Choice Specimens of American Literature, And Literary Reader - Being Selections from the Chief American Writers
by Benj. N. Martin
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Brantz Mayer, 1809-. (Manual, p. 490.)

From "Mexico, Aztec," &c.


At the end of the Aztec or Toltec cycle of fifty-two years,—for it is not accurately ascertained to which of the tribes the astronomical science of Tenochtitlan is to be attributed,—these primitive children of the New World believed that the world was in danger of instant destruction. Accordingly, its termination became one of their most serious and awful epochs, and they anxiously awaited the moment when the sun would be blotted out from the heavens, and the globe itself resolved once more into chaos. As the cycle ended in the winter, the season of the year, with its drearier sky and colder air, in the lofty regions of the valley, added to the gloom that fell upon the hearts of the people. On the last day of the fifty-two years, all the fires in temples and dwellings were extinguished, and the natives devoted themselves to fasting and prayer. They destroyed alike their valuable and worthless wares; rent their garments, put out their lights, and hid themselves for awhile in solitude....

At dark on the last dread evening,—as soon as the sun had set, as they imagined, forever,—a sad and solemn procession of priests and people marched forth from the city to a neighboring hill, to rekindle the "New Fire." This mournful march was called "the procession of the gods," and was supposed to be their final departure from their temples and altars.

As soon as the melancholy array reached the summit of the hill, it reposed in fearful anxiety until the Pleiades reached the zenith in the sky, whereupon the priests immediately began the sacrifice of a human victim, whose breast was covered with a wooden shield, which the chief flamen kindled by friction. When the sufferer received the fatal stab from the sacrificial knife of obsidian, the machine was set in motion on his bosom until the blaze had kindled. The anxious crowd stood round with fear and trembling. Silence reigned over nature and man. Not a word was uttered among the countless multitude that thronged the hill-sides and plains, whilst the priest performed his direful duty to the gods. At length, as the fire sparks gleamed faintly from the whirling instrument, low sobs and ejaculations were whispered among the eager masses. As the sparks kindled into a blaze, and the blaze into a flame, and the flaming shield and victim were cast together on a pile of combustibles which burst at once into the brightness of a conflagration, the air was rent with the joyous shouts of the relieved and panic-stricken Indians. Far and wide over the dusky crowds beamed the blaze like a star of promise. Myriads of upturned faces greeted it from hills, mountains, temples, terraces, teocallis, house-tops, and city walls; and the prostrate multitudes hailed the emblem of light, life, and fruition, as a blessed omen of the restored favor of their gods, and the preservation of their race for another cycle. At regular intervals, Indian couriers held aloft brands of resinous wood, by which they transmitted the "New Fire" from hand to hand, from village to village, and town to town, throughout the Aztec empire. Light was radiated from the imperial or ecclesiastical center of the realm. In every temple and dwelling it was rekindled from the sacred source; and when the sun rose again on the following morning, the solemn procession of priests, princes, and subjects, which had taken up its march from the capital on the preceding night with solemn steps, returned once more to the abandoned capital, and, restoring the gods to their altars, abandoned themselves to joy and festivity, in token of gratitude and relief from impending doom.

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Albert James Pickett,[41] 1858-. (Manual, p. 490.)

From "The History of Alabama."


During my youthful days, I was accustomed to be much with the Creek Indians, hundreds of whom came almost daily to the trading-house. For twenty years I frequently visited the Creek nation. Their green-corn dances, ball plays, war ceremonies, and manners and customs, are all fresh in my recollection. In my intercourse with them I was thrown into the company of many old white men called "Indian country men," who had for years conducted a commerce with them. Some of these men had come to the Creek nation before the Revolutionary War, and others, being tories, had fled to it during the war, and after it to escape from whig persecution. They were unquestionably the shrewdest and most interesting men with whom I ever conversed. Generally of Scotch descent, many of them were men of some education. All of them were married to Indian wives, and some of them had intelligent and handsome children.... I often conversed with the chiefs while they were seated in the shades of the spreading mulberry and walnut, upon the banks of the beautiful Tallapoosa. As they leisurely smoked their pipes, some of them related to me the traditions of their country. I occasionally saw Choctaw and Cherokee traders, and learned much from them. I had no particular object in view, at that time, except the gratification of a curiosity which led me, for my own satisfaction alone, to learn something of the early history of Alabama.

[Footnote 41: A native of North Carolina, who removed in early life to Alabama. His "History" abounds in interesting matter.]

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Charles Wentworth Upham, 1802 (Manual, pp. 490, 532.)

From the "History of Witchcraft and Salem Village."


The Indians were carrying all before them. Philip was spreading conflagration, devastation, and slaughter around the borders, and striking sudden and deadly blows into the heart of the country. It was evident that he was consolidating the Indian power into irresistible strength.... From other scouting parties it became evident that this opinion was correct, and that the Indians were collecting stores and assembling their warriors somewhere, to fall upon the colonies at the first opening of spring. Further information made it certain that their place of gathering was in the Narragansett country, in the south-westerly part of the colony of Rhode Island. There was no alternative but, as a last effort, to strike the enemy at that point with the utmost available force.... It was between, one and two o'clock in the afternoon, and the short winter day was wearing away, Winslow saw the position at a glance, and, by the promptness of his decision, proved himself a great captain. He ordered an instant assault. The Massachusetts troops were in the van, the Plymouth, with the commander-in-chief, in the center, the Connecticut in the rear. The Indians had erected a block-house near the entrance, filled with sharpshooters, who also lined the palisades. The men rushed on, although it was into the Jaws of death, under an unerring fire. The block-house told them where the entrance was. The companies of Moseley and Davenport led the way. Moseley succeeded in passing through. Davenport fell beneath three fatal shots, just within the entrance. Isaac Johnson, captain of the Roxbury company, was killed while on the log. But death had no terrors to that army. The center and rear divisions pressed up to support the front, and fill the gaps, and all equally shared the glory of the hour. Enough survived the terrible passage to bring the Indians to a hand-to-hand fight within the fort. After a desperate straggle of nearly three hours, the savages were driven from their stronghold, and with the setting of that sun their power was broken. Philip's fortunes had received a decided overthrow, and the colonies were saved. In all military history there is not a more daring exploit. Never, on any field, has more heroic prowess been displayed.

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John Lothrop Motley, 1814-. (Manual, p. 532.)

From "The History of the United Netherlands."


Ferdinando Alvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alva, was now in his sixtieth year. He was the most successful and experienced general of Spain, or of Europe. No man had studied more deeply, or practiced more constantly, the military science. In the most important of all arts at that epoch he was the most consummate artist. In the only honorable profession of the age he was the most thorough and the most pedantic professor. Having proved in his boyhood at Fontarabia, and in his maturity at Muehlberg, that he could exhibit heroism and headlong courage when necessary, he could afford to look with contempt upon the witless gibes which his enemies had occasionally perpetrated at his expense.... "Recollect," said he to Don John of Austria, "that the first foes with whom one has to contend are one's own troops—with their clamors for an engagement at this moment, and their murmurs about results at another; with their 'I thought that the battle should be fought,' or, 'It was my opinion that the occasion ought not to be lost.'"

On the whole, the Duke of Alva was inferior to no general of his age. As a disciplinarian, he was foremost in Spain, perhaps in Europe. A spendthrift of time, he was an economist of blood; and this was, perhaps, in the eye of humanity, his principal virtue.... Such were his qualities as a military commander. As a statesman, he had neither experience nor talent. As a man, his character was simple. He did not combine a great variety of vices; but those which he had were colossal, and he possessed no virtues. He was neither lustful nor intemperate; but his professed eulogists admitted his enormous avarice, while the world has agreed that such an amount of stealth and ferocity, of patient vindictiveness and universal blood-thirstiness, were never found in a savage beast of the forest, and but rarely in a human bosom.

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From "The History of the United Netherlands."


