Public Speaking
by Irvah Lester Winter
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Now, there are some clear objects for choice here in college, for real choice, for discreet choice. I will mention only two. In the first place, choose those studies—there is a great range of them here—which will, through your interest in them, develop your working power. You know it is only through work that you can achieve anything, either in college or in the world. Choose those studies on which you can work intensely with pleasure, with real satisfaction and happiness. That is the true guide to a wise choice. Choose that intellectual pursuit which will develop within you the power to do enthusiastic work, an internal motive power, not an external compulsion. Then choose an ennobling companionship. You will find out in five minutes that this man stirs you to good, that man to evil. Shun the latter; cling to the former. Choose companionship rightly, choose your whole surroundings so that they shall lift you up and not drag you down. Make these two choices wisely, and be faithful in labor, and you will succeed in college and in after life.


From "Alfred Lord Tennyson, A Memoir by His Son," with the permission of The Macmillan Company, New York and London, publishers.

Before leaving for Aldworth we spent some delightful sunny days in the Farringford gardens. In the afternoons my father sat in his summerhouse and talked to us and his friends.

This spring he had enjoyed seeing the unusually splendid blossom of apple and pear tree, of white lilacs, and of purple aubretia that bordered the walks.

At intervals he strolled to the bottom of the kitchen garden to look at the roses, or at the giant fig tree ("like a breaking wave," as he said) bursting into leaf; or he marked the "branching grace" of the stately line of elms, between the boles of which, from his summerhouse, he caught a glimpse of far meadows beyond. He said that he did not believe in Emerson's pretty lines:—

"Only to children children sing, Only to youth the Spring is Spring."

"For age does feel the joy of spring, though age can only crawl over the bridge while youth skips the brook." His talk was grave and gay together. In the middle of anecdotes he would stop short and say something of what he felt to be the sadness and mystery of life.

What impressed all his friends was his choice of language, the felicity of his turns of expression, his imagery, the terseness of his unadorned English, and his simple directness of manner, which none will ever be able to reproduce, however many notes they may have taken. His dignity and repose of manner, his low musical voice, and the power of his magnetic dark eye kept the attention riveted. His argument was clear and logical and never wandered from the point except by way of illustration, and his illustrations were the most various I have ever heard, and were taken from nature and science, from high and low life, from the rich and from the poor, and his analysis of character was always subtle and powerful.

While he talked of the mysteries of the universe, his face, full of the strong lines of thought, was lighted up; and his words glowed as it were with inspiration.

When conversing with my brother and myself or our college friends, he was, I used to think, almost at his best, for he would quote us the fine passages from ancient or modern literature and show us why they are fine, or he would tell us about the great facts and discoveries in astronomy, geology, botany, chemistry, and the great problems in philosophy, helping us toward a higher conception of the laws which govern the world and of "the law behind the law." He was so sympathetic that the enthusiasm of youth seemed to kindle his own. He spoke out of the fullness of his heart, and explained more eloquently than ever where his own difficulties lay, and what he, as an old man, thought was the true mainspring of human life and action; and

"How much of act at human hands The sense of human will demands By which we dare to live or die."

The truth is that real genius, unless made shallow by prejudice, is seldom frozen by age, and that, until absolute physical decay sets in, the powers of the mind may become stronger and stronger.

On one of these June mornings, Miss L—, who was a stranger to us, but whose brother we had known for some time, called upon us. My father took her over the bridge to the summerhouse looking on the Down. After a little while he said: "Miss L—, my son says I am to read to you," and added, "I will read whatever you like." He read some of "Maud," "The Spinster's Sweet-Arts," and some "Enoch Arden."

His voice, as Miss L— noticed, was melodious and full of change, and quite unimpaired by age. There was a peculiar freshness and passion in his reading of "Maud," giving the impression that he had just written the poem, and that the emotion which created it was fresh in him. This had an extraordinary influence on the listener, who felt that the reader had been present at the scenes he described, and that he still felt their bliss or agony.

He thoroughly enjoyed reading his "The Spinster's Sweet-Arts," and when he was reading "Enoch Arden" he told Miss L— to listen to the sound of the sea in the line,

"The league-long roller thundering on the reef,"

and to mark Miriam Lane's chatter in

"He ceased; and Miriam Lane Made such a voluble answer promising all."


From "Notes on Speech-Making," with the permission of Longmans, Green and Company, New York and London, publishers.


We are told that the five-minute speeches with which Judge Hoar year after year delighted the Harvard chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa contained but one original idea, clearly stated, and but one fresh story, well told. This is indeed a model to be admired of all men; yet how few of us will take the trouble of copying it!

The speaker who rambles and ambles along, saying nothing, and his fellow, the speaker who links jest to jest, saying little more, are both of them unabashed in the presence of an audience. They are devoid of all shyness. They are well aware that they have "the gift of the gab"; they rejoice in its possession; they lie in wait for occasions to display it. They have helped to give foreigners the impression that every American is an oratorical revolver, ready with a few remarks whenever any chairman may choose to pull the trigger. And yet there are Americans not a few to whom the making of an after-dinner speech is a most painful ordeal. When the public dinner was given to Charles Dickens in New York, on his first visit to America, Washington Irving was obviously the predestined presiding officer. Curtis tells us that Irving went about muttering: "I shall certainly break down; I know I shall break down." When the dinner was eaten, and Irving arose to propose the health of Dickens, he began pleasantly and smoothly in two or three sentences; then hesitated, stammered, smiled, and stopped; tried in vain to begin again; then gracefully gave it up, announced the toast, "Charles Dickens, the guest of the nation," and sank into his chair amid immense applause, whispering to his neighbor, "There! I told you I should break down, and I've done it."

When Thackeray came, later, Irving "consented to preside at a dinner, if speeches were absolutely forbidden; the condition was faithfully observed" (so Curtis records), "but it was the most extraordinary instance of American self-command on record." Thackeray himself had no fondness for after-dinner speaking, nor any great skill in the art. He used to complain humorously that he never could remember all the good things he had thought of in the cab; and in "Philip" he went so far as to express a hope that "a day will soon arrive (but I own, mind you, that I do not carve well) when we shall have the speeches done by a skilled waiter at a side table, as we now have the carving."

Hawthorne was as uncomfortable on his feet as were Thackeray and Irving; but his resolute will steeled him for the trial. When he dined with the Mayor of Liverpool, he was called upon for the toast of the United States. "Being at bay, and with no alternative, I got upon my legs and made a response," he wrote in his notebook, appending this comment: "Anybody may make an after-dinner speech who will be content to talk onward without saying anything. My speech was not more than two or three inches long; ... but, being once started, I felt no embarassment, and went through it as coolly as if I were going to be hanged."

He also notes that his little speech was quite successful, "considering that I did not know a soul there, except the Mayor himself, and that I am wholly unpracticed in all sorts of oratory, and that I had nothing to say." To each of these three considerations of Hawthorne's it would be instructive to add a comment, for he spoke under a triple disadvantage. A speech cannot really be successful when the speaker has nothing to say. It is rarely successful unless he knows the tastes and the temper of those he is addressing. It can be successful only casually unless he has had some practice in the simpler sort of oratory.


From "Hunting the Grizzly" with the permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York and London, publishers.


For half a mile I walked quickly and silently over the pine needles, across a succession of slight ridges separated by narrow, shallow valleys. The forest here was composed of lodge-pole pines, which on the ridges grew close together, with tall slender trunks, while in the valleys the growth was more open. Though the sun was behind the mountains, there was yet plenty of light by which to shoot, but it faded rapidly.

At last, as I was thinking of turning toward camp, I stole up to the crest of one of the ridges, and looked over into the valley some sixty yards off. Immediately I caught the loom of some large, dark object; and another glance showed me a big grizzly walking slowly off with his head down. He was quartering to me, and I fired into his flank, the bullet, as I afterward found, ranging forward and piercing one lung. At the shot he uttered a loud, moaning grunt and plunged forward at a heavy gallop, while I raced obliquely down the hill to cut him off. After going a few hundred feet, he reached a laurel thicket, some thirty yards broad, and two or three times as long, which he did not leave. I ran up to the edge and there halted, not liking to venture into the mass of twisted, close-growing stems and glossy foliage. Moreover, as I halted, I heard him utter a peculiar, savage kind of whine from the heart of the brush. Accordingly, I began to skirt the edge, standing on tiptoe and gazing earnestly to see if I could not catch a glimpse of his hide. When I was at the narrowest part of the thicket, he suddenly left it directly opposite, and then wheeled and stood broadside to me on the hillside, a little above. He turned his head stiffly toward me; scarlet strings of froth hung from his lips; his eyes burned like embers in the gloom.

I held true, aiming at the shoulder, and my bullet shattered the point or lower end of his heart, taking out a big nick. Instantly the great bear turned with a harsh roar of fury and challenge, blowing the bloody foam from his mouth, so that I saw the gleam of his white fangs; and then he charged straight at me, crashing and bounding through the laurel bushes, so that it was hard to aim. I waited till he came to a fallen tree, raking him as he topped it with a ball, which entered his chest and went through the cavity of his body, but he neither swerved nor flinched, and at the moment I did not know that I had struck him. He came steadily on, and in another second was almost upon me. I fired for his forehead, but my bullet went low, entering his open mouth, smashing his lower jaw and going into the neck. I leaped to one side almost as I pulled the trigger; and through the hanging smoke the first thing I saw was his paw as he made a vicious side blow at me. The rush of his charge carried him past. As he struck he lurched forward, leaving a pool of bright blood where his muzzle hit the ground; but he recovered himself and made two or three jumps onward, while I hurriedly jammed a couple of cartridges into the magazine, my rifle holding only four, all of which I had fired. Then he tried to pull up, but as he did so his muscles seemed suddenly to give way, his head dropped, and he rolled over and over like a shot rabbit. Each of my first three bullets had inflicted a mortal wound.

It was already twilight, and I merely opened the carcass, and then trotted back to camp. Next morning I returned and with much labor took off the skin. The fur was very fine, the animal being in excellent trim, and unusually bright colored. Unfortunately, in packing it out I lost the skull, and had to supply its place with one of plaster. The beauty of the trophy, and the memory of the circumstances under which I produced it, make me value it perhaps more highly than any other in my house.





A famous orator once imagined the nations of the world uniting to erect a column to Jurisprudence in some stately capital. Each country was to bring the name of its great jurist to be inscribed on the side of the column, with a sentence stating what he and his country through him had done toward establishing the reign of law and justice for the benefit of mankind.

I have sometimes fancied that we might erect here in the capital of the country a column to American Liberty which alone might rival in height the beautiful and simple shaft which we have erected to the fame of the Father of the Country. I can fancy each generation bringing its inscription, which should recite its own contribution to the great structure of which the column should be but the symbol.

The generation of the Puritan and the Pilgrim and the Huguenot claims the place of honor at the base. "I brought the torch of freedom across the sea. I cleared the forest. I subdued the savage and the wild beast. I laid in Christian liberty and law the foundations of empire."

The next generation says: "What my fathers founded I builded. I left the seashore to penetrate the wilderness. I planted schools and colleges and churches."

Then comes the generation of the great colonial day: "I stood by the side of England on many a hard-fought field. I helped humble the power of France."

Then comes the generation of the revolutionary time: "I encountered the power of England. I declared and won the independence of my country. I placed that declaration on the eternal principles of justice and righteousness which all mankind have read, and on which all mankind will one day stand. I affirmed the dignity of human nature and the right of the people to govern themselves."

The next generation says: "I encountered England again. I vindicated the right of an American ship to sail the seas the wide world over without molestation. I made the American sailor as safe at the ends of the earth as my fathers had made the American farmer safe in his home."

Then comes the next generation: "I did the mighty deeds which in your younger years you saw and which your fathers told. I saved the Union. I freed the slave. I made of every slave a freeman, and of every freeman a citizen, and of every citizen a voter."

Then comes another who did the great work in peace, in which so many of you had an honorable share: "I kept the faith. I paid the debt. I brought in conciliation and peace instead of war. I built up our vast domestic commerce. I made my country the richest, freest, strongest, happiest people on the face of the earth."

And now what have we to say? What have we to say? Are we to have a place in that honorable company? Must we engrave on that column: "We repealed the Declaration of Independence. We changed the Munroe Doctrine from a doctrine of eternal righteousness and justice, resting on the consent of the governed, to a doctrine of brutal selfishness, looking only to our own advantage. We crushed the only republic in Asia. We made war on the only Christian people in the East. We converted a war of glory into a war of shame. We vulgarized the American flag. We introduced perfidy into the practice of war. We inflicted torture on unarmed men to extort confession. We put children to death. We established reconcentrado camps. We devastated provinces. We baffled the aspirations of a people for liberty"?

No, Mr. President. Never! Never! Other and better counsels will yet prevail. The hours are long in the life of a great people. The irrevocable step is not yet taken.

Let us at least have this to say: "We, too, have kept the faith of the fathers. We took Cuba by the hand. We delivered her from her age-long bondage. We welcomed her to the family of nations. We set mankind an example never beheld before of moderation in victory. We led hesitating and halting Europe to the deliverance of their beleaguered ambassadors in China. We marched through a hostile country—a country cruel and barbarous—without anger or revenge. We returned benefit for injury, and pity for cruelty. We made the name of America beloved in the East as in the West. We kept faith with the Philippine people. We kept faith with our own history. We kept our national honor unsullied. The flag which we received without a rent we handed down without a stain."


I do not know why in the year 1899 this Republic has unexpectedly had placed before it mighty problems which it must face and meet. They have come and are here, and they could not be kept away. We have fought a war with Spain.

The Philippines, like Cuba and Porto Rico, were intrusted to our hands by the war, and to that great trust, under the Providence of God and in the name of human progress and civilization, we are committed. It is a trust we have not sought; it is a trust from which we will not flinch. The American people will hold up the hands of their servants at home to whom they commit its execution, while Dewey and Otis and the brave men whom they command will have the support of the country in upholding our flag where it now floats, the symbol and assurance of liberty and justice.

There is universal agreement that the Philippines shall not be turned back to Spain. No true American consents to that. Even if unwilling to accept them ourselves, it would have been a weak evasion of manly duty to require Spain to transfer them to some other power or powers, and thus shirk our own responsibility. Even if we had had, as we did not have, the power to compel such a transfer, it could not have been made without the most serious international complications. Such a course could not be thought of. And yet had we refused to accept the cession of them, we should have had no power over them even for their own good.

We could not discharge the responsibilities upon us until these islands became ours, either by conquest or treaty. There was but one alternative, and that was either Spain or the United States in the Philippines. The other suggestions—first, that they should be tossed into the arena of contention for the strife of nations; or, second, be left to the anarchy and chaos of no protectorate at all—were too shameful to be considered.

The treaty gave them to the United States. Could we have required less and done our duty? Could we, after freeing the Filipinos from the domination of Spain, have left them without government and without power to protect life or property or to perform the international obligations essential to an independent state? Could we have left them in a state of anarchy and justified ourselves in our own consciences or before the tribunal of mankind? Could we have done that in the sight of God or man?

No imperial designs lurk in the American mind. They are alien to American sentiment, thought, and purpose. Our priceless principles undergo no change under a tropical sun. They go with the flag. They are wrought in every one of its sacred folds, and are indistinguishable as its shining stars.

"Why read ye not the changeless truth, The free can conquer but to save?"

If we can benefit these remote peoples, who will object? If in the years of the future they are established in government under law and liberty, who will regret our perils and sacrifices? Who will not rejoice in our heroism and humanity? Always perils, and always after them safety; always darkness and clouds, but always shining through them the light and the sunshine; always cost and sacrifice, but always after them the fruition of liberty, education, and civilization.

