Category Archives: Women

Item of the Day: Description of The Asylum, or House of Refuge, Surry [1808-1810]

Found In: Microcosm of London. Vol. I. London: R. Ackermann, [1808-1810].

THE ASYLUM, OR HOUSE OF REFUGE,

Is in the parish of Lambeth, in Surry, and was instituted in the year 1758, for the reception of friendless and deserted girls, the settlemnt of whose parents cannot be found. It was incorporated in 1800.

The annexed print is an interesting representation of the objects of this benevolent institution at their repast, in the presence of some of their guardians, who seem to contemplate the good order, cheerfulness, innocence, and comforts of their little wards, with all that interest and delight, that luxury of fine feeling, which irradiates the countenance when the heart is glowing with benevolence, animated with the exercise of an important duty, and gratified by the conviction that their virtuous endeavours are crowned with success. The coup d’oeil of the print is most impressive, and does great honour to the talents and feelings of the artists. The sweet innocence of the children, the benevolence of the guardians, and the chaste and matron-like simplicity of the building, aided by a fine breadth of effect, form a whole, which at the same time that the parts are in perfect harmony with each other, is admirably calculated to awaken the tender emotions of the human heart, and excite the spectator to the exertion of those tender and kindly feelings, which do honour to our nature.

This charity owes its establishment to that vigilant and active magistrate, Sir John Fielding; who had long observed, that though the laws of this kingdom provided a parish settlement for every person, by birth, parentage, apprenticeships, &c. yet many cases continually occurred, in which such settlements were difficult, if not impossible, to be ascertained; and therefore he and others were solicitous to remove, in part, this source of female wretchedness. By their exertions, and the continued endeavours of those who have hitherto conducted the plan, their benevolent intentions have been rewarded with the most signal success. The generous and discerning public has bestowed the means, which have prospered in the hands of the guardians, by whose care two hundred deserted femals are daily sheltered and protected from vice and want, supplied with food and raiment, and taught whatever can render them useful in their situation, or comfortable and happy in themselves.

Carefully instructed in the principles of religion; in reading, writing, needlework, and household business, they are trained to habits of industy and regularity, by which means there is a supply of diligent and sober domestics for the use of that public, which, by its contributions, has so nobly acquired a right to their services.

The particular objects of this charity are, the children of soldiers, sailors, and other indigent persons, bereft of their parents, at a distance from any of their relations; who being too young to afford the necessary information respecting settlements, are often left destitute of protection and support, at an age when they are incapable of earning a subsistence, and contending with surrounding dangers.

Females of this description are, in a particular manner, the objects of compassion, and have also a double claim to the care of the humane and virtuous, from being not only exposed to the miseries of want and idleness, but, as they grow up, to the solicitations of the vicious, and the consequent misery of early seduction.

The following are some of the regulations for the government of this charity, which have been made by the guardians from time to time, and now continue in force.

 

Qualifications of Guardians.

The qualification of an annual guardian is, a yearly subscription of three guineas or upwards.

The qualification of a perpetual guardian is, a subscription of thirty guineas or upwards.

Legacies bequeathed to the use of this charity of one hundred pounds or upwards, when paid, shall entitle the first-named acting executor to to be a perpetual guardian.

The guardians, conceiving it to be very essential for promoting one of the chief objects of this institution, earnestly solicit the ladies, who are particularly qualified for that purpose, frequently to visit the charity, inspect the management of the house, and particularly the employment of the children; also to see that they are properly instructed in housewifery, so as to be qualified for useful domestic servants; and from time to time communicate to the committee, by letter or otherwise, such observations as they shall deem proper to make.

 

Employment of Children.

The children are to make and mend their own linen; make shirts, shifts, and table-linen; to do all kinds of plain needle-work, and to perform the business of the house and kitchen; to which latter twelve are appointed weekly, according to their age and abilities, to assist the cook, to wash, iron, and get up all the linen. They are likewise taught to read the Bible, write a legible hand, and understand the first four rules in arithmetic.

All kinds of plain needle-work are taken in at the Assylum, and performed by the children at certain rates, which are regulated by the committee.

 

The following ar the Rules for placing out the Children.

They are to be bound apprentices for seven years, at the age of fifteen, or sooner, as domestic servants to reputable families in Great Britain.

No girl shall be apprenticed until the character of the master or mistress applying for the same, shall have been enquired into, and approved of by the committee.

Every person applying for an apprentice must appear at the committee, to give the necessary information respecting their station, unless such appearance be dispensed with by the committee.

When any girl shall become qualified to be an apprentice, the guardian who presented her shall be acquainted therewith, in order to know if such guardian has any place in view for her.

The guardians, desirous of encouraging the children to serve their apprenticeship faithfully, have empowered the committee to grant any orpahn apprenticed from the charity, who shall produce to the committee a certificate, signed by her master or mistress (or both if living), of her good behaviour during her apprenticeship, the sum of five guineas, such orphan having first returned public thanks in the chapel for the protection she has received.

The committee are empowered to put out at any time, to any trade they shall think proper, such orphans as may have contracted any disease or infirmity, which may render them incapable of domestic service, with a premium not exceeding ten pounds. . . .

 

 

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Filed under 1800's, Culture, Eighteenth century, England, London, Poor, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Reform, Women

Item of the Day: Miss Hannah More (1799)

Excerpted from: Public Characters of 1798-9. A New Edition. Enlarged and Corrected to the 25th of March, 1799. To be continued annually. London: Printed for R. Phillips, No. 71, St. Paul’s Church-Yard; and sold by T. Hurst and J. Wallis, Paternoster-Row; Carpenter and Co. Old Bond-Street; R. H. Westley, Strand; and by all booksellers, 1799. [pp. 476-485]

THE contoversy respecting the intellectual talents of women, as compared with those of men, is nearly brought to an issue, and greatly to the credit of the fair sex. The present age has produced a most brilliant constellation of female worthies, who have not only displayed eminent powers in works of fancy, but have greatly distinguished themselves in the higher branches of composition. Our own country has the honour of enrolling among its literary ornaments many females, to whom the interests of poetry, morality, and the sciences, are greatly indebted. Among celebrated living ladies may, with justice, be mentioned the names of Barbauld, Robinson, Cowley, Smith, Radcliffe, Farren, Piozzi, Seward, Lee, Hays, Inchbald, Cappe, Plumptree, Trimmer, Yearsley, Williams D’Arblay, Bennet, Linwood, Cosway, Kauffman, and Siddons.

The female who is the subject of the present notice is well known to the literary world, by several elegant, ingenious and useful publication. A few particulars respecting her, therefore, will not only be amusing to those who have read her works, but will also be instructive to young persons in the way of example.

Miss Hannah More is the youngest of four maiden sisters, the daughters of a clergyman, distinguished for his classical knowledge, and goodness of heart.

Hannah, who, at an early period of life, discovered a taste for literature, improved her mind during her leisure hours by reading; and soon perused not only the little paternal library, but all the books she could borrow from her friends, in the village of Hanham, near Bristol. The first which fell in her way was the Pamela of Richardson, the humble source of an innumerable offspring; and happy it would have been for the interests of virtue and literature, had the progeny been but as innocent as the parent.

The modesty and attainments of Hannah More, were spoken of with general respect in her native place, and at length acquired her the patronage of many respectable persons. In the mean time her sisters, who being also clever and amiable women, had conducted a little school with great success, were now enabled, in consequence of an encreasing [sic] reputation, to undertake the education of young persons above the situation of those to whose improvement their attention had hitherto been directed. So great, at length, was their celebrity, that several ladies of fortune and discernments prevailed upon them to remove to Bristol, about the year 1765, where they opened a boarding-school in Park-Street. This seminary, in a short time, became the most respectable of its kind in the West of England; and many females of rank received their education there.

Among others, who had the advantage of profiting by the instruction of the Miss Mores’, was the celebrated Mrs. Robinson, well known for her various elegant publications in prose and verse.

Miss H. More, who had removed with the family, had the good fortune of having for a next-door neighbour the Reverend Dr. Stonehouse; who perceiving her merits, distinguished her by his friendship, which he manifested by his instructions and recommendations. Both of these were of the most essential service to her in the cultivation of her literary taste. The doctor was a man of extensive acquaintance, general knowledge, and elegant manners. He condescended not only to examine the occasional effusions of her pen, but also to correct them, and through his hands all her early efforts passed to the press. The first of these was entitled “The Search after Happiness, a Peom,.” which was printed at Bristol under the doctor’s eye; and on its publication in London was so favourably received, as to encourage the author to further exertions of her powers. She next published “Sir Eldred of the Bower, and the Bleeding Rock; a legendary Tale;” which style of writing was become fashionable, through the success of Dr. Goldsmith’s sweet story of Edwin and Angelina.

