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Title: Washington the Model of Character for American Youth - an Address Delivered to the Boys of the Public Schools
Author: McJilton, J. N.
Language: English
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                       _The Model of Character_


                            AMERICAN YOUTH.



                          MODEL OF CHARACTER


                            AMERICAN YOUTH:

                              AN ADDRESS,

                           DELIVERED TO THE

                     _Boys of the Public Schools_.

                     BY REV. J. N. M‘JILTON, A. M.

                          178 MARKET STREET.

     ENTERED, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1846,
                            BY JOHN MURPHY,
       in the Clerk’s office of the District Court of Maryland.


                                          BALTIMORE, _July 24, 1846_.


The address delivered by you at the celebration of the Public Schools
of this city was so admirably adapted to the occasion, and calculated
to be of such essential service to the youth of our city and country,
that the committee of arrangements feel that they but reflect the
sentiments and wishes of all who heard it, by requesting that you would
place a copy in their hands, with a view to publication, in order that
it may be preserved in a convenient and durable form for more extended
circulation and usefulness.

We are, sir, with great respect and esteem,

                             Your friends,
                                              JOHN R. W. DUNBAR,
                                              R. T. SPENCE,
                                              JOHN F. MONMONIER,
                                              R. S. BOWIE,
                                              CHARLES M. KEYSER,
                                                _Com. of Arrangements_.


                                          BALTIMORE, _July 27, 1846_.

The address prepared at your request, and delivered to the pupils of
the public schools, is at your service. No objection of mine shall be
interposed between your desire that it may be useful, and the effort to
make it so.

With high consideration,

                             Your friend,
                                              J. N. M‘JILTON.

      ”  R. T. SPENCE,
         R. S. BOWIE, ESQ.,
              _Committee of Arrangements_.


The address which forms this little book was not intended for
publication. It was prepared to be delivered at the celebration of the
Public Schools on the 22d inst. After it was delivered, Commissioners
of Public Schools and others regarded it as being worthy of a general
circulation in some convenient form, so that whatever benefit might be
derived from its use should not be limited to the pupils of the Public
Schools, but shared by the youth of our city and country, so far as the
same may be practicable. With this view the address was solicited for
publication by the Committee of Arrangements.

As usefulness was the aim of the author in preparing the address, he
hopes that every boy who may obtain a copy will read it with a view
to his improvement. Doubtless the model which is presented in our
illustrious WASHINGTON will be found to contain what is excellent and
valuable in character, and worthy the emulation of the American boy.
And if his ambition be excited to the pursuit of that which is high,
and honorable, and virtuous, the expansion of his manly faculties
may develope such character as shall render him a distinguished
man,――distinguished in his deeds, as he is in the proud name he bears
of American citizen.

    _July 28, 1846._



 _Pupils of the Public Schools of Baltimore_:

The motto inscribed upon the beautiful banner of your Central High
School is the subject of my remarks to you to-day. PALMAM QUI MERUIT
FERAT――_Let him wear the palm who wins it._ And when I say that this
is a motto worthy of the American youth, I give it a place far above
that which it occupied in the proudest days of Roman honor, or in the
brightest days of Grecian fame. And if you ask me for the proof, I
point you to the American character, more brilliant in its enlightened
freedom, and in its patriotic integrity, than that of Greece or Rome
ever was, and to American institutions, blending republicanism,
intelligence, and religion in a greater degree than they were ever
blended in a nation before. And if you ask me for the cause of the
difference between the character of those ancient nations and their
institutions, and the American character and institutions, I direct you
to one grand distinguishing characteristic, and that is,


And in directing you to the domestic altar as the means of effecting
this proud distinction, I would say that it is an altar of such high
and sacred character, that it can be reared and successfully sustained
by no nation, unless that nation be eminent in its encouragement of
enlightenment and religion. I do not mean by this declaration that the
Roman and Grecian boys wanted fathers to point them to the senate and
to the field, and mothers to teach them patriotism at the fire-side.
There was scarcely a father among them but had rather had his son a
corpse than a coward. And but few of the mothers of the age were unlike
that noble Grecian who told her son, when he went to battle, to return
_with_ his shield, or _upon_ it. But I mean that the Grecian and Roman
youth were taught patriotism in the neglect of domestic virtues. They
were taught to encourage a thirst for eminence in the state, and for
military renown at the expense of the social affections. We have an
example in the noble heroism of Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchii.
She infused into the souls of her illustrous sons the fire of patriotic
devotion, which made them jewels for the state, but which lost them to
her in the domestic circle for ever. But the American youth live in a
very different age, and their system of instruction, in nearly all its
departments, is of a very different character. In their education, the
love for eminence in the state is not neglected, and they are taught to
cherish the patriotism that burned in the bosoms of the Greek and Roman
youth. And with this patriotic interest is mingled the training of the
social affections, under the benign rays of religious enlightenment.
And this is the sort of education which rears its subjects, not only
for the domestic circle, but for their country and their God. And this
should be the great purpose of American teaching in the developement
of American character in the use and for the sustaining of American
institutions. And what we have to regret is that it is not carried out
more thoroughly, and rendered more efficient in practice.

