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husband, as the first minister does to his prince: that such a station requires much time, and thought, and order; and if well.executed, leaves but little time for visits or diversions : that a humor of reading books, except those of devotion or housewifery, is apt to turn a woman's brain: that plays, romances, novels, and love-poems, are only proper to instruct them how to carry on an intrigue: that all affectation of knowledge, beyond what is merely domestic, renders them vain, conceited, and pretending: that the natural levity of woman wants ballast; and when she once begins to think she knows more than others of her sex, she will begin to despise her husband, and grow fond of every coxcomb who pretends to any knowledge in books : that she will learn scholastic words; make herself ridiculous by pronouncing them wrong, and applying them absurdly in all companies : that, in the mean time, her household affairs, and the care of her children, will be wholly laid aside; her toilet will be crowded with all the under wits, where the conversation will pass in criticising on the last play or poem that comes out, and she will be careful to remember all the remarks that were made, in order to retail them in the next visit, especially in company who know nothing of the matter : that she will have all the impertinence of a pedant without the knowledge; and for every new acquirement will become so much the worse.”
To say the truth, that shameful and almost universal neglect of good education among our nobility, gentry, and indeed among all others who are born to good estates, will make this essay of little use to the present age; for, considering the modern way of training up both sexes in ignorance, idleness, and vice, it is of little consequence how they are coupled together. And therefore my speculations on this subject can be only of use to a small number; for, in the present situation of the world, none but wise and good men can fail of missing their match, whenever they are disposed to marry; and consequently there is no reason for complaint on either side. The forms by which a husband and wife are to live, with regard to each other and to the world, are sufficiently known and fixed, in direct contradiction to every precept of morality, religion, or civil institution; it would be therefore an idle attempt to aim at breaking so firm an establishment.
But as it sometimes happens that an elder brother dies late enough to leave the younger at the university after he has made some progress in learning; if we suppose him to have a tolerable genius, and a desire to improve it, he may consequently learn to value and esteem
wisdom and knowledge wherever he finds them, even after his father's death, when his title and estate come into his own possession. Of this kind, I reckon, by a favorable computation there may possibly be found, by a strict search among the nobility and gentry throughout England, about five hundred. Among those of all other callings or trades who are able to maintain a son at the university, about treble that number. The sons of clergymen bred to learning with any success, must, by reason of their parents' poverty, be very inconsiderable, many of them being only admitted servitors in colleges, and consequently proving good for nothing: I shall therefore count them to be not above fourscore. But, to avoid fractions, I shall
may possibly be a round number of two thousand male human creatures in England, including Wales, who have a tolerable share of reading and good sense. I include in this list all persons of superior abilities, or great genius, or true judgment and taste, or of profound literature, who, I am confident, we may reckon to be at least five-and-twenty.
I am very glad to have this opportunity of doing an honor to my country, by a computation which I am afraid foreigners may conceive to be partial; when, out of only fifteen thousand families of lords and estated gentlemen, which may probably be their number, I suppose one in thirty to be tolerably educated, with a sufficient share of good sense. Perhaps the censure may be just. And therefore, upon cooler thoughts, to avoid all cavils, I shall reduce them to one thousand, which at least will be a number sufficient to fill both houses of parliament.
The daughters of great and rich families, computed after the same manner, will hardly amount to above half the number of the male ; because the care of their education is either entirely left to their mothers, or they are sent to boarding-schools, or put into the hands of English or French governesses, and generally the worst that can be gotten for money. So that after the reduction I was compelled to, from two thousand to one, half the number of welleducated nobility and gentry must either continue in a single life, or be forced to couple themselves with women for whom they can possibly have no esteem; I mean fools, prudes, coquettes, gamesters, saunterers, endless talkers of nonsense, splenetio idlers, intriguers, given to scandal and censure,
CHARACTER OF ARISTOTLE.
ARISTOTLE, the disciple of Plato, and tutor to Alexander the Great. His followers were called peripatetics, from a Greek word which signifies to walk, because he taught his disciples walking. We have not all his works, and some of those which are imputed to him are supposed not genuine. He writ upon logic, or the art of reasoning; upon moral and natural philosophy; upon oratory, poetry, &c., and seems to be a person of the most comprehensive genius that ever lived.
CHARACTER OF HERODOTUS.
The underwritten is copied from Dr. Swift's hand-writing, in an edition of Herodotus, by Paul Stephens, the gift of the earl of Clanricard to the library of Winchester College : " Judicium de Herodoto post longum tempus relecto.
