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CENTENNIAL ADDRESS

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Reprinted from the NEW-ENGLAND HISTORICAL AND GENEALOGICAL REGISTER
- for October, 1875.

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A D D R E S S.

7 HEN it was proposed to give a place to this epoch in the series of centennials, my first thought was that Lexington, Concord, Bunker Hill, in so recent memory, and the already glowing work of preparation for the country's hundredth birthday, would so dwarf and chill our celebration here as to make it merely a heartless municipal parade. But the occasion has grown upon me, I see and feel that it holds the foremost place in the series. It has paramount claims, not on us or our State, but on our whole people. We might rightfully have made our arrangements, not for a local, but for a national festival. We commemorate the epoch but for which Lexington, Concord, Bunker Hill would have left in our history hardly a trace, probably not a single name, and the centennial of our independence would remain for a generation not yet upon the stage to celebrate. Cambridge was the first capital of our infant republic, the cradle of our nascent liberty, the hearth of our kindling patriotism. Before the 3d of July, 1775, there were tumults, conflicts, bold plans, rash enterprises; but there was no coördinating and controlling will, purpose, or authority. On and from that day the colonies were virtually one people. Before, they had nothing in common but their grievances. They were as yet British provinces, though wrenching the cords that held them, still undetached, and with no mode of action upon or with one another. By adopting the army and choosing its head they performed their first act, not of alliance, but of organic unity, and became a nation unawares, while they thought themselves still wronged and suppliant dependencies of the British crown. They thus decided the question between a worse than unsuccessful rebellion and

revolution. That the rebellion, as such, would have been an utter failure, is only too

certain. The American party in England had on its side eloquence, indeed, and wisdom, but neither numerical force in Parliament, nor the power to

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