AN ADDRESS

DELIVERED BEFORE THE

AMERICAN WHIG AND CLIOSOPHIC SOCIETIES

OF THE

COLLEGE OF NEW JERSEY

SEPTEMBER, 29, 1835.

BY WILLIAM GASTON

PRINCETON:

PRINTED BY JOHN BOGART

MDCCCXXXV.

HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY

FROM

THE BEQUEST OF

EVERST JANSEN WENDELL

1918

EXTRACT FROM THE MINUTES OF THE CLIOSOPHIC SOCIETY,

SEPTEMBER 30, 1835.

Resolved, That a Committee be appointed to present the thanks of the Society to the Hon. William Gaston, for the instructive and eloquent Address delivered by him yesterday; and that he be requested to furnish a copy of the same for publication

HON. S. L. SOUTHARD,
PROF. MACLEAN,                         Committee.
D. N. BOGART, Esq.
_______________________

EXTRACT FROM THE MINUTES OF THE AMERICAN WHIG SOCIETY,

SEPTEMBER 30, 1835

Resolved, That a Committee be appointed to present to the Hon. William Gaston, the grateful acknowledgments of this Society, for the able and eloquent Address delivered by him on the 29th instant; and to request a copy of the same for publication.

RICHARD S. FIELD, Esq.
PROF. JAMES W. ALEXANDER        Committee.
MR. ALEXANDER TAYLOR



ADDRESS.

Gentlemen of the American Whig and Cliosophic Societies:

Nine and thirty years have passed since the individual who stands before you quitted this venerable abode of learning, which, in obedience to your bidding, he revisits on this interesting occasion. It has been asked by one of the mightiest masters in the science of the human heart--perhaps the mightiest known to our literature since the days of Shakespeare--whether the man breathes, who, returning home from a distant region, exclaims not with rapture, as he catches the first glimpse of his loved country, "This is my own, my native land." Such, also, is the feeling which swells the breast of the wanderer, who, after a long absence, returns for the first time to the home of his education. The play days of his early years, and the objects of his early attachment; his youthful emulations, and studies, and frolics; all the bright visions and romantic dreams, when life was new and the pulse beat high, rush upon his recollection, as intimately connected with the spot long hallowed in his memory, and once more made familiar to his eye. And this, he exclaims, is my Alma Mater! This the revered place of my training for life's severer duties! When the first tumult of feeling subsides, and, casting his eyes around, he beholds numbers eagerly engaged, as he was here occupied [6] before they were born, and longing, as he was wont to long, for the moment of release from college rules, and of entrance on that bright sunny world which fancy decorates with a thousand charms; he revolves in his mind the changes for good and for ill, the gratified and disappointed hopes which have occurred since he bade farewell to this peaceful retreat; busy memory crowds into a moment all the incidents of an eventful life; (and whose life is not to himself eventful?) he is calmed into meditation, and melted into kindness. Full of interest too is the occasion which thus brings together the members of these our societies, so widely dispersed and so long separated from each other. We have assembled to behold the ingenuous youths, who have just closed their academical career, receive the awards of successful diligence, at once the testimonials of fitness, and the pledges of fidelity, to act well their allotted parts as men and citizens in the great drama of human life. You, my young friends, who remain, succeed to the office of upholding, in all their usefulness and vigour, these distinguished associations, whose well-being is so intimately connected with the honour of this ancient and renowned institution.

You, who go forth, leave behind associates endeared by many a proof of recollected kindness, and straining their eyes after you with many an anticipation of your future eminence; to meet parents, relations and friends exulting at the honours you have won, alarmed at the trials you have to encounter, but trusting that these will prove but new occasions of victory, and the means of yet higher advancement in whatever is good and great. Your elder brethren, interested in the welfare of every one of you, and solicitous by counsel and exhortation to cheer you on to virtuous and resolved action, we are ourselves admonished, as we behold this succession of wave after wave on the ocean of life, that our [7] term of probation is nearly spent, that we must soon yield our places to others; and that we should prepare to stand for our last examination and take our last degree--our examination and degree in immortality. Impressive are the topics thus presented to our notice, and salutary the reflections which they ought to suggest. Let us hope, then, that it is good for us all to be here. Let us endeavour, when we commune with our own hearts, to turn these impressions and reflections to account. It would be miserable vanity in me to suppose that my researches can open to you undiscovered truths, or that any trite remarks of mine can avail much to re-impress those already known. But I could not without offence have declined the office which your partiality assigned to me; and my highest ambition will be amply gratified if I can illustrate some of the topics thus obviously suggested, in a manner which shall not shock that partiality and entirely disappoint your expectations.

Notwithstanding the veil of mystery which hides from public view the proceedings of our societies, their general objects are known to be literary improvement and the cultivation of friendship. In every stage of life these are noble pursuits, but they are peculiarly fitted to that portion of life which is passed within the college walls; and it is difficult to imagine any means more effectual for their advancement than those which are presented by these associations. The great purposes for which youth submits to the labours and discipline of the college, are the acquisition of accurate learning and the formation of virtuous habits. By means of the society the student is enabled to bring into action, and to direct to its proper purpose, the learning which, from time to time, he acquires in the schools. Unless this be done, the mere materials of knowledge which the books burnish are of little use and are soon lost. The mind [8] must ruminate on its food in order to convert it into nourishment. The secrecy which is observed as to all that passes within the hall of the society protects the young adventurer from the sneers of malignant criticism, while it secures to him the benefit of candid correction. He is stimulated to re-examine what he has hastily read or cursorily considered; to seek for an explanation of whatever is obscure, and a solution of what is difficult in his studies; to acquire and fix the habit of precise thought and correct expression; to lay deep, broad and strong the foundation of his learning; and all this is effected without the austerity of formal instruction, and in delightful intercourse with affectionate friends. The exercises of the society give a tincture to his mind, inspire an early fondness for literary enjoyments, and rescue much of his invaluable time from trivial, vulgar, and immoral gratifications. The generous rivalry between the institutions keeps alive that spirit of emulation, for which, as an incentive to diligence, no adequate substitute has yet been found. The sensibility which each individual feels, when the honour of his society is concerned, prompts him to regard the deficiency or misconduct of a brother as a stain upon that honour and a wound to the institution. Thus, without repulsive regulations, the societies are in fact the most effectual and watchful of censors, and the most faithful guardians of probity, honour and diligence.

The great duty of man, as a social being, is beneficence, and the great enemy of beneficence is selfishness. Social affections can rarely acquire their proper growth and strength, unless they be cultivated before the jostling of thronged and busy multitudes induces the necessity of peculiar attention to one's own convenience and comfort. Friendship here finds its finest solid and fittest season. Here it is not choked with the cares, and riches, and pleasures of the world, nor chilled by avarice, [9] nor blasted by ambition. The cultivation of friendship, not as a transient feeling but as a permanent sentiment; friendship, not suddenly springing from capricious choice, but arising from congenial tastes, common sympathies, perfect confidence and the pursuit of the same objects, and those objects truly good and worthy of pursuit; fixes attachment on the basis of esteem, and raises it to the dignity of a virtue. There is no virtue purely solitary, and virtuous friendship is always followed by a goodly train of kindred excellancies. These intellectual and moral gratifications elevate the soul above the pleasures of mere appetite, while the decorum and dignity which preside over the exercises of the society, inculcate self-respect, thoughtfulness, and manly principle. Such gratifications, and such exercises, are an admirable preparation for the more important duties of life, and impress the conviction that man is not born for idle sport and frivolous amusement, but for the grave offices which become a rational, a responsible , and an immortal being. " Neque enim ita generati a natura sumus, ut ad ludum et jocum facti esse videamur, sed ad severitatem potius et quaedam studia graviora et majora."

