« AnteriorContinuar »
you will subvert the foundation of your riches and your strength. Let the banners be once spread in America, and you are an undone people. You are urging this desperate, this destructive issue. You are urging it with such violence, and by measures tending so manifestly to that fatal point, that, but for that state of madness which only could inspire such an intention, it would appear to be your deliberate purpose. In assenting to your late bill, I resisted the violence of America, at the hazard of my popularity there. I now resist your frenzy, at the same risk here. You have changed your ground. You are becoming the aggressors, and offering the last of human outrages to the people of America, by subjecting them, in effect, to military execution. I know the vast superiority of your disciplined troops over the Provincials; but, beware how you supply the want of discipline by desperation. Instead of sending them the olive branch, you have sent the naked sword. By the olive branch, I mean a repeal of all the late laws, fruitless to and oppressive to them.
Ask their aid in a constitutional manner, and they will give it to the utmost of their ability. They never yet refused it, when properly required. Your journals bear the recorded acknowledgements of the zeal, with which they have contributed to the general necessities of the state. What madness is it that prompts you to attempt obtaining that by force, which you may more certainly procure by requisition? They may be flattered into anything; but they are too much like yourselves to be driven. Have some indulgence for your own likeness; respect their sturdy English virtue; retract your odious exertions of authority, and remember, that the first step towards making them contribute to your wants, is, to reconcile them to your gov
BURKE ON AMERICAN AFFAIRS.
LET us, sir, embrace some system or other, before we end this session. Do you mean to tax America, and to draw a productive revenue from thence? If you do, speak out: name, fix, ascertain this revenue, settle its quantity; define its objects; provide for its collection; and then fight,
when you have something to fight for. If you murder— rob! If you kill take possession; and do not appear in the character of madmen, as well as assassins, violent, vindictive, bloody, and tyrannical, without an object. But may better counsels guide you!
Again and again, revert to your old principles,—seek peace and ensure it-leave America, if she has any taxable matter in her, to tax herself. I am not here going into the distinction of rights, nor attempting to mark their boundaries. I do not enter into these metaphysical distinctions. I hate the very sound of them. Leave the Americans, as they anciently stood, and these distinctions, born of our unhappy contest, will die along with it. They and we, and their and our ancestors, have been happy under that system.
* * * *
Be content to bind America by laws of trade; you have always done it. Let this be your reason for binding their trade. Do not burden them with taxes; you were not used to do so from the beginning. Let this be your reason for not taxing. These are the arguments of states and kingdoms. Leave the rest to the schools; for there only they may be discussed with safety. But if intemperately, unwisely, fatally, you sophisticate and poison the very source of government, by urging subtle deductions, and consequences odious to those you govern, from the unlimited and illimitable nature of sovereignty, you will teach them by these means to call that sovereignty itself in question. When you drive him mad, the boar will surely turn upon the hunters. If that sovereignty and their freedom cannot be reconciled, which will they take? They will cast your sovereignty in your face. Nobody will be argued into slavery.
Sir, let the gentlemen on the other side call forth all their ability; let the best of them get up and tell me, what one character of liberty the Americans have, and what one brand of slavery they are free from, if they are bound in their property and industry by all the restraints you can imagine on commerce, and, at the same time, are made packhorses of every tax you choose to impose, without the least share in granting them. When they bear the burdens of unlimited monopoly, will you bring them to bear the burdens of unlimited revenue too? The Englishman in America will feel that this is slavery-that it is legal slavery, will be no compensation either to his feelings or his understanding.
INDUSTRY NECESSARY TO FORM THE ORATOR.-H. Ware, Jr.
THE history of the world is full of testimony to prove how much depends upon industry: not an eminent orator has lived, but is an example of it. Yet, in contradiction to all this, the almost universal feeling appears to be, that industry can effect nothing, that eminence is the result of accident, and that every one must be content to remain just what he may happen to be. Thus multitudes, who come forward as teachers and guides, suffer themselves to be satisfied with the most indifferent attainments, and a miserable mediocrity, without so much as inquiring how they might rise higher, much less making any attempt to rise.
For any other art they would have served an apprenticeship, and would be ashamed to practise it in public before they had learned it. If any one would sing, he attends a master, and is drilled in the very elementary principles, and only after the most laborious process, dares to exercise his voice in public. This he does, though he has scarce anything to learn but the mechanical execution of what lies, in sensible forms, before his eye. But the extempore speaker, who is to invent as well as to utter, to carry on an operation of the mind as well as to produce sound, enters upon the work without preparatory discipline, and then wonders that he fails!
