No. 528. Wednesday, November 5, 1712. Steele.

Dum potuit solite gemitum virtute repressit.'


'I who now write to you, am a Woman loaded with Injuries, and the Aggravation of my Misfortune is, that they are such which are overlooked by the Generality of Mankind, and tho' the most afflicting imaginable, not regarded as such in the general Sense of the World. I have hid my Vexation from all Mankind; but have now taken Pen, Ink, and Paper, and am resolv'd to unbosom my self to you, and lay before you what grieves me and all the Sex. You have very often mentioned particular Hardships done to this or that Lady; but, methinks, you have not in any one Speculation directly pointed at the partial Freedom Men take, the unreasonable Confinement Women are obliged to, in the only Circumstance in which we are necessarily to have a Commerce with them, that of Love. The Case of Celibacy is the great Evil of our Nation; and the Indulgence of the vicious Conduct of Men in that State, with the Ridicule to which Women are exposed, though ever so virtuous, if long unmarried, is the Root of the greatest Irregularities of this Nation. To shew you, Sir, that tho' you never have given us the Catalogue of a Lady's Library as you promised, we read good Books of our own chusing, I shall insert on this occasion a Paragraph or two out of Echard's Roman History. In the 44th Page of the second Volume the Author observes, that Augustus, upon his Return to Rome at the end of a War, received Complaints that too great a Number of the young Men of Quality were unmarried. The Emperor thereupon assembled the whole Equestrian Order; and having separated the Married from the Single, did particular Honours to the former, but he told the latter, that is to say, Mr. SPECTATOR, he told the Batchelors,

"That their Lives and Actions had been so peculiar, that he knew not
by what Name to call 'em; not by that of Men, for they performed
nothing that was manly; not by that of Citizens, for the City might
perish notwithstanding their Care; nor by that of _Romans_, for they
designed to extirpate the _Roman_ Name."

Then proceeding to shew his tender Care and hearty Affection for his People, he further told them,

"That their Course of Life was of such pernicious Consequence to the
Glory and Grandeur of the _Roman_ Nation, that he could not chuse
but tell them, that all other Crimes put together could not equalize
theirs: For they were guilty of Murder, in not suffering those to be
born which should proceed from them; of Impiety, in causing the
Names and Honours of their Ancestors to cease; and of Sacrilege, in
destroying their Kind, which proceeded from the immortal Gods, and
Human Nature, the principal thing consecrated to 'em: Therefore in
this Respect they dissolved the Government, in disobeying its Laws;
betrayed their Country, by making it barren and waste; nay and
demolished their City, in depriving it of Inhabitants. And he was
sensible that all this proceeded not from any kind of Virtue or
Abstinence, but from a Looseness and Wantonness, which ought never
to be encouraged in any Civil Government."

There are no Particulars dwelt upon that let us into the Conduct of these young Worthies, whom this great Emperor treated with so much Justice and Indignation; but any one who observes what passes in this Town, may very well frame to himself a Notion of their Riots and Debaucheries all Night, and their apparent Preparations for them all Day. It is not to be doubted but these Romans never passed any of their Time innocently but when they were asleep, and never slept but when they were weary and heavy with Excesses, and slept only to prepare themselves for the Repetition of them. If you did your Duty as a SPECTATOR, you would carefully examine into the Number of Births, Marriages, and Burials; and when you had deducted out of your Deaths all such as went out of the World without marrying, then cast up the number of both Sexes born within such a Term of Years last past, you might from the single People departed make some useful Inferences or Guesses how many there are left unmarried, and raise some useful Scheme for the Amendment of the Age in that particular. I have not Patience to proceed gravely on this abominable Libertinism; for I cannot but reflect, as I am writing to you, upon a certain lascivious Manner which all our young Gentlemen use in publick, and examine our Eyes with a Petulancy in their own, which is a downright Affront to Modesty. A disdainful Look on such an Occasion is return'd with a Countenance rebuked, but by averting their Eyes from the Woman of Honour and Decency to some flippant Creature, who will, as the Phrase is, be kinder. I must set down things as they come into my Head, without standing upon Order. Ten thousand to one but the gay Gentleman who stared, at the same time is an House-keeper; for you must know they have got into a Humour of late of being very regular in their Sins, and a young Fellow shall keep his four Maids and three Footmen with the greatest Gravity imaginable. There are no less than six of these venerable House-keepers of my Acquaintance. This Humour among young Men of Condition is imitated by all the World below them, and a general Dissolution of Manners arises from the one Source of Libertinism, without Shame or Reprehension in the Male Youth. It is from this one Fountain that so many Beautiful helpless young Women are sacrific'd and given up to Lewdness, Shame, Poverty and Disease. It is to this also that so many excellent young Women, who might be Patterns of conjugal Affection and Parents of a worthy Race, pine under unhappy Passions for such as have not Attention enough to observe, or Virtue enough to prefer them to their common Wenches. Now, Mr. SPECTATOR, I must be free to own to you, that I my self suffer a tasteless insipid Being, from a Consideration I have for a Man who would not, as he has said in my hearing, resign his Liberty, as he calls it, for all the Beauty and Wealth the whole Sex is possessed of. Such Calamities as these would not happen, if it could possibly be brought about, that by fining Batchelors as Papists Convict, or the like, they were distinguished to their disadvantage from the rest of the World, who fall in with the Measures of Civil Society. Lest you should think I speak this as being, according to the senseless rude Phrase, a malicious old Maid, I shall acquaint you I am a Woman of Condition not now three and twenty, and have had Proposals from at least ten different Men, and the greater Number of them have upon the Upshot refused me. Something or other is always amiss when the Lover takes to some new Wench: A Settlement is easily excepted against; and there is very little Recourse to avoid the vicious Part of our Youth, but throwing one's self away upon some lifeless Blockhead, who tho' he is without Vice, is also without Virtue. Now-a-days we must be contented if we can get Creatures which are not bad, good are not to be expected. Mr. SPECTATOR, I sat near you the other Day, and think I did not displease you Spectatorial Eyesight; which I shall be a better Judge of when I see whether you take notice of these Evils your own way, or print this Memorial dictated from the disdainful heavy Heart of,


Your most obedient humble Servant,

Rachael Welladay.


Translation of motto:
Ovid, Met. ix. 165.
'With wonted fortitude she bore the smart,
And not a groan confess'd her burning heart.'