Discourse Delivered Before the Union Literary Society of South-Hanover College

By Alexander Kinmont
Edited with Introduction by Jennifer L. Olszewski

[32]Literary societies dominated the extracurricular lives of students at Hanover College during its early decades and well into the early twentieth century.(1) These societies gave students a forum for the discussion and debate of contemporary issues and for the practice of public speaking and debating. The Union Literary Society (ULS) and the Philosophronian Literary Society, formed at South Hanover College in late 1830, have the distinction of being the first literary societies west of the Allegheny Mountains. The purposes of the ULS as stated in its 1830 constitution were "to promote friendship and good feeling among us, and cultivate literature and science in general and eloquence in particular." The societies met weekly to discuss current topics, and the culminating event of the year was a March exhibition in which students would give speeches to demonstrate their oratorical skills.

In this "Discourse," Alexander Kinmont argues that a liberal education consists of the pursuit for primary rather than secondary knowledge. He argues that if the youth of the country do not learn the facts, logic, and reasoning behind the principles and opinions they spout off, they do not have a truly liberal education but, instead, are slaves to secondhand sources. He argues that the Bible is the ultimate source for primary knowledge and inspiration for the faculties. He also argues that the end of this search for truth is not reputation or the mere acquisition of knowledge but rather its usefulness and application. With a liberal education, he argues, comes the responsibility to protect, defend, teach, and elevate those who have not had similar opportunities, and he urges his audience (the ULS) to study the "fundamental principles" and "fontal truths of human society" so that their education may prove a "blessing" to the nation.


On the 27th September, 1836; being their Fourth Anniversary.

Of Cincinnati, Ohio.



HE who would become distinguished in manhood, and be eminently useful to his country and age, must be contented to pass his boyhood and youth in obscurity. It is a fault of American ambition, (although at the same time an indication of a noble and free nature,) that the youth of the country, (for I shall use plainness through the whole of this discourse,) are in too much haste to become renowned: - and they do indeed often exhibit astonishing marks of early maturity; their tree spreads, and blossoms, and bears fruits goodly, and fair, and lovely to look upon in a remarkably short interval; but the melancholy feature of this bright and early morn of glorious and ambitious hopes is, that it so rapidly passes into mid-day, and declines to afternoon and closes hastily in untimely night. I know I am stating a fact that does not always hold, but it is yet of such frequent recurrence, as to fix somewhat of a general character on our literary, moral, and political career. I ascribe it not so much to the want of genius as to the excess of it, to that consuming ardor of mind, which not only lights up the materials around it to exhibit its own brightness, but turns at last on the soul itself - melts and reduces the very crucible, the intellectual vessels that nourished and fed the splendor.

It is wise to husband and increase our resources, chiefly in youth; this is the time not to cast stones, but to gather them.

"Multum puer sudavit et alsit:" (3)

This should be the motto of youth. But it is painful; - it requires self-denial to put such restraints upon our mental tastes, as will enable us to acquire the useful first and the brilliant afterwards. And on the whole, it is an unfortunate age for young men to pursue severe studies, much more so than a century ago; for now so many read, (I do not say they reflect,) - so many read the light works, the novels, the reviews of the day, that when a young man is thrown into company, (and he must have some relaxation) he is obliged, as he supposes, in vindication of his literary respectability, to offer his criticisms among the rest - on [34] Bulwer's heroes, or "that well-written article" in the last "Monthly Review;" and he must talk about "taste and genius" too as well as others, and endeavor to the best of his abilities, to settle the import of these mystic terms of learned criticism; - and something also must he have to say about the Greeks and Romans; and he has not yet learned the language of either - he has not had time; he must consult therefore the books of those who have written on the subject, (4) to have something ready for the market of the evening this literary fair of "ladies and gentlemen. O sad meeting for the best hopes of youthful ambition! for these gay anticipations of learning, without the toil and sweat of acquisition, bribe and corrupt the mind with vain and overweening notions of its own powers and practical expertness; it dreams it has been eating, but awakes, and the soul is empty: - it is better to forego such fame altogether, and to be even willing to be accounted ignorant, than, drinking in the mere froth of learning, to cheat and delude the mind of its substantial and solid nourishment. - And indeed the end of learning is not reputation, but usefulness - not personal distinction, but sterling ability. But I forbear farther introduction, and proceed to unfold to you the grander ends of a generous education.

There are two kinds of Education - the liberal and the servile. I define a liberal education to be that which puts us in possession of the principles and reasons of actions and things, so far as they are capable of being known or investigated; a servile education, on the contrary, is that which stops short at the technical rules and methods, without attempting to understand the reasons or principles on which they are grounded. A ready illustration of the difference may be taken from the Mathematics. To find the area of a circle you are required to squared the diameter, and multiply that square by the decimal fraction, .7854: this is the technical rule, and if it be followed, will give you a good practical approximation of the true area; but if you are ignorant of the reason or principle on which the rule is founded, and of those mathematical truths or facts which lead to it, however expert you may be in performing the operation, and so far may enjoy the fame of a practical mathematician, you are but servilely educated on this ground, and cannot claim the credit of liberal information. - Again. You learn from Blair's Lectures, that Virgil was a poet of great genius, of less happy daring than Homer, and of less originality, but of great majesty and exquisite taste; and from your confidence in Blair, you believe the fact, and perhaps you do not scruple to assert it in writing and conversation; but unless you have made yourself acquainted with the original productions of both these writers, and felt such to be their identical character, you are not entitled to make any such assertion on the ground of liberal education; your information is second hand, and adds nothing to the value of the evidence; it repeats an echo, but does not originate a sound. - You pronounce on General Washington, that he was the most prudent and judicious statesman that ever lived; and it may be a truth you utter, but unless you have carefully noted his actions, and compared them with those of other men in analagous circumstances, it is not a piece of liberal information which you have communicated to us, but an opinion for which you are indebted to others. - "The American government is founded on the true principles of human nature:" - (5) Unless by [35] an extensive induction of facts, derived from the study of history and your own observations, you have learned what the true principles of human nature are, you may be stating a truth, but you have no liberal solid information in regard to it. -"The chief end of man is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever" - a formula of theology which comprises a striking truth, and most summarily expressed: but unless you are familiar with the original evidences in the Sacred Scriptures, from which it is drawn, and on which it rests, your assent to it is quite a servile one, and not entitled to the consideration of a liberal opinion. - " The planets are held in their orbits by the law of universal gravitation;" - a most sublime theory; but if you have no other illustrations of the truth of it, than such as may be found in the most popular works on astronomy; unless you have made yourself acquainted with those laws or facts, the grand discoveries of Kepler, and satisfied yourself by an examination of the evidence, that the ascertaining of these lies within the scope of observation and geometrical measurment, and after having settled that point to your satisfaction, followed up the mathematical reasonings of Newton, through all the principal theorems, by which steps, he at last demonstratively deduced, the grand law of universal gravitation, and established it on grounds that cannot be shaken; - unless you have passed through this ordeal of investiga tion, your knowledge of astronomy is not liberal, not solid, but like the faith of the multitude in the Christian Religion, without either substance or evidence, -whereas a true faith is possessed of both.

By these illustrations I have made known what I mean by liberal education, as well as by principles and reasons, which I may have occasion often to speak of in this address; for it is the knowledge of these so far as they are accessible, which constitutes liberal education, and where they are not accessible, or have not yet been approached - the love of approaching them; for the love of Truth is even more than the acquisition of it, the love of Truth which is excited by the desire of applying it to a useful and good end.

It is this single circumstance, the love of truth and the study of it in the models of nature and archetypes of things, which gives so much freshness, and the characters of wisdom and intelligence to the writers of ancient times. A common school geography of the present day, may contain more matter-of-fact knowledge, than you will find in the works of the greatest philosophers some centuries ago; but why do we peruse these with interest and enthusiasm, while we turn with disgust from the other? because the one is a compilation of dead facts, sublime only in the living comprehension of them; but the others show us the honest endeavors of men enamored of the truth, and smitten with her sacred charms, the more so, for that they were partially veiled from the view, and revealed but at intervals, to their enthusiastic minds: and we share their enthusiasm, (6) and our own souls are touched and elevated by the sympathy; and we feel that there is more real philosophy, more of its spirit, in the mite, which these worthies have cast into her treasury, than in the millions of current coin which have been contributed by ordinary minds. It is the love of fresh knowledge, of its principles, which stamps such value on the writings of antiquity. A school boy in [36] the present day may know more facts of science than Plato or Aristotle, but do even our philosophers seek or feel those types of Godhead which may be seen upon them; it was this search even although ineffectual, that left its print of greatness on Plato's soul: magnis tamen excidit ausis.(4) Aristotle sought scientifical principles, but Plato even more, the mental archetypes: he had an obscure and half revealed perception of that aspect of Divine Facts, shown to us in the Sacred Scriptures in such passages as these. (5) - "In thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there were none of them." -"Jehovah God made the earth and heavens, and every plant of the field, before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew." - "And look that thou make them (the ark, &c.) after their pattern, which was showed thee in the mount."

Truth is but another name for Fact, and what we call principles and reasons, are such facts as are the most remote in regard to us, the last which we have reached, and which stand in connection with and hold in connection a series of other facts, of which they are called the explanations or expositions. So that the study of principles and reason is but the study of leading and valuable and explanatory facts; and is consequently the most solid and substantial information, and information too, peculiarly suitable to American youth; the government of whose country and all its civil and moral movements are understood to refer to reasons and principles divine, certain, and immutable. American education should be pre-eminently liberal, not a second hand education, not that education of rules and blind results which some would impose upon us under the name of practical education - as if Americans had obtained their freedom for no other end, but that they might convert to purposes of sensual and physical enjoyment those sublime and (7) majestic principles of science and art, which God has revealed to the reasons and understandings of other nations. For Republicans, it seems, are not as other men, born "to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever;" no, that is a destiny which freemen must never aspire to; they must be content to plod in the dirt and mire of mere animal enjoyment, and be satisfied, if they can only scrape [37] together so much of the practical parts of high and noble learning, as will enable them to make a living, to get through the world; for that is all that the boasted charter of our liberties, it seems, will permit us either to hope or to enjoy; and all beyond this is "forbidden fruit," the product of that old decayed stump of monarchy, which has been long since condemned, as only cumbering the ground.

Gentlemen, I will not insult you by attempting a refutation of these absurd, these grovelling opinions, which are as far from the spirit of the American government as darkness from light, as the genius of savage from the ennobling influences of civilized life: - Let them enjoy the native fruits of their own crab-tree. I will show you a nobler kind. For it is to be regretted that the present circumstances of this country (which however are fast changing for the better in this respect,) do not yet permit us to carry on education more on its proper and true principles; that is, constantly to place young men in a position from which they may be able to form their own opinions, on the view and demonstration of existent facts, in philosophy, in government, in history, in the arts: - but so far as it can be done, I believe all enlightened teachers now are endeavoring to establish education on this ground - this ground so well becoming the sons of freemen, whereon they may substitute the certainty of fact for the fallibility of opinion, the free-dom and energy of unshackled truth for the weakness and uncertainty of rules and authority. - And yet, Gentlemen, it is right and useful, that we should submit to authority until we are able to discover reasons; and after our best efforts, there will be much that we must receive on authority, nay authority is in some instances itself a first principle, the only reason we can assign for action; but still we ought not from a false humility to seek to extend the sway this mistress over our minds, but to be willing to submit only where no surer or more inspiring guide can be found for our conduct and opinions.

