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elastic and expansive principle. The arts of Greece were enchained to her islands and her coasts; they did not penetrate the interior. The language and literature of Athens were as unknown, to the north of Pindus, at a distance of two hundred miles from the capital of Grecian refinement, as they were in Scythia. Thrace, whose mountain tops may almost be seen from the porch of the temple of Minerva at Sunium, was the proverbial abode of barbarism. Though the colonies of Greece were scattered on the coasts of Italy, of France, of Spain, and of Africa, no extension of their population toward the interior took place, and the arts did not penetrate beyond the walls of the cities, where they were cultivated. How different is the picture of the diffusion of the arts and improvement of civilization, from the coast to the interior of America ! Population advances westward with a rapidity, which numbers may describe indeed, but cannot represent, with any vivacity, to the mind. The wilderness, which one year is impassable, is traversed the next by the caravans of the industrious emigrants, who go to follow the setting sun, with the language, the institutions, and the arts of civilized life. It is not the irruption of wild barbarians, come to visit the wrath of God on a degenerate empire; it is not the inroad of disciplined banditti, marshalled by the intrigues of ministers and kings. It is the human family led out to possess its broad patrimony. The states and nations, which are springing up in the valley of the Missouri, are bound to us, by the dearest ties of a common language, a common government, and a common descent. Before New England can look with coldness on their rising myriads, she must forget that some of the best of her own blood is beating in their veins; that her hardy children, with their axes on their shoulders, have been literally among the pioneers in this march of humanity; that young as she is, she has become the mother of populous states. What generous mind would sacrifice to a selfish preservation of local preponderance, the delight of beholding civilized nations rising up in the desert; and the language, the manners, the institutions, to which he has been reared, carried with his household gods to the foot of the Rocky Mountains ? Who can forget that this extension of our territorial limits is the extension of the empire of all we hold dear; of our laws, of our character, of the memory of our ancestors, of the great achievements in our history? Whithersoever the sons of the thirteen states shall wander, to southern or western climes, they will send back their hearts to the rocky shores, the battle fields, and the intrepid counsels of the Atlantic coast. These are placed beyond the reach of vicissitude. They have become already, matter of history, of poetry, of eloquence:
The love, where death has set his seal,
Divisions may spring up, ill blood arise, parties be formed, and interests may seem to clash; but the great bonds of the nation are linked to what is passed. The deeds of the great men, to whom this country owes its origin and growth, are a patrimony, I know, of which its children will never deprive themselves. As long as the Mississippi and the Missouri shall flow, those men and those deeds will be remembered on their banks. The sceptre of government may go where it will; but that of patriotic feeling can never depart from Judah. In all that mighty region, which is drained by the Missouri and its tributary streams—the valley coextensive with the temperate zone—will there be, as long as the name of America shall last, a father, that will not take his children on his knee and recount to them the events of the twentieth of December, the nineteenth of April, the seventeenth of June, and the fourth of July ?
