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قراءة كتاب Eulogy on Chief-Justice Chase Delivered by William M. Evarts before the Alumni of Dartmouth College, at Hanover

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‏اللغة: English
Eulogy on Chief-Justice Chase
Delivered by William M. Evarts before the Alumni of
Dartmouth College, at Hanover

Eulogy on Chief-Justice Chase Delivered by William M. Evarts before the Alumni of Dartmouth College, at Hanover

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 1









Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by
In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.




MR. PRESIDENT and Gentlemen, the Alumni of Dartmouth College: When, not many weeks since, the committee of your association did me the honor to invite me to present, in an address to the assembled graduates of the college, a commemoration of the life, the labors, and the fame of the very eminent man and greatly honored scholar of your discipline, lawyer, orator, senator, minister, magistrate, whom living a whole nation admired and revered, whom dead a whole nation laments, I felt that neither a just sense of public duty nor the obligations of personal affection would permit me to decline the task. Yielding, perhaps too readily, to the persuasions of your committee that somewhat close professional and public association with the Chief-Justice in the later years of his life, and the intimate enjoyment of his personal friendship, might excuse my want of that binding tie of fellowship in a commemoration, in which the venerated college does dutiful honor to a son, and the assembled alumni crown with their affection the memory of a brother, I dismissed also, upon the same persuasion, all anxious solicitudes, which otherwise would have oppressed me, lest importunate and inextricable preoccupations of time and mind should disable me from presenting as considerable, and as considerate, a survey of the eminent character and celebrated career of Mr. Chase as should comport with them, or satisfy the just exigencies of the occasion.

The commemoration which brings us together has about it nothing funereal, in sentiment or observance, to darken our minds or sadden our hearts to-day. The solemn rites of sepulture, the sobbings of sorrowing affection, the homage of public grief, the concourse of the great officers of state, the assemblage of venerable judges, the processions of the bar, of the clergy, of liberal and learned men, the attendant crowds of citizens of every social rank and station, both in the great city where he died, and at the national capital, have already graced his burial with all imaginable dignity and unmeasured reverence. To prolong or renew this pious office is no part of our duty to-day. Nor is the maturity or nurture which the college gives to those it calls its sons, bestowed as it is upon their mind and character, affected by the death of the body as is the heart of the natural mother; nor are you, his brethren in this foster care of the spirit, bowed with the same sense of bereavement as are natural kindred. The filial and fraternal relation which he bore to you, the college and the alumni, is hardly broken by his death, nor is he hidden from you by his burial. His completed natural life is but the assurance and perpetuation of the power, the fame, the example, which the discipline and culture here bestowed had for their object, and in which they find their continuing and ever-increasing glory. The energy here engendered has not ceased its beneficent activity, the torch here lighted still diffuses its illumination, and the fires here kindled still radiate their heat.

Not less certain is it that the spirit of this commemoration imposes no task of vindication or defense, and tolerates no tone of adulation or applause. The tenor of this life, the manifestation of this character, was open and public, before the eyes of all men, upon an eminent stage of action, displayed constantly on the high places of the world. No faculty that Mr. Chase possessed, no preparation of mind or of spirit, for great undertakings or for notable achievements, ever failed of exercise or exhibition for want of opportunity, or, being exercised or exhibited, missed commensurate recognition or responsive plaudits from his countrymen. His career shows no step backward, the places he filled were all of the highest, the services he rendered were the most difficult as well as the most eminent. If, as the preacher proclaims, "time and chance happeneth to all," the times in which Mr. Chase lived permitted the widest scope to great abilities and the noblest forms of public service; and the fortunes of his life show the felicity of the occasions which befell him to draw out these abilities, and to receive these services. Not less complete was the round of public honors which crowned his public labors, and we have no occasion, here, to lament any shortcomings of prosperity or favor, or repeat the authentic judgment which the voices of his countrymen have pronounced upon his fame.

The simple office, then, which seems to me marked out for one who assumes this deputed service in the name of the college and for the friends of good learning, is, in so far as the just limits of time and circumstance will permit, to expose the main features of this celebrated life, "to decipher the man and his nature," to connect the true elements of his character and the moulding force of his education with the work he did, with the influence he wielded in life, with the power of the example which lives after him, and always to have in view, as the most fruitful uses of the hour, his relations to the men and events of his times, and, not less, his true place in history among the lawyers, orators, statesmen, magistrates of the land. Vera non verba is our maxim to-day; truth, not words, must mark the tribute the college pays to the sober dignity and solid worth of its distinguished son.

Born of a lineage, which on the father's side dates its American descent from the Puritan emigration of 1640, and on the mother's, finds her the first of that stock native to this country, the son of these parents took no contrariety of traits from the union of the blood of the English Puritans and the Scotch Covenanters, but rather harmonious corroboration of the characteristics of both. These, sturdy enough in either, combined in this descendant to produce as independent and resolute a nature for the conflicts and labors of his day, as any experience of trial or triumph, of proscription or persecution suffered or resisted, had required or supplied in the long history of the contests of these two congenial races with priests and potentates, with principalities and powers. Nothing could be less consonant with a just estimate of the strong traits of this lineage, than which neither Hebrew, nor Grecian, nor Roman nurture has wrought for its heroes either a firmer fibre or a nobler virtue, than to ascribe its chief power to enthusiasm or fanaticism. Plain, sober, practical men and women as they were, there was no hard detail of every-day life that they were not equal to, no patient and cheerless sacrifice they could not endure, no vicissitude of adverse or prosperous fortune which they could not meet with unchecked serenity. If it be enthusiasm that in them the fear of God had cast out the fear of man, or fanaticism that they placed "things that are spiritually discerned" above the vain shows of the world of sense, in so far they were enthusiasts and fanatics. In every stern conflict, in every vast labor,