previous next
[342] always seemed to me to gauge very nearly all we acquired at college, except facility in the use of our powers. Our influence in the community does not really spring from superior attainments, but from this thorough training of faculties, and more even, perhaps, from the deference men accord to us.

Gibbon says we have two educations,--one from teachers, and the other we give ourselves. This last is the real and only education of the masses,--one gotten from life, from affairs, from earning one's bread; necessity, the mother of invention; responsibility, that teaches prudence, and inspires respect for right. Mark the critic out of office: how reckless in assertion, how careless of consequences; and then the caution, forethought, and fair play of the same man charged with administration. See that young, thoughtless wife suddenly widowed; how wary and skilful, what ingenuity in guarding her child and saving his rights! Any one who studied Europe forty or fifty years ago could not but have marked the level of talk there, far below that of our masses. It was of crops and rents, markets and marriages, scandal and fun. Watch men here, and how often you listen to the keenest discussions of right and wrong, this leader's honesty, that party's justice, the fairness of this law, the impolicy of that measure,--lofty, broad topics, training morals, widening views. Niebuhr said of Italy, sixty years ago, “No one feels himself a citizen. Not only are the people destitute of hope, but they have not even wishes touching the world's affairs; and hence all the springs of great and noble thoughts are choked up.”

In this sense the Fremont campaign of 1856 taught Americans more than a hundred colleges; and John Brown's pulpit at Harper's Ferry was equal to any ten thousand ordinary chairs. God lifted a million of hearts

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Harper's Ferry (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Europe (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Niebuhr (1)
Gibbon (1)
John Brown (1)
Americans (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1856 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: