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Your enemies acknowledge this great extent in your lordship's character, at the same time that they use their utmost industry and invention to derogate from it. But it is for your honour that those who are now your enemies were always so. You have acted in so much consistency with yourself, and promoted the interests of your country in so uniform a manner, that even those who would misrepresent your generous designs for the public good, can not but approve the steadiness and intrepidity with which you pursue them. It is a most sensible pleasure to me that I have this opportunity of professing myself one of your great admirers, and in a very particular manner,
And most obedient,
No. 320. FRIDAY, MARCH 7, 1712.
-Non pronuba Juno.
Non Hymenæus adest, non illi Gratia lecto:
Nor Hymen nor the graces here preside,
And furies waited at the genial bed. CROXAL.
You have given many hints in your papers to the disadvantage of persons of your own sex, who lay plots upon women. Among other hard words, you have published the term male-coquettes, and been very severe upon such as give themselves the liberty of a little dalliance of heart, and playing fast and loose between love and indifference, until perhaps an easy young girl is reduced to sighs, dreams and tears, and languishes away her life for a careless coxcomb, who looks astonished, and wonders at such an effect from what in him was all but common civility. Thus you have treated the men who are irresolute in marriage; but if you design to be impartial, pray be so honest as to print the information I now give you, of a certain set of women who never coquet for
the matter, but with a high hand marry whom they please to whom they please. As for my part, I should not have concerned myself with them, but that I understand I am pitched upon by them to be married, against my will, to one I never saw in my life. It has been my misfortune, sir, very innocently to rejoice in a plentiful fortune, of which I am master, to bespeak a fine chariot, to give directions for two or three handsome snuff-boxes, and as many suits of fine clothes; but before any of these were ready, I heard reports of my being to be married to two or three different young women. Upon my taking notice of it to a young gentleman, who is often in my company, he told me smiling, I was in the Inquisition. You may believe I was not a little startled at what he meant, and more so when he asked me if I had bespoke any thing of late that was fine. I told him several; upon which he produced a description of my person from the tradesmen whom I had employed, and told me that they had certainly informed against me. Mr. Spectator, whatever the world may think of me, I am more coxcomb than fool, and I grew very inquisitive upon this head, not a little pleased with the novelty. My friend told me there were a certain set of women of fashion, whereof the number of six made a committee, who sat thrice a week, under the title of the Inquisition on maids and bachelors. It seems, whenever there comes such an unthinking gay thing as myself to town, he must want all manner of necessaries, or be put into the Inquisition by the first tradesman he employs. They have constant intelligence with cane-shops, perfumers, toymen, coach-makers,
and china-houses. From these several places these undertakers for marriages have as constant and regular correspondence as the funeral-men have with vintners and apothecaries. All bachelors are under their immediate inspection; and my friend produced to me a report given in to their board, wherein an old uncle of mine, who. came to town with me, and myself, were inserted, and we stood thus: the uncle smoky, rotten, poor; the nephew raw, but no fool; sound at present, very rich. My information did not end here, but my friend's advices are so good, that he could show me a copy of the letter sent to the young lady who is to have me; which I enclose to you.
This is to let you know, that you are to be married to a beau that comes out on Thursday, six in the evening. Be at the park. You can not but know a virgin fop; they have a mind to look saucy, but are out of countenance. The board has denied him to several good families. I wish you joy. CORINNA.'
What makes my correspondent's case the more deplorable is, that, as I find by the report from my censor of marriages, the friend he speaks of is employed by the Inquisition to take him in, as the phrase is. After all that is told him, he has information only of one woman that is laid for him, and that the wrong one; for the lady commissioners have devoted him to another than the person against whom they have employed their agent his friend to alarm him. The plot is laid
so well about this young gentleman, that he has no friend to retire to, no place to appear in, or part of the kingdom to fly into, but he must fall into the notice, and be subject to the power of the Inquisition. They have their emissaries and substitutes in all parts of this united kingdom. The first step they usually take, is to find from a correspondence, by their messengers and whisperers, with some domestic of the bachelor, (who is to be hunted into the toils they have laid for him) what are his manners, his familiarities, his good qualities or vices; not as the good in him is a recommendation, or the ill a diminution, but as they affect or contribute to the main inquiry, what estate he has in him? When this point is well reported to the board, they can take in a wild roaring fox-hunter as easily as a soft, gentle young fop of the town. The way is, to make all places uneasy to him but the scenes in which they have allotted him to act. His brother huntsmen, bottle companions, his fraternity of fops, shall be brought into the conspiracy against him. Then this matter is not laid in so barefaced a manner before him as to have it intimated, Mrs. Such-aone would make him a very proper wife; but, by the force of their correspondence, they shall make it (as Mr. Waller said of the marriage of the dwarfs) as impracticable to have any woman besides her they design him as it would have been in Adam to have refused Eve. The man named by the commission for Mrs. Such-a-one, shall neither be in fashion, nor dare ever to appear in company, should he attempt to evade their determination.
The female sex wholly govern domestic life;