I have no light or knowledge not common to my countrymen. I do not prophesy. The present is all-absorbing to me, but I cannot bound my vision by the blood-stained trenches around Manila, where every red drop, whether from the veins of an American soldier or a misguided Filipino, is anguish to my heart; but by the broad range of future years, when that group of islands, under the impulse of the year just past, shall have become the gems and glories of those tropical seas; a land of plenty and of increasing possibilities; a people redeemed from savage indolence and habits, devoted to the arts of peace, in touch with the commerce and trade of all nations, enjoying the blessings of freedom, of civil and religious liberty, of education and of homes, and whose children and children's children shall for ages hence bless the American Republic because it emancipated and redeemed their fatherland and set them in the pathway of the world's best civilization.



Whether the universal sentiment in favor of protection as applied to every country is sound or not, I do not stop to discuss. Whether it is best for the United States of America alone concerns me now, and the first thing I have to say is, that after thirty years of protection, undisturbed by any menace of free trade, up to the very year now last past, this country was the greatest and most flourishing nation on the face of this earth. Moreover, with the shadow of this unjustifiable bill resting cold upon it, with mills closed, with hundreds of thousands of men unemployed, industry at a standstill, and prospects before it more gloomy than ever marked its history—except once—this country is still the greatest and the richest that the sun shines on, or ever did shine on.

According to the usual story that is told, England had been engaged with a long and vain struggle with the demon of protection, and had been year after year sinking farther into the depths until at a moment when she was in her distress and saddest plight her manufacturing system broke down, "protection, having destroyed home trade by reducing," as Mr. Atkinson says, "the entire population to beggary, destitution, and want." Mr. Cobden and his friends providentially appeared, and after a hard struggle established a principle for all time and for all the world, and straightway England enjoyed the sum of human happiness. Hence all good nations should do as England has done and be happy ever after.

Suppose England, instead of being a little island in the sea, had been the half of a great continent full of raw material, capable of an internal commerce which would rival the commerce of all the rest of the world.

Suppose every year new millions were flocking to her shores, and every one of those new millions in a few years, as soon as they tasted the delights of a broader life, would become as great a consumer as any one of her own people.

Suppose that these millions, and the 70,000,000 already gathered under the folds of her flag, were every year demanding and receiving a higher wage and therefore broadening her market as fast as her machinery could furnish production. Suppose she had produced cheap food beyond all her wants, and that her laborers spent so much money that whether wheat was sixty cents a bushel or twice that sum hardly entered the thoughts of one of them, except when some Democratic tariff bill was paralyzing his business.

Suppose that she was not only but a cannon shot from France, but that every country in Europe had been brought as near to her as Baltimore is to Washington—for that is what cheap ocean freights mean between us and European producers. Suppose all those countries had her machinery, her skilled workmen, her industrial system, and labor forty per cent cheaper. Suppose under that state of facts, with all her manufacturers proclaiming against it, frantic in their disapproval, England had been called upon by Cobden to make the plunge into free trade, would she have done it? Not if Cobden had been backed by the angelic host. History gives England credit for great sense.


I assume that the cause of protection has no more able advocate than the gentleman from Maine. I assume that the argument for protection can be put in no more alluring form than that to which we have listened to- day. So assuming, I shall ask you calmly and dispassionately to examine with me that argument, to see upon what it is based, and then I shall invoke the unprejudiced judgment of this House as to whether the cause attempted to be sustained by the gentleman from Maine has been sustained, or can be before any tribunal where the voice of reason is heard or the sense of justice is felt.

The gentleman from Maine, with a facility that is unequaled, when he encounters an argument which he is unable to answer passes it by with some bright and witty saying and thereby invites and receives the applause of those who believe as he does. But the gentleman does not attempt, the gentleman has not to-day attempted, to reply to the real arguments that are made in favor of freer trade and greater liberty of commerce.

The gentleman points to the progress of the United States, he points to the rate of wages in the United States, he points to the aggregated wealth of the United States, and claims all this is due to protection. But he does not explain how we owe these blessings to protection. He says, we have protection in the United States, wages are high in the United States; therefore protection makes high wages.

When we ask the gentleman from Maine to give us a reason why a high protective tariff increases the rate of wages he points to the glory, the prosperity, and the honor of our country. We on this side unite with him in every sentiment, in every purpose, in every effort that has for its object the advancement of the general welfare of the people of the United States, but we differ from him as to the method of promoting their welfare. The gentleman belongs to that school who believe that scarcity is a blessing, and that abundance should be prohibited by law. We belong to that school who believe that scarcity is a calamity to be avoided, and that abundance should be, if possible, encouraged by law.

The gentleman belongs to that class who believe that by a system of taxation we can make the country rich. He believes that it is possible by tax laws to advance the prosperity of all the industries and all the people in the United States.

Either, Mr. Speaker, that statement is an absurdity upon its face, or it implies that in some way we have the power to make some persons not resident of the United States pay the taxes that we impose. I insist that you do not increase the taxable wealth of the United States when you tax a gentleman in Illinois and give the benefit of that tax to a gentleman in Maine. Such a course prevents the natural and honest distribution of wealth, but it does not create or augment it.


Delivered in the United States Senate, January, 1830


The gentleman has made a great flourish about his fidelity to Massachusetts. I shall make no profession of zeal for the interests and honor of South Carolina; of that my constituents shall judge. If there be one State in the Union, Mr. President (and I say it not in a boastful spirit), that may challenge comparison with any other for a uniform, zealous, ardent, and uncalculating devotion to the Union, that State is South Carolina. Sir, from the very commencement of the Revolution up to this hour there is no sacrifice, however great, she has not cheerfully made, no service she has ever hesitated to perform. She has adhered to you in your prosperity; but in your adversity she has clung to you with more than filial affection. No matter what was the condition of her domestic affairs, though deprived of her resources, divided by parties, or surrounded with difficulties, the call of the country has been to her as the voice of God. Domestic discord ceased at the sound; every man became at once reconciled to his brethren, and the sons of Carolina were all seen crowding together to the temple, bringing their gifts to the altar of their common country.

What, sir, was the conduct of the South during the Revolution? Sir, I honor New England for her conduct in that glorious struggle. But great as is the praise which belongs to her, I think at least equal honor is due to the South. They espoused the quarrel of their brethren with a generous zeal, which did not suffer them to stop to calculate their interest in the dispute. Favorites of the mother country, possessed of neither ships nor seamen to create a commercial rivalship, they might have found in their situation a guaranty that their trade would be forever fostered and protected by Great Britain. But, trampling on all considerations either of interest or of safety, they rushed into the conflict, and, fighting for principle, periled all in the sacred cause of freedom. Never were there exhibited in the history of the world higher examples of noble daring, dreadful suffering, and heroic endurance than by the Whigs of Carolina during the Revolution. The whole State, from the mountains to the sea, was overrun by an overwhelming force of the enemy. The fruits of industry perished on the spot where they were produced, or were consumed by the foe. The "plains of Carolina" drank up the most precious blood of her citizens. Black and smoking ruins marked the places where had been the habitations of her children. Driven from their homes into the gloomy and almost impenetrable swamps, even there the spirit of liberty survived, and South Carolina (sustained by the example of her Sumters and her Marions) proved by her conduct that, though her soil might be overrun, the spirit of her people was invincible.


The eulogium pronounced by the honorable gentleman on the character of the State of South Carolina for her Revolutionary and other merits meets my hearty concurrence. I shall not acknowledge that the honorable member goes before me in regard for whatever of distinguished talent, or distinguished character, South Carolina has produced. I claim part of the honor, I partake in the pride, of her great names. I claim them for countrymen, one and all,—the Laurenses, the Rutledges, the Pinckneys, the Sumters, the Marions, Americans all, whose fame is no more to be hemmed in by State lines than their talents and patriotism were capable of being circumscribed within the same narrow limits. In their day and generation they served and honored the country, and the whole country; and their renown is of the treasures of the whole country. Him whose honored name the gentleman himself bears,—does he esteem me less capable of gratitude for his patriotism, or sympathy for his sufferings, than if his eyes had first opened upon the light of Massachusetts instead of South Carolina? Sir, does he suppose it in his power to exhibit a Carolina name so bright as to produce envy in my bosom? No, sir, increased gratification and delight, rather. I thank God that, if I am gifted with little of the spirit which is able to raise mortals to the skies, I have yet none, as I trust, of that other spirit which would drag angels down. When I shall be found, sir, in my place here in the Senate or elsewhere, to sneer at public merit because it happens to spring up beyond the little limits of my own State or neighborhood; when I refuse, for any such cause, or for any cause, the homage due to American talent, to elevated patriotism, to sincere devotion to liberty and the country; or, if I see an uncommon endowment of Heaven, if I see extraordinary capacity and virtue in any son of the South, and if, moved by local prejudice or gangrened by State jealousy, I get up here to abate the tithe of a hair from his just character and just fame,—may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!

