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of society, under its new phases, must ever continue to give fresh interest to every vital theme. No topic, much less the great topic of human nature, can be said to be exhausted. Previous speculations may be mistakes, and may be proved so; and even among things most known, there will never cease to exist new affinities and fresh differences.
We maintain that Woman has, in our day, attained a false social elevation--an elevation that morally degrades her, and which nature acknowledges not. “It appears to me,” observes even a lady-writer of the day, “ that the condition of women in society, as at present constituted, is false in itself, and injurious to them: that the education of women, as at present conducted, is founded in mistaken principles, and tends to increase fearfully the sum of misery and error in both sexes *.”
The consequence of this false position of Woman in society has been mischiefmischief vast and widely spread. “It is
* Mrs. Jamieson.
not, nor it cannot come to good!” At the same time, be it well understood, we attach not the onus of blame to that sex, It must be evident, that it can be only by Man's verdict that Woman remains on her giddy eminence, for when was it ever known that strength submitted to weakness but by its own consent? Woman is not the responsible party, neither is she to be held morally accountable even for the imperfections that have assailed her. She has been a wanderer-she has left, but she has been seduced to leave, her proper and peculiar sphere. Wrong has been the consequence, but Woman has been as much its victim as its author. Let it not then be still asked ucho did that wrong; Man suffered it, and his, therefore, and his alone, be the fault! Is blame to rest where error originates, or where it is merely acted upon? The instigator is ever to be accounted the moral criminal !
But, the female character having become faulty, in consequence of the peculiar temptations spread by many circumstances
, but more especially springing from that uncontrolled influence (as mischievous as it is vast) which women exercise over society at large—such being the case, would it not be a worthy labour to attempt the curbing down, in the first place, all such influence, wherever dangerous or overgrown, and afterward to seek the direction of a fitting and wholesome influence into its proper and peculiar channels? Let the devotion to Woman (if devotion to a creature there must needs be!) at least rest, and rest only, on the broad basis of devotion to her virtues!
But, at the same time, if such a task is to be carried through—if we are to be enabled, in any degree, to effect the purpose we hold in view, it is a conviction we cannot disguise, that much of what is now so taintingly-luxurious in the female character has to be lopped away,—and perhaps nearly all that is left to be pruned. It is necessary to be severe in many cases before we can venture to be indulgent; just, be. fore we can afford to be merciful.
On no occasion has it been sought in these pages to sustain argument (or have merely-satirical feelings been indulged in) by a repetition of those smart, but very often contemptible sallies, which have been levelled, time immemorial, against the sex. Such male impertinencies' are without end: but ésquibs’of that kind, in addition to being no more than common-place, are seldom anything beyond raillery ;-all such we have accordingly rejected as unworthy serious attention ; bearing in mind, that there is nothing so grave, nothing so estimable, as not to have been occasionally made the butt for shafts of ridicule, as powerless as they are malicious!
Holding all indiscriminate censure to be as senseless as it is illiberal, we have been both anxious and careful to aroid general imputations. But here we must be distinctly understood: We may not in all cases have expressly said (what frequently might hare been said with truth) that there are many of the sex exempt from particular failings. Let not an omis.