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mon-place as it may sound, that these free institutions of ours can rest securely on no other basis than that of intelligence and virtue; and that intelligence and virtue can be disseminated and inculcated by no other agencies than the school and the church. Our schoolhouses and churches, - these are the true towers and bulwarks of a republic, and the only standing army of freedom is that innumerable host of children who are in process of being trained up, in our sabbath schools and our week-day schools, in the fear of God, in the love of their neighbor, and in the elements of all useful knowledge and all sound learning. It may well be a subject for joy, then, to every patriotic heart, - and I hope mine is one, to see our cities and towns vying with each other, not, like those of the old world, in the sumptuousness of their private mansions, or the magnificence of their government halls, but in the elegance and spaciousness and completeness of their common schoolhouses.
But, my friends, it would be affectation in me to conceal that I have another and peculiar interest in this occasion. I am sure that I need feel no delicacy in speaking of the distinguished person in whose honor this school has been primarily named. Six entire generations have now intervened between him and myself. More than two hundred years - a long time in your little calendar, my young friends - have passed away since he was laid beneath the sod in what is now King's Chapel Burying Ground, within a few feet of the City Hall, where a humble tomb-stone may be seen bearing the inscription "John Winthrop, 1649.” My relation to him, though direct, is thus almost too remote to subject any thing I may say of him to the imputation of being dictated by any mere partiality or family pride. His name, too, is an historical name, upon which the judgment of the world has long ago been irrevocably pronounced.
Coming over here in 1630, as the leader and Governor of the Massachusetts Company, with their charter in his hand, he was identified, perhaps beyond all other men, at once with the foundation of our Commonwealth and of our city. And there is not a page of our colonial records, or of our Town records, during the nineteen years of his living here, which does not bear testimony to his labors and his zeal for the public service. The very first entry in the records of Boston, if I mistake not, was in the handwriting, still extant, of John Winthrop. The first voluntary subscription for the support of Free Schools, in 1636, bore his name, as one of the three equal and largest contributors. The first statute for the establishment of a system of Education in New England, was passed under his auspices, as Governor of the Commonwealth. The neighboring Common, the pride of our city, the play-place of our children, the source of so much health and happiness to us all, was originally laid out while he was at the head of the old Town Government, and by a Committee of which he was Chairman. The evidences of his services and of his sacrifices might be multiplied on every side. He spent his whole strength and his whole substance in the service of the infant Colony, and died at last a poor man; poor in every thing but that good name which is above all price.
But it is not so much what he did, as what he was, that entitles him to the grateful remembrance of the sons and daughters of Boston and of Massachusetts. He was a man of the purest life, of the sternest integrity, of the loftiest moral and religious principle; and he has left an example of moderation and magnanimity, of virtue and piety, second to none which can be found in the annals of our country. His residence was near the site of the Old South Church, - his garden, I believe, including the land upon which that venerated edifice now stands, — and it would scarcely be too much to say, that the atmosphere within those hallowed walls, purified as it is by the weekly prayers and praises of a thousand worshippers, is hardly more pure than when it was the atmosphere of John Winthrop's mansion.
I know not how, Mr. Mayor, I can do any thing more appropriate to this occasion, or furnish any more striking illustration of the principles of him whose name has been inscribed upon these walls, than to read you a few brief sentences from one of his own letters. The letter is dated on the 16th of October, 1622, and was addressed to his eldest son, then a lad of sixteen years old, who was pursuing his studies at Trinity College, Dublin. It furnislies ample proof that the writer was not a man to be satisfied with any mere intellectual education, but that his first care was for the moral and religious instruction of the young
“MY DEARLY BELOVED SON:—I do usually begin and end my letters with that which I would have the alpha and omega of all thy thoughts and endeavors, viz., the blessing of the Almighty to be upon
not after the common valuation of God's blessings, like the warming of the Sun to a hale, stirring body, — but that blessing which faith finds in the sweet promises of God and his free favor, whereby the soul hath a place of joy and refuge in all storms of adversity. I beseech the Lord to open thine eyes, that thou mayest see the riches of His grace, which will abate the account of all earthly vanities; and if it please Him to give thee once a taste of the sweetness of the true wisdom, which is from above, it will season thy studies and give a new temper to thy soul. Remember, therefore, what the wisest saith, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Lay this foundation and thou shalt be wise indeed."
