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modern times, if not less likely to happen at all, will be less likely to become general and involve many nations, as the great principle shall be more and more established, that the interest of the world is peace, and its first great statute, that every nation possesses the power of estab- 5 lishing a government for itself. But public opinion has attained also an influence over governments which do not admit the popular principle into their organization. A necessary respect for the judgment of the world operates, in some measure, as a control over the most unlimited 10 forms of authority. It is owing, perhaps, to this truth, that the interesting struggle of the Greeks has been suffered to go on so long, without a direct interference, either to wrest that country from its present masters, or to execute the system of pacification by force; and, with 15 united strength, lay the neck of Christian and civilized Greece at the foot of the barbarian Turk. Let us thank God that we live in an age when something has influence besides the bayonet, and when the sternest authority does not venture to encounter the scorching power of public 20 reproach. Any attempt of the kind I have mentioned should be met by one universal burst of indignation; the air of the civilized world ought to be made too warm to be comfortably breathed by any one who would hazard it.

It is, indeed, a touching reflection, that, while, in the 25 fulness of our country's happiness, we rear this monument to her honor, we look for instruction in our undertaking to a country which is now in fearful contest, not for works of art or memorials of glory, but for her own existence. Let her be assured, that she is not forgotten in 30 the world; that her efforts are applauded, and that constant prayers ascend for her success. And let us cherish a confident hope for her final triumph. If the true spark of religious and civil liberty be kindled, it will burn. Human agency cannot extinguish it. Like the earth's 35 central fire, it may be smothered for a time; the ocean may overwhelm it; mountains may press it down; but its inherent and unconquerable force will heave both the

ocean and the land, and at some time or other, in some place or other, the volcano will break out and flame up to heaven.

Among the great events of the half century, we must 5 reckon, certainly, the Revolution of South America; and

we are not likely to overrate the importance of that Revolution, either to the people of the country itself or to the rest of the world. The late Spanish colonies, now inde

pendent states, under circumstances less favorable, doubt10 less, than attended our own Revolution, have yet suc

cessfully commenced their national existence. They have accomplished the great object of establishing their independence; they are known and acknowledged in the

world; and although in regard to their systems of govern15 ment, their sentiments on religious toleration, and their

provision for public instruction, they may have yet much to learn, it must be admitted that they have risen to the condition of settled and established states more rapidly

than could have been reasonably anticipated. They al20 ready furnish an exhilarating example of the difference

between free governments and despotic misrule. Their commerce, at this moment, creates a new activity in all the great marts of the world. They show themselves able,

by an exchange of commodities, to bear a useful part in 25 the intercourse of nations. A new spirit of enterprise

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 itself constitutes the highest and most essential im30 provement.

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 35 by colonial subjugation, monopoly, and bigotry, these vast regions of the South were hardly visible above the hori

But in our day there has 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 streteh out, in beauty, to the eye of civilized man, and at the mighty bidding of the voice of political liberty the waters of darkness retire.



And now, let us indulge an honest exultation in the con- 5 viction of the benefit which the example of our country has produced, and is likely to produce, on human freedom and human happiness. 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. 10 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 conditions, we leave the preference to be enjoyed. Our history hitherto proves, 20 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 25 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 pro- 30 claimed, 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 35 that is gone before us, and all that surrounds us, authorize the belief, that popular governments, though subject to occasional variations, in form perhaps not always for the

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better, 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 5 bedded in it, immovable as its mountains.

And let the sacred obligations which have devolved on this generation, and on us, sink deep into our hearts. Those who established our liberty and our government

are daily dropping from among us. The great trust now 10 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 15 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

Our proper business is improvement. Let our age 20 be the age of improvement. In a day of peace, let us

advance the arts of peace and the works of peace. Let us develop 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 25 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. 30 Let our conceptions be enlarged to the circle of our duties.

Let us extend our idea 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 36 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!


The Text. Webster's Address at the laying of the cornerstone of the Bunker Hill monument was delivered at the site, June 17, 1825.

It was published immediately afterwards in Boston by Cummings, Hilliard, and Company, the title of the book being registered at the district clerk's office, June 21, 1825, by the publishers.

It was reprinted several times that same year. The first, second, third, and fifth editions are identical, except that after the first edition the number of the edition is indicated below the author's name on the title page. A pamphlet edition was published in Boston, 1843, by Tappan and Dennet. It is a poor affair in type and paper, and has, except for fewer capitals, the text of 1825.

In 1851 a collected edition of Webster's speeches was published by Little and Brown with this dedication:

Dedication of the first volume to my nieces Mrs. Alice Bridge Whipple, and Mrs. Mary Ann Sanborn:

Many of the speeches contained in this volume were delivered and printed in the lifetime of your father, whose fraternal affection led him to speak of them with approbation.

His death, which happened when he had only just past the middle period of life, left you without a father, and me without a brother.

I dedicate this volume to you, not only for the love I have for yourselves, but also as a tribute of affection to his memory and from a desire that the name of my brother, Ezekiel Webster, may be associated with mine, so long as anything written or spoken by me shall be regarded or read.


The text of the first Bunker Hill Address, here printed,


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