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Title: Modern Eloquence: Vol II, After-Dinner Speeches E-O

Editor: Thomas B. Reed

Release date: July 13, 2006 [eBook #18823]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Audrey Longhurst, Janet Blenkinship, Carolyn
Bottomley and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at



Reproduction of Mural Decoration



Photo-engraving in colors after the original painting by George W. Maynard

This picture is one of a series of eight panels representing "The Virtues"—Fortitude, Justice, Patriotism, Courage, Temperance, Prudence, Industry, and Concord. The number of virtues to be represented was limited to the number of panels, so the selection was necessarily somewhat arbitrary. Each figure is about five and a half feet high, clad in floating classic drapery, and represented to the spectator as appearing before him in the air, without a support or background other than the deep red of the wall. "Justice" holds the globe in one hand, signifying the extent of her sway. In the other hand she holds a naked sword upright, in token of the terribleness of her punishment.]

Title Page





After-Dinner Speeches


Copyright, 1903


Edward Everett Hale, Author of "The Man Without a

John B. Gordon, Former United States Senator.

Nathan Haskell Dole, Associate Editor "International
Library of Famous Literature."

James B. Pond, Manager Lecture Bureau; Author of "Eccentricities
of Genius."

George McLean Harper, Professor of English Literature,
Princeton University.

Lorenzo Sears, Professor of English Literature, Brown University.

Edwin M. Bacon, Former Editor "Boston Advertiser" and
"Boston Post."

J. Walker McSpadden, Managing Editor "Édition Royale"
of Balzac's Works.

F. Cunliffe Owen, Member Editorial Staff "New York

Truman A. DeWeese, Member Editorial Staff "Chicago

Champ Clark, Member of Congress from Missouri.

Marcus Benjamin, Editor, National Museum, Washington,
D. C.

Clark Howell, Editor "Atlanta Constitution."


Thomas B. Reed,Hamilton Wright Mabie,
Lorenzo Sears,Jonathan P. Dolliver,
Champ Clark,Edward Everett Hale,
Albert Ellery Bergh.

NOTE—A large number of the most distinguished speakers of this country and Great Britain have selected their own best speeches for this Library. These speakers include Whitelaw Reid, William Jennings Bryan, Henry van Dyke, Henry M Stanley, Newell Dwight Hillis, Joseph Jefferson, Sir Henry Irving, Arthur T. Hadley, John D. Long, David Starr Jordan, and many others of equal note.



Eggleston, George Cary
Southern Literature423
Eliot, Charles William
Harvard and Yale427
Eliot, Samuel A.
The Source of Song and Story431
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
England, Mother of Nations437
The Memory of Burns439
The Wisdom of China445
Evarts, William Maxwell
International Arbitration448
The Republic and Its Outlook452
The French Alliance457
Tribute to Herbert Spencer462
The Classics in Education465
Liberty Enlightening the World469
Ewing, Thomas C.
Ohio and the Northwest474
Farrar, Frederic William
Poet and Painter479
Fellows, John R.
North and South482
Field, David Dudley
The Telegraph490
Early Connecticut493
Finch, Francis M.
The Office of the Law496
Foord, John
The Land o' Cakes500
Ford, Simeon
Me and Sir Henry505
A Run on the Banker507
Froude, James Anthony
Men of Letters510
Fuller, Melville Weston
The Supreme Court513
Garland, Hamlin
Realism versus Romanticism518
Gilbert, John
Playing Old Men Parts522
Gilbert, William Schwenk
Gilman, Daniel Coit
The Era of Universities528
Gladstone, William Ewart
The Age of Research530
Grady, Henry W.
The Race Problem534
Grand, Sarah
Mere Man551
Grant, Ulysses Simpson
A Remarkable Climate557
Characteristics of Newspaper Men559
The Adopted Citizen561
Griggs, John William
Social Discontent564
Hale, Edward Everett
The Mission of Culture570
Hall, William F.
Yarn of the Manager Bold581
Halstead, Murat
Our New Country584
Harrison, Benjamin
The Union of States589
Hawley, Joseph Roswell
The Press593
Hay, John
Omar Khayyam598
Hayes, Rutherford B.
National Sentiments601
Hendrix, Joseph C.
The Wampum of the Indians603
Herschell, Lord
Great Britain and the United States609
Hillard, George Stillman
The Influence of Men of Genius616
Hole, Samuel Reynolds
With Brains, Sir!622
Holmes, Oliver Wendell
Welcome to the Alumni625
Dorothy Q.627
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr.
Sons of Harvard Who Fell in Battle630
The Joy of Life631
Houghton, Lord (Richard Monckton Milnes)
Your Speech and Ours635
Bonds of National Sympathy639
Howe, Julia Ward
Tribute to Oliver Wendell Holmes645
Howell, Clark
Our Reunited Country647
Howells, William Dean
The "Atlantic" and Its Contributors653
Howland, Henry Elias
Our Ancestors and Ourselves661
Huxley, Thomas Henry
Science and Art670
Ingersoll, Robert Green
The Music of Wagner672
Irving, Sir Henry
Looking Forward676
The Drama678
The Function of the Newspaper681
Jebb, Richard Claverhouse
Literature and Art686
Jefferson, Joseph
My Farm in Jersey688
In Memory of Edwin Booth691
Kitchener, Lord
The Relief of Khartum694
Lang, Andrew
Problem Novels698
Laurier, Wilfrid
Lawrence, Frank R.
The Future of New York705
Lecky, William E. H.
The Artistic Side of Literature708
Lee, Fitzhugh
The Flag of the Union Forever710
Leighton, Sir Frederic
Variety in British Art713
Leland, Charles Godfrey
Hans Breitmann's Return717
Lincoln, Abraham
Central Ideas of the Republic720
Lodge, Henry Cabot
The Blue and the Gray723
Long, John Davis
The Navy727
Low, Seth
The Chamber of Commerce731
Lowell, James Russell
Harvard Alumni737
National Growth of a Century741
The Stage745
After-Dinner Speaking750
"The Return of the Native"7533
International Copyright761
Lowell, John
Humors of the Bench766
Lytton, Lord (Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton)
Macready and the English Stage769
Farewell to Charles Dickens774
Mabie, Hamilton Wright
Spirit of New England Literature778
Mackay, Donald Sage
The Dutch Domine782
Mackenzie, Alexander C.
Macready, William Charles
Farewell to the Stage791
McCarthy, Justin
Ireland's Struggle795
McClure, Alexander Kelly
An Editorial Retrospect799
McKelway, St. Clair
Smashed Crockery807
Tribute to Mark Twain811
McKinley, William
Our Country815
The Future of the Philippines818
Melish, William B.
The Ladies825
Miles, Nelson Appleton
The Spanish-American War831
Miller, Samuel Freeman
Federal Judges834
Morley, John
Literature and Politics838
Motley, John Lothrop
The Poets' Corner842
Newman, John Philip
Norton, Charles Eliot
Castles in Spain850
Oglesby, Richard
The Royal Corn853
O'Reilly, John Boyle
Moore, the Bard of Erin856



Photo-engraving in colors after an original painting
by George W. Maynard
Henry Woodfin Grady534
Photogravure after a photograph from life
Oliver Wendell Holmes625
Photogravure after a photograph from life
Robert Green Ingersoll672
Photogravure after a photograph from life
Menu Card676
Photogravure after a design by Thompson Willing
Faneuil Hall723
Photogravure after a photograph
Photo-engraving in colors after an original painting
By George W Maynard

[Pg 423]



[Speech of George Cary Eggleston at the first annual banquet of the New York Southern Society, February 22, 1887. Algernon Sidney Sullivan, President of the Society, was in the chair. In introducing the speaker Mr. Sullivan said: "We want to hear a word about 'Southern Literature,' and we will now call upon Mr. George Cary Eggleston to respond to that sentiment."]

Mr. President:—I have cheered myself so hoarse that I do not think I can make a speech at all. I will say a word or two if my voice holds out. It is patriotically hoarse.

If I manage to make a speech it will be the one speech of the evening which was most carefully prepared. The preparations were all made, arrangements were completed and it was perfectly understood that I should not make it. The name set down under this toast is that of Hon. John Randolph Tucker, and the wild absurdity of asking a writer who does not make speeches, to take the place of such an orator as John Randolph Tucker would seem to be like asking a seasick land-lubber to take the captain's place upon the bridge of the ocean steamer in a storm, and there is another reason by which I am peculiarly unfit to speak in response to the toast—"Southern Literature," and that is, that I am firmly convinced that there is no Southern Literature; that there never was a Southern Literature; that there never will be a Southern Literature, and that there never ought to be a Southern Literature. Some very great and noble work in literature has been produced by men of Southern lineage and birth and residence. John Marshall, if he had not been the greatest of American jurists, would have been counted, because of his "Life of Washington,"[Pg 424] the greatest of biographers. I might name an extended list of workers in this field, all of Southern birth. Sims; my dead friend, John Esten Cooke; his brother, Philip Cooke; Cable, who is married to New England; the gifted woman who calls herself Charles Egbert Craddock; and a host of others including that noble woman now going blind in Lexington, who has done some of the sweetest work in American poetry, Margaret J. Preston. [Applause.] I might go further and claim Howells, every drop of whose blood is Virginian. If it were not getting personal and becoming a family affair, I might mention the fact that the author of the "Hoosier Schoolmaster," with whom I used to play on the hills of Ohio River, was of direct Southern descent; that he was born as I was, exactly on Mason and Dixon's line, and one of us fell over on one side and the other on the other when the trouble came.

Notwithstanding all this, I hold that there can be no such thing as a Southern Literature, because literature is never provincial, and to say of any literature that it is Southern or Western or Northern or Eastern is to say that it is a provincial utterance and not a literature. The work to which I have referred is American literature. It is work of which American literature is proud and will ever be proud, whatever is worthy in literature or in achievement of any kind in any part of the country goes ultimately in the common fund of American literature or of American achievement; and that is the joy I have had in being here to-night, when I ought to have been at home. The joy I have had to-night has been that this sentiment of Americanism has seemed to be all around me, and to run through and through everything that has been said here to-night—a sentiment which was taken out of my mouth, as it were, by the President this evening, that our first devotion above all is to what I call the American idea. It seems to me that we are sometimes forgetting what idea it is that has made this country great; what it is that has made of it a nation of free men and educated men—a nation in which the commonest laborer has the school open to him, as well as the workshop; in which the commonest laborer can sit down three times every day to a bountiful table. We sometimes forget the idea on which our country was founded; the idea which[Pg 425] prompted Jefferson, as a young man, to stand up in the legislature of Virginia and fight through three bills directly affecting mere questions of law, but determining the future of this country more largely than any other acts,—even the acts of Washington himself. Those three bills, one providing for the separation of Church and State, one for the abolition of primogeniture, and the third for the abolition of entail. The idea that ran through that time was the idea of equal individual manhood—of the supremacy of the man to all else, to the State itself, to Government and Society; that the individual man was the one thing to be taken care of; that it is the sole business of the Government to give him rights of manhood, to protect him in his personal freedom, and then to let him alone.

We have imported of late subtly sophistical advocates of socialism who would set up in opposition to these American ideas the system of State paternalism, and assert the doctrine that the State should not let a man alone to make the best use he can of his abilities and opportunities, but should guide him and support him and direct him and provide for him and, in short, make a moral and intellectual cripple of him. That is the new and un-American idea which has recently been promulgated and which has found expression in New York in 60,000 votes; it is the idea which has been seized upon by those persons who have leagued themselves together to secure to themselves larger profits upon their industry or investments by taxing the whole people for the benefit of the few, making the State the pap-giver, taking from the people the taxes that should be rigidly limited to the needs of the government and turning them into the pockets of the individual; supporting, helping and making, as I have said, a cripple of him. That is the idea which has prompted in large degree disturbances through which we have passed, and to which reference has been made here to-night. It is the idea that somehow or in some particular way a man should have some support other than his own individual exertion, and absolute freedom can provide for him.

It seems to me that one lesson we here to-night should take most to heart is that lesson taught by the whole history of our country, that the American idea—the idea of the[Pg 426] individuality and manhood of man, the idea of a government formed simply to protect man, as individuals in their rights, and leave them free in their action and mode of thought—is the idea that has made this country great. It is in pursuance of that that we have become the nation we are; it is by adherence to that that we have become a model to all other nations, so much so that in the German election yesterday, with the aid of friendly foreign despots, with the aid of a threatened war, with all the aids that imperialism can call to its assistance, Bismarck was able to carry his point only by a small majority. This is the idea under which we have founded our nation and grown great, and it is by that idea that we shall continue great, if we are so to continue. [Applause.][Pg 427]



[Speech of Charles W. Eliot, President of Harvard University, at the seventy-second anniversary banquet of the New England Society in the City of New York, December 22, 1877. The President of the Society, William Borden, presided, and said by way of introducing the speaker: "Gentlemen, I now give you the sixth regular toast: 'Harvard and Yale, the two elder sisters among the educational institutions of New England, where generous rivalry has ever promoted patriotism and learning. Their children have, in peace and war, in life and death, deserved well of the Republic. Smile, Heaven, upon this fair conjunction.' [Applause.] We are fortunate to-night, gentlemen, in having with us the representatives of both these institutions, and I will ask President Eliot, of Harvard, first, to respond." The allusion made by President Eliot to the words of the Secretary of State refers to the following remarks which William M. Evarts made in the course of his address: "New England, I observe, while it retains all its sterling qualities, is nevertheless moving forward in the direction of conciliation and peace. I remember when I was a boy, I travelled 240 miles by stage-coach from Boston to New Haven to avoid going to Harvard University which was across the Bridge. [Great applause and laughter.] It was because of the religious animosities which pervaded the community, and I suppose animated my youthful breast; and now here I come to a New England Society, and sit between the Presidents of those renowned universities, who have apparently come here for the purpose of enjoying themselves, and of exhibiting that proximity is no longer dangerous to the peace of those universities. [Applause and laughter.] No doubt there is a considerable warfare going on between them as to the methods of instruction; but to us who have looked on, we have seen no more obtrusive manifestation of it than that the President on my left, of Yale, in dealing with the subjects that have successively been placed before him, has pursued the methods of that university, its comprehensive method, that takes in the whole curriculum; while on my right, the eclectic principle is exercised by my friend, President Eliot [applause and laughter], and he has confined himself to the dainty morsels of the repast. I speak of this to show that, although an amelioration of climate or an obliteration of virtues is not to be expected in New England, or in New England men, yet there may be an advancement of the sunshine of the heart, and that an incorporation of our narrow territory in a great nation, and a transfusion of our[Pg 428] opinions, our ideas, our purposes into the veins of a nation of forty millions of people, may enlarge and liberalize even the views, the plans, and the action of New England."]

Mr. President and Gentlemen:—I am obliged to my friend Dr. Clarke [James Freeman Clarke, D.D.] for the complimentary terms in which he has presented me to you. But I must appeal to your commiseration. Harvard and Yale! Can any undergraduate of either institution, can any recent graduate of either institution, imagine a man responding to that toast? [Laughter.] However, I must make the best of the position, and speak of some points upon which the two institutions are clearly agreed. And here I am reminded of a story of a certain New England farmer, who said that he and 'Squire Jones had more cows between them than all the rest of the village; and his brag being disputed, he said he could prove it, for the 'Squire had forty-five cows and he had one, and the village altogether had not forty-six. [Laughter.]

We shall all agree that it is for the best interests of this country that it have sundry universities, of diverse tone, atmosphere, sphere, representing different opinions and different methods of study to some extent, and in different trainings, though with the same end. [Applause.] Holding this view, I have been somewhat concerned to see of late that the original differences between Harvard and Yale seem to be rapidly disappearing. For example, a good many years ago, Harvard set out on what is called the "elective" system, and now I read in the Yale catalogue a long list of studies called "optional," which strikes me as bearing a strong resemblance to our elective courses. [Laughter.] Again, my friend the Secretary of State has done me the honor of alluding to the reasons which induced his father, I suppose, rather than himself, to send him on that journey, which we Harvard men all deplore. [Laughter.]

Now, it is unquestioned, that about the year 1700 a certain number of Congregationalist clergymen, who belonged to the Established Church (for we are too apt to forget that Congregationalism was the "Established Church" of that time, and none other was allowed), thought that Harvard was getting altogether too latitudinarian, and though they were[Pg 429] every one of them graduates of Harvard, they went off and set up another college in Connecticut, where a stricter doctrine should be taught. Harvard men have rather nursed the hope that this distinction between Harvard and Yale might be permanent. [Laughter.] But I regret to say that I have lately observed many strong indications that it is wholly likely to disappear. For example, to come at once to the foundations, I read in the papers the other day, and I am credibly informed it is true, that the head of Yale College voted to install a minister whose opinions upon the vital, pivotal, fundamental doctrine of eternal damnation are unsound. [Laughter.] Then, again, I look at the annual reports of the Bureau of Education on this department at Washington, and I read there for some years that Harvard College was unsectarian; and I knew that it was right, because I made the return myself. [Laughter.] I read also that Yale College was a Congregationalist College; and I had no doubt that that was right, because I supposed Dr. Porter had made the report. But now we read in that same report that Yale College is unsectarian. That is a great progress. The fact is, both these universities have found out that in a country which has no established church and no dominant sect you cannot build a university on a sect at all—you must build it upon the nation. [Applause.]

But, gentlemen, there are some other points, I think, of national education on which we shall find these two early founded universities to agree. For example, we have lately read, in the Message of the Chief Magistrate, that a national university would be a good thing. [Applause.] Harvard and Yale are of one mind upon that subject, but they want to have a national university defined. [Laughter.] If it means a university of national resort, we say amen. If it means a university where the youth of this land are taught to love their country and to serve her, we say amen [applause]; and we point, both of us, to our past in proof that we are national in that sense. [Applause.] But if it means that the national university is to be a university administered and managed by the wise Congress of the United States, then we should agree in taking some slight exceptions. [Laughter.] We should not question for a moment the capacity of Congress to pick out and appoint the pro[Pg 430]fessors of Latin and Greek, and the ancient languages, because we find that there is an astonishing number of classical orators in Congress, and there is manifested there a singular acquaintance with the legislation of all the Latin races. [Laughter.] But when it should come to some other humbler professorships we might perhaps entertain a doubt. For example, we have not entire faith in the trust that Congress has in the unchangeableness of the laws of arithmetic. [Laughter.] We might think that their competency to select a professor of history might be doubted. They seem to have an impression that there is such a thing as "American" political economy, which can no more be than "American" chemistry or "American" physics. [Applause.] Finally, gentlemen, we should a little distrust the selection by Congress of a professor of ethics. [Laughter.] Of course, we should feel no doubt in regard to the tenure of office of the professors being entirely suitable, it being the well-known practice of both branches of Congress to select men solely for fitness, without regard to locality, and to keep them in office as long as they are competent and faithful. [Laughter and applause.]

But, gentlemen, I think we ought to recur for a moment, perhaps, to the Pilgrim Fathers [laughter], and I desire to say that both Harvard and Yale recognize the fact that there are some things before which universities "pale their ineffectual fires."

"Words are but breath; but where great deeds were done,
A power abides, transferred from sire to son."

Now, gentlemen, on that sandy, desolate spot of Plymouth great deeds were done, and we are here to commemorate them. Those were hard times. It was a terrible voyage, and they were hungry and cold and worn out with labor, and they took their guns to the church and the field, and the half of them died in the first winter. They were not prosperous times that we recall with this hour. Let us take some comfort from that in the present circumstances of our beloved country. She is in danger of a terrible disaster, but let us remember that the times which future generations delight to recall are not those of ease and prosperity, but those of adversity bravely borne. [Applause.][Pg 431]



[Speech of Rev. Samuel A. Eliot at the fifteenth annual dinner of the New England Society in the City of Brooklyn, December 21, 1894. The President of the Society, Robert D. Benedict, presided. In introducing Mr. Eliot, he said: "I am not aware that there were any poets among the Pilgrim Fathers. They had something else to do besides versifying. But poesy has found many a home among the hills of New England. And many a home, not only in New England, but in Old England also, was saddened during the year that is gone to hear that the song of one of the poets of New England was hushed forever. I give you as the next sentiment: 'The Poets and Poetry of New England,' and I call upon the Rev. Samuel A. Eliot, of the Church of the Saviour, in this city, to respond."]

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the New England Society in Brooklyn:—I have been given to understand, sir, that in these unpuritanic days lovers keep late hours; and as I listened to the wooing of fair Brooklyn by the eloquent son[1] of New York I thought we might be here till papa turned out the gas. Brooklyn is a New England maiden and a trifle coy, and it may take even more than an hour's pleading and persuasive wooing to win her. [Applause.] You ask me, sir, to turn our thoughts back from these considerations of pressing and immediate problems, from discussion of international and even intercontinental relations, to the beginnings and the causes of our rejoicings here. I am glad to do that, for I love to trace the connections and contrasts of past and present, and to mark the growth and evolution of that New England genius and character which are illustrated at these tables.[Pg 432]

The early history of New England seems to many minds as dry and unromantic as it was hard and narrow. No mist of distance softens the harsh outlines, no mirage of tradition lifts events and characters into picturesque beauty. There seems a poverty of sentiment. The transplanting of a people breaks the successions and associations of history. No memories of conqueror and crusader stir for us poetic fancy. Instead of the glitter of chivalry there is but the sombre homespun of Puritan peasants. In place of the "long-drawn aisle and fretted vault" of Gothic cathedral there is but the rude log meeting-house and schoolhouse. Instead of Christmas merriment there is only the noise of axe and hammer or the dreary droning of psalms. It seems a history bleak and barren of poetic inspiration, at once plebeian and prosaic.

How is it then that out of the hard soil of the Puritan thought and character, out of the sterile rocks of the New England conscience, have sprung the flowers of poetry which you bid me celebrate to-night? From those songless beginnings have burst, in later generations, melodies that charm and uplift our land—now a deep organ peal filling the air with music, now a trumpet blast thrilling the blood of patriotism, now a drum-beat to which duty delights to march, now a joyous fantasy of the violin bringing smiles to the lips, now the soft vibrations of the harp that fill the eyes with tears. What is it in the Puritan heritage, externally so bare and cold, that make it intrinsically so poetic and inspiring?

There is no poetry in the darkness of the Puritan's creed nor in the rigid rectitude of his morality. His surly boldness, his tough hold on the real, his austere piety enforce respect, but do not allure affection. The genial graces cannot bear company with ruthless bigotry and Hebraic energy. Nor is there any poetry in the mere struggle for existence, and the mean poverty that marked the outward life. The Pilgrims were often pinched for food; they suffered in a bitter climate; they lived in isolation. We think lightly of these things because we cannot help imagining that they knew that they were founding a mighty nation. But that knowledge was denied them. Generations of them sank into nameless graves without any vision of the days when their[Pg 433] descendants should rise up and call them blessed. Nor is there any inspiration in the measure of their outward success. Judged by their own ideals, the Puritans failed. They would neither recognize nor approve the civilization that has sprung from the seeds of their planting. They tried to establish a theocracy; they stand in history as the heroes of democracy. Alike in their social and religious aims they ignored ineradicable elements in human nature. They attempted the impossible. How then have their deeds become the source of song and story? Why all the honor that we pay them? It is not because in danger, in sacrifice, and in failure, they were stout-hearted. Many a freebooter or soldier of fortune has been that. It is, as one said whose name I bear, "because they were stout-hearted for an ideal—their ideal, not ours, of civil and religious liberty. Wherever and whenever resolute men and women devote themselves, not to material, but to spiritual ends, there the world's heroes are made," and made to be remembered, and to become the inspiration of poem and romance and noble daring.

Scratch a New Englander to-day, it is said, and you find the Puritan. That is no less true of the poets than of the warriors and the men of facts and figures. The New England poets derived their nourishment from the deep earth of that wholesome past, into which the roots of all our lives go down. The mystical and mediæval side of Puritanism finds its embodiment in Hawthorne; its moral ideals shine in Bryant; its independency is incarnated in Emerson. Emerson is the type of the nineteenth-century Puritan, in life pure, in temperament saintly, in spirit detached from the earth, blazing a path for himself through the wilderness of speculation, seeing things from the centre, working for the reconstruction of Christian society and the readjustment of the traditional religion. An enfranchised Puritan is a Puritan still. Of such is Holmes, who shot his flashing arrows at all shams and substitutes for reality, and never failed to hit the mark; of such is Whittier,

"Whose swelling and vehement heart
Strains the strait-breasted drab of the Quaker apart;"

of such is Lowell, to whom belongs the supreme distinction[Pg 434] of having written the greatest poem yet produced on this continent.

We who have undergone the shock of material, intellectual and spiritual growth too often fail to recognize our debt to the deserted cause. Our poets remind us that our very freedom is our inheritance from the system we reject. It was inevitable that our six great poets should have been in literature, idealists; in politics, abolitionists; in religion, Unitarians. It was the progressive independency of a Puritan ancestry declaring itself. Save, perhaps, in Longfellow, no gloss or glamour of Europe obscures their poetry. No hush of servility rests on it. No patronage summoned it, and no indifference silenced it. Our poetry is the genuine utterance of democracy, and betrays in every syllable the fibre of freemen.

New England poetry is well nigh as Puritan in its form as in its spirit. There is in it a true Cromwellian temper. Our poets have been patriots, firm and prophetic believers in their country's destiny, loving their country so well that they dared to tell the sometimes unwelcome truth about her. The Biblical strain is in our poetry. If our English Bible were lost to us we could reconstruct almost all of its best verses out of Whittier's poems. The thunders of Sinai still roll in Lowell's fiery denunciations of smug conventionalities and wickedness in high places. The music of the psalmist is in Longfellow's meditations, and all the prophet's vision in Emerson's inspired utterance. The Puritan restraint is on New England poetry. There is no noisy rhetoric, no tossing about of big adjectives and stinging epithets, no abuse of our noble English tongue by cheap exaggerations. Our poets do not need to underscore words or to use heavy headlines and italics. Their invective has been mighty because so restrained and so compressed. There is none of the common cant or the common plausibilities. There is no passing off of counterfeits for realities, no "pouring of the waters of concession into the bottomless buckets of expediency."

Thus do our poets declare their inheritance. But they do not stop there. To the indomitable power of the Puritan conscience they have added a wealth of imaginative sympathy. They have made sweetness to be the issue of[Pg 435] strength, and beauty to be the halo of power. They have seen the vision of the rainbow round the throne. They have touched with divine light the prosaic story of New England, and found the picturesque in what seemed commonplace. They have seen the great in the little, and ennobled the humbler ways of existence with spiritual insight. They have set to music the homely service and simple enjoyments of common life. They have touched the chords that speak to the universal heart. The very provincialism of our poets endears them to us. Their work, as some foreign critic said, has been done in a corner. We do not deny it. But, verily we believe, that New England is the corner lot of our national estate. Our poets have preserved for us in ballads our homespun legends. They have imaged in verse the beauty of New England's hills and waters. As we read there comes the whiff of fragrance which transports us to the hillside pasture where the sweet fern and sorrel grow, or the salt breeze of the sea blows again on our cheeks, or the rippling Merrimac sings in our ears, or the heights of Katahdin or Wachusett, lift our eyes upward. Finally, our poets, in their characters, disprove the reproach that a democracy can produce only average men. As they wrote, they were.

The harp of New England is silent. The master hands sweep the chords no more. But shall we dare to think that the coming generation will have no songs and no singers? Shall we build the sepulchre of poetry? Shall we express ourselves only in histories and criticisms? Shall man no longer behold God and nature face to face? "Things are in the saddle to-day," said Emerson; and indeed it may well depress us to see our greatness as a nation measured by the number of bushels of wheat raised, or the number of hogs packed. "The value of a country," said Lowell, "is weighed in scales more delicate than the balance of trade. On a map of the world you may cover Judea with your thumb, Athens with a finger tip, and neither of them figures in the prices current, yet they still live in the thought and action of every civilized man. Material success is good, but only as the necessary preliminary of better things. The measure of a nation's true success is the amount it has contributed to the thought, the moral energy, the intellectual[Pg 436] happiness, the spiritual hope and consolation of mankind." Before we can have a rebirth of poetry, we must have a fresh infusion of the Puritan devotion to ideal ends. We must be baptized again into the spirit of non-conformity, of intellectual and moral honesty, the spirit which does not suffer men to go with the crowd, when reason and conscience and a living God bid them go alone. There never was a time when we needed more the background of Puritanism. We need in our business and our politics a sterner sense of the fear of God, and in our home life a renewed simplicity. If we are to build up to the level of our best opportunities, we must build down to solid foundation on the sense of obligation. We have new times, new land and new men. Shall we not have new thought, new work and new worship? [Applause.][Pg 437]



[Speech of Ralph Waldo Emerson at the annual banquet of the Manchester Athenæum, Manchester, England, November, 1847. Sir Archibald Alison, the historian, presided]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:—It is pleasant to me to meet this great and brilliant company, and doubly pleasant to see the faces of so many distinguished persons on this platform. But I have known all these persons already. When I was at home, they were as near to me as they are to you. The arguments of the League and its leader are known to all the friends of free trade. The gaieties and genius, the political, the social, the parietal wit of "Punch" go duly every fortnight to every boy and girl in Boston and New York. Sir, when I came to sea, I found the "History of Europe"[2] on the ship's cabin table, the property of the captain;—a sort of programme or play-bill to tell the seafaring New Englander what he shall find on landing here. And as for Dombey, sir, there is no land where paper exists to print on, where it is not found; no man who can read, that does not read it, and, if he cannot, he finds some charitable pair of eyes that can, and hears it.

But these things are not for me to say; these compliments, though true, would better come from one who felt and understood these merits more. I am not here to exchange civilities with you, but rather to speak of that which I am sure interests these gentlemen more than their own praises; of that which is good in holidays and working-days, the same in one century and in another century. That which lures a solitary American in the woods with the wish[Pg 438] to see England, is the moral peculiarity of the Saxon race,—its commanding sense of right and wrong,—the love and devotion to that,—this is the imperial trait, which arms them with the sceptre of the globe. It is this which lies at the foundation of that aristocratic character, which certainly wanders into strange vagaries, so that its origin is often lost sight of, but which, if it should lose this, would find itself paralyzed; and in trade, and in the mechanic's shop, gives that honesty in performance, that thoroughness and solidity of work, which is a national characteristic. This conscience is one element, and the other is that loyal adhesion, that habit of friendship, that homage of man to man, running through all classes,—the electing of worthy persons to a certain fraternity, to acts of kindness and warm and staunch support, from year to year, from youth to age,—which is alike lovely and honorable to those who render and those who receive it;—which stands in strong contrast with the superficial attachments of other races, their excessive courtesy, and short-lived connection.

You will think me very pedantic, gentlemen, but holiday though it be, I have not the smallest interest in any holiday, except as it celebrates real and not pretended joys; and I think it just, in this time of gloom and commercial disaster, of affliction and beggary in these districts, that on these very accounts I speak of, you should not fail to keep your literary anniversary. I seem to hear you say that, for all that is come and gone, yet we will not reduce by one chaplet or one oak-leaf the braveries of our annual feast. For I must tell you, I was given to understand in my childhood that the British island, from which my forefathers came, was no lotus-garden, no paradise of serene sky and roses and music and merriment all the year round, no, but a cold, foggy, mournful country, where nothing grew well in the open air, but robust men and virtuous women, and these of a wonderful fibre and endurance; that their best parts were slowly revealed; their virtues did not come out until they quarrelled; they did not strike twelve the first time; good lovers, good haters, and you could know little about them till you had seen them long, and little good of them till you had seen them in action; that in prosperity they were moody and dumpish, but in adversity they were grand.[Pg 439]

Is it not true, sir, that the wise ancients did not praise the ship parting with flying colors from the port, but only that brave sailor which came back with torn sheets and battered sides, stript of her banners, but having ridden out the storm? And so, gentlemen, I feel in regard to this aged England, with the possessions, honors and trophies, and also with the infirmities of a thousand years gathering around her, irretrievably committed as she now is to many old customs which cannot be suddenly changed; pressed upon by the transitions of trade, and new and all incalculable modes, fabrics, arts, machines and competing populations,—I see her not dispirited, not weak, but well remembering that she has seen dark days before; indeed, with a kind of instinct that she sees a little better in a cloudy day, and that in storm of battle and calamity, she has a secret vigor and a pulse like a cannon. I see her in her old age, not decrepit, but young, and still daring to believe in her power of endurance and expansion. Seeing this, I say, All hail! mother of nations, mother of heroes, with strength still equal to the time; still wise to entertain and swift to execute the policy which the mind and heart of mankind require in the present hour, and thus only hospitable to the foreigner, and truly a home to the thoughtful and generous who are born in the soil. So be it! so let it be! If it be not so, if the courage of England goes with the chances of a commercial crisis, I will go back to the capes of Massachusetts, and my own Indian stream, and say to my countrymen, the old race are all gone, and the elasticity and hope of mankind must henceforth remain on the Alleghany ranges, or nowhere.


[Speech of Ralph Waldo Emerson at the festival of the Boston Burns Club, at the Parker House, Boston, Mass., January 25, 1859, commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the birth of the Scottish bard. Around the tables were gathered a company numbering nearly three hundred, including Emerson, Lowell, Holmes, George S. Hillard, Nathaniel P. Willis, and others of the literary guild. Among the decorations of the banqueting-hall was displayed a bust of Burns crowned with a wreath of roses and bays. Mr. Emerson spoke to the principal toast of the evening, "The Memory of Burns," and his graceful flights of oratory were received with cheers, and calls for "More! More!" which the presiding[Pg 440] officer, General John S. Tyler, quieted with the remark: "Mr. Emerson begs to be excused, not because the well of gushing waters is exhausted, but because, in the kindness of his heart, he thinks he ought to leave room for gentlemen who are to succeed him." Willis, writing later of the festival, said of this speech, "Why, in that large and convivially excited audience, there was not, while he spoke, a wandering eye—not a pulse or a breath that was not held absolutely captive. Wherein lies the wonderful spell?"]

Mr. President and Gentlemen:—I do not know by what untoward accident it has chanced—and I forbear to inquire—that, in this accomplished circle, it should fall to me, the worst Scotsman of all, to receive your commands, and at the latest hour, too, to respond to the sentiment just offered, and which, indeed, makes the occasion. But I am told there is no appeal, and I must trust to the inspiration of the theme to make a fitness which does not otherwise exist.

Yet, sir, I heartily feel the singular claims of the occasion. At the first announcement, from I know not whence, that the twenty-fifth of January was the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, a sudden consent warned the great English race, in all its kingdoms, colonies and states, all over the world, to keep the festival. We are here to hold our parliament with love and poesy, as men were wont to do in the Middle Ages. Those famous parliaments might or might not have had more stateliness, and better singers than we—though that is yet to be known—but they could not have better reason.

I can only explain this singular unanimity in a race which rarely acts together—but rather after their watchword, each for himself—by the fact that Robert Burns, the poet of the middle class, represents in the mind of men to-day that great uprising of the middle class against the armed and privileged minorities—that uprising which worked politically in the American and French Revolutions, and which, not in governments so much as in education and in social order, has changed the face of the world. In order for this destiny, his birth, breeding and fortune were low. His organic sentiment was absolute independence, and resting, as it should, on a life of labor. No man existed who could look down on him. They that looked into his eyes saw that they might look down the sky as easily. His muse and teaching was common sense, joyful, aggressive, irresistible. Not Latimer,[Pg 441] nor Luther, struck more telling blows against false theology than did this brave singer. The "Confession of Augsburg," the "Declaration of Independence," the French "Rights of Man," and the "Marseillaise," are not more weighty documents in the history of freedom than the songs of Burns. His satire has lost none of its edge. His musical arrows yet sing through the air. He is so substantially a reformer, that I find his grand, plain sense in close chain with the greatest masters—Rabelais, Shakespeare in comedy, Cervantes, Butler, and Burns. If I should add another name, I find it only in a living countryman of Burns. He is an exceptional genius. The people who care nothing for literature and poetry care for Burns. It was indifferent—they thought who saw him—whether he wrote verse or not; he could have done anything else as well.

Yet how true a poet is he! And the poet, too, of poor men, of hodden-gray, and the Guernsey-coat, and the blouse. He has given voice to all the experiences of common life; he has endeared the farmhouse and cottage, patches and poverty, beans and barley; ale, the poor man's wine; hardship, the fear of debt, the dear society of weans and wife, of brothers and sisters, proud of each other, knowing so few, and finding amends for want and obscurity in books and thought. What a love of nature! and—shall I say it?—of middle-class nature. Not great, like Goethe, in the stars, or like Byron, on the ocean, or Moore, in the luxurious East, but in the homely landscape which the poor see around them—bleak leagues of pasture and stubble, ice, and sleet, and rain, and snow-choked brooks; birds, hares, field-mice, thistles, and heather, which he daily knew. How many "Bonny Doons," and "John Anderson my Joes," and "Auld Lang Synes," all around the earth, have his verses been applied to! And his love songs still woo and melt the youths and maids; the farm work, the country holiday, the fishing cobble, are still his debtors to-day.

And, as he was thus the poet of the poor, anxious, cheerful, working humanity, so had he the language of low life. He grew up in a rural district, speaking a patois unintelligible to all but natives, and he has made that Lowland Scotch a Doric dialect of fame. It is the only example in history of a language made classic by the genius of a single[Pg 442] man. But more than this. He had that secret of genius to draw from the bottom of society the strength of its speech, and astonish the ears of the polite with these artless words, better than art, and filtered of all offence through his beauty. It seemed odious to Luther that the devil should have all the best tunes; he would bring them into the churches; and Burns knew how to take from fairs and gypsies, blacksmiths and drovers, the speech of the market and street, and clothe it with melody.

But I am detaining you too long. The memory of Burns—I am afraid heaven and earth have taken too good care of it to leave us anything to say, The west winds are murmuring it. Open the windows behind you, and hearken for the incoming tide, what the waves say of it. The doves, perching always on the eaves of the Stone Chapel [King's Chapel] opposite, may know something about it. Every home in broad Scotland keeps his fame bright. The memory of Burns—every man's, and boy's, and girl's head carries snatches of his songs, and can say them by heart, and, what is strangest of all, never learned them from a book, but from mouth to mouth. The wind whispers them, the birds whistle them, the corn, barley, and bulrushes hoarsely rustle them; nay, the music-boxes at Geneva are framed and toothed to play them; the hand-organs of the Savoyards in all cities repeat them, and the chimes of bells ring them in the spires. They are the property and the solace of mankind. [Cheers.]


[Speech of Ralph Waldo Emerson at the dinner of Harvard Alumni at Cambridge, Mass., July 21, 1865, on the occasion of the commemoration of the patriot heroes of Harvard College in the Civil War.]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:—With whatever opinions we come here, I think it is not in man to see, without a feeling of pride and pleasure, a tried soldier, the armed defender of the right. I think that, in these last years, all opinions have been affected by the magnificent and stupen[Pg 443]dous spectacle, which Divine Providence has offered us, of the energies that slept in the children of this country,—that slept and have awakened. I see thankfully those who are here; but dim eyes in vain explore for some who are not. They shine the brighter "in the domain of tender memory." The old Greek, Heraclitus, said: "War is the father of all things." He said it, no doubt, as science, but we of this day can repeat it as a political and social truth.

War passes the power of all chemical solvents, breaking up the old cohesions, and allowing the atoms of society to take a new order. It is not the Government but the war that has appointed the great generals, sifted out the pedants, put in the new and vigorous blood. [Great applause.] The war has lifted many other people, besides Grant and Sherman, into their true places. Even Divine Providence, we may say, always seems to work after a certain military necessity. Every nation punishes the general who is not victorious. It is a rule in games of chance that "the cards beat all the players," and revolutions disconcert and outwit all the insurgents. The revolutions carry their own points, sometimes to the ruin of those who set them on foot. The proof that war also is within the highest right, is a marked benefactor in the hands of Divine Providence, is its morale. The war gave back integrity to the erring and immoral nation. It charged with power, peaceful, amiable, men, to whose whole life war and discord were abhorrent. What an infusion of character went out from this and the other colleges! What an infusion of character down to the ranks! The experience has been uniform, that it is the gentle soul that makes the firm hero, after all. It is easy to recall the mood in which our young men, snatched from every peaceful pursuit, went to war. Many of them had never handled a gun. They said, "It is not in me to resist. I go because I must. It is a duty which I shall never forgive myself if I decline. I do not know that I can make a soldier. I may be very clumsy; perhaps I shall be timid; but you can rely on me. Only one thing is certain, I can well die, but I cannot afford to misbehave." [Loud applause.]

In fact, the infusion of culture and tender humanity from these scholars and idealists who went to the war in their own[Pg 444] despite,—God knows they had no fury for killing their old friends and countrymen,—had its signal and lasting effect. It was found that enthusiasm was a more potent ally than science and munitions of war without it. "'Tis a principle of war," said Napoleon—principe de guerre—"that when you can use the thunderbolt, you must prefer it to the cannon." Enthusiasm was the thunderbolt. Here in this little Massachusetts, in smaller Rhode Island, in this little nest of New England republics, it flamed out when that guilty gun was aimed at Sumter.

Mr. Chairman, standing here in Harvard College, the parent of all the colleges, in Massachusetts, the mother of all the North, when I consider her influence on the country as a principal planter of the Western States, and now by her teachers, preachers, journalists and books, as well as by traffic and production, the diffuser of religious, literary and political opinion, and when I see how irresistible the convictions of Massachusetts are on those swarming populations, I think the little State bigger than I knew; and when her blood is up, she has a fist that could knock down an empire. And her blood was roused. [Great applause.] Scholars exchanged the black coat for the blue. A single company in the 44th Massachusetts contained thirty-five sons of Harvard. You all know as well as I the story of these dedicated men, who knew well on what duty they went, whose fathers and mothers said of each slaughtered son, "We gave him up when he enlisted." One mother said, when her son was offered the command of the first negro regiment, "If he accepts it, I shall be as proud as if I had heard that he was shot." [Applause.] These men, thus tender, thus high-bred, thus peaceable, were always in the front, and always employed. They might say with their forefathers, the old Norse Vikings, "We sang the mass of lances from morning until evening;" and in how many cases it chanced, when the hero had fallen, they who came by night to his funeral on the morrow returned to his war-path, to show his slayers the way to death!

Ah! young brothers, all honor and gratitude to you! you, manly defenders, Liberty's and Humanity's home guard. We shall not again disparage America, now that we have seen what men it will bear. We see—we thank you for it[Pg 445]—a new era, worth to mankind all the treasure and the lives it has cost; yes, worth to the world the lives of all this generation of American men, if they had been demanded. [Loud applause.]


[Speech of Ralph Waldo Emerson at the banquet given by the City of Boston, August 21, 1868, to the Hon. Anson Burlingame, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary from China, and his associates, Chih Ta-Jin and Sun Ta-Jin, of the Chinese Embassy to the United States and the European powers. Mr. Emerson responded to the toast: "The union of the farthest East and the farthest West."]

Mr. Mayor:—I suppose we are all of one opinion on this remarkable occasion of meeting the Embassy sent from the oldest Empire in the world to the youngest Republic. All share the surprise and pleasure when the venerable oriental dynasty, hitherto a romantic legend to most of us, suddenly steps into the fellowship of nations. This auspicious event, considered in connection with the late innovations in Japan, marks a new era, and is an irresistible result of the science which has given us the power of steam and the electric telegraph. It is the more welcome for the surprise. We had said of China, as the old prophet said of Egypt, "Her strength is to sit still." Her people had such elemental conservatism, that by some wonderful force of race and national manners the wars and revolutions that occur in her annals proved but momentary swells or surges on the Pacific Ocean of her history, leaving no trace. But in its immovability this race has claims.

China is old not in time only, but in wisdom, which is gray hair to a nation, or rather, truly seen, is eternal youth. As we know, China had the magnet centuries before Europe; and block-printing and stereotype, and lithography, and gunpowder, and vaccination, and canals; had anticipated Linnæus's nomenclature of plants; had codes, journals, clubs, hackney coaches, and, thirty centuries before New York, had the custom of New-Year's calls of comity and reconciliation. I need not mention its useful arts,—its pottery, indispensable to the world; the luxury of silks; and its tea, the cordial of nations. But I must remember that she had re[Pg 446]spectable remains of astronomic science, and historic records of forgotten time, that have supplied important gaps in the ancient history of the western nations.

Then she has philosophers who cannot be spared. Confucius has not yet gathered all his fame. When Socrates heard that the oracle declared that he was the wisest of men, he said, it must mean that other men held that they were wise, but that he knew that he knew nothing. Confucius had already affirmed this of himself: and what we call the Golden Rule of Jesus, Confucius had uttered in the same terms, five hundred years before. His morals, though addressed to a state of society utterly unlike ours, we read with profit to-day. His rare perception appears in his Golden Mean, his doctrine of Reciprocity, his unerring insight, putting always the blame of our misfortunes on our selves; as when to the governor who complained of thieves he said: "If you, sir, were not covetous, though you should reward them for it, they would not steal." His ideal of greatness predicts Marcus Antoninus. At the same time, he abstained from paradox, and met the ingrained prudence of his nation by saying always: "Bend one cubit to straighten eight."

China interests us at this moment in a point of politics. I am sure that gentlemen around me bear in mind the bill which Hon. Mr. Jenckes, of Rhode Island, has twice attempted to carry through Congress, requiring that candidates for public offices shall first pass examination on their literary qualifications for the same. Well, China has preceded us, as well as England and France, in this essential correction of a reckless usage; and the like high esteem of education appears in China in social life, to whose distinctions it is made an indispensable passport.

It is gratifying to know that the advantages of the new intercourse between the two countries are daily manifest on the Pacific coast. The immigrants from Asia come in crowds. Their power of continuous labor, their versatility in adapting themselves to new conditions, their stoical economy, are unlooked-for virtues. They send back to their friends, in China, money, new products of art, new tools, machinery, new foods, etc., and are thus establishing a commerce without limit.[Pg 447]

I cannot help adding, after what I have heard to-night, that I have read in the journals a statement from an English source, that Sir Frederic Bruce attributed to Mr. Burlingame the merit of the happy reform in the relations of foreign governments to China. I am quite sure that I heard from Mr. Burlingame in New York, in his last visit to America, that the whole merit of it belonged to Sir Frederic Bruce. It appears that the ambassadors were emulous in their magnanimity. It is certainly the best guaranty for the interests of China and of humanity.[Pg 448]



[Speech of William M. Evarts at the sixty-seventh anniversary banquet of the New England Society in the City of New York, December 23, 1872. The President, Elliot C. Cowden, occupied the chair. Introducing the speaker, he said: "I now ask your attention to the eighth regular toast: 'The Geneva Tribunal of Arbitration, a victory of peace, demonstrating that the statesman's wisdom is mightier than the warrior's sword.' This sentiment will be responded to by one who has added a new lustre to a fame already achieved by his consummate argument in defence of our claims before the late Tribunal of Arbitration, your honored ex-President, Mr. Evarts."]

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the New England Society:—It has, I believe, in the history of our race, never been permitted that a great nation should pass through the perils of a serious internal conflict without suffering, in some form or other, an intervention in its affairs by other nations that would not have been permitted, or been possible, but for the distraction of its power, or the stress to which it was exposed by its intestine strifes. And when, in our modern civilization, a nation so great as ours was pressed by so great a stress as our Civil War imposed upon us, we could not escape this common fate in human affairs. It has rarely, in the history of our race, been permitted to a nation that has suffered this foreign intervention, in whatever form, to preserve its peace and the peace of the world, and yet settle its account with the nations which had interposed in its affairs. [Applause.]

When the great power of France seized upon the occasion of our Civil War to renew a European possession upon our boundaries, and when England, upon the same opportunity, swept the seas of our commerce; properly to deal with those[Pg 449] forms of intervention, when our domestic troubles were ended by the triumph of our arms, called for the exercise of the highest statesmanship and the most powerful diplomacy. It was at this juncture that our great minister of foreign affairs (than whom no greater has been seen in our country, and than whom no greater has been presented in the service of any foreign nation) was able, without war, to drive the French from Mexico, and to establish the principle of arbitration, for the settlement of our controversy with England. [Applause.] It was reserved for the present administration to extricate the imperfect work of the adjustment of the differences between England and the United States from a difficulty of the gravest character, and to place the negotiations upon a footing satisfactory to the public sense of our people by the illustrious work of the Joint High Commission at Washington. It was reserved for that administration to complete, within its first term of power, the absolute extinction of all antecedent causes, occasions or opportunities for future contention between our nation and the mother country, by the actual result of the Geneva arbitration. [Applause.]

And now, gentlemen, I think we may well be proud of that self-contained, yet adequate, appreciation of our power, of our right, and of our duty, that could thus, while abating not one jot or tittle of our rights, compose such grave differences by the wisdom of statesmanship, instead of renewing the struggles of war. I may, I think, recognize in the general appreciation by our countrymen of the excellence of this great adjustment between England and the United States, their satisfaction with this settlement, which, without in the least abating the dignity or disturbing the peace of England, has maintained the dignity and made secure the peace of the United States. [Applause.] I think I may recognize in this general satisfaction of our countrymen, their conviction that the result of the Geneva arbitration has secured for us every point that was important as indemnity for the past, and yet has so adjusted the difficult question between neutrality and belligerency as to make it safe for us, in maintaining our natural, and, as we hope, our perpetual, position in the future, of a neutral, and not a belligerent.[Pg 450]

The gentlemen to whom were entrusted, by the favor of the President of the United States, the representation of our country in this great forensic controversy, have been somewhat differently situated from lawyers, in ordinary lawsuits, charged with the interests of clients. For, as we all know, the interest of the client and the duty of the lawyer are, for the most part, limited to success in the particular controversy that is being agitated, and, therein, the whole power of the lawyer and all his resources may be properly directed to secure the completest victory in the particular suit. But, when a nation is a party, and when the lawsuit is but an incident, in its perpetual duty and its perpetual interests, in which it must expect to change sides, in the changing circumstances of human affairs, it is very plainly its interest, and the duty of those to whom its interests are entrusted, to see to it, that in the zeal of the particular contest there shall be no triumph that shall disturb, embarrass, or burden its future relations with foreign nations. [Applause.] In other words, when our government was calling to account a neutral which had interfered with our rights as belligerents, it was of very great importance that we should insist upon neither a measure of right nor a measure of indemnity, that we could not, wisely and safely, submit to in the future ourselves. [Applause.]

While, then, there was a preliminary question of gravest importance to be determined in this arbitration—this peaceful substitute for war—"the terrible litigation of States"—no less than this, how widely and how heavily we should press the question of accountability against a neutral, and how far the question should be pressed, in the future, against us, I must congratulate the country for having received, at the outset of the deliberations at Geneva, a determination from the Tribunal, upon the general principles of public law, that when peaceful adjustments in redress of wrongs are attempted between friendly States, no measure of indemnity can be claimed which at all savors of the exactions made only by a victorious over a beaten foe. [Applause.]

And when we come to the final award of this High Tribunal, I think the country may be congratulated, and the world may be congratulated, that while we have secured a judgment of able and impartial publicists in favor of the[Pg 451] propositions of international law on which we had insisted, and have received amends by its judgment for the wrongs we had suffered from Great Britain, we have also secured great principles in favor of neutrality in the future, making it easier, instead of harder, for nations to repress the sympathies, the passions and the enlistments of their people, and to keep, during the pendency of war, the action of a neutral State within and subject to the dictates of duty and of law. For we have there established that the duty of a neutral government to preserve its subjects from interference with belligerent rights is in proportion to the magnitude of the evils that will be suffered by the nation against whom, and at whose cost, the infraction of neutrality is provoked. We have made it apparent, also, that a powerful nation, in the advanced civilization of our age, cannot escape from an accountability upon the rough calculation, upon which so much reliance has doubtless been placed in the past, upon the unwillingness of the offended and injured nation, in the correction of its wrongs, to rush into the costs and sacrifices of war. And we have made it apparent to the proudest power in the world (and there is none prouder than our own nation,) that there must be a peaceful accounting for errors and wrongs, in which justice shall be done without the effusion of blood. [Prolonged applause.] Practically, too, we have established principles of great importance in aid of the efforts of every Government to preserve its neutrality in trying and difficult situations of sympathy. An error long provided, that if a vessel, in violation of neutrality, should escape to commit its ravages upon the sea, and should once secure the protection of a commission from the offending belligerent, that that was an end of it, and all the nations of the world must bow their heads before these bastard flags of belligerency. But the tribunal has determined, as the public law of the world, that a commission from a belligerent gives no protection to a vessel that owes its power and place upon the seas to a violation of neutrality. [Applause.] The consequence is, that so far from our success in this arbitration having exposed us, as a neutral nation, in the future, to greater difficulties, we have established principles of law that are to aid our Government, and every other Government, to restrain our people and[Pg 452] every other people, in the future, from such infractions of neutrality.

And now, gentlemen, is it too much for us to say that, coming out from a strife with our own blood and kindred, upon the many hard-fought fields of our Civil War, with our government confirmed, with the principles of our confederation made secure forever, we have also come out from this peaceful contest with a great power of the world, with important principles established between this nation and our principal rival in the business affairs of the world, and with an established conviction, alike prevalent in both countries, that, hereafter, each must do its duty to the other, and that each must be held accountable for that duty?

I give you, gentlemen, in conclusion, this sentiment: "The little Court-room at Geneva—where our royal mother England, and her proud though untitled daughter, alike bent their heads to the majesty of Law and accepted Justice as a greater and better arbiter than Power." [Prolonged applause.]


[Speech of William M. Evarts at the first banquet of the New England Society of the City of Brooklyn, December 21, 1880. Benjamin D. Silliman, President of the Society, occupied the chair and introduced Mr. Evarts to speak to the toast, "The Republic and its Outlook," saying: "He may well speak of the 'Outlook' who is on the watch-tower. His brethren of the bar would prefer his remaining here but if he will return to the competitions and collisions of the courts, he will be welcomed as a brother, however unwelcome he may be as an adversary. Meantime, that he may tell us of the outlook of the Republic, let us listen to the Secretary of State, the Honorable William M. Evarts."]

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the New England Society of Brooklyn:—I have been accustomed to the City of New York, and have been accustomed to the estimate which the people of New York make of the people of Brooklyn. [Laughter.] I now come to make some trial of the estimate which the people of Brooklyn put upon the people of New York. [Applause.] In one distinct feature of the City of New York—I mean in its population—and in one distinct feature of the City of Brooklyn—in its popula[Pg 453]tion—you will see the secret of your vast superiority to us. [Laughter.] In the City of New York there are more Irishmen than there are in Dublin. [Applause.] In the City of Brooklyn there are more Bostonians than there are in Boston. [Laughter.] We have always felt it as a reproach, however little we relish the satire, that our New England festivals—mean in New York—were little in keeping with the poverty and frugality, and perhaps with the virtues, of our ancestors. But here I see exactly such a company, and exactly such a feast, as in the first years of the emigration, our ancestors would have sat down to. [Laughter.] We honor our fathers with loud praises, you, by noble and self-denying example. [Laughter.]

The Republic, which is the theme I am to speak to, is the Republic which has grown from the seed that was planted in New England. It has gained as the oak has gained in its growth, from the soil, and from the air; so in the body and the strength, and the numbers and the wealth of the Republic, it has gained by the accretions of other races, and the incoming population from many shores. But the oak, nevertheless, is an oak, because the seed which was planted was the seed of an oak. [Loud applause.] Now, our Pilgrim Fathers seem to have been frustrated by Providence a good deal, in many of their plans. They came with the purpose, it is said, of occupying the pleasant seat of all this wealth and prosperity which these great cities enjoy. But the point was to plant them in New England, where they might grow, but would never stay. One of the first letters which I received after taking charge of the Department over which I preside was an extremely well-written one from a western State, asking for a Consulate, and beginning in this wise: "I have no excuse for intruding on your busy occupations except a pardonable desire to live elsewhere." [Laughter.] Now that has been the mainspring of New Englanders ever since they were seated by Providence on its barren shores, a pardonable desire to live elsewhere. [Laughter.] If they had been planted here—if they had been seated in the luxurious climate and with the fertile soil of the South, they would have had no desire, pardonable or otherwise, to live elsewhere. Though they might have grown and lived they never would have proved the seed[Pg 454] that was to make the Great Republic as it now is. [Applause.]

There has been an idea that some part of the active, spreading and increasing influence of the New England people as they moved about the world, was from a meddlesome disposition to interfere with other people. There is nothing in that. If there ever was a race that confined itself strictly to minding its own business, it is the New Englanders; and they mind it, with great results. The solution of this apparent discord is simply this: that a New Englander considers everybody else's business his business. [Loud laughter.] Now these two essential notions of wishing to live elsewhere, and regarding everybody else's business as our business, furnish the explanation of the processes by which this Republic has come to be what it is—great in every form of power, of strength, of wealth. This dissemination of New England men, and this permeation through other people's business—of our control of it—have made the nation what it is. [Applause.]

The statesmanship of the New England character, was the greatest statesmanship of the world. It did not undertake to govern by authority, or by power, but by those ideas and methods which were common to human nature, and were to make a people great, and able to govern themselves. [Applause.] The great elements of that State thus developed, were education, industry and commerce. Education which, as Aristotle says, "makes one do by choice what others do by force;" industry, which by occupying and satisfying all the avidities of our nature, leaves to government only the simple duty of curbing the vicious and punishing the wicked. Commerce, that, by unfolding to the world the relations of people with people, makes a system of foreign relations that is greater and firmer, and more beneficent, than can be brought about by all the powers of armies, or all the skill of cabinets. [Applause.]

This being, then, the Republic which has grown up from the seed thus planted, that has established our relations among ourselves over our wide heritage, and established our relations with the rest of the world, what is its outlook to-day? What is it in the sense of material prosperity? Who can measure it? Who can circumscribe it? Who can, ex[Pg 455]cept by the simple rule of three, which never errs, determine its progress? As the early settlement of Plymouth is to the United States of America, as it now is, so is the United States of America to the future possession and control of the world as they are to be. [Cheering.] This is to be, not by armies of invasion, nor by navies that are to carry the thunders of our powers. It is to be by our finding our place in the moral government of the world, and by the example, and its magnificent results, of a free people, governed by education, occupied by industry, and maintaining our connection with the world by commerce. Thus we are to disarm the armies of Europe, when they dare not disarm them themselves. [Cheers.] We present to mankind the simple, yet the wonderful evidence that a peasant in Germany, or France, or Ireland, or England carrying a soldier on his back, cannot compete in their own markets with a peasant in America who has no soldier on his back, though there be 5,000 miles distance between their farms. [Loud applause.] No doubt wonderful commotions are to take place in the great nations of Europe, under this example. There is to be overturning, and overturning, for which we have no responsibility, except, that by this great instruction, worked out by Providence on this continent, there is to be a remodelling of society in the ancient countries of the world. [Applause.] Now you see in the magnitude of the designs of Providence, how, planting the Puritans where they would desire to spread themselves abroad, and filling a continent, whence the ideas that they develop intelligibly to the whole world, are to distribute themselves over the world, that this is the way in which the redemption of society at home first, and abroad afterward, is to be accomplished by the power of the wisdom of God.

And now for the outlook in other senses than that of material prosperity, how is it? As difficult and critical junctures have been reached in the development of the nation, and collisions, as when two tides meet, have awakened our own fears, and tried our own courage, and have raised the question whether these true ideas of our Republic were to triumph or to be checked—has not the issue always shown us, that faith in God, and faith in man, are a match for all the powers of evil in our midst and elsewhere?[Pg 456] [Cheering.] If there needed to be a march to the sea, it was to be through the Southern country. [Loud applause.] If there needed to be a surrender of one portion of this people to the other, it was to be in and of Virginia, and not in and of New England. [Applause.] And now what a wonderful spectacle is presented to our nation, and to the world, when the direst calamities that ever afflict a people—those of Civil War, had fallen upon us; when the marshalling of armies, in a nation that tolerated no armies, was greater and more powerful than the conflicts of the world had ever seen; when the exhaustion of life, of treasure, of labor, had been such as was unparalleled; yet, in the brief space of fifteen years, the nation is more homogeneous, more bound together, more powerful and richer than it ever could have been but for the triumph of the good over the weak elements of this Republic. [Applause.]

And what does all this show but the essential idea that it is man—man developed as an individual—man developed by thousands, by hundreds of thousands, by millions, and tens of millions, these make the strength and the wealth of a nation. These being left us, the nation, the consumption as by a fire, attacking a city, or ravaging a whole territory, or sweeping the coffers of the rich, or invading the cottages of the poor—all this material wealth may easily be repaired. If the nation remains with its moral and intellectual strength, brighter and larger and more indestructible possessions than the first will soon replace them. On the three great pillars of American society—equality of right, community of interest, and reciprocity of duty, rests this great Republic. Riches and honor and length of days will mark the nation which rests on that imperishable basis. [Prolonged applause.][Pg 457]


[Speech of William M. Evarts at a banquet of the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York, New York City, November 5, 1881. The banquet was given in honor of the guests of the nation, the French diplomatic representatives in America, and members of the families descended from our foreign sympathizers and helpers, General Lafayette, Count de Rochambeau, Count de Grasse, Baron von Steuben, and others, who were present at the Centennial celebration of the victory at Yorktown. The chairman, James M. Brown, Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce, proposed the following toast: "The French Alliance; the amicable relations between our two countries founded in 1778, by the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, between the nation of France and the American people, cemented in blood in 1781, renewed by this visit of our distinguished guests, will, we trust, be perpetuated through all time."]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Chamber of Commerce:—It is with great pride, as well as with great pleasure, that I respond to the call in behalf of the merchants of the United States, as represented by the merchants of the great city of the United States, through this ancient guild of the Chamber of Commerce, in paying their tribute of honor and applause to the French nation, that was present as a nation in the contest of our Revolution, and is present here as a nation by its representatives to-day [applause]; and to the great Frenchmen that were present with their personal heroism in the struggles of the Revolution, and are present here in their personal descendants, to see the fruits of that Revolution, and to receive our respectful greeting [applause]; and to the Germans who were present, where they could not have been spared in the great trials of our feeble nation in its struggles against the greatest power in the world, and who are here, by the descendants of those heroic Germans, to join in this feast of freedom and of glory. [Applause.]

But I felt a little doubt, Mr. Chairman, whether the etiquette of this occasion required me to speak in my own tongue, or in the German or the French, for I speak French and German equally well [laughter], but I thought it would be a poor compliment, after all, to talk to these Frenchmen, or these Germans, in their native tongues. They surely hear enough of that at home. [Laughter.][Pg 458]

Well, Mr. President, the French Alliance was one of the noblest transactions in history. The sixth day of February, 1778, witnessed the Treaty of Alliance and the accompanying Treaty of Amity and Commerce which filled out our Declaration of Independence, and made that an assured triumph, which was until then nothing but a heroic effort on our part. [Cheers.] I do not know that the sixth of February has anywhere been honored in any due proportion to the Fourth of July; but for my part, as an humble individual, from the earliest moment I have done all in my power to show my homage to that day, for on that day I was born. [Laughter and applause.]

Now, we talk the most and must feel the most and with great propriety, of the presence of our French and of our German aids, and of our own presence at the battle of Yorktown and the surrender. But what would that occasion have amounted to, either in the fact of it or in the celebration of it, if the English had not been there? [Laughter.] You may remember the composure of the hero that was going to the block and felt that there was no occasion for hurry or confusion in the attendant crowd, as nothing important could take place until he got there [laughter]; and so, in this past history and in the present celebration, we recognize that it is not a question of personal mortification or of personal triumph—not even of national mortification or of national triumph. This was one of the great battles of the world, in which all the nations engaged, and all other nations had an everlasting interest and one through which they were to reap an everlasting good. [Applause.]

And I would like to know if the granddaughter of George III has ever had from her subjects, British or Indian, any sweeter incense than has just now been poured out from the hearts of the American people, who freely give that homage to her virtues as a woman that they deny to her sceptre and her crown as a queen. [Applause.] Who would not rather be a great man than a great king? Who would not rather be a great woman than a great queen? [Applause.] Ah, is there not a wider sovereignty over the race, and a deeper homage from human nature than ever can come from an allegiance to power? And for woman, though she be a queen, what personal power in human affairs can equal that of draw[Pg 459]ing a throb from every heart and a tear from every eye, when she spoke to us as a woman in the distress of our nation? [Applause.]

It was a very great thing for France to make the Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of Amity and Commerce with a nation that, as yet, had received no acceptance from the powers of the earth. And when we remember that France, in the contests of a thousand years, had found England no unequal match in the quarrels that belonged to the two nations, I must think that human history has shown nothing nobler than her espousal of this growing struggle between these colonists and the great power of England. [Applause.] How much nearer France was to England than we! How much wider her possessions through the world, open to the thunders of the British navy and the prowess of the British arms! And when France, in a treaty, the equal terms of which will strike every reader with wonder, speaks of the "common cause" to be pursued until the result of our complete independence, governmental and commercial, was attained, I know nothing in the way of the "bearing the burdens of one another," enjoined as the Christian spirit, that is greater than this stupendous action of France. [Applause.]

The relations of blood and history that make England and us one, as we always shall be, do not, nevertheless, make it clear that there is not a closer feeling of attachment, after all, between us and France. It is a very great compliment, no doubt, in classical phrase, to bespoken of as "matre pulchra filia pulchrior"—the fairer daughter of a fair mother, but, after all, it is a greater compliment to the daughter than to the mother. I don't know that maternal affection, the purest sentiment on earth, is ever quite pleased that the daughter is taller and fairer and more winning in her ways than the mother is, or ever was [laughter]; and I do know that there comes a time when the daughter leaves the mother and cleaves to a closer affection. And here were we, a young, growing, self-conscious, self-possessed damsel, just peeping from out our mother's apron, when there comes a gallant and noble friend, who takes up our cause, and that, too, at a time when it was not quite apparent whether we should turn out a beauty or a hoyden. [Laughter and applause.][Pg 460] And that is our relation to France. Nothing can limit, nothing can disturb it; nothing shall disparage it. It is that we, from that time and onward, and now finally in the great consummation of two Republics united together against the world, represent in a new sense Shakespeare's figure of the "unity and married calm of states." [Applause.]

The French people have the advantage of us in a great many things, and I don't know that we have any real advantage of them, except in a superior opinion of ourselves. [Laughter.] God forbid that anybody should take that from us! Great as is our affection and gratitude toward the French and German nations, there is one thing that we cannot quite put up with in those nations, and that is, that, but for them, the English and we should think ourselves the greatest nations in the world. [Laughter.] So, with all the bonds of amity between us and them, we must admit that the Frenchmen and Germans make a pretty good show on the field of history in the past, and, apparently, mean to have a pretty good share of the future of this world. [Applause.]

In comparing the Yorktown era with the present day, we find that then a great many more Frenchmen came here than Germans; but now a great many more Germans come here than Frenchmen. The original disparity of numbers seems to have been redressed by the later immigration, and we are reduced to that puzzling equilibrium of the happy swain whenever we are obliged to choose sides in the contest between these nations:—

"How happy could I be with either,
Were t'other dear charmer away."


The French are a great people in their conduct toward us in this respect, that the aid and sympathy and alliance has been all in our favor; they have done everything for us, and have been strong enough not to need anything from us. [Applause.] The fault of the French, changing a little Mr. Canning's memorable lines:—

"The fault of the French, unlike the Dutch,
Is asking too little, and giving too much."

[Laughter and applause.][Pg 461]

Now, this treaty commences with the very sensible statement that the two nations being desirous of placing their commerce and correspondence upon permanent and equitable grounds, His Most Christian Majesty and the United States of America had thought, to that end, it was best to place these relations upon perfect equality and reciprocity, without any of those burdensome preferences which are the source of debate and misunderstanding and of discontent between nations. In this spirit it is, no doubt, that we have each pursued toward each other, in commerce, that most equitable and equal system, by prohibitory duties, of keeping all of each other's products out of the other that we can. [Laughter.] Well, the Frenchmen knew, after all, that the Americans can never get along without their wines, and without their silks, and without their jewels, and without their art, and without their science, and without the numberless elegancies which make life even in our backwoods tolerable. And we know that they cannot very well dispense with our wheat and corn and the oil from the earth and the cotton to weave into those delicate tissues with which they clothe the world. [Applause.] So that, after all, these superficial barriers of customs duties do not really obstruct our commerce; and even if they have too much of our pork, as would seem to be the notion at present, we have no desire to dispense with their wines. [Laughter.]

But there are some other interchanges between nations besides those of commerce in the raw material or in the products of industry. If we could make more of a moral interchange with the French; if we could take some of the moral sunlight which shines upon that great nation; if we could be more cheerful, more gay, more debonair, and if they could take from us some of the superfluous ice which we produce morally as well as naturally, and some of that cold resistance against the inflammation of enthusiasm which sometimes raises a conflagration among their citizens at home, we have no tariff on either side that would interfere in the blending and intercommunication of the moral resources of both nations, that shall make us more and more one people, in laws, liberties and national glory, and in all the passions that guide and animate the conduct of nations. [Applause.][Pg 462]

I am happy to announce myself to you, gentlemen, what I am vain enough to suppose you would not suspect, that I am a contemporary of Lafayette. As a Boston schoolboy, I stood in the ranks at Boston when Lafayette in 1825 passed with a splendid cortége along the malls of Boston Common. I had the pleasure, as a descendant of one of his Revolutionary friends, to be presented to him personally, and to hear him say that he well remembered his old friend, my grandfather. [Cheers.] This pleasing courtesy, it may be said, was all French politeness; but I can say to these Frenchmen that whether they believe one another at home or not, we always believe them in this country. [Applause.]

And now your toast desires that this friendship, thus beginning and continued, shall be perpetual. Who is to stop it? No power but ourselves and yourselves, sir (turning to the French Minister), can interrupt it. What motive have you—what motive have we—what sentiment, but that on either side would be dishonor to the two nations—can ever breathe a breath to spoil its splendor and its purity? [Applause.] And, sir, your munificence and your affection is again to be impressed upon the American people in that noble present you are designing to make to us, in the great statue of "Liberty enlightening the World," an unexampled munificence from the private citizens of one nation to the people of another. We are to furnish the island for its site and the pedestal to place the statue on. This our people will do with an enthusiasm equal to your own. But, after all, the obligation will be wholly ours, for it is to be a lighthouse in our great harbor, a splendid monument to add new beauty to the glorious Bay of New York. [Applause.]


[Speech of William M. Evarts at a dinner given to Herbert Spencer, New York City, November 9, 1882, the day before his return to England. Mr. Evarts presided, and delivered this speech, in introducing Mr. Spencer to the company.]

Gentlemen:—We are here to-night, to show the feeling of Americans toward our distinguished guest. As no room and no city can hold all his friends and admirers,[Pg 463] it was necessary that a company should be made up by some method out of the mass, and what so good a method as that of natural selection [laughter] and the inclusion, within these walls, of the ladies? It is a little hard upon the rational instincts and experience of man that we should take up the abstruse subjects of philosophy and of evolution, of all the great topics that make up Mr. Spencer's contribution to the learning and the wisdom of his time, at this end of the dinner.

The most ancient nations, even in their primitive condition, saw the folly of this, and when one wished either to be inspired with the thoughts of others or to be himself a diviner of the thoughts of others, fasting was necessary, and a people from whom I think a great many things might be learned for the good of the people of the present time have a maxim that will commend itself to your common-sense. They say the continually stuffed body cannot see secret things. [Laughter.] Now, from my personal knowledge of the men I see at these tables, they are owners of continually stuffed bodies. [Laughter.] I have addressed them at public dinners, on all topics and for all purposes, and whatever sympathy they may have shown with the divers occasions which brought them together, they come up to this notion of continually stuffed bodies. In primitive times they had a custom which we only under the system of differentiation practise now at this dinner. When men wished to possess themselves of the learning, the wisdom, the philosophy, the courage, the great traits of any person, they immediately proceeded to eat him up as soon as he was dead. [Laughter.] Having only this diversity in that early time, that he should be either roasted or boiled according as he was fat or thin. [Laughter.] Now, out of that narrow compass, see how by the process of differentiation and of multiplication of effects we have come to a dinner of a dozen courses and wines of as many varieties; and that simple process of appropriating the virtue and the wisdom of the great man that was brought before the feast is now diversified into an analysis of all the men here under the cunning management of many speakers. No doubt, preserving as we do the identity of all these institutions, it is often considered a great art, or at least a great delight, to roast our friends and[Pg 464] put in hot water those against whom we have a grudge. [Laughter.]

Now, Mr. Spencer, we are glad to meet you here. [Applause.] We are glad to see you and we are glad to have you see us. [Laughter.] We are glad to see you, for we recognize in the breadth of your knowledge, such knowledge as is useful to your race, a greater comprehension than any living man has presented to our generation. [Applause.] We are glad to see you, because in our judgment you have brought to the analysis and distribution of this vast knowledge a more penetrating intelligence and a more thorough insight than any living man has brought even to the minor topics of his special knowledge. [Applause.] In theology, in psychology, in natural science, in the knowledge of individual man and his exposition, and in the knowledge of the world, in the proper sense of society, which makes up the world, the world worth knowing, the world worth speaking of, the world worth planning for, the world worth working for, we acknowledge your labors as surpassing those of any of our kind. [Applause.] You seem to us to carry away and maintain in the future the same measure of fame among others that we are told was given in the Middle Ages to Albertus Magnus, the most learned man of those times, whose comprehension of theology, of psychology, of natural history, of politics, of history and of learning comprehended more than any man since the classic time certainly; and yet it was found of him that his knowledge was rather an accumulation, and that he had added no new processes and no new wealth to the learning which he had achieved.

Now, I have said that we are glad to have you see us. You have already treated us to a very unique piece of work in this reception, and we are expecting perhaps that the world may be instructed after you are safely on the other side of the Atlantic in a more intimate and thorough manner concerning our merits and our few faults. [Applause and laughter.] This faculty of laying on a dissecting board an entire nation or an entire age and finding out all the arteries and veins and pulsations of their life is an extension beyond any that our own medical schools afford. You give us that knowledge of man which is practical and useful, and whatever the claims or the debates may be about your system of[Pg 465] the system of those who agree with you, and however it may be compared with other competing systems that have preceded it, we must all agree that it is practical, that it is benevolent, that it is serious, and that it is reverent; that it aims at the highest results in virtue; that it treats evil, not as eternal, but as evanescent, and that it expects to arrive at what is sought through the aid of the millennium—that condition of affairs in which there is the highest morality and the greatest happiness. [Applause.] And if we can come to that by these processes and these instructions it matters little to the race whether it be called scientific morality and mathematical freedom or by another less pretentious name. [Applause.] You will please fill your glasses while we propose the health of our guest, Herbert Spencer. [Continued applause.]


[Speech of William M. Evarts at the Thanksgiving Jubilee of the Yale Alumni, New York City, December 7, 1883. Chauncey M. Depew presided. Mr. Evarts responded for the Alumni.]

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Alumni:—I congratulate you, Mr. President, on having such a noble, such a generous, such a patient, such an appreciative body to preside over. I congratulate you, gentlemen, on having a President who combines in himself in a marked degree these two great traits of a presiding officer:—confidence in himself [great laughter], and distrust of all who are to come after him. [Laughter.] I remember forty years ago to have heard a Senator of the United States, making a stump speech in a quiet town in Vermont, amuse his audience with a story of a woodsawyer who had worked for him and who had the habit of accompanying the movement of his saw with talking to himself. He asked him one day why he did so. "Why," said he, "for two reasons. The first is, that it is a great pleasure to hear a sensible man talk, and the second is that it is a great pleasure to talk to a sensible man." [Laughter.]

Now, sir, I have but one warning to give you. It is said[Pg 466] of Mercutio, the wittiest creation of Shakespeare, who is despatched very early in the play, "My sore wound hath served its turn, although it were not as deep as a well nor as wide as a church door." It is said that if Shakespeare hadn't killed Mercutio early, Mercutio would have killed him. If you [turning to the President] are to preside year after year or to attempt it upon so high and brilliant and bold a key as you have assumed here to-night, if you don't kill the Alumni dinners, the Alumni dinners will kill you. [Great laughter.] Yale College, as represented by its graduates, is not self-conceited nor obtrusive. It is true they have always felt the magnificent compliment paid to the College by that greatest of English thinkers and philosophers Lord Bacon, who said in a famous passage, as you will recall: "Eating makes a full man, drinking a ready man, but to be an Alumnus of Yale, a wise man." Yet we are modest and even reverent toward the claims of other universities. We are satisfied at the humble position which the French bishop took towards that great berry, the strawberry. "Doubtless," said he, "God Almighty might have made a better berry than the strawberry, but doubtless He has not." [Laughter.] That is our opinion of Yale College. [Applause.]

Now, to be an Alumnus of Yale College, is the object of all those who enter the college and the object after getting there is to get out. Sometimes indeed, the four years are spent without that fortunate result. I remember to have heard of the son of a somewhat conspicuous gentleman who had desired to give his children the benefit of an education such as Yale affords, who had spent four years there; but the entire four years were spent as a member of the Freshman class. [Laughter.] What a fortunate condition to be continually towering over more and more of those who are competing with him in scholarship and for distinction! I know of none greater unless some mode might be discovered by which one could be a Senior for four years. There is nothing in human affairs that could equal that happiness! [Laughter.] Well, college life in my generation—and I certainly had a singular reminder to-night from you, Mr. President, that I belonged to a generation that has passed out of memory, for you have excited the enthu[Pg 467]siasm of this company only in the applause that you have drawn from those who were graduated under Presidents Woolsey and Porter. What are you to say for us who graduated under President Day? College life, I was about to say, is a charming life. The best men, we may presume, are collected from the community, placed under the happiest relations one to another and under the happiest influences from above and around them.

The President of the college has spoken to you of the pleasing fact that there is an endowment of seventy thousand dollars for fellowships. Well, when I was in college, a very moderate endowment of five dollars contributed by those who were associated as companions was a very good endowment for good fellowship. [Laughter.] And now in looking at life as it is, as we remember it in college and have seen it since, who is there that would compare mere fellowship with good-fellowship? What is there that is heartier, what sincerer, what more generous and what more just than the relations of young men of a liberal spirit toward one another in college? How many of us as we have gone on in life, prosperous, as we may have been, with nothing to complain of as to our success or our situation—how many of us have been disposed to repeat that lament of Æneas where he was continually baffled in holding closer conversation with his goddess-mother who was always carried off in a nimbus or her accents lost in the whisper of the wind:—

"cur dextrae jungere dextram
Non datur, ac veras audire et reddere voces?"

Maybe in the good-fellowship of after-life, you, Mr. President, will not hesitate to walk down Broadway with your arm over General Jackson's shoulder and his about your waist, and then all the people shall cry with applause: "See how Yale men love one another!"

You will observe, from this little classic allusion that I am on the side of those who favor in the curriculum the maintenance of the learned languages. For myself, whether an education in the classic languages and in the classic literature should or should not be discarded from the education of the noble youth of the country is the question whether[Pg 468] it is worth while in the advancing and strenuous life of modern times that men should have a liberal education. For be sure that there is no trait in that education that entitles it to the name of liberal more sure and more valuable than this education in the literature, in the history, in the language of the great men of the ages past. If any boy is put through what is called a liberal education, and finds when he goes out from it, that he is not on a level with those who understand and cherish the Greek language and literature, he will find that he is mistaken in wishing to dispense with that distinguishing trait.

I am able to give you a very interesting anecdote, as it seems to me, of this very point, of how a great man, great in his power, great in his fame, yet of an ingenuous and simple nature, may look at this accomplishment. On my return from Europe, when I first visited it, upon a public errand, while President Lincoln was at the height of his fame from the assured although not completed success and triumph in the war, and from the great transaction that had made him one of the famous men for all ages—the emancipation of the slaves—I had occasion, in a friendly meeting with him, to express a hope that he would find it in his power after the cares of State were laid aside to visit Europe and see the statesmen and great men there whose mouths were full of plaudits for his assured accomplished fame. Said he: "You are very kind in thinking I should meet with a reception so gratifying as you have proposed, and I certainly should enjoy as much as any one the acquisition and the observation that such a visit would give; but," added he, "as you know very well my early education was of the narrowest, and in the society in which I should move I should be constantly exposed in conversation to have a scrap of Greek or Latin spoken that I should know nothing about." Certainly that was a very peculiar statement to be made by this wonderful man, but it struck me at the moment that his clear mind, his self-poised nature, recognized the fact that his greatness and his fame did not lie in the direction of an association with what he regarded as the accomplished men of society and of public life brought.

I believe, therefore, that we will stand by the college while it stands by the Greek and the Latin, and certainly as representatives of the great mass of graduates we can[Pg 469] now talk more of Greek and Latin as a common accomplishment than the greatest genius and orators of ancient times, Demosthenes or Cicero, could of English. [Laughter.]

There are many things, gentlemen, that if I were the President of this association or the President of the University, I should say and expect to be listened to, while saying it. But I confess that I have pretty much exhausted, as I perceive, your patience and my own capacity. I am now living for the reputation of making short speeches, and I am only afraid that my life will not be long enough to succeed. But I promise you that if I get a good forum and a good audience like this I will run a short speech even if I run it into the mud. [Applause.]


[Speech of William M. Evarts at the banquet given by the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York, June 24, 1885, to the officers of the French national ship "Isere," which brought over the Bartholdi statue. Charles Stewart Smith, vice-President of the Chamber, presided at the dinner and introduced the speaker as follows: "Gentlemen, fill your glasses for the seventh regular toast: 'Liberty Enlightening the World, a great truth beautifully and majestically expressed by the unique gift which our guests of to-night have brought safely to our shores.' The gentleman who will respond to this toast needs no introduction—Senator William M. Evarts."]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:—I may be permitted at the outset, to speak a little about the share that we have taken on this side of the water in this great achievement which in its glorious consummation, now receives the applause of the world.

When this great conception of friendship for America, joy at our triumph, and their own undaunted love of liberty, liberty for France, liberty for the United States, liberty for the world, arose, then the French people were set aflame with a desire to bring, as it were, their gifts of frankincense and myrrh to lay on this altar of liberty, that its censer might never die out, but forever perfume and ennoble the air of the world. [Applause.]

The genius of Art, the patriotism of France, the enthusiasm of its people, accomplished by contributions drawn[Pg 470] from more than one hundred thousand, perhaps two hundred thousand givers, made up this statue, not equalled in the history of the world, and not conceived in its genius or its courage before. [Applause.]

Then it was for us to say whether we would furnish the pedestal upon which this great gift and emblem of Liberty should find its secure and permanent home; without the aid of the Government and by the movement of our own people in this city, an organization wholly voluntary, and without pretension or assumption had the faith that the American people would furnish a home fit for the statue of Liberty, however magnificent should be the reception, that would comport with its own splendor. [Cheers.]

This organization undertook actively its work in 1882, before the statue was completed, and while it remained somewhat uncertain to many who doubted whether the great statue would really be brought to its anticipated prosperity and success. But we went on, and now, within three years, this work, both of receiving and collecting subscriptions and of raising the pedestal itself, will have been completed, and I do not hesitate to say, in the face of all critics and all doubters, that a work of so great magnitude, either in its magnificence, or in its labor, has never before been completed in so short a time. [Applause.]

When we were reasonably assured of adequate funds, we commenced the concrete base on which this pedestal was to rest; and no structure of that kind, of that magnitude, of that necessity, of that perfection and permanence has ever been accomplished in the works of masonry before. [Cheers.] Commencing on the ninth of October, 1883, it was completed on the seventeenth day of May, 1884—and then commenced the work of the structure proper, of the pedestal, and it went on, and it went on, and it went sure, and it went safe, if it went slow, and there it stands. [Cheers.]

And now a word or two about the Committee. An eminent lawyer of our city was once detected and exposed and applauded for being seen standing with his hands in his own pockets [laughter], and for about three months, if you had visited the meetings of this Committee of ours, you would have seen the whole assembly standing with their hands in their own pockets [applause], and taking the first step[Pg 471] forward asking their fellow-citizens to follow us, and not for us to follow them. [Cheers.] And so we went on, and on the tenth of this present month, we had received in hand $241,000, of which $50,000 came from the grand and popular movement of a great newspaper—"The World" [three cheers for "The World"]—fifty thousand dollars! and that made up substantially what we had announced in advance as what would be required to complete the pedestal. But where did we miscarry even in that calculation? The exploration showed us that the concrete mass must go deeper in the ground, and that cost us alone $85,000, about $30,000 more than we had counted upon before the exploration; and then the $20,000 more that makes it up to the $300,000 as our need to complete the pedestal (when we had counted upon $250,000), is made by such delay and such expenses as made the general outlay for this immense structure, continuing longer than would have been necessary, had the promptness of contributions kept pace with the possibility of completion.

