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Title: The danger and immodesty of the present too general custom of unnecessarily employing men-midwives

Author: Anonymous

Release date: August 15, 2022 [eBook #68756]

Language: English

Original publication: United Kingdom: J. Wilkie & F. Blyth, 1772

Credits: deaurider and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)


The Present too general Custom of

The Letters which lately appeared under
the Signature of


By the AUTHOR.

Printed for J. Wilkie, No. 71, in St. Paul’s Church-Yard;
and F. Blyth, John’s Coffee-House, Cornhill.


The dangers attending backening their
milk the first four or five Weeks after

To the PUBLIC.

I have very long been convinced of the many dangerous Consequences which attend the depraved Custom of employing Men-midwives unnecessarily—and have been for some Years intending from Month to Month to write my Ideas on that Subject, in order to combat the very destructive Practice, and endeavour to awaken the slumbering good Sense of the Nation. But when I reflected on the great Difficulty of conquering Prejudice—considered[2] how generally the Opinion had been adopted that “Men were the most proper Attendants on the Labours of Women,” I confess the Task appeared too arduous—and I was discouraged.

I knew, that no Arguments, even if an Angel was to descend from Heaven to utter them, could persuade the Ladies to be satisfied with Midwives of their own Sex, after the fine Polish had been once RUB’D OFF which modesty ought to have work’d up to such a bright Pitch of high finish’d Excellence, as not to have been capable of admitting the impure stain within the glossy smoothness of its beautiful enamel!—I knew, that, assisted by the greatest Part of the Faculty (whose interest, as well as pleasure would be at stake) they would leave no means untried—they would call in every fallacious art to their aid, to continue the deception, by ridiculing Arguments which they could not confute—and that unmarried Ladies, through an Opinion of the Virtue of their Friends, and swayed, and kept in Countenance, by the prevalent Custom of[3] the Times, would naturally fall into the Stream, and not be undeceived until too far hurried by the Current to be afterwards able to recede.—On the other Hand, I likewise knew that our young Men of Fashion had long ago resolved to bid Adieu to thinking. Leaving that troublesome Employment to others, they were intent on pursuing the far nobler Gratifications of Sense—endeavouring to bury in a round of trifling Dissipations, every Sentiment meriting the Attention of reasonable Beings that an Attempt to work on such Minds would be Absurdity in the extreme,—for, that, even if they were convinced of the two uncontrovertable Truths I wish to establish, by being satisfied that Men were not so safe as Women, and that Men-midwives polluted the Minds of their Wives, and rendered them easy Preys to Seduction, yet these Sentiments would have had no Weight with them, because they married without Love, Religion, Principle—the only Ingredients capable of forming national Happiness. Impure in their Souls, debauch’d in their Persons, Libertinism opened[4] the only Avenue which could present them with a Prospect of Enjoyments adapted to their Sensations—their Joys were independent of their Wive’s Society—their Healths consequently were only politely wish’d for—and they would of course readily risk their Wive’s Purity being contaminated, rather than be disappointed in the Pleasure of seducing the Wives of their acquaintance, through the preparatory Assistance of the Men-midwives. The Happiness of our gay young Men not being centered within the narrow Circle of Home, the Virtue of their Wives is not in the least essential, has no Weight, when ballanced with the Advantages they derive from the too general Prostitution of the Sex. They extract Balm from the Vices of Other Women, which has sovereign Efficacy in healing any Wounds—alleviating any smarts, which they may receive, or feel, from the infidelity of their own Wives—whom they never treated as their rational Companions, whose Affections they were desirous of fixing irremoveably,—but as necessary Beings to do the Honours of[5] their Tables—furnish Heirs—and save their Estates from being encumbered with the Payment of the Fortunes of their younger Brothers and Sisters. The only View on one side, is Money—on the other, Qualityeach having attain’d the only Object they aim’d at in Marriage,—each, without any fundamental Principle of Goodness, to restrain their Pursuits within the Bounds of Virtue, they throw off the Mask of Decency—and riot in Vice!—Our young Men think the Scriptures fit only to impose on Weakness. The Injunctions of the Gospel interfere with their Enjoyments—and having never believed it’s sacred Truths—or endeavoured to follow it’s amiable Precepts, they never experienced the serene Tranquillity arising from the delightful Possession of an approving Conscience. At the best, forgetful even of the Existence of a God—and laughing at the idle supposition of a future state, they give the Reins without Controul to all their Appetites and Passions—check’d by nothing but what they[6] term honour. But their Honour is comprised, in—punishing the Man with murder who dares to doubt their veracity, or fail in Respect to their Dignity—and in paying their Debts to sharpers, instead of rewarding the Industry of their Tradesmen, by giving them—their own Property. Their Honour does not restrain them from defiling the Beds of their Friendsbreaking Promises to worthy Dependants—or betraying the Interests and Honour of their Country for base Wages of Iniquity, though committed with Confidence to their Charge, yet sacrificed without Remorse, for their private Emolument. Their Honour enforces no single Virtue!—away with such honour!

I next consider’d the number of well-disposed Men, who through Prejudice might neglect; or through Indolence, or Weakness of Understanding, be blind to the Force of my Arguments, and of course remain unconvinced by them—and these Obstacles, united, appeared too formidable to be surmounted by any weak Effort[7] I could make through the Channel of a News Paper. At last however I took Courage and submitted my Sentiments to the Consideration of the Public, in the Gazetteer of the 28th of March.

I had not, at that time, any Intention of writing another Letter,—but deriving Hopes from the favourable Impression my first seem’d to have made on the Minds of the Considerate—and having heard weight laid on the Men’s Knowledge of Anatomy as a Reason why they should be safer than Women, I wrote the second Letter to remove that specious, but mistaken Idea—and having known some, and heard of many other young Men Midwives, who really are ignorant of that Knowledge of Anatomy which is their only Recommendation to infatuated Husbands;—and a Man Midwife, under the Signature of “Old Chiron,” having endeavoured to abuse the World with the most scandalous misrepresentations, and gross Fallacies, my last Letter appeared to expose the Danger of employing raw young Men—or believing such interested Deceivers.


I am quite indifferent about the Offence which my Letters have given the Ladies of Fashion, and their darling Doctors—their “sweet Men.” They are conscious my Letters convey only a very faint Sketch of their immodest, obscene practices. They are too bad to be exactly described without using Language very unfit for the Inspection of virtuous Women!—I place dreadful Rocks in their View, to warn them from a Course on which their Purity would be irretrievably wreck’d: and surely those Parents entertain strange Notions of Virtue, who carefully keep my Letters out of the way of their Daughters, through what they imagine to be “Delicacy!”—they would rather, in short, have them polluted in future—past redemption—than instructed by my friendly Admonitions, how to avoid the Path to Vice!—the modest, amiable, worthy, sensible Part of the Community, I am confident, will read my Pamphlet with Candour—approve of the Sentiments contain’d in it—and recommend it to the Perusal of others. I shall[9] view the Censures, and Displeasure of the vicious, and the dissipated, as the highest Eulogiums;—as Praise—which will convey the most genial warmth to my Heart—and, I trust, afford me a pleasing Retrospect in my latest Hours!—

My Letters having succeeded beyond my most sanguine Expectation, I am now encouraged to attack another prevailing Custom among the Fair—that of not giving suck to their Infants, at least during the first five or six weeks.

