Imágenes de páginas


WITHIN Comparatively a few years, a new direction has been given to a large amount of American genius, capital, and labor. Instead of the unbroken stillness of agricultural life, almost every village of New England resounds with the din of machinery; every water-fall is laid under tribute as a centre of business and a source of wealth; and populous towns, cities in all but the name, occupy the soil, which yesterday, as it were, scantily rewarded its partial cultivation, or was covered by the tall trees of the forest.

A corresponding change has come over the character and habits of a large portion of the people. Multitudes, especially of the youth, once scattered among the farms and smaller workshops of the country, are now congregated in compact masses, and are subject to all the influences, good and evil, which attend a dense and busy population.

Interesting as are the inquiries suggested by this state of things to the statesman and political econo


mist, questions of vastly greater interest arise in the mind of every Christian. What complexion is the moral character of these institutions to assume? What is to be their effect on the intelligence and virtue of the community? These inquiries possess an interest paramount to any and all others, and demand the most serious consideration of every lover of his country's and of human weal.

One thing is certain. We are to be a manufacturing country. The tide of events which has already given so strong an impulse in this direction to American enterprise, cannot be arrested. It is every day becoming more resistless. The natural resources of the country, the amplitude of its domain, its fertility, and its means of artificial power by water and by steam the capabilities for production in our large and increasing population, their enterprise, and the necessity of finding objects on which that enterprise may be expended-the aptitude of our countrymen for the mechanic arts, their ingenuity and skill, and their success in the invention of labor-saving machinery-all point out our destiny with a distinctne which supersedes the ken of prophecy. Even now, manufactures have ceased to be exotics here. They have struck their roots so deep, and have spread upward into such luxuriance, as to leave no doubt that they will henceforward compose an important feature of our moral and social scenery. Desirable or not, the result is inevitable. Christians and philanthropists

« AnteriorContinuar »