Unfortunate Mother’s
to her
Absent Daughters.

A1v A2r

Unfortunate Mother’s
to her
Absent Daughters, in a
Miss Pennington.

The Sixth Edition.

Printed by H. Hughs;
For J. Walter,
at Homer’s Head, Charing-Cross.

A2v A3r 5

An Unfortunate Mother’s Advice, &c.

My dear Jenny.

Was there any probability that
a letter from me would be
permitted to reach your hand alone, I
should not have chosen this least eligible
method of writing to you.—The public
is no way concerned in family affairs,
and ought not to be made a party in A them; A3v 6
them—but my circumstances are such
as lay me under a necessity of either
communicating my sentiments to the
world, or of concealing them from
; —the latter would, I think, be the
breach of an indispensable duty, which
obliges me to wave the impropriety of
the former.

A long train of events, of a most extraordinary
nature, conspired to remove
you, very early, from the tender care
of an affectionate mother;—you were
then too young to be able to form any
right judgment of her conduct, and since
that time it is very probable that it has
been represented to you in the most unfavorable
light.――The general pre— 5 judice 5 A4r 7
judice against me I never gave myself
the useless trouble of any endeavour to
remove.――I do not mean to infer from
hence that the opinion of others is of no
material consequence—on the contrary,
I would advise you always to remember,
that, next to the consciousness of acting
right, the public voice should be regarded,
and to endeavour by a prudent behaviour
—even in the most trifling instances
—to secure it in your favour;—
the being educated in a different opinion
was a misfortune to me.—I was indeed
early and wisely taught, that virtue was
the one thing necessary, and without it no
happiness could be expected either in this,
or in any future state of existence;—but,
with this good principle, a mistaken one A4 was A4v 8
was at the same time inculcated, namely,
that the self-approbation, arising
from conscious virtue, was alone sufficient
—and that the censures of an illnatured
world, ever ready to calumniate,
when not founded on truth, were
beneath the concern of a person, whose
actions were guided by the superior motive
of obedience to the will of Heaven:
—This notion, strongly imbibed before
reason had gained sufficient strength to
discover its fallacy, was the cause of an
inconsiderate conduct in my subsequent
life, which mark’d my character with a
disadvantageous impression.—To you I
shall speak with the most unreserv’d sincerity,
not concealing a fault which you
may profit by the knowledge of—and therefore A5r 9
therefore I freely own, that in my
younger years, satisfied with keeping
strictly within the bounds of virtue, I
took a foolish pleasure in exceeding those
of prudence, and was ridiculously vain
of indulging a latitude of behaviour, into
which others of my age were afraid of
launching;—but then, in justice to myself,
I must at the same time declare, that
this freedom was only taken in public
company—and, so extremely cautious was
I of doing any thing that appear’d to me
a just ground for censure, I call Heaven
to witness, your father was the first man
whom I ever made any private assignation
with, or even met in a room
alone—nor did I take that liberty with
him, untill the most solemn mutual engagement,gagement, A5v 10
the matrimonial ceremony,
had bound us together.—My behaviour
then, he has frequently since acknowledg’d,
fully convinced him I was
not only innocent of any criminal act
but of every vicious thought—and that
the outward freedom of my deportment
proceeded merely from a great gaiety of
temper, and, from a very high flow of
spirits, never broke—if the expression
may be allow’d—into the formal rules
of decorum.——To sum up the whole
in a few words, my private conduct was
what the severest prude could not condemn,
my public such as the most finish’d
coquet would have ventur’d
upon;—the latter only could be known
to the world, and, consequently, from thence A6r 11
thence must their opinion be taken.
You will therefore easily be sensible, that
it would not be favourable to me—on
the contrary, it gave a general prejudice
against me—and this has been since
made use of as an argument to gain credit
to the malicious falshoods laid to my
charge:—For this resson—convinc’d
by long experience that the greater part
of mankind are so apt to receive, and so
willing to retain a bad impression of
others, that, when it is once establish’d,
there is hardly a possibility of removing it
through life—I have, for some years past,
silently acquiesc’d in the dispensations of
Providence, without attempting any justification
of myself;—and, being conscious
that the infamous aspersions cast on my A6v 12
my character were not founded on truth,
I have sat down content with the certainty
of an open and perfect acquittal
of all vicious dispositions, or criminal
conduct, at that great day, when all
things shall appear as they really are,
and when both our actions, and the most
secret motives for them, will be made
manifest to men and angels.

Had your Father been amongst the
number of those who were deceiv’d by
appearances, I should have thought it
my duty to leave no method unessay’d to
clear myself in his opinion—but that
was not the case:—He knows that many
of those appearances, which have been
urged against me, I was forc’d to submit to, A7r 13
to, not only from his direction, but by his
absolute command—which, contrary to
reason and to my own interest, I was, for
more than twelve years, weak enough
implicitly to obey—and that others, even
since our separation, were occasioned by
some particular instances of his behaviour,
which rendered it impossible for me
to act with safety in any other manner:—
to him I appeal for the truth of this assertion,
who is conscious of the meaning,
which may hereafter be explained to
you.—Perfectly acquainted with my
principles and with my natural disposition,
his heart, I am convinc’d, never
here condemn’d me.—Being greatly
incens’d that my father’s Will gave
to me an independent fortune—which Will A7v 14
Will he imagin’d I was accessary to;
or at least that I could have prevented
—he was thereby laid open to the arts
of designing men, who, having their
own interest solely in view, worked him
up into a desire of revenge—and from
thence, upon probably circumstances,
into a public accusation:—through that
public accusation was supported only by
the single testimony of a person, whose
known falshood had made him a thousand
times declare that he would not
credit her oath in the most trifling incident;
—yet—when he was disappointed
of the additional evidence he might have
been flatter’d with the hope of obtaining
—it was too late to recede.――This I
sincerely believe to be the truth of the case, A8r 15
case, tho’ I too well know his tenacious
temper, to expect a present justification;—
but, whenever he shall arrive on the verge
of eternity—if reason holds her place at
that awful moment, and if religion has
then any power on his heart—I make no
doubt, he will at that time acquit me to
his children, and with truth he must then
confess that no part of my behaviour to him
ever deserv’d the treatment I have
met with.――Sorry am I to be under
the necessity of pointing out faults in
the conduct of another, which are, perhaps,
long since repented of, and ought
in that case to be as much forgotten as
they are most truly forgiven:—Heaven
knows, that, so far from retaining any
degree of resentment in my heart, the person A8v 16
person breathes not whom I wish to hurt,
or to whom I would not this moment
render every service in my power.—The
injuries which I have sustain’d, had I no
children, should contentedly be buried in
silence, until the great day of retribution;
—but, in justice to you, to them, and to
myself, it is incumbent on me, as far as
possible, to efface the false impressions,
which, by such silence, might be fixed
on your mind, and on those of your brothers
and sisters, whom I include with
you.—To this end, it will be necessary
to enter into a circumstantial history of
near fifteen years, full of incidents of
a nature so uncommon as to be scarcely
credible.—This, I am convinc’d, will
effectually clear me, in your opinions, of B1r 17
of the imputations I now lie under, and
it will prove, almost to a demonstration,
the true cause of those proceedings
against me that were couched under
pretended motives—as injurious to my
reputation as they were false in themselves.
――But this must be deferr’d, some
time longer—you are all yet too young
to enter into things of this kind, or to
judge properly of them.――When a
few years shall, by ripening your understandings,
remove this objection, you
shall be informed of the whole truth,
most impartially and without disguise
――’till then, suspend your belief of all
that may have reached your ears with
regard to me, and wait the knowledge B of B1v 18
of those facts, which my future letter
will reveal for your information.

Thus much, I thought it necessary to
premise concerning myself, tho’ foreign
to the design of this epistle, which is
only to remind you that you have still
an affectionate mother, who is anxious
for your welfare and desirous of giving
you some advice with regard to your
conduct in life.――I would lay down a
few precepts for you, which, if attended
to, will supply—as far as it is in my
power to supply—the deprivation of a
constant and tender maternal care.—
The address is to you in particular, your
sisters being yet too young to receive it, but B2r 19
but my intention is for the equal service
of you all.

You are just entering, my dear girl,
into a world full of deceit and falshood,
where few persons or things appear in
their true character.—Vice hides her
deformity with the borrow’d garb of
virtue—and, though discernible to an
intelligent and careful observer, by the
unbecoming awkwardness of her deportment
under it, she passes on thousands
undetected:—Every present pleasure
usurps the name of happiness, and as
such deceives the unwary pursuer:—
thus one general mark disguises the whole
face of things, and it requires a long experience,
and a penetrating judgment, to B2 discover B2v 20
discover the truth—Thrice happy
they, whose docile tempers improve from
the instructions of maturer age, and who
thereby attain some degree of this necessary
knowledge, while it may be useful
in directing their conduct!

The turn, which your mind may now
take, will fix the happiness or misery of
your future life—and, I am too nearly
concern’d for your welfare, not to be most
anxiously solicitous that you may be early
led into so just a way of thinking as will
be productive to you of a prudent, rational
behaviour, and which will secure to
you a lasting felicity.—You were old
enough, before our separation, to convince
me that Heaven had not denied you B3r 21
you a good natural understanding.—
This, if properly cultivated, will set
you above that trifling disposition, too
common among the female world, which
makes youth ridiculous, maturity insignificant,
and old age contemptible.—It
is therefore needless to enlarge on that
head, since good sense is the best
adviser—and, without it, all admonitions
or directions on the subject would be
as fruitless as to lay down rules for the
conduct or for the actions of an idiot.

There is no room to doubt but that
sufficient care will be taken to give you
a polite education—yet, a religious one
is of still greater consequence:—necessary
as the former is for your making a B3 proper B3v 22
proper figure in the world, and for your
being well accepted in it, the latter is
yet more so to secure to you the approbation
of the greatest and best of Beings,
on whose favor depends your everlasting
happiness:――Let therefore your duty
to God be ever the first and principal
object of your care;――as your Creator
and Governor, he claims adoration and
obedience—as your father and friend, he
demands submissive duty and affection.
—Remember that, from this common
Parent of the universe, you receiv’d your
life—that, to His general providence,
you owe the continuance of it—and
to His bounty you are indebted for all
the health, ease, advantages, or enjoyments,
which help to make that life agreeable. B4r 23
agreeable.—A sense of benefits received
naturally inspires a grateful disposition,
with a desire of making suitable returns
—all that can here be made, for innumerable
favors every moment bestowed,
is a thankful acknowledgment and a
willing obedience;—in these be never
wanting:—Make it an invariable rule to
begin and to end the day with a solemn
address to the Deity—I mean not by
this, what is commonly, with too much
propriety, called saying of prayers, namely,
a customary repetition of a few good
words, without either devotion or attention
—than which nothing is more inexcusable
and affrontive to the Deity—it
is the homage of the heart that can
alone be accepted by him.—Expressions B4 of B4v 24
of our absolute dependance on, and of
our entire resignation to him—thanksgivings
for the mercies already received
—petitions for those blessings it is fit for
us to pray for—and intercessions for all
our fellow creatures compose the principal
parts of this duty;—which may be
comprized in very few words, or may
be enlarged upon, as the circumstances
of time and disposition may render
most suitable—for it is not the
length, but the sincerity and attention
of our prayers, that will make them efficacious:
—A good heart, joined to a tolerable
understanding, will seldom be at
a loss for proper words, with which to
clothe these sentiments—and all persons,
being best acquainted with their own particular B5r 25
particular circumstances, may reasonably
be supposed best qualified for adapting
their petitions and acknowledgments to
them;—but for those, who are of a different
opinion, there are many excellent
forms of prayer already composed—
amongst these, none, that I know of,
are equal to Doctor Hoadly’s—the late
Bishop of Winchester—which I recommend
to your perusal and use:—in the
preface to them, you will find better instructions
on this head than I am capable
of giving, and to these I refer you.

