Aims and Aids for Girls and Young Women
by George Sumner Weaver
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[Transcriber's Note: Obvious printer errors, including punctuation, have been corrected. All other inconsistencies have been left as they were in the original.]

AIMS AND AIDS FOR Girls and Young Women,







NEW YORK: FOWLER AND WELLS, PUBLISHERS, 308 BROADWAY. London: William Horsell, 492 Oxford Street. BOSTON: } 1856. { PHILADELPHIA: 142 Washington-st.} { No. 231 Arch-street.




My interest in woman and our common humanity is my only apology for writing this book. I see multitudes of young women about me, whose general training is so deficient in all that pertains to the best ideas of life, and whose aims and efforts are so unworthy of their powers of mind and heart, that I can not make peace with my own conscience without doing something to elevate their aims and quicken their aspirations for the good and pure in thought and life. Our female schools are but poor apologies for the purposes of mind-culture and soul-development. The idea of life they inspire is but a skeleton of custom-service and fashion-worship. It is altogether subservient to what is, not what should be. Society does little else than to teach its girls to be dolls and drudges. The prevailing current of instruction and influence is deplorably low. I feel confident that the best part of society is longing for something better. To obtain it, each one has but to live out, and express to the world his idea of a true life.

In regard to the book I may say, whatever it lacks it has the merit of being in earnest. I hope those who see its deficiencies will make haste to supply them in some form of instruction or encouragement to the class the book addresses. Thinking fathers and mothers and teachers will not complain of this humble effort to serve their daughters and pupils, but will rather add more in a similar direction, and seek to complete what I have endeavored to begin. While life is spared, I hope to work in this field, that my own daughters, as well as those of others, may attain a worthy womanhood.

G. S. W. ST. LOUIS, 1855.


Lecture One.


Angels view Girlhood with Solicitude and Delight—Beauty no perpetual Pledge of Safety—Nothing in Man or Things impels a Provident Regard for it—Blossoming Womanhood an Object of Deep Interest and Pity—Girlhood's first Work is to Form a Character—It should be Pure and Energetic—Woman only a Thing—Her Education progressing—Physical Health should be Preserved—A Woman not Herself without Physical Strength—Woman must be Independent, and Earn her own Livelihood—Character must Embody Itself in an Outward Form to be of Service to the World Page 9-21

Lecture Two.


God a Lover of Beauty—Every thing in the Universe Beautiful—The Admirer of Beauty should Reverence its Author—The Love of Beauty elevating in its Tendency—Its Abuses Fearful—Man a Part of Nature, and God in all—Woman the most Perfect Type of Beauty—Youthful Woman exposed to great Temptation—Beauty a Charming, but Dangerous Gift—The most Beautiful should be the most Pious—Beauty of Person Worthless without Loveliness of Character—"Strong-minded" Women not Beautiful—Beauty the Nurse of Vanity—Value of Character depreciates with Increase of Beauty when substituted for Moral Worth—Beauty only Skin-deep—Beauty Two-fold: Inward and Outward—Inward Beauty shines through—Beauty of Soul made Washington, Josephine, and Channing glorious—Every Woman may be Beautiful—Cheerfulness, Agreeable Manners, a Correct Taste, and Kindness should be Cultivated 22-40

Lecture Three.


Religion and Dress—Variety in Nature—Dress should not be Injurious—Present Customs Unhealthy, Slovenly, and Immodest—A Subject of Religious Consideration—Suicide vs. Providence—Foolish Vanity—Taste an Element of Mind—Dress should be Symbolical—Woman should Elevate her Aims—Appropriate Dress Admirable 41-57

Lecture Four.


Fashion made Superior to Health—Fashionable Religion—Unfashionable Ministers—Votaries of Fashion Despise it—Fashionable Women Short-lived—Mothers of Great Men Unfashionable—Woman's Greatness shown in Offspring—Example of Women of Fashion—Apostrophe to Fashion—Appeal to American Women—Nature in Freedom's Temple—Fashion is Monotonous—Woman needs more Freedom 58-72

Lecture Five.


Life a School—Education a Work of Progress—Schools of Vice—Every Circumstance a Teacher—Kinds of Education—Female Education—True Womanly Ambition—Improve your Opportunities—Principles should be Understood—Time Trifled Away—Some Excuses—Society Needs Woman's Influence—Education as it is—Girls should have Something to Live For 73-87

Lecture Six.


Natural Position of Woman—Relations of Body and Mind—Sound Minds only in Sound Bodies—To be Healthy is a Duty—Physical Laws Obligatory—Penalties for Violation—Girls and their Grandmothers—Causes of Difference—Physiological Studies Advised—Women the "Weaker Vessel;" Why?—Intelligence and Beauty—Woman's Sound Judgment—Woman's Mind not Powerless—Finished Educations—Education at Home—Schools only Helps to Education—Woman's Thought Wanted 88-105

Lecture Seven.


Woman Judges by Impressions—Mental Powers should Harmonize—Effects of Different Culture—Male and Female Minds Differ—The Female Mind Analyzed—Feminine Purity—Woman's Benevolence—The Sentiment of Duty—Integrity in Woman—Cultivate Regard for Truth—Piety the Crown of Moral Virtues—Cultivation of Piety Urged—Development of Social Nature—Friendship and Love 106-121

Lecture Eight.


Employment a Duty—Powers Developed by Labor—All Females are not Women—Dependence Usually Ignoble—Adversity gives Strength—Girls should have Trades—Self-reliance necessary to Women—Do Something and Be Something—Riches no Excuse for Idleness—Employment gives Activity and Strength—Labor considered Vulgar—Life is given for Employment—Woman was Made for Usefulness 122-135

Lecture Nine.


Maternal Love—Ideas of Future Home Universal—Heaven's Home Perfected—Home the Garden of Virtue—Home Influence Permanent—Home is Woman's World—Place does not constitute Home—Our Homes will be like us—Home a Sensitive Place—Home Habits Second Nature 136-147

Lecture Ten.


The Primary Principles of Being—Life is full of Solemnities—Influence of the Sexes—Influence depends on Culture—Men Reverence Female Worth—Much Influence is directly Evil—Woman should demand Morality—Errors of Society—The Sexes too much Separated—Equality of Moral Standards—Female Encouragement and Counsel—Time Trifled, Worse than Lost 148-160

Lecture Eleven.


Unhappy Marriages—Marriage has its Laws—The Second Question in Life—Be sure you are Right—For Better or for Worse—Know whom thou Marriest—Marriage a Holy Institution—Marriage should be made a Study—Marriage is not for Children—Early Marriages Inadvisable—What are Early Marriages?—Influence of an Ignorant Wife—Woman the Hope of the World—Married Life must be lived well—Love should rule all 161-176

Lecture Twelve.


Our Father in Heaven—Moral Obligations and Religious Duties—Impiety of Professed Christians—Deficiency of Religious Gratitude—Gratitude makes Life Cheerful—Religion gives Joy to Life—Love, the Seed of Religion—The Religion of Christ—Woman's Heart a Natural Shrine—Religion fit for all Conditions—Love for the Unseen—Personal Acquaintance not necessary for Love—The Idea of God Spontaneous—It is the Unseen we Love—Life well lived is Glorious 177-191

Lecture Thirteen.


Woman not an Adornment only—Civilization Elevates Woman—Woman not what She should be—Woman's Influence Over-rated—Force of Character Necessary—The Virtue of True Womanhood—Passion is not always Love—True Love is only for Worth—Good Behavior and Deportment—Spiritual Harmony Desirable—Importance of Self-control—What shall Woman do—Strive to be a True Woman 192-204

Lecture Fourteen.


Happiness Desired—Fretful People—Motes in the Eye—We Were Made for Happiness—Sorrow has Useful Lessons—Happiness a Duty—Despondency Is Irreligious—Pleasure not always Happiness—The Misuse of the World—Contentment necessary to Happiness—Happiness must be sought aright—Truly seeking we shall Find—Our Success not always Essential—Happiness often Found Unexpectedly—Happiness overcomes Circumstances—A Tendency to Murmuring—God Rules over All—Health necessary to Happiness—Disease is Sinful—God Loves a Happy Soul—Happiness Possible to All 205-224


Lecture One.


Angels view Girlhood with Solicitude and Delight—Beauty no perpetual Pledge of Safety—Nothing in Man or Things impels a provident Regard for it—Blossoming Womanhood an Object of deep Interest and Pity—Girlhood's first Work is to Form a Character—It should be Pure and Energetic—Woman only a Thing—Her Education progressing—Physical Health should be Preserved—A Woman not Herself Without Physical Strength—Woman must be Independent, and Earn her own Livelihood—Character must Embody Itself In an Outward Form to be of Service to the World.

