Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Women's Sphere of Influence on Civilization (1837)

Trellis With Garden, by T.C. Chiu,  from Lovely Whatevers

The book that this article reviews is:

— De Education des Meres de Famille ou de la Civilisation du Genre Humain
par les Femmes: par L. Aime Martin.

 On the Education of Mothers, or The Civilization
of the Human Race by Women: by L. Aime Martin. 2 vols. Brussels. 1837.

(Note the similarities in the problems with people's ideas about women today!)

Three systems have severally claimed the rule in the education of woman, and each of
these has found many followers both in doctrine and practice.

I. The old-fashioned system, which is not without its advocates even in these days,
regarded women merely as destined to become housewives. They must accordingly be
taught to cook, and sew, and spin, take care of the sick, do the duties of the household,
and concern themselves with nothing more. If they could faithfully discharge these
duties, it was of little consequence, whether they could boast of much more ambitious
learning and accomplishment, or could claim any intimacy with the muses, or the

If a young lady knew how to mix a good pudding, or make a nice pie, it was no
matter how little she could tell of the compounding of gases, or the other mysteries of
chemistry. The busy hum of her spinning-wheel, accompanied by some simple song,
was deemed good music enough, and no mention was made of harp and piano. She
was taught to prize the early voice of the birds far more, than the midnight concert of
the elegant warblers of the, drawing- room.

 Even her most showy accomplishments leaned towards domestic utility. The boasted sampler, with its varied alphabets and fanciful mottoes, displayed a skill that was destined to be used not in any rich and ostentatious embroidery, but in marking and adorning the family stockings.

The highest achievement of the needle, — the mourning piece, — while it proved the skill of
the patient embroiderer, proved also her power of being useful, — showed that her
most elegant was one of her most serviceable arts; and that even when it sought to be
most ornamental, it was employed in the service of family love and domestic religion.

The day of quadrilles and waltzes had not come. Few women had the ambition to
learn foreign languages. Happy she, who could read and write English correctly,
without aspiring to French or Italian.

Such are some of the features of the old-fashioned system of education, as it flourished
in the days of our grandmothers. It had many excellencies, and some defects. Its sins,
however, were rather of omission, than commission. The excellent household training,
which was the pride of olden times, is worthy all praise.

The happy homes of Old and New England in former days speak its worth, while many a degenerate race now shames the memory of its ancestors. Yet this education was deficient in the higher culture. It did not enough to refine the tastes and the manners, — not enough to
expand, and enlighten, and invigorate the mind.

It is needless, however, to dwell upon the defects of the ancient system, for the present age is exposed to far other dangers.

There are, indeed, not a few sticklers for the old-fashioned ways ; not a few, who
stoutly condemn the modern mania for accomplishments; who would banish harp and
piano, and reinstate the spinning-wheel; honor the kitchen and dairy far before the
drawing-room; close their houses to the dancing-master, as to a pestilence, and think
money worse than thrown away, when given for instruction in French or Italian.

Some there are, who seem to think even a thorough English education needless to a woman,
believing it to be her sole business to be the drudge of her household, and servant of
her husband. A friend, who taught school in a distant town, once told us, that when he
urged upon a very bright scholar the importance of studying grammar, her zeal for the
study was rebuked by the father, who refused to provide the requisite book, and said,
that grammar was a mess of nonsense, — it was nothing, but " he loved and she
loved," and would not make his daughter a bit the better wife. Such cases are almost
solitary in our country.

II. The great tendency of late has been to a new system of education, just the reverse of
the old. This modern system despises utility, and favors only the graceful and
ornamental. It insists solely upon accomplishments. It finds no fault, if girls are
ignorant of household duties, and are as little skilled in preparing a cup of coffee, or
making a loaf of bread, as in finding the philosopher's stone, or concocting the elixir
of im mortality, so long as they can dance and sing and play on an instrument, and
prate a little French or Italian.

 This notion of education has wrought much evil in the
world, and nowhere more than in our own country. It has made the mothers and
daughters of a great many good middling families discontented with their lot,
negligent of their duties, and aping elegance, when they ought to be studying utility.

It has done much to destroy the genuine domestic virtues in all conditions of life. This
system may well be called the French. In France, it most prevails ; and it has extended
with the progress of French influence. It is making fearful inroads in all countries, and
giving to France an empire mightier, than was ever won by the armies of Napoleon.
The march of her hosts has been arrested ; but not the triumphs of her arts.

Russia struck the first deadly blow at Napoleon's empire; but Russia is gradually adopting
French tastes and manners ; and Moscow itself is paymg homage to a mightier power
in the fashions of Paris, than that, which her flaming palaces drove to a ruinous

 Old England is hardly England any longer, and is fast giving up to French
influences that sceptre of independence, which was so nobly defended at Trafalgar and
Waterloo. The English writers on female education speak in most decided terms of the
evils of French influences, upon the homes and the women of the land. We find strong
condemnations of this prevailing tendency in writers otherwise so little alike, as Maria
Edgeworth and Hannah More.

 The best work that has lately appeared upon female
culture in our mother country, the work of Mrs. Ellis, on the " Women of England," is
a vindication of the good old domestic virtues and pursuits against the attacks of
foreign vanities and laxity.

No one can have given the least observation to the state of things in our own land,
without deploring the present tendencies of female education here. Perhaps the worst
is now over; and the better ideas, as presented by such women, as Miss Sedg- wick,
Mrs. Farrar, and Mrs. Sigourney, are henceforth to take the lead. But the present
generation hardly practises those ideas. Many a city mansion, and many a plain
farmer's home, has been lost to all true comfort and happiness, by the inroads of
Parisian and boarding-school ideas.

There is no fear that our young women will have
too much elegance or refinement. The fear is, they will have too little. There is about
as much vulgarity of soul and manner in what is called fashionable life, as in what is
called low life. Pretence is always vulgar, and arrogance always unladylike. "What a
catalogue of miseries," says Mrs. Ellis, " might be made out, as the consequences of
this mistaken ambition of women to be ladies !

 Gentlewomen they may be, and
refined women too ; for when did either gentleness or true refinement disqualify a
woman for her proper duties ? But that assumption of delicacy, which unfits them for
the real business of life, is more to be dreaded in its fatal influence upon their
happiness, than the most agonizing disease, with which they could be afflicted." How
selfish such women are, and how sensible of the least pain ! " Not the most exquisite
creation of poetic fancy was ever supposed to be more susceptible of pain, than is now
the highly educated young lady, who reclines on a couch in an apartment slightly
separated from that in which her father sells his goods, and but one remove from the
sphere of her mother's culinary toil."

The author of the work before us has stated better than any one else the evils of the
modern system of Education in his own country, while he is well aware of its
redeeming graces. He sketches the history of female culture in France, and eloquently
describes its present state.

According to him, Descartes prepared the way for the regeneration of women in
France, by his doctrine of the dignity of the individual mind, and the tendency of that
doctrine to lead each one to think for himself, and to respect the minds of others.
Rousseau was earnest to apply this thought to the condition of women, and to rebuke
their too common neglect of their offspring, and to insist upon the duty of each
mother being the nurse of her own child. But Rousseau's system was defective,
because it took the child from the mother after infancy, and entrusted its education to
a preceptor.

Fleury and Fenelon also are names, that deserve to be mentioned among those, who
have contributed to women's elevation. Fleury brought forward what then seemed a
great paradox, in maintaining, that girls ought to learn something besides the
catechism, sewing, singing, dancing, dressing, speaking civilly, and making a courtesy.
" And what," asks our author, " was this new instruction, which was so to scandalize
the Sevignes, the Coulanges, the La Fayettes ? It was the knowledge of reading,
writing, and accounts, sufficient acquaintance with business to procure good counsel,
and of medicine enough to take care of the sick." Yet the Abbe also insisted on moral
and religious education.

To the religious teachings of Fleury, Fenelon added his heavenly voice. The simple
doctrines of his beautiful work on the education of girls is inspired by the love of Jesus
Christ for little children. Although writing at an age, when the reign of woman was
omnipotent at court, Fenelon's ideas were in advance of the age, and were much
scandalized. Woman, although adored as an idol, was not respected as a living soul;
and he seemed to say strange words, who spoke of her solemn duties and immortal
destiny. Fenelon's principles are not very well recognized in this somewhat better day
of French principles.

Passing from Descartes, Rousseau, Fleury, and Fenelon, Aime Martin thus
characterizes the present condition of female education in France : —

" Since Fenelon and Rousseau, there has been progress among men, and the education
of women has gained by it. It is no longer a disputed question, whether it is good to
instruct them, and to what extent their instruction should go ; it is allowed that their
understanding should be developed ; the talents of artists and masters of languages
are given them ; they skim over the circle of the sciences; but in these studies, nothing
calls them to think their own thoughts ; the lessons of the school are merely stamped
on their brains; thus when the passions come on, those passions, to which it is not too
much to oppose both the habits of virtue and the principles of religion, they find
hands skilful upon the piano, a memory, that repeats, and a soul, that sleeps. Such is
the woman, saving some rare exceptions, whom our age affords, with her petty
devotions, her boarding- school morality, her mechanical talents, her love of pleasure,
ignorance of all matters of life, and the need of loving and being loved.

" Not that this education has not also its brilliant side ; it introduces into society the
tastes and manners of artists, much grace, much originality. The duchess and the
citizen's wife, if indeed there are any longer such distinctions, rival each other in the
saloons in the exercise of the highest talents; some make poems, which are sold in aid
of the Greeks and Poles ; others compose pictures, the price of which is devoted to
pious enterprises ; all write with grace and accuracy, and the pens of a Sevigne and a
La Fayette have almost become vulgar.

 Thus education is. gradually levelling society;
its uniformity is the mightiest democracy, and I do not think myself uttering a
parodox in saying, that the talents of women have done more for the equality of ranks,
than all the decrees of our national assembly.

" Enter one of our most fashionable saloons : see that crowd of men of all ages
standing together, and who seem clad in the same cloth: one is a banker, the other a
marquis, this one is a virtuoso, that a magistrate. Yet notwithstanding the uniformity
of their dark dress, there is in their language, in their air, a mark, which distinguishes
and classifies them. It is not so with the women : by the grace of their attitudes, by the
elegance of their manners, you would think them all of equal birth and of the same
rank ; there is the same information, the same charm, the same taste for the arts ; no
means of distinguishing the daughters of a notary from those of a courtier, a
capitalist, or a general. Behold that charming group at the piano ; it is executing
together a choice piece from Kossini, with as much accuracy as Italian actors ; there
are the wife of a physician, the wife of a peer of France, a marchioness, the daughter
of a man of business. Nothing separates them except difference of talent.

" Now turn your eyes to that lady, whose toilette, so simple and yet so elegant, has
fixed attention for a moment; it is one of our most beautiful duchesses. What an
amiable smile she exchanges with the young person, who has just seated herself next
her ! Two truly remarkable women ! the duchess teaches her sons Latin, and writes
romances ; the other writes poetry ; a poet and beautiful, she is the very Corinne of
her age ; her fame, that is her nobility ! Thus in this elegant assembly, where all is
confounded, birth, fortune, titles, condition, there is no distinction ; beauty attracts
attention, talent marks place, and education levels all.

" Surely if the life of women were to be confined to the studio and the ball ; if their
object were merely to dazzle and please, the great problem would be resolved by this
education of the soiree ; but the hours of pleasure are short, and the slow hours of
reflection succeed them. The internal life, the moral life, the duties of the mother, and
the duties of the wife, all this comes, and all this has been forgotten. Then they return
to the void in the bosom of their family, with romantic passions, imagination
uncontrolled, and ennui, that great destroyer of female virtue.

 The sad consequences
of this state of things, lamentations on account of it strike our ears; it is the cry of all
mothers, the complaint of all husbands ; and in those grievous straits, where each is
agitated and desperate, the worst is that indifference is usually the result.

" To get a just idea of the improvidence of our systems of Education, what is needed ?
To demand their aim. Is it religion ? But religion — misunderstood indeed —
condemns all that is taught. Is it domestic happiness ? But these talents so laboriously
acquired, these talents, which remove the necessity of thinking do not appear in
household habits. Is it the prosperity, the glory of the country ? Mockery ! what
mother thinks of that in these days ? Thus just as we seek the aim, the whole vanishes.
Nothing for individual happiness, nothing for general prosperity ! The world remains,
and it is to this, in fact, that all efforts tend. The care is to please it, rather than to
resist it; the wish is to shine, to reign ; vanity, that is the end, to which tender mothers
do not cease to point their daughters, and upon which the world, which pushes them
on, sees them wrecked with indifference.

Vanity in dress!
Vanity in fascinating talents!
Vanity in information!

" Be beautiful, be polite, you will be noticed ; be gentle, be submissive, you will be
heard, says a mother to her daughter ; which really means, always substitute the show
for the reality. The soul, like the body, has its light embellishments; it is used to them
from the cradle ; evil is not cured, it is only hid ; the character is not changed, it is
disguised. Thus vanity covers all; to seem and not to be, constitutes the sum and
substance of Education." — Book I. chap. 8.

The lessons given in religion are mere words, which are contradicted by education and
example. The contempt of the world, taught by religion, is not very consistently
accompanied by constant instruction in the arts of fascination: —

" It seems as if the religious life and the worldly life were two champions in a mortal
combat; whichever conquers, the man who embraces it is only a mutilated being,
incomplete, the deplorable remains of passions or superstitions.

" The complete man is he, who lives at the same time a social and religious life ; with a
powerful hand he ends the combat between the two adversaries, and marking out to
each its place, he treads with a firm step the ways of God and according to the lights
of reason.

" But in order that these lights, now so rare, may be shed abroad in the world, they
must shine in our Educations ; they cannot reach the multitude, unless mingled with
the first emotions of life, and under the irresistible influence of the mother of the
family; this is the sacred lamp, which the industrious wife of Virgil lighted by night,
for her toil, by the cradle of her child.

" In the Paradise Lost, there is a lion whose creation is not yet finished ; he is seen
coming forth half formed from the earth, which is producing him; his eye shines, his
hair is agitated, but his body is only an inert mass, without motion, yet fixed to the
soil; impatient, he waits the last spark to burst into life.

" Sublime image of mankind! There is no life but in the shead, the rest has no motion ;
let light penetrate to it! Snatch it from nothingness, and let it take possession of
empire ! " — Book I. chap. 8.

Such is the picture of fashionable education in France. It will apply in some measure
to America. In many cases, the American picture is less pleasing. In many cases, the
adoption of French ideas by American women spoils their true American character,
and gives them little of the much sought elegance, except an apish affectation. True
domestc worth is often lost, and the fascinations of fashionable society, which, if
gained, would be but a poor compensation for the loss, are not attained.

 Many with
whom the " morning is all rehearsal and the evening is all performance," who give to
waltzing and music the time, which they owe to solid learning or domestic duties, not
only sacrifice utility to show, know little of household economy and useful learning,
but after all make indifferent musicians and very sorry waltzers. They are neither
French, nor American, but a bad mixture of both.

HI. This tendency towards a merely showy education has been observed by many
judicious minds, and has doubtless been the most cogent of the reasons, why so strong
a movement has recently been made towards the opposite extreme, of which we will
now briefly speak, as the third idea of female education.

 Disgusted with the frivolity of
too many of the sex, indignant at the insult of rearing immortal beings, as if they were
to be only the gilded butterflies of a summer hour, many sturdy spirits have
maintained, that women should have an education as solid and severe as that of men.

Hence the masculine school of female education. This system has found its principal
advocates in England and America. The females in France, who have most ably
vindicated their sex from the charge of weakness of intellect, have never advocated the
masculine doctrine. A Madame de Stae'l, though unsurpassed by any of her sex for
vigor of intellect, ever prides herself in a woman's heart, and spite of her defiance of
Napoleon shows no leaning towards the doctrine of a Wolstoncraft, a Martineau, or a

Mary Wolstoncraft was the first conspicuous advocate of this system, although there
have always been sturdy champions of woman's equality. We read in Bayle's
Dictionary of a Lu- cretia Marinella, a Venetian lady, and Jacquette Guillaume, a
French woman, who, about two centuries since, wrote books asserting even the
superiority of women over men in every respect. Notwithstanding Mary Wolstoncraft's
many sins, much wrong is generally done to her memory in deeming her an utter
infidel. Her book on the Rights of Woman is based on the moral worth of the soul and
its immortality.

Now we can have no quarrel with any doctrine, whether brought forward by Mrs.
Godwin, or less objectionably by Miss Martineau and Miss Grimke, which maintains
the claims of the sex to a moral and intellectual nature, and their right to as sound an
education as man enjoys. But when in union with this doctrine, it is maintained that
women should be educated as politicians and orators, and should divide with man the
rougher labors of life, we must dissent, not because of their inferiority, but their
equality ; not because we would close on woman the path of honor, but because her
honor is most promoted by excellence in her own sphere, as a wife, a mother, the
guardian of the young, mistress of the home, arbiter of society.

IV. We have now spoken of the three leading systems of female Education, the old
fashioned or domestic, the modern or showy, the masculine. Which of these shall we
choose, as best ? Neither, by itself, but a union of all. Woman should be skilled in the
duties of the household, and yet not be so brought up, as to place the end of her
existence in cooking and sewing ; she should be accomplished, and yet not so showy,
as to be always aiming at effect, and sacrificing substance to seeming; she should be
educated intellectually and morally with the utmost thoroughness, and at the same
time should never be allowed to forget that her sphere is not that of man.

 Thus we
would advocate a fourth or Eclectic system, that should avoid the defects and
comprise the excellencies of the three. This Eclectic system has many distinguished
champions, and has the spirit of the age upon its side. It is maintained virtually,
although not in precise terms, in the remarkable work under review.

The aim of the work is to show the vast influence, which woman may exert in the
civilization of the human race ; woman, not as an orator or politician, but as a
religious mother. The first part treats of the influence of the sex and the need of better
education ; the second part gives an eloquent outline of the philosophical, moral, and
religious studies and opinions, appropriate to women's sphere.

Napoleon said one day to Madame Campan ; "the old systems of Education are good
for nothing ; what is wanting to the proper Education of young persons in France ? " "
Mothers" replied Madame Campan. This expression struck the Emperor, and led him
to exclaim: " Ah ! that makes the whole system of Education ; we need mothers who
know how to bring up their children."

" This profound remark," says the author, " constitutes the subject of our book.
Expecting nothing more from the present generation, hoping nothing more from our
systems of public Education, we say in our turn, we need mothers, who know how to
educate their children ! "

Our readers must bear in mind the difference between French and American society,
while estimating the wisdom of the work before us. It must be remembered,
especially, that what is said of marriage, as freeing the young girl from the slavish
restraints of a boarding school or convent, and giving her a boundless and dangerous
liberty, has little application to American life.

 With us, unmarried women are just as
free to mingle in society, as the married. Consequently our women carry with them to
married life far more practical wisdom, than the French, and are free from many of
their dangers.

After speaking of the progress of ideas on the subject of female education, and of the
prevalent faults regarding it, Aime Martin thus states the plan of his work.
" I have shown the vices of our fashionable modes of Education, and thus far I have
proposed no general reformation. Education of the convent, education of the
boarding-school, education in the family, the old method, the new method, no matter
which, I take them all; but this first education ended, I take the pupil to myself and
mine begins!

" The young woman has left the home of her parents ; she is a wife, a mother ; her
anxiety allows her no longer repose. See her perusing and reperusing Fenelon,
Rousseau, Madame de Beaumont, Madame Guizot, Madame de Remuzat, and seeking
everywhere new rules and methods; a secret instinct tells her, that to become worthy
of the education of her child, she must recommence her own.

