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letter.” “No," said the girl, “I don't want it.” Mr. Hill. I was struck by her refusal, and asked the reason. “Well, bar sir,” she said, “if I must tell you—there is nothing in the in letter ; when I left home, mother agreed to write to me every mai Saturday, and when I see the letter come I know that mother is all right; but there is nothing inside.” Well
, I te thought Mr. Hill, can nothing be done to enable a servant To girl to correspond with her mother and this thought worked in his mind until it developed itself in the penny postage-which I regard as one of the greatest social re- und forms of the age.
die The lecturer then showed that the demand for books the and newspapers may likewise be regarded as another proof urin of national greatness. Mr. Curtes Knight estimates that must in the year 1744, a little more than a century ago, only and £100,000 were spent in this country for literature of all at kinds, while we now spend above 22 millions for this pur, the pose ; so that, while the population has only increased the about 2 per cent., the demand for books, newspapers, and stop periodicals has increased 25 per cent., thus showing that from the educational taste of the country has grown in a greater li degree even than our material greatness.
Assuming that I have now proved the fact of our na di tional greatness, or, as lawyers say, “made out a case," we shat will proceed to notice some of the sources or causes of that stare greatness. That we have exceeded in greatness all the no pora tions of antiquity, is a fact that cannot be denied ; that where have attained a position that no nation which has precedel in us ever attained, is beyond a doubt : how, and why, we dess. have thus climbed in national greatness, is the subject d auch our present inquiry; and surely it must be interesting and Lite instructive to trace the causes of the greatness of ow know country: if it is instructive (and who can doubt it?) to real were the history of a man who has made his name famous, and tecta to trace the causes of his fame, and the steps by which he comi has climbed,--surely it must be much more interesting to maki trace the history of a great people, and to read in that hi- nent tory lessons of warning and encouragement. The lecturer then remarked, that he proposed to divide dati
, the subject into two parts, and refer-1st, to the physical and social causes of our national greatness; and, 2ndly, t the moral and religious causes of that greatness.
der, help TOU
I. As to the physical causes of our greatness, the mixed character of our population has had much to do in the formation of our national character, and therefore of our national greatness. Nations, like plants, become weak and feeble unless often transplanted from one soil to another. It tends largely to develope the power and greatness of a people to have a good admixture of races, and this, as we shall see, is eminently characteristic of Englishmen. Our population is chiefly composed of two races, both distinguished for great, and, in some respects, noble qualities ; the Celts, or original inhabitants of our island, and also of the south and west of Europe, were famous for vigour of inind, liveliness of manner, earnestness of purpose, and I must in justice adı, a tendency to superstition. In these and other respects the Irish, Welsh, and Cornish people are true representatives of our Celtic forefathers. The lecturer then gave some amusing illustrations of the wit of the Irish, and the superstition of the Welsh and Cornish people. On this Celtic stock was engrafted the Saxon, from the backwoods of Germany, who were warlike, fond of liberty, impatient of restraint, and great lovers of honesty and truthfulness. These two races form a kind of substratum of English society—and a very good substratum they form ; it is a foundation on which has been reared a noble structure of national, physical, mental, and moral greatness, such as the world never saw before. But there have been other nations who, by mixing their races with our own, have also contributed to our national great
The Roman was a noble type of humanity, and did much to form our national character. The Romans were a mixed people, combining nearly all the races of the then known world. They were much too fond of war; but they were also fond of commerce, trade, agriculture, architecture, and learning; and they gave us a good deal of our commercial spirit; they also taught us the art of roadmaking, and gave us the first principles of law and government, that form the foundation of our present constitution. The Danes, also, did much towards helping to form ole, national character and greatness: they came here to plnot der, but they left marks upon our population that lieep helped us on in the path of progress. The Danes wewith 'rough, hardy race, fond of adventure and war. Th was their element; they were almost amphibious
were exceedingly troublesome to our countrymen, especially in the time of Alfred. No sooner did we beat them from one part of the island, than they landed in another ; and, to a very large extent, our coast population is of Danish origin. These have produced a large number of our hardy, rough, adventurous, but honest sailors; and it is to the dash of Danish blood we possess, that we owe much of our love of the water, which has so much distinguished us as a nation. There is not a country in the world that has such sailors as we have. An English Jack-tar will walk the deck of a ship almost as though he formed a part of it; he climbs the rigging, and braves the dangers of the sea like a true hero. We owe this blessing, very largely, to our Danish origin. This mixture of Celt, Saxon, Roman, and Dane, formed rather a rough compound; and we wanted polish, and the little we have (it is not much, I am bound to confess), we have from the Normans; a little more polish would, in my opinion, be a vast blessing to our national character; for though