If the angels look down upon earth and behold any natural object with especial delight, it must be Girlhood. And yet if they are not gifted with prophetic vision, they must tremble with fearful solicitude while they gaze delighted. There is a fearfulness in the beauty of Girlhood which mingles anxiety in the cup of admiration. No good being can look upon it without casting a solicitous thought forward to its future, to ask whether it will be well or ill with it. The beauty of Girlhood is no perpetual pledge of its safety. Society has built no wall of protection around it. It has no sure defense within itself. Its Maker has hung no flaming sword turning every way above it to ward off danger. There is nothing in the world of man and things which impels a provident regard for it. Suns, winds, frosts, storms, time, diseases, and death pay no deferential respect to it. Man respects it, bows to it, but while he does it, it withers under his devotion, so little does he mingle wisdom and care in his regard. Society professes to respect it, and so it does, but it subjects it to so many untimely trials and injurious customs, that that very respect is fearful. A young girl, fresh from childhood, blossoming into a woman, rosy health in her veins, innocence in her heart, caroling gaiety in her laugh, buoyant life in her step, the rich glance of an opening soul in her eye, grace in her form with the casket of mind richly jeweled, is indeed an object of beauty. He who can behold it and not feel a benevolent interest in it, is an object of pity. He who can live and not live in part for Girlhood, is devoid of the highest order of feeling. He who can see it wither under unrighteous customs or pass away by the blight of unholy abuses, and not drop a tear of sympathy, is less than a generous man. He who sees its perilous position and lifts not his warning voice, fails in a great duty. It is not enough to admire Girlhood; it is not enough to do it graceful honors, make it obsequious bows, strew its pathway with flattering compliments, and call it by all beautiful names. Such outward expressions, unless most judiciously made, are quite as likely to do it injury as direct abuse. Girlhood is full of tenderness and weakness. The germs of its future strength are its most perilous weaknesses now. Its mightiest energies often kindle the fires of its ruin. Its most salient points of character are often soonest invaded. Indeed, it can scarcely be said to have a character. It is forming one, but knows not yet what it will be. Its interior now is not exactly a chaos, but a beautiful disorder. The elements of something grand are there, but they are not yet polished nor put together, nor compactly cemented. This work is yet to be done. It is the great work of Girlhood. It is the moral art to which it is to apply all its ingenuity and energy. Girlhood is not all a holiday season; it is more a working time, a study hour, an apprenticeship. True, it has buoyant spirits, and should let them out with fresh good-will at proper times. It has its playful moods, which should not only be indulged but encouraged, but not wholly for the sake of the momentary enjoyment, but rather to infuse the forming character largely with the element of cheerfulness. A gloomy Girlhood is as odd and improper as it is unnatural. And it is improper, not only because it is out of place and wrong, but because it shades the character with a desponding hue. Desponding is absolutely wrong in itself. It is a perversion of our minds. To put on weeds when nobody is dead, to weep when it would be more becoming and useful to laugh, to wear a face of woe when the sunshine of gladness has the best right to preside in our sky, is all wrong. It is absolutely wicked, because it casts a baneful influence upon all with whom we associate, and prepares us to go through life like a frowning cloud or a drooping willow, shading the circle of our influence with melancholic gloom. No, better sing with the birds and laugh with the babbling brooklets than be gloomy in Girlhood. Trials and troubles of course will come. We must sometimes weep, and when we do, it should be done with chastened spirits for real sorrow, that we may be the calmer and happier when we recover from the shock of grief. Such weeping is a gracious and healthy exercise. It does not check the true joyousness of Girlhood's nature, nor cast any darkening line into the future character. April suns are all the brighter for April showers. The real sorrows ordinarily incident to Girlhood are not many; the real causes for gloom are few; the most are imaginary. This is true of all ages. Our borrowed trouble is much more than that which comes as our own in the legitimate course of our life. Trouble is the worst article we can borrow. We have the least need for it, and it is a miserable dose to take. Of all things which it does, Girlhood should not borrow trouble. A heavy interest will have to be paid for it in the future; and there is danger that it will make the soul absolutely bankrupt. If borrowed trouble would go home when we told it to, and would never leave a track behind, it would do less injury. But it will not. It is hard to get rid of, and always leaves its dark trail on the most beautiful feelings of the heart. If Girlhood is mindful of any thing, it should be of the shadows that fall upon the heart. Whether they be of delusion, disappointment, or sin, they are bad, and will make sad marks in the character to be borne through life. Age can never forget its youth; nor can one easily rub out dark lines traced in his character in its forming state. If I could speak to Girlhood in its wide realm of beauty and promise all over the world, I should say to it, that its first work is to form a fitting character with which to pass through life and do the great work of woman. There is much in starting right. A stumble in the start often defeats the race, while a good strike at the onset often wins the victory. There is no more alarming feature in the Girlhood of our times than its apparent indifference to the great work before it. Multitudes of girls are as thoughtless and giddy as the lambs that sport on the lea. They seem scarcely to cast a prophetic glance before. They live as though life was a theater, good for nothing but its acting. I know there is much reason why girls do live so, why they are so heedless of the grandeur that swells into eternal glory before them. I know they have been taught by the customs of society, by the follies of their elders, to regard themselves as the playthings of men, the ornaments of society, rather than the helpers of themselves and their race, and the solid substance of the social fabric. But it is time they had learned better. They must soon know that they are made for a purpose as grand as that which brought the Saviour of the world into being. They must soon know that their powers were made for the highest order of usefulness and excellency. They must soon know that if in Girlhood they regard themselves as playthings and pets, in womanhood they will have to be drudges or the cast-off dolls of their boyish husbands, or the hangers-on to a society they would but can not be a part of. Is life a preparation for eternity? so is Girlhood a preparation for womanhood. Do effects follow their causes? so will Girlhood send its life and character into womanhood. If a girl would be a good woman, she must commence now. If she would be wise, she must not frolic away her early life. If she would not feel the hand of oppression in age, she must lay now the foundation of a noble independence which will make her self-reliant, energetic, calm, and persistent in the pursuit of life's great aim. Not only is a pure character needed, chastity of thought and feeling, but one of energy. It is grand to be pure of heart; it is glorious to be virtuous, to be able to resist temptation and confound all tempters. This, we confess, is one of the prime beauties of female character. But this is not all that is needed. Life is more than a trial of virtue, more a scene of temptation. It is a work. Christ resisted temptation. But that was not all he had to do. That only showed him ready for the great work before him. So woman has something more to do than to beat back the tempter. If she can do this, she proves herself made of the pure gold. She has a mission to engage in, a great work to do. All women have. This work requires that they shall possess energy as well as purity. They must have force of will to dare and to do. They must dare to be and do that which is right; dare to face false customs; dare to frown on fashion; dare to resist oppression; dare to assert their rights; dare to be persecuted for righteousness' sake; dare to do their own thinking and acting; dare to be above the silly pride and foolish whims and prudish nonsense that enslave little minds. Woman is now bound hand and foot by custom and law. She is only a thing. She is not a conscious independent personality. She is not recognized as a self-directing, responsible agent. She plays a second part. She is shut out from all the higher aims and opportunities of life. Into no college is she permitted to enter if she would cultivate her mind in the highest walks of science and literature. At the feet of no learned professor may she sit for wisdom. Every profession but the teacher's is barred against her, and in that her services are considered not half at par. She can not get more than half-pay for her labor. In law she is but a ninny; if she is married she is less still, an absolute nonentity; her legal existence is merged in that of her husband—the two become one, and he is that one. Then in the every-day customs of life she is but a child. She is not independent, free, energetic. The sun must not shine upon her; she must not breathe the free air, nor bathe her limbs in the clear stream, nor exercise in a healthful and profitable way. She must not go away from her home without a protector; she must not step into the street after nightfall without a watch; she must trail her dress in the mud if others do; hang her bonnet behind her head if it is the fashion; wear a bodiced waist tight as a vice if the milliner says so, and do and submit to a thousand other things equally absurd and wrong. This is her present position. To rise above this position and be what she is capable of being, be strong in mind and purpose, be resolute in the right, be herself untrammeled by custom or law, so far as any being can be in a good society, it requires the culture of energy in the Girlhood of this age. What was once regarded as a sufficient character for a woman, is not enough now. Women are advancing as well as science, mechanics, and men. Young women should remember this. Once it was thought education enough if a woman could read and write a little. Now, she must know a number of things more. The time is not far distant when she must be educated as well as man. So it is in relation to character. Very soon woman must possess energy, self-reliance, force of will and thought, as well as love, or she will be wanting in the essential elements of a noble womanhood. The woman and wife will be quite different at the commencement of the next century from what they were at the commencement of the last. Do the girls understand this? It must be so. The edict has gone out and can not be withdrawn. Woman hails it with joy. She wishes to improve with the advancing age. She would feel sad and look antiquated if the car of progress left her behind. If a few women of this age could be mesmerized and kept in the magnetic state five hundred years, and then unlocked from the somnambulic fetters, how would they compare with the women of that future age? They would be women still, but in character as much antiquated as in custom. This is to be looked for in the very nature of things. We know that woman's education in the future is to be quite different from what it was in the past. We know that the improvements in science and mechanics are making rapid changes in the nature of the labor of life. Women are fast entering into new fields of labor. Who knows but the sewing, cooking, washing, and much else that woman now does, will in a great measure be done by machinery? If so, woman will be left free to employ herself elsewhere. There must be a change. It will probably be for the better. The change will require the culture of new powers or forces in the female character. Woman will rise, not fall. Her character must rise. The young women ought to know it, and be preparing for it. Is the Girlhood of to-day a fit preparation for the duties that will devolve upon the women of the next generation? Parents ought to ask themselves this question. And all young women should consider it well. The elements of a true female character should be carefully studied. It would be well if some strong hand should write out the moral philosophy of Girlhood as a book for schools and academics as well as families, that every young woman might have line upon line and precept upon precept, in the formation of her character. All desire to possess a true character, but all do not know how to acquire it.

