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are exempted, by circumstances,from all necessary labour; but every human being must do something with their existence; and the pursuit of knowledge is, upon the whole, the most innocent, the most dignified, and the most useful method of filling up that idleness, of which there is always so large a portion in nations far advanced in civilisation. Let any man reflect, too, upon the solitary situation in which women are placed, the ill treatment to which they are sometimes exposed, and which they must endure in silence, and without the power of complaining, and he must feel convinced that the happiness of a woman will be materially increased, in proportion as education has given to her the habit and the means of drawing her resources from herself. There are a few common phrases in circulation, respecting the duties of women, to which we wish to pay some degree of attention, because they are rather inimical to those opinions which we have advanced on this subject. Indeed, independently of this, there is nothing which requires more vigilance than the current phrases of the day, of which there are always some resorted to in every dispute, and from the sovereign authority of which it is often vain to make any appeal. “The true theatre for a woman is the sick chamber,” “Nothing so honourable to a woman as not to be spoken of at all.” These two phrases, the delight of Woodledom, are grown into common places upon the subject; and are not infrequently employed to extinguish that love of knowledge in women, which, in our humble opinion, it is of so much importance to cherish. Nothing, certainly, is so ornamental and delightful in women as the benevolent virtues; but time cannot be filled up, and life employed, with high and impassioned virtues. Some of these feelings are of rare occurrence—all of short duration—or nature would sink under

them. A scene of distress and anguish is an occasion where the finest qualities of the female mind may be displayed; but it is a monstrous exaggeration to tell women that they are born only for scenes of distress and anguish. Nurse father, mother, sister and brother, if they want it;it would be a violation of the plainest duties to neglect them. But, when we are talking of the common occupations of life, do not let us mistake the accidents for the occupations;– when we are arguing how the twenty-three hours of the day are to be filled up, it is idle to tell us of those feelings and agitations, above the level of common existence, which may employ the remaining hour. Compassion, and every other virtue, are the great objects we all ought to have in view; but no man (and no woman) can fill up the twenty-four hours by acts of virtue. But one is a lawyer, and the other a ploughman, and the third a merchant; and them, acts of goodness, and intervals of compassion and fine feeling, are scattered up and down the common occupations of life. We know women are to be compassionate; but they cannot be compassionate from eight o'clock in the morning till twelve at night;-and what are they to do in the interval: This is the only question we have been putting all along, and is all that can be meant by literary education. Then, again, as to the notoriety which is incurred by literature.— The cultivation of knowledge is a very distinct thing from its publication; nor does it follow that a wo. man is to become an author, merely because she has talent enough for it. We do not wish a lady to write books; to defend and reply; to squabble about the tomb of Achilles, or the plain of Troy; any more than we wish her to dance at the opera; to play at a publick concert; or to put pictures in the exhibition, because she has learned musick, dancing and drawing. The great use of

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her knowledge will be, that it contributes to her private happiness. She may make it publick: but it is not the principal object which the friends of female education have in view. Among men, the few who write bear no comparison to the many who read. We hear most of the former, indeed, because, they are, in general, the most ostentatious part of literary men; but there are innumerable men, who, without ever laying themselves before the publick, have made use of literature to add to the strength of their understandings, and to improve the happiness of their lives. After all, it may be an evil for ladies to be talked of: but we really think those ladies who are talked of only as Miss Edgeworth, Mrs. Barbauld, and Mrs. Hamilton are talked of, may bear their misfortunes with a very great degree of Christian patience; and such singular examples of ill fortune may, perhaps, render the school of adversity a little more popular than it is at present. . . Their exemption from all the necessary business of life is one of the most powerful motives for the improvement of education in women. Lawyers and physicians have, in their professions, a constant motive to exertion. If you neglect their education, they must, in a certain degree, educate themselves by their commerce with the world: they must learn caution, accuracy, and judgment, because they must incur responsibility. But if you neglect to educate the mind of woman, by the speculative difficulties which occur in literature, it can never be educated at all: if you do not effectually rouse it by education, it must remain for ever languid. Uneducated men may escape intellectual degradation; uneducated women cannot. They have nothing to do; and if they come untaught from the schools of education, they will never be instructed in the school of events. Women have not their livelihood to gain by knowledge; and that is

