Modern Eloquence: Vol II, After-Dinner Speeches E-O
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Photo-engraving in colors after the original painting by George W. Maynard

This picture is one of a series of eight panels representing "The Virtues"—Fortitude, Justice, Patriotism, Courage, Temperance, Prudence, Industry, and Concord. The number of virtues to be represented was limited to the number of panels, so the selection was necessarily somewhat arbitrary. Each figure is about five and a half feet high, clad in floating classic drapery, and represented to the spectator as appearing before him in the air, without a support or background other than the deep red of the wall. "Justice" holds the globe in one hand, signifying the extent of her sway. In the other hand she holds a naked sword upright, in token of the terribleness of her punishment.]







After-Dinner Speeches




EDWARD EVERETT HALE, Author of "The Man Without a Country."

JOHN B. GORDON, Former United States Senator.

NATHAN HASKELL DOLE, Associate Editor "International Library of Famous Literature."

JAMES B. POND, Manager Lecture Bureau; Author of "Eccentricities of Genius."

GEORGE MCLEAN HARPER, Professor of English Literature, Princeton University.

LORENZO SEARS, Professor of English Literature, Brown University.

EDWIN M. BACON, Former Editor "Boston Advertiser" and "Boston Post."

J. WALKER MCSPADDEN, Managing Editor "Edition Royale" of Balzac's Works.

F. CUNLIFFE OWEN, Member Editorial Staff "New York Tribune."

TRUMAN A. DEWEESE, Member Editorial Staff "Chicago Times-Herald."

CHAMP CLARK, Member of Congress from Missouri.

MARCUS BENJAMIN, Editor, National Museum, Washington, D. C.

CLARK HOWELL, Editor "Atlanta Constitution."



NOTE—A large number of the most distinguished speakers of this country and Great Britain have selected their own best speeches for this Library. These speakers include Whitelaw Reid, William Jennings Bryan, Henry van Dyke, Henry M Stanley, Newell Dwight Hillis, Joseph Jefferson, Sir Henry Irving, Arthur T. Hadley, John D. Long, David Starr Jordan, and many others of equal note.



EGGLESTON, GEORGE CARY Southern Literature 423

ELIOT, CHARLES WILLIAM Harvard and Yale 427

ELIOT, SAMUEL A. The Source of Song and Story 431

EMERSON, RALPH WALDO England, Mother of Nations 437 The Memory of Burns 439 War 442 The Wisdom of China 445

EVARTS, WILLIAM MAXWELL International Arbitration 448 The Republic and Its Outlook 452 The French Alliance 457 Tribute to Herbert Spencer 462 The Classics in Education 465 Liberty Enlightening the World 469

EWING, THOMAS C. Ohio and the Northwest 474


FELLOWS, JOHN R. North and South 482

FIELD, DAVID DUDLEY The Telegraph 490 Early Connecticut 493

FINCH, FRANCIS M. The Office of the Law 496

FOORD, JOHN The Land o' Cakes 500

FORD, SIMEON Me and Sir Henry 505 A Run on the Banker 507

FROUDE, JAMES ANTHONY Men of Letters 510


GARLAND, HAMLIN Realism versus Romanticism 518

GILBERT, JOHN Playing Old Men Parts 522


GILMAN, DANIEL COIT The Era of Universities 528

GLADSTONE, WILLIAM EWART The Age of Research 530

GRADY, HENRY W. The Race Problem 534

GRAND, SARAH Mere Man 551

GRANT, ULYSSES SIMPSON A Remarkable Climate 557 Characteristics of Newspaper Men 559 The Adopted Citizen 561

GRIGGS, JOHN WILLIAM Social Discontent 564

HALE, EDWARD EVERETT The Mission of Culture 570 Boston 577

HALL, WILLIAM F. Yarn of the Manager Bold 581

HALSTEAD, MURAT Our New Country 584

HARRISON, BENJAMIN The Union of States 589


HAY, JOHN Omar Khayyam 598

HAYES, RUTHERFORD B. National Sentiments 601

HENDRIX, JOSEPH C. The Wampum of the Indians 603

HERSCHELL, LORD Great Britain and the United States 609

HILLARD, GEORGE STILLMAN The Influence of Men of Genius 616

HOLE, SAMUEL REYNOLDS With Brains, Sir! 622

HOLMES, OLIVER WENDELL Welcome to the Alumni 625 Dorothy Q. 627

HOLMES, OLIVER WENDELL, JR. Sons of Harvard Who Fell in Battle 630 The Joy of Life 645

HOUGHTON, LORD (RICHARD MONCKTON MILNES) Your Speech and Ours 635 Bonds of National Sympathy 639

HOWE, JULIA WARD Tribute to Oliver Wendell Holmes 645

HOWELL, CLARK Our Reunited Country 647

HOWELLS, WILLIAM DEAN The "Atlantic" and Its Contributors 653

HOWLAND, HENRY ELIAS Russia 657 Our Ancestors and Ourselves 661

HUXLEY, THOMAS HENRY Science and Art 670

INGERSOLL, ROBERT GREEN The Music of Wagner 672

IRVING, SIR HENRY Looking Forward 676 The Drama 678 The Function of the Newspaper 681

JEBB, RICHARD CLAVERHOUSE Literature and Art 686

JEFFERSON, JOSEPH My Farm in Jersey 688 In Memory of Edwin Booth 691

KITCHENER, LORD The Relief of Khartum 694

LANG, ANDREW Problem Novels 698


LAWRENCE, FRANK R. The Future of New York 705

LECKY, WILLIAM E. H. The Artistic Side of Literature 708

LEE, FITZHUGH The Flag of the Union Forever 710

LEIGHTON, SIR FREDERIC Variety in British Art 713

LELAND, CHARLES GODFREY Hans Breitmann's Return 717

LINCOLN, ABRAHAM Central Ideas of the Republic 720

LODGE, HENRY CABOT The Blue and the Gray 723


LOW, SETH The Chamber of Commerce 731

LOWELL, JAMES RUSSELL Harvard Alumni 737 National Growth of a Century 741 The Stage 745 Commerce 748 After-Dinner Speaking 750 "The Return of the Native" 753 Literature 758 International Copyright 761

LOWELL, JOHN Humors of the Bench 766

LYTTON, LORD (SIR EDWARD BULWER-LYTTON) Macready and the English Stage 769 Farewell to Charles Dickens 774

MABIE, HAMILTON WRIGHT Spirit of New England Literature 778

MACKAY, DONALD SAGE The Dutch Domine 782


MACREADY, WILLIAM CHARLES Farewell to the Stage 791

McCARTHY, JUSTIN Ireland's Struggle 795

McCLURE, ALEXANDER KELLY An Editorial Retrospect 799

McKELWAY, ST. CLAIR Smashed Crockery 807 Tribute to Mark Twain 811

McKINLEY, WILLIAM Our Country 815 The Future of the Philippines 818

MELISH, WILLIAM B. The Ladies 825

MILES, NELSON APPLETON The Spanish-American War 831


MORLEY, JOHN Literature and Politics 838

MOTLEY, JOHN LOTHROP The Poets' Corner 842


NORTON, CHARLES ELIOT Castles in Spain 850

OGLESBY, RICHARD The Royal Corn 853

O'REILLY, JOHN BOYLE Moore, the Bard of Erin 856



"JUSTICE" Frontispiece Photo-engraving in colors after an original painting by George W. Maynard

HENRY WOODFIN GRADY 534 Photogravure after a photograph from life

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES 625 Photogravure after a photograph from life

ROBERT GREEN INGERSOLL 672 Photogravure after a photograph from life

MENU CARD 676 Photogravure after a design by Thompson Willing

FANEUIL HALL 723 Photogravure after a photograph

"PATRIOTISM" 815 Photo-engraving in colors after an original painting by George W. Maynard



[Speech of George Cary Eggleston at the first annual banquet of the New York Southern Society, February 22, 1887. Algernon Sidney Sullivan, President of the Society, was in the chair. In introducing the speaker Mr. Sullivan said: "We want to hear a word about 'Southern Literature,' and we will now call upon Mr. George Cary Eggleston to respond to that sentiment."]

MR. PRESIDENT:—I have cheered myself so hoarse that I do not think I can make a speech at all. I will say a word or two if my voice holds out. It is patriotically hoarse.

If I manage to make a speech it will be the one speech of the evening which was most carefully prepared. The preparations were all made, arrangements were completed and it was perfectly understood that I should not make it. The name set down under this toast is that of Hon. John Randolph Tucker, and the wild absurdity of asking a writer who does not make speeches, to take the place of such an orator as John Randolph Tucker would seem to be like asking a seasick land-lubber to take the captain's place upon the bridge of the ocean steamer in a storm, and there is another reason by which I am peculiarly unfit to speak in response to the toast—"Southern Literature," and that is, that I am firmly convinced that there is no Southern Literature; that there never was a Southern Literature; that there never will be a Southern Literature, and that there never ought to be a Southern Literature. Some very great and noble work in literature has been produced by men of Southern lineage and birth and residence. John Marshall, if he had not been the greatest of American jurists, would have been counted, because of his "Life of Washington," the greatest of biographers. I might name an extended list of workers in this field, all of Southern birth. Sims; my dead friend, John Esten Cooke; his brother, Philip Cooke; Cable, who is married to New England; the gifted woman who calls herself Charles Egbert Craddock; and a host of others including that noble woman now going blind in Lexington, who has done some of the sweetest work in American poetry, Margaret J. Preston. [Applause.] I might go further and claim Howells, every drop of whose blood is Virginian. If it were not getting personal and becoming a family affair, I might mention the fact that the author of the "Hoosier Schoolmaster," with whom I used to play on the hills of Ohio River, was of direct Southern descent; that he was born as I was, exactly on Mason and Dixon's line, and one of us fell over on one side and the other on the other when the trouble came.

