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is slowly taking its place as the highest social truth. That the world was made for all, and not for a few; that society is to care for all; that no human being shall perish but through his own fault; that the great end of government is to spread a shield over the rights of all, these propositions are growing into axioms, and the spirit of them is coming forth in all the departments of life.
The Present Age! In these brief words what a world of thought is comprehended! What infinite movements, what joys and sorrows, what hope and despair, what faith and doubts, what silent grief and loud lament, what fierce conflicts and subtile schemes of policy, what private and public revolutions! In the period through which many of us have passed what thrones have been shaken, what hearts have bled, what millions have been butchered by their fellow-creatures, what hopes of philanthropy have been blighted! And at the same time what magnificent enterprises have been achieved, what new provinces won to science and art, what rights and liberties secured to nations! It is a privilege to have lived in an age so stirring, so pregnant, so eventful. It is an age never to be forgotten. Its voice of warning and encouragement is never to die. Its impression on
history is indelible.
Amidst its events, the American Revolution, the first distinct, solemn assertion of the rights of men, and the French Revolution, that volcanic force which shook the earth to its centre, are never to pass from men's minds. Over this age the night will indeed gather more and more as time rolls away; but in that night two forms will appear, Napoleon and Washington, the one a lurid meteor, the other a benign, serene, and undecaying star. Another American name will live in history, your Franklin; and the kite which brought lightning from heaven will be seen sailing in the clouds by remote posterity, when the city 'where he dwelt may be known only by its ruins. There is, however, something greater in the age than in its greatest men; it is the appearance of a new power in the world, the appearance of the multitude of men on that stage where as yet the few have acted their parts alone. This influence is to endure to the end of time. What more of Perhaps much, of which The glory of an age is Perhaps some word has
the present is to survive? we now take no note. often hidden from itself. been spoken in our day which we have not deigned to hear, but which is to grow clearer and louder through all ages. Perhaps some silent thinker among us is at work in his closet whose name is to
fill the earth. Perhaps there sleeps in his cradle some reformer who is to move the church and the world, who is to open a new era in history, who is to fire the human soul with new hope and new daring. What else is to survive the age? That which the age has little thought of, but which is living in us all; I mean the Soul, the Immortal Spirit. Of this all ages are the unfoldings, and it is greater than all. We must not feel, in the contemplation of the vast movements of our own and former times, as if we ourselves were nothing. I repeat it, we are greater than all. We are to survive our age, to comprehend it, and to pronounce its sentence. And yet, however, we are encompassed with darkness. The issues of our time, how obscure! The future into which it opens, who of us can foresee? To the Father of all Ages I commit this future with humble, yet courageous and unfaltering hope.
EDUCATION IN A REPUBLIC
JUDAH PHILIP BENJAMIN
Judah Philip Benjamin, lawyer and statesman, was born in St. Croix, West Indies, August 11, 1811, and died in Paris, France, May 8, 1884. His speeches show him to have been a learned man, and as an advocate and a public speaker he achieved pronounced success. As a lawyer, both in America and England, he stood in the front rank of his
profession. His parents, who were English Jews, emigrated to the United States when Benjamin was an infant, and he passed his boyhood at Wilmington, N. C. He served two terms in the United States Senate as a Senator from Louisiana, and when his State seceded, he resigned his seat in the United States Senate, and became successively AttorneyGeneral, Secretary of War, and Secretary of State of the Confederacy. At the close of the Civil War he made his home in England, was admitted to practise at the English Bar, and rose to eminence.
ECREANT indeed should we prove to the duty we owe to our country, unworthy indeed should we be of the glorious heritage of our fathers, if the counsels of Washington fell disregarded on our ears.
But if that great man had so decided a conviction of the absolute necessity of diffusing intelligence amongst the people in his day, how unspeakably urgent has that necessity become in ours! In the first attempts then made to organize our institutions on republican principles the most careful and guarded measures were adopted in order to confine the powers of the government to the hands of those whose virtue and intelligence best fitted them for the exercise of such exalted duties. The population of the country was sparse; the men then living had witnessed the revolution that secured our independence; its din was still ringing in our ears, they had purchased liberty with blood, and dearly did they cherish, and
watchfully did they guard, the costly treasure; the noblest band of patriots that ever wielded sword or pen in freedom's holy cause, were still amongst them, shining lights, guiding by their example and instructing by their counsels, to which eminent public services gave added weight. Now, alas! the latest survivor of that noble band has passed away. Their light has ceased to shine on our path. The population that then scarce reached three millions, now numbers twenty; and the steady and irresistible march of public opinion constantly operating in the infusion of a greater and still greater proportion of the popular element into our institutions, has at length reached the point beyond which it can no farther go; and from the utmost limits of the frozen North to the sunny clime of Louisiana, from the shores washed by the stormy Atlantic to the extreme verge of the flowery prairies of the far West, there scarce breathes an American citizen, who is not, in the fullest and broadest acceptation of the word, one of the rulers of his country. Imagination shrinks from the contemplation of the mighty power for weal or for woe possessed by these vast masses of men. If swayed by impulse, passion, or prejudice to do wrong, no mind can conceive, no pen portray, the scenes of misery and desolation that must ensue.