A second duty devolves upon Girlhood. It is to preserve its physical health and strength. The richest mind is of but little avail to the world if locked up in a feeble, sickly body. The noblest character would not half make its impression on the world if it was imprisoned in weakness and barricaded with disease. A woman can not be herself unless she possesses physical as well as mental and moral strength. Girlhood has both beauty and strength. Why may they not be carried into womanhood? Shall not the wife and mother retain the beauty and health of the girl? Shall not the woman retain the physical integrity of the girl? There is no good reason why she shall not. Health and strength were made to be life-lasting, or nearly so. So beauty is a rich gift of the Divine Artist given for life. Why should we dissipate it in an hour? It is ungrateful, impious to do it. We ought to prize and retain it as a divine benefaction. God could as well have made Girlhood ugly as beautiful. His wisdom and love chose to make it a model of grace and elegance. Has he laid a necessity upon woman's nature that this beauty shall last but an hour? Far from it. On the other hand, he has made every provision for its preservation. Why, then, is it not preserved? Simply because Girlhood is not instructed in the science of health or life. And this is not so much the fault of young women as it is of parents and society. We study astronomy in all our schools, but where is a class instructed in the economy of health? True, some go through a text-book on physiology, but how meager is the instruction there gleaned relative to the preservation of health, and how few ever think of putting into practice what they do get! When physiologists say that pure air, much exercise, comfortable and airy dress, frequent bathing, sufficient sleep, a plain, simple diet, and regular habits, with a peaceful and active mind, are essential to health, how many young women heed the instruction? Now of what avail will a good character be without health to apply its forces to the work of life? Of what avail is a good boiler and a high pressure of steam to the engineer if his engine is all out of order, so that it has neither strength nor freedom to work? So it is with a good character in a fragile, broken-down body. If there was any other way to use the forces of a good character than through the medium of a physical engine, health would not be a matter of so much importance; but as there is not, it is clear that for all the active, benevolent, and useful purposes of this life, health is about as important as character. Neither is of much utility alone. A boiler pressed full of steam would be useless without an engine to use and apply its forces, and the engine would be as useless without the boiler. Why, then, is Girlhood so prodigal of its health and strength? Why does it imprison itself in close, hot rooms? Why live on a diet that no brute could bear? Why confine every limb and muscle of its body? Why engirdle its waist in warmth and cordage, and expose its feet to every storm and frost, to mud and snow? It is useless to talk, and preach, and write about the value of a good character unless we couple it with an equally earnest lesson about the value of health. It is useless for Girlhood to be anxious about its moral character unless it is equally anxious about its physical character. If we have no right to cultivate a bad character, we have no right to abuse the only means by which a good character can be of use to the world. If we have no moral right to set a bad example before our fellow-men, we have no right to weaken and disease a good physical organization. And it would be difficult to show the reasoning at fault, should we conclude that we have no more moral right to be sick than we have to sin. But we hope to say more on this subject before our work is done.

Still another duty presses upon Girlhood. It relates to a livelihood, to the practical work of pushing its way through life. Woman must eat, wear, be sheltered, educated, protected, warmed, and amused, as much as any other human being. She can not be thus supplied except by charity or her own labor. It is degrading to accept of all life's necessities at the hand of charity. No woman possessed of a genuine womanly character will do it. The character would forbid that she should do it. She must then be independent, or as much so as any are. She must have some livelihood. She must not only have a good character and good health, but an ability to do something for herself and others. Both character and health would be of little avail if she was a shiftless, homeless, useless know-nothing in relation to all the great activities of life, by which we secure the necessaries and comforts of our existence. It is through useful industry and labor that the rarest beauties and forces of character shine. Men show themselves great and good in their professions and callings. The man whose hands are taught no skill, who is trained to no profession, is a ninny, or nearly so. Why is not a woman who is equally useless? Characters must have some way to embody themselves in an outward form to be of service to the world. The best way is in devotion to some useful calling or profession, by which our powers may be called upon for their best efforts in a direction that shall promise a full reward for ourselves and a good surplus for our fellow-men.

Lecture Two.


God a Lover of Beauty—Every thing in the Universe Beautiful—The Admirer of Beauty should Reverence its Author—The Love of Beauty elevating in its Tendency—Its Abuses Fearful—Man a Part of Nature, and God in all—Woman the most Perfect Type of Beauty—Youthful Woman exposed to great Temptation—Beauty a Charming, but Dangerous Gift—The most Beautiful should be the most Pious—Beauty of Person Worthless without Loveliness of Character—"Strong-minded" Women not Beautiful—Beauty the Nurse of Vanity—Value of Character depreciates with Increase of Beauty when substituted for Moral Worth—Beauty only Skin-deep—Beauty Two-fold: Inward and Outward—Inward Beauty shines through—Beauty of Soul made Washington, Josephine, and Channing glorious—Every Woman may be Beautiful—Cheerfulness, Agreeable Manners, a Correct Taste, and Kindness should be Cultivated.

We doubt not that God is a lover of Beauty. We speak reverently. He fashioned the worlds in Beauty, when there was no eye to behold them but his own. All along the wild old forest he has carved the forms of Beauty. Every cliff, and mountain, and tree is a statue of Beauty. Every leaf, and stem, and vine, and flower is a form of Beauty. Every hill, and dale, and landscape is a picture of Beauty. Every cloud, and mist-wreath, and vapor-vail is a shadowy reflection of Beauty. Every spring and rivulet, lakelet, river, and ocean, is a glassy mirror of Beauty. Every diamond, and rock, and pebbly beach is a mine of Beauty. Every sun, and planet, and star is a blazing face of Beauty. All along the aisles of earth, all over the arches of heaven, all through the expanses of the universe, are scattered in rich and infinite profusion the life-gems of Beauty. All natural motion is Beauty in action. The winds, the waves, the clouds, the trees, the birds, the animals, all move beautifully; and beautifully do the joyous light-words of the skies dance their eternal cotillion of glory. From the mote that plays its little frolic in the sunbeam, to the world that blazes along the sapphire spaces of the firmament, are visible the ever-varying features of the enrapturing spirit of Beauty. All this great realm of dazzling and bewildering beauty was made by God. What shall we say then, is he not a lover of Beauty? Is it irreverence thus to speak? No; but rather reverence. What reverent soul does not love to look at God in his works? Go out in the still morning, when the golden gates of day are turning slowly back to let the morning king come in with a great crown of rosy light streaking half around the heavens, on his brow; or at noon, when the whole firmament and the joyous earth are bathed in a golden flood, soft, and warm, and life-inspiring; or at evening, when even the zephyrs are folding up their wings with the little birds, and the trees, and the fields, and the smiling mountain tops are bidding a sweet good-night to their heavenly king as encurtained in diamond glory he sinks to rest; or at night, when the stars come out to keep their vigils over the sleeping earth; go out at such times, and what heart is not bewildered with the sense of Beauty that steals over it like a divine charm? and through that beauty is not carried up to God the beautiful and bountiful author of it all? God hath made every thing beautiful in its time. I envy not him who is undevout in the presence of so much Beauty. How easily can the devout spirit go through nature up to nature's God. Who loves nature should love God. Who admires Beauty should reverence its Author. Natural beauty inspires piety in a good heart. To commune with nature intelligently is to commune with God. Who ever loves a flower, a bird, a landscape view, a rainbow, a star, the blue sky, should love God. God is in them all. He is in the aisles of the forest, the waves of the deep, the solitudes of the mountain, and the fragrance of the green fields. Beauty is of divine origin, and we should admire, ay, and love it too. It should fill us with sweet thoughts of God, with worshipful emotions, with reverent aspirings. The love of Beauty we should cultivate within us as a gift of the good Father, and a shrine at which we may worship him acceptably. He has not given us this delicate sense of Beauty to be neglected. It is our duty to preserve it well and cultivate it diligently. None of us love Beauty too much, if our love is enlightened and devout. He who has no love of Beauty in his soul is a great way from God, and very near the earth, the animal. The love of Beauty is refining and elevating in its tendency. Yet it is too often indulged without a thought of God or a reverent emotion. It is a love which may be united with earthly desires, or with heavenly aspirations. It may lead us downward or upward, according to the use we make of it. It may pander to pride and vanity, lust and appetite, or inspire to virtue, religion, and inward life. It is a love which should be brought within the sphere of moral government as much as the passions of our lower nature. It is a love, too, which perhaps leads as many astray, corrupts as many lives, degrades as many natures, as almost any feeling we possess. Its abuses are fearful in their character and wide in their influence. It is a power of mind lovely to behold, and even when degraded it is like a diamond in the dust. So far as the love of natural things is concerned, there is but little danger of abuse. Nature is always lovely, and always to be admired. She always reminds us of God and our duty; always teaches us our own littleness and frailty, and works upon all our passions a calming subduing influence.

But we may pass from Beauty in nature to Beauty in man. Strictly speaking, man is a part of nature; but by common usage we often speak of nature as distinct from both God and man. Really, man is a part of nature, and God is in it all. Take God away from his works, and where would they be? They would vanish like a body deprived of its soul. Take God out of a flower, and it would wither and vanish in an instant. Take God out of a sun or star, and they would go out as a candle in the wind. Take God out of any thing—a tree, an animal, a man—and it would cease to be. So take God out of nature, and there would be no nature. Not that nature is God, but that there is no nature without God. God is in all things; he pervades, sustains, and moves all things. The laws of nature, of which we often speak, are the arteries and veins which God has made, along which he pours through the great body of his universe the spirit of his infinite being. Man, then, as a part of this nature, is pervaded by God. And here, as elsewhere, he has shown his presence in the surprising Beauty in which he has made his creatures. Yes, man is beautiful; the natural man, undeformed by abuses, is an object of Beauty. We speak of man in the generic sense, as including women also.

Woman, by common consent, we regard as the most perfect type of Beauty on earth. To her we ascribe the highest charms belonging to this wonderful element so profusely mingled in all God's works. Her form is molded and finished in exquisite delicacy of perfection. The earth gives us no form more perfect, no features more symmetrical, no style more chaste, no movements more graceful, no finish more complete; so that our artists ever have and ever will regard the woman-form of humanity as the most perfect earthly type of Beauty. This form is most perfect and symmetrical in the youth of womanhood; so that youthful woman is earth's queen of Beauty. This is true, not only by the common consent of mankind, but also by the strictest rules of scientific criticism.

This being an admitted fact, woman, and especially youthful woman, is laid under strong obligations and exposed to great temptations. Beauty has wonderful charms, and hence it is a dangerous gift. We did not make ourselves physically beautiful. Another hand than ours molded our forms, tinged our faces with the vermilion of life, colored our hair and eyes, bleached our teeth and touched our bodies with that exquisite finish which we call Beauty. Another being than ourselves gave us that mysterious power of mind by which we discern and are charmed by Beauty. Then if Beauty hath charms, if it is a possession which we value, we are under peculiar obligations to its Giver. "Every good and perfect gift cometh down from the Father of lights." This is one. A charming gift conferred for pleasure and profit. Who possesses it should be grateful. Who revels in its charms should be reverent in praise, pure in heart, holy in life, devout in demeanor, beautiful in character. She who is most beautiful should be most moved to a pious character and a useful life. She whose dwelling God hath wrought into the rich fullness of Beauty almost divine, who is spread over with a profusion of charms which no eye can behold without ecstasy, is ungrateful and mean in spirit if she returns not to God the "Beauty of holiness" in her life.

