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The gaoler of the press, he affected the patronage of letters; the proscriber of books, he encouraged philosophy; the persecutor of authors, and the murderer of printers, he yet pretended to the patronage of learning. Such a medley of contradictions, and at the same time such an individual consistency, were never united in the same character. A royalist, a republican, and an emperor-a Mahometan, a Catholic, and a patron of the Synagogue-a traitor and a tyrant-a Christian and an Infidel—he was, through all his vicissitudes, the same stern, impatient, inflexible original—the same mysterious, incomprehensible self—the man without a model, and without a shadow. His fall, like his life, baffled all speculation. In short, his whole history was like a dream to the world; and no man can tell how or why he was awakened from the reverie.
Supposed Speech of John Adams.
“Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my hand and my heart to this vote. It is true, indeed, that in the beginning we aimed not at independence. But there's a divinity that shapes our ends. The injustice of England has driven us to arms; and, blinded to her own interest, for our good, she has obstinately persisted, till independence is now within our grasp. We have but to reach forth to it, and it is ours. Why, then, should we defer the declaration ? Is any man so weak as now to hope for a reconciliation with England, which shall leave either safety to the country and its liberties, or safety to his own life and his own honor? Are not you, sir, who sit in that chair—is not he, our venerable colleague near you—are you not both already the proscribed and predestined objects of punishment and of vengeance? Cut off from all hope of royal clemency, what are you, what can you be, while the power of England remains, but outlaws? If we postpone independence, do we mean to carry on, or to give up, the war? Do we mean to submit to the measures of Parliament, Boston port bill and all? Do we mean to submit, and consent that we ourselves shall be ground to powder, and our country and its rights trodden down in the dust? I know we do not mean to submit.
We never shall submit. Do we intend to violate that most solemn obligation ever entered into by men—that plighting, before God, of our sacred honor to Washington, when, putting him forth to incur the dangers of war, as well as the political hazards of the times, we promised to adhere to him in every extremity with our fortunes and our lives? I know there is not a man here who would not rather see a general conflagration sweep over the land, or an earthquake sink it, thare one jot or tittle of that plighted faith fall to the ground. For myself, having, twelve months ago in this place, moved yqu, that George Washington be appointed commander of the forces, raised or to be raised, for defense of American liberty, may my right hand forget her cunning and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I hesitate or waver in the support I give him. The war, then, must go on. We must fight it through. And, if the war must go on, why put off longer the declaration of independence?
"Read this declaration at the head of the army; every sword will be drawn from its scabbard, and the solemn vow uttered, to maintain it, or perish on the bed of honor. Publish it from the pulpit; religion will approve it, and the love of religious liberty will cling round it, resolved to stand with it, or fall with it. Send it to the public halls; proclaim it there; let them hear it, who heard the first roar of the enemy's cannon; let them see it, who saw their brothers and their sons fall on the field of Bunker Hill, and in the streets of Lexington and Concord, and the very walls will cry out in its support.
may rue it.
“Sir, I know the uncertainty of human affairs, but I see, I see clearly, through this day's business. You and I, indeed,
not live to the time when this declaration shall be made good. We may die; die, colonists; die, slaves; die, it may be, ignominiously and on the scaffold. Be it so. Be it so. If it be the pleasure of Heaven that my country shall require the poor offering of my life, the victim shall be ready, at the appointed hour of sacrifice, come when that hour may. But, while I do live, let me have a country, or at least the hope of a country, and that a free country.
"But, whatever may be our fate, be assured, be assured, that this declaration will stand. It may cost treasure, and it may cost blood; but it will stand, and it will richly compensate for both. Through the thick gloom of the present I see the brightness of the future as the sun in heaven. We shall make this a glorious, an immortal day. When we are in our graves, our children will honor it. They will celebrate it with thanksgiving, with festivity, with bonfires and illuminations. On its annual return they will shed tears, copious, gushing tears, not of subjection and slavery, not of agony and distress, but of exultation, of gratitude, and of joy. Sir, before God, I believe the hour has come. My judgment approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope, in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it; and I leave off, as I began, that, live or die, survive or perish, I am for the declaration. It is my living sentiment, and, by the blessing of God, it shall be my dying sentiment; independence now, and independence forever.”
EXPRESSION AND THE GENERAL ENDS
In speech there are five General Ends. We talk to have something seen-Clearness, or felt-Impressiveness, or accepted—Belief, or done-Action, or enjoyed— Entertainment, or we have in view a combination of these Ends.
Expression is influenced by these Ends. If the General End is Clearness, the delivery should be intellectual, avoiding the emotional. If the General End is Impressiveness the delivery should aim to convey feeling. When the General End is Belief the delivery should be characterized by sincerity and earnestness. If the End is Action there not only should be earnestness, but, at times, a pleading or urging. If Entertainment is the General End stress should be laid upon variety in delivery. The following selections illustrate the General Ends :
Galileo had found that water would rise under the piston of a pump to a height only of about thirty-four feet. His pupil, Torricelli, conceiving the happy thought, that the weight of the atmosphere might be the cause of the ascent, concluded that mercury, which is about thirteen times heavier than water, should only rise, under the same influence, to a thirteenth of the elevation :—he tried, and found that this was so, and the mercurial barometer was invented. To afford further evidence that the weight of the atmosphere was the cause of the phenomenon, he afterwards carried the tube of