Page images

and our warehouses. Hostile bands will no more be permitted to plunder our trains of merchandise than formerly to seize the stores of Bennington. And if Breymann with the best troops of Europe might not obstruct this great highway with his cannon, still less may the Flynns and Loshers and Zepps, with ruffian hands, arrest the movements of our great steam thoroughfares and paralyze the whole business of the country. The strong arm of the nation must teach them that if they will not work, neither shall they forcibly arrest the honest work of other men. No mob, though it be forty thousand strong, shall trample on the laws and rights of forty millions. And one grand lesson that should signalize the opening of this new century is that all hostile and violent demonstrations upon peaceful citizens shall be as thoroughly and as summarily quelled as they were on this spot one century ago. When bands of men patrol our streets with threats in their mouths and weapons and firebrands in their hands, it is war, and they are enemies.

It is no time for blank cartridges but for pointblank shot. Next after the riot act and the warning to disperse come the bayonet and the bullet, grapeshot and canister. At Pittsburgh three weeks ago last Saturday and Sunday, oh, for one hour of Warner's regiment and Stark's brigade! It would have cleared the way from New York to San Francisco.1 And here, on the borders

[ocr errors]

1 It will be remembered that at this time occurred the series of riotous proceedings along our railways, beginning at Pittsburgh, with immense destruction of property and some loss of life, extending to Chicago and the far west, and for a time arresting travel and business over most of the great northern railway lines.

of that old battlefield and in the freshness of these glorious memories, let these noble bands of Green Mountain boys who have passed in review before us to-day lift up their right hands to heaven and swear that the descendants of those whom the best soldiery of Britain and Germany could not expel from their farms and their homes shall never be driven from their lawful labors for an hour by the floating scum of Europe or America.

But we are reminded here that some old enmities are dead or dying. Six weeks ago I searched in vain on that Hessian hill for a trace of those entrenchments which once blazed with hostile fires. Long silent too has been

“ The drum suspended by its tattered marge,

That rolled and rattled to the Hessian's charge.”

Even so four years ago I stood in the old home of my ancestors in England, whose occupants a century ago were probably in full sympathy with the government against whom my American progenitors were contending with sword and musket; but I was there a welcome guest. And but just now in the palace where the demented George was hardening his good-natured heart against our country the British queen received to her home circle our great Captain President, while the whole nation strove to do him honor. Thank God that British hands no longer strike at Anglo-Saxon lives; that English blood no longer drips from fratricidal wounds, but upon both sides of the wide Atlantic flows fresh and strong in sympathetic hearts! We celebrate to-day the valor that achieved our liberties without a thought of bitterness toward those from whom we inherited and from whom we wrested them - very Britons from very Britons.

And let us also rejoice to-day that these Centennial commemorations have come in to throw the veil over later and bloodier wounds — that Concord and Bunker Hill and Bennington are superimposed upon Antietam and Gettysburg and the Wilderness. It is well that bygones should at length be bygones. There were many who thought that for their slaughter of a million lives and their assaults upon the nation's life a dozen chief criminals should have hung between the heavens and the earth. But it was not so done. Another policy prevailed. This mighty nation, of all the nations of the earth, could pardon and yet live. The cup was full of bitterness but we drank it down, and now we may throw away

the dregs. For southern soldiers have strewn their flowers on the graves of their northern conquerors, and the southern governor of South Carolina has pledged protection to the liberated slave. As in 1777 the tide of battle turned, so in 1877 at length has turned the tide of peace. This year, for the first time in our national history, the work of our earlier and our later great wars of this eventful century is accomplished. We dwell at last in “a real and homogeneous union of free commonwealths into one harmonious republic, where no sovereign state is pinned to its fellows by federal bayonets,” and no fugitive for liberty is remanded by federal courts to his chains ; but American citizens are everywhere free to govern themselves. We look hopefully down the broad opening vista of peace, progress, and prosperity. What tongue dares foreshadow the tale which, if God will, shall be told here one hundred years hence this day?

Ultima Cumæi venit jam carminis ætas;
Magnus ab integro sæclorum nascitur ordo.

All honor to the brave and honest Chief Magistrate 1 who after a decade of fruitless experiment and smoldering strife had the good manhood to break away from all narrow and partisan restraints, cast himself upon the sound sense and Christian sentiment of the American people, and lead off this new order of the centuries! And let the East and the West and the North and the South say, Amen! and Amen!

1 President Hayes was present.





N the twenty-ninth of December, 1634, the town of

Agawam consented “that John Perkins, junior should build a weir on the river Quascacunquen.” But “in case a plantation should there settle, he is to submit himself to such conditions as shall by them be imposed."

This proviso was a prophecy. Already the eye of the colonist was fixed upon the spot. The praises of the place had been sounded in the mother country. One William Wood had returned to England in 1633, after four years' residence in Massachusetts, and published in London “a true, lively, and experimental descrip. tion of that part of America commonly called New England.” In his review of all the settlements, actual and prospective, he reserves his choicest for the last.

Agawam,” he says, “is the best place but one, which is Merrimack, lying eight miles beyond it, where is a river twenty leagues navigable. All along the river are fresh marshes, in some places three miles broad. In this river is sturgeon, salmon, and bass, and divers other kinds of fishes. To conclude, the country hath not that which this place doth not yield."

His Merrimack was our Newbury. And while his

« PreviousContinue »