Excerpt from Baccalaureate
Young Gentlemen: The Social Life of man is a subject which for several years has occupied, much of the public attention. At this moment there is more speculation among men of theory, and more earnest thinking among practical men on this subject than on any other. And even the unthinking, who feel the excitement which follows from thought in others, are stirred up, and stand ready ox action. Such moving in the public mind is apt to increase when once it has become general, till some actual result, visible to human view, has taken place. If the mountain is in labor, a birth is likely to ensue; though the thing emergent should be but a mouse. For the movement, or rather the tendency to move, creates expectancy; expectancy becomes desire; and desire ends in action.
And now men are every where expecting a new order of things. In Europe they long for it; they demand it; and they will have it before long. That is, they will have something different from that which has been and yet is, but whether better, or worse, depends on should I undertake to tell you what, I should assume too much, far too much, to myself. For the Problem is a great one, - one, in fact, which, I think, it is not for human wisdom to work out; certainly not for that kind of wisdom which walks in the light of its own fire, and rejoices in the spark of its own kindling, as if it were a sun.
In Europe the People, we see plainly, demand some change in their social life: and, in this country, though there is more contentment among all classes ( - as certainly there is abundantly more reason why there should be - ) yet there are among us some, - their proportion in numbers relatively to our whole population I have not the means of even guessing at with any degree of confidence, - but some there certainly are, who are restless and dissatisfied with Social Life in these United States, and desirous of something better, - better perhaps than what in the nature of things there can ever be here on this earth.
They are hoping for incompatibilities - repugnances - contradictions.
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