Front Page Titles (by Subject) Gordon: A Learned Dissertation upon Old Women, Male and Female, Spiritual and Temporal in all Ages; whether in Church, State, or Exchange- Alley. Very seasonable to be read at all Times, but especially at particular Times. Anno 1720. - A Collection of Tracts, vol. I
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Gordon: A Learned Dissertation upon Old Women, Male and Female, Spiritual and Temporal in all Ages; whether in Church, State, or Exchange- Alley. Very seasonable to be read at all Times, but especially at particular Times. Anno 1720. - John Trenchard, A Collection of Tracts, vol. I 
A Collection of Tracts. By the Late John Trenchard, Esq; and Thomas Gordon, Esq; The First Volume. (London: F. Cogan, 1751).
Part of: A Collection of Tracts, 2 vols.
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A Learned Dissertation upon Old Women, Male and Female, Spiritual and Temporal in all Ages; whether in Church, State, or Exchange-Alley. Very seasonable to be read at all Times, but especially at particular Times.
IT is recorded in the Memories of divers Story-Tellers in and about this Metropolis, that the Sage and Eloquent Dr. Byfield, who goeth about, pouring forth his Divine Breathings in Coffee-houses, and presenting his Books Gratis to all who will pay him for them: I say, it is credibly reported that the said Doctor having a Suit in Chancery with a certain Chymist, and a venerable Serjeant being of Counsel for his Adversary; he, the said Doctor, humbly moved my Lord Chancellor that Mrs. Byfield, the Wife of him the said Doctor, might be allowed to answer and refute the Harangue of him the said Serjeant; and mark the Reason! for (said the Doctor) she, My Lord, is an Old Woman too!
Whether this Request was granted, or only entered upon Record, the Tradition sayeth not. If the Challenge was not accepted, surely it is great Pity; seeing that from a Match so natural, and a Contention so Equal, much Elegant Entertainment would have resulted to the Grave and Learned Brothers (or shall I rather say, Sisters) of the Long Robe, who, during the Strife, must have stood strangely and equally poized in their Affections and Wishes, as being equally allied to either Combatant. I have indeed, heard it urged, by the Partizans of the Old Woman in Petty-coats, that the Other in the Coif, jealous of his Reputation, and doubtful how the Issue might determine the Prize of Eloquence, fled the Pit, and left, ingloriously, his Antagonist whetting her Gums, and mumbling Revenge. But the Learned and Acute Sir ——— ———, Knight, Serjeant at Law, does, with great Submission, conceive that this last Clause of the Tradition wants Proof.
I must own it would have been exceeding Unnatural and Unscriptural for Mrs. Byfield and the Serjeant to have entred the Lists against each other, upon this Occasion; or, indeed, upon any other whatsoever: Forasmuch as is written in the Hundred Thirtieth and Third Psalm, Verse the First; Behold how good and how pleasant it is for BRETHREN to dwell together in Unity: And therefore it is my own private Opinion of this Matter, that the whole Bench and Bar, taking it into their serious Consideration, as what might affect them all, offered their Mediation, and stopped the Progress of their pernicious Difference. And in this I have the concurring Opinion of ——— and ——— and ——— and ——— and ——— and ——— with several Others, all able Lawyers, and Parties concerned.
There is a waggish Acquaintance of mine, who carries the Analogy between Old Women and grave Barristers, further than, in my Judgment, Need requires he should. ‘Don’t you observe, says he, that they have the same Enmity to Silence, and possess the same Eternal Wetness of Beard? Pray, distinguish, if you can, between Pleading and Scolding; and, whatever you do, mark that hobling Amble in their Gate; that involuntary Nod of the Head; that contracted plodding Forehead; that wise unmeaning Face, and these desolate Gums! and then, confess the invincible Likeness——— I would furthermore put you in Mind of their Equal Taste in Dress, and their Equal Resemblance therein — Black Gowns and red Petticoats! two Colours, in which it is hard to say, whether my Lord J———e mimicks Granny, or Granny my Lord J—e! Granny moreover wears forward Night-Cloaths, and ties her Pinners, before to hide a Bald-Pate; and Mr. Serjeant, and his Betters, bury their Faces in mighty Periwigs, which inviron either Chap, and lie, like comely Mares Tails, on either Breast— for why, they are only Hairy Machines to conceal long Ears!’
