Page images
PDF
EPUB

ed, there it still lives, in the strength of its manhood, and full of its original spirit. If discord and disunion shall wound it-if party strife and blind ambition shall hawk at and tear it; if folly and madness, if uneasiness, under salutary and necessary restraint, shall succeed to separate it from that union, by which alone its existence is made sure, it will stand, in the end, by the side of that cradle in which its infancy was rocked; it will stretch forth its arm with whatever of vigour it may still retain, over the friends who gather round it: and it will fall at last, if fall it must, amidst the proudest monuments of its own glory, and on the very spot of its origin.

THE HORRORS OF WAR, REAL war, my friends, is a very different thing from that painted image of it, which you see on a parade or at a review; it is the most awful scourge that Providence employs for the chastisement of man. It is the garment of vengeance with which the Deity arrays himself when he comes forth to punish the inhabitants of the earth.

Since the commencement of those hostilities which are now so happily closed, it may be reasonably conjectured that not less than half a million of our fellowcreatures have fallen a sacrifice. Half a million of beings, sharers of the same nature, warmed with the same hopes, and as fondly attached to life as ourselves, have been prematurely swept into the grave; each of whose deaths has pierced the heart of a wife, a parent, a brother, or a sister. How many of these scenes of complicated distress have occurred since the commencement of hostilities, is known only to Omniscience : that they are innumerable, cannot admit of a doubt. In some parts of Europe, perhaps, there is scarcely a family exempt.

To confine our attention to the number of those who are slain in battle, would give but a very inadequate idea of the ravages of the sword. The lot of those who perish instantaneously, may be considered, apart from religious prospects, as comparatively happy, since they are exempt from those lingering diseases and slow torments, to which others are liable. We cannot see an individual expire, though a stranger or an enemy, without being sensibly moved, and proinpted by compassion to lend him every assistance in our power. Every trace of resentment vanishes in a moment; every other emotion gives way to pity and terror.

In these last extremities, we remember nothing but the respect and tenderness due to our common nature. What a scene then must a field of battle present, where thousands are left without assistance and without pity, with their wounds exposed to the piercing air ; while the blood, freezing as it flows, binds them to the earth, amidst the trampling of horses and the insults of an enraged foe!

But we have hitherto only adverted to the sufferings of those who are engaged in the profession of arms, without taking into our account the situation of the countries which are the scene of hostilities. How dreadful to hold every thing at the mercy of an enemy, and to receive life itself as a boon dependent on the sword. How boundless the fears which such a situation must inspire, where the issues of life and death are determined by no known laws, principles, or customs, and no conjecture can be

formed of our destiny, except as far as it is dimly deciphered in characters of blood, in the dictates of revenge, and the caprices of power.

Conceive but for a moment the consternation which the approach of an invading army would impress on the peaceful villages in this neighbourhood. When you have placed yourselves for an instant in that situation, you will learn to sympathize with those unhappy countries which have sustained the ravages of arms.

SPECIMEN OF ELOQUENCE OF JAMES OTIS:

EXTRACTED FROM “ THE REBELS."

ENGLAND may as well dam up the waters of the Nile with bulrushes, as to fetter the step of freedom, more proud and firm in this youthful land, than where she treads the sequestered glens of Scotland, or couches herself among the magnificent mountains of Switzerland. Arbitrary principles, like those against which we now contend, have cost one king of England his life, another his crown ; and they yet may cost a third his most flourishing colonies.

Some have sneeringly asked, “ Are the Americans too poor to pay a few pounds on stamped paper ?” No! America, thanks to God and herself, is rich. But the right to take ten pounds implies the right to take a thousand ; and what must be the wealth, that avarice, aided by power, cannot exhaust? True, the spectre is now small; but the shadow he casts before him is huge enough to darken all this fair land.

Others, in sentimental style, talk of the immense debt of gratitude which we owe to England. And

what is the amount of this debt? Why, truly, it is the same that the young lion owes to the dam, which has brought it forth on the solitude of the mountain, or left it amid the winds and storms of the desert.

We plunged into the wave, with the great charter of freedom in our teeth, because the fagot and torch were behind us. We have waked this new world from its savage lethargy ; forests have been prostrated in our path ; towns and cities have grown up suddenly as the flowers of the tropics, and the fires in our autumnal woods are scarcely more rapid than the increase of our wealth and population.

And do we owe all this to the kind succour of the mother country? No! we owe it to the tyranny that drove us from her,—to the pelting storms which invigorated our helpless infancy.

But perhaps others will say, “ We ask no money from your gratitude, --we only demand that you should pay your own expenses.” And who, I pray, is to judge of their necessity? Why, the king(and with all due reverence to his sacred majesty, he understands the real wants of his distant subjects as little as he does the language of the Choctaws.) Who is to judge concerning the frequency of these demands? The ministry. Who is to judge whether the money is properly expended? The cabinet behind the throne.

In every instance, those who take are to judge for those who pay. If this system is suffered to go into operation, we shall have reason to esteem it a great privilege that rain and dew do not depend upon parliament; otherwise they would soon be taxed and dried.

PITT ON AMERICAN AFFAIRS.

My lords, this ruinous and ignominious situation, where we cannot act with success nor suffer with honour, calls upon us to remonstrate in the strongest and loudest language of truth, to rescue the ear of majesty from the delusions which surround it. The desperate state of our army abroad is in part known : no man thinks more highly of it than I do. I love and honour the English troops. I know their virtues and their valour. I know they can achieve any thing except impossibilities, and I know that the conquest of English America is an impossibility. You cannot, I venture to say it, you cannot conquer America.

Your armies last war effected everything that could be effected ; and what was it? It cost a numerous army, under the command of a most able general, now a noble lord in this house, a long and laborious campaign, to expel five thousand Frenchmen from French America, My lords, you cannot conquer America. What is your present situation there? We do not know the worst; but we know, that in three campaigns we have done nothing and suffered much. Beside the sufferings, perhaps total loss, of the northern force; the best appointed army that ever took the field, commanded by Sir William Howe, has retired from the American lines. He was obliged to relinquish his attempt, and, with great delay and danger, to adopt a new and distant plan of operations.

We shall soon know, and in any event have reason to lament, what may have happened since. As to conquest, therefore, my lords, I repeat, it is impossible. You may swell every ex and every

« PreviousContinue »