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adequately our vast national resources; if we can succeed in fully developing our moral and intellectual energies, and with these, the material resources on which the maintenance of their healthy activity depends, then our Republic will stand to the end of time; and when the sleeping dust of ages and of empires rises to meet the Son of God, the star-spangled banner shall still be floating in the breeze. Yes, my brethren, in the cultivation of our valleysin the ores of our mountains—in the commerce of our rivers, lakes, railroads, and sea-boards—in the purity and pre-eminent influence of woman-in the vigorous prosecution of our systems of public instruction-in the universal diffusion of knowledge—in the sublime morality of the Bible—in the purity, vitality, and benevolence of the gospel of Christ, we have the elements of unshaken permanence in our institutions. And I have not a doubt, but that, in spite of the sinister predictions of speculative historians; in spite of the dreams of aristocratic philosophers, and the ill-omened vistas of monarchists, whose wishes are father to their forebodings; in spite of our rapidly increasing population; in spite of the intrigues of a few disappointed, restless, selfish, narrow-minded politicians, that the United States, in every essential particular as she now is, will occupy,
ages upon ages to come, an ever-increasingly glorious position amongst the nations of the earth. And to show that our hope of republics is well founded, I propose to notice still fur ther a few grounds of doubt, and then glance at some of the elements of their permanence.
I. Let it not be argued that we must fall, sooner or later, because all preceding States and Kingdoms have either already fallen, or are in a rapid decline. The past is a good school, but not an infallible prophet. The past is only in part the cause of the present, and of the future. As no two leaves of the forest are exactly alike, nor any two human faces, so neither are any two ages or countries exactly alike. The past may have its semblance; but it never has its exact likeness in the present. The human body is so far the same, as to preserve its personal identity from infancy to old age, and yet its particles are ever changing. The elements of society now are in part the same as the elements of society in ages past; and in part they are different, and in some things wholly unlike and superior to those of any former age. The religious faith of modern times, especially in our country, where there is no unhallowed, adulterous connection between Church and State, is purer than was known in the ancient world: and the religious faith of a nation has greater influence, direct and indirect, upon its prosperity, than all other causes. The predicates, therefore, of no past age are to be applied, without considerable limitations, to the present. And as the history of no other nation corresponds to the past and present of the American people, so neither should it be considered
as any prophecy of their future. The ages of the world and the generations of men that have rolled past to the bourne of those before the flood, are all alike in many respects; and yet each is possessed of some peculiar feature, that gives it a distinctive prominence in the annals of the universe. It is not in classic lore only, that such distinctions have obtained as have been denominated the golden, silver, brass and iron ages; such distinctive appellations are found in sober history, which is indeed nothing less than philosophy teaching by example. Even in the history of the wonderful dispensations of infinite mercy to our race, we find the distinction of Adamic, Patriarchal, Mosaic, Prophetic, and Apostolic periods, ages, or dispensations. The world, like individuals, seems to have its infancy, youth, progress, and end. What years are to individuals, centuries are to the world. Sometimes, for generations, and even for centuries, a kind of intellectual and moral sleep has hung over the earth, and the human family remained dormant. And then, again, it has pleased the Divine Ruler, who permits the world to be governed in a great degree by impulses, to call forth a spirit of advancement in light and knowledge, in arts and sciences, and even in our holy religion. In the stormy times of Cromwell, whose history is yet to be written, and who was one of the purest and best and ablest men that England has ever produced, there was a strength of intellect, an earnestness, and a grasp of mind and character, that made such men as Howe, Baxter, and Milton, and a host of their compeers, tower high amid their generation, and stand forth to all coming times, as the beacon-lights of freedom of thought and of conscience. The Crusades was an age of strange and almost unaccountable excitements. It well nigh paralyzes belief to read of the tide of living men that Europe poured forth upon Asia for a useless achievement. Millions laid their bones to bleach on the sands of Syria; but the result was, that the arts, sciences, literature, and civilization of the East were brought into half barbarous Europe. The Protestant Reformation was an age of intense religious excitement. The discovery of this continent was the embodiment of an age intensely excited to make discoveries. The results of the civil wars of England, of the Crusades, of the Reformation, and of the discovery of this continent, were not foreseen by the respective agents of these different stupendous events. The immediate actors in carrying out these parts of the world's history, never dreamed of what has resulted from their labors. The mysterious directions of Providence seem first to blind genius as to any consciousness of its own greatness, and then by it, to accomplish the greatest, most unlooked for, and yet most beneficial results. So it has been with the English in Asia and China, and with the Americans on this continent. And hence history should be regarded by us not merely as the annals of politicul events, but as the progress of science, inventions, and literature, and of all the great interests of mankind. History is nothing more or less than a written account of the dispensation of Divine Providence to nations and countries.