You, then, my young friends, on whom is to devolve the duty of upholding these associations, will readily see that it is not one of slight obligation or of unimportant consequences. Your predecessors have handed them down to you in high usefulness and reputation. In the larger world, it has been my lot to witness not with a little of the discussions and deliberations which most attract public attention and command respect - those of the judicial hall and the legislative chamber. But no where have I seen propriety and decorum, rigorous rule attempered by gentlemanly courtesy, prevail with more firm and mild sway than in the society-hall. Boys in age, impetuous and thoughtless by nature, seemed to acquire a new character, and to be awakened to a new sense, the moment they entered into these[10]adyta of friendship and literature. You will not, I am sure, suffer this deposit to be impaired in your hands, but deliver it down whole and unsullied to those who shall come after you. But remember that the strife between your institutions is not the strife of foes; that it is a fair, manly and generous contest, not to pull each other down, but which shall the better merit and affectionate veneration of its sons, and which attract to itself the greater share of respect from the virtuous and wise abroad. Remember, too, that excellent as are these associations, they are mainly good as aiding and perfecting the advantages resulting from the regular duties of the college; admirable adjuncts to solid scientific attainments, but miserable substitutes for them. Literature, unsupported by science, is of little value or duration. It has no root, and withers in its very greenness. Let the regular studies of the college command your faithful, systematic and preserving attention. It is a too common error in ardent and active minds, "studious of change and pleased with novelty," to dispatch the prescribed task as quickly as decently they may, in order to revel in the luxuries of mental gratification; in miscellaneous literature, and especially such as addressed to the passions and the imagination. This disposition, as it indicates quickness of apprehension and sensibility, that temperament which is usually called genius, is not only regarded with fondness, but sometimes most injudiciously fostered by admiring friends. There is great danger to be feared from its indulgence. The regular academical studies have been wisely selected as those best fitted to give to the youthful mind general vigour and expansion. Such departures from the system of education cause a disproportionate growth of some faculties at the expense of others; of the showy at the expense of the useful; of the fancy and the passions to the impoverishment of reason and judgement. The young plant is made to overshoot and run to weed, and produce no fruit. It [11] may be laid down universally as an error in human conduct, ever to learn superficially, or to do carelessly, what is required to be learned or done at all. Infidelity, even in small matters begets infidelity in those of higher moment. But these studies are not to be regarded as small things. They afford the surest foundation on which to erect the future intellectual structure. With them every educated gentleman is presumed to be well acquainted, and deficient in them, he wants the authentic passport for admission into educated society, and is unfurnished with the means of contribution to its common fund. But this error is above all dangerous, because each instance in which the occupations of duty are relinquished or sighted at the invitation of pleasure - although, considered in itself, the pleasure may be innocent- has a tendency to weaken the supremacy of that faculty which should preside with undisputed sway over every affection, and to which of right belong the direction and control of every propensity. Beware, too of the absurdity of supposing an observance of the discipline of the college incompatible with manly spirit. Order is heaven's first law, and there can be no order without subordination. A deliberate breach of law shows profligacy and folly, the ferocity of an untamed, or the ignorance of an uniformed nature, but a cheerful submission to wise rule is the highest evidence of that reasoning energy and decision of purpose which are among the noblest attributes of an intellectual being. Perhaps, in life, as in the productions of genius, vivid perceptions and intense feelings may sometimes force us from vulgar bounds, and thus may a grace be occasionally snatched " beyond the reach of art;" but the observance of rules is the best general security for excellence in conduct, as in literary composition; and he is a wretched pretender, who seeks admiration by a breach of rules, without the atonement of a compensating grace.

[12] As the moment approaches, my young friends, when trained by moral and religious culture, and prepared by scientific and literary instruction, you are about to enter upon the world of business, and influence, and duty, how deep is the interest felt in your fate, and how earnest the wishes entertained for your success! So thick are the dangers which beset your path, so numerous the temptations which may lure you into vice and error, and so frequent the instances in which the highest, and apparently the most rational hopes have been blasted, that the fondest anticipations of friendship cannot relieve this interest and these wishes from the admixture of serious apprehensions. Nor is it your immediate friends that this solicitude is confined. In a country whose institutions are so popular as ours, vast is the influence which its educated youth must exercise in time to come upon its weal or wo. He, then, who loves that country, and venerates those institutions, may well be excused in entreating your attention to some reflections which he deems of deep concern to you, and consequently, to his fellow citizens. Far from attempting to repress that buoyancy of spirits which forms the charm of early years, he could yet wish it tempered with a little consideration. Each extreme of human life may be improved by borrowing a part of those dispositions which belong more peculiarly to the other. As advanced life is relieved from its austerity by appropriating to itself somewhat of the cheerfulness of early years, youth may be saved from fatal mischiefs by a sprinkling of the prudence of age; " ut enim adoloscentum in quo senile aliquid sic senem in quo est adolescentis aliquid probo." Let the impatient student, before the college degrees are conferred, and he is emancipated from the restraints of discipline, pause for a moment and ask himself what part does he purpose to perform in the world. Is he content to become one of the vile herd that wallow in the mire of sensuality? Has he no higher hope than to vege-[13] tate in inglorious sloth? He is no more noble ambition than to increase his store of this world's goods? If, in spite of all the efforts which have been here exerted to give a better and a loftier aim to his aspirations, these and such as these be his humble purposes, he needs neither exhortation nor counsel. The beaten downward path is easy, and, by the gravitation of his nature, descent will be every day accelerated. But if he proposes to himself the happiness of a rational creature, the improvement of his intellectual and moral nature, the rendering of good to his fellow men, and securing the approbation of that mighty and gracious Being who fashioned his frame, whose steward he is and to whom he must one day account for the talents committed to his keeping - if these be his wise, and good, and noble purposes, then indeed it may be beneficial, as it is delightful, to communicate every suggestion and contribute every aid which may advance him on his journey; then may we say to him, in the fulness of our hearts, God speed thee!

" Proceed illustrious youth, And virtue guide thee to the throne of truth!"

