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Text of Items in Online Exhibit:
For Better for Worse, Advice About Marriage From Early Modern English Conduct Books

Felltham, Owen. Resolves, a Duple Century, ye 5th Edition. 1634.
Title Page

(Text of title page superimposed over image with surrounding clouds. At the top, a heart with wings, with indecipherable Latin text coming up from the top of the heart. Underneath the heart is a globe on a stand, with indecipherable Latin text. The stand is held by two hands, protruding from clouds to the right and left, with Latin text on the clouds [Sapientia / Veritatis]. There are two chains, one on either side, each with Latin text, one held by a woman depicted with many faces standing on a platform with Latin text [Opinio], and the other held by a blindfolded woman, wearing a toga, with keys tied to her waist, standing on a platform with Latin text [Ignorantia]. Underneath the globe is the outline of a heart, with the title text inside.)

[ Resolves

A Duple Century

Ye 5th Edition

By Owen Felltham:IVth

A Large Alphabeticall Table therunto.

et sicdemulceo Vitam


Imprinted for Henry

Seile and are to be sould at the Tygers Head in St. Paules Church Yard. 1634 ]

Allestree, Richars. Ladies Calling, in Two Parts. 1677
Part. II. Sect. I. Of Virgins.
Pages 174-175

[ …come to like the Person. It is therefore a most necessary caution for young Women, not to trust too much to their own Conduct, but to own their dependance on those, to whom God and Nature has subjected them, and to look on it not as their restraint and burden, but as their shelter and protection. For where once the autority of a Parent comes to be despis'd, tho in the lightest instance, it laies the foundation of utmost disobedience. She that will not be prescribed to in the choice of her ordinary diverting company, will less be so in chusing the fixt companion of her Life ; and we find it often eventually true, that those who govern themselves in the former, will not be govern'd by their friends in the later, but by pre-engagements of their own prevent their elections for them.

20. And this is one of the highest injuries they can do their Parents, who have such a native right in them, that 'tis no less an injustice then disobedience to dispose of themselves without them. This right of the Parents is so undoubted, that we find God himself gives way to it, and will not suffer the most holy pretence, no not that of a Vow, to invade it, as we may see his own stating of the case, Numb. 30. How will he then resent it, to have this so indispensable a Law violated upon the impulse of an impotent passion, an amorous inclination? Nor is the folly less then the sin: they injure and afflict their Parents, but they generally ruin and undo themselves. And that upon a double account, first as to the secular part. Those that are so rash as to make such matches, cannot be imagined so provident as to examine how agreeable 'tis to their interest, or to contrive for any thing beyond the Marriage. The thoughts of their future temporal conditions (like those of the eternal) can find no room amidst their foolish raptures ; but as if Love were indeed that Deity which the Poets feigned, they depend on it for all, and take no farther care. And event does commonly too soon instruct them in the deceitfulness of that trust ; love being so unable to support them, that it cannot maintain its self ; but quickly expires when it has brought the Lovers into those straits, from whence it cannot rescue them. So that indeed it does but play the decoy with them, brings them into the noose, and then retires. For when secular wants begin to pinch them, all the transports of their kindness do usually convert into mutual accusations, for having made each other miserable.

21. And indeed there is no reason to expect any better event, because in the second place they forfeit their title to the Divine Blessing ; nay, they put themselves out of the capacity… ]

Baron and Feme, a Treatise of the Common Law Concerning Husbands and Wives, wherein is Contained the Nature of Feme Covert, and of Marriages…. 1700
Title page

[ Baron and Feme.

A Treatise of the Common Law Concerning Husbands and Wives.

Wherein is contained The Nature of a Feme Covert, and of Marriages, Bastardy, the Privileges of Feme Coverts: What Alterations are made by Marriage as to Estates, Leases, Goods and Actions.

What Things of the Wife accrue to the Husband by the Intermarriage, or not.

What Acts, Charges, Forfeitures by the Husband, shall bind the Wife after his Death, or not.

Of Jointures and Pleadings, Fines and Recovery, Conveyances, and other Law Titles relating to Baron and Feme.

Of Wills, and Feme Covert being Executrix.

Of the [Wief's] Separate Disposition and Maintenance.

What amounts to the Disposition of the Wife's Term by the Husband.

Of Actions brought by or against Baron and Feme.

What Actions done, or Contracts made by the Wife, shall bind her Husband.

Of Indictments and Informations against them.

Of Baron and Feme's Joinder in Action.

Of a Feme Sole Merchant.

