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33
INFLUENCE ON OFFSPRING.

seen laced tight, because she knows it to be true, both from experience and from physiology. My object in this allusion is, to break up this most pernicious fashion; and I think this one suggestion alone, if generally known, would do it. Many physiologists know this fact, but dare not mention it. The Lord forgive those extra modest authors who dare not speak the truth for fear of offending fastidious ears, and losing reputation. Let it be remembered that a marked change is now coming over American ladies. They are known throughout Christendom for their false modesty; but the better classes are beginning to lay down their squeamishness. A few lessons in Physiology will break it down in all whose opinions are valuable.—the rest will do well to remember that ' Evil is to him who evil thinks,'—but that' To the pure all things are pure.' A few years will see whatever odium may be attached to this allusion, converted into commendation. At all events, I dare tell the truth, and am independent of consequences.

I will add, that this explains the fact that tight-lacers so easily get in love. The fact is indisputable, and the reason obvious. Tight lacing disorders the nervous system, and this inflames the base of the brain, which necessarily excites the organs of Amativeness, situated at the lowest point in the base of the brain, and therefore the more readily affected by whatever disorders the body. In his work on Education, and also in that on Temperance, the author has demonstrated the principle, that whatever stimulates the body or irritates the nervous system, thereby necessarily excites the base of the brain in a pre-eminent degree. It is a settled principle of physiology, that nothing can stimulate or morbidly excite the body, without setting on fire the animal propensities. Tight-lacing does certainly do this. And as Amitiveness is located at the lowest part of the base of the brain, tight-­lacing, in rendering the brain and nervous system morbidly active, thereby necessarily kindles impure feelings. This principle cannot be evaded. It is true in theory, it is true in fact, that tight-lacing kindles impure feelings, at the same time that it renders their possessors weak minded, so as to be the more easily led away by temptation. And this, aye, this is the reason why certain men keep up this immodest fashion.

I heartily pity a tight-laced woman; for, I know what she feels, and what she endures. But she inflicts it voluntarily, just as the Hindoo widow burns herself to death on the funeral pile of her husband.

But another still greater evil inflicted by tight-lacing, is that which strikes a deadly blow at the very life of mankind. I refer to its influence on posterity. One end of woman's existence is offspring; and who does not know that the constitution and health of the child depend upon those of the mother; and especially, upon an ample development of these vital organs. The nourishment of the child, before and after birth, is a leading condition of a good mother in her capacity as mother. If she have too little vitality to sustain her own brain and muscles—a point already shown—how can she have a surplus for her infant? To have as large a portion of her own feeble and vitiated vitality as is necessary to carry her child, withdrawn, makes her feel most awfully—increasing that class of feelings and cast of mind described before. Besides, tight-lacing allows so scanty a supply to the child, as often to prevent its entering the world alive, or else to hasten its time. But even if it do live to be born, and its mother live to bear it, it is so sickly, so feeble, that a trifling exposure nips the tender bud in its germ, or causes it to drag out the miserable existence of an invalid.

To every man who prefers burying his children to the trouble or expense of raising them, I say, marry a small waist, and you will be sure to have few mature offspring, and those few thinned out by death. But I warn those who wish to see a healthy, happy family growing up around them, to render their life pleasing and nurse their declining years, as well as to perpetuate their name and race, and also those who