It has been quaintly remarked that the world consists of three descriptions of men; the fortunate, who learn from the experience of others; the wise, who learn by their own experience; and fools, who learn neither from their own experience nor from that of others. Perhaps the discrimination of somewhat fanciful, as no one was ever so happy as to acquire wisdom without some instruction in the school of experience; and few have ever studied in that school of experience; and few have ever studied in that school to advantage who disregarded the monitions of those who had gone before them. What, indeed, are these counsels but anticipated experience, results collected by others from their own trials in life, and handed down to their successors as a stock or capital upon which to commence their adventure. One of the first trials to [14] which your firmness will be subjected, is the disposal of your own time and the selection of your own amusements, and it is of high importance that you should sustain this trial courageously, decide wisely, and act up to your decision. Without a fixed scheme of employment and set hours for your pursuits the idle and voluptuous will engross you and your time to themselves. Gregarious from necessity, importunate and selfish, they seek constantly to allure others to join them in the chase of pleasure, the frivolities of vanity, and "strenuous idleness." It cannot be expected that you should wholly abstract yourselves from those amusements which belong to the spring-time of life; but it is irrational and unmanly to abandon yourselves to them without stint or restraint. I speak not now of the pleasures which are in themselves criminal, but of those only which are reprehensible when carried beyond the bounds of moderation. As to the former, there is but one rule- taste not, touch not, handle not; and with regard to the latter, surely those are rather brutes than men who find baits and snares in the innocent provisions of life, and permit themselves to be allured by their appetites to their own destruction. It is a fixed law of nature, the wisdom of which we cannot perhaps fully comprehend, but which, like every other rule proceeding from the great Author of nature, must be right, that no important benefit is to be acquired but by the exercise of self-denial; that inferior and present gratifications must be sacrificed for the sake of future and greater good. Nor deem these terms of happiness hard. Like the delightful sense of health and vigour which follows on robust exercise, there is annexed to moral courage a high intellectual enjoyment; and whatever may be the result of all other undertakings, in which it is not given to " mortals to command success," virtuous exertion never fails to bring with it more or less reward. Much, very much will depend on your first step. In this, as [15] in most other of human actions, it is not only the first step which costs - but it is the first step which usually determines the result.

You will not, I trust, imagine for a moment, that when you bid adieu to the college you have completed your education. The whole of life should be regarded as a school, a place of instruction and discipline, in which the faculties are to be developed, cultivated and perfected, and the pupil gradually trained for higher and more important exercises, until he is ultimately qualified to enter upon a new state of existence. It is a distinguishing characteristic of man, as an intellectual being, that his capacity for improvement has no definite limits; but to avail himself to this prerogative, he should secure well every step taken in this upward career, and make it a foothold, from which to spring to a higher elevation. In intellectual, as in all other conquests, there is but one sure maxim, preserve what you have gained, and use it as the means of further acquisition. In these intellectual conquests there is, however, an animating consideration, well calculated to inspire determined constancy. Every step in advance is a longer and bolder stride than that by which it was preceded. Every new acquisition combines in so many relations with those of the old stock, that progression goes on, not by simple addition, but in the geometrical order. Waste not your time in balancing between the professions or occupations to which you shall apply yourselves, but choose speedily, so as to be able to bring action the habits of diligence here formed, before they are broken up by irregular and desultory pursuits. When the selection is made, of course the knowledge appropriate to the profession or occupation chosen, should be the object steadily kept in view in all your exertions. But fall not into the common error of giving over all attention to former studies and all care of former attainments. It is almost the [16] universal course, as soon as the academical walls are left behind, to abandon altogether those scientific and literary pursuits which were there earnestly prosecuted. In no country does this error more obtain than in ours. From the general activity that prevails around us, and which naturally characterizes a people, among wealth, honours and rank are accessible to every individual, and where a boundless field of enterprise presents itself on every side, the boy and the boy's friends are anxious that he should be pushing his fortune in the world. There is a feverish impatience to be a doing, a "cacoethes insanabile agendi." Thus the period of scholastic education is injuriously abridged, instruction is at best very imperfect, and college acquirements are emphatically the merest rudiments of science. This superficial course has a tendency to swell the young collegian with that self-conceit, which hides from him the necessity of further study, while it renders more imperative the obligation of fixing and re-impressing the little he has actually learned- those evanescent acquisitions which, with every care, are but too apt to escape from us. Unless, like the pious and fanciful enthusiast in Old Morality, you occasionally deepen the letters of the inscription, they will soon be overgrown with moss ans lichen, wear away by exposure, and leave not a trace behind of what was designed to be engraved for a perpetual remembrance. A moderate portion of diligence, habitually exerted in the revision of youthful studies, will be sufficient to preserve them entire, but without it, their loss is in a great measure inevitable. True, indeed, the habits of attention and comparison formed by these studies may yet remain, and these are of inestimable value. They form the nucleus around which subsequent acquirements can best dispose themselves. As the friendships contracted in youth, when kept alive by the [17]interchange of kind offices, surpass in tenderness and constancy all which can be formed at a subsequent period; so these early mental treasures, habitually cherished, are more closely entwined with our modes of thinking and with our affections- become more thoroughly ours, than any that can be acquired in advanced life. Old wine has been pronounced the cordial of age; but old friends, and old studies, affections and literary pleasures, mellowed and matured by time, infinitely better deserve the title. They warm the heart and exhilarate the spirits without the danger of intoxicating the brain. Surely, then, it is culpable folly to throw either away.

The dispositions and habits of social beings are more or less modified by those of the companions with whom they associate. The standard of morality, like that of taste and refinement, is elevated or depressed according to the tone of morals which prevails around us. Few things will more startle the pure and high-minded youth upon his entrance into the world, than the extravagant estimate which seems to be there placed on objects which he has been taught to regard as not of the highest value. He must not indeed be in too great haste to pronounce on public sentiment by the language which he first hears in the bustling and frivolous circles of society. Convenience requires that the topics of promiscuous conversation should be brought down to the level of the humblest capacity among the votaries of fashion. The most inane coxcomb can talk fluently about prodigious fortunes, splendid equipages, and brilliant parties; but wealth and display are not therefore to be deemed the first objects of excellence even to an admiring world. It is not to be denied, however, that these are valued far beyond their intrinsic worth. We feel indignant at the sneers and exaggerations of insolent travellers, who represent us as idolatrous worshippers at the shrine of Plutus, and apportioning our respect to every [18]individual in the exact ratio of his reputed possessions. Nor are we indignant without cause; for, as in all other sneers and exaggerations, truth is sacrificed to sarcasm, and candour to the ambition of effect. But as it has been recommended by one of the best of critics, "get your enemies to read your works in order that you may mend them, for your friend is so much your second self that he will judge too like you," it is well for us to resort to malevolence for the knowledge of our defects. It is not strange that we should sin in this respect. The innumerable opportunities offered in a new and growing country for bold enterprise and successful acquisition, the general exemption of property from restraints upon alienation, the abolition of all heredity distinctions, and the equal partition of estates among relatives in equal degree to the deceased owner, bring about a rapid circulation, and of course a rapid accumulation and dispersion of wealth; which render it an object of more general pursuit, and bestow upon its possessor a distinction the more remarkable because not eclipsed by other extrinsic distinctions. Confined within the bounds of reason, the desire of acquisition is an useful principle of action. It incites to industry, admonishes frugality and temperance, represses the spirit of servility and dependance, leads to the improvement of the country, and accelerates its advancement in the useful arts. But when the lust of gain becomes inordinate and universal, it is a deadly foe to intellectual cultivation and refinement, to individual honesty and benevolence, to public virtue and public freedom. Intellectual pre-eminence is not to be acquired but by long-enduring labours, and few will be found to encounter such toil, unless the public voice accord to the successful student the meed of high distinction. But where wealth alone is recognised as the title to superiority, learning, however profound; taste, however cultivated; literature, however polished; or the [19] arts, however elegant, command no respect, if found in what are too frequently and most unjustly called the humble walks of life. Poverty is regarded not as a misfortune but as a disgrace. Ostentatious and expensive display is indulged as evidencing claims to the distinctions which belong to the honoured rich. The envious are excited to resentment, and the silly to imitation. How many happy families have drained the cup of misery to the dregs, because they would fain ape the dress, the equipage, and the style of the arrogant rich, and cheat the world into a belief of their wealth! How many fathers have had their hearts wrung with agony, and their heads bowed down in shame to the earth because of the guilty deeds of their sons, whom extravagance reduced to want, want tempted to profligacy, and profligacy led on to infamous crime! And what are his enjoyments, what his merits, who has no other object than to hoard or display his riches? His pursuits have in them no mixture whatever of the social affections. They habitually present his interest as in opposition to the interest of others, and increase, to an inordinate degree, that self-love which it is always so difficult to restrain within the bounds of reason. He loses all relish for intellectual and moral pleasures, is sordid in his views, and course and sensual in his gratifications. But the contagion spreads; wealth accumulated, or wealth squandered, becomes the theme of vulgar admiration, and the hunger of gold prevails as an epidemic. The dearest ties of family affection are sundered without remorse, if a distant land present a prospect of more rapid accumulation; the holiest bonds of human union founded in "reason loyal just and pure," and consecrated by God himself as the best security of virtue and pledge of happiness, are degraded into a joyless mercenary bargain; the slow and moderate profits of exchanges mutually beneficial, are abandoned for wild and wicked speculation, in [20] which the winner loses at least his honesty, and the unsuccessful gambler loses all. It is a lust denounced of heaven, and to disregard the denunciation is impiety; " He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent."