It is acknowledg’d that our petitions
cannot in any degree alter the intention
of a Being, who is in himself invariable,
and without a possibility of change; —all B5v 26
—all that can be expected from them is,
that, by bettering ourselves, they will
render us more proper objects of His favorable
regard:—and this must necessarily
be the result of a serious, regular,
and constant discharge of this branch of
our duty;—for it is scarcely possible to
offer up our sincere and fervent devotions
to Heaven, every morning and evening,
without leaving on our minds such
useful impressions as will naturally dispose
us to a ready and chearful obedience
and will inspire a filial fear of
offending—the best security virtue can
have.—As you value your own happiness,
let not the force of bad examples
ever lead you into an habitual disuse of
secret prayer—nor let an unpardonable negligence B6r 27
negligence so far prevail on you as to
make you rest satisfied with a formal,
customary, inattentive repetition of some
well chosen words—let your heart and
attention always go with your lips, and,
experience will soon convince you, that
this permission of addressing the supreme
Being is the most valuable prerogative of
human nature—the chief, nay, the only
support under all the distress and calamities
to which this state of sin and
misery is liable――the highest rational
satisfaction the mind is capable of, on
this side of the grave—and the best preparative
for everlasting happiness beyond it
—This is a duty ever in your own power,
and therefore you only will be culpable
by the omission of it:—Public worship B6v 28
worship may not always be so, but,
whenever it is, do not wilfully neglect
the service of the church, at least on
Sundays—and let your behaviour there
be adapted to the solemnity of the place,
and to the intention of the meeting――
Regard neither the actions, nor the dress
of others—let not your eyes rove in
search of acquaintance, but in the time
of divine service avoid, as much as possible,
all complimental civilities, of which
there is too great an intercourse, in most
of our churches;—remember that your
only business there is to pay a solemn act
of devotion to Almighty God—and let
every part of your conduct be suitable
to this great end.――If you hear a good
sermon, treasure it in your memory, that you B7r 29
you may reap all the benefit it was capable
of imparting;――if you should hear
an indifferent one, some good things
must be in it—retain those, and let the
remainder be buried in oblivion—ridicule
not the preacher, who no doubt has
done his best, and who is rather the
object of pity than of contempt for
having been plac’d in a situation of life,
to which his talents were not equal—he
may perhaps be a good man, tho’ he is not
a great orator.――I would also recommend
to you the early and frequent participation
of the communion――or, what
is commonly called, receiving the sacrament
—as the indispensable duty of every
christian:――there is no institution of
our religion more simple, plain and intelligiblegible B7v 30
than this as deliver’d to us by our
Saviour—and, most of the elaborate
treatises written on the subject have
served only to puzzle and to disturb
weak minds, by throwing the dark veil
of superstition and of human invention
over a plain positive command—given
by him in so explicit a manner as to
be easily comprehended by the meanest
capacity, and which is doubtless in the
power of all his sincere followers to pay
an acceptable obedience to.—Nothing
has more contributed to the neglect of
this duty than the numerous wellmeaning
books that have been written
to enjoin a month’s, or a week’s preparation
as previously necessary to the
due performance of it—by which means B8r 31
means filling the minds of many with
needless terror—putting it even out of
the power of some to receive it at all—
and, inducing great numbers to rest satisfied
with doing it only once or twice
in a year, on some high festival;—
whereas it was certainly the constant
custom of the apostles and primitive
christians, on every Sunday—and it
ought to be received by us, as often as
it is administer’d in the church we frequent
—which in most places is but once
in a month;—nor do I think it excusable,
at any time, to turn our backs upon the
table we see prepar’d for that purpose,
on pretence of not being fit to partake
worthily of it:—The best, the only true
preparation for this, and for every other part B8v 32
part of religious duty, it is a good and
virtuous life, by which the mind is
constantly kept in such a devotional
frame, as to require but a little recollection
to be suited to any particular act of
worship or of obedience, that may occasionally
offer;—and, without a good
and virtuous life, there cannot be a
greater, or more fatal mistake than to
suppose, that a few days, or weeks
spent in humiliation and prayer will
render us at all the more acceptable to
the Deity, or that we should be thereby
better fitted for any one instance of that
duty, which, we must universally pay,
to be either approved by him, or to be
advantageous to ourselves:—I would not
therefore advise you to read any of those weekly C1r 33
weekly preparatives, which are too apt
to lead the mind into error, by teaching
it to rest in a mere shadow of piety,
wherein there is nothing rationally satisfactory.
—The best books, which I
have ever met with on the subject, are
Bishop Hoadly’s Plain Account of the
Nature and End of the Sacrament of the
Lord’s Supper
, and Nelson’s Great
Duty of frequenting the Christian Sacrifice
—To the former are annexed the prayers
which before I mention’d—these are well
worth your attentive perusal—the design
of the institution is therein fully explain’d,
agreeable both to scripture and
to reason—stript of that veil of mystery,
which has been industriously thrown over
it by designing or by mistaken men:— C and C1v 34
and it is there laid as plainly open to
every capacity as it was at first left us by
our great Master――Read these books
with due attention:—you will there find
every necessary instruction concerning
the rite, and every reasonable inducement
to the constant and to the conscientious
performance of it.

The sincere practice of religious duties
naturally leads to the proper discharge
of the social, which may be all comprehended
in that one great general rule of
“doing unto others as you would they should
do unto you”
――but, of these, more particularly
hereafter.—I shall give you
my advice concerning Employment—it
being of great moment to set out in life in C2r 35
in such a method as may be useful to
yourself and beneficial to others.

Time is valuable, its loss is irretrievable!
—the remembrance of having
made an ill use of it must be one of the
sharpest tortures to those who are on the
brink of eternity!—and, what can yield
a more unpleasing retrospect, than whole
years idled away in an irrational insignificant
manner—Examples of which
are continually before our eyes!—Look
on every day as a blank sheet of paper
put into your hands to be fill’d up;—
remember the characters will remain to
endless ages, and that they never can be
expung’d;—be careful therefore not to
write any thing but what you may read C2 with C2v 36
with pleasure, a thousand years after:—I
would not be understood in a sense so
strict as might debar you from any innocent
amusement, suitable to your age,
and agreeable to your inclination:—
diversions, properly regulated, are not
only allowable, they are absolutely necessary
to youth—and are never criminal
but when taken to excess—that is, when
they engross the whole thought, when
they are made the chief business of life—
they then give a distaste to every valuable
employment—and, by a sort of infatuation,
leave the mind in a state of restless
impatience from the conclusion of one
until the commencement of another;—
This is the unfortunate disposition of
many:—guard most carefully against it, for C3r 37
for nothing can be attended with more
pernicious consequences.—A little observation
will convince you, that there
is not, amongst the human species, a set
of more miserable beings than those who
cannot live out of a constant succession
of diversions;—these people have no
comprehension of the more satisfactory
pleasure to be found in retirement;—
thought is insupportable, and consequently
solitude must be intolerable to
them:—they are a burthen to themselves,
and are a pest to their acquaintance,
by vainly seeking for happiness in
company, where they are seldom acceptable
—I say vainly, for true happiness
exists only in the mind, nothing foreign
can give it:—The utmost to be attained, C3 by C3v 38
by what is called a gay life, is a short
forgetfulness of misery to be felt with
accumulated anguish in every interval of
reflection.—This restless temper is frequently
the product of a too eager pursuit
of pleasure, in the early part of life,
to the neglect of those valuable improvements
which would lay the foundation
of a more solid and permanent felicity.—
Youth is the season for diversions, but it
is also the season for acquiring knowledge,
for fixing useful habits, and for
laying in a stock of such well chosen
materials, as may grow into a serene
happiness, which will encrease with every
added year of life, and will bloom in the
fullest perfection at the decline of it.—
The great art of education consists in assigning C4r 39
assigning to each its proper place, in
such a manner that the one shall never
become irksome by intrenching on
the other. —Our separation having
taken from me the pleasing task of
endeavouring, to the best of my ability,
to suit them occasionally, as might be
most conducive both to your profit and
pleasure, it only remains for me to
give you general rules, which indeed,
accidents may make it necessary sometimes
to vary;—those however must be
left to your own discretion, and, I am
convinc’d, that you have a sufficient
share of understanding to be very capable
of making advantageously such casual
regulations to yourself, if the inclination
is not wanting.

C4 It C4v 40

It is an excellent method to appropriate
the morning wholly to improvement;
—the afternoon may then be allow’d to
diversions:—under the last head, I place
company, books of the amusing kind, and
entertaining productions of the needle, as
well as plays, balls, cards, &c. which
more commonly go by the name of diversions:
—the afternoon, and evening till
supper, may by these be employed with
innocence and propriety;—but let not
one of them ever be suffer’d to intrude
on the former part of the day, which
should be always devoted to more useful
employments.—One half hour, or more,
either before or immediately after breakfast,
I would have you constantly give to
the attentive perusal of some rationally pious C5r 41
pious author, or to some part of the New
, with which, and indeed with
the whole scripture, you ought to make
yourself perfectly acquainted, as the basis
on which your religion is founded—
From this practice, you will reap more
real benefit than can be suppos’d by those
who have never made the experiment.—
The other hours may be divided amongst
those necessary and polite acquisitions
which are suitable to your sex, age, and
to your rank in life.—Study your own
thoroughly, that you may speak
correctly and write grammatically:—do
not content yourself with the common
use of words, which custom has taught
you from the cradle, but learn from
whence they are derived, and what are their C5v 42
their proper significations.—French you
ought to be as well acquainted with as
with English:—and Italian might, without
much difficulty, be added.――Acquire
a good knowledge of history—
that of your own country first, then of
the other European nations—read them
not with a view to amuse but to improve
your mind—and to that end make
reflections on what you have read, which
may be useful to yourself, and will render
your conversation agreeable to others:
—Learn so much of Geography, as to
form a just idea of the situation of places,
mentioned in any author — and this
will make history more entertaining to

5 It C6r 43

It is necessary for you to be perfect in
the four first rules of Arithmetic— more,
you can never have occasion for, and the
mind should not be burthen’d with needless
application.――Music and Drawing
are accomplishments well worth the
trouble of attaining, if your inclination
and genius lead to either—if not, do not
attempt them;—for it will be only much
time and great labor unprofitably
thrown away—it being next to impossible
to arrive at any degree of perfection
in those arts, by the dint of perseverance
only, if a good ear, and a native genius
be wanting.—The study of Natural Philosophy,
you will find both pleasing and
instructive—pleasing from the continual
new discoveries to be made of the innumerablymerably C6v 44
various beauties of nature—a
most agreeable gratification of that desire
of knowledge wisely implanted in the
human mind—and, highly instructive, as
those discoveries lead to the contemplation
of the great Author of nature, whose
wisdom and goodness so conspicuously
shine through all His works, that it is
impossible to reflect seriously on them,
without admiration and gratitude.

