Menticulture - Two Splendid Examples
( Originally Published 1901 )
HON. WILLIAM J. VAN PATTEN,
One of the most valued endorsements of the theory advocated in the foregoing pages came from the Hon. W. J. Van Patte; of Burlington, Vermont, who purchased two thousand copies of the book for distribution in his city, one copy to each household, and with the object expressed in a personal note that was printed and inserted as an inset page in the special Burlington edition. The note reads as follows:
Some time in the early part of the year 1896 a friend sent me a copy of "Menticulture." I read it with interest, and became convinced that I could apply its truths to my own life with profit. Experience confirmed my faith in the power of its principles to overcome many of the most annoying and damaging ills that are common to humanity.
I procured a number of copies from time to time, and gave to friends who I felt would appreciate it.
The universal testimony to the good which the little book did, and the new strength of purpose and will it gave to some who were sore beset with the cares and worries of life increased my interest and my confidence in the truths set forth.
I formed the idea of making an experiment by giving the book a general distribution in our city, to see if it would not promote the general good and happiness of people.
I wrote to the author, Mr. Fletcher, and he entered into the plan very cordially, and had this special edition prepared for me. The object which we hope to gain is to turn the thoughts and purposes of those whom we reach to the old truths taught by Christ, and a determination to live above those evils which do so much to make our lives unhappy for ourselves and annoying to those about us.
I would ask, therefore, that you would kindly give the book careful and thoughtful reading, and when you have opportunity recommend it to your friends.
W. J. VAN PATTEN.
Mr. Van Patten is a prominent manufacturer of Vermont, with manufacturing interests that extend far into the Great West, and was recently Mayor of Burlington for two years. He is also prominent in the Christian Endeavorer movement, having been the first president of the United Society, and being at present one of the trustees. He is also 'the president of the Congregational Club of Western Vermont.
Mr. Van Patten's altruism takes the form that is most useful to society, by directing its efforts to the Now-Field and to the Here-Field. In a conversation with the author, which can be quoted as a specimen good example without any serious breach of confidence, he expressed the wish that he, in conjunction with other citizens who were equally anxious to serve the interests of their city, might be instrumental in making Burlington the model city of America, and the effect of this loyalty on their home surroundings is evident to even a casual observer, so that "Beautiful Burlington" is an appellation that has already been given the city by visitors. Once, when I rode through a neat and tidy cottage neighborhood in the outskirts of the town, I asked: " Where are your slums situated? " and was answered: "This is as near an approach to what you mean by the word 'slum,' as we have to show you." This neighborhood overlooks a part of Lake Champlain that is studded by numerous wooded islands, beyond which rise the terraced peaks of the beautiful Adirondacks, a view unequaled except by that of the famous Inland Sea of Japan, while at the back the horizon is serrated by the rocky summits of the Green Mountains.
This mention of "Beautiful Burlington" is germane to the subject of Menticulture, because the efforts that have made the city a part of the harmonious beauty of the surroundings, and not a reproach by comparison, as frequently happens, have been made effective by the germ-eradication of the elements of squalor, which process is but a sequence of, and stimulant to, harmonious habit-of-thought in the individuals who make up the community.
Menticulture is a kindergarten presentation of the subject of menticulture, and, as such, gives object lessons of practical usefulness.