6 Pages

Marriage, Home and Children

In 1841 Martha Sherman, the wife of the minister of Surrey Chapel, established a 'Maternal Association' connected with each of the Sunday schools run by the chapel. The anxious desire of a wife and a mother, is to see the circle, of which she forms the influential centre, happy, prosperous, and useful: and when her wishes have been mournfully disappointed, and she finds herself surrounded with discontent, discord, and many other evil dispositions. John Angell James wrote one of the most influential mid-century texts on the role of women: Female Piety. Women, he argued, were primarily to be the helpers and comforters of men. She shall not have one ray of her glory extinguished, nor be deprived of a single honour that belongs to her sex; but to be the instructress of her children, the companion of her husband, and the queen consort of the domestic state, is no degradation; and she only is degraded who thinks so.