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the flaming wonders of Orion's belt, if he crosses the meridian at that fated hour;-twelve by the weary couch of languishing hu. manity, twelve in the star-paved courts of the empyrean;-twelve for the heaving tides of the ocean; twelve for the weary arm of labor; twelve for the toiling brain; twelve for the watching, waking, broken heart; twelve for the meteor which blazes for a moment and expires; twelve for the comet whose period is ineasured by centuries; twelve for every substantial, for every imaginary thing, which exists in the sense, the intellect, or the fancy, and which the speech or thought of man, at the given meridian, refers to the lapse of time.
There are occasions in life in which a great mind lives years of rapt enjoyment in a moment. I can fancy the emotions of Ga. lileo, when, first raising the newly-constructed telescope to the heavens, he saw fulfilled the grand prophecy of Copernicus, and beheld the planet Venus crescent like the moon. . . . Yes, noble Galileo, thou art right, “It does move.” Bigots may make thee recant it; but it moves nevertheless. Yes, the earth moves, and the planets move, and the mighty waters move, and the great sweeping tides of air move, and the empires of men move, and the world of thought moves, ever onward and upward to higher facts and holder theories. The Inquisition may seal thy lips, but they can no more stop the progress of the great truth propounded by Copernicus and demonstrated by thee, than they can stop the revolving earth!
Close now, venerable sage, that sightless, tearful eye; it has seen what man never before saw;—it has seen enough. Hang up
little spy-glass; it has done its work. Not Herschel nor Rosse has comparatively done more. Franciscans and Dominicans deride thy discoveries now, but the time will come when from two hundred observatories in Europe and America the glorious artillery of science shall nightly assanlt the skies, but they shall gain no conquests in those glittering fields before which thine shall be forgotten. Rest in peace, great Columbus of the heavens, like him scorned, persecuted, broken-hearted; in other ages, in distant hemispheres, when the votaries of science, with solemn acts of consecration, shall dedicate their stately edifices to the cause of knowledge and truth, thy name shall be mentioned with honor!
There is much by day to engage the attention of ihe observa. tory; the sun, his apparent motions, his dimensions, the spots on his disc, a solar eclipse, a transit of the inferior planets, the mysteries of the spectrum; all phenomena of vast importance and interest. But night is the astronomer's accepted time; he goes to his delightful labors when the busy world goes to its rest.
A dark pall spreads over the resorts of active life; terrestrial ubjects, hill and valley, and rock and stream, and the abodes of men disappear; but the curtain is drawn up which concealed the heavenly hosts. There they shine and there they move, as they moved and shone to the eyes of Newton and Galileo, of Keppler and Copernicus, of Ptolemy and Hipparchus; yea, as they moved and shone when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. All has changed on earth; but the glorious heavens remain unchanged. The plough passes over the site of mighty cities, the homes of powerful nas tions are desolate, the languages they spoke are forgotten; but the stars that shone for them are shining for us ; the same eclipses run their steady cycle; the same equinoxes call out the flowers of spring and send the husbandman to the harvest; the sun pauses at either tropic as he did when his course began; and sun and moon, and planet and satellite, and star and constellation and galaxy, still bear witness to the power, the wisdom, and the love of Him who placed them in the heavens, and upholds them there.
THE CHARACTER OF WASHİNGTON.* THERE is a splendid monumental pile in England, he most magnificent perhaps of her hundred palaces, founded in the time of Queen Ann at the public cost, to perpetuate the fame of Marlborough. The grand building, with its vast wings and spacious courts, covers seven acres and a half of land. It is approached on its various sides by twelve gates or bridges, some of them
* This Address was originally delivered before the Mercantile Library Association of Boston, on February 22, 1856; but, during the next three years, was, by public invitation, redelivered in the principal cities of the Union, one hundred and nineteen times in all, for the benefit of a fund then being raised for the purchase and preservation of Mount Vernon. It was the author's good fortune to hear the Address from Mr. Everett's lips, and the passage which moved the audience on that occa. sion more sensibly than any other is here presented.
triumphal gates, in a circumference of thirteen miles, enclosing the noble park of twenty-seven hundred acres, in which the cas. tle stands, surrounded by the choicest beauties of forest and garden and fountain and lawn and stream. All that gold could buy, or the bounty of his own or foreign princes could bestow, or taste devise, or art execute, or ostentation could lavishı, to perfect and adorn the all but regal structure, without and within, is there.
Its saloons and its galleries, its library and its museum, among the most spacious in England for a private mansion, are filled with the rarities and wonders of ancient and modern art. Eloquent inscriptions from the most gifted pens of the age set forth on triumphal arches and columns the exploits of him to whom the whole edifice and the domains which surround it are one gorgeous monument. Lest human adulation should prove unequal to the task, Nature herself has been called in to record his achievements. They have been planted, rooted in the soil. Groves and coppices, curiously disposed, represent the position, the numbers, the martial array of the hostile squadrons at Blenheim. Thus, with each returning year, Spring hangs out his triumphal banners. May's Æolian lyre sings of his victories through her gorgeous foliage; and the shrill trump, of November sounds “Malbrook” through her leafless branches.
Twice in my life I have visited the magnificent residence, --not as a guest; once when its stately porticos afforded a grateful shelter from the noonday sun, and again, after thirty years' interval, when the light of a full harvest moon slept sweetly on the banks once shaded by fair Rosamond's bower,--so says tradition, -and poured its streaming bars of silver through the branches of oaks which were growing before Columbus discovered America. But to me, at noontide or in the evening, the gorgeous pile was as dreary as death, its luxurious grounds as melancholy as a churchyard.
It seemed to me, not a splendid palace, but a dismal mauso)leum, in which a great and blighted name lies embalmed liku some old Egyptian tyrant, black and ghastly in the asphaltic contempt of ages, serving but to rescue from an enviable oblivion the career and character of the magnificent peculator and miser and traitor to whom it is dedicated; needy in the midst of bis ill-gotten millions; mean at the head of his victorious armies; lespicable under the shadow of his thick-woven laurels; and pour and miserable and blind and naked amidst the lying shams of his tinsel greatness. The eloquent inscriptions in Latin and English as I strove to read them seemed to fade from arch and column, and three dreadful words of palimpsestic infamy came out in their stead like those which caused the knees of the Chal dæan tyrant to smite together, as he beheld them traced by no mortal fingers on the vaulted canopy which spread like a sky over his accursed revels; and those dreadful words were, Avarice, Plunder, Eterna! Shame!
There is a modest private mansion on the banks of the Potomac, the abode of George Washington and Martha, his beloved, his loving, faithful wife. It boasts no spacious portal nor gorgeous colonnade, nor massy elevation, nor storied tower. The porter's lodge at Blenheim Castle, nay, the marble dog-kennels were not built for the entire cost of Mount Vernon. No arch nor column, in courtly English or courtlier Latin, sets forth the deeds and the worth of the Father of his Country; he needs them not; the unwritten benedictions of millions cover all the walls. No gilded dome swells from the lowly roof to catch the morning or evening beam; but the love and gratitude of united America settle upon it in one eternal sunshine.
From beneath that humble roof went forth the intrepid and unselfish warrior—the magistrate who knew no glory but his country's good; to that he returned happiest when his work was done. There he lived in noble simplicity: there he died in glory and peace. While it stands, the latest generations of the grateful children of America will make their pilgrimage to it as to a shrine; and when it shall fall, if fall it must, the memory and the name of Washington shall shed an eternal glory on the spot.
Washington in the flesh is taken from us; we shall never behold him as our fathers did; but his memory remains, and I say, let us hang to his memory. Let us make a national festival and holiday of his birthday; and ever, as the 22d of February returns, let us remember, that while with these solemn and joy ous rites of observance we celebrate the great anniversary, our fel’ow-citizens on the Hudson, on the Potomac, from the Southern plains to the Western lakes, are engaged in the same offices of gratitude and love.
Nor we, nor they alone-beyond the Ohio, beyond the Missis sippi, along that stupendous trail of immigration from East to West, which, bursting into States as it moves westward, is alre:ady threading the Western prairies, swarming through the portals of the Rocky Mountains and winding down their slopes, the name and the memory of Washington on that gracious night will travei with the silver queen of heaven through sixty degrees of longitude, nor part company with her till she walks in her brightness through the Golden Gate of California, and passes serenely on to hold midnight court with her Australian stars. There, and there only, in barbarous archipelagoes, as yet untrodden by civilized man, the name of Washington is unknown; and there too, when they swarm with enlightened millions, due honors shall be paid witn ours to his memory.