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"Our thoughtless sex is caught by outward form And empty noise, and loves itself in man."
I have bee
This is a source of infinite calamities to the sex, as
it frequently joins them to men, who in their own do not thoughts are as fine creatures as themselves; or if they an old chance to be good-humoured, serve only to dissipate their fortunes, inflame their follies, and
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I have he
The same female levity is no less fatal to them after
marriage than before: it represents to their imaginaightingale
Back at the sid
tions the faithful prudent husband as an honest tract.
able and domestic animal; and turns their thoughts strand m
upon the fine gay gentleman that laughs, sings, dresses so much more agreeably.
hearts of ordinary women in the choice of their lovers of their
As this irregular vivacity of temper leads astray
The younger Faustina was a lively instance of this sort of women. Notwitstanding she was Marcus Aurelius, one of the greatest, wisest, and best of the Roman emperors, she thought a common gladi ator much the prettier gentleman; and had taken such care to accomplish her son Commodus according to her own notions of a fine man, that when he ascended the throne of his father, he became the most foolish and abandoned tyrant that was ever placed at the head of the Roman empire, signalizing himself in nothing but the fighting of prizes, and knocking out ment
brains. As he had no taste of true glory,
in several medals and statues which are still extant
We see him
the fooler ing to ni The chil
W his groun eters and
and the treatment of their husbands, it
who are taught to accomplish themselves in all those comes sublime perfections that appear captivating in the eye a clow
er than she How differen
of their mother. She admires in her son what she loved in her gallant; and by that means contributes all that she can to perpetuate herself in a worthless pro
by the c En wise by and goodAristus
Aspasi for ber r children, Perpetual spir tacion
him, equipped like an Hercules with a club and a lion's
I have been led into this speculation by the characters I have heard of a country gentleman and his lady, who do not live many miles from Sir Roger. The wife is an old coquette, that is always hankering after the diversions of the town; the husband a morose rustic, that frowns and frets at the name of it. The wife is over-run with affectation, the husband sunk into brutality: the lady cannot bear the noise of the larks and nightingales, hates your tedious summer days, and is sick at the sight of shady woods and purling streams; the husband wonders how any one can be pleased with the fooleries of plays and operas, and rails from morning to night at essenced fops and tawdry cour. tiers. The children are educated in these different no. tions of their parents. The sons follow the father about his grounds, while the daughters read volumes of love-letters and romances to their mother. By this means it comes to pass, that the girls look upon their father as a clown, and the boys think their mother no better than she should be.
How different are the lives of Aristus and Aspasia ? The innocent vivacity of the one is tempered and composed by the cheerful gravity of the other. The wife grows wise by the discourses of the husband, and the husband good-humoured by the conversations of the wife. Aristus would not be so amiable were it not for his Aspasia, nor Aspasia so much esteemed were it not for her Aristus. Their virtues are blended in their children, and diffuse through the whole family a perpetual spirit of benevolence, complacency, and satisfaction.
EULOGY ON THE
Ω φιλτατη γη μητερ, ὡς σεμνον σφοδρό εκ
Dear native land, how do the good and wise
I LOOK upon it as a peculiar happiness, that were
I to choose of what religion I would be, and under what government I would live, I should most certainly give the preference to that form of religion and government which is established in my own conuiry. In this point I think I am determined by reason and conviction; but if I shall be told that I am actuated by prejudice, I am sure it is an honest prejudice, it is a prejudice that arises from the love of my country, and therefore such an one as I will always indulge. I design this as an essay upon the civil part of our constitution, having often entertained myself with reflections on this subject, which I have not met with in other writers.
That form of government appears to me the most reasonable, which is most conformable to the equality that we find in human nature, provided it be consistent with public peace and tranquillity. This is what may properly be called Liberty, which exempts one man from subjection to another so far as the order and economy of government will permit.
Liberty should reach every individual of a people, as they all share one common nature; if it only spreads among particular branches, there had better be uone at all, since such a liberty only aggravates the misfortune of those who are deprived of it, by setting before them a disagreeable subject of comparison.
This liberty is best preserved, where the legislative
power is lodged in several persons, especially if those persons are of different ranks and interests; for where they are of the same rank, and consequently have an interest to manage peculiar to that rank, it differs but little from a despotical government in a single person. But the greatest security a people can' have for their liberty, is when the legislative power is in the hands of persons so happily distinguished, that by providing for the particular interests of their seve. ral ranks, they are providing for the whole body of the people; or in other words, when there is no part of the people that has not a common interest with at least one part of the legislators.
If there be but one body of legislators, it is no better than a tyranny; if there are only two, there will want a casting voice, and one of them must at length be swallowed up by disputes and contentions that will necessarily arise between them. Four would have the same inconvenience as two, and a greater number would cause too much confusion. I could never read a passage in Polybius, and another in Cicero, to this purpose, without a secret pleasure in applying it to the British constitution, which it suits much better than the Roman. Both these great authors give the pre-eminence to a mixed government consisting of three branches, the regal, the noble, and the popular. They had doubtless in their thoughts the constitution of the Roman commonwealth, in which the consul represented the king, the senate the nobles, and the tribunes the people. This division of the three pow. ers in the Roman constitution was by no means so distinct and natural, as it is in the English form of government. Among several objections that might be made to it, I think the chief are those that affect the consular power, which had only the ornaments without the force of the regal authority. Their number had not a casting voice in it; for which reason, if one did not chance to be employed abroad, while the other sat at home, the public business was sometimes
at a stand, while the consuls pulled two different ways in it. Besides, I do not find that the consuls had ever a negative voice in the passing of a law, or decree of senate, so that indeed they were rather the chief body of the nobility, or the first ministers of state, than a distinct branch of the sovereignty, in which none can be looked upon as a part, who are not a part of the legislature. Had the consuls been invested with the regal authority to as great a degree as our monarchs, there would never have been any occasions for a dictatorship, which had in it the power of all the three orders, and ended in the subversion of the whole constitution.
Such an history as that of Suetonius, which gives us a succession of absolute princes, is to me an unanswerable argument against despotic power. Where the prince is a man of wisdom and virtue, it is indeed happy for his people that he is absolute; but since in the common run of mankind, for one that is wise and good you find ten of a contrary character, it is very dangerous for a nation to stand to its chance, or to have its public happiness or misery depend on the virtues or vices of a single person. Look into the history I have mentioned, or into any series of absolute princes, how many tyrants must you read through, before you come to an emperor that is supportable. But this is not all; an honest private man often grows cruel and abandoned, when converted into an absolute prince. Give a man power of doing what he pleases with impunity, you extinguish his fear, and consequently overturn in him one of the great pillars of morality. This too we find confirmed by matter of fact. How many hopeful heirs apparent to great empires, when in the possession of them, have become such monsters of lust and cruelty as are a reproach to human nature?
Some tell us we ought to make our governments on earth like that in Heaven, which, say they, is altoge ther monarchical and unlimited. Was man like his Creator in goodness and justice, I should be for fol