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BOSTON, SEPTEMBER 1, 1829. [Vol. 2, No. 11.
[Madame Niederer, who has an estab- clear apprehension of the nature of lishment for female education at Yverdun, the child, generally and individually, in Switzerland, and who has been highly and of the demands which it makes, admired, both as regards her character and in children of either sex, upon materher abilities, by English ladies who have nal care and guidance. This knowvisited her seminary, is the author of a ledge should be imparted to all those work recently published at Berlin, entitled that constitute civilized society, lest “ Hints on Female Education.” To ena- they be incapacitated for the accomble our readers to judge for themselves of plishment of their most essential duthe view which Madame N. takes of the ties; the neglect of it will infallibly education of her sex, we extract the follow- cause our species to retrograde in its ing passage :-)
own .cultivation, however great its
progress may be in science, art, and It is not sufficient that some individu- industry. als of distinguished energy among our It is in the hands of the female that sex should emerge to the bright sum- God has deposited the primitive powmit of human culture : the whole sex er of all education ; she is exclusively ought to be aroused from their present entrusted with the awakening and first condition, and stimulated to exert unfolding of the human energies. The themselves for the attainment of a tie of closest union which attaches the more elevated state. The powers and heart of the child to the mother's love faculties with which woman is gifted and care, gives to the female an inare peculiar, but not less rich than calculable influence over the destinies those which have fallen to the lot of of mankind, and an absolute power to man; and the claims, therefore, which decide the bias of the first tendencies she has upon education, upon influence for good or evil, for truth or error. and a dignified position in society, To enable the female rightly to exerare, although not of the same nature, cise that primitive power of education yet no less important or extensive, of which she is possessed, it is necesthan those which the other sex prefers. sary that we should lead her to a clear It is essential to the fulfilment of those perception of the primitive elements duties whieh devolve upon man, that of life, of knowledge and of practice, he should have a correct knowledge so that her influence upon the first of human nature abstractedly, and in development of the human being may its various manifestations in individual be one of light and not of darkness. character, as well as of the influence The foundation of all knowledge exercised upon it by the domestic rests on an intellectaal apprehension circle, by education, and by social of the first elements. If we learn life; and in the same manner it is them with clearness, and in the conindispensable for woman to have a nection which they have ainong them
51 ATHENEUM, VOL. 2, 3d series.
selves and with the primitive powers education. Not the extent of knowof our mind, our knowledge will be ledge, but its solid character,—not well grounded; every progress will mechanical accumulation in the inelead to a farther development of our mory, whilst the mind is stupified and own powers, and to a deeper insight paralyzed, and every tendency to deinto the nature of things. However velopment crushed, but intellectual narrow the compass of our knowledge acquirement, which enlivens and exmay be, its foundation will be deep ercises all the powers of the mind, and lasting ; and it will impart to the and produces a desire for improvement mind such a tendency to progressive that will last to the end of life, such development, that no experience and are the characteristics of the mental no exertion in future life can ever be endowments with which a daughter lost for the enlargement of the sphere should be dismissed from the parental of knowledge.
roof, or from the house of education. The superficiality of knowledge If her mind be so fitted out, she will arises, not only from the absolute not fail to accomplish the task of her want of foundation, but also from a life; as mother and instructress, she merely mechanical apprehension of will be a shining light for the first the elements. If they be inculcated education of man. If, on the contrawithout regard to the bearings which ry, she be defective in this, her failure they have upon each other and upon is inevitable; she can produce nothing our intellect, our knowledge must be but confusion and darkness in educasuperficial; and every farther progress tion, and in the whole sphere of docan only lead to mental confusion, and mestic life. to a greater alienation from the nature To open to children the path of of things. However extensive the true intellectual culture, by a wellsystem of knowledge so acquired may grounded and intelligible elementary seem, it will only be the more flat instruction, is easy and delightful to and superficial; and every additional those that understand it; and so it is experience, every new exertion, can likewise to lead them from such a only increase the mechanism of know- pure and solid basis to the higher deledge, adding death unto death. grees of knowledge and wisdom : but,
These observations may tend to to lead the more advanced youth back explain the strange phenomena of from superficial and mechanical knowyoung persons leaving school, splen- ledge to spontaneous mental exertion, didly furnished with knowledge and to attention, reflection, and perseveracquirements of every kind, by which ance, is a hard and ungrateful task. It is they earn great applause, and raise hard, because it requires a great exmighty expectations ; but, so far from pense of time and labor enduringly to answering the latter, remain stationa- awaken, strengthen, and enliven the ry, and shut up against every further mind, when it has been stunned and development; so that, by degrees, enervated by lifeless instruction. It they sink down to mediocrity, or even is ungrateful, because, in a world below its level : whilst, on the contra- where appearance is the object genery, others who, at the termination of rally in request, and the general test the years of tuition, make a modest by which things are judged, it is imappearance, and excite neither admi- possible to aim at the reality and to ration nor any great anticipations, yet reach it, without incurring constant rise from development to development, misjudgment, however great and imand from progress to progress, and portant results may have been obtainaccomplish the task of their life in a ed. Nevertheless, he who has the manner both satisfactory to others welfare of youth and of mankind at and creditable to themselves.
