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around, by bay, gulf and headland, to Nootka Sound, the republican system, more or less developed, and more or less firmly established, pervades this hemisphere. Such are the already ripening and ripened fruits of the vigorous plants of Puritanism, gathered equally and promiscuously from the parent stock in England, and from the exotic one so carefully transplanted on this rugged coast, and so sedulously watered, watched, cherished and reared, by the Pilgrim Fathers.

Behold how the unfolding, justly and naturally, as I trust, of a theme primarily local, sectional, and even sectarian, has brought us to the solution of the great problem of the progress of mankind toward social happiness and beneficent government. That higher stage of social happiness, that purer form of republican government, to which we are tending, are but faintly shadowed forth in the disturbed transition scenes through which we are passing, and even in the most perfect institutions which have yet been framed from the confused materials of dilapidated and decaying systems. Present defects and imperfections no more warrant conclusions against that better future which has been indicatel, than the incompleteness of the development of Christian principles justifies a fear of the ultimate failure of Christianity itself.

It is a law of human progress, that no work or structure proceeding from human hands shall come forth complete and perfect. Improvement, at the cost of labor and of trial, and even sufferingendless improvement, at such cost, is the discipline of human nature.

What, then, shall be the rule of our own conduct? Shall we grasp and hold fast to existing constitutions, with all their defects and deficiencies, and save them from needed amendment, or shall we amend and complete them, and so prevent reactions, and the need of sanguinary revolutions ? Shall we compromise the principles of justice, freedom, and humanity, by compliances with the counsels of interested cupidity or slavish fear, or shall we stand fast always in their defense? I know no better rule of conduct than that of the Puri. tans. Indeed, I know none other that is sure, or even safe. Nor can even that great rule be followed successfully without adopting their own noble temper and spirit. They were faithful, patient, and persevering. They forgot themselves, and their own immediate in. terests and ambitions, and labored and suffered, that after-coming generations, among which we belong, might be safer and freer and happier than themselves. It can never be too well understood that the generations of men, in moral and political culture, sow and plant for their successors. “Let it not be grievous to you," said Bradford, the meek but brave and constant leader, to the small and forlorn Pilgrim commonwealth, that he was landing on this rock in midwinter-“Let it not be grievous to you that you have been made instruments to break the ice for others. The honor shall be yours, to the world's end.” Such was the only worldly encouragement the truthful founder of the Plymouth colony could give to his guileless comrades. Happily, the Pilgrims needed no others.

It is a familiar law of nature, that whatever grows rapidly also declines speedily. Time and trial are necessary to secure the full vigor without which no enterprise can endure. It was only by long, perilous and painful endurance and controversy, that the Puritans acquired the discipline which, without consciousness of their own, qualified them to be the leaders of the nations.

Need I add, that there can be neither great deeds nor great endurance without faith; and that true, firm, enduring faith can only be found in generous and noble minds? The true reformer, therefore, must calculate on frequent and ever-recurring treacheries and deser. tions by allies, such as Milton graphically describes :

“Another sort there is, who, coming in the course of these affairs to have their share in great actions above the form of law or custom, at least to give their voice and approbation, begin to swerve and almost shiver at the majesty and grandeur of some noble deed; as if they were newly entered into a great sin, disputing precedents, forms and circumstances, when the commonwealth nigh perishes for want of deeds in substance done with just and faithful expedition. To these I wish better instruction and virtue equal to their calling."

Nor will all these qualities suffice, without discretion and gentleness as well as firmness of temper. The courageous reformer will shrink from no controversy, when the field is open, the battle is set, and the lists are fair. But, on the other hand, he will neither make nor seek occasions for activity; and he will be always unimpassioned. Truth is not aggressive; but, like the Christian religion, is first pure, then peaceable. Nor need the reformer fear that occasions for duty will be wanting. Error and injustice never fail to provoke contest; because, if unalarmed, they are overbearing and insolent; if alarmed, they are rash, passionate and reckless.

The question occurs, Whence shall come the faith, the energy, the patient perseverance, and the moderation, which are so indispensable? I answer, that all these will be derived from just conceptions of the great objects of political action. It was so with the Puritans. Their fixed purpose to retain the right of conscience, fully comprehended by them, extinguished selfishness and ambition, and called into activity in their places the fear of God and the love of man. Let them explain themselves:

“Knowing, therefore, how horrible a thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God, by doing that which our consciences (grounded upon the truth of God's Word and the example and doctrine of ancient fathers) do tell us were evil done, and to the great discrediting of the truth whereof we profess to be teachers, we have thought good to yield ourselves into the hands of men; to suffer whatscever God hath appointed us to suffer, for the perfecting of the commandments of God and a clean conscience before the commandments of men. Not despising men, therefore, but trusting in God only, we seek to serve Him with a clear conscience so long as we shall live here, assuring ourselves that the things that we shall suffer for so doing shall be a testimony to the world that great reward is laid up for us in heaven, where we doubt not but to rest forever with those that have before our days suffered for the like."

Contrast these sentiments, so profoundly self-renouncing and reverential of God, with the blasphemous egotism of the French revolutionists of 1798, and contrast also the slowly formed and slowly maturing, but always multiplying and ripening fruits of the Puritan reformation, with the blasted and shriveled benefits of that other great modern convulsion, and you have an instructive and memorable lesson upon the elevation and purity of spirit which alone can advance human progress.

Increase of wealth and commerce, and the enlargement of empire, are not truly primary objects of the American patriot. These are, indeed, worthy of his efforts. But the first object is the preservation of the spirit of freedom, which is the soul of the republic itself. Let that become languid, and the republic itself must languish and decline. Let it become extinct, and the republic must disastrously fall. Let it be preserved and invigorated, and the republic will spread wider and wider, and its noble institutions will tower higher and higher. Let it fall, and so its example fail, and the nations will retrograde. Let it endure, and the world will yet be free, virtuous and happy. Hitherto, nations have raised monuments to survive liberty and empire. And they have been successful. Egypt, As

Vol. IV.

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syria, Greece and Italy are full of those monuments. Let our ambition be the nobler one of establishing liberty and empire which shall survive the most stupendous material structures which genius can devise or art erect, with all the facilities of increasing knowledge and public wealth.

Here my reflections on a subject infinitely suggestive come to an end. They will not be altogether fruitless, if I have been at all successful in illustrating the truths that continual meliorations of society and government are not only possible, but certain; that human progress is slow, because it is only the unfolding of the Divine Providence concerning man ; that the task of directing and aiding that progress is rendered the most difficult of all our labors, by reason of our imperfect knowledge of the motives and principles of human conduct, and of countless unforeseen obstacles to be encountered; that this progress, nevertheless, must and will go on, whether favored or resisted; that it will go on peacefully, if wisely favored, and through violence, if unwisely resisted; that neither stability nor even safety, can be enjoyed by any state, otherwise than by rendering exact justice, which is nothing else than pure equality, to all its members; that the martial heroism, which, invoked after too long passiveness under oppression and misrule, sometimes achieves the deliverance of states, is worthy of all the honor it receives; but that the real authors of all benign revolutions, are those who search out and seek to remove peacefully the roots of social and political evils, and so avert the necessity for sanguinary remedies; that the Puritans of England and America have given the highest and most beneficent illustration of that conservative heroism which the world has yet witnessed; that they have done this by the adoption of a single, true and noble principle of conduct, and by patient and persevering fidelity to it; that they thus overcare a demoralizing political and social reäction, and gave a new and powerful impulse to human progress; that tyranny is deceitful, and mankind are credulous, and that therefore political compromises are more dangerous to liberty than open usurpations; that the Puritan principle, which was so sublime and so effective, was nothing else than the truth, that men retain in every state all the natural rights which are essential to the performance of personal, social and religious duties; that the principle includes the absolute equality of all men, and therefore tends to a complete development in pure republican sys- . tems; that it has already modified the institutions of Europe, while it has brought into existence republican systems, more or less perfect throughout the American continent, and is fixing and shaping such institutions wherever civilization is found; that hindrances, delays and reactions of political progress are nevertheless unavoidable, but that they also have corresponding benefits; that it is our duty to labor to advance that progress, chiefly by faith, constancy and perseverance-virtues which can only be acquired by self-renunciation, and by yielding to the motives of the fear of God and the love of mankind.

Come forward, then, ye nations, states and races-rude, savage, oppressed and despised—enslaved or mutually warring among yourselves, as ye are—upon whom the morning star of civilization hath either not yet dawned or hath only dimly broken amid clouds and storms, and receive the assurance that its shining shall yet be complete, and its light be poured down on all alike. Receive our pledges that we will wait and watch and strive for the fullness of that light, by the exercise of faith, with patience and perseverance. And ye reverend men, whose precious dust is beneath our unworthy feet, pilgrims and sojourners in this vale of tears no longer, but kings and princes now at the right hand of the throne of the God you served so faithfully when on the earth-gather yourselves, immortal and awful shades, around us, and witness, not the useless honors we pay to your memories, but our • resolves of fidelity to truth, duty and freedom, which arise out of the contemplation of the beneficent operation of your own great principle of conduct, and the ever-widening influence of your holy teachings and Godlike example.

After the preceding oration had been pronounced the company sat down to a public dinner,' at which the following toast was proposed :

The Orator of the Day-Eloquent in his tribute to the virtues of the Pilgrims; faithful, in his life, to the lessons they taught.

Mr. Seward spoke in response substantially as follows:

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: The Puritans were Protestants, but they were not protestants against everybody and everything, right or wrong. They did not protest indiscriminately against everything they found in England. On the

1 Se Memoir, ante page 36.

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