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to its walls by the ties which bind the heart of the husbandman to his fields on which he bestows his careful labor, and which respond to his industry by clothing themselves in the rich beauties of spring, Summer and harvest. Especially will these attachments be strengthened if the land which he now possesses has come down to him as an inheritance from his ancestors through generation after generation ; and is thus associated with all the feelings of love and reverence with which he cherishes their memories.
There is still another point which should not be overlooked in this connection : I refer to the healthful sobriety of mind which the occupations and scenes of life in the country are calculated to cherish. There
is quite as much truth as poetry in the words,
“God made the country, man made the town.”
And if any one will compare his own feelings when he goes forth among the fields covered with the rich gifts of a Creator's hand, and when again he treads our streets, hemmed in by walls of human workmanship, he will be at no loss to tell in which of the two his mind is rendered most conscious of the presence and authority of the Most High. While Adam yet bore the fresh and unsullied image of his Maker, he was placed in Eden “to dress it and to keep it,” as
an employment best suited to his state of innocence, and as a means of preserving it. The contempla– tion of scenes in which “Nature leads up to Nature's God,” always tends to impart a tone of moral health, and to form a solidity of character which, especially in a nation enjoying the privilege of selfgovernment, are all important as a balance to the turbulent fervor often generated in our cities. It is in such an atmosphere that the mind is generally most unclouded, and can look beyond the things of a day. Nor should it be forgotten that amidst such scenes and occupations every free nation has found many of her greatest patriots and statesmen. We might dwell still farther on the effects of agriculture, and of the divine laws respecting it, given to the Hebrews; but enough has been said to show how it was interwoven with their religion as the people of God, and with their freedom as a Commonwealth. Let us now consider how far this feature in their polity and condition was designed to look beyond their land, and to furnish instruction to a nation like our own. Great principles never change, although the application of them must vary according to varying times and circumstances; and unwise, if not impracticable, as it would be in modern times and among modern nations to adopt the entire system of
Hebrew laws respecting the ownership and cultivation of the earth, there is a very instructive lesson, to be learned from them respecting the place which should be assigned to agriculture as a source of national prosperity and power in every land. The facilities peculiar to our own country, inviting the mass of the people to this invigorating occupation, have contributed largely to the establishment of her freedom and her growth in power; and because we do not think the merciful ordering of Divine Providence towards our nation in this respect is rightly estimated, we invite your careful attention to it. The boasted liberty of Greece and of Rome was rather the liberty of a city than of a whole country or nation. Strangers as they were to the principle of representation, through which the sober judgment cherished by a country life could have been brought to keep in check the impetuous ardor of their political assemblies; every great public measure took its direction from the populace who dwelt in the capital. “Hence,” as Alison has well remarked, “the violence, the anarchy, and the inconsistency by which their history was so often distinguished, and which, though concealed amid the blaze of ancient eloquence, the searching eye of modern history has so fully illustrated.” We could scarcely hope that the liberties enjoyed by our Republic would outlast a single generation in our cities, if they were severed from their political connexion with the country around them. It has often been said, that Paris is France for every political purpose, and this may be one great reason why all their late attempts to acquire freedom have been so abortive in the French nation. The land does not possess an independent intelligent yeomanry to control and moderate the mercurial spirits of her metropolis; and we fully believe that, under God, much of our safety from the evils that are supposed by some to threaten us as a nation is found in the broad expanse of territory which is yet to be improved by the hand of husbandry, and in the growing desire of our own citizens, and of the multitudes that flock to us from abroad, to become owners and tillers of our fruitful soil. The illustrious Burke, “the unrivalled prophet of politics,” as he is sometimes called, described, many years ago, a crowd of American Tartars, armed with the pike and the sabre, pouring from the West over the Alleghanies, and sweeping away the wealth and population of our Eastern cities, grown indolent and defenceless by the natural course of popular government and profligate prosperity. True prophet as that great statesman was when he foretold the results of the French revolution, his wisdom forsook
him when he looked towards America. We find more truth and statesman-like sagacity in another distinguished writer, who, although a foreigner, better understood our position and prospects. We also quote him with the more pleasure, for, though it is only about a quarter of a century since he wrote, and his predictions were then considered as uttered in language extravagantly figurative, they are already in process of literal fulfilment. He speaks of “the electric agency of the Post and the Press.” The electric spark passing over the wires fulfils his prediction as to the one ; and we look for a time not far distant when the same powerful agent will effect a similar improvement in the other. Science has only just begun to discover the value of electricity in promoting the purposes of human life and human improvement. It has already shown that the most rapid movements of the Post in former times were comparatively sluggish. It has now to show that all our past improvements in the art of printing have left it a slow process, when compared with its rapid working after it shall have called to its aid the speed of the lightning.