I shall wave considering the Propriety of a Mother’s giving suck through a Sense of the incumbent Duty she owes her child.—Though the Custom of backening the Milk is unnatural, dangerous, and too often fatal, I shall lay no stress on the former, but rest it entirely on the latter—for in such an Age as the present, in which our fine Ladies have few Ideas of any Religion—are not capable of receiving Pleasure from domestick Employments—would infinitely rather converse with any Men than their Husbands—leave their Children[10] to be instructed, or neglected by Servants, and fly abroad, with eager Impatience to game away their Husbands Fortunes, and receive the criminal Addresses of their profligate Admirers, at the Assembly, the Masquerade, or more commodious Apartments of the Coterie—laughing at the Censures of the few who have still some Regard to Decorum—and despising the Belief of the perpetual Presence of a Being who is Witness to all their secret vicious Deformities—in such times it would be Folly to mention the Dangers they expose their Infants to, from diseased Milk, want of a tender Mother’s Care—or dream of asking them how they will answer to the Almighty for not having afforded them the Nourishment He kindly provided for their Support?—I shall therefore only shew the Absurdity and danger of this Custom, as far as it regards the Health of the Mother.

And here I must endeavour to give my Readers some Idea of that part of the human Body which is concern’d in the[11] formation, and absorbtion of the Milk, in order for their understanding the Force of my arguments.

Our Bodies are constantly, when in Health, receiving Repairs in all their Parts, from millions of the smallest, most minute Arteries. Every Solid, and every Juice, is form’d out of, and secreted from, Blood. Those noxious Parts of the Blood which are not proper for these different, opposite Uses, are thrown off by insensible Perspiration. When, through various Causes, that Perspiration is obstructed, the acrid Matter which ought to have gone off, is absorb’d by the lymphatick Vessels, and returns into the Blood—brings on Fevers, Gout, Rheumatism, &c. &c.

The Lymphaticks, are numberless Vessels, which pass through spungy Glands. These fine Tubes have a vast number of Valves, which prevent the Lymph, (or Liquor) which runs through them from going a contrary Direction from that intended[12] for it. These fine Vessels are dispersed over every Part of our Bodies. The Point of a needle could not be applied to a Spot, under the Skin, where the Mouth of a lymphatic Vessel did not open to imbibe whatever is put in contact with it. These minute Branches run into other Branches, so form larger Vessels, till at last they all unite in a general Reservoir, where the Lymph which they contained, mixes with the Chyle, (the fine Part of our Food, which is fit to be converted into Blood) conducted there by the Lacteals, (the Lacteals resemble the Lymphaticks—they open into the Stomach, and Bowels—they imbibe nothing but from our Food) the Chyle, and Lymph, thus mix’d, run up within the trunk of a large Vessel called the thoracic Duct, on the inside of the back Bone, which is incessantly emptying it’s Liquor into a Vein under the left Collar Bone, where it mixes with the Blood, is immediately convey’d into the vena Cava, which conducts it, with the returning Blood from the rest of the Body, (Lungs excepted) into the right Auricle[13] of the Heart—it thence is drove by the contraction of the Auricle, into the right Ventricle of the Heart—by it’s contraction, into the Pulmonary Artery—from thence through the whole Lungs, where the Blood receives a Change from being impregnated with something received from the Air every Inspiration. The Blood thus changed, is collected from the Lungs into the Pulmonary Veins, and conducted into the left Auricle of the Heart; which drives it into the left Ventricle; which forces it into a great Artery, the Aorta—which rushes it over every other Part of the Body.

The lymphatic Vessels prevent our Blood depending solely on our Food for supply, and by means of them we can subsist some time merely on the Produce of our own Bodies. All these lymphatic Vessels are closely accompanied by Arteries—whose Pulsations assist the motion of the Lymph to it’s Reservoir:⸺Consequently the quicker and stronger they beat, the faster the Lymph is hurried into the[14] Blood. Hence the Reason why Fevers occasion so speedy a wasting of the Flesh—hence Hectics bring on Consumptions—hence People in Fevers can subsist long with little Food,—The lymphaticks then supplying the Blood too abundantly from our own Juices.

The Author of Nature has ordered an extraordinary Quantity of Blood to be prepared for the Child’s Food. Arteries run into the Glands of the Breasts, and in passing through them, the Blood, by a most wonderful Change, is converted into Milk!⸺by a Change, which nothing but Custom prevents our viewing as a Miracle!

The admired Toast of the Town cannot endure the Trouble of nursing. It would confine her too much at home—it has too vulgar an appearance—it is not warranted by the Example of the first Circle—the Milk must therefore be backen’d.—It is denied Liberty to discharge itself by the Out-lett Providence intended[15] for it—the Child, whose Constitution it was calculated for, is not suffered to have it’s Due. What becomes of the Milk?

It is absorb’d by the lymphatic Vessels, contrary to the original Intention of Nature—and convey’d back into the Blood, in the manner I have before described.—What is the Consequence?—The blood Vessels become not only highly over-charged with Blood, but that Blood is thus rendered of an improper Consistence. A Fever ensues!—This Fever comes on when the woman is ill able to bear it’s Shock!—How often is this Fever fatal!

The most fortunate Circumstance that can happen, is, when the Milk finds another out-lett. Probably otherwise there may be a formation of Matter somewhere—there is danger that Matter may fly to some capital Part.

If the Woman is young, healthy, strong, it is most probable the Milk will not be absorb’d[16] quick enough. The Blood will furnish Milk faster than the lymphatick Vessels can imbibe it, and convey it back again. The Breasts are painfully distended—they inflame.

When too late—it is then resolved they shall be suck’d.

During the time of Pregnancy a small quantity of Milk is lodged in the Milk Vessels of the Breasts. This Milk, when the nine Months are expired, is thick—clogs the Vessels. If the Woman never gave suck, the Pores through which the Milk ought to issue to the Child, are not open enough—they require therefore to be clear’d, by the old Milk being suck’d off, the very day of the Delivery, and to empty the Milk Vessels of what must otherwise clog them. Some woman ought to suck this off therefore as soon as possible. If the Child is put to the Breast in Twelve, or Sixteen Hours after it’s Birth, it will suck greedily—if delay’d three or[17*] four Days, it is twenty to one the Child will not attempt it for a long time.

