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moral principle. What do we find in the annual executive message to both houses of Congress, beyond certain stereotyped recognitions of a beneficent Providence, under whose smiles we are growing up to a gigantic national manhood. How few men in our public councils dare to speak, or at any rate do speak out their Christian sentiments, on such great moral questions as robbing the poor Indians of their territory and their fathers' sepulchers— transporting and opening the mails on the Lord's day, and precipitating a vast foreign slave territory upon these United States, to “grind them to powder,” or sink them to the bottom of infamy and perdition. Now why this hesitancy, this shyness, on the part of so many Christian legislators What have the friends of the Bible, the friends of religion and morality, to fear from the honest advocacy of the immutable principles of right and wrong 2 What need of reserve, what occasion for quaking, lest they should be branded as canting hypocrites, or dreamy fanatics Why not stand up fearlessly, and meet the opprobrium, and shake it off, if it must come 2 Who sneered at Mr. Webster, for the avowal of his religious opinions in the crowded court-room; or who ever respected Mr. Frelinghuysen the less, for standing forth boldly as a religious man, (which he always did,) in the senate chamber 2 It is not by shrinking from religious responsibility, but by meeting it in a bold and dignified manner, that Christians in high and honorable stations are to secure the respect of the irreligious, who are never afraid to show their own colors. When will the professors of Christianity be as valiant for the truth, as many of the opposite stamp are against it 2 It were possible, no doubt, for good men to err on the other side. They might obtrude their religious scruples and opinions upon courts and senates, without regard to times and cir

cumstances. They might cast down their pearls, with the certainty of seeing them “trampled under foot.” They might use cant phrases, or fall into homilitic exhortations. Thus might the lawyer or the senator expose himself to the profane merriment of vulgar skepticism, and bring dishonor upon religion itself. We plead for no such license. But we must insist, that in legislating for a Christian people, occasions will of. ten arise, when the sanctions of the Bible ought to be brought in, as paramount to all human wisdom and policy; and when no Christian in public life should hesitate to speak, as well as act, in agreement with the principles of the Gospel. That day, so fervently to be prayed for, when all our civil rulers shall be “just men, ruling in the fear of God,” we may not live to behold ; but it will come, and may the Lord hasten it in his time. Here we might close the present article, having accomplished our main design, which was to recommend Mr. Webster's earnest and eloquent plea for Christian education, in God's appointed way, and to lay before our readers the longest extracts that our limits would allow. We can not dismiss the subject, however, without offering some of the reflections which it has suggested to our minds. The building and liberal endowment of a seminary of learning, on a large scale, is a noble act. We hardly know how a man of princely fortune could do better, than by appropriating a portion of it to so meritorious an object. And especially is such a devise as that of Mr. Girard to be commended, when the children of the poor are to receive the benefits of it, provided, always, that it be not hedged about with hurtful or dangerous restrictions. When it is said, that every man has a right to do what he will with his own property, it is not morally, nor even legally true. Were a notorious gambler to build a splendid marble palace, avowedly for gambling purposes, in the city of New York or Philadelphia, and to appropriate half a million of dollars, to initiate young clerks and apprentices into all the diabolical mysteries of the art, it would not be tolerated for an hour. The city authorities would shut it up at once. And were the proprietor to insist, ever so loudly, “I have a right to do what I will with my own,” they would quickly settle the question with this answer: “Your establishment is a public nuisance. It is directly calculated to corrupt the morals of the rising generation, which you have no right to do. The property is yours to sell, or give away, or, if you retain it, to use it for lawful purposes, but for no other.” In like manner, were a rich man in Boston or Cincinnati, to leave a million of dollars to build and endow a college, for teaching poor orphan boys the art of picking locks, or making counterfeit money, would the civil authorities allow such a seminary to go into operation? Most certainly they would not. In these, and a thousand other supposable cases, the law would interfere to prevent any man from doing what he pleased with his own money. On the other hand, no earthly power may thwart or embarrass a man in the disposal of his property, so long as it neither corrupts the morals nor invades the rights of others. If you think he is wickedly or foolishly wasting “his Lord's goods,” you may reason with him, you may advise, you may remonstrate. But when you have exhausted your moral suasion, you have done. You can go no further. If a rich banker, for example, should choose to build a palace for the bats and the spiders to inhabit, or to throw his money into the sea, he could do so. It would be a great waste, to be sure, and it would be recorded against him in the book of God's remembrance. But it would be an offense of which

