xt7jws8hf542 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jws8hf542/data/mets.xml Caldwell, Charles, 1772-1853. 1835  books b92-217-30936506 English Printed by S. Nye and Co., : Nashville : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Education. Thoughts on the spirit of improvement, the selection of its objects, and its proper direction  : being an address (delivered April 1st, 1835,) to the Agatheridan and Erosophian Societies of Nashville University / by Charles Caldwell. text Thoughts on the spirit of improvement, the selection of its objects, and its proper direction  : being an address (delivered April 1st, 1835,) to the Agatheridan and Erosophian Societies of Nashville University / by Charles Caldwell. 1835 2002 true xt7jws8hf542 section xt7jws8hf542 


            ON THE





           AN ADDRESS

      (DELIVERED APRIL 1st, 1836,)

                 TO THE




   (Published at the request of the Societies.)




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  For the honorable part you have been pleased to assign me,
in this Festival of Letters, you have a twofold claim on me; one
for my thanks; the other for an earnest endeavour in me not to
discredit the occasion, or disappoint the expectations your kind
partiality may have led you to cherish. Respectfully tendering
to you the full consideration, in acquittance of the former of
these claims, I shall proceed, without further preface, to the dis-
charge of the latter, with such resources as I can bring to the
task. The subject on which it is my purpose to address you, is
  The Spirit of Improvement, the Selection of its Objects, and
its proper Direction.
  Though not of an aspect altogether literary, yet, as far
as it can be comprised within so limited a scope, this would
seem to constitute no unsuitable theme for an academical dis-
course, especially under the existing circumstances of our
country. So busy and productive in new schemes, projects,
and inventions is the period we live in, that, from all quar-
ters, and in forms innumerable, the note of improvement falls
on the ear. The subject I have chosen, therefore, besides
its relevancy to every pursuit and occupation of civilized man,
is rich in matter to suit the tastes of the American people, at the
same time that it is vitally important to their interests and wel-
fare. Add to this, that it can hardly fail to claim hereafter the
particular attention of some or most of you, if not your superin-
tendence in an official capacity. Composed of such elements,
it will not, I trust, be found altogether wanting in fitness for the
occasion. From its extent and copiousness, it might well seem
superfluous in me to say, that, instead of a full exposition of it,
nothing more will be attempted, than a glance at a few of its
leading topics. To trace it through its ramifications is left to
yourselves; nor, might the speaker judge, would the time devo-


ted to it be unprofitably spent-Before engaging in the brief
analysis of it which is contemplated, allow me to invite your atten-
tion to certain views and reflections of a more general character,
which it naturally suggests.
  When we take a survey of the different tribes and nations of
the earth, or rather of the varieties of man that compose them,
we find them not only actuated by different degrees of the Spirit
of Improvement, but possessed of very different capacities to
improve. This is a point in the natural history of the human
family which has never received the consideration it deserves.
That it is essentially connected with a viery vexed and interest-
ing question in the philosophy of man, cannot be doubted. The
embers of that disputed ground, however, I may not disturb.
Having been once instrumental in fanning them to flame, I
know by experience the fierceness of the fire. But the blaze
was like that of burning brimstone. Intensely keen and con-
suming, it shed around it no genuine light, to disclose ob-
jects in their true colours. No; it gave to every thing a lurid,
false, and repulsive hue. I have no desire therefore to witness
it again-much less to rekindle it.
  In the Mongolian, Malayan, African, and North American In-
dian races, the Spirit of Improvement is comparatively feeble,
and the capacity to improve correspondingly limited. Of some
of the African varieties, especially the Caffres, Boschesemen,
and Papuans, this is true to an extent that would not be credited,
had it never been witnessed. Nothing but actual inspection
could convince us, that any thing human could be so hopelessly
degraded. Over the races of mankind just referred to, some of
them numerous beyond calculation, century after century monot-
onously passes, and the latest period finds them as barbarous and
savage as the earliest. On the face of the dark and slumbering
waters of their nature no Spirit of light and Improvement has
moved, nor has any quickening mandate gone forth, to awaken
them to action, and amend their condition. Content with their
loathsome and miserable mode of existence, and scarcely rising
high enough in thought even to dream of a superior one, they
continue shroaded in ignorance, steeped in uncleanliness, debased
by brutal vices, slaves to ferocious and sanguinary passions,