You will recognize it then as the especial duty of those, who are receiving a liberal education, to study the principles of things. These principles are various, according to the subjects of which they are the fountains and beginnings; there are the principles of theology, of morals, of natural philosophy, and so forth. These principles are regarded as the origins or fountains, from which the respective sciences take their rise; they are, however, but the derivations or streams of fountains, which lie out of sight, more remote than human inquiry has yet reached. The great majority (8) of mankind have no wish, and scarcely any curiosity to arrive at these, but are satisfied with the more accessible parts of knowledge, the results and the applications. But these they are capable of admiring to a great extent, and in the height of their admiration, are blind and indifferent often, to the merit and exertion that were necessary to accomplish them. The consequence is that their admiration is of no use to themselves or others; for it does not stimulate the mind but the senses; they are proud of the effect, but have no disposition to appreciate the cause. So far as it depended on such persons, the world would remain in status quo - there would be literally "nothing new under the sun," not merely in respect of principles, which are eternally the same, (and where the maxim holds,) but there would be nothing new even in the application [38] of them; the blindness of admiration would fix them in one position; and they would never advance to the adoption of a single new method in the direction of the powers and causes whose operation they were constantly beholding. The number of persons which belong to this servum pecus (6) is always very great in every country and age, but in some countries, at some times, they have not only been the majority, but almost the whole. The inhabitants of China are represented as being in this condition at the present time, and as having been so for many centuries, and so too the Hindoos; and yet there is among them sufficient evidence, that such has not always been the case; there was a time when the Tree of Knowledge blossomed and bore fruit among them, as the applications of certain principles and formulas of science among them sufficiently testify; but for a series of ages their faculties seem to have been benumbed by an intellectual winter, and to have expanded not even with a single blossom or leaf. But western Europe has not been exempt from the same disastrous influence, although never at any time does the chilling atmosphere of mind appear to have been so total in its deadening effects, but does not history informs us that Constantinople for the space of a thousand years, in the midst of the cultivation of literature, and a certain kind of science, produced not a single useful invention or improvement in any of the arts of life, hardly even a moral idea worth preserving. Authority, prescription, use were every thing, every where - occupied the whole mind, shut up the passages of light and allowed not a single ray of original truth to penetrate the understanding. And why need I mention to you the deification of the philosophy of Aristotle, and its incorporation with the authority of the Sacred Scriptures themselves. These facts are familiar to every one in the smallest degree acquainted with history; - but what is the lesson they teach, and what the instruction which we may derive from them? That there is a fatal predisposition in the human mind to look away from principles, and to see only their applications, a tendency little short of idolatry, to admire the results of original truth, but an aversion next to impiety (9) to ascend to those sources where it is native and from which it springs. Is not this part of that blindness attendant on the fall of man, in consequence of which he is so prone to worship the creature, rather than the Creator? for inasmuch as the principles of things, which are eternal and immutable, are nearer to him than their applications are, which are mundane and transitory, it would seem that the human mind took a certain perverse pleasure in its attention on the latter rather than the former, - on that which is obscure and subordinate, rather than on that which is most glorious, and paramount. But this happens, as I have said, to the majority; there always have been, and we may presume, there always will be, at least in countries favored with the light of Christian Revelation, a few who take delight in ascending to the sources of truth, the reasons and principles of things, - thence to deduce their results and applications, mending and improving them in the descent. We know that this has been the case in theology, more or less, in every age; that Book, - which contains the first principles of this science, although through the diligence of a depraved priesthood, shut up for many ages [39] from the view of the people - yet now and then inquisitive minds have been enabled to obtain a glimpse of it, and such a glimpse as communicated original emotions to their minds, and opened and enlarged all their faculties; and the "fig-tree began to put forth its leaves," as a token that the summer was nigh: yes, gentlemen, it is this Book, which opening from age to age, - another, and another of its seven seals, has been the cause why the nations of Europe have not sunk into that death-like torpor, which at present seals up the faculties and energies of Asia; but, as new light broke in through the chinks and openings of societies, produced those sudden starts, and commotions, and alarms, which Prin- and men in power deemed evil, because they disturbed their own bad tranquility; but we now recognise as the early breaking out of that spirit of inquiry and freedom, the auspicious influences of which, we enjoy in this late day of American liberty. But observe, I do not refer to these facts carelessly nor without reason, it is part of the demonstration I am making that it is alone an appeal to first principles that can recover, or when recovered, maintain the spirit and principles of genuine wisdom and intelligence among men; and I instance only in the strongest case; I assert in like manner, that natural science cannot be preserved in its freshness without a constant recurrence to its principles, and an early acquaintance with them in schools and colleges; nor any of the ordinary or fine arts either; but I do not take the illustration of my position from these in the mean time; I refer to higher, to nobler, to more essential sciences first of all; and I say that Religion itself, morality, civil government - in one word, rational freedom cannot be maintained among mankind, unless there (10) are minds raised up by Divine Providence, and nurtured, as yours are here, through the discipline of your Alma Mater, - to reascend with boldness and energy to the first principles of all these blessings, which I maintain are to be found, and are contained only in the Sacred Scriptures or Word of God. When that Word has been shut, these have been shut, - when opened, these have been opened; the return of the sun to the southern tropic does not more certainly occasion winter to the northern zone, and lock up all the energies of vegetation, than the appropriation of the Bible to the priesthood, and the withholding of it from the laity, withers up and benumbs all the faculties of the human soul, nips the fair flowers of fancy - those proofs of the heart's gladness - and puts a slow but effectual stop, to all useful inventions - physical as well as moral improvement.

I cannot surely select examples more fitted to impress upon your minds the use of a constant reference to first principles in all your studies, than these; the first principles of all knowledge stand more nearly related, as it were, to God; and when our minds are imbued and impressed with them, they are animated with new life; it is then that the Angel descends from Heaven to trouble the waters, and all the ideas which we had before gathered up - but which had become in a cer-tain sense stagnant, seem to be revived by this divine AURA, and breathe of health, and freshness, and invigoration. One glance of a principle is worth whole months and years of contemplation of results; and it is in those happy moments, when such knowledge bursts upon our minds, under the judicious guidance of some paternal instructer, that we first have a full sense of our own manhood, our [40] strength and dignity; when, for instance, some of the demonstrations of geometry disclose the reasons of those practical rules, under the directions of which we have been for many years solving questions implicitly, - as a blind man finds his way through the streets, groping and feeling his path according to certain notices and tokens, which he has treasured up in his mind: but if, in the midst of his tedious and perilous progress, some friendly and miraculous hand were suddenly to restore to him his powers of vision; what transport, what gratitude would seize his heart, and how he would spring to the place of his destination, and exult in the exercise of his renovated faculties, and never have done using them, such delight, such pleasure in the employment; - and yet this is but a poor, a feeble emblem of that real mental transport, which an ingenious mind first feels, when it has become alive to the perception of the true principles of knowledge, and finds their divine, their original light shed upon the understanding.

Still I am fully aware that this is a pitch to which many minds, perhaps a majority of minds, do not care to be brought; whether it be from original constitution, the fiat of the Creator, radical and deep neglect of parents and instructors, or what other cause, I do (11) not stop to enquire; but since it is clear that the majority of minds will not give themselves the trouble to investigate principles, to reascend to the fountain heads of knowledge, and yet it is obviously necessary, that these should be explored by some, in order to maintain a fresh and divine circulation of new truth in a country,-which is as necessary to the intellectual and moral well-being of the inhabitants, as the renovation of the atmosphere, through the luxuriance of vegetation, is to the health of their bodies;-it is indispensable, that the few who are able and willing should apply themselves vigorously to this task, and feeling how important it is to their country and age, that the very fountains of knowledge should be kept clear and accessible, use their utmost exertions to reach these themselves, and to encourage others to approach them; and wherever they will not from indolence or other causes-study to render the streams and derivations, as copious, and unmixed, and wholesome, and pure as may be possible. This is a duty which the strong owe to the weak, the few to the many; we were not born for ourselves alone, but for our country and the human race; those that enjoy the opportunity and possess the capacity for a liberal education, should constantly remember that high responsibilities rest upon them; they have to study not only for themselves, but others-for those whom nature or circumstances have disqualified for the task; and the direction of their studies therefore must be such as to qualify them to discharge this double duty,-not only to acquire the true principles of knowledge for themselves, but also so to master them in all their obvious and practical applications, as to bring them home to the minds of the uninitiated, not in that pompous affected style, tending to increase their admiration of your sagacity, and to bind themselves still closer in the chains of ignorance, but in so distinct and benevolent a manner, as shall make them feel that they have learned something from you; and have been led to admire more rationally the wonders of art and nature,-the ingenuity of man, or the wisdom and beneficence of God, the invisible Creator. The object of a liberal education, is not the gratification of vanity,-an ephemeral, or a posthumous fame, both equally worthless; [41] but it is to qualify a man, to be the efficient minister of Divine Providence, by pressing upon his countrymen, those eternal, those immutable principles and laws, whose system, under one aspect, we call the Kingdom of Grace, under another the Kingdom of Nature. In either of these departments, a man may serve his country; - and the study of the Word of God will not interfere with the study of nature, nor will the study of nature mar or confound that of verbal Revelation. Bacon understood the place of both admirably; and how justly they harmonised, when he speaks of theology, as the Mistress or Queen, and of science as the handmaid that attends her. A man of sound mind will never lose sight of the distinction, nor of those studies and exercises of mind, which (12) so naturally spring out of it: he will not forget that he is an heir at once of Heaven and Earth; and that he has duties connected with both; and he will therefore take care to "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God, the things that are God's;" and this not blindly, either, but from a lofty, just, and reasoning mind. He knows that Faith has its vision, as well as science; and he will endeavor to scan the principles of both, with a firm, and steady determination, assured that Reason was formed not less certainly, for the discovery of Truth, than the eye for beholding the light.

