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painful distinction between the rich and the poor. The spirit of agrarianism, which is inflaming and festering in the hearts of the laboring classes, is fostered by the extravagance and gaudy show with which the wealthy love to surround themselves. They wilfully waste their accumulated fortunes in the sparkling jets d'eaux, instead of permitting them to run in refreshing streams, where all could be benefitted, or causing them to spread greenness and fertility among the barren wastes of poverty. We have seen those who were borne along in their gilded and emblazoned carriages, followed by their liveried out-riders, and wrapped in habiliments whose cost would have brought peace and plenty to many a poor widow's hearth, who could meanly endeavor to rob the indigent seamstress or laborer of their just dues, and take advantage of their poverty, by offering for their work less than its value. It is a well-known fact, that the most wealthy are generally least liberal to those in their employ; and the fondness for making cheap bargains, and of securing labor at half price, belongs almost exclusively to those who have least need for them. Would that the just sentiment spoken by a heathen king of one of the small eastern monarchies were more often echoed in our prosperous Christian land! Upon hearing his son boasting to those around him of a purchase he had just made, of an article far beneath its real worth, he nobly said: 'Čo to him from whom you bought it, and give him treble its value, and blush with shame, to think you have boasted of having taken advantage of a man's ignorance or necessity.'
The next class is the domestic; and in this we do not include those who love retirement for its own sake, or whose hearths and homes are the dearest spots on earth ; but we use this term to designate those who are wholly engrossed by their household occupations. This, in our country, is a numerous order- more so, perhaps, than any other — owing to the unsettled and unorganized state of servitude, prevailing in all but the slave-holding districts. In our land, where all are free and equal, there is, among the laboring part of our population, an instinctive dislike to enter into service, and the greater number would prefer remaining in a home of their own, however humble, where they are obliged to endure all the evils of poverty, than to live as servants, in comfort and plenty. From this, arises one of the difficulties in procuring well-trained domestics, and the consequently varied and irritating trials of house-keepers. But, as Mrs. Sigourney very justly observes, this is ' a tax which all should be willing to pay, for the privileges of our government.' It is perhaps best that we should have to contend with these difficulties. Although the present irregularity and disturbance among the conficting interests of the employer and the employed are productive of many annoyances, yet it may be wisely ordered, as a salutary corrective, tending to bring our social life into accordance with the tenor and spirit of our free institutions. As soon as we are willing to conform, in our houses and homes, to the republican principles of the glorious charter which declared us free and independent, then we believe these causes of complaint will be banished from among us. When we learn to moderate our wants, and study simplicity in our style of living; when the love of show and vanity, with their
countless expenses and competitions are stricken from our household lists,' then and then only, shall we be freed from the wearing cares that break many a woman's spirit, and render those duties vexing and distasteful, which, by a wiser arrangement, would be made easy and delightful. If we consent to give up our splendidly-decorated drawing-rooms, from which the light of day is carefully excluded, and where the furniture is only uncovered for one or two gala-nights in a year, and content ourselves with simply yet tastefully-furnished parlors, intended for the use of our family and friends, we shall then be relieved from the necessity of keeping a band of idle retainers, whose cost of maintenance far exceeds the value of their labor, and whose proper management and direction are a fruitful source of toil and anxiety.
There is unfortunately an opinion existing among us, that has made refinement and gentility synonymous with show and luxury. There is, however, no real affinity between them. As one of the late English novelists observes : True refinement inheres within, and no more derives its character from outward trappings, than heaven's gift of symmetry owe its fair proportions to the fringes with which fashion encumbers its beauty. It is not whether your tables are of mahogany or deal, your dishes of china or delf, that distinguishes refinement from its opposite. It is the soul that presides at the banquet.' We have been frequently struck with the truth of this distinction, when visiting a family, which is the true model of what American society should be. Their rural home is furnished with greater simplicity and plainness than is often seen in the houses of the city mechanics, yet evidences of the taste and refinement of its inmates are every where apparent. Instead of the costly pieces of French china, and the many petty gewgaws that ornament the centre and pier tables of the wealthy and the fashionable, you see rare and beautiful specimens of conchology and mineralogy, and numerous volumes of science and light literature. And in the place of gilded vases, splendid lamps, or alabaster clocks, you find rich bouquets of rare exotics, among which are peeping the delicate wild flowers gathered in their woodland rambles.
