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duties, young persons, hereafter to become mothers. This is doing good on a grand scale!”
The senior partner in one of the first London publishing and bookselling houses, writing to his correspondent in this country, pays a high compliment to our works of education and our female institutions; he says,
66 We have no female schools in this country to compare with some of your female seminaries ; they are attempting at Edinburgh something of the kind, but they have not yet been entirely successful, owing, I believe, to the circumstance of their employing principally male professors who do not make their instructions sufficiently interesting and intelligible.”
The existence of the “ Western College of Teachers,” is an evidence of the increasing interest that is felt on the subject of education, and the fact that this college through their executive committee requests females to furnish them reports to be read at their annual convention, evinces a liberality of feeling no less honorable to the one sex than encouraging to the other. Though New England has long prided herself on her literary institutions, the star of female education appears rising in the West. We hail its appearance as the harbinger of a brighter and better day now dawning upon the moral world.
It is to the younger states, if any where, that we must look for liberal endowments of female institutions. New England, priding herself upon her steady habits, gives little encouragement that she will change her policy which gives all of aid to male institutions, leaving female education wholly to the uncertainties of chance. May we hope that the attention awakened to this important subject will not be allowed to slumber; but that the time is at hand, when not only private patronage and liberality will be exerted in the cause of fenale education, but when state legislatures will consider it of sufficient importance to bestow upon it their fostering care and bounty.
CONVERSATION, AS A STUDY TO BE INTRODUCED
MRS. CAROLINE LEE HENTZ.
What is the object of education ? Is it to enlighten the mind for the selfish gratification of the individual, or to enable him to communicate to others, the knowledge he has acquired, receiving in exchange, the intellectual riches, derived from the same source ? If man is a social being, there can be but one reply to the question. To-answer the purposes of his existence, he must not only open his own mind to the light of science and literature, but endeavor to diffuse, with reflected brightness, the rays which he receives.
On an occasion like this, when the friends of education are gathered together, to discuss its interests, and promote its advancement, it seems appropriate to offer those suggestions, relevant to the subject, which are the result, either of experience, feeling or reflection.
Is there not a great deficiency in the system of education ? Pupils are taught, by daily and laborious lessons, the principles of every indispensable branch of science. Teachers employ their time, their talents, their energies, in cultivating the memories of those committed to their care, but do they at the same time, teach them to think, to reason, and to converse ? Speech is the noblest gift of God-next to the immortal soul. In the glowing strains of the Psalmist, it is called “ the glory of our frame." This noble gift, this god-like attribute, should not be exposed to the evils of neglect, to the pollution of corrupt communication, or to the paralysing influence of self-distrust. It should be cultivated as the highest branch of education; as the one, which will impart a grace, a finish, a beauty, and a power to all the rest. The mind may be crowded with information, every cell in the store-house of memory filled with the hoarded gems of science, yet not one beam of light be permitted to struggle through, to give evidence of the wealth that is within. Knowledge to be power, must be felt, and to be felt, it must be communicated. If half the time occupied in the acquisition of science, and in gathering up the wisdom of past ages, were devoted to clothing the thoughts thus gained, in words that breathe and burn, what a flood of knowledge would be poured upon the world, that is so often confined to the bounds of the individual mind! Conversation is called a talent-a gift. It may be made an art—a science. It may be taught in academies, and introduced into the classic walls of the venerable Alma Maters of our country. The year previous to graduation, might be given entirely to reading and conversation, instead of the dry routine of exercises which become wearisome and unprofitable by constant repetition.
It is a well-known truth, that many, who have borne the highest academic and collegiate honors, and whose reputation as scholars, has preceded them, in the walks of life they were expected to adorn, are mere cyphers, or automatons in the social circle, their lips hermetically sealed, and the treasures of their intellect as effectually locked from the world, as the miser's hoarded gold, from the famished children of want.