When I speak of theology as entitled to your study, of course I do not mean any technical system of it, unless so far as this may help you to attain to the natural system. The natural system is so wide and so majestic, that it cannot be taken in by any technical system whatever; but you must not, on that account, think that it is absolutely inaccessible. The artificial systems of theology resemble very much the artificial systems of botany, which although they are not a perfect copy of nature, yet are so contrived, as to enable us to become acquainted with the system of nature, and to see glimpses of that classification, which she has herself established; and when we have once seen, and known, and had impressed upon our minds the facts, such as she exhibits them, and felt that Order Infinite, which she exemplifies, we forget the artificial system, which we first learned--not to despise it, for we know it was useful as a guide, as the filum labyrinthi (7) ; but , now that we have become partially acquainted with some of the more remarkable windings and intricacies of Nature's felicitous wisdom and sacred art, we are contented to let go our artificial aid, and to trust to her. It is always a good maxim, not to seek the greater world in the lesser; that is, not to seek for the majesty or divine features of nature-within the narrow compass of definitions, or of formulas, for we may rely upon it, that every distinct and specific fact of nature is beyond the precincts of verbal or artificial description ;-we must see it to know it ; there is room for a just impression of it on the tablet of our mind; but that impression of it is never so deep or native, that it can be transferred without diminution of its natural vivacity to the mind or fancy of another. No description or definition of a horse, could convey a clear and distinct idea of one to a person who had never seen the animal; - natural facts, and among these several are principal, and the types of the rest, must be seen and noted, and the comparison of them [42] with the description, will deepen and distinctify the impressions of them: - and the revealed facts of theology, some of which also are principal and the types and the leading ones of their groups, are to be learned in like manner, and to be impressed on the mind in their native original forms; -and when compared with the different technical systems, their impression will be the more vivid and the more lasting; and certain (13) characters will be fixed on the memory, which might otherwise have been overlooked. There has been a great deal of needless outcry against the endless systems of theology that prevail in the world;-I can see no solid objection that can be raised against them, if men will make time proper use of them;--if they are intended as substitutes for the Bible, of course they are pernicious; but what one in the present day views them in that light, and not rather as certain convenient manuals of theology, which enable the resolute student to identify those sacred, those living facts,-the plants and flowers, which grow divinely, and not at man's bidding; not yet altogether, according to man's description in that Garden of GOD, the enduring Word: and yet although so confusedly mixed, at least to our apprehension, there is among them an original order, a divine classification, not only in genera and species, but also in all their individual tints, and sweetnesses and fragrances, known indeed but imperfectly to man, but sufficiently for use ;--but He who groupeth all the stars, and nameth them, knoweth well all the uses, and all time powers, of all the truths which are there,-the herbs and plants, the types of Himself; which variegate, adorn, and beautify "that wilderness of sweets"- time germinant, the ever-blooming Word. Here is that field of moral principles, undefined yet grand and simple, which the more you traverse, the more fresh for action will your minds become; the more keen will be your sensibilities, to the perception of all truths and all just relations, whether in regard to morality, to civil government, or to mere matters of taste and science. But it is impossible, without this familiarity, to have any just discrimination on subjects of interior thought; the artificial systems, which endeavor to time best of their powers, to express these principles, always fail of their object; they go a certain way, and there abandon you ; you yourself must accomplish the rest. And this is no less the case, wherever we would attempt entirely to express any law or order of nature;-what definition is there, or description of that sublime principle of universal gravitation, which is not shadowed with unavoidable misconceptions-and why? -because it is an Original Law, a Divine FACT, sum generis (8), and is itself its own definition ; and consequently, all terms, which we make use of to bring the phenomena, which are the mystic hieroglyphics which disclose its characters, before the mind, tend also to obscure and degrade the unique glory of the truth, unless we are careful to read their meaning rightly--such as mutual attraction, original impulse, momentary deflection, &c. :--it is only after we have made ourselves masters of the true conception of the Illustrious Fact, through the aid of these artificial terms, setting the phenomena in our view; and the terms have fallen off from the fact, or been taken down, as the scaffolding from a building, that we contemplate in its solitary grandeur, this sublime physical [43] truth, time awful declaration of Nature herself to the presence of her God-the emblem of his Unity, and of his Immensity.

(14) Gentlemen, you cannot desire too much these interviews (as it were,) with time native truths of creation, or what arc of a precisely analagous character, the typical facts of Revelation. Both kind are some thing which cannot be defined to you: to know them, you must feel them; and all your other studies are only so far really useful, as they help you to the acquisition of this better knowledge; and after you have attained this knowledge, all other lesser arts and accomplishments will naturally flow from it; according to original capacity for them. Young men spend a great deal of time often uselessly, in the attainment of what is called eloquence, and other popular accomplishments. Now, I believe that a talent for eloquence is really a gift of nature;--at least, that easy gracefulness of style and manner, which seems to be the characteristic of what is popularly esteemed eloquence, is absolutely the gift of nature;-some minds, aye, and noble minds, might study rhetoric and elocution a thousand years, and never he able to attain that swavity of graceful periods, and of engaging looks and gestures, which steal from men their souls and reason, and make them for the time being, the bond slaves of the speaker; - this is a dominion, which none but the native born Princes of the Tongue, the very Syrens of Persuasion need aspire to;-it is absolutely beyond the reach of most of us, and however clear it may be as an object of ambition to the youthful mind, still it is the rarest of all endowments; to most of us there is writ-ten on it nefas; the sooner therefore we relinquish all such aspirations, the better; we cannot be poets. we cannot be orators, in the big sense of the term; but. gentlemen, we may be what is of far greater worth; we may be honest men, and sensible men too; and if we are to believe Horarce :

"Scribendi recte sapere est et principium et fons." (9)

