[Footnote 1: Juan Huarte was born in French Navarre, and obtained much credit in the sixteenth century for the book here cited. It was translated into Latin and French. The best edition is of Cologne, 1610.]
[Footnote 2: Christopher Clavius, a native of Bamberg, died in 1612, aged 75, at Rome, whither he had been sent by the Jesuits, and where he was regarded as the Euclid of his age. It was Clavius whom Pope Gregory XIII. employed in 1581 to effect the reform in the Roman Calendar promulgated in 1582, when the 5th of October became throughout Catholic countries the 15th of the New Style, an improvement that was not admitted into Protestant England until 1752. Clavius wrote an Arithmetic and Commentaries on Euclid, and justified his reform of the Calendar against the criticism of Scaliger.]
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No. 308. Friday, February 22, 1712. Steele.
Fronte petet Lalage maritum.
I give you this Trouble in order to propose my self to you as an Assistant in the weighty Cares which you have thought fit to undergo for the publick Good. I am a very great Lover of Women, that is to say honestly, and as it is natural to study what one likes, I have industriously applied my self to understand them. The present Circumstance relating to them, is, that I think there wants under you, as SPECTATOR, a Person to be distinguished and vested in the Power and Quality of a Censor on Marriages. I lodge at the Temple, and know, by seeing Women come hither, and afterwards observing them conducted by their Council to Judges Chambers, that there is a Custom in Case of making Conveyance of a Wife’s Estate, that she is carried to a Judges Apartment and left alone with him, to be examined in private whether she has not been frightened or sweetned by her Spouse into the Act she is going to do, or whether it is of her own free Will. Now if this be a Method founded upon Reason and Equity, why should there not be also a proper Officer for examining such as are entring into the State of Matrimony, whether they are forced by Parents on one Side, or moved by Interest only on the other, to come together, and bring forth such awkward Heirs as are the Product of half Love and constrained Compliances? There is no Body, though I say it my self, would be fitter for this Office than I am: For I am an ugly Fellow of great Wit and Sagacity. My Father was an hail Country-Squire, my Mother a witty Beauty of no Fortune: The Match was made by Consent of my Mothers Parents against her own: and I am the Child of a Rape on the Wedding-Night; so that I am as healthy and as homely as my Father, but as sprightly and agreeable as my Mother. It would be of great Ease to you if you would use me under you, that Matches might be better regulated for the future, and we might have no more Children of Squabbles. I shall not reveal all my Pretensions till I receive your Answer; and am, Sir, Your most humble Servant, Mules Palfrey.