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at times that you could scarcely lift it; but it is genial inspiration. And just as on Tabor's sumall a watery pulp, and if you were carrying it mit, when from heaven saints in snowy garments home or trying to preserve it, the whole mass came down, and from Christ his own glory came would quickly trickle out of sight and leave you through, it needed no refracting prism or connothing but a few threads of substance. Now, deusing lens to assure them that it was a body most books are like the marine medusa: fresh of more than earthly brightness which they were stranded, newly published, as the expression is, gazing upon: so, my dear friends, when a text they make a goodly show; but when a few suns is transfigured, when the Holy Spirit in the word have shone on them, the crystal jelly melts, the lets out his grace and glory, it will need no Paglittering cupola has vanished, and a few meagre ley nor Butler to prove that the wisdom and the fibres in your memory are all the residue of the power of God are there, but, radiant with emitonce popular authorship. If you ever tried it, ted splendor, and dazzling your admiring eyes, you must have been struck with the few solid in God's own light you will see it to be God's thoughts, the few suggestive ideas, which sur-own word. Nor can I wish for you a better vive from the perusal of the most brilliant of hu- wish, than that thus you may be often surprised man books. Few of them can stand three read- and overwhelmed. Yes, dear brethren, the ings; and of the memorabilia which you had very midst of this noisy capital, and in the memarked in your first perusal, on reverting to them ridian of this man-wasting, money-making age, you find that many of them are not so striking, may you often find your Sabbath, and your place or weighty, or original as you thought. But the of prayer, and your Bible "a mountain apart." word of God is solid; it will stand a thousand In blissful bewilderment may you forget the fasreadings, and the man who has gone over it the cinations of earth and the pleasures of sin, aud most frequently and the most carefully, is the only wake up to find yourself alone with the surest of finding new wonders there. And just Master. And none shall less grieve than he who as the pearls of Scripture retain their intrinsic has this evening addressed you, if the literary worth; as, notwithstanding the frowsy head-attractions of the book be thus merged and sugear they have garnished, the dull disclosures perseded in charms more spiritual, in attractions they have adorned, they beam brighter than ever which, if they draw you to the Bible, will also when the hand of a Vinet or Chalmers or Hall draw you at last to heaven. has arranged them anew into a coronet of sanctified taste and genius; so he among sages is the wealthiest man who has detected and appropriated and thoroughly possessed himself of the largest number of Bible sayings-the merchantman who, seeking goodly pearls, has sought them on this exhaustless strand.
And holier; for though we have this evening spoken of the Bible very much as if it were a human book, you cannot be long conversant with it till you find that it is something more. Like Tabor, it is a "mountain apart." Among the books of this world it is isolated, unique, peculiar; and the farther up you get, the more acquainted you become with human books, and the more alongside of them you study the book of God, the more amazed will you be at its outstanding elevation, its world-topping preëminence. And just as in scaling a high mountain, it needs no chemistry to analyze the air and tell the pilgrim that it is free from miasma and impurities-as as every breath which paints a purer crimson on his cheek and sends a tonic tide through all his frame would tell him its salubrity; so it needs no argument, no analysis, to persuade a spiritual mind that the air of heaven, the breath of God, is here. In his holier feelings as he reads. in the godly zeal and joyful strenuousness which requite each mounting footstep, with instinct sure his regenerate nature hails the con
όναρ ἡμερόφαντον ἁλαίνει.
[Esch. Agamemnon. 83.
It was the May when I was born;
Down deepening from the languid noon,
Then on the daisy-tufted green
From year to year, a lonely child;
No tender eyes were bent on me;
"indigent children," and the regulation of "primary schools" and of the "Lancasterian School." These provisions were naturally introductory to the institution of the Athenæum, as a part of one general plan for the accomplishment of the objects already indicated. To further these objects leave was granted to the "Richmond Library Association," and the "Virginia Historical and Philosophical Society," to occupy the rooms in the upper story of the Athenæum for Library purposes; and provision was made for appropriating annually to each the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars, to add to their libraries; but coupled with the terms that these libraries should be made conveniently accessible to the citizens generally. At the same time, a "Committee on the Athenæum" was appointed, with control over the other stories of the building; but under instructions that some of the rooms should be appropriated to public lecture; for admission to which (except in cases appropriate for exemption,) moderate fees should be charged to defray incidental expenses, and, if practicable, to purchase a scientific library and apparatus. The committee were moreover required to consider and report to the Council what repairs and improvements would be proper to the building and lot referred to, with an estimate of the probable cost. Since their appointment, the comusittee have had several meetings, at which, among other measures, they have resolved to invite our distinguished townsman, Judge Robertson, to deliver an introductory lecture, to which admittance shall be free. They have also organized several sub-committees; one upon the subject of repairs and improvements to the lot and building; another upon the subject of lectures; and another charged with the duty of preparing a public ad
At a meeting of the Committee on the Athe-dress in regard to the objects of the Athenæum. næum, held on the 4th day of October, 1851, None of these sub-committees have yet made Mr. MORSON, from the sub-committee appointed definite reports; but they have frequently had to prepare an address to the citizens, as to the conferences in relation to the general outline of plans of the committee and the objects of the their plans; and it has been considered advisaAthenæum, reported the following which was ble that the following address to the citizens of unanimously approved, and ordered to be pub- Richmond should be submitted to them without further delay:
And those wild dazzling-winged Desires,
All these are cold. The shadows fall;
But half-remembered, half-forgot,
Sometimes in sad and silent hours,
Sometimes a faintly-echoed strain
Or some sad face with wistful eyes
As oft, amid the harsh confusion
And ever still, in lonely dreams,
But never more-oh! never more,
TO THE CITIZENS OF RICHMOND.
