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SOUTHERN LITERARY MESSENGER.

A MAGAZINE DEVOTED TO LITERATURE, SCIENCE AND Art.

RICHMOND, MAY, 1859.

INTELLECTUAL CULTURE OF WOMAN.*

The Delight of Knowledge-Desire for Knowledge Universal-Different Knowledge Desired, according to Mental Cultivation and Natural Aptitude-The Metaphysician -The Lover of Natural Science-Retailer of Scandal-Office of Education in awakening Proper Curiosity-Superiority in this Respect of Educated Women-Ro sults of this Superiority-What Conduct it Should Produce-Haughtiness to Inferiors-Gratitude and Obedience to Parents-Ordinary Household Duties—Another Office of Education-Empiricism and Quackery-Political, Social and Religious Quacks-Noted Examples-The South Sea Bubble-Joe Smith-Relics-Strolling Pedlars-Foreign Dignitaries-Humbug-The Triumph of Right-Empiricism and Science Contrasted-Advantages of Thorough Instruction: to One's Self, to the Family, to Society, and to the State-Authors Recommended-Monod's Mission of Woman-Conduct at Home, in the Circle of Families, in Society-Society Described -Slavery-Duty of Educated Women to master the Subject, and to Educate a Proper Sentiment Concerning It—One of Her Duties to the State-The Highest Knowledge -Conclusion.

Augustin Thierry, a man distinguished for intellectual power and indefatigable research, who lost his sight in making the investigations the results of which he has recorded in his history of the Norman Conquest, at the close of his long and brilliant career, writes thus of his employment:

"If, as I delight in thinking, the interest of science is counted in the number of great national interests, I have given my country all that the soldier, mutilated on the field of battle, gives her. Whatever may be the fate of my labours, this example, I hope, will not be lost. I would wish it to serve to combat the species of moral weakness which is the disease of

our present generation; to bring back into the straight road of life some of those enervated souls that complain of wanting faith, that know not what to do, and seek everywhere, without finding it, an object of worship and admiration. Why say, with so much bitterness, that in the world, constituted as it is, there is no air for all lungs, no employment for all minds? Is not calm and serious study there? and is not that a refuge, a hope, a field within the reach of all of us? With it evil days are passed over without their weight being felt; every one can make his own destiny; every one employ his life nobly. This is what I have done, and would do again if I had to recom

*An Address delivered before the Hollins Female Institute, at the Commencement, on the 6th April, 1859. By ALEXANDER H. SANDS, of Richmond, Va. Published by request of the Faculty and Board of Trustees of the Institute.

VOL. XXVIII-21

mence my career; I would choose that which has brought me where I am. Blind, and suffering without hope and almost without intermission, I may give this testimony, which from me will not appear suspicious; there is something in the world better than sensual enjoyments, better than fortune, better than health itself; it is devotion to science."

I might multiply examples of similar character, in illustration of the hold that the desire for knowledge obtains over the mind which has once experienced its delightful and soul-stirring effects. This desire is universal. It is common alike to the swarthy African and the red men of America; to the cold, calculating and conservative Englishman, to the mercurial Frenchman and the keen-sighted, sharp-witted Yankee; to the refined and educated and polished scholar, and to the clumsy and uncultivated clown. In a term of life now nearing middle age, I have never known a man who had not a thirst for knowledge-to a greater or less degree. It may have been thirst for wrong knowledge; for knowledge not of the right sort and of the right things. It may have been confined within narrow limits and called forth by unworthy or trivial objects. Every where, at all times, among all peoples you will find this principle at work. For knowledge man digs into the strata of the earth to find there the record written by the Almighty's hand of the earth's history; for knowledge, he scales the summit of the skies and marks with wonder and delight the movements of the spheres; for knowledge, stretching forth with expectant look, he gazes into the opening vistas of the future, and with equal zeal grasps at and commits to imperishable record the transactions and doings and dealings of the present and the past.

At one

time, he traverses wide and perilous seas to hold converse with the rude and unlettered peasantry of some distant country, that he may record their modes of social being-what they think and what they do; at another, with almost infinite danger, he perils his life to fathom the mysteries of State secrets and to unfold State intrigue. At one time, he tells us

of the accomplishments of mind, at another he witnesses and records the varying changes of matter. At one time, with immense labour and toil, he masters the mysteries of an unknown and barbarous tongue; at another, he is clothing in living forms of beauty and eloquence the emotions of the passing hour, that they may be caught by sympathetic hearts and "echoed down the corridors of Time."

Now we find him engaged in minute and laborious effort, spending his weeks and months and years in the solitude of his study in the solution of some difficult problem, and crying out at its successful close, almost with a mad joy, “I HAVE FOUND IT! I HAVE FOUND IT!" And then, with toilsome footstep we follow him amid the varied realms of Nature's boundless limits as he gathers from her caverns, from her hills and valleys and streams, from her ocean-depths and her mountain summits, fact after fact to enrich his treasury, and discovery after discovery awakening the pleasurable emotion of knowing!

