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there is still more for gratitude in the unparalleled opportunity which it affords. What we all ask is opportunity. Here is opportunity on a surpassing scale—to be employed, I am sure, so as to advance the best interests of the Human Family; and, if these are advanced, no nation can suffer. Each is contained in all. With justice and generosity as the reciprocal rule, and nothing else can be the aim of this great Embassy, there can be no limits to the immeasurable consequences. For myself, I am less solicitous with regard to concessions or privileges, than with regard to that spirit of friendship and good neighborhood, which embraces alike the distant and the near, and, when once established, renders
all else easy.
The necessary result of the present experiment in diplomacy will be to make the countries which it visits better known to the Chinese, and also to make the Chinese better known to them. Each will know the other better and will better comprehend that condition of mutual dependence which is the law of humanity. In the relations among nations, as in common life, this is of infinite value. Thus far, I fear that the Chinese are poorly informed with regard to us. I am sure that we are poorly informed with regard to them. We know them through the porcelain on our tables with its lawless perspective, and the tea-chest with its unintelligible hieroglyphics. There are two pictures of them in the literature of our language, which cannot fail to leave an impression. The first is in “ Paradise Lost," where Milton, always learned even in his poetry, represents Satan as descending in his flight,
on the barren plains
The other is that admirable address on the study of the law of nature and nations, where Sir James Mackintosh, in words of singular felicity, alludes to " the tame but ancient
“ and immovable civilization of China." It will be for us now to enlarge these pictures and to fill the canvas with life.
I do not know if it has occurred to our honored guest, that he is not the first stranger who, after sojourning in this distant unknown land, has come back loaded with its honors, and with messages to the Christian powers. He is not without a predecessor in his mission. There is another career as marvellous as his own. I refer to the Venetian, Marco Polo, whose reports, once discredited as the fables of a traveller, are now recognized among the sources of history, and especially of geographical knowledge. Nobody can read them without feeling their verity. It was in the latter part of the far-away thirteenth century, that this enterprising Venetian, in company with his father and uncle, all of them merchants, journeyed from Venice, by the way of Constantinople, Trebizond, on the Black Sea, and Central Asia, until they reached first the land of Prester John, and then that golden country, known as Cathay, where the great ruler, Kubla Khan, treated them with gracious consideration, and employed young Polo as his ambassador. This was none other than China, and the great ruler, called the Grand Khan, was none other than the first of its Mongolian dynasty, having his imperial residence in the immense city of Kambalu, or Peking. After many years of illustrious service, the Venetian, with his companions, was dismissed with splendor and riches, charged with letters for European sovereigns, as our Bostonian is charged with similar letters now.
There were letters for the Pope, the King of France, the King of Spain, and other Christian princes. It does not appear that England was expressly designated. Her name, so great now, was not at that time on the visiting list of the distant Emperor. Such are the contrasts in national life. Marco Polo. with his companions, reached Venice on his return in 1295, at the very time when Dante, in Florence, was meditating his divine poem, and when Roger Bacon, in England, was astonishing the age with his knowledge. These were two of his greatest contemporaries.
The return of the Venetian to his native city was attended by incidents which have not occurred among us. Bronzed by long residence under the sun of the East—wearing the dress of a Tartar—and speaking his native language with difficulty, it was some time before he could persuade his friends of his identity. Happily there is no question on the identity of our returned fellow-citizen; and surely it cannot be said that he speaks his native language with difficulty. There was a dinner given at Venice, as now at Boston, and the Venetian dinner, after the lapse of nearly five hundred years, still lives in glowing description. On this occasion Marco Polo, with his companions, appeared first in long robes of crimson satin reaching to the floor, which, after the guests had washed their hands, were changed for other robes of crimson damask, and then again, after the first course of the dinner, for other robes of crimson velvet, and at the conclusion of the banquet, for the ordinary dress worn by the rest of the company. Meanwhile the other costly garments were distributed in succession among the attendants at the table. In all your magnificence to-night, Mr. Mayor, I have seen no such largess. Then was brought forward the coarse threadbare clothes in which they had travelled, when, on ripping the lining and patches with a knife, costly jewels, in sparkling showers, leaped forth before the eyes of the company, who for a time were motionless with wonder. Then at last, says the Italian chronicler, every doubt was banished, and all were satisfied that these were the valiant and honorable gentlemen of the house of Polo. I do not relate this history in order to suggest any such operation on the dress of our returned fellow-citizen. No such evidence is needed to assure us of his identity.
