Page images
PDF
EPUB

dipped their noble limbs in your sedgy lakes, and now they paddled the 'ight canoe along your rocky shores. Here hey warred, ( echoing whoop, the bloody grapple, the defying death-song, all were here; and when the tiger strife was over, here curled the smoke of peace. Here, too, they worshipped; and from many a dark bosom sent up a pure prayer to the Great Spirit. He had not written his laws for hem on tables of stone, but he had traced them on the ables of their hearts. The poor child of nature knew not he God of revelation, but the God of the universe he acknowledged in everything around. He beheld him in the star that sunk in beauty behind his lonely dwelling; in the acred orb that flamed on him from his mid-day throne; in he flower that snapped in the morning breeze; in the lofty sine, that defied a thousand whirlwinds; in the timid war

ler that never left its native grove; in the fearless eagle, whose untired pinion was wet in clouds; in the worm that crawled at his foot; and in his own matchless form, glowing with a spark of that light, to whose mysterious source he bent, in humble, though blind adoration.

And all this has passed away. Across the ocean came a pilgrim bark, bearing the seeds of life and death. The former were sown for you; the latter sprang up in the path of the simple native. Two hundred years have changed the character of a great continent, and blotted forever from its face a whole, peculiar people. Art has ursurped the bowers of nature, and the anointed children of education have been too powerful for the tribes of the ignorant. Here and there, a striken few remain, but how unlike their bold, untameable progenitors; The Indian, of falcon glance, and lion bearing, the theme of the touching ballad, the hero of the pathetic tale, is gone! and his degraded offspring crawl upon the soil where he walked in majesty, to remind us how miserable is man, when the foot of the conqueror is on his neck.

As a race, they have withered from the land. Their arrows are broken, their springs are dried up, their cabiņs are in the dust. Their council fire has long since gone out on the shore, and their war-cry is fast dying to the untrodden west. Slowly and sadly they climb the distant mountains, and read their doom in the setting sun. They are shrinking before the mighty tide which is pressing them away; they must soon hear the roar of the last wave, which will settle

over them forever. Ages hence, the inquisitive white man, as he stands by some growing city, will ponder on the structure of their disturbed remains, and wonder to what manner of persons they belonged. They will live only in the songs and chronicles of their exterminators. Let these be faithful to their rude virtues as men, and pay due tribute to their unhappy fate as a people.

EXTRACT FROM A SPEECH OF MR. G. MORRIS ON THE JUDICIARY

ESTABLISHMENT.

Is there a member of this house who can lay his hand on his heart and say, that, consistently with the plain words of our constitution, we have a right to repeal this law? I believe not. And, if we undertake to construe this constitution to our purposes, and say that the public opinion is to be our judge, there is an end to all constitutions. To what will not this dangerous doctrine lead? Should it to-day be the popular wish to destroy the first magistrate—you can destroy him. And should he, to-morrow, be able to conciliate to him the popular will, and lead them to wish for your destruction, it is easily effected. Adopt this principle, and the whim of the moment will not only be the law, but the constitution of our country.

The gentleman from Virginia has mentioned a great nation brought to the feet of one of her servants. But why is she in that situation? Is it not because popular opinion was called on to decide everything, until those who wore bayonets decided for all the rest? Our situation is peculiar. At present, our national conduct can prevent a state from acting hostilely towards the general interest. But, let this compact be destroyed, and each state becomes instantaneously invested with absolute sovereignty. But what, I ask, will be the situation of these states (organized as they now are) if, by the dissolution of our national compact, they be left to themselves? What is the probable result? We shall either be the victims of foreign intrigue, and, split into factions, fall under the domination of a foreign power; or else, after the misery and torment of civil war, become the subjects of an usurping military despot. What

but this compact—what but this specific part of it can save us from ruin? The judicial power, that fortress of the constitution, is now to be overturned.

Yes, with honest Ajax, I would not only throw a shield before it I would build around it a wall of brass. But I am too weak to defend the rampart against the host of assailants. I must call to my assistance their good sense, their patriotism, and their virtue. Do not, gentlemen, suffer the rage of passion to drive reason from her seat. If this law be indeed bad, let us join to remedy the defects. Has it been passed in a manner which wounded your pride, or roused your resentment? Have, I conjure you, the magnanimity to pardon that offence. I entreat, I implore you, to sacrifice these angry passions to the interests of our country. Pour out this pride of opinion on the altar of patriotism. Let it be an expiatory libation for the weal of America. Do not, for God's sake, do not suffer that pride to plunge us all into the abyss of ruin.

