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the instances are rare, in which their tasks are not performed with cheerfulness. The mediocrity of our fortunes, and the vices of our servants in this part of the union, oblige us to be actively employed in the work of the family. Even in the slave states, to the south, the women of America are proud of their housekeeping. The multitude of their domestic servants exempts them from the necessity of doing the same kinds of business with their own hands, which is imposed on us in this part of the union; but this multitude of dependents enlarges the circle of their cares, and changes, in some measure, their occupations. The providing of food and clothing for hundreds of servants is a weighty employment for the mistress of a house, who often cuts out and makes a great many garments herself. Besides this, she superintends, perhaps, the whole manufacture-spinning, weaving, sewing, and knitting, under her own roof. Let our calumniator himself acknowledge how often he has seen a woman the stay and the ornament of her family. How often has he beheld the wife whose fairy visions of perpetual love and elevated friendship have fled before the blighting influence of tyranny and ignorance; whose early prospects have been swept away by the vices or the indolence of her husband-instead of sinking under one of the severest trials that can assail the female heart:-exerting herself singly-and even when counteracted at every step-in the moral and intellectual education of her children? And when at last widowed, or deserted, perhaps, how often has she entered into active business; provided, by her judicious management, for all
their wants, and accomplished her sons and her daughters to bless herself and others!
We are not contending in the spirit of Quixotism with wind-mills;—we are not disproving a position that has not been virtually advanced, whilst we assert that American women are notable housekeepers, methodical, neat, econo mical, and industrious. Such fruits are not reared in the wild soil of luxuriant youth, without the cultivating hand of a watchful mother. If "our young women" were, indeed, "brought up with an utter ignorance and disregard to every species of domestic usefulness and economy," by what species of magic are they transformed into the best of wives-the best of mothers? Our girls are generally brought up at home, or if from the want of a suitable school, they are sent abroad for instruction, they spend but a few of their earlier years at a distance from their parents, and are seldom without the salutary influence of excellent examples.
But although our generous countryman is so very moderate in his demands for furnishing out this choicest gem of life, our young ladies endeavour to acquire something more than the every-day qualifications of gentleness, modesty, and economy. They aspire to the honour of being companions to their future lords. They do not, indeed, affect to be philosophers:-they cannot explain, for instance, why "ships might be rendered more buoyant in the water, by making them air-tight, and forcing in air by means of an air-pump;" because, to their unsophisticated
*See Analectic Magazine for August, 1818, p. 162.
understandings, it appears that if any weight be thrown in vessels, its tendency is not to "elevate them to a higher level in the water," but to sink them deeper. In these cases they are content to take common sense as their guide, and she (i. e. common sense) teaches them to laugh at such absurdities.
Our ladies, young, and-not young, listen to lectures on the phenomena of nature-on mineralogy, botany, and chemistry. This species of knowledge may be dispensed with by our homely adviser, yet if professor Cooper should instruct us in the saving arts of making better bread, a cheaper pudding, more palatable beer, and so forth, than our mothers have been able to do, he will, peradventure, allow us to leave our needles now and then for the lecture room; and even be disposed to admit our pretensions to thinking "sometimes of saving as well as of spending."
When this very extraordinary paragraph first met our eye, we felt very much inclined to pass it over as we have since seen others do-with a smile at its absurdity. We have, however, amused ourselves, and we hope prevented some others from believing, that American women are good for nothing as helps-meet for man. Here we should be glad to dismiss the article, but it would seem almost a dereliction of duty, not to notice another characteristic which we do not resist as a slander of our countrywomen, but deprecate as an insidious sneer at religion. We never see such things from an American pen without feelings of shame and indignation, particularly when they appear in works of such high pretensions as this journal. Our butterflies, it seems, after "flaring away the summer of life,"
"retire to board in some cheap country village, and become exceedingly pious, and withal a little scandalous." If this assertion did not altogether originate in the welcome opportunity of uttering some pleasantry offensive to piety;— or if the brain of this writer be really a little deranged by the freaks of some hypocritical old maid, we will afford him some pity;-but we must tell the sober part of the community, that American women, not only in the autumn, but in the spring, and the summer of their days, are distinguished in works of genuine piety. The sun scarcely shines on a portion of the new hemisphere that is not also morally enlightened by their Christian beneficence.
Female virtue has ever been the curb of vice and the polisher of virtue; but the nineteenth century beholds it, emphatically," clothed with strength and honour."* To talk of the substantial benefits conferred on the poor and the ignorant by innumerable female societies of every age and condition, would be utterly superfluous. But the patience, the modesty, and the good sense displayed by girls, in teaching both young persons and adults to read:-by girls scarcely more than children themselves-in a labour which brings nothing in return but the consciousness of doing good-certainly these qualities deserve the highest commendation, and ought to rescue their sex from misrepresentation. Is it not wonderful, that amongst thousands of young women, associated in every section of our country, we hear of no dissension-no envyings-no struggles for precedence-nothing but harmony and meekness, “ ren
* Proverbs, 31.
dering honour to whom honour is due?" Do girls who are suffered to "flare away the summer of life" in idleness and extravagance act thus? No sir; our daughters are worthy, to use the language of this writer, of "the regards of prudent and reflecting young men-" the hearts of their husbands may safely trust in them"-" for their works do praise them in the gates."