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Title: Oration: The American Mind
Author: Lyons, Charles W.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: C. W. Lyons S. J.]



  ORATION

  THE AMERICAN MIND

  BY

  REV. CHARLES W. LYONS, S. J.

  DELIVERED BEFORE THE CITY GOVERNMENT AND CITIZENS OF BOSTON
  IN FANEUIL HALL, ON THE ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-SEVENTH
  ANNIVERSARY OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
  OF THESE UNITED STATES, JULY 4, 1923

  [Illustration]

  CITY OF BOSTON
  PRINTING DEPARTMENT
  1923



THE AMERICAN MIND.

FOURTH OF JULY ORATION, 1923.

BY REV. CHARLES W. LYONS, S. J.


In the evolution of any life, whether it be that of an individual or
of that corporate moral union we know as society, there are times
when it seems fitting and proper to pause from the whirl of incessant
activities, turn aside from accustomed line of thought, and let the
mind run sweetly and lovingly over a treasured past.

And today our beloved country, in the fulness of her achievement, with
the memories of one hundred and forty-seven years, one hundred and
forty-seven golden years, lived only that her children might grow,
as from eternity the Creator had destined them to grow, in the full
security of rights that are inalienable.

Today our beloved country turns to us children of a later generation
and pleads that we follow this generous impulse of nature, and tarry
for the moment, while she lives over again the thoughts and emotions
and heroic sacrifices that gave her birth.

They were not new thoughts or unknown emotions. As John Quincy Adams
so well remarked in his scholarly discourse on the Jubilee of the
Constitution: “The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of
the United States are parts of one constant whole, founded upon one
and the same theory of government, then new not as a theory, for it
had been working itself into the mind of man for many ages, but it had
never before been adopted by a great nation.”

Moses, as narrated in Deuteronomy, had charged the judges in Israel:
“There shall be no difference of persons; you shall hear the little as
well as the great; neither shall you respect any man’s person, because
it is the judgment of God.”

Aristotle had taught that, “the State is not merely an institution for
repressing vice, but a necessary formation for the full development of
humanity.”

In the Magna Charter the germ of true liberty and equality is seen in
the pledges of the king to his people: “We will not set forth against
any freeman, nor send against him, unless by the lawful judgment of his
peers and by the law of the land; to no one will we sell, to no one
will we refuse or delay right or justice.”

The mediæval councils, the military orders, the guilds, followed
centuries after by the contract of the Pilgrim Fathers made in the
cabin of the “Mayflower” in which they “covenanted and combined
themselves into a civil body politic for their better order and
preservation,” as well as the charters of the Providence Plantations,
of Virginia, and of Maryland, had accustomed the people to joint action
of mutual compact and deliberate agreement in defense of liberty and
justice which, after all, is the mother of democracy.

While the schoolmen, with scarcely an exception, as Sidwick tells us,
taught that, “governments derive their just powers from the consent of
the governed.”

“Every constitution,” says Nicholas of Cusa, three and a half centuries
before the Declaration of Independence, “is rooted in natural law and
cannot be valid if it contradicts it.”

“Since all are free by nature,” he continues, “all government, whether
by written law or a prince, is based solely on the agreement and
consent of the subject. For if by nature men are equally powerful and
free, true and ordered power in the hands of one can be established
only by the election and consent of the others, just as law also is
established by consent.”

“It is clear, therefore,” he adds, “that the binding validity of all
constitutions is based on tacit and expressed agreement and consent.”

And although Elizabeth had asserted in 1585 that “kings and princes
sovereign owe their homage and service only to Almighty God,” and James
defended the Divine Right of Kings, and the University of Cambridge,
in its address to Charles II, had declared that they believed and
maintained that “our kings derive not their title from the people
but from God,” “Defenders of Liberty” were not wanting, Bellarmine
declaring boldly, as Sir Robert Filmer tells us, that “secular or civil
power is instituted by men; it is in the people unless they bestow it
on a prince. This power is immediately in the whole multitude as in
the subject of it. For this power is in the Divine Law, but the Divine
Law hath given this power to no particular men; if the positive law be
taken away, there is left no reason why amongst a multitude (who are
equal) one rather than another should bear rule over the rest. Power is
given by the multitude to one man or to more by the same law of nature;
for the commonwealth cannot exercise this power, therefore it is bound
to bestow it upon some one man or some few. It depends upon the consent
of the multitude to ordain over themselves a king or consul or other
magistrates. And if there be a lawful cause, the multitude may change
the kingdom into an aristocracy or democracy.”

