Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

by which they, like their brothers, may distinguish themselves and rise to eminence; are occasionally heard to declare their opinion, that the sphere in which women are destined to move is so humble and so limited, as neither to require nor to reward affiduity; and under this impression, either do not discern, or will not be persuaded to consider, the real and deeply interesting effects which the conduct of their fex will always have on the happiness of society. In attempting to obviate this error, I should be very culpable were I to flatter the ambitious fondness for distinction, which may, in part at least, have given rise to it. To suggest motives to unassuming and virtuous activity, is the purpose of the following brief remarks.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Human happiness is on the whole much less affected by great but unfrequent events, whether of prosperity or of adversity, of benefit or of injury, than by small but perpetually recurring incidents of good

Or

or evil.

The manner in which the influence of the female character is felt belongs to the latter description. It is not like the periodical inundation of a river, which overspreads once in a year a desert with transient plenty. It is like the dew of heaven which descends at all seasons, rer turns after short intervals, and permanently nourishes every herb of the field.

In three particulars, each of which is of extreme and never-ceasing concern to the welfare of mankind, the effect of the female character is most important.

First, In contributing daily and hourly to the comfort of husbands, of parents, of brothers and sisters, and of other relations, connections, and friends, in the intercourse of domestic life, under every vicissitude of sickness and health, of joy and affliction.

Secondly, In forming and improving the general manners, dispositions, and conduct of the other sex, by society and example.

conduct

Thirdly, In modelling the human mind during the early stages of its growth, and fixing, while it is yet ductile, its growing principles of action; children of each sex being, in general, under maternal tuition during their childhood, and girls until they become women.

Are these objects insufficient to excite virtuous exertion ? Let it then be remembered, that there is another of supreme importance set before each individual; and one which she cannot accomplish without faithfully attending, according to her situation and ability, to those already enumerated; namely, the attainment of everlasting felicity, by her condu& during her present probationary state of existence.

CHAP. III.

ON THE PECULIAR FEATURES BY WHICH

THE CHARACTER OF THE FEMALE
MINDIS NATURALLY DISCRIMINATED

FROM THAT OF THE OTHER SEX.

The commander, who should be employed to ascertain, for the security of the inhabitants of a particular country, the most efficacious means of guarding the frontier against invaders, and of obstructing their progress if they should ever force their way into the interior, would fix his attention, in the first instance, on the general aspect of the region which he is called upon to defend. He would study the mountains, the defiles, the rivers, the forests. He would inform himself what quarters are open to inroads; what are the circumstances which favour the machinations, what the undis

guised

P

guised violence, of the enemy; what are the posts which the assailants would find it. most advantageous to occupy; what the stations from which, if once in their pos. session, it would be most difficult to dislodge them. The plan of defence which he would prescribe, while, on the one hand, it would be formed on those fundamental principles which military experience has established as the basis of all warlike operations, would be adapted, on the other, with unremitting attention to all those discriminating features which characterise the particular district in which those general principles are to be reduced to practice,

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

A writer, in like manner, who ventures to hope, that in suggesting observations on the duties incumbent on the female sex, he may

be found to have drawn his conclusions from the sources of nature and of truth, should endeavour, in the first place, to ascertain the characteristical impressions which the Creator has stamped on the female mind;

the

[ocr errors]
« ПредишнаНапред »