most grateful acknowledgments to God and man. Dr. Ellis, in
his Oration, will tell us all to-morrow how great that deliverance
was ; and Mr. Frothingham will, I trust, renew our remembrance
this evening of some of those striking scenes of which his " Siege
of Boston " is so full. But in vain would any one attempt, at this
day, to give an adequate idea of the emotions which must have
filled every patriot heart to overflowing when that Sabbath
morning dawned, for the 17th of March, 1776, was Sunday,
and when the great result was revealed and gradually real
ized, that the enemy had at last embarked, that the British fleet
was under sail, and that our town and harbor were once more to
be freed from military occupation and oppression.
It was the grand finale of the first act a long and eventful
act of the great drama of Independence ; and the scene was
not slow in changing. Boston, so long the source and centre of
the most stirring words and deeds of that stirring period, now
passed into comparative peace and quiet, never again for a cen
tury, thank God, never again, as we hope and believe, till
time shall be no more, to be trodden by a hostile soldiery.
Her crown of martyrdom, which had so attracted the sympathy
and the succor of all America, was now exchanged for a crown
of triumph ; and she wore it becomingly and worthily.
366 THE EVACUATION OF BOSTON.
We do not forget to whom, under God, Boston owed that
great deliverance, and to whom the Continental Congress
awarded the grand Medal which commemorated it ; and if it
shall prove to-morrow as it is now more than whispered
that this very Medal, after remaining in the family of the Father
of his Country for a hundred years, is to find a place henceforth
in our Boston Public Library, as the property of the City, it will
add an interest to our Centennial Day which hardly any thing
else could equal. 1
No ingot of gold which ever came from the land of Havilah
or from the mines of Ophir, or which was ever wrought into
exquisite form by the most renowned artificers of Greece or
Rome, could be so precious to us and our children, for a thou
sand generations, as the identical Medal, which was designed
under the direction of John Adams and John Jay and Stephen
Hopkins, under the order of Congress, and which was won
and worn by George Washington for driving a foreign army
out of the oppressed and suffering Boston of a hundred years
But I will not anticipate what the Mayor may say publicly
to-morrow, or what he may feel willing to communicate to us
privately this evening. Inheriting as he does the blood of him
who said " he would sit as a judge, or die as a general," I am
sure he will say and do the right thing now and always.
Meantime, before calling on the Mayor, I am unwilling to
conclude these few introductory remarks without reading to
you a brief letter from the noble John Adams to his son the late
John Quincy Adams, not then nine years old, which is full of
the true feeling for to-morrow, and which ought to be read in
all our schools on every returning seventeenth day of March :
PHILADELPHIA, 18 April, 1776.
I thank you for your agreeable letter of the 24th March. I rejoice
with you that our friends are once more in possession of the town of
Boston ; am glad to hear that so little damage is done to our house.
I hope you and your sister and brothers will take proper notice of
these great events, and remember under whose wise and kind Providence
1 See Note on next page.
THE EVACUATION OF BOSTON. 367
they are all conducted. Not a sparrow falls, nor a hair is lost, but by
the direction of Infinite Wisdom. Much less are cities conquered and
evacuated. I hope that you will all remember how many losses, dangers,
and inconveniences have been borne by your parents, and the inhabitants
of Boston in general, for the sake of preserving freedom for you and
yours ; and I hope you will all follow the virtuous example, if, in any
future time, your country s liberties shall be in danger, and suffer any
human evil rather than give them up.
CITY OF BOSTON.
Resolved, That the thanks of the City Council be presented to the
Hon. ROBERT C. WINTHROP and his associates for their active interest
and successful effort in procuring and presenting to the City of Boston
the valuable Medal which was given to GENERAL WASHINGTON, in
commemoration of his distinguished services in compelling the evacuation
of the town of Boston by the British army in 1776.
Resolved, That the Members of the City Council are especially grati
fied that this precious memorial of WASHINGTON is henceforth to abide
in this City, whose relief from peril was the occasion of its emission one
hundred years ago.
Approved, March 28, 1876. SAML. C. COBB, Mayor.
THE SANDERS THEATRE.
SPEECH AT THE DINNER OF THE ALUMNI OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY,
JUNE 28, 1876.
