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will agree with me, that no Legation has been more uniformly or more highly valued and respected than the Russian Legation, personally and officially, by all who have been privileged to know those who have composed it. I regret that M. de Stoeckl could not have been with us to-day, that we might have included him in the compliments of this occasion, and that we might have united in drinking his health, with all the honors to which he is entitled, as the accredited Representative of the Emperor.

The Russian Empire, sir, has been less visited by American travellers than any other of the great countries of the Old World. It has always seemed a great deal farther off from us than other countries, and in many other respects besides physical distance. Its institutions are in the greatest possible contrast to our own. Its domestic policy in years past has often been the very reverse of that which we could all have wished. Its names are very hard to pronounce, and even harder to remember. Its language is very difficult to be learned, and is understood by so few of us, that we have been obliged to take all our accounts of the land and its inhabitants at second hand. As a matter of geography, indeed, we have not failed to observe its magnificent distances and colossal proportions on the map. As a matter of history, we have not omitted to recognize the giant strides with which it has marched on, and is still marching on, to no second place among the nations of the world. But practically, and as a matter of personal concern, it has rarely been recalled to us by any thing more substantial than the “ Nesselrode Pudding” or the “ Charlotte Russe" on our bills of fare; by the hemp required for the rigging of our men-of-war, or for the smaller rope which is sometimes brought into uncomfortable play in cases of treason or of crime; or

or — more agreeably, certainly, than either -- by the glorious Hymn now known to all our orchestras, and adopted in all our churches, which is by no means inferior even to the farfamed anthem of Old England in the richness of its harmony, and the majestic grandeur of its cadences. But recent

But recent events have changed the whole aspect of our relations with Russia. The Emperor's late noble act of emancipation at home, and his kind and generous words, conveyed in the despatch of Prince Gortschakoff to our own Government, have struck a sympathetic and responsive chord in every American breast, as directly and as effectively, as if those magnetic wires which Mr. Everett has just foreshadowed, and which are even now in preparation, had already been stretched across the Siberian desert, had already been strung along the banks of the Amoor, had already vibrated over Behring's Straits, and as if the living spark had leaped at a bound from the palace of the Czars to the hearts of the American people.

And now, while we are welcoming the Russian flag and the Russian fleet to our harbors, and exchanging these acts of courtesy with so many intelligent and gallant officers of the Imperial Navy, let us not forget the health of the General Admiral of that navy.

It was my good fortune, seventeen or eighteen years ago, to see this distinguished person in London. He was then a very young man, and he had come over, not in disguise, like Peter the Great, but openly and avowedly to study the military institutions and naval establishments of England. I saw him reviewing the Queen's household troops in company with the late lamented Prince Consort and the ever-honored and illustrious Duke of Wellington, and I was afterwards privileged to meet him at the British Court. We have an Aide-de-Camp of his with us on this occasion, - himself the son of the President of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, and whose voice has already been welcomed at the opening of our new hall of Natural History.

I propose the health of His Imperial Highness the Grand Duke Constantine, the General Admiral of the Russian Navy.



JULY 14, 1864.

GENTLEMEN OF THE MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY, When we were last assembled here, at our stated monthly meeting, on the ninth day of June, our Society, for the first time since its institution in 1791, had on its catalogue just a hundred names of living members, resident within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. An election at the previous meeting in May had at length completed the full number allowed by our charter; and on that day our roll was full.

At the head of that roll — first in the order of seniority, and second, certainly, in nothing that could attract interest, respect, and veneration stood the name of one who had been a member of the Society during sixty-eight out of the seventy years of our corporate existence; who had witnessed our small beginnings; who had been associated with Belknap and Sullivan and Tudor and Minot, and the rest of the little band of our immediate founders, in all but our very earliest proceedings and publications; who for seventeen years, long past, had been our Treasurer, and had repeatedly done faithful and valuable service as a member of our Executive and of our Publishing Committees; whose interest in our prosperity and welfare had known no suspension or abatement with the lapse of time ; who had contributed liberally to the means by which our condition had of late been so largely improved, and our accommodations so widely extended; and who so often, during the very last years of his eventful and protracted life, had lent the highest interest to our meetings by his venerable presence, and by his earnest and impressive participation in our discussions and doings.

You all remember, I am sure, how proudly he marshalled the way for us into this beautiful Dowse Library, when its foldingdoors were first thrown open seven or eight years ago, and when it might so well have been said of him :

“ The monumental pomp of age

Was with this goodly personage;
A stature undepressed in size,
Unbent, which rather seemed to rise,
In open victory o'er the weight
Of eighty years, to loftier height.”

You all remember how impressively he reminded us, not long afterwards, at that memorable meeting on the death of our lamented Prescott, that he became a member of this Society the very year in which that illustrious historian was born.

You all remember how playfully he observed, a few years later, when seconding the nomination of the late Lord Lyndhurst as one of our Honorary Members, that the same nurse had served in immediate succession for the infant Copley and himself, and that she must certainly have given them both something very good to make them live so long.

You all remember how pleasantly he recalled to us that earliest reminiscence of his own infancy, when, being taken by his widowed mother out of Boston, while it was in the joint possession of the British army and of a pestilence even more formidable than any army, he was stopped at the lines to be smoked, for fear he might communicate contagion to the American troops who were besieging the town.

You have not forgotten that delightful meeting beneath his own hospitable roof, on the eighty-third anniversary of the Battle of Lexington,- the guns of which might have startled his own infant slumbers, - when he read to us so many interesting memoranda, from the manuscript diaries of his patriot father, in regard to events which led to the establishment of our National Independence.

Still less can any of you have forgotten his personal attendance here, only a few months since, when, with an evident consciousness that he had come among us for the last time, he presented to us several most interesting and valuable historical documents, - at this moment passing through the press, - which he had recently observed among his private papers; which he thought might possibly have come into his possession as one of our Publishing Committee, more than half a century ago ; and which, with the scrupulous exactness which characterized him through life, he desired to deliver up to us personally, before it should be too late for him to do so.

No wonder, my friends, that we always welcomed his presence here with such eager interest. No wonder that with so much pleasure we saw him seated, from time to time, in yonder Washington chair, hitherto reserved for him alone ; for he alone of our number had ever personally seen and known that “ foremost man of all this world.” No wonder that we cherished his name with so much pride at the head of our roll, as an historical name, linking us, by its associations with the living as well as with the dead, to the heroic period of our Revolutionary struggle; and no wonder, certainly, that we all feel deeply to-day, when we are assembled to receive the official announcement of his death, that a void has been created in our ranks and in our hearts, which can hardly be filled.

I have spoken of his name as an historical name; and I need hardly say, that it would have been so, even had it been associated with no other career than his own. His own fortunate and remarkable life, - embracing the whole period of our existence thus far as a nation, and covering more than a third of the time since the earliest colonial settlement of New England, - a life crowded with the most varied and valuable public service, and crowned at last with such a measure of honor, love, and reverence, as rarely falls to the lot of humanity, was sufficient in itself to secure for him an historical celebrity, even while he still lived. But, indeed, his name had entered into history while he was yet an unconscious child. In a letter of the Rev. Dr. William Gordon, dated on the 26th of April, 1775, and contained in his contemporaneous "History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment of the Independence of America, will be found the following passage:

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