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of men. And when, from the long distance of an hundred years, they shall look back upon us, they shall know, at least, that we possessed affections, which, running backward and warming with gratitude for what our ancestors have done for our happiness, run forward also to our posterity, and meet them with cordial salutation, ere yet they have arrived on the shore of being.
Advance, then, ye future generations! We would hail you, as you rise in your long succession, to fill the places which we now fill, and to taste the blessings of existence where we are passing, and soon shall have passed, our own human duration. We bid you welcome to this pleasant land of the fathers. We bid you welcome to the healthful skies and the verdant fields of New England. We greet your accession to the great inheritance which we have enjoyed. We welcome you to the blessings of good government and religious liberty. We welcome you to the treasures of science and the delights of learning. We welcome you to the transcendent sweets of domestic life, to the happiness of kindred and parents, and children. We welcome you to the immeasurable blessings of rational existence, the immortal hope of Christianity, and the light of everlasting truth!
CRIME ITS OWN DETECTOR
GAINST the prisoner at the bar, as an in
dividual, I cannot have the slightest prejudice; I would not do him the smallest injury or injustice. But I do not affect to be indifferent to the discovery and the punishment of this deep guilt. I cheerfully share in the opprobrium, how much so ever it may be, which is cast on those who feel and manifest an anxious concern that all who had a part in planning, or hand in executing, this deed of midnight assassination, may be brought to answer for their enormous crime at the bar of public justice.
Gentlemen, this is a most extraordinary case. In some respects it has hardly a precedent anywhere certainly none in our New England history. This bloody drama exhibited no suddenly excited, ungovernable rage. The actors in it were not surprised by any lion-like temptation springing upon their virtue, and overcoming it, before resistance could begin. Nor did they do the deed to glut savage vengeance, or satiate longsettled and deadly hate. It was a cool, calculating, money-making murder. It was all "hire and
salary, not revenge." It was the weighing of money against life; the counting out of so many pieces of silver against so many ounces of blood.
An aged man, without an enemy in the world, in his own house, and in his own bed, is made the victim of a butcherly murder, for mere pay. The deed was executed with a degree of selfpossession and steadiness, equal to the wickedness with which it was planned. The circumstances, now clearly in evidence, spread out the whole scene before us. Deep sleep had fallen on the destined victim, and on all beneath his roof. A healthful old man, to whom sleep was sweet, the first sound slumbers held him in their soft but strong embrace. The assassin enters through the window, already prepared, into an unoccupied apartment. With noiseless foot he paces the lonely hall, half-lighted by the moon he winds up the ascent of stairs, and reaches the door of the chamber. Of this he moves the lock, by soft and continued pressure, till it turns on its hinges without noise; and he enters, and beholds his victim before him.
The room was uncommonly open to the admission of light. The face of the innocent sleeper was turned from the murderer, and the beams of the moon, resting on the gray locks of his aged temple, showed him where to strike. The fatal
blow is given! and the victim passes, without a struggle or a motion, from the repose of sleep to the repose of death. It is the assassin's purpose to make sure work; and he yet plies the dagger, though it was obvious that life had been destroyed by the blow of the bludgeon. He even raises the aged arm, that he may not fail in his aim at the heart, and replaces it again over the wounds of the poniard! To finish the picture, he explores the wrist for the pulse! He feels for it, and ascertains that it beats no longer! It is accomplished! The deed is done. He retreats, retraces his steps to the window, passes out through it as he came in, and escapes. He has done the murder has seen him, no ear has heard him. The secret is his own, and is safe!
Ah! gentlemen, that was a dreadful mistake. Such a secret can be safe nowhere. The whole creation of God has neither nook nor corner, where the guilty can bestow it, and say that it is safe. Not to speak of that Eye which glances through all disguises, and beholds every thing, as in the splendor of noon such secrets of guilt are never safe from detection, even by man.
True it is, generally speaking, that "murder will out." True it is, that Providence hath so ordained, and doth so govern things, that those who
break the great law of heaven by shedding man's blood, seldom succeed in avoiding discovery; especially in a case exciting so much attention as this, discovery must and will come, sooner or later. A thousand eyes turn at once to explore every man, every thing, every circumstance, connected with the time and place; a thousand ears catch every whisper; a thousand excited minds intently dwell on the scene; shedding all their light, and ready to kindle the slightest circumstance into a blaze of discovery. Meantime, the guilty soul cannot keep its own secret.
It is false to itself; or rather, it feels an irresistible impulse of conscience to be true to itself: it labors under its guilty possession, and knows not what to do with it. The human heart was not made for the residence of such an inhabitant; it finds itself preyed on by a torment which it dares not acknowledge to God or man. A vulture is devouring it, and it asks no sympathy or assistance, either from heaven or earth.
The secret which the murderer possesses, comes to possess him. And, like the evil spirits of which we read, it overcomes him, and leads him whithersoever it will. He feels it beating at his heart, rising to his throat, and demanding disclosure. He thinks the whole world sees it in his