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member of the community, be he high or low, rich or poor, has a right, equal and unquestionable, to think, speak, and act upon every measure or iginating among and interesting us as a people. And, still further, the full development of these institutions demands the fair and unshackled exer tion of this right. Take this single fact in connexion with the history of man. What is the history of man, we mean political man, as he is a member of the community and the subject of government? It is but a history of parties, of this side and that side of some undefinable line, the direction of which no earthly philosophy can trace. Yes; strange as it may seem, and inconsistent with that rank in creation to which man has laid claim, ever since the time when Abraham and Lot went one to the right hand and the other to the left, men have divided themselves into parties, at the name of which the human tongue falters, and the human understanding shrinks aghast. And this has been the case, while, instead of a general freedom of speech and action, a few only of men, a very few, have been acknowledged to be human beings, and all the rest have been left to make themselves out so. What is to be the consequence now, when all are admitted to be so ? Jarring and confusion, and consequent destruction, have made up the story of mankind, while tyranny bridled their tongues, and despotism hung like a dead weight upon their spirits. What is to be the result now, when tyranny and despotism have been hurled “ to the moles and the bats," and the tongue and the spirit of every man are admitted, required to be free ? The history of our race, we perceive, reads us but a sorry lesson upon the subject. And the history of our own country forms by no means a perfect exception to the rule ; for an old Spanish author, not a hundred y rs ago, declared, " that the air of that country ycleped America, was marvellously infectious, and inclined men's minds to wrangling and contention.”
But the spirit which, if any can, must put an end to this hitherto close alliance between freedom and contention, — the spirit which, like our liberties, is nowhere to be found in history, but which must spring up with and protect them, is a spirit of national moderation, that generous, Christian spirit, which is cool while it thinks, and charitable while it speaks and acts, – that spirit which, if experience doos not sanction, reason does, and which, if to be found in no other record, is yet found and enforced in that of the pattern of all institutions - Christianity. Yes; the single consideration, — and we need no other, the single consideration of the broad extent of our liberties, is in itself the most eloquent advocate of moderation. Perfect freedom must take her for its handmaid, for wherever it has started without her, it has failed. That which, if any thing can, must distinguish the history of the present from that of all past time, is the operation of the true republican principle, that the full enjoyment of liberty by all depends upon the moderate use of it by each.
But why argue an abstract principle? Who are they that oppose it? What is it that impedes its progress? We are not decrying, — God forbid that we ever should,-a spirit of free, open discussion. On the contrary, we advocate it as the life-blood of our institutions, the very promoter of moderation. It is an abandonment of this fair discussion that we condemn as fatal to it, - a willingness to act in obedience to other than our own unbiassed judgment. It is they who would surrender their personal independ. ence for the bondage of patizans, who would sacrifice their sacred birthright of free thought and action, to become the meanest, because the voluntary slaves of another, who must answer for the discord and confusion that result. Who is he that talks of freedom and equality and rights, and yet thinks as another man thinks, acts as he acts, and simply because that other bids him so think and act? If this be liberty, that liberty of which we have heard so much, give us back again the dark ages, for then, at least, we shall not see the chain that binds us to the earth.
Opposed also to this spirit of moderation, is that desire of controversial distinction in the younger members of the community, which, when it has
well spiced their tongue and embittered their pen, produces what is called a young politician. I know not a more amusing, were it not so dangerous a specimen of onr race, as this class of inexperienced yet fiery combatants. They come into the world, and the first cry you hear is, “ We must fight. Our fathers and our grandfathers fought, and why should not we? True, we have nothing very special to fight about, but still we must fight. The old party fires have been burning only half a century ; why put them out so soon? And the questions that kindled them, though a little out of date, have still two sides left and what need we more ?" And so the battle begins, - would that it might end where it began, - in simple, u
ran. - in simple, unattained, and unattainable nothing. We admire their zeal, applaud their ingenuity are astonished at their inore than Quixotic valor; but we laugh at their simplicity, we wonder at their folly, we deprecate their effects. We would
ions to cooler heads and safer hands. Experience, that grey headed old gentleman, who followed time into the world, and who was cotemporary with wisdom, ere the foundations of the earth were laid, is altogether the safest guardian of such precious treasures. True, he may not harangue with quite so much rapidity and fierceness as these fluent usurp ers of his place; but the words which drop slowly from his honored lips are full as wise and full as worthy of preservation as theirs. And though he stand leaning upon his staff, and looking with straining eyes, we would trust to his vision quite as implicitly, as to that of the stately, elastic youth, who, with younger and brighter eyes, does not always see. We would call back this venerable seer from his obscurity. He is growing old fashioned. We would array him in a modern costume, and set him in our high places. The free air of our country will renew his youth, and he, in return, will build up our institutions in the spirit of wisdom and moderation.
