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EXTRACT FROM PRESIDENT PIERCE'S INAUGURAL. 353
prising, commercial, manufacturing, rich metropolis, carrying, as you say, all before it. What is to be the result? That will depend upon the character of those who shall come after us, under the superintendence and protection of Divine Providence. What are our hopes then ? What anticipations do we entertain ? For myself, gentlemen, I must say that it becomes us today, in the enjoyment of the privileges we possess here amidst the scenes of early sacrifices for American liberty-amidst the scenes which characterized Massachusetts as a great leader and martyr in the revolutionary contest-it becomes us to say that we entertain high hopes, exalted hopes, humbly and meekly before God, but fearlessly and dauntlessly before men, that this, the prosperity, and this the renown, which we Americans of this generation enjoy, shall accompany our country to her latest posterity, with ten thousand times the brilliancy of yonder setting sun.
10. EXTRACT OF PRESIDENT PIERCE'S INAUGURAL, March 4th, 1853.
With the Union my best and dearest earthly hopes are entwined. Without it, what are we, individually or collectively ?—what becomes of the noblest field ever opened for the advancement of our race in religion, in government, in the arts, and in all that dignifies and adorns mankind ? From that radiant constellation, which both illumines our own way and points out to struggling nations their course, let but a single star be lost, and, if there be not utter darkness, the lustre of the whole is dimmed. Do my countrymen need any assurance that such a catastrophe is not to overtake them while I possess the power to stay it? It is with me an earnest and vital belief, that as the Union has been the source, under Providence, of our prosperity to this time, so it is the surest pledge of a continuance of the blessings we have enjoyed, and which we are sacredly bound to transmit undiminished to our children. The field of calm and free discussion in our country is open, and will always be so ; but it never has been and never can be traversed for good in a spirit of sectionalism and uncharitableness. The founders of the republic dealt with things as they were presented to them, in a spirit of self-sacrificing patriotism, and, as time has proved, with a comprehensive wisdom which it will always be safe for us to consult. ***
But let not the foundation of our hope rest upon man's wisdom. It will not be sufficient that sectional prejudices find no place in the public deliberations. It will not be sufficient that the rash counsels of human passion are rejected. It must be felt that there is no national security but in the nation's humble, acknowledged dependence upon God and his overruling providence.
We have been carried in safety through a perilous crisis. Wise counsels, like those which gave us the constitution, prevailed to uphold it. Let the period be remembered as an admonition, and not as an encouragement, in any section of the Union, to make experiments where experiments are fraught with such fearful hazard. Let it be impressed upon all hearts, that, beautiful as our fabric is, no earthly power or wisdom could ever re-unite its broken fragments.
Standing, as I do, almost within view of the green slopes of Monticello, and, as it were, within reach of the tomb of Washington, with all the cherished memories of the past gathering around me, like so many eloquent voices of exhortation from Heaven, I can express no better hope for my country, than that the kind Providence which smiled upon our fathers may enable their children to preserve the blessings they have inherited.
1. FROM CICERO'S ORATION AGAINST. VERRES.
I ask now, Verres, what have you to advance against this charge? Will you pretend to deny it? pretend that any thing false, that even any thing aggravated is alleged against you ? Had any prince, or any state, committed the same outrage against the privilege of Roman citizens, should we not think we had sufficient reason for declaring immediate war against them? What punishment ought then to be inflicted on a tyrannical and wicked prætor, who dared, at no greater distance than Sicily, within sight of the Italian coast, to put to the infamous death of crucifixion that unfortunate and innocent citizen, Publius Gavius Cosanus, only for his having asserted his privilege of citizenship, and declared his intention of appealing to the justice of his country against a cruel oppressor, who had unjustly confined him in prison at Syracuse, whence he had just made his escape? The unhappy man, arrested as he was going to embark for his native country, is brought before the wicked prætor. With eyes darting fury, and a countenance distorted with cruelty, he orders the helpless victim of his rage to be stripped, and rods to be brought ; accusing him, but without the least shadow of evidence, or even of suspicion, of having come to Sicily as a spy. It was in vain that the unhappy man cried out, “I am a Roman citizen, I have served under Lucius Pretius, who is now at Panormus, and will attest my innocence." The bloodthirsty prætor, deaf to all he could urge in his own defence, ordered the infamous punishment to be inflicted. Thus, fathers, was an innocent Roman citizen publicly mangled with scourging ; while the only words he uttered amidst his cruel sufferings were, “I am a Roman citizen !” With these he hoped to defend himself from violence and infamy. But of so little service was this privilege to him, that while he was asserting his citizenship, the order was given for his execution-for his execution upon the cross !
O liberty! O sound once delightful to every Roman ear!
O sacred privilege of Roman citizenship! Once sacred, now trampled upon! But what then! is it come to this ? Shall an inferior magistrate, a governor, who holds his power of the Roman people, in a Roman province, within sight of Italy, bind, scourge, torture with fire and red hot plates of iron, and at last put to the infamous death of the cross, a Roman citizen ? Shall neither the cries of innocence expiring in agony, nor the tears of pitying spectators, nor the majesty of
the Roman commonwealth, nor the fear of the justice of his country, restrain the licentious and wanton cruelty of a inonster, who, in confidence of his riches, strikes at the root of liberty, and sets mankind at defiance ?
2. REPLY TO THE DUKE OF GRAFTON.-Lord Thurlow. B. 1732;
I am amazed at the attack which the noble Duke has made on me.
Yes, my Lords, I am amazed at his Grace's speech. The noble Duke cannot look before him, behind him, or on either side of him, without seeing some noble Peer who owes his seat in this House to his successful exertions in the profession to which I belong. Does he not feel that it is as honorable to owe it to these, as to being the accident of an accident ? To all these noble Lords the language of the noble Duke is as applicable, and as insulting as it is to myself. But I do not fear to meet it single and alone.
No one venerates the Peerage more than I do; but, my Lords, I must say that the Peerage solicited me,not I the Peerage. Nay, more,- I can say, and will say, that, as a Peer of Parliament, as Speaker of this right honorable House, as keeper of the great seal, as guardian of his Majesty's conscience, as Lord High Chancellor of England, --nay, even in that character alone in which the noble Duke would think it an affront to be considered, but which character none can deny me,-as a man,-I am, at this moment, as respectable, -I beg leave to add, I am as much respected as the proudest Peer I now look down upon.