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fangs, the fangs of that English blood which once sunk in the throat of a savage land remain forever, were placed upon America, to mark it as another conquest and another triumph of Anglo-Saxon colonization. Three years of peace and quiet in England were not to his taste. His mother's spirit craved new adventures, and he sought them in sea voyages to the north. Although his task was a much less difficult one, and not quite so prominent as the task he had accomplished in Virginia, he prepared the way for the settlement at Plymouth Rock. To his title of President of Virginia was added the title of Admiral of New England, because this John Smith, without a pedigree, except such as was blazoned on his shield by his slaughter of three Turks, turned his attention from the land to the sea, sailed the colder waters of the north, located the colonies of New England, named your own Boston, and the result of his voyages and reports were the Plymouth charter and settlement. So it is that we have a common founder of the settlements of this country. Of all the gallants who embarked in the first adventure, all disappeared save John Smith, who bore the plainest and commonest name that human imagination can devise. He became the patron saint of American civilization, as much yours as ours, and as much ours as yours. (Laughter and applause.]
Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen: We had one founder; we came from one master-mind; one great spirit was the source of both our settlements; and this initial fact in our histories has seemed to inspire the American people through all the centuries with the sentiment that our union should be eternal in spite of all disturbing circumstances. [Applause.) When I said, in a light way, that old Virginia and Massachusetts had sought to rend themselves asunder, it was scarcely true. They have too much that is glorious in common to be aught but loving sisters. The men who are before me will not forget that the settlers of the London colony of Virginia, and settlers of the Plymouth colony of Massachusetts, have been at the front of every great movement which has agitated this nation from its birth. When it came to the question of whether we should dissolve the political ties that bound us to the British King, Massachusetts Bay and the colony of Virginia were the first to form
their Committees of Safety, exchange their messages of mutual support, and strengthen the weak among their sister colonies. [Applause.) When it came to the time that tried men's souls in the Revolution, it was the men of Virginia and the men of Massachusetts Bay that furnished the largest quotas of revolutionary soldiers who achieved the independence of the American colonies.
When it came to the formation of a federal union, Virginia, with her Washington, gave the first President, and Massachusetts, with her Adams, stepped proudly to the front with the first Vice-President and second President. [Applause.] In later years, when differences came-which differences need not be discussed-every man here knows what part Virginia and Massachusetts bore. It was a part which, however much we may differ with each other, bespoke the origin of the two colonies, and told that true manhood was there to do and die for what it believed was right. When that struggle was ended, the first to clasp hands in mutual friendship and affection were Virginia and Massachusetts. If we were to blot from the history or geography of the Nation the deeds or territory of the ancient dominions of John Smith, President of Virginia and Admiral of New England, a beggarly record of area would be left, in spite of the glorious records of other sections in recent years.
The history of America is to me not only of deep and absorbing interest in its every detail, but it is a romance; it is a fascinating detail of wonderful development, the like of which cannot be found in the annals of civilization from the remotest time. We may go back to the time when the curtain rises on the most ancient civilization of the East, and there is nothing to compare with it. We may take up not only the real, but the romantic history of modern European progress, and there is nothing like American history for myself. Taking up the story of the Quaker invasion of Massachusetts as early as 1659, I find Lydia Wardell, daughter of Isaac Perkins, a freeman of the colony, whipped in Boston, because she had ceased to be a Puritan and had become a Quakeress. Turning then to the history of Virginia in 1663, I find Colonel Edmund Scarburgh riding at the head of the King's troops into the boundaries of Maryland, placing the broad arrows of the King on the houses of the Quakers, and punishing them soundly for non-conformity. Upon the question of who was right and who was wrong in these old feuds, there are doubtless men who, even to this day, have deep prejudices. Fancy how conflicting are the sentiments of a man in 1890, as to their merits, when he reflects, as I do, that Lydia Wardell was his grandmother, and Colonel Scarburgh his grandfather. [Applause and laughter.]
How absurd seems any comparison between the Puritan and Cavalier settlers of America. There they are, with all their faults, and all their virtues. Others may desire to contrast them. I do not. I stand ready to do battle against anybody who abuses either. Their conjoint blood has produced a Nation, the like of which no man living before our day had ever fancied. Nearly three centuries of intermningling and intermarrying, has made the traditions and the hopes of either the heritage and aspiration of us all. Common sufferings, common triumphs, common pride, make the whole glorious history the property of every American citizen, and it is provincial folly to glorify either faction at the expense of the other.
