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the west, to enlighten, and animate, and gladden, the human heart. Obscure that, by the downfall of liberty here, and all mankind are enshrouded in a pall of universal
darkness. Beware, then, sir, how you give a fatal sanction, 5 in this infant period of our republic, to military insubor
dination. Remember that Greece had her Alexander, Rome her Cæsar, England her Cromwell, France her Bonaparte; and, that if we would escape the rock on
which they split, we must avoid their errors. 10 I hope, sir, that gentlemen will deliberately survey the
awful isthmus, on which we stand. They may bear down all opposition. They may even vote the general* the public thanks. They may carry him triumphantly through
this house. But if they do, sir, in my humble judgment, 15 it will be a triumph of the principle of insubordination,
a triumph of the military over the civil authority,--a triumph over the powers of this house, –a triumph over the constitution of the land,—and I pray, sir, most devoutly,
that it may not prove, in its ultimate effects and conse20 quences, a triumph over the liberties of the people.
LESSON CLXXXVIII.-LOSS OF NATIONAL CHARACTER.—MAXCY.
The loss of a firm national character, or the degradation of a nation's honor, is the inevitable prelude to her destruction. Behold the once proud fabric of a Roman empire,
an empire carrying its arts and arms, into every part of 5 the eastern continent; the monarchs of mighty kingdoms,
dragged at the wheels of her triumphal chariots ; her eagle waving over the ruins of desolated countries. Where is her splendor, her wealth, her power, her glory? Extin
guished for ever. Her mouldering temples, the mournful 10 vestiges of her former grandeur, afford a shelter to her
muttering monks. Where are her statesmen, her sages, her philosophers, her orators, her generals? Go to their solitary tombs, and inquire. She lost her national char
acter, and her destruction followed. The ramparts of her 16 national pride were broken down, and Vandalism desolated her classic fields.
Citizens will lose their respect and confidence in our government, if it does not extend over them the shield of
an honorable national character. Corruption will creep in, 20 and sharpen party animosity. Ambitious leaders will seize upon the favorable moment. The mad enthusiasm for revolution, will call into action the irritated spirit of our nation, and civil war must follow. The swords of our countrymen may yet glitter on our mountains; their blood
* General Jackson.
may yet crimson our plains. 5 Such,--the warning voice of all antiquity, the example
of all republics proclaim,-may be our fate. But let us no longer indulge these gloomy anticipations. The commencement of our liberty, presages the dawn of a brighter
period, to the world. That bold, enterprising spirit which 10 conducted our heroes to peace and safety, and gave us a
lofty rank amid the empires of the world, still animates the bosoms of their descendants. Look back to that moment, when they unbarred the dungeons of the slave,
and dashed his fetters to the earth ; when the sword of a 15 Washington leaped from its scabbard, to revenge the
slaughter of our countrymen. Place their example before you. Let the sparks of their veteran wisdom flash across your minds, and the sacred altars of your liberty, crowned
with immortal honors, rise before you. Relying on the 20 virtue, the courage, the patriotism, and the strength of our
country, we may expect our national character will become more energetic, our citizens more enlightened, and may hail the age, as not far distant, when will be heard, as the proudest exclamation of man: “I am an American.”
LESSON CLXXXIX.- LAFAYETTE AND NAPOLEON.
Of all the ancient nobility, who returned to France, Lafayette and the young Count de Vaudreuil, were the only individuals who refused the favors which Napoleon
was eager to accord to them. Of all to whom the cross 5 of the legion of honor was tendered, Lafayette alone had
the courage to decline it. Napoleon, either for want of true perception of moral greatness, or because the detestable servility of the mass of returning emigrants had taught
him to think there was no such thing as honor or inde10 pendence in man, exclaimed, when they told him that
Lafayette refused the decoration, “ What, will nothing satisfy that man but the chief command of the National Guard of the empire ?”-Yes, much less abundantly sat
isfied him ;—the quiet possession of the poor remnants of 15 his estate, enjoyed without sacrificing his principles.
