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a few pitched battles; which provoked so much rancour, so Diany volumes, and so little wit; so much vanity and so much flattery, produced no useful or lasting efiect. Those who promised themselves that their names would Outiive balf of round eternity," did not reach the end of the century in which the boast was made; and those who offered the incense, and those who greedily snuffed upits fumes, are buried in the same blank oblivion !
But when the temple of Janns seemed to have been closed, or when at worst the peace was only occasionally broken by a slight and random shot from the hand of some singlestraggler; it appears that though open rebellion had ceased, yet the female claim had not been renounced ; it had only (if we may change the metaphor) lain in abey
The contest has recently been revived with added fury, and with multiplied exactions; for whereas the an. cient demand was merely a kind of imaginary prerogative, a speculative importance, a mere titular right, a shadowy claim to a few unreal acres of Parnassian territory; the revived contention has taken a more serious turn, and brings forward political as well as intellectualpretensions : and among the irnovations of this innovating period, the imposing term of rights has been produced to sanctify the claim of our female pretenders, with a view not only to rekindle in the minds of women a presumptuous vanity dis. honourable to their sex, but produced with a view to ex. cite in their hearts an impious discontent with the post which God has assigned them in this world. But they little understand the true interests of
woman, who would lift her from the important duties of her allotted station, to fill with fantastic dignity a loftier but less appropriateniche. Nordo they understand her true happiness, who seek toannihilate distinctions from which she derives advantages, and to attempt innovations which would depreciate her real value. Each sex has its proper excellencies, which would be lost were they melted down into the common character by the fusion of the new philosophy: Why should we do
distinctions which increase the mutual benefits, and enhance the satisfactions of life? Whence, but by carefully preserving the original marks of difference stamped by the hand of the Creator, would be derived the superior advantage of mixed society ? Have menno need to have their rough angles Vol. 11.
filed off, and their harshnessesand asperities smoothed and polished by assimilating with beings of more softness and refinement? Are the ideas of women naturally so very judicious, are their principles so invincibly firm, are their views so perfectlycorrect, are their judgments so complete. ly exact, that there is occasion for no additional weight, po superadded strength, no increased clearness, none of that enlargement of mind, none of that additional invigoration, which may be derived from the aids of the stronger sex? What identity could advantageously supersede an enliven. ing opposition and an interesting variety of character? Is it not then more wise as well as more honourable to move contentedly in the plain path which Providence has obvi. ously marked out to the sex, and in which custom has, for the most part, rationally confirmed them, than to stray awkwardly, unbecomingly,and unsuccessfully, in a forbidden road? Is it not desirable to be the lawful possessors of a lesser domestic territory, rather than the tur. bulent usurpers of a wider foreign empire? to be goud originals, rather than bad imitators? to be the best thing of one's own kind, rather than an inferior thing even if it were of an higher kind ? to be excellent women, rath. er than indifferent men ?
Is the author then undervaluing her own sex ?-No. It is her zeal for their true interests which leads her to oppose their imaginary rights. It is her regard for their happiness which makes her endeavour to cure them of a feverish thirst for fame. A little Christian humility and sober-mindedness are worth all the wild metaphysical dis. cussion, which has unsettled the peace of vain women, and forfeited the respect of reasonable men. And the most elaborate definition of ideal rights, and the most hardy measures for attaining them, are of less value in the
eyes of a truly amiable woman, than 6 that meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
Naturalpropensities best markthe designationsof Prov. idence as to their application.
The fin was not more clearly bestowed on the fish that he should swin, nor the wing given to the bird that he should fly, than superior strength of body and a firmer texture of mind was given to man, that he might preside in the deep and daring scenes of action and of council; in government, in arms, in sci. ence, in commerce and in those professions which demand a higher reach, and a wider range of powers. The true value of woman is not diminished by the imputation of inferiority in these respects; she has other requisites, better adapted to answer the ends and purposes of her being, by HIM 6 who does all things well ;" who suits the agent to the action; who accommodates the instrument to the work.
Let her not then view with pining envy the keen satir. ist, hunting vice through all the doublings and windings of the heart; the sagacious politician, leading senates, and directing the fate of empires; the acute lawyer, detecting the obliquities of fraud; and the skilful dramatist, exposing the pretensions of folly: but let her ambition be consoled by reflecting, that those who thus excel, to all that nature bestows and books can teach must add, besides, that consummate knowledge of the world to which a deli. cate woman has no fair avenues, and which even if she. could attain she would never be supposed to liave come honestly by.
