« הקודםהמשך »
A woman in her magic beauty rose,
The world is but an opera show,
A BISHOP'S BLESSING.
SUBSCRIPTION FOR MR. CARLILE.
Printed and Published by R. CARLILE, 135, Fleet Street.-All Correspor:
rences for “ The Republican" to be left at the place of publication.
No. 17, Vol. 12.] London, Friday, Oct. 28, 1825. [Price 6d.
AN ORATION DELIVERED AT CONCORD,
APRIL 19, 1825.
BY EDWARD EVERETT.
Boston: Published by Cummings, Hiliard, and Company. 1825.
ORATION FELLOW CITIZENS, The voice of patriotic and filial duty has called us together, to celebraie the fiftieth anniversary of an ever memorable day. The subject, which this occasion presents to our consideration, almost exceeds the grasp of the human mind. The appearance of a new state in the great family of nations is one of the most important topics of reflection, that can ever be addressed to us. In the case of America, the interest, the magnitude, and difficulty of this subject are immeasureably increased. Our progress has been . so rapid, the interval has been so short between the first plantations in the wilderness and the full developement of our political institutions; there has been such a visible agency of single characters in affecting the condition of the country, such an almost instantaneous expansion of single events into consequences of incalculable importance, that we find ourselves deserted by almost all the principles and precedents, drawn from the analogy of other states. Men have here seen, felt, and acted themselves, what in most other countries has been the growth of centuries
Take your station for instance on Connecticut river. Every thing about you whatsoever you behold or approach, bears witness, that you are a citizen of a powerful and prosperous state. It is just seventy years, since the towns, which you now contemplate with admiration as the abodes of a numerous, increasing, refined, enterprising population, safe in the enjoyment of life's best blessings, were wasted and burned by the savages of the wilderness ; and their inhabitants by hundreds,--the old and the young, the minister of the gospel, and the mother with her new born babe,
Printed and Published by R. G'arlile, 135, Fleet Street.
-were wakened at midnight by the warhoop, dragged from their beds, and marched with bleeding feet across the snow-clad mountains-to be sold as slaves into the cornfields and kitchens of the French in Canada. Go back eighty years farther; and the same barbarous foe is on the skirts of your oldest settlements, at your doors. As late as 1676, ten or twelve citizens of Concord were slain or carried into captivity, who had gone to meet the savage hordes in their attack on Sudbury, in which the brave Captain Wadsworth and his companions fell.
These contrasts regard the political strength of our country: the growth in national resources presents a case of increase still more astonishing, though less adapted to move the feelings. By the last valuation, the aggregate property of Massachusetts and Maine was estimated at something less than three hundred millions. By the valuation made in 1780, the property of Massachusetts and Maine was estimated at eleven millions.
This unexampled rapidity of our national growth, wbile it gives to our history more than the interest of romance, leaves us often in doubt, what is to be ascribed to the co-operation of a train of incidents and characters, following in long succession upon each other; and what is to be referred to the vast influence of single important evenis. On the one hand, we think we trace a series
of causes and effects, running back into the history of the dark , ages in Europe, and visibly exerting an influence on the Ameri
can colonies; and on the other, we witness, a rapidity, an energs, a precision in the movements of the nation toward improvement and power, which seem to characterize the agency of individual events and men. In the first view, we feel constrained to surrender up the fortunes of our country, as a portion of the chain of events, which lengthens onward, by blind fatality, from the creation of the world, and brings about, in each successive age, the same routine of rise, progress, and decay. Tu the other view, we behold the action of a new and original political life, a fresh and hopeful national existence; nourished, strengthened, and inatured under the operation of peculiar causes of unexampled energy.
