Appendix E. Speeches For Study And Practise
Henry Watterson - The New Americanism (Abridged)
Eight years ago tonight, there stood where I am standing now a young Georgian, who, not without reason, recognized the "significance" of his presence here, and, in words whose eloquence I cannot hope to recall, appealed from the New South to New England for a united country.
He is gone now. But, short as his life was, its heaven-born mission was fulfilled; the dream of his childhood was realized; for he had been appointed by God to carry a message of peace on earth, good will to men, and, this done, he vanished from the sight of mortal eyes, even as the dove from the ark.
Grady told us, and told us truly, of that typical American who, in Dr. Talmage's mind's eye, was coming, but who, in Abraham Lincoln's actuality, had already come. In some recent studies into the career of that man, I nave encountered many startling confirmations of this judgment; and from that rugged trunk, drawing its sustenance from gnarled roots, interlocked with Cavalier sprays and Puritan branches deep beneath the soil, shall spring, is springing, a shapely tree - symmetric in all its parts - under whose sheltering boughs this nation shall have the new birth of freedom Lincoln promised it, and mankind the refuge which was sought by the forefathers when they fled from oppression. Thank God, the ax, the gibbet, and the stake have had their day. They have gone, let us hope, to keep company with the lost arts. It has been demonstrated that great wrongs may be redressed and great reforms be achieved without the shedding of one drop of human blood; that vengeance does not purify, but brutalizes; and that tolerance, which in private transactions is reckoned a virtue, becomes in public affairs a dogma of the most far-seeing statesmanship.
So I appeal from the men in silken hose who danced to music made by slaves - and called it freedom - from the men in bell-crowned hats, who led Hester Prynne to her shame - and called it religion - to that Americanism which reaches forth its arms to smite wrong with reason and truth, secure in the power of both. I appeal from the patriarchs of New England to the poets of New England; from Endicott to Lowell; from Winthrop to Longfellow; from Norton to Holmes; and I appeal in the name and by the rights of that common citizenship - of that common origin - back of both the Puritan and the Cavalier - to which all of us owe our being. Let the dead past, consecrated by the blood of its martyrs, not by its savage hatreds - darkened alike by kingcraft and priestcraft - let the dead past bury its dead. Let the present and the future ring with the song of the singers. Blessed be the lessons they teach, the laws they make. Blessed be the eye to see, the light to reveal. Blessed be Tolerance, sitting ever on the right hand of God to guide the way with loving word, as blessed be all that brings us nearer the goal of true religion, true Republicanism, and true patriotism, distrust of watchwords and labels, shams and heroes, belief in our country and ourselves. It was not Cotton Mather, but John Greenleaf Whittier, who cried. -
" Dear God and Father of us all, Forgive our faith in cruel lies, Forgive the blindness that denies.
"Cast down our idols - overturn Our bloody altars - make us see Thyself in Thy humanity!"