Beauty will not only win for her admiring eyes, but it will win her favor; it will draw hearts toward her; it will awaken tender and agreeable feelings in her behalf; it will disarm the stranger of the peculiar prejudices he often has toward those he knows not; it will pave the way to esteem; it will weave the links to friendship's chain; it will throw an air of agreeableness into the manners of all who approach her. All this her Beauty will do for her before she puts forth a single effort of her own to win the esteem and love of her fellows. All this is the direct, immediate, and agreeable result of a gift from her Father in heaven. How, than, should she feel toward that Father? With what noble gifts of gratitude and love should she seek to repay Him for this rich inheritance of Beauty! How useful, how lovely in spirit should she be! how thankful, how pious, how virtuous, how rich in inward charms! These are what God asks in return. Think of it, young women, as it really is. See God clothing your forms with Beauty, rich and ravishing in its charms; see that Beauty winning for you flowery paths of life, softening all hearts that approach you, making it easy, ay, almost a necessity, for them to love and esteem you; think how much you prize it, and how pleasant it is to your friends; and then think what God asks in return for this lovely gift. It is that you should be beautiful inwardly as He has made you outwardly; that you should be grateful, dutiful, merciful, pure in heart and life, meek, loving, useful, and pious. Does He ask more than what is reasonable? Can you do less than to love Him for the rich endowments he has bestowed upon you, less than to obey his commands, imitate his character, seek instruction from his Son, and be kind and good to his children?

How can you look upon your own forms or see your features in a mirror, without thinking of Him who made you thus? How can you look upon any thing beautiful, or contemplate the sense of Beauty within you, without reverent feelings toward God the Giver of all?

What does your Beauty avail you unless you are beautiful in spirit, lovely in character, useful in life? Ah, it is only a mockery, calling reproaches upon you from all the good, and the reproof of Heaven for your ingratitude! One of the most unpleasant, if we may not say hateful, objects in the world, is a cold, vain, heartless, beautiful woman.

I said that Beauty is a dangerous gift. It is even so. Like wealth, it has ruined its thousands. Thousands of the most beautiful women are destitute of common sense and common humanity. No gift from Heaven is so general and so widely abused by woman as the gift of Beauty. In about mine cases in ten it makes her silly, senseless, thoughtless, giddy, vain, proud, frivolous, selfish, low, and mean. I think I have seen more girls spoiled by Beauty than by any other one thing. "She is beautiful, and she knows it," is as much as to say she is spoiled. A beautiful girl is very likely to believe she was made to be looked at; and so she sets herself up for a show at every window, in every door, on every corner of the street, in every company at which opportunity offers for an exhibition of herself. And believing and acting thus, she soon becomes good for nothing else; and when she comes to be a middle-aged woman she is that weakest, most sickening of all human things—a faded Beauty.

It has long since passed into a proverb, that homely women are good, that plain women have strong common sense. An eminent writer asks, "Who ever saw a handsome talented woman?" There is among us a class of "strong-minded women," brave of heart and deep of soul, high of purpose and pure of life, who are stirring the country from heart to circumference by the sterling powers of womanhood which they possess, and there is not "a beauty" among them. There is a large class of female writers in every enlightened country, over the productions of whose genius the world hangs delighted, but there is not "a beauty" wields the magic pen. There are women engaged in great enterprises of benevolence and piety, reformers, missionaries, teachers who labor and live for the causes in which they are engaged, but scarcely a beauty can be found among them all. But why? Is Beauty uncongenial to talent and worth? By no means. But Beauty is a dangerous gift, and few beautiful women ever seek to develop their minds—ever seek to be any thing more than they are. Worth is made, not given; Beauty is given, not made. Women who have no Beauty make worth. Those who have Beauty are satisfied with that, and seldom make for themselves much worth. The world has paid court to Beauty, and Beauty has foolishly become satisfied with itself, and been willing to be wooed and petted till it has become the weakest of all weak things. I heard of a man of brilliant talents who is said to have been ruined by the possession of a beautiful head, adorned with a beautiful covering of hair. He was a minister of the Gospel, and entered upon his sacred office with a bright promise of usefulness. He was so much enamored of his own head, that when he walked the street he carried his hat in his hand much of the way, apparently to wipe his forehead, or in seeming thoughtfulness, yet all the while to show his pretty head to the people he met. This weakness soon permeated his whole character, and rendered it vain, imbecile, trifling, and ignoble. In a little while he died a ministerial death—and died of nothing but a beautiful head. God had richly endowed him with brilliant qualities of mind and great beauty of person, and he returned only vanity and weakness for these gifts. Oh, how weak is man! Die of Beauty! Die a moral death, or live a useless, foolish life because he is wickedly vain of God's gifts! Beauty is full often the nurse of vanity, and vanity is the bane of womanhood. I am sorry to say it, and more sorry because it is so. It is a pity that so lovely a gift from the Hand Divine should be so wickedly perverted. Beauty ought to inspire rather than weaken its possessor, ought to elevate rather than depress her. And it would, if woman-life was rightly appreciated, if the woman-soul was rightly taught, and the woman-heart of humanity rightly awakened to its grand capacities and duties. Woman is not alone to blame for this strange and wicked fire kindled on the altar of Beauty. Man is as guilty as she. He has praised Beauty and foolishly smiled upon it. He has chosen it for his companion. He has passed by worth in search of Beauty. So he has helped women to be vain and trifling. He has not sought to ennoble her heart so much as to weaken it with flatteries. And he together with her has suffered as a consequence. Man and woman rise and fall together. What injures or benefits one does the same to the other.

Take fifty of the most beautiful young ladies that any town affords, and put them in one company. You would of course have the belles of the town. What would they talk about? What would they think about? What would they do? They are as richly endowed with mind as any other fifty girls in town, but how would they show it? Only in an exhibition of their personal beauty. You know, young women, that common sense would have to play "hide-and-seek" in that company. You know that follies and trifles, fooleries, fashions, foibles, and failings, would occupy their whole minds. Then let fifty of the young men with whom they are in the habit of associating enter into their company, and what an exhibition of Beauty and display would follow! Not one of them would try so much to show her good sense as her pretty face. Let good sense sit back and look on, and methinks it would be not a little disgusted.

Take fifty of the plainest young women from the same circles in our town, and place them under similar circumstances, and, if I mistake not, their behavior would be much more genteel and becoming, their conversation much more interesting and intelligent, and their feelings much more refined and noble. Am I wrong in this supposition? If I am wrong, I have read woman-life to a poor purpose.

I have often seen sisters, one of whom was plain and the other handsome, and almost invariably I have found the plain one more sensible and kind, less vain and frivolous. Indeed, I have generally found value of character to depreciate with increase of Beauty.

Why is it so? Is Beauty connected with less natural endowments of mind, less kindness of heart? By no means. Is Beauty an evil in itself considered? By no means. Is it morally corrupting? Not of itself. The fault is with those who possess it. They abuse the lovely gift. They attempt to make it answer in the place of good sense. They weigh it against goodness of heart, and find it woefully wanting. They substitute it for moral worth, put it in the place of refinement of manners, try to make it win for them the esteem and love which can be given only to a cultivated and noble spirit. And for all these purposes it utterly fails. Besides this abuse of it, they usually become vain, proud, silly, and frivolous. It need not be so, but it generally is so. I have often noticed that people are not generally so vain of their own attainments as they are of the gifts of God. A beautiful woman is more vain of her beauty than she is of her personal attainments. A talented man is more likely to be vain of his natural talents than of the culture he has given them. A rich singer is more likely to be vain of his voice than of what he has done to train it. So it is generally; we are more apt to be vain of what God does for us than of what we do for ourselves. It is so with the possessor of personal Beauty, and hence beautiful women are so tempted to vanity and a neglect of all useful culture of mind and heart. They think their Beauty will carry them through the world, and they need not strive for worth of character; they may neglect the ordinary means of culture and improvement, forgetting that a good heart, a true life, a cultivated mind, and a noble soul can have no possible substitutes; forgetting that Beauty will soon fade, that nothing makes old age beautiful but worth, and that another life succeeds this that Beauty of body can not enter, and in which Beauty of soul is honored and cherished as of eternal worth.

These facts have long since taught sensible men to beware of beautiful women—to sound them carefully before they give them their confidence. Beauty is shallow—only skin-deep; fleeting—only for a few years' reign; dangerous—tempting to vanity and lightness of mind; deceitful—dazzling often to bewilder; weak—reigning only to ruin; gross—leading often to sensual pleasure. And yet we say it need not be so. Beauty is lovely, and ought to be innocently possessed. It has charms which ought to be used for good purposes. It is a delightful gift, which ought to be received with gratitude and worn with grace and meekness. It should always minister to inward Beauty. Every woman of beautiful form and features should cultivate a beautiful mind and heart.

