Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

tice and wrong; but the man who labors with his own hands to maintain a family by the sweat of his own brow is interested in nothing so much as justice. For how can he ask justice of the officers of the government, of his fellow-men, if he denies justice in the performance of the duties that devolve upon him?

His interest is in wise laws, honestly administered by faithful public servants, who do their duty under all circumstances; and, above all, it is his interest in laying a firm and deep foundation of the government under the universal system of public instruction. And so long as in Pennsylvania, New York, and New England, in the great Valley of the Mississippi, and upon the slopes of the Pacific, shall be and remain the system of Public Instruction, supported at the public expense, unto which are brought for education the children of the rich and of the poor, where justice is taught as the supreme law of individuals and public life, this nation will remain ; it will prosper; it will advance. It will be the guide to the nations of the earth; and if, in the performance of this duty, we falter, there is no security.

It is only by general intelligence, by individual virtue, aggregated and made powerful, that the government, with the rights of the people, can be secure. Laboring men, see that the means of education are furnished to your children and the children of the whole people. Inculcate justice; recognize the great doctrines of independence, that not some, but all men are created equal. Recognize and act upon these great principles, and nothing can shake your government.

Neither the repose of peace can weaken nor the shock of war disturb it. It is more powerful in the intelligence and virtue of the people than any other nation can be. Rule, laboring men, the land in which you dwell, but rule under principles of virtue, guided by intelligence.

Ex. 20.

- THE REFORMER.

- Greeley.*

THOUG

HOUGH the life of the reformer may seem rugged

and arduous, it were hard to say considerately that any other were worth living at all. Who can thoughtfully affirm that the career of the conquering, desolating, subjugating warrior; of the devotee of gold, or ponxp, or sensual joys; the monarch in his purple, the miser by his chest, —- is not a libel on humanity, and an offence against God?

But the earnest, unselfish reformer, born into a state of darkness, evil, and suffering, and honestly striving to displace these by light and purity and happiness, may fall and die, as so many have done before him, but he cannot fail. His vindication shall gleam from the walls of his hovel, his dungeon, his tomb; it shall shine in the radiant eyes of uncorrupted childhood, and fall in blessings from the lips of high-hearted generous youth.

As the untimely death of the good is our strongest moral assurance of the resurrection, so the life wearily worn out in a doubtful and perilous conflict with wrong and woe is our most conclusive evidence that

wrong

and woe shall vanish forever.

Life is a bubble which any breath may dissolve; wealth or power a snow-flake, melting momently into the treacherous deep, across whose waves we are floated on to our unseen destiny; but to have lived so that one less orphan is called to choose between starvation and infamy, one less slave feels the lash applied in mere wantonness or cruelty,- to have lived so that some eyes of those whom fame shall never know are brightened and others suffused at the name of the beloved one, so that the few who knew him truly shall recognize him as the bright, warm, cheering presence, which was here for a season,

* Mr. Greeley as a writer and speaker of the purest and tersest English is an excellent model for all who would speak and read well.

and left the world no worse for his stay in it; this is surely to have really lived, and not wholly in vain.

Ex. 21.

-A VALEDICTORY ADDRESS.

Oliver Optic.*

F

can never

ELLOW-SCHOLARS: Another year of our school

life is finished, and many of us have come to-day for the last time. But whether we go or stay we shall all find abundant cause to remember our school with gratitude. Day after day we have assembled here, and the associations which cluster around this place — more vivid in our minds to-day than ever before be forgotten. They will go with us through life, and form an important part in the individual experience of each one of us.

The events of this day and of the past school days are to be remembered and recalled with pleasure, perhaps with pride, when we have passed far down into the vale of years. As we hear the aged of to-day rehearse the scenes of their youth, so shall we revive the memories of our school when the battle of life has been fought, and we sit down to repose after the burden and heat of the day are passed. Then little incidents, which seem now hardly worth the telling, will possess a deeper interest, and will linger long and fondly in the imagination. To-day with its trials and its triumphs will be regarded as an epoch in the career of some of us; as a day worth remembering by all of us.

We cannot take leave of these familiar walls, and sunder the pleasant associations which have bound us together here, without acknowledging the debt of gratitude we owe to our school and to our teachers for their fostering care. We have too little experience of the duties and responsibilities of active life fully to understand and appreciate the value of the intellectual and moral training we have received in this place; but we know that we are the wiser and the better now for it. We know that without it we could achieve neither a moral nor a business success.

* From “Oliver Optic's Magazine."

To many of us the education we have obtained here will be our only capital in beginning life ; and, whatever of wealth and honor we may hereafter win in the world, we shall be largely indebted to our school for the means of success.

Let us, then, ever remember our school with affection and gratitude. We shall ever feel a noble pride in those who have so wisely and so generously placed the means of education within the reach of all. To the school officers of the present year, and to our teachers, we return our sincere thanks for their hearty and continued interest in our welfare.

And now, fellow-scholars, the class of this year will soon separate, never again to be united in the school

May prosperity and happiness attend both teachers and scholars in their future career! .

[ocr errors]

room.

Ex. 22.

THE DEATH OF LINCOLN.

Burritt.

RESIDENT LINCOLN'S was a great life; but his

death was greater still, — the greatest, perhaps, that has moved the world for a thousand years. When he stood with his tender arms around the North and South, holding them to his heart, that both might soften theirs at his spirit, his life work was done. Then began the sublime mission of his death.

While those sunken eyes were shining with the gladness of his soul at the glimpse given him, as to Moses on Pisgah's top, of the Canaan side of his country's future, in a moment their light was quenched forever on earth. An assassin pierced his brain as with a bolt of lightning and he fell ; and great was the fall of that single man. With him fell a million enemies of his cause and country, at home and abroad.

If the last act of his life was to close the rift in a continent, the first act of his death was to close the chasm between two hemispheres. Never before was England brought so close to this country. In the great overflow of her sympathy the mother country was flooded and tided towards her first-born daughter, weeping at the bier of the great departed; and she bent over the mourner with words of tender condolence.

Blood is thicker than water; and the latent instincts of nature came forth in generous speech and sentiment towards a sorrowing nation.

Ex. 23.

- OUR COUNTRY. - Grimke.

E cannot honor our Country with too deep a revWerence; we cannot love her with an affection too pure and fervent; we cannot serve her with an energy of purpose or a faithfulness of zeal too steadfast and ardent. And what is our country? It is not the East, with her hills and her valleys, with her countless sails, and the rocky ramparts of her shores. It is not the North, with her thousand villages and her harvest-home, with her frontiers of the lake and the

It is not the West, with her forest-sea, and her

ocean.

« ПредишнаНапред »