« AnteriorContinuar »
XVII.—QUEEN MARGARET'S ADDRESS TO THE LORDS, BEFORE
THE BATTLE OF TEWKSBURY.
Extract from Shakspeare.-Third part of Henry VI. Act 5, Scene 4.
GREAT lords, wise men ne'er sit and wail their loss,
The battle of Tewksbury, between King Edward and Margaret, took place May 3, 1471. See History of England. This comparing the Republic to a ship; and the different officers and departments of government, to the captain, pilot masts, &c. of a vessel, is not original with Shakspeare.
+ Whiles, whilst.
Warwick, Oxford, &c. were English Earls.
Say, you can swim; alas, 'tis but a while :
VXIII. THE COURAGE OF A PEOPLE THEIR GREAT STRENGTH.
Extract from Robert Goodloe Harper's. Speech, on the necessity of resisting the aggressions and encroachments of France, delivered in the House of Representatives of the U. S., May 29, 1797.
Mr. Speaker,-THERE cannot be the least doubt, but that, when France is at length convinced that we are firmly resolved to call forth all our resources, and to exert all our strength to resist her encroachments and aggressions, she will soon desist from them. She need not be told, sir, what these resources are; she knows well their greatness and extent; she knows well 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, sir, of repelling the attacks of France, were less than they really are, 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 means that, in later time, the Swiss, a people not half so numerous as we are, and possessing few of our advantages, honorably maintained
their neutrality amid the shock of surrounding states, and against the haughty aggressions of France herself. France insisted that the Swiss should surrender their privileges as a neutral nation, but, finding them resolved to maintain them, gave up the attempt. This was effected by that determined courage, which alone can make a nation great or respectable: and this effect has. invariably been produced by the same cause in every age and in every clime. 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 Canne, and when Hannibal, victorious over three Roman armies and twenty nations, was thundering 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 they struck that terrible blow, under which the greatness of Persia sunk and expired.
Marquis of Granby's Speech in the House of Lords, relative to the American Colonies.
I RISE, sir, to trouble the house with a few words on the bill now before it. I have sat, sir, during the course of two divisions, without taking any part, even so much as giving a silent vote on any American question: because, sir, as I will fairly confess to you, I entered these walls with prejudices against the system administration was pursuing. I thought it
would be but justice to hear the arguments that might be urged on both sides,-to compare those arguments, and to draw my opinion from that comparison. As to the bill im. mediately the object of our consideration, I think it, in every respect, so arbitrary, so oppressive, and so totally founded on principles of resentment, that I am exceedingly happy in hav. ing this public opportunity of bearing my testimony against it, in the strongest manner I am able. In heaven's name, what language are you now holding out to America? Resign your property-divest yourselves of your privileges and freedom
-renounce every thing that can make life comfortable ;-or we will destroy your commerce, we will involve your country in all the miseries of famine: and if you express the sensa. tions of men at such harsh treatment, we will then declare you in a state of rebellion, and put yourselves and your fami lies to fire and sword.
And yet, sir, the noble lord on the floor has just told this house, that a reconciliation is the sole object of his wishes. I hope the noble lord will pardon me, if I doubt the perfect sincerity of those wishes. At least, sir, his actions justify my doubts, for every circumstance in his whole conduct, with regard to America, has directly militated against his present professions. And what, sir, must the Americans conclude? While you are ravaging their coasts, and extirpating their commerce, and are withheld only by your impotence from spreading fresh ruin by the sword; can they, sir, suppose that such chastisement is intended to promote a reconciliation, and that you mean to restore to their forlorn country those liberties you deny to their present possession, and in the insolence of persecution, are compassing earth and seas to destroy? You can with no more justice, sir, compel the Americans to your obedience, by the operation of the present measures, by making use of their necessities, and withdrawing from them that commerce on which their existence depends, than a ruffian can found an equitable claim to my possessions, when he forcibly enters my house, and with a dagger at my throat, or a pistol at my breast, makes me seal deeds which will convey to him my estate and property. From the fullest conviction of my soul, I therefore disclaim every idea, both of policy and right, internally to tax America. I disavow the whole system. It was commenced in iniquity, it is pursued with re
sentment, and it can terminate in nothing but blood. Under whatsoever shape it may in future be revived, by whomso ever produced and supported, it shall from me meet the most constant, determined, and invariable opposition.
OF THE LANDING OF THE
XX. THE COMMEMORATION
Extract from a Discourse delivered at Plymouth, Mass., Dec. 22, 1820, in commemoration of the first settlement of New-England.-By DANIEL WEBSTER.
LET us rejoice, my friends, that we behold this day. Let us be thankful that we have lived to see the bright and happy breaking of the auspicious morn, which commences the third century of the history of New-England. Auspicious indeed; bringing a happiness beyond the common allotment of Providence to men; full of present joy, and gilding with bright beams the prospect of futurity, is the dawn, that awakens us to the commemoration of the landing of the Pilgrims.
Living at an epoch which naturally marks the progress of the history of our native land, we have come hither to celebrate the great event with which that history commenced. For ever honoured be this, the place of our fathers' refuge! For ever remembered the day which saw them, weary and distressed, broken in every thing but spirit, poor in all but faith and courage, at last secure from the dangers of wintry seas, and impressing this shore with the first footsteps of civilized man.
We have come to this rock to record here our homage for our Pilgrim fathers; our sympathy in their sufferings; our gratitude for their labors; our admiration of their virtues; our veneration for their piety; and our attachment to those principles of civil and religious liberty, which they encountered the dangers of the ocean, the storms of heaven, the violence of savages, disease, exile, and famine, to enjoy and to establish.
Great actions and striking occurrences, having excited a temporary admiration, often pass away and are forgotten, because they leave no lasting results, affecting