Miss More now turned her attention to dramatic poetry, and produced a tragedy entitled FATAL FALSEHOOD; which was tolerably well received; but not so much as her PERCY, a tragedy, which met with universal applause. She also wrote another tragedy, called the INFLEXIBLE CAPTIVE; which fell short of the merit of her other dramatic pieces. The success she met with in this way was owing, in a great measure, to the immediate and commanding patronage of Garrick, who entered warmly into her interests through the recommendation of Dr. Stonehouse, with whom he was very intimate.

. . . Miss More has the credit of having drawn Mrs. Yearsley, the celebrated poetical milk-woman, from her obscurity into public notice and favour. When she had discovered this remarkable phenomenon, she immediately began to exert her benevolence, and by her unwearied assiduity procured a liberal subscription to the poems of this child of nature. She also drew up an interesting account of the milk-woman in a letter to Mrs. Montague; which letter, in order to enlarge the subscription, was published in the newspapers and magazines of the day. By the attentions of Miss More, a sum was raised sufficient to place the object of them in a situation more suitable to her genius. But we are sorry to be obliged to add, that a disagreement almost immediately followed the publication of the poems in question, between the author and her patroness; which is said to have been occasioned by the latter’s taking the management of the subscription-money into the hands of herself and some select friends. The motive with which this was done, adds greatly to the credit of Miss More and her friends, as it was no other than a desire to provide permanently for Mrs. Yearsley and her young family. She, however, had a different opinion, and thought it was unjust in them to withhold from her the management of her own property. She went further, and endeavoured to represent her best friend as actuated by unworthy sentiments, the least of which was, that of envy. Some attacks were, in consequence, made upon Miss More in different publications; but, conscious of the purity of her own views, she passed over those invidious attempts to prejudice the public mind against her silence. . . .

N.S.

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Filed under 1790's, Biography, Culture, Eighteenth century, Great Britain, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Women

Item of the Day: The Works of John Fothergill (1784)

Full Title: The Works of John Fothergill, M.D.  . . . with some Account of his Life by John Coakley Lettsom. London: Printed for Charles Dilly, in the Puultry, M.DCC.LXXXIV. [1784] 

 

OF THE MANAGEMENT PROPER

AT THE

CESSATION OF THE MENSES

 

To the Medical Society in London.

Gentlemen,

THERE is a period in the life of Females to which, for the most part, they are taught to look with some degree of anxiety; as a period on which depends their enjoying a good or bad state of health during the residue of their lives.

The various and absurd opinions relative to the ceasing of the mentrual discharge, and its consequences, propagated through successive ages, have tended to embitter the hours of many a sensible women. Nor have these mistaken notions been confined to them only; they have occupied the minds of such who ought to have been better informed: some practitioners, in other respects able and judicious, if they have not favoured these erroneous and terrifying notions, seem not to have endeavoured to correct them, with the diligence and humanity which an object like this requires.

The design of this essay is to contribute my mite towards so necessary a purpose; to assist in removing these groundless apprehensions, and to substitute a reasonable confidence, that, with very little aid, Nature is sufficient to provide for her own security on this occasion.

You must forget for a moment that I am submitting these remarks to the judgment of a Society, every member of which, perhaps, is as capable of this work, and some much better than myself. I am writing to many sensible young men in the profession of physic, who, though they may have applied themselves to the general study and practice of our profession with diligence and success, may not yet, perhaps, know where to look for such information on this subject as may be sufficient to satisfy themselves and their patients, what managment is proper when the Menses are about to cease.

To propose a regimen that shall suit all the different cases that may occur, would require a volume. To give some general direction is all I intend, without entering into a minute description of the commencement, progress, and termination of the Menses. I must suppose every thing of this kind is already known, and that the single question is, What conduct, what management is necessary to be observed, when the Menses are about to cease, by the patient who consults her physician on the occasion? We are now sensible that the menstrual discharge is not, what it was too long and too generally believed be by many of the sex, an evacuation of peccant matter and morbid humour, sometimes acrimonious and malignant, whose retention, from its noxious qualities, never fails to be extremely injurious to the constitution. What opinion the ancients entertained concerning it, I need not repeat to you: that its malignancy was such as to affect even inanimate bodies. But these fables are wholly disbelieved, except by some of those who ought to be undeceived in a matter that so much concerns them.