strangers alike to social decency and moral observances, and, of
all that characterizes humanity, possessing nothing valuable but the
form-and that in many instances of the lowest order and most
unsightly aspect. Account for this stationary condition of these
races as we may, and singular as the phenomenon may be con-
sidered in anthropology, its existence is proved by the concur-
rent testimony of observation and history. The 2Ethiopians
appear to be as uncultivated now, as they were three thousand
years ago; and several other tribes of Africans, that were known
as savages and barbarians at the commencement of the Christian
era, are in the same condition still. Nor would truth warrant
me in sketching a more favorable picture of the Malays, Tartars,
and North American Indians. since the earliest intercourse
held with them by civilized nations, their barbarism and savagisnm
have sustained no abatement-I mean, where they have existed
as communities by themselves, holding no intercourse with other
communities already civilized.  Hence, it does appear, that,
when left exclusively to their own intellectual resources, and
committed to the influence of their native propensities, neither
the Mongolians, Africans, Malays, nor North American Indians
have any disposition to improve their degraded state of being,
and exchange it for that of a cultivated people. If they have
ever manifested such a disposition, or made such an exchange, the
event does not appear to have been recorded. As far as their
history is known, no insulated community of them has ever be-
come civilized. If any of them, emerging from the night of
savagism or barbarism, have reached the first dawn of civiliza-
tion (and few of them have done so much), there their progress
has terminated. Nor, as already stated, have they shown them-
selves capable, in the circle of ages, of rising any higher in the
scale of humanity. Or, if they have the capacity, they want
the will; a defect which leads to the same result. In truth the
moral want is the more debasing of the two; for, while it is
reprehensible, a physical or intellectual disability would be only
pitiable. The issue of the whole is, that savagism and barbarism,
being the constant concomitants of Mongolians and Africans,
Malays and Indians, veil in ignorance and taint with pollution,
waste by rapine and cover with blood, every region those races


inhabit. I shall only add, that all attempts to Christianize them
have hitherto failed. Nor is the fact to be wondered at. The
marvel would be, that it were otherwise. Christianity is the
highest stage of civilization and morality. It is the high-wrought
capital of the column of human improvement. But of that
bright and glorious column, the beings alluded to have not yet
reached the basis. I speak of them as a people, without regard to
individual exceptions. To drop the figure. The foundation of
Christianity is laid in civilization and moral culture. Nor can itbe
provided elsewhere with a substantial resting-place. To render
the work sound and durable, the progress of it must be, to instruct,
reform, and lastly Christianize. To attempt to teach men the
doctrines, and infuse into them the spirit of christianity, before
they are civilized and enlightened, is to begin the process at the
wrong end. Nor will success ever crown the unnatural labour.
As well may the manufacturer attempt to weave the raw material,
before it is carded or spun, or the architect to build his house
from the roof downward. Hence the failure of every effort to
impart christianity, in its true spirit, and in a durable form, to
the several races of which I have spoken. Nor let me forget to
refer to their utter incompetency to the formation of systems of
law, to secure to themselves the immunities of rational freedom,
and shelter themselves under the banner of the social compact.
  As respects the Caucasian variety of man, the case is as differ-
ent as philanthropy can wish, or imagination conceive. In it the
Spirit of Improvement is high-toned and active, and the capacity
to improve almost without limits. These facts appear from its
constant, rapid, and seemingly interminable progress in the arts
of civilization. In this career so brilliant and fruitful, to such
an extent does each succeeding generation spring in advance of
that which had preceded it, as to present itself to the fancy, if
not to the judgment, as composed of beings of a superior order.
While the other races, as already mentioned, move slowly and
clumsily in the course of improvement, like the sluggard on his
path, or scarcely move at all, it is hardly extravagant to say of
the Caucasians, that their movement, marked in an equal degree
with grace and vigor, rivals in constancy the flight of time, and
seems occasionally to surpass it in fleetness. Hence the gran-


