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Old South Leaflets.

No. III.

Kossuth's First

Speech in Faneuil Hall.


Ladies and Gentlemen,- Do me the justice to believe that I rise not with any pretension to eloquence within the Cradle of American Liberty. If I were standing upon the ruins of Prytaneum, and had to speak whence Demosthenes spoke, my tongue would refuse to obey, my words would die away upon my lips, and I would listen to the winds fraught with the dreadful realization of his unheeded prophecies. Spirit of American eloquence, frown not at my boldness that I dare abuse Shakespeare's language in Faneuil Hall! It is a strange fate, and not my choice. My tongue is fraught with a down-trodden nation's wrongs. The justice of my cause is my eloquence; but misfortune may approach the altar whence the flame arose which roused your fathers from degradation to independence. I claim my people's share in the benefit of the laws of nature and of nature's God. I will nothing add to the historical reputation of these walls; but I dare hope not to sully them by appealing to those maxims of truth the promulgation of which made often tremble these walls from the thundering cheers of freemen, roused by the clarion sound of inspired oratory.

"Cradle of American Liberty!" it is a great name; but there is something in it which saddens my heart. You should not say "American liberty." You should say "Liberty in AmerLiberty should not be either American or European,it should be just "liberty." God is God. He is neither Amer


ica's God nor Europe's God. He is God. So shall liberty be. "American liberty has much the sound as if you would say "American privilege." And there is the rub. Look to history, and, when your heart saddens at the fact that liberty never yet was lasting in any corner of the world and in any age, you will find the key of it in the gloomy truth that all who yet were free regarded liberty as their privilege instead of regarding it as a principle. The nature of every privilege is exclusiveness; that of a principle is communicative. Liberty is a principle; its community is its security; exclusiveness is its doom.

What is aristocracy? It is exclusive liberty; it is privilege; and aristocracy is doomed, because it is contrary to the destiny and welfare of man. Aristocracy should vanish, not in the nations, but also from amongst the nations. So long as that is not done, liberty will nowhere be lasting on earth. It is equally fatal to individuals as to nations to believe themselves beyond the reach of vicissitudes. To this proud reliance, and the isolation resulting therefrom, more victims have fallen than to oppression by immediate adversities. You have prodigiously grown by your freedom of seventy-five years; but what is seventy-five years to take for a charter of immortality? No, no, my humble tongue tells the records of eternal truth. A privilege never can be lasting. Liberty restricted to one nation never can be sure. You may say, "We are the prophets of God," but you shall not say, "God is only our God." The Jews have said so, and the pride of Jerusalem lies in the dust. Our Saviour taught all humanity to say, "Our Father in heaven"; and his Jerusalem is lasting to the end of days.

"There is a community in mankind's destiny." That was the greeting which I read on the arch of welcome on the Capitol Hill of Massachusetts. I pray to God the republic of America would weigh the eternal truth of those words, and act accordingly. Liberty in America would then be sure to the end of time. But if you say "American liberty," and take that grammar for your policy, I dare say the time will yet come when humanity will have to mourn over a new proof of the ancient truth, that without community national freedom is never sure. You should change "American liberty" into "Liberty," then liberty would be forever sure in America, and that which found a cradle in Faneuil Hall never would find a coffin through all coming days. I like not the word "cradle "

connected with the word "liberty." It has a scent of mortality. But these are vain words, I know. Though in the life of nations the spirits of future be marching in present events, visible to every reflecting mind, still those who foretell them are charged with arrogantly claiming the title of prophets, and prophecies are never believed. However, the cradle of American liberty is not only famous from the reputation of having been always the lists of the most powerful eloquence; it is still more conspicuous for having seen that eloquence attended by practical success. To understand the mystery of this rare circumstance, a man must see the people of New England and especially the people of Massachusetts.

In what I have seen of New England there are two things the evidence of which strikes the observer at every step,prosperity and intelligence. I have seen thousands assembled, following the noble impulses of generous hearts; almost the entire population of every city, of every town, of every village where I passed, gathered around me, throwing the flowers of consolation in my thorny way. I can say I have seen the people here, and I have looked at it with a keen eye, sharpened in the school of a toilsome life. Well, I have seen not a single man bearing mark of that poverty upon himself which in old Europe strikes the eye sadly at every step. I have seen no ragged poor. I have seen not a single house bearing the appearance of desolated poverty. The cheerfulness of a comfortable condition, the result of industry, spreads over the land. One sees at a glance that the people work assiduously,- not with the depressing thought just to get from day to day, by hard toil, through the cares of a miserable life, but they work with the cheerful consciousness of substantial happiness. And the second thing which I could not fail to remark is the stamp of intelligence impressed upon the very eyes and outward appearance of the people at large. I and my companions have seen that people in the factories, in the workshops, in their houses, and in the streets, and could not fail a thousand times to think," How intelligent that people looks." It is to such a people that the orators of Faneuil Hall had to speak, and therein is the mystery of their success. They were not wiser than the public spirit of their audience, but they were the eloquent interpreters of the people's enlightened instinct.

