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Copyright, 1892,

All rights reserved.

The River fide Press, Cambridge, Mass., U, S. A.
Electrotyped aiid Printed by H. 0. Houghton & Ca

From many words which passed with the
hour of speech, I save these few, because I am
glad to have spoken them, and because there are
friends of mine who are kind enough to wish
to keep them. For myself, I take the pleasure
of inscribing them to my friend Theodore Roose-
velt, in token of personal affection, and of ad-
miration for his work as a historian and for his
services as a public rnan.



The Independent Spirit of the Puritans 1

December 22, 1884.

The Uses and Responsibilities of Leisure 11

March 23, 1886.
The Blue and the Gray 25

June 17, 1887.
The Puritans 31

December 22, 1887.

Harvard College in Politics 37

November 22, 1888.

The Day we Celebrate 41

December 21, 1888.

International Copyright 49

May 2, 1890.

The Civilization op the Public School. A Reply . . 57
January 13, 1890.

Massachusetts 66

October 23, 1891.




DECEMBER 22, 1884.


It is no slight trial for a Massachusetts man, especially
for one of the younger generation, to be called upon to
speak in this presence, where Choate and Webster spoke
in bygone days and where the melodious echoes of their
eloquence ever seem to linger. The shy and retiring dis-
position so characteristic of the sons of New England,
and which so often hinders their worldly success, becomes
at such a moment really oppressive. I can only escape
from it by reflecting that this is one of the rare occasions
when it is fair that we should all throw aside the native
modesty of our race and utter boldly the favorable opin-
ions which we really entertain in regard to the Puritans
and their descendants.

For more than three quarters of a century your so-
ciety has gathered here in the metropolis of the nation to
commemorate the founding of that little group of common-
wealths known as New England. The best thing we can
say of that event is that it is one of the great facts in
himian progress which really deserves to be freshly remem-
bered. We are honestly and frankly proud to be the de-
scendants of men who placed upon the roadside of history
such a milestone as Plymouth Rock. Yet behind this
pride there is a gentler but even stronger feeling, gentler


because it springs from love of home, stronger because its
roots are entwined among our heart-strings. -^

The lands to which Nature has been most prodigal are
by no means those which are dearest to their children.
New England has a harsh climate, a barren soil, a rough
and stormy coast, and yet we love it, even with a love
passing that of dwellers in more favored regions. Na-
ture, niggard in material gifts, has yet been gracious
there in all that appeals to the eye or touches the heart,
and we love the Pui'itan land for moimtain and river, for
hillside and valley, for rugged cliffs and high sand-dunes,
with the measureless sea ever murmuring beneath. Be-
yond all and above all, we love New England for what is
there enshrined : the graves of her honored dead ; the
hallowed spots where great deeds were wi-ought ; the mem-
ories of the men who gave their labors and their lives to
the service of their country and mankind.

The independent spirit of New England ! That was
a chief quality of the Puritans, and the day we cele-
brate marks the opening of the long struggle of our
people for independence of foreign control and foreign
influence. The beginning was made in a period of intense
religious ferment, and bore the scars of the time. Pilgi'im
and Puritan alike sought freedom to worship God, but it
was freedom for themselves that they might worship God
in their own fashion, in this new world, and not at all
freedom of worship for any one who chanced that way
with different opinions as to creeds and tenets. Indepen-
dence, unfortunately, is not always sjoionymous with a
generous breadth and just liberality of opinion ; at least
it was not in the seventeenth century. The Puritan set
up his independent church, and then made every one come
into it on pain of death or banishment, — punishments


which he inflicted upon all recalcitrants with characteristic
vigor and promptness. Yet whatever we may think of his
methods, he achieved his religious independence, and his
church was his own, and not that of some one else across
the water.

That same Puritan spirit of hostility to foreign control
and foreiofu influence has traveled far and fast since then.
Its path has lain across the battlefields of the Revolution
and over the bloody decks of fighting frigates in the war
of 1812, but its mission and its work have ever been the
same. The last vestiges of foreign influence upon our
habits of thought seemed to vanish in the battle smoke of
the civil war, which destroyed our previous morbid sensi-
bility to foreign opinion, and left us

" Self-school'd, self-scanu'd, self-honored, self-secure."

Yet although much was then accomplished, all was not
done. The imitative colonial propensity of mind still
dwells with us. There is still work for the Puritan spirit
which would go its own way and think its own thoughts.
It is not altogether our own church, even now in the
world of ideas ; in art, and literature, and among certain
elements of our society. Who, for instance, has not heard
the profound saying that in this country nature does not
lend itseK to art ? Have we not, then, the glories of
morning and of evening, the mists of dawn, the radiance
of midday, "the lightning of the noontide ocean," the
infinite beauties of sea and sky, of river and mountain ?
When nature does not lend itself to art it is because there
is no art able to borrow. Let the right men come in the
right spirit and they will have no trouble with nature.

