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The spirit which animated the nation at this æra is well known: the diligence and secrecy with which the different meafures were conducted; the spirit of enterprize which distinguifhed the conductors is too well known to need being particularly mentioned. In this general sketch we connect, in fact, the two administrations of Mr. Pitt, passing over the little interval when court-intrigue removed, and the general voice of the nation restored him. One circumstance, in the first adminiftration, may be mentioned with aftonishment: he proposed, in the Spanilh negotiation in 1757, to cede Gibraltar to Spain; and again, in 1761, offered it' as the price of the sacrifice of the family-compact. We are superior to the empty pride of national punetilio, and well know the respect which the crudest idea of lord Chatham deserves; but, on this subject, we must differ. Without Gibraltar, France and Spain might have imposed duties on every fhip that entered the Mediterranean; the trade of Britain would have been limited; and the first maritime power that the world ever faw might have had an additional fetter on her marine exertions. If the vast scheme, refpecting the trade of Poland, had succeeded, one of the confequences might have been, that the dues on entering the Sound muft have been remitted. In the Appendix it appears that this idea of the renunciation of Gibraltar was not new in the British court. It had occurred to George I. and even that prudent prince had promised it so far as it depended on him. This, in the court of an absolute monarch, was considered as an absolute promise, and the performance was afterwards demanded. We trust that Great Britain will never again be in a fituation to require such a sacrifice.
The events on the succession of George III. are recent, and within the memory of many of our readers. It had been the fathion for some time to declaim on the misfortunes of victory, on the expences of a war, where success was pernicious, and defeat ruin. We are now more enlightened, enlightened by dear-bought experience; but, even at that time, it ought to have been feen, that Great Britain could not fubbilt as an independent power, without a navy equal to that which, within any probable contingency, could be brought against her; and that conquests, unconnected with, or not to be controuled by, fuch a navy, were useless.' Yet the incroachments of the French on the side of Canada had been the cause of the war, and the clamours of two million British colonists demanded its ceffion. Tliere were, however, other facrifices to have purchafed, at that time, the Weft India iflands; and, if Martinico had been ceded, St. Lucia, which would at any time have commanded it, with a fufficient naval force, fhould have been retained. Impartial posterity will at once see that the eagerness of the court to make peace occasioned them to obtain worse terms than the French before offered; and that Great Britain, in the event of a future war, gave her enemies the advantage. Our author notices Dr. Musgrave's accusation, and adds his examination before the house of commons. It was alledged that the French purchased the peace; but M. d'Eon, whoni Dr. Musgrave quoted as one of the agents, has since said, that money was more probably given by England. Both might have been true ; inducements might have led the English lea ders to treat; and, when they were committed, it may have been found expedient, by any means, to procure terms apparently honourable and advantageous. In the momentary humiliation of Great Britain, France secured herfelf in case of future hoftilities; and government will find the late cellion
of St. Lucia and Tobago most inconvenient, in case of -hostilities in the West Indies. At present a fairer prospect open's to our view.
(To be concluded in the Appendix.)
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on po
litical Subjects. By Mary Wollstonecraft. 8vo., 6s. boards.
Johnson. 1792 ONE of the stricteft proofs in mathematical demonstrations,
is the reducing the question to an absurdity; by allowing, for instance, that the proposition is not true, and then showing that this would lead to the most obvious 'inconsistencies. Miss Wollstonecraft has converted this method of proceeding with the same success: reasoning on the boasted principles of the Rights of Man, she finds they lead very clearly to the object of her work, a Vindication of the Rights of Woman; and, by the abfurdity of many of her conclusions, shows, while we admit the reasoning, that the premises must be, in some refpe&ts, fallacious.
Dismilling then those pretty femenine phrases, which the men condescendingly use to soften our flavish dependence, and despifing that weak elegancy of mind, exquisite sensibility, and sweet docility of manners, supposed to be the sexual characteristics of the weaker vessel, I wish to thew that elegance is inferior to virtue, that the first object of laudable ambition is to obtain a character as a human being, regardless of the distinction of sex; and that Secondary views thould be brought to this simple touchstone.'
This is the outline of her plan; but before she proceeds to show that this change would be suitable, useful, advantageous, it will be first necesary to prove that there is no sexual girtinction of character ; that the female mind is equally fitted for the more arduous mental operations; that women are equally able to pursue the toilsome road of minute, laborious, investigation; that their judgments are equally sound, their Tesolution equally strong. After this is done, the benefit derived must be considered ; and, when all are strong, to whom must the weaker operations belong? The female Plato will find it unsuitable to the dignity of her virtue' to dress the child, and defcend to the disgusting offices of a nurse: the new Archimedes will measure the shirts by means of the altitude taken by a quadrant; and the young lady, instead of studying the softer and more amiable arts of pleasing, must contend with her lover for superiority of mind, for greater dignity of virtue; and before the condescends to become his wife, muft prove herself his equal or superior. It may be fancy, prejudice, or obstinacy, we contend not for a name, but we are infinitely better pleased with the present system; and, in truth, dear young lady, for by the appellation sometimes prefixed to your name we must suppose you to be young, endeavour to attain the weak elegancy of mind,' the sweet docility of manners,' the exquisite sensibility,' the former ornaments of your sex; we are certain you will be more pleasing, and we dare pronounce that you will be infinitely happier. Mental fuperiority is not an object worth contending for, if happiness be the aim. But, as this is the first female combatant in the - new field of the Rights of Woman, if we smile only, we shall be accused of wishing to decline the contest; if we content our. selves with paying a compliment to her talents, it will be styled inconsistent with true dignity,' and as showing that we want to continue the flavish dependence.'-We must contend then with this new Atalanta ; and who knows whether, in this modern instance, we may not gain two victories by the con· test? There is more than one batchelor in our corps; and, if we should succeed, miss Wollstonecraft may take her choice.
