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ocean to ocean, and counting millions of people beneath its majestic rule, surpasses far in wealth and might any governinent of the Old World when the little band of Pilgriins left it; and now promises to be a clasp between Europe and Asia, bringing the most distant places near together, so that there shall be no more Orient or Occident.
It were interesting to dwell on the stages of this grand procession; but it is enough, on this occasion, merely to glance at them, and pass on.
Sir, it is the Pilgrims that we commemorate to-day, not the Senate. For this moment, at least, let us tread under foot all pride of empire, all exultation in our manifold triumphs of industry, of science, of literature, with all the crowding anticipations of the vast untold future, that we may reverently bow before the forefathers. The day is ti.eirs. In the contemplation of their virtue we shall derivo a lesson, which, like truth, may judge us sternly; but it we can really follow it, like truth, it shall make us free. For myself, I accept the admonitions of the day. It may teach us all, never by word or act, although we may be few in numbers or alone, to swerve from those primal principles of duty, which, from the landing at Plymouth Rock, have been the life of Massachusetts. Let me briefly unfold the lesson; though, to the discerning soul, it unfolds itself.
Few persons in history have suffered more from contemporary misrepresentation, abuse, and persecution, than the English Puritans. At first a small body, they were regarded with indifference and contempt. But by degrees they grew in numbers, and drew into their company men of education, intelligence, and even of rank. Reformers in all ages have had little of blessing from the world which they sought to serve; but the Puritans were not disheartened. Still they persevered. The obnoxious laws of conformity they vowed to withstand, till, in the fervid language of the time, “they be sent back to the darkness from whence they came." Through them, the spirit of modern freedom made itself potently felt in its great warfare with authority in Church, in Literature, and in the State; in other words, for religious, intellectual, and political emancipation. The Puritans primarily aimed at religious freedom : for th they contended in Parliament, under Elizabeth and James; for this they suffered. But so connected are all these great and glorious interests, that the struggles for one have always helped the others. Such service did they do, that Hume, whose cold nature sympathized little with their burning sonls, is obliged to confess, that, to the Puritans alone, “the English owe the whole freedom of their constitution.”
As among all reformers, so among them, there were differences of degree. Some continued within the pale of the national Church, and there pressed their ineffectual attempts in behalf of
the good cause. Some, at length, driven by conscientious convictions, and unwilling to be partakers longer in its enormities, stung also by the cruel excesses of magisterial power, openly disclaimed the National Establishment, and became a separate sect, — first under the name of Brownists, froin the person who had led in this new organization; and then under the better name of Separatists. I like this word, sir. It has a meaning. After long struggles in Parliament and out of it, in Church and State, continued through successive reigns, the Puritans finally triumphed; and the despised sect of Separatists, swollen in numbers, and now under the denomination of Independents, with Oliver Cromwell at their head, and John Milton as his secretary, ruled England. Thus is prefigured the final triumph of all, however few in numbers, who sincerely devote themselves to truth.
The Pilgrims of Plymouth were among the earliest of the Separatists. As such, they knew by bitter experience all the sharpness of persecution. Against them the men in power raged like the heathen. Against them the whole fury of the law was directed. Some were imprisoned; all were impoverished; while their name became a by-word of reproach. For safety and freedom, the little band first sought shelter in Holland, where they continued in indigence and obscurity for more than ten years; when they were inspired to seek a home in this unknown Western world. Such, in brief, is their history. I could not say more of it without intruding upon your time: I could not say less without injustice to them. Rarely have austere principles been expressed with more gentleness than from their lips. By a covenant with the Lord, they had vowed to walk in all his ways, according to their best endeavors, whatsoever it should cost them; and also to receive whatsoever truth should be made known from the written word of God. Repentance and prayers, patience and tears, were their weapons.
" It is not with us,” said they, as with other men, whom small things can discourage, or small discontentments cause to wish themselves at home again.” And then, again, on another occasion, their souls were lifted to utterance like this: “When we are in our graves, it will be all one whether we have lived in plenty or penury; whether we have died in a bed of down, or on locks of straw.” Self-sacrifice is never in vain; and they foresaw with the clearness of prophecy, that out of their trials should come a transcendent future. “As one small candle,” said an early Pilgrim governor, “may light a thousand, so the light kindled here may in some sort shine even to the whole nation.”
And yet these men, with such sublime endurance and such lofty faith, are among those who are sometimes called “Puritan knaves” and “knaves-Puritans,” and who were branded by King James as the 66 ó very pests in the Church and Commonwealth.”
The small company of our forefathers became the jest and gibe of fashion and power. The phrase, “men of one idea,” had not been invented then; but, in equivalent language, they were styled “ the pinched fanatics of Leyden.” A contemporary poet, and favorite of Charles the First, Thomas Carew, lent his genius to their defamation. A mask, from his elegant and careful pen, was performed by the monarch and his courtiers, wherein the whole plantation of New England was turned to royal sport. The jeer broke forth in the exclamation, that it had “purged more virulent humors from the politic bodies than guaiacum and all the WestIndian drugs from the natural bodies of the kingdom.”
