Animated by Historic Recollections
Let the spirit be sound and true, and it will sooner or later find or make a remedy for defective institutions. But though the institutions should surpass, in theoretic beauty, the fabled perfection of Utopia or Atlantis, without a free spirit, the people will be slaves ; they will be slaves of the most despicable kind, — pretended freemen.
And how is the spirit of a people to be formed and animated and cheered, but out of the storehouse of its historic recollections? Are we to be eternally ringing the changes upon Marathon and Thermopylae; and going back to read in obscure texts of Greek and Latin of the great examplars of patriotic virtue? I thank God, that we can find them nearer home, in our own country, on our own soil; — that strains of the noblest sentiment, that ever swelled in the breast of man, are breathing to us out of every page of our country's history, in the native eloquence of our mother tongue; — that the colonial and the provincial councils of America, exhibit to us models of the spirit and character, which gave Greece and Rome their name and their praise among the nations. Here we ought to go for our instruction; — the lesson is plain, it is clear, it is applicable. When we go to ancient history, we are bewildered with the difference of manners and institutions.
— Edward Everett (born April 11, 1794)
|Edward Everett (1794-1865)|