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pose than scribbling. The cares and comforts of a family rest principally upon their shoulders; bence it is that there are but few female authors; and the men, knowing how necessary our attentions are to their happiness, take every opportunity of discouraging literary accomplishments in the fair sex.
You hear it echoed from every quarter, 'My wife cannot make verses, it is true; but she makes an excelleut pudding; she can't correct the press, but she can correct her children, and scold her servants with admirable discretion; she can't unravel the intricacies of political economy and federal government, but she can knit charming stockings.' And this they call praising a wife, and doing justice to her character, with much nonsense of the like kind.
I say, women generally employ their time to much better purpose than scribbling; otherwise this facetious writer had not gone so long unanswered. We have ladies who sometimes lay down the needle and take up the pen: I wonder none of them have attempted some reply. For my part, I do not pretend to be an author. I never appeared in print in my life, but I can no longer forbear saying something in answer to such impertinence, circulate how it may. Only, sir, consider our situation. Men are naturally inattentive to the decencies of life; but why should I be so complaisant? I say, they are naturally filthy creatures. If it were not that their connexion with the refined sex polished their manners, and had a happy influence on the general econo my of life, these lords of the creation would wallow in filth, and populous cities would infect the atmosphere with their noxious vapors. It is the attention and assiduity of the women that prevent men from degenerating into mere swine. How important then are the services we render; and yet for these very services we are made the subject of ridicule and fun. Base ingratitude! Nauseous creatures! Perhaps you may think I am in a passion. No, sir, I do assure you I never was more composed in my life; and yet it is enough to provoke a saint to see how unreasonably we are treated by the men. Why now, there's my husbanda good enough sort of a man in the main--but I will give you a sample of him. He comes into the parlor the other day, where, to be sure, I was cutting up a piece of linen. 'Lord!' says he, what a flutter here is! I can't bear to see the parlor look like a tailor's shop: besides I am going to make
some important philosophical experiments, and must have sufficient room.' You must know, my husband is one of your would-be philosophers. Well, I bundled up my linen as quick as I could, and began to dam a pair of ruffles, which took no room, and could give no offence. I thought, however, I would watch my lord and master's important business. In about a half an hour the tables were covered with all manner of trumpery; bottles of water, phials of drugs, paste-board, paper and cards, glue, paste and gum arabic; files, knives, scissors, needles, rosin, wax, silk, thread, rags, jags, tags, books, pamphlets, and papers. Lord bless me! I am almost out of breath, and yet I have not enumerated half the articles. Well, to work he went, and although I did not understand the object of his mancuvres, yet I could sufficiently discover that he did not succeed in any one operation. I was glad of that, I confess, and with good reason, too: for, after he had fatigued himself with mischief, like a monkey in a china shop, and had called the servants to clear everything away, I took a view of the scene my parlor exhibited. I shall not even attempt a minute description; suffice it to say, that he had overset his ink-stand, and stained my best mahogany table with ink; he had spilt a quantity of vitriol, and burnt a large hole in my carpet: my marble hearth was all over spotted with melted rosin: besides this, he had broken three china cups, four wine-glasses, two tumblers, and one of my handsomest decanters. And, after all, as I said before, I perceived that he had not succeeded in any one operation. By-the-by, tell your friend, the white-wash scribbler, that this is one means by which our closets become furnished with halves of china bowls, cracked tumblers, broken wine-glasses, tops of teapots, and stoppers of departed decanters. I, I say, took a view of the dirt and devastation which my philosophic hus. band had occasioned; and there I sat, like Patience on a monument, smiling at grief; but it worked inwardly. I would almost as soon the melted rosin and vitriol had been in his throat, as on my dear marble hearth, and my beautiul carpet.
