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children upon the theater of life. May God speed them and theirs. May he, who at the distance of another century shall stand here to celebrate this day, still look round upon a free, happy, and virtuous people. May he have reason to exult as we do. May he, with all the enthusiasm of truth, as well as of poetry, exclaim, that here is still his country;
" Zealous, yet modest; innocent, though fre
1 On the Formatian of Character, and the attainment of know:
ledge :- Addressed to the American Youth. 1. A good name is in all cases the fruit of personal exertion. It is not inherited from parents; it is not created by ex
ternal advantages; it is no necessary appendage of birth, or 1 wealth, or talents, or station ; but the result of one's own en
deavors,—the fruit and reward of good principles, manifest in a course of virtuous and honorable action. This is the
more important to be remarked, because it shows that the at1tainment of a good name, whatever be your external circumstances, is entirely within your power.
2. No young man, however humble his birth, or obscure his condition, is excluded from the invaluable boon. He has only to fix his eyes upon the prize, and press toward it in a course of virtuous and useful conduct, and it is his. And it is interesting to notice how many of our worthiest and best citizens, have risen to honor and usefulness by their own persevering exertions. They are to be found in great numbers, in each of the learned professions, and in every department of business; and they stand forth, bright and animating examples of what can be accomplished by resolution and effort.
3. Indeed, in the formation of character, personal exertion is the first, the second, and the third virtue. Nothing great or excellent can be acquired without it. A good name will not come without being sought. All the virtues of which it is composed, are the result of untiring application and industry. Nothing can be more fatal to the attainment of a good character, than a treacherous confidence in external advantages. These, if not seconded by your own endeavors, will “drop you mid-way, or perhaps you will not have started, when the diligent traveler will have won the race."
4. Thousands of young men have been ruined by relying
a Boon, a gift, favor.
for a good name on their honorable parentage, or inherited wealth, or the patronage of friends. Flattered by these distinctions, they have felt as if they might live without plan and without effort,-merely for their own gratification and indulgence. No mistake is more fatal. It always issues in producing an inefficienta and useless character.
5. On this account, it is, that character and wealth rarely continue in the same family, more than two or three generations. The younger branches, placing a deceptive confidence in an hereditary character, neglect the means of forming one of their own, and often exist in society only a reproach to the worthy ancestry, whose name they bear.
6. In the formation of a good character, it is of great importance that the early part of life be improved and guarded, with the utmost diligence and carefulness. The most critical period of life is that which elapses! from fourteen to twentyone years of age. More is done during this period, to mould and settle the character of the future man, than in all the other years of life.
7. If a young man passes this season with pure morals and a fair reputation, a good name is almost sure to crown his maturer years, and descend with him to the close of his days. On the other hand, if a young man in this spring season of life neglects his mind and heart; if he indulges himself in vicious courses, and forms habits of inefficiency and slothfulness, he experiences a loss which no effort can retrieve,' and brings a stain upon his character which no tears can wash away.
8. Life will inevitably take much of its shape and coloring, from the plastic powers that are now operating. Every thing, almost, depends upon giving a proper direction to this outset of life. The course now taken is usually decisive.The principles now adopted, and the habits now formed, whether good or bad, become a kind of second nature, fixed and permanent.
9; Youthful thoughtlessness, I know, is wont to regard the indiscretions and vicious indulgences of this period, as of very little importance. But they have great influence in forming your future character, and deciding the estimation in which you are to be held in the community. They are the germs of bad habits; and bad habits confirmed, are ruin to the character and the soul. The errors and vices of a young man, even when they do not ripen into habit, impress a blot on the name which is rarely effaced. They are remembered
a In-ef-fi"-cient, not efficient.
c Re-trieve', to recover again.
in subsequent life; the public eye is often turning back to them; the stigmaa is seen; it cleaves fast to the character, and its unhappy effects are felt till the end of his days.
10.“ A fair reputation, it should be remembered, is a plant, delicate in its nature, and by no means rapid in its growth. It will not shoot up in a night, like the gourd that shaded the prophet's head; but like that same gourd, it may perish in a night.” A character which it has cost many years to establish, is often destroyed in a single hour, or even minute. Guard, then, with peculiar vigilance, this forming, fixing season of your existence; and let the precious days and hours that are now passing by you, be diligently occupied in acquiring those habits of intelligence, of virtue, and enterprise, which are so essential to the honor and success of future life.
11. To the formation of a good character it is of the highest importance that you have a commanding object in view, and that your aim in life be elevated. To this cause, perhaps, more than to any other, is to be ascribed the great difference which appears in the characters of men. Some start in life with an object in view, and are determined to attain it; while others live without plan, and reach not for the prize set before them. The energies of the one are called into vigorous action, and they rise to eminence, while the others are left to slumber in ignoble ease, and sink into obscurity.
