An Essay in Defence of the Female Sex/Section 7/Modern

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I intend not in what remains to trouble you with any more such instances; because I am sensible these have already swelled this Letter to a Volumn, which was not at first my intent. I shall therefore dispatch the remaining part of the charge in as few Words as possible.
Dissimulation become necessary.
Amongst the rest Dissimulation is none of the least Blemishes, which they endeavour to fix upon us. This Quality, though it can’t upon any occasion deserve the name of a Virtue, yet according to the present Constitution of the World, is many times absolutely necessary, and is a main ingredient in the Composition of Human Prudence. It is indeed oftentimes criminal, but it is only accidentally so, as Industry, Wit, and most other good Qualities may be, according to the Ends and Purposes to which they are misemployed. Dissimulation is nothing but the hiding or disguising our secret thoughts, or Inclinations under another appearance. I shall not endeavour to absolve our Sex wholly from all use of this Quality, or Art (call it which you please) because I think it may upon many occasions be used with Innocence enough, and upon some can’t without great Imprudence be omitted. The World is too full of Craft, Malice, and Violence, for absolute Simplicity to live in it. It behoves therefore our Sex as well as the other to live with so much Caution and Circumspection in regard to their own Security, that their Thoughts and Inclinations may not be seen so naked, as to expose them to the Snares, designs, and practices of Crafty Knaves, who would make a property of them; or lay them open to the wicked Efforts, and mischievous Impressions of Envy, or Malice, whose pleasure springs from the hurt of others. Nothing gives our Adversaries so great an advantage over us, as the knowledge of our Opinions, and Affections, with something agreeable to which they will be sure to bait all their Traps and Devices. For this reason it is that it has been Proverbially said of Old, that, He that knows not how to dissemble, knows not how to live. The Experience of all Ages since has confirmed this Observation, and ours no less than any of the Preceding. This premised, I suppose no Wise Man will blame our Sex for the use of an Art so necessary, to preserve them from becoming a Prey to every designing Man, an Art of which himself must make great use to deserve that Title. Yet I am afraid, that upon enquiry our Sex will not be found to have so much of it as is requisite, at least not generally; Our sedentary Life, and the narrow Limits to which our Acquaintance, and Business are Circumscribed, afford us so little Variety, so regular a Face of things, that we want the means of obtaining the Mastery of so useful an Art, which no question but we should as soon acquire as Men, had we but equal Opportunities. Hence it is that Women are more apt to show their Resentments upon all Provocations than Men; and are thought naturally more Peevish and Captious, by those that apprehend not the true reason; Whereas Men are altogether as Stomachful, and take Offence as soon, but they cover and suppress their Indignation better, not with a design to forget any Injury received, but to wreak their Revenge more covertly and effectually. This is another advantage Men derive from liberty of Conversation and promiscuous Business, wherein the Variety of Contingencies they have to provide against, and the Diversity of Tempers they deal with, force them to turn and wind themselves into all Shapes, and accommodate themselves to all Humours.
Dissimulation when criminal.
There is indeed yet a higher sort of Dissimulation, which is always Criminal, that is when Men not only cloud their real Sentiments and Intentions, but make Profession of and seem zealously to affect the contrary; this by a more proper and restrained Name is called Deceit, and is always used in an ill Sense. This Art is most practised in Courts where Policy, and Ambition reign; there You may see Enemies hugging and caressing one another with all outward Expressions of Tenderness and Friendship imaginable, while they are secretly contriving each other’s ruin. There you may see Men cringing to those, they would Spurn if they durst, and Flattering those they despise and rail at behind their Backs. The Court is a place where we come very rarely otherwise than as Spectators, not as Actors; as Ornaments, not as Instruments; and therefore are seldom involved in the guilty Practices of it. Nor is it the Court only, but all Places are infected with this Vice, where there is any Encouragement of Profit or Pleasure to be hoped from successful Treachery, of which no Place is so barren as not to afford some. This Deceit is so far from being the Vice of our Sex, that they are the common Object on which it is daily practised:
False Love commonly practised.
Nothing is more frequently met with than false Love in Men, which is now grown so familiar, that a Company of Six of both Sexes can scarce meet, but a Sham Passion commences immediately, is urged, protested, and sworn to be real with all imaginable Violence. If these false Arts, mock sighing, and Dying prevail upon any foolish, easy, credulous Woman, the Sham Lover is blown up with the Success, he is big and in Labour till he be delivered of the Secret, which with great satisfaction he proclaims in all Places where he comes: ’tis his highest Exploit of Gallantry, which he will by no means lose the credit of. Thus he thinks her ruin a step to Reputation, and founds his own Honour upon her Infamy. This Madam is the basest of Treachery; for they are not satisfied with the Success of their false Promises, and Oaths, but they insult over the weakness of a too fond Woman, and Triumph in her Dishonour. I am sorry there are any Women so foolish and forward, as to give hopes and encouragement to such ungenerous Fellows; yet we may be assured, that they are not a quarter so many as those vain Boasters would make them. Much more be said on this head, but that I think it high time to pass on to the next, which is Enviousness, so foul a Blot to a fair Character, that no Merit can wash it out, or atone sufficiently for it.