These, my dear, are but a few of those
mental improvements I would recommend
to you—indeed there is no branch
of knowledge that your capacity is equal
to, and which you have an opportunity
of acquiring, that, I think, ought to be
neglected.—It has been objected against all C7r 45
all female learning, beyond that of
houshold œconomy, that it tends only
to fill the minds of the sex with a conceited
vanity, which sets them above their
proper business—occasions an indifference
to, if not a total neglect of, their family-
affairs—and serves only to render them
useless wives and impertinent companions.
—It must be confess’d, that some
reading ladies have given but too much
cause for this objection;—and, could it
be prov’d to hold good throughout the
sex, it would certainly be right to confine
their improvements within the narrow
limits of the nursery, of the kichen,
and the confectionary;—but, I believe,
it will, upon examination, be found,
that such ill consequences proceed chiefly 4 from C7v 46
from too great an imbecillity of mind to
be capable of much enlargement, or
from a mere affectation of knowledge,
void of all reality.—Vanity is never
the result of understanding—a sensible
woman will soon be convinc’d, that all
the learning her utmost application can
make her mistress of, will be, from the
difference of education, in many points,
inferior to that of a school-boy:—this
reflection will keep her always humble,
and will be an effectual check to that
loquacity which renders some women
such insupportable companions.

The management of all domestic
affairs is certainly the proper business
of woman—and, unfasionably rustic as such C8r 47
such an assertion may be thought, it is
not beneath the dignity of any lady, however
high her rank, to know how to
educate her children, and to govern her
servants—How to order an elegant table
with œconomy, and to manage her whole
family with prudence, regularity, and
method;—if in these she is defective,
whatever may be her attainments in any
other kinds of knowledge, she will act
out of character—and, by not moving in
her proper sphere, she will become rather
the object of ridicule than of approbation.
—But, I believe, it may with
truth be affirm’d, that the neglect of
these domestic concerns has much more
frequently proceeded from an exorbitant
love of diversions, from a ridiculous fondness C8v 48
fondness for dress and gallantry, or from
a mistaken pride that has plac’d such
duties in a servile light—from whence
they have been consider’d as fit only for
the employment of dependents, and below
the attention of a fine lady—than from
too great an attachment to mental improvements;
—yet, from whatsoever
cause such a neglect proceeds, it is
equally unjustifiable.――If any thing
can be urg’d in vindication of a custom—
unknown to our ancestors, which the
prevalence of fashion has made so general
amongst the modern ladies—I mean,
that of committing to the care and discretionary
power of different servants
the sole management of their family-
affairs—nothing certainly can be alleg’d in D1r 49
in defence of such an ignorance, in
things of this nature, as renders a lady
incapable of giving proper directions on
all occasions—an ignorance, which,
in ever so exalted a station, will render
her contemptible, even to those servants
on whose understanding and fidelity she
indeed becomes dependent for the regularity
of her house, for the propriety,
elegance, and frugality of her table—
which last article is seldom regarded by
such sort of people, who too frequently
impose on those by whom they are thus
implicitly trusted.—Make yourself,
therefore, so thoroughly acquainted with
the most proper method of conducting a
family, and with the necessary expence
which every article, in proportion to their D number D1v 50
number, will occasion, that you may come
to a reasonable certainty of not being
materially deceiv’d, without the ridiculous
drudgery of following your servants
continually, and meanly peeping into
every obscure corner of your house;—
nor, is this at all difficult to attain, as
it requires nothing more than an attentive

It is of late, in most great families, become
too much the custom to be long
upon the books of every tradesman they
employ—to assign a reason for this is
foreign to my purpose;—but, I am certain
it would, in general, be better both
for themselves, and for the people they
deal with, never to be on them at all: —and, D2r 51
—and, what difficulty or inconvenience
can arise, in a well regulated family, from
commissioning the steward or housekeeper
to pay for every thing at the time when
it is brought in?—This obsolete practice
—though in itself very laudable—is not at
present, and perhaps never may be again,
authoris’d by fashion;—however, let it
be a rule with you to contract as few debts
as possible;—most things are to be purchased,
both better in their kind, and at
a lower price, by paying for them at the
time of puchasing;—but if, to avoid the
suppos’d trouble of frequent trifling disbursements,
you chuse to have the lesser
articles thrown together in a bill, let a
note of quantity and price be brought
with every such parcel;—file these notes, D2 compare D2v 52
compare them with the bill when deliver’d
in, and let such bills be regularly paid
every quarter:—for it is not reasonable
to expect that a tradesman should give
longer credit, without making up the interest
of his money by an advanc’d price
on what he sells:—and, be assur’d, if
you find it inconvenient to pay at the
end of three months, that inconvenience
must arise from living at too great an expence,
and will consequently grow still greater at
the end of the year.—By making short
payments, you will become the sooner
sensible of such a mistake, and you will
find it at first more easy to retrench any
supernumeraries than after having been
long habituated to them. If D3r 53
If your house is superintended by
an housekeeper, and your servants are
accountable to her, let your housekeeper
be accountable to yourself, and
let her be entirely govern’d by your directions
—carefully examine her bills,
and suffer no extravagencies or unnecessary
articles to pass unnoticed;—let these
bills be brought to you every morning,
what they contain will then be easily recollected
without burthening your memory;
—your accounts being short will
be adjusted with less trouble and with
more exactness.—Should you at any time
have an upper servant, whose family and
education were superior to that state of
subjection, to which succeeding misfortunes
may have reduced her, she ought D3 to D3v 54
to be treated with peculiar indulgence:—
if she has understanding enough to be
conversable, and humility enough always
to keep her proper distance, lessen, as
much as possible, every painful remembrance
of former prospects, by looking
on her as a humble friend, and by making
her an occasional companion;—but
never descend to converse with those
whose birth, education, and early views
in life, were not superior to a state of servitude
—their minds being in general suited
to their station, they are apt to be intoxicated
by any degree of familiarity, and
to be become useless and impertinent.—The
habit, which very many ladies have contracted
of talking to and consulting with
their women, has so spoil’d that set of servants,vants, D4r 55
that few of them are to be met with,
who do not commence their service, by
giving their unask’d opinion of your person,
dress, or management, artfully convey’d
in the too generally accepted vehicle
of flattery—and, if they are allowed
in this, they will next proceed to
offer their advice on any occasion that
may happen to discompose, or ruffle your
temper—check therefore the first appearance
of such impertinence, by a reprimand
sufficiently severe to prevent a repetition
of it.

Give your orders in a plain distinct
manner, with good-nature, join’d to a
steadiness that will shew they must be
punctually obey’d;—treat all your domesticsD4 mestics D4v 56
with such mildness and affability,
that you may be served rather out of affection
than from fear;—let them live
happily under you;—give them leisure for
their own business, time for innocent recreation,
and more especially for attending
the public service of the church, to be instructed
in their duty to God—without
which, you have no right to expect the
discharge of that owing to yourself.—
When wrong, tell them calmly of their
faults;—if they amend not after two or
three such rebukes, dismiss them—but
never descend to passion and scolding,
which are inconsistent with a good understanding,
and beneath the dignity of a
gentlewoman.—Be very exact in your
hours, without which there can be no order D5r 57
order in your family. I mean those of
rising, eating, &c.—Require from your
servants punctuality in these, and never
be yourself the cause of breaking through
the rules you have laid down, by deferring
breakfast, putting back the dinner,
or by letting it grow cold on the table, to
wait your dressing—a custom from which
many ladies introduce confusion, and
bring their orders into neglect—Be
always dress’d, at least, half an hour
before dinner.—Having mention’d this
important article, I must be allow’d a
little digression on the subject.

Whatever time is taken up in dress,
beyond what is necessary to decency and
cleanliness, may be look’d upon—to say no D5v 58
no worse—as a vacuum in life:—By
decency, I mean such a habit as is suitable
to your rank and fortune—an illplaced
finery, inconsistent with either,
is not ornamental, but ridiculous:—A
compliance with fashion, so far as to
avoid the affectation of singularity, is
necessary—but to run into the extreme
of fashions, more especially those which
are inconvenient, is the certain proof of a
weak mind:—have a better opinion of
yourself than to suppose you can receive
any additional merit from the adventitious
ornaments of dress;—leave the study
of the toilet to those who are adapted to
it—I mean that insignificant set of females,
whose whole life, from the cradle
to the coffin, is only a varied scene of 6 trifling, D6r 59
trifling, and whose intellectuals fit them
not for any thing beyond it:—such as
these may be allowed to pass whole
mornings at their looking-glass, in the
important business of suiting a set of
ribbons, adjusting a few curls, or determining
the position of a patch—one, perhaps,
of their most innocent ways of idling
—but, let as small a portion of your time
as possible be taken up in dressing—be always
perfectly clean and neat, both in your
person and clothes—equally so when
alone, as in company;—look upon all
beyond this, as immaterial in itself, any
farther than as the different ranks of mankind
have made some distinction in habit,
generally esteem’d necessary;—and, remember,
that it is never the dress, howeverever D6v 60
sumptuous, which reflects dignity
and honour on the person—it is the rank
and merit of the person that gives consequence
to the dress.—But to return—

It is your own steadiness and example
of regularity that alone can preserve uninterrupted
order in your family;—if,
by forgetfulness or inattention, you at
any time suffer your commands to be
disobey’d with impunity, your servants
will grow upon such neglect into a habit
of carelessness, until repeated faults—of
which this is properly the source—rouse
you into anger, which an even hand
would never have made necessary.—Be
not whimsical or capricious in your
likings—approve with judgment, and condemn D7r 61
condemn with reason, that acting right
may be as certainly the means of obtaining
your favor as the contrary of incurring
your displeasure ,.

From what has been said, you will
see, that, in order to the proper discharge
of your domestic duties, it is absolutely
necessary for you to have a perfect knowledge
of every branch of household œconomy,
without which you can neither
correct what is wrong, approve what is
right, nor give directions with propriety:
—it is the want of this knowledge that
reduces many fine lady’s family to a
state of utmost confusion and disorder,
on the sudden removal of a managing
servant, until the place is supplied by a suc- D7v 62
a successor of equal ability.—How much
out of character, how ridiculous must a
mistress of a family appear, who is entirely
incapable of giving practical orders
on such an occasion—let that never be
your case!—Remember, my dear, this
is the only proper temporal business assign’d
you by Providence, and in a thing
so indispensably needful, so easily attain’d
—where so little study or application is
necessary to arrive at the most commendable
degree of it—the want even of perfection
is almost inexcusable;—make
yourself mistress of the theory, that you
may be able, the more readily to reduce
it into practice:—when you have a
family to command, let the care of it
always employ your principal attention, and D8r 63
and let every part of it be subjected to
your own inspection.—If you rise early
—a custom, I hope, you have not left
off since you was with me—if you
waste no unnecessary time in dressing,
and if you conduct your house in a
regular method—you will find many
vacant hours unfilled by this material
business, and no objection can be made
to your employing those in such improvements
of the mind as are most
suitable to your genius and inclination.
—I believe no man of understanding
will think that, under such regulations,
a woman will either make a less agreeable
companion, a less useful wife, a
less careful mother, or a worse mistress of D8v 64
of a family, for all the additional knowledge
her industry and application can

The morning being always thus
advantageously engag’d, the latter part
of the day, as I before said, may be
given to relaxation and amusement—
some of these hours may be very agreeably,
and usefully employed by entertaining
books—a few of which, in the
English language, I will mention to you,
as a specimen of the kind I would recommend
to your perusal, and I shall
include some others religious and instructive.

