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the Accounts and Morals of their Families: Such Calumnies as these are not the less injurious to Decency, because in this Country of Freedom they may be vented with Safety; neither is it any •ways fit, that Characters of this exalted Rank should lie at the Mercy of the vulgar Herd, who judge without Distinction, and censure without Feeling.
As to the other Chimæra, that Women of Quality ever repine for their Husbands Absence, or that one single straggling Idea ever went in search of them, or their Amusements, their Business, or their Company, I can only wonder, where it found an Imagination to harbour it. Is any one so wild to conceive that Numbers marry fcr any other Purpose than to get a Separation as fast as possible? Some wed for a Title; some are weary of a Mother's Leading-strings; some settle in the World, that they may run loose about the Town, and indulge the Marriage Liberties: 'Tis the Lawyer, not the Priest, tyes the Knot; they mortify for the present, to have Pleasure in Reversion.
But the strongest Objection against this Commerce in the Eye of the World is still behind; and that is, Allegiance to the higher Powers: For there reigns in this Island a Monarch, who unfortunately could not be prevailed upon to abdicate at the Revolution, though he had always claimed and exercised a dispensing Power; the Prince I mean is Fashion. His Laws differ in one Respect from those of the Medes and Persians, for
they they altered not ; whereas bit are shifting every Hour; but they agree in this Point, that whoever opposes them had as good be cast into the Den of Lions, and devoured out of the way; for no human Creature will give him Countenance, or be seen in his Company.
This Prince, like a wise Legislator, hath built his System of Government upon the old Foundation of Rewards and Punishments. The Ladies of England enjoy from Fashion, as the rest of us do from the Common Law, certain Rights and Privileges, that are not to be forfeited, except by their own Consent. It would be needless to recite them at present; they are contained at large in the Grand Charter Fashion gave his Subjects; they, on their fide, engaged to submit their Thoughts, Words, and Actions, to his Direction, and to do him Homage as their Liege Sovereign. From this short Sketch it will be easy to point out the Consequence, if any Woman of Fashion were to commence an Acquaintance with her own Husband: She would be excommunicated from every Assembly in Town, and her Name expunged from the Catalogue of human Beings.
Gentlemen therefore may well be excused for not obtruding Visits, which are unconstitutional, and void in themfelves; neither ought the GameJlers in particular to be taxed for Principles which they only hold in common with all Persons of Figure and Taste.
It is further alledged against the Practice of Gaming, that the Heirs of great Families are often ruined by the Vices of their Parents, and reduced H 4 from from a State of Affluence to-struggle against Poverty with a Spirit broken by Difappointment.
Let us argue this Matter calmly. The Mischiefs of a vicious Education are univerfally lamented; and, I hope, all will concur to apply the Remedy, wherever found, without any Mixture of Passion and Prejudice. I fay then, it is one main End of the wise Institution of Gaming, to prevent or correct the Effects of a vicious Education, and to secure our Youth from Intemperance by the falutary Restraints of Want and Poverty. it is the Confidence of inheriting great Estates that naturally begets Idleness and Debauchery; and do we censure those whose unwearied Practice it is to abate this Confidence? It is to this independent Spirit we owe the existence of those Creatures that walk upright, and are called Bucks; and from this is derived that monstrous Brood of Country Squires, whose sole Business and Pleasure it is/a kill Foxes; a Practice that cannot easily be justified either to God or Mao, because those Animals do less Mischief in a Manor, and are a far more rational Vermin than themselves.
But if the Principles of Play were duly attended to, the Heirs of Gaming Families would reflect on their precarious Situation, and shelter themselves in some Liberal Profession: They would consider, that Industry and Application might set things right, and make them almost as rich as their younger Brothers. Interest would charm them to. Virtue, though they had slopt their Ears to Reason and Conscience: For all
WellWell-bred Persons "are agreed to detest Poverty more, if possible, than Learning itself.
Still it will be urged, that the Daughters of Gamesters are unprovided for in this Scheme, whom Custom, if not nature, hath barred from all Resources of Industry, except such 3s are beneath the Dignity of noble Birth; and therefore, in the Cafe abovementioned, they are inevitably exposed either to Poverty or Contempt.
'Tis confessed their Education differs from ours: They cannot flourish at the Bar, or bluster in a Campaign; but they may exercise their Genius at Wbist, or their Courage at the Brag Table; the Card Assemblies are still open to their Industry; the noblest Scene, wherein the Female Talents can be exerted: Neither is any great Fund necessary for this, if we consider the known Prerogatives of the Sex: When they win, they have speedier Payment; when they lose—they bavr longer Credit. And certain it is, whatever Pain it may give us to confess it, the Ladies have the Powers of Gaming in. greater Perfection than the Men: What Enthusiasm 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 dextrously do they muffle! how critically do they cut! how do they penetrate into an Adverfary's Game,—ar it were with a Glance! then they calculate! Thought cannot keep pace with them: doubtless they play the Whole Gamevrith greater- Success than we can pretend to do.
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But supposing they had no Resource; it is only a particular Instance of Distress from which no State hath been exempted; an Accident by which the best Purposes of Industry and Virtue have sometimes miscarried: it is no Disgrace to a Gamester that he is soiled by Fortune, who hath lurched Generals in her Time, and Statesmen too when they have looked wisest.
Some, like Roderigo, to put Money in their Purse, have sold all their Lands j why not ? Gaming, like the Law, abhors Perpetuities. Property is in constant Circulation; but then, like the Sea, what it loses on one Shore it gains on another; and if some few can be mentioned whom Play hath reduced to Beggary, I could engage (if it would not offend their Modesty) to name many more whom it has taken out os the Mire to set them with Princes.
Now to view this Affair in another Light: Pray where is the Difference, in point of Morality, between. the Gamester that trafficks with his .Stock at home, and the Merchant that fends it abroad on foreign Ventures? But it will be asked, " Do I call the Profession of Gamesters a "Trade?" Yes, certainly! one of the most flourishing in the Kingdom. And if they should get themselves erected into a Corporation, 'tis what I have long expected, 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