12. It is an old proverb, that he who aims at the sun, to be sure will not reach it, but his arrow will fly higher than if he aimed at an object on a level with himself. Just so in the formation of character. Set your standard high; and, though you may not reach it, you can hardly fail to rise higher than if you aimed at some inferior excellence. Young men are not, in general, consciousb of what they are capable of doing. They do not task their faculties, nor improve their powers, nor attempt, as they ought, to rise to superior excellence. They have no high, commanding object at which to aim; but often seem to be passing away life, without object and , without aim.
13. The consequence is, their efforts are few and feeble; they are not waked up to any thing great or distinguished; and therefore fail to acquire a character of decided worth. But, iny friends, you may be whatever you resolve to be. Resolution is omnipotent.. Determine that you will be something in the world, and you shall be something. Aim at excellence, and excellence will be attained. This is the great secret of effort and eminence.
a Stig'-ma, mark of disgrace.
Con'-scious, inwardly persuaded
COm-nip-o-tent, having almighty power. 14. The circumstances in which you are placed as the members of a free and intelligent community, also demand of you a careful improvement of the means of knowledge you enjoy. You live in an age of great mentala excitement. The public mind is awake, and society in general is fast rising on the scale of improvement. At the same time, the means of knowledge are most abundant. They exist every where and in the richest variety.
15. Nor were stronger inducementsb ever held out to engage all classes of people in the diligent use of these means. Useful talents of every kind are in great demand. The field of enterprise is widening and spreading around you. The road to wealth, to honor, to usefulness, and happiness, is open to all, and all who will may enter upon it, with the almost certain prospect of success. In this free community there are no privileged orders. Every man finds his level. If he has talents he will be known and estimated, and rise in the respect and confidence of society.
16. Added to this, every man is here a freeman. He has a voice in the election of rulers, in making and executing the laws, and may be called to fill important places of honor and trust, in the community of which he is a member. What then is the duty of persons in these circumstances ? Are they not called to cultivate their minds, to improve their talents, and acquire the knowledge which is necessary to enable them to act, with honor and usefulness, the part assigned them on the stage of life?
17. Can any expect to maintain a respectable standing in society, if, while others are rising around them, they neglect the means to rise with them? If any please thus to neglect their opportunities for acquiring knowledge, they can have their choice; but let them at the same time make up their minds to exist as mere cyphers in society ; to be hewers of wood and drawers of water; to float down as leaves upon the bosom of the stream, unknown, unregarded, soon to be forgotten as if they had never been.
18. A diligent use of the means of knowledge, accords well with your nature as rational and immortal beings. God has given you minds which are capable of indefinite improvement; he has placed you in circumstances peculiarly favorable for making such improvement; and to inspire you with diligence in mounting up the shining course before you, he points you to the prospect of an endless existence beyond the grave; and assures you that the glories, and the woes of it, depend on the character you form at this period of your life. a Ment-al, belonging to the mind. c Ap-prox-i-ma'-tion, a near approach. b In-ducements, motives.
19. Here is an argument of infinite weight for the cultivation of your intellectual and moral powers. If you who possess these powers were destined, after spending a few days on earth, to fall into non-existence; if there were nothing in you which death cannot destroy, nor the grave cover, there would indeed be but little inducement to cultivate your minds. “For who would take pains to trim a taper which shines but for a moment, and can never be lighted again ?"
20. But if you have minds which are capable of endless progression in knowledge, of endless approximationa to the supreme intelligence; if in the midst of unremitting success, objects of new interest will be forever opening before you ; O what prospects are presented to your view! What strong inducements to cultivate your mind and heart, and to enter upon that course of improvement here, which is to run on, brightening in glory and in bliss, ages without end.--Hawes.
SECTION 1. The incidents of a Voyage across the Atlantic. 1. To an American visiting Europe, the long voyage he has to make is an excellent preparative. From the moment you lose sight of the land you have left, all is vacancy until you step on the opposite shore, and are launched at once into the bustle and novelties of another world.
2. I have said that at sea all is vacancy. I should correct the expression. To one given up to day-dreaming, and fond of losing himself in reveries, a sea voyage is full of subjects for meditation ; but then they are the wonders of the deep, and of the air, and rather tend to abstract the mind from worldly themes. I delighted to loll over the quarter-railing, or climb to the main-top on a calm day, and muse for hours together on the tranquil bosom of a summer's sea ; or to gaze upon the piles of golden clouds just peering above the horizon, fancy them some fairy realms, and people them with a creation of my own, or to watch the gentle undulating billows rolling their silver volumes, as if to die away on those happy shores.
3. There was a delicious sensation of mingled security and awe, with which I looked down from my giddy height on the 4 Ap-prox-i-ma'tion, a near approach. c Rev'-e-ries, loose thoughts. In' ci-dents, things that happen.