THE WORLD'S BEST ORATIONS, Vol. 1 (of 10)
THE ADVISORY COUNCIL
The Right Hon. Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke. Bart., Member of Parliament—Author of 'Greater Britain,' etc., London, England.
William Draper Lewis, PH. D., Dean of the Department of Law, University Of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
William P. Trent, M.A., Professor of English and History, Colombia University, in the city of New York.
W. Stuart Symington, Jr., PH. D., Professor of the Romance Languages, Amherst College, Amherst, Mass.
Alcee Fortier, Lit.D., Professor of the Romance Languages, Tulane University, New Orleans, La.
William Vincent Byars, Journalist, St Louis, Mo.
Richard Gottheil, PH. D., Professor of Oriental Languages, Columbia University, in the city of New York.
Austin H. Merrill, A.M., Professor of Elocution, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.
Sheldon Jackson. D. D., LL. D., Bureau of Education, Washington, D. C.
A. Marshall Elliott, PH.D. LL. D., Professor of the Romance Languages, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.
John W. Million, A.M., President of Hardin College, Mexico, Mo.
J. Raymond Brackett. PH. D., Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and Professor of Comparative Literature, University Of Colorado, Boulder, Colo.
W. F. Peirce. M.A., LL. D., President Of Kenyox College, Gambier, Ohio.
S. Plantz, PH.D., D. D., President of Lawrence University, Appleton, Wis.
George Tayloe Winston, LL.D., President of the University Of Texas, Austin, Texas.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface: Justice David J. Brewer
The Oratory Of Anglo-Saxon Countries: Prof. Edward A. Allen
ABELARD, PIERRE 1079-1142 The Resurrection of Lazarus The Last Entry into Jerusalem The Divine Tragedy
ADAMS, CHARLES FRANCIS 1807-1886 The States and the Union
ADAMS, CHARLES FRANCIS, JUNIOR 1835- The Battle of Gettysburg
ADAMS, JOHN 1735-1826 Inaugural Address The Boston Massacre
ADAMS, JOHN QUINCY 1767-1848 Oration at Plymouth Lafayette The Jubilee of the Constitution
ADAMS, SAMUEL 1722-1803 American Independence
AELRED 1109-1166 A Farewell A Sermon after Absence On Manliness
AESCHINES 389-314 B. C. Against Crowning Demosthenes
AIKEN, FREDERICK A. 1810-1878 Defense of Mrs. Mary E, Surratt
ALBERT THE GREAT (ALBERTUS MAGNUS) 1205-1280 The Meaning of the Crucifixion The Blessed Dead
ALLEN, ETHAN A Call to Arms
AMES, FISHER 1758-1808 On the British Treaty
ANSELM, SAINT 1032-1109 The Sea of Life
ARNOLD, THOMAS 1795-1842 The Realities of Life and Death
ARTHUR, CHESTER ALAN 1830-1886 Inaugural Address
ATHANASIUS 298-373 The Divinity of Christ
AUGUSTINE, SAINT 354-430 The Lord's Prayer
BACON, FRANCIS 1561-1626 Speech against Dueling
BARBOUR, JAMES 1775-1842 Treaties as Supreme Laws
BARNAVE, ANTOINE PIERRE JOSEPH MARIE 1761-1793 Representative Democracy against Majority Absolutism Commercial Politics
BARROW, ISAAC 1630-1677 Slander
BASIL THE GREAT 329-379 On a Recreant Nan
BAXTER, RICHARD 1615-1691 Unwillingness to Improve
BAYARD. JAMES A. 1767-1815 The Federal Judiciary Commerce and Naval Power
BAYARD, THOMAS F. 1828-1898 A Plea for Conciliation in 1876
BEACONSFIELD, LORD 1804-1881 The Assassination of Lincoln Against Democracy for England The Meaning of "Conservatism"
BEDE, THE VENERABLE 672-735 The Meeting of Mercy and Justice A Sermon for Any Day The Torments of Hell
BEECHER. HENRY WARD 1813-1887 Raising the Flag over Fort Sumter Effect of the Death of Lincoln
BELHAVEN, LORD 1656-1708 A Plea for the National Life of Scotland
BELL, JOHN 1797-1869 Against Extremists, North and South Transcontinental Railroads
BENJAMIN, JUDAH P. 1811-1884 Farewell to the Union Slavery as Established by Law
Oratory is the masterful art. Poetry, painting, music, sculpture, architecture please, thrill, inspire; but oratory rules. The orator dominates those who hear him, convinces their reason, controls their judgment, compels their action. For the time being he is master. Through the clearness of his logic, the keenness of his wit, the power of his appeal, or that magnetic something which is felt and yet cannot be defined, or through all together, he sways his audience as the storm bends the branches of the forest. Hence it is that in all times this wonderful power has been something longed for and striven for. Demosthenes, on the beach, struggling with the pebbles in his mouth to perfect his articulation, has been the great example. Yet it is often true of the orator, as of the poet; nascitur non fit. Patrick Henry seemed to be inspired as "Give me liberty or give me death" rolled from his lips. The untutored savage has shown himself an orator.
Who does not delight in oratory? How we gather to hear even an ordinary speaker! How often is a jury swayed and controlled by the appeals of counsel! Do we not all feel the magic of the power, and when occasionally we are permitted to listen to a great orator how completely we lose ourselves and yield in willing submission to the imperious and impetuous flow of his speech! It is said that after Webster's great reply to Hayne every Massachusetts man walking down Pennsylvania Avenue seemed a foot taller.
This marvelous power is incapable of complete preservation on the printed page. The presence, the eye, the voice, the magnetic touch, are beyond record. The phonograph and kinetoscope may some day seize and perpetuate all save the magnetic touch, but that weird, illusive, indefinable yet wonderfully real power by which the orator subdues may never be caught by science or preserved for the cruel dissecting knife of the critic. It is the marvelous light flashing out in the intellectual heavens which no Franklin has yet or may ever draw and tie to earth by string of kite.
But while there is a living something which no human art has yet been able to grasp and preserve, there is a wonderful joy and comfort in the record of that which the orator said. As we read we see the very picture, though inarticulate, of the living orator. We may never know all the marvelous power of Demosthenes, yet Proton, meg, o andres Athenaioi, suggests something of it. Cicero's silver speech may never reach our ears, and yet who does not love to read Quousque tandem abutere, O Catilina, patientia nostra? So if on the printed page we may not see the living orator, we may look upon his picture—the photograph of his power. And it is this which it is the thought and purpose of this work to present. We mean to photograph the orators of the world, reproducing the words which they spake, and trusting to the vivid imagination of the thoughtful reader to put behind the recorded words the living force and power. In this we shall fill a vacant place in literature. There are countless books of poetry in which the gems of the great poets of the world have been preserved, but oratory has not been thus favored. We have many volumes which record the speeches of different orators, sometimes connected with a biography of their lives and sometimes as independent gatherings of speeches. We have also single books, like Goodrich's 'British Eloquence,' which give us partial selections of the great orations. But this is intended to be universal in its reach, a complete encyclopedia of oratory. The purpose is to present the best efforts of the world's greatest orators in all ages; and with this purpose kept in view as the matter of primary importance, to supplement the great orations with others that are representative and historically important—especially with those having a fundamental connection with the most important events in the development of Anglo-Saxon civilization. The greatest attention has been given to the representative orators of England and America, so that the work includes all that is most famous or most necessary to be known in the oratory of the Anglo-Saxon race. Wherever possible, addresses have been published in extenso. This has been the rule followed in giving the great orations. In dealing with minor orators, the selections made are considerable enough to show the style, method, and spirit. Where it has been necessary to choose between two orations of equal merit, the one having the greater historical significance has been selected. Of course it would not be possible, keeping within reasonable limits, to give every speech of every one worthy to be called an orator. Indeed, the greatest of orators sometimes failed. So we have carefully selected only those speeches which manifest the power of eloquence; and this selection, we take pleasure in assuring our readers, has been made by the most competent critics of the country.
We have not confined ourselves to any one profession or field of eloquence. The pulpit, the bar, the halls of legislation, and the popular assembly have each and all been called upon for their best contributions. The single test has been, is it oratory? the single question, is there eloquence? The reader and student of every class will therefore find within these pages that which will satisfy his particular taste and desire in the matter of oratory.
