Places
where he comes: ’tis his highest Exploit of _Gallantry_, which he will
by no means lose the credit of. Thus he thinks her ruine a step to
Reputation, and founds his own Honour upon her Infamy. This _Madam_ is
the basest of Treachery; for they are not satisfied with the Success of
their false Promises, and Oaths, but they insult over the weakness of a
too fond _Woman_, and _Triumph_ in her Dishonour. I am sorry there are
any _Women_ so foolish and forward, as to give hopes and encouragement
to such ungenerous Fellows; yet we may be assur’d that they are not a
quarter so many as those vain _Boasters_ wou’d make ’em. Much more be
said on this head, but that I think it high time to pass on to the next,
which is _Enviousness_, so foul a Blot to a fair Character, that no
Merit can wash it out, or atone sufficiently for it.

_Envy_ is the Parent of _Calumny_, and the Daughter of _Jealousie_. Men
seldom envy others, [Sidenote: _Enviousness_] till they fear being out
strip’d by ’em in Fortune or Reputation. It is the most criminal,
because the most injurious to Vertue, and worth of all our natural
Failings, against which it’s Malice is generally bent. This vice and
_Jealousie_ seem to be more particularly hated of _Providence_ than any
other; For they carry their Punishment inseparably along with ’em, The
Envious and the Jealous need no other Tormentours than their own
Thoughts. The Envious Man ruines his own to disturb anothers
Tranquillity, and sacrifices his own Happiness and Repose to a perverse
Desire of troubling his Neighbours. He feeds like _Toads_ upon the
Venome of the Earth, and sucks in Scandal greedily, that he may at
Pleasure disgorge it to the greater annoyance of other Men. His mind has
the _Vapours_, a Sweet Report of any one throws it into Convulsions, and
Agonies, and a foul one is the Releif and Refreshment of it. A wholesome
Air free from the Blasts of _Detraction_ and _Slander_ is as certainly
pernicious to him, as _Ireland_ to _Frogs_ and _Toads_. This Vice is
generally disclaim’d by both Sexes, yet generally practic’d by both. Men
love as little to have their Reputation as their Chimneys over-topt by
their Neighbours; For they think by that means their names become dark,
as their Houses do smoaky by the other: Yet thro’ a lazy Malignity had
rather pull the other’s down to their Level, than build their own up
higher. This Humour prevails indeed, yet not in equal Measure in both
Sexes. For as we have confessedly less _Ambition_, so have we apparently
less of this Poison which usually attends it, and arises from a self
Interested Principle, which makes ’em endeavour by base sinister means
to level that Merit which they think stands in their way to Preferment,
and which they despair of being able to surmount by honourable attempts.
For what need any one use base Sleights to stop the Man, whom by fair
Speed he thought he cou’d overtake. No sooner is any Man rais’d to any
Eminence in the World, but half the Sex at least join in Confederacy to
raise a Battery of Scandal against him, to bring him down again.
_Honour_ is the _Pillory_ of great Desert, whither a Man is no sooner
rais’d, but the vile Rascally inferiour Croud gather immediately
together, to throw Dirt at him, and make that which was intended as a
Grace, and Reward, but a more honourable Punishment. Our Sex seldom
arrive to this Pitch of Envy, our Ambition is more bounded, and our
Desires sooner satisfied. Hence it is that we are less troubl’d at the
Prosperity of others; for not giving our selves the Liberty of aiming at
things far out of our Power, they are the sooner compass’d, and we the
sooner at Ease. He, that thinks himself Happy, is incapable of Envying
another’s Felicity, since he sees him possess’d of nothing which either
he has not or despises not. Yet it must be confess’d that the lesser
Piques, and Grudgings are daily to be met with among us, but no less
among Men. What is it that spawns daily such Fryes of _Satyrists_
without Wit, and _Criticks_ without Judgment, but this humour of
carping, and nibbling at the Reputation of others? But they are
generally abundantly furnisht with Impudence, a good Quality that
commonly supplies largely the want of all other.