Mason E1r 65
  • Mason on Self Knowledge
  • Œconomy of Human Life
  • Seneca’s Morals
  • Epictetus
  • Cicero’s Offices
  • Collier’s Antonius
  • Hoadly’s Seed’s Sherlock’s Sterne’s Fordyce’s Sermons
  • Rollin’s Belles Lettres
  • Nature Display’d
  • The Spectator
  • The Guardian
  • The Female Spectator
  • The Rambler
  • The Adventurer
  • The World
  • Cicero’s Familiar Letters
  • Pliny’s Letters
  • Fitzosborne’s Letters
  • Epistles for the Ladies
  • Freeman’s Letters
  • Telemachus
  • INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that cb is unmatched.
  • The Vicar of Wakefield
  • Salmon’s Geographical
  • Potter’s Antiquities of
  • Rollin’s Antcient History
  • Kennet’s Antiquities of
  • Hooke’s Roman History
  • Hume’s History of England
  • Robertson’s History of Scotland
  • Milton’s Poetical Works
  • Pope’s Ethic Epistles
  • ――Homer
  • Thomson’s Works
  • Young’s Works
  • Mrs. Rowe’s Works
  • Langhorne’s Works
  • Moore’s Fables for the Female
  • Tales of the Genii
  • Visions
  • Dodsley’s Collection of
E From E1v 66

From these you may form a judgment
of that sort of reading, which will be
both useful and entertaining to you.—I
have nam’d only those Practical Sermons,
which, I thought, would more directly influence
your conduct in life—Our rule
of faith
should be taken from the scripture
alone, which we must understand for
ourselves;—therefore, the controverted
opinions of others serve in general rather
to puzzle than to improve the mind.

Novels and Romances, very few of them
are worth the trouble of reading;—
some of them perhaps do contain a few
good morals, but they are not worth the
finding where so much rubbish is intermix’d
――Their moral parts indeed are like E2r 67
like small diamonds amongst mountains
of dirt and trash, which, after you have
found them, are too inconsiderable to
answer the pains of coming at; yet, ridiculous
as these fictitious tales generally
are, they are so artfully managed as to
excite an idle curiosity to see the conclusion,
by which means the reader is drawn
on, through a tiresome length of foolish
adventures, from which either knowledge,
pleasure, or profit, seldom can
accrue, to the common catastrophe of a
wedding.—The most I have met with of
these writings, to say no worse, it is
little better than the loss of time to peruse
—but some of them have more
pernicious consequences;—by drawing
characters that never exist in life, by representingE2 presenting E2v 68
persons and things in a false
and extravagant light, and by a series of
improbable causes bringing on impossible
events, they are apt to give a romantic
turn to the mind, which is often productive
of great errors in judgment, and
of fatal mistakes in conduct—of this I
have seen frequent instances, and therefore
advise you scarce ever to meddle
with any of them.

In justice however to a late ingenious
author, this letter must not be reprinted,
without my acknowledging that, since
the last edition was publish’d, I have accidentally
met with one exception to my
general rule, namely, The Vicar of
— That novel is equally entertainingtaining E3r 69
and instructive, without being
liable to any of the objections that occasioned
the above restriction.—This
possibly may not be the only unexceptionable
piece of the kind, but, as I have
not met with any other, amongst a number
I have perus’d, a single instance
does not alter my opinion of the sort of
writing—and, I still think, the chance
is perhaps a thousand to one against the
probability of obtaining the smallest
degree of advantage from the reading
any of them, as well as that, very few
are to be found, from which much
injury may not be receiv’d.

Works of the Needle that employ
the fancy may, if they suit your inclination,E3 nation E3v 70
be sometimes a pretty amusement;
—but, let this employment never
extend to large pieces, beyond what
can be accomplish’d by yourself without
assistance.—There is not a greater extravagance,
under the specious name of
good housewifery, than the furnishing
of houses in this manner—whole apartments
have been seen thus ornamented
by the suppos’d work of a lady, who,
perhaps, never shaded two leaves in the
artificial forest, but has paid four times
its value to the several people employed
in bringing it to perfection:—The expence
of these tedious pieces of work, I
speak of experimentally—having, many
years past, undertaken one of them
which, when finish’d, was not worth fifteenteen E4r 71
pounds—and, by a computation
since made, it did not cost less than fifty,
in the hire and maintenance of the people
employed in it:—this indeed was at the
age of seventeen—when the thoughtless
inexperience of youth could alone excuse
such a piece of folly.—Embroideries in
gold, silver,
or shades of silk, come within
a narrower compass;—works of that kind,
which may, without calling in expensive
assistance, or tiring the fancy, be finished
in a summer, will be a well-chosen change
of amusement, and may—as there are three
of you—be made much more agreeable by
one alternately reading aloud, while the
other two are thus employed.—All kinds
of what is called plain work—tho’ no very
polite accomplishment—you must be so E4 well E4v 72
well vers’d in, as to be able, to cut out,
make, or mend, your own linen:—some
fathers, and some husbands, chuse to
have their daughters, and their wives
thus attired in the labor of their own
hands—and, from a mistaken notion,
believe this to be the great criterion of
frugal œconomy;—where that happens
to be the inclination, or opinion of either,
it ought always to be readily complied
with:—but, exclusive of such a motive,
I see no other that makes the practical
part necessary to any lady—excepting,
indeed, where there is such a narrowness
of fortune as admits not conveniently the
keeping a servant, to whom such exercises
of the needle much more properly
appertain. The E5r 73
The Theatre, which, by the indefatigable
labor of the inimitable Mr.
, has been brought to very great
perfection, will afford you an equally
rational and improving entertainment:—
Your judgment will not now be call’d in
question, your understanding affronted,
nor will your modesty be offended by the
indecent ribaldry of those authors, who,
to their defect in wit, have added the
want of good sense and of good manners:
—Faults of this kind—that, from a
blameable compliance with a corrupted
taste, have sometimes crept into the
works of good writers—are, by his
prudent direction, generally rectified or
omitted on the stage;—you may now see
many of the best plays performed in the best E5v 74
best manner:—do not, however, go to
any that you have not before heard the
character of—be present only at those,
which are approved by persons of understanding
and virtue, as calculated to answer
the proper ends of the theatre,
namely, that of conveying instruction in
the most pleasing method:――Attend to
the sentiment, apply the moral, and then
you cannot, I think, pass an evening in
a more useful, or in a more entertaining

Dancing may also take its turn as
a healthful exercise, and as it is generally
suitable to the taste and gaiety of young

Part E6r 75

Part of the hours appropriated to relaxation
must of necessity be less agreeably
taken up in the paying and receiving
visits of mere ceremony and civility—a
tribute, by custom authoris’d, by good
manners enjoin’d:—in these, when the
conversation is only insignificant, join in
it with an apparent satisfaction;—talk
of the elegance of a birth-day suit, the
pattern of a lace, the judicious assortment
of jewels, the cut of a ruffle, or the set
of a sleeve, with an unaffected ease—
not according to the rank they hold in
your estimation, but proportion’d to the
consequence they may be of in the opinion
of those you are conversing with.—
The great art of pleasing is to appear
pleas’d with others;—suffer not then an ill- E6v 76
ill-bred absence of thought, or a contemptuous
sneer, ever to betray a conscious
superiority of understanding—always
be productive of ill-nature and dislike;
suit yourself to the capacity and to the
taste of your company, when that taste
is confin’d to harmless trifles—but, where
it is so far deprav’d as to delight in cruel
sarcasms on the absent, to be pleas’d with
discovering the blemishes in good character,
or in repeating the greater faults
of a bad one, religion and humanity in
that case forbid the least degree of assent;
—if you have not any knowledge of the
persons thus unhappily sacrificed to envy
or to malice, and consequently are ignorant
as to the truth or falshood of such
aspersions, always suspect them to be ill- grounded, E7r 77
grounded, or, at least, greatly exaggerated;
shew your disapprobation by a
silent gravity, and by taking the first
opportunity to change the subject—but,
where any acquaintance with the character
in question gives room for defending
it, let not an ill-tim’d complaisance
prevail over justice—vindicate injur’d
innocence with all the freedom and
warmth of an unrestrain’d benevolence
—and, where the faults of the guilty
will admit of palliation, urge all that
truth can allow, in mitigation of error:
—From this method—besides the pleasure
arising from the consciousness of a
strict conformity to the great rule of
doing as you would be done by—you will
also reap to yourself the benefit of being less E7v 78
less frequently pester’d with themes ever
painful to a humane disposition.—If, unfortunately,
you have some acquaintance,
whose malevolence of heart, no sentiment
of virtue, no check of good manners,
can restrain from these malicious sallies
of ill-nature—to them let your visits be
made as seldom, and as short, as decency
will permit—there being neither benefit
nor satisfaction to be found in such company,
amongst whom only cards may be
introduced with any advantage:—on
this account, it will be proper for you to
know how to play at the games most in
use, because it is an argument of great
folly to engage in any thing without
doing it well—but this is a diversion,
which I hope you will have no fondness for E8r 79
for—as it is in itself, to say no worse,
a very insignificant amusement.

With Persons, for whom you can have
no esteem, good-breeding may oblige
you to keep up an intercourse of ceremonious
visits—but politeness enjoins
not the length or frequency of them;—
here inclination may be follow’d without
a breach of civility:—there is no
tax upon intimacy, but from choice—
that choice should ever be founded
on merit, the certainty whereof you
cannot be too careful in previously
examining—and great caution is necessary
not to be deceiv’d by specious appearances;
――a plausible behaviour, often,
upon a superficial knowledge, creates a 4 preposses- E8v 80
prepossession in favor of Particulars, who,
upon a nearer view, may be found to
have no claim to esteem;—the forming
a precipitant judgment sometimes leads
into an unwary intimacy, which it may
prove absolutely necessary to break off,
and yet that breach may be attended with
innumerable inconveniences—nay, perhaps,
with very material and lasting ill
consequences:—Prudence, therefore,
here enjoins the greatest circumspection.
—Few people are capable of friendship,
and still fewer have all the qualifications
one would chuse in a friend;—
the fundamental point is a virtuous disposition
—but, to that should be added,
a good understanding, solid judgment,
sweetness of temper, steadiness of mind, freedom F1r 81
freedom of behaviour, and sincerity of
heart;—seldom as these are to be found
united, never make a bosom friend of
any one greatly deficient in either.—Be
slow in contracting friendship, and invariably
constant in maintaining it:—
Expect not many friends, but think
yourself happy, if, through life, you
meet with one or two who deserve that
name and have all the requisites for the
valuable relation:—This may justly be
deem’d the highest blessing of mortality;
――uninterrupted health has the general
voice—but, in my opinion, such an
intercourse of friendship as much deserves
the preference, as the mental
pleasures, both in nature and degree,
exceed the corporeal:—The weaknesses, F the F1v 82
the pains of the body may be inexpressibly
alleviated by the conversation of a
person, by affection endear’d, by reason
approv’d—whose tender sympathy partakes
your afflictions and shares your
enjoyments—who is steady in the correction
but mild in the reproof of your
faults—like a guardian angel, ever
watchful to warn you of unforeseen
danger, and, by timely admonitions, to
prevent the mistakes incident to human
frailty and to self-partiality:――This is
the true office of friendship:—With
such a friend, no state of life can be
absolutely unhappy;—but, destitute of
some such connection, Heaven has so
form’d our natures for this intimate
society, that, amidst the affluence of fortune, F2r 83
fortune, and in the flow of uninterrupted
health, there will be an aching void in
the solitary breast, which can never
otherwise know a plentitude of happiness.
—Should the Supreme Disposer of all
events bestow on you this superlative
gift—to such a friend, let your heart be
ever unreservedly open;—conceal no
secret thought—disguise no latent weakness
—but bare your bosom to the faithful
probe of honest friendship, and shrink
not, if it smarts beneath the touch;—
nor, with tenacious pride dislike the
person that freely dares to condemn some
favourite foible—but, ever open to conviction,
hear with attention, and receive
with gratitude, the kind reproof that
flows from tenderness:――When sensibleF2 sible F2v 84
of a fault, be ingenuous in the
confession—be sincere and steady in the
correction of it.

