Слике страница
PDF
ePub

tossed on a tempestuous ocean; she approached the New Eng. land coast under circumstances of great distress and trouble; yet, amidst all the disasters of her voyage, she accomplished her end, and she bore a hundred precious pilgrims to the shore of the New World.

Gentlemen, let her be considered this night as an emblem of New England, the New England which now is. New England is a ship, staunch, strong, well built, and particularly well manned. She may be occasionally thrown into the trough of the sea by the violence of winds and waves, and may wallow there for a time; but, depend upon it, she will right herself. She will ere long come round to the wind, and obey her helm.

We have hardly begun, my brethren, to realize the vast importance to human society, and to the history and happiness of the world, of the voyage of that little vessel which brought hither the love of civil and religious liberty, and the reverence of the Bible, for the instruction of the future generations of men. We have hardly begun to realize the consequences of that voyage. Heretofore the extension of our race, following our New England ancestry, has crept along the shore. But now it has extended itself. It has crossed the continent. It has not only transcended the Alleghanies, but has capped the Rocky Mountains. It is now upon the shores of the Pacific; and on this day, or, if not on this day, then this day twelvemonth, descendants of New England will there celebrate the landing

(A Voice.“ To-day; they celebrate it to-day.”)

God bless them! Here 's to the health and success of the California Society of Pilgrims assembled on the shores of the Pacific. And it shall yet go hard if the three hundred millions of people of China, provided they are intelligent enough to understand any thing, shall not one day hear and know something of the rock of Plymouth too.

But, gentlemen, I am trespassing too long on your time. I am taking too much of what belongs to others. My voice is neither a new voice nor is it the voice of a young man.

It has been heard before in this place; and the most that I have thought or felt concerning New England history and New England principles has been before, in the course of my life, said here or elsewhere.

Your sentiment, Mr. President, which called me up before this meeting, is of a larger and more comprehensive nature. It speaks of the Constitution under which we live; of the Union which has bound us together for sixty years, and made us the fellow-citizens of those who settled at Yorktown and the mouth of the Mississippi and their descendants, and now, at last, of those who have come from all corners of the earth and assembled in California. I confess I have had my doubts whether the republican system under which we live could be so vastly extended without danger of dissolution. Thus far, I willingly admit, my apprehensions have not been realized. The distance is immense; the intervening country is vast. But the principle on which our government is established, the representative system, seems to be indefinitely expansive; and wherever it does extend, it seems to create a strong attachment to the Union and the Constitution that protect it. I believe California and New Mexico have had new life inspired into all their people. They feel themselves partakers of a new being, a new creation, a new existence. They are not the men they thought themselves to be, now that they find they are members of this great government, and hailed as citizens of the United States of America. I hope, in the providence of God, as this system of States and representative governments shall extend, that it will be strengthened. In some respects, the tendency is to strengthen it. Local agitations will disturb it less. If there has been on the Atlantic coast, somewhere south of the Potomac, and I will not define further where it is, - if there has been dissatisfaction, that dissatisfaction has not been felt in California ; it has not been felt that side of the Rocky Mountains. It is a localism, and I am one of those who believe that our system of government is not to be destroyed by localisms, North or South. No; we have our private opinions, State prejudices, local ideas; but over all, submerging all, drowning all, is that great sentiment, that always, and nevertheless, we are all Americans. It is as Americans that we are known, the whole world

Who asks what State you are from, in Europe, or in Africa, or in Asia ? Is he an American? Does he belong to the United States? Does that flag protect him? Does he rest under the eagle and the stars and stripes? If he does, all else is subordinate and of but little concern.

over.

Now it is our duty, while we live on the earth, to cherish this sentiment; to make it prevail over the whole country, even if that country should spread over the whole continent. It is our duty to carry English principles, I mean, Sir, (turning to Sir Henry Bulwer,] Anglo-Saxon American principles, over the whole continent; the great principles of Magna Charta, of the English Revolution, and especially of the American Revolution, and of the English language. Our children will hear Shakspeare and Milton recited on the shores of the Pacific. Nay, before that, American ideas, which are essentially and originally English ideas, will penetrate the Mexican, the Spanish mind; and Mexicans and Spaniards will thank God that they have been brought to know something of civil liberty, of the trial by jury, and of security for personal rights.

As for the rest, let us take courage. The day-spring from on high has visited us; the country has been called back to conscience and to duty. There is no longer imminent danger of dissolution in these United States. We shall live, and not die. We shall live as united Americans; and those who have supposed they could sever us, that they could rend one American heart from another, and that speculation and hypothesis, that secession and metaphysics, could tear us asunder, will find themselves wofully mistaken.

Let the mind of the sober American people remain sober. Let it not inflame itself. Let it do justice to all. And the truest course, and the surest course, to disappoint those who meditate disunion, is just to leave them to themselves, and see what they can make of it. No, Gentlemen; the time for meditated secession is past. Americans, North and South, will be hereafter more and more united. There is a sternness and severity in the public mind lately aroused. I believe that, North and South, there has been, in the last year, a renovation of public sentiment, an animated revival of the spirit of union, and, more than all, of attachment to the Constitution, regarding it as indispensably necessary; and if we would preserve our nationality, it is indispensable that this spirit of devotion should be still more largely increased. And who doubts it? If we give up that Constitution, what are we? You are a Manhattan man; I am a Boston

Another is a Connecticut, and another a Rhode Island
Is it not a great deal better, standing hand to hand, and

man.

man.

clasping hands, that we should remain as we have been for sixty years, citizens of the same country, members of the same gove ernment, united all, united now, and united for ever? That we shall be, Gentlemen. There have been difficulties, contentions, controversies, angry controversies; but I tell you that, in my judgment,

" those opposed eyes,
Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven
All of one nature, of one substance bred,
Did lately meet in th' intestine shock,
Shall now, in mutual, well-beseeming ranks
MARCH ALL ONE WAY."

VISIT TO BUFFALO IN 1851.

VOL. II.

45

« ПретходнаНастави »