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Our city, which a hundred years since numbered a population only of a few thousand, now contains its hundreds of thousands, and is rapidly taking a stand among the first cities on the globe. Our fortifications, which once excited the scorn and ridicule of our enemies, have more than once humbled the scoffer, and now bid defiance to the world. Our army, in case of invasion or extraordinary emergency, though called from the work-shop and the harvest-field, are bold, formidable, and have been always victorious. “A little one has indeed become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation."

Within comparatively a short period, these changes and many more, have been wrought, showing that we have been borne as on eagles' wings, so rapid and unparalleled has been our progress. Subjects of contrast, of admiring, astonishing contrast, multiply as the mind adverts to the past and contemplates the present, causing us to live, as it were, in some fairy region, and to be the subjects of some magic agency, rather than among practical realities, the results of the ingenuity, the industry, the indomitable perseverance of man, guided however by Him, without whose blessing the wisest instrumentalities fail of success. In such a review and comparison of the past with the present, do we find no occasion for gratitude to Him, who has emphatically been the God and the guardian of this nation, who has borne us as on eagles' wings ? Surely, in such a review, we must be assured that,

"Ours is a land, of every land the pride

Of Heaven, o'er all the world beside."

II. Let us, in the second place, contrast the past and present aspects of our country in a political point of view. We need not detail the circumstances of cruelty and oppression, which compelled the Puritans of England, and the Huguenots of France, to seek a refuge and a home on this Western continent. Brave, heroic, and strong in faith, committing themselves to the protection of Divine Providence, they came to lay the foundations of a new and mighty empire. In all their ways, they acknowledged God and recognized the rights of man. Religious freedom, or the right to worship God according to the dictates of an enlightened conscience, was their great and sacred motto. Religion, untrammelled by law, uncoerced by government, was the religion which they sought and were determined to enjoy. It was their high purpose to govern men by the fear of the Lord; to exbibit the precepts, apply the motives, and realize the dispositions which the Word of God inculcates and his Spirit inspires—to imbue their children, their families, and their civil polity with the wisdom which cometh from above. They had no projects of human device, no theories of untried efficacy. They hung all their hopes of civil and religious prosperity upon the Word of God and the power of his Spirit. Nor was theirs the presumptuous hope of grace without works. It was by training men for self-government; it was by the diffusion of light and the spread of truth, by intellectual culture and moral influence, that they expected to enjoy and perpetuate civil liberty.

To the refining subtleties of slaves,
They brought an happy government along;
Formed by that freedom, which, with secret voice,
Impartial Nature teaches all her sons."

But just as they were beginning to taste the sweets of religious freedom, a threatening storm-cloud appeared. The political horizon became dark, and a heavy thunder-bolt seemed ready to fall upon their cherished and early hopes. But they were neither intimi. dated nor disheartened. They had been trained to meet disaster and trial. They had been educated in a school well calculated to develop the heroic, the lofty, the unbending in man.

The King of England determined that the colonies should share the pecuniary burdens accumulated by the wars prosecuted during the reign of his predecessors. They resisted on the ground that the mother country had no right to tax them without their consent. They had come to this country without asking the protection of the British crown. No armed soldiery had been solicited, or sent to guard them from the attacks of savage foe. They had fought their own battles; hewed down their own forests, planted their institutions, and were struggling on to greatness, without the aid or co-operation of England. They were willing to contribute a reasonable share of means for the relief of the burdens of the mother country, but they insisted on doing it by a vote of their own legislative assemblies, in which they were fairly represented, and they appealed to the justice of the King and his Cabinet to. listen to and grant their request. Their appeal was answered, only by indignity, and by an oppressive enforcement of the obnoxious enactments. The tax, in itself

, was not great, but it was the principle which they were determined to re And they did resist by the force of arms, until British pride was humbled, and our independence recognized, and we took a stand, as a free people, among the nations of the earth. The prominent actors in that drama were high-minded, moral, and religious men, governed by the purest patriotism and love of liberty, whose principles were admired, even by those who condemned and opposed their acts. Seldom, if ever, has the world seen an assemblage of precisely such men. They were statesmen, as if by intuition, with minds of the highest order-intelligent, sagacious, determined in purpose, cool in action, eminently wise in counsel, brave, skillful, and undaunted in the field. It would seem as if God had raised them up purposely for the exigency, and endowed them with high qualifications for the difficult and momentous work they achieved. They were borne through the stormy scenes of the revolution, as on the wings of Divine Providence, and the same wing brooded over their counsels, when they devised and adopted our national Constitution, an honor to their intellects and the charter of our freedom. It is republican and democratic. It recognizes the rights of the people; the right to choose their own rulers and make their own laws--the right to be heard, through their representatives, in the halls of legislation--the right to petition for a redress of grievances the right to read their Bibles, without the restrictions of Priest or Pontiff--and the right to adopt any form of ecclesiastical government which they deem most in accordance with the Scriptures. According to our representative and republican form of government, the rulers are not the arbitrary oppressors, but the obedient servants of the people, and directly responsible to their constituents. Amid the excitement and frenzy of political debate, there is one voice to which they must listen—the voice of the people. This is the grand tribunal of our country.

Our laws are our own, and they can be altered or amended to suit the will of the people. And they are designed not to favor the few at the expense of the many. No man, be his condition what it may, can be touched in his person, his property, or his reputation, without the right to challenge the assailant and refer the issue to a process of law. No man can be punished as a criminal, until fairly tried and convicted by a jury of his country. Such is our system of free government—the best and cheapest in the world, supported by the people without feeling the pecuniary pressure. It is also safe and practicable. We are now in the seventy-fifth year of our vational independence, and we are still borne on eagles' wings. We are not going to decay. We may have sectional jealousies, and strong conflicts of interest and opinion, but the wings of our eagle will soar aloft to a calmer region amid the plaudits of the people. They love their country, her constitution and her laws, and are ready to forego any local advantage for the sake of preserving the Union. And as for foreign interposition, we have passed beyond the peradventure of peril or defeat. Let any five of the strong monarchies of Europe combine to subvert the liberties of this country, and attach us to some foreign crown, and you would see the spectacle of a people coming up to the work, shoulder to shoulder, absolutely wild under the power of national enthusiasm, ready to steep the soil with their blood, and make the whole heavens ring with the thun. der of arms. The experiment would involve a development of our character never to be forgotten in the annals of the human race, that, in its grandeur and awfulness, would seem fresh after the lapse of a thousand years. This people love their govern. ment, love their free institutions; it is a broad, deep, intelligent love. Set this people down in the heart of Russia, and the old monarch would tremble upon his throne. The very Cossacks and serfs of the soil would burn with the inspiration of freemen. The spirit of liberty, kindled in this country, has already gone across the waters. It has entered France, Italy, and Hungary; it beats in the bosoms of millions, and though the bolt of every chain has again been driven, yet the despots of Europe can no more hold the heaving mass, than the chains of Xerxes could bold the Hellespont, vexed with storms. Floods have been poured upon the rising flame, but they can no more extinguish it, than they can extinguish the fires of Ætna. Still it burns, and still the mountain heaves and murmurs, and soon it will explode with voices, and thunderings, and earthquakes. Then will the trumpet of jubilee sound, and earth's oppressed millions will leap from the dust and shake off their chains, thrilled with ecstacies and ideas of freedom! The world is hastening to such a destiny, and our land is cheering the nations on in their struggle for universal emancipation. There is but one voice that adds discord to the music of our applause, and that is the voice of three millions of human beings, in the very heart of this country, crying aloud for freedom!

III. Let us, in the third place, contrast the past and present aspects of our country in an educational point of view. I design to use the term education in a very generic sense, implying the progress and improvement made in the sciences and arts for the past hundred years. New and important discoveries have been made in astronomy, enlarging our conceptions of the heavenly bodies, filling our minds with sublimer views of the Divine Being--in natural philosophy, developing its latent principles for the com. fort and convenience of man-in botany, giving every flower and sbrub a meaning and a voice—in geology, bringing its every newly discovered fact and feature to barmonize with revealed truth-in electricity, that mysterious agent, which seems to bid defiance to all power, save the infinite and the boundless. What a wonderful triumph of art is that invention, which carries thought along the regions of the atmosphere with the rapidity of lightning, and with all the accuracy of typography! It seems more like a dream of romance than sober reality. We can scarcely realize that our country has become, as it were, one great speaking gallery, where a whisper is heard from one extremity of the land to the other, almost as soon as uttered. The application of steam to mechanical and commercial purposes, is comparatively a reoent discovery, and yet who is not amazed at the perfection it has already reached ? Rivers are navigated against wind and currentthe ocean bridged-mines explored—the most massive machinery moved-manual labor and the labor of beasts of burden, to a great extent, superseded by this wonder-working agent, now under the control and made to facilitate the movements, add to the convenience, and give success to the enterprises of man. In all the higher branches of education, progress has distinguished the past; and in common school education, how amazing has been the change! One hundred years ago, how limited were the facilities for learning and improvement! The common school sys. tem, which is now the ornament and glory of our country, had not been natured and adopted. Our forefathers felt the want and took early steps to meet it. It had been the policy of the land of their birth to keep the masses in ignorance; they determined that the land of their adoption should be characterized by a different and wiser policy. Hence, no sooner was the foundation-stone of the church laid, than the school house and the college arose, and the patron of piety was also the patron of learning. There was no talk of sects, nor parties, but of union—the union of hearts that loved God and throbbed with a holy pulsation for posterity and the race. Since then, we have been borne on eagles' wings.

Colleges and common schools have been planted everywhere throughout the land. They are free and open to all. No barriers are thrown around their threshold ; no sect, nor creed, nor wealth, nor aristocratic pride can claim pre-eminence here. Our colleges, unlike the proud and moss-covered universities of the East, seek no solitude and embowering shades and seclusion, like reputed orbs of glory, viewless from the immense clouds, but as open suns and stars leading on and cheering every one in his pursuit after knowledge.

The first thing which strikes a traveler, as he enters the old world, is the immense soldiery, that everywhere meet his eye. Why are these stationed at every corner and nook of the land ? Not to protect the rights of the many, but to guard the rulers from the people, and keep their crowns well balanced upon their heads. We, on the contrary, can point to our common schools. and say, " These are our standing army, the grand palladium of our liberties.” It has ever been the policy of despotism, whether civil or religious, to monopolize knowledge, to enslave the popular understanding, and thus to hold the great mass of humanity passive and quiet. This is one of the great difficulties in the way of popular government in Europe. The truth is, the people, as a people, are not sufficiently intelligent for this purpose. In a sudden burst of passion, they may shake down a throne, but either they will go into anarchy, which is far worse, or some proud remnant of fallen greatness, chosen in the fury of popular excite, ment, will soon impose chains, perhaps golden chains, yet real chains, upon the delighted captives—the people

. Look at France, her peasantry too republican for monarchy, too ignorant for a republic! See 100,000 soldiers stationed in Paris to keep the people from destroying their own government. See 30,000 Republicans sail into Italy to put down a republic, and at the point of the bayonet re-establish the most accursed system of ecclesiastical and civil despotism, which ever enslaved and degraded man! We see no such scenes enacted in this country, and, for the simple reason, that the laboring classes, those who control the ballot-box, are intelligent, and know how to appreciate civil liberty and the rights of man. True we have ignorance here, but it is mostly imported. Our native population, our farmers, our mechanics, our merchants, for the most part, are a thinking, reading, intelligent population. And our peculiar institutions, our common school system, free to the poorest, have made them such. “But still," says å foreign critic,“ how exceedingly raw you appear in this

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