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This species of discipline should teach them to love not merely with words, but in deed and in truth. Goethe says, “By such services they attain to ruling, to their proper power in the household.”
VON RAUMER In order to avoid one-sidedness and defects in female education, it must not be without female influence ; for male instructors are liable to influence girls too much towards their own character, which may result in losing the delicacy of the feminine character, and in the acquisition of some traits of an inappropriate kind.
Still, the supreme direction of the education of girls should be in charge of a man.
BAUR. Inspiriting music, breathing courage and boldness, is proper for men; but that which imports moderation, mildness, modesty, for women.
PLATO. The principle that children should read nothing bad or vulgar, admits of full application to music.
For if they have from an early period only heard, sung and played what is good, it will become a second nature to them, as their sphere of vision enlarges with their growth to flee from all bad music, and to like what is beautiful and good, in whatever form it may appear.
The case is far otherwise with very many who have had the ill fortune from their childhood to hear and practice and live in associations with bad music only. It is very uncommon, and very difficult, for such persons to bring themselves back from their impure music to that which is pure, to cure themselves of their seated habits, and to accustom themselves to such music only as is correct and beautiful.
Vox RAUMER Music is on some accounts a dangerous study.
If a painting containing a mis-drawn limb, or anything immoral, a correct eye will find abundant grounds for criticism ; or shame, at least in the presence of others, will direct the observation elsewhere.
But everything impure, unnatural, immoral, may creep into music; and thus we may look plainly and fully at what we should for decency's sake be obliged to turn away from if presented by the pencil or by words.
Plato wrote in opposition to immoral music. What would he have said if he could have witnessed the misery which we have now-a-days to endure from our present music, so unnaturally composed, so excessively feeble or wild or amorous, and yet so seldom rising to true fire and energy.
In music as now too often employed in education, we find everywhere art and ornament, a mass of wonderful difficulties, overloading instead of feeling and clearness; but after subtracting what is to be attributed to the gratification of the composer's vanity, we have left very little that gives us hope or pleasure. And accordingly our young ladies, as soon as they have a home of their own to live in, usually fing all their artistic music, with delight, to the winds.
Music will only seem divine to us, when it carries us into a state of ideal sensibility ; and the musician who can not do this is nothing but a mechanic-nothing more, even, than a vulgar hod-carrier.
Healthy feeling is never confused, nor does it go beyond self-control.
Your favorite symphonies, fantasias, pot-pourris, &c., are often the most ridiculous stuff in the world. They begin with some passage full of mystery ; then comes a volley as if of artillery ; then a sudden silence; then an unexpected waltz-movement; then, just as this begins to be inspiriting, an equally sensible and sudden plunge into a passage full of depth and melancholy; then into a furious storm; then, out of the middle of the storm, we are presented, after a brief pause, with some mere trifling,
and lastly with a finale in the nature of a hurra! and then everybody gathers around with cries of delight.
Such things please, it is true ; but how ?
But the worst thing of all is, that under the favorite name of “effects," we find the most destructive and poisonous matter recommended; especially such convulsive, distorted, extravagant, astounding, raving contusions of sounds, as excite everything evil in man.
If many of our virtuous maidens knew what that music is which they often have to hear, and even to sing and play, they would perish with shame and indignation.
TuBAUT. The house should be free from unpleasant pictures, and from ambiguous or wanton ones. It should, on the contrary, be adorned as much as possible with such as are pure and beautiful; whose silent, but ennobling and constant companionship will be found to exercise upon children an immeasurable influence for good.
Girls particularly, should from an early age be allowed to amuse themselves with pictures of celebrated works of art, churches, palaces, galleries of painting, &c.
Productions of art make deep and lasting impressions, even upon the minds of children.
But all premature criticism on such subjects should be avoided, for fear of affected admiration and pert foolish fault finding.
A silent and natural examination of works of art, where the beholder “forgets self and the world, and lives in the objects only,” is the true one; and can not do harm.
Girls should learn drawing chiefly for the sake of practising at home. The teacher should pay especial attention to drawing from nature; and should use copying as a mere technical exercise.
Such instruction, but above all, the quiet and intelligent study of the works of great masters educates girls to the love of what is beautiful and good, and to disgust at what is ugly and bad. This love and disgust will have much influence even upon their daily life at home; for their eyes when thus trained, would quickly detect anything inconsistent, untasteful or misplaced about them, and would never be at ease until it was corrected.
Botany, as a science in the masculine sense, is not a proper study for girls.
Girls should rather be trained in the direction of art. They should look upon flowers, not as an analyzing botanist does, but as a sensitive flower-painter would.
The love of girls for flowers is to be cultivated; they may tend them most carefully, and follow their development from their first sprouting up to the ripening of the seed.
