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it might never fail to furnish, to all who repose beneath its shade, an abundant supply of dates. For, sir, much as we may sentimentalize about the historic muse, some of my friends at this end of the table, who have courted her ladyship most successfully, will bear witness that she does not feed upon air, but that, on the contrary, she has a voracious appetite for precisely this variety of fruit, and cannot live without it, - hard and dry and husky, as it is generally considered by other people.

Sir, the Historical Societies of the different States of the Union and I am glad to remember that there are now so few States without one are engaged in a common labor of love and loyalty in gathering up materials for the history of our beloved country. But each one of them has a peculiar province of interest and of effort in illustrating the history of its own State. And how worthy and how wide a field is thus opened to the labors of your own Society! New York — the truly imperial State of New York - a nation in itself with a population equal to that of the whole Union in the days of our revolutionary struggle--great in territorial extent-surpassingly rich in every variety of material and of moral resources - unequalled in its external advantages and in its internal improvement of those advantages — greatest of all, perhaps, in its commercial emporium, by every token and by all acknowledgment entitled to the crown, as the Queen City of the Western Hemisphere! What State in the Union is there which combines so many elements of growth and of grandeur ? What State, anywhere, has been so marked and quoted by nature as the abode of enterprise and the seat of empire ?

If a stranger from abroad desires to see the beauties or the wonders of American scenery, where else does he betake himself - as my friend, Mr. Bancroft, has just suggested - but along the charming banks of your Hudson, or through the exquisite passes of your Lake George, or up the romantic ravines of your Trenton, or over the lofty peaks of your Catskill, or upon the sublime and matchless brink of your Niagara ? If he comes in search of fountains of health, where can he find them so salubrious and invigorating as at your Saratoga, or your Sharon ? If he is eager to behold the giant causeways of the New World

or the

those massive chains of intercommunication which have married together the lakes and the ocean, even where hills and mountains would seem to have stood ready to forbid the bans hardly inferior triumphs of that earlier art, which has rolled obedient rivers through the land ;"— where can he behold them on a more gigantic scale, than in your railroads and canals? And, if he is curious to observe the progress which civilization and refinement, and wealth and luxury, and architecture and science and literature, have made among us, where can he witness an ampler or more brilliant display of them all, than in the saloons and libraries, in the shops and warehouses, in the stately edifices and splendid avenues, of this magnificent metropolis ?

Nor, Mr. President, is New York without the noblest monuments and the most precious memories of the past. The memorable scenes which have illustrated your soil, and the distinguished men who have been actors in those scenes, come thronging so thickly to one's remembrance as he reflects on your past history, that I know not how to discriminate or what to touch upon. Why, sir, we have a few things to be proud of, in this way, in our own old Massachusetts. Notwithstanding the disparagement which your eloquent orator has just thrown upon rocks in general, as of modern origin, I think I may say that we have a Rock which no one will disparage, which has been trodden by the noblest company of men and women that ever braved the perils of a wintry sea, or stemmed the currents of an adverse fortune. We have a Hall, too, which has echoed to as noble voices as ever pleaded the cause of human rights. We have a Hill, also, and a Plain, not unknown to fame - represented at this table, I am glad to say, by one of my excellent colleagues (Rev. George E. Ellis) — where the first blood for independence was poured out like water from some of the purest veins of our land. We have names, too, both in our later and our earlier history, which we would not willingly admit to be second to any which can be found on the historic roll. But no inordinate appreciation of our own treasures has rendered us insensible, I trust, to the proud associations and memories which are the priceless inheritance of our sister States. We rejoice to remember that they all have something to be proud of, — some principle which they were first in asserting, some idea which they were foremost in advancing, some proposal which they were earliest in advocating, some great American event of which their soil was the chosen scene, some great American character to which their institutions gave birth.

Yes, sir, each one of the old Thirteen at least — and not a few of the new Eighteen, also - can point this day to some one or more of the memorable names or deeds or associations of our history, and say: “ This is our own; this is our contribution to the glories of America; this institution was the work of our fathers, or this soul was ripened beneath our sky.” Virginia, the mother of us all, with her Jamestown and her Yorktown, the Alpha and the Omega, the small beginning and the glorious close, of our colonial career, and with her transcendent and incomparable Washington, — I wish I could find a title worthy of that name; - Rhode Island and Maryland, with their Roger Williams and their Calverts, contending nobly together for the earliest assertion of religious toleration ; — Connecticut, with her Charter Oak; — Pennsylvania, with her pure-hearted and philanthropic old Broad-brim Proprietor, and with her Hall of Independence, and her grave of Franklin ; - New Jersey, with her Trenton and Morristown;— North Carolina, with her Mecklenburg and her Nathaniel Macon ;— South Carolina, with her high-souled Huguenots, and her Marions and Sumpters ; - Georgia, with her benevolent and chivalrous Oglethorpe:- Why, sir, one might run over the whole catalogue of the States, even to the youngest and latest of them, without finding one that is not associated with some name, some story, some event, of a nature not merely to quicken the pulse and gratify the pride of her own people, but to attract the sympathy and kindle the patriotism of every truehearted American citizen. These stars of our political system, sir, like those of the firmament above us, differ indeed from one another, but only in glory.