Declarations and Pleas, etc. of Divorces, etc. which many other Matters relating to the said Subject ; and some useful Precedents.

London, Printed by the Assigns of Richard and Edward Atkyns Esquires, for John Walthoe, and are to be sold at his Shop in Vine-Court, Middle-Temple. 1700. ]

English Theophrastus, or the Manners of the Age.  Being the Modern Characters of the Court, the Town, and the City…. 1706.
The Manners of the Ages.
Pages 270-271

[ It is with old Love, as with old Age, a Man lives to all the Miseries, but is dead to all the Pleasures of Life.

There is one kind of Love, whose excess prevents Jealousie.

In Love, Cozening always exceeds Distrust

There are some self-conceited Fops, who, when they are in Love, entertain themselves with their own Passion, instead of the Person that causes it.

† The Character of a happy Lover does not please a Man in Love so much as the Character of a true Lover.

† Not only Reason but even Nature it self is too weak to oppose Love: It claps so strong a Bias upon our Actions that the most pressing of all our Sensitive desires run narrow.

Marriage, Matrimony, Children.

* JEalousie betwixt Man and Wife, does not provoke and enflame the Appetite, as it sets the invention at work upon ways and means of giving one another the slip: And when it comes to a Trial of Wit once, 'tis a carrying of the Cause to gain the Point, and there's a kind of preverse satisfaction in getting the better on't. Nay, the very will to do a thing, is as good as the thing done ; and his Head is as Sick, that but Fancies the thing done, as if he saw the very doing of it with his own Eyes. The ways of a Woman that has a Mind to play Fast and Loose, are as unsearchable as the very thoughts of her Heart.

A Man that's free and single, if he have Wit and Parts, may raise himself above his Fortune ; get into Companies, and live sometimes upon the square with the Best: This is more difficult to one that's hampered ; for Marriage, it seems, sets all things a-right, and confines every Man to the degree of his Condition.

* Men that Marry for Riches, many times bring into their Families an Insupportable Mistress.

Many Marriages prove convenient and useful ; but few delightful.

'Tis much with Wedlock, as with our Elixirs and Antidotes ; there goes a thousand Ingredients to the making of the Composition ; but then if they be not tim'd, proportion'd, and prepar'd according to Art, 'tis a Clog to us rather than a Relief.

* Marriages are govern'd rather by an over-ruling Fatality, than any solemnity of Choice and Judgment ; tho' 'tis a hard matter to find out a Woman, even at the best, that's of a just Scantling for her Age, Person, Humour, and Fortune, to make a Wife of. The one single disparity of Years, is of it self sufficient, without a more than ordinary Measure of Virtue and Prudence, to make a Man ridiculous.

* A Wife and Children are a kind of Discipline of Humanity ; and Single Men, tho' they be many times more charitable, because their Means are less exhausted, yet, on the other side, they are more cruel and hard-hearted because their Tenderness is not so oft call'd upon. ]

Darrell, William. Gentleman Instructed in the Conduct of a Virtuous and Happy Life, Written for the Instruction of a Young Nobleman. 1709.
Title page

[ A Gentleman Instructed In the Conduct of a Virtuous and Happy Life.

Written for the Instruction of a Young Nobleman.

The Fourth Edition.


Printed for E. Smith, and are to be sold by Rich. Wilkin at the King's-Head in St. Paul's Church-Yard. 1709. ]

Defoe, Daniel. Family Instructor, in Three Parts, I. Relating to Fathers and Children, II. To Masters and Servants, III. To Husbands and Wives. 1715.
Pages 344-345

[ The Third Dialogue

The two last Dialogues are to be understood to be a Recapitulation of what had been acted some time past, in order to introduce this part, and preserve the Connection of the History. The Daughter is now to be talked of, as having been married some Time. The Son was gone to Travel, and having been returned into Flanders, was gone to his Post in the Army, where being in the Confederate Service, and commanded out upon Action, he fell in with a Party of the French, and being very much wounded in the Fight, was taken Prisoner and carried to Cambray ; from whence he wrote his Sister a Letter, of which in its Course.

The new married Couple had for above two Years lived together, as they were at first with his Father, and her Aunt ; during which Time she had had two Children, and the Treatment she had met with there, had been so kind, so diverting and so obliging, That she could have no Reason to say that they had not perform'd fully the Engagement her Husband had made with her, to endeavour to make her forget the Affliction of the Breach with her Father.

