« PreviousContinue »
Such—the warning voice of all antiquity, the example of all republics proclaim-may be our fate. But let us no longer indulge these gloomy anticipations. The commencement of our liberty presages the dawn of a brighter period to the world. That bold, enterprising spirit which conducted our heroes to peace and safety, and gave us a lofty rank amid the empires of the world, still animates the bosoms of their descendants. Look back to that moment when they unbarred the dungeons of the slave, and dashed his fetters to the earth, when the sword of a Washington leaped from its scabbard to revenge the slaughter of our countrymen. Place their example before you. Let the sparks of their veteran wisdom flash across your minds, and the sacred altars of your liberty, crowned with immortal honors, rise before you. Relying on the virtue, the courage,
the patriotism, and the strength of our country, we may expect our national character will become more energetic, our citizens. more enlightened, and may hail the age as not far distant, when will be heard, as the proudest exclamation of man: I am an American.
17. THE TOMAHAWK SUBMISSIVE TO THE SPIRIT OF ELOQUENCE.
Twenty tomahawks were raised; twenty arrows drawn to their head. Yet stood Harold, stern and collected—at bayparleying only with his sword. He waved his arm. Smitten with a sense of their cowardice, perhaps, or by his great dig. nity, more awful for his very youth, their weapons dropped, and their countenances were uplifted upon him, less in hatred, than in wonder.
The old men gathered about him-he leaned upon his sabre. Their eyes
shone with admiration—such heroic deportment, in one so young-a boy! so intrepid ! so prompt! so graceful! so eloquent, too Sfor, knowing the effect of eloquence, and feeling the loftiness of his own nature, the innocence of his own heart, the character of the Indians for hospitality, and their veneration for his blood, Harold dealt out the thunder of his strength to these rude barbarians of the wilderness, till chey, young and old, gathering nearer and nearer in their devotion, threw down their weapons at his feet, and formed a rampart of locked arms and hearts about him, through which his eloquence thrilled and lightened like electricity. The old greeted him with a lofty step, as the patriarch welcomes his boy from the
triumph of far-off battle; and the young clave to him and clung to him, and shouted in their self-abandonment, like brothers round a conquering brother.
“Warriors !” he said, “ Brethren !”—(their tomahawks were brandished simultaneously, at the sound of his terrible voice, as if preparing for the onset.) His tones grew deeper, and less threatening “ Brothers ! let us talk together of Logan: Ye, who have known him, ye aged men! bear ye testimony to the deeds of his strength. Who was like him? Who could resist him? Who
abide the hurricane in its volley? Who may withstand the winds that uproot the great trees of the mountain ? Let him be the foe of Logan. Thrice in one day hath he given battle. Thrice in one day hath he come back victorious. Who may bear up against the strong man ? the man of war? Let them that are young,
hear Let them follow the course of Logan. He goes in clouds and whirlwind--in the fire and in the smoke. Let them follow him.
" Warriors ! Logan was the father of Harold !"
They fell back in astonishment, but they believed him; for Harold's word was unquestioned, undoubted evidence, to them that knew him.
EFFECTS OF PROTESTANTISM.—Haven.
It has been remarked, my friends, by those who have reasoned most profoundly upon the constitution of society, that the human mind has never, in modern times, attained its full and perfect maturity, but among the protestant nations of christendom. In reviewing the splendid career of human intelligence, during the three last centuries, it is impossible not to ascribe much of its progress to the reformation of Luther. That great man gave an impulse to society which it has ever since preserved. He taught men to examine, to reason, to inquire. He unfolded to their wondering gaze, a form of moral beauty, which had been too long shrouded from their eyes by the timid dogmatism of the papal church.
It is to protestant christianity, gentlemen, that you are indebted for the noblest exercise of your rational powers. It is to protestant christianity, that you owe the vigor of your intellectual exertions and the purity of your moral sentiments. I could easily show you how much the manliness of English literature, and the fearless intrepidity of German speculation, and how much even of the accurate sciences of France, may be
ascribed to the spirit of protestant christianity. It is from the influence of this spirit, that the sublime astronomy of La Place has not been, like that of Galileo, condemned as heretical. It is to protestant christianity, that you owe the English Bible; a volume that has done more to correct and refine the taste, to elevate the imagination, to fill the mind with splendid and glowing images, than all the literature which the stream of time has brought down to the present age. I hope I am not laying an unhallowed hand upon the ark of God, if I presume to recommend the Bible to you as an object of literary enthusiasm. The Bible !Where in the compass of human literature, can the fancy be so elevated by sublime description, can the heart be so warmed by simple, unaffected tenderness! Men of genius! who delight in bold and magnificent speculation, in the Bible you have a new world of ideas opened to your range. Votaries of eloquence! in the Bible you will find the grandest thoughts clothed in a simple majesty, worthy of the subject and the Author. Servants of God! I need not tell you that the glories of immortality are revealed in language, which mortal lips had never before employed! But I forbear. The Bible is in your hands; and even now, while I am speaking its praise, “it is silently fulfilling its destined course;" it is raising many a heart to the throne of God.
