Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/260

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


THE WORLD'S FAMOUS ORATIONS

What, cries the skeptic, what has become of all the hopes of the time when France stood upon the top of golden hours ? Do not let us fear the challenge. Much has come of them. And over the old hopes time has brought a stratum of new.

Liberalism is sometimes suspected of being cold to these new hopes, and you may often hear it said that Liberalism is already superseded by Socialism. That a change is passing over party names in Europe is plain, but you may be sure that no change in name will extinguish these principles of society which are rooted in the nature of things, and are accredited by their suc- cess. Twice America has saved Liberalism in Great Britain. The War for Independence in the eighteenth century was the defeat of usurp- ing power no less in England than here. The War for Union in the nineteenth century gave the decisive impulse to a critical extension of suffrage, and an era of popular reform in the mother country. Any miscarriage of democracy here reacts against progress in Great Britain.

If you seek the real meaning of most modern disparagement of popular or parliamentary gov- ernment, it is no more than this, that no politics will suffice of themselves to make a nation's soul. What could be more true ? Who says it will ? But we may depend upon it that the soul will be best kept alive in a nation where there is the highest proportion of those who, in the phrase of an old worthy of the seventeenth century, think it a part of a man's religion to see to it that his country be well governed. 222

�� �