A VOICE FROM
our satisfaction in American institutions rests
not on the fruition we now enjoy, but springs
rather from the possibilities and promise that
are inherent in the system, though as yet,
perhaps, far in the future.
" Happiness," says Madame de Stael, "con¬
sists not in perfections attained, but in a sense
of progress, the result of our own endeavor
under conspiring circumstances toward a goal
which continually advances and broadens and
deepens till it is swallowed up in the Infinite."
Such conditions in embryo are all that we
claim for the land of the West. We have not
yet reached our ideal in American civilization.
The pessimists even declare that we are not
marching in that direction. But there can be
no doubt that here in America is the arena in
which the next triumph of civilization is to be
won ; and here too we find promise abundant
and possibilities infinite.
Now let us see on what basis this hope for
our country primarily and fundamentally
rests. Can any one doubt that it is chiefly on
the homelife and on the influence of good
women in those homes? Says Macaulay:
"You may judge a nation's rank in the scale
of civilization from the way they treat their
women." And Emerson, "I have thought