It is now well known, and the sex cannot be too generally apprized of it, that the menstrual discharge possesses no such injurious or malignant properties; that it is solely a redundancy of that pure vital blood, which animates the whole frame of a healthy person; and that its retention is by no means attended, in general, with effects that are not as easily removed as any disorder to which they are subject.

That some acrimonious morbid humours may be discharged together with the Menses, when any such exist, is not improbable. So it happens likewise to men subject to piles, or other preternatural excretions.

Women who have unhappily imbibed that prejedice, are naturally alarmed at the consequences they apprehend must ensue from such a change in their constitution; and the more strongly they are preposessed with a belief, that by this channel has been regularly discharged whatever had a tendency to produce diseases, the more they are terrified with apprehensions of some of the worst complaints: and, indeed, it is not seldom that, by such anxiety, they bring on disorders that are not easily removed, attributing them to the cause we are speaking of, whilst they principally originate from anxiety.

 For the most part, the menstrual discharge, as has been mentioned, proceeds from a redundancy of good and healthy blood; this redundancy is formed for the most necessary purposes; continues whilst this necessity subsists; and ceases when, according to the constitution of the female frame, it is no longer required.

The powers communicated to the human system, generally expressed by the term Nature, are such as spontaneously bring about this cessation. The provision for the Mesnes ceases, and extra quantity of blood is not generated, and the vessels provided for its regular discharge by degrees collapse; and in general all this proceeds without any the least interruption to the health of the subject in which this alteration happens. Here it might not be improper to mention at what time this alteration first begins, and the general period of its cessation. These circumstances, however, may be found elsewhere so amply treated of, as to render it as unnecessary as it is foreign to my present design.

There are great numbers of women in whom the menstrual discharge ceases, without their perceiving any alteration in their usual health. There are some who, from being invalids during a part of the season which is appropriated to menstruation, find themselves by degrees recovering health and vigour, to which they have been strangers during that period, when this discharge leaves them entirely. Very tender, delicate, relaxed habits, subject to copious discharges, are often much benefited by the cessation. All, however, are not so fortunate. Some alterations frequently supervene, that render assistance necessary. . . .

 

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Filed under 1780's, Health, Medicine, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Women

Item of the Day: Notes on a Journey through France (1815)

Full Title: Notes on a Journey through France, from Deippe through Paris and Lyons, to the Pyrennees, and Back through Toulouse, in July, August and September, 1814, Describing the Habits of the People, and the Agriculture of the Country. By Morris Birkbeck. Second Edition, with an appendix. London: Printed and sold by William Phillips, George Yard Lombard Street; sold also by J. & A. Arch, Cornhill, and by J. Harding, 36, St. James’s Street, 1815.

Aug. 14 (St. Urban).  —In every part of France women employ themselves in offices which are deemed with us unsuitable to the sex. Here there is no sexual distinction of employment: the women undertake any task they are able to perform, without much notion of fitness or unfitness. This applies to all classes. The lady of one of the principal clothiers at Louviers, conducted us over the works; gave us patterns of the best cloths; ordered the machinery to be set in motion for our gratification, and was evidently in the habit of attending to the whole detail of the business. Just so, near Rouen, the wife of the largest farmer in that quarter, conducted me to the barns and stables; shewed me the various implements, and explained their use: took me into the fields, and described the mode of husbandry, which she perfectly understood; expatiated on the excellence of their fallows; pointed out the best sheep in the flock, and gave me a detail of management in buying their wether lambs and fattening their wethers. This was on a farm of about 400 acres. In every shop and warehouse you see similar activity in the females. At the royal porcelain manufactory at Sevres, a woman was called to receive payment for the articles we purchased. In the Halle de Bled, at Paris, women, in their little counting-houses, are performing the office of factors, in the sale of grain and flour. In every department they occupy an important station, from one extremity of the country to the other.

In many cases, where women are employed in the more laborious occupations, the real cause is directly opposite to the apparent. You see them in the south, threshing, with the men, under a burning sun; –it is a family party threshing out the crop of theeir own freehold: a woman is holding plough; –the plough, the horse, the land is her’s; or, (as we have it) her husband’s; who is probably sowing the wheat which she is turning in. You are shocked on seeing a fine  young woman loading a dung cart; –it belongs to her father, who is manuring his own field, for their common support. In these instances the toil of the woman denotes wealth rather than want; though the latter is the motive to which a superficial observer would refer it.