Now, gentlemen, we have been patient and quiet. Nearly one-fourth of the contributions of the general citizens came from the pockets of the Committee. Instead of hearing from enterprising Chicago, and ambitious Boston, they are talking about the slowness and the dulness of New York's appreciation, of the delays in its contributions. Let the example of our patriotism and munificence be an example for them to imitate; and this city of Boston—let their people there reflect that, when they built Bunker Hill monument, it cost I am informed scarcely $100,000. They were twenty years in raising it, although the whole country was canvassed in its aid. [Laughter.]

Well, gentlemen, so much for that. And how great is this monument! How noble! How beautiful! How inspiring for the time that looks upon its completion and for the ages that shall mark it hereafter! If our country and France, as we hope, may go on in the enlargement and advancement of a glorious civilization, we may feel sure that if our descendants shall overtop us in wealth, in strength, in art, and equal us in love of liberty, they will not say that this was not a worthy triumph for the age in which we live [applause]; and if, unhappily, malign influences shall de[Pg 472]grade our civilization and our fame, and travellers and dwellers here shall find their power has waned, and their love of liberty declined, if they shall have become a poverty-stricken and debased people, what will they think of this remaining monument of a past and lost age, but that it was a creation of the gods and that no men ever lived. [Cheers.]

Well, these French gentlemen, the Admiral and the Commandant, how shall we appreciate the beneficence of their visit, the urbanity of their attentions to us, and the happy and hearty manner in which they have accepted our hospitality. Why the Admiral—a greater triumph, let me say, than he could ever have by the power of his navy—has come here and carried New York by storm, without firing a gun. [Cheers.] And as for Commandant De Saune, he has done what in the history of the world—of our modern world, at least—no nation, no ruler has successfully attempted: he has kept "Liberty enlightening the World" under the hatches for thirty days. [Applause.]

It was tried in England, and "Liberty enlightening the World" cut off the head of the king. Tried again, it drove the dynasty of the Stuarts forever from that free island. In France, they tried to suppress it, and it uprooted the ancient monarchy and scattered the forces which were expected to repress it. The milder form of a limited monarchy, even, France would not submit to as a repression of liberty, and again twice over, under an Imperial government, "Liberty enlightening the World" has broken out from under the hatches. [Cheers.]

But Commandant De Saune is not only a bold represser of mutiny on board his vessel, but he is a great and cunning navigator; he did not tell it, but he planned it, and how narrow the calculation was. He arrived here on the seventeenth of June, Bunker Hill day [applause], and missed the eighteenth, the day of Waterloo. [Laughter and applause.]—It is thus that this French genius teaches us new lessons, and evokes irrepressible applause. [Cheers.]

I imagine that a navigator who could thus seize the golden moment, and miss the disastrous one, might, if he undertook it, discover the North Pole. [Laughter.] But I am sure he has better work before him in the world than that. [Applause.] But if he goes on to that destination, oh, let us[Pg 473] contribute some portion of the cargo that he will put under the hatches! [Laughter.]

Well, gentlemen, this is a great event, this great triumph of civilization is indeed laden with many instructions, and many illustrations. No doubt "Liberty enlightening the World" in modern history finds its greatest instance in that torch which was lighted here; but from the enthusiasm and the inexorable logic of French philosophy on the "equality of man," was furnished we can never say how much of the zeal and of the courage that enabled our forefathers to shape the institutions of equality and liberty here [cheers], and all can mark the reaction upon France, by which our interests, our prosperity under them encouraged, ennobled and maintained the struggle for liberty there which overthrew ancient establishments and raised in their place new. And now both countries, at least, stand on the same happy combination of liberty regulated by law, and law enlightened by liberty. [Cheers.] And this great structure, emblem of so much else, example of so much else, guide to so much else, yet this emblem, this example, this guide is of the union between the genius and enthusiasm of liberty, the graceful statue and the massive and compact pedestal of our own granite by which it is upheld. [Cheers.]

Liberty can only be supported by solid and sober institutions, founded upon law as built upon a rock; and the structure solid and sober which sustains it, if Liberty has fled, is but a shapeless and unsightly mass that is no longer worthy of respect as a structure, to be torn apart until it can be better rebuilt as the home of liberty. [Prolonged applause.][Pg 474]



[Speech of Thomas C. Ewing at the first annual banquet of the New York Southern Society, February 22, 1887. Algernon S. Sullivan, the President of the Society, was in the chair, and announced that General Ewing would respond to the toast "Ohio and the Northwest." General Ewing was greeted with applause and cheers for Ohio.]

Mr. President and Gentlemen:—Ohio and her four sisters of the Northwest are always proud and happy to be reminded of the fact of their kinship to Virginia. It was the valor and the intrepidity of the Old Dominion which, long before the Confederation was formed, wrested that great territory from the Frenchmen and the savages. It was her lofty generosity which gave to the poor young Republic that vast territory out of which has been formed five of our greatest States, and in which dwell millions of our people. It was her humane and unselfish statesmanship which annexed to the gift the condition that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, excepting punishment for crime, should ever exist in that magnificent domain. Thousands of our Revolutionary heroes sleep in Ohio in land given to them as a recognition of their own priceless services, and the beautiful district between the Scioto and the Little Miami is filled with their descendants. Therefore, Mr. President, whenever Virginia sits at the head of the table, Ohio claims a seat as one of the family.

I, too, coming from that great State, and proud of it and its condition, may join in congratulating you, gentlemen, on the establishment of this "Southern Society of New York." After the long season of strife and discontent this is one of the many signs which mark the vernal equinox, and foretell the coming summer. I believe, notwithstanding the in[Pg 475]finite disasters of the war, the overthrow of slavery, and with it all the industrial system of the South, and the needless loss and the humiliations of reconstruction—I believe that there is to-day a kinder and more cordial fraternity between the North and South than ever existed since the agitation of the slavery question sixty or seventy years ago. This society formed, and meeting here in this great centre of American political and business life, can do much to promote that peace. We need more social intercourse between the Northern and Southern men, and we need, above all, a clearer and manlier understanding of each other, in order that the recollections of the war may cease to check the growing accord between us.

Gentlemen, the North craves a living and lasting peace with the South; it asks no humiliating conditions; it recognizes the fact that the proximate cause of the war was the constitutional question of the right of secession—a question which, until it was settled by the war, had neither a right nor wrong side to it. Our forefathers, in framing the Constitution purposely left the question unsettled; to have settled it distinctly in the Constitution would have been to prevent the formation of the union of the Thirteen States. They, therefore, committed that question to the future and the war came on and settled it forever. Now, the Northern people are not so mean, fanatical or foolish as to blame the South because it believed then and believes now that it had the right side of that question. How could we respect the South if it were to say now that it was insincere then, or if it were to pretend that its convictions on a question of constitutional construction had been changed by the cuffs and blows of the war? It is enough that the North and South alike agree that the war settled that question in favor of the Northern construction finally and forever.

The North does ask that the settlement of the war as embodied in the constitutional amendments shall be accepted, and obeyed in the letter and spirit, as good faith and good citizenship require. There have been undoubtedly very many instances of violation of the spirit of the amendments and there will be in the future, but no more than from the very nature of things was to have been expected; and I have no doubt that they will decrease in number as time goes on, and will[Pg 476] finally disappear in the breaking-up of the color line in the South; and under the influence of that great sentiment become more familiar and more general every year, in favor of equal political rights to every American citizen. Aside from these questions, there is nothing to perpetuate alienation between the North and South. The new questions will lead to new divisions on other lines; already the representatives of Alabama are getting ready to stand with Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey in support of the tariff on the iron industry; the spinners of the Dan and the Saco will stand very soon with the spinners of the Willimantic and the Merrimac in supporting the cotton interests, and now we see the cotton-growers of the South and the wheat-growers of the Northwest united in demanding a tariff for revenue only.

Common political interests, the ministry of social and political intercourse, and perhaps higher than all, the pride of a common citizenship are rapidly supplanting sectionalism among our own people and leading us to stand together and work out our common destiny in fraternal reunion. It has often occurred to me, as a cause of thankfulness to Almighty God—and I believe He is guiding this Republic so as to work out the problem of self-government for all mankind—that the tremendous fact of the war has caused so little change in our system of government; constitutional amendments have been so limited by interpretation by the Supreme Court of the United States that they have hardly added anything to the powers of the general Government or impaired the powers of the States. The legislation following the war when Congress seemed to have run mad with the theory that it could legislate outside of the Constitution has to a large extent fallen under the decisions of that high tribunal. One would have supposed that it could have been certain that, considering the fact that the war was waged to extend the extremest proposition of State sovereignty, that the triumph of the Federal theory would have added enormously and permanently to the powers of the general Government and diminished very greatly and permanently the powers of the States. It is well for Republican government that that evil was averted. We have our free State Government, States still stand as the fortresses of American[Pg 477] liberty, and our Federal government moves in its orb with scarcely a perturbation to mark the influence of the war upon it.

Gentlemen, we have successfully worked out the problem of self-government, and our example will undoubtedly and in due time be followed by the world. What else is there for this Republic to do? There is a tremendous question yet unsolved which is now rising unbidden in this and in every enlightened nation. It is the question of the proper distribution of the earnings of labor and capital combined. This is a question that will not down, and we have got to meet it. British publicists and statesmen from whom we have taken in the past far too much of our politics have either ignored that question entirely, or have treated it as practically settled by the apothegm of Ricardo, that the laborer is entitled out of his earnings to just enough food and clothing to keep the machine of his body in working order, and that when that machine becomes disarranged or worn out, he must go to the almshouse.

In the United States, so far as the question does not lie outside of the powers of the State or general Government, so far as those powers can be used fairly to adjust the question, methods of adjustment will fall within the lines relating to revenue, currency, corporations, police regulations. The settlement of the intricate problem and of that immensely important one, will not be added to by flagrant assaults on public authority, nor by the interference by bodies or individuals with the free right of every single workingman to work for whatever he pleases and for whomever he pleases and as many hours as he pleases; nor by the confiscation of real or personal property. And on the other hand that question will not be solved nor aided in its solution by police interference with the right of free assembly and discussion, nor by police interference with the right to form organizations open or secret, nor by police interference with the right of laboring men to combine for their own benefit if they keep within the limits of the law. On the other hand, I dissent in toto from some of the sentiments expressed in the letter of Mr. Hewitt. [Abram S. Hewitt, Mayor of the City of New York.] This question will only be settled by the people at the ballot-box and by the enactment of such laws[Pg 478] as will fairly distribute the net earnings which labor and capital combine to make.

Gentlemen, let us who have borne the heat and burden of the Civil War, commit it and its issues to the past, and join the incoming generation in settling this great industrial question in such a way as will be just to all, and best for the masses of the people. The South has always produced great statesmen. It was her peerless and immortal son whose love of the people and whose faith in their power of self-government did most to establish and animate our free institutions. And again let the New South send forth other statesmen armed with the power and animated with the spirit of Jefferson, [Applause.][Pg 479]



[Speech of Frederic W. Farrar, D.D., at the banquet of the Royal Academy, London, May 3, 1884. He was at that time Canon and Archdeacon of Westminster, and in 1895 became Dean of Canterbury. The President, Sir Frederic Leighton, in introducing the speaker said: "In literature as in science a different side of our subject is each year brought into prominence according to the guest who does us the honor to respond to it. To-night I have the pleasure to call on an accomplished and eloquent divine, a writer whose sentences are pictures and his language rich with color and who is known to you not only by his books on the most sacred subjects, but also by the valuable chapters which he has contributed to the study of language, the venerable Archdeacon Farrar."]

My Lords and Gentlemen:—I have no pretension to be regarded as an adequate representative of English Literature, but the toast itself is one which could never be omitted at any banquet of the Royal Academy. The artist and the man of letters, though they differ in their gifts and in their methods, are essentially united in feeling and in purpose. They appeal to the same emotions; they enforce the same lessons; they illustrate the same truths; they labor for the same objects. The common aim of both is the emancipation and free development of our spiritual nature. The humblest artist as he reads the great works written by men of genius in all ages,—the humblest man of letters as year after year he has the delight of gazing on these splendidly illuminated walls—may claim that he belongs to one and the same great brotherhood—the brotherhood of those who have consistently labored to cheer, to bless and to elevate mankind. Turner called himself the "author" not the artist of his pictures; and indeed, writing and painting are but different forms of that one eternal language of which not even Babel could confound the significance. There is hardly a single[Pg 480] work in this Exhibition which does not illustrate the close connection between literature and art.

Landscape painting has always been the chief glory of our English school, and what are the great poets of all ages but landscape painters, and what are the best landscape painters but poets? Alike they reproduce for us aspects of nature translated into human thoughts and tinged with human emotion. When Homer shows us bees swarming out of the hollow rock and hanging in grapelike clusters on the blossoms of spring; when Æschylus flashes upon us the unnumbered laughter of the sea-waves; when Virgil in a single line paints for us the silvery Galæsus flowing now under dark boughs, and now through golden fields; when Dante bids us gaze on a sky which is of the sweet color of the Eastern sapphire; when Wordsworth points us to the daffodils tossing in the winds of March beside the dancing waves of the lake; when Tennyson shows us "the gummy chestnut buds that glisten in the April blue;" when even in prose Mr. Ruskin produces scenes and sunsets as gorgeous as those of his own Turner—what are they but landscape painters.

Again, how many memorable scenes of history are inseparable in our minds alike, and almost equally, from the descriptions of the writer or the conceptions of the artist? Shall we ever think of the execution of Mary Queen of Scots without recalling Mr. Froude's description of her, as she stood, a blood-red figure on the black-robed scaffold? Shall we ever think of Monmouth pleading for his life with James II, without remembering the picture which hung last year upon these walls? Is there no affinity between novelist and our many painters of ordinary scenes, with their kindred endeavor to shed light and beauty on the hopes and fears, the duties and sorrows of human life? Nay, even if the preacher and the divine may claim any part in the domain of letters, they, too, look to the artist for the aid and inspiration which, in their turn, they lend to him. Which of us can ever read the words, "These are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends," or, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock," without being helped to realize their meaning by the pathetic allegories of Mr. Millais and Mr. Holman Hunt? And if, sir, you will pardon the[Pg 481] allusion, the verse, "Oh! had I the wings of a dove," is in my own mind henceforth inseparably associated, not only with the melody of Mendelssohn, in which we seem to see the dove hovering, as it were, in a cloud of golden music, but also with the picture I saw many years ago in this room, of a weary king sitting on his palace roof, his hair sable silvered, and his crown laid humbly upon the parapet beside him, whose eyes wistfully follow the flight of a flock of doves towards the twilight sky.

I am sure that I echo the sentiment of every painter, and of every author here when I say we are brothers in the effort to make the happy happier, and the sad less miserable, and in the poet's words, "to teach the young and the gracious of every age to see, to think, to feel, and therefore to become more actively and securely virtuous."

"High is our calling, friends! creative art,
(Whether the instruments of words she use
Or pencil pregnant with ethereal hues,)
Demands the service of a mind and heart
Though sensitive, yet in their weakest part
Heroically fashioned—to infuse
Faith in the whispers of the lonely muse,
While the whole world seems adverse to desert
Great is the glory, for the strife was hard."

[Cheers.][Pg 482]



[Speech of Col. John R. Fellows at the third annual banquet of the New York Southern Society, New York City, February 22, 1889, Col. John C. Calhoun, President of the Society, said, in introducing him. "Now, gentlemen, the next toast is: 'The Day We Celebrate.' I have been an Arkansas traveller. We have here with us to-night as our guest another who has also been an Arkansas traveller, but he has come on to this great metropolis and located here, and to-day voices the sentiment of a vast portion of our population. We now propose to hear from the Hon. John R. Fellows."]

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Southern Society, and their Guests:—I have just come from a banquet board, the twenty-second of February gathering of a society over which for some time past I have had the honor of presiding, and which, therefore, commanded my first allegiance to-night. It is not often that I am accustomed to appear in the attitude of an apologist when called upon to respond to a sentiment such as you have assigned to me to-night, for it would be but the affectation of modesty to say that I have been unaccustomed to positions of this kind; yet I do feel something of reluctance in your presence to-night, at the first banquet of your society which I have done myself the honor of attending. I do feel some hesitation in attempting to respond to a toast which includes so much, and is so large in its scope as the one your partiality has given to me. It is altogether unexpected, for I had announced to your committee that my presence here would be of exceedingly limited duration, as I am compelled to leave your midst to visit another gathering, where I have other duties to perform to-night.

Yet I shall not hesitate to say something in response to the toast. He must be very far less than imbued with senti[Pg 483]ments of love for his country and of a just conception of its greatness, who can fail to have something of that sentiment awakened upon an occasion like this, or in the presence of such a toast as you have given me.

I congratulate you, Mr. President, upon the auspicious character of this gathering. The youngest of all the societies which have now arisen to prominence in our midst, you give tokens in your infancy of what your future greatness is to be. It is exceedingly gratifying to hear a statement of your prosperity which insures for you so much of the future, confers so much of hope and promise upon your society as that to which we have listened to-night.

Especially is it gratifying to know of your financial condition; "the society owes nothing." In that respect the society differs radically from each of its individual members. [Laughter.] It is a Southern characteristic to owe all you can, to pay if you possibly can. There is a sentiment of honor about the Southerner that induces him to pay if he possibly can; but there is a sentiment of chivalry which always actuates him to contract debts without any reference whatever. [Laughter.] Having started your society on a basis so different from that which characterizes the units of the society is an evidence of how you have become permeated and tinctured with Yankee influences. I am glad to hear of your financial prosperity. It is a good augury, a hopeful sign of the success which awaits your efforts.

You have called upon me to respond to the toast of "The Day we Celebrate." I should rather have listened to what would be said of that toast from the lips of the eloquent Virginian who so admirably represents the State that was the birthplace of Washington, whose personal character and whose family have given so much of additional lustre and glory to the State. [Applause and cheers for General Lee.]

I may not venture, gentlemen, upon a review of the character of Washington, upon all that his life, and services, and influence meant to the world. The world, in the language of another, knows that history by heart. An hundred and fifty-seven years ago, I believe, this day, he was born. He lived almost the full age allotted to man, but he crowded that narrow life with deeds that would have rendered illus[Pg 484]trious and immortal the history of a thousand years. He gave to the world an impetus, he impressed upon it a character and force, he gave it a conception of new power, of solidity of judgment, of strength of character, of unbending and unyielding integrity, of high devotion to principle, of just conception of duty, of patriotism and heroic resolve in the midst of temptation to wander and be subservient, of self-abnegation, of sacrifices for the benefit of others, such as would have adorned and rendered immortal—I repeat—the history of the lives of ten thousand ordinary men. [Applause.] You claim him for Virginia, but I speak the universal language when I repeat the eloquent expression of the most eloquent Irishman—"No country can claim, no age appropriate him; the boon of Providence to the human race, his fame is eternity, and his residence Creation." [Applause.] Well was it that the English subject could say (though it was the defeat of their armies and the disgrace of their policy—even they could bless the convulsion in which he had his origin), "for if the heavens thundered and the earth rocked yet when the storm had passed how pure was the atmosphere it cleared, how bright in the brow of the firmament was the planet it revealed to earth." An hundred years have passed since Washington, crowned with the honors of the successful chieftain, having led his country through the turmoil of seven years of blood and strife, in these streets and under these skies was crowned with the highest civic triumph this Republic can bestow upon its citizen.

And to-night we come to inquire less, perhaps, of Washington's history, of Washington's influence and character—for every child knows that—than we do of the country of which Washington was so conspicuous a part. It seems to me, gentlemen, that the great national holiday we celebrate, the Fourth of July, is the most significant of all holidays in the history of all the nations of the world. What does it typify, sirs? What does it signify to us? Your chairman has said that we have had an hundred years of national history. It is a little less than an hundred years since we inaugurated our first President. The Fourth of July does not celebrate the establishment of the independence of the United States; it marks but the beginning of the strife[Pg 485] instead of its successful close. It was at the outset of the Revolutionary struggle that the Colonies threw down that gauge which defied all tradition, which stamped upon all past history, which mocked at ancient dogmas and hoary traditions, which introduced upon earth an entirely new and distinctive doctrine! Before that time men had fought for the realization of noble purposes and high aims; they had fought to win succor from distressful conditions; they had fought for relief against oppression; but they had fought for these only as the gaining of a boon and a privilege from powers that were; and everywhere it was conceded that there was upon earth a class of men ordained by Providence to rule, and that the vassal's obedience was the inheritance of the many. And when men rose up in their might to fight upon the plains of Runnymede, in earnest contest, for ancient rights, for ancient privileges, it was after all only asking something of the grace of the sovereign, and no one denied his absolute power to withhold or to grant it as he would. But the colonies threw down this defiance to earth—that there was no heaven-ordained class to govern men; that man, by virtue of his existence, by reason of his creation, was a sovereign in his own right; and that in these latter days all just rights in government were derived, not from the will of the ruler, but from the consent of the governed. [Applause.]

It was a new doctrine, I repeat, and if it could be successfully maintained there was no foundation strong enough for a throne to rest securely upon! And so all the startled nations rose up to oppose it, this innovation of all that had been in the preceding centuries; but guided by that star, led on by the resolute courage, the steadfast integrity of Washington, our fathers went on and on in pursuit of this doctrine, in quest of this precious boon, on through blood and toil, on when the struggle seemed like the very madness of despair, on and on when hope seemed to have fled, but patriotism remained; on over trembling dynasties and crumbling thrones, until they wrested that jewel of their love from the reluctant hand of a sullen king, and set it to glitter forever upon the brow of a new-born nation. [Applause.] Auspicious day, which an hundred years ago proclaimed both civil and religious liberty to all the popula[Pg 486]tions of the earth! To-day we have set four other stars in our national heaven. [Applause.] Through all the years we shall go on adding to the glories of the constellation, each one with a radiance of its own, each one with an orbit of its own, but all swinging in delightful harmony in that larger orbit within which we recognize our common country, our Federal Union. [Applause.]

What did Washington do for us? Look around you! I cannot but say, as that monument in St. Paul's says of the architect of that splendid pile, Sir Christopher Wren. All of him that could die sleeps under the marble, but above his mouldering ashes there is this inscription: "Here lies the body of Sir Christopher Wren, architect of St. Paul's. Reader, would you see his monument, then look around you." [Applause.] There could be no higher evidence of the grandeur and greatness, the strength and character of the man and of his mind, than to point to the works he did. So we say of Washington. We have had an hundred years of experience in the form of government that his sword conquered for us, and that his statesman-like mind fashioned and controlled at the outset. The guidance he gave us we have never lost; the teachings he inculcated we cherish as dearly to-day as when they were uttered. Nay! nay! his memory and his fame grow brighter as the years recede, and as we get away from the frailties and foibles which attach to the weakness of our common humanity, even in the person of the strongest. As we get away it is like moving from some grand mountain peak. As you go away you see its symmetrical form rise clear in the clouds, with the eternal blue around the summit, with all its harsh and rugged outlines obliterated by distance; it is there in its perfect grandeur, in its completeness and beauty, without any of the weaknesses or foibles which attach to it.

I think there is no better evidence of the character and influence of Washington upon the American mind than what has transpired during and since the war. Look, sir, at the South of which you spoke! She was largely a lethargic people prior to the war. She lived in luxury; she was in the midst of a condition which yielded to her abundant support, and eliminated from her life the necessity of hard labor and earnest effort. The war came. We were[Pg 487] bound around with a cordon we could not break; we were encircled by fire; we were thrown upon our resources. What resulted? Ah, sir, at once there leaped into life, with a splendor and with a giant's strength such as the world, such as ourselves had never conceived of, the true manhood of the South. Every man became a laborer, every woman a worker. There was nothing that the necessities of our life demanded that we did not fashion with our own hands. Deprived of all support, of all assistance from the outside world, we dug from our hills, and wrested from our soil, and evoked from resources the measure and extent of which we had never dreamed before, whatever was necessary for the support of the loved ones at home and the armies we maintained in the field. [Applause.] We illustrated a heroism and valor which is the admiration of the world, which is the highest pride and admiration of our gallant adversaries. They conquered no ignoble foe; the field was worthy even of their efforts. And when the war was over, the terrible strife had ended, while yet the land was filled with mourning, while every church on every Sunday in this North was crowded with women wearing the sable garments of woe for sons, for brothers, for husbands, for the loved of every kind and condition who were sleeping their last sleep on Southern hillsides—how did the spirit of Washington, the toleration, the kindness, the generosity, the magnanimity which in all his life he breathed out toward all exhibit itself here in the North? They took us by the hand. They lifted us to our feet again, or assisted in doing so. They gave us the recognition which one gallant man extends to another whose heroism and courage he has tested; they wrote the title of American Citizen upon our brows again, and told us to go on as parts of the Union, with our loves and hopes bound up in its common destiny. [Applause.]

The spirit of Washington has never died. The courage of Washington has never died. This war was a vital necessity—let us recognize it. This war was an ordination of Providence—let us confess it. There were issues distracting and dividing this country which no legislation, no government, and no decrees of courts could settle. At one time or another they had to be fought to their final[Pg 488] conclusion upon the battle-field. When the contest was ended it eliminated from our national condition every element of strife, and welded us together in a bond ten thousandfold stronger and better than we had known before. [Applause.]

Now, what remains? Ah! so much remains that can never die! There are Northern soldiers here, there are Southern soldiers here. We stood face to face through the bitterness of that conflict; we stand heart to heart now. [Applause.] Whenever this country shall call upon her sons to do battle against a common foe, when North and South Carolina with Massachusetts and Vermont, when Georgia and Ohio, when all the South and all the North march side by side in behalf of Old Glory, then at the bivouac, then around our council fires, the sons will recall the valorous deeds their fathers wrought upon either side and under opposing flags during the civil strife, as the loudest call and the strongest inspiration to awaken effort in behalf of the rescued and re-united country. [Applause.] Has it not always been so? If you would awaken a flame of martial life in the sons of France, appeal to them as those whose eagles flew in triumph above Wagram, and Austerlitz, and Lodi Bridge, and bore upon the outstretched wings the glorious destinies of her favored child of fortune, her thunderbolt of war! If you would awaken Caledonia to battle, appeal to her sons as descendants of—

"Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots whom Bruce has often led,"

and at once, from Loch Lomond, from Ben Nevis, and from the Grampian Hills, her kilted warriors will troop to death as to a feast, stimulated by the recollection of the glorious deeds of those from whose loins they sprang! And hereafter, sir, if eloquence shall want a theme to awaken her sublimest efforts, or poetry shall seek some shrine at which to offer its most harmonious numbers, orator and bard will not go back to the romantic period of Agincourt and Crecy, when Henry V led his armies to victory, and Douglas poured the vials of his wrath across Northumbrian plains—no need to go back there—but they will tell of the deeds of[Pg 489] the glorious men who drew their swords at Lee's, or Johnston's, or Longstreet's bidding, or of those who flamed the demigods of war where Grant and Sherman and Sheridan led [applause]; of those whose camp-fires shone out on the dark walls of Blue Ridge, or lit up with their glow the waters of Gauley and of Shenandoah; of those who sleep in graves consecrated forevermore, where the starts look down to-night through shadowy trees in Spottsylvanian woods and Stafford groves; of the long lines whose musketry rang out their sublime peal in the early gray of that April morning at Shiloh, whose fierce battle-shout at Chancellorsville or in the Wilderness mingled with the farewell sounds that broke on Jackson's and on Sedgwick's ears, sounds scarcely stilled ere the acclamations of angels woke them to sublimer greeting. [Applause.]

We may safely trust the story of the unequalled valor, the peerless chivalry of those years, on whichever side they fought, to the verdict which the unprejudiced future will utter. But I know if ever this country shall ask us again to flock to her standard and to do duty for her cause, there is no stronger inspiration that can be invoked, there is no enthusiasm that can be created or awakened that will lead men so quickly into the ranks of the foe and hold them so steadily in the face of death as to talk to each other of the deeds their fathers did when they stood as foes battling for what they thought was right. [Applause.] Nay! out of our very strife we have grown strong. The magnanimity of the conquering party has fused and welded us together in one irresistible, unbreakable party. No internal dissension shall disturb us henceforth; and the world arrayed in arms against us we do not fear. And all of this we derive from the teachings, the heroism, the courage, the patience, the faith, the example of the fathers, at the head of whom stood the illustrious one in whose behalf we celebrate this day. [Applause and cheers for Colonel Fellows.][Pg 490]



[Speech of David Dudley Field at the dinner given in honor of Samuel F. B. Morse, New York City, December 27, 1863.]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:—In the early days of the electric telegraph, a proposition was made that it should be called the Morseograph. I cannot but think that that would have been a distinctive and appropriate designation; thus, in all future time, when the thing should be mentioned, recalling the history of its origin. But the name of the inventor is no secret; and the world will ratify the judgment we pronounce to-night that, as benefactor and discoverer, his name will be immortal.

If we were to measure the future of the telegraph by what it has already accomplished, we should predict for it an indefinite extension. Less than twenty years ago, the first line was built in the United States. Though it extended only from Washington to Baltimore, it was begun in doubt and completed with difficulty. Thence it stretched itself out first to Philadelphia and New York, then to other principal cities, and afterward along the great thoroughfares. On the other side of the sea it advanced from city to city, and from one market to another.

At first laid with hesitation underneath the rivers, it was next carried beneath narrow seas, and at last plunged into the ocean and passed from continent to continent. Compare its feeble beginning with its achievement of to-day. Think of the uncertainty with which, after weary months upon dusty Maryland roads, the last link of that first line was closed, and then think of the exultation with which[Pg 491] great ships in mid-ocean brought up from the bottom of the sea a cable lost two miles down, and the problem was forever solved, not only that an ocean-telegraph cable was possible, but that it could not be so lost as that it might not be found.

Standing in the presence of the great inventor, I am constrained to congratulate him upon the fulness of his triumph as he remembers the early effort, and contrasts it with the marvels of this night in this hall. That little instrument, no larger than the clock upon the chamber mantel, and making as little noise, is yet speaking to both America and Europe; and what it says will be printed before the dawn, and laid at morning under the eyes of millions of readers. Did I say before the dawn? It will meet the dawn in its circuit before it reaches the confines of eastern Europe. In the opposite quarter, we know that the message which has just left us for the West will outstrip the day. Even while I have been speaking, the message has crossed the Mississippi, passed the workmen laying the farthest rail of the Pacific road, bounded over the Sierra Nevada, and dashed into the plains of California, as the last ray of to-day's sun is fading from the shore, and the twilight is falling upon the Pacific Sea.

It is, however, not alone its history which justifies us in predicting for the telegraph indefinite extension. Its essential character must sooner or later carry it to every part of the habitable globe. Of all the agencies yet vouchsafed to man, it is the most accessible and the most potent. While the machinery itself is simple and cheap, the element from which it is fed is abundant and all-pervading. It is in the heaven above, in the earth beneath, and in the water under the earth. You take a little cup and pass into it a slender wire, when lo! there comes to it a spark from air and water, from the cloud and the solid earth, which the highest mountains cannot stop, nor the deepest seas drown, as it dashes on its fiery way, indifferent whether its errand be to the next village or to the antipodes. No other voice can speak to the far and near at the same time. No other hand can write a message which may be delivered within the same hour at Quebec and at Moscow. By no other means may you converse at once with the farmer of Illinois and the[Pg 492] merchant of Amsterdam, with the German on the Danube and the Arab under his palm.

To the use of such an instrument there can be no limit but the desire of man to converse with man. If from this populous and opulent capital you would speak with any inhabitant of either hemisphere, you have here an agent which may be brought to do your bidding. If any, however distant, desire to speak with us, they have these means at their command. How great will be the effect of all this upon the civilization of the human race, I do not pretend to foresee. But this I foresee, as all men may, that the necessities of governments, the thirst for knowledge, and the restless activity of commerce will make the telegraph girdle the earth and bind it in a network of electric wire.

The Atlantic, the most dangerous and difficult of all the seas, has been crossed. In the Pacific you may pass easily from island to island, till you reach the shores of Eastern Asia. There an American company will take it up and extend it from side to side of the central Flowery Land. And an English company is about to cross the straits which divide Australia from the elder continent. Indeed, I think that I declare not only what is possible but what will come to pass within the next decade, that there will be a telegraph-office wherever there is now a post-office, and that messages by the telegraph will pass almost as frequently as messages by the mail.

Then the different races and nations of men will stand, as it were in the presence of one another. They will know one another better. They will act and react upon one another. They may be moved by common sympathies and swayed by common interests. Thus the electric spark is the true Promethean fire, which is to kindle human hearts. Then will men learn that they are brethren, and that it is not less their interest than their duty to cultivate good-will and peace throughout all the earth.[Pg 493]


[Speech of David Dudley Field at a complimentary dinner given by the Saturday Night Club to the judges of the Supreme Court, New York City, April 5, 1890. Clark Bell, President of the Club, said in the course of his introductory remarks: "It is our grand good fortune to have with us to-night the Nestor of the American bar, who was born in Connecticut, and whose useful life has covered nearly all the years of our present century. His eye has seen much that is far in the past, and beside that love and affection he bears to his birthplace are the reminiscences of the men conspicuous in the judicial annals of his native State, who have been upon the stage of action during the eventful years of the present century. When we shall have separated, when this banquet shall be but a memory and a reminiscence, that which will give us most pleasure, the reminiscence we shall prize among the highest, will be that of the presence of the Hon. David Dudley Field, whose illustrious name I will connect with the toast—'Reminiscences of the Bench and Bar of Connecticut'"]

Mr. President:—When you did me the honor to invite me to this banquet, I was quick to accept the invitation, because I expected to meet the judges of my native State, of which I bear so pleasant a remembrance. I find, however, representatives from other seats of justice come to greet the judges of Connecticut. You have here a judge from the Dominion of Canada, over which shines the mild light of Arcturus, and on the other side a representative from Texas where glows, not the Lone Star of other days, but the bright constellation of the Southern Cross. You have judges from the neighboring State of New Jersey, from the further State of Pennsylvania, and from Delaware, about which I may use the language of John Quincy Adams, speaking of Rhode Island: "She is to be measured, not by the smallness of her stature, but by the loftiness of her principles." All these eminent judges are here to join in the salutation to the judges of Connecticut, and to them therefore our attention is to be chiefly directed.

I am old enough to remember the judges of Connecticut when they sat under the authority of the Colonial charter, that charter which was hidden in the famous oak of Hartford to escape seizure by an emissary of the King of England. I was present at the trial in Haddam, my native town, of a man for murder. Trumbull was the judge, that Trumbull who wrote "McFingal," and who, being elected for a single[Pg 494] year, as was then the rule, was re-elected as long as he lived. He was neatly dressed, wearing ruffles in the bosom, and at the wrists, and was in trim knee-breeches.

I remember this incident of the trial. The crowd was so great that the court was adjourned from the court house to the church, then called the meeting-house. The jurors sat in the square pews. One of the jurors, a respectable farmer of the neighborhood, thinking that he had detected some mistake of the counsel rose to correct him, when the counsel retorted that the juror was the one mistaken, and added: "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." The prisoner was convicted and was hanged at Middletown. I went up to see the execution, and when I reached the place trained bands were marching through the streets, playing their music as if for a great festivity. A sermon was preached to a crowded house, and the prisoner was then taken, dressed in a shroud, to a hill near by, and in the presence of thousands of spectators was executed. These scenes were of course impressed strongly on the memory of a boy. I remember the session of the county court at Haddam, when the judges, headed by the sheriff, marched in order from the tavern to the court house. I remember seeing in court David Daggett, wearing white top boots, and I met Roger Minot Sherman, driving into the village in a sulky. I remember Staples and Hungerford. The latter went into court one day with a Bible under his arm, to show from the first chapter of Genesis, as authority in an insurance case, that the day began at sunset, "and the evening and the morning were the first day."

In those days party feeling ran high in Connecticut, between the Democrats and the Federalists—"Demos" and "Feds," as they were called for shortness—and contempt as well. Let me recount two anecdotes: The Rev. Dr. Backus, riding along the highway, stopped at a brook to water his horse, when another rider came up from the opposite side, and thus addressed the good man: "Good-morning, Mr. Minister." The latter replied, "Good-morning, Mr. Democrat. How did you know that I was a minister?" "By your dress. How did you know that I was a Democrat?" "By your address."

At another time Dr. Backus, being prosecuted for a libel[Pg 495] upon Mr. Jefferson, was taken from his home to Hartford to be bailed. The minister and the marshal rode of course, for that was not the heyday of vehicles. The minister rode very fast, so fast that the marshal called out after him: "Dr. Backus, Dr. Backus, you ride as if the devil were after you." The Doctor turning his head replied, "Just so!"

Mr. President, Connecticut has been often abused for the frugality and thrift of its people, and called in derision the Nutmeg State. I remember hearing that a New Yorker once put into his will an injunction against any child of his being educated in Connecticut.

An Episcopal clergyman removing from New York into a Connecticut town was actually boycotted. The people would not sell him anything to eat, and I believe he returned for food and shelter to the hither side of Byram River. I remember such a joke as this current in New York; that they had a singular habit in Connecticut, when a man cast up his accounts with his neighbor and gave him a note for the balance, he used to exclaim: "Thank God, that debt is paid." Some of the people have singular tastes now and then; as for example there is a hill behind East Haddam that used to be called "Stagger-all-hill," but inquiring the other day, I was told its name was now "Mount Parnassus."

They may say all these things if they please, but Connecticut has no public debt, or a very small one at most, and her people are industrious, educated, polite to strangers, jealous of their rights and brave enough to defend them. I remember hearing Mrs. Fanny Kemble say, some years ago, of the twelve hundred thousand people then inhabiting Massachusetts, that, taking them all in all, she thought they were the foremost twelve hundred thousand people living together in the world, and I can speak in similar terms of the inhabitants of Connecticut, as really a part of the same people.

In conclusion, Mr. President, may I without affectation utter these words of love for my native State, its scenery and its people. Flow on, gentle river, shine on, rugged and wooded hills, smile on, green meadows basking in the sun, and you, brave people, who dwell amid these scenes, prove yourselves ever worthy of your progenitors, and flaunt high as you will, the old banner with its hopeful and trustful motto—qui transtulit sustinet.[Pg 496]



[Speech of Francis M. Finch on assuming the chair of the President of the New York State Bar Association, at their annual dinner, Albany, N. Y., January 17, 1900. The ex-President, Walter J. Logan, introduced him in the following words: "Before I introduce to you Judge Finch, I want to say just one word for myself. The New York State Bar Association has treated me with distinguished consideration, and I shall ever regard every member of the Association as my personal friend, and among the pleasantest experiences of my life, which I am only just commencing, that the lawyers of the State of New York thought me worthy of the position which I am now surrendering. Allow me to introduce to you Judge Finch. [Applause.] I want to introduce to you, Judge Finch, the most splendid body of men in the American nation,—the New York State Bar Association. Judge Finch is now President."]

Gentlemen:—I regard it as a very great honor to be called upon to preside over the work of this Association for the coming year. I do not know of any other temptation which would have drawn me away from the quiet of my ordinary life into an arena so public and so open to critical observation. It is entirely natural that one who has crossed the line of threescore and ten should covet a life of rest, or at least some restful work which makes no heavy demand upon brain and nerves, but I have received from the Bar of the State of New York, in the years that have gone by, and which seem to me now almost like a dream, I have received at their hands so much kindness and courtesy, so much of that encouragement and generous approval which makes the hardest work a pleasure and happiness, that it seemed to me almost ungrateful and ungracious to refuse the duty which was sought to be imposed upon me, and so I have surrendered, with such grace as I may, and will endeavor, to the best of my ability, to push forward the work of this Association. [Applause.][Pg 497]

Indeed, gentlemen, I confess, as over our cups confessions are sometimes excusable and in order—I confess that it is something of a comfort not to be quite forgotten. [Applause.] It is the lot of the average judge—I don't mean by that these old associates of mine, sitting by me, who are a long way above the average [applause]—it is the lot of the average judge to disappear from the public memory very soon after his work is done. Occasionally there is one who makes his appearance in the flush of some new and remarkable era, and fastens his name to its beginning. Occasionally there are others who do some excellent work, not altogether judicial, and in that manner keep their memories alive; but the most of us, when our work is done, step down into the mist and the darkness of a very swift and prompt oblivion. And if you, gentlemen of the Bar, have chosen for me to draw back the curtains a little, to dissipate somewhat the mist and the darkness, it is just like you; it is only another of those kindly deeds which it is pleasant to remember, and for which I am grateful, and glad to have the opportunity of saying so. [Applause.]

I wished to confine what I have to say to-night simply to these words of acknowledgment, but the thought comes to me, and I think I must give it expression, that there never was a year in the history of this nation when the work of the intelligent, of the able and of the scholarly lawyer was more imperatively demanded in the interest of the nation and of the race, than this year which now opens before us. [Applause.] I have long been of the conviction that the law never leads civilization, but always follows in its wake; that its purpose and its object is to regulate and control the relations of men with each other, and their relations to the State; but those relations must first come, must first be established before there is anything for the law to regulate. Progress goes on; new inventions are made; new relations between men occur, and it is the office and the purpose of the law to march behind them, to regulate and order and systematize them, and produce, if need be, justice out of injustice; and to-day beyond the questions of taxation, which are an almost insoluble problem, we have already the beginnings in the metropolis of the State of an underground railway, likely to[Pg 498] open and introduce questions as difficult and as remarkable as those which attended the elevated railways. We have a mass of colossal trusts, as they are called, combinations of capital, in an extraordinary degree, with which some of you have already been wrestling, and others of you will be called upon to confront or defend. Beyond that the student of international law is about to be obliged to look away from home and reconsider his foundations, to reflect anew upon the conclusions to which he has come in the application of the questions of what is contraband and what is not in the light of an extending commerce. Beyond that, again, and what interested me, perhaps, more than it may you, I saw the other day in one of our leading city journals, a statement which I have been able to verify, that the German nation on the first day of January in this year, set in operation a new Prussian code, which substituted for the civil law and the Latin doctrine the Teutonic law of Germany. I myself cannot read the German language; but, if there are some among you, within the sound of my voice, who are capable of doing that, I set you the task between now and one year from to-day of studying and examining that new Prussian code, which must be a marked departure, and giving us the benefit of your knowledge and your judgment. And, beyond that still, the nation itself stands to-day at the parting of the ways; stands to-day upon the verge of a new and most unexpected and remarkable destiny, and, I repeat, that there never was, I think, there never will be, gentlemen, another year in which the labor and the study and the thought of the scholarly and intelligent and learned lawyer could be more needed or more in demand. [Applause.]

Let me add one word, not quite so serious, and that, with reference to my friend who has been your President during the past year, and who, for his patient industry in your behalf, for the manner in which he has conducted your affairs and looked after your interests, deserves the thanks of this Association, which, in your name and behalf, I venture to give him. [Applause.] What I want to say, however, outside of that, is a little bit in the line of complaint. He has undertaken to take away from me my surplus over and above ten millions of dollars [laughter], and give it to[Pg 499] the State of New York. He says in justification that he thinks and believes that it would be for the best, but, with all deference to his opinion, I venture to say that I would rather trust my children to spend that surplus than the average legislature. [Laughter.] More than that, and the suggestion will relieve my friend somewhat, I do not intend to have any surplus over his ten millions, not if I know it. When I reach that happy point, and find that my inventory is running above it, I propose quietly to take that surplus and hand it over, first, on one side, and then on the other, to my children, and that beautiful inheritance law of his will have no application to me whatever. [Laughter.] Nevertheless, while I disagree with him about those things, and think I see my way out of the difficulty, I pardon all of it, because he has promised me faithfully on his honor that until the close of the festivities he would remain your President, and when in the end he bade you good-night he would do it for me, as well as for himself, and wish you each and all a happy journey to your homes and a safe return to these same tables one year from to-day. [Applause.][Pg 500]



[Speech of John Foord at the 143d annual banquet of the St. Andrew's Society of the State of New York, December 1, 1899. The speech was delivered in response to the toast, "The Land O' Cakes."]

Mr. President, Members and Guests of the St. Andrew's Society:—I suppose there are some in this company who would find it hard to tell the difference between a bear bannock and a pease scone. For the benefit of such, I may be permitted to say that there was no suggestion of fancy bread about the "cakes" with which the name of Scotland has been associated. They were very plain bread, indeed, and quite as destitute of leaven as that which the Children of Israel were condemned to eat in the wilderness. The only sweetening they had came from the fact that they were the fruit of honest toil; and hunger, as you know, is "gude kitchen." Together with the "hale-some parritch, chief o' Scotia's food," they formed the staff of life of a people whose tastes were as simple as their ideals were high. "We cultivate literature on a little oatmeal," was the motto proposed by Sydney Smith for the "Edinburgh Review"; and, jocular as was the suggestion, it touches the keynote of Scottish character and history. For, what have we not done on a little oatmeal? Our fathers fought on it, worked on it, thought and studied on it, wrote ballads and preached sermons on it, and created the Scotland, kinship with which we are all so proud to claim, on a diet chiefly composed of oat cakes and oatmeal porridge. On such frugal fare, they subdued a harsh and stubborn soil and made it yield its yearly toll of harvest; they took tribute of wool and mutton from the moorland[Pg 501] and the hillside, and of hide and beef from the fallow lea; they levied on loch and sea to support their fisher-folk; and kept the rock and the reel and the flying shuttle busy to clothe themselves with homespun, so that the old Arbroath toast became a very epitome of the vocations of that primitive time: "The life o' man, the death o' fish, the shuttle, and the plough; corn, horn, linen, yarn, lint, and tarry 'oo." Nay more, defying the rigors of an ungenial climate, they set themselves, in their dour and stubborn way, to make flowers grow where Nature never intended such flowers to be; and they became so cunning in the mystery of Adam's art that the Scottish gardener took the place of direction wherever men laid out flower-beds or built greenhouses throughout the civilized world.

On such simple lines of industry were laid the foundations of the material greatness of Scotland—its mines, its furnaces, its machine shops, its shipyards, its flax and jute mills, and all the other forms of productive energy that have placed this little country and its few millions of people in the front rank of the mechanical activity of the world. But is it because of such triumphs as these that the name of Scotland appeals so powerfully to the heart and the imagination of men? I think not. Had our race been distinguished only for its care of the bawbees, for its indomitable perseverance, its capacity to endure hardship, its adaptiveness, and its enterprise, I trow that the passionate pilgrim would not turn so eagerly to Scotland to cull the flowers of poesy and breathe the air of romance. And remember, our Scottish people are rather what the country has made them, than the country is what it has been made by them. I heard Governor Roosevelt say the other evening that the State of New York was merely another name for the aggregate of the people in it, and I could not help thinking that there must be in the Dutch blood a certain deficiency of imagination. Can you imagine a Scotsman, however matter-of-fact and commonplace, offering such a definition of his native land? The land of brown heath and shaggy wood, land of the mountain and the flood, the land of our sires, must be, indeed, part of ourselves; but it is also something beyond and above ourselves,—the cradle of memories that will fade only with our latest breath, the[Pg 502] home of traditions, whose spell we could not, if we would, shake off, the seat of beauty and of grandeur that we somehow think are finer than the fairest or sublimest scenes that earth can show. We know the feeling that prompted Byron to say:—

"When I see some tall rock lift its head to the sky,
Then I think of the hills that o'ershadow Culbean."

For, to most of us, in all our intercourse with Nature, the Scottish mind supplies a Scottish background. There is nothing that affects me quite so powerfully as a fine sunset; but I confess that, from all the magnificent sunsets that I have seen between the Palisades and the Rocky Mountains, I have derived no such emotion as I have felt when, "gathering his glory for a grand repose," the sun set behind the Grampians; and the peak of Schehallion, like a spearhead, cleft the evening sky. Why, the Scottish exile thinks that the sun turns a kindlier face to his native land than it does to countries less favored, like the one who sang:—

"The sun rises bright in France,
And fair sets he;
But he's tint the blythe blink he had
In my ain countrie."

We are what we are, gentlemen, because the land of our birth is "Bonnie Scotland," as well as the "Land o' Cakes." Its beauty has entered into our blood; its majesty and sublimity have given us a certain elevation of soul. Thus it came about that, beside the homely kailyard virtues of our forefathers, and their stern uncompromising religious zeal, there grew up in all their wild beauty such a profusion of the flowers of song, of poetry, and of romance that you shall hardly find between Tweed's silver stream and where the ocean billows break in thunder on Cape Wrath, ten square miles of Scottish ground which have not been celebrated in ballad, legend, song or story. Whence, think you, came that affluence of melody with which every strath and glen and carse of Scotland was vocal—melody that auld wives crooned at their spinning wheel: lasses lilted at ewe-milking, before the dawn of day; fiddlers played at weddings and christenings; and pipers sent echoing among the[Pg 503] hills to inspire the march of the warlike living or sound a lament for the heroic dead? A long line of nameless Scottish minstrels had lived and died generations before Burns and Ferguson, Tannahill and Lady Nairne, and all the rest of our sweet singers took the old tunes and gave them a form and vesture as immortal as their own fame. We are called a practical, hard-headed people, and so we are; but the most enduring part of our literature tells of the romantic ideals that Scotsmen have cherished and the chivalrous deeds they have done. We are thought to be severely logical; and if allowance be made for our point of view, we are that also. But the unsympathetic student of Scottish history will not get very far with his subject by keeping steadily in mind our practicalness and our logic. If he thinks of these alone, he will be apt to pronounce those Scotsmen fools who sacrificed two centuries of progress for the barren, if glorious, privilege of national independence; he will think they must have been pure fanatics who spilt their blood that they might have Christ's Kirk and Covenant regulated in their own peculiar way; and he will hold them as mere feather-brains who sacrificed their lands and their lives to an obstinate loyalty to the House of Stuart. Yet it is of such unreason, if unreason it be, that the warp and the woof of the historic annals of Scotland have been spun: it is this defiance of what the utilitarian philosopher calls the rules of common sense, as applied to human conduct, that has given the Scottish race their unique position among the tribes of men.

And, even in this age of steam and electricity, they will still cherish their romance. It was but the other day that there was pointed out to the Gordon Highlanders in the Transvaal the expediency of exchanging the garb of old Gaul for a uniform of khaki: the one would be less of a shining mark for the enemy than the other, and, its adoption would probably result in saving many lives. You know their decision. I think I hear them say, "All this may well be true; but we stand by the kilt and the tartan." That, a critical world may say, is magnificent, but it is not war. We say, magnificent or not, it is war; for the kilt and the tartan are inseparable from the sentiment that makes these men the redoubtable soldiers they are. Take those away,[Pg 504] and you break their touch with a continuous tradition which transforms every man in the regiment, be he Scottish, English or Irish, into a Gordon, with all the dash and vim and dare-devil courage that centre around the name. The Gordon blood in him helped Byron to understand and express the potency of the Highland tradition:—

"But, with the breath that fills
Their mountain pipe, so fill the mountaineers
With the fierce native daring which instills
The stirring memories of a thousand years.
And Evan's, Donald's fame rings in each clansman's ears."

May there never come a time when the mind of our race will be closed against such a sentiment as that! Let us go on doing our share, resolutely, faithfully, conscientiously, of the work of the world; let us keep well to the front with the same success that we have done of yore; but let us not forget that we owe the unconquerable spirit in us to our Auld Mither Scotland, that it is from her breast there has been drawn the celestial ichor which has nourished genius in the cottage as generously as in the Hall, and that has made the inheritance of the ploughman's son more precious than a Dukedom. We shall, as your President has said, be better, and not worse citizens of this great Republic; we shall play our part all the more worthily, in public or private station, if every fibre of our being thrills to an auld Scotch sang, and we feel in our inmost heart that—

"Where the caller breezes sweep
Across the mountain's breast,
Where the free in soul are nurst,
Is the land that we lo'e best."
[Pg 505]



[Speech of Simeon Ford at a banquet given to Sir Henry Irving by the Lotos Club, New York City, October 29, 1899. The President, Frank R. Lawrence, occupied the chair.]

Gentlemen:—I cannot but envy you the intellectual treat in which you are revelling, in being permitted to listen to the resistless eloquence of both me and Sir Henry Irving. It is not often that two such stars as me and Sir Henry will consent to twinkle in the same firmament. But your gifted President can accomplish wonders. He is what Weber and Fields[3] call a "hypnotister."

As the President has said, I am not one of the set speakers. I just blew in here, and blew in my good money to attend this feast, like the rest of the rank and file, and now I have to work my passage as well. I am simply put in as a filler. The President, with his awe-inspiring, chill-producing gavel, is the "wrapper," and I am the filler; and you, who smoke, have observed ere this that a mighty fine wrapper is often associated with a very rank filler.

If I had had about twenty minutes' warning I could have prepared a eulogy on Sir Henry, setting forth his virtues as a man and an actor in such a way that he never would have recognized himself, and with such eloquence that Dr. Greer [David H. Greer] would have looked like thirty cents. But I did not get the twenty minutes, so poor Sir Henry must content himself with the few scant bouquets with which he has already been bombarded.

A sober, able-bodied eulogizer with a good address and a boiled shirt can get a pretty steady winter's job in this Club[Pg 506] at board wages. I have, in my poor, weak way, eulogized several distinguished men in this historic room, all of whom I am happy to say, are now convalescent. I eulogized Joe Choate and he got a job at the Court of St. James; I eulogized Horace Porter, and he is now playing one night stands at the Moulin Rouge; Dr. Depew, and he not only got sent to Washington, but got a raise of wages at the Grand Central Depot; yet when I saw him the next day and delicately intimated that I was yearning to view the scenic beauty of his great four track system, his reception reminded me of the lines of Longfellow, beginning—

"Try not the pass, the old man said
Dark lowers the tempest overhead."

and so, instead of resting that night on a beautiful Wagner hair-mattress, I had to be content with "excelsior."

The only man who really appreciated my efforts was dear old Joe Jefferson. When I gave him to understand that I was anxious to see him in one of his matchless characterizations, he inquired if I had a family that shared my anxiety, and when informed that I had, he generously tendered all hands a pass to the family circle. The Lord loves a cheerful giver, but the Lord help any one who strikes Joe for a free pass.

I can understand that the life of an actor must be a trying one, and success difficult to achieve, and it must be a source of great gratification to Sir Henry to feel that he has done so much to elevate the stage as well as the price of admission. But he deserves success, and the last time I gave up three dollars to behold him, and afterwards, with a lot of enthusiasts, took his horses from his carriage and dragged him in triumph two miles to his hotel, I really felt that I had had a run for my money.

But if, Sir Henry, in gratitude for this beautiful tribute which I have just paid you, you should feel tempted to reciprocate by taking my horses from my carriage and dragging me in triumph through the streets, I beg that you will restrain yourself for two reasons. The first reason is—I have no horses; the second is—I have no carriage.[Pg 507]


[Speech of Simeon Ford at the Annual dinner of the Manhattan Bankers of the New York State Bankers' Association, February 7, 1900. The President, Warner Van Norden, presided.]

Gentlemen:—As I sat here this evening, listening to the strains of that fine old Bankers' anthem entitled "When you ain't got no money, why you needn't come around," I was thinking what a grand idea it was for you magnates to get together once a year to exchange ideas and settle among yourselves what shall be done, and who shall be done, and how you will do them. Personally, I'd prefer to exchange cheques rather than ideas with many here present; not but what the ideas are all right, but somehow, when money talks I am always a fascinated listener.

I did not come here voluntarily, but at the pressing invitation of some of my most pressing creditors on your committee. They said Secretary Gage would be here, and Mr. J. P. Morgan, and that without my presence the affair would seem incomplete, but that if we three got together we could settle various perplexing financial problems right on the spot. The committee told me to choose my own subject and they would endorse anything I would say—without recourse. They delicately intimated, however, that any playful allusions to the City Bank better be left unsaid; and so I can only remark:—

"And I would that my tongue could utter,
The thoughts that arise in me!"

and let it go at that.

I must say, however, that Secretary Gage made one serious mistake. If he had consulted me (which he never did, although he had abundant opportunity) I would have advised him to put his money in an institution I know about where it would have received a rousing welcome and where I could have taken a fall out of it myself. If the price of the Custom-House had gotten into my hands, and I'd been given twenty-four hours' start, I believe I could have given the secretary a run for his money. But, instead, he placed[Pg 508] it in a rich, smooth-running, well-oiled institution where it was used in averting a panic and straightening out financial tangles, and greasing the wheels of commerce, and similar foolishness.

This is the first opportunity I have had of meeting you Bank Presidents collectively, and when you are thawed out. I have met most of you, individually, when you were frozen stiff. I never supposed you could warm up, as you seem to have done, my previous impressions having been of the "How'd you like to be the iceman" order. Sometimes I have thought I'd almost rather go without the money than get a congestive chill in a Bank President's office, and have him gaze into my eyes, and read the inmost secrets of my soul, and ask unfeeling questions, and pry rudely into my past, and throw out wild suggestions about getting Mr. Astor to endorse for me, and other similar atrocities. And even if I succeed in deceiving him he leads me, crushed, humiliated and feeling like thirty cents, to a fly cashier, who, taking advantage of my dazed condition, includes in my three-months' note, not only Christmas and the Fourth of July, but St. Patrick's Day, Ash Wednesday and sixteen Sundays, so that, by the time he has deducted the interest, what's coming to me looks like a Jaeger undershirt after its first interview with an African blanchisseuse. That's the kind of thing the poet had in mind when he wrote—"I know a bank whereon the wild thyme grows."

I have observed that one's reception at a bank varies somewhat with the condition of the money market. Go in when money is easy and the President falls on your neck, calls you by your first name, and cheerfully loans you large sums on your "Balloon Common" and your "Smoke Preferred," and you go on your way rejoicing. The next day, news having arrived that a Gordon Highlander has strained a tendon in his leg while sprinting away from a Dutchman near Ladysmith, or an Irish lady chef has sent home two pounds sterling to her family, money goes up to one hundred and eighty per cent. a minute, and you get a note requesting you to remove your "Balloon Common" and your "Smoke Preferred" and substitute Government Bonds therefore. And still you wonder at crime.

But if you really want to know the meaning of the terms[Pg 509] "Marble Heart" and "Icy Eye" go into one of these refrigerating plants for a loan when money is tight. It is prudent at such times to wear ear-muffs and red mittens fastened together by tape so they can't be lost, for you will need 'em.

As soon as you reach the outer air—which will be in about a second—run home and plunge the extremities in hot water, and place a porous plaster on what remains of your self-esteem.

Bankers are too prone to judge a man by his appearance, so that the very men who need the money most have the hardest work to get it. They are apt, especially at the City Bank, to discriminate against the "feller" who looks rocky, in favor of the Rockafeller. Clothes do not make the man! If they did, Hetty Green wouldn't be where she is and Russell Sage would be in the Old Ladies' Home. If Uncle Russell had to travel on his shape, he never would see much of the world. Yet, beneath that ragged coat there beats a heart which as a beater can't be beat—a heart as true (so the Standard Gas people say)—as true as "steal."

But after all, Banks and Trust Companies do a lot of good in a quiet way, especially to their directors—in a quiet way. See what a convenience some of our Trust Companies have been to their directors of late. It would sometimes be mortifying for these directors to have to attempt to borrow money on certain securities, in institutions with which they were not connected, because, instead of getting the money, they might get six months.

I had intended to touch upon a few vital questions concerning finance this evening, but the night is waning and I guess you've all been "touched" sufficiently of late, so I will restrain myself, and give some other orator a chance to get himself disliked.[Pg 510]



[Speech of James A. Froude at the banquet of the Royal Academy, London, April 29, 1876. The President, Sir Francis Grant, in introducing Mr. Froude, said: "The next toast is 'The Interests of Literature and Science.' This toast is always so welcome and so highly appreciated that it needs no exordium from the chair. I cannot associate with the interests of literature a name more worthy than that of Mr. Froude, the scholar and distinguished historian."]

Sir Francis Grant, Your Royal Highnesses, My Lords, and Gentlemen:—While I feel most keenly the honor which you confer upon me in connecting my name with the interests of literature, I am embarrassed, in responding, by the nature of my subject. What is literature, and who are men of letters? From one point of view we are the most unprofitable of mankind—engaged mostly in blowing soap-bubbles. [Laughter.] From another point of view we are the most practical and energetic portion of the community. [Cheers.] If literature be the art of employing words skillfully in representing facts, or thoughts, or emotions, you may see excellent specimens of it every day in the advertisements in our newspapers. Every man who uses a pen to convey his meaning to others—the man of science, the man of business, the member of a learned profession—belongs to the community of letters. Nay, he need not use his pen at all. The speeches of great orators are among the most treasured features of any national literature. The orations of Mr. Grattan are the text-books in the schools of rhetoric in the United States. Mr. Bright, under this aspect of him, holds a foremost place among the men of letters of England. [Cheers.]

Again, sir, every eminent man, be he what he will, be he[Pg 511] as unbookish as he pleases, so he is only eminent enough, so he holds a conspicuous place in the eyes of his countrymen, potentially belongs to us, and if not in life, then after he is gone, will be enrolled among us. The public insist on being admitted to his history, and their curiosity will not go unsatisfied. [Cheers.] His letters are hunted up, his journals are sifted; his sayings in conversation, the doggerel which he writes to his brothers and sisters are collected, and stereotyped in print. [Laughter.] His fate overtakes him. He cannot escape from it. We cry out, but it does not appear that men sincerely resist the liberty which is taken with them. We never hear of them instructing their executors to burn their papers. [Laughter.] They have enjoyed so much the exhibition that has been made of their contemporaries that they consent to be sacrificed themselves.

Again, sir, when we look for those who have been most distinguished as men of letters, in the usual sense of the word; where do we find them? The famous lawyer is found in his chambers, the famous artist is found in his studio. Our foremost representatives we do not find always in their libraries; we find them, in the first place, in the service of their country. ["Hear! Hear!"] Owen Meredith is Viceroy of India, and all England has applauded the judgment that selected and sent him there. [Cheers.] The right honorable gentleman [Mr. Gladstone] who three years ago was conducting the administration of this country with such brilliant success was first generally known to his countrymen as a remarkable writer. During forty years of arduous service he never wholly deserted his original calling. ["Hear! Hear!"] He is employing an interval of temporary retirement to become the interpreter of Homer to the English race [cheers], or to break a lance with the most renowned theologians in defence of spiritual liberty. [Cheers.]

A great author, whose life we have been all lately reading with delight, contemplates the year 3000 as a period at which his works may still be studied. If any man might be led reasonably to form such an anticipation for himself by the admiration of his contemporaries, Lord Macaulay may be acquitted of vanity. The year 3000 is far away, much[Pg 512] will happen between now and then; all that we can say with certainty of the year 3000 is that it will be something extremely different from what any one expects. I will not predict that men will then be reading Lord Macaulay's "History of England." I will not predict that they will then be reading "Lothair." [Laughter.] But this I will say, that if any statesman of the age of Augustus or the Antonines had left us a picture of patrician society at Rome, drawn with the same skill, and with the same delicate irony with which Mr. Disraeli has described a part of English society in "Lothair," no relic of antiquity would now be devoured with more avidity and interest. [Loud cheers.] Thus, sir, we are an anomalous body, with very ill-defined limits. But, such as we are, we are heartily obliged to you for wishing us well, and I give you our most sincere thanks. [Cheers.][Pg 513]



[Speech of Melville W. Fuller at the fifth annual dinner of the New England Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, December 22, 1888. The President, Heman L. Wayland, D.D., said in introducing Justice Fuller:—"The reverence of New England for law and her readiness to make law (a readiness, perhaps our enemies will say, to make them for other people) naturally suggests the topic which is first on the programme—'New England in the Supreme Court.' I shall not enlarge upon the sentiment, lest I should only mar the canvas which will shortly be illumined by the hand of a master. The case of New England versus The World has long been in court; the evidence is in; the learned counsel have been heard; and now, before the case is finally given to the intelligent jury of the human race, it remains only that we hear a charge from his honor, the Chief Justice of the United States."]

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the New England Society:—I thank you sincerely for the courtesy which has afforded me the opportunity of being with you this evening, and am deeply sensible of the compliment paid in the request to respond to the sentiment just given.

We all know—we have heard over and over again—that the "Day We Celebrate" commemorates an emigration peculiar in its causes. It was not the desire to acquire wealth or power, nor even the spirit of adventure, that sent these colonists forth. They did not go to return, but to abide; and while they sought to make another country theirs, primarily to enjoy religious independence, they were much too sagacious not to know that emancipation from the ecclesiastical thraldom, of which they complained, involved the attainment of political rights and immunities as well. And so this day commemorates not simply the heroism of struggle and endurance in silence and apart, for a great cause, not[Pg 514] simply the unfeigned faith which rendered such heroism possible, but the planting of that germ of local self-government which has borne glorious fruit in the reconcilement of individual freedom with a national sway of imperial proportions.

It commemorates the advent of that first written constitution of civil government, that first attempt of a people in that form, by self-imposed fundamental law, to put it out of their own power to work injustice; that agreement, signed upon the sea, "to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal laws and ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices," as should be "thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony," to which all "due submission and obedience" was promised. And this was followed a few years later in the sister colony of Massachusetts Bay by that "Body of Liberties" which, it is well said, may challenge comparison with Magna Charta itself or the latest Bill of Rights. Instinct with the spirit of common law, though somewhat ameliorating its rigor, these "rites, privileges and liberties," to be "impartially and inviolably enjoyed and observed throughout our jurisdiction forever," commence with the preamble that "the free fruition of such liberties, Immunities and privileges humanitie, Civilitie and Christianitie call for as due to every man in his place and proportion without impeachment and Infringement, hath ever been and ever will be the tranquillitie and Stabilitie of Churches and Commonwealths. And the deniall and deprivall thereof, the disturbance. If not the ruine of both. We hould it therefore our dutie and saftie, whilst we are about the further establishment of this Government, to collect and expresse all such freedomes as for present we foresee may concern us, and our posteritie after us."

And so they ordain that no man's life or liberty or property can be taken away, or his honor or good name stained, or his goods or estate in any way damaged under color of law or countenance of authority, unless by due process; that every person, inhabitant or foreign, shall enjoy the same justice and law general to the plantation; that there shall be no monopolies, except for new inventions profitable to the country, and for a short time; no imprisonment without bail except for crimes capital and contempts in open[Pg 515] court; freedom of alienation and power to devise; no primogeniture, no escheats on attainder and execution for felony; succor to those fleeing from tyranny; full freedom to advise, vote, give verdict or sentence according to true judgment and conscience; in short, the expression or the indication of those safeguards to liberty, the possession of which enables a people to become and to remain free.

Well may we claim for these documents large influence in forerunning the organic laws of the several States, and that matchless instrument which a century ago was framed in this fortunate city, which had been blessed before as the place where the Declaration put on immortality.

And now in the latter half of the third century, since the bearers of the underlying principles of Republican rule placed their feet upon that rock, whose shadow was to become a solace to the weariness of the perpetual toils and encounters of the land, we may well hope that what they sought has been achieved, an enduring Government of laws and not of men; security to freedom and to justice, "justice, that venerable virtue, without which," as exclaimed New England's eloquent orator, "freedom, valor and power are but vulgar things."

It is delightful to keep these remembrances alive, and while duly recognizing the rightful claims of all our brothers to their share in the foundation of the institutions of a common country, to dwell upon what the forefathers were, what they accomplished and what they still accomplish through the works that follow them. And as it is not unnatural that at the same time we should felicitate ourselves upon whatever of eminence or good fortune has attended the efforts of their descendants, the reference, Mr. President, you have made in connection with this toast to the court over which I have the honor to preside enables me with propriety to indulge in an allusion to those from New England who have labored in that field.

On the seventh of April, 1789, a committee was appointed by the Senate "to bring in a bill for organizing the judiciary of the United States." Able as were his colleagues, it has been generally conceded that "that great act was penned" by the chairman of that committee, Oliver Ellsworth, of Connecticut. On the twenty-fourth of September—the day[Pg 516] upon which the Judiciary Act became a law—President Washington nominated for the Supreme Court of the United States a chief justice and five associates, among the latter William Cushing, of Massachusetts, who, after holding high judicial office under the Crown, but supporting the cause of his country in the Revolution, becoming the first chief justice of the State of Massachusetts, passed from that distinguished station to the Federal bench, as one of his eminent successors has done in our day, and who was commissioned to, but compelled to decline, the headship of the court. Then came Ellsworth, whose great services in framing the Federal Constitution in the Connecticut Convention, in the United States Senate, in high diplomatic position, were complemented by those he performed in the discharge of the duties of this exalted office.

And so, following the careers of Marshall and Taney, Chase (fresh from magnificent conduct of the national finances under circumstances of tremendous difficulty), and Waite, from long and successful practice at the bar, won enduring fame by deserving and obtaining the commendation that a place rendered so illustrious by their predecessors had lost nothing in their hands; men of New England birth, thus dividing in number the incumbency in succession to Ellsworth, while he who has but just entered upon that service, proud of the Prairie State from whence he comes, has never ceased to regard with affection that particular portion of the Fatherland in which he first saw the light.

Ellsworth and Waite, Baldwin and Field, and Strong, of Connecticut; Chase and Woodbury, and Clifford, of New Hampshire; Cushing and Storey, and Curtis, and Gray, of Massachusetts—these are names written imperishably upon the records of the Court. But of the five from Connecticut, Pennsylvania and California and Ohio claim four, and of the three from New Hampshire, Ohio and Maine two; while the Old Bay State preserved her hold on hers.

Surely it is not too much for me to say, that up to the present time New England has in this sphere of public usefulness vindicated her title to regard by the exhibition on the part of her sons of that devotion to duty and that adherence to principle which characterized the men to whose memory the celebration of this day is dedicated.[Pg 517]

May that memory ever be precious, and reliance upon that Providence which sustained them under the tribulations of their time, and has conducted their children in triumphant progress through succeeding years, never be less. [Applause.][Pg 518]



[Speech of Hamlin Garland at the eighty-second dinner of the Sunset Club, Chicago, Ill., January 31, 1895. The chairman of the evening, Arthur W. Underwood, introduced Mr. Garland to speak in relation to the general subject of the evening's discussion, "The Tendency and Influence of Modern Fiction." Mr. Underwood said: "To some of us the field of modern fiction may have seemed before this evening a wilderness without a chart. We are fortunate in having with us a man who has left the 'main travelled roads' of fiction and, to mix metaphors a little, a man who can tell us whether the 'idols' that are 'crumbling' are those of the realist or those of the idealist,—Mr. Hamlin Garland."]

Gentlemen:—It is very interesting and pleasant to have the critic come at the problem in his mathematical fashion, but that will not settle it. I will tell you what will settle it—the human soul of the creative man; because if he has the creative power and impulse in him it will make no difference to him whether or not a single person in the world reads or understands his book, or appreciates and understands his painting. What could the critic do with Claude Monet thirty-five years ago? What could the critic do with Robert Browning when he appeared? What has the critic done thus far with Walt Whitman, the greatest spiritual democrat this nation has ever produced? This question is not settled by the schools; it is not settled by critics; it is not to be settled by a group of realists or a group of veritists, or the latest group of impressionists. It is to be settled by the creative impulse of the man, first; and second, and always subordinate to the real artist, the public.

Now, I am perfectly willing to admit that there has been for the past year or two a revival of what might be called the "shilling shocker" in literature, but it seems to me Professor McClintock entirely overestimates and exaggerates the[Pg 519] influence of the "yore and gore" fictionists; and even if it were true that they filled the magazines to the exclusion of Mr. Read [Opie P. Read] and myself—

[Mr. Read: Which they don't:]

Which they don't—and if it were true that the pendulum is swinging toward the "shilling shocker," it does not follow that it will be a century before there is a return to the thoughtful study of social life. This romance can die, and these books be as dead as Hugh Conway's "Called Back" in less than ten years. I am perfectly willing to admit all these mutations of taste, but there is something deeper than that. Do you know, I have a notion that the reign of cheap melodrama and farce-comedy on our stage and of the "shilling shocker" during the last two years is due largely to our financial condition. Many of you are business men, and I know how you talk. I ask you to go to see a serious play, and you say: "Well, I will tell you; I am pretty well worn out when business is done, and things are not going just as they should, and I would rather go to the theatre to laugh these days. I don't care to go to the theatre to think."

In precisely the same way, when you are called upon, after a hard day of business care and worry, to read a book, and I say to you: "Read Israel Zangwill's 'Children of the Ghetto'; it is one of the greatest studies of our day," you say: "The fact is, I should go to sleep over it. I must have something that has fighting in it. I want 'yore and gore' fiction this year. Later on, when I get over my business difficulties and get where things are easy with me, I'll try Zangwill's 'Children of the Ghetto.' I will sit down with my wife and have her read it aloud." There is great significance in this confession as it appears to me.

And what is this "yore and gore" fiction when you analyze it? It is simply a sublimated "dime novel" which, by reason of increased demand for easy reading, on the part of the tired brain, has been put into a little better cover, and published by Harpers. Hitherto it was published by Beadle or some other fellow of that sort. It is current now. The people are reading it. They will continue to do so for a year or two, and then it will disappear. I like what Zangwill said of it a while ago. I cannot quote it exactly, but it[Pg 520] was like this: "I had a dream the other night, wherein I scrambled over the roofs of buildings pursued by detectives. I lowered myself by drain pipes. I did business in dark corridors. I retreated up narrow passages with my good broadsword flaming, and laid scores of men at my feet. I was sealed up in dungeons. I was snatched out of the deep by the hair of my head. I slew men in hecatombs; and then, when the morning came and I awoke, there was not a shred of intellectual wrack left behind on which my mind could take hold. I had dreamed it all with the cerebellum. It was all organic. Why didn't I dream a novel by Turgenef, or Bjornsen? It takes brains to write "Fathers and Sons" or the "Bankrupt," and it takes brains to read such masterpieces."

With all due respect to the very calm and fine position taken by Professor McClintock [Prof. W. D. McClintock had asserted his belief that the twentieth century would stand for a great revival of romantic literature], this novel of lust and war does not strike me as being very high-class art. It may seem good and fine and fresh and inspiring, this fiction which slays its millions, but I am a good deal of a Quaker. I would not slay anybody for anything. Therefore, such art does not appear beautiful to me. I do not believe it is good for our youth to read "yore and gore" fiction.

There are romancers—Prof. McClintock named one—who have personal quality. I don't care what school of fiction a man belongs to if he has something to say to me which has not been said a thousand times by somebody else. Such a man is Robert Louis Stevenson. He slew men also, but he uttered something beside war cries. But this "shilling shocker," this searching after the dreadful and the unknown which is red with blood, does not strike me as literature at all. It is all the work of the cerebellum. It is not the work of the cerebrum. I should put it like this—If a man can tell us something that has not been told before; if he can add something to the literature of the world—a real creation—if he can, like the coral insect, build his own little cell upon the great underlying mass of English literature, I do not care what you call him, nor what he calls himself, he is worthy my support.

It is not safe to always reckon a man's merit by the sale[Pg 521] of his books. The author of "Old Sleuth" measured in that way would be the greatest American writer, in fact, the greatest writer of any time. You can't reckon the sale of such books by numbers; you reckon them by tons. It is easy to make a book sell, but the thing is to produce an original work of art, to put something forth with the imprint of your own personality as a creative artist.

I believe old Walt Whitman stated the whole problem when he said: "All that the past was not, the future will be." I do not believe that the future of the world is to be a future of war. I believe it is to be a future of industrial peace as Professor Pearson [Charles W. Pearson] has indicated. And I believe that the literature and the art of that future will not be based upon war; it will be humanitarian, and at its best always an individual statement of life. In other words, the whole tendency of modern art is towards the celebration of the individual by the individual, and you cannot class writers in any hard and fast division. There is not an artist living who delineates "things as they are." There is not a writer living holding that for a theory, or who has that desire for a fundamental impulse. Art is selection, and upon the individual soul of the creative artist is laid the burden of choice. It is in the way he chooses his material and in the way he works it out that he is to be judged. He may be a story-teller like Stevenson, or he may be a novelist like Zangwill. All I ask of him is just simply this—he must be an individual creative artist; he must not repeat, must not imitate for the sake of gain.[Pg 522]



[Speech of John Gilbert at a banquet given by the Lotos Club in recognition of the fiftieth anniversary of his first appearance on the stage, New York City, November 30, 1878. The chairman of the dinner was Whitelaw Reid, President of the Lotos.]

"Cæsar, We Who Are About To Die Salute You." Such the gladiator's cry in the arena standing face to face with death. There is a certain appositeness in the words I have just uttered that probably may correspond to my position. Understand me, I do not mean to die theatrically at present. [Laughter.] But when a man has arrived at my age, he can scarcely look forward to very many years of professional exertion. When my old friend, John Brougham [Mr. Brougham:—"I am not going to die just yet."] [laughter], announced to me the honor that the Lotos Club proffered me, I was flattered and complimented. But I said: "John, you know I am no speechmaker." He replied, "Say anything." "Anything," I said, "anything won't do." "Then," said he, "repeat the first speech of Sir Peter Teazle, 'When an old bachelor marries a young wife, what is he to expect?'" [Laughter.] Well, I think I can paraphrase that and say, "When a young man enters the theatrical profession, what is he to expect?" Well, he may expect a good many things that are never realized. However, suffice it to say that fifty years ago I made my debut as an actor in my native city of Boston. I commenced in the first-class character of Jaffier in Otway's charming tragedy of "Venice Preserved." The public said it was a success, and I thought it was. [Laughter.] The manager evidently thought it was, too, for he let me repeat the character. Well, I suppose it was a success for a young man with such aspirations as I had. There might have[Pg 523] been some inspiration about it—at least there ought to have been—for the lady who personated Belvidera was Mrs. Duff, a lovely woman and the most exquisite tragic actress that I ever saw from that period to the present.

After this, I acted two or three parts, Mortimer, Shylock, and some of those little, trifling characters [laughter], with comparative success. But shortly after, and wisely, I went into the ranks to study my profession—not to commence at the top and go to the bottom [laughter]—but to begin at the bottom and go to the top, if possible. As a young man, I sought for pastures fresh and new. I went to the South and West, my ambition still being, as is that of all youthful aspirants for dramatic honors, for tragedy. At last I went to a theatre, and to my great disgust and indignation I was cast for an old man—at the age of nineteen. [Laughter.] However, I must do it. There was no alternative and I did it. I received applause. I played a few more old men [laughter]; I found at last that it was my point, my forte, and I followed it up and after this long lapse of years, I still continue in that department. I went to England and was received with kindness and cordiality and, returning to my own country in 1862, I was invited to join Wallack's Theatre by the father of my dear friend here [alluding to Mr. Lester Wallack], his father whom I am proud to acknowledge as a friend of mine nearly fifty years ago, and I am also proud to say my dramatic master. [Applause.] I need not tell you that since that time I have been under the direction of his son. What my career has been up to the present time you all know. It requires no comment from me. I am no longer a young man, but I do not think I am an old man. [Applause and laughter.] I owe this to a good constitution and moderately prudent life. [Shouts of laughter.] I may say with Shakespeare's Adam, that

"In my youth I never did apply
Hot and rebellious liquors in my blood,
Therefore my age is as a lusty winter,
Frosty, but kindly."

Will you permit me, gentlemen, to thank you for the very high honor you have conferred upon me this evening and allow me to drink the health and prosperity and happiness of the Lotos Club? [Cheers.][Pg 524]



[Speech of William S. Gilbert at a dinner given to him and to Sir Arthur Sullivan by the Lotos Club, New York City, November 8, 1879. Whitelaw Reid, the President, in introducing Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Sullivan, said: "We do not welcome them as men of genius. It sometimes happens that men of genius do not deserve welcome. But we do greet them as men who have used their undoubted genius to increase the happiness of their kind [applause]; men whose success has extended throughout the nations and has added bright hours to the life of every man and woman it has touched. [Applause.] That success has depended on no unworthy means. Respecting themselves and their art, they have always respected their audiences. They have so married wit and humor, and a most delicate fancy, and the best light music of the time, to the public temper, that we have seen here in New York, for example, their piece so popular that we hadn't theatres enough in town to hold the people who simultaneously and unanimously wanted to hear it. I propose first the health of a gentleman who, not merely in the piece that has so long been the rage of the town, but in a brilliant series of previous successes, has always given us wit without dirt [applause]—a drama in which the hero is not a rake, and the heroine is not perpetually posing and poising between innocence and adultery."]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:—As my friend Sullivan and I were driving to this Club this evening, both of us being very nervous and very sensitive, and both of us men who are highly conscious of our oratorical defects and deficiencies, and having before us vividly the ordeal awaiting us, we cast about for a comparison of our then condition. We likened ourselves to two authors driving down to a theatre at which a play of theirs was to be played for the first time. The thought was somewhat harassing, but we dismissed it, because we remembered that there was always an even chance of success [laughter], whereas in the performance in which we were about to take part there was no prospect of aught but humiliating failure.[Pg 525]

We were rather in the position of prisoners surrendering to their bail, and we beg of you to extend to us your most merciful consideration. But it is expected of me, perhaps, that in replying to this toast with which your chairman has so kindly coupled my name, I shall do so in a tone of the lightest possible comedy. [Laughter.] I had almost said that I am sorry to say that I cannot do so; but in truth I am not sorry. A man who has been welcomed as we have been here by the leaders in literature and art in this city, a man who could look upon that welcome as a string on which to hang a series of small jokes would show that he was responding to an honor to which he was not entitled. For it is no light thing to come to a country which you have been taught to regard as a foreign country, and to find ourselves in the best sense of the word "at home" [applause] among a people whom we are taught to regard as strangers, but whom we are astonished to find are our intimate friends [applause]; and that proffered friendship is so dear to us that I am disposed, in behalf of my collaborateur and myself, to stray somewhat from the beaten paths of after-dinner oratory, and to endeavor to justify ourselves in respect to a matter in which we have some reason to feel that we have been misrepresented.

I have seen in several London journals well-meant but injudicious paragraphs saying that we have a grievance against the New York managers because they have played our pieces and have offered us no share of the profits. [Laughter.] We have no grievance whatever. Our only complaint is that there is no international copyright act. [Applause.] The author of a play in which there is no copyright is very much in the position of an author or the descendants of an author whose copyright has expired. I am not aware that our London publishers are in the habit of seeking the descendants of Sir Walter Scott or Lord Byron, or Captain Marryat, and offering them a share of the profits on their publications. [Laughter.] I have yet to learn that our London managers seek out the living representatives of Oliver Goldsmith, or Richard Brinsley Sheridan or William Shakespeare, in order to pay them any share of the profits from the production of "She Stoops to Conquer," or "The Good-Natured Man," or "The Merchant of[Pg 526] Venice." [Laughter.] If they do so, they do it on the principle that the right hand knows not what the left hand doeth [laughter], and as we have not heard of it, we presume, therefore, that they have not done so. And we believe that if those eminent men were to request a share of the profits, they would be met with the reply that the copyright on those works had expired.

And so if we should suggest it to the managers of this country, they would perhaps reply with at least equal justice: "Gentlemen, your copyright never existed." That it has never existed is due entirely to our own fault.

We consulted a New York lawyer, and were informed that, although an alien author has no right in his works, yet so long as they remain unpublished, we held the real title in them, and there was no process necessary to make them our own. We, therefore, thought we would keep it in unpublished form, and make more profit from the sale of the pianoforte score and the words of the songs at the theatres and at the music publishers.

We imagined that the allusions in the piece were so purely British in their character, so insular in fact, that they would be of no interest on this side; but events have shown that in that conclusion we were mistaken. At all events, we have also arrived at the conclusion that we have nobody to blame but ourselves. As it is, we have realized by the sale of the book and the piano score in London about $7,500 apiece, and under those circumstances I do not think we need to be pitied. [Laughter.] For myself, I certainly do not pose as an object of compassion. [Laughter.]

