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.
the consequences of many errors.  It is the want of unselfishness and truth on the part of rulers, and the consequent want of faith in the ruled, that has reduced the politics of nations to a complicated science.  If we could once get men to act out the gospel precept, “Do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you,” nations might burn their codes, and lawyers their statute-books.  These are the hundred cords with which the Lilliputians bound Gulliver, and he escaped.  If they had possessed it, or could have managed it, one cable would have been worth them all.  Much has been said,—­much written,—­on the art of governing.  Why has the simple truth been overlooked or suppressed, that the moral character of the rulers of nations is of first-rate importance?  Except the Lord build the city, vain is the labour of them who build it; except religion and virtue guide the state, vain are the talents and the acts of legislators.  Is it possible that motives of paltry personal advancement, or of pecuniary gain, can induce men to assume responsibilities affecting the welfare of millions?  The voice of those millions replies in the affirmative, and their reproachful glances turn on you, mothers of our legislators!  It might have been yours, to stamp on their infant minds the dispassionate and unselfish devotedness which belongs to your own sex,—­the scorn of meanness; the contempt of self, in comparison with others, peculiar to woman.  How have you fulfilled your lofty mission?  Charity itself can only allow us to suppose that its existence is as unknown as its spirit.

The important fact, then, of the great influence of personal character, can never be too much impressed upon all; but it is peculiarly needful that women be impressed with it, because their personal character must necessarily influence that of their children, and be the source of their personal character.  For, if the active performance of the duties of a citizen interfere, and it undoubtedly does so, with the duty of self-education, of what importance is it that men enter upon them with such a personal character as may insure us confidence while it secures us from temptation?  The formation of such a character depends mainly on mothers, and especially on their personal character and principles.  The character of the mother influences the children more than that of the father, because it is more exposed to their daily, hourly observation.  It is difficult for these young, though acute observers, to comprehend the principles which regulate their father’s political opinions; his vote in the senate; his conduct in political or commercial relations; but they can see,—­yes! and they can estimate and imitate, the moral principles of the mother in her management of themselves, her treatment of her domestics, and the thousand petty details of the interior.  These principles, whether lax or strict, low or high in moral tone, become, by an insensible and imperceptible adoption,

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The Young Lady's Mentor from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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