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I rejoice that I have lived to see so much development of truth -so much progress of liberty—so much diffusion of virtue and happiness. And, through good report and evil report, it will be my consolation to be a citizen of a republic unequalled in the annals of the world, for the freedom of its institutions, its high prosperity, and the prospects of good which lie before it. Our course, gentlemen, is onward, straight onward, and forward. Let us not turn to the right hand, nor to the left. Our path is marked out for us, clear, plain, bright, distinctly defined, like the milky-way across the heavens. If we are true to our country, in our day and generation, and those who come after us shall be true to it also, assuredly, assuredly, we shall elevate her to a pitch of prosperity and happiness, of honor and power, never yet reached by any nation beneath the sun.
7. THE MORAL EFFECTS OF INTEMPERANCE.—Beecher.
The sufferings of animal nature occasioned by intemperance, my friends, are not to be compared with the moral agonies which convulse the soul. It is an immortal being, who sins and suffers; and, as his earthly house dissolves, he is approaching the judgment-seat, in anticipation of a miserable eternity. He feels his captivity, and in anguish of spirit clanks his chain and cries for help. Conscience thunders, remorse goads, and, as the gulph opens before him, he recoils, and trembles, and weeps, and prays, and resolves, and promises, and reforms, and “seeks it yet again," again resolves, and weeps,
and “seeks it yet again!" Wretched man! he has placed himself in the hands of a giant, who never pities, and never relaxes his iron gripe. He may struggle, but he is in chains. He may cry for release, but it comes not; and lost! lost! may be inscribed upon the door-posts of his dwelling In the meantime these paroxysms of his dying moral nature decline, and a fearful apathy, the harbinger of spiritual death, comes on. His resolution fails, and his mental energy, and his vigorous enterprise ; and nervous irritation and depression ensue. The social affections lose their fulness and tenderness, and conscience loses its power, and the heart its sensibility, until all that was once lovely and of good report retires, and leaves the wretch abandoned to the appetites of a ruined animal. In this deplorable condition, reputation expires, business falters and becomes perplexed, and temptations to drink multiply, as inclination to do so increases, and the power
of resistance declines. And now the vortex roars, and the struggling victim buffets the fiery wave with feebler stroke, and warning supplication, until despair flashes upon his soul, and, with an outcry that pierces the heavens, he ceases to strive, and disappears.
There is a classic, the best the world has ever seen, the noblest that has ever honored and dignified the language of mortals. If we look into its antiquity, we discover a title to our veneration, unrivalled in the history of literature. If we have respect to its evidences, they are found in the testimony of miracle and prophecy; in the ministry of man, of nature and of angels, yea, even of “ God, manifest in the flesh,” of “God, blessed for ever.” If we consider its authenticity, no other pages have survived the lapse of time, that can be compared with it. If we examine its authority, for it speaks as never man spake, we discover, that it came from heaven, in vision and prophecy, under the sanction of Him, who is Creator of all things, and the Giver of every good and perfect gift. If we reflect on its truths, they are lovely and spotless, sublime and holy, as God himself, unchangeable as his nature, durable as his righteous dominion, and versatile as the moral condition of mankind. If we regard the value of its treasures, we must estimate them, not like the relics of classic antiquity, by the perishable glory and beauty, virtue and happiness of this world, but by the enduring perfection and supreme felicity of an eternal kingdom. If we inquire, who are the men, that have recorded its truths, vindicated its rights, and illustrated the excellence of its scheme_from the depth of ages and from the living world, from the populous continent and the isles of the seacomes forth the answer—the patriarch and the prophet, the evangelist and the martyr. If we look abroad through the world of men, the victims of folly or vice, the prey of cruelty, or injustice, and inquire what are its benefits, even in this temporal state, the great and the humble, the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak, the learned and the ignorant reply, as with one voice, that humility and resignation, purity, order and peace, faith, hope and charity, are its blessings upon earth. And if, raising our eyes from time to eternity, from the world of mortals to the world of just men made perfect, from the visible creation, marvellous, beautiful and glorious as it is, to the
invisible creation of angels and seraphs, from the footstool of God, to the throne of God himself, we ask, what are the blessings that flow from this single volume, let the question be answered by the pen of the evangelist, the harp of the prophet, and the records of the book of life.
Such is the best of classics the world has ever admired; such, the noblest that man has ever adopted as a guide.
TWO CENTURIES FROM THE LANDING OF THE PILGRIMS.
