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held in such affectionate reverence for wisdom and goodness and valor, and for the service he rendered to the country he so devotedly loved, that while we know, in reason, that he had the human limitations of a man, — frailties, errors, — yet the imagination and the heart do so interpose, as to render it difficult for us, looking through the haze of distance and his transfiguring renown, to reduce that majestic personality to the common human proportions, either as to his person or his character.
12. Let an eminent British orator and statesman furnish in one sentence a fit measurement of him, and save us from the extravagance into which we might be carried by our affection and gratitude for one who was the father of his country, and that country our own. “It will be the duty of the historian and sage of all nations," writes Lord Brougham, “ to let no occasion pass of commemorating this illustrious man; and until time shall be no more, will a test of the progress which our race has made in wisdom and virtue be derived from the veneration paid to the immortal name of Washington."
CXV. - THE SONG OF THE SHIRT.
A monument to Hood was erected in Kensal-green near London in 1854. It consists of a large bronze bust of Hood, elevated on a pedestal of red granite. On a slab beneath the bust is his own self-inscribed epitaph, — “ He sang the Song of the Shirt.” A remarkable impulse was given by this song in England to the movement on behalf of the distressed needlewomen.
See in Index, DOLOROUS, SEW, HOOD.
A woman sat, in unwomanly rags,
Stitch! stitch! stitch!
And still, with a voice of dolorous pitch, She sang the “ Song of the Shirt.”
And work — work — work,
Along with the barbarous Turk,
Work — work — work,
Seam, and gusset, and band,
Till over the buttons I fall asleep,
“O, men, with sisters dear!
O, men, with mothers and wives !
Stitch - stitch - stitch,
That phantom of grisly bone, I hardly fear his terrible shape,
It seems so like my own
It seems so like my own,
Because of the fasts I keep,
And flesh and blood so cheap!
“ Work — work — work ! My labor never flags; And what are its wages ? A bed of straw,
A crust of bread, and rags, –
A table - a broken chair -
For sometimes falling there !
“ Work — work — work ! From weary chime to chime !
Work — work — work,
Band, and gusset, and seam,
Seam, and gusset, and band, Till the heart is sick, and the brain benumbed, As well as the weary hand.
And work — work — work,
The brooding swallows cling,
Of the cowslip and primrose sweet — With the sky above my head
And the grass beneath my feet! For only one short hour
To feel as I used to feel,
Before I knew the woes of want,
And the walk that costs a meal !
“O! but for one short hour
A respite, however brief !
But only time for grief !
But in their briny bed
With eyelids heavy and red,
Stitch ! stitch! stitch !
She sang this “ Song of the Shirt.”
CXVI. - UNIVERSAL EMANCIPATION.
The following remarks are from a speech on the proposed amendment of the Constitution, abolishing slavery throughout the United States, delivered in the Senate of the United States, April 8, 1864.
See, in Index, ARCHANGEL, DEFENSE or DEFENCE, PARLIAMENTARY, GILES, SUMNER.
1. MR. PRESIDENT, thus stands the case. There is nothing in the Constitution on which slavery can rest, or find any the least support. Even on the face of that instrument it is an outlaw ; but if we look further into its provisions, we find at least four distinct sources of
power, which, if executed, must render slavery impossible, while the preamble makes them all vital for freedom : first, the power to provide for the common defense and general welfare ; secondly, the power to raise armies and maintain navies ; thirdly, the power to guarantee to every State a republican form of government; and, fourthly, the power to secure liberty to every person restrained without due process of law.
2. But all these provisions are something more than powers; they are duties also. And yet we are constantly and painfully reminded in this chamber that our pending measures against slavery are unconstitutional. Sir, this is an immense mistake. Nothing against slavery can be unconstitutional. It is only hesitation which is unconstitutional.
3. And yet slavery still exists, — in defiance of all these requirements of the Constitution; nay, more, in defiance of reason and justice, which can never be disobeyed with impunity, — it exists, the perpetual spoiler of human rights and disturber of the public peace, degrading master as well as slave, corrupting society, weakening government, impoverishing the very soil itself, and impairing the natural resources of the country. Such an outrage, so offensive in every respect, not only to the Constitution, but also to the whole system of order by which the universe is governed, is plainly a national nuisance, which for the general welfare, and in the name of justice, ought to be abated.
4. But at this moment, when it menaces the national life, it will not be enough to treat slavery merely as a nuisance ; for it is much more. It is a public enemy and traitor wherever it shows itself, — to be subdued, in the discharge of solemn guarantees of government and of personal rights, and in the exercise of unquestionable and indefeasible rights of self-defense. All now admit that in the rebel States it is a public enemy
ber of the ofrupting very soil