We boast, as we have cause to do, of our position as free American
citizens, and we rejoice in the powerful effect the domestic altar has
upon our national character. But we are compelled to mingle reproach
with our boast, and regret with our joy, that as a nation we should
in any wise neglect that most important of all teaching――the teaching
of character. In this we must acknowledge that we are deficient, and
that the blessings of the domestic altar are not as profitable, nor
as extensively diffused as they might be. What we lack is systematic
effort in the formation of character. And judging from our want of
systematic effort in this teaching, and our indifference about it, the
supposition might be indulged that we are not aware of the importance
and necessity of holding up character before the youthful mind as a
distinctive part of education. Our practice would seem to indicate
that we regard character as a thing that comes of itself, or that it
is induced by the moral and mental training which the youth obtains
at home, and at the schools. It is greatly to the disadvantage of the
youth that, in all the departments of study in which he engages, there
is not sufficient effort made to make him what he must be if he would
rise to eminence in after life. It is greatly to his disadvantage that
he is not taught in clear, and distinct, and systematic terms, what
the American character is, and of what elements it is composed, and
what he must be if he would carry out that character as it should be
carried out in active life. The boy should be pointed forward to his
position of responsibility as a man. He should be pointed to the period
when he must take his place amid the busy multitudes of the world, and
wrestle as his fathers have done for the place of success which he
hopes to attain. He must have a place at the social circle, and he
should be taught how he shall adorn it. He must be taught what he must
be in private life, that he may do honor to his domestic relations.
He must be taught his duty as a citizen, that, in the performance of
that duty, he may become eminent, and that society and the state may
be the better for his having lived in them. And he must be shown what
he must be in religion, that he may fulfil his obligations both to God
and man, and that his religious character may have its influence upon
the community in which he dwells. In a systematic course of teaching
for the developement of character in these several departments, we have
to acknowledge our deficiency. And although the domestic altar stands
pre-eminent in our midst, and operates powerfully upon the American
mind, it is by no means what it ought to be, and its influence upon
developing character is far less than more systematic effort would
make it. And this defect is a serious impediment in the path of the
American boy. He is prepared to act out the character of the Greek and
the Roman, because the elements of that character are combined in his.
But it is a different thing to act out the character of the American,
because it combines the other elements which are sent forth from the
domestic altar. A prominent and distinguishing feature in American
teaching, should be the full developement of the domestic character.
And when the domestic altar shall be adequate to the supply of its own
demands, the American boy will be properly instructed in his character
as an American citizen.


The Greeks and Romans were patriots more from passion and impulse,
than from regular and systematic training. Hence the impassioned and
impulsive outbursts that are so frequent in their history. The Roman
seemed ever ready to lay his life upon the altar of his country; and
the soul of the Greek was unconquerable even by superior prowess of
some brother Greek, and, as far as the self-sacrificing spirit of the
patriot is viewed, their superiors are not found upon record. But there
is another element that enters into the formation of the American
character. With the noble traits that raised the Greeks and the Romans
above every other nation of their day, there are to be associated in
the American the more refined qualities of character which render
him pre-eminent as a social and religious being. And without these
qualities the American character is incomplete; they are essential to
its exhibition in the perfection of its beauty.

I do not say that the youth of Greece and Rome were entirely destitute
of those social qualities which I recognise as being the peculiar
adornment of the American character. These qualities were certainly
possessed in a degree by the men of those nations. But what I say is,
that they were lost sight of in the requirements for the forum and
the field, and obscured in the brilliance of the statesman’s honors
and glare of military glory. Thus it is clear that it was the patriot
which those ages were most likely to exhibit, while other and equally
essential parts of character were overlooked and obscured. The domestic
altar was wanting, in its softening and subduing influence, to mould
the man for the domestic circle, and for the refined intercourse it


The elements of which character is composed have been combined in
the various nations of the past in different proportions. And if we
continue our remarks in relation to the Greeks and Romans, as partially
representative of them all, we cannot fail to see that the passion
for the cabinet or the field has been predominant in proportion as
either has commanded the most of these elements. But it appears as
if it were left for the American to combine into a perfect character
all the elements of which it is composed, and to hold that character
up an improvement upon the past, and as a guide and pattern for the
future. And that this perfect character is not yet fully developed
in a national point, is most clearly certain. When it is, the world
will look upon what it has not yet seen; a nation combining in right
proportions the elements which make man a social and religious being,
with those which make him a patriot. Then may the man be regarded
as the representative of his nation; and the elements of which the
character of his nation is composed, will be found to centre in


And although these elements of character have never rendered an
entire nation illustrious, yet may we find them centering in a single
individual. I present our own unequalled WASHINGTON as an example
of the character in individual isolation. And I would present him
as the MODEL from which a nation of his kind might be moulded. And
when you imagine a nation of such men as Washington you have the
character in its completeness, so far as human character may be called
complete. And you have it in the beauty of its practical operation.
And a proud day will it be for this world of ours, when a nation of
such men as Washington shall exist. And the thing is not impossible.
Such may be the case when the model is understood and imitated. In
Washington were combined the qualities which exhibit man in the true
nobility of his nature,――the noblest workmanship of Heaven. And a
nation of such men might arise upon this, our American territory, if
the proper means were used to bring about the consummation. And how
is this important work to be effected? It may be done by having the
model held up in the analysis of its substance, showing the elements
of which it is composed; defining thoroughly its relations, and so
simplifying them, that they might be readily apprehended and understood
when presented to the nation’s mind. If in such analysis, the model
of American character were held up before the American youth, it
could not fail to be imitated. And to render the work effectual, the
holding up of the model should be attended with the communication of
such instruction, and in such manner, as might encourage the youth to
embrace the character in its simple elements, and to emulate it in
the model which the combination of these elements may furnish. This
would be to teach character to the subject who was expected to adopt
it. And, knowing what the character is, and how to act it out, the
adoption and practice of it would be an easy task. And the mind of
the nation must be directed towards the character, or the character
may never be developed in the nation; however, it may sometimes be
seen in the individual. The model of the Greek was the patriot in the
civil council:――the model of the Roman was the patriot in the field.
And while the nation of the one was pre-eminent in the number of her
statesmen, the nation of the other was pre-eminent in the number of
her generals. While Greece was distinguished for her orators, and
was called a nation of letters, Rome was most distinguished for her
soldiers, and was termed a warlike nation.


And here a very important and necessary question, which you may ask,
is, in what does this exalted character consist, which neither the
Greek nor the Roman possessed in all its proportions, and which the
world has never yet seen in a national developement? I will answer
you this question, by saying that it is the character which I have
presented you as a model, in the person of our venerated Washington.
And now you desire that this model character shall be analyzed, in
order that you may see into it, and comprehend it. In an address
like the present, I can give but a very imperfect analysis of this
character, and must express it in general terms. It would require a
volume to analyze it fully, and to exhibit its particular portions
properly. You desire that I shall present you the man combining the
elements of character in their proper proportions, qualifying him for
life in its different departments. Such a man I would state to be one
who is prepared to take his place in the domestic circle; who can act
his part in the various departments of professional life; and who is
educated for the honor and service of his God. You see in this man,
the social character, the patriot, and the Christian. More than this
it would be difficult for man to be. And fully must he come up to the
standard, or fall short of the character which the American should aim
at. And to be eminent, and to shine in these departments of life, the
social, the professional, and the Christian, the American youth must of
necessity be educated. To this should the instruction of the fire-side
have reference; to this should all scholastic studies be directed.
And with the model character constantly in view, and in the use of
such instructions as would unfold it thoroughly, a successful result
might be attained. And in such result the youth would be properly
moulded into the man, and the man sent forth, in the excellence of his
character, a social being, a patriot, and a Christian.