deur, glory, and usefulness that belong to them, and their vast
superiority over the other varieties. And this is true of them
in ancient no less than in modern times. The Persians, Pheni-
cians, Carthagenians, Greeks, and Romans, who swayed success-
ively the world and its fortunes, were Caucasians. So were the
Assyrians, who held dominion for ages in the East. So were
the Jews, who in some points of human exaltation were unsur-
passed by any other people. And so were the ancient Egyptians,
who also ruled with unlimited power, and have left behind them,
as miracles of their greatness, piles of architecture which are
vying in duration with the ground that sustains them, and the
granite mountains from which they were hewn.
  As relates to modern nations foremost in intellect, power, and
influence, the same is true. They are all descendants of the
Caucasian stock. To that line belong the people of Europe and
the United States, who set the brightest example to other nations,
and control at present the destinies of man. So do those who
rule in other parts of the American continent. Over no spot, to
which the Caucasian has penetrated, can the Indian be said to
have the positive mastery. Though he may occasionally triumph
in battle, and spread, for the time, desolation around him, the
print of the white man's foot is the seal of his overthrow.
  To Caucasian origin may be traced the comforts and conve-
niencies, as well as the ornaments and elegancies of life. To
this the exceptions, if any exist, are few and unimportant. The
Caucasians alone are ambitious of distinction, splendour, and
renown achieved by the instrumentality of the arts of peace.
And they alone have attained them through that channel, while
the other races neglect them entirely, or seek them only through
the ravages of war. The reason is plain. Neither of the other
races singly, nor all of them combined, possess the invention and
enterprise, industry and perseverance, essential to such attain-
ments by their own labors. For it should never be forgotten,
that be the talents of individuals and nations of whatever order
they may, true pre-eminence, whether in literature, science, or
the arts, is the offspring of steady and long-continued labour,
corporeal or mental, or of both united. Though genius lays the
foundation of superior greatness, patient and vigorous industry



alone can rear the superstructure. Nor do I hesitate to add,
that the latter is the more effective of the two. Without it, the
former is but a perishable flower, whose beauty and fragrance are
as fruitless as they are pleasing. Whatever extraneous aid they
may derive occasionally from genius, and the influence of time,
place, and power, so intrinsically defective and faulty are indo-
lence and ease, that they have never been the parents of any thing
either distinguished or useful. All that is great and lasting in the
productions of man, whether it be of mind or matter, intellect or
morality, is rendered so by industry. The fabric that springs up
easily and rapidly, is easily overthrown, and rapidly perishes.
It wants the consolidating influence of time and labour. Familiar
as these truths are, and homely as they may appear to be, they
are practical lessons important to all men, but more especially
in their bearing on youth. Let all who would attain to useful-
ness, or who covet distinction, retain and cherish them among
their choicest remembrances, and cling to them inflexibly as
rules of action. Under such a course faithfully adhered to, and
perseveringly pursued, moderate indeed must be the talents of
him, who cannot, in the term of an ordinary lifetime, do much
good, and fill up a reasonable measure of reputation. And when
numbers unite in the same enterprise, and vigorously prosecute
it, the magnitude of the product not only baffles calculation, but
often surpasses the creations of fancy. If colonies of marine
worms, so humble in their nature, as scarcely to possess the
animal character, can erect, by their joint labours, in the depth
of the ocean, which sounding line has never fathomed, coral
rocks and islands, to form perhaps the basis of future continents-
if such is the issue of the unremitting toils of one of the lowliest
orders of being, vain would be the effort of imagination to com-
pass the vastness and importance of what the industry and perse-
verance of men, associated in multitudes, and harmonious in
exertion, might ultimately achieve. Nor need I adduce any
other evidence in proof of this, than is abundantly furnished by
what the Caucasian race, actuated by the Spirit of Improvement,
has already performed.
  To say nothing of the enterprise, exertions, and intelligence
of that race, in scanning the heavenly bodies, and developing the



