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Full text of "Horace Mann and M. Hale Smith"

M3IS6 








Horace Mann- and 
M. Hale Smith 








THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 







lex 



' 



HORACE MANN AND I. HALE SMITH. 



At the close of a pamphlet of fifty-six pages, enti- 
tled " Sequel," &c., Mr. Mann, with great official 
importance, took leave of the undersigned. He had 
learned so much of my character and standing, as to 
render it useless to notice me farther. The friends 
of the Secretary shouted that " Mr. Smith was used 
up." "Great is the Secretary of the Board of Edu- 
cation ! " went up from all the craft. From Mr. 
Smith's fate, let all take warning how they touch the 
" indefatigable," " the resistless Secretary." 

But not having done quite so much as was antici- 
pated, Mr. Mann has made another addition to the 
" yellow-covered " literature of the day, in a letter of 
twenty-two pages, to " Rev. Matthew Hale Smith." 

The pamphlet is a curiosity, in its way. The 
author wishes to show that he is a very good man, 
by attempting to prove that I am a very bad man. 
By the attempt to lower my character, he hopes to 
raise his own. He proves that he is a believer in the 
canonical Scriptures, in the discipline of the Bible, in 
something more and better than Deism, by proving, 
conclusively, that I once professed to believe in ultra- 
Universalism, but am now a Calvinist. It is amusing 
to hear the friends of the Secretary talk of him as a 
" tremendous writer." So is a Billingsgate woman, 
with a basket of fish upon her head, a " tremendous 
talker." The elements of power are the same in 
each. A collision is to be dreaded in either case, for 



similar reasons. If any one is in doubt, let him read 
this letter of Mr. Mann. 

I shall notice but two things in the pamphlet. 
The one personal to myself the other relating to 
the Normal School at West Newton. 



PERSONAL TO MYSELF. 

On page 12, I find the following : 

MR. SMITH'S " BOWLING " : First preached 
against ; then committed ; then confessed to his 
Church ; then denied to the world. 

That I preached against bowling, and then prac- 
ticed it, is a falsehood. That I ever confessed to 
my Church what I denied to the world, is another 
falsehood. In his Sequel, Mr. Mann insinuated that 
I was in the habit of " bowling Sunday mornings and 
evenings." He intended to make such an impres- 
sion ; he did make it. Now, he pretends to have 
had no such intentions. He presents two other 
falsehoods, more infamous than the first. 

In the early part of August, 1843, I was at the 
famous watering-place at Hampton Beach. At the 
invitation of some townsmen, I went out and rolled 
at ten-pins, for exercise, a short time. At that time, 
I had not given the question a consideration, whether 
such an exercise, under such circumstances, purely 
for purposes of health, was, or was not, proper. I 
knew it was no unusual thing for gentlemen of my 
profession to take such exercise. In the Winter fol- 
lowing, I found it necessary to rebuke certain pro- 
fessors of religion, who were " lovers of pleasure, 
more than of God." On the 23d day of December, 
almost jive months after my visit to Hampton, \ 



preached from 2 Cor. vi : 17, 18. Lest the force 
of my appeal should be lost, I resolved to reprove 
myself for having once been caught in the devil's 
society, since I " put off the old man and his deeds." 
And this I did by saying, " A ball-room is no place 
for a Christian ; a bowling-saloon is no place for a 
minister of the gospel." Such is the simple story, 
and all the story. The Secretary has given to the 
; public two different versions of this matter. Let 
him try again. 

" I have been told " that Mr. Mann was bred to 

S 

the law, though by it he was scarcely able to get his 
own bread. In the few cases committed to his care, 
he learned to estimate the advantage of diverting at- 
tention from the real issue. Suppose all he had as- 
serted were true, would it vindicate him ? Would it 
prove that he is not a dangerous, designing man ? 
Whether this allusion to myself will pay the Secre- 
tary for the expense and trouble of sending to 
Nashua to get the information he has published, he 
must decide. 

THE NORMAL SCHOOL. 

