Speech at a gathering in honor of the occasion.

Ladies and Gentlemen: That a little child should have been born of respectable people in moderate circumstances, in the British colony of Virginia, February 22, 1732, is not of itself a remarkable fact, especially as the child differed little from other children at birth. It is a very common occurrence in these days, in Virginia, and in all parts of the globe. But once in a while it has happened that the nativity of one of these little ones who are continually coming into the world derives great interest from the wit, wisdom, genius, or prowess of the individual, gradually displayed after he has entered "the world's broad field of battle," and has won victories, in either war or peace, which Fame proudly blazons on her scroll. A baby seems a very little thing - a toy, a doll - to be loved and petted and played with. An apple-seed is another little thing, seemingly of no special value in itself; but the seed and the child, if properly treated, grow up together and may become a valuable, fruit-bearing tree and an energetic, wise and useful man. So when the boy-baby came into the household of Augustine Washington, one hundred and fifty years ago to-day, in Westmoreland county, Virginia, there was really nothing to distinguish him from any other child born into that county about that time, except the family to which he belonged, and that was not particularly noted. But the tremendous consequences that this event wrought in the history of Great Britain, America and the world at large have filled the trump of Fame for a hundred years, and founded one of the grandest nations of the globe. I am not here, to-day, to recount in detail the early trials, the noble acts of the youth, the arduous labors of the man, the steps by which he climbed to his honored niche in the history of mankind. With these things we are familiar; but we are here to rejoice, with millions of our countrymen, that ever George Washington was born; to rejoice that he was the great and good man appointed by Providence to cheer and guide an oppressed people to a better and nobler condition of life, where they could enjoy personal and political freedom, pursue happiness and found a nation of such breadth, such grandeur, such liberty, that it might become the asylum of the poor and downtrodden of all nations. Washington was only human; subject to the errors and infirmities of our common nature; yet by will and circumstances fitted far above his fellows for the mission which he had to fulfill. As a man he was noble; as a soldier he was firm and brave and shrewd; as a hero he won the confidence of the people; as a patriot he triumphed over tyranny; as a statesman he left the im-press of his character upon the institutions of his country. He was emphatically "the man of the time," and there seldom comes a time in human affairs when a good and great man - great in manhood, wisdom and energy - is not useful. There is one other in our national history, who, like Washington, came from the ranks of ordinary life to leave the stamp of his sturdy integrity, wisdom, and usefulness upon bis age and country. It was Abraham Lincoln; and it is very difficult to refer to either Washington or Lincoln, in thought or word, without remembering the other and the services each rendered in behalf of humanity and good government. If Washington possessed a peculiar talent, a shrewdness, an executive power fitted to the destiny he accomplished, so did Lincoln, more than any other living man, possess attributes which admirably fitted him for his great work. And as with one, so with the other; when his mission on earth was fully accomplished he lay down, blessed and honored, to a hero's rest. Well may we, year by year, assemble in honor of the birth of Washington, and on the same day unite in one grand sentiment - "The memory of Washington and Lincoln."