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social institutions. I have seen, and others of my age have seen, the church and the school-house rise and stand in the very centre of the forest, and seen them resorted to in the midst of winter snows. And where these things lie at the foundation and com. mencement of society, where the worship of God, the observance of morals, and the culture of the human mind, are springs of action with those who take hold of the original forest, to subdue it by strong arms and strong muscles, there, depend upon it, the people never fail.
Everywhere, everywhere, on her hills and rivers, are there school-houses. The school-house; who shall speak of that throughout New England as it ought to be spoken of? Who shall speak, in proper language, of the wisdom, and foresight, and benevolence, and sagacity of our forefathers, in establishing a general system of public instruction as a great public police for the benefit of the whole, as a business in which all are interested? The world had previously seen nothing like it, although some parts of the world, have since copied from it. But where, when you talk of fostering governments, of guardian governments, of governments which render to subjects that protection which the allegiance of subjects demands, — where is it, I ask, that, as here with us, it has come to be a great and fundamental proposition, existing before constitutions, that it is the duty, the bounden duty, of governments composed by the representation of all, to lay the foundation of the happiness and respectability of society in universal education? If you can tell me such a country out of New England, I would be glad to hear of it. I know of none. I have read of none.
Gentlemen, the inhabitants of our New Hampshire mountains were, it must be confessed, from the first, rather inclined to the indulgence of a military spirit. I believe that this is common to mountainous regions in most parts of the world. Scotland and Switzerland show the example of hardy, strong men in mountainous regions, attached to war and to the chase; and it is not unfortunate in our New Hampshire history, that this sentiment, to a considerable degree, prevailed. The position of the country and the state of the people called for its exercise. We know that New Hampshire was settled, in all its frontier towns, under circumstances of the most dangerous and difficult nature and character. It was a border State. It bordered on
the Indians and on the French; names and nations always coupled together in the language of our fathers as common enemies to them. This exposed the frontier men, of New Hampshire especially, to perpetual war; to perpetual danger at least of war, and its frequent occurrence. People forget; they forget how lately it is, that the interior, the border country of New Hampshire, was settled and reclaimed, and made safe from Indian depredation. All the world reads that New England is the oldest part of the United States, or one of the oldest. It has been looked upon as the longest settled. But, in regard to the frontiers of our native State, the settlement has been recent. Even
to the time of the birth of some of us now living, there was some degree of danger from Indian depredations and Indian wars; liability to Indian assaults, murders, and burnings.
Whole generations, at least one entire generation, tilled the land and raised their bread with their arms in their hands, or in the fields with them at their labor. We do not now appreciate the difficulty of those frontier settlements, because subsequent prosperity and security have obliterated the recollection.
The pioneers of more fortunate countries in our day, what are their dangers compared with those of our fathers? They go to a mild climate. They go to a fertile land; and they have behind them a powerful government, capable of defending them against the foe, of protecting their interests, and of redressing the wrongs they may suffer. It was not so with our fathers in New Hampshire. There, on the border were the Indians, and behind the Indians were the hostile French. It was in this situation of border danger and border warfare, and border strife and border suffering, that our ancestors laid the foundation of the State from which we come.
In the language of Fisher Ames, “ It is not in Indian wars that heroes are celebrated; but it is there they are formed. No enemy on earth is more formidable, in the skill of his ambushes, in the suddenness of his attack, or in the ferocity of his revenge.” Not only was this foe to be encountered, but also a civilized state at enmity with us behind the Indians, supplying them with means, and always ready to purchase the victims that they could bring for sale to Canada. This was the condition of things in which the frontiers were settled. Let it be added, that half the year was winter, and that on the surface
of the snow, incrusted by frosts, bands of savages, coming from a distance of two hundred miles, suddenly appeared, and set fire, at midnight, to the villages of the settlers.
It was in this discipline, it was in these Indian wars, it was especially in the war of 1756, against the French, in which almost every man in New Hampshire, capable of bearing arms, took part,
- it was here that the military spirit of the country, the bravery, the gallantry of these mountain inhabitants, were all called forth. They were a people given to the chase and to the hunt in time of peace; fitted for endurance and danger; and when war came, they were ready to meet it. It was in the midst of these vicissitudes that they were formed to hardihood and enterprise, and trained to military skill and fearlessness.
As one example out of many, I might refer to General John Stark, well known for his military achievements in all the wars of his time; a hunter in peace, a soldier in war; and as a soldier, always among the foremost and the bravest. And since he is brought to my remembrance, let me dwell upon the recollection for a moment.
