« PreviousContinue »
Advance your staff
Ges. What! must we take that step?
'Tis nothing! Come, I'll go before. Ne'er fear—Come on! come on!
SPEECH OF EPRIUS MARCELLUS, IN THE ROMAN SENATE, AGAINST
The Commonwealth is on the brink of ruin. Certain turbulent spirits rear their crests so high, that no room is left for the milder virtues of the prince.
The senate for sometime past has been negligent, tame, and passive. Your lenity, conscript fathers, your lenity has given encouragement to sedition. It is in consequence of your indulgence, that Thrasea presumes to trample on the laws; that his son-in-law, Helvidius Priscus, adopts the same pernicious principles; that Paconius Agrippinus with the inveterate hatred towards the house of Cæsar, which he inherited from his father, declares open hostility; and that Curtius Montanus, in seditious verses, spreads abroad the venom of his pen.
Where is Thrasea now? I want to see the man of consular rank in his place; I want to see the sacerdotal dignitary offering up vows for the emperor; I want to see the citizens taking the oath of fidelity. Perhaps that haughty spirit towers above the laws and the religion of our ancestors; perhaps he means to throw off the mask, and own himself traitor and an enemy to his country.
Let him appear in this assembly; let the patriot come; let the leader of faction show himself; the man who so often played the orator in this assembly, and took under his patronage the inveterate enemies of the prince. Let us hear his plan of government. What does he wish to change? what abuses does he mean to reform?
If he came every day with objections, the cavilling spirit of the man might tease, perplex, and embarrass us; but now his sullen silence is worse; it condemns everything in the gross. And why all this discontent? A settled peace prevails in every quarter of the empire: does that afflict him? Our armies, without the effusion of human blood, have been victorious: is that the cause of his disaffection?
He sickens in the midst of prosperity; he pines at the flourishing state of his country; he deserts the forum; he threatens to abjure his country, and retire into voluntary banishment; he acknowledges none of your laws; your decrees are to him no better than a mockery; he owns no magistrates, and Rome to him is no longer Rome. Let him therefore be cut off at once from a city, where he has long lived an alien: the love of his country banished from his heart, and the people odious to his sight.
CLAIMS OF GREECE UPON AMERICA
Extract from an Address, delivered in Boston, in behalf of the Greeks, by the
Rev. S. E. Dwight.
Though not called to plead the cause of Greece, before my assembled countrymen; yet, at the request of your committee, I am at this time allowed, my friends and fellow citizens, to urge her claims on you. But need I urge them? What heart does not throb, what bosom does not heave, at the very thought of Grecian Independence? Have you the feelings of a man, and do you not wish, that the blood of Greece should cease to flow, and that the groans and sighs of centuries should be heard no more? Are you a scholar; and shall the land of the muses ask your help in vain? With the eye of the enthusiast do you often gaze at the triumphs of the arts; and will you do nothing to rescue their choicest relics from worse than Vandal barbarism? Are you a mother, rejoicing in all the charities of domestic life;-are you a daughter, rich and safe in conscious innocence and parental love; and shall thousands more, among the purest and loveliest of your sex, glut the shambles of Smyrna, and be doomed to a capacity inconceivably worse than death? Are you a Christian, and do you cheerfully contribute your property to christianize the heathen world? What you give to Greece is to rescue a nation of Christians from extermination, to deliver the ancient churches, to overthrow the Mohammedan imposture, to raise up a standard for the wandering
tribes of Israel, and to gather in the harvest of the world. Are you an American citizen, proud of the liberty and independence of your country? Greece, too, is struggling for these very blessings, which she taught your fathers to purchase with their blood. And when she asks your help, need I urge you to bestow it? Where am I?–in the land of the Pilgrims-in a land of Independence in a land of Freemen Here, then, I leave their cause.
DEFENCE OF DE WITT CLINTON.
Speech of Mr. Cunningham in the Legislature of New York, against a
resolution to expel De Witt Clinton from the Board of Canal Commissioners.
Mr. SPEAKER, I rise, Sir, with no ordinary feelings of surprise and astonishment at the resolution just read, as coming from the senate. Sir, it ought to arouse the feelings of every honourable man on this floor. Its very approach is marked with black ingratitude and base design. I do not wish to speak disrespectfully of a co-ordinate branch of the legislature, nor to impute their acts to improper motives; but I hope I may be permitted to inquire, for what good and honourable purpose has this resolution been sent here for concurrence, at the very last moment of the session, while we are packing our papers and leaving our seats for our homes.