" The first thought to be given her is the importance of concerning herself less with
what she should teach her child, and more with what she should inspire him. Other
persons may make him learned, she alone can render him virtuous ; good mother! lay
hold of the young heart, and thus you will one day guide the mind.

" This is the chief point, or rather the sum and substance of the education of mothers.
The aim is, in effect, to release women from the narrow circle, in which society
restricts them, and to extend their thoughts to all the objects, which can render them
better or happier.

" A religious, philosophical, and moral world is to be opened to them. It is their
mission to introduce our infancy to it, as into a holy temple, where the soul studies
and learns itself in the presence of its God.

" Let us pause a moment upon so grave a subject.

" The thought of man is not confined, like that of the animals, within the limits of this
globe. It quits the visible for the invisible, and freeing itself from matter is lost in
contemplations of the infinite. There all our grandeur lies, since there alone, we find
the principle of our being, the bases of our morality, the last why, the last how, of our
fugitive existence. Truth bursts from the immaterial world ; it is the torch of the other
life, which sheds its light upon this.

" Thus is it, that our soul is drawn towards this unknown world by the very necessities
of our earthly existence. God places here the sources of truth and virtue with the
revelation of a better life!

" The study of these great phenomena constitutes what Socrates would have called the
important science. It is the subject of this book :

" The science of ourselves, which leads to the knowledge of God.

" The science of the moral laws of nature, which leads to the
knowledge of truth.

* * * * * * *
" What a destiny is that of women ! equally a prey to all the seductions of pleasure, to
all the pangs of grief, as mistress, as wife, as mother, without other weapons, than
their weakness ; who does not understand how important it is to give them an
education broad and profound, which shall provide them with the resource of a virtue
mightier than the griefs which await, and the seductions which threaten them ? "

Once religion instructed them from the pulpit, but confining all its morality to
penitence, it gave rise to repentance more than to virtue. A Massillon, a Bourdaloue, a
Bossuet strove to smother their passions; they should have known how to guide them.
Far from supporting humanity, they broke it down beneath the yoke of a violent
doctrine, which they illustrated by the fires of hell. And lo ! their greatest miracles
were not to make us live virtuously in the world, but to tear us from it; at their
command, Lavalliere robed herself in penitential sackcloth ; Chevreuse and
Longueville fled to the desert to bewail their sins, and queens built temples, founded
cloisters, and humbled themselves beneath their vaults!

" Surely the great moral truths repeated constantly at the altar, in presence of God,
have not been without fruits for humanity ; and if freed from all the superstitions
which belittle them, and from cruel dogmas as to the eternity of punishment, and the
vengeance of a pitiless Divinity, women might draw hence strong and efficient
instruction; but it is solitude now in the temple, the priests there keep a lonely watch,
listening from afar to the world, which cares no more for the ideas of a bygone age.
Once the people followed them, because they took the lead; now the people await
them, because they remain behind. Thus moral instruction escapes them; sad reaction
of our excesses ; theological impieties have brought religion to neglect; and the neglect
of religion abandons us passive to all the vanities of human intelligence.

" Now what is left for woman ? Some offices of devotion, and the mass on Sunday : no
moral and religious direction, for I cannot dignify with this name that brief and
narrow instruction, entrusted to the memory in childhood, and which unsupported by
the conviction of the parents, and the example of the family, holds almost the place of
a dream, in the dream of life. Nevertheless, religious sensibility exists ; and this, with
maternal love, is enough to revive the whole soul.

 These two sentiments,
inextinguishable in women, are now the last hope of civilization, and since all our
modes of education tend to weaken them, be it our aim, as far as may be, to fortify
them and renew their power.

" This power is entirely moral; we shall seek it immediately in the profound study of
our material and spiritual faculties; it will be necessary to trace the line which divides
them ; what belong to the earth! what to heaven ! an important distinction, too much
neglected even in our day, and ignorance of which plunges us into darkness. Before
drawing this line, you are oppressed by the vain phantoms of materialism; doubt
overwhelms you ; but the separation once made, the phantoms vanish, darkness is
dispelled, and the consoling truth appears !

" You will observe how this simple distinction suffices to establish the existence of
God, and the immortality of the soul, not as dogmas, but as facts, at the same time
independent of the illusions of thought, and the formulas of logic. There is a pleasure
in seeing truths so sublime come out from the invisible world, all luminous and
undeniable, as the unknown quantity of a mathematical problem.

" These truths come to light, it is true, through material sensations, but without
springing from them.

" There we find an entirely new knowledge of being, and consequently new elements of
education. The child is presented to its mother, as a spiritual creature; the object is
not merely to teach an understanding, but to develop a soul ; and this soul, the mother
knows; she knows where to carry light, where to address her lessons. Others may
provide the vessel its sails and rigging ; she alone communes with the pilot, seats him
at the helm, provides him with a compass, and before launching him upon the ocean
of the world, points to him in heaven his guiding-star.