At the Assizes in Carmarthen-Shire, some Years ago, a Welshman, who had never seen so fine a Shew before, asked a Neighbour of his, who was knowing in these Matters, ‘What Shentleman was that upon the Pench in hur Cown, and hur Pelt, and her Plack Cap? Why, marry, quoth Morgan, hur is an Old Woman that takes hur Nap upon hur Cushion, and then hur tells the Shewry hur Tream.”
It is plain from St. Paul, that Old Wives Fables were current and prevailing in his Time, and he warns St. Timothy, (the most Reverend, the Lord Archbishop of Ephesus,) against them; desiring his Grace, to exercise himself rather unto Godliness. But notwithstanding that the Apostle’s Works are still read, tho’ they do not say a Word of South-Sea Stock; yet Old Wives are in as good Esteem as ever, and their Tales bear as good a Price. There is particularly a numerous Tribe of Ancient Gentlewomen, call’d Schoolmen and Fathers, who are reputed a Company of Venerable Gossips, whose Evidence may be taken in Trials about Norwich Crapes, wide-knee’d Breeches, the Power of the Constable, the Primitive Institution of Parish-Clerks, the Decimation of Eggs by Original Patent, Whoring, Scolding, and Court’sying towards the Rising-Sun; and the like momentous Points between Men and Monks.
But it is very true, that these old Bodies do often contradict one another in their Evidence; either because they know not the Truth, or will not speak it; both which are frequently the Case———. But here a ready Expedient is offered; for the pious Attornies who produce them, modestly reject every part of the Evidence which makes against them, as forged or erroneous, and are pleased only to accept so much of the same, as makes for them, as undoubtedly genuine and valid. And if no part of it will serve their Turn; yet we, the Defendants, are bound to believe that it does; and that is as well. For the pious Attornies above-written, claim, from Time immemorial, a Right to be Prosecutors, and Judges, and Witnesses; at least, Witnesses for their Witnesses, in every Law-Suit which they undertake. And, if we do not acquiesce in all this a Lawyer of this Sort has told us, what Sentence we are to expect; even this, G———d———mn you and yours to all Eternity. (Tale of Tub in 12mo. p. 104.)
The Admirers and Followers of these old dusty Gossips, are themselves of the same Character and Predicament; for, as the Saying is, Old Women of all Religions are the same. We are not therefore to wonder, if we find in the whole Breed, an equal Appetite for Flogging, Hoarding, Backbiting, and Scolding. From Gammar Aaron down to Gammar Satanasius, and from Gammar Satanasius down to Gammar Becket, and from Gammar Becket down to Gammar Laud, and from Gammar Laud (keeping still in the same See) down to Gammar ——— ——— you find the self same Spirit, and the self same Arts. The Multitude have been still bubbled, and taught or scared into the Worship of golden Calves, or black Calves, or some other sorts of Calves: And the same Lying, Falshood, and Cruelty, have gone on in an uninterrupted Line of Succession, and uninterrupted Submission.
It is marvellous and inconceivable, the Stupidity and Duncibleness of Mankind. ‘O World! when wilt thou come out of thy Infancy, and assume a Beard; and a Mind worthy of that Beard! learn to despise long Coats; reject thy Leaders and thy Leading-Strings; stand upon thy own Legs; be of Age; look round thee, and distinguish, at last, Truth and Freedom from Restraint and Disguises. But in Case, my dearest Child, that thou art already superannuated; as, considering the Greyness of thy Head, and the Greenness of thy Behaviour, I fear me thou art; Then, O Reverend Granny, lost is my Labour, and vain are my Instructions! I will, however, bear my Testimony in thy Behalf, and shew thee, with the help of thy Spectacles, how thou art ever ridden by old Women, thyself an old Woman!’
