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Title: Modern Society
Author: Howe, Julia Ward, 1819-1910
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Libraries.)



            MODERN SOCIETY.
                  BY
           JULIA WARD HOWE.

                BOSTON:
           ROBERTS BROTHERS.
                 1881.

            COPYRIGHT, 1880,
          BY ROBERTS BROTHERS.

              PRINTED BY
         ALFRED MUDGE AND SON.



CONTENTS


    MODERN SOCIETY                    5

    CHANGES IN AMERICAN SOCIETY      49



MODERN SOCIETY.


What means this summons, oh friends! to the groves of Academe? I heard,
in the distance, the measured tread of Philosophy. I mused: "How grave
and deliberate is she! How she matches thought with thought! How
patiently she questions inference and conclusion! No irrelevance, no
empty ballooning, is allowed in that Concord school. Nothing frivolous
need apply there for admission." And lo! in the midst of this severe
entertainment an interlude is called for in the great theatre. The stage
manager says, "Ring up Puck. Wanted, an Ariel." And no Shakespeare being
at hand, I, of the sex much reproved for never having produced one, am
invited to fly hither as well as my age and infirmities will allow, and
to represent to you that airy presence whose folly, seen from the
clouds, is wisdom; that presence which, changing with the changes of the
year and of the day, may yet sing, equally with the steadfast stars and
systematic planets,--

    "The hand that made me is divine."

Modern society, concerning which you have bid me discourse to you, is
this tricksy spirit, many-featured and many-gestured, coming in a
questionable shape, and bringing with it airs from heaven and blasts
from hell. I have spoken to it, and it has shown me my father's ghost.
How shall I speak of it, and tell you what it has taught me? You must
think my alembic a nice one indeed, since you bid me to the analysis of
those subtle and finely mingled forces. You have sent for me, perhaps,
to receive a lesson instead of giving one. You may intend that, having
tried and failed in this task, I shall learn, for the future, the
difficult lesson of holding my peace. For so benevolent, so
disinterested an intention, I may have more occasion to thank you
beforehand, than you shall find to thank me, having heard me.

But, since a text is supposed to make it sure that the sermon shall have
in it one good sentence, let me take for my text a saying of the
philosopher Kant, who, in one of his treatises, rests much upon the
distinction to be made between logical and real or substantial
opposition. According to him, a logical opposition is brought in view
when one attribute of a certain thing is at once affirmed and denied.
The statement of a body which should be at once stationary and in motion
would imply such a contradiction, of which the result will be _nihil
negativum irrepræsentabile_.

A real or substantial opposition is found where two contradictory
predicates are recognized as coexistent in the same subject. A body
impelled in one direction by a given force, and in another by its
opposite, is easily cogitable. One force neutralizes the other, but the
result is something, viz., rest. Let us keep in mind this distinction
between opposites which exclude each other, and opposites which can
coexist, while we glance at the contradictions of all society, ancient
as well as modern.

How self-contradictory, in the first place, is the nature of man! How
sociable he is! also how unsociable! We have among animals the
gregarious and the solitary. But man is of all animals at once the most
gregarious and the most solitary. This is the first and most universal
contradiction, that of which you find at least the indication in every
individual. But let us look for a moment at the contrasts which make one
individual so unlike to another. We sometimes find it hard to believe
the saying that God hath made of one blood all the nations of the earth.
This in view of the contrast between savage and civilized nations, or
between nations whose habits and beliefs differ one from the other. In
the same race, in the same family also, we shall find the unlikeness
which seems to set the bond of nature at defiance.

See this sly priest, bland and benevolent in proportion to the narrow
limits of the minds which he controls. He hears the shrift of the
brigand and assassin, of the girl mastered by passion, of the unfaithful
wife and avenging husband. He gives an admonition, perhaps a grave one.
He inflicts a penance, light or severe. He does not trust his penitents
with the secret which can heal the plague-sores of humanity,--the secret
of its moral power. But see the meek flock who come to him. See the
whole range of consciences which cannot rest without his dismissing
_fiat_. The rugged peasant drops on his knees beside the confessional.
His horny palm relinquishes, without hesitation, the coin upon which it
has scarcely closed. Or here alights from her carriage some woman of the
world, bright in silks and jewels. With a hush and a rustle, reaching
the lowly bench, she, too, drops down, rehearses her wrong-doing,
promises such reparation as is enjoined, and asks for the word of peace.
Now this confessor, and one or more of his penitents, may be the
children of the same father and mother, and yet they shall be as unlike
in attitude and in character as two human beings can be. In the closest
alliance of blood you may thus find the opposite poles of one humanity.

Humanity is, then, a thing of oppositions, and of oppositions which are
polar and substantial. Its contradictions do not exclude, but, on the
contrary, complement each other, and the action and reaction of these
contradictions result in the mighty agreements of the State and of the
Church, the intense sympathies and antipathies which bind or sunder
individuals, the affections and disaffections of the family.

The opposite extremes of human nature embrace, between them, a wonderful
breadth and scope. The correlation and coaction of this multitude of
opposing forces on the wide arena of the world naturally give rise to a
series of manifestations, voluntary and involuntary, changeful in form
and color as a phantasmagoria, fitful as a fever-dream, but steadfast
and substantial in the infinite science, out of which all things come.
The unity in this web of contradictions is its great wonder. How if this
unity prove to be the law of which the oppositions are but one clause?
How if the perfect unity were only attainable through the freedom of the
natural diversity? And what is the substance and sum of this fundamental
agreement? The desire of good, the progressive conception of which
marks, more than anything else, the progress of the race. We cannot tell
out of what dynamics comes the initial of this fruitful and productive
opposition. It is, perhaps, the very unity of the object which develops
the diversity of action. In the progress of human society the diversity
becomes constantly multiplied. Is the sense of the unity lost in
consequence? No, it grows constantly with the growth of this opposing
fact. As education is enlarged, as freedom becomes more general and
entire, the agreement of mankind becomes greater in the objects to be
attained for the promotion of their best interests.

We can suppose a family cast upon a barren shore, or forced to sit down
in the midst of an uninhabited region. All of its members will wish to
secure the necessary conditions of life, such as food, fuel, shelter,
safety from destructive agencies. If left to themselves, one will
naturally bestir himself to find fish, game, or fruits; another will
bring in firewood; a third will plan a tent or hut; a fourth will stand
sentry against any possible alarm. So a camp is a world in miniature;
and if food and drink be plenty, and there be time to think of
recreation, some one will carve a pipe from reed or willow, and, in
answer to the piping, will come the dance. Or, if our pilgrims are too
mystic and solemn for this, hymns will be sung, and the voice of prayer
will lift the soul out of the poverty of its surroundings into that
realm of imagination whose wealth far exceeds that of Ormus or of Ind.

I seem to hear at this point the _non placet_ of those who ask for one
thing and receive another. I was not sent for to philosophize, but to
represent; and, with regard to the former process, "how not to do it"
should have been my study. Modern society is my theme. Where shall I
find society for you? Henry Thoreau found it here, in the passionless
face of Nature. Here, the shy Hawthorne could dwell unmolested, not even
overshadowed by the revered sage who makes reserve and distance such
important elements of good manners. Mr. Alcott has transplanted here
those olives whose sacred chrism rests upon his honored brow. The
society which my words shall introduce here must be neither vulgar nor
dull.

Now, if I had a flying-machine! Well, I have one, and its name is
Memory. Sit with me, upon its movable platform, and I will give you some
peeps at the thing itself, leaving you to discuss after me its _raison
d'être_, its right to be. In experimental analysis, specimens are always
exhibited. Let us look at modern society in Cairo, Shepherd's hotel, and
the omnibus that bears one thither. The _table d'hôte_ unites a
catalogue as various as that of Don Giovanni. Here sit Sir Samuel and
Lady Baker, famous as African explorers. You may all know something of
the entertaining volumes which chronicle their discoveries and
adventures. Lady Baker wears, at times, a necklace made of tiger's
claws. Her husband shot the tiger in the great wilds of Africa, she
loading the gun with which he did it.

She is Roumanian by birth, English by adoption, fair and comely. Sir
Samuel is a burly Briton. They have with them a young African servant,
dark and under-sized, with wild, crimped hair. Sir Samuel tells me that
this is altogether the best human creature he ever knew. Lady Baker does
not resent the extreme statement. I sit at table between a Russian count
and an English baronet. The Russian and his two daughters are amiable
and simple people. The baronet is a stanch Tory, as you will think
natural when you hear his story. He was once a poor boy, hard at work in
a coal mine. He used to walk six or seven miles daily, after working
hours, in order to acquaint himself with those three Fates who are
familiarly called the three R's. Becoming an expert in the coal
business, he went through the upward grades of his profession, became a
large owner of mines, and has now a heavy contract for supplying the
Egyptian government with coal. He is a member of Parliament, and, when I
saw him, was ready to start homeward on the first news of a division in
the House. It was lately stated in a London paper that Lord Beaconsfield
would probably raise him to the peerage before his own retirement from
office. So, it may have been done by this time.

My Russian neighbors are much troubled about the fate of a poor Italian
family whose chief has lost his occupation, and which is thus reduced
to the extreme of want. "Why not get up a subscription at this hotel?"
say I. They are very willing that I should. I draw up a paper, we sign
our names and contributions. Sir George snubs us dreadfully, but gives
us a sovereign. Sir Samuel snubs, and gives nothing. The necessary sum
of money is raised, and the family is sent to its own country. Here, you
see, are Russia, England, and America, combining, on Egyptian soil, to
save Italy. This strange mixture is characteristic of the medley of the
time.

We will not move yet, for the panorama of the table will save us that
trouble. Here is one of the recognized beauties of London society. A
very pretty woman, with dewy eyes, pearly teeth, dark, glossy hair, and
a soft, fresh complexion. A French wardrobe sets off those natural
advantages, with its happy disguises and apposite revelations. But it is
not good for beauty that it should become a profession. This lady's fine
eyes and teeth are made to do duty with such evident persistence of
intention, that one absolutely dreads to see the glitter of the one and
the flash of the other in the gymnastic of an advertised flirtation.

I cannot yet release you. Here are two gentlemen who wear the
_tarbouche_ with their European costume. They were rebels in our war of
secession, and at its close took service with the Khedive. Ignoring
ancient sectional differences, they are very cordial with us, their
countrywomen. They would be glad to see their country again, but cannot
get their salaries paid, the French and English commissioners having
taken the direction of Egyptian finances, and making no allowance for
the past services of these American officers, who were dismissed at
their instance.

We are still at Shepherd's _table d'hôte_, and before us sit an English
nobleman and his wife, who have obtained permission to give a _fête_ at
the Pyramids. A gay party of English residents and visitors are
gathering to accompany them, and presently the carriages and cavalcade
start, with a band of music, and a small army of servants. They
illuminate the Great Pyramid with colored fires, race their horses and
donkeys through the desert, sup and sleep in the Khedive's _kiosk_, not
without much boisterous mirth and disturbance.

Or, behold me on Bairam day, paying a New-Year's visit to the harem of
the Khedive. A row of grinning eunuchs, black as night, guard the
entrance. After various turns of ceremonial, we greet the three
princesses, all wives of the Khedive, who has many others not of this
rank. In order not to give offence, we are obliged to smoke the
_chibouque_, a pipe about five feet in length. We smile and courtesy at
the proper moment, but find conversation difficult. They are curious to
hear where we came from, and whither we are going. I ask whether they,
also, enjoy travelling, and am reminded that their institutions do not
allow it. These poor princesses little knew that in two months from that
time an involuntary journey awaited them, on the occasion of the
Khedive's abdication, and departure from the country.