As well might these sons of science and erudition be placed on the shelves of a library, by the mouldering volumes of antiquity, as to mingle with the socialities of life. Had the master minds that presided over theirs, during the years devoted to study, taught them to digest the ideas which they acquired, to arrange them into classes, and to fashion them into words of clear and vigorous import, these living encyclopedias might have unfolded their pages to the eye, and become sources of light and life and knowledge. It is said that example is more powerful than precept. Behold an illustration of what youth can accomplish, without any auxiliary but a determined will, warring against the weakness of nature. There was a gentleman, educated in one of the celebrated universities of our country, not more distinguished for the strength of his understanding, the variety of his information, than for the fascination of his manners, and the eloquence of his conversation. In every
circle in which he moved, he was the cynosure of attraction—for he carried with him, a wizard charm, a spell of deep power to charm the senses of his auditors; the charm of a rich and lofty intellect constantly acting and exerting a living influence on the intellects of others. He was not ambitious of being surrounded by mere listeners. He had the power of eliciting the thoughts of the most silent, and of emboldening into expression the sentiments of the most diffident. Surely an influence like his, is as refreshing and invigorating to the intellectual world, as the river to the landscape, flowing on in fullness and beauty, receiving the tribute of a thousand streams, imparting greenness and fragrance and flowers, and bearing at last, its own accumulated waves to the ancient reservoir of waters. And how did he acquire this wondrous power of expression,--this sorcery of mind ?-or was he thus munificently endowed by the direct bounty of nature ? friend who had known him from boy hood, and remembered him, as remarkable for an awkward and hesitating manner, expressed his astonishment at the transformation, and asked him what had wrought so great a miracle. “ Patient and persevering labor,” answered this eloquent man. “ From my earliest years, I was conscious of my natural defects, as well as my natural capabilities. With a mind above my companions, I was looked down upon by them, in spite of my scholastic attainments, for I was weighed down by a bashfulness, a self-distrust, that brooded like a night-mare over all my faculties. Had my teachers in learning observed this mental paralysis and applied the remedy, I would have blessed them as the healers of a disease most deadly to the moral, as well the intellectual energies. I looked in vain for aid, and became my own physician. I committed the thoughts to paper, that struggled in vain for utterance in language. I clothed them in words, and read them aloud in the solitude of my chamber. Every night, I held in this manner, an argument with myself, upon every possible subject of conversation. I continued this laborious task for years, till the habit of expression became so familiar, words came at my bidding, like spirits called up by the magician's wand. I have not labored in vain. By being able to communicate the knowledge I have acquired, I find it constantly increasing and deepening-and then the consciousness of such a glorious freedom of mind—who would exchange it for a bondage stronger than that occasioned by bars. of iron and links of steel?”
Say not such a character must be vain and artificial, that conversation can never be taught, or acquired, that studied communications of thought must be cold and inexpressive, and the glow of feeling chilled. As well may it be said, that the strains which lift the soul to heaven are cold, because the musician may have employed years in the inflexions of his voice or the modulations of his keys. Why is Demosthenes presented as a model for the imitation of the youthful orator ?-exercising his stormy eloquence near the murmurs of the ocean's wave, filling his mouth with the pebbles that strewed the beach, conquering in solitude the deficiencies of nature, that he might hereafter make the walls of his country echo with the thunders of his tongue, and despotism
tremble before its mighty influence! Was he cold, and artificial ? He, the stormy, the vehement and impassioned, whose oratory is compared to the breath of the tempest, the rush' of the cataract, and the raging of the deep ?. No ! He had wrestled in secret with his own spirit, till he came off victorious from the strife; and whoever thus triumphs over the difficulties of nature should share the laurels that decorate his brow. Rather deem such an example worthy to inspire the youth of both sexes with emulative zeallet it appeal to parents and teachers to lead them to think deeply on a subject too much neglected, and indeed completely set aside in the general system of education. May not conversation as a study be introduced into schools, as regularly as geography, astronomy, mathematics, or any of the usual branches of science ? Great as would be the advantages resulting to both sexes, the female mind would be benefitted in a superior degree. · Man, when he leaves the institutions of learning, is brought into more immediate contact with the world. By collision his energies are struck out; by constant friction they are polished. Engaged in the bold scenes of political strife, of commercial interest and professional duty, he is compelled to draw more largely from his own mind, and necessity supplies what practice has denied. But woman, when free from the restraints of scholastic discipline, is too often placed in situations where the knowledge she has acquired is as of little practical use to her, as would be the art of embalming the Egyptian dead. All the studies she has pursued being received into her memory, not made a part of the texture of her mind, lay there in unappropriated superfluity. She could speak of the gases that compose the atmosphere, of positive and negative electricity,
pneumatics and acoustics: but opportunities seldom occur, when scientific rules, supposed to be known by all, can be gracefully introduced into conversation, and she comes to the conclusion that chemistry and philosophy are valueless acquisitions. She has never been taught to take by the hand these daughters of science, ancient in origin, but immortal in youth-She has never walked with them as companions in the great laboratory of nature, and analyzed the wonders of creation-She has never descended with the first, into the mysterious caverns of the earth, nor borrowed the wings of the last, to bear her through the starry arches of the skies. Having never discoursed with them as friends, they soon become strangers and aliens to her sight—and what is the consequence ? Destitute of materials for conversation, she flies to cold frivolity and wanton levity, if not to envenomed slander, to fill the aching, intellectual void.
But is this inevitably the result ? May not knowledge be incorporated into the mind in such a manner as to be incapable of being separated from it ?-like an invisible essence, may it not penetrate every part of our being, and be exhaled, as unconsciously