Queen Semiramis was the greatest King that swayed the Scepter of Assyria, and exceeded by far all that succeeded her. She was indeed a most valiant Man, but very lewd, which is no Fault in Princes; what is very common being very pardonable. To her succeeded her Son, King Sardanapalus the Queen, who from his Infancy was an old Woman, and very naturally spent all his Time, and his Spinning amongst young ones. But for all the Harmlessness of this He-Queen, he met an untimely Fate, and violent Hands were laid upon the Lord’s Anointed, to the great Grief of all the true Churchmen, that is the genuine Worshippers of Bel and the Dragon, of those Days.
Those who came after him were for the most part like him; and from Semiramis to the End of the Babylonian Monarchy, which lasted for several Ages, all the Kings proved to be of the Female Gender, except herself. When the Monarchy was translated to the Medes and Persians, there was but one Emperor, and that was Cyrus, who happened to be a Man: All the rest were old Women; Creatures that lived in their Dining Rooms, admired their fine Furniture, wore rich Brocades, play’d with their Monkies, beat and bit and scratched their Servants, and drank Cawdle, the Tea of the Time; and in fine, said and did, just as do and say our aged Countesses in t’other End of the Town.
At length the Magicians, or Priests of the Established Church of Babylon, having great Interest at Court, and Encouragement from the Prince, knocked him on the Head in Return for his Love; and, by the Murder of his whole Race, and further Cruelty and Craft, seated themselves in his Throne, and yet kept the Murder and Usurpation a Secret from all the World, for some Time. But the reigning Conjurer being, like the rest of the Tribe, given to Wenching, a Mistress of his was directed by her Brother, who suspected sacred Roguery, to search his Majesty’s Head for Ears; and upon Inquiry, she found he had none. For, it had happened, some Time before, that the whole Order had their Luggs lopped off for some pious Pranks by them play’d.
Upon this Discovery, the Grandees invaded the Royal Palace, alias the Royal Brothel, and put all these old Women, that is to say the Clergy, that is to say the Usurpers, to the Sword. So here ended the Reign (tho’ not the Roguery) of these consecrated Monarchs, or spiritual Sovereigns, or Pagan Popes, or cropped Prelates, or Representatives of ———’s Person, or, &c.
Proceed we next to the Election of a new old Woman. For, the Lineal Entail was broken in the Murther of Adam’s Heir at Law, by the Babylonian Parsons; tho’ some of their Brethren since have pretended to patch it together again, Impossibilities being of no Weight in the Schemes of Magicians.
In this Election one Darius carried the Diadem by the Merit of his Stone-Horse; which Stone-Horse, had it not been for the Folly or Partiality of the Nobility, ought to have mounted that Throne; and then might have been alledged, what now cannot be alledged, namely that once in a Century a Creature of some Manhood filled it.
It is the Opinion of that able Critick and Cabbalist, Rabbi Nick Nack Ben Dry Pate, that the Historians are all Lyars and Dunces in the Account they pretend to give of this Matter; For, says he, I will lay an even Wager of fifty to One, that when the Crown of Persia was, by a Vote of the judicious House of ———ds there, hung upon a Nag’s Nostrils, whose Neighing was to create a Master of Mankind, and declare the Lord’s Anointed; Darius did not act by the Craft of his Groom (which isthe Opinion of Ctesias, Berosus, Plutarch, &c.) but by the Counsel of his Chaplain, who advised him, as soon as ever he came to the randying Ground, to Bray with all his Might; and if you take this Method, added the sage Doctor, and Bray with becoming Vehemence, by G———I’ll venture my Soul upon it, you are Monarch of the East. For, continued his Reverence, in such a Hurry and Discord of the Passions, as will necessarily fill every Breast upon so great an Occasion, who will distinguish Chesnut’s Voice from your Lordship’s Voice, or a F——— from a Pair of Bag-pipes? Rabbi Nick-nack adds, that Earl Darius finding this Expedient the easiest and most natural to him of all the Expedients in the World; whenever he found himself upon the Place of Trial, clapped his Finger to one Nostril, and brayed with t’other, with so bewitching and so Royal an Accent, that the whole House of Nobles then present whipped off their Hats, and bowing with their Faces to the Earth, as if the Chaplain himself, or an Altar had stood in their Way, cried out with one Accord, O King Darius, live for ever. He was then taken and crowned, being first anointed, and having taken an Oath to defend the Rights of the Clergy and Convocation; the Archbishop performing the Ceremony, the Reverend Dr. Tygris reading Prayers, and the Chaplain aforesaid preaching the Sermon, which was ordered to be printed by his Majesty’s special Command; and he had the first good Living that fell.
