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generous enterprise, with gratitude to heaven, for past success, and confidence of it in the future. For my own part, I ask no greater blessing than to share with you the common danger and common glory. If I have a wish dearer to my soul, than that 175 my ashes may be mingled with those of a Warren and Montgomery - it is — that these American States may never cease to be free and independent !



Observe the date of this speech.

What steps had already been taken toward the independence of the colonies ?

What evidence do you see in this speech of the harmony of North and South at that time?

Who were Warren and Montgomery, mentioned in the last paragraph ?

Compare this oration with Patrick Henry's.

Which makes the stronger appeal to the reason ? Which to the feelings?

Pick out the finest passage in each, and compare them.



Richard Henry Lee, an American patriot, was born in Stratford, Westmoreland County, Virginia,

January 20, 1732. He was descended from a family who were among the first settlers of the new colony of Virginia. Lee was sent abroad at an early age to be educated in England. On his return to America, in his nineteenth year, he applied himself to the study of law and the reading of history. He was

appointed Justice of the Peace of his own county in 1757, and four years later was elected a member of the House of Burgesses. Here he made his first speech, directed against the continued importation of slaves, and advocated a prohibitivel duty to suppress and destroy “that iniquitous and disgraceful traffic.”


Lee was a man of striking appearance, tall in stature and graceful in demeanor. With a voice rich and clear, he was considered as an orator inferior only to Henry.


This oration on the death of Washington is typical of what is sometimes known as the "oratorical style," now nearly gone out of use. It has a poise and dignity especially suited to the occasion.


In obedience to your will, I rise your humble organ, with the hope of executing a part of the system of public mourning which you have been pleased to adopt, commemorative of the death of the most illustrious and most beloved personage this 5 country has ever produced: and which, while it transmits to posterity your sense of the awful event, faintly represents your knowledge of the consummate 2 excellence you so cordially honor. The founder of our federal republic

our bul- 10 wark in war, our guide in peace, is no more! O that this were but questionable! Hope, the comforter of the wretched, would pour into our agoniz1 Prohibitive, preventive.

2 Consummate, supreme,

ing hearts its balmy dew. But, alas! there is no 15 hope for us; our Washington is removed forever!

Possessing the stoutest frame, and purest mind, he had passed nearly to his sixty-eighth year, in the enjoyment of high health, when, habituated 1

by his care of us to neglect himself, a slight cold, 20 disregarded, became inconvenient on Friday, oppressive on Saturday, and defying every medical interposition, before the morning of Sunday put an end to the best of men. An end did I say? — his

fame survives! bounded only by the limits of the 25 earth, and by the extent of the human mind. He

survives in our hearts, in the growing knowledge of our children, in the affection of the good throughout the world: and when our monuments shall be done

away; when nations now existing shall be no 30 more; when even our young and far spreading em

pire shall have perished, still will our Washington's glory unfaded shine, and die not, until love of virtue cease on earth, or earth itself sinks into chaos.

How, my fellow citizens, shall I single into your 35 grateful hearts his preëminent worth? Where

shall I begin in opening to your view a character throughout sublime? Shall I speak of his warlike achievements, all springing from obedience to his country's will — all directed to his country's good ?

Will you go with me to the banks of Monongahela


1 Habituated, having acquired the habit. 2 Interposition, effort to stop it.



to see

your youthful Washington, supporting, in the dismal hour of Indian victory, the ill-fated Braddock,and saving, by his judgment and by his valor, the remains of a defeated army, pressed by the conquering savage foe? Or, when oppressed 45 America, nobly resolving to risk her all in defense of her violated rights, he was elevated by the unanimous voice of Congress to the command of her armies, will you follow him to the high grounds of Boston, where, to an undisciplined, courageous, 50 and virtuous yeomanry,' his presence gave stability of system, and infused the invincibility of love of country? Or shall I carry you to the painful scenes of Long Island, York Island,d and New Jersey, when, combating with superior and gal- 55 lant armies, aided by powerful fleets, and led by chiefs high in the roll of fame, he stood, the bulwark of our safety, undismayed by disaster, unchanged by change of fortune? Or will you view him in the precarious ? fields of Trenton, where deep gloom, 60 unnerving every arm, reigned' triumphant through our thinned, worn down, unaided ranks; himself unmoved ? Dreadful was the night. It was about winter; the storm raged; the Delaware rolling furiously with floating ice, forbade the approach 65 of man. Washington, self-collected, viewed the tremendous scene; his country called; unappalled by surrounding dangers, he passed to the hostile

Yeomanry, body of farmers. 2 Precarious, dangerous.


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