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PROGRESS;

LIFE OF GEORGE STEPHENSON.

HOPE, imagination, and memory, frequently blend with each other. Imagination often influences materially its sister faculties.

at once

Many a man who has passed his fiftieth year, admits that young people indulge in Imaginative Hope, who is slow to believe that he himself indulges in Imaginative Memory; and that the remembrances of his youth, on which he dwells with fond delight, are not representations of realities, but fanciful pictures after all. It is the ordination of a merciful Providence, that generally the inconveniences and troubles of the past are mentally buried, while the pleasurable parts of our history have merely slept, and are capable of instant awakening.

Thus for want of an accurate memory, and a fair unprejudiced comparison of circumstances, there are always some who do injustice to the present in their recollections of the past. They magnify the advantages of the old, and depreciate the new. There are no orators, they say, comparable to those to whom they listened when boys; no statesmen like those who then ruled the destinies of England; no poets whose verses can compare with the lines

they recited when young; no preachers equal to those under whose discourses they slept half a century ago. The wits, philosophers, merchants, and men of science of a past age are invested (by a memory tenacious of the thoughts and influenced by the imagination of youth) with excellence utterly and decidedly denied to men now living, whom the young of the present time think, and not without reason, to be eminent also.

In one matter, however, it might reasonably be expected that all prejudices in favour of the past would be abandoned, and the undeniable good of the present acknowledged; that the comfort, economy, and speed of the modern mode of travelling, would extort the willing or unwilling admiration of all classes of the community; and yet it is scarcely sothere are still, even in this respect, those who sigh after

"The good old days when they were young,
And George the Third was king."

It is amusing to find occasionally representatives of the past, who would rather drive twenty-five miles, though it cost them three hours, than take a ride on a railway, by which the journey might be accomplished in one.

A gentleman now resides in the neighbourhood of a large city, whose occupation has called him daily into its busiest thoroughfares, who has been so little affected by the changes of the last quarter of a century that he has never seen a railway. If, in astonishment on hearing the fact, you exclaim, "Never seen a railway, Sir!" the prompt answer invariably is, "No, Sir, I have never seen a railway, don't want to see a railway, Sir,-what's the use of seeing a railway, Sir?"

The title given me for the lecture to-night is "Progress," which would be a very wide subject, but that the Committee have indicated certain limits by referring to the Life of

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