This work is dedicated to M. Talleyrand-Perigord, late bishop of Autun, who, in his treatise on National Education, does not seem to be perfectly convinced that the rights of man extend to woman; yet in France the diffusion of knowledge, our author afferts, is greater than in any other European mation, on account of the more unreserved communication between the sexes, though what the ladies have gained in knowledge they seem confeffedly to have lost in delicacy. The following paffage we must transcribe, for we confess we do not fully understand it.
• Contending for the rights of woman, my main argument is built on this simple principle, that if the be not prepared by edu
cation to become the companion of man, she will stop the progress of knowledge, for truth must be common to all, or it will be inefficacious with respect to its influence on general practice. And how can woman be expected to co-operate unless the know why she ought to be virtuous !, unless freedom strengthen her reason till she comprehend her duty, and see in what manner it is connected with her real good? If children are to be educated to understand the true principle of patriotism, their mother must be a patriot; and the love of mankind, from which an orderly train of virtues Spring/ can only be produced by considering the moral and civil interest of mankind; but the education and fituation of woman, at pret sent, shuts her out from such investigations.
In this work I have produced many arguments, which to me were conclufive, to prove that the prevailing notion respecting á sexual character was subversive of morality, and I have contended, that to render the human body and mind more perfect, chastity must more universally prevail, and that chastity will never be relpected in the male world till the person of a woman is not, as it were, idolized, when little virtue or sense embellif it with the grand traces of mental beauty, or the interesting fimplicity of affection.':
The first fentence is erroneous in fact and in reasoning: it is conttadicted by the experience of ages, the practice of different nations. The second sentence is a curious one-How can she be suppofed to co-operate (we suppose in the progress of knowledge) unless the know why she ought to be virtuous ? Virtuous! Here must be some mistake: what has virtue to do with the progress of knowledge ? As to freedom, strengthening the reason, &c. we see no occasion for metaphysical investigation on this subject : that virtue is connected with prof
perity and happiness, and vice with misfortune and milery, The might learn, not from Locke, but the New Testament.
The concluding sentence of the first paragraph is still more Atrange. Patriotism may be very properly instilled by a fa"ther; and we must beg leave to differ in opinion from this lady in another point: we are confident, from frequent and ex- fensive observation, no' arguments can confute the opinion that we have formed, and we must still persist in thinking, that the education and fituation of women, at present, really and elfectually inspire the love of mankind. We do believe with miss Wollstonecraft, that chastity will be respected more, when the perfon of a woman ceases to be idolized, and the grand traces of mental beanty are principally conspicuous. The pathetic address ad hominem, on the injustice and cruelty of subjugating women, is interesting and well expressed. It is true, that women cannot by force be confined to domestic concerns :' it is equally true, that they will negle& private duties, to disturb, by cunning tricks, the orderly plans of reason;' and sometimes, we may add, even for worse purposes. We agree too, that no coercion should be establithed
cruelty As we write this article profeffedly for the service of the lady, we ought to apologise for the Latin word. It may be englished personal address;"_but
in society, and the common law of gravity prevailing, the sexes will fall into their proper place;' nor shall we object to another pafiage, that if women are not permitted to enjoy legitimate rights, they will 'render both men and themselves vicious to obtain illicit privileges.' But to be serious.
We should despise ourselves, if we were capable to garble sentences, in order to make them bear a different or a double meaning. The meaning of miss Wollstonecraft must be obvious, and we have only marked the equivocal nature of her language by Italics. If the whole was not as defective in reasoning as in propriety, we should not for a moment have indulged a smile. The object of this dedication, and indeed of her whole work, is to show that women should participate in the advantages of education and knowledge, that they may be more suitable companions for their husbands, better tutors in the earlier periods of their children's lives, and more useful "active citizens. When she steps from the stilts of patriotism, and omits the last object, the reasons with accuracy and propriety; not always indeed in a regular method, or by a
well compacted chain of argument, but sometimes with a forçe carrying conviction. When we proceed to examine the subject more closely, and enquire into the degree of education and mental improvement necessary, we suspect that we must great
Are the mental powers to be regulated only, and generally informed, or are the sciences to be regularly taught? If a young woman be led to examine a subject coolly, to compare different arguments, to estimate the different degrees of evidence which each subject admits of, and to trace with some attention the evolutions of the human mind: above all, if the indulges'a habit of reflection, and is neither afraid nor afhamed to look at her own errors, and investigate their source, the will be a more pleasing companion, a better wife and mother, a more useful member of society. All this a frequent reflection, and the conversation of a sensible man, will teach better than books, if we except those general essays, which, while they improve the mental faculties, add to the stock of ideas ;
hominem' is a word, in this instance, peciliarly happy, for it means man or woman-cither exclulively mad, or those manly females who endeavour to imicatc MACA.