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SPLENDID TRIBUTE TO THE TALENTS OF CHATHAM.
Talents, whenever they have had a suitable theatre, have never failed to emerge from obscurity, and assume their proper rank in the estimation of the world. The jealous pride of power may attempt to repress and crush them; the base and malignant rancor of impotent spleen and envy may strive to embarrass and retard their flight : but these efforts, so far from achieving their ignoble purpose, so far from producing a discernible obliquity in the ascent of genuine and vigorous talents, will serve only to increase their momentum, and mark their transit with an additional stream of glory.
When the great earl of Chatham first made his appearance in the house of commons, and began to astonish and transport the British parliament and the British nation, by the boldness, the force, and range of his thoughts, and the celestial fire, and pathos of his eloquence, it is well known that the minister, Walpole, and his brother Horace, from motives very easily understood, exerted all their wit, all their oratory, all their acquirements of every description, sustained and enforced by the unfeeling “insolence of office,” to heave a mountain on his gigantic genius,
and hide it from the world.-Poor and powerless attempt !
—The tables were turned. He rose upon them, in the might and irresistible energy of his genius, and in spite of all their convulsions, frantic agonies, and spasms, he strangled them and their whole faction, with as much ease as Hercules did the serpent Python.
Who can turn over the debates of the day, and read the account of this conflict between youthful ardor and hoary-headed cunning and power, without kindling in the cause of the tyro, and shouting at his victory? That they should have attempted to pass off the grand, yet solid and judicious operations of a mind like his, as being mere theatrical start and emotion ; the giddy, hair-brained eccentricities of a romantic boy! That they should have had the presumption to suppose themselves capable of chaining down to the floor of the parliament, a genius so etherial, towering and sublime, seems unaccountable! Why did they not, in the next breath, by way of crowning the climax of vanity, bid the magnificent fire-ball to descend from its exalted and appropriate region, and perform its splendid tour along the surface of the earth?
Talents, which are before the public, have nothing to dread, either from the jealous pride of power, or from the transient
misrepresentations of party, spleen, or envy. In spite of opposition from any cause, their buoyant spirit will lift them to their proper grade.
The man who comes fairly before the world, and who possesses the great and vigorous stamina which entitle him to a niche in the temple of glory, has no reason to dread the ultimate result ; however slow his progress may be, he will, in the end, most indubitably receive that distinction. While the rest, “the swallows of science,” the butterflies of genius, may flutter for their spring; but they will soon pass away, and be remembered no more. No enterprising man, therefore, and least of all, the truly great man, has reason to droop or repine at any efforts which he may suppose to be made with the view to depress him. Let, then, the tempest of envy or of malice howl around him. His genius will consecrate him; and any attempt to extinguish that, will be as unavailing, as would a human effort “ to quench the stars."
50. EXPOSURE TO THE HORRORS OF INDIAN OUTRAGE.- Ames..
But am I reduced to the necessity of proving this point? Certainly the very men who charged the Indian war on the detention of the posts, will call for no other proof than the recital of their own speeches. It is remembered with what emphasis, with what acrimony, they expatiated on the burden of taxes, and the drain of blood and treasure into the western country, in consequence of Britain's holding the posts. Until the posts are restored, they exclaimed, the treasury and the frontiers must bleed.
If any, against all these proofs, should maintain that the peace with the Indians will be stable without the posts, to them I will urge another reply. From arguments calculated to pro duce conviction, I will appeal directly to the hearts of those who hear me, and ask, whether it is not already planted there? I resort, especially, to the convictions of the western gentlemen, whether, supposing no posts and no treaty, the settlers will remain in security ? Can they take it upon them to say, Indian peace, under these circumstances, will prove firm ? No, sir, it will not be peace, but a sword: it will be no better than a lure to draw victims within the reach of the tomahawk.
On this theme, my emotions are unutterable. If I could find words for them, if my powers bore any proportion to my zeal, I would swell my voice to such a note of remonstrance, it should
reach every log-house beyond the mountains. I would say to the inhabitants, wake from your false security; your cruel dangers, your more cruel apprehensions, are soon to be renewed; the wounds, yet unhealed, are to be torn open again ; in the daytime, your path through the woods will be ambushed; the darkness of midnight will glitter with the blaze of your dwellings. You are a father—the blood of your sons shall fatten your corn-fields : you are a mother-the war-whoop shall wake the sleep of the cradle.
On this subject, you need not suspect any deception on your feelings. It is a spectacle of horror, which cannot be overdrawn. If you have nature in your hearts, it will speak a language, compared with which, all I have said or can say, will be poor
and frigid. By rejecting the posts, we light the savage fires, we bind the victims. This day we undertake to render account to the widows and orphans' whom our decision will make, to the wretches that will be roasted at the stake, to our country, and I do not deem it too serious to say, to conscience and to God. We are answerable, and if duty be any thing more than a word of imposture, if conscience be not a bugbear, we are preparing to make ourselves as wretched as our country.
