We observe that Mrs. Moore, in one part of her work, falls into the common error about dress. She first blames ladies for exposing their persons in the present style of dress; and then says, if they knew their own interest,—if they were aware how much more alluring they were to men when their charms are less displayed, they would make the desired alteration from motives merely selfish.
“Oh! if women in general knew what
was their real interest! if they
could guess with what a charm even the appearance of modesty
invests its possessor, they would dress decorously from mere
self-love, if not from principle. The designing would assume modesty
as an artifice; the coquet would adopt it as an allurement; the pure
as her appropriate attraction; and the voluptuous as the most
infallible art of seduction.” I. 189.
If there is any truth in this passage, nudity becomes a virtue; and no decent woman, for the future, can be seen in garments.
We have a few more of Mrs. Moore’s opinions to notice.—It is not fair to attack the religion of the times, because, in large and indiscriminate parties, religion does not become the subject of conversation. Conversation must and ought to grow out of materials on which men can agree, not upon subjects which try the passions. But this good lady wants to see men chatting together upon the Pelagian heresy— to hear, in the afternoon, the theological rumours of the day—and to glean polemical tittle-tattle at a tea-table rout. All the disciples of this school uniformly fall into the same mistake. They are perpetually calling upon their votaries for religious thoughts and religious conversation in every thing; inviting them to ride, walk, row, wrestle, and dine out religiously;—forgetting that the being to whom this impossible purity is recommended, is a being compelled to scramble for his existence and support for ten hours out of the sixteen he is awake; —forgetting that he must dig, beg, read, think, move, pay, receive, praise, scold, command and obey;—forgetting, also, that if men conversed as often upon religious subjects as they do upon the ordinary occurrences of the world, that they would converse upon them with the same familiarity, and want of respect,—that religion would then produce feelings not more solemn or exalted than any other topics which constitute at present the common furniture of human understandings.
We are glad to find in this work, some strong compliments to the efficacy of works,—some distinct admissions that it is necessary to be honest and just, before we can be considered as religious. Such sort of concessions are very gratifying to us; but how will they be received by the children of the Tabernacle? It is quite clear, indeed, throughout the whole of the work, that an apologetical explanation of certain religious opinions is intended; and there is a considerable abatement of that tone of insolence with which the improved Christians are apt to treat the bungling specimens of piety to be met with in the more antient churches.