to his gibbet, as the Roman
cross lifted a world to itself in that divine sacrifice of two thousand years ago. As much as statesmanship had taught in our previous eighty years, that one week of intellectual watching and weighing and dividing truth taught twenty millions of people.
Yet how little, brothers, can we claim for bookmen in that uprising and growth of 1856!
And while the first of American scholars could hardly find in the rich vocabulary of Saxon
scorn words enough to express, amid the plaudits of his class, his loathing and contempt for John Brown
thrilled to him as proof that our institutions had not lost all their native and distinctive life.
She had grown tired of our parrot note and cold moonlight reflection of older civilizations.
Lansdowne and Brougham
could confess to Sumner
that they had never read a page of their contemporary, Daniel Webster; and you spoke to vacant eyes when you named Prescott
, fifty years ago, to average Europeans; while Vienna
asked, with careless indifference, “Seward
, who is he?”
But long before our ranks marched up State Street to the John Brown
song, the banks of the Seine and of the Danube
hailed the new life which had given us another and nobler Washington
foresaw him when, forty years ago, he sang of,--
Truth forever on the scaffold,
Wrong forever on the throne;
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown
Standeth God, within the shadow,
Keeping watch above His own.
And yet the book-men, as a class, have not yet acknowledged him.
It is here that letters betray their lack of distinctive American character.
Fifty millions of men God gives us to mould; burning questions, keen debate, great interests