So easily are Kingdoms earned, and by such certain Signs and Criterions does Heaven point out the Persons of Princes; who, being of Divine Institution, the Divine Will must, in the Case before us, be exceeding clearly conveyed through the Snout of a Horse, or of an Ass; a very usual Vehicle of Instruction, in all Ages and Climates!
But as every old Woman that totters under a Crown, rules or scolds, or blasphemes, or murders, or burns, by Divine Appointment; so the old Women, alias Emperors of Persia, continued to plague Mankind, and Misgovern, as Heaven’s Lieutenants, till Alexander the Great, who in the Beginning of his Reign, was indeed a King of the Masculine Gender, came with all the Violence of War, as Heaven’s Lieutenants also, to dethrone and put an End to them: For he that was strongest always happened to have the Divine Authority on his Side, contrary, and yet agreeable, to the Orthodox System.
Victrix Causa Diis placuit.
Alexander himself soon degenerated, and, before he arrived to the Flower of his Age, grew an old Woman, like the rest; became wonderfully addicted to Scolding, and doated upon nothing but fine Gowns, and Citron Water.
His immediate Successors resembled him; they were at first Men, and at last Drivelers; and, for those Kings who succeeded them, they were old Wives from their Cradles.
There never was, in all the East, a braver Race of Men than the Amazons, whose Queens were also the bravest of Kings. Tamerlane too happened to be a Prince of a Male Genius; but excepting as before excepted, there has scarce ever been known such a Character as a King in all the great Continent of Asia, tho’ abounding in Monarchs. Their frequent exercising of Craft and Cruelty does in no degree determine them Men; the same being also exercised, though in a smaller Measure, by Crocodiles, Wolves, Kites, Adders, and the like Emblems and Patterns of such Imperial old Women as play the Devil by Divine Right.
But these Royal Vermin, who sucked the Blood of their Subjects, and were the relentless Foes of Mankind, became all, in their Turn, the Booty and Vassals of the Romans, who knocked them on the Head or imprisoned them, or suffered them to enjoy a precarious and slavish Sovereignty, just as they had behaved themselves.
The Romans were a Nation of Men, and Friends to their Species, Lovers of Liberty and Despisers of Life, when these two Blessings were incompatible. They propagated Politeness and Laws; and hunted down Tyrants and Barbarity, where-ever they came. They taught Mankind to distinguish between manly Obedience, proceeding from rational Consent, which is the Allegiance of Subjects; and involuntary Submission, extorted by Fears and Force, which is the Lot and Condition of Slaves.
Their Religion was of a Piece with their Politicks, and part of them. The Civil Magistrate was either the Priest himself, or the Priest was prompted by him; and the only Piece of Priestcraft which the old Repnblican Clergy practised, was to lie laudably, by the Direction of the Magistrate, for the Good of the Common-wealth. The Hands of the Government were not tied up from encouraging publick Spirit, by the paultry Fear of alarming the Ecclesiasticks. Every Principle and every Action, which promoted their present Liberty and Prosperty, was lawful, virtuous, and religious, in the Eyes of that noble People; who had no Idea of the Encroachment of Liberty upon Religion, or of the Church’s clashing with the State, or of the Creature’s contending for Superiority with its Creator. These were Monsters yet unborn, and Absurdities as yet univented, which lived not till Liberty was dead, and till old Women succeeded Heroes.