The Archduke Albert and the Infanta Isabella entered the place in triumph, if triumph it could be called. It would be difficult to imagine a more desolate scene. The artillery of the first years of the seventeenth century was not the terrible enginery of destruction that it has become in the last third of the nineteenth, but a cannonade, continued so steadily and so long, had done its work. There were no churches, no houses, no redoubts, no bastions, no walls, nothing but a vague and confused mass of ruin. Spinola conducted his imperial guests along the edge of extinct volcanoes, amid upturned cemeteries, through quagmires, which once were moats, over huge mounds of sand, and vast shapeless masses of bricks and masonry, which had been forts. He endeavored to point out places where mines had been exploded, where ravelins had been stormed, where the assailants had been successful, and where they had been bloodily repulsed. But it was all loathsome, hideous rubbish. There were no human habitations, no hovels, no casemates. The inhabitants had burrowed at last in the earth, like the dumb creatures of the swamps and forests. In every direction the dykes had burst, and the sullen wash of the liberated waves, bearing hither and thither the floating wreck of fascines and machinery, of planks and building materials, sounded far and wide over what should have been dry land. The great ship channel, with the unconquered Half-moon upon one side and the incomplete batteries and platforms of Bucquoy on the other, still defiantly opened its passage to the sea, and the retiring fleets of the garrison were white in the offing. All around was the grey expanse of stormy ocean, without a cape or a headland to break its monotony, as the surges rolled mournfully in upon a desolation more dreary than their own. The atmosphere was murky and surcharged with rain, for the wild, equinoctial storm which had held Maurice spell-bound, had been raging over land and sea for many days. At every step the unburied skulls of brave soldiers who had died in the cause of freedom, grinned their welcome to the conquerors. Isabella wept at the sight. She had cause to weep. Upon that miserable sandbank more than a hundred thousand men had laid down their lives by her decree, in order that she and her husband might at last take possession of a most barren prize. This insignificant fragment of a sovereignty which her wicked old father had presented to her on his deathbed—a sovereignty which he had no more moral right or actual power to confer than if it had been in the planet Saturn—had at last been appropriated at the cost of all this misery. It was of no great value, although its acquisition had caused the expenditure of at least eight millions of florins, divided in nearly equal proportions between the two belligerents. It was in vain that great immunities were offered to those who would remain, or who would consent to settle in the foul Golgotha. The original population left the place in mass. No human creatures were left save the wife of a freebooter and her paramour, a journeyman blacksmith. This unsavory couple, to whom entrance into the purer atmosphere of Zeeland was denied, thenceforth shared with the carrion crows the amenities of Ostend.

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From the Preface to the "Rise of the Dutch Republic."


The rise of the Dutch Republic must ever be regarded as one of the leading events of modern times. Without the birth of this great commonwealth, the various historical phenomena of the sixteenth and following centuries must have either not existed, or have presented themselves under essential modifications.... From the handbreadth of territory called the province of Holland, rises a power which wages eighty years' warfare with the most potent empire upon earth, and which, during the progress of the struggle, becoming itself a mighty state, and binding about its own slender form a zone of the richest possessions of earth, from pole to tropic, finally dictates its decrees to the empire of Charles.

... To the Dutch Republic, even more than to Florence at an earlier day is the world indebted for practical instruction in that great science of political equilibrium which must always become more and more important as the various states of the civilized world are pressed more closely together, and as the struggle for pre-eminence becomes more feverish and fatal. Courage and skill in political and military combinations enabled William the Silent to overcome the most powerful and unscrupulous monarch of his age. The same hereditary audacity and fertility of genius placed the destiny of Europe in the hands of William's great-grandson, and enabled him to mould into an impregnable barrier the various elements of opposition to the overshadowing monarchy of Louis XIV. As the schemes of the Inquisition and the unparalleled tyranny of Philip, in one century led to the establishment of the Republic of the United Provinces, so, in the next, the revocation of the Nantes Edict and the invasion of Holland are avenged by the elevation of the Dutch Stadholder upon the throne of the stipendiary Stuarts.

To all who speak the English language, the history of the great agony through which the republic of Holland was ushered into life must have peculiar interest, for it is a portion of the records of the Anglo-Saxon race—essentially the same whether in Friesland, England, or Massachusetts.

... The great Western Republic, therefore—in whose ... veins flows much of that ancient and kindred blood received from the nation once ruling a noble portion of its territory, and tracking its own political existence to the same parent spring of temperate human liberty—must look with affectionate interest upon the trials of the elder commonwealth.

... The lessons of history and the fate of free states can never be sufficiently pondered by those upon whom so large and heavy a responsibility for the maintenance of rational human freedom rests.

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Alexander B. Meek,[42] 1814-1865. (Manual, p. 523.)

From "Romantic Passages in Southwestern History."


Upon the colony they bestowed the name of Marengo, which is still preserved in the county. Other relics of their nomenclature, drawn similarly from battles in which some of them had been distinguished, are to be found in the villages of Linden and Arcola....

Who that would have looked upon Marshal Grouchy or General Lefebvre, as, dressed in their plain, rustic habiliments,—the straw hat, the homespun coat, the brogan shoes,—they drove the plough in the open field, or wielded the axe in the new-ground clearing, would, if unacquainted with their history, have dreamed that those farmer-looking men had sat in the councils of monarchs, and had headed mighty armies in the fields of the sternest strife the world has ever seen? "Do you know, sir," said a citizen to a traveller, who, in 1819, was passing the road from Arcola to Eaglesville,—"do you know, sir, who is that fine-looking man who has just ferried you across the creek?" "No. Who is he?" was the reply. "That," said the citizen, "is the officer who commanded Napoleon's advanced guard when he returned from Elba." This was Colonel Raoul, now a general in France.

[Footnote 42: One of the few writers of Alabama. The "Romantic passages" is a book of great interest.]

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But the mind of the young Indian, though grasping with singular readiness the knowledge thus imparted, was subject to stronger tastes and propensities; and he indulged in all the wild pursuits and amusements of the youth of his nation with an alacrity and spirit which won their approval and admiration. He became one of the most active, athletic, and swift-footed participants in their various games and dances, and was particularly expert and successful, as a hunter, in the use of the rifle and the bow. He was also noted, even in his youth, for his reckless daring as a rider, and his graceful feats of horsemanship, which the fine stables of his father enabled him to indulge. To use the words of an old Indian woman who knew him at this period, "The squaws would quit hoeing corn, and smile and gaze upon him as he rode by the corn-patch."

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Abel Stevens,[43] 1815-.

From "The History of Methodism."


They composed a class which, perhaps, will never be seen again. They were distinguished by native mental vigor, shrewdness, extraordinary knowledge of human nature, many of them by overwhelming natural eloquence, the effects of which on popular assemblies are scarcely paralleled in the history of ancient or modern oratory, and not a few by powers of satire and wit which made the gainsayer cower before them. To these intellectual attributes they added great excellences of the heart, a zeal which only burned more fervently where that of ordinary men would have grown faint, a courage that exulted in perils, a generosity which knew no bounds, and left most of them in want in their latter days, a forbearance and co-operation with each other which are seldom found in large bodies, an entire devotion to one work, and, withal, a simplicity of character which extended even to their manners and their apparel. They were likewise characterized by rare physical abilities. They were mostly robust. The feats of labor and endurance which they performed, in incessantly preaching in villages and cities, among slave huts and Indian wigwams, in journeyings seldom interrupted by stress of weather, in fording creeks, swimming rivers, sleeping in forests,—these, with the novel circumstances with which such a career frequently brought them into contact, afford examples of life and character which, in the hands of genius, might be the materials for a new department of romantic literature. They were men who labored as if the judgment fires were about to break out on the world, and time to end with their day. They were precisely the men whom the moral wants of the new world at the time demanded.

[Footnote 43: A prominent clergyman of the Methodist church. His History of Methodism is a work of great research and value. A native of Pennsylvania.]

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Francis Parkman, 1823-. (Manual, pp. 496, 505.)

From "The Conspiracy of Pontiac."


