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Title: The Duty of American Women to Their Country
Author: Beecher, Catharine Esther
Language: English
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                                THE DUTY
                             AMERICAN WOMEN
                                TO THEIR

                     HARPER & BROTHERS, 82 CLIFF-ST.


       Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1845, by
                           HARPER & BROTHERS,
       In the Clerk’s Office of the Southern District of New-York.


My countrywomen, you often hear it said that _intelligence and virtue_
are indispensable to the safety of a democratic government like ours,
where _the people_ hold all the power. You hear it said, too, that our
country is in great peril from the want of this intelligence and virtue.
But these words make a faint impression, and it is the object of what
follows to convey these truths more vividly to your minds.

This will be attempted, by presenting some recent events, in a country
where a government similar to our own was undertaken, by a people
destitute of that intelligence and virtue so indispensable; and then it
will be shown that similar dangers are impending over our own country.
The grand point to be illustrated is, that a people without education
have not intelligence enough to know what measures will secure safety and
prosperity, nor virtue enough to pursue even what they know to be right,
so that, when possessed of power, they will adopt ruinous measures, be
excited by base passions, and be governed by wicked and cruel men.

Look, then, at France during that awful period called _the Reign of
Terror_. First, observe the process by which the power passed into the
hands of the people. An extravagant king, a selfish aristocracy, an
exacting priesthood, had absorbed all the wealth, honour, and power,
until the people were ground to the dust. All offices of trust and
emolument were in the hands of the privileged few, all laws made for
their benefit, all monopolies held for their profit, while the common
people were condemned to heavy toils, with returns not sufficient to
supply the necessities of life, so that, in some districts, famine began
to stalk through the land.

Speedily the press began to unfold these wrongs, and at the same time,
Lafayette and his brave associates returned from our shores, and spread
all over the nation enthusiastic accounts of happy America, where the
people govern themselves, unoppressed by monopoly, or king, or noble, or
priest. The press teems with exciting pages, and orators inflame the
public mind to a tempest of enthusiasm. The court and the aristocratic
party cower before the storm; and ere long, the eleven hundred
representatives of the people are seen marching, in solemn pomp, through
the streets of the capital, while the whole land rings with acclamations
of joy. They take their seats, on an equality with nobles and king, and
proceed to form a constitution, securing the rights of the people. It is
adopted, and sworn to, by the whole nation, with transports and songs,
while they vainly imagine that all their troubles are at an end. But
the representatives, chosen by the people, had not the wisdom requisite
for such arduous duties as were committed to them, nor had the people
themselves the intelligence and virtue indispensable for such a change.
Men of integrity and ability were not selected for the new offices
created. Fraud, peculation, rapine, and profusion abounded. Everything
went wrong, and soon the country was more distressed than ever. “What is
the cause of this?” the people demand of their representatives. “It is
the _aristocrats_,” is the reply; “it is the king; it is the nobles; it
is the clergy. They oppose and thwart all our measures; they will not
allow our new Constitution to work, and therefore it is that you suffer.”
And so the people are filled with rage at those whom they suppose to
be the cause of their disappointment and sufferings. The clergy first
met the storm. “These bishops and priests, with their vast estates, and
splendid mansions, and rich incomes--they beggar the people, that they
may riot on the spoil.” And so the populace rage and thunder around the
national Hall of Legislation till they carry their point, and laws are
passed confiscating the property of the clergy, and driving them to
exile or death. Their vast estates pass into the control of the National
Legislature, and for a time, abundance and profusion reign. The people
have bread, and the office-seekers gain immense spoils. But no wisdom
or honesty is found to administer these millions for the good of the
people. In a short time, all is gone; distress again lashes the people to
madness, and again they demand why they do not gain the promised plenty
and prosperity. “_It is the aristocrats_,” is the reply; “it is the king;
it is the nobles; it is the rich men. They oppose all our measures,
therefore nothing succeeds, and the people are distressed.”

Next, the nobles meet the storm. “They are traitors; they are enemies of
the people; they are plotting against our liberties; they are living in
palaces, and rolling in splendid carriages from the hard earnings of the
poor.” The populace rage against them all over the land. They besiege the
House of Representatives; they beseech--they threaten. At last they carry
their point; the estates of the nobles are seized; they are declared
traitors, and doomed to banishment or death. Again millions are placed
at the control of the people’s agents. It is calculated that by this and
former confiscations, more than _a thousand millions_ of dollars were
seized for the use of the people. Again fraud, peculation, profusion, and
mismanagement abound, till all this incomprehensible treasure vanishes

Meantime, all the laws have been altered; all the property has passed
from its wonted owners to new hands; the wealthy, educated, and noble
are down; the poor, the ignorant, the base hold the offices, wealth, and
power. Everything is mismanaged. Everything goes wrong. The people grow
distracted with their sufferings, and again demand the cause. “It is the
king; it is his extravagant Austrian queen, who rules him and his court.
They thwart all our measures. They are sending to brother kings for
soldiers to crush our liberties. They are gathering armies on our borders
to overwhelm us.”

Next, the helpless king and his family become the mark for popular
rage. Every indignity and insult was inflicted and borne with a patient
fortitude that extorted admiration, till finally the king is first led
forth to a bloody death; next the queen is sacrificed; next the virtuous
sister of the king; and, last, the little dauphin is barbarously murdered.

Still misery rules through the nation. The friends of the king and former
government, and all the peaceable citizens and supporters of order, are
called _aristocrats_, and every art devised to render them objects of
fear, suspicion, and hatred, especially such of them as hold property
to tempt the cupidity of the people. Through the whole land two parties
exist; one the distressed, bewildered, exasperated people, raging for
their rights, and driven to madness by the fancied opposition of
aristocrats; the other a trembling, cowering minority, suffering insult,
and fear, and robbery, and often a cruel death.

And now priests and nobles and king and queen are all gone, and yet
the people are more distressed than ever before. Amid these scenes of
violence, confusion, and misrule, confidence has ceased, commerce has
furled the sail, trade has closed the door, manufactures ceased their
din, and agriculture forsaken the plough.

There is no money, no credit, no confidence, no employment, no bread.
Famine, and pestilence, and grief, and rage, and despair brood over the
land. Again the people cry to their representatives, “Why do you not give
us the promised prosperity and plenty? We have nothing to eat, nothing to
wear; our business and trades are at an end. The nations around us are
gathering to devour us, and what is the cause of all these woes?”

“It is the Girondists,” is the reply; “it is this party among the
people’s representatives. They are traitors; they have been bribed; they
have joined with foreign aristocrats and kings. They interrupt all our
measures, and they are the cause of all your sufferings.”

And now the people turn their rage upon the most intelligent and
well-meaning portion of their representatives, who have been striving to
stem the worst excesses of those who yield entirely to the dictation of
the mob. After a period of storms and threats and violence, at length
a majority is gained against them, and a decree is passed condemning
a large portion of the National Legislature as traitors, while their
leaders are borne forth by the exulting mob to a bloody death. Still
the distress of the people is unrelieved, and again they clamour for
the cause. “It is the party opposed to us,” say the Jacobins, with
Robespierre at their head; “they are the traitors; they will not adopt
the measures which will save the people from these ills.”

“Cut them down!” cries the populace; and again another portion of the
people’s representatives are led forth to death.

And now Robespierre, the leader of the lowest mob of all, is supreme
dictator, and all power is lodged with this coldest-blooded ruffian that
ever doomed his fellow-beings to a violent death. This was _the Reign
of Terror_, when the mob had gained complete mastery, and this man, its
advocate and organ, administered its awful energies. Look, then, for a
moment, at the picture.

But the horrors of this period are so incredible, the atrocities so
monstrous, that the tale will be regarded with distrust, without some
previous indication of the causes which led to such results.

Let it be remembered, then, that this whole revolutionary movement was,
in fact, a war of the common people upon the classes above them. Let
it be remembered, too, that the French people, by the press, and by
emissaries all over Europe, had invoked the lower classes of all nations
to make common cause with them. “War to the palace, and peace to the
cottage,” was their watchword. Every throne began to shake, and every
person of rank, talents, and wealth felt his own safety involved in the
contest. It was thus that the revolutionary leaders felt that they were
contending for their lives, against the whole wealth, aristocracy, and
monarchical power of Europe.

In France itself, individual ambition, hate, envy, or vengeance added
fearful power to this war of contending classes. Not only every leader,
but every individual, found in the opposing party some rival to displace,
or some private grudge to revenge, while ten thousand aspirants for
office demanded sacrifices, in order to secure vacated places. At last
the struggle became so imbittered and desperate, that each man looked
out only for himself. Friend gave up friend to save his own life, or
to secure political advancement, till confidence between man and man
perished, and society became a mass of warring elements, excited by every
dreadful passion.

Few men are deliberately cruel from the mere love of cruelty. Thousands,
under the influence of fear, revenge, ambition, or hate, become selfish,
reckless, and cruel. When, too, in conflicts where men feel that by the
hands of opponents they have lost property, home, honour, and country;
when they have seen their dearest friends slaughtered or starved, then,
when the hour of retaliation arrives, pity and sympathy are dead, and
every baleful passion rages. Thus almost every man in the conflict had
suffered: if a democrat, from those above him; if an aristocrat, from
those below him.

Meantime, religion, that powerful principle in humanizing and restraining
bad passions, had well-nigh taken her flight. The war upon the clergy at
length turned to a war upon the religion they represented, till atheism
became the prevailing principle of the nation.

By a public act, the leaders of the people declared their determination
“to dethrone the King of Heaven, as well as the monarchs of the earth.”
For this end, the apostate clergy, put in the places of those exiled,
were induced to come before the bar of the National Legislature and
publicly abjure Christianity, and declare that “no other national
religion was now required but liberty, equality, and morality.”

On this occasion, crowds of drunken artisans appeared before the bar of
the house, trampling under foot the cross, the sacramental vases, and
other emblems of religious faith. A vile woman, dressed as the Goddess of
Reason, was publicly embraced by the presiding officer of the National
Legislature, and conducted by him to a magnificent car, and followed
by immense crowds to the grand Cathedral of Nôtre Dame, where she was
seated on an altar, and there received the worship of the multitudes.
The Sabbath, by a national decree, was abolished; the Bible was burned
publicly by the executioner; and on the graveyards was inscribed, “Death
is an eternal sleep!”

At Lyons, a similar scene was enacted, where a fête in honour of Liberty
was celebrated. The churches were all closed, the Decade, or Sabbath
of Reason, proclaimed, and an image of a vile character was carried
in procession, followed by vast crowds, shouting, “Down with the
aristocrats! Long life to the guillotine!” After the image came an ass,
bearing the Cross, the Bible, and the communion service; and these were
led to an altar, where a fire was lighted, the Cross and Bible burned,
the communion bread trampled under foot, and the ass made to drink out of
the communion cup. Wherever democracy reigned, the services of religion
were interrupted, the burial service vanished, baptisms ceased, the sick
and dying were unconsoled by religion, while every species of vice,
obscenity, and licentiousness were practised without concealment or
control. The establishments for charity, the hospitals, and all humane
institutions were swept away, and their funds seized by the agents of
the people. Even the sepulchres of the dead were upturned. The noble,
the wise, and the ancient, the barons of feudal ages, the heroes of
the Crusades, the military chieftains, the ancient kings, resting in
long-hallowed tombs, the mightiest monarchs of the nation, the “chief
ones of the earth,” were moved from their rest, and rose to meet the
coming of this awful day, while the treasures of their tombs were rifled
by vulgar hands, and their very sculls kicked around as footballs for

Meantime the sovereigns of Europe were making preparations to meet this
flood of democratic lava, which threatened to overflow every surrounding
land. Vast armies began to gather on every side, and avenging navies
hovered along the shores. This added the fervour of patriotic devotion to
the mania of democracy.

    “Ye sons of France! awake to glory!
      Hark! hark! what myriads bid you rise!
    Your children, wives, and grandsires hoary,
      Behold their tears, and hear their cries!
    Shall hateful tyrants, mischief breeding,
      With hireling hosts, a ruffian band,
      Affright and desolate our land,
    While Peace and Liberty lie bleeding?
    To arms! to arms! ye brave!
    The avenging sword unsheath!
    March on! march on! to victory or death!”

These inspiring sentiments, sung in the thrilling notes of the Marseilles
Hymn, were echoed from one end of the land to the other, awakening a
whirlwind of enthusiasm. The wants of thousands thrown out of employ,
joined with the excitement of patriotism, raised an army unparalleled
in numbers. It is calculated that, at one time, one million two hundred
thousand Frenchmen were thus enrolled, and at the command of the National
Legislature, while the millions of property, not otherwise squandered,
were employed to clothe, feed, and equip this incomprehensible multitude.
All France was bristling like an armed field; while every mandate of
government, backed as it was by such a military force, was utterly
resistless. Thus it was that the _Reign of Terror_ was so silent, awful,
and hopeless.

Behold, then, through the terror-stricken and miserable land, the
national troops employed in arresting every person suspected of
favouring aristocracy, or conspicuous as the holder of wealth, or
object of hate, envy, or suspicion to all in the possession of power.
Behold the prisons of the capital, of the provincial cities, and of the
country villages, crammed to overflowing with the rich, the noble, and
the learned. No regard was paid to station, age, or sex. Gray hairs
and blooming childhood, stern warriors and beautiful maidens, coarse
labourers and noble matrons, were huddled together into the damps, and
filth, and darkness of a common dungeon, while the _guillotine_ daily
toiled in its bloody work of death.

Whenever a fresh supply of funds was demanded for the national service,
a new alarm of _invasion_ or of _counter-revolution_ was spread, and
then followed new arrests of those suspected, or of those who held
any species of wealth. In disposing of captives to make room for new
supplies, some were poniarded in prison, some shot, and some guillotined.
At last, it was found needful to adopt a more summary method, and the
National Legislature decreed that the land must be cleared of traitors
and aristocrats, not by trial and single execution, but by a slaughter
of masses. A corps was formed of the most determined and bloodthirsty,
and sent all over the land to execute this mandate. In carrying out
this unparalleled system of cold-blooded murder, various modes were
adopted. One was called the _Republican Baptism_, by which men, women,
and children were placed in a vessel with a trap-door in the bottom,
and carried out into the midst of the waves; then the trap-door was
opened, and the crew, getting into a boat, left their victims to perish.
Another method was called the _Republican Marriage_. By this, two of the
opposite sex, generally an old person and a young one, were bereft of all
clothing, then tied together, and, after being tortured a while, thrown
into the waves. Another mode was called the _mitrillade_ or _fusillade_.
Sixty, or more, captives were bound, and ranged in two files along a deep
ditch dug for the purpose. At the two extremities of each file, were
placed cannons loaded with grapeshot, and, at a given signal, these were
discharged on this mass of human beings. But a few were entirely killed
at the first discharge. Wounded and mutilated, they fell in heaps,
or crawled forth, and, with piercing shrieks, entreated the soldiers
to end their sufferings with death. Three successive discharges did
not accomplish the work, which was finally ended by the swords of the
soldiery. Next day, the same scene was renewed on a larger scale, more
than two hundred prisoners being thus destroyed. This was repeated day
after day; while, on one occasion, the commanding officer rose from a
carouse, and with thirty Jacobins and twenty courtesans, went out to
enjoy a view of the horrid scene.

At Toulon the mitrillades were repeated, till at least eight hundred were
thus slaughtered in a population of less than ten thousand. In Lyons,
during only five months, six thousand persons suffered death, and among
these were a great portion of the noblest and most virtuous citizens.
At Toulon, one of the victims was an old man of eighty-four, and his
only crime was the possession of eighty thousand pounds, of which he
offered all but a mere trifle to escape so shocking a death, but in vain.
Bonaparte, who saw these horrors, says, “When I beheld this poor old man
executed, I felt as if the end of the world was at hand.”

At Nantz, five hundred children, of both sexes, the oldest not fourteen,
were led out to be shot. Never before was beheld so piteous a sight! The
stature of the little ones was so low that the balls passed over their
heads, and, shrieking with terror, they burst their bonds, and, rushing
to their murderers, they implored for pity and life. But in vain; the
sabre finished the dreadful work, and these babes were slaughtered at
their feet.

At another time, a large body of women, most of them with young children,
were carried out into the Loire, and while the unconscious little ones
were smiling and caressing their distressed mothers, these mothers were
bereft of all clothing, and thrown with their infants into the waves.

At another time, three hundred young girls were drowned in one night at
Nantz, where, for some months, every night, hundreds of persons were
carried forth and thrown into the river, while their shrieks awoke the
inhabitants, and froze every heart with terror. In this city, in a single
month, either by hunger, the diseases of prison, or violence, fifteen
thousand persons perished, and more than double that number during the
Reign of Terror.

In the prisons not less dreadful sufferings were endured. In these foul
and gloomy abodes, the cells were dark, humid, and filthy; the straw,
their only beds, became so putrid that the stench was horrible, while
enormous rats and every species of vermin preyed on the wretched inmates.
In such dens as these were gathered the rank, the beauty, the talents,
and the wealth of Paris, and the chief cities of the land. Here, too,
degraded turn-keys, attended by fierce dogs, domineered over their
victims, while on one side were threats, oaths, obscenity, and insult,
and on the other were vain arguments, useless supplications, and bitter

Every night the wheels of the rolling car were heard, coming to carry
another band of victims to their doom. Then the bars of the windows and
wickets of the doors were crowded by anxious listeners, to learn whether
their own names were called, or to see their friends led out to death.
Those summoned bade a hasty farewell to their friends. The husband
left the arms of his frantic wife, the father was torn from his weeping
children, the brother and sister, the neighbour and friend, parted and
went forth to die, while survivers, picturing the last agonies of those
they loved, or waiting their own fate, suffered a living death, till
again the roll of the approaching car renewed the universal agony.

To such a degree did this protracted torture prey upon the mind, that
many became reckless of life, and many longed for death as a relief.

In many cases, women died of terror when their cell door was opened,
supposing their hour of doom was come.

The prison floors were often covered with infants, distressed by hunger,
or in the agonies of death. One evening, three hundred infants were in
one prison; the next morning all were drowned! When the citizens once
remonstrated at this useless cruelty, the reply was, “They are all young
aristocratic vipers--let them be stifled!”

Such accumulated horrors annihilated the sympathies and charities of
life. Calamity rendered every man suspicious. Those passing in the
streets feared to address their nearest friends. As wealth was a mark
for ruin, all put on coarse, or squalid raiment. Abroad, no symptom of
animation was seen, except when prisoners were led forth to slaughter,
and then the humane fled, and the hard-hearted rushed forward to look
upon the agonies of death. In the family circle, all was fear and
distrust. The sound of a footstep, a voice in the street, a knock at the
door, sent paleness to the cheek. Night brought little repose, and in the
morning all eyed each other distrustfully, as if traitors were lurking

But there is a limit to the power of mental suffering; and one of the
saddest features of this awful period was the torpid apathy, which
settled on the public mind, so that, eventually, the theatres, which
had been forsaken, began to be thronged, and the multitude relieved
themselves by farces and jokes, unconcerned whether it was twenty, or a
hundred of their fellow-citizens, who were led forth to die.

