was the first American to be commemorated, on the mere ground of public service and distant kinship of blood, in Westminster Abbey
The impressions made by that circumstance in America
were very various, but might be classed under two leading attitudes.
There were those to whom the English-speaking race seemed one, and Westminster Abbey
its undoubted central shrine, an opinion of which Lowell
was a high representative, as his speech on the occasion showed.
There were those, on the other hand, to whom the American
republic seemed a wholly new fact in the universe, and one which should have its own shrines.
To this last class the ‘Hall of Fame,’ upon the banks of the Hudson
, would appeal more strongly than Westminster Abbey
; and it is probable that the interest inspired by that enterprise was partly due, at the outset, to the acceptance of Longfellow
's greatest shrine.
It may be fairly said, however, on reflection, that there is no absolute inconsistency between these two