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ward and led forth an orphan, till all the nine found parents; and, with the exception of one unsettled character whose act was that of fleeting emotion, and not of Christian resolution, and who in a short time returned the chosen child to its friends, no one failed of their engagements. Nor did the Father of mercies fail of His ; they turned out excellent citizens, who served their country, or who became the mothers of those who serve it now; and nearlymay I not say all-came forth in life as real Christians, the petitions which their parents left behind being answered when they had passed by their stormy deaths to the world of eternal peace. And that rejected and returned one was, if I remember right, the very one afterwards chosen by General Lafayette, .carried to France, and furnished with the most complete and accomplished education which Parisian skill could offer to sound ability. He returned to do his country signal services in the walks of literature, piety, and philanthropy.
Two of this group of early mourners still survive, one of whom holds an honourable place in the General Post-office at Washington. And it was a Caldwell of the third generation that did me the great kindness to introduce me to President Fillmore.
No plan of charity, when performed in a right spirit, seems more calculated to do good, and to receive a blessing, than this. It is a feeble imitation of the manner of the Father of us all; for we, fallen beings, are aliens and parentless, until, through atoning mercy and converting grace, we become the adopted children of our God, and then we are partakers of his love, and heirs of the heavenly inheritance.
Doubtless, amid the many, some of the kind purposes are frustrated some of the parents tire, as in the case of the little Caldwell—and some of the children disappoint and wound, but these cases are the exceptions.
I have seen the parties dwelling harmoniously and helpfully together; and I have seen the adopted, in the old age of the adopter, exercising all the tender cherishing that filial piety could devise. There is a beauty in the pleasing sympathies thus exercised, for there is a blessing on them from on high.
Though the engagements of past years led me more to concern myself with the education of the working classes, and the friendless, it was impossible to dwell among the cultivated and refined, without being desirous of learning somewhat of the plan by which they had been educated.
Most of the Female Institutes seem to be under the guidance of men, or of a man and his wife, when it is understood that most of the solid parts of instruction are conducted by the head of the house. This is a plan not followed in England; and in various cases, when a husband happens to be in existence, he is generally felt to be an incumbrance to the household, rather than an assistant. Professors who, it is presumed, are well qualified to teach the one object of their pursuit, attend at stated hours with us. But, judging by advertisements, it would seem that husband and wife teach and manage in unison all over the United States. It is customary to deliver lectures on astronomy, botany, chemistry, &c., to the pupils in both countries, and
it is possible that some expansion of mind is thus obtained, even when no real thirst for knowledge induces the pupils to follow up the subjects by private study.
In some of the Female Institutes in America, a plan is pursued which, with the exception of the Normal School students, has not yet been adopted in Britain, within my knowledge. The students “graduate” after strict examination on various branches of education—a useful and important mark of a certain degree of attainment, the absence of which is often felt with us on occasion of selecting teachers. The graduating is by no means a nominal or slight affair, but is accomplished only on the candidate being able to meet a searching inquiry into her attainments.
Nevertheless, as it happens at home, persons whose previous education and habits have not been calculated to fit them for the office, and whose chief qualification is present misfortune, frequently assume the office of instructors. In consequence, it at times occurs that the benevolence of parents interferes with their judgment in the choice of a school; and sometimes a dash of romance or pathos, or elegance of manner, carries the day against substantial attainments and conscientious industrious instruction. One learns in every country to defide “picturesquish” programmes, and to fear the solid instruction of strings of young ladies who are carried about to fashionable lectures and evening concerts.
To have judged by the unsteady attendance at school, and the little solicitude observable among the young people about preparing for their classes, to say nothing of the wilful speeches, such as, “ Mamma, I don't feel like studying French any more;” or, “Ma, I am going to drop mathematics, they are so tiresome;" one would suppose there are many imperfectly educated women. But meet them grown up, engaged in the useful pursuits of life, and you will find well-informed, cultivated, refined minds, strong in their sense of right and pursuit of duty. Ask them of their early years, and you will find they were nearly as idle as their children seem to be, and then you must draw the conclusion that their wilfulness is only seeming or vanquished while it is yet time, and that they acquire as much amid their springy, vivid ways, as we do in our more sedate and careful fashion.
The means of education extend continually with the need of it. Yet as food, shelter, and clothing form the most imperative necessaries of life, each new settlement must first secure these, leaving the mental and spiritual supplies to lag behind, and overtake these as they best may. Taking pity on the uninstructed condition of the settlers around them, some young gentlemen have begun to give an hour or two of evening teaching to their young neighbours. Some have employed themselves during the winter months in that benevolent exercise. Some have collected Sabbath-schools, and in a few