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covered, and a new and irrepressible impulse was given to the human mind.

True, there was a strong revulsion. The Inquisition kindled its fires. Gallileo had published that the earth moved round the sun, instead of the sun round the earth, as was the orthodox doctrine of astronomy. The priests, on the contrary, willed the sun to move, and the earth to stand still; and they had power to compel Gallileo to burn his books, and abjure his doctrine. But the stubborn order of the universe continued to chime the eternal music of the spheres in its own way, bulls and anathemas to the contrary notwithstanding. Persecution was as powerless to shake the invincible purpose of the free spirit, as to reverse the movements of the heavenly bodies. As one martyr to the truth fell after another, ten aspirants arose to replace the victim, and to thunder in the ears of tyranny, that neither fear, fire, nor death can awe the free mind, or change its convictions. Every year brought accessions to the mass of knowledge, and vigor and fearlessness to the spirit of inquiry. Truth became eagle-eyed, and capable of contemplating the sun with an undazzled vision.

The early magistracy and priests of our country had learned in a school-for, in fact, the age knew no other school-that fines may convince, that imprisonment is an admirable framer of syllogisms, that the fear of death can alter a man's convictions in a moment, and that the argument of perdition is perfectly irresistible, unless the mind were given over to judicial blindness. They had seen the Catholics of the old world ply the Lutherans with these most persuasive reasonings. They had observed that the Lutherans, as soon as they had ability, charitably propounded them to the Calvinists. The Calvinists, having felt their efficacy in their own case, made a gracious tender of them to Servetus and his followers.

Intrepid for endurance as they were, our puritan fathers relished not this vehement ratiocination; and as they came over the seas, they talked earnestly about freedom of conscience and opinion; meaning, as it afterwards appeared, that they understood all to be free who were of their opinion, and none else. But though the avowed object of their coming to America, was, that they might make sermons of such length and opinions as pleased them, they early began to bethink them of the easy and approved modes of conversion in the father land. The Quakers were among the first to experience the benefit of these remembrances. Scarcely had their own singed hair ceased to smell of the fires of persecution, from which themselves had escaped, before they began to persecute in their turn. History and song have lauded our forefathers; and of right, for they were great and good, notwithstanding this inherent infirmity of the age and the human mind; but for this we praise them not.

To the eternal honor of our country, its genius from the beginning has been hostile to cruelty; and the argument by fire has never been allowed. It soon also renounced that by fines, imprisonment, and banishment. Our first act, after becoming a nation, was to forget the whole doctrine of persecution, to restrict the priesthood to spiritual functions, to lay a final interdict upon the bans between church and

state, and to engraft perfect freedom of opinion, as the master principle, into the body and spirit of our constitution.

Here then we can proudly point to one country, where all opinions are equal in the eye of the law. Rumor, borne on every breeze from Europe, inspires new hope, that the civilized world will soon be with us, and that truth and error will be allowed every where, as here, to engage on the free and unmolested field of argument. Here every sect finds building ground and followers. The press opens its fountains of ink impartially for all. Every mode, in which truth or falsehood can be promulgated, is in active operation for good or evil, from the sea to the lakes, and from the remotest north to the land of the fig tree and the cane. Innumerable nurseries of thought, in every stage from the embryo free-school to the turreted university, are germinating knowledge and truth.

Another intellectual era, second only in importance to that of the invention of printing, has just dawned. It is that of active and simultaneous effort to diffuse all that is useful in science among the people at large. Learning no longer shrouded herself in state and mystery, or pretended that she was only at home in universities and cloistered halls. She no longer prided herself in transcendental speculations, and holding her face always towards the stars. She deserted her range beyond the spheres, and began to discuss the actual, rather than the possible. On the assumption of how things should be, she no longer laid the basis of systems, which attempted to explain how things were. The inductive philosophy has gained an almost universal triumph, and men every where begin to reason from observation and known facts, to things which are unknown. Men truly and nobly wise, the real benefactors of their species, hammered from the mountain of transcendental science the outer shell of useful knowledge, that they might present it in an accessible and practical form to the body of the people. They taught that there is neither mystery, nor difficulty, nor even value in learning, apart from its actual utility. Numerous minds, imbued with the soundest science and the best learning, having themselves caught Nature in the fact, reported what they had seen of her, in simplest, most abbreviated and intelligible phrase, for the general illumination of the species. The result was, that the people began to understand that wisdom no longer holds her peculiar domicil within cloistered walls, under the domes of universities, or in the secret cell of the Alchymist, searching for the elixir of life, the transmuting philosopher's stone, and perpetual motion. Science, on the contrary, became sociable and even democratic. She threw off her dainty garb, and in her plainest dress entered the bake-shop and the brewery, enlightened the forge, the laboratory, and the glass-house; and made her most beautiful discoveries immediately subservient to the most indispensable manufactures. The hues of her coloring emulated the splendors of the rainbow, and her porcelain became the basis of the richest landscapes. The constituents of air, and those gases that ascend towards the morning sun, were analyzed, weighed in a balance, decomposed, and recomposed. A new era was thus introduced in the all important department of medicine, and generally in the most useful arts.

