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ADDITIONAL examples and illustrations have been introduced into this Oration since its publication, but the argument and substance remain the same. It was at the time the occasion of considerable controversy, and many were disturbed by what Mr. Sumner called his Declaration of War against War. This showed itself at the dinner in Faneuil Hall immediately after the delivery. There was friendly dissent also, as appears from the letters of Judge Story and Mr. Prescott, which will be found in the biographies of those eminent persons. A letter from John A. Andrew, afterwards the distinguished Governor of Massachusetts, shows the completeness of his sympathy. "You will allow me to say, I hope," he writes, "that I have read the Oration with a satisfaction only equalled by that with which I heard you on the 4th July. And while I thank you a thousand times for the choice you made of a topic, as well as for the fidelity and brilliant ability which you brought to its illustration, (both, to my mind, defying the most carping criticism,) I cannot help expressing also my gratitude to Providence, that here, in our city of Boston, one has at last stepped forward to consecrate to celestial hopes the day the great day - which Americans have at best heretofore held sacred only to memory."
The Oration was noticed extensively at home and abroad. Two or more editions were printed by the City Government, one by the booksellers, Messrs. W. D. Ticknor & Co., and several by the American Peace Society, which has recently issued another, making a small volume. Another edition appeared in London. Portions have been printed and circulated as tracts. There was also an abridgment in Philadelphia, edited by Professor Charles D. Cleveland, and another in Liverpool, by Mr. Richard Rathbone.
N accordance with uninterrupted usage, on this Sab
cares, and seized a respite from the never-ending toils of life, to meet in gladness and congratulation, mindful of the blessings transmitted from the Past, mindful also, I trust, of our duties to the Present and the Future.
All hearts turn first to the Fathers of the Republic. Their venerable forms rise before us, in the procession of successive generations. They come from the frozen rock of Plymouth, from the wasted bands of Raleigh, from the heavenly companionship of Penn, from the anxious councils of the Revolution, from all those fields of sacrifice, where, in obedience to the spirit of their age, they sealed their devotion to duty with their blood. They say to us, their children, "Cease to vaunt what you do, and what has been done for you Learn to walk meekly and to think humbly. Cultivate habits of self-sacrifice. Never aim at what is not RIGHT, persuaded that without this every possession and all knowledge will become an evil and a shame. And may these words of ours be ever in your minds! Strive to increase the inheritance we have bequeathed to you,- bearing in mind always, that, if we excel you in virtue, such a vic
tory will be to us a mortification, while defeat will bring happiness. In this way you may conquer us. Nothing is more shameful for a man than a claim to esteem, not on his own merits, but on the fame of his ancestors. The glory of the fathers is doubtless to their children a most precious treasure; but to enjoy it without transmission to the next generation, and without addition, is the extreme of ignominy. Following these counsels, when your days on earth are finished, you will come to join us, and we shall receive you as friend receives friend; but if you neglect our words, expect no happy greeting from us."1
Honor to the memory of our fathers! May the turf lie lightly on their sacred graves! Not in words only, but in deeds also, let us testify our reverence for their name, imitating what in them was lofty, pure, and good, learning from them to bear hardship and privation. May we, who now reap in strength what they sowed in weakness, augment the inheritance we have received! To this end, we must not fold our hands in slumber, nor abide content with the past. To each generation is appointed its peculiar task; nor does the heart which responds to the call of duty find rest except in the grave.
Be ours the task now in the order of Providence cast upon us. And what is this duty? What can we do to make our coming welcome to our fathers in the skies, and draw to our memory hereafter the homage of a grateful posterity? How add to the inheritance received? The answer must interest all, particularly on
1 This is borrowed almost literally from the words attributed by Plato to the Fathers of Athens, in the beautiful funeral discourse of the Me
this festival, when we celebrate the Nativity of the Republic. It well becomes the patriot citizen, on this anniversary, to consider the national character, and how it may be advanced, as the good man dedicates his birthday to meditation on his life, and to resolutions of improvement. Avoiding, then, all exultation in the abounding prosperity of the land, and in that freedom whose influence is widening to the uttermost circles of the earth, I would turn attention to the character of our country, and humbly endeavor to learn what must be done that the Republic may best secure the welfare of the people committed to its care,- that it may perform its part in the world's history, that it may fulfil the aspirations of generous hearts, — and, practising that righteousness which exalteth a nation, attain to the elevation of True Grandeur.
·WHAT IS THE TRUE GRANDEUR OF
With this aim, and believing that I can in no other way so fitly fulfil the trust reposed in me to-day, I purpose to consider what, in our age, are the true objects of national ambition, what is truly National Honor, National Glory, NATIONS. I would not depart from the modesty that becomes me, yet I am not without hope that I may do something to rescue these terms, now so powerful over the minds of men, from mistaken objects, especially from deeds of war, and the extension of empire, that they may be applied to works of justice and beneficence, which are better than war or empire.
The subject may be novel, on an occasion like the present; but it is comprehensive, and of transcendent. importance. It raises us to the contemplation of things not temporary or local, but belonging to all ages and
countries, things lofty as Truth, universal as Humanity. Nay, more; it practically concerns the general welfare, not only of our own cherished Republic, but of the whole Federation of Nations. It has an urgent interest from transactions in which we are now unhappily involved. By an act of unjust legislation, extending our power over Texas, peace with Mexico is endangered, while, by petulant assertion of a disputed claim to a remote territory beyond the Rocky Mountains, ancient fires of hostile strife are kindled anew on the hearth of our mother country. Mexico and England both avow the determination to vindicate what is called the National Honor; and our Government calmly contemplates the dread Arbitrament of War, provided it cannot obtain what is called. an honorable peace.
Far from our nation and our age be the sin and shame of contests hateful in the sight of God and all good men, having their origin in no righteous sentiment, no true love of country, no generous thirst for fame, "that last infirmity of noble mind," but springing manifestly from an ignorant and ignoble passion for new territory, strengthened, in our case, in a republic whose star is Liberty, by unnatural desire to add new links in chains destined yet to fall from the limbs of the unhappy slave! In such contests God has no attribute which can join with us. Who believes that the national honor would be promoted by a war with Mexico or a war with England? What just man would sacrifice a single human life to bring under our rule both Texas and Oregon? An ancient Roman, ignorant of Christian truth, touched only by the relation of fellowcountryman, and not of fellow-man, said, as he turned