" From the study of man, we shall pass to the search for truth. Truth is the opposite of
error; and error is the barbarism and crime, that ravage the world.

" Truth is not the property of any man, or caste, or people, or religion. Its character is
beauty, utility, universality. Our passions and superstitions are the darkness which
encompass it; the laws of Nature are its light.

" Our aim is to examine the moral, philosophical, political, religious questions, which
concern man, and to refer them to the truth, by submitting them to an immutable

" Thus we gradually arrive to the most important part of this book ; the moral studies
of the gospel; we say the most important, for all education, which is not religious,
makes man incomplete, and at most, only forms an intelligent animal. It is an error to
suppose, that man becomes truly great by science ; he is not great, he is not man, but
by the knowledge of God. Bereft of that, we see only his limited existence, and have a
philosophy without light.

" Why such general selfishness ? Why the love of gold, the love of power, the love of
vengeance, instead of the love of humanity ? Why so much ambition, which brings
forth so much crime ? Why so many murders, adulteries, ingratitudes, calumnies,
iniquities, depravities ? two causes: error and misery. A single remedy : religion.

" You may in vain agitate yourself, torment yourself, in vain vex your brain ; to
provide this divine power, you will interrogate to no purpose all the scenes, of which
you are so proud, and the ciphers of algebra, and the lines of geometry; these vast
displays of learning will give you nothing but the materials for a learned scholar. To
make a man, the soul must be developed, and soon as the soul appears, it seeks its
God. Thus we ever return to that thing so despised, — religion.

" Such is briefly the plan of these studies. We address it to mothers, not that they may
commit its principles to the memory of their children, but that they may impress
them generously and deeply on the soul : their mission is not instruction, but
influence ; it is not knowledge which is demanded of them, but inspiration and
guidance. In the bosom of the family, the child receives a certain number of ideas,
which belong to his age, his nation, and to the rank which he occupies in it.

ideas are more or less exalted, more or less true; there are some which express
political or sectarian passions ; others, that are only prejudices or superstitions. No
matter! he soon becomes all that he hears, all that he sees, royalist or Jacobin, fanatic
or atheist, as of old the people became partisans for Orleans or Burgundy, Navarre or
the League. The impressions of infancy give a passion for a party, for an interest,
never for truth !

" Do you not feel that this is the source of all our errors ?

" It is, then, to the family, that education should be carried. There truth should be
exhibited to us, like duty at Sparta, country at Rome. Truth, the main-spring of
modern nations, has promise of the whole world : and if the love of country has sent
forth nations of heroes, this love so much broader and more sublime, will produce the
civilization of mankind."—Book I. chap. 12.

After devoting several chapters to the subjects of physical education, and public
instruction, and distinctly asserting the moral education of the young to be the
province of woman, Aitne Martin enters upon the philosophical part of his work. His
philosophy does not seem to be borrowed from any one master, but is generous and
eclectic. It is lofty, yet humble. He most warmly asserts the spiritual nature of man,
and the immortality of the soul, and its capacity for attaining religious truth ; yet he
shrinks modestly from the task of accurately defining the faculties of the mind. "

definition of faculties which are related to the infinite," he says, " is. impossible.
Neither sentiment, nor reason, nor the beautiful, nor God, nor any faculty of the soul,
has ever been defined precisely, because their essence is infinite. And nevertheless,
that which we cannot define, we feel, we think, we believe; we have consciousness of it
without argument; and this consciousness is the mysterious star, which rises upon the
limit of two worlds ! "

vOL. xxvIII. — 3D S. vOL. x. NO. I. 8
The second book being upon psychology, the third book endeavors to guide the
mother in the search for truth, on moral and political subjects. Here we find
interesting essays on a variety of subjects, — logic and love,— the laws of nature and of
nations, — the republics of Athens and Rome, and the ideal republic of Plato, — life
and death, — the perfectibility of the human race, and its hopes of progress.

 His ideas
of government are strongly republican, and at the same time, deeply religious.
" God be thanked," he says, " the ideas of some people elected, and others damned, are
dead in Europe. Authority. does not constitute religion, nor the king's good pleasure
constitute government. The universal reason is now awake. The vulgar saying, that the
voice of the people is the voice of God, has been comprehended by sages.

They have
felt, that to diffuse truth, there was less need of imploring kings, than of educating the
people. Truth descends with difficulty from kings to to the people ; but its triumph is
certain, when it rises from the people to kings.

 Consider how many changes two or
three gospel principles, falling at hazard in the crowd, have produced. The French
charter, the abolition of the slave-trade, the emancipation of Ireland, the liberty of
America, the deliverance of Greece were in the minds of the people, before entering
the reason of princes.

 If monarchs had listened to the people, Italy would be free, and
Poland in being: two crimes less would have pressed on the heads of the sovereigns of
Europe. It is to the public conscience, enlightened by the laws of Nature, that the
appeal must be made. Upon this the prosperity of the human race reposes ; and the
rising age shall behold the civilization of India and Africa, the deliverance of the East,
the abolition of castes, the marriage of priests, the emancipation of the people, and
the freedom of the world ! " — Book III. chap. 30.

