« PreviousContinue »
through the portals of the latter; the horn of abundance shall overflow at its gates; the angel of religion shall be the guide over its steps of flashing adamant; while within, Justice, returned to
the earth from her long exile in the skies, shall rear her serene 85 and majestic front. And the future chiefs of the republic, destined
to uphold the glories of a new era, unspotted by human blood, shall be “the first in peace, and the first in the hearts of their ountrymen."
But while we seek these blissful glories for ourselves, let us 90 strive to extend them to other lands. Let the bugles sound the
truce of God to the whole world forever. Let the selfish boast of the Spartan women become the grand chorus of mankind, that they have never seen the smoke of an enemy's camp. Let the iron
belt of martial music which now encompasses the earth be exchanged 95 for the golden cestus of peace, clothing all with celestial beauty.
And now, on this Sabbath of our country, let us lay a new stone in the grand temple of universal peace, whose dome shall be as lofty as the firmament of heaven, as broad and comprehensive as the earth itself.
Biographical: Charles Sumner was an American statesman noted for his oratory. His speeches were marked by soundness of reason, and the fifteen published volumes of them make an imposing addition to our literature. This selection is taken from his address “The True Grandeur of Nations, which was delivered in Tremont Temple, Boston, July 4, 1845.
THE EVILS OF WAR
“The drying up a single tear has more
Of honest fame, than shedding seas of gore.”—Byron. WAR, pestilence, and famine, by the common consent of mankind, are the three greatest calamities which can befall our species; and war, as the most direful, justly stands foremost and in front.
Pestilence and famine, no doubt for wise although inscrutable pur5 poses, are inflictions of Providence, to which it is our duty, there
fore, to bow with obedience, humble submission, and resignation. Their duration is not long, and their ravages are limited. They bring, indeed, great affliction, while they last, but society soon
recovers from their effects. 10 War is the voluntary work of our own hands, and whatever
reproaches it may deserve, should be directed to ourselves. When it breaks out, its duration is indefinite and unknown,-its vicissitudes are hidden from our view. In the sacrifice of human life,
and in the waste of human treasure,-in its losses and in its burdens, 15 -it affects both belligerent nations, and its sad effects of mangled
bodies, of death, and of desolation, endure long after its thunders are hushed in peace.
War unhinges society, disturbs its peaceful and regular industry, and scatters poisonous seeds of disease and immorality, which con20 tinue to germinate and diffuse their baneful influence long after it
has ceased. Dazzling by its glitter, pomp, and pageantry, it begets a spirit of wild adventure and romantic enterprise, and often disa qualifies those who embark in it, after their return from the bloody
fields of battle, for, engaging in the industrious and peaceful 25 vocations of life.
History tells the mournful tale of conquering nations and conquerors. The three most celebrated conquerors, in the civilized world, were Alexander, Cæsar, and Napoleon. The first, after
ruining a large portion of Asia, and sighing and lamenting that 30 there were no more worlds to subdue, met a premature and ignoble
death. His lieutenants quarreled and warred with each other as to the spoils of his victories, and finally lost them all.
Cæsar, after conquering Gaul, returned with his triumphant legions to Rome, passed the Rubicon, won the battle of Pharsalia, 35 trampled upon the liberties of his country, and expired by the
patriot hand of Brutus. But Rome ceased to be free. War and conquest had enervated and corrupted the masses. The spirit of true liberty was extinguished, and a long line of emperors suc
ceeded, some of whom were the most execrable monsters that ever 40 existed in human form.
And Napoleon, that most extraordinary man, perhaps, in all history, after subjugating all continental Europe, occupying almost all its capitals,—seriously threatening proud Albion itself,—and
decking the brows of various members of his family with crowns 45 torn from the heads of other monarchs, lived to behold his own
dear France itself in possession of his enemies, was made himself a wretched captive, and far removed from country, family, and friends, breathed his last on the distant and inhospitable rock of
St. Helena. 50 The Alps and the Rhine had been claimed, as the natural
boundaries of France, but even these could not be secured in the treaties, to which she was reduced to submit. Do you believe that the people of Macedon or Greece, of Rome, or of France, were
benefited, individually or collectively, by the triumphs of their 55 captains? Their sad lot was immense sacrifice of life, heavy and intolerable burdens, and the ultimate loss of liberty itself.
Biographical: Henry Clay was one of the most prominent statesmen of his time, serving as speaker of the House for ten years, as secretary of state for four years, and as senator from Kentucky for twenty years. He was the author of the compromise measures in 1850, and was known as the “Great Pacificator,” and the “Great Compromiser.”'
PEACE, THE POLICY OF A NATION
JOHN C. CALHOUN
I AM opposed to war, as a friend to human improvement, to human civilization, to human progress and advancement. Never, in the history of the world, has there occurred a period so remark
able. The chemical and mechanical powers have been investigated 5 and applied to advance the comforts of human life, in a degree far
beyond all that was ever known before. Civilization has been
spreading its influence far and wide, and the general progress of human society has outstripped all that had been previously
witnessed. 10 The invention of man has seized upon, and subjugated two
great agencies of the natural world, which never before were made the servants of man. I refer to steam and to electricity, under which I include magnetism in all its phenomena. We have been
distinguished by Providence for a great and noble purpose, and 15 I trust we shall fulfill our high destiny.
Again, I am opposed to war, because I hold that it is now to be determined whether two such nations as these shall exist for the future, as friends or enemies. A declaration of war by one of
them against the other, must be pregnant with miseries, not only 20 to themselves, but to the world.
Another reason is, that mighty means are now put into the hands of both, to cement and secure a perpetual peace, by breaking down the barriers of commerce, and uniting them more closely in
an intercourse mutually beneficial. If this shall be accomplished, 25 other nations will, one after another, follow the fair example, and
a state of general prosperity, heretofore unknown, will gradually unite and bless the nations of the world.
And far more than all. An intercourse like this points to that inspiring day which philosophers have hoped for, which poets have 30 seen in their bright dreams of fancy, and which prophecy has seen in holy vision,—when men shall learn war no more.
Who can contemplate a state of the world like this, and not feel his heart exult at the prospect? And who can doubt that, in the hand of
an Omnipotent Providence, a free and unrestricted commerce shall 35 prove one of the greatest agents in bringing it about?
Finally, I am against war, because peace—peace is preëminently our policy. Our great mission, as a people, is to occupy this vast domain,—there to level forests, and let in upon their solitude the
light of day; to clear the swamps and morasses, and redeem them 40 to the plow and the sickle; to spread over hill and dale the echoes
of human labor, and human happiness, and contentment; to fill
the land with cities and towns; to unite its opposite extremities by turnpikes and railroads; to scoop out canals for the transmission of
its products, and open rivers for its internal trade. 45 War can only impede the fulfillment of this high mission of
Heaven; it absorbs the wealth and diverts the energy which might be so much better devoted to the improvement of our country. All we want is peace,-established peace; and then time, under the
guidance of a wise and cautious policy, will soon effect for us all 50 the rest. Where we find that natural causes will of themselves
work out good, our wisdom is to let them work; and all our task is to remove impediments. In the present case, one of the greatest of these impediments is found in our impatience.
Yes; time-ever-laboring time—will effect everything for us. 55 Our population is now increasing at the annual average of six
hundred thousand. Let the next twenty-five years elapse, and our increase will have reached a million a year, and, at the end of that period, we shall count a population of forty-five millions.
Before that day it will have spread from ocean to ocean. The 60 coast of the Pacific will then be as densely populated and as thickly settled with villages and towns as is now the coast of the Atlantic.
If we can preserve peace, who shall set bounds to our prosperity, or to our success? With one foot planted on the Atlantic and the
other on the Pacific, we shall occupy a position between the two 65 old continents of the world,-a position eminently calculated to
secure to us the commerce and the influence of both. If we abide by the counsels of common sense, if we succeed in preserving our constitutional liberty, we shall then exhibit a spectacle such as the
world never saw. 70 I know that this one great mission is encompassed with diffi
culties; but such is the inherent energy of our political system, and such its expansive capability, that it may be made to govern the widest space.
If by war we become great, we can not be free; if we will be both great and free, our policy is peace.
Biographical: John C. Calhoun was a distinguished American states.
He is noted for his advocacy of the annexation of Texas and his