Documents for Science and Sentiment (The Enlightenment)

Galileo Galilei: Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina (1615)

The reason produced for condemning the opinion that the earth moves and the sun stands still in many places in the Bible one may read that the sun moves and the earth stands still. Since the Bible cannot err; it follows as a necessary consequence that anyone takes a erroneous and heretical position who maintains that the sun is inherently motionless and the earth movable.

. . .[T]hese things in no way concern the primary purpose of the sacred writings, which is the service of God and the salvation of souls —- matters infinitely beyond the comprehension of the common people.

This being granted, I think that in discussions of physical problems we ought to begin not from the authority of scriptural passages but from

sense—experiences and necessary demonstrations; for the holy Bible and the phenomena of nature proceed alike from the divine Word the former as the dictate of the Holy Ghost and the latter as the observant executrix of God's commands. It is necessary for the Bible, in order to be accommodated to the understanding of every man, to speak many things which appear to differ from the absolute truth so far as the bare meaning of the words is concerned. But Nature, on the other hand, is inexorable and immutable; she never transgresses the laws imposed upon her, or cares a whit whether her abstruse reasons and methods of operation are understandable to men. . . .

From these things it follows as a necessary consequence that, since the Holy Ghost did not intend to teach us whether heaven moves or stands still, whether its shape is spherical or like a discus or extended in a plane, nor whether the earth is located at its center or off to one side, then so much the less was it intended to settle for us any other conclusion of the same kind. And the motion or rest of the earth and the sun is so closely linked with the things just named, that without a determination of the one, neither side can be taken in the other matters. Now if the Holy Spirit has purposely neglected to teach us propositions of this sort as irrelevant to the highest goal (that is, to our salvation), how can anyone affirm that it is obligatory to take sides on them, that one belief is required by faith, while the other side is erroneous? Can an opinion be heretical and yet have no concern with the salvation of souls? Can the Holy Ghost be asserted not to have intended teaching us something that does concern our salvation? I would say here something that was heard from an ecclesiastic of the most eminent degree: "That the intention of the Holy Ghost is to teach us how one goes to heaven. not how heaven goes."

Question: Why does Galileo think it's OK for his finding to contradict the Bible?

Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Emile (1762)

 [3:] We know nothing of childhood, and with our mistaken notions the further we advance the further we go astray. The wisest writers devote themselves to what a man ought to know without asking what a child is capable of learning. They are always looking for the man in the child without considering what he is before he becomes a man.

[10:] Everything is good as it leaves the hands of the author of things, everything degenerates in the hands of man. He forces one soil to nourish the products of another, one tree to bear the fruits of another. He mixes and confuses the climates, the elements, the seasons. He mutilates his dog, his horse, his slave. He turns everything upside down, he disfigures everything, he loves deformities, monsters. He wants nothing as nature made it, not even man himself. For him man must be trained like a saddle- horse; he must be shaped according to the fashion, like trees in his garden. If you wish to restore all men to their primary duties, begin with the mothers. . . .

[60:] But when mothers deign to nurse their own children, then morals will reforms themselves, natural feeling will revive in every heart, the state will be repopulated. This first point, this point alone, will bring everything together. The attractions of domestic life are the best antidote for bad morals. The noisy play of children, which one assumes to be bothersome, becomes agreeable; the mother and the father become more necessary, more dear to each other; the conjugal bonds are tightened. When the family is lively and animated domestic cares become the most cherished occupation of the wife and the sweetest amusement of the husband. Thus from this one corrected abuse would result a general reform; soon nature would have regained all of its rights. Once women become mothers again, men will become husbands and fathers.

 [73:] When a father begets children and provides a living for them he has done but a third of his task. He owes human beings to his species, social men to society, citizens to the state. A man who can pay this threefold debt and neglects to do so is guilty, more guilty, perhaps, if he pays it in part than when he neglects it entirely. He who cannot fulfil the duties of a father has no right to be a father. Neither poverty, work, nor human respect excuse a man from supporting his children and raising them himself. Readers, you can believe me. I predict that anyone who has visceral feelings and neglects such sacred duties will long weep bitter tears and will never be consoled.