As this work is designed especially for the American reader, we have deemed it proper to give prominence to Anglo-Saxon orators; and yet this prominence has not been carried so far as to make the work a one-sided collection. It is not a mere presentation of American or even of English-speaking orators. We submit the work to the American public in the belief that all will find pleasure, interest, and instruction in its pages, and in the hope that it will prove an Inspiration to the growing generation to see to it that oratory be not classed among the "lost arts," but that it shall remain an ever-present and increasing power and blessing to the world.
David J. Brewer
THE ORATORY OF ANGLO-SAXON COUNTRIES
By Edward A. Allen, Professor of Anglo-Saxon and English Literature in the University of Missouri
English-speaking people have always been the freest people, the greatest lovers of liberty, the world has ever seen. Long before English history properly begins, the pen of Tacitus reveals to us our forefathers in their old home-land in North Germany beating back the Roman legions under Varus, and staying the progress of Rome's triumphant car whose mighty wheels had crushed Hannibal, Jugurtha, Vercingetorix, and countless thousands in every land. The Germanic ancestors of the English nation were the only people who did not bend the neck to these lords of all the world besides. In the year 9, when the Founder of Christianity was playing about his humble home at Nazareth, or watching his father at work in his shop, our forefathers dealt Rome a blow from which she never recovered. As Freeman, late professor of history at Oxford, said in one of his lectures: "In the blow by the Teutoburg wood was the germ of the Declaration of Independence, the germ of the surrender of Yorktown." Arminius was our first Washington, "haud dubie liberator," as Tacitus calls him,—the savior of his country.
When the time came for expansion, and our forefathers in the fifth century began the conquest and settlement of the island that was to become their New England, they pushed out the Celts, the native inhabitants of the island, just as their descendants, about twelve hundred years later, were to push out the indigenous people of this continent, to make way for a higher civilization, a larger destiny. No Englishman ever saw an armed Roman in England, and though traces of the Roman conquest may be seen everywhere in that country to-day, it is sometimes forgotten that it was the Britain of the Celts, not the England of the English, which was held for so many centuries as a province of Rome.
The same love of freedom that resisted the Roman invasion in the first home of the English was no less strong in their second home, when Alfred with his brave yeomen withstood the invading Danes at Ashdown and Edington, and saved England from becoming a Danish province. It is true that the Normans, by one decisive battle, placed a French king on the throne of England, but the English spirit of freedom was never subdued; it rose superior to the conquerors of Hastings, and in the end English speech and English freedom gained the mastery.
The sacred flame of freedom has burned in the hearts of the Anglo-Saxon race through all the centuries of our history, and this spirit of freedom is reflected in our language and in our oratory. There never have been wanting English orators when English liberty seemed to be imperiled; indeed, it may be said that the highest oratory has always been coincident with the deepest aspirations of freedom.
It is said of Pitt,—the younger, I believe,—that he was fired to oratory by reading the speeches in Milton's 'Paradise Lost.' These speeches—especially those of Satan, the most human of the characters in this noble epic,—when analyzed and traced to their source, are neither Hebrew nor Greek, but English to the core. They are imbued with the English spirit, with the spirit of Cromwell, with the spirit that beat down oppression at Marston Moor, and ushered in a freer England at Naseby. In the earlier Milton of a thousand years before, whether the work of Caedmon or of some other English muse, the same spirit is reflected in Anglo-Saxon words. Milton's Satan is more polished, better educated, thanks to Oxford and Cambridge, but the spirit is essentially one with that of the ruder poet; and this spirit, I maintain, is English.
The dry annals of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle are occasionally lighted up with a gleam of true eloquence, as in the description of the battle of Brunanburh, which breaks forth into a pean of victory. Under the year 991, there is mention of a battle at Maldon, between the English and the Danes, in which great heroism must have been displayed, for it inspired at the time one of the most patriotic outbursts of song to be found in the whole range of English literature. During an enforced truce, because of a swollen stream that separated the two armies, a messenger is sent from the Danes to Byrhtnoth, leader of the English forces, with a proposition to purchase peace with English gold. Byrhtnoth, angry and resolute, gave him this answer:—
"Hearest thou, pirate, what this folk sayeth? They will give you spears for tribute, weapons that will avail you nought in battle. Messenger of the vikings, get thee back. Take to thy people a sterner message, that here stands a fearless earl, who with his band wilt defend this land, the home of Aethelred, my prince, folk and fold. Too base it seems to me that ye go without battle to your ships with our money, now that ye have come thus far into our country. Ye shall not so easily obtain treasure. Spear and sword, grim battle-play, shall decide between us ere we pay tribute."
Though the battle was lost and Byrhtnoth slain, the spirit of the man is an English inheritance. It is the same spirit that refused ship-money to Charles I., and tea-money to George III.
The encroachments of tyranny and the stealthier step of royal prerogative have shrunk before this spirit which through the centuries has inspired the noblest oratory of England and America. It not only inspired the great orators of the mother country, it served at the same time as a bond of sympathy with the American colonies in their struggle for freedom. Burke, throughout his great speech on Conciliation, never lost sight of this idea:—
"This fierce spirit of liberty is stronger in the English colonies probably than in any other people of the earth. The people of the colonies are descendants of Englishmen. England, sir, is a nation which still, I hope, respects, and formerly adored, her freedom. The colonists emigrated from you when this part of your character was most predominant; and they took this bias and direction the moment they parted from your bands. They are therefore not only devoted to liberty, but to liberty according to English ideas and our English principles. ... The temper and character which prevail in our colonies are, I am afraid, unalterable by any human art. We cannot, I fear, falsify the pedigree of this fierce people, and persuade them that they are not sprung from a nation in whose veins the blood of freedom circulates. The language in which they would hear you tell them this tale would detect the imposition; your speech would betray you. ... In order to prove that Americans have no right to their liberties, we are every day endeavoring to subvert the maxims which preserve the whole spirit of our own. To prove that the Americans ought not to be free, we are obliged to depreciate the value of freedom itself; and we never gain a paltry advantage over them in debate without attacking some of those principles, or deriding some of those feelings, for which our ancestors have shed their blood. . . . As long as you have the wisdom to keep the sovereign authority of this country as the sanctuary of liberty, the sacred temple consecrated to our common faith, wherever the chosen race and sons of England worship freedom they will turn their faces towards you. The more ardently they love liberty the more perfect will be their obedience. Slavery they can have anywhere—it is a weed that grows in every soil. They can have it from Spain; they may have it from Prussia. But until you become lost to all feeling of your true interest and your natural dignity, freedom they can have from none but you."
So, too, in the speeches of Chatham, the great Commoner, whose eloquence has never been surpassed, an intense spirit of liberty, the animating principle of his life, shines out above all things else. Though opposed to the independence of the colonies, he could not restrain his admiration for the spirit they manifested:—
"The Americans contending for their rights against arbitrary exactions I love and admire. It is the struggle of free and virtuous patriots. ... My Lords, you cannot conquer America. You may swell every expense and every effort still more extravagantly; pile and accumulate every assistance you can buy or borrow; traffic and barter with every pitiful little German prince that sells and sends his subjects to the shambles of a foreign prince; your efforts are forever vain and impotent If I were an American as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country I would never lay down my arms—never—never—never!"
Wherever the principle of Anglo-Saxon freedom and the rights of man have been at stake, the all-animating voice of the orator has kept alive the sacred flame. In the witenagemote of the earlier tongs, in the parliament of the later kings, in the Massachusetts town-meeting and in the Virginia House of Burgesses, in the legislature of every State, and in the Congress of the United States, wherever in Anglo-Saxon countries the torch of liberty seemed to burn low, the breath of the orator has fanned it into flame. It fired the eloquence of Sheridan pleading against Warren Hastings for the down-trodden natives of India in words that have not lost their magnetic charm:—
"My Lords, do you, the judges of this land and the expounders of its rightful laws, do you approve of this mockery and call that the character of Justice which takes the form of right to execute wrong? No. my Lords, justice is not this halt and miserable object; it is not the ineffective bauble of an Indian pagoda; it is not the portentous phantom of despair; it is not like any fabled monster, formed in the eclipse of reason and found in some unhallowed grove of superstitious darkness and political dismay. No, my Lords! In the happy reverse of all this I turn from the disgusting caricature to the real image. Justice I have now before me, august and pure, the abstract ideal of all that would be perfect in the spirits and aspirings of men—where the mind rises; where the heart expands; where the countenance is ever placid and benign; where the favorite attitude is to stoop to the unfortunate, to hear their cry, and help them; to rescue and relieve, to succor and save; majestic from its mercy, venerable from its utility, uplifted without pride, firm without obduracy, beneficent in each preference, lovely though in her frown."
