Abbildungen der Seite

Their crashing battle, hold their thunders in,
Swimming like birds of calm along the unharmful

No challenge sends she to the elder world,
That looked askance and hated; a light scorn
Plays on her mouth, as round her mighty knees

She calls her children back, and waits the morn Of nobler day, enthroned between her subject seas.”

Bow down, dear Land, for thou has found release!
Thy God, in these distempered days,
Hath taught thee the sure wisdom of his ways,
And through thine enemies hath wrought thy peace!
Bow down in prayer and praise !
O Beautiful ! my Country ! ours once more!
Smoothing thy gold of war-dishevelled hair
O'er such sweet brows as never other wore,

And letting thy set lips,

Freed from wrath's pale eclipse,
The rosy edges of their smile lay bare,
What words divine of lover or of poet
Could tell our love and make thee know it,
Among the Nations bright beyond compare ?
What were our lives without thee?
What all our lives to save thee?
We reck not what we gave thee;

We will not dare to doubt thee,
But ask whatever else, and we will dare !


James Russell Lowell.

WE yield to none in reverence for the past ; it is there only that the imagination can find repose and seclusion; there dwells that silent majority whose experience guides our action and whose wisdom shapes our thought in spite of ourselves ;—but it is not length of days that can make evil reverend, nor persistence in inconsistency that can give it the power or the claim of precedent. Wrong, though its title-deeds go back to the days of Sodom, is by nature a thing of yesterday, – while the right, of which we became conscious, but an hour ago, is more ancient than the stars, and of the essence of Heaven. That slavery is old, is but its greater condemnation. There is one institution to which we owe our first allegiance, one that is more sacred and venerable than any other, — the soul and conscience of man.

What claim has slavery to immunity from discussion ? We are told that discussion is dangerous. Dangerous to what ? Truth invites it, courts the point of the Ithuriel-spear whose touch can but reveal more clearly the grace and grandeur of her angelic proportions. Is anything of God's contriving endangered by inquiry? Was it the system of the universe, or the monks, that trembled at the telescope of Galileo ? Did the circulation of the firmament stop in terror because Newton laid his daring finger on its pulse ? But it is idle to discuss a proposition so monstrous !

There is no right of sanctuary for a crime against humanity, and they who drag an unclean thing to the horns of the altar, bring it to vengeance and not to safety!



A GOVERNMENT cannot have too much of the kind of activity which does not impede, but aids and stimulates individual exertion and development. The mischief begins when, instead of calling forth the activity and powers of individuals and bodies, it substitutes its own activity for theirs ; when, instead of informing, advising, and upon occasion denouncing, it makes them work in fetters, or bids them stand aside and does their work for them. The worth of a state, in the long run, is the worth of the individuals composing it; and a state which postpones the interests of their mental expansion and elevation to a little more of administrative skill, or that semblance of it which practice gives in the details of business; a state, which dwarfs its men in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands, even for beneficial purposes, will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished ; and that the perfection of machinery to which it has sacrificed everything, will in the end avail it nothing for want of the vital power which, in order that the machine might work more smoothly, it has preferred to banish.



My reason for loving a republican form of government, and for preferring it to any other— to monarchical and despotic governments — is not that it clothes me with rights which these withhold from me, but that it makes fewer encroachments than they do, on the rights which God gave me — on the divinely appointed scope of man's agency. I prefer, in a word, the republican system because it comes up more clearly to God's system.

It is not, then, to the constitutions of my nation and state that I am indebted for the right of free discussion — though I am thankful for the glorious defence with which those instruments surround that right. No ; God himself gave me this right; and a sufficient proof that He did so is to be found in the fact that he requires me to exercise it. Take from the men who compose the church of Christ on earth the right of free discussion, and you disable them for His service. They are now the lame, and the dumb, and the blind. In vain is it now that you bid them “hold forth the word of life” — in vain that you bid them “not to suffer sin upon a neighbor, but in any wise to rebuke him ” — in vain is it that you bid them “go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

If God made me to be one of his instruments for carrying forward the salvation of the world, then is the right of free discussion among my inherent rights; then

[ocr errors][merged small]

may I, must I, speak of sin, any sin, every sin, that comes in my way — any sin, every sin, which it is my duty to search out and to assail. When, therefore, this right is called in question, then is the invasion not of something obtained from human convention and human concession, but the invasion of a birthright of that which is as old as our being, and a part of the original

[ocr errors]





Do you know how empires find their end? Yes; the great states eat up the little: as with fish so with nations. Ay, but how do the great states come to an end ? By their own injustice and no other cause. Come with me, my friends, come with me into the Inferno of the nations, with such poor guidance as my lamp can lend. Let us disquiet and bring up the awful shadows of empires buried long ago, and learn a lesson from the tomb.

Come, old Assyria, with the Ninevitish dove upon thy emerald crown! What laid thee low ? “I fell by my own injustice. Thereby Nineveh and Babylon came with me to the ground.” O queenly Persia, flame of the nations, wherefore art thou so fallen, who troddest the people under thee, bridgedst the Hellespont with ships, and pouredst thy temple-wasting millions on the western world ? “Because I trod the people under me, and bridged the Hellespont with ships, and poured my

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »