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and blood. The stars are all there. We count them wistfully day by day, and hail each one of them — still and always as the cherished emblem of a sister State. And most fervently do we hope and pray that, by the blessing of God, the day may soon return when each one of them may again be hailed as the emblem of a loyal and a loving sister; when a spirit of reconciliation may have been poured out effectually over all those alienated hearts; and when the blended radiance of our whole glorious constellation may once more illumine the pathway of Constitutional Liberty for all the nations of the earth!

It only remains for me, sir, to present to you, as I now do, the standard which has been prepared for you. In the name of the Boston Light Infantry Association, and of the friends of your regiment who are gathered around me, I commit it to the sacred guardianship of the regiment under your command; and may the blessing of God be upon you, whenever and wherever you may be called on to display it or defend it. And not upon you only, but upon all your gallant compeers, who have been your associates in yonder camp, and who go forth with you this day to a common field of duty and of danger:- God bless and prosper and protect them all!




I THANK you, Mr. President and gentlemen, for this friendly and flattering reception. I thank you still more for any humble part which I may be allowed to appropriate to myself of the compliment which you have paid to the past commanders of the Boston Light Infantry. I may be pardoned, however, for reminding you that I am not here as an invited guest, and that I might fairly claim an exemption from the responsibilities which belong to those who are at your table in that capacity. I have come here as a member of your association, who has not forgotten his old relations to the corps from which it has derived its name and its existence, and who would not willingly be forgotten by those to whom he owes so many of the most agreeable honors of his earlier life. I was not willing to be absent from the roll-call on Washington's birthday, and most gladly did I welcome the circular note of your committee, calling on us all, without distinction of past rank, to assemble here this evening, in commemoration of that hallowed anniversary.

The day which gave Washington to his country and to mankind can never lose its hold on any true American heart. Nor ought it ever to dawn upon us without awakening a new thrill of gratitude to God, and a quicker and deeper throb of devotion to the Union. No lapse of time, no change of circumstances, can impair our veneration for his memory. No failures of others can dim the brilliancy of his triumphs. The very clouds and darkness which surround us at this moment serve only to lend additional lustre to his transcendent character and his matchless


. To him, more than to any other human being, we owe it that we this day have a country to fight for; a Constitution to maintain ; a Union to defend. That Constitution itself may be overthrown. That Union may be rent asunder. That great country which has so long been his best and only adequate monument, may survive only in dissevered fragments. An unnatural and deplorable war may continue to rage around his very ashes. Even the precious souvenirs of his household may be scattered and trampled in the dust. But his fame is embalmed beyond the reach of accident or of malice. His precepts and principles will remain as just, as true, and as worthy of all acceptation, as when they first fell from his lips or were first embodied in his life. His great example will still live and shine, a light to lighten the nations, and the glory of the American people.

Yes, my friends, even were we willing to contemplate the wholly inadmissible idea that the unholy rebellion against which we have been so long contending were destined to be successful in the end, we still could never acknowledge that Washington had lived in vain, or that he and his compatriots had labored and toiled and poured out their treasure and blood to no effect. It is not in our power to frustrate the influence of such labors and such lives. The past, the glorious past, is secure.

More than seventy years of successful self-government, with all the triumphs of art, and science, of popular education and of popular liberty, at home and abroad, with which those years have been crowned and crowded, would have been worth more than all they have cost. A grand experiment has been tried. It has been tried successfully. It has been tried triumphantly, so far as those who instituted it are concerned. And if American history as the history of a united republic, were to be brought to a conclusion this day, if the last leaf of the last volume of that history were already turned, it would still close with a tribute of praise and honor and gratitude to the men who achieved our independence, established our Union and framed our Constitution; and to Washington as first and foremost among them all. Upon us, and not upon them, would rest the responsibility of such a catastrophe. Upon us, and not upon them, would fall the reproach for such an eclipse of the world's best hopes. And the only verdict of posterity would be, that we of this generation had been wanting in the wisdom, the courage, and the virtue which were necessary to preserve the noble inheritance which our fathers had won for us.

Would to Heaven that, by some human or divine influence, a renewed reverence for Washington and his associates of every part of our land - for Adams and Jefferson, for Hamilton, Madison and Jay, for Warren and Franklin, and Lee and Laurens, and Pinckney and Sumter - could once more be kindled in every American heart, North and South, re-awakening that spirit of mutual concession and conciliation by which alone our Union and Liberty were first secured, and inspiring us all with a determination to withhold no sacrifice, not merely of time and treasure and life, but of party feeling, of sectional prejudice, of pride and persistency of opinion, in order to accomplish the one great end of saving our country! Then we might hope to see other scenes besides those which are now crimsoning the fields of our fathers' glory with the best blood of their children. Then we might even look for such a sight as was once witnessed in the environs of ancient Rome, a little more than four centuries after it was founded. There had been a revolution there, or a rebellion of some sort: a secession, it is called by more than one historian, resulting in civil war. Hostile armies were marching against each other, and were on the very verge of a desperate conflict. But the old associations and the old memories overruled the madness of the hour. When the opposing parties approached each other, we are told, and citizens were seen arrayed in order of battle against citizens, all shrunk alike from bringing their contests to such an issue, and with a sudden revulsion of feeling, the soldiers, instead of joining battle, first welcomed each other with friendly greeting, then, as they drew nearer, grasped each other's hands, till at last, amid mutual tears and expressions of remorse, they rushed into each other's arms. Peace and concord were once more restored, and Rome was once more on her way to be the mistress of the world.

I fear it is too late to hope that this exquisite picture from the old Roman legends can be reproduced in our American history. But if such a spirit as it portrays could have been breathed from on high upon the hearts of the confederate hosts, as they first gathered around the capitol of the Old Dominion, where that inimitable statue of the Father of his Country is enshrined, or as they marched over the fields which had been the scenes of his childhood and his youth, or as they drew near to the sacred precincts of Mount Vernon, and filed around the spot on which all that was mortal of him still reposes ; if, as they saw the old flag and recognized those who had come out to defend it, a realizing sense could have come over them of what they were doing, of what a country they were endeavoring to destroy, of whose work they were about to break up, - what a glorious fraternization we should have seen! What a succession of Washington's birthdays we might then have commemorated! What Fourth days of July we should then have celebrated! What an independence of all the world would then have been ours and our children's for ever!

Let us not altogether despair, my friends, that, by the blessing of Heaven, the memories of the fathers may still have an influence in assuaging the madness of the sons, and may once more prove a bond of union and concord which shall endure to the latest generations of our posterity. Let us keep those memories bright, that they may do so. Meantime, nothing remains for us now but to cling fast to the Union ourselves. We must uphold the Constitutional Government of our country, whoever else assails it. We must stand by the Flag of our Fathers in whatever keeping we find it. Above all, we must strengthen the hands and encourage the hearts of our armies in the field, assuring them that however we may differ about measures or about men, we all agree in the most earnest wishes for their success, and are eager to afford them every aid and comfort in our power.

This is the spirit in which our association was formed. This is the spirit in which it has already sent forth a noble regiment to the seat of war. Let us all unite in sending our best wishes to that regiment from this board, — from this festal celebration of the birthday of Washington, where we are honored with the presence of a gallant veteran of the army,- General Wool, who, though late at the feast, was never late on the battle-field.

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