I AM greatly obliged and honored, Mr. President, by the kind
words with which you have introduced me once more to the
Association of the Alumni. I have so rarely been in the way
of attending their festivals of late years, that I feel myself quite
in need of a fresh introduction of some sort, whenever I come
here. Indeed, my relations to my Alma Mater have become in
more than one sense quite pre-historic, my only official tie
being as Chairman of the Trustees of that Archaeological and
Ethnological Museum, which, under the direction of the late
lamented Jeffries Wyman, has grown to be so interesting an
addition to the scientific department of the University, and so
worthy a memorial of its beneficent founder, Mr. Peabody.
Before another year shall have passed away, I trust that, with
the assistance of Colonel Lyman and Professor Alexander
Agassiz, we shall have completed the Museum Building, which
we are just commencing, and be in a condition to display the
treasures we have collected in a manner more commensurate
with their interest and their importance.
I thank you, sir, for associating my name so pleasantly with
that venerable ancestor, under whose auspices, as Governor of
the Massachusetts Colony, the very first appropriation was made
for the establishment of this College, two years before the legacy
of John Harvard. It has sometimes been doubted, I am aware,
whether the infant Colony ever paid that appropriation. If not,
THE SANDERS THEATRE. 369
it is certainly quite time that it was paid, and paid with com
pound interest ; and I venture to commend the subject to the
special attention and favor of my friend, Governor Rice, upon
whom the honors of the University have just been so worthily
bestowed. Meantime, however, it may well be questioned
whether John Harvard would have been likely to bequeath the
whole of his little fortune to the institution, if he himself had
not understood it to have been previously established and en
dowed by the State.
But let me turn at once, and abruptly, to another topic, the
only topic which would have brought me here to-day. It was
not my good fortune to be on this side of the Atlantic when
this noble Memorial Hall was dedicated. It was about the
time, Mr. President, when you and I were witnesses to each
other s honors, so well merited on your part, 1 from the venerable
mother of our Alma Mater perhaps I might call her our ven
erable grandmother Cambridge University, in Old England.
This, then, is my very first view of the interior of this Hall,
and I may be pardoned for expressing something of enthusiastic
admiration for its stately proportions and arrangements. Old
Cambridge herself would hardly be ashamed of it, nay, she
might well be proud of it. But to-day we have entered on the
occupation of a new portion of the massive edifice, and it is in
relation to that Theatre, or rather to him whose name it so de
servedly bears, that I feel a peculiar obligation to say a few
words without delay.
