Page images
PDF
EPUB

rection, if it is a sin, we are of opinion it sits better upon us than upon them. This is not all, marrying a widow is like splitting upon a rock where others have been shipwrecked. Well, we are glad however it is like something. But, since one simily is best drove out by another, why not, like drinking in a room where some honest gentleman has made merry before? Since nothing will go down with these squeamish creatures in the matrimonial way but a spick and span new virgin, we wonder why they do not keep up the frolick in every thing else; why, as often as they drink, they do not call still for a virgin glass; why they do not every meal call for a virgin plate : why they do not still pull out a virgin snuff-box, lie in virgin-sheets, talk politicks in a virgin-coffee-house, and pursue their dearly beloved variety to the end of the chapter. Lastly, their indignation rises at the thoughts of Long-lane, and all secondhand things whatever. If the sparks are resolved to be true to their argument, we are well satisfied they must even say good-night to all thinking, and writing, and talking: for at present they think at second-hand, and write and talk at second-hand; and this objection, as terrible as it looks, is a tbread-bare weather-beaten second. hand objection with a witness.

A late monarch, of happy memory, who was inferior to none but Solomon in natural philosophy, and chiefly in what relates to our sex, was often heard to say, that getting of a maiden-head was a drudgery fit for none but porters. We save all that labour and pains, for there needs no great trouble to enter a city when a breach is once made in the walls, and our husbands have that satisfaction, as to see their ground ploughed up ready to their hands. To conclude all, a widow is a tried gun, and carries the tower mark upon her; now who knows but a maid may split in the proving ?

Having thus justified the state of widowhood against all the objections that are used to be made against it, we have nothing more to add, but that you would be pleased to give your consent to the three following articles :

First, That all persons, who are not of known parts and abilities, may not only be rendered uncapable of marrying maids, or such as are reputed maids, but confined to the choice of widows only. This we request not so much for our own advantage, as for the ease of the men;

for
you

know several people can make a shift to keep the king's bighway, that are not able to leap a ditch, or break open a quickset.

Secondly, That all persons resolving to marry before the age of twenty-one, if they have made no natural experiments before that time, shall be likewise obliged to take a widow, as they do pilots, in difficult or unknown places. It is an ancient but well grounded complaint, that, where two maiden-heads meet, they produce nothing but mere butter-prints, addle-pated fops, and dull senseless, sleepy boobies. Now, if you pass this into an act, in all probability it will contribute much to the improving of our present degenerate race, and certainly, if ever we wanted solid heads, it is at this con. juncture,

Thirdly and Lastly, That all widows, during their widowhood,

may be excused from the taxes : for is it not hard, good gentlemen, to pay four shillings in the pound for empty houses. We hope you will consider farther of these our reasonable supplications.

And your petitioners, as in daty, &c.

AN HUMBLE

REMONSTRANCE OF THE BATCHELORS, In and about London, to the Honourable House, in Answer to a late Paper,

intitled, A PETITION OF THE LADIES FOR HUSBANDS. London : Printed for, and sold by the Bookselling Batchelors, in St. Paul's

Church-Yard. Quarto, containing Four Pages.

GENTLEMEN, YOU

OU are the sanctuary of the oppressed; and it is natural for

the subject, whenever he finds himself unjustly treated, to fly to his representatives for a redress. You that have so effectually mortified arbitrary power, even in a great monarch, will certainly uever cherish it in a lower station; and this inclines us to hope, that the ladies will not find that encouragement at your hands, which their vanity prompted them to expect. Though their petition to you speaks in a very sublime stile ; yet for all that they can assume a different sort of language in other places. There they not only dispute the superiority with the men, but even pretend to the right of conquest over them; for their grandmother Eve, they say, triumphed over the weakness of our great grandfather Adam in Paradise ; and no doubt on it had insisted upon that article before you, but that your house, last week, so punished the unpalatable doctrine of conquest; to disarm them of this illegal pretence, which is prejudicial to the liberty and privilege of our sex, we have examined all the old records, but cannot find the least appearance to colour such a plea, At present, we shall dismiss this point to descend into the particulars of their petition, and leave unto you, at last, to decide the controversy, now depending between us.