But this sapientia, this just moral taste, we never will acquire by reading books of rhetoric, and eloquent extracts-choice morsels of' poetry and eloquence. I beseech you eschew these, if you would save yourselves from ridicule and folly. Never hunt after gracefulness of style and eloquence by reading striking passages; never accustom yourselves to adopt the language of feeling; never seek for it. I beseech you feel rightly, think wisely. Of all kinds of hypocricy, rhetorical hypocricy is the most abominable;-it corrupts the public mind; it impairs our confidence in magnanimity and true honor; it is the bane of the republic;-let us admire then herein the wisdom of nature, which has denied to the majority the gift of natural eloquence ;-for hence it is that their flimsy rhetoric is not able to impose upon us; we see through their thread-bare coat of tropes, and common places, and eloquent passages, and heartily despise them. The first and best ingredient in scholar-(15) ship, gentlemen, as in every thing else, is honesty; and [44] if eloquence be any thing, that also is the first principle of eloquence. Let us study to be sincere; and if our feelings are not so good as we could wish them, not so magnanimous, not so liberal, not so benevolent, instead of investing them with a rhetorical garb of magnanimity and liberality, and benevolence, let us rather seek to have them renovated at that Fountain, to which I have referred, which serves not only to purify the understanding from error, but also radically to change the dispositions of the mind-to heal the waters.-"Eloquence is the Daughter of Virtue." This is Milton's definition, and the best. To which I shall add, that, although a man may once or twice gain over a' multitude to admire him by an exhibition of factitious eloquence, nothing will stand the test of enduring use, but wisdom and goodness; and consequently it should be our first endeavor to attain these; for these are the sources of solid and vigorous thought, and, if of plain, yet just expression;-for the external developments of our moral and intellectual powers depend much on original conformation of mind, and partake of its character;- -if that he symmetrical and well proportioned, our expressions will be such--our language and action will be beautiful and simple--if not, it will be the contrary, or something else; but whatever that may be, however faulty our expression, or how much soever it may deviate from the most perfect standard, still if our ideas are clear, and stand out from the canvass of the mind-are alive and instinct with moral principles and veneration for the Deity, they will not fail to make a useful impression at least, if not the most agreeable one.

I do not mean by this, as if I thought all culture of voice or expression unnecessary; but I am convinced that an undue attention has been paid to this, and that it has been unhappy so far as it leads the mind from the proper attention to the essentials of education; for the love of these, the study of these bring every thing else in their train;-have the leading fact, the Taurus Gregis (10) , the natural glory of the herd, and the rest will follow; the same study of geometry, physics, theology, history, which will put you in possession of distinct, vivid conceptions on all these, with a passing attention to the composition of language, will make you a better speaker, and writer too, than if you made accomplishments your sole aim:-make not that an end, which God designed to be a means.

And here I am led to say something of the Latin and Greek languages; for it may be thought that any recommendation of the study of things instead of words, shall be fatal to these, and show them useless. Now, I believe that the study of these has just the opposite tendency, and that it makes a man think light of words and their composition, and much of things; I mean moral things, and mental things, as well as physical things: and I believe that (16) the study of these languages should be kept up as a branch of liberal education, if for no other reason, to turn minds more on principles, and discourage that idolatry of language so common. For I have always observed, as a fault of mere English scholars, that they have a prodigious attachment to words. They are constantly finding fault [45] with your grammar or style, if it should not happen to be in the fashion, which has been recently established by some of their authorities, to which they pay a most overweening deference. They resemble, in this respect, those small minds, which we some times meet with in provincial towns, which are exceedingly solicitous for the observance of etiquette, and to have every thing modelled in dress and manners, after what they have understood to be the right standards; - the grace of novelty, the beauty even of rudeness and nature, they have no conception of; they are time slaves of custom, which exercises a most unpropitious tyranny over their minds. Now, I know of no way in which the mind can get out of these external formalities but by travel, local mental travel;--you must obey the partial standard, until you procure a sight of the universal; you must reverence words, and phrases, amid expressions, and those too of time last King's coinage, unless you have learned that,

"The rank is but the guinea's slamp,
The man's the goud for a' that."

By translating other languages, we begin to discover that there is a certain universal language, the type of all our dialects; and that this language is made up of ideas, sentiments-the genuine coinage of the human heart, in all ages, and nations - the immutable truths of human nature, to which all our dialects must conform, and to which all national and local idioms must do homage. I say, when we begin to travel out of the national into the universal language, why then at last we begin to perceive that words have ideas - their types and models, their origins - to which they appeal, and if they have not, they are empty things -breath, sound, or fury - signifying nothing. For, when we have words for which we have not the analogues in other languages; there is a presumption that the ideas they stand for are either none, or of secondary and local value; in a word, you see that the study of language is nothing else but the study of the first principles of language, which are ideas, sentiments; and it draws the mind directly from the dress of thought to the thought, from the vehicle to that which is borne on it, from the -horse to the rider--the Man, the Knight: - and none but those who have experienced it, can tell the advantage of this, and how instantly it cheers and animates the mind, to feel the natural glow of a first idea, above and beyond the mist of language; for example, that beautiful Scriptural idea expressed by the term, "the grace of God;" how perfect, how divine is it in itself! But I will venture to declare (17) that nine out of ten of those who hear it daily, have no lively impression of it, just on account of the familiarity of the phrase;-but when they first read in their Greek Testament, the expression, "He cliaris Tou Theou,"(11) and feel the native force of the phrase, it seems altogether a new idea; it is the living type of the truth, which they behold; the difference is like that between hearing and seeing.

I might dwell at much length on this subject; but a hint is enough. I merely suggest, if you would not be the slaves of language-if you would entertain that proper contempt, which every man should feel for that artificial style of writing and speaking, which seems to have been intended, not for the expression of ideas, but the concealment of them-read the Latin and Greek authors. Most of their productions have been struck off in the heat of action, and have the prints of reality on them; their writers were actors, and wrote not for fame, but for a local, a bona fide end-not for immortality - and hence they are immortal; for whenever any individual sets about writing for immortality, his work is sure to be mortal; it is ten to one but it die within the year; there is nothing of man that can be good and enduring that has been produced contrary to the laws and conditions of his nature. Man is born to perform a part, a specific part, in a specific period; and when he does that in earnest, without any other hope, but to recommend himself to God, and to the love and esteem of his co-temporaries, what he executes, assumes a sterling value, not for his own age merely, but for posterity; for its chief interest to posterity is the stamp it wears of the age and country; it is not the image merely of the individual, but of the epoch; and hence the chief interest of the most ancient writers; the best of them had but a local purpose to fulfil, and they fulfilled it well; for they did it with all their heart, from an intense sympathy with their age and nation. Socrates hardly travelled out of Athens; his mind was intensely vocal, and (although it may seem a paradox,) for this very reason, most interestingly universal; for it is the locality of our affections that concentrates them, and gives force and type to the intellect. Herodotus was the first, and he is almost the only historian, a pure and perfect historian, without any mixture of philosophy, (the reader can find his own philosophy;)-and what is the reason? He had no other design but to delight and fascinate his countrymen; he wrote for that purpose only; and hence the charm of his simple and delightful compositions; his eye was single, and his whole body is full of light: --and so Homer's poems; it is pretty clear that they were not written originally at all-but what then? They were such a perfect copy of the mind of his age, that a Greek, who had heard them once, could never forget them; they were written on his heart; he literally got them by heart. It is an entire illusion, this-which modern critics and writers talk about-the love of posthumous (18) fame. I will undertake to say it has never produced any thing admirable; tile man, who will produce any thing good must do it for his cotemporaries, for his neighborhood; hie was born for that purpose; let him do his part meantime locally; God will provide that there shall be others born, who will talk and write for the instruction and benefit of posterity.