[134:] At the moment that the child first breathes when leaving its envelope do not allow anyone to give him other constraints that will hold him even tighter. No cap, no bandages, nor swaddling clothes. Instead, loose and flowing flannel wrappers, which heave his limbs free and are not too heavy to check his movements, not too warm to prevent his feeling the air.  Put him in a big cradle, well padded, where he can move easily and safely. As he begins to grow stronger, let him crawl about the room; let him develop and stretch his tiny limbs. You will see him gain strength from day to day. Compare him with a well swaddled child of the same age and you will be surprised at the difference in their progress.

[159:] When the child cries he is uncomfortable, he feels some need which he cannot satisfy. We examine him, we search out this need, find it, and provide for it. When we cannot find it or provide for it, the tears continue and become tiresome. We stroke the child to make him keep quiet, we rock him, we sing to him to make him fall asleep. If he persists, we get impatient, we threaten him; cruel nurses sometimes strike him. What strange lessons for him at his first entrance into life!

[160:] I shall never forget seeing one of these troublesome crying children thus beaten by his nurse. He was silent at once. I thought he was frightened, and said to myself, "This will be a servile being from whom nothing can be got but by harshness." I was wrong. The poor thing was choking with rage, he could not breathe, I saw him becoming blue in the face. A moment later there were bitter cries, every sign of the anger, rage, and the despair of this age was in his tones. I thought he would die from such agitation. Had I doubted the innate sense of justice and injustice in man's heart, this one instance would have convinced me. I am sure that a drop of boiling liquid falling by chance on that child's hand would have hurt him less than that blow, slight in itself, but clearly given with the intention of hurting him. As long as children find resistance only in things and never in wills, they will become neither rebellious nor angry and they will conserve their health better. This is one reason why the children of the people, who are freer and more independent, are generally less infirm, less delicate, and more vigorous than those who claim to raise them better by ceaselessly thwarting them. But one must always be aware that there is a big difference between obeying them and not thwarting them.

When our natural tendencies have not been interfered with by human prejudice and human institutions, the happiness alike of children and of men consists in the enjoyment of their liberty. But the child's liberty is restricted by his lack of strength. He who does as he likes is happy provided he is self-sufficing; it is so with the man who is living in a state of nature. He who does what he likes is not happy if his desires exceed his strength, it is so with a child in like conditions. Even in a state of nature children only enjoy an imperfect liberty, like that enjoyed by men in social life. . . .

Nature provides for the child's growth in her own fashion, and this should never be thwarted. Do not make him sit still when he wants to run about, nor run when he wants to be quiet. If we did not spoil our children's wills by our blunders their desires would be free from caprice. Let them run, jump, and shout to their heart's content. All their own activities are instincts of the body for its growth in strength; but you should regard with suspicion those wishes which they cannot carry out for themselves, those which others must carry out for them. Then you must distinguish carefully between natural and artificial needs, between the needs of budding caprice and the needs which spring from the overflowing life just described.

Above all, beware of teaching the child empty phrases of politeness, which serve as spells to subdue those around him to his will, and to get him what he wants at once. The artificial education of the rich never fails to make them politely imperious, by teaching them the words to use so that no one will dare to resist them. Their children have neither the tone nor the manner of suppliants; they are as haughty or even more haughty in their entreaties than in their commands, as though they were more certain to be obeyed. You see at once that "If you please" means "It pleases me," and "I beg" means "I command." What a fine sort of politeness which only succeeds in changing the meaning of words so that every word is a command! For my own part, I would rather Emile were rude than haughty, that he should say "Do this" as a request rather than "Please" as a command. What concerns me is his meaning, not his words. . . .

"Reason with children" was Locke's chief maxim; it is in the height of fashion at present, and I hardly think it is justified by the results; those children who have been constantly reasoned with strike me as exceedingly silly. Of all man's faculties, reason, which is, so to speak, compounded of all the rest, is the last and choicest growth, and it is this you would use for the child's early training To make a man reasonable is the coping stone of a good education, and yet you profess to train a child through his reason! You begin at the wrong end, you make the end the means. If children understood reason they would not need education, but by talking to them from their earliest age in a language they do not understand you accustom them to be satisfied with words, to question all that is said to them, to think themselves as wise as their teachers; you train them to be argumentative and rebellious; and whatever you think you gain from motives of reason, you really gain from greediness, fear, or vanity with which you are obliged to reinforce your reasoning.