These rude and hardy men, hunters and traders, scouts and guides, who ranged the woods beyond the English borders, and formed a connecting link between barbarism and civilization, have been touched upon already. They were a distinct, peculiar class, marked with striking contrasts of good and evil. Many, though by no means all, were coarse, audacious, and unscrupulous; yet, even in the worst, one might often have found a vigorous growth of warlike virtues, an iron endurance, an undespairing courage, a wondrous sagacity, and singular fertility of resource. In them was renewed, with all its ancient energy, that wild and daring spirit, that force and hardihood of mind, which marked our barbarous ancestors of Germany and Norway. These sons of the wilderness still survive. We may find them to this day, not in the valley of the Ohio, nor on the shores of the lakes, but far westward on the desert range of the buffalo, and among the solitudes of Oregon. Even now, while I write, some lonely trapper is climbing the perilous defiles of the Rocky Mountains, his strong frame cased in time-worn buck-skin, his rifle griped in his sinewy hand. Keenly he peers from side to side, lest Blackfoot or Arapahoe should ambuscade his path. The rough earth is his bed, a morsel of dried meat and a draught of water are his food and drink, and death and danger his companions. No anchorite could fare worse, no hero could dare more; yet his wild, hard life has resistless charms; and while he can wield a rifle, he will never leave it. Go with him to the rendezvous, and he is a stoic no more. Here, rioting among his comrades, his native appetites break loose in mad excess, in deep carouse, and desperate gaming. Then follow close the quarrel, the challenge, the fight,—two rusty rifles and fifty yards of prairie.

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From "The Discovery of the Great West."


The river twisted among the lakes and marshes choked with wild rice; and, but for their guides, they could scarcely have followed the perplexed and narrow channel. It brought them at last to the portage; where, after carrying their canoes a mile and a half over the prairie and through the marsh, they launched them on the Wisconsin, bade farewell to the waters that flowed to the St. Lawrence, and committed themselves to the current that was to bear them they knew not whither,—perhaps to the Gulf of Mexico, perhaps to the South Sea or the Gulf of California. They glided calmly down the tranquil stream, by islands choked with trees and matted with entangling grape-vines; by forests, groves, and prairies,—the parks and pleasure-grounds of a prodigal nature; by thickets and marshes and broad bare sand-bars; under the shadowing trees, between whose tops looked down from afar the bold brow of some woody bluff. At night, the bivouac,—the canoes inverted on the bank, the flickering fire, the meal of bison-flesh or venison, the evening pipes and slumber beneath the stars; and when in the morning they embarked again, the mist hung on the river like a bridal veil; then melted before the sun, till the glassy water and the languid woods basked breathless in the sultry glare.

On the 17th of June, they saw on their right the broad meadows, bounded in the distance by rugged hills, where now stand the town and fort of Prairie du Chien. Before them, a wide and rapid current coursed athwart their way, by the foot of lofty heights wrapped thick in forests. They had found what they sought, and "with a joy," writes Marquette, "which I cannot express," they steered forth their canoes on the eddies of the Mississippi.

Turning southward, they paddled down the stream, through a solitude unrelieved by the faintest trace of man. A large fish, apparently one of the huge cat-fish of the Mississippi, blundered against Marquette's canoe with a force which seems to have startled him; and once, as they drew in their net, they caught a "spade-fish," whose eccentric appearance greatly astonished them. At length, the buffalo began to appear, grazing in herds on the great prairies which then bordered the river; and Marquette describes the fierce and stupid look of the old bulls, as they stared at the intruders through the tangled mane which nearly blinded them.

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John Gilmary Shea,[44] 1824-.

From "The History of Catholic Missions among the Indians."


The discovery of America, like every other event in the history of the world, had, in the designs of God, the great object of the salvation of mankind. In that event, more clearly, perhaps, than it is often given to us here below, we can see and adore that Providence which thus gave to millions, long sundered from the rest of man by pathless oceans, the light of the gospel, and the proffered boon of redemption....

The field was one as yet unmatched for extent and difficulty. That region now studded with cities and towns, traversed in every direction by the panting steam-car or lightning telegraph, was then an almost unbroken forest, save where the wide prairie rolled its billows of grass towards the western mountains, or was lost in the sterile, salt, and sandy plains of the southwest. No city raised to heaven spire, dome, or minaret; no plough turned up the rich, alluvial soil; no metal dug from the bowels of the earth had been fashioned into instruments to aid man in the arts of peace and war....

The simplest arts of civilized life were unknown. In one little section of the Gila and Rio Grande, the people spun and wove a native cotton, manufactured a rude pottery, and lived in houses or castle-towns of unburnt bricks. Elsewhere the canoe or cabin of bark or hides, and the arabesque mat, denoted the highest point of social progress.

Elsewhere the whole country was inhabited by tribes of a nomadic character, rarely collected in villages except at particular seasons, or for specific objects, though here and there were found more sedentary tribes in villages of bark, encircled by walls of earth, or palisades of wood, whose institutions, commercial spirit, and agriculture, superior to that of the wild rovers, seemed to show the remnant of some more civilized tribe in a state of decadence. Around each isolated tribe lay an unbroken wilderness extending for miles on every side, where the braves roamed, hunters alike of beasts and men. So little intercourse or knowledge of each other existed, so desolate was the wilderness that a vagabond tribe might wander from one extreme of the continent to another, and language alone could tell the nation to which they belonged.

The whole country was thus occupied by comparatively small, but hostile tribes, so numerous, that almost every river and every lake has handed down the name of a distinct nation. In form, in manners, and in habits, these tribes presented an almost uniform appearance: language formed the great distinctive mark to the European, though the absence of a feather or a line of paint disclosed to the native the tribe of the wanderer whom he met.

The country itself presented a thousand obstacles: there was danger from flood, danger from wild beasts, danger from the roving savage, danger from false friends, danger from the furious rapids on rivers, danger of loss of sight, of health, of use of motion and of limbs, in the new, strange life of an Indian wigwam....

Once established in a tribe, the difficulties were increased. After months, nay, years, of teaching, the missionaries found that the fickle savage was easily led astray; never could they form pupils to our life and manners. The nineteenth century failed, as the seventeenth failed, in raising up priests from among the Iroquois or the Algonquins; and at this day a pupil of the Propaganda, who disputed in Latin on theses of Peter Lombard, roams at the head of a half-naked band in the billowy plains of Nebraska.

[Footnote 44: This writer is much distinguished for his numerous works, most of which relate to the early missions of the Roman Catholic church in America. He is a native of New York.]

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From "Introduction to Early Voyages," etc.


Many a river lives embalmed in history and in historic verse. The Euphrates, the Nile, the Jordan, the Tiber, and the Rhine typify the course of empires and dynasties. Countries have been described per flumina, but these streams possess renown rather from some city that frowned on their currents, or some battle fought and won on their banks. The great River of our West, from its immense length and the still increasing importance of its valley, possesses a history of its own. Its discovery by the Spanish adventurers, a Cabeza de Vaca, a De Soto, a Tristan, who reached, crossed, or followed it, is its period of early romance, brilliant, brief, and tragic. Its exploration by Marquette and La Salle follows,—work of patient endurance and investigation, still tinged with that light of heroism that hovers around all who struggle with difficulty and adversity to attain a great and useful end. Then come the early voyages depicting the successive stages of its banks from a wilderness to civilization.

The death of La Salle in Texas in his attempt to reach Illinois closes the chapter of exploration. Iberville opens a new period by his voyage to the mouth of the Mississippi, which crowning the previous efforts, gave the valley of the great river to civilization, Christianity, and progress. The river had become an object of rivalry. English, French, and Spanish at the same moment sought to secure its mouth, but fortune favored the bold Canadian, and the white flag reared by La Salle was planted anew.

... At the moment when these narratives take us to the valley of the Mississippi, that immense territory presented a strange contrast to its present condition. From its head waters amid the lakes of Minnesota to its mouth; from its western springs in the heart of the Rocky mountains to its eastern cradle in the Alleghenies, all was yet in its primeval state. The Europeans had but one spot, Tonty's little fort; no white men roamed it but the trader or the missionary. With a sparse and scattered Indian population, the country teeming with buffalo, deer, and game, was a scene of plenty. The Indian has vanished from its banks with the game that he pursued. The valley numbers as many states now as it did white men then; a busy, enterprising, adventurous, population, numbering its millions, has swept away the unprogressive and unassimilating red man. The languages of the Illinois, the Quapaw, the Tonica, the Natchez, the Ouma, are heard no more by the banks of the great water; no calumet now throws round the traveller its charmed power; the white banner of France floated long to the breeze, but with the flag of England and the standard of Spain all disappeared we may say within a century. For fifty years one single flag met the eye, and appealed to the heart of the inhabitants of the shores of the Mississippi.[45] Two now divide it: let us hope that the altered flag may soon resume its original form, and meet the heart's warm response at the month as at the source of the Mississippi.

