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bargains but that of marriage, made when he is under twenty-one.
It grieves me when I consider, that these restraints upon matrimony take away the advantage we should otherwise have over other countries, which are sunk much by those great checks upon propagation, the contents. It is thought chiefly owing to these, that Italy and Spain want above half their compliment of people. Were the price of wives always fixed and settled, it would contribute to filling the nation more than all the encouragements that can possibly be given to foreigners to transplant themselves hither.
I therefore, as censor of Britain, until a law is made, will lay down rules which shall be observed, with penalty of degrading all that break them, into Pretty Fellows, Smarts, Squibs, Hunting-horns, Drums, and Bagpipes.
The females that are guilty of breaking my orders, I shall respectfully pronounce to be Kits, Hornpipes, Dulcimers, and Kettle-drums. Such widows as wear the spoils of one husband, I will bury, if they attempt to rob another.
I ordain, That no woman ever demand one shilling to be paid after her husband's death, more than the very sum she brings him, or an equivalent for it in land.
That no settlement be made, in which the man settles on his children more than the reversion of the jointure, or the value of it in money; so that at his death, he may in the whole be bound to
his family but double to what he has received, I would have the eldest, as well as the rest, have his provision out of this.
When men are not able to come up to those settlements I have proposed, I would have them receive so much of the portion only as they can come up to, and the rest to go to the woman by way of pinmoney, or separate maintenance.
In this, I think, I determine equally between the two sexes.
If any lawyer varies from these rules, or is above two days in drawing a marriage-settlement, or uses more words in it than one skin of parchment will contain, or takes above 51. for drawing it, I would have him thrown over the bar.
Were these rules observed, a woman with a small fortune, and a great deal of worth, would be sure to marry according to her deserts, if the man's estate were to be less encumbered, in proportion as her fortune is less than he might have with others.
A man of a great deal of merit, and not so much estate, might be chosen for his worth; because it would not be difficult for him to make a settlement.
The man that loves a woman best, would not lose her for not being able to bid so much as another, or for not complying with an extravagant demand.
A fine woman would no more be set up to auction as she is now. When a man puts in for her, her friends or herself take care to publish it; and the man that was the first bidder is made no other use of but to raise the price. He that loves her will continue in waiting as long as she pleases, if her fortune be thought equal to his; and, under pretence of some failure in the rent-roll, or difficulties in drawing the settlement, he is put off until a better bargain is made with another.
All the rest of the sex, that are not rich or beautiful to the highest degree, are plainly gainers, and would be married so fast, that the least charming of them would soon grow beauties to the bachelors.
Widows might be easily married, if they would not, as they do now, set up for discreet, only by being mercenary:
The making matrimony cheap and easy would be the greatest discouragement to vice: the limiting the expense of children would not make men ill inclined, or afraid of having them in a regular way; and the men of merit would not live unmarried, as they often do now, because the goodness of a wife cannot be ensured to them ; but the loss of an estate is certain, and a man would never have the affliction of a worthless heir added to that of a bad wife.
I am the more serious, large, and particular on this subject, because my Lucubrations, designed for the encouragement of virtue, cannot have the desired success as long as this encumbrance of settlements continues upon matrimony.
N• 224. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 1710.,
Materiam superabat opus.--Ovid. Met. ii. 5.
From my own Apartment, September 13. It is my custom, in a dearth of news, to entertain myself with those collections of advertisements that appear at the end of all our public prints. These I consider as accounts of news from the little world, in the same manner that the foregoing parts of the paper are from the great. If in one we hear that a sovereign prince is Aed from his capital city, in the other we hear of a tradesman who hath shut his shop, and run away. If in one we find the victory of a general, in the other we see the desertion of a private soldier. I must confess I have a certain weakness in my temper, that is often very much affected by these little domestic occurrences, and have fre
* The highest compounded spirit of lavender, the most glorious, if the erpression may be used, enlivening scent and flavour that can possibly be, which so raptures the spirits, delights the gust, and gives such airs to the countenance, as are not to be imagined but by those that have tried it. The meanest sort of the thing is admired by most gentlemen and ladies ; but this far more, as by far it exceeds it, to the gaining among all a more than a common esteem. It is sold, in neat flint bottles fit for the pocket, only at the Golden Key in Wharton’s-court, near Holbornbars, 3s. 6d. with directions.'
At the same time that I recommend the several flowers in which this spirit of lavender is wrapped up, if the expression may be used, I cannot excuse my fellow-labourers for admitting into their papers several uncleanly advertisements, not at all proper to appear in the works of polite writers. Among these I must reckon the Carminative Wind-expelling Pills. If the doctor had called them only his Carminative Pills, he had been as cleanly as one could have wished; but the second word entirely destroys the decency of the first. There are other absurdities of this nature so very gross, that I dare not mention them; and shall therefore dismiss this subject with a public admonition to Michael Parrot, that he do not presume any more to mention a certain worm he knows of, which, by the way, has grown seven feet in my memory; for, if I am not much mistaken, it is the same that was but nine feet long about six months ago.
By the remarks I have here made, it plainly appears, that a collection of advertisements is a kind of miscellany, the writers of which, contrary to all authors, excepting men of quality, give money to the bookseller who publishes their copies. The genius of the bookseller is chiefly shewn in his method of ranging and digesting these little tracts. The
last paper I took up in my hand places them in the following order.
The true Spanish blacking for shoes, &c.
Four freehold tenements of fifteen pounds per annum. Annotations
upon the Tatler, &c. The present state of England, &c.
A commission of bankruptcy, being awarded against B. L. bookseller, &c.
No 225. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 1710.
Si quid novisti rectius istis,
Hor. 1 Ep. vi. 67.
From my own Apartment, September 15. Tue hours which we spend in conversation are the most pleasing of any which we enjoy; yet methinks,
very little care taken to improve ourselves for the frequent repetition of them. The common fault in this case is that of growing too intimate, and falling into displeasing familiarities; for it is a very ordinary thing for men to make no other use of a close acquaintance with each other's affairs, but to tease one another with unacceptable allusions. One would pass over patiently such as converse like animals, and salute each other with bangs on the shoulder, sly raps with canes, or other robust pleasantries practised by the rural gentry of this nation :