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of the immortal Warren, notwithstanding the severity of its suffering and the magnitude of the dangers which threatened it, it was declared that this colony “is ready, at all times, to spend and to be spent in the 390 cause of America.”
But the hour drew nigh which was to put professions to the proof, and to determine whether the authors of these mutual pledges were ready to seal them in blood. The tidings of Lexington and Concord had no sooner 395 spread than it was universally felt that the time was at last come for action. A spirit pervaded all ranks, not transient, not boisterous, but deep, solemn, determined,
Totamque infusa per artus
War on their own soil and at their own doors, was, indeed, a strange work to the yeomanry of New England ; but their consciences were convinced of its ne
. cessity, their country called them to it, and they did not withhold themselves from the perilous trial. The 405 ordinary occupations of life were abandoned ; the plow was stayed in the unfinished furrow; wives gave up their husbands, and mothers gave up their sons, to the battles of a civil war. Death might come in honor on the field; it might come in disgrace 410 on the scaffold. For either and for both they were prepared. The sentiment of Quincy was full in their hearts. “Blandishments," said that distinguished son of genius and patriotism, “ will not fascinate us, nor will threats of a halter intimidate ; for, under God, we 415 are determined, that, wheresoever, whensoever, or howsoever, we shall be called to make our exit, we will die free men.”
The 17th of June saw the four New England colonies standing here, side by side, to triumph or to fall 420 together ; and there was with them from that moment
: to the end of the war, what I hope will remain with them forever one cause, one country, one heart.
The battle of Bunker Hill was attended with the most important effects beyond its immediate results as 425 a military engagement. It created at once a state of
. open, public war. There could be no longer a question of proceeding against individuals, as guilty of treason or rebellion. That fearful crisis was past.
The appeal lay to the sword, and the only question was, 430 whether the spirit and the resources of the people would hold out till the object should be accomplished. Nor were its general consequences confined to our own country. The previous proceedings of the colonies, their appeals, resolutions, and addresses, had made 435 their cause known to Europe. Without boasting, we may say, that in no age or country has the public cause been maintained with more force of argument, more power of illustration, or more of that persuasion which excited feeling and elevated principle can alone bestow, 440 than the Revolutionary state papers exhibit. These papers will forever deserve to be studied, not only for the spirit which they breathe, but for the ability with which they were written.
To this able vindication of their cause, the colonies 415 had now added a practical and severe proof of their own true devotion to it, and given evidence also of the power which they could bring to its support. All now saw that if America fell, she would not fall without a struggle. Men felt sympathy and regard, as well as 450 surprise, when they beheld these infant states, remote,
unknown, unaided, encounter the power of England, and, in the first considerable battle, leave more of their enemies dead on the field, in proportion to the number of combatants, than had been recently known to fall in 455 the wars of Europe.
Information of these events, circulating throughout the world, at length reached the ears of one who now hears me.
He has not forgotten the emotions which the fame of Bunker Hill and the name of Warren ex-460 cited in his youthful breast.
Sir, we are assembled to commemorate the establishment of great public principles of liberty, and to do honor to the distinguished dead. The occasion is too severe for eulogy of the living. But, Sir, your inter- 465 esting relation to this country, the peculiar circunstances which surround you and surround us, call on me to express the happiness which we derive from your presence and aid in this solemn commemoration.
Fortunate, fortunate man ! with what measures of 470 devotion will you not thank God for the circumstances of your extraordinary life! You are connected with both hemispheres and with two generations. Heaven saw fit to ordain that the electric spark of liberty should be conducted, through you, from the New 475 World to the Old ; and we, who are now here to perform this duty of patriotism, have all of us long ago received it in charges from our fathers to cherish your name and your virtues. You will account it an instance of your good fortune, Sir, that you crossed the 480 seas to visit us at a time which enables you to be present at this solemnity. You now behold the field, the renown of which reached you in the heart of France, and caused a thrill in your ardent bosom. You see the
lines of the little redoubt thrown up by the incredible 485 diligence of Prescott; defended, to the last extremity, by his lion-hearted valor; and within which the corner stone of our monument has now taken its position. You see where Warren fell, and where Parker, Gardner, McClearly, Moore, and other early 490 patriots fell with him. Those who survived that day, and whose lives have been prolonged to the present hour, are now around you. Some of them you have known in the trying scenes of the war. Behold ! they now stretch forth their feeble arms to embrace you. 495 Behold! they raise their trembling voices to invoke the blessing of God on you and yours forever.
Sir, you have assisted us in laying the foundation of this structure. You have heard us rehearse, with our feeble commendation, the names of departed patriots. 500 Monuments and eulogy belong to the dead.
We give them this day to Warren and his associates. On other occasions they have been given to your more immediate companions in arms, to Washington, to Greene, to Gates, to Sullivan, and to Lincoln. We have become 505 reluctant to grant these, our highest and last honors, further. We would gladly hold them yet back from the little remnant of that immortal band. 6. Serus in coelum redeas." Illustrious as are your merits, yet far, O, very far distant be the day, when any inscription 510 shall bear your name, or any tongue pronounce its eulogy !
The leading reflection to which this occasion seems to invite us, respects the great changes which have happened in the fifty years since the battle of Bunker 515 Hill was fought. And it peculiarly marks the character of the present age, that, in looking at these changes,
and in estimating their effect on our condition, we are obliged to consider, not what has been done in our country only, but in others also. In these interesting 520 times, while nations are making separate and individual advances in improvement, they make, too, a common progress; like vessels on a common tide, propelled by the gales at different rates, according to their several structure and management, but all moved forward by 525 one mighty current, strong enough to bear onward whatever does not sink beneath it.
A chief distinction of the present day is a community of opinions and knowledge amongst men in different nations, existing in a degree heretofore unknown. 530 Knowledge has, in our time, triumphed, and is triumphing, over distance, over difference of languages, over diversity of habits, over prejudice, and over bigotry. The civilized and Christian world is fast learning the great lesson, that difference of nation does not imply 535 necessary hostility, and that all contact need not be
The whole world is becoming a common field for intellect to act in. Energy of mind, genius, power, wheresoever it exists, may speak out in any tongue, and the world will hear it. A great chord of senti- 540 ment and feeling runs through two continents, and vibrates over both. Every breeze wafts intelligence from country to country, every wave rolls it ; all give it forth, and all in turn receive it. There is a vast commerce of ideas; there are marts and exchanges for 545 intellectual discoveries, and a wonderful fellowship of those individual intelligences which make up the mind and opinion of the age. Mind is the great lever of all things ; human thought is the process by which human ends are ultimately answered ; and the diffu- 550