Learning and talent were as fatal to their possessors as rank and wealth.
The son of Buffon the naturalist, the daughter of the eloquent Vernay,
Roucher the poet, and even the illustrious Lavoisier, in the midst of his
philosophical experiments, were cut down. A few more weeks of slaughter
would have swept off all the literary talent of France.

During the revolutionary period, it is calculated that not less than two
hundred thousand persons suffered imprisonment, besides those who were
put to death, of whom the following list is furnished by the Republicans

Twelve hundred and seventy-eight nobles, seven hundred and fifty women of
rank, fourteen hundred of the clergy, and thirteen thousand persons not
noble, perished by the guillotine under decrees of the tribunals of the

To this, add the victims at Nantz, which are arranged in this mournful

    Children shot                 500
    Children drowned             1500
    Women shot                    264
    Women drowned                 500
    Priests shot and drowned      760
    Nobles drowned               1400
    Artisans drowned             5300

The whole number destroyed at Nantz, of which the above is a portion
only, was thirty-two thousand.

To these add those slaughtered in the wars of La Vendée, viz., _nine
hundred thousand_ men, _fifteen thousand_ women, and _twenty-two
thousand_ children. To this add the victims at Lyons, numbering
thirty-one thousand. To this, add those who are recorded thus: “women who
died of grief, or premature childbirth, three thousand seven hundred;”
and we have a sum-total of _one million twenty-two thousand_ human
beings destroyed by violence. How many should be added, as those who
died of prison sufferings, or from the pangs and privations of exile, or
from famine and from pestilence consequent on this state of anarchy and
violence, who can enumerate?

At some periods, such was the awful slaughter, that the rivers were
discoloured with blood. In Paris, a vast aqueduct was dug to carry off
the gore to the Seine, and four men employed in conducting it to this
reservoir. In the river Loire, the corpses accumulated so that birds of
prey hovered all along its banks, the waters became infected, and the
fishes so poisonous that the magistrates of Nantz forbade the fishermen
to take them.

Thus, in the language of another, “France became a kind of suburb of
the world of perdition. Surrounding nations were lost in amazement as
they beheld the scene. It seemed a prelude to the funeral of this great
world, a stall of death, a den into which thousands daily entered and
none were seen to return. Between ninety and a hundred of the leaders in
this mighty work of death, fell by the hand of violence. Enemies to all
men, they were of course enemies to each other. Butchers of the human
race, they soon whetted the knife for each other’s throats; and the same
Almighty Being who rules the universe, whose existence they had denied by
a solemn act of legislation, whose perfections they had made the butt of
public scorn, whose Son they had crucified afresh, and whose Word they
had burned by the hands of a common hangman, swept them all, by the hand
of violence, into an untimely grave. The tale made every ear that heard
it tingle, and every heart chill with horror. It was, in the language of
Ossian, ‘the song of death.’ It was like the reign of the plague in a
populous city. Knell tolled upon knell, hearse followed hearse, coffin
rumbled after coffin, without a mourner to shed a tear, or a solitary
attendant to mark the place of the grave. ‘From one new moon to another,
and from one Sabbath to another, the world went forth and looked upon
the carcasses of the men who transgressed against God, and they were an
abhorring unto all flesh.’”

Such, my countrywomen, are the scenes which have been enacted in this
very age, in a land calling itself Christian, and boasting itself as at
the head of civilization and refinement. Do you say that such cruelty
and bloodthirsty rage can never appear among us; that our countrymen can
never be so deluded by falsehood and blinded by passion?

Look, then, at scenes which have already occurred in our land. Look at
Baltimore: it is night, and within one of its prisons are shut up some of
its most excellent and respected citizens. They dared to use the rights
of free-men, and express their opinions, and oppose the measures of the
majority; and for this, a fierce multitude is raging around those walls,
demanding their blood. They force the doors, and, with murderous weapons,
reach the room containing their victims. Some friendly hand extinguishes
the lights, and in the protecting darkness they seek to escape. Some
succeed; others are recognised, and seized, and stabbed, and trampled
on, and dragged around in murderous fury. One of the noblest of these
victims, apparently dead, is seized by some pitying neighbour, under the
pretence of cruelty, and thrown into the river and carried over a fall.
There he is drawn forth and restored to consciousness; and there, too, it
is discovered, that by Americans, by the hands of his fellow-citizens,
_his body has been stuck with scores of pins, deep plunged into his

Look, again, at the Southwest, and see gamblers swinging uncondemned from
a gallows, and among them a harmless man, whom the fury of the mob hung
up without time for judge or jury to detect his innocence.

See, on the banks of the Mississippi, fires blazing, and American
citizens _roasted alive_ by their fellow-citizens! See, even in
New-England, the boasted land of law and steady habits, a raging mob
besets a house filled with women and young children. They set fire to
it, and the helpless inmates are driven forth by the flames to the sole
protection of darkness and the pitiless ruffians. See, in Cincinnati,
the poor blacks driven from their homes, insulted, beaten, pillaged,
seeking refuge in prisons and private houses, and for days kept in
constant terror and peril.

See, in Philadelphia, one class of citizens arrayed in arms against
another, both excited to the highest pitch of rage, both thirsting for
each other’s blood, while the civil authority can prevent universal
pillage, misrule, and murder, only by volleys that shoot down neighbours,
brothers, and friends.

See, too, how the rage of political strife has threatened the whole
nation with a civil war. South Carolina declares that she will not submit
to certain laws, which she claims are unconstitutional. Her own citizens
are divided into fierce parties, so exasperated that each is preparing
to shoot down the other. Even the women are contributing their ornaments
to meet the expenses of the murderous strife. From neighbouring states,
the troops are advancing, the ships of war are nearing their harbours.
One single act of resistance, and the state had been the battle-field of
that most bitter, most cruel, most awful of all conflicts, _a civil and a
servile war_.

And all these materials of combustion are now slumbering in our bosom,
pent up a while, but ready to burst forth, like imprisoned lava, and
deluge the land. How easy it would be to bring the nation into fierce
contest on the subject of slavery, that internal cancer which inflames
the whole body politic! How easy to array native citizens against foreign
immigrants, who at once oppose the prejudices and diminish the wages of
those around them! How easy to make one section believe that tariff, or
tax, is sacrificing the prosperity of one portion to gratify the envy, or
increase the luxuries of another!

How easy to make one class of humbler means, believe that bank, or
monopoly, is destroying the fruit of their toil, to increase the
overgrown wealth of a class above them!

And here is no standing army, such as is wielded by all other governments
in sustaining law. When our communities are divided by interest or
passion, the lawmakers, the judges, the jury, and the military are all
partisans in the strife.

Nor can one part of the Union suffer, and the other escape unharmed, as
might be supposed, amid this reckless talk about the dissolution of
the Union. An overt attempt to dissolve the Union is treason; and it
can never be carried out without fierce parties in every state, ready
to fight to the last gasp against such a suicidal act. Such a national
dislocation would send a groan of agony through every city, town, and
hamlet in our land; civil war would blow her trump, citizen would be
arrayed against citizen, and state against state, and the whole arch of
heaven would be inscribed with “mourning, and lamentation, and wo.”

What, then, has saved our country from those wide-sweeping horrors that
desolated France? Why is it that, in the excitements of embargoes, and
banks, and slavery, and abolition, and foreign immigration, the besom of
destruction has not swept over the land? It is because there has been
such a large body of _educated_ citizens, who have had intelligence
enough to understand how to administer the affairs of state, and a proper
sense of the necessity of sustaining law and order; who have had moral
principle enough to subdue their own passions, and to use their influence
to control the excited minds of others. Change our large body of moral,
intelligent, and religious people to the ignorant, impulsive, excitable
population of France, and in one month the horrors of the Reign of Terror
would be before our eyes. Nothing can preserve this nation from such
scenes but perpetuating this preponderance of intelligence and virtue.
This is our only safeguard.

What, then, are our prospects in this respect? Look at the monitions
recorded in our census. Let it be first conceded, that the fact that
a man cannot read and write is not, in itself, proof that he is not
intelligent and virtuous. Many, in our country, by intercourse with
men and things, by the discussions of religion and politics, and by
the care of their affairs, gain much reflection and mental discipline.
Still, a person who cannot read a word in a newspaper, nor a line in
his Bible, and who has so little value for knowledge as to remain thus
incapacitated, as a general fact, is in the lowest grade of stupidity
and mental darkness. So that the number who cannot read and write is,
perhaps, the surest exponent of the intellectual and moral state of
a community. For though this list may embrace many intelligent and
virtuous persons, on the other hand, there are probably as many, or more,
of those classed as being able to read and write, who never have used
this power, and who are among the most stupid and degraded of our race.

Look, then, at the indications in our census. In a population of fourteen
millions, we find _one million_ adults who cannot read and write, and
_two millions_ of children without schools. In a few years, then, if
these children come on to the stage with their present neglect, we shall
have _three millions_ of adults managing our state and national affairs,
who cannot even read the Constitution they swear to support, nor a word
in the Bible, or in any newspaper or book. Look at the West, where our
dangers from foreign immigration are the greatest, and which, by its
unparalleled increase, is soon to hold the sceptre of power. In Ohio,
more than one third of the children attend no school. In Indiana and
Illinois scarcely one half of the children have any schools. Missouri
and Iowa send a similar, or worse report. In Virginia, _one quarter_ of
the white adults cannot even write their names to their applications for
marriage license. In North Carolina, _more than half_ the adults cannot
read and write. The whole South, in addition to her hordes of ignorant
slaves, returns _more than half_ her white children as without schools.

My countrywomen, what is before us? What awful forebodings arise!
Intelligence and virtue our only safeguards, and yet all this mass of
ignorance among us, and hundreds of thousands of ignorant foreigners
being yearly added to augment our danger!

We are not even stationary. We are losing ground every day. Every hour
the clouds are gathering blacker around us. Already it is found, that
the number of _voters_ who cannot read and write, and who yet decide
every question of safety and interest, exceeds the great majority that
brought in Harrison. Already the number of criminals and felons, who, on
dismission from jails and penitentiaries, are allowed to vote, exceeds
the majority that brought in our chief magistrate in 1836![1]

Nor is the picture of our situation less mournful, when we examine into
the condition of young children in those states, which have done the most
for education. Take New-York, for example, where, for forty years, the
education of the people has been provided for by law, and where the very
best school system in the world has recently gone into operation. It is
the chief business of the Secretary of State, to take care of the common
schools of the state, while, in every county, a deputy-superintendent,
paid five hundred dollars each year for his services, devotes his
whole time to the care of common schools. Every year these county
superintendents report to the Secretary of State, in regard to the
situation of the schools in the county under their care. It is from
these reports of the superintendents of schools in New-York, that we are
enabled to draw a picture of the condition of young children in common
schools, that should send a chill of fear and alarm through our country.
For if this is the condition of young children in that state which has
excelled all others in a wise and liberal provision for the care of
schools, what must be the condition of things in other states, where
still less interest is felt in this great concern!

The Secretary of State, in presenting the reports of the county
superintendents to the Legislature of New-York, remarks thus: “The
nakedness and deformity of the _great majority_ of schools in this state,
the comfortless and dilapidated buildings, the unhung doors, broken
sashes, absent panes, stilted benches, gaping walls, yawning roofs, and
muddy and mouldering floors, are faithfully portrayed; and many of the
self-styled teachers, who lash and dogmatize in these miserable tenements
of humanity, are shown to be low, vulgar, obscene, intemperate, and
utterly incompetent to teach anything good. Thousands of the young are
repelled from improvement, and contract a durable horror for books, by
ignorant, injudicious, and cruel modes of instruction. When the piteous
moans and tears of the little pupils supplicate for exemption from the
cold drudgery, or more pungent suffering of the school, let the humane
parent be careful to ascertain the true cause of grief and lamentation.”

To exhibit, more fully, the sufferings of little children at school, the
following is abridged from these reports:

_Sufferings of Little Children from Bad Schoolhouses._

One of the county superintendents reports of the schoolhouses in his
district: “One house in K. is literally unfit for a stable; the sashes
of several windows are broken, twenty or thirty panes of glass are
out, the door is off, and used for a writing-table. Yet the district
is wealthy, but ‘they cannot get a vote to build a new schoolhouse.’”
“Another schoolhouse in W. is nearly as bad; the gable ends falling out,
the chimney down, and the windows nearly all boarded up.” Many of the
schoolhouses are situated in the highway, so that, at play, the children
are endangered by the passing horses and vehicles, and the traveller
is also endangered by the rushing of boisterous boys, frightening his
horses. Instances of this sort have repeatedly occurred.

Another writes, that in one of the largest landed districts, the worst
log schoolhouse in the district is still retained, offering no security
against winds and storms. One of the window sashes was “laid up overhead
because it would not stay in its place.” To keep the door shut against
the wind, one end of a bench was put against it, and a boy set to tend
it, as one and another went out.

Another writes, that he _often_ finds the schoolhouses situated on some
bleak knoll, exposed to the howling blasts of winter and the scorching
rays of the summer’s sun, or in some marsh or swamp, surrounded by
stagnant pools, rife with miasma, and charged with disease and death. It
is not uncommon, in such places, to find large schools almost entirely
broken up by sickness, and that, too, when no contagious diseases are
prevailing among children.

One of these superintendents says, “A trustee of one school, where the
schoolhouse was situated _in a goose-pond_, the water under the floor
being several inches deep, told me his children were almost invariably
obliged to leave school on account of sickness, and that the school was
often broken up from this cause. Parents pay ten times as much, for
physicians to cure diseases contracted at school, as it would cost to
build a comfortable schoolhouse and supply it with every accommodation.”

Another says of the schoolhouses in his county, that, in some cases, the
latches are broken, so that, however cold the day, the door cannot be
shut; sometimes the sills are so rotten that snakes and squirrels can
enter; while there are cracks in the floor, one or two inches wide, and
holes broken large enough for the children to fall through.

The wretched condition of these houses is not owing to poverty, but to
the _leaden apathy_ on the subject of education, and the belief among
farmers that their money can be better applied in building barns and
stables for their cattle. In one large village, where a great sum has
been expended for adorning public grounds, and where is much wealth and
style, the two schoolhouses are the meanest-looking buildings in the

Another says of the schoolhouses in his county, that, in many cases, they
stand on the highway, no cooling shade to protect them from the burning
sun, exposed to the full fury of the wintry northwester, clapboards torn
off, door just ready to fall, and great caution needed in order to keep
from falling through the floor. In one case, an aperture in the roof was
of such a size, that the teacher could give quite a lesson on astronomy
by looking up at the heavens through the roof of the house. Frequently,
to the grief of the teacher, when the parent brings his child the first
day, such expressions as these are heard from the clinging and distressed
child, “Oh, pa, I don’t want to stay in this ugly, old house! Oh, pa, do
take me home!”

_Sufferings of Little Children from Want of Accommodations at School._

One superintendent says, “But few of the schoolhouses are furnished with
blinds or curtains to exclude the glare of the sun. Thus, children suffer
great uneasiness, headaches, and often serious affections of the eyes.
I have found _many cases_ of weakness of eyes, approaching almost to
blindness, caused by studying in such dazzling light.”

Another states, that in most schoolhouses the desks are so high, as to
compel the scholar to write in a half-standing, half-sitting attitude;
while the seats for the smallest children are often twice the proper
height, sometimes a hemlock slab with legs at one end, and a log at the
other. Many of the little ones have to be helped up on them, where they
are in peril of life and limb from a fall. Here they are obliged to
sit, day after day and week after week, between heaven and earth, “and
in a frame of mind unfit for either place,” without anything to support
either their backs or their feet. Those who would realize what distress
this occasions, let them try sitting only one half hour on a table or
sideboard, with back and feet unsupported, and see what suffering ensues.

Another writes thus: “Sitting with the legs hanging over the edge of the
seat presses the _veins_ (which lie near the surface, and carry the blood
to the heart), and thus retard its return, while the arteries, being
deeper, carry the blood with its full force from the heart. Thus the
veins become distended, numbness and pain follow, and sometimes permanent
weakness is the result. Where children sit a long time without any
support to their backs, the muscles that hold up the body become weary
and weak, for no muscle can be too long contracted without weakening it.
In schools thus badly furnished, it will be seen that the children prefer
the northern blasts out of doors to the sufferings they endure within,
and come in unwillingly, with chilled bodies and checked perspiration.
In some cases, parents provide comfortable chairs for their children,
and then it is seen, that such stay but a short time out of doors, while
those seated on such comfortless benches stay as long as they can.
This shows one predisposing cause of the curvature of the spine, and
distortion of the body and limbs. Is it any wonder that so many of our
youth have round shoulders, and a stooping of the body through life?”

What would be said of a farmer who made his boy hold a plough as high as
his head, or a joiner who made his apprentice plane a board on a bench
as high as his shoulders? And yet they expect teachers to make their
children study, read and write with just such improper accommodations.

_Sufferings of Little Children for Want of Pure Air._

To understand this subject properly, it must be borne in mind, that
the body is so constructed as to inhale at every breath about a pint of
air. The air is composed of 79 parts nitrogen and 21 parts oxygen. When
it is drawn into the lungs, the oxygen is absorbed by the blood, and
what we exhale is the nitrogen, mixed with the carbonic acid, formed in
the lungs by the union of the oxygen of the air with the carbon of the
blood. Now, neither carbonic acid, or nitrogen can support life. Take the
oxygen from the air, and then breathe it, and instant death ensues. So,
put any animal into carbonic acid alone, and it dies instantly. Thus,
every breath of every human being uses up the oxygen in one pint of air,
and returns it with only nitrogen and carbonic acid. Let a schoolroom,
containing 18,000 gallons of air and twenty scholars, be made perfectly
airtight, and in twenty minutes they would all be corpses. The horrible
sufferings produced by this process, were once witnessed in Calcutta,
where 146 men were driven into a room 18 feet square, with only one small
window, and kept there from eight at night till six next morning. Before
midnight they all became frantic with agony, fought for the window,
choaked each other to death, screamed to the soldiers to shoot them,
and thus end their misery; and in the morning only 26 were alive, and
these in a putrid fever! _Lessening_ the amount of oxygen in the air by
breathing, produces languor, sleepiness, nausea, headache, flushed face,
and sometimes palsy and apoplexy.

On this subject, the superintendents of the New-York schools make these

“Confinement in some of our schoolrooms is _manslaughter_. Our
children, shut up in these hot holes, made so by their own breaths,
by perspiration, and by a close, overheated stove, lay the foundation
for diseases which show no gain except to the physician, and which,
in after-life, no riding on horseback, or journeys by sea or land, or
southern residence can cure.”

Another states, that the uncomfortable condition of the schoolhouses, in
his county, is such as to cause much suffering, both mental and bodily,
to the children doomed to inhabit their gloomy walls and breathe the
tainted air.