You have then the secret of the success of the best writers of antiquity. They wrote to please themselves and their countrymen, and, for the most part, were actors, not writers merely;-it is true you find Horace rejoicing in his immortality: but Horace is inferior to the Greeks; and his spirit is neither so fresh, nor so buoyant, nor so elastic as theirs; it breathes too often of the langor and fastidiousness of retirement. Some fragments of the older poets preserved in Cicero, mark a much more hale, and fresh, and active spirit-to be sure, not so terse and courtly; but, generally speaking, to be courtly, is to be unnatural.

[47]But am I not turning aside from the object of this address, --which is to represent as the design of a liberal education, to reach the first principles of things, the beginnings, the native fountains of philosophy, of eloquence, of animation? You will find I am not; for these early writers, who wrote for immediate use, and earnestly, to benefit their contemporaries, contain within them, on that very account, the rude germs of all right philosophy and civil government, and legitimate and rational delight. You will say there is in them none of the forms and generalities of philosophy; none, and on that account they are the best and properest witnesses, as to what are the real natural principles of all civil philosophy. The abstract is there interwoven with the concrete; their writings are prophecy; - an individual natural exhibition of human actions-the ensample or type of an immutable principle, a law, which was destined to unfold itself in similar or analogous effects, in every succeeding age and country. We, the philosophers of this remote age, having now before us many of these exhibitions or portraitures of human transactions, remarking the operations of analagous principles among them, endeavor to construct a universal, or abstract civil philosophy; that is to say b a verbal formular expression of the fixed, immutable, unseen energies, which, behind the curtain of events, we feel to be the spring of them, and the causes perpetual whence they flow; but still how very feebly and imperfectly does our abstract philosophy ex press these energies, in comparison with the events themselves which are (so to speak,) the very images and patterns of them. Besides all this, in early ages, before the relations of human society became so complicate as they are now, and so modified by artificial law, you are more certain of having the true reading of nature the text had not yet suffered from so many interpolations, so that in the page of early history, you find more of the gen-uine, native (19) good and evil of human nature; --the reading receives less obliteration from hypocricy-is more palpable and distinct; there is less of theory, and more of fact, in short-so that you have a better chance of learning the principle, which, if you are a man who would be liberally instructed, is what you wish to come at. I have heard it stated by lawyers, that the testimony of a plain unlet-tered man to any transaction, was more to be depended upon frequently than the evidence of a man of education; for his theory mingles more with what lie sees, and falsifies its lineaments:-for a like reason is the testimony of Homer or of Herodotus, more intrinsically valuable, as to the natural sentiments of mankind on certain subjects, than would be that of writers of a more philosophical age;-but all this goes to show what aid these writers can afford us in the discovery of those principles of human philosophy, which it is the object of a liberal education to recover, to ascertain, and to inculcate. Let a man take up the Odyssy of Homer in the original, and read it carefully through, marking the points on which he requires information, and he will be astonished at the amount of instruction he will gain from it.

Gentlemen, you will not be astonished at the earnestness with which I urge upon you the study of the fundamental principles, the fontal truths of human society; when you reflect, what evil arises from the ignorance of them, and [48] in how much danger they are of being unknown at the present time; for, as I have before hinted, the very splendor and perfection of the results, tend to blind our sight to the perception of their origins. I might illustrate that in our government. What are the fontal truths of the American government-what are the sources from which it has arisen-and in unbroken connection with which alone it can look for its perpetuity? -I may seem to ask a question, which all school-boys can immediately answer. - You refer me to the Declaration of Independence, that "all men are created equal," - "that the governments instituted among men derive their just powers from the consent of the governed," &c. - Now, gentlemen, I do not deny that these are truths - and important truths-yes, first principles in politics; but political first principles are not first principles in themselves, but flow from others, which are elementary moral principles, and these again the offspring of theological principles; for theological principles are the fountains of moral principles, and moral principles of political principles; what then, you perceive that we must ascend - we must ascend in time, and we must ascend in principles. To find the origin of the American government in time, we go higher than '76; to find its origin in principles, we go higher than the lucubrations of politicians-not dis-paraging these, but esteeming them the shadowings of other substances.--Gentlemen, the theory of the American government has its fountain head in the well spring of Christianity; it began to gurgle upwards into light, eigh (20) teen hundred years ago, and its descent from Heaven-the memory of man runneth not so far backwards. But the first marked declaration of the most valuable characteristic of the American government - that which is the very gem in its forehead, and which now shines afar across the broad Atlantic, attracting by its pure light, the oppressed of every land-was, rather is, that first verse of tile Divine Sermon on the Mount:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." -This may seem far-fetched; but it is substantially true nevertheless, that it was Christianity which first raised to his pro per estimation and place in society, the laboring man, designated poor in spirit; as he certainly was, since he was oppressed and felt his oppression; and it was the proclamation of the equality of all men before God, and the paramount value of moral worth and a regenerated mind to all other distinctions, which first enabled the laboring man-who, among the Greeks, and Romans, and Jews, had been enslaved and insulted-to look up-at first to CHRIST, to acknowledge Him his master, and to serve Him, and from that service-that willing service-to work out first his spiritual and moral freedom; and where that once is, well grounded in the soul and conscience, political freedom will not be long in springing up by its side, or rather from it, as its vital root-but not with any convulsions of society, or suddenness, or immediatism, but as the slow and imperceptible progress of vegetation - "first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear;" and suck under the benign and auspicious influences of the Christian Religion has been the actual pregress of true emancipation among the enslaved and degraded portion of mankind from the moment this divine benediction of "the Sermon on the Mount," was uttered up to the present hour. And this could be shown by an appeal to undoubted historical facts, had I now [49] the time; but it is sufficient to say, that as the Sun of Christianity wheeled above the horizon, and took each day a larger and larger circuit in the heavens, advancing northward and westward in its diurnal and annual course, slavery and oppression gradually sunk;-as the snows of winter are melted gently, and not violently, on the return of the vernal heat (through a certain kind provision of nature, which philosophy explains to us,) thus moral evil and political degradation, step by step, sunk and disappeared before the Sun of Christianity; so that, in England where once nearly all laborers were slaves, the name of slave at last is expunged and obliterated from the records of her laws; an( this so peacefully withal, that none can positively tell, when the last vestige of the evil disappeared, and the most that history car inform us of, is the mere fact of its gradual extinction, under the influences of the Christian religion; so surely in this case, as in thousands of others, has that prophecy been fulfilled-"a bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench til (21) he send forth judgment unto victory;" -and wonderfully contrasted also is this beautiful economy of the Divine Providence with men's artificial schemes of benificence-so headlong, so impatient, so unthinking. - But I almost forget my design-to show, that the just and enlightened estimation of the place and honor of the laboring man in society, so characteristic of the very genius of the American government, is nothing else but the result, the late but legitimate result of a grand principle of the Christian Religion, whose professed aim it is, to help up the fallen-to raise those that are bowed down-to seek and to save that which is lost-in a spiritual sense, I am well aware; but that cannot be, without its being done in a moral, in a political, in a natural sense at the same time. There were Republics before the American Republic; but never one of the same considerate and benevolent spirit, whose real aim is the greatest good of all-the lowest, the middlemost, the highest, but looking most benignantly, as it were, on the lowest, as most needing maternal vigilance and encouragement. - I have shown a fundamental principle in the government of this country-its origin and its influence. Gentlemen, if you love your country, cherish this principle of her well-being in your hearts; look, that you be the protectors, and defenders, and elevators, of those who are the least able to protect, to defend, and to elevate themselves; in this you will show yourselves Christians, you will show yourselves men, and make the best return to your country for that liberal education which she has bestowed upon you. Remember, it is a vital principle of this government, that it contemplates the elevation of the laboring man. And liberal education is conferred upon a few-not as a privilege of rank, but as the means of effecting this object.

