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the shame of their kindred, unless he takes at least as much pains to shape aright their moral frame, as in schooling them?
Moral education, without which there is nothing of literature or of science but is liable to be perverted to the worst purposes, is to be begun from the cradle. The first step is to teach the infantile subject implicit obedience to parental authority; and then, to rule with such moderation and sweetness, that it shall entirely trirst and love the hand that guides it. In this way, the good impressions made upon the young mind, are likely to be indelible, and there is ground to hope that the moral and religious instructions you instil, will sink deep in the heart. Nor is it precept alone that will suffice. Though “ precept upon precept” be given children, and their memories be stored wiih moral and religious lore of the purest kind, it will be of little avail except a corresponding example be daily presented before their eyes.
“It is well known to the students in ornithology, that the younglings of singing birds listen to the old ones, and carefully learn their notes. And this propensity to imitation, is no less obvious in children. Like those little birds, or rather like little apes, they are prone to mimic whatever is done or said in their presence, and especially the ways and manners of their parents and instructers. So that the example set before them by those who have the care of their education, together with that of their young companions, has, of all human means, perhaps, the greatest influence in forming and fixing their characters for life.
In closing this subject, I will venture to throw out a few hints on a particular, to which has been paid far less attention than it obviously deserves.
The education of our youth should be adapted to the nature of our government. A free people, whose rulers by election proceed from themselves, have virtues to maintain as well as rights to defend; and unless they pay assiduous attention to the former, they must inevitably lose the latter: the only sure foundation of their liberty being an enlightened morality pervading the general mass. Nor is this all. In educating the rising
generation, which will soon succeed to the present busy occupants of the stage, besides teaching them useful learning in such measures as their various conditions and occupations may require, and besides the careful inculcation of religion and morality, which is the elixir of life to a community : there should be woven into their principles and habits, the republican virtues of industry, economy and frugality, together with practical patriotism; the patriotism, which consists in the assiduous discharge of all the social duties; which venerates our republican institutions, and makes the public good its paramount object; a patriotism which the female part of the community are capable of cherishing and promoting in a superlative degree by their united influences and examples.
Though human nature is radically the same every where, the variant modes and customs of different nations give it a diversified appearance; pomp and grandeur are in the natural appendages of monarchy, while simplicity or plainness, is a natural characteristic of a free republic, which ever assimilates to monarchy in proportion as it apes its manners and arrays itself in its trappings. It is therefore of no small importance that our customs, manners, and habits, be congruous with the genius of our political institutions, or that there be a distinct nationalness in the American character; and this can be effected only by a general system of education possessing in certain respects, republican peculiarities.
Such was the manner of Athens and Sparta; whose youth however, in one most important, respect, were incomparably less privileged than ours, who, not left to nature's light alone, have an unerring guide in the Star of Bethlehem—who are blest with a system of religion and morals, which, wrought into the hearts and practice of the general coinmunity, would contribute, more than all other means, to exalt its condition and secure its freedom.
It may be laid down as a maxim which should be engraven in the minds both of the rulers and the people, that the strongest bulwark of liberty is moral force, consisting in the united influences of knowledge and yirtue.
Of the power of the Imagination over young minds
instanced in George Hopewell.
* The man that once did sell the lion's skin
The communicated experience of those who have observantly perforined the voyage of life, might be used as a glass for the young to look through; but too often they scornfully reject this unflattering glass, and trust to the delusive vision of their own optics. They launch out upon a perilous sea without chart or compass, without experience of their own, and utterly indisposed to being guided by the experience of others. In the season of youth, the imagination often runs away with the judginént. A young man gifted with a warm imagination, but whose judgment is immature for want of experience, views things through a deceptious perspective. His throbbing head teems with flattering visions. Every thing that may turn to his own favor, he takes for granted, and every untoward incident, on the contrary, that may chance to thwart and disappoint him, he leaves out of his calculations. A bold adventurer in the lottery of life, he feels quite sure of drawing a prize; and his too great confidence is the very means of turning him up a blank. For, as on the one hand, it prevents that care and circumspection in business which is necessary to success, so, on the other, it leads him to square his expenses not to his real circumstances, but to his visionary prospects.