When therefore the Necessity of the Case has overcome every Resolution form’d for the Woman’s not giving suck, and her Child is put to her Breast, it is in vain!—the Child will not touch the Breast!—other Children—or women attempt to ease the poor Woman of her Load of Milk—this Resource likewise fails! the thick Milk has clog’d the Vessels—the N-pp-es, owing to the hard Distension of the Breasts, has shrunk into them—and, besides, their Pores have never been open’d—never been clear’d—no endeavours avail! the distress’d Woman, after having been sadly fatigued, exhausted, finds herself disappointed of Relief!—dreadful Symptoms soon appear! she too probably falls a sacrifice to a ridiculous—senseless—not to say a sinful deviation from the Path of Nature!—how many fine young Women have lately[18*] died—and go off every Year, from this Cause!

But “particular Women have not Constitutions strong enough to bear giving suck. Certainly there are some Women whom it might hurt.” Granted. Let such particular Women give suck only for the first four, five or six Weeks. If those Women then really find themselves too delicate for the longer continuance of such a Drain, they then may safely by degrees leave off giving suck—they have sufficiently recover’d Strength to venture throwing the Milk gently back into the Blood. The most delicately form’d Woman existing should not dream of suffering a single Drop of the Milk which Nature intended for Evacuation, to return into the Blood, untill the Constitution is re-established—and enabled to bear discharging itself of the Superfluities, without encountering the Dangers which demonstrably attend a contrary Practice. If a Woman is too delicate to bear continuing to suckle her Infant, surely she is too delicate[19*] to endure the flying in the Face of Nature, and risking the Fever—if she is healthy and strong, the more incumbent her duty is, to nourish her Child—her danger too equal. In every View, the salutary Consequences attending Mothers discharging their Duty to their Children in this point, are so obvious, so glaring, that to me it is matter of doubt whether those who fail in it are most to be condemn’d and despised for their want of natural Affection—or pitied and ridiculed for their Folly.

These are my Ideas on this interesting Subject. Let those Women who obstinately persevere in a Resolution to deny their Infants their natural Food—(and in whose Judgements my Arguments have appear’d deficient in Weight) stand the Trial, and risk the Consequence. I most sincerely hope the Success may answer their Wishes!

I now refer my Readers to the following Letters. I can assert, with conscious[20*] Truth that my Sentiments on the preceding, and following Subjects, have been the offspring of an Heart warm’d by a Love for my fellow-Creatures—ever most ardently solicitous for their Welfare and Happiness, here and hereafter.

I cannot expect to reclaim any Woman who has already used a Man, for Reasons I gave at the beginning of this Introduction, and because, by quitting him, she would tacitly acknowledge the Truth of my Assertions—and because none but those possess’d of the most exalted Qualities of the Head and Heart, can have greatness enough to confess they have been in an Error of such a Nature.

I am not without hopes however, of opening the Eyes of sensible Men—and unmarried Women, who are at present modest, and wish to remain so—and preventing the former from advising, and the latter from falling into the scandalous Custom of employing Men-Midwifes, which I know to be erroneous as to it’s pretended[21*] safetyfatally dangerous to the virtue—and certainly destructive of the modesty[1] of my fair Countrywomen.—They may believe me when I assure them that no purity can withstand the rude Shock of such Intrusions—the whitest Ermine is most liable to have it’s Beauties sullied!

If I should be happy enough to hear in a few Years that I have given the least Check to this most abandon’d of vicious Practices, the Consciousness of having done a most signal Service to the Community, will implant genuine Pleasure—substantial Satisfaction in the Breast of

the Public’s
most obedient
humble Servant,

The Author.

[1] I make a great Distinction between Modesty, and Virtue. A Woman may be virtuous, without being Modest—but it is impossible to be modest, without being virtuous. Modesty is the guard of Virtue—but it is possible a cold Constitution may preserve Virtue, even after every Trace of Modesty has been obliterated.


Danger and Immodesty, &c.


In times, when every winter brings scenes of prostitution from the privacy of darkness into the public light of day; when our ladies of quality, and women of fashion, instead of being as remarkable for their virtue, as for their beauty, openly cast aside every sense of shame, and barefacedly encourage the addresses of men, who, avowedly, can have no intention but to involve them in guilt; it is the duty of every honest man to endeavour to trace the evil to its source, in order that, by pointing out the foul spring which corrupts the stream, the fountain may be cleared, and the contagion which rages from it, lessened, if not entirely removed.

Boarding schools are, beyond doubt, seminaries, where the minds of girls are[18] early polluted. Let the mistress of the school be ever so virtuous, prudent, and attentive, the vicious girls (and some such there always must be among a number) will find sufficient opportunities to taint the tender minds of unsuspecting innocence. Nothing can be more destructive than bad example; and, unfortunately, the human mind is too ready to copy those which are vicious—and the vicious are more importunate and solicitous to corrupt, than the virtuous are to gain proselytes to goodness.

Though I believe the first seeds of vice are imbibed at a boarding school, yet I by no means look on that education as the great cause of these frequent adulteries. If principles of virtue have been inculcated in infancy, they may yet, with proper care, bud out afresh under good culture—and flourish under the influence of good advice, when those noxious weeds are choaked up, which were planted by bad examples, but which may wither on the cause being removed.


It is to the almost universal custom of employing Men-midwives, that I attribute the frequent adulteries which disgrace our country.

Ignorance has spread this shameless custom. Ignorance leads people to suppose men safer than women—Ignorance of what the Men-midwives do, leads modest women at first to submit to employ men; and it is ignorance which leads husbands [who love their wives] to recommend, nay even sometimes force them on their wives. They know not what stripes they are preparing for themselves—they know not that they are removing the corner stone on which the virtue of their wives is founded—and all this on a mistaken principle—the idea that men are safest.

