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now a very common thing to be interested by the variety and extent of female knowledge, but it is a very common thing to lament, that the finest faculties in the world have been confined to trifles utterly unworthy of their richness and their strength.
The pursuit of knowledge is the most innocent and interesting occupation which can be given to the female sex; nor can there be a better method of checking a spirit of dissipation than by diffusing a taste for literature. The true way to attack vice, is by setting up something else against it. Give to women, in early youth, something to acquire, of sufficient interest and importance to command the application of their mature faculties, and to excite their perseverance in future life;-teach them that happiness is to be derived from the acquisition of knowledge, as well as the gratification of vanity; and you will raise up a much more formidable barrier against dissipation than a host of invectives and exhortations can supply.
PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE.
It sometimes happens that an unfortunate man gets drunk with very bad wine-not to gratify his palate, but to forget his cares: he does not set any value on what he receives, but on account of what it excludes - -it keeps out something worse than itself. Now, though it were denied that the acquisition of serious knowledge is of itself important to a woman, still it prevents a taste for silly and pernicious works of imagination; it keeps away the horrid trash of novels; and, in lieu of that eagerness for emotion and adventure which books of that sort inspire, promotes a calm and steady temperament of mind.
A man who deserves such a piece of good fortune, may generally find an excellent companion for all vicissitudes of his life; but it is not so easy to find a companion for his understanding, who has similar pursuits with himself, or who can comprehend the pleasure he derives from them. We really can see no reason why it should not be otherwise; nor comprehend how the pleasures of domestic life can be promoted by diminishing the number of subjects in which persons who are to spend their lives together take a common interest.
One of the most agreeable consequences of knowledge is the respect and importance which it communicates to old age. Men rise in character often as they increase in years;-they are venerable from what they have acquired, and pleasing from what they
can impart. If they outlive their faculties, the mere frame itself is respected for what it once contained; but women (such is their unfortunate style of education) hazard everything upon one cast of the die; when youth is gone, all is gone. No human creature gives his admiration for nothing; either the eye must be charmed, or the understanding gratified. A woman must talk wisely or look well. Every human being must put up with the coldest civility, who has neither the charms of youth nor the wisdom of age. Neither is there the slightest commiseration for decayed accomplishments;—no man mourns over the fragments of a dancer, or drops a tear on the relics of musical skill. They are flowers destined to perish; but the decay of great talents is always the subject of solemn pity; and, even when their last memorial is over, their ruins and vestiges are regarded with pious affection.
There is no connection between the ignorance in which women are kept, and the preservation of moral and religious principle; and yet certainly there is, in the minds of some timid and respectable persons, a vague, indefinite dread of knowledge, as if it were capable of producing these effects. It might almost be supposed, from the dread which the propagation of knowledge has excited, that there was some great secret which was to be kept in impenetrable obscurity-that all moral rules were a species of delusion and imposture, the detection of which, by the improvement of the understanding, would be attended with the most fatal consequences to all, and particularly to women. If we could possibly understand what these great secrets were, we might perhaps be disposed to concur in their preservation; but believing that all the salutary rules which are imposed on women are the result of true wisdom, and productive of the greatest happiness, we can not understand how they are to become less sensible of this truth in proportion as their power of discovering truth in general is increased, and the habit of viewing questions with accuracy and comprehension established by education. There are men, indeed, who are always exclaiming against every species of power, because it is connected with danger: their dread of abuses is so much stronger than their admiration of uses, that they would cheerfully give up the use of fire, gunpowder, and printing, to be freed from robbers, incendiaries, and libels. It is true, that every increase of knowledge may possibly render depravity more depraved, as well as it may in
RESPECT IN AGE,
crease the strength of virtue. It is in itself only power; and its value depends on its application. But, trust to the natural love of good where there is no temptation to be bad-it operates nowhere more forcibly than in education. No man, whether he be tutor, guardian, or friend, ever contents himself with infusing the mere ability to acquire; but giving the power, he gives with it a taste for the wise and rational exercise of that power; so that an educated person is not only one with stronger and better faculties than others, but with a more useful propensity-a disposition better cultivated-and associations of a higher and more important