In allusion to my visit to the State School at West 
Newton, I said, in page 6 of my " Reply " : 

"But 'to spy out the lapd ' I went, if Mr. Mann 
is to be believed. Then I was singularly unfortunate 
in the time I selected. 1 should have gone ' incog.,' 
to a recent exhibition of that pattern State school 
I should have looked upon some of those ladies, can- 
didates for emolument and fame, as pupils of the 
Normal School, taking lessons in propriety and deli- 
cacy, by wearing the garb of young men ; I should 
have beheld the lady assistant of that school, deepen- 



ing those impressions of delicacy, by appearing before 
the school with arms, feet, &c., apparently bare, 
though daubed with paint. I say apparently, for the 
covering worn, if any, looked so like the skin, that 
the deception was perfect to the eye. I should then, 
as did the men of old, have spied out the ' nakedness 

of the land.' " 



In the Boston Courier, of March 25, Mr. Cyrus 
Pierce, the Principal, charges me with " hyperbole 
and gross misrepresentation." Under the wing of 
the Secretary, in this letter, Mr. Pierce waxes 
warmer and warmer. He pronounces the above the 
" blackest of his [my] calumnies the most devilish 
of them a//." (The Principal of the pattern school 
should not swear!) If 1 have misrepresented, why 
does not Mr. Pierce give me the true version ? For 
the simple reason that he dare not do so ; for in so 
doing, he would falsify his own correction. If I have 
misrepresented, then let unmeasured censure fall upon 
my head. " Mark now,-" Mr. Pierce, " how a plain 
tale shall put you down." 

At the close of the Fall Term of the Normal 
School, at West Newton, a Tableau was got up 
among some of the scholars, and Miss Lincoln and 
Mrs. Pierce. The exhibition was held in the Normal 
school-house ; all the school attended, except a few 
persons. Nine gentlemen were present ; among 
whom the bar-keeper of the tavern and the Princi- 
pal of the school were conspicuous. Five scenes 
were enacted. No. 1 "BEFORE MARRIAGE." A 
young lady of the senior class, dressed in a complete 
suit of gentleman's apparel, represented the lover. 
No. 2 " MARRIAGE." The depot-master, in gown 
and bands, represented the priest ; a young lady, in 
full costume of a man, represented the bridegroom. 



No. 3 "AFTER MARRIAGE." The female gentle- 
man at home, with his " heels as high as the chair, 
or higher." No. 4 - LITTLE PIECE OF POPERY; 
nuns taking the veil. No. 5 POCAHONTAS. A 
young lady, dressed as a man, in a reclining position, 
represented Captain Smith ; the lady Principal, with 
shoulders bare, naked arms and neck, but painted, 
with clothes reaching just below the knees, stockings 
of Indian-skin color, with a position more disgusting 
than the dress itself, represented Powhatan. The 
whole ended with a dance, in which the young keep- 
er of the bar-room and the young lady who teaches 
the model-school waltzed, to the mutual satisfaction 
of each other and of the Principal ; for at the close, 
Mr. Pierce praised the young ladies for acting their 
parts so Well ! These facts are known to some of 
the members of the Board of Education. I have 
documentary evidence before me, while I write. 
Even Miss Lincoln has admitted the general truth of 
my original statement. Soon after I published it, 
she read her journal to the school, and in self-defence 
said, " She should not hesitate to do the same thing 
again, under similar circumstances." 

There are one or two things in regard to the Nor- 
mal school at West Newton which ought to be 
known. Mr. Mann has once or twice referred to the 
fact, as he calls it, that three-fourths of the present 
common school teachers in the State are orthodox. 
His statistics show that he has closely looked at this 
matter. A remedy for so great an evil is to be found 
in Normal schools. The pupils for the last season, at 
West Newton, have ranged from forty to eighty, 
making an average of sixty. Of this number but 
two are known to be orthodox communicants, and 
only six to be favorable to evangelical sentiments. 
The originator of this schoor, contends that nothing 