These thoughts and emotions, expressed and re-expressed by the writers,
philosophers and political leaders of their day, had seeped down
through the ages unactuated, mere themes for academic speculation,
until they filtered into the minds and souls of those simple, yet truly
great men, who, in signing the Declaration of Independence, gave birth
to the nation we so rightfully cherish and so lovingly serve.

In a letter to his friend Henry Lee, dated May 8, 1825, Jefferson, as
if in confirmation of what we have just held, notes that the object of
the Declaration of Independence was “not to find out new principles,
or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things
which had never before been said; but to place before mankind the
common sense of the subject in terms so plain and firm as to command
their assent and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we
are compelled to take. Neither aiming at originality of principle or
sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular or previous writing, it
was intended to be an expression of the _American mind_, and to give to
that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion.
All its authority rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day,
whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or in
the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke,
Sidney, etc.”

What, then, was this American mind, that, amid problems vexed and
theories varied, had sifted the wisdom and folly of the past,
discerning the true from the false, the good from the evil, and “of
which,” Jefferson was pleased to say, “the Declaration of Independence
was intended to be an expression?” And what, again, was “the proper
tone and spirit called for by the occasion” that the Declaration of
Independence was to give to this expression of the American mind?

If we look more closely at the type of men whose united action founded
our nation the answer to this question will not be far to seek. They,
like many of us here today, were either immigrants or the immediate
descendants of immigrants. They differed in origin, in education,
in race, and in creed. They had the traditions, the affections, the
prejudices of their times and of their peoples. Yet in common they
had left home and country, led on by a vision or an ideal that made a
fitting basis for the union that was to come. They would break away
from an effete civilization; they would start life anew, freed from the
tyranny of unjust laws; they would enjoy liberty to worship their God
according to the dictates of their own conscience; they would exercise,
without unwarranted interference, their natural and inalienable right
to the pursuit of happiness.

Crossing, as they did, the same unknown seas, buffeted by the
same winds and waves, coming to the same uncultivated, though not
inhospitable shores, their difficulties, their interests, their common
foe, drew them together in mutual helpfulness, in united enterprise,
and in common defense.

Thus they came to know one another; thus they learned to bear with
one another; thus they grew to love one another; and understanding,
and tolerance, and brotherly love developed the American mind. So
that, when the occasion arose, in proper tone and spirit, it expressed
itself in the immortal Declaration of Independence that solved the
speculative problems of the past, secured full enjoyment of liberty for
its people, and gave hope and inspiration to all mankind and for all
time.

And shall we mar the beauty of her gift? Shall we, forgetting our
common interests, our common enterprises, our common foes, destroy the
unity of purpose and of action that is essential for individual and
national prosperity? Shall we, by misunderstanding, by intolerance
and hatred, sully the luster of our heritage, breaking the bondage of
brotherhood?

Ours is a most responsible trust. We must hand it down to posterity
sacred and intact. Capital must make truce with labor; labor must make
pact with capital; each must measure even in the scales of justice. The
rights--inalienable rights--of man to life, liberty and the pursuit
of happiness, must not be infringed. The rights--natural and civic
rights--of property must not be denied. Class prejudices, racial pride,
assumed superiority, must be dislodged from the minds of men, that
justice may function and equality and the dignity of human nature be
sustained.

The home must be safeguarded, and its sanctity preserved, that our
children be protected and grow--as nature destined them to grow--in
wisdom and grace before God and man.

The school--the private and the public school--free as speech and the
press are free--must be encouraged that our citizens may understand
the Constitution and our laws, and in the full development of their
intellectual faculties realize the burdens as well as the privileges of
representative government.

The church, the House of God, must have its place of respect, that our
children may continue moral and grow in reverence for authority and for
the divine and human law.

As Hamilton wrote to Washington, on the occasion of his farewell
address: “In all those dispositions which promote political happiness,
religion and morality are essential props.”

This, I take it, is the message our beloved country would send to us
today. That we be men of _American mind_, the mind that expressed
itself in the Declaration of Independence, the mind that was born of
understanding, tolerance, and brotherly love, the mind that didn’t
hesitate to say, in the closing words of the great document that gave
to us our nation, “For the support of this declaration, with a firm
reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to
each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”



  A LIST
  OF
  BOSTON MUNICIPAL ORATORS.

  BY C. W. ERNST.



BOSTON ORATORS

APPOINTED BY THE MUNICIPAL AUTHORITIES.


_For the Anniversary of the Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770._

  NOTE.--The Fifth of March orations were published in handsome quarto
  editions, now very scarce; also collected in book form in 1785 and
  again in 1807. The oration of 1776 was delivered in Watertown.

  1771.--LOVELL, JAMES.

