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[353] me not be told, then, of the virtues of war. Let not the acts of generosity and sacrifice which have triumphed on its fields be invoked in its defence. In the words of Oriental imagery, the poisonous tree, though watered by nectar, can produce only the fruit of death!

As we cast our eyes over the history of nations we discern with horror the succession of murderous slaughters by which their progress has been marked. As the hunter traces the wild beast, when pursued to his lair by the drops of blood on the earth, so we follow man, faint, weary, staggering with wounds, through the Black Forest of the past, which he has reddened with his gore. Oh, let it not be in the future ages as in those which we now contemplate! Let the grandeur of man be discerned in the blessings which he has secured, in the good he has accomplished, in the triumphs of benevolence and justice, in the establishment of perpetual peace! .

And peace has its own peculiar victories, in comparison with which Marathon and Bannockburn and Bunker Hill-fields held sacred in the history of human freedom—shall lose their lustre. Our own Washington rises to a truly heavenly stature, not when we follow him over the ice of the Delaware to the capture of Trenton, not when we behold him victorious over Cornwallis at Yorktown, but when we regard him, in noble deference to justice, refusing the kingly crown which a faithless soldiery proffered, and at a later day upholding the peaceful neutrality of the country, while he received unmoved the clamor of the people wickedly crying for war. What glory of battle in England's annals will not fade by the side of that great act of Justice, by which her Legislature, at a cost of one hundred million dollars, gave freedom to eight hundred thousand slaves! And when the day shall come (may these eyes be gladdened by its beams!) that shall witness an act of greater justice still,—the peaceful emancipation of three millions of our fellow-men, “guilty of a skin not colored as our own,” now held in gloomy bondage under the Constitution of our country,—then shall there be a victory, in comparison with which that of Bunker Hill shall be as a farthing-candle held up to the sun. That victory shall need no monument of stone. It shall be written on the grateful hearts of uncounted multitudes, that shall proclaim it to the latest generation. It shall be one of the great land-marks of civilization; nay more, it shall be one of the links in the golden chain by which humanity shall connect itself with the throne of God. . . .

Far be from us, fellow-citizens, on this Anniversary, the illusions of national freedom in which we are too prone to indulge. We have but half done, when we have made ourselves free. Let not the scornful taunt be directed at us, “They wish to be free, but know not how to be just.” Freedom is not an end in itself, but a means only; a means of securing justice and happiness,—the real end and aim of States, as of every human heart. It becomes us to inquire earnestly if there is not much to be done by which these can be promoted. If I have succeeded in impressing on your minds the truths which I have upheld to-day, you will be ready to join in efforts for the abolition of war, and of all preparation for war, as indispensable to the true grandeur of our country.

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