The Romans preserved their Liberty so long as they preserved their Virtue. At last Ambition and Bribery seized the Senate House, and were followed by every evil Art and every wicked Purpose: The Corruption began at the Great, who spread it among the People, and debauched them in order to enslave them. Shews, Farces, and Masquerades, made them idle, and depending upon those who gratified them with these fine Sights and Diversions. At long run, their highest Ambition was to live and see Shews. In the End, being fully purged of all Sense of Virtue and Freedom, the whole Roman People, who had conquered the World, and polished it; they who had deposed Tyrants, and set Mankind free, became themselves an easy Prey to a Traitor of their own raising.
Men have been, and are, generally taught (from their early Youth) to admire and reverence the First Cæsar: At which I am astonished; for he was one of the most wicked and bloody Men that ever the Earth bore. He stuck at no Villany, no Vileness, no Destruction, to gain his Ends, and ruin his Country. Omnium Fæminarum Maritus, & omnium Virorum Uxor, is the least worst Character that can be given of him. If he was sometimes guilty of Mercy, it was from no Tenderness of Heart, or for any Righteous Purpose; but purely to catch Gudgeons, and make his Tyranny popular. In short, Julius Cæsar, like most other Conquerors, is entituled, in an humbler Degree, to that sort of Glory, which is due to Belzebub, for daring the Almighty, and defacing the Creation.
Those who succeeded him in the Usurpation of Rome, were for the most Part such an execrable Race of Vermin, that there is scarce any other Character to be given of them, than that Emperor and Old Woman were Terms synonymous ever afterwards.
The Empress Claudius deserves particular Notice. She left the Empire to the Administration of whatever Person happened to be most in her good Graces, for the Time being: And so sometimes her Wife was Queen, and sometimes her Footman; while the good Woman Claudius herself turned Author, and scribled, and gormandized, and got drunk, every Day of her Life. Nec temere unquam Triclinio abscessit nisi distentus & madens, says Suetonius. Just like the Learned and Valiant Monarch of another Country, I mean Queen James the First of Magnagascar; who, bating her Aversion to Tobacco, was as true an Old Woman as ever driveled, or tippled Geneva. Queen James was also a Royal Benefactor to Grubstreet, and President of the Learned Society there. She writ Books, and made Speeches, and was greatly Subject to the Looseness; which last I take to be the true Reason why the learned Queen James’s Performances smell but little of the Conjuror; seeing that it is observed by Mr. Locke in his Treatise of Education, that they who are very Loose, have seldom strong Thoughts.
Behold here, O curious Reader, a full and true Character of our present Writers upon most Subjects! even because they write with empty Bellies, or with Pills in their Bellies; and therefore our Preachers and Poets do confess, in their Productions, the Slipperiness of their Guts. Lamentable Case! that amongst all the Legions of the Learned, there is hardly to be found one shrewd Costive Fellow, except myself, and my Admirers.
This Malady of the Guts is also productive of pernicious Effects amongst Statesmen and Crown’d Heads. Her late Majesty took Physick that very Day upon which she Signed the Treaty at Utrecht; and it was observ’d that all the while it was making, her Ministry went frequently to the Little House. And indeed it is well known, that during the last Three Years of her Reign, Dr. Ar———th———t was constantly about her, either by himself, or Proxy; that is to say, either the Physician, or the Glister-Pipe was in daily Practice. The late D———of O———was taken with a strange Griping of the Guts, when he was in Flanders, which lasted all the Time he stay’d there, and was the untoward Reason why he deserted the Allies. But notwithstanding this, it is thought his late Grace would never have run away from England, had not a Right Reverend Son of the Mitre, for his own Righteous Ends, persuaded him that he looked pale, and beg’d him in all Love to take a Purge; he follow’d the Ghostly Advice; and behold its Operation! The very next Day he started from his Close stool, mounted his Horse, and gallop’d away, as fast as if Jack Ketch had been at his Heels, and never halted till he came to the Pretender, who is himself a poor Laxative Knight as ever wore a Garter, and has a Court most miserably afflicted with the Bloody-Flux.