[Sidenote: _Character of a City Critick_]

A _Critick_ of this sort is one that for want of _Wit_ sets up for
_Judgment_; yet he has so much Ambition to be thought a _Wit_, that he
lets his _Spleen_ prevail against _Nature_, and turns _Poet_. In this
Capacity he is as just to the World as in the other Injurious. For as
the _Critick_ wrong’d ev’ry Body in his Censure, and snarl’d, and grin’d
at their Writings, the _Poet_ gives ’em Opportunity to do themselves
Justice, to return the Compliment and laugh at or despise his. He wants
nothing but Wit to fit him for a _Satyrist_, yet he has _Gall_ and
_Vanity_ enough to dispence with that Want, and write without it. His
works are _Libells_ upon others, but _Satyrs_ upon himself, and while
they _Bark_ at Men of _Wit_, call him Fool that writ ’em. He takes his
Malice for a Muse, and thinks himself inspir’d when he is only
_Possess’d_, and blown up with a Flatus of _Envy_ and _Vanity_. His
great helps to Poetry are _Crambo_, and _Arithmetick_, by which he
aspires to Chime, and Numbers, yet mistakes frequently in the tale of
his Fingers. He has a very great _Antipathy_ to his own Species, and
hates to see a Fool any where but in his Glass. For (as he says) they
_Provoke_ him _And offend his Eyes_: [Sidenote: _7th. Satyre of Boileau
Eng._] He _Follows ’em as a Dog persues his Prey, and barks whenere_ He
_smells ’em in his way_: He _knows, to say no more_ that _Wit is scarce,
to gingle out a Rhime, or tag a Verse: Or Cobble wretched Prose to
numerous Lines: There if he has a Genius there it shines_. His Fund of
_Criticism_ is a Set of Terms of Art pickt out of the _French Criticks_,
or their Translators; and his _Poetical_ stock is a Common Place of
certain _Forms_ and _Manners_ of Expression. He writes better in _Verse_
than _Prose_; For in that there is _Rhime_, in this neither _Rhime_ not
_Reason_. He talks much of the _Naivete_ of his Thoughts, which appears
sufficiently in the Dullness of ’em; yet nothing but the _Phlegmatick_,
Spiritless _Air_ is his own. He rails at Mr. _Oldham_ for want of
Breeding and good Manners without a grain of either, and steals his own
Wit to bespatter him with, but like an ill _Chymist_, he lets the
_Spirit_ flie of in the drawing over, and retains only the _Phlegm_. He
censures Mr. _Cowley_ for too much _Wit_, and corrects him with none.
The difference between Mr. _Cowley_ and him is this; the one has too
much Wit, and too fine for the Standard; the other not enough to blanch
his base Metal, or cover the Brass of his Counterfeits. To compleat
himself in the Formalities of _Parnassus_, he falls in love and tells
the World, it is oblig’d to his _Passion_ for his _Poetry_; but if his
_Mistress_ prove no more indulgent than his _Muse_, his Amour is like to
conclude but unluckily. For if his Love be no warmer than his Lines, his
_Corinna_ may play with his Flame without danger of Burning. He pretends
to have written only his sincerest Thoughts; I don’t know how well his
Mistress may take that from the _Lover_, but I dare swear the World did
not expect it from the Poet. He is happiest at the Picture of a Rhiming
Fool, for he need only to look in his Glass, and he may Copy a Country
_Wit_ from the City Original. If this Rhiming Humour lasts, there’s a
good _Sugar-Jobber_ spoil’d for an ill _Poet_; yet for his comfort,
Time, Improvement, and two or three Books more may raise him to Rival
_E— S—_ and sing _London_’s Triumphs, to the Envy of _Tom Jordan_ of
happy Memory.

You may wonder, _Madam_, why I shou’d give you the trouble of this
Character, after I had given you my word to trouble you with no more of
this Nature. I must confess, I am sorry that so foolish an Occasion
cou’d make me forget my self; but a Book newly publish’d happening just
at this Juncture unluckily to fall into my Hands, I cou’d not without
Indignation see the Scurrility and Insolence, with which Mr. _Oldham_,
and Mr. _Cowley_ are treated; and cou’d not but resent a little the
Wrongs done to the Memory of Men whom the rest of the World with Justice
admire; and cou’d not help taking Notice upon so fair an Opportunity,
that they are not, tho’ dead, to be so rudely plaid with, and made the
May-Game of e’ry _Splenetick Boy_. There are some yet living, whose Wit
and Performances deserve a more respectful treatment, than they have met
with from him. But they are able to revenge their own Quarrel, if they
think he deserves the honour to be Scourg’d by ’em. Nothing but Envy and
a Vain Conceit of himself cou’d move him to attack the Reputation of
Men, whose Verse will alwayes command Admiration, while his own raise
nothing but Scorn and Indignation. If his Bookseller were but blest with
half a dozen such Authors, he wou’d in a short time infallibly be
_Stationer_ general to all the _Grocers_ and _Tobacconists_ in the Town.