Happy is her lot, who, in a husband,
finds this invaluable friend!—Yet, so
great is the hazard, so disproportioned the
chances, that I could almost wish the
dangerous die was never to be thrown for
any of you!—But, as probably it may,
let me conjure ye all, my dear girls, if
ever any of you take this most important
step in life, to proceed with the utmost
care and with deliberate circumspection.
—Fortune and Family it is the sole
province of your father to direct in—he
certainly has always an undoubted right
to a negative voice, though not to a compulsive6 pulsive F3r 85
one:—as a child is very justifiable
in the refusal of her hand, even to
the absolute command of a father, where
her heart cannot go with it—so is she
extremely culpable, in giving it contrary
to his approbation:—Here, I must take
shame to myself!—And, for this unpardonable
fault, I do justly acknowledge
that the subsequent ill consequences of a
most unhappy marriage were the proper
punishment:—This, and every other
error in my own conduct, I do, and
shall, with the utmost candor, lay open
to you, sincerely praying that you may
reap the benefit of my experience, and
that you may avoid those rocks, on which,
either by carelessness or sometimes, F3 alas, F3v 86
alas, by too much caution, I have been
wreck’d!—But to return.—

The chief point to be regarded, in
the choice of a companion for life, is a
really virtuous principle—an unaffected
goodness of heart;—without this, you
will be continually shock’d by indecency,
and pain’d by impiety.—So numerous
have been the unhappy victims to the
ridiculous opinion—A reform’d libertine makes the best husband—that, did not
experience daily evince the contrary,
one would believe it impossible for a girl,
who has a tolerable degree of common
understanding, to be made the dupe of
so erroneous a position, which has not
the least shadow of reason for its foundation,dation, F4r 87
and which a small share of observation
will prove to be false in fact.—
A man, who has been long conversant
with the worst sort of women, is very
apt to contract a bad opinion of and a
contempt for the sex in general;—incapable
of esteeming any, he is suspicious
of all;—jealous without cause, angry
without provocation—and his own disturb’d
imagination is a continual source
of ill humour:—to this is frequently
join’d a bad habit of body, the natural
consequence of an irregular life, which
gives an additional sourness to the temper:
—What rational prospect of happiness
can there be with such a companion?
—And, that this is the general character
of those who are called reformed rakes, F4 F4v 88
rakes, observation will certify;—but,
admit there may be some exceptions, it
is a hazard upon which no considerate
woman would venture the peace of her
whole future life.—The vanity of those
girls, who believe themselves capable of
working miracles of this kind, and who
give up their persons to men of libertine
principles, upon the wild expectation of
reclaiming them, justly deserves the
disappointment, which it will generally
meet with;—for, believe me, a wife is,
of all persons, the least likely to succeed
in such an attempt.――Be it your care
to find that virtue in a lover which you
must never hope to form in a husband.—
Good Sense and Good Nature are almost
equally requisite;—if the former is wanting, F5r 89
wanting, it will be next to impossible
for you to esteem the person of whose
behaviour you may have cause to be
asham’d—and mutual esteem is as necessary
to happiness in the married state as
mutual affection;—without the latter
every day will bring with it some fresh
cause of vexation—until repeated quarrels
produce a coldness, which will settle into
an irreconcileable aversion, and you will
become, not only each other’s torment,
but the object of contempt to your family
and to your acquaintance.

This quality of Good Nature is, of
all others, the most difficult to be ascertain’d,
on account of the general mistake
of blending it with Good Humour, as if they F5v 90
they were in themselves the same—
whereas, in fact, no two principles of
action are more essentially different—
and this may require some explanation.
――By Good Nature, I mean, that true
benevolence which partakes the felicity
of all mankind, which promotes the satisfaction
of every individual within the
reach of its ability, which relieves the
distressed, comforts the afflicted, diffuses
blessings, and communicates happiness,
far as its sphere of action can extend—
and which, in the private scenes of life,
will shine conspicuous in the dutiful son,
in the affectionate husband, the indulgent
father, the faithful friend, and in the compassionate
master both to man and beast:
—whilst Good Humour is nothing more 1 than F6r 91
than a cheerful, pleasing deportment—arising
either from a natural gaiety of mind, or
from an affectation of popularity—join’d
to an affability of behaviour, the result
of good breeding—and from a ready compliance
with the taste of every company:
—This kind of mere good humour is,
by far, the most striking quality;—it is
frequently mistaken for and complimented
with the superior name of real
good nature—a man, by this specious
appearance, has often acquir’d that appellation,
who, in all the actions of his
private life, has been a morose, cruel,
revengeful, sullen, haughty tyrant――
On the contrary, a man of a truly benevolent
disposition, and form’d to promotemote F6v 92
the happiness of all around him,
may sometimes, perhaps, from an ill habit
of body, an accidental vexation, or from a
commendable openness of heart, above the
meanness of disguise, be guilty of little sallies
of peevishness, or of ill humour,
which, carrying the appearance of ill nature,
may be unjustly thought to proceed
from it, by persons who are unacquainted
with his true character, and who take ill
humour and ill nature to be synonimous
terms—though in reality they bear not
the least analogy to each other.—In
order to the forming a right judgment,
it is absolutely necessary to observe this
distinction, which will effectually secure
you from the dangerous error of taking the F7r 93
the shadow for the substance—an irretrievable
mistake, pregnant with innumerable
consequent evils!

From what has been said, it plainly
appears that the criterion of this amiable
virtue is not to be taken from the general
opinion—mere good humuor being,
to all intents and purposes, sufficient, in
this particular, to establish the public
voice in favour of a man utterly devoid
of every humane and benevolent affection
of heart.—It is only from the less
conspicuous scenes of life, the more retir’d
sphere of action, from the artless
tenor of domestic conduct, that the real
character can, with any certainty, be
drawn—these undisguised proclaim the man;— F7v 94
man;—but, as they shun the glare of
light—nor court the noise of popular
applause—they pass unnoted, and are
seldom known ’till after an intimate
acquaintance:—the best method, therefore,
to avoid the deception in this case,
is to lay no stress on outward appearances,
which are too often fallacious, but to
take the rule of judging from the simple
unpolished sentiments of those, whose dependent
connections give them an undeniable
certainty—who not only see, but
who hourly feel, the good or bad effects
of that disposition, to which they are
subjected.—By this, I mean, that if a
man is equally respected, esteem’d, and
belov’d by his tenants, by his dependents
and domestics—from the substantial farmermer F8r 95
to the laborious pesant, from the
proud steward to the submissive wretch,
who, thankful for employment, humbly
obeys the menial tribe—you may justly
conclude, he has that true good nature,
that real benevolence, which delights in
communicating felicity and enjoys the
satisfaction it diffuses;—but if, by these,
he is despis’d and hated, serv’d merely
from a principle of fear, devoid of affection
—which is very easily discoverable—
whatever may be his public character,
however favourable the general opinion,
be assur’d, that his disposition is such as
can never be productive of domestic happiness.
—I have been the more particular
on this head, as it is one of the most
essential qualifications to be regarded, and F8v 96
and of all others the most liable to be

Never be prevail’d with, my dear, to
give your hand to a person defective in
these material points: —secure of virtue,
of good nature, and understanding, in a
husband, you may be secure of happiness;
—without the two former it is unattainable
—without the latter, in a tolrable
degree, it must be very imperfect.

Remember, however, that infallibility
is not the property of man, or you may
entail disappointment on yourself, by
expecting what is never to be found;—
the best men are sometimes inconsistent
with themselves:—They are liable to be hurried G1r 97
hurried, by sudden starts of passion, into
expressions and actions, which their
cooler reason will condemn;—they may
have some oddities of behaviour, some
peculiarities of temper;—they may be
subject so accidental ill humour, or to
whimsical complaints:—blemishes of
this kind often shade the brightest character,
but they are never destructive of
mutual felicity, unless when they are
made so by an improper resentment, or
by an ill-judg’d opposition.—Reason
can never be hear’d by passion—the offer
of it tends only to enflame the more;—
when cool’d, and in his usual temper,
the man of understanding, if he has
been wrong, will suggest to himself all
that could be urged against him;—the G man G1v 98
man of good-nature will, unupbraided,
own his error—immediate contradiction
is, therefore, wholly unserviceable, and
highly imprudent—and after repetition,
equally unnecessary, and injudicious.—
Any peculiarities in the temper or behaviour
ought to be properly represented in
the tenderest and in the most friendly
manner—and, if the representation of
them is made discreetly, it will generally
be well taken;—but, if they are so
habitual as not easily to be altered, strike
not too often upon the unharmonious
string—rather let them pass as unobserved:
such a chearful compliance will
better cement your union—and, they
may be made easy to yourself, by reflecting
on the superior good qualities, by which G2r 99
which these trifling faults are so greatly
over-balanced.—You must remember,
my dear, these rules are laid down, on
the supposition of your being united to
a person who possesses the three essential
qualifications for happiness before mentioned;
— in this case, no farther direction
is necessary but that you strictly perform
the duty of a wife, namely, to love, to
honor, and obey—the two first articles
are a tribute so indispensably due to merit
that they must be paid by inclination—
and they naturally lead to the performance
of the last, which will not only
be an easy, but a pleasing talk—since
nothing can ever be enjoin’d, by such a
person, that is in itself improper, and
few things will, that can, with any G2 reason, G2v 100
reason, be disagreeable to you.—Here,
should this subject end, were it not more
than possible for you, after all that has been
urged, to be led, by some inferior motive,
to the neglect of the primary caution—
and that, either from an opinion too hastily
entertain’d, from an unaccountable partiality,
or from the powerful prevalence
of persuasion, you may unfortunately
induc’d to give your hand to a man,
whose bad heart and morose temper,
conceal’d by a well practis’d dissimulation,
may render every flattering hope
of happiness abortive—May Heaven, in
mercy, guard you from this fatal error!—
Such a companion is the worst of all
temporal ills—a deadly potion, that imbitters
every social scene of life, damps every G3r 101
every rising joy, and banishes that cheerful
temper, which alone can give a true
relish to the blessings of mortalityMost
sincerely do I pray that this may
never be your lot!――And, I hope,
your prudent circumspection will be sufficient
to guard you from the danger:――
But, the bare possibility of the event
makes it not unnecessary to lay down a
few rules for the maintaining some degree
of ease, under such a deprivation of
happiness.—This is by far the most difficult
part of my present undertaking—it
is hard to advise here and still harder to
practise the advise:—the subject also is
too extensive to be minutely treated within
the compass of a letter, which must
confine me to the most material points G3 only;— G3v 102
only;—in these, I shall give you the best
directions in my power, very ardently
wishing that you may never have occasion
to make use of them.

