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[231]

The old South meeting House (1876).

An address delivered in the Old South Meeting-House, June 4, 1876, and revised by Mr. Phillips. It was in this building that he made his last public address,--the tribute to Harriet Martineau, which closes this volume,--December 26, 1883.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Why are we here to-day? Why should this relic, a hundred years old, stir your pulses to-day so keenly? We sometimes find a community or an individual with their hearts set on some old roof or great scene; and as we look on, it seems to us an exaggerated feeling, a fond conceit, an unfounded attachment, too emphatic value set on some ancient thing or spot which memory endears to them.

But we have a right to-day — this year we have a right beyond all question, and with no possibility of exaggerating the importance of the hour — to ask the world itself to pause when this nation completes the first hundred years of its life; because these forty millions of people have at last achieved what no race, no nation, no age hitherto has succeeded in doing. We have founded a republic on the unlimited suffrage of the millions. We have actually worked out the problem that man, as God created him, may be trusted with self-government. We have shown the world that a Church without a bishop, and a State without a king is an actual, real, every-day possibility. Look back over the history of the race; where will you find a chapter that precedes

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