« ElőzőTovább »
THE BUNKER HILL MONUMENT (Page 51) Daniel Webster's (1782–1852) ancestors were Puritans and came from England. His family settled in New Hampshire in 1636. The Websters were numerous in this colony, and Daniel's father, Ebenezer Webster, did noteworthy service in the French and Indian War. He also captained two hundred fellow settlers in the battles of the Revolution. His father became a judge in his own town, Salisbury, New Hampshire, though he never had a day's schooling in his life. Daniel was born in this town, January 18, 1782. When young he was frail, and because of this was kept out of school for a time, yet he learned much from nature, from everything he could find to read, and from committing good literature to memory.
He was sent to Phillips Exeter Academy when fourteen years old; but in February, 1797, he was put under a private teacher, and was overjoyed when he learned that his father, poor as he was, intended to send him to college. According to accepted standards Daniel was poorly prepared to enter Dartmouth College in August, 1797. But, once in, he became the foremost student there. proficient in Latin, and in knowledge of history and literature was superior to any other student in Dartmouth. He graduated in 1801, and entered the law office of a neighboring lawyer. In order to keep his older brother in college at Dartmouth, Daniel gave up his law studies and began to teach school in Maine. He was a successful teacher. Later, after his brother graduated, hé went to Boston and was admitted to the practice of law in 1805. He was opposed to the War of 1812. This opposition led him to make public addresses, and as a result he was sent to Congress twice. He was Secretary of State under Harrison and Tyler (1841), and when Fillmore became President, in 1850, became for the second time Secretary of State. He was twice an unsuccessful candidate for the presidency, 1844 and 1848. Webster died October 23, 1852. He is considered one of the most remarkable men in American history.
The monument on Bunker Hill was erected to Dr. Joseph Warren, who was shot down by the British forces in the battle of Bunker Hill, June 16, 1775. Warren was a major-general in the Continental Army. This monument was dedicated to the cause of democracy and liberty, June 17, 1825, half a century after the battle. Daniel Webster was president of the Bunker Hill Monument Association at the time of the laying of the corner stone. General Lafayette assisted Webster in the ceremony. It is said that fully twenty thousand people were present, among them two hundred veterans of the Revolution. The celebration of the completion of the monument was held June 17, 1843, at which time Webster, then Secretary of State, was again the orator. The monument itself a noteworthy achievement, being built of granite, and rising to the height of one hundred and twenty-one feet. This oration is unquestionably a work of art and a masterpiece of literature. It offers the student an excellent opportunity to study good style in oratory. The unity of the oration is pronouncedly noticeable. Among other things the reader should note Webster's deep feeling of the great changes during fifty years of our history, and the great influence of our country on human freedom and human happiness.
THE AMERICAN UNION (Page 74) In 1828 Congress passed a tariff bill known as the “Tariff of Abominations," which met bitter opposition, especially in the southern states. John C. Calhoun, the Vice-President, drew up an “Exposition and Protest" in which he denounced the tariff “as an act of tyranny on the part of the majority, and as directly contrary to the evident spirit of the Constitution. He also claimed that a protective tariff was unconstitutional, and that any state, in case it considered an Act of Congress injurious and unconstitutional, had a constitutional right peacefully to nullify the law within her borders until such time as an amendment to the Constitution made the law constitutional. South Carolina did not press this matter
at once because she expected that President Jackson, elected in November, 1828, would come to her aid.
In the first Congress under Jackson an inquiry was proposed (1830) respecting the sale of public lands. The resolution on this matter led to the great debate between Webster and Hayne on the floor of the Senate (January 19–29, 1830), and to the greatest speech ever delivered by a member in the halls of Congress Webster's reply to Hayne, from which the paragraphs on “The American Union” are taken. Hayne supported the doctrine of Calhoun in his exposition. Daniel Webster replied showing the unreasonableness of the doctrine of nullification and the soundness of the doctrine of the indissolubility of the American Union. The question under discussion went to the very foundations of the American system of government. The question was: Did the Constitution create an indestructible nation, or did it simply establish a league of states, each of which was sovereign and possessed of authority to break up the Union ? President Jackson, to the great disappointment of the Democrats, supported Webster's position because he saw that the doctrine that a state had the right to decide for itself when it would obey Congress and when it would not was destructive of all true national government. Henry Clay secured a compromise tariff, March, 1833, and the crisis of civil strife was thereby averted. The effect of this speech was that patriotism had a new birth and thousands were made to feel that the Republic rested upon unshakable foundations.
