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GEORGE FRISBIE HOAR
SOUTH CAROLINA AND MASSACHUSETTS
[Address by George F. Hoar, lawyer, statesman, United States Senator from Massachusetts since 1877 (born in Concord, Mass., August 29, 1826; ), delivered at the banquet of the New England Society of Charleston, S. C., December 22, 1898. The theme and range of discussion mark this oration as an occasional address rather than a typical after-dinner speech, and accordingly it is placed in this department of Modern Eloquence.]
MR. PRESIDENT:—I need not assure this brilliant company how deeply I am impressed by the significance of this occasion. I am not vain enough to find in it anything of personal compliment. I like better to believe that the ties of common history, of common faith, of common citizenship, and inseparable destiny, are drawing our two sister States together again. If cordial friendship, if warm affection (to use no stronger term), can ever exist between two communities, they should exist between Massachusetts and South Carolina. They were both of the “Old Thirteen.” They were alike in the circumstances of their origin. Both were settled by those noble fugitives who brought the torch of liberty across the sea, when liberty was without other refuge on the face of the earth.
The English Pilgrims and Puritans founded Massachusetts, to be followed soon after by the Huguenot exiles who fled from the tyranny of King Louis XIV, after the revocation of the edict of Nantes. Scotch Presbyterianism founded Carolina, to be followed soon after by the French exiles fleeing from the same oppression. Everywhere in New England are traces of the footsteps of this gentle, delightful, and chivalrous race. All over our six States, to-day, many an honored grave, many a stirring tradition bear witness to the kinship between our early settlers and the settlers of South Carolina. Faneuil Hall, in Boston, which we love to call the Cradle of Liberty, attests the munificence and bears the name of an illustrious Huguenot. These French exiles lent their grace and romance to our history also. Their settlements were like clusters of magnolias in some warm valley in our bleak New England. We are, all of us, in Massachusetts, reading again the story of the voyage of the “Mayflower,” written by William Bradford. As you have heard, that precious manuscript has lately been restored to us by the kindness of his Grace the Lord Bishop of London. It is, in the eyes of the children of the Pilgrims, the most precious manuscript on earth. If there be anything to match the pathos of that terrible voyage, it is found in the story of Judith Manigault, the French Huguenot exile, of her nine months' voyage from England to South Carolina. Her name, I am told, has been honored here in every generation since. If there be a single lesson which the people of this country have learned from their wonderful and crowded history, it is that the North and South are indispensable to each other. They are the blades of mighty shears, worthless apart, but, when bound by an indissoluble Union, powerful, irresistible, and terrible as the shears of Fate; like the shears of Atropos, severing every thread and tangled web of evil, cutting out for humanity its beautiful garments of Liberty and Light from the cloth her dread sisters spin and weave. I always delight to think, as I know the people of South Carolina delight to think, of these States of ours, not as mere aggregations of individuals, but as beautiful personalities, moral beings, endowed with moral characters, capable of faith, of hope, of memory, of pride, of sorrow and of joy, of courage, of heroism, of honor, and of shame. Certainly this is true of them. Their power and glory, their rightful place in history, depended on these things, and not on numbers or extent of territory. It is this that justifies the arrangement of the Constitution of the United States for equal representation of States in the upper legislative chamber, and explains its admirable success. The separate entity and the absolute freedom, except for the necessary restraints of the Constitution, of our different States, is the cause alike of the greatness and the security of the country. The words Switzerland, France, England, Rome, Athens, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Virginia, America, convey to your mind a distinct and individual meaning, and suggest an image of distinct moral quality and moral being as clearly as do the words Washington, Wellington, or Napoleon. I believe it is, and I thank God that I believe it is, something much higher than the average of the qualities of the men who make it up. We think of Switzerland as something better than the individual Swiss, and of France as something better than the individual Frenchman, and of America as something better than the individual American. In great and heroic individual actions we often seem to feel that it is the country, of which the man is but the instrument, that gives expression to its quality in doing the deed. It was Switzerland who gathered into her breast at Sempach, the sheaf of fatal Austrian spears. It was the hereditary spirit of New England that gave the word of command by the voice of Buttrick, at Concord, and was in the bosom of Parker at Lexington. It was South Carolina whose lightning-stroke smote the invader by the arm of Marion, and whose wisdom guided the framers of the Constitution through the lips of Rutledge, and Gadsden, and Pinckney. The citizen on great occasions knows and obeys the voice of his country as he knows and obeys an individual voice, whether it appeal to a base or ignoble, or to a generous or noble passion. “Sons of France, awake to glory,” told the French youth what was the dominant passion in the bosom of France, and it awoke a corresponding sentiment in his own. Under its spell he marched through Europe and overthrew her kingdoms and empires, and felt in Egypt that forty centuries were looking down on him from the pyramids. But, at last, one June morning in Trafalgar Bay there was another utterance, more quiet in its tone, but speaking also with a personal and individual voice—“England expects every man to do his duty.” At the sight of Nelson's immortal signal, duty-loving England and glory-loving France met as they have met on many an historic battle-field before and since, and the lover of duty proved the stronger. The England that expected every man to do his duty was as real a being to the humblest sailor in Nelson's fleet as the mother that bore him. The title of our American States to their equality, under this admirable arrangement, depends not on area, or upon numbers, but upon character and upon personality. Fancy a league or a confederacy in which Athens or Sparta were united with Persia or Babylon or Nineveh, and their political power were to be reckoned in proportion to their numbers or their size. I have sometimes fancied South Carolina and Massachusetts, those two illustrious and heroic sisters, instead of sitting apart, one under her palm-trees and the other under her pines, one with the hot gales from the tropics fanning her brow, and the other on the granite rocks by her ice-bound shores, meeting together, and comparing notes and stories as sisters born of the same mother compare notes and stories after a long separation. How the old estrangements, born of ignorance of each other, would have melted away. Does it ever occur to you that the greatest single tribute ever paid to Daniel Webster was paid by Mr. Calhoun ? And the greatest single tribute ever paid to Mr. Calhoun was paid by Mr. Webster. I do not believe that among the compliments or marks of honor which attended the illustrious career of Daniel Webster there is one that he would have valued so much as that which his great friend, his great rival and antagonist paid him from his dying bed. “Mr. Webster,” said Mr. Calhoun, “has as high a standard of truth as any statesman whom I have met in debate. Convince him, and he cannot reply; he is silent; he cannot look truth in the face and oppose it by argument.” There was never, I suppose, paid to John C. Calhoun, during his illustrious life, any other tribute of honor he would have valued so highly as that which was paid him after his death by his friend, his rival and antagonist, Daniel Webster. “Mr. Calhoun,”, said Mr. Webster, “had the basis, the indispensable basis, of all high charac: