Gambar halaman

and to meet invasions of public order as their perSonal concern. And never, if we may credit European thinkers, was the moral influence of the republic on the nations so great as it is to-day. One says, “Next to the Christian religion, the American government and Constitution is the most precious possession which the world holds, or which the future can inherit.” Another writes, “ Republican government, with all its noble associations and inherited advantages, is, as I believe, the last word in human political institutions. Without any need for impatience, Europe is moving towards it.” Testimonials like these speak powerfully to this people of their responsibility and their duties. They have the noblest inheritance ever bequeathed to a generation; it is their duty to adorn it and transmit it to posterity. In what way can they better do this than by giving full effect to the great ideas of the Revolution? When in all is seen fidelity to the common bond, it is a high duty to cultivate harmony in the nation. In the colonial age there were fierce feuds on account of boundary lines. Wars between some of the colonies were so bitter that the peril of the revolutionary hour did not bring peace. And when a long-existing controversy was settled under the Confederation, a distinguished statesman predicted that “the day will

come when all disputes in the great Republic of Europe will be tried in the same way, and America be quoted to exemplify the wisdom of the measure.” The House of Representatives have just adopted a resolution in favor of international arbitration, declaring that “ the people of the United States are devoted to the policy of peace.” Peace is the normal condition of this republic; and the duty of promoting peace on earth is the high injunction of Christianity. The great result of the Geneva arbitration is acknowledged universally as one of the triumphs of the age. With what force do all the considerations in favor of peace, as between our country and foreign nations, apply to the promotion of peace in this union of free commonwealths! There are few who do not admit that in the recent past, while working for the preservation of the national government, the sphere of the local rights of the States has been encroached upon, and that now there is a tendency to a centralization of power. No one can desire to see the civic privileges that this Commonwealth enjoys abridged, or a just right abrogated. All will cheerfully accord to other States the same rights that are enjoyed here. Our country needs first the correction of enormous wrongs. It needs a recognition of the idea that intelligence should guide the destinies of great com

monwealths. They have a community in each other’s interests. The Union between them ought to be “a partnership in all science, a partnership in art, a partnership in every virtue and in all perfection; a partnership not only in those who are living, but between those who are dead.” It is manifestly in the order of Providence that the people in this Union are to live in the relation of countrymen; it should be the desire and aim of all to live in the relation of friends. Welcome in behalf of the Union everything just, that promises to restore the old fraternity! Welcome the words of President Grant, “Let us have peace!” Welcome the Executive Proclamation of General Amnesty! Welcome the Proclamation commending to the people, in the interests of peace and civilization, the international exposition at Philadelphia on the centenary of the birth of the nation! . Fitting is it that Philadelphia should be designated as the place for such an exhibition. Here is Carpenter's Hall, having in it the generous inscription, “Within these walls Henry, Hancock, and Adams inspired the delegates of the colonies with nerve and sinew for the toils of war, resulting in national independence.” Here is Independence Hall, rich in memorials of the illustrious men who matured the Declaration. All over the city are grateful memorials of the Englishman, Penn, the benign influence of whose religion made it the “City of Brotherly Love,” and of Franklin, the great Bostonian. Here

the representatives of every community, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, may fitly assemble around the old altar, and express allegiance to one country as the common mother of all. - * It would be well if there is also a celebration of the great centenary by the political units in our system, - the towns, cities, counties, and States. The presentation of the feelings and principles of the Bevolution, the happy effects that will forever flow from their triumph and the responsibilities of the hour, would be the natural theme. Such celebrations could not fail to imbue ingenuous youth with the desire to know our noble history. It would bring before them the venerable forms of the founders of the republic, and tend to rouse the spirit of Seventeen Hundred and Seventy-Four. This would be reconciliation, peace, reconstruction, civilization. In the Meg Merrilies of the stage, the crone suddenly confronts the travellers. One trembles and shrinks out of fear; the young laird stares in astonishment, if not in dread. The crone bends forward and repeats the strain which she sung to the heir in his childhood. There was power in those words. They revived old memories. The heart of the laird was touched, and he yielded himself up to the spell. The great centenary will revive memories of the days when the people of thirteen colonies, under

the lead of great ideas, marched one way. Union

was ever before them as their cloud by day, and their pillar of fire by night. What a galaxy of sages and heroes bore this banner on 1 There were Gadsden, and the Pinckneys, of South Carolina; the Adamses, and Hawley, and Hancock, and Warren, of Massachusetts; the noble band in IPennsylvania, with Franklin at their head; Patrick Henry, and Jefferson, and Wythe, the Lees, and Madison, and Washington, of Virginia, and a host of others. They all spoke and acted as Americans. They were for one country, one Constitution, and one flag. Their ideas and aims were comprehensive enough for this day, for future days, for all time. They prompted “ thoughts that breathe and words that burn.” There is power in them. Let these memories touch the heart, as they did in the infancy of the nation, and they cannot fail to do something to revive the old fraternity.

Should this be the result of the celebration of the great centenary, it will be worth all it may cost. Wonderful as it will be to see what a hundred years have done in the line of material prosperity, this will pale before a revival of the springs of the national life from the fountain-head. This would be a reconstruction on the right basis. This would be the best guaranty of the perpetuity of the republic, and that this great government will continue to shield the priceless blessings of Liberty and Law along the line of the generations.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »