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ed servitude of tedious Jacob-prenticeships, &c. being in the whole a most notoriously false and malicious suggestion. For how can any man in his right wits believe that ten thousand
sickness maidens, subscribers to the petition, can be those hard-hearted , Rachel mistresses, as if life, health, and love were so little dear to them, that they would rather die martyrs to oatmeal, loam, and chalk, than accept such able doctors and such pleasant physick for their recoveries, in that only Elixir Vitæ, man and matrimony.
Nay, do not the whole body of petitioners most frankly and generously avow, both for their majesties' and the nation's service, their ready inclinations and desires of recruiting the yearly Flandrian mortality, by an immediate consummation and propagation. Is not the fair Festival-sheet hung out, with all the heartiest bridal compliment, of Wake, sleepers, rise and eat?' And can the ungrateful batchelors talk of seven years courtship, after such endearing invitations! But, however, if by chance, once in an age, they meet with a thick-shelled bitter almond, must the generality of the sex, the tender pistachoes, requiring not half the cracking labour, and with ten times the sweeter kernel, be falsly reproached and reviled ?
And whereas the batchelors ridiculously object their fear and dread of entering into the matrimonial state, from the suggested frailty and brittleness of the weaker vessels: to obviate the folly of that fear, and the shallowness of that argument, we declare, Nemine contradicente, the fair sex, not to diminish their value, to be true precious porcelane, and it lies only in the gentle usage and tenderness of the handling, to preserve them.
And we farther declare this petition of the longing ladies, notwithstanding the scurrilous batchelors ridiculing and censorious reflexions, to be as honest a supplication, as a prayer for daily bread; for every thing would live.
And whereas one great bar to matrimony are the common pretensions of good husbandry, in chusing rather to buy at Hackney, than keep a milcher of their own; as thereby endeavouring to avoid the expensive concomitants of wedlock. Now, as these unthinking remonstrancers never consider the dangerous risques of their own Latitudinarian principles and practices, in incurring the
zard of coming to Sassapiralla and Guiacum, and the rest of the dry drugs, infinitely more expensive than the objected matrimonial sweetmeats and caudles, gossipings and christenings, &c. the confectioners a much easier than the apothecaries bill, and one Dr. Wall a heavier incident charge than two Chamberlains.
We therefore think fit to lay before their eyes the too common too threatening malevolence of those malignant ascendants, viz. Venus in the lower house, and Mercury in the upper one; and withal advise them to reflect, that the nursery of a whole fire-side is not half the expence of rearing of galloping runners into standing gouts. We could likewise further convince them, that the universal havock of all the maims and cripples, from French chainshot and splinters got betwixt wind and water, is much the vaster hospital rent-charge, than the pensions of Chelsea and Chatham.
However, if no counsel nor precept can reduce them from their infamous reprobation to the honourable state, we hereby enact this punishment of their apostasy, that they live in their sins, and die in their shame; and, as the last publicķ brand, be utterly debarred even that common civility of bribing the searchers, and softening the bill of mortality, by slurring a shame-faced consumption upon a scandalous rot.
But to begin our examination into the petitioners greatest and loudest-tongued grievance, the multitude of misses; and all the fatal influences from those reigning ascendants; that not only, as the petitioners modestly complain, divert, but, as we may safely add, poison those wholesome streams which would otherwise run in the regular channel of matrimony; we shall here subjoin our power and authority for accomplishing a thorough reformation in this particular; with the following inflictions and punishment for the discouragement and suppression of the said notorious vice and enormity.
Whereas therefore, to the scandal of the age, it has been often experienced, that a witty and beautiful spouse has been abandoned for a hard-favoured dowdy miss; under no other shadow of excuse, than the pretended discovery of having found a fiddle abroad, and therefore slighting the unmusical instrument at home. Now, in utter detestation of such abominable pretences, and such unnatural .conjugal abdication, together with the manifest justice of Ler Talionis, we do hereby license and authorise the aforesaid fair abandoned, as well for the alleviation of doleful widowed nights, and virgin sheets, as for the support of the family, possibly in no small danger from such neglect and desertion, to borrow the assistance of some dignified younger brother, to raise heirs, &c. without incurring the præmunire of elopement; or, upon non-readiness and failure of such honourable supply, to have free leave to take up with some coarser domestick menial, though but to the homely tune of Drive on, Coachman.