“Facies non omnibus una,
Nec diversa tamen; qualem decet esse sororum.

But second to no one of them, certainly, in all that constitutes the interest and the pride of history, stands NEW YORK, — with her gallant English explorer, Henry Hudson, whose fate was even sadder than that of the lamented navigator of the same land, whom your own Grinnell has so nobly, but alas! so vainly, sought to succor ; — with her sturdy old Dutch settlers and Dutch governors, whose virtues and valor, as well as their peculiarities and oddities, have been immortalized by your own delightful Irving ;--- and with her later heroes and patriots, of civil and of military renown, her Livingstons and Clintons, her Philip Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton, her Kents and Gallatins, her John Jay and Rufus King, -if, indeed, Massachusetts can allow you to appropriate the fame of Rufus King. We need not quarrel, however, about that, sir, - for his fame is wide enough for us both. May his memory ever be a bond of friendship and love between us! And, if it ever fails to be, I doubt not that Maine, which furnished his birth-place, will be quite ready to step in and settle the difference.

Who can forget, too, that it was upon your soil, at Albany, just a hundred years ago, that Benjamin Franklin submitted the first formal proposition for a union of the colonies? Who can forget that it was upon your soil, at Saratoga, that the first decisive victory over the British forces was achieved,- that victory which gave the earliest emphatic assurance to the world, that the liberties of America would, in the end, be triumphantly vindicated? Or, who can forget, that it was upon your own soil, in this very city, that the Constitution of the United States - the grand consummation of all the toils, and trials, and sacrifices, and sufferings of patriots and pilgrims alike – was first organ

and that the very air we breathe has vibrated to the voice of Washington, as he repeated the oath to support that Constitution, from the lips of your own Chancellor Livingston ?

No wonder, sir, that your Society is so eagerly and intently engaged in illustrating the history of your own State, when you have such a history, so noble and so varied, to illustrate.

But, Mr. President, let me not draw to a close without remarking that none of us should be unmindful that there is another work going on, in this our day and generation, beside that of writing the history of our fathers, and that is, the acting of our own history. We cannot live, sir, upon the glories of the past.


Historic memories, however precious or however inspiring, will not sustain our institutions or preserve our liberties.

There is a future history to be composed, to which every State, and every citizen of every State, at this hour, and at every hour, is contributing materials. And the generous rivalry of our societies, and of their respective States, as to which shall furnish the most brilliant record of the past, must not be permitted to render us regardless of a yet nobler rivalry, in which it becomes us all even more ardently and more ambitiously to engage.

I know not of a grander spectacle which the world could furnish, than that of the multiplied States of this mighty Union contending with each other, in a friendly and fraternal competition, which should add the brightest page to the future history of our common country, which should perform the most signal acts of philanthropy or patriotism, which should exhibit the best example of free institutions well and wisely administered, which should present to the imitation of mankind the purest and most perfect picture of well-regulated liberty, which should furnish the most complete illustration of the success of that great Republican Experiment, of which our land has been providentially selected as the stage.

Ah, sir, if the one and thirty proud Commonwealths which are now ranged beneath a single banner, from ocean to ocean, could be roused up to such an emulation as this, - if instead of being seen striving for some miserable political mastery, or some selfish, sectional ascendency, - if instead of nourishing and cherishing a spirit of mutual jealousy and hate, while struggling to aggrandize themselves, whether territorially or commercially, at each other's expense, or to each other's injury,-if they could be seen laboring always, side by side, to improve their own condition and character, to elevate their own standard of purity and virtue, to abolish their own abuses, to reform their own institutions, peculiar or otherwise, and to show forth within themselves the best fruits of civilization, Christianity, and freedom, - what a history would there be to be written hereafter for the instruction and encouragement of mankind! Who would not envy the writer whose privilege it should be to set forth such a record :

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