And whatever the predominant spirit of any age may be, whether it be for war, or for philosophical or religious speculations, it is the outlet of the over-excited feelings of its communities.
As our Government is an elective government—a judicious combination of the best parts of the best governments that have preceded us—so our age is instinct with those elements of personal worth, enterprise, industry, and independence, and of intelligence, and of a pure religious faith, that lay the foundation of hope for permanence in its best forms of society.
II. There are, and there will be, revolutions such as the world has not yet seen. Power will pass from the less to the greaterfrom the weak to the strong—from the few to the many. The Old World may become feeble. As the Greece of the Greeks of Otho is not the Greece of Pericles and Leonidas; so the Europe that now is, is not the Europe that has been, nor is it the Europe that is to be. But amidst all these convulsions that now are, and are yet to be, is there any danger to ourselves ? Is it foreign invasion or internal conflicts? The former cannot be seriously apprehended even by the most timid. It is true that great nations have fallen by invasions from less cultivated regions of the earth. Such has been the course of things in southern Asia, and such was the fate of the Roman Empire; but in all such cases, corruption and effeminacy have invited the conqueror to the spoils. But no one in his senses apprehends a barbarian overthrow of Europe, or of the United States. The hordes of Russia are not likely to drive Europe back to acorns and skins. The Indians of North America do not present, at present, any appearance of sweeping American arts and agriculture, manufactures, cities, printing-presses, and churches into oblivion. On the contrary, the expanding energies of civilized man, in both hemispheres, are every year shutting up the barbarian forces of the world into smaller and still more narrow spaces. And as to internal conflicts, the greatest causes of fear with us, are the invasion of foreign emissaries, under the guise of teachers for our youth, domestic slavery, and military despotism. The first can be effectually counteracted by our public schools, and by private seminaries of the highest order of excellence for both sexes, by true-hearted republicans. The second, domestic slavery, will be happily disposed of in all its bearings, by the good sense, firmness, compromising spirit, and Christian intelligence of our people. And the last-military despotism, which is far more dangerous than either of the former, can be counteracted by a wise, healthy, and prudent public sentiment, operating through the ballot-box and the press. We are eminently a military people—a nation of soldiers; yet the extent and diversity of our soil, our agri. cultural and commercial interests, and the love of our people for economy, peace, and domestic society, and of independence-all these traits in our national character and pursuits are powerful obstacles in the way of the establishment of any military despotism
and to them should be added the combined influence of our schools, of our traditions, and the influence of our Federal Constitution, for the preservation and strict interpretation of which, there is a growing regard in the minds of the American people.
