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Doc. 144. the Lord Mayor's Banquet.

Speeches of Mr. Adams and Lord Palmerston.

Saturday, Nov. 9th, being Lord Mayor's day, conformably with a custom which had obtained for more than six hundred years, Alderman Cubitt went in state from Guildhall, London, to Westminster, attended by members of the Court of Aldermen, all the principal officers of the Corporation, and representatives of most, if not all, of the ancient livery companies, to be presented to the Barons of the Exchequer on his election, for the second time in succession, as Lord Mayor of London. The day, which was as sunny and genial as one in midsummer, attracted an enormous crowd to see the pageant, in addition to the interest which, in the popular estimation, has always been peculiarly its own. As usual, the chief interest of the occasion at first centred in Guildhall, with its precincts, as the place from which the procession was to start. About twelve o'clock, the procession, marshalled according to order, moved off on its way to Westminster, with a flourish of trumpets. The Lord Mayor, (Right Hon. William Cubitt,) accompanied by his chaplain, and by Mr. Sewell and Mr. Beddome, his sword and mace bearers, in the state carriage of the Corporation, drawn by six horses, and attended by a cavalry escort, [346] was of course the principal person of interest in the pageant. Next to him in point of attraction, were the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex, with their chaplains, each in a splendid chariot, drawn by four horses. The Lord Mayor having been sworn in, the accustomed inaugural entertainment took place in Guildhall in the evening, which was appropriately decorated for the occasion, under the tasteful direction of Mr. J. B. Bunning, architect to the City of London. The corridors and lobbies, from the entrance to the hall, were adorned with trophies, statutes, mirrors, and flowering plants. The hall itself was profusely decorated.

After the usual loyal toasts had been responded to, the Lord Mayor rose and said:

I have now to propose to you the health of a distinguished body of men, whose mission is the loftiest which can be committed to any class. To the gentlemen whose health I am now about to propose, is committed the charge of preserving the peace of the world. I allude to the diplomatic body. But for their exertions, their talents, tact, and ability, there would have been hundreds of occasions, during the last fifty years, in which we might have been involved in war. We have here to-night several gentlemen, the elite of their respective countries, chosen for their great ability and knowledge, who are sent here to represent their respective countries, to negotiate all questions, difficult or easy, to save us from that resource which would land us in great calamities. I am about to associate with this toast the name of a gentleman whose mind must necessarily, under the circumstances, be occupied much with the affairs of his own country, which, unhappily, is at this moment in a condition to require the sympathies of the world. In no country will those sympathies be yielded more readily than in this. (Cheers.) I need not say I allude to America. I will associate with this toast the name of the American Minister, and I can assure him — taking on myself for the moment, to be the exponent of the feelings and sentiments of this great city, over which I have the honor to preside — I can assure him of the entire sympathy of the citizens of London, and I think I may say of the whole British people. I can assure him that our most earnest desire is to see the day when those difficulties, which we hope are only temporary, shall be entirely eradicated from the soil of that great and free country. (Loud cheers.)

Speech of Mr. Adams, U. S. Minister.

His Excellency, the American Minister, who was most cordially received, in reply to the toast, said:

My Lord Mayor, Ladies, and Gentlemen: In behalf of my brethren of the Corps Diplomatique, I desire to express our grateful thanks for the compliment which you have paid it. I take pride in being a member of that body, not for any trifling personal distinction it may give me, but because it opens an opportunity for doing good. Whatever may have been said of diplomacy, it has ever seemed to me one of the great inventions of modern times. Its mission is to preserve peace. In antiquity, the quarrels of nations were immediately followed by war. The sword was the only negotiator, and the victorious chieftain commonly ended by dictating terms of humiliation to his fallen enemy. All this has been materially changed now that negotiation always precedes war, and very often averts it altogether.

Indeed, it may safely be said, that the chain of relations established by diplomacy furnishes perpetual means for the restoration of friendly feelings between nations. When they are rushing into a state of mutual irritation, either accidentally or by the agency of ill-tempered mischief-makers on both sides, (for such people will always be found in every community,) then is felt the value of an authorized agency over the present to explain mistakes, to correct misrepresentations, and to retract errors in season — to check the growth of the trouble, and restore good feeling. In these later days, few Governments go to war for the mere love of it. The prodigious exhaustion it soon brings on, not less than the growing influence of public opinion throughout the civilized world, teaches a lesson of patience and forbearance that gives full play for the active intervention of a wise negotiator. A friendly voice may then soothe the waves in the midst of their agitation, and reduce the surface once more to sunny calm. (Cheers.)