After this Digression, _Madam_, let us return to our Subject. We stand
yet charg’d with _Levity_, and _Inconstancy_, two Failings so nearly
related and so generally United, that it his hard to treat of ’em apart;
[Sidenote: _Levity._] we will therefore consider ’em briefly together.
_Levity_ is an unsteddy Humor that makes men like and dislike, seek, and
reject frequently the same things upon slender or no Reasons. This is
the Humour of the Infancy of both Sexes, and proceeds from the strength
of their Appetites, and the weakness of their Judgments. At these tender
Years every thing we see moves our Curiosities, and because we think
little beyond our Appetites, desire impatiently whatever pleases. This
wears of in Proportion to the growth of our Judgments, when we begin to
consider the Fatigue, Hazard, Disreputation, and other Inconveniences
that attend unreasonable, or inordinate Desires. Herein our Sex have a
manifest Advantage over the other; For it is confess’d on all hands that
our Judgments ripen sooner than theirs, [Sidenote: _Less Levity among
Women then Men._] whence of course it Follows, that this Folly prevails
not so long upon us, as them. ’Tis yet true, that even the most
experienc’d and wisest of Us have no small mixture of it, which appears
in the greatest Part of our Actions. But it is certain likewise, that
Men have a greater proportion of it than we. From this it is that
_Novelty_ derives all its Charms, and that Men persue with so much
Eagerness and Impatience what they so soon slight if obtain’d. I appeal
to the Experience of all mankind, if they do not generally frame to
themselves much greater Idea’s of any thing they desire, and are
unacquainted with, than they find real, when they become Familiar to
’em; and if they did not imagine greater Pleasures, while they were in
persuit, than they met with after they were in Possession of their
Wishes. The Imagery of _Fancy_ is, like some Paintings, ravishing, and
surprizing at a due distance, but approach ’em near, and all the Charms
and Beauty vanish, and they appear rough and unpleasant. Hence it is
that Men grow uneasie, and their desires pall so soon upon the full
enjoyment of their Wishes; they see then the imperfections as well as
Beauties of what they covered, which glitter’d so far of, and like the
Moon appear’d all Lustre and Smoothness, but when arriv’d at, all dark
and uneven. These Fallacies Men are more submitted to than we, by those
very Priviledges which give ’em in some things the advantage over us.
The variety of Business, and Society they run through, the large
acquaintance they contract, give ’em encouragement to aspire to, and
hopes to obtain many difficult things, which our Sex seldom lift their
Thoughts up to. I know this aspiring Humour of theirs is generally
call’d _Ambition_, and I allow the Term to be proper; but their Ambition
works upon their Levity, which only can make them Barter certain Ease,
Peace and Security, for uncertain Pomp and Splendour; and forsake a
Condition they know to be good, for one they know no more of, than that
it Shines, and that it Glitters, and so part with the true Jewel for the
false one. These are the seririous and applauded Follies of Mankind, and
shew the Weakness and Levity of those we call the greatest, and wisest
Men, that sacrifice the Ease and Pleasure of their lives to _Popular
Breath_, and sounding Titles, which is like bartring a small Diamond for
a large Glass Bubble.

[Sidenote: _Inconstancy_]

