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EDWARD EVERETT HALE
is good to eat and drink in Boston, is good to eat and drink even here on this benighted point of Delmonico's.
When you talk to us about “culture,” that is rather a dangerous word. I am always a little afraid of the word “culture." I recollect the very brightest squib that I read in the late election campaign-and as the President says, gentlemen, I am going to respect the proprieties of the occasion. It was sent to one of the journals from the Western Reserve ; and the writer, who, if I have rightly guessed his name, is one of the most brilliant of our younger poets, was descanting on the Chinook vocabulary, in which a Chinook calls an Englishman a Chinchog to this day, in memory of King George. And this writer says that when they have a young chief whose war paint is very perfect, whose blanket is thoroughly embroidered, whose leggings are tied up with exactly the right colors, and who has the right kind of star upon his forhead and cheeks, but who never took a scalp, never fired an arrow, and never smelled powder, but was always found at home whenever there was anything that scented of war, he says the Chinooks called that man by the name of“ Boston Cultus."
Well now, gentlemen, what are you laughing at? Why do you laugh? Some of you had Boston fathers, and more of you had Boston mothers. Why do you laugh? Ah! you have seen these people, as I have seen them, as everybody has seen them-people who sat in Parker's and discussed every movement of the campaign in the late war, and told us that it was all wrong, that we were going to the bad, but who never shouldered a musket. They are people who tell us that the emigration, that the Pope of Rome, or the German element, or the Irish element, is going to play the dogs with our social system, and yet they never met an emigrant on the wharf or had a word of comfort to say to a foreigner. We have those people in Boston. You may not have them in New York, and I am very glad if you have not ; but if you are so fortunate, it is the only place on God's earth where I have not found such a people.
But there is another kind of culture which began even before there was any Boston-for there was such a day as that. There were ten years in the history of this world, ten long years, before Boston existed, and those are the years between Plymouth Rock and the day when some unfortunate men, not able to get to Plymouth Rock, stopped and founded that city. This earlier culture is a culture not of the school-house, or of the tract, but a culture as well of the Church, of history, of the town-meeting, as John Adams says; that nobler culture to which my friend on the right has alluded when he says that it is born of the Spirit of God—the culture which has made New England, which is born of God, and which it is our mission to carry over the world.
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL (1989-1891)
THE HOSEA BIGLOW OF ORATORY
MONG American authors there are none more versatile, none on
whose shoulders motley sits more gracefully, than Lowell, the
poet, essayist, critic, and humorist, the man who could be everything for every occasion, who could wear the cap and bells of the mirth-maker, flourish the sharp prod of the critic, bring sweet music from the harp strings of the poet, or walk with grave dignity in the cloak of the essayist and professor. They who love laughter cannot do better than read Lowell's inimitable “Biglow Papers,” or take in the genial fun of his “Courtin'.” For the patrons of poetry he has set out many toothsome morsels; while in the line of the essay we can name no finer example of classical satire than his “On a Certain Condescension in Foreigners."
Lowell did not confine himself to the production of literature. For a number of years he lectured on this subject at Harvard, and then for other years he edited the Atlantic Monthly, and after that the North American Review. Political honors also came to him. He was Minister to Spain under President Hayes, and afterward Minister to England, where he made the whole country his friend and admirer. As an orator he distinguished himself by numerous public addresses, which brought him high praise. As an example of his manner, we present a brief specimen of his after-dinner speech-making.
THE KINSHIP OF ENGLAND AND AMERICA [The inciting cause of the following remarks was a banqnet to Henry Irving, the celebrated actor, at London, on July 4, 1883. On this, the natal day of the United States, Lowell, then Minister to England, represented and spoke for the great Republic of the West. Among the guests was Lord Coleridge, Lord Chief Justice of England, himself a forceful speaker, whom Lowell especially addressed in the following graceful fragment of social oratory.]
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL
I may be allowed to make one remark as to a personal experience. Fortune has willed it that I should see as many—perhaps more cities and manners of men as Ulysses; and I have observed one general fact, and that is, that the adjectival epithet which is prefixed to all the virtues is invariably the epithet which geographically describes the country that I am in. For instance, not to take any real name, if I am in the kingdom of Lilliput, I hear of the Lilliputian virtues. I hear courage, I hear common sense, and I hear political wisdom called by that name. If I cross to the neighboring republic Blefusca—for since Swift's time it has become a republic-I hear all these virtues suddenly qualified as Blefuscan.