 [1274:] On their part women are always complaining that we educate them to be vain and coquettish, that we keep them amused with silly things so that we may remain their masters. We are responsible, so they say, for the faults we attribute to them. How insane! Since when do men bother with the education of girls? What is there to hinder their mothers educating them as they please? There are no colleges for girls; so much the better for them! Would to God that there were none for the boys; their education would be more sensible and more wholesome. Does anyone force your daughters to waste their time on silliness? Are they made, against their will, to spend half their time at their dressing table, following the example set them by you? Does anyone prevent you from teaching them, or having them taught, whatever seems good in your eyes? Is it our fault if we are pleased when they are beautiful, if their mincing ways seduce us, if the art that they learn attracts and flatters us, if we like to seen them tastefully dressed, if we let them display at leisure the weapons by which we are subjugated? Well then, decide to educate them like men; men will heartily consent. The more women resemble men, the less influence they will have over them, and then the men will truly be the masters.

[From Book 3]

Let the senses be the only guide for the first workings of reason.  No book but the world, no teaching but that of fact.  The child who read ceases to think, he only reads.  He is acquiring words not knowledge.

Teach your scholar to observe the phenomena of nature; you will soon rouse his curiosity, but if you would have it grow, do not be in too great a hurry to satisfy this curiosity.  Put the problems before him and let him solve them himself.  Let him know nothing because you have told him, but because he has learnt it for himself.  Let him not be taught science, let him discover it.  If ever you substitute authority for reason he will cease to reason; he will be a mere plaything of other people’s thoughts.

You wish to teach this child geography and you provide him with globes, spheres, and maps.  What elaborate preparations! What is the use of all these symbols; why not begin by showing him the real thing so that he may at least know what you are talking about?. . . .

  Time was long during early childhood; we only tried to pass our time for fear of using it ill; now it is the her way; we have not time enough for all that would be of use.  The passions, remember are drawing near, and when they knock at the door your scholar will have no ear for anything else. The peaceful age of intelligence is so short, it flies so swiftly, there is so much, to be done, that it is madness to try to make your child learned. It is not your business to teach him the various sciences, but to give him a taste for them and methods of learning them when this taste is more mature. That is assuredly a fundamental principle of all good education.

This is also the time to train him gradually to prolonged attention to a given object; but this attention should never be the result of constraint, but of interest or desire; you must be very careful that it is not too much for his strength, and that it is not carried to the point of tedium. Watch him, therefore, and whatever happens, stop before he is tired, for it matters little what he learns; it does matter that he should do nothing against his will. . . .

I do not like verbal explanations. Young people pay little heed to them, nor do they remember them. Things! Things! I cannot repeat it too often. We lay too much stress upon words; we teachers babble, and our scholars follow our example.

Suppose we are studying the course of the sun and the way to find our bearings, when all at once Emile interrupts me with the question, "What is the use of that?" what a fine lecture I might give, how many things I might take occasion to teach him in reply to his question, especially if there is any one there. I might speak of the advantages of travel, the value of commerce, the special products of different lands and the peculiar customs of different nations, the use of the calendar, the way to reckon the seasons for agriculture, the art of navigation, how to steer our course at sea, how to find our way without knowing exactly where we are. Politics, natural history, astronomy, even morals and international law axe involved in my explanation, so as to give my pupil some idea of all these sciences and a great wish to learn them. When I have finished I shall have shown myself a regular pedant, I shall have made a great display of learning, and not one single idea has he understood. He is longing to ask me again, " What is the use of taking one's bearings?" but he dare not for fear of vexing me. He finds it pays beat to pretend to listen to what he is forced to hear. This is the practical result of our fine systems of education.

But Emile is educated in a simpler fashion. We take so much pains to teach him a difficult idea that he will have heard nothing of all this. At the first word he does not understand, he will run away, he will prance about the room, and leave me to make speeches by myself. Let us seek a more commonplace explanation; my scientific learning is of no use to him.

We were observing the position of the forest to the north of Montmorency when he interrupted me with the usual question, "What is the use of that?"  "You are right," I said. "Let us take time to think it over, and if we find it is no use we will drop it, for we only want useful games." We find something else to do and geography is put aside for the day.

