« VorigeDoorgaan »
the wisest, the most profound policy, judged and decided on by the most ignorant and the most frivolous of human beings, and the most generous aspirations of the heart for the happiness of his species chilled by frowns of the most selfish and sordid of the race :-these are among the unenviable prerogatives of place,-of what is falsely called power in this country; and yet I doubt if there be not others less enviable still. To be planted upon the eminence from whence he must see the baser features of human nature, uncovered and deformed; witness the attitude of climbing ambition from a point whence it is only viewed as creeping and crawling, tortuous and venomous, in its hateful path; be forced to see the hideous sight of a naked human heart, whether throbbing in the bosom of the great vulgar or of the little, is not a very pleasing occupation for any one who loves his fellow-creatures, and would fain esteem them; and, trust me, that he who wields power and patronage for but a little month shall find the many he may try to serve furiously hating him for involuntary failure, while the few he may succeed in helping to the object of all their wishes shall, with a preposterous pride, (the most unamiable part of the British character,) seek to prove their independence by showing their ingratitude, if they do not try to cancel the obligation by fastening a quarrel upon him. Yet to even all this I might have reconciled myself from a desire to further great measures, and from the pleasure which excitement gives to active minds, or, if you will, from the glory which inspires ambitious notions among statesmen as well as conquerors. But worse to be endured
than all was the fetter and the cramp imposed on one used to independence, the being buried while yet alive to the people's condition and claims-buried in the house of form and etiquette appointed for all ministers. Who, then, can marvel at the exultation which I feel to shake and to brace every fibre of my frame when,. casting off these trammels-bursting through the cerements of that tomb-I start into new life, and resume my position in the van of my countrymen, struggling for their rights, and moving onwards in the accelerated progress of improvement with a boundless might and a resistless fury which prostrates in the dust all the puny obstacles that can be raised by the tyranny of courts and their intrigues-the persecution of bigots and their cunning-the sordid plots of greedy monopolists, whether privileged companies, or overgrown establishments, or corrupt municipalities? In this proud position I am now placed; and I have no desire at all to leave it. I am once more absolutely free-the slave of no party-at the mercy of no court intrigue-in the service of my country, and of that only master. Firm on this vantage ground, it must indeed be an honest government, and a strong one,-a government which promises much for the people, and is capable of accomplishing much of what it promises, that can ever tempt me to abandon iny independence in the front of my countrymen, and enlist with any ministry whatever.
A FRAGMENT FROM THE REV. DR. MASON'S ORATION ON THE MOURNFUL DEATH, IN A DUEL, OF THE LATE GENERAL
HAMILTON, OF AMERICA.
FATHERS, friends, and countrymen !
grave of Hamilton speaks. It charges me to remind you, that he fell a victim, not to disease or accident, not to the fortune of a glorious warfare; but-how shall I utter it ?-to a custom which has no origin but superstition, no aliment but depravity, no reason but in madness. Alas! that he should thus expose his precious life. This was his error. A thousand bursting hearts reiterate-this was his error. Shall I apologize? I am forbidden by his living protestations, by his dying regrets, by his wasted blood. Shall a
solitary act, into which he was betrayed and dragged, have the authority of a precedent? The plea is precluded by the long decisions of his understanding, by the principles of his conscience, and by the reluctance of his death. Ah! when will our morals be purified, and our imaginary honour cease to cover the most pestilent of human passions? My appeal is to military men. Your honour is sacred. Is it honour to enjoy the esteem of the wise and good? The wise and good turn, with disgust, from the man who lawlessly aims at his neighbour's life. Is it honourable to serve your country? The man cruelly injures her, who, from private pique, calls his fellow citizen into the dubious field. fidelity honourable ? That man forswears his faith, who turns against the bowels of his countrymen, weapons put into his hand for their defence.
Are generosity, humanity, sympathy, honourable? That man is superlatively base, who mingles the tears of the widow and orphan with the blood of a husband and a father. Do refinement, and courtesy, and benignity, entwine with the laurels of the brave? The blot is yet to be wiped from the soldier's name, who cannot treat his brother with the decorum of a gentleman, unless the pistol or the dagger be every moment at his heart. Let the votaries of honour now look at their deeds. Let them compare their doctrine with this horrible comment. Ah! what avails it to a distracted nation, that Hamilton was murdered for a punctilio of honour? My flesh shivers! Is this, indeed, our state of society? Are transcendant worth and talent to be a capital indictment before the tribunal of ambition? Is the angel of death to record, for sanguinary retribution, every word which the collision of political opinion may extort from a political man ? Are integrity and candour to be at the mercy of the assassin? and systematic crime to trample under foot, or smite into the grave, all that is yet venerable in our humble land? My countrymen, the land is defiled with blood unrighteously shed? Its cry, disregarded on earth, has gone up to the throne of God! and this day does our punishment reveal our sin! "Tis time for us to awake! The voice of moral virtue, the voice of domestic alarm, the voice of the fatherless and widow, the voice of a nation's wrong, the voice of Hamilton's blood, the voice of impending judgment, calls for a remedy. At this hour, heaven's high reproof is sounding from Maine to Georgia, and from the shores of the Atlantic to the banks of the Mississippi!
SHYLOCK JUSTIFYING HIS MEDITATED
IF it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and hindered me of half a million! laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated my enemies! And what's his reason? I am a Jew! Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands? organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Is he not fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same summer and winter, as a Christian is? If you stab us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that! If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge! The villany you teach me, I will execute; and it shall go hard, but I will better the instruction.
ROLLA TO THE PERUVIANS.
My brave associates !-partners of my toil, my feelings, and my fame! Can Rolla's words add vigour 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