The Almighty, through kindness to his creatures, has so ordered the labours of women, that even the honest part of the[20] Men-midwife tribe confess, that, in thirty years practice, a person might probably never meet with a single case where a good woman might not have done the business. This confession was made to me by an eminent man-midwife, after a practice of thirty-six years. How else would the world have been peopled? The men have but lately come into fashion. In praise of Scotland and Ireland be it spoken, the women of those countries are still too modest to employ them. What is the consequence? Adulteries happen very seldom in those countries; and every farm-house swarms with strong, healthy, well-limbed children. If Men-midwives were requisite to bring children into the world, what would become of the wilds of America—the plains of Africa? Even the Hottentot women are too modest to employ men—they leave that abandoned custom to our English ladies—yet they are so fruitful they furnish slaves to the globe. It is a notorious fact, that more children have been lost since women were so scandalously indecent as to employ[21] men, than for ages before that practice became so general. Women have a tenderness of feeling for their own sex in labour, which it is impossible men can ever equal them in. By having felt the pains, and the anxieties attending child-birth, they know how to sympathize in a woman’s sufferings. Their feelings, therefore, are natural. They lead them to be patient—they prompt them to allow nature to do her own peculiar work. They never dream of having recourse to force—the barbarous, bloody crotchet never stained their hands with murder. There never really can be occasion for a male operator, but when a deed must be done which my soul shudders at the idea of, and which I shall not mention—but thanks to God, such instances do not occur in a century!—To my knowledge, a lady was twice delivered in different parts of the country of England, by common women-midwives, and both those cases were as unnatural and difficult as it is well possible to imagine—she and the children did well—if she had employed[22] men, it is more than probable, the children, at least, would have expired under the crotchet—or been maimed by the forceps!

And how should this be otherwise! a long un-impassioned practice, early commenced, and calmly pursued, is absolutely requisite to give men by art, what women attain by nature.—Dr. Hunter, very wisely, very justly has said, that “Labour is nature’s work.”—Nature ought to be suffered nine hundred and ninety-nine times out of a thousand, to do her own work. All the knowledge young men can possibly obtain, must be from dead bodies—for is it in common sense to suppose, that a young lad can explore the secret recesses of Venus, so as to be physically well acquainted with those parts in living females? No—fires must quickly be raised, which unavoidably will confuse all his discerning reasoning faculties—and art must instantly be lost in nature. Dr. Hunter, indeed, and one or two men besides, may perhaps, by the[23] help of cold constitutions, and dint of very long practice, do their business nearly as well as women—by leaving all to nature—but, if my life and fortune here, and salvation hereafter, depended on the life of any pregnant woman, and that of her infant, I would stake all I held valuable on her being attended by any old woman midwife in England, in preference to any man in the world. Whoever reads Nihel’s Midwifery, will be satisfied of this truth, that women are infinitely safer than men.

Who can wonder at the profligacy of the times, when it is known that even women of character soon become so callous to the bashfulness which ought to characterize their sex (from being habituated to the familiarities of their Men-midwives) that they will not scruple informing a male visitor, without even blushing, “I was not very well for some days in the country—so I came to town on purpose to be satisfied by Dr. ⸺ that I was in a good way—the dear man has told me that[24] the child lies right—and I am perfectly easy.” Monstrous! that a lady can pretend to any degree of modesty, and yet, not content with having a strange man attending her for hours when in labour (most of that time intimately acquainted with every part) she can, without any compunction, send for a man, and admit him without reserve to the most unbounded liberties, at a time too, when she is as able to walk, and do every other act of life, as if she was not pregnant! Pray let me ask her ladyship, how did “The dear man,”—“sweet Dr. ⸺,” find out how the child lay?—By means sufficient to taint the purity, and fully the chastity, of any woman breathing!—I will boldly affirm, that, whoever admits a man to those licentious freedoms, cannot pretend to answer for what may be the consequences. If the last circumstance does not take place, it must be owing, either to an extraordinary insensibility in the man, or to the woman’s not suiting his taste, having such choice of beauties to visit. Suppose, for argument’s sake, that the fictitious[25] Goddess of Chastity, Diana herself, was on earth, and employed me to satisfy her doubts, during the months of pregnancy prior to labour—and her mind of course, at first, free from the smallest tincture of guilty ideas—yet, if I chose it, I could so bewilder her reason, that she should lose sight of every principle of virtue—and not be able to refuse me whatever I chose to desire.—When a man is in free possession of the Citadel, and all the out-works surrendered at discretion, it is then too late to attempt guarding the town from plunder.

But supposing these advantages are not always taken (which I dare say they are not) it cannot be denied with truth these visitations from Men-midwives, remove in a great measure, the horror of those intrusions on the advanced posts of virtue, which are its greatest safeguards—and serve to prepare the way for the addresses of gay young men, who make it their business[26] to seduce married women into the paths of infamy.

If any lady, desirous of exculpating herself from my censure, pleads that “she never admits a Man-midwife to familiarities but when in actual labour”—I answer, that, even in actual labour—a woman has many intervals of ease, for many minutes together quite free from pain—in those intervals, her mind cannot maintain its spotless whitenessin those intervals she cannot but be conscious, that the doctor is infringing on the husband.

But I believe there are very few women who confine the Doctor’s familiarities to the times of real labour. Lady ⸺, Mrs. ⸺, acquiesce in whatever he thinks right during all the months of pregnancy—and must he not be more than man, or less than man, who, roving luxuriously through all the hidden charms of beauty, can help being inflamed by passion?—and,[27] if inflamed by passion, he may proceed on certainties ... he has an unerring tell-tale under his inspection, which gives him an infallible cue, when he may safely throw aside the mask, fearless of any repulse.

Shew some sense of modesty, ye Duchesses, Countesses, &c. &c. and those inferior women, whom ye have debauched by your bad examples, will again imitate ye, in forsaking these Scandalous practices. Blush, ye women of fashion, to own that any man, besides your husbands, is admitted to liberties with your persons. No longer talk of “dear Doctor Hunter,” “angelic Doctor—” “enchanting Doctor—.” ... For my own part, if I was a married man, I declare it would be a matter of the utmost indifference to me, whether my wife had spent the night in a bagnio—or an hour of the forenoon locked up with a man-midwife in her dressing room.—Let[28] this shameless custom be abolished, and then virtue will fly back again to our metropolis, with all her train of genuine self-approving pleasures—and England be once more as much famed for the chastity, as for the beauty of its women.

Adieu, Mr. Printer—you have received this letter from a sincere admirer of female modesty: Without it “beauty ceases being lovely, or wit being engaging.” Whoever possesses it cannot be enough esteemed and regarded—whoever is deficient in it cannot be sufficiently despised and slighted. Ye English fair, it ought to be your characteristic! but while your fathers, husbands, and brothers are unprincipled, corrupted senators—you think you have a right to deviate from your point of honour, since they shew you the example in their’s.


To conclude—true modesty is incompatible with the idea of employing


[2] Except when those very rare instances occur, which do not happen once in two thousand labours.



The favourable reception my last letter met with from the public, leads me to hope our married men will seriously reflect on the dangers which attend the employing Men-midwives to attend their wives, except in cases where there is the most urgent necessity for the interference of art. I flatter myself it will not be difficult to convince sensible, modest women of two undeniable truths, which nothing but prejudice, or vice, can render them blind to the force of:—First, that Men-midwives are not so safe as women;—and secondly, that it is absolutely impossible to permit men to take the unbounded freedoms which Men-midwives falsely pretend are necessary, without throwing themselves entirely at their mercy, and, at all events, being polluted by their needless invasion.