The fourth and last book treats of the moral studies of the Gospel, and unfolds religion
to the mother of the family. It is pervaded by good sense, beauty, and piety. Here and
there, as throughout the whole work, we meet with expressions, that might as well
have been spared, and the extravagance of the Frenchman gets the better of the
gravity of the moralist. But on the whole, it would be difficult to find a more beautiful
treatise on religion, as appealing to women, than that here given.

The opinions
advanced are very decided, yet entirely free from dogmatism. We should call Aime
Martin a Unitarian, as doubtless he is, were we not unwilling to deal needlessly with
sectarian terms. We will let him designate his own creed. All that he says upon
religion shows him to be a Christian, after the pattern of Fenelon, whom he never
ceases to honor as the restorer of genuine Christianity in France.

A great part of the book upon religion is applicable to the state of things in our own
land. All that is said of the power of women to destroy bigotry and fanaticism, and
soften the somewhat harsh features of the prevailing faith, is worthy of being echoed
from one end of our country to the other.

 It is very strange, and no less strange than
true, that very little is done by the gentler sex to make the doctrines of the gospel
appear in their native mildness and love. The most denunciatory style of preaching is
too apt to charm the ears, which are generally thought to prefer more winning tones.
Countless exampless of meek and amiable piety are found in our American homes,
and many a mother and daughter has won souls to Christ, by a life of purity and faith,
which is more convincing than whole libraries of polemic theology.

Still the influence
of the sex leans towards the harsher schools of Divinity. To them we look for the
regeneration of religion, and deliverance from the chains of theologians. Such
sentiments as the following will find a response in many hearts: —

" We will boldly oppose the laws of Nature to the fictions of theology. What guide
more sublime in separating the work of God from the work of men ! What means
more potent to lead us from indifference to love ! If all our evils spring from theology,
all our blessings come from religion : the double light of Nature and the Gospel cannot
penetrate our hearts without bearing thither the convictions of virtue.

" The general spirit of the Gospel is love of humanity, compassion for weakness,
pardon to penitence ; it is yet more ; it is benevolence and beneficence towards our
enemies. I hear Jesus on the cross pray for his murderers ! I hear him upon the Mount
say to his disciples : ' It is written, you shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy ;
but I say unto you, do good to them that hate you ; pray for them which persecute you,
and speak evil of you, that ye may be the children of your Father in the heavens, who
makes the sun to rise upon the good and the evil, and the rain to fall upon the just and
the unjust.'

" Listen! there is the great law of Nature : The sun rises upon the good and evil: and
the morality of Christ is but,an expression of this law. You should imitate God, you
should lay hold of his purpose in his eternal blessings, and manifest its divine
influence around you.

" Everywhere the same gentleness and morality ; everywhere the disciples of Christ are
called not to fight but to teach. Their arms are persuasion, their conquest, the heart.
In his last interviews with his apostles, when unbosoming his soul, Jesus unfolds the
means of diffusing the truth ; he exhorts them to devote themselves as so many
sacrifices for the salvation of men ; for they are sent as lambs in the midst of wolves.
They should pardon, they should bless, they should instruct; the master has come not
to condemn the world, but to save it." Book IV. chap. 5.

The following remarks on the priesthood are, we trust, becoming every day less
applicable to the clergy of our land:—-

" It is an established fact, that light has come to us by the Gospel in spite of the
priesthood, which has built in darkness. Not because the Christian community has
lacked teachers, schools, or libraries. Their writings were many, but barren ; the
human mind worked over incessantly the same old notions. When we plunge into this
study, we are struck with its inanity.

 No broad and generous ideas, not one of those
evangelical sentiments, which embrace the whole race, no knowledge of the love of
God and our neighbor. From Saint Jerome to Bourda- loue, from Saint Augustine to
Bossuet, always the same terrible Deity, the God of vengeance, excommunication,
damnation, hell. The saints read the Gospel without getting much good from it; either
for themselves or for others.

They alone had possession of the book, which was to
civilize the people, and they made use of it to establish and regulate monasteries. We
had the austerities of India, instead of the morality of Christ. The invention of
printing was needed, a second revelation, to wrest from them this book, and give it to
the universe. We make bold to say, that without the genius of Faust and Gutenberg,
the doctrine of Jesus Christ had been lost to humanity. The Gospel did not truly exist
till this epoch, and the knowledge of its morality dates only from the age of Fenelon."
— Book IV. chap. 11.

We are tempted to quote the two short chapters on Faith and Hope, and Pogmas and
Morals; but enough has been said to indicate their spirit. We should like the whole
treatise on religion better, if more account were made of the doctrines of the Gospel,
and such exclusive stress were nnt laid upon its morality.

 These doctrines never
appear in their full heauty and power, except in connexion with the morality of the
Gospel. We cannot but feel, that the author has not gone quite deeply enough into the
science of religion, although his heart is right. We should like to have him add a
chaji'.er on the cardinal doctrines of Atonement and Justification by Faith. Viewed
according to his principles, these doctrines would have a charm and freshness, quite
strange to our many formal systems of dogmatics.

