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support has, however, been given to common schools, of which there are, and have been for many years, five; and the inhabitants have generally been enabled to become sufficiently learned for the correct transaction of ordinary business in life. The clergyman has generally been the only resident in the town of collegiate education. Previous to the year 1807, not a single native citizen of Paxton had ever received a degree from, or been admitted a member of, any public college, with the exception of one.* Since that time seven have graduated at different colleges, viz:
1 John F. Livermore, Dartmouth College, 1810
2 Increase S. Smith, Brown University, Preceptor of the Academy at Hingham,
1821 3 Elbridge G. Howe, do. Missionary in Illinois, 1821 4 John Pierce, do. Clergyman Sangersfield, N. Y. 1822 5 George W. Livermore, H. U. Student at Law, 1823 6 Cyrus W. Conant, Union College, N. Y.
1824 7 fCharles Livermore, Harvard University, 1825
There has never been any permanent school in the town for teaching the higher branches of literature, and but little desire has ever been manifested for their pursuit. The young ladies of the town are, however, deserving much credit for their recent exer-' tions to raise the literary reputation of the place. About two years ago, a number associated together for the purpose of mutual assistance in literary improvement, styling themselves - The Paxton Female Reading Society.” They have since been joined by almost all the young ladies of the town, and by their united exertions have collected a small Library, the first and only one of a public nature in the place, to which they are making gradual additions. It is hoped they will fully compass their laudable design.
There are no manufacturing establishments in the town, except on a limited scale. There are a few cotton and wool cards made, some shoes, chairs, wagons, and scythes. There are a sufficient number of different kinds of mechanics for the accommodation of the inhabitants. At present there is but one public house and one store. The inbabitants are mostly industrious farmers, and are content to obtain a comfortable living, and to "eat their bread in the sweat of the brow;" alike free from the care and vexation of great riches, and the suffering and wretchedness of real poverty.
* A Mr. Snow, but it is believed, that he died while a member, or immediately after he graduated. Mr. James Day also graduated before that time, who was a citizen, but not a native of the town, tDead.
July 9, 1826, the Sunday following the death of the late President
2 SAMUEL, XXIII. 3. "THE GOD OF ISRAEL SAID, TAE ROCK OF ISRAEL SPAKE TO ME, HE THAT RULETH OVER MEN MUST BE JUST, RUL
ING IN THE FEAR OF GOD." Civil Government is established by a divine sanction. The civil ruler is the minister of God, and is appointed to promote the order, peace and prosperity of society. He only is the legitimate ruler of Heaven, who habitually acts under impressions of his responsibility to his Maker, with a view to the welfare of those whose important interests are committed to his management, and from a regard io the final issue of the Divine administrations.
My first position then is this,
1. Moral qualifications are indispensable requisites in a civil ruler.
The wisdom of all ages, and the experience of all time, unite to teach us, that the tranquillity, strength, and happiness of society, depend on the virtue of its members. If moral virtue be the basis of public prosperity, then religion is essential to the security of this blessing, for a religious principle only has sufficient strength to support the conflicts of virtue. Vain is ihe expectation that political considerations will direct the actions of men without the aid of religion. The man, who looks no higher for the motives of his conduct, than to the rules of political morality, may in instances without number, be vile and despicable.
If moral qualifications be essential to the character of a good citizen, they must be indispensable to that of the ruler, who, by the power of office and the force of example, has controlling influence. The higher the office, the more it concerns public interest, that he, who fills it, should act under a sense of obligation to Him, who is higher than the highest. We can never rely on the fidelity of that ruler, who does not reverence the Governor of the Universe. Iotellectual talents, and literary acquisitions, experience and courteous address are desirable attributes of public characters; these, rightly directed, are useful and ornamental on the seat of judgment,
and in the chair of State ; but without moral principle, these are only ability to do evil; and the greater are the accomplishments of the man, the more dangerous is the ruler. To the policy that deserves the name of prudence and wisdom, religion gives its sanction; and the methods which religion prescribes for the management of public affairs, are usually more successful than is the cunning of the wily statesman. A righteous end is best promoted by righteous means. A just way is obvious and direct, and the righteous ruler erreth not in it; but the man of duplicity is often entangled in the intricacies of his own artifice. People can place confidence in the correct conduct of a wicked magistrate no farther, than they suppose bis personal ambition or his worldly interest to be involved; but the religious man acts under the influence of a principle which gives the best security for right conduct in every situation. People are in no danger of suffering from the ambition or pride, from the avarice or sensuality of this ruler; his power is the power of God; it is a terror to evil doers, and a praise and encouragement to all who do well.
