Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

gratification of a class, and that necessarily a small class, of its members? Were you poor, or were your children poor, with no wealth but the strength of their own sinews and the energy of their own intellects, where would you place them? In the artificial society, under the arbitrary governments and limited despotisms of Europe, or among the bleak hills but healthy moral atmosphere of New England, where a broad and free path would be open for their attainment of all those objects that give dignity and value to life? You cannot hesitate, no one could hesitate in his choice.

An unhappy influence, perhaps, is produced by our frequent and increasing intercourse with Europe. Some of our countrymen seem to be blinded by its luxuries and splendor, so that they perceive not the fearful miseries and crying injustice of its social institutions and moral condition. Foreign residence and travel have made them dissatisfied with the simplicity of home; have so narrowed and darkened their hearts, that they can no longer rejoice in the wise and beneficent institutions of their country — institutions which, if they produce not in one extreme of society the most elaborated specimens of human nature, and permit them to live in the highest state of refinement and luxury, produce not, in the other, creatures half fiend and half brute, and condemn them to all but desperate poverty, ignorance, and degradation --institutions which produce, it may be a simpler, but far more general, diffusive, equalizing, and advancing happiness. I have no sympathy with these: and much as I should like to see the glories of the old world; much as I should like to look upon its monuments, its temples, its multiplied and magnificent works of art, its natural scenery, and its varied forms of social life, — I would rather never see them, if the sight is to be purchased by the diminution of my love of liberty, my confidence in free institutions, my reverence for man, and for all men, not as creatures and puppets of a state, but as beings of a glorious and improvable nature, of an ever-unfolding and advancing destiny.

For myself, I cannot but rejoice that here the great Christian principle of the common good is not only theoretically acknowledged, but every thing done to carry it out and apply it; and I cannot but have confidence that a principle so generous and divine, so consonant to the nobler dictates and nobler aspirations of man's nature, will not fail, nor the institutions founded upon it end in ruin and confusion.

LESSON LVIII.

EXERCISES IN ARTICULATION.

Doom'd, doom'dst, triumph, triumphs, triumph'd, damp, damps,

damp'st, dooms, doom'st, attempt, attempts, attempt' st.

Our Country. DANIEL WEBSTER. This lovely land, this glorious liberty, these benign institutions, the dear purchase of our fathers, are ours; ours to enjoy, ours to preserve, ours to transmit.

Generations past, and generations to come, hold us responsible for this sacred trust. Our fathers, from behind, admonish us with their anxious, paternal voices; posterity calls out to us from the bosom of the future; the world turns hither its solicitous eyes ; - all, all conjure us to act wisely and faithfully in the relation which we sustain. We can never, indeed, pay the debt which is upon us; but by virtue, by morality, by religion, by the cultivation of every good principle and every good habit, we may hope to enjoy the blessing through our day, and to leave it unimpaired to our children.

Let us feel deeply how much, of what we are and of what we possess, we owe to this liberty, and these institutions of government. Nature has, indeed, given us à soil which yields bounteously to the hands of industry; the mighty and fruitful ocean is before us, and the skies over our heads shed

health and vigor. But what are lands, and seas, and skies, to civilized man, without society, without knowledge, without morals, without religious culture ? and how can these be enjoyed, in all their extent, and all their excellence, but under the protection of wise institutions and a free government?

There is not one of us, there is not one of us here present, who does not at this moment, and at every moment, experience in his own condition, and in the condition of those most near and dear to him, the influence and the benefits of this liberty and these institutions. Let us, then, acknowledge the blessing ; let us feel it deeply and powerfully; let us cherish a strong affection for it, and resolve to maintain and perpetuate it. The blood of our fathers, let it not have been shed in vain ; the great hope of posterity, - let it not be blasted.

The striking attitude, too, in which we stand to the world around us, cannot be altogether omitted here. Neither individuals nor nations can perform their part well, until they understand and feel its importance, and comprehend and justly appreciate all the duties belonging to it. It is not to inflate national vanity, nor to swell a light and empty feeling of self-importance; but it is that we may judge justly of our situation, and of our own duties, that I earnestly urge this consideration of our position, and our character, among nations of the earth.

It cannot be denied, but by those who would dispute against the sun, that with America, and in America, a new era commences in human affairs. This era is distinguished by free representative governments, by entire religious liberty, by improved systems of national intercourse, by a newly-awakened and an unconquerable spirit of free inquiry, and by a diffusion of knowledge through the community, such as has been before altogether unknown and unheard of. America, America, our country, our own dear and native land, is inseparably connected, fast bound up, in fortune and

the

by fate, with these great interests. If they fall, we fall with them; if they stand, it will be because we have upholden them.

[blocks in formation]

Hand, hands, lands, bounds, bound'st, wrong, wrong'd,

wrong'dst, wrongs, wrong'st, length, lengths, think, thinks, think'st, thank'd, change, changed.

[blocks in formation]

Hail to the land whereon we tread !

Our fondest boast,
The sepulchre of mighty dead,
The truest hearts that ever bled,
Who sleep on Glory's brightest bed,

A fearless host :
No slave is here: our unchained feet
Walk freely, as the waves that beat

Our coast.

Our fathers crossed the ocean's wave

To seek this shore;
They left behind the coward slave
To welter in his living grave.
With hearts unbent, and spirits brave,

They sternly bore
Such toils as meaner souls had quelled -
But souls like these such toils impelled

To soar.

Hail to the morn, when first they stood

On Bunker's height,
And, fearless, stemmed th' invading flood,
And wrote our dearest rights in blood,
And mowed in ranks the hireling brood,

In desperate fight!
O, 'twas a proud, exulting day;
For even our fallen fortunes lay

In light.

There is no other land like thee,

No dearer shore;
Thou art the shelter of the free;
The home, the port of Liberty,
Thou hast been, and shalt ever be,

Till time is o'er.
Ere I forget to think upon
My land, shall mother curse the son

She bore.

Thou art the firm, unshaken rock

On which we rest ;
And, rising from thy hardy stock,
Thy sons the tyrant's frown shall mock,
And Slavery's galling chains unlock,

And free th' oppressed;
All, who the wreath of Freedom twine,
Beneath the shadow of their vine

Are blest.

[merged small][ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »