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freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfil the great responsibility which we hold to God and to our country. Should I keep back my opinion at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty towards the Majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
Sir, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transform us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and ardent struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided ; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry, for the last ten years, to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the house. Is it that insidious smile with which cur petition has been lately received ? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation - the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission ?
Can gentle men assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great
Britain any enemy in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies ? No, sir, she has
They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them ? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we any thing new to offer upon the subject ? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable ; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication ? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, deceive ourselves longer. Sir, we have done every thing that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned we have remonstrated we have supplicated we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free — if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending - if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon, until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, - – we must fight. I repeat it, sir, we must fight. An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us.
They tell us, sir, that we are weak, unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger ? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by
irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of eftectual resistance by lying supinely on our cachs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot ? Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God, wno presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged. Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston. The war is inevitable - and let it coine. it, sir, - let it come.
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. "Gentlemen may cry, peace, peace, but there is no peace. The war is actually begun. The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms. Our brethren are already in the field. Why stand we here idle ? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have ? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery ? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.
PATRICK HENRY. A THOUGHT FOR EVERY DAY. — We see not in life the end of human actions. The influence never dies. In ever-widening circles it reaches beyond the grave. Time determines what shall be our condition in a future world. Every morning, when we go forth, we lay the moulding hand on our destiny; and at evening, we have left a deathless impression upon our character. We touch no wire but vibrates in eternity utter no voice but reports at the throne of God. Let youth, especially, think of these things; and let every one remember that, in this world, character is in its formation state- it is a serious thing to think, to speak, to act.
Am I not all alone? — The world is still
In passionless slumber — not a tree but feels
The far-pervading hush, and softer steals The misty river by. Yon broad, bare hill Looks coldly up to heaven, and all the stars
Seem eyes deep fixed in silence, as if bound
By some unearthly spell — no other sound
From the abyss of night, “Not all alone -
JAMES G. PERCIVAL.
144. Conclusion of an Address on the Occasion of
laying the Corner-Stone of the National Monument to Washington.
Yes, to-day, fellow-citizens, at the very moment when the extension of our boundaries and the multiplication of our territories are producing, directly and indirectly, among the different members of our political system, so many marked and mourned centrifugal tendencies, let us seize this occasion to renew to each other our vows of allegiance and devotion to the American Union; and let us recognize in our common title to the name and the fame of Washington, and in our common veneration for his example and his advice, the allsufficient centripetal power, which shall hold the thick clustering stars of our confederacy in one glorious constellation forever! Let the column which we are about to construct, be at once a pledge and an emblem of perpetual union! Let the foundations be laid, let the superstructure be built up and cemented, let each stone be raised and rivetted, in a spirit of national brotherhood! And may the earliest ray of the rising sun — till that sun shall set to rise no more — - draw forth from it daily, as from the fabled statue of antiquity, a strain of national harmony, which shall strike a responsive chord in every heart throughout the republic!
Proceed, then, fellow-citizens, with the work for which you have assembled. Lay the corner-stone of a monument which shall adequately bespeak the gratitude of the whole American people to the illustrious Father of his country! Build it to the skies ; you cannot outreach the loftiness of his principles! Found it upon the massive and eternal rock ; you cannot make it more enduring than his fame! Construct it of the peerless Parian marble; you cannot make it purer than his life! Exhaust upon it the rules and principles of ancient and of modern art; you cannot make it more proportionate than his character !
But let not your homage to his memory end here. Think not to transfer to a tablet or a column the tribute which is due from yourselves. Just honor to Washington can only be rendered by observing his precepts and imitating his example. He has built his own monument. We and those who come after us, in successive generations, are its appointed, its privileged guardians.
The wide-spread republic is the true monument to Washington. Maintain its independence. Uphold its constitution. Preserve its union. Defend its liberty. Let it stand before the world in all its original strength and beauty, securing peace, order, equality and freedom to all within its boundaries, and shedding light, and hope, and joy, upon the pathway of human liberty throughout the world; and Washington needs no other monument. Other structures may fitly testify our veneration for him; this, this alone, can adequately illustrate his services to mankind.