They complain, that the holy state of matrimony has of late years been very irreverently spoken of; that is has been rhymed to death, in sonnet, and murdered in effigie, upon the stage. Now we would not be guilty of that ill breeding, to say that the ladies, all along, found the matter, and the satyrist only found the words. However, we are assured from all hands, that those persons, who have taken the greatest pains to expose that holy state, were all of them married; to prove which, we could name a famous abdicating poet, if we were minded; and we hope the ladies do not expect we should either defend or condemn them, till we are married ourselves, and consequently in a capacity to judge on which side the truth lies. At

present we know no more of matrimony, than a mere land-man knows of the sea ; every gazette tells him of abundance of wrecks; but for all that, he will venture to sea, in hopes of making fifty per cent. by exchange of his commodities.

But, to make amends for this melancholy scene, they very devoutly thank heaven, in the next place, that their sex found the benefit of the clergy, when the laity had, in a manner, abandoned them. Pray, gentlemen, observe what returns of gratitude the ladies have made their best and surest cards the church-men for this their loving kindness. One would have thought they might, at least, have allowed their ancient friends the first choice of the vintage; it is no more than what the French do to the Scotch merchants at Bourdeaux, out of respect to their old alliance; but we find no such thing. Old superannuated house-keepers with a maiden-head defunct, and farmers daughters, are the best presents, they give the poor church; so they, on this account, serve the christian parsons, as their predecessors, the pagan priests, did their deities, who used to compliment Jupiter with the guts and garbidge, and reserved the remainder of the bullock for themselves. After all, whether this happens by their own fault, or no, the Levites are made but a civiler sort of scavengers to carry off the dust and rubbish of the sex, so that the ladies may spare their thanks to them if they please ; for it is we, of the laity only, that are in their debt for this great civility.

After this, gentlemen, the ladies are pleased to avouch, that, if it had not been for a certain damned liquor, called wine, the men by the mere impulse of nature had been long since reduced to their duty. Here, by the word duty, they plainly insinuate a conquest; and therefore we humbly beg that their petition may be sent to the Palace-Yard, and there served Secundum Usum Sarum. In the mean time, it is a mystery to us, what makes the ladies vent their spleen so furiously upon poor wine, which by the bye never meant the least harm in its life to the God of Love's subjects, unless they intend to monopolise all the drinking to themselves; or else, since their sex has been so familiar with brandy, blasphemed by the name of cold tea, a jury of red-nosed midwives have pronounced wine to be a feeble impotent creature, in comparison of that. They wonder, why the men should scruple to marry, out of fear of cuckoldom, and yet not scruple to driok stummed wine for fear of a fever. To which we reply, that the case is extremely different. Not one man in an hundred gets a fever by drinking; at the same time, scarce one in an hundred, that is married, escapes cuckoldom. And, gentlemen, is not that great odds ?

They would have you pass it into a law, that every man should be obliged to marry, immediately after twenty-one ; and, in case he refuses so to do, to pay a good round sum yearly for bis liberty: though we are all of us agreed that one and twenty is somewhat of the soonest to begin at. For why should a man be forbidden to travel upon the road, unless he sets out exactly at sun-rising? Yet, out of complaisance to the ladies, we are willing to let it pass, though we are certain that half the racers will be foundered before

[ocr errors]

thirty, provided always. (and to be sure, they will never mistake that word, either in an act of parliament, or out of an act of parliament) that all virgins, or reputed virgins, who are passed the age of one and twenty, and have wherewithal to set up some honest, well-chined younger brother, but tarry in expectation of striking a country-squire or alderman's son, shall be likewise amerced ihe same sum for their maiden-heads. The ladies, perhaps, will here object, that it is hard to be taxed for an invisible estate ; but we say, No. We can name them a hundred tradesmen here in the city, that, since the revolution, have paid for what they never had ; those, for instance, that have been rated at four hundred pounds, when they were not really worth one; and yet so valuable a thing is-reputation, whether we deserve it or no, lost nothing by the bargain.