Another writes of the schoolhouses in his district, that they are usually
low, and in cold weather so overheated as to be hotbeds of disease, the
close atmosphere being actually dangerous. One teacher, in one instance,
was struck with palsy from the effects of confinement in such a poisonous
atmosphere. At a public meeting, one citizen stated it as his conviction,
that one of his children died from disease engendered by breathing the
pestilential atmosphere of the schoolroom. Instances are numerous where
the children come home dull, listless, and with severe colds and coughs.
The teacher, in such situations, often loses ambition, energy, and
health, and closes school pale and emaciated, perhaps to sink to an early
grave, a victim of the poisonous air in which, for day after day, he has
been confined.

_Sufferings of Little Children from Cold, Heat, and Filth._

One superintendent says, “Could parents witness, as I have, the
sufferings of their children from cold, I am sure no other appeal would
be needed. Some of those buildings, I am confident, would be considered
by a systematic farmer, who regarded the comfort of his stock, as an
unfit shelter for his Berkshires.”

Another states, that in some cases the schoolhouses are small and
overheated. Then the teacher throws open the door, and a current of
cold air pours on to the children. The reeking perspiration is suddenly
stopped, and “a cold” is the result, which is often the precursor of
fevers and consumption. When no such results follow, the parents say,
“It is _only a cold_;” when diseases and death follow, it is called _a
dispensation of Providence_! A physician of extensive practice stated
to this superintendent, that a large part of his consumptive cases
originated from colds taken at school.

Another describes one of the schoolhouses in his county as too small, too
low, the seats too high, half the plastering fallen off and piled in one
corner, and the house warmed by a cook-stove unfit for use. Six sevenths
of the panes of glass were gone, and two windows boarded up. Going to
attend the annual school meeting at this house, he met two citizens
coming with a candle and firebrands, and picking up sticks along the road
for a fire, because there was no wood provided at the schoolhouse.

Another thus describes some of the schoolhouses in his county. It is
very common to see cracked and broken stoves, the door without hinges or
latch, and a rusty pipe of various sizes. Green wood, and that which is
old and partially decayed, either drenched with rain, or covered with
snow, is much more frequently used than sound, seasoned wood. Thus it is
difficult to kindle a fire, and the room is filled with smoke much of the
time, especially in stormy weather. Sometimes the school is interrupted
two or three times a day to fasten up the stovepipe.

The extent of these evils may be perceived from the report, which says of
one county about as well supplied as any, out of _eighty-seven_ districts
only _twenty_ schoolhouses have provided means for keeping their wood dry.

Another says, “At the commencement of the winter term of our schools,
some one of the trustees generally furnishes a load of green wood,
perhaps his own proportion. The teacher proceeds till this is exhausted,
and he is compelled to notify his patrons of the entire destitution of
wood. After meeting his school, and shivering over expiring embers till
the hope of a supply is exhausted, he dismisses the school for one, two,
or three days, and sometimes for a week, before any inhabitant finds
time to get another load of green wood. With such wood it is impossible
to keep the schoolroom at a proper temperature. The scholars, at first,
crowd around the stove, suffering extremely with cold, and then are
driven as far off as they can get, in a high state of perspiration, and
almost suffocated with heat. Our schools in this country suffer much from
such methods of procuring fuel. The time which is lost in school hours by
the use of green wood, I think will include near one fourth of the whole

Another says, “The teacher found abundant employment in stuffing the old
stove with green birch and elm, cut as occasion required by the teacher
and the boys. A continual coughing was kept up by nearly seven-eighths
of the children, and the teacher apologised for want of order by saying,
‘they could not usually do much in stormy weather till afternoon, when
the fire would get a going.’ On this occasion, one trustee and two of the
inhabitants of the district were present an hour, when, getting frozen
out, they asked to be excused, and left the children to suffer, saying,
‘We did not think our house was so uncomfortable. Some glass must be got,
and a load of dry wood’” Some of the statements of these superintendents,
as to the order and neatness of their schoolhouses, are no less
lamentable. One remarks, that “some of them, as to neatness, resemble
the domicil for swine.” Another describes one schoolhouse as “having the
clapboards torn off, the door just ready to fall, an aperture in the roof
where the chimney once was, slabs with a pair of clubs at each end for
legs, and so high no child could touch foot to the floor, rickety desks
falling to ruin, the plaster torn off, and the whole covered with dirt,
and as filthy as the street itself.” But this is not all. “This house is
situated in a district of wealthy farmers.”

Another says, “It is a startling truth, that very many of our
schoolhouses furnish no private retreat whatever for teacher or scholar.
Thus is one side of the schoolhouse, and, in some instances, the
doorstep, rendered a scene more disgusting than the filth of a pig-sty.”

Another says, “Schoolhouses, generally, are not furnished with suitable
conveniences for disposing the outer garments of the children, their
dinner-baskets, and other articles. Sometimes there are a few nails in
an outer entry where clothes and dinners may be put, but in such cases
the door is left open for rain and snow to beat in; the scholars, in
their haste to get their own clothes, pull down many more, which are
trampled on. Moreover, the dinners are often frozen, or eaten by dogs,
and sometimes even by hogs.”

_Sufferings of Little Children from Cruel and Improper Punishments._

In reporting on this subject, the county superintendents mention these
as inflictions not uncommon. Standing on one foot for a long time;
“sitting on nothing,” that is, obliging the child to hold himself in a
sitting posture without any support; holding out the arm horizontally
with a weight on it; tying a finger so high as to oblige the child to
stand on tiptoe; holding the head downward, sometimes causing dangerous
hemorrhages from the nose, or injuring the brain; frightening little
children by threats. Many cases are declared to have occurred in which
permanent injuries have been inflicted by thus straining the muscles, and
torturing the body and mind of little children.

The following is a description of a scene witnessed at school by one
of the county superintendents in his periodical visitation: two girls,
about twelve years of age, were out of order, and the teacher, without
any warning, sprang across the room and severely flogged both. A little
boy, tired of sitting on his hard seat, leaned over on his elbow; he was
caught by the head, dragged over the desk to the floor, and ordered to
study. A little girl of seven, after one or two admonitions to “tend her
book,” was caught by the arm, dragged on to the floor, rudely shaken,
cuffed on both sides of her head, and then whipped. “I looked around,”
says the superintendent, “to learn the effect upon the other scholars.
I saw no happy faces. There seemed to settle upon the countenances of
nearly all, a cloud of gloom and terror. The school closed soon after,
and the teacher remarked to me, that _he did not punish near as much now
as he formerly did_.”

_Moral Injuries inflicted on Children at School._

One teacher writes thus: “Where the plastering remains, it is covered
with coal marks, and numerous holes are cut through the writing desks,
while vulgarities and obscenities are not only written, but deeply
cut in the desks and doors.” Of another house he says, “Within and
without are manifest evidences of a polluted imagination. Several lewd
representations are deep cut in the clapboards in front of the house, in
the entry, and even on the girls’ desks, so as to be constantly before
their eyes.” “These things,” he adds, “are but _specimens_ selected from

Another writes thus: “I have alluded to the representations of vulgarity
and obscenity that meet the eye in every direction. I am constrained
to add that, during intermissions, ‘certain lewd fellows of the baser
sort’ sometimes lecture boys and girls, large and small, illustrating
their subject by these vile delineations. Many of our schoolhouses are
nurseries of disorder, vulgarity, profanity, and obscenity--nay, more, in
some cases, they are the very hothouses of licentiousness.”

One single statement, made up from these reports of the county
superintendents, and presented by the head superintendent in his report,
speaks volumes on the neglect of modesty, decency, neatness, and purity.
In the whole state there are six thousand schoolhouses destitute of any
kind of woodhouse or privy; and of the whole number, only about one
thousand have privies provided with separate accommodations for children
of different sexes.

It appears, also, that though the schools and teachers are fast rising in
character, and that many now are of uncommon excellence, yet that many of
the teachers are notoriously depraved, while intellectual training, in
the majority of cases, is deplorably low, and the moral training still
more defective.

One superintendent remarks, “Gloomy, indeed, are the impressions made by
our schoolhouses. The lessons of immorality and indecency often taught
there would cause a shudder to thrill every sensitive mind.” Another
says, “There are, I regret to say, many teachers whose morals, manners,
and daily example wholly unfit them for their duties.” Another says, “In
some instances, moral qualifications have been wholly disregarded, and
teachers notoriously intemperate employed.” Says another, “I have found
a number whose language was low, obscene, and sensual, still employed in

Says another, “If the tastes, associations, and moral sentiments of the
teacher lack elevation and dignity, what literary progress will atone for
examples so pernicious? And yet such are the moral influences shed about
them by many licensed to teach.”

After presenting all these shocking details, the chief superintendent, in
1844, thus remarks:

“No subject connected with elementary instruction affords a source for
such mortifying and humiliating reflection as that of the condition of a
large portion of the schoolhouses as presented in the above enumeration.
Only _one third_ of the whole number visited were found in good repair;
another third in only comfortable condition; while _three thousand three
hundred and nineteen_ were unfit for the reception of man or beast.
Seven thousand were found destitute of any play-ground, nearly six
thousand destitute of convenient seats and desks, nearly eight thousand
destitute of any proper facilities for ventilation, and upward of six
thousand destitute of a privy of any sort. And it is in these miserable
abodes of filth and dirt, deprived of wholesome air, or exposed to the
assaults of the elements, with no facilities for exercise or relaxation,
with no conveniences for prosecuting their studies, crowded together on
benches not admitting of a moment’s rest, and debarred the possibility
of yielding to the ordinary calls of nature without violent inroads
upon modesty and shame, that upward of two hundred thousand children
of this state are compelled to spend an average period of eight months
each year of their pupilage. Here the first lessons of human life, the
incipient principles of morality, and the rules of social intercourse
are to be impressed on the plastic mind. The boy is here to receive the
model of his permanent character, and imbibe the elements of his future
career. Here the instinctive delicacy of the young female, one of the
characteristic ornaments of her sex, is to be expanded into maturity by
precept and example. Such are the temples of science, such the ministers
under whose care susceptible childhood is to receive its earliest
impressions. Great God! shall man dare to charge to thy dispensations
the vices, the crimes, the sickness, the sorrows, the miseries, and the
brevity of human life, who sends his little children to a pesthouse,
fraught with the deadly malaria of both moral and physical disease?
Instead of impious murmurs, let him lay his hand on his mouth, and his
mouth in the dust, and cry ‘Unclean!’”

Let it not be imagined that this picture is peculiar to New-York. The
superintendents of the common schools in Ohio, and even in Massachusetts
and Connecticut, have reported similar evils as existing, to a greater
or less extent, in the schools in their respective states; and if such
things exist in the states where most has been done for education, what
can be hoped for the neglected and abused little ones where even less
is done by law for their comfort and improvement? In view of such utter
destitution of schools in the greater part of our country, and of the
sufferings and neglect endured by little children in other portions,
the inquiry must be earnestly pressed, “What can be the reason of this
deplorable state of things?”

The grand reason is, the _selfish apathy_ of the educated classes, and
the _stupid apathy_ of those who are too ignorant to appreciate an
education for their children. In those states where no school system is
established by law, the intelligent and wealthy content themselves with
securing a good education for their own children, and care nothing for
the rest. When any project, therefore, is presented for obtaining a good
school system, the rich and intelligent do not wish to be taxed for the
children of others, and the rest do not care whether their children are
educated or not, or else are too poor to pay the expense.

In those states where a school system is established, parents of
intelligence and moral worth, seeing the neglected state of the common
school, withdraw their children to private schools. And feeling no
interest in schools which they do not patronise, they pass them with
utter neglect. And thus, neither rich, nor poor care enough to be willing
to be taxed for their elevation and improvement.

Thus, too, it has come to pass, that while every intelligent man in the
Union is reading, and hearing, and saying, every day of his life, that
unless our children are trained to virtue and intelligence, the nation
is ruined, yet there is nothing else for which so little interest is
felt, or so little done. Look, now, to that great body of intelligent
and benevolent persons, who are interesting themselves for patriotic
and religious enterprises. We see them sustaining great organizations,
and supporting men to devote their whole time to promote these several
enterprises, which draw thousands and hundreds of thousands from the
public for their support. There is one organization, to send missionaries
to the heathen and to educate heathen children, with its six or eight
paid officers, devoting their whole time to the object. Then there is
another to furnish the Bible, and another to distribute tracts, and
another to educate young men to become ministers, and another to send
out home missionaries, and another to sustain Western colleges, and
another to promote temperance, and another to promote the observance of
the Sabbath. Then we have an association to take care of sailors, and
another to promote the comfort and improvement of convicts in prisons and
penitentiaries, and another to relieve and ransom the slave, and another
to colonize the free coloured race. All these objects are promoted by
having men sustained by voluntary contributions, who spend their whole
time in urging the claims of these various objects on the public mind,
while almost all have a regular periodical to advocate their cause. But
our two millions of little children, who are growing up in heathenish
darkness, enchained in ignorance, and in many cases, where the cold law
professes to provide for them, enduring distress of body and mind even
greater than is inflicted on criminals in our prisons, where is the
benevolent association for their relief? where is there a periodical
supported by the charitable to tell the tale of their wrongs? where is
there a single man sustained by Christian benevolence to operate for
their relief?

Let it not be claimed that Sunday-schools meet this emergency. A
Sunday-school cannot, in its one or two short hours, educate a child, or
undo all the fatal influences of six days of idle vagrancy, with their
pernicious lessons of vice and sin. Besides, the Sabbath-school is of
little avail, except where there is a large class of intelligent and
benevolent persons to labour, and such are thinly sprinkled in those
portions of the land where no schools exist.

The vast proportion of neglected children in our land are never reached,
even by the feeble influence of the Sunday-school.

And this fatal neglect cannot be palliated by the plea, that the means
employed to sustain other objects cannot be directed to this cause. Why
cannot the press be employed for _popular education_ as efficiently as
for the promotion of temperance, or the support of the Sabbath? Why
cannot men of talents be supported to write and to labour for this cause
as well as for any other? The only thing that can save us is, to arouse
this people from the _fatal apathy_ which is luring them to destruction.
Ministers must preach, agents must lecture, conventions must be called,
discussions must be urged, tracts must be written and circulated, the
political press must be enlisted, and every possible mode of arousing
public attention must be adopted. It must be shown that teachers are
needed as much as ministers, that teachers’ institutions are as important
as colleges, that it is as necessary to educate and send forth “poor
and pious young women” to teach, as it is “poor and pious young men”
to preach. And when the same influence and efforts are directed to
educate our two millions of American children, as are now directed to
establishing missions among the heathen, our country may escape the
yawning abyss now gaping to destroy.

The American people are sanguine and hasty, careless of peril, and
thoughtless of risk, but, when brought by danger to reflection, they have
first-rate common sense, surpassing energy, and endless resources. And if
they can but be convinced of their danger _in season_, all is safe; but
the work to be done is prodigious, the time is short, and the question
all turns on whether the work will be undertaken soon enough, and with
sufficient energy.

Look, then, at the work to be done. Two millions of destitute children
to be supplied with schools! To meet this demand, _sixty thousand_
teachers and _fifty thousand_ schoolhouses are required. Or, if we can
afford to leave half of them to grow up in ignorance, and aim only
to educate the other half, thirty thousand teachers and twenty-five
thousand schoolhouses must be provided, and that, too, _within twelve
years_. The census calculates the children between four and sixteen,
and in twelve years most of these children will be beyond the reach of
school instruction, while other millions, treading on their heels, will
demand still greater supplies. _Sixty thousand teachers_ now needed for
present wants, and thousands, to be added every year for the increase of

Where are we to raise such an army of teachers? Not from the sex which
finds it so much more honourable, easy, and lucrative to enter the
many roads to wealth and honour open in this land. But a few will turn
from these, to the humble, unhonoured toils of the schoolroom and its
penurious reward.

It is _woman_ who is to come in at this emergency, and meet the demand;
woman, whom experience and testimony has shown to be the best, as well as
the cheapest guardian and teacher of childhood, in the school as well as
the nursery. Already, in those parts of our country where education is
most prosperous, the larger part of the teachers of common schools are
women. In Massachusetts, three out of five of all the teachers are women.
In the State of New-York and in Philadelphia similar results are seen.

Women, then, are to be educated for teachers, and sent to the destitute
children of this nation by hundreds and by thousands. This is the
way in which _a profession_ is to be created for woman--a profession
as honourable and as lucrative for her as the legal, medical, and
theological are for men. This is the way in which thousands of
intelligent and respectable women, who toil for a pittance scarcely
sufficient to sustain life, are to be relieved and elevated. This is the
way, and _the only way_, in which our nation can be saved from impending
perils. Though we are now in such a condition that many have given over
our case in despair, as too far gone for remedy--though the peril is
immense, and the work to be done enormous, yet _it is in the power of
American women to save their country_. There is benevolence enough, there
are means enough at their command. All that is needed is a knowledge of
the danger, and a faithful use of the means within their reach.

And who else, in such an emergency as this, can so appropriately be
invoked to aid? It is woman who is the natural and appropriate guardian
of childhood. It is woman who has those tender sympathies which can most
readily feel for the wants and sufferings of the young. It is woman,
who is especially interested in all efforts which tend to elevate and
dignify her own sex. It is woman, too, who has that conscientiousness and
religious devotion, which, in any worthy cause, are the surest pledges of

And it is the pride and honour of our country, that woman holds a
commanding influence in the domestic and social circle, which is
accorded to the sex in no other nation, and such as will make her wishes
and efforts, if united for a benevolent and patriotic object, almost

To you, then, American women, are brought these two millions of suffering
and destitute children; these “despised little ones,” of whom is written,
“their angels do always behold the face of our Father in heaven;” who are
loved and cared for by the good Shepherd above, so that it were better
for any of us, that we were thrown with a millstone about our necks into
the sea, than that, through our guilty neglect, even one of these little
ones should perish.

To you, my countrywomen, these little children call, with voices soft as
the young ravens’ cry, yet multitudinous as the murmuring ocean waves.
To you they complain of the filth, and the weariness, and the aching
muscles, and the throbbing head, and the tortured eyes. To you they
lament the degrading scenes and fatal influences, that wither all that
is pure, and sweet, and lovely in childhood and youth. Of you they ask
relief from suffering, and all those blessed ministries that will lead
their young feet to usefulness and happiness on earth, and to glory,
honour, and immortality on high. Ah, surely their supplications will be
heard, and speedy relief will be found!

_How_, then, can American women act for these children, and thus for the
salvation of their country, in an emergency like this?

Before answering this question, it is needful to consider that the
education demanded for the American people is not merely to be taught
to read and write. In communities where it is the universal fashion to
read, and where books and papers are multitudinous as the flakes of
heaven, it might, perhaps, suffice to teach a child to read, so far as
intellect is concerned. But if the tastes and principles are not formed
aright, the probability is, that blank ignorance would be better than the
poisonous food, which a mind, thus sent forth to seek its own supplies,
would inevitably select. But in those sections of our country that are
most deficient in schools, there are neither books, nor the desire, or
the taste for reading them. And among those who are taught to read,
thousands go from the portals of knowledge to daily toil, or to vicious
indulgences, leaving the mind as empty and stupid as if no such ability
were gained. And how many there are, who have sharpened their faculties
only as edged tools for greater mischief! No; the American people are
to be educated _for their high duties_. The children who, ere long, are
to decide whether we shall have tariff or no tariff, bank or no bank,
slavery or no slavery, naturalization laws or no such laws, must be
trained so that they cannot be duped and excited by demagogues, and thus
led on to the ruin that overwhelmed the people of France. They must be
trained to read, and think, and decide _intelligently_ on all matters
where they are to act as legislators, judges, jury, and executive. The
children who, ere long, are to be thrown into the heats and passion of
political strife and sectional jealousy, must be trained to rule their
passions, and to control themselves by reason, religion, and law. The
young daughters of this nation, too, must be trained to become the
educators of all the future statesmen, legislators, judges, juries, and
magistrates of this land. For to them are to be committed the minds
and habits of every future child, at the time when every impression is
indelible, and every influence efficient. What, then, can American women
do in forwarding an enterprise so vast and so important?

