You say you have a fortune to leave them. O man and woman! have you not learned that, like vultures, like hawks, like eagles, riches have wings and fly away? Though you should be successful in leaving a competency behind you, the trickery of executors may swamp it in a night; or some elders or deacons of our churches may get up an oil company, or some sort of religious enterprise sanctioned by the church, and induce your orphans to put their money into a hole in Venango County; and if, by the most skilful derricks, the sunken money cannot be pumped up again, prove to them that it was eternally decreed that that was the way they were to lose it, and that it went in the most orthodox and heavenly style.
O the damnable schemes that professed Christians will engage in—until God puts his fingers into the collar of the hypocrite’s robe and rips it clear down to the bottom!
You have no right, because you are well off, to conclude that your children are going to be as well off. A man died, leaving a large fortune. His son, a few months ago, fell dead in a Philadelphia grog-shop. His old comrades came in and said, as they bent over his corpse: “What is the matter with you, Boggsey?” The surgeon standing over him said: “Hush up! he is dead!”—“Ah, he is dead!” they said. “Come, boys, let us go and take a drink in memory of poor Boggsey!”
Have you nothing better than money to leave your children? If you have not, but send your daughters into the world with empty brain and unskilled hand, you are guilty of assassination, homicide, regicide, infanticide—compared with which that of poor Hester Vaughan was innocence. There are women toiling in our cities for three and four dollars per week, who were the daughters of merchant princes. These suffering ones now would be glad to have the crumbs that once fell from their father’s table. That worn-out, broken shoe that she wears is the lineal descendant of the twelve-dollar gaiters in which her mother walked; and that torn and faded calico had ancestry of magnificent brocade, that swept Broadway clean without any expense to the street commissioners. Though you live in an elegant residence, and fare sumptuously every day, let your daughters feel it is a disgrace to them not to know how to work. I denounce the idea, prevalent in society, that though our young women may embroider slippers, and crochet, and make mats for lamps to stand on, without disgrace, the idea of doing anything for a livelihood is dishonorable. It is a shame for a young woman, belonging to a large family, to be inefficient when the father toils his life away for her support. It is a shame for a daughter to be idle while her mother toils at the wash-tub. It is as honorable to sweep house, make beds, or trim hats, as it is to twist a watch-chain.