Character of Men, Women, What Makes the Perfect Marriage From 1876

GentlemanWolfMr. Smiles tells a story of a man in the last century who undertook to make a steam engine. He made what seemed to be a very capital engine indeed. The lever lifted to a charm, the piston answered exactly, the wheels worked beautifully, nothing could be better, but when it came to be fairly tried there was one drawback; it would just go and that was all. On its own hook it would work beautifully—-go through its own motions perfectly, but when you wanted it to lift a pound beside, then lever and piston and wheels struck work, and as it was made in an age and country in which to do nothing was to be counted a gentleman, they baptized the thing Evans’ gentlemanly engine. Now who has not seen numbers of men whose action resembles that gentlemanly engine? What little they do, they do for themselves. You can find no fault so far with their motion, and they are polished sometimes to perfection, especially those parts that are brass or steel, but they would not raise a blister on their hands to save their souls—at least they don’t. Their one motto is to take care of number one, as they say, and in taking care of number one in this light and gentlemanly fashion, they generally come either to depend on the old man every time they get into a tight place, or on their friends, until they are sick of the sight of them, as they drift down at last to the poor house or the jail, or they may go lower still. They may go down and down, until they go down to Washington [D.C.] to hunt for an office they know they cannot fill, and draw money for it they know they don’t earn—the very meanest thing, as I think, that an American citizen can do.

marriage1Now this is the first trouble we can touch in our nation to-day, that men, so very many men, should do nothing in particular, or come as near as they can to this idea of a gentleman by shirking every thing which is not easy and light. The question what makes a gentleman is not an easy one to answer, but I say that between such a man as this and a good blacksmith or wood-chopper, or any other honest fellow who puts all the manhood there is in him into his day’s work, there can be no sort of comparison. Your hard handed mechanic is beyond all question the truer gentleman as well as the better man, and in the good time coming everybody will say so who has a right to be anybody. Honest work well done is the first thing, I say. But that does not mean merely to work hard, because I take it to be more essential to work honestly than it is to work hard at any thing. I had a shop-mate, when I was a lad, who was as good a blacksmith when he did his best as any man I ever saw stand at an anvil, but it seems to me now he was the most ingenious scamp at getting up any sort of a lie in iron I ever saw with a hammer in his hand. Now a man like that may work hard, you see; but on the whole the harder he works the worse it is, because he just works hard at lying. It is no matter where such men are found, or what they are doing, they may not be blacksmiths as Jack was, but they are “Forgers” all the same, if they are only ingenious for dishonesty, and make their money by make-believes. And I say, without the least hesitation, that the blacksmith who works honestly and well from Monday morning to Saturday night, making good horseshoes, is a better man before earth and heaven than the minister who dawdles along all through the week doing nothing in particular, and then on the Sunday morning preaches a wretched sermon. I know that because I have done both.

marriage-thoughtsThe second thing we have to make sure about in this new century is a good home, and this of course presupposes a good wife and a good husband. Now I think a great many men marry in these times who don’t get a wife, and a great many women marry who don’t get a husband, and they never find their mistake out until, perhaps, it is past all remedy except that of coming to Chicago to get a divorce, which may be worse than the disease. I fear, again, this trouble comes very often in this way. Young women before they get married are only anxious to get what they call all the accomplishments. But they don’t mean by this how to make good bread, to boil a potato, or roast a piece of beef, to knit a stocking, to make a shirt and wash it and iron it, to keep a home smelling as sweet as wild roses and shining like a new silver dollar. It seems to me rather they mean how to do tatting, how to draw what Mrs. Browning calls wonderful shepherdesses with pink eyes, how to speak French very hard to be understood and how to discourse music so difficult as to make you remember Johnson’s grim joke when they took him to hear some music of that sort, and noticed he did not seem to care for it. “That is very difficult music,” said one who was with him. “I wish it was impossible,” the old man answered. This is what our girls call all the accomplishments, these they get and then they get married.

RottenecardsAnd the young man sometimes gets an education just about as delectable to fit him for a husband. We call it sowing his wild oats. The worst of it I must not name; the better end of it now and then is calculated to teach him how to play billiards rather than to’ read books, how to prefer cards to every other kind of picture, and sometimes how to be more familiar with the inside of the hells of his town than the churches. Then he goes into society, meets the young woman with all the accomplishments, believes her to be the exception to her entire sex in angelic beauty and perfect excellence, gives her what little heart he has left, poor fellow, and so the match is made and they are wedded, husband and wife so long as they both shall live—if they can stand it.