This same spirit fired the enthusiasm of Samuel Adams and James Otis to such a pitch of eloquence that "every man who heard them went away ready to take up arms." It inspired Patrick Henry to hurl his defiant alternative of "liberty or death" in the face of unyielding despotism. It inspired that great-hearted patriot and orator, Henry Clay, in the first quarter of this century, to plead, single-handed and alone, in the Congress of the United States, session after session before the final victory was won, for the recognition of the provinces of South America in their struggle for independence.
"I may be accused of an imprudent utterance of my feelings on this occasion. I care not: when the independence, the happiness, the liberty of a whole people is at stake, and that people our neighbors, our brethren, occupying a portion of the same continent, imitating our example, and participating in the same sympathies with ourselves. I will boldly avow my feelings and my wishes in their behalf, even at the hazard of such an imputation. I maintain that an oppressed people are authorized, whenever they can, to rise and break their fetters. This was the great principle of the English revolution. It was the great principle of our own. Spanish-America has been doomed for centuries to the practical effects of an odious tyranny. If we were justified, she is more than justified. I am no propagandist. I would not seek to force upon other nations our principles and our liberty, if they do not want them. But if an abused and oppressed people will their freedom; if they seek to establish it; if, in truth, they have established it, we have a right, as a sovereign power, to notice the fact, and to act as circumstances and our interest require. I will say in the language of the venerated father of my country, 'born in a land of liberty, my anxious recollections, my sympathetic feelings, and my best wishes, are irresistibly excited, whensoever, in any country, I see an oppressed nation unfurl the banners of freedom.'"
This same spirit loosed the tongue of Wendell Phillips to plead the cause of the enslaved African in words that burned into the hearts of his countrymen. It emboldened George William Curtis to assert the right to break the shackles of party politics and follow the dictates of conscience:—
"I know,—no man better,—how hard it is for earnest men to separate their country from their party, or their religion from their sect. But, nevertheless, the welfare of the country is dearer than the mere victory of party, as truth is more precious than the interest of any sect. You will hear this patriotism scorned as an impracticable theory, as the dream of a cloister, as the whim of a fool. But such was the folly of the Spartan Leonidas, staying with his three hundred the Persian horde, and teaching Greece the self-reliance that saved her. Such was the folly of the Swiss Arnold von Winkelried, gathering into his own breast the points of Austrian spears, making his dead body the bridge of victory for his countrymen. Such was the folly of the American Nathan Hale, gladly risking the seeming disgrace of his name, and grieving that be had but one life to give for his country. Such are the beacon-lights of a pure patriotism that burn forever in men's memories and answer each other through the illuminated ages."
So long as there are wrongs to be redressed, so long as the strong oppress the weak, so long as injustice sits in high places, the voice of the orator will be needed to plead for the rights of man. He may not, at this stage of the republic, be called upon to sound a battle cry to arms, but there are bloodless victories to be won as essential to the stability of a great nation and the uplifting of its millions of people as the victories of the battlefield.
When the greatest of modern political philosophers, the author of the Declaration of Independence, urged that, if men were left free to declare the truth the effect of its great positive forces would overcome the negative forces of error, he seems to have hit the central fact of civilization. Without freedom of thought and absolute freedom to speak out the truth as one sees it, there can be no advancement, no high civilization. To the orator who has heard the call of humanity, what nobler aspiration than to enlarge and extend the freedom we have inherited from our Anglo-Saxon forefathers, and to defend the hope of the world?
Edward A. Allen
PIERRE ABELARD (1079-1142)
Abelard's reputation for oratory and for scholarship was so great that he attracted hearers and disciples from all quarters. They encamped around him like an army and listened to him with such eagerness that the jealousy of some and the honest apprehension of others were excited by the boldness with which he handled religious subjects. He has been called the originator of modern rationalism, and though he was apparently worsted in his contest with his great rival, St. Bernard, he remains the most real and living personality among the great pulpit orators of the Middle Ages. This is due in large part, no doubt, to his connection with the unfortunate Heloise. That story, one of the most romantic, as it is one of the saddest of human history, must be passed over with a mere mention of the fact that it gave occasion for a number of the sermons of Abelard which have come down to us. Several of those were preached in the convent of the Paraclete of which Heloise became abbess,— where, in his old age, her former lover, broken with the load of a life of most extraordinary sorrows, went to die. These sermons do not suggest the fire and force with which young Abelard appealed to France, compelling its admiration even in exciting its alarm, but they prevent him from being a mere name as an orator.
He was born near Nantes, A. D. 1079. At his death in 1142, he was buried in the convent of the Paraclete, where the body of Heloise was afterwards buried at his side.
The extracts from his sermons here given were translated by Rev. J. M. Neale, of Sackville College, from the first collected edition of the works of Abelard, published at Paris in 1616. There are thirty-two such sermons extant. They were preached in Latin, or, at least, they have come down to us in that language.
THE RESURRECTION OF LAZARUS
The Lord performed that miracle once for all in the body which much more blessedly he performs every day in the souls of penitents. He restored life to Lazarus, but it was a temporal life, one that would die again. He bestows life on the penitent; life, but it is life that will remain, world without end. The one is wonderful in the eyes of men; the other is far more wonderful in the judgment of the faithful; and in that it is so much the greater, by so much the more is it to be sought. This is written of Lazarus, not for Lazarus himself, but for us and to us. "Whatsoever things," saith the Apostle, "were written of old, were written for our learning." The Lord called Lazarus once, and he was raised from temporal death. He calls us often, that we may rise from the death of the soul. He said to him once, "Come forth!" and immediately he came forth at one command of the Lord. The Lord every day invites us by Scripture to confession, exhorts us to amendment, promises the life which is prepared for us by him who willeth not the death of a sinner. We neglect his call, we despise his invitation, we contemn his promise. Placed between God and the devil, as between a father and a foe, we prefer the enticement of the enemy to a father's warning. "We are not ignorant," says the Apostle, "of the devices of Satan,"—the devices, I say, by which he induces us to sin, and keeps us back from repentance. Suggesting sin, he deprives us of two things by which the best assistance might be offered to us, namely, shame and fear. For that which we avoid, we avoid either through fear of some loss, or through the reverence of shame.... When, therefore, Satan impels any one to sin, he easily accomplishes the object, if, as we have said, he first deprives him of fear and shame. And when he has effected that, he restores the same things, but in another sense, which he has taken away; that so he may keep back the sinner from confession, and make him die in his sin. Then he secretly whispers into his soul: "Priests are light-minded, and it is a difficult thing to check the tongue. If you tell this or that to them, it cannot remain a secret; and when it shall have been published abroad, you will incur the danger of losing your good character, or bearing some injury, and being confounded from your own vileness." Thus the devil deceives that wretched man; he first takes from him that by which he ought to avoid sin, and then restores the same thing, and by it retains him in sin. His captive fears temporal, and not spiritual, evil; he is ashamed before men and he despises God. He is ashamed that things should come to the knowledge of men which he was not ashamed to commit in the sight of God, and of the whole heavenly host. He trembles at the judgment of man, and he has no respect to that of God. Of which the Apostle says: "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God"; and the Truth saith himself, "Fear not them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do; but fear him rather who can cast body and soul into hell."
There are diseases of the soul, as there are of the body; and therefore the Divine mercy has provided beforehand physicians for both. Our Lord Jesus Christ saith, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." His priests now hold his place in the Church, to whom, as unto physicians of the soul, we ought to confess our sins, that we may receive from them the plaister of satisfaction. He that fears the death of the body, in whatever part of the body he may suffer, however much he may be ashamed of the disease, makes no delay in revealing it to the physician, and setting it forth, so that it may be cured. However rough, however hard may be the remedy, he avoids it not, so that he may escape death. Whatever he has that is most precious, he makes no hesitation in giving it, if only for a little while he may put off the death of the body. What, then, ought we to do for the death of the soul? For this, however terrible, may be forever prevented, without such great labor, without such great expense. The Lord seeks us ourselves, and not what is ours. He stands in no need of our wealth who bestows all things. For it is he to whom it is said, "My goods are nothing unto thee." With him a man is by so much the greater, as, in his own judgment, he is less. With him a man is as much the more righteous, as in his own opinion he is the more guilty. In his eyes we hide our faults all the more, the more that here by confession we manifest them.
