« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
hundred millions, borrowed when we had no more to spend—we should have seen the whole country covered with such works as now unite Manchester and Liverpool, and should have enjoyed peace uninterrupted during the last forty years, with all the blessings which an industrious and a virtuous people deserve, and which peace profusely sheds upon their lot.
TRUE GLORY AND HONOR.
In pursuing the course which I now invite you to enter upon, I avow that I look for the co-operation of the King's Government; and on what are my hopes founded? Men gather not grapes from thorns, nor figs from thistles. But that the vine should no longer yield its wonted fruit, that the fig-tree should refuse its natural increase, required a miracle to strike it with barrenness. There are those in the present ministry whose known liberal opinions have lately been proclaimed anew to the world, and pledges have been avouched for their influence upon the policy of the State. With them, others may not, upon all subjects, agree; upon this I would fain hope there will be found little difference. But, be that as it may, whether I have the support of the ministers or no—to the House I look with confident expectation, that it will control them, and assist me; if I go too far, checking my progress—if too fast, abating my speed—but heartily and honestly helping me in the best and greatest work which the hands of the lawgiver can undertake. The course is clear before us ; the race is glorious to
You have the power of sending your name down through all times, illustrated by deeds of higher fame and more useful import than ever were done within these walls. You saw the greatest warrior of the age-conqueror of Italy-humbler of Germany-terror of the north-saw him account all his matchless victories poor, compared with the triumph you are now in a condition to win—saw him contemn the fickleness of fortune, while, in despite of her, he could pronounce his memorable boast, “I shall down to posterity with the code in my hand !” You have vanquished him in the field; strive now to rival him in the sacred arts of peace. Outstrip him as a lawgiver whom in arms you overcame! The lustre of the Regency will be eclipsed by the more solid and enduring splendor of the reign. The praise which false courtiers feigned for our Edwards and Harrys, the Justinians of their day, will be the just tribute of the wise and the good to that monarch under whose sway so mighty an undertaking shall be accomplished.
Of a truth, sceptres are most chiefly to be envied for that they bestow the power of thus conquering and ruling. It was the boast of Augustus—it formed part of the glare in which the perfidies of his earlier years were lost—that he found Rome of brick, and left it of marble; a praise not unworthy a great prince, and to which the present reign has its claims also. But how much nobler will be our Sovereign's boast, when he shall have it to say, that he found law dear, and left it cheap! found it a sealed book-left it a living letter! found.it the patrimony of the rich-left it the inheritance of the poor! found it the two-edged sword of craft and oppression-left it the staff of honesty and the shield of innocence ! To me, much reflecting on these things, it has always seemed a worthier honor to be the instrument of making you bestir
yourselves in this high matter, than to enjoy all that office can bestow-office, of which the patronage would be an irksome incumbrance, the emoluments superfluous, to one content, with the rest of his industrious fellow.citizens, that his own hands minister to his wants: and, as for the power supposed to follow it, I have lived near half a century, and I have learned that power and place may be severed. But one power I do prize : that of being the advocate of my countrymen here, and their fellow-laborer elsewhere, in those things which concern the best interests of mankind.' That power, I know full well, no government can giveno change take away!
APTITUDE OF YOUTH FOR KNOWLEDGE.
It is not the less true, because it has been oftentimes said, that the period of youth is by far the best fitted for the improvement of the mind, and the retirements of a college almost exclusively adapted to much study. At your enviable age, everything has the lively interest of novelty and freshness; attention is perpetually sharpened by curiosity; and the memory is tenacious of the deep impressions it thus receives, to a degree unknown in after life ; while the distracting cares of the world, or its beguiling pleasures, cross not the threshold of these calm retreats; its distant noise and bustle are faintly heard, making the shelter you enjoy more grateful; and the struggles of anxious mortals, embarked upon that troublous sea, are viewed from an eminence, the security of which is rendered more sweet by the prospect of the scene below. Yet a little while, and you too will be plunged into those waters of bitterness, and will cast an eye of regret, as now I do, upon the peaceful regions you have quitted for ever. Such is
lot as members of society ; but it will be your own fault if
look back on this place with repentance or with shame; and be well assured that, whatever time—ay, every hour-you squander here on unprofitable idling, will then rise up against you, and be paid for by years of bitter but unavailing regrets. Study then, I beseech you, so to store your minds with the exquisite learning of former ages, that you may always possess within yourselves sources of rational and refined enjoyment, which will enable you to set at naught the grosser pleasures of sense, whereof other men are slaves ; and so imbue yourselves with the sound philosophy of later days, forming yourselves to the virtuous habits which are its legitimate offspring, that you may walk unhurt through the trials which await you, and may look down upon the ignorance and error that surround you, not with lofty and supercilious contempt, as the sages of old times, but with the vehement desire of enlightening those who wander in darkness, and who are by so much the more endeared to us by how much they want our assistance.
