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every pursuit, a deliberate and candid examination of the evidence of a religion, which furnishes the wisest rules of conduct for this life, as well as grounds of hope and consolation in looking forward to another,

CHAP. II.

GENERAL GROUNDS OF THE IMPORT

ANCE OF THE FEMALE CHARACTER

BRIEFLY STATED.

In the course of a work which purposes to investigate somewhat at length the several duties of the female sex, the importance of the female character will naturally disclose itself. It is not by attending to formal and studied panegyric, but by considering in detail the various and momentous duties, to the discharge of which, women are called both by reason and revelation, that the influence of feminine virtues is rendered most conspicuous. It is thus too that the responsibility attached to that influence in all its branches, in all its minutest capacities of being beneficially employed, will be placed in the strongest

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by which they, like their brothers, may distinguish themselves and rise to eminence; are occasionally heard to declare their opinion, that the sphere in which women are destined to move is so humble and so limited, as neither to require nor to reward affiduity; and under this impression, either do not difcern, or will not be persuaded to consider, the real and deeply interesting effects which the conduct of their sex will always have on the happiness of society. In attempting to obviate this error, I should be very culpable were I to flatter the ambitious fondness for distinction, which may, in part at least, have given rise to it. To suggest motives to unassuming and virtuous activity, is the purpose of the following brief remarks.

Human happiness is on the whole much meced by great but unfrequent eve

of prosperity or of adveror of injury, than by small y recurring incidents of good

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light; a circumstance of no small weight with regard to precluding the emotions of arrogance and the confidence of self-sufficiency, which are ever likely to be produced by simple eulogium. The general contempt, therefore, which is sometimes manifested respecting women by perfons of the other sex, and most frequently by perfons who are unworthy or incapable of forming a judgement concerning those whom they profess to despise, would not have induced me to make any preliminary observations on the subject. There is, howa ever, a prejudice which it is desirable to remove without delay, because it is found to exist in female minds, and unavoidably contributes, in proportion to its strength, to extinguish the desire of improvement, and to repress useful exertion. The fact is this. Young women endowed with good understandings, but desirous of justifying the mental indolence which they have permitted themselves to indulge; or disappointed at not perceiving a way open

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