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desire to see honoured and respected. Labour, therefore, to be not rich but independent. Cultivate industry and the manly virtues. Shun vice and its miseries, and as you improve your own condition you will improve the condition of your country. I do not counsel a grovelling pursuit of money; I do not insinuate that the rich are necessarily happy.
“He is not happy that is rich,
And hath the world at will,
Avoid the imprudence, the fatal effects of which you are taught by the life and death of Oliver Goldsmith. Remember the solemn words with which Dr. Johnson concludes his biography of Savage—“Those who, in confidence of superior capacities or attainments, disregard the common maxims of life, must be reminded that nothing will supply the want of prudence—that negligence and irregularity long continued, will make knowledge useless, wit ridiculous, and genius contemptible.”
The countrymen of Goldsmith, proud of his genius, are now about to raise a monument to his memory, and it is right so to do. To his honour be it spoken, the Earl of Carlisle has been forward in the work of love ; but I would remind you of what Lord Bacon has so thoughtfully and so truly said, “ It is not possible to have the true pictures or statues of Cyrus, Alexander, Cæsar, no, nor the kings or great personages of much later years; for the originals cannot last, and the copies cannot but lose of the life and truth. But the images of men's wits and knowledge remain in books, exempted from the wrong of time, and capable of perpetual renovation. Neither are they fitly to be called images, because they gene
OLIVER GOLDSMITH, HIS FRIENDS AND HIS Critics.
rate still, and cast their seeds in the minds of others, provoking and causing infinite action and opinions in succeeding ages.”
The durable monument of Goldsmith will be in his books ; the inscription will not be effaced by time; the imagery will not moulder away.
The question for our investigation to-night is one rather of a practical character; but the consideration of practical subjects may be as instructive and as profitable as the poetical and imaginative. A great moralist has said that, “ Whatever makes the past predominate over the present, elevates us in the scale of thinking beings.” Now, that is a truth I will not deny; but while we recall the past for our instruction, and while we linger with delight over the enchanting page of history, still it is useful at times to mark our progress as a nation—ascertain our present position, and consider whether we have advanced, retrograded, or declined. Poets revel in the pleasures of fiction, and deck their inventions with the brilliant hues of fancy or of genius; the historian recalls to our minds nations that have passed away-re-peoples the desert, or rebuilds the ruined city; my humble purpose this evening, is to turn the eye of the mind upon ourselves our habits, condition, and prospects; and to refer to the past only that it may shed light upon the present and future of our country.