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grand chain of humanity, which embraces countless multitudes of organized, sensitive, susceptible, sympathetic, intelligent creatures ?-a term in that sublime series of causes and effects, which, before His spirit moved upon the waters, the Creator ordained to govern and hold together his moral and intellectual offspring, till the energies of his own creative power should cease to operate.
A middle station in the order of society-a position removed at a suitable distance from the extremes of mendicity and wealth-is usually believed to be the happiest. If happiness consisted only in possession, men, perhaps, would illustrate their faith in this doctrine by their daily practice; but daily experience shows us that anticipation and hope are ingredients essential, I had almost said indispensable, to individual happiness. We are never content with what we have, but with that, which we labor to get, and which we believe we shall some time or other possess. This unextinguishable desire for more, whatever we may already have, is the spring of industry; that it is, which gives birth to invention, and imparts vigor to enterprise ; that it is, which sustains and cheers men of all ages and capacities, through days and years of incessant and unsuccessful labor, with minds tortured on the rack of expectation and hope, to mature some plan, by which poverty may be exchanged for competence, and competence for wealth.
In these middling ranks of society-middling as it regards wealth and poverty-we find the farmers, the mechanics, the manufacturers, the traders, who
carry on, professionally, the ordinary operations of buying, selling, and exchanging merchandize, and most of the merchants. Under this division of society may also be ranked all, who depend on the active employment of their faculties, whether physical or intellectual, for the subsistence and education of themselves and families—all, who, by such employment, are continually adding something to the stock of private property, and taking nothing from the public chest.
There is another class- I will not call it a higher one, for in our republic the distinctions of higher and lower, in reference to privilege, employment, and rank, are unknown-who, by inheritance, or by singular success, are rich, who are subjected to no necessity of manual labor, and who, for the most part, are incapable of any mental exercise beyond that of calculating interest on notes and bonds. These naturally assimilate, and around them are attracted, the idle, the vain, the showy, and all float together on the surface of society; and if, like butterflies, in a few sunshiny moments, they have strength and activity enough to display their gaudy wings a little higher than the horizontal level, a shadow kills their buoyancy, and, as evening approaches, they are not to be found. But individuals of this character are almost too few to form a distinct class of themselves. Most of our rich men (Heaven be praised !) have more generous hearts, more generous sympathies, more of that self love, which identifies itself with public spirit.
and chastens the wantonness of pride ; it encourages desponding humility, soothes the sorrows of suffering, assuages the repinings of despair, and checks or subdues the temptations of the oppressed to undertake desperate or unlawful remedies.
This middling class of society is, at least, half made up of mechanics-hard-laboring, industrious, practical mechanics. The obligations, which society owes to this class of citizens, are universally acknowledged. If the occupation of a mechanic can,
any part of the world, be cause of reproach, or if the name could ever be made to imply any thing dishonorable, this is not the region, nor is this the day, for either the one or the other. You, who hear me, need no prompter to remind you of men, who, though bred in workshops, have honored, embellished, and defended your country. That grateful country knows and remembers that the mechanics have ever been foremost in her cause, when she has had battles to be fought or wrongs to be avenged. They have given statesmen to her councils, generals to her armies, and plenipotentiaries to establish her rights at foreign courts, who met the cunning policy of foreign diplomatists with sagacity and prudence equal to their own. In the war of the revolution, they boldly faced the mercenary troops of her unnatural parent, and forced that haughty parent to relinquish its claim to dominion over her soil and her sons.. The soil of this country is theirs ; they fought for it; they bled for it; their fathers died for it; and perish the tongue that shall ever consent to relinquish one particle of
its dust to foreign domination or domestic despotism.
The impossibility of enjoying the elegances, or even the conveniences of life, without the services of the practical mechanic, is too apparent to require more than a moment's notice. The most powerful monarch cannot maintain his state without him. The most splendid palace, like his own humble habitation, is indebted to his skill and labor. The walls and all that they enclose, whether made for use or for show, for comfort or for embellishment, are all the work of his hands; and while the fortunate possessor reclines on the costly couch, or feeds from dishes of gold and silver, the mechanic, who made the palace and its furniture, shares with him his independence, and enjoys the fruit of his or his ancestor's most profitable speculations.
Again - Look at the mechanics as members of the great political community. To them, in common with all other classes of men, is entrusted the most important power that can be exercised in the nation
– that of electing rulers and magistrates ;-and, from their numbers, they can always exercise a preponderating influence in all elections. If they do not constitute an actual majority over all other classes, they form such an emphatic plurality, that they may
be said to hold in their hands the issue of all elections, and can say which candidate shall be safely seated in the descending scale, and which shall kick the beam.