Excerpt from The Sifted Grain and the Grain Sifters: An of at the Dedication of the Building of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, at Madison, October, 19, 1900 Such are my texts; but, while I propose to preach from them largely and to them in a degree, I am not here to try to instruct you today in the history of your own State of Wisconsin, or in the magic record relating to the development of what we see fit to call the North west. Indeed I am not here as an individual at all nor as one in any way specially qualified to do justice to the occasion. I am here simply as the head for the time being of what is unquestionably the oldest historical society in America, and, if reference is made to societies organized exclusively for the preservation of historical material and the furtherance of historical research, one than which few indeed anywhere in existence are more ancient of years. As the head of the Massachusetts His torical Society, I have been summoned to contribute what I may in honor of the completion of this edifice, the future home of a similar society, already no longer young; - a society grown up in a country which, when the Massachusetts institution was formed, was yet the home of aboriginal tribes, a forest-clad region known only to the frontiersman and explorer. Under such circumstances, I did not feel that I had a right not to answer the call. It was as if in our older Massachusetts time the pastor of the Plymouth, or of the Salem or Boston Church had been invited to the gathering of some new brotherhood in the Connecticut Valley, or the lighting of another candle of the Lord on the Concord or the Nashua, there to preach the sermon of ordination and extend the right hand of fellowship.
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