[Footnote 45: In allusion to the Rebellion.]

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John Gorham Palfrey, 1796-. (Manual, pp. 504, 532.)

From the "History of New England."


He was greatly privileged in living so long. Just before he died, that ecclesiastical arrangement had been made, which he might naturally hope would preserve the churches of New England in purity, peace, and strength, to remote times. Religious and political dissensions, which had disturbed and threatened the infant Church and the forming State, appeared to be effectually composed. The tribunals, carefully constituted for the administration of impartial and speedy justice, understood and did their duty, and commanded respect. The education of the generations which were to succeed had been provided for with an enlightened care. The College had bountifully contributed its ripe first-fruits to the public service; and the novel system of a universal provision of the elements of knowledge at the public cost, had been inaugurated with all circumstances of encouragement.

A generation was coming forward which remembered nothing of what Englishmen had suffered in New England for want of the necessaries and comforts of life. The occupations of industry were various and remunerative. Land was cheap, and the culture of it yielded no penurious reward to the husbandman; while he who chose to sell his labor was at least at liberty to place his own estimate upon it, and found it always in demand. The woods and waters were lavish of gifts which were to be had simply for the taking. The white wings of commerce, in their long flight to and from the settler's home, wafted the commodities which afford enjoyment and wealth to both sender and receiver. The numerous handicrafts, which in its constantly increasing division of labor, a thriving society employs, found liberal recompense; and manufactures on a larger scale were beginning to invite accumulations of capital and associated labor.

The Confederacy of the Four Colonies was an humble, but a substantial, power in the world. It was known to be such by its French, Dutch, and savage neighbors; by the alienated communities on Narragansett Bay; and by the rulers of the mother country.

During Winthrop's last ten years, nowhere else in the world had Englishmen been so happy as under the generous government which his mind inspired and regulated. What one mind could do for a community's well-being, his had done. The prosecution of the issues he had wrought for was now to be committed to the wisdom and courage of a younger generation, and to the course of events, under the continued guidance of a propitious Providence.



Joseph Dennie, 1768-1812. (Manual, p. 497.)

From "The Lay Preacher."


"Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun."

The sensitive Gray, in a frank letter to his friend West, assures him that, when the sun grows warm enough to tempt him from the fireside, he will, like all other things, be the better for his influence; for the sun is an old friend, and an excellent nurse, &c. This is an opinion which will be easily entertained by every one who has been cramped by the icy hand of Winter, and who feels the gay and renovating influence of Spring. In those mournful months when vegetables and animals are alike coerced by cold, man is tributary to the howling storm and the sullen sky, and is, in the phrase of Johnson, a "slave to gloom;" but when the earth is disencumbered of her load of snows, and warmth is felt, and twittering swallows are heard, he is again jocund and free. Nature renews her charter to her sons.... Hence is enjoyed, in the highest luxury,—

"Day, and the sweet approach of even and morn, And sight of vernal bloom and summer's rose, And flocks, and herds, and human face divine."

It is nearly impossible for me to convey to my readers an idea of the "vernal delight" felt at this period by the Lay Preacher, far declined in the vale of years. My spectral figure, pinched by the rude gripe of January, becomes as thin as that "dagger of lath" employed by the vaunting Falstaff, and my mind, affected by the universal desolation of winter, is nearly as vacant of joy and bright ideas as the forest is of leaves and the grove is of song. Fortunately for my happiness, this is only periodical spleen. Though in the bitter months, surveying my attenuated body, I exclaim with the melancholy prophet, "My leanness, my leanness! woe is me!" and though, adverting to the state of my mind, I behold it "all in a robe of darkest grain," yet when April and May reign in sweet vicissitude, I give, like Horace, care to the winds, and perceive the whole system excited by the potent stimulus of sunshine.... I have myself in winter felt hostile to those whom I could smile upon in May, and clasp to my bosom in June.

* * * * *

William Gaston,[46] 1778-1844.

From "Essays and Addresses."


The first great maxim of human conduct—that which it is all-important to impress on the understandings of young men, and recommend to their hearty adoption—is, above all things, in all circumstances, and under every emergency, to preserve a clean heart and an honest purpose.... Without it, neither genius nor learning, neither the gifts of God, nor human exertions, can avail aught for the accomplishment of the great objects of human existence. Integrity is the crowning virtue,—integrity is the pervading principle which ought to regulate, guide, control, and vivify every impulse, device, and action. Honesty is sometimes spoken of as a vulgar virtue; and perhaps, that honesty which barely refrains from outraging the positive rules ordained by society for the protection of property, and which ordinarily pays its debts and performs its engagements, however useful and commendable a quality, is not to be numbered among the highest efforts of human virtue. But that integrity which, however tempting the opportunity, or however secure against detection, no selfishness nor resentment, no lust of power, place, favor, profit, or pleasure, can cause to swerve from the strict rule of right, is the perfection of man's moral nature. In this sense, the poet was right when he pronounced "an honest man's the noblest work of God." It is almost inconceivable what an erect and independent spirit this high endowment communicates to the man, and what a moral intrepidity and vivifying energy it imparts to his character.... Erected on such a basis, and built up of such materials, fame is enduring. Such is the fame of our Washington—of the man "inflexible to ill, and obstinately just." While, therefore, other monuments, intended to perpetuate human greatness, are daily mouldering into dust, and belie the proud inscriptions which they bear, the solid, granite pyramid of his glory lasts from age to age, imperishable, seen afar off, looming high over the vast desert, a mark, a sign, and a wonder, for the wayfarers though this pilgrimage of life.

[Footnote 46: A prominent lawyer and statesman of North Carolina.]

* * * * *

Jesse Buel, 1778-1839. (Manual, p. 504.)

From "The Farmer's Instructor."


We have associated, gentlemen, to increase the pleasures and profits of rural labor, to enlarge the sphere of useful knowledge, and, by concentrating our energies, to give them greater effect in advancing the public good. In no country does the agricultural class bear so great a proportion to the whole population as in this. In England one-third of the inhabitants only are employed in husbandry; in France, two-thirds; in Italy, a little more than three-fourths; while in the United States the agricultural portion probably exceeds five-sixths. And in no country does the agricultural population exercise such a controlling political power, contribute so much to the wealth, or tend so strongly to give an impress to the character of a nation as in the United States. Hence it may be truly said of us that our agriculture is our nursing mother, which nurtures, and gives growth, and wealth, and character to our country.... Knowing no party, and confined to no sect, its benefits and its blessings, like dews from heaven, fall upon all.

... Our agriculture is greatly defective. It is susceptible of much improvement. How shall we effect this improvement? The old are too old to learn, or, rather, to unlearn what have been the habits of their lives. The young cannot learn as they ought to learn, and as the public interests require, because they have no suitable school for their instruction. We have no place where they can learn the principles upon which the practice of agriculture is based, none where they can be instructed in all the modern improvements of the art.

Much injury has been done to the cause of agriculture by sanguine speculations, which have only led to expense and disappointments; but all works on agriculture are not of that character; nor should it be forgotten that theory is the parent of practical knowledge, and that the very systems which farmers themselves adopt, were originally founded upon those theories which they so much affect to despise. Neither can it be denied that systems grounded upon theory alone, unsupported by experiment, are properly viewed with distrust; for the most plausible reasoning upon the operations of nature, without accompanying proof deduced from facts, may lead to a wrong conclusion, and it is often difficult to separate that which is really useful, from that which is merely visionary.... Prudence, therefore, dictates the necessity of caution; but ignorance is opposed to every change, from the mere want of judgment to discriminate between that which is purely speculative, and that which rests upon a more solid foundation.

* * * * *

Robert Walsh, 1784-1859. (Manual, p. 504.)

From "Didactics, Social, Literary, &c."


Whatever the impulse to guilt, some suppression or aberration of the reason may ever be alleged and admitted. In this mode, however, sentimentalists might argue or whine away the whole body of crimes and punishments. It is the duty of every true friend of humanity and order, to protest against perverted sensibilities or sophistical refinements, which find warrant or apology for depraved appetites,—for the worst distemperature of the mind, and the most fatal catastrophes,—in natural propension, and unrestrained feeling. Spurious sympathy is a more prolific evil than sanguinary rigor, useless and pernicious as the latter is, in our humble opinion. Public executions do more harm than good,—but are not worse than morbid public commiseration and entreaty for criminals, to whom the real justice of the law has been applied, after fair and merciful trial....

