« PreviousContinue »
The fan-coral sweeps through the clear deep sea ;
11.—THE WAR INEVITABLE.
PATRICK HENRY. It is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope; we are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern our temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
I have but one lamp, by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and this House? Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received ? Trust it not, sir, it will prove a snare to your feet; suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation ? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation, and the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask the gentlemen, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive
? for it? Has Great Britain any enemy in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held it up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, let us not deceive ourselves longer. We have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned, we have remonstrated, we have supplicated, we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and parliament. Our petitions have been slighted, our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult, our supplications have been disregarded, and we have been spurned with contempt from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. wish to be free, if we wish to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending, if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms, and to the God of hosts, is all that is left us !
They tell us, sir, that we are weak—unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in
Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest; there is no retreat but in submission and slavery. Our chains are forged; their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston: the war is inevitable, and let it come; I repeat it, sir-let it come! It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry peace, peace ! but there is no peace! The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field ! why stand we here idle ? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me-give me liberty, or give me death !
12.—THE IRISHWOMAN'S LETTER.
To see would ye write a few lines to me Pat,
Wid a sthripe on his arm, and a band on his hat.
For the likes of your honor to spake wid the pen;
(The baby, yer honor,) is better again.
She niver hilt up her blue eyes till his face;
And ax "would I wish for the counthry's disgrace ?"
And followed the flag wid an Irishman's joy;
And a bullet gone straight to the heart of me boy.
Tell him to sind us a bit of his money,
For the rint and the docther's bill, due in a wake,
l' faith I've no right with such fradom to spake.
I'll find some one willin' Oh, what can it be?
Yer honor, don't hide it, but rade it to me!
Shot dead! shure 'tis a wake scarce gone by,
It hasn't had time yet, yer honor, to dhry.
Shure it's brakin' my heart ye are, tellin' me so,
I think I'll go home. ... And a sob, hard and dry,
But never a tear-drop welled up to her eye.
13.—APOSTROPHE TO WATER.
A. W. ARRINGTON. Where is the liquor which God the Eternal brews for all His cuildren? Not in the simmering still, over smoky fires choked with poisonous gases, and surrounded with the stench of sickening odors, and
rank corruptions, doth your Father in Heaven prepare the precious essence of life, the pure cold water. But in the green glade and grassy dell, where the red deer wanders, and the child loves to play, there God brews it. And down, low down in the deepest valleys, where the fountains murmur and the rills sing; and high upon the tall mountain-tops, where the naked granite glitters like gold in the sun; where the storm-cloud broods, and the thunder-storms crash; and away far out on the wide wild sea, where the hurricane howls music, and the big waves roar, the chorus sweeping the march of God: there He brews it, that beverage of life, the health giving water. And everywhere it is a thing of beauty-gleaming in the dew-drop; singing in the summer rain; shining in the ice-gem, till the leaves all seem turned to living jewels; spreading a golden veil over the setting sun, or a white gauze around the midnight moon; sporting in the cataract; sleeping in the glacier; dancing in the hail-shower; folding its bright snow-curtains softly about the wintry world; and weaving the many-colored iris, that seraph's zone of the sky, whose warp is the rain-drop of earth, whose woof is the sunbeam of heaven, all chequered over with celestial flowers by the mystic hand of refraction. Still always it is beautiful, that life-giving water; no poison bubbles on its brink; its foam brings not madness and murder; no blood stains its liquid glass; pale widows and starving orphans weep no burning tears in its depths; no drunken shrieking ghost from the grave curses it in the words of eternal despair. Speak on, my friends: would
: you exchange it for the demon's drink, alcohol?
14.-HANNAH, THE MOTHER.
Said Hannah, the mother, one day;
With a touch of His finger, they say.
Little Rachel and Samuel and John;
For the Lord to look upon."
But he shook his head and smiled,
Would think of a thing so wild ?
Or dying of fever, 'twere well;
Like many in Israel."
I feel such a burden of care:
Perhaps I shall leave it there.
My heart will be lighter, I know;
Will follow them as they go."
Along by the vine-rows green,