EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS IS NOBODY’S BUSINESS

EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS IS NOBODY’S BUSINESS

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Daniel Defoe Everybody's business is nobody's business EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS IS NOBODY’S BUSINESS This is a proverb so common in everybody’s mouth, that I wonder nobody has yet thought it worth while to draw proper inferences from it, and expose those little abuses, which, though they seem trifling, and as it were scarce worth consideration, yet, by insensible degrees, they may become of injurious consequence to the public; like some diseases, whose first symptoms are only trifling disorders, but by continuance and progression, their last periods terminate in the destruction of the whole human fabric. In contradiction therefore to this general rule, and out of sincere love and well meaning to the public, give me leave to enumerate the abuses insensibly crept in among us, and the inconveniences daily arising from the insolence and intrigues of our servant–wenches, who, by their caballing together, have made their party so considerable, that everybody cries out against them; and yet, to verify the proverb, nobody has thought of, or at least proposed a remedy, although such an undertaking, mean as it seems to be, I hope will one day be thought worthy the consideration of our king, lords, and commons. Women servants are now so scarce, that from thirty and forty shillings a year, their wages are increased of late to six, seven, nay, eight pounds per annum, and upwards; insomuch that an ordinary tradesman cannot well keep one; but his wife, who might be useful in his shop or business, must do the drudgery of household affairs; and all this because our servant–wenches are so puffed up with pride nowadays, that they never think they go fine enough: it is a hard matter to know the mistress from the maid by their dress; nay, very often the maid shall be much the finer of the two. Our woollen manufacture suffers much by this, for nothing but silks and satins will go down with our kitchen–wenches; to support which intolerable pride, they have insensibly raised their wages to such a height as was never known in any age or nation but this. Let us trace this from the beginning, and suppose a person has a servant–maid sent him out of the country, at fifty shillings, or three pounds a year. The girl has scarce been a
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week, nay, a day in her service, but a committee of servant–wenches are appointed to examine her, who advise her to raise her wages, or give warning; to encourage her to which, the herb–woman, or chandler–woman, or some other old intelligencer, provides her a place of four or five pounds a year; this sets madam cock–a–hoop, and she thinks of nothing now but vails and high wages, and so gives warning from place to place, till she has got her wages up to the tip–top. Her neat’s leathern shoes are now transformed into laced ones with high heels; her yarn
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EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS IS NOBODY’S BUSINESS

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