In their dress, there is the same tasteful simplicity, and absence of every thing like vanity or display. Their polished manners, their Virginian hospitality, their easy flow of intellectual converse, and the grateful warmth of their affections, unchilled by conventional forms and soulless ceremony, render the hours spent in their society a banquet for the mind and heart. The charm of their companionship is felt by all who visit them, even by those who are incapable of appreciating their high mental endowments, and moral elevation. To the woman whose only subject of conversation is upon her household employments, they will enter into her feelings and suit themselves to her capacities, for of domestic duties they have both the knowledge and the practice. Those of a literary taste will be fascinated by the graces of their gifted minds, and to the lover of nature's fair productions, or beautiful scenes, they will show the rich parterre, with its blooming flowers, and their choice collection of nursling plants, or point out the green hills and lovely valleys that are seen through the vistas opened here and there through the embowering elms. You
cannot help feeling, when you are with them, that they are fitted to adorn the highest circles of fashion, yet nothing could tempt them to leave their happy seclusion. There is so much enjoyment in each other's society, that they will not be separated ; and they can never be induced to enter into the gay world, because to them it has no charms. No one would suppose, from the neatness and order in every department of their household, from the taste and elegance of their entertainments, and from the apparent leisure of every member, that they kept but one young servant. You hear no complaints of the difficulties of house-keeping; you never find any one engrossed and irritated by domestic toils; but every thing seems to be performed as if by magic. The harmonious arrangement is seen, but its petty details are never exhibited to your view. This family, from their limited income, would be called poor by the world ; but they are rich in that which the wealthy vulgar can never possess genuine refinement and true gentility.
Added to the existing condition of our domestic arrangements, there is another powerful reason why many women after marriage find themselves overwhelmed by clashing and perplexing duties, out of which they are unable to produce either order or harmony, and this is the want of a previous preparation for the station upon which they have entered. A girl is generally placed at school at an early age, and leaves it upon arriving at womanhood. Under the mistaken notion of permitting her to enjoy herself while single, no attention to household duties is expected or required. Her life is a perpetual holiday a continued succession of frivolous amusements; and when she becomes a wife, she is dismayed to find that she is ignorant and unpractised in those duties for which she should have been carefully educated. She then either leaves the care of her household to her hired menials, or, if desirous to act a faithful part, she runs the risk of sinking into the mere domestic drudge. By a want of system and judicious management, which would have made her employments lighter and more efficiently performed, her time and attention are wholly engrossed by the minutia of the daily routine. If she once possessed any taste for intellectual pleasures or improvement, she has now neither the leisure nor tlie opportunity for its grati
on. We have heard many married women say, that they found it impossible to read a page of the most interesting work, without a constant and painful effort. The thought of their household occupations would perpetually intrude itself, and prevent them from fixing their minds on any other subject. One who is thus circumstanced, becomes incapable of spiritual or intellectual advancement, and of exercising that reflection and calm collectedness of thought, so necessary to fit her for the higher duties of a wife, a mother, and a Christian. She loses all congeniality with her husband, and when he wishes to read to her, she either cannot remain to listen, or else his words fall
but convey no impression upon her understanding. When the dawning mind of her child leads it to her, as its natural instructer, to satisfy its ardent desire for information, she considers it troublesome, and has no time to attend to its inquiries. Slavish cares press upon her mind and her heart, and leave no room for domestic enjoyment. Her home, instead of being the abode of
peace and happiness, is the scene of irritating trials, and constant hardships. Scolding and invective, while following her servants during the day, are followed by weariness and exhaustion at night; and thus month after month and year after year roll onward, without bearing one record of her progress and improvement. And • she finds herself plunged into an abyss of cares and troubles, from which she cannot expect to be extricated, till the close of a wretched and wearisome life.'