Many of the worst criminals, who, in different ages and countries, have justly suffered ignominious death on the wheel, the block, or the gallows, were men of "extraordinary character," of singular acuteness, of the most decided spirit. To acknowledge this fact is not to applaud their conduct, or admire their general ultimate character....

We have constantly remembered what we early read in the works of Mr. Burke, that it is the propensity of degenerate minds to admire or worship splendid wickedness; that, with too many persons, the ideas of justice and morality are fairly conquered and overpowered by guilt when it is grown gigantic, and happens to be associated with the lustre of genius, the glare of fashion, or the robes of power. Against this species of degeneracy or illusion it has been our uniform endeavor to guard ourselves, and our conscientious practice to warn and exhort others. The integrity and delicacy of the moral sense, whether in individuals or communities, form a most important subject of the care of all public writers and speakers, in all transactions by which, or the history or treatment of which, the public, judgment and feelings may be affected. Hence, when mail robbers or murderers are to be tried or executed, we should be disposed to avoid all extraordinary bustle, or concern, or voluminous details about their fate; we should deem it the true policy of practical ethics to abstain from everything calculated to produce adventitious interest or consequence for the culprits. It is not with pleasure that we hear of the crowds that besiege the door of the court-room, or see in the newspapers the many columns of evidence, with an endless repetition of trifling circumstances, any more than we can rejoice for the cause of moral and social order when convicted highwaymen or murderers are carried to the gallows as saints, and hung amidst vast assemblages, either merely indulging a callous curiosity, or losing all the horror of their offences in emotions of compassion or admiration, awakened by the dramatic nature of the whole scene.

* * * * *

Thomas S. Grimke,[47] 1786-1834.

From "Addresses, Scientific and Literary."


The translation of the Bible, in the reign of James I., is the most remarkable and interesting event in the history of translations.... The great excellence of the translation is due to six considerations. First, it was made under a very solemn sense of the important duty devolved on those who were thus selected. Hence arose that prevailing air of dignity, gravity, simplicity, which is so conspicuous. Secondly, the translators came to the task looking to the thoughts, not to the style. Their object was not that of all other translators, to imitate and rival the beauty of style. Their sole object was to render faithfully, and in a plain, appropriate style, the thoughts of the sacred writers. Hence they became thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the original, and gave an incomparably better version of the Hebrew and Greek Testaments than any or all of them together could have done of any classic. Had each of them left us translations of some classic, I hesitate not to say they would not now have been found in any library but as mere curiosities. Thirdly, the number of persons employed contributed very much to prevent any personal style from prevailing, and gave to the whole an air of plain, simple uniformity. Fourthly, the era was providential in one important view. As the translation was made before all the bitterness of sectarian spirit distracted the English Protestant church, it was executed far less with a view to party differences than could have been the case at any time afterwards. Fifthly, fortunately the only great religious difference that could have affected it was the dispute with the Catholic church, and, as to that, all Protestants were agreed in England on every important point. Sixthly, the English language was then at the happiest stage of its progress, with all the strength, simplicity, and. clearness of the elder literature, whilst, at the same time, it was free from the cant of the age of Charles I. and Cromwell, from the vulgarity and levity of that of Charles II., and from the artificial character of that of Anne.

Such a translation is an illustrious monument of the age, the nation, the language. It is, properly speaking, less a translation than an original, having most of the merit of the former as to style, and all the merit of the latter as to thought. It is the noblest, best, most finished classic of the English tongue.

[Footnote 47: A native of South Carolina, distinguished in the law and in literature.]

* * * * *

Henry C. Carey, 1793-. (Manual, p. 504.)

From "Principles of Social Science."


That agriculture may become a science, it is indispensable that man always repay to the great bank from which he has drawn his food, the debt he thereby has contracted. The earth, as has been already said, gives nothing, but is ready to lend everything; and when the debts are punctually repaid, each successive loan is made on a larger scale; but when the debtor fails in punctuality, his credit declines, and the loans are gradually diminished, until at length he is turned out from house and home. No truth in the whole range of science is more readily susceptible of proof than that the community which limits itself to the exportation of raw produce must end by the exportation of men, and those men the slaves of nature, even when not actually bought and sold by their fellow men.

... With the growth of commerce, the necessity for moving commodities back, and forth steadily declines, with constant improvement in the machinery of transportation, and diminution in the risk of losses of the kind that are covered by insurance against dangers of the sea, or those of fire. The treasures of the earth then become developed, and stone and iron take the place of wood in all constructions, while the exchanges between the miner of coal and of iron—of the man who quarries the granite, and him who raises the food—rapidly increase in quantity, and diminish the necessity for resorting to the distant market.

* * * * *

Edmund Ruffin, 1793-1863.

From "An Essay on Calcarcous Manures."


Nearly all the woodland now remaining in lower Virginia, and also much of the land which has long been arable, is rendered unproductive by acidity; and successive generations have toiled on such land, almost without remuneration, and without suspecting that their worst virgin land was then richer than their manured lots appeared to be. The cultivator of such soil, who knows not its peculiar disease, has no other prospect than a gradual decrease of his always scanty crops. But if the evil is once understood, and the means of its removal are within his reach, he has reason to rejoice that his soil was so constituted as to be preserved from the effects of the improvidence of his forefathers, who would have worn out any land not almost indestructible. The presence of acid, by restraining the productive powers of the soil, has, in a great measure, saved it from exhaustion; and after a course of cropping, which would have utterly ruined soils much better constituted, the powers of our acid land remain not greatly impaired, though dormant, and ready to be called into action by merely being relieved of its acid quality. A few crops will reduce a new acid field to so low a rate of product, that it scarcely will pay for its cultivation; but no great change is afterwards caused, by continuing scourging tillage and grazing, for fifty years longer. Thus our acid soils have two remarkable and opposite qualities,—both proceeding from the same cause; they can neither be enriched by manure, nor impoverished by cultivation, to any great extent. Qualities so remarkable deserve all our powers of investigation; yet their very frequency seems to have caused them to be overlooked; and our writers on agriculture have continued to urge those who seek improvement, to apply precepts drawn from English authors, to soils which are totally different from all those for which their instructions were intended.

* * * * *

Francis Wayland, 1796-1865. (Manual, pp. 487, 502, 504.)

From "The Limitations of Human Responsibility."


It is a common remark, that, whenever it has been thought necessary to arouse the mind of man to enterprises of great pith and moment, the appeal has always been made to his moral sentiments. Hence, among the most ancient nations, it was the invariable custom to accompany the declaration of war with religious ceremonies; and if, in later times, this custom has become somewhat less usual, the change itself, in a more remarkable manner, illustrates the tendency of our nature.... But let victory declare for the assailed, let the invader become the invaded, let it become necessary to stimulate men to put forth the highest effort of human daring, and the sacred names of conscience, of duty to family, to country, and to God, are universally invoked, and the Supreme Being is urgently appealed to, to succor the cause of a sinking commonwealth. It is, perhaps, worth while to remark, in passing, that this consciousness of right is a source of power which belongs specially to the oppressed, and which, other things being equal, will always insure to them the victory; and, when other things are not equal, it is frequently sufficient, of itself, to outweigh a vast preponderance of physical force. It is, moreover, efficient in proportion to the purity of the moral principle of a people. We hence perceive the elements of superiority which, by the constitution of our nature, have been bestowed upon virtue.

Another illustration of the power of the moral principle, is seen in the sentiments with which we contemplate the character of confessors, martyrs, and men of every age, who have sacrificed every thing else for the sake of adherence to righteousness. The highest glory of human nature is to love right better than life, and to obey the dictates of conscience at every conceivable hazard. Even falsehood, when sealed with blood, acquires not unfrequently, for a time, an irrepressible power. Truth, when uttered from the stake, or on the scaffold, becomes absolutely irresistible. We admire Plato, surrounded by listening princes, and vieing with them in oriental magnificence; but we venerate Socrates in his dungeon, patiently suffering death for holding forth the truth; and the dictates of our own bosoms spontaneously assign to him the highest place among the uninspired teachers of wisdom. Or, to turn to more awful examples, the foundations of the Christian religion were laid in blood. The Captain of our salvation "was obedient unto death, the death of the cross." The martyrdoms of the early age of the church gave to the world examples of the love of right, of which it had never before conceived even the possibility, and thus set on foot a moral reformation, which is destined to work in the character of man a universal transformation.

