Influence, without Intervention;
THE DUTY OF OUR NATION TO THE WORLD:
ON THE SEVENTY-SIXTH
ANNIVERSARY OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE,
AND SIXTH, OF
THE FOUNDING OF THE COLLEGE, JULY 5, MDCCC LII:
THE RT. REV. GEORGE WASHINGTON DOANE, D,D., LL.D.
BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE,
PRESIDENT OF THE COLLEGE,
How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,
By all their country's wishes blest!
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns, to deck their hallow'd mould,
She there shall dress a sweeter sod,
Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.
By fairy hands, their knell is rung;
By forms unseen, their dirge is sung;
There, Honour comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the tuff that wraps their clay;
And Freedom shall, awhile, repair,
To dwell, a weeping hermit, there.--Collins.
Burlington College, July 5, 1852.
Right Reverend and Dear Sir:
The undersigned were appointed, at the conclusion of your address, this day, delivered, in the College Hall, to request, from you, the favour of a copy, for publication.
In the earnest hope, that you will comply with this request; that the lessons of wisdom and patriotism, so eloquently illustrated, may be read and learned, by the many, who could not enjoy the advantage of listening to its delivery;
We remain, most truly and respectfully,
John S. Littell, Jno. R. Thompson, Jno. J. Chetwood.
The Right Reverend Bishop Doane.
WE HAVE HEARD, WITH OUR EARS,
AND OUR FATHERS HAVE DECLARED UNTO US,
THE NOBLE WORKS,
THAT THOU DIDST IN THEIR DAYS,
AND IN THE OLD TIME BEFORE THEM.
The fourth of July is always celebrated at Burlington College, as the anniversary of our National Independence, and of the founding of the College. The Committee of Arrangements, consisting of Messrs. W. C. Doane, and Hobart Chetwood, Alumni of the College; and Mr. Geo. W. Garthwaite, and Mr. C. W. Littell, of the Senior Class; followed, this year, the usual order for the day. At 9 o'clock, A. M., a procession of the Faculty, Alumni, and Students of the College, preceded by a band of music, moved from the College buildings; and, passing along the bank, was received, at Riverside, by the Right Reverend the President, surrounded by numerous guests, and the teachers and pupils of St. Mary's Hall. The stars and stripes, craped in sorrow, for Henry Clay, waved from a balcony, over the door. Mr. Littell, of the Senior Class, on behalf of the Students, then addressed the Bishop:
Right Reverend President:--
Again, we meet you, here. Once more, we gather round you, to welcome, with glad and grateful hearts, the coming of this bright, auspicious, consecrated, day. A day, already rich in high and holy associations; which you have rendered still more sacred, by joining others with them, which will make each returning anniversary, an era, in our lives. This is, to us, a two-fold Jubilee. We celebrate the achievement of the independence of our country, and the foundation of the College; which, we trust, will make us worthy to be called her sons.
The pure lessons of enlightened and lofty patriotism, which you have so often, and so eloquently, inculcated, have not been forgotten. Removed from the arena of political contention, we yet feel deep interest, in the momentous occurrences, which are transpiring around us, especially, in those of the past eventful year; and, in the men, to whose keeping, is entrusted, the welfare of our native land. Our festivities would be incomplete, were we to withhold the tribute of our homage, trifling though it be, from him, to whose fame, identified with the history of the country, no section, and no party, can lay [5/6] exclusive claim; whose brilliant triumph has added new splendour, to the glories of this day: whom the conqueror of the conqueror, has styled "The greatest living General;" the victorious warrior, the unsullied patriot, the illustrious hero, Winfield Scott. But, what other mighty name is this, borne onward, by the sighing breeze, amid the lamentations of a sorrowing people! For the first time, in half a century, the welkin has not echoed to its utterance; now, it only calls forth tears. He, who, "while life endured, stood erect, with spirit unconquered, ready to second the exertions of the people in the cause of Liberty," is now laid low, in death! On this, the natal morn of Freedom, on which Jefferson and Adams sank to rest, we mourn the death of Henry Clay! The Model of the noble race of American Statesmen is no more! The nation's gratitude, his tomb; the nation's wail, his requiem.
We honour, not only achievements, but the principles, which actuated those, by whom they were performed. This is the commemoration, of another triumph of the virtues, which have given such glory to our Revolution. The stern endurance, the invincible energy, the undaunted courage, which confront the obstacles, dare the dangers, and defy the foes, which beset their path, and press "right onward," until their object is secured. Virtues, which, in other times, combined in other men, successfully contended against all that oppression, violence, and tyranny could do; and which, now, united in one, have overcome the utmost efforts of ignorance, prejudice, and jealousy, to baffle and defeat them. We are standing on the battle-ground. And there, upon this river-side, on yonder gently rising hill, stands firm and sure, a bulwark of our Church and State, the trophy of the victory. And, in the midst of us, is he, upon whose brow the laurels rest; whom we are proud to call, our Father. My Father, on this, the birth-day of our College, it may be, with some around us, who regard, with scrutinizing and unfriendly gaze, every action here performed; and listen, with sharp and criticising ears, to every syllable we utter: but, certainly, with others, whose eyes beam on us with a sympathetic lustre, whose bosoms beat responsive to our own, we repeat an oft-told tale, when, with all the warmth and fervor of our hearts, we assure you, of our deep, unfaltering, devoted reverence and love. We have reaped the [6/7] benefits of all your labours and of all your sacrifices; and it would ill become us, to permit our voices, to be only silent now, while
"The clouds still lower about our house."
Nor are we your only witnesses. You, like the Roman veteran, may point to the scars upon your war-marked front; and bid them tell, in tones of far more significance and power, the story of your fidelity and wrongs. This is no mere empty show, no idle adulation. If there are any here, who impute these words, to motives which would make them unfit for us to utter, and for you to hear, though perfectly regardless of the obliquity, which can recognise flattery, in this simple expression of our attachment, we say to them, in the language of another of our little band--language, far more expressive, than any that I can command--”Let them wait, before they judge so harshly, until they see a single act in all our lives, to contradict what we have said. "Omnis virtutis laus, in actione consistit." The words of others may record their appreciation of you; it shall be ours, to live it, day by day. By every consideration, that can inspire love, and gratitude, and admiration,
“We are yours;
To serve you nobly, in the common cause,
True to the death."
May your prayer be granted, that, from this, our College, "there may go forth, in an increasing multitude, a line that shall be worthy of its lineage; a line of Christian freemen," who shall be foremost in the ranks of the defenders of our Country and our Faith. And may the earliest rays of the rising sun, draw from it, as from the fabled statue, on the old Egyptian shore, a strain of harmony; which, swelling louder and yet louder, shall peal its clarion notes, where the battle rages fiercest, breathing courage into the hearts of those who strive for Truth; and, to its foes, defiance.
So resplendent and enduring, will be the monument, which you have reared. Nor will this be the only memorial, that after ages [7/8] will retain, of you. Your name, when you have passed away, will be your proudest eulogy; and will live so long as piety and virtue are revered, on earth. Your memory will forever "smell sweet, and blossom, in the dust."
At a few minutes past 1, a very large concourse of friends and visitors, including the ladies of St. Mary's Hall, assembled in the College Study, which was appropriately decorated. We noticed upon the stage, besides the President and Faculty of the College, the Rev. Mr. Germain, Judge Carpenter, Messrs. John R. Thompson, J. J. Chetwood, G. S. Cannon, and Joel W. Condit, of the Trustees; Gr. H. Doane, M.D., and Messrs. Johnston, Mayers, and C. W. Smith, of the Alumni; the Rev. Dr. Coleman, Rev. Messrs. Odenheimer and Hopkins, and the Rev. Dr. Hawes, of Hartford, Conn., and the Rev. Mr. Ogden, of Mississippi, with other distinguished strangers. The Declaration of Independence was admirably read, by Mr. Klapp, of the Senior Class; and after the Bishop's Oration, "Influence, without Intervention; the duty of our Nation, to the World," John S. Littell, Esq., rose, and called Judge Carpenter to the Chair, and moved that a Committee be appointed, to ask, of the Bishop, a copy of his able and eloquent Oration, for publication. The motion was put and carried unanimously; and the Chair appointed Messrs. John S. Littell, John R. Thompson, and John J. Chetwood. Dr. E. Townsend moved that a Committee be appointed, to collect funds to defray the expenses of publication. The Chair appointed Dr. Townsend, Messrs. G. S. Cannon, C. W. Smith, A. B. and J. T. Morton. The company then repaired to the refectory; where an ample and handsome collation was prepared. And so ended a day of unmarred pleasure; enjoyed to its full extent, and in perfect moderation.
Nations are men, in masses. The same God made them, nations, that, first, made them, men. He "hath made, of one blood, all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth; and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation." They are, thus, moral aggregates; and held for moral obligations: the same, as nations, which they own, as men. Of the one, as of the other, it is true: "none of us liveth, to himself; and no man dieth, to himself." On one, as on the other, it is enjoined: "look not every man on his own things; but, every man, also, on the things of others." Of the one, as of the other, it holds good: "love worketh no ill to his neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law." By these, and such like, rules, a Christian nation, as a Christian man, is governed. Such fruits, as these, demonstrate Christian men, alike; and Christian nations. And, for nations, as for men, there is a rule of holy retribution: "therefore, I say unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation, bringing forth the fruits thereof."
These premises will quite suffice, for the conclusions, which I mean to draw. It follows, from them, that a nation owes a nation, as a man, to men, the impulses and efforts of a true benevolence. Not, in the interchange of commerce; not, in the negotiations of diplomacy; not, in the formalities of etiquette; are the mutual debts, which nations owe each other, to be discharged: but, in the aims and offices of an all-embracing, all-enduring, charity. The law of Christ, for nations, as for men, is still the same: "thou shalt love thy neighbour, as thyself." And, when the question rises, in the selfish, self-excusing, heart, “Who is my neighbour?"--the Lord Himself, in His own image, in the Good [9/10] Samaritan, supplies, at once, the answer, and the illustration, “Which now, of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him, that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus, unto him, Go, and do thou, likewise."
We are ready, now, to apply to our own case, the principles, thus, stated. We are a nation; a great and powerful nation; a free and happy nation. This is the six and seventieth anniversary of seventeen hundred and seventy-six. And, all the glorious hopes of the immortal band, who made this day, immortal, have been more than realized, in happiness and freedom. The handful, that, then, skirted the long sea-board of the wild Atlantic, are now, five and twenty millions; and join hands, from the Atlantic, to the broad Pacific. It is a simple fact, from which all boasting is excluded, since we owe whatever we possess to Him, to whom our fathers looked, that these United States, are, now, the equal of the chiefest of the nations of the world. England and France, and Russia, stand, on the same line. The rest, in various grades of obvious inferiority. In the respect of freedom, we surpass them all. Here, alone, in all the world, the problem is wrought out, of true and perfect freedom. No hereditary rank. No privileged class. No standing army. No public debt. The utmost scope to enterprize. The utmost enjoyment to possession. Competence, within the reach of all, who will. Distinction, free, to all, alike. No service, but of God. No submission, but to His law. No dependence, but on His will. "What nation is there, so great," we may say, with as much truth, as Moses said, “who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is, in all things, that we call upon Him for!" But, as truly, as we owe not these great blessings, to ourselves; so truly, for ourselves, we hold them not. We are the trustees, for the world, of equal laws and of free institutions. We owe, to all, who have them not, the benefits, which spring from them, alone, which they, alone, can keep; which, [10/11] without them, if they could be, were not worth having. The God, Who made, "of one blood, all the nations of men," and Who has, thus, made us, to differ, from all others, designs, by us, to spread them, through the world; and holds us answerable, for their unlimited diffusion. “We hold these truths to be self-evident."
