« PreviousContinue »
Laws to gag a
man. Submitting to these restraints, we could not be what God made us to be; we could not perform the service, to which he has appointed us; we could not be men. man—to congeal the gushing fountains of his heart's sympathy-and to shrivel up his soul by extinguishing its ardor and generosity—are laws not to assist him in carrying out God's high and holy purposes in calling him into being; but they are laws to throw him a passive, mindless, worthless being, at the feet of despotism.
8. Our republican spirit cannot thus succumb. God gave us our freedom,—it is not an ex gratia freedom bestowed by
The right of free discussion is derived from God; and knowing this, let us vindicate it against all the threats and aris of demagogues, and money worshippers, and in the face of mobs, and of death!
The speech from which this most eloquent vindication of the right of free discussion is taken, was made at Peterborough, Madison county, N. Y. where Mr. Smith resides, on the 22d day of October, in the year 1835. The right to discuss all subjects, either of individual or national concernment, is, doubtless, derived from God. So surely therefore as our blood has a right to circulate through the veins which He created for that purpose, just so surely we have an inalienable right to speak with the tongue, the pen, and the press, in the fearless language, and in the manly tones of freemen.
The thought has often occurred to the writer, that if a speaker could combine the dignity of Demosthenes, with the gracefulness of Cicero; or the intellectual strength, and impressive authority of the manner of speaking of such men, as John C. Calhoun, Daniel Webster, and Silas Wright, with the pleasing and alluring style of Henry Clay, Martin Van Buren, or Benjamin F. Butler; he would reach the highest point of excellence in oratory. The elocution of Gerrit Smith is distinguished alike for beauty and power. Having a refined taste and great compass of voice, he gives quantity and rhetorical pauses where elocution requires them, very perfectly. His gestures, too, are appropriate and graceful. Quantity is no less essential in elocution than in vocal music, and the suspension of the breath in which the rhetorical pause chiefly consists, aids the orator essentially in speaking with ease, facility, and power. Possessing a clear, full, sono rous, and powerful voice, which Dr. Rush calls “oratund,” Mr. Smith gives quantity and rhetorical pauses, and all the other varieties of expressive intonation most admirably. There is as much difference between his elocution, and that of an ordinary speaker, as between "the light of a taper, and the light of the Sun.” Mr. Smith is, moreover, a gentleman of great hospitality and munificence.
The eloquent and glowing passages with which the above extract abounds, will furnish the young American orator, with an excellent specimen, for practice in powerful declamation.
47. ADDRESS TO TIE Moon.—Ossian.
1. Daughter of heaven, fair art thou! the silence of thy face is pleasant! Thou comest forth in loveliness. The stars attend thy blue course in the east. The clouds rejoice in thy presence, O moon. They brighten their darkbrown sides. Who is like thee in heaven, light of the silent night! The stars in thy presence turn away their sparkling eyes.
2. Whither dost thou retire from thy course, when the darkness of thy countenance grows? Hast thou thy hall, like Ossian ? Dwellest thou in the shadow of grief? 'Have thy sisters fallen froin heaven? Are they who rejoice with thee at night, no more? Yes; they have fallen, fair light! and thou dost often retire to mourn. But thou thyself shalt fail, one night, and leave thy blue path in heaven.
3. T'he stars will then lift their heads and rejoice. Thou art now clothed with thy brightness. Look from thy gates in the sky. Burst the clouds, O wind, that the daughter of night may look forth; that the shaggy mountains may brighten, and the ocean roll its white waves in light.
The elocution of Ossian's beautiful address to the Moon, should be very similar to that of his address to the Sun. That is the 14th piece, and the reader is referred to the writer's note appended to it.
48. CONCLUSION OF DANIEL WEBSTER'S SPEECH.
Gentlemen : A hundred years hence, other disciples of Washington will celebrate his birth, with no less of sincere admiration, than we now commemorate it. When they shall meet, as we now meet, to do themselves and him the honor, so surely as they shall see the blue summits of his native mountains rise in the horizon, so surely as thev shall behold the river on whose banks he lived, and on whose banks he rests, still flow to the sea; so surely may they see, as we now see, the flag of the Union floating on the top of the capitol ; and then, as now, may the sun in his course, visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our owo country. The speech from which this short and eloquent extract is taken, was made at Washington, on the 22 of February, 1832, it being the centennial birth day of George Washington.
49. EDUCATION.—Charles Phillips. 1. Education is a companion which no misfortune can depress, no cline destroy, no enemy alienate, no despotism enslave; at home a friend, abroad an introduction, in solitude a solace, in society an ornament; it chastens vice, it guides virtue, it gives at once a grace and government to genius.
2. Without it, what is man? A splendid slave! a reasoning savage, vascillating between the dignity of an intelligence derived from God, and the degradation of passions participated with brutes; and in the accident of their alternate ascendency, shuddering at the terrors of an hereafter, or embracing the horrid hope of annihilation.
3. What is this wondrous world of his residence? “A mighty maze, and all without a plan;" a dark, and desolate, and dreary cavern, without wealth, or ornament, or order. But light up within it the torch of knowledge and how wondrous the transition !
4. The seasonsáčhange, the atmosphere breathes, the landscape lives, eartbeunfolds its fruits, ocean rolls in its magnificence, the heavens display their constellated canopy, and the grand, animated spectacle of nature rises revealed before him, its varieties regulated, and its mysteries resolved!
5. The phenomena which bewilder, the prejudices which debase, the superstitions which enslave, vanish before education. Like the holy symbol which blazed upon the cloud before the hesitating Constantine, if man follow but its precepts
, purely, it will not only lead him to the victories of this world, but open the very portals of Omnipotence for his admission.
50. TIE SACKING OF PRAGUE.—Thomas Campbell. 1. Oh! sacred truth! thy triumph ceasd awhile,
And hope, thy sister, ceas'd with thee to smile,
When leagu'd oppression pour'd to northern wars
Presaging wrath to Poland—and to man!
Wide o'er the fields, a waste of ruin laid, -
3. He said, and on the rampart heights array'd
4. In vain, alas ! in vain, ye gallant few!
From rank to rank your volley'd thunder flexv ;-
5. The sun went down, nor ceas'd the carnage there,
Tumultuous murder shook the midnight air-
Hark! as the smouldering piles with thunder fall,
And conscious nature shudder'd at the cry!
Why slept the sword, omnipotent to save ?
And heav'd an ocean on their march below? 7. Departed spirits of the mighty dead!
Ye that at Marathon and Leuctra bled!
The patriot Tell—the Bruce of Bannockburn! 8. Yes! thy proud lords, unpitied land ! shall see
That man hath yet a soul-and dare be free!
The "Sacking of Prague" requires the voice to undergo sudden changes, both in pitch and quantity.
51. CONCLUSION OF HENRY CLAY'S SPEECH AT LEXINGTON, Ky.
1. My friends and fellow-citizens, I cannot part from you, on possibly this last occasion of my ever publicly addressing