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THE NOBLE PURPOSES OF ELOQUENCE. IF F we consider the noble purposes to which Eloquence may be
made subservient, we at once perceive its prodigious importance to the best interests of mankind. The greatest masters of the art have concurred, upon the greatest occasions of its display, in pronouncing that its estimation depends on the virtuous and rational use made of it.
It is but reciting the common praises of the Art of Persuasion, to remind you how sacred truths may be most ardently promulgated at the altar the cause of oppressed innocence be most powerfully defended — the march of wicked rulers be most triumphantly resisted - defiance the most terrible be hurled at the oppressor's head. In great convulsions of public affairs, or in bringing about salutary changes, every one confesses how important an ally eloquence must be. But in peaceful times, when the progress of events is slow and even as the silent and unheeded pace of time, and the jars of a mighty tumult in foreign and domestic concerns can no longer be heard, then, too, she flourishes — protectress of liberty -- patroness of improvement giardian of all the blessings that can be showered
the mass of human kind; nor is her form ever seen but on ground consecrated to free institutions.
To me, calmly revolving these things, such pursuits seem far more noble objects of ambition than any upon which the vulgar herd of busy men lavish prodigal their restless exertions. To diffuse useful information, to further intellectual refinement,
sure forerunner of moral improvement, — to hasten the coming of the bright day when the dawn of general knowledge shall chase away the lazy, lingering mists, even from the base of the great social pyramid ; - this indeed is a high calling, in which the most splendid talents and consummate virtue may
press onward, eager to bear a part.
ROLLA TO THE PERUVIANS.
Y brave associates partners of my toil, my feelings, and
my fame! Can Rolla's words add vigor to the virtuous energies which inspire your hearts ? — No! You have judged, as I have, the foulness of the crafty plea, by which these bold invaders would delude you. Your generous spirit has compared, as mine has, the motives which, in a war like this, can animate their minds and ours.
They, by a strange frenzy driven, fight for power, for plunder, and extended rule ; we, for our country, our altars, and our homes. They follow an adventurer whom they fear, and obey a power which they hate ; we serve a monarch whom we love, a God whom we adore. Wherever they move in anger, desolation tracks their progress.
Wherever they pause in amity, affliction mourns their friendship.
They boast they come but to improve our state, enlarge our thoughts, and free us from the yoke of error!
they will give enlightened freedom to our minds, who are themselves the slaves of passion, avarice, and pride. They offer us their protection! Yes, such protection as vultures give to lambs, – covering, and devouring them! They call on us to barter all the good we have inherited and proved, for the desperate chance of something better, which they promise!
Be our plain answer this : The throne we honor is the People's choice, the laws we reverence are our brave fathers' legacy, — the faith we follow teaches us to live in bonds of charity with all mankind, and die with hope of bliss beyond the grave. Tell your invaders this ; and tell them too, we seek no change ; and, least of all, such change as they would bring us !
R. B. Sheridan.
INVECTIVE AGAINST WARREN HASTINGS.
IF, my Lords, a stranger had at this time gone into the prov
ince of Oude, ignorant of what had happened since the death of Sujah Dowlah that prince who with a savage heart had still great lines of character, and who, with all his ferocity in war, had, with a cultivating hand, preserved to his country the wealth which it derived from benignant skies and a prolific soil - if, ignorant of all that had happened in the short interval, and observing the wide and general devastation of fields unclothed and brown; of vegetation burned up and extinguished ; of villages depopulated and in ruins ; of temples unroofed and perish
of reservoirs broken down and dry, this stranger should ask, “what has thus laid waste this beautiful and opulent land ; what monstrous madness has ravaged with wide-spread war ; what desolating foreign foe; what civil discords ; what disputed succession ; what religious zeal; what fabled monster has stalked abroad, and, with malice and mortal enmity to man, withered by the grasp of death every growth of nature and humanity, all means of delight, and each original, simple principle of bare existence ?” the answer would have been, not one of these causes! No wars have ravaged these lands and depopulated these villages! No desolating foreign foe! No domestic broils ! No disputed succession! No religious, super-serviceable zeal ! No poisonous monster! No affliction of Providence, which, while it scourged us, cut off the sources of resuscitation ! No! This damp of death is the mere effusion of British amity! We sink under the pressure of their support! We writhe under their perfidious gripe! They have embraced us with their protecting arms, and lo! these are the fruits of their alliance !
