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EDUCATION OF DAUGHTERS.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FEMALE EDUCATION.
FEMALE education is generally very much neglected; the whole management of it is often left to the direction of custom and maternal caprice. It is even a prevalent opinion, that little instruction is requisite for the female sex. The education of boys, is esteemed an affair of the highest importance, in relation to the community; and, although this is scarcely less defective than that of girls, there is at least a persuasion that great care is necessary to ensure its success. The most eminent men have been assiduous in
giving information and devising plans to accomplish this object. Instructors and colleges are numerous. Great expenses are incurred for books, for scientific researches, for methods of learning the languages, and for the choice of professors. It is true, that this grand array of means has often more of show than of real value; still, it indicates that the education of boys is viewed of great importance. With respect to girls, it is said, "it is not necessary that they should become learned; curiosity renders them vain and affected; it is sufficient, that they should know how to manage household affairs, when the occasion is presented, and to obey their husbands without arguing." This position is strengthened by reference to numerous instances of women whom science has rendered ridiculous. Hence it is inferred that girls may be implicitly confided to the direction of ignorant and indiscreet mothers.
It is true that the idea of making them conceited pedants, should be viewed with apprehension. Women have usually minds
more feeble, as well as more inquisitive, than men; it would, therefore, be injudicious to occupy their attention with studies in which they might become too much absorbed; they are not destined either to govern the State, or to carry on war, or to minister in sacred things; they may therefore dispense with accurate investigation of subjects connected with politics, with the military art, jurisprudence, philosophy, and theology. Nearly all the mechanic arts are likewise unsuitable to them; they are formed for moderate exercises. Their corporeal, as well as their mental powars, are less vigorous and patient of fatigue, than those of the other sex. On the other hand, nature has assigned to them, industry, neatness, and economy, to engage them in the tranquil occupations of their appropriate | sphere.
But what follows from their natural weakness? Only a stronger obligation to strengthen and support them. Have they not duties to perform,--duties which lie at the very foundation of all human society? Does it not
depend on them, whether families shall be established or ruined? Are they not called to regulate the detail of domestic affairs, and, consequently, to decide on that which most. deeply concerns the whole community? In this way they exercise a predominant influence, either good or evil, in forming the morals of society. A discreet, diligent, and religious woman, is the presiding genius of a great family; she establishes in it the order essential to temporal prosperity, and spiritual advancement. It is even true, that men, who have all the authority in public affairs, cannot, by their deliberations, effect any real good, without the aid of female influence to carry their designs into execution.
Society is not a mere mental abstraction; it is the aggregate of all the families composing it; and who can manage the domestic policy of a family with more accurate attention than women, who, beside their natural authority and their assiduity at home, have also the advantage of being naturally disposed to be careful, attentive to detail, industrious,
engaging, and persuasive? And can men expect to enjoy any delight in life, if their most intimate connection, that of marriage, prove a source of unhappiness? What will be the fate of children, who are soon to constitute, in their turn, the whole community, if from their earliest years, they are made the victims of maternal indulgence?
Such then are the appropriate duties of woman; duties scarcely less necessary to the public welfare, than those of men, since it devolves on her to regulate domestic concerns, to promote the happiness of her husband, and to bestow a good education on her children. Consider also that virtue per
tains not less to women than to men; and if we cease to contemplate them as influencing society, they are still half of that human family, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and destined to an immortal life.
In fine, we should consider, beside the good which they accomplish, when well instructed, the evil which they cause in the world, when destitute of a virtuous education.