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peded, and their future ftability endangered, are continually prefenting themfelves to each in a fhape adapted to the pursuits in which he is bufied, and the objects moft familiar to his attention and defire. But the wife and the daughter of the former are scarcely diftinguished as fuch, by any peculiarities of moral obligation, from the perfons standing in the fame degree of relationship to the latter. The difcriminating lines, unless their number or their strength be encreased by circumstances not neceffarily resulting from the profeffion of the husband or the father, are few, obfcure, and inconftant. The fame general truth might be exemplified in a variety of additional instances. Even the fuperiority of rank which elevates the peerefs above her untitled neighbour, though it unqueftionably creates a difference between their respective duties, is far from creating a difference equal to that which fubfifts between the duties of an hereditary legislator and those of a private gentleman. Such being


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being the general fimilarity in the fituation of women, differing in fome refpects from each other in outward circumftances, or even placed in separate claffes of fociety; I purpose to couch in general terms the remarks about to be offered on the conduct of the female fex. But I fhall at the fame time be ftudiously folicitous to point out, whenever a fit occafion fhall intervene, the most prominent of those inftances in which the moral activity and the moral vigilance, of the female mind are to be guided into particular channels, in confequence of fome particularity, either in the station of the individual, or in the rank or profeffion of her nearest connections. The peculiar temptations of the capital, and thofe of the country, will also receive the diftinct confideration which they deferve.

Marriage draws a broad line of difcrimination, feparating the female fex into two claffes, each of which has moral duties and trials peculiar to itself. A writer, therefore, whofe

whofe enquiries, in whatever manner they may be carried on, fhall relate to the whole circle of feminine duties, will almost inevitably find himself constrained to confider the duties of married women in fome meafure apart from those of the single. Yet he will not fail to perceive, on the flightest attention to his fubject, that there are numerous rules of moral obligation which attach equally on women of either clafs; rules which refpect fundamental principles of action, difpofitions of the heart, the cultivation of the understanding, the employment of time, and various other particulars effential or fubfervient to excellence and usefulness of character. How then is he to avoid tedious and unprofitable repetition in the reflections which he makes, and the advice which he offers? By determining, previoufly to the commencement of his work, the plan of compofition and arrangement most favourable, in his judgment, to perfpicuity and impreffiveness; and then, by inferting fuch obfervations as are applicable

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both to fingle and matrimonial life in that part of his performance in which, whether it relates chiefly to the married or to the unmarried, they feverally will beft accord with the general scheme already settled. I have to request my readers of all descriptions, uniformly to bear in mind, that fuch is the principle on which I have proceeded.

As my concern in the prefent work is with the female fex, an error or temptation becomes entitled to notice, when it is one to which women are expofed, thought they should not be exposed to it in a greater degree than the other fex. In animadverting on subjects of this description, I may not always have obferved, when the obfervation would have been well-founded, that the animadverfion might be extended to men. Sometimes too, in fpeaking of failings which prevail in the female world, I may not have exprefsly ftated, when I might have stated with truth, that there

is a large number of individuals who are exempt from them. Let not the former omiffion be ascribed to partiality, nor the latter to the injuftice of indifcriminate cenfure. I have been generally folicitous to express myself, so as to preclude the poffibility of fuch fufpicions. But it may be better even to incur a small risk of occafional misconftruction, than to weary the reader with the perpetual recurrence of qualifying and explanatory phrases.

Some of the obfervations advanced in the subsequent chapters will not, I trust, appear to the generality of those who may peruse them, the less deserving of regard, in confequence of being deduced from fcriptural authority. To fuch persons as, rejecting that authority, have imbibed opinions concerning female duties, and the standard of female excellence, at variance with thofe which Christianity inculcates, let me be permitted to recommend, antecedently to every ftudy and to

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