No. 170. Friday, September 14, 1711. Addison.

In amore hác omnia insunt vitía: injuriá,
Suspiciones, inimicitiá, induciá,
Bellum, pax rursum ...'
Ter. Eun.

Upon looking over the Letters of my female Correspondents, I find several from Women complaining of jealous Husbands, and at the same time protesting their own Innocence; and desiring my Advice on this Occasion. I shall therefore take this Subject into my Consideration, and the more willingly, because I find that the Marquis of Hallifax, who in his Advice to a Daughter [1] has instructed a Wife how to behave her self towards a false, an intemperate, a cholerick, a sullen, a covetous, or a silly Husband, has not spoken one Word of a Jealous Husband.

Jealousy is that Pain which a Man feels from the Apprehension that he is not equally beloved by the Person whom he entirely loves. Now, because our inward Passions and Inclinations can never make themselves visible, it is impossible for a jealous Man to be thoroughly cured of his Suspicions. His Thoughts hang at best in a State of Doubtfulness and Uncertainty; and are never capable of receiving any Satisfaction on the advantageous Side; so that his Enquiries are most successful when they discover nothing: His Pleasure arises from his Disappointments, and his Life is spent in Pursuit of a Secret that destroys his Happiness if he chance to find it.

An ardent Love is always a strong Ingredient in this Passion; for the same Affection which stirs up the jealous Man's Desires, and gives the Party beloved so beautiful a Figure in his Imagination, makes him believe she kindles the same Passion in others, and appears as amiable to all Beholders. And as Jealousy thus arises from an extraordinary Love, it is of so delicate a Nature, that it scorns to take up with any thing less than an equal Return of Love. Not the warmest Expressions of Affection, the softest and most tender Hypocrisy, are able to give any Satisfaction, where we are not persuaded that the Affection is real and the Satisfaction mutual. For the jealous Man wishes himself a kind of Deity to the Person he loves: He would be the only Pleasure of her Senses, the Employment of her Thoughts; and is angry at every thing she admires, or takes Delight in, besides himself.

Phádria's Request to his Mistress, upon his leaving her for three Days, is inimitably beautiful and natural.

Cum milite isto prásens, absens ut sies: Dies, noctesque me ames: me desideres: Me somnies: me exspectes: de me cogites: Me speres: me te oblectes: mecum tola sis: Meus fac sis postremo animus, quando ego sum tuus.

Ter. Eun. [2]

The Jealous Man's Disease is of so malignant a Nature, that it converts all he takes into its own Nourishment. A cool Behaviour sets him on the Rack, and is interpreted as an instance of Aversion or Indifference; a fond one raises his Suspicions, and looks too much like Dissimulation and Artifice. If the Person he loves be cheerful, her Thoughts must be employed on another; and if sad, she is certainly thinking on himself. In short, there is no Word or Gesture so insignificant, but it gives him new Hints, feeds his Suspicions, and furnishes him with fresh Matters of Discovery: So that if we consider the effects of this Passion, one would rather think it proceeded from an inveterate Hatred than an excessive Love; for certainly none can meet with more Disquietude and Uneasiness than a suspected Wife, if we except the jealous Husband.

But the great Unhappiness of this Passion is, that it naturally tends to alienate the Affection which it is so solicitous to engross; and that for these two Reasons, because it lays too great a Constraint on the Words and Actions of the suspected Person, and at the same time shews you have no honourable Opinion of her; both of which are strong Motives to Aversion.

Nor is this the worst Effect of Jealousy; for it often draws after it a more fatal Train of Consequences, and makes the Person you suspect guilty of the very Crimes you are so much afraid of. It is very natural for such who are treated ill and upbraided falsely, to find out an intimate Friend that will hear their Complaints, condole their Sufferings, and endeavour to sooth and asswage their secret Resentments. Besides, Jealousy puts a Woman often in Mind of an ill Thing that she would not otherwise perhaps have thought of, and fills her Imagination with such an unlucky Idea, as in Time grows familiar, excites Desire, and loses all the Shame and Horror which might at first attend it. Nor is it a Wonder if she who suffers wrongfully in a Man's Opinion of her, and has therefore nothing to forfeit in his Esteem, resolves to give him reason for his Suspicions, and to enjoy the Pleasure of the Crime, since she must undergo the Ignominy. Such probably were the Considerations that directed the wise Man in his Advice to Husbands; Be not jealous over the Wife of thy Bosom, and teach her not an evil Lesson against thy self. Ecclus. [3]

And here, among the other Torments which this Passion produces, we may usually observe that none are greater Mourners than jealous Men, when the Person [who [4]] provoked their Jealousy is taken from them. Then it is that their Love breaks out furiously, and throws off all the Mixtures of Suspicion [which [5]] choaked and smothered it before. The beautiful Parts of the Character rise uppermost in the jealous Husband's Memory, and upbraid him with the ill Usage of so divine a Creature as was once in his Possession; whilst all the little Imperfections, that were [before [6]] so uneasie to him, wear off from his Remembrance, and shew themselves no more.