THE LAST ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM
"He came unto his own, and his own received him not." That is, he entered Jerusalem. Yet now he entered, not Jerusalem, which by interpretation is "The Vision of Peace," but the home of tyranny. For now the elders of the city have so manifestly conspired against him, that he can no longer find a place of refuge within it. This is not to be attributed to his helplessness but to his patience. He could be harbored there securely, seeing that no one can do him harm by violence, and that he has the power to incline the hearts of men whither he wills. For in that same city he freely did whatever he willed to do; and when he sent his disciples thither, and commanded them that they should loose the ass and the colt, and bring them to him, and said that no man would forbid them, he accomplished that which he said, although he was not ignorant of the conspiracy against himself. Of which he saith to his disciples whom he sends, "Go ye into the castle over against you"; that is, to the place which is equally opposed to God and to you; no longer to be called a city, an assembly of men living under the law, but a castle of tyrannical fortification. Go confidently, saith he, into the place, though such it is, and though it is therefore opposed to you, and do with all security that which I command you. Whence he adds, also: "And if any man say aught unto you, say that the Lord hath need of them, and he will straightway send them away." A wonderful confidence of power! As if the Lord, using his own right of command, lays his own injunction on those whom he knows already to have conspired for his death. Thus he commands, thus he enjoins, thus he compels obedience. Nor do they who are sent hesitate in accomplishing that which is laid upon them, confident as they are in the strength of the power of him who sends them. By that power they who were chiefly concerned in this conspiracy had been more than once ejected from the Temple, where many were not able to resist one. And they, too, after this ejection and conspiracy, as we have said, when he was daily teaching in the Temple, knew how intrepid he showed himself to be, into whose hands the Father had given all things. And last of all, when he desired to celebrate the Passover in the same night in which he had foreordained to be betrayed, he again sent his Disciples whither he willed, and prepared a home for himself in the city itself, wherein he might keep the feast. He, then, who so often showed his power in such things as these, now also, if he had desired it, could have prepared a home wherever he would, and had no need to return to Bethany. Therefore, he did these two things intentionally: he showed that they whom he avoided were unworthy of his dwelling among them; and he gave himself, in the last hours of his life, to his beloved hosts, that they might have their own reception of him as the reward of their hospitality.
THE DIVINE TRAGEDY
Whether, therefore, Christ is spoken of as about to be crowned or about to be crucified, it is said that he "went forth"; to signify that the Jews, who were guilty of so great wickedness against him, were given over to reprobation, and that his grace would now pass to the vast extent of the Gentiles, where the salvation of the Cross, and his own exaltation by the gain of many peoples, in the place of the one nation of the Jews, has extended itself. Whence, also, to-day we rightly go forth to adore the Cross in the open plain; showing mystically that both glory and salvation had departed from the Jews, and had spread themselves among the Gentiles. But in that we afterwards returned (in procession) to the place whence we had set forth, we signify that in the end of the world the grace of God will return to the Jews; namely, when, by the preaching of Enoch and Elijah, they shall be converted to him. Whence the Apostle: "I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, that blindness in part has fallen upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles shall be come, and so all Israel shall be saved." Whence the place itself of Calvary, where the Lord was crucified, is now, as we know, contained in the city; whereas formerly it was without the walls. "The crown wherewith his Mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart." For thus kings are wont to exhibit their glory when they betroth queens to themselves, and celebrate the solemnities of their nuptials. Now the day of the Lord's crucifixion was, as it were, the day of his betrothal; because it was then that he associated the Church to himself as his bride, and on the same day descended into Hell, and, setting free the souls of the faithful, accomplished in them that which he had promised to the thief: "Verily I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise."
"To-day," he says, of the gladness of his heart; because in his body he suffered the torture of pain; but while the flesh inflicted on him torments through the outward violence of men, his soul was filled with joy on account of our salvation, which he thus brought to pass. Whence, also, when he went forth to his crucifixion, he stilled the women that were lamenting him, and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and your children." As if he said, "Grieve not for me in these my sufferings, as if by their means I should fall into any real destruction; but rather lament for that heavy vengeance which hangs over you and your children, because of that which they have committed against me." So we, also, brethren, should rather weep for ourselves than for him; and for the faults which we have committed, not for the punishments which he bore. Let us so rejoice with him and for him, as to grieve for our own offenses, and for that the guilty servant committed the transgression, while the innocent Lord bore the punishment. He taught us to weep who is never said to have wept for himself, though he wept for Lazarus when about to raise him from the dead.
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS (1807-1886)
The son of one President of the United States and the grand-son of another, Charles Francis Adams won for himself in his own right a position of prominence in the history of his times. He studied law in the office of Daniel Webster, and after beginning practice was drawn into public life by his election to the Massachusetts legislature in which he served from 1831 to 1838. A Whig in politics until the slavery issue became prominent, he was nominated for Vice-President on the Free Soil ticket with Van Buren in 1848. The Republican party which grew out of the Free Soil movement elected him to Congress as a representative of the third Massachusetts district in 1858 and re-elected him in 1860. In 1861 President Lincoln appointed him minister to England, and he filled with credit that place which had been filled by his father and grandfather before him. He died November 21st, 1886, leaving besides his own speeches and essays an edition of the works of John and John Quincy Adams in twenty-two volumes octavo.
THE STATES AND THE UNION (Delivered in the House of Representatives, January 31st, 1861)
I confess, Mr. Speaker, that I should be very jealous, as a citizen of Massachusetts, of any attempt on the part of Virginia, for example, to propose an amendment to the Constitution designed to rescind or abolish the bill of rights prefixed to our own form of government. Yet I cannot see why such a proposition would be more unjustifiable than any counter proposition to abolish slavery in Virginia, as coming from Massachusetts. If I have in any way succeeded in mastering the primary elements of our forms of government, the first and fundamental idea is, the reservation to the people of the respective States of every power of regulating their own affairs not specifically surrendered in the Constitution. The security of the State governments depends upon the fidelity with which this principle is observed.
Even the intimation of any such interference as I have mentioned by way of example could not be made in earnest without at once shaking the entire foundation of the whole confederated Union. No man shall exceed me in jealousy of affection for the State rights of Massachusetts. So far as I remember, nothing of this kind was ever thought of heretofore; and I see no reason to apprehend that what has not happened thus far will be more likely to happen hereafter. But if the time ever come when it does occur, I shall believe the dissolution of the system to be much more certain than I do at this moment.
For these reasons, I cannot imagine that there is the smallest foundation for uneasiness about the intentions of any considerable number of men in the free States to interfere in any manner whatever with slavery in the States, much less by the hopeless mode of amending the Constitution. To me it looks like panic, pure panic. How, then, is it to be treated? Is it to be neglected or ridiculed? Not at all. If a child in the nursery be frightened by the idea of a spectre, common humanity would prompt an effort by kindness to assuage the alarm. But in cases where the same feeling pervades the bosoms of multitudes of men, this imaginary evil grows up at once into a gigantic reality, and must be dealt with as such. It is at all times difficult to legislate against a possibility. The committee have reported a proposition intended to meet this case. It is a form of amendment of the Constitution which, in substance, takes away no rights whatever which the free States ever should attempt to use, whilst it vests exclusively in the slave States the right to use them or not, as they shall think proper, the whole treatment of the subject to which they relate being conceded to be a matter of common interest to them, exclusively within their jurisdiction, and subject to their control. A time may arrive, in the course of years, when they will themselves desire some act of interference in a friendly and beneficent spirit. If so, they have the power reserved to them of initiating the very form in which it would be most welcome. If not, they have a security, so long as this government shall endure, that no sister State shall dictate any change against their will.