one motive for relaxing all those ef. forts which are made in the educa. tion of men. They certainly have not; but they have happiness to gains to which knowledge leads as probably as it does to profit; and that is a reason against mistaken indulgence. Besides, we conceive the labour and fatigue of accomplishments to be quite equal to the labour and fatigue of knowledge; and that it takes quite as many years to . charming, as it does to be learnCCI. Another difference of the sexes is, that women are attended to, and men attend. All acts of courtesy and politeness originate from the one sex, and are received by the other. We can see no sort of reason, from this diversity of condition, for giving to women a trifling and insignificant education; but we see in it a very powerful reason for strengthening their judgment, and inspiring them with the habit of employing time usefully. We admit many striking differences in the situation of the two sexes, and many striking differences of understanding proceeding from the different circumstances in which they are placed: but there is not a single difference of this kind which does not afford a new argument for making the education of women better than it is. They have nothing serious to do;-is that areason why they should be brought up to do nothing but what is trifling 2 They are exposed to greater dangers;—is that a reason why their faculties are to be purposely and industriously weakened : They are to form the characters of future men; —is that a cause why their own characters are to be broken and frittered down as they now are : In short, there is not a single trait in that diversity of circumstances, in which the two sexes are placed, that does not decidedly prove the magnitude of the errour we commit in neglecting (as we do neglect) the education of women. If the objections against the bet

ter education of women could be

overruled, one of the great advantages

that would ensue, would be the ex

tinction of innumerable follies. A de

cided and prevailing taste for one or

another mode of education there

must be. A century past, it was

for housewifery; now it is for ac

complishments. The object now is,

to make women artists, to give

them an excellence in drawing, mu

sick, painting, and dancing,--of which, persons who make these pur

suits the occupation of their lives,

and derive from them their subsistence, need not be ashamed. Now, one great evil of all this is, that it does not last. If the whole of life, as somebody says, were an Olympick game-if we could go on feasting and dancing to the end,-this might do; but this is merely a provision for the little interval between coming into life, and settling in it; while it Heaves a long and dreary expanse behind, devoid both of dignity and cheerfulness. No mother, no woman who has passed over the few first years of life, sings, or dances, or draws, or plays upon musical instruments. These are merely means for displaying the grace and vivacity of youth, which every woman gives up as she gives up the dress and the manners of eighteen. She has no wish to retain them; or, if she has, she is driven out of them by diameter and derision. The system of female education, as it now stands, aims only at embellishing a few years of life, which are in themselves so full of grace and happiness, that they hardly want it; and then leaves the rest of existence a miserable prey to idle insignificance. No woman of understanding and reflection can possibly conceive she is doing justice to her children by such kind of education. The object is, to give to children resources that will endure as long as life endures; habits that time will meliorate, not destroy; occupations that will render sickness tolerable, solitude pleasant, age

venerable, life more dignified and useful, and therefore death less terrible: and the compensation which is offered for the omission of all this, is a short-lived blazey–a little temporary effect, which has no other consequence than to deprive the remainder of life of all taste and relish. There may be women who have a taste for the fine arts, and who evince a decided talent for drawing or for musick. In that case, there can be no objection to their cultivation; but the errour is, to make these things the grand and universal object; to insist upon it that every woman is to sing, and draw, and dance; with nature, or against nature; to bind her apprentice to some accomplishment, and, if she cannot succeed in oil or water colours, to prefer gilding, varnishing, burnishing, boxmaking, or shoe-making, to real and solid improvement in taste, knowledge, and understanding. A great deal is said in favour of the social nature of the fine arts. Musick gives pleasure to others. Drawing is an art, the amusement of which does not centre in him who exercises it, but is diffused among the rest of the world. This is true; but there is nothing, after all, so social as a cultivated mind. We do not mean to speak slightingly of the fine arts or to depreciate the good humour with which they are sometimes exhibited; but we appeal to any man, whether a little spirited and sensible conversation, displaying, modestly, useful acquirements, and evincing rational curiosity, is not well worth the highest exertions of musical or graphical skill. A woman of accomplishments may entertain those who have the pleasure of knowing her for half an hour with great brilliancy; but a mind full of ideas, and with that elastick spring which the love of knowledge only can convey, is a perpetual source of exhilaration and amusement to all that come within its reach; not collecting its force into single and in

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sulated achievements, like the efforts made in the fine arts, but diffusing equally over the whole of existence, a calm pleasure, better loved as it is longer felt; and suitable to every variety and every period of life. Therefore, instead of hanging the understanding of a woman upon walls, or hearing it vibrate upon strings; instead of seeing it in clouds, or hearing it in the wind, we would make it the first spring and ornament of society, by enriching it with attainments upon which alone such power depends. If the education of women were improved, the education of men would be improved also. Let any one consider (in order to bring the matter more home by an individual instance) of what immense importance to society it is, whether a nobleman of first rate fortune and distinction is well or ill brought up; what a taste and fashion he may inspire for private and for political vice; and what misery and mischief he may produce to the thousand human beings who are dependent on him ' A country contains no such curse within its bosom. Youth, wealth, high rank, and vice, form a combination which baffles all remonstrance and invective, and beats down all opposition before it. A man of high rank who combines these qualifications for corruption, is almost the master of the manners of the age, and has the publick happiness within his grasp. But the most beautiful possession which a country can have, is a noble and a rich man, who loves virtue and knowledge; who, without being feeble or fanatical is pious; and who, without being factious, is firm and independent; who, in his political life, is an equitable mediator between king and people; and, in his civil life, a firm promoter of all which can shed a lustre upon his country, or promote the peace and order of the world. But if these objects are of the importance which we attribute to them, Vol. iv. B

