Obrazy na stronie

But is there no ray of hope? Is not Great Britain inhabited by the children of those renowned barons, who

waded through seas of crimson gore to establish their 55 liberty? and will they not allow us, their fellow men, to

enjoy that freedom which we claim from nature, which is confirmed by our constitution, and which they pretend so highly to value? Were a tyrant to conquer us, the

chains of slavery, when opposition should become use60 less, might be supportable; but to be shackled by Eng

lishmen, -by our equals,-is not to be borne. By the sweat of our brow we earn the little we possess; from nature we derive the common rights of man; and by

charter we claim the liberties of Britons. Shall we, dare 65 we, pusillanimously surrender our birthright? Is the

obligation to our fathers discharged? Is the debt we owe posterity paid? Answer me, thou coward, who hidest thyself in the hour of trial! If there is no reward

in this life, no prize of glory in the next, capable of ani70 mating thy dastard soul, think and tremble, thou mis

creant! at the whips and stripes thy master shall lash thee with on earth,—and the flames and scorpions thy second master shall torment thee with hereafter!

Oh, my countrymen! what will our children say, 15 when they read the history of these times, should they

find that we tamely gave away, without one noble struggle, the most invaluable of earthly blessings! As they drag the galling chain, will they not execrate us?

have any respect for things sacred, any regard to the 80 dearest treasure on earth; if we have one tender senti

ment for posterity; if we would not be despised by the whole world;-let us, in the most open, solemn manner, and with determined fortitude, swear-We will die, if

we cannot live freemen. 85 While we have equity, justice, and God on our side,

tyranny, spiritual or temporal, shall never ride triumphant in a land inhabited by Englishmen.

If we


America.-PHILLIPS. I appeal to History! Tell me, thou reverend chronicler of the grave, can all the illusions of ambition realized, can all the wealth of a universal commerce, can all

the achievements of successful heroism, or all the estabu 5 lishments of this world's wisdom, secure to-empire the

permanency of its possessions? Alas! Troy thought so once; yet the land of Priam lives only in song! Thebes thought so once; yet her hundred gates have

crumbled, and her very tombs are but as the dust they 10 were vainly intended to commemorate! So thought

Palmyra-where is she? So thought the countries of Demosthenes and the Spartan; yet Leonidas is tram pled by the timid slave, and Athens insulted by the ser

vile, mindless, and enervate Ottoman! In his hurried 15 march, Time has but looked at their imagined immor

tality; and all its vanities, from the palace to the tomb, have, with their ruins, erased the very impression of his footsteps! The days of their glory are as if they had

never been; and the island, that was then a speck, rude RO and neglected in the barren ocean, now rivals the ubi

uity of their commerce, the glo of their arms, the fame of their philosophy, the eloquence of their senate, and the inspiration of their bards! Who shall say, then,

contemplating the past, that England, proud and potent 25 as she appears, may not, one day, be what Athens is,

and the young America yet soar to be whàt Athens was! Who shall say, that, when the European column shall have mouldered, and the night of barbarism ob

scured its very ruins, that mighty continent may not 30 emerge from the horizon, to rule, for its time, sovereign of the ascendant!


Sir, it matters very little what immediate spot may have been the birthplace of such a man as Washing

No people can claim, no country can appropriate 35 him. The boon of Providence to the human race, his

fame is eternity, and his residence creation. Though it was the defeat of our arms, and the disgrace of our policy, I almost bless the convulsion in which he had

his origin. If the heavens thundered, and the earth 40 rocked, yet, when the storm had passed, how pure was

the climate that it cleared! how bright, in the brow of the firmament, was the planet which it revealed to us! In the production of Washington, it does really appear

as if Nature was endeavouring to improve upon herself, 45 and that all the virtues of the ancient world were but so

many studies preparatory to the patriot of the new, In


dividual instances, no doubt, there were, splendid exemplifications, of some singular qualification: Cæsar was

