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We have spoken already of the success of the Warren Street Chapel, in this city, in gradually making provision for the entertainment of the young people of whose religious education it has charge. Perhaps no other institution may ever have occasion to do exactly the same things; yet we cannot conceive of a Christian church which ought not to enter, with the same spirit, into the care of the neglected people in its neighborhood. The working force of this Chapel is embodied in the minister and some forty teachers. What they undertake to do is to provide for the religious training of those children in its neighborhood whose parents do not regularly attend religious worship. For these children, in number between five and six hundred, they provide Sunday schools, regular Sunday services, and libraries. Some of the children of the teachers and other officers are included in this congregation, which, in this and other ways, escapes the peculiarities and dangers of a mere charity congregation. Now, as all these children go to public schools on week-days, it would seem, at first sight, as if their teachers would have no other influence over them than the intermittent influence of one day in seven. But they have not been satisfied with this, and 'in various ways have extended it. There is a pretty little green-house connected with the Chapel, and one of the rewards is permission to assist in the care of it. The libraries are open on week-days, and the children come there to exchange their books. The class for singing meets on Saturday afternoons, with a competent teacher. Thus far, we do not pass what is customary in such institutions.
Why should we surprise any one when we add, that the same class meets for dancing on Wednesday afternoons ? The various rooms in the Chapel, where these gatherings take place, and the other schools meet, of older persons, and of children who do not attend the Sunday service, are all prettily ornamented with good prints. These are not colored lithographs of the city of Jerusalem or the topography of Judæa, but such pictures as a connoisseur might be willing to hang in his parlor. “ We will not have a poor picture here," is the rule. Why should we surprise any one, when we add to what we have said, that in these pretty parlors the children and teachers
meet, not only to give and receive books, but for an hour or two's dancing and other recreation ? The intercourse thus simply set on foot is easily expanded into excursions into the country, - the May-day dance in the Music Hall, - the Christmas-trees of every winter, — the Floral Procession on the Fourth of July. And so close is it, and so well do they understand their children, that, as these grow up, there is no difficulty in saying what tastes or faculties of peculiar delicacy there are which can be educated. The consequence is, that no church in Boston has more efficient artists in its choir than those who have been trained in this Chapel; and that, when these young people grow up, they are themselves the persons who come into the ranks of teachers who are to carry such simple machinery along.
This is the whole story of the Sunday school which teaches its children to dance, and invites them to dancingparties. If dancing were itself wrong, it would be wicked in the last degree, of course, to encourage it. If it is only dangerous in its accessories, however, and you are willing to watch your pupil till manhood or womanhood comes, to see that he is not led into temptation by the accomplishment you have taught him, we are sure that you seize a very fine method of influence by associating this culture with his religious teachers and his religious associations. If at the same time you can cultivate his love of flowers, of music, and of other fine arts, you are doing for the pupil you take to your Sunday school precisely what every careful parent does for his own child.
With this simple illustration of a simple practical success, we leave this subject for the present. This Warren Street Chapel has finished twenty years of its ministry among exposed children, who have furnished of late years an average of some five hundred to its regular discipline. Of the thousands — nearly ten thousand — for whom it is thus responsible, it is said that not one of those really connected with it has fairly fallen under the great temptations which surround the young and the poor in the crowded walks of a great city. This is a great thing to say. As from the beginning its discipline has been joyous and cheerful, it certainly gives an instance worth study to those who would make the religious training of the world joyous rather than severe.
We believe that it is not in such detached instances only that that lesson is to be learned. And we do not learn it only in the single texts which bid us rejoice evermore, or show us that Jesus extended his sympathy to the wedding festivities, or to playful children. We believe that the whole spirit of his religion, and of all true life, demands that we regard life as consecrated by the presence of a Father who is not willing that any should suffer without cause, and expects us to order life so that young and old may join in the exuberant rejoicing of all nature in his praise.
ART. V. - THE DECISION OF THE SUPREME COURT IN TIIE
DRED SCOTT CASE.
A Report of the Decision of the Supreme Court of the United States,
and the Opinions of the Judges thereof, in the Case of DRED SCOTT versus JOHN F. A. SANDFORD, December Term, 1856. By BENJAMIN C. HOWARD, Counsellor at Law and Reporter of the Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1857.