And, now, the question rises, how shall this diffusion be accomplished? Shall it be, by the force of arms? Shall it be, by diplomatic art. Shall it be, by any of the forms of that, which is proverbially known, as "intervention"? I most distinctly answer, No! The right to intervene is but the right of the strong arm. It was the man, that intervened, between the lion and the horse. If one may claim the right, another may refuse. Then, it is the question of the strongest. Then, must come in the last resort. Then, is their hour, who make a solitude, and call it peace.
And, intervention is as inexpedient, as it is wrong. What is the intervention, that preserves the spheres, forever, in their starry tracks? The quiet, steady, constant, unperceived, and, therefore, unresisted, agency of gravitation. What is the intervention, between the ice-bound earth, when January piles its snows; and the broad Waving of the golden grain, that woos the wind, upon the slopes of twice ten thousand hills? The quiet, steady, constant, unperceived, and, therefore, unresisted, agency of all the skiey influences; the silent dew, the gracious rain, the whispering air, the genial sun. What is the intervention, between the infant of an hour, and the majestic man; the mill-boy of the Slashes, and our incomparable Clay? The quiet, steady, constant, unperceived, and, therefore, unresisted, agency of education; the father's toils, the father's training, the father's good example; the mother's tears, the mother's teaching, and the mother's prayers. Where, in God's world, does intervention come, directly, in, but, in the earthquake, that convulses hemispheres; or the tornado, that sweeps towers and temples, from their places; or the red bolt, that rives the oak, [11/12] that has been shelter, to a hundred generations! Where, in God's world, material, intellectual, moral, is any thing accomplished, for His glory, or the good of men, but in the agency of influence. The antediluvian forests, melted into coal. The old deposits of the flood, all mellowed, into marl. The gold, in grains, ripening, in darkness, at the mountain's foot, or in the river's bed. And, more than all, the wealth of mind, maturing, and aspiring and victorious, over every form and agency of matter: in cells, that do but glimmer, in the scant and straggling ray, that seems to wonder how it found an entrance; or, in the garret, where the chandler's boy devours the borrowed book, by the dim light of the secreted candle. And, so it is, with nations. To be helped, at all, they must, first, help themselves. They must atchieve the freedom, they would prize. They must earn the happiness, they would enjoy. They must struggle upward, to the light, that can illume the soul. How can another's toil give vigour to my muscles! How can the intellectual processes of Plato or of Pliny develope powers of thought, in me? How can another's suffering teach me patience? Or, another's triumphs, give me the victory of myself? It is the universal law of moral natures, that, in the use of God's endowments, they must make, or mar, themselves. “As a man thinketh, so he is". As a man will be, so he may be. And the nation, that would vindicate its freedom; the nation, that would rise to greatness; the nation, that would soar to glory; must bare its own broad breast; must nerve its own strong arm; must imp its own swift wing. Must come to be, what it, first, dared to be.
“Thy Spirit, Independence, let me share,
"Lord of the lion-heart and eagle eye:
"Thee let me follow, with ray bosom bare;
“Nor heed the storm, that howls along the sky."
