« PreviousContinue »
Country SUBSCRIBERS who are in arrears should recollect to make returns for what we send them. Remittances to be made
MR. T. P. WILLIAMS is our Agent to receive the names of Subscribers in the West and South. Editors and others kindly interested in the circulation of this Magazine, will oblige us by facilitating his designs.
0. D. Davis and John STOUGHTON, Jr., are canvassing for subscribers to this work in the state of New-York.
Entered, according to the act of Congress, in the year 1846,
BY JOHN ALLEN. In the Clerk's office of the District Court of the Southern District of New-York.
Every man makes a good resolution on New Year's day; if he do n't, he ought to. Mr. EDITOR will assure you, kind reader, that he means to make the KNICKERBOCKER better this year than ever ; and that he will try to do so, no one doubts. Mr. Mann will make a new onset at the evils of common schools, and determine this year to do more than ever for the republic. All men will begin on this day to take new heart in their several callings. The defeated politician of last year will try it again, and the successful partisan will think of double victory. The new year will put a new face upon every thing, for the world will see a new face, even if it be the very old man' of Eighteen Hundred and Forty Six. The trees in the country, the houses in the city, all will seem to be rearing themselves in a new atmosphere; and the little boys will look out of the window, expecting to see Eighteen Hundred and Forty Seven come in. The school-boys will write it all over their slates and copy-books, to see how it looks; and the master will come with smiling face not unwillingly to school; for the New Year will make bright and cheerful the most tedious pursuits.
And a New Year has a new expression. The stones and brick, the sun and stars, seem the same, but they are not. The former have been worn by the wind and discolored by the storm, and the latter have, some of them, disappeared and new ones taken their places. The astronomer reads a new page in the heavens with the New Year; indeed with every returning night; and, to the observant eye there is 'a new heaven and a new earth' with every revolving sun. But every body feels it on the New Year. It is the general feeling ; Nature is beginning anew, and we must also begin anew.
But is it not a fact that we live in a new moral atmosphere; in VOL. XXIX.
more light of mind, in more benevolence of heart, with every NewYear ? It must be so, or philanthropy is a jest. Unless the world is growing better, the philanthropists are committing great errors in their well-meaning zeal; for they have undertaken to do the work of Christianity. Here we meet an honest but bustling, self-important, narrow-minded, one-idea reformer, who takes the world upon his shoulders. “Stand out of the way; let me speak !' he says to the diligent, patient workers, who know that Truth is hidden, like gold, and only to be gathered slowly. Reform goes by steam, by fetters and force, by law and stripes. Imprison the vicious; man is utterly depraved; there is nothing good in his heart; he is only good by force.'
The reformer means well, but he is impatient. He forgets that as our earth, so society moves as a whole. The northern abolitionist forgets that the Southerner is his christian brother and countryman, and he is angry with him because he cannot see things with his eyes; and he demands of him a virtue, a self-denial, a sacrifice, he is wholly incapable of himself. He stirs up a rebellion in a state where he has no pecuniary interest. He damns the master to save the slave, as if philanthropy did not embrace all men, white and black.
A pretty piece of work these self-elected censors are making of it in some places, these keepers of the public virtue! We are coming back to the spirit of Connecticut Blue Laws, and the days of Salem Witchcraft ; expending our principal, not content to live upon our interest. Impatient of that slow progress which is the order of nature and also of society, the reformer gets out of the sphere of human sympathy; becomes a law-breaker in making laws; a disorganizer in his love of order; contentious for peace and clamorous for quiet. One is reminded of the French revolution by certain men of our day. It was liberty then; it is morality now; that is all the difference. There is the same extravagance, rancorous malice toward opposition, the same ready vocabulary of low-lived insult that adorned that period. They seem to have all the will of despots without the power.
And yet we ought to bear it all patiently, and not grow passionate ourselves in our lamentation. There is a foundation of good in all this evil and discord. It is the result of the growing mind and thought of our age, as yet undisciplined and rude. Our systems of public education have waked up the slumbering powers of man. This infant Hercules must be fed ; must have exercise. Not more suddenly was Minerva born from the brain of Jupiter, all armed and full grown for action, than free institutions and public education have given birth to Thought. This mind will not be quiet. It cannot be fattered into silence. It will speak.