Beauty is two-fold. It is inward and outward. We have been speaking of outward Beauty. We would now dwell upon inward Beauty—Beauty of spirit, soul, mind, heart, life. There is a Beauty which perishes not. It is such as the angels wear. It forms the whitewashed robes of the saints. It wreathes the countenance of every doer of good. It adorns every honest face. It shines in the virtuous life. It molds the hands of charity. It sweetens the voice of sympathy. It sparkles on the brow of wisdom. It flashes in the eye of love. It breathes in the spirit of piety. It is the Beauty of the heaven of heavens—the Beauty of God and his Son—the Beauty of "eternal life," "incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away." It is not a meteor flashing to deceive; not a glow-worm, shining to fade; not a glitter, leading to bewilder; not a charm, working to tempt. No. It is positive, real, lovely, delightful, glorious, and eternal. It is the life of goodness, the spirit of love, the brilliance of virtue. It is that which may grow by the hand of culture in every human soul. It is the flower of the spirit which blossoms on the tree of life. Every soul may plant and nurture it in its own garden, in its own Eden. It is Eden renewed—Paradise regained. Every one may have an Eden—a garden of Eden in his own soul. That is where the first garden was. It is where the second must be. And that second when complete will be heaven. This is the capacity for Beauty that God has given to the human soul, and this the Beauty placed within the reach of us all. We may all be beautiful. Though our forms may be uncomely and our features not the prettiest, our spirits may be beautiful. And this inward beauty always shines through. A beautiful heart will flash out in the eye. A lovely soul will glow in the face. A sweet spirit will tune the voice and wreathe the countenance in charms. Oh, there is a power in interior Beauty that melts the hardest hearts! I see it in a mother's love; I see it in a sister's tenderness; I see it in the widow's mite of charity; in the wife's bosom of burning truthfulness; in the devotion of the saint; in the strong purpose, the noble resolve, the dauntless ambition for good. I see it in the affectionate home, the congenial companionship, in the trusting heart of friendship, and most of all in the Christian spirit and life. How this beauty wins us, charms us, ravishes our souls. Our hardness all melts before it. Could Washington come here, and we all stand up in his presence, how we should forget the Beauty or ugliness of our forms, and all be moved by the grand and eternal Beauty of his spirit! Could Josephine, the empress of the French, stand in our presence, how the plumes of our vanity would come down and the lightness of our frivolity depart before the charms of her wisdom and virtue! Could the matchless Mrs. Hemans rise before us in her peerless Beauty of soul, how little should we prize the fleeting Beauty of these mortal bodies, and how ashamed should we be of our foolish pride and thoughtlessness! Could we invite before us the departed Channing, Mayo, Weare, and gaze for one little moment at the effulgence of virtue and goodness that made them the charmed centers of their wide circles of influence and usefulness, how mean should we feel that we ever thought so much of our pretty forms and faces, and so little of that Beauty which is a fadeless power and a glorious life in the soul! It was not Beauty of person that made these men and women so glorious in their day, and so grand in the memories of the generations that follow them. It was Beauty of soul. So all about us we have men and women who are living charms in their families and in their circles of associations; but it is not their Beauty of person that makes them so. It is another Beauty, inward, living, powerful, which charges their wisdom, sweetens their actions with love, and tempers their lives with piety. Oh, how lovely it makes them! We gaze upon them with reverence. We never once think of their outward Beauty. No, it would be sacrilege to do so. They have a higher Beauty. We see it playing on their faces; we feel it in the charm of their presence, and hear it in the music of their voices. It is the Beauty of virtue, wisdom, goodness, magnanimity, meekness, piety. There is a cultured finish in their actions, a refined sweetness in their manners, a chastened delicacy and power in their lives which give them their Beauty.

This is the Beauty, young women, to which I would invite your admiring attention. Now, in the May-morning of your lives, you should search for the flowery wreaths of spiritual Beauty. If God has arrayed your persons in the elegance of rich proportions and lively colorings, be thankful, and make this outward Beauty the symbol of one more rich, lasting, and priceless within which you will seek to adorn your minds. If your forms and features are not attractive, then be thoughtful that you may cultivate your minds, enrich your hearts, beautify your spirits, make useful your lives without the temptations of an alluring outward loveliness. Beautiful or not beautiful, it matters little so the mind be cultivated, the heart subdued, and the life right. Nothing is more important to young women than that they should early learn to distinguish between outward and inward attractions, to place a proper estimate upon each. The true woman-beauty is inward; that which makes the woman attractive, lovely, useful, esteemed, loved, and happy, and is deeper than the color on her cheeks or the form of her person. It is in her mind, and is attainable by her own exertions. Every woman may be beautiful. Every young woman may shine, attract, and be admired and loved. She has only to be lovely in spirit and life, to be good and useful, cheerful and agreeable.

Cheerfulness is a Beauty which every body admires. A cheerful spirit is a continual feast. It smiles its way through life. It wins crowns for its possessor. It makes and gives happiness. All sunshine and flowers is a cheerful heart. It shines in perpetual spring. Its birds are ever singing, and its joys ever new. Every young woman may cultivate a cheerful spirit, and throw its charm around her associates. Agreeable manners is another Beauty of spirit which charms every body. It is the product of a kind heart and a refined taste. We can not describe it, though we all know what it is. It is one of the charming graces of cultivated womanhood. All who will, may possess it. But they can not do it without effort, culture, and constant watchfulness over the impulses and habits. To possess agreeableness of manners they must have a correct taste. This is an inward Beauty of rare loveliness. It grows out of a good judgment and an informed mind. Ignorance and awkwardness are usually found together. Every young woman may inform her mind, enrich her judgment, and thus correct and discipline her taste. She may read; she may think; she may act; she may imitate the good and wise; she may restrain her folly; curb her impulses; subdue her passions; awaken good aspirations, and thus by persevering effort she may acquire a correct taste.

Then she may cultivate kindness of heart. She may seek to do good to all, to feel for their sufferings, pity their weakness, assuage their griefs, assist them in their trials, and breath everywhere the spirit of a kind heart.

Thus she may make herself beautiful in spirit. And she may rest assured that that Beauty will win her laurels of life and joy. It will soon become apparent to all with whom she associates. It will come out and sit like a queen on her person. It will speak in all her words and actions. She will move amid enchantment. No deformity of body can conceal a beautiful spirit. It will shine through an ugly face, a shriveled form, a bad complexion. Nothing made of clay can hide it. No beauty of person can conceal deformity of spirit. A bad temper will look hateful in the prettiest face. A hollow heart will sound its dirge of woe through the most perfectly organized form. Peering through all outward Beauty is seen the hateful demon of a bad heart. Shining through all bodily deformity are always visible the angel faces of the virtues that cluster in a beautiful spirit. All wise young women will rest not till they possess the Beauty of spirit.

Lecture Three.


Religion and Dress—Variety in Nature—Dress should not be Injurious—Present Customs Unhealthy, Slovenly, and Immodest—A Subject of Religious Consideration—Suicide vs. Providence—Foolish Vanity—Taste an Element of Mind—Dress should be Symbolical—Woman should Elevate her Aims—Appropriate Dress Admirable.

Comfort, taste, and religion agree that Dress is one of the proprieties of civilized and Christian life. If religion reaches a part, it does the whole of life. If it should direct us anywhere, it should in the matter of Dress. There are few things upon which people are more liable to err, and about which there is more wrong feeling than this. Many religious sects have seen this, and have attempted to bring the matter of Dress wholly under the ban of ecclesiastical direction. In this they were partly right and partly in error. They were right in believing that religion should extend a fostering and restraining care over the subject of Dress; but wrong in believing that it should Dress all in the same manner. Our Quaker brethren, the Friends, than whom no purer and better people have ever lived—noble followers of the lowly Prince of Peace—the truest friends that humanity has ever found since the days of the Apostles, or that Jesus has ever had in the earth—the world-renowned speakers of the sweet, plain language which hath the charm of divinity within it, and in which love always chooses to express its tender emotions—adopted the idea that religion should extend its sway over the subject of Dress. In this they did well; but, in my humble opinion, erred in putting the shears into the hands of sectarianism to cut every man's Dress by exactly the same pattern, and to choose it all from the same grand web of drab. It is sectarianism, and not religion, which would Dress every man alike. That is making Dress the badge of the order. Any thing put on outwardly to tell the world to what sect you belong is an evidence of sectarianism, and not of religion. The Quaker wears the sign of his sect all over his body. The drunkard wears his on his face. The Catholic wears his in his beads and cross. If God had designed that all men should dress in one color, methinks he would have made them all of one complexion; and not only so, but would have colored nature in that peculiar hue—would have clothed all the forests, fields, flowers, birds, and skies in that color, and have fitted every man's taste to enjoy it.

If He had designed every man to cut his Dress in one form, after one model, I see not why he did not fashion nature after that pattern, and make that peculiar curve, and cast the grand leading ones in all his works, and fit the universal taste to that form. But, on the contrary, nature is robed in every variety of color and form; the human taste is equally diversified, and the forms and complexions of men are not less various.

It is clear to my mind that we may reason from this, that men not only may, but should dress in different forms and colors and after differing styles. What is pleasing to some men's taste is and ever will be displeasing to others. Taste is an inherent quality in our minds. We naturally possess tastes peculiar to ourselves, and no amount of culture can make these differing tastes agreeably harmonious. Some tastes revel in the gay, others in the grave, others in the changing. Some delight in high colors, others in subdued; some in diversity, others in sameness. There is nothing irreligious in this difference in taste. Each one is equally gratified in God's beautiful and diversified works. The grave and golden clouds, the dark and rosy tints of the sunset sky, the gorgeous rainbow and the modest Aurora, the flashing flower and the lowly heather, the towering pine and the creeping vine, the rich green field of summer and the calm gray forest of winter, the thousand million forms of the hill-and-dale landscape, and the equally diversified colors and forms of birds and beasts, confer the richest feasts of pleasure upon every variety of natural taste.

Looking thus upon the panoramic field of God's works, we must conclude that he has taken especial care to gratify the varying tastes of his creatures. And more than this; we must conclude that He himself has an infinite taste, which finds an infinite pleasure in making and viewing this magnificent universe of flashing splendor and somber sweetness, this field on field, system beyond system, far off where human eye can never reach, all shining and moving in an infinite variety of forms, colors and movements. Moreover, we can not but feel that God is a lover of Dress. He has put on robes of beauty and glory upon all his works. Every flower is dressed in richness; every field blushes beneath a mantle of beauty; every star is vailed in brightness; every bird is clothed in the habiliments of the most exquisite taste. The cattle upon the thousand hills are dressed by the Hand Divine. Who, studying God in his works, can doubt that he will smile upon the evidence of correct taste manifested by his children in clothing the forms he has made them? Who can doubt that Dress is a matter properly coming within purview of religion? Religion is what we learn of God. It is human imitation of the Divinity. "Be ye perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect."

