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be disregarded, however seemingly powerless!
Though the capacities of Woman are comprised
within a very narrow sphere, these act within the
circle with vigour and uniformity. It is often
by seeming to despise power, that women secure
it to satiety! A love of power would seem al-
most part and parcel of Woman's composition ;
--for to this end they early learn to enlist every
art they are mistresses of;

In men we various ruling passions find,
In women two almost divide the kind;
These only fix’d, they first or last obey-
The love of pleasure, and the lore of sway.

POPE.
§ 5.-Nor is the political influence belonging
to women of contemptible amount. There is
an old and true maxim, that though kings may
reign, women virtually govern: 'tis they who
hold the strings of all intrigues, great or small 6).
“ There are perhaps few instances,” says an ele-
gant writer, “ in which the sex is not one of the
secret springs that regulate the most important
movements of private or public transactions *.”
Not merely over the fanciful regions of fashion
does the female empire extend itself; it dictates to

Fittosborne's letters.

[graphic]

the senate, as well as legislates for the ball-room. Women make no laws, it is true; they abrogate none: in so far Law shakes hands with Divinity; but they have an influence beyond any law (7): "Ce que femme veut, Dieu le veut ?" Nothing resists them! What follows, though it be poetry, is too true a picture.

"What trivial influences hold dominion
O'er wise men's counsels and the fate of empire !
The greatest schemes that human wit can forge,
Or bold ambition dares to put in practice,
Depend upon our husbanding a moment,
And the light lasting of a Woman's will !"

Rowe.

Nor are women without civil and political power of the direct kind. They are vested with many important trusts, and enjoy most of those privileges which accompany property. They vote for many public functionaries, and their sweet voices are made admissible in electing directors for the government of thirty or forty millions of souls in British India.

And where their influence is but indirect, it is little less powerful on that account. In our public elections 'tis they who are the actual constituency,--they, after all, who virtually elect; for which is the vote that they do not influence ? The system of female canvassing has of late years become a traffic quite notorious8)

The lady in Hudibras, did not exceed the truth when she asserted the vast powers and privileges of her sex :

"We manage things of greatest weight
In all the world's affairs of state ;
We make and execute all laws
Can judge the judges and the cause ;
We rule in every public meeting
And make men do what we judge fitting;
Are magistrates in all great towns
Where men do nothing but wear gowns !

We are your guardians, that increase,
Or waste, your fortunes as we please ;
And, as you humour us, can deal

In all your matters, ill or well." $6.--In our own most artificial of countries alone is it, that women are thus glorified with a false worship. Elsewhere in the world the social condition of women is on a scale very different. To this day, in Africa and a considerable portion of America, they are little more than upper domestics--sometimes lower still, (which remains to be regretted,- for either extreme of treatment is bad.) In Asia their condition is

little better; their treatment among the Hindoos, with the severe philosophy of Menu respecting them, is well known*; and in the large and important empire of China, they experience an habitual confinement within the walls of their own homes—a custom, by the way, to the good effects of which, travellers bear harmonious recordo). In continental Europe we find the sex pampered, and ranking higher in the social scale; but every where, in their condition, they continue immeasureably below Englishwomen. In Spain, and in Italy too, they are depressed more than is commonly supposed. Throughout the whole of Germany they are bronght up to be useful, as well as ornamental. Even in France, the once parent-land of gallantry, it has been considered politic, since the days of the Revolution, to reduce the female mind more to a state of mediocrity, and to re-model the national

system of education :- Elles avoient, sans doute, dans l'ancien régime, trop d'influence sur les affaires." + The Salique law, which excludes women from the throne (a serious affront, by the way, upon the sex), was, from earliest times, an express and peculiar provision of the French code.

* Vide Mills British India. + Madame de Staël.

With regard to the antients, the wholesome rigour observed in their domestic policy by the Greeks and Romans, is well known; and as to other nations, Aristotle reports of the Scythians, Tacitus of the Germans, and Cæsar of the Gauls, that their customs, as affecting the other sex, were all conducted on similiar principles. The Jews were remarkably prudent in the constitution of their social laws:10).

Shall it be put forward as serious argument, that Englishmen feel they are right in their own island system in the mere quixotic treatment of women? Alas! “ feeling” is, in itself, no trustworthy criterion either of right or wrong. This principle has led men to do many vicious, not to say foolish, things; and the indulgence of our noblest feelings may be carried too far. The wild Arab feels it to be his most honourable occupation to live by plunder, like his fathers before him; the Spartans of old felt it praiseworthy to be a successful thief; the Turk feels it an obligation of honour to concenl his wives from the eyes

of men, and to look down with contempt upon

the **** *t large-what will be said to this instance of toeling

Wherever women are concerned, it is too

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