Page images
PDF
EPUB

to offer, one message to convey. It is the assurance of their supreme respect, their unfaltering confidence, their cordial attachment. The relations of the Court with the advocates who have from time to time gathered about it, have been always among its happiest incidents. It has had the good fortune in an uncommon degree to inspire them not merely with respect but with a sincere personal affection. To this sentiment you have never been strangers, and you never will be. If the words of eulogy that have been so felicitously uttered by my brother have touched those who have gone before you rather than yourselves, it is because, and only because, they are with the dead and you are still among the living. Long may that restraint seal the lips of your eulogists.

Judges will be appointed and will pass away. One generation rapidly succeeds another. But whoever comes and whoever goes, the Court remains. The king may die, but still the king survives. Strong in its traditions, consecrated by its memories, fortified with the steadfast support of the profession that surrounds it, anchored in the abiding trust of its countrymen, the great Court will go on—and still go on, keeping alive through many a century that we shall not see, the light that burns with a constant radiance upon the high altar of American constitutional justice.

ALFRED S. PINKERTON

SPIRIT OF ODD-FELLOWSHIP

[Address by Alfred S. Pinkerton, lawyer (born in Lancaster, Pa., March 19, 1856; ), delivered at Richmond, Va., in his capacity as Grand Sire of the Sovereign Grand Lodge of Odd Fellows, September 17, 1900.]

MR. CHAIRMAN, YoUR ExcelleNCY, MR. MAYor, REPRESENTATIVES OF OUR ORDER, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:—This is not the first time that I have received the greetings of a Richmond audience and been the recipient of Virginian hospitality. I know the warmth of the one, the unbounded generosity of the other, and I voice the sentiment of every member of the Sovereign Grand Lodge when I say that each of us appreciates the splendid welcome you have given, and rejoices in the privilege that is his of visiting, under such happy auspices, this beautiful and historic State. We knew that chivalry and knightly courtesy still existed in the Old Dominion; that Southern hearts would welcome us, and Southern hands be extended in fraternal greeting. Our anticipations have been realized, and we sit among you not as strangers, but as welcome guests, as neighbors, and as friends. Representing an Order founded in man's nobility, we gladly assemble among a people whose ancestors first proclaimed the right of the individual man to direct his own affairs and destiny. Before Plymouth Rock felt the touch of English feet the seeds of a nation had been sown at Jamestown. On Virginian soil representative government in America was born, The colonial charter of 1621 was the first grant of self-government given by a hereditary ruler to dwellers on this continent, given to those who dared assert that English blood in Virginia meant a voice in Virginian rule.

As two centuries ago the people of England testified in behalf of those bishops who but asserted their privileges of self-respect; as then the flower of the British bar successfully pleaded for freedom of church; and freedom of right; so in our fathers' time it was a country lawyer, “who spoke as Homer wrote" who in the “parson's" cause voiced that sentiment of Virginia which afterwards flamed in syllabled fire from that old church still standing in your city; he it was who ten years before a political revolution that divided in government—but not in hearts —the New World from the Old, offered the resolution by which your General Assembly declared that it alone had the right to tax Virginians. It was a Virginian who presided over the first American Congress, and from Virginian hands came another and immortal resolution, that which declared that these colonies should be free and independent States.

I come from a community that has much in common with this. Sprung from the same great freedom-loving race, speaking the same language, sharing the glory of a common descent and of a common literature, one in sentiment and in aspiration, the colonies of Virginia and Massachusetts were side by side in the contest for political independence. Each called its land a “commonwealth,” thus in the very title indicating the form of government under which its people lived—the common wealth—the home and rule of all the people—the union of all for the benefit of each—the land of equal opportunities and equal privileges. Yes, in the old days we were together. Virginia remembers—

[ocr errors]

- - - how the Bay State, in answer to the call Of her old House of Burgesses spoke out from Faneuil Hall When, echoing back her Henry's cry, came pulsing on each breath Of northern winds the thrilling cry of “liberty or death.’”

Beneath the old elm still standing by Harvard College the first soldier of Virginia—the first American—assumed command of that army of “tradesmen, farmers, and mechanics,” that in a spirit of sublime prophesy dared to call itself “Continental,” that won freedom from the trained soldiery of Europe and gave visible form to a government that has made good the name its soldiers bore. The side by side our fathers fought; then side by side our statesmen sat; and the first name that appears upon that immortal Declaration of Independence, penned by a Virginian hand, and based upon Virginia's bill of rights, is that of a Massachusetts man, President of that Congress which gave to the world and to the godlike and aspiring soul this bible of the rights of man. Hancock and Jefferson, Adams and Mason, Otis and Henry, united those two colonies that, more than any others, gave impulse to American thought and speech and action. There was Bunker Hill; here Yorktown. Nor do we forget that mighty lawyer, born of your blood and sleeping in your soil, the great interpreter of the written Constitution of our land, nor him, of Northern birth, that Constitution's eloquent defender—Marshall and Webster —great sons of the same proud race. It was the civilization of Jamestown and of Plymouth that made possible this Government of ours, and though for a time the clouds lowered o'er our house, thank God we are once more as of yore; as, of old, they together “encountered Tarleton's charge of fire,” so again have Virginia and Massachusetts struck hands—and this time in a deathless friendship; so again in the presence of a common danger, and in honor of a common flag, have our brothers touched elbows in the ranks, slept by the same camp-fires, and together offered upon the country's altar the rich libation of their blood. History is making fast. From the Western Hemisphere has departed every vestige of Castilian power. The starry flag has become a fixed constellation o'er Asiatic seas, but, better than all, we have learned to know our Motherland. The conquering English-speaking people have come closer together—and so have we at home. It was a good day for America when the soldier boy of New England and of the Northwest enlisted under a Virginian Lee, and when the star of Wheeler glistened upon a coat of army blue. Gone are the days of strife and bitterness and doubt; welcome the days of peace, of confidence, of lasting brotherhood. We come to you in the closing hours of the Nineteenth century, a century of wonderful development; a century of great achievements. Old empires have passed away; nations in Swaddling-cloths have grown to manhood's state. Kings and czars have been born, have ruled, and been forgotten—boundaries of nations have been changed —thrones have fallen, and old dynasties been destroyed. Man everywhere is asserting the power and attributes of man. This Government of the people has shed its radiating light throughout the world. Europe, Asia, and Africa have felt its beneficent beams; individual man, under whatever government he may live, lifts his eyes higher than ever before, and while war and famine, and pestilence, and death still constitute a portion of our herit age, the path is upward, and never has God's light seemed so warm and bright to the great toiling masses of the earth as at this hour, when kingdoms and principalities and powers are but the instruments and not the destroyers of men. Nor has the development been confined to the political world. In art, in science, in mechanics, has

“Man put forth
His pomp, his pride, his skill,
And arts that made fire, flood, and earth,
The vassals of his will.”

The cotton-gin, the power-loom, the sewing-machine, the rotary printing-press, the reaper, the telegraph and telephone, the binding of electricity to man's common use, the thousand and one mechanical appliances that make our burdens light, and life more worth the living, are but a part of this century's tribute to the future. In letters and in literature what advances have been made | The printing-press has brought the richest thoughts of the Best minds within easy reach of all, and the philosopher and the astronomer share their secrets with a thousand friends. Thought is purer than before, theology more simple and humane, religion more near the human heart and soul. This is the age in which we live; this is the century that called into life that great humanitarian movement which we denominate Odd-Fellowship. It is the child of American spirit and life; it is a creation designed for daily food;

it ivo and moves among breathing men; it is for the 11

« PreviousContinue »