Notwithstanding all this, I hold that there can be no such thing as a Southern Literature, because literature is never provincial, and to say of any literature that it is Southern or Western or Northern or Eastern is to say that it is a provincial utterance and not a literature. The work to which I have referred is American literature. It is work of which American literature is proud and will ever be proud, whatever is worthy in literature or in achievement of any kind in any part of the country goes ultimately in the common fund of American literature or of American achievement; and that is the joy I have had in being here to-night, when I ought to have been at home. The joy I have had to-night has been that this sentiment of Americanism has seemed to be all around me, and to run through and through everything that has been said here to-night—a sentiment which was taken out of my mouth, as it were, by the President this evening, that our first devotion above all is to what I call the American idea. It seems to me that we are sometimes forgetting what idea it is that has made this country great; what it is that has made of it a nation of free men and educated men—a nation in which the commonest laborer has the school open to him, as well as the workshop; in which the commonest laborer can sit down three times every day to a bountiful table. We sometimes forget the idea on which our country was founded; the idea which prompted Jefferson, as a young man, to stand up in the legislature of Virginia and fight through three bills directly affecting mere questions of law, but determining the future of this country more largely than any other acts,—even the acts of Washington himself. Those three bills, one providing for the separation of Church and State, one for the abolition of primogeniture, and the third for the abolition of entail. The idea that ran through that time was the idea of equal individual manhood—of the supremacy of the man to all else, to the State itself, to Government and Society; that the individual man was the one thing to be taken care of; that it is the sole business of the Government to give him rights of manhood, to protect him in his personal freedom, and then to let him alone.

We have imported of late subtly sophistical advocates of socialism who would set up in opposition to these American ideas the system of State paternalism, and assert the doctrine that the State should not let a man alone to make the best use he can of his abilities and opportunities, but should guide him and support him and direct him and provide for him and, in short, make a moral and intellectual cripple of him. That is the new and un-American idea which has recently been promulgated and which has found expression in New York in 60,000 votes; it is the idea which has been seized upon by those persons who have leagued themselves together to secure to themselves larger profits upon their industry or investments by taxing the whole people for the benefit of the few, making the State the pap-giver, taking from the people the taxes that should be rigidly limited to the needs of the government and turning them into the pockets of the individual; supporting, helping and making, as I have said, a cripple of him. That is the idea which has prompted in large degree disturbances through which we have passed, and to which reference has been made here to-night. It is the idea that somehow or in some particular way a man should have some support other than his own individual exertion, and absolute freedom can provide for him.

It seems to me that one lesson we here to-night should take most to heart is that lesson taught by the whole history of our country, that the American idea—the idea of the individuality and manhood of man, the idea of a government formed simply to protect man, as individuals in their rights, and leave them free in their action and mode of thought—is the idea that has made this country great. It is in pursuance of that that we have become the nation we are; it is by adherence to that that we have become a model to all other nations, so much so that in the German election yesterday, with the aid of friendly foreign despots, with the aid of a threatened war, with all the aids that imperialism can call to its assistance, Bismarck was able to carry his point only by a small majority. This is the idea under which we have founded our nation and grown great, and it is by that idea that we shall continue great, if we are so to continue. [Applause.]



[Speech of Charles W. Eliot, President of Harvard University, at the seventy-second anniversary banquet of the New England Society in the City of New York, December 22, 1877. The President of the Society, William Borden, presided, and said by way of introducing the speaker: "Gentlemen, I now give you the sixth regular toast: 'Harvard and Yale, the two elder sisters among the educational institutions of New England, where generous rivalry has ever promoted patriotism and learning. Their children have, in peace and war, in life and death, deserved well of the Republic. Smile, Heaven, upon this fair conjunction.' [Applause.] We are fortunate to-night, gentlemen, in having with us the representatives of both these institutions, and I will ask President Eliot, of Harvard, first, to respond." The allusion made by President Eliot to the words of the Secretary of State refers to the following remarks which William M. Evarts made in the course of his address: "New England, I observe, while it retains all its sterling qualities, is nevertheless moving forward in the direction of conciliation and peace. I remember when I was a boy, I travelled 240 miles by stage-coach from Boston to New Haven to avoid going to Harvard University which was across the Bridge. [Great applause and laughter.] It was because of the religious animosities which pervaded the community, and I suppose animated my youthful breast; and now here I come to a New England Society, and sit between the Presidents of those renowned universities, who have apparently come here for the purpose of enjoying themselves, and of exhibiting that proximity is no longer dangerous to the peace of those universities. [Applause and laughter.] No doubt there is a considerable warfare going on between them as to the methods of instruction; but to us who have looked on, we have seen no more obtrusive manifestation of it than that the President on my left, of Yale, in dealing with the subjects that have successively been placed before him, has pursued the methods of that university, its comprehensive method, that takes in the whole curriculum; while on my right, the eclectic principle is exercised by my friend, President Eliot [applause and laughter], and he has confined himself to the dainty morsels of the repast. I speak of this to show that, although an amelioration of climate or an obliteration of virtues is not to be expected in New England, or in New England men, yet there may be an advancement of the sunshine of the heart, and that an incorporation of our narrow territory in a great nation, and a transfusion of our opinions, our ideas, our purposes into the veins of a nation of forty millions of people, may enlarge and liberalize even the views, the plans, and the action of New England."]

MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN:—I am obliged to my friend Dr. Clarke [James Freeman Clarke, D.D.] for the complimentary terms in which he has presented me to you. But I must appeal to your commiseration. Harvard and Yale! Can any undergraduate of either institution, can any recent graduate of either institution, imagine a man responding to that toast? [Laughter.] However, I must make the best of the position, and speak of some points upon which the two institutions are clearly agreed. And here I am reminded of a story of a certain New England farmer, who said that he and 'Squire Jones had more cows between them than all the rest of the village; and his brag being disputed, he said he could prove it, for the 'Squire had forty-five cows and he had one, and the village altogether had not forty-six. [Laughter.]

We shall all agree that it is for the best interests of this country that it have sundry universities, of diverse tone, atmosphere, sphere, representing different opinions and different methods of study to some extent, and in different trainings, though with the same end. [Applause.] Holding this view, I have been somewhat concerned to see of late that the original differences between Harvard and Yale seem to be rapidly disappearing. For example, a good many years ago, Harvard set out on what is called the "elective" system, and now I read in the Yale catalogue a long list of studies called "optional," which strikes me as bearing a strong resemblance to our elective courses. [Laughter.] Again, my friend the Secretary of State has done me the honor of alluding to the reasons which induced his father, I suppose, rather than himself, to send him on that journey, which we Harvard men all deplore. [Laughter.]

Now, it is unquestioned, that about the year 1700 a certain number of Congregationalist clergymen, who belonged to the Established Church (for we are too apt to forget that Congregationalism was the "Established Church" of that time, and none other was allowed), thought that Harvard was getting altogether too latitudinarian, and though they were every one of them graduates of Harvard, they went off and set up another college in Connecticut, where a stricter doctrine should be taught. Harvard men have rather nursed the hope that this distinction between Harvard and Yale might be permanent. [Laughter.] But I regret to say that I have lately observed many strong indications that it is wholly likely to disappear. For example, to come at once to the foundations, I read in the papers the other day, and I am credibly informed it is true, that the head of Yale College voted to install a minister whose opinions upon the vital, pivotal, fundamental doctrine of eternal damnation are unsound. [Laughter.] Then, again, I look at the annual reports of the Bureau of Education on this department at Washington, and I read there for some years that Harvard College was unsectarian; and I knew that it was right, because I made the return myself. [Laughter.] I read also that Yale College was a Congregationalist College; and I had no doubt that that was right, because I supposed Dr. Porter had made the report. But now we read in that same report that Yale College is unsectarian. That is a great progress. The fact is, both these universities have found out that in a country which has no established church and no dominant sect you cannot build a university on a sect at all—you must build it upon the nation. [Applause.]

