« AnteriorContinuar »
"Corn and malt must be ordered for the mill; and, that thou have thy measure again, mete it to and from the miller, who else will not deal truly with thee, or thy malt will not be dried as it should be.
"Thou must make butter and cheese according as the weather urgeth and the cows fill the dishes; the swine must be served morning and evening, not forgetting the poultry, and when the time of year cometh, thou wilt take good heed how thy hens, ducks and geese do lay; gather up their eggs diligently, and when they was broody, set them right cunningly, so that neither beast, swine nor vermin hurt or molest them; all whole-footed fowls, thou knowest will sit a month, and all cloven-footed fowls three weeks, except peahens, turkeys, cranes, and bustards.
"I advise thee earnestly to remember well one thing: when in winter time, that the days be short and the evenings long, and thou sittest by the fire and hast supped, consider in thy mind whether -the works that thou and thy maidens do are of advantage equal to the fire and candle, the meat and drink that they consume; if not, go to thy bed, and be up by time to breakfast before day-light, that thou mayest have all the day before thee entire to do thy business.
"In the beginning of March it is time for a wife to have an eye to her garden, and to get as many good seeds and herbs as she can for the pot and platter; in March also is the season to sow flax and hemp: it needeth not for me to show how it should be sown, weeded, pulled, watered, dried, beaten, broken, towed, hackled, spun, wounden, warped, and wove; for in such matters, peradventure, thou art better instructed than me.
"It is my business to observe, that although a woman cannot wholly and altogether get her living honestly.by the distaff, yet it should always be ready for a pastime; it stoppeth many unemployed gaps, and provideth articles both for bed and board, for which hard money must otherwise go forth from thy husband's purse;there be spinsters as well as wives, who make it a matter of conscience never to buy sheets, body-clothes, towels, shirts, and such like.
"It is a wife's occupation to winnow all manner of corn, and to keep a watchful eye that the day-labourers and out-dwellers bring not with them, nor carry forth nor conceal their pokes (bags), which, under a pretence of holding their bottle and scrip, only serve to lower the heap on the barn floor.
"It is a wife's occupation to wash and to wring, or to see well after and be among them, that the soap and firewood be not made waste of; to be brisk at harvest; and in time of need, while the coppers are boiling the provision, to help her husband to load the cart or the wagon; to go or ride to market, and sell her butter, cheese, eggs, chickens, geese, and pigs; to purchase all necessary things, and to make a true reckoning and account thereof to her husband when she returns."
To address the above homely directions indiscriminately to women of all ranks would be caricaturing advice, and converting wholesome rules into ironical ridicule. Yet if the majority of our young women of scanty expectations would not fix their eyes so steadily, as for the most part they do, on the more elevated and wealthy classes of society, whom they vainly and ruinously attempt to imitate; if in their views, their education, their habits, their dress, and their manners, they could happily be prevailed on to attend more to domestic duty, and less to trifling amusement and ornamental accomplishment; if they could be convinced, that to make a pudding or a shirt, or even their own gowns, is a species of knowledge rather more useful than dancing a minuet, talking bad French, or spoiling a piano-forte: we might, in that case, hope to see gradually diminished that shocking and enormous mass of venal beauty, which renders our passing the streets, after a certain hour, distressing to our feelings, hazardous to the morals, and injurious to the health of the rising generation.
⚫Women, indeed, formed on the narrow unphilosophic plan here aimed at, would probably not reach that criterion of absolute perfection and equality sought after and expected by Mrs. WOLSTONCRAFT; they perhaps would, in some respects, come under the description of what she calls domestic drudges-but surely a more desirable state than being drudges to infamy and prostitution.
Women, thus educated and thus instructed, would probably revolt at living as concubines with one man, or at indulging warm wishes for another, perhaps the husband of a friend; they would not only submit to stated returns of religious worship without repugnance, but would seize with eagerness and pleasure every opportunity of pouring forth their hearts in gratitude to the almighty Creator of the universe.
When their last hour was come, as reasonable beings, sensible of their frailties and faults, they would naturally cast an anxious
eye towards that world unknown; they would neither desire nor deserve the panegyric of a modern philosopher, by quitting a scene of trial and temptation, on which eternal happiness or eternal misery depended, with cold indifference, or suppressed anxiety.
THE ANCIENT STATE OF LETTERS IN ENGLAND.
THERE was a time in this kingdom, when letters were so low, that whoever could prove himself, in a court of justice, able to read a verse in the New Testament, was vested with the highest privileges; and a clergyman, who knew any thing of grammar, was looked upon as a prodigy. In those enlightened days a rector of a parish, as we are told, going to law with his parishioners about paving the church, quoted this authority as from St. Peter-" Paveant illi, non paveam ego," which he construed "THEY ARE TO PAVE THE CHURCH, NOT I;" and this was allowed to be good law by a judge, who was an ecclesiastic too. Alfred the Great complained, towards the end of the ninth century, that "from Humber to the Thames there was not a priest who understood the liturgy in his mother-tongue, or who could translate the easiest piece of Latin;" and a correspondent of Abelard, about the middle of the twelfth century, complimenting him upon a resort of pupils from all countries, says, that even Britain, distant as she was, sent her savages to be instructed by him: " remota Britannia sua animalia erudienda destinabat."
