Links to Encyclopedia : Conversation ...
To speak sincerely and philosophically, Women seem designed by Providence to spread the same Splendour and Cheerfulness through the intellectual Oeconomy, that the celestial Bodies diffuse over the material Part of the Creation. Without them, we might, indeed, Contend, Destroy, and Triumph over one another. Fraud and Force would divide the World between them, and we should pass our Lives, like Slaves, in continual Toil, without the Prospect of Pleasure or Relaxation.
IT is the Conversation of Women that gives a proper Biass to our Inclinations, and, by abating the Ferocity of our Passions, engages us to that Gentleness of Deportment, which we stile Humanity. The Tenderness we have for them softens the Ruggedness of our own Nature, and the Virtues we put on to make the better Figure in their Eyes, keep us in Humour with our selves.
I speak it without Affectation or Vanity, that no Man has applied more assiduously than my self to the Study of the Fair Sex, and I aver it with the greatest Simplicity of Heart, that I have not only found the most engaging and most amiable, but also the most generous and most heroick Qualities amongst the Ladies ; and that I have discovered more of Candour, Disinterestedness, and Fervour in their Friendships, than in those of our own Sex, tho I have been very careful, and particularly happy in the Choice of my Acquaintance.
Taken from James Forrester, The Polite Philosopher: Or, An Essay on That Art Which Makes a Man Happy in Himself, and Agreeable to Others. Printed by Robert Freebairn His Majesty's Printer (Edinburgh), 1734, p. 51-52. Transcription by Noémie Vandenborre (UBO). Full book by HATHI TRUST.
Image: Joseph Highmore, Conversation piece, including Jane Vigor with family and friends (Joseph Vigor, Ann Vigor, William Vigor and probably John Penn), c.1744, Victoria and Albert Museum.