Let me not be misunderstood as speaking contemptuously of those excellent men, who, having succeeded by inheritance to what has been preserved by the prudence of their ancestors, or having by their own honest toil, frugality, and good sense, acquired a more than ordinary portion of this world's goods, enjoy it temperately and expend it wisely. Neither swoln with pride, nor hardened by avarice, nor corrupted into sensuality; they excite no envy by arrogant ostentation, grind not the poor by oppression, offend not delicacy by voluptuousness, nor demoralize the community by bad example. The wealth of such men is a blessing to their country. What might otherwise evaporate and be lost, being thus placed in masses, is preserved to fertilize by proper application the sterile places in their neighbourhood. Still less would I be thought to have for one moment any participation in that wicked spirit which seeks to set the poor against the rich, and the rich against the poor, and to render them the objects of jealousy and hatred to each other. Peace and good will to men on earth was proclaimed at the birth of the Redeemer as a blessing second only to Glory to God in highest. He, on whose coming this joyful communication was made, sought to bind all ranks and all conditions by the bond of common love and mutual kindness. He taught the rich to make unto themselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, and promised that no deed of charity done in his name should be forgotten in the day of settlement. He instructed the poor to do violence to no man, neither to accuse any man falsely, and to be content with their wages. He abused the pride of the great, and bade them to be like him, meek and lowly of heart; while he [21] upheld the hopes of the dejected by the assurance, " blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." The man that would excite hostile feelings between the different classes of society, all members of the same common family, bound to aid, cherish and love each other, commits treason against social happiness, and does what in him lies to frustrate the message of divine beneficence. Such enmity, wicked every where, in our country is inconceivably absurd. Property here shifts from hand to hand with such marvellous rapidity, that the classification can scarcely be drawn before it changes. Those who join in the fight of to-day, find themselves arrayed to tomorrow side by side, and shoulder to shoulder, with their enemy. No, let me not be mistaken. It is not against the rich, but against the lust of riches; it is not against getting rich, but the hastening to get rich, that my denunciations are directed, as against a spirit fatal to the best interests of every class of society. If personal integrity and benevolence, as we assured by inspiration, fall victims to this wicked passion, how can we hope that public virtue, or a fervent and generous zeal for the public good, can resist its blasting influence? If all history be not false, if there be any philosophy teaching by example, collected by faithful observation of the past, and recorded for the instruction of the future, this truth is certain, that the general and eager pursuit of riches must bring on the downfall of republican liberty. The excessive selfishness, and the laxity of moral principles which it inevitably induces, while they withdraw from the concerns of the commonwealth the affections and attention of the great body of the citizens, will leave them to the management of intriguing, caballing and mercenary politicians; at once rapacious and vain, cunning and base, and pursuing wicked ends by worse means. When these signs shall appear, the social edifice must soon totter to its ruin, and we shall need " no messenger of light nor [22]warning from the dead to announce its fall." Public virtue is the only solid basis which can uphold the glorious structure of public freedom; and public virtue is not to be found when the quarry of personal integrity has been worked off and exhausted.

So far, then, as depends on you, arrest the spread of this moral pestilence. Bow not your knees to Baal. Show that you do not make a god of wicked pelf, and regard not riches as the summum bonum of human desire. If you have a competency, be prudent not to squander it; if you have it not, be industrious to acquire it; that you may be kept above the danger of want, and secure in that independence, without which it is difficult to preserve freedom of thought or action. But all beyond this is comparatively of little moment, " tasteless when had, and terrible when gone." See who are the greatly rich; with but few exceptions they were not long since the greatly poor. And what has become of children of those, nay, of very many of the persons themselves, who, but a few years ago, were rolling and rioting in superabundant wealth? Where are they now? Fallen from their vain eminence, unqualified for useful labour, humbled in their own estimation, dissatisfied with their condition, and querulous against the world and the world's law. Should you amass wealth, is it not too dearly purchased at the price of innocence, social affection, intellectual improvement, refinement and elegance? If acquired at part only of this cost, ought it to be very highly prized when it is morally certain that it is to enrich others, and not those for whom you have so painfully amassed it?