In the first place, there is no woman in _any_ station, who has not work
cut out to her hand. Wherever there is _a single ignorant child_, there
is one of the future rulers or educators of this nation; _there_ is one
immortal being, who, if neglected, will become an engine of mischief to
our country, and at last sink to eternal wo; or, if trained aright, will
prove a blessing to our nation, and an angel of light in heaven. And
no woman is free from guilt, or free from the terrific responsibilities
of the perils impending over her country, till she has done _all in her
power_ to secure a _proper_ education to _all_ the young minds within the
reach of her influence.

Is it asked, What then; would you require every woman to turn teacher and
keep school? No; but every woman is bound to bring this into the list of
_her duties_, and, as one of her most imperious duties, _to do all in her
power to secure a proper education to the American children now coming
upon the stage_.

Every woman has various duties pressing upon her attention. It is right
for her, it is her duty, to cultivate her own mind by reading and study,
not merely for her own gratification or credit, but with the great end
in view of employing her knowledge and energies for the good of others.
It is right, and a duty for a woman to attend to domestic affairs; but,
except in cases of emergency, it is not right to devote all her time
to this alone. It is a duty for her to attend to religious efforts and
ordinances; but it is not right for her to give all her time to these
alone. It is right for her to devote some time to social enjoyments,
some time to the elegancies and ornaments of taste, some time to the
adornment of person and residence, and some time to the relaxation of
mere amusement. In many cases, these last are as much duties as the more
weighty pursuits of life.

But this great maxim is ever to be borne in mind, _The most important
things first in attention_. It is _the due proportion_ of time and
attention that decides the rectitude of all useful or innocent pursuits.
And a woman is bound so to divide her time, as to give _some_ portion
of it to each of her several duties, so that no one shall be entirely
crowded out; and so, also, to apportion her attention, that each shall be
regarded according to _its relative value_.

In this view of the subject, what, except her own immortal interest, can
an American woman place, as demanding more serious attention and more
earnest efforts, than an attempt to use her time and influence to avert
the dangers now impending over her country, her kindred, and herself? Is
there any ornamental design, any gratification of taste or appetite,
any merely temporal good, that can at all be placed in comparison with
this great concern? Is it, then, assuming too much to claim that every
American woman is bound to give, not only _some_ time, but _more_ time
to this enterprise than she gives to any social enjoyment, any personal
or domestic decoration, or any species of amusement? Is it not so? Is
it right for a conscientious woman, when all that is dear and sacred is
in such peril--when she has means, time, or influence which will aid in
saving her country, her friends, and herself from such dangers--is it
right to give to this effort less attention and time than is devoted to
visiting, or to entertaining company, or to the adornment of her person
or her house? Judge ye, as ye will give account for these things to the
Judge of quick and dead.

What, then, are the ways in which an educated woman can employ the
talents committed to her for the salvation of her country?

Many may be pointed out, some one of which can be adopted by every woman
in this nation.

Some, who are mothers, can superintend the education of their children,
and, while doing it, can seek in their own vicinity orphans, or children
of peculiar promise, and train them with their own children to become
teachers of others.

Some, who are sisters, can superintend the education of younger brothers
and sisters, and add to this class others of humbler means, whom they may
thus prepare for missionary teachers in some of the destitute villages of
our land.

Some, who are just returned from school, with all their knowledge
fresh, and all their powers in active play, may collect a class around
them in the vicinity of their homes, and impart the discipline of mind
and treasures of knowledge given them by God, not to be laid up as in
a napkin, but to be employed for the good of others. Thus they will
be raising up, not only useful teachers, but valuable friends for the
exigencies of future life.

Oh, how much happier, and more respectable, and more lovely, in such
benevolent toils, than in the shopping, dressing, calling, gossiping
round pursued by a large portion of the daughters of wealth!

Some, on completing their education, can interest themselves in the
common schools in their vicinity, seeking the friendship of the teacher,
and then contributing their time and labour to raise the school to higher
intellectual and moral excellence.

Some, who have a missionary spirit, may go forth to the destitute
portions of our land, and collect the future sovereigns and educators of
this nation, and train them for their duties.

Some, who have wealth at their command, understanding that much is
required from them to whom much is given--that wealth is bestowed,
not for selfish enjoyment, but for the good of others--that education
is conferred, not as the means of selfish distinction and advantage,
but as the instrument for benefiting mankind--such may devote _time_,
and _service_, and _wealth_ to this noble enterprise. Such may aid in
founding and superintending institutions for the education and location
of female teachers, thus originating permanent fountains of knowledge and
influence, that long shall send forth bounteous waters in all portions of
our land.

Some, who cannot enter personally into such labours, may aid in
furnishing means to send forth others into the field. There are hundreds
and thousands of benevolent women in the land, who would rejoice to spend
and be spent in this service, but who have neither the opportunity to
qualify themselves, nor the assistance necessary in finding the proper
location when prepared. Why is it not time to turn some of the charity
of woman, which so long has clothed and educated young men for their
benevolent ministries, to aiding their own sex in as important and more
neglected service?

Some can interest themselves in the schools in their vicinity, and aid
the teacher by sympathy, counsel, and lending suitable books. A woman
who is well informed herself, may, in this way, do much to save both
the body and minds of children from great evils. On such an errand,
in some cases, she will find young children pent up in a tight room,
heated by a close stove, poisoning the air with their breaths, without
the least relief from the process of ventilation, so easily secured by
a trap-door in the upper wall. Thus it is, that many children engender
weak stomachs, headaches, feeble constitutions, and sometimes deformity
and death. In other cases, she may rescue some little sufferers from the
torture of supporting the body on high and hard benches, without any
aid to the muscles from a support to the back. Thus it is that children
sometimes are rendered feeble and distorted, especially those of delicate
conformation. In other cases, she may ascertain, by her own inspection,
the shameful neglect of cleanliness, comfort, modesty, and decency, too
often to be found in our common schools. Nowhere else is the supervision
of woman so much demanded. The preceding details of the situation of our
common schools in these respects, found in reports made by the state
officers of education in New-York, where great efforts have been made
to remove such evils, are painful indications of the shocking abuses
which are to be remedied. The poor in our almshouses, the criminals in
our prisons, even the cattle in our stables, have more attention paid
to their comfort than is given to thousands and thousands of the little
children of our country. In other cases, she can inquire into the course
of study, and the modes of giving moral and religious instruction, and
into the character of the books used in school, and if any improvement
or alteration is needed, by seeking the confidence and friendship of the
teacher, and lending her books to read on the subject, or by influencing
trustees and those who direct the school, she may remedy evils and secure

In some portions of the country where education is most prosperous, the
mothers of a district have formed an association for the improvement of
the school which their children attend. This is usually brought about by
the teacher of the school. These mothers meet once a month, to consult,
or to read books, or to visit the school, and their contributions of
money are used to increase the school apparatus, or to buy the books
needed by the teacher or themselves for this object.

Some can interest themselves for the _domestics_ of their family, to
whom the health, character, and happiness of little children is so
extensively intrusted. By kind expressions of interest, by conversing
with them on their pursuits and duties, by lending useful books adapted
to their capacities, by reading to them, by inducing them to secure
suitable religious privileges, and by using all practicable means to
impart knowledge and moral principle, much may be done for this greatly
neglected class, who not only have so much influence over the children of
others, but are most of them, ere long, to rear children of their own.
In no way can a mother so surely receive her reward as in faithful and
benevolent efforts for her domestics.

Some can employ their time and means in circulating books, papers, and
tracts, which shall enlighten the people, and awaken them to their
duties and dangers. Some can use their personal influence over fathers,
sons, husbands, brothers, and friends, presenting this subject to their
attention, pointing out articles for them to read, and urging any
measures that may tend to advance this cause. Some may approach their
clergyman, and if he needs any information, or any quickening on the
subject, furnish the books, and add entreaties to secure his powerful
influence both in private and in the pulpit.

Some can employ the pen in writing to arouse public interest, and their
influence in getting articles on this subject into newspapers. Such
works as the periodicals on Education, published in Boston and Albany,
Stowe’s and Mann’s Reports on the Systems of Education in Europe, and the
volume called the School and Schoolmaster, will furnish materials for
such articles.

Some, who have but little time at command, can render very essential
service by an occasional visit to the schools in their vicinity,
especially in seasons of examination; thus encouraging both teachers and
pupils by the conviction that their labours are known and appreciated,
and that the community around are interested in their success. If the
influential ladies in any place would go but once a year to the schools
in their vicinity, to inquire for their comfort and prosperity, it
would give a wonderful impulse to the cause of education. The torpid
indifference of the influential classes to the education of the young,
except where their own families are concerned, is the grand cause of all
the dangers that threaten us.

There are many who feel that any useful object of common interest can be
more successfully achieved _by association_ than by individual influence.
Such are accustomed to form societies, or associations, with officers
and committees. In cases where this mode of operating is common and
popular, a Ladies’ School Association might be formed, who might act
somewhat in this manner:

A meeting might be called, of all ladies in the place, disposed to lend
their influence to promote the proper education of American children,
where some gentlemen, familiar with the subject, might address them.
Committees might then be appointed to obtain information on these
questions. Are all the children in this vicinity so provided with schools
and _schoolbooks_ that they are gaining a _proper_ education? Do the
Sunday-schools avail to secure _a proper_ education to the children who
go to no other? Is the Bible used, or any moral or religious instruction
given in the schools? Where schools are provided, what is the condition
of the schoolhouse, the seats and desks, the mode of heating and
ventilating, the order and neatness of the premises, and what are the
outdoor accommodations?

When the committees have obtained the information on these points,
another meeting can be called to hear their reports, and to devise means
for remedying any evils or deficiencies that may have been discovered.

In proceeding in this way, it will be indispensable to seek the good-will
and co-operation of the teachers whose schools are examined; and as
these measures would all tend to promote their comfort and usefulness,
a moderate degree of discretion and kindness would secure their ready

Those who are so infirm, or so embarrassed in other ways, that they
cannot engage in any one of the measures suggested above, can at least
_speak_ to those around them, and endeavour to influence them to engage
in this work.

Those who have access to men of wealth and influence, those who can
approach the minds that are forming comprehensive plans, and enlisting
thousands to promote them, may, in many cases, most efficiently aid this
cause by urging such inquiries as these.

Why is it that no plans are formed to train up our own millions of
destitute children? Why is no organization effected to educate and locate
female teachers, when there are hundreds and thousands in our land, who
have a truly missionary spirit, and are longing to be sent forth? Why
should so much money be collected for a nine year’s course for young
men, who are to go forth as preachers, and _none_ be received for the
education and location of young women, who, as teachers in destitute
villages, could, with only one or two year’s education, do as much good
as missionary preachers?

If women are called upon to spend their time and money in clothing and
educating young men, is it not proper and reasonable that the other sex
should do something to aid young women who are longing to be sent forth
to save the perishing children of our country?

Is it not required that children should be _trained up_ in the way they
should go? and ought there not to be benevolent organizations to secure
this, as much as organizations to _reform and convert_ those who are
vicious and irreligious, simply because they are not thus trained?

Is it not better to save children from being poisoned, than to pay
physicians for trying to cure them after they are contaminated, and, in
many cases, beyond the reach of cure?

Is it not as important to send forth tracts to influence the people to
educate their children virtuously and religiously, as it is to send forth
tracts to convert and reform them after they have been trained up to vice
and irreligion?

Is it not as important to teach our two millions of destitute children
to read, as it is to send forth tracts, and Bibles, and colporteurs to a
population where three millions cannot read a line in Bible or tract?

Is it not as important to organize, in order to secure a good
common-school education to our millions who cannot read, as it is to
sustain and endow colleges for the few thousand youth who enjoy their
advantages, and who have such disproportionate treasures lavished on
their education?

If we neglect the democracy and provide only for the higher classes,
shall we not eat the fruit of our own way? The aristocracy of France took
all the wealth and power for selfish enjoyment, and when the democracy
came into power, how awfully did they revenge themselves! In this
country, are not the rich and influential acting on the same selfish
principle? “And _the people_ do perish for lack of knowledge!” Oh! the
horrors of that day when this neglected people shall visit their wrongs
on those, who now are selfishly withholding that light of knowledge which
is the only means of our peace and salvation!

In attempting to influence others to engage in this work, appeals can be
made to the generous and patriotic feelings of _the young_ with great
effect. Why cannot an enthusiasm be created for educating children
which shall equal that which has been created for preventing and curing
intemperance? Let the same amount of money be spent, and the same number
of good and influential men attempt to do it, and _it will be done_. Let
every woman, then, urge on this attempt.

If a woman can do nothing else for this cause, she can at least _pray_
for it; and it is rarely the case that any person offers sincere and
earnest prayer for any good object, without speedily finding something
_to do_ for that object.

In attempting to enlist American women in the work of securing _a proper_
education to the children of this nation, there is one topic worthy of
special consideration. The great problem of the age on this subject is,
how shall the moral and religious instruction of children be secured
_at school_? When we consider the vast multitudes of children who have
no such training, either at home or anywhere else, this question becomes
one of paramount interest; for, unless virtuous and moral principles and
habits are formed, education only adds new powers of mischief to those
who are trained. The indifference of a large portion of the community
to this subject, and the extreme sensitiveness of sectarian jealousy,
interpose great obstacles; but these may be much more readily overcome
than many suppose.

Professor Stowe, in his Report to the Legislature of Ohio on the Prussian
System of Schools, makes these remarks.

“The universal success, also, and very beneficial results, with which the
arts of drawing and designing, music, and also _moral instruction and the
Bible_, have been introduced into schools, was another fact peculiarly
interesting to me.

“I asked all the teachers with whom I conversed whether they did not
sometimes find children incapable of learning to draw and to sing. I
have had but one reply, and that was, that they found the same diversity
of natural talent in regard to these as in regard to reading, writing,
and other branches of education; but they had never seen a child capable
of learning to read and write, who could not be taught to sing well and
draw neatly; and that, too, without taking any time which would interfere
with, or which would not rather promote progress in other studies.

“In regard to the necessity of moral instruction and the beneficial
influence of the Bible in schools, the testimony was no less explicit and
uniform. I inquired of all classes of teachers, and of men of every grade
of religious faith; instructers in common schools, high schools, and
schools of art; of professors in colleges, universities, and professional
seminaries in cities and in the country; in places where there was a
uniformity of creed, and in places where there was a diversity of creeds;
I inquired of believers and unbelievers, of rationalists and enthusiasts,
of Catholics and Protestants, and I never found but one reply: and that
was, that to leave the moral faculty uninstructed was to leave the most
important part of the human mind undeveloped, and to strip education of
almost everything that makes it valuable; and that the Bible is the
best book to put into the hands of children, to interest, to exercise,
and to unfold both the intellectual and moral powers. Every teacher whom
I consulted repelled with indignation the idea, that moral instruction
is not proper for schools, and that the Bible cannot be introduced into
common schools without sectarian bias in teaching.”

While it is universally conceded by all intelligent persons, that there
is no nation on earth, whose prosperity, and even existence, so much
depends on the _moral training_ of the mass of the people, there is no
nation, _where schools are established by law_, in which so little of it
is done. It is mournful to reflect, that by far the larger part of our
schools banish religious and moral training altogether, and confine their
efforts entirely to the training of _the intellect_, and a great part of
them merely to that of _the memory_.

It is supposed, by many, that the Sunday-school in our country, to a
great degree, supplies the deficiencies of our schools in respect to
moral and religious training. It is true that this institution does more
than any other to meet these wants. But it must be remembered that such
schools are properly sustained only where there is a large number of
benevolent and intelligent persons to teach them.

But in our country, the places which most need such labourers are the
very places where the fewest are to be found. And even in the most
favoured portions of our land, much of Sunday instructions is committed
to very young persons, while the parents often are thus led to throw off
their own responsibility upon those of less experience.

Moreover, if the moral training of children is neglected through the
six days of the week, in which they are exposed to the most temptation,
how vain to expect that all the consequent evil is to be remedied by
gathering them for an hour or two on Sunday, to receive religious
instruction. Even were this a remedy, there are thousands of places in
our land where no Sunday-schools are to be found.

Many persons justify the neglect of moral training in our schools, by
claiming that religion must be banished from schools, on account of the
great diversity of sects, who cannot agree in this matter. Such are
little aware on how many important points all sects are agreed. To
exhibit this, and to aid any who may be induced to attempt a course of
moral and religious training in their schools, the following is presented
as an outline of a course of instruction that could be introduced into
_all_ schools, without violating the conscientious scruples of a single
denomination in this nation, professing to be Christian.

In the first place, all children in schools, can be taught, that _the
Bible_ contains the rules of duty given by God, which all men are bound
to obey. This is what all denominations allow, and if there is any
dispute about _which translation_ is the proper one, each child can be
allowed to use the Bible his parents think to be right.

When this is duly taught, the children can be required, for several
successive mornings, each to repeat a passage from the Bible, which
teaches the _character_ of God.

When this subject is exhausted, then the teacher can compose a form of
prayer consisting exclusively of passages from the Bible, to be used as
the first act of school duty. The children might be required to repeat
each portion, either with, or after the teacher, simultaneously, and thus
unite in the exercise.

The following is presented as a specimen of the prayers, of which a great
variety could be made, simply by arranging texts from the Bible:

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee.

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I
direct my prayer unto thee, and look up.

For thou art not a God that hast pleasure in wickedness; neither shall
evil dwell with thee.

Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness; make thy way straight before my

Remove far from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with food convenient for me;

Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be
poor and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God and keep his
commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing.

O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, because we have sinned against
thee; neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in
his laws which he set before us.

To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have
rebelled against him.

For thou art the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long
suffering, and abundant in mercy and truth. Therefore will we trust in

To the only wise God, our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and
power, both now and ever. Amen.

_Or this_:

O Lord, my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and

Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment, who stretchest out the
heavens like a curtain.

Who layeth the beams of his chambers in great waters, who maketh the
clouds his chariot, who walketh upon the wings of the wind.

Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle who shall dwell in thy holy hill?

He that walketh uprightly and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the
truth in his heart.

He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour,
nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear
the Lord.

He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.

He that doeth these things shall never be moved.

O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me.

Thou knowest my down-sitting and my up-rising; thou understandest my
thoughts afar off.

Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my

For there is not a word in my tongue, but lo, O Lord, thou knowest it

Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain unto

I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous
are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts;

And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way

Now unto the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be
honour and glory now and forever. Amen.