It is, in fact, one of the distinctive characteristics of the

age,

that all are disposed to unlabel mystery and pretension; and that investigation of every sort, from the almost superhuman researches of La Place downwards, has been chiefly directed to points of actual utility. At the head of the advocates for general instruction, we place the great name of Brougham. The first fruit of his noble labors in this walk, was the 0ciety for promoting Useful Knowledge. The most energetic exertions of this astonishing man have been consecrated to the effort to render all useful science accessible to the laboring classes and mechanics, by modes which have been found admirably adapted to the design.

I know there are not wanting those who will ask, what fruit we have to show, resulting from these boasted efforts to diffuse knowledge ? They object, that they have heard to satiety the claims of innumerable societies to advance morals, religion, education, and, as the phrase is, the march of mind; but that they see nothing but the repetition of the never-ending chapter of human aberration, fanaticism, and ignorance, and the world just as ignorant and credulous as ever. Were it even so, instead of paralizing new exertions to remove ignorance and misery, it ought to be the very argument that should arouse and concentrate new and more vigorous efforts. But it is not so. We grant there is still enough of ignorance, prejudice, and fanaticism remaining. But we are just as sure, that society is advancing, slowly indeed, but steadily, in knowledge, and consequently in happiness; for we hold them to be antecedents and consequents, or rather cause and effect.

As an evidence that the condition of humanity is improving, in consequence of the progress of the age, we select the fact that it has been demonstrated, by comparison of the bills of mortality of most civilized countries, that the annual number of deaths has diminished in the ratio of from three to six per cent., and that in the same countries the length of human life has been extended nearly in the same proportion. As one of the chief elements of this result, we may count the benevolent, and we might add, sublime efforts, that have been made for the suppression of intemperance. An equally palpable one is the discovery of vaccination. What spectacles of horror and mortality would not American cities have exhibited, but for this discovery! In demonstration of the ignorance, prejudice, and error, that are yet to be vanquished, we produce the fact, that our bills of mortality present no inconsiderable number of deaths of victims either to ignorance or disbelief, or reckless neglect of the vaccine disease, as a preservative against small pox. Are proofs required of improved comfort? We select the improved facilities of rapid, cheap, and comfortable travelling; for we hold, that of all our physical enjoyments, that of cheap and pleasant travelling is the highest and most beneficial. Let us take the Great West for example. A family can now travel a thousand miles in many directions, cheaper and more comfortably than they could an hundred, when we first descended the Ohio. Contemplate the pleasure of meeting the intelligent, distinguished, and beautiful,--statesmen and scholars-from every nook of our vast country, courting the cool breezes of the sea, or quaffing medicinal waters at the points of fashionable resort. Not only

the most rational pleasure, but enlarged liberality, the breaking down of sectional feeling, and improved ideas in every respect, cannot but result from these annual summer excursions. The beautiful bay of NewYork is wedded by a chain of the most commodious water communications, embracing all the vast fresh water seas of the north, with the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico. Add to this view the great rail-road to the Ohio, and the rail-car hoisting its flag to the breeze, and floating from the queen city of the Chesapeake towards the beautiful valley of the Ohio, at the rate of fourteen miles an hour. Need we ask, what would have been the aspect of Cincinnati at the present day, but for the invention of steam-boats? Need we contrast the farmer's team, starting in the month of March through the bottomless mortar beds from Dayton to this flourishing and beautiful city, with the canal-boat bringing down its thirty tons of freight, its pleasure party, and its band of music at the same trip? In a word, the whole relative order of things in the West, compared with its condition when we first saw it, is the contrast of the immense steam-boat proudly sweeping past Cincinnati with its gay town of six hundred inhabitants, and its burthen of five hundred tons, and rounding to the levee at New Orleans in eight days, with the flat boat, moving with the current, starting with the first verdure of spring, to encounter the toil, insalubrity, current, storms, sand-bars, snags, and nameless dangers, with its unwieldy motion, and making a fortunate voyage, if its owner returns safe to his family, to find his harvest ripe for the sickle.