We have all of us read with a throb of exultation the accounts transmitted to us of the marvellous effects produced in the ancient democracies by popular democracies by popular eloquence. It would seem that their orators exercised a dominion over the public mind [23] so vastly superior to all which is now witnessed, that we are lost in admiration of their almost superhuman powers. Unquestionably, they were among the master spirits of their age. But it is to be recollected that they flourished in small states, where the whole people assembled to act together on occasions of great and common interest; when the speakers perfectly knew all their habitual modes of thinking, their common affections, antipathies, jealousies and prejudices, and by unremitting exertions had learned to sweep with a bold and skillful hand all those chords of human excitement. A common emotion once kindled, it became fierce from sympathy, burst forth into passion, and rushed forward at once to the accomplishment of its object. It is fortunate for the repose of society that such opportunities are not now possessed by those who would direct the public will, and who will unquestionably be tempted, like the demagogues of old, to abuse their power to the gratification of sinister and selfish purposes. Orators now address not the assembled people, but magistrates and representatives selected from the people, responsible to people, acting under the restraints of limited and delegated authority, deliberating under established rules, and according to dilatory forms of proceeding. Something, however, like an approach to the sway of the ancient orators is witnessed with us in the operations of the periodical press. The general distribution of this fugitive literature, and the rapid and universal intercommunication by the mails, enable the conductors of the press to address nearly at the same moment of all their readers, however widely dispersed. Accordingly, the parties of every kind, which, from time to time, have convulsed or country by their struggles for superiority, have seized on the press as the great instrument for propagating their opinions among the people, for attracting to themselves popular favour, and overwhelming their adversaries with popular hatred. None can be [24] so blind as not to perceive the immense influence for good and for evil which this intellectual engine exerts over the public mind and the public passions, although it is not given to the most sagacious to foresee what will be the ultimate result of this, its vigorous and general employment. So mighty are the benefits which it is obviously calculated to produce, and yet so numerous and tremendous the evils which it can unquestionably effect, that all who love their country, and especially all whose education, taste and occupations connect them with its literature, should strenuously exert themselves to perpetuate its blessings, to discountenance it excesses, and to guard against its abuses.

Civilized nations, by a perfectly understood ,though tacit compact, have established rules by which their hostilities are regulated, and of which no extremity will permit the violation without incurring universal infamy. It is time that the literary struggles of contending factions should also have their fixed rules of war; " Non fraude, neque occultis, sed palam et arntum Popolum Romanum hostes suos ulcisci,", not by secret machinations, but openly and armed, the Roman people avenges itself on its foes; was the answer of the senate of Rome to the proposition of the king of the Catti to take off Arminius by poisoning of weapons and of waters, are regarded by every civilized people as utterly detestable and inadmissible in war. It is too much to hope that they should wholly forbear from those appeals to the feelings and passions of human nature, which often quicken the judgement in its operations, and without which, few will take an interest in discussions of a general character. But detraction is intimately allied in baseness and [25]cruelty to assassination. It inflicteth deadly wounds on one who cannot defend himself on equal terms. He who hesitates not by falsehood-either known to be falsehood, or recklessly taken up without care whether it be false or true- to destroy the fair fame of an adversary, wants but little of the guilt of him who would stab an enemy in the dark. Personal abuse is a poisoned weapon. Where the blow is not in itself severed, the venom may yet rankle and corrode. It is a weapon, too, which equalises the true man and the false, the courageous and the coward, and requires for its use neither vigour of intellect nor manliness of purpose. In truth, the basest, the feeblest in temper, and the weakest in argument, are usually the most disposed and the best qualified to resort to it. While it disgraces those by whom it is employed, it grievously annoys those against whom it is directed; and all engaged in the contest, whether victors or vanquished, come forth from it diseased, spotted, maimed and infected.

It is always difficult to conduct an earnest controversy without committing injustice. In the most sincere, the ambition of victory usually impairs the love of truth, and warps the judgement. Even in the benevolent, opposition to confident opinion is apt to kindle wrath, and to draw upon the opposer that hostility which should be directed against his errors. Who is there that ever engaged in such contests that did not complain that his motives or his actions were misrepresented and traduced? The experience of such injustice should render him slow to charge his adversaries with wicked acts or wicked designs, as he cannot but know that he is equally liable to commit rash mistakes. In proportion, as the temptations to this injustices are strong, the victory over them is noble and useful. It has been said of Charles Fox, that few circumstances contributed more to his exalted fame as a public debater. than the perfect fairness with which he always stated [26] the arguments of his opponent. Such frankness impressed every one with a conviction of his sincerity, evinced his calm, collected undoubting confidence in the cause of truth, and bespoken for him the most favourable attention of his hearers. Would that it were possible to inspire all our disputants, who carry on the wordy war in the daily, weekly and monthly sheets, political, literary and theological, that fly around us, with a practical sense of the advantages that result from candour, temperance and fair dealing! But too many of them are so intent on deteeting the blemishes in the character and conduct of those who dissent from them, that they have neither leisure to consider, nor thought to bestow on their own moral improvement. They wholly invert the maxim of benevolence and wisdom. They do not regard perfection as the rule by which to regulate their own conduct, but hold it up as the standard by which to censure the acts of others. They consider themselves as making ample atonement for their own violations of justice, truth and charity, by the keenness of their invectives and boldness of their denunciations against every opponent, whom zeal, prejudice or resentment converts into a transgressor. Would that they could be prevailed on to take for their guide the counsel of Coleridge-himself among the most earnest and dogmatical of public writers- "Show intolerance to erroneous principles and opinions, because they are repugnant to truth and virtue; but be tolerant to men; be tolerant of motives; for no one knows but that he may have mistaken positive opinion for certainty and clear insight. Conscientiously tolerate each other's intolerance." Or would rather, If I might dare to apply the solomn injunction of the apostle on a subject of eternal moment to one of merely temporal interest ( and why may I not, when its application concerns the highest moral good of man?) would that they act up to the emphatic [27] command, " watch ye, stand fast in the faith; quit you like men, " but, " let all your things be done with charity!"

Few functions are in their nature more honourable, or are directed to objects of higher importance, few should inspire more self-respect. or demand a deeper reverence for truth, and a more circumspect caution not to confound earnestness of purpose with insolence of manner, than those which belong to the intellectual combatants, who discuss before a free people the mighty matters which appertain to their weal. They may rely upon it, that whatever opprobrium they may throw on their adversaries, not a little of it will attach to the entire class; and the community will lose its respect for a profession, the members of which are found to bandy vulgar abuse and to deal in foul recrimination. The worst that any of them may say of the others will be readily believed of the whole. They should take a monitory lesson from the members of that learned profession which conducts the warfare of civil controversy before the tribunals of justice. These have long since discovered the necessity of courtesy and deference, and take care in the very heat and fury of the contentions which they habitually wage with each other, not to lose sight of that dignity which belongs to them as the professed advocates of right. Whenever this course is abandoned, as perhaps it sometimes is with the inferior retainers of the bar, the profession itself sinks in public estimation, and its members no longer regard each other, nor are regarded by the world, as meriting the title of gentlemen.