I hold this character up as American, for good and sufficient reasons;
first, because American institutions are those which encourage its
developement and demand its exercise; secondly, because America has
produced its model in a greater degree than any other nation that now
exists, or that ever has existed. I have said that in this model of
American character, man is presented in his excellence as a social
character, as a patriot, and as a Christian. And here I ought to say
that in its entire perfection this character may never be exhibited
in imperfect human nature. But I may speak of the character in its
perfection, and I may hold it up in its beauty before the American
youth for their imitation. Let perfection be the model, and perfection
the aim of the youthful mind, and then labor for success in the
application of your motto: “_Let him wear the palm who wins it._”

My young friends, you appear before me to-day as a representative
portion of the American youth; and as such I would hold up the model
character to your view. And I would that I could hold it up, in its
proper light, before the youth of every part of our country. I would
that I could so present it that the American boy might see it in its
beauty, and be encouraged to pursue it as the highest object of his
ambition. I present for your consideration, for your study, and for
your imitation,




And it is in regard to this social and religious character especially
that I spoke of the Greeks and Romans as being deficient. The domestic
altar, and the altar of religion among those renowned nations having
been absorbed in the altar of patriotism, of course, like every thing
else, they were tributary to it. And therefore almost their entire
character, certainly their character in its efficiency, was developed
in the exhibition of the patriot.

In the pursuit of my purpose I will now show you, in a very brief


And to look on him in this character, you must turn with me to the
domestic circle, and you must see him at the fire-side and in society.
And in the domestic circle you behold the man with father, mother,
brothers, sisters, and friends around him. To be happy with them, and
that they may be happy with him, he must be




And _the dutiful and obedient son_ honors his parents, and bows
submissive to their commands. And he does honor and submits to his
parents, not only during the period of his minority, but also in
his more matured years. He respects them in the obedience of his
manhood, and he shows to their gray hairs, in the exercise of his
manly strength, that the principle by which he is moved is that which
was instilled into his mind in the hours of his childhood, and which
strengthened as his youth advanced. The filial reverence of the boy
is to be seen in the actions of the man. And this reverence is seldom
or never seen in the actions of the man, if the principle from which
it springs has not been made a part of the character of the youth.
The crown of honor, which the domestic circle weaves for the brow, is
worn only by him that bends in the respect of his manly years before
the silver locks of those who gave him being, and ministered to the
necessities of his early life. And for this principle to be carried
out in the man’s history, it must be firmly implanted within him, and
become a part of his character and of himself in his early years. As
with all other principles of like nature, it must be imprinted upon the
character in its formation, and become identified with the individual
while his faculties are in their incipient state, and before they are
fully developed. The boy must be the dutiful and obedient son, or the
man may never be honored with a name so praiseworthy, and so much to be

And as an _affectionate brother_, his character shows itself in his
gentleness, and in the spirit of love and kindness, which should
ever be exhibited in his intercourse with those who are bound to him
in the tender ties of fraternal affection. To his elders under the
paternal roof he is respectful, and to those younger than himself he
is conciliating; and to all he is open in his love, and generous in
the exhibition of his tender regard. And such a brother is a jewel at
the home circle. He is a boy, and a man of character; and while his
brothers share in his sturdier enjoyments, his sisters look to him in
confidence as one that is ever ready to minister to their happiness,
and to stand by them as an unflinching protector.

And, as a _friend_, he is firm and affectionate, open in his
intercourse, and candid in the expression of his sentiments. He is as
bold in the reproval of his friend’s faults to his face as he is in
the defence of his character when he is absent. He is to his friend,
in all things, just what he would have his friend be to him under the
same circumstances. Deceit is the thing he scorns, and to treachery
he is a stranger. Selfishness has no part in his character, and from
meanness of every description he flies as he would from the pursuit
of a serpent. Such a friend is worthy of the name, and if youth were
trained for the character there would be more of them in the world than
there are.

And the principles of character which would render the man a valued
brother and friend, like those which would make him a worthy and
dutiful son, must be incorporated into his nature in his childhood, and
in his youth. He must be the obedient son, the affectionate brother,
and the firm friend in his boyhood, or the probability is that he will
never be so at all. There is some truth in the adage, that friendships,
to be pure, and disinterested, and lasting, must be formed in youth,
and that those which are formed in more matured years are not so. I say
there is _some_ truth in this adage, though, to the credit of man’s
nature be it spoken, it does not universally apply. And the truth of
the adage is proved by faithful and honorable exceptions. And there is
reason in the thing, though that which is most generally given is not
so well expressed as it might be. The reason assigned in favor of early
attachments and early friendships is that because in youth the feelings
are full, and fresh, and free, and warm, and that the young heart is
surcharged with gushing sympathies. This is even so. But I will state
the reason in another form, which is more suitable to my subject, and
which, I have no doubt, will be more useful to you. It is because in
early life the character is formed, and the principles incorporated
into the subject which produce his character. And with this in view, I
would encourage you to adopt and practise such principles as are pure,
and high, and holy, and then your friendships will be well selected,
and you will yourselves be valuable, aye, inestimable, as friends.


