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elements. When this is done, if I do not demonstrate, in about two minutes, that the monument does the same kind of good that anything else does, I shall consent that the huge blocks of granite, already laid, should be reduced to gravel, and carted off to fill up the mill-pond; for that, I suppose, is one of the good things. Does a railroad or canal do good 2 Answer, yes. And how ! It facilitates intercourse, opens markets, and increases the wealth of the country. But what is this good for 2 Why, individuals prosper and get rich. And what good does that do? Is mere wealth, as an ultimate end, – gold and silver, without an inquiry as to their use, – are these a good? Certainly not. I should insult this audience by attempting to prove that a rich man, as such, is neither better nor happier than a poor one. But, as men grow rich, they live better. Is there any good in this, stopping here 2 Is mere animal life — feeding, working, and sleeping like an ox— entitled to be called good 2 Certainly not. But these improvements increase the population. And what good does that do? Where is the good in counting twelve millions, instead of six, of mere feeding, working, sleeping animals 2 There is, then, no good in the mere animal life, except that it is the physical basis of that higher moral existence, which resides in the soul, the heart, the mind, the conscience; in good principles, good feelings, and the good actions (and the more disinterested, the more entitled to be called good) which flow from them. Now, Sir, I say that generous and patriotic sentiments, sentiments which prepare us to serve our country, to live for our country, to die for our country, feelings like those which carried Prescott and Warren and Putnam to the battle-field, are good, - good, humanly speaking, of the highest order. It is good to have them, good to encourage them, good to honor them, good to commemorate them ; and whatever tends to animate and strengthen such feelings does as much right down practical good as filling up low grounds and building railroads. This is my demonstration.
19. TO THE REVOLUTIONARY VETERANS. —Daniel Webster, at the laying of the corner-stone of the Bunker Hill Monument, June 17, 1825. WE hold still among us some of those who were active agents in the scenes of 1775, and who are now here, from every quarter of New England, to visit once more, and under circumstances so affecting, — I had almost said so overwhelming, — this renowned theatre of their courage and patriotism. Venerable men you have come down to us from a former generation. Heaven has bounteously lengthened out your lives, that you might behold this joyous day. You are now, where you stood, fifty years ago, this very hour, with your brothers, and your neighbors, shoulder to shoulder, in the strife for your country. Behold, how altered. The same heavens are indeed over your heads; the same ocean rolls at your feet; but all else how changed You hear now no roar of hostile cannon, you see now no mixed volumes of smoke and flame rising from burning Charlestown. The ground strewed with the dead and the dying; the impetuous charge; the steady and successful repulse; the loud call to repeated assault; the summoning of all that is manly to repeated resistance; a thousand bosoms freely and fearlessly bared in an instant to whatever of terror there may be in war and death;—all these you have witnessed, but you witness them no more. All is peace. The heights of yonder metropolis, its towers and roofs, which you then saw filled with wives and children and countrymen in distress and terror, and looking with unutterable emotions for the issue of the combat, have presented you to-day with the sight of its whole happy population come out to welcome and greet you with an universal jubilee. All is peace; and God has granted you this sight of your country's happiness, ere you slumber in the grave forever.
But, alas! you are not all here. Time and the sword have thinned your ranks. Prescott, Putnam, Stark, Brooks, Read, Pomeroy, Bridge: — our eyes seek for you in vain amidst this broken band. But let us not too much grieve, that you have met the common fate of men. You lived to see your country’s independence established, and to sheathe your swords from war. On the light of Liberty, you saw arise the light of Peace, like
and the sky on which you closed your eyes was cloudless. But — ah!—him the first great martyr in this great cause: Him! the premature victim of his own self-devoting heart Him : the head of our civil councils, and the destined leader of our military bands, whom nothing brought hither but the unquenchable fire of his own spirit ! Him! cut off by Providence in the hour of overwhelming anxiety and thick gloom ; falling, ere he saw the star of his country rise; pouring out his generous blood, like water, before he knew whether it would fertilize a land of freedom or of bondage!—how shall I struggle with the emotions that stifle the utterance of thy name ! Our poor work may perish, but thine shall endure . This monument may moulder away; the solid ground it rests upon may sink down to a level with the sea; but thy memory shall not fail ' Wheresoever among men a heart shall be found that beats to the transports of patriotism and liberty, its aspirations shall be to claim kindred with thy spirit! Veterans ! you are the remnant of many a well-fought field. You bring with you marks of honor from Trenton and Monmouth, from Yorktown, Camden, Bennington, and Saratoga. Veterans of half a century when, in your youthful days, you put everything at hazard in your country's cause, good as that cause was, and sanguine as youth is, still your fondest hopes did not stretch onward to an hour like this! Look abroad into this lovely land, which your young valor defended, and mark the happiness with which it is filled; yea, look abroad into the whole earth, and see what a name you have contributed to give to
your country, and what a praise you have added to freedom, and then rejoice in the sympathy and gratitude which beam upon your last days from the improved condition of mankind.