_Inconstancy_ is so like _Levity_ that little more needs to be said of
it, only that it is commonly restrain’d to the change of Affections in
regard to Persons, and so is cheifly concern’d in Love and Freindship.
It is founded upon Levity, thro’ which we first make an injudicious
Choice, and are afterwards as unreasonably disgusted with it. This
happens oftner in _Love_, than _Friendship_; because the Impressions of
_Love_ are more suddenly receiv’d, and the Effects of it more violent,
than those of _Friendship_; and the Desires, which are commonly kindled
by one single Perfection, such as _Beauty_ or _Wit_, not being suddenly
answered, are in Process of time extinguish’d, or abated by observation
of some disgustful Imperfection or other in the Person belov’d. This is
indeed the true Reason, [Sidenote: _Love, why so soon cold._] why
_Love_, which is generally so hot at first, cools commonly so suddenly;
because being generally the Issue of Fancy, not judgment, it is grounded
upon an over great Opinion of those Perfections, which first strike us,
and which fall in our Esteem upon more mature Examination. From whence
it is likewise that Men are less constant in their Affections, than we;
for Beauty only being generally the Object of their Passion, the Effect
must necessarily be as fadeing as the Cause; their Love therefore being
only the result of wonder and Surprize, is abated by Familiarity, and
decays, as they wear of, by Degrees. Beside, that, a Love so Founded is
liable to be ravish’d by any Superiour Beauty; or if not so, yet the
Novelty of the Former once worn of, the New Comer has the assistance of
Fancy the Slave of Novelty to gain the Superiority. This is the Cause
why so few real and lasting Passions are found amongst Men. For Charms
depending upon, and owing their Power to Fancy, can maintain no
Conquests any longer, than that is on their side, which is as inconstant
as the Wind. [Sidenote: _Women constanter Lovers._] In this also we are
less faulty, than they; For, not usually fixing our Affection on so
mutable a Thing as the _Beauty_ of a _Face_, which a thousand accidents
may destroy, but on _Wit_, _Good Humour_, and other _Graces_ of the
_Mind_, as well as of the _Body_, our Love is more durable, and constant
in proportion to the longer continuance of those Qualities in the
Object. Neither indeed have we the means, or temptation to be Fickle and
inconstant so ready as Men have; For Modesty, and the Rules of Decency
observ’d among Us, not permitting to us the Liberty of declaring our
sentiments to those we love, as Men may, we dare not indulge a wanton
Fancy, or rambling Inclination, which must be stiffled in our own
Breasts, and cou’d only give us a hopeless Anxiety, unless we were able
to inspire the same Passion for us in them; which it were vain to
expect, without breaking thro’ all restraint of _Modesty_ and _Decorum_
at the price of our Fame and Reputation, which I hope few are so daring
as to venture. Besides this our Tempers are by Nature calm, sedate, and
tender, not apt to be ruffl’d, and disturb’d by Passions, and too
fearful to enterprize any thing in satisfaction of ’em; theirs on the
contrary, bold, active, and uneven, easily susceptible of all manner of
Desires, and readily executing any Designs to gratifie ’em. Thus are we
debarred the liberty of chusing for our selves, and confin’d to please
our selves out of the number that like and address to us, of which if we
fix our Affections upon any one, we are generally fixt and unmoveable,
as having neither the Inclination to, nor opportunity of Inconstancy,
that the Men have. I don’t deny but that there may be some among us
guilty of this Fault, but they are vastly short of the Number of Men
involv’d in the like Guilt, amongst whom it is now grown so fashionable,
that is become no Scandal; but is daily justified, and the Treachery
boasted of as high Gallantry. The Crimes therefore of some few _Women_
ought, to be no reproach to the Sex in general. Of Infidelity in
Friendship I shall say little, because I think there are so few
Instances of any thing that deserve the Name, that scarce any Age has
been so fruitful as to produce two Pair of real and true Friends.
[Sidenote: _Freindship._] I know that the Name is commonly given to such
as are linkt by any Ties of Consanguinity, Affinity, Interest, mutual
Obligations, Acquaintance, and the like: But these are such Friendships
(if they may be call’d so) as are always contracted with a tacit Reserve
to Interest on both sides, and seldom last longer than the Prosperity of
either Party, and during that are frequently renounc’d upon slight
Disobligations, or languish and die of themselves. Yet if I may presume
to give my Opinion in a Case, where matter of Fact does not appear, I
think we shou’d be the more Faithful even in this too: For as we are
less concern’d in the Affairs of the World, so we have less Temptation
from Interest to be false to our Friends. [Sidenote: _Women truer
Friends than Men._] Neither are we so likely to be false thro’ Fear;
because our Sex are seldom engag’d in matters of any Danger. For these
Reasons it is, our Sex are generally more hearty and sincere in the
ordinary Friendships they make than Men, among whom they are usually
clogg’d with so many Considerations of Interest, and Punctilio’s of
Honour; to which last perhaps are owing the greatest part of those
honourable Actions, which are mistakenly imputed to Friendship. For
something done to salve Honour, commonly puts a Period to all
Friendship, with unfortunate Persons; whom Men think they may afterward
grow cold to without Reproach.

