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this moment, they might almost be regarded as successive chapters of a continuous and comprehensive work which had been composed and recited on our great national anniversaries, just as the chapters of Herodotus are said to have been recited at the Olympic festivals of ancient Greece.
Undoubtedly, however, it is rather as an actor and an orator in some of the later scenes of our country's history, than as an author, that Mr. Everett will be longest remembered. Indeed, since he first entered on the stage of mature life, there has hardly been a scene of any sort in that great historic drama, which of late, alas! has assumed the most terrible form of tragedy, in which he has not been called to play a more or less conspicuous part; and we all know how perfectly every part which has been assigned him has been performed. If we follow him from the hour when he left the University of Cambridge, with the highest academic honors, at an age when so many others are hardly prepared to enter there, down to the fatal day when he uttered those last impressive words at Faneuil Hall, we shall find him everywhere occupied with the highest duties, and everywhere discharging those duties with consummate ability and unwearied devotion. Varied and brilliant accomplishments, laborious research, copious diction, marvellous memory, magnificent rhetoric, a gracious presence, a glorious voice, an ardent patriotism controlling his public career, an unsullied purity crowning his private life, -- what element was there wanting in him for the complete embodiment of the classic orator, as Cato and Quinctilian so tersely and yet so comprehensively defined him eighteen hundred years ago,—“Vir bonus, dicendi peritus!”
But I may not occupy more of your time in these introductory remarks, intended only to exhibit our departed friend in his relations to our own Society, and to open the way for those who are prepared to do better justice to his general career and character. Let me only add that our Standing Committee have requested our associates, Mr. Hillard and Dr. Lothrop, to prepare some appropriate resolutions for the occasion, and that the Society is now ready to receive them.
THE FALL OF RICHMOND.
A SPEECH MADE AT FANEUIL HALL, BOSTON, APRIL 4, 1865.
I was greatly honored and obliged, Mr. Mayor, by the invitation I received last evening, from the City Council, to be present here this afternoon and participate in the proceedings of this meeting. Invited or uninvited, however, I could not have found it in my heart to be absent from Faneuil Hall at such a moment. But I felt when the committee called upon me, as I feel now, that I have no articulate speech adequate to such an occasion. Others around me may find it easy to give expression to the emotions which belong to the hour, and I can listen to them with admiration and with envy. But for myself, all the words I can command seem poor and powerless in presence of the great fact which has at length been announced to us by the electric wires. No single voice can do justice to that announcement. It is a moment for the combined voices, for the united cheers and huzzas of a whole people. It is a moment for grasping each other's hands with a fresh feeling of brotherhood and nationality. It is a moment for waving the old Union Flag with a renewed assurance that, by the blessing of God, it is to be the flag of the sons as it has been the flag of their Fathers. It is a moment for illuminations and fireworks, for drums and trumpets and salvos of artillery. It is a moment when one might almost be pardoned for adopting the somewhat inflated style of a certain King of Denmark in that great tragedy which has been recently rendered familiar to many of you, I doubt not, by the striking performance of a most accomplished American actor::
“Let the kettle to the trumpet speak, the trumpet to the cannoneer without, The cannon to the heavens, the heavens to earth.”
Faneuil Hall rejoices this day over the rescue of that Union and Liberty of which it was the cradle. It is a moment for music, for singing “Hail, Columbia!” and the “Star-spangled Banner,”— yes, and “Old Hundred,” too. For, oh, my friends, let us not forget that it is a moment, above all other moments, for deep, devout, reverent thanksgivings to God, who hath at last given us this crowning victory. And I could almost have wished that instead of Old Faneuil Hall (glad as we always are to meet beneath its roof), it had been the Old South, — represented here to-day by one of its pastors, - with all its mingled associations of piety and patriotism, which had been thrown open to us this afternoon, and that we had all gone there, not to listen to such rhetorical commonplaces as I am uttering, but to unite in solemn Te Deums and Jubilates, and to offer up on bended knees the homage of grateful hearts to the high and mighty Ruler of the universe. To Him, this day, our first, best thanks are due. To Him be all the glory! We may not, we cannot, indeed, forget, at such an hour, the human instruments of the great triumph which has been achieved. We cannot withhold our acknowledgments from the indomitable Grant, the modest but sturdy Meade, the dashing, heroic Sheridan, the incomparable and glorious Sherman, marching from point to point with a stride like that of destiny itself. We cannot forget the chivalrous Farragut and his noble compeers, Porter and Rodgers, and others whose names are emblazoned on these walls.
