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96 JOHN QUINCY ADAMS
above. He devoted himself, his life, his fortune, his hereditary honors, his towering ambition, his splendid hopes, all to the cause of liberty. He came to another hemisphere to defend her. He became one of the most effective champions of our Independence; but, that once achieved, he returned to his own country, and thenceforward took no part in the controversies which have divided us. In the events of our Revolution, and in the forms of policy which we have adopted for the establishment and perpetuation of our freedom, Lafayette found the most perfect form of government. He wished to add nothing to it. He would gladly have abstracted nothing from it. Instead of the imaginary Republic of Plato, or the Utopia of Sir Thomas More, he took a practical existing model, in actual operation here, and never attempted or wished more than to apply it faithfully to his own country. It was not given to Moses to enter the promised land; but he saw it from the summit of Pisgah. It was not given to Lafayette to witness the consummation of his wishes in the establishment of a republic, and the extinction of all hereditary rule in France. His principles were in advance of the age and hemisphere in which he lived. A Bourbon still reigns on the throne of France, and it is not for us to scrutinize the title by which he reigns. The principles of elective and hereditary power, blended in reluctant union in his person, like the red and white roses of York and Lancaster, may postpone to aftertime the last conflict to which they must ultimately come. The life of the patriarch was not long enough for the development of his whole political system. Its final accomplishment is in the womb of time. The anticipation of this event is the more certain, from the consideration that all the principles for which Lafayette contended were practical. He never indulged himself in wild and fanciful speculations. The principle of hereditary power was, in his opinion, the bane of all republican liberty in Europe. Unable to extinguish it in the Revolution of 1830, so far as concerned the chief magistracy of the nation, Lafayette had the satisfaction of seeing it abolished with reference to the peerage. An hereditary Crown, stript of the support which it may derive from an hereditary peerage, however compatible with Asiatic despotism, is an anomaly in the history of the Christian world and in the theory of free government. There is no argument producible against the existence of an hereditary peerage, but applies with aggravated weight against the transmission, from sire to son, of an hereditary Crown. The prejudices and passions of the people of France rejected the principle of inherited power, in every station of public trust, excepting the first and highest of them all ; but there they clung to it, as did the Israelites of old to the savory deities of Egypt.
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This is not the time or the place for a disquisition upon the comparative merits, as a system of government, of a republic, and a monarchy surrounded by republican institutions. Upon this subject there is among us no diversity of opinion ; and if it should take the people of France another half century of internal and external war, of dazzling and delusive glories, of unparalleled triumphs, humiliating reverses, and bitter disappointments, to settle it to their satisfaction, the ultimate result can only bring them to the point where we have stood from the day of the Declaration of Independence—to the point where Lafayette would have brought them, and to which he looked as a consummation devoutly to be wished.
Then, too, and then only, will be the time when the character of Lafayette will be appreciated at its true value throughout the civilized world. When the principle of hereditary dominion shall be relinquished in all the institutions of France; when government shall no longer be considered as property transmissible from sire to son, but as a trust committed for a limited time, and then to return to the people whence it came; as a burdensome duty to be discharged, and not as a reward to be abused ; when a claim, any claim, to political power by inheritance shall, in the estimation of the whole French people, be held as it now is by the whole people of the North American Union—then will be the time for contemplating the character of Lafayette, not merely in the events of his life, but in the full development of his intellectual conceptions, of his fervent aspirations, of the labors and perils and sacrifices of his long and eventful career upon earth ; and thenceforward, till the hour when the trump of the Archangel shall sound to announce that time shall be no more, the name of Lafayette shall stand enrolled upon the annals of our race, high on the list of the pure and disinterested benefactors of mankind.
EDWARD EVERETT (1794-1865)
THE RESCUER OF THE HOME OF WASHINGTON
HE title we have given Everett is in remembrance of his strenuT ous efforts to save for the people one of America's most sacred relics, Washington's home at Mount Vernon. Resigning his seat in Congress in 1854 on account of failing health, he began, the moment returning health permitted, one of the most active efforts of his life, the collection of money by writing and lecturing for the purchase of this historic estate, that it might be kept for all future time as a place of pilgrimage for patriotic Americans. The sum raised by him, about one hundred thousand dollars, sufficed for this noble purpose, and Mount Vernon became the property of the American people.
As an orator Everett stands very high among Americans, his lectures and speeches being rarely surpassed in value, if we consider at once the information they contain, and the grace and elegance of their style. Edward Everett may be said to have gone to school to Daniel Webster, for he was prepared for college by Ezekiel Webster, who was replaced for a week in the school by his brother Daniel. Thus began the acquaintance of these two distinguished orators. Many years afterward, in 1852, the pupil succeeded his temporary teacher as Secretary of State.