We would banish from amongst us, then, these and all other dispositions which stand in the way of that national moderation which we deem so essential. And then, behold a contrast! Place yourself upon the highest elevation that overlooks your country. Banish moderation from the multitude beneath you. You may have heard the roar of the thunder, and the lashing of the ocean, but you have heard music, literal music, compared with the roar and lashing of an immoderate, uncharitable, angry, free people. But look again, she has returned. Behold the sublimest sight which the earth can afford, - ten millions of freemen, different each from the other, yet with a common country, a common interest, and a common hope, meeting, discussing, differing indeed in opinion about common measures, - but the time for action has come, – they have gone up like Christian men to discharge their duty to their country, it is over, they have gone, like Christian men, to discharge their duty to themselves. Be the latter picture ours, and freedom will indeed be a goddess; be it ours, and we could almost say that a little vanity would be excusable.
From speaking of the spirit which should animate us as members of our great republic, the occasion naturally brings us for a moment to the spirit with which we meet as members of that smaller republic of letters, whose anniversary has this day brought us together. To those of us who here meet again, where a short time since we parted, the occasion is one of mingled feelings. We have gathered again in this great congregation, and around this sacred altar; but not all. In the little time that has elapsed since our separation, three of our number, and among them one who, in
vent which has placed him whom you hear before you, would have so much more ably filled the spot where I am standing, have joined that greater congregation, around a holier altar. The thought is a solemn and melancholy one. But as, in the wisdom of Providence, they were not permitted to enter upon the public stage, the feelings at their loss belong not to the public. It is not here that we should speak of their virtues, which we loved, - or of their talents, which we respected. These feelings belong to us as individuals, and as members of that little circle, their connexion with which we shall always hoid in pleasing recollection
But we look round again and behold another wide breach has been made within this short period, in which all of us have a common interest. The venerable head of our institution, *- the guardian, instructor, friend, the father of his pupils, - he under whose benignant auspices we commenced and completed our collegiate career, and who dismissed us from these hos vitable walls with a parental blessing, no longer occupies that seat which he filled so long, so honorably, and so usefully. We would mingle our regret with the general feeling that has gone with him to his retirement. We would send to him the grateful remembrance and filial affection of those who will ever be proud to remember their connexion with him. We would
well on this spot, consecrated by associations which will ever bring him to our remembrance. In the name of that education which he advanced, of that literature which he encouraged, of that religion which he adorned, we would bid him an affectionate farewell. We pray that the old age of that man may be serene and cheerful, whose youth has been so brilliant, and whose manhood so useful. The smiles of a kind Providence be ever with him. The conscience of a faithful steward is his reward here, his reward hereafter he has learned from higher authority.
With these feelings of regret to sadden this otherwise joyous occasion, may it not have been well for us to have occupied it in dwelling upon the spirit that should accompany those institutions, into the midst of which we are hastening. It is to the young men of our times that the call of our institutions on this subject is the loudest. Be it theirs, then, to cultivate and diffuse this spirit. And then, what if no trumpet-tongued orator shall rise up to
ises, - what if inan silent? They have a heaven-born eloquence, sweeter than music, yet ljuder than thunder, -- the eloquence of truth. They have an argument, which, though it speak not, is heard through the universe. the argument of a good cause, on a sound bottom. Let the spirit that should accompany them be abroad, - let national modesty, moderation, charity, independence, and, above all, the spirit of Christianity, be their guard, and then, like Christianity, the powers of nature may strive against them, but they will stand, for they are founded upon a rock. Man cannot overthrow them, and the Almighty will not.
11n to ninalo
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or A VALEDICTORY ORATION IN LATIN.
Omnibus nunc rite et feliciter peractis, restat, auditores spectatissimi, ut vobis pro hac benevolentia gratias agamus, omnia fausta precemur, et pace decedere et valere vos jubeamus. Si spectandi et audiendi vos tædet, ut citissime abeatis præstabimus.
Sed primum, omnibus qui adestis, quod tam frequentes convenistis, tam attente audistis, tam benigne plausistis, gratias bene meritas agimus:vobis præcipue, virgines dilectæ, matronesque honoratæ, juvenibus virisque spes et solatium. Quid nostra comitia sino vobis ? Quid nos disertos, eloquentes denique efficeret, si non ut aribus oculisque vestris nos commenderemus? Etsi nonnullæ
“Spectatum veniunt, veniunt spectentur ut ipsæ," – et ignoscimus et probamus. Cur venimus nos javenes, nos viri, nisi nt spectemur, audiamur et ipsi ? Sed plures, nimirum, ut audiatis, ut oculis, linguis, votis faveatis. Igitur grates, sed
"Grates persolveres dignas Non opis est nostra."
* Rev. John Thornton Kirkland.
Vir excellentissime, nostræ reipublicæ princeps, te ex animo salutamus, AC virum tantum, bonisque omnibus tam probatum, nostris adesse comitiis gaudemus.
Virum tibi conjunctissimum, patriæque et virtutis fautoribus carissimum, ac, dum vixerit, integritatis, prudentiæ, omnisque virtutis exemplum, in sedes altiores arcessitum, tecum lugemus. Sed bonorum animis, omnium desiderio, “ Manet mansurumque est quidquid in eo amavimus, quidquid admirati sumus. Placide quiescat."