Sir, let me recur to pleasing recollections; let me indulge in refreshing remembrance of the past; let me remind you that, in early times, no States cherished greater harmony, both of principle and feeling, than Massachusetts and South Carolina. Would to God that harmony might again return! Shoulder to shoulder they went through the Revolution; hand in hand they stood round the administration of Washington, and felt his own great arm lean on them for support. Unkind feeling, if it exist, alienation and distrust, are the growth, unnatural to such soils, of false principles since sown. They are weeds, the seeds of which that same great arm never scattered.

Mr. President, I shall enter on no encomium upon Massachusetts; she needs none. There she is. Behold her, and judge for yourselves. There is her history; the world knows it by heart. The past, at least, is secure. There is Boston, and Concord, and Lexington, and Bunker Hill; and there they will remain forever. The bones of her sons, falling in the great struggle for independence, now lie mingled with the soil of every State from New England to Georgia; and there they will lie forever. And, sir, where American liberty raised its first voice, and where its youth was nurtured and sustained, there it still lives in the strength of its manhood and full of its original spirit. If discord and party strife shall succeed in separating it from that Union by which alone its existence is made sure,—it will stand in the end by the side of that cradle in which its infancy was rocked, and it will fall at last, if fall it must, amidst the proudest monuments of its own glory and on the very spot of its origin.



Our platform is before the country. Perhaps it is lacking in novelty. There is certainly nothing sensational about it. Its principles have been tested by eight years of splendid success and have received the approval of the country. It is in line with all our platforms of the past, except where prophecy and promise in those days have become history in these. We stand by the ancient ways which have proved good. We come before the country in a position which cannot be successfully attacked in front, or flank, or rear. What we have done, what we are doing, and what we intend to do—on all three we confidently challenge the verdict of the American people. The record of fifty years will show whether as a party we are fit to govern; the state of our domestic and foreign affairs will show whether as a party we have fallen off; and both together will show whether we can be trusted for a while longer.

I want to say a word to the young men whose political life is beginning. Any one entering business would be glad of the chance to become one of an established firm with years of success behind it, with a wide connection, with unblemished character, with credit founded on a rock. How infinitely brighter the future when the present is so sure, the past so glorious! Everything great done by this country in the last fifty years has been done under the auspices of the Republican Party. Is not this consciousness a great asset to have in your mind and memory? As a mere item of personal comfort is it not worth having? Lincoln and Grant, Hayes and Garfield, Harrison and McKinley—names secure in the heaven of fame—they all are gone, leaving small estates in worldly goods, but what vast possessions in principles, memories, sacred associations! It is a start in life to share that wealth. Who now boasts that he opposed Lincoln? who brags of his voting against Grant? though both acts may have been from the best of motives. In our form of government there must be two parties, and tradition, circumstances, temperament, will always create a sufficient opposition. But what young man would not rather belong to the party that does things, instead of one that opposes them; to the party that looks up, rather than down; to the party of the dawn, rather than of the sunset? For fifty years the Republican Party has believed in the country and labored for it in hope and joy; it has reverenced the flag and followed it; it has carried it under strange skies and planted it on far- receding horizons. It has seen the nation grow greater every year and more respected; by just dealing, by intelligent labor, by a genius for enterprise, it has seen the country extend its intercourse and its influence to regions unknown to our fathers. Yet it has never abated one jot or tittle of the ancient law imposed on us by our God-fearing ancestors. We have fought a good fight, but also we have kept the faith. The Constitution of our fathers has been the light to our feet; our path is, and will ever remain, that of ordered progress, of liberty under the law. The country has vastly increased, but the great-brained statesmen who preceded us provided for infinite growth. The discoveries of science have made miraculous additions to our knowledge. But we are not daunted by progress; we are not afraid of the light. The fabric our fathers builded on such sure foundations will stand all shocks of fate or fortune. There will always be a proud pleasure in looking back on the history they made; but, guided by their example, the coming generation has the right to anticipate work not less important, days equally memorable to mankind. We who are passing off the stage bid you, as the children of Israel encamping by the sea were bidden, to Go Forward; we whose hands can no longer hold the flaming torch pass it on to you that its clear light may show the truth to the ages that are to come.



In obedience to instructions I should never dare to disregard— expressing, also, my own firm convictions—I rise to propose a nomination with which the country and the Republican party can grandly win. The election before us is to be the Austerlitz of American politics. It will decide, for many years, whether the country shall be Republican or Cossack. The supreme need of the hour is not a candidate who can carry Michigan. All Republican candidates can do that. The need is not of a candidate who is popular in the Territories, because they have no vote. The need is of a candidate who can carry doubtful States. Not the doubtful States of the North alone, but doubtful States of the South, which we have heard, if I understand it aright, ought to take little or no part here, because the South has nothing to give, but everything to receive. No, gentlemen, the need that presses upon the conscience of this Convention is of a candidate who can carry doubtful States both North and South. And believing that he, more surely than any other man, can carry New York against any opponent, and can carry not only the North, but several States of the South, New York is for Ulysses S. Grant. Never defeated in peace or in war, his name is the most illustrious borne by living man.

His services attest his greatness, and the country—nay, the world— knows them by heart. His fame was earned not alone in things written and said, but by the arduous greatness of things done. And perils and emergencies will search in vain in the future, as they have searched in vain in the past, for any other on whom the nation leans with such confidence and trust. Never having had a policy to enforce against the will of the people, he never betrayed a cause or a friend, and the people will never desert nor betray him. Standing on the highest eminence of human distinction, modest, firm, simple, and self-poised, having filled all lands with his renown, he has seen not only the highborn and the titled, but the poor and the lowly, in the uttermost ends of the earth, rise and uncover before him. He has studied the needs and the defects of many systems of government, and he has returned a better American than ever.

His integrity, his common-sense, his courage, his unequaled experience, are the qualities offered to his country. The only argument, the only one that the wit of man or the stress of politics has devised is one that would have dumbfounded Solomon, because he thought there was nothing new under the sun. Having tried Grant twice and found him faithful, we are told that we must not, even after an interval of years, trust him again. My countrymen! my countrymen! what stultification does not such a fallacy involve! Is this an electioneering juggle, or is it hypocrisy's masquerade? There is no field of human activity, responsibility, or reason, in which rational beings object to an agent because he has been weighed in the balance and not found wanting. There is, I say, no department of human reason in which sane men reject an agent because he has had experience making him exceptionally competent and fit.

This Convention is master of a supreme opportunity. It can name the next President. It can make sure of his election. It can make sure not only of his election, but of his certain and peaceful inauguration.

Gentlemen, we have only to listen above the din and look beyond the dust of an hour to behold the Republican party advancing with its ensigns resplendent with illustrious achievements, marching to certain and lasting victory with its greatest Marshal at its head.


From a speech delivered in New York, 1880. Depew's "Library of Oratory," E. J. Bowen and Company, New York, publishers.


We are citizens of a republic. We govern ourselves. Here no pomp of eager array in chambers of royalty awaits the birth of boy or girl to wield an hereditary scepter. We know no scepter save a majority's constitutional will. To wield that scepter in equal share is the duty and the right, nay, the birthright, of every citizen. The supreme, the final, the only peaceful arbiter here, is the ballot box; and in that urn should be gathered and from it should be sacredly recorded the conscience, the judgment, the intelligence of all. The right of free self-government has been in all ages the bright dream of oppressed humanity,—the sighed-for privilege to which thrones, dynasties, and power have so long blocked the way. In the fullness of freedom the Republic of America is alone in the earth; alone in its grandeur; alone in its blessings; alone in its promises and possibilities, and therefore alone in the devotion due from its citizens.