There is a considerable King in Europe, who has been troubled with Agues, Loosnesses, and Evil Counsellors, for two or three Years: At last he was prevailed upon to take Astringents, and turn off the Cardinal; and now all is like to go well with him again.
As to ourselves; God be praised, we are blessed with a Set of Able, Costive St———s—m-n, who have not gone to Stool these three Years, except as hereafter is excepted; that is to say, when they preferred———and———and———and———and———cum multis aliis; as also when they entered into a ——— with ——— and ——— &c. as likewise when they declared that they had no Intention to repeal———; as also when they neglected to ——— and ——— and ——— and ——— and ——— and ——— and ——— and ———; as likewise when they contrived how to silence———; as also when they quarrel’d with ——— and ——— and ———; as likewise when they formed a Scheme to gain such a vast———; as also when they agreed to give up———and———; as likewise when they were entering into a Coalition and Concert with———and———and———: As also when they encouraged———and———and———and———.
Were I to go over all the Items and Exceptions, I should never have done; and so I turn my Foot into my first Path, and proceed with my Dissertation upon Old Women.
To Queen James succeeded another Queen; I mean he who was nick-named the Confessor. Like King, like Counsellors! this sucking Monarch got him a Wife, and yet went still in Leading-Strings: Mother William Laud, and Madam the Duke of Buckingham, who had been his Father’s Mistress, were his Governors, unlimited and uncontroulable.
The Kingdom grew ashamed and weary of being governed and oppressed by such a Grizzel, and so pulled her out of her Elbow-Chair, and never suffered her to set her Breech in it afterwards; tho’ she tried all Means whatsoever, sometimes scolding, sometimes beseeching, sometimes tricking, and sometimes hiring Bullies to fight for her.
After a long civil Contention for Liberty and Dominion, which I pass over in Silence, because it was between Men and Men, who do not belong to this my Subject; come we, in the next Place, to the riotous Reign of Queen Sardanapalus the IId. who neglected God and Men to drink French Wine, and play with French Harlots and Lap-Dogs. There began then to be a great Decay of Sobriety, Virtue and Manhood; and nothing triumphed but the Excise, Fornication and the Church.
After a long Reign of Luxury and Feminine Weaknesses, Queen Sardanapalus departed this Life, by the pious Assistance of the Priests and her Brother the Princess James, who mounted the Throne, and shewed herself as errant an Old Wife as ever shook a Sceptre.
She, e’er she had well broken the Coronation Oath, which she had not yet taken, taking into her serious Consideration the obvious Infirmities of her Sex and her Understanding, put herself, the first Thing she did, under the Guardianship, and absolute Direction of an old Harlot at Rome, famous for her stinking Breath, and her triple Night-cap. Then her Majesty went on, like a Creature superannuated, as she was, to play strange Pranks, some ludicrous, and some mischievous. She worshipped Wafers, pretended to devour her Mediator, and claimed a Right to eat up her People. Nobody would take her Bond for a Groat; and she herself owned that her Oath was not worth a Rush. As she was an Old Woman herself, so she acted by Old Women; and particularly, she got a Jewry of Old Wives in Long Coats and Coifs, to pronounce a Verdict, that she might lawfully and innocently do what Mischief and Wickedness the would: And so said the Sacred Sisters of the Surplice; alledging that every Old Gentlewoman wearing a Crown, had a Divine Charter from God to resemble Satan as much as she pleased.
