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considering the individual as a proper object of persecution and destruction, she who imagines herself, and wishes the world to regard her, as a person of extraordinary attainments, how could she recommend it to ladies in general, to make religion a principal subject of conversation, since many who do not think themselves the... best “ thing of its kind,” might stir up in the heat of debate ill-humours, mischief, strife, and hatred, of very serious consequence. It is by this artful conduct, however, that she has blazed abroad her reputation for piety and excellence so long, and it was by over-acting her character of cunning and mischief, she has ascended like a sky-rocket and exploded, and now sunk down to rise no more.
In one of the conversations just alluded to at her own house, where is that elegance of manners, that good breeding, which a writer on female education ought not only to know and recom-' mend, but studiously in her own practice to observe? The gentleman expected to meet with a love of information, 'a desire to communicate knowledge; that affability, which excites à colli sion of ideas, to promote mutual benefit or plea-, şure; that liberality and charity, which cheerfully, allows for the varieties of sentiment and difference in opinion, when they occur, which must inevitably exist in individual minds; but he was disappointed, for H. More seemed rather to watch for some occasion of censure, of misrepresentation, to gratify the malicious pride of her mystical system, the existence of which he did not then know,
thản “ with meekness instruct, or receive a rea“son of the hope” entertained by the person who bore his part in discourse. ..'
On the subject of conversation, my author continues to direct ladies to talk to strangers on that subject they may be thought to be best acquainted with; to manage with discreet modesty the dangerous talent of wit; not to indulge humour, mimicry, imitation or buffoonery; to avoid the affectation of exclaiming that “ they are thankful they “ are not geniuses;” not to think themselves humble because they are not ingenious; and not to accuse themselves, from vanity, of faults from which they are known to be exempt. They are taught to speak little of themselves, or not at all, and not to publish their faults, rather than not be the subject of public talk; not. to accuse themselves of all sins in the gross, that their friends may contradict them; and of all things, not to be foolishly angry if their friends should be so uncivil as to grant their charge against themselves, of being guilty of the infraction of the whole decalogue and more, with many other ramifications of the offspring of vanity. With great “ seriousness" they are guarded against telling stories, even if
they themselves had been eye witnesses, or even · where their friend knew the man, who remem
bered the woman, who conversed with the person, who actually beheld the wonder, and never to divulge a secret. The writer on female education, can it be possible from the company she has kept, finds it necessary to warn the British ladies against
swearing, on account of its sinfulness and indecency.
“ Among the deep, but less obvious mischiefs of con. “ versation, misrepresentation must not be overlooked. “ Self-love is continually at work, to give to all we say a “ bias in our own favour. The counteraction of this fault “ should be set about in the earliest stages of education. If “ young persons have not been discouraged in the natural, “ but evil, propensity to relate every dispute they have had “ with others to their own advantage ; if they have not “ been trained to the bounden duty of doing justice even to " those with whom they are at variance ; if they have not “ been led to aim at a complete impartiality in their little “ narratives, and instructed never to take advantage of the “ absence of the other party, in order to make the story “ lean to their own side more than the truth will admit; “ how shall we in advanced life look for correct habits, " for unprejudiced representations, for fidelity, accuracy, “and unbiassed justice?
“ Yet, how often in society, otherwise respectable, are “ we pained with narrations in which prejudice warps, and “ self-love blinds! How often do we see, that withholding - part of a truth answers the worst ends of a falsehood! “ How often regret the unfair turn given to a cause, by “placing a sentiment in one point of view, which the “ speaker had used in another! the letter of truth preserved “ where its spirit is violated! a superstitious exactness scru. “pulously maintained in the underparts of a detail, in order “ to impress such an idea of integrity as shall gain credit “ for the misrepresenter, while he is designedly mistating “ the leading principle. How may we observe a new cha“racter given to a fact by a different look, tone, or em“phasis, which alters it as much as words could have done! " the false impression of a sermon conveyed, when we do “not like the preacher, or when through him we wish to "make religion itself ridiculous! the care to avoid literal “ untruths, while the mischief is better effected by the una “ fair quotation of a passage divested of its context; the “ bringing together detached portions of a subject, and “ making those parts ludicrous, when connected, which “ were serious in their distinct position the insiduous use " made of a sentiment by representing it as the opinion of “ him who had only brought it forward in order to expose “ it! the relating opinions which had merely been put hy< pothetically, as if they were the avowed principles of him “ we would discredit! that subtle falsehood which is so “ made to incorporate with a certain quantity of truth, " that the most skilful moral chemist cannot analyze or se“parate them! for a good misrepresenter knows that a " successful lie must have a certain infusion of truth, or it * will not go down. And this amalgamation is the test of “his skill; as too much truth would defeat the end of his "mischief; and too little would destroy the belief of the “ hearer. All that indefinable ambiguity and equivocation; “ all that prudent deceit, which is rather implied than ex“ pressed; those more delicate artifices of the school of « Loyola and of Chesterfield, which allow us when we “ dare not deny a truth, yet so to disguise and discolour it, “ that the truth we relate shall not resemble the truth we “ heard! These and all the thousand shades of simulation “ and dissimulation will be carefully guarded against in the “ conversation of vigilant christians.” · Now, reader, recollect if you have read, and if not, immediately peruse the Blagdon controversy, when you will find all your virtuous feelings shocked at seeing the devil clothe himself as an angel of light, in the shape of a woman, with sparkling black eyes; see her here as an author, and there in her private practices! She literally practiseth all she here so well describes and for
bids the British ladies. But she will “ deceive “ the nations” no longer.
“ Some women indulge themselves in sharp raillery, un“ feeling wit, and cutting sarcasms, from the consciousness, “ it is to be feared, that they are secure from the danger of “ being called to account; this license of speech being en“ couraged by the very circumstance which ought to sup“ press it. To be severe, because they can be so with im“punity, is a most ungenerous reason. It is taking a base “ and dishonourable advantage of their sex, the weakness of “ which, instead of tempting them to commit offences be“ cause they can commit them with safety, ought rather to “make them more scrupulously careful to avoid indiscre“ tions for which no reparation can be demanded. What “ can be said for those who carelesly involve the injured “party in consequences from which they know themselves “ are exempted, and whose very sense of their own security " leads them to be indifferent to the security of others ?” .
Alas! how easy it is to preach! how difficult to practice! H. More! thou art the woman ! Recollect " private accusations” against more than one clergyman! How many clergymen have you described as heterodox, as Jacobins, &c.? And without the least provocation from some of them; and all this with the wicked purpose of ruining them. I have no doubt but you have frequently, since your late detections, revolved and recollected all the circumstances of your conduct to these individuals, some of whom despised, as I am well informed, to take any notice, on account of your sex, and for many other reasons, of your wicked behaviour; and I have no doubt your conscience has often upbraided you, and I have heard, that in soliloquy you have