When Marathon had been fought and Greece kept free, each of the victorious generals voted himself to be first in honor, but all agreed that Miltiades was second. When the most memorable struggle for the rights of human nature of which time holds record was thus happily concluded in the muniment of their preservation, whoever else was second, unanimous acclaim declared that Washington was first. Nor in that struggle alone does he stand foremost. In the name of the people of the United States, their President, their Senators, their Representatives, and their Judges do crown to-day with the grandest crown that veneration has ever lifted to the brow of Glory, him whom Virginia gave to America, whom America had given to the world and to the ages, and whom mankind with universal suffrage has proclaimed the foremost of the founders of empire in the first degree of greatness; whom Liberty herself has anointed as the first citizen in the great Republic of Humanity.
Encompassed by the inviolate seas, stands to-day the American Republic, which he founded—a freer Greater Britain—uplifted above the powers and principalities of the earth, even as his monument is uplifted over roof and dome and spire of the multitudinous city.
Long live the Republic of Washington! Respected by mankind, beloved of all its sons, long may it be the asylum of the poor and oppressed of all lands and religions—long may it be the citadel of that Liberty which writes beneath the eagle’s folded wings, “We will sell to no man, we will deny to no man, right and justice.”
Long live the United States of America! Filled with the free, magnanimous spirit, crowned by the wisdom, blessed by the moderation, hovered over by the angel of Washington’s example, may they be ever worthy in all things to be defended by the blood of the brave, who know the rights of man and shrink not from their assertion; may they be each a column, and all together, under the Constitution, a perpetual Temple of Peace, unshadowed by a Caesar’s palace, at whose altar may freely commune all who seek the union of liberty and brotherhood.
Long live our country! Oh, long through the undying ages may it stand far removed in fact as in space from the Old World’s feuds and follies; alone in its grandeur and its glory, itself the immortal monument of him whom Providence commissioned to teach man the power of truth and to prove to the nations that their redeemer liveth.
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THE CHARACTER OF WASHINGTON
BY HENRY CABOT LODGE