merciful, Scipio was cɔntinent, Hannibal was patient; 50 but it was reserved for Washington to blend them all

in one, and, like the lovely masterpiece of the Grecian artist, to exhibit, in one glow of associated beauty, the pride of every model, and the perfection of every mas

ter. As a general, he marshalled th peasant into a 55 veteran, and supplied by discipline the absence of ex

perience; as a statesman he enlarged the policy of the cabinet into the most comprehensive system of general advantage; and such was the wisdom of his views, and

the philosophy of his counsels, that, to the soldier and 60 the statesman, he almost added the character of the

sage! A conqueror, he was ‘untainted with the crine of blood; a revolutionist, he was free from any stain of treason; for aggression commenced the contest, and

his country called him to the command. Liberty un65 sheathed his sword, necessity stained, victory returned

it. If he had paused here, history might have doubted what station to assign him; whether at the head of her citizens, or her soldiers, her heroes, or her patriots.

But the last glorious act crowns his career, and banish70 es all hesitation. Who, like Washington, after having

emancipated a hemisphere, resigned its crown, and preferred the retirement of domestic life to the adoration of a land he might be almost said to have created!

Happy, proud America! The lightnings of heaven 75

ded to your philosophy! The temptations of earth could not seduce your patriotism!

EXERCISE 120. Patriotism of 1775.--PATRICK HENRY. Mr. Henry rose with a majesty unusual to him in an exordium, and with all that self-possession by which he was so invariably distinguished: “No man," he said,

“thought more highly than he did of the patriotism, as 5 well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who had

just addressed the house. But different men often saw the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, he hoped it would not be thought disrespectful to those gen

for ceremony.

tlemen, if, entertaining as he did, opinions of a character 10 very opposite to theirs, he should speak forth his sentiments freely, and without reserve. This was no time

The question before the house was one of awful moment to this country.” He proceeded thus:

"MR. PRÈSIDENT-It is natural for man to indulge 15 in the illusions of Lope. We are apt to shut our eyes

against a painful truth; and listen to the song of that syren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle

for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of 20 those, who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear

not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know

the worst, and to provide for it. 25 I have but one lamp, by which my feet are guided,

and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And, judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the con

duct of the British ministry, for the last ten years, to 30 justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been

pleased to solace themselves and the house? Is it that insidious smile, with which our petition has been lately received ? Trust it nòt, sir; it will prove a snare to

your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a 35 kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our

petition comports with those warlike preparations, which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fléets and ármies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation?

Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, 40 that fórce must be called in to win back our love? Let us

not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation—the last arguments to which kings resort. I aşk gentlemen, sir, what means this

martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to sub45 mission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible mo

tive for it? “ Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has nòne. They are

meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They 50 are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains,

which the British ministry have been so long forging.


And what have we to oppose to them?

Shall we try argument ? Sir, we have been trying that for the last

ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the 65 subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in

every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entréaty and humble supplicátion? What terms shall we find, which have not been

already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, de60 ceive ourselves longer. Sir, we have dòne every thing

that could be done, to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petítioned; we have remonstrated; we have sùpplicated; we have prostrated ourselves

before the throne, and have implored its interposition to 65 arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and parlia

ment. Our petitions have been slighted; our
strances have produced additional violence and insult;
our supplications have been disregarded; (.) and we

have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the 70 throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge

the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be frée; if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges,

for which we have been so long conténding; if we mean 75 not basely to abandon the noble struggle, in which we

have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon, until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained—6.) we must fight!

I repeat it!—Sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms 80 and to the God of hosts, is all that is left us.

They tell us, sir, that we are weak—unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next

year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and 85 when a British guard shall be stationed in every house?

Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our bácks, and hugging the delusive

phantom of hópe, until our enemies shall have bound us 90 hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak, if we make a

proper use of those means which the of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a coun

try as that which we possess, are invincible by any force 95 which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we

« PoprzedniaDalej »