« PoprzedniaDalej »
sion of this impulse, and which is identical in its essence with the highest poetry, transcends, of course, the talent of the ordinary reporter. It can never be reduced to a permanent form, excepting when the orator himself combines with the requisites of his own art the talent of a first-rate writer. To this rare combination of powers we owe the finished specimens which have come down to us of the eloquence of the two great orators of Greece and Rome.
Chatham, the first of British speakers, either wanted the talent of writing, or did not exercise it in his own speeches; which correspond very imperfectly with the effect that we know to have attended their delivery. Henry, like him, had never cultivated, and rarely exercised, the art of writing : the
reports of his speeches, while they furnish an outline of the argument, convey no image of the glowing language in which it was clothed, still less of the moral inspiration that chiefly gave it effect. They fall, of course, far below his fame; and it is, after all, on the faith of mere tradition attested, however, by facts too numerous and of too public a character to leave it in any way doubtful
that the present and future generations will acknowledge the justice of his claim to the proud title, that has been given him, of the greatest orator of the new world.
IN ARTICULATION. Bulb, bulbs, hold, hold'st, holds, gulf, gulfs, delft, twelfth,
bulge, bulged, silks, milk'st, mulct, realm, realms, whelm'd, overwhelm'st, fall'n.
Speech of Patrick Henry. MR. PRESIDENT : It is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren 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 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.
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 conduct of the British ministry, for the last ten years, to 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 not, sir ; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. . Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations, which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation ? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, that force 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 ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission! Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive 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 none. They are meant for us : they can be meant for no other. They 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 any thing new to offer upon the 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 entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted ? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer. Sir, we have done every thing that could be done, to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and parliament. Our petitions have been slighted ; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded ; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the 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 free; if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges, for which we have been so long contending; if we mean 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, we must fight !—I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms, 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 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 backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot ? Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invinci
ble by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God, who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. 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 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, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take; but, as for me, give me liberty or give me death !
EXERCISES IN ARTICULATION.
Help, helps, help'st, help'd, help'dst, false, fall st, felt,
health, healths, melts, melt'st, resolve, resolv'd, resolves, resolv'st, rolls.
Confidence in Free Institutions of Government.
S. K. LOTHROP.
The very principle of our political organization, and the object and purpose of that organization, make it one which, if there be goodness in God and hope in man, ought to inspire us with confidence. " The greatest good of the greatest number” is the only principle upon which any one, whose heart has been touched by the spirit of Christian love, can wish to see the institutions of this country, or the society in which he dwells, established. Our institutions are founded upon this principle. They imbody it, they exhibit it, they carry it out, to a greater extent, and on a larger scale, than has ever been done before.
And what is the result? Do they not present us a picture of social and domestic happiness, of extended and extending civilization, of physical, intellectual, and moral advancement, such as the world has never seen? Undoubtedly there are countries, where, within a comparatively narrow and prescribed circle, you may find more numerous refinements and a higher degree of luxury, - a small portion of society more intellectual, more cultivated, more polished, more advanced, in every respect, than can be met with among us.
But can you find a country in which intelligence, happiness, virtue, are so generally, so widely diffused, as they are in our own ? Can you find one in which there is so much competence and so little beggary? one in which so much might be retrenched from so many families, before poverty would be perceptible, or the cry of want be heard ? one in which there is such a vast aggregate amount of comfort, knowledge, enjoyment, and progress? I question if you can find it upon earth. Are you rich and educated, possessing abundant means and refined taste, you may unquestionably live more entirely as you wish, as your ease or convenience may dictate, in Paris, or London, or Florence, or Naples, or any of the gay and brilliant cities of Europe, than in the quiet city of the Pilgrims, or in any of the growing, bustling, unadvanced cities of America. What then! Are all rich? Must society, in forming its government and moulding its institutions, and must we, in judging of their excellences and defects, have reference only to the convenience and