These are the most considerable Imperfections, or at least those, which
with most Colour of Reason are charg’d upon us, as general Defects; and
I hope, _Madam_, I have fairly shown, that the other Sex are both by
Interest and Inclination more expos’d, and more Subject to ’em, than we.
_Pride_, _Lust_, _Cruelty_, and many more, are by the Declaimers against
us thrown into the Scale to make weight and bear us down, but with such
manifest Injustice, that without giving my self any further trouble, I
dare appeal to any reasonable _Man_, and leave him to decide the
Difference. [Sidenote: _More ill Men than Women._] I know there was a
_Tullia_, a _Claudia_, and a _Messalina_; there was likewise, a
_Sardanapalus_, a _Nero_, a _Caligula_; but if the Sexes in general are
to be reproach’d with, and measur’d by these; Human Race is certainly
the vilest Part of the Creation. ’Tis very ill _Logick_ to argue from
Particulars to Generals, and where the Premisses are singular, to
conclude Universally: But if they will allow us the Liberty they take
themselves, and come to numbering the Vicious of both Sexes, they will
certainly out poll us by infinite Numbers. It were therefore better
Policy surely in them, to quit a way of arguing, which is at once so
false, and so much to the disadvantage of the Cause they contend for:
and when they can by sound Arguments make out any Advantages their Sex
has over ours, other than what I have already granted, I am ready to be
convinc’d, and become their Convert; and I make no doubt but every
ingenuous Man will do as much by me. Thus I have endeavour’d to
vindicate our Sex, from the unjust Imputations with which some
unreasonable, malicious Men wou’d load us: For I am willing to think the
greater, or at least the better Part of their Sex, more generous than to
encourage their Scandal. There remains nothing more, but to shew that
there are some necessary Qualifications to be acquir’d, some good
Improvements to be made by Ingenious _Gentlemen_ in the Company of our
Sex.

[Sidenote: _Many Advantages from Womens Company._]

Of this number are _Complacence_, _Gallantry_, _Good Humour_,
_Invention_, and an Art, which (tho’ frequently abus’d) is of admirable
use to those that are Masters of it, the _Art_ of _Insinuation_, and
many others. ’Tis true a Man may be an Honest and Understanding Man,
without any of these Qualifications; but he can hardly be a Polite, a
Well Bred, an Agreable, Taking Man, without all, or most of these.
Without ’em _Honesty_, _Courage_, or _Wit_, are like Rough _Diamonds_,
or _Gold_ in the _Ore_, they have their intrinsick Value, and Worth,
before, but they are doubtful and obscure, till they are polish’d,
refin’d, and receive _Lustre_, and _Esteem_ from these.

[Sidenote: _Complacence to be learn’d by it._]

The Principal of these is _Complacence_, a good Quality, without which
in a competent Measure no Man is fitted for Society. This is best learnt
in our Company, where all Men affect Gaiety, and endeavour to be
agreable. _State News_, _Politicks_, _Religion_, or private _Business_
take up the greatest Part of their Conversation, when they are among
themselves only. These are Subjects that employ their Passions too much,
to leave any room for _Complacence_; they raise too much heat to suffer
Men to be easie and pleasant, and Men are too serious when they talk of
’em, to suppress their natural Temper, which are apt to break out upon
any Opposition. Men are as apt to defend their Opinions, as their
Property, and wou’d take it as well to have their Titles to their
Estates question’d, as their Sense; and perhaps in that they imitate the
Conduct of our Sex, and do, like indulgent Mothers, that are most tender
of those Children that are weakest. But however it be, I have observ’d,
when such Arguments have been introduc’d even in our Company, and by Men
that affect Indifference, and abundance of Temper, that very few have
been able to shew so much Mastery, but that something appear’d either in
their Air, or Expression, or in the Tone of their Voices, which argued a
greater Warmth, and Concern, than is proper for the Conversation of
_Gentlemen_, or the Company of _Ladies_. These Uneasinesses happen not
so often among us, because the Men look upon us to have very little
Interest in the Publick Affairs of the World, and therefore trouble us
very seldom with their grave, serious Trifles, which they debate with so
much earnestness among one another. They look upon us as Things design’d
and contriv’d only for their Pleasure, and therefore use us tenderly, as
Children do their Favourite Bawbles. They talk gayly, and pleasantly to
us, they do, or say nothing that may give as any Disgust, or _Chagrin_,
they put on their chearfullest Looks, and their best Humour, that they
may excite the like in us: They never oppose us but with a great deal of
Ceremony, or in Raillery, not out of a Spirit of Opposition, (as they
frequently do one another) but to maintain a pleasant Argument, or
heigthen by variety of Opinions an agreable Entertainment. Mirth, and
Good Humour reign generally in our Society, Good Manners always; For
with us Men shew in a manner, the Reverse of what they are one to
another: They let their thoughts play at Liberty, and are very careful
of the Expression, that nothing harsh, or obscene escape ’em, that may
shock a tender Mind, or offend a modest Ear. This Caution it is, which
is the Root of _Complacence_, which is nothing but a Desire to oblige
People, by complying with their Humours. ’Tis true some Tempers are too
Obstinate, and froward, ever to arrive at any great Heigth of this good
Quality, yet there is nothing so stubborn, but it may be bent. Assiduity
and constant Practice will contract such Habits, as will make any thing
easie and familiar, even to the worst contriv’d Disposition; but where
Nature concurs, Men are soon Perfect. This is one great advantage Men
reap by our Society, nor is it to be despis’d by the Wisest of ’em, who
know the use of this Accomplishment, and are sensible, that it is
hardly, if at all, to be acquir’d, but by conversing with us. For tho’
Men may have Wit and Judgment, yet the Liberty they take of thwarting,
and opposing one another makes ’em Eager, and Disputative, Impatient,
Sowre, and Morose; till by conversing with us, they grow insensibly
asham’d of such Rustick Freedom. The truth of this is Evident from the
Observation of the _Universities_, and _Inns_ of _Court_, I mean those
Students in ’em that lead a more recluse and Monastick Life, and
converse little with our Sex. They want neither Wit, nor Learning, and
frequently neither Generosity, nor Good Nature, yet when they come into
gay, tho’ Ingenious Company, are either damp’d and silent, or
unseasonably Frolicksom and Free, so that they appear either Dull, or
Ridiculous.

