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peculiarities ; namely, the consciousness of being distinguished by personal attractions. The effects of this consciousness on the female character, which, if considered by themselves, are extremely striking, and in many cases are ultimately combined with those which result from the qualities and dispositions already specified, will receive further notice in the progress of our enquiries.
ON FEMALE EDUCATION.
N the preceding chapter some of the principal materials on which the hand of education is to operate were enumerated. The next object is to consider how they are to be employed.
The early attainments desirable to the one sex are in so many points the fame, or nearly the same, with those which are important to the other, that several of the following remarks on the instruction of youth will necessarily be of a general na
The culture, however, of the female mind is the point to which they will all be directed.
The primary end of education is to train up the pupil in the knowledge and appliD 3
cation of those principles of conduct, which, under the superintending influence of the divine mercy,
will lead probably to a confiderable share of happiness in the present life, but assuredly to a full measure of it in that which is to come. The secondary end is to superadd to the poffefsion of right principles, those improving and ornamental acquisitions, which, either from their own nature, or from the prevailing customs of a particular age and country, are in fome degree material to the comfort and to the usefulness of the individual. The difference in point of importance which subsists between these two objects is such, that the dictates of sober judgement are palpably abandoned whenever the latter is suffered, in the flightest manner, to encroach on the priority of the former. The modes of attaining both objects, and of pursuing the second in due subordination to the first, require to be adjusted according to the circumstances which characterise the persons who are to receive instruction. Hence in female education, that instructor is ignorant or regardless of à duty of the highest concern, who, in transfusing into the youthful hearer those fundamental truths which equally concern every human being, does not anxiously point out their bearings on the particular weaknesses and errors, whether in judge. ment or in action, into which the female sex is in especial danger of being betrayed. An attempt to efface the discriminating features which the hand of God has impressed on the mind, is in every case impossible to accomplish: and would be in every case, were it practicable, the height of folly and presumption. To efface those of the female mind, would be to deprive women of their distinguishing excellences.
But to anticipate the mistakes, to restrain the excesses, to guard against the unwarrantable passions, which originate in the very
source whence those excellences flow, is to confer on the workmanship of God the culture and the care which he intended that it should
receive from the hand of man, It is humbly to contribute towards the progress of its improvement that mite of assistance, which, in the counsels of supreme wisdom, he thought fit to leave dependent on human co-operation.
Are we then authorised, in point of fact, to affirm, that in this country, and in the present times, the instruction of
young persons of the female sex is generally carried on with a systematic and due regard to each of the two purposes of education; and also, with lively and uniform solicitude to counteract the seductive errors and temptations, which derive much of their strength from the peculiarities of the female character ?
As the education of girls is sometimes conducted at home, sometime at a public school; any reply which may be offered to the preceding question must refer distinctly to both plans.