Page images
PDF
EPUB

system of roads and canals. Let us conquer space. It is thus, the most distant part of the republic will be brought within a few days' travel of the centre; it is thus, that a

citizen of the west will read the news of Boston, still 5 moist from the press.

LESSON CLXXII.FOUNDERS OF OUR GOVERNMENT.

WM. M. RICHARDSON.

The love of liberty has always been the ruling passion of our nation. It was mixed at first with the “purple tide” of the founders' lives, and, circulating with that tide

through all their veins, has descended down through 5 every generation of their posterity, marking every feature

of our country's glorious story. May it continue thus to circulate and descend to the remotest period of time!

Oppressed and persecuted in their native country, the high, indignant spirit of our fathers, formed the bold design 10 of leaving a land, where minds, as well as bodies, were

chained, for regions where Freedom might be found to dwell

, though her dwelling should prove to be amid wilds and wolves, or savages less hospitable than wilds and

wolves ! An ocean three thousand miles wide, with its 15 winds and its waves, rolled in vain between them and

liberty. They performed the grand enterprise, and landed on this then uncultivated shore. Here, on their first arrival, they found

The wilderness "all before them, where to choose 20

Their place of rest, and Providence their guide.” Their courage and industry soon surmounted all the difficulties incident to a new settlement. The savages retired, the forests were exchanged for fields waving with

richest harvests, and the dreary haunts of wild beasts, for 25 the cheerful abodes of civilized man. Increasing in

wealth and population, with a rapidity which excited the astonishment of the old world, our nation flourished about a century and a half, when England, pressed down with

the enormous weight of accumulating debts, and consider30 ing the inhabitants of these States as slaves, who owed

their existence and preservation to her care and protection, now began to form the unjust, tyrannical, and impolitic plan of taxing this country, without its consent. The right of taxation, however, not being relinquished, but the

1

same principle under a different shape being pursued, the AWFUL GENIUS OF FREEDOM arose, not with the ungovernable ferocity of the tiger, to tear and devour, but with the cool,

determined, persevering courage of the lion, who, disdain5 ing to be a slave, resists the chain. As liberty was the

object of contest, that being secured, the offer of peace was joyfully accepted; and peace was restored to free, united, independent Columbia!

LESSON CLXXIII.-CONDUCT OF THE OPPOSITION.HENRY CLAY.

[Extract from a Speech on the new Army Bill.] If gentlemen would only reserve for their own government, half the sensibility which is indulged for that of Great Britain, they would find much less to condemn.

Restriction after restriction has been tried; negotiation 5 has been resorted to, until further negotiation would have

been disgraceful. Whilst these peaceful experiments are undergoing a trial, what is the conduct of the opposition ? They are the champions of war; the proud, the spirited,

the sole repository of the nation's honor, the men of exclu10 sive vigor and energy. The administration on the con

trary, is weak, feeble, and pusillanimous,"incapable of being kicked into a war." The maxim, “not a cent for tribute, millions for defence,” is loudly proclaimed. Is

the administration for negotiation? The opposition is 15 tired, sick, disgusted with negotiation. They wish to

draw the sword and avenge the nation's wrongs. When, however, foreign nations, perhaps emboldened by the very opposition here made, refuse to listen to the amiable

appeals, which have been repeated and reiterated by the 20 administration, to their justice and to their interests ;

when, in fact, war with one of them has become identified with our independence and our sovereignty, and to abstain from it was no longer possible; behold the opposi

tion veering round, and becoming the friends of peace and 25 commerce. They tell you of the calamities of war, its

tragical events, the squandering away of your resources, the waste of the public treasure, and the spilling of innocent blood. "Gorgons, hydras, and chimeras dire !” They

tell you that honor is an illusion! Now we see them 30 exhibiting the terrific forms of the roaring king of the

forest: now the meekness and humility of the lamb !

They are for war and no restrictions, when the administration is for peace. They are for peace and restrictions, when the administration is for war. You find them, sir,

tacking with every gale, displaying the colors of every 5 party, and of all nations, steady only in one unalterable

purpose,--to steer, if possible, into the haven of power.

