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THE CHARACTER OF EDWARD Everett.
a spirit of morning freshness and verbal
promise. The Psalmist says, “ The days of our years In the forty-five years which passed between are threescore years and ten, and if by rea- his return home and his death, Mr. Everett's son of strength they be fourscore years, yet industry was untiring, and the amount of is their strength labour and sorrow.” The work he accomplished was immense. What latter part of this sentence is not altogether he published would alone entitle him to true; at least, it is not without exceptions the praise of a very industrious man, but as numerous as the rule. To say nothing this forms but a part of his labours. Of of the living, we who have witnessed the what has been called the master-vice of serene and beautiful old age of Quincy, pro- sloth he knew nothing. He was indetracted more than twenty years after three- pendent of the amusements and relaxations score years and ten, will not admit that all which most hard-working men interpose of life" beyond that limit is of necessity between their hours of toil. He was always * labour and sorrow." But in these words in harness. there is so much of truth as this, that he Some persons have regretted that he gave who has lived to be threescore and ten years so much time to merely occasional producold should feel that he has had his fair share tions, instead of devoting himself to some of life, and if any more years are dropped one great work; but without speculating into his lap he must receive them as a gift upon the comparative value of what we have not promised at his birth. And thus no and what we might have had, it is enough man who dies after the age of seventy can to say that with his genius and temperament he said to have died unseasonably or prem- on the one hand, and our institutions and aturely. But the shock with which the form of society on the other, it was a sort of news of Mr. Everett's death fell upon the necessity that his mind should have taken community was due to its unexpectedness the direction that it did. For he was the as well as its suddenness. We knew that child of his time, and was always in harmony he was an old man, but we did not feel that with the spirit of the age and country in he was such. There was nothing either in which his lot was cast. He was pre-emihis aspect or bis life that warned us of de- nently rich in the fruits of European culture; parture or reminded us of decay. Ilis Greece, Rome, England, France, Italy, and powers were so vigorous, his industry was Germany all helped by liberal contributions so great, his sympathies were so active, his to swell his stores of intellectual wealth, but elocution so admirable, that he appeared yet no man was ever more national in feel before us as a man in the very prime of life, ing, more patriotic in motive and impulse, and when he died it was as if the sun had more thoroughly American in grain and gone down at noon. The impression made fibre. Loving books as he did, he would by his death was the highest tribute that yet have pined and languished if he had could be paid to the worth of his life. been doomed to live in the unsympathetic air
In 1819, after an absence of nearly five of a great library. The presence, the comyears, Mr. Everett returned from Europe at prehension, the sympathy of his kind were the age of twenty-five, the most finished and as necessary to him as his daily bread. accomplished man that had been seen in “ Two words," says Macaulay, “ form the New England, and it will be generally ad- key of the Baconian doctrine, Utility and mitted that he maintained this superiority Progress.” I think these two words also go to the last. From that year down to the far to reveal and interpret Mr. Everett's mohour of his death he was constantly before tives and character. Not that he did not the public eye, and never without a marked seek honourable distinction, not that he did and peculiar influence upon the community, not take pleasure in the applause which he especially upon students and scholars. You had fairly earned; but stronger even than and I, Mr. President, are old enough to have these propelling impulses was his desire to come under the spell of the magician at that be of service to his fellow-men, to do good early period of his life when he presented in his day and generation. He loved his the most attractive combination of graceful country with a fervid love, and he loved his and blooming youth with mature intellec- race with a generous and comprehensive tual power. The young man of to-day, philanthropy. Ile was always ready to familiar with that espression of gravity, work cheerfully in any direction when he almost of sadness, which his countenance thought he could do any good, though the has habitually worn of late, can hardly im- labour might not be particularly congenial agine what he then was, when his “ bosom's to his tastes, and would not add anything to lord” sat “ lightly in his throne,” when the his literary reputation. The themes which winds of hope filled his sails, and his he handled, during his long life of intellectual looks and movements were informed with action, were very various, they were treated
with great affluence of learning, singular as to instruct the common mind and touch beauty of illustration, and elaborate and ex- the common heart. For whatever were the quisite harmony of style, but always in such subject, Mr. Everett always took his audience a way as to bear practical fruit, and contribute along with him from first to last.
He never to the advancenent of society and the eleva- soared or wandered out of their sight. tion of humanity.
I need not dwell upon the singular beauty So, too, Mr. Everett was a sincere and and finish of his elocution. Those who consistent friend of progress. He was, it is have heard bim speak will need no descriptrue, conservative in his instincts and conviction of the peculiar charm and grace of tions; I mean in a large and liberal, and not his manner, and no description will give any in a narrow and technical sense. But that adequate impression of it to those who never he was an extreme conservative, or that he heard him.' It was a manner easily caricavalued an institution simply because it was tured, but not easily imitated. llis power old, is not only not true, but, I think, the over an audience remained unimpaired to reverse of truth. He had a distaste to ex- the last. At the age of seventy he spoke treme views of any kind, and, by the consti- with all the animation of youth, and easily tution of his mind, was disposed to take that filled the largest ball with that rich and middle ground which partisan zeal is prone flexible voice, the tones of which time had to identify with timidity or indifference. hardly touched. His organization was deliBut he was a man of generous impulses cate and refined, his temperament sensitive and large sympathies. No one was more and sympathetic. The opinion of those quick to recognize true progress, and greet whom he loved and esteemed was weighty it with a more hospitable welcome. No with him. Praise was ever cordial to him, man of his age would have more readily and more necessary than to most men who and heartily acknowledged the many points had achieved such high and assured distincin which the world has advanced since he tion. Doubtful as the statement may seem was young
to those who knew him but slightly, or only It would not be seasonable here to dwell saw him on the platform with his “robes upon Mr. Everett's public or political career, and singing garlands', about him, he was to but I may be permitted to add that I think the last a modest and self-distrustful man. he had genuine faith in the institutions of his He never appeared in public without a slight country, which did not grow fainter as he futter of apprehension lest he should full grew older. He believed in man's capacity short of that standard which he had created for self-government, and had confidence in for himself. Ilis want of self-confidence, popular instincts. He was fastidious in his and, in later years, his want of animal social tastes, but not aristocratic: that is, if spirits, sometimes produced a coldness of he preferred one man to another it was for manner, which, by superficial observers, essential and not adventitious qualities,--for was set down to coldness of heart, but most what they were, and not for what they had. unjustly. Ile was uniformly kind to the young, and His nature was courteous, gentle, and always prompt to recognize and encourage sweet. Few men were ever more worthy merit in a young person.
than he to wear “the grand old name of Mr. Everett, if not the founder of the gentleman." IIis manners were graceful, school of American deliberative eloquence, more scholarly than is usnal with men who was its most brilliant representative. In his had been so much in public life as he, and orations and occasional discourses will be sometimes covered with a delicate veil of found his best title to remembrance, and by reserve. Conflict and contest were distastethem his name will surely be transmitted to ful to him, and it was his disposition to folfuture generations. In judging of them, we low the things that make for peace. lle had must bear in mind that the aim of the delib- a true respect for the intellectual rights of erative orator is to treat a subject in such a others, and it was no fault of his if he ever way as to secure and fix the attention of a lost a friend through difference of opinion. popular audience, and this aim Mr. Everett Permit me to turn for a moment to Mr. never lost sight of. If it be said that his Everett's public life for an illustration of discourses are not marked by originality his character. In forensic contests, sarcasm of construction or philosophical depth of and invective are formidable and frequent thought, it may be replied that had they weapons. The House of Commons quailed been so, they would have been less attractive before the younger Pitt's terrible powers of to his hearers. They are remarkable for a
An eminent living statesman and combination of qualities rarely, if ever be- orator of Great Britain is remarkable for fore, so happily blended, and especially for both these qualities. But neither invective the grace, skill, and tact with which the re- nor sarcasm is to be found in Mr. Everett's sources of the widest cultivation are so used speeches. I think this absence is to be
ascribed not to an intellectual want but to a
Books. moral grace.