Præclara quidem nostræ reipublicæ felicitas videtur, quum inter tam multos virtute eximios nemo ob amorem erga illam insignem se reddere potest; quum omnia prospere pulchreque eveniunt. Florentibus rebus, summâ hu jus reipublicæ tranquilitate, summâ concordiâ, respublica mihi quidem et aliis multis ut confido carissima tuis auspiciis evasit nora ; * olim quidem terris nunc re et legibus a vobis disjuncta; ut aliam sese libertatis vindicem exhibeat, alium amicitiæ vinculum adjiciat. Perduret atque valeat. Vale, vir excellentissime.
Et tu, honoratissime, cui virticem ætate provecto albentem civiles usque ambiunt honores ; et vos, Conciliarii, Curatoresque honorandi, quibus faven
us et adiuvantibus, vigent res summa nostraque Academia, valete.
Vale et tu, Præses reverende et, si mihi liceat, carissime, cujus præsidic lumen veritatis, patrum auspiciis in nostræ Academiæ penetralibus olim ac censum, fulsit fulgetque novo semper purioreque splendore. Esto sempitcr num.
Valete Professores eruditissimi ac præstantissimi! Quibus eloquemur verbis quantâ observantiâ vos habemus, quam gratis animis vestrûm in nos assiduorum laborum, curæque vigilantis recordamur? Sit vobis hoc excel sum et pene divinum munus et præmium. Omnibus qui merentur certissime eveniet.
Amici sodalesque carissimi, iterum denique, post aliquod temporis inter vallum, convenimus, ut his sedibus amatis, quas veluti beatorum insulas dolentes reliquimus, nostræ custodibus juventutis merito honoratis, nobis invicem et illis valedicemus. Quis enim, quum temporis inter camænas et cum amicis acti reininiscitur, dolorem non sentiat quod his omnibus nimium cito sese eripere, marique incerto ac tumultuoso se committere oporteat, nunquam rediturum, nunquam sodaliuin ora jucunda aspecturum! Interjecto jam nunc brevi tantum triennio, multos optime dilectos oculis animoque frustra requirimus.
Quid ego non audio tantum ? Eorum quos inter-lectissimos habuimus, alter morti occubuit, alter in terris externis abest. Quid illos aut alios quos amavimus a me nominari necesse sit ? Quisque vestrum eos requirit, quisque desiderat. Valeant omnes qui absunt, et vos, amici fratresque, valete !
Vos quoque valete, omnes qui adestis, - senes atque juvenes, quibus for tuna fida et quibus perfida, matronæ virginesque, quibus sit decor quibus que desit; --- vobis adsint ante omnia virtus,
"Lis niinquam, toga rara, mens quieta,
Vires ingenua, salubre corpus;
* Anno 1820, resp. Maine a rep. Mass. se separavit.
Essay on the Literary Character of Dr. Samuel Johnson.
While an author is living, it is not extraordinary that mankind should form an erroneous estimate of his works. The influence which prejudice and partiality often possess over the minds of his contemporaries, is incom patible with a correct decision of his merits. It is not until time has effaced the recollection of party feelings, when the virtues and foibles of the man are forgotten, and the warm emotions of friendship or resentment are no longer felt, that the merit of an author can be fairly ascertained. So variable is public opinion, which is often formed without examination, and liable to be warped by caprice, that works of real merit are frequently left for posterity to discover and admire, while the pompous efforts of im
pertinence and folly are the wonders of the age. The gigantic genius of - Shakspeare so far surpassed the learning and penetration of his times, that
his productions were then little read and less admired. There were few who could understand, and still fewer who could relish the beauties of a writer whose style was as various as his talents were surprising. The immortal Milton suffered the mortification of public neglect, after having enriched the literature of his country with a poem, which has since been esteemed the most beautiful composition in his language; and his poetical talents, which entitled him to a reputation the most extensive and gratify ing, could scarcely procure for him, in his own times, a distinction above contemporary authors who are now forgotten. Ignorance and interest, envy and political rancor, have concealed from public notice works, which he enlightened intelligence of after ages have delighted to rescue from oblivion; and it is no less common for posterity to forget ephemeral productions, which were the admiration of the day in which they were produced.
In a retrospect of the literature of any age, the mind views the respective authors as a group of statues, which a cusory glance of the eye discovers at a distance; and although, on a nearer examination, it could admire the features and beauties discoverable in those of a diminutive appearance, yet the energetic expression and lofty attitude of some who overtop the rest, exclusively attract our notice and command attention. Perhaps there has been no age concerning which this remark is more justly applicable, than the eighteenth century. In that period, a most numerous army of authors took the field, greater perhaps in number, but not exceeding in height of stature, excellence of skill, or brilliance of achievement, the great men of the three preceding centuries.
In contemplating this collection of writers, the attention is necessarily withdrawn from those over whom the towering genius of Dr. Johnson seems to bend, and is attracted by the colossal statue which represents the gigantic powers of his mind. Whether we regard the variety of his talents, the soundness of his judgment, the depth of his penetration, the acuteness of his sagacity, the subtleness of his reasoning faculty, or the extent of his knowledge, he is equally the subject of astonishment and admiration.
It will not, perhaps, be hazardous to affirm, that within the range of an