I have now considered all the alleged grievances which have thus far been brought to our attention, 1. The personal liberty laws, which never freed a slave. 2. Exclusion from a Territory which slaveholders will never desire to occupy. 3. Apprehension of an event which will never take place. For the sake of these three causes of complaint, all of them utterly without practical result, the slaveholding States, unquestionably the weakest section of this great Confederacy, are voluntarily and precipitately surrendering the realities of solid power woven into the very texture of a government that now keeps nineteen million freemen, willing to tolerate, and, in one sense, to shelter, institutions which, but for that, would meet with no more sympathy among them than they now do in the remainder of the civilized world.
For my own part, I must declare that, even supposing these alleged grievances to be more real than I represent them, I think the measures of the committee dispose of them effectually and forever. They contribute directly all that can be legitimately done by Congress, and they recommend it to the legislatures of the States to accomplish the remainder. Why, then, is it that harmony is not restored? The answer is, that you are not satisfied with this settlement, however complete. You must have more guarantees in the Constitution. You must make the protection and extension of slavery in the Territories now existing, and hereafter to be acquired, a cardinal doctrine of our great charter. Without that, you are determined to dissolve the Union. How stands the case, then? We offer to settle the question finally in all of the present territory that you claim, by giving you every chance of establishing slavery that you have any right to require of us. You decline to take the offer, because you fear it will do you no good. Slavery will not go there. But, if that be true, what is the use of asking for the protection anyhow, much less in the Constitution? Why require protection where you will have nothing to protect? All you appear to desire it for is New Mexico. Nothing else is left. Yet, you will not accept New Mexico at once, because ten years of experience have proved to you that protection has been of no use thus far. But, if so, how can you expect that it will be of so much more use hereafter as to make it worth dissolving the Union?
But, if we pass to the other condition, is it any more reasonable? Are we going to fight because we cannot agree upon the mode of disposing of our neighbor's lands? Are we to break up the Union of these States, cemented by so many years of common sufferings, and resplendent with so many years of common glory, because it is insisted that we should incorporate into what we regard as the charter of our freedom a proclamation to the civilized world that we intend to grasp the territory of other nations whenever we can do it, for the purpose of putting into it certain institutions which some of us disapprove, and that, too, whether the people inhabiting that territory themselves approve of it or not?
I am almost inclined to believe that they who first contrived this demand must have done so for the sake of presenting a condition which they knew beforehand must be rejected, or which, if accepted, must humiliate us in the dust forever. In point of fact, this proposal covers no question of immediate moment which may not be settled by another and less obnoxious one. Why is it, then, persevered in, and the other rejected? The answer is obvious. You want the Union dissolved. You want to make it impossible for honorable men to become reconciled. If it be, indeed, so, then on you, and you alone, shall rest the responsibility of what may follow. If the Union be broken up, the reason why it happened shall remain on record forever. It was because you rejected one form of settling a question which might be offered and accepted with honor, in order to insist upon another which you knew we could not accept without disgrace. I answer for myself only when I say that, if the alternative to the salvation of the Union be only that the people of the United States shall, before the Christian nations of the earth, print in broad letters upon the front of their charter of republican government the dogma of slave propagandism over the remainder of the countries of the world, I will not consent to brand myself with what I deem such disgrace, let the consequences be what they may.
But it is said that this answer closes the door of reconciliation. The slaveholding States will secede, and what then?
This brings me to the last point which I desire to touch today, the proper course for the government to pursue in the face of these difficulties. Some of the friends with whom I act have not hesitated to express themselves in favor of coercion; and they have drawn very gloomy pictures of the fatal consequences to the prosperity and security of the whole Union that must ensue. For my own sake, I am glad that I do not partake so largely in these fears. I see no obstacle to the regular continuance of the government in not less than twenty States, and perhaps more, the inhabitants of which have not in a moment been deprived of that peculiar practical wisdom in the management of their affairs which is the secret of their past success. Several new States will, before long, be ready to take their places with us and make good, in part, the loss of the old ones. The mission of furnishing a great example of free government to the nations of the earth will still be in our hands, impaired, I admit, but not destroyed; and I doubt not our power to accomplish it yet in spite of the temporary drawback. Even the problem of coercion will go on to solve itself without our aid. For if the sentiment of disunion become so far universal and permanent in the dissatisfied States as to show no prospect of good from resistance, and there be no acts of aggression attempted on their part, I will not say that I may not favor the idea of some arrangement of a peaceful character, though I do not now see the authority under which it can be originated. The new Confederacy can scarcely be other than a secondary Power. It can never be a maritime State. It will begin with the necessity of keeping eight millions of its population to watch four millions, and with the duty of guarding, against the egress of the latter, several thousand miles of an exposed border, beyond which there will be no right of reclamation. Of the ultimate result of a similar experiment, I cannot, in my own mind, have a moment's doubt. At the last session I ventured to place on record, in this House, a prediction by which I must abide, let the effect of the future on my sagacity be what it may. I have not yet seen any reason to doubt its accuracy. I now repeat it. The experiment will ignominiously fail.
But there are exceptions to the adoption of this peaceful policy which it will not be wise to overlook. If there be violent and wanton attacks upon the persons or the property of the citizens of the United States or of their government, I see not how demands for immediate redress can be avoided. If any interruptions should be attempted of the regular channels of trade on the great water-courses or on the ocean, they cannot long be permitted. And if any considerable minorities of citizens should be persecuted or proscribed on account of their attachment to the Union, and should call for protection, I cannot deny the obligation of this government to afford it. There are persons in many of the States whose patriotic declarations and honorable pledges of support of the Union may bring down upon them more than the ill-will of their infatuated fellow-citizens. It would be impossible for the people of the United States to look upon any proscription of them with indifference. These are times which should bring together all men, by whatever party name they may have been heretofore distinguished, upon common ground.
When I heard the gentlemen from Virginia the other day so bravely and so forcibly urging their manly arguments in support of the Union, the Constitution, and the enforcement of the laws, my heart involuntarily bounded towards them as brethren sacredly engaged in a common cause. Let them, said I to myself, accept the offered settlement of the differences that remain between us, on some fair basis like that proposed by the committee, and then, what is to prevent us all, who yet believe that the Union must be preserved, from joining heart and hand our common forces to effect it? When the cry goes out that the ship is in danger of sinking, the first duty of every man on board, no matter what his particular vocation, is to lend all the strength he has to the work of keeping her afloat. What! shall it be said that we waver in the view of those who begin by trying to expunge the sacred memory of the fourth of July? Shall we help them to obliterate the associations that cluster around the glorious struggle for independence, or stultify the labors of the patriots who erected this magnificent political edifice upon the adamantine base of human liberty? Shall we surrender the fame of Washington and Laurens, of Gadsden and the Lees, of Jefferson and Madison, and of the myriads of heroes whose names are imperishably connected with the memory of a united people? Never, never!
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS, JUNIOR
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS, Jr. son of Charles Francis Adams, keeps up the tradition of his family so well that, unless it is John Adams himself, no other member of the family surpasses him as an orator. He was born in Boston, May 27th, 1835; graduating at Harvard and studying law in the office of R. H. Dana, Jr. His peaceful pursuits were interrupted by the Civil War which he entered a first lieutenant, coming out a brevet-brigadier general. He was a chief of squadron in the Gettysburg campaign and served in Virginia afterwards. He was for six years president of the Union Pacific railroad and is well known both as a financier and as an author. The address on the Battle of Gettysburg is generally given as his masterpiece, but he has delivered a number of other orations of high and well-sustained eloquence.
THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG (Delivered at Quincy, Mass., July 4th, 1869)
Six years ago this anniversary, we, and not only we who stood upon the sacred and furrowed field of battle, but you and our whole country, were drawing breath after the struggle of Gettysburg. For three long days we had stood the strain of conflict, and now, at last, when the nation's birthday dawned, the shattered rebel columns had suddenly withdrawn from our front, and we drew that long breath of deep relief which none have ever drawn who have not passed in safety through the shock of doubtful battle. Nor was our country gladdened then by news from Gettysburg alone. The army that day twined noble laurel garlands round the proud brow of the motherland. Vicksburg was, thereafter, to be forever associated with the Declaration of Independence, and the glad anniversary rejoicings, as they rose from every town and village and city of the loyal North, mingled with the last sullen echoes that died away from our cannon over Cemetery Ridge, and were answered by glad shouts of victory from the far Southwest. To all of us of this generation, —and especially to such of us as were ourselves part of those great events,—this celebration, therefore, now has and must ever retain a special significance. It belonged to us, as well as to our fathers. As upon this day ninety-three years ago this nation was brought into existence through the efforts of others, so upon this day six years ago I am disposed to believe through our own efforts, it dramatically touched the climax of its great argument.