[Sidenote: _Gallantry acquir’d by our Company._]

Nor is _Complacence_ the only thing these Men want, they want likewise
the _Gallantry_ of those Men that frequent our Company. This Quality is
the heigth and perfection of Civility, without which it is either
Languishing, or Formal, and with which it appears always with an
engaging Air of Kindness, and Good Will. It sets a value upon the most
inconsiderable Trifles, and turns every Civility into an Obligation. For
in ordinary Familiarities, and civil Correspondencies, we regard not so
much what, as how things are done, the Manner is more lookt upon than
the Matter of such Courtesies. Almost all Men that have had a liberal,
and good Education know, what is due to Good Manners, and civil Company.
But till they have been us’d a little to Our Society, their Modesty fits
like Constraint upon ’em, and looks like a forc’d Compliance to uneasie
Rules, and Forms of Civility. Conversing frequently with us makes ’em
familiar to Men, and when they are convinc’d, as well of the Easiness,
as the Necessity of ’em, they are soon reconcil’d to the Practice. This
Point once gain’d, and they become expert in the common, and necessary
Practices. Those that have any natural Bravery of Mind, will never be
contented to stop there; Indifference is too cold and Phlegmatick a
thing for ’em, a little Formal Ceremony, and common Civilities, such as
are paid to e’ry one of Course, will not satisfie their Ambitious
Spirits, which will put ’em upon endeavouring for better Receptions, and
obliging those, whom they can’t without Reproach to themselves offend.
This is the Original, and first Spring of _Gallantry_, which is an
Humour of Obliging all People, as well in our Actions as Words. It
differs from _Complacence_, [Sidenote: _Difference betwixt Complacence
and Gallantry._] this being more active, that more passive; This
inclines us to oblige, by doing or saying after our own Humours such
things as we think will please; that by submitting to, and following
theirs. A Man may be _Complacent_ without _Gallantry_, but he can’t be
_Gallant_ without _Complacence_. For ’tis possible to please and be
agreable, without shewing our own Humours to Others; but ’tis impossible
without some regard to theirs: yet this Pleasure will be but faint and
languid, without a Mixture of both. This mixture of Freedom, Observance,
and a desire of pleasing, when rightly tempered, is the true Composition
of Gallantry; of which, who ever is compleat Master, can never fail of
being both admir’d, and belov’d. This Accomplishment is best, if not
only to be acquir’d by conversing with us; for besides the natural
Deference, which the Males of every observable Species of the creation
pay to their Females, and the Reasons before given for _Complacence_,
which all hold good here, there is a tender Softness in the Frame of our
Minds, as well as in the Constitution of our Bodies, which inspires Men,
a Sex more rugged, with the like Sentiments, and Affections, and infuses
gently and insensibly a Care to oblige, and a Concern not to offend us.

[Sidenote: _Invention, improv’d by our Society._]

Hence it is that they employ all their _Art_, _Wit_, and _Invention_ to
say and do things, that may appear to us, surprizing and agreable either
for their Novelty or Contrivance. The very End and Nature of
Conversation among us retrench aboundance of those things, which make
the greatest part of Men’s discourse, and they find themselves oblig’d
to strain their Inventions to fetch from other Springs, Streams proper
to entertain us with. This puts ’em upon beating and ranging ore the
Fields of Fancy to find something new, something pretty to offer to us,
and by this means refines at the same time their Wit, and enlarges, and
extends their Invention; For by forcing ’em out of the common Road, they
are necessitated to invent new Arguments, and seek new ways to divert
and please us, and by restraining the large Liberty they take one with
another, they are compell’d to polish their Wit, and File off the
Roughness of it. To this they owe, the Neatness of Raillery, to which
abundance of Gentlemen are now arriv’d; For Contrariety, of Opinions,
being that which gives Life, and Spirit to Conversation, as well Women
as Men do frequently hold Arguments contrary to their real Opinions,
only to heigthen the Diversion, and improve the pleasure of Society. In
these the utmost Care is taken to avoid all things that may sound harsh,
offensive, or indecent, their Wit is employ’d only to raise mirth, and
promote good Humour, Conditions that can’t well be observ’d, when _Men_
contend for Realities, [Sidenote: _Fools no fit Companions for Women._]
and dispute for the Reputation of their Wit or Judgment, and the truth
of their Opinions. ’Tis true these Improvements are to be made only by
Men, that have by Nature an improvable Stock of Wit and good Sense; For
those that have it not, being unable to distinguish what is proper for
their Imitation, are apt to Ape us in those Things which are the
peculiar Graces and Ornaments of our Sex, and which are the immediate
Objects of Sight, and need no further Reflection, or thinking. This
Affectation is notorious in our Modern _Beau_’s, who observing the Care
taken by some of our Sex in the setting of their Persons, without
penetrating any farther into the Reasons Women have for it, or
considering, that what became them, might be ridiculous in themselves,
fall to licking, sprucing, and dressing their Campaign Faces, and ill
contriv’d Bodies, that now, like all Foolish Imitatours, they out do the
Originals, and out-powder, out-patch, and out-paint the Vainest and most
extravagant of our Sex at those Follies, and are perpetually Cocking,
Brustling, Twiring, and making Grimaces, as if they expected we shou’d
make Addresses to ’em in a short Time. Yet ought not this to discourage
any Ingenious Person, or bring any Scandal upon our Conversation, any
more than Travelling ought to be brought into Disrepute, because it is
observ’d, that those, who go _abroad Fools, return Fops_. It is not in
our power to alter Nature, but to polish it, and if an Ass has learnt
all his Paces, ’tis as much as the thing is capable of, ’twere absurd to
expect he shou’d chop _Logick_. This is so far from being an Objection
against us, that it is an Argument, that none but Ingenious Men are
duely qualified to converse with us; Who by our Means have not only been
fitted, and finish’d for great things, but have actually aspir’d to ’em.
For ’tis my Opinion, that we owe the Neat, Gentile Raillery in Sir
_George Etheredge_, and Sir _Charles Sedley_’s Plays, and the Gallant
Verses of Mr. _Waller_ to their Conversing much with Ladies. And I
remember an Opinion of a very Ingenious Person, who ascribes the Ruine
of the _Spanish Grandeur_ in great measure, to the ridiculing in the
Person of _Don Quixot_, the _Gallantry_ of that _Nation_ toward their
_Ladies_. This Opinion however Ingenious carries me beyond the Scope and
design of the present Argument, and therefore I shall leave all further
Consideration of it to those that are more at leisure, and less weary
than I am at present.

There remain yet some things to be spoken to, but I must confess to you,
_Madam_, that I am already very much tired, and I have reason to fear
that you are more. When you enjoyn’d me this Task, I believe, you did
not expect, I am sure, I did not intend so long a Letter. I know I have
written too much, yet I leave you to judge, whether it be enough. One
Experience I have gain’d by this Essay, that I find, when our Hands are
in, ’tis as hard to stop ’em, as our Tongues, and as difficult not to
write, as not to talk too much. I have done wondring at those _Men_,
that can write huge Volumes upon slender Subjects, and shall hereafter
admire their Judgment only, who can confine their Imaginations, and curb
their wandring Fancies. I pretend no Obligation upon our Sex for this
Attempt in their Defence; because it was undertaken at your Command, and
for your Diversion only, which if I have in any measure satisfied, I
have my Ambition, and shall beg nothing farther, than that my ready
Obedience may excuse the mean Performance of

                                           _Madam,
                                               Your real Friend, and
                                                   Most humble Servant_.



                                  THE
                               CONTENTS.


                                   A

 _Argument from Providence_, p. 9.

 —— _from the different Make, and Temper of Body in the two Sexes_, p.
    18.

 _Amazons, why they banisht Men_, p. 24.

