Page:Woman in the Nineteenth Century 1855.djvu/10

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IV PREFACE. independently from her own stand-point, and never to merge her individuality i" any existing organization. This she did, not as condemning such organizations, nor yet as judging them wholly unwise or uncalled for, but because she believed she could hers. -If accomplish more for their true and high objects, unfettered by such organizations, than if a member of them. The opinions avowed throughout this volume, and wherever expressed, will, then, be found, whether consonant with the reader's or no, in all cases honestly and heartily her own, the result of her own thought and faith. She never speaks, never did speak, for any clique or sect, but as her individual judgment, her reason and conscience, her observation and experience, taught her to speak. I could have wished that some one other than a brother should have spoken a few fitting words of Margaret Fuller, as a woman, to form a brief but proper accompaniment to this volume, which may reach some who have never read her " Memoirs," recently published, or have never known her in personal life. This seemed the more desirable, because the strictest verity in speaking of her must seem, to such as knew her not, to be eulogy. But, after several disappointments as to the editorship of the volume, the duty, at last, has seemed to devolve upon me ; and I have no reason to shrink from it but a sense of inadequacy. It is often supposed that literary women, and those who are active and earnest in promoting great intellectual, philanthropic, or religious movements, must of necessity neglect the domestic concerns of life. It may be that this is sometimes so, nor can such neglect be too severely reprehended ; yet this is by no means a necessary result. Some of the most devoted mothers the world has ever known, and whose homes were the abode of every domestic virtue, themselves the embodiment of all these, have been women whose minds were highly cultured, who loved and devoted both thought and time to literature, and were active in philanthropic and dilFusive efforts for the welfare of the race. The letter to M., which is published on page 34. r >, is inserted chiefly as showing the integrity and wisdom with which Margaret iidvis-d her friends ; the frankness with which s!ie pointed out to c.'vcrv voting v.uinan who asked counsel any deficiencies of char- acter, and the duties of life ; and that among these latter she gave