We propose to open here on the first of December at the Fifth Avenue Theatre with a performance of "Pinafore." I will not add the prefixing initials, because I have no desire to offend your republican sympathies. [Laughter.] I may say, however, that I have read in some journals that we have come over here to show you how that piece should be played, but that I disclaim, both for myself and my collaborateur. We came here to teach nothing—we have nothing to teach—and perhaps we should have no pupils if we did. [Laughter.] But apart from the fact that we have no copyright, and are not yet managers in the United States, we see no reason why we should be the only ones[Pg 527] who are not to be permitted to play this piece here. [Laughter and applause.]

I think you will admit that we have a legitimate object in opening with it. We have no means of knowing how it has been played in this country, but we are informed that it has been played more broadly than in the old country—and you know that may be better or worse. [Laughter.]

Afterward we propose to produce another piece, and in the fulness of time the longer it is delayed perhaps the better for us [laughter], and we propose to present it to an audience [laughter] in the same spirit in which we presented "Pinafore"—in a most serious spirit—not to permit the audience to see by anything that occurs on the stage that the actors are conscious of the really absurd things they are doing. Whether right or not, that is the way in which it was presented in London. We open with "Pinafore," not to show how that ought to be played, but to show how the piece that succeeds is about to be played, and to prepare the audiences for the reception of our new and highly preposterous story. [Applause.]

The kindness with which we have been received this evening emboldens me to believe that perhaps you will not consider this explanation altogether indecent or ill-timed. I have nothing more, gentlemen, to say, except to thank you most heartily for the complimentary manner in which you proposed our health, and to assure you that it is a compliment which is to me personally as delightful as it is undeserved. [Applause.][Pg 528]



[Speech of Daniel C. Gilman, President of Johns Hopkins University at the Harvard Alumni dinner, at Cambridge, Mass., June 29, 1881.]

Mr. President and Gentlemen:—There are so many in this room to whom this scene is familiar and so many whose voices have been heard within these walls, that you can hardly understand how one feels who for the first time stands and endeavors to make his voice reach over this large assembly. It is not merely the sea of upturned faces, this noble company of noblemen, this regiment of brigadiers, as it might be called, it is not alone these pictures and busts, the devices and mottoes which adorn this edifice, nor is it alone the recollection of all the illustrious teachers who have been here brought together or the consciousness that we stand among museums and cabinets and laboratories unrivalled on this continent,—all this is noble and worthy of noble men. But there is one thing that seems to me more impressive than all this. It is the power which Harvard College has had throughout all the land and throughout all its history. [Applause.]

I have had the opportunity of seeing on the shores of the Pacific how every act of the corporation of Harvard College, every new measure adopted by the faculty, every additional gift to its treasury, was watched as men look toward the east and watch the rising sun, rejoicing in its boundless store and radiant energy. [Applause.] And I have stood on the shores of a Southern river and have seen the development of a young college on the banks of the Patapsco, and I can truly say that if there had not been a John Harvard, there never would have been a Johns Hopkins [applause]; if there had never been a university in Cambridge, there never would have been a university in Baltimore; and if there is[Pg 529] any merit in the plans adopted in that distant city, if there is any hope to be derived from the experiment which is there in vogue, it is largely due—and I rejoice in an opportunity of saying so in this public way—it is largely due to the kindly sympathy, the wise counsel, the generous help and the noble example of Harvard College. [Applause.] To the President of this university, to his associates in the corporation and in the faculty, to many of its alumni the plans adopted in Baltimore owe a most generous and hearty acknowledgment.

The speaker who preceded me characterized Harvard College as the Alma Mater of Colleges, and well he did so. But, gentlemen, you can hardly fail to observe that in the progress of education in this country we are getting beyond the college period and we are entering the period of universities. What they are to be, none of us are wise enough to tell, but whatever they are will largely depend upon what you make of Harvard University. [Applause.] Many years ago I received a lesson from one whose name I can never mention without respect and honor, the late Benjamin Pierce. He said, in speaking of the formation of a university, "It will never succeed without eminent professors. They will tell you that great professors make poor teachers, but I will tell you it is only the eagle that is fit to teach the eaglets. Let the barn-door fowl take care of themselves." And so I say here, let there be a staff of professors the most eminent, the most earnest, the most free in their work that Harvard can bring together, and all the rest goes with it. [Applause.]

I trust, then, that as the years roll on, as the era of universities in this country is developed from the period of college instruction, we shall find that the same wisdom that has governed the councils of our learned bodies, the same adherence to right principles, the same love of truth, will ever be present, and that Harvard College and all its younger sisters as they go on will repeat the lesson which they have taught from the beginning, and which they still teach, whether we turn our eyes to the depths of the sea or the boundless regions of space, that beyond the things which are seen and temporal are the things which are unseen and eternal. [Applause.][Pg 530]



[Speech of William B. Gladstone at the annual banquet of the Royal Academy, May 5, 1877. Sir Francis Grant, the President of the Academy, being indisposed, Sir Gilbert Scott, the eminent architect, took the chair at the special request of the President. In introducing Mr. Gladstone, he said: "The next toast is, 'The Interests ofLiterature.' I have been somewhat perplexed myself to think why the custom of the Academy places Science before Literature. I see, however, that it is quite right, for Literature is a member of our own family—our sister. [Cheers.] I am old enough to recollect that when Sir Morton Archer Shee, who united Art with Poetry, was elected President of the Academy, this epigram appeared in the 'Times':

"'So Painting crowns her sister Poesie,
The world is all astonished, so is She (e).'

Many present will remember in more recent times how Charles Dickens, when returning thanks for this toast, expressed the same sentiment of relationship by altering some words of Rob Roy's and saying that when at our Academy he felt so much at home, as to be inclined to exclaim: 'My foot is on my native heath, although my name is not Macgregor.' Next to religion, literature in very many of its phases supplies the noblest subjects for Art. History, Biography, and works of fiction all contribute their share; while poetry enjoys the cumulative privilege of uniting in itself the incentives to Art which are commanded by all other branches of Literature as well as the ennobling sentiments inspired by religion, patriotism and other affections of the human heart. An elevating mission, indeed, be it only directed in a worthy course. Frivolity and license are alike the bane of literature and art. Earnestness of purpose and severity of moral tone are the stamina of both. Shorn of these, both alike find their strength is gone from them. It is consoling to reflect that notwithstanding the laborious turmoil of politics we have had three, and I think successive, Prime Ministers who have made Literature the solace of their scanty leisure and delighted the world by their writings on subjects extraneous to State politics. I give you the 'Interests of Literature,' and I have the honor to connect the toast with the name of one of that distinguished trio, the Right Honorable William Ewart Gladstone."]

[Pg 531]

Mr. Chairman, Your Royal Highness, My Lords And Gentlemen:—I think no question can be raised as to the just claims of literature to stand upon the list of toasts at the Royal Academy, and the sentiment is one to which, upon any one of the numerous occasions of my attendance at your hospitable board, I have always listened with the greatest satisfaction until the present day arrived, when I am bound to say that that satisfaction is extremely qualified by the arrangement less felicitous, I think, than any which preceded it that refers to me the duty of returning thanks for Literature. [Cheers and laughter.] However, obedience is the principle upon which we must proceed, and I have at least the qualification for discharging the duty you have been pleased to place in my hands—that no one has a deeper or more profound sense of the vital importance of the active and constant cultivation of letters as an essential condition of real progress and of the happiness of mankind [cheers], and here every one at once perceives that that sisterhood of which the poet spoke, whom you have quoted, is a real sisterhood, for literature and art are alike the votaries of beauty. Of these votaries I may thankfully say that as regards art I trace around me no signs of decay, and none in that estimation in which the Academy is held, unless to be sure, in the circumstance of your poverty of choice of one to reply to this toast. [Cheers.]

During the present century the artists of this country have gallantly and nobly endeavored to maintain and to elevate their standard [cheers], and have not perhaps in that great task always received that assistance which could be desired from the public taste which prevails around them. But no one can examine even superficially the works which adorn these walls without perceiving that British art retains all its fertility of invention [cheers], and this year as much as in any year that I can remember, exhibits in the department of landscape, that fundamental condition of all excellence, intimate and profound sympathy with nature. [Cheers.]

As regards literature one who is now beginning at any rate to descend the hill of life naturally looks backwards as well as forwards, and we must be becoming conscious that the early part of this century has witnessed in this and other countries what will be remembered in future times as a[Pg 532] splendid literary age. [Cheers.] The elder among us have lived in the lifetime of many great men who have passed to their rest—the younger have heard them familiarly spoken of and still have their works in their hands as I trust they will continue to be in the hands of all generations. [Cheers.] I am afraid we cannot hope for literature—it would be contrary to all the experience of former times were we to hope that it should be equally sustained at that extraordinarily high level which belongs, speaking roughly, to the first fifty years after the peace of 1815. That was a great period—a great period in England, a great period in Germany, a great period in France, and a great period, too, in Italy. [Cheers.]

As I have said, I think we can hardly hope that it should continue on a perfect level at so high an elevation. Undoubtedly the cultivation of literature will ever be dear to the people of this country; but we must remember what is literature, and what is not. In the first place, we should be all agreed that bookmaking is not literature. ["Hear!"] The business of bookmaking I have no doubt may thrive and will be continued upon a constantly extending scale from year to year. But that we may put aside. For my own part if I am to look a little forward, what I anticipate for the remainder of the century is an age not so much of literature proper—not so much of great, permanent and splendid additions to those works in which beauty is embodied as an essential condition of production, but I rather look forward to an age of research. [Cheers.] This is an age of great research—of great research in science, great research in history—an age of research in all the branches of inquiry that throw light upon the former condition whether of our race, or of the world which it inhabits [cheers]; and it may be hoped that, even if the remaining years of the century be not so brilliant as some of its former periods, in the production of works great in themselves, and immortal,—still they may add largely to the knowledge of mankind; and if they make such additions to the knowledge of mankind, they will be preparing the materials of a new tone and of new splendors in the realm of literature. There is a sunrise and sunset. There is a transition from the light of the sun to the gentler light of the moon. There is a rest in nature which seems necessary in all her great operations. And so with all the[Pg 533] great operations of the human mind. But do not let us despond if we seem to see a diminished efficacy in the production of what is essentially and immortally great. Our sun if hidden is hidden only for a moment. He is like the day star of Milton:—

"Which anon repairs his drooping head
And tricks his beams, and with new spangled ore,
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky."


I rejoice in an occasion like this which draws the attention of the world to topics which illustrate the union of art with literature and of literature with science, because you have a hard race to run, you have a severe competition against the attraction of external pursuits, whether those pursuits take the form of business or pleasure. It is given to you to teach lessons of the utmost importance to mankind, in maintaining the principle that no progress can be real which is not equable, which is not proportionate, which does not develop all the faculties belonging to our nature. [Cheers.] If a great increase of wealth in a country takes place, and with that increase of wealth a powerful stimulus to the invention of mere luxury, that, if it stands alone, is not, never can be, progress. It is only that one-sided development which is but one side of deformity. I hope we shall have no one-sided development. One mode of avoiding it is to teach the doctrine of that sisterhood you have asserted to-day, and confident I am that the good wishes you have expressed on behalf of literature will be re-echoed in behalf of art wherever men of letters are found. [Loud cheers.][Pg 534]



[Speech of Henry W. Grady at the annual banquet of the Boston Merchants' Association, at Boston, Mass., December 12, 1889. Mr. Grady was introduced by the President of the Association, Jonathan A. Lane, as the spokesman for the South on the subject he was to treat. His speech electrified his hearers, and was the feature of the occasion.]

Henry Woodfin Grady

Photogravure after a photograph from life

Mr. President:—Bidden by your invitation to a discussion of the race problem—forbidden by occasion to make a political speech—I appreciate, in trying to reconcile orders with propriety, the perplexity of the little maid, who, bidden to learn to swim, was yet adjured, "Now go, my darling, hang your clothes on a hickory limb and don't go near the water."

The stoutest apostle of the Church, they say, is the missionary, and the missionary wherever he unfurls his flag, will never find himself in deeper need of unction and address than I, bidden to-night to plant the standard of a Southern Democrat in Boston's banquet hall, and to discuss the problem of the races in the home of Phillips and of Sumner. But, Mr. President, if a purpose to speak in perfect frankness and sincerity; if earnest understanding of the vast interests involved; if a consecrating sense of what disaster may follow further misunderstanding and estrangement; if these may be counted to steady undisciplined speech and to strengthen an untried arm—then, sir, I shall find the courage to proceed.

Happy am I that this mission has brought my feet at last to press New England's historic soil and my eyes to the knowledge of her beauty and her thrift. Here within touch of Plymouth Rock and Bunker Hill—where Webster thun[Pg 535]dered and Longfellow sang, Emerson thought and Channing preached—here in the cradle of American letters and almost of American liberty, I hasten to make the obeisance that every American owes New England when first he stands uncovered in her mighty presence. Strange apparition! This stern and unique figure—carved from the ocean and the wilderness—its majesty kindling and growing amid the storms of winter and of wars—until at last the gloom was broken, its beauty disclosed in the sunshine, and the heroic workers rested at its base—while startled kings and emperors gazed and marvelled that from the rude touch of this handful cast on a bleak and unknown shore, should have come the embodied genius of human government and the perfected model of human liberty! God bless the memory of those immortal workers, and prosper the fortunes of their living sons—and perpetuate the inspiration of their handiwork.

Two years ago, sir, I spoke some words in New York that caught the attention of the North. As I stand here to reiterate, as I have done everywhere, every word I then uttered—to declare that the sentiments I then avowed were universally approved in the South—I realize that the confidence begotten by that speech is largely responsible for my presence here to-night. I should dishonor myself if I betrayed that confidence by uttering one insincere word, or by withholding one essential element of the truth. Apropos of this last, let me confess, Mr. President, before the praise of New England has died on my lips, that I believe the best product of her present life is the procession of 17,000 Vermont Democrats that for twenty-two years, undiminished by death, unrecruited by birth or conversion, have marched over their rugged hills, cast their Democratic ballots and gone back home to pray for their unregenerate neighbors, and awake to read the record of 26,000 Republican majority. May the God of the helpless and the heroic help them, and may their sturdy tribe increase.

Far to the South, Mr. President, separated from this section by a line—once defined in irrepressible difference, once traced in fratricidal blood, and now, thank God, but a vanishing shadow—lies the fairest and richest domain of this earth. It is the home of a brave and hospitable people. There is centred all that can please or prosper humankind.[Pg 536] A perfect climate above a fertile soil yields to the husbandman every product of the temperate zone. There, by night the cotton whitens beneath the stars, and by day the wheat locks the sunshine in its bearded sheaf. In the same field the clover steals the fragrance of the wind, and the tobacco catches the quick aroma of the rains. There are mountains stored with exhaustless treasures; forests—vast and primeval; and rivers that, tumbling or loitering, run wanton to the sea. Of the three essential items of all industries—cotton, iron and wood—that region has easy control. In cotton, a fixed monopoly—in iron, proven supremacy—in timber, the reserve supply of the Republic. From this assured and permanent advantage, against which artificial conditions cannot much longer prevail, has grown an amazing system of industries. Not maintained by human contrivance of tariff or capital, afar off from the fullest and cheapest source of supply, but resting in divine assurance, within touch of field and mine and forest—not set amid costly farms from which competition has driven the farmer in despair, but amid cheap and sunny lands, rich with agriculture, to which neither season nor soil has set a limit—this system of industries is mounting to a splendor that shall dazzle and illumine the world. That, sir, is the picture and the promise of my home—a land better and fairer than I have told you, and yet but fit setting in its material excellence for the loyal and gentle quality of its citizenship. Against that, sir, we have New England, recruiting the Republic from its sturdy loins, shaking from its overcrowded hives new swarms of workers, and touching this land all over with its energy and its courage. And yet—while in the Eldorado of which I have told you but fifteen per cent. of its lands are cultivated, its mines scarcely touched, and its population so scant that, were it set equidistant, the sound of the human voice could not be heard from Virginia to Texas—while on the threshold of nearly every house in New England stands a son, seeking, with troubled eyes, some new land in which to carry his modest patrimony, the strange fact remains that in 1880 the South had fewer northern-born citizens than she had in 1870—fewer in '70 than in '60. Why is this? Why is it, sir, though the sectional line be now but a mist that the breath may dispel, fewer men of the[Pg 537] North have crossed it over to the South, than when it was crimson with the best blood of the Republic, or even when the slaveholder stood guard every inch of its way?

There can be but one answer. It is the very problem we are now to consider. The key that opens that problem will unlock to the world the fairest half of this Republic, and free the halted feet of thousands whose eyes are already kindling with its beauty. Better than this, it will open the hearts of brothers for thirty years estranged, and clasp in lasting comradeship a million hands now withheld in doubt. Nothing, sir, but this problem and the suspicions it breeds, hinders a clear understanding and a perfect union. Nothing else stands between us and such love as bound Georgia and Massachusetts at Valley Forge and Yorktown, chastened by the sacrifices of Manassas and Gettysburg, and illumined with the coming of better work and a nobler destiny than was ever wrought with the sword or sought at the cannon's mouth.

If this does not invite your patient hearing to-night—hear one thing more. My people, your brothers in the South—brothers in blood, in destiny, in all that is best in our past and future—are so beset with this problem that their very existence depends on its right solution. Nor are they wholly to blame for its presence. The slave-ships of the Republic sailed from your ports, the slaves worked in our fields. You will not defend the traffic, nor I the institution. But I do here declare that in its wise and humane administration in lifting the slave to heights of which he had not dreamed in his savage home, and giving him a happiness he has not yet found in freedom, our fathers left their sons a saving and excellent heritage. In the storm of war this institution was lost. I thank God as heartily as you do that human slavery is gone forever from American soil. But the free man remains. With him a problem without precedent or parallel. Note its appalling conditions. Two utterly dissimilar races on the same soil—with equal political and civil rights—almost equal in numbers, but terribly unequal in intelligence and responsibility—each pledged against fusion—one for a century in servitude to the other, and freed at last by a desolating war, the experiment sought by neither but approached by both with doubt—these are the conditions.[Pg 538] Under these, adverse at every point, we are required to carry these two races in peace and honor to the end.

Never, sir, has such a task been given to mortal stewardship. Never before in this Republic has the white race divided on the rights of an alien race. The red man was cut down as a weed, because he hindered the way of the American citizen. The yellow man was shut out of this Republic because he is an alien, and inferior. The red man was owner of the land—the yellow man highly civilized and assimilable—but they hindered both sections, and are gone! But the black man, affecting but one section, is clothed with every privilege of government and pinned to the soil, and my people commanded to make good at any hazard, and at any cost, his full and equal heirship of American privilege and prosperity. It matters not that every other race has been routed or excluded without rhyme or reason. It matters not that wherever the whites and the blacks have touched, in any era or in any clime, there has been an irreconcilable violence. It matters not that no two races, however similar, have lived anywhere, at any time, on the same soil with equal rights in peace! In spite of these things we are commanded to make good this change of American policy which has not perhaps changed American prejudice—to make certain here what has elsewhere been impossible between whites and blacks—and to reverse, under the very worst conditions, the universal verdict of racial history. And driven, sir, to this superhuman task with an impatience that brooks no delay—a rigor that accepts no excuse—and a suspicion that discourages frankness and sincerity. We do not shrink from this trial. It is so interwoven with our industrial fabric that we cannot disentangle it if we would—so bound up in our honorable obligation to the world, that we would not if we could. Can we solve it? The God who gave it into our hands, He alone can know. But this the weakest and wisest of us do know; we cannot solve it with less than your tolerant and patient sympathy—with less than the knowledge that the blood that runs in your veins is our blood—and that, when we have done our best, whether the issue be lost or won, we shall feel your strong arms about us and hear the beating of your approving hearts!

The resolute, clear-headed, broad-minded men of the[Pg 539] South—the men whose genius made glorious every page of the first seventy years of American history—whose courage and fortitude you tested in five years of the fiercest war—whose energy has made bricks without straw and spread splendor amid the ashes of their war-wasted homes—these men wear this problem in their hearts and brains, by day and by night. They realize, as you cannot, what this problem means—what they owe to this kindly and dependent race—the measure of their debt to the world in whose despite they defended and maintained slavery. And though their feet are hindered in its undergrowth, and their march cumbered with its burdens, they have lost neither the patience from which comes clearness, nor the faith from which comes courage. Nor, sir, when in passionate moments is disclosed to them that vague and awful shadow, with its lurid abysses and its crimson stains, into which I pray God they may never go, are they struck with more of apprehension than is needed to complete their consecration!

Such is the temper of my people. But what of the problem itself? Mr. President, we need not go one step further unless you concede right here that the people I speak for are as honest, as sensible and as just as your people, seeking as earnestly as you would in their place to rightly solve the problem that touches them at every vital point. If you insist that they are ruffians, blindly striving with bludgeon and shotgun to plunder and oppress a race, then I shall sacrifice my self-respect and tax your patience in vain. But admit that they are men of common sense and common honesty, wisely modifying an environment they cannot wholly disregard—guiding and controlling as best they can the vicious and irresponsible of either race—compensating error with frankness, and retrieving in patience what they lose in passion—and conscious all the time that wrong means ruin—admit this, and we may reach an understanding to-night.

The President of the United States, in his late message to Congress, discussing the plea that the South should be left to solve this problem, asks: "Are they at work upon it? What solution do they offer? When will the black man cast a free ballot? When will he have the civil rights that are his?" I shall not here protest against a partisanry[Pg 540] that, for the first time in our history, in time of peace, has stamped with the great seal of our government a stigma upon the people of a great and loyal section; though I gratefully remember that the great dead soldier, who held the helm of State for the eight stormiest years of reconstruction, never found need for such a step; and though there is no personal sacrifice I would not make to remove this cruel and unjust imputation on my people from the archives of my country! But, sir, backed by a record, on every page of which is progress, I venture to make earnest and respectful answer to the questions that are asked. We give to the world this year a crop of 7,500,000 bales of cotton, worth, $450,000,000, and its cash equivalent in grain, grasses, and fruit. This enormous crop could not have come from the hands of sullen and discontented labor. It comes from peaceful fields, in which laughter and gossip rise above the hum of industry, and contentment runs with the singing plough. It is claimed that this ignorant labor is defrauded of its just hire. I present the tax books of Georgia which show that the negro, twenty-five years ago a slave, has in Georgia alone $10,000,000 of assessed property, worth twice that much. Does not that record honor him, and vindicate his neighbors?

What people, penniless, illiterate, has done so well? For every Afro-American agitator, stirring the strife in which alone he prospers, I can show you a thousand negroes, happy in their cabin homes, tilling their own land by day, and at night taking from the lips of their children the helpful message their State sends them from the schoolhouse door. And the schoolhouse itself bears testimony. In Georgia we added last year $250,000 to the school fund, making a total of more than $1,000,000,—and this in the face of prejudice not yet conquered—of the fact that the whites are assessed for $368,000,000, the blacks for $10,000,000, and yet forty-nine per cent. of the beneficiaries are black children; and in the doubt of many wise men if education helps, or can help, our problem. Charleston, with her taxable values cut half in two since 1860, pays more in proportion for public schools than Boston. Although it is easier to give much out of much than little out of little the South, with one-seventh of the taxable property of the country, with relatively larger debt,[Pg 541] having received only one-twelfth as much of public lands, and having back of its tax books none of the $500,000,000 of bonds that enrich the North—and though it pays annually $26,000,000 to your section as pensions—yet gives nearly one-sixth to the public school fund. The South, since 1865, has spent $122,000,000 in education, and this year is pledged to $32,000,000 more for State and city schools, although the blacks, paying one-thirtieth of the taxes, get nearly one-half of the fund. Go into our fields and see whites and blacks working side by side. On our buildings in the same squad. In our shops at the same forge. Often the blacks crowd the whites from work, or lower wages by their greater need and simpler habits, and yet are permitted, because we want to bar them from no avenue in which their feet are fitted to tread. They could not there be elected orators of white universities, as they have been here, but they do enter there a hundred useful trades that are closed against them here. We hold it better and wiser to tend the weeds in the garden than to water the exotic in the window.

In the South there are negro lawyers, teachers, editors, dentists, doctors, preachers, multiplying with the increasing ability of their race to support them. In villages and towns they have their military companies equipped from the armories of the State, their churches and societies built and supported largely by their neighbors. What is the testimony of the courts? In penal legislation we have steadily reduced felonies to misdemeanors, and have led the world in mitigating punishment for crime, that we might save, as far as possible, this dependent race from its own weakness. In our penitentiary record sixty per cent. of the prosecutors are negroes, and in every court the negro criminal strikes the colored juror, that white men may judge his case.

In the North, one negro in every 185 is in jail—in the South only one in 446. In the North the percentage of negro prisoners is six times as great as that of native whites, in the South, only four times as great. If prejudice wrongs him in Southern courts, the record shows it to be deeper in Northern courts. I assert here, and a bar as intelligent and upright as the bar of Massachusetts will solemnly indorse my assertion, that in the Southern courts, from highest to lowest, pleading for life, liberty or property, the negro[Pg 542] has distinct advantage because he is a negro, apt to be over-reached, oppressed—and that this advantage reaches from the juror in making his verdict to the judge in measuring his sentence.

Now, Mr. President, can it be seriously maintained that we are terrorizing the people from whose willing hands comes every year $1,000,000,000 of farm crops? Or have robbed a people who, twenty-five years from unrewarded slavery, have amassed in one State $20,000,000 of property? Or that we intend to oppress the people we are arming every day? Or deceive them, when we are educating them to the utmost limit of our ability? Or outlaw them when we work side by side with them? Or re-enslave them under legal forms, when for their benefit we have even imprudently narrowed the limit of felonies and mitigated the severity of law? My fellow-countrymen, as you yourselves may sometimes have to appeal at the bar of human judgment for justice and for right, give to my people to-night the fair and unanswerable conclusion of these incontestable facts.

But it is claimed that under this fair seeming there is disorder and violence. This, I admit. And there will be until there is one ideal community on earth after which we may pattern. But how widely is it misjudged. It is hard to measure with exactness whatever touches the negro. His helplessness, his isolation, his century of servitude, these dispose us to emphasize and magnify his wrongs. This disposition inflamed by prejudice and partisanry has led to injustice and delusion. Lawless men may ravage a county in Iowa and it is accepted as an incident—in the South a drunken row is declared to be the fixed habit of the community. Regulators may whip vagabonds in Indiana by platoons and it scarcely arrests attention—a chance collision in the South among relatively the same classes is gravely accepted as evidence that one race is destroying the other. We might as well claim that the Union was ungrateful to the colored soldiers who followed its flag because a Grand Army post in Connecticut closed its doors to a negro veteran as for you to give racial significance to every incident in the South, or to accept exceptional grounds as the rule of our society. I am not one of those who becloud American honor with the parade of the outrages of either sections, and belie[Pg 543] American character by declaring them to be significant and representative. I prefer to maintain that they are neither, and stand for nothing but the passion and sin of our poor fallen humanity. If society, like a machine, were no stronger than its weakest part, I should despair of both sections. But, knowing that society, sentient and responsible in every fibre, can mend and repair until the whole has the strength of the best, I despair of neither. These gentlemen who come with me here, knit into Georgia's busy life as they are, never saw, I dare assert, an outrage committed on a negro! And if they did, no one of you would be swifter to prevent or punish. It is through them, and the men who think with them—making nine-tenths of every southern community—that these two races have been carried thus far with less of violence than would have been possible anywhere else on earth. And in their fairness and courage and steadfastness—more than in all the laws that can be passed, or all the bayonets that can be mustered—is the hope of our future.

When will the blacks cast a free ballot? When ignorance anywhere is not dominated by the will of the intelligent. When the laborer anywhere casts a vote unhindered by his boss. When the vote of the poor anywhere is not influenced by the power of the rich. When the strong and the steadfast do not everywhere control the suffrage of the weak and shiftless—then, and not till then, will the ballot of the negro be free. The white people of the South are banded, Mr. President, not in prejudice against the blacks—not in sectional estrangement—not in the hope of political dominion—but in a deep and abiding necessity. Here is this vast ignorant and purchasable vote—clannish, credulous, impulsive and passionate—tempting every art of the demagogue, but insensible to the appeal of the statesman. Wrongly started, in that it was led into alienation from its neighbor and taught to rely on the protection of an outside force, it cannot be merged and lost in the two great parties through logical currents, for it lacks political conviction and even that information on which conviction must be based. It must remain a faction—strong enough in every community to control on the slightest division of the whites. Under that division it becomes the prey of the cunning and unscrupulous of both parties. Its credulity is imposed upon, its patience[Pg 544] inflamed, its cupidity tempted, its impulses misdirected—and even its superstition made to play its part in a campaign in which every interest of society is jeopardized and every approach to the ballot-box debauched. It is against such campaigns as this—the folly and the bitterness and the danger of which every southern community has drunk deeply—that the white people of the South are banded together. Just as you in Massachusetts would be banded if 300,000 men, not one in a hundred able to read his ballot—banded in race instinct holding against you the memory of a century of slavery, taught by your late conquerors to distrust and oppose you, had already travestied legislation from your State House, and in every species of folly or villainy had wasted your substance and exhausted your credit.

But admitting the right of the whites to unite against this tremendous menace, we are challenged with the smallness of our vote. This has long been flippantly charged to be evidence and has now been solemnly and officially declared to be proof of political turpitude and baseness on our part. Let us see. Virginia—a State now under fierce assault for this alleged crime—cast in 1888 seventy-five per cent. of her vote, Massachusetts, the State in which I speak, sixty per cent. of her vote. Was it suppression in Virginia and natural causes in Massachusetts? Last month Virginia cast sixty-nine per cent. of her vote, and Massachusetts, fighting in every district, cast only forty-nine per cent. of hers. If Virginia is condemned because thirty-one per cent. of her vote was silent, how shall this State escape in which fifty-one per cent. was dumb? Let us enlarge this comparison. The sixteen Southern States in '88 cast sixty-seven per cent. of their total vote—the six New England States but sixty-three per cent. of theirs. By what fair rule shall the stigma be put upon one section, while the other escapes? A congressional election in New York last week, with the polling place in touch of every voter, brought out only 6,000 votes of 28,000—and the lack of opposition is assigned as the natural cause. In a district in my State, in which an opposition speech has not been heard in ten years and the polling places are miles apart—under the unfair reasoning of which my section has been a constant victim—the small vote is charged to be proof of forcible suppression. In Virginia an average majority of[Pg 545] 12,000, under hopeless division of the minority, was raised to 42,000; in Iowa, in the same election, a majority of 32,000 was wiped out and an opposition majority of 8,000 was established. The change of 40,000 votes in Iowa is accepted as political revolution—in Virginia an increase of 30,000 on a safe majority is declared to be proof of political fraud.

It is deplorable, sir, that in both sections a larger percentage of the vote is not regularly cast. But more inexplicable that this should be so in New England, than in the South. What invites the negro to the ballot-box? He knows that of all men it has promised him most and yielded him least. His first appeal to suffrage was the promise of "forty acres and a mule." His second, the threat that Democratic success meant his re-enslavement. Both have been proved false in his experience. He looked for a home, and he got the Freedman's Bank. He fought under promise of the loaf, and in victory was denied the crumbs. Discouraged and deceived, he has realized at last that his best friends are his neighbors with whom his lot is cast, and whose prosperity is bound up in his—and that he has gained nothing in politics to compensate the loss of their confidence and sympathy, that is at last his best and enduring hope. And so, without leaders or organization—and lacking the resolute heroism of my party friends in Vermont that make their hopeless march over the hills a high and inspiring pilgrimage—he shrewdly measures the occasional agitator, balances his little account with politics, touches up his mule, and jogs down the furrow letting the mad world wag as it will!

The negro vote can never control in the South, and it would be well if partisans at the North would understand this. I have seen the white people of a State set about by black hosts until their fate seemed sealed. But, sir, some brave man, banding them together, would rise, as Elisha rose in beleaguered Samaria, and, touching their eyes with faith, bid them look abroad to see the very air "filled with the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof." If there is any human force that cannot be withstood, it is the power of the banded intelligence and responsibility of a free community. Against it, numbers and corruption cannot prevail. It cannot be forbidden in the law, or divorced in force. It is the inalienable right of every free community—the just[Pg 546] and righteous safeguard against an ignorant or corrupt suffrage. It is on this, sir, that we rely in the South. Not the cowardly menace of mask or shotgun, but the peaceful majesty of intelligence and responsibility, massed and unified for the protection of its homes and the preservation of its liberty. That, sir, is our reliance and our hope, and against it all the powers of earth shall not prevail. It was just as certain that Virginia would come back to the unchallenged control of her white race—that before the moral and material power of her people once more unified, opposition would crumble until its last desperate leader was left alone, vainly striving to rally his disordered hosts—as that night should fade in the kindling glory of the sun. You may pass force bills, but they will not avail. You may surrender your own liberties to federal election law, you may submit, in fear of a necessity that does not exist, that the very form of this government may be changed, you may invite federal interference with the New England town meeting, that has been for a hundred years the guarantee of local government in America—this old State which holds in its charter the boast that it "is a free and independent commonwealth"—it may deliver its election machinery into the hands of the government it helped to create—but never, sir, will a single State of this Union, North or South, be delivered again to the control of an ignorant and inferior race. We wrested our State governments from negro supremacy when the Federal drum-beat rolled closer to the ballot-box, and Federal bayonets hedged it deeper about than will ever again be permitted in this free government. But, sir, though the cannon of this Republic thundered in every voting district of the South, we still should find in the mercy of God the means and the courage to prevent its re-establishment. I regret, sir, that my section, hindered with this problem, stands in seeming estrangement to the North. If, sir, any man will point out to me a path down which the white people of the South, divided, may walk in peace and honor, I will take that path though I take it alone—for at its end, and nowhere else, I fear, is to be found the full prosperity of my section and the full restoration of this Union. But, sir, if the negro had not been enfranchised, the South would have been divided and the republic united. His enfranchise[Pg 547]ment—against which I enter no protest—holds the South united and compact. What solution, then, can we offer for the problem? Time alone can disclose it to us. We simply report progress, and ask your patience. If the problem be solved at all—and I firmly believe it will, though nowhere else has it been—it will be solved by the people most deeply bound in interest, most deeply pledged in honor to its solution. I had rather see my people render back this question rightly solved than to see them gather all the spoils over which faction has contended since Catiline conspired and Cæsar fought. Meantime we treat the negro fairly, measuring to him justice in the fulness the strong should give to the weak, and leading him in the steadfast ways of citizenship that he may no longer be the prey of the unscrupulous and the sport of the thoughtless. We open to him every pursuit in which he can prosper, and seek to broaden his training and capacity. We seek to hold his confidence and friendship—and to pin him to the soil with ownership, that he may catch in the fire of his own hearthstone that sense of responsibility the shiftless can never know. And we gather him into that alliance of intelligence and responsibility, that, though it now runs close to racial lines, welcomes the responsible and intelligent of any race. By this course, confirmed in our judgment, and justified in the progress already made, we hope to progress slowly but surely to the end.

The love we feel for that race, you cannot measure nor comprehend. As I attest it here, the spirit of my old black mammy, from her home up there, looks down to bless, and through the tumult of this night steals the sweet music of her croonings as thirty years ago she held me in her black arms and led me smiling to sleep. This scene vanishes as I speak, and I catch a vision of an old Southern home with its lofty pillars and its white pigeons fluttering down through the golden air. I see women with strained and anxious faces, and children alert yet helpless. I see night come down with its dangers and its apprehensions, and in a big homely room I feel on my tired head the touch of loving hands—now worn and wrinkled, but fairer to me yet than the hands of mortal woman, and stronger yet to lead me than the hands of mortal man—as they lay a mother's blessing there, while[Pg 548] at her knees—the truest altar I yet have found—I thank God that she is safe in her sanctuary, because her slaves, sentinel in the silent cabin, or guard at her chamber door, puts a black man's loyalty between her and danger.

I catch another vision. The crisis of battle—a soldier struck, staggering, fallen. I see a slave, scuffling through the smoke, winding his black arms about the fallen form, reckless of hurtling death—bending his trusty face to catch the words that tremble on the stricken lips, so wrestling meantime with agony that he would lay down his life in his master's stead. I see him by the weary bedside, ministering with uncomplaining patience, praying with all his humble heart that God will lift his master up, until death comes in mercy and in honor to still the soldier's agony and seal the soldier's life. I see him by the open grave, mute, motionless, uncovered, suffering for the death of him who in life fought against his freedom. I see him, when the mould is heaped and the great drama of his life is closed, turn away and with downcast eyes and uncertain step start out into new and strange fields, faltering, struggling, but moving on, until his shambling figure is lost in the light of this better and brighter day. And from the grave comes a voice saying, "Follow him! put your arms about him in his need, even as he put his about me. Be his friend as he was mine." And out into this new world—strange to me as to him, dazzling, bewildering both—I follow! And may God forget my people—when they forget these!

Whatever the future may hold for them, whether they plod along in the servitude from which they have never been lifted since the Cyrenian was laid hold upon by the Roman soldiers, and made to bear the cross of the fainting Christ—whether they find homes again in Africa, and thus hasten the prophecy of the psalmist, who said: "And suddenly Ethiopia shall hold out her hands unto God"—whether for ever dislocated and separate, they remain a weak people, beset by stronger, and exist, as the Turk, who lives in the jealousy rather than in the conscience of Europe—or whether in this miraculous Republic they break through the caste of twenty centuries, and, belying universal history, reach the full stature of citizenship, and in peace maintain it—we shall give them uttermost justice and abiding friendship.[Pg 549] And whatever we do, into whatever seeming estrangement we may be driven, nothing shall disturb the love we bear this Republic, or mitigate our consecration to its service. I stand here, Mr. President, to profess no new loyalty. When General Lee, whose heart was the temple of our hopes, and whose arm was clothed with our strength, renewed his allegiance to this government at Appomattox, he spoke from a heart too great to be false, and he spoke for every honest man from Maryland to Texas. From that day to this Hamilcar has nowhere in the South sworn young Hannibal to hatred and vengeance, but everywhere to loyalty and to love. Witness the veteran standing at the base of a Confederate monument, above the graves of his comrades, his empty sleeve tossing in the April wind, adjuring the young men about him to serve as earnest and loyal citizens the government against which their fathers fought. This message, delivered from that sacred presence, has gone home to the hearts of my fellows! And, sir, I declare here, if physical courage be always equal to human aspiration, that they would die, sir, if need be, to restore this Republic their fathers fought to dissolve!

Such, Mr. President, is this problem as we see it, such is the temper in which we approach it, such the progress made. What do we ask of you? First, patience; out of this alone can come perfect work. Second, confidence; in this alone can you judge fairly. Third, sympathy; in this you can help us best. Fourth, give us your sons as hostages. When you plant your capital in millions, send your sons that they may know how true are our hearts and may help to swell the Caucasian current until it can carry without danger this black infusion. Fifth, loyalty to the Republic—for there is sectionalism in loyalty as in estrangement. This hour little needs the loyalty that is loyal to one section and yet holds the other in enduring suspicion and estrangement. Give us the broad and perfect loyalty that loves and trusts Georgia alike with Massachusetts—that knows no South, no North, no East, no West, but endears with equal and patriotic love every foot of our soil, every State of our Union.

A mighty duty, sir, and a mighty inspiration impels every one of us to-night to lose in patriotic consecration whatever[Pg 550] estranges, whatever divides. We, sir, are Americans—and we stand for human liberty! The uplifting force of the American idea is under every throne on earth. France, Brazil—these are our victories. To redeem the earth from kingcraft and oppression—this is our mission! And we shall not fail. God has sown in our soil the seed of His millennial harvest, and He will not lay the sickle to the ripening crop until His full and perfect day has come. Our history, sir, has been a constant and expanding miracle from Plymouth Rock and Jamestown all the way—aye, even from the hour when, from the voiceless and traceless ocean, a new world rose to the sight of the inspired sailor. As we approach the fourth centennial of that stupendous day—when the old world will come to marvel and to learn amid our gathered treasures—let us resolve to crown the miracles of our past with the spectacle of a Republic, compact, united, indissoluble in the bonds of love—loving from the lakes to the gulf—the wounds of war healed in every heart as on every hill, serene and resplendent at the summit of human achievement and earthly glory, blazing out the path and making clear the way up which all the nations of the earth must come in God's appointed time! [Great applause.][Pg 551]



[Speech of Sarah Grand [Mrs. M'Fall] at the annual ladies' banquet of the Whitefriars Club, London, May 4, 1900. Max O'Rell [Paul Blouet] acted as chairman. L. F. Austin, who spoke earlier than Madame Grand, said, turning to Max O'Rell: "It used to be said of certain politicians by way of odium that they mumbled the dry bones of political economy; but you, sir, who sit trembling in that chair [laughter]—you are trying not to look it, but you are trembling with apprehension of the delicately anointed barb with which Madame Sarah. Grand will presently transfix you [laughter]; you must feel that we shall not very long be permitted even to mumble the barren epigrams of a vanished ascendancy."]

Mr. Chairman:—I have the honor to propose the toast of "Mere Man" [laughter], but why "Mere Man," I want to know? After all that has been said this evening so truthfully on the subject of "Sovran Woman," it is impossible for me to use such an epithet without feeling myself in an invidious position, in the position of the dog that bites the hand which has just caressed it—or rather I should feel myself in that position if I were in any way responsible for the use of the ungracious word. I beg most emphatically to state that I am not in any way responsible for it. I decline to be identified with such an expression: I decline to be accused of calling man any names [laughter], any names that I have not already called him. [Laughter.] I do not decline out of consideration for mere man altogether, but in self-defence. To use such an expression deprives me of any dignity which I might myself derive from the dignity of my subject. Besides, the words in my mouth, were I to be identified with them, would be used against me as a bomb by a whole section of the press, to blow me up. [Laughter.] I object to be blown up for nothing by a whole section of the press. [Laughter.] That is the sort of thing which[Pg 552] almost ruffles my equanimity. My comfort is, that no one can accuse me of having originated such an expression, because it is well known no woman ever originated anything. [Laughter.] I assure you I have seen it so stated in print; and in one article I read on the subject the perturbation of the writer, lest there should be any mistake about it, so agitated his grammar that it was impossible to parse it. I should like to know who was responsible in the first place for the expression which has been imposed upon me. It seems to me there is strong presumptive evidence that it was by man himself that man was dubbed mere man. If the lords of creation choose to masquerade sometimes as mere man by all means let them.

The saying is, "In small things, liberty; in great things, unity; in all things, charity," but when you meet a man who describes himself as a mere man, you would always do well to ask what he wants, because, since man first swung himself from his bough in the forest primeval and stood upright on two legs, he has never assumed that position for nothing. [Laughter.] My own private opinion, which I confide to you, knowing it will go no further, is that he assumes that tone, as a rule, to draw sovran woman. [Laughter.] Mere man is a paradoxical creature—it is not always possible to distinguish between his sober earnest and his leg-pulling exercises. [Laughter.] One has to be on one's guard, and woe be to the woman who in these days displays that absence of the sense of humor which is such a prominent characteristic of our comic papers. [Laughter.] I do not mean to say for a moment that man assumes his "mere man" tone for unpleasant purposes. On the contrary, he assumes it for party purposes as a rule—for dinner party purposes. [Laughter.] When man is in his mere man mood sovran woman would do well to ask for anything that she wants—for it is then that he holds the sceptre out to her. [Laughter.] Unfortunately, the mood does not last; if it did he would have given us the suffrage ages ago. Sovran woman is the Uitlander of civilization—and man is her Boer. [Laughter.] It seems to me that sovran woman is very much in the position of Queen Esther; she has her crown, and her kingdom, and her royal robes, but she is liable to have her head snapped off at any moment.[Pg 553] [Laughter.] On the other hand, there are hundreds of men who have their heads snapped off every day. [Laughter.] Mere man has his faults, no doubt, but sovran woman also can be a rasping sort of creature, especially if she does not cultivate sympathy with cigarettes as she gets older. [Laughter.] Let us be fair to mere man. Mere man has always treated me with exemplary fairness, and I certainly have never maintained that the blockhead majority is entirely composed of men; neither have I ever insinuated that it is man that makes all the misery.

Personally, and speaking as a woman whose guiding principle through life has been never to do anything for herself that she can get a nice man to do for her [laughter], a principle which I have found entirely successful, and which I strongly recommend to every other woman—personally I have always found mere man an excellent comrade. [Applause.] He has stood by me loyally, and held out an honest hand to me, and lent me his strength when mine was failing, and helped me gallantly over many an awkward bit of the way, and that, too, at times when sovran woman, whom I had so respected and admired and championed, had nothing for me but bonnet-pins. [Laughter.] It does upset one's ideas and unsettle one's principles when sovran woman has nothing for one but bonnet-pins. [Laughter.] The sharp points of those pins have made me a little doubtful about sovran woman at times—a little apt to suspect that in private life her name is Mrs. Harris [laughter], but I must be careful about what I say in this connection lest it should be supposed that I have been perverted.

In the great republic of letters to which I have the honor to belong—in the distinguished position of the letter "Z"—my experience is that woman suffers no indignity at the hands of man on account of her sex. That is the sort of experience which creates a prejudice. It is apt to color the whole of one's subsequent opinions. It gives one a sort of idea that there are men in the world who would stand by a woman on occasion; and I must confess that I began life with a very strong prejudice of that kind. For a woman to have had a good father is to have been born an heiress. If you had asked me as a child who ran to help me when I fell, I should have answered, "My daddy." When a woman[Pg 554] begins life with a prejudice of this kind she never gets over it. The prejudice of a man for his mother is feeble in comparison with the prejudice of a woman for her father, when she has had a man for her father and not one of what Shelley called, those—

"Things whose trade is over ladies
To lean and flirt and stare and simper,
Till all that is divine in woman
Grows cruel, courteous, smooth, inhuman,
Crucified 'twixt a smile and whimper."'

Whatever that woman has to suffer she never loses her faith in man. Remembering what her father was, she always believes there are good men and true in the world somewhere. The recollection of her father becomes a buffer between that woman and the shocks and jars of her after life; because of him, there is nothing distorted in her point of view, and she remains sane. It rather spoils a woman in some ways to have a good husband as well as a good father, because then she is so sure that

"God's in His heaven,
All's well with the world,"

that she becomes utterly selfish, and cares for nothing that is outside her own little circle. But the thing to guard against is loss of faith. Men and women who have lost faith in each other never rise above the world again—one wing is broken, and they cannot soar. It has been said that the best way to manage man is to feed the brute [laughter], but sovran woman never made that discovery for herself—I believe it was a man in his mere man mood who first confided the secret to some young wife in distress—somebody else's young wife. [Laughter.] Feed him and flatter him. Why not? Is there anything more delightful in this world than to be flattered and fed? Let us do as we would be done by. It seems to me sometimes that it is impossible in reviewing our social relations ever to be wholly in earnest. One's opinions do wobble so. [Laughter.] If one would earn a reputation for consistency one must be like that great[Pg 555] judge who declined to hear more than one side of the case because he found that hearing the other side only confused him. [Laughter.]

The thing about mere man which impresses me most, which fills me with the greatest respect, is not his courage in the face of death, but the courage with which he faces life. The way in which we face death is not necessarily more heroic than the way in which we face life. The probability is that you never think less about yourself than you do at the moment when you and eternity are face to face. When you are sick unto death you are too sick to care whether you live or die. In some great convulsion of nature, a great typhoon, for instance, when the wind in its fury lashes the walls of the house till they writhe, and there are the shrieks of people in dire distress, and fire, and the crash of giant waves, and all that makes for horror, the shock of these brute irresponsible forces of nature is too tremendous for fear to obtrude. Thought is suspended—you are in an ecstasy of awful emotion, emotion made perfect by the very strength of it.

But when it comes to facing life day after day, and day after day, as so many men have to face it, the workingmen, in all classes of society, upon whom the home depends, men whose days are only too often a weary effort, and whose nights are an ache of anxiety, lest the strength should give out which means bread, when one thinks of the lives these men live, and the way in which they live them, the brave, uncomplaining way in which they fight to the death for those dear to them, when one considers mere man from this point of view, one is moved to enthusiasm, and one is fain to confess that "sovran woman" on a pedestal is a poor sort of creature compared with this kind of mere man in that so often she not only fails to help and cheer him in his heroic efforts, but to appreciate that he is making any effort at all. I positively refuse to subscribe to the assertion, "How poor a thing is man!" [Laughter.] It takes more genius to be a man than manhood to be a genius. [Applause.] As to the differences between men and women, I believe that when finally their accounts have been properly balanced it will be found that it has been a case of six of one and half-a-dozen of the other, both in the matter of[Pg 556] sovereignty and of mereness [laughter], and, therefore, without prejudice, I propose that the sixes to which I belong shall rise and cordially drink to the health of the other half dozens, our kind and generous hosts of to-night. [Applause.][Pg 557]



[Speech of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the seventy-fifth annual dinner of the New England Society in the City of New York, December 22, 1880. The President, James C. Carter, in introducing General Grant, said: "Gentlemen, it is our good fortune to have with us to-night as a guest an illustrious fellow citizen, who in a great and fortunate career has been enabled to render signal service to his country and to achieve a just renown for himself. [Applause.] Long may he live! But however long, he cannot outlive the regard or the affection of the sons of New England. I give you, gentlemen, 'The Health of General Grant.'" The announcement of the toast was greeted with loud and prolonged cheers, the company standing.]

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the New England Society of the City of New York:—I suppose on an occasion of this sort that you will expect me to say something about this Society and the people of New England and the pilgrims who first landed on Plymouth Rock. It was my fortune last night to attend a banquet of this sort in the principal city on New York harbor. [Applause and laughter.] I did not know until I went there [Brooklyn] that it was the principal city [laughter]—the principal city of the harbor of New York, a city whose overflow has settled up Manhattan Island, which has built up fine houses, business streets, and shown many evidences of prosperity for a suburb, with a waste of people flowing across the North River that forms a third if not one-half the population of a neighboring state. [Applause.] As I say, it was my good fortune to attend a banquet of this sort of the parent society [laughter], and to which all the societies known, even including the one which is now celebrating its first anniversary in Las Vegas, New Mexico, owe their origin. [Laughter.] I made a few remarks there, in which I tried to say what I thought were the characteristics of the people who have[Pg 558] descended from the Pilgrims. I thought they were a people of great frugality, great personal courage, great industry, and possessed within themselves of qualities which built up this New England population which has spread out over so much of this land and given so much character, prosperity, and success to us as a people and a nation. [Applause.] I retain yet some of the views I then expressed [peals of laughter], and should have remained convinced that my judgment was entirely right if it were not that some speakers came after me who have a better title to speak for the people of New England than myself, and who dispelled some of those views. [Renewed laughter.]

It is too many generations back for me to claim to be a New Englander. Those gentlemen who spoke are themselves New Englanders who have, since their manhood, emigrated to this great city that I speak of. They informed me that there was nothing at all in the Pilgrim fathers to give them the distinguishing characteristics which we attribute to them [laughter], and that it was all entirely dependent upon the poverty of the soil and the inclemency of the climate where they landed. [Shouts of laughter.] They fell upon an ungenial climate, where there were nine months of winter and three months of cold weather [laughter], and that had called out the best energies of the men and of the women, too, to get a mere subsistence out of the soil, with such a climate. In their efforts to do that they cultivated industry and frugality at the same time, which is the real foundation of the greatness of the Pilgrims. [Laughter.] It was even suggested by some that if they had fallen upon a more genial climate and more fertile soil, they would have been there yet, in poverty and without industry. [Laughter.] I shall continue to believe better of them myself, and I believe the Rev. Dr. Storrs, who spoke here, will agree with me that my first judgment of them was probably nearly correct.

However, all jesting aside, we are proud in my section of the country of the New Englanders and of their descendants. We hope to see them spread over all this land, and carry with them the principles inculcated in their own sterile soil from which they sprang. [Applause.] We want to see them take their independence of character, their self-reliance,[Pg 559] their free schools, their learning, and their industry, and we want to see them prosper and teach others among whom they settle how to be prosperous. [Applause.] I am very much obliged to the gentlemen of the infant New England Society [laughter] for the reception which they have accorded to me and the other guests of this evening. I shall remember it with great pleasure, and hope that some day you will invite me again. [Long-continued applause.]


[Speech of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the eighth annual dinner of the New York Press Club, January 6, 1881. John C. Hennessy, President of the Press Club, was in the chair, and read the third toast: "The Republic's Honored ex-President." General Grant, on being introduced to respond to this toast, was received with a tumult of applause.]

Mr. President, Gentlemen of the New York Press Club:—I confess to a little embarrassment this evening in being called upon unexpectedly to say a word to a set of such different men as compose not only the Press Club, but those associated with the Press of the country. I thought this was an evening that I was going to spend where all would be quiet and good order [laughter]; where nobody would have anything to say. We all know the characteristic modesty of the people associated with the Press [laughter], they never want to inquire into anybody's affairs, [laughter], to know where they are going, what they are going to do, what they are going to say when they get there. [Uproarious laughter.] I really thought that you would excuse me this evening, but I suppose you will expect me to say something about the Press—the Press of New York, the Press of the United States, the Press of the world. It would take a good deal to tell what is possible for the Press to do. I confess that, at some periods of my life when I have read what they had to say about me, I have lost all faith and all hope. [Great laughter.] But since a young editor has spoken of the Press, and has fixed the lifetime, the generation of newspaper men at about twelve years [laughter], I have a growing hope within me that in the future the Press may be able to do some of the great[Pg 560] good which we all admit is possible for it to do. [Laughter.] I have been somewhat of a reader of the newspapers for forty years—I could read very well when I was eight years of age. [Laughter.] It has given me forty years of observation of the Press; and there is one peculiarity that I have observed from reading it, and that is, in all of the walks of life outside of the Press, people have entirely mistaken their profession, their occupation. [Laughter.] I never knew the Mayor of a city, or even a Councilman in any city, any public officer, any government official—I never knew a member of Congress, a Senator or a President of the United States, who could not be enlightened in his duties by the youngest member of the profession. [Great laughter and applause.] I never knew a general of the Army to command a brigade, a division, a corps of the Army who could begin to do it as well as men far away in their sanctums. [Renewed laughter.] I was very glad to see that the newspaper fraternity were ready to take with perfect confidence any office that might be tendered to them, from President to Mayor [laughter], and I have often been astonished that the citizens have not done so, because then all these offices would have been well and properly filled. [Laughter and applause.]

Well, gentlemen, I am very happy to have been here with you, and I hope when a new generation, about twelve years hence, comes on, that I shall again dine with the Press Club of New York City, and that I shall see that those of this generation who were so well fitted to fill all of the civil offices have all been chosen, and that there will be nothing left for them to criticise. [Peals of laughter.] Thank you, gentlemen. [Great applause, with "Three cheers" for General Grant.][Pg 561]


[Speech of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the 115th annual banquet of the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York, May 8, 1883. George W. Lane, President of the Chamber of Commerce, presided, and announced as the first regular toast: "The United States—the great modern Republic—the home of a new cosmopolitan race; may those who seek the blessings of its free institutions and the protection of its flag remember the obligations they impose." The orchestra played "The Star-Spangled Banner," and General Grant, who was called upon to respond to this toast, was received with great enthusiasm.]

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Chamber Of Commerce and Guests:—I am very much obliged to your President for calling upon me first, because the agony will soon be over and I shall enjoy the misery of the rest of you. [Laughter.]

The first part of this toast—The United States—would be a voluminous one to respond to on a single occasion. Bancroft commenced to publish his notes on the History of the United States, starting even before President Lane established this Chamber, which I think was something over one hundred years ago. [Laughter.] Bancroft, I say, commenced earlier, and I am not prepared to dispute his word if he should say that he had kept an accurate journal from the time he commenced to write about the country to the present, because there has been no period of time when I have been alive that I have not heard of Bancroft, and I should be equally credulous if President Lane should tell me that he was here at the founding of this Institution. [Laughter.] But instead of bringing those volumes of Bancroft's here, and reading them to you on this occasion, I will let the reporters publish them as the prelude to what I am going to say. [Laughter.]

I think Bancroft has finished up to a little after the time that President Lane established this Chamber of Commerce, and I will let you take the records of what he [Lane] has written and what he has said in their monthly meetings and publish them as the second chapter of my speech. And, gentlemen, those two chapters you will find the longest; they will not amount to much more than what I have to[Pg 562] say taking up the subject at the present time. [Laughter.]

But in speaking of the United States, we who are native-born have a country of which we may well be proud. Those of us who have been abroad are better able, perhaps, to make the comparison of our enjoyments and our comforts than those who have always stayed at home. [Applause.] It has been the fortune, I presume, of the majority here to compare the life and the circumstances of the average people abroad with ours here. We have here a country that affords room for all and room for every enterprise. We have institutions which encourage every man who has industry and ability to rise from the position in which he may find himself to any position in the land. [Applause.] It is hardly worth my while to dwell upon the subject, but there is one point which I notice in the toast, that I would like to say a word about—"May those who seek the blessings of its free institutions and the protection of its flag remember the obligations they impose." I think there is a text that my friend Mr. Beecher,[4] on the left, or my friend Dr. Newman,[5] on the right, might well preach a long sermon upon. I shall say only a few words.

We offer an asylum to every man of foreign birth who chooses to come here and settle upon our soil; we make of him, after a few years' residence only, a citizen endowed with all the rights that any of us have, except perhaps the single one of being elected to the Presidency of the United States. There is no other privilege that a native, no matter what he has done for the country, has that the adopted citizen of five years' standing has not got. [Applause.] I contend that that places upon him an obligation which, I am sorry to say, many of them do not seem to feel. [Applause,]

We have witnessed on many occasions here the foreign, the adopted, citizen claiming many rights and privileges because he was an adopted citizen. That is all wrong. Let him come here and enjoy all the privileges that we enjoy, but let him fulfil all the obligations that we are expected to fulfil. [Loud applause.] After he has adopted it, let this be his country—a country that he will fight for, and[Pg 563] die for, if necessary. I am glad to say that the great majority of them do it, but some of them who mingle in politics seem to bank largely on the fact that they are adopted citizens; and that class I am opposed to as much as I am opposed to many other things that I see are popular now. [Applause.]

I know that other speakers will come forward, and when Mr. Beecher and Dr. Newman speak, I hope they will say a few words on the text which I read. [Applause.][Pg 564]



[Speech of John William Griggs, ex-Governor of New Jersey, at the 128th annual banquet of the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York, November 17, 1896. Alexander E. Orr, President of the Chamber, presided. In 1897 ex-Governor Griggs succeeded Joseph McKenna as Attorney-General in the Cabinet of President McKinley.]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:—I did not know this was Thanksgiving day. [Laughter.] I did not know that there were any discontents till I got over here to-night. When I arrive at this period on an occasion like this, and see you sitting in comfortable expectation, with your cigars lighted, and your intellects also lighted by the contact of such a flame as we have received from the distinguished Postmaster-General [William L. Wilson], I always think that the composition of the boy on Sir Walter Raleigh is applicable. He wrote a composition, and it was like this: "Sir Walter Raleigh was a very great man; he took a voyage and discovered America, and then he took another voyage and discovered Virginia, and when he had discovered Virginia he discovered the potato; and when he had discovered the potato, he discovered tobacco. And when he had done so, he called his associates about him, and said: 'My friends, be of good cheer; for we have this day lighted in England a flame which, by God's grace, shall never be quenched.'" [Laughter.]

New Jersey greets to-night the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York. [Applause.] We are your friends and your neighbors. We have furnished you a candidate in this election, who represents in the person of Garret A. Hobart [applause] the sympathies and the sentiments of such men as I see gathered here. We take much of our[Pg 565] inspiration from New York; not all of it. [Laughter.] We have some kinds of inspiration peculiar to ourselves, of which we are always glad to invite our New York friends to partake in moderation and properly diluted. [Laughter.]

Our citizens mingle with yours in all the daily walks of life. We read the same newspapers. We dress as you do, only not so well; and we vote the same ticket, by a large majority. [Applause.] This similarity is not always apparent. The impressions of the traveller through New Jersey are generally of salt marsh and sand banks and long monotonous stretches of landscape, and, where the railroad pierces some shabby neighborhood, the weather-boards bear shining invitations to take various brands of liver pills [laughter], to chew "Virgin leaf," or to "give the baby Castoria;" but we have green meadows bright with shining brooks; we have high mountains and pleasant valleys as well as marsh and sand dunes; and, instead of liver-pills and Castoria, by a large majority, we are for the gold cure. [Great applause.]

I cannot let this opportunity pass without referring to the great work which this Chamber has wrought for the state and city whose name it bears and for the country at large. It is a long interval since these dinners were held at Fraunce's tavern, but during all that period, this institution has stood as the pilot, the guide, the director, and pioneer in all wise policies of commerce and trade and patriotism. [Applause.] You have bestowed not only wisdom and enlightenment and courage on the world of commerce, but millions of dollars upon the unfortunate victims of fire and flood and fever. You have been the promoters of good fortune and the comforters of misfortune. I wish that the people of this land could understand how much true and loyal patriotism, how much disinterested devotion to the highest interests of the country are found among just such men as compose the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York. [Applause.]

During your corporate life you have seen a great country grow into independence; you have seen it advance and extend along all the lines of progress and prosperity until the seven wonders of the world, of which we learned in our youth, have been lost sight of and forgotten in the thousand greater[Pg 566] wonders of this industrial age. You have seen education become the common provision of every State for every child of the Republic. You have seen intelligence increase; you have seen reason and reasonableness, the ability to take right views of things, become more universal among this people than among the people of any other land. [Applause.] You have seen the average of comfort and prosperity higher among all classes in this country than could be found at any other age of the world and any other land upon the surface of the earth. [Applause.]

And yet there are complainings, there are discontents, and there are dissatisfactions, and gloomy minds think they see, in these, evidences and signs that there is coming a social revolution, an overturning of our system of popular government, and the substitution for it of some plan whereby, by legal enactments, all the citizens of the Republic can be made comfortable and rich without regard to fortune or ability or frugality or merit.

In one sense discontent is a good thing. It is the opposite of self-satisfaction. [Laughter.] It is a good thing to appreciate that we have not done our best, and then try to do it. It is a good thing to understand that we have not made the most of our opportunities. In this sense, discontent is the spur of ambition, the incentive to better work, the mountain of progress up which, from height to height, civilization has climbed to where now with shining face she stands still pointing upward to heights unknown. [Applause.]

But there is another kind of discontent, born of ignorant and jealous envy, that seeks not to repair its mistakes nor to profit by its failures, not to build up, but to tear down. There is in many a sense of hopelessness over hopeless misfortune; and with these it is more to pity than to blame. But, withal, in these discontents there is a menace to the Republic. They afford the opportunity for the demagogue and the cheap candidate for public office. [Laughter and applause.] Glory to the American people! They cannot be fooled all the time, nor some of the time. They are too level-headed, too intelligent, too patriotic to be caught by appeals of the demagogue and the social revolutionist, to the dictates and sentiments of envy, hatred and malice.[Pg 567]

May I venture to suggest that there are some ways by which it is possible for us to minimize the danger we find in these discontents? The American people, as I have said, have not up to date been fooled. They are the nation's court; they deserve a better certificate of character than a certain colored man who, when he was about to leave his master's employ because of the mysterious disappearance of certain small articles about the house, asked for a certificate of character to take to his next employer, and his employer said: "Well, 'Rastus, I can give you a good certificate for energy and ability, but I cannot say much about your honesty." "Tell you what, boss," says 'Rastus, after a moment's reflection: "can't you put it in that I am just as honest as my instincts will let me be?" [Laughter.]

The first remedy I would suggest, and it is one that is to be ever applied, is education. Reduce the percentage of illiteracy. Let the public schools teach not only reading and writing, but let public schools teach all the principles of American popular government. [Applause.] Let us go back to the days in which I was taught to write, when the copybook bore a text taken from Poor Richard—"Industry and frugality lead to wealth," or "Who by the plough would thrive, himself must either hold or drive,"—there was not anything said in those days about legislating a boy into wealth or comfort or ease, especially at the expense of anybody else. [Applause.]

The next remedy I would speak of is to cast out the demagogue. They are the fellows that are the curse of both and of all political parties. We have had them from the days of Julius Cæsar and Marc Antony down to date. [Laughter.] These smooth, sleek, mellifluous-tongued fellows that always have the same blood-stained garment to hold up before the populace, and some forged will to read, whereby the people were to get great legacies which they never could collect, let us cast them out. Let us frown upon them in both parties, so that they never have a standing on any political platform. [Applause.] Why, it makes the blood of an honest, straightforward, intelligent, American citizen boil to see the impudence, the hypocrisy, of men of this kind,—and they belong to both parties. I heard a story of one who used, when Long Branch was more popular[Pg 568] than it is now, to go down there for a summer outing. One day he went out in the surf to bathe. He was strong and vigorous and bold, and he swam out beyond the breakers; he was heading strongly and fearlessly for the European shore. All at once, a shark, a man-eater, was coming the other way, and swam up squarely in front of him. They eyed each other for a moment, and then the shark blushed and swam out. [Laughter and applause.]

Then, let us have more mutual sympathy and confidence between all classes and conditions of men. The man who works for wages, day by day, is our equal in right and our equal at the ballot-box. Very often he has, generally he has, as high instincts, as loyal and true a heart, as his employer. [Applause.] There is no reason why his employer or the candidate for office or anybody else should make friends with him only about election-time. Be his friend all the year round. Show him that you sympathize with him as a fellow-citizen. This is not condescension. It is his right. It is not altruism. You understand what that is. The teacher told her class in Sunday-school: "Now, my children, you know an altruist is one who sacrifices his own interests to the interests of his fellows." "Oh! yes," says one boy, "I know; a fellow who makes his sacrifice hit." [Laughter.]

But let there be confidence between the men that earn wages and the men that pay wages. Let them meet together on a plane of political equality, and they will learn to respect the employer, and the employer, take my word for it, will learn to respect them. [Applause.]

And then, let us stop making citizens out of unworthy material. [Applause.] We welcome all those that come from over the sea, men of merit and worth and proper instincts who want to build and work among us. We do not want those who only come here to tear down and destroy. We have had the gates wide open. They have been coming—all sorts and all conditions and all beliefs. Let us shut those gates, and open them hereafter only to men of merit with right instincts. [Applause.] The law of the land declares that no subject of any foreign government shall be naturalized unless he can prove to the satisfaction of the court that he has been well attached to the principles of the[Pg 569] Constitution of the United States. How that provision has been mocked! Why, we have taken into citizenship with us thousands of men who not only were not attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, who not only did not know what those principles are, but who held principles diametrically opposed to it. Now, let us see that America suffers no longer from indigestion [laughter], from a surfeited feast of foreign anarchists and socialists and revolutionists; give us good men and true, who will not impede our digestion, and keep out those that tend to indigestion. [Applause.]

And then, let every citizen go into politics. [Laughter.] Oh, not for what is in it, but for the good of his country, to speak, write, organize, lead processions and keep it up. Rally round the flag, and keep on rallying! [Applause.] Do not let your enthusiasm and your patriotism evaporate and die away in the shouts that follow one triumphant campaign. Keep them up the whole year round—the four years round. You have heard from two sources, to-night, how important it is that we should always be vigilant and alert to defend, to educate and scatter knowledge and the spirit of intelligence among all the people. It is a very old saying but can never be too often repeated, that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."

"O freedom! thou art not, as poets dream,
A fair young girl with light and delicate limbs,
And wavy tresses gushing from the cap
With which the Roman master crowned his slave,
When he took off the gyves. A bearded man,
Arm'd to the teeth, art thou; one mailed hand
Grasps the broad shield, and one the sword; thy brow,
Glorious in beauty though it be, is scarr'd
With tokens of old wars; thy massive limbs
Are strong with struggling.... Oh! not yet,
Mayst thou unbrace thy corselet nor lay by
Thy sword; nor yet, O Freedom! close thy lids
In slumber; for thine enemy never sleeps,
And thou must watch and combat till the day
Of the new earth and heaven."

[Great applause.][Pg 570]



[Speech of Edward Everett Hale, D.D., at the seventy-first annual dinner of the New England Society in the City of New York, December 22, 1876. The President, William Borden, gave the fifth regular toast, to which Dr. Hale responded, as follows: "New England Culture—the open secret of her greatness."

"Yet on her rocks, and on her sands,
And wintry hills the school-house stands,
And what her rugged soil denies,
The harvest of the mind supplies.
The riches of the Commonwealth
Are free strong minds and hearts of health
And, more to her than gold or grain
The cunning hand and cultured brain."]

Mr. President and Gentlemen:—You seem to have a very frank way of talking about each other among yourselves here. I observe that I am the first stranger who has crossed the river which, I recollect Edward Winslow says, divides the Continent of New England from the Continent of America [laughter], and, as a stranger, it is my pleasure and duty at once to express the thanks and congratulations of the invited guest here for the distinguished care which has been taken on this occasion outdoors to make us feel entirely at home. [Laughter.] As I came down in the snow-storm, I could not help feeling that Elder Brewster, and William Bradford, and Carver, and Winslow could not have done better than this in Plymouth; and indeed, as I ate my pork and beans just now, I felt that the Gospel of New England is extending beyond the Connecticut to other nations, and that what is good to eat and drink in Boston[Pg 571] is good to eat and drink even here on this benighted point at Delmonico's. [Laughter.]

When you talk to us about "culture," that is rather a dangerous word. I am always a little afraid of the word "culture." I recollect the very brightest squib that I read in the late election campaign—and as the President says, gentlemen, I am going to respect the proprieties of the occasion. It was sent to one of the journals from the Western Reserve; and the writer, who, if I have rightly guessed his name, is one of the most brilliant of our younger poets, was descanting on the Chinook vocabulary, in which a Chinook calls an Englishman a Chinchog to this day, in memory of King George. And this writer says that when they have a young chief whose war-paint is very perfect, whose blanket is thoroughly embroidered, whose leggins are tied up with exactly the right colors, and who has the right kind of star upon his forehead and cheeks, but who never took a scalp, never fired an arrow, and never smelled powder, but was always found at home in the lodges whenever there was anything that scented of war—he says the Chinooks called that man by the name of "Boston Cultus." [Applause and laughter.] Well, now, gentlemen, what are you laughing at? Why do you laugh? Some of you had Boston fathers, and more of you had Boston mothers. Why do you laugh? Ah! you have seen these people, as I have seen them, as everybody has seen them—people who sat in Parker's and discussed every movement of the campaign in the late war, and told us that it was all wrong, that we were going to the bad, but who never shouldered a musket. They are people who tell us that the emigration, that the Pope of Rome, or the German element, or the Irish element, is going to play the dogs with our social system, and yet they never met an emigrant on the wharf or had a word of comfort to say to a foreigner. We have those people in Boston. You may not have them in New York, and I am very glad if you have not; but if you are so fortunate, it is the only place on God's earth where I have not found such people. [Laughter and applause.] But there is another kind of culture which began even before there was any Boston—for there was such a day as that. [Laughter.] There were ten years in the history of this worlds ten[Pg 572] long years, too, before Boston existed, and those are the years between Plymouth Rock and the day when some unfortunate men, not able to get to Plymouth Rock, stopped and founded that city. [Laughter.] This earlier culture is a culture not of the schoolhouse, or of the tract, but a culture as well of the church, of history, of the town-meeting, as John Adams says; that nobler culture to which my friend on the right has alluded when he says that it is born of the Spirit of God—the culture which has made New England, which is born of God, and which it is our mission to carry over the world. [Applause.]

In the very heart of that culture—representing it, as I think, in a very striking way, half-way back to the day we celebrate—Ezra Styles, one of the old Connecticut men, published a semi-centennial address. It seems strange that they should have centennials then, but they had. He published a semi-centennial address in the middle of the last century, on the condition of New England, and the prospects before her. He prophesied what New England was to be in the year 1852. He calculated the population descending from the twenty thousand men who emigrated in the beginning, and he calculated it with great accuracy. He said, "There will be seven million men, women, and children, descended from the men who came over with Winslow and with Winthrop," and it proved that he was perfectly right. He went on to sketch the future of New England when these seven million should crowd her hillsides, her valleys, her farms, and her shops all over the four States of New England. For it didn't occur to him, as he looked forward, that one man of them all would ever go west of Connecticut, or west of Massachusetts. [Applause.] He cast his horoscope for a population of seven million people living in the old New England States, in the midst of this century. He did not read, as my friend here does, the missionary spirit of New England. He did not know that they would be willing to go across the arm of the ocean which separated the Continent of New England from the Continent of America. [Laughter.] All the same, gentlemen, seven million people are somewhere, and they have not forgotten the true lessons which make New England what she is. They tell me there are more men of New England descent[Pg 573] in San Francisco than in Boston to-day. All those carried with them their mothers' lessons, and they mean their mothers' lessons shall bear fruit away out in Oregon, in California, in South Carolina, in Louisiana. [Applause.] They have those mothers' lessons to teach them to do something of what we are trying to do at home in this matter. [Applause.] We have been so fortunate in New England in this Centennial year that we are able to dedicate a noble monument of the past to the eternal memory of the Pilgrim principle. We have been so fortunate that we are able to consecrate the old South Meeting-House in Boston to the cause of fostering this Pilgrim principle [applause], that it may be from this time forward a monument, not of one branch of the Christian religion, not of one sect or another, but of that universal religion, that universal patriotism, which has made America, and which shall maintain America. [Applause.] For myself, I count it providential that in this Centennial year of years this venerable monument, that monument whose bricks and rafters are all eloquent of religion and liberty, that that monument has passed from the possession of one sect and one State to belong to the whole nation, to be consecrated to American liberty, and to nothing but American liberty. [Applause.] I need not say—for it is taken for granted when such things are spoken of—that when it was necessary for New England to act at once for the security of this great monument, we had the active aid and hearty assistance of the people of New York, who came to us and helped us and carried that thing right through. [Applause.] I am surrounded here with the people who had to do with the preservation of that great monument for the benefit of the history of this country for ever.

Let me say, in one word, what purposes it is proposed this great monument shall serve, for I think they are entirely in line with what we are to consider to-night. We propose to establish here what I might fairly call a university for the study of the true history of this country. And we propose, in the first place, to make that monument of the past a great Santa Croce, containing the statues and portraits of the men who have made this country what it is. Then we propose to establish an institute for the people of America[Pg 574] from Maine to San Francisco, the people of every nationality and every name; and we hope that such societies as this, and all others interested in the progress and preservation of the interest of our country, will aid us in the work. [Applause.] For we believe that the great necessity of this hour is that higher education in which this people shall know God's work with man. We hope that the Forefathers' societies, the Sam Adams clubs, the Centennial clubs over the land, shall make the State more proud of its fathers, and more sure of the lessons which they lived. We mean by the spoken voice and by the most popular printed word, circulated everywhere, to instil into this land that old lesson of New England culture. We stand by the side of those of you who believe in compulsory education. We desire, in looking to the future, that the determination shall be made here by us, as it has been in England, that every child born on American soil shall learn to read and write. [Applause.]

But there is a great deal more to be taught than that. There is a great deal which the common school does not teach and cannot teach, when it teaches men to read. We not only want to teach them to read, but we want to teach them what is worth reading. And we want to instil the principles by which the nation lives. We have got to create in those who came from the other side of the water the same loyalty to the whole of American principles that each man feels to his native country.

What is this Constitution for which we have been fighting, and which must be preserved? It is a most delicate mutual adjustment of the powers and rights of a nation, among and because of the powers and rights of thirty or forty States. It exists because they exist. That it may stand, you need all their mutual rivalries, you need every sentiment of local pride, you need every symbol and laurel of their old victories and honors. You need just this homestead feeling which to-night we are cherishing.

But that balance is lost, that whole system is thrown out of gear, if the seven million people of foreign parentage here are indifferent to the record of New York as they are to that of Illinois, to that of Illinois as to that of Louisiana, to that of Louisiana as to that of Maine; if they have no local[Pg 575] pride; if to them the names of Montgomery, of John Hancock, of Samuel Adams, have no meaning, no association with the past. [Applause.] Unless they also acquire this local feeling, unless they share the pride and reverence of the native American for the State in which he is born, for the history which is his glory, all these delicate balances and combinations are worthless, all your revolving planets fall into your sun! It is the national education in the patriotism of the Fathers, an education addressing itself to every man, woman, and child from Katahdin to the Golden Gate—it is this, and only this, which will insure the perpetuity of your republic. [Applause.]

Now, gentlemen, if you would like to try an experiment in this matter, go into one of your public schools, next week, and ask what Saratoga was, and you will be told it is a great watering-place where people go to spend money. You will find there is not one in ten who will be able to tell you that there the Hessian was crushed, and foreign bayonets forever driven from the soil of New York. [Applause.] Ask about Brandywine, the place where Lafayette shed his young blood, where a little handful of American troops were defeated, yet, although they were defeated, broke the force of the English army for one critical year. Put the word Brandywine in one of your public schools, and you will see that the pupils laugh at the funny conjunction of the words "brandy" and "wine," but they can tell you nothing about the history which made the name famous. It seems to me it is dangerous to have your children growing up in such ignorance of the past. [Applause.] How much did they know here about the day when, a short time since, you celebrated the battle of Haarlem Heights, where the British were shown that to land on American soil was not everything? Is it quite safe for your children to grow up in ignorance of your past, while you are looking down upon the century of the future? The great institution we are hoping for in the future is to carry this New England culture above the mere mathematics of life, and to incorporate into all education that nobler culture which made the men who made the Revolution, which made the men who have sustained this country. [Applause.] We shall ask for the solid assistance of all the Forefathers' stock in the country to carry[Pg 576] out this great work of national education, and I am quite sure, from what I have seen here to-night, that we shall not ask in vain. [Applause.]

I ought to apologize for speaking so long. I am conscious of the fact that I am a fraud, and I am nothing but a fraud. [Laughter.] The truth is, gentlemen (I say this as I am sitting down), I have no business to be here at all. I am not a Pilgrim, nor the son of a Pilgrim, nor the grandson of a Pilgrim; there is not one drop of Pilgrim blood in my veins. I am a "forefather" myself (for I have six children), but I am not the son of a forefather. I had one father; most men have [laughter]; I have two grandfathers, I have four great-grandfathers, but I have not four-fathers. [Laughter.] I want to explain, now, how all this happened, because something is due to me before you put me out of the room. Like most men, I had eight great-great-grandfathers—so have you; so have you. If you run it up, I have got sixty-four great-grandfathers of the grandfathers of my grandfathers, and I have sixty-four great-grandmothers of the grandmothers of my grandmothers. There were one hundred and twenty-eight of these people the day the "Mayflower" sailed. There were one hundred and twenty-eight of them in England eager to come over here, looking forward to this moment, gentlemen, when we meet here at Delmonico's, and they were hoping and praying, every man of them and every woman of them, that I might be here at this table to-night [laughter], and they meant me to be; and every one of them would have come here in the "Mayflower" but for Miles Standish, as I will explain. The "Mayflower," you know, started from Holland. They had to go to Holland first to learn the Dutch language. [Laughter.] They started from Holland, and they came along the English Channel and stopped at Plymouth in England. They stopped there to get the last edition of the London "Times" for that day, in order that they might bring over early copies to the New York "Tribune" and New York "World". These ancestors of mine, the legend says, were all on the dock at Plymouth waiting for them. It was a bad night, a very bad night. It fogged as it can only fog in England. [Laughter.] They waited on the wharf there two hours, as you wait at the Brooklyn and Jersey ferries, for the "Mayflower" to come[Pg 577] along. Methinks I see her now, the "Mayflower" of a forlorn hope, freighted with the prospect of a fertile State and bound across an unknown sea. Her dark and weather-beaten form looms wearily from the deep, when the pilot brings her up at the Plymouth dock, and a hundred and twenty-eight of my ancestors press forward. They were handsome men and fair women. When they all pressed forward, Miles Standish was on hand and met them. He was on board and looked at them. He went back to the governor, and said, "Here are one hundred and twenty-eight of as fine emigrants as I ever saw." "Well," Governor Carver said, "the capacity of the vessel, as prescribed in the emigrant act, is already exceeded." Miles Standish said, "I think we could let them in." The Governor said, "No, they cannot come in." Miles Standish went back to the gangway, and said, "You are handsome men, but you can't come in;" and they had to stand there, every man and every woman of them. [Laughter.]

That is the unfortunate reason why I had no ancestors at the landing of the Pilgrims. [Laughter.] But my ancestors looked westward still. They stayed in England, praying that they might come, and when Winthrop, ten years afterwards, sailed, he took them all on board, and if the little State of Massachusetts has done anything to carry out the principles of the men who landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620, why, some little part of the credit is due to my humble ancestry. [Laughter and applause.]


[Speech of Edward Everett Hale, D.D., at the first annual dinner of the New England Society in the City of Brooklyn, December 21, 1880. The President, Benjamin D. Silliman, in proposing the toast, "Boston," said: "We are favored with the company of a typical and eloquent Bostonian, identified with all that is learned and benevolent in that ancient home of the Puritans, and familiar with all its notions. In response to the toast, we call on the Rev. Edward Everett Hale."]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:—I am sure that there is not a Boston boy who hears me to-night who does not[Pg 578] recollect that when he went out to his first Pilgrim dinner, or to see Fanny Kemble or to any other evening dissipation of fifty years ago, the last admonition of his mother was, "We will leave the candle burning for you, John, but you must be sure and be home before twelve o'clock!" I am sure that the memory of this admonition is lingering among our friends now, that we are entering on the small hours, and that I must only acknowledge your courtesy and sit down. I feel, indeed, all along in your talk of hoar antiquity, that I owe my place here only to your extreme hospitality. In these aged cities you may well say to me, "You Bostonians are children. You are of yesterday," as the Egyptians said to the Greek traveller. For we are still stumbling along like little children, in the anniversaries of our quarter-millennium; but we understand perfectly well that the foundations of this city were laid in dim antiquity. I know that nobody knows when Brooklyn was founded. Your commerce began so long ago that nobody can remember it, but I know that there was a beaver trap on every brook in Kings County, while Boston was still a howling wilderness. These noble ancestors of yours had made themselves at home on Plymouth Rock before we had built a flat-boat on any river in Massachusetts Bay. [Applause.]

It is only as the youngest daughter, quite as a Cinderella, that we of Boston have any claim on your matchless hospitality. But, as Cinderella should, we have done our best at home to make ready our sisters when they should go to the ball. When my brother Beecher, just now, closed his speech with a Latin quotation, I took some satisfaction in remembering that we taught him his Latin at the Boston Latin school. And I could not but remember when I listened with such delight to the address of Mr. Secretary Evarts, which you have just now been cheering, that the first time I heard this persuasive and convincing orator, was when he took the prize for elocution, a boy of thirteen, on the platform in the great hall in our old schoolhouse in School Street. Nay, I confess also, to a little feeling of local as well as national pride, when the President of the United States [Rutherford B. Hayes] was speaking. Just as he closes this remarkable administration, which is going to stand out in history, distinguished indeed among all ad[Pg 579]ministrations from the beginning, so pure has it been, so honorable and so successful—just as he closes this administration he makes here this statement of the principles on which are based the success of an American statesman, in a few fit words so epigrammatic that they will be cited as proverbs by our children and our children's children. I heard that masterly definition of the laws which have governed the New Englander, I took pride in remembering that the President also was a graduate of our law school. These three are the little contributions which Cinderella has been preparing in the last half-century, for the first dinner-party of the Brooklyn Pilgrim Society. [Applause.]

I read in a New York newspaper in Washington the other day that something done in Boston lately was done with the "usual Boston intensity." I believe the remark was not intended to be a compliment, but we shall take it as one, and are quite willing to accept the phrase. I think it is true in the past, I hope it will be true in the future, that we go at the things which we have to do with a certain intensity, which I suppose we owe to these Puritan Fathers whom to-night we are celebrating. Certainly we have gone at this business of emigration with that intensity. It is perfectly true that there are in Brooklyn to-day more people than there are in Boston, who were born in Boston from the old New England blood. Not that Brooklyn has been any special favorite. When I met last year in Kansas, a mass meeting of twenty-five thousand of the old settlers and their children, my daughter said to me: "Papa, I am glad to see so many of our own countrymen." She certainly had never seen so many before, without intermixture of people of foreign races. Now it is certainly our wish to carry that intensity into everything. If the thing is worth doing at all it is worth doing thoroughly. What we do we mean to do it for everybody. You have seen the result. We try, for instance, if we open a Latin school at all, to have it the best Latin school in the world. And then we throw it open to everybody, to native and heathen, to Jew and to Greek, to white and black and red, and we advise you to go and do likewise. [Applause.]

