Page images
PDF
EPUB

secret counsels clear as noon,day, what canst thou now have in view ? Proceed, plot, conspire as thou wilt; there is nothing you can contrive, nothing you can propose, nothing you can attempt, which I shall not know, hear, and promptly understand. Thou shalt soon be made aware that I am even more active in providing for the preservation of the state than thou in plotting its destruction !

THE UNITED STATES AND THE CHEROKEES.--Wirt.

It is with no ordinary feelings that I am about to take leave of this cause. The existence of the remnant of a once great and mighty nation is at stake, and it is for your honors to say whether they shall be blotted out from the creation, in utter disregard of all our treaties. Their cause is one that must come home to every honest and feeling heart. They have been true and faithful to us, and have a right to expect a corresponding fidelity on our part. Our wish has been their law. We asked them to become civilized, and they became so. They have even adopted our resentments, and in our war with the Seminole tribes they voluntarily joined our arms, and gave effectual aid in driving back those barbarians from the very state that now oppresses them. They threw upon the field a body of men who proved, by their martial bearing, their descent from the noble race that were once the lords of these extensive forests.

May it please your honors, this people have refused to us no gratification which it has been in their power to grant. They are here now in the last extremity, and with them must perish the honor of the American name for ever. We have pledged, for their protection and for the guarantee of the remainder of their lands, the faith and honor of our nation—a faith and honor never sullied, nor even drawn into question, until now. We promised them, and they trusted us. They trust us still. Shall they be deceived ? They would as soon expect to see their rivers run upward on their sources, or the sun roll back in his career, as that the United States would prove false to them, and false to the word so solemnly pledged by their Washington, and renewed and perpetuated by his illustrious successors.

With the existence of this people the faith of our nation, I repeat it, is fatally linked. The blow which destroys them quenches for ever our own glory; for what glory can there be, of which a patriot can be proud, after the good name of his country shall have departed? We may gather laurels on the field, and trophies on the ocean, but they will never hide this foul and bloody blot upon our escutcheon. “Remember the Cherokce nation !” will be answer enough to the proudest boast that we can ever make

—answer enough to cover with confusion the face and the heart of every man among us, in whose bosom the last spark of grace has not been extinguished.

I will hope for better things. There is a spirit that will yet save us. I trust that we shall find it here-here, in this sacred court; where no foul and malignant demon of party enters to darken the understanding, or to deaden the heart, but where all is clear, calm, pure, vital, and firm. I cannot believe that this honorable court, possessing the power of preservation, will stand by, and see these people stripped of their property, and extirpated from the earth, while they are holding up to us their treaties, and claiming the fulfilment of our engagements. If truth, and faith, and honor, and justice, have fled from every other part of our country, we shall find them here. If not, our sun has gone down in treachery, blood, and críme, in the face of the world ; and, instead of being proud of our country, as heretofore, we may well call upon the rocks and mountains to hide our shame from earth and from heaven.

ROBESPIERRE'S LAST SPEECH. The enemies of the republic call me tyrant! Were I such, they would grovel at my feet. I should gorge them with gold—I should grant them impunity for their crimes—and they would be grateful. Were I such, the kings we have vanquished,

far from denouncing Robespierre, would lend me their guilty support. There would be a covenant between them and me. Tyranny must have tools. But the enemies of tyranny-whither does their path tend? To the tomb, and to immortality! What tyrant is my protector ? To what faction do I belong? Yourselves! What faction, since the beginning of the Revolution, has crushed and annihilated so many detected traitors? Youthe people--our principles--are that faction! A faction to which I am devoted, and against which all the scoundrelism of the day is banded!