Her Husband carried it with so much Tenderness and Affection to her, as was capable to engage and win a Temper far more Refractory than hers ; and by his obliging Carriage he prevented many little Excursions which her Inclination would otherways have led her too ; yet two things remained, (1st.) She could not perswade herself to like a regular kind of Family Government ; She loved Company, which she had been accustomed to, and a little Play ; and when she made her Visits, would sometimes stay at Cards or other Diversions very late. (2d.) She could not bear to think of stooping to own her Misbehaviour to her Father, or to make any Submission to him; nor could her Husband, tho' he failed in no Endeavour, bring that Breach to an End without it.

As her Family encreased, and on the other Hand her Ways were not very agreeable to the Family she was in, it seemed necessary, to think of settling themselves apart ; and her Husband having a very good House of his own near the City, it was resolved they should do so ; and accordingly as we say, they began Housekeeping.

And now began the Tryal of her Husband's Temper, and Patience to the utmost : The Case was thus, Being now to be a Master of a Family, he was obliged to take upon him the Charge of Family Government ; he had not only been religiously educated, but as has been before observed, was a very serious religious Gentleman himself, it was his Affliction, that he found very little Complaisance in his Wife to any thing that was religious ; and therefore he entred into no Conference with her about establishing the Orders of his Family ; but as soon as his House was furnished, and his Family removed, resolved like a true Christian to begin with the Worship of God in his House, and that he… ]

Gentleman’s Library, Containing Rules for Conduct in All Parts of Life. 1715.
Conjugal Virtues.
Page 263

[ …The Commerce in the Conjugal State is so delicate, that it is impossible to prescribe Rules for the Conduct of it, so as to fit Ten Thousand nameless Pleasures and Disquietudes, which arise to People in that Condition. But it is in this as in some other nice Cases, where touching upon Malady tenderly, is half way to the Cure : And there are some Faults which need only to be observ'd to be amended.

I shall conclude this Chapter, with a few practical Directions, by which a Man engag'd in this important State, may aim at securing himself a lasting Happiness ; since as Plutarch assures us, there can be nothing more useful in Conjugal Society than the Observance of wholesome Precepts, fruitable to the Harmony of the Matrimonial Commerce.

The first necessary Rule to this End, is, that in Marriage the chief Business is to acquire a Prepossession in Favour of each other. They should consider one anothers Words and Actions with a secret Indulgence: There should be always an inward Fondness pleading for each other, such as may add new Beauties to every thing that is excellent, give Charms to what is indifferent, and cover every thing that is defective. For want of this kind… ]

Essex, John. Young Ladies Conduct; or, Rules of Education, Under Several Heads. With Instructions Upon Dress, both Before and After Marriage, and Advice to Young Wives. 1722.
Pages 94-95

[ …in declining or refusing ; having finished her Dance, let her modestly retire to her Seat, and behave her self with such Circumspection and Ease, as may gain her the just Esteem due to her Merit.

Some Rules for the Choice of a Husband, as well as the Conduct of the young Wife ; together with some hints about Dress, etc.

Marriage is an Affair of that Consequence in Life, that it is great Imprudence in a young Lady to venture on it, without good Consideration ; great Ingratitude to do it, without Advice of Parents, Friends, etc. And lastly, great Folly to enter into it… ]

New Academy of Compliments, or, the Lover’s Secretary, Being Wit and Mirth Improved, by the Most Elegant Expressions Used in the Art of Courtship…. A Never-Failing Method for Women to Get Good Husbands…. 1754
Pages 70-71

[ … I shall not proceed any father, because this is sufficient ; but let the Reader practice what I have here shewn him, and he may soon learn the whole Art.

A never failing Method for Women to get good Husbands.

Ladies, I Presume you will confess, that I have undertaken a very great Task, it being an Age that the Men set a very high Value on themselves, insinuating with all the Assurance imaginable, that a Husband is the Summum Bonum of all sublunary Blessings, and the Want of a Husband is the greatest Affliction. They would make you belive, that a noble Fortune, with all its agreeable Accommodations, such as a charming Dwelling, a pompous Equipage, a rich furnish'd Table, fine Dress, a sincere and ingenious She-Friend, with whom you may divide your Sorrow, and double your Joys, and in whose Breast, as a sacred Repository, you may communicate the very Secrets of your Soul over a Pot of Milk or Tea : This, and more than all this, viz. Dominion over yourselves, happy Freedom, and dear lov'd Liberty, is all nothing, it signifies nothing without a Husband.

