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their church and posterity to continue in comfortably, because
they could not bring the Dutch to reform the neglect of observation of the Lord's Day as a Sabbath ;” and because, also, “ which was very lamentable, and of all sorrows the most heavy to be borne, - many of their children were drawn away by evil examples into extravagant and dangerous courses, and they could not educate them, nor give them due correction, without reproof or reproach by their neighbors.”
And we all understand, my friends, what the Pilgrims, and what the Puritans, understood by education. It was not the mere cultivation of the mind. It was not the mere study of languages or of sciences. It was not the mere acquisition of arts or of accomplishments. But it was the formation of the heart, the regulation of the affections, the preparation of the soul for the great business of time and of eternity. The crown-jewel of all education with them was education in spiritual things.
These, then, were among the main moving principles which brought the Pilgrims to Plymouth Rock, in 1620,-“ the observation of the Lord's Day as a Sabbath,” and the religious instruction of the young. And these must be among the main moving principles of their descendants, wherever they are gathered, and wherever they are scattered, if they mean to maintain, uphold, and transmit to posterity the glorious institutions which they now enjoy. In the expressive language of Wordsworth,
“The discipline of slavery is unknown
And, let me add, the virtue which rests on any other foundation than religious faith and religious fear, will stand only until the next tide of temptation shall sweep it into the flood.
And now, my friends, I am sensible that it is to voluntary associations like this, that we must mainly look for the circulation and practical development of these great principles. We have a noble system of common schools, under the patronage of our various State governments, which supply all that is needed in the way of secular education. But we have no State religion, and it would be regarded, perhaps, as an infringement upon the principles of religious freedom, to introduce any thing more than we now have of religious instruction into schools supported at the public cost. It is then for voluntary associations to supply this great want, this great demand, this great necessity of our country; and I rejoice to see so many evidences on every side, both that it has been supplied to so great a degree heretofore, and that there is a pervading determination among Christians of all denominations, that it shall be fully and completely supplied hereafter. I think it may be safely said, that there has never before existed in our country so widespread and universal a conviction, that Sunday Schools are an essential and vital part of our system of education, as at the present moment.
You have, yourselves, proposed as your own noble design,“ to plant a Sunday School wherever there is a population.” Let that design be accomplished, and, whatever fears we may entertain for the present, the future of our country will be secure. Let the Banner of the Cross go forth side by side with the Flag of our Union wherever it is carried ; let the Spirit of the Lord be invoked to accompany the Spirit of Liberty in its triumphant march ; let the Bible be everywhere on the same shelf with the Constitution ; let there be no region so remote, no valley so secluded, no wilderness so solitary or so desolate, that men shall be able to escape from the visible presence of Religion, as manifested in the observance of the Lord's Day, and in that most attractive and fascinating of all its forms, - the religious instruction of young children ; let this be accomplished, and, depend upon it, the people of this country will have much less to fear for the stability of their institutions, and Congresses and Cabinets will have much less to do to preserve the Union. There will then, too, be no longer any doubt that we are “a power on earth ;" a power for every purpose of promoting either the welfare of men, or the glory of God.
But you have another and hardly less prominent object of association and effort, of which I cannot forbear to say a single word. I mean the preparation and publication of books peculiarly adapted to the religious instruction and improvement of the young. And here you have substantially a common object with the Bible Societies and Tract Societies of our State and
nation; and I need not say that this, too, is an object which eminently deserves the countenance and co-operation of all good
We have no censorship of the press in our land. Men are free to write and to publish whatever they please in the way of books, either for the young or the old. And this liberty is exercised to an extent never before witnessed in the world. One almost trembles for the cause of order, and morality, and virtue, when he sees such loads of frivolous and corrupting literature peddled for a song at the corners of every street and at the door of every railroad car. Yet amidst all this profusion of literary
coduction, there always has been, and still is, a lamentable dearth of sound, wholesome, instructive and entertaining Sunday reading for the young.
I know not a better service that any man, or any woman, can perform for religion or for the country, than to prepare books which shall render moral and spiritual truths intelligible and attractive to the youthful mind. What author is there, living or dead, who might not afford to exchange reputations with John Bunyan, for example, - even supposing he had never written a line except “the Pilgrim's Progress”? Who can measure the influence which that book has produced, and is destined to produce, for the good of mankind, as long as the English language, or indeed as long as any language, shall be read or spoken on earth!
I do not pretend to be familiar with the entire range of your numerous publications. But some of them I have availed myself of in my own family with great satisfaction ; and one of them I have read with peculiar pleasure and instruction during the past year. I refer to the life of Martin Luther, by my excellent friend, Dr. Sears, the Secretary of the Board of Education. It is a work of great interest throughout. But nothing has interested and surprised me more, than to find how completely the Great Reformer, three hundred and twenty-five years ago, anticipated all that even we New-Englanders have said or done on the subject of education. There are few things more persuasive or more powerful than his address in 1524, “ to the common councils of all the cities of Germany in behalf of Christian schools.” And in the Saxon school system, as instituted under the auspices of Luther and Melancthon in 1527, we may find all, and more than all, that is most valuable in our own boasted American school system. I say more than all, — for religious instruction was combined and incorporated with secular education in those old Saxon schools, and lent its crowning grace and beauty to the whole organization.
But, my friends, I have trespassed too long on your indulgence. There are solemn exercises before us, in which you are impatient to unite. There are eloquent voices, to which you are anxious to listen. Let me then conclude, by thanking you once more for the honor you have done me in calling me to the chair on this occasion, and by repeating the expression of my most earnest wishes for the continued and increased prosperity and advancement of the American Sunday School Union.
NOMINATION OF WINFIELD SCOTT
PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES.
A SPEECH MADE AT FANEUIL HALL, JUNE 29, 1852.
I AM highly honored, fellow-citizens of Suffolk County, in being called to preside over your deliberations this evening, and I return my most grateful acknowledgments to those to whom I am indebted for so distinguished a position. On some accounts, I would willingly have been excused from the service which has been assigned me. The oppressive heat of the weather, the state of my own health, the peculiar circumstances of the hour, the painful tidings which have reached us by the telegraph, would all have made it more agreeable to me to be elsewhere; but having promised to be in attendance here, to unite in ratifying the proceedings of the late Baltimore Convention, at a moment when a different result and a different nomination were confidently predicted, I have not felt at liberty to shrink from the occasion.
We are assembled, fellow-citizens, under circumstances more than ordinarily impressive. The death of Henry Clay, which has just been announced to us, is an event which cannot fail to touch a tender chord in the breast of every true Whig, and of every true patriot, in our land. We may have agreed with him, or we may have differed from him, but none of us can have failed to admire and respect him. His lofty and chivalrous bearing, his commanding eloquence, his ardent and devoted patriotism, his long and faithful public service in every department of the government, will be remembered with admiration and gratitude to the latest generations.