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too much relaxed by petty pursuits,rather than overstrain. ed by intense application ; the littleness of the employments in which they are usually engaged, does not so ex. haust their spirits as to make them stand in need of that relaxation from company, which severe application or overwhelming business makes requisite for studious or public

The due consideration of this circumstance might serve to bring the sexes more nearly on a level in society; and each might meet the other half way ; for that degree of lively and easy conversation which is a necessary refresh. ment to the learned and the busy, would not decrease in pleasantness by being made of so rational a cast as would yet somewhat raise the minds of women, who commonly seek society as a scene of pleasure, not as a refuge from in. tense thought or exhausting labour.

It is a disadvantage even to those women who keep the best company, that it is unhappilyalmost established into a system, by the other sex, to postpone every thing like in. structive discourse till the ladies are withdrawn; their retreat serving as a kind of signalfor the exercise of intellect. And in the few cases in which it happens that any important discussion takes place in their presence, theyare for the most part considered as having little interest in serious sub. jects. Strong truths, whenever such happen to be addressed to them, are either diluted with flattery, or kept back in part, or softened to their taste; or if the ladies express a wish for information on any point, they are put off with a compliment, instead of a reason; and are considered as beings who are not expected to see and to judge of things as they really exist. - Do we then wish to see the ladies, whose opportunities Icave them so incompetent, and the modesty of whose sex ought never to allow them even to be as shining as they are able ;-do'we wish to see them take the lead in metaphysical disquisitions? Do we wish them to plunge into the depths of theological polemics,

And find no end in wand'ring mazes Jost? Do we wish them to revive the animosities of the Bangorian controversy, or to decide the process between the Jesuits and the five propositions of Jansenius? Do we wish to enthrone them in the professor's chair, to deliver oracles, harangues, and dissertations ? to weigh the merits of every new production in the scales of Quintilian, or to regulate the unities of dramatic composition by Aristotle's clock ? Or, renouncing those foreign aids, do we desire to behold them, inflatıd with their original powers, labouring to strike out sparks of wit, with a restless anxiety to shine, which generally fails, and with a laboured affectation to please, which never pleases ?

Diseurs de bons mots, fades caracteres !


AU this be far from them !-But we do wish to see the conversation of well-bred women rescued from vapidcom. mon places, from uninteresting tattle, from trite and hack. neyed communications, from frivolous earnesiness, from false sensibility, from a warm interest about things of no moment, and an indifference to topics the most important; from a cold vanity, from the overflowings of self-love, {'X. hibiting itself under the smiling mask of an engaging tiat. tery, and from all the factitious manners of artificial inter.

We do wish to see the time passed in polished and intelligent society, considered among the well as the pleasant portions of our existence, and not con. signed over, as it too frequently is, to premeditated tritting, or systematic unprofitableness. Let us not, however, he misunderstood ; it is not meant to prescribe that they should affect to talk on lofty subjects, so much as to suggest that they should bring good sense, simplicity, and precision into those common subjects, of which, after all, both the business and the conversation of mankind is in a great meas. ure made up.

It is too well known how much the dread of impured pedantry keeps off any thing that verges towards learned, and the terror of imputed enthusiasm staves off any thing that approaches to serious conversation, so that the two topics which peculiarly distioguish us, as rational and im. mortal beings, are by general consent in a good degree banished from the society of rational and immortal creatures, But we might almost as consistently give up the comforts of fire because a few persons have been burnt, and the , benefit of water because some others have been dround, as relinquish the enjoyments of intellectual, and the blessings of religious intercourse, because the learned world has sometimes been infested with pedants, and the religious world with fanatics.

As in the momentous times in which we live, it is next to impossible to pass an evening in company, but the talk will so inevitably revert to politics, that, without any premeditated design, every one present shail infallibly get to know to which side the other inclines ; why, in the far higher concern of eternal things, should we so carefully shun every offered opportunity of bearing even a casual tes timony to the part we espouse in religion? Why, while we make it a sort of point of conscience to leave no doubt on the mind of a stranger, whether we adopt the party of Pitt or Fox, shall we choose to leave it very problematical whether we belong to God or Baal ? Why, in religion, as well as in politics, should we not act like people, who, having their all at stake, cannot furbear now and then ad verting for a moment to the object of their grand con. cern, and dropping, at least, an incidental intimation of the side to which they belong.