Such was the career and such the character of Governor Winthrop, and I need add nothing more, I am persuaded, to show that his name is worthy of being given to your school. And now, my young friends, it is for you, in your turn, to decide whether the school shall be worthy of the name. No names, however distinguished; no buildings, however convenient or costly; no committees, however enlightened and vigilant; no instructors, however accomplished and devoted, - can make a good school, without the hearty co-operation and willing compliance and faithful study of the scholars. Let me conclude, then, by expressing the hope that you will not be unmindful of your opportunities, that you will not be unmindful of the example of him by whose name you are to be designated; and that by your diligence, your good conduct, your fidelity to your duties, your reverence for the laws of God and of man, and your observance of the lessons of your instructors, you may strive to render the Winthrop School as much a model school in its internal condition and discipline, as it certainly seems to be in its external structure and arrangement. And may the blessing of Heaven be upon your efforts !
THE DEATH OF ABBOTT LAWRENCE.
A SPEECH MADE AT FANEUIL HALL, 20 AUGUST, 1855.
I am sensible, Mr. President and fellow-citizens, how little can be said, and how little can be listened to, with any satisfaction, at an hour of so much general sorrow as the present. But I could not resist the impulse to be here with you this morning; — and, being here, I trust I may be pardoned, - as one of those who have had the privilege of being associated with Mr. Lawrence in many public and private relations, as well as in immediate compliance with the request of those by whom this meeting has been arranged, — for adding a very few words to what has been already so well said.
The protracted illness of Mr. Lawrence has in some measure prepared us all for the blow which has at last fallen. But I cannot help feeling to-day, as I felt many weeks ago, — when it was first announced to us that he had been struck down by a sudden and serious illness, — that Boston has hardly another life of equal value to lose. I might say, not another. Yes, strange as it may seem, when we reflect that within the remembrance of yourself, Mr. President, and of others whom I see around me, he entered Boston a poor lad from the country, “ bringing his bundle under his arm, with less than three dollars in his pocket, and that was his fortune ” — I use the words of his late excellent and lamented brother - strange as it may seem, it is not too much to say now, that take him in all his relations, commercial, political and social, together, — he had become, at the hour of his death, the most important person in our community.
His enterprise, his liberality, his wealth, his influence, his public and private example, his Christian character, all conspired to render him a peculiar and signal blessing to our city, and one which could not have been taken away from us at any time, and more especially, when so many years of usefulness might still have been hoped and expected for him, - without exciting the deepest emotions of sorrow. No, I do not misinterpret this throng of quivering lips and moistened eyes. We all experience to-day, sir, a sense of personal bereavement. We all feel that we have lost a friend ; a friend never wanting to any occasion where good words, or good deeds, where a warm heart or an open hand, could be of service. Not the merchants and manufacturers only are called to mourn one of their best advisers and most valued associates. The moral, the religious, the charitable, the literary and scientific institutions of our city and State, the neighboring University, our own public schools, have lost one of their noblest benefactors. The whole country has lost a citizen of earnest, eminent, intelligent and comprehensive patriotism, who has rendered her no ordinary service in the national councils at home, - I followed him there, sir, and know how difficult it was for anybody to fill his place, — who has represented her worthily and admirably as an Ambassador abroad, - and to whom she might still have looked in the thick-coming exigencies of the future, for filling the very highest places in her gift.
His name was a tower of strength to every good cause, and it was never given to a bad one. His noble bearing and genial presence seemed the very embodiment of an enlarged and enlightened public spirit. If some one of the gifted artists of our land should desire hereafter to personify, on the breathing canvas or in the living marble, the mingled dignity and energy, the blended benevolence, generosity, and enterprise which have characterized the good Boston merchant for so many generations past, I know not how he could ever do so more successfully than by portraying the very form which has just been laid low, and by moulding the very lineaments upon which death has now set its seal. I cannot think of him, as he was among us but yesterday, without recalling the beautiful words of Edmund Burke in reference to his friend Sir George Saville: 66 When an act of great and signal humanity was to be done, and done with all the weight and authority that belonged to it, this community could cast its eyes on none but him."