George Hopewell, a goodly youth, took in a decent cargo of ideas for the voyage of life, but forgot to take with him a single idea of meeting with adverse winds and misadventures. He was neither a simpleton nor an ignoramus. An honest heart had he, and a brain rather fertile than barren. He was weak in one particular only:-he was inclined to believe every thing that he found written in the Chronicles of the Imagina
tion. In short, none was more skilled in building aerial castles; an art, which, though it always gives pleasure to the artist, very seldom brings him profit.
Thus equipped with mental stores, and furnished also with some cash, Hopewell begins business. He begins on a large scale, and naturally enough; for who, with a warm and pregnant imagination, could bear to be occupied with sinall things? His great stock in trade, the most of which he had taken on credit, he now views with rapture
-6 All this is worth and its profits from the first turn, will increase it to the sum of Well, I can turn it seven times in seven years, and shall then be worth full thirty thousand dollars clear to myself.”*_Hopewell, so rich in prospective funds, feels as if he had this wealth all in hand, and comes quite up to the reasonable expenses of a man already worth thirty thousand dollars.
A worm may penetrate and sink a ship, as effectually as the ball of a cannon.-Hopewell met with no uncommon gust of adversity. Nothing did he lose by fire and water, and not much by bad debts; yet his circumstances grew more and more narrow year by year, till, in less than seven years, he became insolvent to a considerable amount. All this was owing, or principally owing, to one single circumstance-living upon prospects, his outgoes constantly exceeded his incomes. If, instead of being led away by the sorceress Imagination, he had all along conformed his management and the expenses of his living to his real circumstances, he might have had, if not wealth, at least competence.—Many a promising and fine young man has been upset, by carrying more sail than his bark and his ballast could bear.
And here permit me to offer a serious caution against running rashly and deeply in debt-a ruinous imprudence, to which all the numerous, and, in some points, respectable, family of the Hopewells, are exceedingly prone.
It is no new remark, and yet not the worse for wear, that multitudes are undone as to their worldly affairs by viewing things at a distance.
* Most readers will recollect a paragraph in one of the papers of the British Spectator, very like to this.
It is thus the inconsiderate and sanguine deceive themselves when they contract heavy debts. Viewing the thing at a distance-at a distance of time—they view it in a false mirror.
In the days of our youth, and, as to inany of us, even up to the days of our old age, we are apt to feel as if we should be abundantly able to pay a debt six months or a year hence. Imagination furnishes us with ways and means in abundance for the future, though we have none for the present. Only give us a long pay day, and we can do this, or we can do that. But the wheel of time presently brings round the six months, or the twelvemonth, or the yet longer period. It vanishes like a dream: and the debtor, failing in his calculations, if he calculated at all, is quite as unable to pay as he was at the instant the contract was made. He is now in the hands of his creditor, who can spare, or ruin him, as he pleases.
Running in debt is a serious business, which, if proper caution be wanting, jeapordizes not only property, but character also, and personal freedom. Of those who have been adventurous and rash in this respect, how many have been utterly ruined in estate? How many have lost their credit and reputation? How many have forfeited the character for truth and integrity, to which they once had been fairly entitled ? How many, prompted by the violent temptations arising out of their embarrassed circumstances, have acted in a manner astonishing to all who knew them in their better days?
Credit, sp invaluable to all who are in any reputable kind of business, and especially to those who have little else to depend upon, is of a delicate and frail nature; it must be used with moderation, or it languishes and dies. A man disposed at all times to extend his credit as far as he possibly.can, or take up all the credit he can yet, has many chances to one, of being a bankrupt in credit as well as in circumstances.
A word to spirited young men: a word that will apply fully as well to a great many who are not young. If credit, long credit be offered you-pause awhile ere ye swallow the bait. Calculate the thing on all sides, and in all its bearingsmits mischances, as well as its