Now what I mean by Dress coming under the direction of religion is, that our manners and style of Dress shall not interfere with the principles of true religion, shall not injure the body, corrupt the heart, debase the mind of the individual; shall not degrade society, nor work any evil influence in it, but, on the contrary, shall do good both to the individual and society. Now let us ask whether our present modes of Dress are thus brought under the direction of religious principles?

First: Do our modes of Dress injure our bodies? In this, young women, you may be judges. Are your forms permitted to expand as God designed them? Are your organs and limbs and muscles permitted their full and proper play? Is your blood in no way impeded in its life-mission through your bodies? Are you protected from the winter's cold, from wind and wet at all points, as you should be? Can you breathe freely and easily the proper amount of air to oxygenate your blood and give you health and strength? If so, what mean the languid faces, the sallow countenances, the pale cheeks, the wasp-like forms, the rounded shoulders, the bent spines, the feeble lungs, the short breathings, the cold feet, the hampered step, the neuralgic pains, the hysteric nervousness, the weak sides, the frailty, weakness, and painfulness so prevalent among women? What mean the head-aches, and liver-complaints, and consumptions, and neuralgias, and the troublesome ailments of your sex from which scarcely a woman of you is free? Those strings which bind so closely your chests, do they not impede your breathing, and thus weaken your lungs and corrupt your systems? Those dresses hooked so closely that every seam in them gapes as in agony, giving you so much the appearance of convicts in strait jackets, are they not in the way when you want to breathe a full breath, and do they permit the exercise of all the muscles that strive for life within them? That enormous weight of skirts that you hang over portions of your bodies that should be choicely protected instead of burdened, how they hang down like so many dead weights on your vitality, weakening and diseasing the most delicate economy of your fearfully and wonderfully made systems! and how your whole frames are taxed every day of your lives with this wrongly placed and worse than useless burden. This alone is enough to bring premature disease and death to any ordinary woman. The law of health demands that the extremities of our bodies should be kept warm and well protected, while the parts containing our vital economy should be only comfortably clothed and left free to the most natural and easy action, well ventilated or exposed to the ingress and egress of the atmosphere, without any local pressures or means for unnatural warmth. Only think of wearing a thick, heavy girdle of many pounds' weight around the whole zone of the abdominal region—a sort of engirdling poultice, heating and pressing like a girdle of hot lava, day after day and year after year! Is it a wonder that you have so many weaknesses and pains and saddening afflictions upon you? And then your feet treading these cold pavements, this damp earth, these frozen or wet walks, in slippers and silk or cotton stockings! The very part of your bodies of all others you should keep most warm and dry, you expose to every wind and frost, water-pool and snow-storm, in the year; sit through the whole winter with them on cold floors, where every door-crack and floor-crack is breathing in upon them cold, damp breaths from cellars or streets while perhaps your heads are hot in a dry stove air, and your lungs are breathing an atmosphere so hot and close that it has scarcely a breath of life in it, and all the while you say you are comfortably dressed!

And then, to make the matter still worse, you trail your bedrabbled dress into all the mud and water and tobacco filth on the yard's width you occupy in walking, exhibiting the strangest spectacle of civilized humanity that can well be imagined, a woman claiming good sense, sweeping the streets all about her to make cold and wet her already almost bare feet and ankles!

Nor is this all. These damp winter winds bathe many a bare arm, kiss wantonly many an unprotected neck, and visit rudely many a bosom only veiled with a gossamer gauze. To say nothing of such an exposure to every lewd eye that roves the street, and the unwomanly impudence it offers to every modest gaze, it is a hazardous, wicked, criminal exposure of health, and a total neglect of all the ends and uses of Dress. And then, to crown all, you go out in all weathers with your heads exposed to the fiercest blasts, all unbonneted; for Webster says a bonnet is a covering for the head; but few are the women's heads we have seen covered this season—and then wonder why you should have such terrible colds, such troublesome coughs, such griping pleurisies, such burning fevers, and so many ailments!

Now, I ask again, and you shall be judges, young women, if your modes of Dress do not injure your bodies? Do they answer the ends of Dress? Any one who has given the subject a moment's judicious consideration must see that there has been and still is a fearful departure from the real uses of Dress. The primary object of Dress is to clothe and make comfortable the body, so that it may be the peaceful and happy dwelling-place of the spirit in its earthly pilgrimage. But filling it with disease is not making it comfortable. Hampering it in fetters is not making it comfortable.

I have referred to a few of the most prominent evils of our present mode of female Dress. Now, let me ask, if our women would dress warmly and securely from wind and wet, yet not in too close confinement, their feet and limbs; if they would shorten their skirts so they would swing clear of wet, mud, filth, and passing obstacles; diminish their number and dimensions, so that their weight would not be burdensome, and suspend them from the shoulders, instead of girting them around the abdominal and spinal regions; would give their chests a free and easy play; would cover their heads, arms, and necks whenever exposed to cold and damp weather or night air, and would always seek to be clothed easily and comfortably, giving always a sufficiently free circulation of air between their dresses and bodies, to carry off the constant exhalations going out from every living body; if they would thus dress, would they not be far more healthy, happy, and useful? Would the roses not return to their cheeks, the full, swelling beauties of woman's strength to their forms?

This subject has weighty moral and religious considerations connected with it. Have we any moral right thus to abuse our bodies, thus to commit a snail-working suicide? What matters it, so far as the guilt is concerned, whether we kill ourselves in a minute or a year, a year or an age? We have more suicides among us than we sometimes imagine. The young miss goes out in a cold night, with bare arms and head and neck, and wafer-like slippers on her feet, with her waist engirded in cords and whalebones, and her load of burdensome skirts, and dances in high glee two thirds of the night; then, with a vail on her head and her under-garments not yet dry from the recent perspiration, she goes to her cold chamber and bed, to get a troubled sleep, and awaken in a fever which carries her to her grave. Then round her mutilated body gather her mourning friends to bid it a long farewell and hear her minister talk of the inscrutable ways of God's providence. Call it by what name you will, to me it is suicide. Another, by daily exposures in wet and cold and change of climate in the common woman-dress, takes cold after cold, till a consumption fastens upon her lungs and she slowly passes away. Another circle of mourners weep, and another minister talks of the inscrutable ways of God; but to me it is still another case of suicide. Another passes through the common lot of girlhood, with the common succession of colds and coughs, fevers and pains; in due time marries, with her chest cramped into half its proper dimensions, her lungs small and weak, her female economy all diseased and weakened by the abuses of dress and exposure. At length the period of maternity approaches. Too weak to sustain its labors and burdens, she dies amid them. Friends come weeping again, and the minister condoles them with the sad old story of God's inscrutable ways. But to me it is not inscrutable. It is another case of suicide. Could the grave-yards all over the country speak, they would utter fearful tales of this suicidal abuse of Dress.

The second question is, Do our ideas of Dress corrupt our hearts? One may almost worship at the shrine of Dress. Many are the young ladies whose thoughts rise no higher than the dress they wear and the bonnet that decks their heads. If they can be hung over with gewgaws and tinselry, if plumes shall tremble on their heads, silks shall rustle about them, and jewels shine wherever they go, to catch every eye and bewilder every passer-by, they fancy they are in the upper-ten of womanhood. Vain! The peacock, whose little heart is one beating pulse of vanity, is not half so vain as they. Giddy, trifling, empty, vapid, cold, moonshine women, whose souls can perch on a plume, and whose only ambition is to be a traveling advertisement for the men and women who traffic in what they wear, are many who flaunt in satins and glitter in diamonds. How many such there are we would not say. But I doubt not, that not a little like them are many who are otherwise women. They love Dress; love it inordinately; love it when they ought to love something worthier; and spend their time, and thoughts, and mind, and heart, and money on what they shall wear. The fashion-plate is their profoundest study. The science of dressing is the only one they care to know. The cut of a collar is a matter of sublime importance. How much of this foolish vanity there is in the world! How many otherwise good women does it spoil! And now the question with every young woman should be, How do I feel about my dress? Is it a matter too bright in my eye—a subject too important in my mind? Am I vain of my dress? Does it corrupt my heart, take my attention from virtue, from mental improvement, from the graces of a good life, from religion, from my Saviour, and my God? Do I devote thoughts to Dress that ought to be given to the great problems of duty, life, womanhood, to the development and culture of my powers of heart and mind; to science, conversation, language, and the objects of living? Why am I? Why do I live? To what end? Is there a great object in my being? Have I any thing to do in its attainments? Does my love of Dress interfere with the true objects of woman-life? This is the questioning mind which every young woman should possess. Now let me ask, Does not your love of Dress lead you from the great ends of woman-life? Are you not taken captives by the glitter of Dress? sold bond-slaves to your bonnets and shoes?

Oh, what a fearful waste of time and talent is given to the frivolity and vanity of dress! what a sacrifice of soul and body, principle and life, is made upon its altar!

What multitudes of young women waste all that is precious in life on the finified fooleries of the toilet. How the soul of womanhood is dwarfed and shriveled by such trifles, kept away from the great fields of active thought and love by the gewgaws she hangs on her bonnet! How light must be that thing which will float on the sea of passion—a bubble, a feather, a puff-ball! And yet multitudes of women float there, live there, and call it life. Poor things! Scum on the surface! But there is a truth, young women; woman was made for a higher purpose, a nobler use, a grander destiny. Her powers are rich and strong; her genius bold and daring. She may walk the fields of thought, achieve the victories of mind, spread around her the testimonials of her worth, and make herself known and felt as man's co-worker and equal in whatsoever exalts mind, embellishes life, or sanctifies humanity.

