« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
and told them that if they were there as private individuals, they were welcome; but if as the Council of State, they must know that the Parliament was dissolved, and with it also the Council. "Sir," replied Bradshaw, with the spirit of an ancient Roman, "we have heard what you did at the House this morning, and before many hours all England will know it. But, sir, you are mistaken to think that the Parliament is dissolved. No power under heaven can dissolve them but themselves; therefore, take you notice of that."
8. After this protest they withdrew. Thus, by the parricidal hands of its own children, perished the Long Parliament, which, under a variety of forms, had, for more than twelve years, defended and invaded the liberties of the nation. It fell without a struggle or a groan, unpitied and unregretted. The members slunk away to their homes, where they sought by submission to purchase the forbearance of their new master; and their partisans—if partisans they had —reserved themselves in silence for a day of retribution, which came not before Cromwell slept in his grave.
CXXIII. — DESCRIPTION OF EVENING.
When the planet Venus follows the sun, or appears in the evening, she is called Hesperus, the evening star; but the name now rarely occurs except in the old poets.
See in Index, Milton.
Now came still evening on, and twilight gray
CXXIV.— CONSTITUTIONAL EXTINCTION OF SLAVERY.
The following passages, slightly altered for the purpose of condensation, are trom a Bpeech delivered March 28, 1864, in the Senate of the United States, on the proposed amendment to the Constitution prohibiting slavery within the United States.
See in Index, Defense or Defence, Strew, Wilson.
1. Sib, it must now be apparent to all men that slavery in America, though upheld by interests, customs, and usages, trenched about by inhuman statutes, and hedged around by passionate, vehement, and unreasoning prejudices, is fast crumbling to atoms beneath the blows rained upon it by a liberty-loving and patriotic people. But let us listen to no truce, to no compromise, to no cry for mercy; let us now be as inflexible as justice, as inexorable as destiny. Wherever and whenever a blow can be dealt at the vitals of the retreating fiend, let that blow be struck in the name of the bleeding nation, and of the " dumb, toiling millions bought and sold."
2. A truce with slavery is a defeat for the nation; a compromise with slavery is a present of disaster and dishonor, and a future of anarchy and blood. Mercy to slavery is cruelty to liberty. The death of slavery is the annihilation of rebellion, the unity of the Republic, the life of the nation, the harmonious development of republican institutions, the repose, culture, and renown of the people.
3. Though riven and shattered by the storms of the stupendous civil war it inaugurated, slavery still battles for existence and dominion, with the reckless audacity of that desperation which sees with clear vision its impending doom. Though waning in power, slavery still retains in its grasp vast masses of men in the loyal States, ready to do its bidding, and presents in its defense a rampart of three hundred thousand gleaming bayonets. Those masses must be won over to the gathering hosts of freedom, and that rampart of glittering steel must go down before the advancing legions of the Republic, ere slavery sinks into the grave that knows no resurrection.
4. Let us not forget that the founders of the Republic believed slavery would wither and die beneath the blended rays of the Christian and democratic institutions they founded. Let us not forget that slavery was then a mendicant, pleading for forbearance and mercy, for a little time, to hide itself from the gaze of that humanity it outraged and dishonored.
5. Let us remember, too, how it eluded and deceived our fathers, and from a feeble mendicant became the master of the government and the people, until it consummated its crimes by the inauguration of the revolution to blot the North American Republic from the muster-roll of nations. Let us also remember that multitudes of our countrymen have been, and still are, its pliant instruments, ever swift to execute its decrees.
6. And now, when war has for nearly three years menaced the life of the nation, and filled two hundred thousand graves with our slain sons, let our crowning act against this relentless and unappeasable enemy of the country and its democratic institutions be this proposed amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting the existence of slavery forevermore in the Republic of the United States.
7. If this amendment shall be incorporated by the will of the nation into the Constitution of the United States, it will obliterate the last lingering vestiges of the slave system, — its brutalizing, degrading, and bloody codes; its dark, malignant, barbarizing spirit, — all it was and is,—everything connected with it or pertaining to it,—from the face of the nation it has seared with its moral desolation, from the bosom of the country it has reddened with blood and strewn with the graves of patriotism.
8. The incorporation of this amendment into the organic law of the nation will make impossible forevermore the reappearance of the discarded slave system and the returning of the despotism of the slavemaster's domination. Then, when this amendment to the Constitution shall be consum'mated, the shackles will fall from the limbs of the harmless bondmen, and the lash drop from the weary hand of the taskmaster.
9. Then the sharp cry of the agonizing hearts of severed families will cease to vex the weary ear of the nation, and to pierce the ear of Him whose judgments are now avenging the wrongs of centuries. Then the slave mart, pen, and auction-block, with their clanking fetters for human limbs, will disappear from the land they have brutalized, and the school-house will rise to enlighten the darkened intellect of a race imbruted by long years of enforced ignorance.
10. Then the sacred rights of human nature, the hallowed family relations of husband and wife, parent and child, will be protected by the guardian spirit of that law which makes sacred alike the proud homes and the lowly cabins of freedom. Then the scarred earth, blighted by the sweat and tears of bondage, will bloom again under the quickening culture of rewarded toil.
11. Then the wronged victim of the slave system, the poor white man, — the sand-hiller and the clay-eater of the wasted fields of Carolina, — impoverished, degraded, and dishonored by the system that makes toil a badge of disgrace, and the instruction of the brain and soul of man a crime, — will lift his abashed forehead to the skies, and begin to run the race of improvement, progress, and elevation. Then the nation, regenerated and disinthralled by the genius of universal emancipation, will enter on its new career of development, power, and glory, quickened, animated, and guided by the spirit of that Christian democracy which " pulls not the highest down, but lifts the lowest up."
CXXV. — THE RETURN FROM WAR.
This beautiful extract is from Coleridge's translation of the tragedy of Wallenstein. The passage should be read with great warmth of expression, in a clear middle pitch, with pure quality and varied inflections.
0 Day thrice lovely! when at length the soldier