We please ourselves, in these days, with the praise of Islamism, and
think, quite rightly, that Mahomet and his Koran had their _raison
d'être_, and have done their part for mankind. But here is Islamism in
modern society. The howling dervishes sit on the ground groaning _Allah,
Allah_. By and by they rise, and bend their heads backward and forward
until the most eminent among them fall in fits, and are taken up in an
unhappy condition. Within a short distance from our hotel, we hear of a
company of men met for a religious exercise. One of them chews a glass
goblet and swallows it. Another endeavors to swallow a small snake. A
third gashes himself wildly with a sword. These are religious
enthusiasts. If their faith be genuine, these dangerous experiments,
they say, can do them no harm.

These things remind us of the temptation of Christ: "If thou be the Son
of God, cast thyself down from hence."

But let us leave the city and hotel, and betake ourselves to the
historic river, dumb with all its mouths, and poor with all its wealth.
Modern society is well represented on board our steamer. Here are two
Californian gentlemen, two sons of a Sandwich Island missionary, two or
three Italians. Here is a sister-in-law of John Bright. She has visited
Alaska, and considers this Nile trip a small parenthesis in her voyage
round the world. Here are an English couple, belonging to fashionable
life. Here is a clergyman of the same nation, who glories in the fact
that Dr. Johnson hated, or said he hated, a Whig. Here is an American
who cannot visit the ruins because his whole day is divided into so many
glasses of milk, to be taken at such and such times.

We land one day at Assiout, and visit its bazaars. The trade in ostrich
feathers is brisk, the natives steadily raising their prices as the
demand increases, until we find that the feathers might be more cheaply
bought in London or Paris. Amid the general confusion of tongues I am
accosted by a handsome youth, cleanly and civil, who speaks fair
English, and asks if he can serve me.

Who are you? A pupil of the American Mission School in this place. He
brings two of his fellow-pupils to speak with me. One of these is a
girl, whose innocent, uncovered face seems to rebuke the hidden faces of
the Arab women, veiled and disfigured to evince their modesty, but
making more evident the immodesty of the men.

We return to our steamer, followed by a crowd of boys and girls,
shrieking and naked, who plunge into the water to get the _backshish_,
which some of our party throw them. On the bank stand two beautiful
youths, nearly black, with eyes like sloes, and with crisped hair
standing erect like a flame above their foreheads. They are clad in
kilts of white cotton cloth. Struck with their beauty, we inquire of
what tribe they are. "Of the Bischouri," says our dragoman, "a tribe of
the desert, who feed only upon uncooked grain." To the last their bright
smile pursues us with its pathos. Would that they, too, were pupils of
the American Mission School. Would not our vegetarian chief send for
them?[1]

    [1] Mr. Alcott, Dean of the Concord School of Philosophy, has
          always been known as a vegetarian.

We gallop across the sands to a point opposite Philæ, and reach the
sacred spot by boat. We picnic among its tombs, climb its _pylon_, and
remark upon the beauty of the view. At the first cataract, which is very
near this place, an Arab woman shows me her baby with the pride of Eve
or Queen Victoria. It has a nose-ring of brass wire, and similar
adornments in the top of each ear. On my way back to the boat, my pocket
is picked by a cunning youth. The Arabs of the desert will compare in
this respect with the Arabs of European streets. A little Arab girl
offers to sell me her rag doll, whose veil is bedizened with spangles. A
little water-carrier, proud of her English, says, "Lady, give me
backshish."

This shall end my peep at modern society in Egypt.

But one more personal remembrance you must accord me. The scene is a
dirty, muddy street in a Cyprus seaport. The time is not far from noon.
I am exploring, with some curiosity, the new jewel which Lord
Beaconsfield has added to the crown of Great Britain.

What a mean, poor bazaar is this; what dull streets, what a barren place
to live in, especially since _methymenic_ Albion has drunk up all the
best of the wine! I pass a shop, and a bright presence beams out upon
me. It is Lady Baker, with her fair, luminous face, full of energy and
resource. Sir Samuel, she tells me, is in the back shop buying hardware
for a hard journey. For they intend to travel through the island in a
huge covered wagon, drawn by oxen, which will be to them at once vehicle
and hotel. Where they went, and how they fared, I know not, nor would it
here import us, if I did. I only mention the appearance of these friends
in this place, because this appearance was so characteristic of modern
society, and because so many of its elements appeared there in their
persons. The education and high society of England, the court, the
literary circles, the almighty publisher, for an intended volume was
surely looming in the foreground of their picture. And here I have
clearly got hold of one feature of modern society; this is, that
everything is everywhere. The Zulus are in London, the Londoners in
Zululand. Empress Eugenie, the exploded star of French fashion in its
highest supremacy, visits Cape Town. The stars and stripes protect
American professors on the shores of the Bosphorus, within view of Mount
Lebanon. It would not surprise us to learn that a party of our
countrymen had read the Declaration of Independence beside the Pools of
Solomon, or within the desolate heart of Moab.

In Jaffa of the Crusaders, Joppa of Peter and Paul, I find an American
Mission School, kept by a worthy lady from Rhode Island. Prominent among
its points of discipline is the clean-washed face which is so enthroned
in the prejudices of Western civilization. One of her scholars, a youth
of unusual intelligence, finding himself clean, observes himself to be
in strong contrast with his mother's hovel, in which filth is just kept
clear of fever point. "Why this dirt?" quoth he; "that which has made me
clean, will cleanse this also." So without more ado, the process of
scrubbing is applied to the floor, without regard to the danger of so
great a novelty. This simple fact has its own significance, for if the
innovation of soap and water can find its way to a Jaffa hut, where can
the ancient, respectable, conservative dirt-devil feel himself secure?

The maxim also becomes vain nowadays, that there should be a place for
everything, and that everything should be in its place. Cleopatra's
Needles point their moral in London and in New York. The Prince of Wales
hunts tigers in the Punjaub. Hyde Park is in the desert or on the Nile.
America is all over the world. Against this universal game of "Puss in
the Corner," reaction must come, some day, in some shape, or anywhere
will mean nowhere, for those who, starting in the geographical pursuit
of pleasure, fail to find it and never return home.

The oppositions of humanity have undergone many changes. Paul
characterized them in his day as "Greek and Barbarian, bond and free,
male and female." Christianity effaced old oppositions and created new
ones. The old oppositions were national, personal, selfish. The new
opposition was moral. It struck at evils, not at men, and tended to
unite the latter in a patient and reasonable overcoming of the former. I
know that the white heat at which its first blow was dealt left much for
philosophy to elaborate, for science to adjust and apply. A Jesus,
arrived at the plenitude of his intellectual vigor, could only have
three years in which to formulate his weighty doctrine, and could not
have had these without much care and hindrance. His work lay in the
normal direction of human nature. In spite of lapses and relapses,
mankind slowly creep towards the great unification which will make the
savage animals and the selfish passions the only enemies of the human
race. Modern society rests upon this unification as its basis of action.
A positive philosophy which Auguste Comte did not elaborate absorbs its
highest thought, and dictates its largest measures.

And so prophetic souls bid farewell to the old negations. In their view,
the lion is already reconciled to the lamb. The taming of the elements
prefigures the general reconciliation. The deadly lightning runs on
errands and carries messages. The Titan steam is the servant of commerce
and industry, meek as Hercules when armed with the distaff of Omphale.
Emulation, the desire to excel, exquisite, dangerous stimulant to
exertion, is not in our day educated to the intensification of self, but
to the enlargement of public spirit and of general interest. The
constant discoveries of new treasures in our material world, of gold,
silver, iron, and copper, of states to be built up and of harvests to be
sown and reaped, are accompanied by corresponding discoveries
concerning the variety of human gifts and their application to useful
ends. What men and women can be good for may be more voluminously stated
to-day than in any preceding age of the world's history.

Comparison should be a strong point in modern society. When travelling
was laborious and difficult, the masses of one country knew little
concerning those of another. When learning was rare, and instruction
costly and insufficient, the few knew the secrets of thought and
science, the many not even knowing that such things were to be known.
When wealth was uncommon, luxury was monopolized by a small class, the
greater part of mankind earning only for themselves the right to live
poorly. When distinctions were absolute, low life knew nothing of high
life but what the novelist could invent, or the servant reveal. How
changed is all this to-day! Competence, travel, tuition, and intelligent
company are within the reach of all who will give themselves the trouble
to attain them. The first consequence of this is that we become able to
make the largest and most general comparison of human conditions which
has ever been possible to humanity, nor does this ability regard the
present alone. The unveiling of the treasures of the past, the
interpretation of its experience and doctrine which we owe to the
scholar and archæologist, enable us to compare remote antiquity with the
things of the last minute. The work of antiquarian science culminates in
the discovery of the prehistoric man. Theology had long before invented
the post-historic angel. Now, indeed, we ought to be able to choose the
best out of the best, since the whole is laid in order before us. But
the chronic trouble hangs upon us still. Had we but such wisdom to
choose as we have chance to see! The gifts of our future are still shown
us in sealed caskets. Which of these conceals the condition of our true
happiness? The leaden one, surely, of which we distrust the dull
exterior, trusting in the inner brightness which it covers.

What is the problem of modern society?

How to use its vast resources. Here is where the office of true ethic
comes in. No gift can make rich those who are poor in wisdom. The wealth
which should build up society will pull it down if its possession lead
to fatal luxury and indulgence. The freedom of intercourse which makes
one nation known to another, and puts the culture of the most advanced
at the service of the most barbarous, is like a flood which carries
everywhere the seeds of good and of evil. The ripening of these depends
much upon the accident of the human soil they may happen to find. But
careful husbandry will have even more to do with the result.

To America it was said at the outset, "Prepare to receive the World, and
to make it free." Oh, World, so full of corruption and of slavery, wilt
thou not rather bind us with thy gangrenous fetters? Wilt not the wail
of thy old injustice and suffering prolong itself until the new strophe
of hope shall be lost and forgotten?

Where is God's image in this human brute who lands on our shores, full
only of the insolence of beggary? Far, far be from us ever the methods
and procedures which have made or left him what he is. Honor and glory
to those patient, good men and women who will redeem his children from
the degradation which seems almost proper to him. Theirs be a crown
above that of the poet or orator!

Modern society, then, is chiefly occupied with a vast assimilation of
novelties. This task is by no means imposed upon us alone. While the
New World has to digest races and traditions, the Old World has to
digest ideas. Thanks to the good Puritan stomach which we inherit, the
process goes on here, with little interruption. But across the seas, in
Rome, in Germany, in Russia, what nausea, what quarrelling with the
fatal morsel upon which Providence compels the lips to close!

"_Non possumus!_" say the priests of the old order. "_Possum_," replies
the eternal power. The French republic and the English monarchy succeed
best in this altering of old habits to suit new emergencies. But where
extremes are greatest, the contest is naturally fiercest. A Pope fears
the cup of poisoned chocolate, and dares not drink the wine of the
eucharist without a taster; the throne of the Russian autocrat is over
the deadly mine of the Nihilist. German vanity and diplomacy bring back
the shadow of the mediæval muddle. The living heart's blood of humanity
comes to us out of these struggles, an immeasurable gift, for good or
for evil. Can we be quick enough with our schools, just enough in our
government, sincere and devout enough in our churches? What will Europe
do with the ideas? What will America do with the people? These are the
questions of the present time.

One of the serious social questions of the day is the omnipotence of
money. People often use this expression in a _quasi_ sarcastic sense,
not seriously intending what they say. But the power of money nowadays
is such that it becomes us seriously to ask whether there is anything
that it cannot do. What ancient strongholds of taste, sentiment, and
prejudice has it not stormed and carried?

A servant, who sought a place during the first years of the shoddy
inflation, asked a lady who was willing to engage her, "Are you shoddy,
ma'am, or old family? I want to live with shoddy, because it pays the
highest wages." The watchwords of society as often come from its humbler
as from its higher level, and this woman unconsciously uttered the word
which was to rule society from that time to this. Money, during the last
twenty years, has swept over most of the old landmarks, and obliterated
them.