science which embraces their magnitudes and movements, dis-
tances, relations and laws, the labors they have bestowed on the
earth itself, and the mightiness of their effects, are beyond com-
putation. Placed on it, naked, defenceless, and unprovided,
when in the condition of an unknown, rude, and frightful wilder-
ness, the abode of hostile animals powerful and openly fero-
cious, or lurking in ambush and armed with poison, some of its
climates inhospitable, and not a few of its localities fruitful in the
seeds of disease, its soil in many places stubborn and unproduc-
tive, and its islands and continents with their numerous sections
divided from one another by oceans, seas, and lakes, rivers, mo-
rasses, and mountains, and other barriers scarcely more sur-
mountable-cast on it, in a state thus wild and forbidding, diffi-
cult and full of peril, they have revolutionized it, and brought it
to a condition in most respects the opposite of that it originally
possessed. Extensively explored in all its quarters, its products
and general character discovered, and its resources rendered ac-
cessible and greatly improved, it is converted by their labours
into a cultivated world-a wide-spread scene of beauty and pro-
ductiveness, instead of a sightless and unprofitable waste. Its
broadest, deepest, and most rebellious waters, once deemed im-
practicable to human powers, are subdued and erected into high-
ways of safe and pleasant passage; and thus are the continents
and islands they separated rendered much more readily accessi-
ble to each other, than they would be, were solid earth interpo-
sed between them. Nor are the land-changes less striking and
useful. In the conversion of forests and morasses into fields and
meadows, gardens and pleasure grounds, nature has yielded her
empire to man. Hence has the bramble been made to give place
to the olive and the orange, the thistle to the vine and the palm
tree, the thorn and the brier to the peach and the apple, the pear
and the pomegranate, and whole families of noxious and offen-
sive weeds to the rose, the lily, the jasmine and the myrtle, and
other plants of higher value, that contribute to the sustenance
and comfort, no less than to the gratification of our race. To ren-
der the conquest of nature complete, lakes and rivers have been
brought into subjection, and made tributary to the business and
pleasures of life, as barriers between nations mountains have been



annihilated by the construction of roads, and villas, towns, and
cities have risen in splendour, where the wolf once haunted and
the tiger crouched expectant of his prey. And the more easily
and certainly to accomplish these ends, all the physical elements
have been made to unite their forces, and act in subservience to
thebuman will. So powerfully and yet peacefully, moreover, have
those once refractory agents been compelled to work, that they
now convey in safety, between distant places, multitudes of hu-
man beings, and countless tons of merchandise, at a rate of speed
that approaches the annihilation of space and time. Nor, from
projects meditated and already on foot, is it at all certain, that
the air itself may not hereafter be so far brought under the con-
trol of man, as to be compelled to bear him on its bosom with
the swiftness and security it now affords to the swan and the ea-
gle. Does any one consider this sentiment chimerical, or ex-
travagant Let him take a calm retrospect of the last half cen-
tury, and seriously reflect on the well-known power and action
of gas, steam, and machinery, and the chimera and extravagance
will both disappear. Stronger still; the event referred to will
assume the aspect of high probability. Man who, within the
period just specified, has learnt to form and decompose water at
pleasure, to wrest from winds and currents the dominion they
once held over navigation, to vie in speed with the swallow, un-
der ponderous burdens, and over grounds once scarcely passable,
without the aid of animal strength or fleetness, to inflame and con-
sume like a taper the most refractory metal, and to make his
bread out of the rugged forest-tree-the being who has already
done this, must not be accounted altogether quixotic, because
he believes it possible to achieve in safety a voyage through the
air. When about twenty years ago a mechanician predicted, that
the time would come, when a passage would be made between
New York and Philadelphia, without horses, in ten hours, he
was derided as a visionary, if not pitied as a madman. Yet the
prediction is already more than fulfilled.
  Such are a few of the changes that have been produced in the
condition of our globe, and the control of some of the elements
of nature that has been attained, through the instrumentality of
the Spirit of Improvement. And of the entire work, ninety-



nine hundredths, and perhaps more, have been performed by the
Caucasian race; though they constitute numerically but a small
proportion of the human family. To dwell on this topic a mo-
ment longer, viewing it in its relation to what more nearly con-
cerns ourselves, and lies immediately before us.
  But forty years ago-far within the remembrance of many who
hear me-what was the condition of the glorious Valley in which
we reside and what the aspect it presented to the emigrant It
was as rude and wild, and, to the minds of the timid, as repul-
sive and appalling, as it is now becoming cultivated, and invi-
ting to every one. Replete with danger at all times, it was too
often a scene of pillage and conflagration, merciless battle, and
unsparing massacre. And wherefore was it so Why did war
and butchery riot so fearfully, and desolation brood so grimly
over one of the choicest regions of the earth The answer is
easy. The land which had come so beauteous and magnificent
from the hand of nature, was, and had been for centuries, the
abode of an untamed and unimprovable variety of man, whose
delight is in blood and the agonies of the stake; a variety that is
proof against civilization and hostile to its arts; whose chosen
and, I believe, appropriate dwelling is the forest and the prairie;
and which, amidst all the efforts that may be made to perpetuate
it, will cease to exist, when the wilds of nature shall have sub.
mitted to the axe and the ploughshare, and been changed from
bunting grounds to cultivated fields. The region, I say, whieh
had sprung from the bosom of nature so fresh and blooming, and
lovely as the fair in her bridal attire, bad become thus morally
hideous and gloomy, because it was the home of a demoralized
race, whose lives were but scenes of sullen idleness or brutal
riot, war their employment, and havoc their pastime.
  But the Caucasian came, with the Spirit of Improvement, as
an element of his nature, and the day-spring of hope accompani-
ed his footsteps. Indolence and low content gave place to rest-
less industry and enterprise, the gloom of savagism receded, as
the brightness of civilization advanced, the war-whoop was drown-
ed in the tones of the anthem, and, in the language of the East
divested of metaphor, the wilderness began to "bloom and blos-
som as the rose. " Had the country passed under the wand of



