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mands, which both God and the world made upon them, increased with their increasing capabilities, they still seemed to be losing their hold on the more cultivated classes, and to be sinking down in the scale of mental power. Nor was this the worst fruit of their inertness. Evils of a moral nature sprang up. For in such a case as theirs, a multitude of consequences would come in to irritate them, and make them jealous. Their inexcusable backwardness in the cause of sound learning could not but alienate those among them who strove for the higher walks of science and literature, and who found no congenial tastes prevailing where they were brought up. Somehow, there seemed to be an enormous sieve steadily at work among them, screening out their more gifted young men, and their more aspiring families; and human patience could hardly endure this. It was natural that they should grow fretful; it was natural that they should give way to decrying the attainments and advantages which they lacked, more vulpis apud uvas. Such, in brief, is the history of all those bodies, up to the periods when they began to do their long neglected duty to themselves and the world. The favorable change which has invariably taken place among them, as, one after another, they reached that transition-point, is too well known to need recapitulation.

I now leave to your own consideration the field which the College occupies in the general interests of human society; together with the special influence it exerts on the particular community that is the most forward to sustain it. I submit the whole, without any further practical application; believing that the facts we have aimed to present, will, of themselves, speak to all hearts with a stronger emphasis than that of words. May they be sanctified to all, and particularly to those who are engaged in the enterprise this day publicly consecrated.

On such an occasion as the present, it may be expected that something will be said respecting the internal economy of this College,-the methods of instruction that will be pursued here, and the objects that will be aimed at. But, in these respects, there is nothing peculiar to be noted; and the topic at large would open so wide a field that it

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is necessary to decline entering upon it at this late hour. I will only mention three things, by way simply of specification:

First; we are sensible that one of the prime requisites to excellence in any branch of learning to which we shall attend, is thoroughness; thoroughness in the elements, thoroughness in every successive stage, as far as the study shall be carried. And this, not only for the sake of sound scholarship as distinguished from smattering, but for the sake also of the mental habits in general, that are to be formed by the discipline. We cannot lay too great a stress on this point. Where "thoroughness" ceases to be. practicable, let the study be dropped.

Secondly; we are persuaded that all scholastic instruction ought to be conducted with a reverent eye to the methods which our Creator has instituted, in Nature and Providence, for the education of our race. For, the whole business of life from the cradle to the grave may be expressed in one word,-Education. It begins with the first breath; it is suspended only with the access of utter insensibility. This world, if we consider it attentively, is found to be but a vast seminary, with infinite apparatus of natural objects above and below,-with unnumbered problems of doubt to be solved,-with difficulties on the one hand, facilities on the other, dangers, calamities, successes, joys and sorrows, as our Schoolmasters; and with thousandfold influences that try us in every possible direction, to draw forth our capabilities, and to form us into a self-governed organism of regulated forces.. And the processes of a more artificial kind, which we follow out in Schools, should evidently be but the sequel to the natural course. The principles on which they are conducted should be the same; and the results obtained should be rectified from their subtle aberrations, by constantly comparing them with the facts of the existing world, and with the judgments of common sense. In this way, we save the scholar from the flightiness and extravagances, to which the unguided speculation of our age is so prone.

Thirdly, Religious Influences. There does not seem to be any room for doubt, whether these should pervade a College, and indeed all places of Education. If we

have a Father in heaven, on whom we are dependent, it is plain that our natural or normal sphere is one of filial subordination to Him,-like that of children in a family. And our characters, intellectual as well as moral, cannot be properly formed, but under the habitual sense of the sacred relation in which we exist. If we are not selfexistent, if we are created beings, living under the dominion of a Supreme Lawgiver and Judge, whose authority presses upon us, and shuts us in on every side, there cannot be, in the nature of things, any healthful discipline, or any development fitted to our state, without the moral consciousness of this pressure; just as the pressure of the surrounding atmosphere is necessary to our physical wellbeing. It is what we must have in both cases. And the absurdity, I mean the natural absurdity,-of thinking to succeed by placing us under an exhausted receiver as it were, is as gross in the one case as in the other. To the full extent that the student values even a well-developed intellect, let him cherish a sense of that Omnipresence "in whom he lives, moves, and has his being." Above all things, as he values the moral integrity of his character, let him see to it that he does not "live without God in the world." And let all who take the responsible office of instructors remember how much depends on their example and personal influence, in this respect.