While the desire is thus universal, it is, by no means, equally diffused or called forth alike by the objects of interest around and within us. One thirsts for knowledge with an irrepressible longing. He desires truth for its own sake, and would willingly forego enjoyments of no common type to realize and reap the golden fruition. It matters not to him whether the great world without shall repeat his name with honour, or allow it to sleep in obscurity forever. Another pursues it, for the gain it brings, for the crown it bestows, for the reward it proffers. A third, stimulated by a languid desire to know, would willingly resign the ripe enjoyment of knowing, if he could thus secure exemption from the toil of accumulating, or the trouble of safely keeping it when already acquired.

The desire will be ample or contracted; will be various and useful, or narrow and mean, according to the measure of the mind's original capacity and its aptitude for acquiring, and its opportunities for enlargement.

Take a familiar illustration, drawn from our physical constitution.

We have been so formed by our Creator that every exertion of power brings its enjoyment. We cannot stretch out an arm, if it be in a healthful condition, without experiencing a pleasurable emotion. The senses are so many channels of gratification and delight. For sight, for hearing, for feeling, for the senses of smell and taste, there are appropriate objects and excitants, communicating in the contact at times inexpressible pleasure. We all remember the beautifully apt remark of Paley, in evidence of the Divine beneficence. "If He had wished our misery, He might have made sure of His purpose by forming our senses to be so many pains and sores to us, as they are now instruments of gratification and enjoyment; or by placing us amid objects so ill suited to our perceptions as to have continually offended us, instead of ministering to our refreshment and delight. He might have made, for example, everything we tasted, bitter; every thing we saw, loathsome; every thing we touched, a sting; every smell, a stench; and every sound, a discord."

Now, if we take from any part of our physical frame any of its original functions, either in whole or in part, we shall, to that extent, rob ourselves of the enjoyment we should thence derive. If an arm be maimed, or an eye bleared, or an ear deaf, so far as we could have experienced pleasurable emotions from these, so far will we be deprived by the defect of the sum total of enjoyment. This will be the more apparent, if we shall select some power of the body which has not its counterpart. Take from us the sense of hearing altogether, and we shall lose all the emotional excitement occasioned by the harmony of sound. The ravishing notes of Mozart and Handel, the liquid music of the summer's waterfall, the majestic roar of the Niagara, even the crash of the terrible voice of the light ning will fail to excite on the one hand delight, and on the other that sense of positive enjoyment derived from the highest sublimity of terror. In some sort, the mind which has not compassed

a particular department of thought, which has not "realized" the entireness of a complete area of sentiment, is deprived of one of its faculties, and has excluded itself from sources of delight open to the mind of him who has conversed familiarly with such topics and fully mastered them. Here is one, who ignores altogether the department of metaphysical research. He has learned to echo the stale and absurd reproaches of the superficial and arrogant empiric, who denies that the world of mind needs to be explored, and who ridicules all attempts on the part of mental philosophers to fathom its depths. To such a one the sublime speculations of Kant and Cousin, the nervous, strong and practical good sense of Reid, and the severely logical acumen of Sir William Hamilton, afford neither entertainment nor delight. He prefers to follow some explorer into the realm of physical being, to number the penfeathers of the antennæ of an insect, or to analyze the parts of the most insignificant animalcule. Another stalks through life utterly unconscious of the world of matter around him. He delights in knowing what in himself is worth knowing. He finds there enough, he says, nobler type to engage his thought, and until he has explored the depths of his own consciousness, he is unwilling to take the time to learn the comparatively unimportant matters of physical nature. A third has no higher employment for the principle of curiosity which nature has implanted in him, than the amusement of the passing moment: and the incidents of daily life, its little scandal, its trivial conversation, the news of the hour, afford him sufficient mental food, and gratify to the full his intellectual appetite. The whole realms of fancy and imagination-of the highest art and of the loftiest aspirings, are to him an utter blank; and for all practical purposes, he is living as if not endued with the capacity to understand, appreciate and enjoy them. Alter now if you will the modes of life of the three. Convert the lover of natural science into the severe student of the laws of the mind. Transform the daily retailer of the latest news

of

in the market-place, or behind the counter, or on the farm, into an intelligent and wise observer of the wonderful operations of Nature, and you at once introduce them into a new world of emotion and delight. So to speak, they have become by the transformation changed into new beings; they have had added to them the possession of other faculties, whose existence they had not suspected or imagined before. The man feels-he knows -new things; and the possession of this new knowledge creates new and fresh sympathies; and he realizes the enjoyment of putting forth hitherto undiscovered or unused powers!

Now it is one of the offices of education to kindle and keep alive the entire intellectual man-to open to him the widest fields of intellectual research and emotional sympathy-and in proportion. as we have secured the true advantages of such acquaintance, in proportion as the area of science or art we have explored is enlarged; in proportion to our natural or cultivated capacity to under. stand aright the objects of thought or of feeling with which we are brought into contact, in that proportion are our opportunities for intellectual exercise increased, and in that proportion is the enjoyment of pursuing such objects enhanced. We shall find then that the truest and best education is that which capacitates us for the amplest enjoyment and secures for us the ripest attainments, is that which awakens into active life all the faculties and powers of our minds, and suggests for them all appropriate exercise and employment. To be, in other words, a mere lawyer or a mere doctor, a mere professor of languages and nothing else, suggests to us the idea of but halfmanhood-ness, and the mind instinctively revolts from it. To be a mere seamstress or landlady, a mere teacher of music or a mere writer of poems or of novels, suggests the same idea of incompleteness, and the mind instinctively recoils. We must have for complete happiness something more than these would indicate the possession of.

