The Young Lady's Mentor eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 263 pages of information about The Young Lady's Mentor.
to be avoided.  A return to the practical part of the system is by no means to be recommended, for, with increasing intellectual advantages, it is not to be supposed that the perfection of the conjugal character is to consult a husband’s palate and submit to his ill-humour—­or of the maternal, to administer in due alternation the sponge and the rod.  All that is contended for is, that the fundamental principle is right—­“that women were to live for others;” and, therefore, all that we have to do is to carry out this fundamentally right principle into wider application.  It may easily be done, if the cultivation of intellectual powers be carried on with the same views and motives as were formerly the knowledge of domestic duties, for the benefit of immediate relations, and for the fulfilment of appointed duties.  If society at large be benefited by such cultivation, so much the better; but it ought to be no part of the training of women to consider, with any personal views, what effect they shall produce in or on society at large.  The greatest benefit which they can confer upon society is to be what they ought to be in all their domestic relations; that is, to be what they ought to be, in all the comprehensiveness of the term, as adapted to the present state of society.  Let no woman fancy that she can, by any exertion or services, compensate for the neglect of her own peculiar duties as such.  It is by no means my intention to assert that women should be passive and indifferent spectators of the great political questions which affect the well-being of community; neither can I repeat the old adage, that “women have nothing to do with politics.”  They have, and ought to have much to do with politics.  But in what way?  It has been maintained that their public participation in them would be fatal to the best interests of society.  How, then, are women to interfere in politics?  As moral agents; as representatives of the moral principle; as champions of the right in preference to the expedient; by their endeavours to instil into their relatives of the other sex the uncompromising sense of duty and self-devotion, which ought to be their ruling principles!  The immense influence which women possess will be most beneficial, if allowed to flow in its natural channels, viz. domestic ones,—­because it is of the utmost importance to the existence of influence, that purity of motive be unquestioned.  It is by no means affirmed that women’s political feelings are always guided by the abstract principles of right and wrong; but they are surely more likely to be so, if they themselves are restrained from the public expression of them.  Participation in scenes of popular emotion has a natural tendency to warp conscience and overcome charity.  Now, conscience and charity (or love) are the very essence of woman’s beneficial influence; therefore every thing tending to blunt the one and sour the other is sedulously to be avoided by her.  It is of the utmost importance to men
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The Young Lady's Mentor from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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