But, gentlemen, there are some other points, I think, of national education on which we shall find these two early founded universities to agree. For example, we have lately read, in the Message of the Chief Magistrate, that a national university would be a good thing. [Applause.] Harvard and Yale are of one mind upon that subject, but they want to have a national university defined. [Laughter.] If it means a university of national resort, we say amen. If it means a university where the youth of this land are taught to love their country and to serve her, we say amen [applause]; and we point, both of us, to our past in proof that we are national in that sense. [Applause.] But if it means that the national university is to be a university administered and managed by the wise Congress of the United States, then we should agree in taking some slight exceptions. [Laughter.] We should not question for a moment the capacity of Congress to pick out and appoint the professors of Latin and Greek, and the ancient languages, because we find that there is an astonishing number of classical orators in Congress, and there is manifested there a singular acquaintance with the legislation of all the Latin races. [Laughter.] But when it should come to some other humbler professorships we might perhaps entertain a doubt. For example, we have not entire faith in the trust that Congress has in the unchangeableness of the laws of arithmetic. [Laughter.] We might think that their competency to select a professor of history might be doubted. They seem to have an impression that there is such a thing as "American" political economy, which can no more be than "American" chemistry or "American" physics. [Applause.] Finally, gentlemen, we should a little distrust the selection by Congress of a professor of ethics. [Laughter.] Of course, we should feel no doubt in regard to the tenure of office of the professors being entirely suitable, it being the well-known practice of both branches of Congress to select men solely for fitness, without regard to locality, and to keep them in office as long as they are competent and faithful. [Laughter and applause.]

But, gentlemen, I think we ought to recur for a moment, perhaps, to the Pilgrim Fathers [laughter], and I desire to say that both Harvard and Yale recognize the fact that there are some things before which universities "pale their ineffectual fires."

"Words are but breath; but where great deeds were done, A power abides, transferred from sire to son."

Now, gentlemen, on that sandy, desolate spot of Plymouth great deeds were done, and we are here to commemorate them. Those were hard times. It was a terrible voyage, and they were hungry and cold and worn out with labor, and they took their guns to the church and the field, and the half of them died in the first winter. They were not prosperous times that we recall with this hour. Let us take some comfort from that in the present circumstances of our beloved country. She is in danger of a terrible disaster, but let us remember that the times which future generations delight to recall are not those of ease and prosperity, but those of adversity bravely borne. [Applause.]



[Speech of Rev. Samuel A. Eliot at the fifteenth annual dinner of the New England Society in the City of Brooklyn, December 21, 1894. The President of the Society, Robert D. Benedict, presided. In introducing Mr. Eliot, he said: "I am not aware that there were any poets among the Pilgrim Fathers. They had something else to do besides versifying. But poesy has found many a home among the hills of New England. And many a home, not only in New England, but in Old England also, was saddened during the year that is gone to hear that the song of one of the poets of New England was hushed forever. I give you as the next sentiment: 'The Poets and Poetry of New England,' and I call upon the Rev. Samuel A. Eliot, of the Church of the Saviour, in this city, to respond."]

MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN OF THE NEW ENGLAND SOCIETY IN BROOKLYN:—I have been given to understand, sir, that in these unpuritanic days lovers keep late hours; and as I listened to the wooing of fair Brooklyn by the eloquent son[1] of New York I thought we might be here till papa turned out the gas. Brooklyn is a New England maiden and a trifle coy, and it may take even more than an hour's pleading and persuasive wooing to win her. [Applause.] You ask me, sir, to turn our thoughts back from these considerations of pressing and immediate problems, from discussion of international and even intercontinental relations, to the beginnings and the causes of our rejoicings here. I am glad to do that, for I love to trace the connections and contrasts of past and present, and to mark the growth and evolution of that New England genius and character which are illustrated at these tables.

The early history of New England seems to many minds as dry and unromantic as it was hard and narrow. No mist of distance softens the harsh outlines, no mirage of tradition lifts events and characters into picturesque beauty. There seems a poverty of sentiment. The transplanting of a people breaks the successions and associations of history. No memories of conqueror and crusader stir for us poetic fancy. Instead of the glitter of chivalry there is but the sombre homespun of Puritan peasants. In place of the "long-drawn aisle and fretted vault" of Gothic cathedral there is but the rude log meeting-house and schoolhouse. Instead of Christmas merriment there is only the noise of axe and hammer or the dreary droning of psalms. It seems a history bleak and barren of poetic inspiration, at once plebeian and prosaic.

How is it then that out of the hard soil of the Puritan thought and character, out of the sterile rocks of the New England conscience, have sprung the flowers of poetry which you bid me celebrate to-night? From those songless beginnings have burst, in later generations, melodies that charm and uplift our land—now a deep organ peal filling the air with music, now a trumpet blast thrilling the blood of patriotism, now a drum-beat to which duty delights to march, now a joyous fantasy of the violin bringing smiles to the lips, now the soft vibrations of the harp that fill the eyes with tears. What is it in the Puritan heritage, externally so bare and cold, that make it intrinsically so poetic and inspiring?

There is no poetry in the darkness of the Puritan's creed nor in the rigid rectitude of his morality. His surly boldness, his tough hold on the real, his austere piety enforce respect, but do not allure affection. The genial graces cannot bear company with ruthless bigotry and Hebraic energy. Nor is there any poetry in the mere struggle for existence, and the mean poverty that marked the outward life. The Pilgrims were often pinched for food; they suffered in a bitter climate; they lived in isolation. We think lightly of these things because we cannot help imagining that they knew that they were founding a mighty nation. But that knowledge was denied them. Generations of them sank into nameless graves without any vision of the days when their descendants should rise up and call them blessed. Nor is there any inspiration in the measure of their outward success. Judged by their own ideals, the Puritans failed. They would neither recognize nor approve the civilization that has sprung from the seeds of their planting. They tried to establish a theocracy; they stand in history as the heroes of democracy. Alike in their social and religious aims they ignored ineradicable elements in human nature. They attempted the impossible. How then have their deeds become the source of song and story? Why all the honor that we pay them? It is not because in danger, in sacrifice, and in failure, they were stout-hearted. Many a freebooter or soldier of fortune has been that. It is, as one said whose name I bear, "because they were stout-hearted for an ideal—their ideal, not ours, of civil and religious liberty. Wherever and whenever resolute men and women devote themselves, not to material, but to spiritual ends, there the world's heroes are made," and made to be remembered, and to become the inspiration of poem and romance and noble daring.

Scratch a New Englander to-day, it is said, and you find the Puritan. That is no less true of the poets than of the warriors and the men of facts and figures. The New England poets derived their nourishment from the deep earth of that wholesome past, into which the roots of all our lives go down. The mystical and mediaeval side of Puritanism finds its embodiment in Hawthorne; its moral ideals shine in Bryant; its independency is incarnated in Emerson. Emerson is the type of the nineteenth-century Puritan, in life pure, in temperament saintly, in spirit detached from the earth, blazing a path for himself through the wilderness of speculation, seeing things from the centre, working for the reconstruction of Christian society and the readjustment of the traditional religion. An enfranchised Puritan is a Puritan still. Of such is Holmes, who shot his flashing arrows at all shams and substitutes for reality, and never failed to hit the mark; of such is Whittier,

"Whose swelling and vehement heart Strains the strait-breasted drab of the Quaker apart;"

of such is Lowell, to whom belongs the supreme distinction of having written the greatest poem yet produced on this continent.

We who have undergone the shock of material, intellectual and spiritual growth too often fail to recognize our debt to the deserted cause. Our poets remind us that our very freedom is our inheritance from the system we reject. It was inevitable that our six great poets should have been in literature, idealists; in politics, abolitionists; in religion, Unitarians. It was the progressive independency of a Puritan ancestry declaring itself. Save, perhaps, in Longfellow, no gloss or glamour of Europe obscures their poetry. No hush of servility rests on it. No patronage summoned it, and no indifference silenced it. Our poetry is the genuine utterance of democracy, and betrays in every syllable the fibre of freemen.

New England poetry is well nigh as Puritan in its form as in its spirit. There is in it a true Cromwellian temper. Our poets have been patriots, firm and prophetic believers in their country's destiny, loving their country so well that they dared to tell the sometimes unwelcome truth about her. The Biblical strain is in our poetry. If our English Bible were lost to us we could reconstruct almost all of its best verses out of Whittier's poems. The thunders of Sinai still roll in Lowell's fiery denunciations of smug conventionalities and wickedness in high places. The music of the psalmist is in Longfellow's meditations, and all the prophet's vision in Emerson's inspired utterance. The Puritan restraint is on New England poetry. There is no noisy rhetoric, no tossing about of big adjectives and stinging epithets, no abuse of our noble English tongue by cheap exaggerations. Our poets do not need to underscore words or to use heavy headlines and italics. Their invective has been mighty because so restrained and so compressed. There is none of the common cant or the common plausibilities. There is no passing off of counterfeits for realities, no "pouring of the waters of concession into the bottomless buckets of expediency."

Thus do our poets declare their inheritance. But they do not stop there. To the indomitable power of the Puritan conscience they have added a wealth of imaginative sympathy. They have made sweetness to be the issue of strength, and beauty to be the halo of power. They have seen the vision of the rainbow round the throne. They have touched with divine light the prosaic story of New England, and found the picturesque in what seemed commonplace. They have seen the great in the little, and ennobled the humbler ways of existence with spiritual insight. They have set to music the homely service and simple enjoyments of common life. They have touched the chords that speak to the universal heart. The very provincialism of our poets endears them to us. Their work, as some foreign critic said, has been done in a corner. We do not deny it. But, verily we believe, that New England is the corner lot of our national estate. Our poets have preserved for us in ballads our homespun legends. They have imaged in verse the beauty of New England's hills and waters. As we read there comes the whiff of fragrance which transports us to the hillside pasture where the sweet fern and sorrel grow, or the salt breeze of the sea blows again on our cheeks, or the rippling Merrimac sings in our ears, or the heights of Katahdin or Wachusett, lift our eyes upward. Finally, our poets, in their characters, disprove the reproach that a democracy can produce only average men. As they wrote, they were.