THE TRUE SOURCES OF NATIONAL GREATNESS.—Harper.
When France shall at length be convinced that we are firmly resolved to call forth all our resources, and exert all our strength to resist her encroachments and aggressions, she will soon desist from them. She need not be told what these resources are; she well knows their greatness and extent; she well knows that this country, if driven into a war, could soon become invulnerable to her attacks, and could throw a most formidable and preponderating weight into the scale of her adversary. She will not, therefore, drive us to this extremity, but will desist as soon as she finds us determined. If our means of injury and of repelling her attacks were less than they are, still they might be rendered all-sufficient, by resolution and courage. It is in these that the strength of nations consists, and not in fleets, nor armies, nor population, nor money: in the “unconquerable will -the courage never to submit or yield.” These are the true sources of national greatness; and to use the words of a celebrated writer,—“where these means are not wanting, all others
will be found or created.” It was by these means that Holland, in the days of her glory, triumphed over the mighty power of Spain. It was by these that in later times, and in the course of the present war, the Swiss, a people not half so numerous as we, and possessing few of our advantages, have honorably maintained their neutrality amid the shock of surrounding states, and against the haughty aggressions of France herself. It was this that made Rome the mistress of the world, and Athens the protectress of Greece. When was it that Rome attracted most strongly the admiration of mankind, and impressed the deepest sentiment of fear on the hearts of her enemies? It was when seventy thousand of her sons lay bleeding at Cannæ, and Hannibal, victorious over three Roman armies and twenty nations, was thumdering at her gates. It was then that the young and heroic Scipio, having sworn on his sword in the presence of the fathers of the country, not to despair of the republic, marched forth at the head of a people, firmly resolved to conquer or die ; and that resolution insured them the victory. When did Athens appear the greatest and the most formidable? It was when giving up their houses and possessions to the flames of the enemy, and having transferred their wives, their children, their aged parents, and the symbols of their religion, on board of their fleet, they resolved to consider themselves as the republic, and their ships as their country. It was then that they struck that terrible blow, under which the greatness of Persia sunk and expired.
GRATEFUL TRIBUTE TO THE HEROES OF THE REVOLU
It is my pleasing duty, my fellow-citizens, to felicitate yon on the establishment of our national sovereignty; and among the various subjects for congratulation and rejoicing, this is not the most unimportant, that heaven has spared so many veterans in the art of war; so many sages, who are versed in the best politics of peace; men, who are able to instruct and to govern, and whose faithful services, whose unremitted exertions to promote the public prosperity, entitle them to our firmest confidence and warmest gratitude. Uniting in the celebration of this anniversary, I am happy to behold many of the illustrious remnant of that band of patriots, who, despising danger and death, determined to be free, or gloriously perish in the cause. Their countenances beam inexpressible delight; our joys are increased
by their presence; our raptures are heightened by their participation. The feelings, which inspired them in the “times which tried men's souls,” are communicated to our bosoms. We catch the divine spirit which impelled them to bid defiance to the congregated host of despots. We swear to preserve the blessings they toiled to gain, which they obtained by the incessant labors of eight distressful years ; to transmit to our posterity; our right undiminished, our honor untarnished, and our freedom unimpaired.
On the last page of fate's eventful volume, with the raptured ken of prophecy, I behold Columbia's name recorded; her future honors and happiness inscribed. In the same important book, the approaching end of tyranny and the triumph of right and justice are written in indelible characters. The struggle will soon be over; the tottering thrones of despots will quickly fall, and bury their proud incumbents in their massy
" Then peace on earth shall hold her easy sway,
And man forget his brother man to slay.
NECESSITY OF A PURE NATIONAL MORALITY.-Beecher.
The crisis has come. By the people of this generation, by ourselves, probably, the amazing question is to be decided, whether the inheritance of our fathers shall be preserved or thrown away ; whether our Sabbaths shall be a delight or a loathing; whether the taverns, on that holy day, shall be crowded with drunkards, or the sanctuary of God with humble worshippers; whether riot and profaneness shall fill our streets, and poverty our dwellings, and convicts our gaols, and violence our land; or whether industry, and temperance, and righteousness, shall be the stability of our times : whether mild laws shall receive the cheerful submission of freemen, or the iron rod of a tyrant compel the trembling homage of slaves. Be not deceived.