Address to the Glasgou Students.
PROSPECTS OF THE AGE-SNEERERS AT EDUCATION.
Let us, as well we may, heartily rejoice in the magnificent prospect which now lies before us of good government, general improvement in virtue, and the attainment of national prosperity through the restoration of the people's most unquestioned righta cheap administration of their affairs—a substantial, effectual relief of their heavy burdens. The enemies of improvement have, indeed, of late years, confessed, by their conduct, the hopelessness of any further attempt to obstruct its progress : they have bent before the wave, from fear of being swept away by it; and they now have recourse to sneers and jibes at the instruction of the people. We are called schoolmasters-a title in which I glory, and never shall feel shame. Our Penny Science is ridiculed by those who have many pence and little knowledge; our lectures are laughed at, as delivered to groups of what those ignorant people in fine linen and gaudy attire call, after the poet,“ lean, unwashed artificers;" a class of men that should be respected, not derided by those who, were they reduced to work for their bread, would envy the skill of the men they now look down upon. Let such proud creatures enjoy the fancied triumph of their wit; we care not for their light artillery (if, indeed, their heavy jests can so be termed) half so much as we did for their serious opposition. If they are much amused with our penny sciences, I hope, before
long, to see them laugh twice as much at our penny politics ; because, when the abominable taxes upon the knowledge which most concerns the people are removed—I mean the Newspaper Stamp, we shall have a universal diffusion of sound political knowledge among all classes of the community: and if lectures divert them so mightily now, I can tell them that preparation is making for affording them much more entertainment in the same kind, by a very ample extension of the present system of lecturing, and by including politics in the course.
THE SCHOOLMASTER AND THE CONQUEROR.
But there is nothing which these adversaries of improvement are more wont to make themselves merry with than what is termed the "march of intellect ;” and here I will confess, that I think, as far as the phrase goes, they are in the right. It is a very absurd, because a very incorrect expression. It is little calculated to describe the operation in question. It does not picture an image at all resembling the proceedings of the true friends of mankind. It much more resembles the progress of the enemy to all improvement. The conqueror moves in a march. He stalks onward with the “pride, pomp, and circumstance of war”—banners flying-shouts rending the air--guns thundering-and martial music pealing, to drown the shrieks of the wounded, and the lamentations for the slain. Not thus the schoolmaster, in his peaceful vocation. He meditates and prepares in secret the plans which are to bless mankind; he slowly gathers round him those who are to further their execution—he quietly, though firmly, advances in his humble path, laboring steadily, but calmly, till he has opened to the light all the recesses of ignorance, and torn up by the roots the weeds of vice.
His is a progress not to be compared with anything like a march—but it leads to a far more brilliant triumph, and to laurels more imperishable than the destroyer of his species, the scourge of the world, ever won.
Such men-men deserving the glorious title of Teachers of Mankind—I have found, laboring conscientiously, though, perhaps, obscurely, in their blessed vocation, wherever I have gone. I have found them, and shared their fellowship, among the daring, the ambitious, the ardent, the indomitably active French ; I have found them among the persevering, resolute, industrious Swiss; I have found them among the laborious, the warm-hearted, the enthusiastic Germans; I have found them among the high-minded, but enslaved Italians; and in our own country, God be thanked, their numbers everywhere abound, and are every day increasing. Their calling is high and holy; their fame is the property of nations; their renown will fill the earth in after ages, in proportion as it sounds not far off in their own times. Each one of these great teachers of the world, possessing his soul in peace, performs his appointed course-awaits in patience the fulfilment of the promises, and resting from his labors, bequeathes his memory to the generation whom his works have blessed, and sleeps under the humble but not inglorious epitaph, commemorating " one in whom mankind lost a friend, and no man got rid of an enemy.”