Chapter 32



When I was a boy it was the custom for the minister to read from his pulpit, the Sunday before Thanksgiving Day, the proclamation of the governor officially announcing and promulgating the glad day of thanksgiving.

The proclamation always came as a big broadside, quite a formidable-looking sheet, as I remember it from the minister’s front pew, and we boys and girls were properly impressed by it, and especially by the highly official way in which it closed, and the invocation and sentiment with which it ended: "God save the commonwealth of Massachusetts!

In all the two hundred and seventy years of the Old Bay State’s existence, as colony and commonwealth, many proclamations have been issued and read to the people who have, in their lives and actions, made Massachusetts a vital and impressive force in the world. For it is the people, after all, who make the state. As that grand old poem of Sir William Jones tells us:

"Men who their duties know,

But know their rights, and, knowing, dare maintain,— These constitute a state."

The men of Massachusetts have always known and appreciated their duties; they have, from the days of the




freemen of Watertown, "dared their rights maintain;" and as a consequence the invocation of the old proclamation has been answered, for God has blessed and saved the commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Today the golden-domed Statehouse, ringed with its triple coronet of electric lights, stands on its time-honored hill, known and honored of all men throughout the land. Within its legislative chamber still hangs the golden codfish, symbol and reminder of the chief source of the Bay State’s wealth and progress; within its library is cherished the precious manuscript of that early governor and chronicler, which has been through the centuries the authority to which all historians have gone for the story of the beginnings of this famous State.

Below the gilded dome lies Boston, big and busy. To the east sparkle the broad waters that gave the commonwealth the foundation of prosperity in fisheries and commerce, and fastened upon that commonwealth its honored title of the Bay colony and the Bay State; yonder the sandy Cape "doubles its fist," so Dr. Holmes declared, "at all creation;" to the west, Grey-lock rears its four thousand feet in air, the clustering hill towns smiling at its feet; against the bold headland of Cape Ann beats the unquiet sea; across the State, from north to south, doubles and twists the broad Connecticut; beyond rise the green and health-giving Berkshires; and from east to west, from north to south, pulses and throbs the life of the commonwealth,—fourteen counties, fourteen hundred cities, towns, and villages, with full three millions of people, the freemen of Massachusetts.



And what a heritage is theirs. Not a large or over fertile land, as the show spots of the world are reckoned, —only eighty-three hundred square miles of country, rocky, hilly, and never phenomenally productive. But that small, rectangular, broken-coasted bit of the world’s surface has produced men; it has made history; it has contributed more than its share to the intelligence, the freedom, the progress, and the glory of the republic.

"I shall enter on no encomium on Massachusetts,’! said the Bay State’s greatest orator. "There she stands!" And there she has stood for very nearly three centuries of unrest, endeavor, and achievement, needing no labored encomium, for she has spoken for herself.

Three centuries of endeavor,—the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth in the Christian era! What is the record of the Old Bay State’s accomplishments?

In the seventeenth century: a new State founded in the wilderness, first steps toward self-government, town meetings organized, schools begun, manufactures started, fisheries made profitable, and, in spite of the stern grasp of a state church, an increasing, forward movement toward liberty that no repression could long smother and no persecution could stamp out.

In the eighteenth century the record of achievement was even longer; for in that historic hundred years Massachusetts made her mark, and the world is not yet through talking about it. For desire blossomed into deeds in that century of effort and of slow but steady growth. Benjamin Franklin, James Otis, John and Samuel Adams,—these are a few of the famous names that appear upon the roll. That century saw, in Mas



sachusetts, the establishment of the whale fishery, the beginnings of America’s merchant marine and the American navy; it saw paper mills at Newton, cotton mills at Beverly and Worcester, nail factories at Ames-bury, —the real " first start" of the Bay State’s mighty industries. Shipbuilding, leather and shoe manufacture, glass-blowing and brick making, canal-building and iron-working, all took their start in Massachusetts in that century, which had, too, even grander things. It had the Old South Meetinghouse and Faneuil Hall, a cargo of troublesome tea, and the emphatic clanking of certain objectionable chains "on the plains of Boston," that were heard by Patrick Henry and George Washington in far-away Virginia. It had Concord and Lexington and Bunker Hill, the siege of Boston and the triumph of Dorchester Heights. It had the beginnings of Massachusetts manufactures and Massachusetts reform, the protest against the Stamp Act, and the "shot heard round the world." A notable hundred years was that eighteenth century in the Old Bay State.

