A Beautiful Picture

The man who stands upon his own soil – who feels that by the laws of the land in which he lives – by the laws of civilized nations – he is the rightful and exclusive owner of the land which he tills, is by the constitution of our nature under a wholesome influence, not easily imbibed by any other source.

He feels – other things being equal – more strongly than another, the character of a man who is the lord of an inanimate world. Of this great and wonderful sphere which fashioned by the hand of God, and upheld by his power, is rolling through the heavens, a part of his – his from the centre to the sky. It is the space on which the generation before him moved in its round of duties, and he feels himself connected by a visible link with those who follow him, and to whom he is to transmit a home.

Perhaps his farm has come down to him from his fathers . They have gone to their last home; but he can trace their last footsteps over the scenes of his daily labors. The roof which shelters him was reared by those to whom he owes his being. Some interesting domestic tradition is connected with every inclosure. The favorite fruit was planted by his father’s hand.

He sported in boyhood beside the brook which still winds through the meadows. Through the fields lies the path to the village school of early days. He still hears from his window the voice of the Sabbath bell which called his fathers to the house of God; and near at hand is the spot where his parents laid down to rest, and where, when his time has come, he shall be laid by his children.

These are the feelings of the owners of the soil. Words cannot paint them; gold cannot buy them; they flow out of the deepest fountains of the heart, they are the life-springs of a fresh, healthy and generous national character.

–Edward Everett

Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: The Christian Recorder
Date: May 11, 1861
Title: A Beautiful Picture
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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