This pleasure in flowers is like the pleasure that girls find in taking care of domestic animals, lambs, poultry, pigeons, &c. VON RAUMER
The gods have destined and fitted the nature of man and woman for society; in that not each of them is capable of everything, but that each is suited for that in which the other is deficient; in order that both together may fulfill a complete destiny.
The one is stronger and the other weaker, that the timidity of the latter may make her more prudent, and that the strength of the former may make him a protector.
The one procures what is needful without, and the other takes care of it in the home.
The woman is weaker and better fitted to a sedentary life and can not so well endure wind and weather.
Man can not so well bear quiet and stillness; and movement is natural to him.
The principal duty of woman, as well as the peculiar sphere of her efforts, has been much more distinctly defined by nature than that of men, whose sphere of activity is out of all comparison wider and more various.
Man needs to develop all the infinite endowments of his nature; to gradually bring into activity all the perfections whose germs slumber within him; and to make use of all these powers in all the relations and changes of life.
But how much more limited is the sphere of the activity of the other sex!
The destiny of the young girl is, to be a wife and a mother.
The wife must live for her family ; must watch over its property; must thus have special charge of the ordering and management of all little matters as they come up; and above all, must nurse, or at least watch over and take care of the children to whom she has given birth, until they can take care of themselves, and have become so far educated and independent by her example and her teaching, as not to need her protection. This period is earlier reached by sons, who receive their education from the world, than by girls, who usually go from their mother's care into the charge of a husband.
The bodily organization of women in part prepares them for this sphere of duty; as do also the mental endowments and powers of that sex; the perfectibility of which clearly shows that woman as well as man belongs to a higher race of beings.
The cultivation of their understanding, judgment and reason, in part by studies of a generally useful character, in part adapted especially to the needs of the sex, should be the main purpose of their education.
Learning, properly so called, is useless to them, and commonly injurious.
The education of the sense of beauty—of the taste—is only harmful when it is made the principal object.
As the cultivation of the taste is closely connected with that of the fancy and of the feelings, it must be conducted with the extremest care; and the materials for it must be chosen with the utmost caution.
Most of our novels and plays, and very many poems, can be used in education only with the greatest risk.
The languages, the native language in particular, are a valuable means for educating the mind, and this the more because the study of them will act as a preservative against an unhappy tendency to read indiscriminately all manner of German books; and because only the best foreign books will be read.
Geography and history should be not mere lists of names, but should be shown to be rich in great deeds and great men, the knowledge of whom will elevate the soul, and will prevent from seeking after foolish novelties.
Music, singing, drawing, rightly studied, will excellently occupy many hours; will keep the student at home, and are capable of being brought into a useful harmony with the moral feelings.
Intercourse with intelligent men is a far more certain and effectual means of cultivating the mind, than reading books. The latter is of but little use in cultivating the understanding; and we often find persons of extensive reading, who are quite destitute of comprehensive ideas, and are unable to carry on an intelligent and connected conversation.
That all this may be accomplished—at least among the educated classes -without derogating from the most faithful fulfillment of all the womanly duties, has been so often proved by experience, that it can no longer be pretended that girls must devote all their lives to sewing, washing, cooking and nursing children. All these things should be understood and done; but it is degrading the female sex to set it down as fit for these things only
There is a good deal of discussion at the present day on the subject of Wo men's Rights and her education. No one would be willing to allow that he wished to deprive them of their rights, and the only difficulty seems to be to settle what their rights are. The citizens of Boston, acting by their municipal representatives, have long since undertaken to answer this question in a practical way, as far as a city government can do it, by admitting the right of the girls to have, at the public expense, as good an education as the boys. It is not in the power of the city to amend our constitutions, so as to extend political privileges to the gentler sex, nor to alter the legislation which regulates the rights of property. But it was in the power of the city to withhold or to grant equal privileges of education; and it has decided that the free grammar schools of Boston should be open alike to boys and girls. This seems to me not only a recognition at the outset of the most important of Women's Rights, vi..., equal participation in these institutions, but the best guaranty that if in any thing else the sex is unjustly or unfairly dealt with, the remedy will come in due tinie. With the acknowledged equality of woman in general intellectual endowments, though tending in either sex to an appropriate development, with her admitted superiority to man in tact, sensibility, physical and moral endurance, quickness of perception, and power of accommodation to circumstances, give her for two or three generations equal advantages of mental culture, and the lords of creation will have to carry more guns than they do at present, to keep her out of the enjoyment of any thing which sound reasoning and fair experiment shall show to be of her rights.