Indeed, indeed, it will be but of little, very little avail, whether one opinion or the other be right or wrong: it will heal no wounds; it will pay no debts; it will rebuild no rav

aged towns. Do not rely on that popular will, which has · brought us frail beings into political existence. That opinion is but a changeable thing. It will soon change. This very measure will change it. You will be deceived. Do not, I beseech you, in reliance on a foundation so frail, commit the dignity, the harmony, the existence of our nation to the wild wind. Trust not your treasure to the waves. Throw not your compass and your charts into the ocean. Do not believe that its billows will waft you into port. Indeed, indeed, you will be deceived. Oh! cast not away this only anchor of our safety. I have seen its progress. I know the difficulties through which it was obtained. I stand in the presence of Almighty God and of the world. I declare to you, that if you lose this charter, never, no never, will you get another! We are now, perhaps, arrived at the parting point. Here, even here we stand on the 1; rink of 'fate. Pause! Pause! For heaven's sake pause!

EXTRACT FROM AN ORATION DELIVERED AT PLYMOUTH 1824.

E. Everett.

The pride I take in my own country, makes me respect that from which we are sprung. In touching the soil of England, I seem to return like a descendant to the old family seat;-to come back to the abode of an aged, the tomb of a departed parent. I acknowledge this great consanguinity of nations. The sound of my native language beyond the sea, is a music to my ear, beyond the richest strains of Tuscan softness, or Castilian majesty. I am not yet in a land of strangers, while surrounded by the manners, the habits, the forms, in which I have been brought up.

I wander delighted through a thousand scenes, which the historians, the poets have made familiar to us,ếof which the names are interwoven with our earliest associations. I tread with reverence the spots, where I can retrace the footsteps of our suffering fathers; the pleasant land of their birth has a claim on my heart. It seems to me a classic, yea, a holy land, rich in the memories of the great and good, the martyrs of liberty, the exiled heralds of truth; and richer, as the parent of this land of promise in the west.

I am not,--I need not say I am not,--the panegyrist of England. I am not dazzled by her riches, nor awed by her power. The sceptre, the mitre, and the coronet, stars, garters, and blue ribbons seem to me poor things for great men to contend for. Nor is my admiration awakened by her armies, mustered for the battles of Europe; her navies, overshadowing the ocean; nor her empire grasping the farthest east. It is these, and the price of guilt and blood by which they are maintained, which are the cause why no friend of liberty can salute her with undivided affections. But it is the refuge of free principles, though often persecuted; the school of religious liberty, the more precious for the struggles to which it has been called; the tombs of those who have reflected honor on all who speak the English tongue; it is the birthplace of our fathers, the home of the pilgrims; it is these which I love and venerate in England.

I should feel ashamed of an enthusiasm for Italy and Greece, did I not also feel it for a land like this. In an American, it would seem to me degenerate and ungrateful, to hang with passion upon the traces of Homer and Virgil,

and follow, without emotion, the nearer and plainer footsteps of Shakspeare and Milton; and I should think him cold in his love for his native land, who felt no melting in his heart for that other native land, which holds the ashes of his forefathers.

THE EFFECTS OF ATHEISM.-Channing.

Few men suspect, perhaps no man comprehends, the extent of the support given by religion to every virtue. No man, perhaps, "is aware, how much our moral and social sentiments are fed from this fountain; how powerless cona science would become, without the belief of a God; how palsied would be human benevolence, were there not the sense of a higher benevolence, to quicken and sustain it; how suddenly the whole social fabric would quake, and with what a fearful crash it would sink into endless ruin, were the idea of a Supreme Being, of accountableness, and of a future life, to be utterly erased from every mind.

Once let men thoroughly believe that they are the work and sport of chance; that no superior intelligence' concerns itself in human affairs; that all their improvements perish after death; that the weak have no guardian, and the injured no avenger; that there is no recompense for sacrifices to uprightness and the public good; that an oath is not heard in heaven; that secret crimes have no witness but the perpetrator; that human existence has no purpose, and human virtue no unfailing friend; that this brief life is everything to us, and that death is total, everlasting extinction; once let men thoroughly abandon religion; and who can conceive or describe the extent of the desolation which would follow.

We hope, perhaps, that human laws and natural sympathy would hold society together. As reasonably might we believe, that were the sun quenched in the heavens, our torches would illuminate, and our fires quicken and fertilize the creation. What is there in human nature to awaken respect and tenderness, if man be the unprotected insect of a day? And what is he more, if atheism be true? Erase all thought and fear of God from a community, and selfishness and sensuality would absorb the whole man. Appetite,

« PreviousContinue »