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Deeply sensible of the privileges of the opportunity you have afforded me,

I undertake the discharge of its obligations with a seriousness of intent and an earnestness of purpose which I trust will win me the consideration accorded to honest endeavor.

Rare, indeed, is it that any man whose station is merely that of a private citizen of our Republic is permitted to address 80 distinguished an assemblage, amid such historic surroundings, on so happy an occasion. And profoundly do I appreciate the honor. Without further preliminary save this assurance, therefore, I enter upon my pleasant task.

Nations are like men. They begin, they end, and between their limits are comprised the seven ages. Their span is longer than that of the individual, but short enough in the sight of Him to whom a thousand years are but as yesterday when it is past.

The United States of America was conceived at Lexington, quickened at Bunker Hill and born at Philadelphia. It was baptized in blood and snow at Trenton. It spoke stern words from the cannon mouth at Saratoga. It struggled desperately for life amid the cold at Valley Forge. It struck boldly for victory at Guilford Courthouse and the Cowpens. It finally assumed the toga virilis of independence at Yorktown.

Youngest among nations centuries old, it had to run the gamut of experience thereafter. It grew by leaps and bounds until its confines were measured by the Atlantic and the Pacific, the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi from a



boundary became a bisector. Its position was assured by the death grapple at Lundy's Lane; on the decks of the frigate Con stitution; behind the cotton bales and sugar barrels at New Or. leans. Thereafter it was fain to sow its wild oats; consequently it behaved badly in '46 and '47 in Mexico. Lastly, it stood upon its feet and fought successfully for its very existence in '61 and '65, in the longest, the most costly and the most terrible of mod

ern wars.

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To-day, before the wondering nations, it faces the future with a confidence, an assurance, begot of the past. Yet no one may say what the years may bring to it, or what it may bring to the years, in the days that are to come.

History is usually but the record of events. The chronicler goes from crisis to crisis. The story of a people is epitomized in the lives of its great men. The mind leaps in succession from figure to figure. Yet this is but half of history. Great men are the products of their time, crises the culminating points of slowmoving persistent forces; as the water swells inward from the sea in long undulations scarcely noticed until the crest of the wave breaks, flashes into sudden foam and is gone.

With a full consciousness of this mighty, determinative undercurrent, it is yet difficult to disassociate history from the crisis and from the men who dominate it, or failed. It is the white cap that catches the eye when the heaving of the deep passes unnoticed. It is the light that shines in the darkness that discloses the nature of the surrounding midnight. This is the use of the study of crisis and man; by it we are led to deeper things hidden from superficial glance.

Disregarding for this argument the greater fields of litera

ture, art and science, with no disparagement of their importance -God forbid !-We confine our attention to men of affairs.

Among the ancient Hebrews stand Moses the Law-giver and Paul the Saint. Rise in our minds at the name of Greece, Pericles, chief of her statesmen; Alexander, greatest apostle of her progress; Leonidas, high exemplar of her courage. Rome with her two thousand years of history recalls Cæsar, typifying her ambition; Brutus, her patriotism; Augustus, her empery. Charlemagne, the unifier; Richelieu, the statesman, Napoleon the lawgiver, appear for France; Frederick, creator of the kingdom, Bismarck, founder of the empire, for Germany; Czar Peter and Empress Catherine for Russia; Gregory the Seventh, that Hildebrand of Canossa, for Italy; Charles V. and Christopher Columbus for Spain. Nearer our own, we bare our heads before that stern Ironside, Cromwell, and that sailor of sailors, Nelson, for England. We bow lowest of all in homage to the greatest patriot, the noblest character of the first sixteen centuries of our era, William the Silent, of storm-beaten Netherlands.

Then we turn to America. The men we have enumerated are those that have stamped themselves upon five thousand years of history. It might be unfair to expect that in one century and a quarter the new nation could produce any fit for inclusion in that brilliant category. Yet it has done so. My mind dwells today upon two names, which can never be disregarded by any who strive to enumerate the small score of the world's supreme George Washington and Abraham Lincoln!

It has been the fashion among those who have been privileged to address you upon successive commemorations on this historic field, to dwell upon the local happenings, the history of events.


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The account of the ragged, destitute, hungry men at Valley Forge, freezing, bleeding in the snow, yet holding on, has been repeated many times and oft. And well it may be; for such a story of deathless heroism it is difficult to parallel in the annals of nations. The men of Valley Forge can never be too highly praised, their heroism too largely dwelt upon. Here they overcame victory. Here they defeated defeat. Here they founded an heritage for, and gave an example to, succeeding generations.

But I have deliberately chosen to fix my attention this morning rather upon the man than upon the men. And I have broadened the scope of my remarks. Valley Forge stands for the supreme struggle of the Revolution. The place is national, therefore, nay, it is epochal in universal history. In my judgment the cause of American independence was settled here rather than on any other battlefield in the war. Surviving this winter its future might be delayed, but it was assured. For man here fought against nature. He had to oppose his feeble powers not to men who differed from him only in degree of strength or capacity, but to those immutable laws which bring the heat in summer and the cold in winter, which produce the thirst pang and the hunger grip. Against these the highest human courage usually avails nothing. Before these man breaks and falters. Sh did not our furefathers in the snow.

The ambition of Napoleon was finally buried on the ice-heaped plains of Muscovy; the genius of liberty lived, it grew, it thrived at Valley Forge. Therefore, from the long-roll at Lexington to the grounding arms at Yorktown, the supreme incident of the American Revolution is the winter at Valley Forge.

Happy is that great commonwealth, Pennsylvania, keystone of the mighty federal arch, which includes within its borders such hallowed ground; for, as I have said elsewhere and to this


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