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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 20 listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts.
Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are 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 my 25 part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the
future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know 30 what there has been in the conduct of the British Ministry for the
last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have 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 35 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 40 must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive our
selves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugationthe last arguments to which kings resort. I ask, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission ?
Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it?. Has 45 Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for
all this accumulation of navies and armies ? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British
Ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose 50 to them? Shall we try argument ? Sir, we have been trying that
for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject ? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light
of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we
resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we 55 find, which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech
you, sir, deceive ourselves longer. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated;
we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored 60 its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the Ministry
and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with
contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, 65 may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There
is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free—if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending—if we mean not basely to abandon
the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and 70 which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon, until the
glorious object of our contest shall be obtained-we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us !
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so 75 formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will
it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inac
tion? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying 80 supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope until our enemies, shall have bound us hand and foot ?.
Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions
of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country 85 as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our
enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies
of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for
us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, 90 the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we
were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains
of Boston! The war is inevitable—and let it come! I repeat it, 95 sir, let it come!
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, peace !—but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring
to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are :00 already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that
gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death !
Biographical and Historical: Patrick Henry was an American patriot and orator whose eloquent speech was a powerful force in moulding public opinion at the time of the Revolution. This famous speech was made in the Virginia Convention, March 28, 1775, and is an appeal to place the colonies in a state of defence.
THE MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY
EDWARD EVERETT HALE
I first came to understand anything about "the man without a country” one day when we over-hauled a dirty little schooner which had slaves on board. An officer was sent to take charge
of her, and, after a few minutes, he sent back his boat to ask that 5 someone might be sent him who could talk Portuguese. But none
of the officers did; and just as the captain was sending forward to ask if any of the people could, Nolan stepped out and said he should be glad to interpret, if the captain wished, as he under
stood the language. The captain thanked him, fitted out another 10 boat with him, and in this boat it was my luck to go.
There were not a great many of the negroes; most of them were out of the hold and swarming all round the dirty deck, with a central throng surrounding Vaughan. “Tell them they are free,
Nolan," said Vaughan; "and tell them that I will take them 15 all to Cape Palmas."
Cape Palmas was practically as far from the homes of most of them as New Orleans or Rio Janeiro was; that is, they would be eternally separated from home there. And their interpreters,
as we could understand, instantly said, "Ah, non Palmas." l'he 20 drops stood on poor Nolan's white forehead, as he hushed the men down, and said:
“He says, 'Not Palmas.' He says, "Take us home, take us to our own country, take us to our own house, take us to our own
pickaninnies and our own women.' He says he has an old father 25 and mother who will die if they do not see him. And this one
says,” choked out Nolan, “that he has not heard a word from his home in six months."
Even the negroes stopped howling, as they saw Nolan's agony, and Vaughan's almost equal agony of sympathy. As quick as he 30 could get words, Vaughan said :
"Tell them, yes, yes, yes; tell them they shall go to the Mountains of the Moon, if they will."
And after some fashion Nolan said so. And then they all fell to kissing him again. 35 But he could not stand it long; and getting Vaughan to say
he might go back, he beckoned me down into our boat. As we lay back in the stern-sheets and the men gave way, he said to me: "Youngster, let that show you what it is to be without a family,
without a home, and without a country. And if you are ever 40 tempted to say a word or to do a thing that shall put a bar between
you and your family, your home, and your country, pray God in his mercy to take you that instant home to his own heaven. Think of your home, boy; write and read, and talk about it. Let it be
nearer and nearer to your thought, the farther you have to travel 45 from it; and rush back to it when you are free, as that poor black
slave is doing now. And for your country, boy,” and the words rattled in his throat, “and for that flag," and he pointed to the ship, “never dream a dream but of serving her as she bids you,
though the service carry you through a thousand terrors. No 50 matter what happens to you, no matter who flatters you or who
abuses you, never look at another flag. Remember, that behind all these men you have to do with,—behind officers, and government, and people even—there is the Country Herself, your Country, and that you belong to Her as you belong to your own mother.”
Biographical and Historical: This is an extract from "The Man Without a Country,” a book written by Edward Everett Hale, a clergyman and author, who was born in 1822 and is a grand nephew of Nathan Hale, of Revolutionary fame.
“The Man without a Country'' is the story of Philip Nolan, a young officer of the United States army. On account of his intimacy with Aaron Burr, he was court-martialed and, having expressed the wish never to hear the name of his country again, was banished and sentenced to live upon a government boat, where no one was allowed to mention his country.
LOVE OF COUNTRY
(From "The Lay of the Last Minstrel,” Canto VI.)
SIR WALTER SCOTT