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FESTIVAL OF THE SONS OF NEW
In the autumn of 1849 some of the natives of New Hampshire established in Massachusetts, and especially in Boston and the vicinity, proposed to hold a festival in honor of the State of their birth. The proposal was cordially welcomed, and about fifteen hundred persons took part in the festival. The subscribers assembled at three o'clock, P. M., of the 7th of November, in the State-House at Boston, when a procession was formed, which moved through the principal streets to the large hall of the Fitchburg Railway Company. Mr. Webster officiated as president of the day. Mr. Justice Woodbury of the Supreme Court of the United States, Hon. John P. Hale of the Senate of the United States, Chief Justice Parker of the Law School at Cambridge, General H. A. S. Dearborn, Mayor of Roxbury, Hon. Marshall P. Wilder, President of the Senate of Massachusetts, and other gentlemen of distinction, natives of New Hampshire, were present and addressed the company. Mr. Webster spoke twice in the course of the evening, the first time as follows:
Residents of Boston and its vicinity, native born of New Hampshire! we meet here to-day in honor of our native State, to commemorate and record our grateful affection for her; to acknowledge the obligation which we all feel for her care and nurture in our early days. Coming into this, another State, we have not brought away with us all our affections, or all our attachments.
We have invited to meet us many distinguished citizens of New Hampshire. They have answered our invitation, and have come in numbers. It may be considered properly the duty of the place I occupy to bid them, one and all, welcome. Welcome, ye of New Hampshire origin, from every part and quarter of our native State! If you come from the pleasant valleys of
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first time as lors:
the Connecticut and Merrimack, welcome! Are you from the sea-shore and the lakes of Strafford ? welcome! Come ye from the Monadnock and the sides of the Crystal Hills ? welcome! welcome ! WELCOME!
It was not in my power, Gentlemen, to meet you in the hall of the State House before dinner. But I meet you here, and in the name of those who have prepared this celebration, I greet our guests, and in my own name, I greet all. I think they say the Chinese have a heathenish custom, when they meet, of shaking their own hands to their friends. That is not our custom. Let us be more classical ;
“ Cur dextræ jungere dextram Non datur."
Let us follow the English and the Saxon custom, and shake hands with our friends. I give my hands to the friends next me. Let us embrace, more majorum, and have a good hearty shaking of hands.
Gentlemen, all the world admits that identity of local origin is a tie of connection and sympathy, especially if it be strengthened by early association, by the meeting with one another in the school-house, and in the society of early life. In the morning of life, the heart opens all its sympathies to those around it, and receives impressions which are deep and lasting. We have migrated from one State to another. Our migration has not, indeed, been far. Nor have we come among strangers ; nor have we had a new tongue to learn, new principles to imbibe, new courses of life to pursue; but, nevertheless, we have changed our allegiance; we have changed our citizenship; we have changed our social relations. New Hampshire men once in all these respects, we have ceased to be New Hampshire men now in every thing, but grateful remembrance and affection for the past.
To-day we meet, to resume, for the time, the feelings which belong to us, as citizens of New Hampshire; to put on the New Hampshire character, and see how well it may fit us here, in the metropolis of the State to which we have come. Gentlemen, our lot is propitious; singularly, remarkably propitious. We are the native sons of one State, we are the adopted children of another, and we are proud of both. We desire not to forget
whence we came, and Heaven forbid that we should forget where we are. We have met, I say, to commemorate our native State. We value it according to its merits, which we believe high and honorable. We value it for what Nature has conferred upon it, and for what its hardy sons have done for themselves. We have not forgotten that its scenery is beautiful; that its skies are all-healthful; that its mountains and lakes are surpassingly grand and sublime. If there be any thing on this continent, the work of Nature, in hills, and lakes, and seas, and woods, and forests, strongly attracting the admiration of all those who love natural scenery, it is to be found in our mountain State of New Hampshire.
It happened to me lately to visit the northern parts of the State. It was autumn. The trees of the forests, by the discoloration of the leaves, presented one of the most beautiful spectacles that the human eye can rest upon. But the low and deep murmur of those forests, the fogs and mists, rising and spreading, and clasping the breasts of the mountains, whose heads were still high and bright in the skies, — all these indicated that a wintry storm was on the wing; that the spirit of the mountains was stirred, and that ere long the voice of tempests would speak. But even this was exciting; exciting to those of us who had been witnesses before of such stern forebodings, and exciting in itself, as an exhibition of the grandeur of natural scenery. For my part, I felt the truth of that sentiment, applied elsewhere and on another occasion, that
" the loud torrent and the whirlwind's roar But bound me to my native mountains more."
Ours is not one of the richest of the States. It does not compare with Massachusetts in its facilities of mercantile or commercial occupation and enterprise. Its soil is sterile and stubborn, but the resolution to subdue it is stubborn also. Unrelenting rocks have yielded, and do yield, to unrelenting labor; and there are productiveness, and health, and plenty, and comfort, over all her hills and among all her valleys. Manly strength, the nerved arm of freemen, each one tilling his own land, and standing on his own soil, enjoying what he earns, and ready to defend it, — these have made all comfortable and happy.
Nor need we be ashamed of her literary, her religious, or her