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any woman grudge some personal inconvenience, and a sacrifice of some portion of her time, to ensure the good which these establishments are designed to provide for the various unfortunate members of our community, Age, indeed, and very narrow circumstances, may require exemption from these personal exertions; but in youth, in health, and in the day of prosperity, may active and judicious benevolence ever be among the most distinguished characteristics of English women! Notwithstanding the censures which the political economist may cast upon them, they will have a recompense within their own breasts, far exceeding mere public approbation.
MANOEUVRING, PRIDE, AND VA
PROPRIETY IN CONDUCT. THE FEMALE CHARACTER IS IRREPARABLY INJURED, WHEN SUS
PICION HAS BEEN ONCE ATTACHED TO IT.
FORTITUDE UNDER MISFORTUNES.
MRS. B.- The propriety of pursuing the great principles of religious and moral duty is obvious to all perceptions, whether we regard, with limited view our welfare in this world, or embrace that which extends itself to eternity. Virtuous principles are laws for our moral government, and when fixed on the basis of virtuous habits, are scarcely to be broken. They are the reins by which our passions may be controlled; supplied with such restraints, we prove ourselves superior to those temptations, by which, in the journey of life, we are assailed:
without them, we should excel in no virtue; but these being once established in our hearts and minds, we feel almost independent of extrinsic advantages; our conduct is uniformly influenced by them, and we walk through life with dignity, even if below mediocrity in talents, rank, and fortune. They entitle us to an esteem and homage from our fellow-creatures, far superior in kind to that which these gifts alone could procure us.
A mind, even if it be not naturally vigorous, may receive from the aid of good principles the strength which nature has denied to it, and may be enabled to act with judgment and decision on every point which can be balanced in the scales of right and wrong. It is true, that in mere matters of opinion, or in some immaterial parts of conduct, a defective judgment will still display itself; but if its decision be right in essential things, we must acknowledge that good principles of conduct perform their part almost independent of mental powers, while he, to whom superior talents have been given, can neither lay claim to an equal degree of wisdom, nor merit equal happiness, unless he have submitted his judgment and conduct to the same laws and go
MRS. L. By good principles, I conclude you mean a settled tendency in the mind to act in a manner most consistent to the true dignity of our natures, and which is also to act conformably to the will of God. These principles, though important to man, appear to me to be still more essential to woman, although both, perhaps, have equal temptations to err. But man is less obedient to moment
ary impulses than woman; he is more prudent, ponders before he acts, examines into the expediency of the steps he is about to take, and if right principles do not sway him, his judgment will sometimes induce him to abandon injurious designs, and to adopt a discreet and honourable conduct, as best conducive to his interests. While woman, too lively and ungovernable in her feelings, hasty in her conclusions, shortsighted in her views, and sometimes unreasonable in her wishes, would be lost without the guiding and restraining influence of virtuous principles.
MRS. B. They do indeed shelter and defend her from the dangers to which she is, from her very nature and weaknesses, exposed. And besides this defence, they give her the best kind of influence she can possess over the minds and affections of those around her, enabling her, more by the beauty of her example than by her precepts, to promote their moral welfare.
MRS. L. I heard some time since a discussion between two sensible women, whether habits are founded upon principles, or principles upon habits: an enquiry not uninteresting to those who are called upon to implant the basis of right conduct upon a rising generation.
MRS. B. The general practice is in favour of the latter opinion; and upon very uncertain grounds would a parent endeavour to bring up her children virtuously, if she did not commence her task with the formation of their habits. Habit, when once established, cannot be broken without an effort; and she therefore a vails herself of it inthe cultiva
tion of the moral character of her children, trusting that the love of right will be built upon its practice. Thus, she will punish falsehood in her child, not for its present effects, which may be trivial, but to check an evil propensity; she commends his honest confession of a fault, to encourage ingenuousness; and she reproves a gust of passion, not because the little uplifted arm conveys destruction in its blow, but from the dread that habit will give strength to the rage which now raises it, and will render its deeds, at some future day, far more guilty. She teaches her children to lisp an early prayer, not from the idea of any present benefit which their hearts can derive from the practice, but because she regards it as one means of establishing in them habitual devotion, and of rendering them unconscious of a time in their existence, in which their days were not begun and ended in acts of homage to their Creator. She obeys the injunction in the Book of Wisdom, to train them up in the way they should go, in the fervent and well-grounded hope, that when they are old they will not depart from it.
In our various conversations, we have been led to perceive the influence which women possess over the welfare and happiness of society. Individually the extent of our power is limited, but collectively we hold in our hands the happiness or misery of living multitudes, and even of unborn generations, our children handing down to theirs the virtues or defects which we have cherished or engendered in them. The sphere of duty assigned to women, considered singly, is limited to one family and to