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propriation of the surplus products of all mechanical and all agricultural industry for its cargoes; its demand upon the highest exercise of invention and skill for its vehicles; its appeal to the sublimest science for its guidance over the deep ; its imperative requisition of the strictest public faith and private integrity; its indirect, but not less powerful operation in diffusing knowledge, civilization, and freedom over the world ;-- all conspire with that noble conquest over the spirit of war which I have described, in commending it to the gratitude of man, and in stamping it with the crown-mark of a divinely appointed instrument for good. As long as the existing state of humanity is unchanged, as long as man is bound to man by wants and weaknesses and mutual dependencies, the voice which would cast out this spirit, will come from the cloistered cells of superstition, and not from the temples of a true religion. But that it requires to be tempered, and chastened, and refined, and elevated, and purified, and Christianized, examples gross as earth and glaring as the sun, exhort us on every side.
Commerce diffuses knowledge; but there is a knowledge of evil as well as of good. Commerce spreads civilization; but civilization has its vices as well as its virtues. And is there not too much ground for the charge, that most of the trade with the savage
tribes the world over, is carried on in a manner and by means calculated only to corrupt and degrade them, and even where it makes nominal proselytes to Christianity, to make them tenfold more the children of perdition than before? I look to the influence of associations like that before me, to aid in arresting this abuse, by elevating the views of those who are preparing to engage in mercantile business, above the mere pursuit of gain; and by impressing upon their hearts, while they are still open to impression, a deeper sense of responsibility for the conduct of civilized man, in those relations towards these ignorant and wretched beings which commercial intercourse creates. It cannot fail to have given joy to every benevolent bosom, to find the historian of the late Exploring Expedition, bearing such unqualified testimony to the character and services of the American Missionaries in the various savage islands which he visited; and it may be hoped, that the day is not far distant, when the American merchant will be found everywhere coöperating in the noble efforts by which the triumphs of the Cross are yet to encircle the earth!
There is another stain upon the commercial spirit, of even deeper dye. I need not, in this presence, do more than name the African slave trade. Gentlemen, this flagitious traffic is still extensively prosecuted.
Recent debates in the British Parliament would seem to show that it has of late been largely on the increase; and that the number of slaves now annually taken from the coast of Africa, is more than twice as great as it was at the commencement of the present century.
Recent developments at Brazil, too, would seem to implicate our own American commerce, and even our own New England shipping, in “ the deep damnation of this taking off.” It is, certainly, quite too well understood, that American vessels, sailing under the American flag, are the favorite vehicles of the slave trader. No force of language, no array of epithets, can add to the sense of shame and humiliation which the simplest statement of such facts must excite in every true American heart.
Gentlemen, we naturally look to the organized forces of our National Government to suppress these abuses of our shipping and our flag, and we all rejoice in the recent negotiation of a treaty, in the highest degree honorable to our great Massachusetts statesman, by which their suppression will be facilitated. But neither the combined navies of Great Britain and the United States, nor of the world, can accomplish this work without other aid. The coöperation of commercial men; the general combination and conspiracy, if I may so speak, of all who go down to the sea in ships, or are in any degree connected with business on the great waters, - the merchants and merchants ' clerks, the consignors and consignees, the captains, the supercargoes, the mates, and the common sailors alike; - these must come in aid of our armed squadrons, or the slave trade will still leave a stain upon commerce, which “ not all great Neptune's ocean will wash clean," but which will rather 6 the multitudinous seas incarnadine!
If a New England or an American vessel be concerned in that traffic, there should be at least no Boston breast, and no Massachusetts breast, capable of containing the guilty secret. The commercial character, the moral character, of our City and of our Commonwealth should be vindicated on such an occasion, as they were just two hundred years ago, when one Thomas Keyser and one James Smith, (the latter a member of the church of Boston,) first involved these colonies in the iniquity of participating in the slave trade; and when, under the lead of Richard Saltonstall, (the ancestor of the late honored and lamented Leverett Saltonstall, a cry was raised against them as malefactors and murderers; — a cry which could not be hushed, until the culprits had been “laid hold on," and theịr wretched victims wrested from their clutches and remitted to their native shore. I charge you, young men, to commit yourselves early to this cause, and to make it a principle of your association, not merely that you will never participate directly or indirectly in such an ignominious traffic, but that you will omit no opportunity which either any effort or any accident in after life may afford you, of exposing any one who may be concerned in it, to the public scorn and legal chastisement which he so richly merits.
Mr. President and Gentlemen, I may detain you and this distinguished audience no longer. I have endeavored to say something which should impress you with a deeper sense of the dignity of the profession which you have chosen, and of the duties and responsibilities which belong to it. I have desired, also, to suggest some views which should impress upon the community a just sense of the value of your institution, and of the importance of sustaining and encouraging it. May your brightest prospects be realized, and your best hopes fulfilled. May the liberality of your patrons and friends soon supply you with a Hall of your own, arranged with every reasonable reference to your accommodation in pursuing the preparation for which you are associated. Let it be supplied with a Library, which shall leave you nothing to desire in the way of useful knowledge or profitable entertainment. Let it be adorned, from time to time, with the portraits of those whose examples are worthy of your imitation; the Merchant-Patriots, who have written their own names upon the title-deeds of our Liberty ; and the Merchant-Philanthropists, whose names have been inscribed, by a grateful community, on the institutions by which that liberty is best supported and most worthily illustrated. Let it be dedicated to the cause of Freedom, Civilization, and Peace. But let each one who enjoys its opportunities and privileges remember, that halls, and libraries, and decorations, and dedications, are no substitute for his own individual efforts. Let him remember, that he has chosen a vocation which, in its highest branches, is a Science, with principles worthy of the deepest and most devoted study; and which, in all its branches, will reward the best preparation both of the intellect and of the heart. And may you all be inspired with the ambition, of securing for our own country and for our own city, so far as in you lies, some share in that noble tribute which was paid by the celebrated Montesquieu, a century ago, to the land of our Fathers :
They know (said he, speaking of the people of England) better than any other people upon earth, how to value, at the same time, these three great advantages, RELIGION, COMMERCE, and LIBERTY!"
NATIONAL MONUMENT TO WASHINGTON.
AN ORATION DELIVERED AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT, ON THE OCCASION
OF LAYING THE CORNER-STONE OF THE NATIONAL MONUMENT TO WASH
INGTON, JULY 4, 1848.
FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES
We are assembled to take the first step towards the fulfilment of a long-deferred obligation. In this eight-and-fortieth year since his death, we have come together to lay the corner-stone of a National Monument to WASHINGTON.
Other monuments to this illustrious person have long ago been erected. By not a few of the great States of our Union, by not a few of the great cities of our States, the chiselled statue or the lofty column has been set up in his honor. The highest art of the Old World, - of France, of Italy, and of England, successively, - has been put in requisition for the purpose. Houdon for Virginia, Canova for North Carolina, Sir Francis Chantrey for Massachusetts, have severally signalized their genius by portraying and perpetuating the form and features of the Father of his Country
Nor has the Congress of the nation altogether failed of its duty in this respect. The massive and majestic figure which presides over the precincts of the Capitol, and which seems almost in the act of challenging a new vow of allegiance to the Constitution and the Union from every one who approaches it, is a visible testimony, - and one not the less grateful to an American eye, as being the masterly production of a native artist, * — that
* Horatio Greenough.