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I have read that in some hard battle, when the tide was running against him, and his ranks were breaking, some one in the agony of a need of generalship exclaimed, “ Oh for an hour of Dundee !” So say I, Oh for an hour of Webster now! Oh for one more roll of that thunder inimitable! One more peal of that clarion! One more grave and bold counsel of moderation ! One more throb of American feeling! One more Farewell Address! And then might he ascend unhindered to the bosom of his Father and his God.
THE FRUITS OF SKILFUL LABOR AND CULTIVATED
ERI as striking an illustration on a large scale as
could be desired, of the connection between the best directed and most skilful labor and the most cultivated and most powerful intellect, is afforded by the case of England. British industry, as a whole, is among the most splendid and extraordinary things in the history of man. When you consider how small a work-bench it has to occupy altogether, a little stormy island bathed in almost perpetual fogs, without silk, or cotton, or vineyards, or sunshine, — and then look at that agriculture, so scientific and so rewarded, that vast net-work of internal intercommunication, the docks, merchant-ships, men-of-war, the trade encompassing the globe, the flag on which the sun never sets, - when you look, above all, at that vast body of useful and manly art, not directed, like the industry of France, the industry of vanity, — to making pier-glasses and air-balloons and gobelin tapestry and mirrors, to arranging processions and chiselling silver and twisting gold into filigrees, but to clothing the people, to the manufacture of woollen, cotton, and linen cloth, of railroads and chain-cables and canals and anchors and achromatic telescopes, and chronometers to keep the time at sea,
when you think of the vast aggregate mass of their manufacturing and mechanical production, which no statistics can express, and to find a market for which she is planting colonies under every constellation, and by intimidation, by diplomacy, is knocking at the door of
upon the earth, — it
is really difficult to restrain our admiration of such a display of energy, labor, and genius, winning bloodless and innocent tri. umphs everywhere, giving to the age we live in the name of the age of the industry of the people. Now, the striking and the instructive fact is, that exactly in that island workshop, by this very race of artisans, of coal-heavers and woollen manufacturers, of machinists and blacksmiths and ship-carpenters, there has been produced and embodied forever, in words that will outlast the mountains as well as the pyramids, a literature which, take it for all in all, is the richest, most profound, most instructive, combining more spirituality with more common sense, springing from more capacious souls, conveying in better wisdom, more conformable to the truth in man, in nature, and in human life, than the literature of any nation that ever existed. That same race, side by side with the unparalleled growth of its industry, produces Shakspeare, Milton, Bacon, and Newton, all four at the summit of human thought, and then, just below these unapproachable fixed lights, a whole firmament of glories, lesser than they, as all created intelligence must be, yet in whose superior rays the
age of Augustus, of Leo X., of Louis XIV., all but the age of Pericles, the culture of Greece, pale and fade. And yet the literature of England is not the only, scarcely the most splendid, fruit or form of the mental power and the energetic character of England. That same race, along with their industry, along with their literature, has built up a jurisprudence which is for substance our law to-day, — has constructed the largest mercantile and war navy, and the largest commercial empire with its pillars encircling the globe, that men ever saw,
has gained greater victories on sea and land than any power in the world, — has erected the smallest spot to the most imperial ascendency recorded in history. The administrative triumphs of her intellect are as conspicuous as her imaginative and her speculative triumphs.
Such is mental power. Mark its union with labor and with all greatness ; deduce the law ; learn the lesson ; see how you, too, may grow great. Such an industry as that of England de. manded such an intellect as that of England. Sic vobis etiam itur ad astra! That way to you, also, glory lies ! R. Choate.
THE EMPIRE OF MIND.
KNOWLEDGE is power as well as fame. Think of that
subtle, all-embracing, plastic, mysterious, irresistible thing called public opinion, the god of this lower world, and consider what a State, or a cluster of States, of marked and acknowl. edged literary and intellectual lead might do to color and shape that opinion to their will. Consider how winged are words ; how electrical, light-like the speed of thought; how awful human sympathy. Consider how soon a wise, a beautiful thought uttered here, - a sentiment of liberty perhaps, or word of succor to the oppressed, of exhortations to duty, to patriotism, to glory, the refutation of a sophism, the unfolding of a truth for which the nation may be better, how soon a word fitly or wisely spoken here is read on the Upper Mississippi and beneath the orange-groves of Florida, all through the unequalled valley ; how vast an audience it gains, into how many bosoms it has access, on how much good soil the seed may rest and spring to life, how easily and fast the fine spirit of truth and beauty goes all abroad upon the face of the world.
