There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse! As I have often found in travelling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift ones position, and be bruised in a new place.
You have set up in New York Harbor a monstrous idol which you call Liberty. The only thing that remains to complete that monument is to put on its pedestal the inscription written by Dante on the gate of hell: All hope abandon ye who enter here.
Every good citizen should be willing to devote a brief time during some one day in the year, when necessary, to the making up of a listing of his income for taxes to contribute to his Government, not the scriptural tithe, but a small percentage of his net profits.
With breathtaking rapidity, we are destroying all that was lovely to look at and turning America into a prison house of the spirit. The affluent society, with relentless single-minded energy, is turning our cities, most of suburbia and most of our roadways into the most affluent slum on earth.
Thou shalt have one God only; whoWould be at the expense of two?No graven images may beWorshipped, except the currency:Swear not at all; for for thy curseThine enemy is none the worse:At church on Sunday to attendWill serve to keep the world thy friend:Honour thy parents; that is, allFrom whom advancement may befall:Thou shalt not kill; but needst not striveOfficiously to keep alive:Do not adultery commit;Advantage rarely comes of it:Thou shalt not steal; an empty feat,When its so lucrative to cheat:Bear not false witness: let the lieHave time on its own wings to fly:Thou shalt not covet; but traditionApproves all forms of competition. The sum of all is, thou shalt love,If any body, God above:At any rate shall never labourMore than thyself to love thy neighbour.
The character of our coasts, remarkable in considerable parts of it for admitting no vessels of size to pass near the shores, would entitle us, in reason, to as broad a margin of protected navigation, as any nation whatever. Not proposing, however, at this time, and without a respectful and friendly communication with the Powers interested in this navigation, to fix on a distance to which we may ultimately insist on the right of protection, the President gives instructions to the officers, acting under this authority, to consider those heretofore given them as restrained for the present to the distance of one sea-league, or three geographical miles from the sea-shore. This distance can admit of no opposition as it is recognized by treaties between some of the Powers with whom we are connected in commerce and navigation, and is as little or less than is claimed by any of them on their own coasts.
There is no time like the old time, when you and I were young,When the buds of April blossomed, and the birds of spring-time sung!The gardens brightest glories by summer suns are nursed,But oh, the sweet, sweet violets, the flowers that opened first!There is no place like the old place, where you and I were born,Where we lifted first our eyelids on the splendors of the mornFrom the milk-white breast that warmed us, from the clinging arms that bore,Where the dear eyes glistened oer us that will look on us no more!There is no friend like the old friend, who has shared our morning days,No greeting like his welcome, no homage like his praise:Fame is the scentless sunflower, with gaudy crown of gold;But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold. There is no love like the old love, that we courted in our pride;Though our leaves are falling, falling, and were fading side by side,There are blossoms all around us with the colors of our dawn,And we live in borrowed sunshine when the day-star is withdrawn. There are no times like the old times,they shall never be forgot!There is no place like the old place,keep green the dear old spot!There are no friends like our old friends,may Heaven prolong their lives!There are no loves like our old loves,God bless our loving wives!
In its [knowledges] light, we must think and act not only for the moment but for our time. I am reminded of the great French Marshal Lyautey, who once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow-growing and would not reach maturity for a hundred years. The Marshal replied, In that case, there is no time to lose, plant it this afternoon.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other wayin short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
These are the times that try mens souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
It is the first step in sociological wisdom, to recognize that the major advances in civilization are processes which all but wreck the societies in which they occur:like unto an arrow in the hand of a child. The art of free society consists first in the maintenance of the symbolic code; and secondly in fearlessness of revision, to secure that the code serves those purposes which satisfy an enlightened reason. Those societies which cannot combine reverence to their symbols with freedom of revision, must ultimately decay either from anarchy, or from the slow atrophy of a life stifled by useless shadows.
It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truthand listen to the song of that syren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideasthat the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out.
The most violent revolutions in an individuals beliefs leave most of his old order standing. Time and space, cause and effect, nature and history, and ones own biography remain untouched. New truth is always a go-between, a smoother-over of transitions. It marries old opinion to new fact so as ever to show a minimum of jolt, a maximum of continuity.
Careless seems the great Avenger; historys pages but recordOne death-grapple in the darkness twixt old systems and the Word;Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown,Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own. New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth;Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! we ourselves must Pilgrims be,Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea,Nor attempt the Futures portal with the Pasts blood-rusted key.
Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.
Its a Story they tell in the border country, where Massachusetts joins Vermont and New Hampshire. Yes, Danl Websters deador, at least, they buried him. But every time theres a thunderstorm around Marshfield, they say you can hear his rolling voice in the hollows of the sky. And they say that if you go to his grave and speak loud and clear, Danl WebsterDanl Webster! the groundll begin to shiver and the trees begin to shake. And after a while youll hear a deep voice saying, Neighbor, how stands the Union? Then you better answer the Union stands as she stood, rock-bottomed and copper-sheathed, one and indivisible, or hes liable to rear right out of the ground. At least, thats what I was told when I was a youngster.
A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolvedI do not expect the house to fallbut I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.
I am exceedingly anxious that this Union, the Constitution, and the liberties of the people shall be perpetuated in accordance with the original idea for which that struggle was made, and I shall be most happy indeed if I shall be an humble instrument in the hands of the Almighty, and of this, his almost chosen people, for perpetuating the object of that great struggle.
While the Union lasts, we have high, exciting, gratifying prospects spread out before us, for us and our children. Beyond that I seek not to penetrate the veil. God grant that in my day, at least, that curtain may not rise! God grant that on my vision never may be opened what lies behind! When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full and high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original lustre, not a strip erased or polluted, nor a single star obscured, bearing for its motto, no such miserable interrogatory as What is all this worth? nor those other words of delusion and folly, Liberty first and Union afterwards; but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart,Liberty and Union, now and for ever, one and inseparable!
Eagerly, musician,Sweep your string,So we may sing,Elated, optative,Our several voicesInterblending,Playfully contending,Not interferingBut co-inhering,For all withinThe cincture of the soundIs holy ground,Where all are Brothers,None faceless Others. Let mortals bewareOf words, forWith words we lie,Can say peaceWhen we mean war,Foul thought speak fairAnd promise falsely,But song is true:Let music for peaceBe the paradigm,For peace means to changeAt the right time,As the World-Clock,Goes Tick and Tock. So may the storyOf our human cityPresently moveLike music, whenBegotten notesNew notes beget,Making the flowingOf time a growing,Till what it could be,At last it is,Where even sadnessIs a form of gladness,Where Fate is Freedom,Grace and Surprise.