From this life nothing could draw him. Mr. Jefferson
offered him the place of governor of Louisiana, then just become a territory of the United States; but he was unwilling, by leaving France, to take a step that would look like
a final abandonment of the cause of constitutional liberty, 5 on the continent of Europe. Napoleon ceased to impor
tune him; and he lived at Lagrange, retired and unmolested, the only man who had gone through the terrible revolution, with a character free from every just impeach
ment. He entered it with a princely fortune--in the 10 various high offices which he had filled he had declined
all compensation,—and he came out poor. He entered it in the meridian of early manhood, with a frame of iron. He came out of it fifty years of age, his strength impaired
by the cruelties of his long imprisonment. He had filled 15 the most powerful and responsible offices; and others still
more powerful,--the dictatorship itself, had been offered him ;—he was reduced to obscurity and private life. He entered the revolution with a host of ardent colleagues of
the constitutional party. Of those who escaped the guil20 lotine, most had made peace with Napoleon; not a few of
the Jacobins had taken his splendid bribes; the emigrating nobility came back in crowds, and put on his livery; fear, interest, weariness, amazement, and apathy reigned in
France and in Europe ;-kings, emperors, armies, nations, 25 bowed at his footstool ;—and one man alone,-a private
man, who had tasted power, and knew what he sacrificed ; —who had inhabited dungeons, and knew what he risked; -who had done enough for liberty, in both worlds, to sat
isfy the utmost requisitions of her friends, this man alone 30 stood aloof in his honor, his independence, and his poverty.
And if there is a man in this assembly, that would not rather have been Lafayette to refuse, than Napoleon to bestow his wretched gewgaws; that would not rather have
been Lafayette in retirement and obscurity, and just not 35 proscribed, than Napoleon, with an emperor to hold his
stirrup ;-if there is a man who would not have preferred the honest poverty of Lagrange to the bloody tinsel of St. Cloud ;—that would not rather have shared the peaceful
fireside of the friend of Washington, than have spurred his 40 triumphant courser over the crushed and blackened heape
of slain, through the fire and carnage of Marengo and Austerlitz, that man has not an American heart in his bosom.
LESSON CXC.-THE VISION OF LIBERTY.-HENRY WARE, JR.
The evening heavens were calm and bright;
No dimness rested on the glittering light, That sparkled from that wilderness of worlds on high ;
Those distant suns burned on with quiet ray; 5 The placid planets held their modest, way; And silence reigned profound o'er earth, and sea, and sky.
Oh! what an hour for lofty thought!
My spirit burned within ; I caught
solemn watch I kept, Till morning dawned, and sleep resumed her power. A vision passed upon my soul.
I still was gazing up to heaven, 15 As in the early hours of even;
I still beheld the planets roll,
and guide the moonless night. 20 When lo! upon the plain,
Just where it skirts the swelling main,
In towering grandeur broke upon my eye.
At vain assault of human powers,
Its gorgeous carvings of heraldic pride,
Yet ivy there and moss their garlands wove,
Bursting on my steadfast gaze,
That scarcely stirs the pine-tree top,
Nor makes the withered leaf to drop,
But soon it spread,
Raging with resistless power; 5 Till every fervent pillar glowed,
And every stone seemed burning coal,
Like streaming radiance from the kindled pole.
Beautiful, fearful, grand,
At length a crackling sound began ;
Till now in rattling thunder-peals it grew;
Like fiery sparkles from the anvil's stroke.
'Tis done; what centuries had reared,
In quick explosion disappeared,
Bright with more than human grace, 25 Robed in more than mortal seeming,
Radiant glory in her face,
And eyes with heaven's own brightness beaming, Rose a fair majestic form,
As the mild rainbow from the storm. 30 I marked her smile, I knew her eye ;
And when, with gesture of command,
She waved aloft the cap-crowned wand,
Read ye the dream ? and know ye not
Went not the flame from this illustrious spot,
And spreads it not, and burns in every state?
Filled with this spirit, glow intense,
The fabric falls !