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aptitude. Agriculture, Manufactures, Commerce, Navigation, whether by sails or steam, and the art of printing in all its forms and in all its applications, have been pursued with surprising skill. Great improvements have been made in all these branches of industry, and in the machinery pertaining to them, which have been eagerly adopted in Europe.
A more adequate provision has been made for pop. ular education, the great basis, humanly speaking
of social improvement, than in almost any other country. I believe that in the cities of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, more money, in proportion to the population, is raised by taxation for the support of common schools, than in any other cities in the world. There are more seminaries in the United States, where a decent academical education can be obtained, - more, I still mean in proportion to the population, - than in any other country except Germany. The Fine Arts have reached a high degree of excellence. The taste for music is rapidly spreading in town and country; and every year witnesses productions from the pencil and the chisel of American sculptors and painters, which would adorn any gallery in the world. Our Astronomers, Mathematicians, Naturalists, Chemists, Engineers, Jurists, Publicists, Historians, Poets, Novelists, and Lexicographers, have placed themselves on a level with their contemporaries abroad. The best dictionaries of the English language
since that of Johnson, are those published in America. Our constitutions, whether of the United States or of the separate States, exclude all public provision for the maintenance of Religion, but in no part of Christendom is it more generously supported. Sacred Science is pursued as diligently and the pulpit commands as high a degree of respect in the United States, as in those countries where the Church is publicly endowed; while the American Missionary
von the admiration of the civilized world. Nowhere, I am persuaded, are there more liberal contributions to public-spirited and charitable objects, — witness the remarkable article on that subject, the second of the kind, by Mr. Eliot, in the last number of the North American Review. Our charitable asylums, houses of industry, institutions for the education of deaf mutes and the blind, for the care of the pauper, and the discipline and reformation of the criminal, are nowhere surpassed. The latter led the way in the modern penitentiary reforms. In a word, there is no branch of the mechanical or fine arts, no department of science exact or applied, no form of polite literature, no description of social improvement, in which, due allowance being made for the means and resources at command, the progress of the United States has not been satisfactory, and in some respects astonishing. At this moment, the rivers and seas of the globe are navigated with that marvellous application of steam as a propelling power, which was first practically effected by Fulton; the monster steamship which has just reached our shores, rides at anchor in the waters, in which the first successful experiment of Steam Navigation was made. The wheat harvest of England this summer will be gathered by American reapers; the newspapers which
lead the journalism of Europe are printed on American <presses; there are imperial Railroads in Europe constructed by American Engineers and travelled by American locomotives; troops armed with American weapons, and ships of war built in American dockyards. In the factories of Europe there is machinery of American invention or improvement; in their observatories, telescopes of American construction ; and apparatus of American invention for recording the celestial phenomena America contests with Europe the introduction into actual use of the electric telegraph, and her mode of operating it is adopted throughout the French empire. American authors in almost every department of science and literature are found on the shelves of European libraries. It is true no American Homer, Virgil, Dante, Copernicus, Shakespeare, Bacon, Milton, Newton, has risen on the world. These mighty geniuses seem to be exceptions in the history of the human mind. Favorable circumstances do not produce them, nor does the absence of favorable circumstances pre
vent their appearance. Homer rose in the dawn of Grecian culture; Virgil flourished in the Court of Augustus; Dante ushered in the birth of the modern European literature; Copernicus was reared in a Polish cloister; Shakespeare was trained in the greenroom of a theatre; Milton was formed while the elements of English thought and life were fermenting toward a great political and moral revolution ; Newton, under the profligacy of the Restoration. Ages may elapse before any country will produce a mind like these; as two centuries have passed since the last-mentioned of them was born. But if it is really a mark of inferiority on the part of the United States, that in the comparatively short period of their existence as a people, they have not added another name to this illustrious list, (which is equally true of all the other nations of the earth,) they may proudly boast of one example of Life and Character, one career of disinterested service, one model of public virtue, one type of human excellence, of which all the countries and all the ages may be searched in vain for a parallel. I need not — on this day I need not, - speak the peerless name. It is stamped on your hearts, it glistens in your eyes, it is written on every page of your history, on the battle-fields of the Revolution, on the monuments of your Fathers, on the portals of your capitols. It is heard in every breeze that whispers over the fields of Independent
America. And he was all our own. He grew up on the soil of America ; he was nurtured at her bosom. She loved and trusted him in his youth; she honored and revered him in his age; and though she did not wait for death to canonize his name, his precious memory, with each succeeding year, has sunk more deeply into the hearts of his countrymen!
But, as I have already stated, it was urged against us in substance on the occasion alluded to, that within the last sixty years the United States have degenerated, and that by a series of changes, at first apparently inconsiderable, but all leading by a gradual and steady progression to the same result, a very discreditable condition of things has been brought about in this country.
Without stating precisely what these supposed changes are, the “result” is set forth in a somewhat remarkable series of reproachful allegations, far too numerous to be repeated in detail, in what remains of this address, but implying in the aggregate little less than the general corruption of the country,– political, social, and moral. The severity of these reproaches is not materially softened by a few courteous words of respect for the American People. I shall in a moment select for examination two or three of the most serious of these charges, observing only at present that the prosperous condition of the country, which I have imperfectly sketched, and especially its