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all the great marts of the world. They show themselves able, by an exchange of commodities, to bear a useful part in the intercourse of nations. A new spirit of enterprize and industry begins to prevail; all the great interests of society receive a salutary impulse; and the progress of information not only testifies to an improved condition, but constitutes, itself, the highest and most essential improvement.
When the battle of Bunker Hill was fought, the existence of South America was scarcely felt in the civilized world. The thirteen little colonies of North America habitually called themselves the · Continent.' Borne down by colonial subjugation, monopoly, and bigotry, these vast regions of the South were hardly visible above the horizon. But in our day there hath been, as it were, a new creation. The Southern Hemisphere emerges from the sea. Its lofty mountains begin to lift themselves into the light of heaven; its broad and fertile plains stretch out, in beauty, to the eye of civilized man, and at the mighty being of the voice of political liberty the waters of darkness retire.
And, now, let us indulge an honest exultation in the conviction of the benefit, which the example of our country has produced, and is likely to produce, on human freedom and human happiness. And let us endeavor to comprehend, in all its magnitude, and to feel, in all its importance, the part assigned to us in the great drama of human affairs. We are placed at the head of the system of representative and popular governments. Thus far our example shows, that such governments are compatible, not only with respectability and power, but with repose, with peace, with security of personal rights, with good laws and a just administration.
We are not propagandists. Wherever other systems are preferred, either as being thought better in themselves, or as better suited to existing condition, we leave the preference to be enjoyed. Our history
hitherto proves, however, that the popular form is practicable, and that with wisdom and knowledge men may govern themselves; and the duty incumbent on us is, to preserve the consistency of this cheering example, and take care that nothing may weaken its authority with the world. If, in our case, the Representative system ultimately fail, popular governments must be pronounced impossible. No combination of circumstances more favorable to the experiment can ever be expected to occur. The last hopes of mankind, therefore, rest with us; and if it should be proclaimed, that our example had become an argument against the experiment, the knell of popular liberty would be sounded throughout the earth.
These are excitements to duty; but they are not suggestions of doubt. Our history and our condition, all that is gone before us, and all that surrounds us, authorize the belief, that popular governments, though subject to occasional variations, perhaps not always for the better, in form, may yet, in their general character, be as durable and permanent as other systems. We know, indeed, that, in our country, any other is impossible. The Principle of Free Governments adheres to the American soil. It is bedded in it; immoveable as its mountains.
And let the sacred obligations which have devolyed on this generation, and on us, sink deep into our hearts. Those are daily dropping from among us, who established our liberty and our government. The great trust now descends to new hands. Let us apply ourselves to that which is presented to us, as our appropriate object. We can win no laurels in a war for independence. Earlier and worthier hands have gathered them all. Nor are there places for us by the side of Solon, and Alfred, and other founders of states. Our fathers have filled them. But there remains to us a great duty of defence and preservation; and there is opened to us, also, a noble pursuit, to which the spirit of the times strongly invites us. Our
velope the recace and the work of peace, let us be the
proper business is improvement. Let our age be the age of improvement. In a day of peace, let us advance the arts of peace and the works of peace. Let us develope the resources of our land, call forth its powers, build up its institutions, promote all its great interests, and see whether we also, in our day and generation, may not perform something worthy to be remembered. Let us cultivate a true spirit of union and harmony. In pursuing the great objects, which our condition points out to us, let us act under a settled conviction, and an habitual feeling, that these twenty-four states are one country. Let our conceptions be enlarged to the circle of our duties. Let us extend our ideas over the whole of the vast field in which we are called to act. Let our object be, our country, our whole country, and nothing but our country. And, by the blessing of God, may that country itself become a vast and splendid Monument, not of oppression and terror, but of Wisdom, of Peace, and of Liberty, upon which the world may gaze, with admiration, forever,
DELIVERED JULY 4, 1825,
IN COMMEMORATION OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE, BEFORE
THE SUPREME EXECUTIVE OF THE COMMONWEALTH, AND THE CITY COUNCIL AND INHABITANTS OF THE CITY OF BOSTON:
BY CHARLES SPRAGUE.
Why, on this day, lingers along these sacred walls, the spirit-kindling anthem? Why, on this day, waits the herald of God at the altar, to utter forth his holy praver? Why, on this day, congregate here the wise, and the good, and the beautiful of the land ?-Fathers! Friends! it is the Sabbath Day of Freedom! The race of the ransomed, with grateful hearts and exulting voices, have again come up, in the sunlight of peace, to the Jubilee of their Independence!
The story of our country's sufferings, our country's triumphs, though often and eloquently told, is still a story that cannot tire, and must not be forgotten. You will listen to its recital, however unadorned; and I shall not fear, therefore, even from the place where your chosen ones have so long stood, to delight and enlighten, I shall not fear to address you. Though I tell you no new thing, I speak of that, which can never fall coldly on your ears. You will listen, for you are the sons and daughters of the heroic men, who lighted the beacon of 6 rebellion," and unfurled, by its blaze, the triumphant banner of liberty ; your own blood will speak for me. A feeble few of that intrepid band are now among you, yet spared by the grave for your veneration; they will speak for me. Their sinking forms, their bleached locks, their honorable scars ;these will, indeed, speak for me. Undaunted men!
how must their dim eyes brighten, and their old hearts grow young with rapture, as they look round on the happiness of their own creation. Long may they remain, our glad and grateful gaze, to teach us all, that we may treasure all, of the hour of doubt and danger ; and when their God shall summon them to a glorious rest, may they bear to their departed comrades the confirmation of their country's renown, and their children's felicity.
We meet to indulge in pleasing reminiscences. One happy household, we have come 'round the table of memory, to banquet on the good deeds of others, and to grow good ourselves, by that on which we feed. Our hope for remembrance, our desire to remember friends and benefactors, are among the warmest and purest sentiments of our nature. To the former we cling stronger, as life itself grows weaker. We know that we shall forget, but the thought of being forgotten, is the death-knell to the spirit. Though our bodies, moulder, we would have our memories live. When we are gone, we shall not hear the murmuring voice of affection, the grateful tribute of praise; still, we love to believe that voice will be raised, and that tribute paid. Few so humble, that they sink below, none so exalted, that they rise above, this common feeling of humanity. The shipwrecked sailor, thrown on a shore where human eye never lightened, before he scoops in the burning sand his last, sad resting place, scratches on a fragment of his shattered bark the record of his fate, in the melancholy hope, that it may some day be repeated to the dear ones, who have long looked out in vain for his coming. The laurelled warrior, whose foot has trodden on crowns, whose hand has divided empires, when he sinks on victory's red field, and life fies hunted from each quivering vein, turns his last mortal thought on that life to come, his country's brightest page.
The remembrance we so ardently desire, we render unto others. To those who are dear, we pay our dearest tribute. It is exhibited in the most simple,