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ORATION.

GENTLEMEN : The summer is our literary festival. We are not a scholarly people, but we devote to the honor of literature some of our loveliest days. When the leaves are greenest, and the mower's scythe sings through the grass ; when plenty is on the earth, and splendor in the heavens, we gather from a thousand pursuits, to celebrate the jubilee of the scholar.

No man who loves literature, or who can, in any way, claim the scholar's privilege, but is glad to associate the beauty of the season with the object of the occasion ; and grace with flowers, and sunshine, and universal summer, the homage which is thus paid to the eternal interests of the human mind.

We are glad of it, as scholars, because the season is the symbol of the character and influence of scholarly pursuits. Like sunshine, a spirit of generous thought illuminates the world. Like trees of golden fruit in the landscape, are the philosophers and poets in history. Happy the day! Happy the place! The roses and the stars wreathe our festival with an immortal garland.

Too young to be your guide and philosopher, I am yet old enough to be your friend. Too little in advance of you in the great battle of life to teach you from experience, I am yet old enough to share with you the profit of the experience of other men and of history. I do not come today a mounted general. I hurry, at your call, to place myself beside you, shoulder to shoulder, a private in the ranks. We are all young men; we are all young Americans; we are all young American scholars. Our interests and duties are the

I speak to you as to comrades. Let us rest a moment, that we may the better fight. Here, in this beautiful valley, under these spreading trees, we bivouac for a summer hour. Our knapsacks are unslung, and our arms are stacked. We give this tranquil hour to the consideration of our position and duties.

The occasion prescribes my theme; the times determine its treatment.

That theme is the scholar; the lesson of the day is the duty of the American scholar to politics.

I would gladly speak to you of the charms of pure scholarship; of the dignity and worth of the

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scholar ; of the abstract relation of the scholar to the State. The sweet air we breathe, and the repose of mid-summer, invite a calm ethical or intellectual discourse. But, would you have counted him a friend of Greece, who quietly discussed the abstract nature of patriotism on that Greek summer day, through whose hopeless and immortal hours Leonidas and his three hundred stood at Thermopylæ for liberty? And, to-day, as the scholar meditates that deed, the air that steals in at his window darkens his study, and suffocates him as he reads. Drifting across a continent, and blighting the harvests that gild it with plenty from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, a black cloud obscures the page that records an old crime, and compels him to know that freedom always has its Thermopylæ, and that his Thermopyla is called Kansas.

Because we are scholars of to-day, shall we shrink from touching the interests of to-day? Because we are scholars, shall we cease to be citizens ? Because we are scholars, shall we cease to be

men ?

Gentlemen, I am glad that, speaking of the duty of the American scholar to the times, I can point to one who fully understands that duty, and has illustrated it, as Milton did. Among fellow-countrymen, that scholar falls defending

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the name and rights of his countrymen; and one of those countrymen stares at him, as he lies insensible, and will not raise him, lest his motives be misunderstood ; and another turns his back upon his bleeding colleague, because for two years he has not been upon speaking terms with him. Gentlemen, the human heart is just, and no traitor to humanity escapes his proper doom. Sacred history hands down to endless infamy the Priest and the Levite who passed by on the other side. Among gentlemen, this scholar pleads the cause dear to every gentleman in history, and a bully strikes him down. In a republic of free men, this scholar speaks for freedom, and his blood stains the Senate floor. There it will blush through all our history. That damned spot will never out from memory, from tradition, or from noble hearts. Every scholar degrades his order, and courts the pity of all generous men, who can see a just liberty threatened, without deserting every other cause to defend liberty. Of what use are your books? Of what use is your scholarship? Without freedom of thought, there is no civilization or human progress; and, without freedom of speech, liberty of thought is a mockery.

I know well that a conventional prejudice consecrates this occasion to dull abstractions and timid, if not treacherous, generalities. It would allow me

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to speak of the scholar, and of the American scholar, in his relation to Greek roots and particles, but would forbid me to mention his duties to American topics and times. I might speak of him as a professor, a dialectician, a dictionary, a grammar, but I must not speak of him as a man. I know that a literary orator is held to be bound by the same decencies that regulate the preacher. But what are those decencies? Is the preacher to rebuke the sins of Jerusalem, or of Philadelphia ? Is he to say in general, “ be good," when he sees in what particulars we are bad, and counsel silence and peace, when silence and peace are treason to God and man? Are the liars to cry to the preacher, “It is not your business to denounce lying ; we pay you to preach against sin ?" But the preachers' Master cried, “Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye devour widows houses.” He specified sins, and classified sinners. In our day the hot adjuration to a clergyman not to soil his pulpit with politics, is merely the way in which the nineteenth century offers him the thirty pieces of silver.

What are politics but the Divine law applied to human government? Politics are the science of the relation of men in human society ; and as the founder of Christianity taught peace and good-will to men, how can the Christian preacher better

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