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kind of magnetic impulse, that passes from the heart of the speaker to that of his audience, eluding observation, and only recognized in its overwhelming results.
The language, which forms the medium for the transmission of this impulse, and which is identical in its essence with the highest poetry, transcends, of course, the talent of the ordinary reporter. It can never be reduced to a permanent form, excepting when the orator himself combines with the requisites of his own art the talent of a first-rate writer. To this rare combination of powers we
owe the finished specimens, which have come down to us, of the eloquence of the two great orators of Greece and Rome. Chatham, the first of British speakers, either wanted the talent of writing, or did not exercise it in his own speeches; which correspond very imperfectly with the effects, that we know to have attended their delivery. Henry, like him, had never cultivated, and rarely exercised, the art of writing; the reports of his speeches, while they furnish an outline of the argument, convey no image of the glowing language in which it was clothed, still less of the moral inspiration that chiefly gave it effect. They fall, of course, far below his fame; and it is, after all, on the faith of mere tradition, attested, however, by facts too numerous and of too pub
lic a character to leave it in any way doubtful, that the present and future generations will acknowledge the justice of his claim to the proud title, that has been given him, of the greatest orator of the New World.
BY THE EDITOR.
Virginia Resolutions on the Stamp Act.
[See p. 266.]
A COPY of these Resolutions was sent to the Ministry by Governor Fauquier. The following is an extract from his letter to the Lords of Trade, dated Williamsburg, June 5th, 1765.
“On Saturday, the 1st instant, I dissolved the Assembly, after passing all the bills, except one, which were ready for my assent. The four Resolutions, which I have now the honor to enclose to your Lordships, will show your Lordships the reason of my con: duct, and, I hope, justify it. I will relate the whole proceeding to your Lordships in as concise a manner as I am able.
“On Wednesday, the 29th of May, just at the end of the session, when most of the members had left the town, there being but thirty-nine present, of one hundred and sixteen, of which the House of Burgesses now consists, a motion was made to take into consideration the Stamp Act, a copy of which had crept into the House; and in a committee of the
whole House five resolutions were proposed and agreed to, all by very small majorities. On Thursday, the 30th, they were reported and agreed to by the House, the number being as before in the committee; the greatest majority being twenty-two to seventeen; for the fifth resolution, twenty to nineteen only. On Friday, the 31st, there having happened a small alteration in the House, there was an attempt to strike all the Resolutions off the Journals. The fifth, which was thought the most offensive, was accordingly struck off; but it did not succeed as to the other four. I am informed the gentlemen had two more resolutions in their pocket, but finding the difficulty they had in carrying the fifth, which was by a single voice, and knowing them to be more virulent and inflammatory, they did not produce them.
“ The most strenuous opposers of this rash heat were the late Speaker, the King's Attorney, and Mr. Wythe; but they were overpowered by the young, hot, and giddy members. In the course of the debates, I have heard that very indecent language was used by a Mr. Henry, a young lawyer, who had not been above a month a member of the House, and who carried all the young members with him. So that I hope I am authorized at least in saying, that there is cause to doubt, whether this would have been the sense of the colony, if most of their representatives had done their duty by attending to the end of the session."
Shortly after this letter arrived in London, the Rockingham ministry came into power, and Mr. Sec
retary Conway wrote a mild and conciliatory reply, dated St. James's, September 14th.
“ It is with great pleasure,” he says, “I received his Majesty's commands to declare to you his gracious approbation of your conduct. His Majesty and his servants are satisfied, that the precipitate Resolutions you sent home did not take their rise from any remissness or inattention in you; nor his Majesty at all inclined to suppose, that any instance of diffidence or dissatisfaction could be founded in the general inclination of his ancient and loyal colony of Virginia. The nature of the thing, and your representations, induce a persuasion that those ill-advised Resolutions owed their birth to the violence of some individuals, who, taking advantage of a thin Assembly, so far prevailed as to publish their own unformed opinions to the world as the sentiments of the colony.
" But his Majesty will not, by the prevalence of a few men at a certain moment, be persuaded to change the opinion or lessen the confidence he has always entertained of the colony of Virginia, which has always experienced the protection of the crown. His Majesty's servants, therefore, with entire relfance on your prudence, and on the virtue and wisdom of the colony intrusted to your care, persuade themselves, that, when a full Assembly shall calmly and maturely deliberate on these Resolutions, they will see and be themselves alarmed at the dangerous tendency and mischievous consequences, which they might be productive of, both to the mother country and to the colonies, which are the equal objects of his Majes