heart, who works not for temporary To produce this latter effect, ought or temporal purposes, but for the real to be invariably the object of female wants of his age, and for an eternal
end, will find that easy which is other- exertions have already broken through wise hard, and that which is ungrate- those narrow limits, and are extending ful will carry for him a high and to subjects of universal improvement. everlasting reward.
Our age has seen noble-minded prinThe multitude reject the way of cesses, taught in the school of life, development, because, although se- devoting themselves with faithfulness cure, it is slower : they claim the and dignity to the work of education, more rapid results of a system of rote. and showing, by their example, to the To know something of everything, and rest of their sex, what they ought to to be able to talk of everything, is, do for it. And how many others, with the great mass, the object of fe- though inferior in rank, yet no less male education; hence it is that su- noble-minded, go out, in the power of perficiality, presumption, fatness, and faith, to give instruction in the schools vanity, prevail on all sides; that know- of the poor, to bring refreshment into ledge and acquirements wear off by the cottage of the needy, consolation practice, and are, in young mothers, to the couch of the sick, and deliverlike salt which has lost its savor, and ance, in a heavenly sense, into the is of no use in domestic life or in edu- prison where the criminal is chained cation.
to his guilt by iron fetters. They are But it will not remain so forever. as many purifiers of the public feeling, The day of a better knowledge is diffusing in society the spirit of hudawning upon our sex ; its high voca- manity, and building education upon tion for the cause of buman culture a lasting foundation. Their exertions begins to be felt and understood ; its will not be without fruit.
THE DREAM OF THE WEST WIND.
WEARIED with roaming woods and Icas, He dreamed that early fisher's boat
He came on trembling wings from far, Was sinking at his blast again ;
In glimmering cave of gem-like spar. Breathed from the dim engulphing main.
Of all the the sweet, the wild, On greenest moss where gently grew Whate'er delight with heavenly gleams
Flowers that had never seen the morn. Had fed the West's enchanted child. His breathing filled the cell with air, He thought on all he e'er had stolen,
A whispering charm, a tranquil joy ; Of scents, and smiles, and murmured And a lone spring sang softly there,
pleasures, And kissed and cooled the dreaming Despoiling flowers with gladness swollen, boy.
And rifling nature's subtlest treasures. His brow was like the clearest cloud Last in his slumbering fancy showed That e'er made soft a star of June;
The fairest vision of them all, And thither swarmed a silent crowd The loveliest maid that e'er abode
Of thoughts, like elves around the moon. A woodland Nymph, in leafy hall. He dreamed of that far western wood Her bair like sunshine round her hung,
When first he woke amid the dawn, Her brow was smooth as pearly sheli, Ere man had broke the solitude,
Her eyes with laughing life were young, Or sprites had all from earth withdrawn. Her whisper chimed like festal bell. And then he dreamed how forth he sprang, The sleeper woke; 'twas now the hour
A warrior child, on rushing wings, When he was wont to seek the isle, While with his speed the forest rang, Where in her green and lonely bower As to the winter's shouts it rings.
She wove her web and sang the while. Again be felt bis onward sweep,
The dreamer, like a shining mist, As in that first triumphant pride ;
Rose from the moss, and swam in air, Again he coursed, in vision deep,
And, deftly poised as him might list, The rolling sea, the grey, the wide. Danced for a moment glittering there.