The Men-midwives and their friends, have wisely chose to be silent. They are conscious my assertions cannot be denied with any[31] shadow of truth, they therefore prudently have declined the combat. If they had attempted controverting my arguments, they must have discovered the sandy foundations on which they have established the idea of their being the proper attendants on the labours of women. Objections which they cannot remove,—dangers which they cannot dissipate,—and impurities which no varnish can conceal, they wish to avoid mentioning; fearful lest an attempt to answer my letter, should display to the world the weakness and insufficiency of their defence, and stimulate abler pens than mine to continue the subject too long for their interest. They vainly imagine my letter will soon be forgotten, and be consigned to oblivion amongst waste paper. But they are mistaken,—this letter shall accompany it annually to the press, to remind my fair countrywomen of the inestimable value of chastity,—and to warn them from those practices which pave the way to the most flagrant breach of it;—and I am not without hope that I shall be[32] joined by the friends of virtue, and assisted in the arduous talk I have undertaken. What undertaking can be more difficult to succeed in, than an endeavour to reform the manners of a vicious age? Yet, encouraged by the consciousness of the rectitude of my intentions, and of the sincerity of my wishes to repair the foundations of matrimonial happiness, I freely offer my sentiments to the world,—let the candid weigh them in the scale of common-sense,—and either adopt, or disregard them, as they appear to tend to the benefit, or prejudice of mankind. The consequence of their decision will principally affect themselves,—it will not reach to me.

The Men-midwives are sensible, that, when they urge their knowledge in anatomy as a reason for their being safer than women, they mean to take advantage of the ignorance of mankind. Where very rare, particular circumstances occur, undoubtedly the knowledge of anatomy becomes then absolutely necessary to direct[33] the operator in the means requisite to save the woman’s life. In that distressed, unhappy, deplorable situation, no modesty can possibly be violated. The poor afflicted woman, is, if sensible, so taken up with anxious thoughts, and torturing pains, that she is not conscious of the transaction—and the Royal Exchange, when crouded, might be spectators, without attracting her attention, or interrupting her fears. It is quite different in a very large majority of labours. The woman has many intervals of ease,—she does not apprehend there is any peculiar danger in her case:—her mind, while free from pain, is at liberty calmly to attend to whatever is done. There is not above one labour in a thousand where there is any occasion for the knowledge of anatomy. I insist that except in those very extraordinary cases, a knowledge of anatomy leads Men-midwives frequently to do great mischief. It makes them impatient. They know how to bring on the labour pains,—they know how to force the birth. From this destructive[34] knowledge, numbers of children are demolished,—numbers of women are thrown into fevers by lacerations and inflammations, which might have the worst consequences, and which never would have happened if the knowledge of anatomy had not tempted men to have recourse to art within the proper boundaries of nature’s empire. For this reason, if I was a married man, I would not employ even a woman who had been bred under a Man-midwife. Her knowing the parts anatomically, and understanding the use of instruments, and pursuing the teizing, fiddling customs of the men who had instructed her, instead of recommending her to me, would be a sufficient cause to prevent my employing her.

The only safe knowledge for a midwife to possess, is, that which is taught by experience. Whenever it ceases being possible for nature, with such assistance, to do her work, then, and then only, art ought to be called in with instruments to[35] aid.—Yet our young women are not ashamed premeditately to resolve on employing men, though there are such a multitude of chances against the supposition of a dead child—or that there will be occasion for the destruction of her infant to save her own life. It is for this wanton use of men, that I wish I had abilities to expose their want of modesty in colours striking enough to hold out our women to the universal ridicule of the world, and draw down on them the contempt and indignation of the virtuous.

Is it not laughable to hear of a modest woman sending for a man to inform her whether or not she is with child, and how far gone?—Heavens! a little patience would soon have cleared up that matter, and the most skilful man may be mistaken, even allowing the supposition (which is not probable) that he may be quite cool, and experience no fluttering sensations to confuse his mind during the serious investigation. Why cannot the lady allow a[36] few months to elapse? Her doubts would then have been removed, without any male intrusions, without scandalous violations of modesty—without, what I term, shameful pollutions of her person.

What must Men-midwives think of those ladies, who send for them to be inspected on such trifling occasions? What can they avoid thinking? Must they not conclude, that those ladies are restrained from adultery not by any principle of virtue, but by a dread of the consequences; and, since they can admit no man to familiarities but their Man-midwife (who is the priviledged father confessor of England) without losing their reputations, they are resolved to be as immodest, without losing their characters, as the depraved, profligate custom of the world can authorize them? Men-midwives entertain each other with curious recitals of their adventures among the fair:—Surely those women cannot justly be pitied, who thus by their folly, or vice, furnish subjects[37] first for their sensual ideas, and afterwards for their mirth.

I have been a good deal amused by hearing my letter commented on in different companies, where the author was far from being suspected to be present. The Men-midwives, and the ladies who receive pleasure from employing them, never can forgive me for having exposed their conduct. All they can however say against me, is, that I am “very indelicate;”—that “it is a shame such papers should appear.”—Let them be informed, Mr. Printer, that if I am “indelicate,” it is because they are immodest. Where the bone is corrupted, the flesh must be removed, and the foul parts laid bare, in order to be scraped, and purifieddesperate disorders require desperate remedies. The “shame” does not consist in what I write but in what they do.—Let them quit their practice, I will most readily throw aside my pen.


I should be sorry to entertain so bad an opinion of the generality of my fair countrywomen, as to suppose them hardened by the depraved custom of the times, beyond a possibility of being roused to a sense of danger for themselves and infants, and to a sense of virtue. Doctor Hunter is, beyond dispute, the best Man-midwife in the world—yet, let the advocates for the indiscriminate use of men lay their hands on their hearts, and answer me ingenuously this question—Suppose any three of the best Midwives in London had lost in their lives, the same number of women of fashion Doctor Hunter has lost within these two or three years,[3] would they not have exclaimed[39] loudly, and taken advantage of those deaths to prove the danger of employing women? All England would have rung of their mismanagement—and the women would have been ruined!—There are women in London who have laid several thousands, and yet never lost either a mother or an infant.

Though the abandoned custom exculpates ladies in the estimation of a dissipated world, yet I recommend to their confederation how their thoughts, during the visits of Men-midwives, will stand the test of the penetrating eye of their Creator.