But notwithstanding Dress has fascinated so many thousands, and led them down the paths of vanity and frivolity, it is still a means of culture, an instrumentality in the hands of virtue, an evidence of civilization. It addresses itself to the taste, and affords opportunity for its improvement. Taste is an element of mind. It is the spring-source of the fine arts, of all the embellishments of life, of poetry, and all that pertains to elegant literature. It is the grand refiner of life. Whatsoever cultivates the taste, develops properly its activities, and refines and elevates its pleasures, does a good office for man. And this is just the proper office of Dress. It is true that Dress has a mission, a good one, a moral one, ay, a religious one. It is a refiner, a cultivator, a subduer of coarseness, barbarity, rudeness. Pity the soul that has no taste for Dress. The Dress of a man speaks out his soul. In other words, a man is known by his Dress; not by its richness, not by its conformity to fashion, but by its neatness, appropriateness, harmony, and the way he carries it. A clown will carry a king's dress clownishly; and a true king will carry a clown's dress kingishly. It is not the Dress that makes the man, but the man that makes the Dress.

Every state of society is manifest in its Dress. The savage is fond of gewgaws, glitter, paint, feathers, colors, mere show, with little or no reference to utility or taste. The barbarian approaches one step nearer the true standard. He exhibits a faint idea of utility and taste; he subdues and blends colors, puts ornaments into use, and varies his Dress a little to suit circumstances. The civilized man shows more taste, less ambition for glowing colors, a greater skill in making, a better idea of fitness and propriety. The enlightened man is more grave in the character of his Dress, wears less ornaments, admits none save where it combines utility and taste, is chaste, subdued, harmonious, classical in every thing that pertains to Dress. We can not yet lay full claims to an enlightened Dress. Our female Dress is a half barbaric costume—a rude mixture of ornament and utility, in which ornament greatly predominates.

Our soldier's Dress, very appropriately, retains all the elements of savagism—high colors, sharp contrasts, profuseness of ornament. This is as it should be. But every enlightened man should regret that our female Dress is not more grave, classical, chaste, subdued, and appropriate, combining taste and utility, refinement and strength. A woman in full street Dress, with her profusion of ornaments, her flounces and fly-about gewgaws, is a very poor representation of good sense, refinement, and cultured, classic taste. If our artists should carve and paint their master-pieces in such taste, we should pronounce it barbarism at once.

I would gladly pursue this theme, and trace the office of Dress in all its operations as a reforming and refining agent, and show how to improve our tastes, correct our judgments, and utilize and at the same time beautify our dresses. But time will not permit. I will only say in addition, that the love of Dress, when properly used, is noble; when abused, is evil; when wisely directed, it combines utility and beauty; when abused, it possesses neither.

But the idea which I am most anxious to impress upon the minds of young women, is the symbolic use of Dress, is the fact that they have minds to dress as well as bodies. Our outward Dress should be symbolic of an inward Dress. While we toil to robe in beauty these perishing bodies, we should labor more industriously to adorn those immortal qualities which shall wear their adornments when a new heaven and a new earth shall succeed to those that now are. This is the point at which young women err more than elsewhere. They labor to dress the body, and sadly neglect the soul. O what a fearful dearth of soul-dress, of mental adornment, of interior beauty there is among young women! Scarcely can one in ten of them speak their mother-tongue correctly, converse intelligibly ten minutes upon any subject of common interest, write a simple business or friendly letter correctly, or comprehend the simplest natural sciences. What do they know of mechanics, science, literature, government, theology, history, reform—the great questions that stir the world of mind? How little, how little! There are some noble exceptions to this remark, I know. But we must not disguise the fact, that there is a fearful want of mental culture among young woman. They give forty thoughts to dressing their bodies to one for their minds; they spend forty dollars for bonnets, shoes, and clothes to one for books, instruction, and improvement; they give forty hours to toilet to one to solid study and serious reflection; they put forty adornments upon their persons to one upon their minds. How sad the thought! Compare a well-dressed body with a well-dressed mind. Compare a taste for dress with a taste for knowledge, culture, virtue, and piety. Dress up an ignorant young woman in the "height of fashion;" put on plumes and flowers, diamonds and gewgaws; paint her face and girt up her waist, and I ask you if this side of a painted feathered savage you can find any thing more unpleasant to behold. And yet just such young women we meet by the hundred every day on the street and in all our public places. It is awful to think of. Why is it so? It is only because woman is regarded as a doll to be dressed—a plaything to be petted—a house ornament to exhibit—a thing to be used and kept from crying with a sugar-plum show.

She must learn that she has a great soul, a great mission, a great duty, and a great power, before she will break away from the bonds of the toilet and be herself. Woman by nature is no more a toilet puppet than man. Her mental and moral duties are equal to his. Her powers of mind and heart are equal to his. Her field of labor it is wide as his. Her time is as precious as his. It is as important that her soul should grow as his. She has as much need of knowledge, wisdom, courage, strength of mind and purpose, as much need of all the powers and beauties of a cultured soul, as he. Why should she not adorn her mind, develop her powers, live to a high purpose, act well a noble part, do and be according to her capacity? Let young women elevate their aims; give less time to the toilet, more to study, duty, and active employment; regard themselves as something more than dolls, as something intelligent, useful, to be improved, to grow wise and great. Let them dress their minds in wisdom, adorn their hearts with virtue, clothe their souls with strength, with the majesty of noble purposes and high resolutions, and they will soon be something more than automatons on which the milliner and mantua-maker hang their wares.

I have written plainly rather than flatteringly, and I have done so because I believe the time has fully come when woman should be a woman, and not a mere gaudy appendage to man; when her soul should wake up from its long lethargy and put on the habiliments of wisdom and usefulness; when she should live to a grander purpose than she has done, and should make her power felt more sensibly in the morality and religion, business and bosom, of the world. I am not a disregarder of the beauties and proprieties of Dress. On the contrary, I admire appropriate Dress. It speaks out the man or woman. But I would have everybody feel that the man makes the Dress. Almost any thing looks well on a noble woman. The plainest Dress becomes agreeable when worn by a person of grand purpose and good-doing life. Real life when unadorned is most adorned. Noble womanhood is always beautiful. The world always has and always will admire it. The richest Dress is always worn on the soul. The adornments that will not perish, and that all men most admire, shine from the heart through this life. God has made it our highest, holiest duty to dress the soul he has given us. It is wicked to waste it in frivolity. It is a beautiful, undying, precious thing. If every young woman would think of her soul when she looks in the glass, would hear the cry of her naked mind when she dallies away her precious hours at her toilet, would listen to the sad moaning of her hollow heart, as it wails through her idle, useless life, something would be done for the elevation of womanhood. I hope I address those who appreciate my words and my feelings. Above almost every thing else do I desire woman's elevation in the moral and intellectual scale of life. You may not see the mental or moral nakedness of the mass of our young women as I do; you may not hear the pleading voice of religion as I do; but I trust you do see your need of higher purposes in life, and more active usefulness; I trust you do see that you have souls to dress and hearts to adorn, and will attend to this, your highest duty.

Lecture Four.


Fashion made Superior to Health—Fashionable Religion—Unfashionable Ministers—Votaries of Fashion Despise it—Fashionable Women Short-lived—Mothers of Great Men Unfashionable—Woman's Greatness shown in Offspring—Example of Women of Fashion—Apostrophe to Fashion—Appeal to American Women—Nature in Freedom's Temple—Fashion Is Monotonous—Woman needs more Freedom.

Woman is accused of being the dupe of Fashion. Her fashionable follies are paraded in every public print; her dry-goods propensities are talked of in every circle where she is not truly respected, and in many where she is; her Parisian proclivities are made the butt of very general ridicule, and the dignity of her character is not a little lowered by her too great intimacy with fashion plates and dandy shops. Though, perhaps, man is as much to blame for this as woman—for she seeks to please him, and courts his smiles more than the smiles of all the gods of Fashion—still she must bear her part of the blame—I ought to say guilt—of this terrible and reckless folly.

It is a great fault with American woman, that they worship so blindly at the shrine of Fashion. They sacrifice taste and comfort, time and money, health and happiness, character and life, on this graceless and godless altar, What shopping—what trimming—what sewing and stuffing and padding—what bowing and scraping—what simpering and oiling and scenting—what cooking and spicing and preserving—what eating and sipping and drinking—what wasting and lying and cheating—what gossiping, slandering, and abusing—what forging, straining, and overreaching—what miserable time-serving and eye-serving at the expense of all that is pure and noble in the human heart and life, are resorted to keep pace with the changing moods of Fashion! What is there in our highly civilized life that escapes the palsying touch of Fashion? Dress, what is it? Fashion from head to foot. No matter if it outrages all physiology, puts hands around the lungs, gauze on the feet, and hangs multitudinous skirts upon the most vital and yielding portions of the female system. What of all that? Fashion is superior to health and life. What if it shrivel a woman into a mummy, and fade her into a ghost, and plant in her vitals the never-dying worm of consumption! What is beauty and physical womanhood to Fashion? Who would not rather fade at twenty-five, and die at thirty, than to be out of the Fashion?

Food, what is it good for if it is not in Fashion? If it is not greased and peppered, shortened and raised, concentrated and almost distilled, and then taken at hours of ton, and in wholesale quantities, of what avail is it? Better have the dyspepsia than eat coarse bread! What woman would not rather have a nervous debility than dispense with hot coffee and strong tea? Then, to refuse roast beef and baked ham would be very ungenteel! A bilious attack would be much more fashionable. It would be unwomanly not to have an animal die every time she was hungry, so that her life might pick the bones of death. It is very poetical to realize that life flowers on the sepulcher of death.

Friendship, its links must be forged on Fashion's anvil, or it is good for nothing. How shocking to be friendly with an unfashionable lady! It will never do. How soon one would lose caste! No matter if her mind is a treasury of gems, and her heart a flower-garden of love, and her life a hymn of grace and praise, it will not do to walk on the streets with her, or intimate to anybody that you know her. No, one's intimate friend must be a la mode. Better bow to the shadow of a belle's wing than rest in the bosom of a "strong-minded" woman's love.