General Stark was my neighbor, the neighbor and friend of my father. One in a highly important, the other in a less distinguished situation, they had seen military service together, and had met the enemy in the same field. It was in the decline of Stark's life, comparatively speaking, that the Revolutionary war broke out. He entered into it, however, with all the manliness and all the fervor of his youthful character. Yet, in his advanced age, like other old men, he turned back fondly to earlier scenes; and when he spoke of the “war,” he always meant the old French and Indian war. His remembrances were of Canada; of the exploits at Crown Point, and Ticonderoga, and Lake George. He seemed to think of the Revolution as only a family quarrel, in which, nevertheless, he took a warm and decided part; but he preferred to talk of the “war" in which he was taken by the Indians, as he was more than once, I think, and carried to Canada. The last time I saw him, he was seated around a social fire with his neighbors. As I entered, he greeted me, as he always did, with affection ; and I believe he complimented me on my complexion, which he said was like my father's; and his was such, he said, that no one could tell whether he was covered with powder or not. The con.
versation turned, like other conversations among country neighbors, upon this man's condition and that man's condition; the property of one, and the property of another, and how much each was worth. At last, rousing himself from an apparent slumber, he said, “ Well, I never knew but once what I was worth. In the war, the Indians took me, and carried me to Canada, and sold me to the French for forty pounds; and, as they say a thing is worth what it will fetch, I suppose I was worth forty pounds."
These are the scenes, ye native born, this is the history, ye sons of New Hampshire, of the times and the events that brought forth the gallant spirits of our native State into the midst of a still more important and more serious conflict, which began here in 1775. New Hampshire was then full of soldiers; indeed, I may say that the whole of New England was full of soldiers, when the Revolutionary war broke out. New Hampshire, especially, had hardly any body in it that had not been accustomed to bear arms in the previous war. As proof of the soldierlike character of our New England yeomanry, I may mention a fact wich should not be forgotten; that, of all the soldiers, regular and militia, which served in the war of independence, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island,—these four little States, which, as you look upon a map of the United States, you can cover with your hand, these States furnished more than one half of all the men that achieved our independence. It appears from official and statis. tical records, that during the war, in the regular service and in the militia service, from three hundred and seventeen to three hundred and twenty thousand men were employed in our armies. Of these, New England alone furnished more than half.
I may refer to a period further back. I may revert to the time that Louisburg was taken from the French, in 1745. How many men do you think the Colonies of New England maintained? I believe, Gentlemen, they maintained, for one or two years at least, upon provincial pay, more men against the French, than were enlisted at any one time in our late war with England. It was this which induced Lord Chatham to say, in his place in the House of Lords, “ I remember, my Lords, when New England raised four regiments on
her own bottom, and took Louisburg from the veteran troops of France."
Then came the war of the Revolution; it broke out here in the State of Massachusetts. Where was New Hampshire then? Was she alienated from the cause, or from her sister State? No. Neither then, nor at any time in the succeeding contest, was her soil subject to the tread of a hostile foot. Whether they thought it not worth entering, or whether they did not choose to encounter the dwellers in her mountains, I do not care to decide. The truth is, no enemy trod on the soil of New Hampshire. But when the strife began, when the beacon-fires were lighted here, when the march from Boston to Lexing. ton and Concord had spread the flames of liberty, who an. swered to the call ? Did New Hampshire need to be summoned to Bunker Hill? She came at the first blaze of the beacon-fires. None were earlier, none more ready, none more valiant.
I think it is Madame de Staël who says, that “from the moun tains of the North there comes nothing but fire and the sword.” And on this occasion there did indeed come from our native mountains both fire and the sword; not the fire of devastation and desolation, not the sword of ruthless plunder and massacre, but the fire of LIBERTY and the sword of PATRIOTISM. And how ardently the one burned, and how vigorously the other was wielded till the return of peace enabled the country to sheathe it and be at rest, let the whole history of that country tell.
Gentlemen, from Bunker Hill to Yorktown, there was not a battle in which New Hampshire blood was not shed. I may go further yet; and I may say that there is, probably, of the many hundreds now in this very hall, a representative of some New Hampshire officer or soldier who fell in every field, and left his bones where he fought his battle. The blood, the blood of New Hampshire men, falling everywhere, and in every year of the war, in defence of the liberty of the country, is here to-night! hope it is worthy of its descent, and that it will transmit itself undefiled to
ages yet to come. Those who returned to New Hampshire from that seven years contest have their graves on the mountain-sides and along the valleys of their native land; and those graves are ever objects of public regard and private affection.