Who can estimate the importance, in a moral and political view, of this state of things? Where the women, in the complete exercise of their mental and bodily faculties, are performing their full share of the duties of life. It is the natural, healthy condition of Society. Its influence on the female character in France is a proof of it. There is freedom of action, and reliance on their own powers, in the French women, generally, which, occasionally, we observe with admiration in women, of superior talents in England. . . .

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Filed under 1810's, Culture, France, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Travel Literature, Women

Item of the Day: The Young Woman’s Companion: or, Frugal Housewife (1811)

Full Title:  The Young Woman’s Companion: or, Frugal Housewife. Containing the most approved methods of pickling, preserving, potting, collaring, confectionary, managing and colouring foreign wines and spirits, making English wines, compounds, &c. &c. Also the art of cookery, containing directions for dressing all kinds of butchers’ meat, poultry, game, fish, &c. &c. &c. with the complete art of carving, illustrated and made plain by engravings. Likewise instructions for marketing. With the theory of brewing a malt liquor. To which are added, directions for letter writing, drawing, painting, &c. and several valuable miscellaneous pieces. Written by “A Very Distinguished Lady.” Contains several recipes and notes pinned into the margins by the owners. Printed by Russell and Allen in Manchester, 1811.

RULES FOR READING,

And particularly of the Emphasis belonging to some special Word or Words, in a Sentence.

 In order to read well, observe the following directions:  1.  Take pains to acquire a perfect knowledge of the sounds of the letters in general.  2.  Do not guess at a word at first sight, if you are not well acquainted with it, lest you get a habit of reading falsely.  3.  Pronounce every word clear and distinctly.  4.  Let the tone of your voice in reading be the same as in speaking.  5.  Do not read in a hurry, for fear of learning to stammer.  6.  Read so loud as to be heard by those about you, but not louder.  7.  Observe your pauses well, and never make any, where the sense will admit of none.  8.  Humour your voice a little according to the subject.  9.  Attend to those who read well, and endeavour to imitate their pronunciation.  10.  Read often before good judges, and be thankful when they correct you.  11.  Consider well the place of the emphasis in a sentence, and pronounce it accordingly.   By emphasis we mean the stress or force of voice that is laid on some particular word or words in a sentence, whereby the meaning and beauty of the whole may best appear; this, with respect to sentences, is the same as accent, with regard to syllables.

 The emphasis is generally placed upon the accented syllable of a word; but if there be a particular opposition between two words in a sentence, whereby one differs from the other but in part, the accent is sometimes removed from its common place, as in the following instance:  The sun shines upon the just and upon the unjust.  Here the stress of the voice is laid upon the first syllable in unjust, because it is opposed to just in the same sentence but without such an opposition, the accent would lie on its usual place, that is on the last syllable; as We must not imitate the unjust practices of others.

The great and general rule how to know the emphatical word in a sentence, is, to consider the chief design of the whole; but particular directions cannot be easily given, except that when words are evidently opposed to one another in a sentence, they are emphatical, and so is oftentimes the word which asks a question, as, Who what, when &c. but not always; for the emphasis must be varied according to the principal meaning of the speaker.

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Filed under 1810's, Culture, Early Republic, Posted by Rebecca Dresser, Women

Item of the Day: Mrs. Carter’s Epictetus (1768)

Full Title:

All the Works of Epictetus, Which are now Extant; Consisting of His Discourses, preserved by Arrian, in Four Books, The Enchiridion, and Fragments. Translated from the Original Greek, By Elizabeth Carter. With An Introduction, and Notes, by the Translator. In Two Volumes. The Third Edition. Printed in London for J. and F. Rivington, 1768.

From the Introduction:

1. The Stoic Sect was founded by Zeno, about three hundred Years before the Christian Æra: and flourished in great Reputation, till the Declension of the Roman Empire. A complete History of this Philosophy would be the Work of a large Volume: and nothing further is intended here, than such a summary View of it, as may be of Use to give a clearer Notion of those Passages in Epictetus, a strict Professor of it, which allude to some of its peculiar Doctrines.

2. That the End of Man is to live conformably to Nature, was universally agreed on amongst all the Philosophers: but, in what that Conformity to Nature consists, was the Point in Dispute. The Epicureans maintained, that it consisted in Pleasure; of which they constituted Sense the Judge (a). The Stoics, on the contrary, placed it in an absolute Perfection of the Soul. Neither of them seem to have understood Man in his mixed Capacity; but while the first debased him to a mere Animal, the last exalted him to a pure Intelligence; and both considered him as independent, uncorrupted and sufficient, either by Height of Virtue, or by well-regulated Indulgence, to his own Happiness. The Stoical Excess was more useful to the Public, as it often produces great and noble Efforts towards that Perfection, to which it was supposed possible for human Nature to arrive. Yet, at the same time, by flattering Man with false and presumptuous Ideas of his own Power and Excellence, it tempted even the Best to Pride: a Vice not only dreadfully mischievous in human Society, but, perhaps of all others, the most insuperable Bar to real inward Improvement.

3. Epictetus often mentions Three Topics, or Classes, under which the whole of Moral Philosophy is comprehended. These are, the Desires and Aversions, the Pursuits and Avoidances, or the Exercise of the active Powers, and the Assents of the Understanding.

4. The Desires and Aversions were considered as simple affections of the Mind, arising from the Apprehension, that any thing was conducive to Happiness, or the contrary. The first Care of a Proficient in Philosophy was, to regulate these in such a manner, as never to be disappointed of the one, or incur the other: a Point no otherwise attainable, than by regarding all Externals as absolutely indifferent. Good must always be the Object of Desire, and Evil of Aversion. The Person then, who considers Life, Health, Ease, Friends, Reputation, &c. as Good; and their Contraries as Evil, must necessarily desire the one, and be averse to the other: and, consequently, must often find his Desire disappointed, and his Aversion incurred. The Stoics, therefore, restrained Good and Evil to Virtue and Vice alone: and excluded all Extrenals from any Share in human Happiness, which they made entirely dependent on a right Choice. From this Regulation of the Desires and Aversions follows that Freedom from Perturbation, Grief, Anger, Pity, &c. and in short, that universal Apathy, which they every-where strongly inculcate.

5. The next Step to Stoical Perfection was, the Class of Pursuits and Avoidances (b). As the Desires and Aversions are simple Affections, the Pursuits and Avoidances are Exertions of the active Powers towards the procuring or declining any thing. Under this Head was comprehended the whole System of moral Duties, according to their incomplete Ideas of them: and a due Regard to it was supposed to ensure a proper Behaviour in all the social Relations. The constant Performance of what these point out, natureall followed from a Regulation of the Desires and Aversions in the first Topic: for where the Inclinations are exerted and restrained as they ought, there will be nothing to mislead us in Action.

6. The last Topic, and the Completion of the Stoic Character, was that of the Assents (c). As the second was to produce a Security from Failure in Practice, this was to secure an Infallibility in Judgment, and to guard the Mind from ever either admitting a Falshood, or dissenting from Truth. A wise Man, in the Stoic Scheme, was never to be mistaken, or to form any Opinion. Where Evidence could not be obtained, he was to continue in Suspense. His Understanding was never to be misled, even in Sleep, or under the Influence of Wine, or in a Delirium. In this last Particular, however, there is not a perfect Agreement: and some Authors are so very reasonable, as to admit it possible for a Philosopher to be mistaken in his Judgment, after he hath lost his Senses (d).

7. The Subject of these several Classes of philosophic Exercise are, the Appearances of Things (e). By these Appearances the Stoics understood the Impressions (f) made on the Soul, by any Objects, presented either to the Senses, or to the Understanding. Thus a House, an Estate, Life, Death, Pain, Reputation, &c. (considered in the View, under which they are presented to the preceptive Faculties) in the Stoical Sense are, Appearances. The Use of Appearances is common to Brutes, and Men: and intelligent Use of them belongs only to the latter: a Distinction, which is carefully to be observed in reading these Discourses.

8. That Judgment, which is formed by the Mind concerning the Appearances, the Stoics termed Principles: and these Principles give a Determination to the Choice.

9. The Choice, among the Stoics, signified, either the Faculty of Willing; or a deliberate Election of some Action, or Course of Life.

