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In England a divorce is not allowed on any pretence whatever. A marriage is never pronounced void by our courts, for any cause but what made the marriage illegal when it was solemnized, and which exhisted at that time; not even for adultery, which is expressly mentioned by our Saviour às a sufficient cause. The divorces à mensa et thoro, pronounced by the ecclesiastic courts, are only legal permission to do what may be done equally well without such permission; for, as the poet says,
• Consent, if mutual, saves the lawyer's fee:
free.” It is true our lawyers have found out a mode of dissolving the nuptial tie, for adultery; but it is a mode that violates every principle of natural justice. I mean the interference of parliament. In these cases the legislature interposes by an er post facto law, not to annul a marriage by the mutual consent of both parties, but to punish * one of the parties only, for a crime, against which there was no puuishment in force when it was committed ; and which is only to have force in that case, and against that particular person.
Far be it from me to say that the ladies have not, in general, many advantages over us in the nuptial state, and many opportunites of retaliating on us, in general, the hardships and inconveniences that some few of them may suffer from the brutal and tyrannical part of our sex. Yet it must be allowed there is something capriciously cruel in what most men expect from their wives. They are displeased with them for seeming to feel any jealousy of their fidelity, even if they know they deserve it; and yet they would be hurt if they thought such a circumstance would not give them real uneasiness. This species of injustice is shewn in more trifling circumstances than "nuptial infidelity. A man dislikes that his wife should express any symptoms of discontent, when he declares his intention to leave her and dine at a tavern with his friends ; and yet he would not be pleased to have her say, (especially if he thought she spoke her thoughts)
Pray, my dear, go; I shall be just as happy without
In this case, a man in a profession has an advantage
* Surely it will not be denied, that an act which may reduce a countess to the situation of plaiu miss, is a punishment.
over an idle man. His business will give him pretences for enjoying convivial society, without hurting the selfopinion of his wife. For women can hardly allow the possibility (which undoubtedly exists in men of a social character) of other company being preferred ocrasionally to their own, without its being a proof of their husband's decreasing affection.
In fact, women, when they love, are much more attached than men. I really believe few wounen would wish for any other company than that of the husband they loved, while he behaved with kindness and attention. The case with our sex is widely different. To illustrate this by an example. We will suppose a young officer and a young woman eloped together, both of good dispositions, passionately fond of each other, and in the first week of possession. The woman would never wish to quit the side of her lover, for any amusement or society whatever :--but would it be so with the man. We will place them at an inn where the officers of a rryiinent he had served in were messing. He certainly would not, if he had common goodoature, or even decepcy, think of really quitting his mistress for their society ; but he would possibly feel more inclination to join them, than perhaps he would wish to own, even to himself..
As human nature in all ages and countries must have been essentially the same, under the same circumstances, it is suprising that all the ancient ethic writers should consider the being under the dominion of a wife, a consequence of marrying a woman of fortune ; Sluce experience shews the fact at present to be directly the reverse. The very few men who maintain an uncontrolled sway over their wives and families, will be found, almost withe out exception, among those who have married for in. terest. And the reason of this seems clear; for besides the natural tendency persons in a dependant situation have to employ every effort to get out of it; an ascendency, in such a connection as inarriage, is uot gained or maintained by the same causes as in the cominon affairs of life. In marriage, the person who loves most will certainly be governed ; and the person who has the largest fortune will, in matches forned by the parties themselves, generally have most love on their side. To this may be added a characteristic of the sex, put into the mouth of Booth by that inimitable delineator of mamwers, Henry Fielding Women generally love to be on the obliging side; and if we examine their favourites, we shall find thein to be much oftener such as they have conferred obligations on, than such as they have received them from *
Rousseau knew this also; for, speaking of what bis conduct towards a woman he loved would be if he were rich, he
« Il seroit doux d'être liberal envers ce qu'on aime, si cela ne faisoit un marché : Je ne conpois qu'un moyen de satisfaire ce penchant avec sa maitresse, sans empoisonner l'amour; c'est de lui tout donner, et d'être ensuite nourri par elle.' This is nevertheless beginning with the obligation; and is in fact the case with every rich henpecked husband and keeper in the world. Indeed Rousseau adds: • Reste à savoir, où est la femme avec qui ce procédé ne fût pas extravagantt.
Attention, and assiduity, make the strongest impression on the hearts of women. Therefore men in the lowest order of society have by far the best opportunities of gaining the real affection of their inistresses. What is the attention of picking up a fan, or handing a lady to a coach, compared with the frequent and essential acts of kindness that may be shewn in the hay or harvest field ?--But as the days of pastoral refinement as well as chivalry are past, it is doubtful if the labourers of Great Britain often avail themselves of this advantage. Yet the politest lover, if he possesses sensibility, knows this, and the most accomplished young woman feels it. Any assiduity, expressing a real anxiety to serve her, and especially the appearance of serious alarm for HER safety, and a total disregard of his own, in the moment of real or supposed danger, will give the lover more interest in the heart of his mistress, than a ten years siege of courtly compliment.
Plato censures the dramatic poets for their exhibition of vicious manners, on the supposition that the actors, as
* An observation of the same sort is made on mankind in general by Thucydides, in the funeral oration spoken by Pericles
«The person who confers the favour is always the most steady friend, being desirous to preserve that kindness on account of wbich it was conferred; while the love of the person owing the obligation is weaker, being conscious rather of discharging a debt, than shewing his owa kindness.'
well as the poet, will acquire bad habits from frequently assuming such characters. This perhaps may be refining too much ; but undoubtedly the assuming a character in real life, must have a great influence on the actual character of the person assuming it. There is truth in the common proverb, that " custom is second nature.' Has not then the fashion which enjoins the appearance of a total indifference in a young couple to each other in company, after marriage, a strong tendency to produce real indifference? Surely a woman must feel a little hurt at being neglected in public (which takes up a large portion of the time of the opulent) by the man who a few days before seemed only to live for her service; and the contrast of this neglect to the unremitted, or probably increased, attention of other former admirers, must make impressions on her mind not very favourable to domestic happiness. I think nothing so pleasing as the marked attention of young married persons to each other. I am far from meaning a childish and disgusting display of fondness, and still further, that kind of behaviour we sometimes find among ill-bred people, at a third person's table, which is a tacit censure on the politeness of their host. The attention should something resemble that which lovers pay to each other, when in company with persons before whom they wish to be on their guard,
H. I. P.
THE LATE DR. BERKELEY, BISHOP OF CLOYNE.
GEORGE BERKELEY was the son of a clergyman in Ire land, of a small living, but at the same time remarkable for his learning and piety; he therefore gave
his son the best education his circumstances would admit of; and, when fitted for the university, taxed his little fortune, in order to send him to Trinity college, Dublin.
Here he soon began to be looked upon as the greatest genius, or the greatest dunce, in the whole university ; those who were but slightly acquainted with him, took him for a fool; but those who shared his most intimate friendship, looked upon him as a prodigy of learning and good-nature. Whenever he appeared abroad, which was but seldom, he was surrounded by a crowd of the idle or the facetious; who followed him, not to be improved, but to laugh. Of this he frequently complained, but there
was no redress, the more he fretted, he became only the more ridiculous. An action of his, however, soon made him more truly ridiculous than before: curiosity leading him one day to see an execution, he returned home pensive and melancholy, and could not forbear reflecting on what he had seen. He desired to know what were the pains and symptoms a malefactor felt upon such an occasion, and cominunicated to his chum the cause of his strange curiosity; in short, he resolved to tuck himself up for a trial; at the same time desiring his companion to take him down at a signal agreed upon.
The companion, whose name was Contarine, was to try the same experiment himself immediately after. Berkeley was accordingly tied up to the ceiling, and the chair taken from under his feet; but soon losing the use of his senses, his companion, it seems, waited a little too long for the signal agreed upon, and our enquirer had like to have been hanged in good earnest; for as soon as he was taken down, he fell senseless and motionless upon the floor. After some trouble, however, he was brought to himself; and observing his band, “ Bless my heart, Contarine, says he, you have quite rumpled my band.” When it came to Contarine's turn to go up, he quickly evaded the proposal : the other's danger had quite abated his curiosity. :
Still, however, Berkeley proceeded in his studies with unabated ardour. A fellowship in that college is attained by superior learning only; the candidates are examined in the most public manner, in an amphitheatre erected for that purpose, and great numbers of the nobi. lity and gentry are present upon the occasion. This examination he passed with the utmost applause, and was made a fellow, the only reward of learning that kingdom has to bestow.
Metaphysical studies are generally the amusement of the indolent and inquisitive : his business as a fellow, allowed him sufficient leisure, and his genius prompted him to scrutinize into every ahstruse subject. He soon, therefore was regarded as one of the best metaphysicians in Europe ; his logic was looked upon rather as the work of a man skilled in metaphysics, than in the dialect of the schools ; his treatise npon matter was also thought to be the most ingenious paradox that ever amused learned leisure; and many were the answers made to it by the literati of Europe.