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sions, which in some measure arise from the dis orders of society, they are more universally regarded upon account of their useful or agreeable talents.
When men begin to disuse their ancient barbarous practices, when their attention is not wholly engrossed by the pursuit of military reputation, when they have made some progress in arts, and have attained to a proportional degree of refinement, they are necessarily led to set a value upon those female accomplishments and virtues which have so much influence upon every species of improvement, and which contribute in so many different ways to multiply the comforts of life. In this situation, the women become, neither the slaves, nor the idols of the other sex, but the friends and companions. The wife obtains that rank and station which appears most agreeable to reason, being suited to her character and talents. Loaded by nature with the first and most immediate concern in rearing and maintaining the children, she is endowed with such dispositions as fit her for the discharge of this important duty, and is at the same time particularly qualified for all such employments as require skill and dexterity more than strength, which are so necessary in the interior management of the family. Possessed of peculiar delicacy, and sensibility, whether derived from original constitution, or from her way of life, she is capable of securing the esteem and
affection of her husband, by dividing his cares, by sharing his joys, and by soothing his misfortunes.
The regard, which is thus shown to the useful talents and accomplishments of the women, cannot fail to operate in directing their education, and in forming their manners. They learn to suit their behaviour to the circumstances in which they are placed, and to that particular standard of propriety and excellence which is set before them. Being respected upon account of their diligence and proficiency in the various branches of domestic economy, they naturally endeavour to improve and extend those valuable qualifications. They are taught to apply with assiduity to those occupations which fall under their province, and to look upon idleness as the greatest blemish in the female character. They are instructed betimes in whatever will qualify them for the duties of their station, and is thought conducive to the ornament of private life. Engaged in these solid pursuits, they are less apt to be distinguished by such brilliant accomplishments as make a figure in the circle of gaiety and amusement. Accustomed to live in retirement, and to keep company with their nearest relations and friends, they are inspired with all that modesty and diffidence which is natural to persons unacquainted with promiscuous conversation; and their affections are neither dissipated by pleasure, nor corrupted by the vicious customs of the world. As their attention is principally bestowed upon the
members of their own family, they are led, in a particular manner, to improve those feelings of the heart which are excited by these tender connections, and they are trained up in the practice of all the domestic virtues.
The celebrated character, drawn by Solomon, of the virtuous woman, is highly expressive of those ideas and sentiments, which are commonly entertained by a people advancing in commerce and in the arts of life.
"She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands,
"She is like the merchant ships, she bringeth "her food from afar.
"She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth "meat to her household, and a portion to her "maidens.
"She considereth a field and buyeth it: with "the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. "She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: "her candle goeth not out by night.
"She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her "hands hold the distaff.
" She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, "she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
"She is not afraid of the snow for her house"hold: for all her household are clothed with "scarlet.
"She maketh herself coverings of tapestry, her "clothing is silk and purple.
"Her husband is known in the gates, when he "sitteth among the elders of the land.
"She maketh fine linen, and selleth it, and de"livereth girdles unto the merchant.
"Strength and honour are her clothing, and "she shall rejoice in time to come.
"She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in "her tongue is the law of kindness.
"She looketh well to the ways of her household, "and eateth not the bread of idleness *."
In many of the Greek states, during their most flourishing periods, it appears that the women were viewed nearly in the same light, and that their education was chiefly calculated to improve their industry and talents, so as to render them useful members of society. Their attention seems to have been engrossed by the care of their own families, and by those smaller branches of manufacture which they were qualified to exercise. They were usually lodged in a remote apartment of the house, and were seldom visited by any person except their near relations. Their modesty and reserve, and their notions of a behaviour suited to the female character, were such as might be expected from their retired manner of life. They never appeared abroad without being covered with a veil, and were not allowed to be present at any public entertainment †. "As for you, women,"
* Proverbs, chap. xxxi. ver. 13, &c.
says Pericles, in one of the orations in Thucydides, "it ought to be the constant aim of your sex to "avoid being talked of by the public; and it is and it is your highest commendation that you should never be "the objects either of applause or censure *."
Lysias, in one of his orations, has introduced a widow, the mother of several children, who considers her appearing in public as one of the most desperate measures to which she could be driven by her misfortunes. She prays and entreats her son-in-law to call together her relations and friends, that she might inform them of her situation. "I have," says she, "never before been ac"customed to speak in the presence of men; but "I am compelled by my sufferings to complain of "the injuries I have met with t."
In another oration, composed by the same author, a citizen, accused of murdering his wife's gallant, gives the following simple narrative of his domestic economy.
"When I first entered into the married state, "Athenians! I endeavoured to observe a medium "between the harsh severity of some husbands, "and the easy fondness of others. My wife,
though treated with kindness, was watched with "attention. As a husband, I rendered her situa"tion agreeable; but as a woman, she was left
* Thucydides, lib. 2.
Lys. Orat. cont. Diagit.