Queen James, encouraged by all these fine Speeches, let loose his Inclinations, and devilized with all his Might. But, as he was driving furiously over the Life and Limb of every Subject that stood in his Way, without any Resistance, which was prohibited by the Convocation, he unadvisedly galloped over a Nest of the Wayward Sisters aforesaid, and took away the Articles of their Club. This hurt and provoked them damnably. For, though they are the most patient Creatures upon Earth, when Evil befalls others; and will upon that Occasion urge the Sanctity of Submission, with wonderful Zeal; yet such is their mortal Antipathy to Suffering in their own Persons, that, upon any Trial of that Kind, they seem to be the only People upon the Globe, to whom God has given least of the Grace of Resignation.
Queen James now found that this was their true Spirit. For, though they had themselves pointed out to him the very High Road to Oppression; yet no sooner had he given them a Royal Gripe, but they set up their Apostolick Throats, and yelled so loud, that they were heard all over the Kingdom, and roused the Multitude from all Quarters to their Assistance; that very Multitude, whom they had, a few Days before, been infatuating into the Disposition and Acquiescence of Slaves, they had now the Art and the Impudence to animate into Rebels, in their own Sense of the Word.
The manly Part of the Nation, and Lovers of Liberty, cook Advantage of the Phrenzy of the Prince, and the Animosity of the Wayward Sisters, to frighten Queen James into a Nunnery, and to set a King upon the Throne; the only One they had seen there, since the Days of King Bess, of manly Memory.
The Wayward Sisters, finding that they had now in Reality got a King over them, and not a Queen under them; which last had been their Lot and Felicity for near a Hundred Years; and perceiving withal that the King would not kneel to them, or put his Power and Scepter into their Hands; they grew devilish outrageous and turbulent. The first Thing they did, in their Anger, was to vote themselves forsworn; for, slap-dash, they stripped the King at one Pull, of his Divine Right, and made a Present of it to the excluded Queen James, from whom they had also rent it in their Wrath, a Month or two before.
But, in Spite of their Craft, and Disloyalty, the King kept his Crown; and in Spite of his Mercy and Merit, they preserved their Aversion and Malignity.
A Queen came next; and, with her, Prosperity and a Kingly Government, for several Years; which once more disappointed and provoked the Wayward Sisters, who yelped as bitterly as ever; but yelped unheard, till her Majesty grew old and into a Resemblance of her Ancestors; and then all Things went Topsy-turvey, and the Wayward Sisters flourished and rejoiced. But just as they were in full Cry, and daily Expectation of their Hereditary Old Woman from Abroad, the other at Home drop’d, before they could bring it to pass; and the Kingdom got a King a Second Time, and still keeps him, notwithstanding all the Struggles, and Sedition, and Praying, and Counter praying, and Preaching, and Drinking, and Lying, and Swearing, and Forswearing of the Wayward Sisters, in order to send him Home again.
It is indeed agreeable to the Ambition and Self-love of the Wayward Sisters to hate Kings; for a Monarch that resolves to be a Man, will never put himself under the Dominion of Old Women, nor gratify their Spleen: Whereas, when a Queen Reigns, the Wayward Sisters are all Kings. Behold the Reason of their present Rage! The present Monarch does not touch their Roast, nor their Boil’d; their Sack, nor their Sherry; their Copy-Holds, nor their Peter-Pence. On the contrary, he gives them all good Usage and Encouragement, he prefers the Worthy, and is not severe to the Worthless. But all this pleases not the Wayward Sisters They cannot impose upon their Prince, nor piss upon the Laws, nor oppress the People, nor prey upon Scrupulous Consciences, nor be forsworn with Success. These are their great Grievances; or, if they have greater, I wish they would produce them. If his Majesty would but please to condescend to their modest Demands, and be led, like their Pupil, or driven like their Property; he might make Beggars or Bacon of his Subjects, and welcome: Nay, Divine Authority would be belied, and Scripture misquoted, to support him in it. But as he behaves himself at present, he will never be the Favourite of the Wayward Sisters.
I have thus, with great Labour of Body and Brain, searched into the Records of Time, and given my attentive Reader an edifying Abstract of Universal History, of which I have shewn Old Women to have been the Principal Heroes. If we look now into the Disputes and Transactions between Nation and Nation, we shall assuredly find that they ever prevailed, or miscarried, according as they employed Men or Old Women in the Management of their Affairs Civil and Military.
