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is only a reptile which has changed the direction of its crawling. He who in this nineteenth century echoes the cry that the voice of the people is the voice of God, is just the man who, if he had been born two thousand years ago, would have been the loudest and hoarsest in that cringing crowd of slaves who bowed before a prince invested with the delegated majesty of Rome, and cried, "It is the voice of a God, and not of a man." The man who can see no other source of law than the will of a majority, who can feel no everlasting law of right and wrong, which gives to all human laws their sanction and their meaning, and by which all laws, whether they express the will of many or of the few, must be tried-who does not feel that he, single and unsupported, is called upon by a mighty voice within him to resist every thing which comes to him claiming his allegiance as the expression of mere will, is exactly the man who, if he had lived seven centuries ago, would have stood on the sea sands beside the royal Dane, and tried to make him believe that his will gave law to the everlasting flood. For this reason I have not used this expression. I have not used it, because I would not flatter you even by an epithet. I respect you too much to flatter you. I used another title of address. For there are two bases of union on
which men may be bound together. One is similarity of class, the other is identity of nature. The class feeling is a feeble bond; for he who feels awe for another man because he is in a rank above him, will cease to feel that awe if ever the man should cease to belong to that class. The pauperized aristocrat and the decayed merchant are soon neglected by their class. The man who respects another because he is in the same rank as himself, may cease to feel respect in one of two ways,-either by his own elevation, in which case he tries to keep the distinction broad between himself and the class that he has left, or else by the depression of that other man, through any misfortune.
Now, there is another and a broader bond of union to be found in identity of nature. When all external differences have passed away, one element remains intact, unchanged, the everlasting basis of our common nature,-the human soul by which we live. "We all are changed by slow degrees. All but the basis of the soul.” Our tendencies to evil, our capacities of excellence are the same in all classes. It is just in proportion as men recognize this real, original identity of all human nature, that it is possible on this earth to attain the realization of human brotherhood. It is the only possible ground of
union for the race. It was because this was not felt by the Jews of ancient times that they held themselves and their race proudly distinct from their Gentile brothers, and by that bigotry worked out their own inevitable downfall. The Christian of the middle ages tortured his Jew brother just because he did not recognize the same identity of sentiment and moral nature, which the great poet of our country has put so passionately and so touchingly into the lips of Shylock. "Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, sub- ject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian?" Had the feudal lord believed this he would not have put an iron collar round his serf's neck, nor made one law for the serf and another for the free-born. In our own times, if men who have been crying for the rights of our common humanity and the duties of our common brotherhood had understood the deep glorious meaning of their own cry, we should have heard nothing of those human tortures and that infernal cannibalism which have disgraced the cause of freedom. Get this deeply by heart, and all that is galling in artificial distinctions will pass away. Well do I know that this language I am
using now respecting brotherhood and the equality of our human nature, is language that passes into cant. It has been defiled by cruelty; it has been polluted by selfishness; but we will not be ashamed of it for all that. In an age in which it has become suspicious, we will dare to believe in it and love it. It is buried deep in the eternal truth of things. That truth can no more pass away from the things that are, than heaven and earth can pass away. Sooner or later it must be realized in a more substantial form that it has yet ever assumed. All gradual improvements, all violent convulsions in the world are only doing their part in bringing this about. The thunder storm is terrible to look upon; but it leaves behind it a purer air and a serener sky.
Let us hear the Ayr
shire ploughman in his high prophetic strain :
"For a' that, and a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That man to man the world o'er
Shall brothers be for a' that."
Therefore it is that passing by all those abortive attempts which would fain produce a feeling of union by the false idea of similarity of class, I have fastened my attention on the real equality of our common nature, and called you " brother men."
In my address to-night, I propose to let its topics be suggested by the expressions of your own
sentiments contained in the paper which your Committee put into my hand. That paper specifies the objects of your institution, and the spirit in which it has been established.
The objects of the Institution are two: it is intended to provide the working men of this town with the means of mental, and besides that, with the means of moral, improvement. Farther down I find mental improvement separated by you into two divisions. Mental improvement, you say, is the information of the intellect, and the elevation of the taste. You wish to inform the intellect. I confine myself to-night to one branch of this improvement, political information. I do it for several reasons. First of all, the means of acquiring knowledge which your Institution places in your hands are in a very preponderating degree of a political character. By works of history and the newspapers of the day, you will have that which will inform you of the constitution of your country.
My second reason for dwelling chiefly upon this branch of mental improvement is, that political science is the highest education that can be given to the human mind. Let me explain myself. When we in popular phraseology speak of politics, we ascribe to that word a narrow meaning. When we say that two men are talking