There is an influence which I would rather see Massachusetts exert on her sisters of this Union, than see her furnish a President every
twelve years or command a majority on any division in Congress ; and that is such an influence as Athens exerted on the taste and opinion first of Greece, then of Rome, then of the universal modern world ; such as she will exert while the race of man exists. This, of all the kinds of empire, was most grate ful and innocent and glorious and immortal. This was won by no bargain, by no fraud, by no war of the Peloponnesus, by the shedding of no human blood. It would rest on admiration of the beautiful, the good, the true, in art, in poetry, in thought; and it would last while the emotions, its object, were left in a human soul. It would turn the eye of America hitherwards with love, gratitude, and tears, such as those with which we turn to the walk of Socrates beneath the plane-tree, now sere, the summer hour of Cicero, the prison into which philosophy descended to console the spirit of Boethius,— that room through whose opened window came into the ear of Scott, as he died, the murmur of
the gentle Tweed, love, gratitude, and tears, such as we all yield to those whose immortal wisdom, whose divine verse, whose eloquence of heaven, whose scenes of many-colored life, have held up the show of things to the insatiate desires of the mind, have taught us how to live and how to die ! Herein were power, herein were influence, herein were security. Even in the madness of civil war it might survive for refuge and defence !
THE CITY OF OUR LIBERTY.
UT now that our service of commemoration is ended, let us
go hence and meditate on all that it has taught us. You see how long the holy and beautiful city of our liberty and our power has been in building, and by how many hands, and at what cost. You see the towering and steadfast height to which it has gone up, and how its turrets and spires gleam in the rising and setting sun. You stand
of some your townsmen, your fathers by blood, whose names you bear, whose portraits hang up in your homes, of whose memory you are justly proud — who helped in their day to sink those walls deep in their beds, where neither frost nor earthquake might heave them, — to raise aloft those great arches of stone,
to send up those turrets and spires into the sky. It was theirs to build ; remember it is yours, under Providence, to keep the city, — to keep it from the sword of the invader, to keep it from licentiousness and crime and irreligion, and all that would make it unsafe or unfit to live in, to keep it from the fires of faction, of civil strife, of party spirit, that might burn up in a day the slow work of a thousand years of glory. Happy, if we shall so perform our duty that they who centuries hence shall dwel] among our graves may be able to remember, on some such day as this, in one common service of grateful commemoration, their fathers of the first and the second age of America, those who through martyrdom and tempest and battle sought liberty, and made her their own,
and those whom neither ease nor luxury, nor the fear of man, nor the worship of man, could prevail on to barter her away!
SPECIMEN OF THE ELOQUENCE OF JAMES OTIS. ENGLA INGLAND may as well dam up the waters of the Nile with
bulrushes as to fetter the step of Freedom, more proud and firm in this youthful land than where she treads the sequestered glens of Scotland, or couches herself among the magnificent mountains of Switzerland. Arbitrary principles, like those against which we now contend, have cost one king of England his life, another his crown; and they may yet cost a third his most flourishing colonies.
We are two millions one fifth fighting men. We are bold and vigorous, and we call no man master. To the nation, from whom we are proud to derive our origin, we ever were, and we ever will be, ready to yield unforced assistance ; but it must not, and it never can be extorted.
Some have sneeringly asked, “ Are the Americans too poor to pay a few pounds on stamped paper?” No! America, thanks to God and herself, is rich. But the right to take ten pounds, implies the right to take a thousand ; and what must be the wealth, that avarice, aided by power, cannot exhaust ? True, the spectre is now small ; but the shadow he casts before him is huge enough to darken all this fair land. Others, in sentimental style, talk of the immense debt of gratitude which we owe to England. And what is the amount of this debt? Why, truly, it is the same that the young lion owes to the dam, which has brought it forth on the solitude of the mountain, or left it amid the winds and storms of the desert.
We plunged into the wave, with the great charter of freedom in our teeth, because the fagot and the torch were behind us. We have waked this New World from its savage lethargy ; forests have been prostrated in our path ; towns and cities have grown up suddenly as the flowers of the tropics, and the fires in our autumnal woods are scarcely more rapid than the increase of our wealth and population. And do we owe all this to the kind succor of the mother-country? No! We owe it to the tyranny that drove us from her, to the pelting storms which invigorated our helpless infancy.