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in your annals. In this way alone can our free institutions be preserved unimpaired, and in this way alone can a true, safe, rational, and regulated progress — the only progress worthy of the name -- be promoted and secured.
Here, then, to-day, on this hallowed spot, over the graves of your martyrs, and on this anniversary of their fall; beneath this canopy, which was so lately vocal with the praises of the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock, and under which you have now gathered, with hearts freshly softened and saddened by the sudden death of a most estimable young man, who had been among the earliest projectors of this commemoration, - here and now,- let us not merely renew our vows of devotion to American Liberty, and to the Constitution and the Union which are its cherished safeguards and supports, but let us resolve, that, if it he not given to us, as it was to some of those who have gone before us, to die in its defence, we will at least so live, so regulate our own conduct, and so instruct and educate our children, that the Republic shall receive no detriment, either from our acts or from our example. Then, although no lofty column, like that before us, may be erected in our honor, to tell of heroic services or sacrifices in the field or in the forum, we may at least go down to our humbler graves with the proud consciousness that we have been faithful to those great moral principles which lie at the basis of all successful self-government, and without which, no amount or intensity of patriotic sentiment, and no array of physical or intellectual force, can save it from ultimate overthrow.
Once more, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for this kind and flattering reception, — not omitting a special acknowledgment of the charming serenade by which I was saluted last night, - and I pray you to accept, in conclusion, an assurance of my most earnest wishes for your continued prosperity and welfare.
THE COALITION IN MASSACHUSETTS.
A SPEECH DELIVERED AT THE WHIG CONVENTION IN FITCHBURG, SEPTEMBER 28, 1853.
You may not have forgotten, fellow-citizens of Massachusetts, that at the organization of another Convention in this place, not many days ago, it was all at once discovered that the President elect was among the missing. A telegraphic despatch was soon afterwards received, stating that a steamboat accident, or a railroad accident, or some other accident, the details of which I have never yet seen explained, had prevented him from reaching his exalted destination. After the kind and flattering reception which you have just given me, it may be hardly necessary to assure you that the humble individual you have designated as your presiding officer is on hand. I am here, gentlemen, thanks to a kind Providence and a well-conducted railroad train, without damage, and, I may add, without detention; I wish I could say as much for my Boston brethren, whose cars seemed to have been a little behind the time. I will venture to believe, however, that they will be ready to say with General Stark at Bennington, that, though they came late, they will be ready to stay late, and to do their full share of the work to be done now and hereafter.
I am here, gentlemen, with somewhat less of health and vigor, perhaps, than I have heretofore enjoyed, but with the same old Whig spirit with which I have attended your meetings in former years, unchanged and unchanging. I am here to unite with you in all your measures for advancing the honor and the welfare of our beloved Commonwealth, and ready to discharge whatever duties may belong to the distinguished position with which you have now honored me.
Some years have elapsed, my friends, since I last had the privilege of being present at a Whig State Convention. I need not say that they have been eventful years, eventful to our country, eventful to our own Commonwealth, eventful to the Whig party. And I may be pardoned for remembering, too, that they have not been altogether uneventful to myself personally.
For my own part, however, I have .no memory to-day for any thing but what it is agreeable and appropriate to remember, and I am here to entertain and to express no feelings but those of unfeigned gratitude to the Whigs of Massachusetts, both for the unmerited honors which they have so often bestowed upon me, and for their repeated and generous efforts to bestow upon me other honors which it was not my fortune to enjoy.
I can say sincerely, gentlemen, with a distinguished opponent (Hon. Horace Mann) in his late farewell address, from this very platform, - “ It was honor enough for me to precede the man who was to have success.” The man whom I preceded, and whom I am always glad to call my friend, did actually have success, and is, at this moment, Governor of Massachusetts; and it is almost the only subject for regret which this occasion has brought along with it, that he is understood to have positively declined a nomination for another term. I heartily hope and trust that we shall be able to get another Governor, or another candidate, half as good.
I ought to have said, gentlemen, that it was honor enough for me to precede the men who were to have success.