This is a pamphlet of nearly two hundred and fifty pages. It would be a book, except that it begins in the middle, and does not end; its first page being that which will eventually be page 393 of the seventeenth volume of Howard's Reports, and its last page not concluding that volume. It begins in the middle and does not end, also, in a much more serious
It is the authoritative explanation of the “decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, and the opinions of the judges thereof," upon a case -- in itself as unimportant as any case of individual freedom can ever be - about which these grouped “ opinions of the judges” are marshalled forth, to take their places in a great and absorbing national and social conflict, heretofore confined, at least nominally, to political arenas.
The subject-matter in dispute has been long discussed by more popular voices, and perhaps by abler heads and pens; but it is now the Supreme Court of the United States that speaks, not, indeed, in clear and distinct utterance, but by the authority and dignity of its vast office, to astonish and overwhelm even by muttered thunder. This is the authentic record of the manner in which the suit of a man held as a slave, but claiming his freedom, has been treated by the highest tribunal of our land, with the opinion of each member of that tribunal upon that suit and that treatment. It is a very important record, but it begins with the middle of a momentous difference of opinion, and leads us but a few steps toward the end.
This, then, is a volume which comes properly under the critical purview of every “Christian Examiner”; although, in ordinary cases, and for ordinary purposes, it may seem useless for anybody to discuss the actual decisions of the highest tribunal of his country. We may contemplate them with grief, or exult over them in triumph, as they mould our private interests, or tend to establish or dash down our theories of the public good. But, praised or opposed, they'“ remain decided,” and, except as lights and buoys which have taken the place of rocks and shoals, we have no more to do with them. There is, however, now and then, a case when the most listless of law-makers — and we, the people, are the law-makers — are compelled to arouse ourselves and
6 If this is the law, it is time for us to see what is to be done about it"; and upon the report of the decision of such a case, even when it is not quite
one of those elementary occasions of the world's affairs when the people rise and act for themselves,” it behooves every thinking man to discover for himself the purport of that decision, and the results to which it leads, - to look the evil in the face, if those results are evil, and seek the remedy for that evil, if emedy there is, and the consolation for it if there is no remedy. That this is one of those cases is shown, in part, by the somewhat exceptional character of the volume. before us. Each of the judges of the Supreme Court has given a written opinion all but two of them, a very extended one a case which was, nominally, only a private action of trespass; and the interest of the country in the matter is such,
that the official report is given to the public long before the time in which, by custom, it would have reached the profession. The form, therefore, in which it comes to us, shows that this document is of such a legal, historical, and political character, that it demands some examination at our hands.
We may enter upon this examination without any attempt to sustain or to controvert, by a separate theory or argument of our own, either the judgment of the court or that of the dissenting judges. It will be, we believe, a serviceable task, if we can to some extent divest the decision itself from the fog that lies about it, and disentangle from among the different opinions such threads of argument, fact, and position as are requisite to lead us to the knowledge where the law stands, where the judges stand, and where we stand. Important as this case is, and deep as is the public interest in it, the report has probably met with a thorough perusal from even but a small portion of those among whom it will at some time be a professional study. The public takes such things very much in the general, and with a vague appreciation of details. The all-absorbing “ telegraphic despatch ” — truly “ despatching" a revolution in a mouthful, and disposing, with an equal beat of its foot, of the hovels of the poor and the palaces of kings spoils men's taste for examining the incidents of a story of which they already know the dénouement. You will probably obtain from any neighbor in the cars or in an omnibus, with regard to this very case, an assent to one, or perhaps both, of these very different propositions : “ Very little decided”; “ Very important decision." We think this habit to be a negligent and dangerous one; and, having attempted to avoid it ourselves in this instance, we propose to try to show, so far as brief space may admit, what was decided, why it was decided, and what we ought to think and do about it, although we cannot undertake to divide our elucidation under these specific heads.
The controversy in the middle of which, as we have said, this book of opinions begins, is based upon a great and general difference of statement of fact about negroes, which may be said, at last, to almost entirely divide and separate the judgments, opinions, modes of thought, and even sentiments,