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before him diligently, and will stick to it faithfully, and will live honestly, kindly and charitably with his fellow men, avoiding all cant and hypocrisy, making himself sure that his good qualities, such as they are, are genuine, not pinchbeck, not put on for show, friends and money will both come in due time. The only money that will ever do you any good is that which comes honestly; the only friends that will ever be of any use to you are those that come to you naturally.

I have dwelt so much on the necessity of self control, that I am afraid that some of you may go off thinking that I mean to recommend a systematic course of self examination. Nothing is farther from my thoughts. I have heard men advise young people to think over every night everything that they had done, or said, or thought, during the day, and to reflect on them all in order to see how far they had done right and how far wrong. Such a system of double entry moral bookkeeping might do for a monk in a cloister; but for a man who has to do with actual life, it would lead him, if he were a man of sense, either to a lunatic asylum or to death by suicide.

I have known young men who were always whining because they were not good enough; but I have never known one that was worth a row of beans. That condition of mind is a morbid and an unhealthy one. If St. Paul, or Martin Luther, or John Wesley had always been whining in that way, they would never have done any good. They would have been compound and variegated failures. That kind of self anatomy is fatal in its efforts. When a man has made up his mind as to what are good principles and is resolved to stand by them, the less he thinks of himself after that the better. Nor should he, because he makes a blunder or commits a fault, be unutterably cast down. No man ever lived without faults. They are natural and inevitable, and they are a part of our training. Longfellow said:


"Saint Augustine! well hast thou said,
That of our vices we can frame
A ladder, if we will but tread
Beneath our feet each deed of shame."

And after him Tennyson said:

"I hold it truth with him that sings
To one clear harp in divers tones,
That man may rise on stepping stones
Of their dead selves to higher things.”

The truth is that the greater part of any useful life must consist of action. One should not be too long in making up his mind, and when he has made it up he should to a large extent quit thinking.

And as for the young ladies that form such an important part of your societies, I can say that as their sex perform their duties in life so much better and with so much more grace than my own, it would be something like presumption if I should undertake to instruct them as to their duties in a science which they understand so much better than myself. If the young men of the country can only be got to see their duty and to do it, I shall have no fear of the young women. I have hardly ever seen a bad or a mean woman but that she had been made so by some bad or mean man. Men make the laws for the world, but women supply the morals, without which laws would be but a waste of words.

There are many signs of promise in the present age, but one of the most hopeful is the deeper interest that is taken in the cause of female education. This is something that will produce its fruits hereafter. When I think of the great and good men whose names appear like bright stars shining through the gloom of the past, they seem to me to be still greater when I reflect that they were often trained by ignorant mothers. Lord Brougham said that we learn more in the first two years of our lives than in all the other years put together; and those two years and several years afterwards, are spent mostly with the female members of the household. Other things may pass into oblivion, but the lessons then learned are never forgotten. In the darkest as well as in the brightest hour of humanity, woman has ever stood watch over religion and morality, with the devotion with which the vestal virgin guarded the sacred fire. If you would find the hour and the spot in human history in which the mind has been most darkened, virtue most neglected and man most depraved, you will at the same moment discover the time and the place in which the influence of woman has been most disregarded and condemned. It is something beautiful to think about, that the march of progress, with all of its din and noise and dust, its building of bridges, its rearing of cities, its construction of railways, its hurry and its clamor, is silently and reverently entering the domestic circle to add new charms and new graces and new and more powerful influences to womanhood. It is less than sixty days ago that the laws of the University of Oxford, in England, that ancient home of prejudice and exclusiveness, were so altered as to admit women to public exami. nations. A work that has gone so far can never go backward, and the time is soon coming when no uneducated woman can be found in all the length and breadth of the land.

During the lifetime of my generation wonderful things have been accomplished. The human mind has made greater advances in every direction than in centuries before, and the world has been changed and renovated. Very soon we are going to turn it all over to you young ladies and gentlemen, with everything that is in it. May you do better than we have done, and may you be wiser and happier than we have been.


A Paper Read at the Sixteenth Annual Meeting of the American

Bar Association August 13, 1893

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