Notwithstanding the general diffusion of knowledge, and the interest that has been awakened upon the subject of female education, yet we fear that our next class - the intellectual will be found comparatively a small one. The temple of science, like the paradise of Mohammed, was formerly considered a place too sacred for the intrusion of woman; and although its jealous barriers are now removed, and they are permitted to enter its enclosures, yet the effects of this prohibition still exert an influence sufficiently powerful to keep the greater number from making the attempt. "The monkish maxim of the dark ages, that · Ignorance is the mother of Devotion,' and the favorite theory of tyrants, that the education of the governed tends to disorder and disorganization, are now fast disappearing before the light of truth and just reasoning, and with these the prejudice against learning in a woman is also fading away, and the rights and true interests of the female sex are beginning to be universally acknowledged. It has been found from experience, that mental cul. tivation, instead of raising woman above her duties, tends to arouse her to a deeper sense of their responsibility, and enables her to discharge them more faithfully. It has been seen that it is possible to have one eye rigidly fixed on the pence-table, and with the other, to pierce the empyrean of science, that genius can stoop its enthroned fires,' and give earnest heed to the consumption of coal and candles, the latter not of wax, but of veritable tallow;' and what is still more convincing than these, that most harassing fear has been found fallacious, that a woman could not make a good pudding, if she were rendered capable of educating her children. Since these truths have been established, and this fear has been dissipated by so many bright examples, the world has began to feel the importance of female education, and to acknowledge that as the future character of the child chiefly depends upon the mother, it becomes highly necessary that she should be enlightened, well-educated, and principled. Even men of sense were wont to employ the pen of ridicule, and the spoken jest, to throw contempt upon learned women, and they so effectually gained their object, that it will be many, many years before the prejudice they excited will have passed away. The urgent appeals of moralists will make but a faint impression upon the female sex, when the opinions of former days are yet current in society. A young lady still feels a greater hesitation in acknowledging a taste for high intellectual pursuits, than she would in speaking of Bulwer's novels, or the performances of an opera-dancer. The dreaded title of bluestocking,' has become obsolete, yet she-philosopher,' the name of terror now applied by the fashionable fopling, is still as much deprecated. It is true, that there may have been, at first, some grounds for this prejudice, by the vanity which learning may have inspired in
some females, owing to its rarity. But we are inclined to believe, that the fault was in the individual, and not in her acquirements; as Hannah More so justly remarks, that she who is a vain pedant, because she has read much, would have been a vain fool, if she had read nothing. The least occasional neglect in the house of an intelligent woman meets with no allowance, however excusable may be the reasons for it; while the most striking proofs of careless management in that of the fashionable one, is passed over without cen
While this prejudice so widely prevails, and is exhibited in so many different forms, can we wonder that the number of females is so limited, who consider the cultivation of their minds as one of their highest duties, and most delightful privileges ? This number, however, is gradually increasing, and let them bear in mind, that one of the noblest efforts in which they can exert their influence, is the endeavor to raise their sex to that station which nature and reason show they should attain.
Upon examining into the religious portion of our female society, we feel as if we were trespassing on hallowed ground. So highly do we estimate their importance as a class, that we cannot help regretting that so many among professing Christians are wanting in that spiritual elevation, that beautiful consistency of character, which should make them, in their own proper spheres, bright and shining stars. We fear that with some, their benevolent societies, their tract distributions, and the frequent attendance at various meetings, are the tithes of mint, anise, and cummin,' which lead them to neglect that personal piety, and those untransferable domestic obligations, upon which so much of their right influence depends. Let such remember, that to keep themselves 'unspotted from the world' is the concluding clause of that precept which enjoins them to visit the fatherless and the widow in their affliction. We would not wish to check the flowing of the smallest rill of active benevolence; yet we are persuaded, that much more good might be effected, if to this virtue were added the other gems in the Christian's coronet. The love of the world,' with its corrupting influences, is almost as frequently seen in the houses of the wealthy, among the professedly religious, as in those of the
and the fashionable. This ought not to be ; for surely if it be the duty of any class to endeavor to stem the torrent of extravagance, display, and Mammon-idolatry, it is of those who are commanded ‘not to lay up their treasures upon earth,' and who have promised to renounce the world and its follies.
After our slight examination into the different orders of American female society, we fear that there are few individuals among them who have considered the power and right direction of the influence of woman, with the attention which its importance demands, or who have been duly impressed with the weight of their responsibility. As the knowledge of the true God was revealed to the Jews, that they might shed its light upon the nations lying in darkness and idolatry around them, so do we believe that to woman are given the power
and opportunity to purify and to bless mankind. Their duty does not call them to launch upon the gathered and turbid waters of public life; it is theirs to heal the fountains of home, that they may send forth pellucid streams, as tributaries to the great ocean. Their