Next, the children may be required to bring texts in reply to such
questions as these:

Who is Jesus Christ?

For what did he come into this world?

What is the character of Jesus Christ?

What has he done for us?

What does he require of us?

What is to be the condition of those who are wicked after death?

What is to be the condition of the good after death?

How are we to escape from the portion of the wicked after death?

How are we to gain the rewards of the good after death?

Some such question can be given each morning; and the children can be
required to learn a text from the Bible, which will answer this question,
to repeat the next morning. If they are too young to find it themselves,
they can be required to ask the aid of their companions who are older,
or of their friends at home.

The being, character, and works of God, the feelings and duties owed to
him, and our relations and duties in reference to a future state, are the
topics which usually are classed as _religious_ instruction.

_Moral training_ commonly is understood as relating to the duties we
owe to ourselves and to our fellow-creatures. In this department the
following methods could be adopted:

Each morning, some one of such practical texts as the following could
be given out for the children to reflect on through the day, and in
reference to which, they can be required to seek from books, or from
their friends, some cases in which this command of God is either obeyed
or disobeyed.

“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

“Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”

“Recompense to no one evil for evil.”

“Forbear one another, and forgive one another, if any one have a quarrel;
as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

“Bless them that curse you; bless, and curse not.”

“If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink.”

“Put away _lying_, and speak every one truth with his neighbour.”

“Put on humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering.”

“Be followers of Christ, who did no sin, neither was guile found in his
mouth; who hath left us an example, that we should walk in his steps.”

When such texts are given out, their spirit and meaning should be
illustrated by example, and then the children should be required to learn
the text, and next morning to bring some case to illustrate the violation
of, or obedience to this rule.

But it is not sufficient to give children clear views of duty, and store
their memories with the precepts enforcing their duties.

The teachers should keep a strict watch over the children, and whenever
any conduct or disposition appears, that violates these rules, they
should be pointedly applied. _A precept from the Bible_ should be
employed to counteract whatever bad disposition or bad conduct is

For example, if a child complains that a companion has defaced his
booklet the faulty child be called up, and made to repeat the command
of God which he has violated: such as, “Whatsoever ye would that men
should do to you, do ye even so to them.” If a child has taken a pen
from his companion without leave, take occasion, on reprimanding him, to
set before the school the evil and danger of pilfering. Enlarge on the
nobleness of strict honesty and uprightness. Show that the evil is not so
much the loss of property by the owner as the _bad habit_ induced in the
pilferer, which may lead at last to the dungeon and the gallows.

Again, if a child is found to be _prevaricating_, or using _any kind_ of
deceit, require him to repeat the commands of God, “Thou shalt not bear
false witness.” “Lie not at all.” “Lying lips are an abomination to the
Lord, but they that deal truly are his delight.”

Then set forth lying before the school, as what should be held in
universal abhorrence; show the importance of _truth_, as indispensable
to the existence of society and the happiness of all beings; show how
any kind of attempts at deceit weakens the habit of truthfulness, and
certainly will lead, at last, to lying.

When it is needful to punish, endeavour to select a penalty that will
have a good effect on the school, instead of one that will awaken
sympathy for the offender. When a child is _whipped_, in many cases, his
cries excite pity and sympathy, and often indignation at the teacher.
But if, when a child has broken the laws of God, the teacher sets forth
the evil of the sin, and then takes some such precept as this, “Withdraw
thyself from every brother that walketh disorderly,” as his directory in
requiring all the school to be separate from him, shutting him out from
the play-ground, and depriving him of the usual period of recess until
the delinquent appears penitent and anxious to do well; then the teacher
appears to the school as acting by Divine authority, and for the good of
the whole.

There are many sins against such commands of God as these: “Let all
things be done decently and in order.” “Whatsoever things are lovely and
of good report, think of these things.” “Be ye courteous.” The violations
of the rules of politeness, of neatness, and of order, come under these
precepts, and school is the place, above all others, where such faults
should be checked. Throwing down hats and caps, abusing clothes, tearing
books, defiling desks with ink, cutting the benches, marking the walls,
are faults which ought to be noticed as disobedience to these rules.
So, also, rude language, calling nicknames, teasing and frightening
companions, mocking the aged, or deformed, or lame, cruel treatment of
birds and other animals, injuring trees, and many similar practices,
should be checked by appeals to the Word of God.

In addition to this, let the _benefits_ of refined taste and good
breeding be set forth by specific examples. Show the consequences where
the children of a community are rude in the streets, abuse and injure
fences, milestones, graveyards, and fruit-trees, and then set forth
the advantages of _street_ politeness, of the care of our neighbours’
property, and of all that belongs to the public.

In all efforts to lead children to benevolent feelings and conduct, it is
very important to set before them the example of Jesus Christ, appealing
to their feelings of gratitude and love.

If a child frets at being obliged to serve another, let him be reminded
that Jesus Christ has done far more for him, and that he came into this
world to set us an example, that we should walk in his steps.

While it is indispensable to notice and reprove faults, it is no less
important to notice and approve whatever is commendable in children. And
much care should be taken to observe whatever is right, for it is much
easier and much better to govern by motives of pleasure rather than those
of pain.

Whenever, therefore, any cases are observed of kindness, firmness,
patience, truth, and faithfulness, let them be spoken of, not in such
a way as to awaken vanity, but simply with approbation as _right_, and
worthy of imitation.

For example, if a child gives up some gratification in order to relieve
some poor companion, or furnish a destitute schoolmate with clothes or
books; if a child has aided or defended a companion when laughed at, or
ill-treated; if another has found some tempting article, and, instead of
secreting it, has sought out the owner and returned it; if, when insulted
and provoked, another has refrained from angry words and all retaliation;
if another has refused to believe evil of a companion, and endeavoured
to stop an injurious report; if another has taken care to preserve his
own premises from filth and disorder, and protected the schoolhouse and
play-ground from abuse; let all such actions be presented to the school
as good, and worthy of imitation. Commendation not only encourages and
animates those who do well, but inspires the desire to imitate in others.

In cases where a teacher assumes the care of a school where there are
many children who have formed bad habits, it is very important that he
should imitate Christ in his feelings and deportment towards sinners. In
such a case, it is very important to convince his pupils that, however
bad they are, he is still their friend, and ever ready to do them good.
He should state to them that he is aware that they have formed bad
habits, and that the labour of curing them is great and difficult. He
should carefully notice all _attempts_ to do better, and where there are
efforts made to improve, occasional failures should be spoken of with
words of kindness, sympathy, and encouragement.

And all teachers need to be careful not to be so frequent in finding
fault, and so severe in manner as to produce the feeling of hopelessness
in efforts to please and satisfy. When a child feels that, however
earnestly he may try to do right, he has such bad habits already formed
that he shall not succeed so as to please his teacher, all motive for
exertion ceases, and he becomes reckless and hardened.

The great art of curing faults is, so to secure the affection and
confidence of a child, that he shall be a cheerful co-worker with his
teacher, assured of approbation in success, and of forbearance and
sympathy in any failure.

In cases where the morals of a school are very bad, it will be wise for a
teacher to let many things pass unnoticed that in a better community he
would reprove.

Some one, two, or three rules of duty can be presented at a time, and
diligent efforts be made to remedy habits which violate these rules.
When some gain has been made on these points, then one or two more can
be added, and thus a _gradual_ advance will secure far more success than
attempting everything at once.

There are many ways of rendering the Bible interesting to children,
which should, if possible, be introduced into common schools. Some of
these will be mentioned.

When reading the historical parts of the Old or New Testament, a large
map of Palestine and the other countries spoken of in the Bible,
should be suspended before the school, and all the places mentioned be
pointed out. There are large maps of this kind to be obtained of the
Sunday-school Union.

There is also a cheap chart of history prepared by a Mr. Lyman, which
is most excellent for aiding in the study both of sacred and profane
history. It is so made that it can be hung conveniently around the wall
of a schoolroom, and is so large, that children can read the names and
events while sitting in their seats.

Besides these articles, there are large drawings to be obtained of
the tabernacle and all the articles spoken of in the Pentateuch, and
others, also, that illustrate the manners and customs, dress, furniture,
and dwellings of the Israelites, and the scenery of Palestine. These
pictures, employed to illustrate the history of the Bible, would give
wonderful interest to the exercise of reading it. It is hoped that, ere
long, gentlemen of wealth will begin to endow _common schools_ with such
useful apparatus, instead of confining their benefactions exclusively to
higher seminaries.

In reading the Bible in schools, the following method will be found to be
both useful and interesting: Let the teacher, by the aid of Townsend’s
Bible, arrange a regular course of Bible history chronologically,
selecting only such chapters as will carry on a connected and complete
history. This can be read aloud by the children in portions each morning;
and by the aid of the maps, pictures, and charts, a vivid interest can be
imparted to the exercise, while, at the same time, opportunities will be
given to the teacher to notice incidents that convey moral instruction.

After this course is completed, then the teacher can prepare a course of
_biographical_ reading, arranged in chronological order, and use this
opportunity also to point out the moral instruction to be found in these
histories of individuals. Next, he might arrange a course embracing the
didactic portions of the Bible, combining in one course of reading all
the moral precepts; and while this is going on, he can collect anecdotes
to relate to the school illustrating these precepts. Lastly, he might
make a selection of the poetry and other rhetorical beauties of the
Bible, and, while this is being read, point out the inimitable sublimity
and beauty of the ideas and the style. The Introduction to the Study of
the Bible by Horne, the larger edition, and Lowth on Hebrew poetry, are
works which would greatly aid a teacher in such a course of Biblical

In this course of moral training, it will be seen that there is nothing
sectarian, and nothing which would be objected to by any but those
opposed to the use of the Bible in schools, and to all religious and
moral training. In such cases, it would be proper to adopt the following

It could be stated to the objector, that in this country it is _the
majority_ that must decide every question not already settled by the
Constitutions of the state or nation. That, in regard to the question of
moral and religious training in the schools, the people are free to use
their own judgment. That where the majority wish to have such training a
part of school exercises, they have a right to require it. But in cases
where persons object to having their children so trained, the majority
have no right to insist on it. In order to avoid this, in every case
where a parent requests it, his children can be allowed to leave the
schoolroom while these exercises are going on, to study, or to perform
some other school duty. Or if this is inconvenient, they can be allowed
to come half an hour later, and then remain half an hour longer, after
the others are dismissed. No man could object to such an arrangement
without violating the first principle of our democracy, by demanding that
the _minority_, and not the _majority_, shall be accommodated in this

Now is it not practicable for every woman, who attempts to promote the
_proper_ education of American children, to use whatever influence she
may have with parents, or teachers to secure such a course of moral
training in the schools in her own vicinity, as is here indicated? Let
every woman _try_ what she can do to promote this important object.

American woman, whose eye may be resting on this page, are you willing
to commence an effort to aid in saving your country from the perils of
ignorance? Are you not spending more time in adorning your person, your
children, or your residence, or in social enjoyments, or in providing for
the gratification of the palate, than you have yet given to this cause?
Can you continue this unchristian, unpatriotic apportionment of time,
without an upbraiding conscience? Do you say that already you have more
to do than you can properly perform? But, in the list of your pursuits,
are there not some that are of far inferior consequence to this, which
it would do no harm to curtail, and thus gain time for this? Do you not
spend time and money for articles of dress, or ornaments, or in social
intercourse, or for needless luxuries, that you might, without any evil,
give up to this object?

Do you say that you can do but little, and relieve yourself from
obligation because it is so little? Suppose each drop of rain should urge
this plea, and thus delay to refresh the fields? Is not every great and
good work accomplished by _a union of many little influences_, and as
much so in the moral as in the natural world?

Are you dwelling in those parts of our land where most is done for
education, and comforting yourself that at least you and yours shall
escape in safety? But how can you tell that in five or ten years either
you, or those you love best, will not be the other side of the Alleghany,
and in the most destitute portion of the nation? The changes of fortune,
the pursuit of wealth, the mutations of matrimonial connexions, utterly
forbid any reliance on permanency of residence.

And how can one portion of this nation suffer and the other escape? Is
not the vast River Valley, whatever may be the character of its millions,
to hold the controlling power of our nation? If any portion of the fair
West be tortured with civil commotion and lawless rage, will not every
groan re-echo from the maternal heart of New-England and New-York, whose
sons and daughters are dwelling on every prairie and in every valley of
our land?

Mother, whose hands are so busy in ornamenting your darling child;
Sister, whose fingers fly so swiftly over the canvass or lace; Daughter,
so earnestly engaged in preparing your elegant habiliments, look back to
that beautiful daughter of emperors, that sister of kings, that mother
of princes, brought to her palace-home amid a nation’s transports, the
welcome bride of the nation’s heir.

Again, on the birth of her first-born, hear the triumphant pæan re-echoed
across the ocean, sung by the very children in our streets, and in the
memory of many now on the stage:

    “A Dauphin’s born! let cannon loud
      With echoes rend the sky;
      All hail to Gallia’s King!
      Columbia’s great ally!”

And thus the great English orator of that day describes her: “It is now
sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the Queen of France, then the
Dauphiness, at Versailles: and surely never lighted on this orb, which
she scarcely seemed to touch, a more delightful vision! I saw her, just
above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she just
began to move in, glittering like the morning star, full of life, and
splendour, and joy. Little did I dream I should have lived to see such
disasters fall upon her, in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men
of honour and of cavaliers. I thought ten thousand swords would have
leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her
with insult.”

Look, now, through those prison bars. There, pale and mournful, upon a
pallet of straw, rests one for whom the splendours of Versailles scarcely
seemed enough. Her once bright locks, even in youth, are gray with fear
and sorrow. She is in solitude; her husband in one cell, and her weeping
children, torn from her and placed with brutal keepers, in another. And
now her husband is borne forth to a bloody death. Again her prison doors
unclose, and she comes forth, seated on the fatal car, her hands tied
behind her back, surrounded by thousands, who shout with malignant joy as
the fatal guillotine terminates her woes.

See that last and most innocent sufferer, the poor little Dauphin,
every tender feeling crushed, deliberately instructed in vice, doomed
to disgusting and degrading services, and, ere long, cruelly starved to

American mother, wife, sister, daughter, the same earthquake is trembling
under your feet! If such an awful period agitates any portion of this
land, it will be those raised by wealth and station as the objects of
popular envy, who must first meet the storm. You sit now in peace and
plenty; you spend your time in elegant pleasures, and, while absorbed in
selfish enjoyment, you forget the young and destitute growing up around
you. And as you embroider the flower, and twine the silk, and fold the
riband, they are learning to sharpen the dagger, and twine the cord,
and plant the cannon. Within a stone’s throw of that smiling child with
golden locks, who now absorbs a mother’s thoughts, may be growing up, in
the darkness of ignorance and vice, the very hand that, at some awful
crisis, will grasp those locks in rage, and plant the dagger in that
happy bosom.

And when, in some after hour of terror and distress, when the roar of
musketry is heard, shooting down father and husband, and brother and
friend; when the bells are tolling, and the drums beating, and the wife,
mother, and daughter behold those they love best girding to meet the
violators of law; when they catch the parting expression of flushed
excitement, or stern determination, or serious foreboding, as the loved
one departs, perhaps to be returned a breathless corse--then, in the hour
of anxious solitude, will the solemn inquest be made for those ruffian
minds, ruined by neglect; and the voice of the Lord God will be heard,
walking in the trees of the garden, demanding, “Where is thy brother?”
And the trembling response, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” will meet the
stern rebuke, “What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood
crieth unto me from the ground.”

But why appeal to motives of fear and danger? Alas! those thousands and
millions of neglected little ones in our land, they know not their wants
or their danger, or they would raise their supplicating hands. Is there
anything more appropriate than that gentle woman should be invoked to
their aid? Is there anything more beautiful, more heavenly, than that
she should spend her time, and thoughts, and means to rescue them? What
is it that you would enjoy the most in after days, gazing at the fading
beauties you have wrought in canvass, muslin, or lace, or looking around
on the intelligent, useful, happy minds you have been instrumental in
training, and who will rise up and call you blessed? True, you cannot
gain this rich reward without some self-denying toil and persevering
effort. But is it not worth the labour?

And when your eye is closing on earth, and the memories of the past are
hovering around your pillow, who do you wish should meet your dying eye,
the haggard faces of those ruined by your neglect, or the grateful smiles
of those you have toiled to bless, who will bear you in their love and
prayers, like seraph’s wings, to the opening gates of heaven; who will
shine forever as stars in your crown of rejoicing?

And into that world of perfected benevolence and joy, who is it that
shall enter and go no more out? It is those who, in this world, have
followed the footsteps of Jesus Christ; who have lived, not for
themselves, but for others; who, like him, have _denied themselves daily_
to promote the salvation of the lost. Is not Jesus Christ presented as
the bright and perfect example of _self-denying benevolence_, and is it
not written, “If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of

Oh, ye who are appointed by Him, who toiled for your salvation, to go
forth and rescue these little ones, what saith your great Exemplar? “Ye
are the light of the world; and if the light _in you_ be darkness, how
great is that darkness!”

Where, then, are your golden lamps? Whom will you guide to the light and
liberty of his presence? Awake, from the dream of thoughtless pleasure!
Awake from the reveries of selfish care, and save yourselves and your
country, ere it be forever too late!


It is the object of what follows, to enable every woman, who wishes
to do something for the cause of education and her country, _to act
immediately_, before the interest awakened is absorbed by other pursuits.

The thing to be aimed at is, the _employment of female talent and
benevolence in educating ignorant and neglected American children_.

In order to give an idea of what _needs_ to be done, and of what _can_ be
done, some facts will be stated of which the writer of this volume has
personal knowledge. There are, in all parts of this country, women of
education and benevolence, and some of them possessing wealth, who are
longing for something to do, which is more worthy of their cultivated
energies than the ordinary pursuits of women of leisure. There is a
still greater multitude of women of good sense and benevolence, who, if
educated, would make admirable teachers, but who now have no resource
but the needle and the manufactory. It is melancholy to see, in all
mechanical trades where woman’s labour is available, how many thousands
are following pursuits, many of them injurious to health and to morals,
and none of them qualifying a woman, in any respect, for future domestic

In the schoolroom, or at domestic service, a woman is learning to train
children, and to perform domestic duties properly, but in the workshop
and manufactory, she follows a monotonous toil, useful neither to
body nor mind, often injurious to both, and forming habits and tastes
disqualifying her for future domestic duties.[3]

On the other hand, in all parts of our country, especially at the West,
there are multitudes of flourishing towns and villages willing and
anxious to have good schools, and able and ready to support them, but
unwilling to do anything to sustain the miserable apology for teachers
within their reach. And still broader regions are to be found, in every
direction, not only without good teachers, but in many cases without any
desire for schools of any kind. Our _two million_ destitute children are
an appalling proof of this destitution and apathy.

Now, there are hundreds and thousands of enterprising, benevolent, and,
many of them, well educated women, who would rejoice to go forth as
_missionary teachers_ to these destitute children. Such women, by their
influence, not only in their schools, but in the village around them,
could do almost as much as a missionary, and at far less expense. For a
woman needs support only for herself, a man requires support for himself
and a family. And there are multitudes of such women, sighing over our
destitute country and wishing to be sent forth on such a service, and yet
they know of no way to secure the object of their wishes.

