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“The cause in which we are engaged is the cause of the Constitution and the Law, of civilisation and freedom, of man and of God. Let us engage in it with a steadiness and a fortitude, a courage and a zeal, a patience and a resolution, a hope and a cheer, worthy of the fathers from whom we are descended, of the country we defend, and of the privileges we inherit. There is a call and a duty, a work and a place, for all ; – for man and for woman, for rich and for poor, for old and for young, for the stout-hearted and strong-handed, for all who enjoy and all who deserve to enjoy the priceless blessings at stake. Let the venerable forms of the Pilgrim Fathers, the majestic images of our Revolutionary sires, and of the sages that gave us this glorious Union ; let the anxious expectations of the Friends of Liberty abroad, awakened at last to the true cause and the great issues of this contest; let the hardships and perils of our brethren in the field and the freshmade graves of the dear ones who have fallen ; let every memory of the past and every hope of the future, every thought and every feeling, that can nerve the arm, or fire the heart, or elevate and purify the soul of a patriot, rouse and guide and cheer and inspire us to do, and, if need be, to die, for our Country !”

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Between these two extracts there is certainly a contrast ; but it is rather such a contrast as exists between the history of the very different times in which they were delivered than a temperamental one. The earlier, of course, is more conventional, more elaborate and more Aorid ; the latter, spoken at a moment of gravest national danger, at a moment too when the speaker had attained his full maturity, is more compact, more fervid, more stirring. But both alike reveal the consummate skill of a deliberate master of the art of

oratory. The eloquence and the rhetorical skill of Webster and of Everett were the more admired in their own day for the reason that they were exercised in behalf of those political principles which then commanded the support of all conservative people in Massachusetts. So too was the eloquence of many other men, each of whom may fairly be held a master of the art of which Everett and Webster were the most eminent exponents. Even so cursory a study as ours may not neglect the name of Rufus Choate, like Webster a graduate of Dartmouth, like Everett a lifelong reader of the classics, and for years not

only eminent in public life, but acknowledged to be the most powerful advocate at the New England bar. A little later than the prime of these men there arose in Boston another generation of orators, differing from their predecessors both in principle and to some degree in method, who used their great power's

for purposes which impressed conservative people as dangerously demagogic. Of these the most eminent were Wendell Phillips, Theodore Parker, and Charles Sumner. On all three we shall touch later. But we may hardly again have occasion to mention an eminent citizen of the elder type who survived until 1894, and preserved to the end the traditions of that great school of formal oratory of which he was the last survivor, – Mr. Robert Charles Winthrop.

With Mr. Winthrop, one may say, the oratory of New England expired. And now, as one considers its century and more of history, one discerns more and more clearly why the period in which it reached its height may best be understood when we call it a period of Renaissance. Almost from the time of the Revolution, isolated New England, like the rest of America, was awakening to a new sense of national consciousness; so the society of New England, traditionally one which venerated its leaders, looked to the men whom circumstances brought prominently forward for indubitable assertion of dignity in our national character. The professional circumstances which brought men forward were generally those of the pulpit or the bar; clergymen and lawyers accordingly found that they could no longer maintain their eminence by merely treading in the footsteps of their predecessors. Trained in our old Yankee colleges at a time when such education meant a little mathematics and a tolerable reading knowledge of the classics, these men, who felt themselves called upon admirably to express our new nationality, turned instinctively so that mode of expression which in crude form had long been characteristic of their country. In their impulsive desire to give this a new vitality, they instinctively began to emulate first the formal oratory of England, which had reached its acme in the preceding century; and then, perhaps more consciously, they strove to saturate themselves with the spirit of those immemorial masterpieces of oratory which help to immortalise the literatures of Rome and of Greece.

On general principles, the world might have expected America to produce public utterances of a crudely passionate kind, marked rather by difference from what had gone before than by respect for traditional models. Instead, without a touch of affectation, our orators, obeying the genuine impulse of their nature, exerted their most strenuous energy in surprisingly successful efforts to emulate the achievements of an extremely elaborate art which had attained final excellence in the days of Cicero and Demosthenes. The oratorical models of Greece and of Rome they imitated in just such spirit as that in which the masterpieces of antique plastic art were imitated by fifteenth-century Italy. Apart from its political significance, as embodying principles which controlled the American history of their time, their work is significant in our study as proving how spontaneously the awakening national consciousness of New England strove to prove our country civilised by conscientious obedience to eldest civilised tradition.



Such high development of mental activity as was indicated by the renascent oratory of New England is never solitary. As Emerson's niemories of Everett implied, something similar appeared at the same period in the professional scholarship of the region. From the beginning, the centre of learning there had been Harvard College, founded to perpetuate a learned ministry. This it did throughout its seventeenth-century career; and in the eighteenth century it also had the distinction of educating many lawyers and statesmen who became eminent at the time of the Revolution. Thomas Hutchinson was a Harvard man, and so were almost all the leading Boston Tories, of whom he is the best remembered. So, too, were James Otis, and Joseph Warren, and the Adamses, and almost every Bostonian who attained distinction on the revolutionary side. Up to the beginning of the nineteenth century, however, Harvard College remained little more than a boys' school. It received pupils very young; it gave them a fair training in Latin and Greek, a little mathematics, and a touch of theology if they so inclined; and then it sent them forth to the careers of mature life. It contented itself, in brief, with somewhat languidly preserving the tradition of academic training planted in the days of Charles I.; and this it held, in rather mediæval spirit, to be chiefly valuable as the handmaiden of theology, and later of law too. One principal function of a true university — that of acquiring and publishing fresh knowledge -- it had not attempted.

At the close of the eighteenth century, indeed, learning at Harvard was probably inferior to that which had existed there a century before. In 1800, Latin seems to have been far less familiar to either teachers or students than it was to those who taught and studied under the presidency of Increase Mather. Until well into the nineteenth century, too, Harvard appeared less and less vital. In the surrounding air, however, a new and fresh spirit of learning declared itself, and the leaders of this, as well as the followers, were generally either Harvard men or men who in mature life were closely allied with our oldest college. The celebrated Count Rumford, for one, a Yankee country boy, began his regular study of science by attending the lectures of Professor John Winthrop of Harvard, before the Revolution ; and in spite of his permanent departure from his native country, he retained a keen interest in New England. In 1780 he had something to do with the founding in Boston of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which, with the exception of Franklin's Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, is the oldest learned society in America. For more than a century the American Academy has maintained, in its proceedings and its publications, a standard of learning recognised as excellent all over the world. Nor was it long alone in Boston. In 1791, the Massachusetts Historical Society was founded for the purpose of collecting, preserving, and publishing historical matter, chiefly relating to its ancestral Commonwealth. Like the American Academy, this society still Aourishes, and during its century of existence it has published a considerable amount of material, admirably set forth and often of more than local importance.

In the early years of the nineteenth century, too, certain young gentlemen of Boston, mostly graduates of Harvard and chiefly members of the learned professions, formed themselves into an Anthology Club, with the intention of conducting a literary and scholarly review. Their Anthology did not last long; but their Club developed on the one hand into the Boston Athenæum, which in ninety years has grown into a remarkably well selected library of some two hundred thou

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