And in scarcely any thing is this social character, which is developed
in these elements of domestic life, more distinctly seen, and more
admired, than in the estimate which the man places upon the female
character and female society. The youth who has rightly improved by
this domestic training, and in whom the social character is properly
developed, is the champion of female virtue. The female character,
in its spotless purity, is that which he admires, and loves, and
venerates. He sees a mother and a sister in every respectable female;
and to him the appeal of female innocence for protection is never
made in vain. He is the knight in his chivalry, and is ready even to
interpose his life between wronged innocence and the wretch that would
lay his demon grasp upon spotless female virtue. And this veneration
for what is virtuous and amiable in the female character is almost
always a sure index to the character of the man that entertains it.
He is one of pure and exalted mind, and may be trusted in every
department of life. He has a high sense of honor, and his integrity
is not to be easily shaken. Of the intrigues of the immoral and the
vicious he knows nothing, and he entertains no feeling towards such
want of character but disgust. The nobleness of his nature is seen in
his abhorrence of the guilty, while the pure are safe under his care.
Such a man is the son, the brother, and the friend, that does honor
to his family, and to the circle of society in which he moves. And if
you would possess such character in manhood, cultivate it now. Let the
model appear before you at all times, and on all occasions, and let its
impress be indelibly made upon your mind and heart.


And now, after these remarks upon the formation of the domestic
character, need I tell you how it is that the domestic altar has so
much to do with the character of the man? Need I tell you that it
is a thing to be deplored that the youth of Greece and Rome had not
more of the benefits of this altar? And need I point you to the
high privileges and holy influences of that altar, to show you how
much the advantage you have over those noble youths of other days
whose character has so much in it for you to admire? And you who
have fathers, and mothers, and brothers, and sisters, and friends,
well should you know how to appreciate what I say in relation to the
difference between them and yourselves, and ardently should you desire
to reap advantage from the knowledge you possess of your position.
Treasure, then, as a sacred gift from Heaven, the blessings which this
domestic altar affords you. And let your characters be formed in the
cultivation and manly exercise of the principles it imparts. Remember
that the principles you cultivate, and the character you form in youth,
will be likely to be your principles and character for life. And as you
would be respected and valued as members of society hereafter; as you
would be useful and honored among men, use all your powers to obtain
right principles, and to develope those principles into such character,
as Americans, you may be proud of.


And not only to the developement of the social qualities, is the young
American indebted to the domestic altar, but he is also indebted to
that altar, in a considerable degree, for the developement of his
character as a patriot and a Christian. He learns patriotism and
religion at the hearthstone. The fire of a country’s love is enkindled
in the young heart, and the lisping infant pronounces the name of God
with awe. The story of the statesman’s progress to renown falls upon
the ears of the child, and in his youth he feels the first impulse
of the desire to play the orator before the multitude, and by his
eloquence the “listening senate to command.” The deeds of glory that
pave the conqueror’s path, are told him, and the pulse of ambition
begins to beat while yet the tales of the nursery are ringing in his
ears. He hears of battles, and he longs to follow to the field some
warlike leader. It is direction rather than encouragement that is
needed in the developement of this patriotic character. If there is
any thing innate in the human bosom, it would seem to be this feeling
of patriotism. And it is fanned into a flame, it is excited and
fevered by the unnumbered incidents of patriotic history that crowd
upon the expanding and improving mind, and by the appeals of daily
occurrences which tend to warm and animate the heart. It is but proper
direction that is needed in the cultivation of this feeling. Every
child is a patriot. Every boy is both a statesman and a soldier. And
what is required in his teaching, in such matters, is the right sort
of training. And badly will his patriotic character be brought forth
if he be left to himself in its developement; to make the boy a pure
and exalted patriot, true patriotism must be presented to him from
the model. And it is to be shown him in its principle, and in its
operation. And this, if properly done, will show him what patriotism
is in its embrace of his country’s territory and population, and of
all that may be included in his country’s honor and prosperity. Less
than this will cause him to degenerate into the partizan and develope
prejudice for sectional interests and sectional advantage rather than
the principle which, in its extended grasp, includes all that can
elevate and prosper, and honor the nation. Nothing short of this should
be dignified with the name of patriotism. And the youth should keep
his eye and his heart firmly and devotedly fixed upon it. He should
know that the partizan is not the patriot, and he should be capable
of making the distinction. And in the acquirement of the patriotic
character he may feel that he is an American, and he may receive
enjoyment, in a high degree, from the pleasure such feelings must ever
produce. And such an American is the champion of his country, and of
his country’s rights and honor. And he is this champion, not only in
regard to foreign aggression, but in defiance of sectional prejudice
and party feud.


And as with the patriotism of the youth, so with his religion. Its
first appearance is generally at the home fire-side. And it is there
that the first impression of his religious character is made. The
Christian mother teaches her child that there is a God for him to
worship. And his first and earliest prayers to Him, as the only object
of his adoration, are taught from her lips. And religion comes not to
the boy, as does his patriotism, seemingly by innate impulse. It has
to be taught him, or he never learns it. It is something that comes
not by nature, but by the Revelation of God. And coming thus, it has
to be communicated to the individual. And the American boy should
study, as a most important part of his education, the broad principles
of the Christian faith, and the creed of the Christian church. And he
should learn to hold his religious views in respect to God and to his
church, and not in any wise in respect to the opinions of men. And how
important is the place of the parent and the teacher in its view of
this duty? The infidel is utterly unqualified for the employment. An
infidel mother is unfit for the training of an American boy. If she
neglect to teach him love to his God, she will hardly be able to teach
him how to exhibit his love to his country. And, as I have before
remarked, the character of the American is incomplete, it is unfinished
without religion. And the religion which perfects the American
character, is love to the Almighty Object of its worship, which is
recognised in all the American institutions; and love to mankind,
which is so necessary for the well being of the state. Alas! that the
training of an American child should ever be placed in the hands of an
unbeliever! It is his principle, as a Christian, that renders the man a
truly social being, and a pure patriot, and the true American must of
necessity be a Christian.