I hope to live to see the day, when innate modesty will be the characteristic of English women; and of course, when a lady will not be more publickly branded with infamy for the most barefaced prostitution, than for the effrontery which will then be necessary to enable a woman wantonly to employ


[3] I would by no means be understood to insinuate the most distant reflection on Dr. Hunter’s management. I have not the smallest idea that any of those deaths were in consequence of the least fault in his execution of his business. I only mentioned them to shew that misfortunes may happen with the most able Man-midwife; and therefore that it is cruel to name one or two accidents as proof of a woman’s being unsafe, since they will happen to the first man in the whole world. I look on Dr. Hunter as a most skilful anatomist; able physician; experienced, tender, patient Man-midwife. If it was left to me to call any man to the labour of a woman in imminent danger, and whose life was linked in mine, Dr. Hunter is the man I would send for without a moment’s hesitation, his skill, but, above all, his experience, age, and infirmities, render him the only man proper to be allowed to take liberties with married women. Yet any woman of experience, in my opinion, is infinitely safer than even Dr. Hunter, except in very extraordinary cases.



In my two last letters, I believe I satisfied those who are open to conviction, that even the best Men-midwives are not so safe as women,—and that the custom is destructive of modesty, and affords those Men-midwives who chuse it, finer seraglios than are in the possession of the most luxuriant Monarchs of the East.

There are bad consequences attending the practice which I have not mentioned. It is productive of danger, and of many evils, even when followed by the most eminent men in London;—who can fix limits then to its pernicious consequences, when a set of raw, unskillful young men are turned loose through this town—round its skirts—and over the whole kingdom, and are received by the credulous multitude with no other recommendation than the words over the door of “⸺, Surgeon and Man-midwife?” Boys think themselves qualified for Men-midwives, by having attended[42] one or two courses of lectures under Doctor Hunter,—or, perhaps, without having heard any lectures at all, or ever having seen a subject anatomized, start from behind an apothecary’s counter—and begin their career, murdering of infants without mercy; and with impunity laying the foundation for cancers, and the most dreadful diseases in women;—not to mention the chance of their ruining the peace of families, by introducing vice and discord, where health and harmony might otherwise have gladdened their serene dwellings.—They know enough of the ways requisite to use force;⸺they have heard female Midwives blamed for allowing tedious labours;⸺they think they will be deemed expert, in proportion to the quickness with which they bring the child into the world,—and the mischiefs they of course give rise to are innumerable! It is not in the nature of things possible that a young man, ever so well qualified by study, can be a safe Midwife—how dreadful then must the situations be of those poor women who[43] are in the hands of the numberless men who practice that business throughout England!⸺The people ignorantly take for granted that the sex constitutes knowledge—insures safety! The truth is, the sex alone is sufficient to render any knowledge destructive in general practice. If the men must be introduced into the privacies of women, I would earnestly recommend it as the most essential qualification requisite to prepare them for the study, that they submit to having their voices made delicate.

And here I should have finished my letter, and the subject, if I had not seen an Essay in the Gazetteer of the 17th, signed “Old Chiron,” which I cannot avoid making some remarks on, before I conclude.

The author of it uses tolerable language, and probably could write pretty well on any other subject. He has done as much as could have been attempted in order to continue the delusive error which blinds[44] mankind. He knew he had not Truth on his side—he has therefore put words together, without argument⸺he has boldly denied, what it is impossible to disprove⸺he has as boldly asserted what never happened—and then laughed-off facts, trusting by ridicule to conceal their existence. The pen of Junius could not defend the women who use men.

I believe the thinking part of the world will join with me in opinion, that he would have shewn more wisdom if he had remained silent. A bad defence does harm to any cause—and the more able the defender appears in his stile and language, the worse it is for his cause when he convinces his readers, that even his abilities cannot do it service. The more this subject is investigated, the more prejudicial it will be to his profession.[4] A practice, adopted, and continued through a jumblement of ignorance and vice, can only be favoured by suffering an impenetrable shade to veil actions fit only for darkness.


Old Chiron has been drove so hard as to have been forced to assert that the female Midwives always “cram their patients with cordials⸺keeping them intoxicated during the time they are in labour”—and that they act like infernal fiends, “driving poor women up and down stairs, notwithstanding their shrieks, and shaking them so violently as often to bring on convulsion fits, on pretence of hastening their labours⸺laughing at their cries⸺and breaking wretched jests upon the contortions of the women, whose torments would make a feeling man shudder at the sight.”⸺I believe that it is not possible any one can be so sillily credulous as to have faith in these most shocking, unnatural, improbable, horrid recitals! Is it possible even if such a brute in an human shame found an entry into an house, that the poor lying-in woman could be able to be forced “up and down stairs?”⸺and allow herself to be shook? If she was ignorant enough, and foolish enough to consent, would her relationsher friends⸺anxiously[46] attending her, likewise be so ignorant as not to know such treatment was highly improper, as well as cruel beyond cannibal brutality? And this too in England! where bearing of children is not so very uncommon, so very extraordinary a circumstance, as that a Midwife could find means to persuade people into such dreadful absurdities!—The idea is too ridiculous! I have seen among my near relations, many women in labour, as long as it was decent for a man to be present; and declare I have always seen their Midwives treat them with the utmost tenderness. I have enquired of several ladies of my acquaintance, each of whom has bore many children, and always employed women, and they have all declared they never even heard of any thing in the most distant manner resembling such treatment, as this interested author has abused his talents by relating. To vouch falsehoods, and for the most malignant purposes, needs no comment. Perhaps some diabolical wretch may have behaved in this manner⸺but is that ground enough to[47] erect defamations on, against the whole sex? If such proof was to be admitted decisive, I could severely retaliate on him such proceedings of men, as would melt an heart of adamant! and I could bring demonstrable evidence to confirm the authenticity of my relations—but I have already been called “indelicate”—and if I was to write the horrors my pen could unfold—delineate facts, painting the indecencies, and barbarities of men whom I could name, I should indeed be indelicate. What must then the acts have been, which no language can convey a description of, without offending the virtuous, and shocking the humane! yet I should look on myself as very culpable if I had instanced these men as standards for the whole profession to be judged by. I gave the preference to women, not because all men were brutes, but because the greatest Saint on earth, if a man in health, could not answer for his principles being proof against the irresistible temptations arising from being freely indulged in the most luxurious liberties with all[48] the feminine beauties of lovely women,—and because their knowledge of anatomy, and their instruments being ready at hand, too often tempt them to use force, and do mischief in parts of the most exquisite sensibility, which no art, no care, no remedy, can ever after repair; where, if nature had been allowed to do her office, she would have been a safe operator, and all would have ended happily; and let any impartial person decide whether a man, who knows every method of forcing the birth, or a woman, who is conscious of being unacquainted with that dangerous knowledge, are most likely to alter the course of nature, by interfering, where she ought to be the sole actor?⸺It is an indisputable fact, that women have such a peculiar sympathy for females big with young, that ninety-nine out of an hundred carry it to such an excess as to be anxious about brutes in that situation. I have often heard ladies uneasy about mares they have seen with foal, and bitches with whelp. It is an instinct implanted, and[49] interwoven with their natures by the Great Source of all things, for the wisest purposes. Those who have felt the agonies of child birth, surely must be able to sympathize more feelingly than men who can only form an idea of them by theory. Women must be allowed to have more tenderness in their natures than men⸺so that in every view we cannot contest the point of sensibility with them. Yet this author asserts women are improper for Midwives because they are most inhuman—because they drive their fellow-creatures up and down stairs—and shake them into convulsion fits! did old Chiron write ironically? or did he mean to betray the cause of the male-practitioners, by asserting fictitious nonsense, which carries falsehood on it’s face?⸺Let any one view the forceps, and then judge whether it is a gentle instrument? it speaks it’s office!—Let any one view the crotchet, crooked scissars, &c. sharp knives to be sure are instruments fit to be trusted in every hand! they pursue[50] healing measures! they never commit murder!