The time that has since elapsed enables us now to look back and to see things in their true proportions. We begin to realize that the years we have so recently passed through, though we did not appreciate it at the time, were the heroic years of American history. Now that their passionate excitement is over, it is pleasant to dwell upon them; to recall the rising of a great people; the call to arms as it boomed from our hilltops and clashed from our steeples; the eager patriotism of that fierce April which kindled new sympathies in every bosom, which caused the miser to give freely of his wealth, the wife with eager hands to pack the knapsack of her husband, and mothers with eyes glistening with tears of pride, to look out upon the shining bayonets of their boys; then came the frenzy of impatience and the defeat entailed upon us by rashness and inexperience, before our nation settled down, solidly and patiently, to its work, determined to save itself from destruction; and then followed the long weary years of doubt and mingled fear and hope, until at last that day came six years ago which we now celebrate— the day which saw the flood, tide of rebellion reach the high-water mark, whence it never after ceased to recede. At the moment, probably, none of us, either at home or at the seat of war, realized the grandeur of the situation, the dramatic power of the incidents, or the Titanic nature of the conflict. To you who were at home, mothers, fathers, wives, sisters, brothers, citizens of the common country, if nothing else, the agony of suspense, the anxiety, the joy, and, too often, the grief which was to know no end, which marked the passage of those days, left little either of time or inclination to dwell upon aught save the horrid reality of the drama. To others who more immediately participated in those great events, the daily vexations and annoyances—the hot and dusty day —the sleepless, anxious night—the rain upon the unsheltered bivouac—the dead lassitude which succeeded the excitement of action —the cruel orders which recognized no fatigue and made no allowance for labors undergone—all these small trials of the soldier's life made it possible to but few to realize the grandeur of the drama to which they were playing a part. Yet we were not wholly oblivious of it. Now and then I come across strange evidences of this in turning over the leaves of the few weather-stained, dogeared volumes which were the companions of my life in camp. The title page of one bears witness to the fact that it was my companion at Gettysburg, and in it I recently found some lines of Browning's noble poem of 'Saul' marked and altered to express my sense of our situation, and bearing date upon this very fifth of July. The poet had described in them the fall of snow in the springtime from a mountain, under which nestled a valley; the altering of a few words made them well describe the approach of our army to Gettysburg.
"Fold on fold, all at once, we crowded thundrously down to your feet; And there fronts yon, stark black but alive yet, your army of old With its rents, the successive bequeathing of conflicts untold. Yea, each harm got in fighting your battles, each furrow and scar Of its head thrust twixt you and the tempest—all hail, here we are."
And there we were, indeed, and then and there was enacted such a celebration as I hope may never again be witnessed there or elsewhere on another fourth of July. Even as I stand here before you, through the lapse of years and the shifting experiences of the recent past, visions and memories of those days rise thick and fast before me. We did, indeed, crowd thundrously down to their feet. Of the events of those three terrible days I may speak with feeling and yet with modesty, for small, indeed, was the part which those with whom I served were called upon to play. When those great bodies of infantry drove together in the crash of battle, the clouds of cavalry which had hitherto covered up their movements were swept aside to the flanks. Our work for the time was done, nor had it been an easy or a pleasant work. The road to Gettysburg had been paved with our bodies and watered with our blood. Three weeks before, in the middle days of June, I, a captain of cavalry, had taken the field at the head of one hundred mounted men, the joy and pride of my life. Through twenty days of almost incessant conflict the hand of death had been heavy upon us, and now, upon the eve of Gettysburg, thirty-four of the hundred only remained, and our comrades were dead on the field of battle, or languishing in hospitals, or prisoners in the hands of the enemy. Six brave young fellows we had buried in one grave where they fell on the heights of Aldie. It was late on the evening of the first of July, that there came to us rumors of heavy fighting at Gettysburg, nearly forty miles away. The regiment happened then to be detached, and its orders for the second were to move in the rear of Sedgwick's corps and see that no man left the column. All that day we marched to the sound of the cannon. Sedgwick, very grim and stern, was pressing forward his tired men, and we soon saw that for once there would be no stragglers from the ranks. As the day grew old and as we passed rapidly up from the rear to the head of the hurrying column, the roar of battle grew more distinct, until at last we crowned a hill, and the contest broke upon us. Across the deep valley, some two miles away, we could see the white smoke of the bursting shells, while below the sharp incessant rattle of the musketry told of the fierce struggle that was going on. Before us ran the straight, white, dusty road, choked with artillery, ambulances, caissons, ammunition trains, all pressing forward to the field of battle, while mixed among them, their bayonets gleaming through the dust like wavelets on a river of steel, tired, foot-sore, hungry, thirsty, begrimed with sweat and dust, the gallant infantry of Sedgwick's corps hurried to the sound of the cannon as men might have flocked to a feast. Moving rapidly forward, we crossed the brook which ran so prominently across the map of the field of battle, and halted on its further side to await our orders. Hardly had I dismounted from my horse when, looking back, I saw that the head of the column had reached the brook and deployed and halted on its other bank, and already the stream was filled with naked men shouting with pleasure as they washed off the sweat of their long day's march. Even as I looked, the noise of the battle grew louder, and soon the symptoms of movement were evident. The rappel was heard, the bathers hurriedly clad themselves, the ranks were formed, and the sharp, quick snap of the percussion caps told us the men were preparing their weapons for action. Almost immediately a general officer rode rapidly to the front of the line, addressed to it a few brief, energetic words, the short sharp order to move by the flank was given, followed immediately by the "double-quick"; the officer placed himself at the head of the column, and that brave infantry which had marched almost forty miles since the setting of yesterday's sun,—which during that day had hardly known either sleep, or food, or rest, or shelter from the July heat,—now, as the shadows grew long, hurried forward on the run to take its place in the front of battle and to bear up the reeling fortunes of the day.
It is said that at the crisis of Solferino, Marshal McMahon appeared with his corps upon the field of battle, his men having run for seven miles. We need not go abroad for examples of endurance and soldierly bearing. The achievement of Sedgwick and the brave Sixth Corps, as they marched upon the field of Gettysburg on that second day of July, far excels the vaunted efforts of the French Zouaves.
Twenty-four hours later we stood on that same ground. Many dear friends had yielded up their young lives during the hours which had elapsed, but, though twenty thousand fellow-creatures were wounded or dead around us, though the flood gates of heaven seemed opened and the torrents fell upon the quick and the dead, yet the elements seemed electrified with a certain magic influence of victory, and as the great army sank down over-wearied in its tracks it felt that the crisis and danger was passed,—that Gettysburg was immortal.
May I not, then, well express the hope that never again may we or ours be called upon so to celebrate this anniversary? And yet now that the passionate hopes and fears of those days are all over,— now that the grief which can never be forgotten is softened and modified by the soothing hand of time,—now that the distracting doubts and untold anxieties are buried and almost forgotten,—we love to remember the gathering of the hosts, to bear again in memory the shock of battle, and to wonder at the magnificence of the drama. The passion and the excitement are gone, and we can look at the work we have done and pronounce upon it. I do not fear the sober second judgment. Our work was a great work,—it was well done, and it was done thoroughly. Some one has said, "Happy is the people which has no history." Not so! As it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, so it is better to have lived greatly, even though we have suffered greatly, than to have passed a long life of inglorious ease. Our generation,—yes, we ourselves have been a part of great things. We have suffered greatly and greatly rejoiced; we have drunk deep of the cup of joy and of sorrow; we have tasted the agony of defeat, and we have supped full with the pleasures of victory. We have proved ourselves equal to great deeds, and have learnt what qualities were in us, which in more peaceful times we ourselves did not suspect.
