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railroad lines, as with the countless fibres of a spider's web. They tell us here, Sir, of a hundred and twenty passenger trains, containing no less than twelve thousand persons, shooting into our city, on a single, ordinary, average, summer's day, with a regularity, punctuality, and precision, which make it almost as safe to set our watches by a railroad whistle, as by the Old South clock!
But, Sir, by what figures of rhetoric, or of arithmetic either, shall we measure the influence of those great improvements on our political condition, or on our social relations, domestic or foreign ?
Consider them for an instant, in connection with the extent of our own wide-spread Republic. By what other agency than that of railroads could a Representative Government, like ours, be rendered practicable over so vast a territory? The necessary limits of such a Government were justly defined by one of our earliest and wisest statesmen, to be those within which the Representatives of the People could be brought together with regularity and certainty, as often as needful, to transact the public business.
And by which, do you think, Sir, of the old-fashioned modes of transportation or travel — the stage-coach, the pack-saddle, or the long wagon, - or by which, even, of those queer conveyances which his Excellency, the Governor-General of Canada," tells us he once shared with my friend, Governor Paine, - could Delegates from California or Utah, or even from some of our less recent and less remote acquisitions, be brought to our sessions of Congress at Washington, and carried back at stated intervals to consult the wishes of their constituents, within any reasonable or reliable time?
Mr. Mayor, in view of this and many other considerations, to which I may not take up further time by alluding, and which, indeed, are too familiar to require any allusion, I feel that it is no exaggeration to say that our Railroad system is an essential part of our Representative system; and that it has exerted an influence, second in importance to no other that can be named, ma
* The Earl of Elgin, whose admirable speech on this occasion will be forgotten by no one who heard it.
terial, political, or moral, in binding together, in one indissoluble brotherhood, this vast association of American States. It is hardly too much to add, that it seems to have been Providentially prepared, as the great centripetal enginery, which is destined to overcome and neutralize forever those deplorable centrifugal tendencies, which local differences, and peculiar institutions, and sectional controversies have too often engendered.
The President of the United States, in his admirable reply to your own most appropriate address, Sir, welcoming him within the lines of Boston, rerninded us that his illustrious predecessor, Washington, occupied eleven days in travelling by express from Philadelphia to the neighboring city of Cambridge, in one of the most critical emergencies of our local history. Let me remind you, also, of a similar experience in the journeyings of another of his predecessors. In the recently-published diary of our own John Adams, will be found the following entry, dated at Middletown, Connecticut, on the 8th day of June, 1771:
“ Looking into the almanac, I am startled. Supreme Court at Ipswich the 18th day of June; I thought it a week later, 25th; so that I have only next week to go home, one hundred and fifty miles. I must improve every moment. It is twentyfive miles a day, if I ride every day next week.”
John Adams startled, — and, let me say, he was not of a complexion to be very easily startled at any thing, - at having only a week for going a hundred and fifty miles! Startled at the idea of being obliged to go twenty-five miles a day every day for a week! While here, but a moment since, was his illustrious successor, who, having already travelled nearly five hundred miles in twenty-four hours, and having spent three or four days in Newport and Boston, which we hope have been as delightful to him as they have been to us, is now on his way back, and is about to reach Washington again, before the week in which he left there is fairly at an end!
And here, Mr. Mayor, I turn, in conclusion, to what to-day, at least, in the minds and hearts of us all, is the great charm of this modern miracle of rapid intercommunication. It is that it enables us to see, to know, and to enjoy personal intercourse with the great, the good, the distinguished, the admired, of our own
land and of other lands. We can take them by the hand, we can see their faces, we can hear their voices, and we can form ties of mutual respect and regard, which neither time nor distance may afterwards sever.