the enchanter, scarcely could the metamorphosis have been more
sudden and complete. And the issue is seen in the abundance
of our harvests, the multiplication and excellence of our domes-
tic animals, the number and magnificence of our full-freighted
steamers, the comforts and tastefulness of our private dwellings,
the spaciousness and splendour of our public edifices, the dense-
ness of our still increasing population, and our growing weight
in the destinies of our country. Nor must I neglect to add, that
it is also most gratifyingly seen in the number and character of
our seats of learning. And permit me to subjoin, not in flattery,
but in the spirit of truth, that in no other institution is it more
happily apparent, than in that whose pupils I have the honour to
  All this, and much more, which a want of time forbids me to
recite, have the Caucasians done, in less than half a century, for
the Mississippi Valley. Within what time would the thousandth
part of it have been effected, by the hordes of red-men, who
prowled through its forests, and skulked in ambush in its glens
and thickets Never-No, never would an effort have been made
toward its accomplishment, nor even a dream entertained in re-
lation to it, by that defective and degraded race. What is the
cause of this For sundry reasons, as already mentioned, it would
be inexpedient, on an occasion like the present, to agitate the
question. I shall therefore only observe, that, be the cause what
it may, it seems to be as deep-rooted and permanent as the nature
of man. That being the case, though human efforts may some-
what modify it, to remove it belongs to a HIGHER POWER. The
school-master may instruct, the Government protect and encour-
age, and the pious missionary exhort and admonish, but the stub-
born Indian will be an Indian still. And, as already intimated,
he will melt away under the influence of civilization, as the fragile
frost-work in the solar beam. However melancholy and affecting
this anticipation may be, and however contrary to the belief of
many and the wishes of all, it is the only one that experience
sanctions, or that reason, when calmly consulted, permits us to
  Shall I be again told, as I often have been, that education is
the only cause of the mental difference that exists between the



several varieties of man that the Caucasian race is civilized and
educated, while the others are not and that hence alone arises
its superiority
  That this hypothesis is unsustainable, appears satisfactorily
from the following considerations. There must have been a time,
when the Caucasians were as uneducated, and as destitute of all
the resources of art, as the Africans or Mongolians. Whence then
did they derive their education and how did they become civil-
ized, and possessed of their means of enjoyment and power
They had no teachers, until they themselves had formed them,
no books until they had written them, no seats of learning until
they had erected them, nor any scholars or lawgivers until they
had produced them. Education and civilization, then, in all
their branches and bearings, were their own creations. They
did not receive them from the other races, who were themselves
destitute of them; nor will it be contended that they were special
boons from Heaven, conferred on them independently of their
own exertions. I repeat, that they were exclusively the fruit of
the proper employment of their own powers.
  Wherefore, then, did not the other races, whose opportunities
were the same, also educate and civilize themselves Placed on
the same soil, why did they not cultivate it on the same rivers
and lakes, seas and oceans, why did they not navigate them to
the same extent, and with results as advantageous shone on by
the same heavenly bodies, why did they not study as profoundly
and accurately their movements and laws In the midst of the
same miracles of sublimity and beauty, and of the same abundant
manifestations of wisdom, why did they not awaken to poetry
under the inspiration of the one, and avail themselves of the other
to improve their condition and, surrounded and acted on by the
same practicable elements of nature, why did they not master
them, and render them subservient to their own uses To these
questions but one rational answer can be framed. They twanted
the capacity. Inferior to them in mind, they could not, like
the Caucasians, read and interpret the Book of Nature, though
equally open to them, and apply to their own improvement,
comforts, and general purposes, the matter it contains. Content
with a scanty and coarse subsistence, they collected, for the