And, in like manner, it is resolved and ordered, that all those ramblers and strays under that misleading ignis fatuus, the sweet sin of variety, that shall therefore grasp at out-lying pluralities, though, possibly, naturally so weak-gifted, as to be scarce sufficiently qualified for due incumbence at home, shall, for the said wilful offence of non-residence, incur the penalty of sequestration, to be supplied by a curate, from the choice of the parish.
And whereas the fair complainants too loudly inveigh against their powerful rival, wine, and the present too spreading idolatry of the bottle, and the dangerous concomitants thereof : which the batchelors endeavour to soften and sweeten, by insinuating the juice of the grape no ill-meaning enemy to the God of Love's subjects. For adjustment of the dispute, be it resolved, that wine be no farther encouraged than as amorum famulus, a good servant but a bad master; to be indulged and cherished as a moderate grace-cup; to make love chirp, but not sleep; and be used for sauce and relish, not for souse and pickle. Be it therefore enacted, that, for due punishment of those violent claret-hunters, that, by abuse of this lawful and limited indulgence, do outrun all bounds, to the making à toil of a pleasure, and a tedious tiresome fox-chace of it; it may and shall be lawful for the sweet neglected Venus, like the old modest Diana, to punish all such capital offenders with the front of an Acteon ; it being the opinion of tbis committee, that the wilful neglect of family duty, and all false measures of due benevolence, fall as justly under parliamentary censure and lash as the false packing of butter.
And whereas the crying shame of the daily scandalous rhimes, - the licentious scurrilous pamphlets, doggrel and play-house farces upon the holy state of matrimony, is no small grievance of the petitioners : this honourable committee, as fully impowered to search papers and records, have found the said libels to be wholly matter of malice and calumny, the generality of the authors being either some scribbling, aspiring, slighted pretenders to some fair disdainful Celia ;, and therefore, in pure spight and revenge, pelted and persecuted with satire and lampoon, for no other sin but her being deaf and invincible to ditty and sonnet; and thereupon the whole honourable state of wedlock maliciously vilified, with the outcry of dry meat, for no other reason, but that themselves are thrown out of the chace, and excluded the game: or otherwise, if such wedlock railing be the venom and gall of any married author, we conclude it the product of some very hard bargain, as possibly some old tapped leaky broach at home, and thereupon his palate wholly depraved and sowred with this nauseous draught of lees. Nevertheless, all the said villainous ribaldry and libels, as hatched and contrived for sowing sedition, and fomenting schism within the peaceable and united ecclesiastical provinces of hymen and love, we do hereby adjudge and sentence to the old doom of hæretico comburendo.
And whereas our fair petitioners enforce their suit, from our condescension to the humble debates of cutting the rivers Lug and Wye, &c. Be it therefore resolved and ordered accordingly, that the present Virgin Shallows, hitherto of no farther use than the drive ing a poor water-mill, &c. be dug into deeps and channels, and made navigable for traders and voyagers, and so rendered useful to the publick for the serviceable bearing of bulk and burthen.
Provided still, that all the fair bridal pretenders shall bring their whole loaf to the spousal board, and not have any of the kissing crust pared off by any hungry sharper for breakfast, before the good man in black has said grace for the nuptial night supper, with the rest of the usual ceremonies of Fall to in God's name.
But if, by any frail mischance, an unhappy falling fair, under pretence of a pure untouched domestic utensil, shall bring a crazed pipkin into play, she shall be obliged, by a true and thorough reformation, and engagement of her future more steady uprightness, to give security that a cracked maidenhead, like a broken bone, shall be the strongest where it is set again, or otherwise to forfeit all right and benefit of our favour and protection.
Lastly, Be it ordered, in favour to the petitioners proposed supply towards recruiting the human dearth and scarcity made by the hungry devourer, War, that a clause be inserted to root out of all the female physick-gardens, and indeed from out the whole commonwealth, those dangerous plants called Cover-Shame, alias Savin, and other anti-conceptive weeds and poisons, those notorious restoratives of slender shapes, and tender reputations, to the loud and cry. ing shame of love lost, and a good thing thrown away.'
