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marvellous, forsakes the nursery and the play ground to find more solid satisfaction in the serious business of life, in the halls of legislation, or the marts of commerce, so the time will at length come, nay, we believe it has come already, when mankind putting away childish things will find their highest pleasure in the pursuit of knowledge; they will forsake the gaudy shows of the theatre for the higher pleasures of the intellect. As they become more and more intellectual beings, so will they take more and more delight in intellectual and moral pleasures, in exercising and strengthening the powers of the mind, in exploring the inexhaustible wonders of the universe, the great laws of physical science, the phenomena of the starry heavens, the productions and appearances of the different continents and climates of the earth, the habits and the instincts of animals, the structure and composition of our globe, the physical, intellectual, and moral constitution of man, the nature and fundamental laws of civil society, the history of our race, the evidences of its progressive civilization, the fortunes and achievements of the most famous and conspicuous of our species. All
these things are capable of being made the subjects of popular lectures of the most interesting nature. And sooner or later, I have no doubt, that they will awaken the curiosity and engage the intellectual activity of mankind. Education will no longer be considered as terminating with youth, when the mental powers are still green and undeveloped, but will be continued as long as curiosity retains its thirst for knowledge, and memory retains the power of treasuring it up in the mind. Almost every subject of science, and of art, of literature and taste, may in this way, by the endless diversity of powers and pursuits of those who devote themselves to letters, be brought before the public and made to minister a high gratification, while they increase the general stock of information. The materials from which such lectures may be drawn, allowing nothing to the lecturer but the power of selection and combination, are absolutely inexhaustible. The scholar even, whose days and nights are devoted to study, is overwhelmed by the exuberant stores which have been poured into the common treasury of science and literature within the last
seventy years. With the increase of wealth and physical resources which has been every where going on, there has been a vast accession to the number of the laborers in the walks of literature and science. Intellectual activity has been immeasurably increased. The civilized world has resembled a hive of bees. Some have remained at home building the repositories, arranging in order and for use the results of the labors of others. Another portion has spread themselves abroad over the whole surface of the earth, from the burning sands of the torrid zone, to the eternal ice of either pole, and scarce any thing has escaped their investigation.
What remains, but that the labors of the few be made the common property of all? To what purpose is it, that this vast amount of information is spread out upon the dumb pages of a book, and laid up in the alcoves of libraries, while the great mass of the people are ignorant even of its existence? Let it have a voice, and come forth, and be communicated to the people, where alone it can accomplish an object worthy of the zeal and disinterestedness of those noble spirits, who
have devoted themselves to the cause of science and letters.
It is with this purpose that I have stepped aside from the common routine of my profession, and undertaken the task of addressing my fellow citizens on the more general subjects of Moral, Intellectual, and Literary Culture. There is, I am persuaded, in this and every community, a vast field of mind which lies barren for the simple reason that it lies untilled. There is a vast amount of time which passes away unimproved, simply for the want of excitement and opportunity. There is a vast deal of our social existence wasted on trifles, becau we have neglected to store our minds with solid knowledge. The power of thinking, I regret to say it, the noblest of all the powers conferred on man, is the very one which he is most apt to wrap up in a napkin and bury in the earth. Extensive knowledge, accurate thought, and eloquent expression, how much they are praised, how much they are admired, what power do they confer of ministering pleasure to others! But it seems to be taken for granted that they are original gifts, and not the fruit of careful training and cultiva
tion. Nothing can be more mistaken. They are in a degree within the reach of all.
These powers I believe public lectures to be eminently calculated to cultivate and call forth. There is something in the living voice, which awakens attention more than silent reading can do, which calls up more vigorously the intellectual faculties, and produces a more lasting impression upon the memory. The excitement of the occasion and of sympathy, clothes a subject with a greater importance than when contemplated in silence and in solitude. The subject thus introduced abides longer in the mind, it becomes a topic of conversation and discussion. If it has been treated with any degree of ability, those who have listened understand it better than they did before. They feel more curiosity to hear each other's opinions. They of course can discuss it with greater clearness and satisfaction. When they read any thing relating to the same subject, it has for them new interest, and they will probably be induced to procure the books which will give them a more complete and thorough knowledge of it. Now such investigations, when the curiosity is once roused, become