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LXXXV. - DEATH OF GENERAL LYON.
NATHANIEL Lyon, a general of volunteers of the U. S. army, was killed at the battle of Wilson's Creek, Missouri, August 10, 1861. The enemy, having been reinforced, outnumbered his own forces, more than three to one. He was twice wounded early in the fight, but continued in the saddle, and was at last killed while making a charge at the head of a regiment which had lost its colonel. Born in 1819 at Eastford, Connecticut, Lyon graduated at West Point in 1841. By his energy and valor he did much to save Missouri to the Union. He was a devoted patriot, and, not being married, left his whole fortune by will to his country. His dying words to the faithful servant who attended him were, “ Lehman, I'm going up." The following beautiful lines by an anonymous writer are a worthy tribute to a true man and a noble soldier.
The saddest song of sorrow;
Ye from the winds can borrow;
Weep, flowers, in dewy splendor,
But never to surrender.
Up rose serene the August sun
Upon that day of glory;
The war-cloud gray and hoary;
Now broken and now blended,
And rank with rank contended.
Four thousand men, as brave and true
As e'er went forth in daring,
The strength of their despairing.
That patriot soldiers die on;
And at their head was Lyon!
Their leader's troubled soul looked forth
From eyes of thoughtful brightness ; Sad soul! the burden of the North
Had pressed out all its lightness.
His ranks all rent and gory,
v. “General, come lead us !” loud the cry
From a brave band was ringing, “ Lead us, and we will stop -- or die —
That battery's awful singing." He spurred to where his heroes stood, —
Twice wounded, - no wound knowing,
And cursed that aim so deadly,
And dyed his bosom redly !
The battle's furious billow, —
His place of burial cover,
A more devoted lover.
His love he gave her, dying, —
Beside her form who bore thee !
Long may the land thou diedst to save
Her bannered stars wave o'er thee!
And on Fame's glowing portal,
And grave thy name immortal !
LXXXVI. – EDUCATION IN A REPUBLIC.
The following passages are from an address at a county school convention, in 1838, where a resolution was under consideration which asserted the connection between public intelligence and a republican form of government.
See in Index, AGAIN, FRANCHISE, HUMBLE, NONE, SPHERE, SOVEREIGN, TOWARD, YEA, CARTHAGINIAN, EVERETT.
Delivery. The style is didactic and argumentative, requiring medium pitch, pure tones, varied inflections, and, in paragraphs 9 and 10, much animation in the expression.
1. THERE are two simple plans of government, on which, either pure and without qualification, or with some admixture of the two principles, all constitutions are constructed. One of them asserts that the people are the rightful source of power, both ultimate and direct; the other denies this proposition.
2. When Charles the First stood upon the scaffold, and a moment before he laid his head upon the block, so firm was his faith in the last-named principle, that he declared, with his dying breath, that “the people's right was only to have their life and their goods their own, — a share in the government being nothing pertaining to them.” The other plan is announced, in clear terms, in the constitution of Massachusetts: “The people of this Commonwealth have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves, as a free, sovereign, and independent state.”
3. Now, it might be thought, that, even on the theory of government which Charles sealed with his blood, education would be deemed a great popular interest, as teaching the methods, and furnishing some of the means, of preserving life and acquiring property, which he admitted to be within the right of the people. But, on the system established in the United States, where the people are not only in theory the source of power, but in practice are actually called upon, constantly, to take an efficient part in constituting and administering the government, it is plain that education is universally and indispensably necessary to enable them to know their rights and perform their duties.
4. But the exercise of the elective franchise is only the beginning of the duties of the citizen. The constitution makes it the right, the laws make it the duty, of all citizens, within certain ages, to bear arms. This right and duty, lightly esteemed in peaceful times, may become of fearful import. It will not then be a matter of indifference whether the lionor and peace of the community are committed to an ignorant and benighted multitude, like those which swell the ranks of the mercenary standing armies of Europe, or to an educated and intelligent population, whose powers of reflection have been strengthened by exercise, and who are able to discriminate between constitutional liberty and arbitrary power on the one hand, and anarchy on the other.
5. There are other civil duties to be performed. The law of the land calls the citizen to take a part in the administration of justice. Twelve men are placed in the jury-box, to decide on the numberless questions which arise in the community, -questions of character, of property, of life. Then the various official trusts in society are to be filled, from a constable up to the President of the United States. The sphere of duty of some of these functionaries is narrow; of others, large and inexpressibly responsible; of none, insignificant. Taken
together, they make up the administration of free government, — the greatest merely temporal interest of civilized man,
6. I have thus far spoken of those reasons for promoting common school education, which spring from the nature of our government. There are others, derived from the condition of our country. Individual enterprise is everywhere stimulated; the paths of adventure are opened ; the boundless West prevents the older settlements from being overstocked, and gives scope for an unexampled development of energy. Education is wanted to enlighten and direct those active, moving powers. Without it, much wild vigor will be exerted in vain.
7. The spirit of enterprise runs naturally toward the acquisition of wealth. In this I find no matter of reproach ; only let it not be a merely Carthaginian prosperity. Let a taste for reading and reflection be cultivated, as well as property acquired. Let us give our children the keys of knowledge as well as an establishment in business. Let them, in youth, form habits and tastes which will remain with them in after-life, in old age, and furnish rătional entertainment at all times.
8. When we collect the little circle, at the family board and at the fireside, in our long winter evenings, let us be able to talk of subjects of interest and importance, — the productions and institutions of our own and foreign countries; the history of our venerated fathers; the wonders of the material universe; the experience of our race ; great moral interests and duties ;' - subjects surely as important as dollars and cents. Let us, from early years, teach our children to rise above the dust beneath their feet, to the consideration of the great spiritual concerns of immortal natures.
9. It is a mistake to suppose that it is necessary to be a professional man in order to have lēisure to indulge a taste for reading. Far otherwise. No leisure