And these outcasts, despised in their own day by the proud and great, are the men whom we have met in this goodly number to celebrate, — not for any victory of war; not for any triumph of discovery, science, learning, or eloquence; not for worldly success or any kind. How poor are all these things by the side of that divine virtue which made them, amidst the reproach, the obloquy, and the hardness of the world, hold fast to freedom and truth ! Sir, if the honors of this day are not a mockery; if they do not expend themselves in mere selfish gratulation; if they are sincere homage to the character of the Pilgrims (and I can not suppose otherwise), — then is it well for us to be here. Standing on Plymouth Rock at their great anniversary, we can not fail to be elevated by their example. We see clearly what it has done for the world, and what it has done for their fame. No pusillanimous soul here to-day will declare their self-sacrifice, their deviation from received opinions, their unquenchable thirst for liberty, an error or illusion. From gushing multitudinous hearts we now thank these lowly men that they dared to be true and brave. Conformity or compromise might, perhaps, have purchased for them a profitable peace, but not peace of mind; it might have secured place and power, but not repose ; it might have opened a present shelter, but not a home in history and in men's hearts till time shall be no more. All will confess the true grandeur of their example, while, in vindication of a cherished principle, they stood alone, against the madness of men, against the law of the land, against their king. Better be the despised Pilgrim, a fugitive for freedom, than the halting politician, forgetful of principle, 66 with a senate at his heels." Such, sir, is the voice from Plymouth Rock as it salutes my
Others may not hear it; but to me it comes in tones which I can not mistake. I catch its words of noble cheer:
“New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth.
They must upward still and onward who would keep abreast of Truth:
Speech at the Plymouth Festival, August, 1853.
EXPENSES OF WAR AND EDUCATION COMPARED.
appears from the last report of the treasurer of Harvard University, that its whole available property — the various acenmulations of more than two centuries of generosity -- amounts to $703,175.
There now swings idly at her moorings in this harbor a ship of the line, “The Ohio,” carrying ninety guns, finished as late as 1836, for $547,888; repaired only two years afterwards, in 1838, for $2:23,012; with an armament which has cost $53,945; making an amount of $834,845 as the actual cost at this moment of that single ship, - more than $100,000 beyond all the available accumulations of the richest and most ancient seat of learning in the land! Choose ye, my fellow-citizens of a Christian State, between the two caskets, that wherein is the loveliness of knowledge and truth, or that which contains the carrion death.
Still further let us pursue the comparison. The pay of the captain of a ship like " The Ohio” is $1,500 when in service; $3,500 when on leave of absence, or off duty. The salary of the president of Harvard University is $2,205, without leave of absence, and never being off duty.
If the large endowments of Harvard University are dwarfed by a comparison with the expense of a single ship of the line, how much more must it be so with those of other institutions of learning and beneficence less favored by the bounty of many generations! The average cost of a sloop of war is $315,000; more, probably, than all the endowments of those twin-stars of learning in the western part of Massachusetts, the colleges at Williamstown and Amherst; and of that single star in the east, the guide to many ingenuous youth, — the seminary at Andover. The yearly cost of a sloop of war in service is above $50,000; more than the annual expenditures of these three institutions combined.
Take all the institutions of learning and beneficence, - the precious jewels of the Commonwealth,—the schools, colleges, hospitals, and asylums, and the sums by which they have been purchased and preserved are trivial and beggarly compared with the treasures squandered within the borders of Massachusetts in vain preparations for war. There is the navy-yard at Charlestown, with its stores on hand, all costing $4,741,000; the fortitications in the harbors of Massachusetts, in which have been sunk already incalculable sums,
and in which it is now proposed to sink $3,853,000 more; and, besides, the arsenal at Springfield, containing, in 1842, 175,118 muskets, valued at $2,999,998, and which is fed by an annual appropriation of about $200,000, but whose highest value will ever be, in the judgment of all lovers of
truth, that it inspired a poem, which in its influence shall be mightier than a battle, and shall endure when arsenals and fortifications have crumbled tu the earth.
LET me here say, that I hold judges, and especially the Supreme Court of the country, in much respect; but I am too familiar with the history of judicial proceedings to regard them with any superstitious reverence. Judges are but men, and, in all ages, have shown a full share of human frailty. Alas, alas! the worst crimes of history have been perpetrated under their sanction. The blood of martyrs and of patriots, crying from the ground, summons them to judgment. It was a judicial tribunal which condemned Socrates to drink the fatal hemlock, and which pushed the Saviour barefoot over the pavements of Jerusalem, bending beneath his cross. It was a judicial tribunal, whichi, against the testimony and entreaties of her father, surrendered the fair Virginia as a slave; which arrested the teachings of the great apostle to the Gentiles, and sent him in bonds from Judæa to Rome; which, in the name of the old religion, adjudged the saints and fathers of the Christian Church to death in all its most dreadful forms; and which afterwards, in the name of the new religion, enforced the tortures of the Inquisition arnilst the shrieks and agonies of its victims, while it compelled Galileo to declare, in solemn denial of the great truth he had disclosed, that the earth did not move round the sun. It was a ju licial tribunal, which in France, during the long reign of her monarchs, lent itself to be the instrument of every tyranny, as, during the brief Reign of Terror, it did not hesitate to stand forth the unpitying accessory of the unpitying guillotine. Ay, sir, it was a judicial tribunal in England, surrounded by all the forms of law, which sanctioned every despotic caprice of Henry the Eighth, from the unjust divorce of his queen to the beheading of Sir Thomas More; which lighted the fires of persecution that glowed at Oxford and Smithfield over the cinders of Latimer, Ridley, and John Rogers; which, after elaborate argument, upheld the fatal tyranny of shipmoney against the patriot resistance of Hampden; which, in defiance of justice and humanity, sent Sidney and Russell to the block; which persistently enforced the laws of conformity that our Puritan Fathers persistently refused to obey; and which afterwards, with Jeffries on the bench, crimsoned the pages of English history with massacre and murder, even with the blood of innocent woman. Ay, sir, and it was a judicial tribunal in our