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CONTENTS.

CHAP. VI.

Page

Filial obedience not the character of the age. A compar.

ison with the preceding age in this respect. Those
who cultivate the mind advised to study the nature of
the soil. Unpromising children often make strong
sharacters. Teachers too apt to devote their pains
almost exclusively to children of parts

78

CHAP. VII.

On female study, and initiation into knowledge. Error of

cultivating the imagination to the neglect of the judg-
ment. Books of reasoning recommended

89

CHAP. VIII.

On the religious and moral use of history and geography

99

CHAP. IX.

On the use of definitions, and the moral benefits of accura

110 cy in language

CHAP. X.

On religion. The necessity and duty of early instruction shewn by analogy with human learning

115

CHAP. XI.

On the manner of instructing young persons in religion,

general remarks on the genius of christianity 125

CHAP. XII.

Hints suggested for furnishing young persons with a scheme of prayer

139

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CHAP. XIII.

Page. T

HE practical use of female knowledge, with a sketch of
the female character, and a comparative view of the

5

sexes

CHAP. XIV.

Conversation. Hints suggested on the subject: On the

tempers and dispositions to be introduced in it. Errors
to be avoided. Vanity under various shapes the cause
of those errors

22

CHAP. XV.

On the danger of an ill directed sensibility

44

CHAP. XVI.

On dissipation, and the modern habits of fashionable life

60

INTRODUCTION.

It is a singular injustice which is often exercised

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 fault. less. Is it not upreasonable and unjust, to express dis. appointment 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 system are here with great deference submitted to public considera. tion. The author is apprehensive that she shall be ac. cused of betraying the interests of her sex by laying oper 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 suggest the necessity of inter. nal 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 exclusively, and that it seems to confine to the sex those faults which are common to the species : but this is in some measure unavoidable. In speaking on the qualities of one sex, the moralist is somewhat in the situation of the geographer, who is treating

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on the nature of one country: the air, soil, and prod. uce of the land which he is describing, cannot fail in many essential points to resemble those of other coun. tries under the same parallel ; yet it is his business to descant on the one without adverting to the other; and though in drawing his map he may happen to intro. duce 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 rea : sembling circumstances of the adjacent shores.

It may be also objected that the opinion here suggest." ed on the state of manners among the higher classes of our country-women, may seem to controvert the just en. comiums of modern travellers, who generally concur in ascribing a decided superiority to the ladies of this coun. try over those of

every other. But such is the state of foreign manners, that the comparative praise is almost an injury to English women. To be flattered for excel. ling those whose standard of excellence is very low, is but a degrading kind of commendation; for the value of all praise derived from superiority depends on the worth of the competitor. The character of British ladies, with all the unparalleled advantages they possess, must never be determined by a comparison with the women of other nations, but by what they themselves might be if all their talents and unrivalled opportunities were turn. cd to the best account.

Again, it may be said, that the author is less dispos. ed 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 pot improvement, eulogium would have been far more gratifying, nor would just objects for praise have been difficult to find. Even in her own limited sphere of observation, the author is acquainted with much excellence in the class of which she treats; with women who, possessing learning which would be thought extensive in the other sex, set an example of deep humility to their own; women who, distinguished for wit and genius, are eminent for domestic qualities; who, excel

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