The harp of New England is silent. The master hands sweep the chords no more. But shall we dare to think that the coming generation will have no songs and no singers? Shall we build the sepulchre of poetry? Shall we express ourselves only in histories and criticisms? Shall man no longer behold God and nature face to face? "Things are in the saddle to-day," said Emerson; and indeed it may well depress us to see our greatness as a nation measured by the number of bushels of wheat raised, or the number of hogs packed. "The value of a country," said Lowell, "is weighed in scales more delicate than the balance of trade. On a map of the world you may cover Judea with your thumb, Athens with a finger tip, and neither of them figures in the prices current, yet they still live in the thought and action of every civilized man. Material success is good, but only as the necessary preliminary of better things. The measure of a nation's true success is the amount it has contributed to the thought, the moral energy, the intellectual happiness, the spiritual hope and consolation of mankind." Before we can have a rebirth of poetry, we must have a fresh infusion of the Puritan devotion to ideal ends. We must be baptized again into the spirit of non-conformity, of intellectual and moral honesty, the spirit which does not suffer men to go with the crowd, when reason and conscience and a living God bid them go alone. There never was a time when we needed more the background of Puritanism. We need in our business and our politics a sterner sense of the fear of God, and in our home life a renewed simplicity. If we are to build up to the level of our best opportunities, we must build down to solid foundation on the sense of obligation. We have new times, new land and new men. Shall we not have new thought, new work and new worship? [Applause.]



[Speech of Ralph Waldo Emerson at the annual banquet of the Manchester Athenaeum, Manchester, England, November, 1847. Sir Archibald Alison, the historian, presided]

MR. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN:—It is pleasant to me to meet this great and brilliant company, and doubly pleasant to see the faces of so many distinguished persons on this platform. But I have known all these persons already. When I was at home, they were as near to me as they are to you. The arguments of the League and its leader are known to all the friends of free trade. The gaieties and genius, the political, the social, the parietal wit of "Punch" go duly every fortnight to every boy and girl in Boston and New York. Sir, when I came to sea, I found the "History of Europe"[2] on the ship's cabin table, the property of the captain;—a sort of programme or play-bill to tell the seafaring New Englander what he shall find on landing here. And as for Dombey, sir, there is no land where paper exists to print on, where it is not found; no man who can read, that does not read it, and, if he cannot, he finds some charitable pair of eyes that can, and hears it.

But these things are not for me to say; these compliments, though true, would better come from one who felt and understood these merits more. I am not here to exchange civilities with you, but rather to speak of that which I am sure interests these gentlemen more than their own praises; of that which is good in holidays and working-days, the same in one century and in another century. That which lures a solitary American in the woods with the wish to see England, is the moral peculiarity of the Saxon race,—its commanding sense of right and wrong,—the love and devotion to that,—this is the imperial trait, which arms them with the sceptre of the globe. It is this which lies at the foundation of that aristocratic character, which certainly wanders into strange vagaries, so that its origin is often lost sight of, but which, if it should lose this, would find itself paralyzed; and in trade, and in the mechanic's shop, gives that honesty in performance, that thoroughness and solidity of work, which is a national characteristic. This conscience is one element, and the other is that loyal adhesion, that habit of friendship, that homage of man to man, running through all classes,—the electing of worthy persons to a certain fraternity, to acts of kindness and warm and staunch support, from year to year, from youth to age,—which is alike lovely and honorable to those who render and those who receive it;—which stands in strong contrast with the superficial attachments of other races, their excessive courtesy, and short-lived connection.

You will think me very pedantic, gentlemen, but holiday though it be, I have not the smallest interest in any holiday, except as it celebrates real and not pretended joys; and I think it just, in this time of gloom and commercial disaster, of affliction and beggary in these districts, that on these very accounts I speak of, you should not fail to keep your literary anniversary. I seem to hear you say that, for all that is come and gone, yet we will not reduce by one chaplet or one oak-leaf the braveries of our annual feast. For I must tell you, I was given to understand in my childhood that the British island, from which my forefathers came, was no lotus-garden, no paradise of serene sky and roses and music and merriment all the year round, no, but a cold, foggy, mournful country, where nothing grew well in the open air, but robust men and virtuous women, and these of a wonderful fibre and endurance; that their best parts were slowly revealed; their virtues did not come out until they quarrelled; they did not strike twelve the first time; good lovers, good haters, and you could know little about them till you had seen them long, and little good of them till you had seen them in action; that in prosperity they were moody and dumpish, but in adversity they were grand.

Is it not true, sir, that the wise ancients did not praise the ship parting with flying colors from the port, but only that brave sailor which came back with torn sheets and battered sides, stript of her banners, but having ridden out the storm? And so, gentlemen, I feel in regard to this aged England, with the possessions, honors and trophies, and also with the infirmities of a thousand years gathering around her, irretrievably committed as she now is to many old customs which cannot be suddenly changed; pressed upon by the transitions of trade, and new and all incalculable modes, fabrics, arts, machines and competing populations,—I see her not dispirited, not weak, but well remembering that she has seen dark days before; indeed, with a kind of instinct that she sees a little better in a cloudy day, and that in storm of battle and calamity, she has a secret vigor and a pulse like a cannon. I see her in her old age, not decrepit, but young, and still daring to believe in her power of endurance and expansion. Seeing this, I say, All hail! mother of nations, mother of heroes, with strength still equal to the time; still wise to entertain and swift to execute the policy which the mind and heart of mankind require in the present hour, and thus only hospitable to the foreigner, and truly a home to the thoughtful and generous who are born in the soil. So be it! so let it be! If it be not so, if the courage of England goes with the chances of a commercial crisis, I will go back to the capes of Massachusetts, and my own Indian stream, and say to my countrymen, the old race are all gone, and the elasticity and hope of mankind must henceforth remain on the Alleghany ranges, or nowhere.

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[Speech of Ralph Waldo Emerson at the festival of the Boston Burns Club, at the Parker House, Boston, Mass., January 25, 1859, commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the birth of the Scottish bard. Around the tables were gathered a company numbering nearly three hundred, including Emerson, Lowell, Holmes, George S. Hillard, Nathaniel P. Willis, and others of the literary guild. Among the decorations of the banqueting-hall was displayed a bust of Burns crowned with a wreath of roses and bays. Mr. Emerson spoke to the principal toast of the evening, "The Memory of Burns," and his graceful flights of oratory were received with cheers, and calls for "More! More!" which the presiding officer, General John S. Tyler, quieted with the remark: "Mr. Emerson begs to be excused, not because the well of gushing waters is exhausted, but because, in the kindness of his heart, he thinks he ought to leave room for gentlemen who are to succeed him." Willis, writing later of the festival, said of this speech, "Why, in that large and convivially excited audience, there was not, while he spoke, a wandering eye—not a pulse or a breath that was not held absolutely captive. Wherein lies the wonderful spell?"]

MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN:—I do not know by what untoward accident it has chanced—and I forbear to inquire—that, in this accomplished circle, it should fall to me, the worst Scotsman of all, to receive your commands, and at the latest hour, too, to respond to the sentiment just offered, and which, indeed, makes the occasion. But I am told there is no appeal, and I must trust to the inspiration of the theme to make a fitness which does not otherwise exist.

Yet, sir, I heartily feel the singular claims of the occasion. At the first announcement, from I know not whence, that the twenty-fifth of January was the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, a sudden consent warned the great English race, in all its kingdoms, colonies and states, all over the world, to keep the festival. We are here to hold our parliament with love and poesy, as men were wont to do in the Middle Ages. Those famous parliaments might or might not have had more stateliness, and better singers than we—though that is yet to be known—but they could not have better reason.

I can only explain this singular unanimity in a race which rarely acts together—but rather after their watchword, each for himself—by the fact that Robert Burns, the poet of the middle class, represents in the mind of men to-day that great uprising of the middle class against the armed and privileged minorities—that uprising which worked politically in the American and French Revolutions, and which, not in governments so much as in education and in social order, has changed the face of the world. In order for this destiny, his birth, breeding and fortune were low. His organic sentiment was absolute independence, and resting, as it should, on a life of labor. No man existed who could look down on him. They that looked into his eyes saw that they might look down the sky as easily. His muse and teaching was common sense, joyful, aggressive, irresistible. Not Latimer, nor Luther, struck more telling blows against false theology than did this brave singer. The "Confession of Augsburg," the "Declaration of Independence," the French "Rights of Man," and the "Marseillaise," are not more weighty documents in the history of freedom than the songs of Burns. His satire has lost none of its edge. His musical arrows yet sing through the air. He is so substantially a reformer, that I find his grand, plain sense in close chain with the greatest masters—Rabelais, Shakespeare in comedy, Cervantes, Butler, and Burns. If I should add another name, I find it only in a living countryman of Burns. He is an exceptional genius. The people who care nothing for literature and poetry care for Burns. It was indifferent—they thought who saw him—whether he wrote verse or not; he could have done anything else as well.