Religion itself stands aghast at this baptism of gold, which can convert
the alien and the heathen, ay, the brigand and the robber, into saints
of social prestige. For money bribes the court and pulpit, and buys the
press; the highest rank, the highest genius, pay homage to it. If the
duke has not money, he will seek in wedlock the most undesirable of
women, if she be also the richest. Royalty bows to the splendid cloak of
vulgarity, and invites it to dine and drive. Happy day, you will say,
for labor, which money symbolizes. Monarchs may well show it respect.
But money does not always symbolize honest and intelligent industry. A
great fortune often represents transactions akin to theft; sometimes the
thing itself, which the world is Spartan enough to approve of, if the
criminal can only escape positive detection. Those, too, who have earned
their money honestly, leave it to children who turn their back upon the
class of which their parents came, and desire to know nothing of the
bread-winning arts which they were constrained to practise.

We have had, within the last ten years, a severe lesson concerning the
instability of wealth in some of its most trusted forms. Yet are we not
compelled by sympathy and antipathy, at the bottom of our hearts, to pay
it an homage which our lips would not avow? Do we not desire wealth for
our children as the condition which shall set our minds at rest
concerning them? When we see mediocrity and vulgarity riding in the
swift carriage, and wearing the jewels and the robes, bright in
everybody's eyes and praised in everybody's mouth, do we not harbor
somewhere a regret that we have not, in some way possible to us, set our
best abilities to work to secure a similar distinction for ourselves?

It should not frighten one to see the court and its underlings venal.
Court and courtiers are a show, and money is the condition by which a
show lives. But I look into the domain of letters, and ask whether that
is still uncorrupted. I do not think that it is. The refined tastes of
literary people lead them to value entertainment at the hands of the
rich. The luxurious rooms, the abundant table, the easy _persiflage_ in
which worldly tact knows enough to flatter recognized talent. Do not
these _illicebræ_ seduce, to-day, even the stern heart of philosophy?

How unkind was society to Margaret Fuller! It was reluctant to show her
the courtesy due to a gentlewoman. Its mean gossip treated her as if she
had been beyond the pale of elegance and good taste, verging away even
from good behavior. What was her offence against society? A humanity too
large and absorbing, a mind too brave and independent for its
commonplace. Add to these the fact that she had neither fashion nor
fortune. The things she asked for are granted to-day by every thinking
mind, and she is remembered as illustrious. But if she could come back
to-morrow as she was, poor in purse and plain in person, and assume her
old leadership, would Boston treat her any better than it did in days of
yore? Would she not find, even among Brook farmers, a looking toward
Beacon Street which might surprise her? The literary man, who went so
bravely from abstract philosophy to its concrete expression, whose
learned hands took up the spade and hoe, and whose early peas were
praised by those who contemned his principles, would he, at a later
day,--grown urbane and fashionable,--would he have bowed without a pang
to his former self, if he had met him, dusty and on foot, in Central
Park, he himself being well mounted?

I said just now that money could buy the press. This is shameful,
because the press, more than any other power, can afford to be frank and
sincere. Freedom is the very breath of life in its nostrils, yet is it
to-day largely salaried by the enemies of freedom. While speaking of the
press, I will mention the regret with which I lately read, in the
"Boston Daily Advertiser," an editorial treating of the expulsion of the
Jesuits from France. The writer, who denounced this measure with some
severity, described the religious body with which it deals as a band of
mild and inoffensive men, chiefly occupied with the tuition of youth. He
might as well have characterized a tiger as a harmless creature,
incapable of the use of firearms.

To me the worship of wealth means, in the present, the crowning of low
merit with undeserved honor,--the setting of successful villany above
unsuccessful virtue. It means absolute neglect and isolation for the few
who follow a high heart's love through want and pain, through evil and
good report. It means the bringing of all human resources, material and
intellectual, to one dead level of brilliant exhibition--a second Field
of the Cloth of Gold--to show that the barbaric love of splendor still
lives in man, with the thirst for blood, and other _quasi_ animal
passions. It means, in the future, some such sad downfall as Spain had
when the gold and silver of America had gorged her soldiers and nobles;
something like what France experienced after Louis XIV. and XV. I am no
prophet, and, least of all, a prophet of evil; but where, oh where,
shall we find the antidote to this metallic poison? Perhaps in the
homoeopathic principle of cure. When the money miracle shall be
complete, when the gold Midas shall have turned everything to gold, then
the human heart will cry for flesh and blood, for brain and muscles.
Then shall manhood be at a premium, and money at a discount.

The French have found, among many others, one fortunate expression. They
speak of a life of representation, by which they mean the life of a
person conspicuous in the great world. This society of representation
has some recognition in every stage of civilization, since even nations
which we consider barbarous have their festivals and processions. The
ministerial balls in Paris, and perhaps many other entertainments in
that city, are of this character.

The guests are admitted in virtue of a card, which is really a ticket,
though money cannot command it. Many of the persons entertained are not
personally acquainted with either host or hostess, and do not
necessarily make their acquaintance by going to their house. Everything
is arranged with a view to large effects: music, decorations, supper,
etc. A party of friends may go there for their own amusement, or a
single individual for his own. But there are no general introductions
given, there is no social fusion.

Now this I call society of representation. It bears about the same
relation to genuine society that scene-painting bears to a carefully
finished picture. People of culture and education enjoy a peep at this
spectacular drama of the social stage, but their idea of society would
be something very different from this. Where this show-society
monopolizes the resources of a community, it implies either a dearth of
intellectual resources, or a great misapprehension of what is really
delightful and profitable in social intercourse.

Where the stage form of society predominates too largely, its intimate
form languishes and declines. The communings of a chosen few around a
table simply spread, with no view to the recognition of the great
Babylon, but rather with a pleasure in its avoidance; refined sympathy
and support given and received in a round of daily duties, by those
whose hands are busy and whose minds are full; the inner sweetness of a
beautiful song or poem, the kindling of mind from mind, till all become
surprised at what each can do,--this sort of society maintains itself by
keeping the noisy rush of the crowd at arm's length. Horace says,--

    "Odo profanum vulgus et arceo,"

and I, a democrat of the democrats, will say so too. I reverence the
masses of mankind, rich or poor. My heart beats high when I think of the
good which human society has already evolved, and of the greater good
which is in store for those who are to come after us. But I hate the
profane vulgarity which courts public notice and mention as the chief
end of existence, and which, in so doing, puts out of sight those
various ends and interests which each generation is bound to pursue for
itself, and to promote for its successors.

The time of poor Marie Antoinette was the culmination of such a period
of show. Its glare and glitter, and its lavish waste, had put out of
sight the true and intimate relations of man to man. And so, as the
gilded portion of the age made its musters of beautiful empty heads, of
vanities throned upon vanities, the ungilded part made its deadly muster
of discontent, displeasure, and despair. The empty heads fell, and much
that was precious and noble fell with them. The great stage produced its
bloody drama, and the curtain of horror closed upon it.

Critics of society usually direct their invective against the
extravagance and shallowness of this exhibitory department, and would
almost make these an excuse for the opposite extreme of misanthropic
spleen and avoidance. They should remember that while society, from an
inward necessity, provides for these musterings and displays, it is
unable to provide for that intimate and personal intercourse which
individuals must found and cultivate for themselves. So much is left for
each one of us to do, to find our peers, and open with them an honest
exchange of our best for their best. The family most easily begins this,
with its intense and ever-enlarging interests. Out of true family life
comes a neighborhood; out of a neighborhood the body politic, and the
body sympathetic.

If, in the matter of social intercourse, show is allowed to usurp the
place of substance, the indolence of mankind must bear its part of the
blame. It is far easier to order a suit for the great occasion, than to
brighten one's mental jewels for the small one. Many a soldier is brave
on parade, who would not shine on a field of battle. Many a woman will
pass for elegant in a ball-room, or even at a court drawing-room, whose
want of true breeding would become evident in a chosen company.

The reason why education is usually so poor among women of fashion is,
that it is not needed for the life which they elect to lead. With a good
figure, good clothes, and a handsome equipage, with a little reading of
the daily papers, and of the fashionable reviews, and above all, with
the happy tact which often enables women to make a large display of very
small acquirements, the woman of fashion may never feel the need of true
education. We pity her none the less, since she will never know its
peace and delight.

In our own country, at this moment, and in Europe as well, ambitions
seem to be unduly directed to this department of social action, the
training and discipline for which differ widely from that proper to
intimate and domestic life. Hence comes an observable regard, not to
appearances only, but to appearance. As actors often paint their faces
too highly for near effects, in order to look well at the farthest point
of view, so the dress and manners of the day fit themselves for the
stage of the great world, and their wearers seem to meditate not only
what will not appear amiss, but what will attract attention by some
singularity of becoming effect. Hence the supremacy for the time of
those whose calling it is to minister to appearance. The tailor has
long been a man of destiny, but the modern plainness of male attire has
somewhat sobered his pretensions. But look at the sublime arrogance of
the ladies' dressmaker, and the almost equally sublime meekness of the
victim, who not only submits, but desires to be as wax in her hands.
This supreme functionary has, of course, _carte blanche_ for her
ordinances. The subject says to her, "Do what you will with me. Make me
modest or immodest. Tie up my feet or straighten my arms till use of
them becomes impossible. Deprive my figure of all drapery, or upholster
it like a window-frame. Nay, set me in the centre of a movable tent, but
array me so that people shall look at me, and shall say I look well."

I cannot but hate, to-day, the slavish fashion which seems to have been
invented in order to intensify that self-consciousness which is the
worst enemy of beauty. It is administered by means of a system of lacets
and whalebones, which everywhere impinge upon nature. A young lady who
is in her dress like a sword in its scabbard (the French name for the
fashion is _fourreau_), is made to think of this point, and of that,
until her whole gait and movement become an interrogation of her silks
and elastics. Can I sit? Can I walk? Can I put this foot forward, or
lift this hand to my head? Ask the satin strait-jacket in which your
artist has imprisoned you, receiving high compensation for the service.
Much as I resent this constraint and restraint of the body, my saddest
thought is, that where it is endured the mind has first been enslaved.

Foreign travel is so established a feature in American life, that it may
well become us to take account of what it costs and comes to.

Our own importation of men and women is various and enormous. They who
come to us poor and ignorant in one generation, are seen comfortable and
well educated in the next. The disfranchised and landless man comes to
us, and receives political rights, and the title of a farm in fee
simple. No inordinate tribute robs him of the product of his industry,
be it large or small. He pays to the State what it pays him well to
afford, for protection and education. But how is it with the tribute
which Europe levies upon us in the shape of our sons and daughters?

Many polite tastes have, no doubt, been fostered in our young men by
studies pursued in a German university, or art learned in a French
studio. Some of the best scholars of the elder generation have profited,
in their youth, by such advantages. But if we go beyond the limits of
literary or professional life, we may not consider the results so
fortunate. Our society-men sometimes become so depolarized in their
tastes and feelings, as to be at ease nowhere but in Europe, and not
much at ease there. Those who return bring back a love of betting and of
horse-racing, and ape the display of European grandees as far as their
fortunes will allow.

And our young women? Some of them study soberly abroad, and return to
give their countenance and support to all that is improving and refining
in their own country. Some float hither and thither, between England and
Italy, like a feather on the wave, disappearing at last. The Daisy
Millerish chit is seen, offending in pure ignorance of what common-sense
should easily teach mothers and daughters.

Family groups of Americans are often met with in Europe, in which one
figure is wanting. This is the father, absent, in America, working at
his business or speculation. These ladies are often companionable
people, who enjoy good hotels, galleries, music on the public square,
and, above all, the sensation of being far from home.

One feels about them a dreary atmosphere of homelessness. As the writer
of the Potiphar papers, while watching a gay young mother's performance
in the "German," was constrained to think of a complaining babe in her
nursery, so, in hearing those ladies boast of their enjoyments, one
cannot help remembering with commiseration the wifeless husband and
daughterless father at home, who works like a steam-fan to keep these
butterflies in motion.

