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With us truth, justice, fame, and freedom close,
LESSON CXCV.-A FIELD OF BATTLE.:-Shelley.
Ah! whence yon glare
In darkness, and the pure and spangling snow 5 Gleams faintly through the gloom that gathers round!
Hark to that roar, whose swift and deafening peals,
Now swells the intermingling din; the jar, 10 Frequent and frightful, of the bursting bomb;
The falling beam, the shriek, the groan, the shout,
The discord grows, till pale Death shuts the scene, 15 And o'er the conqueror and the conquered draws
His cold and bloody shroud. Of all the men,
That beat with anxious life at sunset there, 20 How few survive! how few are beating now !
All is deep silence, like the fearful calm
Comes shuddering on the blast, or the faint moan 25 With which some soul bursts from the frame of clay Wrapt round its struggling powers.
The gray morn
Before the icy wind slow rolls away,
Along the spangling snow. There tracks of blood,
Death's self could change not, mark the dreadful path 35 Of the outsallying victors : far behind,
Black ashes note where their proud city stood.
LESSON CXCVI.-RESISTANCE TO OPPRESSION.-PATRICK
HENRY. Mr. President,—It is natural for 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 syren,
till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men 5 engaged in a great and arduous 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 ?
part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing 10 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 15 the past, I wish to know what there is 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 our petition has been lately received ? Trust 20 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 25 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 30 kings resort.
I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great
Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for 35 all this accumulation of navies and armies ? No, sir, she
has none. 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 them? Shall 40 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 ex5 hausted ? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves
longer. Sir, we have done everything 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 im10 plored 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 15 throne !
In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of
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 20 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! 25 An appeal to arms, and to the God of Hosts, is all that is
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 ? 30 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 effectual resistance, by lying su
pinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom 35 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 40 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 who 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 6 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 come! I repeat it, sir, let it come!
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen 10 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 15 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 !
LESSON CXCVII.-DUTIES OF AMERICAN CITIZENS. - LEVI
It behooves us to look our perils and difficulties, such as they are, in the face. Then, with the exercise of candor, calmness, and fortitude, being able to comprehend fully
their character and extent, let us profit by the teachings of 5 almost every page in our annals, that any defects, under
our existing system, have resulted more from the manner of administering it, than from its substance or form.
We less need new laws, new institutions, or new powers, than we need, on all occasions, at all times, and in 10 all places, the requisite intelligence concerning the true
spirit of our present ones; the high moral courage, under every hazard, and against every offender, to execute with fidelity the authority already possessed ; and the manly
independence to abandon all supineness, irresolution, vacil15 lation, and time-serving pusillanimity, and enforce our pres
ent mild system with that uniformity and steady vigor throughout, which alone can supply the place of the greater severity of less free institutions.
To arm and encourage us in renewed efforts to accom20 plish every thing on this subject which is desirable, our history constantly points her finger to a most efficient re
and indeed to the only elixir, to secure a long life
to any popular government, in increased attention to useful education and sound morals, with the wise description of equal measures and just practices they inculcate on
every leaf of recorded time. Before their alliance, the 5 spirit of misrule will always, in time, stand rebuked, and
those who worship at the shrine of unhallowed ambition, must quail.
Storms, in the political atmosphere, may occasionally happen by the encroachments of usurpers, the corruption 10 or intrigues of demagogues, or in the expiring agonies of faction,
or by the sudden fury of popular frenzy ; but, with the restraints and salutary influences of the allies before described, these storms will purify as healthfully as they
often do in the physical world, and cause the tree of lib15 erty, instead of falling, to strike its roots deeper. In this
struggle, the enlightened and moral possess also a power, auxiliary and strong, in the spirit of the age, which is not only with them, but onward, in every thing to ameliorate
or improve. 20 When the struggle assumes the form of a contest with
power, in all its subtlety, or with undermining and corrupting wealth, as it sometimes may, rather than with turbulence, sedition, or open aggression by the needy and
desperate, it will be indispensable to employ still greater 25 diligence; to cherish earnestness of purpose,
resoluteness in conduct; to apply hard and constant blows to real abuses, rather than milk-and-water remedies, and encourage not only bold, free, and original thinking, but deter
mined action. 30 In such a cause, our fathers were men whose hearts
were not accustomed to fail them, through fear, however formidable the obstacles. Some of them were companions of Cromwell, and imbued deeply with his spirit and iron
decision of character, in whatever they deemed right : "If 35 Pope, and Spaniard, and devil, (said he, all set themselves
against us, though they should compass us about as bees, as it is in the 18th Psalm, yet in the name of the Lord we will destroy them.” We are not, it is trusted, such degen
erate descendants, as to prove recreant, and fail to defend, 40 with gallantry and firmness as unflinching, all which we
have either derived from them, or since added to the rich inheritance.
At such a crisis, therefore, and in such a cause, yielding to neither consternation nor despair, may we not all profit