But it is also a principle in politics, that "all just powers are derived from the consent of the governed." Has this also sprung from Christianity? Does Christianity also make provision for "the majesty of the People?" or does she discountenance the idea as impious - as fostering a spirit alien to humility? The effeminate and misguided admirers of arbitrary Power would make us believe so; but I ask if she that implants moral worth in the bosom, and takes care to secure the allegiance of the heart to the moral laws of God, as of prime obligation, does not make the best provision for establishing at least, if not proclaiming the [50] majesty of human nature-of collective Man; if those, who are radically and morally reformed, under the renovation and power of this heaven-descended religion, are entitled to the style of "Kings and Priests to God;" how far is this from the appellation, "Sovereignty of the People!" There is a moral sovereignty pre-established in the mind of even the humblest individual; is he then so far from the claim of political sovereignty? A plain man, who wears God's image-who thinks and feels justly, in his place--is not his opinion entitled to some weight and consideration? is it not to help to make up "the consent (22) of the governed?" It is true it never did, until Christianity had conferred upon him his recovered dignity; for even most of the free governments of antiquity were but the democracies of the rich--the manualist was a slave and in disesteem, however honest his heart. The majesty of the People, in its full sense, is an idea originating in the Christian Religion.--The Powers, that be,-that is, the essential Powers, (Hai ousai,) (12) - "are ordained of God;" nascuntur non fiunt - they are created, not made; they are the natural, inborn magistracies of the State, and although rude and undefined, -majestic from their very origin, as beheld in the intire body of the nation-the whole People. Paul's meaning is often misconstrued; there is a divine right attached to government; but in the PERSON of the People originally--in that of the Magistrate by sanction. The faculties of government and law are the innate statutes of Nature-the ordinations of God, held in the people, and by and through magistracies of their appointment, to be exercised to "the terror of evil doers, and the praise of those that do well;"-and hence the whole are considered responsible for the manner in which they provide for the discharge of these offices and magistracies. If they do it negligently, and to the detriment of right, they suffer; if faithfully, and to the greatness of the end, they prosper. The whole People are responsible for the exercise of those magisterial faculties, which are implanted in them, after the same manner that an individual is accountable for the use which he makes of his reason and free will, and all those mental and physical powers, which appertain to him. Survey the matter on all sides; contemplate the American government in all its original bearings-the maxims on which it rests-the feelings and principles from which it has emanated-and you will find all these, although familiarly spoken of under the names, common sense, fundamental principles, acknowledged rights, &c. &c.; yet owing their true character as well as existence, to the Christian Religion:

"Igneus est ollis vigor, et coelestis origo Seminibus."(13)

Antecedently to this, these were theories, philosophical visions, which had a celestial but not a terrestrial substance; it was Christianity, which first popularised them, and stamped on them that very name, common sense, which they now carry. There was a time in the history of mankind, when the practised principles of this government would have been regarded as the most unfounded [51] whims of political insanity. And there are still those found, who affect to think lightly of them-speaking of them, as but an experiment, and bidding us wait the issue-and so, they are-I would willingly own it--the genuine principles of a free government are an experiment; but what kind of an experiment? the same kind of experi (23) ment - applying the same Lest, the same trial, which the moral government of God makes use of--which puts it to the proof, to the probation of some sixty or seventy years, more or less, whether we shall choose to be individually the children of light, or the children of darkness, to obey God or the Devil; at last, men hold their civil rights and immunities under the same tenure and condition, which they do their moral and intellectual endowments-the writing is, "to him that ha th, shall be given-to him that hath not, shall be taken away, even that which he seemeth to have." It is a glorious experiment-a noble trial; who would shrink from it? None but moral and political cowards:

"And free he made thee - but to persevere He left it in thy power."

We know then, where to look for the real causes of our political freedom and happiness; and the discovery is not without its value; for the perfection of the American system must depend on the integrity and operation of those earliest principles which gave it birth. Christianity is the fountain of our rights and blessings; while that is unsealed and pure, we never can despair of the Republic. But let us look to the Rock, out of which we were hewn; from thence is our strength and renovation.