Yet how true a poet is he! And the poet, too, of poor men, of hodden-gray, and the Guernsey-coat, and the blouse. He has given voice to all the experiences of common life; he has endeared the farmhouse and cottage, patches and poverty, beans and barley; ale, the poor man's wine; hardship, the fear of debt, the dear society of weans and wife, of brothers and sisters, proud of each other, knowing so few, and finding amends for want and obscurity in books and thought. What a love of nature! and—shall I say it?—of middle-class nature. Not great, like Goethe, in the stars, or like Byron, on the ocean, or Moore, in the luxurious East, but in the homely landscape which the poor see around them—bleak leagues of pasture and stubble, ice, and sleet, and rain, and snow-choked brooks; birds, hares, field-mice, thistles, and heather, which he daily knew. How many "Bonny Doons," and "John Anderson my Joes," and "Auld Lang Synes," all around the earth, have his verses been applied to! And his love songs still woo and melt the youths and maids; the farm work, the country holiday, the fishing cobble, are still his debtors to-day.

And, as he was thus the poet of the poor, anxious, cheerful, working humanity, so had he the language of low life. He grew up in a rural district, speaking a patois unintelligible to all but natives, and he has made that Lowland Scotch a Doric dialect of fame. It is the only example in history of a language made classic by the genius of a single man. But more than this. He had that secret of genius to draw from the bottom of society the strength of its speech, and astonish the ears of the polite with these artless words, better than art, and filtered of all offence through his beauty. It seemed odious to Luther that the devil should have all the best tunes; he would bring them into the churches; and Burns knew how to take from fairs and gypsies, blacksmiths and drovers, the speech of the market and street, and clothe it with melody.

But I am detaining you too long. The memory of Burns—I am afraid heaven and earth have taken too good care of it to leave us anything to say. The west winds are murmuring it. Open the windows behind you, and hearken for the incoming tide, what the waves say of it. The doves, perching always on the eaves of the Stone Chapel [King's Chapel] opposite, may know something about it. Every home in broad Scotland keeps his fame bright. The memory of Burns—every man's, and boy's, and girl's head carries snatches of his songs, and can say them by heart, and, what is strangest of all, never learned them from a book, but from mouth to mouth. The wind whispers them, the birds whistle them, the corn, barley, and bulrushes hoarsely rustle them; nay, the music-boxes at Geneva are framed and toothed to play them; the hand-organs of the Savoyards in all cities repeat them, and the chimes of bells ring them in the spires. They are the property and the solace of mankind. [Cheers.]

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[Speech of Ralph Waldo Emerson at the dinner of Harvard Alumni at Cambridge, Mass., July 21, 1865, on the occasion of the commemoration of the patriot heroes of Harvard College in the Civil War.]

MR. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN:—With whatever opinions we come here, I think it is not in man to see, without a feeling of pride and pleasure, a tried soldier, the armed defender of the right. I think that, in these last years, all opinions have been affected by the magnificent and stupendous spectacle, which Divine Providence has offered us, of the energies that slept in the children of this country,—that slept and have awakened. I see thankfully those who are here; but dim eyes in vain explore for some who are not. They shine the brighter "in the domain of tender memory." The old Greek, Heraclitus, said: "War is the father of all things." He said it, no doubt, as science, but we of this day can repeat it as a political and social truth.

War passes the power of all chemical solvents, breaking up the old cohesions, and allowing the atoms of society to take a new order. It is not the Government but the war that has appointed the great generals, sifted out the pedants, put in the new and vigorous blood. [Great applause.] The war has lifted many other people, besides Grant and Sherman, into their true places. Even Divine Providence, we may say, always seems to work after a certain military necessity. Every nation punishes the general who is not victorious. It is a rule in games of chance that "the cards beat all the players," and revolutions disconcert and outwit all the insurgents. The revolutions carry their own points, sometimes to the ruin of those who set them on foot. The proof that war also is within the highest right, is a marked benefactor in the hands of Divine Providence, is its morale. The war gave back integrity to the erring and immoral nation. It charged with power, peaceful, amiable, men, to whose whole life war and discord were abhorrent. What an infusion of character went out from this and the other colleges! What an infusion of character down to the ranks! The experience has been uniform, that it is the gentle soul that makes the firm hero, after all. It is easy to recall the mood in which our young men, snatched from every peaceful pursuit, went to war. Many of them had never handled a gun. They said, "It is not in me to resist. I go because I must. It is a duty which I shall never forgive myself if I decline. I do not know that I can make a soldier. I may be very clumsy; perhaps I shall be timid; but you can rely on me. Only one thing is certain, I can well die, but I cannot afford to misbehave." [Loud applause.]

In fact, the infusion of culture and tender humanity from these scholars and idealists who went to the war in their own despite,—God knows they had no fury for killing their old friends and countrymen,—had its signal and lasting effect. It was found that enthusiasm was a more potent ally than science and munitions of war without it. "'Tis a principle of war," said Napoleon—principe de guerre—"that when you can use the thunderbolt, you must prefer it to the cannon." Enthusiasm was the thunderbolt. Here in this little Massachusetts, in smaller Rhode Island, in this little nest of New England republics, it flamed out when that guilty gun was aimed at Sumter.

Mr. Chairman, standing here in Harvard College, the parent of all the colleges, in Massachusetts, the mother of all the North, when I consider her influence on the country as a principal planter of the Western States, and now by her teachers, preachers, journalists and books, as well as by traffic and production, the diffuser of religious, literary and political opinion, and when I see how irresistible the convictions of Massachusetts are on those swarming populations, I think the little State bigger than I knew; and when her blood is up, she has a fist that could knock down an empire. And her blood was roused. [Great applause.] Scholars exchanged the black coat for the blue. A single company in the 44th Massachusetts contained thirty-five sons of Harvard. You all know as well as I the story of these dedicated men, who knew well on what duty they went, whose fathers and mothers said of each slaughtered son, "We gave him up when he enlisted." One mother said, when her son was offered the command of the first negro regiment, "If he accepts it, I shall be as proud as if I had heard that he was shot." [Applause.] These men, thus tender, thus high-bred, thus peaceable, were always in the front, and always employed. They might say with their forefathers, the old Norse Vikings, "We sang the mass of lances from morning until evening;" and in how many cases it chanced, when the hero had fallen, they who came by night to his funeral on the morrow returned to his war-path, to show his slayers the way to death!

Ah! young brothers, all honor and gratitude to you! you, manly defenders, Liberty's and Humanity's home guard. We shall not again disparage America, now that we have seen what men it will bear. We see—we thank you for it—a new era, worth to mankind all the treasure and the lives it has cost; yes, worth to the world the lives of all this generation of American men, if they had been demanded. [Loud applause.]

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[Speech of Ralph Waldo Emerson at the banquet given by the City of Boston, August 21, 1868, to the Hon. Anson Burlingame, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary from China, and his associates, Chih Ta-Jin and Sun Ta-Jin, of the Chinese Embassy to the United States and the European powers. Mr. Emerson responded to the toast: "The union of the farthest East and the farthest West."]

MR. MAYOR:—I suppose we are all of one opinion on this remarkable occasion of meeting the Embassy sent from the oldest Empire in the world to the youngest Republic. All share the surprise and pleasure when the venerable oriental dynasty, hitherto a romantic legend to most of us, suddenly steps into the fellowship of nations. This auspicious event, considered in connection with the late innovations in Japan, marks a new era, and is an irresistible result of the science which has given us the power of steam and the electric telegraph. It is the more welcome for the surprise. We had said of China, as the old prophet said of Egypt, "Her strength is to sit still." Her people had such elemental conservatism, that by some wonderful force of race and national manners the wars and revolutions that occur in her annals proved but momentary swells or surges on the Pacific Ocean of her history, leaving no trace. But in its immovability this race has claims.

China is old not in time only, but in wisdom, which is gray hair to a nation, or rather, truly seen, is eternal youth. As we know, China had the magnet centuries before Europe; and block-printing and stereotype, and lithography, and gunpowder, and vaccination, and canals; had anticipated Linnaeus's nomenclature of plants; had codes, journals, clubs, hackney coaches, and, thirty centuries before New York, had the custom of New-Year's calls of comity and reconciliation. I need not mention its useful arts,—its pottery, indispensable to the world; the luxury of silks; and its tea, the cordial of nations. But I must remember that she had respectable remains of astronomic science, and historic records of forgotten time, that have supplied important gaps in the ancient history of the western nations.

Then she has philosophers who cannot be spared. Confucius has not yet gathered all his fame. When Socrates heard that the oracle declared that he was the wisest of men, he said, it must mean that other men held that they were wise, but that he knew that he knew nothing. Confucius had already affirmed this of himself: and what we call the Golden Rule of Jesus, Confucius had uttered in the same terms, five hundred years before. His morals, though addressed to a state of society utterly unlike ours, we read with profit to-day. His rare perception appears in his Golden Mean, his doctrine of Reciprocity, his unerring insight, putting always the blame of our misfortunes on our selves; as when to the governor who complained of thieves he said: "If you, sir, were not covetous, though you should reward them for it, they would not steal." His ideal of greatness predicts Marcus Antoninus. At the same time, he abstained from paradox, and met the ingrained prudence of his nation by saying always: "Bend one cubit to straighten eight."

