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and all on earth, that is worth being and which should be most producon earth. It destroys the connect- tive of protracted struggles, troubles ing link between the creature and and difficulties in the popular counthe Creator. It opposes that great cils of a great city, he could not so system of universal benevolence effectually have attained that result, and goodness that binds man to his as he has by this devise now before Maker. No religion till he is eigh- the court. It is not the result of teen! What would be the condi- good fortunes, but of bad fortunes, tion of all your families of all our which have overridden and cast children—if religious fathers and down whatever of good might have religious mothers were to teach their been accomplished by a different sons and daughters no religious te. disposition. I believe that this plan, nets till they were eighteen? What this scheme was unblest in all its would become of their morals, their purposes. Unwise in all its frame excellence, their purity of heart and theory, while it lives it will lead and life, their hope for time and an annoyed and troubled life, and eternity? What would become of leave an unblessed memory when it all those thousand ties of sweetness, dies. If I could persuade myself benevolence, love and Christian feel that this court would come to such ing, that now render our young men a decision, as in my opinion the and young maidens like comely public good and the law require, plants growing up by a streamlet's and if I could believe that any humside—the graces and the grace of ble effort of my own, had contribuopening manhood-of blossoming ted in the least to lead to such a rewomanhood ? What would be sult, I should deem it the crowning come of all that now renders the mercy of my professional life.” social circle lovely and beloved ? Nothing that Mr. Webster has What would become of society ever done at the bar or in the senate, itself ? How could it exist ? And will be longer remembered than this is that to be a charity which strikes noble defense of Christian education. at the root of all this ; which sub. Though the law, as we are bound verts all the excellence and the to presume, was against him, and charms of social life ; which tends he lost his case with the court in its to destroy the very foundation frame- judicial capacity, quite sure we are, work of society, both in its practi- that he gained it with the brilliant ces and in its opinions—that subverts throng which hung with breathless the whole decency, the whole mo. admiration upon his lips. No one rality, as well as the whole Chris- of his many great efforts, no three tianity and government of society. days of his life, we confidently beNo, sir ; no, sir."
lieve, will afford him more satisfacHaving gone over other points in tion in the review upon his death the case, Mr. Webster thus closes bed. May he then and there enjoy his argument.
those rich consolations, which the “I believe that men sometimes hopes of the gospel alone can give, do mischief, not only beyond their and which he so feelingly and elointent, but beyond the ordinary scope quently pleads should be administer. of their talents and ability. In my ed to the dying orphans in the conopinion, if Mr. Girard had given templated college, but which by the years to the study of a mode by will of its founder, must be forever which he could dispose of his vast withheld from their ears. fortune, so that no good could arise The heartfelt approbation with to the general cause of charity-no which the plea before us has been good to the general cause of learn- read, by the wise and good in all ing-no good to human society, parts of the land, is worth infinitely more, silent though it be, than the its which lead to political prosperity, plaudits of millions, if millions could religion and morality are indispenbe found, who would banish God sable supports. In vain would that and his religion from all the high man claim the tribute of patriotism, places of power and influence. And who should labor to subvert these why is it that sentiments like those great pillars of human happinesswhich we have quoted above, drop these firmest props of the duties of so seldom and so charily from the men and citizens. The mere pollips of our public men, the lawgiv. itician, equally with the pious man, ers and the law expounders of this ought to respect and to cherish great Christian republic? It is not them. A volume could not trace that legislation and legal practice all their connections with private offer no fitting occasions for the dis- and public felicity. Let it simply cussion of those great moral and be asked, where is the security for religious principles, which lie at the property, for reputation, for life, foundation of individual and national if a sense of religious obligation security and happiness. This is not desert the oaths, which are the ina heathen, nor a Mohammedan, nor struments of investigation in courts an infidel nation. Christianity is of justice? And let us with caution the common law of the land. It indulge the supposition that morality was so infused and incorporated in- can be maintained without religion. to all our institutions, by the great Whatever may be conceded the and good men who founded this re- influence of refined education, on public, that they must stand or fall minds of peculiar structure, reason together. Every nation has some and experience both forbid us to exreligion, either true or false ; and pect that national morality can pre(where letters are known at all) has vail, in exclusion of religious prinsome book, or books, which it counts ciples.” sacred. Our sacred book is not the In maintaining the importance of Koran, nor the Shasters, nor the religious education, before the Sumiscalled Age of Reason, but the preme Court of the United States, Bible. This is not a sectarian, but Mr. Webster goes even farther than a national book. And why should this. He incidentally alludes in no our public men, our honored and equivocal terms, to “ life and imgifted senators and representatives mortality, as brought to light by the and lawyers—the sentinels upon gospel," and to those preparations the watchtowers of liberty—the con- for a happy future state, which can stituted guardians of our glorious never be made without the aids of birthright--why should they be afraid Christian instruction.