This is the Theme our Sex have so well improved and so cunningly managed, that you Ladies verily believe it yourselves as you do your Creed, and so 'twould be an Herculean Labour, to go about rectifying your Notions ; tho' by the way, if I had any Hopes of doing something to the Purpose in this Matter, I would, in Charity to the Fair Sex, spend the same Time that I intend in instructing you to get Husbands, in advising you to shun Mankind, as you value your Repose, at least till they make fairer Propositions.

Well then, Ladies, to come to the Business: If you design to marry, you must banish from your Countenance and Favour for ever four Sorts of Men, viz. a Beau, a Rattle, a Self-opinionated Fool, and one subject to the Hypo.

For the admiring Addresses of any of these will only protract Time, and come to nothing ; for they not knowing their own Minds one Hour, will eternally teize you. One while they'll be in all the Transports and Raptures of a passionate Lover ; the next Day forget they ever saw your Face.

And should you, by wonderful Chance, catch Lysander in the Noose of Matrimony, you are not then within the Reach of the Church's Prayers. For out of Hell is no Redemption.

First then as to the Beau, the excrementious Part of Conversation : He, Narcissus like, will be ever ogling himself in a Looking-glass, and daily falling in Love with his own Phiz, though perhaps all the while but one Remove from a Monkey ; whilst neglected Cælia mobs up her own charming Face, pretends poor Creature to hate Jewels and Dress, because Fop must have a 50 Guinea Wig, etc. and whilst he is strutting in the Park or Play, the only Felicity left her is a Pot of Coffee, and perhaps some generous She-Friend, that comes to mix Tears with her, and condole her worse than Egyptian Slavery.

In the second Place, I wou'd have you shun a Rattle, a Flutterer, a Noisy-nothing, as the Pest of a Family, and miserable is the Body that has such a giddy Head ; the prudent Wife having Penelope's Task, to weave that Web that Monsieur Chatter ever unravels. Thus her Wisdom having got an Antagonist for Life, she must e'en fight her Way throughout to the Regions of Rest, and never finish her Combat till in her peaceful Grave.

Beware, thirdly, of a Self-opinionated, grave, documenting Thing, the very Grand Signior for Tyranny, … ]

Bland, James. Essay in Praise of Women, or a Looking-Glass for Ladies to See Their Perfections in, with Observations on How the Godhead Seemed Concerned in Their Creation…. [1767]
Pages 246-247

[ … Remember thou art made man's reasonable companion, not the slave of his passion ; the end of thy being is not merely to gratify his loose desire, but to assist him in the toils of life, to sooth him with thy tenderness, and recompence his care with soft endearments.

Who is she that winneth the heart of man, that subdueth him to love, and reigneth in his breast?

Lo! yonder she walketh in maiden sweetness, with innocence in her mind, and modesty on her cheek.

Her hand seeketh employment, her foot delighteth not in gadding abroad.

She is clothed with neatness, she is fed with temperance ; humility and meekness are a crown of glory circling her head.

On her tongue dwelleth music, the sweetness of honey floweth from her lips.

Decency is in all her words, in her answers are mildness and truth.

Submission and obedience are the lessons of her life, and peace and happiness are her reward.

Before her steps walketh prudence, and virtue attendeth at her right-hand.

Her eye speaketh softness and love ; but discretion with a sceptre fitteth on her brow.

The tongue of the licentious is dumb in her presence ; the aw of her virtue keepeth him silent.

When scandal is busy, and the fame of her neighbour is tossed from tongue to tongue ; if charity and good nature open not her mouth, the finger of silence resteth on her lip.

Her breast is the mansion of goodness, and therefore she suspecteth no evil in others. … ]

Constable, John. Conversation of Gentlemen Considered in Most of the Ways that Make Their Mutual Company Agreeable or Disagreeable, in Six Dialogues. [1738]
Dialog. I
Pages 8-9

[ …they readily desire, and propose to be like them. The Misfortune is, they want Perseverance in so good a Design. For a while, they keep a closer guard upon themselves. Then soon again they indulge a careless Liberty, and will not bear the requisite Constraint to conquer their disobliging Humours, Habits, or Passions. Thus they are soon thrown back into their natural or customary Failings. Whereas a constant Care for a considerable while together, would work the proper Improvements into our very Nature ; or Custom itself would be in us, as it is in the Proverb, a second Nature.