maintenance of that, the bounties which uncultivated nature
afforded them, and coveted no more. Provided they could be-
come expert hunters, fishermen, and gatherers of insects and
worms, and of the fruits and roots which the soil and climate
spontaneously yielded, their ambition was satisfied. Nor, with-
out a radical change in the constitution of their minds, is there
any ground of hope, that their condition can ever be materially
amended. Unable to avail themselves of the instructions of
nature, all the knowledge that can be imparted to them from
other sources will be insufficient to elevate them in the scale of
humanity. When the materials are defective in quality, or want-
ing in amount, be the workmanship what it may, the product will
be imperfect. And that such insufficiency attaches to the minds
of the Mongolian, African, and Indian races, appears satisfactorily
from all the testimony that bears on the subject.
  Far different from this, and greatly superior are the mental
constitution and character of the Caucasians.  And to that differ-
ence and superiority are they indebted for their ampler means of
power and enjoyment, and for being what they are. Nature,
mute or mysterious to the other less gifted and inferior races,
speaks audibly and intelligibly to them. In herself they meet with
an able instructress, and a boundless and well-stored library in
her works. To them she reveals herself in the fascinations of
poetry, no less than in the soberer and more substantial matter
of prose. Wherever they sojourn in her wide and varied domain,
by sea or by land, on the mountain or the hill-top, in the plain or
the valley, they no where fail to find
      "-    tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
      "Sermons in stones, and good in every thing-"
In the words of another poet still more philosophical, though
less imaginative, they
      "Learn from the birds what food the thickets yield;
      "Learn from the beasts the physic of the field;
      "The arts of building from the bee receive;
      "Leaxn of the mole to plough, the worm to weave;
      "Learn of the little Nautilus to sail;
      "Spread the thin oar, and catch the driving gale-
      "Here subterranean works and cities see;



      "There towns aerial on the waving tree.
      "Learn each small people's genius, policies,
      "The Ants' republic, and the realm of bees-
      "Mark what unvaried laws preserve each State,
      "Laws wise as Nature, and as fixed as Fate."
Employing thus the varied and abundant capacity bestowed on
them by nature, they derive knowledge from all things around
them, and, through the Spirit of Improvement conferred by the
same hand, apply it to the amelioration of their condition, and
the increase of their power. Hence their uniform and great su-
periority over the other races, who, though equally favoured by
opportunities and means, are denied an equal fitness to improve
by them-But I must close my disquisition on the comparative
standing of the different races of men, to which I fear I have
devoted too much time already, and, confining my observations
chiefly to our own country, endeavour to impart to them a more
practical character.
  Throughout Christendom, and, there is reason to believe, on a
still broader scale, the present, as already mentioned, is an era
of experiment and change, of which history affords no previous
example. Nor are the people of the United States behind those
of other nations, in their projects and exertions in the career of
improvement. Far from it. From the freedom of their condi-
tion, their own mental resources in common with the great and
increasing resources of the country, their bold and active spirit
of enterprize, and the rivalry between the different sections
of the Union-from these and perhaps other causes, there is
ground to believe that they are fast assuming, or hold already, a
decided ascendency, as well in matters of invention as amend-
ment. With notices and advertisements of new or improved
modes of education, newly erected academies and colleges, new
turnpikes, rail-roads, and canals, new steamboats and forms of
machinery for agricultural or manufacturing purposes, new ar-
rangements for lighting cities and warming houses, new breeds
of domestic animals, new Societies for special purposes, new
States and Territories, and new Constitutions for old States-
with annunciations of these and other changes in the economy of
the country, our Newspapers and Magazines are filled as en-



couragingly as patriotism can desire. Throughout the land,
therefore, the Spirit of Improvement is in a state of excitement
sufficiently intense, and only requires to be judiciously directed,
to produce very salutary and splendid effects. Hence the re-
mainder of my discourse will consist chiefly of remarks and re-
flections on some of the leading objects, which that Spirit should
be made to embrace.
  Knowledge, (which is itself but a form of mental improve-
ment) when controlled by liberal motives and correct disposi-
tions, is the source of all other improvements. This being vir-
tually a self-evident truth, may be assumed as such, and reasoned
on as a principle. The first act in our scheme of improvement,
then, should be to improve our own minds-not only intellectu-
ally, but also morally and socially. If we neglect the two latter
brancbes, the former will avail us but little, and may turn to evil
rather than good. Knowledge without virtue, is a dangerous
weapon, as well to its possessor, as to his connexions. Em-