DEMOCRACY (Page 76) James Russell Lowell (1819–1891), an American poet of distinction, was born at Cambridge, Massachusetts, February 22, 1819, the son of a preacher. He graduated from Harvard in 1838, and secured the degree of A.M. from that college in 1841. Soon after graduation he devoted almost all of his time to literature, founding a magazine called the Pioneer in 1842. He contributed many political articles to various publications, in this way wielding considerable influence in the politics of his
time. He published many volumes of verse and prose essays which have gained a permanent place among the classics of modern times. He succeeded Longfellow as professor of the French and Spanish languages in Harvard. He was editor of the Atlantic Monthly from 1857 to 1862, and with Charles Eliot Norton edited the North American Review from 1863 to 1872. He became a member of the Republican party in 1856; was elected presidential elector in 1876; and was appointed, in 1877, minister to Spain by. President Hayes. President Garfield appointed him minister to the court of St. James, London, in 1880. He delivered many public lectures, and was prized as an after-dinner speaker. The last years of his life were spent in the old Lowell homestead, “Elmwood," on the Charles River, Cambridge.
These paragraphs, with the exception of the last, are taken from an address delivered by Lowell on assuming the presidency of the Birmingham and Midland Institute, Birmingham, England, October 6, 1884. The last paragraph is from another address by the same author.
Two poems (pages 215 and 216) give evidence of the ardent patriotism of Mr. Lowell.
WORKING OF THE AMERICAN DEMOCRACY (Page 77)
Charles William Eliot (1834 ) was born at Boston, Massachusetts, and is a noteworthy educator. He graduated from Harvard in 1853, was president of Harvard from 1869 to 1909, and since has been president emeritus. He has been specially honored by France, Japan, and Italy, and is a member of various distinguished foreign societies. He is a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation. He has delivered a great many noteworthy addresses on educational and scientific subjects, and is the author of more than a dozen books and pamphlets. An evidence of his being considered one of the foremost citizens of the American Republic is found in his having been offered the appointment of American Ambassador to the Court of St. James (London) by both President Taft and President Wilson. He declined both offers.
This selection on American democracy from Doctor Eliot is taken from an address entitled “The Working of the American Democracy,” which was delivered before the fraternity Phi Beta Kappa, at Harvard University, June 28, 1888. The address should be read in full, and likewise the address from which is taken “Five American Contributions to Civilization.” (See page 79.) The latter was delivered at Chautauqua, August 19, 1896. These two addresses and sixteen other addresses and magazine articles constitute a volume by Dr. Eliot, which is entitled “American Contributions to Civilization." It is published by The Century Company, New York.
DEMOCRACY (Page 80) Henry van Dyke (1852– ) was born at Germantown, Pennsylvania, November 10, 1852, and is a distinguished man of letters and a man of genuine and liberal culture. He is a graduate of Princeton University, and the recipient of numerous degrees from various American and foreign educational institutions. He was ordained to the Presbyterian ministry in 1879, and made a famous record as preacher, particularly while pastor of the Brick Presbyterian Church, New York City. He was professor of English literature at Princeton from 1900 to 1913, when he was appointed minister to Netherlands and Luxemburg, by President Wilson. The list of books, both prose and poetry, of which he is author is a long one. They are known in many lands, having been translated into various languages. He is popular as college preacher, public lecturer, and after-dinner speaker.
This selection on “Democracy, the one on "The Home as a Nation Builder," which follows (page 82), the one on “Education in a Republic” (page 84), and the one on page 85 are taken from Dr. van Dyke's book called Essays in Application. The selections are merely portions of the essays in the volume. The entire volume rings true to American ideals. It is published by Charles Scribner's Sons.