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fession we say,
used, or used one instead of another. In the first and best prayer children are taught, they learn to misuse is :
« Our Father which art in heaven," should be, “ Our Father who art in heaven;" and even a Convocation, after long debates, refused to consent to an alteration of it. In our General Con
Spare thou them, O God, WHICH confess their faults,” which ought to be “ who confess their faults." What hopes then have we of having justice done us, when the makers of our very prayers and laws, and the most learned in all faculties, seem to be in a confederacy against us, and our enemies themselves must be our judges.
• The Spanish proverb says, Il sabio muda conscio, il necio no; i. e. “A wise man changes his mind, a fool never will.” So that we think you, sir, a very proper person to address to, since we kuow you to be capable of being convinced, and changing your judgment. You are well able to settle this affair, and to you we submit our cause. We desire you to assign the butts and bounds of each of us; and that for the future we may both enjoy our own. We would desire to be heard by our counsel, but that we fear in their very pleadimys they would betray our cause: besides, we have been oppressed so many years, that we can appear no other way but in forma pauperis. All which considered, we hope you will be pleased to do that which to right and justice shall appertain.
And your petitioners, &c.' R.
N° 79. THURSDAY, MAY 31, 1711.
Oderunt peccare boni virtutis umore.
HOR. 1 Ep. xvi. 52.
I HAVE received very many letters of late from my female correspondents, most of whom are very angry with me for abridging their pleasures, and looking severely upon things in themselves indifferent. But I think they are extremely unjust to me in this imputation. All I contend for is, that those excellencies, which are to be regarded but in the second place, should not precede more weighty considerations. The heart of man deceives him in spite of the lectures of half a life spent in discourses on the subjection of pas. sion; and I do not know why one may not think the heart of woman as unfaithful to itself.
If we grant an equality in the faculties of both sexes, the minds of women are tess cultivated with precepts, and consequently may, without disrespect to them, be accounted more liable to illusion, in cases wherein natural inclination is out of the interests of virtue. I shall take up my present time in commenting upon a billet or two which came from ladies, and from thence leave the reader to judge whether I am in the right or not, in thinking it is possible fine women may be mistaken. The following address seems to have no other design in it, but to tell me the writer will do what she pleases for all me.
I AM young, and very much inclined to follow the paths of innocence; but at the same time, as I have a plentiful fortune, and am of quality, I am unwilling to resign the pleasure of distinction, some little satisfaction in being admired in general, and much greater in being beloved by a gentleman, whom I design to make my husband. But I have a mind to put off entering into matrimony till another winter is over my head, which (whatever, musty sir, you may think of the matter) I design to pass away in hearing music, going to plays, visiting, and all other satisfactions which fortune and youth, protected by innocence and virtue, can procure for,
My lover does not know I like him, therefore having no engagements upon me, I think to stay and know whether I may like any one else better.'
I have heard Will Honeycomb say, 'A woman seldom writes her mind but in her postscript. I think this gentlewoman has sufficiently discovered her's in this. I will lay wliat wager she pleases against her present favourite, and can tell her, that she will like ten more before she is fixed, and then will take the worst man she ever liked in her life. There is no end of affection taken in at the eyes only; and you may as well satisfy those eyes with seeing, as control any passion received by them only. It is from loving by sight, that coxcombs so frequently succeed with women, and very often a young lady is bestowed by her parents to a man who weds her as innocence itself, though she has, in her own heart, given her approbation of a different man in every assembly she was in the whole year before. What is wanting among women as well as among men, is the love of laudable things, and not to rest only in the forbearance of such as are reproachful.
How far removed from a woman of this light imagination is Eudosia! Eudosia has all the arts of life and good-breeding with so much ease, that the virtue of her conduct looks more like instinct than choice. It is as little difficult to her to think justly of persons and things, as it is to a woman of different accomplishments to move ill or look awkward. That which was, at first, the effect of instruction, is grown into an habit; and it would be as hard for Eudosia to indulge a wrong suggestion of thought, as it would be to Flavia, the fine dancer, to come into a room with an unbecoming air.
But the misapprehensions people themselves have of their own state of mind, is laid down with much discerning in the following letter, which is but an extract of a kind epistle from my charming mistress Hecatissa, who is above the vanity of external beauty, and is the better judge of the perfections of the mind.
very many ladies, as well as myself, spend many hours more than we used at the glass, for want of the female library, of which you promised us a catalogue. I hope, sir, in the choice of authors for us, you will have a particular regard to books of devotion. What they are, and how many, must be your
care; for upon the propriety of such writiugs depends a
great deal. I have known those among us who think, if they every morning and evening spend an hour in their closet, and read over so many prayers in six or seven books of devotion, all equally nonsensical, with a sort of warmth, (that might as well be raised by a glass of wine, or a dram of citron) they may all the rest of their time go on in whatever their particular passion leads them to. The beauteous Philautia, who is in your language) an idol, is one of these votaries; she has a very pretty furnished closet, to which she retires at hier appointed hours. This is her dressing-room, as well as chapel; she has constantly before her a large looking-glass; and upon the table, according to a very witty author,
Together lie her prayer-book and paint,
• It must be a good scene, if one could be present at it, to see this idol by turns lift up her eyes to heaven, and steal glances at her own dear person. It can100 but be a pleasing conflict between vanity and bumiliation. When you are upon this subject, choose books which elevate the mind above the world, and give a pleasing indifference to little things in it. For want of such instructions 1 am apt to believe so many people take it in their heads to be sullen, cross, and angry, under pretence of being abstracted from the affairs of this life, when at the same time they betray their fondness for them by doing their duty as a task, and pouting and reading good books for a week together. Much of this I take to proceed from the indiscretion of the books theniselves, whose very titles of weekly preparations, and such limited godliness, lead people of ordinary capacities into great errors, and raise in them a mechanical religion, entirely distinct from morality. I know a