Live and Let Live/Preface


the writer of the following pages begs her readers will have the kindness to remember that her business has been to illustrate the failures of one party in the contract between employers and employed, and that, therefore, she may appear to be insensible, but certainly is not, to the manifold trials and discouragements of the mistress of a family in her relation to her domestics. These trials are rendered very general by the facilities for changing service, and the almost necessary dependance on foreign and uninstructed people. These very trials and circumstances peculiar to our domestic life make it imperative upon American mothers to qualify their daughters to superintend their domestics, and to prepare the future housewife for the exigences that await her; as emergencies constantly occur where the lady must perform the primitive offices of women, or her family must be comfortless. Our young ladies are taught French, Italian, drawing, music, &c.; and let them be; these are the ornaments and luxuries of education; but let not the necessaries be omitted—the staff of domestic life sacrificed.

I cannot hope that this little volume will do much for its momentous subject. But I shall be satisfied if it rouses more active minds than mine to reflection upon the duties and capabilities of mistresses of families; if it quicken some sleeping consciences; if it make any feel their duties and obligations to their "inferiors in position;" if, in short, it incite even a few of my young countrywomen to a zealous devotion to "home missions."

New-York, June 9, 1837.