The Desolate Wilderness And The Fair Land
Continuing the special Thanksgiving edition of The Hedgehog Blog, we note that annually on Thanksgiving, since 1961, The Wall Street Journal has published two editorials. "The Desolate Wilderness" is the opening passage from "the chronicle of those memorable circumstances of the year 1620, as recorded by Nathaniel Morton, keeper of the records of Plymouth Colony, based on the account of William Bradford, sometime governor thereof," whose bust appears at the upper right.
"And The Fair Land" is an essay written in 1961 by Vermont Royster, who was then the editor of the Wall Street Journal. He noted that despite the obvious bounty of our nation, its citizens were afflicted with "an air of unease." Despite the passage of 45 years, many if not all of the sources of that unease will feel familiar to us all. "Of course the stranger cannot quiet their spirits. For it is true that everywhere men turn their eyes today much of the world has a truly wild and savage hue."
Yet, while not promising easy solutions, Mr. Royster nonetheless offered solace and hope:
"But we can all remind ourselves that the richness of this country was not born in the resources of the earth, though they be plentiful, but in the men that took its measure. For that reminder is everywhere--in the cities, towns, farms, roads, factories, homes, hospitals, schools that spread everywhere over that wilderness.
We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.
And we might remind ourselves also, that if those men setting out from Delftshaven had been daunted by the troubles they saw around them, then we could not this autumn be thankful for a fair land."
Happy Thanksgiving to the Hedgehog, his family, my family, our readers and their families as well. Thank you, God, for our countless blessings, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.