More sad still are my reflections, when I hear that numbers of American
girls, with large or even moderate fortunes, go abroad and allow it to
be known that they seek a husband with a title. These are to be had, of
various grades, if the pecuniary consideration be only sufficient. And
so many of our laborious men of business work hard in order to earn for
themselves the luxury of a titled son-in-law, who has not the ability to
earn his own support, and would scorn to do it if he had.

American women with money are at a premium in fashionable Europe. Even
without this supreme merit, they are favorites. A London journal calls
attention to the fact that some of the leading ladies in the fashionable
London of to-day are Americans. The versatility of mind and ease of
manner which a free and social life develops, appear in strong contrast
with the results of the more formal education, which are often seen in
the opposite extremes of timidity and assurance.

As our young men are often entrapped, while abroad, into marriages which
prove to be very unwise and unsuitable, I wish very much that we might
bring and keep our young people in a better understanding with each
other, so that even the most ambitious among them should be content to
marry with their peers, and abide in the home of their fathers.

I have been surprised, at some periods of my late visit to Europe, to
perceive the growing interest of thinking people in all that is most
characteristic of American progress. Again and again, in private and in
public, I have found myself invited to discourse concerning the happy
country in which popular education has been so long established, that
its results are no longer putative, but ascertained and verified. The
country in which the fairest woman, provided she be a modest one, can
walk abroad by day or night, unmolested and unsuspected, the country in
which women have acquired the courage to think for themselves, and to
stand by each other.

These invitations, though not given in derision, yet seemed akin to the
Hebrew refrain, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!" And when I related
the facts familiar to all of us, to those who listened with
half-incredulous wonder, it was, indeed, like singing the Lord's song of
freedom in a strange land.

The reasons why Europe should come to America are obvious and pressing.
The reasons why America should visit Europe are equally binding and
cogent. The material and the moral life of to-day are kept at their
height by this flux and reflux of human personality, which carries with
it every variety of opinion and experience. Could we only send our best
abroad, and for the best reasons! Could Europe only send her best, also,
for their best help and study! But the human average profits first of
all by its material enlargement, and will be received just as it is. So,
our fools go abroad, to show that folly is a thing of all times and
climes; and, along with the tidal wave of ignorance and bigotry, the
dark, designing Jesuit seeks our shore, and spins his fatal web among
our rose-trees. Sun of divine truth, storms of divine justice, sweep
away the evil and ripen the good!

When I see an American of either sex caught in the vortex of European
attraction, depolarized from natural relations, and charmed into
alliance with feudal barbarism and ignorance, my heart rings the bell of
alarm which is hung at the gates of Paradise.

From all these Western splendors can this shallow soul turn away? From
these golden fields whose overflow gives Europe food, while her human
overflow gives them labor? From this large construction of human right,
which lifts the cruel yoke from the neck of labor, and gives him who
earns the livelihood of many his own life to enjoy and perfect? From
this holy record of pious endeavor, from these splendid achievements of
souls inspired by freedom, thou canst go, joyous and triumphant, to pay
homage to the lies which are no longer believed by those who profess
them; lies whose fallacy America exposes every day and hour to the
detection of the world.

Thou wilt accept a title, empty as an egg-shell, for a thing truly
noble! Thou wilt call a courtier's grimace polite, a courtesan's fashion
elegant! Thou wilt curry favor in a vulgar court, courtesying low to a
prince of harlequins and harlots! Thou, child of the Puritans, wilt
kneel and kiss the hand which, still and sole, disputes with Christ the
mastery of the world! Then art thou simply an anachronism! Some are born
into the world centuries before their time, some centuries after it.

Other attractions, innocent in themselves, and conceivable to all,
detain some of our valued fellow-citizens in perpetual exile. The quiet
and beauty of English country-life, the literary and artistic resources
of a foreign capital, the romances of ancient chateaux and cathedrals,
some delicious touch of climate, some throbbing beauty of a southern
sky. How delightful we have found these, it is as much a pain as a
pleasure to remember! But let us also call to mind the lesson of a
well-known fairy tale. While Beauty prolongs her absence, the faithful
Beast languishes and comes nigh unto death. While we enjoy these choice
delights, the society to which we belong is sowing its wheat and its
tares. We are far from the field in which the life of our own generation
is planted and tended. Every honest heart, every thinking mind, has its
value in the community to which it belongs. Our value, such as it is,
remains wanting to our community, and, when its crises of trial shall
come, we shall not have been trained by watchful experience to
understand either their cause or their remedy.

How delightful was Italy to Milton! His Allegro and Pensieroso show that
he could fully appreciate both its mirth and its majesty. He returns not
the less to live out a life of illustrious service in his own country,
where his brave heart and philosophic mind were of more avail to his
time than even his sacred song to ours.

No one has any reason to be surprised at any new manifestation of human
folly. Yet I am sometimes surprised, to-day, by the disrespect which is
often shown to the word "Protestant." This name dates, at farthest, from
the time of Luther, but the fact for which it stands is as old as human
history. Moses made a protest when he led his people out of the luxury
and slavery of Egypt to find the free hills of Judæa, and to build on
one of them a temple to the God of freedom. Christ made His protest
against the hypocrisy and injustice of the old social and ecclesiastical
order. England and France have made their protests against monarchical
supremacy. Both went back from their daring determination, but the
lesson was not forgotten. The Puritans made their protest when they
faced the frowning sea and the savage wilderness, in order that they
might train their children, and live themselves in the freedom which
conscience asks. Mr. Garrison and his associates made their protest
against American slavery. Mrs. Butler, of England, makes her protest
to-day against the personal degradation of women. Lucy Stone makes hers
against their political enslavement.

Does society inherit? Is man the heir of man? Whence come those
creatures of the present day who smile, and shrug their shoulders, and
feebly say, "We don't protest. Our fathers did something of the kind,
upon what ground we cannot possibly imagine. But we are quite of another
sort. We don't protest."

To those courageous souls which, alone and unaided, have been able to
face the world's passion and inertia,--to those leaders of forlorn hopes
who have seen glory in the depths of death and have sought it there,--to
those voices proclaiming in the wilderness the triumphant progress of
truth,--to those brave spirits whose strength the fires of hell have
annealed, not consumed,--my soul shall ever render its glad and duteous
homage. And if, in my later age, I might seek the crowning honor of my
life, I should seek it with that small, faithful band who have no choice
but to utter their deepest conviction, and abide its issues. Fruitful
shall be their pains and privations. They who have sown in tears the
seeds of unpopular virtue, shall reap its happy harvest in the good and
gratitude of mankind.



CHANGES IN AMERICAN SOCIETY.


I have been invited to speak to you to-day concerning changes in
American society. In preparing to consider this subject, I cannot but
remember that the very question of social change is to some people an
open one. The supposition of any real onward movement in society is as
unwelcome and as untrue to these persons as was Galileo's theory
concerning the revolution of the earth around the sun. They will assert,
as indeed they may, that the same crimes are committed in all ages, with
the same good deeds to counterbalance them and that the capital
tendencies of human nature are always substantially the same. This also
must be allowed. The error of these friends consists in overlooking the
most characteristic and human of these tendencies, which is that of
progressive desire. This trait, deeper and stronger than the mere love
of change, pushes the whole heterogeneous mass of humanity onward in a
way from which there is no return.

The laws of human motive and action, meanwhile, remain as steadfast and
immovable as the laws by whose application Galileo made his discovery.
To discern at once the steadfast truth and its metamorphic developments
will be the task of the greatest wisdom.

When Theodore Parker invited the religious world to consider the
transient and the permanent elements of Christianity, he made a popular
application of a truth long known to philosophy. This truth is that life
in all of its aspects exhibits these two opposite qualities or
conditions. Much is transient in the individual, more is permanent in
the race.

The study of anthropology, so greatly enriched to-day by discovery and
investigation, would give us much to say under both of these heads, but
most, I think, under the last.

I remember that in reading Livy's history of the second Punic war, in
our own war time, I was struck by certain resemblances between the time
in which he wrote and that in which I read him. When I learned from his
pages that the merchants and ship-owners of ancient Rome managed to
impose the most worthless of their vessels upon the government for the
transport of troops and provisions, I exclaimed, "What Yankees these
Romans were!"

In reading some well-known satires of Horace I have been struck with the
resemblance of the ancient to the modern bore. Boileau's famous take-off
of the dinner given by a _parvenu_ is scarcely more than a French
adaptation of the feast of Nasidienus, as described by the Roman bard
who was Boileau's model.

In Virgil's account of the good housewife, who rises early in order to
measure out the work of the household, and in Solomon's description of
the thrifty woman of his time, one sees the value set upon feminine
industry and economy in times far removed from our own, yet resembling
it in this appreciation.

On the other hand, the dissimilarity of ancient and modern society is
equally seen in the same mirror of literature. The mention of matters
which, by common consent, are banished from decent speech to-day, the
position of Woman, from the vestal virgin buried alive for breach of
trust to the _devium scortum_, whom Horace frankly invites to his feast,
the gross superstition which saw in religion little save portents and
propitiation,--these mark on the dial of history an hour as distant from
our own in sympathy as in time.

You will wish to hear from me some account of changes which have come
within the sphere of my own observation, both as I have been able to see
for myself, and to compare what I have seen with what I have received
from the generation immediately preceding my own. Let me remind you
that, with all the advantages of personal observation, it may be more
difficult for us to give a true account of the age to which we belong
than of more distant times, upon which thought and reflection have
already done their critical and explanatory work. Familiarity so dulls
the edge of perception, as to make us least acquainted with things and
persons making part of our daily life. Mindful of these difficulties, I
will do my best to characterize the threescore years which have carried
me into and out of the heart of the nineteenth century.

I have seen in this time a great growth in the direction of liberal
thought, of popular government, of just laws and useful institutions. I
have seen human powers so multiplied by mechanical appliances as to
destroy the old measures of time and distance, and almost to justify
the veto once laid by the great Napoleon upon the use of the word
"impossible": "_Ne me dîtes jamais ce bête de mot_," said he; and it has
now become more _bête_ than ever.

What feature of society has not changed in the phantasmagoria of these
wonderful lustres? Each decade has made a fool of the one which went
before it. Whether in the region of extended observation and experiment,
or in that of subtle and profound investigation, human effort has seemed
in this time to put itself at compound interest, working at once with
matters infinitely little and with matters infinitely great, and surely
introducing mankind to a higher plane of comfort and co-operation than
has been reached in anterior ages.

While the mechanism of life has thus been brought much nearer to
perfection by the labor of our age, the principles of life remain such
as they have always been.

Pile luxury as high as you will, health is better, and the body of a
well-fed and not over-worked ploughman is, nine times out of ten, a
better possession than the body of a man of fortune, especially if he be
at the same time a man of pleasure. Marshal and gild the pomp of
circumstance, and do it homage with bated breath, character remains the
true majesty, honor and intelligence its prime ministers. Money can help
people to education, by paying for the support of those who can give it.
But money cannot excuse its possessor from the smallest of the mental
operations through which, if at all, a man comes to know what, as a man,
he should know.

The great _desiderata_ of humanity still remain these: to preserve the
integrity of nature, the purity of sentiment, and the coherence of
thought. The great extension of educational opportunities which we see
to-day should make the attainment of these objects easier than in ages
of less instruction. But while the pursuit of them is ever normal to the
human race, the inherent difficulties of their attainment remain
undiminished. Without self-discipline and self-sacrifice, no man to-day
attains true education, or the dignity of true manhood. For here comes
in the terrible fact of man's freedom as a moral agent.

Could our age possess and administer the powers of the universe to its
heart's content, in that heart would yet rest the issues of its life and
of its death.