I admit freely, that I should not like to see our honest Saxon character evaporated into mere French politeness and French polish, I am free to admit, that I should like to see more of the suavitor in modo, as well as the fortiter in re; and though, I dare say, had I lived at the time of the Norman Conquest, I should have taken part with my Saxon forefathers, in trying to repel the invasion, yet, looking back at the history of the past, I believe that invasion has been a blessing The Norman Conquest has formed one of the great sources of our greatness ; for, tyrants as the Norman barons certainly were, cruel and unjust as they undoubtedly acted, at first, towards the Saxons, yet the mixture has done good to both parties. The Normans have been taught to conform to law and justice, and the Saxons have been made more polished and polite. The political struggles, also, resulting from the Norman Conquest, for the last 800 years, have resulted in much good, and have done much for our national great
The whole of those struggles have arisen from the tempt, on the one hand, of the Norman section of our
ble to keep down the Saxons, and the determination, on the other hand, of the Saxons to secure and maintain and y and justice: the struggles for reform have all the ix from the attempts of the Normans to monopolise
power. The repeal of the Corn-Laws was a con
cession to the just demands of the people (the Saxons), who refused to have their food taxed, for the benefit of the Norman landowners; and there is another struggle “looming in the future," the struggle for the freedom of religion from secular and religious control; and this will be forced upon us, in consequence of the dominance of a Church that has grown up as the result of Catholic institutions, and ecclesiastical despotism, brought here by the Normans.
II. Our climate has also had much to do with our national greatness. Great Britain being situated about the middle of the temperate zone, makes our climate variable and changeable; and this changeableness of climate tends to give us hardy constitutions, and to develope physical strength: this is an important element in nationaľ character. You may get beautiful plants in a greenhouse, but you can only get hardy ones in the open air, where the winds of heaven can develope their vigour. British character, like British oaks, is largely developed by climate. Our climate tends to produce vigour of mind, and thus to give us the mens sana in corpore sano. In warm climates, the mind, like the body, becomes relaxed and effeminate ; in cold countries they seem to think only of food and sleep; while our climate tends to produce hard heads, as well as soft hearts. Our climate tends also to enable us to live in any and every part of the world: hence we can become the missionaries and the merchants for the world. To this we may largely trace that adventurous spirit we have—we can live anywhere. If it is a cold country, it resembles our winter; if a warm country, it resembles our summer; and hence you find Englishmen in every part of the world ;--at the North Pole, trying to find the northwest passage to the Pacific; in Africa, exploring its burning sands; in China, amidst its marvellous and mysterious people; among the snows of the Himalayas; in the Pacific, exploring its clusters of beautiful islands; or in Switzerland, amidst its grand mountains and valleys, you are sure to find Englishmen. I have very little doubt that the proverbially shrewd and sharp character of the Scotch people, and also that of our northern counties, is partly, if not mainly, due to climate. They say "that Bristol men sleep with one eye open;" but, I think, Scotchmen sleep with both eyes open.
III. Our insular position has also materially assisted to promote our national greatness. We sometimes talk and sing of our “wooden walls,” but it would be more correct to sing of our water walls.” The ancient prophets used to say, “that the isles should rejoice;"' and it has been most literally fulfilled in our case. Here the tyrants and despots of Europe have not been able to march their hired hordes, to trample out our liberties, and take away our lives. In other countries they have done this; in Spain, and various other continental countries, this has been done. Spain is nearly an island; had she been quite, how different might have been her political and social state! she had once a constitution as free as our own; but it has been de stroyed by the cruel hand of war. Depend upon it, we owe much of our liberty and national greatness to our insular position. The gold of South America, no doubt, tended to degrade the character and destroy the energy of the Spaniards; but their downfall is more due to their peninsular position. We, on the other hand, have been able to offer an asylum and a home to the oppressed and down-trodden of all countries. Here the fallen monarch has found a home, and been able to end his days in peace; here the persecuted political reformer, who has manfully struggled for the rights of his country, has been sheltered from the tyranny of the oppressor; here the lonely wanderer, the exiled philosopher, the poet, the politician, the man of science, and the religious reformer, have been protected, and led to pray for blessings on our island home. Our limited territory has also obliged us to work hard for our support. Our soil is not naturally a productive one; to live, we have had to work hard, and sometimes to live hard. But this has made us economical and industrious, and thus helped to make us great and wealthy; for it is with nations as with individuals—those who start with little, often make most progress. It is not those who are “ born with silver spoons in their mouths” that bless the world most, or conquer difficulties ; but rather is it those who have overcome difficultics, and struggled up through adversity. And so it is with nations ;-they rise by industry and energy
IV. Our mineral wealth, and geological productions, ar annthon mannt