Next morning I suggest a walk before breakfast; there is nothing he would like better; children are always ready to run about, and he is a good walker. We climb up to the forest, we wander through its clearings and lose ourselves; we have no idea where we are, and when we want to retrace our steps we cannot find the way. Time passes, we are hot and hungry; hurrying vainly this way and that we find nothing but woods, quarries, plains, not a landmark to guide us. Very hot, very tired, very hungry, we only get further astray. At last we sit down to rest and to consider our position. I assume that Emile has been educated like an ordinary child. He does not think, he begins to cry; he has no idea we are close to Montmorency, which is hidden from our view by a more thicket; but this thicket is a forest to him, a man of his size is buried among bushes. After a few minutes' silence I begin anxiously:

Jean Jacques.  My dear Emile, what shall we do to get out?

Emile.  I am sure I do not, know. I am tired, I am hungry,  I am thirsty. I cannot go any further.

Jean Jacques.  Do you suppose I am any better off? I would cry too if I could make my breakfast off tears. Crying is no use, we must look about us. Let us see your watch; what time is it?

Emile.  It is noon and I am so hungry 1

Jean Jacques.  Just so; it is noon and I am so hungry too.

Emile.  You must be very hungry  indeed.

Jean Jacques.  Unluckily my dinner won't come to find me. It is twelve o'clock. This time yesterday we were observing the position of the forest from Montmorency. If only we could see the position of Montmorency from the forest--

Emile.  But yesterday we could see the forest, and here we cannot see the town.

Jean Jacques.  That is just it. If we could only find it without seeing it.

Emile.  Oh! my dear friend!

Jean Jacques.  Did not we say the forest was--

Emile.  North of Montmorency.

Jean Jacques.  Then Montmorency must lie--

Emile.  South of the forest.

Jean Jacques.  We know how to find the north at midday.

Emile.  Yes, by the direction of the shadows.

Jean Jacques.  But the south?

Emile.  What shall we do?

Jean Jacques.  The south is opposite the north.

Emile.  That is true; we need only find the opposite of the shadows. That is the south! That is the south! Montmorency must be over there! Let us look for it there!

Jean Jacques. Perhaps you are right; let us follow this path through the wood.

Emile. (Clapping his hands).  Oh, I can see Montmorency! there it is, quite plain, just in front of us! Come to luncheon, come to dinner, make haste! Astronomy is some use after all.

Be sure that he thinks this if he does not say it; no matter which, provided I do not say it myself. He will certainly never forget this day's lesson as long as he lives, while if I had only led him to think of all this at home, my lecture would have been forgotten the next day. Teach by doing whenever you can, and only fall back upon words when doing is out of the question.

Question: According to Rousseau, how should children be raised and educated?


Jean Jacques Rousseau: The Social Contract (1763)

Man was born free, but everywhere he is in chains. This man believes that he is the master of others, and still he is more of a slave than they are. How did that transformation take place? I don't know. How may the restraints on man become legitimate? I do believe I can answer that question. . . .

This question might be rephrased: "How is a method of associating to be found which will defend and protect-using the power of all-the person and property of each member and still enable each member of the group to obey only himself and to remain as free as before?" This is the fundamental problem; the social contract offers a solution to it. . . .

The social contract's terms, when they are well understood, can be reduced to a single stipulation: the individual member alienates himself totally to the whole community together with all his rights. This is first because conditions will be the same for everyone when each individual gives himself totally, and secondly, because no one will be tempted to make that condition of shared equality worse for other men. . . .

So that the social pact will not become meaningless words, it tacitly includes this commitment, which alone gives power to the others: Whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be forced to obey it by the whole body politic, which means nothing else but that he will be forced to be free. This condition is indeed the one which by dedicating each citizen to the fatherland gives him a guarantee against being personally dependent on other individuals. It is the condition which all political machinery depends on and which alone makes political undertakings legitimate. Without it, political actions become absurd, tyrannical, and subject to the most outrageous abuses. . . .

The first and most important conclusion from the principles we have established thus far is that the general will alone may direct the forces of the State to achieve the goal for which it was founded, the common good.... Sovereignty is indivisible ... and is inalienable.... A will is general or it is not: it is that of the whole body of the people or only of one faction. In the first instance, putting the will into words and force is an act of sovereignty: the will becomes law. In the second instance, it is only a particular will or an administrative action; at the very most it is a decree. . . .

It follows from the above that the general will is always in the right and inclines toward the public good, but it does not follow that the deliberations of the people

always have the same rectitude. People always desire what is good, but they do not always see what is good. You can never corrupt the people, but you can often fool them, and that is the only time that the people appear to will something bad....

