« PreviousContinue »
to our course. But every day convinces us that a written charter may become powerless. Ignorance may misinterpret it; ambition may assail, and faction destroy its vital parts ; and aspiring knavery may at last sing its requiem on the tomb of departed liberty. It is the spirit which lives ; in this is our safety and our hope ; the spirit of our fathers ; and while this dwells deeply in our remembrance, and its flame is cherished, ever burning, ever pure, on the altar of our hearts; while it incites us to think as they have thought, and do as they have done, the honor and the praise will be ours, to have preserved unimpaired the rich inheritance, which they so nobly achieved.
AMERICANS WHO FELL AT EUTAW.
BY P. FRENEAU.
At Eutaw Springs the valiant died ;
Their limbs with dust are cover'd o'erWeep on, ye springs, your tearful tide;
How many heroes are no more!
If, in this wreck of ruin, they
Can yet be thought to claim the tear, O smite your gentle breast, and say,
The friends of freedom slumber here !
Thou who shalt trace this bloody plain,
If goodness rules thy generous breast, Sigh for the wasted rural reign ;
Sigh for the shepherds, sunk to rest !
Stranger, their humble graves adorn;
You too may fall, and ask a tean: 'Tis not the beauty of the morn
That proves the evening shall be clear.
They saw their injured country's wo;
The flaming town, the wasted field; Then rush'd to meet the insulting foe;
They took the spear—but left the shield.
Led by the conquering genius, GREENE,
The Britons they compell’d to fly: None distant viewed the fatal plain ;
None grieved, in such a cause to die.
But like the Parthians, famed of old,
Who, flying, still their arrows threw, These routed Britons, full as bold,
Retreated, and retreating slew.
Now rest in peace, our patriot band ;
Though far from Nature's limits thrown, We trust they find a happier land, A brighter sunshine of their own.
BEFORE A CONVENTION OF DELEGATES, VIRGINIA.
MR. HENRY arose with a majesty unusual to him in an exordium, and with all that self-possession by which he was so invariably distinguished. “No man,” he said, “thought more highly than he did of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentleman who had just addressed the house. But different men often saw the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, he hoped it would not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen, if, entertaining as he did, opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, he should speak forth his sentiments freely, and without reserve. This was no time for ceremony. The question before the house was one of awful moment to this country. For his own part, he considered it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery. And in proportion to the magnitude of the subject, ought to be the freedom of the debate. It was only in this way that they could hope to arrive at truth, and fulfil the great responsibility which they held to God and their country. Should he keep back his opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, he should consider himself as guilty of treason toward his country, and of an act of disloyalty towards the Majesty of Heaven, which he revered above all earthly kings.
“Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth—and listen to the song of that syren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Were we disposed to be of the number of those, who having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation ? For his part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, he was willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst ; and to provide for it.
“He had but one lamp by which his feet were guided ; and that was the lamp of experience. He knew of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And, judging by the past, he wished to know what there had been in the conduct of the British ministry, for the last ten years, to justify those hopes with which gentlemen had been pleased to solace themselves and the house? Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received ? Trust it not, sir ; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of