In the Catholic Church, a wisdom is shown on this subject, which
Protestants as yet have not exhibited. In that Church, if a lady of
wealth and family is led to devote herself to benevolent enterprises,
a post is immediately found for her as Lady Abbess, or Lady Patroness,
or Lady Superior, where she secures the power, consideration, and rank,
which even ambition might covet. There is now a Catholic institution
in one of our principal western cities, known to the writer, which is
superintended by a lady of rank and family from Belgium, and which is
only a branch of a still larger institution in Belgium, over which
another titled lady presides. And there are several other ladies of
family and fortune from Europe, who are spending their time and wealth
in gathering American children into the Catholic Church. Meantime, all
women of humbler station have places provided, as _Nuns_ or _Sisters of
Charity_, where they can spend their benevolent energies in honoured
activity. The clergy, having no families to occupy their time, devote
their whole attention to the extension of their faith _by schools_ as
well as by _planting churches_. To these instrumentalities are added
the _Jesuit_ establishment in this country, expressly devoted to the
interests of education, with the head Jesuit for the West stationed in
Cincinnati, to supervise and promote all plans for education. He is a man
of winning manners, great policy, untiring industry, and, so far as human
eye can see, honestly and sincerely devoted to the cause he has espoused.
Under his watchful eye, no energy, or benevolence, or skill is ever
lost, but all is husbanded and skilfully directed.

But among Protestants there is no system or organization instituted, thus
to secure and employ the benevolent energies of the female sex in the
cause of education. If a woman finds it in her heart to turn missionary
and go away from her country to instruct the _heathen_, in most cases,
every facility is provided, and public sentiment urges and encourages her
efforts, and she knows to whom to apply for support and encouragement.
But let a woman become interested _in her own country_, and earnestly
desire to labour for destitute American children, and no such means, or
facilities exist as make it suitable, or practicable to undertake. Among
Catholics, let a woman of family and fortune talk of going to the West
to teach, and she instantly is lauded as a saint; bishops, priests, and
Jesuits are at her side to encourage and aid, and honour in life and
canonization at death are her sure reward. But let a Protestant woman of
wealth and high standing express a wish and intention to go to the West
to teach, and it would be regarded by most of her friends and associates
as a mark of oddity--a deficiency of good sense. Family friends would
oppose, acquaintances would sneer, a few would faintly approve, no
individual and no body of men could be found, whose appropriate business
it is to aid, and so many obstacles would oppose, that, in most cases,
it would really be Quixotic to encounter them. And women in humbler
circumstances find almost as insurmountable obstacles; they know of
no place where they can go, it is the business of no one to aid them,
they know of no one to whom to apply for assistance, and thus it is that
hundreds and hundreds of women, abundantly competent to act as missionary
teachers, are pining in secret over wasted energies, which they are
longing to spend in the most appropriate duty of women, the training of
young minds for usefulness and for Heaven. It may be replied, that in
the Catholic Church women take vows of celibacy, which alone can enable
them thus to act for the cause of education, and that no such efficient
action for education can be anticipated from Protestant women, whose
religious faith opposes rather than encourages this sequestration from
domestic alliances. A few facts will serve to show the fallacy of this
impression. A lady of New-England, who for a number of years conducted a
large female institution, furnishes this as the result of her experience.
During nine years, four hundred teachers went out from this institution.
Of these, _eighty-eight_ went to the West and South. At the end of
these nine years, of the _eighty-eight_ who went to the West and South,
_sixty-four_ (which is more than three fourths) _continued as teachers_.
Twelve of these continued teachers after marriage. During three years of
this time, a society connected with this institution was in operation to
aid young women in educating themselves to be teachers. This assistance
was in the form of a loan, which at no time was to exceed _two hundred
dollars_ to any one individual, and this loan was to be returned
whenever it was practicable. The society remitted the debt in cases where
it was not. Means were also provided for the appropriate protection and
location of these teachers. The number who in three years received aid
was _forty-three_, and the sum of $4340,00 was loaned for this purpose.
_Twenty-four_ of these, in the space of eight years from the first loans,
refunded from their own earnings all that was loaned. Eight refunded in
part. The remainder did not refund within the eight years, but all who
were not sick or dead were expecting and aiming so to do.

A clergyman, who for a number of years was a travelling agent for one
of our benevolent institutions, and who felt an interest in discovering
the results of the above effort, stated it as his conviction, that no
college in our country had, in the same period, done more for the cause
of education and religion in our land than this institution had done by
sending forth its female teachers. Many other similar facts could be
stated, showing that there is even a greater chance of permanent results
in employing _a given sum_ for the education of female teachers, than for
the education of young men for the ministry.

The lady who conducted this institution, and furnished these facts, also
stated, that at all times the number of those desirous of qualifying
themselves for teachers, and who would gladly have obtained loans for
this end, was far beyond the means the society could command, while
the demands sent on to this institution for teachers, from the South
and West, was altogether more than could be supplied; thus showing
that there were places demanding teachers, and teachers seeking for
places, and no adequate instrumentality in existence for meeting these
reciprocal demands. In the Eastern States, it is the testimony of school
committees, and others employed in selecting teachers, that _crowds_ of
female applicants are constantly turned aside, not because they are not
qualified, but because the number of applicants greatly exceeds that of
the vacancies.

Another lady, who had conducted a large female institution in
New-England, made an attempt to aid women of education and benevolence,
who were anxious to act as teachers, and wished for aid in finding a
proper location. The failure of health interrupted her efforts, yet, with
a very limited inquiry, _more than a hundred_ women of appropriate spirit
and qualifications were _immediately_ found, anxious to avail themselves
of such aid; while the rumour of such an effort, for two or three years,
brought letters to her from all parts of the country, asking assistance,
some of them in the most moving terms.

By the census, it appears that the excess of female population in
New-England over that of the other sex is more than 14,000. From
extensive inquiries and consultation, the writer believes that _one
fourth_ of these women would gladly engage as teachers; that a large part
are already qualified, and that the others could be fitted for these
duties at an _average_ expense of two hundred dollars each.

Another fact will be mentioned to show _the waste_ of female talent and
benevolence for want of some _organized agency_ which secures men whose
_business_ it is to attend to the interests of education.

A lady, who had conducted a large female institution in New-England,
removed to one of the largest western cities, and, in connexion
with several other ladies of experience and reputation, established
an institution, which they designed, eventually, should become an
institution for the preparation and location of female teachers, with a
school connected with it, supported by the citizens, which should serve
as a _model school_. It was hoped that, when the teachers had gained
public confidence at the West, as they had done at the East, funds would
be furnished, both at the East and West, which would enable these ladies
to say to hundreds of their countrywomen interested in the effort, “Here
is a resort for you, where you may qualify yourselves to be first-rate
teachers, and be _aided in finding a location_ in the many flourishing
but destitute towns and villages of the West.”

The school was abundantly patronised, and successfully conducted. The
ladies then applied for a fund of some $30,000, given for purposes of
education, by a gentleman of that city; and not specifically devoted to
any particular object. The trustees of this fund voted to devote it to
this enterprise, if the citizens would raise $15,000 for a building.
The citizens manifested all appropriate interest, so far as kind words
and liberal offers were concerned. Two gentlemen subscribed a thousand
dollars each, and several five hundred each, and nothing was needed
_but a person properly qualified, who should devote himself to the
enterprise_. The ladies conducting the school, with failing health and
many cares, could not carry forward such an effort, and no _man_ could
be found to devote himself to it. The result was, that the Catholic
bishop bought the building occupied by this school for a Catholic female
institution. No other suitable building could be hired. The hard times
came on, and funds could not be raised to build one; and thus, with
tears of bitter disappointment, the school was given up, and the whole
enterprise failed, and simply because it was _the business_ of no person
to attend to the general interests of education. Had these ladies turned
Catholics, bishops, priests, Jesuits, and all their subordinates, would
have been devoted to their cause, and rich funds from foreign lands would
have been laid at their feet. As it was, in a wealthy and most liberal
Protestant city, where _four_ of the largest establishments in its bounds
have been purchased for _Catholic_ institutions of education, and two of
them for females, a _Protestant_ institution, conducted by four female
teachers of established reputation, passed away for want of suitable
accommodations. Meantime, in that same city, the agents of various
benevolent societies took up liberal contributions for the heathen,
for slaves, for drunkards, for sailors, for convicts, for colleges
(both in and out of the city), for the education of young men, for the
distribution of Bibles and tracts, and for many other objects; because
_men are supported, by voluntary contribution_, to give their whole time
to these objects.

There is no just foundation for the remark not unfrequently made, that
the Catholic Church contains more _self-denying_ benevolence than other
communions, while _sisters of charity_ and _nuns_ are pointed out
as illustrations. There are hundreds and thousands of women in this
Protestant land, who, without the mistaken principles, possess all
the self-denying benevolence which, in Catholic communities, leads to
cloistered vows. The writer, after extensive inquiries in almost all the
free states, believes it would be far within the bounds of moderation
to assert that, if any responsible persons would pledge the pecuniary
means and appropriate protection, five hundred benevolent women could be
found _in less than one month_, with all appropriate qualifications for
_missionary teachers_. Some of these are possessed of wealth, and still
more command a pleasant home, with all the comforts of competence and
the best society; yet they would joyfully encounter the privations of
missionary life in efforts to save their country, could any _appropriate_
method be devised.

These allusions to the aid and encouragement offered to benevolent women
in the Catholic Church are not designed to be invidious. Whatever class
of religionists conscientiously hold, that there is no safety from
eternal ruin but in their church, not only _Christian_ benevolence, but
common humanity should impel them to all possible efforts, to gather
every human being into their communion. And it is feared that Protestants
do not always make sufficient allowance for this consideration.

The wrong lamented is, not that Catholics act consistently with their
faith, but that Protestants do not offer the same aid and encouragement
to benevolent Protestant women, who are so earnest in their desires to
devote time and talents, and, in some cases, wealth, to the salvation of
the children of our country.

In view of these facts, it is now proposed to attempt to raise means
for educating destitute American children, by the agency of women of
education and benevolence, who wish to engage in the work; and for
supporting at least one gentleman of suitable character and influence,
whose time shall be wholly devoted to this enterprise.

The first thing which will be attempted will be to select, from those who
are desirous to engage in such a service, a certain number of those who
are best qualified by education, energy, discretion, and self-denying
benevolence, and who are willing to be stationed, under the protection
of some adjacent clergyman, in places where there are neither churches
or schools, assured of nothing more than is allowed to home and foreign
missionaries, namely, a proper mode of conveyance and location, and _a
simple support_, secured by some responsible persons.

A small beginning will be made, under the supervision of a committee of
six gentlemen, one from each of six different Protestant denominations.
The following gentlemen have consented to act as such a committee until
more permanent arrangements can be made.

    Rev. Dr. ELLIOT, Cincinnati.
    Rev. Dr. LYND, ditto.
    Rev. JAMES H. PERKINS, ditto.
    Rev. Dr. M’GUFFEY, ditto.
    Rev. Dr. STOWE, ditto.
    Rev. Bishop SMITH, Louisville, Kentucky.

As soon as means are raised sufficient to support a gentleman who shall
devote himself to this object, the above committee will endeavour to
organize a Board of Managers, consisting of an equal number of gentlemen
from each of the principal Protestant denominations, who are resident
in different sections of the country, and possess general confidence.
This board will then appoint an Executive Committee, Treasurer, and
Secretary, to superintend and perform all the business connected with
this enterprise, who shall be located either in New-York or Cincinnati.

In order to aid in raising funds for this object, a method is proposed,
which will enable every woman who feels an interest in the effort, to
contribute, at least a small sum, to promote it.

Two works are now issued by the largest publishing house in the country,
which, it is believed, will prove useful and interesting to every
American woman. An account of these works and the terms of the contract
will be found at the close of this volume.[4] It will be seen that these
terms are very favourable, and involve no hazard of loss. These works
will be put into the market and be sold at ordinary prices. _Half the
profits_ (after paying a moderate compensation to the author for the
time and labour of preparing them, the amount to be decided by the above
gentlemen) will be devoted to this object, and as the works are of a kind
that will always be useful, a large sale would secure both a present and
future income.

Any woman, then, who is desirous to aid in promoting this enterprise, can
do so by requesting some bookseller in her vicinity to send for these
works, and then purchasing them herself and using her influence to induce
her friends to do the same. Still more will be effected by securing
notices of these works in newspapers and other periodicals.

Should means be obtained sufficient, to secure the services of a suitable
gentleman, the following measures are suggested as what might be

In the first place, an effort could be made to secure committees of
ladies, of each denomination, in all our principal cities, who shall
agree to act simultaneously, on some uniform plan, and, if need be, keep
up a correspondence in order to secure this result. Such committees might
exert themselves in one, or all of the following ways:

They could, firstly, aim to secure the aid and co-operation of the
conductors of the periodical press, literary, political, and religious.
The gentleman who engages in this enterprise, could write, or cause
others to write, articles calculated to arouse the public mind in regard
to popular education. These articles could be transmitted to all the
affiliated committees in every part of our land, and by their influence,
be inserted in most of the newspapers, or other periodicals within their
reach. Thus a steady and most powerful influence would be brought to
bear on the public mind. _The people_ would be aroused, and through the
people, the _legislatures_ might be led to energetic and appropriate
action. And then, as fast as schools are formed, female teachers will be
in demand.

These committees, if it is deemed proper, might also address private
letters to clergymen of their several denominations, asking aid and
advice. Next to the press, the pulpit is the most effective engine of
moral power, and, happily, the clergy of this nation have ever been among
the most ardent and active friends of education, and the warm supporters
of almost every benevolent enterprise. An appeal to them for aid must
secure happy results.

Another method, which such committees could adopt, would be, to make
personal appeals, both to ladies of large means and to those, also, of
smaller ability, for subscriptions to aid in educating and locating
female missionary teachers. Such subscriptions, however, cannot be
successfully sought until some body is organized, consisting of gentlemen
of various denominations, who possess public confidence, and who shall be
properly authorized to receive and appropriate subscriptions.

Another and most important measure could be prosecuted by these
committees. At the East, where there is a superabundance of teachers,
and of women who could speedily be qualified to teach, such committees
could act in selecting the most suitable women of their own denomination
to receive the aid provided; and the _number_ might be regulated by the
relative amount of subscriptions in each denomination.

At the West, such committees could aid in providing schools for those
sent out, a suitable escort, a proper home, and the advice, sympathy, and
aid that would be needed by a stranger in a strange land.

Were such committees known to be in existence at _the East_, they
speedily would be addressed by multitudes of intelligent and benevolent
women, seeking aid in their efforts to gain opportunities to impart
knowledge and salvation to the perishing _heathen_ children in our own

Were such committees in existence at _the West_, and their eyes directed
to the desolate regions of ignorance around them, they would soon find
their warmest energies enlisted in gathering outcast lambs into the fold
of safety, to be trained and guided to heaven.

To impart a more vivid idea of the wants which are to be met, and of
one of the first objects to be aimed at, in the efforts proposed, some
incidents in the experience of the writer will be narrated.

In a small village, less than thirty miles from one of the largest cities
of the West, the writer once stopped to dine. Several children were
playing about, when the following conversation took place:

“Is there any school in this place!”

“No, madam; it is a good while since we have had one. Miss L. came and
taught here nearly a year; but she went home, and we have had no school

“How many children are there here who would go to a school if there were

“I should think there are as many as forty or fifty.”

“Do you suppose the parents would like to have a school, and would pay
the teacher well?”

“Oh, yes! If we could get a _good_ teacher, she would be well paid for
her trouble; but none of us know where to get one, and the men folks are
too busy to go and look for one.”

“Have you any clergyman in the place?”

“No, madam.”

“Do the people here ever go to any church?”

“Yes, madam; they sometimes go off a _good piece_ to W., where there is
preaching sometimes.”

It was in another village of the West, and one as destitute as this,
that a young lady from New-England, who came out under the care of a
clergyman, stationed herself to rear up a school. She agreed to teach for
a small sum, and to _board around_ with the parents of her pupils.

Most of these parents were from the South, where they were unaccustomed
to the notions of comfort and thrift which the young lady possessed.

She not only taught the children at school, but, in each family where
she boarded, taught the housekeeper how to make _good yeast_ and _good
bread_. She also taught the young women how to cut dresses and how to
braid straw for bonnets.

Her instructions in the day-school and in the Sunday-school, and her
influence in the families, were unbounded, and almost transforming. No
minister, however well qualified, could have wrought such favourable
changes in so short a time.

In another case, known to the writer, a young lady went into such a
destitute village. There was no church, and no minister of any sect.
She taught the children through the week, and also instituted a
Sunday-school. In this she conducted religious worship herself. Gradually
the mothers came to attend, then the fathers, until, at last, she found
herself in the office both of teacher and clergyman. The last portion of
her duties she resigned to a minister, who, by her instrumentality, was
settled there.

The writer might mention several other similar cases which have come to
her knowledge.

There are hundreds of such destitute places in our land, where a prudent,
self-denying, and energetic woman might be instrumental in leading a
whole community “out of darkness into marvellous light,” and there are
hundreds of such women wishing to go to them.

The writer, when returning to the East, has often been met by young
friends with such representations as these: “I have nothing to employ
my time which satisfies my conscience. I have education, leisure, and
means; can you find me a sphere of usefulness which I can reach _with
propriety_? I cannot go off alone; for, even if I thought it proper, my
friends would not consent.”

Again, another friend says, “Why cannot you find something for Miss G. to
do? She is well educated, rich, benevolent, and really is suffering for
want of something to do. She has thought of going on a foreign mission,
but surely there is enough for her to do in her own country.”

Yes, surely, there is enough to do in our own country. When will the
wise, and the influential, and the benevolent awake to this subject, and
devise the proper mode of meeting such wants?

Those who are interested in the project presented in this work by
no means assume that this is the _best way_. They only feel that
_something_ ought to be attempted; and that, if this effort does no other
good, it may put in train influences that will develop a better way.

The writer of this volume also presents this enterprise, not as the plan
of an individual, but as a project devised, by consultation, among many
ladies of influence and benevolence, who are interested in securing its
success. And if it is effected, it is hoped that it will be by such
_simultaneous_ interest and efforts, that no one will be conspicuous,
either as originator or leader in the enterprise.

The views presented in this work are those held in common by a large
number of intelligent ladies in all parts of our land; and, though
one has been selected and requested to write this work, it should be
regarded, not as the opinions of an individual, but as a wreath of
benevolence, woven, indeed, by one hand, but gathered from many noble and
benevolent minds.

The following extracts from letters received from gentlemen of high
standing in various parts of our nation, will serve to corroborate the
views expressed in the preceding pages:

_From the Hon. Thomas Burrowes, late Secretary of State in Pennsylvania._

I have long been of opinion that the _great deficiency_ of our age and
country, in reference to the sound instruction of the coming generation,
is the _want of teachers_.