The period of which I have to speak has certainly witnessed great
improvements in the theory of hygiene. The old heroic treatment of
diseases has nearly disappeared. The nauseous draughts, the
blood-letting and blisters, have given place to moderate medication, the
choice of climate and the regulation of diet. Women have been admitted
as copartners with men in the guardianship of the public health.
Athletic sports help the student to fresh blood and efficient muscle,
without which the brain sickens and perishes.

But even in this department how much is left to desire and to do! Our
greatest and richest city is still festering with the corruption that
breeds disease. No board of health seems to have power to sweep its side
streets and dark alleys. Fashion keeps her avenues clean, and neglects
the rest of the vast domain, for which she has her reward in many a
ghastly epidemic. The late Edward Clarke, of Boston,--heaven rest his
soul!--could alarm the whole continent with his threats of the physical
evils which the more perfect education of one sex would entail on both.
But he has left no public protest against the monstrosities of toilet
which deform and mutilate the bodies of women to-day, nor against the
selfish frivolity of life in both sexes, which is equally inimical to
true motherhood and to true fatherhood.

I have seen in fashions of dress and furniture the curious cycle which
my elders foretold, and which it takes, I should think, half a century
to fulfil. My earliest childish remembrance is of the slim dresses which
display as much as is possible of the outlines of the figure. I remember
the _élégantes_ of Gotham walking the one fashionable street of
fifty-five years ago, attired in pelisses of pink or blue satin. A white
satin cloak trimmed with dark fur seemed, even to my childish
observation, a chill costume for a pedestrian in the heart of winter. My
mother's last Paris bonnet, bought probably in 1825, appeared to her
children, twenty years later, such a caricature, that pious hands
destroyed it, in order that we might have no ludicrous association with
the sweet young creature whose death had left us babes in the nursery.

After many fluctuations and oscillations, I have seen modern head-gear
near of kin to the subject of this holocaust. I have seen the old forms
and colors return to popular favor. I have even heard that the very
white satin cloak, which seemed _outré_ to the critic of six years, has
been worn and greatly admired in the recent gay world of Paris. The
return in these cases, it must be said, is not to the identical point of
departure. Progress, according to some thinkers, follows a spiral, and
is neither shut in a circle nor extended in a straight line. The hoops
of our great-grandmothers are not the hoops which we remember to have
seen or worn. Their eelskin dresses are not the model of ours. Still,
the recurrence of the same vein of fancy marks a periodical
approximation to the region or belt of influence in which certain
forgotten possibilities suggest themselves to the seeker of novelty, and
in which the capricious, antithetical fancy delights to crown with honor
all that it found most devoid of beauty a few lustres ago.

Does this encyclical tendency in the familiar æsthetics of life imply a
corresponding tendency in the moral and intellectual movement of
mankind? I fear that it does. I fear that seriousness and frivolity,
greed and disinterest, extravagance and economy, in so far as these are
social and sympathetic phenomena, do succeed each other in the movement
of the ages. But here the device of the spiral can save us. We must make
the round, but we may make it with an upward inclination. "Let there be
light!" is sometimes said in accents so emphatic, that the universe
remembers and cannot forget it. We carry our problem slowly forward.
With all the ups and downs of every age, humanity constantly rises.
Individuals may preserve all its early delusions, commit all its
primitive crimes; but to the body of civilized mankind, the return to
barbarism is impossible.

The æsthetic elaboration of ethical ideas, always a feature of
civilization, becomes in our day a task of such prominence as to engage
the zeal and labor of those even who have little natural facility for
any of its processes.

The ignoring of this department of culture by our Puritan ancestors, had
much to do with the bareness of surrounding and poverty of amusement
which almost affright us in the record of their society. With all their
insufficiency, these periods of severe simplicity are of great
importance in the history of a people. The temporary withdrawal from the
sensible and pleasurable to the severe verities of ethical study
accumulates a reserve force which is sure to be very precious in the
emergencies to which all nations are exposed. The reaction against the
extreme of this is as likely to be excessive as was the action itself.

If we tend to any extreme, nowadays, it is to that of making art take
the place of thought, as may somewhat appear in the general rage for
illustration and decoration.

The ministrations of art to ethics are indeed unspeakably grand and
helpful. The cathedrals of the Old World, and its rich and varied
galleries, preserve for us the fresh and naïve spirit of mediæval piety.
Religious art, indeed, becomes almost secularized by its repetitions;
yet each of its great works has the isolation of its own atmosphere, and
speaks its own language, which we reverently learn while we look upon
it.

Of all arts, music is the one most intimately interwoven with the
ethical consciousness of our own time. The oratorios of Handel and of
Mendelssohn so blend the sacred text and the divine music, that we think
of the two together, and almost as of things so wedded by God, that man
must not seek to put them asunder. When I have sat to sing in the chorus
of the Messiah, and have heard the tenor take up the sweet burden of
"Comfort ye my people!" I have felt the whole chain of divine
consolation which those historic words express, and which link the
prophet of pre-Christian times to the saints and sinners of to-day. In
far-off Palestine I have been shown the plain on which it is supposed
that the shepherds were tending their flocks when the birth of the
Messiah was announced to them. But as I turned my eyes to view it, my
memory was full of that pastoral symphony of Handel's, in which the
divine glory seems just muffled enough to be intelligible to our abrupt
and hasty sense. Nay, I lately heard a beloved voice which read the
chapter of Elijah's wonderful experiences in the wilderness. While I
listened, bar after bar of Mendelssohn's music struck itself off in the
resonant chamber of memory, and I thanked the Hebrew of our own time for
giving the intensity of life to that mystical drama of insight and
heroism.

The transcendentalists of our own country made great account of the
relation of art to ethics, and perhaps avenged the Puritan partiality by
giving art the leading, and ethics the subordinate place in their
statements and endeavors. But the masters of the transcendental
philosophy in Europe did not so. Spinoza, Kant, and Fichte were
idealists of the severest type. Standing for the moment between the two,
I will only say that the danger of forgetting the high labors and
rewards of thought in the pleasure of beautiful sights and sounds is
one to which the highest civilization stands most exposed. To think
aright, to resolve and pray aright, we must retire from those delights
to the contemplation of that whose sublimity they can but faintly image,
as we pass with joy from the likeness of our friend into his presence.

Love of ornament is by no means synonymous with love of the beautiful.
The taste which overloads dress and architecture with superfluous
irrelevancies, is often quite in opposition to that true sense of beauty
which is indispensable to the artist and precious to the philosopher.
"[Greek: To kalon]," the Greeks said. Was it a naïve utterance on their
part? Was it through their poverty of expression, or their want of
experience, that the same word with them signified the good and the
beautiful? No. It was through the depth of their insight, and the power
of their mental appreciation, that they so stamped this golden word as
that it should show the supreme of form on one of its faces, and the
supreme of spirit on the other.

The social domain of religion has also undergone a change. In my early
life I remember that all earnest and religious people were supposed to
live out of the great world, and to keep company only with one another
and with the subjects of their charitable beneficence. The
disadvantages of this course are easily seen. Free intercourse with the
average of mankind is one of the most important agencies in enlarging
and correcting the action of the human mind. The exigencies of ordinary
intercourse develop a sense of the dependence of human beings upon each
other, and a power corresponding to the needs involved in this
interdependence. The religious susceptibilities of individuals, which
are at once very strong in their character and very uncertain in their
action, are liable to become either exaggerated or exhausted by a course
of life which should rely wholly upon them for guidance and for
interest.

Let us, therefore, by all means have saints in the world, keeping to
their pure standard, and recommending it more by their actions than by
their professions. But these saints must be brave as well as pure.
Unworthy doctrine must not escape their reprobation. When a just cause
is contemned, they must stand by it. If the world shall cast them out in
consequence, it will not be their fault. The social leagues which group
themselves around the various churches of to-day, seem to me a feature
of happy augury. It is the office of the church to inspire and direct
the tone of social intercourse, and these associations should greatly
help it to that end. I lately heard Wendell Phillips complain that
church exercises nowadays largely consist of picnics and other
merry-makings. Only a little before, Mr. Phillips, in his reply to Mr.
Parkman's article against Woman Suffrage, had spoken of the growth of
social influence as a good.

It does, to be sure, look a little whimsical to read on the bulletin of
a Methodist church such announcements as this,--"Private theatricals for
the benefit of the Sunday school." But Wesley introduced the use of
secular tunes in his church on the ground that the devil should not have
all the good music. Neither should he monopolize the innocent amusements
with which, if they are left to him, he does indeed play the devil.

Although the great ocean will always hold Europe at arm's length from
us, yet the currents of belief and sympathy bring its various peoples
near to us in various ways. I remember to have taken note of this long
before the ocean steamships brought the eastern hemisphere within a few
days' journey from our own seaboard, and very long before the
time-annihilating cables were dreamed of. The French have always had
with us the prestige of their social tact and sumptuary elegance. The
English manners are affected by those among us who mistake the
aristocracy of position for the aristocracy of character. The Italians
rule us by their great artists in the past, and by their subtle policy
in the present. The Germans have, as they deserve, the pre-eminence in
music, in metaphysics, and in many departments of high culture.

I have not long since been taken to task by a writer in a prominent New
York paper for some strictures regarding the quasi-omnipotence of money
in the society of to-day. The writer in question enlarged somewhat upon
the greatly increased expenditure of money in our own country, as if
this must be considered as a good in itself. He concludes his statement
by remarking that Mrs. Howe has never studied the proper significance of
the money question. I desire to say here only that I have not neglected
the study of this question, which so regards the very life of society.
One of its problems I have ventured to decide for myself, viz., whether
the luxury of the rich really supports the industry of the poor.

The æsthetic of luxury is a mean and superficial one. The critique of
luxury is compliant and cowardly; and, despite its glittering promise to
pay any price for what it desires, luxury orders poorly, pays poorly,
and in the end undermines the credit of the State, the very citadel of
its solvency. I regret and deplore its prevalence to-day, and consider
it not as the safeguard, but as the most dangerous enemy of republican
institutions.

In our America, ay, even in our Puritan New England, the day has come in
which economy is a discredit and poverty a disgrace. With the common
school ever at work to lift the social level, unfolding to the child of
the day-laborer the page which instructs the son of the peer, the cry is
still that money is God, and that there is none other. One may ask, in
the business streets, whether rich people have any faults, or poor
people any virtues. A woman who sells her beauty for a rich dower is
honored in church and in State. Both alike bow to the money in her hand.
One proverb says that Time is money, as if it were

    "Only that, and nothing more."

Another proverb says that Money is power. And in this form, no doubt, it
receives the most fervent worship, for luxury palls sooner or later,
while ambition is never satisfied. But we constantly meet, on the other
hand, with instances in which money is not power. Money does not give
talent or intelligence. You cannot buy good government, good manners, or
good taste: You cannot buy health or life. Do some of you remember the
shipwreck, some twenty years ago, of a steamer homeward-bound from
California? The few survivors told how the desperate passengers brought
their belts and bags of gold to the cabin, and threw them about with a
bitter contempt of their worthlessness. States have such shipwrecks, in
which avenging Fate seems to say to those who have sacrificed all for
wealth, "Thy money perish with thee."

The heroics of history are full of the story of great ends, accomplished
by very small means. Now a handful of resolute men hold the forces of a
great empire in check, and beat back the ocean surge of barbarism from
the marble of their strong will. Now a single martyr turns the scale of
the world's affection by throwing into the balance the weight of one
small life. Now a State with every disadvantage of territory, cursed
with sterility, or exposed to the murderous overflow of the salt sea,
takes its stand upon the simple determination to conquer for itself a
free and worthy existence. Frederick of Prussia and his small army,
Washington, with his handful of men, in these and so many other
instances, we admire the attainment of mighty ends through means which
seem infinitesimal in proportion to them. How shall it be in our
country, to which Nature has given the widest variety of climate, soil,
and production? Shall we become a lesson to the world in the opposite
direction? Shall we show how little a people may accomplish with every
circumstance in its favor, and with nothing wanting to its success but
the careful mind and resolute spirit? God forbid!