As for what relates to the chaplains, we are willing to allow them plenty of meat, drink, and tobacco, the most zealous part of their supplication, nay, to sit down at table with their patrons, provided they do not take upon them to censure the management of the family. But, whereas they petition to be freed from any obligation to marry the chamber-maid, we can by no means assent to it; the Abigail, by immemorial custom, being a Deodand, and belonging to holy church.
We thank the poets for their good-will to the government, as appears by their proposal to raise a fund of six-hundred thousand pounds for the support of it; but do not think it convenient to raise any money either out of them, or the ribbon-weavers. The only tax we lay upon them, is to canonise all our heroes that die in Flanders, and to record their victories in verse. And this will be no burdensome employment for them.
And, lastly, as for the widows, provided they will engage never to talk bawdy, and quote the sayings, or praise the valour of their dead husbands, we will grant all and every clause in their petition, viz. The old widows shall have their gums rubbed with coral. The rich shall be indulged a twelve-months rest. The poor shall have the forfeitures they beg for; and the young receive full satisfaction in their three articles:
The second Tacitus. MS.
NICHOLAS Machiavel is cried down a villain, though many
think he deserves a better title. Who intends to express a dishonest man, calls him a Machiavilian; they might as well say, he was a Straffordian, or a Marlborian; thus men embrace the first apparitions of virtue and vice, and let the substance pass by untouched.
He was not only an Italian, but a courtier.
He was secretary to the state of Florence, of which he wrote an excellent and impartial history.
He lived in the days of Pope Alexander the Sixth, being familiar with his sop Cæsar, and what those princes were, is sufficiently
known; no times were fuller of action, nor shewed the instability of worldly honours more, than the occurrences that happened in Italy in his time.
Now from a man wholly employed in court affairs, when it was thought a madness to look beyond second causes, worse things might have been with better reason expected, than these so bitterly condemned, which are indeed but the history of wise impieties, being before imprinted in the hearts of ambitious pretenders, and by him made legible to the meanest understandings; yet, he is more blamed for this fair expression, than they are that daily commit far greater iinpiety, than his or any pen else is capable to express.
Most of the estates of Italy did in his time voluntarily, or were compelled to change their masters; neither could that school teach him any thing more perfectly, than the way to greatness; nor he write a more acceptable treatise than Aphorisms of state.
He saw the kingdom of Naples torn out of the house of Anjou, by Ferdinand, and the people kept in tyranny both by the father and the son.
He saw the no less mad, than disloyal, ambition of Lodowick, Duke of Milan, who took the government upon him, out of the hands of young Galeas, with as much treachery and cunning as Francis Sforza, father to Galeas, had done from the Duke of Orleans.
He beheld Charles the Eighth, king of France, brought into Italy, by the said Duke of Milan, to keep the people at gaze, whilst he poisoned his nephew, who was to expect the dukedom, when he was of age.
He saw the descent of Charles winked at by Pope Alexander the Sixth, in hopes to raise a house for his son Cæsar, out of the ruins of some of the princes, in which he was deceived; for the French king made himself master of all Italy, entered Rome twice, put the Holy Father, to take sanctuary, in the castle of St. Angelo, and to subscribe to such conditions, as the victorious king was pleased to prescribe him; upon which his holiness came out, and though Charles, in shew of reverence, did kiss his foot, yet he took his son Cæsar for hostage, to secure the performance of his promise, though he covered it with the name of Ambassy, ever to reside with the king, in token of amity.
And after Cæsar made his escape, the holy father, contrary to his oath, made a league against the French king.
He was an eye-witness of an amity, contracted between the vicar of Christ and his known enemy, the Turk; with whom he agreed, for money, to poison his brother, who was fled into christendom, for fear of his brother Bajazet, then reigning, and was under the pope's protection at Rome; he saw the French king lose all Italy, within the small time he had gained it.
He saw both Pope Alexander and his son overthrown, by one draught of poison, prepared by themselves for others; of which the father died presently, but the son, by reason of youth, and antidotes, had leisure to see what he had formerly gotten torn out of his.