The plan of having such an institution as the "Athenæum," if suitably encouraged, must be eminently beneficial. It will place within the
The building formerly known as the Rich-reach of all, the means of obtaining useful knowAcademy," and the lot on which it is ledge, at the lowest cost, and in the most agreesituated, (at the corner of Marshall and Tenth able way. There are few cities in our Union, streets,) having recently become the property of of equal size with Richmond, in which somethe city, it has been resolved by an Ordinance in thing of the kind has not been tried; and wherCouncil, to establish there an Athenæum," for ever tried, the results have been auspicious. the promotion of education, the encouragement The libraries here which will at once be placed of learning and the diffusion of useful know-in the Athenæum are already respectable, and ledge. In the same ordinance, valuable provis- must be constantly improving; not only by city ious were adopted for affording instruction to appropriatious, but it is hoped, by individual con
tributions. The community cannot fail to ap- literature. Richmond is behind many of her prove and patronise these libraries. Access to sister cities in institutions of the kind contemplathem without charge is itself no unimportant ted; and it is high time to wipe out the reproach. benefit to the public. And in connection with The proposed lecture-room will be spacious, and their use, a judicious system of lectures, is emi-eligibly situated; care will be taken to obtain innently calculated to awaken a desire for improve-structive lectures, and it cannot be doubted that ment, and to afford the means of its gratifica-after a fair beginning has once been made, a tion. These lectures may be made to address sufficient audience will be always in attendance themselves, and it is anticipated they will address to secure, out of admission fees, though ever so themselves to the diffusion of knowledge; not moderate, sufficient funds to pay expenses and merely upon subjects of abstract science, but its lay up some surplus for ulterior purposes. Still, application to all the useful arts and the ordinary to insure such a fair beginning, some pecuniary pursuits of life. Lectures on the mechanic arts, aid and liberal manifestation of enlightened inon chemistry, and on other subjects calculated to terest on the part of the citizens, would be in afford instruction, as well to the pupils in our the highest degree auspicious. The Athenæum schools as to all others capable or desirous of building and the grounds around it, ought to be improving their minds, are in contemplation. In put in the best order. It would be wise economy other places, it is by no means uncommon to in- to do this at once; all who love the city, the vite distinguished lecturers from a distance, and State, and the people within its borders, should afford them remuneration, where required, from give their voices and their aid in furtherance of the fees of admission or other sources provided that object. The institution would then be an for the occasion. Our proximity to Washington ornament to the city, a place to which we might, and the Smithsonian Institute, where such lec- with feelings of satisfaction, invite the attention turers are expected to be constantly invited and of strangers, and an agreeable resort for our own in attendance, will, we hope, enable us to pro-citizens and their families. The lot, as it now cure their presence here at a comparatively mod- is, is susceptible of being very agreeably improderate expense. ved; and if added to, as might perhaps be con
There is no business, no trade, no art, no pur-veniently accomplished, by the purchase of the suit in life in which the instruction thus obtained adjoining lot, now occupied by Mr. Wright, its would not prove practically useful, and lead, if advantages would be greatly increased. Nor wisely applied, to distinction and fortune. On a should a narrow economy interfere with an arrecent occasion, it was strikingly said by Daniel rangement so beneficial. Under arbitrary govWebster, that the late exhibition at the Crystal ernmeut, the treasures coming from the people, Palace in London had proven to the world, and have been lavished upon costly but useless pacompelled even the British press to acknowledge. geantries, pyramids and palaces; but in all en"that in everything valuable, in everything for lightened republics, it has been the pride and the human improvement, the United States go so far pleasure of the people, liberally to contribute ahead of everybody else as to leave nobody in from their resources, for the solid improvement sight." And no reflecting mind can fail to ac- and advantage of their country and their posknowledge that the great cause of this superi- terity. ority, is the effort, constantly made and continu- In setting apart the lot and building for the ally promoted by the genius of our institutions, purposes of an "Athenæum," the City Council for the general diffusion of useful knowledge, have certainly adopted an enlightened policy. and the opening of the fountains of instruction The experiment of the "Academy" on its oriso as to make them readily accessible to the peo-ginal plan had signally failed. It was once exple at large. Nor can a better mode of accom pected that it would have had the effect of cheapplishing this be in any wise devised, than by a ening, or giving a higher order to education, and judicious system of public lectures, in combina- in that way would have dispensed much good; tion with well-selected public libraries. but it failed to do either. There were other schools under individual auspices, at prices no higher, and they were as much resorted to as the Academy under the superintendence of a Board of Trustees.