There is, moreover, another beneficial change, of a still later date, which I will take the liberty to notice as having happened to the diplomacy of nations. Not a great while ago, it had the reputation of being tricky and false — of taking advantage of the secrecy with which it was conducted to play an unfair game. The history of the past is filled with examples of eminent men who considered it the height of merit to show skill in outwitting their neighbors in negotiation. Indeed, there is an anecdote told of a very distinguished public character of the last age in France — I know not with what justice — that such was the reputation he had obtained as an adept in deception at one part of his life, that from that time he made up his mind always to tell the truth, being confident nobody would ever think of believing him, and that thus he might the better conceal his objects. (A laugh.) Be this as it may, I prefer to appeal from the old example of Prince Talleyrand to the later one of a veteran diplomatist of your own country, who, after serving a long career of distinction abroad, has come back to enjoy the honors he has won so well in a green old age at home. I allude to Lord Stratford de Redcliffe--(cheers)--who, in the testimony he gave before a committee of Parliament, recorded his deliberate opinion that the present practice in negotiations [347] so far as his experience went, was plain and straightforward, and in good faith; that there was little desire for secrecy merely as a screen for deception, and that most countries acted under a sense of their share of responsibility for honesty of conduct before the world. I say that I prefer to adopt this later theory on my coming in as a member of the Diplomatic Corps, because I should scarcely know how to act upon any other.

In American we are so used to speaking what we think — perhaps with too much freedom — and I have got into such a habit of it, I should not be fit to come to play me part here if I were expected by my employers to say what I did not mean. (Cheers.) Permit me, then, to assure you that my main object has been, and is, to endeavor to continue and perpetuate the friendly relations that have so long existed between the two countries. (Cheers.) Indeed, I see the strongest reasons why they should never be changed. (Cheers.) To be sure, there are many points in which we materially disagree, and there will be people on both sides whose disposition will be to magnify them. You do not approve our democracy; we do not appreciate your distinctions of rank. You think us altogether too free and easy in our ways; we consider you as far too stiff and stately. All this may be so, and yet, so long as there is a broad ocean between us, I see no reason why we may not indulge our respective tastes without risk of difficulty. On the other hand, I perceive many and vastly higher particulars in which we harmonize. (Cheers.) Surely it must be remembered that, with only the exception of the last eighty years, we claim to be joint heritors with you in all that is great and noble in your past history. Every bold stroke for liberty, whether civil or religious, is matter of pride for us as it is for you. Magna Charta is a common landmark for us all.

And if from this I turn to the field of literature or science, where, I ask, is there a great name in England which is not equally venerated in America? It was but the other day that I took a little trip to the banks of your little river Avon, to visit the birthplace and the last resting place of your great poet, and there I found on the record of the pilgrims who go to that shrine that a great proportion are from America. (Cheers.) So, among philosophers we know no greater guide than Bacon, in science no higher authority than Newton; and if I may be permitted to come down to the limits of your own municipality of London, there is not a street, nor an alley, nor a lane, which is not scrutinized with eagerness by my countrymen on account of their associations with persons and events of which they have read at home in the historical or the literary productions of the mother country. (Cheers.)

Neither is there a deed of heroism recorded here that does not elicit its tribute of applause in the remotest hamlet of the western hemisphere. I have myself met with the story of Grace Darling's courage stuck up in the small public room of an inn in an obscure American town; so the example of self-devotion of your Florence Nightingale--(cheers)--has raised the admiration and stimulated the ardor of imitation of quite as many of my fair countrywomen as it has done of her own. And perhaps I may be permitted here to make an allusion to a higher character, so far as to say that through the breadth of the United States, from sea to sea, the name of her Majesty the Queen is held in the highest honor,--(cheers)--not because she is a queen — no, that's not the reason, for there have been many queens whom we do not admire at all, but because, while a pattern of a daughter, and an example of a wife and a mother, she yet rules like a Christian sovereign over a noble people. (Loud cheering.)

It is, then, a community of descent, of language, of literature, of sympathy in all that is good, and noble, and true, that teaches the lesson of harmony between our respective peoples. I therefore cannot but echo the sentiment with which my Lord Mayor did me the honor to accompany the mention of my name; and, glancing around to the various points where I see the word inscribed along these walls, I say also, peace here, peace there, and peace everywhere. (Loud cheering.)