I am very glad to be able to thank Lord Coleridge for having, I believe for the first time, coupled the name of the President of the United States with that of her Majesty on an occasion like this. I was struck, both in what he said, and in what our distinguished guest of this evening said, with the frequent recurrence of an adjective which is comparatively new-I mean the word “English-speaking." We continually hear nowadays of the “English-speaking race,” of the “English-speaking population.” I think this implies, not that we are to forget, not that it would be well for us to forget, that national emulation and that national pride which is implied in the words “ Englishman” and “ American," but the word implies that there are certain perennial and abiding sympathies between all men of a common descent and a common language. I am sure, my lord, that all you said with regard to the welcome which our distinguished guest will receive in America is true. His eminent talents as an actor, the dignified—I may say the illustrious-manner in which he has sustained the traditions of that succession of great actors who, from the time of Burbage to his own, have illustrated the English stage, will be as highly appreciated there as here.
And I am sure that I may also say that the chief magistrate of England will be welcomed by the Bar of the United States, of which I am an unworthy member, and perhaps will be all the more warmly welcomed that he does rot come among them to practice. He will find American law administered—and I think he will agree with me in saying ably administered-by judges who, I am sorry to say, sit without the traditional wig of England. I have heard since I came here friends of mine gravely lament this as so serious an innovation. I answered with a little story which I remember hearing from my father. He remembered the last clergyman in New England who still continued to wear the wig. At first it became a singularity and at last a monstrosity; and the good doctor concluded to leave it off. But there was one poor woman among
his parishioners who lamented this sadly, and waylaying the clergyman as he
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL
came out of church she said, “Oh, dear doctor, I have always listened to your sermon with the greatest edification and comfort, but now that the wig is gone all is gone." I have thought I have seen some signs of encouragement in the faces of my English friends after I have consoled them with this little story.
But I must not allow myself to indulge in any further remarks. There is one virtue, I am sure, in after-dinner oratory, and that is brevity ; and as to that I am reminded of a story. The Lord Chief Justice has told you what are the ingredients of after-dinner oratory. They are the joke, the quotation, and the platitude ; and the successful platitude, in my judgment, requires a very high order of genius. I believe that I have not given you a quotation, but I am reminded of something which I heard when very young—the story of a Methodist clergyman in America. He was preaching at a camp-meeting, and he was preaching upon the miracle of Joshua, and he began his sermon with this sentence : “My hearers, there are three motions of the sun. The first is the straightforward or direct motion of the sun; the second is the retrograde or backward motion of the sun; the third is the motion mentioned in our text, the sun stood still.''
Now, gentlemen, I don't know whether you see the application of the story—I hope you do. The after-dinner orator at first begins and goes straight forward—that is the straightforward motion of the sun. Next he goes back and begins to repeat himself—that is the backward motion of the sun. At last he has the good sense to bring himself to the end, and that is the motion mentioned in our text, as the sun stood still.
FITZHUGH LEE (1835
A SOLDIER ON THE FORUM
MONG the men who have bravely upheld the dignity of the
United States under trying circumstances we must name
General Fitzhugh Lee, who was United States Consul at Havana during the period preceding the Spanish War, and in whose hands-ex-Confederate that he was—the honor of the old flag proved safe. Grandson of one of the soldier heroes of the Revolution, and nephew of the soldier hero of the South in the Civil War, the part played by himself as a cavalry leader in the Confederate ranks was no unimportant one, he being chief in command of the cavalry of the army in Virginia at the end of the war. During the years of peace that followed, General Lee was called upon to fill important posts. In 1886, Virginia chose him for her Governor. From 1893 to 1898 he served as Consul-General at Havana, and he was a Major-General of Volunteers in the war with Spain. He subsequently, for a time, held the post of Military-Governor of the Province of Havana, controlling with firm hand the excited patriots of Cuba libre during the early days of their new importance as citizens of an independent nationality. His popularity in his own State as well as throughout the country calls for his services on many social and public occasions.
HARMONY UNDER THE OLD FLAG [During the splendid celebration at Philadelphia in 1887 of the hundredth anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution, one of the great historical events of which the Quaker City was the seat, Governor Lee was present as the principal representative of the Old Dominion. During his visit he attended, as the guest of Governor Beaver, of Pennsylvania, a dinner given by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and the Hibernian Society of Philadelphia. The distinguished guest was naturally called upon to address the convivial assembly. He did so in words of admirable good fellowship.]