There is no mistake in this case, there can be none. Experience has already been the prophet of events, and the cries of our future victims have already reached us. The western inhabitants are not a silent and uncomplaining sacrifice. The voice of humanity issues from the shade of their wilderness. It exclaims, that while one hand is held up to reject this treaty, the other grasps a tomahawk. It summons our imagination to the scenes that will open. It is no great effort of the imagination to conceive that events so near are already begun. I can fancy that I listen to the yells of savage vengeance, and the shrieks of torture. Already they seem to sigh in the west wind-already they mingle with every echo from the mountains.
SPECIMEN OF THE ELOQUENCE OF JAMES OTIS.-Francis.
England may as well dam up the waters of the Nile with bulrushes, as to fetter the step of freedom, more proud and firm in this youthful land, than where she treads the sequestered glens of Scotland, or couches herself among the magnificent mountains of Switzerland. Arbitrary principles, like those
against which we now contend, have cost one king of England his life, another his crown-and they may yet cost a third his most flourishing colonies.
We are two millions-one-fifth fighting men. We are bold and vigorous, and we call no man master. To the nation, from whom we are proud to derive our origin, we ever were, and we ever will be, ready to yield unforced assistance; but it must not, and it never can be extorted.
Some have sneeringly asked, “ Are the Americans too poor to pay a few pounds on stamped paper ?" No! America, thanks to God and herself, is rich. But the right to take ten pounds, implies the right to take a thousand ; and what must be the wealth, that avarice, aided by power, cannot exhaust ? True, the spectre is now small; but the shadow he casts before him is huge enough to darken all this fair land. Others, in sentimental style, talk of the immense debt of gratitude which we owe to England. And what is the amount of this debt ? Why, truly, it is the same that the young lion owes to the dam, which has brought it forth on the solitude of the mountain, or left it amid the winds and storms of the desert.
We plunged into the wave, with the great charter of freedom in our teeth, because the faggot and torch were behind us. We have waked this new world from its savage lethargy; forests have been prostrated in our path; towns and cities have grown up suddenly as the flowers of the tropics, and the fires in our autumnal woods are scarcely more rapid, than the increase of our wealth and population. And do we owe all this to the kind succor of the mother country? No! we owe it to the tyranny that drove us from her—to the pelting storms, which invigorated our helpless infancy. But perhaps others will say,
- We ask no. money
your gratitude—we only demand that you should pay your own expenses.” And who, I pray, is to judge of their necessity ? Why, the king—and with all due reverence to his sacred majesty, he understands the real wants of his distant subjects, as little as he does the language of the Choctaws.) Who is to judge concerning the frequency of these demands? The ministry. Who is to judge whether the money is properly expended? The cabinet behind the throne. In every instance, those who take are to judge for those who pay ; if this system is suffered to go into operation, we shall have reason to esteem it a great privilege, that rain and dew do not depend upon parliament; otherwise they would soon be taxed and dried.
But thanks to God, there is freedom enough left upon earth to resist such monstrous injustice. The flame of liberty is extinguished in Greece and Rome, but the light of its glowing embers is still bright and strong on the shores of America. Actuated by its sacred influence, we will resist unto death. But we will not countenance anarchy and misrule. The wrongs, that a desperate community have heaped upon their enemies, shall be amply and speedily repaired. Still
, it may be well for some proud men to remember, that a fire is lighted in these colonies, which one breath of their king may kindle into such fury, that the blood of all England cannot extinguish it.
The man who is so conscious of the rectitude of his intentions, as to be willing to open his bosom to the inspection of the world, is in possession of one of the strongest pillars of a decided character. The course of such a man will be firm and steady, because he has nothing to fear from the world, and is sure of the approbation and support of heaven. While he, who is conscious of secret and dark designs which, if known, would blast him, is perpetually shrinking and dodging from public observation, and is afraid of all around, and much more of all above him.
Such a man may, indeed, pursue his iniquitous plans, steadily; he may waste himself to a skeleton in the guilty pursuit : but it is impossible that he can pursue them with the same health-inspiring confidence, and exulting alacrity, with him who feels, at every step, that he is in the pursuit of honest ends, by honest means. The clear unclouded brow, the open countenance, the brilliant eye which can look an honest man steadfastly, yet courteously in the face, the healthfully beating heart, and the firm elastic step, belong to him whose bosom is free from guile, and who knows that all his motives and purposes are pure and right. Why should such a man falter in his course?
be deserted by the world; but he has that within which will keep him erect, and enable him to move onward in his course, with his eyes fixed on heaven, which he knows will not desert him.
Let your first step, then, in that discipline which is to give you decision of character, be the heroic determination to be honest men, and to preserve this character through every vicissitude of fortune, and in every relation which connects you with society. I do not use this phrase, “ honest men," in the narrow sense, merely, of meeting your pecuniary engagements,