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WOMEN OF ENGLAND:
SOCIAL DUTIES, AND DOMESTIC HABITS.
BY MRS. ELLIS,
AUTHOR OF "THE POETRY OF LIFE," "PICTURES OF PRIVATE LIFE," ETC. ETC
At a time when the pressure of stir It is from a high estimate of the imring events, and the urgency of public portance of this class in upholding the and private interests, render it increas- moral worth of our country, that I have ingly desirable that every variety of la- addressed my remarks especially to them; bor should be attended with an immediate and in order to do so with more effect, I and adequate return; I feel that some have ventured to penetrate into the familapology is necessary for the presumption iar scenes of domestic life, and have thus of inviting the attention of the public to endeavored to lay bare some of the causes a work, in which I have been compelled which frequently lie hidden at the root of to enter into the apparently insignificant general conduct. detail of familiar and ordinary life.
Had I not known before the commenceThe often-repeated truth—that “ trifles ment of this work, its progress
would soon make the sum of human things," must have convinced me, that in order to perplead my excuse ; as well as the fact, form my task with candor and faithfulthat while our libraries are stored with ness, I must renounce all idea of what is books of excellent advice on general con called fine writing; because the very naduct, we have no single work containing ture of the duty I have undertaken, rethe particular minutiæ of practical duty, stricts me to the consideration of subjects, to which I have felt myself called upon too minute in themselves, to admit of their to invite the consideration of the young being expatiated upon with eloquence by women of the present day. We have the writer—too familiar to produce upon many valuable dissertations upon female the reader any startling effect. Had I character, as exhibited on the broad scale even felt within myself a capability for of virtue ; but no direct definition of those treating any subject in this manner, I minor parts of domestic and social inter- should have been willing in this instance course, which strengthen into habit, and to resign all opportunity of such display, consequently form the basis of moral | if, by so doing, I could more clearly point character.
out to my countrywomen, by what means It is worthy of remark, also, that these they may best meet that pressing exigent writers have addressed their observations cy of the times, which so urgently de. almost exclusively to ladies, or occasion. mands a fresh exercise of moral power ally to those who hold a subordinate situ on their part, to win back to the homes of ation under the influence of ladies; while England the boasted felicity for which that estimable class of females who might they once were famed. be more specifically denominated women, Anxious as I am to avoid the charge of and who yet enjoy the privilege of liberal unnecessary trifling on a subject so seri. education, with exemption from the pe. ous as the moral worth of the women of cuniary necessities of labor, are almost England, there is beyond this a considerwholly overlooked.
ation of far higher importance, to which
I would invite the candid attention of the mariners, who, while they wait for their serious part of the public, while I offer, bark to be safely guided out to sea, allow what appears to me a sufficient apology, their sails to swing idly in the wind, their for having written a book on the subject cordage to become entangled, and the of morals, without having made it strictly general outfit of their vessel to suffer in. religious. I should be sorry indeed, if, jury and decay; so that when the pilot by so doing, I brought upon myself the comes on board they lose much of the suspicion of yielding for one moment to advantage of his services, and fail to dethe belief that there is any other rive the anticipated benefit from his presfoundation for good morals, than correct religious principle; but I do believe, that, All that I would venture to recommend with the Divine blessing, a foundation with regard to morals, is, that the order may be laid in early life, before the heart and right government of the vessel should, has been illuminated by Divine truth, or as far as is possible, be maintained, so has experienced its renovating power, for that when the hope of better and surer those domestic habits, and relative duties, guidance is realized, and the heavenly which in after life will materially assist Pilot in his own good time arrives, all the development of the Christian charac. things may be ready--nothing out of or. ter. And I am the more convinced of der, and nothing wanting, for a safe and this, because we sometimes see, in sincere prosperous voyage. and devoted Christians, such peculiarities It is therefore solely to the cultivation of conduct as materially hinder their of habits that I have confined my attenusefulness-such early-formed habits, as tion—to the minor morals of domestic life. they themselves would be glad to escape And I have done this, because there are from, but which continue to cling around so many abler pens than mine employed them in their earthly course, like the in teaching and enforcing the essential clustering of weeds in the traveller's truths of religion ; because there is an path.
evident tendency in society, as it exists in It may perhaps more fully illustrate the present day, to overlook these minor my view of this important subject to say, points; and because it is impossible for that those who would train up young peo. them to be neglected, without serious inple without the cultivation of moral hab. jury to the Christian character. its, trusting solely to the future influence
Sarah STICKNEY Ellis. of religion upon their hearts, are like
PENTONVILLE, Nov. 1838.