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The Old Types

The Old Types image
Parent Issue
Day
31
Month
October
Year
1873
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

The country -brsd men and (Tomen who have reached the age offifty yoars are all able to reeall a picture - lying now'fiir back iu the nwllow atuiosphere of tho past - of a band of ohildren, standing band-in-hand by tho sido of the dusty highway, and greoting vvith smile and bow and "curtsy" every.adult passenger whom they uiet on thnir way to andfroni school. They woru iustructed iu thispolite oboisanoe by thoir teachers. It was a part of the oíd New England drill, which, so far as we know, has been entirely discontinued. We do not renieinber to have seen such a sight as thistortwenty-ñve years. It would be such an oldfashioned affair to witness now, that multitudes would only rewaid it with a siuile of amusement ; vet with all our boasted progresa can we show anything that is better or more suggestive of downright healthy good breeding? Are the typical boy and girl of the period better mannered, more roverent, moro respeotful toward mitnhood and womanliood, more duf eren - tial to age ? Do they grow up with moro regard tor morulity, religión, law, than they did thouv Alas ! with all our books, and our now processes of education, and tho universal sharpuess of the juvouile intellect of tho diiy, we mios something that was very preoious among the chiklren of the old time - rcverence for uien and womeu, systeniatie ojurtesy in simple forms, and respect for the wisdom of the pulpit, the school-rooui nd the flreside. If we were called upou to describe the model boy or girl, we should be obliged to cali up the old type - the rude, hoalthy lad and lasses who suow-balied each other, battled with each other in spelling-bouts, and imbibed the spirit of reverence for their elders with every inrluence of church and school and home. We havo inado progiess in soiue directions, but in somo we have sadly retrogaded. Our boys are all young men, and our girlsare fearfully old. Our typical child has no longer the spirit of a child. Occasionally, we meet what are popularlv deuominated " gentlemen of tho old "school." We have only enough of thein among us to wish that we had many more, - men of courtly dignity, of unobti usivo dress, of manners that seem a little formal but which are, nevertheless, the manners of gentlemen. They remind us of the worthies of the old colonial time and of the later time of the Revolution - of Washington and Madison and Pranklin - of men whom all revered, and to whom all gave obeisance. into what has this style of men grown, or into what have they been degradedi Looking where they would be pretty certain to congrégate if they were in existence, wo see theru not. Has any one seen them at Newport during the past season ':' Have they abouuded at Saratoga 'i Have they been found in dignified and graceful associatiou with the President of the United States at Long Branch? Are they presiding over municipal affairs in our great cities '{ Do they enter largely into the composition of Congress, oven after we havo subtracted the gamblers and carpet-baggers 't If we have them in considerable nutnbera where are they 'i Certainlv they have either ceased to be reproduced m our generation, or they aro so inuch disgustad with the type of men mot in public lifo and fashionable society that they studiously hide themselve trom sight. There is little comfort in either alternative, but we must accept one or tho other. Progress has dnubtless been made in many things. We are richor, botter clothed, botter housed, better fed and eduoated than we used to be. Our railroads run everywhero ; our well-nigh exhaustless resources have been broached in a thouaand directions ; we count the increase of our population by miüions ; tho emigrations of the world all iiiovu toward iis ; colleges, churches and school-houses have gone up with the building of tho States, aud the States themselves havo multiplied so rapidly that not one Amerioan iu ten knows exactly huw many are in the Union. All this ia truo ; but during tho past twenty-five years we judge that we have made no improvemeut in the typical American gentleman. If the old men with their breeches and kneebuckles and cocked hats could havo looked in upon tho President aud his chosen friends at Long Branch lt.st summer, we ire inclined to think the latter would ïave been a good deal einbarrassed with ;be situatiou, If they could havo walked through the piasszas of the Grand Union at Saratoga, liow many equals would they lavo met '( - how many men who in manners, dignity, culture and spirit would lave tolt ai homo with thetu 't ïhe old :ype of merchants - the old type of statesman - the old type of gentlemen - surely we have not improved upon these. Tho restless, greedy, grasping, time-serving spirit of our generatiou has vitiated and degraded ihis type, and in our efiorts at improvonient we may well go back to tbo past for our uiodels. What shall we say about the old typo of wonieu as compared with the present represontatives of the best of the sexr1 The saintly, heroic, frugal, industrious wives and mothers of the earlier days of the Republic - have wo improved upon them 'f Have the latter-day doctrinos of woman's rights made them more modest, more self-denying, more virtuous, better wivos and mothers, purer and more active Christiaus, better heads of the institution of homo, more lovely companiona for man? We are aware that the answor to thoso questious involves the approval or the condomnation of tho doctrines themselves, and it is well that the men and women of America be called upon to seo and decido upon those doctrines from this point of view. Is the type of the American woman improved Has it been improved in the last twenty years, especially inside the circles that have taken the ment of the position of woman upou their hands K America is lull of good woinen. As a rule they are undoubtedly better than the men, but certainly the men whose instincts are true are attracted most to those women who approach nearest to the ancient type. The final result of ourcivilization is to be reckuned in character. If this is not satisfaotoiy, nothiug is satisfactory. If we are not rearing better children and ripening better uien and women than we were a century ago, then something is radically wrong, and the quicker we retrace our steps to see where we have diverged froin the right track, the better. The typical American- man, wouian and child - is the representativo product of all the institutions and influenceg of our civilization. As the type iniproves or degenerates, do these institutions and influences stand approved or condetnned before the world. Progress cauuot be reckoned in railroads and steainboats, or couuted in inoney, or decided in any way i by the oenaus tables. Are w producing bettf r chüdren and btter men and vomen r That is the questicm wliich de cides everytbius ; aIl(i we 1"1V'-' '-.■illed attention tothe old typps in order that we müv arrive at auiíltulligont. conclusión.-

Article

Subjects
Old News
Michigan Argus