Speech by Thomas S. Stevens
September 29, 1853
Despotism and savage rudeness seem almost in their nature inseperable (sp). Where the elevating hand of Liberty has not yet been streached (sp) out our race is buerried (sp) in the depths of ignorance intellectual and moral. In Indias barren wasts (sp) and New Hollands savage wilds. We see men toiling under the “Iron heel” of despotism, a dark and gloomy picture indeed. But cast your eyes on the other and behold our beloved country. A Land so blest (sp)of Freedom. A Land that can boast of the names Washington, Adams, Clay & Webster.
“Ah! fair America, how blest (sp) thy envied lot. Young empire of the west, It is to some of thy noble sons that we are indebted for the greatest productions of science.
Where is the young American whose heart does not beat with joy when he remembers that.
Twas Franklin's hand that caught the horse, Twas harneft (sp) by Professor Morse. Franklin was an American. Morse too an American. The former was born and reared while New England was in her wilds. With his kite for his companion he held communion with the clouds.
And who has not heard of that miracle
By Morses genius wrought
The electric wire the telegraph of thought
Lacing the air oer' miles and miles of space
And bringing cities almost face to face
But bless America thes (sp) boon are not
The only gifs (sp) that crown thy lot
Here science nursed by genuine love of truth
Beats a wide field with all the rest of youth
Here every altar sees its incense rise
Free as the breath of wild flowers to the skies
Liberty may truely (sp) be called the patron of science. Where ere' the hallowed sun of Liberty is seen sheding (sp) its heavenly light there it is that we behold science carried to its greatest perfections. The land over which the Godefs (sp) of Liberty sways her majic scepter may well be called the home of science. It is beneath the shadow of her protecting wings that science is permited (sp) to bud and blossom in all its glory, sheding (sp) its elevating influence all around.
From time immemorial to the present day from the time where Horace & Virgil sung and Homer tuned his immortal lyre down to the time when the great wizard of the North sent his thrilling songs forth upon the world from the time when Cicero and Demosthenes thundered to the day of our own Webster & Clay, Liberty and science have ever been inseperable (sp). Where ere' the glorious bird of Liberty has taken up its abode there science has flourished. Turn to Greece, the proud temples which once beutified (sp) her land and ever the pride of her citizens are now mouldering in decay her son are inslaved (sp). The Academy and the Lycerium in ruins the abodes of the muses deserted, why is this? Liberty withdrew and science drooped and fell. So it was with Rome the seven hilled city proud mistress of the world.
Rome and Greece have fallen and Liberty forsaken their shores but still it lives. Yes in our own fair Land Liberty had found a fitting abode and science following has found a home in the wilds of Columbia.
Phillosophy (sp) will ever live in the Land of Franklin. Eloquence can never die in the country of Clay and Webster.
Yes science can never perish while freedom still survives. While America lives and long will she live for the torch of liberty can never go out while Washington's memory exists.
Liberty noble and grand as she is is the only patron under whos fostering hand science can live. We see that exemplified both in Britains realm and in this our own proud Land the only two which are realy (sp) free and with whom science truly (sp) dwells.
When the glorious sun of Liberty having emerged from the relms of the morning on his westward course sheding (sp) his cheering light on Albion's coast the thick mist (?) of Dreudesm (?) withdrew – leaving uncovered to the gaze of the world the cradle of Modern science xxx in Britain amid the din of the conflict between scholasticism and the ofspring (sp) of the old Academy she grew up an enemy to both, by the assistance of her hand-maid Liberty having scilenced both these oppressions of the progress of knowledge and blest (sp) her native island through the mind of Bacon she deigned to visit the land of Franklin. This country shows it amid the wilds of nature where freedon sought a refuge from the convulsions of the old world did science soon come.
Look as any look as all the despot ridden nations where Liberty is unknown and from which freedon has fled and see the consequences.
Russia is a might nation its territory in Europe alone comprises half the continent and what is it compared to Great Britain? That little isle is more than its match in intellectual (sp) Physical & moral power. Russias Bear viewing with enmity any new invention anything designed to benefit mankind, sternly growls and if need be fights against its introduction amid his snowy wilds and rough inhabitants. Who ever heard of anything ever being invented by a Russian. Or anything having science for its indorser (sp) flourishing there. One Rail-Road they do have but that is for the benefit of his most royal majesty the Czar to be used by him in the transportation of his troops in case any of his many subjects should desire freedom through the means of insurrection (sp). Not that he cares for it as an invention of science. Not that he cares for it as a benefit to his subjects, but he only uses it as an instrument of power and thus it must always be even should the government by some strange fancy undertake to cultivate the arts & sciences and attempt to spread them there. A failure would be the consequence. The people so long bound by its galling chains and crushed by its “Iron heel” would not could not feel the self-reliance necefsary (sp) for its growth. Knowing as they do that but a single “I will it” must proceed from the lips of royalty and their everything is destroyed.
As long as the Aotrocrat (?) of all the Russias reigns so long will there be living proof that a land of tyranny is not the home of science.
Since then without freedom science cannot flourish let us hope that in this our land she may take up her permanant (sp) abode, inciting our citizens to the duty of cultivating the peaceful arts promoting science and spreading knowledge everywhere thus firmly binding together (sp) our sisterhood of states bounteously blessing our people & speedily hastening the emancipation of the world.
T. S. Stevens
Lawrenceville Sept. 29, 1853
Transcribed literally by T. Grant
February 26, 2002