You recollect the old joke, I think it began with Preston of South Carolina, that Boston exported no articles of native[Pg 580] growth but granite and ice. That was true then, but we have improved since, and to these exports we have added roses and cabbages. Mr. President, they are good roses, and good cabbages, and I assure you that the granite is excellent hard granite, and the ice is very cold ice. [Laughter and applause.][Pg 581]



[Speech of William P. Hall (popularly known by his pen name, "Biff" Hall) at the fortieth dinner of the Sunset Club, Chicago, Ill., January 7, 1892. The Secretary, Joseph B. Mann, acted as Chairman. The general subject of the evening's discussion was, "The Modern Stage; its Mission and Influence."]

Gentlemen.:—I must confess that I have never regarded the drama in a very serious light. As to its purpose and mission, if I was trying to find out, I should consult the pleasant-faced young man who sits in the box-office. He knows how these things stand with the public. Perhaps the reason I do so regard the matter may be found in my early experiences. The first theatrical performance I ever saw was in this city twenty-five years ago, and one of the prominent features was our old friend, Billy Rice.[6] Billy Rice never gives rise to a serious thought on any occasion. Why, the other night I went to hear Billy Rice, and I heard him tell that same old story that he told in the same old way twenty-five years ago. It really gave me the idea that the drama is not progressive. [Laughter.]

I consider that the theatre and the newspaper are brother and sister; they are always together. Wherever two or three are gathered together in the wilderness some venturesome individual starts a newspaper, and then immediately through its columns induces some other equally venturesome individual to build an opera-house. The people who act there are called turkey actors, for the reason that they hibernate during most of the year and only appear when the turkey is ripe for plucking in holiday time. They then go out and depredate the country. They have a wonderful repertoire, from Howard's "Shenandoah" to Hood's "Sarsaparilla."[Pg 582] They play everywhere; it is called the kerosene circuit. If there is nothing else available they let the water out of the water-tank at the station and play in that. [Laughter.] Gentlemen, these are the pioneers of the drama. They convey to the rural mind what knowledge it has of real fire-engines and the triumphs of the scenic artist, and I think we should give to them the credit of spreading through this land those beautiful dramas, "Jim the Westerner," and "The Scout of the Rockies." I do not know what their influence may be; I don't care to touch upon that part of the subject; but I think I cannot better illustrate the straits they are in sometimes than by reciting a little parody on W. S. Gilbert's Bab Ballad, the "Yarn of the Nancy Bell." It is entitled:—


It was near the town they call Detroit,
In the State of Mich-i-gan,
That I met on the rocks, with a property-box,
A gloomy theatrical man.
His o. p. heel was quite worn off,
And weary and sad was he,
And I saw this "fake" give himself a shake,
As he croaked in a guttural key:
"Oh, I am the star and the manager bold,
And the leading and juvenile man,
And the comedy pet, and the pert soubrette,
And the boss of the box-sheet plan."

He wiped his eye on a three-sheet bill,
'Twas lettered in blue and red,
He cursed the fates and the open dates,
And I spoke to him, and said:
"'Tis little I know of the mimic show,
But if you will explain to me—
I'll eat my vest if I can digest
How you can possibly be,
At once a star, and a manager bold,
And a leading and juvenile man,
And a comedy pet, and a pert soubrette,
And a boss of a box-sheet plan."

He ran his hand through his dusty hair,
And pulled down a brunette cuff,
And on the rocks, with his property-box,
He told me his story tough:
"It was in the year of eighty-three,
[Pg 583]When a party of six and me
Went on the road with a show that's knowed
As a 'musical com-i-dee.'
I writ it myself—it knocked 'em cold—
It made 'em shriek and roar;
But we struck a reef and came to grief,
On the west of the Michigan shore.
Each night it rained, or snowed or blowed,
And when the weather was clear
They'd say: 'It's sad your house is bad.
But wait till you come next year.'
We travelled along from town to town
A-tryin' to change our luck—
With nothin' to taste but bill-board paste
An' the 'property' canvas duck.
At last we got to Kankakee,
All travel-stained and sore,
When the star got mad and shook us bad
For a job in a dry-goods store—
And then the leading heavy man
Informed me with a frown
He was going away the very next day
With a circus then in town;
And the comedy pet and the pert soubrette
Engaged as cook and waiter—
They are still doing well in a small hotel
Near the Kankakee the-ay-ter.
Then only the 'comic' and me remained,
For to leave he hadn't the heart;
Each laugh was a drop of blood to him,
And he loved that comedy part.
We played one night to a right good house,
Eight dollars and a half;
But to my ill-luck in my lines I stuck
And I queered the comedian's laugh.
He fell down dead of a broken heart—
The coroner, old and sage,
Said his brain was cracked with a bad attackt
Of the centre of the stage.
I played that part all by myself
For a week in Kankakee;
O'er rails and rocks with this property-box
I've walked to where I be.
I never say an actor's good,
I always damn a play;
I always croak, and a single joke
I have, which is to say:
That I am the star, and the manager bold,
And the leading and juvenile man
And the comedy pet, and the pert soubrette.
And the boss of the box-sheet plan."

[Laughter and applause.][Pg 584]



[Speech of Murat Halstead at the 126th annual banquet of the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York, November 20, 1894. Alexander B. Orr, President of the Chamber, in proposing this toast, said: "I now have the honor of introducing to you that eminent journalist, the Hon. Murat Halstead, who will respond to the toast, 'Our New Country.'"]

Mr. President:—In the Orkney Islands there is a cathedral described by the guide as of two parts—the old and the new. The story is glibly told that when it had stood for five hundred years a storm beat down the tower and did other damage, making reconstruction necessary; and that tempest was six hundred years ago. On the road from Geneva to Chamouni there is a point of which Bædeker says: "The rocks on the left are seven thousand feet high." In the Orkneys a tower six hundred years old is new, and in the Alps a precipice seven thousand feet high is a moderate bit of scenery. The standards of the measurement of time and space may be exact, and yet are comparative, affected by the atmosphere of history and the scale of landscapes.

In that portion of this country which was the West a generation ago, a farm was old when the stumps had rotted in the fields, and the land was improved when the trees were cut. New ground was that which had not been ploughed. Once a man of varied experiences accounted to a pious woman for an unhappy bit of profanity by saying that when a boy he had ploughed new ground, and the plough caught in the roots, and the horses balked, and his feet were torn with splinters and thorns, and the handles of the plough kicked and hurt him, until depravity was developed. The lady said she would pray for his forgiveness, if he never[Pg 585] would do so any more, and he promised, and I am told he did not keep that promise.

Daniel Boone's new country, when he lived on the Yadkin, in North Carolina, was Kentucky, and afterward it was Missouri. Washington's new country was first Ohio, and then Indiana. Lincoln's new country, when he was a child, was Indiana, and then Illinois. Beyond the Alleghany Mountains was the land of promise of the original States; beyond the Mississippi was the new world of those who moved west in wagons, before the Mexican war and the railroads broadened our dominions, and we were bounded east and west by the oceans. It was for the new country of their ages that Columbus and the Puritans and Captain John Smith set sail. In the new country there is always, at least, the dream of liberty and the hope that the earth we inherit may be generous in the bounties it yields to toil.

The march of manhood westward has reached the shores of the seas that look out on ancient Asia. We have realized the vision of the Genoese—finding in the sunset the footsteps of Marco Polo. We have crossed the mountain ranges and followed the majestic rivers, have traced the borders of the great lakes, whitened by the sails and darkened by the smoke of a commerce that competes in magnitude with that of the salted sea; and Texas, our France, confronts the Mediterranean of our hemisphere.

We have crushed the rocks and sifted the sand that yielded silver and gold, and the soil is ours that is richer than gold mines, whether we offer in evidence South Carolina, whose Sea-Island cotton surpasses the long staple of Egypt; or the Dakotas, matchless for wheat; or the lands of the cornstalk in the Mississippi Valley, that could feed all the tribes of Asia; or Nebraska, whose beets are sweeter with sugar than those that were the gift of Napoleon to Germany.

We have found the springs that yield immortal youth, not in bubbling waters in a flowery wilderness, but in the harvests of the fields and the stored energies of inexhaustible mines, not for the passing person who perishes when his work is done, but for the imperishable race.

All this in our country, "rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun," but with the clothing of life on the ribs, and new in[Pg 586] the evolution of conditions by the works of man that make the nations of the earth a family—achievements wonderful in scope, splendid in promise, marvellous in the renown that is of peace; in the fame of the genius that is labor, the spell-binder that gathers and builds, creates and glorifies.

Within the historic record of this Chamber of Commerce of New York, the waters of Lake Erie have been carried through our canals and rivers to the Atlantic, making the Hudson River what Henry Hudson thought it was when he sailed through the beautiful gate of the incomparable continent—the road from the east to the west around the world; and the statue of Thomas Benton points westward from the great cross of the rivers in the heart of the continent—the Ohio, Missouri and Mississippi—and the inscription reads: "There is the road to India."

How familiar is the construction of the Pacific railroad; of the telegraph lines across the continent and through the oceans; the record of steamers of ten thousand tons, five hundred knots a day; the miraculous telephone; the trolley, that is with us to stay and to conquer, introducing all the villages to the magic of rapid transit, promoting, with the incessant application of a new force, the American homogeneity of our vast and various population—blending them for one destiny. One is not venturing upon disputed ground—there is no prohibited politics in it to say that slavery is gone—for all classes and sections of our common country will agree it is well. The earth has grown both small and great for us. Its gigantic mysteries are no more. Its circumnavigation is commonplace. The kinetoscope comes to aid the phonograph to make pictures of action and lasting records of music and of speech. The people of coming generations are to hear the voices that have charmed or awed, persuaded, bewitched or commanded, in departed centuries. There will be libraries of rolls, storing for all time these treasures; rolls not unlike those cylinders preserved in the Babylonish deserts. Photography is bringing to us, as on parchment leaves painted with sunlight, the secrets of the depths of the seas and the skies; it is finding new stars, and with the telescopic camera likenesses may be snatched across spaces impenetrable by the naked eye. The aristocracy of intelligence becomes a democracy for the[Pg 587] diffusion of the knowledge of the history of the day, which is the most important chapter that has been written, impartial, instantaneous, and is becoming universal.

This is more than a new country; it is a new world. Our own farmers are in competition with those of Egypt, India, Russia and Argentina. Australia with her wool and beef and mutton, Egypt and India with cotton and wheat, South America, Africa and Asia, made fruitful with resources, seek the same markets with our producers; and the mills of Old England are within a few cents and hours, in cost of transportation and time, as cheap and nigh as those of New England to New York. Once, a war between Japan and China would have been so remote that, as they say in the newspapers, there could have been no news in it; but it means matter of business for us now. With the novel conditions, there come upon us new and enormous problems for solution, and responsibilities that cannot be evaded. Once, we were an isolated nation. There was no trouble about becoming involved in the "entangling alliances" that were the cause of alarm to the Father of his Country. Now, the ends of the earth are in our neighborhood, and we touch elbows with all the races of mankind, and all the continents and the islands are a federation. The newspapers are, to continue the poetic prophecy, "the parliament of man."

The drift of human experience is to increased aggregations, to concentration and to centralization. This mighty city, in her material grandeur, and, we may trust, her moral redemption, stands for forty-six indestructible States and one indivisible nation. Her lofty structures far surpass already the palaces of the merchant princes of Tyre and Venice and Liverpool, and we behold, in these imperial towers, the types of the magnificence of the coming time. There never was so fair and superb, ample and opulent a bride as she, in the wholesome arms of the ocean that embrace these islands, adorned with the trophies of the wealth of the world, and whose rulers, the slavery of crime abolished, are the sovereign millions. These are new developments of authority, new growths of responsibility.

The Congress, forty years ago, was a body insignificant in its relations with the masses of the people, in comparison with what it is to-day. It grapples, of necessity, with the[Pg 588] new conditions, and the character of the public service is of enlarged consequence, for it is to all the communities and commonwealths far more comprehensive and penetrating in its influence than in other days; and it is well the citizens of the Republic are aroused to appreciation of their added requirements in the care that public life must give the general welfare.

During the recent popular experience of Christian science applied to practical politics, that resulted, among other things, in the intimacy of representative men of the Bowery and the Fifth Avenue, that allows the citizens of each locality to walk into the other locality at bedtime and select their sleeping-rooms, without asking whether the folks are at home, and to depart with or without leaving their P. P. C. cards, one of the speakers, noting in his audience evidences of dissent, said: "If I am speaking in a way that is prerogatory, while I want to go on, I am willing to quit." He honored his nativity by his modesty, and was allowed to go on; but he preferred to sit down, though his theme seemed to him to expand under treatment, and with his new word he retired. I quote him as a precedent and example for immediate imitation. It is more than a joke, though, that Fifth Avenue and the Bowery have got together, and we may hope they will work well for the good of this new country. [Prolonged applause.][Pg 589]



[Speech of Benjamin Harrison at the thirteenth annual dinner of the New England Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, December 22, 1893. In proposing the first toast, "The President of the United States," the Chairman, Charles Emory Smith, said: "Gentlemen, my first duty is to give a welcome to our honored guests and a greeting to our worthy members. My second duty is to make an immediate change of the programme. Among the distinguished guests who honor us by their presence to-night is the illustrious patriot and statesman who has filled—yes, filled, not rattled around in—the great dignity of the Presidency of the United States. [Applause.] In his career he has won the admiration of the country not merely by his transcendent abilities as a statesman, but by his noble qualities as a man. Among other characteristics, his love of children has touched the heart of the country. He has promised the little children who are gathered in his distant home that he will join them in preparing and sharing the joys of Christmas. It is imperative not that he shall leave us at this moment but that he shall terminate the three days of cordial and perhaps somewhat burdensome hospitality which he has enjoyed in Philadelphia, at a later stage of this evening. In order that he may be entirely free, and because the first word should be spoken by the first man at the table, I ask you to join me, at this time, in drinking a toast to the health of the illustrious patriot, who is as greatly respected and honored in private life as he was in the Presidency—General Benjamin Harrison, whom I now have the pleasure of presenting to you."]

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the New England Society of Pennsylvania:—When my good friend and your good neighbor and President, Mr. Charles Emory Smith, invited me to be present to-night, I felt a special demand upon me to yield to his request. I thought I owed him some reparation for appointing him to an office the emoluments of which did not pay his expenses. [Merriment.] Your cordial welcome to-night crowns three days of most pleasurable stay in this good City of Philadelphia. The days have been a little crowded; I think there have been what our[Pg 590] friends of The Four Hundred would probably call "eight distinct functions;" but your cordiality and the kind words of your presiding officer quite relieve my fatigue and suggest to me that I shall rightly repay your kindness by making a very short speech. ["No, no!"] It is my opinion that these members of the New England Society are very creditable descendants of the Forefathers. I'm not quite sure that the Forefathers would share this opinion if they were here; but that would be by reason of the fact that, notwithstanding the load of substantial virtues, which they carried through life, their taste had not been highly cultivated. [Laughter.]

I dread this function which I am now attempting to discharge more than any other that confronts me in life. The after-dinner speaker, unlike the poet, is not born,—he is made. I am frequently compelled to meet in disastrous competition about some dinner-table gentlemen who have already had their speeches set up in the newspaper offices. They are given to you as if they were fresh from the lip; you are served with what they would have you believe to be "impromptu boned turkey;" and yet, if you could see into the recesses of their intellectual kitchen, you would see the days of careful preparation which have been given to these spontaneous utterances. The after-dinner speaker needs to find somewhere some unworked joker's quarry, where some jokes have been left without a label on them; he needs to acquire the art of seeming to pluck, as he goes along in the progress of his speech, as by the wayside, some flower of rhetoric. He seems to have passed it and to have plucked it casually,—but it is a boutonniere with tin foil round it. [Laughter.] You can see, upon close inspection, the mark of the planer on his well-turned sentences. Now, the competition with gentlemen who are so cultivated is severe upon one who must speak absolutely upon the impulse of the occasion. It is either incapacity or downright laziness that has kept me from competing in the field I have described.

It occurred to me to-day to inquire why you had to associate six States in order to get up a respectable Society. My friend Halstead [Murat Halstead] and I have no such trouble. We are Ohio-born, and we do not need to asso[Pg 591]ciate any other State in order to get up a good Society, wherever there is a civil list of the Government. If you would adopt the liberal charter method of the Ohio Society, I have no doubt you could subdivide yourselves into six good societies. The Ohio Society admits to membership everybody who has lived voluntarily six months in Ohio. No involuntary resident is permitted to come in. [Laughter.]

But the association of these States and the name "New England" is a part of an old classification of the States which we used to find in the geography, and all of that classification has gone except New England and the South. "The West" has disappeared and "the Middle States" cannot be identified. Where is "the West"? Why, just now it is at the point of that long chain of islands that puts off from the Alaska coast; and, if I am to credit what I read (for I have no sources of information now except the not absolutely reliable newspaper press), there are some who believe there are wicked men who want to hitch the end of that chain into an island farther out in the sea. [Applause.] If that is to be done, the West would become the East, for I think the Orient has generally been counted to be the East.

I would not, however, suggest a division of the New England Society. It is well enough to keep up an association that is one, not only of neighborhood and of historical association, but of sentiment. Let the New England Society live, and I fancy it will not be long until you enjoy the distinction of being the only great subdivision of the States; for, my fellow-citizens, whatever barriers prejudice may raise, whatever obstruction the interests of men may interpose, whatever may be the outrages of cruelty to stay the march of men, that which made the subdivision called "the Southern States," and all that separated them from the States of the West and of the North, will be obliterated. [Cheering.]

I am not sure, though the story runs so, that I have a New England strain. The fact is that I have recently come to the conclusion that my family was a little overweighted with ancestry, and I have been looking after posterity. [Merriment.]

One serious word, gentlemen. The New England charac[Pg 592]ter and the influence of New England men and women have made their impress upon the whole country; for, even in the South, during the time of slavery, educated men and women from New England were the tutors and instructors of the youth of the South in the plantation home. The love of education, the resolve that it should be general, the love of home with all the pure and sacred influences that cluster about it, are elements in the New England character that have a saving force which is incalculable in this great nation in which we live. Your civil institutions have been free, high and clean. From the old town-meeting days till now, New England has believed in and practised the Free Election and the Fair Count. But, gentlemen, I cannot enumerate all of your virtues—time is brief, the catalogue long. Will you permit me to thank you and your honored President for your gracious reception of me to-night? [Long-continued cheering.][Pg 593]



[Speech of Gen. Joseph R. Hawley at the seventieth annual dinner of the New England Society in the City of New York, December 22, 1875. The President, Isaac H. Bailey, said by way of introduction: "Gentlemen, I will now give you the tenth regular toast: 'The Press.' This toast, gentlemen, will be responded to by a member of the press who has always adorned his profession—General Hawley, of Connecticut."]

Gentlemen:—Our distinguished President paid the very highest compliment to the Press to-night; for, while he has given at least a fortnight's notice to every other gentleman, he only told me to-night that I had to respond to the toast of "The Press." But as I have attended a good many dinners of the New England Society, and never knew "The Press" to be called upon before midnight, I felt entirely safe. [Laughter.] Now, sir, I have spent an evening—some six hours—here, enjoying all the festivities and hospitalities of this occasion to the utmost, and at last I am called upon, at an hour when we are all full of jollity and mirth, to respond to a toast that in reality calls upon me for my most serious effort. [Applause.] I assure you that, had I known that I was to speak upon this subject to-night, I would, contrary to my usual custom, have been deliberately prepared [laughter]; for I, in reality, have a great deal to say upon that matter; and permit me to add that I have a somewhat peculiar qualification, for I have been a man within the press, "a chiel amang ye takin' notes, an' prentin' them;" and I have been again a man altogether outside of the press, not writing for months to his own people, and subject to receive all the gibes and[Pg 594] criticisms and attacks of the press. [Applause.] "I know how it is myself." [Laughter.]

"The Press of the Republic" is a text worthy of the noblest oration. It has a great, a high, and a holy duty. It is at once the leader and educator, and, on the other hand, the representative of the people. I can only touch on some points that I have in my mind, upon this occasion. It seems to me that we are passing through a period of peculiar importance regarding the value and influence of the press of the American Republic. There are times when I join with them in the most indignant denunciation, in the warmest appeal. There are times when I feel the cutting, cruel, stinging injustice of the American press. [Applause.] It is the duty of an editor, sitting, as he does, as a judge—and I mean all that the word implies—upon all that goes on about him in public life—it is his duty to hear both sides, and all sides, as deliberately and calmly as he may, and to pronounce a judgment that, so far as he knows, may be the judgment of posterity. [Applause.] It is true that he has two duties. We know that it is his duty to condemn the bad. When it is made perfectly clear that the bad man is really a bad man, a corrupter of youth, make him drink the hemlock, expel him, punish him, crush him. [Applause.]

But there is another duty imposed upon the American press, quite as great. If there be a man who loves the Republic, who would work for it, who would talk for it, who would fight for it, who would die for it—there are millions of them, thank God!—it is the duty of the American press to uphold him, and to praise him when the time comes, in the proper place, on the proper occasion. [Applause.] The press is to deal not alone in censure of the bad, but in praise of the good. I like the phrase, "The independent press." [Applause.] I am an editor myself. I love my calling. I think it is growing to be one of the great professions of the day. I claim, as an editor (and that is my chief pursuit in life), to be a gentleman also. [Applause, and cries of "Good! Good!"] If I see or know anything to be wrong in the land, high or low, I will say so. If it be in my own party, I will take special pains to say so [applause]; for I suppose it to be true of both parties that[Pg 595] we have a very high, a very glorious, a very beautiful, a very lovable idea of the future American Republic. [Applause.]

So I will condemn, I say, whatever may be wrong. I hold myself to be an independent journalist. [Cries of "Good!"]

But, my friends, I hope you will excuse the phrase—I am going to follow it by another—at the same time I do freely avow that I am a partisan; for I never knew anything good, from Moses down to John Brown, that was not carried through by partisanship. [Applause.] If you believe in anything, say so; work for it, fight for it. There are always two sides in the world. The good fight is always going on. The bad men are always working; the devil is always busy. And again, on the other side you have your high idea of whatever is beautiful and good and true in the world; and God is always working also. The man who stands between them—who says: "This is somewhat good, and that is somewhat good; I stand between them"—permit me to say, is a man for whom I have very little respect. [Applause.] Some men say there is a God; some men say there is no God. Some of the independents say that the truth lies between them. [Laughter.] I cannot find it between them. Every man has a God. If you believe in your God,—he may be another God from mine—if you are a man, I want you to fight for him, and I may have to fight against you, but do you fight for the God that you believe in. [Applause.]

I do sincerely think (and I wish that this was a congregation of my fellow-editors of the whole land, for my heart is in reality full of this thing)—I do sincerely think that there is something of a danger that our eloquent, ready, powerful, versatile, indefatigable, vigorous, omnipresent, omniscient men of the press may drive out of public life—and they will ridicule that phrase—may drive out of public life, not all, but a very considerable class of sensitive, high-minded, honorable, ambitious gentlemen. [Applause.] Now, I do not say anything about the future for myself. I have got a "free lance," I have got a newspaper, and I can fight with the rest of them; but I will give you a bit of my experience in public life. I tell you, my friends of[Pg 596] the New England Society, that one of the sorest things that a man in public life has to bear is the reckless, unreasonable censure of members of the press whom individually he respects. [Applause.] That large-hearted man, whom personally I love, with whom I could shake hands, with whom I did shake hands, with whom I sat at the social board time and again, grossly misinterprets my public actions; intimates all manner of dishonorable things, which I would fight at two paces rather than be guilty of; and it would be useless for me to write a public letter to explain or contradict. [Applause.]

Now, I am only one of hundreds. I can stand still and wait the result, in the confidence that, if not all, yet some, men believe me to be honorable and true; if they do not, God and I know it, and I would "fight it out on that line." [Applause.]

Gentlemen, it is rather my habit to talk in earnest. Next to the evil of having all public men in this land corrupt; next to the evil of having all our governmental affairs in the hands of men venal and weak and narrow, debauching public life and carrying it down to destruction, is the calamity of having all the young men believe it is so, whether it be so or not. [Applause.] Teach all the boys to believe that every man who goes into public life has his price; teach all the boys to believe that there is no man who enters public life anywhere that does not look out for his own, and is not always scheming to do something for himself or his friends, and seeking to prolong his power; teach every young man who has a desire to go into political life, to think—because you have told him so—that the way to succeed is to follow such arts, and by that kind of talk you may ruin your country. [Applause.]

Now, gentlemen, as I have said, this is a matter for an evening oration. I have barely touched some of the points. I have said the press has a twofold duty and fortune: it is the leader, the educator, the director of the people. It is, at the same time, the reflector of the people. I could spend an hour upon the theme.

I cannot cease, however, without thanking the President of the St. Patrick's Society [Denis MacMahon], the only gentleman who has mentioned the word "centennial."[Pg 597] When I was leaving Philadelphia, my wife warned me not to use that word, knowing to what it might lead me [laughter]; and so I shall simply ask you all to come to Philadelphia next year, and join in the great national exhibition, where you will have an opportunity of seeing the progress which this nation has made under the ideas of liberty, government, industry, and thrift which were instilled by the Pilgrim Fathers. [Applause.][Pg 598]



[Speech of John Hay, American Ambassador to Great Britain, at a dinner of the Omar Khayyam Club, London, December 8, 1897. Henry Norman, President of the Club, took the chair and in introducing Colonel Hay, as the guest of the evening, spoke of him as soldier, diplomatist, scholar, poet and Omarian.]

Gentlemen:—I cannot sufficiently thank you for the high and unmerited honor you have done me to-night. I feel keenly that on such an occasion, with such company, my place is below the salt, but as you kindly invited me it was not in human nature for me to refuse. Although in knowledge and comprehension of the two great poets whom you are met to commemorate I am the least among them, there is no one who regards them with greater admiration, or reads them with more enjoyment than myself. I can never forget my emotions when I first saw Fitzgerald's translation of the Quatrains. Keats, in his sublime ode on Chapman's Homer, has described the sensation once for all:—

"Then felt I like some watcher of the skies,
When a new planet swims into his ken."

The exquisite beauty, the faultless form, the singular grace of those amazing stanzas, were not more wonderful than the depth and breadth of their profound philosophy, their knowledge of life, their dauntless courage, their serene facing of the ultimate problems of life and of death.

Of course the doubt did not spare me, which has assailed many as ignorant as I was of the literature of the East, whether it was the poet or his translator to whom was due this splendid result. Was it, in fact, a reproduction of a[Pg 599] new song, or a mystification of a great modern, careless of fame and scornful of his time? Could it be possible that in the eleventh century, so far away as Khorassan, so accomplished a man of letters lived, with such distinction, such breadth, such insight, such calm disillusion, such cheerful and jocund despair? Was this Weltschmerz, which we thought a malady of our day, endemic in Persia in 1100? My doubt lasted only till I came upon a literal translation of the Rubaiyat, and I saw that not the least remarkable quality of Fitzgerald's was its fidelity to the original. In short, Omar was a Fitzgerald before the latter, or Fitzgerald was a reincarnation of Omar. It is not to the disadvantage of the later poet that he followed so closely in the footsteps of the earlier. A man of extraordinary genius had appeared in the world; had sung a song of incomparable beauty and power in an environment no longer worthy of him, in a language of narrow range; for many generations the song was virtually lost; then by a miracle of creation, a poet, a twin-brother in the spirit to the first, was born, who took up the forgotten poem and sung it anew with all its original melody and force, and all the accumulated refinement of ages of art. [Cheers.]

It seems to me idle to ask which was the greater master; each seems greater than his work. The song is like an instrument of precious workmanship and marvellous tone, which is worthless in common hands, but when it falls, at long intervals, into the hands of the supreme master, it yields a melody of transcendent enchantment to all that have ears to hear. If we look at the sphere of influence of the two poets there is no longer any comparison. Omar sang to a half barbarous province; Fitzgerald to the world. Wherever the English speech is spoken or read, the Rubaiyat have taken their place as a classic. There is not a hill-post in India, nor a village in England, where there is not a coterie to whom Omar Khayyam is a familiar friend and a bond of union. In America he has an equal following, in many regions and conditions. In the Eastern States his adepts form an esoteric sect; the beautiful volume of drawings by Mr. Vedder is a centre of delight and suggestion wherever it exists. In the cities of the West you will find the Quatrains one of the most thoroughly read books in[Pg 600] every Club Library. I heard Omar quoted once in one of the most lovely and desolate spots of the High Rockies. We had been camping on the Great Divide, our "roof of the world," where in the space of a few feet you may see two springs, one sending its water to the Polar solitudes, the other to the eternal Carib summer. One morning at sunrise as we were breaking camp, I was startled to hear one of our party, a frontiersman born, intoning these words of sombre majesty:—

"'Tis but a tent where takes his one day's rest
A Sultan to the realm of death addressed.
The Sultan rises and the dark Ferrash
Strikes, and prepares it for another guest."

I thought that sublime setting of primeval forest and pouring cañon was worthy of the lines; I am sure the dewless, crystalline air never vibrated to strains of more solemn music.

Certainly our poet can never be numbered among the great popular writers of all times. He has told no story; he has never unpacked his heart in public; he has never thrown the reins on the neck of the winged horse, and let his imagination carry him where it listed. "Ah! the crowd must have emphatic warrant." Its suffrages are not for the cool, collected observer, whose eye no glitter can ever dazzle, no mist suffuse. The many cannot but resent that air of lofty intelligence, that pale and subtle smile. But he will hold a place forever among that limited number who, like Lucretius and Epicurus—without rage or defiance, even without unbecoming mirth—look deep into the tangled mysteries of things; refuse credence to the absurd, and allegiance to the arrogant authority, sufficiently conscious of fallibility to be tolerant of all opinions; with a faith too wide for doctrine and a benevolence untrammelled by creed, too wise to be wholly poets, and yet too surely poets to be implacably wise. [Loud cheers.][Pg 601]



[Speech of Rutherford B. Hayes, President of the United States, at the first annual banquet of the New England Society in the City of Brooklyn, December 21, 1880. The President of the Society, Benjamin D. Silliman, in introducing him, said: "Gentlemen, we are honored this evening by the presence of an illustrious descendant of New England, the Chief Magistrate of the Nation. [Cheers.] He is about retiring from his high position, with the respect, admiration and the gratitude of the people for the great wisdom, the pure purpose, the steady will and the unwavering firmness with which he has administered the government, preserved its honor and secured its property. [Loud cheers.] I propose to you, as our first toast, 'The President of the United States.'"]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:—We have often heard, we often hear, the phrase "New England ideas." It is said, and I think said truly, that these ideas have a large and growing influence in shaping the affairs of the people of the United States. It is not meant, I suppose, that the principles referred to in this phrase, are peculiar to New England, but merely that in New England they are generally accepted, and that perhaps there they had their first practical illustration. These ideas, these principles generally termed New England ideas, and New England principles, it seems to me, have had much to do with that prosperity which we are now enjoying, and about which we are perhaps apt to be too boastful, but for which it is certain we cannot be too grateful. [Applause.]

The subject, New England ideas, is altogether too large a one for me, or anybody, to discuss this evening. If it were to be done at length, in protracted speaking, we have our friends here, able and with a reputation for capacity in that way. Our friend, Mr. Evarts, for example [applause], Mr. Beecher [applause], and I am confident that I shall be ex[Pg 602]cused for naming in this connection, above all, our friend General Grant. [Loud applause.]

Leaving then to them the discussion of the larger topic, I must content myself with the humbler duty of merely naming the New England ideas to which I refer.

New England believes that every man and woman, under the law ought to have an equal chance and an equal hope with every other man and woman [applause], and believes that in a country where that is secured individuals and society will have their highest development and the largest allotment of human happiness. [Applause.] New England believes that equal rights can be best secured in a country where every child is provided freely with the means of education. [Applause.] New England believes that the road—the only road, the sure road—to unquestioned credit and a sound financial condition is the exact and punctual fulfilment of every pecuniary obligation, public and private [applause], according to its letter and spirit. [Applause.] New England believes in the home, and in the virtues that make home happy [cries of "Good!"], and New England will tolerate, so far as depends on her, no institutions and no practices in any state or territory which are inconsistent with the sacredness of the family relation. [Cries of "Good!"] New England cherishes the sentiment of nationality and believes in a general government strong enough to maintain its authority, to enforce the laws and to preserve and to perpetuate the Union. [Applause.]

Now, with these New England ideas everywhere accepted and prevailing—to repeat, with just and equal laws, administered under the watchful eyes of educated voters; with honesty in all moneyed transactions; with the New England home and the New England family as the foundation of society; with national sentiments prevailing everywhere in the country; we shall not lack that remaining crowning merit of New England life which lends to every peopled landscape its chief interest and glory, the spires pointing heavenward that tell to every man who sees them that the descendants of the Pilgrims still hold to and cherish, and love that which brought their fathers to this continent, which they here sought and here found—freedom to worship God. [Long-continued applause.][Pg 603]



[Speech of Joseph C. Hendrix at the fifteenth annual dinner of the New England Society in the City of Brooklyn, December 21, 1894. The President, Robert D. Benedict, introducing the speaker, said: "I do not remember ever to have heard at any of the New England festivals which I have attended any discussion of the currency questions which plagued the Pilgrims. We cannot doubt that they had such questions for such questions must arise where there are different currencies. But the attention of our committee this year has naturally been drawn in that direction, and they have selected as the next subject one of the currencies with which the Pilgrims had to deal: 'The Wampum of the Indians.' Upon this subject they have invited the Hon. Joseph C. Hendrix to speak. Doubtless he may draw from that subject lessons that will be of interest and of use for the present day."]

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the New England Society:—While your poetic souls are attuned to the sweet music of the last speech, I must chide the Fates which compel me to so suddenly precipitate upon you a discussion of a practical nature, especially when at the very outset I must begin to talk about clams. [Laughter.] For when we begin to consider wampum we have to begin to consider the familiar hard-shell clam of daily use, which was the basis of wampum. At this stage of the feast, after the confections contained in that eulogium passed upon you by the Governor of Massachusetts [Frederick T. Greenhalge], and after that private parlor-car, canvas-back-duck, cold-champagne view of consolidation taken by the great trunk-line president [Chauncey M. Depew] [laughter], can you endure anything savoring of the clam? Would you not prefer to go home and sleep upon what you already have? Yet every loyal son of Long Island ought to be partial to clams. The Mayor [Charles A. Schieren], who typifies what a German[Pg 604] head can do in a contest with an Irish appetite, should love them because they reside within the city limits, and have ceased to vote in Gravesend. You, Mr. Chairman, as a lawyer, ought to tolerate the clam, for there are two sides to the case, and there's meat inside. Our friend the preacher [Rev. Samuel A. Eliot] knows that they are as good every day in the week as they are on Sunday. Dr. Johnson [Dr. J. G. Johnson] there favors them as part of his internal revenue system. The Mugwumps cannot object to them, because they change from side to side so easily. The Democrats ought to like anything that is always digging a hole for itself, and the Republicans cannot but be patient with what comes on top at the change of the tide. [Laughter.] So, gentlemen, I present to you the clam. Professor Hooper [Franklin W. Hooper] tells me to call it the Venus Mercenaria, but we shall have to wait for our free public library before venturing so far.

You remember, when you were children, looking over the old story-book handed down to you by the Puritan fathers, that one of the conundrums with which the gayety of their times was illustrated was, "Who was the shortest man in the Bible?" The answer was, "Bildad, the Shuhite;" but now, in the revised text it is Peter, because Peter said: "Silver and gold have I none," and no one could be shorter than that. The North American Indian was no better off than Peter in his gold reserve or silver supply; but he managed to get along with the quahog clam. That was the money substance out of which he made the wampum, and the shell-heaps scattered over the island are mute monuments to an industry which was blasted by the demonetization of the hard-shell clam. Wampum was a good money in the Indian civilization. It was the product of human labor as difficult and tedious as the labor of the gold-miner of to-day. It had intrinsic value, for it was redeemable in anything the Indian had to give, from his skill in the chase to his squaw. It took time, patience, endurance and skill to make a thing of beauty out of a clam, even in the eyes of an Indian, but when the squaws and the old men had ground down the tough end of the shell to the size of a wheat straw, and had bored it with a sliver of flint, and strung it upon a thew of deerskin, and tested its smooth[Pg 605]ness on the noses, they had an article which had as much power over an Indian mind as a grain of gold to-day has over us. There were two kinds of wampum, the blue and the white. The Montauks to this day know that there is a difference between the two. The blue came from our clam. The white, which was the product of the periwinkle, did not need so much labor to fit it for use as wampum, and it was cheaper. The blue was the gold; the white was the silver. One blue bead was worth two white ones. The Indians did not try to keep up any parity of the beads. They let each kind go for just what it was worth. The Puritans used to restring the beads and keep the blue ones. Then the Indians strung their scalps.

Why was wampum good money in its time? The supply was limited. It took a day to make four or five beads. It was in itself a thing of value to the Indian for ornament. It was easily carried about from place to place. It was practically indestructible. It was always alike. It was divisible. The value attached to it did not vary. It was not easily counterfeited. So it was that it became the money of the colonists; a legal tender in Massachusetts and the tool of the primitive commerce of this continent. The Puritan took it for firewater and gave it back for furs. Long Island was the great mint for this pastoral coinage. It was called the "Mine of the New Netherlands." The Indian walked the beach at Rockaway, dug his toes in the sand, turned up a clam, and after swallowing the contents carried the shells to the mint. Gold and silver at the mouth of a mine obtain their chief value from the labor it takes to get the metals; wampum was the refinement by labor of a money substance free to all. The redemption of wampum was perfect. To the Indians it was a seal to treaties, an amulet in danger, an affidavit, small change, a savings' bank, a wedding ring and a dress suit. To this day the belt of wampum is the storehouse of Indian treasure. In the Six Nations, when a big chief made an assertion in council, he laid down a belt of wampum, as though to say. "Money talks." The Iroquois sent a belt of it to the King of England when they asked his protection. William Penn got a strip when he made his treaty. The Indians braided rude pictures into it, which recorded great events. They talked[Pg 606] their ideas into it, as we do into a phonograph. They sent messages in it. White beads between a row of dark ones represented a path of peace, as though to say: "Big chief no longer got Congress on his hands." A string of dark beads was a message of war or of the death of a chief, and a string of white beads rolled in mud was equivalent to saying that there was crape on the door of Tammany Hall. So you see that it was a combined post-office, telegraph, telephone, phonograph and newspaper.

The Iroquois had a keeper of wampum—a sort of secretary of the treasury without the task of keeping nine different kinds of money on a parity. This old Indian financier had simple and correct principles. No one could persuade him to issue birch-bark promises to pay and delude himself with the belief that he could thus create money. He certainly would have called them a debt, and would have paid them off as fast as he could. Nor can we imagine him trying to sustain the value of the white wampum after the Puritans started in to make it out of oyster shells by machinery. Nor would he have bought it, not needing it, and have issued against it his promises to pay in good wampum as fast and as often as they were presented.

It was said that wampum was so cunningly made that neither Jew nor Devil could counterfeit it. Nevertheless a Connecticut Yankee rigged up a machine that so disturbed the market value of the beads that in a short time the Long Island mints were closed to the free coinage of clams. Wampum was demonetized through counterfeit, overproduction and imitation; but when this occurred the gentle Puritan didn't have enough of it left to supply the museums. The Indian had parted with his lands and his furs, had redeemed all the outstanding wampum with his labor, and when he went to market to get firewater, he was taught that he must have gold and silver to get it. Then he wanted to ride in blood up to his horse's bridles. Commerce had found a better tool than wampum had become. The buccaneers and the pirates had brought in silver and that defied the Connecticut man's machinery or the Dutchman's imitations. The years pass by and commerce finds that silver, because of overproduction, becomes uncertain and erratic in value, and with the same instinct it chooses gold as a standard of[Pg 607] value. A coin of unsteady value is like a knife of uncertain sharpness. It is thrown aside for one that can do all that is expected of it. Gold is such a tool. It is the standard of all first-class nations. It is to-day, and it will remain, the standard of this Republic.

The value of the gold dollar is not in the pictures on it. It is in the grains of gold in it. Smash it and melt it, and it buys one hundred cents' worth the world over. Deface a silver dollar and fifty cents of its value goes off yonder among the silent stars. Free coinage means that the silver miner may make fifty cents' worth of silver cancel a dollar's worth of debts. This is a greenback doctrine in a silver capsule. Bimetallism is a diplomatic term for international use. Monometallism with silver as the metal is the dream of the Populist and of the poor deluded Democratic grasshoppers who dance by the moonshine until they get frost-bitten.

The free-silver heresy is about dead. It has cost this country, at to-day's price for silver, $170,000,000. The few saddened priests of this unhappy fetich who remain active find their disciples all rallying round the standard of currency reform. The report of the Secretary of the Treasury is a confession of national financial sins, and a profession of faith in sound money doctrines. Every business man will watch with keen interest the progress of a plan for the reform in our currency. You all know that the straight road is the retirement of the greenback and the Treasury note, and the withdrawal of the Government from the banking business, and you will naturally distrust any makeshift measures. The greenback is a war debt, and a debt that is now troublesome. We are funding and refunding it in gold daily, and are still paying it out as currency to come back after gold. Any scheme to sequestrate, to hide it under a bushel, or to put it under lock and key, is a shallow device. The way to retire it is to retire it. It has served its full purpose, and there never was a better time than now to call it in.

In twelve years all our Government debt matures. The national banking system based upon it must expire with it, unless existing laws are changed. This system has served the nation well. No one has ever lost a dollar by a national[Pg 608] bank note. The system is worth preserving, and with a little more liberal treatment it can be made to serve until a currency based upon commercial credits and linked to a safety fund, a system which works so admirably in Canada, can be engrafted upon it. There is a great hurry to create such a system now on a basis of the partial sequestration of the greenback and the Treasury note, but the bottom principle is wrong. The Government should discourage a commercial credit currency based upon a public credit currency, which, in turn, rests upon a slender gold deposit, exposed to every holder of a Government demand note. A credit currency is a double-edged tool, and needs to be handled with great care. We have had so much crazy-quilt finance that I am sure that we want no more of it. We have been sorely punished for our financial sins in the past, and now that we are repentant, we want to get everything right before we go ahead with our full native energy. We have suffered from the distrust of the world, and then from our own distrust. In retracing our steps let us be sure that we are on solid ground, and make our "wampum" as good as the best there is in the world. [Applause.][Pg 609]



[Speech of Lord Farrer Herschell at the 130th annual banquet of the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York, November 15, 1898. Lord Herschell was present in this country as President of the Joint High Commission appointed to arbitrate the dispute between Canada and the United States relative to the Bering Sea seal fisheries. Alexander E. Orr, President of the Chamber, proposed the toast to which Lord Herschell spoke: "The Future Relations between Great Britain and the United States—a determined union of heart and purpose will carry the forces of justice and humanity the world over."]

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Chamber Of Commerce:—I assure you that I am most deeply sensible of the warm welcome that you have extended to me, and grateful for the manner in which you have received the words which were uttered introducing me to you. But I can assure you that I rejoiced to hear the cheers with which this toast was greeted, not merely because they were a compliment to myself, but because I was satisfied that you were regarding me rather in the character of a representative of my country, and that there rang in those cheers sentiments of good will to the country that I have the honor to represent to-night. [Applause.] And I heard in them something more than that—they indicated to me a conviction that in the continuance of good relations between your country and mine, there were involved blessings, priceless blessings, to the countries we love so well. [Applause.]

I can assure you that all my countrymen reciprocate the feeling which has been expressed; that they desire, as you do, that the cordial relationship should continue, and that they have toward the United States of America nothing but feelings of good will and a desire for its welfare and prog[Pg 610]ress. [Applause.] I have said—all my countrymen. I ought, perhaps, not to have been so bold. There are some fools in all lands. [Laughter.] They are the product of every soil. No nation has a monopoly of them. [Laughter.] But with these exceptions, I can speak, I think, for all my countrymen. The echoes of those now distant events of a century and a quarter ago, which left much soreness behind them, have died away in England. [Applause.] We can rejoice as much as you rejoice to-day, in the fact that you are one of the leading nations of the world. [Applause.] And there is to me a peculiar interest in the fact that I, who have had the honor to fill the office of Lord Chancellor, should be here as the representative of my country engaged in negotiations between Great Britain and the United States. A century and a quarter ago or more, a predecessor of mine in that high office made a most unfortunately foolish prediction. He said, with reference to these (at that time) colonies: "If they withdraw their allegiance, we shall withdraw our protection; and then they will soon be overrun by the little States of Genoa and San Marino." [Laughter.] I am happy to say—I must say it for the credit of the office—that there was even then a distinguished lawyer who was to succeed the Lord Chancellor to whom I have referred, who made a speech at which to-day neither I nor any one else need blush. But I could not help thinking of those words when I reflected that I was here negotiating with the representatives of a mighty nation of seventy millions of people, who have not been overrun by the little Republics of Genoa and San Marino [laughter], although undoubtedly, in a sense very different from that which the speaker intended, you may have been overrun by the natives of some of the Italian towns. [Laughter.]

Gentlemen, there is to-day in my country, as in yours, a pride in the United States. We cannot forget that if you won your independence, if you achieved your liberties, if you laid the foundations of your constitution, if you prepared for such a nation as exists here to-day, you were at that time colonists of Great Britain. The men who laid the foundation stones of the United States, in which you to-day glory, were those who had gone out from amongst us, who had in the country of my birth imbibed for the most part[Pg 611] their traditions of liberty, and their desire and determination to achieve it; and, therefore, with no misgiving, with nothing but a feeling of pride, we may rejoice in your success and in your progress. We long ago admitted the follies and the wrong-doings of those times, as freely as you could insist upon them yourselves. [Applause.]

I am not going to dwell upon that aspect of the case to-night, because I am quite aware that sometimes the ready admission of wrong-doing is rather irritating than soothing. [Laughter.] I remember once hearing a learned counsel, who was conducting the trial of a case before a judge of great ability but not of the best of tempers, put a question of a character such as to shock any one accustomed to be guided by the rigid rules of evidence. Strictly in confidence, I don't think he had the least idea that it was a wrong question, but the learned judge interposed and said: "That was an improper question, Mr. so and so." "Yes, my Lord, it was very improper." "Yes," said the judge, "you ought not to have put the question,—a most improper question." "Yes, sir; I ought not to have put it, a more improper question never was." And the more the judge reproached him the more submissive he became, until he drove the judge nearly mad. [Laughter.]

Gentlemen, there has been a great deal of discussion lately as to the exact nature of the bond which united Great Britain and the United States. Some one says blood is thicker than water, whereupon another with perverse ingenuity begins at once to analyze the blood and discovers that the elements are not, when resolved, precisely the same. That, it is said, is the bond of the Anglo-Saxon race; whereupon a Scotchman insists, or a Welshman insists, that it is not all Anglo-Saxon, that there is something Celtic in its constitution, and that to speak of it as the Anglo-Saxon race, either in my country or in yours, is not in strictness historically accurate. Another finds that they are the great English-speaking peoples, whereupon an ingenious man points out that there are people in Great Britain and its dependencies to whom the English language is not the most natural means of communication, and that not every inhabitant of the United States is a perfect master of the English tongue. [Laughter.][Pg 612]

Well, then, I saw an ingenious argument the other day to prove that it is a gross impropriety to speak of England as the mother country; that the two countries were really in the relation of sisters, and that we ought to call them sister countries, and not speak of them as mother and daughter. I am not going to enter into any of this controversy to-night. The probability is that none of these suggested explanations is a completely adequate explanation of the bond that binds the two nations together, but that in each of them is to be found some element of truth. I am not going to dwell on them to-night; I prefer a practical rather than a theoretical view of any subject, and they all agree in this: a tacit assertion of the fact that there is a bond which unites Great Britain and the United States such as unites no two other nations [applause and cheers]; and they express a realization of the fact that there is a very close relationship between the two countries. Now, undoubtedly we have at times said nasty things of one another [laughter]; but then that is not proof that we are not near relations. [Laughter.] Indeed, it might, perhaps, be cited by some as evidence the other way. We have sometimes seemed to be very near serious—what shall I say?—attacks upon one another. But, again, that is no proof that a close relationship does not exist between us. It is not impossible that at some future time, when we are either of us menaced by the intervention of some third party which seriously threatens our existence or our prosperity, we may find that, whatever differences arise amongst ourselves from time to time, we shall be ready to unite in defence of each other against a stranger. [Applause and cheers.] A friend of mine who is a great champion of woman's rights, and a man of the most chivalrous disposition, when walking home one night, found a man and a woman, husband and wife, in serious controversy, and the man was just about to strike his wife. With his usual chivalry he intervened between them. In a moment they were both upon him [laughter], and he had much ado to withdraw himself from their clutches. May not that, perhaps, be an indication of the kind of action which relations may show who are not always perfectly peaceably disposed toward one another?

Gentlemen, I rejoice to think that I am here to take part[Pg 613] in an endeavor to compose such differences as exist at present between the two nations. There is another bond of union beyond the natural one to which I have alluded, and that is the commercial interests of the two countries. I know there are some who think that no country can gain in commercial prosperity or make real progress in commerce except at the expense of some other. I believe that to be a profound mistake. I do not, of course, deny that a particular interest here or there—perhaps many interests—may suffer from the stress of international competition, but I think we take too narrow a view when in gazing on the industrial world we fix our eyes upon this local spot or that, and consider how this or that particular place may be affected. Our interests are more widespread, strike deeper roots, roots in more different directions than we are at all times ready to admit or to conceive. And of this I am perfectly certain, that where two nations are so closely bound up in commercial intercourse as we are, neither of those nations can possibly progress in commercial prosperity, without a reflection of that commercial prosperity upon the other nation with which it deals. [Applause.]

Gentlemen, many of the events which to-day bulk largely in our eyes will look strangely insignificant when seen through the vista of time; but of this I feel satisfied, that if the men of to-day by their actions can do anything to put upon a permanent basis cordial, friendly relations and co-operation between your Republic and the British Empire, these actions will grow in men's estimation larger rather than smaller, and generations to come will rise to call those blessed who put the relations of the two countries upon a sound and satisfactory footing. [Applause.]

Gentlemen, however successful we may be, as I trust we shall be successful, in composing such differences as now exist—in the nature of things it is impossible but that difficulties from time to time will arise—in the future, how are we going to treat them? In what spirit shall we meet them as they arise? It sometimes seems to me strange that nations which, after all, are but collections of individuals should deal with their differences in a manner in which sensible men as individuals never would dream of treating them. [Applause.] We seem, somehow, when once we have taken up[Pg 614] a position, to feel as if it were impossible to withdraw from it. We must adhere to it, whether originally we took it up wisely or unwisely, whether it was sound or unsound. We lash ourselves into a white heat over the differences that arise, although the relations that they bear to our national life and our national interests may be of comparative insignificance. If an individual were to deal in that way, always to stand out in every case for his strict rights, always to be prepared to contest everything, to adhere always to what he claims as his right, to get into a rage with his neighbor because he would not see as he saw himself—well, we should call that man an intolerably quarrelsome fellow who was not fit for civilized human society [cheers]; and yet, as nations, apparently there seems nothing strange in our doing that which, as individuals, we should be the last to dream of doing.

A friend, a former colleague of mine—now, alas! no more,—told me that he was, many years ago, travelling up to London with an owner of race horses who was accompanied by his trainer. When they arrived at the station near the metropolis where the tickets are collected, the ticket-collector came, and my friend said, "My servant has my ticket in the next carriage." The ticket-collector retired and presently came back rather angry and said, "I cannot find him." My friend said, "he is in the next carriage—or the next carriage but one; he is there." As soon as the ticket-collector retired for the second time the trainer leaned forward and said, "Stick to it, my Lord, you will tire him out." [Laughter and cheers.] Is not that sometimes a little indicative of the spirit in which we are inclined to act nationally when we have taken up any position, even though it be a false one?

Gentlemen, it seems to me that these questions of our future relations with one another are questions of special moment just now. You are at a parting of the ways. It would be presumptuous, as it would be unwise, in me to forecast or to attempt to forecast the decision at which you will arrive on questions that have yet to be solved. But, putting these questions that remain for solution aside, and dealing only with the events as they are now known and fixed, it is impossible not to feel that this year marks an epoch in the history of the United States, and the relation[Pg 615] which the United States is to bear to Great Britain, and the relation which Great Britain is to bear to the United States; and the spirit which is to animate those two peoples becomes of more importance than it ever has been before. I rejoice to see those flags joined as they are around this room to-night. [Applause.] God grant that they may never be flaunted in defiance of one another. [Applause.] I rejoice to see them united in concord, not in any spirit of arrogance toward other peoples, not as desiring to infringe the rights of any other power, but because I see in that union a real safeguard for the maintenance of peace in the world [applause], and because I see more than that—I see the surest guaranty of an extended reign of liberty and justice. [Prolonged applause.][Pg 616]



[Speech of George S. Hillard at the banquet given to Charles Dickens by the "Young Men of Boston," February 1, 1842. The company consisted of about two hundred, among whom were George Bancroft, Washington Allston and Oliver Wendell Holmes.]

Mr. President:—Our meeting together this evening is one of the agreeable results of the sympathy established between two great and distant nations by a common language and a common literature. We are paying our cheerful tribute of gratitude and admiration to one who, though heretofore a stranger to us in person, has made his image a familiar presence in innumerable hearts, who has brightened the sunshine of many a happy, and cheered the gloom of many a desponding breast, whose works have been companions to the solitary and a cordial in the sick man's chamber, and whose natural pathos and thoughtful humor, flowing from a genius as healthy as it is inventive, have drawn more closely the ties which bind man to his brother man, and have given us a new sense of the wickedness of injustice, the deformity of selfishness, the beauty of self-sacrifice, the dignity of humble virtue, and the strength of that love which is found in "huts where poor men lie."

The new harvest of applause which is gathered by the gifted minds of England, in a country separated from their own by three thousand miles of ocean, is a privilege peculiar to them, and one to which no author, however rich in golden opinion won at home, can feel himself indifferent. No brow can be so thickly shaded with indigenous laurels, as not to wear, with emotion, those which are the growth of a foreign soil. There is no homage so true and unquestionable as that[Pg 617] which the stranger offers. At home the popularity of an author may, during his own life at least, be greatly increased by circumstances not at all affecting the intrinsic value of his writings. The caprice of fashion, the accident of high rank or distinguished social position, the zeal of a literary faction or a political party, may invest some "Cynthia of the minute" with a brief notoriety, which resembles true fame only as the meteor resembles the star. But popularity of this kind is of too flimsy and delicate a texture to bear transportation. It is only merit of a solid and durable fabric which can survive a voyage across the Atlantic. It has been said, with as much truth as point, that a foreign nation is a sort of contemporaneous posterity. Its judgment resembles the calm, unbiased voice of future ages. It has no infusion of personal feeling; it is a serene and unimpassioned verdict, neither won by favor, nor withheld from prejudice. The admiration which comes from afar off is valuable in the direct ratio of its distance, as there is the same degree of assurance that it springs from no secondary cause, but is a spontaneous and unbought tribute. An English author might see with comparative unconcern his book upon a drawing-room table in London, but should he chance to meet a well-thumbed copy of it in a log-house beyond our western mountains, would not his heart swell with just pride at the thought of the wide space through which his name was diffused and his influence felt, and would not his lips almost unconsciously utter the expression of the wandering Trojan:—

"Quæ regio in terris nostri non plena laboris?"

It is also probably true that, in our country, English authors find their warmest and most impassioned admirers. It is as true of the mind as of the eye, that distance lends enchantment to the view. There are no hues so soft and delicate as those with which the imagination invests that which is unseen or faintly discerned. Remoteness in space has the same idealizing effect as remoteness of time. The voice that comes to us from the dim distance is like that which comes to us from the dim past. We know, but we do not feel, the interval which separates Shakespeare from[Pg 618] Scott, Milton from Wordsworth, Hume from Hallam. We know them only by those airy creations of the brain which speak to us through the printed page. Solitude, and silence too, are the nurses of deep and strong feeling. That imaginative element which exalts the love of Dante for Beatrice, and of Burns for his "Mary in Heaven," deepens the fervor of admiration with which the pale, enthusiastic scholar, in some lonely farmhouse in New England, hangs over a favorite author, who, though perhaps a living contemporary, is recognized only as an absolute essence of genius, wisdom or truth. The minds of men whom we see face to face appear to shine upon us darkly through the infirmities of a mortal frame. Their faculties are touched by weariness or pain, or some humiliating weakness or unhandsome passion thrusts its eclipsing shadow between us and the light of their genius. Not so with those to whom they speak only through the medium of books. In these we see the products of those golden hours, when all that was low is elevated, when all that was dark is illumined, and all that was earthly is transfigured. Books have no touch of personal infirmity—theirs is undying bloom, immortal youth, perennial fragrance. Age cannot wrinkle, disease cannot blight, death cannot pierce them. The personal image of the author is quite as likely to be a hindrance as a help to his book. The actor who played with Shakespeare in his own "Hamlet" probably did but imperfect justice to that wonderful play, and the next-door neighbor of a popular author will be very likely to read his books with a carping, censorious spirit, unknown to him who has seen his vision only in his mind.

Mr. President, I dwell with pleasure on the considerations to which an occasion like this gives birth. It is good for us to be here. Whatever has a tendency to make two great nations forget those things in which they differ, and remember those only in which they have a common interest, is a benefit to them both. Whatever makes the hearts of two countries beat in unison, makes them more enamored of harmony, more sensitive to discord. Honor to the men of genius who made two hemispheres thrill to the same electric touch, who at the same time, and with the same potent spell, are ruling the hearts of men in the mountains of Scotland, the forests of Canada, the hillsides of New England, the[Pg 619] prairies of Illinois, and the burning plains of India. Their influence, so far as it extends, is a peaceful and a humanizing one. When you have instructed two men with the same wisdom, and charmed them with the same wit, you have established between them a bond of sympathy, however slight, and made it so much the more difficult to set them at variance. When I remember the history of England, how much she has done for law, liberty, virtue and religion—for all that beautifies and dignifies life—when I realize how much that is most valuable and characteristic in our own institutions is borrowed from her—when I recall our obligations to her matchless literature, I feel a throb of gratitude that "Chatham's language is my mother-tongue," and my heart warms to the land of my fathers. I embrace with peculiar satisfaction every consideration that tends to give us an unity of spirit in the bond of peace—to make us blind to each other's faults, and kind to each other's virtues. I feel all the force of the fine lines of one whom we have the honor to receive as a guest this evening:—

"Though ages long have passed
Since our fathers left their home,
Their pilot in the blast,
O'er untravelled seas to roam,
Yet lives the blood of England in our veins.
And shall we not proclaim
That blood of honest fame,
Which no tyranny can tame
By its chains?

"While the manners, while the arts
That mould a nation's soul,
Still cling around our hearts,—
Between, let ocean roll,
Our joint communion breaking with the sun.
Yet still from either beach
The voice of blood shall reach,
More audible than speech—
We are one."

It is now more than sixty-seven years since the rapid growth of our country was sketched by Mr. Burke, in the course of his speech on conciliation with America, in a passage whose picturesque beauty has made it one of the commonplaces of literature, in which he represents the angel of[Pg 620] Lord Bathurst drawing up the curtain of futurity, unfolding the rising glories of England, and pointing out to him America, a little speck scarce visible in the mass of the national interest, yet which was destined before he tasted of death to show itself equal to the whole of that commerce which then attracted the admiration of the world. There are many now living whose lives extend over the whole of this period—and during that space, what memorable changes have taken place in the relations of the two countries! Let us imagine the angel of that illustrious author and statesman, when the last words of that profound and beautiful speech were dying upon the air, withdrawing him from the congratulations of his friends, and unfolding to him the future progress of that country, whose growth up to that period he had so felicitously sketched:—"There is that America, whose interests you have so well understood and so eloquently maintained, which, at this moment, is taking measures to withdraw from the protection and defy the power of the mother country. But mourn not that this bright jewel is destined to fall from your country's crown. It is an obedience to the same law of Providence which sends the full-fledged bird from the nest, and the man from his father's house. Man shall not be able to sever what the immutable laws of Providence have joined together. The chafing chains of colonial dependence shall be exchanged for ties light as air, yet strong as steel. The peaceful and profitable interchange of commerce—the same language—a common literature—similar laws, and kindred institutions shall bind you together with cords which neither cold-blooded policy, nor grasping selfishness, nor fratricidal war, shall be able to snap. Discoveries in science and improvements in art shall be constantly contracting the ocean which separates you, and the genius of steam shall link your shores together with a chain of iron and flame. A new heritage of glory shall await your men of genius in those now unpeopled solitudes. The grand and lovely creations of your myriad-minded Shakespeare—the majestic line of Milton—the stately energy of Dryden, and the compact elegance of Pope, shall form and train the minds of uncounted multitudes yet slumbering in the womb of the future. Her gifted and educated sons shall come over to your shores with a feeling akin to[Pg 621] that which sends the Mussulman to Mecca. Your St. Paul's shall kindle their devotion; your Westminster Abbey shall warm their patriotism; your Stratford-on-Avon and Abbotsford shall awaken in their bosoms a depth of emotion in which your own countrymen shall hardly be able to sympathize. Extraordinary physical advantages and the influence of genial institutions shall there give to the human race a rate of increase hitherto unparalleled; but the stream, however much it be widened and prolonged, shall retain the character of the fountain from which it first flowed. Every wave of population that gains upon that vast green wilderness shall bear with it the blood, the speech, and the books of England, and aid in transmitting to the generations that come after it, her arts, her literature, and her laws." If this had been revealed to him, would it not have required all the glow of his imagination and all the strength of his judgment to believe it? Let us who are seeing the fulfilment of this vision, utter the fervent prayer that no sullen clouds of coldness or estrangement may ever obscure these fair relations, and that the madness of man may never mar the benevolent purposes of God.[Pg 622]



[Speech of Samuel Reynolds Hole, Dean of Rochester Cathedral, at a banquet given in his honor by the Lotos Club, New York City, October 27, 1894. Frank R. Lawrence, the President of the Club, in introducing Dean Hole recalled the fact that the Club had had the honor of receiving Dean Stanley and Charles Kingsley.]

Gentlemen:—I can assure you that when I received your invitation, having heard so much of the literary, artistic and social amenities of your famous Club, I resembled in feelings, not in feature, the beautiful bride of Burleigh, when—

"A trouble weighed upon her,
And perplexed her, night and morn,
With the burthen of an honor
Unto which she was not born."

I could have quoted the words of the mate in Hood's "Up the Rhine," when during a storm at sea a titled lady sent for him, and asked him if he could swim. "Yes, my lady," says he, "like a duck." "That being the case," says she, "I shall condescend to lay hold of your arm all night." "Too great an honor for the likes of me," says the mate. [Laughter.]

Even when I came into this building—though I am not a shy man, having been educated at Brazenose College, and preposterously flattered throughout my life, most probably on account of my size,—I had not lost this sense of unworthiness; but your gracious reception has not only reassured me, but has induced the delicious hallucination that, at some period forgotten, in some unconscious condition, I have said something or done something, or written something, which really deserved your approbation. [Applause.] To be serious, I am, of course, aware why this great privi[Pg 623]lege has been conferred upon me. It is because you have associated me with those great men with whom I was in happy intercourse, that you have made my heart glad to-night.

It has ever been my ambition to blend my life, as the great painter does his colors, "with brains, sir;" and I venture to think that such a yearning is a magnificent proof that we are not wholly destitute of this article, as when the poor wounded soldier exclaimed, on hearing the doctor say that he could see his brains: "Oh, please write home and tell father, for he has always said I never had any." [Laughter.] Be that as it may, my appreciation of my superiors has evoked from them a marvellous sympathy, has led to the formation of very precious friendships, and has been my elevator unto the higher abodes of brightness and freshness, as it is to-night.

Yes, my brothers, it is delightful to dwell "with brains, sir," condensed in books in that glorious world, a library—a world which we can traverse without being sick at sea or footsore on land; in which we can reach heights of science without leaving our easy-chair, hear the nightingales, the poets, with no risk of catarrh, survey the great battle-fields of the world unscathed; a world in which we are surrounded by those who, whatever their temporal rank may have been, are its true kings and real nobility, and which places within our reach a wealth more precious than rubies, "for all things thou canst desire are not to be compared with it." In this happy world I met Washington Irving, Fenimore Cooper, Hawthorne, Willis, Longfellow, Whittier and all your great American authors, historical, poetical, pathetic, humorous; and ever since I have rejoiced to hold converse with them. Nevertheless, it is with our living companions, with our fellow-men who love books as we do, that this fruition is complete, and so it comes to pass in the words of one whose name I speak with a full heart, Oliver Wendell Holmes, that "a dinner-table made up of such material as this is the last triumph of civilization over barbarism." [Applause.]

We feel as our witty Bishop (afterward Archbishop) Magee described himself, when he said: "I am just now in such a sweet, genial disposition, that even a curate might play with me." [Great laughter.] We are bold to state[Pg 624] with Artemus Ward, of his regiment composed exclusively of major-generals, that "we will rest muskets with anybody."

"Linger, I cried, O radiant Time, thy pow'r
Hath nothing else to give; life is complete,
Let but the happy present, hour by hour.
Itself remember and itself repeat."

And yet one more quotation we are glad to make, wherewith to make some amends for the stupidity of him who quotes lines most appropriate, by Tennyson, from the "Lotos-Eaters," and repeated by one who has just crossed the Atlantic:—

"We have had enough of action, and of motion we,
Rolled to starboard, rolled to larboard, when the surge was seething free
Where the wallowing monster spouted his foam-fountains in the sea.
Let us swear an oath, and keep it with an equal mind,
In the hollow Lotos-land to live and lie reclined
On the hills, like gods together, careless of mankind."

Now, gentlemen, let me give, "evermore thanks, the exchequer of the poor." [Long applause.]



[Speech of Oliver Wendell Holmes as President of the day, at the annual dinner of the Harvard Alumni Association, in Cambridge, July 19, 1860, inaugurating the practice of public speaking at the "Harvard Dinners." That year also took place the inauguration of President C. Felton, an event to which the speaker alludes in his graceful reference to the "goodly armful of scholarship, experience and fidelity" once more filling the "old chair of office."]

[Pg 625]

Oliver WendelL Holmes

Photogravure after a photograph from life

Brothers, by the side of her who is mother of us all, and Friends, whom she welcomes as her own children:—The older sons of our common parent who should have greeted you from this chair of office, being for different reasons absent, it has become my duty to half fill the place of these honored, but truant, children to the best of my ability—a most grateful office, so far as the expression of kind feeling is concerned; an undesired duty, if I look to the comparisons you must draw between the government of the association existing de jure, and its government de facto. Your President [Robert C. Winthrop] so graces every assembly which he visits, by his presence, his dignity, his suavity, his art of ruling, whether it be the council of a nation, the legislature of a State, or the lively democracy of a dinner-table, that when he enters a meeting like this, it seems as if the chairs stood back of their own will to let him pass to the head of the board, and the table itself, that most intelligent of quadrupeds, the half reasoning mahogany, tipped him a spontaneous welcome to its highest seat, and of itself rapped the assembly to order. [Applause.]

Your first Vice-President [Charles Francis Adams], whose name and growing fame you know so much better than his bodily presentment, has not been able to gratify your eyes and ears by showing you the lineaments and stir[Pg 626]ring you with the tones inherited from men who made their country or shaped its destinies. [Applause.] You and I have no choice therefore, and I must submit to stand in this place of eminence as a speaker, instead of sitting a happy listener with my friends and classmates on the broader platform beneath. Through my lips must flow the gracious welcome of this auspicious day, which brings us all together in this family temple under the benignant smile of our household divinities, around the ancient altar fragrant with the incense of our grateful memories.

This festival is always a joyous occasion. It resembles a scattered family without making any distinction except that which age establishes, an aristocracy of silver hairs which all inherit in their turn, and none is too eager to anticipate. In the great world outside there are and must be differences of lot and position; one has been fortunate, another, toiling as nobly perhaps, has fallen in with adverse currents; one has become famous, his name stares in great letters from the hand-bills of the drama of his generation; another lurks in small type among the supernumeraries. But here we stand in one unbroken row of brotherhood. No symbol establishes a hierarchy that divides one from another; every name which has passed into our golden book, the triennial catalogue, is illuminated and emblazoned in our remembrance and affection with the purple and sunshine of our common Mother's hallowed past and hopeful future.

We have at this time a twofold reason for welcoming the return of our day of festive meeting. The old chair of office, against whose uneasy knobs have rested so many well-compacted spines, whose uncushioned arms have embraced so many stately forms, over whose inheritance of cares and toils have ached so many ample brows, is filled once more with a goodly armful of scholarship, experience and fidelity. The President never dies. Our precious Mother must not be left too long a widow, for the most urgent of reasons. We talk so much about her maternity that we are apt to overlook the fact that a responsible Father is as necessary to the good name of a well-ordered college as to that of a well-regulated household. As children of the College, our thoughts naturally centre on the fact that she has this day put off the weeds of her nominal widowhood, and stands before us radiant in[Pg 627] the adornment of her new espousals. You will not murmur, that, without debating questions of precedence, we turn our eyes upon the new head of the family, to whom our younger brothers are to look as their guide and counsellor as we hope and trust through many long and prosperous years.

Brothers of the Association of the Alumini! Our own existence as a society is so bound up with that of the College whose seal is upon our foreheads, that every blessing we invoke on our parent's head returns like the dew from Heaven upon our own. So closely is the welfare of our beloved Mother knitted to that of her chief counsellor and official consort, that in honoring him we honor her under whose roof we are gathered, at whose breast we have been nurtured, whose fair fame is our glory, whose prosperity is our success, whose lease of long life is the charter of our own perpetuity.

I propose the health of the President of Harvard University: We greet our brother as the happy father of a long line of future alumni.


[Speech of Oliver Wendell Holmes at the banquet of the Boston Merchants' Association at Boston, Mass., May 23, 1884, in honor of the Hon. John Lowell.]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:—It was my intention, when I accepted the public invitation to be with you this evening, to excuse myself from saying a word. I am a professor emeritus, which means pretty nearly the same thing as a tired-out or a worn-out instructor. And I do seriously desire that, having during the last fifty years done my share of work at public entertainments, I may hereafter be permitted, as a post-prandial emeritus, to look on and listen in silence at the festivals to which I may have the honor of being invited—unless, indeed, I may happen to wish to be heard. [Applause.] In that case I trust I may be indulged, as an unspoken speech and an unread poem are apt to "strike in," as some complaints are said to, and cause inward commotions. [Applause.] Judge Lowell's eulogy will be on every one's lips this evening. His soundness,[Pg 628] his fairness, his learning, his devotion to duty, his urbanity,—these are the qualities which have commended him to universal esteem and honor. [Applause.] I will not say more of the living; I wish to speak of the dead.

In respectfully proposing the memory of his great-great-grandmother [laughter], I am speaking of one whom few if any of you can remember. [Laughter.] Yet her face is as familiar to me as that of any member of my household. She looks upon me as I sit at my writing-table; she does not smile, she does not speak; even the green parrot on her hand has never opened his beak; but there she is, calm, unchanging, in her immortal youth, as when the untutored artist fixed her features on the canvas. To think that one little word from the lips of Dorothy Quincy, your great-great-grandmother, my great-grandmother, decided the question whether you and I should be here to-night [laughter], in fact whether we should be anywhere [laughter] at all, or remain two bodiless dreams of nature! But it was Dorothy Quincy's "Yes" or "No" to Edward Jackson which was to settle that important matter—important to both of us, certainly—yes, Your Honor; and I can say truly, as I look at you and remember your career, important to this and the whole American community. [Applause.]

The picture I referred to is but a rude one, and yet I was not ashamed of it when I wrote a copy of verses about it, three or four of which this audience will listen to for the sake of Dorothy's great-grandson. I must alter the pronouns a little, for this occasion only:—

Look not on her with eyes of scorn—
Dorothy Q. was a lady born;
Ay! since the galloping Normans came
England's annals have known her name;
And still to the three-hilled rebel town
Dear is that ancient name's renown,
For many a civic wreath they won,
The youthful sire and the gray-haired son.

O damsel Dorothy! Dorothy Q.!
Strange is the gift (we) owe to you!
Such a gift as never a king
[Pg 629]Save to daughter or son might bring—
All (our) tenure of heart and hand,
All (our) title to house and land;
Mother and sister and child and wife
And joy and sorrow and death and life!

What if a hundred years ago
Those close-shut lips had answered "No!"
When forth the tremulous question came
That cost the maiden her Norman name,
And under the folds that look so still
The bodice swelled with the bosom's thrill—
Should (we) be (we), or could it be
One-tenth (two others) and nine-tenths (we)?

Soft is the breath of a maiden's Yes:
Not the light gossamer stirs with less;
But never a cable that holds so fast
Through all the battles of wave and blast,
And never an echo of speech or song
That lives in the babbling air so long!
There were tones in the voice that whispered then
You may hear to-day in a hundred men.

O lady and lover, now faint and far
Your images hover—and here we are,
Solid and stirring in flesh and bone—
Edwards and Dorothys—all their own—
A goodly record for time to show
Of a syllable whispered so long ago.

[Applause prolonged.]

I give you: "The memory of Dorothy Jackson, born Dorothy Quincy, to whose choice of the right monosyllable we owe the presence of our honored guest and all that his life has achieved for the welfare of the community." [Great applause and cheers.][Pg 630]



[Speech of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, son of the "Autocrat," at the Harvard Alumni Dinner, at Cambridge, June 25, 1884.]

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Alumni:—Another day than this has been consecrated to the memories of the war. On that day we think not of the children of the university or the city, hardly, even, of the children whom the State has lost, but of a mighty brotherhood whose parent was our common country. To-day the college is the centre of all our feeling, and if we refer to the war it is in connection with the college, and not for its own sake that we do so. What then did the college do to justify our speaking of the war now? She sent a few gentlemen into the field, who died there becomingly. I know of nothing more. The great forces which ensured the North success would have been at work even if those men had been absent. Our means of raising money and troops would not have been less, I dare say. The great qualities of the race, too, would still have been there. The greatest qualities, after all, are those of a man, not those of a gentleman, and neither North nor South needed colleges to learn them.

And yet—and yet I think we all feel that, to us, at least, the war would seem less beautiful and inspiring, if those few gentlemen had not died as they did. Look at yonder portrait[7] and yonder bust[8] and tell me if stories such as they commemorate do not add a glory to the bare fact that the strongest legions prevailed. So it has been since wars began. After history has done its best to fix men's thoughts[Pg 631] upon strategy and finance, their eyes have turned and rested on some single romantic figure—some Sidney, some Falkland, some Wolfe, some Montcalm, some Shaw. This is that little touch of the superfluous which is necessary. Necessary as art is necessary, and knowledge which serves no mechanical end. Superfluous only as glory is superfluous, or a bit of red ribbon that a man would die to win.

It has been one merit of Harvard College that it has never quite sunk to believing that its only function was to carry a body of specialists through the first stage of their preparation. About these halls there has always been an aroma of high feeling not to be found or lost in science or Greek—not to be fixed, yet all-pervading. And the warrant of Harvard College for writing the names of its dead graduates upon its tablets is not in the mathematics, the chemistry, the political economy which it taught them, but that, in ways not to be discovered, by traditions not to be written down, it helped men of lofty natures to make good their faculties. I hope and I believe that it will long give such help to its children. I hope and I believe that long after our tears for the dead have been forgotten, this monument to their memory will still give such help to generations to whom it is only a symbol—a symbol of man's destiny and power for duty, but a symbol also of that something more by which duty is swallowed up in generosity, that something more which led men like Shaw to toss life and hope like a flower before the feet of their country and their cause. [Cheers.]


[Speech of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, at a banquet in his honor given by the Suffolk Bar Association, Boston, March 7, 1900, upon his elevation to the Chief Justiceship of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. Justice Holmes, upon rising to the toast of the presiding officer, was received with cheers, the entire company rising.]

Gentlemen of the Suffolk Bar:—The kindness of this reception almost unmans me, and it shakes me the more when taken with a kind of seriousness which the moment has for me. As with a drowning man, the past is telescoped into a minute, and the stages are all here at once in my mind. The day before yesterday I was at the law school, fresh from[Pg 632] the army, arguing cases in a little club with Goulding and Beaman and Peter Olney, and laying the dust of pleading by certain sprinklings which Huntington Jackson, another ex-soldier, and I managed to contrive together. A little later in the day, in Bob Morse's, I saw a real writ, acquired a practical conviction of the difference between assumpsit and trover, and marvelled open-mouthed at the swift certainty with which a master of his business turned it off.

Yesterday I was at the law school again, in the chair instead of on the benches, when my dear partner, Shattuck, came out and told me that in one hour the Governor would submit my name to the council for a judgeship, if notified of my assent. It was a stroke of lightning which changed the whole course of my life.

And the day before yesterday, gentlemen, was thirty-five years, and yesterday was more than eighteen years, ago. I have gone on feeling young, but I have noticed that I have met fewer of the old to whom to show my deference, and recently I was startled by being told that ours is an old bench. Well, I accept the fact, although I find it hard to realize, and I ask myself, what is there to show for this half lifetime that has passed? I look into my book in which I keep a docket of the decisions of the full court which fall to me to write, and find about a thousand cases. A thousand cases, many of them upon trifling or transitory matters, to represent nearly half a lifetime! A thousand cases, when one would have liked to study to the bottom and to say his say on every question which the law ever has presented, and then to go on and invent new problems which should be the test of doctrine, and then to generalize it all and write it in continuous, logical, philosophic exposition, setting forth the whole corpus with its roots in history and its justifications of expedience, real or supposed!

Alas, gentlemen, that is life. I often imagine Shakespeare or Napoleon summing himself up and thinking: "Yes, I have written five thousand lines of solid gold, and a good deal of padding—I, who have covered the milky way with words which outshine the stars!" "Yes, I beat the Austrians in Italy and elsewhere; I made a few brilliant campaigns, and I ended in middle life in a cul-de-sac—I who had dreamed of a world monarchy and of Asiatic power!"[Pg 633] We cannot live in our dreams. We are lucky enough if we can give a sample of our best, and if in our hearts we can feel that it has been nobly done.

Some changes come about in the process: changes not necessarily so much in the nature as in the emphasis of our interest. I do not mean in our wish to make a living and to succeed—of course, we all want those things—but I mean in our ulterior intellectual or spiritual interests, in the ideal part, without which we are but snails or tigers.

One begins with a search for a general point of view. After a time he finds one, and then for a while he is absorbed in testing it, in trying to satisfy himself whether it is true. But after many experiments or investigations, all have come out one way, and his theory is confirmed and settled in his mind; he knows in advance that the next case will be but another verification, and the stimulus of anxious curiosity is gone. He realizes that his branch of knowledge only presents more illustrations of the universal principle; he sees it all as another case of the same old ennui, or the same sublime mystery—for it does not matter what epithets you apply to the whole of things, they are merely judgments of yourself. At this stage the pleasure is no less, perhaps, but it is the pure pleasure of doing the work, irrespective of further aims, and when you reach that stage you reach, as it seems to me, the triune formula of the joy, the duty and the end of life.

It was of this that Malebranche was thinking when he said that, if God held in one hand truth and in the other the pursuit of truth, he would say: "Lord, the truth is for thee alone; give me the pursuit." The joy of life is to put out one's power in some natural and useful or harmless way. There is no other. And the real misery is not to do this. The hell of the old world's literature is to be taxed beyond one's powers. This country has expressed in story—I suppose because it has experienced it in life—a deeper abyss of intellectual asphyxia or vital ennui, when powers conscious of themselves are denied their chance.

The rule of joy and the law of duty seem to me all one. I confess that altruistic and cynically selfish talk seem to me about equally unreal. With all humility, I think "Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might," infinitely more important than the vain attempt to love one's neighbor[Pg 634] as one's self. If you want to hit a bird on the wing, you must have all your will in a focus, you must not be thinking about yourself, and, equally, you must not be thinking about your neighbor; you must be living in your eye on that bird. Every achievement is a bird on the wing.

The joy, the duty, and, I venture to add, the end of life. I speak only of this world, of course, and of the teachings of this world. I do not seek to trench upon the province of spiritual guides. But from the point of view of the world the end of life is life. Life is action, the use of one's powers. As to use them to their height is our joy and duty, so it is the one end that justifies itself. Until lately the best thing that I was able to think of in favor of civilization, apart from blind acceptance of the order of the universe, was that it made possible the artist, the poet, the philosopher, and the man of science. But I think that is not the greatest thing. Now I believe that the greatest thing is a matter that comes directly home to us all. When it is said that we are too much occupied with the means of living to live, I answer that the chief work of civilization is just that it makes the means of living more complex; that it calls for great and combined intellectual efforts, instead of simple, uncoordinated ones, in order that the crowd may be fed and clothed and housed and moved from place to place. Because more complex and intense intellectual efforts mean a fuller and richer life. They mean more life. Life is an end in itself, and the only question as to whether it is worth living is whether you have enough of it.

I will add but a word. We are all very near despair. The sheathing that floats us over its waves is compounded of hope, faith in the unexplainable worth and sure issue of effort, and the deep, sub-conscious content which comes from the exercise of our powers. In the words of a touching negro song: "sometimes I's up, sometimes I's down, sometimes I's almost to the groun'," but these thoughts have carried me, as I hope they will carry the young men who hear me, through long years of doubt, self-distrust and solitude. They do now, for, although it might seem that the day of trial was over, in fact it is renewed each day. The kindness which you have shown me makes me bold in happy moments to believe that the long and passionate struggle has not been quite in vain. [Applause.][Pg 635]



[Speech of Lord Houghton, in response to William Cullen Bryant, at a breakfast given in his honor at the Century Club, New York, October 17, 1875. William Cullen Bryant, President of the Club, presided, and said in part: "Our guest, Lord Houghton, was not born a lord, but he was born a poet, which I take to be something better. Some forty years ago, I think it was, he wandered in Switzerland, Italy and Greece, and the impressions made upon his mind are woven into his beautiful series of poems published under the title of 'Memorials of Many Scenes.' At a later period, perhaps ten years afterward, he traveled in Egypt and the western coast of Asia, and returned, bringing with him a sheaf of 'Palm-Leaves,' a series of charming poems, inspired by the remarkable places which he visited, and by the incidents of his journey. These 'palm-leaves,' let me say, have a perennial verdure, they are yet as green as when they were gathered and still breathe Sabæan odors—the spicy perfume of the Orient—what the old poet Donne calls 'the almighty balm of the early East.' He is now a traveler in our territory, a region almost without antiquities, but of sufficient interest to attract his steps hither. He will doubtless see faults in our social and political condition—the eyes of a stranger are quicker to discern them than our own can be—but let us hope that he will carry back to his native land the recollections of a cordial reception among our people, such as I hope we are ever ready to accord to personal worth, to genius, and to services rendered to the human race. The only time I ever saw Dr. Bowring, which was some thirty years since, when he was a member of Parliament, of the party called Radical, is memorable with me on account of the eulogy of our guest, which he uttered with much warmth and enthusiasm. He praised the generosity of his sentiments and the largeness of his sympathies. 'At his table,' he added, 'you meet with men of various differing opinions; the only title to his hospitality and esteem is personal merit.' The same rule of preference which he applied to the individuals whom he admitted to his friendship, had governed him throughout a long public life in the measures which he had supported. His co-operation and efficient aid have been given to proceedings and measures which contemplate the well-being of the people—to useful and beneficial reforms. In their favor he steadily gave his vote and raised his voice. In honoring him we, there[Pg 636]fore, honor not only the poet, but the philanthropist and the statesman. I propose, therefore, the health of Lord Houghton."]

Mr. Bryant and Gentlemen:—In finding myself here now for the first time, I am agitated by conflicting emotions, by my pleasure in being among you, and by my regret at not having been here before.