The time has come when law, duty, and interest require the nation to determine for at least four years its policy in many things. Two parties exist; parties should always exist in a government of majorities, and to support and strengthen the party which most nearly holds his views is among the most laudable, meritorious acts of an American citizen; and this whether he be in official or in private station. Two parties contend for the management of national affairs. The question is, Which of the two is it safer and wiser to trust? It is not a question of candidates. A candidate, if he be an honest, genuine man, will not seek and accept a party nomination to the presidency, vice presidency, or Congress, and after he is elected become a law unto himself. The higher obligations among men are not set down in writing and signed or sealed; they reside in honor and good faith. The fidelity of a nominee belongs to this exalted class, and therefore the candidate of a party is but the exponent of a party. The object of political discussion and action is to settle principles, policies, and issues. It is a paltry incident of an election affecting fifty million people that it decides for an occasion the aspirations of individual men. The Democratic party is the Democratic candidate, and I am against the ticket and all its works.

A triumphant nationality—a regenerated constitution—a free Republic— an unbroken country—untarnished credit—solvent finances—unparalleled prosperity—all these are ours despite the policy and the efforts of the Democratic party. Along with the amazing improvement in national finances, we have amazing individual thrift on every side. In every walk of life new activity is felt. Labor, agriculture, manufactures, commerce, enterprises, and investments, all are flourishing, content and hopeful. But in the midst of this harmony and encouragement comes a harsh discord crying, "Give us a change—anything for a change." This is not a bearing year for "a change." Every other crop is good, but not the crop of "change"—that crop is good only when the rest are bad. The country does not need nor wish the change proposed, and to the pressing invitation of our Democratic friends a good-natured but firm "No, I thank you," will be the response at the polls.

Upon its record and its candidates the Republican party asks the country's approval, and stands ready to avow its purposes for the future. It proposes to rebuild our commercial marine. It proposes to foster labor, industry, and enterprise. It proposes to stand for education, humanity, and progress. It proposes to administer the government honestly, to preserve amity with all the world, observing our own obligations with others and seeing that others observe theirs with us, to protect every citizen in his rights and equality before the law, to uphold the public credit and the sanctity of engagements; and by doing these things the Republican party proposes to assure to industry, humanity, and civilization in America the amplest welcome and the safest home.


From a speech nominating a candidate for President of the United States at the Republican National Convention, 1880


I have witnessed the extraordinary scenes of this Convention with deep solicitude. Nothing touches my heart more quickly than a tribute of honor to a great and noble character; but as I sat in my seat and witnessed this demonstration, this assemblage seemed to me a human ocean in tempest. I have seen the sea lashed into fury and tossed into spray, and its grandeur moves the soul of the dullest man; but I remember that it is not the billows, but the calm level of the sea, from which all heights and depths are measured. When the storm has passed and the hour of calm settles on the ocean, when the sunlight bathes its peaceful surface, then the astronomer and surveyor take the level from which they measure all terrestrial heights and depths.

Gentlemen of the Convention, your present temper may not mark the healthful pulse of our people. Not here, in this brilliant circle, where fifteen thousand men and women are gathered, is the destiny of the Republic to be decreed for the next four years. Not here, where I see the enthusiastic faces of seven hundred and fifty-six delegates, waiting to cast their lots into the urn and determine the choice of the Republic, but by four millions of Republican firesides, where the thoughtful voters, with wives and children about them, with the calm thoughts inspired by love of home and country, with the history of the past, the hopes of the future, and reverence for the great men who have adorned and blessed our nation in days gone by, burning in their hearts,—there God prepares the verdict which will determine the wisdom of our work to-night. Not in Chicago, in the heat of June, but at the ballot boxes of the Republic, in the quiet of November, after the silence of deliberate judgment, will this question be settled.

Now, gentlemen, I am about to present a name for your consideration,— the name of one who was the comrade, associate, and friend of nearly all the noble dead, whose faces look down upon us from these walls to- night; a man who began his career of public service twenty-five years ago.

You ask for his monument. I point you to twenty-five years of national statutes. Not one great, beneficent law has been placed on our statute books without his intelligent and powerful aid. He aided in formulating the laws to raise the great armies and navies which carried us through the war. His hand was seen in the workmanship of those statutes that restored and brought back "the unity and married calm of States." His hand was in all that great legislation that created the war currency, and in all the still greater work that redeemed the promises of the government and made the currency equal to gold.

When at last he passed from the halls of legislation into a high executive office, he displayed that experience, intelligence, firmness, and poise of character, which have carried us through a stormy period of three years, with one half the public press crying "Crucify him!" and a hostile Congress seeking to prevent success. In all this he remained unmoved until victory crowned him. The great fiscal affairs of the nation, and the vast business interests of the country, he guarded and preserved while executing the law of resumption, and effected its object without a jar and against the false prophecies of one half of the press and of all the Democratic party.

He has shown himself able to meet with calmness the great emergencies of the government. For twenty-five years he has trodden the perilous heights of public duty, and against all the shafts of malice has borne his breast unharmed. He has stood in the blaze of "that fierce light that beats against the throne"; but its fiercest ray has found no flaw in his armor, no stain upon his shield. I do not present him as a better Republican or a better man than thousands of others that we honor; but I present him for your deliberate and favorable consideration. I nominate JOHN SHERMAN, OF OHIO.


From "The Speeches and Addresses of William E. Russell." Copyrighted 1893, by Little, Brown and Company, Boston, publishers.


As I stand here to-night, a Democrat, speaking to Democrats, and to men whose conscience party could not bind,—men who carry their sovereignty each under his own hat,—there comes vividly back to me the stirring words with which the chairman opened a similar meeting on the eve of the great battle of 1884, "This is a union meeting;" and, as he spoke, the minds of his hearers went back to war days, when principle was placed above party, and patriotism above partisanship.

Our union is not for the triumph of any man, but for the triumph of ideas; for a living faith, a progressive spirit. It is of that to-night I speak.

It has often been said that there was little difference between the two parties. Perhaps that was the criticism of honest men, whose earnest desire for honest candidates led them to look no farther. To-day every intelligent man in Massachusetts knows that there is a wide difference between the parties,—all the difference that there is between standing still and moving forward. I do not believe that this difference is accidental. It is the natural evolution of the history and purpose of the parties. A political prophet of a generation ago, who knew this history, who had studied the Democratic faith, had seen the birth of the Republican party and its purpose, could have predicted the position of the parties to-day. The Democratic party is old enough to have outlived and defeated all other parties, young enough to represent the progressive spirit of to-day. It must be founded on vital principles and have a living faith. Its creed from its first to its thirty-ninth article is an abiding trust in the people, a belief that men, irrespective of the accident of birth or fortune, have a right to a voice in the government that rules them. Its principles are the equality and freedom of all men in affairs of State and before the altar of their God,—that there should be allowed the greatest possible personal liberty, that a government least felt is best, that it should lightly and never unnecessarily impose its burdens of taxation and restriction, that in its administration there should be simplicity, purity, and economy, and in its form it should be closely within the reach and control of the people.

Progress, merely as progress, is nothing; but progress that sees the changes of a generation,—a blessed, lasting peace in place of the horrors and burdens of civil war, a reunited, loyal country; progress that hears the demand of the people for pure and economic administration, for relief from restrictions and taxation; progress that feels the discontent and suffering of great masses of the people,—this progress, if willing and ready to shape into legislation the new wishes and the new wants, rises to the height of statesmanship.


From a speech opening the National Democratic Convention, at Baltimore, Maryland, June, 1912.