2. It becomes civil rulers to reflect on their personal weakness and mortality.
Though civil rulers be for a time exalted as gods, yet they must die as men, and give account like one of the people. It must bumble the great to consider that on the morrow their greatness shall be brought down to the dust, and that at the judgment seat of Christ moral properties will alone give distinction. Even the most exalted and patriotic of men must be humbled by reflecting on the limited sphere which distinguished characters fill, on the short dura. tion of their public agency, and on the smalloess of the chasm made when they are removed from their stations. The wise and revered statesman dies; but bis death does not interrupt the prosecution of public measures ; and his exit is scarce observed by the great body of the community. As one generation of human beings in the ordinary path of life succeeds, and takes the place of another ; 90 one public character succeeds and fills the office which a predecessor held; and the great functions of civil society are without interruption performed.
3. A view to posthumous reputation may laudably actuate a roler, but a regard to the retribution of heaven will alone support him under the conflicts and sacrifices to which patriotism sometimes leads.
The greatest and best minds have intensely felt the desire of
posthumous fame. Many have thought that no exertion was too great to secure it. Eminent men of the Gentile world, unsettled in their opinions respecting a future existence, manifested an ardent wish to transmit a good reputation to distant posterity, and thereby secure to themselves immortality on earth. Grateful to every man must be a rational persuasion, that he shall bequeath to his children, family and friends, a character of purity and worth, and leave a name in the community, wbich shall long be holden in estimation.
A thirst for popular fame may be ignoble. The man who adopts opinions because they are fashionable, and from selfish motives, yields himself to popular prejudices and passions, is every way contemptible, and usually his base motive is discovered, and he sinks into deserved disgrace; but the man, who holds fast his righteousness, who lets not his integrity go, who permits not his heart to reproach bim so long as he lives, will generally secure public confidence, and when called from his agency, his memory will be honored among survivors. This honorable memory is in the bible promised as a part of the reward of goodness. The memory of the just shall be blessed ; the righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance. But occasions arise when all worldly motives fail the patriotic ruler; his integrity may be impeached, his benevolent exertions censured and condemned, his general character denounced, and he may approach the period of public and private life, in the full expectation, that his name will be remembered only for the purpose of execration. Under circumstances thus fitted to dishearten and depress, the religious man, self-possessed, may remain immoveably at his post. He has the testimony of his conscience to the rectitude of his aims and purposes, he places his confidence in God; and be looks forward to the decisions of an beavenly tribunal for bis justification and reward. Let his riches take to themselves wings and fly away; let the wreath of worldly honor wither on his brow; let disease wear away his bodily constitution, and death break asunder all human ties : he sustains no essential loss. He is only removed to a higher state of existence. He is dismissed from the cares and labors of earth, that he may be admitted to the brighter honors, the nobler employments, and purer joys of heaven.
The national observances of the last week, and the recent death of a distinguished revolutionary character, led me to the reflections of this morning.
On an occasion like this, our retrospection is carried to events
that took place in the early settlement of our country, and our review tests on the venerated men, who at that time encountered the greatest dangers, and submitted to the severest privations. They, with invincible resolution, submitted to their perils and toils, not merely that they themselves might enjoy the blessings of freemen, but principally that they might transmit to their posterity the best public institutions, and leave to them, as an invaluable inheritance, civil and religious liberty. These all long since badeadieu to sublunary scenes. Many intermediate generations between them and us also sleep in the grave. We, who are now reaping the rich harvest of their labors, like them shall soon pass away; but by Divine blessing, we will leave our goodly heritage unimpaired to those, who are following us in the path of life.
į It is the memory of the first pilgrims only that we can now cherish, and this remark may also be applied to most of those, who encountered the conflicts of the Revolution. But two individuals now survive of those who signed the Declaration of Independence, Mr. Jefferson of Virginia, and Mr. Carroll of Maryland.* Fayette excepted, not an individual, who bore the commission of a General officer in the American army, during that struggle, now lives. May the declining years of officers and soldiers, who yet survive, be cheered by the grateful attentions of their country; and to the destitute among them, may this country not merely say, be ye clothed, , and be ye filled, but give them those things that are needful for the body.
The eminent citizen of our Commonwealth, whose exit demands our present notice, lived in an eventful period of the world, and he was permitted to serve his country in a manner, in which few men ever possessed power and opportunity for similar services. He was intimately acquainted with all the causes wbich led to a revo
*In a few hours after the delivery of this discourse, information was received that Mr. Jefferson departed from this life on the 4th inst.
The associations in the lives of Messrs. Adams and Jefferson, and the coincidencies of their deaths, were most remarkable. They were both members of Congress in 1776, and they were selected by the Committee of Congress to draught the Declaration of Independence. "Mr. J. was the author of the Instrument, and Mr. A. supported it in the most powerful manner, when the measure was discussed by chat body. At the peace of 1783, they were appointed Ministers to the two most important Kingdoms in Europe, France, and England, They in succession filled the highest offices in the government of the United States. They were the heads of two political parties, which agitated the whole country, and during the conflicts of the period were frequently opposed. In their retirement they became reconciled to each other, and lived to see these parties in a great measure amalgamated. They both departed from this world on the day of the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of our nation.