And now some of you are ready to ask me if these elements of character
were combined in the illustrious Washington, the father of his country,
whom I have held up as a model character for the American youth. Let us
see if such be the case. Let us recur for a moment to the history of
that unequalled man. And first, let us see what he was in his youth,
and under the training of his parents. And, as a boy, how is he shown
to you in history? He is shown to you as the very boy I have described.
He was the _dutiful and obedient son_. He was the simple-hearted,
affectionate, studious boy, who, by his gentle manners, and open and
candid disposition, made himself the idol of his parents. If you turn
to the history of Washington’s youth, and read it, you will find him
amiable, and honorable, and dignified, and pure. You will see him
almost without a fault, and with a soul made of such noble materials
that he becomes at once the object of your admiration and your love.
Why, of such a boy as Washington, his mother might well be proud.
Aye, his friends and his country might well be proud of him. What! A
nation proud of a boy? Yes, a nation proud of a boy! The free nation
of American citizens is proud, to this day, and ever will be proud of
the boyhood of Washington. He stands out in history in bold advance of
the boys of America. He stands out in bold advance of the boys of the
world. He is the model boy, and boys are great and wise, and good in
proportion to their imitation of his character. Let the light of his
boyhood’s example be the guiding star of the American youth. Let those
youth be what he was at the fire-side, at his mother’s knee, and at the
school, and their country shall be blessed in their manhood’s years.


And what is the character of Washington the man? Let the patriotism
of his professional life speak for him. Where is he in the hour of
peace, when the trump of war is hushed, and the stillness of the
Sabbath rests upon the woods and wilds of his native state. In the
time of peace he is a man of peace. He is just the man that you might
expect the boy Washington to make. A talented, active, industrious
citizen. His occupation is that of a surveyor, and so eminent is he in
his profession, rendered so by study and industrious application――so
eminent is he, that he attracts public attention and receives the
appointment of public surveyor at the age of but little more than
seventeen years. And so manly is his character, and so decided his
attainments, that when he is but nineteen years of age, in addition
to his office of public surveyor, he is made the commissioned head of
the militia of his district to guard it against the depredations of the
Indians. And he is yet devoted to his mother, and ready to obey her
in all that she commands. Washington the man is like Washington the
boy, the _dutiful and obedient son_. He loves his mother tenderly and
devotedly, and his mother, in return, loves him with all the ardor of a
mother’s deep and abiding affection. And he is loved and respected by
all who know him and have the opportunities of appreciating his worth.


And where is Washington when the storm of war begins, and clouds of
darkness and danger gather over his beloved land. Where is he when
the fierce thunder of war’s tempest is heard among the hills of his
nativity. He is among the very first that offers for the service of
their country. The mild, the gentle, the obedient boy is a patriot, and
he becomes a soldier to fight in the defence of the country of his
love. He takes his place in the army, and still a student, still active
and industrious, his path to fame is onward and upward. He was the idol
of his mother in his boyhood, and now he becomes the idol of another
mother, his country. He fights his way as commander in chief of the
American army, through a fierce and bloody revolution, and he conquers
a fierce and blood-thirsty foe. And when the British flag is in his
hand, and the British lion cowering before the eagle that spreads her
wings upon his own proud ensign, he lays the trophies of his victory
upon the altar of his country, and becomes a private citizen. Like
the Roman Cincinnatus, he resigns his honors when the period of duty
has passed, and retires to the peace and quiet of his farm. He is the
patriot that does all for his country, and seems to show but little
concern for himself. And there is a scene at the close of his military
life which shows him to his countrymen and to the world, the most
glorious patriot that ever lifted his arm in his country’s defence. It
holds up his character higher than that of the most renowned Greek.
It shows him to be the more than Roman in all that was great in the
Roman’s estimate of fame. When the army that he has led to victory is
about to be disbanded, a source of dissatisfaction arises, and the
soldiers that are wearing the badges of triumph over a foreign enemy
murmur at the treatment they receive by the government at home. The
congress of the country they have served, so long and so faithfully,
refuses to pay them for their services, and would have them dismissed
and sent home poor, penniless, and in rags. With tears in his eyes,
Washington communicates the sad intelligence to his brave comrades in
arms. They hear the tale in silence and in sorrow. And scarcely is
it told, when the fire of indignation flashes in every eye. The men
that have fought and conquered under Washington, and have fought and
conquered for their country, now propose to have their own private
wrongs redressed by fighting for their matchless leader. They would
hurl the members of congress from their seats, and upon the throne
of a newly erected kingdom they would place their Washington. And
what is the import of this proposition from the triumphant American
army? It is no less than to make Washington a king; no less than to
crown him king of conquerless America. They would have crowned him,
as many a warrior of past ages had been crowned, after they had been
victorious over their enemies. They would have laid a nation’s honors
and a nation’s homage at his feet. And does Washington accede to their
proposal? Does he receive the gift of the crown, and mount his throne a
king? No! He scorns the deed. He becomes indignant at the proposition,
and he pities from his heart the brave sufferers whose wrongs induced
them to make it. He turns from the disheartened troops that stood by
him in the trials of many a stormy hour, and lays the laurels that he
won, as their chief, at his country’s feet. He resigns his commission
as an American general, and he walks from his place at the head of his
army, not an American king, but a private American citizen. And may I
not ask, where is the deed in history that stands out in such strong
relief, and in such glowing colors, as does that deed of the most
glorious of heroes. Where is the victorious general of Greece, or Rome,
or of any other nation, that refused such brilliant honors, and at a
time of such trying interest? Where is the hero who, with the crown
in view, held out by his weeping, suffering troops, and under such
touching circumstances, that went out from before them, of helm and
plume bereft, “a man of private mien?” The deed, like the man, stands
out in history in solitary isolation.

    And glow on fame’s immortal height,
    Inscribed in lines of living light,
    The name, the deed, they are but one,
    Unrivalled in our WASHINGTON.


