111.--speech of Edward Everett, at Chester Square, Boston, April 27, 1861.
Fellow-citizens and friends: The great assemblage that I see around me, the simple but interesting ceremonial with which the flag of our country has been thrown to the breeze, the strains of inspiring music, the sweet concert of these youthful voices, the solemn supplication of the reverend clergyman which still fills our ears — all these proclaim the deep, patriotic sentiment, of which that flag is the symbol and expression.
Nay, more, it speaks for itself.
Its mute eloquence needs no aid from my lips to interpret its significance.
Fidelity to the Union
blazes from its stars; allegiance to the Government
, beneath which we live, is wrapped within its folds.
We set up this standard, my friends, not as a matter of idle display; but as an expressive indication that in the mighty struggle which has been forced upon us, we are of one heart and one mind, that the government of the country must be sustained.
We are a law-abiding, quiet-loving community.
Our time, our thoughts, our energies, are habitually devoted to the peaceful arts by which states grow and prosper; but upon an issue in which the life of the country is involved, we rally as one man to its
All former differences of opinion are swept away; we forget that we have ever been partizans; we remember only that we are Americans
, and that our country is in peril.
And what is it that has kindled this quiet and peace-loving community to the present unexampled excitement — a patriotic unanimity not witnessed even in 1776?
Why is it, that the flag of the country — always honored, always beloved — is now, all at once, worshipped, I may say, with the passionate homage of this whole people?
Why does it float, as never before, not merely from arsenal and masthead, but from tower and steeple, from the public edifices, the temples of science, the private dwelling, in magnificent display of miniature presentiment?
Let Fort Sumter
give the answer.
When on this day fortnight, the 13th of April, (a day forever to be held in inauspicious remembrance, like the dies Alliensis
in the annals of Rome
,) the tidings spread through the land that the standard of United America, the pledge of her union, and the symbol of her power, for which so many gallant hearts had poured out their life-blood, on the ocean and the land, to uphold, had, in the harbor of Charleston
, been, for a day and a half, the target of eleven fratricidal batteries, one deep, unanimous, spontaneous feeling shot with the tidings through the bosom of twenty millions of freemen, that its outraged honor must be vindicated.
And oh, fellow-citizens, if, aloof as we are from the immediate danger of the conflict, sheltered in our comfortable homes, with the objects of our affection around us, we can refuse our support to the Constitution
, the Laws, and the Government
, in whose defence those seventy brave men, for thirty frightful hours, without sleep, almost without food, compelled to draw the breath of Heaven into their lungs through moistened handkerchiefs, stood faithful and undaunted beneath the iron storm bursting from above, and the raging fires around them, we shall deserve ourselves, on some disastrous day, to pass through a like fiery ordeal.--Boston Transcript
, April 30.