6 

above the lowest form of Deism can be taught in any 
common school in the State, as the principles of pie- 
ty. The head of that school, if common fame does not 
misrepresent him, in theology is a Parkerite. His 
theory of discipline would cause him to turn a boy 
out of school rather than use the rod. The loose- 
ness of moral principle, attendant upon such senti- 
ments, have been developed at West Newton. At 
the beginning of last season, the mass of the school 
did not go to church or keep the Sabbath some on 
that sacred season made it a sort of gala day some 
washed, and others ironed. At one time it seemed as 
if the opening of that school in West Newton was 
the opening of Pandora's box. The condition of 
things called up certain members of the Board of 
Education. They gave laws on the subject of keep- 
ing the Sabbath. The school debated the matter, 
and resolved that they would do as they pleased. A 
compromise was made, and the circular of Mr. Pierce 
went out, making it obligatory upon the scholars to go 
to church one half the day, on the Sabbath, and the 
rest of the day do as they pleased. And this is the 
model State school supported by funds paid out of 
the treasury of the Commonwealth. Five hundred 
Normalites are already abroad. Sixty more are 
nearly ready. These must have the pre-eminence 
over others. They will go out under the influence of 
the Secretary. In five years what will be the condi- 
tion of the common schools in this ancient Common- 
wealth ? 

In an appendix to his letter, which was added to 
some of the copies, and carefully kept out of others, 
Mr. Mann boasts, that the vote recently passed by 
the Legislature, making an appropriation to the Nor- 
mal school, is a triumph over " Mr. Smith and his 
friends.' 5 " Mr. Smith and his friends " say this, 
that if the people of the State are content to vote 



away their money, to sustain dancing in school- 
houses exhibitions in which women are stripped to 
their skin, and the other influences that go out from 
that school, then let the fact be known. I am 
obliged to Mr. Mann for the issue he makes before 
the people. We will meet him on that issue. 

In my correspondence, I feel that 1 have done the 
State some service. Not so much by what I have 
written, as what Mr. Mann has been compelled to 
write. He is much better known to the people of 
Massachusetts than he was when he asked, " Who is 
Matthew Hale Smith ? " I excuse all the abusive 
language he has employed in respect to myself, for 
the benefit the State will derive from knowing Mr. 
Mann so well. Satan is most to be feared when he 
puts on the garb of an angel of light, and takes on 
himself the appearance of a minister of righteous- 
ness. A distinguished citizen of Boston, soon after 
the " Sequel " was published, said to me, " I hope 
you will keep Mr. Mann writing pamphlets ; a few 
more such as this from his pen will save the State 
from his pernicious influence." 

Mr. Mann has once or twice alluded to the distin- 
guished men with whom he has been officially asso- 
ciated. It is evident that such associates have not 
improved his manners. It remains to be seen wheth- 
er he will corrupt theirs. Driven to the wall, the 
Secretary has sought new allies. He has opened a 
communication between himself and the Trumpet 
office. He needs weapons ; they want a medium of 
utterance. The Trumpet office is to furnish matter, 
and Mr. Mann is to give it to the world. When I 
left the ranks of the Universalists, in 1840, and gave 
my reasons for so doing, the sect Commenced an as- 
sault upon me. They have kept it up till now. But 
a new page was opened to them in the correspond- 



8 

ence of Mr. Mann. The stale stories, the vile in- 
sinuations, in the Secretary's letter, bespeak their 
origin. He can find any quantity of such matter in 
the files of the Trumpet ; and in becoming a retailer 
of second-hand scandals, which have originated in 
the Trumpet office, he will find an employment bet- 
ter suited to his cast of mind, better suited to his 
" accomplished " mode of doing business, than in at- 
tempting to decide what the constitution means by 
" principles of piety." I leave him in the fraternal 
embrace of his new allies, giving him full permission 
to print any thing relating to me personally that he 
pleases, on the condition that he will put his name to 
what he writes, that the bane and the antidote may 
then go together. 

I am not so rnuch a stranger to Boston as Mr. 
Mann would represent. My childhood was passed in 
the town of Boston. I was educated in the common 
schools of the town and city. The greater part of 
my life has been passed in Boston or immediate vi- 
cinity. I consider Mr. Mann officially a bad man 
bad in his theory and unscrupulous in the modes by 
which it is extended. If he is not checked, and that 
right early, a lasting blight will settle down upon the 
fair heritage of New England. There is hope yet. 
Mr. Mann and his theories and their influence are 
becoming well known. I leave both to the verdict of 
a moral and religious people. To them I propose 
this sentiment " Horace Mann, *as Secretary of the 
Board of Education Psalm 109 : 8th verse." 

MATTHEW HALE SMITH. 

Boston, April 30th, 1847. 



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