That great, that astonishing incident in human affairs, the Revolution of America, as seen on the day of its portentous, or rather let me say, of its auspicious commencement, is the theme of our present consideration. To what shall we direct our thoughts? On the one hand, we behold a connexion of events; the time and circumstances of the original discovery; the system of colonization; the settlements of the pilgrims; their condition, temper, and institutions; their singular political relation with the mother country; their long and doubtful struggle with the savage tribes; their collisions with the royal governors; their co-operation in the British wars; with all the influences of their geographical and physical condition ; uniting to constitute what I may call the political national education of America, by forming the public mind, nerving the arm, and firing the heart for the events of that day, which we now commemorate. When we take this survey, we feel that we ought to divide the honours of the RevoJution with the great men of the colony in every generation ; with the Winslows and the Pepperells, the Cookes and the Mathers, the Winthrops and the Bradfords, and all who labored and acted in the cabinet the desk, or the field, for the one great cause. On the other hand, when we dwell upon the day itself, every thing else seems lost in the comparison. Had our forefathers failed, on that day of trial, which we now celebrate ; had their votes and their resolves (as was tauntingly predicted on both sides of the Atlantic) ended in the breath, in which they began; had the rebels laid down their arms, as they were commanded; and the military stores, which had been frugally treasured up for the crisis, been, without resistance, destroyed;—then the Revolution had been at an end, or rather never had been begun; the heads of Hancock and Adams and their brave colleagues would have been exposed in ghastly triumph on Temple-bar; a military despotisin would have been firmly fixed in the colonies; the patriots of Massachusetts would have been doubly despised, the scorn of their enemies, the scorn of their deluded countrymen ; the cry of liberty, which they had raised from the shore to the mountains, would have been turned back in a cry of disdain ; and the heart of this great people, then beating and almost bursting for freedom, would have been struck cold and dead, and, for aught we can now reason, for ever.
There are those, who object to such a celebration as this, as tending to keep up or to awaken a hostile sentiment toward England. But I do not feel the force of this scruple. In the first place, it was not England, but the English ministerial party of the day, and a small circle in that party, which projected the mcasures that resulted in our Revolution. The rights of America found steady and powerful asserters in England. Lord Chathain declared to the House of Peers that he was glad America had resisted, and alluding to the fact that he had a sonin the British army, he added, “that none of his blood should serve in this detested cause.” Nay, even the ministers that imposed the stamp duty the measure which hastened the spirit of America to a crisis, which it might not have reached in a century, Lord Mansfield, the Duke of Grafton, the Earl of Shelburne, Lord Camden, rose, one after another, and asserted in the House of Lords, that they had no share in the measures which were proposed by the very cabinet, of which they were leading members.
But I must go further. Did faithful history compel us to cast on all England united the reproach of those measures, which drove our fathers to arms; and were it, in consequence, the unavoidable effect of these celebrations to revive the feelings of revolutionary times in the bosoms of the aged; to kindle those feelings anew, in the susceptible hearts of the young; it would still be our duty, on every becoming occasion, in the strongest colors, and in the boldest lines we can command, to retrace the picture of the times that tried men's souls. We owe it to our fathers, we owe it to our children. A pacisic and friendly feeling towards England is the duty of this nation; but it is not our only duty, it is not our first duty. America owes an earlier and a higher duty to the great and good men, who caused her to be a nation; who, at an expense of treasure, a contempt of peril, a prodigality of blood--the purest and noblest that ever flowed, ---of which we can now hardly conceive, vindicated to this continent a place among the nations of the earih. I cannot consent, out of tenderness to the memory of the Gages, the Hutchinsons, the Grenvilles and Norths, the Dartmouths and Hillsboroughs, to cast a veil over the labors and the sacrifices of the Quincys, the Adamses, the Hancocks and the Warrens. I am not willing to give up to the ploughshare the soil wet with our fathers' blood; no! not even to plant the olive of peacein the furrow.
There is not a people on earth so abject, as to think that national courtesy requires them to hush up the tale of the glorious es. ploits of their fathers and countrymen, France is at peace with Austria and Prussia; but she does not demolish her beautiful bridges, baptized with the name of the battle fields, where Napoleon annihilated their armies; nor tear down the columns, moulten out of the accumulated heaps of their captive artillery. Eogland is at peace with France and Spain, but does she suppress the names of Trafalgar and the Nile; does she overthrow the towers of Blenheim casle, eternal monuments of the disasters of France; does she tear down from the rafters of her chapels, where they have for ages waved in triumph, consecrated to the God of battles, the banners of Cressy and Agincourt?-No; she is wiser; wiser, did I say ? she is truer, juster to the memory of her fathers and the spirit of her children. The national character, in some of its most important elements, must be formed, elevated, and strengthened from the materials which history presents. The great objection which has been urged, and urged at the point of the bayonet and at the mouth of the cannon, by the partisans of arbitrary power in Europe, against revolutionary and popular governments, is, that they want a historical basis, which alone, they say, can impart stability and legality to public institutions. But certainly the historical basis is of much greater moment to the spirit, than to the institutions of a people ; and for the reason, that the spirit itself of a nation is far more important than its institutions at any moment. Let the spirit be sound and true, and it will sooner or later tiod or make a remedy for defective institutions. But though the institutions should surpass, in theoretic beauty, the fabled perfection of Utopia or Atlantis, without a free