If, assuming that the people were sufficiently informed as they made decisions and that the citizens did not communicate with each other, the general will would always be resolved from a great number of small differences, and the deliberation would always be good. But when blocs are formed, associations of parts at the expense of the whole, the will of each of these associations will be general as far as its members are concerned but particular as far as the State is concerned. Then we may say that there are no longer so many voters as there are men present but as many as there are associations. The differences will become less numerous and will yield less general results. Finally, when one of these associations becomes so strong that it dominates the others, you no longer have the sum of minor differences as a result but rather one single [unresolved] difference, with the result that there no longer is a general will, and the view that prevails is nothing but one particular view....

Question: What is the general will, and how can it be used to govern?


Henry Fielding: Tom Jones (1749)

The hero of this novel engages in numerous amorous misadventures. This section involves the sister, named Bridget, of Mr. Allworthy, who helps raise Jones.


It hath been observed by wise men or women, I forget which, that all persons are doomed to be in love once in their lives. No particular season is, as I remember, assigned for this; but the age at which Miss Bridget was arrived seems to me as proper a period as any to be fixed on for this purpose; it often indeed happens much earlier, but when it doth not, I have observed, it seldom or never fails about this time. Moreover, we may remark that at this season love is of a more serious and steady nature than what sometimes shows itself in the younger parts of life. The love of girls is uncertain, capricious, and so foolish that we cannot always discover what the young lady would be at; nay, it may almost be doubted whether she always knows this herself.

Now, we are never at a loss to discern this in women about forty; for as such grave, serious, and experienced ladies well know their own meaning, so it is always very easy for a man of the least sagacity to discover it with the utmost certainty.

Miss Bridget is an example of all these observations. She had not been many times in the captain's company before she was seized with this passion. Nor did she go pining and moping about the house like a puny foolish girl, ignorant of her distemper: she felt, she knew, and she enjoyed the pleasing sensation, of which, as she was certain it was, not only innocent but laudable, she was neither afraid nor ashamed.

And to say the truth, there is in all points great difference between the reasonable passion which women at this age conceive towards men and the idle and childish liking of a girl to a boy, which is often fixed on the outside only, and on things of little value and no duration:- as on cherry cheeks, small lily-white hands, sloe-black eyes, flowing locks, downy chins, dapper shades, nay, sometimes on charms more worthless than these, and less the party's own: such are the outward ornaments of the person, and for which men are beholden to the tailor, the lace-man, the periwig maker, the hatter, and the milliner, and not to Nature. Such a passion girls may well be ashamed, as they generally are, to own either to themselves or to others.

The love of Miss Bridget was of another kind. The captain owed nothing to any of these fop-makers in his dress, nor was his person much more beholden to Nature. Both his dress and person were such as, had they appeared in an assembly or a drawing-room, would have been the contempt and ridicule of all the fine ladies there. The former of these was indeed neat, but plain, coarse, ill-fancied, and out of fashion. As for the latter, we have expressly described it above. So far was the skin on his cheeks from being cherrycoloured that you could not discern what the natural colour of his cheeks was, they being totally overgrown by a black beard, which ascended to his eyes. His shape and limbs were indeed exactly proportioned, but so large that they denoted the strength rather of a ploughman than any other. His shoulders were broad beyond all size, and the calves of his legs larger than those of a common chairman. In short, his whole person wanted all that elegance and beauty which is the very reverse of clumsy strength, and which so agreeably sets off most of our fine gentlemen; being partly owing to the high blood of their ancestors, viz., blood made of rich sauces and generous wines, and partly to an early town education.

Though Miss Bridget was a woman of the greatest delicacy of taste, yet such were the charms of the captain's conversation that she totally overlooked the defects of his person. She imagined, and perhaps very wisely, that she should enjoy more agreeable minutes with the captain than with a much prettier fellow; and forewent the consideration of pleasing her eyes in order to procure herself much more solid satisfaction.

The captain no sooner perceived the passion of Miss Bridget, in which discovery he was very quick-sighted, than he faithfully returned it. The lady no more than her lover was remarkable for beauty. I would attempt to draw her picture, but that is done already by a more able master, Mr. Hogarth himself, to whom she sat many years ago, and hath been lately exhibited by that gentleman in his print of a winter's morning, of which she was no improper emblem, and may be seen walking (for walk she doth in the print) to Covent Garden church, with a starved footboy behind carrying her prayer-book.