Is it to create discord amongst us, and to destroy that harmony and good feeling, which ought to prevail at our separation? We have spent more than three months in legislation, and not one word has been dropped, intimating a desire or intention to expel that honourable gentleman from the Board of Canal Commissioners.
Sir, De Witt Clinton was called to a place in that Board, by the united voice and common consent of the people of New York, on account of his peculiar and transcendent fitness to preside there, and by his counsel to stimulate and forward the great undertaking. His labour for years has been arduous and unceasing for the public good. He has endured slander and persecution from every direction like a Christian martyr; but steadfast in his purpose, he has pursued his course with a firm and steady step, until all is crowned with success, and the most flagrant of his opposers, ia this House at least, sit still and in sullen silence.
For what, let me ask, has Mr. Clinton endured all this? Is it for the sake of salary! No, Sir; it is for the honour and welfare of the state. It is from noble and patriotic views, for which he asks nothing, receives nothing, and expects nothing but the gratitude of his countrymen.
Now, Sir, I put the question to this honourable House to decide, upon the oath which they have taken, and upon their sense of propriety and of honour, whether they are ready by their votes to commit the sin of base ingratitude. I hope there is yet a redeeming spirit in this House, that we shall not be guilty of so great an outrage. If we concur in this resolution, we shall take upon ourselves an awful responsibility; ay! a responsibility for which our constituents will call us to strict account.
What, let me ask, shall we answer in excuse for ourselves, when we return to an inquisitive and watchful people? What can we charge to Mr. Clinton? Of what has he been guilty, that he should now be singled out as an object of state persecution? Will some friend of this resolution be kind enough to inform me? Sir, I challenge inquiry. I demand from the supporters of this high-handed measure, that they lay their hands upon their hearts, and answer me truly, for what cause this man is to be removed.
The Senate, it appears, has been actuated by some cruel and malignant passion, unaccounted for, and have made a rush upon this House, and taken us by surprise. The resolution, Sir, may pass; but if it does, my word for it, we are disgraced in the judgment and good sense of an injured and insulted community. Whatever be the fate of this resolution, let it be remembered, and remember I have told you, that De Witt Clinton has acquired a reputation not to be destroyed by the pitiful malice of a few leading partisans of the day.
When the contemptible party strifes of the present crisis shall have passed by, and the political bargainers and jugglers, who now hang round this capitol for subsistence, shall be overwhelmed and forgotten in their own insignificance; when the gentle breeze shall pass over the tomb of that great man, carrying with it the just tribute of honour and praise, which is now withheld; the pen of the future historian, in bet
ter days and in better times, will do him justice, and erect to his memory a proud monument of fame, as imperishable as the splendid works, which owe their origin to his genius and perseverance.
FREEDOM OF THE ANCIENT ISRAELITES.---Croly.
The state of man in the most unfettered republics of the ancient world was slavery, compared with the magnanimous and secure establishment of the Jewish commonwealth. During the three hundred golden years from Moses to Samuel,-before, for our sins, we were given over to the madness of innovation, and the demand of an earthly diadem,the Jew was free, in the loftiest sense of freedom; free to do all good; restricted only from evil; every man pursuing the unobstructed course pointed out by his genius or his fortune; every man protected by laws inviolable, or whose violation was instantly visited with punishment, by the Eternal Sovereign alike of ruler and people.
Freedom! twin-sister of Virtue, thou brightest of all the spirits that descended in the train of Religion from the throne of God; thou, that leadest up man again to the early glories of his being; angel, from the circle of whose pres· ence happiness spreads like the sunlight over the darkness
of the land! at the waving of whose sceptre, knowledge, and peace, and fortitude, and wisdom, stoop upon the wing; at the voice of whose trumpet the more than grave is broken, and slavery gives up her dead; when shall I see thy coming? When shall I hear thy summons upon the mountains of my country, and rejoice in the regeneration and glory of the sons of Judah?
I have traversed nations; and as I set my foot upon their boundary, I have said, Freedom is not here! I saw the naked hill, the morass steaming with death, the field covered with weedy fallow, the silky thicket encumbering the land; - I saw the still more infallible signs, the downcast visage, the form degraded at once by loathsome indolence and desperate poverty; the peasant cheerless and feeble in his field, the wolfish robber, the population of the cities crowded into huts and cells, with pestilence for their fellow;-I saw the contumely of man to man, the furious vindictiveness of pop