And, indeed, I would here in closing fain address a few words to such of you, if any such are here, who like myself may nave been soldiers during the War of the Rebellion. We should never more be partisans. We have been a part of great events in the service of the common country, we have worn her uniform, we have received her pay and devoted ourselves to the death, if need be, in her service. When we were blackened by the smoke of Antietam, we did not ask or care whether those who stood shoulder to shoulder beside us, whether he who led us, whether those who sustained us, were Democrats or Republicans, conservatives or radicals; we asked only that they might prove as true as was the steel we grasped, and as brave as we ourselves would fain have been. When we stood like a wall of stone vomiting fire from the heights of Gettysburg,—nailed to our position through three long days of mortal Hell,—did we ask each other whether that brave officer who fell while gallantly leading the counter-charge—whether that cool gunner steadily serving his piece before us amid the storm of shot and shell—whether the poor wounded, mangled, gasping comrades, crushed and torn, and dying in agony around us—had voted for Lincoln or Douglas, for Breckenridge or Bell? We then were full of other thoughts. We prized men for what they were worth to the common country of us all, and recked not of empty words. Was the man true, was he brave, was he earnest, was all we thought of then;—not, did he vote or think with us, or label himself with our party name? This lesson let us try to remember. We cannot give to party all that we once offered to country, but our duty is not yet done. We are no longer, what we have been, the young guard of the Republic; we have earned an exemption from the dangers of the field and camp, and the old musket or the crossed sabres hang harmless over our winter fires, never more to be grasped in these hands henceforth devoted to more peaceful labors; but the duties of the citizen, and of the citizen who has received his baptism in fire, are still incumbent upon us. Though young in years, we should remember that henceforth, and as long as we live in the land, we are the ancients,—the veterans of the Republic. As such, it is for us to protect in peace what we preserved in war; it is for us to look at all things with a view to the common country and not to the exigencies of party politics; it is for us ever to bear in mind the higher allegiance we have sworn, and to remember that he who has once been a soldier of the motherland degrades himself forever when he becomes the slave of faction. Then at last, if through life we ever bear these lessons freshly in mind will it be well for us, will it be well for our country, will it be well for those whose names we bear, that our bones also do not molder with those of our brave comrades beneath the sods of Gettysburg, or that our graves do not look down on the swift-flowing Mississippi from the historic heights of Vicksburg?
JOHN ADAMS (1735-1826)
John Adams, second President of the United States, was not a man of the strong emotional temperament which so often characterizes the great orator. He was fitted by nature for a student and scholar rather than to lead men by the direct appeal the orator makes to their emotions, their passions, or their judgment His inclinations were towards the Church; but after graduating from Harvard College, which he entered at the age of sixteen, he had a brief experience as a school-teacher and found it so distasteful to him that he adopted the law as a relief, without waiting to consult his inclinations further. "Necessity drove me to this determination," he writes, "but my inclination was to preach." He began the practice of law in his native village of Braintree, Massachusetts, and took no prominent part in public affairs until 1765, when he appeared as counsel for the town of Boston in proceedings growing out of the Stamp Act difficulties.
From this time on, his name is constantly associated with the great events of the Revolution. That be never allowed his prejudices as a patriot to blind him to his duties as a lawyer, he showed by appearing as counsel for the British soldiers who killed Crispus Attucks, Samuel Gray, and others, in the Boston riot of 1770. He was associated in this case with Josiah Quincy, and the two distinguished patriots conducted the case with such ability that the soldiers were acquitted—as no doubt they should have been.
Elected a member of the Continental Congress, Mr. Adams did work in it which identified him in an enduring way with the formative period of republican institutions in America. This must be remembered in passing upon his acts when as President, succeeding Washington, he is brought into strong contrast with the extreme republicans of the French school. In the Continental Congress, contrasted with English royalists and conservatives Mr. Adams himself appeared an extremist, as later on, under the same law of contrast, he appeared conservative when those who were sometimes denounced as "Jacobins" and "Levellers" were fond of denouncing him as a disguised royalist.
Prior to his administration as President, he had served as commissioner to the court of France, "Minister Plenipotentiary for the Purpose of Negotiating a Treaty of Peace and Commerce with Great Britain"; commissioner to conclude a treaty with the States-General of Holland; minister to England after the conclusion of peace, and finally as Vice-President under Washington. His services in every capacity in which he was engaged for his country showed his great ability and zeal: but in the struggle over the Alien and Sedition Laws his opponents gave him no quarter and when he retired from the Presidency it was with the feeling, shared to some extent by his great opponent Jefferson, that republics never have a proper regard for the services and sacrifices of statesmen, though they are only too ready to reward military heroes beyond their deserts. The author of 'Familiar Letters on Public Affairs' writes of Mr. Adams:—
"He was a man of strong mind, great learning, and eminent ability to use knowledge both in speech and writing. He was ever a firm believer in Christianity, not from habit and example but from a diligent investigation of its proofs. He had an uncompromising regard for his own opinion and was strongly contrasted with Washington in this respect. He seemed to have supposed that his opinions could not have been corrected by those of other men or bettered by any comparison."
It might be inferred from this that Mr. Adams was as obstinate in prejudice as in opinion, but as he had demonstrated to the contrary in taking the unpopular cause of the British soldiers at the beginning of his public career, he showed it still more strikingly by renewing and continuing until his death a friendship with Jefferson which had been interrupted by the fierce struggle over the Alien and Sedition Act.
INAUGURAL ADDRESS (March 4th. 1797)
When it was first perceived, in early times, that no middle course for America remained, between unlimited submission to a foreign legislature and a total independence of its claims, men of reflection were less apprehensive of danger from the formidable powers of fleets and armies they must determine to resist, than from those contests and dissensions which would certainly arise concerning the forms of government to be instituted over the whole and over the parts of this extensive country. Relying, however, on the purity of their attentions, the justice of their cause, and the integrity and intelgence of the people, under an over-ruling Providence, which had so signally protected this country from the first, the representatives of this nation, then consisting of little more than half its present numbers, not only broke to pieces the chains which were forging, and the rod of iron that was lifted up, but frankly cut asunder the ties which had bound them, and launched into an ocean of uncertainty.
The zeal and ardor of the people during the Revolutionary War, supplying the place of government, commanded a degree of order, sufficient, at least, for the temporary preservation of society. The confederation, which was early felt to be necessary, was prepared from the models of the Bavarian and Helvetic confederacies, the only examples which remain, with any detail and precision, in history, and certainly the only ones which the people at large had ever considered. But, reflecting on the striking difference, in so many particulars, between this country and those where a courier may go from the seat of government to the frontier in a single day, it was then certainly foreseen by some who assisted in Congress at the formation of it, that it could not be durable.
Negligence of its regulations, inattention to its recommendations, if not disobedience to its authority, not only in individuals but in States, soon appeared with their melancholy consequences— universal languor, jealousies, rivalries of States, decline of navigation and commerce, discouragement of necessary manufactures, universal fall in the value of lands and their produce, contempt of public and private faith, loss of consideration and credit with foreign nations; and, at length, in discontents, animosities, combinations, partial conventions, and insurrection, threatening some great national calamity.
In this dangerous crisis, the people of America were not abandoned by their usual good sense, presence of mind, resolution, or integrity. Measures were pursued to concert a plan to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty. The public disquisitions, discussions, and deliberations issued in the present happy constitution of government.
Employed in the service of my country abroad during the whole course of these transactions, I first saw the Constitution of the United States in a foreign country. Irritated by no literary altercation, animated by no public debate, heated by no party animosity, I read it with great satisfaction, as the result of good heads, prompted by good hearts; as an experiment better adapted to the genius, character, situation, and relations of this nation and country than any which had ever been proposed or suggested. In its general principles and great outlines, it was conformable to such a system of government as I had ever most esteemed, and in some States, my own native State in particular, had contributed to establish. Claiming a right of suffrage common with my fellow-citizens in the adoption or rejection of a constitution, which was to rule me and my posterity, as well as them and theirs, I did not hesitate to express my approbation of it on all occasions, in public and in private. It was not then, nor has been since, any objection to it, in my mind, that the Executive and Senate were not more permanent. Nor have I entertained a thought of promoting any alteration in it, but such as the people themselves, in the course of their experience, should see and feel to be necessary or expedient, and by their representatives in Congress and the State legislature, according to the constitution itself, adopt and ordain.
Returning to the bosom of my country, after a painful separation from it for ten years, I had the honor to be elected to a station under the new order of things; and I have repeatedly laid myself under the most serious obligations to support the constitution. The operation of it has equaled the most sanguine expectations of its friends; and from an habitual attention to it, satisfaction in its administration, and delight in its effects upon the peace, order, prosperity, and happiness of the nation, I have acquired an habitual attachment to it, and veneration for it.