No man can force the harp of his own individuality into the people's heart; but every man may play upon the cords of his

people's heart, who draws his inspiration from the people's instinct. Well, I thank God for having seen the public spirit of the people of Massachusetts bestowing its attention to the cause I plead, and pronouncing its verdict. After the spontaneous manifestations of public opinion which I have met in Massachusetts, there can be not the slightest doubt that his Excellency, the high-minded Governor of Massachusetts, when he wrote his memorable address to the Legislature, the joint committee of the Legislative Assembly, after a careful and candid consideration of the subject, not only concurring in the views of the executive government, but elucidating them in a report, the irrefutable logic and elevated statesmanship of which will forever endear the name of Hazewell to oppressed nations, and the Senate of Massachusetts adopting the resolutions proposed by the Legislative Committee, in respect to the question of national intervention, I say the spontaneous manifestation of public opinion leaves not the slightest doubt that all these executive and legislative proceedings not only met the full approbation of the people of Massachusetts, but were, in fact, nothing else but the solemn interpretation of that public opinion of the people of Massachusetts. A spontaneous outburst of popular sentiments tells often more in a single word than all the skill of elaborate eloquence could. I have met that word. "We worship not the man, but we worship the principle," shouted out a man in Worcester, amidst the thundering cheers of a countless multitude. It was a word like those words of flame, spoken in Faneuil Hall, out of which liberty in America was born. That word is a revelation that the spirit of eternal truth and of present exigencies moves through the people's heart. That word is teeming with the destinies of America.

Would to God that, in the leading quarters, small party considerations should never prevent the due appreciation of the people's instinctive sagacity! It is with joyful consolation and heartfelt gratitude I own that of that fear I am forever relieved in respect to Massachusetts. Once more I have met the revelation of the truth that the people of Massachusetts worship principles. I have met it on the front of your capitol, in those words raised to the consolation of the oppressed world, by the constitutional authorities of Massachusetts, to the high heaven, upon an arch of triumph,—"Remember that there is a community in mankind's destiny."

I cannot express the emotion I felt when, standing on the steps of your Capitol, these words above my head, the people of Massachusetts tendered me its hand in the person of its chief magistrate. The emotion which thrilled through my heart was something like that Lazarus must have felt when the Saviour spoke to him, "Rise"; and, when I looked up with a tender tear of heartfelt gratitude in my eyes, I saw the motto of Massachusetts all along the capitol,-"We seek with the sword the mild quietness of liberty." You have proved this motto not to be an empty word. The heroic truth of it is. recorded in the annals of Faneuil Hall, it is recorded on Bunker Hill, recorded in the Declaration of Independence. Having read that motto, coupled with the acknowledgment of the principle that there is a community in the destiny of all humanity, I know what answer I have to take to those millions who look with profound anxiety to America.

Gentlemen, the Mahometans say that the city of Bokhara receives not light from without, but is lustrous with its own light. I don't know much about Bokhara; but so much I know, that Boston is the sun whence radiated the light of resistance against oppression. And, from what it has been my good fortune to experience in Boston, I have full reason to believe that the sun which shone forth with such a bright lustre in the days of oppression has not lost its lustre by freedom and prosperity. Boston is the metropolis of Massachusetts, and Massachusetts has given its vote. It has given it after having, with the penetrating sagacity of its intelligence, looked attentively into the subject, and fixed with calm consideration its judgment thereabout. After having had so much to speak, it was with infinite gratification I heard myself addressed in Brookfield, Framingham, and several other places, with these words: "We know your country's history; we agree with your principles; we want no speech; just let us hear your voice, and then go on; we trust and wish you may have other things to do than speak." Thus having neither to tell my country's tale, because it is known, nor having to argue about principles, because they are agreed with, I am in the happy condition of being able to restrain myself to a few desultory remarks about the nature of the difficulties I have to contend with in other quarters, that the people of Massachusetts may see upon what ground those stand who are following a direction contrary to the distinctly pronounced opinion of Massachusetts, in relation to the cause I plead.





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