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women be exerted with that power which rightfully belongs to it?

Again, if we carry our examination into more serious social relations, such as those between master and servant, rich and poor, in which that influence must necessarily be great, we find pride and bitterness, servility and mistrust, mostly arising from deplorable ignorance of the true nature of those relative positions. If we view the religious aspect of the country, earnest and warm though the zeal of women undoubtedly is in the cause of religion, we are equally distressed to see so little that denotes a beneficial influence. We find women foremost in the strife of party fanaticism. We see them lending their aid to every superstition that degrades the simplicity of Christ's religion, and lowers its influence; allying the profession of piety with habitual frivolity, and thereby rendering religion itself less respectable in the eyes of the many, who judge of a principle by its professors.

Such are the various manifestations of female influence upon society, independently of home relations; but these afford the most important field for its exercise, that in which it is naturally strongest and most free to act. But even in that private sanctuary of home, woman's boasted empire, and the scene of her most constant action, how much is there to damp our expectations! Setting aside positive domestic misery, and whatever evil in married life results from the vices or the tyranny of men, how much is there still of suffering arising from causes which are, or should be, under woman's control! How much do we see of discomfort and jarring owing to want of tact or forbearance! How often is that full communion of thought, and feelings, and interests which is the firmest bond of conjugal affection, rendered impossible by frivolous tastes and narrow sympathies! How seldom do we find that true value for affection, which makes forbearance with foibles or waywardness so easy, and lets the storms of the world howl as they list, while they leave this first great treasure of life unimpaired! What devotion to trifles do we see what unmethodical expenditure of time and money-what deficiency in that lofty tone of sentiment and character which commands respect, and adds dignity to the most complying gentleness! So far as these are wanting, the influence of women as wives has fallen short of its lawful power; and, lastly, if we consider how they exercise it as mothers, in that great task of education where it is most irresistibly felt, most direct and exclusive, most intimately associated with their strongest feelings, and most earnest sense of duty, what do we find to compensate for the regret and disappointment we experience in other quarters?

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The education of daughters need not be considered here, since they may naturally be expected to follow in their mother's footsteps; but how does the education of sons evince the power of moral influence, and betoken a period of refinement and progress? Are they, in this age of religious profession, trained to a higher sense of duty, to more earnest views life?—are they less selfish, less frivolous, less worldly? In this age of boasted enlightenment, are they led to love knowledge for something more than its market value-to feel that expansion of soul that earnest natures feel when some new aspect of truth is revealed to them? Or, in this age of liberalism, are they taught what man really owes to his country, and what that spirit consists of, which distinguishes the patriot from the demagogue? Yet these things belong to the moral training of the young, they should not be known merely, but felt; and if not early instilled into the mind, and nurtured by that strong, and ceaseless, and holy influence, beneath which the feelings and associations are formed, can we hope that the hard school of the world will teach them? The greater the development of intellect in any age, the greater the need of moral power in education to give it a right direction. Woe, at such a time, to the country that trusts to the cold teaching of professors, or the speculations of philosophy, to inspire that generous virtue, that moral purity of wisdom, which should be breathed into the young spirit from a mother's lips!

In every sphere, then, of woman's exertions, whether in private or in social relations, we find that the result of her influence is below what we were naturally led to expect in a period such as ours. It has not perhaps fallen off, it is not lower in its character than in former times; but it has not taken a higher stand, it has not kept pace with the advance of the age, it has not acquired the power necessary to sway the lives of men, in the midst of all that is stirring and earnest in the present development of knowledge and activity; and the causes of this deficiency deserve to be carefully sought. This inquiry might be carried on in two ways: the one by examining woman's social position, and ascertaining what is wrong in that, what injustice she suffers from, what evils she is made to bear which do not belong to her natural condition, and how far these have contributed to cripple her powers, and retard her improvement. The other is, by considering her as she is in herself; her prevailing qualities good or evil; her education and aims in life; all the means, in short, in her own power to work out the great purposes of her existence, whether aided or trammelled by her social condition. Each of these methods of inquiry must equally lead to a partial result, since the social position and the moral and mental condition so act, and react

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upon each other, that it is difficult to separate their effects; but there are many reasons for preferring the latter mode in this place.

First. The social condition of woman depends on numerous causes over which we can have no direct control. Men must be the legislators of the world; the post of authority is theirs, not by assumption, or in consequence of this or that combination of circumstances or system of government, but in virtue of the law which has assigned to them greater strength, greater courage, greater vigour of mental as well as bodily constitution. To this law the weaker must necessarily submit: and though the consideration of the points in which this natural authority has been abused, and of the proper bounds which reason and justice assign to it, is most important to all who would thoroughly appreciate woman's position as it is, and as it should be; yet these are not sufficiently practical points for our purpose in these pages. We cannot ourselves individually apply the remedy to faults we might discover there: women must be content to influence the social position of their sex, through the tone of moral education they give to their sons; remembering, that if the depressed condition of woman in any age or country reflects dishonour upon the men of that country, the shame must be shared by the mothers whose sons have grown up under their influence, blind to the sufferings of the weak, insensible to the claims of justice, and unacquainted with the warm impulses of generous sentiment, when they thwart their own selfish interests or prejudices. Allowing, then, for all that women in general suff from the want of self-control, the habits of self-indulgence and caprice, and the arbitrary tempers of men, we cannot forget how much those faults are owing to the neglect and shortsightedness of mothers, and to the servility of women in other relations of life, which tolerates and even encourages defects which they secretly blame or despise.