I am now fully convinced that this want _must be_ supplied _before_ any
other step can be safely or usefully taken. Nay, I believe that, until
this indispensable preliminary measure is accomplished, money, and
effort, and legislation will be, _as they have been_, money, and effort,
and legislation _nearly_ thrown away. Since 1834, this state has expended
more than _five millions_ for the support of her common schools, and, at
the end of ten years, I see but little improvement.

In this immense expenditure, not a dollar has been spent to secure this
great prerequisite--_good teachers_; and hence the system has not only
failed to obtain general favour, but is in danger of becoming more and
more unacceptable the longer it is tried. It is sad to think that we
have thus wasted _five millions_ of dollars, and _ten years_ of time, to
say nothing of the labour expended and obloquy encountered, and must now
re-commence from the foundation; but so it is.

I know of no cause which so much needs a _general movement_ as this. Let
not its friends shrink from the undertaking because they may not be able
to operate in all, or even in many of the states. Let it be remembered
that if a commencement is made in one state, and a report of results sent
forth, it will serve to start the good work in all the rest.

The necessities, the crying necessities of this cause, are far and away
before those of the Temperance Reform, or of Colleges, or of Foreign
Missions. He who, being fit, should devote himself to this cause, would
confer a greater benefit on his fellow-man than he could possibly do by
any other use of his time and talents.

The missionary to a heathen land opens _the Book of Life_ to his
fellow-man; the missionary in this cause opens _the mind_ of his
fellow-citizens, not only to the Book of Life, but to a knowledge of all
those rights and duties, without which our free institutions cannot stand
to encourage and reform the world.

If my gifts and domestic relations permitted, I should devote myself
to a mission in this and other states for the purpose of impressing on
Legislatures, philanthropists, and teachers, the _necessity of Teachers’

A gentleman, supported to operate in this cause, might be employed
in this way. He could visit different states one after another, and
address the citizens of each county in the county town, after long and
full notice. Besides addressing the people publicly, he could appeal to
leading individuals privately, and engage them to act with him for this
object. Meantime, he could be obtaining educational statistics for future
use, and ere long he could make such a report as would set the people to
work in earnest, and for their own sakes.

While thus proceeding, he could also obtain the promise of one or more
intelligent persons in each county, to write on the subject every week
in each of the county newspapers. Articles thus addressed to the reason,
the patriotism, and the _economy_ of the people, would have a powerful
effect, and cost nothing.

If funds could be provided from private benevolence to establish proper
_Teachers’ Institutions_ in two or three states, they would set the
matter far ahead in a few years. They would serve as _models_ and
_inducements_ to the public, and would not long continue to need the
support of private philanthropy. They would really be _normal_, or
_pattern_ establishments.

Beyond a doubt, the plan ought to embrace institutions for the
preparation of _female_ teachers. The gentleness, self-devotion, and
untiring humanity of women eminently qualify them to be the instructers
of the more youthful pupils of both sexes, and of their own of all ages.
There is not a show of any reason why male teachers only should be
provided for at the public charge, when female teachers are as necessary,
as useful, and as much confided in by the public.

_From the Rev. Mr. Sturtevant, President of Illinois College._

“In regard to some voluntary organization to secure popular education, if
it were worked with a truly liberal and Christian spirit, it could, and
would, do us great good in this state: first, by collecting statistics
of our wants, and calling attention (by _the press_, and by _public
lectures_ all over the state) to these wants, and to what has been
accomplished in other states and countries.

2. By supporting, at least in part, _model schools_ in different parts of
the state, to show, _by example_, what good schools are.

3. By bringing public sentiment to bear on the Legislature, especially in
reference to our _school fund_. It is now nearly _two millions_, and is
yearly increasing. _Now_, its whole management is left to the unregulated
action of the Legislature, without a _single mind_ devoted to acquiring
and disseminating knowledge as to the proper mode of using it. Whether,
any one year, there shall be even one _intelligent_ friend of education
in our Legislature, is a matter of chance. If some plan be not devised
for leading the Legislature to wise views, the object of this fund will
be lost. It will a little diminish the expense for each child, but add
nothing towards getting better schools.”

President Sturtevant’s account of the deplorable state of their schools,
and of the _public apathy_ on the subject, is mournful.

_From the Rev. Henry Beecher, of Indianapolis, Indiana._

Much can be done in Indiana, much _ought_ to be done, and _speedily_; for,

1. It will be a more densely-populated state than Ohio or Illinois,
because its land is _uniformly good_.

2. It has been grievously neglected. Its settlers were originally from
Kentucky, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Such do better for flocks and
farms than for mental and moral improvement.

3. We have a good system of common school education, which, for purposes
of Church and State ambition, some sectarians are disposed to break
down; and they are of the dominant sect in the state. Those sects that
foster education are in the minority, and struggling up through many

4. We have a school fund of more than _two millions_, which is in such
neglect as threatens its _entire loss_.

An agent should be supported to lecture through the state, in every
county town, to secure workers to defend our school system, to protect
our school fund from depredators, to secure an annual Education
Convention, and otherwise exert influence. The right man for such an
agent I know. It is a Dr. Cornett, of Versailles, Ripley Co., Ia. He is a
member of our Senate, and chairman of their Committee on Education: a man
prudent, cool, sagacious, interested in the cause, and of great weight in
the community.

_The following is extracted from a letter from the Dr. Cornett spoken of

Strange it is, that while the benevolent among our people are exerting
themselves so much at home and abroad, that the thousands and millions
_in our own country_ who cannot so much as read one word in the Book
of Life, should be overlooked, and no organization effected in their
behalf. It is absurd to think of a Republic being long sustained without
the people generally being educated. To talk of their maintaining _their
rights_ when denied the means of knowing what their rights are, is to
talk nonsense. If our whole people could be educated by _the right sort
of teachers_, there would be little need of temperance societies, and
temperance newspapers, and lectures, and other means now so properly
employed for _moral reformation_. Our children would enter on the
practical duties of life with pure minds, well fortified against vice
in all shapes. In Indiana we are in deplorable want of _good teachers_
for our common schools. Why cannot some plan be devised for educating
intelligent boys and girls for these duties, and then finding them

In reference to the school fund, he says,

Many of our state legislators seem more disposed to favour the borrowing
of school money than to promote education. If competent lecturers
were sent among the people, urging the value of education, both in a
_pecuniary_ and _political_ view, these same demagogues would find it for
their interest to become clamorous for the cause. I have been at the head
of the Senate’s Committee on Education, and have had great difficulty in
sustaining the integrity of our school fund. The term of my services has
expired, and I cannot resume them. From what I know of our Legislature,
I believe there is great need of a stir being made among the people in
reference to this matter and the cause in general. My isolated condition,
laborious profession, and poor health forbid my following my feelings
in going forth as a voluntary lecturer; but let some organization be
effected, and numerous and efficient lecturers would rise up to do
_gratuitous_ work.

_The following is from Judge Lane, of the Supreme Court of Ohio._

I believe our Legislature, if left to itself, would permit the Common
Schools to sink and perish in their hands. That body possesses at all
times individuals of great worth, but the larger part have very little
intelligence, and their motives of action are entirely different from
those which would subserve this cause. I believe that an _association
of gentlemen_ in this state is the only mode of leading the Legislature
into the necessary measures, and that, through them, this might be
accomplished _by the press_ and by _public lectures_ (if the right man
and measures are employed). I believe that a change of public opinion on
this subject _cannot_ be secured, _indirectly_, through the elevation of
the minds of a few, nor by the dissemination of good principles by the
circulation of Bibles and tracts, or the settlement of ministers, or the
cultivation of young men in colleges, or in any other speedy mode except
that of an association acting on a specific plan, and pursuing it with
perseverance, and by expedient means. I deem the employment of some
_agent_ indispensable to give form and intensity to such an association;
and a man for this work would require a rare combination of qualities.

_The following is from one of the leading Lawyers of Ohio._

The more I think of this subject of national education, the more I feel
anxious to be up and doing. I do not think that any other field of labour
now presents itself in which so much good can be done, and it is not
the least important consideration, certainly, that while thus engaged
in doing good to others, we shall be, in the highest sense, _educating
ourselves_. All that I can do, I feel anxious to do in this great work;
and as soon as any plan is definitely arranged, I will go to work, and if
I can get time in no other way, will diminish my business for the purpose.

_The following is from E. C. Delavan, Esq., who has devoted so much of
his time for several years to the cause of Temperance._

The importance of the question of national education cannot be overrated.
In a selfish point of view, the old states could well afford to be taxed
a million a year to enlighten the new, but they will not see it or feel
it, I fear, until it is too late; yet much can be done. When leading
minds are suitably impressed, _the mass_ will be. Under God, _the press_
is the great instrument that must be used, and _a long time_ before the
mass will move. It appears to me that the first step to be taken is
to interest men in all parts of the Union _to feed the political and
religious press_. Then, when the public mind is aroused, talents and
means will be found to take hold practically.

_The following is from a Lawyer in Cincinnati._

Our city and vicinity would furnish room for _a dozen_ labourers in this
cause instead of one; and one of the most effectual modes of operation
would be to enlist a dozen others in the cause. A man devoted to this
cause would be welcomed among us as an angel of light by all classes
and all sects, and would be sure to enjoy the good wishes of all, the
positive aid of many, and the useful counsel of not a few. The spirit
of education is largely abroad among us, and only wants an efficient
_leader_ to enable it to breathe a new existence into the whole moral,
social, political, and religious being of our community here, and, by
necessary consequence, into the whole valley of the West. We have the
best tools to work with, the best materials to work upon, and we only
want, and this we sadly want, some person to influence us to use the one
and act upon the other, by commencing _an example_.

I should hail the commencement of such an enterprise as the dawning of a
new light upon the West, and would not only give what little aid I might,
but would use all my little influence to make it work effectually in its
onward progress.

These extracts will suffice to show the vast field of labour open to a
man of talents, supported for the object aimed at.

_The following extract from an address of Prof. Stowe, delivered at
Portland in 1844, corroborates the views expressed by the author on the
subject of moral training._

But in this country, in consequence of our unbounded religious freedom,
the subdivisions of sect are almost innumerable; it is impossible, in a
system of public instruction, to provide separately for them all; and,
unless religious instruction can be given _without sectarianism_, it must
be abandoned.

“In this country the rights of all sects are the same, and any
denomination that would have its own rights respected must respect the
rights of others.

“The time which can be devoted to religious instruction in schools is
necessarily very limited; and if there be an honest and sincere desire
to do right, the whole of this time certainly can be occupied, with
efficiency and profit, without encroaching on the conscience of any sect
which really has a conscience.

“Facts show plainly that, notwithstanding the diversity of sects, there
is common ground on which the sincerely pious of all sects substantially
agree. For example, the most acceptable books of practical piety, which
are oftenest read by Christians of all denominations, have proceeded
from about all the different sects into which Christendom is divided,
and are read by all with scarcely a recognition of the difference
of sect. Such are the writings of Thomas à Kempis and Fenelon, who
were Roman Catholics; of Jeremy Taylor and Bishop Hall, who were
Churchmen; of Baxter, Watts, and Doddridge, who were Presbyterians or
Congregationalists; of Bunyan and Andrew Fuller, who were Baptists; of
Fletcher and Charles Wesley, who were Methodists. This fact alone shows
that there is common ground, and enough of it too, to employ all the time
which can properly be devoted to religious instruction in our public

“All Christian sects, without exception, recognise the Bible as the
text-book of their religion. They all acknowledge it to be a book given
of God, and replete with the most excellent sentiments, moral and
religious. None will admit that it is unfavourable to their peculiar
views, but, on the contrary, all claim that it promotes them. To the use
of the Bible, then, as the text-book of religious instruction in our
schools, there can be no serious objection on the part of Christians of
any sect; and even unbelievers very generally admit it to be a very good
and useful book.

“But shall it be the whole Bible? or only the New Testament? or
selections made from one or both?

“A book of mere selection would be very apt to awaken jealousy; and the
exclusion of any part of the Scriptures would, to my mind, be painful.
Let every scholar, then, have a whole Bible. The book can now be obtained
so cheap, that the expense can be no objection.

“But how can the teacher instruct in the Bible without coming on to
sectarian ground? He can teach a great deal in regard to its geography
and antiquities, and can largely illustrate its narrations, and its
_moral_, and even _religious_, beauties. An honest, intelligent teacher
can find, in this way, abundant employment for all his time, if he be
himself a lover and student of the Bible, without ever passing into
sectarian peculiarities, or giving any reasonable ground of offence.

“But, apart from all this, the chief business of instruction in this
department may be the committing to memory of portions of the Divine
Word. The most rigidly orthodox will not object to this, for they believe
every portion of the Bible to be the _word of God which liveth and
abideth forever_, and that _all Scripture is profitable for doctrine_,
_reproof_, _correction_, _and instruction in righteousness_; and the
liberal, though they may not sympathize in the high orthodox view of the
divine excellence of the Word, yet regard it as, on the whole, the best
of books, and the more of it their children have treasured up in their
minds, the better it must be for them. If the parent chooses, he can
always himself select the portions to be committed by his child, or he
may leave it to the discretion of the teacher, or he may give general
directions, as selections from the Gospels, the Proverbs, the Psalms,
&c. It is not at all essential that all the children of the same school,
or even of the same class, should recite the same passages. Each child
may be called upon, in turn, to recite what each one has committed, and
the recitation may or may not be accompanied by remarks from the teacher,
as circumstances may seem to justify or require.

“But there is another difficulty. The Roman Catholics, it is said, do not
desire that their children should be instructed in the Scriptures; they
receive the apocryphal book as a part of Scripture, and contend that we
have not the whole Bible unless we include the Apocrypha; and they object
to our common English translation.

“In reply to this, I remark, in the first place, there are many parts
of our land where there are no Roman Catholics, and, of course, the
difficulty will not occur in those places.

“Secondly, if Roman Catholics choose to exclude their children from a
knowledge of the Bible, they have a perfectly legal right to do so, and
we have no legal right to prevent it; nor should we desire any such legal
right, for the moment we desire any such legal right, we abandon the
Protestant principle and adopt the Papal. Catholic parents are perfectly
competent to demand that their children should be excused from the Bible
recitation, and this demand, if made, should be complied with; but they
have no right to demand that the Bible should be withheld from the
schools because they do not like it, nor do their objections render it
necessary or excusable for Protestants to discard the Bible from schools.

“Again, if Roman Catholics desire that _their_ children take _their_
Bibles into the schools, and recite from them, by all means let them
do so; and so of Jews, let them recite from the Old Testament, if they
choose, to the exclusion of the New. We allow to others equal rights with
ourselves; but we claim for ourselves, and shall insist upon having,
equal rights with all. I am perfectly willing to give to the Roman
Catholics all they can justly claim, but I am not willing to encroach
on any one’s rights, or the rights of any Protestant denomination, for
the sake of accommodating the Roman Catholics. Nor do I suppose that the
Romanists have a claim to any special accommodation, for they have never
yet manifested any particular disposition to accommodate others. Let them
have the same privileges that our Protestant sects have--that is enough;
and they have no right to demand, our legislators have no right to grant,
any more; and we Protestants will be perfectly satisfied when Protestants
can enjoy as great privileges in Italy as Roman Catholics now enjoy in
the United States. In judicious practice, I am persuaded there will
seldom be any great difficulty, especially if there be excited generally
in the community anything like a whole-hearted honesty and enlightened
sincerity in the cause of public instruction.

“It is all right for people to suit their own taste and convictions in
respect to sect; and by fair means and at proper times, to teach their
children and those under their influence to prefer the denominations
which they prefer; but farther than this no one has any right to go. It
is all wrong to hazard the well-being of the soul, to jeopardize great
public interests for the sake of advancing the interests of a sect.
People must learn to practise some self-denial, on Christian principles,
in respect to their denominational preferences, as well as in respect to
other things, before pure religion can ever gain a complete victory over
every form of human selfishness.

“Happily, there are places where religious instruction that is purely
denominational can be freely given, so that there is no need whatever of
introducing it into our public schools. The family and the Sunday school
are the appropriate places for such instruction; and there let each
denomination train its own children in its own peculiar way, with none to
molest or to find fault. It is their right, it is their duty.

“As to the objection, that the use of the Bible in schools makes it too
common, and subjects it to contempt, as well might it be objected that
the sun becomes contemptible because he shines every day and illumines
the beggar’s hovel as well as the bishop’s palace. Where is the Bible
most respected, in Scotland and New-England, or in Italy and Austria?
The works of man, the robed monarch, may make themselves contemptible by
being too often seen; but never the works of God. The children may, and
ought to be, taught to treat the book with all possible reverence, and to
preserve it as nice and unsullied as the Catholic preserves his crucifix;
and in this way, I am sure, on all the principles of human nature with
which I am acquainted, that the Bible will be no more likely to suffer
from the habit of daily familiarity than the crucifix.

“Let no one say that the religious instruction here proposed for schools
is jejune and unprofitable. I do not so view the words of God. In any
view, if the child faithfully commit to memory so much as the single
Gospel of Matthew, or the first twenty-five Psalms, or the first ten
chapters of Proverbs, or portions of the book of Genesis, those divine
sentences will be in his mind forever after, ready to be called up to
check him when any temptation assails his heart, to cheer him when any
sorrow oppresses his soul, to be a lamp to his feet and a light to his
path; to be in all respects of more real and permanent value to him than
any creed, or catechism, or system of theology, or rules of ethics, of
merely human origin, ever can be.

“Why should we prevent so great a good by claiming what we have no right
to claim? Are we not willing to trust the Word of God to cut its own way?
Or can we claim to be Christians at all, while we consent to have the
Word of God and all Christian teaching banished from our institutions of
public instruction? Let not _infidel coldness_, _jesuitical intolerance_,
or _sectarian jealousy_, rob our schools of their greatest ornament and
most precious treasure, the Bible of our fathers. Let not denominational
feeling so far prevail as to lead us to destroy the greatest good while
attempting to secure the less, as has so often been done in the Christian
world heretofore. We are willing to give up much for the sake of peace
and united effort; but the Bible, the word of God, the palladium of our
freedom, the foundation of all our most precious hopes, we never can, we
never will give up. Let all who love the Bible unite to defend it, to
hold on upon it forever.”


[1] The following is the mode of obtaining the facts stated above:

In the census, 550,000 is the number of those who have _confessed_ their
inability to read and write. That many have claimed to be able to read
and write, who are not, is thus established. In Virginia, every man,
on applying for marriage license, must sign his name or make his mark.
An examination was made in _ninety-three_ out of 123, the whole number
of the county courts giving license, and _one quarter_, and in many
cases _one third_, of the applicants could not write their names. Their
wives could not be any better educated. This indicates that certainly
as many as _one quarter_ of the white adults in the state cannot sign
their names. One quarter of 329,959, which is the adult population of
Virginia, is 82,489. But the census, instead of that number, gives only
58,789 who cannot read and write, a difference of _forty per cent._ Take,
then, the 550,000 who have confessed their ignorance, and add _forty
per cent._ for inaccuracy, and the number is 770,000. To these, add the
increase since the census was taken, and those also who, by neglect,
have lost all ability to read and write, and _one million_ is a very
moderate calculation for adult ignorance in this nation. Of these, at
least 175,000 are voters. General Harrison’s majority, in 1840, was
146,000, or 24,000 _less_ than the number of _voters_ who cannot read and
write.--(_See Mr. Mann’s 4th of July Oration._)

The census also records more children as attending school than is
the truth. Thus, in Massachusetts, the state records, presented
to the Legislature, are very accurate, and these make the number
several thousands _less_ than the census. In 1840, our population was
fourteen millions. _One fourth_ of these are between four and sixteen,
making 3,645,388 of an age to go to school. But the census, although
exaggerating the number, shows only 1,845,244 as attending schools.
This, deducted from the number of those of age to go to school, leaves
1,800,144, or _nearly one half_, who do not attend school. To these, add
the increase since the census, and _more than half_ the children of this
nation are without schools!

