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the system partial and unbenevolent. Why these immense inequalities ? Will there be engendered no envy nor distrust ?
Are they not a down - trodden race ?
And yet we believe, - apart from local and subordinate oppressions — not denying that without disturbance it might produce far more,—the whole is for the advantage of the poor. In its wreck would be their destruction. But to work out this conclusion, and make it bright and clear, much remains to be disabused. Still it may be shown that hereditary monarchy is a most wholesome measure, while our own civil wars may be adduced to the proof. It may be shown that a necessary aristocracy of cumulative wealth is checked and softened by one of title and descent. It may be shown that primogeniture is necessary to sustain the elevation of rank, and to secure honour from inefficiency. If these appendages and decorations of society be not so understood as to be appreciated, they need not hope for any perpetuity. Before infuriated ignorance they must perish. Like the rocks hurled forth in the rage of the volcano, the turbulent masses of which destroy the architecture at its skirt and the vineyard of its side, prejudice and despair will scatter around them wild dismay, leave nothing fair and lovely behind them, and overwhelm the once happy scene in a common desolation.
The quaint, but just, apothegm, Knowledge is power, - does not give all the truth. It is not true
that there is none other power. Ignorance is power. It is a ready, congenial, and earnest, capacity for ill. It selects not its instruments, it defines not its ends, but it turns every thing into weapons, and suspects all as foes. Its stay is on brute strength. Its courage is fury. It knows no directing sway. It is unreasoning, monstrous, untameable. It is not devoid of cunning and perseverance. It can band its numbers, deal its sophisms, and aim its blows. And is this the power, which all confess to be so formidable, that we take to our embrace, in fear of the dangers of popular education ? You may blind this giant-force, and hope then to make sport of its uncouthness : but it will be “avenged for its eyes” in a more indiscriminate and phrenzied ruin, careless that itself should fall, if the framework of society may but perish with it.
Shortsighted is the policy that meets only present difficulties. Administration is commonly a compromise, a shift, a party juggle : government is properly a profound science, a generous guardianship, anticipating danger, grappling evil, guiding opinion, exploring futurity. Society is far more than an accommodation for daily wants. This is but a small power in its balance, and only an accessory element in its life. It can never be preserved for honour, nor even for perpetuity, but by the influence of high moral principles. Rulers and people will be alike and simultaneously pure or corrupt. It is scarcely possible to think
of them as different in their general ideas. Tyranny reflects but the abjectness of those on whom it treads. When a community has grown sensual and slavish, bartering the noble in enjoyment for the mean, and the durable in advantage for the momentary, it must soon dissolve. Monarchy and Republic, by such degeneracy, have fallen into the same fate. It
for every form of corrupt and profligate society. Knowledge and virtue, those twin-stars of heaven, can only guide and bless the nations, and save them from the overthrow which the abandonment of great leading determinations and aims most assuredly provoke.
National character is dear to the patriot. If he be enlightened, free, and religious, he will not blindly exaggerate its worth. That character must not be sought in the patrician, in the philosopher, in the rich. It must be the reflection of the popular spirit. This must be its index and scale. It lies deep down in the public heart. And can we, with full measure of justice and integrity, place forth our national character and boast its untarnished shield ? Would we not see it more inspired with the love of liberty, more erect in unpurchaseable independence, more gentle in domestic love? Would we not see it stronger, firmer, nobler, more philanthropic with all its civism, more unselfish with all its freedom ? Some of these greater elements of character are already struggling into light. But we desire that such a character should attach to our whole people : that the world should rise up, and,
for our defence of right and our largess of benevolence, should call us blessed. Then should we inherit glory. That glory would be pure and refulgent. A religious education must be the precursor of such renown. Intelligence and moral principle can alone sustain it. The most distant and most hostile empires will do it justice. “This is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations which shall hear all these statutes, and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people."" The keeping of this glorious name is in our own charge. We may win it, or we may lose it. The means are simple. We are free to employ or pervert them. The more tremendous is our responsibility. 'Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
There is one justification of educating the people which may rest at present in theory, but it carries no small weight with it. Employment now is general. With machinery it has increased. But population closely presses upon every improvement of mechani
It is not, however, improbable that hereafter, if not soon, human labour will be abridged. A leisure will be secured to labouring man. To restrict his hours of labour by any legislative enactment, is to oppress him. It is to sell away his birthright, his capital, his all. Yet if the means of production be so multiplied, that with far less toil he can satisfy his animal wants, his superfluous time must be em
ployed. Education can alone prepare him for it. To the uneducated, its gross occupation would be far more exhausting and demoralising than the excess of labour. Who does not rejoice in the weekly half-holyday, wherever it is allowed ? In the earlier closing of shops ? In the limitation of the hours of business? It furnishes an opportunity of mental improvement. But were it to respect the uneducated, those who scorn all education,-important as we might deem it in itself, we could not but dread its constant abuse. We can conceive of a nation so full of mechanical auxiliaries, that its labourers need not work more than six hours in the day : we can conceive of that nation occupying itself in mental and virtuous activity : but we could not trust even Britain yet!
The unfolding of the moral principles of our nature is a necessary part in the highest education, and nothing inferior to this purpose can we desire for our poorer countrymen. For though we think literary knowledge is a boon,-though we would all were thus enlightened ---though we abhor and scorn the doctrine, that were this all, it were better to withhold it altogether, — we shrink not from the avowal, that this would be most imperfect. It would not be the discipline of the proper mind, the true soul, of man. It would be slight and disparagement of that which covers him with his greatness. Reason, in him, is not supreme and final.
His understanding is not himself. These are solely the means of something higher.