In short, and to recapitulate the main points upon which we have insisted: Why the disproportion in knowledge between the two sexes should be so great, when the inequality in natural talents is so small; or why the understanding of women should be lavished upon trifles, when nature has made it capable of better and higher things, we profess ourselves not able to understand. The affectation charged upon female knowledge is best cured by making that knowledge more general: and the economy devolved upon women is best secured by the ruin, disgrace, and inconvenience which proceed from neglecting it. For the care of children, nature has made a direct and powerful provision; and the gentleness and elegance of women is the natural consequence of that desire to please, which is productive of the greatest part of civilization and refinement, and which rests upon a foundation too deep to be shaken by any such modifications in education as we have proposed. If you educate women to attend to dignified and important subjects, you are multiplying beyond measure the chances of human improvement, by preparing and medicating those early impressions, which always come from the mother; and which, in a great majority of instances, are quite decisive of character and genius. Nor is it only in the business of education that women would influence the destiny of men. If women knew more, men must learn more-for ignorance would then be shameful-and it would become the fashion to be instructed. The instruction of women improves the stock of national talents, and employs more minds for the instruction and amusement of the world;-it increases the pleasures of society, by multiplying the topics upon which the two sexes take a common interest; and makes marriage
an intercourse of understanding as well as of affection, by giving dignity and importance to the female character. The education of women favours public morals; it provides for every season of life, as well as for the brightest and the best; and leaves a woman, when she is stricken by the hand of time, not as she now is, destitute of everything, and neglected by all; but with the full power and the splendid attractions of knowledge-diffusing the elegant pleasures of polite literature, and receiving the just homage of learned and accomplished men.
BOYISH HARDSHIPS AT SCHOOL.*
WE are convinced that those young people will turn out to be the best men, who have been guarded most effectually in their childhood, from every species of useless vexation; and experienced, in the greatest degree, the blessings of a wise and rational indulgence. But even if these effects upon future character are not produced, still, four or five years in childhood make a very considerable period of human existence; and it is by no means a trifling consideration whether they are passed happily or unhappily. The wretchedness of school tyranny is trifling enough to a man who only contemplates it in ease of body and tranquillity of mind, through the medium of twenty intervening years; but it is quite as real, and quite as acute while it lasts, as any of the sufferings of mature life: and the utility of these sufferings, or the price paid in compensation for them, should be clearly made out to a conscientious parent before he consents to expose his children to them.
MADAME D'EPINAY.-HER FRIENDSHIP WITH ROUSSEAU.†
THERE used to be in Paris, under the ancient regime, a few women of brilliant talents, who violated all the common duties of life, and gave very pleasant little suppers. Among these supped and sinned Madame d'Epinay-the friend and companion of Rousseau, Diderot, Grimm, Holbach, and many other literary per
* From an article on Public Schools. Ed. Rev., August, 1810.
† Memoires et Correspondence de Madame d'Epinay. 3 vols. 8vo. Ed. Review, Dec., 1818,
sons of distinction of that period. Her principal lover was Grimm; with whom was deposited, written in feigned names, the history of her life. Grimm died—his secretary sold the history-the feigned names have been exchanged for the real ones-and her works now appear abridged in three volumes octavo.
Madame d'Epinay, though far from an immaculate character, has something to say in palliation of her irregularities. Her husband behaved abominably; and alienated, by a series of the most brutal injuries, an attachment which seems to have been very ardent and sincere, and which, with better treatment, would probably have been lasting. For, in all her aberrations, Mad. d'Epinay seems to have had a tendency to be constant. Though extremely young when separated from her husband, she indulged herself with but two lovers for the rest of her life;-to the first of whom she seems to have been perfectly faithful, till he left her at the end of ten or twelve years;- and to Grimm, by whom he was succeeded, she appears to have given no rival till the day of her death. The account of the life she led, both with her husband and her lovers, brings upon the scene a great variety of French characters, and lays open very completely the interior of French life and manners. But there are some letters and passages which ought not to have been published; which a sense of common decency and morality ought to have suppressed; and which, we feel assured, would never have seen the light in this country.
A French woman seems almost always to have wanted the flavour of prohibition, as a necessary condiment to human life. The provided husband was rejected, and the forbidden husband introduced in ambiguous light, through posterns and secret partitions. It was not the union to one man that was objected to- for they dedicated themselves with a constancy which the most household and parturient woman in England could not exceed;- but the thing wanted was the wrong man, the gentleman without the ring -the master unsworn to at the altar-the person unconsecrated by priests
"Oh! let me taste thee unexcised by kings."
The friendship of Madame d'Epinay with Rousseau proceeded to a great degree of intimacy. She admired his genius, and provided him with hats and coats; and, at last, was so far deluded by his de