And why, to name and stand by the Bible as we ask again, should any of the the sheet-anchor, to save us from rulers of this great Christian nation drifting upon the quicksands, which ever hesitate, when suitable opporhave swallowed up all other repub- tunities offer, to speak out as fully lics? Mr. Webster is not afraid nor and frankly as he did ? But how ashamed to defend the Christian re- seldom does any thing drop from ligion, in the most public and em- their lips, from which we can dephatic manner. He is proud of termine with certainty that they even standing side by side with the im- believe in the divine origin of Chris. mortal Washington, and endorsing tianity. The Bible indeed is not that memorable paragraph in his seldom quoted in the halls of legisfarewell address, which as much as lation, at the bar and in popular any thing he ever wrote, will endear harangues, but how much oftener his memory to the latest posterity. to give point to a witticism, than to
“Of all the dispositions and hab- enforce a grave argument, or fortify moral principle. What do we find cumstances. They might cast down in the annual executive message to their pearls, with the certainty of seeboth houses of Congress, beyond ing them “trampled under foot." certain stereotyped recognitions of They might use cant phrases, or fall a beneficent Providence, under into homilitic exhortations. Thus whose smiles we are growing up to might the lawyer or the senator exa gigantic national manhood. How pose himself to the profane merrifew men in our public councils dare ment of vulgar skepticism, and bring to speak, or at any rate do speak dishonor upon religion itself. We out their Christian sentiments, on plead for no such license. But we such great moral questions as rob- must insist, that in legislating for a bing the poor Indians of their terri- Christian people, occasions will of. tory and their fathers' sepulchers— ten arise, when the sanctions of the transporting and opening the mails Bible ought to be brought in, as paron the Lord's day, and precipitating amount to all human wisdom and a vast foreign slave territory upon policy; and when no Christian in these United States, to “grind them public life should hesitate to speak, to powder,” or sink them to the bot- as well as act, in agreement with tom of infamy and perdition. the principles of the Gospel.
Now why this hesitancy, this shy- That day, so fervently to be prayness, on the part of so many Chris ed for, when all our civil rulers tian legislators ? What have the shall be “just men, ruling in the friends of the Bible, the friends of fear of God," we may not live to religion and morality, to fear from behold ; but it will come, and may the honest advocacy of the immu- the Lord hasten it in his time. table principles of right and wrong? Here we might close the present What need of reserve, what occa. article, having accomplished our sion for quaking, lest they should be main design, which was to recom. branded as canting hypocrites, or mend Mr. Webster's earnest and el. dreamy fanatics? Why not stand oquent plea for Christian education, up fearlessly, and meet the oppro- in God's appointed way, and to lay brium, and shake it off, if it must before our readers the longest excome? Who sneered at Mr. Web. tracts that our limits would allow. ster, for the avowal of his religious We can not dismiss the subject, howopinions in the crowded court-room; ever, without offering some of the or who ever respected Mr. Freling. reflections which it has suggested to huysen the less, for standing forth our minds. boldly as a religious man, (which he The building and liberal endowalways did,) in the senate chamber? ment of a seminary of learning, on It is not by shrinking from religious a large scale, is a noble act. We responsibility, but by meeting it in a hardly know how a man of princely bold and dignified manner, that fortune could do better, than by apChristians in high and honorable propriating a portion of it to so mer. stations are to secure the respect of itorious an object. And especially the irreligious, who are never afraid such a devise as that of Mr. Gi. to show their own colors. When rard to be commended, when the will the professors of Christianity be children of the poor are to receive as valiant for the truth, as many of the benefits of it, provided, always, the opposite stamp are against it? that it be not hedged about with
It were possible, no doubt, for good hurtful or dangerous restrictions. men to err on the other side. They When it is said, that every man might obtrude their religious scruples has a right to do what he will with his and opinions upon courts and sen- own property, it is not morally, nor ates, without regard to times and cir. even legally true. Were a notorious gambler to build a splendid mar. no human tribunal can take cognible palace, avowedly for gambling zance. purposes, in the city of New York A man of fortune has an undoubt. or Philadelphia, and to appropriate ed legal right to direct, that after his half a million of dollars, to initiate decease, a part or the whole of his young clerks and apprentices into estate shall be appropriated for the all the diabolical mysteries of the erection and endowment of a public art, it would not be tolerated for an seminary, upon the most liberal hour. The city authorities would scale of expenditure. Under this shut it up at once. And were the right, Mr. Girard thought proper to proprietor to insist, ever so loudly, set apart two millions of dollars, for “I have a right to do what I will the purposes just mentioned ; the with my own,” they would quickly college to be built in or near the city settle the question with this answer : of Philadelphia. The work was “ Your establishment is a public nui. commenced, upon a magnificent sance. It is directly calculated to plan, soon after his death. Various corrupt the morals of the rising gen- causes have retarded the enterprise ; eration, which you have no right but we understand the buildings are to do. The property is yours to to be finished and the college is to sell, or give away, or, if you retain be organized as soon as the state of it, to use it for lawful purposes, but the funds will allow. The great for no other.”