The captain likewise very wisely preferred the more solid enjoyments he expected with this lady to the fleeting charms of person. He was one of those wise men who regard beauty in the other sex as a very worthless and superficial qualification; or, to speak more truly, who rather choose to possess every convenience of life with an ugly woman than a handsome one without any of those conveniences. And having a very good appetite, and but little nicety, he fancied he should play his part very well at the matrimonial banquet without the sauce of beauty.

To deal plainly with the reader, the captain, ever since his arrival, at least from the moment his brother had proposed the match to him, long before he had discovered any flattering symptoms in Miss Bridget, had been greatly enamoured; that is to say, of Mr. Allworthy's house and gardens and of his lands, tenements, and hereditaments; of all which the captain was so passionately fond that he would most probably have contracted marriage with them had he been obliged to have taken the witch of Endor into the bargain.

Question: What does this passage tell you about the perception of women and marriage in the 18th century?


Oliver Goldsmith: She Stoops to Conquer (1773)

Hardcastle is talking to his daughter.

HARDCASTLE: Blessings on my pretty innocence! Dressed out as usual, my Kate. Goodness! what a quantity of superiluous silk hast thou got about thee, girl! I could never teach the fools of this age that the indigent world could be clothed out of the trimmings of the vain.

Miss HARDCASTLE. You know our agreement, sir. You allow me the morning to receive and pay visits, and to dress in my own manner; and in the evening, I put on my housewife's dress to please you.

HARDCASTLE. Well, remember I insist on the terms of our agreement; and, by the bye, I believe I shall have occasion to try your obedience this very evening.

MISS HARDCASTLE. I protest, sir, I don't comprehend your meaning.

HARDCASTLE. Then, to be plain with you, Kate, I expect the young gentleman I have chosen to be your husband from town this very day. I have his father's letter, in which he informs me his son is set out, and that he intends to follow himself shortly after.

MISS HARDCASTLE. Indeed! I wish I had known something of this before. Bless me, how shall I behave? It's a thousand to one I shan't like him, our meeting will be so formal, and so like a thing of business, that I shall find no room for friendship or esteem.

HARDCASTLE. Depend upon it, child, I'll never control your choice; but Mr. Marlow, whom I have pitched upon, is the son of my old friend, Sir Charles Marlow, of whom you have heard me talk so often. The younger gentleman has been bred a scholar, and is designed for an employment in the service of his country. I am told he's a man of an excellent understanding.


HARDCASTLE. Very generous.

MISS HARDCASTLE. I believe I shall like him.

HARDCASTLE. Young and brave.

MISS HARDCASTLE. I'm sure I shall like him.

HARDCASTLE. And very handsome.

MISS HARDCASTLE. My dear papa, say no more (kissing his hand), he's mine, I'll have him.

HARDCASTLE. And to crown all, Kate, he's one of the most bashful and reserved young fellows in all the world.

MISS HARDCASTLE. Eh! you have frozen me to death again. That word reserved has undone all the rest of his accomplishments. A reserved lover, it is said, always makes a suspicious husband.

HARDCASTLE. On the contrary, modesty seldom resides in a breast that is not enriched with nobler virtues. It was the very feature in his character that first struck me.

MISS HARDCASTLE. He must have more striking features to catch me, I promise you. However, if he is so young, so handsome, and so everything as you mention, I believe he'll do still. I think I'll have him.

HARDCASTLE. Ay, Kate, but there is still an obstacle. It's more than an even wager, he may not have you.

MISS HARDCASTLE. My dear papa, why will you mortify one so? Well, if he refuses, instead of breaking my heart at his indifference, I'll only break my glass for its flattery, set my cap to some newer fashion, and look out for some less difficult admirer.

HARDCASTLE. Bravely resolved. In the meantime I'll go prepare the servants for his reception; as we seldom see company, they want as much training as a company of recruits the first day's muster. (Exit)

MISS HARDCASTLE. (Aside) Lud, this news of papa's puts me all in a flutter. Young, handsome; these he put last, but I put them foremost. Sensible, good-natured; I like all that. but then, reserved and sheepish; that's much against him. Yet can't he be cured of his timidity by being taught to be proud of his wife? Yes, and can't I–but I vow I'm disposing of the husband, before I have secured the lover.

Question: What does this passage indicate about the nature of love and comedy in the 18th century?