It is now nineteen years since it was my privilege, as Presi
dent of this Alumni Association, to occupy at one of our annual
festivals the chair which you now so worthily fill. The Apple-
ton Chapel was then just completed, and about to be opened
for its sacred uses. The Plummer Professor, or Preacher to the
University, of that day the predecessor of my esteemed friend,
Dr. Peabody- was the Rev. Dr. Huntington, now the Bishop of
Central New York. A few weeks only before our festival, he had
written to me to express a strong wish that steps might be taken
by this Alumni Association for securing a hall for the secular
festivals of the College, so that the new Chapel might be reserved
1 Prof. James Russell Lowell was in the chair.
370 THE SANDERS THEATRE.
exclusively for religious services. This communication from
Dr. Huntington, by something more than a happy chance, con
curred precisely with a previous purpose of my own ; and in my
opening remarks at the dinner-table on the 16th of July, 1857,
I ventured to urge upon this Association to undertake the work
of erecting a commodious and spacious hall, like the Senate
House at Old Cambridge, or the Theatre at Oxford, where, to
use my own words from the speech printed at the time, " the
exhibitions and class days and commencements of the University
might find worthy accommodations ; where the living Alumni
might hold their anniversary festivals ; and where, perhaps, the
memorials of the distinguished dead might find a fit gallery for
their display." l
These remarks were in the newspapers of the following morn
ing ; and, within forty-eight hours after they were printed, I
received a confidential letter from the late venerable Charles
Sanders, expressing his warm interest in the proposal, and offer
ing an immediate subscription of $5000, on certain conditions,
for the prosecution of the enterprise. I did what I could, by
articles in the public journals, by personal applications, and by
subsequent appeals to the Association, to obtain seconders and
followers of this generous lead ; but without success. In the
meantime, however, in replying to Mr. Sanders, and in repeated
letters to him, I ventured to express the earnest hope that he
would not abandon the design, but that he would make such
provisions for carrying it out as would not be dependent on his
I hold in my hand a letter from him, dated Sept. 18, 1857,
in which he says, " In regard to the Alumni Theatre I do not
despair, although I have not met with much success in my
applications to two old friends." He adds, " I will, however,
venture a prediction that it will be accomplished within a few
years." We all know what has followed. We all know how
noble a provision he made in his life-time and by his will, and
to-day we are rejoicing that his prediction has at length been
verified, and verified by his own means. There is no prophecy
so safe and sure as that of a man who is able and willing and
1 Winthrop s Addresses and Speeches, Vol. II. p. 359.
THE SANDERS THEATRE. 371
resolved to fulfil his own prediction. And though the Sanders
Theatre has been the last portion of this grand edifice to be
finished, it may safely be said and in justice to his memory it
ought to be said, and all the early reports and consultations of
the Committee of Fifty, of which I had the honor to be a mem
ber, will bear me out in saying that the provision of Mr.
Sanders gave the direction and encouragement to the whole
work of that committee ; that the noble Memorial Hall in which
we are assembled would hardly have been undertaken without it,
but that some other and less costly mode of commemorating the
gallant sons of Harvard who had fallen in the war would have
taken its place.
It is thus to Charles Sanders, more than to any other man or
men, that the University and its Alumni are indebted for these
noble Halls. And as it was to myself that Mr. Sanders first
communicated his purpose, in response to a fortunate sugges
tion of Bishop Huntington and my own, I have felt it in
cumbent on me not to let this occasion pass without publicly
recalling these facts, and manifesting my own grateful remem
brance of his noble endowment.
He was a member of that old Class of 1802, which included
on its rolls the admirable Governor Levi Lincoln, the genial
and noble-hearted Leverett Saltonstall, the late venerable Wil
liam Minot, and good Samuel Hoar, whose name was the syno-
nyme of personal, professional, and political integrity, a Class
whose meetings, when I was a young man, were almost as famous
as those of the Class of 1829 now are. There is not one of them
left. But that Class of 1802 will have no more enduring dis
tinction than in the large public and permanent charities estab
lished by Charles Sanders, and in this University Theatre which
now bears his name.
As I turned to his name in the triennial catalogue not long
ago, I saw that it had no designation but that of simple Mr. ;
and I could not help thinking how fit it would be to introduce
into our triennial, after his name and after many other names,
also a new addendum, some Latin phrase, which Professor
Lane or Professor Everett would easily improvise, to desig
nate a great benefactor of the College. We are careful in noting
372 THE SANDERS THEATRE.
the professional and literary and political dignities and degrees
which our graduates have acquired. But if to the name of
Edward Bromfield Phillips were added, " Principal Contributor
to the Astronomical Observatory," and to Christopher Gore s
name, " Builder of the Library, 1 and to Charles Sanders s
name, " Founder of the University Theatre," and so on with
other names which will readily occur to us all, we should not
only render an act of justice to our benefactors, but we shoiild
do something to create a not unworthy ambition and emulation
in that line of beneficence upon which we so much depend. I
leave all this, however, to our excellent President and our ven
erable Librarian, Mr. Sibley, and will only trespass longer on
your time by asking you all to rise with me while I propose
" THE MEMORY OF CHARLES SANDERS."
DELIVERED BEFORE THE CITY COUNCIL AND CITIZENS OF BOSTON,
JULY 4, 1876.
AGAIN and again, Mr. Mayor and Fellow Citizens, in years
gone by, considerations or circumstances of some sort, public or
private, I know not what, have prevented my acceptance
of most kind and flattering invitations to deliver the Oration in
this my native city on the Fourth of July. On one of those oc-
.casions, long, long ago, I am said to have playfully replied to the
Mayor of that period, that, if I lived to witness this Centennial
Anniversary, I would not refuse any service which might be
required of me. That pledge has been recalled by others, if
not remembered by myself, and by the grace of God I am here
to-day to fulfil it. I have come at last, in obedience to your
call, to add my name to the distinguished roll of those who
have discharged this service in unbroken succession since the
year 1783, when the date of a glorious act of patriots was sub
stituted for that of a dastardly deed of hirelings, the 4th of
July for the 5th of March, as a day of annual celebration by
the people of Boston.
