« AnteriorContinuar »
MORAL EFFECTS OF INTEMPERANCE.-Beecher.
THE sufferings of animal nature, occasioned by intemperance, my friends, are not to be compared with the moral agonies which convulse the soul. It is an immortal being, who sins, and suffers; and as his earthly house dissolves, he is approaching the judgment seat, in anticipation of a miserable eternity. He feels his captivity, and in anguish of spirit clanks his chains and cries for help. Conscience thunders, remorse goads, and as the gulf opens before him, he recoils, and trembles, and weeps, and prays, and resolves, and promises, and reforms, and seeks it yet again,'-again resolves, and weeps, and prays, and seeks it yet again!' Wretched man! he has placed himself in the hands of a giant, who never pities, and never relaxes his iron gripe. He may struggle, but he is in chains. He may cry for release, but it comes not; and lost! lost! may be inscribed upon the door-posts of his dwelling.
In the meantime these paroxysms of his dying moral nature decline, and a fearful apathy, the harbinger of spiritual death, comes on. His resolution fails, and his mental energy, and his vigorous enterprise; and nervous irritation and depression ensue. The social affections lose their fulness and tenderness, and conscience loses its power, and the heart its sensibility, until all that was once lovely and of good report, retires and leaves the wretch abandoned to the appetites of a ruined animal. In this deplorable condition, reputation expires, business falters and becomes perplexed, and temptations to drink multiply, as inclination to do so increases and the power of resistance declines. And now the vortex roars, and the struggling victim buffets the fiery wave with feebler stroke, and warning supplication, until despair flashes upon his soul, and with an outcry that pierces the heavens, he ceases to strive, and disappears.
RIGHT OF FREE DISCUSSION.-Webster.
IMPORTANT as I deem it to discuss, on all proper occasions, the policy of the measures at present pursued, it is still more important to maintain the right of such discussion, in its full and just extent. Sentiments lately sprung up, and
now growing fashionable, make it necessary to be explicit on this point. The more I perceive a disposition to check the freedom of inquiry by extravagant and unconstitutional pretences, the firmer shall be the tone, in which I shall assert, and the freer the manner, in which I shall exercise it. It is the ancient and undoubted prerogative of this people to canvass public measures and the merits of public men. It is a homebred right,' a fireside privilege. It hath ever been enjoyed in every house, cottage and cabin in the nation. It is not to be drawn into controversy. It is as undoubted as the right of breathing the air, or walking on the earth. Belonging to private life as a right, it belongs to public life as a duty; and it is the last duty, which those, whose Representative I am, shall find me to abandon. Aiming at all times to be courteous and temperate in its use, except when the right itself shall be questioned; I shall then carry it to its extent. I shall place myself on the extreme boundary of my right, and bid defiance to any arm that would move me from my ground.
This high constitutional privilege, I shall defend and exercise, within this House, and without this House, and in all places; in time of war, in time of peace, and at all times. Living I shall assert, dying I shall assert it; and should I leave no other inheritance to my children, by the blessing of God, I will leave them the inheritance of free principles, and the example of a manly, independent, and constitutional defence of them.
EXTRACT FROM THE ADDRESS OF THE AMERICAN CONGRESS TO THE INHABITANTS OF GREAT BRITAIN, 1775.
OUR enemies charge us with sedition. In what does it consist? In our refusal to submit to unwarrantable acts of injustice and cruelty? If so, show us a period in your history, in which you have not been equally seditious.
We are accused of aiming at independence. But how is this accusation supported? By the allegations of your ministers; not by our actions. Abused, insulted and contemned, what steps have we pursued to obtain redress? We have carried our dutiful petitions to the throne. We
have applied to your justice for relief. We have retrenched our luxury, and withheld our trade.
The advantages of our commerce were designed as a compensation for your protection. When you ceased to protect, for what were we to compensate?
What has been the success of our endeavours? The clemency of our sovereign is unhappily diverted; our petitions are treated with indignity; our prayers answered by insults. Our application to you remains unnoticed, and leaves us the melancholy apprehension of your wanting either the will or the power to assist us.
Even under these circumstances, what measures have we taken that betray a desire of independence? Have we called in the aid of those foreign powers, who are the rivals of your grandeur? When your troops were few and defenceless, did we take advantage of their distress, and expel them our towns? Or have we permitted them to fortify, to receive new aid, and to acquire additional strength?
Let not your enemies and ours persuade you, that in this we were influenced by fear, or any other unworthy motive. The lives of Britons are still dear to us. They are the children of our parents, and an uninterrupted intercourse of mutual benefits has knit the bonds of friendship. When hostilities were commenced, when, on a late occasion, we were wantonly attacked by your troops, though we repelled their assaults and returned their blows, yet we lamented the wounds they obliged us to give; nor have we yet learned to rejoice at a victory over Englishmen.
SECOND EXTRACT FROM THE SAME.
LET us now ask what advantages are to attend our reduction? The trade of a ruined and desolate country is always inconsiderable-its revenue trifling; the expense of subjecting and retaining it in subjection certain and inevitable. What then remains but the gratification of an ill-judged pride, or the hope of rendering us subservient to designs on your liberty?
Soldiers, who have sheathed their swords in the bowels of their American brethren, will not draw them with more
reluctance against you; when, too late, you may lament the loss of that freedom, which we exhort you, while still in your power, to preserve.
On the other hand, should you prove unsuccessful; should that connexion, which we most ardently wish to maintain, be dissolved; should your ministers exhaust your treasures, and waste the blood of your countrymen, in vain attempts on our liberty; do they not deliver you, weak and defenceless, to your natural enemies?
Since, then, your liberty must be the price of your victories; your ruin, of our defeat; what blind fatality can urge you to a pursuit destructive of all that Britons hold dear?
If f you have no regard to the connexion that has for ages subsisted between us; if you have forgot the wounds we have received in fighting by your side for the extension of the empire; if our commerce is not an object below your consideration; if justice and humanity have lost their influence on your hearts;-still motives are not wanting to excite your indignation at the measures now pursued: your wealth, your honour, your liberty are at stake.
Notwithstanding the distress to which we are reduced, we sometimes forget our own afflictions, to anticipate and sympathize in yours. We grieve, that rash and inconsiderate counsels should precipitate the destruction of an empire, which has been the envy and admiration of ages; and call God to witness, that we woul part with our property, endanger our lives, and sacrifice every thing but liberty, to redeem you from ruin.
A cloud hangs over your heads and ours; ere this reaches you, it may probably burst upon us. Let us, then, (before the remembrance of former kindness is obliterated,) once more repeat those appellations which are ever grateful in our ears; let us entreat Heaven to avert our ruin, and the destruction that threatens our friends, brethren and countrymen, on the other side of the Atlantic.
SPEECH OF WILLIAM TELL.-Knowles.
THIS land was free! with what pride I used
Yes, I have sat
In my boat at night, when midway o'er the lake,
And I have thought of other lands, whose storms
Have wished me there, the thought that mine was free
RIENZI TO THE ROMANS.-Moore.
ROMANS! look round you-on this sacred place
Is left of all that made ROME's glory then?