What other form of government, indeed, can so well deserve our esteem and love?
There may be little solidity in an ancient idea that congregations of men into cities and nations are the most pleasing objects in the sight of superior intelligences; but this is very certain, that to a benevolent human mind there can be no spectacle presented by any nation more pleasing, more noble, majestic, or august, than an assembly like that which has so often been seen in this and the other chamber of Congress—of a government in which the executive authority, as well as that of all the branches of the legislature, are exercised by citizens selected at regular periods by their neighbors, to make and execute laws for the general good. Can any thing essential, any thing more, than mere ornament and decoration be added to this by robes or diamonds? Can authority be more amiable or respectable when it descends from accident or institutions established in remote antiquity than when it springs fresh from the hearts and judgments of an honest and enlightened people? For it is the people that are represented; it is their power and majesty that is reflected, and only for their good, in every legitimate government, under whatever form it may appear. The existence of such a government as ours for any length of time is a full proof of a general dissemination of knowledge and virtue throughout the whole body of the people. And what object of consideration more pleasing than this can be presented to the human mind? If natural pride is ever justifiable or excusable, it is when it springs, not from power or riches, grandeur or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information, and benevolence.
In the midst of these pleasing ideas, we should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties—if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections. If an election is to be determined by a majority of a single vote, and that can be procured by a party through artifice or corruption, the government may be the choice of a party, for its own ends, not of the nation for the national good. If that solitary suffrage can be obtained by foreign nations by flattery or menaces, by fraud or violence, by terror, intrigue, or venality, the government may not be the choice of the American people, but of foreign nations. It may be foreign nations who govern us, and not we, the people, who govern ourselves; and candid men will acknowledge that, in such cases, choice would have little advantage to boast of over lot or chance.
Such is the amiable and interesting system of government (and such are some of the abuses to which it may be exposed) which the people of America have exhibited to the admiration and anxiety of the wise and virtuous of all nations for eight years, under the administration of a citizen, who, by a long course of great actions, regulated by prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude, conducting a people inspired with the same virtues, and animated with the same ardent patriotism and love of liberty, to independence and peace, to increasing wealth and unexampled prosperity, has merited the gratitude of his fellow-citizens, commanded the highest praises of foreign nations, and secured immortal glory with posterity.
In that retirement, which is his voluntary choice, may he long live to enjoy the delicious recollection of his services—the gratitude of mankind; the happy fruits of them to himself and the world, which are daily increasing, and that splendid prospect of the future fortunes of his country, which is opening from year to year. His name may be still a rampart and the knowledge that he lives a bulwark against all open or secret enemies of his country's peace.
This example has been recommended to the imitation of his successors, by both houses of Congress, and by the voice of the legislatures and the people, throughout the nation.
On this subject it might become me better to be silent, or to speak with diffidence; but as something may be expected, the occasion, I hope, will be admitted as an apology, if I venture to say, that if a preference upon principle, of a free republican government, formed upon long and serious reflection, after a diligent and impartial inquiry after truth; if an attachment to the Constitution of the United States, and a conscientious determination to support it, until it shall be altered by the judgments and wishes of the people, expressed in the mode prescribed in it; if a respectful attention to the constitution of the individual States, and a constant caution and delicacy towards the State governments; if an equal and impartial regard to the rights, interests, honor, and happiness of all the States in the Union, without preference or regard to a northern or southern, eastern or western position, their various political opinions on essential points, or their personal attachments; if a love of virtuous men, of all parties and denominations; if a love of science or letters and a wish to patronize every rational effort to encourage schools, colleges, universities, academies, and every institution of propagating knowledge, virtue, and religion among all classes of people, not only for their benign influence on the happiness of life, in all its stages and classes, and of society in all its forms, but as the only means of preserving our constitution from its natural enemies, the spirit of sophistry, the spirit of party, the spirit of intrigue, profligacy, and corruption, and the pestilence of foreign influence, which is the angel of destruction to elective governments, if a love of equal laws, of justice and humanity, in the interior administration; if an inclination to improve agriculture, commerce, and manufactures for necessity, convenience, and defense; if a spirit of equity and humanity towards the aboriginal nations of America, and a disposition to ameliorate their condition by inclining them to be more friendly to us, and our citizens to be more friendly to them; if an inflexible determination to maintain peace and inviolable faith with all nations, and the system of neutrality and impartiality among the belligerent powers of Europe which has been adopted by the government, and so solemnly sanctioned by both houses of Congress, and applauded by the legislatures of the States and by public opinion, until it shall be otherwise ordained by Congress; if a personal esteem for the French nation, formed in a residence of seven years chiefly among them, and a sincere desire to preserve the friendship, which has been so much for the honor and interest of both nations; if, while the conscious honor and integrity of the people of America and the internal sentiment of their own power and energies must be preserved, an earnest endeavor to investigate every just cause, and remove every colorable pretense of complaint; if an intention to pursue, by amicable negotiation, a reparation for the injuries that have been committed on the commerce of our fellow-citizens, by whatever nation; and, if success cannot be obtained, to lay the facts before the legislature, that they may consider what further measures the honor and interest of the government and its constituents demand; if a resolution to do justice, as far as may depend upon me, at all times and to all nations, and maintain peace, friendship, and benevolence with all the world; if an unshaken confidence in the honor, spirit, and resources of the American people, on which I have so often hazarded my all, and never been deceived; if elevated ideas of the high destinies of this country, and of my own duties towards it, founded on a knowledge of the moral principles and intellectual improvements of the people, deeply engraven on my mind in early life, and not obscured, but exalted, by experience and age; and with humble reverence, I feel it my duty to add, if a veneration for the religion of the people who profess and call themselves Christians, and a fixed resolution to consider a decent respect for Christianity among the best recommendations for the public service, can enable me, in any degree, to comply with your wishes, it shall be my strenuous endeavor that this sagacious injunction of the two houses shall not be without effect.
With this great example before me—with the sense and spirit, the faith and honor, the duty and interest of the same American people, pledged to support the Constitution of the United States, I entertain no doubt of its continuance in all its energy; and my mind is prepared, without hesitation, to lay myself under the most solemn obligations to support it to the utmost of my power.
And may that Being who is supreme over all, the patron of order, the fountain of justice, and the protector, in all ages of the world, of virtuous liberty, continue his blessing upon this nation and its government, and give it all possible success and duration, consistent with the ends of his providence!
THE BOSTON MASSACRE
(First Day's Speech in Defense of the British Soldiers Accused of Murdering Attucks, Gray and Others, in the Boston Riot of 1770)
May If Please Your Honor, and You, Gentlemen of the Jury:—
I am for the prisoners at the bar, and shall apologize for it only in the words of the Marquis Beccaria:—
"If I can but be the instrument of preserving one life, his blessings and tears of transport shall be a sufficient consolation for me for the contempt of all mankind."
As the prisoners stand before you for their lives, it may be proper to recollect with what temper the law requires we should proceed to this trial. The form of proceeding at their arraignment has discovered that the spirit of the law upon such occasions is conformable to humanity, to common sense and feeling; that it is all benignity and candor. And the trial commences with the prayer of the court, expressed by the clerk, to the Supreme Judge of judges, empires, and worlds, "God send you a good deliverance."
We find in the rules laid down by the greatest English judges, who have been the brightest of mankind: We are to look upon it as more beneficial that many guilty persons should escape unpunished than one innocent should suffer. The reason is, because it is of more importance to the community that innocence should be protected than it is that guilt should be punished; for guilt and crimes are so frequent in the world that all of them cannot be punished; and many times they happen in such a manner that it is not of much consequence to the public whether they are punished or not. But when innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, especially to die, the subject will exclaim, "It is immaterial to me whether I behave well or ill, for virtue itself is no security." And if such a sentiment as this should take place in the mind of the subject, there would be an end to all security whatsoever, I will read the words of the law itself.
The rules I shall produce to you from Lord Chief-Justice Hale, whose character as a lawyer, a man of learning and philosophy, and a Christian, will be disputed by nobody living; one of the greatest and best characters the English nation ever produced. His words are these:—