PIONEER MEETING AT THE FIRELANDS HISTORICAL SOCIETY
June 30, 1875
Mr. President, Ladies and Pioneers:
I do not appear for the purpose of making an extended speech this afternoon, for I am quite sure you would very much regret if I were to pull out a manuscript to make you an address at this time of day, and in the present bad atmosphere we have in the hall.
I rise to make acknowledgements merely, to the Society for the honor conferred by the invitation received from its officers to be present on this occasion, to share with you in its very interesting and profitable exercises, and the pleasure I have enjoyed here to-day, in commendation of the Society and its work. I am somewhat familiar with these societies, having read for many years the various books and publications in relation to the Fire Lands and Western Pioneers, and I think I can say that no one of these societies has done more than you.
The early history and reminiscences of the Fire Lands have been collected and preserved. Here are your volumes which tell you what you want to know – what these men and women have done who first came to the Fire Lands.
I have succeeded in getting all these volumes and read every word of them. Your Society has done efficient and noble service, and I trust you will go on in this work. You have made an important addition to it to-day in the record of the old lawyers of the Fire Lands.
All this is interesting now, and far, far more so will it be in the future. Next year we are to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary since we became a nation, and now can you find anybody who can show any relic or scrap of history showing what his father or grandfather did one hundred years ago that will not point to it with satisfaction and pride? And this is what you are doing to-day –collecting and preserving the interesting history and relics of the past for your children and posterity. This is not only accomplished by these social gatherings, but socially they prove a great benefit by mingling together of the people, and this social feature is in itself a sufficient object for societies of this kind. We Americans have not too many holidays, when we can meet the young and old – men of various ideas and descriptions – and mingle and consult together. The more of these meetings you can have of the old inhabitants and others, the better. I trust you may have many of them.
I must not think of detaining you at this late hour and in this heated atmosphere. Besides, I would prefer to listen to some more of that music. I would rather hear such singing as Mrs. Carman’s for five minutes than the most eloquent orator for an hour.