There have been those here to-day whom none of you will soon forget; and there is at least one of them to whom I had particularly proposed to myself the pleasure of alluding. I refer to the Secretary of the Interior, the Honorable Alexander Stuart, a noble son of old Virginia, with whom, in other years, I have been associated in Congress, and whom I am always proud to call my friend. He has already taken his leave of us, Sir; but I am sure we all desire to follow him with our good wishes, and to assure him, that though out of sight he is not out of mind.
But let me congratulate the company that we have another Alexander Stewart still left at the table — a distinguished son of Nova Scotia - an eminent citizen of Halifax - a high functionary of the Provincial Government — whom it has been my good fortune to have at my side during the last hour, and who is every way entitled to our highest consideration and respect. With a view of introducing him to the company, I propose, as a sentiment,
“ Prosperity to Nova Scotia and the City of Halifax, and the health of our distinguished guest, the Honorable Alexander Stewart, the Master of the Rolls."
A SPEECH DELIVERED AT THE DINNER OF THE MIDDLESEX AGRICULTURAL
SOCIETY, AT LOWELL, OCTOBER 24, 1851.
[In reply to a complimentary toast by the President of the Society, the Honorable E. R. Hoar.]
I am greatly obliged, Mr. President, by the friendly manner in which you have presented my name to the company, and greatly honored by the cordial reception they have given to it. I have come here, as you know, at the invitation of the Middlesex Agricultural Society, most kindly communicated by yourself, as their President, to witness their cattle show and ploughing match, and to listen to the lessons of experience and the words of exhortation which might be addressed to them by my excellent and able friend, Mr. Child.
Let me add, that as one of the Trustees of the Massachusetts Agricultural Society, and one of its delegates to the State Agricultural Board, I hardly felt at liberty to neglect such an opportunity of observing the progress of agricultural improvement in this good old County of Middlesex; a County which abounds alike in the memorials of a glorious past, and in the evidence of a prosperous present; whose soil is enriched with the best blood of the fathers, and adorned with the noblest institutions of their sons; and which, in the person and example of its own Prescott, leading on his patriot band at Bunker Hill in a farmer's frock, gave a pledge and an earnest, that no degree of devotion to agricultural pursuits, or to any other material interests, would ever interfere with the readiness and the resolution of its citizens, to do their full share in maintaining and vindicating the rights and liberties of their country.
I need not assure you, Mr. President, that I have been greatly gratified and delighted by all that I have seen, and all that I have heard, here to-day. I only wish that it were in my power to contribute any thing, in return, to the instruction, or even to the entertainment, of this assembly. But “ silver and gold have ! none." I have no rich crops to tell you of, no fat cattle to describe, no new theories of the potato rot to propose; and the most that I can do, is to express, in a few unpretending words, the deep interest which I cannot fail to feel, as a humble member of the community, in whatever relates to the improved cultivation of the soil, and still more to the improved condition of all who are concerned in it.
It would be quite superfluous, Sir, for me, or for any one, to say a syllable, on such an occasion as this, as to the importance of agricultural pursuits. It is enough for us all to remember, as I am sure we all have remembered while we have partaken of this substantial repast, that it is agriculture, which supplies the table at which the whole human family are fed; that it is agriculture, which is the appointed minister, the chosen handmaid, of our Heavenly Parent, in His gracious response to our morning prayer, that He will “ give us this day our daily bread.”
And even more superfluous would it be to speak of agricul. ture as an honorable occupation, and one worthy the attention and pursuit of the most intelligent and enlightened among us. To say nothing of other countries, or of other ages, or of other men, what higher testimony could be borne to the honorable character of any human occupation, than to say that it was the favorite occupation of Washington, — the pursuit which he exchanged with regret even for the highest honors of the Republic, and to which he returned with eagerness at the earliest moment of his retirement from public service. Washington, Sir, is known to us by many titles - as the General of our armies, the President of our Republic, the Saviour of his country - and there is really no title too good, or even good enough, to bear his name company. But there is none under which that name will be longer remembered, or more gratefully cherished by posterity, none with which he himself would have been more proud to bave it associated, than that of the Farmer of Mount Vernon.