Even the news of the day, in such an eventful period as the present, may lend frequent occasions to a woman of principle, to declare, without parade, her faith in a moral Governor of the world; her trust in a particular Provi. dence; her belief in the Divine Omnipotence; her con. fidence in the power of God, in educing good from evil, in his employing wicked nations, not as favourites but in struments ; her persuasion that present success is no proof of the divine favour; in short, some intimation that she is not ashamed to declare that her mind is under the ipfiu. ence of Christian faith and principle. A general concur. rence in exhibiting this spirit of decided faith and holy trust, would inconceivably discourage that pert infidelity which is ever on the watch to produce itself: and, as we have already observed, if women, who derive authority from their rank or talents, did but reflect how their senti. ments are repeated, and their authority quoted, they would be so on their guard, that general society might become a scene of general improvement, and the young, who are looking for models on which to fashion themselves, would be ashamed of exhibiting any thing like levity, or skepticism, or profaneness.

Let it be understood, that it is not meant to intimate, that serious subjects should make up the bulk of conversaVol. II.



tion; this, as it is impossible, would also often be improp.

It is not intended to suggest, that they should be ab. ruptly introduced, or unsuitably prolonged; but only that they should not be systematically shunned, nor the brand of fanaticism be fixed on the person who, with whatever propriety, hazards the introduction of them. It is evi. dent, however, that this general dread of serious topics arises a good deal from an ignorance of the true nature of religion; people avoid it, on the principle expressed by the vulgar phrase of the danger of playing with edge-tools. They conceive of it as something which involves contro. versy, and dispute, and mischief; something of an intiam. matory nature, which is to stir up ill humours ; as of a sort of party business, which sets friends at variance. So much is this notion adopted, that I have seen announced two works of considerablemerit, in which it was stipulated as an attraction, that religion, as being likely to excite anger and party distinctions, should be carefully excluded. - Such is the worldly idea of the spirit of that religion, whose di. rect object it was, to bring peace and good will to men!"

Women too little live or converse up to their under. standings: and however we have deprecated affectation or pedantry, let it be remembered, that both in reading and conversing, the understanding gains more by stretching, than stooping. If by exerting itself it may not attain to all it desires, yet it will be sure to gain soinething. The mind, by always applying itself to objects below its lev. el, contracts and shrinks itself to the size, and lowers it. self to the level, of the object about which it is convers. ant : while the mind which is active expands and raises it. self, grows larger by exercise, abler by diffusion, and richer by communication.

But the taste of general society is not favourable to im. provement. The seriousness with which the most frivo. Tous subjects are agitated, and the levity with which the most serious are despatched, bear a pretty exact proportion to each other. Society too is a sort of magic lantern ; the scene is perpetually shifting. In this incessant change, the evanescent fashion of the present minute, which, while in

many it leads to the cultivation of real knowledge, has also sometimes led even the gay and idle to the affectation of mixing a sprinkling of science with the mass of dissipa. Lion. The ambition of appearing to be well informed


breaks out even in those triflers who will not spare time from their pleasurable pursuits sufficient for acquiring that knowledge, of which, however, the reputation is so desirable. A little smattering of philosophy often dignifies the pursuits of the day, without rescuing them from the vani. ties of the night. A course of lectures (that admirable assistant for enlightening the understanding) is not seldom resorted to as a means to substitute the appearance of knowl. edge for the fatigue of application ; but where this valua. ble helpis attended merely like any other publicexhibition, and is not furthered by correspondent reading at home, it often serves to set off reality of ignorance with the affectation of skill. But instead of producing in conversation a few reigning scientific terms, with a familiarity and readiness, which

Amaze the unlearn’d, and make the learned smile,

would it not be more modest even for those who are better 'informed, to avoid the common use of technical terms whenever the idea can be as well conveyed without them? For it argues no real ability to know the names of tools ; the ability lies in knowing their use : and while it is in the thing, and not in the term, that real knowledge consists, the charge of pedantry is attached to the plan of the tesin,

;:, ki lu the faculty of speaking well, ladies have such a happy promptitude ofturning their slender advantages to account, that there are many who, though they have never been taught a rule of syntax, yet, by a quick facilityin profiting fromthe best books and the best coinpany, hardly ever violate one; and who often exhibit an elegant and perspicu. ous arrangement of style, without having studied


of - the laws of composition. Every kind of knowledge which appears to be the result of observation, reflection, and nat, ural taste, sits gracefully on women. Yet on the other hand it sometimes happens, that ladies of no contemptiblo natural parts are too ready to produce, not only pedantic expressions, but crude notions; and still oftener to bring

forward obvious and hackneyed remarks, which float on . the very surface of a subject, with the imposing air of re

cent invention, and all the vanity of conscious discovery. This is because their acquirements have not beep woven into their minds by early instruction : what knowledge

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