Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/253

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neither the Roman Empire nor the Roman Church, neither Byzantine Empire nor Russian, not Charles the Great nor Charles the Fifth nor Napoleon ever rivaled or approached.

We are usually apt to excuse the slower rate of liberal progress in our Old World by con- trasting the obstructive barriers of prejudice, survival, solecism, anachronism, convention, in- stitution, all so obstinately rooted, even when the branches seem bare and broken, in an old world, with the open and disengaged ground of the new. Yet in fact your difficulties were at least as formidable as those of the older civilizations into whose fruitful heritage you have entered. Unique was the necessity of this gigantic task of incorporation, the assimilation of people of divers faiths and race. A second difficulty was more formidable still — how to erect and work a powerful and wealthy State on such a system as to combine the centralized concert of a federal system with local independence, and to unite collective energy with the encouragement of in- dividual freedom.

This last difficulty that you have so success- fully up to now surmounted, at the present hour confronts the mother country and deeply per- plexes her statesmen. Liberty and union have been called the twin ideas of America. So, too, they are the twin ideals of all responsible men in Great Britain; altho responsible men differ among themselves as to the safest path on which to travel toward the common goal, and tho the 215

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