10. As the Appearances respect particular Objects, the Pre-conceptions are general innate Notions, such as they supposed to take original Possession of the Mind, before it forms any of its own (g). To adapt these Pre-conceptions to particular Cases, is the Office of Reason: and is often insisted on by Epictetus, as a Point of the highest Importance.

11. By the Word, which throughout this Translation is rendered Prosperity, the Stoics understood the internal State of the Mind, when the Affections and active Powers were so regulated, that it considered all Events as happy: and, consequently, must enjoy an uninterrupted Flow of Success: since nothing could fall out contrary to its Wishes (h).

These, which have been mentioned, are the technical Terms of the greatest Consequence in the Stoic Philosophy: and which, for that Reason, are, except in a very few Places, always rendered by the same English Word, There are other Words used in a peculiar Sense by this Sect: but, as they are not of equal Importance, they are neither so strictly translated, nor need any particular Definition.

12. The Stoics held Logic in the highest Esteem: and often carried it to such a trifling Degree of Subtility, as rendered their Arguments very tedious and perplexed. The frequent References to logical Questions, and the Use of syllogistical Terms, are the least agreeable Part of the Discourses of Epictetus: since, however well they might be understood by some of his Hearers, they are now unintelligible to the greatest Part of his Readers. Indeed, with all his Strength and Clearness of Understanding, he seems to have been hurt by this favourite Science of his Sect. One is sometimes surprised to find his Reasoning incoherent and perplexed: and his Scholars rather silenced by Interrogatories, which they are unable to comprehend, than convinced by the Force of Truth; and then given up by him, as if they were hopeless and unteachable. Yet many a well-meaning Understanding may be lost in the Wood by the Confusion of dialectical Quibbles, which might ahve been led, without Difficulty to the Point in view, if it had been suffered to follow the Track of common Sense.

(a) Sensibus ipsis judicari voluptates. Cic. de Fin. L. II. By Pleasure the Epicureans sometimes explained themselves to mean, only Freedom from Uneasiness: but the Philosophers of other Sects in general, as well as Cicero, insist, producing their own Expressions for it, that they meant sensual Delights. This, indeed, was more explicitly the Doctrine of Aristippus, the Father of the Cyrenaics: a Sect, however, which sunk into the Epicureans; whose Notions plainly led to the Dissoluteness so remarkable in the Lives of most of them.

(b) The Stoics define these Terms: the one, a Motion, by which we are carried toward some Object; the other, a Motion, by which we strive to shun it. The original Words, by a Happiness in the Greek Language, are properly opposed to each other; which the English will not admit. I have chosen the best I could find, and wish they were better.

(c) It seems strange, taht the Stoics generally put the Assents last: since both the Affections and Will should be governed by the Understanding; which, therefore, should be rectified, in order to do its Office well. Epictetus seems to be of this Opinion in B. I. c. 17. But, perhaps, they thought common Sense, or natural Logic, which they meant, but did not express clearly, by the Word Assents, necessary as a Guard only against Sophistry. Yet their mentioning it, as a Guard also against being misled, when they were in Drink, and even in their Dreams, leaves but little Room for this Conjecture.

(d) [Quote in Greek] DIOG. LAERT. in ZENO.
Nam si argumentaberis, sapientem multo vino inebriari, & retinere rectum tenorem, etiamsi temulentus sit: licet colligas, nec veneno poto moriturum, &c. SEN. Epist. 83.

(e) The original Word is of peculiar Signification among the Stoics: and I wish it could have been rendered into English, in a manner less ambiguous, and more expressive of its Meaning. But the Stoic Language perished with the Stoic Sect: and scarcely any of its technical Terms can now be rendered intelligible, except by a Paraphrase, or a Definition.

(f) [Quote in Greek] DIOG. LAERT. L. VII. 45.

(g) [Quote in Greek] DIOG. LAERT. L. VII. 54.

(h) I am sensible, that Prosperity, in common Use, relates wholly to external Circumstances: but I could find no better Word to express the internal good Condition of the Mind, which the Stoics meant by [Greek]. There is an Instance of the like Use, 3 John ver. 2.

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Item of the Day: Webster’s Essays and Fugitiv Writings (1790)

Full Title:

A Collection of Essays and Fugitiv Writings. On Moral, Historical, Political, and Literary Subjects. By Noah Webster, Jun. Attorney at Law. Printed at Boston for the Author, by I. Thomas and E.T. Andrews, 1790.