20. SANCTITY OF STATE OBLIGATIONS, 1840. – Webster.
We have the good fortune, under the blessing of a benign Providence, to live in a country which we are proud of for many things, – for its independence, for its public liberty, for its free institutions, for its public spirit, for its enlightened patriotism; but we are proud also, —and it is among those things we should be the most proud of, - we are proud of its public justice, of its sound faith, of its substantially correct morals in the administration of the Government, and the general conduct of the country, since she took her place among the nations of the world. But among the events which most threaten our character and standing, and which so grossly attach on these moral princi|. that have hitherto distinguished us, are certain sentiments which ave been broached among us, and, I am sorry to say, have more supporters than they ought, because they strike at the very foundation of the social system. I do not speak especially of those which have been promulgated by some person in my own State, but of others, which go yet deeper into our political condition. I refer to the doctrine that one generation of men, acting under the Constitution, cannot bind another generation, who are to be their successors; on which ground it is held, among other things, that State bonds are not obligatory. What! one generation cannot bind another ? Where is the link of separation ? It changes hourly. The American community to-day is not the same with the American community to-morrow. The community in which I began this day to address you is not the same as it is at this moment. How abhorrent is such a doctrine to those great truths which teach us that, though individuals flourish and decay, States are immortal; that political communities are ever young, ever green, ever flourishing, ever identical The individuals who compose them may change, as the atoms of our bodies change; but the political community still exists in its aggregate capacity, as do our bodies in their natural; with this only difference, — that we know that our natural frames must soon dissolve, and return to their original dust; but, for our country, she yet lives, – she ever dwells in our hearts, and it will, even at that solemn moment, go up as our last aspiration to Heaven, that she may be immortal :
21. THE FOURTH OF JULY. — Daniel Webster, at Washington, D.C., July 4, 1851, on laying the corner-stone of the new wing of the Capitol. This is that day of the year which announced to mankind the great fact of American Independence . This fresh and brilliant morning blesses our vision with another beholding of the birth-day of our nation;
and we see that nation, of recent origin, now among the most considerable and powerful, and spreading over the continent from sea to sea. “Westward the course of empire takes its way; The four first acts already past, A fifth shall close the drama with the day, — Time's noblest offspring is the last.” On the day of the Declaration of Independence, our illustrious fathers performed the first scene in the last great act of this drama; one, in real importance, infinitely exceeding that for which the great English poet invoked “A muse of fire,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,
The Muse inspiring our fathers was the Genius of Liberty, all on fire with a sense of oppression, and a resolution to throw it off; the whole world was the stage, and higher characters than princes trod it; and, instead of monarchs, countries, and nations, and the age, beheld the swelling scene. How well the characters were cast, and how well each acted his part, and what emotions the whole performance excited, let history, now and hereafter, tell.
On the Fourth of July, 1776, the representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, declared that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States. This declaration, made by most patriotic and resolute men, trusting in the justice of their cause, and the protection of Heaven, – and yet made not without deep solicitude and anxiety, - has now stood for seventy-five years, and still stands. It was sealed in blood. It has met dangers, and overcome them; it has had enemies, and conquered them ; it has had detractors, and abashed them all; it has had doubting friends, but it has cleared all doubts away; and now, to-day, raising its august form higher than the clouds, twenty millions of people contemplate it with hallowed love, and the world beholds it, and the consequences which have followed from it, with profound admiration.
This anniversary animates, and gladdens, and unites, all American hearts. On other days of the year we may be party men, indulging in controversies more or less important to the public good; we may have likes and dislikes, and we may maintain our political differences, often with warm, and sometimes with angry feelings. But to-day we are Americans all; and all nothing but Americans. As the great luminary over our heads, dissipating mists and fogs, now cheers the whole hemisphere, so do the associations connected with this day disperse all cloudy and sullen weather in the minds and feelings of true Americans. Every man's heart swells within him, every man's port and bearing becomes somewhat more proud and lofty, as he remembers that seventy-five years have rolled away, and that the great inheritance of liberty is still his; his, undiminished and unimpaired; his, in all its original glory; his to enjoy, his to protect, and his to transmit to future generations.
22. APOSTROPHE TO WASHINGTON.— On the last-named occasion.
FELLow-citizeXs: What contemplations are awakened in our minds, as we assemble here to reenact a scene like that performed by Washington Methinks I see his venerable form now before me, as presented in the glorious statue by Houdon, now in the Capitol of Virginia. He is dignified and grave; but concern and anxiety seem to soften the lineaments of his countenance. The government over which he presides is yet in the crisis of experiment. Not free from troubles at home, he sees the world in commotion and arms all around him. He sees that imposing foreign powers are half disposed to try the strength of the recently established American government. Mighty thoughts, mingled with fears as well as with hopes, are struggling within him. He heads a short procession over these then naked fields; he crosses yonder stream on a fallen tree; he ascends to the top of this eminence, whose original oaks of the forest stand as thick around him as if the spot had been devoted to Druidical worship, and here he performs the appointed duty of the day.
And now, fellow-citizens, if this vision were a reality, - if Washington actually were now amongst us, – and if he could draw around him the shades of the great public men of his own days, patriots and warriors, orators and statesmen, and were to address us in their presence, would he not say to us: “Ye men of this generation, I rejoice and thank God for being able to see that our labors, and toils, and sacrifices, were not in vain. You are prosperous, you are happy, you are grateful. The fire of liberty burns brightly and steadily in your hearts, while duty and the law restrain it from bursting forth in wild and destructive conflagration. Cherish liberty, as you love it; cherish its securities, as you wish to preserve it. Maintain the Constitution which we labored so painfully to establish, and which has been to you such a source of inestimable blessings. Preserve the Union of the States, cemented as it was by our prayers, our tears and our blood. Be true to God, to your country, and to your duty. So shall the whole Eastern world follow the morning sun, to contemplate you as a nation; so shall all generations honor you, as they honor us; and so shall that Almighty Power which so graciously protected us, and which now protects you, shower its everlasting blessings upon you and your posterity 1"
Great father of your country! we heed your words; we feel their force, as if you now uttered them with lips of flesh and blood. Your example teaches us, your affectionate addresses teach us, your public life teaches us, your sense of the value of the blessings of the Union. Those blessings our fathers have tasted, and we have tasted, and still taste. Nor do we intend that those who come after us shall be denied the same high fruition. Our honor, as well as our happiness, is concerned. We cannot, we dare not, we will not, betray our sacred trust. We will not filch from posterity the treasure placed in our hands to be transmitted to other generations. The bow that gilds