The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1846)/Dedication

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A stirring freshness in the air, and ruddy streaks upon the horizon of the moral world betoken the grateful dawning of a new era. The days of a drivelling instruction are departing. With us is the opening promise of a better time, wherein genuine manhood doing its noblest work shall have adequate reward. Teacher is the highest and most responsible office man can fill. Its dignity is, and will yet be held commensurate with its duty—a duty boundless as man's intellectual capacity, and great as his moral need—a duty from the performance of which shall emanate an influence not limited to the now and the here, but which surely will, as time flows into eternity and space into infinity, roll up, a measureless curse or a measureless blessing, in inconceivable swellings along the infinite curve. It is an office that should be esteemed of even sacred import in this country. Ere long a hundred millions, extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Baffin's Bay to that of Panama, shall call themselves American citizens. What a field for those two master-passions of the human soul—the love of Rule, and the love of Gain! How shall our liberties continue to be preserved from the graspings of Ambition and the corruptions of Gold? Not by Bills of Rights Constitutions, and Statute Books; but alone by the rightly cultivated hearts and heads of the People. They must themselves guard the Ark. It is yours to fit them for the consecrated charge. Look well to it: for you appear clothed in the majesty of great power! It is yours to fashion, and to inform, to save, and to perpetuate. You are the Educators of the People: you are the prime Conservators of the public weal. Betray your trust, and the sacred fires would go out, and the altars crumble into dust: knowledge become lost in tradition, and Christian nobleness a fable! As you, therefore, are multiplied in number, elevated in consideration, increased in means, and fulfill, well and faithfully, all the requirements of true Teachers, so shall our favoured land lift up her head among the nations of the earth, and call herself blessed.

In conclusion, Gentlemen, to you, as the conspicuous leaders in the vast and honourable labour of Educational Reform, and Popular Teaching, the First American Edition of the Principia of Newton—the greatest work of the greatest Teacher—is most respectfully dedicated.