Lift Up Your Hearts
( Originally Published 1927 )
Sursum cords. We have in our own time seen the Republic survive an irrepressible conflict, sown in the blood and marrow 0f the social order. We have seen the Federal Union, not too strongly put together in the first place, come out of a great war of sections stronger than when it went into it, its faith renewed, its credit rehabilitated, and its flag saluted with love and homage by sixty millions of God-fearing men and women, thoroughly reconciled and homogeneous. We have seen the Federal Constitution outlast the strain, not merely of a Reconstructory ordeal and a Presidential impeachment, but a disputed count of the Electoral vote, a Congressional deadlock, and an extra constitutional tribunal, yet standing firm against the assaults of its enemies, while yielding itself with admirable flexibility to the needs of the country and the time. And finally we saw the gigantic fabric of the Federal Government transferred from the hands that held it a quarter of a century to other hands, with-out a protest, although so close was the poll in the final count that a single blanket might have covered both contestants for the Chief Magisterial office. With such a record behind us, who shall be afraid of the future?
The young manhood of the country may take this lesson from those of us who lived through times that did indeed try men's souls — when, pressed down from day to day by awful responsibilities and suspense, each night brought a terror with every thought of the morrow, and when, look where we would, there were light and hope nowhere—that God reigns and wills, and that this fair land is and has always been in His own keeping.
The curse of slavery is gone. It was a joint heritage of woe, to be wiped out and expiated in blood and flame. The mirage of the Confederacy has vanished. It was essentially bucolic, a vision of Arcadie, the dream of a most attractive economic fallacy. The Constitution is n0 longer a rope of sand. The exact relation 0f the States to the Federal Government, left open to double construction by the authors of our organic being, because they could not agree among themselves, and union was the paramount object, has been clearly and definitely fixed by the three last amendments to the original chart, which constitute the real treaty of peace between the North and the South, and seal our bonds as a nation forever.
The Republic represents at last the letter and the spirit of the sublime Declaration. The fetters that bound her to the earth are burst asunder. The rags that degraded her beauty are cast aside. Like the enchanted princess in the legend, clad in spotless raiment and wearing a crown of living light, she steps in the perfection 0f her maturity upon the scene of this, the latest and proudest of her victories, to bid welcome to the world.
Need I pursue the theme? This vast assemblage speaks with a resonance and meaning which words can never reach. It speaks from the fields that are blessed by the never-failing waters of the Kennebec and from the farms that sprinkle the valley of the Connecticut with mimic principalities more potent and lasting than the real; it speaks in the whirr of the mills of Pennsylvania and in the ring of the wood-cutter's axe from the forests of the lake peninsulas; it speaks from the great plantations of the South and West, teeming with staples that insure us wealth and power and stability, yea, from the mines and forests and quarries of Michigan and Wisconsin, of Alabama and Georgia, of Tennessee and Kentucky far away to the regions of silver and gold, that have linked the Colorado and the Rio Grande in close embrace, and annihilated time and space between the Atlantic and the Pacific; it speaks in one word, from the hearthstone in Iowa and Illinois, from the home in Mississippi and Arkansas, from the hearts of seventy millions of fearless, freeborn men and women, and that one word is " Union ! "
There is no geography in American manhood. There are n0 sections to American fraternity. It needs but six weeks to change a Vermonter into a Texan, and there has never been a time, when, upon the battlefield, or the frontier, Puritan and Cavalier were not convertible terms, having in the beginning a common origin, and so diffused and diluted on American soil as no longer to possess a local habitation 0r a nativity, except in the National unit.
The men who planted the signals of American civilization upon that sacred Rock by Plymouth Bay were Englishmen, and so were the men wh0 struck the coast a little lower down, calling their haven of rest after the great Republican commoner, and founding by Hampton Roads a race of heroes and states-men, the mention of whose names brings a thrill to every heart. The South claims Lincoln, the immortal, for its own; the North has no right to reject Stonewall Jackson, the 0ne typical Puritan soldier of the war, for its own ! Nor will it ! The time is coming, is almost here, when hanging above a mantel-board in fair New England—glorifying many a cottage in the sunny South - shall be seen bound together, in everlasting love and honor, two cross swords carried to battle respectively by the grandfather who wore the blue and the grandfather who wore the gray.
God bless our country's flag! and God be with us now and ever. God in the roof-tree's shade and God on the highway, God in the winds and waves, and God in our hearts !