We may see by what has been said, that Jealousy takes the deepest Root in Men of amorous Dispositions; and of these we may find three Kinds who are most over-run with it.

The First are those who are conscious to themselves of an Infirmity, whether it be Weakness, Old Age, Deformity, Ignorance, or the like. These Men are so well acquainted with the unamiable Part of themselves, that they have not the Confidence to think they are really beloved; and are so distrustful of their own Merits, that all Fondness towards them puts them out of Countenance, and looks like a Jest upon their Persons. They grow suspicious on their first looking in a Glass, and are stung with Jealousy at the sight of a Wrinkle. A handsome Fellow immediately alarms them, and every thing that looks young or gay turns their thoughts upon their Wives.

A Second Sort of Men, who are most liable to this Passion, are those of cunning, wary, and distrustful Tempers. It is a Fault very justly found in Histories composed by Politicians, that they leave nothing to Chance or Humour, but are still for deriving every Action from some Plot and Contrivance, for drawing up a perpetual Scheme of Causes and Events, and preserving a constant Correspondence between the Camp and the Council-Table. And thus it happens in the Affairs of Love with Men of too refined a Thought. They put a Construction on a Look, and find out a Design in a Smile; they give new Senses and Significations to Words and Actions; and are ever tormenting themselves with Fancies of their own raising: They generally act in a Disguise themselves, and therefore mistake all outward Shows and Appearances for Hypocrisy in others; so that I believe no Men see less of the Truth and Reality of Things, than these great Refiners upon Incidents, [who [7]] are so wonderfully subtle and overwise in their Conceptions.

Now what these Men fancy they know of Women by Reflection, your lewd and vicious Men believe they have learned by Experience. They have seen the poor Husband so misled by Tricks and Artifices, and in the midst of his Enquiries so lost and bewilder'd in a crooked Intreague, that they still suspect an Under-Plot in every female Action; and especially where they see any Resemblance in the Behaviour of two Persons, are apt to fancy it proceeds from the same Design in both. These Men therefore bear hard upon the suspected Party, pursue her close through all her Turnings and Windings, and are too well acquainted with the Chace, to be slung off by any false Steps or Doubles: Besides, their Acquaintance and Conversation has lain wholly among the vicious Part of Womankind, and therefore it is no Wonder they censure all alike, and look upon the whole Sex as a Species of Impostors. But if, notwithstanding their private Experience, they can get over these Prejudices, and entertain a favourable Opinion of some Women; yet their own loose Desires will stir up new Suspicions from another Side, and make them believe all Men subject to the same Inclinations with themselves.

Whether these or other Motives are most predominant, we learn from the modern Histories of America, as well as from our own Experience in this Part of the World, that Jealousy is no Northern Passion, but rages most in those Nations that lie nearest the Influence of the Sun. It is a Misfortune for a Woman to be born between the Tropicks; for there lie the hottest Regions of Jealousy, which as you come Northward cools all along with the Climate, till you scarce meet with any thing like it in the Polar Circle. Our own Nation is very temperately situated in this respect; and if we meet with some few disordered with the Violence of this Passion, they are not the proper Growth of our Country, but are many Degrees nearer the Sun in their Constitutions than in their Climate.

After this frightful Account of Jealousy, and the Persons [who [8]] are most subject to it, it will be but fair to shew by what means the Passion may be best allay'd, and those who are possessed with it set at Ease. Other Faults indeed are not under the Wife's Jurisdiction, and should, if possible, escape her Observation; but Jealousy calls upon her particularly for its Cure, and deserves all her Art and Application in the Attempt: Besides, she has this for her Encouragement, that her Endeavours will be always pleasing, and that she will still find the Affection of her Husband rising towards her in proportion as his Doubts and Suspicions vanish; for, as we have seen all along, there is so great a Mixture of Love in Jealousy as is well worth separating. But this shall be the Subject of another Paper.


[Footnote 1: 'Miscellanies' by the late lord Marquis of Halifax (George Saville, who died in 1695), 1704, pp. 18-31.]

[Footnote 2:

'When you are in company with that Soldier, behave as if you were absent: but continue to love me by Day and by Night: want me; dream of me; expect me; think of me; wish for me; delight in me: be wholly with me: in short, be my very Soul, as I am yours.']

[Footnote 3: 'Ecclus'. ix. I.]

[Footnote 4: that]

[Footnote 5: that]

[Footnote 6: formerly]

[Footnote 7: that]

[Footnote 8: that]

Translation of motto:
TER. Eun. Act i. Sc. 1.
'In love are all these ills: suspicions, quarrels,
Wrongs, reconcilements, war, and peace again.'