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the most completely from party influences the most unscrupulous partisans ; and would make large masses welcome war and even acquiesce in ruin, if it appeared that they could thus counteract the antagonist tactics, humiliate the rival leader, or remotely in fluence the election of the next President. It is already painfully felt that as far as the universal choice of the people was relied on to secure for the highest office of the state the most commanding ability or the most signal merit, it may be pronounced to have failed. There may be less habitual and actual noise in Congress than in our own Parliament, but the time of the House of Representatives, not without cost to the constituent body which pays for their services, is continuously taken up, when not engrossed by a speech of some days' duration, with wrangles upon points of order and
angry recriminations ; the language used in debate has oceasionally sounded the lowest depths of coarse and virulent acrimony, and the floor of the Legislative Hall has actually been the scene of violent personal rencounter. The manners of the barely civilized West, where it has been known that counsel challenge judges on the Bench, and Members of the Legislature fire off rifles at the Speaker as he sits in the chair, would appear to be gradually inrading the very inner shrine of the Constitution. Having done justice to the strictness and purity of morals which distinguishi many of the more settled portions of the continent, it cannot be concealed that the reckless notions an dhabits of the vagrant pioneers of the West, evinced as these are by the practices of gambling, drinking, and licentiousness, by an habitual disregard of the Sabbath, and by more constant swearing than I
where else, fearfully disfigure that great valley of the Mississippi, destined inevitably, at no distant day, to be the preponderating section of the entire Union. It is at this day impossible to go into any society especially of the older and more thoughtful men, some of whom may themselves have borne an eminent part in the earlier struggles and service of the commonwealth, without hearing the degeneracy of modern times, and the downward tendency of all things, despondingly insisted upon. At the period of my visit, besides the numerous instances of individual bankruptcy and insolvency, not, alas, peculiar to the New World, the doctrine of repudiation, officially promulgated by sovereign States, had given an unpleasing confirmation to what is perhaps a prevailing tendency among retired politicians. I have reserved for the last topic of animadversion the crowning evil—the capital danger--the mortal plague-spot-Slavery. I have not disclaimed the original responsibility of my own country in introducing and riveting it upon her dependencies ; I do not disguise the portentous difficulties in the way of adequate remedy to the great and growing disease. But what I cannot shut my eyes on is, that while it lasts, it must still continue, in addition to the actual amount of suffering and wrong which it entails on the enslaved, to operate with terrible re-action on the dominant class, to blunt the moral sense, to sap domestic virtue, to degrade independent industry, to check the onward march of enterprise, to sow the seeds of suspicion, alarm, and vengeance in both internal and external intercourse, to distract the national councils, to threaten the permanence of the Union, and to leave a brand, a bye-word, and a jest, upon the name of Freedom.
Having thus endeavoured, without consciousness of any thing mis-stated or exaggerated, though of much that is wanting and incomplete, on either side, to sum up the good and the bad, I leave my hearers to draw their own conclusions from the whole ; there are large materials both for approval and attack, ample grounds both for hope and fear. Causes are occasionally at work which almost appear to portend a disruption of the Federal Union ; at the same time a strong sentiment of pride about it, arising partly from an honest patriotism, partly from a feeling of complacency in its very size and extent, may tend indefinitely to postpone any such pregnant result ; but whatever may be the solution of that question, whatever the issue of the future destinies assigned to the great American Republic, it is impossible to have contemplated her extent, her resources, the race that has mainly peopled her, the institutions she has derived or originated, the liberty which has been their life-blood, the industry which has been their offspring, and the free Gospel which has been published on her wide plains and wafted by her thousand streams, without nourishing the belief, and the hope, that it is reserved for her to do much, in the coming generations, for the good of man and the glory of God.
DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES AT HUDDERSFIELD
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
Though this is the first time that I have had the gratifica. tion of attending any meeting in connection with the Huddersfield College, yet you must give me leave to assure you that it has so happened, not from any want of friendly invitation on the part of its friends and supporters, or from the want of any good will or interest on my part. Hitherto, parliamentary and official duties, and such material hindrances as the interposition of seas, whether the Irish Channel, or, more recently, the Atlantic Ocean, have prevented my complying both with their friendly summons and with my own strong inclination ; but I have taken advantage of the first opportunity of unengrossed leisure which I have enjoyed in the county of York, to attend the half-yearly examination of the Huddersfield College. There is much in the design and in the constitution of this establishment there is much in my judgment at least which entitles it to warm sympathy and active support, My own prepossessions - prejudices, if you like to call them — have been long powerfully associated with the ancient endowed institutions, generally called the great public schools of this country; but I have been long convinced, that in many portions of our land, especially in districts like this, where a long course of successful industry and enterprise has drawn together large masses of people, and has elevated many of them, I do not say to any overweening luxury and opulence, but to honourable and dig. nified competence, it was most expedient that the means of useful and liberal education should be brought near to their own doors and homes, and that a system should be introduced in which scarcely any of the polite and humanizing branches of study should
be omitted, but, in addition to this, more of a practical character, as well as of a comprehensive range, should be given to the cus. tomary methods of instruction. I rejoice to perceive in the plan and the very fundamental constitution of this establishment, a full admission of the principle, – of the indispensable principle, in my view, - that all acquirements should be grounded on a religious basis; and I am equally impressed with the urgency, that in any new system aiming at general utility, placed not merely in such districts as that to which I have adverted, but subsisting in such times as those we live in, its benefits should not be fenced in by any exclusive barriers, or founded upon any denominational tests. I do not mean to depreciate the immense importance of our own conscientious convictions ; but while I would never discountenance adherence to own sense of right and duty, I would most strongly recommend the establishment of such institutions, as, without wounding the susceptibilities of the individual conscience, will give the fullest participation of their common benefits to all who may be disposed to enjoy them; and, indeed, I feel no surprise, from knowing those by whom this Institution was mainly founded, and upon looking round me, as at this day, upon many by whom it is still upheld and fostered, that I can trace in the constitution and character of this establishment no deviation from the great principles of religious freedom. Depend upon it, there is no inore fitting and genial shelter under which all sound and useful studies, and ornamental accomplishments, can thrive and spread, protecting them alike from the chilling and nipping blight of indifference, and from the blasting breath of bigotry; and tempering Thabits of independence and self-relying thought with profound humility for that which is supreme, and with tenderness and reverence for the conscientious convictions of others. 4. I should now just wish, with your kind allowance, to address one or two words of sympathy and counsel to the younger portion of the audience, to those who are the peculiar subjects of the exhibition of this morning. I feel that I may spare all congratulation to the actual receivers of the prizes — to the victors in the lettered ring. Tliè palm that has been assigned to them in the face of an inter ested and applauding auditory, must be quite sufficient reward in itself, and they will not want any words of mine to enhance it. What I want all, whether successful or unsuceessful competitors, to remember, is, that the acquisition of knowledge is its own chief
reward. It is to be valued mainly not for the light in which it exhibits us before others, or the position in which it places us in society, but for what it makes us in ourselves susceptible of what is beautiful, pursuers of what is useful, practisers of what is righ masters of ourselves, and beyond and above the reach of circumstances. In this attempt to enumerate the proper and best results whieh can be derived from the acquisition of knowledge, I intend to include all its branches-from the highest and most indispensable, to what are considered the more practical and common-place, or the mere subsidiary and ornamental. None of them, in their several spheres and degrees, ought to be overlooked or slighted. When I allude to high and spiritual matters as the most indispensable, I hope I sufficiently indicate my own meaning. Take away the higher truths, and the most practical pursuits are but labour in vain, and the most graceful acquirements are but fading wreaths hung round empty bowers. But in just subordination to these, I am very glad to observe that considerable attention is be: stowed upon what are called classical studies, the knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages, and others. Perhaps you will think that in this observation I am betraying some of the prepossessions or prejudices connected with my own early education, to which I before adverted; but I am most deeply persuaded, that a knowledge and acquaintance with the immortal works contained ini those languages, --not, however, I admit, to be too exclusively, or encroachingly, or universally insisted upon,tend more, perhaps, than any thing else, to train the judgment in composition and criticism, to refine and educate the general taste, and to give at önce vigour and grace to literature and to thought; not to mention the never failing sources of refreshment and delight which they secure to their individual votaries. If I do not refer so pointedly to that may be considered the more useful and practical branches of study, whether you include the knowledge of modern languages, the mastery of all resources of arithmetic, and the rudiments of the leading sciences, it is not from underrating their great and promihent importance, but because their advantages, though immense, are of a more obvious character. They come home almost to all our pursuits and occupations, and cross us in almost every path of life. Well, then, my young friends, if you will allow me to turn myself to you, when the motives for diligent application are so varied and important, when the returns to it are so sure and so