« PreviousContinue »
The most hopeful prospect to this age is the restoration of the old Union, and with it the speedy return of fraternal feeling throughout its length and breadth. These results depend upon the people themselves, upon the people of the North quite as much as the South. The masses everywhere are alike equally interested in this great object. Let old issues, old questions, old differences, and old feuds be regarded as fossils of another epoch.
The old Union was based on the assumption that it was for the best interest of the people of the United States to be united as they were, each State faithfully performing to the people of other States all their obligations under a common compact. I always said that this assumption was founded on broad, correct, and statesmanlike principles.
And now, after the severe chastisement of war, if the general sense of the whole country shall come back to the acknowledgment of the original assumption, I can perceive no reason why, under such restoration, we may not enter upon a new career, exacting increased wonder in the old World by grander achievements hereafter to be made, than any heretofore attained, by the peaceful and harmonious workings of our American institutions of self-government.
Caleb Cushing, lawyer, diplomat, soldier, orator, and statesman, was born in Salisbury, Mass., January 17, 1800, and died in Newburyport, Mass., January 2, 1879. His speeches are full of life, denoting his sincerity and earnestness; and the beauty of his language, wealth of knowledge, and purity of diction show the result of his ripe scholarship.
THE gentleman from South Carolina taunts us
with counting the costs of that war in which the liberties and honor of the country, and the interests of the North, as he asserts, were forced to go elsewhere for their defence. Will he sit down with me and count the cost now? Will he reckon up how much of treasure the State of South Carolina expended in that war, and how much the State of Massachusetts? - how much of the blood of either State was poured out on sea or land? I challenge the gentleman to the test of patriotism, which the army roll, the navy lists, and the treasury books afford.
Sir, they who revile us for our opposition to the last war, have looked only to the surface of things. They little know the extremities of suffering which the people of Massachusetts bore at that period, out of attachment to the Union,
their families beggared, their fathers and sons bleeding in camps, or pining in foreign prisons. They forget that not a field was marshalled on this side of the mountains, in which the men of Massachusetts did not play their part, as became their sires, and their “ blood fetched from mettle of war proof.” They battled and bled, wherever battle was fought or blood drawn.
Not only by land. I ask the gentleman, Who fought your naval battles in the last war? Who led you on to victory after victory, on the ocean and the lakes? Whose was the triumphant prowess before which the Red Cross of England paled with unwonted shames ? Were they not men of New England? Were these not foremost in those maritime encounters which humbled the pride and power of Great Britain?
I appeal to my colleague before me from our common county of brave old Essex,~ I appeal to my respected colleagues from the shores of the Old Colony. Was there a village or a hamlet on Massachusetts Bay, which did not gather its hardy seamen to man the gun-decks of your ships of war? Did they not rally to the battle, as men flock to a feast?
In conclusion, I beseech the House to pardon me, if I may have kindled, on this subject, into
something of unseemly ardor. I cannot sit tamely by, in humble, acquiescent silence, when reflections, which I know to be unjust, are cast on the faith and honor of Massachusetts.
Had I suffered them to pass without admonition, I should have deemed that the disembodied spirits of her departed children, from their ashes mingled with the dust of every stricken field of the Revolution,- from their bones mouldering to the consecrated earth of Bunker's Hill, of Saratoga, of Monmouth, would start up in visible shape, before me, to cry shame on me, their recreant countryman.
Sir, I have roamed through the world, to find hearts nowhere warmer than hers; soldiers nowhere braver; patriots nowhere purer; wives and mothers nowhere truer; maidens nowhere lovelier; green valleys and bright rivers nowhere greener or brighter; and I will not be silent, when I hear her patriotism or her truth questioned with so much as a whisper of detraction. Living, I will defend her; dying, I would pause in my last expiring breath, to utter a prayer of fond remembrance for my native New England.
THE BUNKER HILL MONUMENT
Daniel Webster, the greatest of modern orators, and, as far as we are able to judge at this far removed period, the equal of any of the ancient, was born in Salisbury, New Hampshire, January 18, 1782, and died in Marshfield, Mass., October 24, 1852. Although Webster was a great lawyer, and an able stateman, his name will live to the end of time not from the renown gained at the bar or in diplomacy, but from his transcendent genius as an orator. He excelled in all forms of oratory, and his productions stand in the front ranks of their different classes. In argumentative, postprandial, deliberative, dedicative, funeral, philosophic, and demonstrative oratory, his productions are masterpieces of their kind which, in individual cases, have rarely been equalled, and, when taken collectively, form a monument that towers above the oratorical production of any other man. Daniel Webster was splendidly endowed by nature, and specially fitted by training, for the career of an orator. He was a graduate of Dartmouth College, a master of law, a Greek and Latin scholar, and devoted all his life to amassing knowledge and gaining the power of using it to his oratorical purpose. He practised his orations before delivering them, and never trusted to their “ bursting forth ” with
spontaneous, original, native force." He polished and repolished his matter until it became practically flawless. While Webster is looked upon as an extemporaneous speaker, he never permitted himself to address an assembly until he had carefully thought out and arranged his discourse. His success in life was owing to his being prepared for all his undertakings, and not to any caprice of fortune. The following extract is the opening of the address delivered at the laying of the corner-stone of the Bunker Hill Monument, at Charlestown, Mass., June 17, 1825.
THIS uncounted multitude before me and
HIS uncounted multitude before me and
around me proves the feeling which the occasion has excited. These thousands of human