Imágenes de páginas

Bay. But he knew Turkey as a prison and a dungeon, and he called what is now Cape Ann, Cape Tragabigzanda, only to commemorate his affection for one who had soothed the rigors of a long and loathsome captivity.

Nor was Turkey an unknown land to at least one of those Winthrops of the olden time, with whom the Vice-President has so kindly connected me. In turning over some old family papers since my return home, I have stumbled on the original autograph of a note from John Winthrop, the younger, dated “ December 26th, 1628, at the Castles of the Hellespont,” whither he had gone, as is supposed, as the Secretary of Sir Peter Wich, the British Ambassador at Constantinople. The associations of that day, however, with those remote regions, were by no means of an agreeable character, and I should hardly dare to dwell longer upon them on this occasion and in this presence.

I rejoice that events have occurred to break the spell of that hereditary prejudice, which has so long prevailed in the minds of not a few of us, towards the Ottoman Empire. I rejoice that our associations with Turkey are no longer those only of the plague and the bowstring; that we are encouraged and authorized to look to her hereafter for something better than a little coarse wool for our blankets, or a few figs for our dessert, or even a little opium or rhubarb for our medicine chests; that, in a word, we are encouraged and warranted to look to her, under the auspices and administration of her young, gallant, and generous Sultan, for examples of reform, of toleration, of liberality, of a magnanimous and chivalrous humanity, which are worthy of the admiration and imitation of all mankind. I rejoice, especially, that an occasion has been afforded for testifying the deep sense which is entertained throughout our country, of the noble conduct of the Sublime Porte in regard to the unfortunate exiles of Hungary.

The influence which the Ottoman Empire seems destined to exert over the relations of Eastern and Western Europe, is of the most interesting and important character; and, while we all hold steadfastly to the great principle of neutrality which Washington established and enforced, we yet cannot suppress our satisfaction that this influence is now in the hands of one, who seems determined to wield it fearlessly for the best interests of civilization and humanity.

And now, Sir, let us hope that our distinguished friend, Amin Bey, may return home with some not less favorable impressions of our own land. Of our enterprise, of our industry, of our immense material production, of our rapid progress in arts and improvements of every kind, of our vast territorial extent, he cannot fail to testify. Let us hope that he may be able to speak also of internal order, of domestic tranquillity, of wise and just laws, faithfully administered and promptly obeyed, of a happy, contented, and united people, commending by their practice and example, as well as by their principles and precepts, the institutions under which they live.

The distinguished gentleman who preceded me, (Mr. Webster,) and whom I have been under the disadvantage of following in other scenes as well as here, has spoken of the Union of these States. There is no language so strong or so emphatic, which even he can use, as to the importance of preserving that Union, which does not meet with a prompt and cordial echo in my own bosom. To the eyes of Amin Bey, and to the eyes of all foreign nations, we are indeed but one country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. To them there is no Boston or New York, no Carolina or Louisiana. Our commerce goes forth under one and the same flag, whether from the Bay of Massachusetts or from the “golden gate” of California. Under that flag, it has been protected, prospered, and extended beyond example. Under that flag, new fields are opening to it, and new triumphs are before it. May our distinguished guest take home with him an assurance, founded upon all that he has seen and all that he has heard, of the resolution of us all, that the flag of our Union shall still and always remain one and the same, from ocean to ocean, untorn and untarnished, proof alike against every thing of foreign assault and every thing of domestic dissension!