That is often like a wedding we had once in Yorkshire; as the man came out of church with his bride on his arm he met an old companion who said to him. “There lad, I wish thee much joy. thou’s gotten th’ end of all thee trouble.” This was good news, so he went on his way rejoicing; but it turned out a bad job, he had got a wife with all the accomplishments except she could not keep house; so one day, when he met his crony again, he said to him with a very doleful heart,” I thowt thaa towd me John as I wer cumin out o’ Ginseloy church, when I went to get wed, a’d gotten to th’ end of all me trouble.” “I did tell thaa so,” John answered, “I didn’t tell thaa which end.”

LovelessMarriageThen there is another match not quite so bad as this, but still bad enough. And that is when the husband and wife are both capable, both capital, and have every thing the heart can wish for except a real good honest love. The man is clever, so is the woman; she wants a home, he can give her one; she wants a husband, he wants a housekeeper; he will bring in the living and foot the bills, and she will slave and save and hear a great deal of growling then about what he calls “the extravagance of them women.” Now a good home can no more bloom out of such a life as that in this new century than a damask rose can bloom on an iceberg. It is tyrant and slave, or else it is two slaves. It is two strings full of nothing but harsh discords constantly under the ban of the daily life.

marriageBut there is a wedding which is just as good as gold, true and sweet every time, and sure to result in a good home; and that is when a man and woman, understanding what a good home and a true wedding means, are drawn together by that sure Providence which still makes all right matches in spite of the maneuvering of our prejudice and pride to prevent them. When they come together in a fair equality, not as the poet sings as moonlight unto sunlight, but as “perfect music unto noble words.” Yes, from Eastport and San Francisco, eastward and westward, a youth and maiden shall come with this equal reverence, each for the other in their hearts. They may see a great many men and women more beautiful and noble to other men and women than they are, but they shall never see those, they are looking for, until they meet in this town of yours, it may be, and it is borne in on them that they are meant for husband and wife. It is no matter then, if the one be beautiful and the other homely, or if all the world is wondering over the match. Theirs is still the greatest wonder that God should have given them this great gift as the end of all their hopes and fears. I know what such a wedding means for the home and for the life. It abides where there is no marrying or giving in marriage, but where men and women are like the angels of God. Chance and change make no difference on the golden wedding day. After fifty years of such a wedded life the glory of the maiden of twenty cannot be seen by reason of the glory which excelleth in the good old wife of seventy.

Another thing to take to heart this day, is that you young men shall go ahead, get married in this way, make these good homes and raise noble families of children for the nation instead of dawdling along until the bloom and glory of your life is over for fear the world will fail you if you take this step. It is a great mistake for a young man to think he can wait as long as he will before he takes a wife, and still be a whole true man for this grand era. But a great many do this, and if you ask them how it is, they will tell you they cannot do any better, they cannot ask a woman to marry them out of a mansion and go live in a poor man’s cottage; the woman they want could not live in a cottage, if she would, and would not if she could; she is not fit to be a poor man’s wife, and so they must wait until they get about so much money. Now I say that the woman who is not fit to be a poor man’s wife, as a general rule, is not fit to be any man’s wife. Suppose again she is fit to be a poor man’s wife, and therefore all the fitter to be a rich man’s wife, and he dare not ask her to leave her father’s mansion, and go live with him in a poor man’s cottage, but lets ” I dare not” wait upon “I would” until the best of their life is over, and then gets married, why one of the first things she tells him is that she would have been very glad indeed to marry him ten or fifteen years sooner if he had only said so. The weddings that are sometimes almost as sad as funerals to me are those that might have come and should have come in the brave May days of life, but for the sake of this wealth bought at a price no man should pay, the day was driven forward until the finest strength and bloom of the life had gone.

Let no young man in whose life the new hope of America- hides itself make this fatal blunder as he stands on the edge of the new century, don’t shunt off on a side track and wait too long for a train of circumstances to roll along and enable you to get married. Make sure of these three things—a good honest stroke of work, a good name, and a good wife, just as soon as you can, and then the older men will leave the whole venture gladly in your hands when our time comes, and get away to our rest. ~ Excerpt from Oration by Robert Collyer Lacrosse, Wisconsin July 4th,1876

See also: The Relationship Between a Man and Woman
Advice to Young People from Noah Webster Father of American Education
American Republic2

OUR NOBLE HERITAGE by Hon. George W. Curtis (1824 â€“1892)

George_William_CurtisOUR NOBLE HERITAGE! An Oration by the Honorable George William Curtis, Delivered At The Centennial Celebration, Northfield, Staten Island, New York, July 4th, 1876