The writer was pleased to confine himself to what I said of the Hottentot women, because the heat of their climate was adapted to his purpose. I mentioned likewise “the wilds of America,” and the kingdoms of Scotland and Ireland. I fancy those countries are cold enough in winter.

He has quoted the practice of the Athenians as an example for our women. Though Heathen virtues are great reproaches on Christian vices (I should have said, on the vices of people who are only Christians in name, by outwardly professing what their lives are daily contradicting) yet I should imagine no Heathen impurities ought to be admitted patterns against Christian virtues.—Our surgeons are better anatomists than the Athenians were; but I am afraid the Athenian men were better Christians, though they lived before the birth of our Saviour.


“But the women of quality do so fall in love with their Doctors.”—I beg he will excuse me,—I never supposed they fell in love with their male inspector. The sensations which Men-midwives give rise to, deserve not the name which distinguishes that noble passion of the soul.—Love, allies us to our Divine Original, elevates our ideas to Heaven, and makes us emulous of worthy actions! It’s signification is scandalously perverted, when used to describe the impure gratifications of sense, which degrade us below the brutes!—Love, and Virtue, are inseparable. Love never inspires the human heart, but when that heart is in pursuit of virtue; when vicious purposes pollute the mind, it’s end is lust.

“Has there ever been related an instance of so unnatural a connexion?” Many where it has been attemptedseveral where it has succeeded. Any person may buy the trial of Doctor Morley, where they will see that he was convicted, and fined a thousand pounds, for seducing Mrs. Biker. The poor woman accused the Doctor on her[52] death-bed, and told the whole transaction. The Doctor pleaded to his friends “the strength of the temptation, the frailty of nature; and the impossibility of any man’s resisting such powerful charms.” He quitted his business; the ladies, however, approved his conduct,—it recommended him to their favour, and he was more employed than ever! Doctor ⸺ was forced to feign madness to escape the rage of an injured husband, for having frightened his wife to death! She happened to be a virtuous, though not a modest, woman!—Count Struenzy too was a Man-midwife.—Would he ever have dared to lift his eye, or breathe his infamous passion to a ⸺, if he had not been encouraged and familiarized by the freedoms admitted by the profession of a Man-midwife? Certainly no. Whoever reads the news-papers of three years back, will find many paragraphs informing us of prosecutions of Men-midwives for crim. con.


“A man never seen by them but in their distress, is sure most unlikely to become an object of their desire; nor can the ladies, however lovely in the bloom of health, be supposed capable of retaining their attractions in the hour of agony.”—The writer knows that neither of these assertions are matters of fact. In regard to the first, many women see their Men-midwives in perfect health, to be informed if they are with child? How far gone? “Whether the child lies right?” and on many other pretences.—Men and women, on such trying occasions, must give way to nature—there is no possibility of withstanding it.—As to women’s not being “attractingly lovely when in labour,”—there he likewise must have been sensible that he erred from truth. Those pains rather add to beauty; and though, during the continuance of racking tortures, neither party can attend to any thing but the pains felt on one side, and the compassion which a good man must sympathize in on the other; yet in the intervals[54] (many there always are, and generally they are long intervals) no uneasiness on either side leaves the minds of both at liberty to entertain other ideas.

“And if he” (the Man-midwife) “is at all to answer for their conduct, is, I think, only to be reckoned with for recovering them so early, and so putting it in their power to go abroad and coquet it the sooner.”—The author is pleased to be facetious with the ladies! I do not at all wonder that those men who have such foundation for censuring their conduct, presume thus to ridicule them for their eagerness to visit, in order to receive the homage of their criminal admirers! I should have thought, however, that the subject was not of a nature which could authorize such indecent raillery. It verifies the old proverb, “too much familiarity breeds contempt.”

As to the assertion, that “the faculty employ men to their own wives”—I know[55] very many instances to the contrary—and even if this was otherwise, it would be by no means conclusive. Men who have such choice of fine women to take the most licentious liberties with, most probably cannot remain long faithful to their own wives—they may therefore easily be supposed soon to become so indifferent about them, as to be very ready to suffer their own brethren to lay them, by way of keeping up the farce, and blinding the world. I take for granted however they permit no private examinations. They are too much in the secret.

The gentleman concludes with telling us a story of Dr. Ford’s having attended a poor woman for three days and nights, who had been ill used by a woman.⸺What then?—It only proves that Dr. Ford is not destitute of humanity, and that there is one woman who interfered with nature, and of course did mischief.—I know he “is a favourite with many women of distinction”—but those ladies best know[56] how he has recommended himself to their favour. Neither Dr. Ford, nor Dr. Hunter, can presume to affirm, that they never take the most intimate freedoms with ladies, when there is no chance for labour.⸺Indeed, the ladies make no secret of it—they now can submit to those examinations on the morning of an assembly, tell their company of it at dinner, and go to a tavern to supper!

And now, Mr. Printer, allow me to take my leave of you, and the public on this theme.—The unprejudiced will be convinced—at least it was this flattering, this most pleasing hope, that stimulated me to write on this subject.—I can have no sinister views—the conduct of the world will not interfere with my happiness—for I never will marry any woman, unless I know her sentiments correspond with mine. The public are now in possession of all I can think on the subject—The good sense of the people of England will decide how far my hints may conduce to their domestic[57] happiness.—I leave to other pens to proceed on it, in answer to any writer who may enter the lists against me. Whoever wishes to know my sentiments may review these three letters. I should be an hypocrite, if I attempted to conceal, that, as I took up my pen for the benefit of the community, so I shall be most highly gratified, if I hereafter find my time has been employed to purpose, in opening the eyes of the thoughtless, informing the ignorant, and warning the virtuous. I despair of shaming the immodest!

While I live, I shall think no woman modest who employs


[4] I take for granted, Old Chiron is a Man-midwife.



As I do not wish to bewilder the Judgments of my Readers, but to convince their Understandings,—and as I have, throughout my Letters, laid so much Weight on the Dangers which attend hurrying the Labours of Women, I cannot dismiss this Pamphlet into the World without endeavouring clearly to demonstrate the Utility of allowing Nature to adhere strictly to her own Period for accomplishing the Birth.

Men, who have not been accustomed to thinking;—but whose Lives have been spent in the various Occupations, or dissipated Pleasures of the World, by having been habituated daily to view the common round which Providence takes in the natural Events of Life, never felt their Wonder and Admiration excited by considering them in the Manner which is incumbent on reasonable, intelligent Beings.[59] Those, on the other Hand, whose only real Enjoyments proceed from a delightful Indulgement of the Soul in Contemplations on the astonishing Works of God, divest themselves of that Familiarity to them which the hourly Evidence of their Senses would otherwise have obscured—and render’d Matter for no rational Reflection.

Thus we are blind to the surprizing progressive Change, which enlarges a new born Infant, to the size of Manhood! or a small Seed, to a large Tree!—If an Infant, the day after its Birth, was to walk round the Town, in compleat symmetry of Person, and six Feet high, would not the Miracle forcibly strike the Minds of the most thoughtless of our Species?—The difference is made only by Custom. Twenty Hours, and Twenty Years, are exactly the same in the Sight of God!—My Amazement is excited by seeing the Change wrought in twenty Years, to the full in as high a degree, as the same Sight, in twenty Hours, would raise the Astonishment[60] of an embroidered Maccaroni at Carlisle House, or, of an infinitely more rational, esteemable Being; a poor, ignorant Labourer in the Fields!

The Work of Nature, in Labour, is one of it’s most extraordinary Acts!—Untill the Parts are in some degree prepared by the miraculous Change effected in them by the Labour Pains, the Child could no more enter the World than it could fly into the Clouds!—Untill the Parts are properly prepared, the Child cannot appear without the most obvious Danger.

Every Pain has it’s Office,—it lubricates—it dilates. Where these Pains are not violent—are not quick in their Return—but are lingering, and tedious, they plainly indicate that the Woman requires great Preparation—Nature is gradually, and by the most gentle Means, forwarding the Distension—and if left to herself, will not bring on the Birth till every thing is accommodated to her Purpose.


Men Midwives, seldom wait for Nature’s Moment. Women are objected to, because they are tedious—Men are extolled for their quickness. If Doctor ⸺ has two or three pregnant Ladies waiting, from whom he expects handsome Payments, he will take Merit from hastening the Birth—and if any Accident happens from his Impatience, his Reputation is too well establish’d to suffer in the Eyes of Mankind—and the Misfortune is attributed to some of the common Casualties attending Labour, when it derived it’s Source solely from the Doctor’s having brought the Child forward, unnaturally, before the Parts were pre-disposed, by a proper distension, for it’s Reception, and Passage. I fear two Ladies died lately owing to this very Practice. The Parts inflamed—the Inflammation spread by Sympathy—the Bowels mortified. If these Ladies had lain-in in the Country, and had employ’d common, plain Women, who pretended to no Knowledge but what they derived from Experience, it is a Million to one that the Ladies would now have been alive and well.


The Men-midwives not only give rise to Inflammations by bringing the Child before the Woman has felt half the number of Pains which Nature intended to predispose the Parts—but likewise by their abominable Dilatations. Can any Practice be more repugnant to common Sense, than that of irritating the exquisitely sensitive nervous Fibres of those Parts, by way of preparing them for Distension? The Men absolutely counteract the very end they pretend to have in view, by Dilatation!—Friction must irritate—irritation must inflame—Inflammation must contract. It is no Wonder if Parts so nicely constructed—highly irritated for (perhaps) Hours, should inflame after the Birth, and be productive of the most dreadful Consequences!—Yet their Officiousness recommends them to the Ladies!—I really cannot find Words to inform my Readers of every Circumstance I wish to relate. I start Hints—and leave them to pursue the Subject by an exertion of their own Reason.


I have now entirely done with all which relates to the Danger Women and Children run through officious, shameful Impatience. I have only to recommend one serious Reflection to those Husbands who think their Happiness would be interrupted by detecting any Infidelity in their Wives. I beg they will consider the Advantages they give Men-midwives, in allowing them so many favourable Opportunities of extolling the personal Charms of the Ladies, whose Beauties lie open to their most curious Researches. No Men can possibly have such critical Opportunities for engratiating themselves with the Fair. Flattery, critically applied to Women, has strange Effects. They can accompany their Flattery with irresistible Persuasives. The sacred Names of Religion and Honour may be made Subservient to their Purposes. The more they are pretended to be prized in their Estimation, the more they may be urged in proof of the bewitching Allurements, and forcible Power of those hidden Beauties, which have obliterated every Remonstrance of Virtue, and stifled[64] every Check of Conscience. The poor Woman’s Pity is excited, when she views the strongest Principles of her “dear Man” overcome by her Charms—she can only blame herself for possessing such provoking Temptations—she is blinded by the Assistance of Nature—her own Vanity turns Advocate for the Doctor, and acquits him of Villainy during the Empire of Passion; though the return of Reason, when too late! discovers the Artifices which have accomplish’d her Ruin!


I hope Doctor Hunter will pardon the latter part of the Reference, at the bottom of my second Letter. I fear I misrepresented him in attributing Infirmities to his share which I am inform’d he never yet has experienced. His Abilities are great—and if a Man must be employ’d, I think he may be called in with as much safety as any Man of his Profession.

As this Pamphlet recommends the employing of Women, the Publishers have taken some Pains to procure a List of those who are eminent in their Profession—and on the best information recommend the following Midwives to those Ladies who have too much Modesty to employ Men—and who are convinced by the preceding Pages that the Men are not so safe as Women.

Mrs. Nihell Hay Market
Mrs. Brooke } Cross Key Court, Little Britain
Mrs. Stephens }
Mrs. Lee }
Mrs. Harris Mould Makers Row, St. Martin’s Le Grand
Mrs. Reynard } Bartholomew Close
Mrs. Forrest }
Mrs. Smith } Cow Lane, Snow-Hill
Mrs. Page }
Mrs. Phillips Garlick Hill
Mrs. Andrews Bush Lane, Cannon Street
Mrs. Longbottom Near Guy’s Hospital
Mrs. Richardson Westminster
Mrs. Souden Ratcliff Row, Old Street
Mrs. Hall Bunhill Row, Ditto
Mrs. Barnet } Somerset Street, White-Chapel
Mrs. Larkin }
Mrs. Blunt Swallow Str. Golden Sq.
Mrs. Lyttelton, Amen-Corner, Paternoster Row