The belief in pacific methods of settling international differences has
made a noticeable progress in my time.

In my school-days I remember a grave Presbyterian household at whose
fireside I one day saw an elderly man seat himself, with little notice
from the members of the family. I inquired who he might be, and was
told, with some good-natured laughter, that this old gentleman was the
American Peace Society, _i.e._, the last surviving member of that
association. This was a humorous exaggeration of the truth. Judge Jay,
of New York, was living at that time, and all the enthusiasm of the
peace cause lived in him, and no doubt in many others. I have remembered
the incident, nevertheless; and when I have seen the stately Peace
Congresses held in Europe and elsewhere, when I have seen rapacious
England submitting to arbitration, when I have seen the flag of military
prestige go down before the white banner of Peace, as in the late change
of the ministry in that country, I have remembered that day of small
things, and have learned that the faith of individuals is the small seed
from which spring the mighty growths of popular conviction and sympathy.

The extensive wars which have taken place within the last forty years,
as extensive and as deadly as any the world ever saw, are sometimes
quoted in derision of those who believe, as I do, in the sober, steady
growth of the pacific spirit among people of intelligence. The reasons
for this advance lie deeper than the vision of the careless observer may
reach. Within the period of our own century the value of human life to
the individual has been greatly increased by the wide diffusion of the
advantages of civilization. The value of the individual to the State has
become greatly increased by the multiplication of industrial resources,
and by the immense emigration which at times threatens to drain the
older society of its working population. The spread of education has at
once undermined the blind belief of the multitude in military leaders,
and toned down the blind ferocity of instinct to which those leaders are
forced to appeal. Wars of mere spoliation are scarcely permitted to-day.
Wars of pure offence are deeply disapproved of.

The military and diplomatic injustice of past times has left unsettled
many questions of territory and boundary which will not rest until they
shall be set right. The populations which war has plundered and
subjugated, lay their cause before the world's tribunal. In aid of this,
the friends of the true law and order are ever busy in forming a nucleus
of moral power, which governments will be forced to respect. Thus,
though the war-demon dies hard, he is doomed, and we shall yet see the
battlements of his grim cathedrals places for lovers to woo and for
babes to play in.

In religion I have seen the dark ministrations of terror give way before
the radiant gospel of hope. I remember when Doctrine sat beside the bed
of death, and offered its flimsy synonym to the eyes upon which the
awful, eternal truth was about to dawn. I remember when a man with a
poor diploma and a human commission assumed to hold the keys of heaven
and hell in his hands, and to dispense to those who would listen to him
such immortality as he thought fit. I remember when it went hard with
those who, in forming their religious opinions, persisted in daring to
use the critical power of their own judgment. They were lonely saints;
they wandered in highways and byways, unrecognized, excommunicated of
men. No one had power to burn their bodies, but it was hoped that their
souls would not escape the torment of eternal flame. I have seen this
time, and I have lived to see a time in which these rejected stones,
hewn and polished by God's hand, have come to be recognized as
corner-stones in the practical religious building of the age. What a
discredit was it once to hear Theodore Parker! How happy are they now
esteemed who have heard him! Let not Mr. Emerson's urbanity lead him to
forget the days in which polite Boston laughed him to scorn. Brook Farm
was once looked upon as a most amusing caricature. But when the world
learned something about Nathaniel Hawthorne, George Ripley, William
Henry Channing, John Dwight, and George William Curtis, the public heart
bowed itself with remorseful homage before the ruined threshold of what
was, with all its shortcomings, a blameless temple to ideal humanity.

It is quite true that every change which I have seen in the society of
my time cannot be said to be, in itself, for the better. The price of
progress, like that of liberty, is eternal vigilance.

A time of religious enfranchisement may induce a period of religious
indifference. Cosmopolitan enlargement may weaken the force of
patriotism. The charity of society may degenerate into an indifference
concerning private morals, which, if it could prevail, would go far
towards destroying public ones. Humanity ever needs the watchman on the
tower. It needs the warning against danger, the guidance out of it. I
can imagine a set of prophets less absolute than the Hebrew seers, whose
denunciation of evils, near or present, should always couple itself with
profound and sober suggestions of help. And this will be the work of
faith in our day, to believe in the good which can overcome the evil,
and to seek it with earnest and brave persistence.

Let me return for a moment, very briefly, to what I touched upon just
now, the great changes in religious thought which this century has
witnessed. What manifold contrasts have we observed in this domain! What
a wild and wide chase in the fields of conjecture! What impatience with
the idols of the past, historical and metaphysical! There have been
moments in the last twenty years in which one might have said to the
religious ideals of past ages that the time had come in which every one
who raised his hand against them thought that he was doing God service.
This iconoclasm had its time, and, one supposes, its office.

But the religious necessities of mankind are permanent, and will outlast
any and all systems of pure criticism. The question arises, in all this
havoc of illusory impressions, Who is to provide for the culture and
direction of those instincts of reverence which are so precious to, so
ineradicable in the race? We must ask this service of those who believe
that religion is, on the whole, wiser than its critics. Those who have
been able to hold fast this persuasion will be the religious trainers of
our youth. Those who have relinquished it will have no more skill to
teach religion than a sculptor will have to feed an army.

The greatest trouble with human society is, that its natural tendency
leads it, not to learn right measure through one excess, but, on
becoming convinced of this, to rush into an opposite excess with equal
zeal and equal error. The mechanism of society requires constant
correction in order to keep up the succession of order and progress
through and despite this proneness to extravagance and loss of power.
This rectification of direction without interruption of movement is the
office of critical and constructive thought. Precious are the men, and
rare as precious, who carry this balance in their minds, and, while the
ship lurches now on this side and now on that, strain after the compass
with masterful courage and patience. We have all known such men, but we
have known, too, that their type is not a common one.

Among all who are out of work to-day, so far as the market is concerned,
those men of careful and critical judgment are the least called for, and
the least wished for by the majority of men. Headlong enthusiasm,
headlong activity, headlong doubt and cynicism, the prevalence of these
shows the force with which the present whirl of the spindle was cast.
Fair and softly, my quick-flying Century. To find out whether you are
going right or wrong, whether you are faithful or faithless, solvent or
bankrupt, you must have recourse to these same slow, patient men and
women, who try such questions by a more accurate and difficult method
than that of the popular inclination.

I find that the philosopher Kant, writing more than a hundred years ago,
remarks that in so sociable an age as his own Culture must naturally be
expected to assume an encyclopedic character. It will, he says,
necessarily desire to present a manifold number of agreeable and
instructive acquisitions, easy of apprehension, for entertainment in
friendly intercourse.

These words seem prophetic of the efforts after general information,
with a view to conversation as an accomplishment, which have constituted
a marked feature of American and English society within forty years. In
the dissolving view of the public predilection, this object has lost
much of its prominence. The ornate and well-rounded periods of the
conversationist are not more in request, nowadays, than were the
high-sounding sentiments of Joseph Surface to Sir Peter Teazle, when
experience had shown him their emptiness.

Blunt speech and curt expression rather are in favor. The heroines of
novels are supposed to fall in love with men of a somewhat brutal type.
Adonis is out of fashion. Hercules pleases, and even Vulcan is
preferred. One thinks that the influence of the mercantile spirit may be
recognized in this change. Long speeches and roundabout statements are
found not to pay. The man who listens to them with one ear, hearkens
with the other for the ocean telegrams, news of the stock market,
considers the maturing of a note, the success or failure of a scheme.
When there is no one to listen, loquacity itself will grow economical of
breath.

The world is quite right in its tacit protest against over talk. A great
deal of empty, irrelevant speech is liable to be imposed upon the
good-nature of society in the garb of instructive conversation. It is
weary to listen by the hour to men or women who principally teach you
their own opinion of their own erudition. But woe to the world if its
haste and greed should ever be such that the true teacher should want an
audience, the long lessons of philosophy find interpreters, but no
pupils.

The present is, on the whole, an encyclopedic, cosmopolitan era. I
suppose that it succeeds as a reaction to one of more special and
isolated endeavor. The example and influence of Goethe have had much to
do with the formation of the ideas of culture which have been prevalent
in our time. This wonderful man went, with such a happy tact, from one
thing to another. In poetry he did so much, in high criticism so much,
in science so much, and in world-wisdom so much! How naturally were the
lovers of study, who made him their model, led to undertake, as he did,
to render the most eminent service, to attain the highest honors in a
dozen different departments!

But the man Goethe was more wonderful even than his writings. His
individuality was too powerful to suffer loss through the variety of his
pursuits. He could be at once a courtier and a philosopher, a poet and a
scientist, a critic of morals and a man of the world, and in all things
remain himself.

I sometimes wonder why we Americans are so apt to show, in our conduct
and remarks, an undue preponderance of what the phrenologists term love
of approbation. This is an amiable and useful trait in human nature,
which may degenerate into a weak and cowardly vanity, or even into a
malignant selfishness. To desire the approbation which can enlighten us
as to the merits of what we have done or attempted, is wise as well as
graceful. To make constant laudation a prominent object in any life is a
capital mistake in its ordering. To prefer the praise of men to the
justification of conscience, is at once cowardly and criminal. I observe
these three phases in American life. I value the first, compassionate
the second, and reprobate the third. Surely, if there is any virtue
which a republican people is bound to show, it is that self-respect
which is the only true majesty, and which can afford to be as generous
and gracious as majesty should be.

It is, perhaps, natural that many of us should, through a want of
experience, mistake the standpoint of people conspicuous in the older
European society as greatly superior to our own. We can learn much,
indeed, from the observation of such a standpoint; but, in order to do
so, we must hold fast our own plain, honest judgment, as we derive it
from education, inheritance, and natural ability.

It must, I should think, be very tedious and very surprising to
Europeans to hear Americans complain of being so young, so crude, so
immature. This is not according to nature. Imagine a nursery full of
babies who should bewail the fact of their infancy. Any one who should
hear such a complaint would cry out, "Why, that's the best thing about
you. You have the newness, the promise, the unwasted vigor of
childhood,--gifts so great that Christ enjoined it upon holy men to
recover, if they had lost them."

If our society is young, its motto should be the saying of Saint Paul to
Timothy, "Let no man despise thy youth." The great men of our early
history deserve to rank with the ripest products of civilization. Was
Washington crude? Was Franklin raw? Were Jay, Jefferson, and Hamilton
immature? The authorities of the older world bowed down to them, and did
them homage. The Republicans of France laid the key of the Bastille at
the feet of Washington. Franklin was honored and admired in the court
circle of Louis XVI. There was a twofold reason for this. These men
represented the power and vigor of our youth; but our youth itself
represented the eternal principles of truth and justice, for whose
application the world had waited long. And thinking people saw in us the
dignity of that right upon which we had founded our hope and belief as a
nation.

I will instance a single event of which I heard much during my last
visit in Rome. A German, naturalized in America, and who had made a
large fortune by a railroad contract in South America, had purchased
from some European government the title of "Count." He was betrothed to
the sister-in-law of a well-known California millionnaire, whose wife
has been for some years a resident of Paris, where her silver, her
diamonds, and her costly entertainments are matters of general remark.
All of these parties are Roman Catholics. The wedding took place in
Rome, and was signalized by a festival, at which twelve horses, belong
to the bridegroom, were ridden in a race, whose prizes were bestowed by
the hand of the bride. The invitations for this occasion were largely
distributed by a monsignor of the Romish Church, and the king of Italy
honored the newly married pair by his presence.