In alluding to my poetic experience, Mr. Bryant mentioned that I had passed many years of my early life in Italy, and while he was so doing there arose in my memory a little incident not inapplicable to my present position. I passed some time at Venice; and one summer evening, on the Piazza di San Marco, my attention was attracted by an old man, who walked up and down with a mingled air of wonder and delight, and who, after I had observed him for some moments, came and asked me in the Venetian dialect what streets he was to take toward a certain remote portion of the city. I said I was a foreigner, and that he, being a native of the place, must know its geography better than I could. He then told me that he was there for the first time. He had passed all his life in his own distinct world, there earning his daily bread, and occupied by its little local interests. At last a friend had told him that he must see the Place and Church of San Marco before he died, and put him in a boat and landed him there, and now he wanted to find his way home, charmed and contented.

Gentlemen, I am in the position of that Venetian veteran, and shall return to my country, happy that I have at last found my way to this great place and habitation—the civitas of English-speaking people. Not that I have ever failed to regard this country in many senses as my own, from the time when I took moral comfort from the flight of Mr. Bryant's "Wild Fowl" across the ocean, and took the best lesson of life from the Psalm of Longfellow. Since then I have ever been with you in all your intellectual progress, and in the necessarily checkered course of your constitutional history, and never more than in the late solemn years, in all the national difficulties which you have so energetically, so persistently, and so humanely surmounted.

In looking back to my impressions of those times, I sometimes think that my sympathy with you was not wholly[Pg 637] unselfish, but that I felt that, if I had ever written anything which has a chance of a prolonged existence, I should wish it to be read, not by any distracted and impotent communities of British race, but by America, one and indivisible. And, gentlemen, this is not unnatural, for amid all the divisions or distractions of your history, your literature has ever been patriotic and national. Literature, in truth, has been to you a good and faithful emigrant, reproductive not only of all intellectual growth, but of the sympathies—the largest sympathies—which bind together man to man. It has settled among you every classic writer of British origin, and from the Continent it has brought to you Goethe, Schiller, and Heinrich Heine. It is also noticeable that by the side of these great colonizations of thought you have not refused to receive and to pass to your furthest Territories the humblest addition, the single volume of verse, the chance felicitous expression of combined thought and feeling, even some accidental refrain of song that had pleasantly caught the ear and gone to the heart of man.

And this brings me to say to you one professional word respecting that art and the nature of poetry that you have been kind enough to connect with my name. The greater part of the verses I have written were that product of the lyrical period of youth which is by no means uncommon in modern civilization. It exhibits itself sometimes in the strangest manner, without connection with other culture, or even the most common intellectual opportunities. Of this I happen to have given to the world a signal instance in the volume I published of the poems of David Gray, a Scotch weaver-boy, who, without one advantage beyond the common education of his class, described all the nature within his ken in the highest poetic perfection, and passed away, leaving a most pathetic record of a short life of imaginative sensibility. You can contrast this simple and wayside flower of a faculty with such rich and complete cultivation as it can assume in the efflorescence of Tennyson or Swinburne; but in whatever form you find it, do not the less value the faculty itself. Permit me to say that in no condition of society can it be encouraged and fertilized more usefully than among yourselves. For not only will it bring with it calm and comfort amid all the superabundant activities, ambitions, and[Pg 638] confusions of daily life, but it has also the regulative powers teaching men to divide the sphere of the imagination from that of practical life, and thus obviating the dangers that so often arise from the want of this distinction.

There is no better preservative than the exercise of the poetic faculty from religious hallucinations, from political delusions, and I would say even from financial extravagances. Therefore, through the whole vast range of this new world, be on the watch to look out for and to encourage this great gift to man. Do not be too hard with any imperfections or absence of refinement which may accompany its exhibition. Do not treat it too critically or with too much scholastic censure. Recognize also its value on another ground—the extension and the perpetuation of our great common language—an interest not less dear to every one of us here present than to the future welfare of mankind:—

"Beyond the vague Atlantic deep,
Far as the farthest prairies sweep,
Where mountain wastes the sense appall
Where burns the radiant Western Fall,
One duty lies on old and young—
With filial piety to guard,
As on its greenest native sward,
The glory of the English tongue!

"That ample speech, that subtle speech,
Apt for the needs of all in each,
Strong to endure, yet prompt to bend
Wherever human feelings tend,
Preserve its force, expand its powers,
And through the maze of civil life,
In letters, commerce, e'en in strife,
Remember, it is yours and ours!"
[Pg 639]


[Response of Lord Houghton to the address of Joseph H. Choate at the farewell reception given in honor of Lord Houghton by the Union League Club, New York City, November 23, 1875.]

Mr. Choate and Gentlemen:—Before you spoke I had much difficulty to interpret to myself the meaning of my reception here. So unimportant as I know myself to have been before, in political and social life, I have been surprised at the manner in which I have been received in the United States of America. You, sir, have given an explanation of that problem which I am very thankful to receive. The habit of Americans to welcome Englishmen, whatever may be their position, in itself proves to me that you regard us as something above individuals, and that, somehow or other, you connect us in every way by imagination, if no other, as present with that great country over the Atlantic which was your mother, and which it has been the habit of many of your ancestors to call their home. [Applause.] Mr. Choate has alluded to certain events in my political life, which he says fully justify your kindness and remarkable sympathy of to-day, and on that matter, if there are to be any relations between myself and the Americans, upon that point I can say that I deserve credit. I do not say this with any affectation, because I understand fully your feelings upon that matter. I fully recognize, I completely comprehend, as man to man, that in that day of your greatest trouble, even the small voice that came over the great Atlantic was listened to with extreme pleasure and unexaggerated sympathy.

But when I look to myself, I am bound to say I find extremely little merit in the matter. There was one ground of sympathy between you and the English people, which you had the holiest right to believe would have been absolute and overpowering. The English nation had put itself forward as the great opponent of slavery in the world. [Applause.] It had stated at the Congress of Vienna that the one point which England required as the sine qua non was the abolition of the slave trade. For that purpose[Pg 640] England not only asserted itself, but interfered up to the utmost limit, perhaps beyond the limits of the law of nations, with all the powers of the world. Therefore, you had a perfect right to believe, to suppose, that in a question, in a matter in which we were not only internationally but morally interested, the questions would be fully considered.

Well, gentlemen, I cannot say that it was so. As an individual I have not the right to reproach my country upon that point. That was not my first feeling in the matter. I felt, I knew, slavery was doomed from the civilized world. My heart, my instincts, my sense of the well-being of every civilized state was against the continuance of that institution. [Applause.] I knew, though it was possible—aye, I would fain say probable—that the condition of the slave, under many conditions, under many circumstances, might be better than that of the free laborer of the world, that the condition of the slave owner was incompatible with the highest form of moral culture and highest ambition. I always think that question had political as well as moral and religious considerations, and that, through the unhappy condition of this continent, the question of slavery got so intermixed with the question of property that, however humane, however wise men were, yet nevertheless it would bring with it an incidental condition of cruelty abhorrent to mankind, and that, therefore, that institution could not continue to the end. [Applause.]

But, making a clean breast of it, that was not the bottom of my sympathy. My sympathy with you comes, as Mr. Choate has said, by "an instinct unawares," and this was confirmed by any reasoning and any deductions I might have had. From the imagination of my earliest youth, from the sympathy of the most vivid time, and from the most logical look at the situation in my mature life, I came to the conclusion that the destiny of the present and the future world rests with great and undivided empires. [Applause.] I had lived to see Italy, out of its confusion of States, growing up into a great integrity, renewing the promises of the wonderful classic times and the glory of Rome renovated into a new and prosperous nation. I have lived to see, we have all lived to see, the same process[Pg 641] taking place in Germany. In Germany, notwithstanding the greatest division, the most peculiar separation of religion and even of races, yet nevertheless that great German empire is coming forward as a monument of the civilization of the future world, and as the centre of all Europe against any form of Oriental barbarism. And I knew from the history of my own country that that was no new principle, but one we had always maintained. England never at any moment thought of giving up the principle of the integrity of its empire. You yourselves are the evidences of the energy with which we sustained it. [Prolonged applause.] And we had at our doors, we had within us, another nation, in many points alien to ourselves; of a different race largely, of a different religion almost generally; a nation which we had treated sometimes with kindness, sometimes with harshness, sometimes with justice, and many other times with injustice; but always on the principle of the integrity of the empire. [Applause.] And I could not see how an intelligent man could see what Italy was growing to, prophesy what Germany would become, and, knowing the difficulties of the present Ireland, how that man could wish to destroy the integrity of the United States. Fact and history were against him, and in addition to that I felt that—in favoring or in sustaining your separation, in allowing special and local sympathy to act upon me, instead of the great logic of historical truths—if I could have allowed myself to act in that line of sympathy which would have bound me to my countrymen, I should have felt I had belied the truth of history as well as, I believe, the foundation of general morality. [Great applause.]

Therefore, gentlemen, I have little individual merit for whatever I may have said upon that matter. I tell you that that was the calculation, the best calculation of my own mind, that it was the simple result of the deduction of my own reasoning [applause], and if you have shown me gratitude on this matter I will not say that I have not felt in a certain sense it was not deserved, from the motives I have alluded to. And if, as some cynic has said, gratitude is nothing whatever but the means of securing favors to come, I can assure you that you have accomplished your object [laughter and applause], and if you have desired that, in any means[Pg 642] which Providence has placed in my power, in any influence direct or indirect which I may exert, I shall speak as I have spoken and think as I have thought of the United States of America, you may be well sure that I will do so. [Applause.]

On another occasion when I have been kindly received, I have spoken of my literary sympathy with this country. Every Englishman rightly looks to this country as he would with a sense of appeal to posterity. He feels that if he has said anything, if he has written anything, if he has touched any chord, if he has struck even any verbal assurance that pleases mankind, if you take it up you pass it on; it does not go from tongue to tongue in the little distant Anglia of Europe.

I recognize that I have met in this country men whom I shall be glad to meet anywhere and with whose familiarity I have been honored. And I might say this, that if I were to compare the best men that I have met here with the best men that I have known in Europe, I should say simply this, that the men that I have found here seem to me as equal to the circumstances in which they have been placed, as intelligent in all their relations of life, as noble in their innermost impulses, as just in their expressions, as any I have ever met with in my intercourse with people in Europe. [Applause.] I have been honored with the familiarity of many distinguished men, I have been received with great kindness by your intelligent and able President. I had the fortune, the other day, to sit by the deathbed of that amiable, honest man, your Vice-President [Henry Wilson], in the Capitol at Washington, dying under the portrait of Jefferson. I have seen some of your able men with whom I have been intimate in Europe, and one whom you will allow me to mention above all others, a man whose career I witnessed during the great and stormy times of your troubles in England—Charles Francis Adams [long applause]—whose maintenance of your dignity was concurrent with a sense of the importance of good relations between England and America.

Gentlemen, next year you will celebrate your Centennial, and I have been kindly asked by every person who wished me good-bye to come back to this Centennial. [Laughter.][Pg 643] As for the Centennial itself, I have no particular inclination to come back. I think it is quite right you should have your Centennial, but I do not quite see what an Englishman has to do with it. [Long laughter and applause.] It is a thing which a philosopher might almost make the foundation of a theory, that you who are going to have this magnificent celebration of the one hundredth year of your liberation from the horrible rule of England, at the same time accompany it with the warmest feelings toward the British nation. [Laughter and applause.] Now, if you will clearly understand that this Centennial is to be your last celebration of this kind, and that from that moment you become part of the great community of Europe, then I say it will be a very useful celebration and one which all the world will be ready to honor. Celebrating your independence, you call it. A very noble act at a very noble time! Your repulsion was fully justified by the folly and the stupidity and the ignorance of England.

The causes of England and America are not different, but common to both. You have your own local difficulties, just as we have. You have your own religious difficulties, just as we have. Take a single instance. The question of local taxation—a very serious question with you, a question agitated in the great States. That question is one of the greatest importance that we are at this moment discussing in politics. It is a matter of great interest to us whether local taxation should be entrusted and commissioned to a body of persons specially appointed for that purpose by the Crown, or whether it should be entrusted to certain persons selected by the people. That will be one of the most important questions we shall have to consider in the next session or two of Parliament. It is said that there is great profusion, great waste, in our present arrangement of those matters, and that if our local expenditure were conducted by persons specially appointed for that purpose, it would be cheaper. I don't say more honestly, but more economically managed. This is a question that you are agitating at the present moment, and one that affects the politics of your great cities.

Take again railroads. It is a question whether the railroad should be in the hands of the State or of private com[Pg 644]panies. We are talking about it every day. Our interest in rapid transit has been very much the same as yours. Our rapid transit has not only gone over certain unfortunate persons who stood in the way, but it has gone over ruined hopes and prostrated energies. There is hardly a question that I see agitated in American newspapers that, in one form or another, is not agitated with us. The act of Parliament which restored to England specie payments was met with exactly the same argument, exactly the same controversy, exactly the same speciousness as meet you in this country. We have followed you on the matter of popular education. You have been our teachers in that branch. We are at present following in your footsteps. [Applause.][Pg 645]



[Speech of Julia Ward Howe at the breakfast in celebration of the seventieth birthday of Oliver Wendell Holmes, given by the publishers of the "Atlantic Monthly," Boston, Mass., December 3, 1879. Mrs. Howe sat at the right of Mr. Howells, then the editor of the "Atlantic," who presided at one end of the tables, with Mr. Emerson on his left. Dr. Holmes sat on the right of Mr. Houghton, who presided at the other end of the table, with Mrs. Stowe on his left. Mrs. Howe was called up by the toast, "The girls we have not left behind us."]

Ladies and Gentlemen:—One word in courtesy I must say in replying to so kind a mention as that which is made, not only of me, but of those of my sex who are so happy as to be present here to-day. I think, in looking on this scene, of a certain congress which took place in Paris more than a year ago, and it was called a congress of literary people, gens de lettres. When I heard that this was to take place I immediately bestirred myself to attend its sittings and went at once to the headquarters to find how I might do so. I then learned to my great astonishment that no women were to be included among these gens de lettres, that is, literary people. [Laughter.] Now, we have thought it a very modest phrase sometimes to plead that, whatever women may not be, they are people. [Laughter and applause.] And it would seem to-day that they are recognized as literary people, and I am very glad that you gentlemen have found room for the sisterhood to-day, and have found room to place them so numerously here, and I must say that to my eyes the banquet looks very much more cheerful than it would without them. [Applause.] It looks to me as though it had all blossomed out under a new social influence, and beside each dark stem I see a rose. [Laughter[Pg 646] and applause.] But I must say at once that I came here entirely unprovided with a speech, and, not dreaming of one, yet I came provided with something. I considered myself invited as a sort of grandmother—indeed, I am, and I know a grandmother is usually expected to have something in her pocket. [Laughter and applause.] And I have a very modest tribute to the illustrious person whom we are met to-day to honor. With your leave I will read it. [Applause.]

Thou metamorphic god!
Who mak'st the straight Olympus thy abode,
Hermes to subtle laughter moving,
Apollo with serener loving,
Thou demi-god also!
Who dost all the powers of healing know;
Thou hero who dost wield
The golden sword and shield,—
Shield of a comprehensive mind,
And sword to wound the foes of human kind;

Thou man of noble mould!
Whose metal grows not cold
Beneath the hammer of the hurrying years;
A fiery breath doth blow
Across its fervid glow,
And still its resonance delights our ears;

Loved of thy brilliant mates,
Relinquished to the fates,
Whose spirit music used to chime with thine,
Transfigured in our sight,
Not quenched in death's dark night,
They hold thee in companionship divine.

O autocratic muse!
Soul-rainbow of all hues,
Packed full of service are thy bygone years;
Thy winged steed doth fly
Across the starry sky,
Bearing the lowly burthens of thy tears.

I try this little leap,
Wishing that from the deep,
I might some pearl of song adventurous bring.
Despairing, here I stop,
And my poor offering drop,—
Why stammer I when thou art here to sing?
[Pg 647]



[Speech of Clark Howell at the Peace Jubilee Banquet in Chicago, October 19, 1898, in response to the toast, "Our Reunited Country: North and South."]

Mr. Toastmaster, and My Fellow Countrymen:—In the mountains of my State, in a county remote from the quickening touch of commerce, and railroads and telegraphs—so far removed that the sincerity of its rugged people flows unpolluted from the spring of nature—two vine-covered mounds, nestling in the solemn silence of a country churchyard, suggest the text of my response to the sentiment to which I am to speak to-night. A serious text, Mr. Toastmaster, for an occasion like this, and yet out of it there is life and peace and hope and prosperity, for in the solemn sacrifice of the voiceless grave can the chiefest lesson of the Republic be learned, and the destiny of its real mission be unfolded. So bear with me while I lead you to the rust-stained slab, which for a third of a century—since Chickamauga—has been kissed by the sun as it peeped over the Blue Ridge, melting the tears with which the mourning night had bedewed the inscription:—

"Here lies a Confederate soldier.
He died for his country."

The September day which brought the body of this mountain hero to that home among the hills which had smiled upon his infancy, been gladdened by his youth, and strengthened by his manhood, was an ever memorable one with the sorrowing concourse of friends and neighbors who[Pg 648] followed his shot-riddled body to the grave. And of that number no man gainsaid the honor of his death, lacked full loyalty to the flag for which he fought, or doubted the justice of the cause for which he gave his life.

Thirty-five years have passed; another war has called its roll of martyrs; again the old bell tolls from the crude latticed tower of the settlement church; another great pouring of sympathetic humanity, and this time the body of a son, wrapped in the stars and stripes, is lowered to its everlasting rest beside that of the father who sleeps in the stars and bars.

There were those there who stood by the grave of the Confederate hero years before, and the children of those were there, and of those present no one gainsaid the honor of the death of this hero of El Caney, and none were there but loved, as patriots alone can love, the glorious flag that enshrines the people of a common country as it enshrouds the form that will sleep forever in its blessed folds. And on this tomb will be written:—

"Here lies the son of a Confederate soldier.
He died for his country."

And so it is that between the making of these two graves human hands and human hearts have reached a solution of the vexed problem that has baffled human will and human thought for three decades. Sturdy sons of the South have said to their brothers of the North that the people of the South had long since accepted the arbitrament of the sword to which they had appealed. And likewise the oft-repeated message has come back from the North that peace and good will reigned, and that the wounds of civil dissension were but as sacred memories. Good fellowship was wafted on the wings of commerce and development from those who had worn the blue to those who had worn the gray. Nor were these messages delivered in vain, for they served to pave the way for the complete and absolute elimination of the line of sectional differences by the only process by which such a result was possible. The sentiment of the great majority of the people of the South was rightly spoken in the message of the immortal Hill, and in the burning[Pg 649] eloquence of Henry Grady—both Georgians—the record of whose blessed work for the restoration of peace between the sections becomes a national heritage, and whose names are stamped in enduring impress upon the affection of the people of the Republic.

And yet there were still those among us who believed your course was polite, but insincere, and those among you who assumed that our professed attitude was sentimental and unreal. Bitterness had departed, and sectional hate was no more, but there were those who feared, even if they did not believe, that between the great sections of our greater government there was not the perfect faith and trust and love that both professed; that there was want of the faith that made the American Revolution a successful possibility; that there was want of the trust that crystallized our States into the original Union; that there was lack of the love that bound in unassailable strength the united sisterhood of States that withstood the shock of Civil War. It is true this doubt existed to a greater degree abroad than at home. But to-day the mist of uncertainty has been swept away by the sunlight of events, and there, where doubt obscured before stands in bold relief, commanding the admiration of the whole world, the most glorious type of united strength and sentiment and loyalty known to the history of nations.

Out of the chaos of that civil war had risen a new nation, mighty in the vastness of its limitless resources, the realities within its reach surpassing the dreams of fiction, and eclipsing the fancy of fable—a new nation, yet rosy in the flesh, with the bloom of youth upon its cheeks and the gleam of morning in its eyes. No one questioned that commercial and geographic union had been effected. So had Rome re-united its faltering provinces, maintaining the limit of its imperial jurisdiction by the power of commercial bonds and the majesty of the sword, until in its very vastness it collapsed. The heart of its people did not beat in unison. Nations may be made by the joining of hands, but the measure of their real strength and vitality, like that of the human body, is in the heart. Show me the country whose people are not at heart in sympathy with its institutions, and the fervor of whose patriotism is not bespoken in its flag, and I will show you a ship of state which is sailing in[Pg 650] shallow waters, toward unseen eddies of uncertainty, if not to the open rocks of dismemberment.

Whence was the proof to come, to ourselves as well as to the world, that we were being moved once again by a common impulse, and by the same heart that inspired and gave strength to the hands that smote the British in the days of the Revolution, and again at New Orleans; that made our ships the masters of the seas; that placed our flag on Chapultepec, and widened our domain from ocean to ocean? How was the world to know that the burning fires of patriotism, so essential to national glory and achievement, had not been quenched by the blood spilled by the heroes of both sides of the most desperate struggle known in the history of civil wars? How was the doubt that stood, all unwilling, between outstretched hands and sympathetic hearts, to be, in fact, dispelled?

If from out the caldron of conflict there arose this doubt, only from the crucible of war could come the answer. And, thank God, that answer has been made in the record of the war, the peaceful termination of which we celebrate to-night. Read it in every page of its history; read it in the obliteration of party and sectional lines in the congressional action which called the nation to arms in the defence of prostrate liberty, and for the extension of the sphere of human freedom; read it in the conduct of the distinguished Federal soldier who, as the chief executive of this great Republic,[9] honors this occasion by his presence to-night, and whose appointments in the first commissions issued after war had been declared made manifest the sincerity of his often repeated utterances of complete sectional reconciliation and the elimination of sectional lines in the affairs of government. Differing with him, as I do, on party issues, utterly at variance with the views of his party on economic problems, I sanction with all my heart the obligation that rests on every patriotic citizen to make party second to country, and in the measure that he has been actuated by this broad and patriotic policy he will receive the plaudits of the whole people: "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Portentous indeed have been the developments of the past six months; the national domain has been extended[Pg 651] far into the Caribbean Sea on the south, and to the west it is so near the mainland of Asia that we can hear grating of the process which is grinding the ancient celestial empire into pulp for the machinery of civilization and of progress.

In a very short while the last page of this war will have been written, except for the effect it will have on the future. Our flag now floats over Porto Rico, a part of Cuba, and Manila. It must soon bespeak our sovereignty over the island of Luzon, or possibly over the whole Philippine group. It will, ere long, from the staff on Havana's Morro, cast its shadow on the sunken and twisted frame of the Maine—a grim reminder of the vengeance that awaits any nation that lays unholy hands on an American citizen or violates any sacred American right. It has drawn from an admiring world unstinted applause for the invincible army, that under tropic suns, despite privations and disease, untrained but undismayed, has swept out of their own trenches and routed from their own battlements, like chaff before the wind, the trained forces of a formidable power. It has bodily stripped the past of lustre and defiantly challenged the possibilities of the future in the accomplishment of a matchless navy, whose deeds have struck the universe with consternation and with wonder.

But speaking as a Southerner and an American, I say that this has been as naught compared to the greatest good this war has accomplished. Drawing alike from all sections of the Union for her heroes and her martyrs, depending alike upon north, south, east and west for her glorious victories, and weeping with sympathy with the widows and the stricken mothers wherever they may be, America, incarnated spirit of liberty, stands again to-day the holy emblem of a household in which the children abide in unity, equality, love and peace. The iron sledge of war that rent asunder the links of loyalty and love has welded them together again. Ears that were deaf to loving appeals for the burial of sectional strife have listened and believed when the muster guns have spoken. Hearts that were cold to calls for trust and sympathy have awakened to loving confidence in the baptism of their blood.

Drawing inspiration from the flag of our country, the South has shared not only the dangers, but the glories of[Pg 652] the war. In the death of brave young Bagley at Cardenas, North Carolina furnished the first blood in the tragedy. It was Victor Blue of South Carolina, who, like the Swamp Fox of the Revolution, crossed the fiery path of the enemy at his pleasure, and brought the first official tidings of the situation as it existed in Cuba. It was Brumby, a Georgia boy, the flag lieutenant of Dewey, who first raised the stars and stripes over Manila. It was Alabama that furnished Hobson—glorious Hobson—who accomplished two things the Spanish navy never yet has done—sunk an American ship, and made a Spanish man-of-war securely float.

The South answered the call to arms with its heart, and its heart goes out with that of the North in rejoicing at the result. The demonstration lacking to give the touch of life to the picture has been made. The open sesame that was needed to give insight into the true and loyal hearts both North and South has been spoken. Divided by war, we are united as never before by the same agency, and the union is of hearts as well as hands.

The doubter may scoff, and the pessimist may croak, but even they must take hope at the picture presented in the simple and touching incident of eight Grand Army veterans, with their silvery heads bowed in sympathy, escorting the lifeless body of the Daughter of the Confederacy from Narragansett to its last, long rest at Richmond.

When that great and generous soldier, U. S. Grant, gave back to Lee, crushed, but ever glorious, the sword he had surrendered at Appomattox, that magnanimous deed said to the people of the South: "You are our brothers." But when the present ruler of our grand republic on awakening to the condition of war that confronted him, with his first commission placed the leader's sword in the hands of those gallant confederate commanders, Joe Wheeler and Fitzhugh Lee, he wrote between the lines in living letters of everlasting light the words: "There is but one people of this Union, one flag alone for all."

The South, Mr. Toastmaster, will feel that her sons have been well given, that her blood has been well spilled, if that sentiment is to be indeed the true inspiration of our nation's future. God grant it may be as I believe it will.[Pg 653]



[Speech of William Dean Howells, as editor of the "Atlantic Monthly," at the dinner given to John Greenleaf Whittier, at Boston, Mass., December 17, 1877, in celebration of the poet's seventieth birthday, and in celebration also of the twentieth year of the magazine.]

Gentlemen, Contributors and Friends of The "Atlantic Monthly":—The serious moment has approached which sooner or later arrives at most banquets of the dinner-giving Anglo-Saxon race—a moment when each commensal, like the pampered sacrifice of the Aztecs, suddenly feels that the joys which have flattered him into forgetfulness of his fate are at an end, and that he must now gird himself for expiation. It is ordinarily a moment when the unprepared guest abandons himself to despair, and when even the more prophetic spirit finds memory forsaking it, or the treacherous ideas committed to paper withering away till the manuscript in the breast-pocket rustles sere and sad as the leaves of autumn. But let no one at this table be under a fearful apprehension. This were to little purpose an image of the great republic of letters, if the mind of any citizen might be invaded, and his right to hold his peace denied. Any gentleman being called upon and having nothing to say, can make his silent bow and sit down again without disfavor; he may even do so with a reasonable hope of applause. Reluctant orators, therefore, who are chafing under the dread of being summoned to stand and deliver an extorted eloquence, and who have already begun to meditate reprisals upon the person or the literature of the present speaker, may safely suspend their[Pg 654] preparations; it shall not be his odious duty to molest them.

We are met, gentlemen, upon the seventieth birthday of a man and poet whose fame is dear to us all, but whose modesty at first feared too much the ordeal by praise, to consent to his meeting with us. But he must soon have felt the futility of trying to stay away, of endeavoring to class himself with the absent, who are always wrong. There are renowns to which absence is impossible, and whether he would or no, Whittier must still have been in every heart. Therefore he is here in person, to the unbounded pleasure of those assembled to celebrate this day. I will leave him to the greetings of others, and for my own part will invite the goldenest silence of his sect to muse a fitting tribute to the verse in which a brave and beautiful and lofty life is enshrined.

As to the periodical which unites us all, without rivalry, without jealousy, the publisher has already spoken, and where there is so much for the editor to say he cannot, perhaps, say too little. For twenty years it has represented, and may almost be said to have embodied, American letters. With scarcely an exception, every name known in our literature has won fame from its pages, or has added lustre to them; and an intellectual movement, full of a generous life and of a high ideal, finds its record there in vastly greater measure than in any or all other places. Its career is not only distinguished among American periodicals, but upon the whole is unique. It would not be possible, I think, to point to any other publication of its sort, which so long retained the allegiance of its great founders, and has added so constantly so many names of growing repute to its list of writers. Those who made its renown, as well as those whose renown it has made or is making, are still its frequent contributors, and even in its latest years have done some of their best work in it. If from time to time a valued "Atlantic" writer ceases to appear, he is sure, finally, to reappear; he cannot even die without leaving it a rich legacy of manuscript. All young writers are eager to ally their names with the great memories and presences on its roll of fame; its stamp gives a new contributor immediate currency; it introduces him immediately into the best public,[Pg 655] the best company, the company of those Boston authors who first inspired it with the life so vigorous yet. It was not given us all to be born in Boston, but when we find ourselves in the "Atlantic" we all seem to suffer a sea-change, an æsthetic renaissance; a livelier literary conscience stirs in us; we have its fame at heart; we must do our best for Maga's name as well as for our own hope; we are naturalized Bostonians in the finest and highest sense. With greater reverence and affection than we can express, we younger and youngest writers for the Atlantic regard the early contributors whom we are so proud and glad to meet here, and it is with a peculiar sense of my own unworthiness that I salute them, and join the publishers in welcoming them to this board.

I know very well the difference between an author whom the "Atlantic" has floated and an author who has floated the "Atlantic," and confronted with this disparity I have only an official courage in turning to invoke the poet, the wit, the savant whose invention gave the "Atlantic" its name, and whose genius has prospered an adventurous enterprise. If I did not name him I am sure the common consciousness would summon Dr. Holmes to his feet. I have felt authorized to hail the perpetual autocrat of all the "Breakfast Tables" as the chief author of the "Atlantic's" success, by often hearing the first editor of the magazine assert the fact. This generous praise of his friend—when in a good cause was his praise ever stinted?—might be spoken without fear that his own part would be forgotten. His catholic taste, his subtle sense of beauty, his hearty sympathy and sterling weight of character gave the magazine an impress which it has been the highest care to his successors to keep clear and bright. He imparted to it above all that purpose which I hope is forever inseparable from it, when in his cordial love of good literature he stretched a welcoming grasp of recognition to every young writer, East, West, North, or South, who gave promise of good work. Remembering his kindness in those days to one young writer, very obscure, very remote (whose promise still waits fulfilment), I must not attempt to praise him, lest grateful memories lead me into forbidden paths of autobiography; but when I name Mr. Lowell I am sure you will all look for[Pg 656] some response to Mr. Charles Eliot Norton, a contributor whose work gave peculiar quality and worth to the numbers of the magazine, and whose presence here is a grateful reminder of one with whom he has been so long bound in close ties of amity.[Pg 657]



[Speech of Henry E. Howland at a banquet given by the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York, April 28, 1893, to the Officers of foreign and United States vessels escorting the Spanish caravels to the harbor of New York City. The President of the Chamber of Commerce, Alexander E. Orr, in introducing Judge Howland, said: "Gentlemen, our next toast is 'Russia' and will be responded to by the Hon. Henry E. Howland."]

Mr. President and Gentlemen:—The pleasing duty is assigned me of recognizing the largest and one of the famous powers of Europe, accompanied by the suggestion that my time is limited. The situation is like that of the clergyman who was sent for in great haste by a man who was very ill, and thought the end was approaching. He said to the minister, when he arrived: "I have been a great sinner, I am pretty sick, and I am afraid my time is short, and I want you to pray with me. You must be brief but fervent." [Laughter.]

Most of us who sit at this table, judging from the opportunities I have had of hearing them discourse, fulfil the requirement of Mr. Disraeli's great traveller in that they have seen more than they have remembered and remembered more than they have seen. [Laughter.] But I doubt if in all their experiences they ever sat in a more genial and attractive company than this. We have here in this year of peace the chosen representatives of ten nations, with all the romance of the sea, the splendid histories and traditions of their countries, and their own personal distinction and fame to make them welcome and interesting.

Already have you conquered the land, and from the time you effected a lodgment at Fortress Monroe until you are[Pg 658] hull down on the horizon, on your homeward voyages, your progress will prove to have been a triumphant march into the hearts and homes of the people. [Applause.] You have stores of wisdom and most agreeable experiences to accumulate. Judging from press reports you may have thought you met a fair type of the girls of America at Hampton Roads. [Laughter.] Wait till the wonderful resources of this country in this its richest and unparalleled product are spread before you. [Laughter.] Then you will not wonder at the mysterious power of Helen of Troy, who set nations by the ears, or the fascination of the Queen of the Nile, who made heroes forget their duty and their homes. If you should take any for themselves, alone, we should commend your choice, and though parting with them reluctantly, should wish you God-speed. But if their money should be your object we are just now objecting to the exportation of gold and trying to maintain our reserves. [Laughter.]

Whatever your nationality, you will find a large and prosperous contingent of it in this city, the majority of whose municipal officers, however, belong to that race which looks to Mr. Gladstone as its saviour, and believes that when an Irishman dies it's because there is an angel short. [Great laughter.] You will find here a wonderful power of brag which develops as you seek the setting sun. Some inquiring spirits will be moved to ask you what you think of this country, and, if you visit the World's Fair some adventurous person may ask your opinion of Chicago. It is needless to say that a favorable opinion cannot be too highly colored, and if tinted with vermilion, will conduce to the pleasure of your stay. [Laughter.] You will have little opportunity to admire the wonders of our natural scenery save at Niagara. You will be able to appreciate the reply of an American Naval officer to an English friend in Italy when each had been maintaining the superiority of his own country. Finally the grand spectacle of Mount Vesuvius in eruption, throwing its brilliant rays across the Bay of Naples, burst upon their astonished gaze.

"Now, look at that," said the Englishman. "You haven't got anything in America that comes anywhere near that."

"No," replied the Yankee, "we haven't got Vesuvius, but[Pg 659] we have got a waterfall that could put that thing out in less than five minutes." [Laughter.]

At Chicago your professional instinct will lead you to admire the magnificent turreted battleship which, in consequence of a convention with England that neither shall maintain a fleet upon the Great Lakes, is built upon piles, and of such substantial material that there are fears it cannot withstand the atmospheric concussion from the fire of the big Krupp gun. But I need not rehearse the experiences to come. You would weary in their telling. We shall keep you as long as possible and be loath to part with you. And if we have our way, your experience will be like that of the old lady, who was travelling on the underground railroad in London. Just as they were approaching a station, she said to a gentleman, in the compartment with her: "Will you assist me to alight at this station, sir? I am, as you see, rather stout, and I have a physical infirmity which makes it necessary for me to step out backwards, and every time I try to get out the guard bundles me back into the car, shouts 'All aboard,' shuts the door, and I have gone around this line three times already." [Great laughter.]

At this gate of the continent we begin the pageant of the Columbian Exposition. By the cruel irony of fate the promoters and sponsor of this great display cannot have any hand in the Fair. The Spaniards have a proverb that you can't at the same time ring the bell and be in the procession [laughter]; and although you can make Chicago a seaport by Act of Congress, you cannot get a fleet of six thousand ton ironclads over 1,000 miles of land, even on the Chicago Limited, or the Empire Express. [Laughter.] And so we New Yorkers appropriate this as our private, peculiar, particular Exhibition; as Touchstone says, "A poor thing, sir, but our own."

It is not given to many men in their experience to see such a sight as is now spread before us on the waters of the harbor of New York. The might and majesty of the great nations of the earth are here represented in their fleets which typify the country afloat, as the valor, the ability and the distinction of their officers represent that of their peoples. Former antagonists here float side by side; peace broods over the armored sides of battleships and the feverish lips[Pg 660] of their guns speak only salutes of friendship and courtesy. It is a pity that it is not always so.

Among the flags that float from the mastheads of the fleet in yonder harbor there is one—the blue St. Andrew's Cross—that represents an empire of over 8,000,000 square miles, of more diversified races than any other in Europe; that reaches from the Baltic to the Pacific—from the Arctic to the Black Sea; that receives the allegiance of 103,000,000 of people, and from its great white throne on the shores of the Gulf of Finland directs the destinies of its subjects and shapes the policy of Europe. [Applause.]

That flag is not unfamiliar in these waters. In the battle summer of 1863—thirty years ago—while we were engaged in a life-and-death struggle for national existence and the preservation of the Union, it floated over the fleet of Admiral Lissoffski in this harbor—a signal of friendship, encouragement and protection against foreign interference, pending the settlement of the issues of our Civil War. No diplomatic declaration was made, no threat was uttered, no sign was given; we only knew the flag was there, and if it meant anything, that the power of one of the mightiest nations of Europe was behind it. We now know from what it saved us:—

"When darkness hid the starry skies,
In war's long winter night,
One ray still cheered our straining eyes,
The far-off Northern Light."

No American who loves his country can forget that incident in our hour of agony, nor the friendly significance of that flag. It was an American captain who used the expression which has become historic, when he went to the relief of his English brother-in-arms at the storming of the Pei-Ho forts, that "blood is thicker than water," and while it courses in the veins of a loyal American, he will remember with grateful appreciation the sympathy and the moral support, more powerful than armed battalions or cruisers, of Alexander II, who, like our Lincoln, freed his serfs, and like him, while serving his people, fell by the hand of an assassin.

Gentlemen, who serve His Imperial Majesty the Czar, we salute you and your flag under whatever skies or on what[Pg 661]ever sea it floats. We remind you that we are not ungrateful. The best we have is yours; the Nation presents arms as you pass in review, and as our borders approach each other in the frozen zone so when we meet you here:—

"Though our hearts were dry as the shell on the sand,
They would fill like the goblet I hold in my hand."

"Bleak are our shores in the blast of December,
Fettered and chill is the rivulet's flow,
Throbbing and warm are the hearts that remember
Who was our friend when the world was our foe.

"Fires of the North, in eternal communion
Blend your broad flashes with evening's bright star,
God bless the Empire that loves our great Union!
Strength to her people! Long life to the Czar!"


[Speech of Henry E. Howland, President of the New England Society in the City of New York, at their ninety-fourth annual dinner, New York, December 22, 1899.]

Fellow-members of the New England Society:—It is my agreeable duty to receive this weary, way-worn band of Pilgrims upon the occasion of their 279th landing upon these bleak and arid shores, and, like Samoset on the occasion of your first arrival, to welcome you to the scanty fare and the privations and sufferings that are incident to this ledge of the old Plymouth Rock. [Applause.]

The traditions of the early entertainment of Massasoit and his warriors at Plymouth, lasting several days, to cement a friendship which was never broken, when heavy drafts were made upon the little stock of New England rum, imported Hollands, bear's meat and Indian corn, have here been renewed to such an extent that, like them, we doubtless feel that the "earth is ours and the fulness thereof." [Laughter.] Though, if Plymouth Rock and the Waldorf-Astoria are synonymous terms for fulness, we should think that the latter was the more synonymous of the two. [Laughter.] The surroundings of the two occasions may[Pg 662] differ—velvet carpets, groaning tables, genial temperature and electric lights are an excellent substitute for log floors, a restricted larder, the icy chill and the winter stars. The grim, stern Pilgrim with the austere face and peaked hat, and the lean, wild, loping Indian are here supplanted by a company whose well-rounded figures and genial faces reflect the assurance of the possession of sky-scraping buildings, pipe lines, through lines, warehouses, well-stuffed deposit vaults and comfortable bank accounts [laughter], upon whom smile from the boxes the blessings which, like those of Providence, come from above [applause] and cause us to echo the sentiment unconsciously expressed by the lady who was distributing tracts in the streets of London. She handed one to a cabman; he glanced at it, handed it back, touched his hat and politely said: "Thank you, lady, I am a married man." [Laughter.] She looked nervously at the title, which was, "Abide with me" [laughter], and hurriedly departed. Under this inspiration we agree with the proverb of the Eastern sage: "To be constant in love to one is good; to be constant to many is great." [Laughter.] But we must remember, while the critical eyes of our households are upon us, that our halos will never be too small for our heads. [Laughter.]

Under these favoring conditions we celebrate the glories of our ancestors, the unparalleled results of their achievements, and ourselves. I hope you will find that the only defect in my perfunctory remarks as the presiding officer will be their brevity.

Remembering some past occurrences on occasions like this, we agree with the pupil who was asked by his teacher, "What is the meaning of elocution?" and he answered: "It is the way people are put to death in some States." [Laughter.] But with this array of speakers before you, full of unwonted possibilities, you will not wonder if I feel like the undertaker in Sixth Avenue who displayed a sign in his window: "It is a pleasure to show goods." [Laughter.]

The Society has shared in the all-pervading prosperity which illumines the land with a prospect of its indefinite continuance. It numbers 1,504 members, and its invested funds aggregate the sum of $108,750. It has been liberal in its charitable contributions; it has resisted all attempts[Pg 663] like those made against some of our large life insurance companies to compel it to distribute its surplus [laughter], and, refuting the statement of Lord Chief Justice Coleridge, who said that the "chief duty of trustees was to commit judicious breaches of trust," it has imitated the stern integrity of that bank cashier who upon a warm day sat down on the neighborly side of a sheet of postage stamps, and had to go home and make a change of clothing before he could get his books to balance. [Laughter.] And, taking warning from the slogan of the Bryanized Democracy, which caused a quotation from a message of one of our modern statesmen that "a public office is a public trust," to be met with the cry "Down with the trusts," our treasurer carefully avoids handling United States nickels, for they bear the motto "In God We Trust," and the Society might be met with the same attack and come into disrepute on that account. [Laughter.]

In these days, when the Populist, fusionist, and demagogue is endeavoring, like Mrs. Partington, to sweep back the ocean tide of prosperity with a broom, clogging the wheels of industry and seeking by legislative enactment to reverse the laws of nature and of political economy, which are immutable by Divine decree, we can commend to them the answer of an examiner of a young man who applied for admission to the bar. He failed utterly in questions upon contracts, partnership, corporation law, commercial paper and real estate, and was told so. "Well," he said, "won't you try me on the statutes? I am pretty strong on them." "Well, what's the use," the examiner replied, "when some d—n fool Legislature may repeal all you know." [Laughter and applause.]

Forty-seven members have died during the year. The list is entirely made up of men distinguished in all the pursuits of life—who wrote their names in bright characters upon the history of the City and State, and whose memory will always remain as a precious legacy and an example to those who succeed them. Fourteen had passed the Psalmist's limit of life, and nine had passed their eightieth year. In it are enrolled the names of William H. Appleton, the honored head of the great publishing firm known wherever the English language is spoken, to whose reputation he contributed[Pg 664] so much by his clear intelligence, breadth of views and spotless character.

Isaac H. Bailey, for several years the President of this Society, an honorable merchant and a trusted public officer.

William Dowd, the treasurer of the Society for fifteen years; distinguished in finance and the management of large corporate interests, and endeared to a host of friends by the charm of his genial nature.

Gen. George S. Greene, the oldest living graduate of the West Point Military Academy, who rendered valiant and distinguished service on many battle-fields of the Civil War, who was the faithful and efficient head of the Croton Aqueduct Board for many years; was represented in the military service of his country by several distinguished sons and, until his death, in his ninety-eighth year, retained all his faculties undimmed—a soldier and a citizen of whom his country was justly proud. [Applause.]

Roswell P. Flower, an honored Governor of this State, eminent as a philanthropist and financier, a leader among strong men.

William H. Webb, a pioneer shipbuilder, with a name famous wherever American commerce extended, a rugged, iron man who stood four square to all the winds of heaven, generous and tender-hearted as a child, who for forty-five years never failed in his attendance at the dinners of this Society, and who left a reputation for philanthropy and public spirit unsurpassed in this city of generous giving.

John G. Moore, John Brooks, Edward H. R. Lyman, Edward A. Quintard, Dr. Charles Inslee Pardee, and all the others to whom the limit of time will not allow a tribute worthy of their honorable lives and work.

We do well to recall upon such occasions as this, as an inspiration, the story of the emigration of our Pilgrim ancestors to America, involving, as it does, the whole modern development, diffusion and organization of English liberty, which lives and breathes and burns in legend and in song. It is unparalleled in the annals of the world, in the majesty of its purpose and the poverty of its means, the weakness of the beginning and the grandeur of the result. It is unparalleled in classic or modern history, in its exhibition of courage, patience, persistence, steadfastness in devotion to[Pg 665] principle. Beginning with the hasty flight from Lincolnshire to Holland, the peaceful life in exile, the perilous ocean voyage in a crazy craft in mid-winter, the frail settlement at Plymouth—a shred of the most tenacious life in Europe—floating over the waste of waters and clinging on the bleakest edge of America, beset by Indians, wild beasts and disease, starving, frozen and dying, remote from succor and beyond the knowledge of their kin, like a seed from the Old World floated to the New by ocean currents, containing the elements which, like the mustard seed, should yield a hundred fold and overspread and dominate a continent, until the prophecy familiar to the Pilgrims should be fulfilled: "The desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose, a little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a great nation." [Applause.]

The Archbishop and Ministers of King James, who drove these men and the 26,000 who followed them, the flower of the English Puritans, from England, like Louis XIV, when he sent the Huguenots into exile by the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, furnished an example to that master of the school where the Eton system of flogging prevailed. On a Saturday morning the delinquents were called up to be flogged. One of the boys inquired, "What am I to be punished for, sir?" "I don't know, but your name is down on the list, and I shall have to go through with it," and the flogging was administered. The boy made such a fuss that the master looked over the list on his return to his rooms, to see whether he had made a mistake, and found that he had whipped the confirmation class. [Laughter.]

They brought the foundation of a free people, they converted the wilderness of a continent, they established the New England home, rich only in piety, education, liberty, industry and character, from which has gone out the best inspiration of the Republic they forecast.

There have been times in the later history of the country when the Puritan was not altogether popular, and the feeling entertained toward him and his descendants was expressed like that at a Liberal meeting in Scotland, where the proceedings were being opened by prayer, and the reverend gentleman prayed fervently that "the Liberals might[Pg 666] hang a' thegither." He was interrupted by a loud and irreverent "Amen" from the back of the hall. "Not, O Lord," went on the clergyman, "in the sense which that profane scoffer would have ye to understand, but that they may hang thegither in accord and concord." "I dinna care so much what kind of a cord it is," struck in the voice, "sae lang as it is a strong cord." [Laughter.]

Fortunately for them, and perhaps for the world, opinions differed enough to give them a chance. "You can't always tell," said a man, at the end of a discussion, "what one's neighbors think of him." "I came mighty near knowing once," said a citizen, with a reminiscent look, "but the jury disagreed." [Laughter.] But with the Puritans, when discussion ceased and other arguments began, the result was like that when the lady said to her clergyman, who was paying her an afternoon call, of her little boy, who bore the marks of a struggle: "Johnny has been a bad little boy to-day; he has been fighting and has got a black eye." "So I see," said the clergyman. "Come into the next room with me, Johnny, and I will pray with you." "You had better go home and pray with your own little boy, he has got two black eyes." [Laughter.]

The forty-one families who came in the "Mayflower," and the thousand of English Puritans who came in the next decade, are not entitled to all the credit for the development of the country, for there were others of their kind in Virginia, and, unlike the Boers of the Transvaal, they gave later comers a show. [Laughter and applause.] The process of appropriation by one people of a country, even if they are the first settlers, can be carried too far even for advantage to them or to inspire credulity in its possibility. A returned traveller, relating his adventures, said: "The most remarkable experience I ever had occurred a short time ago in Russia. I was sleighing on the Steppes, miles from my destination, when, to my horror, I found I was pursued by a pack of wolves; I fired blindly into the pack, killing one of them, and, to my relief, saw the others stop to devour him; after doing this, however, they still came on. I repeated the shot, with the same result, and each shot gave me an opportunity to whip up my horses. Finally there was only one wolf left, yet on it came with its fierce eyes glaring in[Pg 667] anticipation of a good hot supper." "Hold on, there," said a man who had been listening, "by your way of reckoning, that last wolf must have had the rest of the pack inside of him." [Laughter.] "Well," said the traveller, "now I remember it, he did wobble a bit." [Laughter.]

It was wise in our forefathers to welcome those who, like them, were pioneers in the wilderness, to give them equal rights and to assimilate them into American citizenship. The qualities of which we boast in our Pilgrim ancestors still linger with their descendants, though among 75,000,000 of people there may not be enough to go around. The expectation of it would be what Dr. Johnson said of a man who had married his third wife, as the "triumph of hope over experience." [Laughter.] But we must, on occasions like this, make some assumptions, like the lady of whom a friend said: "She puts on a good deal of style now she has a box at the opera." "Good gracious," said the other lady, "the woman must put on something when she goes to the opera." [Laughter.]

Too many, it is true, deserve to be under the suspicion expressed by the market-man who was exhibiting his array of "newly-laid eggs, fresh eggs, and plain eggs," to a young housekeeper, who finally asked, as to the latter: "Are these eggs really fresh?" "Well, madam," he replied, "we call them Saturday night eggs; they've tried all the week to be good." [Laughter.] And we are so compromising and tender in dealing with doubtful subjects that we follow the advice given to a man who asked how to tell a bad egg: Well, if you have anything to tell to a bad egg you had better break it gently. [Laughter.] Some have that kind of a conscience which was described by a small boy as the thing that makes you feel sorry when you get found out, and their idea of commercial integrity was expressed by the man who said, proudly, "At last I can look the world in the face as an honest man. I owe no one anything; the last claim against me is outlawed." Some aim high, but from the result they must have shut their eyes when they fired, and although as a Nation we pride ourselves upon our common sense, so that we can truly say not every man is made a fool of, the observer of men and things might say every man has the raw material in him. [Laughter.][Pg 668]

But seriously speaking, we abate in no degree the claim that the best traditions of our forefathers have not degenerated in these modern days. Our hearts beat with a quicker throb at the recollection of the achievements of these last pregnant years; the eye lights with enthusiasm at the sight of the flag whose fluttering folds have witnessed such scenes of danger and inspired such daring deeds, and our voices shout in unison of acclaim the achievements of what a wondering African called "the angry Saxon race." [Applause.]

The people have stood for humanity, honesty, order and progress. Its representatives in civil life have obeyed their behests. The American Regular has shown in his stern resolve, his self-control, his obedience to orders, his contempt of danger, that while he leads a forlorn hope in war, he is the advance guard of liberty and justice, law and order, peace and happiness. [Applause.]

"No State'll call him noble son,
He ain't no lady's pet;
But let a row start anyhow,
They'll send for him, you bet.
He packs his little knapsack up
And starts off in the van,
To start the fight, and start it right,
The Regular Army man."


The gallant officers who, true to the spirit of the service, stood up on the firing line in Cuba and the Philippines, charging heights, wading rivers and storming the trenches at the head of their men, have shed new glory upon the American Army, and none more illustriously than that splendid soldier, Major-General Henry W. Lawton [prolonged applause], who, after a distinguished and brilliant service of nearly forty years in two wars, and continuous Indian fighting, has received the soldier's summons on the field of battle, and given with his life his last pledge of devotion to his country. The flag that covers him never shrouded a finer soldier or a more typical American. [Applause.]

"Close his eyes; his work is done!
What to him is friend or foeman,
Rise of moon or set of sun,
[Pg 669]Hand of man or kiss of woman?

"As man may he fought his fight,
Proved his truth by his endeavor—
Let him sleep in solemn night,
Sleep forever and forever."

Such men have their counterparts in the very pink and flower of the chivalry of England, who face their foe standing, and are now charging full front and fearlessly into the storm of shot and shell that awaits them, deeming it, in the language of young Hubert Hervey, "a grand thing to die for the expansion of the Empire." [Applause.]

The pride of England in its navy, is justly matched by that of every American in his own. [Applause.] Its record, from the days of John Paul Jones to those of Dewey and Sampson [applause and cheers], is unsurpassed in the history of the world. During these hundred glorious years, its whole personnel, from Admiral to blue-jacket, has left upon the pages of history a shining story, stainless, brilliant and undying, of honor, skill, devotion and daring that stirs the heart because inspiring and ennobling. The English poet might justly say:—

"The spirit of our fathers
Shall start from every wave;
For the deck it was their field of fame,
And ocean was their grave."

And the American can as justly reply:—

"Know that thy highest dwells at home, there art
And loyal inspiration spring;
If thou would'st touch the universal heart,
Of thine own country sing."

Remembering its glorious past, its happy, peaceful, prosperous present—for it is the happiest land the sun shines upon—and the auspicious omens for the bright opening future, I ask you to pledge with me its representative head, the Commander-in-Chief of its Army and Navy, the President of the United States. [Toast drunk standing.][Pg 670]



[Speech of Thomas H. Huxley at the annual banquet of the Royal Academy, London, May 5, 1883. Sir Frederic Leighton, President of the Academy, said in introducing him: "With science I couple the name under which we know one of the most fearless, keen and lucid intellects which have ever in this country grappled with the problems of natural science and set them solved before us, the name of Professor Huxley [cheers], a name known far and wide wherever the pregnant science of biology is studied, and through the vehicle of other tongues besides that strong and trenchant English with which he is wont to strike his thoughts so vigorously home."]

Sir Frederic Leighton, Your Royal Highnesses, My Lords and Gentlemen:—I beg leave to thank you for the extremely kind and appreciative manner in which you have received the toast of Science. It is the more grateful to me to hear that toast proposed in an assembly of this kind, because I have noticed of late years a great and growing tendency among those who were once jestingly said to have been born in a pre-scientific age to look upon science as an invading and aggressive force, which if it had its own way would oust from the universe all other pursuits. I think there are many persons who look upon this new birth of our times as a sort of monster rising out of the sea of modern thought with the purpose of devouring the Andromeda of art. And now and then a Perseus, equipped with the shoes of swiftness of the ready writer, with the cap of invisibility of the editorial article, and it may be with the Medusa-head of vituperation, shows himself ready to try conclusions with the scientific dragon. Sir, I hope that Perseus will think better of it [laughter]; first, for his own sake, because the creature is hard of head, strong of jaw, and for some time past has shown a great capacity for going[Pg 671] over and through whatever comes in his way; and secondly, for the sake of justice, for I assure you, of my own personal knowledge that if left alone, the creature is a very debonair and gentle monster. [Laughter.] As for the Andromeda of art, he has the tenderest respect for that lady, and desires nothing more than to see her happily settled and annually producing a flock of such charming children as those we see about us. [Cheers.]

But putting parables aside, I am unable to understand how anyone with a knowledge of mankind can imagine that the growth of science can threaten the development of art in any of its forms. If I understand the matter at all, science and art are the obverse and reverse of Nature's medal, the one expressing the eternal order of things, in terms of feeling, the other in terms of thought. When men no longer love nor hate; when suffering causes no pity, and the tale of great deeds ceases to thrill, when the lily of the field shall seem no longer more beautifully arrayed than Solomon in all his glory, and the awe has vanished from the snow-capped peak and deep ravine, then indeed science may have the world to itself, but it will not be because the monster has devoured art, but because one side of human nature is dead, and because men have lost the half of their ancient and present attributes. [Cheers.][Pg 672]



[Speech of Robert G. Ingersoll at the banquet given in New York City, April 2, 1891, by the Liederkranz Society to Edmund C. Stanton, director of German Opera in New York, and Anton Seidl, orchestral conductor. William Steinway presided, and called upon Robert Ingersoll to speak to the toast, "Music, Noblest of the Arts."]

Robert Green Ingersoll

Photogravure after a photograph from life

Mr. Toast-master:—It is probable that I was selected to speak about music, because, not knowing one note from another, I have no prejudice on the subject. All I can say is, that I know what I like, and, to tell the truth, I like every kind, enjoy it all, from the hand-organ to the orchestra.

Knowing nothing of the science of music, I am not always looking for defects, or listening for discords. As the young robin cheerfully swallows whatever comes, I hear with gladness all that is played.

Music has been, I suppose, a gradual growth, subject to the law of evolution; as nearly everything, with the possible exception of theology, has been and is under this law.

Music may be divided into three kinds: First, the music of simple time, without any particular emphasis—and this may be called the music of the heels; second, music in which time is varied, in which there is the eager haste and the delicious delay, that is, the fast and slow, in accordance with our feelings, with our emotions—and this may be called the music of the heart; third, the music that includes time and emphasis, the hastening and the delay, and something in addition, that produces not only states of feeling, but states of thought. This may be called the music of the head,—the music of the brain.

Music expresses feeling and thought, without language. It was below and before speech, and it is above and beyond [Pg 673]all words. Beneath the waves is the sea—above the clouds is the sky.

Before man found a name for any thought, or thing, he had hopes and fears and passions, and these were rudely expressed in tones.

Of one thing, however, I am certain, and that is, that Music was born of love. Had there never been any human affection, there never could have been uttered a strain of music. Possibly some mother, looking in the eyes of her babe, gave the first melody to the enraptured air.

Language is not subtle enough, tender enough, to express all that we feel; and when language fails, the highest and deepest longings are translated into music. Music is the sunshine—the climate—of the soul, and it floods the heart with a perfect June.

I am also satisfied that the greatest music is the most marvellous mingling of Love and Death. Love is the greatest of all passions, and Death is its shadow. Death gets all its terror from Love, and Love gets its intensity, its radiance, its glory and its rapture from the darkness of Death. Love is a flower that grows on the edge of the grave.

The old music, for the most part, expresses emotion, or feeling, through time and emphasis, and what is known as melody. Most of the old operas consist of a few melodies connected by unmeaning recitative. There should be no unmeaning music. It is as though a writer should suddenly leave his subject and write a paragraph consisting of nothing but a repetition of one word like "the," "the," "the," or "if," "if," "if," varying the repetition of these words, but without meaning,—and then resume the subject of his article.

I am not saying that great music was not produced before Wagner but I am simply endeavoring to show the steps that have been taken. It was necessary that all the music should have been written, in order that the greatest might be produced. The same is true of the drama. Thousands and thousands prepared the way for the supreme dramatist, as millions prepared the way for the supreme composer.

When I read Shakespeare, I am astonished that he has expressed so much with common words, to which he gives new meaning; and so when I hear Wagner, I exclaim: Is it possible that all this is done with common air?[Pg 674]

In Wagner's music there is a touch of chaos that suggests the infinite. The melodies seem strange and changing forms, like summer clouds, and weird harmonies come like sounds from the sea brought by fitful winds, and others moan like waves on desolate shores, and mingled with these, are shouts of joy, with sighs and sobs and ripples of laughter, and the wondrous voices of eternal love.

Wagner is the Shakespeare of Music.

The funeral march for Siegfried is the funeral music for all the dead. Should all the gods die, this music would be perfectly appropriate. It is elemental, universal, eternal.

The love-music in Tristan and Isolde is, like Romeo and Juliet an expression of the human heart for all time. So the love-duet in "The Flying Dutchman" has in it the consecration, the infinite self-denial, of love. The whole heart is given; every note has wings, and rises and poises like an eagle in the heaven of sound.

When I listen to the music of Wagner, I see pictures, forms, glimpses of the perfect, the swell of a hip, the wave of a breast, the glance of an eye. I am in the midst of great galleries. Before me are passing the endless panoramas. I see vast landscapes with valleys of verdure and vine with soaring crags, snow-crowned. I am on the wide seas, where countless billows burst into the whitecaps of joy. I am in the depths of caverns roofed with mighty crags, while through some rent I see the eternal stars. In a moment the music becomes a river of melody, flowing through some wondrous land; suddenly it falls in strange chasms, and the mighty cataract is changed to seven-hued foam.

Great music is always sad, because it tells us of the perfect; and such is the difference between what we are and that which music suggests, that even in the vase of joy we find some tears.

The music of Wagner has color, and when I hear the violins, the morning seems to slowly come. A horn puts a star above the horizon. The night, in the purple hum of the bass, wanders away like some enormous bee across wide fields of dead clover. The light grows whiter as the violins increase. Colors come from other instruments, and then the full orchestra floods the world with day.

Wagner seems not only to have given us new tones, new[Pg 675] combinations, but the moment the orchestra begins to play his music, all the instruments are transfigured. They seem to utter the sounds that they have been longing to utter. The horns run riot; the drums and cymbals join in the general joy; the old bass viols are alive with passion; the 'cellos throb with love; the violins are seized with a divine fury, and the notes rush out as eager for the air as pardoned prisoners for the roads and fields.

The music of Wagner is filled with landscapes. There are some strains, like midnight, thick with constellations, and there are harmonies like islands in the far seas, and others like palms on the desert's edge. His music satisfies the heart and brain. It is not only for memory; not only for the present, but for prophecy.

Wagner was a sculptor, a painter in sound. When he died, the greatest fountain of melody that ever enchanted the world, ceased. His music will instruct and refine forever.

All that I know about the operas of Wagner I have learned from Anton Seidl. I believe that he is the noblest, tenderest and most artistic interpreter of the great composer that has ever lived.[Pg 676]



[Speech of Henry Irving[10] at a banquet given in his honor, London, July 4, 1883, in view of his impending departure for a professional tour of America. The Lord Chief Justice of England, John Duke Coleridge, occupied the chair.]

Menu Card

Photogravure after a design by Thompson Willing

Through the courtesy of the Lotus Club, we are enabled to reproduce this typical dinner card, especially drawn and engraved for a complimentary banquet to Sir Henry Irving. The original card is about three times the size of this reproduction.

My Lord Chief Justice, My Lords and Gentlemen:—I cannot conceive a greater honor entering into the life of any man than the honor you have paid me by assembling here to-night. To look around this room and scan the faces of my distinguished hosts, would stir to its depths a colder nature than mine. It is not in my power, my lords and gentlemen, to thank you for the compliment you have to-night paid me.

"The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hooks of steel."

Never before have I so strongly felt the magic of those words; but you will remember it is also said in the same sentence, "Give thy thoughts no tongue." [Laughter.] And gladly, had it been possible, would I have obeyed that wise injunction to-night. [Renewed laughter.]

The actor is profoundly influenced by precedent, and I cannot forget that many of my predecessors have been nerved by farewell banquets for the honor which awaited them on the other side of the Atlantic; but this occasion I regard as much more than a compliment to myself: I regard it as a tribute to the art which I am proud to serve and I believe that feeling will be shared by the profession to which you have assembled to do honor. [Cheers.] The time has long gone by when there was any need to apologize for the actor's [Pg 677]calling. ["Hear! Hear!"] The world can no more exist without the drama than it can without its sister art, music. The stage gives the readiest response to the demand of human nature to be transported out of itself into the realms of the ideal—not that all our ideals on the stage are realized—none but the artist knows how immeasurably he may fall short of his aim or his conception,—but to have an ideal in art and to strive through one's life to embody it, may be a passion to the actor as it may be to the poet.

Your lordship has spoken most eloquently of my career. Possessed of a generous mind and a high judicial faculty, your lordship has been to-night, I fear, more generous than judicial. But if I have in any way deserved commendation, I am proud that it was as an actor that I won it. As the director of a theatre my experience has been short, but as an actor I have been before the London public for seventeen years; and on one thing I am sure you will all agree—that no actor or manager has ever received from that public more generous and ungrudging encouragement and support. [Cheers.]

Concerning our visit to America, I need hardly say that I am looking forward to it with no common pleasure. It has often been an ambition with English actors to gain the good-will of the English-speaking race, a good-will which is right heartily reciprocated towards our American fellow-workers, when they gratify us by sojourning here. Your God-speed would alone assure me a hearty welcome in any land. But I am not going amongst strangers; I am going amongst friends, and when I, for the first time, touch American ground, I shall receive many a grip of the hand from men whose friendship I am proud to possess. [Cheers.] Concerning our expedition the American people will no doubt exercise an independent judgment—a prejudice of theirs and a habit of long standing [laughter], as your lordship has reminded us, by the fact that to-day is the fourth of July, an anniversary rapidly becoming an English institution. Your lordship is doubtless aware, as to-night has so happily proved, that the stage has reckoned amongst its staunchest supporters many great and distinguished lawyers. There are many lawyers, I am told, in America, and as I am sure that they all deserve to be judges, I am in hopes that they[Pg 678] will materially help me to gain a favorable verdict from the American people. [Cheers and laughter.]

I have given but poor expression to my sense of the honor you have conferred upon me, and upon the comrades associated with me in this our enterprise—an enterprise which, I hope, will favorably show the method and discipline of a company of English actors. On their behalf I thank you, and I also thank you on behalf of the lady who has so adorned the Lyceum stage, and to whose rare gifts your lordship has paid so just and gracious a tribute. The climax of the favor extended to me by my countrymen has been reached to-night. You have set upon me a burden of responsibility, a burden which I gladly and proudly bear. The memory of to-night will be to me a sacred thing, a memory which will, throughout my life, be ever treasured, a memory which will stimulate me to further endeavor, and encourage me to loftier aim. [Loud and continued cheers.]


[Speech of Sir Henry Irving at the fourteenth annual dinner of the Playgoer's Club, London, February 14, 1898. The toast of "The Drama" was proposed by B. W. Findon, and Sir Henry Irving was called upon to respond.]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:—It is five years since I had the pleasure of sitting at your hospitable board and listening to that delightfully soothing and digestive eloquence with which we medicine one another after dinner. [Laughter.] In the course of those five years I daresay we have had many differences of opinion. The playgoer does not always agree with the player, still less with that unfortunate object, the poor actor-manager. But whatever you may have said of me in this interval, and in terms less dulcet, perhaps, than those which your chairman has so generously employed, it is a great satisfaction to me to feel that I still retain your esteem and good-will. In a certain sense you are the manager's constituents. You cannot eject him from the office, perhaps, with that directness which distinguishes the Parliamentary operations. But you can stay away from the theatre, and so eject his play. [Laughter.] On the whole[Pg 679] that is a more disconcerting process than the fiercest criticism. One can always argue with the critics, though on the actor's part I know that is gross presumption. [Laughter.] But you cannot argue with the playgoer who stays away.

I am not making any specific accusations—only remarking that it is staying-power which impresses the importance of the Playgoer's Club upon the managerial mind. Moreover, to meet you like this has the effect of a useful tonic. I can strongly recommend it to some gentlemen who write to the newspapers. [Laughter.] In one journal there was a long correspondence—the sort of thing we generally get at one season of the year—about the condition of the stage, and a well-known writer who, I believe, combines the function of a dramatic critic with the responsibility of a watch-dog to the Navy, informed his readers that the sad decadence of the British Drama was due to the evils of party government. That is certainly an original idea; but I fancy that if the author were to unfold it to this company, he would be told that he had mistaken the Playgoer's Club for the War Office or the Admiralty. Still we ought to be grateful to the man who reveals a perfectly fresh reason for the eternal decline of the drama, though we may not, perhaps, anticipate any revolution in theatrical amusements even from the most thorough-going reform of the British Constitution.

In the public correspondence to which I have referred, a good deal was said about the need for a dramatic conservatoire. If such an institution could be rooted in this country, I have no doubt that it might yield many advantages. Years ago I ventured to suggest that the municipal system might be applied to the theatre, as it is on the Continent, though I do not observe that this is yet a burning question in the county council politics, or that any reforming administrator has discovered that the drama ought to be laid on, like gas or water. [Laughter.] With all our genius for local government we have not yet found, like some Continental peoples, that the municipal theatre is as much a part of the healthy life of the community as the municipal library or museum. ["Hear! hear!"] Whether that development is in store for us I do not know, but I can imagine certain social benefits that would accrue from the municipal incorporation of a dramatic conservatoire. It might check the[Pg 680] rush of incompetent persons into the theatrical profession. Some persons who were intended by Nature to adorn an inviolable privacy are thrust upon us by paragraphers and interviewers, whose existence is a dubious blessing—[laughter]—until it is assumed by censors of the stage that this business is part and parcel of theatrical advertisement.

Columns of this rubbish are printed every week, and many an actor is pestered to death for tit-bits about his ox and his ass and everything that is his. [Laughter.] Occasionally you may read solemn articles about the insatiable vanity of the actor, which must be gratified at any cost, as if vanity were peculiar to any section of humanity. But what this organized gossip really advertises is the industry of the gentlemen who collect it, and the smartness of the papers in which it is circulated. "We learn this," "We have reason to believe"—such forms of intolerable assurance give currency too often to scandalous and lying rumors which I am sure responsible journalism would wish to discourage. But this, I fear, is difficult, for contradiction makes another desirable paragraph, and it is all looked upon as desirable copy. [Laughter.]

Of course, gentlemen, the drama is declining—it always has been declining since the time of Roscius and beyond the palmy days when the famous Elephant Raja was "starred" over the head of W. C. Macready, and the real water tank in the Cataract of the Ganges helped to increase the attractions of John Kemble and Mrs. Siddons. But we ourselves are evidently in a parlous state at the present day, when actors vainly endeavor to struggle through twenty lines of blank verse—when we are told mechanical effects and vast armies of supers make up the production of historical plays—when pathological details, we are told, are always well received—when the "psychonosological" (whatever that may be)—[laughter], is invariably successful—and when Pinero and Grundy's plays do not appeal to men of advanced thought, as I read the other day.

In all the lament about the decline of the drama there is one recurring note: the disastrous influence of long runs. If the manager were not a grossly material person, incapable of ideals, he would take off a successful piece at the height of its popularity and start a fresh experiment. [Laughter.][Pg 681] But he is sunk in the base commercialism of the age, and, sad to relate, he has the sympathies of the dramatic author, who wants to see his piece run say a hundred nights, instead of twenty. I don't know how this spirit of greed is to be subdued, though with the multiplication of Play-houses, long runs may tend to become rare. A municipal subsidy or an obliging millionaire might enable a manager to vary his bill with comparative frequency, when he has persuaded the dramatic author that the run of a play till the crack of doom is incompatible with the interest of art. [Laughter.] I cannot help suspecting that the chief difficulty of a manager, under even the most artistic and least commercial conditions, will always be, not to check the inordinate proportions of success, but to secure plays which may succeed at all.

I hope you will not accuse me of taking a too despondent view of the drama, for believe me, I do not. To be sure, we sometimes hear that Shakespeare is to be annihilated, and that the poet's intellect has been overrated. And lately a reverend gentleman at Hampstead announced his intention of putting down the stage altogether. [Laughter.] The atmosphere of Hampstead seems to be intellectually intoxicating; at any rate it has a rather stimulating effect on a certain kind of dogmatic mind. This intolerance has been very eloquently rebuked by a distinguished man who is an ornament of the Church of England. It is Dean Farrar who says that these pharisaical attacks on the stage are inspired only by "concentrated malice." Well, the periodical misunderstanding to which the stage is exposed need cause but little disquiet. I have no doubt it will survive its many adventures, and that it will owe not a little of its tenacious vitality to your unflagging sympathy and hearty and generous encouragement. [Cheers.]


[Speech of Sir Henry Irving, as Chairman, at the thirty-fifth anniversary dinner of the Newspaper Press Fund, London, May 21, 1898.]

Gentlemen:—When I received the great compliment of an invitation to occupy this chair, I was conscious of a certain ironical fitness in my position. The politician and[Pg 682] the actor divide between them the distinction of supplying the most constant material for the most intimate and searching vigilance of the newspaper press. [Laughter.] So when this great corporation of the newspaper press fund gives its annual dinner, what more natural and fitting than a politician or an actor in the chair, who illustrates in his person and in his own fortunes both the appreciation and the discipline which it is the function of the press so liberally to bestow? I can imagine that when such a chairman happens to be a pretty old stager like myself, there may be journalists in such a distinguished company as this who will look at him with the moistened eye of emotional reminiscence and murmur: "Ah, it was upon that man I fleshed my maiden pen!" [Laughter.] Thoughts like these shed the mellowing influence of time over the volumes of press cuttings which no actor's library is without. I have heard of public men who say they never read the newspapers. That remark has been attributed to a bishop, and perhaps there are kinds of abstinence quite easy to bishops but difficult to other mortals. [Laughter.] If it were possible for a man whose doings are considered worthy of public notice to avoid the newspaper, he could scarcely hope to make his friends practice the same denial. Even a bishop who is not inquisitive must occasionally meet deans and chapters who are. [Laughter.] There's the rub. You may not read the newspapers, but as soon as you scent the morning air you know whether those proverbial little birds who spread the news with such alacrity, are chirping about yourself, and the first feathered acquaintance that you hit upon is generously eager to share with you the crumb picked from a newspaper with a special flavor for your own palate.

Gentlemen, I mention this, not by way of complaint, but simply to illustrate the futility of that philosophy which fondly imagines that the newspaper can be ignored. But I am chiefly conscious to-night of the debt of gratitude we all owe to the press. The newspaper—say what you will of it—is the immediate recorder and interpreter of life. Morning and evening it offers us that perpetual stimulus which makes the zest of living. Be your interests what they may, though you abstract your mind from the tumult of affairs and devote it to art or science, you cannot open a news[Pg 683]paper without the sensation of laying your hand upon the throbbing pulse of the world. And it has throbbed within but a few days, throbbed with a widespread grief at the passing of a great man [Mr. Gladstone], a great statesman, a great and noble figure in productive and national life, who for more than half a century has helped largely to mould the destinies of the nation and the world. [Loud cheers.] Gentlemen, in a newspaper, at a glance, you are in touch with the elemental forces of nature—war, pestilence and famine; you are transported by this printed sheet, as it were the fairy carpet of the Arabian, from capital to capital, from the exultation of one people to the bitter resentment and chagrin of another. You behold on every scale every quality of humanity, everything that piques the sense of mystery, everything that inspires pity, dread, or anger. It is a vast and ever-changing panorama of the raw material of art and literature. [Cheers.]

Well, there are some complaints, gentlemen, that the raw material is more generally interesting than the artistic product. The newspaper is a dangerous competitor of books, and those of us who write plays and produce them may wish that the circulation of a great daily journal would repeat itself at the box-office. [Laughter.] But it is no use protesting against rivalry, if it be the rivalry of life, and the gentlemen of the press who are engaged in stage-managing and drama which, after all, is the real article, must always command more spectators than the humble artists who seek truth in the garb of illusion. I cannot sufficiently admire the enterprise of these great newspapers which keep the diary of mankind. In time of war their representatives are in the thick of danger; and though he may subscribe to the dictum, so familiar to playgoers, that the pen is mightier than the sword, the war correspondent is always ready to give lessons to the enemy with the less majestic weapon. ["Hear! hear!"] In our own military annals no little glory shines on the names of civilians who, in the faithful discharge of duty to a multitude of readers, gave their lives as truly for their country as if they had died in the Queen's uniform. There are veteran campaigners of the press still amongst us, one of the most distinguished of whom is my old and valued friend, Sir William Russell[Pg 684] [cheers], the vice-president of this fund, by whom I have the pleasure of being seated to-night. I say there are many veterans of the press whose services to the British Army will not be forgotten, though they never set a squadron in the field. I have heard it said that in diplomacy the press is sometimes indiscreetly ahead of events [laughter], but you must remember that nothing is so characteristic of the modern spirit as the art of publishing things before they happen. Nowadays all the world is on tiptoe, and the soul of journalism must be prophetic, because it has to do for a curious and wide-eyed public what was done for a much simpler generation by the alchemists and the astrologer. We ought to be thankful that this somewhat perilous business is conducted, on the whole, with so much discretion and breadth of mind. We have no less admiration, gentlemen, for the judgment of our press than for the enterprise which is born of competition, and, although that judgment has often to be framed under conditions which demand almost breathless rapidity, it does not always bear unfavorable comparison with the protracted meditation of the philosophic recluse. [Cheers.]

But there is one thing which the ubiquitous energies of the press cannot command, and that is immunity for its members from the chances of evil fortune, from sickness and decay. ["Hear! Hear!"] I suppose there is no profession which makes such heavy calls upon the bodily and mental vigor of its servants as the profession of the journalist. Whoever nods, he must be always fresh and alert. Whoever is content with the ideas of yesterday, the journalist must be equipped with the ideas of to-morrow. In the course of my life it has been my privilege to number many brilliant journalists amongst my dearest friends, and I sorrowfully call to mind now more than one undaunted spirit who has suffered the penalties of overtaxed strength. It is in these cases that this fund should be of special benefit. It is in your power to give that timely help which saves the exhausted brain and restores the broken nerve. I stand to-night in a place which has been occupied by many distinguished advocates of this fund—advocates who have spoken with eloquence to which I can make no pretension. But I would earnestly impress upon you this thought, than which[Pg 685] no plea can be more eloquent—remember that whatever you may give out of goodness of heart, from the memories of old comradeship, from the thousand and one associations which bind together fellow-workers in various arts and callings, remember that it may be the means some day of snatching from the last despond some one whose hand you have pressed in friendship, and whose voice has an echo in your hearts. I ask you to drink "Prosperity to the Newspaper Press Fund." [Loud cheers.][Pg 686]



[Speech of Richard Claverhouse Jebb, professor in the University of Cambridge, in responding to the toast, "The Interests of Literature," coupled, according to custom, with "The Interests of Science," at the banquet of the Royal Academy, London, May 4, 1885. Sir Frederic Leighton, President of the Academy, said in introducing him: "I invite you to join me in a tribute, never wanting at this table, to science and to letters. With literature I connect the name of a guest whom his grateful country has brought from the far banks of the Clyde to our table to-night—one among the very foremost and most elegant of our scholars; and a speaker on whose lips we trace, though Latin has been the chief vehicle of his oratory, a savor of those Attic orators with whom his name is associated in our minds—Professor Jebb."]

Mr. President, Your Royal Highnesses, My Lords, and Gentlemen:—In responding for the second part of the toast, which has been so eloquently proposed and so graciously received, I trust that I shall have the indulgence of this distinguished company if the words in which the response is tendered are simple and few. It is now just a hundred years since the earliest occupant of the presidential chair which Sir Frederic Leighton so brilliantly adorns, in addressing the students of the Royal Academy, counseled them to practice "the comparison of art with art, and of all arts with the nature of man."

Among the various fields in which literature works, there is none, perhaps, in which the reciprocal influence of art and literature can be more vividly apprehended than in the province of classical study, and especially in the domain of those pursuits which are conversant with the life and thought of ancient Greece. The inheritor of a shapeless mythology and a rude tradition, Homer emerges as the first artist in European poetry, giving clear outline and[Pg 687] beautiful form to types of godhead and heroism. The successor to schools which had rather combated than conquered their material, Phidias, is recalled as the first poet in European art, creating a visible embodiment for the Homeric vision of those imperial brows which made Olympus to tremble at their nod.

England has no Academy of Letters. All the more, perhaps, is it desirable that our literature should be penetrated by those regulative lessons of form, those suggestions of a spiritual harmony, which emanate from an Academy such as this ["Hear! Hear!"]—from a true and noble Academy of arts. It has never been better with art, it has never been better with literature than when each has been most willing to receive the highest teachings of the other, acknowledging the bond of an eternal sisterhood in that Hellenic message for which Keats has found an English voice,—"Beauty is truth, truth beauty." [Cheers.][Pg 688]



[Speech of Joseph Jefferson at a dinner given by the Authors' Club, in honor of the tenth anniversary of its founding, New York, February 28, 1893. Edward Eggleston acted as chairman. On rising to speak, Mr. Jefferson received an enthusiastic greeting.]

Gentlemen:—I need not say how I thank you for this generous greeting. I am very glad that your worthy chairman has defined my position. I knew I was a guest, but I did not know I was an author—however, I will begin my remarks here because I think it is appropriate at an Authors' Club to quote from so able and so lovely a man as Charles Lamb. Charles Lamb has said that the world is divided into two classes, those who are born to borrow and those who are born to lend, and if you happen to be of the latter class, why, do it cheerfully. Now the world seems to be divided into two other classes, those who are always anxious to make speeches and those who are not. If of the latter one, you are rather uncertain of yourself, as I am now, and you have to make a speech, why, do it cheerfully. [Applause.]

Making a speech cheerfully and making a cheerful speech are two very different matters. [Laughter and applause.] You know how dangerous it is for any man to wander away from the legitimate paths of his profession. I fear I have been over-impertinent; I have even been rude enough to exhibit my pictures, impertinent enough to write a book. I have become an author of one book and the authors have kindly admitted me and invited me to their board. To-morrow night, or after to-morrow night, I presume that the orators will invite me to their board. [Applause.] I am almost ashamed of my presumption, and it would serve[Pg 689] me very right if I failed to-morrow night. That will teach me better and I shall extend the field of my operation no further, I assure you.

But it is curious that there is one path in which the actor always wanders—he always likes to be a land-owner. It is a curious thing that the actors of England and—of course in the olden times you must remember that we had none but English actors in this country,—and as soon as they came here, they wanted to own land. They could not do it in England. The elder Booth owned a farm at Bellaire. Thomas Cooper, the celebrated English tragedian, bought a farm near Philadelphia, and it is a positive fact that he is the first man who ever owned a fast trotting horse in America. He used to drive from the farm to rehearsal at the theatre, and I believe has been known on some occasions. when in convivial company, even to drive out at night afterwards. [Laughter.] Following and emulating the example of my illustrious predecessors I became a farmer. I will not allude to my plantation in Louisiana; my overseer takes care of that. I have not heard from him lately but I am told he takes very good care of it. [Laughter.] I trust there was no expression of distrust on my part. But I allude to my farm in New Jersey. I have not been so successful as Mr. Burroughs, but I was attracted by a townsman and I bought a farm in New Jersey. I went out first to examine the soil. I told the honest farmer who was about to sell me this place that I thought the soil looked rather thin; there was a good deal of gravel. He told me that the gravel was the finest thing for drainage in the world. I told him I had heard that, but I had always presumed that if the gravel was underneath it would answer the purpose better. He said: "Not at all; this soil is of that character that it will drain both ways," by what he termed I think catepillary attraction. [Laughter.] I bought the farm and set myself to work to increase the breadth of my shoulders, to help my appetite, and so forth, about work of a farm. I even went so far as to emulate the example set by Mr. Burroughs, and split the wood. I did not succeed at that. Of course, as Mr. Burroughs wisely remarks, the heat comes at both ends; it comes when you split the wood and again when you burn it. But as I only lived at my farm during[Pg 690] the summer time, it became quite unnecessary in New Jersey to split wood in July, and my farming operations were not successful.

We bought an immense quantity of chickens and they all turned out to be roosters [laughter]; but I resolved—I presume as William Nye says about the farm—to carry it on; I would carry on that farm as long as my wife's money lasted. [Laughter.] A great mishap was when my Alderney bull got into the greenhouse. There was nothing to stop him but the cactus. He tossed the flower-pots right and left. Talk about the flowers that bloom in the spring,—why, I never saw such a wreck, and I am fully convinced that there is nothing that will stop a thoroughly well-bred bull but a full-bred South American cactus. [Laughter.] I went down to look at the ruins and the devastation that this animal had made, and I found him quietly eating black Hamburg grapes. I don't know anything finer than black Hamburg grapes for Alderney bulls. A friend of mine, who was chaffing me for my farming proclivities, said: "I see you have got in some confusion here. It looks to me from seeing that gentleman there—that stranger in the greenhouse—that you are trying to raise early bulls under glass." [Laughter.]

Well, I will not tire you with these experiences. I can only congratulate Mr. Burroughs upon his success, and I beg that you will sympathize with me upon my failure; and now then allow me to conclude my crude remarks by thanking you for the very kind manner in which you have listened to my remarks and my experiences. I assure you—they are all of them true. And I thank you, sir, for your kind introduction, which I am afraid I do not deserve. And so, gentlemen, I wish you success and happiness, and long life to your honorable Club. [Long-continued applause.][Pg 691]


[Speech of Joseph Jefferson at the annual banquet held on Founders' Night at the Players' Club, New York City, December 30, 1893. This was the first time that Mr. Jefferson, the newly-elected President, spoke to his fellow-players in his official capacity.]

Fellow-Players:—Founders' Night should be of joy, unshaded by the slightest tinge of gloom. I know this, but how can I speak to-night without a loving reference to the one whose gift we now hold—a gift in which our children and theirs for many generations will take pride, delight and comfort. It would be a twice-told tale to rehearse the career of Edwin Booth. You are as familiar with it as I am. But there are incidents in his early life that may interest you, and possibly that no one but myself could tell you.

An early remembrance of the stage brings before me the figure of the elder Booth. When I was but five years of age I acted the Duke of York to his Richard III. You may think it strange that I remember this circumstance; but even a child as young as I was could not have stood in the presence of this superb and magnetic actor without being indelibly impressed with the scene. His son, Edwin, was then just born. We first met when he was a handsome youth of sixteen. A lithe and graceful figure, buoyant in spirits, and with the loveliest eyes I ever looked upon. We were friends from the first, and it is a comfort to me to know that our friendship lasted nearly half a century, unbroken by a single act or word. His early performances upon the stage did not give much promise, and there were grave fears that he had not inherited the genius of his father. But after the death of that father young Booth's friends and the public were suddenly startled by the news from across the Continent that a new star had arisen, not in the East, but in the West, and was wending its way homeward.