Gentlemen of the Union Literary Society, I have pointed out some of the ends of a liberal education, and have shown that the pursuit of principles is its main business. And I have also shown in what fields of literature those principles are to be sought for-namely, in the spontaneous, unbought evidence given in, by the authors of different epochs of time-more especially of the earlier ages. Let me recommend to you, gentlemen, in the most earnest manner, as you value the well-being and freedom of your own understandings, (and I am sure my recommendation is seconded by the voice of your instructors,) that you make it your constant endeavor to seek for these principles of truth, as for hidden treasure; and to seek diligently till you find them. They are sometimes near at hand - sometimes remote. They are not always couched in some set form of words; there are truths beyond the compass of delinition; the most precious truths are generally such,-the truths of Religion, the truths of moral and natural sentiments, the truths of a just and pure taste; and not a few of the truths of social and civil government. There are truths, I say, gentlemen, of such a stamp, that they cannot be reduced to a verbal form: they are to be felt rather than seen; and yet they must be known, in order that we may act from them. How, then, are we to come at such truths as these? By a knowledge of men and things; not as presented in the abstract, but livingly and in the gross; these are the great hieroglyphics of nature, and they must be deciphered by every one. But "men and things" where shall we find-to read (24) them? In our own age and country only? Gentlemen, that is one page of the book, and we ought to peruse it; but it is but one; and from its very nearness, we may [52] magnify its importance, and take its partial views of truth and nature for the universal. This is the mistake which shrewd men of time world, uneducated, so often fall into. They are often better acquainted with the single page before them than the educated; and take pride to themselves for their knowledge, and think they know all, because they know all that they see. And I would advise you, gentlemen, to gather their knowledge, and to gather it carefully; but it is not liberal education to be possessed of that merely, however practical; but you must peruse the other pages of the vast book of human history-not the contemporary page merely-nor look only at a single segment of humanity, but take in its wide circumference, and read its universal lessons of experience, and from an extensive and commanding circumduction of facts, and feelings, and sentiments of all known ages, arrive at something like a firm, and adequate, and just philosophy of Man.-You may say, let others gather the facts for me-I will be satisfied with the conclusions; they will serve my turn. Gentlemen, this is to enslave our minds: it is not the gathered faded facts that have the moral truths upon them, so really as the fresh contemporaneous ones. So, if you would read the genius of an age, peruse none but the writings of the time. The facts may be distorted by party spirit-by prejudice; but in those very distortions, and prejudices, and angry invectives, you read the true history of the human passions-you behold not the body but the mind of the time. 0, what a picture! what a marvellous picture of the heroic age and simplicity in the writings of Homer! - Gentlemen, there is more history in a single look of Homer-in the very cast of his eye-than in the whole of Gillies' dissertation on the heroic age-excellent as it is.

There is a prevailing delusion in this country, that because we have a large region, and a fine soil, and spontaneous productions, on that account there is less necessity for hard study or extended reading-and that it will rather interfere with the bold originality of native genius, which, it is believed, would otherwise shoot up with the spontaneous exuberance of the wild forests. Gentlemen, the fancy would be a good one, if the fruitfulness of the mind sprung from the same causes with the fertility of the soil; but it is not so-it is not so. Our minds and bodies are of different orders of being; they are diversi generis (14) ; and the well-being and strength of the mind are derived from one order of causes-those of the body from another. But even to pursue the analogy taken up, what is the cause of this immense fertility of our lands? Is it not the decay and decomposition of many ages of vegetation, that have formed the soil, the cause of such rank growth? The first productions on the barren rock are but lichen and moss-curious (25) but not valuable; it is the accumulated mold of a long series of years of vegetation, that makes the ubera glebae. (15) And the analogy holds in mind; it is the accumulation of thought and sentiment of ages of history and experience that forms the right kind of soil, on which our minds must strike root, and grow downwards and up wards. "rooted - deep as high;" it is folly, then, to exclude [53] ourselves from the benefit of a large mental experience, under the hope of being original, from the silly wish of producing the mere lichen and moss of intellect. No, gentlemen, let us transplant our minds into the best soils, whether these be Greek, or Latin, or English, or American. We intend not to exhibit a resurrection of ancient thoughts; that is far from our intention; but from this mixture of soil to produce fruits in our minds worthy of America-to exhibit intellect, and power, and liberality, as near to the extended standard of the taste of our day, as were those to the standard of theirs. This is the object of a liberal education; this is that consummation so devoutly to be wished for. I object to it, that we should import "the True" and "the Beautiful" of ancient time, altogether in English vessels. I feel ashamed, that all we should know about our older sister republics of the earlier ages, should be through monarchical historians. I cannot bear that the whole history of the world's philosophy should not be read over again in the writings of its cotemporary witnesses, with American eyes and American perceptions. I am sure many moral discoveries would be made-neglected truths would be brought to light.

----"Alpheum fama est hue, Elidisamnem
Occultas egisse vias subter mare, qui nune
Ore, Arethusa, tuo Siculis confunditur undis." (16)

I wish that this, which the poet sings of the stream Alpheus, --- that it sunk into the earth in Greece, and holding a subterranean course - pure and unmixed of the waters of the ocean-rose again in thy sweet fountain of pure waters, O Arethusa, the delight of Poetry and of Sicily -I wish, I say, that thus the stream of ancient learning would pass under the sea to us--underneath the British Isles, and gurgle up in many a fresh and lively fountain, over all this delightful land - fertilizing and beautifying the scene with moral truth, and u moral good, and beauty.

But, gentlemen, the task remains with you and your compeers in our happy seats of learning; with you it remains; for it is the privilege of academic learning, to re-assert the great Principles of Thought among your countrymen, as they have appeared from age to age. and in various lands, and now appear, and in this land. May the studies of a just and noble learning qualify you] for this grand - this illustrious enterprise. May Wisdom be shed down upon you from above;--and may you have large and capa (26) cious minds to receive it. In you may Education prove a blessing to the commonwealth; -freely you have received, and freely may you give;--and from such well-springs and fountains of pure and [54] benevolent minds, may Knowledge, and Education, and Virtue, and Religion, circulate abundantly into every corner of the land.



1. The first paragraph is condensed from Frank S. Baker Glimpses of Hanover's Past 1827-1977 (Seymour, IN: Graessle-Mercer, 1978), 49-53. "On Hanover's Literary Societies see Suzanne M. Austgen," A History of Literary Societies at Hanover College" The Hanover Historical Review 2 (1994)1-7.
2. The two societies, originally formed under a joint constitution, split in 1832, making 1836 the ULS's fourth rather than sixth anniversary.
3. "Much has a boy sweat and frozen." Special thanks to Dr. John Trout, Professor of Classics at Hanover College, for his advice on the Latin translations.
4. "great in spite of being lost"
5. "Kinmount's Note:" In illustration of this remark, I shall translate a few sentences in the close of the 9th book of his Repulic: it is part of a dialogue. "Then," said he, "this lover of truth will not take a part in the government of the commonwealth, if hos principal aim be to maintain an integrity of character." Nay indeed, but he will, said I, take part in the regulation of his own commonwealth, and that too with the greatest earnestness; although I cannot promise so much for him in regard to the existing governments, unless some happy fortune should place him in a position to confer upon them the benefits of his wisdom and philosophy. "I understand you," said he, "you speak now of that MENTAL COMMONWEALTH whose image we hace endeavored to pourtray, for on earth, I imagine, it is no where to be found." You speak truth, said I, but in Heaven perhaps the MODEL OF IT CAN BE DISCOVERED; and he who will can discern it, and by a course of virtue prepare himself to become a citizen of that PERFECT COMMONWEALTH.
6."servile herd"
7. "labyrinth's string"
8. "of its own kind"
9. "Knowing how to write correctly is both the beginning and the source."
10. "bull of the herd"
11. "The grace of Cod"
12. "The essence or being of thins"
13. "Fiery is that vigor, and heavenly the origin of these seeds."
14. "of a different order"
15. "the richness of the earth"
16. "It is rumored that her Alpheus, the stream of Flis pours forth hidden paths under the sea, which now, O Aretheus, spread over your Sicilian coasts by flood."