Old Settler's Association of Grayson County, Vol. 1. Page: 75 of 322 (Transcription)
Courier Report of Picnic Contd [abbr: continued]
When Uncle Ben had pronounced the solemn farewell, Capt. [abbr: Captain] Woods invited all the old settlers to form in line in the rear of the stand, and as in former years, take a parting hand-shake before departing for home. All the members rallied to the parting and with hearts filled with emotion and tear moistened cheeks, took an affectionate leave of their old friends for another year. The night was so bright and gentle south winds so inviting that nearly everybody hitched up their teams to drive home before the heat of another day's sun appeared, and some of them who lived as far away as twenty miles away took the road and started out with the firm conviction that this last was the largest, the best and the most delightful meeting yet held since their organization.
It is a noticeable fact tht every returning year sees the crowds grow larger, and the harmony and good fellowship of the old settlers more and more impressing its lessons on the present population of our county. It is a grand organization.
An Eloquent Oration.
We publish below an exact the eloquent speech of Ridley Dean, Esq. [abbr: Esquire], delivered before the meeting of the Old Settlers on the morning of August 21st, at Sherman, Texas. It needs no word of comment from us, but speaks its own praise in words far more impressive than any we can employ: Permit me to say why San Jacinto stands out as one of the [gap: illegible] tops of history. it alone [gap: illegible] the United States of the [gap: illegible] and nations of Europe to finally recognize the previously [gap: illegible] independence of the [gap: illegible] republic. At that time the most improtant event in the history of the United States, after the successful termination of the Revolutionary War, was the purchase in [gap: illegible] from the First Consul of [gap: illegible] of that vast territory, known as the Lousiana Purchase. oundaries were not well defined Texas having been bought old as the exigencies of Europe diplomacy required, the government at Washington set up and indefinite claim to its history, as part of the Lousiana Purchase. But the claims of the English crown subsequently in 1819, extinguishment of this title to Florida, the United States, by Solemn treaty stipulate relinquished all claims whatever to Texas. She then became propertly of the haughty [gap: illegible] an absolute title guaranteed to strongest goverment on continent, and aquiesced in, notions of Europe. The [gap: illegible] struggle of the Mexican [gap: illegible] which soon followed to [gap: illegible] off the Spanish yoke and constitution, left Texas a [gap: illegible] Mexico by a title as perfect of our government to any State of the Union. This then was the attitude of the government of the government of the United States towards Texas, at the beginning of her revolution. Ignorant, or unmindful, of the vast resources and marvelous capacity of this broad land, they had solemnly treated away every shadow of claim to the sovereignty of Texas, for the orange groves and everglades of Florida. hence the Inestimable value of San Jacinto--for nothing but victory to the Texan arms--victory complete, decisive, overwhelming--just such a victor, as San Jacinto, only, presents, could have justified the United States in the eyes of civilized notions in officially recognizing Texas independence.
Acknowledgment of the independence of Texas led inevitably [gap: illegible] as the larger attracts the smaller body. Texas was an orphan among nations--a maiden to the forest, whose beauty and riches excited the cupidity of kingdoms and republics alike. In her helplessness, it was natural that she should turn to the mother of the colonists, who had so gloriously inaugurated and consumated her successful revolution. Her appeal was not unheeded. Before her cry for protection from the great sisterhood of States, the white plume of Henry Clay went down, never to rise again in the ascendant. Henceforth, her destiny was to be that of the Great Republic, which still exists to refute all previous speculations upon the art of government and the divine rights of annointed rulers.
It was a sublime spectacle. A sovereign State, whose independence was disputed by the defeated mother country only, voluntarily and gladly yielding the dearest insignia of her soverignity. But she was building wiser than she knew. She had been taught in a different school of thought, and knew not that she was yielding her crown jewels to the strong arm of the giant. From the foundation of the American government, there had been two theories of interpretation running thtough her institutions, of equal power in perpetual conflcit like the twin spirits of good and evil in the Parss religion. The very constitution of the fathers, that compendium of political wisdom was a compromise between these conflicting principles. The one taught a nation, with the power of self-preservation and of [gap: illegible]--the others taught a league of sovereign States, yielding nothing of their autonomy, except what was "nominated in the bond." The young republic, being in a southern land and born beneath southern skies, believed in this latter doctrine, while yielding her crown of soverignity at the feet of the great Nation.
But without the annexation of Texas, there would have been no "even and systematical development" of the great republic, from ocean to ocean and from the great lakes to the gulf as we now behold it. Annexation was the sole and direct cause of the war with Mexico, which shed so much lustre upon American arms, and ended in the treaty of Guadaloup HIdalgo. By that treaty supplemented by the purchase of the Messilla valley, and the extinguishment of the claims of Great Britain to the Oregon territory, the United States extended their jurisdiction, by an undisputed title, over that vast extent of territory, reaching from the Sabine to the Pacific ocean--a territory greater than that of the original thirteen states, and exceeding that of the Louisana Purchase. It brought us many fertile valleys and rich plains and a wide sea coast, with the beauty and grandeur of lofty mountains and deep canyons. It brought us the fruits and the gold of California, the silver of Nevada and Colorado, together with the unknown millions of wealth that lie hidden in the rock-ribbed mountains of Arizona and New Mexico. It placed us in almost as close juxtaposition with the nations of Asia, as we were in with the nations of Western Europe. And the blessings which shall flow to mankind, from the influence of the United States, thus enlarged, and from the products of her inventive genius and industry, thence sent abroad over the globe, are beyond the power of finite manner to computate. I stand appalled at the thought, and exclaim with one of old, "O, God! have I not seen the glory of Thy handiwork?"
Thus we trace that train of movements of such vast moment to the human race, directly to the Texas Revolution, and to the little battle one afternoon on the flowery banks of San Jacinto. With all its blood and its carnage, its gloom and its sorrow, it was a well-spring to the human race. The men of San Jacinto never smile in speaking of the achievements of that day. it was too pregnant with fate--it was too shadowy with the arms of Omnipotence. Solemly, like Henry of Monmouth after the battle of Agincourt, those heroic spirits felt, as we feel today, that to God alone was the victory due.
"The San Jacinto river told,
The story to the sea,
And Europe, listening from afar,
Proclaimed young Texas free,
And over sea and over land,
Her beauty shone [corr: shown] afar,
And lords and princes came to view,
The new republic star."
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Old Settlers Association (Grayson County, Tex.). Old Settler's Association of Grayson County, Vol. 1., book, 1879 - 1899; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth11279/m1/75/transcription/: accessed December 2, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Old Settler's Association of Grayson County.