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seeing how population has clustered round the different coal-fields of our country, we shall have some idea of the influence of our mineral wealth upon our national great
may “smell of the shop" (said the lecturer), for me to say this, but I cannot help insisting upon the fact, that our metaliferous and mineral resources have done much to promote the material greatness of our country. The great variety of our geological productions is an important fact
. We have in this country the types, with one or two unimportant exceptions, of all the geological formations of the world. Passing from our western to our eastern coast, you walk over the types of nearly all the geological formations in the world. Our island being largely volcanic, has given us a vast variety of geological productions, and hence the abundant mineral resources we possess. With respect to the extent of our mineral productions, I may draw attention to the most important, namely, coal. In 1861 we had about 2,700 collieries, employing 250,000 persons, and raising about 80,000,000 tons of coal during the year. This is about three times as much coal as is produced by all other nations in the world : and it is a most important fact, that nearly all the great coal-fields of the world are in the hands of the Anglo-Saxon races, as the following table will show:
Square miles. Coal-field. Proportion.
178,000 3,400. .1-52nd.
204,000 1,719. .1-118th. BELGIUM
518.. .1-22nd. The United States, with an area of 24 millions of square miles, has 135,000 square miles of coal-field (or 1-17th of the whole), an area greater than the whole of our island ! Nothing more strikingly indicates the future greatness of that country than this fact, taken also in connection with another, namely, that these coal-fields are traversed by great rivers, which lay them open to the commerce of the world. Some of the states in America are remarkably rich in coal-bearing strata. Kentucky, Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, for instance, are one-third coal-field; while Illinois is three-fourths coal-field. In Russia, Prussia, and Austria, on the other hand, very little coal has ever been discovered; and hence these countries can never become commercially great. Then comes the question-Will our mineral wealth last? At the present rate of production, namely, 80 million tons a-year, we exhaust about eleven square miles a-year; and at this rate our coal-fields will last about 1,000 years. I am inclined, however, to think that they will last much longer than this, through our being able, by the aid of science, to extend our operations to greater depths; and also because new fields will, I have no doubt, be discovered. One cannot help admiring the wisdom of God, in thus storing up such boundless resources of wealth below the surface, sufficiently out of our reach to make us industrious, and yet sufficiently within our reach to make us ambitious to obtain them for our use. Every bed of coal three feet thick, contains as much fuel as the thickest forest in America would yield, and must have taken at least 1,000 years to form. Such a bed will contain about four tons of vegetable matter in every square yaru.
V. Our commercial and trading spirit is another source of our national greatness. I may say that no nation ever carried this to so great an extent as we do; and it has formed one important cause of our progress. Napoleon said truly of us, that “we were a nation of shopkeepers," and I think it is better to be a nation of shopkeepers, than a nation of soldiers; for the one produces wealth, while the other consunies the wealth created by others. We trade in almost everything, from bodkins to Bibles. It is quite a study to pass through the principal thoroughfares of our large towns, and see how every real or supposed want is met and supplied. Perhaps nowhere do we see more real philanthropy and benevolence than in our shop windows; one is selling at “cost price ;” another is selling “under cost price ;” and all seem resolved upon benefiting the public, at the risk of injuring themselves! It is also worth noticing the extent to which combination is carried for the purposes of trade.
“Co.” is an important element in the causes of our national greatness, and the extent to which it seems possible to carry the principle of combination, is almost past belief. Our railways, canals, and nearly all our large commercial undertakings, are done by means of companies. The names of our different trades is “Jegion.” There is hardly a natural production or article that can be manufactured, but we trade in. The Americans carry this trading spirit almost to a greater length than ourselves. Seeing how dependent upon trade we are, we ought to recognise the importance of integrity, coolness, prudence, and enterprise, in a community thus dependent upon trade; and since our national greatness so largely depends upon commerce, let us give every facility for its development, by removing all unnecessary restrictions and taxations that press upon industry. We have made a grand march in the right direction, in connection with the French treaty, for which our best thanks are due to Mr. Cobden; and this work will not be complete till every restriction that tends to hamper trade, and prevent the free interchange of the productions of our country with the world, are removed. Don't either let us think or speak as though there is anything low, mean, or vulgar, in trade. Nothing is low that contributes to the public happiness; nothing is mean that adds to the national greatness. We ought not, however, to engage in anything that injures society, nor to carry on trade in a way that tends to lower the public credit, or degrade our national character. Any man who, by “tricks in trade," or anything dishonourable or mean, helps to destroy mutual confidence, is an enemy to his country, and a disgrace to the age in which we live. Over every counter and place of business should be inscribed the golden rule—“As ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Let this be done, and religion interwoven with our daily business, and then we may expect still greater prosperity and success.