  1772.--WARREN, JOSEPH.[2]

  1773.--CHURCH, BENJAMIN.[B]

  1774.--HANCOCK, JOHN.[A][2]

  1775.--WARREN, JOSEPH.

  1776.--THACHER, PETER.

  1777.--HICHBORN, BENJAMIN.

  1778.--AUSTIN, JONATHAN WILLIAMS.

  1779.--TUDOR, WILLIAM.

  1780.--MASON, JONATHAN, JUN.

  1781.--DAWES, THOMAS, JUN.

  1782.--MINOT, GEORGE RICHARDS.

  1783.--WELSH, THOMAS.


_For the Anniversary of National Independence, July 4, 1776._

  NOTE.--A collected edition, or a full collection, of these orations
  has not been made. For the names of the orators, as officially
  printed on the title pages of the orations, see the Municipal
  Register of 1890.

  1783.--WARREN, JOHN.[1]

  1784.--HICHBORN, BENJAMIN.

  1785.--GARDNER, JOHN.

  1786.--AUSTIN, JONATHAN LORING.

  1787.--DAWES, THOMAS, JUN.

  1788.--OTIS, HARRISON GRAY.

  1789.--STILLMAN, SAMUEL.

  1790.--GRAY, EDWARD.

  1791.--CRAFTS, THOMAS, JUN.

  1792.--BLAKE, JOSEPH, JUN.[2]

  1793.--ADAMS, JOHN QUINCY.[2]

  1794.--PHILLIPS, JOHN.

  1795.--BLAKE, GEORGE.

  1796.--LATHROP, JOHN, JUN.

  1797.--CALLENDER, JOHN.

  1798.--QUINCY, JOSIAH.[2][3]

  1799.--LOWELL, JOHN, JUN.[2]

  1800.--HALL, JOSEPH.

  1801.--PAINE, CHARLES.

  1802.--EMERSON, WILLIAM.

  1803.--SULLIVAN, WILLIAM.

  1804.--DANFORTH, THOMAS.[2]

  1805.--DUTTON, WARREN.

  1806.--CHANNING, FRANCIS DANA.[4]

  1807.--THACHER, PETER.[2][5]

  1808.--RITCHIE, ANDREW, JUN.[2]

  1809.--TUDOR, WILLIAM, JUN.[2]

  1810.--TOWNSEND, ALEXANDER.

  1811.--SAVAGE, JAMES.[2]

  1812.--POLLARD, BENJAMIN.[4]

  1813.--LIVERMORE, EDWARD ST. LOE.

  1814.--WHITWELL, BENJAMIN.

  1815.--SHAW, LEMUEL.

  1816.--SULLIVAN, GEORGE.[2]

  1817.--CHANNING, EDWARD TYRREL.

  1818.--GRAY, FRANCIS CALLEY.

  1819.--DEXTER, FRANKLIN.

  1820.--LYMAN, THEODORE, JUN.

  1821.--LORING, CHARLES GREELY.[2]

  1822.--GRAY, JOHN CHIPMAN.

  1823.--CURTIS, CHARLES PELHAM.[2]

  1824.--BASSETT, FRANCIS.

  1825.--SPRAGUE, CHARLES.[6]

  1826.--QUINCY, JOSIAH.[7]

  1827.--MASON, WILLIAM POWELL.

  1828.--SUMNER, BRADFORD.

  1829.--AUSTIN, JAMES TRECOTHICK.

  1830.--EVERETT, ALEXANDER HILL.

  1831.--PALFREY, JOHN GORHAM.

  1832.--QUINCY, JOSIAH, JUN.

  1833.--PRESCOTT, EDWARD GOLDSBOROUGH.

  1834.--FAY, RICHARD SULLIVAN.

  1835.--HILLARD, GEORGE STILLMAN.

  1836.--KINSMAN, HENRY WILLIS.

  1837.--CHAPMAN, JONATHAN.

  1838.--WINSLOW, HUBBARD. “The Means of the Perpetuity and Prosperity
           of our Republic.”

  1839.--AUSTIN, IVERS JAMES.

  1840.--POWER, THOMAS.

  1841.--CURTIS, GEORGE TICKNOR.[8] “The True Uses of American
           Revolutionary History.”

  1842.--MANN, HORACE.[9]

  1843.--ADAMS, CHARLES FRANCIS.

  1844.--CHANDLER, PELEG WHITMAN. “The Morals of Freedom.”

  1845.--SUMNER, CHARLES.[10] “The True Grandeur of Nations.”

  1846.--WEBSTER, FLETCHER.

  1847.--GARY, THOMAS GREAVES.

  1848.--GILES, JOEL. “Practical Liberty.”

  1849.--GREENOUGH, WILLIAM WHITWELL. “The Conquering Republic.”

  1850.--WHIPPLE, EDWIN PERCY.[11] “Washington and the Principles of
           the Revolution.”

  1851.--RUSSELL, CHARLES THEODORE.

  1852.--KING, THOMAS STARR. “The Organization of Liberty on the
           Western Continent.”[12]

  1853.--BIGELOW, TIMOTHY.[13]

  1854.--STONE, ANDREW LEETE.[2] “The Struggles of American History.”

  1855.--MINER, ALONZO AMES.

  1856.--PARKER, EDWARD GRIFFIN. “The Lesson of ’76 to the Men of ’56.”

  1857.--ALGER, WILLIAM ROUNSEVILLE.[14] “The Genius and Posture of
           America.”

  1858.--HOLMES, JOHN SOMERS.[2]

  1859.--SUMNER, GEORGE.[4][15]

  1860.--EVERETT, EDWARD.

  1861.--PARSONS, THEOPHILUS.

  1862.--CURTIS, THOMAS TICKNOR.[8]

  1863.--HOLMES, OLIVER WENDELL.[16]

  1864.--RUSSELL, THOMAS.

  1865.--MANNING, JACOB MERRILL. “Peace under Liberty.”[2]

  1866.--LOTHROP, SAMUEL KIRKLAND.

  1867.--HEPWORTH, GEORGE HUGHES.

  1868.--ELIOT, SAMUEL. “The Functions of a City.”

  1869.--MORTON, ELLIS WESLEY.

  1870.--EVERETT, WILLIAM.

  1871.--SARGENT, HORACE BINNEY.

  1872.--ADAMS, CHARLES FRANCIS, JUN.

  1873.--WARE, JOHN FOTHERGILL WATERHOUSE.

  1874.--FROTHINGHAM, RICHARD.

  1875.--CLARKE, JAMES FREEMAN. “Worth of Republican Institutions.”

  1876.--WINTHROP, ROBERT CHARLES.[17]

  1877.--WARREN, WILLIAM WIRT.

  1878.--HEALY, JOSEPH.

  1879.--LODGE, HENRY CABOT.

  1880.--SMITH, ROBERT DICKSON.[18]

  1881.--WARREN, GEORGE WASHINGTON. “Our Republic--Liberty and Equality
           Founded on Law.”

  1882.--LONG, JOHN DAVIS.

  1883.--CARPENTER, HENRY BERNARD. “American Character and Influence.”

  1884.--SHEPARD, HARVEY NEWTON.

  1885.--GARGAN, THOMAS JOHN.

  1886.--WILLIAMS, GEORGE FREDERICK.

  1887.--FITZGERALD, JOHN EDWARD.

  1888.--DILLAWAY, WILLIAM EDWARD LOVELL.

  1889.--SWIFT, JOHN LINDSAY.[19] “The American Citizen.”

  1890.--PILLSBURY, ALBERT ENOCH. “Public Spirit.”

  1891.--QUINCY, JOSIAH.[20] “The Coming Peace.”

  1892.--MURPHY, JOHN ROBERT.

  1893.--PUTNAM, HENRY WARE. “The Mission of Our People.”

  1894.--O’NEIL, JOSEPH HENRY.

  1895.--BERLE, ADOLPH AUGUSTUS. “The Constitution and the Citizens.”

  1896.--FITZGERALD, JOHN FRANCIS.

  1897.--HALE, EDWARD EVERETT. “The Contribution of Boston to American
           Independence.”

  1898.--O’CALLAGHAN, REV. DENIS.

  1899.--MATTHEWS, NATHAN, JR. “Be Not Afraid of Greatness.”

  1900.--O’MEARA, STEPHEN. “Progress Through Conflict.”

  1901.--GUILD, CURTIS, JR. “Supremacy and its Conditions.”

  1902.--CONRY, JOSEPH A.

  1903.--MEAD, EDWIN D. “The Principles of the Founders.”

  1904.--SULLIVAN, JOHN A. “Boston’s Past and Present. What Will Its
           Future Be?”

  1905.--COLT, LE BARON BRADFORD. “America’s Solution of the Problem of
           Government.”

  1906.--COAKLEY, TIMOTHY WILFRED. “The American Race: Its Origin, the
           Fusion of Peoples; Its Aim, Fraternity.”

  1907.--HORTON, REV. EDWARD A. “Patriotism and the Republic.”

  1908.--HILL, ARTHUR DEHON. “The Revolution and a Problem of the
           Present.”

