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fore most fitting that his bust should be placed to-day among those of his mighty peers, in this great pantheon of immortal Englishmen.
In this most significant and interesting ceremony I should have no excuse for appearing, except as representing for the time being a large section of Walter Scott's immense constituency. I doubt if anywhere his writings have had a more loving welcome than in America. The books a boy reads are those most ardently admired and longest remembered; and America revelled in Scott when the country was young. I have heard from my father-a pioneer of Kentucky—that in the early days of this century men would saddle their horses and ride from all the neighboring counties to the principal post-town of the region, when a new novel by the author of “Waverley” was expected. All over our straggling States and Territories -in the East, where a civilization of slender resources but boundless hopes was building, in the West, where the stern conflict was going on, of the pioneer subduing the continent—the books most read were those poems of magic and of sentiment, those tales of bygone chivalry and romance, which Walter Scott was pouring forth upon the world with a rich facility, a sort of joyous fecundity, like that of Nature in her most genial moods. He had no clique of readers, no illuminated sect of admirers, to bewilder criticism by excess of its own subtlety. In a community engaged in the strenuous struggle for empire, whose dreams, careless of the past, were turned, in the clear, hard light of a nation's morning, to a future of unlimited grandeur and power, there was none too sophisticated to appreciate, none too lowly to enjoy, those marvelous pictures of a time gone forever by, pleasing and stimulating to a starved fancy, in the softened light of memory and art, though the times themselves were unlamented by a people and an age whose faces were set towards a far different future.
Through all these important formative days of the Republic Scott was the favorite author of Americans; and while his writings may not be said to have had any special weight in our material and political development, yet their influence was enormous upon the taste and the sentiments of a people peculiarly sensitive to such influences, from the
very circumstances of their environment. The romances of courts and castles were specially appreciated in the woods and prairies of the frontier, where a pure democracy reigned. The poems and novels of Scott, saturated with the glamour of legend and tradition, were greedily devoured by a people without perspective, conscious that they themselves were ancestors of a redoubtable line, whose battle was with the passing hour, whose glories were all in the days to come.
Since the time of Scott we have seen many fashions in fiction come and go; each generation naturally seeks a different expression of its experience and its ideals. But the author of “Waverley,” amid all the vicissitudes of changing modes, has kept his pre-eminence in two hemispheres as the master of imaginative narration. Even those of us who make no pretensions to the critical faculty may see the twofold reason of this enduring masterhood. Both mentally and morally, Scott was one of the greatest writers that ever lived. His mere memory, his power of acquiring and retaining serviceable facts, was almost inconceivable to ordinary men, and his constructive imagination was nothing short of prodigious. The lochs and hills of Scotland swarm with the engaging phantoms with which he has peopled them for all time; the historical përsonages of past centuries are jostled in our memories by the characters he has created, more vivid in vitality and color than the real soldiers and lovers with whom he has cast their lives.
But probably the morality of Scott appeals more strongly to the many than even his enormous mental powers. His ideals are lofty and pure; his heroes are brave and strong, not exempt from human infirmities, but always devoted to ends more or less noble. His heroines, whom he frankly asks you to admire, are beautiful and true. They walk in womanly dignity through his pages, whether garbed as peasants or as princesses, with honest brows uplifted, with eyes gentle but fearless, pure in heart and delicate in speech. Valor, purity, and loyalty—these are the essential and undying elements of the charm with which this great magician has soothed and lulled the weariness of the world through three tormented generations. For this
he has received the uncritical, ungrudging love of grateful millions.
His magic still has power to charm all wholesome and candid souls. Although so many years have passed since his great heart broke in the valiant struggle against evil fortune, his poems and his tales are read with undiminished interest and perennial pleasure. He loved, with a simple, straightforward affection, man and nature, his country and his kind; he has his reward in a fame forever fresh and unhackneyed. The poet who, as an infant, clapped his hands and cried “Bonnie" to the thunderstorm, and whose dying senses were delighted by the farewell whisper of the Tweed rippling over its pebbles, is quoted in every changing aspect of sun and shadow that sweeps over the face of Scotland. The man who blew so clear a clarion of patriotism lives forever in the speech of those who seek a line to describe the love of country. The robust, athletic spirit of his tales of old, the loyal quarrels, the instinctive loves, the stanch devotion of the uncomplicated creatures of his inexhaustible fancy—all these have their special message and attraction for the minds of our day, fatigued with problems, with doubts and fạtile questionings. His work is a clear, high voice from a simpler age than ours, breathing a song of lofty and unclouded purpose, of sincere and powerful passion, to which the world, however weary and preoccupied, must needs still listen and attend.
THOMAS W. HIGGINSON
BATTLE OF THE COWPENS
[Address by Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson, author, lecturer, platform advocate (born in Cambridge, Mass., December 22, 1823; -), delivered at the celebration of the Battle of the Cowpens, at Spartanburg, S. C., May II, 1881. Colonel Higginson was introduced by Governor Hagood as representing for the occasion Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, the New England of the Revolutionary period.)
In rising to speak for New England, at this time, I have the generous pleasure of remembering that the battle we celebrate was one in whose honors the New England Colonies had absolutely no direct share. The victory of Cowpens, called by Bancroft “the most extraordinary victory of the war," was won exclusively by the men of the Southern Colonies, if we include Delaware in the classification. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut were here unrepresented, although it must be remembered that the Southern Department was then under the command of a Rhode Island officer, General Greene. The New England States now aid in celebrating a courage and good fortune which they would gladly have shared, but can merely honor and commemorate. This only increases the sincerity, and perhaps even the value, of their tribute. Men usually have the credit of more complete impartiality when they compliment the children of their neighbors than when they praise their
Yet, in a wider sense, we of New England may claim our share in every event of that great contest which found us a group of scattered colonies and left us a Nation.
I have come hither, as it happens, from the original campground of the first Continental army, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. On the edge of that old camp-ground stood my father's house. From its windows my childish eyes looked out upon the spot where Washington first drew his sword as commander-in-chief, and where Morgan and his ninety-six Virginia riflemen pitched their tents. Not far from that spot is the house where Washington was quartered, and where the poet Longfellow now adds the associations of literature to those of war. The day before leaving home I stood upon the doorsteps of that stately mansion, the very steps on which Washington and Morgan may have stood together, debating the dangers of the land, or perchance the homelier gossip of their Virginia neighbors. I bear you greeting from that historic house, from that famous camp-ground, from the Washington Elm, from the Governor of Massachusetts and from the Governors of those New England States now representing that portion of the “Old Thirteen."
The battle of the Cowpens, although hardly more than a skirmish when tried by modern standards, was in its day, according to the British historian Stedman, “a very principal link in the chain of circumstances which led to the independence of America.” Lord Cornwallis himself described it, in a letter quoted in Tarleton's "Campaigns," as being “an unexpected and extraordinary event.” It was extraordinary in three ways: It was a victory of a smaller over a larger number; it was to a great extent a victory of militia over regulars; it was a victory won upon a ground so selected as to reverse the ordinary precautions of good strategy. To draw up an inferior force for a pitched battle directly in front of a broad river has always seemed to the military critics very imprudent. But this very act showed the daring and the foresight of Morgan. When blamed he afterwards answered: "I would not have had a swamp in view of my militia on any consideration; they would have made for it, and nothing could have detained them from it.
As to retreat, it was the very thing I wished to cut off all hope of. I would have thanked Tarleton had he surrounded me with his cavalry.” Braver and shrewder words never were spoken by a military commander.