VI. Our energy and industry have also formed a most important source of our national greatness. Without industry no nation can be great or wealthy. Its soil may be rich, its mines may be invaluable, its climate may be salubrious, its natural resources may be inexhaustible; but without energy and industry, it is like a steam-engine without steam. It may have been part of the curse that man should labour; but the curse has already been turned into a blessing, for nothing has done more to advance our ciple applies to nations as to individuals. It is “the hand of the diligent that maketh rich.” Nothing seems so mi,
h. to surprise foreigners, when they visit us. able energy and industry. One way. in.
this gt greatdevelopes itself is, in exploring and can advancery p-state of
the world: to see a new plant, to look at a new planet, to explore a new mine, to investigate a new country, Eng. lishmen will risk their lives, health, comfort, and homes
. What remarkable examples of this spirit we have in Sir John Franklin, and Dr. Livingstone! Sometimes this energy developes itself in a most remarkable way in overcoming difficulties. George Stephenson was a remarkable type of our national character in this respect. His motto
“ Persevere ;" and on that motto he always acted. His greatness was due more to perseverance than genius. Mr. Brunel, too, was a true-born Englishman in this respect. “I have struck (says he) the word 'impossible' out of my dictionary.” The object to be attained might be expensive, difficult, and unremunerative; but, if not impossible, he would do it. The Thanies Tunnel, the Great Western Railway, and the Great Eastern, are monuments of his industry and energy.
I have now gone through the more striking and important of the physical and natural causes of our national greatness; and I think you will all agree with me, that the mixed character of our population, our climate, our insular position, our mineral resources, our commercial spirit, and our energy and industry, are, at least, some of the principal causes of that greatness.
I do not hold the opinion, however, that all greatness consists in material greatness; for just as an individual may be wealthy and influential, and yet morally depraved, vicious, and degraded, so nations may have every natural advantage, every blessing that a bountiful Providence can bestow upon them, and yet be degraded and sunk in barbarism and vice. There must be moral character, and intellectual power, to make a really great man; and so there must be to make a great people. That we have many natural advantages, I think I have proved. That there are also moral causes for our national greatness, remains for me to show.
1. The introduction of the Bible and Christianity, has largely, in fact chiefly, contributed to our national great
We do not know by whom Christianity was first irunduced into our island. Some suppose it was brought
of by St. .entl; and I think it not unlikely. At ral jate, vtion opw. that early in the first century trademity The Ameripread here. Our ancestors (the
ancient Britons) very early received this heaven-born religion. Many facts are left to show the progress it made in this country, at the early period to which I am referring. The names of many of the Cornish, Welsh, Irish, and Scotch towns, show how largely the religious element was mixed
with their character and opinions. The Saxon invasion seemed likely to drive Christianity from our island. It did, for a time, expel both the Britons and their religion. But God had decreed that the rough and warli Saxons should be brought under Christian influence ; and their coming to this country was one of the steps, in the order of Providence, for bringing about this desirable end. Good Pope Gregory (before he became Pope) was one day walking in the market-place at Rome, and seeing some fair-haired boys of great beauty, he inquired who they were. They were there as slaves—for sale; and being told they were Angles, he said—“Then we must try and make them Angels!" I suppose this was almost the first joke a Pope had ever given the world: and I think if they had given us more jokes, and fewer “bulls,” it would have been much better. When Gregory became Pope, he sent Augustine, and some forty monks, to England, to labour for the conversion of the Pagan Saxons. It was a glorious mission; and the results have been beyond all description. This was in the year 597. To describe the result of this mission would be a lecture in itself. It has become interwoven with our whole history as a people. Our laws have been largely leavened with a Christian spirit; and up to a comparatively recent period, most of our Acts of Parliament had the Ten Command ments at the top of them, to indicate that human laws are subordinate to Divine law. Our revolutions have largely partaken of the religious element. The Reformation, the Civil War under Cromwell, and the great revolution that ended in the expulsion of James II., had for their basis the religious element. Our revolutions have not generally been as to who should occupy the throne; the principles for which we struggled have been greater and more important than this, namely, the principles by which the country shall be governed.
II. From the Bible has sprung our love of liberty, which has also greatly contributed to our national great
Without liberty no nation can advance. A state of