This then is the theatre, on which the intellect of
America is to appear, and such the motives to its ex. ertion; such the mass to be influenced by its energies, such the crowd to witness its efforts, such the glory to crown its success. If I err, in this happy vision of my country's fortunes, I thank God for an error so animating. If this be false, may I never know the truth. Never may you, my friends, be under any other feeling, than that a great, a growing, an immeasurably expanding country is calling upon you for your best services. The name and character of your Alma Mater have already been carried by some of our brethren thousands of miles from her venerable walls; and thousands of miles still farther westward, the communities of kindred men are fast gathering, whose minds and hearts will act in sympathy with yours. ·
The most powerful motives call on us as scholars for those efforts, which our common country demands of all her children. Most of us are of that class, who owe whatever of knowledge has shone into our minds, to the free and popular institutions of our native land. There are few of us, who may not be permitted to boast, that we have been reared in an honest poverty or a frugal competence, and owe every thing to those means of education, which are equally open to all We are summoned to new energy and zeal by the high nature of the experiment we are appointed in Provi. dence to make, and the grandeur of the theatre on which it is to be performed. When the old world af. forded no longer any hope, it pleased heaven to open this last refuge of humanity. (The attempt has begun, and is going on, far from foreign corruption, on the broadest scale, and under the most benignant auspices, and it certainly rests with us to solve the great problem in human society, to settle, and that forever, the momentous question—whether mankind can be trusted with a purely popular system? One might almost think, without extravagance, that the departed wise and good of all places and times, are looking down from their happy seats to witness what shall now
be done by us; that they who lavished their treasures and their blood of old, who labored and suffered, who spake and wrote, who fought and perished, in the one great cause of freedom and truth, are now hanging from their orbs on high, over the last solemn experiment of humanity. As I have wandered over the spots, once the scene of their labors, and mused among the prostrate columns of their Senate Houses and Forums, I have seemed almost to hear a voice from the tombs of departed ages; from the sepulchres of the nations, which died before the sight. They exhort us, they adjure us to be faithful to our trust. They implore us, by the long trials of struggling humanity, by the blessed memory of the departed; by the dear faith, which has been plighted by pure hands, to the holy cause of truth and man; by the awful secrets of the prison houses, where the sons of freedom have been immured; by the noble heads which have been brought to the block; by the wrecks of time, by the eloquent ruins of nations, they conjure us not to quench the light which is rising on the world. Greece cries to us, by the convulsed lips of her poisoned, dying Demosthenes; and Rome pleads with us in the mute persuasion of her mangled Tully. They address us each and all in the glorious language of Milton, to one, who might have canonized his memory in the hearts of the friends of liberty, but who did most shamefully betray the cause, · Reverere tantam de te expectatio. nem, spem patriæ de te unicam. Reverere vultus et vulnera tot fortium virorum, quotquot pro libertate tam strenue decertarunt, manes etiam eorum qui in ipso certamine occubuerunt. Reverere exterarum quoque civitatum existimationem de te atque sermones; quantas res de libertate nostra tam fortiter parta, de nostra republica tam gloriose exorta sibi polliceantur; quæ si tam cito quasi aborta evanuerit, profecto nihil æque dedecorosum huic genti atque periculosum fuerit.* 7
* Milton's Defensio Secunda.
Yes, my friends, such is the exhortation which calls on us to exert our powers, to employ our time, and consecrate our labors in the cause of our native land. When we engage in that solemn study, the history of our race, when we survey the progress of man, from his cradle in the east to these last limits of his wandering; when we bebold him forever Alving westward from civil and religious thraldom, bearing his household gods over mountains and seas, seeking rest and finding none, but still pursuing the flying bow of promisc, to the glittering hills which it spans in Hesperian climes, we cannot but exclaim with Bishop Berkeley, the generous prelate of England, who bestowed his benefactions, as well as blessings, on our country,
Westward the star of Empire takes its way;
The four first acts already past,
Time's noblest offspring is the last.
In that high romance, if romance it be, in which the great minds of antiquity sketched the fortunes of the ages to come, they pictured to themselves a favored region beyond the ocean, a land of equal laws and happy men. The primitive poets beheld it in the islands of the blest; the Doric bards surveyed it in the Hyperborean regions; the sage of the academy placed it in the lost Atlantis; and even the sterner spirit of Seneca could discern a fairer abode of humanity, in distant regions then unknown. We look back upon these uninspired predictions, and almost recoil from the obligation they imply. By us must these fair vi. sions be realized, by us must be fulfilled these high promises, which burst in trying hours from the longing hearts of the champions of truth. There are no more continents or worlds to be revealed; Atlantis hath arisen from the ocean, the farthest Thule is reached, there are no more retreats beyond the sea, no more
discoveries, no more hopes. Here then a mighty -- work is to be fulfilled, or never, by the race of mortals. –