CLEAND. Nothing in Effect is so difficult, but it becomes easy in Time. A long Slavery is scarce discerned from Liberty. A long continued Solitude grows in a manner natural, tho' Nature has made us sociable. What we habitually Will, becomes as it were necessary, and almost ceases to be voluntary. A long continued Custom, by the Authority of Time, stands a Law. It will as certainly pass into a natural, as into a legal kind of Necessity. Estates find different Masters by Prescription, which makes a sufficient Title in Civil Government. We find that good and bad Habits, plead also a kind of Prescription in the Government of particular Persons ; and as Custom is very prevalent in other things, so it is also in the Methods of Conversation. With Regard indeed to moral Good, or Evil, there is this Difference, that as corrupted Nature leads to Sin, so vicious Habits are more easily contracted, and more difficult to be broken off, than the contrary.

EUDOX. And therefore with Regard to such Failures in Conversation, as either directly are from Vice, or intermixt with irregular Passions, we must be more careful than in other Defects, not to let them grow into a Habit. We see how strong either Nature, or Habits are, even separately. What do we think they will prove, when united?

CLEAND. Defects, when fixt upon that double Title, will prove almost insuperable. For it is not only in Passions, but also in Humours which are grounded in them, or increased by them, as it is in Rivers. The Similitude is so well known, that it is scarce a Metaphor to speak of the Stream of Passions. Rivers small in their Beginnings, as they advance in their Course, become more absolute in their Power. Easily turned off at first, they soon roll along too strong for Opposition, and even made stronger by it. Receiving new Supplies from smaller Rivulets, … ]

Barnard, John. Present for an Apprentice, or, a Sure Guide to Gain Both Esteem and Estate with Rules for His Conduct to His Master and in the World. [1790?]
Pages 62-63

[ … Taking Apprentices.

If you take an Apprentice, do not let the Bribe of so much Money paid down at signing his Indentures, or the Prospect of a seven Years Service, induce you to accept one of an untoward Disposition, evil Inclination, or unprincipled in Virtue and Good Manners : It is not to be imagined that Disorders such will create in your Family, and what Vexation to yourself : But, for the sake of good Qualities, sober Education, and a tractable, obliging Temper, abate in the Consideration. Peace is worth infinitely more than Money, since Money cannot purchase it ; and, if such a one should fall to your Lot, treat him more like a Son than a Servant. Remember he is descended from your Equal, and that he will, one Day, be the same himself : Nor, when that Day comes, have Occasion to blush at Reproaches he may justly make, and you will be unable to answer : In fine, look back into your own Life, to recollect what you suffered, or expected, when in the same Circumstance yourself. And, looking forward, imagine what Sort of Treatment you would wish a Master should use to a Child of your own.

Choice of a Wife.

I have promised you to treat more at large of your Choice of a Wife : It is now a proper Place to make it good. For, though this Topic is, at present, much too early for your Consideration, I am willing thus far to disarm Death of his Sting, and while I yet live, give you the Instructions which, when more seasonable, may be out of my Power.

And first, with Regard to Marriage itself ; as a Duty to Nature, and the Commonwealth, I cannot help recommending it : But, with Regard to your own easy Passage through Life, I am half inclined to the Contrary. The shrewd Mr. Osborne, in his Advice to his Son, is pleased to insinuate, that it is the Creature of Policy only ; adding, The wily Priests (Roman Catholics) are so tender of their own Conveniences, as to forbid all Marriage to themselves, upon as heavy Punishment, as they do Poligamy unto others. Now, if nothing capable of the Name of Felicity, was ever, by Men or Angels, found to be denied to the Priesthood, may not Marriage be strongly suspected to be by them thought out of the List, though to render it more glib to the wider Swallow of the long abused Laity, they have gilt it with the glorious Epithet of Sacrament? I will add no Comment on this Passage, but leave you to make what Conclusion you please.

But, if you rather incline to venture on this critical State, I charge you to look upon it as a point on which your whole happiness and Prosperity depend, and make your Choice with a becoming Gravity and Concern. I charge you likewise, with equal Earnestness, if by ill Fortune, or ill Conduct, your Affairs should be in Ruins, not to make Marriage an Expedient to repair them. I do not know a worse Kind of Hypocrisy, than to draw in the Innocent and Unsuspecting, by false Appearances, to make but one Step from Ease and Affluence, to all the Disappointment, Shame, and Misery of a broken Fortune. If, therefore, you must sink, sink alone, nor load yourself with the intolerable Reflection … ]

Fielding, Sarah. Governess, or Little Female Academy, Calculated for the Entertainment and Instruction of Young Ladies in Their Education. [1789]
Title page

[ The Governess ;

Or, The Little Female Academy.

Calculated for the Entertainment and Instruction of Young Ladies In Their Education.

By the Author of David Simple.