We stand to-night on the pinnacle of the third Century of American development. Look back to the very beginning. There stands the grizzled figure of John Smith, the Pioneer-President of Virginia, and Admiral of New England. Still united, we look about us and behold a nation blessed with peace and plenty, crowned with honor, and with boundless opportunity of future aggrandizement. The seed planted by John Smith still grows. The voice of John Smith still lives. That voice has been swelled into the
. mighty chorus of 60,000,000 Americans singing the song of United States. We look forward to a future whose possibilities stagger all conjecture, to a common ruler of John Smith's ancient dominions; to a common destiny, such as he mapped out for us. And with devout and heartfelt gratitude to him, a reunited land proclaims, “Whom God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Great applause.)
THE LEGAL PROFESSION
(Speech of John S. Wise at the annual dinner of the New York State Bar Association, Albany, N. Y., January 20, 1891. Matthew Hale, the President, introduced Mr. Wise as follows: “ The next sentiment in order was, by mistake, omitted from the printed list of sentiments which is before you. The next sentiment is 'The Legal Profession,' and I call upon a gentleman to respond to that toast who, I venture to say, has practised law in more States of this Union than any other gentleman present. I allude to the orator of the day, the Hon. John S. Wise (applause), formerly of Virginia, but now a member of the Bar Association of the State of New York.”]
MR. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN OF THE BAR:
It may not be true that I have practised law in more States of this Union than any one present, but it is certainly true that I never did as much speaking in the same length of time, without charging a fee for it, as I have done within the last twenty-four hours. [Laughter.] At two o'clock this morning I was in attendance, in the city of New York, upon a ghost dance of the Confederate veterans; at two o'clock this evening I resolved myself into a deep, careful, and circumspect lawyer, and now I am with the boys, and propose to have a good time. [Laughter.] Now, you know, this scene strikes me as ridiculous—our getting here together and glorifying ourselves and nobody to pay for it. My opinion is, that the part of wisdom is to bottle this oratory and keep it on tap at $5 a minute. [Laughter.) The Legal Profession—why, of course, we are the best fellows in the world. Who is here to deny it? It reminds me of an anecdote told by an old politician in Virginia, who said that one day, with his man, he was riding to Chesterfield court, and they got discussing the merits of a neighbor, Mr. Beasley, and he says, “ Isaac, what do you think of Mr. Beasley?” “Well,” he says, “ Marse Frank, I reckon
, he is a pretty good man." "Well
, there is one thing about
” Mr. Beasley, he is always humbling himself.” He says, “Marse Frank, you are right; I don't know how you is, but I always mistrusts a man that runs hisself down." (Laughter.] He says, “I don't know how you is, Marse Frank, but I tell you how it is with me: this nigger scarcely ever says no harm against hisself.” So I say it of the legal
profession-this here nigger don't never scarcely say no harm against himself. [Great laughter.]
Of course we are the best profession in the world, but if any of our clients are standing at that door and listening to this oratory, I know what their reflection is. They are laughing in their sleeves and saying: “Watch him, watch him; did you ever hear lawyers talk as much for nothing? Watch them; it is the funniest scene I ever saw. There are a lot of lawyers with their hands in their own pockets." [Laughter.]
Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, another thing. We are not fooling with any judges now. I know who I am talking to and how long I have been doing it. Sometimes you can fool a judge into letting you have more time than the rule allows; but with lawyers, enough is enough. We know exactly when to put on the brakes with each other. We are not now earning fees by the yard or charging by the minute, and when a man is through with what he has to say, it is time to sit down, and all I have to say in conclusion is, that the more I watch the legal profession and observe it, the more I am convinced that with the great responsibility, with the great trusts confided to it, with the great issues committed to its keeping, with the great power it has to direct public feeling and public sentiment, with the great responsibilities resulting, take it as a mass—and there are plenty of rascals in it—but take it as a mass, and measure it up, and God never made a nobler body in these United States. [Applause.]