“ Ctesias mendacissimus Herodotum mendaciorum arguit, exceptis paucissimis, (ut mea fert sententia,) omnimodo excusandum. Cæterum, diverticulis abundans, hic pater historicorum filium narrationis ad tædium abrumpit: unde oritur (ut par est) legentibus confusio, et exinde oblivio. Quin et forsan ipsæ narrationes circumstantiis nimium pro re scatent. Quod ad cætera, hunc scriptorem inter apprimè laudandos censeo, neque Græcis neque Barbaris plus æquo faventem aut iniquum : in orationibus ferè brevem, simplicem, nec nimis frequentem. Neque absunt dogmata e quibus eruditus lector prudentiain tam moralem quam civilem haurire poterit.
SWIFT." " Julii 6, 1720."
1“I do hereby certify, that the above is the hand-writing of the late Dr. Jonathan Swift, D.S. P. D., from whom I have had many letters and printed ceveral pieces from his original MSS.
GEORGE FAULKNER. “Dublin, August 21, 1762.
CHARACTER OF PRIMATE MARSH.
MARSH has the reputation of most profound and universal learning; this is the general opinion, neither can it be easily disproved. An old rusty iron chest in a banker's shop, strongly locked, and wonderfully heavy, is full of gold; this is the general opinion, neither can it be disproved, provided the key be lost, and what is in it be wedged so close that it will not by any motion discover the metal by the chinking. Doing good is his pleasure: and as no man consults another in his pleasures, neither does he in this; by his awkwardness and unadvisedness disappointing his own good designs. His high station has placed him in the way of great employments, which, without in the least polishing his native rusticity, have given him a tincture of pride and ambition. But these vices would have passed concealed under his natural simplicity if he had not endeavored to hide them by art. His disposition to study is the very same with that of a usurer to hoard up money, or of a vicious young fellow to a wench; nothing but avarice and evil concupiscence, to which his constitution has fortunately given a more innocent turn. He is sordid and suspicious in his domestics, without love or hatred; which is but reasonable, since he has neither friend nor enemy; without joy or grief; in short, without all passions but fear, to which of all others he has least temptation, having nothing to get or to lose; no posterity, relation, or friend, to be solicitous about: and placed by his station above the reach of fortune or envy. He has found out the secret of preferring men without deserving their thanks; and where he dispenses his favors to persons of merit, they are less obliged to him than to fortune. He is the first of human race that, with great advantages of learning, piety, and station, ever escaped being a great man. That which relishes best with him, is mixed liquor and mixed company; and he is seldom unprovided with very bad of both. He is so wise as to value his own health more than other men's noses, so that the most honorable place at his table is much the worst, especially in summer. It has been affirmed, that originally he was not altogether devoid of wit, till it was extruded from his head to make room for other men's thoughts. He will admit a governor, provided it be one who is very
' Dr. Marsh, bishop of Ferns, Dublin and Armagh. He was promoted to the last see in 1702, and died in 1713. He founded a public library in Dublin, and distinguished himself by other acts of munificence.
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officious and diligent, outwardly pious, and one that knows how to manage and make the most of his fear. No man will be either glad or sorry at his death except his successor.
CHARACTER OF MRS. HOWARD.
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1727.
I SHALL say nothing of her wit or beauty, which are allowed by all persons who can judge of either, when they hear or see her. Besides, beauty being transient, and a trifle, cannot justly make part of a character. And I leave others to celebrate her wit, because it will be of no use in that part of her character which I intend to draw. Neither shall I relate any part of her history; further than that she went, in the prime of her youth, to the court of Hanover with her husband, and became of the bed-chamber to the present princess of Wales, living in expectation of the queen's [Anne's] death : upon which event she came over with her 'mistress, and has ever since continued in her service; where, from the attendance daily paid her by the ministers, and all expectants, she is reckoned much the greatest favorite of the court at Leicester House; a situation which she has long affected to desire that it might not be believed.
There is no politician who more carefully watches the motions and dispositions of things and persons at St. James's, nor can form his language with a more imperceptible dexterity to the present posture of a court, or more early foresee what style may be
proper upon any approaching juncture of affairs; whereof she can gather early intelligence without asking it, and often when even those from whom she has it are not sensible that they are giving it to her, but equally with others admire her sagacity. Sir Robert Walpole and she both think they understand each other, and are both equally mistaken.
With persons where she is to manage, she is very dexterous in that point of skill which the French call tâter le pavé; with others,