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Surely, sir, he would realize something of the inspiration of the Psalmist : “ His heart would be inditing a good matter,

and his tongue would be the pen of a ready writer.” It would be no subject for any cold and sneering skeptic, however glowing his style, or polished his periods. No Gibbon could tell the story of such a rise and progress. Such a mind may deal better with " the decline and fall ” of nations. Methinks, Mr. President, it would be a theme to inspire fresh faith in him by whom it was treated, and in all by whom it was read, — faith in the capability of man for self-government, faith in human progress and in Divine providence, faith in the ultimate prevalence of that Gospel of Christ, which is, after all, the only sure instrument either of social or of political reform.

But let us, at least, not fail to remember on such an occasion as this, that whatever be the history which we, in our turn, are to present to the world, and which we are now acting in the sight of men and of angels, - that whatever be the scenes which the daily daguerrotypes of a thousand presses are catching up and collecting for its materials, such a history is to be written; --and, when written, it is to exert an influence upon the world, for good or for evil, for encouragement or for warning, such as no other uninspired history has ever yet exerted. Yes, Mr. President, it is not too much to say that American history, the history of these United States, and the history of these separate States, is to be the fountain to mankind of such a hope — or of such a despair -- as they have never yet conceived of.

Not for any mere glorification of men or of States ; not to magnify the importance of individuals, or to trace the antiquity of families; not to gratify the vanity of monarchs, or ministers, or yet of masses, is our history to be written ;- but to exhibit the true and actual workings of the great machinery of free government, and to show how well, and to what results, the people are capable of managing it. This is to be the great lesson of our annals. This is the momentous problem, whose solution we are to unfold, and the world can look for that solution nowhere else than here.

You have all observed, I am sure, that the accomplished Lieutenant Maury has been gathering up the old log-books of the merchant ships and whalers, and comparing them together to make wind charts and current charts, for rendering your ocean voyages more speedy and more safe. Just so will it be with the log-books of our great Republic, and of the lesser republics which are sailing beneath the same flag. From them is hereafter to be made up the Sailing-Chart of Freedom, which is to point out the safe channel or the fatal reef to every nation which shall enter on the same great voyage of liberty. God grant that on no corner or margin of that chart may ever appear the sad record : “Here, upon this sunken ledge, or there upon those open breakers, or yonder, in some fatal fog, by the desertion of some cowardly crew, or the rashness of some reckless helmsman, our great New Era struck, foundered, and went to pieces" – to the exultation of despots, and to the perpetual consternation and despair of the lovers of freedom throughout the world. Let that chart rather, I pray Heaven, bear down to a thousand generations the plain and unmistakable track of an ever smoother and more prosperous progress, giving hope and trust and confidence and assurance to all who shall launch out upon the same sea, that a safe and glorious voyage is before them, a safe and glorious haven within reach.

Thus far, certainly, Mr. President, there has been no lack of speed in our own course. We are advancing rapidly enough, no man will deny, to no second place among the nations of the earth. What other country beneath the sun has ever exhibited so vast an extension of its territory, its population, its power, within the same period of its existence? I saw an official announcement, a few days since, that one of the astronomers at our National Observatory, in looking at the thirteenth asteroid of that fragmentary system which was once thought to be composed of only four or five inferior planets, found suddenly a strange visitor within the field of his telescope, which proved to be the thirty-first asteroid of that same mysterious system. It was a fact not a little emblematic of our own national history.

While the historic observer of America has been turning his glass and fixing his gaze upon our Old Thirteen, he has suddenly seen the system increasing and multiplying beneath his view, until the thirty-first star has already appeared in the same marvellous constellation. The war with Mexico, - of which the gallant hero (General Scott) is your fellow-citizen, whose absence at this board has just been so much regretted, — in adding this thirty-first star to our flag, has opened to us the vast mineral treasures of the Pacific coast; -- and as Congress was bestowing upon

the veteran victor the commemorative medal which he so well deserved, but which was so meagre a memorial of his merits, we could not but recall the noble lines of a great English poet:

“In living medals see our wars enrolled,
And vanquished realms supply recording gold!”

But this is but of yesterday. If you would realize the rapidity of our country's progress, we must go a little farther back. We must go back to the beginning of that very half-century over which the existence of your Society has now extended. Fifty years ago! What was our country then ? - what is it now? Look on that picture and on this! Ohio but just admitted, with a single representative in the national councils. Louisiana just annexed, most of it a bare, untenanted, unexplored wilderness. Not a steamboat on the Hudson, or anywhere else except in the brain of some scheming Fitch or hair-brained Fulton. Not a railroad or a telegraph within twenty years of being dreamed of. The cotton crop still in its infancy. New York hardly yet one of the great States; for you will remember that Virginia and Pennsylvania and Massachusetts were the three great States of the revolutionary and constitutional periods. By the constitutional apportionment, Virginia had ten representatives, and Massachusetts and Pennsylvania eight each, while New York was allowed but six. Sir, we must look on this picture of our country, and then upon that presented in the statistics of the census just completed, if we would appreciate in any degree the railroad rapidity, I had almost said the lightning velocity, of our national career.

And where, where is it all to end? That, sir, is to be written hereafter. But let us not forget, that, in part at least, it is to be decided now. It requires no ghost to tell us, no second-sight or spiritual communication to assure us, that if we are true to ourselves, true to the principles and examples of our fathers, and true to the institutions which they founded, our country may go forward, with the blessing of God, to higher and higher degrees of prosperity and power in safety and in peace; its destiny ever written in the motto of its greatest state, - Excelsior, EXCELSIOR! While if we are faithless to

are faithless to our trust, - if, lulled into a false security by long-continued and uninterrupted success, we suffer the public vigilance to be relaxed, and the public virtue to be corrupted, - or, if dizzied by the rapid whirl of our career, and yielding to the rash impulses of the hour, we permit our country to be dragged to the verge, and even plunged into the vortex, of domestic discord or foreign strife, - it may be even our own ignoble and ignominious distinction, in some volume of history to be written at no distant day, - that we helped to make shipwreck of the noblest bark that was ever launched on the tide of time.

Sir, I beg pardon for detaining you so long. Let me only sum up all that I have said, and all that I feel, in a concluding sentiment:

THE STATE OF NEW YORK : Upon her soil the first formal proposition of Union was made; upon her soil the first victory which gave assurance of Liberty was won; upon her soil the Constitution of the United States was originally organized. May history record that her example and her influence were always given to the support of Union, Liberty, and the Constitution !




24 FEBRUARY, 1855.

I CAME here, Mr. Mayor and gentlemen, as my friend Mr. Bishop will bear witness, upon the express understanding that I was not to be responsible for any thing in the nature of a formal address. But I cannot refuse to comply with the call which has just been made upon me to add a few words to what has been already so well said. I must at least be permitted to thank the Committee of Arrangements for the opportunity of being present on this occasion. I thank them for the privilege of witnessing these interesting ceremonies, of listening to the charming voices of these happy children and these intelligent young ladies, and of participating in the congratulations which belong to such an hour.

I need not say that I have felt something more than a common interest in this scene. As a mere citizen of Boston, born upon her soil, educated in her public schools, and bound to her by a thousand ties of affection and gratitude which no time can sever, I should, indeed, have found abundant reason for gratification and for pride in seeing her engaged, in the person of her chief magistrate, in dedicating so spacious and noble an edifice to the cause of popular education. As a humble but sincere friend to free government and republican liberty, too, I could not have failed to rejoice at beholding another buttress added to the bulwarks which are to save them from overthrow and downfall. For, my friends, it cannot be too often repeated, trite and com

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