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The following Work owes its origin to the favourable reception which the Public has been pleased to give to the “ Enquiry into the “ Duties of Men;" and to wishes intimated from different quarters very deserving of attention.
That I might have a reasonable chance of laying before the Reader a performance not destitute of all claim to originality; I purposely abstained, until the principal part was executed, from the perusal of
other Treatises addressed to persons of the Female Sex, or primarily designed for their instruction. I then thought it incumbent upon me to examine various works of that nature. The result proved as was to be expected. I found many opinions coinciding with my own, many differing totally from them. The latter circumstance led to alterations, whenever reflection convinced me that I had been in a greater or a less degree under the influence of error; and to additions, when they appeared necessary for the support of my own sentiments, and the matter in question seemed important enough to require them. On such occasions, however, my object has been to furnish useful rules and
just conclusions, with a brief explanation of the grounds of them; rather than to point out and censure the individuals, who, in my apprehension, have recommended what ought to be shunned, or have rested judicious maxims of conduct wholly or in part on improper motives. In one or two instances I have been obliged, for the sake of perspicuity, to state with plainness the objectionable position. But I have been solicitous not to load a practical work with controversy.