1846 TO 1850. FOUNDATION OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.
THE foundation of the Republican party, and my personal memories of Daniel Webster, belong to the same period. I will not try to separate them.
The story I am to tell may seem trivial enough to my readers. But it is to me a very tender and sacred memory. The time was ripe for the great movement that abolished slavery. If no one of the eminent men of that day had ever lived other men would have been found in abundance for the work. If Massachusetts had failed in her duty some other State would have taken her place. But in the Providence of God it was given to Massachusetts to lead in this great battle and it was given to these men whom I have to name to be leaders in Massachusetts. I thank God that it was given to my eyes to behold it. The American people have had many great affairs to deal with since that day. They have had great trials and great triumphs. They have won renown among the nations. They have grown in wealth and in power. They have subdued a mighty rebellion. They have carried their flag in triumph to the ends of the earth. They have wrested the last vestige of power in this hemisphere from an old and proud nation who once occupied the place that England has since occupied and which it seems likely we are to occupy hereafter. They have resisted many strong temptations and acquired much glory. I am afraid they have of late yielded for a time to one strong temptation and missed an opportunity for still greater glory, that never will come back. But there was something in that struggle with slavery which exalted the hearts of those who had a part in it, however humble, as no other political battle in history.