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If he comes home overworn, so that he has no time to read, then he cannot develope his intellect.
Clearly, therefore, define such a social position for the labouring man as shall give him scope enough to be in every sense of the word a MAN. A Man whose respect is not servility; whose religion is not superstition; and whose obedience is not the drudgery of dumb driven cattle.
Until that time come, the Working Classes are not free.
Delivered at the Town Hall, Brighton, April 24, 1849, at a Meeting of the Inhabitants, called by the Early Closing Association, presided over by the Bishop of Chichester.
THE Resolution which has been put into my hands is," That this meeting, believing that an earlier and more uniform hour of suspension of business would give time to all engaged therein for moral and intellectual improvement, would recommend to all tradesmen the hour of eight o'clock as the hour of closing throughout the year; and pledges itself to make purchases before eight o'clock in the evenings, and to request their servants to do the same."
There is a vast difference between that which is theoretically desirable, and that which is practically possible. Our enthusiasm is frequently corrected by experience. It throws too wild, too sanguine, a hope on the future. But difficulties arise; and that which at first seemed easy, turns out to be at last an impossibility. It is in
almost every undertaking as it is in life. The lesson we have to learn in life is the same lesson which we have to learn in travelling through a mountainous country. The first lesson is, to estimate distances. The traveller sees the mountain summit sparkling in the evening sun, apparently close above his head; and he resolves that the next morning he will ascend that mountain, and come down again before breakfast. But he finds next day a long three miles between himself and the mountain foot; and that when he has arrived there it takes five or six hours to ascend, and half that time to come back again; and it is well if he returns before nightfall. It is precisely the same with every human undertaking. Our first idea is very different from that which attainment teaches us. We set out with brilliant expectations; we find them very slow in realizing themselves. And so life assumes, by degrees, a soberer and a sadder hue. We find that between our ideal and its attainment there is an immense interval. That which seemed to be the work of days we find to be the work of months; that which seemed to be the work of years turns out to be the work of centuries. And so, step by step, man is disenchanted-led on by hopes of a bright future which is never realized here. I believe that the lesson of all experience and of all life
is this: to expect very little, for there is but little of human expectation to be attained; to sow abundantly, and to be satisfied with a very small harvest. Happy is the man not thoroughly broken by disappointment! Happy is that man! for the object of this training is, not to discourage him, but that he may work more calmly, with less of fitful enthusiasm-with steady gaze fixed on the Hereafter! I make these observations, because they are peculiarly applicable to the subject in hand. This subject of Early Closing has been taken up by many people very warmly at first, who have cooled down, and have afterwards let it drop. Two or three years ago there was a large meeting in this town for the same purpose as this one. Some of those who were then enthusiastic and earnest have by degrees become luke-warm and despondent. Their expectations have not been realised; much that was hoped for has not been attained; there have been many difficulties which were not anticipated. And so the result has been, that they have fallen back into coldness and indifference. It is for this reason that I think the tone we should adopt this evening should be calm and sober.
It is exceedingly easy to paint this subject in most glowing colours. It is the easiest thing in the world to represent the young men as
craving for intellectual knowledge, as suffering under physical difficulties, as eager for, and requiring moral improvement. It is exceedingly easy to do all this, because there is a great deal of truth in it. It is exceedingly easy, moreover, because it is popular. But I am not here to say that which is popular; but that which is true. I am not here to say that which shall win a cheer; but to say that which shall be practical and useful. We are met here to-night for two purposes. To resolve that "an earlier and more uniform hour of suspension of business would give time to all engaged therein for moral and intellectual improvement;" and that the meeting "recommend to all tradesmen the hour of eight o'clock as the hour of closing throughout the year, and pledges itself to make purchases accordingly." The subject is complicated with difficulties; and although it would be exceedingly easy to speak in denunciation of those opposed to this movement of Early Closing, I feel there is something to be said on both sides of the question; and therefore I ask the meeting to listen to me dispassionately.
In considering this question, we discern three things: the desirable, the difficult, the possible.
With regard to the desirable, I believe it will be generally admitted that it is desirable for business to