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IT
T is a singular injustice which is often exercised:

a towards women, first to give them a very defective education, and then to expect from them the most undeviating purity of conduct ; to train them in such a manner as shall lay them open to the most dangerous faults, and then to censure them for not proving faultless. Is it not unreasonable and unjust, to express disappointment if our daughters should, in their subsequent lives, turn out precisely that very kind of character for which it would be evident to an unprejudiced by-stander that the whole scope and tenor of their instruction had been systematically preparing them ?

Some reflections on the present erroneous fyftem are here with great deference submitted to public confideration. The Author is apprehensive that she shall be accused of betraying the interests of ler les by laying open their defects : but surely, an earnest wish to turn their attention to objects calculated to promote their true dignity, is not the office of an enemy. So to expose the weakness of the land as to luggest the necessity of internal improvement, and to point out the means of effectual defence, is not treachery, but patriotism.

Again, it may be objected to this little work, that many errors are here ascribed to women which by no means belong to them exclufively, and that it feenis to confine to the sex those faults which are common to the fpecies : but this is in fome measure unavoidable. In speaking on the qualities of one sex, the moralit i somewhat in the situation of the Geographer, who

wonien.

treating on the nature of one country :-the air, foil, and produce of the land which he is describing, cannot fail in many essential points to refemble those of other countries under the same parallel ; yet it is his bufiness to descant on the one without adverting to the oth:r; and though in drawing his map he may happen to introduce some of the neighbouring coast, yet his principal attention must be confined to that country which he proposes to describe, without taking into account the resembling circumstances of the adjacent Shores.

It may be also objected that the opinion here suggested on the state of manners among the higher clafles of our country-women, may seem to controvert the just encomiums of modern travellers, who generaliy concur in afcribing a decided fuperiority to the las dies of this country over those of every other. But such is, in general, the state of foreign manners, that the comparative praise is almolt an injury to Engliste

To be flattered for excelling those whole standard of excellence is very low, is but a degrading kind of commendation į for the value of all praise de rived from superiority, depends on the worth of the competitor. The character of British ladies, with all the unparalleled advantages they poffefs, must never be determined by a comparison with the women of other nations, but by comparing them with what they themselves might be, if all their talents and unrivalled opportunities were turned to the best account.

Again, it may be said, that the Author is lefs difpored to expatiate on excellence than error : but the office of the historian of human manners is delineation rather than panegyric. Were the end in view eulogium and not improvement, eulogium would have been far more gratifying, nor would just objects for praise have been difficult to find. Even in her own limited fphere of observation, the Author is acquainted with much excellence in the class of which the treats ;mm with women who, pofleffing learning which would be thought extensive in the other fex, set an example of

mility to their own ;- women who, diftin.

it and genius, are eminent for domestic

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qualities ;mwho, excelling in the fine arts, have carefully enriched their understandings ;- who, enjoying great affluence, devote it to the glory of God ; -who,

poffe fing elevated rank, think their noblest style and . title is that of a Christian.

That there is also much worth which is little known,

he is perfuaded; for it is the modest nature of goodr. nefs to exert itself quietly, while a few characters of

the opposite caft seem, by the rumour of their exploits, : to fill the world ; and by their noise to multiply their

numbers. It often happens that a very small party of · people, by occupying the fore-ground, by seizing the

public attention, and monopolizing the public talk, contrive to appear to be the great body : a few aca tive fpirits, provided their adtivity take the wrong turn and support the wrong cause, seem to fill the scene; and a few difturbers of order, who have the talent of thus exciting a false idea of their multitudes

by their mischiefs, actually gain strength, and swell - their numbers, by this fallacious arithmetic.

But the prefent work is no more intended for a panegyric on those purer characters who seek not hu

man praise because they act from a higher motive, 1 than 'for a fatire on the avowedly licentious, who,

urged by the impulse of the moment, refift no inclination; and, led away by the love of fashion, dislike no censure, so it may serve to rescue them from neglect or oblivion.

There are, however, multitudes of the young and the well-disposed, who have as yet taken no decided part, who are just launching on the ocean of life, just about to lose their own right convictions, virtually preparing to counteract their better propenfities, and unreluctantly yielding themselves to be carried down the tide of popular practices : fanguine, thoughtless, and confident of safety.„To these the Author would gently hint, that, when once embarked, it will be no longer easy to say to their passions, or even to their principles, “ Thus far fhall ye go, and no further.” Their struga gles will grow fainter, their relftance will become Ieebler, tiļi borne bown by the confluence of example

temptation, appetite, and habit; refiftarice and opposi. tion will soon be the only things of which they will learn to be ashamed. • Should any reader revolt at what is conceived to be unwarranted strictness in this little book, let it not be thrown by in disgust before the following short confideration be weighed. If in this Chriftian country we are actually beginning to regard the solemn office of Baptism as merely furnishing an article to the parish register ;- if we are learning from our indefatigable Teachers, to consider this Christian rite as a legal ceremony retained for the sole purpose of recording the age of our children ;-then, indeed, the prevailing Syltem of Education and Manners on which thefe volumes presume to animadvert, may be adopted with propriety, and persisted in with fafety, without entailing on our children, or on ourselves, the peril of broken promises, or the guilt of violated vows.-But, if the obligation which Christian Baptism impofes, be really bind. ing;if the ordinance has, indeed, a meaning beyond a mere secular transaction, beyond a record of names and dates ;--if it be an institution by which the child is folemnly devoted to God as his Father, to Je. fus Christ as his Saviour, and to the Holy Spirit as his Sanctifier; if there be no definite period affigned when the obligation of fulfilling the duties it enjoins shall be superseded ;-if, having once dedicated our offspring to their Creator, we no longer dare to mock Hin by bringing them up in ignorance of His will and neglect of His laws ;-if, after having enlifted them under the banners of Christ, to fight manfully against the three great enemies of mankind, we are no longer at liberty to let them lay down their arms ; much less to lead them to act as if they were in alliance instead of hoftility with these enemies ;--if, after having promised that they shall renounce the vanities of the world, we are not allowed to invalidate the engagement --if, after such a covenant we fhould tremble to make these renounced vanities the supreme object of our own purfuit or of their instruction ;-if:all this be really so, then Strictures on Modern Education in the first of thefe

and on the Habits of polished Life in the

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