* * * * *

Horace Mann, 1796-1859. (Manual, p. 532.)

From "Lectures on various Subjects."


In this country most young men are poor. Time is the rock from which they are to hew out their fortunes; and health, enterprise, and integrity, the instruments with which to do it. For this, diligence in business, abstinence from pleasures, privation even, of everything that does not endanger health, are to be joyfully welcomed and borne. When we look around us, and see how much of the wickedness of the world springs from poverty, it seems to sanctify all honest efforts for the acquisition of an independence; but when an independence is acquired, then comes the moral crisis, then comes an Ithuriel test, which shows whether a man is higher than a common man, or lower than a common reptile. In the duty of accumulation—and I call it a duty, in the most strict and literal signification of that word—all below a competence is most valuable, and its acquisition most laudable; but all above a fortune is a misfortune. It is a misfortune to him who amasses it; for it is a voluntary continuance in the harness of a beast of burden, when the soul should enfranchise and lift itself up into a higher region of pursuits and pleasures. It is a persistence in the work of providing goods for the body after the body has already been provided for; and it is a denial of the higher demands of the soul, after the time has arrived, and the means are possessed, of fulfilling those demands.... Because the lower service was once necessary, and has, therefore, been performed, it is a mighty wrong, when, without being longer necessary, it usurps the sacred rights of the higher.

* * * * *

Orestes A. Brownson, 1800-. (Manual, p. 480.)

From "New Views."


Progress is the end for which man was made. To this end it is his duty to direct all his enquiries, all his systems of religion and philosophy, all his institutions of politics and society, all the productions of his genius and taste, in one word, all the modes of his activity. This is his duty. Hitherto, he has performed it but blindly, without knowing, and without admitting it. Humanity has but to-day, as it were, risen to self-consciousness, to a perception of its own capacity, to a glimpse of its inconceivably grand and holy destiny. Heretofore it has failed to recognize clearly its duty. It has advanced, but not designedly, not with foresight; it has done it instinctively, by the aid of the invisible but safe-guiding hand of its Father. Without knowing what it did, it has condemned progress while it was progressing. It has stoned the prophets and reformers, even while it was itself reforming and uttering glorious prophecies of its future condition. But the time has now come for humanity to understand itself, to accept the law imposed upon it for its own good, to foresee its end, and march with intention steadily towards it. Its future religion is the religion of progress. The true priests are those who can quicken in mankind a desire for progress, and urge them forward in the direction of the true, the good, the perfect.

* * * * *

From "The Convert."


In France, Spain, Portugal, and a large part of Italy, all through the seventeenth century, the youth were trained in the maxim, The prince is the State, and his pleasure is law. Bossuet, in his politics, did only faithfully express the political sentiments and convictions of his age, shared by the great body of Catholics as well as of non-Catholics. Rational liberty had few defenders, and they were exiled, like Fenelon, from the court. The politics of Philip II. of Spain, of Richelieu, Mazarin, and Louis XIV. in France, which were the politics of Catholic Europe, hardly opposed, except by the popes, through the greater part of the sixteenth and the whole of the seventeenth centuries, tended directly to enslave the people, and to restrict the freedom, and efficiency of the church. Had either Philip, or, after him, Louis, succeeded, by linking the Catholic cause to his personal ambition, in realizing his dream of universal monarchy, Europe would most likely have been plunged into a political and social condition as unenviable as that into which old Asia has been plunged for these four hundred years; and it may well be believed that it was Providence that raised and directed the tempest that scattered the Grand Armada, and that gave victory to the arms of Eugene and Marlborough.

* * * * *

Theodore Dwight Woolsey, 1801-.

From his "Introduction to the Study of International Law."


From all that has been said it has become apparent that the study of international law is important, as an index of civilization, and not to the student of law only, but to the student of history. In our land, especially, it is important, on more than one account, that this science should do its share in enlightening educated minds. One reason for this lies in the new inducements which we, as a people, have to swerve from national rectitude. Formerly our interests threw us on the side of unrestricted commerce, which is the side towards which justice inclines, and we lived far within our borders with scarcely the power to injure or be injured, except on the ocean. Now we are running into the crimes to which strong nations are liable. Our diplomatists unblushingly moot the question of taking foreign territory by force if it cannot be purchased; our executive prevents piratical expeditions against the lands of neighboring States as feebly and slowly as if it connived at them; we pick quarrels to gain conquests; and at length, after more than half a century of public condemnation of the slave-trade, after being the first to brand it as piracy, we hear the revival of the trade advocated as a right, as a necessity. Is it not desirable that the sense of justice, which seems fading out of the national mind before views of political expediency or destiny, should be deepened and made fast by that study which frowns on national crimes?

And, again, every educated person ought to become acquainted with national law, because he is a responsible member of the body politic; because there is danger that party views will make our doctrine in this science fluctuating, unless it is upheld by large numbers of intelligent persons; and because the executive, if not controlled, will be tempted to assume the province of interpreting international law for us. As it regards the latter point it may be said, that while Congress has power to define offences against the laws of nations, and thus, if any public power, to pronounce authoritatively what the law of nations is, the executive through the Secretary of State, in practice, gives the lead in all international questions. In this way the Monroe doctrine appeared; in this way most other positions have been advanced; and perhaps this could not be otherwise. But we ought to remember that the supreme executives in Europe have amassed power by having diplomatic relations in their hands, that thus the nation may become involved in war against its will, and that the prevention of evils must lie, if there be any, with the men who have been educated in the principles of international justice.

I close this treatise here, hoping that it may be of some use to my native land, and to young men who may need a guide in the science of which it treats.

* * * * *

Taylor Lewis, 1802-.[48]

From "The Six Days of Creation."


Another striking trait of the Mosaic cosmogony is its unbroken wholeness or unity.... Be it invention or inspiration, it is the invention or the inspiration of one mind. Other cosmogonies, though bearing unmistakable evidence of their descent from the Mosaic, have had successive deposits, in successive series, of mythological strata. This stands towering out in lonely sublimity, like the everlasting granite of the Alps or the Himalaya, as compared with the changing alluvium of the Nile or the Ganges. As the serene air that ever surrounds the head of Mont Blanc excels in purity the mists of the fen, so does the lofty theism of the Mosaic account rise high above the nature-worship of the Egyptian and Hesiodean theogonies. "In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth. And the earth was waste and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God brooded over the waters. And God said, Let there be light, and it was light. And God saw the light that it was fair, and God divided the light from the darkness. And thus there was an evening and a morning—one day!" What is there like it, or to be at all compared with it, in any mythology on earth? There it stands, high above them all, and remote from them all, in its air of great antiquity, in its unaccountableness, in its serene truthfulness, in its unapproachable sublimity, in that impress of divine majesty and ineffable holiness which even the unbelieving neologist has been compelled to acknowledge, and by which every devout reader feels that the first page in Genesis is forever distinguished from any mere human production.

[Footnote 48: Born In New York; a prolific writer, eminent for his profound scholarship, his wide acquaintance with Oriental and Biblical literature, and his originality and freedom of mind: long Professor of Greek in Union College.]

* * * * *

From "State Rights."


If it were Death alone! But "Hell follows hard after." What a heaving Tartarus was Greece, when all hope of a true nationality was given up! From Corcyra to Rhodes, from Byzantium to Cyrene, one bloody scene of faction, "sedition, privy conspiracy, and rebellion." In the cities, in the isles, in the colonies, banishments, confiscations, ostracisms, and cruel deaths. The most ferocious parties everywhere, fomented in the smaller States by the influence of the larger, and kept alive in the leading cities by the continual presence of foreign emissaries. With us it would be far more like Satan's kingdom, inasmuch as our states are more numerous, relatively more petty, and, from the increased powers of modern knowledge and modern invention, capable of the greater mutual mischief.