The success of Marco Polo is amply attested. From his habit of speaking of millions of people and millions of money, he was known as millioni, or the millionnaire, being the earliest instance in history of a designation so common in our prosperous age.
But better than millions " was the knowledge he imparted, and the impulse that he gave to that science, which teaches the configuration of the globe, and the place of nations on its surface. His travels, as dictated by him, were reproduced in various languages, and, after the invention of printing, the book was multiplied in more than fifty editions. Unquestiona oly it prepared the way for the two greatest geographical discoveries of modern times, that of the Cape of Good Hope, by Vasco de Gama, and the New World, by Christopher Columbus. One of his admirers, a learned German, does not hesitate to say that, when, in the long series of ages, we seek the three men, who, by the influence of their discoveries, have most contributed to the progress of geography and the knowledge of the globe, the modest name of the Venetian finds a place in the same line with Alexander the Great and Christopher Columbus. It is well known that the imagination of the Genoese navigator was fired by the revelations of the Venetian, and that, in his mind, all the countries embraced by his transcendent discovery were none other than the famed Cathay, with its various dependencies. In his report to the Spanish Sovereigns, Cuba was nothing else than Xipangu, or Japan, as described by the Venetian, and he thought himself near a grand Khan, meaning, as he says, a king of kings. Columbus was mistaken. He had not reached Cathay or the Grand Khan; but he had discovered a new world, destined in the history of civilization to be more than Cathay, and, in the lapse of time, to welcome the ambassador of the grand Khan.
The Venetian on his return home, journeyed out of the East, westward. Our Marco Polo on his return home, journeyed out of the west, eastward; and yet they both came from the same region. Their common starting-point was Peking. This change is typical of that transcendent revolution under whose influence the Orient will become the Occident. Journeying westward, the first welcome is from the nations of Europe. Journeying eastward, the first welcome is from our Republic. It only remains that this welcome should be extended until it opens a pathway for the mightiest commerce of the world, and embraces within the sphere of American activity that ancient ancestral empire, where population, industry and education, on an unprecedented scale, create resources and necessities on an unprecedented scale also. See to it, merchants of the United States, and you, merchants of Boston, that this opportunity is not lost.
And this brings me, Mr. Mayor, to the treaty, which you invited me to discuss. But I will not now enter upon this topic. If you did not call me to order for speaking too long, I fear I should be called to order in another place for undertaking to speak of a treaty which has not yet been proclaimed by the President. One remark I will make and take the consequences. The treaty does not propose much; but it is an excellent beginning, and, I trust, through the good offices of our fellow-citizen, the honored plenipotentiary, will unlock those great Chinese gates which have been bolted and barred for long centuries. The embassy is more than the treaty, because it will prepare the way for further intercourse and will help that new order of things which is among the promises of the future.
THE QUALITIES THAT WIN
(Speech of Charles Sumner at the sixty-eighth annual dinner of the New England Society in the City of New York, December 22, 1873. The President, Isaac H. Bailey, in proposing the toast, “ The Senate of the United States,” said: “We are happy to greet on this occasion the senior in consecutive service, and the most eminent member of the Senate, whose early, varied, and distinguished services in the cause of freedom have made his name a household word throughout the worldthe Honorable Charles Sumner.” On rising to respond, Mr. Sumner was received with loud applause. The members of the Society rose to their feet, applauded and waved handkerchiefs.)
MR. PRESIDENT AND BROTHERS OF NEW ENGLAND:For the first time in my life I have the good fortune to enjoy this famous anniversary festival. Though often honored by your most tempting invitation, and longing to celebrate the day in this goodly company of which all have heard so much, I could never excuse myself from duties in another place. If now I yield to well-known attractions, and journey from Washington for my first holiday during a protracted public service, it is because all was enhanced by the appeal of your excellent president, to whom I am bound by the friendship of many years in Boston, in New York, and in a foreign land. [Applause.] It is much to be a brother of New England, but it is more to be a friend (applause), and this tie I have pleasure in confessing to-night.
It is with much doubt and humility that I venture to answer for the Senate of the United States, and I believe the least I say on this head will be the most prudent. [Laughter.] But I shall be entirely safe in expressing my doubt if there is a single Senator who would not be glad of a seat at this generous banquet. What is the Senate? It is a component part of the National Government. But we celebrate to-day more than any component part of any government. We celebrate an epoch in the history of mankind --not only never to be forgotten, but to grow in grandeur