LESSON CLXXIV.-GOD, THE CREATOR. Fenelon. Cast your eyes upon the earth that supports us ; raise them then to this immense canopy of the heavens that surrounds us,-these fathomless abysses of air and water, and

these countless stars that give us light. Who is it that 5 has suspended this globe of earth? who has laid its founda

tions? "If it were harder, its bosom could not be laid open by man for cultivation; if it were less firm it could not support the weight of his footsteps. From it proceed the most

precious things : this earth, so mean and unformed, is 10 transformed into thousands of beautiful objects, that delight

our eyes. In the course of one year, it becomes branches, buds, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds; thus renewing its bountiful favors to man. Nothing exhausts it. After

yielding, for so many ages, its treasures, it experiences no 15 decay; it does not grow old; it still pours forth riches from its bosom.

Who has stretched over our heads this vast and glorious arch? What sublime objects are there! An all-powerful Hand has presented this grand spectacle to our vision.

What does the regular succession of day and night teach us? The sun has never omitted, for so many ages, to shed his blessing upon us.

The dawn never fails to announce the day; and “the sun,” says the Holy Book,

“knows his going down.” Thus it enlightens alternately 25 both sides of the world, and sheds its rays on all. Day is

the time for society and employment. Night folds the world in darkness, finishes our labors, and softens our troubles. It suspends, it calms everything. It sheds round us

silence and sleep; it rests our bodies, it revives our spirits. 30 Then day returns, and recalls man to labor, and reänimates all nature.

But besides the constant course of the sun, that produces day and night; during six months it approaches one pole,

and during the other six, the opposite one. By this beau35 tiful order, one sun answers for the whole world. If the

20

sun, at the same distance, were larger, it would light the whole world, but it would consume it with its heat. If it were smaller, the earth would be all ice, and could not be

inhabited by men. 5 What compass has been stretched from heaven to earth

and taken such just measurements ? The changes of the sun make the variety of the seasons, which we find so delightful.

The Hand that guides this glorious work must be as 10 skilful as it is powerful, to have made it so simple, yet so

effectual ; so constant and so beneficent.

LESSON CLXXV.

-CRESCENTIUS.-Miss Landon.

5

I looked upon his brow,—no sign

Of guilt or fear was there;
He stood as proud by that death-shrine,

As even o'er despair
He had a power; in his eye
There was a quenchless energy,

A spirit that could dare
The deadliest form that death could take,
And dare it for the daring's sake.
He stood, the fetters on his hand,

He raised them haughtily;
And had that grasp been on the brand,

It could not wave on high
With freer pride than it waved now.
Around he looked with changeless brow

On many a torture nigh,-
The rack, the chain, the axe, the wheel,
And, worst of all, his own red steel.

10

15

20

I saw him once before ; he rode

Upon a coal-black steed,
And tens of thousands thronged the road,

And bade their warrior speed.
His helm, his breastplate, were of gold,
And graved with many a dint, that told

Of many a soldier's deed;
The sun shone on his sparkling mail,
And danced his snow-plume on the gale.

25

5

But now he stood, chained and alone,

The headsman by his side ;
The plume, the helm, the charger gone ;

The sword, that had defied
The mightiest, lay broken near,
And yet no sign or sound of fear

Came from that lip of pride;
And never king or conqueror's brow
Wore higher look than his did now.
He bent beneath the headsman's stroke,

With an uncovered eye:
A wild shout from the numbers broke

Who thronged to see him die.
It was a people's loud acclaim,
The voice of anger and of shame,

A nation's funeral cry,
Rome's wail above her only son,
Her patriot,—and her latest one.

10

15

LESSON CLXXVI.-— ADDRESS TO THE OCEAN.Barry Cornwall.

O thou vast Ocean! ever-sounding sea !
Thou symbol of a drear immensity!
Thou thing that windest round the solid world

Like a huge animal, which, downward hurled
5 From the black clouds, lies weltering and alone,

Lashing and writhing till its strength be gone.
Thy voice is like the thunder; and thy sleep
Is like a giant's slumber, loud and deep.

Thou speakest in the east and in the west 10 At once; and on thy heavily laden breast

Fleets come and go, and shapes that have no life
Or motion, yet are moved and meet in strife.
The earth hath naught of this; nor chance nor change

Ruffles its surface; and no spirits dare 15 Give answer to the tempest-waken air;

But o'er its wastes, the weakly tenants range
At will, and wound his bosom as they go.
Ever the same, it hath no ebb, no flow;

But in their stated round the seasons come 20 And pass like visions to their viewless home,

And come again and vanish: the young Spring
Looks ever bright with leaves and blossomning,

« PreviousContinue »