The Seventh Edition.

Revised and Corrected.

Shall we forget the Counsel we have shar'd.
The Sister's Vows, the Hours that we have spent,
When we have chid the basty-footed Time
For parting us ? O ! and is all forgot ?
All School-Days Friendship, Childhood Innocence.

Shakespear's Midsummer Night's Dream.


Printed for J. F. and C. Rivington, T. Longman, B. Law, T. Cadell, and S. Bladon.


Price bound Eighteen Pence. ]

Person of Distinction. Book of Conversation and Behaviour. [1754]
Page 187

[ … see that it is not Aversion in the Lady, but merely Coldness. I will not offend her with any more Sollicitations, but wait for what may, tho' I suppose it will not happen, a Change of her Inclination in my Favour.

Sir Sam. I think there never was so unhappy, or so honourable a Courtship.

Book. On all Parts.

Sir Will. I have only one Question and yet I dare not ask it. I claim no Merit from my Passion, and I have therefore no right to expect an Answer ; and yet I must request of you, my Lady, to propose it : Is there not some other who takes that Place in the Lady's Favour, which had there been no such happy Man, I might have obtained.

Sir Sam. You hear the Question, and I hope you will answer it.

Miss Fash. I dont know, Sir, that a Person whose Addresses I never received, has any right to ask me ; but if it be you … ]

Calcott, Wellins. Thoughts Moral and Divine, Collected and Intended for the Better Instruction and Conduct of Life…. 1759.
Pages 240-241

[ … since I am to have a wife, the partner of my bed, and of all the joys and sorrows that are likely to befal me, whilst I live, I must seek for one that I can like (I think) for ever.

Can wealth give Happiness ? look round, and see,
What gay distress ! what splendid misery !
Whatever fortune lavishly can pour
The mind annihilates, and calls for more.
Wealth is a cheat, believe not what it says,
Like any Lord it promises and — pays.
How will the miser startle to be told
Of such a wonder as insolvent gold?
What nature wants has an intrinsick weight ;
All more, is but the fashion of the plate,
Which for one moment, charms the fickle view,
It charms us now, anon we cast anew,
To some fresh birth of fancy more inclin'd :
Then wed not acres, but a noble mind.

If your fancy and judgment have agreed in the choice of a fit person for your wife, love so, that you may be feared ; rule so, that you may be honoured ; be not too diffident, lest you teach her to deceive you ; nor too suspicious, lest you teach her to abuse you : If you see a fault let your love hide it ; if she continue in it, let your wisdom reprove it : Reprove her not openly, lest she grow bold ; rebuke her not tauntingly, lest she grow spiteful : Proclaim not her beauty, lest she grow proud ; boast not of her wisdom, lest you be thought foolish : Let her not see your imperfections, lest she disdain you ; profane not her ears with loose communication, lest you defile the sanctuary of her modesty : An understanding husband makes a discreet wife, and she a happy husband.

Let your love advise before you choose, and your choice be fixed before you marry : Remember the happiness or misery of your life depends upon this one act, and that nothing but death can dissolve the knot ; he that weds in haste, repents oftentimes by leisure ; and he that repents of his own act, either is, or was a fool by his own confession.

A single life is doubtless preferable to a married one, where prudence and affection do not accompany the choice ; but where they do, there is not terrestrial happiness equal to the married state.

In the choice of a wife (say the Spaniards) we ought to make use of our ears, and not of our eyes.

Whatsoever jars happen after Marriage, they ought never to break the most sacred bands.

There cannot be too near an equality, too exact an harmony betwixt a married couple ; it is a step of such weight, as calls for all our foresight and penetration ;  and especially … ]

Modern Couple, or, the History of Mr. and Mrs. Davers, in a Series of Letters. [1776]
Pages 120-121

[ … married men ; there are many I am satisfied, who would derive considerable advantages from a firm adherence to their marriage vows : and were every man after his wedding day, to be smartly taxed on every deviation from his conjugal fidelity, he would soon, perhaps, be constant, and, probably, a happy husband."

"I am of a different opinion, The slightest tax upon husbands, whenever they are disposed to have any affairs abroad, will only serve to drive them more frequently from home. Prohibited goods are always greedily sought after, and the heavier the duties upon them, the more powerfully do they attract our attention."

"Well, but don't you think we have privileges superior to any which the other sex enjoy? Or are you one of those husbands, who, in order to roam with the greater freedom, wink at the ramblings of their wives?"

