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range the political system, to diminish the general liberty, and to affect and alter the very nature of the government. And it cannot be too strongly enforced, in this connection, that the whole life and conversation, the whole conduct and character, of every free citizen is reflected and, as it were, represented in the administration of public affairs, - every thought, even, of every one of them going to make up that mighty current of Public Opinion, which is nothing less than Law in its first reading.
It is a peculiar and beautiful property of free government, that it invests the humblest and most private virtues with a public importance and dignity; making society, as Mr. Burke has well expressed it, not only “ a partnership in all science and in all art,” but “in all virtue and in all perfection," and superinducing upon all ordinary motives to the practice of virtue something of high official obligation and lofty patriotic sanction. This very quality of patriotism — what a new extension and comprehensive character has liberty imparted to it! No longer are its laurels appropriated to one or two limited lines of public service, but they are planted along the borders of every walk in life, and lowered to the reach of the humblest hand. Not alone under a free government is he a patriot, who marshals armies in the field to a successful onset upon some foreign assailant of the nation's liberties; not alone he, who arrays arguments in the Senate chamber to a triumphant issue against some domestic destroyer of its prosperity and welfare. He, too, the most retired and humble citizen, who never lifted his arm in battle or his voice in council, but who, neglecting none of the few direct political duties which the forms of a free government impose, has devoted himself to the discharge of the thousand indirect ones which the spirit of such a government implies, and its security and advancement imperatively demands, — who has combated his own passions, who has taken council of his own enlightened conscience, who has studied the art and practised the exercise of an intelligent selfgovernment, — he has acted a part, achieved a victory, afforded an example, which have no less patriotism, and even more promise of perpetuity and progress to free government in them, than the most brilliant triumphs of the field or the forum.
Yes; politics in this large and comprehensive signification, which the very nature of free institutions has given them, including all the duties of self-government as well as of civil government, ought to be the end and aim of all education in the United States; and the influences of all education, whatever may be its end and aim, will be and must be political. The present fortunes of the Republic may, indeed, be already beyond the reach of parental discipline and schoolhouse influence. But our regards end not with the hour, — certainly not our responsibilities. And it is a false and fatal notion that the future is beyond our control. It would be nearer the truth to say, that the present is so. How much of all that we are, or do, or enjoy, or suffer, how great a portion of all in us and all about us that goes to mark and determine the existing condition and immediate character of our country, is the result, not of any action of our own, or effort of the moment, but of what our fathers and mothers and teachers have done or left undone in our behalf! And the present is not more the child of the past, than it is the parent of the future. The infant, “ mewling and puking in the nurse's arms," or the whining shoolboy, “with his satchel and shining morning face, creeping like snail unwillingly to school,” can, indeed, give neither vote nor verdict to-day. They have neither part nor lot in the Republic of the present instant. But when, unless at this very moment, are they to learn the lessons, imbibe the principles, acquire the habits, by which its future fate is to be not so much influenced as decided; not so much colored or characterized as constituted and made up? In them the future is personified, and posterity put bodily into our hands. And over them our control is neither conjectural nor limited. As the doves of his mother Venus guided the old Æneas to the golden branch, so may the hovering tenderness and winged watchfulness of a faithful mother still conduct her child to a wisdom better than gold. And the rod of the Teacher of Israel was not more potent to summon from beyond the sea whatever might plague and harass the oppressor and promote the deliverance and freedom of his people, than is that of the teacher at the present day to call up from over the ocean of the future a posterity which shall preserve, vindicate, and advance the liberties transmitted to them. Whatever uncertainty there may be as to the correspondence of means and ends in other matters of human arrangement, of this we are assured, -" Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Not, then, for any mere ends of “ private life," not for any purpose of individual display or personal accomplishment, not for the mere object of gratifying parental pride or family ambition, but as a matter of public, political, patriotic duty, should education be pursued in the United States. Children should be educated as those by whom the destinies of the nation are day to be wielded, and free schools cherished as places in which those destinies are even now to be woven. It has been recorded as a saying of Mahomet that "the ink of the scholar and the blood of the martyr are equal." It would be difficult to bring an American of this generation, especially if he happened to be standing, as we now are, at the foot of Bunker Hill, to acknowledge that there could be any thing equal --equal in its claim upon his regard and reverence, or equal in its influence upon our national welfare and freedom — to the blood of our Revolutionary martyrs. But in this we must all agree, that nothing but the ink of the scholar can preserve, what the blood of the martyr has purchased. The experiment of free government is not one which can be tried once for all. Every generation must try it for itself. Our fathers tried it, and were gloriously successful. We are now engaged in the trial, and, thank God, we have not yet failed. But neither our success, nor that of our fathers, can afford any thing but example and encouragement to those who are to try it next. As each new generation starts up to the responsibilities of manhood, there is, as it were, a new launch of Liberty, and its voyage of experiment begins afresh. But the oracles have declared that its safety and success depend not so much upon the conduct of those engaged in it during the passage, as upon their preparations before they embark. The winds and waves must be propitiated before the shore is left, or wreck and ruin will await them. But this propitiation consists, not in some cruel proceeding like that prescribed by the heathen oracle to the Grecian fleet, in binding son or daughter upon the pile of sacrifice, aud offering up their tortured bodies and agonized souls to appease an angry deity, but in a process which is not more certain to call down the best blessing of Heaven upon the enterprise, and to secure a peaceful and prosperous voyage, than it is to promote the truest happiness and welfare of those upon whom it is performed. Sons and daughters devoted to Education are the only sacrifice which God has prescribed to render the progress of Free Government safe and certain.
AN ADDRESS DELIVERED AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE MASSACHU
SETTS BIBLE SOCIETY IN BOSTON, MAY 28, 1849.
In rising to move the adoption of the Report which has just been read, I feel deeply, Mr. President, how apt I shall be to disappoint any part of the expectations of this meeting, which may, by any chance, have been directed towards myself. I have not come here this afternoon in the hope of saying any thing which might not be better said by others more accustomed to deal with occasions of this sort; or any thing, indeed, which has not been, a hundred times already, better said by those who have heretofore taken part in these Anniversary celebrations.
But I was unwilling to refuse any service which your committee of arrangements might even imagine me capable of rendering to the cause in which you are assembled. I could not find it in my conscience, or in my heart, to decline bearing my humble testimony, whenever and wherever it might be called for, to the transcendent interest and importance of the object for which this Association has now lived and labored for the considerable period of forty years.
That object is the publication and general distribution of the Holy Scriptures; and no man, I am sure, who has had the privilege of listening to the Report of my Reverend friend, (Dr. Parkman,) and who has a soul capable of appreciating the grandeur of those aggregate results which he has so well set forth, can fail to pronounce it one of the greatest, most important, most comprehensive and catholic objects, to which human means and human efforts have ever been devoted.
The week on which we have just entered, has been signalized,