And not to go too far backward in this Disquisition, let us only remember with what a different Spirit and Success the Affairs of France were conducted by that Court Forty Years ago, from what the Affairs of another Court were, which shall be nameless: And the Reason lay here; The French Ministers wore Beards, and the B--t-sh Ministers wore Petticoats; choice Guardians of the Nation! Who, whilst they were supported in their Avarice and Merry-makings, from St. Germain’s, cared not what became of their Country, or of Europe, or of Christianity.
In the Matters of Peace and War, the Case is just the same. In the last War, for Example, against France, a Male General was employed, and under him a Race of Men; and they hewed down all Opposition: Neither Stone-Walls, nor Entrenchments, nor Numbers, nor the Danger of the Church could stand before them: Nor could Rivers or Louis-d’Ors retard their Bravery. They stormed Towns, they routed Armies, they eat Fire, and did every Thing with a Masculine Air: Alas! what were a Hundred Thousand French Girls, whether Nuns or Soldiers, in their Hands? And for Half a Score Mareschals of France, they considered them as only so many dancing Old Women on Horseback, with Feathers in their Caps, and Distaffs in their Hands, who never missed being kicked Head over Heels, and sent to Paris to get their Wigs new-powdered; which yet did not mend the Matter.
It is thought, if the War had continued, that Madame de Maintenon would have headed the Army in Flanders, and recruited it with several antiquated Belles, and the Nymphs of St. Cyr: This filled all the Heroes at Versailles with burning Envy, and they all brigued against her going: But it is thought that all their Politicks would have failed them, had they not luckily represented to the Grand Monarch, who was every Day growing Less, the Invincible Louis, who was every Day beaten, the Immortal Man, who was dangerously Ill of a Fistula; that if he made his Old Nurse a General, he would have no Body to tend his Issue behind. This made great Impression upon him; and so Goody Villars was appointed Commander in Chief, instead of Goody Scarron. As soon as she came into the Field, she gave out scolding Speeches how she would do several Womanly Exploits. But she was well paid for her prating, and forced to run to save her Life.
This was the unequal Strife during the Course of the War between Swords and Distaffs. But when Things began to look towards an Accommodation, the Tables were quite turned. France which hitherto had sent old Wives for Warriors, appointed Now vigourous Men for her Negociators: And another Kingdom, which, to its deathless Glory, had employed Heroes to fight, did to its endless Infamy, employ old Women to treat; wretched toothless, impotent Old Women, who, had their Luck been of a Size with their Brains, must have born the Parish Badge! The lively and ingenious John of Lapland, and the able and accomplished Thomas Lord Spellwell, are a Brace of hopeful Statesmen! And yet with all their Zeal and humble Compliances, they had not the common Capacity to sell the Honour of their Country, even after others had brought it to Market for them, without the Assistance of Prompters.
To come now, towards the End, to speak of my own Country, of which I have not hitherto said one Word; I am sorry to say, that the Increase of Old Women grows marvelously great amongst us. It is moreover grievous to consider, by what heavy and contemptible Instruments this shameful Change is wrought. Lo! our Evil cometh from the dull Heart of the City, and we are enchanted by a stupid Kennel of Stock-Jobbers, who cheat us out of our Money and our Sex, and then stand God-fathers to us, and, by way of tender Derision, christen us Bubbles!
Let us, my Brethren and Countrymen, either properly and patiently put on Petticoats; or resume our Manhood, and shake off this shameful Delusion, this filthy Yoke, put upon our Necks by dull Rogues from Jonathan’s; plodding Dunces! who carry their Souls, if they have any, in their Pockets; and who, if you take them out of the Alley, have not the Understanding of Carmen, nor the Agreeableness of Baboons.
I shall conclude this light Paper with some Thoughts of a grave Nature, and dwell for Two or Three Pages, upon a Subject which gives me infinite Delight; I mean, the present Concord between St. James’s and Leicesterfields.