The being united to a man of irreligious
principles makes it impossible to discharge
a great part of the proper duty of
a wife;—to name but one instance, obedience
will be render’d impracticable, by
frequent injunctions inconsistent with and
contrary to the higher obligations of morality.
—This is not a suppostion, but it
a certainty founded upon facts, which I
have too often seen and can attest.—
Where this happens, the reasons for noncompliance
ought to be offered in a plain,
strong, good-natur’d manner—there is at G4r 103
at least the chance of success from being
hear’d; but should those reasons be rejected,
or the hearing them be refused and
silence on the subject enjoin’d—which is
most probable, few people caring to
hear, what they know to be right, when
determined not to appear convinced by
it—obey the injuction, and urge not the
argument farther;—keep, however, steady
to your principles, and suffer neither
persuasion or threats to prevail on you to
act contrary to them:—all commands repugnant
to the laws of christianity, it is
your indispensable duty to disobey—all
requests that are inconsistent with prudence,
or incompatible with the rank and
character, which you ought to maintain in
life, it is your interest to refuse;—a complianceG4 pliance G4v 104
with the former would be criminal
—a consent to the latter highly indiscreet;
—and it might thereby subject you
to general censure――for, a man, capable
of requiring from his wife what he knows
to be in itself wrong, is equally capable
of throwing the whole blame of such
misconduct on her, and of afterwards
upbraiding her for a behaviour, to which
he will, upon the same principle, disown
that he has been accessary—Many similar
instances have come within the compass
of my own observation.—In things,
of a less material nature, that are neither
criminal in themselves nor pernicious in
their consequences, always acquiesce, if
insisted on, however disagreeable they
may be to your own temper and inclination;tion;— G5r 105
such a compliance will evidently
prove that your refusal, in the other
cases, proceeds not from a spirit of contradiction,
but merely from a just regard
to that superior duty, which can
never be infring’d with impunity;――
passion may resent but reason must approve
this conduct:—and, therefore, it
is the most likely method, in time, to
make a favourable impression;—but, if
you should fail of such success, you will
at least enjoy that satisfactory self-approbation,
which is the inseparable attendant
of a truly religious and rational

Should the painful talk of dealing with
a morose tyrannical temper be assign’d 1 you, G5v 106
you, there is little more to be recommended
than a patient submission to an
evil which admits not of a remedy――
Ill-nature is increas’d, obstinacy confirm’d
by opposition;—the less such a
temper is contradicted, the more supportable
will it be to those who are
under it’s baneful influence.――When
all endeavours to please are ineffectual,
and, when a man seems determin’d to find
fault with every thing—as if his chief
pleasure consisted in tormenting those
about him—it requires a more than
common degree of patience and resolution
to forbear uttering reproaches,
which such a behaviour may be justly
allow’d to deserve;—yet, it is absoluetly
necessary to the maintaining any tolerable G6r 107
tolerable degree of ease, not only to restrain
all expressions of resentment, but
to withhold even those disdainful looks,
which are apt to accompany a contemptuous
silence—and they both equally
tend only to encrease the malady.—
This infernal delight in giving pain is
most unwearied in the search of matter
for it’s gratification, and can either
find, or unaccountably can form it, in
almost all the occurrences of life;—
but, when suffer’d unobstructed, and
unregarded to run it’s malicious course,
it will quickly vent it’s blunted arrows,
and will die of disappointment—whilst
all endeavours to appease, all complaints
of unkindness, will but sharpen against
yourself the weapon’s edge—and, by proving G6v 108
proving your sensibility of the wound,
will give the wish’d-for satisfaction to
him who inflicts it.――Prudence, in this
case, directs more than ordinary circumspection,
—that every part of your behaviour
may be as blameless as possible,
even to the abstaining from the least appearance
of evil—and, after you have,
to the utmost of your power, strove to
merit approbation, expect not to meet
with it;—by these means, you will
escape the mortification of being disappointed,
which, often repeated, is apt
to give a gloomy sourness to the temper,
incompatible with any degree of contentment:
—You must, so situated, learn
to be satisfied with the consciousness of
acting right, according to your best abilitieslities G7r 109
—and, if possible, you should look
with an unconcern’d indifference on the
reception of every successless attempt to

This, it must be own’d, is a hard
lesson of philosophy—it requires no less
than an absolute command over the passions;
—but, let it be remember’d, that
such a command will itself most amply
recompense every difficulty, it will compensate
every pain, which it may cost
you to obtain it:――besides, it is, I believe,
the only way to preserve any tranquillity
of mind, under so disagreeable a

As the want of understanding is by no G7v 110
no art to be conceal’d, by no address to
be disguis’d, it might be suppos’d impossible
for a woman of sense to unite
herself to a person whose defect, in this
instance, must render that sort of rational
society, which constitutes the chief happiness
of such an union, impossible;—
yet, here, how often has the weakness
of female judgment been conspicuous?
—The advantages of great superiority in
rank or fortune have frequently proved
so irresistible a temptation, as, in opinion,
to outweigh not only the folly
but even the vices of it’s possessor:—A
grand mistake—ever tacitly acknowledg’d
by a subsequent repentance, when
the expected pleasures of affluence, equipage,
and all the glittering pomp of useless G8r 111
useless pageantry, have been experimentally
found insufficient to make amends
for the want of that constant satisfaction,
which results from the social joy of
conversing with a reasonable friend!
—But, however weak this motive must
be acknowledg’d, it is more excusable
than another, which, I fear, has sometimes
had an equal influence on the
mind—I mean, so great a love of
sway, as to induce her to give the preference
to a person of weak intellectuals,
in hopes thereby of holding, uncontroul’d,
the reins of government:――
The expectation is, in fact, ill-grounded
—obstinacy and pride being generally
the companions of folly, the silliest people
are usually the most tenacious of 7 their G8v 112
their opinions—and, consequently, the
hardest of all others to be managed;—
but—admit the contrary—the principle
is in itself bad—it tends to invert the
order of nature and to counteract the
design of Providence.

A woman can never be seen in a
more ridiculous light, than when she
appears to govern her husband;—if,
unfortunately, the superiority of understanding
is on her side, the apparent
consciousness of that superiority betrays
a weakness that renders her contemptible
in the sight of every considerate
person—and it may, very probably, fix
in his mind a dislike never to be eradicated.
—In such a case, it should ever no H1r 113
be your own, remember that some degree
of dissimulation is commendable—
so far as to let your husband’s defect appear
unobserv’d.—When he judges
wrong, never flatly contradict, but lead
him insensibly into another opinion, in
so discreet a manner, that it may seem
entirely his own—and, let the whole
credit of every prudent determination rest
on him, without indulging the foolish
vanity of claiming any merit to yourself;
—thus, a person, of but an indifferent
capacity, may be so assisted as, in many
instances, to shine with a borrow’d
lustre, scarce distinguishable from the
native, and, by degrees, he may be
brought into a kind of mechanical method
of acting properly, in all the commonH mon H1v 114
occurrences of life:—Odd as this
position may seem, it is founded in fact
—and, I have seen the method successfully
practis’d by more than one person,
where a weak mind, on the govern’d side,
has been so prudently set off as to appear
the sole director—like the statue of the
Delphic god, which was thought to give
forth it’s own oracles, whilst the humble
priest, who lent his voice, was by the
shrine conceal’d, nor sought a higher
glory than a suppos’d obedience to the
power he would be thought to serve.

From hence, it may be inferr’d, that,
by a perfect propriety of behaviour, ease,
and contentment, at least, are attainable
with a companion, who has not the most exalted H2r 115
exalted understanding;—but then,
virtue and good-nature are presupposed,
or there will be nothing to work upon—a
vicious ill-natur’d fool being so untractable
and tormenting an associate, there needs
only to add jealousy to the composition, to
make the curse compleat.

This passion, once suffer’d to get footing
in the heart, is hardly ever to be
extirpated—it is a constant source of
torment to the breast that gives it reception
and is an inexhaustible fund of
vexation to the object of it:—With a
person of this unfortunate disposition, it
is prudent to avoid the least appearance
of concealment—a whisper in a mix’d
company, a message given in a low voice H2 to H2v 116
to a servant, have, by the power of a
disturb’d imagination, been magnified
into a material injury—whatever has the
air of secrecy raises terror in a mind naturally
distrustful;— a perfect unreserv’d
openness, both in conversation and behaviour,
starves the anxious expectation of
discovery and may very probably lead
into an habitual confidence, the only
antidote against the poison of suspicion.
—It is easier to prevent than to remove
a receiv’d ill impression—and, consequently,
it is much wiser to be sometimes
deficient in little points of civility
—which, however indifferent in themselves,
may happen unaccountably to
clash with the ease of a person, whose
repose it is both your duty and interest to pro- H3r 117
promote—it is much more commendable,
contentedly to incur the censure of a
trifling disposition, by a circumstantial
unask’d relation of insignificant incidents,
than to give any room for apprehending
the least degree of reserve.—Such a constant
method of proceeding, together with
a reasonable compliance, is the most likely
to cure this painful turn of mind;—
for, by with-holding every support that
could give strength to it, the want of
matter to feed on may probably in time
cause it’s extinction:—If, unhappily,
it is so constitutional, so interwoven with
the soul as to become, in a manner, inseparably
united with it, nothing remains
but to submit patiently to the Will of
Heaven, under the pressure of an unalterableH3 able H3v 118
evil—to guard carefully against
the natural consequence of repeated undeserved
suspicions, namely, a growing
indifference which too frequently terminates
in aversion—and, by considering
such a situation as a trial of obedience
and resignation, to receive the comfort
that must arise from properly exercising
one of the most exalted of the christian
virtues:—I cannot dismiss this subject
without adding a particular caution
to yourself concerning it.

Jealousy is, on several accounts, still
more inexcusable in a woman—there is
not any thing that so much exposes her
to ridicule, or so much subjects her to
the insult of affrontive addresses—it 7 is H4r 119
is an inlet to almost every possible evil,
the fatal source of innumerable indiscretions,
the sure destruction of her own
peace, and frequently is the bane of her
husband’s affection!—Give it not a momentary
harbour to it’s shadow in your
heart—fly from it, as from the face of a
fiend that would lead your unwary
steps into a gulf of unalterable misery.
—When once embark’d in the matrimonial
voyage, the fewer faults you discover
in your partner, the better;—never
search after what it will give you no
pleasure to find—never desire to hear
what you will not like to be told;—
therefore avoid that tribe of impertinents,
who, either from a malicious love of
discord, or from the meaner, tho’ less H4 criminal H4v 120
criminal motive of ingratiating themselves,
by gratifying the blameable
curiosity of others, sow dissention,
wherever they gain admittance—and, by
telling unwelcome truths, or, more frequently,
by insinuating invented falsehoods,
injure innocent people, disturb
domestic union, and destroy the peace of
families:—Treat these emissaries of
Satan with the contempt they deserve
—hear not what they offer to communicate,
but, give them at once to understand,
that you can never look on those
as your friends, who speak in a disadvantageous
manner of that person, whom you
would always chuse to see in the most favourable
light:—If they are not effectually
silenced by such rebukes, be inaccessible to H5r 121
to their visits, and break off all acquaintance
with such incorrigible pests of
society, who will be ever upon the watch
to seize an unguarded opportunity of disturbing
your repose.

