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like Ruth, the support and comfort of her mother in her old age.
• The bounding arrow cleaves the sky
Nor leaves a trace behind ;
- They vanish through the wind.
Let us improve the scene,
To tell that we have been.' There is a good paper on the subject in hand, in the seventh volume of the Specta. tor; I will give you some extracts from it:
• There are two advantages of the marriage state, which are seldom cast into the account by those who write upon this subject. You must have observed in your speculation on human nature, that nothing is more gratifying to the mind of man, than power, or dominion; and this I think myself amply possessed of, as I am the father of a family. I am perpetuallytaken up in giving out orders, in prescribing duties, in hearing parties, in administering justice, and in distributing rewards and punishments. To speak in the language of the Centurion, I say to one, go, and he goeth ; and to another, come, and he cometh; and to my servant, do this, and he doeth it. In short, Sir, I look upon my family as a patriarchal sovereignty, in which I am myself both king and priest. All great governments are nothing else but clusters of these little private royalties; and therefore, I consider the masters of families as sinalldeputy-governors, presiding over the several little parcels and divisions of their fellow.subjects. As I take great pleasure in the administration of iny government in particular; so I look upon myself not only as a more useful, but as a much greater and happier man than any batchelor in England of my own rank and condition.
There is another accidental advantage in marriage, which has likewise fallen to my share; I mean the having a multitude of children; these I cannot but regard as very great blessings. When I see my little troop before me, I rejoice in the additions which I have made to my species, In what a beautiful light has the Holy Scripture represented Abdon, one of the judges of Israel, who had forty sons, and thirty grandsons, that rode on three score and ten asscolts, according to the magnificence of the eastern countries ? For my own part, I can sit in my parlour with great content, when I take a review of half R
dozen of my little boys mounted on hob. by horses, and as many little girls, tutoring their babes, each of them endea. vouring to excel the rest, and do something that may gain my favour and approbation. I cannot question but he who has blessed me with so many chil. dren, will assist my endeavours in pro. viding for them. There is one thing I am able to give each of them, which is, a virtuous education, I think it is Sir Francis Bacon's observation, that in a numerous family of children, the eldest is often spoiled by the prospect of an estate, and the youngest by being the darling of the parents; but that some one or other in the middle, who has not perhaps been regarded, has made his way in the world, and over-topped the rest. It is my business to implant in every one of my children, the same seeds of industry, and the same honest principles. By this means, I think I have a fair chance, that one or other of them may grow considerable in some way of life or other, whether it be in the army, or in the fleet, in trade, or any of the three learned professions: for you must know, Sir, that from long experience and observation, I am persuaded of what seems a paradox to most of those with whom I converse, namely, that a man who has many children, and gives them a good education, is more likely to raise a family, than he who has but one, notwithstanding he leaves him his whole estate. For this reason, I cannot forbear amusing myself with finding out a general, an 'admiral, or an alderman of London, a divine, a physician, or a lawyer, among my little people who are now perhaps in petticoats ; and when I see the motherly airs of my little daughters, when they are playing with their puppets, I cannot but ftatter myself, that their husbands and children, will be happy in the possession of such wives and mothers.
The writer adds;. If you are a father, you will not perhaps think this letter impertinent; but, if you are a single man, you will not know the meaning of it, and will probably throw it into the fire.'
None but husbands and fathers, can conceive of the happiness that a husband and father enjoys. Others are much more likely to observe the difficulties and disadvantages of the marriage state. Indeed, I fear that too many
married people, dwell too much on those unavoidable troubles, which inust of necessity attend matrimony.
Many excellent papers were puh. lished a hundred years ago in the Spectator, on this subject. Before I conclude this letter, I will give you another extract from that work, which I think you will acknowledge is very much to our purpose,
Many are the epistles I every day receive from husbands, who complain of vanity and pride, but above all, ill nature, in their wives. I cannot tell how it is, but I think I see in all their letters, that the cause of their uneasiness is in themselves; and indeed, I have hardly ever observed the married condition unhappy, but from want of judgment or temper in the man. The truth is, we generally make love in a style, and with sentiments very unfit for ordinary life: they are half theatrical ; half romantic. By this means, we raise our imaginations to what is not to be expected in human life; and because we did not before-hand think of the creature we were enamoured of, as subject to dishumour, age, sickness, impatience, or sullenness, but altogether considered her