In rising to redeem the promise thus inconsiderately given, I
may be pardoned for not forgetting, at the outset, who presided
over the Executive Council of Massachusetts when the Decla
ration, which has just been read, was first formally and solemnly
proclaimed to the people, from the balcony of yonder Old State
House, on the 18th of July, 1776 ; l and whose privilege it was,
1 James Bowdoin.
374 CENTENNIAL ORATION, 4 JULY, 1876.
amid the shoutings of the assembled multitude, the ringing of
the bells, the salutes of the surrounding forts, and the firing
of thirteen volleys from thirteen successive divisions of the
Continental regiments, drawn up "in correspondence with the
number of the American States United," to invoke " Stability
and Perpetuity to American Independence ! God save our
American States ! "
That invocation was not in vain. That wish, that prayer,
has been graciously granted. We are here this day to thank
God for it. We do thank God for it with all our hearts, and
ascribe to Him all the glory. And it would be unnatural if I
did not feel a more than common satisfaction, that the privilege
of giving expression to your emotions of joy and gratitude,
at this hour, should have been assigned to the oldest living de
scendant of him by whom that invocation was uttered, and that
prayer breathed up to Heaven.
And if, indeed, in addition to this, as you, Mr. Mayor, so
kindly urged in originally inviting me, the name I bear
may serve in any sort as a link between the earliest settlement
of New England, two centuries and a half ago, and the grand
culmination of that settlement in this Centennial Epoch of
American Independence, all the less may I be at liberty to ex
press any thing of the compunction or regret, which I cannot
but sincerely feel, that so responsible and difficult a task had
not been imposed upon some more sufficient, or certainly upon
some younger, man.
Yet what can I say? What can any one say, here or else
where, to-day, which shall either satisfy the expectations of
others, or meet his own sense of the demands of such an occa
sion ? For myself, certainly, the longer I have contemplated
it, the more deepty I have reflected on it, so much the more
hopeless I have become of finding myself able to give any ade
quate expression to its full significance, its real sublimity and
grandeur. A hundred-fold more than when John Adams wrote
to his wife it would be so for ever, it is an occasion for "shows,
games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one
end of the continent to the other." Ovations, rather than ora
tions, are the order of such a day as this. Emotions like those
CENTENNIAL ORATION, 4 JULY, 1876. 375
which ought to fill, and which do fill, all our hearts, call for the
swelling tones of a multitude, the cheers of a mighty crowd,
and refuse to be uttered by any single human voice. The
strongest phrases seem feeble and powerless ; the best results
of historical research have the dryness of chaff and husks, and
the richest flowers of rhetoric the drowsiness of "poppy or
mandragora," in presence of the simplest statement of the
grand consummation we are here to celebrate : A Century of
Self-Government Completed ! A hundred years of Free Re
publican Institutions realized and rounded out ! An era of
Popular Liberty, continued and prolonged from generation to
generation, until to-day it assumes its full proportions, and as
serts its rightful place, among the Ages !
It is a theme from which an Everett, a Choate, or even a
Webster, might have shrunk. But those voices, alas ! were
long ago hushed. It is a theme on which any one, living or
dead, might have been glad to follow the precedent of those few
incomparable sentences at Gettysburg, on the 19th of November,
1863, and forbear from all attempt at extended discourse. It is
not for me, however, to copy that unique original, nor yet to
shelter myself under an example, which I should in vain
aspire to equal.
And, indeed, Fellow Citizens, some formal words must be
spoken here to-day, trite, familiar, commonplace words,
though they may be ; some words of commemoration ; some
words of congratulation ; some words of glory to God, and of
acknowledgment to man ; some grateful lookings back ; some
hopeful, trustful, lookings forward, these, I am sensible, can
not be spared from our great assembly on this Centennial Day.
You would not pardon me for omitting them.
