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prolific soil and genial climate, teeming with population and wealth, have been converted into fearful wastes by this desolating scourge.

These grand tragedies were first enacted in the east. On the plains of the Euphrates and the Tigris, on the hills of Greece, and the fields of Italy, and other countries subjugated by the Roman power, have been displayed wonderful feats of human energy and depravity. And if the advance of civilization has, in some degree, mitigated the horrors of this scourge, it has not eradicated the propensity for war. It has restrained its cruelties, and lessened the causes which lead to it; but the passion remains. In proof of this, I need only refer to the history of modern Europe, or to those fields of blood, where, within the last half century many millions of human beings have been sacrificed. There are

vidences of the passion for war, in countries the most pacific. The military hero has lost but little of the blazonry of his character. - In modern times, he is not, in form, worshipped as a God, living or dead, as was anciently done; bụt whether his victories were the results of accident or attributable to others, 'he is placed in the front rank of patriots and public benefactors. At his shrine incense is poured out, without measure, and crowds follow his footsteps.

Who can portray the desolations of war? Pestilence, famine, and death, are in its train. Hearts broken with anguish, and the tears of widows and orphans are its accompaniments; and these constitute the pyramid of military renown. What a basis for human glory!

If military services, through all time, had been rewarded only with the same degree of renown as other public services, equally important, the world would have had fewer trophies of blood, and the sceptre of despotism fewer subjects.

Next to the passion for war, religion has developed the highest energies of man.. I do not speak of that religion which is from above, and which is gentle and kind, and easy to be entreated, and full of grace and truth ; but of that which inflames the passions, and urges on its votaries to deeds of violence and cruelty. · This passion, if not connected with war in its origin, often leads to it in its most dreadful forms. The standard bearers of fanati'cism are indifferent as to consequences. · They approach dangers and deaths with a firm and steady tread, and would scorn to turn aside from the deadliest shafts of their enemies. If they fall, they fall to rise to a blissful eternity. It was this that gave victory to the arms of the prophet of Mecca, and established Mahometanism over so large a portion of the world. The same spirit originated and sustained the wars of the crusaders. And a similar influence was overwhelming in England, after the death of the first Charles, and during the protectorate.

These were terrible developments of the concentrated energies

of society. The spirit of war, mingling with the spirit of fanaticism, steeled the heart, nérved the arm, and gave force to the blowof death. Blood and carnage flushed the cheek with hope, and filled the heart with triumph. Such combinations, impelled by such influences, must generally be irresistible, whether we look to them as a whole; or examine the elements of which they are composed.

The follower of Mahomet was low and vulgar in his actions, and sensual in his aspirations. The crusader was more lofty in his bearing and spiritual in his hopes. Of the puritan I cannot speak but with respect. His history is nearer our own time, and the citizens of a most distinguished part of our country, boast of their parentage from him. He was fanatical in his religious feelings, and misguided in many of his wonderful efforts.". But his zeal was as fiery and his spirit as unquenchable, as were those of the crusader or the votary of Mahomet. Each considered himself the favored object of the Deity, and specially called to execute his purposes upon earth. The spirit of fanaticism has shown itself, if possible, in a still more objectionable form. · Under the sanction of law, and with the professed view of promoting the true religion, it has invaded the private sanctuaries of life and attempted, by force, to control the rights of conscience. Its crueltiee were the more shocking, by the ingenuity with which they were contrived, and the relentlessness with which they' were exercised. But the age of persecution has passed, and if the same spirit now manifests itself, it is rebuked by public opinion and the restraints of law. The energies of society have been displayed in the dissemination of the Gospel : not by legal enactment or the force of arms, but through the instrumentality of the word of tooth and the missionaries of the cross. The reformation in the beginning of the sixteenth century gave a new current to the religious feelings of a considerable part of Europe, and constituted one of the most important épochs in history. Time will not permit either to trace this great movement or to notice others, which subsequently took place, in the same cause.

Voluntary associations and voluntary contributions have distinguished the present age, in this noble enterprise; an enterprise worthy of the deepest consideration, and of the highest efforts of beings who are to inhabit eternity. On the success of this cause rests the destiny of our race: It will succeed. Its missionaries are borne onward with a spirit which no difficulties can subdue. Neither life nor death, nor principalities nor powers, can shake their constancy or defeat their aim. They are surrounded and sústained by a special Providence, for whose power nothing is too vast or too minute. · Yes, this cause will succeed. It will prevail over all other causes, until wars and contentions shall cease, and the sources of corruption shall be extinguished.

In the physical world, the energies of society have been exerted, within a few years past, with signal success. By the application of the power of steam and improvements in mechanism, a wonderful impetus has been given to industry in all its-branches. So rapid has been this advance that when we turn our eye backward, we view with utter amazement the changes which have taken place; they seem to partake more of the floating visions of the night, than the sober realities of life.

By machinery alone is performed labor, in manufactures and other departments of industry, nearly equal to what would be the manual labor of one-third of the population of the globe. And this astonishing operation is still on the increase, and is principally limited to Europe and North America. Should the same degree of civilization, skill and enterprise, extend to other parts of the world, the advance and energies of society will defy the power of calculation. Commerce has expanded, as manufactures have increased. Every breèze that ripples the water, fills the sails of vessels richly freighted, on oceán, sea and lake. But even the winds, swift as they are, seem too tardy for the great enterprises of the present day. Our inland seas and rivers are not only covered with ships of fire, but they ride upon the wide Atlantic, in proud defiance of its winds and waves. Cars of commerce too, in fiery trains, traverse our hills and valleys, filled with the products of our soil and the fabrics of our artisans. And canals, that pass under our mountains and orer our plains, are opened or being opened, 'which connect every part of our extensive country with the great arteries of commerc..