The confirmation of the republic has been my object; and I know that the republic can be established only on the eternal basis of morality. Against me, and against those who hold kindred principles, the league is formed. My life? oh! my life, I abandon without a regret! I have seen the past; and I foresee the future. What friend of his country would wish to survive the moment when he could no longer serve it—when he could no longer defend innocence against oppression ? Wherefore should I continue in an order of things where intrigue eternally triumphs over truth; where justice is mocked; where passions the most abject, or fears the most absurd, override the sacred interests of humanity? In witnessing the multitude of vices which the torrent of the Revolution has rolled in turbid communion with its civic virtues, I confess that I have sometimes feared that I should be sullied in the eyes of posterity, by the impure neighborhood of unprincipled men, who had thrust themselves into association with the sincere friends of humanity; and I rejoice that these conspirators against my country have now, by their reckless rage, traced deep the line of demarcation between themselves and all true men.

Question history, and learn how all the defenders of liberty, in all times, have been overwhelmed by calumny. But their traducers died also. The good and the bad disappear alike from the earth; but in very different conditions. O Frenchmen ! () my countrymen! let not your enemies, with their desolating doctrines, degrade your souls, and enervate your virtues ! No, Chaumette, no! Death is not "an eternal sleep!” Citizens ! efface from the tomb that motto, graven by sacrilegious hands, which spreads over all nature a funeral crape, takes from oppressed innocence its support, and affronts the beneficent dispensation of death! Inscribe rather thereon these words : “Death is the commencement of immortality !” I leave to the oppressors of the people a terrible testament, which I proclaim with the independence befitting one whose career is so nearly ended; it is the awful truth—“Thou shalt die !”

CATILINE DENOUNCED.-Cicero. You see this day, 0 Romans, the republic, and all your lives, your goods, your fortunes, your wives and children, this home of most illustrious empire, this most fortunate and beautiful city, by the great love of the immortal gods for you, by my labors, and counsels, and dangers, snatched from fire and sword, and almost from the very jaws of fate, and preserved and restored to you.

And if those days on which we are preserved are not less pleasant to us, or less illustrious, than those on which we are born, because the joy of being saved is certain, the good fortune of being born uncertain, and because we are born without feeling it, but we are preserved with great delight; ay, since we have, by our affection and by our good report, raised to the immortal gods that Romulus who built this city, he, too, who has preserved this city, built by him, and embellished as you see it, ought to be held in honor by you and your posterity; for we have extinguished flames which were almost laid under and placed around the temples and shrines, and houses and walls of the whole city; we have turned the edge of swords drawn against the republic, and have turned aside their points from your throats. And since all this has been displayed in the senate, and made manifest, and detected by me, I will now explain it briefly, that you, O citizens, that are as yet ignorant of it, and are in suspense, may be able to see how great the danger was, how evident and by what means it was detected and arrested. First of all, since Catiline, a few days ago, burst out of the city, when he had left behind the companions of his wickedness, the active leaders of this infamous war, I have continually watched and taken care, O Romans, of the means by which we might be safe amid such great and such carefully-concealed treachery.

LORD CHATHAM'S SPEECH IN DEFENCE OF AMERICA.

AMERICA, my lords, cannot be reconciled to this countryshe ought not to be reconciled—till the troops of Britain are withdrawn. How can America trust you, with the bayonet at her breast? How can she suppose that you mean less than bondage or death? I therefore move that an address be presented to his majesty, advising that immediate orders be despatched to General Gage, for removing his majesty's forces from the town of Boston. The way must be immediately opened for reconciliation. It will soon be too late. An hour now lost in allaying ferments in America may produce years of calamity. Never will I desert, for a moment, the conduct of this weighty business. Unless nailed to my bed by the extremity of sickness, I will pursue it to the end. I will knock at the door of this sleeping and confounded ministry, and will, if it be possible, rouse them to a sense of their danger.

I contend not for indulgence, but for justice, to America. What is our right to persist in such cruel and vindictive acts against a loyal, respectable people? They say you have no right to tax them without their consent. They say truly. Representation and taxation must go together; they are inseparable. I therefore urge and conjure your lordships immediately to adopt this conciliating measure. If illegal violences have been, as it is said, committed in America, prepare the way-open the door of possibility—for acknowledgment and satisfaction ; but proceed not to such coercion—such proscription : cease your indiscrimi. nate inflictions; amerce not thirty thousand; oppress not three

« PreviousContinue »