What then, my Lords, shall we bear to be told that, under such circumstances, the exasperated feelings of a whole people, thus spurred on to clamor and resistance, were excited by the poor and feeble influence of the Begums ? After hearing the description given by an eye-witness of the paroxysm of fever and delirium into which despair threw the natives when on the banks of the polluted Ganges, panting for breath, they tore more
widely open the lips of their gaping wounds, to accelerate their dissolution ; and while their blood was issuing, presented their ghastly eyes to heaven, breathing their last and fervent prayer that the dry earth might not be suffered to drink their blood, but that it might rise up to the throne of God, and rouse the eternal Providence to avenge the wrongs of their country, will it be said that all this was brought about by the incantations of these Begums in their secluded Zenana; or that they could inspire this enthusiasm and this despair into the breasts of a people who felt no grievance, and had suffered no torture ?
What motive, then, could have such influence in their bosom ? What motive! That which nature, the common parent, plants in the bosom of man; and which, though it may be less active in the Indian than in the Englishman, is still congenial with, and makes a part of his being. That feeling which tells him that man was never made to be the property of man; but that, when in the pride and insolence of power, one human creature dares to tyrannize over another, it is a power usurped, and resistance is a duty. That principle which tells him that resistance to power usurped is not merely a duty which he owes to himself and to his neighbor, but a duty which he owes to his God, in asserting and maintaining the rank which he gave him in his creation that God, who, where he gives the form of man, whatever may be the complexion, gives also the feelings and the rights of
That principle which neither the rudeness of ignorance can stifle, nor the enervation of refinement extinguish! That principle which makes it base for a man to suffer when he ought to act; which, tending to preserve to the species the original designations of Providence, spurns at the arrogant distinctions of man, and indicates the independent quality of his race.
R. B. Sheridan.
THE BIBLE THE BEST CLASSIC
THE Bible is the only book which God has ever sent, and the
only one he ever will send into the world. All other books are frail and transient as time, since they are only the registers of time; but the Bible is as durable as eternity, for its pages contain the records of eternity. All other books are weak and imperfect, like their author, man; but the Bible is a transcript of infinite power and perfection. Every other volume is limited in its usefulness and influence; but the Bible came forth conquering and to conquer, - rejoicing as a giant to run his course, ,
- and like the sun, “ there is nothing hid from the heat thereof." The Bible only, of all the myriads of books the world has seen, is equally important and interesting to all mankind. Its tidings, whether of peace or of woe, are the same to the poor, the ignorant, and the weak, as to the rich, the wise, and the powerful.
Among the most remarkable of its attributes, is justice ; for it looks with impartial eyes on kings and on slaves, on the hero and the soldier, on philosophers and peasants, on the eloquent and the dumb. From all, it exacts the same obedience to its commandments : to the good, it promises the fruits of his labors ; to the evil, the reward of his hands. Nor are the purity and holiness, the wisdom, benevolence, and truth of the Scriptures less conspicuous than their justice. In sublimity and beauty, in the descriptive and pathetic, in dignity and simplicity of narrative, in power and comprehensiveness, in depth and variety of thought, in purity and elevation of sentiment, the most enthusiastic admirers of the heathen classics have conceded their inferiority to the Scriptures.
The Bible, indeed, is the only universal classic, the classic of all mankind, of every age and country, of time and eternity; more humble and simple than the primer of a child, more grand and magnificent than the epic and the oration, the ode and the drama, when genius, with his chariot of fire, and his horses of fire, ascends in whirlwind into the heaven of his own invention. It is the best classic the world has ever seen, the noblest that has ever honored and dignified the language of mortals !
If you boast that the Aristotles, and the Platos, and the Tullies of the classic age, "dipped their pens in intellect,” the sacred authors dipped theirs in inspiration. If those were the
secretaries of nature,” these were the secretaries of the very Author of nature. If Greece and Rome have gathered into their cabinet of curiosities the pearls of heathen poetry and eloquence, the diamonds of pagan history and philosophy, God himself has treasured up in the Scriptures, the poetry and elo