These must invite the attendance of all desirous of improvement, and especially the young, who will find in them sources of pleasure as well as of profit. Instead of repairing to haunts of idleness and dissipation to while away their hours The heavy debt from the Academy to the city, of leisure, they will find recreation far more continued to increase, without any prospect of agreeable, rational and instructive, in meeting public advantage; and hence, as the property their companions, and all who love the pursuits itself was the ouly source from which any payof learning, in the resorts dedicated to the cul-ment could be anticipated, it was deemed advitivation of science and the encouragement of sable to acquire it, and to devote it to some re
ally useful and beneficial public purpose. Such D. to the practical demonstration which the a purpose, it is confidently believed, cannot be" Sirius," the "Liverpool," and the "Great better subserved, than by the establishment of Western," were just then giving to the great the proposed Athenæum. Nor is it thought ne- problem of Ocean Steam Navigation. cessary to enlarge more upon its advantages. France, the French, and the King of the They are so obvious, and have been attested by French, were burning with the desire not to be experiments elsewhere, so satisfactorily, that outdone by England. They had the money such an institution cannot fail to obtain the pat-ready, and were looking for a port on this side ronage and support of the Richmond public. At to which they might start an opposition line of the present juncture, liberal appropriations and steamers. This journal saw it, and proposed contributions towards it would be most oppor- that the South should offer to take part of the tune to procure a chemical apparatus and for stock, provided the French would select Norfolk other purposes. And so far as individuals may as the terminus for their line-and thus get the be disposed to lend their assistance, perhaps it Line into the hands of Americans; for we "felt will not be out of place to suggest that their cou- it in our bones" that even at that day, we could tributions may be appropriately deposited with beat John Bull. Col. Thos. H. Ellis, the Secretary and Treasurer of the Committee.
We did succeed in impressing one of the readers of the "Messenger" at last, with our notions. Him we knew well: he was an enterprising, goahead fellow. Requiescat! Captivated with the idea of subsidizing the French in the noble enterprise, he petitioned the Virginia Legislature to grant him the charter for an Atlantic Steam Navigation Company. He wanted no privileges,
The Commercial Prospects of the South."
Some 12 or 15 years ago there was a move at the South in favor of direct trade. Conventions no favors, but simply the charter; for he was were held at various places, and resolutions were sure that with the charter and his energies, passed binding the merchants of the South, like he could gain the French over as allies and inthe oath which old Neptune administers to sai-duce them to select Norfolk for the American terlors when crossing the Line:-" never to kiss the minus of their Line.
maid when they can kiss the mistress, unless The Legislature refused the Charter. The they like the maid the best :"-" never to eat hard French, meeting with no sympathy on this side, bread when they can get soft, unless they prefer receiving no overtures from the South to send the hard." So our Conventions resolved, that their boats to Norfolk, proceeded to build their Southern merchants should never buy in the vessels. They selected New York for their AmeriNorth; when they could purchase at the South, can station, and sent over their steamers filled with officers and servants so bedizzened with unless they could buy cheaper at the North. "toggery," that passengers could not tell one from the other. Finally, after a trip or two, one of
We thought then, that much might be done to recover back to the South its lost trade. But we were of opinion that it could not be done these steamers loaded down with passengers and merely by taking Neptunian oaths, or by passing freight, put to sea from New York, and after getNeptunian resolutions. It could not, we thought, ting fairly out into blue water, discovered that the be done unless merchants would put their hands in sugar had been forgotten. The Captain made their pockets: but this they were not prepared to a speech at the breakfast table the next morning, do. And so the impulse then given to Southern and offered to put back for sugar if the passencommerce ended, we believe, with a cargo or gers would say so: but it was too late. The This sugar two of sugar that was imported from the West passengers had already become sour. Indies into Norfolk direct, instead of being carbusiness broke up the Line. Johnny Crappo reried right by the Capes of Virginia to New York, tired from the contest, and left the field to John and then sent from there back to Norfolk. Bull, to be by him enjoyed without a competitor for some 10 or 12 years.
We mind the time well when these Conventions took place; our heart was in the move, and our spirit went along with the delegates every time. It was in 1837-8, along there-when since actually turned up in the way of Ocean
No human sagacity could penetrate clearly enough into the future then, to see all that has
the British government was about writing Q. E.
Steam Navigation and steamship enterprises; but there is little or no doubt that, had the suggestions of this journal, at the time they were
* Proceedings of the Virginia Mercantile Convention,
held in the Hall of the House of Delegates, on Wednes
day and Thursday, September 10th and 11th, 1851. Rich-made, been adopted by the advocates of direct mond, Va. [Reported by F. W. Leeds, Jr., Stenographer.] trade in the South,—that, had the Legislature of Printed by R. H. Gallaher-Republican Office. 1851. Virginia granted that Ocean Steam Navigation