While an enlightened sense of self -interest, and a proper consciousness of their own dignity, should recommend these views to the conductors of the periodical press, motives of infinitely greater weight, and far more general concern, should urge them on those by whose patronage that press is upheld. The character of our nation is deeply involved in the character[28]of its public men. Let the correctness of their views, the soundness of their opinions, the wisdom of their plans, and the solidity of their arguments be subjected to the severest tests of criticism. When they are brought forward as candidates for the public service, let their acts and their qualifications be fully, frankly, yet temperately discussed. All this is necessary for the ascertainment of truth, in matters wherein the community is concerned; and of this none have a right to complain, and none will complain, but those who, when tried to the balance, are found waiting. But for the honour of the country, in the name of justice and decency, let them not be assailed by vile slang or the attribution of corrupt purposes. What will be thought abroad of us and our institutions, if these distinguished men, who are there known only as the leaders in our councils, are indiscriminately held forth to public scorn as " knaves that plot, or fools that fawn for power?" Fame is the high reward for which giants in our land contend; and those who are best qualified to attain, and the most solicitous to deserve it, our ablest, our purest, and our best, are not unfrequently the most sensitive to unmerited reproach. Unquestionably there are men who, unterrified by the "mendax infamia" of the press, will pursue the tenor of their prescribed path with unshaken constancy. But the firmest are yet frail beings; and many, who feel the stings of detraction far more keenly than they admit, are either insensibly checked in their course, or tempted to abandon the public service in disgust. If obloquy, detraction and slander are to be the sure allotment of whoever distinguishes himself in a public career, and becomes obnoxious to those whom he eclipses or defeats, all but the rugged and insensible must sooner or later be interdicted from the course. The injury which the public may sustain from this ostracism of genius, virtue and sensibility, it will be difficult for any [29] political economist to calculate. But this is not all, The most hardened in crime are usually the least accessible to reproach. The indiscriminate abuse by party prints of all who stand in the way of their factious purposes, will render it impossible for the community to judge when it is bestowed with or without cause. The censure of the press will bring no terror to evil doers, because they share it in common with all who act a part sufficiently distinguished to attract public notice. Public opinion, so far as it may be influenced by such censure, ceases to come in aid of the admonitions of conscience, and one great security for public virtue will be effectually taken away. No propriety of conduct, nor purity of motive, but unfeeling impudence, a thick skin and a marble countenance, will be the best protection against public indignation. The dignity of the press must sink. Gentlemanly feeling, candour, truth and decency no longer characterizing its conductors, it will fall into the hands of those who can best excel in malignant sarcasm, calumnious insinuation, audacious falsehood, and bitter invective. Its usefulness will be gone. Instead of the medium of truth, it will be converted into the instrument of mendacity and defamation.

That these dreaded mischiefs may happen in all their fulness of evil is at least possible. It cannot be denied that they now exist to a most injurious extent, and they threaten every day to spread wider and operate more destructively. The law does not, and perhaps cannot afford against them adequate security or redress. Possibly, in the system of compensation which seems to characterize all here below, they are an unavoidable tax upon freedom. But if it be so, much may yet be done to mitigate and allay what cannot be thoroughly cured or entirely destroyed. Enlightened public opinion is, next to religion, the great conservator of virtue and propriety. Let all who have studied those ingenuous arts, which soften manners and [30]permit not men to remain ferocious; let all who love their country and their country's cause, discountenance what they cannot but abhor. Let them require that the public journals should be conducted by men who respect themselves, and whom the wold respects; and then we may hope to render comparatively harmless that virus which is likely to poison the fountains of intelligence. There is no party in our country, political, sectional or religious, which cannot find able, educated, honourable and decent editors and contributors, to maintain, with zeal and spirit, its peculiar views. Let none others be permitted to lay hands on the ark of their cause. Let it be understood that none others are fit to be employed as the champions of truth. Then indecency will be considered as the avowal of an intent to commit falsehood, and then even blackguards by nature will be compelled to assume the manners of gentlemen, and pay to virtue at least the homage of their hypocrisy.

There is another subject to which, on this occasion, your attention may properly be invited. The spirit of freedom is a powerful principle, prompting to boldness of thought and action, connected with an excitable temperament, and seeking for sympathy and co-operation from kindred minds. If it wanted these properties, it would be inadequate to the performance of the great duties which it is required to discharge, and unfit to meet the hardy trials which it is doomed to encounter. But like that unseen agent which is daily operating such marvels amongst us, which drives the mighty steamer through the waters, and sends the fiery ear careering over the land, it must be effectually secured and skilfully regulated, or its explosions will spread havoc around. To retain it safe, yet active; to impose upon it all needful, but no unnecessary restraint; to direct it wisely, virtuously and happily, has been among the highest objects of human study, and in all ages has given [31] employment to the most capacious intellect and the most experienced sagacity. Next to that truth which cometh down from heaven, does it most concern the welfare of man to be right upon this subject. It is a trite observation, but not on that account less correct, that the greatest of blessings become the worst of curses when they are perverted and abused. Without freedom, man is a poor, miserable, abject thing, the sport and victim of his fellow man's rage, caprice and cruelty, having neither vigour of thought, motive for exertion, nor rational hope to gratify. But there can be no freedom without law. Unrestrained liberty is anarchy; domination in the strong; slavery in the weak; outrage and plunder in the combined oppressors; helpless misery in the oppressed; insecurity, suspicion, distrust, and fear to all. Law is the guardian of freedom. To borrow the thoughts, and as far as possible, the words of the orator of Athens, " Law seeks for that which is just, good and useful, and when it is found, proclaims it as an ordinance equal and alike to all. To law all should submit, for it of divine institution, the enactment of wise men, the corrective of wrongs, and the common compact of the state, according to which every citizen is bound to live." There is high sublimity in the conception of moral and intelligent beings acknowledging no superior upon earth, yet conscious of their own infirmities, follies and distracting passions; resolved to submit to no wrong, and anxious to do wrong to none; embodying themselves into a state, and yielding allegiance to that state's collected will; obeying no man as man, but yielding prompt and loyal obedience to every ordinance that may be decreed according to those prescribed forms which ensure the happiness of all, and which are equal, uniform and universal in their application to all. Such is the glorious spectacle exhibited in or land, and long may it be presented to the hope and wonder of an admiring world! May He who watches over nations, and [32] who is mindful of the sons of men, preserve to us, and to our children, and to our children's children, these blessed institutions! But we must not content ourselves with idle wishes. Blessings are not granted simply for man's enjoyment, or even for man's gratitude; they are bestowed also, and principally, as motives to virtuous exertion, objects of his care, and pledges for his vigilance, courage, prudence and activity. History is full of instances- alas! it records but little else- of free states built up by wisdom and virtue, undetermined and overturned by folly and vice. Deprecating from the bottom of my soul this fate for my country, I would fain warn my countrymen with an earnest tone against the evil auguries which seem to threaten her free existence. It may be, that as even the ordinary voice of the surf awakens, in those unused to its deep and solemn roar, terrors at which the hardy seaman smiles; it may be that he who, remote from public bustle, hears in his retirement the distant report of the outburstings of popular violence, may distress himself with imaginary and unfounded alarms. But when, from one end to the other of this extended confederacy, we behold lawless associations asserting the prerogative of vindictive justice, legislating for what they fancy to be crimes; adjudicating on those whom they suppose guilty, and by such rules of evidence as best suits their rage; and executing sentences of devastation, torture and death, with appalling rapidity; there is, there must be, cause of dread that a spirit is rife in the land which must be put down, or our fathers have bled and toiled in vain, and all that has been won by their valour or treasured by their wisdom-all is lost.

It would seem as though the first principles of constitutional liberty were becoming obsolete. The law here demands our obedience, because we have pledged ourselves to obey it, and a breach of this engagement is perfidy. Rebellion against the law, against the expressed voice of the commonwealth, of [33]the regularly declared will of the embodied people, the only recognised sovereign, is " crimen laesae majestatis" is in the nature of treason. The law deserves our obedience, for that alone can reconcile the jarring interests of all, secure each against the rashness or malignity of others, and blend into one harmonious union the discordant materials of which society is composed. The law throws its broad shield over the rights and the interests of the humbelest, the proudest, the poorest and the wealthiest in the land. It fences around what every individual has already gained, and it ensures to him the enjoyment of whatever his industry may acquire. It saves the merchant ruinous hazards, provides security for the wages of the mechanic and the labourer, and enables the husbandman to reap his harvests without fear of plunder. The sanctity of the marriage tie, the purity of virgin modesty, the leisure of the student, the repose of the aged, the enterprise of the active, the support of indigence and the decencies of divine worship, are all under its guardian care. It makes every man's house his castle, and keeps watch and ward over his life, his name, his family, and his property. It travels with him by land and by sea; watches while he sleeps; and arrays, in the defence of him and of his, the physical strength of the entire state. Surely, then, it is worthy of our reverence, our gratitude, and our love. Surely obedience to its mandates is among the highest of our duties. Surely its service is not incompatible with perfect freedom.

Let us consider for a moment the sophisms by which revolts against law are sought to be justified. It is said that there are evils which the law cannot cure, or which it cannot cure in time, and that in these recourse may be had to irregular popular movements. A very brief examination will enable us to decide upon the validity of this plea. It assumes that every evil in the state may be cured, ought to be cured without [34]delay, and that cure, when not otherwise to be had, may be safely obtained from lawless violence. every part of this assumption is contrary to fact, and revolting to good sense. All human things and human institutions are necessarily imperfect. Where is the man, however wise or virtuous, that finds not in himself much that is wrong, and which, with all his efforts, he is unable wholly to correct? Where us the family in which no irregularities occur, but such as are instantly suppressed by parental discipline? even there, where mingled love and reverence invest the patriarchal superior with almost absolute power; where his first wish is their good, and their greatest delight his approbation- even there, much that is not exactly right is wisely overlooked, and much that us inconvenient, patiently borne. When men unites into states, men of all sorts, dispositions, pursuits and habits, it cannot but be theat irregularities must be vastly increased, and as these multiply, occasional impunity must become more frequent. It is if the nature of humanity. Who seeks a perfect state, seeks what "ne'er was, nor is, e'er shall be." Let the perfect man throw the first stone against the imperfect state. But were this part of the sophism less absurd, nothing can be more preposterous than the rest; that the remedy for these social imperfections is to be found in tumultuary violence. Those evils which cannot be redressed by application of the means, which the collected wisdom of the community, borrowing from the stores of ancient wisdom, as well as from its own experience and sagacity, has been able to devise, are to be cured- by whose interference? By that of the people? But who in fact are here intended by the people? The most passionate, fierce, vindictive, rash and uniformed portion of that people, acting upon the impulse of sudden excitement, banded under furious leaders, sometimes unknown, often irresponsible, and generally actuated by a spirit of personal [35]malice, swoln into formidable strength by the accession of all who love mischief and riot in crime, and hurried into deeds of atrocity, which not one in ten contemplated or intended, when he first engaged in the scheme of violence. This is the appellate, this the revising tribunal, for whose wisdom, and caution, and experience, and impartiality, are to be reserved those difficult and delicate cases, which the ordinary provisions of the law cannot reach, or which its regular administrators are incompetent to manage! Yes; we have has proofs sufficiently cogent to leave us without doubt of the fitness of this high justiciary, the mob, to execute justice in mercy, to cure the law's delays, and to supply the law's omissions. We have seen it in hostile bands of citizens arrayed against each other with murderous weapons, when exercising the duty of suffrage. We have seen it in innocent females driven forth from their dwellings by ferocious incendiaries. We have witnessed it in a city surrendered for days and nights to outrage and arson; in helpless people of colour hunted from their dwellings like beasts of prey from their caverns; and in mock-courts murdering in the face of day, and asking for the commendation of a virtuous people upon lawless deeds! The time is approaching, the time is come, when the question must be decided, whether we shall live under that law which has protected our fathers since they came from the other side of the flood in the olden time, and which has hitherto preserved us in all the way wherein we went, or yield our necks to the yoke of misrule. Choose ye then whom ye will serve, yourselves or a mob; a government of law or a government of force. As every act of rebellion against the supremacy of conscience weakens its power until the whole man becomes the slave of wickedness, so every instance of successful revolt against the state's collected will, impairs its beneficent say, until finally the state itself sinks into political servitude. Necessity will drive [36]men into factious combinations, when the will and power of the whole, when the law no longer protects them. Contending factions will make war upon each other, at first perhaps under some plausible pretext of strife, because of some political, religious or sectional difference, and with some semblance of regard to the ancient forms of the constitution; but ultimately and avowedly, ad internecionem for power and for plunder. From such evils, despotism itself is a refuge. The unlimited rule of one master is more tolerable than the unsparing domination if many and every changing sovereigns. The history of the world can scarcely be opened without meeting with the annals of the decline and fall of freedom. The summary is short. Liberty becomes licentious, and bursts the bounds of law. factions rage and war against each other. The war of factions is succeeded by a confiscating and sanguinary anarchy. Anarchy is superseded by tyranny.

God forbid that I should believe that this is fated to be our lot! No; I do trust that there is a redeeming spirit of virtue and wisdom in our land that will save us from this hideous ruin, and save our name and our institutions from this fouls disgrace. Though the people's violence is never to be tolerated, the intelligence of the people may always be rightfully invoked. Public opinion is unquestionably on the side of law and order, but public opinion should come forth with am imposing majesty, and in a decided tone. Let us proclaim, as with the voice of one man; This land is free, and free it shall remain. No freeman shall be here outlawed, or exiled, or in any manner destroyed or deprived of life, liberty, or property, but by the law of the land. No man, and no combinations of men, shall be permitted to exercise power which has not been delegated to them by the people in the mode designated in their constitutional treaties. He who offends against the law, let him be punished by the law; but if [37]the law condemn him not, neither shall man condemn him. Let us cleave with our whole hearts to these plain and venerated maxims of justice. Away with those miserable palliations by which violence and outrage are attempted to be excused and half justified. It is a most dangerous tampering with ,orals to invent apologies for acknowledged crime. Let us no longer hear it pleaded, that the provocation was strong-that the multitude meant well- that the multitude was misled? When it was wished to drown the feeble voice of justice, still but irresolutely declaring that it found no fault in the man touching those things whereof he was accused, the multitude was made to cry out the more, " Crucify him, crucify him." Yet many of this very multitude, but a few days before, had preceded his entrance into the holy city with shouts of triumph, proclaiming hossannas to the Son of David, and spreading their very garments in his way in token of their irrepressible love and veneration. The multitude, whoever may be the individuals that compose it, is always excitable; the multitude cannot reason; it is unfit to judge; and by the law it is not trusted to judge. Very individual of which it is composed would refuse to submit his rights to the adjudication of such a body; has had his voice in making and modifying the rules by which his rights and the rights of all are to be adjudged;and knows that hesins against those rules, and wounds the very life- principle of society, in daring to usurp, as one of a multitude. But " the multitude meant well!" Uprightness of intention may be justly pleaded by those whose duty it is to act, and who have used every diligence to acertain what is right. Hard would be their lot if made penally responsible, not only for wickedness of purpose and carelessness of effort, but for error of judgement. But not for [38]one moment should it be admitted as an apology for any usurper of power. Did he not know himself to be fallible With that knowledge, did he not dare to arrogate what no mortal should ever be permitted to wield.-the unlimited power of inflicting misery at discretion? Were he gifted with a judgement of superhuman correctness, he had the leisure or the patience for investigation? Or could he rely on his associations for that wisdom and purity which shall discriminate between real and suspected guilt; and apportion penalties to every grade of offence?