no human tribunal can take cogniZance. A man of fortune has an undoubted legal right to direct, that after his decease, a part or the whole of his estate shall be appropriated for the erection and endowment of a public seminary, upon the most liberal scale of expenditure. Under this right, Mr. Girard thought proper to set apart two millions of dollars, for the purposes just mentioned; the college to be built in or near the city of Philadelphia. The work was commenced, upon a magnificent plan, soon after his death. Various causes have retarded the enterprise; but we understand the buildings are to be finished and the college is to be organized as soon as the state of the funds will allow. The great question is settled. The Supreme Court has decided that it is a “charity,” within the meaning of the law, and nothing, apparently, can hinder its going into full operation. We can not retard the work a moment, if we would, and we ought not, if we could, provided that it promises to be made a useful institution. But we think, that if it was Mr. Girard's design to benefit the city of Philadelphia to the full value of that part of his vast estate, which he devoted to the purposes of education, he committed a great mistake, in ordering the erection of a college for the exclusive benefit of orphan boys. There are thousands of other poor boys, in every great city, quite as destitute as the orphans. Had he appropriated his two millions of dollars for the support of five or ten free schools, somewhat after the pattern of the free schools of Boston, who can help seeing, that infinitely more good might have been done * His heart, however, was set upon building one great charitable seminary; and he chose to restrict its privileges to one class of poor boys, as he no doubt had a legal right to do. Whether his trustees have been as economical as he intended they should be, in the plan and finish of the buildings, is a question which we have not the means of answering. All we know is, that they have been charged by some with great extravagance. In point of fact, the main edifice, when finished, will be the most costly structure, for educational purposes, in the United States. When, despite our clerical garb, we some time ago crossed its ample threshold, and traversed its magnificent apartments, we could not help asking ourselves, Is this the palace in which orphan boys are to be educated, to prepare them for the hard service and humble stations to which they are destined in future life Is it wise, is it benevolent, to take homeless and parentless children from the lanes and cellars of a populous city, to feed and clothe and educate them under the ablest masters, from eight to twelve years, in the midst of all this costliness and splendor 2 What habits and expectations will they insensibly form here * How will they feel when they come to bid adieu to these lofty colonnades—these shady and graveled walks—these enchanted grounds, and to find their homes under lowly roofs, with hard toil and coarse fare * What sort of apprentices will these boys make, going directly, as it is expected they will, from this marble palace into the humble workshops of the city P Will they be contented Will they submit to all the toil and confinement by which their respective trades are to be acquired 2 Will they make sober, industrious and useful members of society, or will they, in disgust, break away from their masters, and recklessly “seek their fortunes,” in roving idleness and dissipation ? We confess, that the more we reflect upon the subject, the stronger is our conviction that Mr. Girard's College must and will prove a splendid failure. We ask our readers to look for one moment at the condition of his will. He requires, that when the

boys “shall respectively arrive at between fourteen and eighteen years of age, they shall then be bound out by the mayor, aldermen and citizens of Philadelphia, or under their directions, to suitable occupations, as those of agriculture, navigation, arts, mechanical trades and manufactures, according to their capacities and acquirements.” Now we do not believe it possible to carry out such a scheme, permanently and usefully, any where. It will be found, we are confident, that when the poor orphan boys of the Girard College are old enough to leave it and be apprenticed, as he directs, they will, with very few exceptions, feel quite above their condition and prospects in life. Bind them out at eighteen, or fourteen, you may, but you can not keep them. You have brought them up in a palace. Every want has been supplied, without a thought or effort of their own. They are as entirely unaccustomed to labor, as if they were the sons of noblemen, and they will never brook it. Though they will know a great deal more about grammar, and geography, and figures, than other poor boys of their age, they will not succeed half so well in the world. They will never be half so industrious, happy, or respectable. It will take some years for the system to work out its natural results; but they will begin to be developed, as soon as any considerable number of the boys are bound out, and we put it down as a moral certainty, that in less than a quarter of a century, there will be a general and settled conviction on the public mind, that the Girard College can not answer the great end for which it was professedly established. It may be kept up a great while; for what else can the trustees do with the funds—but in our soberest judgment, experience will ultimately convince all candid minds, that it had been better for the poor orphan boys of Philadelphia, if it had never been thought of Strenuous advocates as we are and ever have been for the education of all the children of the poor, as well as of the rich, we should be very sorry to have the wealthy men of other cities follow Mr. Girard’s example, by founding colleges exclusively for the education of poor children, whether orphans, or others. They are not the institutions which the lower class of a city population want. Free schools, open to all and of so high a character as to attract all, are the seminaries which should be cherished by public and private munificence. Nothing could be more anti-republican than a general separation of the rich from the poor, or the poor from the rich, in our schools and colleges. With regard to that remarkable clause in the twenty first section of Mr. Girard's will, which peremptorily “enjoins and requires, that no ecclesiastic, missionary, or minister of any sect whatsoever, shall ever hold or exercise any station or duty whatever, in the said college, nor shall any such person ever be admitted, for any purpose, or as a visitor, within the premises,” we wish to judge as charitably as we can, of his meaning and motives. But it does strike us very much as it did Mr. Webster. It betrays a jealousy of the whole body of Christian ministers, which goes beyond any thing we ever met with. No missionary or minister of any sect, shall ever be admitted for any purpose / Laymen of all religions and of no religion, may be employed as teachers; may hold the office of visitors; may come and go at their pleasure; but no minister of the gospel may ever pass the threshold! Against all such the iron gates are to be closed forever. No minister may ever pray there, or utter a word of consolation, or even enter there, though half the orphans were on their death-beds. Whatever Mr. Girard’s motives might be, it is difficult for us to imagine, how he could more cruelly have aspersed the characters of the