The debt, which, as a nation, then, we owe, to nations, is not the debt of intervention; but, of influence. We have no right to intervene. We could not intervene, and keep our own impregnable equilibrium. We could do no good, [12/13] by intervention. Not, without reason, has Almighty God made us a nation, by ourselves; and given us a hemisphere, to fill. Not, without infinite wisdom, has it been given to us, to be "like a star, and dwell apart." The central sun, that holds the planets in their places, and drives them on in ever circling spheres, itself, is but a star, that dwells apart. Its very distance is its power. Its very separateness is its true sovereignty. And, so it is; precisely, so, with us. The figure is no stronger than the fact. As he has said, who was at once the bravest, wisest, greatest, man, “the very foremost man of all the world"--a curse must fall upon this land, when he, who was "first in peace"; and "first in war," ceases to be "first in the hearts of his countrymen"--as George Washington has said, "Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence, she must be engaged, in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign, to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities. Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us, to pursue a different course." "Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own, to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity, in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humour or caprice." These are immortal words. Immortal, as wisdom. Immortal, as freedom. Immortal, as truth. While they are clung to, with the other precious counsels of that inimitable paper, which is to us the Will and Testament of him, who was, indeed, the Father of his Country, the independence of this nation, will remain impregnable; and virtue will go out from it, to elevate and bless the races of mankind. And, never was I so proud of my own countrymen; never had I such confidence in the Republic; never [13/14] did I feel so strong a claim, on every patriot of America, to offer thanks and praises to Almighty God, as when, to all the blandishments of eloquence, and all the impulses of feeling, and all the promptings of ambition, this nation, through the great men, that conduct its counsels, first; and, then, by the full, free, fervent, undivided, suffrage of its myriads and millions, as with the beating of one mighty heart, refused to recognize the claim, for foreign intervention.
But, still, there is a debt from such a nation, as the Lord God has made us to be, to other nations, and to all mankind. A debt, that never can be paid. A debt, that grows with every instalment of its discharge. The debt of influence, as a free, intelligent, and Christian nation. The influence of our history; the influence of our institutions; the influence of our example.
I. The influence of History, is, indeed, a mighty and majestic influence. What power, in the mere names of Marathon, Thermopylae and Leuctra! What power, in the mere names of Cincinnatus, Tell and Bruce! And we have made our watchwords, for the world. We have our Bunker Hill, our Saratoga, our Trenton, and our Yorktown. We have our Putnam and our Hamilton; our Hull and our Decatur; our Taylor and our Clay; our Daniel Webster and our Win-field Scott. The History of our Revolution is unsurpassed, in glory. The toils, the trials, the sufferings, the tears, the blood, by which our independence was atchieved and settled, are far "beyond all Greek, all Roman fame." In every nation of the world, its date must find a place, next after that, which gave the Saviour, to mankind. And, the paper which has marked this day with glory, is to be the Magna Charta of the race. Upon us, it must devolve, that, as our history began, it shall go on. The wisdom, the moderation, the integrity, the devotion, the self-denial, the self-sacrifice, of seventeen hundred and seventy-six, have made the opening chapters of our history, as hard to emulate, as they are worthy of our emulation. The eyes of the whole world are [14/15] upon us. And we shall shame our sires, and dispossess our sons, if we permit one blot to fall upon the glorious page, that chronicles the wars, and brightens with the fame, of Washington.
II. Even more important, in discharging our great obligations, to mankind, is the influence of our Institutions. A wisdom, more than human, inspired the counsels of the Founders and Framers of our Government. The heavenly grace, which Franklin urged them to invoke, was freely poured upon their hearts. The Constitution of the United States, after a trial of almost seventy years; through all the vicissitudes of peace and war, of poverty and plenty, of prosperity and adversity; maintains its marvellous equipoise; expands, with the expansion of our country; strengthens, with the multiplication of our inhabitants; is equal to every emergency; is superior to every assault; spans our wide continent, as one triumphal arch, laved, at one base, by the Atlantic, and, by the Pacific, at the other; and sheds, on five and twenty millions of freemen, the light, the peace, the joy, the unity, the indivisibility, of perfect freedom. To our children, and our children's children, and their children's children, "an inheritance, for ever." To the nations of mankind, the bow, which God, Himself, has set, to span the sky; and tell them, that, for them, the days of tyranny are numbered; that, for them, the storm will shortly pass; that, for them, the light of freedom soon will spread upon the mountains; and their joy, as freemen, be, as theirs, who bring the harvest home.