It is not the wild and cruel methods of revolution and violence that are needed to correct the abuses incident to our Government as to all things human. Neither material nor moral progress lies that way. We have made our Government and our complicated institutions by appeals to reason, seeking to educate all our people that, day after day, year after year, century after century, they may see more clearly, act more justly, become more and more attached to the fundamental ideas that underlie our society. If we are to preserve undiminished the heritage bequeathed us, and add to it those accretions without which society would perish, we shall need all the powers that the school, the church, the court, the deliberative assembly, and the quiet thought of our people can bring to bear.

We are called upon to do battle against the unfaithful guardians of our Constitution and liberties and the hordes of ignorance which are pushing forward only to the ruin of our social and governmental fabric.

Too long has the country endured the offenses of the leaders of a party which once knew greatness. Too long have we been blind to the bacchanal of corruption. Too long have we listlessly watched the assembling of the forces that threaten our country and our firesides.

The time has come when the salvation of the country demands the restoration to place and power of men of high ideals who will wage unceasing war against corruption in politics, who will enforce the law against both rich and poor, and who will treat guilt as personal and punish it accordingly.

What is our duty? To think alike as to men and measures? Impossible! Even for our great party! There is not a reactionary among us. All Democrats are Progressives. But it is inevitably human that we shall not all agree that in a single highway is found the only road to progress, or each make the same man of all our worthy candidates his first choice.

It is possible, however, and it is our duty to put aside all selfishness, to consent cheerfully that the majority shall speak for each of us, and to march out of this convention shoulder to shoulder, intoning the praises of our chosen leader—and that will be his due, whichever of the honorable and able men now claiming our attention shall be chosen.


At the National Democratic Convention, Baltimore, Maryland, June, 1912.


The New Jersey delegation is commissioned to represent the great cause of Democracy and to offer you as its militant and triumphant leader a scholar, not a charlatan; a statesman, not a doctrinaire; a profound lawyer, not a splitter of legal hairs; a political economist, not an egotistical theorist; a practical politician, who constructs, modifies, restrains, without disturbance and destruction; a resistless debater and consummate master of statement, not a mere sophist; a humanitarian, not a defamer of characters and lives; a man whose mind is at once cosmopolitan and composite of America; a gentleman of unpretentious habits, with the fear of God in his heart and the love of mankind exhibited in every act of his life; above all a public servant who has been tried to the uttermost and never found wanting—matchless, unconquerable, the ultimate Democrat, Woodrow Wilson.

New Jersey has reasons for her course. Let us not be deceived in our premises. Campaigns of vilification, corruption and false pretence have lost their usefulness. The evolution of national energy is towards a more intelligent morality in politics and in all other relations. The situation admits of no compromise. The temper and purpose of the American public will tolerate no other view. The indifference of the American people to politics has disappeared. Any platform and any candidate not conforming to this vast social and commercial behest will go down to ignominious defeat at the polls.

Men are known by what they say and do. They are known by those who hate and oppose them. Many years ago Woodrow Wilson said, "No man is great who thinks himself so, and no man is good who does not try to secure the happiness and comfort of others." This is the secret of his life. The deeds of this moral and intellectual giant are known to all men. They accord, not with the shams and false pretences of politics, but make national harmony with the millions of patriots determined to correct the wrongs of plutocracy and reestablish the maxims of American liberty in all their regnant beauty and practical effectiveness. New Jersey loves Woodrow Wilson not for the enemies he has made. New Jersey loves him for what he is. New Jersey argues that Woodrow Wilson is the only candidate who can not only make Democratic success a certainty, but secure the electoral vote of almost every State in the Union.

New Jersey will indorse his nomination by a majority of 100,000 of her liberated citizens. We are not building for a day, or even a generation, but for all time. New Jersey believes that there is an omniscience in national instinct. That instinct centers in Woodrow Wilson. He has been in political life less than two years. He has had no organization; only a practical ideal—the reestablishment of equal opportunity. Not his deeds alone, not his immortal words alone, not his personality alone, not his matchless powers alone, but all combined compel national faith and confidence in him. Every crisis evolves its master. Time and circumstance have evolved Woodrow Wilson. The North, the South, the East, and the West unite in him. New Jersey appeals to this convention to give the nation Woodrow Wilson, that he may open the gates of opportunity to every man, woman, and child under our flag, by reforming abuses, and thereby teaching them, in his matchless words, "to release their energies intelligently, that peace, justice and prosperity may reign." New Jersey rejoices, through her freely chosen representatives, to name for the presidency of the United States the Princeton schoolmaster, Woodrow Wilson.


From "The Speeches and Addresses of William E. Russell." Copyrighted, 1894, by Little, Brown and Company, Boston, Publishers


For the honor and privilege of addressing this gathering of Young Democracy I am deeply grateful. With earnestness and enthusiasm, with devotion to the party and its principles, and with unflinching loyalty to its glorious leaders, Young Democracy meets to-day for organization and action. Gladly it volunteers in a campaign where its very faith is at stake; impatiently it awaits the coming of the battle.

We fight for measures, not men; the principles of government, not men's characters, are to be discussed; a nation's policy, not personal ambition, is to be determined.

Thank God, we enter the fight with a living faith, founded upon principles that are just, enduring, as old as the nation itself, yet ever young, vigorous, and progressive, because there is ever work for them to do. Our party was not founded for a single mission, which accomplished, left it drifting with no fixed star of principle to guide it. It was born and has lived to uphold great truths of government that need always to be enforced. The influence of the past speaks to us in the voice of the present. Jefferson and Jackson still lead us, not because they are glorious reminiscences, but because the philosophy of the one, the courage of the other, the Democracy of both, are potent factors in determining Democracy to-day.

We believe that a government which controls the lives, liberties, and property of a people in its administration should be honest, economical, and efficient; and in its form a local self-government kept near to the power that makes and obeys it. To safeguard the rights and liberty of the individual, the Democratic party demands home rule. Democracy stands beside the humblest citizen to protect him from oppressive government; it is the bulwark of the silent people to resist having the power and purpose of government warped by the clamorous demands of selfish interests. Its greatest good, its highest glory, is that it is, and is to be, the people's party. To it government is a power to protect and encourage men to make the most of themselves, and not something for men to make the most out of.

And, lastly, we believe in the success, the glory, and the splendid destiny of this great Republic. It leaped into life from the hands of Democrats. More than three-quarters of a century it has been nurtured and strengthened by Democratic rule. Under Democratic administrations, in its mighty sweep, it has stretched from ocean to ocean, not as a North and South and East and West, but now as a glorious Union of sovereign States, reunited in love and loyalty, a great nation of millions of loyal subjects.

The faith we profess is distinctly an American faith; the principles we proclaim are distinctly American principles, and have been from their first utterance in the Declaration of Independence to their latest in the platform of the St. Louis Convention; the policy they demand of us as Democrats is emphatically an American policy.

Our great leader lives in the faith we profess. He speaks in the principles we assert. He leads because we follow Democracy, its faith, its principles, and its policy and hail him as the foremost Democrat of the Nation. Thus comes victory. Thus victory means something. Thus power and responsibility go together, and the only influence behind him are the wishes, the rights, and the welfare of the great American people. In such a cause, with such a leader, there is no room for failure.

"To doubt would be disloyalty, To falter would be sin."



What can be more monstrous than that we, as we call ourselves, to some extent, an educated, a moral, and a Christian nation—at a moment when an accident of this kind occurs, before we have made a representation to the American government, before we have heard a word from it in reply—should be all up in arms, every sword leaping from its scabbard, and every man looking about for his pistols and his blunderbusses? I think the conduct pursued—and I have no doubt just the same is pursued by a certain class in America—is much more the conduct of savages than of Christian and civilized men. No, let us be calm. You recollect how we were dragged into the Russian war—how we "drifted" into it. You know that I, at least, have not upon my head any of the guilt of that fearful war. You know that it cost one hundred millions of money to this country; that it cost at least the lives of forty thousand Englishmen; that it disturbed your trade; that it nearly doubled the armies of Europe; that it placed the relations of Europe on a much less peaceful footing than before; and that it did not effect a single thing of all those that it was promised to effect.

Now, then, before I sit down, let me ask you what is this people, about which so many men in England at this moment are writing, and speaking, and thinking, with harshness, I think with injustice, if not with great bitterness? Two centuries ago, multitudes of the people of this country found a refuge on the North American continent, escaping from the tyranny of the Stuarts and from the bigotry of Laud. Many noble spirits from our country made great experiments in favor of human freedom on that continent. Bancroft, the great historian of his own country, has said, in his own graphic and emphatic language, "The history of the colonization of America is the history of the crimes of Europe."

At this very moment, then, there are millions in the United States who personally, or whose immediate parents have at one time been citizens of this country. They found a home in the Far West; they subdued the wilderness; they met with plenty there, which was not afforded them in their native country; and they have become a great people. There may be persons in England who are jealous of those States. There may be men who dislike democracy, and who hate a republic; there may be those whose sympathies warm only toward an oligarchy or a monarchy. But of this I am certain, that only misrepresentation the most gross, or calumny the most wicked, can sever the tie which unites the great mass of the people of this country with their friends and brethren beyond the Atlantic.

Now, whether the Union will be restored or not, or the South achieve an unhonored independence or not, I know not, and I predict not. But this I think I know—that in a few years, a very few years, the twenty millions of freemen in the North will be thirty millions, or even fifty millions—a population equal to or exceeding that of this kingdom. When that time comes, I pray that it may not be said among them, that in the darkest hour of their country's trials, England, the land of their fathers, looked on with icy coldness and saw unmoved the perils and calamities of her children. As for me, I have but this to say: I am but one in this audience, and but one in the citizenship of this country; but if all other tongues are silent, mine shall speak for that policy which tends, and which always shall tend, to generous thoughts, and generous words, and generous deeds, between the two great nations who speak the English language, and from their origin are alike entitled to the English name.



There has been no great day of hope for Ireland, no day when you might hope completely and definitely to end the controversy till now—more than ninety years. The long periodic time has at last run out, and the star has again mounted into the heavens. What Ireland was doing for herself in 1795 we at length have done. The Roman Catholics have been emancipated—emancipated after a woeful disregard of solemn promises through twenty-nine years, emancipated slowly, sullenly, not from good will, but from abject terror, with all the fruits and consequences which will always follow that method of legislation. The second problem has been also solved, and the representation of Ireland has been thoroughly reformed; and I am thankful to say that the franchise was given to Ireland on the readjustment of last year with a free heart, with an open hand; and the gift of that franchise was the last act required to make the success of Ireland in her final effort absolutely sure. We have given Ireland a voice; we must all listen for a moment to what she says. We must all listen, both sides, both parties—I mean as they are divided on this question—divided, I am afraid, by an almost immeasurable gap. We do not undervalue or despise the forces opposed to us. I have described them as the forces of class and its dependents; and that as a general description—as a slight and rude outline of a description—is, I believe, perfectly true. You have power, you have wealth, you have rank, you have station, you have organization. What have we? We think that we have the people's heart; we believe and we know we have the promise of the harvest of the future. As to the people's heart, you may dispute it, and dispute it with perfect sincerity. Let that matter make its own proof. As to the harvest of the future, I doubt if you have so much confidence; and I believe that there is in the breast of many a man who means to vote against us to- night a profound misgiving, approaching even to a deep conviction, that the end will be as we foresee, and not as you do—that the ebbing tide is with you, and the flowing tide with us. Ireland stands at your bar, expectant, hopeful, almost suppliant. Her words are the words of truth and soberness. She asks a blessed oblivion of the past, and in that oblivion our interest is deeper than even hers. My right honorable friend, the member for East Edinburgh, asks us tonight to abide by the traditions of which we are the heirs. What traditions? By the Irish traditions? Go into the length and breadth of the world, ransack the literature of all countries, find, if you can, a single voice, a single book—find, I would almost say, as much as a single newspaper article, unless the product of the day,—in which the conduct of England towards Ireland is anywhere treated except with profound and bitter condemnation. Are these the traditions by which we are exhorted to stand? No; they are a sad exception to the glory of our country. They are a broad and black blot upon the pages of its history; and what we want to do is to stand by the traditions of which we are the heirs in all matters except our relations with Ireland, and to make our relations with Ireland to conform to the other traditions of our country. So we treat our traditions, so we hail the demand of Ireland for what I call a blessed oblivion of the past. She asks also a boon for the future; and that boon for the future, unless we are much mistaken, will be a boon to us in respect of honor, no less than a boon to her in respect of happiness, prosperity, and peace. Such, sir, is her prayer. Think, I beseech you, think well, think wisely, think, not for the moment, but for the years that are to come, before you reject this Bill.




The case before the court is not of ordinary importance, nor of everyday occurrence. It affects not this college only, but every college, and all the literary institutions of the country. They have flourished hitherto, and have become in a high degree respectable and useful to the community. They have all a common principle of existence, the inviolability of their charters. It will be a dangerous, a most dangerous experiment to hold these institutions subject to the rise and fall of popular parties, and the fluctuations of political opinions. If the franchise may be at any time taken away, or impaired, the property also may be taken away, or its use perverted. Benefactors will have no certainty of effecting the object of their bounty; and learned men will be deterred from devoting themselves to the service of such institutions, from the precarious title of their offices. Colleges and halls will be deserted by all better spirits, and become a theater for the contentions of politics. Party and faction will be cherished in the places consecrated to piety and learning.

When the court in North Carolina declared the law of the State, which repealed a grant to its university, unconstitutional and void, the legislature had the candor and the wisdom to repeal the law. This example, so honorable to the State which exhibited it, is most fit to be followed on this occasion. And there is good reason to hope that a State which has hitherto been so much distinguished for temperate counsels, cautious legislation, and regard to law, will not fail to adopt a course which will accord with her highest and best interests, and in no small degree elevate her reputation.

It was for many and obvious reasons most anxiously desired that the question of the power of the legislature over this charter should have been finally decided in the State court. An earnest hope was entertained that the judges of the court might have reviewed the case in a light favorable to the rights of the trustees. That hope has failed. It is here that those rights are now to be maintained, or they are prostrated forever.

This, sir, is my case. It is the case, not merely of that humble institution, it is the case of every college in the land. It is more. It is the case of every eleemosynary institution throughout our country—of all those great charities formed by the piety of our ancestors, to alleviate human misery, and scatter blessings along the pathway of life. It is more! It is, in some sense, the case of every man among us who has property, of which he may be stripped, for the question is simply this: Shall our State legislatures be allowed to take that which is not their own; to turn it from its original use, and to apply it to such ends or purposes as they in their discretion shall see fit?

Sir, you may destroy this little institution; it is weak; it is in your hands! I know it is one of the lesser lights in the literary horizon of our country. You may put it out. But, if you do so, you must carry through your work! You must extinguish, one after another, all those greater lights of science, which, for more than a century, have thrown their radiance over our land!

It is, sir, as I have said, a small college, and yet there are those who love it.

Sir, I know not how others may feel, but for myself, when I see my Alma Mater surrounded, like Caesar, in the senate house, by those who are reiterating stab after stab, I would not, for this right hand, have her turn to me, and say, et tu quoque, mi fili! And thou too, my son!



Gentlemen of the Jury,—It is true that the offense charged in the indictment in this case is not capital; but perhaps this can hardly be considered as favorable to the defendants. To those who are guilty, and without hope of escape, no doubt the lightness of the penalty of transgression gives consolation. But if the defendants are innocent, it is more natural for them to be thinking upon what they have lost by that alteration of the law which has left highway robbery no longer capital, than what the guilty might gain by it. They have lost those great privileges in their trial, which the law allows, in capital cases, for the protection of innocence against unfounded accusation. They have lost the right of being previously furnished with a copy of the indictment, and a list of the government witnesses. They have lost the right of peremptory challenge; and, notwithstanding the prejudices which they know have been excited against them, they must show legal cause of challenge, in each individual case, or else take the jury as they find it. They have lost the benefit of assignment of counsel by the court. They have lost the benefit of the Commonwealth's process to bring in witnesses in their behalf. When to these circumstances it is added that they are strangers, almost wholly without friends, and without the means for preparing their defense, it is evident they must take their trial under great disadvantages.