Everett studied divinity and was for a short time a minister in Boston, leaving the church to become Greek professor at Harvard. He was elected to Congress in 1824 and remained there for ten years, only quitting the House of Representatives to become Governor of Massachusetts. In 1841 he was appointed, through the influence of Webster, Minister to Great Britain, a diplomatic post which has never been more creditably and ably filled. In 1845 he was elected President of Harvard University. In 1845, as above said, he was for a brief period
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Secretary of State, leaving this position to enter the Senate. This seat he soon resigned, on account of ill health. Conservative by temperament, he favored a conciliatory policy on the part of the North, with the hope of averting the threatened war, and became the nominee for Vice-President of the party of compromise and conciliation, on the ticket headed by John Bell of Tennessee. But when war became inevitable, he used all his energy towards the support of the Government. He survived till near the end of the conflict, dying on January 15, 1865.
THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DECLARATION
[The year 1826, which completed the fiftieth anniversary of American Independence, was one that gave occasion for much stirring oratory, and for general celebration in honor of the thrilling days and heroic men of '76. Most famous among the patriotic addresses is that of Daniel Webster, delivered at the laying of the corner. stone of the Bunker Hill Monument on June 17th. On July 4th, the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration, Edward Everett delivered at Cambridge, Massachusetts, a notable oration, with the Declaration for its subject. From this long and eloquent address we select some illustrative passages.]
FELLow CITIZENs: It belongs to us, with strong propriety, to celebrate this day. The town of Cambridge, and the county of Middlesex, are filled with the vestiges of the Revolution; whithersoever we turn our eyes we behold some memento of its glorious scenes. Within the walls in which we are now assembled, was convened the first provincial congress, after its adjournment at Concord. The rural magazine at Medford reminds us of one of the earliest acts of British aggression. The march of both divisions of the royal army, on the memorable 19th of April, was through the limits of Cambridge; in the neighboring towns of Lexington and Concord the first blood of the Revolution was shed ; in West Cambridge the royal convoy of provisions was, the same day, gallantly surprised by the aged citizens, who staid to protect their homes while their sons pursued the foe. Here the first American army was formed ; from this place, on the 17th of June, was detached the Spartan band that immortalized the heights of Charlestown, and consecrated that day, with blood and fire, to the cause of American liberty. Beneath the venerable elm which still shades the southwestern corner of the common, General Washington first unsheathed his sword at the head of an American army, and to that seat” was wont every Sunday to repair, to join in the supplications which were made for the welfare of his country.
* The first wall pew, to the right of the pulpit of the church in which the oration was delivered.
100 EDWARD EVERETT
How changed is now the scene ! The foe is gone ! The din and the desolation of war are passed ; Science has long resumed her station in the shades of our venerable university, no longer glittering with arms; the anxious war-council is no longer in session, to offer a reward for the discovery of the best mode of making saltpetre, an unpromising stage of hostilities when an army of twenty thousand men is in the field in front of the foe; the tall grass now waves in the trampled sally-port of some of the rural redoubts, that form a part of the simple lines of circumvallation within which a half-armed American militia held the flower of the British army blockaded : the plough has done what the English batteries could not do, has levelled others of them with the earth ; and the men, the great and good men—their warfare is over, and they have gone quietly down to the dust they redeemed from oppression. [Speaking of the praise due to those who took part in the struggle for independence, the orator continues:] This meed of praise, substantially accorded at the time by Chatham, in the British Parliament, may well be repeated by us. For most of the venerated men to whom it is paid it is but a pious tribute to departed worth. The Lees and the Henries, Otis, Quincy, Warren, and Samuel Adams, the men who spoke those words of thrilling power which raised and ruled the storm of resistance, and rang like a voice of fate across the Atlantic, are beyond the reach of our praise. To most of them it was granted to witness some of the fruits of their labors—such fruit as revolutions do not often bear. Others departed at an untimely hour, or nobly fell in the onset; too soon for their country, too soon for liberty, too soon for everything but their own undying fame. But all are not gone; some still survive among us; the favored, enviable men, to hail the jubilee of the independence they declared. Go back, fellow-citizens, to that day when Jef. ferson and Adams composed the sub-committee who reported the Declaration of Independence. Think of the mingled sensations of that proud but anxious day, compared to the joy of this. What honor, what crown, what treasure, could the world and all its kingdoms afford, compared with the honor and happiness of having been united in that commission, and living to see its most wavering hopes turned into glorious reality! Venerable men you have outlived the dark days which followed your more than heroic deed ; you have outlived your own strenuous contention, who should stand first among the people whose liberty you vindicated. You have lived to bear to each other the respect which the nation bears to you both ; and each has been so happy as to exchange the honorable name of the leader of a party for that more honorable one, the Father of his Country. While this our tribute of respect, on the jubilee