For I cannot forget that there is still another whom I have preceded in a protracted contest for the office which he now holds, and for whom I have, in some sort, been privileged to draw the fire of the enemy, that he might lead on to victory. That other, whom I am not less happy to call my friend, and in whose promotion I can never feel any thing but pleasure and pride, is, I need not say, the distinguished Senator whom you all hoped to have seen here with us this morning, to animate us by his eloquence, and to enlighten us with his counsel.
I deeply regret to inform you, that illness in his family has detained him at home.
If we are disappointed, however, in not seeing all whom we had hoped and expected to see, I am glad to perceive the presence of many whom you will rejoice to welcome,- members of
Congress, and those who have been members of Congress, and those who ought to have been members of Congress, some of whom have been accustomed to address you, and others whose characters are better than a hundred speeches, as an endorsement of any cause which they espouse. I need hardly name Mr. Appleton, Mr. Goodrich, Mr. Sabine, Mr. Wentworth, Mr. Bell, and others, whose familiar forms you have already recognized.
But in turning, fellow-citizens, from these personalities, and in reverting to the past in its relations to our party, to our Commonwealth, and to our country, I cannot so easily forget the circumstances which have darkened our pathway and clouded our prospects, during the last few years. I am not — certainly I am not-so bigoted and bitter a partisan as to grudge to our political opponents an occasional possession of power, either in the nation at large, or in our own State. I am willing to admit, I do admit, that the revolutions of parties in a free country are sometimes productive of positive good, and that the rolling wheel of political fortune is sometimes a wheel of progress and reform. And, let me add, I am always ready to welcome a true progress and a just reform, from whatever quarter it may come, and by whatever rotation it may be accomplished. But I confess, when I reflect on the doubtful and dangerous counsels to which our country has been recently committed ; when I think of the perils which may be at this moment impending over our foreign and our domestic relations, from the extravagant and reckless policy of some of those who occupy the high places of the nation; and when, still more, I contemplate the injury which has been inflicted upon the character of our own Massachusetts, as a State, and the even deeper and more permanent injury which is just ready to be inflicted on our own Massachusetts’ Constitution, - I cannot help deploring the day which introduced divisions and distractions into the ranks of a party which ought to have saved, which might have saved, both State and nation. I cannot help deploring the day which saw that party throw away the opportunity of saving any thing, in order to indulge in mere personal dissensions and family feuds.
Let us all rejoice, however, my friends, that it is not altogether too late for us in Massachusetts to avert some portion of the evil to which our divisions have exposed us. The National Administration, indeed, must take its course, for better or worse, to the end of its allotted term. We will not be hasty in condemning it. We will not prejudge its ultimate acts. We will still hope that its deeds may be less pernicious than some of its doctrines, – that its bite will prove less bad than its bark, and, especially, that a certain "marching, marching, marching ” policy of a certain quondam friend of ours, who, if I remember right, did not make much of a hand at marching himself, will be reserved as the staple of the stump, to point the speeches of itinerary rhetoricians, instead of being adopted into the deliberate counsels of a civilized, Christian cabinet. We will still hope and trust that the energies and enterprise of the new administration will rather be expended in building Pacific Railroads, than in projecting belligerent inroads; and that the self-styled Young America of the day, after all his gallant phrases and boastful professions about progress, will not turn out to be only a bloodthirsty old Roman in disguise.
That would be progress with a witness to it! That would be marching backwards 1900 years at a stride! Heaven forbid that we should be called on in these days to go behind the Christian era for our examples, or to go back of the Gospel pages for our precepts !
Ah, gentlemen, few more weighty words or more instructive suggestions ever fell from the lips of the great New-England statesman, whose voice has been so recently hushed in death, than those which one of his warmest friends (Rev. Dr. Choules) reports him to have uttered in reference to the history of ancient Rome. “I would teach a boy Roman history (said he) with very many notes and annotations. A lad should be made to know that Rome was a highwayman, and principally admired because so successful. The whole history of Rome is one of crime. We, as a people, ought to study the history of Rome very thoughtfully.”
But enough of the National Administration, -enough, certainly, of that Newark manifesto, which, after all, may only have been like the foam and froth of one of those little bottles for