 _Advantages of Womens Company_, p. 135.


                                   B

 _Bodies Organiz’d alike_, p. 12.

 _Brutes of both Sexes of equal sense_, p. 13.

 _Bully’s Character_, p. 62.

 _Beau’s Character_, p. 68.

 _Boasters of Intrigues base Fellows_, p. 115.


                                   C

 _Conversation, its End_, p. 7.

 —— _its requisite Conditions_, p. 9.

 _Country Squire’s Character_, p. 20.

 _Coffee-house Politician’s Character_, p. 87.

 _City Militia_, p. 92.

 _City Critick’s Character_, p. 119.

 _Complacence how acquir’d_, p. 136.


                                   D

 _Diffidence of themselves a great discouragement to Women_, p. 55.

 _Dissimulation necessary_, p. 110.

 —— _why most us’d by Men_, p. 112.

 —— _when Criminal_, p. 113.

 —— _How differing from deceit_, p. 114.


                                   E

 _Education Mens greatest advantage_, p. 6.

 —— _Of the Female Sex not so deficient as commonly suppos’d_, p. 36.

 _English Books very improving_, p. 41.

 —— _best helps to Conversation_, p. 47.

 _Envy most injurious to Virtue_, p. 116.


                                   F

 _Friendship, its requisite Conditions_, p. 9.

 _Failings falsly charg’d on Women_, p. 60.

 _Fools no fit Companions for Women_, p. 145.


                                   G

 _Gentlemen, best Writers of Morality, Humanity_, &c. p. 52.

 _Gallantry, how acquir’d_, p. 140.

 —— _How distinguisht from Complacence_, p. 142.


                                   I

 _Invention improvable by the Society of Women_, p. 143.

 _Ignorance of Latin no disadvantage_, p. 57.

 _Imitation ridiculous_, p. 66.

 _Impertinence, what_, p. 84.

 —— _commonly mistaken_, p. 85.

 —— _Epidemical_, p. 89.

 —— _Officious_, p. 94.

 —— _To be measur’d by its Artifice_, p. 109.


                                   L

 _Learning unjustly restrain’d to Latin and Greek only_, p. 45.

 _Love frequently false_, p. 115.

 _Levity, what_, p. 124.

 —— _Less among Women than Men_, p. 125.

 _Love, why so soon cold_, p. 128.


                                   P

 _Pedant’s Character_, p. 27.

 _Points of deep Learning and Politicks, improper for mixt
    Conversation_, p. 40.

 _Poetaster’s Character_, p. 79.


                                   Q

 _The Question stated_, p. 6.


                                   R

 _Religion_, &c. _no proper subjects for mixt Conversation_, p. 38.


                                   S

 _Sexes not distinguish’d in Souls_, p. 11.

 _Salique Law, its Original_, p. 22.

 _Scowrer’s Character_, p, 64.


                                   U

 _Vulgar of both Sexes of equal Capacity_, p. 15.

 _Vanity the Vice of Men_, p. 60.

 —— _Fools Blessing_, p. 76.

 —— _Universal_, p. 82.

 _Vertuoso’s Character_, p. 96.


                                   W

 _Women, bred to too much Ignorance of Business_, p. 16.

 —— _Industriously kept in ignorance_, p. 20.

 —— _Why constanter Lovers than Men_, p. 129.

 —— _Truer Friends than Men; and why_, p. 132.

 —— _Not generally so vicious as Men_, p. 134.


                                _FINIS_:

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES


 1. Corrected the errors listed in the Errata.
 2. Changed “suspicio s Prophetick” to “suspicions Prophetick” in the
      Preface.
 3. Changed “(I hope be accepted,” to “I hope be accepted,” in the
      Preface.
 4. Changed “it it was impossible” to “it was impossible” on p. 43.
 5. Changed “and and I have known others” to “and I have known others”
      on p. 43.
 6. Changed “my my Grief” to “my Grief” on p. 48.
 7. Changed “Philosophy, Mathematicks” to “Philosophy, Mathematicks,” on
      p. 53.
 8. Changed “in that kind” to “in that kind.” on p. 54.
 9. Changed “and is more terrible to em” to “and is more terrible to
      ’em” on p. 81.
10. Changed “are paid by no no” to “are paid by no” on p. 96.
11. Changed “and and so part” to “and so part” on p. 127.
12. Added a period to the last sentence in a paragraph if one is
      missing.
13. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.
14. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.
15. Superscripts are denoted by a caret before a single superscript
      character, e.g. M^r.





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