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just told us, that the High School at Cambridge is regarded as a model High School. Would any one who heard of it by this description, doubt that Mr. Smith had good elements to deal with ? I certainly do not mean to unsay any part of what I have been saying, as to the variety of influences and agencies which must coöperate to form a good school or a good system of schools; nor am I insensible how much may be done by a kind and intelligent teacher, aided by an efficient committee, to improve and elevate a school of the most unpromising description; but where both conditions unite, where accomplished and faithful teachers, effectually countenanced by the public, are called to the instruction of wellprincipled and well-mannered children, ardent and emulous to improve themselves, it is a sight for an angel to behold with complacence.
And now, sir, I have dwelt so long, so much beyond my purpose when I began, on these general reflections, I can but add a thought or two addressed particularly to our young friends. I have described to you the great defects of the schools as they existed in my school-boy days. Let the comparison between them and the schools of the present day awaken you to new diligence. Remember that you are favored with the means of acquiring in the morning of your days, and under circumstances the most favorable to acquisition, that which we, if we have acquired it at all, have been obliged to pick up by the dusty road side of life, and at an age when men begin to be perplexed with care and burdened with duty. You will prove yourselves degenerate children, if you do not far excel your fathers.
Finally, my young friends, let your exercises this week suggest an important lesson to you. If in the course of your examinations the other day, it happened to any of you to fail in any part of what you were directed or expected to perform, I dare say it occurred to you, that a few moments more, at the proper time in the course of the year; a little longer study; another turn of the leaves of the dictionary; a steadier exertion of the memory, would have prevented the failure. Reflect then that the entire season of youth, all your schooling and all its studies and attainments, are but the preparation for the arduous examinations, the conspicuous exhibitions, the strenuous contests of life. As you pass your time and improve your opportunities at school, so will your success be, not certainly and irrevocably, but with great probability and in a majority of cases, in after-life. “If the spring," says Dr. Blair, “put forth no blossoms, summer will display little beauty, and autumn afford no fruit; so if youth be wasted without improvement, manhood will be contemptible, and old age miserable.” If these golden hours of youth are thrown away, you throw away the best hope of usefulness and prosperity in this world, and that which affords the best human promise of happiness hereafter.
BENEFICIAL INFLUENCE OF RAILROADS.*
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR Honor:
It is not easy for me to express to you the satisfaction with which I have listened to the very beautiful and appropriate speech with which his Excellency, the Governor-General of Canada, has just delighted us. You know, sir, that the highest art is to conceal art, and I could not but be reminded of that maxim, when I heard that gentleman, after beginning with disabling himself and cautioning us at the outset that he was slow of speech, proceed to make one of the happiest, most appropriate, and eloquent speeches ever uttered on an occasion like this. If I were travelling with his lordship in his native mountains of Gael, I should say to him in the language of the inhabitants of those regions, sma sheen, very well. But in plain English, sir, that which has fallen from his lordship has given us all new cause to rejoice that “ Chatham's language is our mother-tongue.”
I do not rise, sir, to make a long speech. I think it would be rather out of taste, for any one who is at home in Boston or vicinity, unless in the performance of official duty, to make any thing which could be called a long speech on this occasion. All the crowded hours of this busy day belong to our much honored guests, to those distinguished visitors who adorn the occasion with their presence, From them, indeed, sir, the company cannot hear enough, to gratify the earnest desire which is felt to listen to their voices, and to catch their words of encouragement and congratulation.
* Remarks at the dinner given to the Earl of Elgin and suite, at the Railroad Jubilee in Boston, on the 19th of September, 1851,
Besides, sir, there never was an occasion which stood less in need of a laborious commentary to set forth its importance. If ever there was any thing which might be left to speak for itself," it is this mighty and all but animated system of railroads, that now embraces New England and the neighboring States and Provinces, and which, more than realizing the accounts of those enormous sea-monsters of which we read in northern legends, winds its sinuous way through the gorges of the hills, leaps across the rivers, stretches over the plains, clings with one of its Briarean arms to Boston Bay, grapples to Diamond Rock with another, seizes with the right upon Providence and New York, and Albany, and Buffalo, and the furthest South, and the furthest West; while on the left he is already stretching forth his iron feelers upon New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. In the presence of this miracle of science, and art, and capital, I feel, sir, that we have no need of elaborate dissertations.
We have, sir, in this part of the country long been convinced of the importance of this system of communication ; although it may be doubted whether the most sagacious and sanguine have even yet fully comprehended its manifold influences. We have, however, felt them on the seaboard and in the interior. We have felt them in the progress of our manufactures, in the extension of our commerce, in the growing demand for the products of agriculture, in the increase of our population. We have felt them prodigiously in transportation and travel. The inhabitant of the country has felt them in the ease with which he resorts to the city markets, whether as a seller or a purchaser. The inhabitant of the city has felt them in the facility with which he can get to a sister city, or to the country, with which he can get back to his native village; with which he can get a mouthful of pure mountain air, or run down in dog-days to Gloucester, or Phillips's beach, or Cohasset, or Plymouth, or New Bedford.
* At this moment, the sound of the steam whistle was heard from the neighboring station of the Providence Railroad,
I say, sir, we have felt the benefit of our railway system in these and a hundred other forms, in which, penetrating far beyond material interests, it intertwines itself with all the concerns and relations of life and society; but I have never had its benefits brought home to me so sensibly as on the present occasion. Think, sir, how it has annihilated time and space, in reference to this festival, and how greatly to our advantage and delight! When Dr. Franklin, in 1754, projected a plan of union for these colonies, with Philadelphia as the metropolis, he gave as a reason for this part of the plan, that Philadelphia was situated about half-way between the extremes, and could be conveniently reached even from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in eighteen days! I believe the President of the United States, who has honored us with his company at this joyous festival, was not more than twenty-four hours actually on the road from Washington to Boston ; two to Baltimore, seven more to Philadelphia, five more to New York, and ten more to Boston.
· And then Canada, sir, that once remote, inaccessible region, but now brought to our very door. If a journey had been contemplated in that direction in Dr. Franklin's time, it would have been with such feelings as a man would have now-adays, who was going to start for the mouth of Copper Mine River and the shores of the Arctic Sea. But no, sir, such a thing was never thought of, never dreamed of. A horrible wilderness, rivers and lakes unspanned by human art, pathless swamps, dismal forests that it made the flesh creep to enter, threaded by nothing more practicable than the Indian's trail ; echoing with no sound more inviting than the yell of the wolf and the warwhoop of the savage; these it was that filled the space between us and Canada. The inhabitants of the British Colonies never entered Canada in those days but as provincial troops or Indian captives; and lucky he that got back with his scalp on. This state of things existed less than one hundred years ago, there are men living in Massachusetts who were born before the last party of hostile Indians made an incursion to the banks of the Connecticut