public teachers of Christianity. And we should be glad to know, what confidence his orphans, after they leave the college, and go out to choose a religion for themselves, will be likely to have in the men, who during the whole period of their education, were peremptorily excluded from the premises. And again; we are curious to learm, how Mr. Girard expected to keep out every minister of the gospel, who might chance, like any other stranger, to visit Philadelphia and the public institutions in its immediate vicinity. It always requires means to accomplish ends. Mr. Girard was not the man to amuse himself, by making people stare at startling provisions in his last will and testament, which were never to be enforced. He meant what he said. He meant that no clergyman should ever darken the door of his college. The whole body of ecclesiastics of every name, were to be forever shut out. But how was this to be done 2 Did he expect, that all the ministers of this and every future age, who might wish to visit his college, would first read through the twenty six sections of his will, and having the fear of the twenty first before their eyes, would stay away of their own accord 2 Or is Procul, procul, profani, to be chiselled into the everlasting marble over the vestibule, to warn off every missionary or minister, who might otherwise unwittingly ask for admittance to view the premises 2 If not, then may we be pardoned for asking, in our extreme simplicity, what sort of janitor is to guard the door, and what kind of ordeal, every stranger is to pass through before he can be admitted 2 It is a great deal truer that “a man is known by the company he keeps,” than by the cloth which he wears. If all ministers, therefore, are to be excluded, it must be in one of these two ways. Either a door-keeper must be found, who can distinguish a minister from all other men, as soon as he sees him, or every visitor must undergo a formal examination before he can be allowed to pass. “Sir, are you an ecclesiastic, missionary, or minister of any sect whatsoever?” “No.” “Then you may come in.” In another the same question.—Answer, “Yes, it is my privilege to preach the everlasting gospel.” “It is my duty then to inform you, that you can not be admitted. This college is full of poor orphan boys who have not yet chosen their religious tenets and we are afraid of you.” “But I wish merely to look at the halls and galleries and lecture rooms and library and cabinet and whatever else is most interesting to a passing stranger. The boys I do not know, nor have I the slightest design of obtruding my religious opinions upon them.” “All this may be very true,” replies Mr. Girard's incorruptible janitor, “but my orders are peremptory— you are by your own confession, a minister, of some religious tenets or other, and you can not be admitted.” Do any of our readers smile at the ludicrous absurdity of such an examination, through the wicket gate of Girard College But the prohibition of the founder comes to this, at least, if it means any thing. And this we will venture to say, is the first time since “the worlds were made,” that such a restriction was ever imposed. What! build a great college for the education of the young immortals of a thronged city, and shut all the ministers of religion forever out of it! It is monstrous ! Did Mr. Girard consider what he was doing 2 How could he expect to rest quietly in his grave after leaving such a clause as that which we have quoted from his will P Why was he not afraid, that some of his orphans, in distress for their souls, would one day knock at the door of his sepulcher so loud as to make all his bones quake, and demand of him to take off the restriction 2 The question has forced itself upon us more than ten times since we

began this article—How is Mr. Girard's unconquerable prejudice against the whole Christian ministry to be accounted for 2 And the most charitable explanation we can think of is this. He was, we believe, a native of France and bred a Catholic. He probably formed his judgment of the whole clerical profession, by what he knew of Romish priests and jesuits. Had he taken the trouble to acquaint himself with the character of Protestant ministers in this country, we can not believe that he would have shut them all out of his college. Though they have had free access to every public institution, for the education of youth, from the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers to this day, their bitterest enemies may be challenged to adduce a single case in which ministers of different sects have gone into a seminary and urged their conflicting views upon the students, for the purposes of proselytism. Verily, it would be “a new thing under the sun,” to find first a Presbyterian preacher, and then a Baptist, and then a Methodist going into an orphan asylum or school, to see how many of the boys they could bring over to their distinctive tenets. Nothing is more common than for the ministers of these and other denominations, to preach alternately, in the various public institutions of our large cities; but when and where have they ever set up “altar against altar,” in these pious and benevolent labors P Mr. Girard did not know them. They are not the narrow-minded bigots and fiery zealots, who can not enter an orphan school without infecting its inmates with their own bad spirit, and who must therefore be kept out by high walls, iron gates, and sleepless sentinels. What a strange anomaly, in a Christian country and Christian city, is this Girard College. There it stands, the most attractive object in all the neighborhood. As soon as it is opened it is to be filled with

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