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answer was a bitter sarcasm to the unfruitful querist ; but it was, also, if not an insulting libel, a sad confession for “La Belle" France.
American women may have had prototypes, but they were individual or in isolate groups, and not the sex of whole nations or races. Woman has never failed, since the world began, to illustrate, in instances, the glory of her nature, -never ceased to manifest the divine in the human. With the regal Esther, yearning to bless her enslaved kindred, and the filial-love inspired daughter, who suckled her greyhaired father through a prison's bars, there have not been parallels wanting, in all ages, to prove that the angels of God still wandered on earth, to remind man of Eden, and give him a foretaste of heaven.
It was not Semiramis and Zenobia, writing their names in blood ; not Aspasia, corrupting Athens and making Greece drunk with the wine of her sensuous charms ; not Cleopatra, Egypt's beautiful and the world's most shameless courtesannay ! none of these, famous through their unwomanliness and infamy, were illustrators of the glory of their sex-none of these typed American women. Their type was, rather, Penelope, weaving amid her maidens through weary years the web that shielded her virtue, until her royal husband returned from his wanderings and wars to gladden her heart; or, courteous Rebecca, at the well ; or, timid Ruth, gleaning in the field ; or, nobler still, the Roman Cornelia, who, taunted in Rome's decaying age by rivals with her poverty, held up her virtuous children, exclaiming—“These are my jewels !”
Fit woman to have been the “mother of the Gracchi,” and
If the mothers are intelligent and virtuous; if they teach nobly—the daughters modesty, industry, simplicity, and truth, and the sons, justice, honor, and patriotism-poverty, bondage, and shame, can never come upon the land of which the children of such mothers are the most enduring basis and bulwark.
Thank God, the generation that planted the wilderness of the New World with the seeds of surpassing empire-an empire now radiant with light and liberty—had such mothers. Their sons and daughters were the precious freight of the “Speedwell” and the “Mayflower," and from the landing at Plymouth, through the centuries of peril and sacrifice, by which our fathers conquered the wilderness, the savage, and the bitter father-land oppressor—giving us wealth and fame when they had only poverty and obscurity—the race of noble American mothers has been preserved. Mothers, and sisters, and wives, and daughters, unsurpassed ! Mothers who taught their sons to worship God, to love their country, and to honor manhood ; who led them to the altars of religion, and cheered them with brave hearts to the battle-field, buckling the shield to each young hero's arm, bidding him return victoriously with, or honorably dead upon it.
Are we grateful enough, and proud enough of the memory of such mothers? Do we realize how much we owe of our
national greatness and glory to them ? Do we ask ourselves if their virtues are emulated and perpetuated in all the land ? It were well if we did ; for if it be not so, the sap begins to dry at the nation's root, and the most vital element of our endurance and strength will gradually pass away, leaving the tree of Freedom, under which the world has promise of shelter, rotten in the trunk and withered in all its branches.
God forbid that American women should degenerate from what their noble mothers were, in the young days of the New World and of the Republic. Better there never were a luxury or refinement—save the luxury of virtuous intelligence, and honest, independent industry, and the refinement that scorns every corrupting guilt-never a "princely” equipage, drawing-room, or boudoir, than that the land should cease to boast a race of women, who could dare the severest trials and sacrifices, were the nation's liberty imperilled, or furnish matrons and maidens, ready to turn their petticoats into cartridges, or, like “Moll Pitcher," at Trenton, "stand to the gun," when husband, brother, son, or lover had fallen, leaving no comrades to fill their places.
A noble race are American women—God forbid that they should cease to be such. Nor will they, so long as they are taught that the truest beauty, grace, and glory of woman, lie in her intelligence, simplicity, and virtue. Teach her to love home and country, to honor parents and old age, to practise industry, and to respect sacred things ; in short, educate her as a daughter fitly to become the wife of a freeman and the