"O thus be it ever" where "freemen shall stand,
“Between their loved home, and the war's desolation;
"Bless'd with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
"Praise the Power, that hath made and preserved," it "a nation.
“For conquer" they "must," when their cause shall be just,
“While this is their motto, 'In God is our trust';
"And the star-spangled banner, in triumph, shall wave,
“O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave."
III. And one more form of influence, there is, for which we [15/16] are all debtors, to mankind, the influence of our example. “A city, set upon a hill, cannot be hid." Men, that are walking in the clear, calm, cool, transparent, mountain light of freedom, must be content, to have their attitudes and actions scanned and scrutinized. The eyes of men are turned on us. Whether the nations, that are grinding in the prison house, or groping in the gloom, shall see the light, and win their freedom, rests with us. The Spartans made the Helots drunk, to warn their children, against drunkenness. And, if the pride of power, and plenty of prosperity, shall madden us, with their intoxication, we shall but brutalize ourselves, and fright the nations, by our fate. "He is the freeman, whom the truth makes free." And, only, "where the Spirit, of the Lord is," is true "liberty." Only, as we make the law of God our rule; conform our lives to the divine and perfect pattern of His Son; and sink our selfishness and self-sufficiency, in the desire to honor Him, by doing good to other men, shall we approve ourselves His freemen; perpetuate the freedom He has granted; and make the world in love with it, and sharers of its blessings.
Upon the young, who hear me, the reliance, chiefly, is, that these things may be so. To the annual streams, that are to go forth, from this living fountain, we commit a sacred trust. The College, where their youth is nurtured, blends the kindred waves of patriotism and piety. Founded upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, it combines the sacred interests of country and of Church. Next to the holy Festivals, which Christendom devotes, to the commemoration of the Christ, who made her Christendom, we cherish the birth day of our Independence, and the birth day of our Washington. Today, a noble name, among the few, that men have borne, worthy a place with his, lies, sadly, on our hearts. The venerable dust of Henry Clay has not yet reached its resting place, beneath the shades of Ashland. A nation's tears sadden, to-day, a nation's joy. A leaf of cypress mingles with the laurel wreath, to-day. The stars rise, clouded, to our [16/17] eye. And, with the stripes, funereal crape is blended. It is well, for us, that it should be so. “It is good," for nations, as it is for men, "to be afflicted." They learn, so, to "cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils." They are taught, so, that for nations, as for men, the only trust is, in the living God. They are admonished, so, that “men must die: principles never." The heroes of the Revolution are all gone. The giants of the next age are passing, from among us. The third act of the great drama of the nation hastens to its close. In the next, you that are gathered, here, must be among the actors. I would have you lay to heart the solemn and impressive thought. I would have you look, with reverent admiration, on the shadows, that are flitting, by you, to the grave. I would have you emulate their virtues, and realize their example. Imitate their manliness. Imitate their moderation. Imitate their patriotism. Swear, to day, to be true, as they were, to the Republic. Bless God, to-day, for the treasure of their service, and the inheritance of their example. Pray to God, to-day, that, in none of you, their fame may suffer loss; that, by each of you, according to his measure, the void, which they have left, may be filled up; that, through each of you, the light of Christian Freedom may pass on, undimmed. Noblest, among the torch-bearers of liberty, was he, who, to the services of fifty glorious years, added, as its becoming crown and consummation, his dying testimony, to the lesson, which his life exemplified, and which I have sought to teach, to day: that INFLUENCE, WITHOUT INTERVENTION, IS THE DUTY, OF OUR NATION, TO THE WORLD."
“Praise to the man! A nation stood,
"Beside his coffin, with wet eyes;
Her brave, her beautiful, her good,
“As when a loved one dies."
“And consecrated ground, it is;
"The last, the hallowed home, of one
“Who lives, upon our memories;
"Though, with the buried, gone."