It is not true that women have no power over their own feelings; for notwithstanding this provocation I said nothing, or next to nothing: for I only observed, very pleasantly, what a lady of my acquaintaure had told me, that the reason why philosophers are
called literary men, is because they make a great litter : not a word more : however, the servant cleared away, and down sat the philosopher. A friend dropped in soon after_Your servant, Sir: how do you do? O Lord! I am almost fatigued to death; I have been all the morning making philosophical experiments.' I was now more hardly put to it to smother a laugh than I had been just before to contain my rage; my precious went out soon after, and I, as you may suppose, mustered all my forces: brushes, bucko ets, soap, sand, limeskins, and cocoanut shells, with all the powers of housewifery, were immediately employed. I was certainly the best philosopher of the two; for my experiments succeeded, and his did not. All was well again, except my poor carpet-my vitriolized carpet, which still continued a mournful memento of philosophic fury, or rather philosophic folly. The operation was scarce over, when in came my experimental philosopher, and told me with all the indifference in the world, that he had invited six gentlemen to dine with him at three o'clock. It was then past one. I complained of the short notice; “Poh! poh! said he, 'you can get a leg of mutton, and a loin of veal, and a few potatoes, which will do well enough.' Heavens! what a chaos must the head of a philosopher be! a leg of mutton, a loin of veal, and potatoes! I was at a loss whether I should laugh or be angry; but there was no time for determining: I had but an hour and a half to do a world of business in. My carpet, which had suffered in the cause of ex. perimental philosophy in the morning, was destined to be most shamefully dishonored in the afternoon by a deluge of nasty tobacco juice. Gentlemen smokers love segars better than carpets. Think, Sir, what a woman must endure under such circumstances; and then, after all, to be reproached with her cleanliness, and to have her white-washings, her scourings, and scrubbings, made the subject of ridicule it is more than patience can put up with. What I have now exhibited is but a small specimen of the injuries we sustain from the boasted superiority of men. But we will not be laughed out of our cleanliness. A woman would rather be called any thing than a slut, as a man would rather be thought a Inave than a fool. I had a great deal more to cay, but am called away; we are just preparing to whitevash, and of course I have a deal of business on my hands.
The white-wash buckets are paraded, the brushes are ready, my husband is gone off so much the better; when we are upon a thorough cleaning, the first dirty thing to be removed is one's husband. I am called for again. Adieu.
FINAL SPEECH OF DR. FRANKLIN IN THE
LATE FEDERAL CONVENTION.*
I CONFESS that I ao not entirely approve of this Consta tution at present; but, Sir, I am not sure I shall never approve it; for having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is, therefore, that the older I grow the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others. Most men, indeed, as well as most sects in religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that whenever others differ from them, it is so far error. Steele, a protestant, in a dedication, tells the Pope, that, "the only difference between our two churches, in their opinions to the certainty of their doctrines, is, the Romish church is infallible, and the church of England never in the wrong. But, though many private persons think almost as highly of their own infallibility as that of their sect, few express it so naturally as a certain French lady, who, in a little dispute with her sister, said, 'I don't know how it happens, sister, but I meet with nobody but myself that is always in the right.? Il n'y a que moi qui a toujours rai
In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this constitution, with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general government necessary for
and there is no form of government but what may be a blessing, if well administered; and I believe, farther, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism,
Our reasons for ascribing this speech to Dr. Franklin are its in. ternal evidence, and its having appeared with his name during his lifetime, uncontradicted, in an American periodical publication.
as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other. I doubt, too, whether any other convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better constitution: for when you assemble a number of men, to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded, like those of the builders of Babylon, and that our States are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting each other's throats.
Thus I consent, Sir, to this constitution; because I expect no better, and because I am not sure that this is not the best. The opinions I have had of its errors, I sacrifice to the public good. I have never whispered a syllable of them abroad. Within these walls they were born, and here they shall die. If every one of us in returning to our constituents, were to report the objections he has had to it, and endeavor to gain partisans in support of them, we might prevent its being generally received, and thereby lose all the salutary effects and great advantages resulting naturally in our favor among foreign nations, as well as among ourselves, from our real or apparent unanimity. Much of the strength and efficiency of any government, in procuring and securing happiness to the people, depends on opinion; on the general opinion of the goodness of that government, as the wisdom and integrity of its governors.
I hope, therefore, that for our own sakes, as a part of the people, and for the sake of our posterity, we shall act heartily and unanimously in recommending this constitution, wherever our influence may extend, and turn our future thoughts and endeavors to the means of having it well administered.
On the whole, Sir, I cannot help expressing a wish that every member of the Convention, who may still have objections, would with me, on this occasion, doubt a little of his