« ZurückWeiter »
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, hang on the decision of the hour. Then, words have lost their power, rhetoric is vain, and all elaborate oratory 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 deductions of logic, the high purpose, the firm resolve, the dauntless spirit, speaking on the tongue, beaming from the eye, informing every feature, and urging the whole man onward, right onward to his object — this is eloquence; or, rather, it is something greater and higher than all eloquence, it is action, noble, sublime, godlike action.
UNIVERSAL Emancipation!.“I speak in the spirit of the British law, which makes liberty commensurate with, and inseparable from, British soil; which proclaims even to the stranger and sojourner, the moment he sets his foot on British earth, that the ground on which he treads is holy, and consecrated by the genius of Universal Emancipation. No matter in what language his doom
may have been pronounced ;- :-no matter what complexion incompatible with freedom, an Indian or an African sun may have burned upon him ;-no matter in what disastrous battle his liberty may have been cloven down; no matter with what solemnities he may have been devoted upon the altar of slavery : the first moment he touches the sacred soil of Britain, the altar and the god sink together in the dust; his soul walks abroad in her own majesty; his body swells beyond the measure of his chains, that burst from around him ; and he stands redeemed, regenerated, and disenthralled by the irresistible genius of Universal Emancipation.
LORD CHANCELLOR BROUGHAM AGAINST SLAVERY.
Tell me not of rights—talk not of the property of the planter in his slaves. I deny his right-I acknowledge not the property. The principles, the feelings of our common nature, rise in rebellion against it. Be the appeal made to the understanding or to the heart, the sentence is the same that rejects it. In vain you tell me of laws that sanction such a claim! There is a law above all the enactments of human codes—the same throughout the world—the same in all times ; such as it was before the daring genius of Columbus pierced the night of ages, and opened to one world the sources of power, wealth, and knowledge, to another all unutterable woes-such as it is at this day; it is the law written by the finger of God on the heart of man; and by that law, unchangeable and eternal-while men despise fraud, and loathe rapine, and hate blood—they shall reject with indignation the wild and guilty fantasy, that man can hold property in man! In vain you appeal to
eaties, to covenants between nations. The covenants of the Almighty, whether the old covenant or the new, denounce such unholy pretensions. To these laws did they of old refer, who maintained the African trade. Such treaties did they cite—and not untruly; for, by one shameful compact you bartered the glories of Blenheim for the traffic in blood. Yet, in spite of law and of treaty, that infernal traffic is now destroyed, and its votaries put to death like other pirates. How came this change to pass ? Not, assuredly, by Parliament leading the way, but the country at length awoke ; the indignation of the people was kindled; it descended in thunder, and smote the traffic, and scattered its guilty profits to the winds. Now, then, let the planters beware—let their assemblies beware— let the government at home beware—let the Parliament beware! The same country is once more awake-awake to the condition of Negro slavery; the same indignation kindles in the bosom of the same people; the same cloud is gathering that annihilated the slave trade ; and if it shall descend again, they on whom its crash may fall, will not be destroyed before I have warned them ; but I pray that their destruction may turn away from us the more terrible judgments of God.
ADAMS ON THE DECLARATION OF AMERICAN INDE
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 independence. But there's a Divinity which shapes our ends. The injustice of England has driven us to arms; and, blinded 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 ?
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 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, that this declaration will stand. 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 honour it.
They will celebrate it with thanksgiving and festivity. 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, before God, I believe the hour is come. My judgment approves this measure, and
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 Independence for ever!
EXTRACT FROM GRATTAN'S SPEECH, ON THE
NATIONAL GRIEVANCES.-JULY, 1788.
The Apostles were meek and inspired men-they went forth in humble guise, with naked feet, and brought to every man's door, in his own tongue, the true belief ; their word prevailed against the potentates of the earth; and on the ruin of the barbaric pride, and pontific luxury, they placed the naked majesty of the christian religion. This light was soon put down by its own ministers, and, on its extinction, a beastly and pompous priesthood ascended. Political potentates, not christian pastorsfull of false zeal—full of worldly pride, and full of gluttony-empty of the true religion. To their flock oppressive—to their inferior clergy brutal—to their king abject--and to their God impudent and familiar; they stood on the altar as a stepping stool to the throne, glazing in the ear of princes whom they poisoned with crooked principles and heated advice, and were a faction against their king when they were not his slaves ; ever the dirt under his feet, or a poniard in his heart. Their power went down, it burst of its own plethory, when a poor reformer, with the gospel in his hand, and in the inspired spirit of poverty, restored the christian religion. The same principle which introduced christianity, guided reformation. The priesthood of Europe is not now what it once was ; their religion has increased as their power has diminished. In these countries, particularly, for the most part, they are a mild order of men, with less dominion, and more piety, therefore their character may be described in a few words :-morality enlightened by letters, and exalted by religion-Parliament is not a bigot-you are no sectary, no polemic;—it is your duty to unite all men, to manifest brotherly love and confidence to all men. The parental sentiment is the true principle of government. Men are ever finally disposed to be governed by the instrument of their happiness; the mystery of government, would you learn it ?-look on the gospel, and make the source of your redemption the rule of your authority; and, like the hen in the scripture, expand your wings, and take in all your people.
Let bigotry and schism, the zealot's fire, and the high-priest’s intolerance, through all their discordancy, tremble while an enlightened parliament, with arms of general protection, overarches the whole community, and roots the protestant ascendancy in the sovereign mercy of its nature. Laws of coercion, perhaps necessary, certainly severe, you have put forth already, but your great engine of