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Cape May and Philadelphia, had done us some small service for which he refused to be paid. My wife, understanding that he had a daughter, sent her a present of a new fashioned cap. Three years after, this skipper being at my house with an old farmer of Cape May, his passenger, he mentioned the cap, and how much his daughter had been pleased with it. But, said he, it proved a dear cap to our congregation. How so? When my daughter appeared with it at meeting it was so much admired, that all the girls resolved to get such caps from Philadelphia; and my wife and I computed that the whole could not have cost less than an hundred pounds. "True," said the farmer, "but you "don't tell all the story. I think the cap was, "nevertheless, an advantage to us; for it was "the first thing that put our girls upon knitting "worsted mittens for sale at Philadelphia, that
they might have wherewithal to buy caps and "ribbons; and you know that that industry "has continued, and is likely to continue and "increase to a much greater value, and answer "much better purposes." Upon the whole, I was more reconciled to this little piece of luxury, since not only the girls were made happier by having fine caps, but the Philadelphians by the supply of warm mittens.
In our commercial towns on the coast, fortunes will occasionally be made. Some of those who grow rich will be prudent, live within bounds and preserve what they have gained for their posterity: others, fond of shewing their wealth, will be extravagant and ruin themselves. Laws cannot prevent this; and perhaps it is not always an evil to the public. A shilling spent idly by a fool, may be picked up by a wiser person. It is not therefore lost. A vain silly fellow builds a fine house, furnishes it richly, lives in it expensively, and in a few years ruins himself: but the masons, carpenters, smiths, and other honest tradesmen, have been by his employ assisted in maintaining and raising their families; the farmer has been paid for his labour, and encouraged, and the estate is now in better hands.
It is some comfort to reflect that upon the whole, the quantity of industry and prudence among mankind, exceeds the quantity of idleness and folly. Hence the increase of good buildings, farms cultivated, and populous cities filled with wealth, all over Europe, which a few ages since were only to be found on the coasts of the Mediterranean; notwithstanding the mad wars continually raging, by which are often destroyed in one year, the works of many years of peace.
(Lady Mary Wortly Montagu.)
It seems to be a great but general error to treat the weaker sex with a contempt, which has a very bad influence on their conduct. How many of them think it excuse enough to say they are women, to indulge any folly that comes into their heads. This renders them useless members of the commonwealth, and only burdensome to their own families, when the wise husband thinks he lessens the opinion of his own understanding, if he at any time condescends to consult his wife's. Thus what reason nature has given them is thrown away, and blind obedience expected from them by all their ill natured masters; and on the contrary, as blind a complaisance is shewn by those that are indulgent, who say often that women's weakness must be complied with, and that it is a
vain troublesome attempt to make them hear
I attribute a great part of this way of thinking which is hardly ever controverted, either to the ignorance of authors, who are many of them heavy collegians, that have never been admitted to politer conversations than those of their bedmakers, or to the design of selling their works, which is generally the only view of writing, without any regard to truth, or the ill consequences that attend the propagation of wrong notions. A paper smartly written, though perhaps only some old conceits dressed in new words, either in rhime or prose; either to ridicule or declaim against the ladies, is very welcome to the coffee houses, where there is hardly one man in ten, but fancies he has some reason or other to curse some of the sex most heartily. Perhaps his sister's fortunes are to run away with the money that would be better bestowed at the groom porter's; or an old mother, good for nothing, keeps a jointure from an hopeful son, that wants to make a settlement on his mistress; or a handsome young fellow is plagued with a wife that will remain alive, to hinder his running away with a great fortune, having two or three of them in love with him. These are serious misfortunes, that are sufficient to exasperate the mildest tem
pers into a contempt of the sex; not to speak of lesser inconveniences, which are very provoking at the time they are felt.
How many pretty gentlemen have been unmercifully jilted by pert hussies, after having curtsied to them at half a dozen operas, nay permitted themselves to be led out twice; yet after these encouragements, which amount very near to an engagement, have refused their billet doux and perhaps married other men. How welcome is a couplet or two in scorn of womankind, to such a disappointed lover, and with what comfort he reads in many profound authors, that they are never to be pleased but by coxcombs, and consequently, he owes his ill success to the brightness of his understanding, which is beyond female comprehension. The country squire is confirmed, in the elegant choice he has made, in preferring the conversation of his hounds to that of his wife, aud the kind keepers, a numerous sect, find themselves justified in throwing away their time and estates on a parcel of jilts, when they read that neither birth nor education can make any of the sex rational creatures, and they can have no value, but what is to be seen in their faces.
Hence springs the applause with which such libels are read. But I would ask the applauders,