Page images

women by every virtuous endeavour to win the admiration of men; a pleasing style of dress much contributes to it; and when that does not oppose the sanction of custom, they are entitled to our thanks : and even in those instances where the modesty of nature may seem to be overleaped; by exciting disgust, the poison that might be designed, is accompanied with its peculiar antidote.

.... . . .. Except only that unnatural distortion of hair, which once so becomingly adorned the head in easy flow; the present mode of female attire is not more elegant in appearance, than friendly to health; and in every respect far more captivating than the wadding and buckram garments, which once were suffered to envelop the fairest work of creation!

* Chastity," says Rousseau, '' is a delicious virtue to a handsome woman who has an


clevated soul. While she sees all the world at her feet, she triumphs over all and over herself: she erects in her own heart a throne, at the foot of which every thing pays her homage. The self denials are transient, but their reward is lasting. Purity is maintained by itself, the desires, always curbed, are accustomed to spring up no more; and temptations are multiplied only by the cus, tom of giving way to them. Nothing is despicable that tends to preserve purity; and little precautions preserve great virtues.”

If such were the resolutions of all lovely women; they would gain a double conquest ! their persons which had gained the first, would be guarded from assault by the principles which had obtained the second : then indeed would men approach, with conscious reverence, those brilliant sụns; not to partake of illicit warmth, but to indulge in sentiments of chastest admiration.


: Obscene books and prints generate and inflame, in no small degree, impure desires; and to guard against other causes of seduction, it should be the serious attention of those who preside over the seminaries of female education, that not only the lessons, but the strictest examples of chastity be enforced: for this purpose, the conduct of teachers should be seasonably noticed, and the accustomed familiarity of servants with the pupils, qught strictly to be prohibited. . .

Another cause of seduction must be imputed to the few employments that are reserved for women; and it is much to be lamented, that there is not a more extensive choice for them; but when we see that even these very few are invaded by men; reproach cannot so sharply be levelled against the victims of seduction : 3:05 So great a nursery for vice is idleness, that Solon, the wise Athenian Legislator, made ai làw against it. The' Egyptians require every person to be of some business. Among the Turks, (the Grand Signior himself not excepted), every man must have a trade. It is a maxim among the Jews, “ He who teaches not his son a trade, teaches him to be a thief;" hence likewise the truth of the proverb, which says, “ That the Devil tempteth every one, but an idle person tempts the Devil:" in the opinion of that eminent Judge, Sir Matthew Hale, “ The prevention of poverty, idleness, and a louse and disorderly education, even of poor children, would do more good to this kingdom than all the gibbets, whipping posts, and gaols in it, and would render such sort of discipline less necessary and less frequent.” :

To exclude women therefore from various departments of industry and trade, for which


they may be equally qualified as men, and in many respects better, is not only unjust and impolitic, but by thus exposing so many to idleness and want, it grievously swells the catalogue of seduction. .


- But let not the seducer hence presume to apologize for his depravity, and still less to exult and triumph in his conquest: while every compassionate eye surveys with acutest grief the wreck of virtue, accusation flies on indignant wings to him, who perpetrated the ignoble act, and pours on his guilty head the vengeance of her fury! .

When despoiled of her honour by the base arts of a perjured suitor, blame not woman too severely for the dismal consequences which sometimes attend it: by man she was betrayed, and therefore, on man she plots revenge; or as Millwood, in her defence to Thorowgood, for her perfidious conduct to


« PreviousContinue »