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of the world's greatest literature. The myths and legends of Greece were of no one man's invention. They were children of the popular imaginings—vague, varying—floating hither and thither, like the mists of the mountains. But Homer touched them, and they started up into a beautiful, immortal life, to delight and charm untold generations. Æschylus and Sophocles put them upon the stage, and they became types of the sorrows of humanity and of the struggle of man with fate. The Sagas of the far north, confused and diffuse, but full of poetry and imagination, slumbered until the Minnesingers wove them into the Niebelungen Lied and again until a great composer set them before our eyes, so that all men could see their beauty and pathos and read their deeper meanings. Sir Thomas Mallory rescued the Arthurian legends from chaos, and in our own day a great poet has turned them into forms which make their beauty clear to the world. Thus popular imaginings, dumb for the most part, finding at best only a rude expression, have been touched by the hand of genius and live forever.
So in politics Jefferson embodied in the Declaration of Independence the feelings of the American people and sounded to the world the first note in the great march of Democracy, which then began. The “ Marseillaise,” in words and music, burned with the spirit of the French Revolution and inspired the armies which swept over Europe.
Thus Webster gave form and expression, at once noble and moving, to the national sentiment of his people. In what he said men saw clearly what they themselves thought, but which they could not express. That sentiment grew and strengthened with every hour, when men had only to repeat his words, in order to proclaim the creed in which they believed; and after he was dead Webster was heard again in
the deep roar of the Union guns from Sumter to Appa mattox.
His message, delivered as he alone could deliver it, was potent in inspiring the American people to the terrible sacrifices by which they saved the nation when he slept silent in his grave at Marshfield. Belief in the Union and the constitution, because they meant national greatness and national life, was the great dominant conviction of Webster's life. It was part of his temperament. He loved the outer world, the vast expanses of sea and sky, all that was large and unfettered in nature. So he admired great States and empires and had little faith in small ones or in the happiness or worth of a nation which has no history and which fears its fate too much to put its fortune to the touch when the accepted time has come.
It was not merely that as a statesman he saw the misery and degradation which would come from the breaking of the Union as well as the progressive disintegration which was sure to follow, but the very thought of it came home to him with the sharpness of a personal grief which was almost agonizing. When, in the 7th of March speech, he cried out, « What States are to secede? What is to remain American? What am I to be?” a political opponent said the tone of the last question made him shudder as if some dire calamity was at hand. The greatness of the United States filled his mind. He had not the length of days accorded to Lord Bathurst, but the angel of dreams had unrolled to him the future, and the vision was ever before his eyes.
This passionate love of his country, this dream of her future, inspired his greatest efforts, were even the chief cause at the end of his life of his readiness to make sacrifices of principle which would only have helped forward what he
'dreaded most, but which he believed would save that for which he cared most deeply. In a period when great forces were at work which in their inevitable conflict threatened the existence of the Union of States, Webster stands out above all others as the champion, as the very embodiment of the national life and the national faith. More than any other man of that time he called forth the sentiment more potent than all reasonings which saved the nation. It was a great work, greatly done, with all the resources of a powerful intellect and with an eloquence rarely heard among men. put aside all his other achievements, all his other claims to remembrance, and inscribe alone upon the base of his statue the words uttered in the Senate, “Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable.” That single sentence recalls all the noble speeches which breathed only the greatness of the country and the prophetic vision which looked with undazzled gaze into a still greater future. No other words are wanted for a man who so represented and so expressed the faith and hopes of a nation. His statue needs no other explanation so long as the nation he served and the Union he loved shall last.
SPEECH AT REPUBLICAN CONVENTION
DELIVERED AT PHILADELPHIA, JUNE 20, 1900
NE of the greatest honors that can fall to any Ameri
can in public life is to be called to preside over a
Republican National Convention. How great that honor is you know, but you cannot realize, nor can I express the gratitude which I feel to you for having conferred it
H-Orations. Vol. 25
I can only say to you in the simplest phrase, that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. “ Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks, and yet I thank you."
We meet again to nominate the next President of the United States. Four years have passed since we nominated the soldier and statesman who is now President, and who is soon to enter upon his second term. Since the Civil War no Presidential term has been so crowded with great events as that which is now drawing to a close. They have been four memorable years.
To Republicans they show a record of promises kept, of work done, of unforeseen questions met and answered. To the Democrats they have been generous in the exhibition of unfulfilled predictions, in the ruin of their hopes of calamity and in futile opposition to the forces of the times, and the aspirations of the American people. I wish I could add that they had been equally instructive to our opponents, but while it is true that the Democrats, like the Bourbons, learn nothing, it is only too evident that the familiar comparison cannot be completed, for they forget a great deal which it would be well for them to remember.
In 1897 we took the Government and the country from the hands of President Cleveland. His party had abandoned him and were joined to their idols, of which he was no longer one. During the last years of his term we had presented to us the melancholy spectacle of a President trying to govern without a party.
The result was that his policies were in ruin, legislation was at a standstill, and public affairs were in a perilous and incoherent condition. Party responsibility had vanished, and with it all possibility of intelligent action, demanded by the country at home and abroad. It was an interesting, but
by no means singular, display of Democratic unfitness for the practical work of government. To the political student it was instructive, to the country it was extremely painful, to business disastrous.
We replaced this political chaos with a President in thorough accord with his party, and the machinery of government began again to move smoothly and effectively. Thus we kept at once our promise of better and more efficient administration. In four months after the inauguration of President McKinley we had passed a tariff bill. For ten years the artificial agitation, in behalf of what was humorously called tariff reform, and of what was really free trade, had kept business in a ferment, and had brought a Treasury deficit, paralyzed industries, depression, panic, and, finally, continuous bad times to a degree never before imagined. Would you know the result of our tariff legislation, look
Would you measure its success, recollect that it is no longer an issue, that our opponents, free traders as they are, do not dare to make it an issue, that there is not a State in the Union to-day which could be carried for free trade against protection. Never was a policy more fully, justified by its works, never was a promise made by any party more absolutely fulfilled.
Dominant among the issues of four years ago was that of our monetary and financial system. The Republican Party promised to uphold our credit, to protect our currency from revolution, and to maintain the gold standard. We have
We have done more. We have been better than our promise.
Failing to secure, after honest effort, any encouragement for international bimetallism, we have passed a law strengthiening the gold standard and planting it more firmly. than