« AnkstesnisTęsti »
Thy stars have lit the welkin dome,
2. DEATH OF JEREMIAH MASON, 1849.-Webster.
Sir, political eminence and professional fame fade and die with all things earthly. Nothing of character is really permanent, but virtue and personal worth. They remain. Whatever of excellence is wrought into the soul itself, belongs to both worlds. Real goodness does not attach itself merely to this life, it points to another world. Political or professional fame cannot last for ever, but a conscience void of offence before God and man, is an inheritance for eternity. Religion, therefore, is a necessary, an indispensable element in any great human character. There is no living without it. Religion is the tie that connects man with his Creator and holds him to his throne. If that tie be all sundered, all broken, he floats away, a worthless atom in the universe, its proper attractions all gone, its destiny thwarted, and its whole future, nothing but darkness, desolation and death. A man with no sense of religious duty is he whom the Scriptures describe-in so terse but terrific a manner as "living without God in the world." Such a man is out of his proper being, out of the circle of all his duties, out of the circle of all his happiness, and away, far, far away from the purposes of his creation.
A mind like Mr. Mason's, active, thoughtful, pene
trating, sedate, could not but meditate deeply on the condition of man below and feel its responsibilities. He could not look on this wondrous frame
'This universal frame, thus wondrous fair,'
without feeling that it was created and upheld by an Intelligence to which all other intelligence must be responsible. I am bound to say, that in the course of my life I never met with an individual, in any profession or condition of life, who always spoke and always thought with such awful reverence of the power and presence of God. No irreverence, no lightness, even no too familiar allusion to God and his attributes ever escaped his lips. The very notion of a Supreme Being was with him made up of awe and solemnity. It filled the whole of his great mind with the strongest emotions. A man, like him, with all his proper sentiments and sensibilities alive in him, must in this state of existence, have something to believe and something to hope for; or else as life is advancing to its close and parting, all is heartsinking and oppression. Depend upon it-whatever else may be the mind of an old man-old age is only really happy, when, on feeling the enjoyments of this world pass away, it begins to lay a stronger hold on those of another.
Mr. Mason's religious sentiments and feelings were the crowning glories of his character.
He died in old age: but not by a violent stroke from the hand of death, not by the sudden rupture of the ties of nature, but by the gradual wearing out of life. He enjoyed through life, indeed, remarkable health.
He took competent exercise, loved the open air, and avoided all extreme theories and practice; he controlled his conduct and practice of life by the rules of prudence and moderation. His death was, therefore, not unlike that described by the Angel, admonishing Adam :
I yield it just, said Adam, and submit;
"There is, said Michael, if thou well observe
Till many years over thy head return:
So may'st thou live; till, like ripe fruit, thou drop
Gather'd, not harshly pluck'd, for death mature:
3. AGAINST REPUDIATION, 1843.-(Webster at Rochester).
What can be the debt of a State like Pennsylvania, that she should not be able to pay it--that she cannot pay it, if she will but take from her pocket the money that she has in it ?-England's debt is engrafted upon her very soil; she is bound down to the very earth by it; and it will affect England and Englishmen, to the fiftieth generation. But the debt of Pennsylvania—the debt of Illinois-the debt of any State in the Union, amounts not to a sixpence in comparison. Let us be AMERICANS--but let us avoid, as we despise, the character of an acknowledged insolvent community.
What importance is it what other nations say of us,
or what they think of us--if they can nevertheless say, 'you don't pay your debts?" Now, gentlemen, I belong to Massachusetts-but if I belonged to a deeply indebted State, I'd work these ten fingers to their stumps, I'd hold plough, I'd drive plough, I'd do both, before it should be said of the State to which I belonged, that she did not pay her debts. That's the true principle-let us act upon it, let us go it" to its full extent ! If it costs us our comforts, let us sacrifice our comforts; if it costs us our farms, let us mortgage our farms.-But don't let it be said by the proud capitalists of England, “you don't pay your debts." You, Republican Governments, don't pay your debts." Let us say to them WE WILL pay them," we will pay them to the uttermost farthing." That's my firm conviction of what we ought to do. That's my opinion, and water can't drown --fire can't burn it out of me. If America owes a debt, let her pay it let her PAY IT. What I have is ready for the sacrifice. What you have I know would be ready for the sacrifice. At any rate and at any sacrifice, don't let it be said on the exchanges of London or Paris, don't let it be said in any one of the proud monarchies of Europe-" America owes, and can't, or won't pay."God forbid !-Let us pay-let us PAY! * * *
4. OUR COUNTRY'S HONOR OUR OWN.-(Webster at Marshfield). Gentlemen, I came here to confer with you as friends and countrymen, to speak my own mind, but if
all should speak, and occupy as much time as I have we should make a late meeting. I shall detain you no longer. I have been long in public life--far longer-far
longer than I shall remain there. I have had some participation for more than thirty years in the councils of the country; I profess to feel a strong attachment to the liberty of the United States-to the constitution and free institutions of the United States-to the honor, and I may say the glory, of this great Government and great Country. I feel every injury inflicted upon this country, almost as a personal injury. I blush for every fault which I think I see committed in its public councils, as if they were faults or mistakes of my own. I know that, at this moment, there is no object upon earth so attracting the gaze of the intelligent and civilized nations of the earth as this great Republic. All men look at us, all men examine our course, all good men are anxious for a favorable result to this great experiment of Republican liberty. We are on a hill, and cannot be hid. We cannot withdraw ourselves either from the commendation or the reproaches of the civilized world. They see us as that star of empire which half a century ago was predicted as making its way westward. I wish they may see it as a mild, placid, though brilliant orb, making its way, athwart the whole heavens, to the enlightening and cheering of mankind and not a meteor of fire and blood, terrifying the nations.
5. THE TRUE SOURCE OF REFORM.-Rev. E. H. Chapin.
The great element of reform is not born of human wisdom: it does not draw its life from human organizations. I find it only in CHRISTIANITY. Thy kingdom come!" There is a sublime and pregnant burden