They would have none excused from marriage, but only the impotent and frigid, which, by the bye, gentlemen, is full as severe, as if you should vote that all must troop to the wars, but the parsons, and desire you to erect a court in every county, consisting of half a score experienced matrons, who shall have full authority to examine all persons, whom they suspect to carry clipped money about them, for fear they should put upon their spouses, when it is not in their power to change it. Pray not altogether so hasty, fair ladies. Let your court have some men in it, and not all women: then we may expect to have justice done us ; for experienced matrons are too much a party concerned to be trusted by themselves. We demand, whether it be convenient, that only vintners and aledrapers should have the sole right of determining measures. Vintners never think the measures small enough ; but it may so happen, that your experienced matrons, Anglis, your midwives, may be of a different opinion, and so think no measure large enough. Gentlemen, do but remember the Tryers, under the late reign of Fanaticism; they were a parcel of inquisitor-divines set up by the then no government, to license all such persons that were to be dispatched into the vineyard. Now these conscientious judges, if they had a quarrel to a man, certainly rejected bim, and put him by, though, perhaps, he was master of a more unexceptionable talent than several others that had passed the pulpit-master before him. This needs no application.

They complain of the excessive multitude of misses and harlots, in and about the town, who, as they express it, divert the course of those streams that would otherwise run in the regular channel of matrimony. It is a sad truth, we confess it, the number of these interlopers is very grievous : and yet it is as sad a truth, that the petitioning ladies have occasioned it. Let them but leave quarrelling about jointures, and carry a little more christian complaisance about them, and the other fry would disappear in a moment: for whores in a state are like copper farthings in the way of trade, only used for the convenience of readier change. But, though these obdurate females are really accessory to the great increase of misses, they would bave every person of quality who keeps one, in his own defence, pay a good swinging fine to the government. Is this reason

VOL. X.

N

able or fair? Would governor Walker, do ye think, have done like a gentleman, if he had fined his heroes of Londonderry for feeding on horse-flesh, contrary to the statute, when they had nothing else to help themselves with? It is the same in all cases, where there is no choice but downright necessity.

They would have you enact, since they find wine is so potent a rival, that none but married men should have the privilege of entering into a tavern, that is, modestly speaking, of being drunk. With all our hearts, gentlemen, provided always, that none but married women shall be licensed to appear at the theatre, Chocolate-house, Whitehall, or the park; or, if they do, that any vigor ous cavalier shall have full liberty to carry them off, without incurring the fate of poor Sir John Johnson.

To present you at one view, with the merits of the cause. The ladies are weary of lying alone, and so are we. They would fain be advantageously married, and so would your humble servants. The quarrel, therefore, on their side, is unjustly begun. They look upon us to be their adversaries, whereas we have the same kind incli. nations to their sex, as any of our fore-fathers; the same desires, the same wishes, by the same token, we heartily believe they have equal beauty, and equal, if not superior charms to any of their sex before them. But as, in a long tract of time, innovations cannot fail to start up; so the ladies, either presuming on their own strength, or on the inadvertency of the men, have trumped up se. veral new doctrines upon us. A courtship, as the ladies are pleased to order it, is now the greatest penance any man in the world can undergo. We must swear as many oaths as would serve one of his majesty's largest garisons for a twelve-month, till we are believed. We must treat them like goddesses, lie prostrate at their feet, make presents so expensive and numerous, that, perhaps, the wife's por, tion will scarce make amends for what the mistress extorted from us. Because Jacob could serve two apprenticeships, for his Rachel, they imagine, that we must do the same; not considering, that the race of the Methuselahs and patriarchs is quite extinct, and that this Old Testament-lover, were he in our circumstances, who begią to decay at thirty, would have taken wiser and better measures.

Gentlemen,

These are our sentiments upon this subject: and, as we do not doubt the justice of this honourable house, so we little question, but that our cause will prevail. In a word, let love be encouraged, and cruelty and coyness be punished,

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, shall ever pray,

« PreviousContinue »