Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

culminating on these happy spots, look back with a sort of interest upon the generations that have passed away. We think them torpid, uninformed, and unenterprising. And well we may think them so, in the midst of the splendid achievements of science, skill, invention, enterprise and knowledge that have been generated in our day.

Gentlemen, Mr. Locke says, that time is measured by the passage of ideas through men's minds. If that be so, we live a great while in a few revolutions of the earth around the sun. If new ideas, new thoughts, new contemplations, new hopes, constitute life, why, then, we have lived much, whether we have lived many or few years, according as they are usually estimated. The age is remarkable. Thoughts press upon us-inventions crowd upon us. We used to say proverbially that a thing was done as quick as thought. But that is a lingering mode of expression now-a-days. A great many think that things are done much quicker than thought. Thought cannot keep up with electricity. While we are talking the thoughts cannot travel as fast as electricity can give them to the world. So, gentlemen, we live much, though our years may be few. For my part, I do not envy any of the patriarchs for their great number of years. They did not, any of them, see half as much as we see. They did not, any of them, enjoy half as much as we enjoy now. And, in truth, I do not think very much of the years of Methuselah on earth. There are many now living who can measure favorably to themselves their lives with his, though they have not been sixty years on earth. We

ought to know where we are. We should conform in all respects to our Christian duties, and enjoy our privileges thankfully and cheerfully, resolving to perform our duty as men, as Christians, and as patriots.

9. Gentlemen, I must say to you, every true American heart feels that it has a country, not only in Boston, not only in Massachusetts, not only in New England, but formed by that great union of these States called the United States of North America. We rejoice in that. Who wishes to cut off, right and left, any part of this great brotherhood? We see here to-day delegate members from one of the greatest Christian denominations in the United States, coming from the North, probably-certainly from the South and West. And who is not glad to see them? They come as friends. And who would wish to see them in any other capacity? And as for myself, gentlemen, I bid you welcome-[the members of the Methodist Conference now rose in a body]-I bid you welcome to Faneuil Hall, the birth-place of American liberty. Welcome to Boston, the seat of commerce, enterprise, and literature. Welcome to Massachusetts, the home of public education. We welcome you for your many Christian virtues, and for the good you have accomplished in this country and abroad. In the course of my life, I have not been an unattentive spectator of your history. I know something of Charles Wesley, dying at a great age, shortly after our independence was secured; these were his last words :-"The workmen die, but the work goes on." The workmen who framed the institutions and the Constitution of our

country, have passed away; but their work lives after them. Those same institutions, and that same Constitution, have been upheld by us, and I trust will be sustained by our children for ever. I have read, many years since, the biography of John Wesley, an extraordinary person, who died in 1791, at the advanced age of 83 years; his last words were :-"The best of all is, that God is with us,"-sentiments that have been wonderfully illustrated in the subsequent history of Methodism, of which Southey said so beautifully, "That it is religion in earnest." Now, gentlemen, we must not hold too long a talk here with the citizens of Boston. My friend, Mr. Hilliard, has lately told me of an extract from a poet who may properly serve me as a guide on the present occasion:

Ye solid men of Boston, make no long orations.

I take that to myself. And then he adds a sentiment which will undoubtedly meet with the approbation of the majority of those present:

Ye solid men of Boston, drink no strong potations.

So that we will pay all respect to these two quotations:

Ye solid men of Boston, make no long orations.
Ye solid men of Boston, drink no strong potations.

But now, gentlemen, allow me to speak cautiously and coolly of the future, to these sanguine temperaments. What is before us? What is come of all this? We are here in the midst of a religious, enter

EXTRACT FROM PRESIDENT PIERCE'S INAUGURAL. 353

prising, commercial, manufacturing, rich metropolis, carrying, as you say, all before it. What is to be the result? That will depend upon the character of those who shall come after us, under the superintendence and protection of Divine Providence. What are our hopes then? What anticipations do we entertain? For myself, gentlemen, I must say that it becomes us today, in the enjoyment of the privileges we possess here amidst the scenes of early sacrifices for American liberty-amidst the scenes which characterized Massachusetts as a great leader and martyr in the revolutionary contest-it becomes us to say that we entertain high hopes, exalted hopes, humbly and meekly before God, but fearlessly and dauntlessly before men, that this, the prosperity, and this the renown, which we Americans of this generation enjoy, shall accompany our country to her latest posterity, with ten thousand times the brilliancy of yonder setting sun.

10. EXTRACT OF PRESIDENT PIERCE'S INAUGURAL, March 4th, 1853.

With the Union my best and dearest earthly hopes are entwined. Without it, what are we, individually or collectively ?-what becomes of the noblest field ever opened for the advancement of our race in religion, in government, in the arts, and in all that dignifies and adorns mankind ? From that radiant constellation, which both illumines our own way and points out to struggling nations their course, let but a single star be lost, and, if there be not utter darkness, the lustre of the whole is dimmed. Do my countrymen need any assurance that such a catastrophe is not to overtake them

while I possess the power to stay it? It is with me. an earnest and vital belief, that as the Union has been the source, under Providence, of our prosperity to this time, so it is the surest pledge of a continuance of the blessings we have enjoyed, and which we are sacredly bound to transmit undiminished to our children. The field of calm and free discussion in our country is open, and will always be so; but it never has been and never can be traversed for good in a spirit of sectionalism and uncharitableness. The founders of the republic dealt with things as they were presented to them, in a spirit of self-sacrificing patriotism, and, as time has proved, with a comprehensive wisdom which it will always be safe for us to consult. ***

But let not the foundation of our hope rest upon man's wisdom. It will not be sufficient that sectional prejudices find no place in the public deliberations. It will not be sufficient that the rash counsels of human passion are rejected. It must be felt that there is no national security but in the nation's humble, acknowledged dependence upon God and his overruling providence.

We have been carried in safety through a perilous crisis. Wise counsels, like those which gave us the constitution, prevailed to uphold it. Let the period be remembered as an admonition, and not as an encouragement, in any section of the Union, to make experiments where experiments are fraught with such fearful hazard. Let it be impressed upon all hearts, that, beautiful as our fabric is, no earthly power or wisdom could ever re-unite its broken fragments.

« AnkstesnisTęsti »