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252 SIR John THOMPson
the bidding of the great adversary on earth, he had better be sent as speedily as a due regard for the forms of human justice would permit to continue the genial service of other spheres.”
I presume a great and responsible paper like the Toronto Globe would not make these observations against a man in Guiteau's situation because he was condemned in another country, and treat Riel on a different principle because he lived here, and might be a factor in the politics of this country.
But let me ask attention to another point in this branch of the subject. Let me call attention to the fact that the Indians whom this man incited to rise, perpetrated some very cruel murders at Frog Lake, which called in every sense of the word loudly for the execution of the supreme penalty of the law against the Indians concerned in that massacre, not only because they committed great crimes, but on other ground on which it is deemed proper to inflict capital punishment, namely, that it is absolutely necessary by making a great example by the infliction of such punishment, to deter people disposed to crime from committing it. How ..could the perpetrators of the Frog Lake massacre have been punished, if the man who incited them to rebel—and the massacre was to them the natural result of rebellion—had escaped 2 How could the punishment of law have been meted out to them, or any deterrent effect have been achieved, if the “arch conspirator,” the “arch traitor,”—if the “trickster,” as he has been called by men who did them their best service,—was allowed to go free, or kept in a lunatic asylum until he chose to get rid of his temporary delusions 2 It was absolutely necessary, as I have said, to show to those people, to those Indians, and to every section of the country, and to every class of the population there, that the power of the Government in the Northwest was strong, not only to protect, but to punish. In the administration of justice with regard to those territories in particular, it was absolutely necessary that the deterrent effect of capital punishment should be called into play. Remote as that territory is, strong as the necessity is for vigorous government there, and through the enforcement of every branch of the law, I am not disposed to be inhumane, or unmerciful, in the enforcement of the penalty which the law pronounces, but in relation to men of this class, who time and again have been candidates for the extreme penalty of the law, who have despised mercy when it was given them before, I would give the answer to appeals for mercy which was given those who proposed to abolish capital punishment in France, “Very well, let the assassins begin.”
The Famous Pulpit Orators of America
none has been nearly so prolific as the pulpit,
in which weekly thousands of sermons are delivered by men trained to the fullest and most effective powers of expression in this art. In this multitude of cultivated orators it would be strange, indeed, if there were not many of superior powers. And their subject, the salvation of man, is one that lends itself to servid and vehement examples of oratory. The pulpit orator who is thoroughly in earnest has a theme not surpassed in its inspiring force by the most revolutionary and exciting of political conditions. As a rule, however, the incessant repetition of pulpit orations is apt to quench the fire of eloquence in the most earnest of speakers, and leave a tameness from which few escape in the end. Their efforts become forced. They are not due to single stirring occasions, of passing moment, but to permanent conditions against which it is not easy to maintain an inspiring indignation. And the sermon, to be fully interesting, needs to be heard; with all the aids of solemn surroundings, elevation of sentiment, and the grace and power of spoken words. When read, its fine aroma is apt to disappear. In offering selections from the leading pulpit orators, therefore, it seems best to take them, as a rule, from the secular efforts of these eloquent men. The moral force and the trained oratory remain, and with these is associated a living interest in the subject which does not always inhere in that of the printed sermon.
A MONG the many fields for oratorical display, LYMAN BEECHER (1775–1863)
ORATOR AND FATHER OF ORATORS AND WRITERS
of the Beecher family, in which the children of a father of distinguished powers in oratory inherited his mental grasp and surpassed him in fame, in oratory and literature. In the first half of the nineteenth century Lyman Beecher was one of the most popular pulpit orators in the land, a zealous and highly successful defender in New England of the orthodox faith against the Unitarianism. He was an active and earnest promotor of temperance and other moral issues, and was distinguished for boldness and energy of character. IIis sermons on temperance had an immense circulation.
T HE doctrine of heredity in genius finds warrant in the history
THE SACREDNESS OF THE SABBATH
[As an orator Lyman Beecher was vigorous and at times rose to high exaltation of style. He strongly opposed any weakening of the old bonds of religious observance, as is evinced in the following selection, in which the growing secularization of the Sabbath and other moral delinquencies are eloquently denounced.]
The crisis has come. By the people of this generation, by ourselves probably, the amazing question is to be decided, whether the inheritance of our fathers shall be preserved or thrown away; whether our Sabbaths shall be a delight or a loathing ; whether the taverns, on that holy day, shall be crowded with drunkards, or the sanctuary of God with humble worshippers; whether riot and profaneness shall fill our streets, and poverty our dwellings, and convicts our jails, and violence our land, or whether industry, and temperance, and righteousness shall be the stability of our times; whether mild laws shall receive the cheerful submission of freemen, or the iron rod of a tyrant compel the trembling homage of slaves. Be not deceived. Human nature in this state is like human nature everywhere. All actual difference in our favor is adventitious, and the result of our laws, institutions, and habits. It is a moral
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influence which, with the blessing of God, has formed a state of society so eminently desirable. The same influence which has formed it is indispensable to its preservation. The rocks and hills of New England will remain till the last conflagration. But let the Sabbath be profaned with impunity, the worship of God abandoned, the government and religious instruction of children neglected, and the streams of intemperance be permitted to flow, and her glory will depart. The wall of fire will no more surround her, and the munition of rocks will no longer be her defence. If we neglect our duty, and suffer our laws and institutions to go down, we give them up forever. It is easy to relax, easy to retreat, but impossible, when the abomination of desolation has once passed over New England, to rear again the thrown-down altars, and gather again the fragments, and build up the ruins of demolished institutions. Another New England nor we nor our children shall ever see, if this be destroyed. All is lost irretrievably when the landmarks are once removed and the bands which now hold us are once broken. Such institutions, and such a state of society, can be established only by such men as our fathers were, and in such circumstances as they were in. They could not have made a New England in Holland. They made the attempt, but failed. The hand that overturns our laws and altars, is the hand of death unbarring the gate of Pandemonium and letting loose upon our land the crimes and the miseries of hell. If the Most High should stand aloof, and cast not a single ingredient into our cup of trembling, it would seem to be full of superlative woe. But He will not stand aloof. As we shall have begun an open controversy with Him, He will contend openly with us. And never, since the earth stood, has it been so fearful a thing for nations to fall into the hands of the living God. The day of vengeance is in His heart, the day of judgment has come : the great earthquake which sinks Babylon is shaking the nations, and the waves of the mighty commotion are dashing upon every shore. Is this, then, a time to remove foundations, when the earth itself is shaken 2 Is this a time to forfeit the protection of God, when the hearts of men are failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth 2 Is this a time to run upon His neck and the thick bosses of His buckler, when the nations are drinking blood, and fainting, and passing away in His wrath 2 Is this a time to throw away the shield of faith, when His arrows are drunk with the blood of the slain 2 To cut from the anchor of hope, when the clouds are collecting, and the sea and the waves are roaring, and thunders are uttering their voices, and lightnings blazing in the heavens, and the great hail is falling from heaven upon men, and every mountain, sea, and island is fleeing in dismay from the face of an incensed God 2
WILLIAM ELLERY CHANNING (1780–1842)
THE GREAT UNITARIAN ORATOR AND WRITER
N William Ellery Channing, Rhode Island contributed to the I American pulpit one of the most brilliant figures that have ever occupied it. To the Unitarian Church he came as a revelation, a leader of unsurpassed eloquence and influence. Not alone as a pulpit orator, did he win distinction, but as a writer as well, his merit in this field being of a very high order. His style, always clear, forcible and elegant, rises at times into strains of the loftiest eloquence. In this direction no American has ever surpassed him. Of his pulpit orations, that on the fall of Napoleon is regarded as the most splendid, while his lectures on Self Culture had a wide circulation. His oratory always charmed his audience, alike for its winning manner and its moral force.
THE RIGHTS OF THE INDIVIDUAL
[From Channing's works we select two brief examples, as illustrations of his breadth of thought and power of expression ; the first clearly showing the true relations of men to the State; the second indicating in what respects military genius falls below the highest mental power.]
It seems to be thought by some that a man derives all his rights from the nation to which he belongs. They are gifts of the State, and the State may take them away if it will. A man, it is thought, has claims on other men, not as a man, but as an Englishman, an American, or a subject of some other State. He must produce his parchment of citizenship before he binds other men to protect him, to respect his free agency, to leave him the use of his powers according to his own will. Local, municipal law is thus made the fountain and measure of rights. The stranger must tell us where he was born, what privileges he enjoyed at home, or no tie links us to one another.