China interests us at this moment in a point of politics. I am sure that gentlemen around me bear in mind the bill which Hon. Mr. Jenckes, of Rhode Island, has twice attempted to carry through Congress, requiring that candidates for public offices shall first pass examination on their literary qualifications for the same. Well, China has preceded us, as well as England and France, in this essential correction of a reckless usage; and the like high esteem of education appears in China in social life, to whose distinctions it is made an indispensable passport.

It is gratifying to know that the advantages of the new intercourse between the two countries are daily manifest on the Pacific coast. The immigrants from Asia come in crowds. Their power of continuous labor, their versatility in adapting themselves to new conditions, their stoical economy, are unlooked-for virtues. They send back to their friends, in China, money, new products of art, new tools, machinery, new foods, etc., and are thus establishing a commerce without limit.

I cannot help adding, after what I have heard to-night, that I have read in the journals a statement from an English source, that Sir Frederic Bruce attributed to Mr. Burlingame the merit of the happy reform in the relations of foreign governments to China. I am quite sure that I heard from Mr. Burlingame in New York, in his last visit to America, that the whole merit of it belonged to Sir Frederic Bruce. It appears that the ambassadors were emulous in their magnanimity. It is certainly the best guaranty for the interests of China and of humanity.



[Speech of William M. Evarts at the sixty-seventh anniversary banquet of the New England Society in the City of New York, December 23, 1872. The President, Elliot C. Cowden, occupied the chair. Introducing the speaker, he said: "I now ask your attention to the eighth regular toast: 'The Geneva Tribunal of Arbitration, a victory of peace, demonstrating that the statesman's wisdom is mightier than the warrior's sword.' This sentiment will be responded to by one who has added a new lustre to a fame already achieved by his consummate argument in defence of our claims before the late Tribunal of Arbitration, your honored ex-President, Mr. Evarts."]

MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN OF THE NEW ENGLAND SOCIETY:—It has, I believe, in the history of our race, never been permitted that a great nation should pass through the perils of a serious internal conflict without suffering, in some form or other, an intervention in its affairs by other nations that would not have been permitted, or been possible, but for the distraction of its power, or the stress to which it was exposed by its intestine strifes. And when, in our modern civilization, a nation so great as ours was pressed by so great a stress as our Civil War imposed upon us, we could not escape this common fate in human affairs. It has rarely, in the history of our race, been permitted to a nation that has suffered this foreign intervention, in whatever form, to preserve its peace and the peace of the world, and yet settle its account with the nations which had interposed in its affairs. [Applause.]

When the great power of France seized upon the occasion of our Civil War to renew a European possession upon our boundaries, and when England, upon the same opportunity, swept the seas of our commerce; properly to deal with those forms of intervention, when our domestic troubles were ended by the triumph of our arms, called for the exercise of the highest statesmanship and the most powerful diplomacy. It was at this juncture that our great minister of foreign affairs (than whom no greater has been seen in our country, and than whom no greater has been presented in the service of any foreign nation) was able, without war, to drive the French from Mexico, and to establish the principle of arbitration, for the settlement of our controversy with England. [Applause.] It was reserved for the present administration to extricate the imperfect work of the adjustment of the differences between England and the United States from a difficulty of the gravest character, and to place the negotiations upon a footing satisfactory to the public sense of our people by the illustrious work of the Joint High Commission at Washington. It was reserved for that administration to complete, within its first term of power, the absolute extinction of all antecedent causes, occasions or opportunities for future contention between our nation and the mother country, by the actual result of the Geneva arbitration. [Applause.]

And now, gentlemen, I think we may well be proud of that self-contained, yet adequate, appreciation of our power, of our right, and of our duty, that could thus, while abating not one jot or tittle of our rights, compose such grave differences by the wisdom of statesmanship, instead of renewing the struggles of war. I may, I think, recognize in the general appreciation by our countrymen of the excellence of this great adjustment between England and the United States, their satisfaction with this settlement, which, without in the least abating the dignity or disturbing the peace of England, has maintained the dignity and made secure the peace of the United States. [Applause.] I think I may recognize in this general satisfaction of our countrymen, their conviction that the result of the Geneva arbitration has secured for us every point that was important as indemnity for the past, and yet has so adjusted the difficult question between neutrality and belligerency as to make it safe for us, in maintaining our natural, and, as we hope, our perpetual, position in the future, of a neutral, and not a belligerent.

The gentlemen to whom were entrusted, by the favor of the President of the United States, the representation of our country in this great forensic controversy, have been somewhat differently situated from lawyers, in ordinary lawsuits, charged with the interests of clients. For, as we all know, the interest of the client and the duty of the lawyer are, for the most part, limited to success in the particular controversy that is being agitated, and, therein, the whole power of the lawyer and all his resources may be properly directed to secure the completest victory in the particular suit. But, when a nation is a party, and when the lawsuit is but an incident, in its perpetual duty and its perpetual interests, in which it must expect to change sides, in the changing circumstances of human affairs, it is very plainly its interest, and the duty of those to whom its interests are entrusted, to see to it, that in the zeal of the particular contest there shall be no triumph that shall disturb, embarrass, or burden its future relations with foreign nations. [Applause.] In other words, when our government was calling to account a neutral which had interfered with our rights as belligerents, it was of very great importance that we should insist upon neither a measure of right nor a measure of indemnity, that we could not, wisely and safely, submit to in the future ourselves. [Applause.]

While, then, there was a preliminary question of gravest importance to be determined in this arbitration—this peaceful substitute for war—"the terrible litigation of States"—no less than this, how widely and how heavily we should press the question of accountability against a neutral, and how far the question should be pressed, in the future, against us, I must congratulate the country for having received, at the outset of the deliberations at Geneva, a determination from the Tribunal, upon the general principles of public law, that when peaceful adjustments in redress of wrongs are attempted between friendly States, no measure of indemnity can be claimed which at all savors of the exactions made only by a victorious over a beaten foe. [Applause.]

And when we come to the final award of this High Tribunal, I think the country may be congratulated, and the world may be congratulated, that while we have secured a judgment of able and impartial publicists in favor of the propositions of international law on which we had insisted, and have received amends by its judgment for the wrongs we had suffered from Great Britain, we have also secured great principles in favor of neutrality in the future, making it easier, instead of harder, for nations to repress the sympathies, the passions and the enlistments of their people, and to keep, during the pendency of war, the action of a neutral State within and subject to the dictates of duty and of law. For we have there established that the duty of a neutral government to preserve its subjects from interference with belligerent rights is in proportion to the magnitude of the evils that will be suffered by the nation against whom, and at whose cost, the infraction of neutrality is provoked. We have made it apparent, also, that a powerful nation, in the advanced civilization of our age, cannot escape from an accountability upon the rough calculation, upon which so much reliance has doubtless been placed in the past, upon the unwillingness of the offended and injured nation, in the correction of its wrongs, to rush into the costs and sacrifices of war. And we have made it apparent to the proudest power in the world (and there is none prouder than our own nation,) that there must be a peaceful accounting for errors and wrongs, in which justice shall be done without the effusion of blood. [Prolonged applause.] Practically, too, we have established principles of great importance in aid of the efforts of every Government to preserve its neutrality in trying and difficult situations of sympathy. An error long provided, that if a vessel, in violation of neutrality, should escape to commit its ravages upon the sea, and should once secure the protection of a commission from the offending belligerent, that that was an end of it, and all the nations of the world must bow their heads before these bastard flags of belligerency. But the tribunal has determined, as the public law of the world, that a commission from a belligerent gives no protection to a vessel that owes its power and place upon the seas to a violation of neutrality. [Applause.] The consequence is, that so far from our success in this arbitration having exposed us, as a neutral nation, in the future, to greater difficulties, we have established principles of law that are to aid our Government, and every other Government, to restrain our people and every other people, in the future, from such infractions of neutrality.

And now, gentlemen, is it too much for us to say that, coming out from a strife with our own blood and kindred, upon the many hard-fought fields of our Civil War, with our government confirmed, with the principles of our confederation made secure forever, we have also come out from this peaceful contest with a great power of the world, with important principles established between this nation and our principal rival in the business affairs of the world, and with an established conviction, alike prevalent in both countries, that, hereafter, each must do its duty to the other, and that each must be held accountable for that duty?

I give you, gentlemen, in conclusion, this sentiment: "The little Court-room at Geneva—where our royal mother England, and her proud though untitled daughter, alike bent their heads to the majesty of Law and accepted Justice as a greater and better arbiter than Power." [Prolonged applause.]

* * * * *


[Speech of William M. Evarts at the first banquet of the New England Society of the City of Brooklyn, December 21, 1880. Benjamin D. Silliman, President of the Society, occupied the chair and introduced Mr. Evarts to speak to the toast, "The Republic and its Outlook," saying: "He may well speak of the 'Outlook' who is on the watch-tower. His brethren of the bar would prefer his remaining here but if he will return to the competitions and collisions of the courts, he will be welcomed as a brother, however unwelcome he may be as an adversary. Meantime, that he may tell us of the outlook of the Republic, let us listen to the Secretary of State, the Honorable William M. Evarts."]

MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN OF THE NEW ENGLAND SOCIETY OF BROOKLYN:—I have been accustomed to the City of New York, and have been accustomed to the estimate which the people of New York make of the people of Brooklyn. [Laughter.] I now come to make some trial of the estimate which the people of Brooklyn put upon the people of New York. [Applause.] In one distinct feature of the City of New York—I mean in its population—and in one distinct feature of the City of Brooklyn—in its population—you will see the secret of your vast superiority to us. [Laughter.] In the City of New York there are more Irishmen than there are in Dublin. [Applause.] In the City of Brooklyn there are more Bostonians than there are in Boston. [Laughter.] We have always felt it as a reproach, however little we relish the satire, that our New England festivals—mean in New York—were little in keeping with the poverty and frugality, and perhaps with the virtues, of our ancestors. But here I see exactly such a company, and exactly such a feast, as in the first years of the emigration, our ancestors would have sat down to. [Laughter.] We honor our fathers with loud praises, you, by noble and self-denying example. [Laughter.]

The Republic, which is the theme I am to speak to, is the Republic which has grown from the seed that was planted in New England. It has gained as the oak has gained in its growth, from the soil, and from the air; so in the body and the strength, and the numbers and the wealth of the Republic, it has gained by the accretions of other races, and the incoming population from many shores. But the oak, nevertheless, is an oak, because the seed which was planted was the seed of an oak. [Loud applause.] Now, our Pilgrim Fathers seem to have been frustrated by Providence a good deal, in many of their plans. They came with the purpose, it is said, of occupying the pleasant seat of all this wealth and prosperity which these great cities enjoy. But the point was to plant them in New England, where they might grow, but would never stay. One of the first letters which I received after taking charge of the Department over which I preside was an extremely well-written one from a western State, asking for a Consulate, and beginning in this wise: "I have no excuse for intruding on your busy occupations except a pardonable desire to live elsewhere." [Laughter.] Now that has been the mainspring of New Englanders ever since they were seated by Providence on its barren shores, a pardonable desire to live elsewhere. [Laughter.] If they had been planted here—if they had been seated in the luxurious climate and with the fertile soil of the South, they would have had no desire, pardonable or otherwise, to live elsewhere. Though they might have grown and lived they never would have proved the seed that was to make the Great Republic as it now is. [Applause.]

There has been an idea that some part of the active, spreading and increasing influence of the New England people as they moved about the world, was from a meddlesome disposition to interfere with other people. There is nothing in that. If there ever was a race that confined itself strictly to minding its own business, it is the New Englanders; and they mind it, with great results. The solution of this apparent discord is simply this: that a New Englander considers everybody else's business his business. [Loud laughter.] Now these two essential notions of wishing to live elsewhere, and regarding everybody else's business as our business, furnish the explanation of the processes by which this Republic has come to be what it is—great in every form of power, of strength, of wealth. This dissemination of New England men, and this permeation through other people's business—of our control of it—have made the nation what it is. [Applause.]

The statesmanship of the New England character, was the greatest statesmanship of the world. It did not undertake to govern by authority, or by power, but by those ideas and methods which were common to human nature, and were to make a people great, and able to govern themselves. [Applause.] The great elements of that State thus developed, were education, industry and commerce. Education which, as Aristotle says, "makes one do by choice what others do by force;" industry, which by occupying and satisfying all the avidities of our nature, leaves to government only the simple duty of curbing the vicious and punishing the wicked. Commerce, that, by unfolding to the world the relations of people with people, makes a system of foreign relations that is greater and firmer, and more beneficent, than can be brought about by all the powers of armies, or all the skill of cabinets. [Applause.]

This being, then, the Republic which has grown up from the seed thus planted, that has established our relations among ourselves over our wide heritage, and established our relations with the rest of the world, what is its outlook to-day? What is it in the sense of material prosperity? Who can measure it? Who can circumscribe it? Who can, except by the simple rule of three, which never errs, determine its progress? As the early settlement of Plymouth is to the United States of America, as it now is, so is the United States of America to the future possession and control of the world as they are to be. [Cheering.] This is to be, not by armies of invasion, nor by navies that are to carry the thunders of our powers. It is to be by our finding our place in the moral government of the world, and by the example, and its magnificent results, of a free people, governed by education, occupied by industry, and maintaining our connection with the world by commerce. Thus we are to disarm the armies of Europe, when they dare not disarm them themselves. [Cheers.] We present to mankind the simple, yet the wonderful evidence that a peasant in Germany, or France, or Ireland, or England carrying a soldier on his back, cannot compete in their own markets with a peasant in America who has no soldier on his back, though there be 5,000 miles distance between their farms. [Loud applause.] No doubt wonderful commotions are to take place in the great nations of Europe, under this example. There is to be overturning, and overturning, for which we have no responsibility, except, that by this great instruction, worked out by Providence on this continent, there is to be a remodelling of society in the ancient countries of the world. [Applause.] Now you see in the magnitude of the designs of Providence, how, planting the Puritans where they would desire to spread themselves abroad, and filling a continent, whence the ideas that they develop intelligibly to the whole world, are to distribute themselves over the world, that this is the way in which the redemption of society at home first, and abroad afterward, is to be accomplished by the power of the wisdom of God.

And now for the outlook in other senses than that of material prosperity, how is it? As difficult and critical junctures have been reached in the development of the nation, and collisions, as when two tides meet, have awakened our own fears, and tried our own courage, and have raised the question whether these true ideas of our Republic were to triumph or to be checked—has not the issue always shown us, that faith in God, and faith in man, are a match for all the powers of evil in our midst and elsewhere? [Cheering.] If there needed to be a march to the sea, it was to be through the Southern country. [Loud applause.] If there needed to be a surrender of one portion of this people to the other, it was to be in and of Virginia, and not in and of New England. [Applause.] And now what a wonderful spectacle is presented to our nation, and to the world, when the direst calamities that ever afflict a people—those of Civil War, had fallen upon us; when the marshalling of armies, in a nation that tolerated no armies, was greater and more powerful than the conflicts of the world had ever seen; when the exhaustion of life, of treasure, of labor, had been such as was unparalleled; yet, in the brief space of fifteen years, the nation is more homogeneous, more bound together, more powerful and richer than it ever could have been but for the triumph of the good over the weak elements of this Republic. [Applause.]

And what does all this show but the essential idea that it is man—man developed as an individual—man developed by thousands, by hundreds of thousands, by millions, and tens of millions, these make the strength and the wealth of a nation. These being left us, the nation, the consumption as by a fire, attacking a city, or ravaging a whole territory, or sweeping the coffers of the rich, or invading the cottages of the poor—all this material wealth may easily be repaired. If the nation remains with its moral and intellectual strength, brighter and larger and more indestructible possessions than the first will soon replace them. On the three great pillars of American society—equality of right, community of interest, and reciprocity of duty, rests this great Republic. Riches and honor and length of days will mark the nation which rests on that imperishable basis. [Prolonged applause.]

* * * * *


[Speech of William M. Evarts at a banquet of the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York, New York City, November 5, 1881. The banquet was given in honor of the guests of the nation, the French diplomatic representatives in America, and members of the families descended from our foreign sympathizers and helpers, General Lafayette, Count de Rochambeau, Count de Grasse, Baron von Steuben, and others, who were present at the Centennial celebration of the victory at Yorktown. The chairman, James M. Brown, Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce, proposed the following toast: "The French Alliance; the amicable relations between our two countries founded in 1778, by the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, between the nation of France and the American people, cemented in blood in 1781, renewed by this visit of our distinguished guests, will, we trust, be perpetuated through all time."]

MR. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN OF THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE:—It is with great pride, as well as with great pleasure, that I respond to the call in behalf of the merchants of the United States, as represented by the merchants of the great city of the United States, through this ancient guild of the Chamber of Commerce, in paying their tribute of honor and applause to the French nation, that was present as a nation in the contest of our Revolution, and is present here as a nation by its representatives to-day [applause]; and to the great Frenchmen that were present with their personal heroism in the struggles of the Revolution, and are present here in their personal descendants, to see the fruits of that Revolution, and to receive our respectful greeting [applause]; and to the Germans who were present, where they could not have been spared in the great trials of our feeble nation in its struggles against the greatest power in the world, and who are here, by the descendants of those heroic Germans, to join in this feast of freedom and of glory. [Applause.]

But I felt a little doubt, Mr. Chairman, whether the etiquette of this occasion required me to speak in my own tongue, or in the German or the French, for I speak French and German equally well [laughter], but I thought it would be a poor compliment, after all, to talk to these Frenchmen, or these Germans, in their native tongues. They surely hear enough of that at home. [Laughter.]

Well, Mr. President, the French Alliance was one of the noblest transactions in history. The sixth day of February, 1778, witnessed the Treaty of Alliance and the accompanying Treaty of Amity and Commerce which filled out our Declaration of Independence, and made that an assured triumph, which was until then nothing but a heroic effort on our part. [Cheers.] I do not know that the sixth of February has anywhere been honored in any due proportion to the Fourth of July; but for my part, as an humble individual, from the earliest moment I have done all in my power to show my homage to that day, for on that day I was born. [Laughter and applause.]

Now, we talk the most and must feel the most and with great propriety, of the presence of our French and of our German aids, and of our own presence at the battle of Yorktown and the surrender. But what would that occasion have amounted to, either in the fact of it or in the celebration of it, if the English had not been there? [Laughter.] You may remember the composure of the hero that was going to the block and felt that there was no occasion for hurry or confusion in the attendant crowd, as nothing important could take place until he got there [laughter]; and so, in this past history and in the present celebration, we recognize that it is not a question of personal mortification or of personal triumph—not even of national mortification or of national triumph. This was one of the great battles of the world, in which all the nations engaged, and all other nations had an everlasting interest and one through which they were to reap an everlasting good. [Applause.]

