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and blind ambition hawk at and tear it, — should fanaticism, under the guise of philanthropy, combine with the banded tyrannies of the old world to overwhelm it, it will stretch forth its arms, with whatever vigor they may still retain, over the friends who gather around it, — and it will fall at last, if fall it must, amid the proudest monuments of its own glory and on the very spot of its origin!(Cheers.)
Third toast. - « The day we celebrate, – the eightyninth anniversary of American Independance; for ever dear to the hearts, — for ever hallowed in the memories of all lovers of national integrity and individual freedom. »
Music: The Star spangled banner. This was responded to by Rev. Dr Ames of Lancaster Mass, whose eloquent speech, however, unfortunately, was not reported.
Fourth loast. — « Civil and Religious liberty, — the purpose of Divine Providence towards all the nations. — Eternal honour to its martyrs, its defenders and its advocates in every land. »
Music : Air Suisse des Montagnes (Buch.).
In announcing this toast the President said he was quite sure he should give great pleasure to every American present, when he introduced, as its respondent, one whose name was known and esteemed in all our country; whose published works lay side by side of the Holy Bible, and Bunyon's Dream throughout the length and breadth of our land — namely, Dr Merle d’Aubigné of this city of Geneva (Cheers).
Dr Merle d’Aubigné's Speech.
The toast you give me to propose, is on civil and religious liberty. I should wish, in order to do honour to it, to be able, in this, my native country, to speak my native tongue, the tongue of my fathers. But I must speak English. There is a contradiction, Sir, in your request; you ask me to speak about liberty and you make me a slave. When I speak English, I am bound, I am in irons, I am a slave; nevertheless, I will endeavour, even though enchained, to give expression to my thoughts.
Civil and religious liberty! Ladies and gentlemen, there is need, great need of it. With the exception of two or three oases, the desert is everywhere. It is wanted in paganism, it is wanted in Islamism, it is wanted in Christendom, and it is even deficient in some protestant countries. But civil and religious liberty is the purpose of Divine Providence towards all nations, and after the darkness of the middle ages, began the great emancipations of humanity. The will of God was the triumph of that great cause; he raised up heroes, he crowned martyrs, and according to his usual mode of action, the accomplishing of great designs by small means, He made use of this little republic, to be one of the chief instruments of His marvellous plan.
We have had heroes and martyrs of liberty – and mar
tyrs are more than heroes, for they give their life to the cause they defend. At a distance of some few yards from the place where we are now assembled, on the edge of this majestic river which flows before our windows, at about this season of the year, 1519, Philibert Berthelier who had raised the people of this city against the encroachments of the prince-bishop of Geneva, and of the Duke of Savoy, was imprisoned in the tower of Cæsar : « Ask forgiveness, said to him the ducal officers, and submit yourself to the prince, else you will die. » Berthelier answered nothing, but he rose and wrote on the wall of his prison : Non moriar, sed vivam et narrabo opera Domini. The next day, the Duke and the bishop put all their army under arms; Berthelier was led to the narrow strip of land that lies between the tower and the river, and there the executioner struck off his head. Sir, Berthelier's name and glory, still live, and after three hundred years, we honour him, as one of the founders of modern liberty.
After him God raised up another hero. He was not a soldier like Berthelier, but a lawyer. Levrier the first judge of the town, when the Duke endeavoured to act as master, rose up in the Council and said : « The Duke is here a vassal and not a sovereign. » The learned judge was traitrously seized, coming out of the cathedral, tied to a horse, carried to the castle of Bonne, at the feet of the Alps, about six miles from this, a place you could almost see from these windows. He was taken at midnight to the court of the fortress : « By God's grace, he said, I die for the liberty of my country » and his head rolled in the castle's
yard. Honour to the defenders and martyrs of liberty! (Cheers.)
But this was not all : In the sixteenth century everything appeared contrary to Liberty. It was the time of the centralisation of power, the epoch of the triumph of absolute authority in the State, in France, in Spain, everywhere. But just at the moment that absolute power raised its head in the State, it received a terrible blow in the Church. At the moment when kings were taking up the sceptre of despotism, it was taken from the hands of the pope. An adversary, a terrible adversary rose up against civil and religious despotism; this adversary was the Bible. The freedom of examination of the Scriptures of God was proclaimed by the reformers, and at the time when autocratic authority triumphed in the State by the means of such princes as Francis I, and Philip II, it was defeated in the Church by the powerful voices of a Luther, a Zwingli, a Calvin. This Sir, secured the final triumph of civil and religious liberty in the whole world. Geneva was again by the instrumentality of Calvin the centre of this movement. You know the lines of the great poet of the last century – Voltaire,
« Je ne décide pas entre Genève et Rome. »
In other countries were all struggling during the XVIth and XVIIth centuries against the popes, the Jesuits, the inquisitors, and liberty triumphed. Civilisation was saved. But this did not take place without producing its martyrs. In France, in Italy, in Spain, in the Netherlands and elsewhere, thousands of scaffolds were raised, torrents of blood were shed, but this blood of the martyrs was the seed of Faith and of Liberty. (Cheers.)
In these modern times new arms were wanted. The little republic of the Old World was not enough ; God raised up the great republic of the New World. When our hands began to hang down you came to our help, as a powerful reinforcement. Citizens of the United States, what is the real cause of the strength and of the prosperity of your county? Certainly it is the possession of civil and religious liberty, -as the great cause of the downfall of Spain, so powerful three centuries ago, is the want of civil and religious liberty. But as you owe everything to her, so you owe yourselves entirely to her : you have already done much for her. Washington has been a great hero of Liberty and we honour him in the Old World, as you do in the New. The soldiers of whom he was the leader, and who fell in battle, were martyrs to Liberty.... you have had such even to our days. Lincoln is the great martyr to Liberty in the XIXth century. Tears were shed over his fate in these lands, as in yours. Honour, eternal honour to the defenders of Liberty in every land!... (Cheers).
Citizens of the United States, we, citizens of Geneva, of Switzerland, rejoice to see you in our country, to receive you in our city. We are thankful for the opportunity you afford today to the small old republic of greeting the new great one. Citizens of America, the citizens of Switzerland shake hands with you. We rejoice and we thank God that he has raised up your great people. We rejoice and we