question is settled. The Supreme In like manner, were a rich man Court has decided that it is a “ chain Boston or Cincinnati, to leave a rity," within the meaning of the million of dollars to build and en- law, and nothing, apparently, can dow a college, for teaching poor or hinder its going into full operation. phan boys the art of picking locks, We can not retard the work a moor making counterfeit money, would ment, if we would, and we ought the civil authorities allow such a not, if we could, provided that it proseminary to go into operation ? Most mises to be made a useful institucertainly they would not. In these, tion. and a thousand other supposable But we think, that if it was Mr. cases, the law would interfere to Girard's design to benefit the city of prevent any man from doing what Philadelphia to the full value of that he pleased with his own money. On part of his vast estate, which he dethe other hand, no earthly power voted to the purposes of education, may thwart or embarrass a man in he committed a great mistake, in orthe disposal of his property, so long dering the erection of a college for as it neither corrupts the morals nor the exclusive benefit of orphan boys. invades the rights of others. If you There are thousands of other poor think he is wickedly or foolishly wast. boys, in every great city, quite as ing “his Lord's goods,” you may destitute as the orphans. Had he reason with him, you may advise, appropriated his two millions of dolyou may remonstrate. But when lars for the support of five or ten you have exhausted your moral sua. free schools, somewhat after the patsion, you have done. You can go tern of the free schools of Boston, no further. If a rich banker, for who can help seeing, that infinitely example, should choose to build a more good might have been done? palace for the bats and the spiders His heart, however, was set upon to inhabit, or to throw his money in- building one great charitable seminato the sea, he could do so. It would ry; and he chose to restrict ils pribe a great waste, to be sure, and it vileges to one class of poor boys, as would be recorded against him in he no doubt had a legal right to do. the book of God's remembrance. Whether his trustees have been as But it would be an offense of which economical as he intended they should be, in the plan and finish of boys “shall respectively arrive at the buildings, is a question which between fourteen and eighteen years we have not the means of answer- of age, they shall then be bound out ing. All we know is, that they have by the mayor, aldermen and citibeen charged by some with great zens of Philadelphia, or under their extravagance. In point of fact, the directions, to suitable occupations, main edifice, when finished, will be as those of agriculture, navigation, the most costly structure, for educa. arts, mechanical trades and manutional purposes, in the United States. factures, according to their capaciWhen, despite our clerical garb, we ties and acquirements." some time ago crossed its ample Now we do not believe it possible threshold, and traversed its magnifi. to carry out such a scheme, permacent apartments, we could not help nently and usefully, any where. It asking ourselves, Is this the palace will be found, we are confident, that in which orphan boys are to be edu. when the poor orphan boys of the cated, to prepare them for the hard Girard College are old enough to service and humble stations to which leave it and be apprenticed, as he they are destined in future life? Is directs, they will, with very
few exit wise, is it benevolent, to take ceptions, feel quite above their conhomeless and parentless children dition and prospects in life. Bind from the lanes and cellars of a pop- them out at eighteen, or fourteen, ulous city, to feed and clothe and ed. you may, but you can not keep them. ucate them under the ablest masters, You have brought them up in a pal. from eight to twelve years, in the ace. Every want has been suppli. midst of all this costliness and splen- ed, without a thought or effort of dor? What habits and expectations their own. They are as entirely will they insensibly form here? unaccustomed to labor, as if they How will they feel when they come were the sons of noblemen, and they to bid adieu to these lofty colon- will never brook it. Though they nades—these shady and graveled will know a great deal more about walks—these enchanted grounds, grammar, and geography, and fig. and to find their homes under low. ures, than other poor boys of their ly roofs, with hard toil and coarse age, they will not succeed half so fare? What sort of apprentices will well in the world. They will never these boys make, going directly, as be half so industrious, happy, or reit is expected they will, from this spectable. It will take some years marble palace into the humble work. for the system to work out its natushops of the city ? Will they be ral results ; but they will begin to be contented? Will they submit to all developed, as soon as any considerthe toil and confinement by which able number of the boys are bound their respective trades are to be ac- out, and we put it down as a moral quired ? Will they make sober, in- certainty, that in less than a quarter dustrious and useful members of so- of a century, there will be a general ciety, or will they, in disgust, break and settled conviction on the public away from their masters, and reck- mind, that the Girard College can lessly “seek their fortunes,” in ro- not answer the great end for which ving idleness and dissipation? We it was professedly established. It confess, that the more we reflect up- may be kept up a great while ; for on the subject, the stronger is our what else can the trustees do with conviction that Mr. Girard's College the funds—but in our soberest judg. must and will prove a splendid fail- ment, experience will ultimately ure.
convince all candid minds, that it We ask our readers to look for had been better for the poor orphan one moment at the condition of his boys of Philadelphia, if it had neve will. He requires, that when the er been thought of. Strenuous ad.