Abbildungen der Seite

of benevolent and philanthropic enterprise. The mere statement of the stupendous fact, that more than half a million of the young men of our land, almost three-quarters of a million — the numbers are rapidly mounting up while I speak — have been suddenly summoned from their homes and their altars, to contend for the defence of the Union, and to encounter all the exposures of the camp, and all the dangers of the battle-field, — is enough to awaken every thoughtful mind and every earnest heart to the duty which rests upoi those of us who remain behind.

And what is that duty ? It is to accompany and to follow our gallant volunteers, not merely with words of approbation and shouts of encouragement, but with ample and substantial supplies of whatever may afford them the greatest comfort and support in the hardships and deprivations to which they are subjected, and of whatever may best prepare them for meeting, bravely and heroically, the great issues of life or death which await them.

We all rejoice in the successful operations of those sanitary commissions which have been organized in so many parts of the country; and no one can have witnessed without the highest admiration and the warmest sympathy, the unwearied efforts of the mothers and daughters of the loyal States, to make every needful, and I had almost said every conceivable, provision for the bodily comfort of their sons and brothers.

But we all know that there are other and higher needs than those of the body. We all know that in the camp and in the hospital, in the exposures of the day and in the watches of the night, in every hour of temptation from within or of danger from without, in the anguish of disease, in the agony of conflict, in the sharpness of death, there is a want which cannot be met by any mere material supplies.

This is the want, sometimes most needed where it is least felt, for which the Association before me, and others of a similar character, have undertaken to provide ; and for which, to so considerable a degree, they have already provided. The Bible, the Prayer Book, the Hymn Book, the precious pages of your little Tracts and Messengers, scattered like leaves for the healing of wounds beyond the reach of all other surgery; - some of them reproducing the Scripture texts which nerved the hearts of the Puritan soldiers of Cromwell in the great Civil Wars of England, and some of them recounting the triumphs of prayer and faith in the peculiar conflicts of our own Pilgrim or Patriot Fathers; who shall estimate the value of supplies like these for our young soldiers and young sailors in their hours of trial!

Whose heart has not swelled with emotion, and been animated to higher hopes for our cause and for our country, as he has remarked that under influences like these, and by the example and authority of our Scotts and McClellans, our Wools, Andersons, and Footes, profanity, intemperance, and gambling have been discouraged and rebuked in our camps; that the Sunday has been so generally observed as a day of rest and of worship, even on the very verge of battle; and that so often around the evening watch-fires, the glorious notes of Old Hundred and the Army Hymn have resounded to the skies, in fit alternation with Hail Columbia and the Star-spangled Banner!

God forbid that there should be any lack of means for keeping up supplies of this sort, from whatever source, or from whatever society, they may come! and I trust that whatever else may be done, or left undone, during this Anniversary week, the amplest provision may be made for securing the full amount which may be necessary for carrying on this noble work of mingled piety and patriotism.

Doubtless, my friends, among the eighty-six or eighty-seven millions of pages, which have been printed by this Society, since your last anniversary meeting; or even among the more than fifty millions of pages which have been gratuitously distributed by it, during the past year, there might be found some, which would not altogether approve themselves to the judgment or the taste of us all. But what is the chaff to the wheat ?

For myself, certainly, I can say, that in one particular policy of your worthy Publishing Committee I have heretofore most heartily concurred. I rejoice especially to remember that, up to the moment when the relations of the North and the South were so wantonly and treacherously broken up, not a line had been printed under their authority which could not have free and welcome circulation among Christian men and women of all sections of the Union.

It is a pleasant thing for us to remember at this hour, that a considerable quantity of the publications of this Society were still on hand in our Southern depositaries at the outbreak of the rebellion, and that they may have done something towards supplying the religious wants of those who are so madly arrayed against us. That is a sort of aid and comfort which I do not believe you will be charged with treason for having furnished. I heartily hope that the day is not far distant when there will be once more a free course and circulation for all that you can supply throughout the length and breadth of our beloved country; and I trust that you may be in a condition to avail yourselves fully of such an opportunity, whenever in the good providence of God it shall have arrived.

