found in the spacious magnificence of Europe
, were within a biscuit's throw of the spot; while that very evening were celebrated the nuptials, in her twenty-first year, of the first child born on that spot where stands now a city of sixty thousand inhabitants.
It was the original ark of the city; it was the spot where her Romulus
first drew breath; it was the cradle of her history.
No capital in the world ever had such an opportunity of saying, when a hundred years old, to her million sons, “Behold the first roof that told the forest man had taken possession!”
To-day it has vanished!
There was not education, there was not sentiment, there was not historic interest, there was not that manhood which marries the past and the future and raises us above the brutes,--there was not enough of it in the young civilization of the West
to save that unique specimen, testifying by its very presence to the growth, in a night, of the city of the lakes, to save from the greed of speculation or the roar of trade a spot full of such interest to every thoughtful mind!
Would you like Boston
to be subject to such criticism as that?
Is there not an education of the heart of which it shows a lack?
Evidently there is. Such public treasures, open to all, work for us all the time.
If you should go and stand, for instance, in Florence
, and see the peasant walking amid a gallery of beautiful sculpture, or wandering through the gardens of princes, surrounded with every exotic and every form of beauty in marble and bronze, you would see the reason why the Italian
drinks in the love of the beautiful, until it becomes a part of him, without his thinking of it. So I think that the very sight of yonder Public Library, even to the man who does not enter its alcoves, contributes to the growth, expansion, and elevation of his mind.
He remembers, at least, that some men have