He who seizes unlawful power is not only guilty of the grievous crime of usurption, but he is responsible to God and man for every mischeivious consequence which results from the crime. To god alone is it given to forsee, with unerring certainty, what will follow from human conduct. To man beongs to do what is right- what has been directed-and trust the consequences to God. But if he will do what he knows is forbidden, and impiously experiment on human happiness,all the misery which follows from the deed accompanies the transgression, and they both lie at his door. "Yet the provocation was strong." And for that very reason those who felt themselvesprovoked were peculiarly disqualified to judge and to punish. This pretext of excuse directs our attention at once to the great cause wherefore the law allows to no man a right of revenge. Every individual who enters into society surrenders all claim to the power of private judgement and punishment,because the exercise of it is incompatible with the existence of society. If one were allowed to be judge of his own cause, there would be no bounds to his infliction but the limits of his resentment. If one may rightfully exercise this power, upon no principle of social equality can it be denied to others. The commonwealth would then become,what some [39] theorists have supposed the state of nature to have been, a state of mutual and genral war, a society without a principle of cohesion, a solecism interms. The assumption of a power to punish by a combination of men, because they feel or feign themselves to be provoked at what they term misconduct, is far more inadmissible, and far more terrible than the power of private punishment. The unfortunate object of resentment is less able to defend himself, and the fury of his foes is not kept in check by the fear of retailation. There is no security for any individual, however blameless or inoffensive his conduct, that some or other of his acts, opinions or expressions- nay, his very forbearance to act or speak- may not be misconceived and misrepresented by the folly, rashness or malice of some one of this man headed, and many handed multitude, and he thus rendered the object of the vindictive pursuit of all. Besides, those are usually most vehement in theri indignation against the misconduct of their fellow men, who are leastserupulous to avoid misconduct themselves. It is a cheap mode of acquiring a reputatioon for moral excellence. It costs no personal privation to visit with severity the sins of our neighbours. And in every combination of provoked men, the passions become maddened by contagious sympathy, the most furious take the lead, and the comparatively moderate musteither follow or acquiesce in their dictation. It is not punishment which they would inflict; but it is vengeance which they would gratify. Vengeance is unsated if but one victim elude its fury; the innocent ma suffer, but the guilty must not escape. Not in this spirit does the law denounce or inflict its penalties. It knows that vengeance belongs not to man. It would rather that many guilty should escape with impunity, than one innocent being suffer wrong. It corrects as a father should chastise. The reformation of the culprit, and the safety of the community, are the sole purposes for which it arms [40] itself with terrors, or will consent to cause human sufferings. It allows no angry passions to disturb its even course. It permitsnot the provoked individual, nor those who, from the ties of blood or affinity, may feel the provocation, to take a part in the adjudication, although the offence has been previously defined, and the measure of the punishment precisely limited. No; the spirit of lawful punishment has nothing in common with the mob- violence. It breathes a purer atmosphere; it lives in a higher region; it reigns, calm, pure and holy, far above the dark mists, and foul vapours, and wild uproar of earth-born passion.

Perpetuum nulla temeratus nube serenum,
Celsior exsurgit pluviis, auditque ruentes
sub pedibus nimbos, et rauca tonitrua calent.

Attachment to the community of which we are members, is principle of social union implanted in our nature by the all-wise Creator, who willed that men should form themselves into states. In the ignorant, it operates with the constancy and blindness of an instinct; manifesting itself sometimes in generous self- devotion to the common cause, and, at others, in disgusting antional vanity, or in silly hatred of other communities. But when this instinct is regulated by reason, refined by moral associations, and controlled by a spirit of good will to the whole human race, it becomed one of the most exalted principles of action, the spur which " the clear spirit doth raise" to virtuous, heroic, and patriotic deeds. Surely, my friends we may say, without incurring the imputation of arrogance or vanity, that we have a country worthy of our love. Her free, and mild, and beneficent institutions give us protection at home, ad a name that commands reverence abroad. But protection will be gone, and renown lost, if she ceases to be the land of law, order and freedom. Her venerable institutions [41] must then give place to misrule, and that proud name become a hissing and a reproach in the mouths of men. The light of American freedom now shines a beacon to many afar off; a star of hope to the affrighted, of gladness to the benevolent, and of encouragement to the oppressed of the earth. But extinguished, it will be remembered as a delusive meteor which rose full of promise, dazzled with momentary splendour, and then left the world in deeper darkness than before. This must not be. On this venerated and loved spot, where the seeds of virtuous wisdom were early planted in our minds; where we were taught to reverence God and to do good to man; to consider every change and condition of life worthy to be prized as affording occasions for the performance of duty; to regard individual happiness as indissolubly bound up in happiness of our friends, our companions and our fellow men; where patriotism was not merely cherished as an instinct, but cultivated, purified, and made holy as a moral principle; here let us resolve to do what in us lies, and what to us belongs, to perpetuate this country. Not those only who wield public authority, or sit in the public counsels, are charged with this office. Ambitious men may rise and disappear; parties may struggle, and power often change hands; but our country will remain, our country will " flourish in immortal youth," unhurt amidst the crush of contending factions, and surviving the wreck of most mortal things, if the soul of national freedom be kept alive. The breath of that life is virtue. Demoralized public sentiment is a mephitic gas in which freedom dies. Let us all then perseveringly contribute our aid to keep public sentiment pure.

You young men of the rising generation, your country's promise, her present hope and her future stay- your generous natures will not permit you be neutral or cold in this sacred cause. Enlarge your minds with knowledge, strengthen your [42] capacities foe usefulness, control your animal appetites, fortify your principles, and rule your fiery passions, that you may be better able to " bind the rage and stay the headlong course" of others. You who are engaged in the varied occupations of life, and take a part in those contests which are inseparable from its concerns, and which unavoidably excite temporary dissensions and angry feelings, remember, in the very tempest and whirlwind of the conflict, that no triumph can compensate or atone for an injury to the public morals. These destroyed n contest remains worthy of honourable ambition. And let us, who have nearly reached the goal of our earthly career, by precept, and still more by example, strive to win all to moderation, candour, justice and benevolence. Let us seek to obtain, and when obtained, let us hold fast, whatsoever things are honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report. Then may we hope, by God's blessing on our endeavour, to accomplish what we all so fervently desire; and then, at the worst, and happened what may, none will be able to take from us the consolation of virtuous intentions and diligent efforts.