Nor would we omit any just tribute to President Lincoln and his Cabinet, to Seward, or Stanton, or Welles. Still less would we withhold our heartfelt recognition of the toils and trials of the common soldiers, who have poured out their blood and perilled their lives in this terrible struggle. My friend in the corner cries, 6 Three cheers for the common soldiers ! ” heart; and for the sailors, too. But no one can look back on the past four years, and remember how often the battle has wavered and fluctuated, and how long it has hung in suspense, without feeling that a higher than human Power has overruled all events, and has at length, in the fulness of time, vouchsafed to us this final success.
I say final, my friends, for I can no longer doubt that the end of this great tragedy, the very last scene of the last
With all my act, is close at hand. I have no fear have any of you, my friends ? - that there are to be any more
66 Richmonds in the field" in our day and generation.
I cannot doubt that union and peace, and freedom, too, are at length certain to be secured. But I cannot attempt, my friends, either to review the past, or to speculate on the future. Let me only express the hope, in conclusion, that in all our rejoicings, now and hereafter, we shall exhibit a spirit worthy of those who recognize a Divine Hand in what has occurred. Let no boastful exultations mingle with our joy; no brutal vindictiveness tarnish our triumph. Let us indulge no spirit of vengeance or of extermination toward the conquered, nor breathe out threatenings and slaughter against foreign nations. The great work of war accomplished, the even greater work of peace will remain to be undertaken ; and it will demand all our energies and all our endurance. Let us show our gratitude to God by doing all that we can to mitigate the sorrows and sufferings of those upon whom the calamities of war have fallen. Let us exert ourselves with fresh zeal in ministering to the sick and wounded, in binding up the broken hearts, in providing for widows and orphans, for refugeės and freedmen, in re-uniting, as far and as fast as we can, the chords of friendship and good-will wherever they have been shattered or swept away, and thus exhibit our land in that noblest of all attitudes, -- the only attitude worthy of a Christian nation, that of seeking to restore and to maintain peace and brotherhood at home and abroad. Thus only can our triumph be worthily celebrated.
THE DEATH OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN.
REMARKS AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY,
APRIL 20, 1865.
The annual meeting of our Society, as some of you doubtless may have remembered, should have taken place in regular course on Thursday last, — that having been the second Thursday in the month. But, as that day had been designated by His Excellency the Governor as a day of fasting and prayer, the Standing Committee, under the authority conferred upon them in our By-laws, postponed our meeting until to-day. Had we met a week ago, gentlemen, we should have come here with feelings of unmingled joy and exultation at the recent and glorious successes of the Union armies, and should have exchanged heartfelt congratulations on the cheering prospect of an early restoration of Union and Peace to our beloved country. Nor can we fail to remember most gratefully to-day, even amid all the clouds and darkness which surround us, that such successes have been achieved, and that such prospects have indeed opened upon us.
But an event has since occurred which has turned all our joy into mourning, and we meet under circumstances which almost unfit us for the ordinary routine of business. The awful crime which was perpetrated at Washington on Friday last would have filled all our hearts with horror, even had it only involved the life of any of the humblest of our fellow-citizens. But it has taken from us the chosen Chief Magistrate of the nation, — the man who, of all other men, could least be spared to the administration of our Government, the man who was most trusted, most relied on, most beloved by the loyal people of the Union. Beyond all doubt, the life of President Lincoln was a thousand-fold the most precious life in our