Page images

completely as desirable even here; and at the same time to show that these fruits were the results of labor-hard work--and not only activity in the day, but also vigilance in the night, for this also is

true, that

'Eternal vigilance is the price of Liberty.' To explain this term fully it would be necessary to describe the famine of Civil and Religious Liberty; to describe a country where the body and the soul of all the inhabitants were subject to the autocratic despotism of one person, where all the private property of every subject is liable to be thrust out of his possession and enjoyment, without the least consideration or a single reason, where he is liable to be hung, shot or beheaded without trial by jury: where if he be allowed to live, his mind is 'cabined, cribbed, confined,' his heart crushed, his soul bowed and bound to the dust, so that he cannot utter the thoughts and feelings with which the God of Nature has inspired him. And then the working spirit must be discovered and described, a Cromwell or a Kossuth whose superhuman labors and energies are taxed to relieve the land perishing with a hunger and thirst after liberty.

But glance at a few of these golden, these precious fruits of civil and religious liberty, as we find them preserved in the treasury of our “Declaration of Rights.'

Sovereign power is in the people. The people have sole right to alter or abolish the Constitution. Right of protection, and bearing arms in defence of self and State. Rights of conscience, and religious opinions. Freedom and equality of elections. Administration of justice. Just compensation for private property applied to public use. Inviolate right of trial by jury. Bail and Habeas Corpus. Freedom of speech and of the press. Taxation in proportion to value of property. Subordination of military to civil power.

These are some of the fruits of civil and religious liberty; and these fruits are the produce of labor-labor in the field of battle labor in the field of letters ; labor of the body, labor of the soul; for the times when these fruits were gained were

"Times that tried men's souls.' The Pilgrim Fathers labored for these fruits. The Fathers of American Independence labored for these fruits. The Presidents of our Union labored for these fruits. Washington labored to acquire them, and Fillmore is now laboring with cautious magnanimity, aggrandizing our supply, and diffusing our superabundance. Ours is a laboring nation, heaving and evolving golden principles and treasures from beneath, aspiring and attracting lightnings and mercies from above. The farmer and mechanic are free and equal with the highest ruler of the land. The ruler is their agent, with special power of attorney to attend to certain business for them, to be reappointed or recalled, when the period of his service expires, according to the will of the sovereign workmen. The geologist is a workman, the chemist is a workman, the farmer and the statesman, the divine and the mechanic, the natural, mental and moral philosophers, merchants, and manufacturers are all workmen; and he who works hardest and best, gains the largest wealth and the highest honor.

“He who makes two blades of grass grow where only one grew before is a benefactor of his country. He who invents machinery, by which one may outwork a thousand, accumulates its blessings a thousand fold. By his material, political and intellectual labors, Franklin, the working citizen, made his life sublime as that of Milton.

'Lives of great men all remind us,
We can make our lives sublime;

And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,

A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor, and to wait.'

"Tis indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting over days.

Are you in earnest ? Seize the present minute,
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it,

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Only commence, and then the mind grows heated,

Begin it, and the work will be completed.'


W I T.

An Irish counsel being questioned by a judge to know "for whom he was concerned,” replied, “I am concerned, my lord, for the plaintiff, but I am employed by the defendant."


From the French of M. riscount de Chateaubriand.



•We listened to the rage of the tempest; suddenly I felt a tear of Atala fall on my bosom: "Storm of the heart I cried out, 'is it 'a drop of your rain?' Then embracing closely her whom I loved : •Atala,' said I to her, ‘you conceal something from me. Open thy 'heart to me, O my Beauty! It makes us feel so much better, when a friend looks in our soul! Tell me that other secret of thy grief, which thou art so obstinate in concealing. Ah! I see it, thou art 'weeping for thy country.' She instantly replied: "Child of men, “how can I weep for my country, since my father was not of the 'Land of Palms ?'—'What!' rejoined I, struck with astonishment, 'your father was not of the Land of Palms! Whence then have you derived

your blood ? Answer! Atala spoke these words: Before my mother had brought in marriage to the warrior Si'maghan, thirty horses, twenty buffaloes, a hundred measures of “the oil of mast, fifty skins of beavers, and many other treasures,

she had known a man of the pale face. Or, the mother of my mother, "rejected him, with tears in his eyes, and forced her to marry the 'magnanimous Simaghan, who was like a king, and honored by the 'people as a Genius. But my mother said to her new husband : 'my womb has conceived, kill me. Simaghan answered her: The "Great Spirit save me from such an evil deed! I will not harm you. I will not cut either your nose nor your ears, because you have 'been sincere, and you have not been false to my couch. The 'fruit of your body shall be my fruit, and I will not visit you until "after the departure of the bird of the rice field, when the thirteenth 'moon is shining. During this time, I burst the womb of my moth'er, and I began to grow, proud as a Spaniard and as a Savage. ‘My mother made me a Christian, so that her God and the God of 'my father was also my God. Then the melancholy of love came “and sought her, and she went down into the little cave adorned with skins, whence no one returns!'