The census also shows 4750 in penitentiaries, and their average time of
confinement is _four_ years. An equal number were in jails for _crime_,
and their average time of imprisonment is six months. Supposing them to
live, on an average, eight years after their release, and we have 85,500
_criminals_ as voters.

In 1836, Mr. Van Buren’s majority was 25,000. Thus it is shown, that the
majority which elects our President is far outnumbered by the _criminals_
who are allowed to vote.

[2] See note A.

[3] See note B, p. 153.

[4] See Note B.


The writer, in the preceding part, has presented a mode of religious
training adapted to schools composed of children whose parents are of
different sects.

There is one modification of this mode, which the writer wishes to
present to that class of parents who not only believe in the Supreme
Divinity of Jesus Christ, but are in a habit of addressing their worship
to Him distinctively; believing that this is the way in which we have
access to God the Father, who is worshipped as dwelling in Jesus Christ.
Such suppose that the Bible sanctions alike the mode of addressing Jesus
Christ distinctively, and also the Father distinctively, and that we can
pray in either mode with acceptance.

It is believed that parents who hold this view will find great aid in
the religious training of their children by adopting this method.

In commencing instructions from the Bible, let the first lesson consist
of such texts as the following:

“Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.”

“And his name is called the _Word of God_.”

“All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that
is made.”

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of

“By Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are on
earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or
principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him and for Him,
and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. Every house
is builded by some man, but He that built all things is God.”

Having thus fixed in the child’s mind that the Creator of the world is
Jesus Christ, and that the terms Jesus Christ, God, Jehovah, and the
Lord, are different names for the same person, then let all the Bible
history in the Old Testament be read with the understanding that the
being spoken of through the whole of it is Jesus Christ. If any one
has doubts on this point, let him read President Edwards’s work on the
History of Redemption, and let him also collate all the passages in
which God appeared to the ancient patriarchs and prophets, and it will
be clear that there was a Jehovah who _sent_, and a Jehovah who was the
_messenger_, and that this last was Jesus Christ, and the one who always
appeared to the patriarchs.

The advantage of this mode of commencing religious instructions is, that
it presents to the mind of a child a Being who can be clearly conceived
of, and a character which is drawn out in all those tender and endearing
exhibitions that a child can understand and appreciate. It thus is
rendered easy for parents to obey the words of the Saviour, who, when his
mistaken disciples would have driven them afar off, said, “Suffer _the
little children_ to come unto me.”

If a child is taught, from the first, to pray to Jesus Christ, all
that perplexity, doubt, and difficulty which many feel in regard to
Jesus Christ and the place he is to hold in their devotions will be
escaped. Then, if they feel any doubts as to whether they understand
correctly about the Father, and whether they are required to worship him
distinctively, these doubts will easily be removed by these words of

“He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. If ye had known me, ye should
have known my Father. I am in the Father, and the Father in me. The
Father dwelleth in me. Believe me, I am in the Father, and the Father in
me. And whatsoever ye ask in my name, _that will I do_; that the Father
may be glorified in the Son. If ye ask anything in my name, I will do it.”

The writer has seen a family of four children, the youngest four and the
eldest not nine, where the mother, who pursued this course, remarked that
these children seemed to be aided in overcoming faults, and strengthened
in doing right, by love to the Saviour, just as true Christians are; and
that if they continued their present habits of feeling and conduct, she
should not know where to date the time when they became pious.

There is also a mode of practical teaching in regard to _right_ and
_wrong_, _sin_ and _holiness_, which tends much to aid a child’s right
apprehension of truth.

Let the child be taught that Jesus Christ created all his creatures for
the purpose of making them _good_ and _happy_; that it is not possible
for any one to be perfectly good and happy, unless he has such a
character as Jesus Christ, and that the nearer we come to possessing such
a character, the better and happier we are. Then set forth the character
and example of Christ, as a _perfectly benevolent and self-denying
being_, living not to gratify himself, but to do good to others. Show
the child that he _has not_ such a character, that he is living to
please himself, and not to do good, and that this is _selfishness_ and
_sin_. Set before him the misery to which selfishness leads, and the
consequences of it, both here and hereafter.

Teach the child that the great business of life, to us all, is, by the
aid of God’s Spirit, _to change our characters_, in order to become like
Christ; that it is a difficult work, and one that we can never accomplish
without this aid from God.

Show him that all the commands of Christ are designed to keep us from
doing what will injure ourselves or injure others, and that these
rules are so many and so strict, that no one ever will, in this life,
_perfectly_ obey them _all_.

Teach him that the _true_ children of Jesus Christ are those who love
him, and who _earnestly are striving_ to obey _all_ his commands.

Set before the child the command of Christ, “Deny thyself daily, and take
up thy cross and follow me,” and then teach and encourage him every day
to practise some _self-denial_ in _doing good_.

Teach him that the more he practises this self-denial for the good of
others, the more he becomes like Jesus Christ, and that the duty will
become easier and pleasanter, the more he practises it.

Inquire daily, especially at the close of the day, whether the child
has practised any self-denial in doing good during the day, and express
satisfaction at any success.

Teach the child to pray for help to overcome selfishness, and to give
thanks for Divine aid when he has performed any act of benevolent

If any tendency to self-righteousness and self-complacency is discovered,
point out his various deficiencies, or overt sins, and teach him daily to
observe and confess to God his faults.

Teach him that heaven is a world where all are perfectly free from
selfishness, and that those, who are selfish, could not be happy there,
and will never find admittance until they become like Jesus Christ. Teach
him that this life is designed as a world of trial and discipline, to
free us from selfishness, and thus prepare us for heaven.

This mode, in connexion with others suggested in the previous part, if
faithfully pursued, would produce results such as seldom have been seen.

These views are presented, not to oppose the views and opinions of
others, but simply to induce those who hold them to act consistently with
their belief.


Of the two books referred to, the first is A TREATISE ON DOMESTIC
ECONOMY, BY MISS CATHARINE E. BEECHER, which has been examined by a
committee of the Massachusetts Board of Education, and deemed worthy of
admission as a part of the Massachusetts School Library. The following
are the titles of the chapters:

1. The Peculiar Responsibilities of American Women. 2. The Difficulties
peculiar to American Women. 3. The Remedies for the preceding
Difficulties. 4. On the Study of Domestic Economy in Female Schools. 5.
On the Care of Health. 6. On Healthful Food. 7. On Healthful Drinks. 8.
On Clothing. 9. On Cleanliness. 10. On Early Rising. 11. On Domestic
Exercise. 12. On Domestic Manners. 13. On the Preservation of a Good
Temper in a Housekeeper. 14. On Habits of System and Order. 15. On
giving in Charity. 16. On Economy of Time and Expense. 17. On Health of
Mind. 18. On the Care of Domestics. 19. On the Care of Infants. 20. On
the Management of Young Children. 21. On the Care of the Sick. 22. On
Accidents and Antidotes. 23. On Domestic Amusements and Social Duties.
24. On the Economical and Healthful Construction of Houses. 25. On Fires
and Lights. 26. On Washing. 27. On Starching, Ironing, and Cleansing. 28.
On Whitening, Cleansing, and Dyeing. 29. On the Care of Parlours. 30.
On the Care of Breakfast and Dining Rooms. 31. On the Care of Chambers.
32. On the Care of the Kitchen, Cellar, and Store-room. 33. On Sewing,
Cutting, and Mending. 34. On the Care of Yards and Gardens. 35. On the
Propagation of Plants. 36. On the Cultivation of Fruit. 37. Miscellaneous

The other work is called the _American Housekeeper’s Receipt Book_, and
the following is the Preface and Analysis of the Work.

_Preface (for the American Housekeeper’s Receipt Book.)_

The following objects are aimed at in this work:

_First_, to furnish an _original_ collection of receipts, which shall
embrace a great variety of simple and well-cooked dishes, designed for
every-day comfort and enjoyment.

_Second_, to include in the collection only such receipts as have been
tested by superior housekeepers, and warranted to be _the best_. It is
not a book made up in _any_ department by copying from other books, but
entirely from the experience of the best practical housekeepers.

_Third_, to express every receipt in language which is short, simple,
and perspicuous, and yet to give all directions so minutely as that the
book can be kept in the kitchen, and be used by any domestic who can
read, as a guide in _every one_ of her employments in the kitchen.

_Fourth_, to furnish such directions in regard to small dinner-parties
and evening company as will enable any young housekeeper to perform her
part, on such occasions, with ease, comfort, and success.

_Fifth_, to present a good supply of the rich and elegant dishes demanded
at such entertainments, and yet to set forth so large and tempting a
variety of what is safe, healthful, and good, in connexion with such
warnings and suggestions as it is hoped may avail to promote a more
healthful fashion in regard both to entertainments and to daily table
supplies. No book of this kind will sell without an adequate supply of
the rich articles which custom requires, and in furnishing them, the
writer has aimed to follow the example of Providence, which scatters
profusely both good and ill, and combines therewith the caution alike of
experience, revelation, and conscience, “choose ye that which is good,
that ye and your seed may live.”

_Sixth_, in the work on Domestic Economy, together with this, to which
it is a Supplement, the writer has attempted to secure, in a cheap and
popular form, for American housekeepers, a work similar to an English
work which she has examined, entitled the _Encyclopædia of Domestic
Economy, by Thomas Webster and Mrs. Parkes_, containing over twelve
hundred octavo pages of closely-printed matter, treating on every
department of Domestic Economy; a work which will be found much more
useful to English women, who have a plenty of money and well-trained
servants, than to American housekeepers. It is believed that most in that
work which would be of any practical use to American housekeepers, will
be found in this work and the Domestic Economy.

_Lastly_, the writer has aimed to avoid the defects complained of by
most housekeepers in regard to works of this description issued in this
country, or sent from England, such as that, in some cases, the receipts
are so rich as to be both expensive and unhealthful; in others, that they
are so vaguely expressed as to be very imperfect guides; in others, that
the processes are so elaborate and _fussing_ as to make double the work
that is needful; and in others, that the topics are so limited that some
departments are entirely omitted, and all are incomplete.

In accomplishing these objects, the writer has received contributions
of the pen, and verbal communications, from some of the most judicious
and practical housekeepers, in almost every section of this country, so
that the work is fairly entitled to the name it bears of the _American_
Housekeeper’s Receipt Book.

The following embraces most of the topics contained in this work.

    Suggestions to young housekeepers in regard to style, furniture,
    and domestic arrangements.

    Suggestions in regard to different modes to be pursued both with
    foreign and American domestics.

    On providing a proper supply of family stores, on the economical
    care and use of them, and on the furniture and arrangement of a

    On providing a proper supply of utensils to be used in cooking,
    with drawings to illustrate.

    On the proper construction of ovens, and directions for heating and
    managing them.

    Directions for securing good yeast and good bread.

    Advice in regard to marketing, the purchase of wood, &c.

    Receipts for breakfast dishes, biscuits, warm cakes, tea cakes, &c.

    Receipts for puddings, cakes, pies, preserves, pickles, sauces,
    catsups, and also for cooking all the various kinds of meats,
    soups, and vegetables.

    The above receipts are arranged so that the more healthful and
    simple ones are put in one portion, and the richer ones in another.

    Healthful and favourite articles of food for young children.

    Receipts for a variety of temperance drinks.

    Directions for making tea, coffee, chocolate, and other warm drinks.

    Directions for cutting up meats, and for salting down, corning,
    curing, and smoking.

    Directions for making butter and cheese, as furnished by a
    practical and scientific manufacturer of the same, of Goshen,
    Conn., that land of rich butter and cheese.

    A guide to a selection of a regular course of family dishes, which
    will embrace _a successive variety_, and unite convenience with
    good taste and comfortable living.

    Receipts for articles for the sick, and drawings of conveniences
    for their comfort and relief.

    Receipts for articles for evening parties and dinner parties,
    with drawings to show the proper manner of setting tables, and
    of supplying and arranging dishes, both on these and on ordinary

    An outline of arrangements for a family in moderate circumstances,
    embracing the systematic details of work for each domestic, and
    the proper mode of doing it, as furnished by an accomplished

    Remarks on the different nature of food and drinks, and their
    relation to the laws of health.

    Suggestions to the domestics of a family, designed to promote a
    proper appreciation of the dignity and importance of their station,
    and a cheerful and faithful performance of their duties.

    Miscellaneous suggestions and receipts.

The following extract from the Preface to the Domestic Economy will
exhibit the origin of these two works, and some of the objects aimed at
by the writer:

“The author of this work was led to attempt it, by discovering, in her
extensive travels, the deplorable sufferings of multitudes of young
wives and mothers, from the combined influence of _poor health, poor
domestics, and a defective domestic education_. The number of young women
whose health is crushed, ere the first few years of married life are
past, would seem incredible to one who has not investigated this subject,
and it would be vain to attempt to depict the sorrow, discouragement,
and distress experienced in most families where the wife and mother is a
perpetual invalid.

“The writer became early convinced that this evil results mainly from the
fact, that young girls, especially in the more wealthy classes, _are not
trained for their profession_. In early life, they go through a course
of school training which results in great debility of constitution,
while, at the same time, their physical and domestic education is almost
wholly neglected. Thus they enter on their most arduous and sacred
duties so inexperienced and uninformed, and with so little muscular and
nervous strength, that probably there is not _one chance in ten_, that
young women of the present day, will pass through the first years of
married life without such prostration of health and spirits as makes
life a burden to themselves, and, it is to be feared, such as seriously
interrupts the confidence and happiness of married life.

“The measure which, more than any other, would tend to remedy this
evil, would be to place _domestic economy_ on an equality with the
other sciences in female schools. This should be done because it _can_
be properly and systematically taught (not _practically_, but as a
_science_), as much so as _political economy_ or _moral science_, or
any other branch of study; because it embraces knowledge, which will
be needed, by young women at all times and in all places; because this
science can never be _properly_ taught until it is made a branch of
_study_; and because this method will secure a dignity and importance in
the estimation of young girls, which can never be accorded while they
perceive their teachers and parents practically attaching more value to
every other department of science than this. When young ladies are taught
the construction of their own bodies, and all the causes in domestic
life which tend to weaken the constitution; when they are taught rightly
to appreciate and learn the most convenient and economical modes of
performing all family duties, and of employing time and money; and when
they perceive the true estimate accorded to these things by teachers
and friends, the grand cause of this evil will be removed. Women will
be trained to secure, as of first importance, a strong and healthy
constitution, and all those rules of thrift and economy that will make
domestic duty easy and pleasant.

“To promote this object, the writer prepared this volume as a _text-book_
for female schools. It has been examined by the Massachusetts Board of
Education, and been deemed worthy by them to be admitted as a part of the
Massachusetts School Library.

“It has also been adopted as a text-book in some of our largest and most
popular female schools, both at the East and West.

“The following, from the pen of Mr. George B. Emmerson, one of the most
popular and successful teachers in our country, who has introduced this
work as a text-book in his own school, will exhibit the opinion of one
who has formed his judgment from experience in the use of the work:

“‘It may be objected that such things cannot be taught by books. Why
not? Why may not the structure of the human body, and the laws of health
deduced therefrom, be as well taught as the laws of natural philosophy?
Why are not the application of these laws to the management of infants
and young children as important to a woman as the application of the
rules of arithmetic to the extraction of the cube root? Why may not the
properties of the atmosphere be explained, in reference to the proper
ventilation of rooms, or exercise in the open air, as properly as to the
burning of steel or sodium? Why is not the human skeleton as curious and
interesting as the air-pump; and the action of the brain, as the action
of a steam-engine? Why may not the healthiness of different kinds of
food and drink, the proper modes of cooking, and the rules in reference
to the modes and times of taking them, be discussed as properly as rules
of grammar, or facts in history? Are not the principles that should
regulate clothing, the rules of cleanliness, the advantages of early
rising and domestic exercise, as readily communicated as the principles
of mineralogy, or rules of syntax? Are not the rules of Jesus Christ,
applied to refine _domestic manners_ and preserve a _good temper_, as
important as the abstract principles of ethics, as taught by Paley,
Wayland, or Jouffroy? May not the advantages of neatness, system, and
order, be as well illustrated in showing how they contribute to the
happiness of a family, as by showing how they add beauty to a copy-book,
or a portfolio of drawings? Would not a teacher be as well employed in
teaching the rules of economy, in regard to time and expenses, or in
regard to dispensing charity, as in teaching double, or single entry in
book-keeping? Are not the principles that should guide in constructing
a house, and in warming or ventilating it properly, as important to
young girls as the principles of the Athenian Commonwealth, or the
rules of Roman tactics? Is it not as important that children should be
taught the dangers to the mental faculties, when over-excited on the one
hand, or left unoccupied on the other, as to teach them the conflicting
theories of political economy, or the speculations of metaphysicians? For
ourselves, we have always found children, especially girls, peculiarly
ready to listen to what they saw would prepare them for future duties.
The truth, that education should be _a preparation for actual, real
life_, has the greatest force with children. The constantly-recurring
inquiry, “What will be the use of this study?” is always satisfied by
showing, that it will prepare for any duty, relation, or office which, in
the natural course of things, will be likely to come.

“‘We think this book extremely well suited to be used as a text-book
in schools for young ladies, and many chapters are well adapted for a
reading book for children of both sexes.’”

To this the writer would add the testimony of a lady who has used this
work with several classes of young girls and young ladies. She remarked
that she had never known a school-book that awakened more interest, and
that some young girls would learn a lesson in this when they would study
nothing else. She remarked, also, that when reciting the chapter on the
construction of houses, they became greatly interested in inventing plans
of their own, which gave an opportunity to the teacher to point out
difficulties and defects. Had this part of domestic economy been taught
in schools, our land would not be so defaced with awkward, misshapen,
inconvenient, and, at the same time, needlessly expensive houses, as it
now is.

The copyright interest in these two works is held by a board of gentlemen
appointed for the purpose, who, after paying a moderate compensation to
the author for the time and labour spent in preparing these works, will
employ all the remainder paid over by the publishers, to aid in educating
and locating such female teachers as wish to be employed in those
portions of our country, which are most destitute of schools.

The contract with the publisher provides that the publisher shall
guaranty the sales, and thus secure against losses from bad debts, for
which he shall receive five _per cent._ He also shall charge twenty
_per cent._ for commissions paid to retailers, and also the expenses for
printing, paper, and binding, and make no other charges. The net profits
thus determined shall be divided equally, the publisher taking one half,
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