More than any thing else, more than any thing else, we shall need hereafter a renewal, a revival, of those common religious influences and sympathies, which these great National societies have done so much to kindle and keep alive. Every thing has been going on as prosperously and as triumphantly for the Union cause as we had a right to expect, so far as our armies and navies are concerned. Victory after victory has gladdened our hearts in the West and in the South; and there is nothing in the recent retreat of that brave little band in the valley of the Shenandoah, which ought seriously to disturb any one except those who are responsible for leaving it exposed to such overwhelming odds.

Every thing is still in the way of being accomplished, so far as military force can reach, for the rightful vindication of the National authority, and for the restoration of the old Constitution, the old Union, and the old Flag of our Fathers.

But there is one conquest which will remain yet longer to be achieved. There must be a change of heart in the rebellious breast. The terrible spirit of rebellion must be assuaged or exorcised at the South; and if there be any spirit of mere vengeance or injustice of any sort, growing up among ourselves, under provocations to which none of us can be insensible, that, too, must be seasonably checked. The words of the great Apostle are as applicable at this hour, as when they were first addressed to the Romans : “ Be not overcome of evil; but overcome evil with good.”

If there be “ a devil in secession," as that fearless Tennessee patriot has recently told us, we all know what is the only power which has ever succeeded in casting out devils. It was not the power of Beelzebub. Nor was it the power of man. No military stratagems, no civil statesmanship, no policy of man's device, no wholesale confiscations or emancipations, can reach it. It came of old, and it must come again, from higher than human sources or influences. We must look, in God's good time, for a spirit of reconciliation, breathed forth from the very throne of the Most High, to turn back our hearts to each other and to Himself; and we must invite it, and invoke it, and prepare the way for it, by all the instrumentalities in our power.

In a word, my friends, the influences of a common religion, the sympathies of a common faith, the blessing of a common Father and Saviour, must come to our aid in this great crisis of our country's fate, or all our blood and treasure may still fail of accomplishing that restoration of National unity and concord, which is the only aim of all true patriots.

Once more, then, let me express the earnest hope, before taking my seat, that while every thing in our power is done to sustain and uphold the physical strength and military power of the Government, these religious associations whose anniversaries have so long shed a hallowed influence over this last week of May, may still be counted, as they deserve to be counted, among the best sanitary commissions, not only for our own armies, but for the whole country, and that their treasuries may not fail of being replenished with abundant means for carrying on the glorious work to which they are pledged and consecrated.



SOCIETY, MAY 28, 1862.

AFTER the interesting and admirable address of the gentleman from New York (the Hon. William E. Dodge), which we have all heard with so much gratification, I shall detain you, ladies and gentlemen, but a very few minutes. I came here rather to listen than to speak. Your worthy Secretary will bear me witness that I declined to be responsible for any formal address on this occasion. But I could not resist the appeal of your President, a day or two since, that I would give expression in a few brief sentences to the interest which I feel in the cause in which we are assembled.

Beyond a doubt, my friends, the cause of African colonization has assumed a new interest, a new importance, in view of the existing condition of our country. Whatever indifference any of us may have heretofore felt in regard to it, there is now an emergency to which no one can be altogether insensible. And no one I think, can help rejoicing that there is a society already in existence; with an established national organization; with branches in so many of the States; with most valuable experience already acquired; with carefully considered and deliberately adopted plans; and prepared, providentially prepared, to meet, in so considerable degree, the precise emergency which has now arisen.

There need be no question here, upon subjects which are giving occasion to so much angry controversy elsewhere. I need hardly say that I am no advocate of any wholesale projects of emancipation, - whether under the color of confiscation, or upon

« ZurückWeiter »