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other hand, that their likings may be gratified at a less expense, and that those effusions are precisely the kind of food on which scoffers live. We can have that evangelical warmth which is grateful to all, without that cant which is disgusting serious
persons, and which gives those who are destitute of seriousness ample occasion to blaspheme. We have spoken plainly, but we are conscious that we have spoken in love, - in love to the unknown compilers, and love to the cause of pure religion, which we ought to regard with more deference than any individuals, however respectable, and whether known or unknown. To prove that we have not noticed the defects of this book in a spirit of captiousness or unkindness, and do not suffer its defects to turn aside our memory from its beauties, we repeat that a large portion of our best hymns is to be found in it, and that in its whole extent it is quite a treasury of sacred song.
ART. VIII. – An Address delivered before the Young Men
of Boston, associated for Moral and Intellectual Improvement, on the Fisty-seventh Anniversary of American Independence. By AMASA WALKER, President of of the Boston Lyceum. Published by request. Boston. Allen & Ticknor. 1833.
PERHAPS no oration has ever been delivered under circumstances of a higher moral interest than those which attended the delivery of this Address.
Eleven Societies, composed of young men associated together for the purest and loftiest purposes for which mankind can enter into combined efforts, and embracing more than fifteen hundred members, united in celebrating the anniversary of our national independence in a manner worthy of their sires, of their country, of themselves, and of the cause of intellectual and moral improvement. There was no eating or drinking to show that they could be exhilarated only by indulgence of the sensual appetites; but a simple procession from the Capitol to the Chauncy-Place Church, and an Address by one of their number, constituted the celebration.
Each Society formed by itself, and was distinguished in the procession by an appropriate badge ; and seldom have we seen a collection of citizens presenting to the eye of a philanthropist so many features of interest. In beholding such an array of youthful forms and faces, clothed with the vigor and beauty of early life, and eloquent of high hopes and exalted purposes and determined energy, we could not help considering these young men as the character-makers for å coming generation, and rejoicing in the belief that they, and such as they, would determine the future fate of our country.
When the procession had reached the church and were seated, the eye of the orator must have glanced over the crowded assembly of young men below and of young ladies above, with unmingled satisfaction, and his heart must have kindled into new ardor at the idea of giving impulse to such a host, engaged in such a cause. Never before have we beheld an audience so calculated to inspire a speaker and give fervor to his feelings and utterance. They were his associates and fellow-laborers, who were gathered together to receive encouragement and listen to advice from him who was about leaving their ranks for the company of the middleaged, from him who had passed through the temptations with which young men are surrounded and beset, and who was therefore
competent to utter the lessons of experience and wisdom, as a farewell offering. Well might both speaker and hearers feel that an occasion like this has seldom occurred in the history of our race, and that an era of unprecedented moral interest was then begun.
How different this celebration from that of 1831, the convivial part of which was so disgraceful to the young men of Boston, by its intemperate excesses! The contrast furnishes proof that a very great and a truly blessed reform has within two years taken place in our city. Upon this reform we should like to dwell at considerable length, exhibiting its progress, and developing the causes by which it has been produced. But we must defer this pleasant task to another opportunity. Suffice it to remark lt present that two years ago the Societies which took the lead in this celebration, and whose numerical force is greatest, were not organized, and that there was, in fact, at that time scarcely a Young Men's Society known as such in the city.
N. S. VOL. X. NO. I.
This sudden acquisition of confederated energy by a once powerless class of the community is an event not a little remarkable, and, while we may regard it as the legitimate effect of our free institutions and of the improvements which have recently been made in the science of education, cannot but be looked upon as destined to exercise a momentous influence upon our future history. There are those now living, -nay, in the freshness of mid-life, who can recollect the contempt showered down from all quarters on the young men of this good city in consequence of an attempt on their part to celebrate some public festival during the political life of the departed patriot John Adams. The effort was considered the result of juvenile folly and impertinence, and as such received with universal rudeness by the older classes of society. Amongst other occurrences of that day, we remember to have heard the following related by one who was perfectly familiar with all the facts. The young men appointed a committee of two, consisting of young gentlemen of the most respectable character and connexions, of whom, if we mistake not, Mr. Francis J. Oliver was one, to wait on Mr. John Adams in Quincy and invite him to honor the celebration by his attendance. They discharged their duty to the best of their ability, but met a refusal delivered in a manner which provoked their indignation; although it was probably such as any other eminent man would have then bestowed on what was considered an upstart generation, who knew not their proper sphere.
Who would now regard the celebration of our country's birth-day by young men as a piece of youthful vanity? Who would now, however exalted in office or dignified by an illustrious life, think of meeting a committee of young men with rudeness, or in any way but respectfully?
The change is indeed wonderful. Moral and political power are no longer concentrated in the ranks of the greyhaired and care-wrinkled. They have settled towards the base of society, and are now wielded more fully perhaps by the class whose ages extend from twenty years to six and thirty, than by any other. We cannot but feel deeply anxious for the event of this revolution. Antiquity from her garnered store-house of experience furnishes no information of the probable result. The case is new in human history; and while we continue to remember that hitherto counsel and
system have been confined to the aged, and that the young have walked in a path, and acted on a plan, marked out for them by their seniors, or that the fiery elements which glow in the bosom of young men are continually in rebellion against their immature and unpractised judgments, and of course likely to lead them into untried and perilous paths, we must continue to watch over the present peculiar phenomena of society with the most anxious concern.
It is to be hoped that the friends of religion and of good order will be on the alert to avert every danger that can be apprehended from this novel state of things; and especially that those who have the charge of educating the hearts and forming the principles of children, will act under a full appreciation of their increased responsibilities.
We now proceed to notice the Address itself, with the general preliminary remark that its subject was judiciously chosen, and the subordinate topics treated in a manner worthy of the occasion, while its reception, hearty and enthusiastic, exhibited at once a fraternal unanimity of feeling amongst the audience, and a most desirable state of moral sentiment.
In his exordium, the orator very briefly and with much eloquence alluded to the glorious recollections and still more glorious hopes associated with the day, and recalled to memory some of the well-fought fields and some of the illustrious names of our revolutionary history. While the names of Washington and Warren and Putnam," "of Adams and Hancock and Henry ” escaped from his lips, we could not but wish that the biographies of our great men were more generally read by our youthful brethren, and that a familiar acquaintance with their private history and public acts, with their motives and principles, should make the mention of their names alone a key to unlock the treasury of patriotic reminiscences, as it would infallibly furnish some of the most perfect models of imitation that could be gathered from the annals of our race.
From this natural allusion to the past, the speaker turned to a consideration of the influence which the future destiny of our country would feel from the agency of the Societies, before which he spake, - Societies for elevating the minds and purifying the hearts of mankind, and thus laying the broad foundation of national prosperity, — the intelligence
and virtue of the people. Into the character and purposes of these combined Societies he then proceeded to examine, and in so doing presented to the minds of the virtuous and philanthropic the fairest and most hopeful field in which iheir energies can be employed.
" To furnish the means of intellectual improvement to the mass of common mind,” he declared was one of the chief objects of these associations, — an object whose pursuit was based on the principle that it is far better to have the many well informed than the few learned.
This object is accomplished by furnishing to all classes of society an opportunity of continuing their education after the school-house has been abandoned, and they have been sent forth into the wide world of labor.
While the orator dwelt upon this topic, and spoke of the necessity of making fashionable the devotion of all classes in society to literary and scientific pursuits, what hearer could refrain from noticing how few of the fashionable part of the community, commonly so called, were present; from remembering how few of them are engaged in any one of these Societies for either intellectual or moral improvement?
“We wish,” continued the speaker, " to change the moral character of our Metropolis.” Not, he says, because our city is infamous for crime and corruption; not because there are not now to be found in her a multitude of virtuous citizens, and perhaps a larger proportion of such than can be found in any other city : — but because vice still lingers here, however secretly, and still finds her thousand victims; preying in an especial manner upon the young. He would prove the fallacy of that long received doctrine that a city must needs be the metropolis of crime, the haunt of moral disease and death, the sentiment which Cowper utters when he says
Rank abundance breeds
Beyond the achievement of successful flight. That this doctrine is altogether true must be denied not only by the orator, but by every other reasonable man. We