Crafts. If, on this day, after the lapse of two centuries, one of the fathers of New-England, released from the sleep of death, could reappear on earth, what would be his emotions of joy and wonder! In lieu of a wilderness, here and there interspersed with solitary cabins, where life was scarcely worth the danger of preserving it, he would behold joyful harvests, a population crowded even to satiety-villages, towns, cities, states, swarming with industrious inhabitants, hills graced with temples of devotion, and vallies vocal with the early lessons of virtue. Casting his eye on the ocean, which he passed in fear and trembling, he would see it covered with enterprising fleets returning with the whale as their captive, and the wealth of the Indies for their cargo. He would behold the little colony which he planted, grown into gigantic stature, and forming an honorable part of a glorious confederacy, the pride of the earth and the favorite of heaven.
He would witness with exultation the general prevalence of correct principles of government and virtuous habits of action. How gladly would he gaze upon the long stream of light and renown from Harvard's classic fount, and the kindred springs of Yale, of Providence, of Dartmouth and of Brunswick. Would you fill his bosom with honest pride, tell him of Franklin, who made thunder sweet music, and the lightning innocent fireworks-of Adams, the venerable sage reserved by heaven, himself a blessing, to witness its blessing on our nation-of Ames, whose tongue became, and has become an angel's— of Perry,
“Blest by his God with one illustrious day,
A blaze of glory, ere he passed away.” And tell him, pilgrim of Plymouth, these are thy descendants. Show him the stately structures, the splendid benevolence, the masculine intellect, and the sweet hospitality of the me
tropolis of New-England. Show him that immortal vessel, whose name is synonymous with triumph, and each of her masts a sceptre. Show him the glorious fruits of his humble enterprise, and ask him if this, all this be not an atonement for his sufferings, a recompense for his toils, a blessing on his efforts, and a heart-expanding triumph for the pilgrim adventurer.
And if he be proud of his offspring, well may they boast of their parentage.
THE HEROES OF THE LAST WAR.-Dorsey.
Sir,-As a military commander, General Jackson assuredly deserves to be ranked with the most eminent. In decision of character, in resoluteness and perseverance in action, in ardor of spirit and force of volition, he has probably few superiors. But survey the list of heroes, who crowned themselves with laurels during the last war, and ask yourselves if some of them too did not perform splendid achievements, worthy of legislative commemoration.
Sir, where is Croghan, the chivalrous Croghan? At an age, when it can scarcely be supposed that his mind was imbued in the elementary principles of military knowledge, he performed a series of splendid actions, the sublimity of which partakes more of romance than military history. Where is the lamented . Lawrence, who grappled with his foe till humanity wept and tore down the flag-and, when in the agonies of death, he wrapped himself up in his country's flag, and convulsively articulated the energetic words, “don't give up the ship."
“The light which led him on,
Was light from Heaven.” Sir, the most triumphant death, is that of the martyr; the most awful, that of the martyred patriot; the most splendid, that of the hero in the moment of victory; and if the Phæton and horses of fire had been destined for Lawrence's translation, he could scarcely have departed in a brighter blaze of glory.
Where, sir, are the names of the highminded, magnanimous Perry, the gallant Decatur, the stern and inflexible Porter, Brown, Scott, Ripley, and Harrison? Poetry may attempt to delineate their actions—the chisel of Praxitiles may essay itthe republican historian may record the dry details of their various achievements, but the intense interest, the deep passion,
and the high patriotism which prompted these warriors to acts of daring and bravery, and wrapped their country in one universal blaze of glory, can never be fairly impressed. Genius is unequal to the task.
11. A CENTURY FROM THE BIRTH OF WASHINGTON.-Webster.
Gentlemen, we are at the point of a century from the birth of Washington; and what a century it has been! During its course, the human mind has seemed to proceed with a sort of geometric velocity, accomplishing, for human intelligence, and human freedom, more than had been done in fives or tens of centuries preceding. Washington stands at the commencement of a new era, as well as at the head of the new world. А century from the birth of Washington has changed the world. The country of Washington has been the theatre on which a great part of that change has been wrought; and Washington himself a principal agent by which it has been accomplished. His age and his country are equally full of wonders ! and of both he is the chief.
If the prediction of the poet, uttered a few years before his birth, be true ; if indeed it be designed by Providence that the grandest exhibition of human character and human affairs shall be made on this theatre of the western world ; if it be true that,
“The four first acts already past,
Time's noblest offspring is the last ;" how could this imposing, swelling, final scene, be appropriately opened, how could its intense interest be adequately sustained, but by the introduction of just such a character as our Washington?
Washington had attained his manhood when that spark of liberty was struck out in his own country, which has since kindled into a flame, and shot its beams over the earth. In the flow of a century from his birth, the world has changed in science, in arts, in the extent of commerce, in the improvement of navigation, and in all that relates to the civilization of man. But it is the spirit of human freedom, the new elevation of individual man, in his moral, social, and political character, leading the whole long train of other improvements, which has most remarkably distinguished the era. Society, in this century, has not made its progress, like Chinese skill, by a greater acuteness of ingenuity in trifles; it has not merely lashed