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In another point of view the influence and the power of mechanics is important. To them is confided the duty of educating a large portion of the young--and this duty is not confined to their own offspring, as numerous, probably, as the children of any other classes. But on them devolves the obligation to instruct and to train to industrious habits and virtuous principles, an immense body of apprentices -a generation of young men, to whom, in their turn, are to be committed the same duties and privileges. On the mechanics, then, rests a most solemn responsibility, and their country demands and expects a most righteous and rigid discharge of it. No set of men can do more towards forming and sustaining a national character; for the character of a nation is nothing more than the aggregate of individual and personal character. While, from motives connected with private interest, mechanics demand of their apprentices a punctual observance of the stated hours of labor, and diligent attention to lessons of skill and dexterity in their employments, let them not forget the claims of society and their country. Let their apprentices be inspired with a devotion to justice, honor, and truth. Let them be taught, both by example and precept, their social and civil rights, their moral and political obligations. Let them be taught the virtues of punctuality, sobriety, frankness, and generosity ; let them be taught to respect themselves, and you will seldom find one so obstinate or untractable as to withhold the respect he owes to you and to society. Let them be taught that art, which is
superior to all others-the science of self-government and self-control
Art, that may be pursued without a crime,
And leave no stain upon the wing of time, It is to the middling class that the commonwealth looks for her main support; it is to them she is chiefly indebted for the vigorous and enterprising recruits which supply the waste of population by emigration and death. Celibacy prevails among other classes; (whether from necessity, or choice, or fashion, need not now be considered ;) but among active mechanics, a bachelor of thirty is as rare as a phenix among birds, though much less an object of admiration or desire--and among practical farmers, he is as useless, as unseemly, and as much dreaded, as snow in summer or rain in harvest.
If the middling class of the people be well educated, it is not possible that they can suffer individual oppression. If they be united in purpose, it is not in the power of a moneyed aristocracy (if such a body of men exist among us), nor of any political projector, under whatever cloak, or name, or watchword, he may attempt to play the demagogue and gull the common ear, to deprive them of their influence in all the measures of the government, or of their share in all its offices, emoluments, and honors. Their voice must be heard; their strength must be felt; and, let any bold and unprincipled man, or body of men, attempt to stifle the one, or break down the other, a million of tongues would be loosened to pour forth the sentence of condemnation, and a million of hands
there by an age
prepared to execute it. A man must be an idiot, and incapable of judgement—he must be a knave, endeavoring to impose upon mankind a conviction that they are fools-or he must be a madman, imagining all others to be crazy, who should set himself seriously and soberly to work to convince the mechanics of this country—the laboring and producing classes—that they suffer privations and disabilities, that are not felt by all other men. That individual instances of oppression and wrong have occurred, and will again occur, is doubtless true ; " when went
" that fraud, and cunning, and avarice, were not sometimes successful in sacrificing a victim ? We have not yet arrived at that perfect state of society, the long-expected Millenium. So
long as men are born with human passions, and · wherever these passions are permitted to grow and strengthen without cultivation and discipline, so long and so widely will the consequences of uncultivated and undisciplined passions be felt and lamented. The remedy for this is Education. The one allefficient remedy is Moral and Religious Education. Let men be taught that independence—the only independence worth having-is an absolute and entire reliance on their own personal efforts. Let them be taught that their chief good is to be found in the enjoyment of subdued appetites, disciplined passions, temperate habits, moderate desires, well-informed minds; and I know not what further agency man can have in hastening the approach of that period, when
All crime shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail,
And white-robed Innocence from Heaven descend. Admitting what is sometimes contended for, that the middling classes have not their due proportion of influence in the public affairs—if, as a body, they would regain what they have lost, or achieve what properly belongs to them, in this respect, they must sacrifice all personal considerations, all motives of a merely selfish character, on the altar of public spirit. There must be no jealousies, and envyings, and heart-burnings, at the success, which distinguishes one above another. If candidates for public office should be selected from their ranks, there should be no paltry opposition, growing out of the supposed neglect of imaginary, or even real, claims of others. Prejudices of this sort avail nothing in favor of those that indulge them, but they often defeat the best of purposes, and weaken the strength of the whole body. It is an unnatural discontent, and may lead to divisions, injurious to the public welfare, as well as unjust to private feeling, which the life of man may not be long enough to repair.
Would the middling and laboring classes preserve in their own hands the powers and privileges they now possess, and perpetuate the possession in the hands of their children, they must watch the signs of the times and keep pace with the progress of improvement. They must never weary nor tire in the pursuit of knowledge ; they must allow neither sleep to their eyes nor slumber to their eyelids, while there is important knowledge to be obtained, important principles to be unfolded, important rights to be secured. Let them see that their country has no cause to reproach them with treachery or neglect. That country is yet in its youth. Compared with some of the kingdoms of the eastern continent, it yet retains, in its physical features, all its virgin freshness, and exhibits the recent touches of its great Maker's hand. It is for you whom I address, and such as you, and your contemporaries of the middling classes, to carry on the work of improvement; to plant cities in her deserts and towns in her waste places; to convert her forests and rocks into houses that shall unite elegance and comfort-into ships for the transportation, and warehouses for the storing and vending of the merchandize that accumulates in our seaports--into churches, and temples, and edifices for public use, that shall add improvement and beauty to the face of nature, and give ease and safety and gladness to the heart of man. In that career of public spirit, which constructs canals, rail-roads, aqueducts, manufactories, and every species of work that can contribute to public convenience and private enjoyment, it is yours to lead the van. Men of capital may furnish the means, but it is your ingenuity and invention, your contrivance and skill, your perseverance and industry, that must accomplish the work. Let no one ask, if you can do it. You can do whatever you will. There is not in the world I say it with feelings of pride as a mechanic and of patriotism as an American citizen— there is not in