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Shine, ye stars of heaven,
On the hours' slow flight!
See how Time rewarding
Gilds good deeds with light!
Pays with kingly measure;
Brings earth's dearest prize,
Or crowned with rays diviner,
Bids the end arise!


IT is a curious inquiry how long it takes to
make familiar acts and objects, dignified or
sublime, by incorporating them with history.
A fly, or a straw, in amber, would become
something grand if we could be sure it had
been there for a thousand years: and
we have ourselves examined, with a beating
heart, a piece of darning, unfinished, and
with the wooden needle stuck in ita piece
of Egyptian darning, begun before Abraham
was born, it is thought, and not finished yet.
The romp of a Spartan king with his children,
the geese of the Capitol, the drift weed that
Columbus saw, Newton's apple, and such
every-day matters have become sacred
through the noble associations with which
they are eternally linked: and thus in all
American minds, there is something soul-stirring
in the mention of certain tea, stamped
paper and snow-balls, which seem undignified
things enough to persons ignorant of their
historical significance. Why not tea as well
as geese? Why not snow-balls as well as
drift-weed, or an apple? So say the Americans
of Boston, to any ill-informed foreigner
who smiles at the smallness of the subject:
and the Boston people are right. That tea
was worth more to the world than all the
spices of the East. That stamped paper
carries to this day more value than all notes of
all banks: and not all the cannon now
pointed against Russia can send out balls so
weighted with results as those few snow-balls,
flung against a house eighty-four years
ago. The Boston people are right enough
about the dignity of those familiar things.
The pity is that some among them cannot
see that the like of what happened about
the year 'seventy may happen again; that
objects and subjects that appear to them
common, vulgar, low (as they are pleased to
say), may turn out to be more dignified and
sublime than all the gentility in the world.

Ninety years ago, every face in Boston was
invoking with one passion or another about
where to put a bundle of paper. Most of
the inhabitants were talking vehemently:
some were preaching calmly and solemnly;
and many were dumb with fear and anxiety;
and all about where to put a bundle of paper.
This paper was stamped, and had just arrived
from England. To admit it freely into the
colony and use it, would be to admit that the
British Parliament has the right to tax the
colonies without their consent. It would be
to give up the constitution of the province of
Massachusetts, under which the inhabitants
had lived, and desired still to live. It had
come to this:—that either that bundle of
stamps, or the Constitution of Massachusetts
should be waste paper; and the choice must
be made, which it should be. The choice
would be declared by the stamps being
received at the office, or deposited in the Castle,
to await advice from London, or be torn and
trampled, in declaration of war. The stamp-office
was found closed, the distributor having
resigned his office, in token of his individual
opinion. The Governor applied to both
Houses of the Legislature, and the upper
referred him to the lower, while the lower
refused to take any notice of the arrival of
the bundle. So there was nothing for it but
to lay up the bundle in the Castle. The
matter did not end there, even for the hour. No
business could be transacted without stamps,
in which written contracts were concerned;
the Courts of Justice were suspended; and
the legislature refused to pay for the escort
and guard which had been set over that
wonderful bundle of paper. Thence came burning
in effigy, processions and preparations for
a struggle, until obstinate King George had
been told that he must give way; and the
Stamp Act was repealed. The question was
(it must be observed), whether the constitution
of Massachusetts was to be overruled
by a distant parliament or not; in other
words, whether the constitution under which
the people were living was worth anything
or not. The citizens of Boston addressed
the King in a respectful and dutiful way,
assuring him that they earnestly desired the
continuance of the union with England, but
that they must maintain their rights under
that union.

Meantime, as King George and his ministers
chose to do some very offensive and illegal
thingsso many that we cannot stop to
describe them herethe merchants and other
citizens pledged themselves not to import or
use British goods; and knowing that, among
so many, some frail members would be
tempted to make large gains by smuggling,
they appointed a watch from the body of
merchants to see who was faithful, and
whether any attempted to violate their
pledge. In spite of prohibition from the
governor, the citizens met when they thought
proper about this business, and refused to
disperse when required to do so. So the
governor sent his British soldiers into the
streets, where the inhabitants, already in no
good humour with them, were exasperated by
the rudeness and downright grossness of some
of them. The very sight of arms was enough
to provoke a riot in the street. One February
day, in seventeen hundred and seventy,
when the snow lay thick in the streets,
some boys were carrying about caricatures
of the merchants who had been importing
English goods. A man, well known as an
informer, met them, and tried to persuade
a farmer who was passing to destroy

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