Thanks to the ever-increasing number of goodly work-
ers, the spirit of dependence on foreign ideas is fast dis-


appearing from our literature. Yet I took up an Anglo-
American or " International " volume the other day, and
the burden of the first few pages seemed to be that one
could not sketch Fifty-third Street. That is, indeed, a
most appalling thought. But, after all, who wants to
sketch Fifty-third Street ? We know it is not as pic-
turesque as the Grand Canal of Venice, and we also
know that these things are but trappings in literature.
The conditions of French or English life are not oui'S,
and are false for us. Our literature must accept, and is
accepting in the right spirit, our own conditions, and it will
find, as indeed it has found, the best inspiration at the
true source, ever old and ever new, — the wellspring of
human passion and human emotion, as full of life here
to-day as when Homer sang of Helen's beauty and Achil-
les' wrath.

Most of all, however, do we need the Puritan spirit in
certain elements of our society. The number of men to
whom inherited fortune brings education and command of
time without effort on their part is ever increasing. Do
they avail themselves fully of their opportunities, or are
they too apt to pass their days in a vain search for distrac-
tions and a mournful regret that this country is not some
other country ? I am happy to believe that this is the very
worst comitry in the world for an idler. But to the man
with health, wealth, education, and unlimited command of
time, — in other words, to the man who owes most to his
coimtry, — here are better opportunities and higher duties
than anywhere else. I am not going to make the familiar
plea that young men of education and wealth ought to
perform their obvious duties as citizens. There has been
plenty of sound argument and good advice offered on
that score, and the proposition is well understood.


But this is not all. In this question lie deeper mean-
ings. There is a veiy real danger that the growth of
wealth here may end by producing a class grounded on
mere money, 'and thence class feeling, a thing noxious,
deadly, and utterly wrong in this country. It lies with
the men of whom I have spoken to strangle this serpent
at its birth. They cannot do this, however, unless they
are in full sympathy with the American people and with
American ideas ; and to this sympathy they can never
come by living in Europe, by mimicking foreign habits,
by haunting well-appointed clubs, or by studying our pub-
lic affairs in the columns of a Saturday Review, home-
made or imported. They must go to work. Philanthropy
and public affairs need such men, because they can give
what others cannot spare — time and money. There is a
great field in politics. Before they enter in, let them
take to themselves not only the high and seK-respecting
spirit of the Puritan, but also his fighting qualities, his
dogged persistence, and another attribute for which he
was not so conspicuous, — plenty of good nature. They
will need all these weapons, for it is no primrose path.
They must be prepared to meet not only the usual abuse,
but also much and serious prejudice. They must not
mind defeats and hard work. If their conception of duty
differs from that of their accustomed friends and allies,
they must not be surprised if some of those very friends
mete out to them the harshest measure and deal them the
sharpest blows.

Yet if they hold fast to two principles, — I care not
under what party banner they serve, — if they will fear-
lessly do what in their otvti eyes and before their own con-
science is right and brave and honorable, if, like the Puri-
tans, they will do the work which comes to their hands


with all their might, they will win the best success. They
will win the regard and confidence of large bodies of their
feUow-citizens, of those men by whose strong hands and
active brains the republic is ever being raised higher, and
this regard and confidence are the best and most valuable
possessions that any American can ever hope to have.
Let such men, then, go into politics, because they can
give their time and energy to it, because they can do work
worth doing, and, above all, because they wiU thus be-
come truer and better Americans.

I believe, Mr. President, that I am coming very close to
what is called "Americanism," but of "Americanism" of
the right sort we cannot have too much. Mere vaporing
and boasting become a nation as little as a man. But
honest, outspoken pride and faith in our country are
infinitely better and more to be respected than the cidti-
vated reserve which sets it down as ill-bred and in bad
taste ever to refer to our country except by way of depre-
ciation, criticism, or general negation. The Puritans did
great work in the world because they believed most fer-
vently in their cause, their coimtry, and themselves. It is
the same to-day. Without belief of this sort nothing
worth doing is ever done.

We have a right to be proud of our vast material suc-
cess, our national power and dignity, our advancing civi-
lization, carrying freedom and education in its train. Most
of all may we be proud of the magnanimity displayed by
the American people at the close of the civil war, a
noble generosity miparalleled in the history of nations.
But to count our wealth and tell our numbers and re-
hearse oiu* great deeds simply to boast of them is useless
enough. We have a right to do it only when we listen to
the solemn undertone which brings the message of great


responsibilities, — responsibilities far greater than the ordi-
nary political and financial issues which are sure to find,
sooner or later, a right settlement. Social questions are
the questions of the present and the future for the Amer-
ican people. The race for wealth has opened a broad gap
between rich and poor. There are thousands at your
gates toiling from sunrise to sunset to keep body and soul
together, and the struggle is a hard and bitter one. The
idle, the worthless, and the criminal form but a small
element of the community ; but there is a vast body of
honest. God-fearing working men and women whose yoke
is not easy and whose burden is far from light.

