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as a class to make greater exertions than heretofore in CHAP. the cause of morality, and to exert more influence by --AALT using their united strength. The first Young Men's 1851, Christian Association in the Union was organized in Bos- 1852, ton; the second in New York City, and within a year ten similar ones were formed in other cities; and now there are in the Union 1,170 Associations having a membership of 195,456. These Associations, being an outgrowth of
1889. this age of the church, have, especially in the cities, ample fields for work in connection with church organizations. The members labor in Sabbath and mission schools ; have libraries and reading-rooms-resorts for young men engaged in business—have Bible classes for their own members and for others; maintain literary classes as well as rooms for innocent amusements, and over all throw a Christian influence. In many of the cities Associations of Christian Young Women have been formed on the same principle, to promote a similar work of benevolence among young persons of their own sex.
Of two impediments to a universal education, oneslavery—has disappeared; and the other is diminishing rapidly, as the numerous immigrants, especially from Northern Europe and Germany, are superior in respect to their education to those of former times. If no young man, when becoming of age, was permitted to vote unless he could read and write, we should have in less than a score of years a Nation in which there would scarcely be an illiterate voter. In these days of free schools, the young man who has not sufficient mental power to learn to read and write should be set aside on the score of imbecility; and if he has the power and not the will much more is he derelict of duty, and unworthy to exercise the privilege
The same principles apply to Foreigners, who have ample time in the five years before they can become naturalized, to thus qualify themselves by learning to read
CHAP. and write ; and if they negiect to perform that duty,
aille let them be disfranchised as well as the native-born 1890.
In no respect has the mental energy of the Nation manifested itself so much as in the encouragement given to the public press. The common schools taught the youth to read ; the innate desire of acquiring knowledge was fostered ; and the fascinating newspaper, as it statedly enters the domestic circle, reflects the world and records the progress of the age. By this means the most retired can be brought into sympathy with the world, in its yearnings after excellence, peace, and happiness.
At the commencement of the Revolution there were but thirty-five newspapers, and they of a very limited circulation; now, of all classes, are more than fifteen thousand. The population since that time has increased eighteen-fold, and the newspapers more than four-hundred-fold. Educated and accomplished minds discuss in their columns the important questions of the time, and upon these qnestions the Nation acts ; thence they pass into history. If the issues of the press are kept pure, the blessing in all its greatness far transcends mortal ken. Public opinion has been termed a tyrant; but it is a tyrant that, if vicious, can be made virtuous—can be reformed if not dethroned. Let the virtue and the intelligence of the Nation see to it that it is a righteous tyrant, and submission to its iron rule will become a blessing.
In intimate connection with this intellectual progress is the increase of public libraries, found in so many of our cities. There are now more than ten thousand, and they contain about nine million volumes. These storehouses of knowledge are as diversified as the wants of the people. Among them are found the Sunday-school libraries, each with its few hundred volumes; the social or circulating libraries, in almost every village or large town, and the numerous private as well as public libraries, containing much of the current literature of the day. An
HONORED. NAMES— ART.
1185 important feature was introduced at the formation of the CHAP. public library in New York City bearing the name of its 2016 founder, John Jacob Astor, and since increased by his 1890. son. Other great cities have also their fine public librariesnotably a very superior one in Boston, and the art of cataloguing and making available the treasures of such collections has made the position of librarian almost a profession.
In the departments of human knowledge and literature we have names that are held in honor wherever the English language is read: in History, Prescott, Bancroft, Hildreth, and Motley ; in Systematic Theology, Dr. Timothy Dwight, whose works have had a great influence in this country and in England, and Professor Charles Hodge; in Mental Philosophy, Jonathan Edwards ; in Biblical Literature, Edward Robinson; in Poetry, Bryant, Longfellow, and Whittier; in Light Literature, Irving, Cooper, and Hawthorne; in Lexicography, Noah Webster; in Mathematics, Bowditch—many other eminent names might be added.
In art we have those who have exhibited evidence of genius that may yet give the Nation a name honored among those eminent in painting and sculpture. Her sons have not been surrounded by models from great masters to awaken in early life the slumbering genius, nor have they been encouraged by a traditionary reverence among the people for such manifestations of talent. It has been in the face of these disadvantages that they have reached their present high position, not by passing through a training laborious and preparatory, but almost at a bound.
We rejoice to see the great body of the people associating themselves for purposes of doing good or for self-improvement. There are in the land many religious and benevolent associations. Of the latter class is the Temperance movement, promoted at first greatly by the
must piman that of the in their civil righ!
CHAP. eloquence of Dr. Lyman Beecher, and which has had an LXXIII.
immense influence for good upon the nation. The moral phase of the subject has taken deep hold of the ininds and conscience of the people, and in the end the cause must prevail. There is also no more cheering sign of the times than that of the people themselves becoming more and more acquainted with their civil rights and duties, and in their demanding virtue and political integrity in those who serve them in a public capacity, and, when there is a dereliction of duty, their promptly appealing to the Ballot-box.
Governments had hitherto interfered more or less with the liberty of conscience. They assumed that in some way—though indefinable—they were responsible for the salvation of the souls of their subjects. Free inquiry and a knowledge of the truths of the Bible, and the separation of Church and State, shifted that responsibility to the individual himself, and in consequence it became his recognized duty to support schools of learning and sustain religious institutions. This change in the
minds of the people commenced in the great awakening' 1735. under Jonathan Edwards, and its influence had full ef
fect in the separation of Church and State after the Revolution,' To this principle of individual responsibility may be traced the voluntary support and the existence of the various benevolent operations of our own day, in which all the religious denominations participate. These in their efforts are not limited to the destitute portions of our own country, but in many foreign lands may be found the American missionary, a devoted teacher of Christianity and its humanizing civilization, supported and encouraged by the enlightened benevolence of his own countrymen. The same principle produces fruits in founding asylums for the purpose of relieving human suffering and distress, or smoothing the pathway of the Hist. p. 267.
* Hist. p. 569.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE-THE ULTIMATE SUCCESS.
unfortunate. The men of wealth in our day more fully CHAP. appreciate their responsibility, and the mental energy exercised in its accumulation has more than in former times 1890. been consecrated to doing good. Millions have thus been given by individuals to found or aid institutions of learning, that the youth may be secured to virtue and intelligence—a blessed influence that will increase in power from age to age.
We inherit the English language and its glorious associations—the language of a free Gospel, free speech, and a free press. Its literature, imbued with the principles of liberty, civil and religious, and of correct morals, belongs to us. We claim the worthies of the Mothercountry, whose writings have done so much to promote sound morality, with no less gratitude and pride than we do those of our own land. The commerce of the world is virtually in the hands of those speaking the English language. On the coasts of Asia, of Africa, in Australia, in the isles of the Pacific it has taken foothold—may it be the means of disseminating truth and carrying to the ends of the earth the blessings of Christianity.
The ultimate success of this Government and the stability of its institutions, its progress in all that can make a nation honored, depend upon its adherence to the principles of truth and righteousness. Let the part we are to perform in the world be not the subjugation of others to our sway by physical force, but the noble destiny to subdue by the influence and the diffusion of a Christianized civilization.