But where shall I begin ? To what specific subject shall I
turn for refuge from the thousand thoughts which come crowd
ing to one s mind and rushing to one s lips, all jealous of post
ponement, all clamoring for utterance before our Festival shall
close, and before this Centennial sun shall set ?
The single, simple Act which has made the Fourth of July
memorable for ever, the mere scene of the Declaration, would
of itself and alone supply an ample subject for far more than
376 CENTENNIAL ORATION, 4 JULY, 1876.
the little hour which I may dare to occupy ; and, though it has
been described a hundred times before, in histories and addresses,
and in countless magazines and journals, it imperatively demands
something more than a cursory allusion here to-day, and chal
lenges our attention as it never did before, and hardly ever can
challenge it again.
Go back with me, then, for a few moments at least, to that
great year of our Lord, and that great day of American Liberty.
Transport yourselves with me, in imagination, to Philadelphia.
It will require but little effort for any of us to do so, for all our
hearts are there already. Yes, we are all there, from the Atlantic
to the Pacific, from the Lakes to the Gulf, we are all there, at
this high noon of our Nation s birthday, in that beautiful City of
Brotherly Love, rejoicing in all her brilliant displays, and partaking
in the full enjoyment of all her pageantry and pride. Certainly,
the birthplace and the burial-place of Franklin are in cordial
sympathy at this hour ; and a common sentiment of congratula
tion and joy, leaping and vibrating from heart to heart, outstrips
even the magic swiftness of magnetic wires. There are no
chords of such elastic reach and such electric power as the
heartstrings of a mighty Nation, touched and tuned, as all our
heartstrings are to-day, to the sense of a common glory,
throbbing and thrilling with a common exultation.
Go with me, then, I say, to Philadelphia ; not to Philadel
phia, indeed, as she is at this moment, with all her bravery on,
with all her beautiful garments around her, with all the graceful
and generous contributions which so many other Cities and
other States and other Nations have sent for her adornment,
not forgetting those most graceful, most welcome, most touching
contributions, in view of the precise character of the occasion,
from Old England herself; but go with me to Philadelphia, as
she was just a hundred years ago. Enter with me her noble
Independence Hall, so happily restored and consecrated afresh
as the Runnymede of our Nation ; and, as we enter it, let us not
forget to be grateful that no demands of public convenience or
expediency have called for the demolition of that old State
House of Pennsylvania. Observe and watch the movements,
listen attentively to the words, look steadfastly at the counte-
CENTENNIAL ORATION, 4 JULY, 1876. 377
nances, of the men who compose the little Congress assembled
there. Braver, wiser, nobler men have never been gathered
and grouped under a single roof, before or since, in any age, on
any soil beneath the sun. What are they doing ? What are
they daring ? Who are they, thus to do, and thus to dare ?
Single out with me, as you easily will at the first glance, by a
presence and a stature not easily overlooked or mistaken, the
young, ardent, accomplished Jefferson. He is only just thirty-
three years of age. Charming in conversation, ready and full
in counsel, he is " slow of tongue," like the great Lawgiver of
the Israelites, for any public discussion or formal discourse.
But he has brought with him the reputation of wielding what
John Adams well called "a masterly pen." And grandly has
he justified that reputation. Grandly has he employed that pen
already, in drafting a Paper which is at this moment lying on
the table, and awaiting its final signature and sanction.
Three weeks before, indeed, on the previous 7th of June,
his own noble colleague, Richard Henry Lee, had moved the
Resolution, whose adoption, on the 2d of July, had virtually
settled the whole question. Nothing, certainly, more explicit or
emphatic could have been wanted for that Congress itself than
that Resolution, setting forth as it did, in language of striking
simplicity and brevity and dignity, " That these United Colonies
are, and, of right, ought to be, Free and Independent States ;
that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown,
and that all political connection between them and the State of
Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."
That Resolution was, indeed, not only comprehensive and
conclusive enough for the Congress which adopted it, but, I need
not say, it is comprehensive and conclusive enough for us ; and
I heartily wish, that, in the century to come, its reading might
be substituted for that of the longer Declaration which has
put the patience of our audiences to so severe a test for so many
years past, though, happily, not to-day.
But the form in which that Resolution was to be announced