"I will never be one of the contemptible number," said he, eagerly. "On the contrary, I shall look very diligently after my wife's conduct, and if I have the least reason to suspect her, I shall not think of excusing her infidelities, by reflecting upon my own. The consequences arising from an amour on her side, and a temporary connection on mine can, with no propriety, be compared. If I have twenty children by twenty different women, my rank remains unsullied, and my honour unimpeached, though my fortune may be impaired. But by the incontinence of my wife, I may have an heir to my estate, without being a father to him, and have the mortification to see a legitimate son excluded from his rightful succession. Therefore, prythee, Shelburne, say no more upon this subject ; it will not bear an examination."

Finding that I could not bring him over to my sentiments, and perceiving him to grow both impatient and weary, I made a new movement, and attacked him in another part. "You have freely declared yourself for unlimited power in a husband ; but can you, possibly, look upon the seduction of a girl, who, uncorrupted by your insinuating arts, might have been, at this hour, innocent as a venial crime?"

He paused a moment, and grew very serious. "I do not pretend," replied he, "to exculpate myself entirely with regard to Sally Pigot: but what the devil would you have a man to do, Shelburne? The girls actually throw themselves into one's arms. But I see my wife has been prating. D--n these women; they can never hold their tongues."

I began … ]


Bennett, John. Letters to a Young Lady, on a Variety of Useful and Interesting Subjects Calculated to Improve the Heart, to Form the Manners, and Enlighten the Understanding. Two volumes. 1789
Pages 228-229

[ … if they did not derive a fresh and lively bloom from principle within.

In an age of levity, this happy pair are not ashamed to be thought religious. They are persuaded, that their blessings could have no permanency or relish, if unsanctified with the smile and protection of heaven. Their house is, in fact, a temple, where prayers and praises are, regularly, offered up, every night and morning, to the great Author and preserver of their lives. Every servant is required to attend the service ; and they are all, occasionally, instructed in their duties to God and man. They have, likewise, each a little library of devotional tracts, which have been presented to them by their generous superiors. I had the curiosity, one day, to examine the title pages, and found them, principally, to consist of the Great Importance of a Religious Life ; Beveridge's Private Thoughts and Resolutions ; Taylor's Holy Living and Dying ; Advice against swearing, drunkenness, profaneness, &c. in little tracts from the Society, for promoting Christian Knowledge ; Wilson on the Sacrament ; the Christian Pattern ; Henry's Pleasantness of a Religious Life, &c.

It would delight you to observe with what a mixture of love and reverence, these servants approach their real benefactors. You hear nothing, under this roof, of those feuds and animosities, which so much imbitter the happiness of families. "They live, as brethren together in unity." The only contention is, which shall be most ardent, assiduous and vigilant in the performance of their duty.

If Maria (Eugenio's lady) has the slightest indisposition, you might read it, without asking a syllable, in the anxious looks and gestures of all her attendants. She was a lately confined with a nervous fever ; and it would have astonished you to see the unaffected grief and concern, … ]

Honoria. Female Mentor, or, Select Conversations. 1793.
On Marriage
Pages 268-269

[ … wants and our desires ; we find every comfort at home, and enjoy calmly those blessings, which others are pursuing, but never reach. Hurry and dissipation may amuse for a time ; but we must return home, the hour of reflection will intrude, when we cannot fail of condemning a life passed in idleness and vanity. In a single person this conduct is blameable, but in the married woman unpardonable, for she should have no view, no desire, but to make her husband happy.

"In this character your amiable sister will appear to the world : how different from many other women ! Ambitious of admiration, they endeavour to please every one more than the man whom they marry : good-humoured abroad, peevish and discontented at home ; or if they avoid such flagrant misbehaviour, by a want of compliance in little things, and not consulting the disposition of their husbands, they frequently throw away that happiness they might enjoy. If a man is out of humour, his wife immediately concludes he does not love her ; never considering that it is not one circumstance only which should justify her in drawing that conclusion, but the whole tenor of his behaviour. The care of supporting his family lies wholly on the man ; and a variety of circumstances frequently occur to vex him. Prudence perhaps prevents him from shewing his disgust to those who occasion his uneasiness, and he will be ready to quarrel with those whom he most dearly loves. If at these times a woman can preserve her temper and behave pleasingly, can be quiet, though she is right and he is wrong, and can endeavor to soothe him by not opposing him, she will gain his affections ; and he will, when he is cool, reflect on himself for having been unreasonable, and admire her meekness and forbearance.