In 1854 I became the stage manager for Henry C. Jarrett in Baltimore. That gentleman is a member of our Club[Pg 692] and now stands before me. He one day brought a young girl who had been given to his care and placed her in mine—a beautiful child, but fifteen years of age. Her family, a most estimable one, had met with some reverse, and she had decided to go upon the stage to relieve them from the burden of her support, and possibly to contribute to the comfort of her father. This loving duty she faithfully performed. She lived in my family as the companion of my wife for three years, and during that time became one of the leading actresses of the stage. One morning I said to her: "To-morrow you are to rehearse Juliet to the Romeo of our new and rising young tragedian." At this distance I can scarcely say whether I had or had not a premonition of the future, but I knew at the conclusion of that rehearsal that Edwin Booth and Mary Devlin would soon be man and wife; and so it came about, for at the end of the week he came to me in the green-room, with his affianced bride by the hand, and with a quaint smile they fell upon their knees in a mock-heroic manner, as though acting a scene in the play, and said: "Father, your blessing," to which I replied in the same mock-heroic vein, extending my hands like the old Friar: "Bless you, my children!" Shortly they were married. We know that his life was filled with histrionic triumphs and domestic bereavements.

May I not speak here of this gift of the Players? It is comparatively easy for those who are rocked in a golden cradle, and who at their birth are endowed with great wealth, to dispense their bounty. I do not desire to disparage the generosity of the rich. Those of our land have done much good, are now freely dispensing their wealth, and will continue to do so; but we must remember that the fortune of Edwin was not inherited. The walls within which we stand, the art, the library, and the comforts that surround us, represent a life of toil and travel, sleepless nights, tedious journeys and weary work; so that when he bestowed upon us this Club it was not his wealth only, but it was himself that he gave.

But a few years ago he was (though rich in genius) poor in pocket. He had been wealthy, and had seen the grand dramatic structure he had reared taken from him and devastated. His reverse of fortune was from no fault of his[Pg 693] own, but from a confiding nature. When he again, by arduous toil, accumulated wealth, one would have supposed that the thoughts of his former reverses would have startled him and that he would have clutched his newly-acquired gold and garnered it to himself, fearful lest another stroke of ill-fortune should fall upon him. But instead of making him a coward it gave him courage. It did not warp his mind or steel his heart against humanity. No sterility settled upon him. His wrongs seemed to have fertilized his generosity, and here we behold the fruit.

When the stranger comes here and asks us for the monument of Edwin Booth we can say: "Look around you." For some time past he had looked forward calmly to his dissolution. One year ago to-night in this room, and at this very hour, he said to me the memorable words: "They drink to my health to-night, Joe. When they meet again, it will be to my memory."

Two years ago last autumn, we walked on the sea beach together, and with a strange and prophetic kind of poetry, he likened the scene to his own failing health, the falling leaves, the withered sea-weed, the dying grass upon the shore, and the ebbing tide that was fast receding from us. He told me that he felt prepared to go, for he had forgiven his enemies, and could even rejoice in their happiness. Surely this was a grand condition in which to step from this world across the threshold to the next![Pg 694]



[Speech of Horatio Herbert, Lord Kitchener, at a banquet given by the Lord Mayor of London, at the Mansion House, London, November 4, 1898, in celebration of the campaign in the Sudan and the successful recovery of Khartum from the Dervishes, thereby avenging the death of General Gordon. Lord Salisbury, in a brilliant speech, proposed the health of Lord Kitchener, to which the latter replied with the speech that follows.]

My Lord Mayor, Your Royal Highnesses, My Lords And Gentlemen:—It is not easy for me to find words to express the gratitude I feel for the manner in which the toast proposed by Lord Salisbury has been received by this magnificent audience, or for the too kind and too flattering words in which it has been recommended to your notice. Such a recognition by such an audience is more than sufficient recompense for any services which it may have been my good fortune to render. But, my lords and gentlemen, I am fully aware that it is not in my individual capacity but as representing the Anglo-Egyptian army that this great honor has been done me. [Cheers.] It is to the excellent and devoted services of the troops that the success of the campaign is due. A general would have been indeed incapable who failed to lead such men to victory; for it was not only, nor even principally, on the day of battle, that the great qualities of these troops were displayed. The cheerful endurance and soldier-like spirit with which they bore long delay during the Sudan summer, between the battle of Atbara and the advance on Omdurman, was as high a test of discipline and efficiency as the endurance exhibited in the long marches, or the courage shown at[Pg 695] the trenches at Atbara or on the plains of Omdurman. [Cheers.]

A man may be proud indeed whose good fortune has placed him in command of troops capable of deeds like these. And remember, my lords and gentlemen, I include in this not merely the British army but the Egyptian army also. [Loud cheers.] For, proud as I may well be of having commanded the British troops in the Sudan, I am no less proud of having as Sirdar led the Egyptian and Sudanese troops to victory, side by side with men of my own race and blood. It is on behalf of those and the combined forces that are absent as well as those that are present that I desire to tender you our sincere thanks for the great honor you have done us. It has been contended and in former days with some plausibility, that the material from which the Egyptian army is recruited is not capable of being made into good soldiers, but we in the Egyptian army never held that view; we felt confidence in our men, and that confidence has been justified. We tested them at Gemeizeh, Tokar, Toski, Ferkeh, and Abu Hamed, and were not disappointed; and under the circumstances, perhaps the most competent military critics, the Dervishes [laughter] showed no disposition to underrate the fighting power of our men. And when the rôle was changed and from the defensive we were able to take the offensive they soon acquired that respect for the Egyptian soldiers that all good troops engender in the minds of their opponents. [Cheers.]

I had to give the Egyptian army arduous work. They had to construct the railway; they had to build gunboats, and sailing craft through the dangerous cataracts, they had to be on incessant fatigues, moving stores and cutting wood for the steamers. It may be fairly said that had it not been for the work of the Egyptian army the British troops could not have reached Omdurman without far greater suffering and loss of life, and it was not only in these pioneer duties that the Egyptian army distinguished themselves, for when they came in contact with the enemy their discipline, steadiness and courage were prominently displayed. At Ferkeh, and at Abu Hamed, they, with the Sudanese troops, turned the Dervishes out of their positions. At Atbara,[Pg 696] they were not behind their British comrades, and at Omdurman, when Macdonald's brigade repulsed the fierce and determined attacks that were brought against them, I am sure that the thought occurred to the mind of every officer in the British brigades, who saw it: "We might have done it as well; we could not have done it better." ["Hear! Hear!"] And how was this obtained? By good training, good discipline and mutual confidence between officers and men. It was on these lines that the army was formed and organized under Sir Evelyn Wood and Sir Francis Grenfell, and I, with the assistance of the finest body of officers that the British army can produce, have merely followed in their footsteps, and developed the principles that they had already laid down.

There is one other point to which I would like to refer before bringing a speech which may have already been too long ["No! No!"] to a conclusion. In this great commercial centre it may be of interest if I allude to the financial side of the campaign. Although the accounts have not yet been absolutely closed, you may take it as very nearly accurate that during the two and a half years' campaign, extra military credits to the amount of two and a half millions have been expended. In this sum I have included the recent grant that has been made for the extension of the railway from Atbara to Khartum, the work on which is already on hand. Well, against this large expenditure we have some assets to show. We have, or shall have, 760 miles of railway, properly equipped with engines, rolling stock, and a track with bridges in good order. I must admit that the railway stations and waiting-rooms are somewhat primitive, but then we do not wait long in the Sudan. [Laughter.] Well, for this running concern I do not think that £3,000 a mile will be considered too high a value. This represents two and a half millions out of the money granted, and for the other quarter of a million, we have 2,000 miles of telegraph lines, six new gunboats, besides barges and sailing craft, and—the Sudan. [Laughter and cheers.]

Of course the railway did not cost me £3,000 a mile to construct, and many other heavy charges for warlike stores, supplies and transport on our long line of communication, including sea transports of troops from England and else[Pg 697]where had to be made; but however it was done the result remains the same. We have freed the vast territories of the Sudan from the most cruel tyranny the world has ever known, and we have hoisted the Egyptian and British flags at Khartum, never, I hope, to be hauled down. I have again to thank you, my Lord Mayor, for the great honor done us on this occasion. I have only one regret which, I feel sure, is shared by all present, and which has been given expression to by Lord Rosebery and Lord Salisbury, and that is, that Lord Cromer, who has supported me during the last two and a half years, is not here to support me to-night and to receive in person the thanks to which he is so justly entitled, and which, I am sure, you would willingly have given. [Loud cheers.][Pg 698]



[Speech of Andrew Lang at the annual banquet of the Royal Academy, London, May 6, 1894. This speech on some of the aspects of modern fiction was delivered by Mr. Lang in response to the toast "The Interests of Literature," regularly proposed on these occasions. The President of the Academy, Sir Frederic Leighton, said in introducing Mr. Lang: "Your Royal Highness, My Lords and Gentlemen: Let us drink to the honor of science and of letters. If of the latter it may be affirmed without fear that few things are more often misapprehended than their true relation to art, it is not less certain that no body of men are more than artists responsive to their stimulating force. How closely science, which is knowledge, is interwoven on many sides with art, it is needless here to say. In the name of letters I have to call upon one of the most versatile of their votaries, a man whose nimble intellect plays with luminous ease round many and various subjects; delicate as a poet, acute and picturesque as a critic, a sparkling journalist, no one has pursued with more earnest and more fruitful zeal the graver study of the birth and evolution of natural myths than Mr. Andrew Lang, to whom I turn for response."]

Your Royal Highness, Mr. President, My Lords And Gentlemen:—He to whom it falls or rather on whom falls the task of replying for English literature may well feel ground to dust by the ponderous honor. Who can be the representative of such a Parnassian constituency of divine poets, philosophers, romancers, historians, from Beowulf to the last new novel? The consciousness is crushing. The momentary representative feels himself to be like Mr. Chevy Slyme "the most littery fellow in the world," who is over-borne like the bride of the Lord of Burleigh—

"By the burden of an honor
Unto which she was not born."

Naturally he flies to thoughts which whisper of humility. He finds them easily. In the first place literature is but a[Pg 699] very insignificant flake on the foam of the wave of the world. As Mr. Pepys reminds us, most people please themselves "with easy delights of the world, eating, drinking, dancing, hunting, fencing," and not with book learning. Easy he calls them! I wish they were:—

"I cannot eat but little meat,
My stomach is not good."

Still less can I dance or hunt. Yet to the general public these things come easier than reading; and their good-humored contempt keeps us poor "littery gents" in our proper place and frame of mind. I have lately read somewhere about a man of letters who conceived himself to be the idol of the great and good-natured American people. They sent him the kindest letters, they invited him to lecture, but ah! when his publishers' accounts came in, he found there "To American sales: six and twopence!" [Laughter.] Here is matter for mortification!

Again, one is not so much to speak for English literature as to speak about it; one is not a representative but a reporter; we critics are but the cagots or despised pariah class in the world of letters. If we ever give in to the belief that we might attempt something creative, we, like the insects celebrated by the poet, "have lesser" critics upon our backs to bite us [laughter] and to remind us of our limitations. Our function in the game is like that of the scorers and umpires at Lords or the Oval; men of accurate intellectual habit, and incorruptible integrity from whom not much is to be expected with bat or ball. We are not to do anything "off our own bats." For these reasons I only talk humbly of literature as an interested professional observer. When the philosopher Square spoke of religion, he meant the true religion, and when he said the true religion he indicated the Protestant religion, and by the Protestant religion he meant the religion of the Church of England. In the same way if I venture a few remarks on English literature I mean modern English literature, and by modern English literature I mean modern English novels.

We are indeed quite destitute of poets. As Henry V is said by a French chronicler to have ennobled all his army[Pg 700] on the eve of Agincourt, so perhaps it might be well to make all our poets poets-laureate [laughter]—there must be a sip for each of them in the butt of malmsey or sack. But when the general public says "literature" the general public means fiction.

Now, though I have some optimistic remarks to end with, it does appear to myself that the British novel suffers from diverse banes or curses. The first is the spread of elementary education. Too many naturally non-literary people of all ranks are now goaded into acquiring a knowledge of the invention of Cadmus. When nobody could read, except people whose own literary nature impelled them to learn, better books were written, because the public, if relatively few, was absolutely fit. Secondly, these new educated people insist on our national cursed "actuality." They live solely in the distracted moment, whereas true literature lives in the absolute; in the past that perhaps never was present, and that is eternal; "lives in fantasy."

Shakespeare did not write plays about contemporary problems. The Greek dramatists deliberately chose their topics in the tales of Troy and Thebes and Atreus's line. The very Fijians, as Mr. Paisley Thomson informs us, "will tell of gods and giants and canoes greater than mountains and of women fairer than the women of these days, and of doings so strange that the jaws of the listeners fall apart." They do not deal with "problems" about the propriety of cannibalism or the casuistry of polygamy [Laughter.] The Athenians fined for his modernité the author of a play on the fall of Miletus because he reminded them of their misfortunes. But many of our novelists do nothing but remind us of our misfortunes. Novels are becoming tracts on parish councils, free love and other inflammatory topics [laughter], and the reason of this ruin is that the vast and the naturally non-literary majority can now read, and of course can only read about the actual, about the noisy wrangling moment. This is the bane of the actual.

Of course I do not maintain that contemporary life is tabooed against novelists, but if novels of contemporary life are to be literature, are to be permanent, that life must either be treated in the spirit of romance and fantasy as by Balzac and the colossally fantastic Zola; or in the spirit of[Pg 701] humor as by Charles de Bernard, Fielding, Thackeray, Dickens. The thrifty plan of giving us sermons, politics, fiction, all in one stodgy sandwich [laughter] produces no permanent literature, produces but temporary "Tracts for the Times."

Fortunately we have among us many novelists—young ones luckily—who are true to the primitive and eternal Fijian canons of fiction. [Laughter.] We have Oriental romance from the author of "Plain Tales from the Hills." We have the humor and tenderness—certainly not Fijian I admit—which produced the masterpiece, "A Window in Thrums." We have the adventurous fancy that gives us "A Gentleman of France," "The Master of Ballantrae," "Micah Clarke," "The Raiders," "The Prisoner of Zenda," and the truly primeval or troglodyte imagination which, as we read of a fight between a knob-nosed Kaffir dwarf and a sacred crocodile, brings us in touch with the first hearers of Heracles's or Beowulf's or Grettir's deeds, "so strange that the jaws of the listeners fall apart." Thus we possess outlets for escape from ourselves and from to-day. We can still dwell now and then in the same air of pleasure as our fathers have breathed since the days of Homer.

Such are the rather intolerant ideas of a bookworm who by no means grudges the pleasure which other readers receive from what does not please him to enthusiasm. And pleasure, not edification, is the end of all art. We are all pleased when we write; the public of one enthusiast every author enjoys, and the literary men who depreciate the joys of their own art or profession may not be consciously uncandid, but they are decidedly perverse. [Laughter and applause.][Pg 702]



[Speech of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Premier of Canada, at a banquet given by the Imperial Institute to the Colonial Premiers, London, June 18, 1897, on the occasion of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee. The Prince of Wales presided. In introducing Sir Wilfrid Laurier, he said: "Gentlemen, this is not the time nor is it necessary to allude to the loyalty of our great colonies. We have heard what has been spoken here to-night, and we shall hear still more. We know that our colonies look toward the mother country with affection; and in the hour of need and danger I feel convinced that they will always come forward to our assistance. [Cheers.] During the remarkable record reign of Her Majesty the Queen great changes have occurred. When she came to the throne, there were only thirty-two colonies; now there are sixty-five. [Cheers.] As Lord Lansdowne has said we have met here in times of peace. God grant that it may last, but should the occasion come when our national flag is endangered I have but little doubt, gentlemen, that the colonies will unite like one man to maintain what exists and what I hope will remain forever as integral parts of the British Empire. It is now my pleasant duty to propose the toast of the evening: 'Our Guests the Colonial Premiers.' We welcome them as ourselves. We hope that their stay here may not be made in any way irksome to them. I feel sure that no one will be more grateful than the Queen herself to see that these gentlemen have come here on the invitation of the Colonial Office to do honor to a great epoch in our history. This toast we connect with the health of the Hon. Wilfrid Laurier. I now beg you with all the honors to drink this toast—'Our Guests, I may say, our friends, the Colonial Premiers.'"]

Your Royal Highness, My Lords and Gentlemen:—The toast which your Royal Highness has just proposed in such graceful terms is one which is important at all times and opens a subject which at the present time perhaps more than at any other engrosses and absorbs the minds of all thinking men. ["Hear! Hear!"] During the few days in which my colleagues and myself have had the privilege to be in England, we have had hourly evidences that the Colonies at the present moment occupied no small part in the[Pg 703] affections of the people of England. [Cheers.] Sir, Colonies were born to become nations. In my own country, and perhaps also in England, it has been observed that Canada has a population which in some instances exceeds, in many others, rivals the populations of independent nations, and it has been said that perhaps the time might come when Canada might become a nation of itself. My answer is this simply: Canada is a nation. [Cheers.] Canada is free, and freedom is its nationality. Although Canada acknowledges the suzerainty of a Sovereign Power, I am here to say that independence can give us no more rights than we have at present. ["Hear! Hear!"]

Lord Lansdowne has spoken of a day when perhaps our Empire might be in danger. England has proved at all times that she can fight her own battles, but if a day were ever to come when England was in danger, let the bugle sound, let the fires be lit, on the hills and in all parts of the Colonies, though we might not be able to do much, whatever we can do shall be done by the Colonies to help her. [Cheers.] From all parts of this country since I have been here, both in conversation and in letters, I have been asked if the sentiments of the French population of Canada were characterized by absolute loyalty towards the British Empire. I have been reminded that feuds of race are long and hard to die, and that the feuds of France—the land of my ancestors—with England have lasted during many generations. Let me say at once that though it be true that the wars of France and England have their place in history, it was the privilege of the men of our generation to see the banners of France and England entwined together victoriously on the banks of the Alma, on the heights of Inkerman, and on the walls of Sebastopol. [Cheers.]

It is true that during the last century and the century before, a long war, a long duel, I might call it, was waged between England and France for the possession of North America, but in the last battle that took place on the plains of Abraham, both generals, the one who won and the one who failed, fell. If you go to the city of Quebec, you will see a monument erected in commemoration of that battle. What is the character of that monument? Monuments to record victories are not scarce in England or in France; but[Pg 704] such a monument as this which is in Quebec, I do not think you will find in any other part of the world, for it is a monument not only to him who won but also to him who failed. [Cheers.] It is a monument dedicated to the memory of Wolfe and Montcalm, and the dedication, which is one of the noblest and best of the kind, not only for the sentiments which it records but also as a literary expression, is as follows: "Mortem virtus communem famam historia monumentum posteritas dedit." Here is a monument to the two races equal in fame, courage, and glory, and that equality exists at the present time in Canada. In this you have the sentiments of my countrymen—we are equal to-day with those who won on the battle-field on the plains of Abraham. It is by such acts that England has won the hearts of my fellow-countrymen; it is by such acts that she can ever claim our loyalty. Your Royal Highness, let me now thank you from the bottom of my heart for the kind words you have just spoken. Your Royal Highness has been kind enough to remind us that at one time in its earlier day you visited Canada. Many changes have taken place since that time, but let me assure your Royal Highness there has been no change in the loyalty of the people of Canada. [Cheers.][Pg 705]



[Speech of Frank R. Lawrence at the fourth annual dinner given by the Poughkeepsie District Members of the Holland Society of New York, October 3, 1893. The banquet was held in commemoration of the relief of the Siege of Leyden, 1574. J. William Beekman, the President of the Holland Society, said: "Gentlemen, we will now proceed to the next regular toast. It is of interest to all: 'New York, the child of New Amsterdam—Just as the twig is bent the tree's inclined.' I call upon Mr. Frank R. Lawrence, President of the Lotos Club, to respond to that toast."]

Gentlemen of the Holland Society:—Under any circumstances it would be difficult to follow the distinguished master of the art [Horace Porter] who has just taken his seat, but when to his glowing words is added the diffidence inspired by this illustrious company, the difficulty of the succeeding speaker is great indeed.

Mr. President, I am like the needy knife-grinder, when asked for his tale: "Story—God bless you, I have none to tell, sir,"—and must beg you to accept from me a few disjointed sentences instead of a more formal speech. Indeed, it is not entirely clear to me which side of the question suggested by the text I am to take; I do not entirely know whether I am expected to prove the truth or to expose the falsehood of the old proverb which adorns your menu, and it is commonly the case with sayings that are supposed to represent the wisdom of the ages, that the one may as readily be established as the other. It might be suggested by one of sceptical mind that the saying that "as the twig is bent the tree's inclined," may not be literally true as applied to this company and this occasion; on the contrary, might it not be true that if your early Dutch ancestors could come back and gaze for a[Pg 706] moment upon this sumptuous banquet and these gorgeous surroundings, their first impulse, in accordance with the frugal simplicity of their lives and their habits, would be to repudiate it, and repudiate their descendants, with reprehension and with horror? [Laughter.] And would they not straightway proceed, had they the power, to enact such sumptuary laws as should confine you all henceforth and for evermore, to the same simple fare upon which they and their children throve a couple of centuries ago?

Yet, Mr. President, by whatever strange process of evolution the simple festivities of the first settlers upon this island may have grown into an occasion so distinguished as this, I conceive that, after all, the adage which you quote is well applied and has a serious meaning; for despite the lapse of time and the introduction of new races of men, New York is the child of Nieuw Amsterdam—and how the child has outgrown the parent!

I believe it to be true, sir, that New York to-day bears more traces of the less than fifty years of Dutch government than of the more than one hundred years of British rule which followed. New York is, indeed, erected upon the foundation of Nieuw Amsterdam; yet how impossible to compare the New York of to-day with the original settlement established by your forefathers. As well might we compare the great gathering of the navies of the world which occurred in the Hudson River a year ago with the first expedition sent hither by their High Mightinesses the States-General two hundred and fifty years before. New York to-day, grown up from the Nieuw Amsterdam of a former generation, is a great emporium and a mighty city. To appreciate the greatness and the swiftness of its growth, we must recall that since this century began its population has increased more than twenty-fold. When this city and its vicinity shall once more have doubled their inhabitants, the result will be the formation of almost the largest mass of people congregated upon the globe. [Applause.]

Contemplating these marvellous changes, past and to come, our reflections are not all pleasant. Often do we regret with Washington living the passing away of the Arcadian simplicity which once prevailed upon this island. Often do we recall his plaintive words, applied to this very com[Pg 707]munity: "Let no man congratulate himself when he beholds the child of his bosom or the city of his birth increasing in magnitude and importance." Yet mournful reflections over the passing away of childhood's days have small place in the ceaseless activity of modern life. New York can no more again become the happy village whose departure Irving laments, than the river which nears the ocean can turn back and again become a tiny stream. Like a man approaching his prime, it must go forward to its destiny—and what a destiny seems to await our city! As the nineteenth century—greatest of periods known to man—draws to a close, and opens the way for its successor which we expect will be rich with broader and greater and higher achievements still than the century of our birth, what a future seems to await our city of New York! Is it not manifest destiny that old Nieuw Amsterdam, the present New York, should become a greater city than any on the earth to-day? And it seems to me, sir, that it is in a very large measure, indeed, to the rugged industry—to the sturdy honesty—to the indomitable will of your Dutch ancestors,—to the spirit which animated William the Silent, to the spirit and the qualities which sustained the early Dutch settlers upon this island, Wouter Van Twiller and Peter Stuyvesant and the men of their generation, that we and our children must look, to maintain civic virtue, to foster commercial enterprise, and to make the city of New York in the twentieth century the metropolis of the civilized world. [Applause.][Pg 708]



[Speech of William B. H. Lecky at the annual banquet of the Royal Academy, London, May 5, 1888. Sir Frederic Leighton, the President of the Academy, said in introducing him: "In connection with 'Letters,' I turn to yet another son of that many-gifted sister island [This toast was coupled with that of "Science," to which John Tyndall was called upon to respond.] on which all Englishmen must heartily invoke the blessings of prosperity and of peace restored [cheers], to a man whose subtle and well-balanced mind has delighted, now in tracing through the centuries the growth of the spirit of Rationalism, now in following the history of morals in Europe, through the first eight centuries of our era, and more lately in illuminating the great page of English history in the century which precedes our own, Mr. William Edward Lecky."]

Your Royal Highnesses, My Lords, and Gentlemen: I cannot but remember that the last time I heard this toast proposed in this room the task which now devolves upon me was discharged by that true poet and great critic whose recent loss all England is deploring. In few respects did Mr. Arnold render a greater service to Literature than by the stress he always placed upon the importance of its artistic side—upon that "grand style," as he loved to call it, which the very last words he uttered in public were employed in extolling. It was not without a sound, critical instinct that he dwelt on it, for it is, I think, on this side, that contemporary literature is apt to be weakest. A great wave of German influence has swept over English literature, and however admirable may be the German intellect in its industry and its thoroughness, in its many-sided sympathies, and in its noble love for truth, it will hardly be claimed for it, even by its greatest admirers, that it is equally distinguished for its sense of the beauty of form or for the great art of perspective or proportion. [Cheers.][Pg 709]

Whether it be owing to this cause, or to the reaction from the brilliantly pictorial literature of Macaulay and his contemporaries, or to the excessive predominance of the critical spirit, or to some other more subtle or far-reaching cause, I know not; but I cannot but think that we find in contemporary literature some want of the freshness, the simplicity, or the directness of the great literatures of the past. History is apt to resolve itself into archeology or politics. In poetry or fiction we find more traces of the mind that dissects and analyzes than of the mind that embodies and creates. Passion itself assumes the aspects or affects the subtleties of metaphysics, and much of our modern literary art bears a strong resemblance to a school of painting which seems very popular beyond the Channel, in which all definite forms and outlines seem lost under vague masses of luminous but almost unorganized color.

And yet, though this be true of a large part of our literature, we have still great painters among us. It would be idle, it would be, perhaps, invidious, for me to mention names, many of which will rise unbidden to your minds; but it is not, I think, out of place to remind you that it is since the doors of the last Academy exhibition closed that the illustrious historian [Kinglake] of the Crimean war has completed that noble historic gallery, hung with battlepieces as glowing and as animated, with portraits as vivid and as powerful, as any that have adorned these walls. And if it be said that this great master of picturesque English was reared in the traditions of a more artistic age, I would venture to point to a poem which has been but a few weeks in the world, but which is destined, if I am not much mistaken, to take a more prominent place in the literature of its time—poem which among many other beauties contains pictures of the old Greek mythology that are worthy to compare even with those with which you, Mr. President, have so often delighted us. I refer to "The City of Dreams," by Robert Buchanan. ["Hear! Hear!"] While such works are produced in England, it cannot, I think, be said that the artistic spirit in English literature is very seriously decayed. [Cheers.][Pg 710]



[Speech of General Fitzhugh Lee at a dinner given by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and the Hibernian Society of Philadelphia, at the city of Philadelphia, September 17, 1887. The occasion of the dinner was the one hundredth anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of the United States. General Lee, then Governor of Virginia, was the guest of Governor Beaver at the dinner. The Chairman, Hon. Andrew G. Curtin [Pennsylvania's war governor], in introducing General Lee said: "We have here to-day a gentleman whom I am glad to call my friend, though during the war he was in dangerous and unpleasant proximity to me. He once threatened the Capitol of this great State. I did not wish him to come in, and was very glad when he went away. He was then my enemy and I was his. But, thank God, that is past; and in the enjoyment of the rights and interests common to all as American citizens, I am his friend and he is my friend. I introduce to you, Governor Fitzhugh Lee."]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Hibernian Society:—I am very glad, indeed, to have the honor of being present in this Society once more; as it was my good fortune to enjoy a most pleasant visit here and an acquaintance with the members of your Society last year. My engagements were such to-day that I could not get here earlier; and just as I was coming in Governor Beaver was making his excuses because, as he said, he had to go to pick up a visitor whom he was to escort to the entertainment to be given this evening at the Academy of Music. I am the visitor whom Governor Beaver is looking for. He could not capture me during the war, but he has captured me now. I am a Virginian and used to ride a pretty fast horse, and he could not get close enough to me. [Laughter.]

By the way, you have all heard of "George Washington and his little hatchet." The other day I heard a story that[Pg 711] was a little variation upon the original, and I am going to take up your time for a minute by repeating it to you. It was to this effect: Old Mr. Washington and Mrs. Washington, the parents of George, found on one occasion that their supply of soap for the use of the family at Westmoreland had been exhausted, and so they decided to make some family soap. They made the necessary arrangements and gave the requisite instructions to the family servant. After an hour or so the servant returned and reported to them that he could not make that soap. "Why not," he was asked, "haven't you all the materials?" "Yes," he replied, "but there is something wrong." The old folks proceeded to investigate, and they found they had actually got the ashes of the little cherry tree that George had cut down with his hatchet, and there was no lye in it. [Laughter.]

Now, I assure you, there is no "lie" in what I say to you this afternoon, and that is, that I thank God for the sun of the Union which, once obscured, is now again in the full stage of its glory; and that its light is shining over Virginia as well as over the rest of this country. We have had our differences. I do not see, upon reading history, how they could well have been avoided, because they resulted from different constructions of the Constitution, which was the helm of the ship of the Republic. Virginia construed it one way. Pennsylvania construed it in another, and they could not settle their differences; so they went to war, and Pennsylvania, I think, probably got a little the best of it. [General laughter.]

The sword, at any rate, settled the controversy. But that is behind us. We have now a great and glorious future in front of us, and it is Virginia's duty to do all that she can to promote the honor and glory of this country. We fought to the best of our ability for four years; and it would be a great mistake to assume that you could bring men from their cabins, from their ploughs, from their houses and from their families to make them fight as they fought in that contest unless they were fighting for a belief. Those men believed that they had the right construction of the Constitution, and that a State that voluntarily entered the Union could voluntarily withdraw from it. They did not fight for Confederate money. It was not worth ten cents a yard. They[Pg 712] did not fight for Confederate rations—you would have had to curtail the demands of your appetite to make it correspond with the size and quality of those rations. They fought for what they thought was a proper construction of the Constitution. They were defeated. They acknowledged their defeat. They came back to their father's house, and there they are going to stay. But if we are to continue prosperous, if this country, stretching from the Gulf to the lakes and from ocean to ocean, is to be mindful of its own best interests, in the future, we will have to make concessions and compliances, we will have to bear with each other and to respect each other's opinions. Then we will find that that harmony will be secured which is as necessary for the welfare of States, as it is for the welfare of individuals. [Applause.]

I have become acquainted with Governor Beaver—I met him in Richmond. You could not make me fight him now. If I had known him before the war, perhaps we would not have got at it. If all the Governors had known each other, and if all the people of different sections had been known to each other, or had been thrown together in business or social communication, the fact would have been recognized at the outset, as it is to-day, that there are just as good men in Maine as there are in Texas, and just as good men in Texas as there are in Maine. Human nature is everywhere the same; and when intestine strifes occur, we will doubtless always be able by a conservative, pacific course to pass smoothly over the rugged, rocky edges, and the old Ship of State will be brought into a safe, commodious, Constitutional harbor with the flag of the Union flying over her, and there it will remain. [Applause.][Pg 713]



[Speech of Sir Frederic Leighton, as President of the Royal Academy, at the banquet held by that society, May 5, 1894. This speech followed upon that of Dr. Mandell Creighton, Bishop of Peterborough, who had proposed the "Prosperity of the Royal Academy," and the health of the President.]

My Lord Bishop:—I thank you for the appreciative tone in which you have spoken of art in general and of English art in particular. The kind terms in which you have commended this institution and its work to this distinguished assembly must have gratified my colleagues as much as it has gratified me, and we thank you most warmly. I would also gratefully acknowledge the lenient words you have addressed to the occupant of this chair. More fortunate than last year at this season, I have to note to-day the loss of one only among the acting members of this body—that of a sculptor of much repute, whose first steps in art were taken under the stimulating guidance of a powerful artist, whose name is a just boast to the green island which gave him birth—John Henry Foley. Less vigorous, no doubt, than his eminent master, Charles Bell Birch, he yet imparted to his works great life and spirit, and the charm of a facile and picturesque execution, and, even in this day of renovation and growing strength in the practice of that stately art, sculpture in this country will miss him in its ranks. ["Hear! Hear!"] From amongst the honorary retired Associates of this body another sculptor, W. F. Woodington, has been removed by death—an artist whom, for many years, age and infirmity had withdrawn altogether from public ken. The work of his vigorous prime may still be appreciated on the base of the Nelson column of Trafalgar Square.[Pg 714]

But whilst our active ranks have suffered diminution by one death only within the year, two justly conspicuous men have fallen in the wider field of English art, both of them men of marked and distinctive personality—both painters, both, to me, deeply interesting. One of them, Albert Moore, an unbending upholder of the sufficiency in art of whatever is nobly decorative, was a devoted student of the severer graces of Hellenic art, and married in his works spontaneous and supple gesture with forms of chaste sobriety, clothing them in delicately harmonious tones, of which the studied arrangement announced to the first glance the refined idiosyncrasy of his artistic temper. ["Hear! Hear!"]

How great a psychological contrast is offered to the placid charm of these works by the fervor of those of the artist whom I have next to name, an artist of strong intellectual bent and steeped in human sympathies, the originator of the movement which startled humdrum people forty or more years ago, and produced a most interesting phase of English art! I speak of Ford Madox Brown, who recently passed away in the fulness of respected years and in the unabated intensity of his convictions. I am not here to defend in every point the nature of those convictions; I am not wholly at one with them. Ardently admired by many, stimulating and highly interesting to a still larger circle of the intelligent, who did not, perhaps, wholly follow his doctrine, he was not altogether acceptable to the wider and less cultured public, which so largely influences the creation of that empty and fickle thing called popularity; for there was that in his work which was apt to rouse the uneasy dread of the not usual, which mostly marks the middling mind. But this, I fearlessly affirm, apart from his technical endowments and rare vividness of dramatic vision, in the work of no English hand burns a more ardent sympathy with human emotion or is revealed a more subtle observation of the outward signs and gestures by which these emotions are conveyed. [Cheers.]

The artistic memories which associate themselves in our mind with Madox Brown and his concentrated energies, bring vividly before us, as we look upon the walls of this exhibition, or glance in thought over the wide area of contempo[Pg 715]rary production in England, the changes which two-score years have wrought in the character and tendencies of art in this country. As we wander through these—I rejoice to say, more than ever catholic and hospitable—galleries, within which the still young unfold, this year, so much vitality and promise—and, gentlemen, to us, the old, there is, believe me, no gladder sight or one more full of comfort—we are struck, not with a concentration of aim or purpose in the school, but rather with a radiation and scattering of effort in innumerable directions. No one, I think, can fail to observe the extraordinary differences of mood and manner shown in the works which have found equal shelter on these walls, and the wide multiplicity of individual personalities which they proclaim. In the range of figure painting, for instance, what variety of subject as well as of temper meets us! We see, not historic or domestic scenes alone; not alone scenes in which the rhythmic dream of beauty and of style is aimed at; but works also, not a few, of purely imaginative character—fanciful, mythological, allegorical, symbolic—amongst which latter, one especially, I think, is dominant in its powerful originality and the weird charm of its decorative pomp. In the region of landscape, no less, every mood is touched, and every association evoked, from the infinite solemnity of the silent Arctic solitudes to the infinite sweetness of a Surrey homestead nestling within its sheltered nook, or the laughter of the flower-fields of the Alps in June. What various temperament, too, we note in the expressional use of tone and color—here vivid and vibratory; there grave and soberly subdued.

In sculpture, again, though the display is numerically small, there are amongst various good works some that are salient. I will name one by a late alumnus of these schools, which has passed into the hands of the nation, and, in another room, the dazzling sketch of a monument deeply pathetic in its occasion, and of which this country will, I believe, be justly and lastingly proud. On all hands then, in sum, we are conscious of Life. With it, we are aware in much of the art of the day of a certain feverish tentativeness, groping, as it were, sometimes after a new spirit, sometimes after a repristination of the old in a modern form; but everywhere, I repeat, we see Life. And, gentlemen, to[Pg 716] those who, like myself, believe in the necessary triumph of the high over the less high, in the eventual sure survival of the wholesome and the strong, and in the falling away and withering of the vicious or the morbid, this sign is the most welcome, the most inspiriting, and the most hopeful sign of all. [Loud cheers.][Pg 717]



[Speech of Charles G. Leland at a dinner given in his honor by the Lotos Club, New York, January 31, 1880. Mr. Leland had just returned from a sojourn of eleven years abroad. Whitelaw Reid, the President of the Club, introduced Mr. Leland, and said in part: "Well, his long exile is over. With a true Philadelphian's fear of envious and jealous New York, he stayed abroad till they started a Pennsylvania line of steamers for him, and so smuggled him past Manhattan Island and into the Quaker City direct. Captured as he is to-night, I will not abuse his modesty by eulogy, yet this much I venture to say, and it is the eulogy the true humorist and the true man of letters will most highly prize. He deserves all the grateful honor we can pay him because he has made substantial additions to the sum of human enjoyment in the world. I give you the health of Mr. Leland, and with it our best wishes for his long life and prosperity to the end."]

Mr. President and Gentlemen:—I have been asked several times since my return what struck me most, after an eleven years' absence, and I should say it is the fact that I am remembered. It has never struck me so forcibly as this evening. I have been for eleven years over the sea; I have returned like the proverbial story, somewhat worn, perhaps, but still accepted, and I am very much gratified that it is so. Time passes so rapidly, and especially here in New York, that to be remembered after so long an absence is especially gratifying.

I met in Europe a Mr. Boyd, whose family two centuries before had resided in Ireland. Mr. Boyd thought one day that he would go back and visit his relatives, and so he went back and met with an Irish cousin. "Ah, Cousin Boyd," said his relative, "I am glad to see you, and though you have not been here for more than two hundred years, still I can easily trace the illegant resemblance." [Laughter.][Pg 718] Gentlemen, you seem inclined to trace the resemblance. I am still known, and that has touched me more than anything.

But I am not altogether so great a stranger to New York. To be sure, I was born in Philadelphia; that cannot be denied; but I have also lived in New York. I was a long time in New York, and, indeed, was a freeholder of the city. I once owned a piece of property here, on which a Dutchman planted his cabbages but never paid any rent—and I never asked him for any; finally I gave a man eighty dollars to take the property off my hands altogether. I also voted in New York; and in this I fared better than in freeholding, for I voted for Abraham Lincoln at his first election. [Applause.]

I have also been a business man in New York. I started "Vanity Fair," with Charles Browne [Artemus Ward] as an assistant, and I remember how I used to suggest the subjects to him, and how he used to write out the series of articles which have since become so widely known. The "Revue des Deux Mondes" recently gave a detailed account of the manner in which I brought out Artemus Ward, in which by far too much credit was given to me and too little to him. But this was all done in New York, and you will give me some credit for having aided such a man as Artemus Ward. But I am growing gossipy. I say all this, however, just to show that I have some claim to call myself a New Yorker. I was here for a long time, and here some of my best work was done. But what can I say to thank you for the kind manner in which you have received me?

Before I left London a gentleman said to me: "The two greatest honors of your country are to get a degree from Harvard, and to be a guest of the Lotos Club;" for you must know that they talk a great deal about you. [Laughter.] This was said to me by an English gentleman of letters, for, as I said, you are extremely well known over there, and your hospitality is so celebrated that to have received the stamp of it is to be distinguished.

I said it was very strange, but the last thing that happened to me before leaving America was to receive the degree of A. M. from Cambridge, but I did not venture to aspire to the other one. And now the first thing that happens to me on[Pg 719] my return is to receive your invitation. Gentlemen, ambition can no further go. [Laughter.] As Horace says, a man may change his skies, but not his disposition, and I wish to show you that I have not forgotten my manners while abroad; and, in this connection, that a good speech should have a short answer. A very excellent speech preceded mine. I have made my answer altogether too long. Thanking you from my heart, for your courteous kindness. I now take my seat. [Applause.][Pg 720]



[Fragment of a speech of Abraham Lincoln at the Republican banquet in Chicago, December 10, 1856. The rest of this speech, if it was ever reported, is presumably no longer extant, as it is not published in any collection of Lincoln's speeches.]

Gentlemen:—We have another annual presidential message. Like a rejected lover making merry at the wedding of his rival, the President felicitates himself hugely over the late presidential election. He considers the result a signal triumph of good principles and good men, and a very pointed rebuke of bad ones. He says the people did it. He forgets that the "people," as he complacently calls only those who voted for Buchanan, are in a minority of the whole people by about four hundred thousand votes—one full tenth of all the votes. Remembering this, he might perceive that the "rebuke" may not be quite as durable as he seems to think—that the majority may not choose to remain permanently rebuked by that minority.

The President thinks the great body of us Fremonters, being ardently attached to liberty, in the abstract, were duped by a few wicked and designing men. There is a slight difference of opinion on this. We think he, being ardently attached to the hope of a second term, in the concrete, was duped by men who hate liberty every way. He is the cat's-paw. By much dragging of chestnuts from the fire for others to eat, his claws are burnt off to the gristle, and he is thrown aside as unfit for further use. As the fool said of King Lear, when his daughters had turned him out of doors, "He's a shelled peascod."

So far as the President charges us with a desire to "change[Pg 721] the domestic institutions of existing States," and of "doing everything in our power to deprive the Constitution and the laws of moral authority," for the whole party on belief, and for myself on knowledge, I pronounce the charge an unmixed and unmitigated falsehood.

Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion can change the government practically just so much. Public opinion, on any subject, always has a central idea, from which all its minor thoughts radiate. That central idea in our political public opinion at the beginning was, and until recently has continued to be, the equality of men. And although it has always submitted patiently to whatever of inequality there seemed to be as matter of actual necessity, its constant working has been a steady progress toward the practical equality of all men. The late presidential election was a struggle by one party to discard that central idea and to substitute for it the opposite idea that slavery is right in the abstract, the workings of which as a central idea may be the perpetuity of human slavery and its extension to all countries and colors. Less than a year ago the Richmond "Enquirer," an avowed advocate of slavery regardless of color, in order to favor his views, invented the phrase "State equality," and now the President, in his message, adopts the "Enquirer's" catch-phrase, telling us the people "have asserted the constitutional equality of each and all the States of the Union as States." The President flatters himself that the new central idea is completely inaugurated; and so indeed it is, so far as the mere fact of a presidential election can inaugurate it. To us it is left to know that the majority of the people have not yet declared for it, and to hope that they never will. All of us who did not vote for Mr. Buchanan, taken together, are a majority of four hundred thousand. But in the late contest we were divided between Fremont and Fillmore. Can we not come together for the future? Let every one who really believes, and is resolved, that free society is not and shall not be a failure, and who can conscientiously declare that in the past contest he has done only what he thought best—let every such one have charity to believe that every other one can say as much. Thus let bygones be bygones; let past differences as nothing be; and with steady eye on the real[Pg 722] issue, let us reinaugurate the good old central ideas of the Republic. We can do it. The human heart is with us: God is with us. We shall again be able not to declare that "all States as States are equal," nor yet that "all citizens as citizens are equal," but to renew the broader, better declaration, including both these and much more, "that all men are created equal." [Applause.]

This historic "Cradle of Liberty" yields to no building in America, save perhaps Independence Hall, in interest. Faneuil Hall, in Boston, was built in 1740, by Peter Faneuil, a wealthy merchant, and presented to the town for a town-hall and market uses, to which it has been devoted ever since. In 1761 it was injured by fire, but was rebuilt by the town in the following year. In 1805 it was considerably enlarged and improved. During the troublous times which preceded the Revolution, it was the scene of most exciting public meetings; and the great patriot orators of that day sounded from this platform the stirring notes that gave the chief impulse of patriotism to the whole country.[Pg 723]]

Faneuil Hall

Photogravure after a photograph



[Speech of Henry Cabot Lodge, delivered at a banquet complimentary to the Robert E. Lee Camp of Confederate Veterans, of Richmond, Va., given in Faneuil Hall, Boston, June 17, 1887. The Southerners were visiting Boston as the special guests of the John A. Andrew Post 15, Department of Massachusetts, Grand Army of the Republic. At the banquet Commander William B. Daley, of Post 15, presided. On either side of the presiding officer were seated, Col. A. L. Phillips, commander of the visiting camp, ex-Solicitor Gen. Goode of Virginia, the Hon. George D. Wise of Virginia, Governor Ames of Massachusetts. Mr. Lodge [now United States Senator from Massachusetts] responded to the toast, "The Blue and the Gray."]

Mr. Chairman:—To such a toast, sir, it would seem perhaps most fitting that one of those should respond who was a part of the great event which it recalls. Yet, after all, on an occasion like this, it may not be amiss to call upon one who belongs to a generation to whom the Rebellion is little more than history, and who, however insufficiently, represents the feelings of that and the succeeding generations as to our great Civil War. I was a boy ten years old when the troops marched away to defend Washington, and my personal knowledge of that time is confined to a few broken but vivid memories. I saw the troops, month after month, pour through the streets of Boston. I saw Shaw go forth at the head of his black regiment, and Bartlett, shattered in body but dauntless in soul, ride by to carry what was left of him once more to the battle-fields of the Republic. I saw Andrew, standing bareheaded on the steps of the State House, bid the men God-speed. I cannot remember the words he said, but I can never forget the fervid eloquence which brought tears to the eyes and fire to the hearts of all who listened. I understood but dimly the awful meaning of these[Pg 724] events. To my boyish mind one thing alone was clear, that the soldiers as they marched past were all, in that supreme hour, heroes and patriots. Amid many changes that simple belief of boyhood has never altered. The gratitude which I felt then I confess to to-day more strongly than ever. But other feelings have in the progress of time altered much. I have learned, and others of my generation as they came to man's estate have learned, what the war really meant, and they have also learned to know and to do justice to the men who fought the war upon the other side.

I do not stand up in this presence to indulge in any mock sentimentality. You brave men who wore the gray would be the first to hold me or any other son of the North in just contempt if I should say that, now it was all over, I thought the North was wrong and the result of the war a mistake, and that I was prepared to suppress my political opinions. I believe most profoundly that the war on our side was eternally right, that our victory was the salvation of the country, and that the results of the war were of infinite benefit to both North and South. But however we differed, or still differ, as to the causes for which we fought then, we accept them as settled, commit them to history, and fight over them no more. To the men who fought the battles of the Confederacy we hold out our hands freely, frankly, and gladly. To courage and faith wherever shown we bow in homage with uncovered heads. We respect and honor the gallantry and valor of the brave men who fought against us, and who gave their lives and shed their blood in defence of what they believed to be right. We rejoice that the famous general whose name is borne upon your banner was one of the greatest soldiers of modern times, because he, too, was an American. We have no bitter memories to revive, no reproaches to utter. Reconciliation is not to be sought, because it exists already. Differ in politics and in a thousand other ways we must and shall in all good-nature, but let us never differ with each other on sectional or State lines, by race or creed.

We welcome you, soldiers of Virginia, as others more eloquent than I have said, to New England. We welcome you to old Massachusetts. We welcome you to Boston and to Faneuil Hall. In your presence here, and at the sound[Pg 725] of your voices beneath this historic roof, the years roll back and we see the figure and hear again the ringing tones of your great orator, Patrick Henry, declaring to the first Continental Congress, "The distinctions between Virginians, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers, and New Englanders are no more. I am not a Virginian, but an American." A distinguished Frenchman, as he stood among the graves at Arlington, said, "Only a great people is capable of a great civil war." Let us add with thankful hearts that only a great people is capable of a great reconciliation. Side by side, Virginia and Massachusetts led the colonies into the War for Independence. Side by side they founded the government of the United States. Morgan and Greene, Lee and Knox, Moultrie and Prescott, men of the South and men of the North, fought shoulder to shoulder, and wore the same uniform of buff and blue—the uniform of Washington.

Your presence here brings back their noble memories, it breathes the spirit of concord, and unites with so many other voices in the irrevocable message of union and good-will. Mere sentiment all this, some may say. But it is sentiment, true sentiment, that has moved the world. Sentiment fought the war, and sentiment has re-united us. When the war closed, it was proposed in the newspapers and elsewhere to give Governor Andrew, who had sacrificed health and strength and property in his public duties, some immediately lucrative office, like the collectorship of the port of Boston. A friend asked him if he would take such a place. "No," said he; "I have stood as high priest between the horns of the altar, and I have poured out upon it the best blood of Massachusetts, and I cannot take money for that." Mere sentiment, truly, but the sentiment which ennobles and uplifts mankind. It is sentiment which so hallows a bit of torn, stained bunting, that men go gladly to their deaths to save it. So I say that the sentiment manifested by your presence here, brethren of Virginia, sitting side by side with those who wore the blue, has a far-reaching and gracious influence, of more value than many practical things. It tells us that these two grand old commonwealths, parted in the shock of the Civil War, are once more side by side as in the days of the Revolution, never to part again. It tells us that the sons of Virginia and Massachusetts, if war should break[Pg 726] again upon the country, will, as in the olden days, stand once more shoulder to shoulder, with no distinction in the colors that they wear. It is fraught with tidings of peace on earth and you may read its meaning in the words on yonder picture, "Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable."[Pg 727]



[Speech of John D. Long, Secretary of the Navy, at the banquet of the Fall Festival Celebration, Chicago, October 9, 1899. The Secretary was introduced by the toast-master, Hon. Melville E. Stone, to speak in response to the toast, "The Navy."]

Mr. President and Gentlemen:—Your toast to the Navy is all the more a compliment because you are a thousand miles from the sea. It signifies the place that the Navy has in the hearts of all the people and how much they all alike share its glories. It has always been dear to the American heart, and has contributed some of the most brilliant pages in American history; but its exploits during the recent war have given it a stronger and broader hold than ever before. Besides, it is not a department which pertains to any section of the country nor to any class among the people; it is one of the fundamental elements of American popular growth. It is as much the product of our schools, our homes, and common life, as is the shop of the mechanic, the warehouse of the merchant, the harvest of the farmer. Jack hails from the inland hamlet as well as from the seaport town.

The Admiral commanding one of our great squadrons, winning a victory unprecedented in naval history, is the son of a prominent financial business man; another, the son of an Irish laborer, working in a ditch by his father's side, went from it to the Naval academy. Every congressional district in the Union is represented there by its cadet.

The result is that the splendid body of naval officers who to-day so highly command the confidence and admiration of the people are themselves the immediate representatives of[Pg 728] the people, and of their common intelligence, spirit and standards. Our late antagonist had officers and men of undoubted bravery. But in education, versatility, ability to plan and do, and to meet emergencies: in short, in what Mrs. Stowe called "faculty," our superiority was such that the battle was won the moment it began.

In this connection I remind myself that in Congress the Naval Committees of the Senate and House are made up also of men from all parts of our common country. That great branch of our government which nurses the Navy and provides for it is also representative of all the people. Indeed, your own great city, with all its tremendous commercial and industrial interests, has contributed a member of that committee, who has put his heart into our naval development, rendered signal service in that behalf, and by his recent voluntary study of naval affairs abroad has prepared himself for still more valuable work—your able representative in Congress, and my good friend, George Edmund Foss.

I can the more properly, gentlemen, join with you in your appreciation of the Navy because, although its head, I am yet only temporarily connected with it and can look at it from the outside. I sometimes think, however, that the great public, applauding the salient merits, overlook others which are quite as deserving.

You cheer for the men behind the guns; you give swords and banquets here and there to an Admiral—and both most richly deserve the tribute—but remember that all up and down the line there are individuals whose names never got to your ears—or, if so, are already half forgotten—who have earned unfading laurels. No man in the Navy has rendered such service, however great, that others were not ready to fill the place and do as well. The Navy is full of heroes unknown to fame. Its great merit is the professional spirit which runs through it; the high sense of duty, the lofty standards of service to which its hearts are loyal and which make them all equal to any duty.

Who sings the praises of the chiefs of the naval stations and bureaus of the Navy department, who wept that there were no battles and glory for them; and who, remaining at their departmental posts, made such provision for the fitting out, the arming, the supplying, the feeding, the coaling, the[Pg 729] equipping of your fleets that the commanding officer on the deck had only to direct and use the forces which these, his brothers, had put in his hands?

Who repeats the names of the young officers who pleaded for Hobson's chance to risk his life in the hull and hell of the Merrimac? Who mentions the scores of seamen who begged to be of the immortal seven who were his companions in that forlorn hope?

In the long watch before Santiago the terror of our great battleships was the two Spanish torpedo-boat destroyers, those swift, fiendish sharks of the sea, engines of death and destruction, and yet, when the great battle came, it was the unprotected Gloucester, a converted yacht, the former plaything and pleasure-boat of a summer vacation, which, without hesitation or turning, attacked these demons of the sea and sunk them both. I have always thought it the most heroic and gallant individual instance of fighting daring in the war. It was as if some light-clad youth, with no defence but his sword, threw himself into the arena with armored gladiators and by his dash and spirit laid them low. And yet who has given a sword or spread a feast to that purest flame of chivalrous heroism, Richard Wainwright?

Who recalls all the still more varied services of our Navy—its exploits and researches in the interest of science, its stimulus to international commerce, its surveys in foreign harbors, its charting of the sea and marking of the pathway of the merchant marine, its study of the stars, its contributions—in short, to all the interests of an enlightened and progressive country?

May I suggest, therefore, that with this broader view of our Navy, as not an outside conception of our institutions, but an integral part of them, it is a partial conception that criticises its recent development and its continued developments in the future? It has not only given dignity and variety of service and strength to your government, but think how it is linked in with all your industrial interests, with the employment of large bodies of labor, with the consumption of all sorts of material stimulating marine construction, building docks, and contributing to this business activity and prosperity which are the features of this thrifty town. It is not too much to predict that the development of our navy[Pg 730] is the beginning also of a new era of our merchant marine, in maritime construction, and, hence, in maritime transportation, of the American bottom carrying the American flag again on all the oceans of the globe.

In the war with Spain our fleet was ordered to Manila because there was a Spanish fleet there, and every military interest demanded its capture or destruction. When that was done, every military interest required, not that our fleet be withdrawn, but that our hand on the enemy's throat should there remain until his surrender. When that surrender came, and with it the transfer of the sovereignty of those islands from Spain to the United States, every consideration demanded that the President should hold them up, not toss them into the caldron of anarchy, and when violence began should restore order, yet stretching out always in his hands the tender and opportunity for peace and beneficent government until Congress in its wisdom shall determine what their future status shall be. What more, or what less, should he do and do his duty? [Applause.][Pg 731]



[Speech of Seth Low at the 112th annual banquet of the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York, May 11, 1880. George W. Lane, the second vice-President of the Chamber, presided, and called upon Mr. Low to respond to the tenth regular toast: "The Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York—its Past, Present, and Future."]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Chamber Of Commerce:—If the historian wished to convey to your minds some idea of the antiquity of this Chamber, he would scarcely do it, I think, by saying it was founded in 1768. So few besides the reporters would personally recollect those times. He would rather tell you that it dates back to an epoch when each absentee from the annual dinner was fined five shillings sterling for the offence. Think of that! How eloquently it seems to tell us that there was no Delmonico in those days. I can understand how a people that punished such a slight to commerce in such a way, would rebel at stamp acts and other burdens of the sort. The Revolution itself seems to get a new interpretation from this early custom of the Chamber. [Laughter.]

But, perhaps, a better way of making vivid to this generation the age of this body, would be to say that it dates back to a time when New York actually had a foreign commerce of its own, carried on chiefly under the American flag. It sounds like a fairy tale to one who counts the ensigns in our harbor now, to be told that tradition speaks of a day when the Stars and Stripes floated over a larger fleet of common carriers on the highways of the world—at least, so far as American business was concerned—than even that omnipresent banner of St. George. Strange, is it not, that a nation which surpasses all others in its use of machinery on[Pg 732] the land, should have been content to yield up the sea, almost without a struggle, to the steamships of the older world? Events over which we have had no control have had much to do with it, I know; but is a single misused subsidy to keep us off the sea forever, or so long as the dominion of the steamship lasts? Are we to wait until England can build our steamers for us, and hear her say, as we run up the Stars and Stripes to the mast-head of the ship which she has built: "See, Brother Jonathan, how cheap these subsidies which I have given all these years enable me now to build for you!" It may be we must wait for this, but let us hope for a happier consummation. Nevertheless, Mr. Chairman, this Chamber does date back to the time when we had a commerce of our own. [Applause.]

In glancing over our old records, it is interesting to see what a perennial source of discussion in this body have been the pilots of the port. They have been mentioned, I think, even the past year. The first formal reference to the pilots appears in 1791, and the minutes ever since teem with memorials, protests, bills, measures, conferences and the like.

A story is told of a Chinese pilot, who boarded the vessel of a captain who had never been on the China coast before, and who asked the captain one hundred dollars for his fee. The captain demurred, and the discussion waxed warm, until the white head of an old China merchant appeared in the companion-way, and caught the pilot's eye, when he cut the dispute short by crying out: "Hi-ya! G'long olo Foxee! ten dollar can do!" [Laughter and applause.]

I apprehend there is much wisdom in this appeal. In the olden days, the complaint against our pilotage system was not only that it was costly, but that it was inefficient; and so even more costly in the losses of vessels and cargoes than in fees. But, after half a century of contest, the present system was reached in 1853, and it is, beyond dispute, acknowledged by underwriters and by merchants that, as a system, it has worked well—uncommonly well. If, therefore, the present dispute between the merchants and the pilots be, as I understand that it is, in all its vital points a dispute as to fees, I recommend to the merchants and to the pilots the Chinese method of adjustment—by compromise. Do not let us expose to the hazard of legislative interference[Pg 733] a system which is not likely to be bettered, and which gives us certainly efficient pilotage, because we cannot all at once get by compromise a reduction in our favor quite equal to what we think our due. [Applause.]

But what can I say, Mr. Chairman, of the Chamber of to-day? The subject is full, very full, of interest and of other good things. "May good digestion wait on appetite, and health on both." It is curious to see, all along the history of the Chamber, how coming events have cast their shadows before. In 1837 the Chamber petitioned Congress to improve the navigation at Hell Gate; in 1846 they approved a report suggesting as feasible a railroad across the continent to the Pacific; and in 1852 they asked Congress to remove the mint from Philadelphia, intimating pretty plainly that Philadelphia was too insignificant a place to enjoy so great a luxury. The first two achievements have been accomplished. The mint is almost due in Wall Street. Let Philadelphia hear and tremble. [Applause.]

When I think, Mr. Chairman, of the influence the Chamber wields, and of the influence it ought to wield, it seems to me one thing of all others should be avoided. The Chamber ought never to be put upon record in an important matter until full discussion upon fair notice has preceded action, whenever this is possible. Sometimes I have thought the action of the Chamber was somewhat the result of chance, even with reference to questions of great importance. If the Chamber is to continue free, as in the main it has been free, from being used for personal ends, and at the same time is to exert an influence at all commensurate with its power as a representative of commercial New York, the action of the Chamber ought to be the result of intelligent discussion. I would only suggest one definite thing. Why might not the notice of each monthly meeting state the items of unfinished business that may come up, and also give notice, so far as possible, of the matters to be submitted by the Executive Committee? The attendance at our meetings would be better, I am sure, if men knew when matters of interest to them were to be discussed.

Glancing towards our future, I seem to see the day when Judge Fancher shall sit in a telephone exchange and receive his testimony in ghastly whispers from unseen mouths[Pg 734] when the president of the Chamber shall take the ayes and nays of a meeting whose component parts are sitting in a thousand counting rooms in this city. But I never can seem to see the day when the annual dinner can be conducted by the members except face-to-face. At all events, we can wait till Edison perfects the electric light, before asking him to make a dinner available with Delmonico fifteen miles away. [Laughter and cheers.]

In 1861 the Pacific Mail Steamship Line was petitioned for, or, at least, a mail line on the Pacific, between the United States and the Orient world, and that, while the nation was engaged in a mighty struggle for its life. The Pacific Mail Line to the East, the Pacific Railroad across the continent, the superb government buildings at Washington,—all constructed, in whole or in part, while the nation seemed to be strained to its utmost by the demands of a civil war,—these things are to me among the mightiest evidences of the faith of the men of those days who, while the present seemed to be surcharged with duties and burdens for their hands, still laid hold upon the future with such powerful grasp. Are we, of the Chamber of Commerce, worthy of the blessings that have come down to us out of the glorious past? If we wish to be, we must live partly for the future as did they.

We need a building of our own, commodious, and in some way proportioned to the great interests we represent. We need a fire-proof building for the safe-keeping of our records. Once already in our history our seal has been returned to us from an obscure shop in London. Our Charter was rescued from an old trunk in the Walton house on Pearl Street, and our historic paintings were only discovered after long loss, as the result of the fire of 1835. The Chamber of Commerce is standing now at the door of Congress, and asks them to sell at public auction the site of the old Post Office, for not less than three hundred thousand dollars and to pay to the Chamber from the proceeds of the sale the sum of fifty thousand dollars, originally subscribed, in the main, by members of the Chamber when that site was purchased from the General Government a few years ago. It is the purpose of the Chamber to buy this plot, and to build there a building worthy of itself and of this great city. [Applause.] But so far we ask in vain.[Pg 735]

The House Committee of Ways and Means has reported our bill favorably, but Congress does nothing. The Chamber wants this plot, not so much because of the fifty thousand dollars it has of quasi interest in it, but because of its eligibility. The Chamber believes it deserves well of this community and of the nation, and, so believing, it asks of Congress the passage of this bill.

I look back over the past twenty years, and I find the Chamber of Commerce has been always alive to encourage gallantry, to reward conspicuous service, and to relieve distress. Eighteen hundred thousand dollars—almost two millions of dollars—has been given by this Chamber in these twenty years. The money has not all come from members of the Chamber, but the Chamber has always been recognized as the fitting leader and minister in this city in deeds of public spirit. [Cheers.]

In 1858 it celebrated the completion of the first Atlantic cable, by giving medals of gold, with generous impartiality, to the officers of the British ship "Agamemnon" and the American ship "Niagara" alike. And in 1866 it feasted the distinguished and persevering American citizen whose pluck and courage, with reference to this cable, no disaster and no faint-heartedness anywhere could dismay.

In 1861, in token of gratitude and of patriotic admiration, the Chamber placed a medal of bronze upon the breast of every officer and private who sustained the national honor in the defense of Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens.

In 1862 it sprang to the relief of famished Lancashire; in 1865 our own sufferers in East Tennessee and in Savannah partook of its bounty; and in 1871 the bread cast upon the waters by Rochambeau and Lafayette, a hundred years before, returned through the ministry of the Chamber in an abundant harvest to the war-stricken plains of unhappy France.

In 1865 the Chamber honored itself by giving testimonials to the officers and crew of the "Kearsarge."

In 1866 it presented to the widow of a Southern officer in the United States Navy several historic swords, sending with them a purse, "in recognition of the valuable services rendered to our country by the father and son, and as a token that gratitude for fidelity to the flag of the Union is an abid[Pg 736]ing sentiment with the citizens of New York, descending from generation to generation."

The cities of Troy, Portland, Richmond, Chicago, three of them when swept by fire, and Richmond when cast into gloom by the fall of the State Capitol, all in turn have realized, through the prompt action of the Chamber, the large brotherliness of commercial New York.

And, finally, in 1876, at Savannah, and in 1878, through the whole southwestern district of the country, and again in 1879 at Memphis, the contributions made through the Chamber of Commerce gave substantial relief to the distressed victims of yellow fever. Thus has the Chamber contributed to promote a union of hearts throughout the broad expanse of this great Union of States. Thus has the Chamber done what it could to show that the spirit of commerce is a large and a liberal spirit, too large to be bounded by the lines that divide nations. Thus has the Chamber shown itself not unworthy of the Empire State of the New World. May the future of the Chamber be in every respect worthy of the past. [Loud applause,][Pg 737]



[Speech of James Russell Lowell at the Harvard Alumni dinner at Cambridge, Mass., June 30, 1875. Mr. Lowell was the presiding officer.]

Brethren of the Alumni:—It is, I think, one of the greatest privileges conferred upon us by our degree that we can meet together once a year in this really majestic hall [Memorial Hall], commemorative of our proudest sorrows, suggestive only of our least sordid ambitions; that we can meet here to renew our pledge of fealty to the ancient mother who did so much for the generations that have gone before us, and who will be as benign to those who, by-and-by, shall look back and call us fathers. The tie that binds us to our college is one of the purest, since it is that which unites us also with our youth; it is one of the happiest, for it binds us to the days when we looked forward and not backward, for in hope there is nothing to regret, while in retrospect there is a touch of autumn and a premonition of winter.

In this year of centennials, when none of us would be surprised if a century plant should blossom in our back yard [laughter], when I myself am matured, as I look to complete my second centennial on Saturday afternoon [laughter and applause], there is a kind of repose, as it seems to me, in coming back here to sit in the lap of this dear old nurse who is well on toward her three hundred, and who will certainly never ask any of us to celebrate her centennial either in prose or verse. To this college our Revolution which we are celebrating this year is modern. And I think also one of the great privileges which she confers upon us is that she gives us a claim of kindred still[Pg 738] with the mother country—a claim purely intellectual and safe from the embitterment of war or the jealousies of trade. It was an offshoot of Cambridge and Oxford that was planted on the banks of the Charles, and by men from Cambridge and Oxford; and when I visited those renowned nurseries of piety, scholarship, and manliness of thought, my keenest pleasure in the kindness I received was the feeling that I owed the greater part of it to my connection with Harvard, whom they were pleased to acknowledge as a plant not unworthy of the parent stock. [Applause.]

In their halls I could not feel myself a stranger, and I resented the imputation of being a foreigner when I looked round upon the old portraits, all of whom were my countrymen as well as theirs, and some of whom had been among our founders and benefactors. In this year of reconciliations and atonements, too, the influence of college associations is of no secondary importance as a bond of union. On this day, in every State of our more than ever to be united country, there are men whose memories turn back tenderly and regretfully to those haunts of their early manhood. Our college also, stretching back as it does toward the past, and forward to an ever-expanding future, gives a sense of continuity which is some atonement for the brevity of life. These portraits that hang about us seem to make us contemporaries with generations that are gone, and the services we render her will make us in turn familiar to those who shall succeed us here. There is no way so cheap of buying what I may call a kind of mitigated immortality,—mean by that an immortality without the pains and penalty attached commonly to it, of being dug up once in fifty years to have your claims reconsidered [laughter]—as in giving something to the college. [Applause.] Nay, I will say in parenthesis, that even an intention to give it secures that place of which I have spoken. [Laughter.] I find in the records of the college an ancestor of my own recorded as having intended to give a piece of land. He remains there forever with his beneficent intention. It is not certain that he didn't carry it out. The land certainly never came to me, or I should make restitution. [Laughter and applause.][Pg 739]

Consider, for example, William Pennoyer; how long ago would he have sunk in the tenacious ooze of oblivion, not leaving rack nor even rumor of himself behind. No portrait of him exists, and no living descendant, so far as I know, and yet his name is familiar with all of us who are familiar with the records of the college, and he always presents himself to our imaginations in the gracious attitude of putting his hand into his pocket. [Laughter.] And tell me, if you please, what widow of a London alderman ever insured her life with so sure return or perdurable interest as Madame Holden. Even the bodiless society, pro propaganda fide, is reincorporated forever in the perpetuity of our gratitude. It is the genteelest of immortalities, as the auctioneer would call it, the immortality of perfect seclusion.

The value of such an association as this as a spur to honorable exertion is also, as it seems to me, no small part of its benefit. Leigh Hunt, says, somewhere, that when he was writing an essay he always thought of certain persons and said to himself, "A will like this, B will rub his hands at that"; and it is safe to say that any graduate of this college would prefer the suffrages of his brethren here to those of any other public. And when any of the sons of Harvard who has done her honor and his country upright service, meets us here on this day, it is not only a fitting recognition, but a powerful incentive, that he receives in the "Well done" of our plaudits. I had hoped that we should have heard to-day the voice of one graduate of Harvard who sits almost immediately upon my right. [Charles Francis Adams.] I will not press upon his modesty, but I will ask you to bear witness once more that Peace hath her victories, and more renowned than war [long continued applause]; and honor with me those truly durable years of service and that of victory, which if it hath not so loud an echo as that of the battle-field, will be seen to have a longer one. [Renewed and loud applause.] It appears to me that there is nothing more grateful to the human heart than this appreciation of cultivated men. If it be not the echo of posterity, it was something more solid and well-pleasing. But better and more wholesome than even this must it be, I should think, for men spending their lives in the dusty glare of[Pg 740] public life, to come back once a year to our quiet shades and be, as Dr. Holmes has so delightfully sung, plain Bill and Joe again. It must renew and revive in them the early sweetness of their nature, the frank delight in simple things which makes so large a part of the better happiness of life.

But, gentlemen, I will not longer detain you with the inevitable suggestions of the occasion. These sentimentalities are apt to slip from under him who would embark on them, like a birch canoe under the clumsy foot of a cockney, and leave him floundering in retributive commonplace. I had a kind of hope, indeed, from what I had heard, that I should be unable to fill this voice-devouring hall. I had hoped to sit serenely here with a tablet in the wall before me inscribed: Guilielmo Roberto Ware, Henrico Van Brunt, optime de Academia meritis, eo quod facundiam postprandialem irritam fecerunt. I hope you understood my Latin [laughter], and I hope you will forgive me the antiquity of my pronunciation [laughter]; but it is simply because I cannot help it. Then on a blackboard behind me I could have written in large letters the names of our guests who should make some brief dumb show of acknowledgment. You, at least, with your united applause, could make yourselves heard. If brevity ever needed an excuse, I might claim one in the fact that I have consented at short notice to be one of the performers in our domestic centennial next Saturday, and poetry is not a thing to be delivered on demand without an exhausting wear upon the nerves. When I wrote to Dr. Holmes and begged for a little poem, I got the following answer, which I shall take the liberty of reading. I don't see the Doctor himself in the hall, which encourages me to go on:—

"My Dear James:—Somebody has written a note in your name requesting me to furnish a few verses for some occasion which he professed to be interested in. I am satisfied, of course, that it is a forgery. I know you would not do such a thing as to ask a brother rhymer, utterly exhausted by his centennial efforts, to endanger his health and compromise his reputation by any damnable iteration of spasmodic squeezing. [Laughter.] So I give you warning that some dangerous person is using your name, and taking advantage of the great love I bear you, to play upon my feelings. Don't think for a moment that I hold you in any way responsible for this note, looking so nearly like your own handwriting as for a single instant to deceive me, and suggest the idea that I would take a passage for Europe in season to avoid all the college anniversaries."

[Pg 741]

I readily excused him, and I am sure you will be kind enough to be charitable to me, gentlemen.

I know that one of the things which the graduates of the college look forward to with the most confident expectation and pleasure is the report of the President of the University. [Applause.] I remember that when I was in the habit of attending the meetings of the faculty, some fourteen or fifteen years ago, I was very much struck by the fact that almost every matter of business that required particular ability was sure to gravitate into the hands of a young professor of chemistry. The fact made so deep an impression upon me that I remember that I used to feel, when our war broke out, that this young professor might have to take the care of one of our regiments, and I know that he would have led it to victory. And when I heard that the same professor was nominated for President, I had no doubt of the result which all of us have seen to follow. I give you, gentlemen, the health of President Eliot of Harvard College. [Applause.]


[Speech of James Russell Lowell at the Harvard Alumni dinner at Cambridge, Mass., June 28, 1876. Mr. Lowell, as President of the Alumni Association, occupied the chair.]

Brethren:—Though perhaps there be nothing in a hundredth year to make it more emphatic than those years which precede it and which follow it, and though the celebration of centennials be a superstitious survival from the time when to count ten upon the fingers was a great achievement in arithmetic, and to find the square of that number carried with it something of the awe and solemnity which invests the higher mathematics to us of the laity, yet I think no wise man can be indifferent to any sentiment which so profoundly and powerfully affects the imagination of the mass of his fellows. The common consent of civilized mankind seems to have settled on the centennial commemoration of great events as leaving an interval spacious enough to be impressive, and having a roundness of completion in its period. We, the youngest of nations, the centuries to us are not yet[Pg 742] grown so cheap and commonplace as to Napoleon when he saw forty of them looking in undisguised admiration upon his army, bronzed from their triumphs in Italy. For my own part I think the scrutiny of one age is quite enough to bear without calling in thirty-nine others to its assistance. [Applause.]

It is quite true that a hundred years are but as a day in the life of a nation, are but as a tick of the clock to the long-drawn æons in which this planet hardened itself for the habitation of man, and man accommodated himself to his habitation; but they are all we have, and we must make the best of them. Perhaps, after all, it is no such great misfortune to be young, especially if we are conscious at the time that youth means opportunity, and not accomplishment. I think that, after all, when we look back upon a hundred years through which the country has passed, the vista is not so disheartening as to the indigestive fancy it might at first appear. If we have lost something of that Arcadian simplicity which the French travellers of a hundred years ago found here,—perhaps because they looked for it, perhaps because of their impenetrability by the English tongue,—we have lost something also of that self-sufficiency which is the mark as well of provincials as of barbarians, and which is the great hindrance to all true advancement. It is a wholesome symptom, I think, if we are beginning to show some of that talent for grumbling which is the undoubted heirloom of the race to which most of us belong. [Laughter and applause.] Even the Fourth-of-July oration is edging round into a lecture on our national shortcomings, and the proud eagle himself is beginning to have no little misgiving at the amplitude between the tips of his wings. [Laughter.]

But while it may be admitted that our government was more decorously administered one hundred years ago, if our national housekeeping of to-day is further removed from honest business principles, and therefore is more costly, both morally and financially, than that of any other Christian nation, it is no less true that the hundredth year of our existence finds us in the mass very greatly advanced in the refinement and culture and comfort that are most operative in making a country civilized and in keeping it so. [Ap[Pg 743]plause.] When we talk of decline of public and private virtue I think that we forget that that better former day was a day of small communities and of uneasy locomotion, when public opinion acted more directly and more sharply, was brought to bear more convincingly upon the individual than is possible now. But grant that though the dread of what is said and thought be but a poor substitute and makeshift for conscience,—that austere and sleepless safeguard of character, which, if not an instinct, acquires all the attributes of an instinct, and whose repeated warnings make duty at least an unconscious habitude,—after all, this outside substitute is the strongest motive for well-doing in the majority of our race, and men of thought and culture should waste no opportunity to reinforce it by frankness in speaking out invidious truths, by reproof and by warning. I, for one, greatly doubt whether our national standard of right and wrong has been really so much debased as we are sometimes tempted to think [applause]; and whether the soft money of a sentimental sort of promises to pay has altogether driven out the sterling coin of upright purpose and self-denying fulfilment. [Applause.] I could wish that this belief, almost, provided it did not mislead us into prophesying smooth things, were more general among our cultivated class; for the very acceptance of such a belief tends in large measure toward its accomplishment. No finer sentence has come down to us from antiquity, no higher witness was ever borne to the quality of a nation, than in that signal of Nelson's: "England expects every man to do his duty." [Applause.]

Brethren, I thought on this occasion of the centennial celebration of our independence it was fit that some expression should go forth from us that should in some measure give contradiction to the impression that the graduates of Harvard College take a pessimistic view of their country and its institutions. [Applause.] Certainly I know that it is not true, and I wish to have that sentiment expressed here. Our college takes no official part in celebrating the nation's first completed century; she who is already half-way through her third has become too grave for these youthful elations. [Laughter.] But she does not forget that in Samuel and John Adams, Otis,[Pg 744] Josiah Quincy, Jr., and John Hancock, she did her full share toward making such a commemoration possible. [Applause.] As in 1776, so in 1876, we have sent John Adams to represent us at Philadelphia, and, perhaps with some prescience of what the next century is to effect, we have sent with him Madame Boylston as his colleague [applause]; and it may be that Alma Mater in this has possibly shown a little feminine malice, for it is to a silent congress that she is made her deputy. [Laughter and applause.] And in the hundred years since we asserted for ourselves a separate place and proper name among the nations, our college has been no palsied or atrophied limb in the national organization. To the jurisprudence, to the legislation, the diplomacy, the science, the literature, the art of the country, her contribution has certainly not fallen short of its due proportion. Our triennial catalogue is hung thick with our trophies from many fields. I may say in parenthesis, gentlemen, brethren of the alumni, that I am glad the July number of the "North American Review" is not yet published. In the January number there was so disheartening a report of everything—I am glad to say our religion is excepted, we have grown perhaps in grace—but we had no science, we had none of this and none of the other.

Brethren, we whom these dumb faces on the wall make in imagination the contemporaries of eight generations of men, let us remember, and let us inculcate on those who are to fill the places that so soon shall know us no more, let us remember, I say, that if man seem to survive himself and to be mutely perpetuated in these fragile semblances, it is only the stamp of the soul that is eternally operative; it is only the image of ourselves that we have left in some sphere of intellectual or moral achievement, that is indelible, that becomes a part of the memory of mankind, reproductive and beneficent, inspiring and admonitory.

But, brethren, as Charles Lamb said of Coleridge's motto, Sermoni propriori, this is more proper for a sermon than for a dinner-table. But birthdays, after all, gentlemen, are serious things; and as the chance of many more of them becomes precarious, and the approaching birthday of the nation[Pg 745] begets in all of us, I should hope, something of a grave and meditative mood, it would be an indecorum to break in upon it too suddenly with the licensed levity of festival. You are waiting to hear other voices, and I trust my example of gravity may act rather as a warning than as precedent to those who are to follow me.

Brethren, at our table there is always one toast, that by custom and propriety takes precedence of all others. It is, I admit, rather an arduous task to pay the most many-sided man a different compliment year after year, and the President of the University must pardon me for saying that he gives a good deal of trouble to the President of the Alumni, as he is apt to do in the case of inefficient persons generally. [Laughter and applause.] One eminent quality, however, I can illustrate in a familiar Latin quotation, which, with your permission, I will put in two ways, thus securing, I should hope, the understanding of the older and younger among you: "Justum et tenacem propositi virum." [Mr. Lowell evoked considerable laughter by pronouncing the Latin according to the continental method.] I give you the health of President Eliot.


[Speech of James Russell Lowell at a breakfast given to American actors at the Savage Club, London, August, 1880. Charles Dickens [the son of the novelist] occupied the post of chairman and called upon Mr. Lowell to respond to the toast proposed in his honor: "The Health of the American Minister."]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:—In listening to the kind words and still more in hearing the name of the gentleman who was kind enough to propose the toast to which I am replying, I cannot help recalling the words of one of your English poets:—

"Oh, for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!"

I was honored with the acquaintance, in some sort, I may say, with the friendship of the father of the gentleman who[Pg 746] proposed my name, and before saying anything further you will allow me to remark that my countrymen are always ready to recognize the hereditary claims when based upon hereditary merit. ["Hear! Hear!"]

Gentlemen, it is a great pleasure to me to be here, but in some sense I regard it also as a kind of duty to be present on any occasion when the star-spangled banner and the red cross of England hang opposite each other, in friendly converse. May they never hang opposite each other in any other spirit. [Cheers.] I say so because I think it is the duty of any man who in any sense represents one of the English-speaking races, to be present on an occasion which indicates, as this does, that we are one in all those great principles which lie at the basis of civilized society—never mind what the form of government may be.

As I sat here, gentlemen, endeavoring to collect my thoughts and finding it, I may say, as difficult as to make a collection for any other charitable occasion [laughter], I could not help thinking that the Anglo-Saxon race—if you will allow me to use an expression which is sometimes criticised—that the Anglo-Saxon race has misinterpreted a familiar text of Scripture and reads it: "Out of the fulness of the mouth the heart speaketh." I confess that if Alexander, who once offered a reward for a new pleasure, were to come again upon earth, I should become one of the competitors for the prize, and I should offer for his consideration a festival at which there were no speeches. [Laughter.] The gentlemen of your profession have in one sense a great advantage over the rest of us. Your speeches are prepared for you by the cleverest men of your time or by the great geniuses for all time. You can be witty or wise at much less expense than those of us who are obliged to fall back upon our own resources. Now I admit that there is a great deal in the spur of the moment, but that depends very much upon the flank of the animal into which you dig it. There is also a great deal in that self-possessed extemporaneousness which a man carries in his pocket on a sheet of paper. It reminds one of the compliment which the Irishman paid to his own weapon, the shillalah, when he said: "It's a weapon which never misses fire." But then it may be said that it applies itself more directly to the head than[Pg 747] to the heart. I think I have a very capital theory of what an after-dinner speech should be; we have had some examples this afternoon and I have made a great many excellent ones myself; but they were always on the way home, and after I had made a very poor one when I was on my legs. [Laughter.] My cabman has been the confidant of an amount of humor and apt quotations and clever sayings which you will never know, and which you will never guess. But something in what has been said by one of my countrymen recalls to my mind a matter of graver character. As a man who has lived all his life in the country, to my shame be it said I have not been an habitual theatre-goer. I came too late for the elder Kean. My theatrical experience began with Fanny Kemble—I forget how many years ago, but more than I care to remember—and I recollect the impression made upon me by her and by her father. I was too young to be critical; I was young enough to enjoy; but I remember that what remained with me and what remains with me still of what I heard and saw, and especially with regard to Charles Kemble, was the perfection of his art. It was not his individual characteristics—though of course I remember those—it was the perfection of his art. My countryman has alluded to the fact that at one time it was difficult for an actor to get a breakfast, much more to have one offered to him; and that recalls to my mind the touching words of the great master of your art, Shakespeare, who in one of his sonnets said:—

"O for my sake do you with Fortune chide,
The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds,
That did not better for my life provide
Than public means, which public manners breeds:
Thence comes it that my name receives a brand;
And almost thence my nature is subdu'd
To what it works in, like the dyer's hand."

Certainly the consideration in which the theatrical profession is held has risen greatly even within my own recollection. It has risen greatly since the time when Adrienne Lecouvreur was denied burial in that consecrated ground where rakes and demireps could complete the corruption they had begun on earth; and this is due to the fact that it is now looked upon not only by the public in general but by the[Pg 748] members of your profession as a fine art. It is perfectly true that the stage has often lent itself, I will not say to the demoralization of the public, but to things which I think none of us would altogether approve. This, however, I think has been due, more to the fact that it not only holds up the mirror to nature, but that the stage is a mirror in which the public itself is reflected. And the public itself is to blame if the stage is ever degraded. [Cheers.]

It has been to men of my profession, perhaps, that the degradation has been due, more than to those who represent their plays. They have interpreted, perhaps in too literal a sense, the famous saying of Dryden that

"He who lives to write, must write to live."

But I began with the Irishman's weapon and I shall not forget that among its other virtues is its brevity, and as in the list of toasts which are to follow I caught the name of a son of him who was certainly the greatest poet, though he wrote in prose, and who perhaps possessed the most original mind that America has given to the world, I shall, I am sure, with your entire approbation make way for the next speaker. [Applause.]


[Speech of James Russell Lowell at the second annual dinner of the London Chamber of Commerce, January 29, 1883. H. C. E. Childers, Chancellor of the Exchequer, was in the chair. The company included representatives of the English-speaking race in every part of the world. On the chairman's left sat James Russell Lowell, United States Minister. In proposing "The Chambers of Commerce of the United Kingdom and of the Whole World," he delivered the following speech.]

Mr. Chairman, My Lords and Gentlemen:—I was a few moments ago discussing with my excellent friend upon the left what a diplomatist might be permitted to say, and I think the result of the discussion was that he was left to his choice between saying nothing that had any meaning or saying something that had several [laughter]; and as one of those diplomatists to whom the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs alluded a short time ago, I should rather[Pg 749] choose the latter course, because it gives one afterwards a selection when the time for explanation comes round. [Laughter.]

I shall not detain you long, for I know that there are speakers both on the right and on the left of me who are impatient to burst the bud; and I know that I have not been selected for the pleasant duty that has been assigned to me for any merits of my own. [Cries of dissent.] You will allow me to choose my own reason, gentlemen. I repeat, I have not been chosen so much for my own merits as for the opportunity afforded you of giving expression to your kindness and good feeling towards the country I represent—a country which exemplifies what the colonies of England may come to if they are not wisely treated. [Laughter and cheers.] Speaking for myself and for one or two of my compatriots whom I see here present, I should certainly say that that was no unpleasant destiny in itself. But I do not, nor do my countrymen, desire that those great commonwealths which are now joined to England by so many filial ties should ever be separated from her.

