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be cut off without another opportunity of exerting his powers for the benefit of the public or his friends, cannot thus pass from the memory of men. He would still be to be seen, in the true features of his character, in those productions of his mind, which are already before the public.
In conclusion we may be permitted to add, that several of the speeches and addresses contained in this volume, possessing a character of more permanent and general interest, have been translated and published in most of the languages of Europe. And we are not without authority for saying, that they have been regarded, by men of enlightened judgments and cultivated taste, as fine examples of forensic and popular eloquence. In the language of one of the most eminent statesmen of England, some of these speeches have been read in that country, with "no less admiration of their eloquence, than satisfaction in the soundness and ability of their general views." This tribute, coming as it does from those who are not apt to over-estimate the intellectual power or literary taste of our country, may be regarded by us, with an honest pride, as evidence of uncommon merit. As such, we offer this volume of Mr. Webster's speeches to our countrymen, in full confidence that they will sustain the high reputation they have acquired for political wisdom and true eloquence.
ADDREss delivered at the laying of the Corner Stone of the Bunker Hill Monu-
1816. . 232
DELIVERED AT PLYMOUTH, IN COMMEMORATION OP THE FIRST SETTLEMENT OF NEW ENGLAND. DEC. 22,1820.
Let us rejoice that we behold this day. Let us be thankful that we have lived to see the bright and happy breaking of the auspicious morn, which commences the third century of the history of New England. Auspicious indeed; bringing a happiness beyond the common allotment of Providence to men; full of present joy, and gilding with bright beams the prospect of futurity, is the dawn that awakens us to the commemoration of the landing of the Pilgrims.
Living at an epoch which naturally marks the progress of the history of our native land, we have come hither to celebrate the great event with which that history commenced. Forever honored be this, the place of our fathers' refuge! Forever remembered the day which saw them, weary and distressed, broken in. everything but spirit, poor in all but faith and courage, at last secure from the dangers of wintry seas, and impressing this shore with the first footsteps of civilized man!
It is a noble faculty of our nature which enables us to connect our thoughts, our sympathies, and our happiness, with what is distant, in place or time; and, looking before and aflcr, to hold communion at once with our ancestors and our posterity. Human and mortal although we are, wo are nevertheless not mere insulated beings, without relation to the past or the future. Neither the point of time, nor the spot of earth, in which we physically live, bounds our rational and intellectual enjoyments. Wo live in the past by a knowledge of its history; and in the future by hope and anticipation. By ascending to an association with our ancestors; by contemplating their example'and studying their character; by partaking their sentiments, and imbibing their spirit; by accompanying them in their toils, by sympathising in their sufferings, and rejoicing in their successes and their triumphs, we mingle our own existence with theirs, and seem to belong to their ago. We become their contemporaries, live the lives wliich they lived, endure what they endured, and partake in the rewards which they enjoyed. And in like manner, by running ahaig the line of future time, by contemplating the probable fortunes of those who aro coming allcr us; by attcmpting something which may promote their happiness, and leave some not dishonorable memorial of ourselves for their regard, when we shall sleep with the fathers, we protract our own earthly being, and seem to crowd whatever is future, as well as all that is past, into the narrow compass of our earthly existence. As it is not a vain and false, but an exalted and religious imagination, which leads us to raise our thoughts from the orb, which, amidst this universe of worlds, the Creator has given us to inhabit, and to send them with something of the feeling which nature prompts, and teaches to be proper among children of the same Eternal Parent, to the contemplation of the myriads of fellow beings, with which his goodness has peopled the infinite of space;—so neither is it false or vain to consider ourselves as interested and connected with our whole race, through all time; allied to our ancestors; allied to our posterity; closely compacted on all sides with others; ourselves being but links in the great chain of being, which begins with the origin of our race, runs onward through its successive generations, binding together the past, the present, and the future, and terminating at last, with the consummation of all things earthly, at the throne of God.
There may be, and there often is, indeed, a regard for ancestry, which nourishes only a weak pride; as there is also a care for posterity, which only disguises an habitual avarice, or hides the workings of a low and groveling vanity. But there is also a moral and philosophical respect for our ancestors, which elevates the character and improves the heart. Next to the sense of religious duty and moral feeling, I hardly know what should bear with stronger obligation on a liberal and enlightened mind, than a consciousness of alliance with excellence which is departed; and a consciousness, too, that in its acts and conduct, and even in its sentiments and thoughts, it may be actively operating on the happiness of those who come after it. Poetry is found to have few stronger conceptions, by which it would affect or overwhelm the mind, than those in which it presents the moving and speaking image of the departed dead to the senses of the living. This belongs to poetry, only because it is congenial to our nature. Poetry is, in this respect, but the handmaid of true philosophy and morality; it deals with us as human beings, naturally reverencing those whose visible connexion with this state of existence is severed, and who may yet exercise we know not what sympathy with ourselves;—and when it carries us forward, also, and shows us the long continued result of all the good we do, in the prosperity of those who follow us, till it bears us from ourselves, and absorbs us in an intense interest for what shall happen to the generations after us, it speaks only in the language of our nature, and affects us with sentiments which belong to us as human beings.
Standing in this relation to our ancestors and our posterity, we are assembled on this memorable spot, to perform the duties which that relation, and the present occasion, impose upon vis. We have come to this Rock, to record here our homage for our Pilgrim Fathers; our sympathy in their sufferings; our gratitude for their labors; our admiration of their virtues; our veneration for their