And this same spirit of improvement peryades many parts of Europe. If the march onward there is less rapid than our own, it is still onward.

But the astonishing displays of the energies of society are not limited to the vast objects specified. They are seen and felt in the cause of education, and in the general progress of intelligence. The schoolmaster, not the miserable pedagogue of former years, but the man of science, of ample qualification to teach, has made his appearance. He is cheered by the legislation of sovereign States, and encouraged by a hearty welcome into the bosom of society.

The press, that mighty lever for good or evil, throws off its sheets with a force accelerated by fire. It would seem, indeed, that the human intellect has received a new impulse, and that its powers of production have been wonderfully enlarged. The literature of the age is spread over the land. We see it in its periodical dress, in the out-posts of society-in-the cottages of the poor, and the dwellings of the rich. The gravest subjects of theology, of law, of politics, of science, are discussed in language so lucid that they are read and understood by all.

It is said this is not an age of deep thought, of profound investigation, of polished composition; that no standard work has been produced, which will distinguish the age or render its author illustrious ; that the productions of the press are too numerous for great accuracy and beauty of style, or great depth of compre: hension. It may be that the style of the present day is less polished and vigorous than that of the past age; but our loss in polished periods is more than compensated by practical thought and simplicity of expression.

The literature of the present day is eminently popular in its language, and in the adaptation of its subjects to the general comprehension. Our writers seem more anxious to act effectively on the public mind than to make a display of scholarship. At no former period of the world have the productions of the press embraced so wide a range of subjects, or presented in such attractive and practical forms the topics discussed. At no time have they exercised so great an influence on mankind. This diffusion of intelligence has awakened enquiries in the public mind that cannot easily be satisfied. It may be the means of creating and embodying a public sentiment which shall shake the thrones of despots, and correct the abuses of power. ·

Works of the imagination in prose of the present day far excel those of the past age. Not to mention other writers of this class, Madame de Stael and Walter Scott have no equals in their predecessors. And if we have no poets equal to Shakspeare and Milton, we can boast of our Scotts, Byrons, Wordsworths, Southeys, Goethes, Moores, Campbells, Lamartines and others.

-A state of advanced civilization is unfavorable to poetry. Even Milton doubted whether he had not been born an age too late." The illusions of poetry are better suited to the dark ages, when men reasoned less and yielded a ready credulity to the reins of the imagination.

Works or essays on government, on political economy, on currency, on commerce, on manufactures, and on all the great practical questions of society, which have been published within the

last thirty years, with the exception perhaps of the works of Adam Smith and one or two others, evince greater ability and a more intimate knowledge of the subjects discussed than all similar productions which preceded. It is well remarked that every girl who has read Mrs. Marcet's little dialogues on political economy, could teach Montague and Walpole many lessons on finance; and that any intelligent man may now, by resolutely applying himself for a few years to mathematics, learn more than the great Newton knew.

As historical writers, the names of Hallam, Napier, Prescott, Mill, Gillies, Roscoe and others, may be referred to as worthy of being classed


the historians of other times." If their works are limited in their scope, some of them evince distinguished abilities and all of them are creditable. The present age is not without its philosophical productions. Without enumerating others, the works of Laplace, translated and commented on by our own Bowditch, place both the writer and the translator as deep thinkers and profoundly learned, in the first rank of any age. We have also writers upon law, and upon medicine, who deservedly occupy a high rank among those who have preceded them.

We are prone to reverence that which belongs to the past age. And this reverence is often increased in proportion to the time which intervenes. This feeling leads us to underrate the abilities of our own time when compared with the past; and sueh has been the predominant feeling of all ages. We are acquainted with the distinguished men of our own time : their foibles are known, and .. their errors and defects are published and often exaggerated with as much zeal by their enemies, as are their high qualities eulogised by their friends. Both sides run into extremes, and the public may be made to doubt as to their true characters or give a divided judgment. But this is not the case with those whose renown belongs to antiquity. Their foibles -and errors were buried in the grave, or have not been transmitted to posterity, whilst their achievements have been recorded in history. We are incliced to consider them as in a great degree exempt from the common infirmities of our nature, and as having possessed talents of a higher order than belong to the times in which we live. There is a posterity for the present age, and when it shall pronounce judgment on the men and things of this day, no period in history will equal it in the displays of mental and physical energy on all the great subjects connected with human happiness.

We may here pause a moment on the literary character and prospects of our own country.

Not quite twenty years ago, it was contemptuously observed in a foreign periodical, conducted with as much talent as any other in Europe, and generally distinguished for its fairness and liberality towards the institutions of this country ;.“ås for literature, the Americans have done—no native literature we mean. It is all imported. They had a Franklin, indeed ; and may afford to live half a century on his fame. There is, or was, a Mr. Dwight, who wrote some poems; and his baptismal name was Timothy. There is also a small account of Virginia by Mr. Jefferson, and an Epic by Joel Barlow-and some pieces of pleasantry, by Mr. Irving. But why should the Americans write books, when a six weeks passage brings them, in their own tongue, our sense, science and genius, in bales and hogsheads ? Prairies, steam-boats and gristmills, are their natural objects for centuries come.” : This is a short history thought it covers some centuries. And it is characterized by that superciliousness and inflated consequence, which at

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