Mr. President, Fellow-citizens, Neighbors, And Friends:— On the 19th of April, 1775, when Samuel Adams well called the father of the Revolution, heard the first shots of the British upon Lexington Green, he knew that war had at last begun, and full of enthusiasm, of hope, of trust in America, he exclaimed with rapture, “Oh? what a glorious morning.” And there is no fellow-citizen of ours, wherever he may be to-day—whether sailing the remotest seas or wandering among the highest Alps, however far removed, however long separated from his home, who, as his eyes open upon this glorious morning, does not repeat with the same fervor the words of Samuel Adams, and thank God with all his heart, that he too is an American. In imagination he sees infinitely multiplied the very scene that we behold. From every roof and gable, from every door and window of all the myriads of happy American homes from the seaboard to the mountains, and from the mountains still onward to the sea, the splendor of this summer heaven is reflected in the starry beauty of the American flag. From every steeple and tower in crowded cities and towns, from the village belfry, and the school-house and meeting-house on solitary country roads, ring out the joyous peals. From countless thousands of reverend lips ascends the voice of prayer. Everywhere the inspiring words of the great Declaration that we have heard, the charter of our Independence, the scripture of our liberty, is read aloud in eager, in grateful ears. And above all, and under all, pulsing through all the praise and prayer, from the frozen sea to the tropic gulf, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the great heart of a great people beats in fullness of joy, beats with pious exultation, that here at last, upon our soil—here, by the wisdom of our fathers and the bravery of our brothers, is founded a Republic, vast, fraternal, peaceful, upon the divine corner- stone of liberty, justice and equal rights.

There have indeed been other republics, but they were founded upon other principles. There are republics in Switzerland to-day a thousand years old. But Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden are pure democracies not larger than the county in which we live, and wholly unlike our vast, national and representative republic. Athens was a republic, but Marathon and Salamis, battles whose names are melodious in the history of liberty, were won by slaves. Rome was a republic, but slavery degraded it to an empire. Venice, Genoa, Florence, were republican cities, but they were tyrants over subject neighbors, and slaves of aristocrats at home. There were republics in Holland, honorable forever, because from them we received our common schools, the bulwark of American liberty, but they too were republics of classes, not of the people. It was reserved for our fathers to build a republic upon a declaration of the equal rights of men; to make the Government as broad as humanity; to found political institutions upon faith in human nature. “Tho sacred rights of mankind,” fervently exclaimed Alexander Hamilton, “are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records; they are written as with a sunbeam in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of Divinity itself.” That was the sublime faith in which this century began. The world stared and sneered —the difficulties and dangers were colossal. For more than eighty years that Declaration remained only a Declaration of faith. But, fellow-citizens, fortunate beyond all men, our eyes behold its increasing fulfillment. The sublime faith of the fathers is more and more the familiar fact of the children. And the proud flag which floats over America to-day, as it is the bond of indissoluble union, so it is tho seal of ever enlarging equality, and ever surer justice. Could the men of that earlier day, could Samuel Adams and all his associates have lived through this amazing century to see this glorious morning, as they counted these teeming’ and expanding States, as they watched the advance of republican empire from the Alleghenies through a country of golden plenty, passing the snowy Sierras and descending to the western sea of peace, as they saw the little spark of political liberty which they painfully struck, blown by the eager breath of a century into a flame which aspires to heaven and illuminates the earth, they would bow their reverend heads at this moment, as Adams and Jefferson bowed theirs fifty years ago to-day; and the happy burden of their hearts would tremble from their expiring lips, “Now, oh Lord, let thy servants depart in peace, for their eyes have seen thy salvation.

BAmerican Republicut we have learned, by sharp experience, that prosperity is girt with peril. In this hour of exultation we will not scorn the wise voices of warning and censure, the friendly and patriotic voices of the time. We will not forget that the vital condition of national greatness and prosperity is the moral character of the people. It is not vast territory, a temperate climate, exhaustless mines, enormous wealth, amazing inventions, imperial enterprises, magnificent public works, a population miraculously multiplied ; it is not busy shops and humming mills, and flaming forges, and commerce that girdles the globe with the glory of a flag, that makes a nation truly great. These are but opportunities. They are like the health and strength and talents of a man, which are not his character and manhood, but only the means of their development. The test of our national greatness is the use we make of our opportunities. If they breed extravagance, wild riot and license—if they make fraud plausible and corruption easy—if they confuse private morality, and debauch the public conscience, beware, beware! for all our prosperity is then but a Belshazzar’s feast of splendor, and while we sit drunken with wine and crowned with flowers, the walls of our stately palace are flaming and crackling with the terrible words of our doom.

But with all faults confessed, and concessions made, with all dangers acknowledged and difficulties measured, I think we may truly say that, upon the whole, we have used our opportunities well. The commanding political fact of the century that ends to-day, is the transcendent force and the recuperative power of republican institutions. Neither the siren of prosperity, nor the red fury of civil war, has been able to destroy our Government or to weaken our faith in the principles upon which it is founded. We have been proud, and reckless, and defiant; we have sinned, and have justly suffered, but I say, in your hearing, as, had I the voice, I would say in the hearing of the world to-day, . that out of the fiery furnace of our afflictions, America emerges at this moment greater, better, truer, nobler, than ever in its history before.

