Page images


charge, had broken in pieces every army that opposed him, crushed the greatest rebellion in history, saved a great nation and its fortunes, and won the admiration and homage of the world.

But why do I mention here such an improbable career? Because this great career contains a greater lesson. This modest and unpretending man, this peace-loving man, this kind and fair-minded man, and this grandly successful man is the man who informs us that he had two special principles: “One is,” said he, “that in stations of great responsibility, every one should do his duty to the best of his ability where assigned by competent authority, without application the use

of influence to change his position.” Another “always had been, when I started to go any. where or do anything not to turn back or stop until the thing intended was accomplished.” Add to these his expressed view of that brilliant achievement at Vicksburg : “ It looks as though Providence directed the campaign while the army of the Tennessee executed the decree”; and that memorable utterance when accepting the chief command which was the beginning of the end : "I feel the full weight of the responsibilities now devolving on me, and I know that if they are met, it will be due to those noble armies, and above all to the favor of that Providence which leads both nations and men.” Hear him once more as, at the age of sixty-two, after all the strange companionships, excitements, and provocations of his eventful history, he says:

“I am not aware of ever having used a profane expletive in my life"; and see how while such a career is probably unattainable, such calm, reposeful, indomitable courage becomes a lesson to young men and older men for all time and in every condition of human life.

Young Gentlemen of the Graduating Class : In mediæval times when the young expectant knight had been invested with helmet, armor, and spurs, and before he mounted his steed and brandished his sword and spear, he received the accolade with the words : “In the name of God, Saint Michael, and Saint George, I make thee a knight; be brave, bold, and loyal.” Before your accolade let me say to you: “In the name of the Master, be brave, bold, and loyal ;” brave for endurance, bold for encounter, and loyal to truth, right, and God. Go out into life in strength and hope, with a cheerful courage founded on faith in God and his promises. It is the one panoply for life's struggles, the one panacea for its troubles. It is the Christian privilege to rejoice always; yea, to look forward and rejoice as a strong man to run a race. But there may come times when the outlook seems dark; then let the light of God's promise stream before you. Your success may seem

em doubtful, your livelihood precarious. “Trust in the Lord, and do good ; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” You may be called to rough it. Trust in God and rough it. You may be summoned to do hard work and difficult. Trust in God and do it. You may be made to bear heavy burdens. Trust in God and bear them. You may be obliged to

w'thstand evil movements, sentiments, and practices. Trust in God and withstand them. You may be brought face to face with great obstacles. Trust in God and face them. You may possibly have to endure opposition and abuse. Trust in God and endure them. Have courage to stand for every right thing and against every wrong thing, and know that you and God are on the same side. The emissaries of evil are bold; you may be bolder. It was a bold utterance of Milton's Satan to the Grisly Terror at the gates :

“ Through them I mean to pass,
That be assured, without leave asked of thee,”

It was a bolder utterance of Bunyan's Pilgrim to Satan himself: "Apollyon, beware, for I am on the King's highway; therefore take heed to thyself”; and he dealt him so deadly a thrust that he spread his dragon wings and Christian saw him no more. In all life's joys and victories, in all its toils, struggles, and conflicts so carry yourselves, each of you, as to earn the eulogy

• Unmoved,
Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified,
His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal ;
Nor number nor example with him wrought,
To swerve from truth or change his constant mind,
Though single."

Go forth, then, in the strength of God's Word and grace and providence; and God speed you on your way.

Amen and amen.





ANIEL WEBSTER comes home to-day to the

heart of his native state. A loyal son of this Commonwealth, distinguished already by his noble benefaction to its chief literary institution, presents to his fellow citizens this lasting and admirable memorial of the most illustrious graduate of that college and the greatest of the sons of New Hampshire. All honor to the man who, having by his own indefatigable toil and skill acquired the means, has also had the mind to appreciate and the heart to commemorate thus the mighty dead. The thanks of every native and every resident of the state are due to-day to Benjamin Pierce Cheney.

And while we thank the giver, we are here to receive the gift. We have come, some indeed from neighboring Commonwealths and distant points, but chiefly from the state of Webster's nativity – from its legislative halls and offices of state, its literary institutions, its professional employments, its business affairs, the mill, the shop, the farm, and the home, from the banks of the Piscataqua, the Merrimack, and the Connecticut, the borders of its lakes and the shadows of its great mountains, to do honor once more to an imperishable memory. For though his death was lamented in whole volumes of eulogies from the most eloquent divines and the ablest statesmen in all parts of the Union; though such men as Cass and Seward and Preston and Everett and Winthrop and Evarts and Choate and Bayard have brought their exhaustive tributes to his greatness, we feel that there yet remains something for us to do and to say.

For here we stand in the very center of his earlier sphere of life and labor, the home of his birth, his growth, and his maturity. On every side are the places which will be forever associated with his name and history. A few miles to the north of us still waves the old elm that swung near his cradle, and still sparkles the water of the well that quenched the thirst of his childhood's sports and of his manhood's pilgrimages. Not far from thence, northwesterly, rises the high hill, with faint traces of a church, — Searle's Hill or Meetinghouse Hill, — up which he was borne by his stalwart father in the first year of his life for baptism. A few miles beyond, in Andover, is the place where in the last year of his life he wept and prayed with old John Colby. In the opposite direction, down by the Merrimack, lies the “ Elms Farm” of his boyhood's and his manhood's love; where at the age of eight he first read the Constitution, printed on a cotton handkerchief ; where were held the counselings and the strugglings for his and his brother's education; whence he set forth for college with his books and clothing slung on horseback; whither he returned to

« PreviousContinue »