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the source of intense immediate gratification as well as permanent improvement. They give a pleasing play to the faculties, for nothing is sweeter to the soul than the acquisition of knowledge, the discovery of truth, the consciousness that it has a clearer and more satisfactory view of any subject than it once had. It feels ennobled, elevated in the scale of intellectual beings, and deems existence itself to be worth more than it was before.
Public lectures, moreover, may be defended on a much lower principle of interest and expediency, on the principle so well known in Political Economy under the name of the division of labor. It is much more easy to receive knowledge through the ear than through the eye. It is much more easy for many to listen while one discourses than for each to read the same amount for himself. It is certainly less labor for one to investigate, select, and condense for the benefit of a multitude, than for each one to go over the same ground. There is no way in which mind can be so easily cultivated, and knowledge propagated so fast.
If mind be the great distinction of man
over the lower orders of animals with which he inhabits the earth, so the cultivation of the mind must be the main superiority of one human being over another. The cultivation of the mind is an inexhaustible source of happiness. To the pleasures of thought and meditation there is absolutely no end. It refines and renders more intense, safe, and enduring the innocent pleasures of the senses. It frees the soul from one of its chief dangers, that of dependence upon coarse and animal gratifications. The cultivated mind can never feel the burden of solitude, nor can it be overwhelmed in a crowd. Among the multitude its powers of observation, disciplined by careful training, find the very object they most delight to contemplate, human nature in its infinite developments,—and the naturalist cannot feel more delight among glittering diamonds and precious stones. It reads with rapid glance, and curiosity never sated, the great volume of mankind. If it leaves the haunts of man, and go where no foot hath trod, it is not alone. Nature herself is to it an Infinite Presence. The cultivated mind, prepared for such communings, finds in a higher consciousness, the intensest pleasures of our being. Nay, let the day withdraw her shining, let darkness hide every object from the sight, and wrap the earth in the profoundest gloom, let every eye be closed and animated nature sleep as it were in one universal grave, to the cultivated mind the waking hour has no terrors, it knows no sadness, the deepest midnight is the hour of the most exalted meditation. Time and space are almost annihilated, the past is present, the distant is brought near, and the soul, freed from every tie, seems even now an inhabitant of eternity and immensity. It feels with the poet that,
“Night is the time to think,
Of yonder starry pole,
The dawn of uncreated light.” It is by the constant accession of cultivated minds that society is gradually to improve, and its pleasures to be augmented. There is no companionship like that which is created by wisdom and knowledge. In that delightful intercourse, hours are but as minutes, days fly like hours away. These pleasures are in a measure open to all. Once mankind were bound down to toil. Their wbole energies were exhausted in supplying their commonest wants. Now they have pressed into this service the great agencies of nature, fire, and water, and air, and while they are accomplishing their appointed tasks, men may resort to the halls of science, and the galleries of art, the lecture rooms of philosophy and literature. In our republic in short, the grove of Academus is to be revived, and there will be seen walking in it, not a few philosophers alone, but the whole mass of the people.
Permit me, ladies and gentlemen, to congratulate you on the signs we see multiplying around us of the rise and progress of a literary spirit in our city. It gave me the sincerest pleasure to hear that another course of lectures was to be commenced for this season, enlisting so much and such a variety of talent, learning, and taste. To that enterprize I shall gladly contribute, if the one in which I myself have engaged does not promise to consume all the time I can with propriety divert from the duties of an arduous profession. We, who have embarked in these experiments, call upon all good men and true to come to our aid. There is nothing more wanted to give an impulse to the onward progress of our city than a higher literary and scientific culture, than institutions of a public character, which shall bring the mind and talent of the community into closer contact and warmer sympathy, and thus enable them to act with greater power and efficiency on the mass. We have a climate unsurpassed in the world, and a position second to few on the continent. There must grow up here a large and splendid city. Let it not be a vast, barbarian, unintelligent body, but animated by a great, a noble, a cultivated soul.
We call upon the ministers of religion. Every thing which spreads abroad light and intelligence is congenial with their great purpose of enlightening and reforming the world. Christianity, kept back from mankind through four thousand years of barbarism, was reserved for the fulness of time, when the world should have become sufficiently cultivated to receive and perpetuate a spiritual religion; and every thing now which developes the intellect, and makes man a