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4. Life's Lesson. By Mrs. CAROLINE CRANE MARSA, of Burlington, Vt
When barks, that left the self-same port,
So are we met, and so would choose
That ruled and rulers spurn the laws;
Behold them force a pathless way
Behold the new crusading bands
Even woman, now more wisely taught,
We see her leave her native shores,
To yon lone bark now turn thine eye,
Life clenched with death in fearful strife,
But, hark! what strain comes o'er the sea,
Happy we hail the youthful band
And thanks and honor be to him,
In the wide garden he hath tilled! The above papers were selected from a larger number in both prose and verse that were contributed for the occasion, as being more suitable than the others to be read in public. When the reading of them was concluded,
Rev. Dr. Sears, President of Brown University, delivered an address, in which earnest views of Female Education were happily blended with humorous allusions to the scene before him. Of this address we have obtained, the following brief report:
I take pleasure, sir, in uniting with you and others in doing honor to the founder and successful teacher of this school. What its character, from the beginning, has been, we have already been told. It is fitting that the University, for whose interests he has labored with an assiduity almost equal to that with which he has watched over his own school, during so long a period, should pay him this tribute of respect.
To this large company of ladies, who were once his pupils, it may seem strange that he, who was, as they will remember, so cautious in respect to their receiving calls from this quarter, should, all of a sudden, so entirely change his policy as to invite them to meet in the College Chapel. But, on such a day as this, when mothers and daughters come together for the last time to greet their common teacher, the heart even of the inflexible teacher, softens instinctively, and relaxes a little from the rigor of school discipline. And just here I have a secret to tell you. It is vacation in college. Need I tell you that Mr. Kingsbury probably knows that fact?
Ladies, I can lay my hand on my heart, and say most sincerely, I am happy to see you here; for when your sons, brothers, cousins, or nephews are about sixteen years old, and have completed their preparatory studies, I expect you will remember this day, and will think of Mr. Kingsbury, as a well known and good counsellor, and will ask his advice as to the place of their collegiate education. Mr. Kingsbury is a candid, wise and good man; and you are in no danger of thinking lightly of his advice.
I cannot say that I am disinterested as I stand before such an audience. Mr. Kingsbury is my friend; and he is your friend. There is a common bond ; and I feel the influence of it. When the new Commissioner of Public Schools shall make his official visits in different parts of the State, my sympathy with him in his efforts for the advancement of popular education will very likely induce me to accompany him, especially if it be a few weeks before the first Wednesday in September. He will, of course, call on his old pupils, taking me with bim as his friend, and the recollections of this day will be revived. I shall then hope through your kindness to see some of those young men already referred to, when it will become apparent how deeply interested I am in them and in their education. This is between ourselves.
But to be more serious. I cannot think of the influence of the classes of young ladies who, for thirty years, have been successively nurtured in Christian knowledge in this school, and then have gone forth to act their part in life, without pronouncing a blessing upon him, who has rendered to society so valuable a service. Constituted as society is in this Christian land, what a wide sphere of appropriate influence does it accord to woman! This is yielded to her not merely on account of her sex, but on account of the virtue, intelligence, and refinement resulting from her
education. Who can measure the extent of the social influence of one highly cultivated and refined Christian lady? What a sweetness and sanctity it gives to the domestic circle of which she is the ruling spirit and the chief ornament! In the community where she resides, how much evil is prevented; and how many generous and noble sympathies are awakened by her very presence! Gross vice retires at her approach. Ignorance is abashed. Low and vulgar ornaments are spontaneously laid aside. Innocence, purity, and elevated sentiment lend their charm to social intercourse; and by degrees the manners and morals of a whole neighborhood are transformed by the gentle influence of one such person. What then must be the effect, when hundreds of such are introduced into as many little communities, or are thrown into the midst of society in our larger towns and cities!
In this country, where so little is known of factitious distinctions, women have a fairer field of useful and honorable activity opened before them than in any other in the world. In no other country is there a greater call for female education ; in none is woman liable to greater vicissitudes in her condition. She is to be educated for all conditions. She may rise, if properly educated, from an humble condition to the highest positions in society: or she may, by unexpected changes of fortune, be obliged to descend from the highest circles, and mingle with the lowly. Let her, then, be educated for every possible condition in this wide range of chances. In her lot, she is somewhat dependent. To no small extent, her success will depend on the success of another. Let her be trained to follow with Christian dignity and simplicity the guiding hand of Providence wherever it may lead.
How shall the public morals, which are now so low, be improved but by introducing a purer atmosphere into social life? And who has the power of doing this so effectually as she who, if true to herself, so naturally presides in the social circle! Let the time never come when American mothers shall cease to be qualified, and, in some sense, inspired to train their sons to sentiments of true honor, patriotism, virtue, and religion. History teaches no fact more uniform, than that “every great man is his mother's son."
At the close of these remarks of President Sears, the exercises at the Chapel were concluded by singing the following Ode, written for the occasion, by Hon. WILLIAM M. Rodman, Mayor of Providence.
Memory wreathes each heart this day,
While old and young combine
To auld lang syne, this day,
We garlands twine;
To auld lang syne.