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GENTLEMEN OF THE SOCIETIES,
THE Occasion which has called us together, and which, by your appointment, has devolved upon me the agreeable, though arduous task of addressing you, is one of a deeply interesting character. For those of you who are more immediately concerned in the ceremonies of the day, it marks the dividing line between the walks of studious and active life. Thus far you have pursued your course under the eye of affectionate and careful friends,-of tender parents, or watchful guardians and tutors. Their experience and love have supplied the want of the mature judgment, which your youth denied you, and have brought you safely, through many perils, to the portals of the great theatre of the world. To-day you pass the threshold. No longer looking up to others with implicit faith as the guides of your course, and as mainly responsible for its direction towards good or evil, you are now to go forward as independent, self-directed, self-sustaining men,-to discharge the duties,— to encounter the labours and perils, and to reap the rewards and honours which may have been reserved for you. Like some gallant ship, bound for distant regions, and freighted with a rich cargo, which the care of her owners has provided with all the necessary stores, and safely towed out of harbour, you this day spread your canvass to the breeze, and launch out boldly upon the broad ocean of life.
But though you are now to go forth and pursue your course as independent, responsible men, you go not forth alone. The friends, whose care and kindness watched over your earlier years, are still