And Love, too, that must be fashionable. It would be unpardonable to love a plain man whom Fashion could not seduce, whose sense of right dictated his life, a man who does not walk perpendicular in a standing collar, and sport a watch-fob, and twirl a cane. And then to marry him would be death. He would be just as likely to sit down in the kitchen as in the parlor; and might get hold of the wood-saw as often as the guitar; and very likely he would have the baby right up in his arms and feed it and rock it to sleep. A man who will make himself useful about his own home is so exceedingly unfashionable; that it will never do for a lady to marry him. She would lose caste at once.

Religion, too, must be fashionable to be of any worth. What is a church out of Fashion? Who goes there? God never will hear a prayer in such a church, nor pardon a penitent, nor give grace to a striving soul. That antiquated pulpit! Those plain old pews! That queer-looking gallery! Oh, yes; the pews are very comfortable; the singing sounds most admirably; the preaching is God's unvarnished truth quickened by divine love and mercy. Oh, how it would melt one's soul if it was only in a fashionable church. And then the minister. He is such a plain man, and says such plain things; he is all the time talking about such every-day matters, and makes one feel so ashamed because he seems to know just what we have all been doing and thinking about. Instead of preaching about Babylon and Belshazzar, and pouring out his eloquence upon the antediluvians and the glorious company in heaven, he aims every word right at us, and gets so earnest about our daily sins that he really makes one's heart ache. It is unpleasant to listen to such a minister unless one can really forget the world and go with him into his spiritual idea of life. Then he does not try to please the ladies enough. He talks to them just as plainly as to the men. He is always wanting to have them do something that is not pleasant, go to see some poor person, teach some ragged little urchins, give up some fashionable way of life, read some book on duty or some homily on fashionable sins. True, he is a very kind man, the kindest man in all the parish all admit. He never speaks an unpleasant word to any body; it is said he spends half his salary for the poor, and visits them a great deal, and spends much of his time in trying to reform the wicked and dissolute. The common kind of people think he is a great man, and they flock to hear him, and love him strangely. But fashionable people do not go there much, and he gets a poor living. One may know that by his poor dress and small house. So it is; religion must be done up in fashionable order, or it is soon out of date in the market. The minister must be a ladies' man, or the saloon will be more thronged than the church. And to be a ladies' man it is understood that he must be a fashionable man, a conformist, a pliant, time-serving, honey-mouthed, smile-faced, glove-handed, eel-natured kind of a creature, as ready to smile on a sin as a virtue; whose rebukes are so sugared that they are as agreeable to take as homeopathic pills. There are multitudes of churches that have more fashion in them than religion, and enough of worshipers and ministers who think more of the mode than the matter of worship.

Literature must have on it the brand of Fashion, and even education must receive the crown stamp of this graceless monarch, or be rejected by the world and receive no diploma at its hands. It is true that the rule of Fashion is almost omnific. To be out of Fashion is to be a mark for the cold finger of scorn from its votaries, and set up as a target for the shafts of their ridicule. So true is this, that it has become a common saying, that "one may as well be out of the world as out of the Fashion!" Yet what is Fashion, what does it amount to? Is one really more respected, more beloved, more received into the arms of the good, more caressed by the worthy, for being fashionable? We think not. The best and most beloved men and women that have ever lived have been far from the votaries of Fashion. They have lived with little thought and little conformity to the demands of this prince of weak minds. They have rather asked what was right, what was best, than what was fashionable. Conformity to Fashion tends rather to disgust than respect. Deep down in the hearts of all people there is a sense of the hollowness of Fashion, and a just loathing of its pretension and show. Even its votaries secretly despise it, and obey its dictates only because they think they must. They know its baseness better than we can tell them. True, they do not fully realize its sinfulness nor wholly appreciate its evils. But its hollowness and falseness they feel at times most keenly. Else why their perpetual unrest, their longing, dissatisfied condition of mind? Oh, if we could pull off the false glitter that lays like a gorgeous mantle over the fashionable world, we should see such an aching void, such a palpitating heart of woe, as would make the very stones cry out for sympathy. Look at a fashionable woman—one woman, a poor, weak mortal, apprenticed to earth to learn the work of the skies, pupiled here to be schooled in the great lessons of beauty and goodness written on all the outward universe and taught by the constant voice of God in the soul in its best experiences; see such a woman fretting herself well-nigh to death in chasing the butterfly delusions of Fashion, seeing them fade in her hands as fast as she grasps them, starving her soul and dwarfing her mind in the pursuit of such phantoms, enfeebling her body, irritating her nerves, breaking down her constitution, fading in early womanhood, and dying ere her years are half lived; what object is more sorrowful and has higher claims upon our pity? We think it sad when a woman is thus crushed by neglect or abuse, by the hand of poverty, by hard toil, or the harder fate of a consuming death at the hands of a false or brutal companion. But really, why is it sadder than to die by inches on the guillotine of Fashion? The results are the same in either case. Abused women generally outlive fashionable ones. Crushed and care-worn women see the pampered daughters of Fashion wither and die around them, and wonder why death in kindness does not come to take them away instead. The reason is plain: Fashion kills more women than toil and sorrow. Obedience to Fashion is a greater transgression of the laws of woman's nature, a greater injury to her physical and mental constitution, than the hardships of poverty and neglect. The slave-woman at her tasks will live and grow old and see two or three generations of her mistresses fade and pass away. The washerwoman, with scarce a ray of hope to cheer her in her toils, will live to see her fashionable sisters all die around her. The kitchen-maid is hearty and strong, when her lady has to be nursed like a sick baby. It is a sad truth, that Fashion-pampered women are almost worthless for all the great ends of human life. They have but little force of character; they have still less power of moral will, and quite as little physical energy. They live for no great purpose in life; they accomplish no worthy ends. They are only doll-forms in the hands of milliners and servants, to be dressed and fed to order. They dress nobody; they feed nobody; they instruct nobody; they bless nobody, and save nobody. They write no books; they set no rich examples of virtue and womanly life. If they rear children, servants and nurses do it all, save to conceive and give them birth. And when reared what are they? What do they even amount to, but weaker scions of the old stock? Who ever heard of a fashionable woman's child exhibiting any virtue or power of mind for which it became eminent? Read the biographies of our great and good men and women. Not one of them had a fashionable mother. They nearly all sprung from plain, strong-minded women, who had about as little to do with Fashion as with the changing clouds. I have given considerable attention to this fact. It is worthy of the deepest thoughtfulness. Oh, it is a solemn fact that we descend into our children, in our weakness or strength, in our meanness or majesty, as we have lived. And what a lean, meagre, moonshine inheritance does a fashionable mother convey to her offspring! I confess that to me there is something grand in being the mother of a noble son or daughter, of a strong and virtuous family of children. If there is a just human pride, it may live in such a mother's heart. The mothers of Washington, Adams, and Channing; of Josephine, Hemans, and Stowe, stand higher in my mind than any kings or queens that ever lived. The proof of their greatness was in their children. Such sublime inheritances could not have been given if they had not been possessed. Such grandeur of mind, such greatness of heart, such majesty of soul, such royal worth, are everlasting honors to their noble mothers. And I doubt not but when the vail of flesh is taken from such women, their true greatness will be visible. By the side of such how will stand the fashionable mother? In that upper world, souls will rate according to their real worth, according to the gold that is in them. Oh, if vigorous health, great virtues, a large heart, and capacious powers of mind are to be coveted for any thing, it is that they may descend into our children, and reappear in them, to adorn and bless themselves, us, and the world, and be a glory unto God in earth and heaven. I had rather sire a noble son or daughter than win a thousand victories as brilliant as Napoleon's proudest or sit on the throne of earth's greatest kingdom. To me there is something so grand in virtue, so priceless and deathless, so celestial in the powers of a great and good human soul, that to give existence to one is the cause of a deeper joy and a richer gratitude than is otherwise granted to mortals here below.

In this light, how stands the tawdry foolery of Fashion? and what place does the fashionable woman take?

Then the example of a fashionable woman, how low, how vulgar! With her the cut of a collar, the depth of a flounce, the style of a ribbon, is of more importance than the strength of a virtue, the form of a mind, or the style of a life. She consults the fashion-plate oftener than her Bible; she visits the dry-goods shop and the milliner oftener than the church. She speaks of Fashion oftener than of virtue, and follows it closer than she does her Saviour. She can see squalid misery and low-bred vice without a blush or a twinge of the heart; but a plume out of Fashion, or a table set in old style, would shock her into a hysteric fit. Her example! What is it but a breath of poison to the young? I had as soon have vice stalking bawdily in the presence of my children, as the graceless form of Fashion. Vice would look haggard and mean at first sight, but Fashion would be gilded into an attractive delusion. Oh, Fashion! how thou art dwarfing the intellect and eating out the heart of our people! Genius is dying on thy luxurious altar. And what a sacrifice! Talent is withering into weakness in thy voluptuous gaze! Virtue gives up the ghost at thy smile. Our youth are chasing after thee as a wanton in disguise. Our young women are the victims of thine all-greedy lust. And still thou art not satisfied, but, like the devouring grave, criest for more. Where shall we get the strong women of the next generation—the women who will live for principle—whose commanding virtues shall be a tower of strength—whose wisdom shall be a poem of prophecy, and whose love a hymn of praise? Who will be the mothers of genius and wisdom, of the manhood and womanhood that shall redeem mankind? Oh, not from thee, all-degenerating Fashion! shall we get them. Thy reign is the blast of womanly virtue and manly strength. Thou art the precursor of destruction. Thou dost intoxicate, bewilder, and make mad the nations whom thou wouldst destroy. Thou dost lead to dazzle and delude to ruin. Avaunt, thou grand sycophant of the nineteenth century, thou vile usurper of the people's throne!

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