And I would like to know if the granddaughter of George III has ever had from her subjects, British or Indian, any sweeter incense than has just now been poured out from the hearts of the American people, who freely give that homage to her virtues as a woman that they deny to her sceptre and her crown as a queen. [Applause.] Who would not rather be a great man than a great king? Who would not rather be a great woman than a great queen? [Applause.] Ah, is there not a wider sovereignty over the race, and a deeper homage from human nature than ever can come from an allegiance to power? And for woman, though she be a queen, what personal power in human affairs can equal that of drawing a throb from every heart and a tear from every eye, when she spoke to us as a woman in the distress of our nation? [Applause.]

It was a very great thing for France to make the Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of Amity and Commerce with a nation that, as yet, had received no acceptance from the powers of the earth. And when we remember that France, in the contests of a thousand years, had found England no unequal match in the quarrels that belonged to the two nations, I must think that human history has shown nothing nobler than her espousal of this growing struggle between these colonists and the great power of England. [Applause.] How much nearer France was to England than we! How much wider her possessions through the world, open to the thunders of the British navy and the prowess of the British arms! And when France, in a treaty, the equal terms of which will strike every reader with wonder, speaks of the "common cause" to be pursued until the result of our complete independence, governmental and commercial, was attained, I know nothing in the way of the "bearing the burdens of one another," enjoined as the Christian spirit, that is greater than this stupendous action of France. [Applause.]

The relations of blood and history that make England and us one, as we always shall be, do not, nevertheless, make it clear that there is not a closer feeling of attachment, after all, between us and France. It is a very great compliment, no doubt, in classical phrase, to bespoken of as "matre pulchra filia pulchrior"—the fairer daughter of a fair mother, but, after all, it is a greater compliment to the daughter than to the mother. I don't know that maternal affection, the purest sentiment on earth, is ever quite pleased that the daughter is taller and fairer and more winning in her ways than the mother is, or ever was [laughter]; and I do know that there comes a time when the daughter leaves the mother and cleaves to a closer affection. And here were we, a young, growing, self-conscious, self-possessed damsel, just peeping from out our mother's apron, when there comes a gallant and noble friend, who takes up our cause, and that, too, at a time when it was not quite apparent whether we should turn out a beauty or a hoyden. [Laughter and applause.] And that is our relation to France. Nothing can limit, nothing can disturb it; nothing shall disparage it. It is that we, from that time and onward, and now finally in the great consummation of two Republics united together against the world, represent in a new sense Shakespeare's figure of the "unity and married calm of states." [Applause.]

The French people have the advantage of us in a great many things, and I don't know that we have any real advantage of them, except in a superior opinion of ourselves. [Laughter.] God forbid that anybody should take that from us! Great as is our affection and gratitude toward the French and German nations, there is one thing that we cannot quite put up with in those nations, and that is, that, but for them, the English and we should think ourselves the greatest nations in the world. [Laughter.] So, with all the bonds of amity between us and them, we must admit that the Frenchmen and Germans make a pretty good show on the field of history in the past, and, apparently, mean to have a pretty good share of the future of this world. [Applause.]

In comparing the Yorktown era with the present day, we find that then a great many more Frenchmen came here than Germans; but now a great many more Germans come here than Frenchmen. The original disparity of numbers seems to have been redressed by the later immigration, and we are reduced to that puzzling equilibrium of the happy swain whenever we are obliged to choose sides in the contest between these nations:—

"How happy could I be with either, Were t'other dear charmer away."


The French are a great people in their conduct toward us in this respect, that the aid and sympathy and alliance has been all in our favor; they have done everything for us, and have been strong enough not to need anything from us. [Applause.] The fault of the French, changing a little Mr. Canning's memorable lines:—

"The fault of the French, unlike the Dutch, Is asking too little, and giving too much."

[Laughter and applause.]

Now, this treaty commences with the very sensible statement that the two nations being desirous of placing their commerce and correspondence upon permanent and equitable grounds, His Most Christian Majesty and the United States of America had thought, to that end, it was best to place these relations upon perfect equality and reciprocity, without any of those burdensome preferences which are the source of debate and misunderstanding and of discontent between nations. In this spirit it is, no doubt, that we have each pursued toward each other, in commerce, that most equitable and equal system, by prohibitory duties, of keeping all of each other's products out of the other that we can. [Laughter.] Well, the Frenchmen knew, after all, that the Americans can never get along without their wines, and without their silks, and without their jewels, and without their art, and without their science, and without the numberless elegancies which make life even in our backwoods tolerable. And we know that they cannot very well dispense with our wheat and corn and the oil from the earth and the cotton to weave into those delicate tissues with which they clothe the world. [Applause.] So that, after all, these superficial barriers of customs duties do not really obstruct our commerce; and even if they have too much of our pork, as would seem to be the notion at present, we have no desire to dispense with their wines. [Laughter.]

But there are some other interchanges between nations besides those of commerce in the raw material or in the products of industry. If we could make more of a moral interchange with the French; if we could take some of the moral sunlight which shines upon that great nation; if we could be more cheerful, more gay, more debonair, and if they could take from us some of the superfluous ice which we produce morally as well as naturally, and some of that cold resistance against the inflammation of enthusiasm which sometimes raises a conflagration among their citizens at home, we have no tariff on either side that would interfere in the blending and intercommunication of the moral resources of both nations, that shall make us more and more one people, in laws, liberties and national glory, and in all the passions that guide and animate the conduct of nations. [Applause.]

I am happy to announce myself to you, gentlemen, what I am vain enough to suppose you would not suspect, that I am a contemporary of Lafayette. As a Boston schoolboy, I stood in the ranks at Boston when Lafayette in 1825 passed with a splendid cortege along the malls of Boston Common. I had the pleasure, as a descendant of one of his Revolutionary friends, to be presented to him personally, and to hear him say that he well remembered his old friend, my grandfather. [Cheers.] This pleasing courtesy, it may be said, was all French politeness; but I can say to these Frenchmen that whether they believe one another at home or not, we always believe them in this country. [Applause.]

And now your toast desires that this friendship, thus beginning and continued, shall be perpetual. Who is to stop it? No power but ourselves and yourselves, sir (turning to the French Minister), can interrupt it. What motive have you—what motive have we—what sentiment, but that on either side would be dishonor to the two nations—can ever breathe a breath to spoil its splendor and its purity? [Applause.] And, sir, your munificence and your affection is again to be impressed upon the American people in that noble present you are designing to make to us, in the great statue of "Liberty enlightening the World," an unexampled munificence from the private citizens of one nation to the people of another. We are to furnish the island for its site and the pedestal to place the statue on. This our people will do with an enthusiasm equal to your own. But, after all, the obligation will be wholly ours, for it is to be a lighthouse in our great harbor, a splendid monument to add new beauty to the glorious Bay of New York. [Applause.]

* * * * *


[Speech of William M. Evarts at a dinner given to Herbert Spencer, New York City, November 9, 1882, the day before his return to England. Mr. Evarts presided, and delivered this speech, in introducing Mr. Spencer to the company.]

GENTLEMEN:—We are here to-night, to show the feeling of Americans toward our distinguished guest. As no room and no city can hold all his friends and admirers, it was necessary that a company should be made up by some method out of the mass, and what so good a method as that of natural selection [laughter] and the inclusion, within these walls, of the ladies? It is a little hard upon the rational instincts and experience of man that we should take up the abstruse subjects of philosophy and of evolution, of all the great topics that make up Mr. Spencer's contribution to the learning and the wisdom of his time, at this end of the dinner.

The most ancient nations, even in their primitive condition, saw the folly of this, and when one wished either to be inspired with the thoughts of others or to be himself a diviner of the thoughts of others, fasting was necessary, and a people from whom I think a great many things might be learned for the good of the people of the present time have a maxim that will commend itself to your common-sense. They say the continually stuffed body cannot see secret things. [Laughter.] Now, from my personal knowledge of the men I see at these tables, they are owners of continually stuffed bodies. [Laughter.] I have addressed them at public dinners, on all topics and for all purposes, and whatever sympathy they may have shown with the divers occasions which brought them together, they come up to this notion of continually stuffed bodies. In primitive times they had a custom which we only under the system of differentiation practise now at this dinner. When men wished to possess themselves of the learning, the wisdom, the philosophy, the courage, the great traits of any person, they immediately proceeded to eat him up as soon as he was dead. [Laughter.] Having only this diversity in that early time, that he should be either roasted or boiled according as he was fat or thin. [Laughter.] Now, out of that narrow compass, see how by the process of differentiation and of multiplication of effects we have come to a dinner of a dozen courses and wines of as many varieties; and that simple process of appropriating the virtue and the wisdom of the great man that was brought before the feast is now diversified into an analysis of all the men here under the cunning management of many speakers. No doubt, preserving as we do the identity of all these institutions, it is often considered a great art, or at least a great delight, to roast our friends and put in hot water those against whom we have a grudge. [Laughter.]

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