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Great was the joy; but at the nuptial feast,
Weary of his life,
Francesco flew to Venice, and, embarking,
Full fifty years were past, and all forgotten,
That mouldering chest was noticed; and 't was said
'Why not remove it from its lurking-place?"
'T was done as soon as said; but on the way
With here and there a pearl, an emerald-stone,
There then had she found a grave!
[FISHER AMES was born in Dedham, Massachusetts, April 9, 1758, and died in the same place July 4, 1808. When the federal government went into operation, he was elected the first representative of his district in Congress, and retained his seat through the whole of the administration of Washington, of whose policy and measures he was an ardent supporter. He was a very eloquent man, remarkable alike for his readiness in debate and the finished beauty of his prepared speeches. He was a copious writer upon political subjects, and his essays are remarkable for vigor of thought and brilliant and animated style. In private life Mr. Ames was one of the most amiable and delightful of men, and possessed of rare conversational powers.
The speech from which the following extract is taken was delivered in the House of Representatives, April 28, 1796, in support of a resolution in favor of passing the laws necessary for carrying into effect a treaty recently negotiated with Great Britain by Mr. Jay. By this treaty, Great Britain agreed to surrender certain posts on the western frontier, which she still held. Mr. Ames argued that the possession of these posts was essential for the preservation of the western settlers against the Indians.]
Ir any, against all these proofs, should maintain, that the peace with the Indians will be stable without the posts, to them I will urge another reply. From arguments calculated to produce conviction, I will appeal directly to the 5 hearts of those who hear me, and ask whether it is not already planted there? I resort especially to the convictions of the western gentlemen, whether, supposing no posts and no treaty, the settlers will remain in security? Can they take it upon them to say, that an Indian peace, 10 under these circumstances, will prove firm? No, sir, it will not be peace, but a sword; it will be no better than a lure to draw victims within the reach of the tomahawk.
On this theme my emotions are unutterable. If I could
find words for them, if my powers bore any proportion to my zeal, I would swell my voice to such a note of remonstrance it should reach every log-house beyond the mountains. I would say to the inhabitants, wake from your false 5 security; your cruel dangers, your more cruel apprehensions are soon to be renewed; the wounds, yet unhealed, are to be torn open again; in the daytime, your path through the woods will be ambushed; the darkness of midnight will glitter with the blaze of your dwellings. You are a 10 father-the blood of your sons shall fatten your cornfield. You are a mother-the war-whoop shall wake the sleep of the cradle.
On this subject you need not suspect any deception on your feelings; it is a spectacle of horror which cannot be 15 overdrawn. If you have nature in your hearts, they will speak a language, compared with which all I have said or can say will be poor and frigid.
Will it be whispered that the treaty has made me a new champion for the protection of the frontiers? It is known 20 that my voice, as well as vote, has been uniformly given in conformity with the ideas I have expressed. Protection is the right of the frontiers; it is our duty to give it.
Who will accuse me of wandering out of the subject? Who will say that I exaggerate the tendencies of our meas25 ures? Will any one answer by a sneer that this is all idle preaching? Will any one deny that we are bound, and I would hope to good purpose, by the most solemn sanctions of duty, for the vote we give? Are despots alone to be reproached for unfeeling indifference to the tears and blood 30 of their subjects? Are republicans irresponsible? Have the principles on which you ground the reproach upon cabinets and kings, no practical influence, no binding force? Are they merely themes of idle declamation, introduced to decorate the morality of a newspaper essay, or 35 to furnish pretty topics of harangue from the windows of
that State House? I trust it is neither too presumptuous
nor too late to ask, Can you put the dearest interest of society at risk, without guilt, and without remorse?
It is vain to offer as an excuse that public men are not to be reproached for the evils that may happen to ensue 5 from their measures. This is very true, where they are unforeseen or inevitable. Those I have depicted are not unforeseen; they are so far from inevitable, we are going to bring them into being by our vote; we choose the consequences, and become as justly answerable for them as 10 for the measure that we know will produce them.
By rejecting the posts, we light the savage fires, we bind the victims. This day we undertake to render an account to the widows and orphans whom our decision will make; to the wretches that will be roasted at the stake; to our 15 country; and I do not deem it too serious to say, to conscience and to God. We are answerable; and if duty be anything more than a word of imposture, if conscience be not a bugbear, we are preparing to make ourselves as wretched as our country.
There is no mistake in this case, there can be none; experience has already been the prophet of events, and the cries of our future victims have already reached us. The western inhabitants are not a silent and uncomplaining sacrifice. The voice of humanity issues from the shade of 25 the wilderness; it exclaims, that while one hand is held up to reject this treaty, the other grasps a tomahawk. It summons our imagination to the scenes that will open. It is no great effort of the imagination to conceive that events so near are already begun. I can fancy that I listen to 30 the yells of savage vengeance and the shrieks of torture; already they seem to sigh in the western wind; already they mingle with every echo from the mountains.
-OVER THE RIVER.
1 OVER the river they beckon to me —
Loved ones who 've crossed to the further side; The gleam of their snowy robes I see,
But their voices are drowned in the rushing tide. There's one with ringlets of sunny gold,
And eyes, the reflection of heaven's own blue;
And the pale mist hid him from mortal view.
The gates of the city we could not see;
My brother stands waiting to welcome me!
2 Over the river, the boatman pale
Carried another · the household pet;
Her brown curls waved in the gentle gale
Darling Minnie! I see her yet.
She crossed on her bosom her dimpled hands,
And all our sunshine grew strangely dark.
Where all the ransomed and angels be;
My childhood's idol is waiting for me.
. 3 For none return from those quiet shores,
And catch a gleam of the snowy sail,
And lo! they have passed from our yearning heart;