I am asked to-night to propose the "Chambers of Commerce of the United Kingdom and of the World," and I might, if the clock did not warn me against it—["Go on!"] if my own temperament did not stand a little in the way—I might say to you something very solemn on the subject of commerce. I might say how commerce, if not a great civilizer in itself, had always been a great intermediary and vehicle of civilization. I might say that all the great commercial States have been centres of civilization, and centres of those forces which keep civilization from becoming stupid. I do not say which is the post and which the propter in this inference; but I do say that the two things have been almost invariably associated.

One word as to commerce in another relation which touches me more nearly. Commerce and the rights and advantages of commerce, ill understood and ignorantly interpreted, have often been the cause of animosities between nations. But commerce rightly understood is a great pacificator; it brings men face to face for barter. It is the great corrector of the eccentricities and enormities of nature and of the seasons, so that a bad harvest and a bad season in[Pg 750] England is a good season for Minnesota, Kansas, and Manitoba.

But, gentlemen, I will not detain you longer. It gives me great pleasure to propose, as the representative of the United States, the toast of "The Chambers of Commerce of the United Kingdom and of the Whole World," with which I associate the names of Mr. C. M. Norwood, M. P., vice-president of the Associated Chambers of the United Kingdom, and the Hon. F. Strutt, president of the Derby Chamber. [Cheers.]


[Speech of James Russell Lowell at a banquet given to Sir Henry Irving, London, July 4, 1883, in view of his impending departure for a professional tour of America. Lord Coleridge, Lord Chief Justice of England, occupied the chair. The toast, "Literature, Science, and Art," was proposed by Viscount Bury, and Mr. Lowell was called upon to respond for Literature. Professor Tyndall replied on behalf of Science, and Alma Tadema for Art.]

My Lord Coleridge, My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen:—I confess that my mind was a little relieved when I found that the toast to which I am to respond rolled three gentlemen, Cerberus-like, into one [laughter], and when I saw Science pulling impatiently at the leash on my left, and Art on my right, and that therefore the responsibility of only a third part of the acknowledgment has fallen to me. You, my lord, have alluded to the difficulties of after-dinner oratory. I must say that I am one of those who feel them more keenly the more after-dinner speeches I make. [Laughter.] There are a great many difficulties in the way, and there are three principal ones, I think. The first is the having too much to say, so that the words, hurrying to escape, bear down and trample out the life of each other. The second is when, having nothing to say, we are expected to fill a void in the minds of our hearers. And I think the third, and most formidable, is the necessity of following a speaker who is sure to say all the things you meant to say, and better than you, so that we are tempted to exclaim, with the old grammarian, "Hang these fellows, who have said all our good things before us!" [Laughter.][Pg 751]

Now the fourth of July has several times been alluded to, and I believe it is generally thought that on that anniversary the spirit of a certain bird known to heraldic ornithologists—and I believe to them alone—as the spread eagle, enters into every American's breast, and compels him, whether he will or no, to pour forth a flood of national self-laudation. [Laughter and cheers.] This, I say, is the general superstition, and I hope that a few words of mine may serve in some sort to correct it. I ask you, if there is any other people who have confined their national self-laudation to one day in the year. [Laughter.] I may be allowed to make one remark as to a personal experience. Fortune has willed it that I should see as many—perhaps more—cities and manners of men as Ulysses; and I have observed one general fact, and that is, that the adjectival epithet which is prefixed to all the virtues is invariably the epithet which geographically describes the country that I am in. For instance, not to take any real name, if I am in the kingdom of Lilliput, I hear of the Lilliputian virtues. I hear courage, I hear common sense, and I hear political wisdom called by that name. If I cross to the neighboring Republic Blefusca—for since Swift's time it has become a Republic—I hear all these virtues suddenly qualified as Blefuscan. [Laughter.]

I am very glad to be able to thank Lord Coleridge for having, I believe for the first time, coupled the name of the President of the United States with that of her Majesty on an occasion like this. I was struck, both in what he said, and in what our distinguished guest of this evening said, with the frequent recurrence of an adjective which is comparatively new—I mean the word "English-speaking." We continually hear nowadays of the "English-speaking race," of the "English-speaking population." I think this implies, not that we are to forget, not that it would be well for us to forget, that national emulation and that national pride which is implied in the words "Englishman" and "American," but the word implies that there are certain perennial and abiding sympathies between all men of a common descent and a common language. [Cheers.] I am sure, my lord, that all you said with regard to the welcome which our distinguished guest will receive in America is true. His eminent talents[Pg 752] as an actor, the dignified—I may say the illustrious—manner in which he has sustained the traditions of that succession of great actors who, from the time of Burbage to his own, have illustrated the English stage, will be as highly appreciated there as here. [Cheers.]

And I am sure that I may also say that the chief magistrate of England will be welcomed by the bar of the United States, of which I am an unworthy member, and perhaps will be all the more warmly welcomed that he does not come among them to practise. He will find American law administered—and I think he will agree with me in saying ably administered—by judges who, I am sorry to say, sit without the traditional wig of England. [Laughter.] I have heard since I came here friends of mine gravely lament this as something prophetic of the decay which was sure to follow so serious an innovation. I answered with a little story which I remember hearing from my father. He remembered the last clergyman in New England who still continued to wear the wig. At first it became a singularity and at last a monstrosity; and the good doctor concluded to leave it off. But there was one poor woman among his parishioners who lamented this sadly, and waylaying the clergyman as he came out of church she said, "Oh, dear doctor, I have always listened to your sermon with the greatest edification and comfort, but now that the wig is gone all is gone." [Laughter.] I have thought I have seen some signs of encouragement in the faces of my English friends after I have consoled them with this little story.

But I must not allow myself to indulge in any further remarks. There is one virtue, I am sure, in after-dinner oratory, and that is brevity; and as to that I am reminded of a story. [Laughter.] The Lord Chief Justice has told you what are the ingredients of after-dinner oratory. They are the joke, the quotation, and the platitude; and the successful platitude, in my judgment, requires a very high order of genius. I believe that I have not given you a quotation, but I am reminded of something which I heard when very young—the story of a Methodist clergyman in America. He was preaching at a camp meeting, and he was preaching upon the miracle of Joshua, and he began his sermon with this sentence: "My hearers, there are three motions of the[Pg 753] sun. The first is the straightforward or direct motion of the sun; the second is the retrograde or backward motion of the sun; and the third is the motion mentioned in our text—'the sun stood still.'" [Laughter.]

Now, gentlemen, I don't know whether you see the application of the story—I hope you do. The after-dinner orator at first begins and goes straight forward—that is the straightforward motion of the sun. Next he goes back and begins to repeat himself—that is the backward motion of the sun. At last he has the good sense to bring himself to the end, and that is the motion mentioned in our text, as the sun stood still. [Great laughter, in the midst of which Mr. Lowell resumed his seat.]


[Speech of James Russell Lowell at the annual Ashfield Dinner at Ashfield, Mass., August 27, 1885,—the harvest-time festival in behalf of Sanderson Academy, given for several years under the leadership of Charles Eliot Norton and George William Curtis, long summer residents in this country town. Mr. Lowell had recently returned from his post as Minister to England; and he was presented to the literary gathering by Professor Norton, President of the day. Professor Norton closed his eloquent words of introduction as follows: "On our futile laurels he looks down, himself our highest crown.—Ashfield speaks to you to-day, and the welcome is your own to New England."]

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen:—I cannot easily escape from some strength of emotion in listening to the words of my friend who has just sat down, unless I receive it on the shield which has generally been my protection against many of the sorrows and some of the hardships of life. I mean the shield of humor, and I shall, therefore, take less seriously than playfully the portrait that he has been kind enough to draw of me. It reminds me of a story I once heard of a young poet, who published his volume of verses and prefixed to it his own portrait drawn by a friendly artist. The endeavor of his life from that time forward was to look like the portrait that his friend had drawn. [Applause.] I shall make the same endeavor.

It is a great pleasure to me to come here to-day, not only because I have met some of the oldest friends of my life, but[Pg 754] also that after having looked in the eyes of so many old English audiences I see face to face a new English one, and when I looked at them I was reminded of a family likeness and of that kinship of blood which unites us. When I look at you I see many faces that remind me of faces I saw on the other side of the water, and I feel that whether I speak there or here I am essentially speaking to one people. I am not going to talk about myself, and I am not going to make a speech. I have spoken so often for you on the other side of the water that I feel as though I had a certain claim, at least, to be put on the retired list. But I could not fail to observe a certain distrust of America that has peeped out in remarks made, sometimes in the newspapers, sometimes to myself, as to whether a man could live eight years out of America, without really preferring Europe. It seems to me to imply what I should call a very unworthy distrust in the powers of America to inspire affection. I feel to-day, in looking in your faces, somewhat as I did when I took my first walk over the hills after my return, and the tears came into my eyes as I was welcomed by the familiar wayside flowers, the trees, the birds that had been my earliest friends.

It seems to me that those who take such a view quite miscalculate the force of the affection that a man feels for his country. It is something deeper than a sentiment. If there were anything deeper, I should say it was something deeper than an instinct. It is that feeling of self-renunciation and of identification with another which Ruth expressed when she said: "Entreat me not to leave thee nor to depart from following after thee, for whither thou goest I will go: where thou livest I will live, and where thou diest there will I die also." That, it seems to me, is the instinctive feeling that a man has. At the same time, this does not exclude the having clear eyes to see the faults of one's country. I think that, as an old President of Harvard College said once to a person who was remonstrating with him: "But charity, doctor, charity." "Yes, I know; but charity has eyes and ears and won't be made a fool of." [Laughter.]

I notice a good many changes in coming home, a few of which I may, perhaps, be allowed to touch upon. I notice a great growth in luxury, inevitable, I suppose, and which[Pg 755] may have good in it—more good, perhaps, than I can see. I notice, also, one change that has impressed me profoundly, and when I hear that New England is drawing away, I cannot help thinking to myself how much more prosperous the farms look than they did when I was young; how much more neat is the farming, how much greater the attention to what will please the eye about the farm, as the planting of flowers and trimming the grass, which seems to me a very good sign. I had an opportunity, by a strange accident, of becoming very intimate with the outward appearance of New England during my youth by going about when a little boy with my father when he went on exchanges. He always went in his own vehicle, and he sometimes drove as far west as Northampton. I do not wish to detain you on this point, except as it interested me and is now first in my mind.

While I was in England I had occasion once to address them on the subject of Democracy, and I could not help thinking when I came up here that I was coming to one of its original sources, for certain it is that in the village community of New England, in its "plain living and high thinking," began that social equality which afterwards developed on the political side into what we call Democracy. And Democracy—while surely we cannot claim for it that it is perfect—yet Democracy, it seems to me, is the best expedient hitherto invented by mankind, not for annihilating distinctions and equalities, for that is impossible, but, so far as it is humanly possible, for compensating them. Here in our little towns in the last century, people met without thinking of it on a high table-land of common manhood. There was no sense of presumption from below, there was no possibility of condescension from above, because there was no above and below in the community. Learning was always respected in the clergyman, in the doctor, in the squire, the justice of the peace, and the rest of the community. This made no artificial distinction.

I observe, also, that our people are getting over their very bad habit with regard to politics, for Democracy, you must remember, lays a heavier burden on the individual conscience than any other form of government; and I have been glad to observe that we have been getting over that habit of thinking that our institutions will go of themselves.[Pg 756] Now it seems to me that there is no machine of human construction, or into which the wit of man has entered, that can go of itself without supervision, without oiling; that there are no wheels which will revolve without our help, except the great wheel of the constellations or that great circle of the sun's which has its hand upon the dial plate, and which was made by a hand much less fallible than ours.

It also pleases me very much to see a friend whose constancy, whose faith, and whose courage have done so much more than any other man's to bring about that reform [great applause], though when I speak of civil service reform the friend who stands at our elbow on all these occasions will suggest to me a certain parallel, that is, that as Mr. Curtis is here to-day and I am here to-day, it reminds one of the temperance lecturer who used to go about carrying with him an unhappy person as the awful example [great laughter], and it may have flickered before some of your minds that I was the "awful example" of the very reform I had preached. However, I say that it is to me a very refreshing thing to find that this old happy-go-lucky feeling about our institutions has a very good chance of passing away.

One thing which always impressed me on the other side of the water as an admirable one, and as one which gave them a certain advantage over us, is the number of men who train themselves specifically for politics, for government. We are apt to forget, over here, that the art of governing men, as it is the highest, so it is the most difficult, of all arts. We are particular how our boots are made, but about our constitutions we "trust in the Lord," without even, as Cromwell advised, keeping our powder dry. We commit the highest destinies of this Republic, which some of us hope bears the hope of the world in her womb—to whom? Certainly not always to those who are most fit on any principle of natural selection: certainly, sometimes to those who are most unfit on any principle of selection,—and this is a very serious matter, for if you will allow me to speak with absolute plainness, no country that allows itself to be governed for a moment by its blackguards is safe. [Applause.] That was written before the United States of America existed. It is one of the truths of human[Pg 757] nature and of destiny. If I were a man who had any political aspiration,—which, thank Heaven, I have not,—if I had any official aspiration—which, thank Heaven, also, I have not,—I should come home here, and when I first met an American audience I should say to them: My friends, America can learn nothing of Europe; Europe must come to school here. You have the tallest monument, you have the biggest waterfall, you have the highest tariff of any country in the world. [Great laughter and applause.] I would tell you that the last census showed that you had gained so many millions, as if the rabbits did not beat us in that way of multiplication, as if it counted for anything! It seems to me that what we make of our several millions is the vital question for us.

I was very much interested in what Prof. Stanley Hall said. I am heretic enough to have doubted whether our common schools are the panacea we have been inclined to think them. I was exceedingly interested in what he said about the education which a boy gained on the hills here. It seems to me we are going to fall back into the easy belief that because our common schools teach more than they used—and in my opinion much more than they ought—we can dispense with the training of the household. When Mr. Harrison [J. P. Harrison, author of "Some Dangerous Tendencies in American Life," one of the preceding speakers] was telling us of the men who were obliged to labor without hope from one end of the day to the other, and one end of the year to the other, he added, what is quite true—that, perhaps, after all, they are happier than that very large class of men who have leisure without culture, and whose sole occupation is either the killing of game or the killing of time—that is the killing of the most valuable possession that we have.

But I will not detain you any longer for, as I did say, I did not come here to make a speech, and I did not know what I was going to say when I came. I generally, on such occasions, trust to the spur of the moment, and sometimes the moment forgets its spur. [Laughter and applause.][Pg 758]


[Speech of James Russell Lowell at the annual banquet of the Royal Academy, London, May 1, 1886, in response to the toast, "The Interests of Literature." The President of the Academy, Sir Frederic Leighton, said, in introducing Mr. Lowell: "In the name of letters, of English letters, in the broadest sense, I rejoice to turn, not for the first time at this table, to one who counts among the very foremost of their representatives. As a poet richly endowed, as a critic most subtle and penetrating, among humorists the most genial, as a speaker not surpassed—who shall more fittingly rise in the name of Literature than Mr. Russell Lowell, whom I welcome once more to this country, as one not led to it to-day by mere hap and chance of diplomatic need, but drawn, I would fain believe, as by the memory of many friends."]

Your Royal Highnesses, My Lords, and Gentlemen:—I think that I can explain who the artist might have been who painted the reversed rainbow of which the Professor[11] has just spoken. I think, after hearing the too friendly remarks made about myself, that he was probably some artist who was to answer for his art at a dinner of the Royal Society; and, naturally, instead of painting the bow of hope, he painted the reverse, the bow of despair. [Laughter.] When I received your invitation, Mr. President, to answer for "Literature," I was too well aware of the difficulties of your position not to know that your choice of speakers must be guided much more by the necessities of the occasion than by the laws of natural selection. [Laughter and cheers.] I remembered that the dictionaries give a secondary meaning to the phrase "to answer for," and that is the meaning which implies some expedient for an immediate necessity, as, for example, when one takes shelter under a tree from shower he is said to make the tree answer for shelter. [Laughter.] I think even an umbrella in the form of a tree has certainly one very great advantage over its artificial namesake—viz., that it cannot be borrowed, not even for the exigencies for which the instrument made of twilled silk is made use of, as those certainly will admit who have ever tried it during one of those passionate paroxysms of weather to which the Italian climate is unhappily subject. [Laughter.][Pg 759]

I shall not attempt to answer for Literature, for it appears to me that Literature, of all other things, is the one which most naturally is expected to answer for itself. It seems to me that the old English phrase with regard to a man in difficulties, which asks: "What is he going to do about it?" perhaps should be replaced in this period of ours, when the foundations of everything are being sapped by universal discussion, with the more pertinent question: "What is he going to say about it?" ["Hear! Hear!" and laughter.] I suppose that every man sent into the world with something to say to his fellow-men could say it better than anyone else if he could only find out what it was. I am sure that the ideal after-dinner speech is waiting for me somewhere with my address upon it, if I could only be so lucky as to come across it. I confess that hard necessity, or, perhaps I may say, too soft good nature, has compelled me to make so many unideal ones that I have almost exhausted my natural stock of universally applicable sentiment and my acquired provision of anecdote and allusion. I find myself somewhat in the position of Heine, who had prepared an elaborate oration for his first interview with Goethe, and when the awful moment arrived could only stammer out that the cherries on the road to Weimar were uncommonly fine. [Laughter.]

But, fortunately, the duty which is given to me to-night is not so onerous as might be implied in the sentiment that has called me up. I am consoled, not only by the lexicographer as to the meaning of the phrase "to answer for," but also by an observation of mine, which is, that speakers on an occasion like this are not always expected to allude except in distant and vague terms to the subject on which they are specially supposed to talk.

Now, I have a more pleasing and personal duty, it appears to me, on this my first appearance before an English audience on my return to England. It gives me great pleasure to think that, in calling upon me, you call upon me as representing two things which are exceedingly dear to me, and which are very near to my heart. One is that I represent in some sense the unity of English literature under whatever sky it may be produced; and the other is that I represent also that friendliness of feeling, based on a better under[Pg 760]standing of each other, which is growing up between the two branches of the British stock. [Cheers.] I could wish that my excellent successor here as American Minister could fill my place to-night, for I am sure that he is as fully inspired as I ever was with a desire to draw closer the ties of friendship between the mother and the daughter, and could express it in a more eloquent and more emphatic manner than even I myself could do—at any rate in a more authoritative manner.

For myself, I have only to say that I come back from my native land confirmed in my love of it and in my faith in it. I come back also full of warm gratitude for the feeling that I find in England; I find in the old home a guest-chamber prepared for me, and a warm welcome. [Cheers.] Repeating what his Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief has said, that every man is bound in duty, if he were not bound in affection and loyalty, to put his own country first, I may be allowed to steal a leaf out of the book of my adopted fellow-citizens in America; and while I love my native country first, as is natural, I may be allowed to say I love the country next best which I cannot say has adopted me, but which, I will say, has treated me with such kindness, where I have met with such universal kindness from all classes and degrees of people, that I must put that country at least next in my affection.

I will not detain you longer. I know that the essence of speaking here is to be brief, but I trust that I shall not lay myself open to the reproach that in my desire to be brief I have resulted in making myself obscure. [Laughter.] I hope I have expressed myself explicitly enough; but I would venture to give another translation of Horace's words, and say that I desire to be brief, and therefore I efface myself. [Laughter and cheers.][Pg 761]


[Speech of James Russell Lowell at the dinner of the Incorporated Society of Authors, London, July 25, 1888, given to the "American Men and Women of Letters" who happened to be in London on that date.]

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen:—I confess that I rise under a certain oppression. There was a time when I went to make an after-dinner speech with a light heart, and when on my way to the dinner I could think over my exordium in my cab and trust to the spur of the moment for the rest of my speech. But I find as I grow older a certain aphasia overtakes me, a certain inability to find the right word precisely when I want it; and I find also that my flank becomes less sensitive to the exhilarating influences of that spur to which I have just alluded. I had pretty well made up my mind not to make any more after-dinner speeches. I had an impression that I had made quite enough of them for a wise man to speak, and perhaps more than it was profitable for other wise men to listen to. [Laughter.] I confess that it was with some reluctance that I consented to speak at all to-night. I had been bethinking me of the old proverb of the pitcher and the well which is mentioned, as you remember, in the proverb; and it was not altogether a consolation to me to think that that pitcher, which goes once too often to the well, belongs to the class which is taxed by another proverb with too great length of ears. [Laughter.] But I could not resist. I certainly felt that it was my duty not to refuse myself to an occasion like this—an occasion which deliberately emphasizes, as well as expresses, that good feeling between our two countries which, I think, every good man in both of them is desirous to deepen and to increase. If I look back to anything in my life with satisfaction, it is to the fact that I myself have, in some degree, contributed—and I hope I may believe the saying to be true—to this good feeling. [Applause.]

You alluded, Mr. Chairman, to a date which gave me, I must confess, what we call on the other side of the water "a rather large contract." I am to reply, I am to answer[Pg 762] to Literature, and I must confess that a person like myself, who first appeared in print fifty years ago, would hardly wish to be answerable for all his own literature, not to speak of the literature of other people. But your allusion to sixty years ago reminded me of something which struck me as I looked down these tables.

Sixty years ago the two authors you mentioned, Irving and Cooper, were the only two American authors of whom anything was known in Europe, and the knowledge of them in Europe was mainly confined to England. It is true that Bryant's "Water-Fowl" had already begun its flight in immortal air, but these were the only two American authors that could be said to be known in England. And what is even more remarkable, they were the only American authors at that time—there were, and had been, others known to us at home—who were capable of earning their bread by their pens. Another singular change is suggested to me as I look down these tables, and that is the singular contrast they afford between the time when Johnson wrote his famous lines about those ills that assail the life of the scholar, and by the scholar he meant the author—

"Toil, envy, want, the patron, and the gaol."

And I confess when I remember that verse it strikes me as a singular contrast that I should meet with a body of authors who are able to offer a dinner instead of begging one; that I have sat here and seen "forty feeding like one," when one hundred years ago the one fed like forty when he had the chance. [Laughter.]

You have alluded also, in terms which I shall not qualify, to my own merits. You have made me feel a little as if I were a ghost revisiting the pale glimpses of the moon, and reading with considerable wonder my own epitaph. But you have done me more than justice in attributing so much to me with regard to International Copyright. You are quite right in alluding to Mr. Putnam, who, I think, wrote the best pamphlet that has been written on the subject; and there are others you did not name who also deserve far more than I do for the labor they have expended and the zeal they have shown on behalf of International Copyright, particularly the secretaries of our international society—Mr.[Pg 763] Lathrop and Mr. G. W. Green. And since I could not very well avoid touching upon the subject of International Copyright, I must say that all American authors without exception have been in favor of it on the moral ground, on the ground of simple justice to English authors. But there were a great many local, topical considerations, as our ancestors used to call them, that we were obliged to take into account, and which, perhaps, you do not feel as keenly here as we did. But I think we may say that the almost unanimous conclusion of American authors latterly has been that we should be thankful to get any bill that recognized the principle of international copyright, being confident that its practical application would so recommend it to the American people that we should get afterwards, if not every amendment of it that we desire, at least every one that is humanly possible. I think that perhaps a little injustice has been done to our side of the question; I think a little more heat has been imported into it than was altogether wise. I am not so sure that our American publishers were so much more wicked than their English brethren would have been if they had had the chance. [Laughter.] I cannot, I confess, accept with patience any imputation that implies that there is anything in our climate or in our form of government that tends to produce a lower standard of morality than in other countries. The fact is that it has been partly due to a certain—may I speak of our ancestors as having been qualified by a certain dulness? I mean no disrespect, but I think it is due to the stupidity of our ancestors in making a distinction between literary property and other property. That has been at the root of the whole evil.

I, of course understand, as everybody understands, that all property is the creature of municipal law. But you must remember that it is the conquest of civilization, that when property passes beyond the boundaries of that municipium it is still sacred. It is not even yet sacred in all respects and conditions. Literature, the property in an idea, has been something that it is very difficult for the average man to comprehend. It is not difficult for the average man to comprehend that there may be property in a form which genius or talent gives to an idea. He can see it. It is visible and palpable, this property in an idea when it is exemplified in a machine,[Pg 764] but it is hardly so apprehensible when it is subtly interfused in literature. Books have always been looked on somewhat as feræ naturæ, and if you have ever preserved pheasants you know that when they fly over your neighbor's boundaries he may take a pot shot at them. I remember that something more than thirty years ago Longfellow, my friend and neighbor, asked me to come and eat a game pie with him. Longfellow's books had been sold in England by the tens of thousands, and that game pie—and you will observe the felicity of its being a game pie, feræ naturæ always you see—was the only honorarium he had ever received from this country for reprinting his works.

I cannot help feeling as I stand here that there is something especially—I might almost use a cant word and say monumentally—interesting in a meeting like this. It is the first time that English and American authors, so far as I know, have come together in any numbers, I was going to say to fraternize, when I remembered that I ought perhaps to add to "sororize." We, of course, have no desire, no sensible man in England or America has any desire, to enforce this fraternization at the point of the bayonet. Let us go on criticising each other; it is good for both of us. We Americans have been sometimes charged with being a little too sensitive; but perhaps a little indulgence may be due to those who always have their faults told to them, and the reference to whose virtues perhaps is sometimes conveyed in a foot-note in small print. I think that both countries have a sufficiently good opinion of themselves to have a fairly good opinion of each other. They can afford it; and if difficulties arise between the two countries, as they unhappily may,—and when you alluded just now to what De Tocqueville said in 1828 you must remember that it was only thirteen years after our war,—you must remember how long it has been to get in the thin end of the wedge of International Copyright; you must remember it took our diplomacy nearly one hundred years to enforce its generous principle of the alienable allegiance, and that the greater part of the bitterness which De Tocqueville found in 1828 was due to the impressment of American seamen, of whom something like fifteen hundred were serving on board English ships when at last they were delivered. These things[Pg 765] should be remembered, not with resentment but for enlightenment. But whatever difficulties occurred between the two countries, and there may be difficulties that are serious, I do not think there will be any which good sense and good feeling cannot settle. [Applause.]

I think I have been told often enough to remember that my countrymen are apt to think that they are in the right, that they are always in the right; that they are apt to look at their side of the question only. Now, this conduces certainly to peace of mind and imperturbability of judgment, whatever other merits it may have. I am sure I do not know where we got it. Do you? I also sympathize most heartily with what has been said by the chairman with regard to the increasing love for England among my countrymen. I find on inquiry that they stop longer and in greater numbers every year in the old home, and feel more deeply its manifold charms. They also are beginning to feel that London is the centre of the races that speak English, very much in the sense that Rome was the centre of the ancient world. And I confess that I never think of London, which I also confess that I love, without thinking of that palace which David built, sitting in hearing of a hundred streams—streams of thought, of intelligence, of activity. And one other thing about London, if I may be allowed to refer to myself, impresses me beyond any other sound I have ever heard, and that is the low, unceasing roar that one hears always in the air. It is not a mere accident, like the tempest or the cataract, but it is impressive because it always indicates human will and impulse and conscious movement, and I confess that when I hear it I almost feel that I am listening to the roaring loom of time. A few words more. I will only say this, that we, as well as you, have inherited a common trust in the noble language which, in its subtle compositiveness, is perhaps the most admirable instrument of human thought and human feeling and cunning that has ever been unconsciously devised by man. May our rivalries be in fidelity to that trust. We have also inherited certain traditions, political and moral, and in doing our duty towards these it seems to me that we shall find quite enough occupation for our united thought and feeling. [Long-continued applause.][Pg 766]



[Speech of Judge John Lowell at a banquet given by the Boston Merchants' Association in Boston, May 23, 1884, in his honor, upon his retirement from the bench of the United States Circuit Court.]

Gentlemen:—I hardly know why I am here. I suppose I must have decided some case in favor of our honored chairman. But, then, if every one in whose favor I have decided a case should give me a dinner I should have some thousands to eat, if I could live long enough.

I observe that in your invitation to me you say very little, if anything, about any judicial qualities which I may have displayed in office, but you do mention my courtesy and patience. You are right. There are better judges here to-night than I ever was; but in courtesy and consideration, which I learned at my mother's knee, I hope I have not been surpassed. I have received several compliments of the same kind. I will tell you one story about that.

I was sitting one day up in court. The jury had just gone out, when a very nice looking young man came up. His hair was a little short, I believe, but I didn't notice it particularly. Said he, "Good-morning, Jedge." "Good morning." "You don't remember me?" he said. "Your countenance is familiar to me," I said, "but it does not impress itself on my memory." Said he: "Four years ago to-day you sentenced me to four years' imprisonment in the State prison." I suppose it ought to have been five, I don't know. He said: "I got out to-day, and I thought I would make my first call on you." [Laughter. A voice: "That was his courtesy."] True; and mine then came in. Said I: "Many happy returns of the day." [Great laughter[Pg 767] and applause.] He took it very kindly and went off. I haven't seen him since.

I might have resigned some time ago. I was waiting to be turned out. [Laughter.] I got tired of waiting. I will tell you how that is now. My great-grandfather was judge of the District Court, appointed by Washington; then he was made circuit judge by Adams. Well, Adams made a good many circuit judges, and they were all Federalists; and when the Democrats—they called themselves Republicans—all the same, you know [laughter]—when the Republicans came in they abolished the court to get rid of the judges. They made a circuit court here about nineteen years ago, and they appointed my friend Shepley the first judge. I told him if the Democrats only got in soon enough he would go the way of my grandfather. He admitted it. When I was appointed I expected the same thing. In fact, some of our prominent Democrats told me so. I said, "All right, bring on your bear. Bring on your Democratic President." So I waited for that Democratic President about eight years. I got tired of waiting. That is the only reason I resign now. [Laughter and applause.]

You take things so good-naturedly I will tell you one or two more stories. One of the principal difficulties we have is in serving on the jury. The members of the Merchants' Association always presented me with a certificate showing that they were members of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company.[12] [Laughter.] But a man who was not a house guard came into my private office one day just as the jury was about to be impanelled. Said he: "Judge, I hear you live out of town." Said I: "Yes." Said he: "I guess you burn kerosene. You don't have electric lights or anything of that kind? Well," said he, "if you will let me off this jury I will give you the darnedest nice can of kerosene ever you see." Said I: "Young man, I see in your mind the exact virtues which would be most useful,—a justice and probity which will make you serve the country most admirably as a juryman." So he served. I don't know but that if it had been a barrel it might have been different. [Great laughter.][Pg 768]

Another tried the intimidation dodge. He says: "Jedge, I have been exposed to the small-pox, and expect it to break out every minute." Said I: "Break!" [Laughter.] He broke into the jury box and served his country well, and had no incapacitating disease that I ever heard of.

I don't know that there is much of anything else, except that I would give some advice. I am going to draw up some rules for my successor, and the first one will be: "Always decide in favor of the Merchants' Association." When there are two Merchants' Associations together, in different interests, then you must do like that jury in Kennebec county. There was a jury there which was very prompt and satisfactory. When they got through, the judge said: "Gentlemen, I thank you very much for the very satisfactory character of your verdicts, for the great promptness with which they have been rendered, without a single disagreement." The foreman returned thanks for the compliment, and said that the jury had escaped the delays and disagreements to which his Honor had referred, by always tossing up a copper as soon as they had retired, and abiding by the result of the throw.

One word in a more serious vein. I wish to express, in closing, my profound gratification that my efforts to do my duty simply and industriously should have met with your approval, and my gratitude for its public and spontaneous expression. [Applause.][Pg 769]



[Speech of Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton at a public dinner given to William C. Macready, London, March 1, 1851, on the occasion of the tragedian's withdrawal from the stage. Lord Lytton, in proposing the toast of the evening, delivered the following speech.]

Gentlemen:—When I glance through this vast hall, and feel how weak and indistinct is my voice, I feel that I must frankly throw myself upon your indulgence, and entreat your most patient and courteous attention while I approach that subject which unites to-day an assembly so remarkable for the numbers and distinction of those who compose it. We are met to do honor to an eminent man, who retires into private life after those services to the public which are most felt at the moment we are about to lose them. There are many among you far better qualified than I am to speak critically of the merits of Mr. Macready as an actor, but placed as I am in this chair, I feel that I should justly disappoint you if I did not seek to give some utterance to those sentiments of admiration of which you have made me the representative.

Gentlemen, this morning I read in one of the literary journals, some qualifying remarks as to the degree of Mr. Macready's genius; and now, as I recognize here many who are devoted to literature and art, I will ask them if I am not right in this doctrine—that the true measure of the genius of an artist is the degree of excellence to which he brings the art that he cultivates. Judge of Mr. Macready by this test, and how great is that genius that will delight us no more; for it is because it has so achieved what I will call the symmetry of art that its height and its breadth have[Pg 770] been often forgotten. We know that it is the uneven and irregular surface that strikes us as the largest, and the dimensions of a genius, like those of a building, are lost in the justness of its proportions; and therefore it is that in recalling the surpassing excellence of our guest as an artistical performer, one is really at a loss to say in what line of character he has excelled the most. The Titanic grandeur of Lear, the human debasement of Werner, the frank vivacity of Henry V, the gloomy and timorous guilt of King John, or that—his last—personation of Macbeth, in which it seemed to me that he conveyed a more correct notion of what Shakespeare designed than I can recollect to have read in the most profound of the German critics; for I take it, what Shakespeare meant to represent in Macbeth was the kind of character which is most liable to be influenced by a belief in supernatural agencies—a man who is acutely sensitive to all impressions, who has a restless imagination more powerful than his will, who sees daggers in the air and ghosts in the banquet-hall, who has moral weakness and physical courage, and who—as our guest represented him—alternates perpetually between terror and daring—a trembler when oppressed by his conscience, and a warrior when defied by his foe. But in this and in all that numberless crowd of characters which is too fresh in your memories for me to enumerate, we don't so much say "How well this was spoken," or "How finely that was acted," but we feel within ourselves how true was the personation of the whole.

Gentlemen, there is a word that is often applied to artists and to authors, and I think we always apply it improperly when we speak of a superior intellect—I mean the word "versatile." Now, I think the proper word is "comprehensive." The man of genius does not vary and change, which is the meaning of the word versatile, but he has a mind sufficiently expanded to comprehend variety and change. If I can succeed in describing the circle, I can draw as many lines as I please from the centre straight to the circumference, but it must be upon the condition—for that is the mathematical law—that all these lines shall be equal, one to the other, or it is not a circle that I describe. Now, I do not say our guest is versatile; I say that he is comprehensive; and the proof that he has mastered the most perfect form[Pg 771] of the comprehensive faculty is this—that all the lines he has created within the range of his art are equal the one to the other. And this, gentlemen, explains to us that originality which even his detractors have conceded to him.

Every great actor has his manner as every great writer has his style. But the originality of our guest does not consist in his manner alone, but in his singular depth of thought. He has not only accomplished the obvious and essential graces of the actor—the look, the gesture, the intonation, the stage play—but he has placed his study far deeper. He has sought to penetrate into the subtlest intentions of the poet, and made poetry itself the golden key to the secrets of the human heart. He was original because he never sought to be original but to be truthful; because, in a word, he was as conscientious in his art as he is in his actions. Gentlemen, there is one merit of our guest as an actor upon which, if I were silent, I should be indeed ungrateful. Many a great performer may attain to a high reputation if he restrains his talents to acting Shakespeare and the great writers of the past; but it is perfectly clear that in so doing he does not advance one inch the literature of his time. It has been the merit of our guest to recognize the truth that the actor has it in his power to assist in creating the writer. He has identified himself with the living drama of his period, and by so doing, he has half created it. Who does not recollect the rough and manly vigor of Tell, the simple grandeur of Virginius or the exquisite sweetness and dignity and pathos with which he invested the self-sacrifice of Ion; and who does not feel that but for him, these great plays might never have obtained their hold upon the stage, or ranked among those masterpieces which this age will leave to posterity? And what charm and what grace, not their own, he has given to the lesser works of an inferior writer, it is not for me to say.

But, gentlemen, all this, in which he has sought to rally round him the dramatic writers of his time, brings me at once from the merits of the actor to those of the manager. I recall, gentlemen, that brief but glorious time when the drama of England appeared suddenly to revive and to promise a future that should be worthy of its past; when by a union of all kindred arts, and the exercise of a taste that[Pg 772] was at once gorgeous and severe, we saw the genius of Shakespeare properly embodied upon our stage, though I maintain that the ornament was never superior to the work. Just remember the manner in which the supernatural agency of the weird sisters was made apparent to our eye, in which the magic Isle of Prospero rose before us in its mysterious and haunted beauty, and in which the knightly character of the hero of Agincourt received its true interpretation from the pomp of the feudal age, and you will own you could not strip the scene of these effects without stripping Shakespeare himself of half the richness and depth of his conceptions. But that was the least merit of that glorious management. Mr. Macready not only enriched the scene, but he purified the audience; and for the first time since the reign of Charles II, a father might have taken his daughters to a public theatre with as much safety from all that could shock decorum as if he had taken them to the house of a friend. And for this reason the late lamented Bishop of Norwich made it a point to form the personal acquaintance of Mr. Macready, that he might thank him, as a prelate of the Church, for the good he had done to society.

Gentlemen, I cannot recall that period without a sharp pang of indignant regret, for if that management had lasted some ten or twelve years, I know that we would have established a permanent school for actors—a fresh and enduring field for dramatic poetry and wit—while we should have educated an audience up to feel that dramatic performances in their highest point of excellence had become an intellectual want that could no more be dispensed with than the newspaper or review. And all this to be checked or put back for ages to come! Why? Because the public did not appreciate the experiment! Mr. Macready has told us that the public supported him nobly, and that his houses overflowed. Why then? Because of the enormous rent and exactions, for a theatre which even in the most prosperous seasons, make the exact difference between profit and loss. Gentlemen, it is not now the occasion to speak of remedies for that state of things. Remedies there are, but they are for legislation to effect. They involve considerations with regard to those patents which are secured to certain houses for the purpose of maintaining in this[Pg 773] metropolis the legitimate drama, and which I fear, have proved the main obstacle to its success.

But these recollections belong to the past. The actor—the manager—are no more. Whom have we with us to-day? Something grander than actor, or manager: to-day we have with us the man. Gentlemen, to speak of those virtues which adorn a home, and are only known in secret, has always appeared to me to be out of place upon public occasions; but there are some virtues which cannot be called private, which accompany a man everywhere, which are the essential part of his public character, and of these it becomes us to speak, for it is to these that we are met to do homage. I mean integrity, devotion to pure ends, a high ambition, manly independence, and honor that never knew a stain. Why should we disguise from ourselves that there are great prejudices to the profession of an actor? Who does not know that our noble guest has lived down every one such prejudice, not falling into the old weakness of the actor, and for which Garrick could not escape the sarcasm of Johnson, of hankering after the society and patronage of the great? The great may have sought in him the accomplished gentleman, but he has never stooped his bold front as an Englishman to court any patronage meaner than the public, or to sue for the smile with which fashion humiliates the genius it condescends to flatter. And therefore it is that he has so lifted up that profession to which he belongs into its proper rank amid the liberal arts; and therefore it is, that in glancing over the list of our stewards we find every element of that aristocracy upon which he has never fawned uniting to render him its tribute of respect. The ministers of foreign nations—men among the noblest of the peers of England—veterans of those professions of which honor is the lifespring—the chiefs of literature and science and art—ministers of the Church, sensible of the benefits he has bestowed upon society in banishing from the stage what had drawn upon it the censure of the pulpit—all are here and all unite to enforce the truth, the great truth, which he leaves to those who come after him—that let a man but honor his calling, and the calling will soon be the honor of the man.

Gentlemen, I cannot better sum up all I would say than[Pg 774] by the words which the Roman orator applied to the actor of his day; and I ask you if I may not say of our guest as Cicero said of Roscius—"He is a man who unites yet more of virtues than of talents, yet more of truth than of art, and who, having dignified the scene by the various portraitures of human life, dignifies yet more this assembly by the example of his own."

Gentlemen, the toast I am about to propose to you is connected with many sad associations but not to-day. Later and longer will be cherished whatever may be sad of these mingled feelings that accompany this farewell—later, when night after night we shall miss from the play-bill the old familiar name, and feel that one source of elevated delight is lost to us forever. To-day let us rejoice that he whom we prize and admire is no worn-out veteran retiring to a rest he can no longer enjoy—that he leaves us in the prime of his powers, with many years to come, in the course of nature, of that dignified leisure for which every public man must have sighed in the midst of his triumphs, and though we cannot say of him that his "way of life is fall'n into the sere, the yellow leaf," yet we can say that he has prematurely obtained "that which should accompany old age, as honor, love, obedience, troops of friends;" and postponing for this night all selfish regret, not thinking of the darkness that is to follow, but of the brightness of the sun that is to set, I call upon you to drink with full glasses and full hearts, "Health, happiness and long life to William Macready."


[Speech of Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton at a farewell banquet given to Charles Dickens, London, November 2, 1867, prior to his departure on a reading tour in the United States. In giving the toast of the evening, Lord Lytton, the chairman, delivered the following speech.]

My Lords and Gentlemen:—I now approach the toast which is special to the occasion that has brought together a meeting so numerous and so singularly distinguished. You have paid the customary honors to our beloved sovereign, due not only to her personal virtues, but to that principle of[Pg 775] constitutional monarchy in which the communities of Europe recognize the happiest mode of uniting liberty with order, and giving to the aspirations for the future a definite starting-point in the experience and the habits of the past. You are now invited to do honor to a different kind of royalty, which is seldom peacefully acknowledged until he who wins and adorns it ceases to exist in the body, and is no longer conscious of the empire which his thoughts bequeath to his name. Happy is the man who makes clear his title-deeds to the royalty of genius while he yet lives to enjoy the gratitude and reverence of those whom he has subjected to his sway. Though it is by conquest that he achieves his throne, he at least is a conqueror whom the conquered bless; and the more despotically he enthralls, the dearer he becomes to the hearts of men.

Seldom, I say, has that kind of royalty been quietly conceded to any man of genius until his tomb becomes his throne, and yet there is not one of us now present who thinks it strange that it is granted without a murmur to the guest whom we receive to-night. It has been said by a Roman poet that Nature, designing to distinguish the human race from the inferior animals by that faculty of social progress which makes each combine with each for the aid and defence of all, gave to men mollissima corda,—hearts the most accessible to sympathy with their fellow kind; and hence tears,—and permit me to add, and hence laughter,—became the special and the noblest attributes of humanity. Therefore it is humanity itself which obeys an irresistible instinct when it renders homage to one who refines it by tears that never enfeeble, and by a laughter that never degrades.

You know that we are about to intrust our honored countryman to the hospitality of those kindred shores in which his writings are as much "household words" as they are in the homes of England. And if I may presume to speak as a politician, I should say that no time could be more happily chosen for his visit; because our American kinsfolk have conceived, rightly or wrongfully, that they have some cause of complaint against ourselves, and out of all England we could not have selected an envoy more calculated to allay irritation and to propitiate good-will.[Pg 776]

In the matter of good-will there is a distinction between us English and the Americans which may for a time operate to our disadvantage; for we English insist upon claiming all Americans as belonging to our race, and springing from the same ancestry as ourselves, and hence the idea of any actual hostility between them and us shocks our sense of relationship; and yet in reality a large and very active proportion of the American people derives its origin from other races besides the Anglo-Saxon. German and Dutch and Celtic forefathers combine to form the giant family of the United States; but there is one cause forever at work to cement all these varieties of origin, and to compel the American people, as a whole, to be proud as we are of their affinity with the English race. What is that cause? What is that agency? Is it not that of one language in common between the two nations? It is in the same mother tongue that their poets must sing, that their philosophers must reason, that their orators must argue upon truth or contend for power.

I see before me a distinguished guest, distinguished for the manner in which he has brought together all that is most modern in sentiment with all that is most scholastic in thought and language; permit me to say, Mr. Matthew Arnold. I appeal to him if I am not right when I say that it is by a language in common that all differences of origin sooner or later we are welded together—that Etruscans, and Sabines, and Oscans, and Romans, became one family as Latins once, as Italians now? Before that agency of one language in common have not all differences of ancestral origin in England between Britons, Saxons, Danes, and Normans, melted away; and must not all similar differences equally melt away in the nurseries of American mothers, extracting the earliest lessons of their children from our own English Bible, or in the schools of preceptors who must resort to the same models of language whenever they bid their pupils rival the prose of Macaulay and Prescott, or emulate the verse of Tennyson and Longfellow? Now, it seems to me that nothing can more quicken the sense of that relationship which a language in common creates, than the presence and voice of a writer equally honored and beloved in the old world and in the new; and I cannot but think that where-ever our American kinsfolk welcome that presence, or hang[Pg 777] spell-bound on that voice, they will feel irresistibly how much of fellowship and unison there is between the hearts of America and England. So that when our countrymen quits their shores he will leave behind him many a new friend to the old fatherland which greets them through him so cordially in the accents of the mother tongue. And in those accents what a sense of priceless obligations—obligations personal to him and through him to the land he represents—must steal over his American audience! How many hours in which pain and sickness have changed into cheerfulness and mirth beneath the wand of this enchanter! How many a combatant beaten down in the battle of life—and nowhere is the battle of life more sharply waged than in the commonwealth of America—has caught new hope, new courage, new force from the manly lessons of this unobtrusive teacher!

Gentlemen, it is no wonder that the rising generation of people who have learned to think and to feel in our language, should eagerly desire to see face to face the man to whose genius, from their very childhood, they have turned for warmth and for light as instinctively as young plants turn to the sun. But I must not forget that it is not I whom you have come to hear; and all I might say, if I had to vindicate the fame of our guest from disparagement or cavil, would seem but tedious and commonplace when addressed to those who know that his career has passed beyond the ordeal of contemporaneous criticism, and that in the applause of foreign nations it has found a foretaste of the judgment of posterity. I feel as if every word that I have already said had too long delayed the toast which I now propose: "A prosperous voyage, health and long life, to our illustrious guest and countryman, Charles Dickens."[Pg 778]



[Speech of Hamilton W. Mabie at the ninety-first annual dinner of the New England Society in the City of New York, December 22, 1896. Henry E. Howland, vice-President of the Society, presided and introduced the speaker as follows: "There is no person better qualified to speak upon any literary subject than the editor of a great paper. He scans the whole horizon of literature, and his motto is: 'Where the bee sups there sup I.' As a gentleman eminently fitted to speak upon the literature of New England or any kindred subject, I have the pleasure of introducing to you Mr. Hamilton W. Mabie, of 'The Outlook.'"]

Mr. President and Gentlemen:—When one has the army and navy behind him, he is impelled to be brief. And when one has a subject which needs no interpreter, when one has a theme the very recital of the details of which recalls the most splendid chapter in our intellectual history, one feels that any words would be impertinent. We are indebted to New England, in the first place, for giving us a literature. I know it has been questioned in Congress, why anybody should want a literature; but if the spiritual rank of a people is to be determined by depth and richness of life, and if the register of this life of a people is its art, and especially its art in books, then no country is reputable among the nobler countries unless it has produced a literature; and we are, therefore, indebted to New England for literature. Not the greatest we shall produce, but a literature continuous from the first settlement of the colonies. It is a very significant fact that the three men before the Revolution whom we may call literary men were men born in New England—Benjamin Franklin, who is too well known to all of you for comment; John Woolman, of whose work Charles Lamb said: "Woolman's writings should be learned by heart;" and that great theologian, who wrote in a stately[Pg 779] style, Jonathan Edwards. After the Revolution I have but to call the roll of those names which are the glory of New England—Hawthorne, the man of finest literary gift who has yet appeared upon this continent; Longfellow, with his tender touch; Holmes, with his three o'clock wit, as some one has called it, the man who was always awake; Lowell, with his rich culture and his passionate loyalty to all that was best in life and art; and the historians of the country, Motley, Prescott, Bancroft, and Francis Parkman, with his splendid record of patient and tireless energy. And then we have the New England writers of the second generation in Edmund Clarence Stedman, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Charles Dudley Warner, John Fiske, and Henry James; and we have also a third generation.

The most striking characteristic of the older, as of the younger, New England literature is its deep and beautiful humanism, the closeness of its touch upon experience, the warmth of its sympathy with men and women in contact with the great movement of life. Growing out of such a soil, it could hardly have been otherwise, for New England represents, not an abstraction, but a commanding faith in personality, the clear self-realization of a man whose obligation goes straight to God, and to whom God's word travels like an arrow's flight. In one form or another, all the New England writers deal with this theme; they are concerned, not with abstractions, but with the hopes and fears and temptations of man. Hawthorne is absorbed in the problem of the return of a man's deed, or of his ancestors' deed upon himself; Lowell cares supremely for nobility and freedom of impulse, act and deed; Whittier for truth and spiritual fellowship; Emerson, for the reality of spiritual force and meaning in common duties and ordinary relations; Longfellow, for the tenderness and purity of childhood, the sweetness and fragrance of family relations, the charm of historic association; Holmes, for the endless paradox and surprise which are in human thought and conduct; Brooks, for the abundance of man's life and the fulness of its spiritual possibilities; Curtis, for a public life at once pure, free, rich and stable. For all these writers organization and institutions had great interest, but they cared primarily for the men whose history these institutions represent. The quays[Pg 780] at Geneva are massive and shine at night like a constellation; but our interest centres in the river which rushes between them from the Alps to the sea. This is a democratic note, but there is another quite as distinct and characteristic—the note of buoyant cheerfulness, faith in God and man.

There is a ringing tone in the literature of New England which is not only a protest against any form of oppression, but a challenge to fate. That courage came from faith in the divine order of life. And that buoyant courage and cheerfulness were possible because these writers kept life and art in harmony. There was no schism between ideal and action in them. They not only followed the vision in spirit; they lived in the light of it. They illustrated that unity of life without which there is no God. They kept in the way of growth and truth and inspiration because they lived wisely. We do not half value their splendid sanity. A manly and noble moral health was theirs. They rang true to every moral appeal. They were not only men of letters, but they were also gentlemen, and they have associated literature in the thought of the country with dignity, culture and beauty of life—Emerson's unworldliness, Lowell's loyalty to truth, and Curtis's splendid rectitude, as enduring as the granite, are of lasting value to the higher life of the nation.

Their courage and buoyancy were of higher value than we yet understand. Faith is absolutely essential in a great democratic society. When we cease to believe in God we cease to believe in man, and when our faith in man goes, democracy becomes a vast, irrational engine of tyranny and corruption. In the last analysis democracy rests in the belief that there is something of the divine in every man, and that through every life there shines a glimpse of the eternal order. For Government rests, not in the will of the majority, but on the will of God; and democracy is but a vaster surface upon which to discover the play of that will. It follows from these characteristics that the real significance of the New England writers lies not in what they did, but in what they unconsciously predicted. Clear and ringing as are the notes they struck, these notes are prelusive; they suggest the great motifs, but they do not completely unfold them; they could not, for the time was not[Pg 781] yet ripe; they announced the principle of individuality, and they sang the great idea of nationality; but the depth and richness of national life was not theirs to express. That vast life rises more and more into the national consciousness, but its Homer or Dante or Shakespeare has not appeared—probably cannot appear for a long time to come. That life is too wide and still too inharmonious for clear expression. Its very richness postpones the day of its ultimate expression; but when the hour is ripe it will embody an ideal as significant as any in history, with illustration more varied and vital. We are still the victims of our continent; we shall one day be its masters.

One of the oldest drawings in the world is on the side of a cave in France, and represents a man fleeing naked and defenceless from a great serpent—man still in bondage to material conditions. One of the most stirring of modern scenes is that in which Siegfried waits at the mouth of the cavern—leaves rustling, light shimmering, birds singing about him. The glory of youth is on him and the beauty of the world about him; but he cannot understand what the sounds mean. Then comes the struggle, the victory, the revelation of song and light; and the hero passes swiftly up the heights, where, encircled with flame, sleeps the soul of his strength. In some other day, when the continent is tamed and we have struck to the heart that materialism which is our only real foe, we, too, shall climb the heights of achievement, and we shall stand face to face with that ideal which is now so dim and remote. Then comes the poet of the real new world—the world of opportunity, of sacrifice, of unselfish freedom of the larger art and diviner life. And when that day comes and the great poet sings and the great writer speaks, we shall hear faint and far the sounds of those old voices of New England; not so vast as the later music, but as pure and harmonious and true. We shall understand how they made the later music possible; how they have made possible the fulfilment of the prediction of one of their own number: between Shakespeare in the cradle and Shakespeare in "Hamlet" there was needed but an interval of time, and the same sublime condition is all that lies between the America of toil and the America of art. [Applause.][Pg 782]



[Speech of Rev. Dr. D. Sage Mackay at the eleventh annual dinner of the Holland Society of New York, January 15, 1896. The President, Dr. D. B. St. John Roosa, said in introducing the speaker: "Before I announce the next toast I want to remark that one of our distinguished speakers, a Huguenot, said at the St. Nicholas dinner, that it was such a particularly good dinner, that there were such particularly good speeches, and that very few of them had been made by Dutchmen. But now we shall have a gentleman who represents the profession we all delight to honor, and who will delineate the next regular toast:—

'The Dutch Domine: guide, philosopher, and friend,
A man he was to all the country dear.'

"I have the pleasure of introducing a gentleman who wishes he had been born a Dutchman but who is not entitled, I suppose, to that great honor, as he is to many others deservedly showered upon him—the Rev. Dr. D. Sage Mackay."]

Mr. President and Gentlemen:—I will confess, at the outset here to-night, that when by the courtesy of your Committee I was asked to respond to this sentiment, which so poetically and yet so truly enshrines the memory of the old Dutch Domine, that I felt somewhat in the condition in which a member of the Glasgow Fire Brigade found himself some years ago. One night, being on duty, he had the misfortune to fall asleep, and to insure his comfort before doing so he had divested himself of his heavy overalls. About midnight the alarm bell rang. He staggered to his feet, and in the condition of a man suddenly aroused from sleep drew on the overalls so that back was front and front was back. In the excitement of the moment he forgot all about his abnormal condition. Coming down the staircase of the burning building he had the misfortune to slip and[Pg 783] fall heavily to the ground, in a heap of cinders. His companions eagerly asked him if he was hurt. "No," he replied, with true Scotch canniness. "No, chaps, I canna' say I am hurt, but eh, sirs, I maun hae got an awfu' twist." [Laughter.] And so, sir, when I, unfortunately to-night, a Scotchman born and bred, was asked to reply to the toast "The Dutch Domine," I felt that in the arrangements of the evening there was something of a twist. [Laughter.] And yet, if twist it may be called, it was only on the surface.

After a happy experience in the Dutch ministry, and after enjoying for a second time the hospitality of this honorable Society, I know nowhere where a Scotchman can feel himself so at home as in the genial influences of Dutch custom and Dutch tradition. [Applause.] We gladly echo all these patriotic and inspiring sentiments which have fallen from the lips of the speakers to-night. We believe that Dutch influences have salted America, but we Scotchmen have got the idea somehow that Scotland was leavening if not salting Holland for a hundred years before that exodus to these shores took place. [Laughter.]

General Morgan, on one occasion, in discussing the fighting qualities of the soldiers of different nations, came to the conclusion that in many respects they were about the same, with one notable exception. "After all," he said, "for the possession of the ideal quality of the soldier, for the grand essential, give me the Dutchman—he starves well." [Laughter.] And, no doubt, when provisions are scarce, no man can afford to starve better than he, for the simple reason that when provisions are plentiful no man can manage to eat better. [Laughter.]

I feel like mentioning as the first quality of the Dutch Domine to-night the possession of a good digestion. I myself have fared so well on Dutch fare for these last two or three years that I feel I could almost claim to be a Dutchman, very much as a man once claimed to be a native of a certain parish in Scotland. He was being examined by counsel. Counsel asked him, "Were you born here?" "Maistly, your honor," was the reply. "What do you mean by 'maistly'? Did you come here when you were a child?" "Na, I didna' cam here when I was a chiel," he replied. "Then what do you mean by 'maistly,' if you have not[Pg 784] lived here most of your life?" counsel asked. "Weel, when I cam here I weighed eighty pun, and now I weigh three hundred, so that I maun be maistly a native." [Laughter.] So, perhaps, that "maistly" may be the claim to be a Dutchman which some of us may make, if we go on.

The sentiment to which I have been asked to respond is one which I doubt not will strike a responsive chord in the memories of most of you Hollanders here to-night. Across the vanished years will come back the picture of the old Dutch village, nestling in some sheltered nook behind the Hudson, and there in the old-fashioned pulpit arises the quaint, once well-loved face and form of the Domine, with big, dome-shaped head, full mouth and nose, marked with lines of humor, the fringe of white whiskers, and underneath, around the throat, the voluminous folds of the white choker, a kind of a combination of a swaddling-band and a winding-sheet, suggestive of birth or death, as the occasion demanded. [Laughter.] So he appeared an almost essential feature in the landscape, as year in and out he ministered in unassuming faithfulness to the needs of his people. By the bedside of the dying, or in the home of the widow, a comforter and friend; in the stirring days of revolutionary struggle, a leader and patriot, and sometimes a martyr too; in the social gatherings around the great open fireplace in the long dark nights, pipe in hand, a genial companion, so in every walk of life, in scenes gladsome or sad, the old Domine was a constant presence, an influence for righteousness, moulding his people in that simplicity of life and independence of spirit, which in all times have been preeminent as features in the Dutch character. Into the homespun of common life, he wove the threads of gold, revealing by life and precept that type of religion which is not "too bright and good for human nature's daily food."

What were some of the distinctive features in the character of the old Domine? Pre-eminently, we remember him for his wide and genial humanity, as a man strong in his convictions yet generous in his sympathies, faithful in his denunciation of sin yet holding outstretched hands of brotherhood to the weak and tempted. In a parish near by to where my grandfather was settled, there had been three ministers, one after the other in quick succession.[Pg 785] The old beadle compared them to a friend something after this fashion: "The first yin was a mon, but he was na' a meenister; the second yin was a meenister, but he was na' a mon; but the third was neither a mon nor a meenister." [Great laughter.] But the Dutch Domine was at once a man and a minister. The official never overshadowed the man, neither did the humanity of the man degrade the sacred office. All strong character is the union of two opposite qualities, and in the Dutch minister I trace the harmonious presence of two elements not often found in one personality. On the one hand there was a rigid adherence to his own church and creed, so that to the orthodox Dutch mind, whatever may happen elsewhere, heaven will be peopled by Reformed Dutchmen, and in the celestial hymn-book an appendix will be found for the Heidelberg Catechism and liturgical forms of the Dutch Church [laughter]; but on the other hand, with this loyalty to his own creed, there was a generous tolerance towards the view of others, a broad-minded charity, expressed in thought and life, towards those whose standpoint in religion differed from his own. In reality, your old Domine had, and I venture to say, has, little sympathy with that narrow ecclesiasticism, which in effect claims a monopoly in religion and would practically hand over the salvation of the race to the hands of a close corporation. Now, whence did it come; where did he learn this steadfastness to his own principles, yet this generosity towards the convictions of other men, which has been so eloquently dwelt on to-night as a cardinal feature of the American character through the leavening power of Dutch influence? It came, gentlemen, as part of his birthright. We have been told that to study and appreciate Dutch character and Dutch history we must keep in view what has been called the geographical factor, that constant war with the elements, which trained the Dutchman to patience, to endurance, and to self-mastery. So, in studying the Dutch Domine, you must keep in view the historic factor out of which he and his church have come. I make no extravagant claim for the old Dutch Church of New Amsterdam and New York, when I say she stands to-day for a great and a splendid tradition in American life. She enshrines within her history facts and forces which have[Pg 786] been woven into the texture of her most enduring institutions. Out of the darkness of persecution she came, bearing to these shores the precious casket of civil and religious liberty. When with prophetic vision she gazed across the Western sea, and saw the red dawn of a new day glow upon the waters, that dawn but reflected the red blood that dripped like sacramental wine from her robes—the blood of martyrdom poured forth for that sacred trophy of liberty of conscience which it is your privilege and mine to hand on to the generations yet to come. For full forty years, the Dutch Church was the only religious institution on this island, and who in these early times, when the great ideas for which America stands to-day were in their formative stage, guided in the light of truth the young country to a larger conception of her destiny? Not only from the standpoint of religion, but from the standpoint of education, the Dutch Church and her clergy were a mighty factor in the evolution of the great twin truths of civil and religious liberty. To the Dutch Church we owe it, that liberty, in the reaction from old-world despotism, was not allowed to degenerate into license. To them we owe it that freedom of conscience was impressed not merely as a right to be claimed, but as a duty to be safe-guarded, and, need I say?—this sense of personal duty and responsibility in respect of the rights of conscience is the note above all others that we have to strike in our nation's life to-day. [Applause.]

Gentlemen, in the old country, among others, I have looked at the monument of your noble old Dutch Admiral, Tromp, and there it says, "Unconquered by the English, he ceased to triumph only when he ceased to live," and I take these words, the epitaph of the old hero, not indeed as the epitaph of Dutch influence—that will never die—but as the ideal of Dutch character in this country in the years to come. Let it cease to triumph only when it ceases to live; let it seek to lead onward and upward to a diviner freedom this country, whose history is the evolution of the great God-given idea—civil and religious liberty. [Applause.][Pg 787]



[Speech of Sir Alexander C. Mackenzie at the annual banquet of the Royal Academy, London, May 4, 1895. The toast to "Music," to which Sir Alexander C. Mackenzie responded, was coupled with that of the "Drama" for which Arthur W. Pinero spoke. Sir John Millais, who proposed the toast, said: "I have already spoken for both Music and the Drama with my brush. I have painted Sterndale Bennett, Arthur Sullivan, Irving, and Hare."]

Mr. President, Your Royal Highness, My Lords, and Gentlemen:—I am aware that there are some of my most distinguished colleagues now present whose claims to the honor of replying to your amiable words far exceed my own. But I also know that they will not grudge me that distinction and none of them would appreciate it more than myself, whom you have elected to mention in connection with your toast. I only hope that my companion, the brilliant representative of the Drama, may be inclined to forgive me for taking precedence of him, for his art had already attained a state of perfection while ours was still lisping on a feeble tibia to the ill-balanced accompaniment of some more sonorous instrument of percussion. It was all we had to offer at the time, but I am sure that since then we have steadily improved. But even then we were accustomed to ring up the curtain, and so I look upon myself as a mere overture or prelude to the good thing, the word-painting, which will follow. ["Hear! Hear!"] Let me assure him that the composer knows no greater delight than when he is called upon to combine his art with that of the dramatic author, even should our most divinely-inspired moments be but faintly conveyed to the audience through the medium of the—otherwise excellent but still metropolitan—under[Pg 788] ground orchestras at our disposal. My only regret is that none of us were permitted to accompany the fascinating heroine of his latest work through the play. Some correspondingly alluring music has doubtless been lost to the world.

On the last occasion that the toast of Music was responded to in this room, it was remarked that popularity was not without its drawbacks. I fear, sir, there are not many of us who are actually groaning under the oppressive weight of over-popularity—at least not to any very alarming extent. [Cheers.] But I may permit myself to say that while the popularity of music itself is undeniable, it is not so equally obvious that the fact is an absolutely unmixed blessing; perhaps the very familiarity which it undoubtedly enjoys subjects it more than any other art to the fitful temper of fashion—to rash and hastily-formed judgments—as well as to the humors of self-complacent guides whose dicta all too frequently prove the dangerous possession of a very small allowance of real knowledge.

"Academic" is, I believe, sir, the winged word in daily use to mark those of us who may still cling to the effete and obsolete belief that music remains a science, difficult of acquirement and not either a toy art, or a mere nerve titillater. We are not, sir, by any means ashamed to bear the stigma of being academic; on the contrary, we feel it a genuine compliment—gratifying because, although perhaps unintentionally it implies that we have acquired the possession of "that one thing" which (as Wilhelm Meister was informed by the venerable Three) "no child brings into the world with him,"—that is, "reverence"—reverence for our great past as well as, I hope, a due estimation of the vigorous activity of the present. So our sweet-natured muse smiles benignly upon the impish gambols of the "new boy" who has the supreme advantage of not having been to school, for any appreciable length of time at least, and who seems to derive considerable satisfaction from his endeavors to improve the education of those who have never left it. [Laughter.]

We are sometimes instructed that English Purcell (whose glorious memory our musicians mean to honor in a few months), that German Bach ought to be considerably touched[Pg 789] up to suit the altered requirements of the day, and that the rich hues of romantic Weber—nay, even of his giantship the great Beethoven himself—are fading visibly and rapidly. Far be it from the academics to undervalue the great significance of "modernity." Our musical palette, the orchestra, has in our own time been enriched by the addition of many brilliant colors. Music has become, if possible, still more closely allied with and indebted for inspiration to each and all of the sister arts: while the peremptory and ever-increasing demand upon the dexterity as well as the intellectual grasp of the executant has brought into the field such an array of splendid artist interpreters as possibly the world has never before seen. ["Hear! Hear!"] What the effect produced by audible performance of the works of the great past-masters in music may be upon the ricketty understandings is difficult even to guess at. The healthily trained student, however, to whom the preservation of the history of his art is still of some consequence, shows that the word "perishable" has positively no meaning to him so long as tough paper and honest leather hold together. To him those noble scores can never become dumb, sealed, or silent books; he has only to reach them down and, reading, hear them speak—each master in the language of his own time—in living notes, as glowing now as when they were first penned.

It is not without some diffidence, sir, that I allude before sitting down to that time when our own English music had a high and most honorable place among the arts of the nations—because, alas! that recollection necessarily compels the remembrance of a subsequent and too prolonged period of decayed fortunes. But I must allow myself to say a few words in recognition of the efforts of the three of our native contemporary composers, who never tire in the endeavor to reclaim the lost ground. For, within very recent years, much has been achieved which has been helpful towards the recapture of the position, towards the recovery of the old-time renown. That "artist corps" may perhaps not be a very numerous company and besides it is without doubt, in the words of a popular lyrical humorist, a somewhat "nervous, shy, low-spoken" little band, which is content to wait and work incessantly in the service of its national music.[Pg 790] Generous in acknowledgment of the efforts of all who assist its onward progress, it has already done much, can and will do more. I said advisedly "national music" because its members, hailing as they do from all the subdivisions of this country, are no doubt, with so many widely differing musical characteristics by birthright, that it is not at all unreasonable even for the most modest among them—and this virtue still attaches to some, I should say, to all, of them—build great hopes of a definitely distinct British music, such as you, Sir John [Millais], doubtless had in your mind when you honored our art by proposing this toast; such our very best painters would willingly hail and acknowledge; such as your own Academy would welcome in that genial manner which for many years past it has so generously taught us to expect. [Cheers.][Pg 791]



[Speech of William C. Macready at a farewell banquet given in his honor, London, March 1, 1851, on the occasion of his retirement from the stage. Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton acted as chairman. He said: "Gentlemen, I cannot better sum up all I would say than by the words which the Roman orator applied to the actor of his day, and I ask you if I may not say of our guest as Cicero said of Roscius, 'He is a man who unites yet more of virtues than of talents, yet more of truth than of art, and who, having dignified the scene by various portraitures of human life, dignifies yet more this assembly by the example of his own.' [Great applause.] Gentlemen, the toast I am about to propose to you is connected with many sad associations, but not to-day. Later and long will be cherished whatever may be sad of these mingled feelings that accompany this farewell,—later when night after night we shall miss from the play-bill the old familiar name, and feel that one source of elevated delight is lost to us forever. ["Hear! Hear!"] To-day let us only rejoice that he whom we so prize and admire is no worn-out veteran retiring to a rest he can no longer enjoy [cheers]—that he leaves us in the prime of his powers, with many years to come, in the course of nature, of that dignified leisure for which every public man must have sighed in the midst of his triumphs; and though we cannot say of him that his 'way of life is fall'n with the sere, the yellow leaf,' yet we can say that he has prematurely obtained 'that which should accompany old age, as honor, love, obedience, troops of friends'—[cheers]—and postponing for this night all selfish regrets, not thinking of the darkness that is to follow, but of the brightness of the sun that is to set, I call upon you to drink with full glasses and full hearts, health, happiness, and long life to William Macready."]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:—I rise to thank you, I should say to attempt to thank you, for I feel the task is far beyond my power. What can I say in reply to all that the kindly feeling of my friend has dictated? I have not the skill to arrange and address in attractive language the thoughts that press upon me, and my incompetency may perhaps appear like a want of sensibility to your kindness,[Pg 792] for we are taught to believe that out of the heart's fulness the mouth speaks. But my difficulty, let me assure you, is a contradiction to this moral. [Cheers.] I have to thank my friend, your distinguished chairman, for proposing my health to you and for the eloquence—may I not add the brilliant fancy, with which he has enriched and graced his subject. But that we may readily expect from him, who in the wide and discursive range of his genius touches nothing that he does not adorn. ["Hear!" and cheers.] I have to thank you for the cordiality and—if I may without presumption say so,—the enthusiasm with which the compliment proposed has been received, and for the honor—never to be forgotten—that you have conferred on me, by making me your guest to-day.

Never before have I been so oppressed with a sense of my deficiency as at this moment, looking on this assemblage of sympathizing friends crowded here to offer me a spontaneous testimony of their regard. I observe among you many who for years have been the encouraging companions of my course; and there are present too those who have cheered even my very earliest efforts. To all who have united in this crowning tribute, so far beyond my dues or expectations—my old friends, friends of many years, who welcomed me with hopeful greeting in the morning of my professional life, and to younger ones who now gather round to shed more brightness on my setting, I should wish to pour forth the abundant expression of my gratitude. [Loud cheers.] You are not, I think, aware of the full extent of my obligations to you. Independent of the substantial benefits due to the liberal appreciation of my exertions, my very position in society is determined by the stamp which your approbation has set upon my humble efforts. [Cheers.] And let me unhesitatingly affirm that without undervaluing the accident of birth or titular distinction, I would not exchange the grateful pride of your good opinion which you have given me the right to cherish, for any favor or advancement that the more privileged in station could receive. [Great cheering.]

I really am too much oppressed, too much overcome to attempt to detain you long; but with the reflection and under the conviction that our drama, the noblest in the[Pg 793] world, can never lose its place from our stage while the English language lasts, I will venture to express one parting hope—that the rising actors may keep the loftiest look, may hold the most elevated views of the duties of their calling. ["Hear! Hear!" and cheers.] I would also hope that they will strive to elevate their art, and also to raise themselves above the level of the player's easy life, to public regard and distinction by a faithful ministry to the genius of our incomparable Shakespeare. [Cheers.] To effect this creditable purpose, they must bring resolute energy and unfaltering labor to their work; they must be content "to scorn delights, and live laborious days;" they must remember that whate'er is excellent in art must spring from labor and endurance:—

"Deep the oak,
Must sink in stubborn earth its roots obscure
That hopes to lift its branches to the sky."

This, gentlemen, I can assure you, was the doctrine of our own Siddons, and of the great Talma; and this is the faith I have ever held as one of their humblest disciples. [Applause.]

Of my direction of the two patent theatres on which my friend has so kindly dilated, I wish to say but little. The preamble of their patents recites as a condition of their grant, that the theatres shall be instituted for the promotion of virtue and to be instructive to the human race. I think those are the words. I can only say that it was my ambition to the best of my ability to obey that injunction ["Hear! Hear!"] and believing in the principle that property has its duties as well as its rights, I conceived that the proprietors should co-operate with me. [General cries of "Hear!"] They thought otherwise, and I was reluctantly compelled to relinquish on disadvantageous terms my half-achieved enterprise. Others will take up this uncompleted work, and if inquiry were set on foot for one best qualified to undertake the task I should seek him in the theatre which, by eight years' labor, he has from the most degraded condition raised high in public estimation, not only as regards the intelligence and respectability of his audiences, but by the learned and tasteful spirit of his productions. [Cheers.][Pg 794]

Gentlemen, I shall not detain you longer. All that I could desire and far more than I ever could expect you have conferred upon me in the honor you have done me to-day. It will be a memory that must remain as an actual possession to me and mine, which nothing in life can take from us. The repetition of thanks adds little to their force, and therefore, deeply as I am already obliged to you, I must draw still further on your indulgence. You have had faith in my zeal for your service; you will, I am sure, continue that faith in my gratitude, for the value you have set upon it. With a heart more full than the glass I hold, I return you my most grateful thanks, and have the honor of drinking all your healths. [Mr. Macready who had displayed considerable emotion during some portions of his address, then resumed his seat amid enthusiastic cheering.][Pg 795]



[Speech of Justin McCarthy at a dinner given in his honor, New York City, October 2, 1886. When the speaking began, Judge Browne, who presided, asked the audience to drink the health of Justin McCarthy, the guest of the evening, with this quotation from Thomas Moore:—

"Here's the Poet who drinks; here's the warrior who fights;
Here's the statesman who speaks in the cause of men's rights;
Charge! hip, hip, hurrah! hurrah!"

Continuing, Judge Browne said: "We feel it a proud privilege to be permitted to gather and do honor to one who has done honor to our name and nation in a foreign land. When the great leader of the Irish people was bidding you good-by at the other side of the water, he said that the aid you had rendered him and his colleagues had largely helped to advance the interests of Ireland in her onward march to freedom. Our knowledge of you enables us to indorse that statement. [Applause.] What you have written in one of our city papers has shown us step by step the progress of the Home Rule movement. That great work has been accomplished by the Irish leader there can be no doubt. I witnessed it personally a few short weeks ago, when standing in the strangers' gallery in the House of Commons, I saw a handful of Irish members under the leadership of Parnell withstand the assaults of six hundred English members. [Applause.] It was an awe-inspiring sight. When one remembers that within the four walls of that small building that group of Englishmen were making laws for three hundred millions of people, and that the representatives of a nation numbering only five millions were enabled to keep them in check at the bidding of Parnell, I was struck with astonishment. Not only have the Irish people Parnell with them now, but they have Gladstone [applause], and more than half of the English people; and we have in addition Justin McCarthy [prolonged applause], and with this continuation of moral force we are certain to win Home Rule for Ireland soon. Gentlemen, I give you the health of our guest, Justin McCarthy."]

Gentlemen, friends, All:—I am very sure you will believe that I speak with the utmost sincerity when I say that, although much in the habit of addressing public meetings of[Pg 796] various kinds, friendly and hostile, I really do feel somewhat embarrassed in rising to address this entirely friendly meeting to-night. The warmth and the kindness of your reception, many of you Irishmen, some of you Americans, does surprise and does, to a great extent, overpower me. Judge Browne, your chairman, has regretted the absence of Eugene Kelly. I myself regret his absence on personal and on public grounds; on personal grounds for his sake, and still more, as I am rather selfish, for my own sake. [Applause.] For his sake because ill health keeps him away, and for my own sake because I have never yet had the chance of meeting him, and had finally hoped that here to-night I should have the pleasure of making his acquaintance. I should not complain very much for myself after all, for the worthy gentleman who fills the place of Mr. Kelly so ably—I mean Judge Browne [applause]—has said more complimentary things of me than I really deserve before a gathering so influential and so representative as this.

Upon the great political questions which interest me, and which interest you, I shall perhaps have occasion to say a few words, perhaps more than a few words Monday night, and I hope to see many of the gentlemen who are now here present then, and if they be wavering on the question of Home Rule I am nearly certain they will go away stanch disciples of justice to Ireland, in a legislative sense, at all events. [Applause.] There may be some among you who do not entirely agree with me upon my views regarding the relations between England and Ireland. Some may regard me with more favor as a writer of books than as an expounder of Home Rule for Ireland. [Cries of "No! No!"] I will therefore regard this occasion as a welcome given by you to me personally, and shall not go into any political question whatever. Regarding myself, I may assume this much, at least, that the question of Home Rule for Ireland is now universally regarded in America as one of those questions bound up with the great cause of civilization and of progress, and I entirely agree with the chairman when he said that the Irish people in this struggle do not entertain any feelings of hate or enmity for the English people. [Applause.] I may say sincerely that I would not have joined the agitation if it had been selfish and merely for the sake of Ireland[Pg 797] alone, and not, as it has been, a movement for the advancement of freedom and enlightened ideas among other struggling nations of the earth. [Applause.]

I have said over and over again, in England as well as in Ireland, that the cause that I was advocating was one of interest and of the most vital importance to England as well as to Ireland. [Applause.] Many years ago I heard Mr. Bright deliver a great speech in the House of Commons in favor of a French commercial treaty. He wound up that great speech by saying that the adoption of that treaty would be a policy of justice to England, and of mercy to France. I call the policy that I and my colleagues in the English Parliament are identified with, a policy of justice to Ireland and of mercy to England. [Applause.] I call it a policy of mercy to England because it is a policy which shall bury forever the rancor of centuries that has existed between Irishmen and Englishmen; a policy which will change things so far that Ireland, instead of being the enemy at the gate shall be the friend at the gate, who, if need be, can speak with some effect to the enemy from without. After a long, a very long and a very bitter agitation, we now at last are within reach of the consummation of our hopes. [Applause.]

I am glad indeed to receive from an audience in this city, composed as it is of many nationalities, such a hearty endorsement of the policy which I and my people have carried out in struggling to give Ireland her rights. I see here the Irish harp and the American stars and stripes. Long and forever may these flags wave side by side. [Prolonged applause.] How shall we distinguish between Irishmen and Americans? Are the echoes which resound in this hall Irish or American echoes? [Cries of "Both! Both!"] The voices that speak are Irish certainly, but the roof, the walls that give back the sound are American. [Applause.] May we not therefore claim the indistinguishable unity of nationality, of sentiment, and of feeling?

I should be ungrateful, indeed, gentlemen, did I not express my warm acknowledgments for this greeting which you have given me—this hearty Irish welcome. I shall never forget the words of warmth which you have spoken to myself personally and the expressions of encouragement which you have given to my people and my cause. I shall tell my[Pg 798] friends when I go back, that among the best supporters we have upon this side are Americans and Irish-Americans who believe firmly in the justice of Ireland's cause and of the determined yet peaceable, strictly peaceable, character of the struggle which Ireland's representatives are making for the re-establishment of her Parliament in College Green. [Prolonged applause.][Pg 799]



[Speech of Colonel A. K. McClure, editor of the "Philadelphia Times," delivered at a banquet at Philadelphia, December 9, 1896, commemorating the fiftieth year of his connection with the press of Pennsylvania. Governor Daniel H. Hastings, in introducing the guest of the evening, concluded by saying: "I said in the beginning that he is the Nestor of Pennsylvania journalism. Yes, like the King of Pylos, in Grecian legend of the siege of Troy, he is the oldest of the living chieftains. Forney, Morton, McMichael and most of the pioneers of our modern journalism are gone. McClure has been to Pennsylvania what Horace Greeley was to New York journalism. Dana, of the 'Sun,' and McClure, of the 'Times,' are the links connecting the present with the past of American journalism. To-night the roses of friendship and fraternity are growing upon the walls that separate us in our life-work, and we are here to join in our congratulations and good wishes to him in whose honor we meet—Colonel Alexander K. McClure."]

Mr. Chairman:—I cannot express the measure of my grateful appreciation of this imposing greeting, so exceptional alike in welcome, in numbers, and in distinction. I accept it as a tribute to the matchless progress made by our newspapers during the present generation, rather than a personal tribute to an humble member of the profession, whose half century of editorial labor furnishes the occasion for leading men of State and Nation to pay homage to American journalism, now the great forum of our free institutions.

The duties and responsibilities of journalism are largely defined by their environment, and there may be fitness in this occasion to refer to the political, business, social and moral conditions under which the Juniata "Sentinel" was founded fifty years ago, in contrast with the greatly changed conditions which confront the journals of to-day. The people of Juniata county were a well-to-do class, adapted to[Pg 800] the primitive conditions in which they lived. The enervating blight of luxury and the despair of pinching want were strangers in their midst. They believed in the church, in the school, in the sanctity of home, in integrity between man and man. Christianity was accepted by them as the common law, sincerely by many and with a respect akin to reverence by all; and that beautiful humanity that springs from the mingled dependence and affection of rural neighborly ties, ever taught that the bruised reed should not be broken. They had no political convulsions such as are common in these days. Even a sweeping political revolution would not vary the party majority over a hundred in the few thousands of votes they cast, and excepting in the white heat of national contests, their personal affections often outweighed their duties to party. Public vices and public wrongs in local administration were rarely known, and there was little to invite the aggressive features which are so conspicuous in modern journalism. Ministers mingled freely with the every-day life of their flocks and were exemplars of simplicity, frugality and integrity, and the lawyer who hoped to be successful required first of all to command the confidence of the community in his honesty. The ballot and the jury-box were regarded as sacred as the sacrament itself, and the criminal courts had usually little to do beyond the cases of vagrant offenders. Business was conducted as a rule without the formality of contracts, and those whose lives justly provoked scandal were shunned on every side. This community possessed the only real wealth the world can give—content; and the local newspaper of that day, even under the direction of a progressive journalist, could be little more than a commonplace chronicler of current events.

The most satisfactory newspaper work I have ever done, I mean the most satisfactory to myself, was during the first few months after I founded the "Sentinel." There was pardonable boyish pride in seeing my name given with studied prominence as editor and proprietor, and the reading of my own editorials was as soothing as the soft, sweet strains of music on distant waters in summer evening time. They were to my mind most exquisite in diction and logic, and it was a source of keen regret that they were so "cabined, cribbed, and confined" within the narrowest provincial lines, where[Pg 801]by the world lost so much that it greatly needed. I knew that there were others, like Chandler, Gales, Greeley, Ritchie, Prentice, and Kendall, who were more read and heeded, but I was consoled by the charitable reflection that entirely by reason of fortuitous circumstance they were known and I was not. Then to me life was a song with my generously self-admired newspaper as the chorus. There came rude awakenings, of course, from those blissful dreams as the shock of editorial conflict gradually taught me that journalism was one unending lesson in a school that has no vacations.

I have pleasant memories also of the intimate personal relations between the village editor and his readers. Most of them were within a radius of a few miles of the publication office, and all the influences of social as well as political ties were employed to make them enduring patrons. With many of them the question of sparing from their scant income three cents a week for a county paper, was one that called for sober thought from year to year, and it often required a personal visit and earnest importunity to hold the hesitating subscriber. I well remember the case of a frugal farmer of the Dunker persuasion who was sufficiently public-spirited to subscribe for the "Sentinel" for six months, to get the paper started, but at the end of that period he had calculated the heavy expenses of gathering the ripening harvest and decided to stop his paper for a while. I need not say that he was enthusiastically confronted with many reasons why a man of his intelligence and influence should not be without the county newspaper, but he yielded only to the extent of further considering the matter with his wife. He returned in a few days and spread sunshine around the editorial chair by saying that his wife had decided to continue for another six months, as the paper would be very handy in the fall for tying up her apple-butter crocks.

A few years after I had settled down in this quiet community to devote my life to journalism, a shrill, weird voice was heard in the beautiful valley of the Juniata as the iron horse made his first visit to us with his train of cars. It was welcome music as it echoed over the foothills of the Alleghenies, and entirely new to nearly all who heard it. With the railway came the telegraph, the express, and the advent[Pg 802] of the daily newspaper among the people. In a single year the community was transformed from its sedate and quiet ways into more energetic, progressive, and speculative life. It was a new civilization that had come to disturb the dreams of nearly a century, and it rapidly extended its new influences until it reached the remotest ends of the little county, and with this beneficent progress of civilization came also the vices which ever accompany it, but against which the civilization itself is ever fortified by the new factors called into requisition to strengthen its restraining power. While advancing the better attributes of mankind it has left unrest in the shop, the field, the forest, and the mine, where there was content in other days, but that unrest is the inevitable attendant of our matchless strides in the most enlightened civilization of the age, and it will ever present new problems for our statesmanship.

It should be remembered that while Philadelphia had then two journals of national fame under the direction of such accomplished editorial writers as Joseph R. Chandler and Morton McMichael, there was not a daily newspaper in this city, or in the State, that had a circulation of 5,000, excepting only the "Ledger," then a penny journal almost unknown outside of the city. Even the New York "Tribune" and the New York "Herald" then relatively quite as distinguished as national journals as they are to-day, did not have a daily circulation of over 15,000. There are several daily journals now published in Philadelphia, each of which circulates more newspapers every day than did all the great dailies of New York and Pennsylvania combined, fifty years ago. There were then successful penny papers in New York and Pittsburg as well as Philadelphia, but the penny journal of that day was only a local newspaper in its way, and was unfelt as a political factor.