We are not prophesying at random. Here is our old guidebook. The road is all mapped out, the way surveyed, by which we march to ruin. All the dire calamities of Greece may be traced to this word autonomia.[49]

... Greece presented the first great proof of a fact of which we are now in danger of furnishing another and more terrible example to the world. It is the utter impossibility of peace, in a territory made by nature a geographical unity, inhabited by a people, or peoples, of one lineage, one language, bound together in historical reminiscences, yet divided into petty sovereign States too small for any respectable nationalities themselves, and yet preventing any beneficent nationality as a whole. No animosities have been so fierce as those existing among people thus geographically and politically related. No wars with each other have been so cruel; no home factions have been so incessant, so treacherous, and so debasing. The very ties that draw them near only awaken occasions of strife, which would not have existed between tribes wholly alien to each other in language and religion.

[Footnote 49: State sovereignty.]

* * * * *

Horace Greeley,[50] 1811-1873.

From a "Lecture on the Emancipation of Labor."


The worker of the nineteenth century stands a sad and careworn man. Once in a while a particular flowery Fourth of July oration, political harangue, or Thanksgiving sermon, catching him well filled with creature comforts, and a little inclined to soar starward, will take him off his feet, and for an hour or two he will wonder if ever human lot was so blessed as that of the free-born American laborer. He hurrahs, and is ready to knock any man down who will not readily and heartily agree that this is a great country, and our industrious classes the happiest people on earth.... The hallucination passes off, however, with the silvery tones of the orator, and the exhilarating fumes of the liquor which inspired it. The inhaler of the bewildering gas bends his slow steps at length to his sorry domicile, or wakes therein on the morrow, in a sober and practical mood. His very exaltation, now past, has rendered him more keenly susceptible to the deficiencies and impediments which hem him in: his house seems narrow, his food coarse, his furniture scanty, his prospects gloomy, and those of his children more sombre, if possible; and as he hurries off to the day's task which he has too long neglected, and for which he has little heart, he too falls into that train of thought which is beginning to encircle the globe, and of which the burden may be freely rendered thus: "Why should those by whose toil all comforts and luxuries are produced, or made available, enjoy so scanty a share of them? Why should a man able and eager to work, ever stand idle for want of employment in a world where so much needful work impatiently awaits the doing? Why should a man be required to surrender something of his independence, in accepting the employment which will enable him to earn by honest effort the bread of his family? Why should the man who faithfully labors for another, and receives therefor less than the product of his labor, be currently held the obliged party, rather than he who buys the work and makes a good bargain of it? In short, why should Speculation and Scheming ride so jauntily in their carriages, splashing honest Work as it trudges humbly and wearily by on foot?" Such, as I interpret it, is the problem which occupies and puzzles the knotted brain of Toil in our day.

[Footnote 50: The well-known journalist of New York; conspicuous for his many writings on social and political reform, his reminiscences, &c.; a native of New Hampshire.]

* * * * *

From an Address on Success in Business.


There is, if not an ever-increasing need, an ever-increasing consciousness of need, of labor-saving inventions and machinery. And, if those inventions should render labor twenty times as productive as it is to-day, should make this a general rule, that all human labor shall produce twenty times as much as it does to-day—there would be no glut of products, as so many mistakenly apprehend. There would only be a very much fuller and broader satisfaction of human needs. Our wants are infinite. They expand and dilate on every side, according to our means—often very much in advance of our means,—of satisfying them. If labor shall become—as I doubt not it will become at an early day, far more productive, far more effective, than it is now, we shall hear nothing like a complaint that there are no more wants to be satisfied, but the contrary. And yet, we know the fact is deplorably true, that the time is scarcely yet remote when the laboring class, distinctively so called, set its face resolutely against new inventions—set to work deliberately to destroy labor-saving machinery, and so to act as more and more to throw labor back into the barbaric period when probably every yard of cloth cost a day's labor, as did every bushel of grain. England herself, it is computed now does the work, by means of steam and machinery, of eight hundred millions of men. And yet English wants are no more satisfied to-day than they were a thousand years ago. I do not say they are altogether unsatisfied; but I say that the consciousness of want, the demand for products, is just as keen to-day; and I have not a doubt that if inventions could be introduced into China whereby the labor of her people should be rendered fifty times as effective as it is to-day, you would find not a dearth of employment as a consequence, but rather an increase of activity and an increased demand for labor. To-day British capital and British talent are fairly grid-ironing the ancient plains and slopes of Hindostan with British canals, irrigating, and railroads. It is their gold they say; but it is not British capital, so much as British genius and British confidence, that are required. There is wealth enough in India, more gold and silver and gems, probably to-day than in Europe, for the precious metals always flow thither, and they very seldom flow thence.

* * * * *

From "Recollections of a Busy Life."


No other public teacher lives so wholly in the present, as the Editor; and the noblest affirmations of unpopular truth,—the most self-sacrificing defiance of a base and selfish Public Sentiment that regards only the most sordid ends, and values every utterance solely as it tends to preserve quiet and contentment, while the dollars fall jingling into the merchant's drawer, the land-jobber's vault, and the miser's bag,—can but be noted in their day, and with their day forgotten. It is his cue to utter silken and smooth sayings,—to condemn Vice so as not to interfere with the pleasures, or alarm the consciences of the vicious,—to praise and champion Liberty so as not to give annoyance or offence to Slavery, and to commend and glorify Labor without attempting to expose or repress any of the gainful contrivances by which Labor is plundered and degraded. Thus sidling dexterously between somewhere and nowhere, the Able Editor of the Nineteenth Century may glide through life respectable and in good case, and lie down to his long rest with the non-achievements of his life emblazoned on the very whitest marble, surmounting and glorifying his dust.

There is a different and sterner path,—I know not whether there be any now qualified to tread it,—I am not sure that even one has ever followed it implicitly, in view of the certain meagerness of its temporal rewards, and the haste wherewith any fame acquired in a sphere so thoroughly ephemeral as the Editor's, must be shrouded by the dark waters of oblivion. This path demands an ear ever open to the plaints of the wronged and the suffering, though they can never repay advocacy, and those who mainly support newspapers will be annoyed and often exposed by it; a heart as sensitive to oppression and degradation in the next street as if they were practised in Brazil or Japan; a pen as ready to expose and reprove the crimes whereby wealth is amassed and luxury enjoyed in our own country at this hour, as if they had only been committed by Turks or Pagans in Asia, some centuries ago. Such an Editor, could one be found or trained, need not expect to lead an easy, indolent, or wholly joyous life,—to be blessed by Archbishops, or followed by the approving shouts of ascendant majorities; but he might find some recompense for their loss, in the calm verdict of an approving conscience: and the tears of the despised and the friendless, preserved from utter despair by his efforts and remonstrances, might freshen for a season the daisies that bloomed above his grave.

* * * * *

From "The Crystal Palace and its Lessons."


As for me, long tossed on the stormiest waves of doubtful conflict and arduous endeavor, I have begun to feel, since the shades of forty years fell upon me, the weary tempest-driven voyager's longing for land, the wanderer's yearning for the hamlet where in childhood he nestled by his mother's knee, and was soothed to sleep on her breast. The sober down-hill of life dispels many illusions, while it developes or strengthens within us the attachment, perhaps long smothered or overlaid, for "that dear hut, our home." And so I, in the sober afternoon of life, when its sun, if not high, is still warm, have bought me a few acres of land in the broad, still country, and bearing thither my household treasures, have resolved to steal from the city's labors and anxieties at least one day in each week, wherein to revive as a farmer, the memories of my childhood's humble home. And already I realize that the experiment cannot cost so much as it is worth. Already I find in that day's quiet, an antidote and a solace for the feverish, festering cares of the weeks which environ it. Already, my brook murmurs a soothing even-song to my burning, throbbing brain; and my trees, gently stirred by the fresh breezes, whisper to my spirit something of their own quiet strength and patient trust in God. And thus do I faintly realize, though but for a brief and flitting day, the serene joy which shall irradiate the Farmer's vocation, when a fuller and truer education shall have refined and chastened his animal cravings, and when Science shall have endowed him with her treasures, redeeming Labor from drudgery, while quadrupling its efficiency, and crowning with beauty and plenty our bounteous, beneficent Earth.

* * * * *

Theodore Parker, about 1812-1860. (Manual, p. 531.)

