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of wisdom and of folly, the suggestions of reason and of fancy; but do not abandon a train of inquiry, merely because it seems likely to produce but little.1 Remember that lofty trees grow from diminutive seeds; copious rivers flow from small fountains; slender wires often sustain ponderous weights; injury to the smallest nerves may occasion the acutest sensations; the derangement of the least wheel or pivot may render useless the greatest machine of which it is a part; an immense crop of errors may spring from the least root of falsehood; a glorious intellectual light may be kindled by the minutest sparks of truth; and every principle is more diffusive and operative by reason of its intrinsic energy than of its magnitude.
And let me entreat you, above all things, to avoid the great error of " mistaking or misplacing the ultimate object of knowledge." For many, says Lord Bacon, "have entered into a desire of learning and knowledge, some upon an inbred and restless curiosity; others for ornament and reputation; others for contradiction and victory in dispute; others for lucre and living ; few to improve the gift of reason given them from God, to the benefit and use of men. As if there were sought in knowledge, a couch, whereupon to ease a restless and searching spirit; or a terrace for a wandering and variable mind to walk up and down in, at liberty unrestrained; or some lofty tower of state, from which a proud and ambitious mind may have a prospect; or a fort and commanding ground for strife and contention; or a shop for profit and sale; and not rather a rich storehouse for the glory of the Creator of all things, and the relief of man's estate."1
1 " Les applications du thermomètre dans la physique, la chimie et les autres sciences naturelles, sont innombrables. Les indications qu'il nous donne sont la base de toute la théorie de la chaleur; il est le régulateur de toutes les opérations chimiques; l'astronome le consulte à chaque instant dans ses observations, pour calculer les déviations que les rayons lumineux émanés des astres éprouvent en traversant l'atmosphère, qui les brise et les courbe plus ou moins, selon sa température. C'est encore au thermomètre que nous devons toutes les connoissances que nous avons sur la chaleur animale, produite et entretenue par la respiration. C'est lui qui fixe dans chaque lieu la température moyenne de la terre et du climat; qui nous montre -la chaleur terrestre constante dans chaque lieu, mais diminuant d'intensité depuis l'équateur, jusqu'aux pôles constamment glacés; c'est encore lui qui nous apprend que la chaleur décroît à mesure que l'on s'élève dans l'atmosphère, vers la région des neiges éternelles, ou qu'on s'enfonce dans les abîmes des mers, d'où résultent les changemens progressifs de la végétation à diverses hauteurs. Lorsqu'on voit tant de résultats obtenus par le seul secours d'un peu de mercure enferme dans un tube de verre, et qu'on songe qu'un petit morceau defer, suspendu sur un pivot, a fait découvrir le NouveauMonde, on conçoit que rien de ce qui peut agrandir et perfectionner lessens de l'homme, ne doit être d'une légère considération." Biol—Traité de Physique, tom. i. pa, 6a.
1 Bacon's Advancement of Learning, lib. i. ch. 5.
Rest not, then, till you acquire a capacity of rising spontaneously, from the contemplation of the sublime in matter, to that of The Sublimest in mind;—to that of the Supreme Reality, who comprehends all which he has made, and infinitely more than what, as yet, delights and interests us, within the scope of one grand administration to him whose ineffable character "gathers splendor from all that is fair, subordinates to itself all that is great, and sits enthroned on the riches of the Universe!" . '1
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BANKS FOR SAVINGS;
THE EXPEDIENCY OF MAKING THE PRINCIPLE ON
TO CLERKS IN PUBLIC OFFICES,
LABORERS, MECHANICS, AND OTHERS.
In considering the principle upon which Provident Institutions or Saving Banks are formed, it appears to me that, in order to render the advantages which they offer, completely accessible to a large proportion of the laboring part of the community, as well as to other classes who might be disposed to avail themselves of such a resource, it would be highly desirable that a plan should be adopted, precisely similar in its nature, but different in its formation, to that which is now so generally established. The object of these pages is to propose such a plan, and I trust the public will coincide with me in its obvious utility. The description of persons to whom it would immediately apply with material benefit, are congregated bodies of men employed in all large establishments throughout the United Kingdom, whether private or national; such, for instance, as extensive manufactories, the Custom House, Excise Office, the Dock Yards, &c. At a moment when the views of the legislature are seriously directed to the extension of Savings Banks, from a thorough conviction of theirinvaluable effects in ameliorating the condition of the poor, any effort of cooperation, however humble, will, it is hoped, be treated with candor by all those who are studious of their country's welfare,— in the happiness and contentment of the great mass of its population.
The details of the plan I would suggest in the above-mentioned establishments, are few and simple; the short outline is this— wherever there are in such establishments any number of men paid their wages weekly, books shall be opened on the day of payment to receive their voluntary deposits, for which the establishment becomes accountable, and allows the same, or a greater interest than would be granted if they were paid into the Savings Bank of the parish or district. Among the many advantages which must result from this measure, there is one which is particularly important, namely, the facility it offers to the poor laborer, of laying up at once, in a place of profit and security, whatever portion of his earnings he can spare from his daily wants.
In such case, the Savings Bank would in fact be brought to him; whereas, according to the existing plan, he is obliged to keep in his pocket the little pittance which he intends to deposit, from Saturday night till Monday morning, and many instances have been known where the Bank was not open to him even till the Thursday following. Experience fully proves, that the lower orders, from their habits and the limited sphere to which they are restricted, have not the same prudence in the management of their affairs, as men of education and enlarged views; and though they might be disposed to industrious exertion and frugality, while no temptation presents itself, yet the possession of money lying idle on their hands, even for ever so short a period, will too often act as an incitement to negligence and immorality. The gin-shops and other haunts of riot and debasement are ever open to receive them; and the owners of these places entice from them very frequently the shilling or half-crown which, in their more guarded moments, they intended for the Savings Bank. Uneducated man must always be wanting in consistent stability, and it will surely be proper to keep from him, by all the equitable means that can be devised, any allurements to transgression. Though the plan here proposed cannot reach the whole of the laboring classes (nor is it desired that it should, since those who are employed in agriculture being less exposed to temptation can resort with advantage to the regular Savings Banks) yet a great body who by the present system are liable to lapse into idleness and extravagance, would have it in their power to avail themselves of it. When once accustomed to make that establishment from whence they derive their daily bread, the depository of their savings, a visible alteration would be produced in their habits; a spirit of emulation would animate each individual, and sobriety, diligence, and good order, would be the peculiar characteristics by which they would henceforth be distinguished.
The remarks here made with respect to laborers will equally apply to artisans of all descriptions employed in these establishments; and 1 shall now advert to another class, who might, in the same manner, participate in the advantages of the plan which I submit. Clerks in public offices, and particularly the junior clerks, would derive the greatest advantage from it. The latter, from their youth and inexperience, are generally heedless as to