The Secretary of the Association (Rev. C. F. Barnard) will bear me witness, Ladies and Gentlemen, that when I accepted his kind invitation to be present and preside here this evening, there was an express understanding and stipulation between us, that I was not to be held responsible for any thing in the nature of an Address. I am sure, however, that you will all pardon me, if, before putting a formal and final question upon the adoption of this Report, I shall add a very few words to what has already been so impressively said by those who have preceded me. I need not assure you that I have listened with the deepest interest to the account which the Report has given of the progress and prospects of this Institution. No man, indeed, who has a heart within his bosom, a heart either for the welfare of man or for the glory of God, could have listened to that account without emotions deeper than he could readily find words to express. For myself, certainly, I know of few things better calculated to touch and thrill the inmost suscepti. bilities of a Christian soul, than the precise picture presented to us in this paper; the picture of so many young children, rescued from the snares of ignorance, idleness, and vice; snatched, many of them, as brands from the burning; and trained up to habits of industry, to the love of truth, to the practice of virtue, to the knowledge and praise of God. And I may be permitted to add, that I know of no person who has secured for himself a prouder or more enviable distinction than one, who, having drawn such a picture with fidelity, and having gracefully and modestly held it up to the public view, can say with truth, “ these are the fruits of my labors; this is the account of my stewardship."

It is now, I think, not far from a quarter of a century, since your Secretary and myself, with at least one other of those whom I have seen at my side this evening, having finished our collegiate course, left the walls of the neighboring University together. We had many classmates and common friends who were soon scattered along the various paths of life, and in various parts of the country. Some of them, indeed, of the richest promise, were struck down at the very threshold of their career, and others of them have since fallen in more advanced stages of manhood; but the greater part have remained to this day, and not a few have reached high degrees of preferment in social, literary, or political life. I hazard nothing, however, in saying, that there is not one of them who could have been present here this evening, and listened to the account which my friend has given of the work to which he has so successfully devoted himself, without feeling the comparative worthlessness of his own pursuits, or without uniting with me in admitting, that while so many of us have been careful and cumbered about many things, our brother has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from him.

Certainly, no one can deny or doubt for a moment, that the work in which this Association is engaged, is one of the great works of the day, and one which demands the active sympathy and coöperation of every patriot as well as of every Christian. I need not say that it is a work enjoined upon us by the highest sanctions of religious obligation. I need not remind you in this place, and in this presence, that there is nothing more exquisite in the example of our Saviour than his tenderness for young children; and that there is hardly any thing more memorable in his teachings than the woe which he denounced against those by whom one of these little ones should be offended. But we need not look to the word of God, or to the example of Christ, to find motives for sustaining such institutions as this. If we were to throw aside all considerations of religious obligation; if we were to be governed only by the most selfish calculations of worldly policy, this Institution, and others of a kindred character, could never be permitted to fail or languish for want of friends or for want of funds. Does any one point me to economical considerations? Why, does not the whole experience of our age and of our country prove, that what we save in schools we must pay for in prisons ? — That what we economize in the prevention of vice and crime, we must pay for, and pay for a hundredfold, not merely in the expense of their detection and punishment, but in the thousand injuries and losses which they inflict upon society?

In whatever aspect we contemplate the community in which we live, whether we look to the wide range of our extended Country, or to the narrow limits of our own State or City, we shall find everywhere, that our interests are inseparably identified with the great cause of education and religion. If this Republic is to stand, if these free institutions of ours are to endure, if this venerated Commonwealth is to maintain any thing of its ancient character and consequence, if this beloved City of ours is to enjoy peace within its walls and prosperity within its palaces, it will not be owing, primarily and principally, to our armies or navies, to our courts or congresses, to our sheriffs or policemen, (though I would by no means speak lightly of the necessary machinery of government,) but it will be owing, first and above all, to the blessing of God upon our efforts to train up our children in the way they should go, so that when they are old they may not depart from it. There are others who may see greater dangers from political agitation or sectional collision, and I would not underrate the immediate troubles of the times; but the greatest danger which presents itself to my own mind, as I attempt to cast the horoscope of my country, is that arising from the gradual growth and increase among us of a population not prepared for liberty, not fitted for freedom, not capable of self-control, not educated and instructed in those principles of morality and virtue, of law and order, of the fear of God and of respect for government, upon which all republics must rest for their foundation, and which they absolutely require for their stability and success.

« AnteriorContinuar »