« PreviousContinue »
fame, they were proud to claim him as one of the great treasures of the English-speaking race.
I found no little prejudice still existing against Franklin, a survival, I suppose, of the bitterness of our revolutionary struggle, in which he came into much closer contact with England both before and during the war than any other American;and then the transmission and publication of the Hutchinson letters had never been quite forgiven or forgotten. But as I believed that their transmission was, as he declared himself, one of the best actions of his life, and their publication was in violation of his injunctions, I was glad to have an opportunity in speaking of him at Birmingham to develope at length his wonderful career, as first, a most stalwart champion of the British Empire, and afterwards, when peace and union were no longer possible, as one of the greatest of American citizens.
Hamilton was comparatively unknown, except to lawyers, scholars and great readers. There had been a recent rehabilitation of his fame in a fascinating work of fiction, which had been widely read in England as in America, but the real facts of the great work of that surpassing genius, in upholding the arms of Washington in the war,
in bringing about the Convention of 1787 which made the Federal Constitution, in securing its adoption by the people, and in organizing our government under it were not widely known, and it was a great pleasure to tell this wonderful story to the students of the University of Edinburgh.
Emerson is a general favorite among all reading and thinking people in Great Britain, and his reputation as poet and philosopher is well recognized and established, but I do not think that the extent and power of his influence on public questions in great crises was fully appreciated, and it was a source of pride and satisfaction to set forth some of his most thrilling utterances in the days of the slavery agitation and the war, when in clarion tones he appealed to the conscience of his countrymen.
No subject relating to America interested English and Scotch people more than the Supreme Court of the United States and its place in the Constitution. Even learned lawyers and jurists found it difficult to understand how two distinct and independent governments could coexist over the same people and the same territory without clashing, until the power of the Supreme Court to adjust all differences between State and Federal jurisdictions was taken into consideration; and nowhere is greater credit given to the wisdom of the framers of the Federal Constitution with all its safeguards for property and liberty, than by Englishmen, who nevertheless recognize the omnipotence of Parliament as the cardinal principle of their own political system.
Education in America is a subject not only of great curiosity but of profound interest where the general subject of education is being constantly agitated, and in respect to which each country has much to learn from others. The Board of Education in Great Britain had recently published two large volumes devoted to its condition and progress in America - a very great international compliment - and when the opportunity came to me to speak at the opening of the Summer Schools at Oxford on the same theme I gladly availed myself of it.
It was also a satisfaction to demonstrate to the Sir Walter Scott Club of Edinburgh the love and respect in which that great writer is held throughout America, and what an elevating and educational influence he has exercised there.
The Centenary of the British and Foreign Bible Society was an important international event in which it was my privilege to participate both as Ambassador and as Special Delegate of the American Bible Society.
The address at Lincoln's Inn on the occasion of the dinner tendered to me by the Bench and Bar of England, and my farewell address at the Mansion House at the Lord Mayor's Banquet gave me opportunities, which I gladly embraced, to express, on my own behalf and that of all my countrymen, gratitude for the generous hospitality and cordial welcome which had been always extended to me as their representative.
As a loyal son of Harvard it was an immense gratification to leave behind me Mr. LaFarge's window in Southwark Cathedral as a memorial of John Harvard, and to enjoy the assistance in the ceremony of His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Southwark and of Mr. Bryce, who was so soon to come to us as His Majesty's brilliant and popular Ambassador.
In the hope that these efforts have done something, however little, in the language of President McKinley,“ to promote the welfare of both countries " I dedicate the volume to my friends on both sides of the water.
STOCKBRIDGE, September, 1910.