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of the minister, a greater traitor than the rebel. The strong hold of the constitution was no where to be found. I agree, that the rebel who rises against the government should have suffered; but I missed on the scaffold the right honorable gentleman. Two desperate parties were in arms against the constitution. The right honorable gentleman belonged to one of those parties, and deserved death. I could not join the rebel; I could not join the government; I could not join torture; I could not join half hanging ; I could not join free quarter; I could not take part with neither. I was, therefore, absent from a scene where I could not be active without self. reproach, nor indifferent with safety.
I have returned, not, as the right honorable member has said, to raise another storm. I have returned to discharge an honorable debt of gratitude to my country, that confer. red a great reward for past services, which, I am proud to say, was not greater than my desert. I have returned to protect that constitution, of which I was the parent and the founder, from the assassination of such men as the right honorable gentleman, and his unworthy associates. They are corrupt—they are seditious—and they, at this very mo. ment, are in a conspiracy against their country. I have returned to refute a libel, as false as it is malicious, given to the public under the appellation of a report of the commit. tee of the Lords. Here I stand ready for impeachment or trial. I dare accusation. I defy the honorable gentleman ; I defy the government; I defy their whole phalanx ; let them come forth. I tell the ministers, I will neither give them quarter, nor take it. I am here to lay the shattered remains of my constitution on the floor of this House, in de. fence of the liberties of my country.
CL*XXII.-THE INFLUENCE OF GREAT MEN AFTER DEATH. .
Extract from a Discourse in Commemoration of the Lives and Services
of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, delivered in Faneuil Hall, Boston, August 2, 1826, by Daniel Webster.
This is an unaccustomed spectacle. For the first time, fellow citizens, badges of mourning shroud the columns and overhang the arches of this HALL. These walls, which were consecrated, so long ago, to the cause of American liberty, which witnessed her infant struggles, and rung with the shouts of her earliest victories, proclaim, now, that distinguished friends and champions of that great cause have fallen. It is right that it should be thus. The tears which flow, and the honors that are paid, when the founders of the republic die, give hope that the republic itself may be immortal. It is fit, that by public assembly and solemn observance, by anthem and by eulogy, we commemorate the services of national benefactors, extol their virtues, and render thanks to God for eminent blessings, early given and long continued, to our favored country.'
AVAMS AND JEFFERSON are no more. As human beings, indeed, they are no more. They are no more, as in 1776, bold and fearless advocates of independence; no more, as on subsequent periods, the head of the government; no more as we have recently seen them, aged and venerable objects of admiration and regard. They are no more. They are dead. But how little is there of the great and good which can die ? To their country they yet live, and live for ever. They live in all that perpetuates the remembrance of men on earth ; in the recorded proofs of their own great actions, in the offspring of their intellect, in the deep engraved lines of public gratitude, and in the respect and homage of mankind. They live in their example; and they live, emphatically, and will live in the influence which their lives and efforts, their princi. ples and opinions, now exercise, and will continue to exercise, on the affairs of men, not only in their own country, but throughout the civilized world. A superior and commanding human intellect, a truly great man, when Heaven vouchsafes so rare a gift, is not a temporary flame, burning bright for a while, and then expiring, giving place to returning darkness. It is rather a spark of fervent heat, as well as radiant light, with power to enkindle the common mass of human mind; so that when it glimmers, in its own decay, and finally goes out in death, no night follows, but it leaves the world all light, all on fire, from the potent contact of its own spirit. Bacon died; but the human understanding, roused, by the touch of his miraculous wand, to a perception of the true philosophy, and the just mode of inquiring after truth, has kept on its course successfully and gloriously. Newton died; yet the courses of the spheres are still known, and they yet move on, in the orbits which he saw, and described for them, in the in. finity of space.
CLXXXIII.—THE NATURE OF TRUE ELOQUENCE.
Extract from the same Discourse.
