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strength of mind, firm and active principles of religion.
The Reader will have been aware that the sketch, which I have endeavoured to trace in the preceding outlines, is that of the female character under its customary forin; not under those deviations from its usual appearance, which are known fometimes to occur. It is our first business to settle the general rule, not to particularise the exception. But amid the endless diversity of nature ; amid the innumerable multitudes of cotemporary individuals, distinguished each from the other in their minds, no less than in their countenances, by stronger or fainter lines of difference, and thrown into a variety of situations and circumstances, severally calculated to call forth and improve particular talents, and encourage particular pursuits, exceptions will be frequent. Hence many instances might be produced from each sex of
persons who have pofseffed a more than com
mon share of the qualities and dispositions, which in ordinary cases are found most conspicuous in the other. It might even be possible to state fome examples of women who have scarcely been surpaffed by the most eminent men in depth and comprehensiveness of intellect; and of men, who have nearly equalled their rivals of the other sex in quickness of fancy, in delicacy of sentiment, and in warmth of affection. There are also persons of each sex who are greatly deficient in those
qualifications, by which it was natural to expect that they would have been chiefly diftinguilhed. But all thefe cases are variations from the general course of things, and variations on which, at present, it would be useless to enlarge.
Of the errors and vices which infest human nature, some are equally prevalent in the two sexes; while others, in consequence of the peculiarities by which the character of the one sex is discriminated from that of
the other, peculiarities which gain additional strength from the diversity in the offices of life, respectively assigned to each, do not exercise an equal power over both. Thus, among women in whom feminine delicacy and feeling have not been almost obliterated, (I am not, at present, taking religious principle into the account,) intemperance in wine, and the use of profane language, are unknown; and she who should be guilty of either crime, would be generally regarded as having debased herself to the level of a brute. On the other hand, there are failings and temptations to which the female mind is particularly exposed by its native structure and dispositions. On these treacherous underminers, these inbred assailants, of female peace and excellence, the superintending eye of education is stedfastly to be fixed. The remains of their unsubdued hostility will be among the circumstances which will exercise even to the close of life the most vigilant labours of conscience. It is
necessary, therefore, to be explicit on the subject.
The gay vivacity and the quickness of iman gination, so conspicuous among the qualities in which the superiority of women is acknowledged, have a tendency to lead to unsteadiness of mind; to fondness of novelty; to habits of frivolousness, and trifling employment; to dislike of sober application ; to repugnance to graver studies, and a too low estimation of their worth ; to an unreasonable regard for wit, and fhining accomplishments; to a thirst for admiration and applause; to vanity and affectation. They contribute likewise, in conjunction with the acute sensibility peculiar to women, to endanger the composure and mildness of the temper, and to render the dispositions fickle through caprice, and uncertain through irritability. And fenfibility itself, singularly engaging and amiable as it is, shares the common lot of earthly bleffings, and comes not with
out its disadvantages. It is liable to sudden
The most important of the consequences flowing from these causes, will hereafter be the subject of incidental observation. At present it is sufficient to have enumerated the causes themselves. But in this place it is necessary to add, that there remains one fource of female errors and temptations which has not yet been noticed, because it springs not from mental D 2