Contrast the business, political, moral, and social conditions which confront the journalism of this great city to-day, and none can fail to appreciate the greatly magnified duties and responsibilities of the journalist of this age. In this City of Brotherly Love, with the highest standard of average intelligence in any community of like numbers of the world, and the only great city to be found on the continent that is distinctively American in its policy, how sharp is the contrast[Pg 803] between the civilization met by the Juniata "Sentinel" fifty years ago and the civilization that is met by the Philadelphia journalist of to-day? Public wrongs ever appear like huge cancers on the body politic, and the swarms of the idle and vicious, with the studied crimes of those who would acquire wealth without earning it, are a constant menace to the social order and the safety of person and property, and demand the utmost vigilance on the part of the faithful public journal. Continued political power under all parties becomes corrupt and demoralized, and it is not uncommon for apparently reputable political leaders of all parties and organized crime to make common cause for public plunder. The business and social conditions are also radically changed, and with these the fearless journalists of to-day must deal with courage and fidelity. From what was many years ago regarded, and with some reason, as the license of the public press, has grown up the well-defined duty of reputable journalism to maintain with dignity and firmness its mission as public censor, and to-day in Philadelphia, as in all the leading centres of the country, American journalism is not only the great educator of the people, but it is the faithful handmaid of law and order and of public and private morals. Like all great callings, from which even the sacredness of the pulpit is not exempt, there are those who bring persistent dishonor upon journalism, and pervert its powers to ambition and greed; but discounted by all its imperfections, it is to-day the greatest of our great factors in maintaining the best attributes of our civilization and preserving social order and the majesty of law; and the duties of the journalist to-day in our great cities have reached a standard of dignity and magnitude of which even the wildest enthusiast of fifty years ago could not have dreamed.

Such is the revolution wrought in journalism within a single active lifetime. The newspaper is no longer a luxury. From being confined to the few, as it was half a century ago, the daily newspaper is now in almost every home in the great States of the Union, and the grave responsibility of journalism may be appreciated when it is remembered that the newspaper to-day is the greatest educator of the people who are to maintain our free institutions. Widely as our schools have extended until they are accessible to the[Pg 804] humblest of the land, the newspaper as an educator reaches vastly more people than all the colleges and schools of the nation. It is read not only by the men and women of mature years, but it begins its offices as teacher in the home circle as soon as the child becomes a pupil in the school, and it is constantly although imperceptibly moulding the minds of millions of our youths of all classes and all conditions, and it has no vacations in its great work. It not only aids the more intelligent to a sound exercise of judgment on questions of public interest, but it is ever quickening the impulses and shaping the aims of those who are most easily impressed, and during the important period of life when the character of men and women is formed.

I have long held that the responsible direction of a widely read and respected daily newspaper is the highest trust in our free government. I do not thus speak of it to claim for it honors which may be questioned, but I speak of it to present the oppressive responsibilities which rest upon those who are to-day educating a nation of 70,000,000 of people, under a government where every citizen is a sovereign, and where the people hold in their own hands the destiny of the greatest Republic of the world. Presidents, Cabinets, Senators, and Representatives come and play their parts on the public stage and pass away—the few to be remembered, the many to be forgotten—and political parties are created and perish as new necessities and new conditions arise in the progress of our free institutions. In my own day there have been created four new political organizations which attained national importance, all of which have elected Governors in Pennsylvania, and two of which have elected Presidents of the United States, but three of them exist to-day only in history. They are the Anti-Masonic, the Whig, the American, and the Republican parties. Thus while rulers and the parties which call them to power, come and go in the swift mutations of American politics, the newspaper survives them all, and continues in its great career regardless of the success or defeat of men or political organizations.

To seek promotion in civil trust from the editorial chair of an influential newspaper, is to sacrifice the grander opportunity and responsibility for the unsatisfying fame of official distinction. It is the mission of the newspaper to create[Pg 805] Presidents and other rulers; to judge them when in power; to sustain them when they have been faithful and efficient in the discharge of public duties, and to defeat them when they are forgetful of the public welfare. In the discharge of these important duties the newspaper must, above all, be free from the suspicion of seeking individual advantage and it can be so only by accepting its trust as highest of all and more enduring than all. Great editors have been presumably honored by conferring upon them high official positions in recognition of party services, but no editor in the entire history of American journalism who has made his newspaper secondary to political ambition, has written any other record than failure as both editor and statesman.

My brethren of the press need not be reminded of the often painful duties which come to the fearless editor. They must ever remember that "faithful are the wounds of a friend," and no class of teachers so well-known that:—

"Forgiveness to the injured does belong,
But they ne'er pardon who have done the wrong."

Few, very few indeed, outside of the editorial sanctum ever learn how the surges of ambition, in all its varied and fantastic phases from the noblest to the meanest, assail and often vex journalistic duties. The public know not of the many gifted men who must thus at times be saved from themselves, and an editorial retrospect of half a century presents a sad record of the newspaper work of making bricks without straw. Justly excepting the comparatively few public men who tower over mediocrity in public place, journalism gives the position and fashions the fame of most of them. It is not done arbitrarily nor from choice, as public and political necessities are often paramount with journalists, as with others, in awarding public honors; but with all its exactions and responsibilities, which are ever magnified by the greater opportunities for usefulness, there is no calling that brings richer compensation for fidelity to duty. The consciousness that each day the editor whose readers are numbered by hundreds of thousands, may greatly aid in making the world better than it was in the passing yesterday, is a constant inspiration to the best efforts, and it is especially gratifying that even in the many and at[Pg 806] times impassioned conflicts of journalistic dispute, the rugged and sharp-angled walls which divide us are ever so beautiful and fragrant with the flowers of good-fellowship, as is impressively taught by this assembly.

Thus charged with the highest of civil trusts in the most enlightened government of the earth, the editor must be honored or dishonored here by the measure of his fidelity to his exceptional duties, and must be so judged in the hereafter, when the narrow pathway of life that divides past and future eternities has been traversed. We come when bidden, we know not whence; we go when bidden, we know not whither; but each and all have duties to themselves, to their homes, to their country, and to the common brotherhood of man, which when performed with the faithfulness that human infirmities will permit, must greatly brighten the brief and often fretful journey from the cradle to the grave. Friends, in this evening twilight of my journalistic work, so sweetly mellowed by the smiling faces, young and old, about me, I answer your generous greeting with the gratitude that can perish only when the gathering shadows shall have settled into the night that comes to purple the better morn.[Pg 807]



[Speech of St. Clair McKelway before the National Society of China Importers, New York City, February 6, 1896.]

Mr. Chairman and Friends:—The china I buy abroad is marked "Fragile" in shipment. That which I buy at home is marked: "Glass—This Side Up With Care." The foreign word of caution is fact. The American note of warning is fiction—with a moral motive. The common purpose of both is protection from freight fractors and baggage smashers. The European appeals to knowledge. The American addresses the imagination. The one expresses the truth. The other extends it. Neither is entirely successful. The skill and care of shippers cannot always victoriously cope with the innate destructiveness of fallen human nature. There is a great deal of smashed crockery in the world.

You who are masters in the art of packing things and we whose vocation is the art of putting things, both have reason to know that no pains of placing or of preparation will guarantee freight or phrases, plates or propositions, china of any kind or principles of any sort, from the dangers of travel or from the tests of time. Your goods and our wares have to take their chances in their way across the seas, throughout the land and around the world. You lose some of yours merely in handling. The defects of firing cannot be always foreseen. The intrusion of inferior clay cannot be always prevented. The mere friction of contact may produce bad nicks. Nor is the fineness nor the excellence of the product an insurance against mishaps. From your factories or stores your output is at the mercy of carriers without compunction,[Pg 808] and in our homes it is exposed to the heavy hands of servants without sentiment. The pleasure of many a dinner is impaired by the fear or the consciousness that inapt peasants are playing havoc with the treasures of art on which the courses are served.

If, however, the ceramic kingdom is strewn with smashed crockery, how much more so are the worlds of theology, medicine, politics, society, law, and the like. No finer piece of plate was ever put forth than the one inscribed: "I will believe only what I know." It was for years agreeable to the pride and vanity of the race. It made many a fool feel as if his forehead was lifted as high as the heavens, and that at every step he knocked out a star. When, however, the discovery was made that this assumption to displace deity amounted to a failure to comprehend nature, some disappointment was admitted. He who affected by searching to find out and to equal God could not explain the power by which a tree pumps its sap from roots to leaves, or why a baby rabbit rejects the grasses that would harm it, or why a puling infant divines its mother among the motley and multitudinous mass of sibilant saints at a sewing society which is discussing the last wedding and the next divorce. He "who admits only what he understands" would have to look on himself as a conundrum and then give the conundrum up. He would have the longest doubts and the shortest creed on record. Agnosticism is part of the smashed crockery of the moral universe.

Nor is the smug and confident contention: "Medicine is a science, one and indivisible," so impressive and undented as it was. Sir Astley Cooper in his plain, blunt way is reported to have described his own idea of his own calling as "a science founded on conjecture and improved by murder." The State of New York has rudely stepped in and legally and irrevocably recognized three schools of medicine and will recognize a fourth or a fifth as soon as it establishes itself by a sufficient number of cures or in a sufficient number of cemeteries. Medical intolerance cannot be legislated out of existence, but it has no further recognition in legislation. A common and considerable degree of general learning is by the State required of all intending students of medicine. An equal and extended degree of professional study is required.[Pg 809] An identical measure of final examination with state certification and state licensure is required. The claim that men and women must die secundum artem in order to have any permit to live here or to live hereafter, has gone to the limbo of smashed crockery in the realm of therapeutics. The arrogant pretension that men must die secundum artem has been adjourned—sine die. And the State which prescribes uniform qualifications among the schools will yet require uniform consultations between them in the interest of the people whom they impartially prod and concurrently purge with diversity of methods, but with parity of price.

Other long impressive and long pretty plaques have also been incontinently smashed. One was lovingly lettered: "Once a Democrat, always a Democrat." Another was inscribed: "Unconditional Republicanism." In the white light of to-day the truth that an invariable partisan is an occasional lunatic becomes impressively apparent. Party under increasing civilization is a factor, not a fetish. It is a means, not an end. It is an instrument, not an idol. Man is its master, not its slave. Not that men will cease to act on party lines. Party lines are the true divisional boundary between schools of thought. No commission is needed to discover or to establish those lines. They have made their own route or course in human nature. The bondage from which men will free themselves is bondage to party organizations. Those organizations are combinations for power and spoils. They are feudal in their form, predatory in their spirit, military in their methods, but they necessarily bear no more relation to political principles than Italian banditti do to Italian unity, or the men who hold up railway trains do to the laws of transportation. Party slavery is a bad and disappearing form of smashed crockery.

The smashed crockery of society and of law could also be remarked. Our fathers' dictum, that it is the only duty of women to be charming, deserves to be sent into retirement. It is no more their duty to be charming than it is the duty of the sun to light, or the rose to perfume, or the trees to cast a friendly shade. A function is not a duty. In the right sense of the word it is a nature or a habit. It is the property of women and it is their prerogative to be charming, but if they made it a duty, the effort would fail, for the[Pg 810] intention would be apparent and the end would impeach the means. Indeed, the whole theory of the eighteenth century about women has gone to the limbo of smashed crockery. It has been found that education does not hurt her. It has been discovered that learning strengthens her like a tonic and becomes her like a decoration. It has been discovered that she can compete with men in the domain of lighter labor, in several of the professions, and in not a few of the useful arts. The impression of her as a pawn, a property or a plaything, came down from paganism to Christianity and was too long retained by the Christian world. There is even danger of excess in the liberality now extended to her. The toast, "Woman, Once Our Superior and Now Our Equal," is not without satire as well as significance. There must be a measurable reaction against the ultra tendency in progress which has evolved the New Woman, as the phrase is. I never met one and I hope I never shall. The women of the present, the girls of the period, the sex up-to-date, will more than suffice to double our joys and to treble our expenses. The new fads, as well as the old fallacies, can be thrown among the smashed crockery of demolished and discarded misconceptions.

I intended to say much about the smashed crockery of the lawyers. I intended to touch upon the exploded claim that clients are their slaves, witnesses theirs for vivisection, courts their playthings, and juries their dupes. More mummery has thrived in law than in even medicine or theology. The disenchanting and discriminating tendency of a realistic age has, however, somewhat reformed the bar. Fluency, without force, is discounted in our courts. The merely smart practitioner finds his measure quickly taken and that the conscientious members of his calling hold him at arm's length. Judges are learning that they are not rated wise when they are obscure, or profound when they are stupid, or mysterious when they are reserved. Publicity is abating many of the abuses both of the bench and the bar. It will before long, even in this judicial department, require both rich and poor to stand equal before the bar of justice. The conjugal complications of plutocrats will not be sealed up from general view by sycophantic magistrates, while the matrimonial infelicities of the less well-to-do are spread broad[Pg 811] on the records. The still continuing scandals of partitioning refereeships among the family relatives of judges will soon be stopped and the shame and scandal of damage suits or of libel suits, without cause, maintained by procured and false testimony and conducted on sheer speculation, will be brought to an end. The law is full of rare crockery, but it is also replete with crockery that ought to be smashed. Much bad crockery in it has been smashed and much more will be, if necessary, by the press, which is itself not without considerable ceramic material that could be pulverized with signal benefit to the public and to the fourth estate.

But why am I talking about smashed crockery when I am told that it is the very life of your trade? Were crockery imperishable this would be the last dinner of your association. Your members would be eating cold victuals at area doors, passed to you on the plates you have made, by the domestics whose free and easy carelessness is really the foundation of your fortunes. You want crockery to be smashed, because the more smash the more crockery and the more crockery the more output, and the more output the more revenue, and the more revenue the more Waldorf dinners, and the more Waldorf dinners the more opportunity for you to make the men of other callings stand and deliver those speeches, which I like to hear, and in the hope of hearing which I now give way.


[Speech of St. Clair McKelway at a dinner given in honor of Samuel L. Clemens [Mark Twain] by the Lotos Club, New York City, November II, 1900. The President of the Lotos, Frank R. Lawrence, introduced Dr. McKelway as the man whose wondrous use of adjectives has converted to his opinion many doubters throughout this city and country.]

Mr. President and Friends:—Years ago we here sought to hold up Mark Twain's hands. Now we all feel like holding up our own, in congratulation of him and of ourselves. Of him because his warfare is accomplished. Of ourselves because he has returned to our company. If it was a pleasure to know him then, it is a privilege and an honor to know[Pg 812] him now. He has fought the good fight. He has kept the faith. He is ready to be offered up, but we are not ready to have him offered up. For we want the Indian summer of his life to be long, and that to be followed by a genial winter, which, if it be as frosty as his hair, shall also be as kindly as his heart. [Applause.]

He has enough excess and versatility of ability to be a genius. He has enough quality and quantity of virtues to be a saint. But he has honorably transmuted his genius into work, whereby it has been brought into relations with literature and with life. And he has preferred warm fellowship to cold perfection, so that sinners love him and saints are content to wait for him. May they wait long. [Applause.]

I think he is entitled to be regarded as the Dean of America's humor; that he is entitled to the distinction of being the greatest humorist this nation ever had. I say this with a fair knowledge of the chiefs of the entire corps, from Francis Hopkinson and the author of "Hasty Pudding," down to Bill Nye and Dooley. None of them would I depreciate. I would greatly prefer to honor and hail them all for the singular fittedness of their gifts to the needs of the nation in their times. Hopkinson and Joel Barlow lightened the woes of the Revolution by the touch of nature that makes the whole world grin. Seba Smith relieved the Yankee sense of tension under the impact of Jacksonian roughness, by tickling its ribs with a quill. Lieutenant Derby turned the searchlight of fun on the stiff formalities of army posts, on the raw conditions of alkali journalism and on the solemn humbugs of frontier politics. James Russell Lowell used dialect for dynamite to blow the front off hypocrisy or to shatter the cotton commercialism in which the New England conscience was encysted. Robert H. Newell, mirth-maker and mystic, satirized military ignorance and pinchbeck bluster to an immortality of contempt. Bret Harte in verse and story touched the parallels of tragedy and of comedy, of pathos, of bathos, and of humor, which love of life and lust of gold opened up amid the unapprehended grandeurs and the coveted treasures of primeval nature. Charles F. Browne made "Artemus Ward" as well known as Abraham Lincoln in the time the two divided the[Pg 813] attention of the world. Bill Nye singed the shams of his day, and Dooley dissects for Hinnissey the shams of our own. Nor should we forget Eugene Field, the beatifier of childhood; or Joel Chandler Harris, the fabulist of the plantation; or Ruth McEnery Stuart, the coronal singer of the joys and hopes, the loves and the dreams of the images of God in ebony in the old South, ere it leaped and hardened to the new.

To these, love and honor. But to this man honor's crown of honor, for he has made a mark none of the others has reached. Few of them have diversified the delights to be drawn from their pages of humor. They have, as humorists, in distinction to the work of moralists, novelists, orators and poets, in which the rarest among them shine, they have as humorists, in the main, worked a single vein. And some of them were humorists for a purpose, a dreary grind that, and some of them were only humorists for a period as well as for a purpose. The purpose served, the period passed, the humor that was of their life a thing apart, ceased. 'Tis Clemens' whole existence! [Applause.]

As Bacon made all learning his province, so Mark Twain has made all life and history his quarry, from the Jumping Frog to the Yankee at Arthur's Court; from the inquested petrifaction that died of protracted exposure to the present parliament of Austria; from the Grave of Adam to the mysteries of the Adamless Eden known as the league of professional women; from Mulberry Sellers to Joan of Arc, and from Edward the Sixth to Puddin'head Wilson, who wanted to kill his half of the deathless dog.

Nevada is forgiven its decay because he flashed the oddities of its zenith life on pages that endure. California is worth more than its gold, because he showed to men the heart under its swagger. He annexed the Sandwich Islands to the fun of the nation long before they were put under its flag. Because of him the Missouri and the Mississippi go not unvexed to the sea, for they ripple with laughter as they recall Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, poor Jim, and the Duke. Europe, Asia Minor, and Palestine are open doors to the world, thanks to this Pilgrim's Progress with his "Innocents Abroad." Purity, piety and pity shine out from "Prince and Pauper" like the eyes of a wondering deer on[Pg 814] a torch-lighted night from a wooded fringe of mountain and of lake.

But enough of what I fear is already too much. In expressing my debt to him, I hope I express somewhat at least of yours. I cannot repay him in kind any more than I could rival him. None of us can. But we can render to him a return he would like. With him we can get our way to reality, and burn off pretence as acid eats its way to the denuded plate of the engraver. We can strip the veneer of convention from style, and strengthen our thought in his Anglo-Saxon well of English undefiled. We can drop seeming for sincerity. We can be relentless toward hypocrisy and tender to humanity. We can rejoice in the love of laughter, without ever once letting it lead us to libertinism of fancy. We can reach through humor the heart of man. We can make exaggeration the scourge of meanness and the magnifier of truth on the broad screen of life. By study of him, the nothing new under the sun can be made fresh and fragrant by the supreme art of putting things. Though none of us can handle his wand, all of us can be transformed by it into something different from and finer than our dull selves. That is our delight, that is our debt, both due to him, and long may he remain with us to brighten, to broaden and to better our souls with the magic mirth and with the mirthful magic of his incomparable spell. [Applause.]

[Pg 815]

Reproduction of Mural Decorations



Photo-engraving in colors after an original painting by George W. Maynard

This is from a series of eight panels, representing "The Virtues"—Fortitude, Justice, Patriotism, Courage, Temperance, Prudence, Industry, and Concord. Each figure is about five and a half feet high clad in drapery, and standing out on a solid red background. The style is Pompeiian, the general tone is some what like marble, but relieved by a touch of color. "Patriotism" is represented as feeding an eagle, the emblem of America, from a golden bowl, symbolizing the nourishment given by this Virtue to the spirit of the nation.



[Speech of President McKinley, in response to the toast "Our Country," at the Peace Jubilee banquet in the Auditorium, Chicago, October 19, 1898. The President was introduced by Hon. Franklin MacVeagh, in the following words: "Since Washington, with the exception of Lincoln, no President has carried upon his shoulders such grave responsibilities or met such heavy demands upon his judgment, forbearance and wisdom as President McKinley. [Great applause.] And no President, not even Lincoln, has more willingly endured for his people, or has more trusted in the people, or has sought more high-mindedly to interpret and carry out the sober thought and ultimate will of the nation. [Applause.] He has a reward in the affection and confidence of the people. [Applause] It is this eminent President and this eminently patriotic man who will now address you on the subject of 'Our Country.'" It was several minutes before the cheering had subsided sufficiently to enable President McKinley to make his voice heard.]

Mr. Toast-master and Gentlemen:—It affords me gratification to meet the people of the city of Chicago and to participate with them in this patriotic celebration. Upon the suspension of hostilities of a foreign war, the first in our history for over half a century, we have met in a spirit of peace, profoundly grateful for the glorious advancement already made, and earnestly wishing in the final termination to realize an equally glorious fulfillment. With no feeling of exultation, but with profound thankfulness, we contemplate the events of the past five months. They have been too serious to admit of boasting or vain-glorification. They have been so full of responsibilities, immediate and prospective, as to admonish the soberest judgment and counsel the most conservative action.

This is not the time to fire the imagination, but rather to discover, in calm reason, the way to truth, and justice, and[Pg 816] right, and when discovered to follow it with fidelity and courage, without fear, hesitation, or weakness. [Applause.]

The war has put upon the nation grave responsibilities. Their extent was not anticipated and could not have been well foreseen. We cannot escape the obligations of victory. We cannot avoid the serious questions which have been brought home to us by the achievements of our arms on land and sea. We are bound in conscience to keep and perform the covenants which the war has sacredly sealed with mankind. Accepting war for humanity's sake, we must accept all obligations which the war in duty and honor imposed upon us. The splendid victories we have achieved would be our eternal shame and not our everlasting glory if they led to the weakening of our original lofty purpose or to the desertion of the immortal principles on which the national government was founded, and in accordance with whose ennobling spirit it has ever since been faithfully administered.

The war with Spain was undertaken not that the United States should increase its territory, but that oppression at our very doors should be stopped. This noble sentiment must continue to animate us, and we must give to the world the full demonstration of the sincerity of our purpose. Duty determines destiny. Destiny which results from duty performed may bring anxiety and perils, but never failure and dishonor. Pursuing duty may not always lead by smooth paths. Another course may look easier and more attractive, but pursuing duty for duty's sake is always sure and safe and honorable. It is not within the power of man to foretell the future and to solve unerringly its mighty problems. Almighty God has His plans and methods for human progress, and not infrequently they are shrouded for the time being in impenetrable mystery. Looking backward we can see how the hand of destiny builded for us and assigned us tasks whose full meaning was not apprehended even by the wisest statesmen of their times.

Our colonial ancestors did not enter upon their war originally for independence. Abraham Lincoln did not start out to free the slaves, but to save the Union. The war with Spain was not of our seeking, and some of its consequences may not be to our liking. Our vision is often defective.[Pg 817] Short-sightedness is a common malady, but the closer we get to things or they get to us the clearer our view and the less obscure our duty. Patriotism must be faithful as well as fervent; statesmanship must be wise as well as fearless—not the statesmanship which will command the applause of the hour, but the approving judgment of posterity. [Applause.]

The progress of a nation can alone prevent degeneration. There must be new life and purpose, or there will be weakness and decay. There must be broadening of thought as well as broadening of trade. Territorial expansion is not alone and always necessary to national advancement. There must be a constant movement toward a higher and nobler civilization, a civilization that shall make its conquests without resort to war and achieve its greatest victories pursuing the arts of peace.

In our present situation duty—and duty alone—should prescribe the boundary of our responsibilities and the scope of our undertakings. The final determination of our purposes awaits the action of the eminent men who are charged by the executive with the making of the treaty of peace, and that of the Senate of the United States, which, by our constitution, must ratify and confirm it. We all hope and pray that the confirmation of peace will be as just and humane as the conduct and consummation of the war. When the work of the treaty-makers is done the work of the lawmakers will begin. The one will settle the extent of our responsibilities; the other must provide the legislation to meet them. The army and navy have nobly and heroically performed their part. May God give the executive and congress wisdom to perform theirs. [Applause.][Pg 818]


[Speech of William McKinley at the eleventh annual banquet of the Home Market Club, Boston, Mass., February 16, 1899. William B. Plunkett, President of the Club, said in introducing the President of the United States: "Not the Home Market Club, not the city of Boston, not Massachusetts only, but all New England give you greeting of welcome, Mr. President. In our retrospective of the year past we would give full meed of honor and praise to the President who so nobly met and so faithfully discharged the grave responsibilities of that great office, and thanksgiving to the Divine Providence that sustained him. In such hands, under such guidance, we may safely trust the future of our Republic. I have the great honor to present to you the beloved President of the United States, William McKinley." The enthusiasm displayed when the President was introduced was tremendous. In it all he remained to all appearances calm and collected, as he stood and silently acknowledged the reception.]

Mr. Toast-master and Gentlemen:—I have been deeply and profoundly moved by this manifestation of your good-will and confidence and impressed by the expressions of good-will from the Governor of your great Commonwealth [Roger Wolcott] as well as from the chief executive [Josiah Quincy] of the capital city of your State. No one stands in this magnificent presence, listening to the patriotic strains from choir and band, without knowing what this great audience was thinking about. It was thinking, it is thinking this moment, of country, because they love it and have faith in themselves and in its future. I thank the Governor of Massachusetts, I thank the Mayor of the city of Boston, for their warm and generous words of welcome, offered in behalf of this people to me in your presence to-night.

The years go quickly. It seems not so long, but it is in fact six years since it was my honor to be a guest of the Home Market Club. Much has happened in the intervening time. Issues which were then engaging us have been settled or put aside for larger and more absorbing ones. Domestic conditions have improved and are generally satisfactory.

We have made progress in industry and have realized the prosperity for which we have been striving. We had four[Pg 819] long years of adversity, which taught us some lessons which will never be unlearned and which will be valuable in guiding our future action. We have not only been successful in our financial and business affairs, but have been successful in a war with a foreign power, which has added great glory to American arms and a new chapter to American history.

I do not know why in the year 1899 this republic has unexpectedly had placed before it mighty problems which it must face and meet. They have come and are here and they could not be kept away. Many who were impatient for the conflict a year ago, apparently heedless of its larger results, are the first to cry out against the far-reaching consequences of their own act. Those of us who dreaded war most and whose every effort was directed to prevent it, had fears of new and grave problems which might follow its inauguration.

The evolution of events which no man could control has brought these problems upon us. Certain it is that they have not come through any fault on our own part, but as a high obligation, and we meet them with clear conscience and unselfish purpose, and with good heart resolve to undertake their solution.

War was declared in April, 1898, with practical unanimity by the Congress, and, once upon us, was sustained by like unanimity among the people. There had been many who had tried to avert it, as, on the other hand, there were many who would have precipitated it at an earlier date. In its prosecution and conclusion the great majority of our countrymen of every section believed they were fighting in a just cause, and at home or at sea or in the field they had part in its glorious triumphs. It was the war of an undivided nation. Every great act in its progress, from Manila to Santiago, from Guam to Porto Rico, met universal and hearty commendation. The protocol commanded the practically unanimous approval of the American people. It was welcomed by every lover of peace beneath the flag. [Applause.]

The Philippines, like Cuba and Porto Rico, were intrusted to our hands by the war, and to that great trust, under the providence of God and in the name of human progress and civilization, we are committed. It is a trust we have not[Pg 820] sought; it is a trust from which we will not flinch. The American people will hold up the hands of their servants at home to whom they commit its execution, while Dewey and Otis and the brave men whom they command will have the support of the country in upholding our flag where it now floats, the symbol and assurance of liberty and justice. [Applause.]

What nation was ever able to write an accurate programme of the war upon which it was entering, much less decree in advance the scope of its results? Congress can declare war, but a higher power decrees its bounds and fixes its relations and responsibilities. The President can direct the movements of soldiers on the field and fleets upon the sea, but he cannot foresee the close of such movements or prescribe their limits. He cannot anticipate or avoid the consequences, but he must meet them. No accurate map of nations engaged in war can be traced until the war is over, nor can the measure of responsibility be fixed till the last gun is fired and the verdict embodied in the stipulations of peace.

We hear no complaint of the relations created by the war between this Government and the islands of Cuba and Porto Rico. There are some, however, who regard the Philippines as in a different relation; but whatever variety of views there maybe on this phase of the question, there is universal agreement that the Philippines shall not be turned back to Spain. No true American consents to that. Even if unwilling to accept them ourselves, it would have been a weak evasion of manly duty to require Spain to transfer them to some other Power or Powers, and thus shirk our own responsibility. Even if we had had, as we did not have, the power to compel such a transfer, it could not have been made without the most serious international complications. Such a course could not be thought of. And yet had we refused to accept the cession of them we should have had no power over them, even for their own good. We could not discharge the responsibilities upon us until these islands became ours, either by conquest or treaty. There was but one alternative, and that was either Spain or the United States in the Philippines. The other suggestions—first, that they should be tossed into the arena of contention for the strife of nations; or, second, be left to the anarchy and[Pg 821] chaos of no protectorate at all—were too shameful to be considered. [Applause.]

The treaty gave them to the United States. Could we have required less and done our duty?

Could we, after freeing the Filipinos from the domination of Spain, have left them without government and without power to protect life or property or to perform the international obligations essential to an independent State? Could we have left them in a state of anarchy and justified ourselves in our own consciences or before the tribunal of mankind? Could we have done that in the sight of God or man?

Our concern was not for territory or trade or empire, but for the people whose interests and destiny, without our willing it, had been put in our hands. It was with this feeling that from the first day to the last not one word or line went from the Executive in Washington to our military and naval commanders at Manila or to our Peace Commissioners at Paris, that did not put as the sole purpose to be kept in mind, first after the success of our arms and the maintenance of our own honor, the welfare and happiness and the rights of the inhabitants of the Philippine islands. Did we need their consent to perform a great act for humanity? We had it in every aspiration of their minds, in every hope of their hearts. Was it necessary to ask their consent to capture Manila, the capital of their islands? Did we ask their consent to liberate them from Spanish sovereignty or to enter Manila Bay and destroy the Spanish sea-power there? We did not ask these; we were obeying a higher moral obligation which rested on us and which did not require anybody's consent. We were doing our duty by them, as God gave us the light to see our duty, with the consent of our own consciences and with the approval of civilization. Every present obligation has been met and fulfilled in the expulsion of Spanish sovereignty from their islands, and while the war that destroyed it was in progress we could not ask their views. Nor can we now ask their consent. Indeed, can any one tell me in what form it could be marshaled and ascertained until peace and order, so necessary to the reign of reason, shall be secured and established? A reign of terror is not the kind of rule under which right[Pg 822] action and deliberate judgment are possible. It is not a good time for the liberator to submit important questions concerning liberty and government to the liberated while they are engaged in shooting down their rescuers.

We have now ended the war with Spain. The treaty has been ratified by the votes of more than two-thirds of the Senate of the United States and by the judgment of nine-tenths of its people. No nation was ever more fortunate in war or more honorable in its negotiations in peace. Spain is now eliminated from the problem. It remains to ask what we shall now do. I do not intrude upon the duties of Congress or seek to anticipate or forestall its action. I only say that the treaty of peace, honorably secured, having been ratified by the United States, and, as we confidently expect, shortly to be ratified in Spain, Congress will have the power, and I am sure the purpose, to do what in good morals is right and just and humane for these peoples in distant seas.

It is sometimes hard to determine what is best to do, and the best thing to do is oftentimes the hardest. The prophet of evil would do nothing because he flinches at sacrifice and effort, and to do nothing is easiest and involves the least cost. On those who have things to do there rests a responsibility which is not on those who have no obligations as doers. If the doubters were in a majority, there would, it is true, be no labor, no sacrifice, no anxiety, and no burden raised or carried; no contribution from our ease and purse and comfort to the welfare of others, or even to the extension of our resources to the welfare of ourselves. There would be ease, but alas! there would be nothing done.

But grave problems come in the life of a nation, however much men may seek to avoid them. They come without our seeking; why, we do not know, and it is not always given us to know; but the generation on which they are forced cannot avoid the responsibility of honestly striving for their solution. We may not know precisely how to solve them, but we can make an honest effort to that end, and if made in conscience, justice, and honor, it will not be in vain.

The future of the Philippine Islands is now in the hands of the American people. Until the treaty was ratified or rejected the Executive department of this government could only preserve the peace and protect life and property. That[Pg 823] treaty now commits the free and enfranchised Filipinos to the guiding hand and the liberalizing influences, the generous sympathies, the uplifting education, not of their American masters, but of their American emancipators. No one can tell to-day what is best for them or for us. I know no one at this hour who is wise enough or sufficiently informed to determine what form of government will best subserve their interests and our interests, their and our well-being.

If we knew everything by intuition—and I sometimes think that there are those who believe that if we do not, they do—we should not need information; but, unfortunately, most of us are not in that happy state. This whole subject is now with Congress; and Congress is the voice, the conscience and the judgment of the American people. Upon their judgment and conscience can we not rely? I believe in them. I trust them. I know of no better or safer human tribunal than the people. [Applause.]

Until Congress shall direct otherwise, it will be the duty of the Executive to possess and hold the Philippines, giving to the people thereof peace and order and beneficent government, affording them every opportunity to prosecute their lawful pursuits, encouraging them in thrift and industry, making them feel and know that we are their friends, not their enemies, that their good is our aim, that their welfare is our welfare, but that neither their aspirations nor ours can be realized until our authority is acknowledged and unquestioned.

That the inhabitants of the Philippines will be benefited by this Republic is my unshaken belief. That they will have a kindlier government under our guidance, and that they will be aided in every possible way to be a self-respecting and self-governing people is as true as that the American people love liberty and have an abiding faith in their own government and in their own institutions. No imperial designs lurk in the American mind. They are alien to American sentiment, thought and purpose. Our priceless principles undergo no change under a tropical sun. They go with the flag. They are wrought in every one of its sacred folds and are inextinguishable in its shining stars.

"Why read ye not the changeless truth,
The free can conquer but to save."

[Pg 824]

If we can benefit these remote peoples, who will object? If in the years of the future they are established in government under law and liberty, who will regret our perils and sacrifices? Who will not rejoice in our heroism and humanity? Always perils, and always after them safety; always darkness and clouds, but always shining through them the light and the sunshine; always cost and sacrifice, but always after them the fruition of liberty, education and civilization.

I have no light or knowledge not common to my countrymen. I do not prophesy. The present is all-absorbing to me, but I cannot bound my vision by the blood-stained trenches around Manila, where every red drop, whether from the veins of an American soldier or a misguided Filipino, is anguish to my heart; but by the broad range of future years, when that group of islands, under the impulse of the year just passed, shall have become the gems and glories of those tropical seas; a land of plenty and of increasing possibilities; a people redeemed from savage indolence and habits, devoted to the arts of peace, in touch with the commerce and trade of all nations, enjoying the blessings of freedom, of civil and religious liberty, of education and of homes, and whose children and children's children shall for ages hence bless the American Republic because it emancipated and redeemed their fatherland and set them in the pathway of the world's best civilization. [Long-continued applause and cheers.][Pg 825]



[Speech of William B. Melish at a banquet given in honor of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templars of the United States, by the Templars of Pennsylvania, at Pittsburg, Pa., 1898. Colonel Melish, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was assigned the toast, "Our ladies."]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:—Once in three years it falls to the lot of a few, a happy few, of us budding blossoms of the official corps of the Grand Encampment to be discovered by a triennial committee, and distinguished by having our names printed on the banquet lists, and told that we are to sit among the elect at the big centre table, and to respond to certain toasts. With all the vanity of man we gladly accept, and care little what the toast may be. So, when the Pittsburg Committee asked me to select my topic, I rashly said "any old thing," and they told me I was to talk about the ladies. Then I regretted that I had said "any old thing." [Laughter.] In vain I told them I knew but little of the subject, delightful though it be, and that what I did know I dare not tell in this presence. The Chairman unearthed some ancient Templar landmark of the Crusaders Hopkins and Gobin, about "a Knight's duty is to obey," hence as the poet says:—

"When a woman's in the case,
You know all other things give place."

Last Sunday when the Grand Master, and all the Grand officers, save possibly the Grand Prelate, made their triennial appearance in church, I picked up a book in the pew I was in, and was impressed with the opening chapters of a story called "The Book of Genesis." It is the first mention made[Pg 826] of one who was entitled to be called the "first lady in the land." I read that the Creator "saw everything that he had made and behold it was very good," and he rested. Then He made man and said He was good—and He rested. He then made woman out of the rib of a man, but no mention is made of His remarks, or of His resting—in fact there has been no rest for mankind ever since. [Laughter.] The first lady was called woman—"because she was taken out of man," and twenty centuries look down upon us, and we realize that what she has taken out of man is a plenty. As the poet Moore pleasantly remarks:—

"Disguise our bondage as we will
'Tis woman, woman rules us still."

For two thousand years the Order of Knighthood has been endeavoring to ameliorate and elevate the condition of womankind. Among savages they are beasts of burden, among barbarians and Mohammedans they are toys or slaves, but among us, thanks to American manhood, they have our love and respect, they have all our rights, all our money, and, in these days of tailor-made garments, they have nearly all our clothes; and we smile and smile, and wonder what next? [Laughter.]

Is it surprising that a sedate, sober-minded, slightly bald-headed, middle-aged Templar Knight, "used only to war's alarms [laughter] and not to woman's charms," should be at a loss what to say on an occasion like this, or to do justice to such a subject? It is delightful to have the ladies here. Like Timon of Athens we can truly say:—

"You have, fair ladies,
Set a fair fashion to our entertainment,
Which was not half so beautiful and kind."

In the presence of the bright eyes, rosy cheeks, and warm red lips of the ladies it might be possible to work up to the proper degree of enthusiasm in the short time allotted me, if it were not for the stony glare of one which says "Beware, I am here!" [Laughter.] Now, in my innocence, I presumed that poets were the fellows who had prepared all the pretty things to say about the dear girls, but I find a variety of[Pg 827] opinions expressed. That good old Masonic bard, Bobby Burns, says:—

"And nature swears, the lovely dears,
Her noblest work she classes, O;
Her 'prentice hand she tried on man
An' then she made the lasses, O."

But you will note that Dame Nature swears this, and she is not a competent witness, as she had nothing to do with the little surgical episode when Brother Adam lost his rib. [Laughter.] Lord Lyttleton gave our sisters good advice, as follows:—

"Seek to be good, but aim not to be great,
A woman's noblest station is Retreat,
Her fairest virtues fly from public sight,
Domestic worth that shuns too strong a light."

Another English authority named "Howe," in his "Advice to Wives," says:—

"A wife, domestic, good and pure
Like snail should keep within her door,
But not, like snail, with silver track
Place all her wealth upon her back."

But who in these latter days would preach the heresies of those old-fashioned fellows to the hundreds of ladies present, plumed in all the titles and distinctions of the hundred and one woman's clubs of to-day, which they represent. Perish the thought!

Woman is being emancipated. She is enthroned in the sun, crowned with stars, and, trampling beneath her dainty feet the burnt-out moon, emblem of a vanished despotism that denied her the companionship of her husband, questioned her immortality, locked her up in the harem, or harnessed her to the plough. A hundred years from now, if she does a man's work, she will be paid a man's wages [applause], and some of us will not have to work for a living, but can go to our clubs in peace, take our afternoon naps, and be ready in the evening to get Mamma's slippers ready when she comes home from the office. [Laughter.]

But the problem for to-night is how to consider the various relations which women bear to us weak, frail men—as[Pg 828] mother or mother-in-law, as sweetheart or wife. We are somewhat in the predicament of the green bridegroom at Delmonico's who said: "Waiter, we want dinner for two." "Will ze lady and ze gentleman haf table d'hote or a la carte?" "Oh, bring us some of both, with lots of gravy on 'em!" Oh, ye Knights! Take the advice of the philosopher who is talking to you, and be on the best of terms with your mother-in-law. [Laughter.] Only get her on your side, and you have a haven to fly to when all others fail to appreciate you, and when some one of the others feels appointed a special agent to tell you about it. Now, it isn't everybody that knows this, and I commend it to you. [Laughter.]

Some men are like the two darkies I heard discussing the question of what a man should do if he were in a boat on a wide river, with his mother and his wife, and the boat should sink, and he could only save one woman. "Johnson," said Billy Rice, "who would you save, yo' mudder or yo' wife?" Johnson thought and said: "Billy! I would save my mudder. I could get anudder wife, but where under the blue canopy of hebben could I get anudder dear old mudder?" "But look here, Billy! 'Spose you was in de boat, in de middle of de river, wid yo' wife and yo' mudder-in-law?" "Oh, what a cinch!"—said Billy. "And de boat," continued Johnson, "was to strike a snag and smash to pieces, and eberybody go into de water, who would you save?" "My wife, dar! my mudder-in-law dar! and de boat strike a snag?" "Yes!" "I would save de snag," said Billy. "I could get anudder wife, I might den have anudder mudder-in-law, but where under de blue canopy of hebben could I find anudder dear, thoughtful old snag?" [Laughter.]

It has been well said that "all a woman has to do in this world is contained within the duties of a daughter, a sister, a wife, and a mother." She has sustained at least one of these relations to even the poorest of us; but I wonder if there is a man here to-night so miserably abject and forlorn and God-forsaken as not, some time in his life, to have been able to regard her in the delightful relation of sweetheart? I hope not. I would rather he had had a dozen, than no sweetheart at all. The most unselfish devotion we may ever know is that of our mother; a sweet affection is that of our[Pg 829] sisters, a most tender love is that of our daughters, but the love and affection we all want, and without which we are never satisfied, is that of the sweethearts who reward our devotion—out of all proportion to our deserts—by becoming our wives and the mothers of our daughters. [Applause.]

It is not less the pleasure than the duty of every man to have a sweetheart—I was almost tempted to say, the more, the merrier—and the sooner he makes one of his sweethearts his wife, the better for him. If he is a "woman-hater," or professes to be (for, as a matter of fact, there is no such anomaly as a genuine "woman-hater" at liberty in this great and glorious country), let him beware, as I believe with Thackeray, that a "woman, with fair opportunities, and without an absolute hump, may marry whom she likes. [Laughter.] Only let us be thankful that the darlings are like the beasts of the field, and don't know their own power." As the poet—what's-his-name—so beautifully and feelingly and touchingly observes:—

"Oh, woman, in our hours of ease,
Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,"—
"But seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace."

Next to God, we are indebted to woman for life itself, and then for making it worth living. To describe her, the pen should be dipped in the humid colors of the rainbow, and the paper dried with the dust gathered from the wings of a butterfly. There is one in the world who feels for him who is sad a keener pang than he feels for himself; there is one to whom reflected joy is better than that which comes direct; there is one who rejoices in another's honor more than in her own; there is one upon whom another's transcendent excellence sheds no beam but that of delight; there is one who hides another's infirmities more faithfully than her own; there is one who loses all sense of self in the sentiment of kindness, tenderness, and devotion to another—that one is she who is honored with the holy name of wife. [Applause.] With the immortal Shakespeare we may say:

"Why, man, she is mine own;
And I as rich in having such a jewel,
As twenty seas, if all their sands were pearl,
The water nectar, and the rocks pure gold."
[Pg 830]

I can do no greater justice to my subject, the occasion, and myself, than by closing with the words of Shelley: "Win her and wear her if you can. She is the most delightful of God's creatures. Heaven's best gift; man's joy and pride in prosperity; man's support and comfort in affliction." I drink her health. God bless her. [Prolonged applause.][Pg 831]



[Speech of Major-General Nelson A. Miles at a banquet given in his honor by more than seven hundred of the most distinguished citizens of New York City, November 11, 1898. While the last course was being served, a unique procession made the round of the hall. It was headed by three figures, one fifer and two drummers, attired to represent the famous painting called "Spirit of '76." These three were followed by a procession bearing miniature ships of war manufactured of various confections. Joseph H. Choate was Chairman of the banquet.]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:—

"Joyfully dear is the homeward track,
If we are but sure of a welcome back."

Such a generous reception has been extended to me to-night as few are permitted to enjoy, and I should be wanting in gratitude did I not appreciate the sentiment expressed in this cordial greeting. I should be vain indeed to ascribe it to myself, or for a moment to accept it solely as a personal tribute. As an expression of appreciation of the gallant troops which I have the honor to command, it is accepted in behalf of the living and for them I thank you, as well as for those whose lips are forever silent and whose heroism and sacrifice I know are here remembered and revered.

This reception is to me doubly gratifying, for I am delighted to return once more to the shores of the Great Republic and also to be welcomed by the men of the great Empire State and by those associated with them in this entertainment. For many years New York has seemed like home to me. I passed down Broadway in 1861, at the age of twenty-one, a lieutenant in a regiment from my native State; eight months later I was honored by that great patriot and statesman,[Pg 832] Governor Morgan, with a commission as lieutenant-colonel in one of the New York regiments. From that time during the great Civil War I was largely identified with the New York troops, commanding a regiment, a brigade, and, at one time, thirty-two regiments from the State of New York. Many of my comrades in the field were from New York, many of my strongest friends are New Yorkers, and I am honored to-night by such a greeting as would make the heart of any soldier proud.

The wars of the past have had their objects, their achievements, and glorious results. The last war was one in the interest of humanity and in behalf of a heroic people, who for many years had been struggling against cruel atrocities, oppression, and the despotism of a decaying monarchy. It has been most remarkable in many respects. It has presented one series of victories, without a single disaster or a single defeat. The flag of the United States has not been lowered in a single instance. Not a foot of ground has been surrendered, not a soldier, gun or rifle has been captured by the enemy. The American soldiers and sailors have been true to the principles and traditions of their fathers, and maintained the honor and glory of the American arms. One of the great blessings to the country in this brief but decisive war has been to unite firmly in bonds of imperishable union all sections of the United States: North, South, East, and West. Still more, it has given us reason and opportunity to appreciate our obligations to the mother country for the dignified and powerful influence of the British Empire in the maintenance of our principles and rights.

There are other fields to conquer. The past has gone, and the future opens the door to greater responsibilities, and I trust to greater progress and prosperity. We are ascending to a clearer atmosphere, up to a higher level, where we should take a stronger position than ever before occupied by our government and people. We can no longer confine ourselves to the narrow limits that governed us as a people in the past. Much has been said of what has been the ruling policy of the past. This much, I think, is apparent to all, that the grave responsibilities of the nation are too great to be contaminated by personal, partisan, or sectional interests.[Pg 833] Our interests are national in the highest degree. They embrace two hemispheres. They involve the welfare of a hundred millions of the human race. We are getting to that time when we shall require not only the ablest men but many of them, in every department, to protect and administer the affairs of the Nation. In those impressive lines of Holland we might exclaim:—

"God give us men; a time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands,
Men whom the lust of office does not kill,
Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy,
Men who possess opinions and a will,
Men who have honor; men who will not lie."

The important and great questions that had to be met and that have been decided during the last few months have had a broadening influence upon the great mass of our people. It has been uplifting to every community and every phase of society. It has turned the attention of our people to the great power and responsibility of our Republic, and institutions, and true interests as a people and a nation, not only at home, but through every part of the globe. We have been enabled to give freedom to millions of the oppressed, and I believe that we shall be able to extend to them the hand of support and secure for them a full measure of justice and enlightened government. In behalf of the army and for myself, I wish to return my most heartfelt thanks for this most cordial greeting. [Applause.][Pg 834]



[Speech of Samuel F. Miller, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, at the annual dinner of the State Bar Association, Albany, November 20, 1878. Justice Miller spoke in response to the toast: "The Supreme Court of the United States." With the toast was associated the following sentiment from De Tocqueville: "The peace, the prosperity, and the very existence of the Union are vested in Federal Judges."]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Association:—I perceive that in the meeting of this State Bar Association it has devolved upon me to inaugurate the talking on all occasions, [Laughter.] When I had supposed last evening that I should hear the eloquent voice of your then President, Judge Porter, to get up the enthusiasm which was necessary, I was surprised to find that he was absent, and that the distinguished gentleman who presided did not feel called upon to fill his place in that regard, though he did the honors and discharged the duties of the office very gracefully; and now when your own Governor, and when the President of the United States are toasted in advance of the body of which I have the honor to be a member, there is nobody with the respectful and cordial approval of the Association here to respond to the sentiments in their honor. But I have had the honor of sitting for a couple of hours in this body, and to find that although a moderate speaker myself, I had opened the way for a good deal of disposition to talk [applause]; and I trust it will be found that there will be a similar experience this evening, as I find here the Judges of the Court of Appeals and of the Supreme Court of this State, and others, who know how to speak, and who, no doubt, will speak in response to toasts.

The sentiment of De Tocqueville, to which I am in some[Pg 835] sense called upon to respond, is one which those of you who have read his work on "Democracy in America," written forty-five years ago, must know has reference to a much smaller body of judges than now existing. Perhaps I shall entertain you a little by telling you about what are the Federal judges, and how many of them there are. We have fifty-seven or fifty-eight district judges who are Federal judges. We have nine judges of the Circuit Court of the United States; we have five judges of the District of Columbia; we have five judges of the Court of Claims; and we have nine judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, and these are all considered and treated as constitutional Federal judges. That is to say, they enter their offices as officers of the United States, and hold their offices during life or good behavior. We have, in addition to these, eight Territories, each of which has three judges, who are Federal judges, although in a different sense. They are not called constitutional judges—I do not know that that is a very correct distinction—and they are only appointed for four years. These are the Federal judges, the name which De Tocqueville applies to them.

You will excuse me if I talk for a few minutes about the court of which I have the honor to be a member—the Supreme Court of the United States. That court, if it is nothing else, certainly is a hard-working court. It is a court of which a great deal is required; and it is some solace for the hard work that we have to do, that we are supposed to be a court of a good deal of dignity and of a very high character. I hope you all concur. [Laughter and applause.] Just consider what the jurisdiction of that court is. There have come before that court often, States—States which in the old ante-bellum times, we called "Sovereign States"—and some of them did not come voluntarily. They were brought by the process of that court. And when one State of the Union has a question of juridical cognizance against another State of the Union, it must come to that court. A subpœna is sent, and it is brought into that court just like an individual, and it must, by the constitution of this country, submit its rights and territorial jurisdiction, and the right which accompanies that territorial jurisdiction, to the decision of that Supreme Court. Except the great court which sat on[Pg 836] Mount Olympus, I know of no other which has ever had the right to decide, and compel States to submit to its decision. [Applause.] It is within our province to declare a law of one of these sovereign States, void, absolutely null, because it may be in conflict with the Constitution and laws of the United States; and that is a function of daily occurrence. What other court in the world has that power? To what other court has ever been submitted such a function as that—to declare the legislation of a State like New York, with five millions of population, and other States verging upon the same amount of population and wealth, to declare that the laws which you have passed in the ordinary discharge of your powers as legislators, are null and void?

It is a great power. We not only do that, but we decide that the laws which the Congress of the United States shall pass are void, if they conflict with that instrument under which we all live and move and have our being. Though we approach these subjects with regretful hesitation, it is a duty from which the court has never shrunk, and from which I presume it never will shrink as long as that court has its existence. [Applause.]

Gentlemen, I have told you about our high prerogatives; but just look at what we have done! see what it is that we are compelled to know or supposed to know—but I am very sorry to say we don't know at all. [Laughter.] We are supposed to take judicial cognizance of all questions of international law, of treaties, of prize laws, and of the law of nations generally. We take notice of it without its being specially pleaded. We take notice of the laws and statutes of every State of these thirty-eight States of the Union. They are not to be proved in our courts; they are not brought in issue, but the judge of the Federal courts, from the lowest one to the highest, is supposed to take judicial cognizance of all the statute laws, and to know them, of the whole thirty-eight States of the Union, and of the eight Territories besides. In addition to that, we are supposed to take notice of the common law of the country. We take notice of the equity principles, and we apply them now in separate courts, notwithstanding you have combined them in your processes in the State courts. We are supposed to understand the civil law on which Texas and Louisiana[Pg 837] have framed their system of laws; and we are supposed to understand all the other laws, as I said, of the States, divergent and varied as they are. We do the best we can to understand them; but, gentlemen, permit me to say that, but for the bar which practices before us; but for the lawyers who come up from New York and Pennsylvania, and from the States of the West and of the South, to tell us what the law is; but for the instruction and aid which they afford to us, our duties would be but poorly fulfilled.

I take pleasure in saying, gentlemen, and it is the last thing that I shall trouble you with, that a bar or set of men superior in information, in the desire to impart that information to the court, a set of gentlemen in the legal profession more instructive in their arguments, could hardly be found in any country in the world. [Applause.] I doubt whether their equals are found, when you consider the variety of the knowledge which they must present to us, the topics which they discuss, the sources from which they derive the matter which they lay before us. I say that it is with pleasure that the court relies upon the lawyers of the country to enable it to perform its high functions.[Pg 838]



[Speech of John Morley at the banquet of the Royal Academy, London, May 3, 1890. Sir Frederic Leighton, President of the Academy, said in introducing Mr. Morley: "With Literature I associate, not for the first time, the name of a master of strong and sober English, a man in whose writings the clear vision of a seeker after truth controls the generous fervor of an idealist, and of whom every appreciator of a fine literary temper must earnestly hope that the paths upon which he has so long trod with growing honor may never become wholly strangers to his feet—I mean Mr. John Morley."]

Mr. President, Your Royal Highness, My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen:—I feel that I am more unworthy now than I was eight years ago to figure as the representative of literature before this brilliant gathering of all the most important intellectual and social interests of our time. I have not yet been able like the Prime Minister, to go round this exhibition and see the works of art that glorify your walls; but I am led by him to expect that I shall see the pictures of Liberal leaders, including M. Rochefort. [Laughter.] I am not sure whether M. Rochefort will figure as a man of letters or as a Liberal leader, but I can understand that his portrait would attract the Prime Minister because M. Rochefort is a politician who was once a Liberal leader, and who has now seen occasion to lose his faith in Parliamentary government. [Laughter and cheers.] Nor have I seen the picture of "The Flowing Tide," but I shall expect to find in that picture when I do see it a number of bathing-machines in which, not the younger generation, but the elder generation are incarcerated. [Laughter.] The younger generation, as I understand, are waiting confidently—for the arrival of the "Flowing Tide," and when[Pg 839] it arrives, the elderly gentlemen who are incarcerated in those machines [laughter] will be only too anxious for a man and a horse to come and deliver them from their imminent peril. [Laughter and cheers.]

I thought that I detected in the last words of your speech, in proposing this toast, Mr. President, an accent of gentle reproach that any one should desert the high and pleasant ways of literature for the turmoil and the everlasting contention of public life. I do not suppose that there has ever been a time in which there was less of divorce between literature and public life than the present time. ["Hear! Hear!"] There have been in the reign of the Queen two eminent statesmen who have thrice had the distinction of being Prime Minister, and oddly enough, one of those statesmen [Lord Derby] has left behind him a most spirited version of Homer, while the other eminent statesman [William E. Gladstone]—happily still among us, still examines the legends and the significance of Homer. [Cheers.] Then when we come to a period nearer to ourselves, and look at those gentlemen who have in the last six years filled the office of Minister for Ireland, we find that no fewer than three [George Otto Trevelyan, John Morley, and Arthur Balfour] were authors of books before they engaged in the very ticklish business of the government of men. ["Hear! Hear!"] And one of these three Ministers for Ireland embarked upon his literary career—which promised ample distinction—under the editorial auspices of another of the three. We possess in one branch of the Legislature the author of the most fascinating literary biography in our language. We possess also another writer whose range of knowledge and of intellectual interest is so great that he has written the most important book upon the Holy Roman Empire and the most important book upon the American Commonwealth [James Bryce]. [Cheers.]

The first canon in literature was announced one hundred years ago by an eminent Frenchman who said that in literature it is your business to have preferences but no exclusions. In politics it appears to be our business to have very stiff and unchangeable preferences, and exclusion is one of the systematic objects of our life. [Laughter and cheers.] In literature, according to another canon, you must have a free[Pg 840] and open mind and it has been said: "Never be the prisoner of your own opinions." In politics you are very lucky if you do not have the still harder fate—(and I think that the gentlemen on the President's right hand will assent to that as readily as the gentlemen who sit on his left) of being the prisoner of other people's opinions. [Laughter.] Of course no one can doubt for a moment that the great achievements of literature—those permanent and vital works which we will never let die—require a devotion as unceasing, as patient, as inexhaustible, as the devotion that is required for the works that adorn your walls; and we have luckily in our age—though it may not be a literary age—masters of prose and masters of verse. No prose more winning has ever been written than that of Cardinal Newman; no verse finer, more polished, more melodious has ever been written than that of Lord Tennyson and Mr. Swinburne. [Cheers.]

It seems to me that one of the greatest functions of literature at this moment is not merely to produce great works, but also to protect the English language—that noble, that most glorious instrument—against those hosts of invaders which I observe have in these days sprung up. I suppose that every one here has noticed the extraordinary list of names suggested lately in order to designate motion by electricity [laughter]; that list of names only revealed what many of us had been observing for a long time—namely, the appalling forces that are ready at a moment's notice to deface and deform our English tongue. [Laughter.] These strange, fantastic, grotesque, and weird titles open up to my prophetic vision a most unwelcome prospect. I tremble to see the day approach—and I am not sure that it is not approaching—when the humorists of the headlines of American journalism shall pass current as models of conciseness, energy, and color of style. [Cheers and laughter.]

Even in our social speech this invasion seems to be taking place in an alarming degree and I wonder what the Pilgrim Fathers of the seventeenth century would say if they could hear their pilgrim children of the nineteenth century who come over here, on various missions, and among others, "On the make." [Laughter.] This is only one of the thousand such like expressions which are invading the Puritan[Pg 841] simplicity of our tongue. I will only say that I should like, for my own part, to see in every library and in every newspaper office that admirable passage in which Milton, who knew so well how to handle both the great instrument of prose and the nobler instrument of verse—declared that next to the man who furnished courage and intrepid counsels against an enemy he placed the man who should enlist small bands of good authors to resist that barbarism which invades the minds and the speech of men in methods and habits of speaking and writing.

I thank you for having allowed me the honor of saying a word as to the happiest of all callings and the most imperishable of all arts. [Loud cheers.][Pg 842]



[Speech of John Lothrop Motley, United States Minister to England at the eighty-fourth annual banquet of the Royal Literary Fund, London, May 28, 1873. The Right-Hon. William E. Gladstone, First Minister of the Crown, was chairman. The Bishop of Derry proposed the toast, "The Literature of the United States, and Mr. Motley," which was loudly cheered.]

Mr. Chairman, My Lords and Gentlemen:—I can scarcely find fitting words to express my gratitude for the warm and genial manner in which the toast of "American Literature" has been received by this distinguished assembly. I wish that the honor of responding to it had been placed in worthier hands. Two at least of our most eminent men of letters I thought were in England, or near it—one, that most original, subtle, poetical and graceful of thinkers and essayists, Mr. Emerson [cheers]; the other, one of our most distinguished poets and prose-writers, second to none in the highest spheres of imagination and humor: Mr. Lowell. [Cheers.] I had hoped to meet them both, but I look in vain for their friendly and familiar faces. In their absence, I venture to return thanks most sincerely, but briefly, for the eloquent and sympathetic words with which the distinguished prelate has spoken of our literature. I do so in behalf of the eminent poets and prose-writers in every department of literature and science, many of whose names tremble on my lips, but the long roll-call of which I will not enumerate, who are the living illustrators of our literature, and who it is a gratification to know are almost as familiar and highly appreciated in the old land of our forefathers as they are at home [cheers]; but I for one[Pg 843] like to consider them all as fellow-citizens in the great English-speaking Republic of letters—where all are brothers, not strangers to each other. And as an illustration of this, I believe that it is not long since one of our famous poets whose exquisite works are familiar in every palace and every cottage all over the world where the English language is spoken—Mr. Longfellow—was recently requested to preside at one of your meetings. [Cheers.]

I can produce nothing new on that great subject, which seems the inevitable one for an American on such an occasion as this, the international bond of a common language, a common literature, and centuries of common history and tradition, which connects those two great nations, the United Empire and the United Republic. May the shadows of both never grow less and may that international bond strengthen its links every year! [Cheers.] What is the first hallowed spot in the Transatlantic pilgrimage of every true American? What is the true Mecca of his heart? Not the hoary tombs of the Pharaohs, and the one hundred gated cities of the Nile. Not the Acropolis and the Parthenon, the plains of Marathon, the Pass of Thermopylæ, thrilling as they are with heroic and patriotic emotion; not the Forum and the Coliseum and the triumphal arches of Rome. No; the pious pilgrim from the Far West seeks a sequestered, old-fashioned little town, in the heart of the most delicious rural scenery that even old England can boast; he walks up a quiet, drowsy, almost noiseless street, with quaint old houses, half brick, half timber, hardly changed of aspect since they looked out on the Wars of the Roses. He comes to an ancient, ivy-mantled tower hard by a placid, silvery stream on which a swan is ever sailing; he passes through a pleached alley under a Gothic gateway of the little church, and bends in reverence before a solitary tomb, for in that tomb repose the ashes of Shakespeare. [Cheers.] We claim our share in every atom of that consecrated dust. Our forefathers, who first planted the seeds of a noble civilization in New England and Virginia, were contemporaries and countrymen of the Swan of Avon. So long as we all have an undivided birthright in that sublimest of human intellects, and can enjoy, as none others can, those unrivalled masterpieces, Americans and Englishmen can never be quite[Pg 844] foreigners to each other though seas between as broad have rolled since the day when that precious dust wore human clothing. [Cheers.]

And what is the next resting-place in our pilgrim's progress—the pilgrim of Outre-Mer? Surely that stately and beautiful pile which we have all seen in our dreams long before we looked upon it with the eyes of flesh, time-honored Westminster Abbey. I can imagine no purer intellectual pleasure for an American than when he first wanders through those storied aisles, especially if he have the privilege which many of our countrymen have enjoyed, of being guided there by the hand of one whose exquisite urbanity and kindliness are fit companions to his learning and his intellect, the successor of the ancient Abbot, the historian of the Abbey, the present distinguished Dean of Westminster [Dean Stanley], to whom we have listened with such pleasure to-night. [Cheers.] And it will be in the Poets' Corner that we shall ever linger the longest. Those statues, busts and mural inscriptions are prouder trophies than all the banners from the most ensanguined battle-fields that the valor of England has ever won, and with what a wealth of intellect is that nation endowed which after the centuries of immortal names already enshrined there has had the proud although most melancholy honor of adding in one decade—scarcely more than ten years—the names of Macaulay, Grote, Dickens, Thackeray, and Lytton? [Cheers.] They are our contemporaries, not our countrymen; but we cannot afford to resign our claim to some portion of their glory as illustrators of our common language. And I would fain believe that you take a fraternal interest in the fame of those whom we too have lost, and who were our especial garland—Washington Irving, Fenimore Cooper, Everett, Hawthorne, and Prescott.

But I have trespassed far longer upon your attention than I meant to do when I arose; and I shall therefore only once more thank you for the great kindness with which you have received the toast of the Literature of the United States. [Cheers.][Pg 845]



[Speech of Rev. Dr. John P. Newman, at the 115th annual banquet of the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York, May 8, 1883. The President, George W. Lane, presided, and said: "Gentlemen, I give you the fifth regular toast: 'Commerce—distributing to all regions the productions of each, and, providing for the wants of all, it combines in friendly intercourse the nations of the earth.' To this toast the Rev. Dr. Newman will respond."]

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Chamber Of Commerce of New York:—This is a beautiful toast—beautiful both in structure and sentiment and would that it were true. [Applause.] It is true in theory but not in history. It may be the voice of prophecy whose fulfilment shall be a sublime fact. It is in the highest degree worthy of this Chamber of Commerce and cannot fail in its peaceful mission among the nations of the earth. [Applause.] But the ages testify that selfishness and greed have marked the commercial history of the world. How splendid have been the achievements of commerce, and how deplorable its failure to realize its legitimate mission—to unify the human race. "Get all you can, and keep all you get," were the selfish maxims that influenced the Dutch merchants in Sumatra, Java, and Ceylon. The renowned merchants of Portugal planted their commercial colonies on the rich coasts of Malabar, took possession of the Persian Gulf and transformed the barren island of Ormus into a paradise of wealth and luxury. But of that far-famed island Milton sung in these truthful and immortal lines:—

"High, on a throne of royal state which far
[Pg 846]Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind.
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand,
Show'rs on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat."

There is no less truth than poetry in that last line, for there the devil sat, and Tom Moore's "Fair Isle of Kisham" has faded from the visions of the world. [Applause.]

The Spanish merchants grasped the wealthy States of South America, and held as captives the affluent Incas of Peru and Bolivia. But Spain has long since retired from her commercial supremacy and the South American Provinces are left poor indeed.

While every Anglo-Saxon is justly proud of England's greatness in art and learning, in statesmanship and martial prowess, yet her commercial history does not always reflect credit upon her foreign trade. Rapacity so characterized her merchants who composed the old East India Company that the British Government felt compelled to revoke the charter of that famous monopoly. Influenced by some of her merchants the guns of her invincible navy opened the treaty ports of China and forced the opium trade upon the Celestials against their earnest protests, and in that protest not a few of the best Englishmen joined.

To-day France and England, Belgium and Holland are contending for commercial supremacy in the "Dark Continent," which an American explorer and traveler opened to the foreign trade of all nations [applause]; but, judging from the past, the sable sons of Africa are yet to learn the selfishness of commerce.

Happily for us, the United States has been more fortunate because more honorable in her commercial intercourse with other lands. [Applause.] By his justice, by his prudence, by his firmness, Commodore Perry [cheers], our great sailor diplomatist, not only opened to us Japan, that "Kingdom of the Rising Sun," but secured for America the friendship and admiration of the Japanese. And there is to-day, awaiting the action of our nation, a treaty of amity and commerce, drawn by the wisest of men, the most sagacious of statesmen, the greatest of living soldiers; and when that treaty shall have been ratified, the United States and Mexico will be united in friendly intercourse, sweet and pleasant, like the love of David and Jonathan. [Applause.][Pg 847]

It is a great question whether this country shall repeat the commercial history of the world, or carry to glorious consummation the noble sentiment of this toast. All the signs of the times seem to indicate that the commercial sceptre of the world, held by the Phœnicians for 1,000 years, held by the Romans through a whole millennium, held by the Venetians during five centuries, held by the Portuguese for three hundred years, and since held by the English—whether that sceptre is not rapidly to pass into the hands of the American merchant; and when that is an accomplished fact, we shall hear less of the decline of American shipping or that the balance of trade is against us. [Applause.] Our vast domain, our immense resources, our unparalleled productive capacity, all seem to prophesy that we are largely to feed and clothe Adam's innumerable family. [Applause.] If so, then any calm and sagacious mind must realize that our present methods of forming commercial treaties should be radically changed. If it has been found necessary to have a Department of Agriculture, a Department of Education, why not a Department of Commerce, connected with the National Government, and from which shall come the suggestions, the facts, and the influence for the formation of commercial treaties, and at the head of which shall be a wise and prudent merchant conversant with the products of all lands and familiar with the best interests of our own country? [Applause.] The science of political economy is so profound, so complicated, so far-reaching as to transcend the capacity of the average statesman. It has become a specialty. Congressional committees on Commerce and on Foreign Relations are hardly adequate to the task. Not a few of the members of such know more about ward elections than tariff laws, and know as little about products and trade of foreign lands as of the geography of other nations. Let us lift the whole subject of commerce from the arena of partisan politics. [Applause.]

This toast looks forward to the friendship of nations. The merchant is the chosen John the Baptist of that better day. The merchant is the true cosmopolitan—the citizen of the world. Farmers with their products of the soil, flocks and herds are local; miners with their metallic mines and min[Pg 848]eral mountains are local; manufacturers with their fabrics of skill are local; inventors with their manifold contrivances to lift the burden of toil from the shoulders of humanity, are local; artists, with their canvas that glows and their marble that breathes, are local; authors, with their mighty thoughts of truth and fiction, are local; statesmen with their laws, wise and otherwise [laughter], are local; but the merchant is the cosmopolitan citizen of the world, the friend of all, the enemy of none, a stranger nowhere, at home everywhere; who sails all seas, travels all lands, and to whom all come with their fruit of hand and brain, waiting for a home or a foreign market. [Applause.]

Commerce should ever be the voice of peace. Aided by science, and sanctified by religion, it should be the all-powerful stimulant to universal amity. The honest and honorable merchant is the natural antagonist of the factious politician, the ambitious statesman, the glory-seeking warrior. [Applause.] While the merchant is the most ardent of patriots, commerce is the unifier of nations, whereby is to be fulfilled the dream of poets and the vision of seers in the brotherhood of man, in a congress of nations, and a parliament of the world. The old German Hanseatic League, representing sixty-six maritime cities and forty-four dependencies, seemed to prophesy an international chamber of commerce for the peace of the whole earth. If the high interests of our Christian civilization demand International Congresses of Law, of Geography, of Peace, how much more an International Congress of Commerce, to give direction to the relations of peace and trade between all peoples. This would approach the realization of the dream of a universal republic. [Applause.]

It is eminently proper that from this Christian city should go forth the voice of commercial peace, honesty and honor; give us such Christian merchants as Peter Cooper [cheers], as William E. Dodge [cheers], as Governor Morgan [cheers], dealing fairly and honorably with the weaker States with which we shall trade. [Applause.] For say what you please, Christianity is the religion of industry, of thrift, of wealth demanding the comforts of life and enriching all who follow its divine precepts, and giving to the world that code of higher and better commercial morality whereby wealth[Pg 849] is permanent, and riches are a benediction. [Applause.] Awakened by this unseen power, it is commercial enterprise that has transformed our earth into one vast neighborhood, that has made air and ocean whispering galleries, that has started the iron horse to stride a continent in seven days and launched the majestic steamer which touches two continents between two Sundays. [Applause.]

I confess to you, gentlemen, that I have no fear from the accumulations of vast mercantile wealth when under the benign constraints of religion. Wealth is the handmaid of religion. Such wealth has beautified the face of society, has advanced to this consummation those great philanthropic enterprises which have delivered the oppressed and saved the Republic, and which have filled our city with schools of learning, galleries of art, halls of justice, houses of mercy, and temples of piety. [Continued applause.][Pg 850]



[Speech of Charles Eliot Norton at the "Whittier Dinner," in celebration of the poet's seventieth birthday, and the twentieth birthday of the "Atlantic Monthly," given by the publishers of the magazine, Boston, December 17, 1877. William Dean Howells, then editor of the "Atlantic," officiated as chairman. Mr. Norton spoke for James Russell Lowell, the first editor of the "Atlantic," then serving as United States Minister to Spain.]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:—We miss to-night one man to whom many names are equally befitting: the humorist, the wit, the wise thinker, the poet, the scholar, the worker, the friend—but the man who, of all others, should be here to do honor to our guest. We miss the first editor of the "Atlantic," whose comprehensive sympathies, wide as his vast, broad genius; whose cultivated taste, whose various and thorough learning gave to our Monthly, from the beginning, first place among American magazines and secured for it that deserved popularity which you, sir [Mr. Howells], are doing so much to maintain. The same qualities which made him eminent as an editor will make him eminent as the representative abroad of what is best in the social and political life of our country. No man could more truly exhibit, as comprehending them in himself, the high spirit, the noble aims, the varied achievements of a generous and large-minded nation—a nation not always so careful as it ought to be that its ministers accredited to foreign powers should be servants creditable to itself. But in the place that he now fills I cannot but regard him as, in a special sense, the envoy of the company gathered around this table. I believe that every one of us has, or at least has had, possessions in Spain that require to be well looked after; they are pos[Pg 851]sessions of extraordinary, enormous, quite incalculable value, of which the title deeds are not always as complete as we could wish. Lowell himself had large estates of this sort:—

"When I was a beggarly boy,
I lived in a cellar damp,
I had not a friend, nor a toy,
But I had Aladdin's lamp.

"When I could not sleep for the cold,
I had fire enough in my brain,
And I built with their roofs of gold
My beautiful castles in Spain."

And so too, he, the friend of us all, whose presence makes us all glad to-night, and whom we always greet with all love and honor, has had possessions in the same fair land:—

"How much of my heart, O Spain,
Went out to thee in days of yore!
What dreams romantic filled my brain,
And summoned back to life again
The Paladins of Charlemagne,
The Cid Campeador?"

How many "castles in Spain not built of stone" has he dwelt in, and with what delightful hospitality has he welcomed us as guests within their spacious and splendid halls! And even you, sir, for whose sake we have met to-night, even you, modest as your retirement has seemed to be in that quiet home, which you have made dear to the lovers of poetry and purity and peace, you have privately had your speculations in real estate in that land of romance, from which you have drawn large revenues. You will pardon me for reminding you of one of them, where—

"On the banks of the Xenil, the dark Spanish maiden
Comes up with fruit of the tangled vine laden."

I have sometimes fancied that even the Concord River had its springs somewhere in the snowy Sierras of Estremadura, toward which the windows of the sage-poet's dwelling were turned, and from whose heaven-reaching summits he has so often caught the fresh airs of celestial breath. Few of us, indeed, have had the good fortune to add to their vast real[Pg 852] estates in Spain any substantial articles of personal property, but one of us, rich in the gifts of Don Quixote's land, has actually a piece of plate, a silver punch bowl, which at times, when filled, has, I doubt not, given him assurance of undisputed rights in the most magnificent castles:—

"A Spanish galleon brought the bar—so runs the ancient tale—
'Twas hammered by an Antwerp smith, whose arm was like a flail."

And even you and I, Mr. Editor, and all the rest of us, possess, as I have said, our smaller domains in that distant land, all of them with castles; but not all the castles, I fear, in good repair or quite habitable; and some of us would be perplexed to say if they lay in Granada or Andalusia, La Mancha—or to tell exactly how many turrets they had, or how large a company they could accommodate with good entertainment. Now, sir, such being the case, all of us having such real, but too often, alas! neglected possessions in Spain, I am not surprised that Lowell writes to me that he finds the Spanish Legation one of the busiest in Europe. He is to establish our titles, and the work is not without its difficulties. Let us send him our God-speed. May he come back to us to assure us, as he better than any other can do, of the henceforth undisturbed enjoyment of all our castles in Spain. [Applause.][Pg 853]



[Speech of Ex-Governor Richard Oglesby at the banquet of the Fellowship Club, Chicago, September 9, 1894, on the occasion of the Harvest-Home Festival. The Toast-master was Franklin H. Head, and the toast that he gave to each speaker was, "What I Know About Farming." In the report by Volney W. Foster, member of the Club, it is recorded that the Governor rose slowly, after being called upon by the toast-master, and was seemingly waiting for an inspiration. He looked deliberately upon the harvest decorations of the room and finally his eyes seemed to rest upon the magnificent stalks of corn that adorned the walls. He then slowly and impressively paid the following impromptu tribute to the corn.]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:—The corn, the corn, the corn, that in its first beginning and its growth has furnished aptest illustration of the tragic announcement of the chiefest hope of man. If he die he shall surely live again. Planted in the friendly but sombre bosom of the mother earth it dies. Yea, it dies the second death, surrendering up each trace of form and earthly shape until the outward tide is stopped by the reacting vital germ which, breaking all the bonds and cerements of its sad decline, comes bounding, laughing into life and light, the fittest of all the symbols that make certain promise of the fate of man. And so it died and then it lived again. And so my people died. By some unknown, uncertain and unfriendly fate, I found myself making my first journey into life from conditions as lowly as those surrounding that awakening, dying, living, infant germ. It was in those days when I, a simple boy, had wandered from Indiana to Springfield, that I there met the father of this good man [Joseph Jefferson] whose kind and gentle words to me were as water to a thirsty soul, as the shadow of a rock to weary man. I loved his father then,[Pg 854] I love the son now. Two full generations have been taught by his gentleness and smiles, and tears have quickly answered to the command of his artistic mind. Long may he live to make us laugh and cry, and cry and laugh by turns as he may choose to move us.

But now again my mind turns to the glorious corn. See it! Look on its ripening, waving field! See how it wears a crown, prouder than monarch ever wore, sometimes jauntily; and sometimes after the storm the dignified survivors of the tempest seem to view a field of slaughter and to pity a fallen foe. And see the pendant caskets of the corn-field filled with the wine of life, and see the silken fringes that set a form for fashion and for art. And now the evening comes and something of a time to rest and listen. The scudding clouds conceal the half and then reveal the whole of the moonlit beauty of the night, and then the gentle winds make heavenly harmonies on a thousand-thousand harps that hang upon the borders and the edges and the middle of the field of ripening corn, until my very heart seems to beat responsive to the rising and the falling of the long melodious refrain. The melancholy clouds sometimes make shadows on the field and hide its aureate wealth, and now they move, and slowly into sight there comes the golden glow of promise for an industrious land. Glorious corn, that more than all the sisters of the field wears tropic garments. Nor on the shore of Nilus or of Ind does nature dress her forms more splendidly. My God, to live again that time when for me half the world was good and the other half unknown! And now again, the corn, that in its kernel holds the strength that shall (in the body of the man refreshed) subdue the forest and compel response from every stubborn field, or, shining in the eye of beauty make blossoms of her cheeks and jewels of her lips and thus make for man the greatest inspiration to well-doing, the hope of companionship of that sacred, warm and well-embodied soul, a woman.

Aye, the corn, the Royal Corn, within whose yellow heart there is of health and strength for all the nations. The corn triumphant, that with the aid of man hath made victorious procession across the tufted plain and laid foundation for the social excellence that is and is to be. This glorious plant, transmuted by the alchemy of God, sustains the warrior[Pg 855] in battle, the poet in song, and strengthens everywhere the thousand arms that work the purposes of life. Oh that I had the voice of song, or skill to translate into tones the harmonies, the symphonies and oratorios that roll across my soul, when standing sometimes by day and sometimes by night upon the borders of this verdant sea, I note a world of promise, and then before one-half the year is gone I view its full fruition and see its heaped gold await the need of man. Majestic, fruitful, wondrous plant! Thou greatest among the manifestations of the wisdom and love of God, that may be seen in all the fields or upon the hillsides or in the valleys![Pg 856]



[Speech of John Boyle O'Reilly at a banquet held in Boston, May 27, 1879, in commemoration of the centenary of Thomas Moore. Mr. O'Reilly, as chairman of the banquet, sat at the head of the table, with Oliver Wendell Holmes on his right, and Mayor Frederick O. Prince on his left. The company numbered more than one hundred, and was a representative gathering, mostly of Irish-American citizens. The toast to the memory of Moore, with which Mr. O'Reilly's speech closed, was drunk by the company standing, the orchestra meanwhile playing "Should auld acquaintance be forgot?"]

Gentlemen:—The honorable distinction you have given me in seating me at the head of your table involves a duty of weight and delicacy. At such a board as this, where Genius sits smiling at Geniality, the President becomes a formality, and the burden of his duty is to make himself a pleasant nobody, yet natural to the position. Like the apprentice of the armorer, it is my task only to hold the hot iron on the anvil while the skilled craftsmen strike out the flexible sword-blade. There is no need for me to praise or analyze the character or fame of the great poet whose centennial we celebrate. This will be done presently by abler hands, in eloquent verse and prose. Tom Moore was a poet of all lands, and it is fitting that his centenary should be observed in cosmopolitan fashion. But he was particularly the poet of Ireland, and on this point I may be allowed to say a word, as one proud to be an Irishman, and prouder still to be an American.

Not blindly but kindly we lay our wreath of rosemary and immortelles on the grave of Moore. We do not look to him for the wisdom of the statesman or the boldness of the popular leader. Neither do we look for solidity to the rose-[Pg 857]bush, nor for strength to the nightingale, yet each is perfect of its kind. We take Tom Moore as God sent him—not only the sweetest song-writer of Ireland, but even in this presence I may say, the first song-writer in the English language, not even excepting Burns. The harshness of nature or even of human relations found faint response in his harmonious being. He was born in the darkness of the penal days; he lived to manhood under the cruel law that bred a terrible revolution; but he never was a rebel. He was the college companion and bosom friend of Robert Emmet, who gave his beautiful life on the gibbet in protest against the degradation of his country; but Moore took only a fitful part in the stormy political agitation of the time. When all was done it was clear that he was one thing and no other—neither a sufferer, a rebel, an agitator, nor a reformer, but wholly and simply a poet. He did not rebel, and he scarcely protested. But he did his work as well as the best, in his own way. He sat by the patriot's grave and sang tearful songs that will make future rebels and patriots.

It was a hard task for an Irishman, in Moore's day, to win distinction, unless he achieved it by treason to his own country. In his own bitter words:—

"Unpriz'd are her sons till they've learned to betray;
Undistinguished they live, if they shame not their sires;
And the torch that would light them thro' dignity's way
Must be caught from the pile where their country expires."

And yet Moore set out to win distinction, and to win it in the hardest field. The literary man in those days could only live by the patronage of the great, and the native nobility of Ireland was dead or banished. A poet, too, must have an audience; and Moore knew that his audience must not only be his poor countrymen, but all who spoke the English language. He lived as an alien in London, and it is hard for an alien to secure recognition anywhere, and especially an alien poet. The songs he sang, too, were not English in subject or tone, but Irish. They were filled with the sadness of his unhappy country. He despaired of the freedom of Ireland, and bade her:—

"Weep on, weep on, your hour is past,
Your dream of pride is o'er;"
[Pg 858]

but he did not turn from the ruin to seek renown from strange and profitable subjects. As the polished Greeks, even in defeat, conquered their Roman conquerors by their refinement, so this poet sang of Ireland's sorrow and wrong till England and the world turned to listen. In one of his melodies, which is full of pathetic apology to his countrymen for his apparent friendship to England, he sighs in secret over Erin's ruin:—

"For 'tis treason to love her and death to defend."

He foresaw even then the immortality of his verse and the affection of future generations for his memory, when he wrote:—

"But tho' glory be gone, and tho' hope fade away,
Thy name, loved Erin, shall live in his songs;
Not e'en in the hour when the heart is most gay,
Will he lose the remembrance of thee and thy wrongs.
The stranger shall hear thy lament on his plains;
The sigh of thy harp shall be sent o'er the deep;
Till thy masters themselves, as they rivet thy chains,
Shall pause at the song of their captive and weep."

But this was not his entire work for Ireland and for true literature and art; nor is it for this sentimental reason that his centenary is observed throughout the world. In some countries we are able to see the beginning of the artistic or literary life of the nation; we can even name the writer or artist who began the beautiful structure; and though the pioneer work is often crude, it merits and receives the gratitude of the nation. Though Moore was an original poet of splendid imagination, he undertook a national work in which his flights were restrained by the limitations of his task. He set himself to write new words to old music. He found scattered over Ireland, mainly hidden in the cabins of the poor, pieces of antique gold, inestimable jewels that were purely Irish. These were in danger of being lost to the world, or of being malformed, or stolen from their rightful owners, by strangers who could discover their value. These jewels were the old Irish airs—those exquisite fabrics which Moore raised into matchless beauty in his delicious melodies. This was his great work. He preserved the music of his nation and made it imperishable. It can never[Pg 859] be lost again till English ceases to be spoken. He struck it out like a golden coin, with Erin's stamp on it; and it has become current and unquestioned in all civilized nations. For this we celebrate his centennial. For this, gentlemen, I call on you to rise—for after one year, or a hundred, or a thousand, we may pour a libation to a great man—I ask you to rise and drink—"The memory of Tom Moore."


[1] Chauncey M. Depew, who, earlier in the evening, had spoken on the subject of municipal consolidation.

[2] By Sir Archibald Alison.

[3] Burlesque Comedians.

[4] Henry Ward Beecher.

[5] John P. Newman.

[6] The Negro minstrel.

[7] The portrait referred to is that of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, killed at Fort Wagner, South Carolina, July 18, 1863.

[8] The bust is that of General Charles Russell Lowell, who died October 20, 1864, of wounds received at Cedar Creek, Va., October 19.

[9] William McKinley.

[10] He was not knighted till 1895.

[11] Professor Stokes, President of the Royal Society.

[12] Members of this organization are exempted from jury service.