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PREFACE.

h.30 Wic. Bryant,

OJ 1-18-04

Convivial festivals are of frequent occurrence in the city of New York. Hitherto gentlemen only have attended them. At one recently held at Delmonico's the propriety. of the presence of ladies on such occasions came up for discussion at one of the tables, and but one .gentleman was found gallant enough to advocate such an innovation. He urged his views, however, with a warmth and cogency that drove his old fogy adversaries to the wall, who finding themselves whipped in a fair fight of facts, ordered forward, as cunning debaters always do, when they have to cover the retreat of repulsed logic, ridicule's" reserved corps and attempted to laugh him out of the field. His only rejoinder to this was a promise to teach them as early as occasion would permit a civilizing lesson in a practical form. Looking into the future he saw near at hand the natal day of Robert Burns, and seizing upon it by the dint of indefatigable energy soon obtained the consent of one hundred and fifty gentlemen to co-operate with him in the celebration of that event at the banquet board, at which the presence of ladies as guests, it was distinctly understood, was to be made a prominent feature.

Gifted orators and poets were at once applied to, to respond in speeches and poems to toasts, and as the result will appear in this pamphlet, upon this brilliant chapter in the banquet's history, all that is left to be said, is, that, flattering as the verdict of the reader is bound to be, it will amount to but faint praise when contrasted with the enthusiastic plaudits of the listeners. The orators there, were many, upon whose lips the mystic bee had dropped the

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honey of persuasion, and thrill after thrill swept along the cords of every heart present “as apples of gold set in pictures of silver ” descended in musical tones and sunshine showers, brightening the eyes of beauty and electrifying the sensibilities and intelligence of all. Poet's declaimed poems that filled the atinosphere of fancy with the intoxicating fragrance of imagery, and sweet singers sang sweetly Burns' sweetest songs. About one hundred ladies, of rare beauty and exalted social position, graced the occasion and placed the propriety of the presence of the gentler sex at the banquet board upon a basis of respectability against which vulgarians beyond the reach of woman's refining influence, and bachanalians, who are always unhappy when they are decently sober, may rail till doomsday, but never will unsettle. Such an occasion had no attractions for frivolous feminines, and it followed naturally that the beauty present was cast in a mould of ripe culture and refined intellectuality, which, heightened as it was by the electrical effects of eloquence, the enchanting influences of music, and the general animation of so brilliant an assemblage, reacted upon the orators, poets and singers, making the eloquent more eloquent, the wittiest wittier, fancy's flights bolder, and music's tones sweeter until the happiness of the occasion culminated in a scene magnificenily dazzling.

The Hon. David Dudley Field presided with consummate grace and intrepid dignity, assisted gracefully by Judge J. R. Whiting, Wilson G. Hunt, and John Roberton, as Vice Presidents.

Some allusions have been made in the press to the propriety of one of the toasts. A toast is designed either to call out anybody's sentiments upon some special subject, or some special body's sentiment upon any subject. A large majority of the subscribers to this festival were judges and lawyers, and as it was a Scotch event being celebrated we insist that save the “ Memory of Burns” and “ Minstrelsy no toast could have been more eminently proper than was that of the Scotch Jurist,” under the circumstances, espe

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