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Silence Dogood essay 6
"Sir, Among the many reigning Vices of the Town ..."

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Quem Dies videt veniens Superbum,
Hunc Dies vidit fugiens jacentem.

Seneca.

To the Author of the New-England Courant.

["[No VI" appears along right side of column. This number signifies this is the sixth Silence Dogood letter.]

SIR

AMONG the many reign-
ing Vices of the Town
which may at any Time
come under my Consi-
deration and Reprehen-
sion, there is none which
I am more inclin'd to
expose than that of
Pride. It is acknow-
ledg'd by all to be a
Vice the most hateful
to God and Man. E-
ven those who nourish
it in themselves, hate to see it in others. The
proud Man aspires after Nothing less than an unli-
mited Superiority over his Fellow-Creatures. He
has made himself a King in Soliloquy; fancies him-
self conquering the World, and the Inhabitants there-
of consulting on proper Methods to acknowledge his
Merit. I speak it to my Shame, I my self was a
Queen from the Fourteenth to the Eighteenth Year
of my Age, and govern'd the World all the Time
of my being govern'd by my Master. But this specula-
tive Pride may be the Subject of another Letter: I
shall at present confine my Thoughts to what we call
Pride of Apparel. This Sort of Pride has been grow-
ing upon us ever since we parted with our Homespun
Cloaths for Fourteen Penny Stuff, &c.; And the Pride
of Apparel
has begot and nourish'd in us a Pride
of Heart
, which portends the Ruin of Church and State.
Pride goeth before Destruction, and a haughty Spirit
before a Fall
: And I remember my late Reverend
Husband would often say upon this Text, That a
Fall was the natural Consequence, as well as Punish-
ment
of Pride. Daily Experience is sufficient to
evince the Truth of this Observation. Persons of
small Fortune under the Dominion of this Vice, sel-
dom consider their Inability to maintain themselves
in it, but strive to imitate their Superiors in Estate,
or Equals in Folly, until one Misfortune comes upon
the Neck of another, and every Step they take is a
Step backwards. By striving to appear rich they be-
come really poor, and deprive themselves of that Pi-
ty and Charity which is due to the humble poor
Man, who is made so more immediately by Provi-
dence.

THIS Pride of Apparel will appear the more
foolish, if we consider, that those airy Mortals, who
have no other Way of making themselves conside-
rable but by gorgeous Apparel, draw after them
Crowds of Imitators, who hate each other while
they endeavour after a Similitude of Manners. They
destroy by Example, and envy one another's De-
struction.

I CANNOT dismiss this Subject without some
Observations on a particular Fashion now reigning
among my own Sex, the most immodest and incon-
venient of any the Art of Woman has invented,
namely, that of Hoop-Petticoats. By these they are
incommoded in their General and Particular Calling,
and therefore they cannot answer the Ends of either
necessary or ornamental Apparel. These monstrous
topsy-turvy Mortar-Pieces, are neither fit for the

Church, the Hall, or the Kitchen; and if a Number
of them were well mounted on Noddles-Island, they
would look more like Engines of War for bombard-
ing the Town, than Ornaments of the Fair Sex. An
honest Neighbour of mine, happening to be in
Town some time since on a publick Day, inform'd
me, that he saw four Gentlewomen with their
Hoops half mounted in a Balcony, as they withdrew
to the Wall, to the great Terror of the Militia,
who (he thinks) might attribute their irregular
Volleys to the formidable Appearance of the Ladies
Petticoats.

I ASSURE you, Sir, I have but little Hopes of
perswading my Sex, by this Letter, utterly to re-
linquish the extravagant Foolery, and Indication
of Immodesty, in this monstrous Garb of their's;
but I would at least desire them to lessen the Circum-
ference of their Hoops, and leave it with them to
consider,Whether they, who pay no Rates or Tax-
es, ought to take up more Room in the King's High-
Way, than the Men, who yearly contribute to the
Support of the Government.

I am, Sir,
Your Humble Servant
,
SILENCE DOGOOD.

The New-England Courant, June 11, 1722


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