« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
can, not when we must. Avoid the humiliating, the disgraceful necessity. Make the first advances towards peace.
There is no time to be lost. Every moment is big with dangers. While I am speaking the decisive blow may be struck, and millions involved in the consequence. The very first drop will make a wound which years, perhaps ages, may not heal. I would not encourage America to proceed beyond the right line. I reprobate all acts of violence. But, when her inherent constitutional rights are invaded, then I own myself an American, and, feeling myself such, I shall, to the verge of my life, vindicate those rights against all men who would trample on or deny them.
4. Justice. — Sheridan.
The majesty of Justice, in the eyes of Mr. Hastings, is an object " not to be approached without solicitation; " an object to be propitiated with offerings and worshipped with sacrifices. But Justice is not this halt25 and miserable object. It is not an Indian pagod." It is not the portentous phantom of despair. It is not like any fabled monster, formed in the eclipse of reason, and found in some unhallowed grove of superstitious darkness and political dismay. No, my lords; in the happy reverse of all these, I turn from the disgusting caricature" to the real image! Justice I have now before me, august' and pure, the abstract idea of all that would be perfect in the spirit and aspirings of men; where the mind rises, where the heart expands; where the countenance is ever placid and benign; where her favorite attitude is to stoop to the unfortunate, to hear their cry and to help them, to succor and to save, to rescue and relieve; majestic from its mercy, venerable from its utility, uplifted without pride, firm without obduracy, beneficent in each preference, lovely though in her frown. On that justice I rely.
5. Impeachment Op Hastings. — Burke.
I impeach Warren Hastings, Esquire, of high crimes and misdemeanors. I impeach him, in the name of the Commons" of Great Britain, in parliament assembled, whose parliamentary trust he has betrayed. I impeach him, in the name of all the Commons of Great Britain, whose national character he has dishonored. I impeach him, in the name of the people of India, whose laws, rights, and liberties, he has subverted; whose properties he has destroyed, whose country he has laid waste and desolate. I impeach him, in the name and by virtue of those eternal laws of justice which he has violated. I impeach him, in the name of human nature itself, which he has cruelly outraged, injured, and oppressed, in both sexes, in every age, rank situation, and condition of life.
6. The Impracticable Undesirable. — Burke.
I know it is common for men to say that such and such things are perfectly right, — very desirable, — but that, unfortunately, they are not practicable. O, no, sir, no! Those things which are not practicable are not desirable. There is nothing in the world really beneficial that does not lie within the reach of an informed understanding and a well-directed pursuit. There is nothing that God has judged good for us that he has not given us the means to accomplish, both in the natural and the moral world. If we cry, like children, for the moon, like children we must cry on.
7. American Progress. — Burke.
Nothing in the history of mankind is like their progress. For my part, I never cast an eye on their flourishing commerce and their cultivated and commodious life, but they seem to me rather ancient nations grown to perfection through a long series of fortunate events, and a train of successful industry, accumulating wealth in many centuries, than the colonies of yesterday, — than a set of miserable outcasts, a few years ago, not so much sent as thrown out, on the bleak and barren shore of a desolate wilderness, three thousand miles from all civilized intercourse.
8. The Schoolmaster Is Abroad. — Lord Brougham.
There have been periods when the country heard with dismay that "the soldier was abroad." That is not the case now. Let the soldier be abroad; in the present age he can do nothing. There is another person abroad, — a less important person in the eyes of some, an insignificant person, whose labors have tended to produce this state of things. The schoolmaster is abroad! And I trust more to him, armed with his primer, than I do to the soldier in full military array, for upholding and extending the liberties of the country. The adversaries of improvement are wont to make themselves merry with what is termed the " march of intellect" and here, as far as the phrase goes, they are in the right. The conqueror moves in a march. He stalks onward with the "pride, pomp, and circumstance" of war, banners flying, shouts rending the air, guns thundering, and martial music pealing, to drown the shrieks of the wounded, and the lamentations for the slain.
Not thus the schoolmaster, in his peaceful vocation. Ha quietly advances in his humble path, laboring steadily till he has opened to the light all the recesses of ignorance, and torn up by the roots the weeds of vice. His is a progress not to be compared with anything like a march; but it leads to a far more brilliant triumph, and to laurels more imperishable than the destroyer of his species, the scourge of the world, ever won. Such men — men deserving the glorious title of Teachers of Mankind—I have found, laboring conscientiously, though, perhaps, obscurely, in their blessed vocation, wherever I have gone. Their calling is high and holy; their renown will fill the earth in after ages, in proportion as it sounds not far off in their own times.
9. Reply To M. De Brezis.* — Miraieau.
The Commons" of France have resolved to deliberate. We have heard the intentions that have been attributed to the king; and you, sir, who cannot be rec'ognized as his organ in the National Assembly, — you, who have here neither place, voice, nor right to speak,—you are not the person to bring to us a message of his. Go, say to those who sent you, that we are here by the power of the people, and that we will not be driven hence save by the power of the bayonet.
10. Men More Powerful Than Measures. — Canning.
Look at France, and see what we have to cope with, and consider what has made her what she is. A man. You will tell me that she was great, and powerful, and formidable, before the days of Bonaparte's government; that he found in her great physical and moral resources; that he had but to turn them to account. True, and he did so. Compare the situation in which he found118 France with that to which he has raised her. I am no panegyrist" of Bonaparte; but I cannot shut my eyes to the superiority of his talents, to the amazing ascendency of his genius. Tell me not of his measures and his policy. It is his genius, his character, that keeps the world in awe. Sir, to meet, to check, to curb, to stand up against him, we want arms of the same kind. I am far from objecting to the large military establishments which are proposed to you. I vote for them, with all my heart. But, for the purpose of coping with Bonaparte, one great commanding spirit is worth them all.
* On the occasion of his communicating to the National Assembly of France, June 23u, 1789, an order from the king for their dispersion.
11. On Resistance To British Oppression. — Patrick Henry.
The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the active, the vigilant, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election! If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged. Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston. The war is inevitable, and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come! It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry Peace! peace! but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field. Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Heaven! I know not what course others may take; but, as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!
12. The American Union.— Webster.
When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on states dissevered, discordant, belligerent;" on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and 4 .lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original lustre, not a stripe erased or polluted, nor a single star obscured, bearing for its motto no such miserable interrog'atory as, " What is all this worth?" nor those other words of delusion and folly, "Liberty first, and union afterward; " but everywhere spread all • over in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart, — Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!
13. Civil War. — Henry Clay.
Yes, I have ambition; but it is the ambition of being the humble instrument, in the hands of Providence, to reconcile a distracted people, once more to revive concord and harmony in a distracted land, — the pleasing ambition of contem'plating the glorious spectacle of a free, united, prosperous, and fraternal people! If there be any who want civil war, — who want to see the blood of any portion of our countrymen spilt, — I am not one of them. I wish to see war of no kind; but, above all, do I not desire to see a civil war. When war begins, whether civil or foreign, no human foresight is competent to .foresee when, or how, or where, it is to terminate. But when a civil war shall be lighted up in the bosom of our own happy land, and armies are marching, and commanders are winning their victories, and fleets are in motion on our coast, — tell me, if you can, tell me, if any human being can tell, its duration! God alone knows where such * war will end!
CXXVI. — ELEGY" WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCH-YARD,
1. The curfew" tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
2. Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
3. Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower
The moping owl does to the moon complain
4. Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, Each in his narrow cell forever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet" sleep.
5. The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed,
6. For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife" ply her evening care;
7. Oft did the harvest to their sickle" yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke.
8 Let not Ambition mock their useful toil.