WHENEVER public bodies, fellow.citizens, are to be ad. dressed on momentous occasions ; when great interests are at stake, and strong passions excited, the eloquence of those who address such bodies should be bold, manly, and ener. getic ; and such as the crisis requires. Nothing, then, is valuable in speech, farther than it is connected with high in. tellectual and moral endowments. Clearness, force, and earnestness, are the qualities which produce conviction. True eloquence, indeed, does not consist in speech. It cannot be brought from far. Labor and learning may toil for it, but they will toil in vain. Words and phrases may be marshalled in every way, but they cannot compass it. It must exist in the man, in the subject, and in the occasion. Affected passion, intense expression, the pomp of declamation, all may aspire after it--they cannot reach it. It comes, if it come at all, like the outbreaking of a fountain from the earth, or the bursting forth of volcanic fires, with spontaneous, original, native force. The graces taught in the schools, the costly ornaments and studied contrivances of speech, shock and disgust men, when their own lives, and the fate of their wives, their children, and their country, bang on the decision of the hour. Then words have lost their power, rhetoric is vain, and all elaborate orafory contemptible. Even genius itself then feels rebuked, and subdued, as in the presence of higher qualities. Then, patriotism is eloquent; then, self-devotion is eloquent. The clear conception, out-running the deduc. tions of logic, the high purpose, the firm resolve, the daunt. less spirit, speaking on the tongue, beaming from the eye, informing every feature, and urging the whole man onward, right onward to his object--this, this is eloquence; or rather it is something greater and higher than all eloquence, it is action, noble, sublime, godlike action.
CLXXXIV.-JOHN ADAMS ADVOCATING THE DECLARATION OF
Extract from the same Discourse.
Mr. President, -SINK or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my hand, and my heart, to this vote. It is true, indeed, that in the beginning, we aimed not at inde. pendence. But there's a Divinity that shapes our ends. The injustice of England has driven us to arms; and, blind. ed to her own interest for our good, she has obstinately persisted, till independence is now within our grasp. We have but to reach forth to it, and it is ours. Why then should we defer the declaration ?
If we fail, it can be no worse for us. But we shall not fail. The cause will raise up armies; the cause will cre. ate navies. The people,-the people, if we are true to them, will carry us, and will carry themselves, gloriously, through this struggle. I care not how fickle other people have been found. I know the people of these colonies, and I know that resistance to British aggression is deep and settled in
* Mr. Adams may be said to have been the great advocate for the Declaration of American Independence. The present Speech is one which Mr. Webster supposes him to have made ; for few, if any, of the remarks of those who advocated the cause of Independence, were reported. Though it is headed “Mr. Adams advocating,” it might more properly be headed, Mr. Webster, placing himself in Mr. Adams' situation, advocating the cause of Independence.
their hearts, and cannot be eradicated. Read this declaration at the head of the army; every sword will be drawn from its scabbard, and the solemn vow uttered to maintain it, or to perish on the bed of honor. Publish it from the pulpit ; re. ligion will approve it, and the love of religious liberty will cling round it, resolved to stand with it, or fall with it. Send it to the public halls; proclaim it there ; let them hear it, who heard the first roar of the enemy's cannon; let them see it, who saw their brothers and their sons fall on the field of Bunker Hill, and in the streets of Lexington and Concord, and the very walls will cry out in its support.
Sir, I know the uncertainty of human affairs, but I see, I see clearly, through this day's business. You and I, indeed, may rue it. We may not live to the time, when this declaration shall be made good. We may die; die, colonists; die, slaves; die, it may be, ignominiously and on the scaffold. Be it so. Be it so. If it be the pleasure of Heaven that my country shall require the poor offering of my life, the victim shall be ready, at the appointed hour of sacrifice, come when that hour may. But while I do live, let me have a country, or at least the hope of a country, and that a free country.
But, whatever may be our fate, be assured, be assured, that this declaration will stand. It may cost treasure, and it may cost blood; but it will stand, and it will richly compensate for both. Through the thick gloom of the present, I see. the brightness of the future, as the sun in Heaven. We shall make this a glorious, an immortal day. When we are in our graves, our children will honor it. They will celebrate it, with thanksgiving, with festivity, with bonfires, and illumina. tions. On its annual return they will shed tears, copious, gushing tears, not of subjection and slavery, not of agony and distress, but of exultation, of gratitude, and of joy. Sir, be. fore God, I believe the hour is come. My judgment approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope, in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it; and I leave off, as I begun, that live or die, survive or perish, I am for the declaration. It is my living sentiment, and, by the blessing of God, it shall be my dying sentiment; independence, now; and INDEPEN. DENCE FOR EVER.