III. The base of modern liberty is wide. The points of radiance of our Republic are numerous. While large towns and cities are growing up on the Pacific, to be closely allied to those of the Atlantic, and of the West, by rail-roads, and steam-vessels, and telegraphic lines, there is also such an immense agricultural region in the interior, in the valleys of our great rivers, that it is impossible for so much power to be consolidated into any one city, or in any one part of the nation, as seriously to endanger the liberties of the whole country. The distance of our cities from one another, with their different local interests, while it renders it impossible for them ever to be leagued together under any misguided, ambitious leader, in a conspiracy against the liberties of the rural districts, also allows greater freedom from petty prejudices and passions. While all the political power of France is in Paris, govern. ments can be made and unmade in a day. The greatest obstacles in the way of the people of Europe to sovereignty, are the great cities of St. Petersburg, Vienna, Berlin, and London, with their royal armies and arsenals, and the traditions and monuments, tombs and regalia of royalty, that everwhere blind or awe the rising masses. The great elements of the world's prosperity, now, however, are such as cannot be lost. The discoveries of modern times will never be forgotten, nor our inventions lost. Men will never forget to make gun-powder and type—the magnetic needle and the steam-engine. The only possible way for these, and such discoveries and inventions, to be superseded, is to make others that shall far surpass them. The gains of modern society over the ancients are gains that cannot be lost. Our natural discoveries can never cease to exist, nor ever cease to produce their effects on society.
If a whole nation, or a kingdom, or continent, should be sunk into the ocean, it would not destroy the rest of the globe, nor disturb the harmony of the planets. So if one part of the civilized world should go back to barbarism, it would not endanger the ex. istence or diffusive power of the best forms of modern civilization in other parts of world. From the pole to the equator, and from ocean to ocean, God has raised up a people in modern times to be witnesses for political freedom and religious faith ; so that if it were possible for the besom of destruction to sweep out of existence the Europe of to-day, in ages to come, it would exist in another hemisphere—if not in Australia, yet certainly in America.
IV. While the base of liberty is becoming wider and wider, and therefore stronger and stronger, it is also true that the globe, for all practical purposes, is becoming smaller and smaller, and its different countries are brought nearer and nearer together. This palpable result of agencies now rapidly at work, is exerting an absolutely incalculable influence upon the destinies of mankind.
So great and rapid are the means of communication in our day, that extension of territory, instead of being just ground of fear for our permanence, is, on the contrary, a means of throwing off a restless population, that will subdue the wilderness, and build cities and States equal to any that have heretofore existed. Our recent extension is the natural result of our institutions and of our growth, just as much so as it is the natural tendency of a boy's limbs to grow into the size and strength of a man, and then require a larger coat than when he was a boy. All we have to do with California and New Mexico, is to imitate the wise policy of the Romans, and win the love of their inhabitants by opening roads, and protecting their interests, and giving them the Bible, and the school-house, and the printing-press. Magnetic telegraphs, and the institutions of the pure gospel of the Saviour of mankind, will seem to modern Mexicans scarcely less the gifts of the gods, than the cannons and horses of Cortes did to their Indian ancestors. Ours are, however, the gifts of the God of peace, and not of the god of war-ours are the implements not of suffering, bondage, and death, but of freedom, life, and happiness.
V. As far as the history of the past establishes any great principle, it is, that no form of government is exempt from agitations, and revolutions, either in its spirit or form, or in both. Monarchies, limited, constitutional
, or absolute, oligarchies, and democracies, are all subject to changes, if not in their forms of government, at least in their interpretation. In every government there are tendencies and dispositions apart from its mere letter, as uncontrollable in their nature, as are the human passions from which they spring. This is true of all governments; and in all governments, except in representative republics, the feelings and dispositions, hopes and fears of the mass, or at least of a very large part of the people, are not in harmony with the form and spirit of the government.
In January, France was a monarchy-apparently peaceable, contented, happy, and magnificent. There seemed to be no signs of dissolution. But it was not in harmony with the spirit of the people. In February the monarchy was vanished-utterly gone and a republic in its stead. So sudden, so entire was the change, as if in a night some ocean volcanic island had been submerged, and in its place, before early morn, another had arisen, blooming in all the fragrance of Paradise. It cannot be denied but that the style, name, and form of the government of England, are sadly out of harmony with the spirit of the people. Under the name of monarchy, they have, to some extent, republican institutions; and just in the degree that there is want of harmony, is there danger of revolutions. And if, in all governments, there is a spirit apart from the government, just as the spirit of a man is a something apart from and independent of his body; and if that spirit of a nation, under all forms of government, is constantly struggling to