  1909.--SPRING, ARTHUR LANGDON. “The Growth of Patriotism.”

  1910.--WOLFF, JAMES HARRIS. “The Building of the Republic.”

  1911.--ELIOT, CHARLES W. “The Independence of 1776 and the Dependence
           of 1911.”

  1912.--PELLETIER, JOSEPH C. “Respect for the Law.”

  1913.--MACFARLAND, GRENVILLE S. “A New Declaration of Independence.”

  1914.--SUPPLE, REV. JAMES A. “Religion: The Hope of the Nation.”

  1915.--BRANDEIS, LOUIS D. “True Americanism.”

  1916.--CHAPPLE, JOE MITCHELL. “The New Americanism.”

  1917.--GALLAGHER, DANIEL J. “Americans Welded by War.”

  1918.--FAUNCE, WILLIAM H. P. “The New Meaning of Independence Day.”

  1919.--DECOURCY, CHARLES A. “Real and Ideal American Democracy.”

  1920.--WISEMAN, JACOB L. “America and its Vital Problem.”

  1921.--MURLIN, DR. L. H. “Our Great American.”

  1922.--BURKE, DR. JEREMIAH E. “Democracy and Education.”

  1923.--LYONS, REV. CHARLES W., S. J. “The American Mind.”



FOOTNOTES:


[A] Reprinted in Newport, R. I., 1774, 8vo., 19 pp.

[B] A third edition was published in 1773.

[1] Reprinted in Warren’s Life. The orations of 1783 to 1786 were
published in large quarto; the oration of 1787 appeared in octavo; the
oration of 1788 was printed in small quarto; all succeeding orations
appeared in octavo, with the exceptions stated under 1863 and 1876.

[2] Passed to a second edition.

[3] Delivered another oration in 1826. Quincy’s oration of 1798 was
reprinted, also, in Philadelphia.

[4] Not printed.

[5] On February 26, 1811, Peter Thacher’s name was changed to Peter
Oxenbridge Thacher. (List of Persons whose Names have been Changed in
Massachusetts, 1780-1892, p. 21.)

[6] Six editions up to 1831. Reprinted also in his Life and Letters.

[7] Reprinted in his Municipal History of Boston. See 1798.

[8] Delivered another oration in 1862.

[9] There are five or more editions; only one by the City.

[10] Passed through three editions in Boston and one in London, and was
answered in a pamphlet, Remarks upon an Oration delivered by Charles
Sumner.... July 4th, 1845. By a Citizen of Boston. See Memoir and
Letters of Charles Sumner, by Edward L. Pierce, vol. ii. 337-384.

[11] There is a second edition. (Boston: Ticknor, Reed & Fields. 1850.
49 pp. 12^o.)

[12] First published by the City in 1892.

[13] This and a number of the succeeding orations, up to 1861, contain
the speeches, toasts etc., of the City dinner usually given in Faneuil
Hall on the Fourth of July.

[14] Probably four editions were printed in 1857. (Boston: Office
Boston Daily Bee 60 pp.) Not until November 22, 1864, was Mr. Alger
asked by the City to furnish a copy for publication. He granted the
request, and the first official edition (J. E. Farwell & Co., 1864, 53
pp.) was then issued. It lacks the interesting preface and appendix of
the early editions.

[15] There is another edition. (Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1859, 69 pp.)
A third (Boston: Rockwell & Churchill, 1882, 46 pp.) omits the dinner
at Faneuil Hall, the correspondence and events of the celebration.

[16] There is a preliminary edition of twelve copies. (J. E. Farwell &
Co., 1863. (7), 71 pp.) It is “the first draft of the author’s address,
turned into larger, legible type, for the sole purpose of rendering
easier its public delivery.” It was done by “the liberality of the
City Authorities,” and is, typographically, the handsomest of these
orations. This resulted in the large-paper 75-page edition, printed
from the same type as the 71-page edition, but modified by the author.
It is printed “by order of the Common Council.” The regular edition is
in 60 pp., octavo size.

[17] There is a large paper edition of fifty copies printed from this
type, and also an edition from the press of John Wilson & Son, 1876. 55
pp. 8^o.

[18] On Samuel Adams, a statue of whom, by Miss Anne Whitney, had just
been completed for the City. A photograph of the statue is added.

[19] Contains a bibliography of Boston Fourth of July orations, from
1783 to 1889, inclusive, compiled by Lindsay Swift, of the Boston
Public Library.

[20] Reprinted by the American Peace Society.



TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES:


  Italicized text is surrounded by underscores: _italics_.

  Superscripted characters are preceded by a carat character: 12^o.

  Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  Irregularities with the footnote numbering have been corrected.





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