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It is rather a spark of fervent heat, as well as radiant light, with power to enkindle the common mass of human mind; so that when it glimmers, in its own decay, and finally goes out in death, no night follows, but it leaves the world all light, all on fire, from the potent contact of its own spirit. Bacon died; but the human understanding, roused, by the touch of his miraculous wand, to a perception of the true philosophy, and the just mode of inquiring after truth, has kept on its course successfully and gloriously. Newton died; yet the courses of the spheres are still known, and they yet move on, in the orbits which he saw, and described for them, in the in. finity of space.
CLXXXIII.-TLE NATURE OF TRUE ELOQUENCE.
Extract from the same Discourse.
WHENEVER public bodies, fellow.citizens, are to be ad. dressed on momentous occasions; when great interests are at stake, and strong passions excited, the eloquence of those who address such bodies should be bold, manly, and ener. getic ; and such as the crisis requires. Nothing, then, is valuable in speech, farther than it is connected with high in. tellectual and moral endowments. Clearness, force, and earnestness, are the qualities which produce conviction. True eloquence, indeed, does not consist in speech. It cannot be brought from far. Labor and learning may toil for it, but they will toil in vain. Words and phrases may be marshalled in every way, but they cannot compass it. It must exist in the man, in the subject, and in the occasion. Affected passion, intense expression, the pomp of declamation, all may aspire after it-they cannot reach it. It comes, if it come at all, like the outbreaking of a fountain from the earth, or the bursting forth of volcanic fires, with spontaneous, original, native force. The graces taught in the schools, the costly ornaments and studied contrivances of speech, shock and disgust men, when their own lives, and the fate of their wives, their children, and their country, bang on the decision of the hour. Then words have lost their power, rhetoric is vain,
and all elaborate orafory contemptible. Even genius itself then feels rebuked, and subdued, as in the presence of higher qualities. Then, patriotism is eloquent; then, self-devotion is eloquent. The clear conception, out-running the deduc. tions of logic, the high purpose, the firm resolve, the daunt. less spirit, speaking on the tongue, beaming from the eye, informing every feature, and urging the whole man onward, right onward to his object—this, this is eloquence; or rather it is something greater and higher than all eloquence, it is action, noble, sublime, godlike action.
CLXXXIV.-JOHN ADAMS ADVOCATING THE DECLARATION OF
Extract from the same Discourse.
Mr. President,-SINK or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my hand, and my heart, to this vote. It is true, indeed, that in the beginning, we aimed not at inde. pendence. But there's a Divinity that shapes our ends. The injustice of England has driven us to arms; and, blind. ed to her own interest for our good, she has obstinately persisted, till independence is now within our grasp. We have but to reach forth to it, and it is ours. Why then should we defer the declaration ?
If we fail, it can be no worse for us. But we shall not fail. The cause will raise up armies ; the cause will cre. ate navies. The people,-the people, if we are true to them, will carry us, and will carry themselves, gloriously, through this struggle. I care not how fickle other people have been found. I know the people of these colonies, and I know that resistance to British aggression is deep and settled in
Mr. Adams may be said to have been the great advocate for the Declaration of American Independence. The present Speech is one which Mr. Webster supposes him to have made ; for few, if any, of the remarks of those who advocated the cause of Independence, were reported. Though it is headed “Mr. Adams advocating,” it might more properly be headed, Mr. Webster, placing himself in Mr. Adams' situation, advocating the cause of Independence.
their hearts, and cannot be eradicated. Read this declaration at the head of the army; every sword will be drawn from its scabbard, and the solemn vow uttered to maintain it, or to perish on the bed of honor. Publish it from the pulpit ; re. ligion will approve it, and the love of religious liberty will cling round it, resolved to stand with it, or fall with it. Send it to the public halls; proclaim it there ; let them hear it, who heard the first roar of the enemy's cannon ; let them see it, who saw their brothers and their sons fall on the field of Bunker Hill, and in the streets of Lexington and Concord, and the very walls will cry out in its support. Sir, I know the uncertainty of human affairs, but I see,
I see clearly, through this day's business. You and I, indeed, may rue it. We may not live to the time, when this declaration shall be made good. We may die; die, colonists; die, slaves; die, it may be, ignominiously and on the scaffold. Be it so. Be it so.
If it be the pleasure of Heaven that my country shall require the poor offering of my life, the victim shall be ready, at the appointed hour of sacrifice, come when that hour may. But while I do live, let me have a country, or at least the hope of a country, and that a free country.
But, whatever may be our fate, be assured, be assured, that this declaration will stand. It may cost treasure, and it may cost blood; but it will stand, and it will richly compensate for both. Through the thick gloom of the present, I see the brightness of the future, as the sun in Heaven. We shall make this a glorious, an immortal day. When we are in our graves, our children will honor it. They will celebrate it, with thanksgiving, with festivity, with bonfires, and illumina. tinne. On its annual return they will shed tears, copious, gushing tears, not of subjection and slavery, not of agony and distress, but of exultation, of gratitude, and of joy. Sir, be. fore God, I believe the hour is come. My judgment approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope, in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it; and I leave off, as I begun, that live or die, survive or perish, I am for the declaration. It is my living sentiment, and, by the blessing of God, it shall be my dying sentiment; independence, now; and INDEPEN
DENCE FOR EVER.
CLXXXV.-THE ATTITUDO IN WHICH AMERIOA MTANDS TO THE
REST OY THE WORLD.
Extract from the same Discourse.
Tür striking attitude, my fellow citizens, in which, as Americans, we stand to the world around us, (a topic to which, I fear, I advert too often, and dwell on too long,) cannot be altogether omitted here. Neither individuals nor nations can perform their part well, until they understand and feel its importance, and comprebend and justly appreciate all the du. ties belonging to it. It is not to inflate national vanity, nor to swell a light and empty feeling of self-importance, but it is, that we may judge justly of our situation, and of our own duties, that I earnestly urge this consideration of our position, and our character, among the nations of the earth. It cannot be denied, but by those who would dispute against the sun, that with America, and in America, a new era commences in human affairs. This era is distinguished by Free Representative Governments, by entire religious liberty, by improved systems of national intercourse, by a newly awakened, and an un. conquerable spirit of free inquiry, and by a diffusion of know. ledge through the community, such as has been before alto. gether unknown and unheard of. America, America, our country, fellow citizens, our own dear and native land, is inseparably connected, fast bound up, in fortune and by fate, with these great interests. If they fall, we fall with them; if they stand, it will be because we have upholden them. Let us contem. plate, then, this connexion, which binds the prosperity of others to our own; and let us manfully discharge all the du. ties which it imposes. If we cherish the virtues and the principles of our fathers, Heaven will assist us to carry on the work of human liberty and human happiness. Auspicious omens cheer us. Great examples are before us.
Our own firmament now shines brightly upon our path. WASHINGTON is in the clear upper sky. These other stars have now joined the American constellation ; they circle round their centre, and the heavens beam with new light. Beneath this illumi. nation, let us walk the course of life, and at its close devoutly commend our beloved country, the common parent of us all, to the Divine Benignity.