But without dwelling on these considerations, I proceed, Gentlemen of the Jury, to ask your attention to those circumstances which cannot but cast doubts on the story of the prosecutor.

The jury will naturally look to the appearances exhibited on the field after the robbery. The portmanteau was there. The witnesses say that the straps which fastened it to the saddle had been neither cut nor broken. They were carefully unbuckled. This was very considerate for robbers. It had been opened, and its contents were scattered about the field. The pocket book, too, had been opened, and many papers it contained found on the ground. Nothing valuable was lost but money. The robbers did not think it well to go off at once with the portmanteau and the pocket book. The place was so secure, so remote, so unfrequented; they were so far from the highway, at least one full rod; there were so few persons passing, probably not more than four or five then in the road, within hearing of the pistols and the cries of Goodridge; there being, too, not above five or six dwelling-houses, full of people, within the hearing of the report of a pistol; these circumstances were all so favorable to their safety, that the robbers sat down to look over the prosecutor's papers, carefully examined the contents of his pocket book and portmanteau, and took only the things which they needed! There was money belonging to other persons. The robbers did not take it. They found out it was not the prosecutor's, and left it. It may be said to be favorable to the prosecutor's story, that the money which did not belong to him, and the plunder of which would seem to be the most probable inducement he could have to feign a robbery, was not taken. But the jury will consider whether this circumstance does not bear quite as strongly the other way, and whether they can believe that robbers could have left this money, either from accident or design.


The witnesses on the part of the prosecution have testified that the defendants, when arrested, manifested great agitation and alarm; paleness overspread their faces, and drops of sweat stood on their temples. This satisfied the witnesses of the defendants' guilt, and they now state the circumstances as being indubitable proof. This argument manifests, in those who use it, an equal want of sense and sensibility. It is precisely fitted to the feeling and the intellect of a bum-bailiff. In a court of justice it deserves nothing but contempt. Is there nothing that can agitate the frame or excite the blood but the consciousness of guilt? If the defendants were innocent, would they not feel indignation at this unjust accusation? If they saw an attempt to produce false evidence against them, would they not be angry? And, seeing the production of such evidence, might they not feel fear and alarm? And have indignation, and anger, and terror no power to affect the human countenance or the human frame?

Miserable, miserable, indeed, is the reasoning which would infer any man's guilt from his agitation when he found himself accused of a heinous offense; when he saw evidence which he might know to be false and fraudulent brought against him; when his house was filled, from the garret to the cellar, by those whom he might esteem as false witnesses; and when he himself, instead of being at liberty to observe their conduct and watch their motions, was a prisoner in close custody in his own house, with the fists of a catchpoll clenched upon his throat.

From the time of the robbery to the arrest, five or six weeks, the defendants were engaged in their usual occupations. They are not found to have passed a dollar of money to anybody. They continued their ordinary habits of labor. No man saw money about them, nor any circumstance that might lead to a suspicion that they had money. Nothing occurred tending in any degree to excite suspicion against them. When arrested, and when all this array of evidence was brought against them, and when they could hope in nothing but their innocence, immunity was offered them again if they would confess. They were pressed, and urged, and allured, by every motive which could be set before them, to acknowledge their participation in the offense, and to bring out their accomplices. They steadily protested that they could confess nothing because they knew nothing. In defiance of all the discoveries made in their house, they have trusted to their innocence. On that, and on the candor and discernment of an enlightened jury, they still rely.

If the jury are satisfied that there is the highest improbability that these persons could have had any previous knowledge of Goodridge, or been concerned in any previous concert to rob him; if their conduct that evening and the next day was marked by no circumstance of suspicion; if from that moment until their arrest nothing appeared against them; if they neither passed money, nor are found to have had money; if the manner of the search of their house, and the circumstances attending it, excite strong suspicions of unfair and fraudulent practices; if, in the hour of their utmost peril, no promises of safety could draw from the defendants any confession affecting themselves or others, it will be for the jury to say whether they can pronounce them guilty.


Published in Depew's "Library of Oratory," E. J. Bowen and Company, New York, publishers.


Who is John E. Cook?

He has the right himself to be heard before you; but I will answer for him. Sprung from an ancestry of loyal attachment to the American government, he inherits no blood of tainted impurity. His grandfather, an officer of the Revolution, by which your liberty, as well as mine, was achieved, and his gray-haired father, who lived to weep over him, a soldier of the war of 1812, he brings no dishonored lineage into your presence. Born of a parent stock occupying the middle walks of life, and possessed of all those tender and domestic virtues which escape the contamination of those vices that dwell on the frozen peaks, or in the dark and deep caverns of society, he would not have been here had precept and example been remembered in the prodigal wanderings of his short and checkered life.

Poor deluded boy! wayward, misled child! An evil star presided over thy natal hour and smote it with gloom.

In an evil hour—and may it be forever accursed!—John E. Cook met John Brown on the prostituted plains of Kansas. On that field of fanaticism, three years ago, this fair and gentle youth was thrown into contact with the pirate and robber of civil warfare.

Now look at John Cook, the follower. He is in evidence before you. Never did I plead for a face that I was more willing to show. If evil is there, I have not seen it. If murder is there, I am to learn to mark the lines of the murderer anew. If the assassin is in that young face, then commend me to the look of an assassin. No, gentlemen, it is a face for a mother to love, and a sister to idolize, and in which the natural goodness of his heart pleads trumpet-tongued against the deep damnation that estranged him from home and its principles.

John Brown was the despotic leader and John E. Cook was an ill-fated follower of an enterprise whose horror be now realizes and deplores. I defy the man, here or elsewhere, who has ever known John E. Cook, who has ever looked once fully into his face, and learned anything of his history, to lay his hand on his heart and say that he believes him guilty of the origin or the results of the outbreak at Harper's Ferry.

Here, then, are the two characters whom you are thinking to punish alike. Can it be that a jury of Christian men will find no discrimination should be made between them? Are the tempter and the tempted the same in your eyes? Is the beguiled youth to die the same as the old offender who has pondered his crimes for thirty years? Are there no grades in your estimations of guilt? Is each one, without respect to age or circumstances, to be beaten with the same number of stripes?

Such is not the law, human or divine. We are all to be rewarded according to our works, whether in punishment for evil, or blessings for good that we have done. You are here to do justice, and if justice requires the same fate to befall Cook that befalls Brown, I know nothing of her rules, and do not care to learn. They are as widely asunder, in all that constitutes guilt, as the poles of the earth, and should be dealt with accordingly. It is in your power to do so, and by the principles by which you yourselves are willing to be judged hereafter, I implore you to do it!


Published in "Depew's Library of Oratory," E. J. Bowen and Company, New York, publishers


May it please your honors, and you gentlemen of the jury,—We have at length gone through the evidence in behalf of the prisoners. The witnesses have now placed before you that state of facts from which results our defense.

I stated to you, gentlemen, your duty in opening this cause—do not forget the discharge of it. You are paying a debt you owe the community for your own protection and safety: by the same mode of trial are your own rights to receive a determination; and in your turn a time may come when you will expect and claim a similar return from some other jury of your fellow subjects.

How much need was there for my desire that you should suspend your judgment till the witnesses were all examined? How different is the complexion of the cause? Will not all this serve to show every honest man the little truth to be attained in partial hearings? In the present case, how great was the prepossession against us? And I appeal to you, gentlemen, what cause there now is to alter our sentiments? Will any sober, prudent man countenance the proceedings of the people in King Street,—can any one justify their conduct,—is there any one man or any body of men who are interested to espouse and support their conduct?

Surely, no! But our inquiry must be confined to the legality of their conduct, and here can be no difficulty. It was certainly illegal, unless many witnesses are directly perjured: witnesses, who have no apparent interest to falsify,—witnesses who have given their testimony with candor and accuracy,—witnesses whose credibility stands untouched,—whose credibility the counsel for the king do not pretend to impeach or hint a suggestion to their disadvantage.

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