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INTERESTS OF CLASSES IDENTICAL. DEPEND upon it, the interests of classes too often contrasted are identical, and it is only ignorance which prevents their uniting for each other's advantage. To dispel that ignorance, to show how man can help man, notwithstanding the complicated state of civilized society, ought to be the aim of every philanthropic person; but it is more peculiarly the duty of those who, under the blessing of Divine Providence, enjoy station, wealth, and education.
Let them be careful, however, to avoid any dictatorial interference with labour and employment, which frightens away capital, destroys that freedom of thought and independence of action which must remain to every one if he is to work out his own happiness, and impairs that confidence under which alone engagements for mutual benefit are possible.
WISE BENEVOLENCE. God has created man imperfect, and left him with many wants, as it were to stimulate each to individual exertion, and to make all feel that it is only by united exertions and combined action that these imperfections can be supplied, and these wants satisfied. This presupposes self-reliance and confidence in each other. To show the way how these individual exertions can be directed with the greatest benefit, and to foster that confidence upon which the readiness
to assist each other depends, this Society* deems its most sacred duty.
There has been no ostentatious display of charity or munificence, nor the pretension of becoming the arbiter of the fate of thousands, but the quiet working out of particular schemes of social improvement ; for which, however, as I said before, the Society has only established examples for the community at large to follow.
THE SLAVE TRADE. I HAVE been induced to preside at this meeting, t from a conviction of its paramount importance to the great interests of humanity and justice. I deeply regret that the benevolent and persevering
* From a speech at a Meeting of the Servants' Provident and Benevolent Society.
+ The brief remarks in this paragraph derive a peculiar interest from the fact of their forming the first public address of Prince Albert in this country. They were spoken at a meeting of the Society for the Extinction of the Slave Trade, held in London, on the ist of June, 1840.
exertions of England to abolish that atrocious traffic in human beings, at once the desolation of Africa and the blackest stain upon civilized Europe, have not as yet led to any satisfactory conclusion. I sincerely trust that this great country will not relax in its efforts until it has finally and for ever put an end to a state of things so repugnant to the spirit of Christianity, and to the best feelings of our nature.
SCIENCE AND COMMON SENSE.
It is sometimes objected by the ignorant that science is uncertain and changeable, and they point with a malicious kind of pleasure to the many exploded theories which have been superseded by others, as a proof that the present knowledge may be also unsound, and, after all, not worth having. But they are not aware that, while they think to cast blame upon science, they bestow, in fact, the highest praise upon her.
Science and Common Sense.
For this is precisely the difference between science and prejudice: that the latter keeps stubbornly to its position, whether disproved or not, whilst the former is an unarrestable movement towards the fountain of truth, caring little for cherished authorities or sentiments, but continually progressing ; feeling no false shame at her shortcomings, but, on the contrary, the highest pleasure, when freed from an error, at having advanced another step towards the attainment of divine truth-a pleasure not even intelligible to the pride of ignorance.
We also hear, not unfrequently, science and practice, scientific knowledge and common sense, contrasted as antagonistic. A strange error ! for science is eminently practical, and must be so, as she sees and knows what she is doing, whilst mere common practice is condemned to work in the dark, applying natural ingenuity to unknown powers to obtain a known result.