« 前へ次へ »
Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And there was mounting in hot haste; the steed,
CI.THE CHARACTER OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN.
Extract from Judge Story's Discourse, before the Essex Historical
Society, September 18, 1828.
In the fate of the Aborigines of our country—the Ame. rican Indians—there is, my friends, much to awaken our sympathy, and much to disturb the sobriety of our judgment; much which may be urged to excuse their own atrocities ; much in their characters, which betrays us into an involuntary admiration. What can be more melancholy than their history? Two centuries ago, the smoke of their wigwams, and me fires of their councils, rose in every valley, from Hudson's Bay to the farthest Florida, from the ocean to the Mississippi and the Lakes. The shouts of victory and the war-dance rung through the mountains and the glades. The thick arrows and the deadly tomahawk whistled through the forests; and the hunter's trace, and the dark encampment startled the wild
beasts in their lairs. The warriors stood forth in their glory. The young listened to the songs of other days. The mothers played with their infants, and gazed on the scene, with warm hopes of the future. The aged sat down; but they wept not. They should soon be at rest in fairer regions, where the Great Spirit dwelt, in a home, prepared for the brave, beyond the western skies. Braver men never lived; truer men never drew the bow. They had courage, and fortitude, and sagacity, and perseverance, beyond most of the human race. They shrunk from no dangers, and they feared no hard. ships.
If they had the vices of savage life, they had the virtues also. They were true to their country, their friends, and their homes. If they forgave not injury, neither did they forget kindness. If their vengeance was terrible, their fidelity and generosity were unconquerable also. Their love, like their hate, stopped not on this side of the grave. But where are they? Where are the villages, and warriors, and youth? The sachems and the tribes? The hunters and their families ? They have perished. They are consumed. The wasting pestilence has not alone done the mighty work. No,-nor famine, nor war.
There has been a mightier power, a moral canker, which hath eaten into their heart-cores—a plague which the touch of the white man communicated-a poison, which betrayed them into a lingering ruin. The winds of the Atlantic fan not a single region, which they may now call their own. Already, the last feeble remnants of the race are preparing for their journey beyond the Mississippi. I see them leave their miserable homes, the aged, the helpless, the women, and the warriors, “few and faint, yet fearless still.” The ashes are cold on their native hearths. The smoke no longer curls round their lowly cabins. They inove on with a slow, unsteady step. The white man is upon their heels, for terror or despatch ; but they heed him not. They turn to take a last look of their deserted villages. They cast a last glance upon the graves of their fathers. They shed no tears; they utter no cries ; they heave no groans. There is something in their hearts which passes speech. There is something in their looks, not of vengeance or submission ; but of hard necessity, which stifles both ; which choaks all utterance ; which has no aim or method. It is courage ab.
sorbed in despair. They linger but for a moment. Their look is onward. They have passed the fatal stream. It shall never be repassed by them,-no, never. Yet there lies not between us and them, an impassable gulf. They know, and feel, that there is for them, still one remove farther, not distant, nor unseen. It is to the general burial ground of their race.
CII.-THE DUTIES OF AMERICANS TO THEIR COUNTRY.
Extract from the same Discourse.
We stand, my fellow citizens, the latest, and if we fail, probably the last experiment of self-government by the peo. ple. We have begun it, under circumstances of the most auspicious nature. We are in the vigor of youth. Our growth has never been checked by the oppressions of tyranny. Our constitutions have never been enfeebled by the vices or luxuries of the old world. Such as we are, we have been from the beginning ; simple, hardy, intelligent, accustomed to self.government, and self-respect. The Atlantic rolls between us and any formidable foe. Within our own territory, stretching through many degrees of latitude and longitude, we have the choice of many products, and many means of independence. The government is mild. The press is free. Religion is free. Knowledge reaches, or may reach, every home. What fairer prospect of success could be presented ? What means more adequate to accomplish the sublime end? What more is necessary, than for the people to preserve what they themselves have created ?
Can it be, that America, under such circumstances, can be. tray herself? That she is to be added to the catalogue of republics, the inscription upon whose ruins is, " They were, but they are not.” Forbid it, my countrynien; forbid it, Heaven.
I call upon you, fathers, by the shades of your ancestors, by the dear ashes which repose in this precious soil, by all you are, and all you hope to be ; resist every project of disunion, resist every encroachment upon your liberties, resist every attempt to fetter your consciences, or smother your public schools, or extinguish your system of of public instruction.
I call upon you, mothers, by that which never fails in wo. man, the love of your offspring; teach them, as they climb your knees, or learn on your bosoms, the blessings of liberty. Swear them at the altar, as with their baptismal vows, to be true to their country, and never to forget or forsake her.
I call upon you, young men, to remember whose sons you are ; whose inheritance you possess.
Life can never be too short, which brings nothing but disgrace and oppression.Death never comes too soon, if necessary, in defence of the liberties of your country.
I call upon you, old men, for your counsels, and your prayers, and your benedictions. May not your gray hairs go down in sorrow to the grave, with the recollection, that you have lived in vain! May not your last sun sink in the west, upon a nation of slaves !
No--I read in the destiny of my country, far better hopes, far brighter visions. We who are now assembled here, must soon be gathered to the congregation of other days. The time of our departure is at hand, to make
for children upon the theatre of life. May God speed them and theirs ! May he, who at the distance of another century, shall stand here to celebrate this day, still look round upon a free, happy, and virtuous people ! May he have reason to exult as we do! May he, with all the enthusiasm of truth, as well as of poetry, exclaim, that here is still his country!
“ Zealous, yet modest; innocent, though free ;
CII. THE CHARACTERS OF RICHARD THIRD
LEAR, IN SHAKSPEARE.
Extract from the Prizo Ode, written by Charles Sprague, and recited at the representation of the SHAKSPEARE JU Boston, February 13 1824.
MARK the sceptered Traitor slumbering!
There flit the slaves of conscience round;
Sleep's leaden portals catch the sound.
Soon that dream to fate shall turn,
For him the living furies burn;
Hark! the trumpet's warning brea:h
(rides, Where through the maddening ranks the God of slaughter And o'er their spouting trunks his reeking axle guides !
Unhorsed, unhelmed, disdaining shield,
of earth, the scorn of heaven,
And all his guilty glories fade.
Behold yon crownless King
Yon white-locked, weeping sire;
And burst their streams of flood and fire !
In such a night of wo,
And caverns with her foe!