In almost all that comes under the description of polito letters, in all that captivates by imagery or warms by just and affecting sentiment, women are excellent. They possess in a high degree that delicacy and quickness of perception, and that nice discernment between the beautiful and defective, which comes under the denomination of taste. Both in composition and action they cxcel in details; but they do not so much generalize their ideas as men, nor do their minds seize a great subject with so large a grasp. They are acute observers, and accurate judges of life and manners, as far as their own sphere of observa-/ ticn extends ; but they describe a smaller circle. A woman sces the world, as it were, from a little elevation in her own garden, whence she makes an exact survey of home scenes, but takes not in that wider range of disiant prospects, which he who stands on a loftier eminence commauds. Women have a certain tuct, which often enables them to feel what is just more instantaneously than they can define it. They have an intuitive penetration into character bestowed on them by Providence, like the sen. sitive and tender organs of some timid animals, as a kind of natural guard, to warn of the approach of danger, be. ings who are often called to act defensively.
In summing up the evidence, if I may so speak, of the
different powers of the sexes, one may venture, perhaps, to assert, that women have equal parts, but are inferiorin wholeness of mind, in the integral understanding ; that though a superior woman may possess single faculties in equal perfection, yet there is commonly a juster propor. tion in the mind of a superior man; that if women have in an equal degree the faculty of fancy, which creates images, and the faculty of memory, which collects and stores ideas, they seem not to possess in equal measure the faculty of comparing, combining, analysing, and separat. ing these ideas ; that deep and patient thinking which goes to the bottom of a subject ; nor that power of arrangement which knows how to link a thousand connected ideas in one dependent train, without losing sight of the original idea, out of which the rest grow,and on which they all hang. The female too, wanting steadiness in her intellectual pursuits, is perpetually turned aside by her characteristic tastes and feelings. Woman, in the career of genius; is the Atalanta, who will risk losing the race by running out of her road to pick up the golden apple; while her male competitor, without, perhaps, possessing great. er natural strength or swiftness, will more certainly at. tain his object, by direct pursuit, by being less exposed to the seductions of extraneous beauty, and will win the race, not by excelling in speed, but by despising the bait.*
Here it may be justly enough retorted, that, as it is al. lowed the education of women is so defective, the alleged inferiority of their minds may be accounted for on that ground more justly than by ascribing it to their natural make. And, indeed, there is so much truth in the remark, that till women shall be more reasonably educated, and till the native growth of their minds shall cease to bé stinted and cramped, we have no juster ground for pro. nouncing that their understanding has already reached its highest attainable point, than the Chinese would have for affirming that their women have attained to the greatest possible
perfection in walking, while the first care is, during their infancy,to cripple their feet. At least, till the female
* What indisposes even reasonable women to concede in these points is, that the weakest man instantly lays hold on the concession ; and, on the mere ground of sex, plumes himself on his own individnal superiority; inferring, that the silliest man is superior to the first
sex are more carefully instructed, this question will always remain as undecided as to the degree of difference between the masculine and feminine understanding, as the question between the understandings of blacks and whites; for un. til Africans and Europeans are put more nearly on a parin the cultivation of their minds, the shades of distinction, if any there be, between their native powers, can never be fairly ascertained.
And when we see (and who will deny that we see it frequently ?) so many women nobly rising from under all the pressure of a disadvantageous education and a defective system of society, and exhibiting the most unambiguous marks of a vigorous understanding, a correct judgment, and a sterling piety,it reminds one of those shining lights, which have now and then burst out through all the darkness vis. ible” of the Romish church, have disencumbered them. selves from the gloom of ignorance, and shaken off the fet. ters of prejudice, and risen superior to all the errors of a corrupt theology.
But whatever characteristical distinctions may exist ; whatever inferiority may be attached to woman from the slighter frame of her body, or the more circumscribed pow. ers of her mind, from a less systematic education, and from the subordinate station she is called to fill in life; there is one great and leading circumstance which raises her im. portance, and even establishes her equality. Christianity has exalted women to true and undisputed dignity; in Christ Jesus, as there is neither "rich nor poor, 6bond nor free," so there is neither “male nor female.” In the view of that immortality, which is brought to light by the gospel, she has no superior. Women (to borrow the idea of an excellent prelate) make up one half of the hu. man race ; equally with men redeemed by the blood of Christ. In this their true digoity consists; here their best pretensions rest, here their highest claims are allowed.
All disputes then for pre-eminence between the sexes have only for their object the poor precedence for a few short years, the attention of which would be better devo. ted to the duties of life and the interest of eternity.
And as the final hope of the female sex is equal, so are their present means, perhaps, more favourable, and their opportunities, often, less obstructed than those of the other sex. In their Christian course women have every superior Vol. II.