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Alma Mater might well exclaim, in those touching words of paternal grief, that she would not give her dead sons for any living sons in Christendom. Pickering, Story, Allston, Channing! A grand Quaternion ! Each, in his peculiar sphere, was foremost in his country. Each might have said, what the modesty of Demosthenes did not forbid him to boast, that, through him, his country had been crowned abroad. Their labors were wide as the Commonwealth of Letters, Laws, Art, Humanity, and have found acceptance wherever these have found dominion.
Their lives, which overflow with instruction, teach one persuasive lesson, which speaks alike to all of every calling and pursuit, — not to live for ourselves alone. They lived for Knowledge, Justice, Beauty, Humanity. Withdrawing from the strifes of the world, from the allurements of office, and the rage for gain, they consecrated themselves to the pursuit of excellence, and each, in his own vocation, to beneficent labor. They were all philanthropists; for the labors of all promoted the welfare and happiness of mankind.
In the contemplation of their generous, unselfish lives, we feel the insignificance of office and wealth, which men so hotly pursue. What is office ? and what is wealth ? They are the expressions and representatives of what is present and fleeting only, investing their possessor, perhaps, with a brief and local regard. But let this not be exaggerated ; let it not be confounded with the serene fame which is the reflection of important labors in great
The street lights, within the circle of their nightly scintillation, seem to outshine the distant stars, observed of men in all lands and times; but gas-lamps are not to be mistaken for the celestial luminaries.
They who live only for wealth and the things of this
world follow shadows, neglecting the great realities which are eternal on earth and in heaven. After the perturbations of life, all its accumulated possessions must be resigned, except those alone which have been devoted to God and mankind. What we do for ourselves, perishes with this mortal dust; what we do for others, lives in the grateful hearts of all who feel or know the benefaction. Worms may destroy the body; but they cannot consume such a fame. It is fondly cherished on earth, and never forgotten in heaven.
The selfish struggles of the crowd, the clamors of a false patriotism, the suggestions of a sordid ambition, cannot obscure that great commanding duty which enjoins perpetual labor, without distinction of country, of color, or of race, for the welfare of the whole Human Family. In this mighty Christian cause, Knowledge, Jurisprudence, Art, Philanthropy, all are blessed ministers. More puissant than the Sword, they shall lead mankind from the bondage of error into that service which is perfect freedom. Our departed brothers join in summoning you to this gladsome obedience. Their examples speak for them. Go forth into the many mansions of the house of life: scholars! store them with learning; jurists! build them with justice; artists ! adorn them with beauty; philanthropists ! let them resound with love. Be servants of truth, each in his vocation; doers of the word and not hearers only. Be sincere, pure in heart, earnest, enthusiastic. A virtuous enthusiasm is always self-forgetful and noble. It is the only inspiration now vouchsafed to man. Like Pickering, blend humility with learning. Like Story, ascend above the Present, in place and time. Like Allston, regard fame only as the eternal shadow of excellence. Like Channing, bend in
adoration before the right. Cultivate alike the wisdom of experience and the wisdom of hope. Mindful of the Future, do not neglect the Past; awed by the majesty of Antiquity, turn not with indifference from the Future. True wisdom looks to the ages before us, as well as behind
Like the Janus of the Capitol, one front thoughtfully regards the Past, rich with experience, with memories, with the priceless traditions of virtue; the other is earnestly directed to the All Hail Hereafter, richer still with its transcendent hopes and unfulfilled prophecies.
We stand on the threshold of a new age, which is preparing to recognize new influences. The ancient divinities of Violence and Wrong are retreating to their kindred darkness.
There's a fount about to stream,
Into gray ;
Clear the way.
Aid the dawning, tongue and pen ;
Clear the way.
The age of Chivalry has gone. An age of Humanity has come. The horse, whose importance, more than human, gave the name to that early period of gallantry and war, now yields his foremost place to man. In serving him,
in promoting his elevation, in contributing to his welfare, in doing him good, there are fields of bloodless triumph, nobler far than any in which the bravest knight ever conquered. Here are spaces of labor, wide as the world, lofty as heaven. Let me say, then, in the benison once bestowed upon the youthful knight, - Scholars ! jurists! artists! philanthropists ! heroes of a Christian age, companions of a celestial knighthood, “Go forth; be brave, loyal, and successful !”
And may it be our office to-day to light a fresh beaconfire on the venerable walls of Harvard, sacred to Truth, to Christ, and the Church, - to Truth Immortal, to Christ the Comforter, to the Holy Church Universal. Let the flame spread from steeple to steeple, from hill to hill, from island to island, from continent to continent, till the long lineage of fires shall illumine all the nations of the earth; animating them to the holy contests of KNOWLEDGE, JUSTICE, BEAUTY, LOVE.
LV. - THE WESTERN POSTS.
FISHER AMES was born in Dedham, Massachusetts, April 9, 1758; and died in the same place, July 4, 1808. When the Federal government went into operation, he was elected the first representative of his district in Congress, and retained his seat through the whole of the administration of Washington, of whose policy and measures he was an ardent supporter. He was a very eloquent man, remarkable alike for his readiness in debate and the finished beauty of his prepared speeches. He was a copious writer upon political subjects, and his essays are remarkable for vigor of thought and brilliant and animated style. In private life Mr. Ames was one of the most amiable and delightful of men, and possessed of rare conversational powers.
The speech from which the following extract is taken was delivered in the House of Representatives, April 28, 1796, in support of a resolution in favor of passing the laws necessary for carrying into effect a treaty recently negotiated with Great Britain by Mr. Jay. By this treaty, Great Britain agreed to surrender certain posts on the western frontier, which she still held. Mr. Ames argued that the possession of these posts was essential for the preservation of the Western settlers against the Indians.
F any, against all these proofs, should maintain that
posts, to them I will urge another reply. From arguments calculated to produce conviction, I will appeal directly to the hearts of those who hear me, and ask whether it is not already planted there? I resort especially to the convictions of the Western gentlemen, whether, supposing no posts and no treaty, the settlers will remain in security ? Can they take it upon them to say, that an Indian peace, under these circumstances, will prove firm ? No, sir, it will not be peace, but a sword ; it will be no better than a lure to draw victims within the reach of the tomahawk.
On this theme my emotions are unutterable. If I could find words for them, if my powers bore any proportion to my zeal, I would swell my voice to such a note of remonstrance it should reach every log-house beyond the mountains. I would say to the inhabitants : Wake from your false security; your cruel dangers, your more cruel apprehensions, are soon to be renewed ; the wounds, yet unhealed, are to be torn open again ; in the daytime, your path through the woods will be ambushed; the darkness of midnight will glitter with the blaze of your dwellings. You are a father, — the blood of your sons shall fatten your cornfield. You are a mother, – the war-whoop shall wake the sleep of the cradle.
On this subject you need not suspect any deception on your feelings ; it is a spectacle of horror which cannot be overdrawn. If you have nature in your hearts, they will speak a language, compared with which all I have said or can say will be poor and frigid.
Will it be whispered that the treaty has made me a new champion for the protection of the frontiers ? It is