On the Education of Females

In a system of education, that should embrace every part of the community, the female sex claim no inconsiderable share of our attention.

The women in America (to their honor it is mentioned) are not generally above the care of educating their own children. Their own education should therefore enable them to implant in the tender mind, such sentiments of virtue, propriety and dignity, as are suited to the freedom of our governments. Children should be treated as children, but as children that are, in a future time, to be men and women. By treating them as if they were always to remain children, we very often see their childishness adhere to them, even in middle life. The silly language called baby talk, in which most persons are initiated in infancy, often breaks out in discourse, at the age of forty, and makes a man appear very ridiculous. In the same manner, vulgar, obscene and illiberal ideas, imbibed in a nursery or a kitchen, often give a tincture to the conduct through life. In order to prevent every evil bias, the ladies, whose province it is to direct the inclinations of children on their first appearance, and to choose their nurses, should be possessed, not only of amiable manners, but of just sentiments and enlarged understandings.

But the influence of women in forming the dispositions of youth, is not the sole reason why their education should be particularly guarded; their influence in controling the manners of a nation, is another powerful reason. Women, once abandoned, may be instrumental in corrupting society; but such is the delicacy of the sex, and such the restraints which custom imposes upon them, that they are generally the last to be corrupted. There are innumerable instances of men, who have been restrained from a vicious life, and even of very abandonded [sic] men, who have been reclaimed, by their attachment to ladies of virtue. A fondness for the company and conversation of ladies of character, may be considered as a young mans’ best security against the attractives of a dissipated life. A man who is attached to good company, seldom frequents that which is bad. For this reason, society requires taht females should be well educated, and extend their influence as far as possible over the other sex.

But a distinction is to be made between a good education, and a showy one; for an education, merely superficial, is a proof of corruption of taste, and has a mischievous influence on manners. The education of females, like that of males, should be adapted to the principles of the government, and correspond with the stage of society. Education in Paris differs from that in Petersburg, and the education of females in London or Paris should not be a model for the Americans to copy.

In all nations a good education, is that which renders the ladies correct in their manners, respectable in their families, and agreeable in society. That education is always wrong, which raises a woman above the duties of her station.

In America, female education should have for its object what is useful. Young ladies should be taught to speak and write their own language with purity and elegance; an article in which they are often deficient. The French langauge is not necessary for ladies. In some cases it is convenient, but, in general, it may be considered as an article of luxury. As an accomplishment, it may be studied by those whose attention is not employed about more important concerns.

Some knowlege [sic] of arithmetic is necessary for every lady. Geography should never be neglected. Belles Letters learning seems to correspond with the dispositions of most females. A taste for Poetry and fine writing should be cultivated; for we expect the most delicate sentiments from the pens of that sex, which is possessed of the finest feelings.

A course of reading can hardly be prescribed for all ladies. But it should be remarked, that this sex cannot be too well acquainted with the writers upon human life and manners. The Spectator should fill the first place in every lady’s library. Other volumes of periodical papers, tho inferior to the Spectator, should be read; and some of the best histories.

With respect to novels, so much admired by the young, and so generally condemned by the old, what shall I say? Perhaps it may be said with truth, that some of them are useful, many of them pernicious, and most of them trifling. A hundred volumes of modern novels may be read, without acquiring a new idea. Some of them contain entertaining stories, and where the descriptions are drawn from nature, and from characters and events in themselves innocent, the perusal of them may be harmless.

Were novels written with a view to exhibit only one side of human nature, to paint the social virtues, the world would condemn them as defective: But I should think them more perfect. Young people, especially females, should not see the vicious part of mankind. At best novels may be considered as the toys of young; the rattle boxes of sixteen. The mechanic gets his pence for his toys, and the novel writer, for his books; and it would be happy for society, if the latter were in all cases as innocent play things as the former.

In the large towns in America, music, drawing and dancing, constitute a part of female education. They, however, hold a subordinate rank; for my fair friends will pardon me, when I declare, that no man ever marries a woman for her performance on a harpsichord, or her figure in a minuet. However ambitious a woman may be to command admiration abroad, her real merit is known only at home. Admiration is useless, when it is not supported by domestic worth. But real honor and permanent esteem, are always secured by those who preside over their own families with dignity.

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Filed under 1790's, Education, Posted by Carrie Shanafelt, Women