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panted, and towards which all his words and deeds had so long pointed!
Those words and those deeds, however, were not lost. Good words and deeds are never lost, even on earth. Their authors may be cast down; they may be despised and rejected of men; they may seemingly accomplish nothing; they may fail, as the world counts failure; they may breathe out their lives in exile or in a dungeon, or pour out their blood in battle-fields or on a block; they may even have been disheartened or intimidated or seduced into a recreancy to their own lofty principles or a recantation of their own noble teachings; — but the good words, the good deeds, remain, survive, imperishable; and years, or even ages afterwards, like the seed from the Egyptian catacombs, they shall be seen budding, blossoming, and bearing abundantly their own proper fruit.
“ This day (said the admirable Niebuhr, writing from the University of Kiel as a young man, in 1794), this day is the anniversary of Algernon Sidney's death, one hundred and eleven years ago, and hence it is in my eyes à consecrated day, especially as I have just been studying his noble life again. May God preserve me from a death like his; yet even with such a death, the virtue and holiness of his life would not be dearly purchased.” To have won such a tribute from such a source, might well be deemed glory enough to reward a whole life of suffering
But Sidney's memory did not have to wait so long for justice. Five years, indeed, had hardly elapsed from the day of his execution, when the brightest era of freedom known to the annals of England was ushered in, when the House of Stuart was driven from the throne, and the Prince of Orange brought over under a Declaration of Right, drafted by the same Lord Somers whom we have seen associated with Sidney in drafting a similar declaration a short time before his death, and which contained
* “Indeed, I know not (said Charles James Fox) that history can furnish a more forcible lesson against despondency, than by recording, that within a short time from those dismal days in which men of the greatest constancy despaired, and had reason to do so, within five years from the death of Sidney, arose the brightest era of freedom known to the annals of our country.”
the germ of every good law and every just reform by which the liberties of Englishmen have been asserted and vindicated from that day to this. And one of the earliest acts of William and Mary, under that declaration, was “an act for annulling and making void the Attainder of Algernon Sidney, Esq."
But it was in our own Revolution of 1775, far more even than in the English Revolution of 1688, of which ours, indeed, was only the legitimate continuation and consummation, that Sidney's life, principles, discourses, and death, exerted their full influence and found their perfect illustration. And it is here, on this American soil, pre-eminently, and in our American hearts, that his name and memory deserve to be kept for ever fresh and fragrant. Here, where his “ adored republic" has ceased to be a mere airy vision, for ever wooing the approach, and for ever eluding the embrace, of its votaries, - leading them along with fatal fascination over dizzy heights and through treacherous passes to the dungeon or the scaffold, or to an exile, worse, perhaps, than either; but where it stands before us a substantial fact, a real presence, a glorious existence, inviting all who may be nurtured, and all who may be attracted, within its sphere, to a free, full, equal participation of its unspeakable blessings, here, I repeat, if nowhere else, there should never fail to be cherished a grateful and affectionate remembrance of one whose love for liberty, whose faith in a republic, whose confidence in the capacity of the people for self-government, no sorrows in life, no sufferings in death, could extinguish or abate, and whose discourses and example did so much to instruct, animate, and inspire our Revolutionary Fathers in the pursuit and attainment of the glorious institutions which we now enjoy.
For myself, I can hardly consider the name of Algernon Sidney as any thing other than an American name, - American in all its associations, and American in all its influences, -- and not unworthy to be held up with the proudest and loftiest names of our own land, to the contemplation and admiration of every son and every daughter of our beloved Union.
I cannot conclude, my friends, without telling you in a single word, that the volumes which the patriot Quincy bequeathed to his son, and which have formed the subject of this lecture, were unhappily destroyed by fire, with the whole library of which they formed a part, many years ago.
But the son to whom they were left still lives. He is with us here this evening, full of years and of honors, exhibiting at once the energy of youth and the dignity of age; and I need no other assurance than the cordial greetings with which his presence has already been welcomed, that you will all agree with me in saying, that his long and brilliant career has furnished abundant testimony that his father's prayer has been answered, and that the Spirit of Liberty has indeed rested upon him!
THE REPEAL OF THE MISSOURI COM
REMARKS MADE AT FANEUIL HALL, FEBRUARY 23, 1854.
I CANNOT altogether refuse, fellow-citizens, to make some acknowledgment of these repeated and emphatic calls, although your Committee of Arrangements are aware that I expressly declined being responsible for any thing in the nature of a speech on this occasion. Indeed, the invitation to address you, and the fact that any meeting was to be held here this afternoon, were communicated to me at a moment when I had formed engagements which rendered it extremely uncertain whether I could be with you at all; and I have come at the last hour, with my friend Mr. Lawrence and other gentlemen who have enjoyed the honor of representing this city in Congress, to take a humble place in the rear-rank of your Vice-Presidents, and with neither purpose nor preparation to enter into the discussions of the occasion.
But, fellow-citizens, I can never be unprepared to express my cordial concurrence, — not, indeed, in every thing which may have fallen from the lips of those who have preceded me, for every man speaks here, I presume, for himself and upon his own responsibility, — nor yet, perhaps, in every phrase or paragraph of the resolutions which have been read, but my cordial concurrence and sympathy in the general objects and purposes of this meeting. I can never, certainly, be unprepared to declare my carnest and unhesitating opposition to the repeal of a solemn stipulation which has prohibited slavery for ever within the limits of that vast imperial domain whose destiny is now about to be decided. When I am not ready at any hour, in any presence, under any circumstances, to make this declaration, I shall at least take good care not to show my face in Faneuil Hall.
Fellow-citizens, in every view which I can take of this Nebraska Bill, — in its relations to the poor Indian, in its relations to slavery, in its relations to the national faith, the national honor, the national harmony, in every view alike, - I cannot but deplore its introduction, I cannot but deprecate its passage.
It seems to me calculated to stir up more of ill-blood between different sections of the Union, than almost any thing which has occurred since the foundation of the government. It has thrown us wantonly back upon the controversies and conflicts of 1850. It has raked recklessly open the smouldering ashes of those unextinguished, and, I fear, unextinguishable, fires. And its passage, if it is to pass, threatens to render all the struggles and sacrifices of that eventful epoch utterly vain, void, and of no effect.
And upon what grounds is such a measure justified? Why, I am amazed, Mr. President, as you certainly must be also, when I find it seriously advanced and maintained, that the adjustment of 1850 was understood or intended to repeal or supersede the old compromise of 1820.
It was not my fortune, as you well know, to find myself able to give a conscientious support to some of the measures of that adjustment. I cannot claim to be one of the great and patriotic men of 1850, I suppose. I have nothing to explain, retract, or regret on that score.
But I was in the way of hearing all that was said publicly, and much that was said privately, during that memorable controversy ; and I have recently refreshed my memory by running my eye over the debates of the period ; and nowhere, nowhere, have I been able to find the slightest trace or vestige of any thing either said, or done, or proposed to be done, which affords the least countenance or color whatever to such a doctrine. On the contrary, my unhesitating conviction is that the leading authors and advocates of the adjustment of 1850, were they living and in the Senate Chamber at this hour, would be foremost and firmest in repudiating and denouncing such a suggestion.
What, sir! A constructive repeal of a formal compact of more