Not long after this, I read in the Italian papers that this very count
had become a candidate for a seat in the Italian Parliament. I suppose
that money will assist an election as much in Italy as elsewhere. The
monsignor who interested himself so efficiently about the invitations
for the wedding party, was none other than the master of ceremonies of
Pope Leo XIII. He would, no doubt, have taken even greater interest in
the return of his friend to the Parliament. I do not know whether this
gentleman has ever succeeded in usurping the place of a representative
of the Italian people; but the chance of his being able to do so lay in
the American gold of which he had become possessed. Here is one instance
of the direct relations between Rome and America which Americans so
placidly overlook.

In this day of the world hope is so strong, and the desire for an
improved condition so prevalent, that much may be looked for in Europe
as the result of the legitimate action and influence of America. But if
American capital busies itself with upholding the shams of the old
world, if American taste and talent are led and pledged to work with the
reactionary agents everywhere against the enfranchisement of the human
race, where shall the hope of the world find refuge?

Goldsmith has a touching picture of the emigrants who, in his time, were
compelled to leave the country which would not feed them, for a distant
bourne, which could, by no means, be to them a home. But let us assist
at the embarkation of another group of exiles. These people have been
living abroad, and are about to return home. The rich, beautiful land
whose discovery has changed the fortunes of the human race, invites them
on the other side of the Atlantic. The flag which represents the noblest
chapter of modern history waves over them.

From dynastic, aristocratic Europe they go to inherit the work of an
ancestry heroic in thought and action. They go to the land which still
boasts a Longfellow, a Whittier, an Emerson, a Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Are they glad? Are they happy? No. They have learned the follies of the
old world, not its wisdom. They are not going home,--they are going into
exile.

Let us look a little at their record in the Europe which they regret so
passionately. They went abroad with money, and the education which it
commands, with leisure and health. What good deeds may they not have
done! What gratifying remembrance may they have left behind them! Shall
we not find them recorded as donors to many a noble charity, as students
in many a lofty school? We shalt indeed, sometimes. But in many cases we
shall hear only of their fine clothes and expensive entertainments, with
possible mortifying anecdotes of their fast behavior.

If the mother leaves a daughter behind her, it is likely to be as the
wife of some needy European nobleman, who despises all that she is bound
to hold dear, and is proud not to know that which it should be her glory
to understand.

I said at Concord, and I say it to-day, that the press is much affected
by the money debauch of the period. Let us examine the way in which this
result is likely to be brought about.

A newspaper or periodical is almost always an investment in which the
idea of gain is very prominent. This expectation may either regard what
the proposed paper shall earn as a medium of information, or the profit
of certain enterprises which its statements may actively promote.

Special organs are founded for special emergencies, as is a campaign
sheet, or for the advocate of special reforms, like the antislavery
"Standard" of old, and the "Woman's Journal" of to-day. These papers
rarely repay either the money advanced for them, or the literary labor
bestowed upon them.

Under the head of its earnings the newspaper depends upon two classes of
persons, viz., its advertisers and its subscribers. Either or both of
these may be displeased by the emphatic mention of some certain fact,
the expression of some certain opinion. "If we tell this unwelcome
truth," say the managers, "we shall lose such and such subscribers. If
we take this stand, some of our wealthiest advertising firms will choose
another medium of communicating with the public." The other set of
considerations just spoken of, the enterprises which are to be favored
and promoted, may still more seriously affect the tone and action of the
paper, which will thus be drawn in a twofold way to lend itself to the
publication only of what it will pay to say.

The annals of journalism in this country will, no doubt, show a fair
average of courageous and conscientious men among its chiefs. I am
willing to believe all things and to hope all things in this direction.
But I must confess that I fear all things, too, in view of a great
power, whose position makes it almost an irresponsible one. And I should
regard with great favor the formation of an unofficial censorship of
public organs, in view not so much of what may be published, as of what
is unfairly left out of the statements and counterstatements of
conflicting interests.

Of all the changes which I can chronicle as of my own time, the change
in the position of women is perhaps the most marked and the least
anticipated by the world at large. Whatever opinions heroic men and
women may have held concerning this from Plato's time to our own, the
most enlightened periods of history have hardly given room to hope that
the sex in general would ever reach the enfranchisement which it enjoys
to-day. I date the assurance of its freedom from the hour in which the
first university received women graduates upon the terms accorded to
pupils of the opposite sex. For education keeps the key of life, and a
liberal education insures the first conditions of freedom, viz.,
adequate knowledge and accustomed thought. This first and greatest step
gained, the gate of professional knowledge and experience quickly
opened, and that of political enfranchisement stands already ajar. The
battle can have but one result, and it has been fought, with chivalrous
temper and determination, not by one sex against the other, but by the
very gospel of fairness and justice against the intrenched might of
selfish passion, inertia, and prejudice. Equal conditions of life will
lift the whole level of society, which is so entirely one body that the
lifting or lowering of one half lifts or lowers the other half. This
change, which in the end appeared to come suddenly, has been prepared by
such gradual tentatives, by such long and sound labor, that we need not
fear to lose sight of it in any sudden collapse. There are women of my
age, and women of earlier generations, who have borne it in their hearts
all their lives through, who have prayed and worked for it, without rest
and without discouragement. Horace Mann was its apostle, Theodore Parker
was its prophet, Margaret Fuller, Lucy Stone, and a host of wise and
true-hearted women, whom the time would fail me to name, have been its
female saints. It was in nature; they have brought it into life; even as
Christ said, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." The slender
thread which crossed the dark abyss of difficulty was not the silken
spinning of vanity, nor the cobweb fibre of madness. From the faith of
pure hearts the steadfast links were wrought, and the great chasm is
spanned, and is ready to become the strong and sure highway of hope, for
this nation and for the nations of the earth.

The customs of society prescribe the mental garb and gait proper to
those who desire the favorable notice of their peers in their own time.
As these are partly matters of tradition and inheritance, we can learn
something of the merits and demerits of a generation by studying the
habits of familiar judgment which it hands down to its successor. A
narrow, ill-educated generation leaves behind it corresponding garments
of rule and prescription, to which the next generation must for a time
accommodate itself, because a custom or a fashion is not made in a day.
The rulers of society seem often more occupied in dwarfing the mind to
suit the custom than in enlarging the custom so as to fit it to the
growth of mind. The most dangerous rebellions, individual and social,
are natural revolts against the small tyranny which perpetuates the
insufficiency of the past.

The copper shoes which so cramp the foot of a female infant in China as
to destroy its power of growth, are not more cruel or deleterious than
are the habits of unreflecting prejudice which compress the growth of
human minds until they, too, lose their native power of expansion, and
the idol Prejudice is enthroned and worshipped by those on whom it has
imposed its own deformity as the standard of truth and beauty.

The heavy tasks which nature imposes upon women leave them less at
leisure than men to reform and readjust these inherited garments. The
necessity for prompt and early action obliges them to follow the
intuitive faculties, as all must do who have not time to work out the
problems of the reasoning ones. The instinct of possession is a ruling
one in human nature, and a woman inheriting a superstition or a
prejudice holds fast to it because it is something, and she has got it.
It seems to her a possession. It may be a mischievous and unfortunate
one, but it will take a good deal of time and thought to find that out.
Those who have the training of women's minds often train them away from
such a use of time and from such a labor of thought. Hence the fatal
persistence of large classes of women in superstitions which the
thinking world has outgrown, and the equally fatal zeal with which they
impose the same insufficient modes of judgment upon their children.

I pray this generation of women, which has seen such enlargements of the
old narrow order regarding the sex, I pray it to deserve its high post
as guardian of the future. Let it bequeath to its posterity a noble
standard of womanhood, free, pure, and, above all, laborious.

The standard of manhood really derives from that of womanhood, and not
_vice versa_, as many imagine. However we may receive from tradition the
order of their material creation, in that of training and education,
the woman's influence comes before that of the man, and outlasts it.

The figure of the infant Christ dwells always in our mind, accompanied
by that of the gracious mother who gave Him to the world. Let the fact
of this great gift prefigure to us the august office of Woman. Hers be
it also to preserve and transmit from age to age the Christian doctrine
and the Christlike faith. And, in order that she may fully realize the
glory and blessedness of giving, let her remember that what is worthily
given to one time is given to all time.


               *       *       *       *       *



                  UNIFORM WITH ARNOLD'S POEMS.


         THE LIGHT OF ASIA; OR, The Great Renunciation.

    Being the Life and Teaching of Gautama, Prince of India and Founder
        of Buddhism (as told in verse by an Indian Buddhist).

                     BY EDWIN ARNOLD, M.A.

    "It is a work of great beauty. It tells a story of
    intense interest, which never flags for a moment; its
    descriptions are drawn by the hand of a master with the
    eye of a poet and the familiarity of an expert with the
    objects described; its tone is so lofty that there is
    nothing with which to compare it but the New Testament;
    it is full of variety, now picturesque, now pathetic,
    now rising into the noblest realms of thought and
    aspiration; it finds language penetrating, fluent,
    elevated, impassioned, musical always, to clothe its
    varied thoughts and sentiments."--OLIVER WENDELL
    HOLMES, _International Review_, October, 1879.

    "In Mr. Edwin Arnold, Indian poetry and Indian thought
    have at length found a worthy English exponent. He
    brings to his work the facility of a ready pen, a
    thorough knowledge of his subject, a great sympathy for
    the people of this country, and a command of public
    attention at home."--_Calcutta Englishman._

    "'The Light of Asia' is a remarkable poem, and worthy of
    a place amongst the great poems of our time. Mr. Arnold
    is far more than 'a coiner of sweet words'--he is the
    exponent of noble impressions. He is a scholar and a
    philosopher; but he is also a true singer."--_London
    Daily Telegraph._


    LIBRARY EDITION. 16mo. Cloth. Price       $1.00
    CHEAP EDITION. 16mo. Paper. Price           .25

    ROBERTS BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS, BOSTON.



           _Messrs. Roberts Brothers' Publications._

                   ON THE RIGHT USE OF BOOKS.

    A LECTURE. By WILLIAM P. ATKINSON, Professor of English
    and History in the Massachusetts Institute of
    Technology. 16mo. Cloth. Price 50 cents.

      "Full of good sense, sound taste, and quiet
      humor.... It is the easiest thing in the world to
      waste time over books, which are merely tools of
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      function of a good book not only to fructify, but
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      evanescent treasures, but to enrich the imagination
      with forms of beauty and goodness which leave a
      lasting impression on the character."--_N. Y.
      Tribune._

      "Contains so many wise suggestions concerning
      methods in study and so excellent a summary of the
      nature and principles of a really liberal education
      that it well deserves publication for the benefit of
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      education are generalized and presented in a few
      pages, each one of which contains so much that it
      might be easily expanded into an excellent
      chapter."--_The Library Table._


                     READING AS A FINE ART.

    By ERNEST LEGOUVÉ, of the Académie Française.
    Translated from the Ninth Edition by ABBY LANGDON
    ALGER. 16mo. Cloth. 50 cents.


                        (_Dedication._)
         TO THE SCHOLARS OF THE HIGH AND NORMAL SCHOOL.

      For you this sketch was written: permit me to
      dedicate it to you, in fact, to intrust it to your
      care. Pupils to-day, to-morrow you will be
      teachers; to-morrow, generation after generation of
      youth will pass through your guardian hands. An
      idea received by you must of necessity reach
      thousands of minds. Help me, then, to spread abroad
      the work in which you have some share, and allow me
      to add to the great pleasure of having numbered you
      among my hearers the still greater happiness of
      calling you my assistants. E. LEGOUVÉ.

      We commend this valuable little book to the
      attention of teachers and others interested in the
      instruction of the pupils of our public schools. It
      treats of the "First Steps in Reading," "Learning-to
      Read," "Should we read as we talk," "The Use and
      Management of the Voice," "The Art of Breathing,"
      "Pronunciation," "Stuttering," "Punctuation,"
      "Readers and Speakers," "Reading as a Means of
      Criticism," "On Reading Poetry," &c., and makes a
      strong claim as to the value of reading aloud, as
      being the most wholesome of gymnastics, for to
      strengthen the voice is to strengthen the whole
      system and develop vocal power.