The destiny of the republic is in the welfare of its
working men and women. We cannot push their troubles
and cares into the background, and trust that all will
come right in the end. Let us look to it that differences
and inequalities of condition do not widen into ruin. It
is most true that these differences cannot be rooted out,
but they can be modified, and a great deal can be done
to secure to every man the share of well-being and happi-
ness to which his honesty, thrift, and ability entitle him.
Legislation cannot change humanity nor alter the decrees
of nature, but it can help the solution of these grave

Practical measures are plentiful enough : the hours of
labor; emigration from oiu' over-crowded cities to the
lands of the West ; economical and energetic municipal
governments ; proper building laws ; the rigid prevention
of adulteration in the gTeat staples of food ; wise regula-
tion of the railroads and other great corporations ; the extir-
pation of race and class in politics ; above all, every effort
to secure to labor its fair and full share of the profits
earned by the combination of labor and capital. Here


are matters of great pith and moment, more important,
more essential, more pressing, than any others. They
must be met ; they cannot be shirked or evaded.

The past is across the water ; the future is here in oiu*
keepino-. We can do all that can be done to solve the
social problems and fvJfill the hopes of mankind. Failure
would be a disaster unequaled in history. The first step
to success is pride of country, simple, honest, frank, and
ever present, and this is the Americanism that I would
have. If we have this pride and faith we shall appreci-
ate our mighty responsibilities. Then if we live up to
them we shall keep the words "an American citizen"
what they now are, — the noblest title any man can bear.


MARCH 23, 1886.


I REMEMBEE hearing Mr. Lowell say in his most charm-
ing way, some years since, of his friend Edmund Quincy,
that "early in life Mr. Quincy devoted himself to the
arduous profession of gentleman, and certainly in the
practice of it he achieved as great success as is possible
in a country where we have business in the blood, and
where leisure is looked down upon as the larceny of time
that belongs to other people." The theory of life in vogue
in the United States, and especially in New England, when
Mr. Quincy was yoimg, and, indeed, until within a few
years, was in some ways a very peculiar one. It was
firmly believed that any young man who did not have
some regular occupation involving money - getting was
doomed to perdition. Literature was barely tolerated ;
the learned professions, of course, passed muster ; but busi-
ness was much preferred. Any one who did not conform
his life to the habits of a trading community was assumed
to be totally idle, and in consequence thereof to be draw-
ing his amusement from the source pointed out by Dr.
Watts. What a fine refutation to this doctrine is the
life of Mr. Quincy himself ! A gracefiU writer of some
very charming stories with the perfume of the eighteenth
century sweet upon them, the author of one of the very
best of American biographies, he holds a secure and hon-


orable place in oiu- literature. An early Abolitionist, he
put his name, his talents, and his character at the ser-
vice of a despised cause, and never in the hour of its tri-
umph asked or wished reward. By his brilliant corre-
spondence in the New York " Tribune," covering many
years, and by his witty and effective speech, he helped to
fio-ht the anti-slavery battle. No accotmt of our literature
is complete without him, and no history of the great
movement which resulted in the abolition of slavery can
be wi-itten without ample mention of his name and ser-
vices. The busy money-getters, the worthy citizens who
shrugged their shoulders and disapproved him and his
ways, are forgotten, but the gentleman of leisure is re-
membered, and holds an honorable place in the literature
and the history of his coimtry. It is a noble record of
well-doing, one that any man might be content to leave
as a heritage to his children. What, then, was the
secret ? He used his leisure, that was all. Leisure well
employed is of high worth. Leisure imemployed is mere
idleness and helpless drifting along the stream of life.
The disapprobation of men of leisure which was common
in New England in Mr. Quincy's youth erred only be-
cause it was narrow, and could not believe that a man
was usefully employed unless he worked in a few well-
recognized and accepted ways.

It is easy enough to show the error of the old doctrine,
and yet it would be quite as great an error to condemn it.
Like most Puritan theories, it has at bottom a soimd and
vital principle, and the danger to-day of forgetting that
underlying principle of action is far greater than of our
being warped by its too rigid application. A mere idler
is a very poor creatiu-e. Leisure is nothing in itself. It
is only an opportunity, and, like other oppoi-timities, if
wasted or abused, it is harmful and often fatal.


