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schild concluded, as his agent had done, that some very important and auspicious event had occurred at the theatre of war. Late at night on the 21st, Major Percy arrived with the despatch of the Duke of Wellington, announcing the VICTORY AT WATERLOO.
In these days of submarine telegraphs, we can scarce believe that the official news of this " battle of giants," which was fought in the neighborhood of Brussels on the 18th, did not reach the government in London till late in the night of the 21st of June; three mortal days of expectation and suspense!
But it is high time that I should leave the field of Waterloo and come nearer home. I do so, sir, that I may end as I began, by expressing my cordial sympathy with you in the feelings which have brought us together this evening. Our kindly associations with the commercial house of which our guest is a member are not of yesterday. That house itself was established long before the United States had an independent existence; and from the first organization of our government, with scarce an interruption, they have been its bankers. If for a moment I may venture upon the sacred domain of private life, I would remind you that more than a half century ago, the distinguished relative of our honored guest, the late beloved and lamented Lord Ashburton, came to the United States for that treasure, the price " of which, according to Holy Writ, “is far above rubies ;” a lady of whom, as she is no longer living, I may without indelicacy say, that she united to all a woman's graces that intelligence and culture which are of no sex, and which, wherever they are found, do honor to our common nature.
When a few years later the Berlin and Milan decrees and the orders in council had swept the commerce of the United States from the ocean, one of the most influential voices that was heard in England, in favor of the neutral rights of America, was that of Alexander Baring. The war of 1812 found the Barings bankers of the United States, and of course agents for the payment of the dividends on the government stocks in Great Britain. The question soon arose among
the foreign stockholders whether the dividends would continue to be paid. The public bankers were of necessity without direct remittances in time of war; for aught I know they were without instructions; but when quarter-day came the dividends were paid, for the honor of the United States, and continued to be to the end of the contest. There was war on the land and war on the sea; but deep peace in Bishopsgate street. And when, after a lapse of thirty years, the questions of difficulty and magnitude almost defying compromise, to which I alluded the other evening, had arisen between the two countries and a rupture seemed all but inevitable, Lord Ashburton was found willing at an advanced period of life, with nothing in the world to gain and every thing of reputation to put at risk, to cross the Atlantic in the month of February, with the olive-branch in his hand, and a warm desire at heart to settle every matter in controversy, on terms equally honorable to both countries. You have but anticipated me, gentlemen, in the cheers with which I was about to ask you to receive the toast with which I propose to conclude the remarks too long obtruded upon you (cries of “go on,” “ go on.”) No, gentlemen, the bell is ringing nine, the gratification of listening to other gentlemen is in reserve for you, and I will only ask you to join me in saying,
PROSPERITY TO THE HOUSE AND FAMILY OF BARING.
NOTE TO THE ANECDOTE RELATIVE TO THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO.
I was under the impression, when I related this anecdote, that the Duke of Wellington informed me that his official despatch was anticipated by the agent of the Rothschilds, by a few hours only. I have since been led to suspect that my recollection in this respect may have been inaccurate. While writing out these remarks for the press, I have turned to the account given by Alison in his history of Europe (Vol. xiv. p. 84) of the reception of the news of the battle of Waterloo in London, where I find the following curious note:-“ It is singular how frequently a rumor of a great and decisive victory prevails at a great distance, in an inconceivably short space of time after the actual occurrence. In the London papers of Tuesday the 20th of June, a rumor was mentioned of Napoleon having been defeated in a great battle near Brussels, on Sunday evening, in which he lost all his heavy artillery.' The official despatches did not arrive in London till midnight on Wednesday.” Alison then alludes to similar rumors as having existed in reference to the battle of the Metaurus, which decided the fate of the Second Punic war, and the battle of Platæa, rumors which prevailed at great distances, in inconceivably short periods of time after the actual events. The historian then adds, “ It would seem that an unerring instinct tells mankind when actions of vast moment have been fought, and leads them to make almost supernatural efforts in the transmission of accounts of them. The same paper (Courier, 20th June, 1815) mentions that. Rothschild had made great purchases of stock, which raised the three per cents. from 56 to 58.' Perhaps, in the latter instance, this may explain the prodigy."
That the purchase of stock by Rothschild may explain the rumor is quite true; but something was wanting to explain the purchase. This is done by the anecdote above referred to; but, as the purchase is recorded in a paper of June 20th, we must for that purpose suppose the agent to have arrived from Belgium a day or a day and a half before the official despatches, which did not reach London till midnight on the 21st. This is not impossible. Cardinal Wolsey first attracted the notice of Henry the Seventh, and laid the foundation of his future greatness, by making the journey from Richmond to Bruges in Flanders, transacting important business with the Emperor Maximilian, and returning to Richmond between four o'clock Sunday afternoon, and the Wednesday night following:
May I be pardoned if, in a place like this, I express the emotion with which I reflect, that while I was repeating by way of pleasantry the above anecdote, related to me by the
Duke of Wellington, that great statesman and still greater warrior had ceased to live. The news of his death has reached us while I am writing these lines. It is within my personal knowledge that his feelings toward the United States were of the most friendly character, and that his great influence was at all times exerted to promote harmony between the two countries. I hope it may not seem improper in me to add, that I regarded the honor of making his acquaintance and sharing the courtesy which he bestowed so liberally on all who approached him, as one of the highest privileges incident to my official character. Nothing as I think was more characteristic of him, at this period of his life, standing as he did before his death in some respects alone upon the pinnacle of this world's honors, than his childlike simplicity of manners and utter freedom from pretension.
PROGRESS OF AGRICULTURE.*
MR. PRESIDENT, LADIES, AND GENTLEMEN :
I wish I could find words that would fully express the gratitude I feel to our worthy friend, the secretary, for the kind manner in which he has announced me, or to you for your most flattering response. In lieu of any acknowledg. ment from me, I will ask each kind friend present to search his own heart, and to find there the emotions which he will feel must warm mine at such a welcome.
I am fully sensible, sir, how little as a farmer I deserve your notice. I am one neither theoretically nor practically, though always a great friend of the agricultural interest. But though not able to judge as a connoisseur of your pursuits, I take part with unaffected interest in your anniversary. It has gratified me on more than one account. It is an occasion sacred to good feeling. Since I left home I have hardly heard a word of political discussion, nor have I witnessed the slightest trace of that asperity of parties, which, if it be a necessary incident of free governments, all will admit is a necessary evil. Instead of this, sir, I have the pleasure to find myself seated between his Excellency the Governor and his Honor the Lieutenant-Governor; I passed a considerable part of the morning in the same carriage with them; I doubt not they would do me a kindness as soon as any person in this room would do it, as I am sure, on my own part, I would render them any good office in my power, as readily as I would render it to any other gentleman present.
* In reply to a complimentary toast at the public festival of the Hampshire, Franklin, and Hampden Agricultural Society, held at Northampton, 7th October, 1852.