And, as a statesman, our model of the American character is scarcely
less distinguished than he is as a victorious general. In the halls of
his country’s legislation, as in the field of battle, his deeds, and
not his words, proclaim his character. He is as far sighted upon the
platform of state, as he is amid the smoke of war; and as he looked
forward and fought for the victory that was to crown his career in the
future, so did he watch, with an eagle eye, the sun of his country’s
glory, as it ascended to its meridian, and so did legislate that
the beams and genial warmth of that sun might be shed over future
generations. He is the statesman in the nobleness and dignity which
the character should ever maintain. In his acts, which are always of
general application, and for the public good, the blustering partisan
is shamed into silence, and the tongue of the wily politician stilled.
He speaks only when he has something to say. His words are the words
of the heart, and they are full of meaning. He sees not himself, and
knows nothing of his own success, but he pleads for the land that
he has perilled his life to save. He labors with his might for his
country’s prosperity; and while he asks not office, he feels that it
is not his place to decline it when the voice of duty calls him to
the post, and while there is work for him to perform. His countrymen
witness his patriotic zeal for their prosperity, and for the prosperity
and elevation of their government, and they pass by hundreds that seek
honor in her councils, and at her head, and offer him the highest place
of honor in their gift. The people, over whom he so nobly refused
to reign as a king, ask his services as their chief magistrate,
and he consents at once. He is the statesman that is ever ready for
service――always at hand when there is labor for him to perform. And
when the hour of honor comes he is hardly to be seen. He is the
statesman that loses sight of self and of all selfish considerations,
and plans and purposes only for the welfare of the nation. See him,
when he deems that his labors for the state are accomplished, and her
honor, and peace, and prosperity secured. When there are no more toils
for him to undergo, he lays the honors of office at the feet of those
who conferred them, and from his distinguished seat, at the head of
the government, he comes down to the place of a private citizen. He
is the lofty spirit that deals in mighty works, and when there are no
more mighty works for him to do, he retires to be mighty still in the
circles of private life. He fights while there is a gun to be fired,
or a foe to be subdued, and he is the last to leave the field. And so
stands he at the helm of state. He is there till the impending danger
is passed. And he leaves not his post while there is a trial near.
While the clouds of war are curling around him, he appears unmoved,
and the smile of peace is upon his cheek to tell how little concern he
has for himself when the storm is sweeping over his country. And while
the waves of civil commotion are dashing at his feet, his form is seen
standing firm amid the threatening peril, and his hand is outstretched
for the calming of the troubled waters. And when all is tranquil, and
the country safe, we find our patriot among the quiet shades of Mount
Vernon. As a statesman, as well as a victorious warrior, we see the
sunlight of a glorious fame encircling the brow of Washington. The
deeds that exhibit the model Washington, as a patriotic soldier and
statesman, are unparalleled in history. And as in his social virtues,
and in his patriotic character, so stands out, in bold relief,


I give but one more scene to complete the model of American character.
It is Washington in death. And it is in that hour of trial that his
character as a Christian is clearly to be seen. As a soldier, and as a
statesman, he was a man of prayer, and his end is that of the Christian
hero. He suffers calmly and patiently his last severe affliction. And
when he is tortured with pain, and struggling in his last agonies in
the grasp of the grim monster, he turns to his physician, and says,
with perfect composure, and with the calmness of Christian resignation
over his countenance: “I die hard, _but I am not afraid to die_!” Like
a soldier, like a Christian hero, he resigns his soul into the hands of
Him who gave it.

Such is Washington the boy, the man. Such his character as developed
in his deeds. In him is seen the man of social virtues, the patriot,
and the Christian. And in these departments of human character he shone
throughout his life. And may I not hold up such a character as a model
before the youth of America; surely such a character is the high aim of
an American boy’s ambition! And to win and wear it would be to secure
a prize of most exalted eminence. But let it not be forgotten that the
palm must be worn by him who wins it.


And these elements of character, which shone so brightly in the
history of our glorious Washington, are those which make the man a
social being, a patriot, and a Christian. And they are not only to
be taught the child at the fire-side, and on his mother’s knee. The
school is a department of the domestic altar. And in the school the
design of the parent to complete, as far as practicable, the character
of his child, is to be carried out. The boy is to be prepared for
some department of professional life, into which he is to carry the
qualities of character he obtains in his youth. And the preparation
for professional life is continued in the school, and in the college,
as it was commenced at home. A certain amount of scholastic knowledge
is necessary to expand the mind, and prepare the youth for the duties
and responsibilities of life in any and all of the professions. And if
he be turned loose upon the world without this knowledge, he cannot be
said to be fit for any department of business. He is qualified for
no profession, and plodding his way in ignorance, his associations
must be low, and grovelling, and in his path through life he must be
vicious and unhappy. And let me ask, for what profession is it possible
that the boy can be prepared that was never instructed at home, nor at
school, nor any where else? The answer is suggested to every mind by
the question itself. And what is such a boy fit for? He is fit for the
pursuit of vice and wretchedness; and that is the pursuit upon which he
will be likely to enter. Ignorance and vice are the parents of misery.
Wretchedness is the fruit of their association. Aye, ignorance and
vice are the parents of misery, and in wretchedness must the way of
man be pursued, if he be found in their association. The boy that is
ignorant is in great danger of being wicked, and in his wickedness he
must be unhappy. No boy can grow up to be a true and faithful American
citizen that grows up in ignorance. And no boy can be a true patriot
that is willing to grow up in this way. A man must be enlightened, or
he can be no good subject of the American government. And he must seek
enlightenment in his youth, or he runs a great risk of never obtaining
it at all.


In our republic the people are said to be the sovereigns of the
government; and we frequently hear of the “sovereign people.” And who
are the sovereign people? Are they the ignorant and the vile? Are they
the base and the profligate? Alas, for this lovely land of ours, were
such sovereign further than their votes on election day can make them!
And even in this privilege of voting, their sovereignty is sufficiently
operative for evil. And were these miserable apologies for the freemen
of America to triumph over the enlightened and the virtuous, what
would the name of America be but the stamp of infamy? To the ignorant
and the vile, the base and the profligate, our government extends the
right of suffrage. It recognises all as politically free. But can
such characters aspire to the place of office which the enlightened
alone can fill? Their boast is of their right to vote, and not of
the talent or the chance to occupy the place of office. And what
a pitiful sovereignty is this for an American freeman to boast!――a
sovereignty which gives him a right to vote, and which allows him to
hurrah for another who is wiser and better than himself; while he
has no qualifications of his own to fit him for office, nor even to
judge who is best prepared to be the officer. And in the hands of the
ignorant man this elective franchise is a dangerous trust. He knows
not how to exercise it for his country’s good, and for the advancement
of his country’s prosperity. He has the power to vote, and that is all
that he can be proud of. And his vote is thrown, like the implements
of the gaming table, at a hazard. And if the chance of the government
for prosperity depended on him, it would certainly hang upon the hazard
of the die. Shame upon such a sovereignty! shame upon the boy who is
base enough even to risk the chance of becoming such a character! He
is unfit to rule, or to choose his ruler, and he is unworthy of the
rights and privileges which his free government confers upon him. I
tell you, boys, that such a character is complimented, he is highly
complimented, when it is said of him that he is “fit for treason,
stratagem, and spoils.”


