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The wretch concentered all in self,
He is fallen! We may now pause before that splendid prodigy, which towered among us like some ancient ruin, whose frown terrified the glance its magnificence attracted. Grand, gloomy, and
peculiar, he sat upon the throne, a sceptered hermit, wrapt in 5 the solitude of his own originality. A mind, bold, independent,
and decisive, –a will despotic in its dictates—an energy that distanced expedition, and a conscience pliable to every touch of interest, marked the outline of this extraordinary character—the most
extraordinary, perhaps, that, in the annals of this world, ever rose, 10 or reigned, or fell.
Flung into life in the midst of a revolution that quickened every energy of a people who acknowledge no superior, he commenced his course, a stranger by birth, and a scholar by charity!
With no friend but his sword, and no fortune but his talents, he 15 rushed into the lists where rank and wealth and genius had arrayed
themselves, and competition fled from him as from the glance of destiny. He knew no motive but interest—he acknowledged no criterion but success—he worshiped no God but ambition, and, with an Eastern devotion, he knelt at the shrine of his idolatry.
Subsidiary to this, there was no creed that he did not profess, there was no opinion that he did not promulgate; in the hope of a dynasty, he upheld the Crescent; for the sake of a divorce, he bowed before the Cross; the orphan of St. Louis, he became the adopted child of the Republic; and, with a parricidal ingratitude,
25 on the ruins both of the throne and tribune, he reared the throne of his despotism.
A professed Catholic, he imprisoned the Pope; a pretended patriot, he impoverished the country; and, in the name of Brutus,
he grasped without remorse and wore without shame the diadem 30 of the Cæsars. Through this pantomime of policy, fortune played
the clown to his caprices. At his touch, crowns crumbled, beggars reigned, systems vanished, the wildest theories took the color of his whim, and all that was venerable, and all that was novel, changed
places with the rapidity of a drama. 35 Even apparent defeat assumed the appearance of victory,-his
flight from Egypt confirmed his destiny,-ruin itself only elevated him to empire. But, if his fortune was great, his genius was transcendent; decision flashed upon his counsels; and it was the
same to decide and to perform. To inferior intellects his combina40 tions appeared perfectly impossible, his plans perfectly imprac
ticable; but, in his hands, simplicity marked their development, and success vindicated their adoption. His person partook the character of his mind,-if the one never yielded in the cabinet, the
other never bent in the field. Nature had no obstacle that he 45 did not surmount-space no opposition that he did not spurn: and
whether amid Alpine rocks, Arabian sands, or Polar snows, he seemed proof against peril, and empowered with ubiquity.
The whole continent trembled at beholding the audacity of his designs, and the miracle of their execution. Skepticism bowed to 50 the prodigies of his performance; romance assumed the air of his
tory; nor was there aught too incredible for belief, or too fanciful for expectation, when the world saw a subaltern of Corsica waving his imperial flag over her most ancient capitals. All the visions
of antiquity became commonplace in his contemplation; kings were 55 his people—nations were his outposts; and he disposed of courts,
and crowns, and camps, and churches, and cabinets, as if they were titular dignitaries of the chess-board. Amid all these changes, he stood immutable as adamant.
It mattered little whether in the field or in the drawing-room,
60 with the mob or the levee—wearing the Jacobin bonnet or the
iron crown-banishing a Braganza, or espousing a Hapsburg-dictating peace on a raft to the Czar of Russia, or contemplating defeat at the gallows of Leipsic—he was still the same military
despot. 65 In this wonderful combination, his affectations of literature must
not be omitted. The jailer of the press, he affected the patronage of letters; the proscriber of books, he encouraged philosophy; the persecutor of authors and the murderer of printers, he yet pre
tended to the protection of learning. Such a medley of contradic70 tions, and at the same time, such an individual consistency, were
never united in the same character. A royalist—a republican and an emperor—a Mohammedan—a Catholic and a patron of the synagogue—a subaltern and a sovereign—a traitor and a tyrant-a
Christian and an infidel-he was, through all his vicissitudes, the 75 same stern, impatient, inflexible original--the same mysterious,
incomprehensible self—a man, without a model and without a shadow.
