Page:Letters to Mothers (1839).djvu/25

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government that protects her, than man, who bears within his own person, the elements of self-defence. But how shall her gratitude be best made an operative principle? Secluded as she wisely is, from any share in the administration of government, how shall her patriotism find legitimate exercise? The admixture of the female mind in the ferment of political ambition, would be neither safe if it were permitted, nor to be desired if it were safe. Nations who have encouraged it, have usually found their cabinet-councils perplexed by intrigue, or turbulent with contention. History has recorded instances, where the gentler sex have usurped the sceptre of the monarch, or invaded the province of the warrior. But we regard them either with amazement, as a planet rushing from its orbit, or with pity as the lost Pleiad, vanishing from its happy and brilliant sisterhood.

Still, patriotism is a virtue in our sex, and there is an office where it may be called into action, a privilege which the proudest peer might envy. It depends not on rank or wealth, the canvassings of party, or the fluctuations of the will of the people. Its throne is the heart, its revenue in Eternity. This office is that of maternal teacher. It is hers by hereditary right. Let her make it an inalienable possession. Nature invested her with it, when giving her the key of the infant soul, she bade her enter it through the affections. Her right to its first love, her intuitive discernment of its desires and impulses,