Should the companion of your life be
guilty of some secret indiscretions, run
not the hazard of being told, by these
malicious meddlers, what, in fact, it is
better for you never to know;—but, if
some unavoidable accident betrays an
imprudent correspondence, take it for
a mark of esteem, that he endeavours to
conceal from you what he knows you
must, upon a principle of reason and
religion, disapprove—and, do not, by discovering
your acquaintance with it, take off H5v 122
off the restraint, which your suppos’d
ignorance lays him under, and, thereby
perhaps, give a latitude to undisguised
irregularities.—Be assur’d, whatever
accidental sallies the gaiety of inconsiderate
youth may lead him into, you can
never be indifferent to him, whilst he is
careful to preserve your peace, by concealing
what he imagines might be an
infringement of it:—Rest then satisfied
that time and reason will most certainly
get the better of all faults, which proceed
not from a bad heart—and that, by maintaining
the first place in his esteem, your
happiness will be built on too firm a
foundation to be easily shaken.

I have been thus particular on the choice H6r 123
choice of a husband, and on the material
parts of conduct in a married life, because
thereon depends not only the temporal,
but often the eternal felicity of those
who enter into that state—a constant
scene of disagreement, of ill-nature and
quarrels, necessarily unfitting the mind
for every religious and social duty, by
keeping it in a disposition directly opposite
to that christian piety, to that practical
benevolence and rational composure,
which alone can prepare it for everlasting

Instructions on this head, considering
your tender age, may seem premature,
and, should have been deferred, until occasion
call’d for them, had our situation allow’d H6v 124
allow’d me frequent opportunities of
communicating my sentiments to you—
but, that not being the case, I chuse in
this epistle, at once, to offer you my best
advice in every circumstance of great
moment to your well-being, both here
and hereafter, lest, at a more proper season,
it may not happen to be in my
power.—You may defer the particular
consideration of this part, ’till the design
of entering into the new scene of life may
make it useful to you;—which, I hope,
will not be for some years—an unhappy
marriage being generally the consequence
of a too early engagement, before reason
has gain’d sufficient strength to form a
solid judgment, on which only a proper
choice can be determin’d.――Great is 5 the H7r 125
the hazard of a mistake, and irretrievable
the effects of it!—Many are the degrees
between happiness and misery!—Absolute
misery, I will venture to affirm, is to
be avoided, by a proper behaviour, even
under all the complicated ills of human
life—but to arrive at that proper behaviour,
requires the highest degree of christian
philosophy;—and, who would voluntarily
put themselves upon a state of trial
so severe, in which not one of a thousand
has been found able to come off victorious?
—Between this and positive happiness,
there are innumerable steps of comparative
evil—each has it’s separate conflict,
variously difficult, differently painful,
under all which a patient submission and
a conscious propriety of behaviour is the only H7v 126
only attainable good.—Far short indeed of
possible temporal felicity is the ease arising
from hence!—Rest not content with the
prospect of such ease, but, fix on a more
eligible point of view, by aiming at true
happiness;――and, take my word, that
can never be found in a married state,
without the three essential qualifications
already mentioned, Virtue, Good Nature,
and Good Sense in a husband.――
Remember, therefore, my dear girl, this
repeated Caution, if you ever resolve on
marriage—Never give your hand to a
man who wants either of them, whatever
other advantages he may be possess’d
of—so shall you not only escape all those
vexations, which thousands of unthinking
mortals hourly repent of having brought H8r 127
brought upon themselves, but, most
assuredly, if it is not your own fault,
you will enjoy that uninterrupted domestic
harmony, in the affectionate society
of a virtuous companion, which constitutes
the highest satisfaction of human
life.—Such an union, founded on reason
and religion, cemented by mutual esteem
—if the comparison may be allow’d—of
the promis’d reward of virtue in a future
state;—and, most certainly, it is an
excellent preparative for it, by preserving
a perfect equanimity, by keeping a constant
composure of mind, which naturally
lead to the proper discharge of all the
religious and social duties of life, and these
form the unerring road to everlasting peace.— H8v 128
peace.—The First have been already
spoken to—it remains only to mention
some few of the Latter.

Amongst these Œconomy may, perhaps,
be thought improperly plac’d—
yet, many of the duties we owe to society
being often rendered impracticable,
by the want of it, there is not so much impropriety
in ranking it under this head,
as may at first be imagin’d:—For instance,
a man who lives at an expence,
beyond what his income will support,
lays himself under a necessity of being
unjust, by with-holding from his creditors
what they have a right to demand
from him as their due, according to all
laws both human and divine――and, thereby, I1r 129
thereby, he often entails ruin on innocent
family, who, but for the loss sustain’d
by his extravagance, might have
comfortably subsisted on the profits of
their industry;—he likewise puts it out of
his own power to give that relief to the
indigent, which, by the laws of humanity,
they have a right to expect—the goods
of fortune being given—as a great divine
excellently observes—for the use and
support of others, as well as for the
person on whom they are bestowed:—
These are surely great breaches of that
duty we owe to our fellow-creatures,
and are effects very frequently and naturally
produced by the want of œconomy.
I You I1v 130
You will find it a very good method,
so to regulate your stated expences as to
bring them always one fourth part within
your certain annual income;—by these
means, you will avoid being at any time
distress’d by unforeseen accidents, and you
will have it more easily in your power
materially to relieve those who deserve
assistance—but the giving trifling sums,
indiscriminately, to such as appear necessitous,
is far from being commendable—
it is an injury to society—it is an encouragement
to idleness and helps to fill
the streets with lazy beggars, who live
upon misapplied bounty to the prejudice
of the industrious poor—These are useful
members of the common-wealth—
and on them such benefactions might be I2r 131
be serviceably bestowed.—Be sparing
therefore in this kind of indiscriminate
donations—they are too constantly an
insignificant relief to the receivers—supposing
them really in want—and, frequently
repeated, they amount to a
considerable sum in the year’s account.
――The proper objects of charity are
those, who, by unavoidable misfortunes,
have fallen from affluent circumstances
into a state of poverty and distress—
those also, who by unexpected disappointments
in trade, are on the point of
being reduced to an impossibility of carrying
on that business, on which their
present subsistence and their future prospects
in life depend, from the incapacity
of raising an immediate sum to surmount I2 the I2v 132
the difficulty—and those, who, by their
utmost industry, can hardly support their
families, above the miseries of want――
or, who, by age or illness, are rendered
incapable of labour:――Appropriate a
certain part of your income to the relief of
these real distresses.—To the first, give as
largely as your circumstances will allow;
――To the second—after the example
of an excellent prelate of our own church
—lend, if it is in your power, a sufficient
sum to prevent the threaten’d ruin, on
condition of being repaid the loan, without
interest, if Providence enables them,
by future success, to do it with convenience.
――The same method may be
us’d, where indigence renders industry
unavailable, by depriving it of the means 7 to I3r 133
to lay in a small original stock to be
improv’d――never take a note of hand,
or any acknowledgment of such loan,
lest what you intended for a benefit should
be afterwards made the instrument
of ruin to the receiver, by a different
disposition in your successor.—But, such
assistance ought not to be given to any,
without a thorough knowledge of their
character, and from having good reason
to believe them not only industrious but
strictly honest—which will be a sufficient
obligation on them for the repayment;
—and, the sums so repaid ought to be
laid by, ’till an opportunity again offers
of making them, in like manner, serviceable
to others.—The latter sort,
who are able to work, may, by a small I3 addition I3v 134
addition to the profits of their own
labour, be rescued from misery, and
may be put into a comfortable way of
subsistence.――Those who, by age or by
infirmity, are rendered utterly incapable
of supporting themselves, have an undoubted
right—not only to the necessaries,
but even to some of the conveniences
of life—from all, whom Providence
has plac’d in the more happy state of
affluence and independence.

As your fortune and situation are yet
undetermined, I have purposely laid down
such rules as may be adapted to every
station.—A large fortune gives greater
opportunity of doing good and of communicating
happiness in a more extensive degree— I4r 135
degree—but a small one is no excuse
for with-holding a proportionate relief
from real and deserving objects of compassion:
— to assist them is an indispensable
duty of christianity.—The first and
great commandment is, To love God
with all your heart;—the second, To
love your neighbour as yourself—
“Whoso seeth his brother in need, and shutteth
up his bowels of compassion, how dwelleth
the love of God in him?”
—Or how the
love of his neighbour?—If deficient in
these primary duties, vain are the hopes
of acceptance built on a partial obedience
to the lesser branches of the law!—
Inability is often pleaded as an excuse for
the want of charity, by persons who
make no scruple of daily lavishing on I4 their I4v 136
their pleasures, what, if better applied,
might have made an indigent family
happy through life;—these persons lose
sight of real felicity, by the mistaken
pursuit of its shadow:—the pleasures;
which engross their attention, die in the
enjoyment, are often succeeded by remorse,
and always by satiety;—whereas
the true joy, the sweet complacency resulting
from benevolent actions, encreases
by reflection and must be immortal as
the soul.—So exactly, so kindly, is our
duty made to coincide with our present
as well as future interest, that incomparably
more satisfaction will accrue to a
considerate mind, from denying itself
even some of the agreeables of life, in
order the more effectually to relieve the unfor- I5r 137
unfortunate, than could arise from a full
indulgence of every temporal gratification.

However small your income may be,
remember that a part of it is due to merit
in distress;—set by an annual sum, for
this purpose, even though it should oblige
you to abate some unnecessary expence
to raise the fund:—By this method,
persons of slender fortune have been enabled
to do much good and to give happiness
to many.—If your stock will not
admit of frequent draughts upon it, be
the more circumspect with regard to the
merit of those you relieve, that bounties,
not in your power to repeat often, may
not be misapplied:—But, if Providence, by I5v 138
by a more ample fortune, should bless
you with a larger ability of being serviceable
to your fellow-creatures, prove
yourself worthy of the trust repos’d in
you, by making a proper use of it.――
Wide as your influence can extend, turn
the cry of distress and danger into the
song of joy and safety—feed the hungry,
clothe the naked, comfort the afflicted,
give medicine to the sick, and, with
either, bestow all the alleviation their
unfortunate circumstances can admit of:
—Thus may you truly make a friend of
the unrighteous mammon—Thus you
may turn the pershable goods of fortune
into everlasting blessings:—Upon earth,
you will partake that happiness you impart
to others, and you will lay up for yourself I6r 139
yourself “Treasures in Heaven, where neither
moth nor rust can corrupt, and where
thieves do not break through nor steal”

A person, who has once experienc’d
the advantages of a right action, will
be led by the motive of present self-interest,
as well as by future expectation,
to the continuance of it.――There is
no injunction of christianity, that, a sincere
christian, by obedience, will not
find is so calculated as to be directly, in
some measure, its own reward.

