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in closing the history of one of the oldest towns of Massachusetts, we are naturally led to the inquiry, How will the condition of those born here two hundred years after us compare with that of those born here two hundred years before us? Standing between these two extremes, our hearts become moved with a parental regard towards children who will live as far from us in the future as our fathers did in the past. Had we a telegraph for time, as we have one for space, we would gladly send forward our welcomes and wishes, to be in waiting for them; but the only chance we have of reaching them with our messages of love is to trust in the preservation of musty historic records in fire-proof libraries. How small the hope! A block of driftwood, in the Pacific, is said to [496] have found its way into the Atlantic, and finally reached a shore. Presuming on this smallest of all chances, we would now cast our historic block into the deep waters of 1855; hoping, that, after it has been tossed by the waves and winds of two centuries, it may be driven on the shore of 2055. Should it have this unexpected rescue, we would, in such case, try to cheer it, amid the awkwardness of its antique dress and the sorrows of its shattered condition, by sending with it our following letter of introduction:--

The inhabitants of Medford in 1855, to the inhabitants of Medford in 2055, send greeting:

children and Townsmen,--As we close this volume of history, which we have written for you, we would not send it without expressing our united and hearty good wishes for your health, prosperity, and happiness. That we have thought of you much and often, you will readily believe. We have hoped that physical training will in your day be so applied, that you can be strong like Maximinus; intellectual development so secured, that you can analyze like Bacon; moral power so advanced, that you can conquer like Paul; and true Christianity so received, that you can be one with Christ, as he is one with God.

The points in which you will exceed us are of course unknown to us; but we have unbounded faith in the energies of man. Onward and upward is the law; “Excelsior” the motto. You may look back on our age, and perhaps call it an age of darkness, persecution, and bad philosophy, and call it by its right name. Looking through the glimmerings of the future, we now, therefore, rejoice with you in advance over a progress in natural science, intellectual philosophy, and moral truth, to us inconceivable. The earth and sea, the air and light, will doubtless perform for you a thousand offices of help and beauty of which we never dreamed. The law regulating the weather will by you be understood; and you may journey through the depths of ocean and the depths of air as securely as we do on the surface of the ground. The waste fields now around us will doubtless, in your day, be filled with a crowded population; and Medford, as a part of the capital, may have lost its present individuality. We here solemnly and affectionately bequeath to you all we possess; with the hope and the prayer, that, long before our wishes reach you, there may be, [497] as far as there can be, an end to the blasting power of ignorance and the damning power of sin; that the fires of intemperance, and the injustice of slavery, and the crime of war, may be no more seen; that all superstition, polytheism, and idolatry, all violations of the eternal right, and all the bitterness of sectarian zeal, may have passed to their graves for ever. In one word, we hope and pray, that, as your turn shall come to act and suffer the allotments of humanity, there may not be on earth one rational being who does not cheerfully acknowledge the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.

To you, we must seem among the ancients; and you may wonder how we looked, felt, and acted. The laws of Nature do not change and your organs will obey them as do ours. You look at the light blue of the sky, or the dark blue of the ocean ; at the green grass of summer, or the yellow leaf of autumn; at the brightness of Orion, or the mountains of the moon; at the changing hues of sunset, or the bursting splendors of the aurora; on the innocent gambols of a child, or the sweet smile of a parent; on the deep sorrow of misfortune, or the marble face of death. You look at these; and, let us tell you, they all appeared to us exactly as they do to you.

In the woods, you hear their feathered minstrelsy; and, in the bower, the advertising cricket. At Niagara, you hear the heavy tones of its pouring; and, on the rocky Atlantic shore, the thunder of the sea. In the angry debate, you hear the sharp voice of passion ; and, in the family circle, the sweet song of love. And, be assured, these sounds, so well known to you, were as well known to us. To you, the fragrance of the rose and the miasma of the fen, the sweet of honey and the bitter of wormwood, the touch of fire and the feeling of ice, are probably the very same which we have experienced. Each of our senses has carried its report to the brain by that faithful electricity of the nerves in which you now rejoice.

Your minds, too, though enriched by superior cultivation, have attributes in common with ours. You delight to read the poems of Homer and Virgil, and repeat the orations of Demosthenes and Cicero ; you sometimes tire amid the sublimities of Milton, and love to see man and Nature lay their treasures at Shakspeare's feet. And here let us say, that your classic approbation and noble fire do not probably differ much from ours. [498]

In the sweep of centuries, the heart changes less than the head. You feel indignant at the abuse of power and the triumph of wrong, at the sight of ingratitude and the thirst for revenge; while your whole soul melts with sympathy at the sight of suffering, and leaps with thanksgiving to perform the office of the good Samaritan. Your love of country is as strong as it is noble; and your patriotic hearts beat with generous exultation at the name of our Washington and yours, of our Franklin and yours. Your love of home is stronger yet. In you, the delicate tendrils of domestic affection intwine themselves life-long around the dear objects of your fire-sides; and for them you are ready to labor, and, if need be, you are willing to die. Above all, your minds are illumined by a Christian faith, your hearts sanctified by divine grace, and your souls made living temples of the living God. How far we resemble you in these riches of the heart, we dare not say. It has been our endeavor to cherish them all.

Standing, as we now do, mid-way in time between our first ancestors and you, we turn reverently towards them to render our homage of gratitude, and turn cheerfully towards you to express our fulness of hope; and, with the orator of our century, we would say,--

Advance, then, ye future generations! We would hail you, as you rise, in your long succession, to fill the places which we now fill, and to taste the blessings of existence, where we are passing, and soon shall have passed, our human duration. We bid you welcome to this pleasant land of the Fathers. We bid you welcome to the healthful skies and the verdant fields of New England. We greet your accession to the great inheritance which we have enjoyed. We welcome you to the blessings of good government and religious liberty. We welcome you to the treasures of science and the delights of learning. We welcome you to the transcendent sweets of domestic life,--to the happiness of kindred and parents and children. We welcome you to the immeasurable blessings of rational existence, the immortal hope of Christianity, and the light of everlasting truth.

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