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TRUE GRANDEUR OF NATIONS:
DELIVERED BEFORE THE AUTHORITIES
THE CITY OF BOSTON,
JULY 4, 1845,
BY CHARLES SUMNER.
0! yet a nobler task awaits thy hand!
For what can War but endless War still breed ?
Miltor, SONNET TO FAIRFAX.
1 84 5.
WILLIAM D. TICKNOR AND COMPANY.
EAST BURN'S PRESS.
CERTAINLY, if all who look upon themselves as men, not so much from the shape of their bodies, as because they are endowed with reason, would listen awhile unto Christ's wholesome and peaceable decrees, and not, puffed up with arrogance and conceit, rather believe their owne opinions than his admonitions; the whole world long ago, (turning the use of iron into milder workes) should have lived in most quiet tranquillity, and have met together in a firme and indissoluble League of most safe Concord. ARNOBIUS, ADVERSUS GenTES, LIB. 1.
All high titles come hitherto from fighting. Your Herzog, (Duke, Dux) is leader of armies ; your Earl (Jarl) is strong man; Marshal, cavalry horseshoer. A millenium, or reign of Peace, having been prophesied, and becoming daily more and more indubitable, may it not be apprehended that such Fighting titles, [also General, Admiral, Colonel, Captain] will cease to be palatable, and new and higher need to be devised ?-CARLYLE'S SARTOR RESARTUS.
CITY OF BOSTON.
In the Board of Aldermen, July 7, 1845. Resolved, That the thanks of this Board he presented in behalf of the City Council, to CHARLES SUMNER, Esq., for the able and eloquent Oration, deliv. ered by him, before the Municipal Authorities of the City, at the recent celebration of the anniversary of the Declaration of the Independence of the United States ;—and that he be requested to furnish a copy for the press.
S. F. McCLEARY, City Clerk.
Boston, July 10, 1845.
I am grateful to my fellow-citizens for listening with such indulgence to sentiments which, I was sorry to believe, would not be in harmony with the opinions of all; and I now place at your disposal a copy of the Oration, much of which was necessarily omitted in the delivery, on account of its length.
In undertaking to present my views of The True Grandeur of Nations, I thought that I was most fitly fulfilling the trust that had been reposed in me, when I was selected as the voice of the City of Boston on the National Anniversary. Believing that, in the present state of Christian society, all war and all preparation for war, are irrational, unnecessary and inconsistent with that true greatness at which our Republic should aim, I deemed it my duty on that occasion to uphold that truth. I was also anxious that our country should seek the true glory, and what is higher than glory, the great good, of taking the lead in the disarming of the nations.
Allow me to add, that I wish to be understood as restraining my opinions precisely within the limits which I have assigned them in these pages; and, particularly, to disclaim the suggestion which has been volunteered with regard to them, that Force may not be employed, under the sanction of Justice, in the conservation of the laws and of domestic quiet. All good men must unite in condemning, as barbarous and unchristian, the resort to external Force; in other words to the arbitrament of War; to International Lynch Law; or the great Trial by Battle, to determine justice between nations.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
THOMAS A. Davis, Esq.,
Mayor, &c. &c.
It is in obedience to an uninterrupted usage in our community that, on this Sabbath of the Nation, we have all put aside the common cares of life and seized a respite from the never-ending toils of labor, to meet in gladness and congratulation, mindful of the blessings transmitted from the Past, mindful also, I trust, of the duties to the Present and the Future. May he who now addresses you be enabled so to direct your minds, that you shall not seem to have lost a day!
All hearts first turn to the Fathers of the Republic. Their venerable forms rise before us, and we seem to behold them, in the procession of successive generations. They come from the frozen rock of Plymouth, from the wasted bands of Raleigh, from the Heavenly companionship of William Penn, from the anxious councils of the Revolution, and from all those fields of sacrifice, on which, in obedience to the Spirit of their Age, they sealed their devotion to duty with their blood. They seem to speak to us, their children ; “Cease to vaunt yourselves of what you do, and of what has been done for you. Learn to walk humbly, and to think meekly of yourselves. Cultivate habits of selfsacrifice and of devotion to duty. May our words be always in your minds, never aim at aught which is not RIGHT, persuaded that without this, every possession and all knowledge will become an evil and a shame. Strive to increase the inheritance which we have bequeathed; know, that, if we excel you in virtue, such a victory will be to us a mortification, while defeat will bring happiness. It is in this way,