If the clergy had then, as they are said to have had, all the learning among themselves, what a blessed state must the laity have been in! And so indeed it appears; for there is extant an old act of parliament, which provides, that “a nobleman shall be intitled to the benefit of his clergy, even though he cannot read;" and another law, cited by judge Rolle in his Abridgment, sets forth, that "the command of the sheriff to his officer, by word of mouth, and without writing, is good; for it may be, that neither the sheriff nor his officer can write or read." Who can say that such halcyon times may not return? When we contemplate the ignorance and dissipation of the great, whom the little are sure to follow; when we consider their not only neglect, but even contempt of letters; their gambling, and low amusements; their luxury; the avarice, meanness, and selfishness, which prevail among them;-when we VOL. IV.
consider all this, and more, can we forbear to exclaim, that "signs following signs lead on the mighty year?"
QUAKERS, AND THE STAGE.
THE amusements of the stage are strictly forbidden to Quakers of every description; and this, partly because many plays are immoral, but chiefly (according to Mr. Clarkson") because on the stage men personate characters that are not their own, and thus become altogether sophisticated in their looks, words, and actions, which is contrary to the simplicity and truth required by christianity!" The Edinburgh Reviewers make the following observations on this statement. "We scarcely think the Quakers will be much obliged to Mr. Clarkson for imputing this kind of reasoning to them. We would rather hear at once that the playhouse was the devil's drawing-room, and that actors paint their faces, and deserve the fate of Jezebel. As to the sin of personating characters not their own, and sophisticating their looks and words, it is necessarily committed by every man who reads aloud a dialogue from the New Testament, or who adopts, from the highest authority, a dramatic form in his preaching. As to the other objection, that theatrical amusements produce too high a degree of excitement for the necessary sedateness of a good christian, we answer, that we do not see why a good christian should be more still and sedate than his innocence and natural gaiety incline him to be; and, in the second place, that the objection proves Mr. Clarkson to be laudably ignorant of the state of the modern drama, which we are credibly informed is by no means so extremely interesting as to make men neglect their business and their duties to run after it."
LETTERS EXTRACTED FROM THE LIFE OF LORD CHARLEMONT. EVERY one who is even moderately acquainted with the history of British literature must have heard of Mr. TOPHAM BEAUCLERK. He was one of the celebrated club that met at the Turk's head, in Gerard-street, of which Burke, Johnson, Reynolds, Goldsmith, and other luminaries of that day, were members; and was the same whom the learned and ingenious Doctor Bernard, Dean of Derry, complimented on his charming talents for conversation in the
See bis Portraiture of Quakerism.
celebrated jeu d'esprit extorted from him by the rudeness of Johnson.
If I have thoughts, and can't express them,
Let Gibbon teach me how to dress them
In terms select and terse;
Jones teach me modesty and Greek,
Smith how to think-Burke how to speak,
And Beauclerk to converse.
In Hardy's Life of Lord Charlemont, lately published in England, the biographer has introduced some masterly sketches of his lordship's intimate friends and correspondents, and among the rest of Mr. Beauclerk, together with some of that gentleman's letters to that venerable nobleman.
"According to his lordship's account of him," says Mr. Hardy, "he (Beauclerk) possessed an exquisite taste, various accomplish"ments, and the most perfect good breeding. He was eccentric, "often querulous, entertaining a contempt for the generality of "the world, which the politeness of his manners could not always "conceal; but, to those whom he liked, most generous and friendly. "Devoted to pleasure, devoted to literature, sometimes absorbed "in play, sometimes in books, he was, altogether, one of the most "accomplished, and, when in good humor, and surrounded by "those who suited his fancy, one of the most agreeable men "that could possibly exist."
With lord Charlemont this gentleman had formed a particular intimacy. How highly he thought of and how warmly he felt towards his lordship, his letters sufficiently show. As they "give a favourable portraiture of that accomplished man's disposition and agreeable talents," and as the elegant liveliness which pervades them must be delightful to every mind of taste, we transcribe those given by Mr. Hardy, and lament, as we dare say our readers will, that there are not more of them at our disposal.
MY DEAR LORD,
Muswellhill, July 5th, 1773.
It is certainly ordained by fate, that I should always appear in a state of humiliation before you; nothing else could have prevented me from writing to you, and endeavouring thereby to keep up an intercourse with one for whom I shall always retain the greatest and tenderest regard; lessening in some measure the greatest of all human evils, the separation from those we love; but that insur