I have, however, strong doubts whether, tried by this test, the result would be a participation in the performance of the political duties which the experience of the human race, in all ages, has nearly confined to the coarser sex. I do not rest this opinion solely on the fact that these duties do not seem congenial with the superior delicacy of woman, or compatible with the occupations which nature assigns to her in the domestic sphere. I think it would be found, on trial, that nothing would be gained-nothing changed for the better-by putting the sexes on the same footing, with respect, for instance, to the right of suffrage. Whether the wives and sisters agreed with the husbands and brothers, or differed from them -as this agreement or difference would, in the long run, exist equally in all parties—the result would be the same as at present. So, too, whether the wife or the husband had the stronger will, and so dictated the other's vote, as this, also, would be the same on all sides, the result would not be affected. So that it would be likely to turn out that the present arrangement, by which the men do the electioneering and the voting for both sexes, is a species of representation which promotes the convenience of all and does injustice to none.
Meantime for all the great desirable objects of life, the possession of equal advantages for the improvement of the mind, is of vastly greater importance than the participation of political power. There are three great objects of pursuit on earth-well-being, or happiness for ourselves and families; influence and control over others; and a good name with our fellow-men, while we live and when we are gone. Who needs be told, that, in the present state of the world, a good education is not indeed a sure, but by far the most likely means of obtaining all the ends which constitute material prosperity, competence, position, establishment in life; and that it also opens the purest sources of enjoyment. The happiest condition of human existence is unquestionably to be found in the domestic circle of what may be called the middle condition of society, in a family harmoniously united in the cultivation and enjoyment of the innocent and rational pleasures of literature, art and refined intercourse, equally removed from the grandeurs and the straits of society. These innocent and rational pleasures, and this solid happiness, are made equally accessible to both sexes by our admirable school system.
Then for influence over others, as it depends much more on personal qualities than on official prerogative, equality of education furnishes the amplest means of equal ascendency. It is the mental and moral forces, not political power, which mainly govern the world. It is but a few years since the three greatest powers in Europe, two on one side and one on the other, engaged in a deadly
struggle with each other to decide the fate of the Turkish empire; three Christian powers straining every nerve, the one to overthrow, the two others to uphold the once great and formidable, but now decaying and effete Mohammedan despotism of Western Asia. Not less than half a million of men were concentrated in the Crimea, and all the military talent of the age was called forth in the contest? And who bore off the acknowledged palin of energy, usefulness and real power in that tremendous contest. Not emperors and kings, not generals, admirals or engineers, launching from impregnable fortresses and blazing intrenchments, the three-bolted thunders of war. No, but an English girl, bred up in the privacy of domestic life, and appearing on that dread stage of human action and suttering, in no higher character than that of a nurse. And then for fame, to which, by a natural instinct, the ingenuous soul aspires :
"— The spur which the clear spirit doth raise,
(The last infirmity of noble mind.)
To scorn delights and live luborious days"need I say, that the surest path to a reputation for the mass of mankind is by intellectual improvement; and that in this respect, therefore, our school system places the sexes on an equality. Consider for moment the spectacle presented by the reign of Louis XIV., the Augustan age of France, rich in the brightest names of her literature, philosophy, politics and war-Pascal, Descartes, Corneille, Racine, Lafontaine, Moliere, Bossuet, Fenelon, Bourdaloue, Massillon, Colbert, Conde, Turenne, Catinat. Among all these illustrious names there is not one that shines with a brighter or purer ray than Madame de Sevigne ; not one whose writings are more extensively read by posterity; not one in whose domestic life and personal character all future ages will probably take a deeper interest. The other distinguished individuals whom I have mentioned, we regard with cold adıniration, as personages in the great drama of history. We feel as if Madame de Sevigne belonged to our own families. The familiar letters principally to her daughter, written by this virtuous and accomplished woman, who preserved her purity in a licentious court, who thought with vigor and wrote with simplicity, earnestness, and true wit in a pedantic and affected age, have given her a place among the celebrities of France, which the most distinguished of them might envy.
Apart then, girls, from a preparation for the pursuits, duties, and enjoyments of life, which more especially pertain to your sex, in the present organization of society, you possess in these advantages of education the means of usefulness and (if that be an object) of reputation, which, without these, would be, in a great degree, monopolized by the stronger sex. The keys of knowledge are placed in your hands, from its elemental principles up to the higher branches of useful learning. These, however, are topics too familiar on these occasions to be dwelt upon, and I will conclude by offering you my best wishes, that the reputation already acquired by the Dwight School for girls may be maintained under tho new organization ; that your improvement may be proportioned to your advantages; that your progress may equal the warmest wishes of your teachers, parents, and friends; and that you may grow up to the enjoyment of the best blessings of this world, and the brightest and highest hopes of the world to come.