From "Lessons from the World of Nature," &c.


In the hard, cold winter of our northern lands, how do we feel a longing for the presence of life! Then we love to look on a pine or fir tree, which seems the only living thing in the woods, surrounded by dead oaks, birches, maples, looking like the gravestones of buried vegetation: that seems warm and living then; and at Christmas, men bring it into meetinghouses and parlors, and set it up, full of life, and laden with kindly gifts for the little folk. Then even the unattractive crow seems half sacred, through the winter bearing messages of promise from the perished autumn to the advancing spring—this dark forerunner of the tuneful tribes which are to come. We feel a longing for fresh, green nature, and so in the shelter of our houses keep some little Aaron's rod, budding alike with promise and memory; or in some hyacinth or Dutchman's tulip we keep a prophecy of flowers, and start off some little John to run before, and with his half-gospel tell of some great Emmanuel, and signify to men that the kingdom of heavenly beauty is near at hand. Now that forerunner disappears, for the desire of all nations has truly come; the green grass is creeping everywhere, and it is spangled with many flowers that came unasked....

What if there was a spring time of blossoming but once in a hundred years! How would men look forward to it, and old men, who had beheld its wonders, tell the story to their children, how once all the homely trees became beautiful, and earth was covered with freshness and new growth! How would young men hope to become old, that they might see so glad a sight! And when beheld, the aged man would say, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation."

* * * * *

From an "Installation Sermon," January 4th, 1846.


The saints of olden time perished at the stake; they hung on gibbets; they agonized upon the rack; they died under the steel of the tormentor. It was the heroism of our fathers' day that swam the unknown seas; froze in the woods; starved with want and cold; fought battles with the red right hand. It is the sainthood and heroism of our day that toils for the ignorant, the poor, the weak, the oppressed, the wicked. Yes, it is our saints and heroes who fight fighting; who contend for the slave, and his master too, for the drunkard, the criminal; yes, for the wicked or the weak in all their forms.... But the saints and the heroes of this day, who draw no sword, whose right hand is never bloody, who burn in no fires of wood or sulphur, nor languish briefly on the hasty cross; the saints and heroes who, in a worldly world, dare to be men; in an age of conformity and selfishness, speak for Truth and Man, living for noble aims, men who will swear to no lies howsoever popular; who will honor no sins, though never so profitable, respectable, and ancient; men who count Christ not their master, but teacher, friend, brother, and strive like him to practice all they pray; to incarnate and make real the Word of God, these men I honor far more than the saints of old.... Racks and fagots soon waft the soul to God, stern messengers, but swift. A boy could bear that passage,—the martyrdom of death. But the temptation of a long life of neglect, and scorn, and obloquy, and shame, and want, and desertion by false friends; to live blameless though blamed, cut off from human sympathy, that is the martyrdom of to-day. I shed no tears for such martyrs. I shout when I see one; I take courage and thank God for the real saints, prophets and heroes of to-day.... Yea, though now men would steal the rusty sword from underneath the bones of a saint or hero long deceased, to smite off therewith the head of a new prophet, that ancient hero's son; though they would gladly crush the heart out of him with the tombstones they piled up for great men, dead and honored now; yet in some future day, that mob penitent, baptized with a new spirit, like drunken men returned to sanity once more, shall search through all this land for marble white enough to build a monument to that prophet whom their fathers slew; they shall seek through all the world for gold of fineness fit to chronicle such names. I cannot wait; but I will honor such men now, not adjourn the warning of their voice, and the glory of their example, till another age! The church may cast out such men; burn them with the torments of an age too refined in its cruelty to use coarse fagots and the vulgar axe! It is no loss to these men; but the ruin of the church. I say the Christian church of the nineteenth century must honor such men, if it would do a church's work; must take pains to make such men as these, or it is a dead church, with no claim on us, except that we bury it. A true church will always be the church of martyrs. The ancients commenced every great work with a victim! We do not call it so; but the sacrifice is demanded, got ready, and offered by unconscious priests long ere the enterprise succeeds. Did not Christianity begin with a martyrdom?

* * * * *

From "Historic Americans."


His was the morality of a strong, experienced person, who had seen the folly of wise men, the meanness of proud men, the baseness of honorable men, and the littleness of great men, and made liberal allowances for the failures of all men. If the final end to be reached were just, he did not always inquire about the provisional means which led thither. He knew that the right line is the shortest distance between two points, in morals as in mathematics, but yet did not quarrel with such as attained the point by a crooked line. Such is the habit of politicians, diplomatists, statesmen, who look on all men as a commander looks on his soldiers, and does not ask them to join the church or keep their hands clean, but to stand to their guns and win the battle.

Thus, in the legislature of Pennsylvania, Franklin found great difficulty in carrying on the necessary measures for military defence, because a majority of the Assembly were Quakers, who, though friendly to the success of the revolution founded contrary to their principles, refused to vote the supplies of war. So he caused them to vote appropriations to purchase bread, flour, wheat, or other grain. The Government said, "I shall take the money, for I understand very well their meaning,—other grain is gunpowder." He afterwards moved the purchase of a fire-engine, saying to his friend, "Nominate me on the committee, and I will nominate you; we will buy a great gun, which is certainly a fire engine; the Quakers can have no objection to that."

Such was the course of policy that Franklin took, as I think, to excess; but yet I believe that no statesman of that whole century did so much to embody the eternal rules of right in the customs of the people, and to make the constitution of the universe the common law of all mankind; and I cannot bestow higher praise than that, on any man whose name I can recall. He mitigated the ferocities of war. He built new hospitals, and improved old ones. He first introduced this humane principle into the Law of Nations, that in time of war, private property on land shall be unmolested, and peaceful commerce continued, and captive soldiers treated as well as the soldiers of the captors. Generous during his life-time, his dead hand still gathers and distributes blessings to the mechanics of Boston, and their children. True is it that

"Him only pleasure leads and peace attends, Whose means are pure and spotless as his ends."

But it is a great thing in this stage of the world to find a man whose ends are pure and spotless. Let us thank him for that.

* * * * *

From "Historic Americans."


Of all those who controlled the helm of affairs during the time of the Revolution, and while the Constitution and the forms of our National and State Institutions were carefully organized, there is none who has been more generally popular, more commonly beloved, more usually believed to be necessary to the Legislation and Administration of his country, than Thomas Jefferson. It may not be said of him that of all those famous men he could least have been spared; for in the rare and great qualities for patiently and wisely conducting the vast affairs of State and Nation in pressing emergencies, he seems to have been wanting. But his grand merit was this—that while his powerful opponents favored a strong government, and believed it necessary thereby to repress what they called the lower classes, he, Jefferson, believed in Humanity; believed in a true Democracy. He respected labor and education, and upheld the right to education of all men. These were the Ideas in which he was far in advance of all the considerable men, whether of his State or of his Nation—ideas which he illustrated through long years of his life and conduct. The great debt that the Nation owes to him is this—that he so ably and consistently advocated these needful opinions, that he made himself the head and the hand of the great party that carried these ideas into power, that put an end to all possibility of class-government, made naturalization easy, extended the suffrage and applied it to judicial office, opened a still wider and better education to all, and quietly inaugurated reforms, yet incomplete, of which we have the benefit to this day, and which, but for him, we might not have won against the party of Strong Government, except by a difficult and painful Revolution.

* * * * *

Wendell Phillips,[51] 1811-.

From "A Lecture delivered in December, 1861."


I would have government announce to the world that we understand the evil which has troubled our peace for seventy years, thwarting the natural tendency of our institutions, sending ruin along our wharves and through our workshops every ten years, poisoning the national conscience. We know well its character. But democracy, unlike other governments, is strong enough to let evils work out their own death—strong enough to face them when they reveal their proportions. It was in this sublime consciousness of strength, not of weakness, that our fathers submitted to the well-known evil of slavery, and tolerated it until the viper we thought we could safely tread on, at the touch of disappointment, starts up a fiend whose stature reaches the sky. But our cheeks do not blanch. Democracy accepts the struggle. After this forbearance of three generations, confident that she has yet power to execute her will, she sends her proclamation, down to the Gulf—freedom to every man beneath the stars, and death to every institution that disturbs our peace, or threatens the future of the republic.

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