If properly instructed, I remark, the educated lady has had a proper and in

telligent curiosity awakened-she desires to know proper things, and to know them thoroughly.

In this she has an inestimable advantage over her less favoured sisters, whose views are contracted within narrower limits, and who have not cultivated or enlightened sympathies with much that brings out and develops, in highest and noblest form, the capacities of the mind and heart.

But this superiority does not beget haughtiness of demeanor or a neglect of so-called inferiors least of all does it inspire contempt for any living being? The school-girl who imagines that an acquaintance with the classics or facility in music or in painting exempts her from the obligation to respect her acquaintance, and allows her to ignore and neglect altogether the companionship of her neighbours, has much indeed to learn not only of the humility, but of the enjoyment of true learning? Depend upon it, my young friends, it is no mark of superior attainments, in any department of study or school of science, to despise any of the beings God has made.

I need not, I am sure, add to this, that gratitude and obedience to your parents will characterize the truly educated lady. If fortune has not favoured them if they be rough-handed and toilworn-if they cannot enter into discussions of topics most interesting to the scholar and the woman of ripe attainments, the educated lady will gently, carefully hide the defect, and remedy, as she may, their want of information by imparting to them what she knows in an unpretending and unassuming way.

Into what infinity of contempt does the daughter sink, who, by the toil of an honest and rough-handed father, has secured the advantages of ripe training and requites the service with contumely or neglect. Ask the universal opinion entertained of such an one-whether by young or old, rich or poor, male or fe male, and the kindling glance of indig nation in every eye, and the prompt response from every lip, condemn almost beyond reprieve, the crime of ingratitude and folly.

No! no! Young ladies who have been trained at school, who have been well educated, know that it is their first and main duty to love those who, by honest labour and with many prayers, have aided them in their efforts to acquire knowledge. This sentiment should not expend itself as mere sentiment. It must live in the life—it must speak alike in the tongue and by the act. "The old folks at home" are to have the earnest and undivided sympathies of the child of their love; and even though the tuition be harsh, and at times their conduct be rude and uncouth, a heart that has learned the lesson of love aright and a head well instructed, will be led into proper deference and respect.

Again: Least of all should this instruction be imagined to exempt one from the ordinary routine of household duty. It begets a contempt for learning when it contents itself with moping over books and dreaming of sentiment, when the objects and occasions of duty are all around us neglected and unimproved. We shall find, (I doubt not,) ample employment for the largest wisdom and for the utmost stretch of capacity even in managing the ordinary occasions of difficulty as they arise.

But I must return from this digression. Another office of education is to deliver one from empiricism. By empiricism I mean quackery of every kind. There is an empiricism in science, in morals, in religion, in politics as in medieine. There are "universal nostrum" men, who go about in search of victims to their impostures; who forego no effort to make disciples of the unwary; and who would be willing, in order to compass their favourite object, to sacrifice not only the fortunes, but the lives of individuals, and to peril the happiness and welfare of entire communities. In looking over the wrecks of fortune and of honour scattered as monitors along the reefs of time, we shall find not a few who have been stranded on this rock; not a few who started in their career with high hopes and unfaltering purpose, who fell victim to some mad delusion, the vagary of some vile and vicious impostor or

madman. Human history is crowded with examples in the moral and mental-in the political and commercial worlds! And we shall do well to hear and to heed its voice pleading for suffering humanity. In politics the wild extravagancies of the first and second, and third French Revolutions are recent and convincing instances; in commerce, the Southsea bubble and its almost innumerable copies on a diminished scale, which while not equalling it in the extent and enormity of the conception, have vied with it in the mischief and injury they have effected; and time would fail me to tell the numberless examples of empirics in morals and religion whose Babel voices have assaulted the heavens from the day on which heavenly harpers hymned the praises of the Infant Redeemer until the present. Look to the collection of sects and divisions of opinion; to the leaders and followers of leaders who have been named in the religious world, gathered into some modern Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge; and you will confess that surely here, on the highest and most momentous interests, there has been the amplest display of folly, and that the magnitude of the topic has but served to allure into its domain empiricism and quackery.

In an entertaining article contributed to one of Chambers' Papers for the People, I find the following:

66

Superstition has in nothing more plainly manifested at once its foundation in ignorance and its mighty hold upon the popular mind than in the extraordinary variety of relics which have claimed and received the homage and adoration of mankind. It is but a few weeks since at Stonyhurst College, in Lancashire, we were shown a piece of the real wood of the Cross; and the following are some mentioned in Brady's 'Clavis,' which either have received, or are receiving the wondering adorations of folly: "A finger of St. Andrew.

A finger of St. John the Baptist.
The thumb of St. Thomas.

The hem of our Lord's garment which cured the dsieased woman. The seamless coat.

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