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though he had always claimed and exercifed a difpenfing Power; the Prince I mean is Fafliion, His Laws differ in one RefpecT: from thofe of the Medes and Perjians, for they altered not; whereas Kr are fhifting every Hour; but they agree in this Point, that whoever oppofes them had as good be caft into the Den of Lions, and devoured out of the way; for no human Creature will give him Countenance, or be feen in his Company.
This Prince, like a wife Legiflator, hath built his Syftem of Government upon the old Foundation of Rewards and Punifhments. The Ladies of England enjoy from Fajkion, as the reft of us do from the Common Law, certain Rights and Privileges, that are not to be forfeited, except by their own Confent. It would be needlefs to recite them at prefent; they are contained at large in the Grand Charter Fajhion gave his Subjects; they, on their fide, engaged to fubmit their Thoughts, Words, and Actions, to his Direction, and to do him Homage as their Liege Sovereign. From this fhort Sketch it will be eafy to point out the Confequence, if any Woman of Fajhion were to commence an Acquaintance with her own Hufband : She would be excommunicated from every Aflembly in Town, and her Name expunged from the Catalogue of human Beings.
Gentlemen therefore may well be excufed for not obtruding Vifits, which are uncen/iitutional, and void in themfelws; neither ought the Gamefters in particular to be taxed for Principles which they only hold in common with all Perfons of Figure and Tafte.
Vol. I. N"" It
It is further alledged againft the Practice of Gaming, that the Heirs of great Families are often ruined by the Vices of their Parents, and reduced from a State of Affluence to ftruggle againft Poverty with a Spirit broken by Difappointment.
Let us argue this Matter calmly. The Mifchiefs of a vicious Education are univerfally lamented; and, I hope, all will concur to apply the Remedy, wherever found, without any Mixture of Paffion and Prejudice. I fay then, it is one main End of the wife Inftitution of Gaming, to prevent or correct the Effe&s of a vicious Education, and to fecure our Youth from Intemperance by the falutary Reftraints of Want and Poverty. It is the Confidence of inheriting great Eftates that naturally begets Idlenefs and Debauchery; and do we cenfure thofe whofe unwearied Practice it is to abate this Confidence? It is to this independent Spirit we owe the Exiftence of thofe Creatures that walk upright, and are called Bucks; and from this is derived that monftrous Brood of Country Squires, whofe fole Bufinefs and Pleafure it is to till Foxes; a Practice that cannot eafily be juftified either to God or Man, becaufe thofe Animals do lefs Mifchief in a Manor, and are a far more rational Vermin than themfelves.
But if the Principles of Play were duly attended to, the Heirs of Gaming Families would reflect on their precarious Situation, and fhcker themfelves ir» Come Liberal Profeffion: They would confider, that
loduftry Induftry and Application might fet things right, and make them almoft as rich as their younger Brothers. Intereft would charm them to Virtue, though they had ftopt their Ears to Reafon and Confcience: For all Well-bred Perfons are agreed to deleft Poverty more, if poffible, than Learning itfelf.
Still it will be urged, that the Daughters of Gamefters are unprovided for in this Scheme, whom Cuftom, if not Nature, hath barred from all Refources of Induftry, except fuch as are beneath the Dignity of noble Birth; and therefore, in the Cafe above.mentioned, they are inevitably expofed either to Poverty or Contempt.
'Tis confeffed their Education differs from ours: They cannot flourifh at the Bar, or blufter in a Campaign; but they may exercife their Genius at Whifty or their Courage at the Brag-Table; the Card Aflemblies are ftill open to their Induftry; the nobleft Scene, wherein the Female Talents can be exerted: Neither is any great Fund neceflary for this, if we confider the known Prerogatives of the Sex: When they win, they have fpeedier Payment; when they lofe—they have longer Credit. And certain it is, whatever Pain it may give us to confefs it, the Ladies have the Po-iuers of Gaming in greater Perfection than the Men: What Enthufiafm in their Hopes! what Judgment in their Fears! what Skill in changing Places and veering about, when the Wind of Fortune is in their Teeth! how dextroufly do they fhuffle! how critically do they cut! how do N 2 thev they penetrate into an Adverfary's Game,— as it were with a Glance! then they calculate! Thought cannot keep pace with them: doubtlefs they play the Whole Game with greater Succefs than we can pretend to do.
But fuppofing they had no Refource; it is only a particular Inftance of Diftrefs from which no State hath been exempted; an Accident by which the beft Purpofes of Induftry and Virtue have fometimes mifcarried: it is no Difgrace to a Gamefter that he is foiled by Fortune, who hath lurched Generals in her Time, and Statefmen too when they have looked wifeft.
Some, like Roderigo, to put Money in their Purfe, have fold all their Lands; why not? Gaming, like the Law, abhors Perpetuities. Property is in conftant Circulation; but then, like the Sea, what it lofes on one Shore it gains on another; and if fome few can be mentioned whom Play hath reduced to Beggary, I could engage (if it would not offend their Modefty) to name many more whom it has taken out of the Mire to fet them with Princes.
Now to view this Affair in another Light: Pray where is the Difference, in point of Morality, between the Gamefter that trafficks with his Stock at home, and the Merchant that fends it abroad on foreign Ventures? But it will be afked, "Do I call "the Profeffion of Gamejlers a Trade?" Yes, certainly! one of the moft flourifhing in the Kingdom.
And And if they fhould get themfelves eredled into a Corporation, 'tis what I have long expe&ed, and they Cannot do a better thing. But to proceed: the Situation of our Country inclines us to Commerce, and the Genius of our People determines them to Play. The Merchant often rifles his whole Effects in one Bottom, and the Gentleman often hazards all his Eftate upon one Rubber: 'Tis true they are both liable to the Strokes of Fortune; for one cannot command the Winds and the Waves, any more than the other can the Aces and Honours; but their Defigns are the fame, equally tending to advance their Family, and to ferve their Country. The whole Diftinction is, that when the fatal Stroke happens, one is ftyled a Bankrupt, the other a Cull; but for my own Part, I muft be indulged in calling the Gamefter, under thofe Circumftances, a Broken Merchant, becaufe it was the Term we ufed at School when a Boy had loft all his Marbles.
But now, to fee the different Treatment the mifjudging World affords to thefe two baffled Adventurers: One is received with Pity, the other with Infamy; neglected by his Friends, infulted by his Enemies, defpifed by all.—This is the Reward of diftrefled Merit in this Northern Climate! Thefe are the Fruits a Gentleman is to expect after having facrificed his Time, Health, and Quiet, in the Profecution of a noble Scheme, merely becaufe he has happened, in the Experiment, to beggar himfelf and his Pofterity.
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