I did not think that I was a suitable person to perform this duty, since I was comparatively a new member, having belonged but nine months, and had never addressed a public assembly. Accordingly I was reluctant to accept the office of orator for that occasion; but as it seemed the universal desire that I should attempt it, I finally consented to do it, and on the evening of February 22, 1856, I delivered the address in Meionaon Hall, Boston. The subject of the address was, “The position of the Mechanic in Society, and the Claims presented to Young Men to enter upon a Mechanical Occupation.” . . . . The address was afterwards printed in a pamphlet, which is the only composition of mine which has appeared in print, if I except a few short articles in the newspapers, such as, for instance, a few words upon the nomination of John C. Fremont for the Presidency, in the Boston Daily Chronicle, and a short reply to a correspondent in the Watchman and Reflector, who had censured antislavery lectures, and a few others which are scarcely worth alluding to. About the time that I was twenty-one years of age I thought more seriously of renewing my studies and attempting to get a better education. I thought a good deal upon the subject, and finally concluded that I would try, thinking that, if after a few months I did not succeed as well as I expected, I could give up the idea and go back to my trade. Accordingly, when my apprenticeship had expired, with this plan in view, I only agreed to work four months as a journeyman, and in July, 1856, began upon a course of study with the intention of trying to enter college in two years. Soon finding that it was almost impossible to get along alone, and ascertaining that I could enter the High School without any difficulty, where I should have the advantage of studying with others, as well as the advantage of having the instruction of a competent teacher, having made the necessary arrangements, I entered the school in December of the same year. . . . . After leaving college I think I shall study theology, intending to become a minister of the Gospel; and if I carry out the plan which I have in view, the instruction and discipline acquired while in college, I have no doubt, will prove of service to me. The only society that I have been a member of while in college is the society of “Christian brethren,” to which I have belonged during the whole course. I hope, with the blessing of God, to be successful in getting an education, and afterward to accomplish in an humble way some good in the world.
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