_The Model of Character_
MODEL OF CHARACTER
DELIVERED TO THE
_Boys of the Public Schools_.
BY REV. J. N. M‘JILTON, A. M. CHAIRMAN OF THE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL, BALTIMORE.
BALTIMORE: PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY J. MURPHY, 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_.
REV. AND DEAR SIR:
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_.
To REV. J. N. M‘JILTON.
BALTIMORE, _July 27, 1846_. GENTLEMEN:
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.
To DR. JOHN R. W. DUNBAR, ” R. T. SPENCE, ” JOHN F. MONMONIER, R. S. BOWIE, ESQ., MAJ. CHARLES M. KEYSER, _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._
WASHINGTON THE MODEL OF AMERICAN CHARACTER.
MY YOUNG FRIENDS, _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,
THE DOMESTIC ALTAR.
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.
GRECIAN AND ROMAN PATRIOTISM.
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 demands.
PROPER ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER.
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 himself.
ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER IN WASHINGTON.
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.
THE AMERICAN CHARACTER IN ITS TRUE GREATNESS.
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.
THE AMERICAN CHARACTER IN WASHINGTON ITS MODEL.
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,
MAN IN THE DOMESTIC CIRCLE, A SOCIAL BEING;
MAN IN THE DIFFERENT DEPARTMENTS OF SOCIAL LIFE, A PATRIOT;
AND MAN, IN THE SERVICE OF HIS GOD, A CHRISTIAN.
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 manner,
MAN IN HIS SOCIAL CHARACTER.
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
THE DUTIFUL AND OBEDIENT SON;
THE FOND AND AFFECTIONATE BROTHER;
THE FIRM AND UNWAVERING FRIEND.
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 desired.
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.
MAN’S SOCIAL EXCELLENCE SEEN IN HIS ESTIMATE OF THE FEMALE CHARACTER.
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.
THE AMERICAN DOMESTIC ALTAR.
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.
INFLUENCE OF THE DOMESTIC ALTAR IN THE DEVELOPEMENT OF THE PATRIOTIC CHARACTER.
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.
INFLUENCE OF THE DOMESTIC ALTAR IN THE DEVELOPEMENT OF THE RELIGIOUS CHARACTER.
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.
WASHINGTON THE BOY.
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.
WASHINGTON THE MAN.
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.
WASHINGTON THE PATRIOTIC SOLDIER.
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.
WASHINGTON THE PATRIOTIC STATESMAN.
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,
WASHINGTON THE CHRISTIAN.
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.
THE SCHOOL A DEPARTMENT OF THE DOMESTIC ALTAR.
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.
THE SOVEREIGN PEOPLE.
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.”
THE INTELLIGENCE NECESSARY TO THE AMERICAN CITIZEN IS TO BE OBTAINED IN THE SCHOOL.
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._”
EDUCATION PREPARES THE YOUTH FOR EMINENCE IN LIFE.
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.
EDUCATION PREPARES THE YOUTH FOR EMINENCE IN ANY PROFESSION.
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.
CHOICE OF PROFESSION.
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.
APPLICATION OF THE MOTTO.
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.]
SCHOOL AND MISCELLANEOUS BOOKS,
PUBLISHED BY J. MURPHY.
A COMPENDIUM OF ANCIENT AND MODERN HISTORY, with Questions 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._
AN ABRIDGMENT OF MURRAY’S ENGLISH GRAMMAR, AND EXERCISE; with 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 interesting.
“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._
THE MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS OF G. W. BURNAP, author of Lectures to Young Men, Lectures on the Sphere and Duties of Woman, &c.
THE PROSE AND POETICAL WRITINGS OF THE MILFORD BARD, with several fine Engravings.
BIBLE QUADRUPEDS: The Natural History of the animals mentioned in Scripture. Illustrated with sixteen splendid Engravings. A new and beautiful edition.
GEMS OF IRISH ELOQUENCE, WIT AND ANECDOTE.
DISCOURSE ON THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF GEORGE CALVERT, the first Lord Baltimore, made by Hon J. P. Kennedy, before the Maryland Historical Society.
REVIEW OF THE HON. JOHN P. KENNEDY’S DISCOURSE on the Life and Character of George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore.
JOURNAL OF CHARLES CARROLL OF CARROLLTON during his visit to 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 Engraving.
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, Urbanidad, Moral, y Religion.
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.
――Text in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_).
――Printer’s, punctuation and spelling inaccuracies were silently corrected.
――Archaic and variable spelling has been preserved.