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AT GETTYSBURG, PA. ON THE ANNIVERSARY, FEBRUARY 14, 1840.
PUBLISHED BY THE SOCIETY.
BY JOHN MURPHY,
UTILITY OF CLASSICAL STUDIES,
PRONOUNCED BEFORE THE
PHIL OM ATHÆ AN SOCIETY
BY NATHAN COVINGTON BROOKS, A.M.
PHILOMATHEAN Hall, February 14th, 1840. N. C. BROOKS, A. M.
Sir,—The Philomathæan Society of Pennsylvania College, being highly gratified with the very learned and truly eloquent address delivered on the evening of the ninth anniversary, have authorised the undersigned committee to tender you their sincere acknowledgments, and respectfully solicit a copy for publication.
GEORGE S. Fouke,
McCLELLAN's Hotel, February 14th, 1840. GENTLEMEN:
I have received your note conveying the sentiments and wishes of the Philomathæan Society, relative to the address which was delivered this evening, and in placing the copy at your disposal, have only to regret that it is not more worthy the occasion and your expressions of approbation.
I am, very respectfully, yours,
N. C. BROOKS. To Messrs. GEORGE S. Fouke,
Committee of Arrangement.
The genius of the present age is utilitarian. The inventive faculty is taxed to the utmost for the applications of science to the different mechanic arts; commercial enterprise seeks to open new avenues of trade; manual labor is abridged; hidden sources of wealth are evolved; the physical wants of man are supplied, and his bodily comfort promoted.
But while the acquisition of wealth is thus rendered easy, and time and resources are provided for a more extensive cultivation and refinement of the intellectual faculties, it is to be regretted that opulence is regarded as an end, rather than a means, of happiness; and accordingly all the energies of the mind are absorbed in a base passion for wealth-ambitious luxury, and vulgar display. The discoveries of science—the investigations of philosophy, the power and pathos of oratory, and the inspirations of song, are all valued in proportion as they minister to lucre, and are converted into gold by the alchymy of the times.
« Omnis enim res Virtus, fama, decus, divina humanaque pulchris Divitiis parent.”
At a time when Avarice denounces every thing that does not contribute to sordid gain, and when the aspirations of the higher instincts of the soul, are disregarded for the gratifications of the corporeal nature, as if man was designed for nothing nobler than animal enjoyment, I have deemed the utility of Classical Learning an appropriate theme, on the present occasion, for profitable reflections; as it will be in accordance with the spirit of a society which, in its name and its object, professes the love of learning.