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whole land; and there are few of us, I think, who would not willingly have rescued it at the risk, or even at the sacrifice, of our

The cheerful courage, the shrewd sagacity, the earnest zeal, the imperturbable good-nature, the untiring fidelity to duty, the ardent devotion to the Union, the firm reliance upon God, which he has displayed during his whole administration ; and the eminent moderation and magnanimity, both towards political opponents and public enemies, which he has manifested since his recent and triumphant re-election, have won for him a measure of regard, of respect, and of affection, such as no other man of our age has ever enjoyed. The appalling and atrocious crime, of which he has been the victim, will only deepen the impression of his virtues and his excellences, and he will go down to history with the double crown of the foremost Patriot and the foremost Martyr of this great struggle against treason and rebellion.

With the concurrence of the Standing Committee, I submit for your adoption the following resolutions :

Resolved, By the Massachusetts Historical Society, that we are unwilling to enter upon the business of our annual meeting this day without having placed upon record some formal expression of the profound emotions which have been excited in all our minds and in all our hearts, by the tidings which have reached us during the last few weeks, and more particularly during the last few days; tidings which at one moment have thrilled us with delight by the glorious assurance that an urnatural and abhorrent rebellion was on the point of being triumphantly suppressed, and which at the next moment have overwhelmed us with grief for the loss of the most valued and most important life in our whole land by a foul and wicked assassination.

Resolved, That the fall of the rebel capital, which had so long defied the strenuous assaults of the Union army, followed as it has been by successive surrenders of the rebel forces, calls for the most grateful acknowledgments of every American patriot ; first, to the Almighty Ruler of the Universe, who in his good time has vouchsafed us these decisive successes; and, next, to Lieutenant-General Grant and the officers and soldiers under his command for their persevering and heroic conduct and courage; but that we cannot forget how much we are indebted also for these glorious results to President Lincoln and his Cabinet, who have superintended the military as well as the civil policy of the Government during our great struggle for maintaining the American Union.

Resolved, That in the assassination of President Lincoln we recognize as atrocious and dreadful a crime as ever stained the annals of any age or any land; that his loss to our country is the heaviest which could have befallen it; that his integrity, fidelity, and patriotism, his moderation and magnanimity, and his untiring and successful devotion to the cause of Union and Liberty, followed as they have been by a murder so cruel and so wicked, have secured for him a place in American history, and a place in every loyal heart throughout the land, such as has hitherto been held only by the Father of his Country.

Resolved, That our cordial sympathies are hereby tendered to the Hon. William H. Seward in his sufferings from the inhuman and fiendish assault which has been made upon him and his family; that we pray God that he may

live to witness the final re-establishment of the Union for which he has labored so ably and so devotedly; and that, as a humble tribute of our regard and respect, we unanimously enroll him among the honorary members of our Society.

Resolved, That we recognize the duty and the privilege of all good citizens to uphold the constituted authorities of the land in an hour like this; and that we hereby offer to President Andrew Johnson, who has succeeded to the Chief Magistracy under circumstances so impressive and so trying, the most respectful assurance of our sympathy and confidence, with our best wishes for his personal welfare and for the success of his administration.



MAY 11, 1965.

A LITTLE more than a year ago, gentlemen, we thought it not unfit to recognize the commemoration, in Old England, of the three hundredth anniversary of the birthday of Shakspeare, and to enter upon our records a passing expression of our sympathy with all who were engaged in paying homage to the memory of that marvellous man. No other birthday of a kindred character, I am aware, can have equal claims upon our notice with that birthday. The language of Shakspeare is our own language, and his native land is the native land of our fathers. But we may not wholly forget, that, in another and still more distant clime, there is in progress at this very hour a commemoration of the six hundredth anniversary of the birthday of a great poet, who, though far less familiar to most of us than Shakspeare, cannot fail to be regarded by us all with the warmest admiration; a poet, whothough banished from his own city for the part he had taken in its unhappy civil wars, and though forbidden to return within the boundaries of the republic under penalty of being burnt alive was yet 110 sooner in his grave, than all Italy felt that she had lost her foremost man; a great Christian poet, who was not merely the father of modern Italian poetry, but to whom the poets of all countries for so many centuries have been accustomed to turn with an almost filial reverence, and who has been happily and justly styled the morning star of modern literature. Nor can we forget that from his native land came forth the discoverers of our own, and that his language was substantially that of Columbus and Vespucius. Italy has many titles to the regard and sympathy of lovers of literature and lovers of liberty throughout the world. But Americans may well feel a special interest in all that concerns her welfare and her honor, and particularly at a moment when she is just entering on a new career as a united nation, with the birthplace of Dante as its capital. And no American, I am sure, can have observed without emotion, in the very latest accounts from Europe, that the Chamber of the Italian Deputies was instantly draped in mourning on the announcement of the deplorable event which has deprived our country of an honored and beloved chief magistrate. I will not detain you by any further remarks of my own on this subject, as there are those of our number whose particular province and privilege it is to deal with Dante and his “Divine Comedy,” if any thing is to be said about them here on this occasion. It is enough for me to open the way for them by submitting the following resolution, under the authority of our Standing Committee:

Resolved, By the Massachusetts Historical Society, that we cannot fail to bear in mind with deep interest that a great historical and literary festival is this day in progress in the beautiful city of Florence, commemorative of the six hundredth anniversary of the birthday of Dante; that we heartily sympathize with all who are uniting to pay homage to the memory and the genius of that illustrious Christian poet; and that we rejoice that the occurrence of so memorable a jubilee finds Italy in the enjoyment of a national union, for which so many of her noblest sons have long and ardently labored, and from which she confidently anticipates a revival of her literary and historic renown.



SEPTEMBER 14, 1865.

I NEED not say to you, Gentlemen, that our Society has sustained a severe loss since our last monthly meeting. Other names have disappeared of late, in but too rapid succession, from our rolls, which have enjoyed a wider celebrity from their association with exalted public service, or with eminent literary or professional success. But we have been called to part with no name which has been more immediately and peculiarly identified with the prosperity and progress of our own Society, during the golden period of its last ten years, than that of GEORGE LIVERMORE ; and we owe to his memory the largest measure of respect and gratitude.

We need not look beyond the room in which we are assembled, to find evidence of the leading part which he took in what may almost be called the reconstruction of our Society. No one will have forgotten, that from his hand, on the 9th of April, 1857, we received the key that unlocked to us this beautiful library, and that first admitted us to the enjoyment of privileges which each succeeding year has taught us to value more and more highly. To him, beyond all doubt, as the tried and trusted friend of our munificent benefactor, and as one of his chosen executors, - to him more than to any or all other men except Mr. Dowse himself, are we indebted at once for the original possession of these cherished treasures, and for the rich appointments and liberal endowments by which they were accompanied and followed.

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