Eliza Haywood

Effeminacy in the army censured

from The Female Spectator, Volume 1, Book II, pp. 104-108

I remember, that some years ago I heard a lady say, she imagined it was owing to our long peace, that every publick place abounded so much with coxcombs and finikins; and that if we once came to have a war again, a more manly air and dress would be so much the fashion, that those gentlemen who stayed at home would naturally affect it, and exchange their foreign silk brocades for downright English cloth.—Some accidents in life have since that time broke off our acquaintance, it would else have given me some pleasure to rally her mistake.—We are now engaged in three wars—threatened with invasions—Popish pretenders—plots, and what not!—Great fleets are equipping;—huge armaments getting ready;—pressing for the land and sea-service;—our fields are covered with tents;—our streets swarm with soldiers;—in every quarter we hear drums beating—trumpets sounding—nothing but military preparations going forward; yet, in my opinion, our fine gentlemen appear every whit as clean, as calm and unconcerned as ever, except when they labour under the want of any of those commodities the interruption of our commerce prevents from being imported; and then indeed they complain bitterly against the times.—One who can endure no cloaths that are not of the French cut, cries, he is made a monster by a dunce of an English taylor:—Another is poisoned with ill scents, and dies for some fresh orangerie and bergamot:—A third says, pax on the Spanish War, and those that forced our late minister into it; there is not a bit of right vermillion paste now to be had!

How long this over-delicacy will continue, heaven knows; but it is yet far from being extirpated:—even among the military gentlemen, there are some, who being infected with it before they become so, find it an insuperable difficulty to bring themselves to that hardiness and neglect of personal ornaments, which suit with the life of a soldier.

A person who has had great dealings with the beau monde, and has lately been obliged to deliver up her books, on account of a statute of bankruptcy awarded against her, one of the assignees, who happens to be a particular acquaintance of mine, took the pains to transcribe, as a great curiosity, the copy of a bill owing to her from a gentlemen now in the army, and made me a present of it:—as I am convinced all the items in it are genuine, if afforded me a good deal of diversion, and I believe will not be unacceptable to the public.

Cornet Lovely, Debtor to Rebecca Facement, June 6, 1743.

For a riding mask to prevent sunburn 1 1 0
For a night mask to take away freckles 1 1 0
For 6 pounds of Jessamin butter for the hair 6 6 0
For 12 pots of cold cream 1 10 0
For 4 bottles of Benjamin water 1 0 0
For 30 pounds of perfumed powder 1 10 0
For 3 boxes of tooth-powder 0 15 0
For a sponge tooth-brush 0 2 6
For a hair tooth-brush 0 1 0
For 6 bottles of perfumed mouth water 1 4 0
For a silver comb for the eye-brows 0 5 0
For two ounces of jet powder for ditto 0 18 0
For 4 boxes of fine lip-salve 1 0 0
For an ounce of best carmine 3 0 0
For 6 bottles of orange-flower-water 1 10 0
For 12 pounds of almond paste 6 6 0
For 2 pounds of bergamot snuff 8 0 0
For 3 bottles of essence ditto 1 10 0
For 6 pair of dog skin gloves 1 10 0
Total 38 9 6

 

Such was the ammunition this doughty hero, it seems, took with him, the loss of which, had it happened to have fallen into the enemies hands, would probably have given him more concern than the routing of the whole army, provided his own dear person had escaped without a scar.

Frequent campaigns, however, it is to be hoped, will wear this effeminacy off, and the example of others teach such new-fledged warriors, that if they would soar to glory, they must entirely throw aside all the softening luxuries of their silken youth.

Not that there is any necessity that a man must be a sloven, because he is a soldier, and neglect all the decencies of life to prove his attachment to his vocation;—there is an affectation in this also, as well as the other; and I should say that officer, who when he might have a good tent to defend him from the weather, choose to lie on the bare earth, exposed to all the inclemencies of the air, had an equal share of vanity with him who had his pavilion hung with velvet and embroidery.—To endure all the toils and hardships of the field with patience and intrepidity,—to be fearless of danger when the duties of his post command, is highly laudable and emulative; but to run into them without a call, and when bravery can be of no service, is altogether idle; and courage in such a one, like all other virtues, degenerates into a vice, by being carried to an extreme.

But I am most of all concerned when I hear a man having done a gallant action in the field, is so far puffed up with it that he looks upon himself as a little deity, and that he may, in consideration of having been able to fulfill his duty in one point, dispense with all other obligations.

(1745)

MLA Citation

Haywood, Eliza. “Effeminacy in the army censured.” 1745. Quotidiana. Ed. Patrick Madden. 12 Oct 2007. 20 Sep 2017 <http://essays.quotidiana.org/haywood/effeminacy_in_the_army/>.

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