Secondly. It is both a more practical and a more healthy view which regards those abuses of a system, the remedy of which is in our own hands. This leaves no loop-hole for the indolence which loves to settle in discontented railing at others, instead of aiming at self-improvement; and although it offers no complete remedy, it leads securely to some improvement, the influence of which over things apparently beyond its reach, can be appreciated only when fairly tried. Let women earnestly consider in what they themselves have failed, and do the utmost that lies in their own power to rise to the height of the position designed for them by Providence, and we cannot


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doubt, that whatever prejudice, or injustice, or ignorance have done to depress them below that condition, will gradually fall away and disappear. But till the weak are true to themselves, it is vain, in this world of mixed and selfish motives, to expect succour from the powerful and the free.

Looking, then, to this side of the question alone, to seek out the causes that may have weakened woman's influence, we find two facts which, in our opinion, seem sufficiently to account for the evil. These are a defective education, and an inactive existence, which, except when immersed in nursery cares, 18 vacant and aimless; the one frittering away the powers of the mind in early youth, the other riveting the habit of frivolity or insipid indolence in later years.

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It seems needless to say, that a general statement of this kind leaves numerous exceptions. Some minds have the benefit of superior early training; others are of too vigorous a stamp to be restrained by the fetters of a bad education; while others, again, are placed in circumstances which necessarily draw forth the latent powers, and develop character whether for good or evil. Many thus come out of the herd to benefit or disgrace their fellow-creatures; but it is of the herd that we must speak when considering so wide a question. The mean results of a system in its effects on the mass of average minds, are what mark its value and its tendency. In many cases, also, the practical and often severe moral discipline of woman's home-life, opposes a wholesome influence to the evil arising from other causes; while the mental capacity is, perhaps, entirely neglected, and moral power never consciously trained, yet women cannot from early childhood come in contact with men without learning submission, forbearance, and the control of selfish wishes and plans; and their secluded life and consequent exemption from many temptations, and from the very knowledge of vice in most of its forms, is a further protection against some of the worst evils of a frivolous and worldly education.

In calling the education of women defective, we do not mean to refer to deficiencies in any particular branches of knowledge, but to its whole scope and purpose. These require to be corrected and enlarged before knowledge itself could produce its proper effects, and the greater the pretension of the system now in vogue, the more reprobation does it deserve for leaving its disciples so unprepared for the real duties of life. Formerly, prejudices existed against female education, which now are overthrown; there were trammels in the way of a woman's acquisition of learning, which made it almost impossible for any but those naturally endowed with thirst for knowledge, and power of acquiring it, to

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acquaint themselves with subjects which now are supposed to form a part of every school-room course. But this difference only marks the heavier blame due to those who have the opportunities and do not use them. When knowledge was rare, and only to be attained by a struggle, and cherished as a secret treasure, ordinary minds incapable of the effort were at least humble in their ignorance; but when the semblance of knowledge spreads, there is a self-sufficient jactance in those who have skimmed its surface, which shows that the mind has not been disciplined or matured, though the memory is better stored.

The same arguments for the spread of enlightened female influence would have held good at any period, but women are more to blame who lose sight of these considerations now. When the blessings of education are within their own reach, under what plea can they shelter themselves if still incapable of educating their children? When knowledge is freely open to them, and they may, if they choose, share all the interests it opens, and enter into the great social questions so earnestly discussed in our day, what excuse have they to give for remaining indifferent to the progress of knowledge, and ignorant of the social relations amidst which they live? What was blameless in a former generation, is culpable in them; and in as much as the modern system of education tends to hide real incapacity, and to blind us to its blameable results, in so far as it makes a false show and pretends to keep pace with the necessities of the times, while, in truth, doing little more than widen the sphere of frivolity, in so far we think all the boasted improvements of female education only leave the young women of the present day exposed to reproaches, which could not justly be made to those of a less cultivated generation. In some respects, also, as we have noticed before, the influence of women is more needed in this age of intellectual excitement, but the influence of ignorance will not suffice in such an age. Too wide a gulf separates the interests -the whole world of thought-of those united by the closest ties, if while the one is urged forward in the ceaseless race, the other is content to remain stationary and indifferent. It is always, indeed, as a moral power that the influence of women is needed; but its character must be different now from that which sufficed to soften and refine the rude mind of a warlike age, or shed purity and tenderness over home relations in periods when society was sunk in corruption. The moral power now, to accomplish its purpose, must be strengthened by mental vigour,and it is in this that modern education so signally fails, and it is for this that we call it no less defective in its purpose, than superficial in its results,

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