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selves upon the attention, the acknowledgment, and the admiration of the world. They have asserted their own title, and made their own way, to the recognition and respect of mankind.
Sir, I am not about to detain this brilliant assembly from the pleasures which await them, by any detailed remarks about the World's Fair, or about our own particular section of it. You have heard already, to your hearts' content, of Stevens's Yacht, and Colt's Revolver, and Maynard's Primer, and Palmer's Wooden Leg, and Prouty's Plough, and McCormick's Reaper, which may literally be said to have made the farmers of Old England“ acknowledge the corn," -- and of that marvellous lock of our own Boston Hobbs, who seems to have settled the point, that if Love ever laughs at locksmiths again, it will not be at Yankee locksmiths. You have all heard, too, of that frank admission of the London Times, “ that every practical success of the season belongs to the Americans." We may well be content with such compliments from such sources. We need have no fear after this, that those who live in glass houses will throw stones” again in this direction. We can afford to adopt the language of the wise man, " let another praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips."
We can afford to do more, Mr. President; we can afford to acknowledge our own deficiencies. We can afford to admit, as, indeed, we cannot help admitting, that notwithstanding so many notable successes and triumphs in these practical machines and implements of industry, our manufactures and our mechanic arts are still greatly inferior to those of the old world, both in the quantity and quality of great varieties of products. And how could it be otherwise? Why, Sir, for young republican America to have gone out to a contest with the old world, in the arts which depend on long experience, consummate skill, and accumulated capital, and which have required royal courts and princely establishments for their existence and patronage elsewhere, would have been simply ridiculous. For her to have come off victorious in such a contest, would have equalled the triumph of the stripling of Israel, with his sling and his stone, over the giant of Gath, with the staff of his spear like a weaver's beam. It would have been more than human.
But let me ask, Sir, who of us is sorry that we are behind, far behind, the old world in articles of mere taste and ornament? Who does not rejoice that we cannot vie with Europe and Asia in arts that minister only to the lust of the eye, and the pride of life? Who is in haste to see the day, when the tissues and tapestries, the jewels and porcelain of India or of France, shall be native to our own land? Who, on the contrary, does not desire that such a consummation may be postponed, until that double problem shall be solved, of which the history of mankind as yet affords no solution, — first, how these sumptuous and gorgeous decorations of the rich can be fabricated, without the degradation and debasement of the poor; and second, how the morality and purity, which are the very vital air of republican liberty, can withstand the fascinations and blandishments of a corrupting and cankering luxury.
And this leads me to say, Mr. President, in a single concluding sentence, that there is at least one element wanting in that great exhibition, for the purposes of any just comparison between our own and other countries. We see there the products; but we do not see the producers. We see there the fabrics; but we do not see the hands which made them. Sir, if it had been possible to exhibit in any tangible shape, or by any personal representation, the real condition of the artisans and mechanics of the world; if the makers of every article could have been seen standing by their work, with their ordinary dress on their back, with their ordinary food at their side, and with all the advantages or disadvantages of their relative condition fully developed and displayed, — their intelligence, their education, their wages, the amount of individual comfort, independence, and happiness they enjoy,- the whole moral, social, and political position which they occupy, what contrasts would not have been witnessed! If this very hall, with all that it now contains, could be wafted over the waters by a wish, on some magic carpet, like that described in one of the tales of the Arabian Nights, — if it could be set down safely in that much-talked-of “ vacant space” in the American section of the Crystal Palace, - and if your excellent President,* now there, could be on the spot to meet you as you alight, and to say to the assembled throng of visitors: " Here are the American mechanics — here are the men who build our ships, our houses, our bridges, and our railroads- who make our iron ware, and tin ware, and brass ware, and wooden ware, and who construct those wonderful machines and invent those curious implements to which you have given your prizes — and here, too, are their wives and daughters;- behold them, and compare them with your own," - would they not all feel that it was something better than a vainglorious boast for us to exclaim,
* Jonas Chickering, Esq.
A SPEECH DELIVERED AT THE DINNER OF THE HAMPSHIRE, HAMPDEN,
AND FRANKLIN AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY, AT NORTHAMPTON, OCTOBER 9, 1851,
[In reply to a complimentary toast proposed by W.O. Gorham, Esq., the Secretary of the Society.]
I NEED not assure you, Mr. President, how deeply I am indebted to your eloquent Secretary, for so kind and complimentary an introduction to the yeomanry of old Hampshire. I am not — at least, I hope I am not — altogether a stranger to them. I have visited their lovely valley, and climbed their beautiful hillsides, in other years. I have made the personal acquaintance of many of them, on other occasions and amid other scenes. With not a few of them, as you well remember, I was associated long ago in the Legislature of our own Commonwealth. With more than one of them I have been more recently and more closely connected in the councils of the nation. Wherever I have met them, I have found them true men, trusty counsellors, patriotic citizens, faithful and cherished friends. I rejoice to recognize so many of them before me at this moment, and to have such an opportunity of renewing the assurances of our mutual regard and respect. I rejoice to see them on their own ground, in the midst of their fellow-citizens, with their wives and daughters by their side, and surrounded by so many evidences, both of immediate enjoyment, and of permanent prosperity and happiness.
Sir, it has been my fortune to be born and bred in a city; and I am not insensible to the advantages which are to be found in the varied institutions, in the compact neighborhoods, and in
the general movement and activity of a large and wealthy metropolis. I never, certainly, can find it in my heart to regret my relations to Boston. I am bound to her by a thousand ties of old association, of present interest, and of personal obligation. But never yet have I found myself on the hills or the plains which lie along the courses of your charming river, without feeling that your lot, above that of almost all other Massachusetts men, bas been cast in pleasant places, and that you have, indeed, a goodly heritage.
Certainly, Sir, if there be a spot on our not over-fertile New England soil, if there be a spot beneath our not always clement New England sky, on which a man may find a more than ordinary security for the enjoyment of health and happiness, of competency and comfort, of contentment and independence, of vigor of body and vigor of mind, it must be somewhere along these verdant meadows, or upon these sunny slopes of the Connecticut; it must be somewhere among these “banks and braes of your Bonnie Doon.” And, let me add, if there be a spot beneath the sun, where virtue, and piety, and integrity, and patriotism, have already found some of their brightest examples and purest models, it is here, amid the homes of your Stoddards and Edwardses, your Williamses, and Hawleys, and Strongs.
But, Mr. President and Gentlemen, you are not here to listen to empty compliments to the beauties of your scenery, the advantages of your condition, or the character of your distinguished men, dead or living. This is a farmers' festival; and having gone through with the exhibitions and competitions of the day, you
have come together for a friendly interchange of opinions, and a frank comparison of views, on the great subject of agriculture. And a great subject it certainly is, and one worthy of the most careful examination and study of our ablest and most enlightened minds. Nay, Sir, it demands such examination and study, and it must have them, unless we are willing that our posterity shall reap the bitter fruits of our ignorance and neglect, and shall have nothing else to reap.
For myself, I have little pretension, I am conscious - no man here has less — to give advice, or pronounce an opinion, upon any question pertaining to the practical cultivation of the soil.