We indulge in no day-dreams so pleasant, as those sunny hours in which we look forward to the future, cheered by this comparison of the present with the past, and calculate the concurrent influence of honest and unshackled inquiry, a higher philosophy, a system of universal instruction, and the superstructure reared upon all the knowledge and improvement of the present. Let us imagine some features of the anniversary address of him who shall have the honor to lecture to this Lyceum fifty years to come.

“ Permit me,” he will say, “to take a retrospect of things as they existed fifty years ago.. Let me begin with religion. There were then in the land nearly three hundred Christian sects, with the most unpronounceable names in the language. They all proclaimed that God was love, and the Saviour the Prince of Peace; and that, to be his disciple, was to go about doing good. I venerate the gospel, and I dare not go into the Christian practice in those times. If all those sects had had thunder at command, how often it would have thundered! They wrote books against each other, and tracts, and pamphlets, and reviews, and sermons, and journal-paragraphs; and there was pope and anti-pope, and presbyter and anti-presbyter, and high church and low church and no church, and radicals and rantersad infinitum ; and the world was stunned with the fierceness of their puerile disputes. In fact, literature was obliged to adopt a term for the spirit of religious disputation. It was named Odium Theologium, or, as they translated it in those times, a righteous hatred. It is said that all the sects were never known to agree but in one thing, and that was, to allow the current value to the circulating medium of the country. But we are removed fifty years

from those gloomy times; and now the greater portion of mankind are Christians on the ground of investigation and conviction ; and those who are still so unhappy as not to be so, are obliged, by reverence for the truth, to say of all the sects, . See how these Christians love one another!' The Christian of every sect takes his brother of every other by the hand. A minister of the gospel is no longer known by the name of his denomination, or by his garb or cloth, but by his mental enlargement, his broad and philosophic views of Christianity, the sanctity of his life, and his more active zeal to do good. Not a book of controversial divinity has been written for the last ten years. The motto of every church, the distinctive badge of every denomination, is, "Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will to men! They had hackneyed the term education, even fifty years ago, in all the changes of dull common-place. But the elements of that sublime science had scarcely been separated from their chaos. Think of their devoting seven years, the morning and the prime of life, to Latin and Greek, particles and prosody included! The Hamiltonian and Bolmarian systems of teaching languages were scouted from learned halls, as too vulgarly efficient and rapid in teaching. The venerable fathers had entered the interior of the temple of science through the discipline of birch and tears, and for the credit of the fane, they would not admit a cheaper admission for their sons than themselves. The pupil was taught from the catechism, the pulpit, and the Sunday school, that all good children were so humble as to esteem others in honor better than themselves. As they went forth to the secular instruction, the same children were bidden to reach the head of the class, or expect no favor from their parents. On one day in the week they heard that the highest virtue is benevolence, and the best union of character the properties of the serpent mixed with those of the dove. For the other six days, the serpent was the chief inculcation by way of precept and example. The priest, the instructor, the litlerateur, the politician, the dancing-master, the world, and the ladies, all communicated distinct and the most opposite impulses; so that nothing could be a more perfect motley of rules of life than the instructions fixed in the memory of the pupil. Is it strange, under such circumstances, when cast into the whirlpool of the world's seductions, that the subject was carried down with the current, and listened finally to his dissipated companion, who assured him that every thing was a lie and a cheat but pleasure, and power, and money? All are aware that we have long since consigned Jupiter and Juno, Mars and Venus, Apollo and Minerva, with the famous Nine inclusive, to the moles and bals, to moulder with the things that were. We now learn ancient languages for the power which translation gives us over words, and for the spirit of the classics and the philosophy of language. But we acquire modern languages, especially French, German, and Spanish, to perfection, for very different purposes. We study profoundly the natural and exact sciences; and we surround the minds of pupils with such a series of influences, as that one never counteracts the other. Every thing concurs to imbue the young mind with Christian principle and feeling; that is to say, with the most perfect philosophy of morality;

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