‘Such was the history of Atala. “And who then was thy father, poor orphan?' said I to her; 'how did men call him on the earth, and what name did he bear among the Genii ?'

'I have never washed the feet of my father,' said Atala, 'I know only that he

lived with his sister at Saint Augustin, and that he has always been faithful to my mother: Philippe was his name among the Angels, and men called him Lopez.'

“At these words I uttered a shout which resounded throughout the solitude; the tumults of my transports mingled themselves with the tumult of the storm. Pressing Atala to my heart, sobbing I exclaimed: "O my sister! O daughter of Lopez! daughter of my benefactor!' Atala, frightened, asked what ailed me; but when she knew that Lopez was that generous host who had adopted me at Saint Augustin, and that I had left him to be free, she herself was seized with amazement and joy.'

"When this fraternal friendship visited us, and joined his love to our love, it was too much for our hearts. Henceforth the struggles of Atala began to be of no use: I perceived her passing her hand to her bosom in vain, and starting with alarm; already I had clasped her, already I was intoxicated with her breath, already I had drunk all the magic of love on her lips; with eyes raised towards heaven, by the gleam of the lightning, I held my betrothed in my arms, in presence of the Eternal. Nuptial splendor, worthy of our misfortunes, and of the grandeur of our loves; noble forests, which agitate your tie-vines and your domes as the curtains and the canopy of our couch ; pine trees in flames were our hymenial torches; overflowing river, rumbling mountains, awful and sublime nature, were you not then only an equipage prepared to deceive us, and can you not conceal a moment with your mysterious horrors the rapture of a man?'

*Atala offered only a gentle resistance; I embraced the opportunity, when suddenly a flash of lightning, followed by a peal of thunder, pierced the thickness of the shades, filled the forest with sulphur and with light, and shattered a tree at our feet. We few. O surprise! * in the silence which followed, we heard the sound of a bell! Both amazed, we listened to that noise, so strange in a desert. Instantly a dog barks in the distance; he comes near, he howls yet louder, he reaches us, he roars with joy at our feet; a solitary man, carrying a little lantern, followed him through the gloomy darkness of the forest. “Thank Providence!' he exclaimed, as soon as he saw us. “A long time I have been hunting for you. Our dog has been scenting you from the beginning of the storm, and he has brought me here. Good God! how young they are! Poor children! How they have suffered! Come with me: I have

brought along a bear's skin, this will be for that young woman; here, take a little wine in your gourd. May God be praised in all his works! His mercy is very great, and his goodness knows no bounds!"

•Atala threw herself at the feet of the monk: ‘Leader of prayer,' said she to him, 'I am a Christian; Heaven sent you to save me.' “My daughter,' said the hermit while lifting her up, 'we generally ring the mission bell through the night and during the tempests, to attract strangers; and, following the example of our brothers of the Alps and of Lebanon, we have learned our dog to hunt out the wandering voyageurs.'

“As for myself, I scarcely understood the hermit; that charity seemed to me so far above the human order of charity, that I thought it was all a dream. By the light of the little lantern which the monk held, I caught a glimpse of his beard and his locks all soaked with water; his feet, his hands and his face were streaming with blood from the wounds of the thorns in his way.

‘Old man,' in fine I exclaimed, 'what kind of a heart hast thou, thou who hast had no fear to be struck by the lightning ?'—Fear!' replied the Father with warmth; 'fear, while there are men in perit, and while I can be useful to them! I would then be a very unworthy servant of Jesus Christ !_*But knowst thou, said I to him, that I am not a Christian?—“Young man,' replied the hermit, 'have I asked you a question about your religion? Jesus Christ has not said: My blood will wash this one, and not that. He died for the Jew and the Gentile, and he looked upon all men as brothers in affliction. What I do here for you, is a very small matter, and you will find elsewhere, far better aid; but the glory of it, does not belong to the priests. What are we, weak solitary men, save rude instruments of a heavenly work? Ah! How recreant would that soldier be to desert, while his chief, cross in hand, and forehead crowned with thorns, marches before him for the relief of humanity?'

These words took possession of my breast; tears of admiration and of tenderness fell from my eyes. "My dear children,' said the Missionary, 'I have charge of a little flock of your Savage brothers in these forests. My cave is very near here in the mountain; come refresh yourselves at my home; you will not find there the luxuries of life, but you will have a shelter; and for this we ought again to thank diyine goodness, for there are many, many men who have no home.'

« PreviousContinue »