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the study and the practice of a well-regulated economyto think sometimes of saving as well as of spending-and, above all, to dress according to their means and situation. They will then attract the regards of prudent and reflecting young men, who seek the choicest gem of life in a gentle, modest, economical wife-they will bring and receive blessings in that state to which reason and nature have assigned the performance of woman's duties, and the enjoyment of her happiness-the country will be enriched by new citizens educated by such mothers-and the dandies, and corset travelled gentlemen may exhibit their thin waists and thick legs, at tea parties, in vain."
Great as the American people confessedly are-they are yet but imperfectly known to the rest of the world; and important as they are becoming in the scale of nations, it is desirable that their character and habits should be correctly understood. Hitherto, we have been misrepresented and traduced by foreigners, and we forgave them because they were ignorant. Their rapid strides across our extensive continent, must necessarily have left much unobserved by these travellers, on their right hand, and on their left. Facts must have been distorted, and customs mistaken. But when we undertake to exhibit ourselves, the reverse is most naturally to be feared. It is to be apprehended that, deceived by our partial prejudices, we might lead our readers astray, by a delineation more beautiful than true. Where, then, is the inevitable question-where did the above slanderous paragraph originate? Not, surely— although it bears the stamp of an American production,
and professes to be written "by one of the most eminent literary gentlemen in America"-not with a native who had been accustomed to the substantial services of an American sister! Not with him, whose home has been made a delightful retreat, or a cheerful asylum, by the activity and intelligence of an American wife! Nor with him, who has been taught to speak the words of truth and honour by an American mother! Far rather would we suspect it to have been borrowed from that very Quarterly Review, that "termagant critic," who "swept the kennels of Grub street," to libel this unoffending country: that hydra which haunts the brain of this hapless writer, and transforms the fairest features of nature.
It is not our intention to interfere between a person so utterly despicable as General Pillet, and the women of England—nor shall we quarrel with such of our own wits as think proper to dish up his disgusting calumny, for our entertainment, under pretence that it is "permanently useful and interesting." That admirable community of writers—we are almost tempted to call them-have established their title to the respect of the universe-we only wish for a quill from their pinions while we vindicate ourselves!
Young women then, in America, "of no fortune, who are above the necessity of labouring, are brought up with an utter ignorance and disregard to every species of domestic usefulness and economy," according to this merry essay. Indeed, so extremely facetious is the writer throughout, that we have read the passage which particularly excites our indignation again and again, to discover whether
it is not in the same ironical strain with the rest. We are compelled, however, by every legitimate rule of construction, to believe our accuser in earnest:—we therefore plead not guilty to the charge, and proceed to our defence.
Females in this country, in all circumstances above the very lowest, are early sent to school, where they are taught to sew, to read, and to write. If they are "above the necessity of labouring," they are kept at school until they are about fifteen, learning arithmetic, geography, grammar, and history. Do these studies tend to promote "domestic usefulness?" Our girls are taught by punishment for negligence, by praises for industry, and by premiums for distinguished attainments, to consider them as some of the means by which they are taught how to think, and act, in all the vicissitudes, and on every occasion of life.
But here is the error:-too soon after they leave their schools, their books are abandoned in order that they may not be in "ignorance of economy." They must sew for their brothers! they must assist their mothers in the care of the house. Not that they leave off reading altogether -for every body reads in America-but they now read in a desultory manner, and when they can steal a little time without order and without reflection. At an age when their maturing minds would receive the highest improvement by prosecuting the sciences they had begun at their schools, their time is too much occupied by things which, although they be of the very first importance in domestic life, require no great time or ability to learn. Another great error must be acknowledged as too general in the education of our girls. Without regard to taste, talents,
or circumstances, they must learn drawing, dancing, and music. These are agreeable accomplishments, and not to be denied, where the wealth of the parent, and the genius of the child, render such instruction reasonable. But is it rational and proper, that these ornaments should be indiscriminately thrown upon females? Are the most favoured ever compensated for the enormous expense of time and money that must be consumed to obtain but a moderate degree of skill, in music especially? What can excuse the parent, whose hard earnings are all necessary to the supply of the common conveniences of life, for wasting them on things so absolutely useless! We may be told of the pleasure of music, and the delight of a father, who retires from his daily labour to the song and the dance of his children; of the pride of his heart when the piano of his daughter charms an admiring circle! Let him sooth his wearied mind by the more profitable employment of reading with his young people-let him excite their emulation by exercising them in questions of grammar, of geography, of history, he will confer on them more substantial benefits, and find his reward in the solidity of their characters.
Objectionable, however, as we think these elegant ornaments in the measure and universality of their use in our day, they do not prevent our daughters from becoming gentle, modest, economical wives," when they are called to decide on the "Balance of Comfort." Their former habits have not induced an aversion to the "performance of woman's peculiar duties," the piano is now shut up, the dance is relinquished, and their "happiness" is found in
the practice of as many social and domestic virtues as can be found amongst any women on the face of the earth.
Were we writing only for those who are acquainted with the character and habits of American women, we would remind them of the common objection that is made to the musical education of young ladies, that it is entirely neglected when they become the mistresses of families-a very sufficient proof that their passion for this "extravagance" at least, does not stand in the way of their becoming the "choicest gem of life," according to this writer's notion of a gem. It is to those who know us not, that we are asserting our claims: and to a British reader it will not be much to our dishonour, that our accusation is found on the same pages that asperse their own excellent females. Such women as Miss More, and many others who have promoted the cause of religion and morality, by their writings, their influence, and their wealth, should have inspired us with something like a sentiment of sacred respect for the whole sisterhood of these islands. But the head must discern, and the heart must be impressed by the value of wisdom and virtue, before they can be respected!
Had the judicious critic under consideration asserted of us, as General Pillet has said of the English ladies, that we were destitute of grace, of taste, of style, "that we have two left hands," we might have submitted in silence -though perhaps we should have pouted a little. The practice of that very "usefulness and economy," the want of which he so patriotically laments, is an injury to the elegance of our ladies. They are compelled to work; and