Aime Martin closes his work by a recapitulation of its principles, and an appeal to the
sex to whom it is addressed. He eloquently enjoins it upon women to watch over the
moral and religious sensibilities of the young, as their peculiar care; and to impress
upon them from the cradle the central truth of the unity and parental character of
God, and the great sentiment of the love of God and man. We can pardon and even
admire a little Gallic enthusiasm in the close of so eloquent a treatise: —

" The book of Nature and the Gospel unite in this truth, so simple and yet so vast:
« Unity of God."
" And in this sentiment so sublime, and so natural:
" Love of God and men."
« Unity of God,"
" That is to say an only God, Father of all men ; consequently, all are brothers upon the
" Equality of rights, liberty of all, abolition of exclusive privileges, of casies, of slavery,
of war, of capital punishment, result from the brotherhood of mankind."
" Love of God and men."

" Here religion takes a moral character, in uniting God and man, as father to child ;
and morality takes a religious character, in uniting man to God, as child to Father.

" Accordingly as the soul is penetrated by these divine sentiments, national
animosities are extinguished, prejudices vanish, the great people is formed, and the
reign of God on earth advances from west to east.

" The reign of God is the happiness of man by virtue.

" The world will arrive at this by the study of the laws of nature, and by their
comparison with human laws. Pious studies, which will ensure to our children the
constant presence of God ; sublime guidance, which will conduct them to the
discovery of all moral and physical truths, since truth is only the testimony, which
nature renders of its author!

" And to accomplish this prodigious revolution, to change the destinies of the world,
to reunite families, to reconcile nations, what is wanting ? A whole generation must
come to us acquainted with these truths ; a great people must receive them from the

" Women ! if you could only catch a glimpse of the marvels promised to maternal
influence, with what noble pride, you would enter the career, which nature has opened
to you for so many ages! What is not in the power of any monarch or any nation, your
will can execute.

 You alone have the disposal of the rising generation, and you alone
can unite the scattered members, and impress upon them the same movement. What
I can put merely upon cold paper, you can engrave on the heart of a whole people. I
present you with a feeble image of the truth, you can give the truth itself to the world.
When in our promenades, and in our public gardens, I see that noisy crowd of little
children gathering from every side, and abandoned to the plays of childhood, my heart
leaps for joy, that they are still yours.

 Let each of you strive for the happiness of your
child ; in the happiness of the individual God has placed the promise of general
happiness. Young girls, young wives, tender mothers, it is in your souls, rather than in
the laws of the legislator, that the hopes of Europe and the destinies of mankind
repose ! "

The mothers of America will know how to pardon the enthusiasm of this appeal to the
mothers of France.

We close this article, which has already become longer than we intended, with a single
remark. We should rejoice, if the French eloquence of this book had been tempered
with a little Yankee practical wisdom. Were some dozen chapters omitted in the
second and third books, and a like number substituted from that precious and
unpretending little volume of Miss Sedg- wick's, Means and Ends, little would be
wanting to the perfection of the treatise. The two read together will make a guide to
the right system.

 May we not hope, that the whole truth will be heard, and practised,
and a new and generously eclectic system of female education shall prevail; that our
fair rising generation may be so trained, as to be domestic without being drudges,
refined and accomplished without being frivolous fash- ionists, intellectual without
being masculine, religious without bigotry or superstition. The signs of the times
encourage such a hope.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Important Americans


This will give you some insight into the daily lives of the people at the time.
http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/lees%20slave.htm written by a slave.

This also written by slaves

Here an online book with history http://books.google.com/books?id=L2RMRwJ1IUsC&pg=PT62id=L2RMRwJ1IUsC&pg=PT62&lpg=PT62&dq=american+slaves+who+became+preachers&source=web&ots=RLUwPIou7I&sig=jgLplqmNSvEl2KnQe89SpT9EqrM&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=5&ct=result#PPA2007,M1


This will give you some insight into the daily lives of the people at the time.
http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/lees%20slave.htm written by a slave.

This also written by slaves

Here an online book with history http://books.google.com/books?id=L2RMRwJ1IUsC&pg=PT62&lpg=PT62&dq=american+slaves+who+became+preachers&source=web&ots=RLUwPIou7I&sig=jgLplqmNSvEl2KnQe89SpT9EqrM&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=5&ct=result#PPA2007,M1

Try this one for some very sobering history
http://dixieoutfitters.com/p/black-confederates?ol=2673&pi=2669&ri=2669   Go through and read every article, perhaps one a day.

For further research: the natural born citizenship was created in order to give these people , former slaves, full citizenship in the U.S. It was not for the purpose of giving immigrants a chance to come to the US and have children to make them citizens and collect welfare or other government benefits.

Read what happened to these Americans led to a false freedom.

It is extremely important to know the contributions of these legitimate American people, who were also very loyal to America and to the people that helped them.

To the reporter in Chennai:  I am glad you are reading through all these links and getting the history from the people who lived in that era.


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