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son but will any man infer from the husband's being invested with the executive power, that the wife is deprived of her share, and that which is the principal branch of it, the original right of cuckoldom? And that she has no remedy left, but preces & lachrymæ, or an appeal to a supreme court of judicature? No less frivolous are the arguments, that are drawn from the general appellations and terms of husband and wife. A husband denotes several different sorts of magistracy, according to the usages and customs of different climates and countries. In some Eastern nations it signifies a tyrant, with the absolute power of life and death in Turkey it denotes an arbitrary governour, with power of perpetual imprisonment: in Italy it gives the husband the power of poison and padlocks in the countries of England, France, and Holland, it has a quite different meaning, implying a free and equal government, securing to the wife in certain cases the liberty of cuckoldom, and the property of pinmoney, and separate maintenance. So that the arguments drawn from the terms of husband and wife are fallacious, and by no means fit to support a tyrannical doctrine, as that of absolute unlimited chastity, and conjugal fidelity.

The general exhortations to chastity in wives are meant only for rules in ordinary cases, but they naturally suppose three conditions, of ability, justice, and fidelity in the husband: such an unlimited, unconditioned fidelity in the wife could never be supposed by reasonable men: it seems a reflection upon the ch-rch, to charge her with doctrines that countenance oppression.

This doctrine of the original right of cuckoldom is congruous to the law of nature, which is superiour to


all human laws, and for that I dare appeal to all wives: it is much to the honour of our English wives, that they have never given up that fundamental point; and that though in former ages they were muffled up in darkness and superstition, yet that notion seemed engraven on their minds, and the impression so strong, that nothing could impair it.

To assert the illegality of cuckoldom upon any pretence whatsoever, were to cast odious colours upon the married state, to blacken the necessary means of perpetuating families: such laws can never be supposed to have been designed to defeat the very end of matrimony, the propagation of mankind. I call them necessary means; for in many cases what other means are left? Such a doctrine wounds the honour of families; unsettles the titles to kingdoms, honours, and estates; for if the actions from which such settlements spring were illegal, all that is built upon them must be so too: but the last is absurd, therefore the first must be so likewise. What is the cause that Europe groans at present under the heavy load of a cruel and expensive war, but the tyrannical custom of a certain nation, and the scrupulous nicety of a silly queen*, in not exercising this indispensable duty of cuckoldom, whereby the kingdom might have had an heir, and a controverted succession might have been avoided? These are the effects of the narrow maxims of your clergy, That one must not do evil, that good may come of it.

The assertors of this indefeasible right, and jus divinum of matrimony, do all in their hearts favour gallants, and the pretenders to married women; for

The queen of Charles II of Spain, upon whose death without issue the war broke out.




if the true legal foundation of the married state be once sapped, and instead thereof tyrannical maxims introduced, what must follow but elopements instead of secret and peaceable cuckoldom?

From all that has been said, one may clearly perceive the absurdity of the doctrine of this seditious, discontented, hot-headed, ungifted, unedifying preacher, asserting, That the grand security of the matrimonial state, and the pillar upon which it stands, is founded upon the wife's belief of an absolute unconditional fidelity to the husband's bed: by which bold assertion he strikes at the root, digs the foundation, and removes the basis, upon which the happiness of a married state is built. As for his personal reflections, I would gladly know who are those wanton wives he speaks of? who are those ladies of high station, that he so boldly traduces in his sermon? It is pretty plain, whom these aspersions are aimed at, for which he deserves the pillory, or something worse.

In confirmation of this doctrine of the indispensable duty of cuckoldom, I could bring the example of the wisest wives in all ages, who by these means have preserved their husbands' families from ruin and oblivion by want of posterity: but what has been said, is a suficient ground for punishing this pragmatical




The two great parties of wives, the Devotoes and the

Hitts *.

THE doctrine of unlimited chastity and fidelity in wives was universally espoused by all husbands; who went about the country, and made the wives sign papers, signifying their utter detestation and abhorrence of Mrs. Bull's wicked doctrine of the indispensable duty of cuckoldom. Some yielded, others refused to part with their native liberty; which gave rise to two great parties among the wives, the devotoes and the hitts. Though it must be owned, the distinction was more nominal than real; for the devotoes would abuse freedoms sometimes; and those who were distinguished by the name of hitts, were often very honest. At the same time there came out an ingenious treatise, with the title of "Good Ad"vice to Husbands;" in which they are counselled not to trust too much to their wives owning the doctrine of unlimited conjugal fidelity, and so to neglect family duty, and a due watchfulness over the manners of their wives; that the greatest security to husbands was a vigorous constitution, good usage of their wives, and keeping them from temptation; many husbands having been sufferers by their trusting too much to general professions, as was exemplified in the case of a foolish and negligent husband, who, trusting to the efficacy of this principle, was undone by his wife's elopement from him.

* Those who were for or against the doctrine of non-resistance. СНАР.

M 2


An account of the conference between Mrs. Bull and don Diego.

THE lawyers, as their last effort to put off the composition, sent don Diego* to John. Don Diego was a very worthy gentleman, a friend to John, his mother, and present wife; and therefore supposed to have some influence over her: he had been illused himself by John's lawyers: but, because of some animosity to sir Roger †, was against the composition: the conference between him and Mrs. Bull was word for word as follows:

DON DIEGO. Is it possible, cousin Bull, that you can forget the honourable maxims of the family you are come of, and break your word with three of the honestest, best meaning persons in the world, esquire South, Frog, and Hocus, that have sacrificed their interests to yours? It is base to take advantage of their implicity and credulity, and leave them in the lurch at last.

Mrs. BULL. I am sure they have left my family in a bad condition, we have hardly money to go to

* Among other obstacles to the treaty, was the opposition of the earl of Nottingham; a tory nobleman, who had great influ ence in the house of commons.

The cause of his animosity, from which this conduct is supposed to proceed, was Mr. Harley's being chosen to succeed him as principal secretary of state, when he was removed from that office in the year 1701.

↑ He expostulated against the peace with great warmth in the house, when the queen was present incrg.


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