The Lord Mayor said: The citizens of London think it the highest honor to be allowed to entertain any of her Majesty's Ministers. (Cheers.) This evening we have great reason to rejoice; for, among other distinguished personages who are the great functionaries of the Government of the country, we have the honor to meet her Majesty's Prime Minister. The name of Lord Palmerston (cheers) never can be uttered within this hall without eliciting plaudits such as I have just heard. You and I, and all of us rejoice in the excellent health which his lordship at this moment exhibits. Long may he continue to enjoy such good health! (Cheers.) Her Majesty's Ministers are at all times charged with duties involving great anxieties. Upon them devolve the entire labor and responsibility of Government. So long as every thing goes on smoothly, a Minister may be happy, but woe betide him if they go wrong. The sleepless nights and anxious days which a Minister must endure are but poorly compensated by the honors and emoluments of office. In conclusion, I beg to propose to you “The health of her Majesty's Ministers,” coupling the toast with the name of Viscount Palmerston.

The toast was drunk with all the honors and with the utmost cordiality.

Speech of Lord Palmerston.

Viscount Palmerston, who was much cheered on rising to acknowledge the compliment, said:

My Lord Mayor, my Lords, Ladies, and Gentlemen: For myself and my colleagues I beg you to accept our most heartfelt thanks for the honor which you have done us by so accepting the health which the Lord Mayor has just proposed. [348] I can assure you, gentlemen, that it is always a matter of sincere pleasure to those who are engaged, as we are, in the turmoils and labors of public life, to mix here with those who are employed in laying the foundations for the wealth, the prosperity, and the happiness of the country by carrying on in the way in which the citizens of this great commercial metropolis of the world do carry on those commercial transactions of which their countrymen are so justly proud. (Cheers.) It is always a great pleasure to those who are engaged in the strife of political life occasionally to be invited to these social boards, where they meet in friendly association those to whom they may be opposed in the more active scenes of their public occupations. (Cheers.) You have pointed out that the interior abounds with emblems of peace, indicating the anxious desire of the country to preserve to it the blessings of peace, (cheers;) but as we entered these walls we saw at the portals armed men — volunteers--(cheers)--aye, volunteers, who are an emblem of the resolution of the country to bar the entrance of the land to any who might wish, with rude and profane step, to disturb the peace and tranquillity within, (loud cheers;) and that band of volunteers was not less emblematical of the feeling of the country because it consisted of men of mature age and of boys hardly yet able to wield the musket which they had upon their shoulders — a proof, therefore, that young and old combine in this country in a firm determination to guard the entrance of the land and preserve that peace which we all so anxiously desire to maintain. (Cheers.)

My lords and gentlemen, I may also say that we have here peace and plenty, (cheers,) and I trust that the present condition of the country is not altogether unanalogous to that state; for we have had a harvest which, generally speaking, has been good. The condition of our revenue is altogether satisfactory, (cheers;) and, although circumstances beyond our control may threaten for a time to interfere with the full supplies of that article so necessary for the productive industry of the country, yet no doubt that temporary evil will be productive of permanent good, (cheers,) and we shall find in various quarters of the globe sure, and certain, and ample supplies, which will render us no longer dependent on one source of production for that which is so necessary for the industry and welfare of the country. (Cheers.) Gentlemen, when we look without we see, no doubt, in many parts of Europe circumstances which, if not dealt with by prudence and discretion, may lead to local disturbances,which I trust will not, at least, extend themselves to bring us within their range. (Cheers.) On the other side of the Atlantic we witness, with the deepest affliction, (cheers,) with an affliction which no words can express, (cheers,) differences of the most lamentable kind among those whom we call our cousins and our relations. (Cheers.) It is not for us to pass judgment upon these disputes; it is enough for us to offer a fervent prayer that such differences may not be of long continuance, and that they may speedily be succeeded by the restoration of harmony and of peace. (Cheers.) Gentlemen, I will no longer detain you. I will only assure you for myself and for my colleagues that we feel proud of being invited to attend upon these occasions; that we are proud of the manifestation of good — will on the part of so large and so powerful a portion of our fellow-countrymen, and that we look upon this day, when we are permitted to meet you in this hall, as one of the most agreeable and most honorable of the year.

The noble viscount resumed his seat amid loud cheers.--London Times, Nov. 11.

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