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talents, and divert their spleen from falling on each other or on themselves; especially when all this may be done without the least imaginable danger to their persons.
160 And to urge another argument of a parallel nature: if Christianity were once abolished, how could the freethinkers, the strong reasoners, and the men of profound learning, be able to find another subject so calculated in all points whereon to display their abilities? what wonderful productions of wit 165 should we be deprived of, from those whose genius by continual practice has been wholly turned upon raillery and invectives against religion, and would therefore never be able to shine or distinguish themselves upon any other subject ! we are daily complaining of the great decline of wit 170 among us, and would we take away the greatest, perhaps the only, topic we have left? who would ever have suspected Asgill for a wit, or Toland for a philosopher, if the inexhaustible stock of Christianity had not been at hand, to provide them with materials ? what other subject, through 175 all art or nature, could have produced Tindal for a profound author, or furnished him with readers ? it is the wise choice of the subject, that alone adorns and distinguishes the writer. For, had a hundred such pens as these been employed on the side of religion, they would have immediately sunk into 180 silence and oblivion.
Upon the whole, if it shall still be thought for the benefit of church and state that Christianity be abolished, I conceive, however, it may be more convenient to defer the execution to a time of peace; and not venture in this conjuncture to dis-185 oblige our allies, who, as it falls out, are all Christians, and many of them, by the prejudices of their education, so bigoted as to place a sort of pride in the appellation. If upon being rejected by them we are to trust an alliance with
190 the Turk, we shall find ourselves much deceived: for, as he is
too remote, and generally engaged in war with the Persian emperor, so his people would be more scandalized at our infidelity than our Christian neighbours. For the Turks are
not only strict observers of religious worship, but, what is 195 worse, believe a God; which is more than is required of us, even while we preserve the name of Christians.
To conclude: whatever some may think of the great advantages to trade by this favourite scheme, I do very
much apprehend, that in six months' time after the act is 200 passed for the extirpation of the gospel, the Bank and East
India stock may fall at least one per cent. And since that is fifty times more than ever the wisdom of our age thought fit to venture, for the preservation of Christianity, there is
no reason we should be at so great a loss, merely for the sake 205 of destroying it.
The Education of Women
(From An Essay upon Projects) To such whose genius would lead them to it I would deny no sort of learning; but the chief thing in general is to cultivate the understandings of the sex, that they may be capable of all sorts of conversation; that, their parts and judgments 5 being improved, they may be as profitable in their conversation as they are pleasant.
Women, in my observation, have little or no difference in them, but as they are or are not distinguished by education.
Tempers indeed may in some degree influence them, but the 10 main distinguishing part is their breeding.
The whole sex are generally quick and sharp. I believe I
may be allowed to say generally so, for you rarely see them lumpish and heavy when they are children, as boys will often be. If a woman be well bred, and taught the proper management of her natural wit, she proves generally very sensible 15 and retentive; and without partiality, a woman of sense and manners is the finest and most delicate part of God's creation, the glory of her Maker, and the great instance of His singular regard to man, His darling creature, to whom He gave the best gift either God could bestow or man receive. And 'tis 20 the sordidest piece of folly and ingratitude in the world to withhold from the sex the due lustre which the advantages of education give to the natural beauty of their minds.
A woman well bred and well taught, furnished with the additional accomplishments of knowledge and behavior, is a 25 creature without comparison; her society is the emblem of sublimer enjoyments; her person is angelic and her conversation heavenly; she is all softness and sweetness, peace, love, wit, and delight. She is every way suitable to the sublimest wish, and the man that has such a one to his portion has 30 nothing to do but to rejoice in her and be thankful.
On the other hand, suppose her to be the very same woman, and rob her of the benefit of education, and it follows thus :
If her temper be good, want of education makes her soft and easy. Her wit, for want of teaching, makes her impertinent 35 and talkative. Her knowledge, for want of judgment and experience, makes her fanciful and whimsical. If her temper be bad, want of breeding makes her worse, and she grows haughty, insolent, and loud. If she be passionate, want of manners makes her termagant and a scold, which is much at 40 one with lunatic. If she be proud, want of discretion (which still is breeding) makes her conceited, fantastic, and ridiculous. And from these she degenerates to be turbulent, clangorous, noisy, nasty, and the devil.
Methinks mankind for their own sakes — since, say what 45 we will of the women, we all think fit at one time or other to be concerned with them should take some care to breed
them up to be suitable and serviceable, if they expected no
such thing as delight from them. Bless us ! what care do 50 we take to breed up a good horse and to break him well!
and what a value do we put upon him when it is done, and all because he should be fit for our use ! and why not a woman? Since all her ornaments and beauty without suitable behavior
is a cheat in nature, like the false tradesman, who puts the 55 best of his goods uppermost, that the buyer may think the
rest are of the same goodness.
But to come closer to the business, the great distinguishing difference which is seen in the world between men and women
is in their education, and this is manifested by comparing it 60 with the difference between one man or woman and another.
And herein it is that I take upon me to make such a bold assertion that all the world are mistaken in their practice about women; for I cannot think that God Almighty ever
made them so delicate, so glorious creatures, and furnished 65 them with such charms, so agreeable and so delightful to
mankind, with souls capable of the same accomplishments with men, and all to be only stewards of our houses, cooks, and slaves.
Not that I am for exalting the female government in the 70 least; but, in short, I would have men take women for com
panions, and educate them to be fit for it. A woman of sense and breeding will scorn as much to encroach upon
the prerogative of the man as a man of sense will scorn to op
press the weakness of the woman. But if the women's souls 75 were refined and improved by teaching, that word would be
lost; to say, the weakness of the sex as to judgment, would be nonsense, for ignorance and folly would be no more found among women than men. I remember a passage which I heard from a very fine woman; she had wit and capacity enough, an extraordinary shape and face, and a great fortune, 80 but had been cloistered up all her time, and, for fear of being stolen, had not had the liberty of being taught the common necessary knowledge of woman's affairs; and when she came to converse in the world, her natural wit made her so sensible of the want of education, that she gave this short reflection 85 on herself: “I am ashamed to talk with my very maids,” says she, "for I don't know when they do right or wrong. I had more need go to school than be married.”
I need not enlarge on the loss the defect of education is to the sex, nor argue the benefit of the contrary practice; 'tis 90 a thing will be more easily granted than remedied. This chapter is but an essay at the thing, and I refer the practice to those happy days, if ever they shall be, when men shall be wise enough to mend it.
(From Robinson Crusoe) If ever the story of any private man's adventures in the world were worth making public, and were acceptable when published, the Editor of this account thinks this will
The wonders of this man's life exceed all that (he thinks) 5 is to be found extant; the life of one man being scarce capable of greater variety.
The story is told with modesty, with seriousness, and with a religious application of events to the uses to which wise men always apply them, viz., to the instruction of others by 10 this example, and to justify and honour the wisdom of Providence in all the variety of our circumstances, let them happen how they will.
The Editor believes the thing to be a just history of fact; neither is there any appearance of fiction in it; and, however, 15