the education of women must be important; as the formation of character for the first seven or eight years of life seems to depend almost entirely upon them. It is certainly in the power of a sensible and well educated mother to inspire, within that period, such tastes and propensities as shall nearly decide the destiny of the future man; and this is done, not only by the intentional exertions of the mother, but by the gradual and insensible imitation of the child; for there is something extremely contagious in greatness and rectitude of thinking, even at that age; and the character of the mother with whom he passes his early infancy, is always an event of the utmost importance to the child. A merely accomplished woman cannot infuse her tastes into the minds of her sons; and, if she could, nothing could be more unfortunate than her success. Besides, when her accomplishments are given up, she has nothing left for it but to amuse herself in the best way she can; and, becoming entirely frivolous, either declines the fatigue of attending to her children, or, attending to them, has neither talents nor knowledge to succeed; and, therefore, here is a plain and fair answer to those who ask so triumphantly: Why should a woman dedicate herself to this branch of knowledge : Or why should she be attached to such a science —Because, by having gained information on these points, she may inspire her son with valuable tastes, which may abide by him through life, and carry him up to all the sublimities of knowledge; because she cannot lay the foundation of a great character, if she is absorbed in frivolous amusements, nor inspire her child with noble desires, when a long course of trifling has destroyed the little talents which were left by a bad education. It is of great importance to a country, that there should be as many understandings as possible actively employed within it. Mankind are much happier for the discovery of barometers, thermometers, steam engines, and all the innumerable inventions in the arts and sciences. We are every day and every hour reaping the benefit of such talent and ingenuity. The same observation is true of such works as those of Dryden, Pope, Milton and Shakspeare. Mankind are much happier that such individuals have lived and written. they add every day to the stock of publick enjoyment, and perpetually gladden and embellish life. Now, the number of those who exercise their understandings to any good purpose, is exactly in proportion to those who exercise it all; but as the matter stands at present, half the talent in the universe runs to waste, and is totally unprofitable. It would have been almost as well for the world, hitherto, that women, instead of possessing the capacities they do at present, should have been born wholly destitute of wit, genius, and every other attribute of mind, of which men make so eminent a use: and the ideas of use and possession are so united together, that, because it has been the custom in almost all countries to give to women a different and a worse education than to men, the notion has obtained, that they do not possess faculties which they do not cultivate. Just as, in breaking up a common, it is sometimes very difficult to make the poor believe it will carry corn, merely because they have been hitherto accustomed to see it produce nothing but weeds and grass: they very naturally mistake its present condition for its general nature. So completely have the talents of women been kept down, that there is scarcely a single work, either of reason or imagination, written by a woman, which is in general circulation, either in the English, French, or Italian literature; scarcely one that has crept even into the ranks of our minor poets. If the possession of excellent

talents is not a conclusive reason why they should be improved, it at least amounts to a very strong presumption; and, if it can be shown that women may be trained to reason and imagine as well as men, the strongest reasons are certainly necessary to show us why we should not avail ourselves of such rich gifts of nature; and we have a right to call for a clear statement of those perils which make it necessary that such talents should be totally extinguished, or, at most, very partially drawn out. The burthen of proof does not lie with those who say: Increase the quantity of talent in any country as much as possible; for such a proposition is in comformity with every man's feelings; but it lies with those who say: Take care to keep that understanding weak and trifling, which nature has made capable of becoming strong and powerful. The paradox is with them, not with us. In all human reasoning, knowledge must be taken for a good, till it can be shown to

be an evil. But now, nature makes

to us rich and magnificent presents; and we say to her: You are too luxuriant and munificent: we must keep you under, and prune you: we have talents enough in the other half of the creation: and, if you will not stupify and enfeeble the mind of women to our hands, we ourselves must expose them to a narcotick process, and educate away that fatal redundance with which the world is afflicted, and the order of sublunary things deranged. One of the greatest pleasures of life is conversation; and the pleasures of conversation are of course enhanced by every increase of knowledge; not that we should meet together to talk of alkalis and angles, or to add to our stock of history and philology; though a little of all these things is no bad ingredient in conversation. But, let the subject be what it may, there is always a pro

digious difference between the con

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