I am intrigued by this piece, as it is one of the best arguments I can imagine for making divorce available. It has a ring of veracity to it, and explains why there were so many batchelors in the 18th and 19th century when there were so many women desperate for marriage. It is also rather clever piece of writing, especially as I read somewhere that the ony way the English were controlled by the monarch was to tax them: This is from 1773
A new scheme for taxing Shrews
A proposed scold is at once the most disagreeable, obnoxious being in the world. She not only renders herself completely disgreeable, but casts a general stigma upon the whole sex; and I will venture to say there are many old batchelors, who would long since have entered into the state of wedlock had they not been deterred from it by some female friend or acquaintance, whose great talents in this way, made them fear they might meet with a wife whose genius was of the same turn. The maidens and matrons of this island have a just plea, to petition parliament for the transportation of every profane vixen in the kingdom or, if that thought to be too severe, they should at least be taxed, to silence them, though probably they might scold the more for it. I know a very ingenious old gent, who has never had the courage to engage in matrimony, who gives it as his opinion, that the innumerable batchelors ever where to be found, remain so more through the fear of being scolded to death than from any mercenary cause, or far less, from any real disposition for celibacy. He has, indeed, furnished me with the hints of taxing the race of shrews, having put into hand the following portion, which he thinks is very reasonable.
Scolding every morning £20 pa, 2ce a day, £30, 3 times per day £40, every other day £10
Once per week not Sundays £4, Sundays £10
Scolding a husband into a consumption, of jaundice or any lingering disorder £100
Scolding to death £500
Scolding herself into hysteria £0
This calculation is made for a woman who brings £5,000 to her fortune, which indeed my friend says is the least fortune a vixen should have; so that the penalties must be proportionately augmented to the increase of this fortune.
A tax upon batchelors has long since been talked of, and man judged reasonable; but I do not think this would strike at the root of the evil, as it plainly appears tat the real source of complaint celibacy, is to be traced to the female vice, which cannot be speedily or too completely eradicated. – ANTI VIXEN