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Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 1. History
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
It has been justly said that "Nations that fail to give due recognition to the achievements and the characters of the able men among them who have aided in the upbuilding of their institutions, either still linger within the trammels of barbarism or are moving on the downward path toward decadence."
In our conclusion, we desire to recur to the work of the noble pioneers to the extent necessary to enable us, by recalling the actions and struggles of the peaceful dead and the aged living, to fix the duty of those of this generation - the heirs of the wise government and social structure which our forefathers founded.
A similarity exists between the federal constitution-framers in their struggle for a foundation. Local governments are formed from local wants, and they advance in intellectuality as surely as do their morals progress. This is the evolution of civilized peoples.
An occasional contrariety of opinion may have arisen as to the steps required to carry out a common purpose. One class may have favored a wide scope of power, the other a narrower declaration. The township organization must conform to the county declaration; the county declaration must subserve to the state, and the state to the federal. Reforms must of necessity begin at the first declaration, however crude they may be. Enlightened by love of country and devotion to civil liberty, the pioneers trusted to the people, who were to be governed by their seeming crude democratic dictum, whom they trusted would successfully work out the problems left unsolved.
Thus it is true to say that the gratitude which we owe to our fathers is due, not to those who were democrats, or those who were whigs, or to Presbyterians, or Methodists, or Universalists, but to all alike; for a common love of country and willingness to make intellectual sacrifices for its benefit on the part of all-called the newer era into being. Had they not self-abnegated themselves in refusing to insist upon the full adoption, each of their individual views, that flexibility so necessary to enable adjustment of questions as they might arise, think you that the situation would not have been hopelessly wrecked?
As we thus acclaim and stand upon our reflection, let us ask how may we fit ourselves to discharge the duty which we are called upon to do? By keeping in our hearts a devotion to country, a love of free government, and a reverence for the institutions which the fathers have given us; and by reflection on the hard-wrought endeavors of those who opened the way; to rekindle in all our hearts a keener purpose to preserve and perpetuate that which is, in reality, a precious gift.
All honor and reverence to the pioneers whose iron will and perseverance determined the caste for all time to come, by which we now enjoy the highest type of civilization. May civil liberty not pass away from the face of the earth.