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acquainted with my subject as I was before. I cannot even in imagination put myself in the position of the opposite half of the species, and though I may form a judgment of what their conduct should be, I cannot comprehend the difficulties of their situation, nor fully appreciate their merit when they fill up the measure of my conceptions of right and duty, nor their culpability when they fall below it.
What I hope to do is this, to lead those who listen to me to serious reflection, to give them a more thorough knowledge of their constitution, faculties, aptitudes, a clearer conception of their relative position, and the duties which grow out of it, those dispositions and habits which it is incumbent on them to cherish, the studies they are to pursue, the accomplishments they are to acquire, in short how they are to demean themselves in the successive relations of daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, neighbor, Christian, the heir of immortality. To produce a systematic treatise on the Sphere and Duties of Woman is not my purpose.
I have neither the leisure nor the ability to do it. All that I can hope to do is to drop here
and there a hint, which will awaken thought and reflection, which ripened by time and confirmed by experience, will mature into true and solid wisdom.
The question has been raised, and often discussed, whether the original intellectual endowments of woman are as great, or rather the same as those of man. Both sides of the argument have been defended with equal zeal and pertinacity. It is a question however which never can be settled, and which it is unimportant to decide one way or the other. It is a question to which the human powers are inadequate. All souls come from God and are made for immortality. The distinction of the sexes is intended for this world alone, a point only in the infinite line of the soul's existence. It does not seem probable that the Deity would make a difference in favor of one half of his rational creation, and to the disadvantage of the other, which should be radical and essential, for the sake of a relation that is to endure but for a short season. It is certain, however, that the manifestations of mind depend much on physical organization, and still more on education. The difference of organization we know to be very great, particularly in the nervous system, which is the very seat of the mind. Education contributes even more to this difference. Habits of life seem to have the power of overcoming even the disparity of physical organization. In some ages and countries the labors which are appropriate to men have been imposed by their tyranny upon the weaker sex, and what a difference does it immediately produce! What a contrast between the delicate daughter of a city and the wife of a peasant, who shares with him in the labors of the field. The same hand, which in the gilded saloon touches the musical instrument with so much grace,
"In notes, with many a winding bout
if condemned to handle the axe and spade would have been a very different thing. Those arms, which scarcely seem made for use, had they been destined to gather in their grasp
the sheaves of autumn instead of sustaining some delicate piece of embroidery, would certainly have shown a very different development and proportion. The sylphlike form would soon disappear among the labors of the field. Who can tell then, how far the alleged inferiority of intellectual power would disappear were both sexes subjected to the same training, if the power of observation were as early called forth, if instead of being shut up in the house and her attention confined to a few objects, woman were permitted to roa n abroad and have as free a range and as great excitements as are ministered to the other sex, if on her devolved the great concerns of politics, government, and business? When driven by necessity to these occupations she generally discovers a great degree of sagacity, and a power of improvement truly astonishing.
But whatever may be the original equality of the sexes in intellect and capacity, it is evident that it was intended by God that they should move in different spheres, and of course that their powers should be developed in different directions. They are created not to be alike but to be different. The Bible with a noble simplicity expresses in few words all that can be said upon this subject. “God cre
ated man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them.” As much as if the lawgiver of the Jews had said; “Perfect humanity is made up of both the sexes. One is not complete without the other.” They are therefore counterparts of each other. They must be different, and in many respects the opposites of each other, to fill their different spheres. This difference runs through the whole of their physical, moral, and intellectual constitution. This radical and universal difference points out distinctly a different sphere of action and duty. The God who made them knew the sphere in which each of them was designed to act, and he fitted them for it by their physical frames, by their intellectual susceptibilities, by their tastes and affections. The sphere of neither comprehends the whole scene of this life, but they are like the halves of a circle, imperfect when alone, but when united forming a beautiful whole, and covering the whole surface of human life. The common lot of labor and care is ordained for them both. The share of each is plainly pointed out in their respective constitutions. To the more robust constitution of