If he were learning to play on the flute for public exhibition, what hours and days would he spend in giving facility to his fingers, and attaining the power of the sweetest and most impressive execution. If he were devoting himself to the organ, what months and years would he labour, that he might know its compass and be master of its keys, and be able to draw out, at will, all its various combinations of harmonious sound, and its full richness and delicacy of expression. And yet he will fancy, that the grandest, the most various, the most expressive of all instruments, which the infinite Creator has fashioned, by the union of an intellectual soul with the powers of speech, may be played upon without study or practice. He comes to it, a mere uninstructed tyro, and thinks to manage all its stops, and command the whole compass of its varied and comprehensive power! He finds himself a bungler in the attempt, is mortified at his
failure, and settles in his mind forever, that the attempt is vain.
Success in every art, whatever may be the natural talent, is always the reward of industry and pains. But the instances are many, of men of the finest natural genius, whose beginning has promised much, but who have degenerated wretchedly as they advanced, because they trusted to their gifts, and made no effort to improve. That there have never been other men of equal endowments with Cicero and Demosthenes, none could venture to suppose; but who have so devoted themselves to their art, or become equal in excellence? If those great men had been content, like others, to continue as they began, and had never made their persevering efforts for improvement, what would their countries have benefited from their genius, or the world have known of their fame? They would have been lost in the undistinguished crowd, that sunk to oblivion around them.
Of how many more will the same remark prove true! What encouragement is thus given to the industrious! With such encouragement, how inexcusable is the negligence, which suffers the most interesting and important truths to seem heavy and dull, and fall ineffectual to the ground, through mere sluggishness in the delivery! How unworthy of one, who performs the high function of a religious instructer, upon whom depend, in a great measure, the religious knowledge, and devotional sentiment, and final character of many fellow beings, to imagine that he can worthily discharge this great concern, by occasionally talking for an hour, he knows not how, and in a manner he has taken no pains to render correct, impressive, or attractive; and which, simply through that want of command over himself which study would give, is immethodical, verbose, inaccurate, feeble, trifling! It has been said of the good preacher,
That truths divine come mended from his tongue.
Alas! they come ruined and worthless from such a man as this. They lose that holy energy, by which they are to convert the soul, and purify man for heaven, and sink, in interest and efficacy, below the level of those principles, which govern the ordinary affairs of this lower world.
Extract from a Sermon delivered before the Boston Baptist Missionary Society.
INTELLECT, everywhere, under the dominion of idolatry, is prostrated; beyond the boundaries of Christendom, on every side, the dark places of the earth are filled with the habitations of cruelty. We have mourned over the savage ferocity of the Indians of our western wilderness. We have turned to Africa, and seen almost the whole continent a prey to lawless banditti, or else bowing down in the most revolting idolatry. We have descended along her coast, and beheld villages burnt or depopulated, fields laid waste, and her people, who have escaped destruction, naked and famishing, flee to their forests at the sight of a stranger.
We have asked, what fearful visitation of Heaven has laid these settlements in ruins? What destroying pestilence has swept over this land, consigning to oblivion almost its entire population? What mean the smoking ruins of so many habitations? And why is yon fresh sod crimsoned and slippery with the traces of recent murder? We have been pointed to the dark slave-ship hovering over her coast, and have been told that two hundred thousand defenceless beings are annually stolen away, to be murdered on their passage, or consigned for life to a captivity more terrible than death!
We have turned to Asia, and beheld how the demon of her idolatry has worse than debased, has brutalized the mind of man. Everywhere his despotism has been grievous: here, with merciless tyranny, he has exulted in the misery of his victims. He has rent from the human heart all that
was endearing in the charities of life. He has taught the mother to tear away the infant as it smiled in her bosom, and cast it, the shrieking prey, to contending alligators. He has taught the son to light the funeral pile, and to witness unmoved, the dying agonies of his widowed, murdered mother!
We have looked upon all this; and our object is, to purify the whole earth from these abominations. Our object will not have been accomplished, till the tomahawk shall be buried forever, and the tree of peace spread its broad branches from the Atlantic to the Pacific; until a thousand smi