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seems to be a subject worthy of curiosity, attention, and meditation. That influence of the weaker over the stronger sex, which restores the equilibrium between them, is a law of nature, of which society, legislators, and governments, ought to avail themselves for the benefit of mankind. It is expedient to study and indicate the direction, salutary or pernicious, which religion, education, legislation, social institutions, and manners, have given, and may give to the influence of women, by employing with more or less skill, or in a wrong way, this all-powerful engine, formed by nature to act upon the heart and mind of man, and of
the whole species, as well as upon individuals.
It is at once a fascinating and a serious subject, which charms the imagination, delights the reason, enlightens the understanding, and soothes the heart; which associates itself with all the soft, tender, generous affections, with all the noble sentiments, with all profound thoughts. It is a consideration rich and fertile in reflections and consequences, which observers of both sexes may study with equal interest; but which women in particular may pursue with profit. They will learn from numberless facts, which appear in every shape and in all ages, what is the real
power of their sex, which is ever active, though frequently invisible and unperceived; and how that power, well or ill directed and employed, becomes either a useful lever to raise man to the loftiest conceptions, to the boldest enterprises, to the most difficult and the most laudable actions, or a real bane to mankind, who are sometimes plunged by this cause, when degenerated and corrupted, into the most tremendous abysses of depravity and misery.
The most interesting half of the human species is thus transformed, as it were, into a single individual, who may be followed and observed through all the periods of history, and whose influence, variously modified by education, legislation, manners, and the general spirit of communities, may be profoundly studied. We collect, in the order of dates and countries, a multitude of curious facts, public and private, interesting anecdotes, instructive observations, events, portraits, and characters, scattered throughout the annals of nations, which may be combined into a panorama, or arranged as a spacious gal. lery. History, without losing any of its dignity and utility, assumes the colour and interest of fiction, abounding in episodes, and in strange and tragic adventures, ever varying, and nevertheless referrible to one and the same general consideration.
7. RELIGIONS AND INSTITUTIONS.
We may lastly study with profit the various characters of the doctrines or creeds, and of the religious institutions of all ages and all nations; their influence, alternately beneficial and baneful, the agents which they set in motion, the means which they have employed, and the effects which they have produced according to their different modifications.
APPLICATION OF THE PROPOSED METHOD.
A person who designs to practise the proposed method, and to direct his attention either to the subjects above specified or to others, should open for this purpose a number of separate books for analytical extracts, equal to that of the subjects upon which he may fix. He will have a kind of clue and compass to guide him through the vast and tortuous labyrinth of the annals of all
ages and of all nations. He will pause every twenty pages (more or less, according to the strength of his understanding and memory, and the nature of the work) to recapitulate in his mind what he has read and observed; he will consider it in the different points of view which he has pre-determined, and put a small strip of paper, marked
with the letter of reference of one of the subjects already specified, at the page containing a fact or observation analogous to any of the objects of his inquiry. He will lay down the book after reading sixty or eighty pages, at three different intervals, and will not begin reading again till he has written down, in a few lines only, the condensed substance of what appears to him to belong to one of the general subjects for which he studies history.
This manner of reading, studying, analysing, and extracting, cannot but contribute, as we have remarked, to form at once the judgment, taste, style, and memory; to develop the understanding, by giving to it more comprehensiveness and precision; and lastly to produce a beneficial habit of observing with care, comparing with impartiality, discerning with sagacity, and judging soundly.*
* A young lady, equally interesting for her talents, the fruit of an attentive education, and for her excellent natural qualities and graces, has put in practice, for the study of history, a method similar to that here proposed. She has reduced into tables the great historical results, descending from certain general ideas to the details of the most important events. These events are appropriated either to a principal epoch which embraces. them all, or to a particular dynasty. In each division, which
The journals or books may be arranged in the following manner:
1. At the head of each the principal title, or the subject of the extracts and analysis, with a letter of reference.
Progress of Civilisation.
comprises a certain period of time, are inserted all the remarkable facts that belong to it. Thus you may compare the products of this or that epoch, of this nation or that dynasty, as we compare in arithmetic the products of several series of figures placed in parallel and corresponding columns. History, which is a science of facts, when so treated, furnishes positive results, which this method elicits, and which, collected and combined, furnish useful subjects of observation, and enable us to ascend more easily to the causes which produced them.
Another young lady, who is likewise indebted to nature for the twofold advantage of a happy physical and moral organisation, developed by a good education, under the superintendence of an excellent mother, has commenced with success an analysis of general history, ancient and modern, with a particular view to the influence of women, pursuing exactly the course marked out