Let our Southern brother then know, that although we abhor the principle of slavery, and will not permit it in our borders, yet we mean to take true and calm views of his dilemma ; to sympathize with him in his trouble. We know he regrets the system in which
he lives; that he would gladly escape from it, could he see the way. We feel that we have sacred battle-grounds of freedom in his region that are a constant appeal to his heart; that he cannot be insensible to this appeal. We are anxiously looking for the time when the South herself shall come forth, her native chivalry of character brightened and burnished by love for all men; wearing the Christian armor; for every individual and state and country must free itself. Let our Southern brother know that we lament the violence and rudeness of this new-born thought among us, playing with serpents and sleeping on kegs of gunpowder, trying its strength with deadly weapons. It sweeps over the country like a tornado or a freshet, and carries destruction in its course, not like the calm and even-flowing river, fertilizing the lands, and carrying round the wheels of commerce. By and by it will wear channels for itself or expend its force, having learned wisdom by dearly-bought experience.
We have been led out of our topic - good resolutions for the New Year. What one will you make, my reader? We will tell you ours. Perhaps you will see the origin of the foregoing remarks when you read it. We would seek the best remedy for all this confusion and wild spirit of reform; we would do what we can to turn the waters into well-worn channels, where it may flow safely. What is it that will most surely calm the tempest and allay the animosities of party and sectional pride, and bring peace and good will to take their place? It is in our view the proper training of the young children — the very young ones. We hazard your sneer or your laugh, reader, but we do n't care for either. Hear us through.
We plead guilty of neglect to the young children. They receive next to no moral culture. They are turned off to ignorant servants, or little close school-rooms, as soon as they can toddle to school. What they learn, the impulses they imbibe, we gather from the state of society about us. These men and women, making all this fuss, running mad with party hatred or wild philanthropy, get their education in a bad way. Not the common school did it all, not the college, but the nursery tale and the careless word by the fireside of home.
Nobody can morally educate the young child but its parent, or one that assumes this place in heart, toward it. As surely as the infant cuddles to its mother's breast for nourishment, by a beautiful instinct of its nature, so does its infant soul look to the mother for its first lessons in virtue. It is taught gentleness and sweetness by gentleness, not by words. As none but the parent can feel that deep interest in its fate which bears its puny blows, and kisses away its tears, no one but its mother can teach it love and forgiveness.
We send away these little fledgelings too young. God gave them to us to guard and fit for heaven, and we delegate this high office to the latest emigration from Ireland. It is a great wrong that the American mother, rich though she be, does not nurse her own child.
Let her offspring drink that milk which has been warmed by the blood that flows through a heart beating for freedom and human rights; and let her not suffer her child to be contaminated by mingling in its veins blood that has been curdled by fear or chilled by oppression and wrong. How much has the physical nature to do with the moral nature! Whence comes this hot blood and violent passion ? Is it not a matter partly of temperament ? And does not the early training and nourishment of the child in a great degree determine its temperament? We say it has this from nature; and so we speak of this or that soil, as adapted by nature to certain kinds of production. But as we learn in agriculture to make the soil, so we may change the temperament, or at least modify it.
A step farther back, if you please, Mr. MANN! You are doing a good work for the common school, but have you learned the subsoiling ? Who will write a good work upon infant education ? We do not mean a book about cordials and anodynes, to stop babies from crying, while mamma goes to the theatre or a party. We do not mean a book to teach parents how to neglect their children in the safest way, but a book which shall deal with the sprouting mind, the tendril shoots of infancy, and show how to train them; what trellis-work to build; what shape and form to give it; that the tender plant shall not snap for want of support, or draggle on the cold ground among the rank weeds.
We make a solemn resolution then, on this New-Year's day, to give more heed to our young children; to look to them to do a work for our country which no one but God can do through them; to abolish slavery; to dam up the tides of intemperance; to speak peace, and turn the swords into ploughshares and the spears into pruninghooks. We look to the children to do these great works, by a blessing from Heaven on their infant heads. Take then your children in your arms, ye American mothers, and carry them to the altars, and there devote them to these great objects ; not to swear perpetual hatred to your foes, but to know that principle of love which is the lever that moves the world.
THE DIVINE BO U N TY.
ASK AND YE SHALL REOLIVE.'
Oh! why, my fainting soul, despair !
That Bounty which hath pour'd
With endless good is stored :
Oh! let me still implore,
I fail to ask for more.