It is to prevent such sovereigns as these from ruling the land, and
leading it into infamy and ruin, that temples of learning are erected
in every city, and town, and village, and in every district throughout
our states. Provision is made by the state governments for the
education of the young, so that their characters, as social beings,
and as patriots, and Christians, may be properly developed; and that
they may be prepared to sustain the free institutions in which their
honor is reflected, and which will sustain them as free American
citizens. And in the arrangements which are made for the universal
diffusion of the blessings of education, provision is made for all, so
that no man is too poor to have his child educated. If he has not the
means of paying for it, the education is afforded without the pay. The
blessing is intended to come, as it ought to come, like the rain from
heaven, upon the rich and the poor, and upon the evil and the good.
And the poorest boy in the land, if he is active and industrious, and
ambitious, may rise to eminence in any of the professions. All that is
necessary is for him to have his character developed in all that the
model I have held up includes, and his success is certain. While other
lands may boast their princely palaces, their lofty towers, and their
splendid temples, our free America may point to her public schools, and
exclaim: “These are my pride!――these are the treasuries where my jewels
are stored!”


In our own city, as they do in every American city, the public schools
rise up before us like waymarks upon the path of prosperity. They are
the waymarks on the road to fame, and the boy may measure his way
through them until he arrives at the distinction to which they direct
him. There is no boy in Baltimore, nor in any city of the United
States, but may honor the name of American citizen. And there is no
boy but may study his way to character, to prosperity, and to eminence,
in any profession he may choose. He may shine as a star in the social
circle, in professional life, in the nation’s councils, in the field,
and in religion’s walks; the way is open before him. The invitation
is given him to enter and pursue it. The crown is on the height which
rises to his view, and he may urge his way up to it,――he may win and
wear it. To persevering zeal the palm is sure. Let every boy that
belongs to a public school write his motto in his cap, and let him
_read_ the Latin, and _feel_ the English of it whenever he puts it on
or takes it off. PALMAM QUI MERUIT FERAT. “_Let him wear the palm who
wins it._”


And the education and character thus to be obtained by the American
youth are the means by which he may erect the monument of his renown
in the years of his maturity. The pursuit of study in the acquirement
of character, prepares him for the march to eminence in any of the
professions. It provides him with the materials for working his
way to distinction in the mechanic arts, in mercantile life, and in
pursuits which are more strictly professional. And the trophies of his
triumphant genius may tell to other generations how successfully he
pursued the path that opened before him. And where are the trophies
that tell of the triumph of mechanical geniuses? Behold them in the
splendid buildings that adorn this monumental city! Look on those proud
monuments of marble that bear the names of American heroes. They tell
how nobly the soldier fought, and how gloriously was his career of
victory, in the securing and sustaining of American freedom. One of
them proclaims to you of the high character of him whom I have held
up before you as the model of American character. The other tells
how nobly your fathers fell defending the city of your love. Witness
the fair proportions of those splendid structures, their excellent
workmanship, the chasteness of the chiseling, and the beauty that the
sculptor’s hand has left upon them. Proudly they speak of the warrior’s
deeds and fame, and as proudly do they tell us of the master skill
that produced them. They are master specimens of the mechanic arts, and
proclaim what may be done by the educated mind and hand.

And to what shall we look for the announcement of the merchant’s
honors? Look at our large Commercial Exchange, our Custom House,
and the numerous commercial halls that throng this city! Survey the
wharves, and the shipping anchored in the port. Look out upon the
mighty ocean, and see the ships that sail from port to port, their
white sails swelling in the breeze, and moving like things of life
over the billows! And cast your eyes upon those ocean steamers, the
cities of the deep, that swim the waves in their dignity and power, and
that, in regard to time, bring distant nations nearer to each other.
These are the evidences, plain and palpable, of mercantile experiment.
And they bear over every wave, and to every shore, the evidences of
mercantile success.


And in what does the professional man’s renown consist? The answer
comes from the teacher in the hall of learning; from the physician in
his closet; from the artist in his studio; from the statesman in the
nation’s council; from the minister of God in the pulpit; from the
counsellor in the court room. And it comes from the soldier on the
battle field; for the soldier is a professional character. It comes
in the still small voice of the civilian’s intercourse; and it peals
with the thunder tones of war. It tells of triumphs which the mind, in
its improvement, has achieved, and of the trophies reared by hands of
educated skill. There is no department of life in which the American
boy may enter but will afford him honor and honorable success, if he
seeks it in a manner that is becoming in the American character.

And these are the results of education. They are the results of
education, in its improvement, of the American mind. And to the
achievement of honor, in whatever is honorable, that he may undertake,
the American boy may aspire. He may be an eminent mechanic, or a
successful merchant; or he may gain distinction in the ranks of
professional life. And eminent in the department he occupies, as a
social character, as a patriot and Christian, he shall have attained
the distinction he sought; and when he passes from this world, he shall
leave behind him an honored name. Like our model Washington, he shall
leave a character among his people which shall be remembered long after
he has departed. And such a palm as this is worthy of a lifetime to win.