And fully as notable has been, in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, the wonderful nineteenth century. Greatest of all its achievements, it seems to me, has been the share taken by the Bay State in that mighty victory of freedom which you may see fitly commemorated in granite, if you will take a car through the subway to Mount Auburn in Cambridge, and stand before Milmore’s statue of the Sphinx, set upon the hill. For upon that impressive statue you may read these words: "American Union Preserved—African Slavery Destroyed—By the Uprising of a Great People, by the



Blood of Fallen Heroes." To make that inscription possible, Massachusetts did her part; and a leader’s part it was. For Massachusetts stands for the long struggle for the equality of all men before the law which began at Plymouth in December, 1620, and closed at Appomattox in April, 1865. Massachusetts led that movement; Massachusetts fought ever in the van; her banner cry for two hundred and seventy years has been, "Civil liberty and human rights! " and that banner cry is now high placed as the motto of the republic. It was uphill work to educate the people and accomplish this grand result; but to the men of Massachusetts, and to those of other States who worked with them shoulder to shoulder, the republic owes a mighty debt of gratitude.

But progress comes only through opposition. Every step is a battle; every advance is a victory. Even such world-wide blessings as the telegraph and the telephone—both of them Massachusetts discoveries— attained success only through struggle. So, in Massachusetts, as in every other State in the Union, progress, which has not yet reached perfection, can make its record only through blood and tears. Still will labor and capital wrestle for the mastery; monopoly and manhood will have frequent tussles; bigotry and toleration have not yet ceased from sparring; while that spurious American inconsistency, caste, will seek to root itself on democracy, and patriotism and sectionalism will still war in the hearts of men. There is plenty of work laid out for twentieth—century hands to do, while it requires an alert and active brain to keep track of all the new inventions and all the advances in helpful science and domestic problems that



are to be: credited to the restless energy of the Bay State alone,—to say nothing of the rest of the world.

Even as the nineteenth century closed, Massachusetts added. her mite to the contribution paid by the republic of which she is a part in behalf of humanity and the freedom of man. In that latest struggle of progress with retrogression, the conflict of the United States with Spain, the part that Massachusetts took was no insignificant one.

Opposed at first to a war which patience and determination along peaceful lines might have prevented, when once the die was cast, the Bay State was in the van. Men and money were freely given; relief and redress were willingly accorded; and the men of Massachusetts on land and on sea, in the armies and navies of the republic, made their mark as valiant fighters and as ready helpers. Captains from Massachusetts were - with Dewey at Manila, with Sampson and Schley at Santiago. The plucky little made-over yacht Gloucester, in the action against Cervera’s Spanish fleet, made famous once again the name of Massachusetts’s chief fishing port. Four of Hobson’s seven heroes were of Massachusetts blood, and a Massachusetts regiment was in the advance at Siboney and Santiago. In the halls of Congress, the representatives and senators of Massachusetts were first for justice and then for action, while at the head of the Navy Department, as its efficient, capable, and energetic secretary, was John D. Long, ex-governor of Massachusetts.

In all this Massachusetts has but lived up to her traditions and shown her old-time spirit,—that spirit



fitly described by Senator Hoar, the Bay State’s honored successor to Sumner in the highest legislative chamber of the republic.

"Whatever Massachusetts has done," said Senator Hoar, "whatever she is doing, whatever she is to accomplish hereafter, is largely owing to the fact that she has kept unbroken the electric current flowing from soul to soul, forever and forever, as it was generated, now nearly three hundred years ago, at Plymouth. Her generations have taken hold of hands.

"The men of Plymouth Rock and of Salem, the men ~ho cleared the forest, the heroes of the Indian and the old French wars, the men who imprisoned Andros, the men who fought the Revolution, the men who humbled the power of France at Louisburg and the power of Spain at Martinique and Havana, the men who won our independence and builded our Constitution, the sailors of the great sea fights of the War of 1812, the soldiers who saved the Union, and the men who went with Hobson on the Merrimac or fought with Dewey at Manila or under Sampson or before the trenches at Santiago, have been of one temper from the beginning,—the old Massachusetts spirit, which we hope may endure and abide until time shall be no more."

That is a good sentiment with which to close these brief stories of the Bay State’s beginnings, rise, and progress. "The past, at least, is secure." To-day, because of her energy and effort, Massachusetts stands among the States of the American Union first in educational and intellectual activity. She is first in fisheries, first in public libraries, second in banking facilities, and fourth



in manufactures,—not a bad showing for a State that is only fifth from the foot in size in the whole forty-five. She has a contented population of three millions of inhabitants; she has two hundred millions of dollars in agricultural property, with dairy products exceeding sixteen millions in value; ten millions are invested in fishing industries which return nearly six millions, of which nearly one and a half millions are brought by the historic cod; she has twenty-five thousand manufacturing industries; she has over six hundred millions of dollars invested as capital, and four hundred millions stored away in savings banks. The old-time energy finds ample channels for expression, and Massachusetts, the parent of many States, has still strength and vigor, brain and will, to keep her place in the van, even while merged into that larger community to whose glory and indivisibility none is more passionately loyal,—the United States of America. And so, with pride in her past, with hope for her future, let all true Americans join in the prayer with which the proclamation ends:


"God save the commonwealth of Massachusetts!"