And now, at the close of these public solemnities, in the fear and love of God, we consecrate this New College to his glorious service, in the educating and harmonious unfolding of the noblest powers he has bestowed upon his creatures. We humbly look to Him for his acceptance of this College, and for his blessing upon it to these ends. We consecrate it to the work of instruction in sound learning and science, under the influence of Christian principles. We dedicate it and its appurtenances to the service of you, Young Gentlemen, who have entered here to begin your collegiate course, with the beginning of the Institution itself,-including with you your successors in all time to come. We have honored it with the name of its noble and generous Founder, whom we have the happiness to see among us to-day, but who is shut out from the sound of our voices. May it bear his memory down,

with increasing respect, to the remotest ages; and be his conspicuous monument, when these heights, now bare, shall realize the character of Academic Shades. We would gladly inscribe also, on some of its Departments, the name of its principal Contributor; and, should he continue to decline the publicity as yet, we leave it in charge to our successors, to do justice to a liberality so munificent, and to a prompt attendance so untiring. And finally, we dedicate it as a lasting memorial of its agent, who has labored for so many years in its behalf; and as a perpetual remembrancer of all its Benefactors, far and

near.

H. B. 2d.

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ART. XXIV.

Hildreth's History of the United States.

The History of the United States of America, by Richard Hildreth. In six volumes. 8vo. Revised Edition. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1854.

AN ingenious writer in one of the foreign Reviews,1 in discussing "the use and meaning of history," denies that it has any power to teach truth. The moralist, the philosopher, and the statesman, as such, can learn from history nothing whatever. In no instance has it taught what is good, what is true, or what is wise. Not merely a chief use, but the sole use of history, is the portrayal of “ personal character in conflict with the circumstances of life," with a view to "toning and nerving the heart to noble emotions"—the raising and sustaining a "love of what is good"-a "condition of pure and elevated feeling, in which, irrespective of consequences, human things and human actions are seen and weighed at their just and real value." In the simple improvement of the heart, and in no respect the informing of the understanding, does history find its exclusive use.

1 The Westminster Review for October, 1854, Article IV.

As a sort of compensation for thus narrowing the sphere of its utility, we are virtually assured, that it seems quite unnecessary that history should teach truth-it does not appear that any good would be secured, even if it could and did inform the understanding! History is good for nothing, except as it pictures personal character; and, in doing this, all that is required is, that it shall be true to "the conditions of humanity." In selecting material for the portrait, it would seem to be quite immaterial whether the artist made use of fact or fiction!

The argument by which it is attempted to sustain this unwelcome theory, if it does not convince, is certainly perplexing. History is made to testify against itself; and the position, that men have been noblest and best, not when they have had truth, but rather when they have put implicit faith in error, and very absurd error at that, is seemingly sustained by an array of facts quite surprising. We are reminded of the circumstance that "the beautiful cultivation of the Greeks," and "the iron nerve and aus tere virtue of the Romans," were the direct results of belief in mythologies, which are now justly "the laughingstock of school-boys." As an instance in point-while the Roman character, after the terrible defeat at Cannæ, gave evidence of its noble heroism, by selling at auction, in the Forum, and at its full value, the very ground on which the victorious enemy were encamped, "the State was sentencing the consul Flaminius to death, because he had thrown the sacred chickens into the lake Thrasymene; and these two actions, (it is further affirmed,) so strangely opposite in form, were linked together in inseparable unity in the Roman heart; they were the outcome of the same faith; both fruits were growing on the same tree." "Greece fell as soon as Greece had exchanged its faith for a philosophy. Rome accepted her philosophy, and followed her in her ruin. Truth entered, and virtue died." The strange, yet obvious inference would seem to be, that history can teach no truth, and that it is well that it cannot do so; for error rather than truth appears to be conducive to manly feeling, and true nobility of character!

In attempting to extricate ourselves from the folds of this logic, we will take no advantage of the paradoxconceded by the writer to be such-of first affirming that

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