Great men, public men, have also their We cannot linger in the beautiful creainner and private life, and sometimes this tions of inventive genius, or pursue the must be thrown by the honest painter into splendid discoveries of modern science, withshadow. But in Mr. Everett's case there out a new sense of the capacities and dignity was no need of this, for his private life was of human nature, which naturally leads to a spotless. In conduct and conversation he sterner self-respect, to manlier resolves, and always conformed to the highest standard ( higher aspirations. We cannot read the which public opinion exacts of the members ways of God to man as revealed in the hisof that profession to which he originally tory of nations, of sublime virtues as exembelonged. As a brother, husband, father, plified in the lives of great and good men, and friend, there was no duty that he did without falling into that mood of thoughtful not discharge, no call that he did not obey. admiration, which, though it be but a tranHe was generous in giving, and equally sient glow, is a purifying and elevating ingenerous in sacrificing. Where he was most fluence while it lasts. The study of history known he was best loved. He was wholly is especially valuable as an antidote to selffree from that exacting temper in small exaggeration. It teaches lessons of humility, things which men, eminent and otherwise patience, and submission. When we read estimable, sometimes fall into. His daily of realms smitten with the scourge of famine life was inade beautiful by a pervading spirit or pestilence, or strewn with the bloody ashes of thoughtful consideration for those who of war; of grass growing in the streets of stood nearest to him. His household man- great cities; of ships rotting at the wharves; ners were delightful, and his household dis- of fathers burying their sons; of strong course was brightened by a lambent play of men begging their bread; of fields untilled, wit and humour; qualities which he pos- and silent workshops, and despairing counbessed in no common measure, though they tenances,—we hear a voice of rebuke to our were rarely displayed before the public. own clamorous sorrows and peevish comCould the innermost circle of Mr. Everett's plaints. We learn that pain and suffering life be revealed to the general eye, it could and disappointment are a part of God's not fail to deepen the sense of bereavement providence, and that no contract was erer which his death has awakened, and to in- yet made with man by which virtue should crease the reverence with which his memory secure to him temporal happiness. is and will be cherished. No man ever bore In books, be it remembered, we have the his faculties and his eminence more meekly best products of the best minds. We should than he. He never declined the lowly any of us esteem it a great privilege to pass and commonplace duties of life.
an evening with Shakespeare or Bacon, always approachable and accessible. The were such a thing possible. But were we constant and various interruptions to which admitted to the presence of one of these il. he was exposed by the innumerable calls lustrious men, we might find him touched made upon his time and thoughts were with infirmity, or oppressed with weariness, borne by him with singular patience and or darkened with the shadow of a recent sweetness. His industry was as methodical trouble, or absorbed by intrusive and tyranas it was uniform. However busy he might nous thoughts. To us the oracle might be be, he could always find time for any service dumb, and the light eclipsed. But when we which a friend required at his hands. We take down one of their volumes, we run no was scrupulously faithful and exact in small such risk. llere we have their best thoughts things. "He never broke an appointment embalmed in their best words: immortal or a promise. This splendid powers worked flowers of poetry, wet with Castalian dews, with all the regularity and precision of the and the golden fruit of wisdom that had most nicely adjusted machinery. If he had long ripened on the bough before it was undertaken to have a discourse, a report, an gathered. Here we find the growth of the article, ready at a certain time, it might be choicest seasons of the mind, when mortal depended upon as surely as the rising of the cares were forgotten, and mortal weaknesses
were subdued; and the soul, stripped of its I feel that I have hardly touched upon the vanities, and its passions, lay bare to the remarkable qualities of År. Everett's mind finest efluences of truth and beauty. We and character, and yet I have occupied as may be sure that Shakespeare never outmuch of your time as is becoming.
talked his Hamlet, nor Bacon his Essays. Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Great writers are indeed best known through
Society, in A Memorial of Edward Everett | their books. How little, for instance, do we from the City of Boston, Bost., 1865, 8vo, know of the life of Shakespeare ; but how 138–142.
much do we know of him!...
For the knowledge that comes from books, I would claim no more than it is fairly en
ROBERT CHARLES WINtitled to. I am well aware that there is no
THROP, LL.D., inevitable connection between intellectual
a descendant in the sixth generation of John cultivation, on the one hand, and individual Winthrop (1587–1649), Governor of Massavirtue or social well-being, on the other. chusetts, à grandson of Sir John Temple, “ The tree of knowledge is not the tree of and great-grandson of Governor James Bowlife.” I admit that genius and learning are doin, was born in Boston, 1809, graduated sometimes found in combination with gross at Harvard University, 1828, studied law vices, and not unfrequently with contemptible with Daniel Webster, 1828–31, United States weaknesses ; and that a community at once Senator, 1850–51. He is a man of high cultivated and corrupt is no impossible mon- mark in every respect. ster. But it is no over-statement to say that, Addresses and Speeches on various occaother things being equal, the man who has sions, Bost., 3 vols. r. 8vo: vol. i., 1853, ii., the greatest amount of intellectual resources 1867, iii., 1878; Life and Letters of John is in the least danger from inferior tempta- Winthrop, 1630–1649, Bost., 1867, 8vo. tions,-if for no other reason, because he
For his minor publications, see Allibone's has fewer idle moments. The ruin of most Critical Dictionary of English Literature, men dates from some vacant hour. Occu- iii. 2797. pation is the armour of the soul; and the train of Idleness is borne up by all the vices.
“In his occasional addresses he displays not only
that fulness of knowledge and learning belonging I remember a satirical poem, in which the
to his immediate theme, which places him on the Devil is represented as fishing for men, and platform with the best-instructed orators of the adapting his baits to the taste and tempera- day, but all those nameless graces of speech, that ment of his prey ; but the idler, he said, versatility and playfulness of fancy, that prompt pleased him most, because he bit the naked and felicitous appropriation of any casual topic or hook. To a young man away from home, incident of the moment, that current and catching friendless and forlorn in a great city, the sympathy with his audience,—so that he seems
rather to be speaking with them and for them inhours of peril are those between sunset
stead of to them,--which are the characteristics and bedtime; for the moon and stars see of the higher order of speech in England, but more of evil in a single hour than the sun which are so rare in this country that I can hardly in his whole day's circuit. The poet's recall the name of any living orator who can hold visions of evening are all compact of tender
a comparison with him.”-Hugh Blair Grigsby, and soothing images. It brings the wanderer LL.D., To S. Austin ALLIBONE, May 11, 1866 (ubi to his home, the child to his mother's arms,
supra). the ox to his stall, and the weary labourer to his rest. But to the gentle-hearted youth
ChristiaNITY THE GREAT REMEDY. who is thrown upon the rocks of a pitiless The ancient metropolis of Syria has secity, and stands - homeless amid a thousand cured for itself a manifold celebrity on the hoines," the approach of evening brings with pages of history. It has been celebrated as it an aching sense of loneliness and desola- the splendid residence of the Syrian kings, tion, which comes down upon the spirit like and afterwards as the luxurious capital of darkness upon the earth. * In this mood his the Asiatic Provinces of the Roman Empire. best impulses become a snare to him; and It has been celebrated for its men of letters, he is led astray because he is social, affec- and its cultivation of learning. It has been tionate, sympathetic, and warm-hearted. If celebrated for the magnificence of the edithere be a young man thus circumstanced fices within its walls, and for the rounantic within the sound of my voice, let me say to beauty of its suburban groves and fountains. hinı, that books are the friends of the friend. The circling sun shone nowhere upon more less, and that a library is the home of the majestic productions of human art, than hoineless. A taste for reading will always when it gilded, with its rising or its setting carry you into the best possible company, beams, the sumptuous symbols of its own deand enable you to converse with men who luded worshippers, in the gorgeous temple of will instruct you by their wisdom, and charm Daphne and the gigantic statue of Apollo, you by their wit; who will soothe you when which were the pride and boast of that farfretted, refresh you when weary, counsel you famed capital ; while it was from one of the when perplexed, and sympathize with you at humble hermitages which were embosomed all times. Evil spirits in the Middle Ages in its exquisite environs, that the sainted were exorcised and driven away by bell, Chrysostom poured forth some of those pobook, and candle: you want but two of these etical and passionate raptures on the beauagents,-the book and the candle.
ties and sublimities of nature, which would Address before the Mercantile Library As- alone have won for him the title of “The sociation.
golden-mouthed.” At one time, we are told,
it ranked third on the list of the great cities have undertaken,-should they even fulfil
the region of our imaginations, and of which That record must, of course, stand alone, these modern inventions—the daguerreofor ever, on the historic page. Christianity type, with the instantaneous action and unwill never begin again. Christ has lived erring accuracy of its viewless pencil,--the and died once for all, and will come Electric Ocean Telegraph, with its single more upon these earthly scenes, until he flash, bounding unquenched through a thoucomes again in his glorious majesty to judge sand leagues of fathomless floods-have done both the quick and the dead.' But should so much to quicken our feeble conceptions ; the numerous Associations and Unions if, I say, these great ideas of Omniscience which have recently sprung into existence and Omnipresence could now and then be as from a common impulse in both hemi-brought to a focus, and flashed in, with the spheres,--bearing a common name, composed full force of their searching and scorching of congenial elements, and organized for the rays, upon the inmost soul of some great same great and glorious ends with that now city, like Paris or London,—to come no before me,-should they go on zealously and nearer home,-and of those who dwell in successfully in the noble work which they it - what swarms of sins, what troops of