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his wife and children and his own soul to the hands of his Maker, and quietly awaited his fate. Rev. Abner Benedict was born at North Salem, New York, and died in 1818 at Roxbury, New Jersey. He was with the army in New York, and made inventions in submarine navigation to destroy the enemy's ships by torpedoes. He was a fervent patriot and a learned clergyman.

Perhaps no character has been nearer to us than the venerable Bishop White, of the Episcopal Church, born in Philadelphia, April 4, 1748. A scholar, a statesman, a Christian, and a patriot, he lived until the 17th of July, 1836, and died at the advanced age of eighty-eight. He filled the highest positions in his denomination, and was elected chaplain to Congress in 1777, remaining steadfast at his post till the end. When the British evacuated Philadelphia, every clergyman of the Episcopal Church left the city but himself. Solitary and alone, he remained at his post, and, like Abdiel, faithful to the last, he cast his lot with his suffering country. Rev. Timothy Dwight, another Connecticut man, born at Northampton, in that state, in 1752, a poet, orator, writer, patriot, and statesman, he filled into his sixty-four years an immense amount of labor, sacrifice, and suffering. I might continue this list, but will content myself with referring to several other more prominent characters. Joel Barlow's patriotic ballads and sermons, hymns and foreign travels—including his consulship at Algiers and his mission to France-altogether make up a wonderful history. His celebrated poem “The Columbiad," dedicated to Robert Fulton, written in 1777, is classed among the most remarkable prophecies in uninspired writings. He predicted the construction of the Erie Canal in the following words:


“From fair Albania toward the falling sun,

Back through the midland lengthening channels run;
Meet the far lakes their beauteous towns that lave,
And Hudson join to broad Ohio's wave."

This extraordinary description of the great internal work of New York State was written in 1787, when almost the entire country west of Albany to Niagara was one unbroken wilderness. American literature furnishes no parallel to this. Still more remarkable is the following prophecy of telegraphic communication :

"Ah! speed thy labors, sage of unknown name,
Rise into light and seize thy promised fame ;
For thee the chemic powers their bounds expand,
The imprisoned lightning waits thy guardian hand:
Unnumbered messages in viewless flight

Shall bear thy mandates with the speed of light.Nor let me forget Dr. John Witherspoon, a clergyman, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1722, embarking for Philadelphia in 1768. He was elected president of Princeton College beföre he reached this country, and his arrival at Princeton was celebrated by an illumination of the college and town. Ever since his example and his precepts are remembered and followed. He immediately became a patriotic leader, and maintained that post to the end. Elected to represent New Jersey in the Continental Congress, he joined it a few days before the Declaration of Independence, and gave it his support from the start. The following beautiful passage from his biography may be seasonably recalled :

“When the 'Declaration' was reported and laid before Congress for their adoption and signature, every one felt that a fearful crisis had come. Some true patriots wavered. The step which should forever separate them entirely from the mother country and plunge the land in a war, the end of which no man could foresee, was a momentous one to take ; but the hour of decision had arrived, and not only the fate of a great nation, but of man the world over, hung suspended on it. That august body felt the tremendous responsibility that rested upon it, and a deep and solemn silence reigned


throughout the hall. In the midst of it Mr. Witherspoon arose and said, 'Mr. President, that noble instrument on your table, which insures immortality to its author, should be subscribed this very morning by every pen in the House. He who will not respond to its accents and strain every nerve to carry into effect its provisions is unworthy the name of freeman. Although these gray hairs must descend into the sepulchre, I would infinitely rather they should descend thither by the hand of the executioner than desert at this crisis the sacred cause of my country.' The venerable man sat down, but these great words continued to vibrate in each heart, strengthening the firm and giving courage to the wavering. And when a timid member remarked that the country was not ripe for such a declaration of independence, Witherspoon replied, in a voice that rang through the hall, “In my judgment, sir, we are not only ripe, but rotten. With an untremulous hand and a heart firm and steady, he put his name to that immortal instrument.”

In closing this rapid retrospect, the fact that the Roman Catholic chaplains sent up their prayers side by side with the Protestants in the Revolution must also be recorded. On the 4th of July, 1779, a French priest in a Roman Catholic church in the city of Philadelphia uttered the following noble words, which I reprint because they deserve to be read, after the close of the century of liberty, and because that event was honored by no one party or sect or race, but by men of all nationalities and religions :

“Gentlemen, we are assembled to celebrate the anniversary of that day which Providence had marked in his eternal decrees to become the epoch of liberty and independence to the thirteen United States of America. That Being whose almighty hand holds all existence beneath its dominion undoubtedly produces, in the depth of his wisdom, those great events which astonish the universe, and of which the most presumptuous, though instrumental in accomplishing, dare not

attribute to themselves the merit. But the finger of God is still more peculiarly evident in the happy, the glorious Revolution which calls forth this day's festivity. He hath struck the oppressors of a people, free and peaceable, with the spirit of delusion, which always renders the wicked the 'artificers of their own proper misfortunes. Permit me, my dear brethren, citizens of the United States, to address you on this occasion. It is God, the all-powerful God, who hath directed your steps when you knew not where to apply for counsel ; who, when you were without arms, fought for you with the sword of eternal justice; / who, when you were in adversity, poured into your hearts the spirit of courage, of wisdom, and of fortitude; and who has at length raised up for your support a youthful sovereign whose virtues bless and adorn a sensible, a faithful, and a generous nation. This nation has blended her interests with your interests, and her sentiments with yours. She participates in all your joys, and this day unites her voice to yours at the foot of the altar of the Eternal God to celebrate that glorious Revolution which has placed the sons of America among the free and independent nations of the earth.”

Do the men who live in the midst of the blessings that have followed the Declaration of Independence, who strangely resisted the grateful recognition of the close of the century, ever reflect on what the Signers would say to their objections if they could be restored to their old hall in July of 1876! If Jefferson could stand in the midst of his fulfilled prophecies of universal liberty; if Franklin could behold distant nations talking to each other every minute in his lightning language; if Witherspoon could hail new worlds added to civilization; the patriotic priest see the great Catholic Church rising to a mighty power on this continent, and Protestantism everywhere spreading its splendid work of evangelism, with education, art, science, and industry extending to all regions under our benign institutions, and our population larger than all Great Britain, what would they say


to the argument that the close of such a century should not be celebrated on the spot where the Government was born?




We have not yet reached the period when we can read history in architecture, as they do in the old countries. But no one can study the growth of the building known as “The Capitol " without anticipating a future at least as interesting as the wonderful records left in stone and marble in such monuments of the centuries as Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London. It is not difficult to predict, judging by its extraordinary progress within the last twenty-five years, that within the same period in the future, under the same auspices, stimulated by the same public spirit, the noble eminence upon which it stands, and all the eastern plateau, will be a lovely city, rivalling in magnificence the older settlement extending westward towards Georgetown. The Capitol itself is the successful rival of the splendid structures surrounding the old White House, and is attracting thitherward much of the wealth and intelligence of the country. The English halls of Parliament, grand and imposing as they are, are located in perhaps the most unattractive part of London, doubtless because the spot is historic and so near the unrivalled mausoleum of the English dead, the great Abbey. But we almost began our history with the Capitol, and rapidly have we continued to make it. It is already a vast volume of events, and every day adds to its absorbing interest.

I have now before me two little books, published exactly twenty years apart—the first called a “Guide to the Capitol and to the National Executive Offices of the United States,"


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