The forgiveness of injuries—to which
is annex’d the promise of pardon for our
own offences, and which is requir’d by
the gospel, not only so far as to fobear6 bear I6v 140
all kinds of retaliation, but also
to render us equally disposed to serve,
with our utmost power, those persons
who have wilfully injur’d us, as if no
such injury had been receiv’d from them
――has by some been accounted a hard
precept;—yet the difficulty of it arises
merely from and is proportionable to
the badness of the heart by which it is
so esteem’d:—A good disposition finds
a superlative pleasure in returning good
for evil;—and, by an inexpressible satisfaction
of mind, in so doing, feels the
present reward of obedience:—whereas,
a spirit of revenge is incompatible with
happiness, an implacable temper being a
constant torment to its possessor;—and,
the man, who, returns an injury, feels more I7r 141
more real misery from the rancour of his
own heart than it is in his power to inflict
upon another.

Should a friend wound you in the
most tender part, by betraying a confidence
repos’d, prudence forbids the exposing
yourself to a second deception,
by placing any future trust in such a
person;—but, though here all obligations
of intimacy cease, those of benevolence
and humanity remain still in full
force, and are equally binding, as to
every act of service and assistance, even
to the suffering a lesser evil yourself, in
order to procure a much greater good to
the person, by whom you have been thus
ill-us’d:—This is in general allow’d to I7v 142
to be the duty of every individual to all,
as a member of society――but, it is particularly
instanc’d in the present case, to
shew that not even a breach of friendship
—the highest of all provocations—
will cancel the duty, at all times equally
and unalterably binding, the duty of
promoting both the temporal and eternal
happiness of all your fellow-creatures,
by every method in your power.

It has been by many thought impertinent
at any time to offer unask’d advice
――the reason of which may be
chiefly owing to its being too frequently
tender’d with a supercilious air
that implies a conceited consciousness of
superior wisdom;――it is the manner, therefore, I8r 143
therefore, more than the thing itself,
that gives disgust.

If those with whom you have any degree
of intimacy are guilty of what to
you appears either wrong, or indiscreet,
speak your opinion to them with freedom,
tho’ you should even lose a nominal
friend by so doing:—Silence makes you,
in some measure, an accessary to the
fault;—but, having thus once discharg’d
your duty, rest there—they are to judge
for themselves;—to repeat such admonitions
is both useless and impertinent—
and they will then be thought to proceed
rather from pride than from goodnature;
—to the persons concerned only,
are you to speak your disapprobation of their I8v 144
their conduct;—when they are censured
by others, say all that truth or probability
will permit in their justification.

It often happens, that, upon an accidental
quarrel between friends, they separately
appeal to a third person—in such
case, alternately take the opposite side,
alledging every argument in favour of
the absent party and placing the mistakes
of the complainer in the strongest light:
—This method may probably at first
displease, but, is always right, as it is the
most likely to procure a reconciliation:—
If that takes place, each equally oblig’d,
will thankfully approve your conduct;
—if not, you will have the satisfaction
of, at least, endeavouring to have been the K1r 145
the restorer of peace.—A contrary behaviour
—which generally proceeds
from the mean desire of pleasing, by
flattery, at the expence of truth—often
widens a trifling breach into open and
irreconcileable enmity:—People of this
disposition are the worst sort of incendiaries
—the greatest plague of human
society, because the most difficult to be
guarded against, from their always wearing
the specious disguise of pretended
approbation and friendship to the present,
and equally deceitful resentment
against the absent person or company.

To enumerate all the social duties
would lead me too far;—suffice it,
therefore, my dear, in a few words to sum K up K1v 146
up what remains――Let truth ever
dwell upon your tongue.—Scorn to flatter
any, and despise the person who would
practice so base an art upon yourself.――
Be honestly open in every part of your
behaviour and conversation.—All, with
whom you have any intercourse, even
down to the meanest station, have a right
to civility and good-humour from you:
――a superiority of rank or fortune is
no licence for a proud supercilious behaviour
—the disadvantages of a dependent
state are alone sufficient to labour
under, it is both unjust and cruel to encrease
them, either by a haughty deportment
or by the unwarrantable exercise
of a capricious temper.

8 Examine K2r 147

Examine every part of your conduct
towards others, by the unerring rule of
supposing a change of places—this
will certainly lead to an impartial judgment;
—do then what appears to you
right, or, in other words, “what you would
they should do unto you”
—which comprehends
every duty relative to society.

Aim at perfection, or you will never
reach to an attainable height of virtue.
—Be religious without hypocrisy,
pious without enthusiasm.—Endeavour
to merit the favor of God, by a
sincere and uniform obedience to whatever
you know or believe to be his
will:—And, should afflictive evils be
permitted to cloud the sun-shine of your K2 brightest K2v 148
brightest days, receive them with submission
satisfied that a Being, equally
wise, omniscient, and beneficent, at
once sees and intends the good of His
whole creation—and that every general
or particular dispensation of His providence,
towards the rational part of it,
is so calculated as to be productive of
ultimate happiness, which nothing but
the misbehaviour of individuals can prevent
to themselves.—This truth is surely
an unanserable argument for absolute
resignation to the Will of God—and,
such a resignation, founded upon reason
and choice, not enforc’d by necessity,
is unalterable peace of mind, fix’d
on too firm a basis to be shaken by adversity:
—Pain, poverty, ingratitude, K3 calumny, K3r 149
calumny, and even the loss of those we
hold most dear, may each transiently
affect, but united cannot mortally wound
it.—Upon this principle, you will find
it possible not only to be content but
cheerful under all the disagreeable circumstances,
which this state of probation
is liable to—and, by making a proper use
of them, you may effectually remove the
garb of terror from the last of all temporal
evils:—learn then, with grateful
pleasure, to meet approaching death as
the kind remover of every painful sensation,
as the friendly guide to perfect,
to everlasting happiness.

Believe me, this is not mere theory—
my own experience every moment proves K3v 150
the fact undeniably true—my conduct, in
all those relations which still subsist with
me, nearly as human imperfection will
allow, is govern’d by the rules here laid
down for you—and it produces the constant
rational composure, which constitutes
the most perfect felicity of human
life;――for, with truth, I can aver,
that I daily feel incomparably more real
satisfaction, more true contentment in
my present retirement, than the gayest
scenes of festive mirth ever afforded me;
――I am pleas’d with this life, without
an anxious thought for the continuance
of it, and am happy in the hope of exchanging
it hereafter for a life infinitely
better.—My soul, unstain’d by the
crimes unjustly imputed to me, most sincerely K4r 151
sincerely forgives the malicious authors
of these imputations—it anticipates the
future pleasure of an open acquittal,
and, in that expectation loses the pain
of present undeserv’d censure:—By
this is meant the instance that was made
the suppos’d foundation for the last of
innumberable injuries, which I have receiv’d,
through him from whom I am
conscious of having deserv’d the kindest
treatment;—other faults, no doubt, I
might have many—to him I had very
few;—nay, for several years, I cannot,
upon reflection, accuse myself of any
thing, but of a too absolute, too unreserv’d,
obedience to every injunction,
even where plainly contrary to the dictates
of my own reason:――How wrong K4 such K4v 152
such a compliance was has been clearly
prov’d by many instances, in which it
has been since most ungenerously and
most ungratefully urg’d as a circumstantial
argument against me.

It must indeed be own’d, that for the
two or three last years, tir’d with a long
series of repeated insults, of a nature
almost beyond the power of imagination
to conceive, my temper became sour’d;
—a constant fruitless endeavour to
oblige was chang’d into an absolute
indifference about it—and ill humour,
occasion’d by frequent disappointment
—a consequence I have experimentally
warn’d you against—was, perhaps,
sometimes too much indulg’d:—How far K5r 153
far the unequal’d provocations may be
allowed as an excuse for this, Heaven
only must determine, whose goodness
has thought fit to release me from the
painful situation—though by a method,
at present, not the most eligible, as it
is the cause of separation from my
children also
, and thereby has put it
out of my power to attend, in the
manner I could have wish’d, to their
education—a duty that, inclination would
have led me with equal care and pleasure
more amply to fulfil, had they continued
under my direction:—But, as Providence
has thought fit otherwise to determine,
contented I submit to every dispensation,
convinc’d that all things ordered for
the best, and that they will in the end work K5v 154
work together for good to them that
fear God and who sincerely endeavour
to keep his commandments.—If in
these I err, I am certain it is owing to
a mistake in the judgment, not to a
defect of the will.

Thus have I endeavour’d, my dear
girl, in some measure, to compensate
both to you and to your sisters, the
deprivation of a constant maternal care,
by advising you, according to my best
ability, in the most material parts of
your conduct through life, as particularly
as the compass of a letter would allow
me.—May these few instructions be
as serviceable to you as my wishes would
make them!—And, may that Almighty Being, K6r 155
Being, to whom my daily prayers ascend
for your preservation, grant you His
heavenly benediction—may he keep
you from all moral evil, lead you into the
paths of righteousness and peace!—And,
may He give us all a happy meeting in
that future state of unalterable felicity,
which is “prepared for those, who, by
patient continuance in well-doing, seek after
glory and immortality.”

Should any of you, when at liberty
to follow your own inclinations, chuse
to write to me., Tthe address—For me,
To the care of Mr. Walter, Bookseller,
—will ensure the safe conveyance
of a letter to my hand.

So K6v 156

So many have been the instances of
falshood and deceit which I have met
with, where they were least expected,
they may justify a precaution against my
name being hereafter made use of, without
my knowledge—especially as my
promise of a future letter may lay a
foundation for such an attempt.—That
future letter
must contain the relation of
many events, which, for the sake of the
persons concerned in them, I could wish
—my heart being really void of all resentment
—there was no necessity of making
public:—If, therefore, I can find a
certain means of conveying the narrative
to your brothers, sisters, and to yourself,
when you are all arrived at a proper
age to receive and to understand it, that K7r 157
that method will be prefer’d;—if not,
I must again have recourse to this
channel:――But should I, before that
intended period, be remov’d from this
state of existence, so necessary does it
appear to me to undeceive the minds of
my children, and to justify to them, who
are so nearly concerned, my injur’d
character, the manuscript is deposited
in the hands of a friend, on whom
I can safely depend for the publication at
the time prefix’d—That friend has also
some original letters, together with an
order of mine, which will be satisfactory
vouchers of its being written by me—And
this precaution will effectually secure
you from the possibility of being impos’d
on, by any pretended Posthumous letter 7 of K7v 158
of mine:
—The former editions of This
to you, my dear, have always had My Manual Sign—but, so long a
time having now pas’d, since its first
publication, and, the number of copies
which have been dispers’d, proving, in
a manner, its authenticity, that trouble
to me, I think, may now be dispens’d
with—To prevent however the imposition
of any pretended copies of it, my
publisher, Mr. Walter, will hereafter
add His Manual Sign to every copy of this
, which will serve for that of

Your affectionate Mother,

S. Pennington

J. Walter.

Just Published,

Letters K8v

Books Printed for J. Walter.

The Above Printed For
J. Walter, at Homer’s Head, Charing Cross..