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administration as of aiding opposition, engaging keenly in party; and, like the fabled fly upon the wheel, fondly imagining that the machine of government is accelerated or retarded by them. Even the lowest and most insignificant of mankind, take upon
them to enlist under the banners of a Pitt or a Fox, and to assume the badges of that party to which they wish to attach themselves, and by which they hope to be drawn from their own natural insignificance.
Were this folly confined to the men, I should regret it less. But unhappily a spirit of party prevails with equal, if not greater violence among the ladies. My illustrious predecessor, the Spectator, justly observes, that 'party-rage is a male vice, made up of many angry and cruel passions, that are altogether repugnant to the softness, the modesty, and those other endearing qualities which are natural to the fair sex.' After recording the party-patches by which the ladies of those days marked their political principles, Mr. Addison expresses himself in these words : · This account of party-patches, will, I am afraid, appear improbable to those who live at a distance from the fashionable world; but as it is a distinction of a very singular nature, and what, perhaps, may never meet with a parallel, I think I should not have discharged the office of a faithful Spectator, had not I recorded it.'
Every one who attends to the progress and change of manners, must be struck with this passage. The enormity of which Mr. Addison here complains, and which he seems to suppose would hardly be believed by those who had not seen it, consisted in this,—that at the Opera and Playhouse, a Whig beauty wore her patches on one side of her forehead, while a Tory toast patched upon the other. Had the fair of the present times distinguished their political principles in the same inoffensive manner, had they gone no further than wearing those tails and muffs mentioned by my correspondent, I, who am ever averse to find fault with their conduct, might have been disposed to wink at the absurdity of placing the tail of a fox on the head of a fine woman; and it is with pleasure I remark, that the ladies of Edinburgh have contented themselves with such little eccentricities of appearance, and never indulged in those excesses which prevailed in other parts of the island, particularly in the capital. There, I am sorry to say, our female politicians have gone
much further, and have exerted themselves in support of their party, in a manner much more decided and more vigorous. We have seen the first and fairest of our British dames' marching under the banners of the Man of the People,' or of · Pitt and Constitution,' exposing their charms to the view and to the insults of a lewd rabble, mingling in scenes in which nothing but necessity and a sense of duty could engage any man of delicacy and taste to bear a part. If Mr. Addison thought that the partypatches of his fair contemporaries might appear improbable, what would he have said had he lived to see what we have seen! To check the little improprieties of his day, he employed his delicate satire, his fine and elegant raillery: but had he witnessed the enormities of which I complain, he perhaps might have thought that the keen caustic of a Juvenal would not have been too severe.
Perhaps it may be thought that I have said more than was necessary, upon a temporary ebullition of party-zeal, which it is to be hoped has now subsided. But I own I am always sensibly hurt with any thing which affects the purity and delicacy of the sex. Besides, the contagion of such an example spreads
far and wide : it is not confined to one place, or to the present time; it taints the manners of the rising generation, who, by seeing and hearing of such enormities, may become familiarised with them, may in their time be led to imitate their mothers, and, if possible, to indulge in still greater excesses. Indeed, if our ladies go on improving as politicians, and as tools of a party, I shall not be surprised, if, in years, duels, which seem now to be going out of fashion among the men, should become fashionable among the women. then read in the papers such paragraphs as the following:
Yesterday a duel was fought in Hyde Park, between the Countess of
The Countess received a shot in her left curl, and Lady
escaped a dangerous wound by means of a large black bushy muff, in which the ball of her antagonist happily lodged. The seconds then interposed, and the combatants were parted without further mischief. We are told the quarrel between these celebrated beauties was occasioned by some high words which passed between them on the hustings in Covent-garden, where the Countess appeared in support of Sir H. W. the ministerial candidate, and Lady —, in support of Mr. J. R. the popular candidate.'
We hear Lady has, at the earnest desire of her husband and of all the friends of that ancient family, declined to fight Mrs. - till after she is brought to bed ; so that the duel cannot take place for some months. The quarrel took its rise from something that dropped from Mrs. - in pressing into the gallery of the House of Commons, to hear the debate on Mr. 's motion for regulating trade and navigation.'
As, however, I would not wish to part with my
fair readers (for whom I entertain the truest respect and regard) in bad- humour, I must assure them, that I venture this remonstrance, not with the severity of a censor, but with the anxiety of a friend. I know both the extent and the importance of their power : and, for the sake of our sex as much as theirs, I wish them not to forfeit it, by a departure from that modesty, that gentleness, those feminine graces, which are the supports of an influence so essential to the manners and to the happiness of society.
No. 11. SATURDAY, APRIL 16, 1785.
“ Occupatus nihil agendo,
TO THE AUTHOR OF THE LOUNGER.
“As I have the honor of being your namesake, and descended from an ancient race of Loungers, I rejoiced when I was informed, that one of our illustrious name and family began to make a figure in the literary world, and to publish his lucubrations weekly in the capital of Scotland. I have spent a great part of my life in studying the genealogies, histories, and characters, of the several branches of our Aourishing family. With this view, I have visited every city, town, and village in the kingdom, and have had the
happiness to meet with near relations in every place, except Paisley, Kilmarnock, and a few dirty manufacturing towns. From the observations I have made in my travels, I am fully convinced, that, if all the members of our family take in your paper, you will be the most popular and successful writer of the present age, and your works will pass through more editions than either the Pilgrim's Progress or Robinson Crusoe.
“The chief object of all my travels has been, to collect materials for a great work, in which I have been engaged above fifty years. It is one of the peculiar excellences of our family, to do nothing in haste. This famous work will be entitled • Biographia Loungeriana Scottica, or, The Lives of the most eminent Loungers in Scotland, from the Reign of Fergus I. to the present times.' It will make two ponderous volumes in folio, to be published by subscription. The price to subscribers will be only six guineas : but to those unfortunate gentlemen who neglect to subscribe, the price may be, I know not how much. The first volume will contain the Lives of the Strenuous Loungers, and the second, the Lives of the Indolent Loungers. These are the two great branches into which our family is divided. Each volume will be adorned with twenty copper-plates, engraved by the most eminent artists, representing the easiest and most graceful postures for lounging in coaches, coffee-houses, taverns, drawing-rooms, play-houses, assembly-rooms, churches, colleges, courts of justice, &c. These plates will be of great utility, not only to fine ladies and fine gentlemen, but also to politicians, preachers, professors, students, lawyers, judges, and many others of all ranks. The frontispiece will be an elegant drawing of the outer Parliament-house in the middle of the session. To engage gentlemen to do themselves the honour to