    _Sold by all Booksellers. Mailed, post-paid, by the
    Publishers_,

                   ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON.



                  THE NO NAME (SECOND) SERIES.
                   SIGNOR MONALDINI'S NIECE.

      _Extracts from some Opinions by well-known Authors._

    "We have read 'Signor Monaldini's Niece' with intensest
    interest and delight. The style is finished and
    elegant, the atmosphere of the book is enchanting. We
    seem to have lived in Italy while we were reading it.
    The author has delineated with a hand as steady as it
    is powerful and skilful some phases of human life and
    experience that authors rarely dare attempt, and with
    marvellous success. We think this volume by far the
    finest of the No Name Series."

    "It is a delicious story. I feel as if I had been to
    Italy and knew all the people.... Miss Conroy is a
    strong character, and her tragedy is a fine background
    for the brightness of the other and higher natures. It
    is all so dramatic and full of color it goes on like a
    lovely play and leaves one out of breath when the
    curtain falls."

    "I have re-read it with great interest, and think as
    highly of it as ever.... The characterization in it is
    capital, and the talk wonderfully well done from first
    to last."

    "The new No Name is enchanting. It transcends the
    ordinary novel just as much as a true poem by a true
    poet transcends the thousand and one imitations.... It
    is the episode, however, of Miss Conroy and Mrs. Brandon
    that is really of most importance in this book.... I
    hope every woman who reads this will be tempted to read
    the book, and that she will in her turn bring it to the
    reading of other women, especially if she can find any
    Mrs. Brandon in her circle."

    In one volume, 16mo, bound in green cloth, black and
    gilt lettered. Price $1.00.

    _Our publications are to be had of all Booksellers. When
    not to be found, send directly to_

                                   ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON.



                    The No Name (Second) Series.


                     THE COLONEL'S OPERA CLOAK.

    "A jollier, brighter, breezier, more entertaining book
    than 'The Colonel's Opera Cloak' has not been published
    for many a day. We defy the coldest-blooded reader to
    lay it down before it is finished, or to read it
    through without feeling his time well spent. There is
    plenty of satire in its pages, but it is good-natured
    satire. The characters are sharply drawn--some of them
    from nature, we fancy--and there is spice enough in the
    way of incident to satisfy the most exacting palate. Of
    course, everybody will read it, and, in that
    presumption, we promise everybody two hours of thorough
    enjoyment."--_Boston Transcript._

    "The No Name Series abounds in contrasts, and that
    between 'Signor Monaldini's Niece' and the present story
    is among the most decided it has offered. This we do not
    mention by way of disparagement. On the contrary, we can
    see a distinctive merit in a series which includes so
    much variety of aim and interest as this does, without
    any regard for the conventional demand that a succession
    of stories in the same binding should all be of one
    school and in something the same tone. We can see why an
    admirer of the last novel may at first be taken aback by
    the light tone of this, and in so far disappointed; but
    we shall expend no sympathy on that person. 'The
    Colonel's Opera Cloak' is a bright and thoroughly
    alluring little book, with which it would be foolish to
    find fault on any score. And, more than that, it is well
    written and brimming over with wit. The notion of a
    story in which there is avowedly no hero or heroine
    excepting an old opera cloak, is clever, and, so far as
    we know, quite new.... We can assure every one who
    wishes the double pleasure of laughter and literary
    enjoyment, that this is one of the books to carry to the
    country."--_Boston Courier._

    "The author's touch is always that of the artist; it
    always has the magic power of portraying individual men
    and women, never giving us shadowy outlines, however few
    or hurried the strokes of the pencil may be, and saying
    this we say that the author of 'The Colonel's Opera
    Cloak' has in large measure the best and most necessary
    qualification for doing really fine work in fiction. If
    he is still young, as certain things in his story
    indicate that he is, his future efforts may well be
    looked for hopefully."--_N.Y. Evening Post._


    In one volume. 16mo. Green cloth. Price $1.00.

    _Our publications are to be had of all Booksellers.
              When not to be found, send directly to_
                        ROBERTS BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS, =BOSTON=.



                     SARAH TYTLER'S ART BOOKS.


                 THE OLD MASTERS AND THEIR PICTURES.


                MODERN PAINTERS AND THEIR PAINTINGS.

    By SARAH TYTLER, author of "Papers for Thoughtful Girls."
    16mo. Cloth, neat. Price of each, $1.50.

      Designed for the use of Schools and Learners in Art,
      and extensively used in Academies, Seminaries, &c.,
      throughout the country.

      "An excellent introduction to the history of
      art."--_Daily News._

      "These two books give in a simple and concise manner
      the prominent facts that every one who desires to be
      well informed should know about the great artists of
      the world. For beginners in art and for school use
      they are valuable."--_Courier-Journal._

      "Really supplies what has long been a want."--_British
      Quarterly Review._

      "We are not aware of any work of the kind written with
      so much intelligence which yet is so
      untechnical."--_Nonconformist._

      "Too much praise cannot be given the conscientious
      manner in which the author has worked. There is no
      obtrusion of useless details or of unwelcome
      criticism; but in very pleasant style, with clear and
      well-defined purpose, the story of the growth and
      progress of art is told through the lives and works of
      artists. The volumes are most agreeable reading and
      profitable study."--_Boston Post._


                 MUSICAL COMPOSERS AND THEIR WORKS.

    For the Use of Schools and Students in America. By
    SARAH TYTLER. 1 vol. 16mo. $1.50.

      In this unostentatious but carefully written volume,
      the author of "Old Masters" and "Modern Painters" has
      given a simple account of the great musicians of the
      world and of their works. The book is designed more
      especially for the use of young people in the course
      of their musical education, but the author
      trusts--and with very good reason--that it will
      commend itself also to older people, who are
      interested in the subject, but who have not time or
      opportunity to refer to original sources of
      information. Not the least attractive portion of the
      work is the sketch of Wagner with which it closes.



                         [Illustration]

                        "NO NAME SERIES."

                 _The First Series, completed_,
                 COMPRISES TWELVE NOVELS, VIZ.,

    MERCY PHILBRICK'S CHOICE.      HETTY'S STRANGE HISTORY.
    IS THAT ALL?                   WILL DENBIGH, EMAN.
    KISMET.                        THE WOLF AT THE DOOR.
    THE GREAT MATCH.               MARMORNE.
    A MODERN MEPHISTOPHELES.       MIRAGE.
    AFTERGLOW.                     GEMINI.

                   AND TWO POETICAL VOLUMES:

    DEIRDRÉ. A Novel in Verse.

    A MASQUE OF POETS. Original Poems, by Fifty Poets,
    written specially for this book; including "GUY VERNON,"
    an entire Novelette in verse.

    Fourteen volumes in all, uniformly bound in black cloth,
    red and gilt lettered. Price $1.00 each.


    NO NAME [SECOND] SERIES.

    The new series will retain all the peculiar features
    which made the first so popular, differing from it only
    in the style of binding. Now ready,

                             SIGNOR MONALDINI'S NIECE,
                                 THE COLONEL'S OPERA CLOAK,
                                     HIS MAJESTY, MYSELF,
                                         MRS. BEAUCHAMP BROWN,
            Price $1.00 each.               SALVAGE.

        _Our publications are to be had of all booksellers.
              When not to be found send directly to_

           ROBERTS BROTHERS, Publishers, BOSTON.



                     THE "NO NAME SERIES."

                     KISMET. A Nile Novel.


    Opinions, generous tributes to genius, by well-known authors
    whose names are withheld.

      "Well, I have read 'Kismet,' and it is certainly
      very remarkable. The story is interesting,--any
      well-told love story is, you know,--but the book
      itself is a great deal more so. Descriptively and
      sentimentally,--I use the word with entire
      respect,--it is, in spots, fairly exquisite. It
      seems to me all glowing and overflowing with what
      the French call _beauté du diable_.... The
      conversations are very clever, and the wit is often
      astonishingly like the wit of an accomplished man
      of the world. One thing which seems to me to show
      promise--great promise, if you will--for the future
      is that the author can not only reproduce the
      conversation of one brilliant man, but can make two
      men talk together as if they _were_ men,--not women
      in manly clothes."

      "It is a charming book. I have read it twice, and
      looked it over again, and I wish I had it all new to
      sit up with to-night. It is so fresh and sweet and
      innocent and joyous, the dialogue is so natural and
      bright, the characters so keenly edged, and the
      descriptions so poetic. I don't know when I have
      enjoyed any thing more,--never since I went sailing
      up the Nile with Harriet Martineau.... You must give
      the author love and greeting from one of the
      fraternity. The hand that gives us _this_ pleasure
      will give us plenty more of an improving quality
      every year, I think."

      "'Kismet' is indeed a delightful story, the best of
      the series undoubtedly."

      "If 'Kismet' is the first work of a young lady, as
      reported, it shows a great gift of language, and
      powers of description and of insight into character
      and life quite uncommon.... Of the whole series so
      far, I think 'Mercy Philbrick's Choice' is the best,
      because it has, beside literary merit, some moral
      tone and vigor. Still there are capabilities in the
      writer of 'Kismet' even higher than in that of the
      writer of 'Mercy Philbrick's Choice.'"

      "I liked it extremely. It is the best in the series
      so far, except in construction, in which 'Is That
      All?' slight as it is, seems to me superior.
      'Kismet' is winning golden opinions everywhere. I
      have nothing but praises for it, and have nothing
      but praise to give it."

      "I have read 'Kismet' once, and mean to read it
      again. It is thoroughly charming, and will be a
      success."

      One volume, bound in cardinal red and black. Price
      $1.00.

    Our publications are to be had of all booksellers. When
    not to be found, send directly to

                                      ROBERTS BROTHERS,
                                      Publishers, Boston.



                   PUBLISHERS' ADVERTISEMENT.
              _From the Boston Daily Advertiser._


                     THE "NO NAME SERIES."

    "LEIGH HUNT, _in his 'Indicator,' has a pleasant
    chapter on the difficulty he encountered in seeking a
    suitable and fresh title for a collection of his
    miscellaneous writings. Messrs. Roberts Brothers have
    just overcome a similar difficulty in the simplest
    manner. In selecting_ "NO NAME," _they have selected
    the very best title possible for a series of Original
    American Novels and Tales, to be published Anonymously.
    These novels are to be written by eminent authors, and
    in each case the authorship of the work is to remain an
    inviolable secret. "No Name" describes the Series
    perfectly. No name will help the novel, or the story,
    to success. Its success will depend solely on the
    writer's ability to catch and retain the reader's
    interest. Several of the most distinguished writers of
    American fiction have agreed to contribute to the
    Series, the initial volume of which is now in press.
    Its appearance will certainly be awaited with
    curiosity_."

                         [Illustration]

    The plan thus happily foreshadowed will be immediately
    inaugurated by the publication of "MERCY PHILBRICK'S
    CHOICE," from the pen of a well-known and successful
    writer of fiction.

    It is intended to include in the Series a volume of
    anonymous poems from famous hands, to be written
    especially for it.

    The "No Name Series" will be issued at convenient
    intervals, in handsome library form, 16mo, cloth, price
    $1.00 each.


                  ROBERTS BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS.
                    BOSTON, Midsummer, 1876.


       *       *       *       *       *



                      TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES


    Punctuation has been normalized.

    On page 52 "immediatly" changed to "immediately".
      "... the generation immediately preceding my own."

    On page 54 "self-dicipline" changed to "self-discipline".
      "Without self-discipline and self-sacrifice...."

    On page 61 "superflous" changed to "superfluous."
      "... with superfluous irrelevancies...."

    On page 72 "religous" changed to "religious."
      "... will be the religious trainers...."

    On page 72 capitalization in "Who" retained as printed.

    On page 86 "aginst" changed to "against."
      "... revolts against the small tyranny...."





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