"It is so much the wife's interest to render herself agreeable to her husband, and there is no sacrifice too great to obtain his end, and there are very few men whom a sensible and virtuous woman could not attach : but as trifles opposed become essentials, she should be particularly attentive not to be contentious about things of little moment. If a woman really loves a man, it grieves her to see him vexed and disconcerted ; surely then she ought to avoid every thing that may ruffle him. These reflections flowed from my pen as the result of my knowing how sensibly your sister acts, and from the happy conviction, that by such behaviour, time will gradually strengthen her husband's affection, which is founded on esteem and approbation of her conduct.



The following verses were next read by a gentleman, who said "These lines are transcribed from Swift. The moral of the first ten lines are a caution to women, who in general are apt to neglect their persons after marriage, when at home, and reserve all their beauty for public view : and the last twenty-two … ]

Armstrong, John. Young Woman’s Guide to Virtue, Economy, and Happiness, Being an Improved and Pleasant Directory for Cultivating the Heart and Understanding, with a Complete and Elegant System of Domestic Cookery. 1828
The Young Woman's Guide to Happiness
Pages 450-451

[ … Reformed Rakes and Fine Gentlemen.

We proposed to write an article warning our fair readers against the very pernicious old proverb, that reformed rakes make the best husbands, and hold up to ridicule those non-descript animals which are known by the appellation of fine gentlemen. But on reflection, we thought that such cautions would be offering an insult to the understanding of the reader. No woman of a pure heart could surrender herself to the disgusting embraces of a rake, whose powers being worn out by a nasty and revolting scene of dissipation, seeks for repose on the bosom of a virtuous woman. — A virtuous woman, did we say? no : such a fellow has no idea of the possibility of such a character existing, but judging from his own experience, concludes with Pope that

'Every woman is a rake at heart.'

How then can such a man repose confidence in his wife, or treat her with the delicacy of a friend? How can he discharge the duties of a father, whose life has been spent in involving the children of others in ruin and infamy, in order to gratify his own sensual appetite? or, how can that man be expected to revere the marriage rules, who has long been in the habit of undermining the principles on which they rest? Besides, no man of sense and delicacy would choose a common prostitute for his wife; and she who chooses a male prostitute may depend upon it, (whatever the pretended distinction may be) that his morals are equally depraved, and the connection will be equally disgraceful and unhappy.

Those stiffened, vain, conceited fops, who are designated as fine gentlemen, are so completely and universally contemptible as to require no description; their vanity is too despicable, and their selfishness too well known, to impose upon any woman of sense. The gay, the thoughtless, and the ignorant are out of the question. Such women may indeed marry to please their silly eyes in the morning of life, though a long, dreary, and wretched night must follow.

We again above all things entreat our fair readers to labour assiduously in cultivating their understanding. Knowledge is the best safeguard against vice, and the only certain means of preserving the esteem of a husband. A beautiful [ideot] will soon become contemptible, and be deserted. 'True voluptuousness,' exclaims a high-minded female, 'must proceed from the mind--for what can equal the sensations produced by mutual affection, supported by mutual respect? What are the cold, or feverish caresses of appetite, but sin embracing death, compared with the modest overflowings of a pure heart and exalted imagination? Yes, let me tell the libertine of fancy when he despises understanding in woman--that the mind, which he disregards, gives life to the enthusiastic affection from which rapture, short-lived as it is, alone can flow! And, that, without virtue, a sexual attachment must expire, like a tallow candle in the socket, creating intolerable disgust. To prove this I need only observe, that men who have wasted great part of their lives with women, and with whom they have sought for pleasure with eager thirst, entertain the meanest opinion of the sex.--Virtue, true refiner of joy! --if foolish men were to fright thee from earth, in order to give loose to all their appetites without a check--some sensual weight of taste would scale the heavens to invite thee back, to give a zest to pleasure !

On the Choice of a Husband

If a young man makes his addresses to you, or gives you any reason to believe he will do so, before you allow your affections to be engaged, endeavour, in the most prudent and secret manner, to procure from your friends every necessary piece of information concerning him ; such as his character, as to sense, his morality, his religion, his temper, and family, whether it is distinguished for parts and worth or for folly and knavery. When your friends inform you of these, they have fulfilled their duty; and it [behoves] you to hearken to their counsel, and to attend to their advice.

Avoid a companion that may entail any hereditary disease on your posterity, particularly that most dreadful of all human calamities, madness. It is the height of imprudence to run into such a danger; and, farther, ir it highly criminal.

Do not marry a fool; he is the most untractable of all animals; he is led by his passions and caprices, and is incapable … ]