I do not forget how much is due to the political genius of the race from which we are so largely sprung. Nine-tenths of the revolutionary population of the country was of English stock. The Declaration of Independence was a fruit of Magna Charta, and Magna Charta grew from seed planted before history in the German forest. Our friend, the historian of the island, in the interesting sketch of this town that he read us, tells us that Northfield was the most patriotic town in the county during the Revolution, and that the original settlers were, in great part, of German stock. The two facts naturally go together. The instinct of individual liberty and independence is the germ of the political development of that race from which also our fathers sprung. They came from England to plant, as they believed, a purer England. Their new England was to be a true England. At last they took arms reluctantly to defend England against herself, to maintain the principles and traditions of English liberty. The farmers of Bunker Hill were the Barons of Runnymede in a later day, and the victory at Yorktown was not the seal of a revolution so much as the pledge of continuing English progress. This day dawns upon a common perception of that truth on both sides of the ocean. In no generous heart on either shore lingers any trace of jealousy or hostility. It is a day of peace, of joy, of friendship. Here above my head, and in your presence, side by side with our own flag, hangs the tri-color of France, our earliest friend, and the famous cross of England, our ally in civilization. May our rivalry in all true progress be as inspiring as our kinship is close! In the history of the century, I claim that we have done our share. In real service to humanity, in the diffusion of intelligence, and the lightening of the burden of labor, in beneficent inventions—yes, in the education of the public conscience, and the growth of political morality, of which this very day sees the happy signs, I claim that the act of this day a hundred years ago is justified, and that we have done not less, as an Independent State, than our venerable mother England.

Think what the country was that hundred years ago. Today the State of which we are citizens contains a larger population than that of all the States of the Union when Washington was President . Yet, New York is now but one of thirty eight States, for to-day our youngest sister, Colorado, steps into the national family of the Union. The country of a century ago was our father’s small estate. That of to-day is our noble heritage. Fidelity to the spirit and principles of our fathers will enable us to deliver it enlarged, beautified, ennobled, to our children of the new century. Unwavering faith in the absolute supremacy of the moral law; the clear perception that well-considered, thoroughly-proved, and jealously-guarded institutions, are the chief security of liberty; and an unswerving loyalty to ideas, made the men of the Revolution, and secured American independence. The same faith and the same loyalty will preserve that independence and secure progressive liberty forever. And here and now, upon this sacred centennial altar, let us, at least, swear that we will try public and private men by precisely the same moral standard, and that no man who directly or indirectly connives at corruption or coercion to acquire office or to retain it, or who prostitutes any opportunity or position of public service to his own or another’s advantage, shall have our countenance or our vote.

The one thing that no man in this country is so poor that he cannot own is his vote; and not only is he bound to use it honestly, but intelligently. Good government does not come of itself; it is the result of the skillful co-operation of good and shrewd men. If they will not combine, bad men will; and if they sleep, the devil will sow tares. And as we pledge ourselves to our father’s fidelity, we may well believe that in this hushed hour of noon, their gracious spirits bend over us in benediction. In this sweet summer air, in the strong breath of the ocean that beats upon our southern shore; in the cool winds that blow over the Island from the northern hills; in these young faces and the songs of liberty that murmur from their lips; in the electric sympathy that binds all our hearts with each other, and with those of our brothers and sisters throughout the land, lifting our beloved country as a sacrifice to God, I see, I feel the presence of our fathers: the blithe heroism of Warren, and the unsullied youth of Quincy: the fiery impulse of Otis and Patrick Henry: the serene wisdom of John Jay and the comprehensive grasp of Hamilton: the sturdy and invigorating force of John and of Samuel Adams—and at last, embracing them all, as our eyes .at this moment behold cloud and hill, and roof and tree, and field and river, blent in one perfect picture, so combining and subordinating all the great powers of his great associates, I feel the glory of the presence, I bend my head to the blessing of the ever-living, the immortal Washington.

Benediction by Rev. S. G. Smith, Delivered at the close of the Centennial Celebration, Northfield, Staten Island, New York, July 4th, 1876.

May the blessing of our father’s God now rest upon us. As in time past, so in time to come, may He guard and defend our land. May He crown the coming years with peace and prosperity. May He ever clothe our rulers with righteousness, and give us a future characterized by purity of life and integrity of purpose. May He everywhere shed forth the benign influence of His spirit, and to the present and coming generations vouchsafe the inspiring hopes of His gospel, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

See also: The History and Events that Led to the Founding of the United States by Courtlandt Parker 1876
The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster
Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of the World With Biblical References Part 1
The Excellence of the Christian Religion by Noah Webster Published 1834 Part 1
Why our Forefathers firmly believed that Freedom and Liberty came from God
Non Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of Jesus Christ by Johannes von Müller 1832
Christianity and the Founding of the United States the Simple Truth
Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God
Divine Heredity