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good or bad? What but ignorance, could have led a whole people to imagine that a nation can continue to spend twice as much in a year as they can earn? What but ignorance, can lead people to suppose, that a third part of a thriving population can be drones, and still the bive be filled with honey? The schoolmaster has, as yet, done but a small part of his work. The last census has revealed some mortifying facts, as to the number of persons in this nation, which boasts itself the most intelligent on earth, who can neither read nor write. It is intelligence, after all, that, more than any thing else, raises one nation above another. It does so by directing their physical power to the best objects, and then employing it to the best advantage. In precise proportion to the want of it, must we approach the destitution and misery of the savage.
Finally, the grand means of remedying hard times is, the moral elevation of the people. One gigantic step has already been taken towards it in the temperance reform. This I consider as the most important, as well as the most wonderful movement of the age. In an economical view, no one has, as yet, comprehended its vastness. Millions of money have already been saved from worse than waste; but those millions are nothing when compared to the labor and the moral energy which have been redeemed from annihilation, and set to work for the common benefit of all. It is computed that thirty thousand drunkards have been reclaimed from brutality and degradation, and restored to sobriety and usefulness. The saving that is thus made in our expenditures and receipts is enough, of itself, to pay the interest on our public debts which press so heavily upon us.
Moral reform is not likely to stop here. Public opinion, which has been directed with such efficiency to one vice, will be turned successively on every other; and thus the sources of national poverty and crime will be dried up. Morality and intelligence are our only hope. He who does any thing to promote these, does just so much to relieve us from the pressure of hard times. Education, the press, and the pulpit, these are the means of elevating the morality and intelligence of a community; and on them we must steadily rely gradually to extricate us from our present difficulties, and lead us onward to a condition of prosperity, such as we have not yet conceived.
Gentlemen, I have given you a few plain and practical ideas on the causes and the cure of hard times. It is a subject in which each one of us is deeply interested, and which comes home to the experience and business of every day. Let us hope that this very Association may prove one of the means of alleviation to
which I have alluded; that the information which is here disseminated, and the great principles here developed, will enable us all to see the causes and apply the remedies, which are calculated to cure hard times.
THE SOURCES OF NATIONAL WEALTH.*
The subject which we propose to consider in this lecture, is the sources of national wealth ;-in what it consists—how it is accumulated-how it is kept up-how it is increased, and what are the causes of its decay.
Fifty-five years before the birth of Christ, Julius Cæsar landed with a Roman army on the shore of Britain. There he found the island inhabited by a thin population of barbarians. On the southern shore, next to Gaul, he found cultivated fields, settled habitations, beasts of burden, and a few war chariots. The interior was altogether savage. There was no agriculture, and a few flocks and herds, a few miserable hovels, partly under ground, and some altogether composed of natural excavations of the earth, the skins of wild animals, and a few of the rudest utensils for cooking food and serying the table, composed their only wealth. Such was the aspect of the island from Land's End
* Delivered before the Mercantile Library Association of Baltimore 1843.
to the Orkneys. Now that little island may be called the metropolis of the world, and, though not much larger than some of the states of this Union, she might almost buy Italy as a farmer purchases a field, -Italy which reigned the mistress of the world, when Britain was almost an impenetrable forest. She owes more than some kingdoms are worth. Her acres are gardens, her dwellings are palaces, her cities are the store-houses of the world, and it is not long since one of her merchants had it seriously in contemplation to purchase the whole of Palestine, and become the sole owner of the land where the tribes of Canaan dwelt, and where Solomon reigned over four millions of people. Nor is the wealth of England, vast as it is, all at home. It sails on every sea, it rides in every harbor of the known world. How has all this been accumulated ? England, in the meantime, has been no miser. She has expended more in war than most nation's possess. She has had a hand in almost every national quarrel in Christendom for the last eight hundred years, besides fighting most of the time on her own account. And while the world has been looking on and watching for her fall, she has been striking deeper the roots of her power, and sending off new and stronger branches from her enormous trunk.
In the month of December, 1620, the May