The increase of wealth in this country and the multipli-
cation of great fortunes has produced a corresponding
increase in the number of young men who, fortimately or
unfortunately, are in fact or in prospect the heirs of large
estates. Money in itself is worthless, and gets value only
through its purchasing power. When its real purpose is
misunderstood it is a perilous possession, and the stern
necessity of earning a living has proved a strong safeguard
and help to many men. Given the command of time and
of one's own life, and there is nothing so easy as to let the
years slip by in indecision and infirmity of purpose until
it is too late. The worst outcome, of course, is when a
man uses his great opportunity for nothing but selfish
and sensual gratification, with no result but evil to him-
self and to others. Far better than this cumberer of the
ground is the man who, if he does not use his intellec-
tual powers, at least employs his physical gifts in some
way. A taste, an amusement, a pursuit of any kind,
even if only for amusement's sake, is infinitely better
than nothing, or than mere sensual enjoyment. It is
manly and wholesome to ride boldly and well, to be a
good shot, a successfid yachtsman, an intelligent and en-
terprising traveler. These things are good in themselves,
and it may be fairly said that the bold rider, the good
shot, the skillful seaman, if he loves these sports for
their own sake, has in him, in all probability, the stuff of
which a soldier or sailor may be made in the hour of the
country's need.

Then, again, there are the men of leisure who devote
themselves to some intellectual pursuit, but without any
idea of earning money or of any practical result. Such
men sometimes do valuable work, but they nevertheless
remain amateurs all their lives. They may be credited


with an honest effort for something better than idleness
or physical amusement, sometimes with fruitful work, but
there the commendation ceases. The first thing for a
man of leisure to do, who really wishes to count in his
day and generation, is to avoid being an amateur. In
other words, the first thing necessary is to acquire the
habit of real work, and this can be done well only by
working to obtain money, reputation, or some other solid
value. You can only find out if your work is really
worth doing, is in truth current gold, by bringing it to
the touchstone of competition and an open market.

The essential thing at the start is the habit of thinking
and working. The subject of work or thought is not es-
sential, for, the habit once obtained, a man will soon find
that for which he is best fitted. Even at this very fiji-st
step we are likely to be met with objections, and perhaps
it is as weU to clear them from the path at once.

There is one theory which says that life at best is short
and evil ; that we are not responsible for it, and that as
at our utmost we can effect so little, the correct course is
to get as much pleasure out of existence as possible. Ac-
cepting this statement, the next proposition is that work
or labor is an evil, and should be dispensed with. There
is a conclusive answer to this doctrine, even if we take
pleasure only as a test, for there is no man so discontented
as the idle man, and unless he is witless, the older he
grows the more bitter and unhappy he becomes. The
only charm of a holiday comes from working before and
after it. Your idle man has no holidays ; nothing but
"the set gi-ay life and apathetic end." It is not easy at
the outset to labor with no taskmaster except one's own de-
termination, but the effort grows steadily and rapidly less,
so that in a very short time work becomes a necessity, and


brings more solid and lasting pleasure and more interest
than anything else human ingenuity can devise for our

The next question is as to the particidar work to which
a man of leisure can best devote his time and his energies.
I have known men who, without any spur from necessity,
have addressed themselves to the professions or to busi-
ness, and have earned there both money and distinction.
It is needless to say that these men deserve the very high-
est credit and the entire respect of all who know them.
At the same time, while we may not criticise such men, it
is impossible to doubt that they might be more effective
in other fields than those which are primarily and essen-
tially money getting.

It is better for the man of leisure in learning to work
and think, or when he has acquired that most precious
education, to turn to the fields where men are needed who
can labor, without pecuniary profit, for the public benefit.
This is not only proper abstractly, but it is a duty and an
obligation. Every gentleman pays his debts just as he
tells the truth and keeps faith. We all owe a debt to
our country, and none so large a debt as the man of lei-
sure. That those who have gone before him have been
enabled to accumulate property and leave it to him in
secure enjoyment, is due to the wise laws and solid insti-
tutions of his State and country, and to the sound and
honest character of the American people. That we have
a country at all is due to those who fought for her. To
them we owe a debt we can only try to pay by devotion to
the country that we enjoy, and which they saved.

The modes of working for the public are many. The
first which suggests itself is literature, but there, as every-
where else, the essential preliminary is to learn to work


practically. No man ought to begin by publishing at his
own expense. It is far better to try at the doors of the
newspapers, the magazines, or the publishers, until you
can command a market for your writings, for the only
sure way to make a writer that I know is to have him
enter the field of competition. When he can hold his
own with other men, then it will be time to publish, if he
chooses, at his own expense, work of value to the world,
but which the world could get in no other way.

There is a still larger opportunity in the directions of
public education and public charities. In all these there
is a vast and growing demand for intelligent work, and
for the most part it is only possible to men who can com-
mand their own time. A man can win wide reputation
in these departments, and render incalculable service to

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