THE TRUE GRANDEUR OF NATIONS
BY CHARLES SUMNER
THE flowers of gentleness, of kindliness, of fidelity, of humanity, which flourish in unregarded luxuriance in the rich meadows of peace, receive unwonted admiration when we discern them in
war, like violets shedding their perfume on the perilous edges of 5 the precipice, beyond the smiling borders of civilization. God be
praised for all the examples of magnanimous virtue which he has vouchsafed to mankind! God be praised that the Roman emperor, about to start on a distant expedition of war, encompassed by
squadrons of cavalry and by golden eagles which moved in the 10 winds, stooped from his saddle to listen to the prayer of the humble
widow, demanding justice for the death of her son! God be praised
that Sidney, on the field of battle, gave with dying hand the cup of cold water to the dying soldier! That single act of self-forgetful
sacrifice has consecrated the fenny field of Zutphen far, oh, far 15 beyond its battle; it has consecrated thy name, gallant Sidney,
beyond any feat of thy sword, beyond any triumph of thy pen. But there are hands out-stretched elsewhere than on fields of blood for so little as a cup of cold water; the world is full of oppor
tunities for deeds of kindness. Let me not be told, then, of the 20 virtues of war. Let not the acts of generosity and sacrifice which
have triumphed on its fields be invoked in its defense. In the words of Oriental imagery, the poisonous tree, though watered by nectar, can produce only the fruit of death.
As we cast our eyes over the history of nations, we discern with 25 horror the succession of murderous slaughters by which their prog
ress has been marked. As the hunter traces the wild beast, when pursued to his lair, by the drops of blood on the earth, so we follow man, faint, weary, staggering with wounds, through the
black forest of the past, which he has reddened with his gore. Oh, 30 let it not be in the future ages as in those which we now con
template. Let the grandeur of man be discerned in the blessings which he has secured; in the good he has accomplished; in the triumphs of benevolence and justice; in the establishment of per
petual peace. 35
And peace has its own peculiar victories, in comparison with which Marathon and Bannockburn and Bunker Hill, fields held sacred in the history of human freedom, shall lose their lustre. Our own Washington rises to a truly heavenly stature—not when
we follow him over the ice of the Delaware to the capture of 40 Trenton—not when we behold him victorious over Cornwallis at
Yorktown—but when we regard him, in noble deference to justice, refusing the kingly crown which a faithless soldiery proffered, and at a later day upholding the peaceful neutrality of the country,
while he received unmoved the clamor of the people wickedly crying 45 for war.
To this great work let me summon you. That future which
filled the lofty visions of the sages and bards of Greece and Rome, which was foretold by the prophets and heralded by the evangelists,
when man in happy isles or in a new paradise shall confess the 50 loveliness of peace, may be secured by your care, if not for your
selves, at least for your children. Believe that you can do it, and you can do it. The true golden age is before you, not behind you.
Let it not be said that the age does not demand this work. The mighty conquerors of the past from their fiery sepulchres 55 demand it; the blood of millions unjustly shed in war crying from
the ground demands it; the voices of all good men demand it; the conscience even of the soldier whispers "peace.” There are considerations springing from our situation and condition which fer
vently invite us to take the lead in this great work. To this should 60 bend the patriotic ardor of the land; the ambition of the statesman;
the efforts of the scholar; the pervasive influence of the press; the mild persuasion of the sanctuary; the early teachings of the school. Here, in ampler ether and diviner air, are untried fields for exalted
triumphs, more truly worthy the American name than any snatched 65 from rivers of blood. War is known as the last reason of kings.
Let it be no reason of our republic. Let us renounce and throw off forever the yoke of a tyranny more oppressive than any in the annals of the world. As those standing on the mountain tops first
discern the coming beams of morning, let us, from the vantage70 ground of liberal institutions, first recognize the ascending sun of
a new era. Lift high the gates and let the King of glory in—the King of true glory, of peace. I catch the last words of music from the lips of innocence and beauty
“And let the whole earth be filled with his glory!" 75 It is a beautiful picture in Grecian story that there was at
least one spot, the small island of Delos, dedicated to the gods, and kept at all times sacred from war, where the citizens of hostile countries met and united in a common worship. So let us dedicate
our broad country. The temple of honor shall be surrounded by 80 the temple of concord, so that the former can be entered only