In our country the choice of his profession is generally left with
the boy himself. He selects, under the direction of his parents,
such occupation as suits his taste, and to which he feels that he
is partial. He goes from school to his employment in business,
and thenceforward he is the pioneer of his own fortune; and his
success depends upon himself. He can work his way to eminence if he
is enterprising and industrious; or, he can lag with the crowd,
and continue among those who are unsuccessful, and who are called
unfortunate. I say _called unfortunate_, because the misfortunes of
men are generally the fruits of their own incompetent labors. They
are produced by their want of energy and active devotion to their
profession. Remember that, as well as their fortunes, men make their
_mis_fortunes themselves. If the man would be successful, he must
_study_ as well as work. And he must study how to work, and how to
bring his labor to good account. The school boy must not throw his
books away when he leaves the school. He must carry them with him
through life, and he must use them. The model which I have placed
before you, in our venerated Washington, is not to be imitated by him
who disregards his books. He was pre-eminently distinguished by habits
of study. And we hear of no hours of any part of his life that were
wasted in idleness, or spent in the mere pursuit of pleasure. He gained
his character by study, and by persevering labor. He wrought his way to
the distinguished position he attained. He won the palm by active and
untiring devotion to the pursuit of his choice.


And now, in conclusion, allow me to make a national and patriotic, as
well as individual application of the motto which you bear upon your
banner. You remember the origin of palms. They were first given to
those among the Romans who were victorious in their games. It was done
in imitation of the Grecian practice of rewarding the victor in the
Olympic feats. And the reason why the palm-tree was made choice of for
the purpose, is because in its growth, it would raise itself above any
weight that might be placed upon it. Indeed the palm-tree is said by
some writers to flourish most when most oppressed. And the palm-tree
may be associated by a most appropriate and beautiful simile with the
American character. Behold it rising from the soil in its strength,
making its way through every opposing obstacle, pushing even the huge
rocks aside, and shooting its head through the air, until it stands in
its majesty, a giant in size and in power, defying the wind and the
storm, and yet bowing gently before the breeze that moves among its
branches. See the tall trunk and proportioned foliage showing the tree
to the sun, a thing of beauty as well as of majesty,――of grace as well
as power. Need I make the application? Turn your thoughts to the years
when the iron hand of oppression lay heavily upon the fathers of this
nation. See how they rose above the power that oppressed them; how
they removed the difficulties that surrounded them; how they pushed
aside the mountain barriers that hung over them; and, how the proud
head of the American came up. See how, amid toil, and tears, and blood,
the glory of the American character arose and shone. See how, in its
majesty and in its might, it appeared before the world, that wondered
at its dignity and grace, while it trembled at its power.


In this simile is seen what an appropriate emblem the palm is of the
American character. May that simile be perpetual! May it be the pride
of the American youth to sustain it! Let no danger, no difficulty, no
oppression, let nothing whatever be an impediment in the path of the
young American to fame. And in whatever department of life his lot may
be cast, let him study, let him labor, and let him pursue his way with
persevering diligence. Then may he obtain the point of success at which
he aims.

Boys, let your eyes be fixed upon the model I have set before you in
the character of the immortal Washington, and let your mind and heart
be ever on the motto, PALMAM QUI MERUIT FERAT. And when, after the toil
of years, you have won the laurel, while you are proud of the American
character, your country will be proud of you.

[Illustration: THE END.]



    adapted to the use of schools and academies. By M. J. Kerney.

This work has been introduced as a Text book into several colleges and
academies, in Maryland and the Western States.

The Compendium of History, by Mr. M. J. Kerney, has been in my
possession several months, and, after a careful reading, I believe
it to be a very useful book in the department of study to which it
belongs. I take pleasure in recommending it to teachers.

                                              J. N. M‘JILTON.
  Aug. 3, 1846.               _Ch. Central High School of Baltimore._

    Questions, adapted to the use of schools and academies; also,
    an APPENDIX, containing Rules and Observations for Writing with
    perspicuity and accuracy. By M. J. Kerney.

I have examined the Grammar prepared by Mr. M. J. Kerney, and recommend
it as an abridgment of the old standard of Murray, well calculated to
advance pupils in their grammatical studies.

                                              J. N. M‘JILTON,
  Aug. 3, 1846.               _Ch. Central High School of Baltimore._

“We take particular pleasure in recommending this abridgment to
the public. The notes and observations taken from the original are
copious and well selected. In point of arrangement, it is superior to
any other abridgment of Murray’s Grammar. It has exercises prefixed
to each chapter and section throughout the work, also to the rules
and notes of syntax. Thus, by combining the grammar and exercise, a
very desirable improvement has been effected; the pupil, at every
step of his progress, has a practical illustration of the principles
inculcated. The questions at the bottom of each page, and at the end
of each exercise, will give an increased value to the work, and will
be found convenient to the teacher, and useful for the pupil. By their
arrangement, and that of the exercises, much of that dryness which
scholars usually experience, while committing to memory the rules and
notes of grammar, will be removed; the study will become pleasing and

“Besides embracing in a narrow compass all that is important or
essential in the original grammar and exercise, this abridgment
contains in its appendix several additional matters which will be
found highly interesting and useful to the learner: such as the Art of
Reasoning, Oratory, Elliptical Phrases, Popular Latin Phrases, with a
literal English translation.”――_U. S. C. Magazine._

    to Young Men, Lectures on the Sphere and Duties of Woman, &c.

    several fine Engravings.

    BIBLE QUADRUPEDS: The Natural History of the animals mentioned
    in Scripture. Illustrated with sixteen splendid Engravings. A
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    first Lord Baltimore, made by Hon J. P. Kennedy, before the
    Maryland Historical Society.

    Character of George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore.

    Canada, in 1776, as one of the Commissioners to Congress.

    LOVE AND MATRIMONY, a Letter to a Betrothed Sister, by a Lady
    of Baltimore.

    THE GENTLEMAN’S POCKET FARRIER, Embellished with a fine

    DIVERTING HISTORY OF JOHN GILPIN, Illustrated with Engravings.

    POPE’S ESSAY ON MAN, a beautiful edition.

    SILABARIO CASTELLANO, para el Uso de Los Ninos, bajo un Nuevo
    Plan, Util y Agradable; reuniendo la Ensenanza de las Letras,
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    SILABARIO CASTELLANO, para el Uso de Las Ninas, bajo un Nuevo
    Plan, Util y Agradable; reuniendo la Ensenanza de los Letras,
    Urbanidad, Moral, y Religion.

 Transcriber’s Notes:

 ――Text in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_).

 ――Printer’s, punctuation and spelling inaccuracies were silently

 ――Archaic and variable spelling has been preserved.

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Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.