Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

a condition did he find you! The great body of the people pining in ab'ject poverty; thousands suffering for the want of daily bread; eager to labor, but without a clod of earth they could call their own! A few men, rapacious, insatiate, reckless, claiming to be the aristocracy (the aristocracy!), having amassed enormous wealth by extortion and fraud, lorded it over you with remorseless rigor.

2. The class of small landed proprietors had disappeared. Mercenary idlers, their fingers itching for bribes, political tricksters, hungry usurers, desperate gamblers, all the vilest abettors of lawless power, had usurped the places of men once the strength and glory of the republic. Incalculable distress among the millions, unbounded wealth and prodigality among the hundreds, — such was the state of things!

3. The rich might crush and plunder the poor with impunity; for your rulers were corrupt, your judges cowardly and venal, and money could buy them all to aid in any act of spoliation. And bribery at elections -open, unblushing, flagrant-kept in power the men who were thus sapping the life-blood of the country. Do I exaggerate? Do I not rather too faintly picture the deep woe and degradation of the people, the rapacity, arrogance, and depravity, of their oppressors !

4. It was at such a time that Tiberius Gracchus presented himself to you for the trib'uneship, and was elected. His affectionate heart had been wrung by the spectacle of your distresses. He had seen with indignation the atrocious system under which you were plundered and down-trodden. He resolved upon your rescue He flung defiance at your domestic tyrants. He swiftly put an end to that system of fraud by which they robbed you of the public lands.

5. No shelter of wealth, no privilege of rank or of high place, could save the guilty from his honest

wrath, his fiery denunciation. In vain did they retort with the cheap words "demagogue!" "factionist!" "an'archist!" There was that truthfulness in his very tones, that simplicity and nobleness in his very bearing, that dignity and gentleness in his very rage against wrong, that carried conviction of his sincerity to every heart.

6. O how they grew pale with anger, those aris'tocrats, as they called themselves, when they felt their power melting away; when they saw the people recovering their rights, under the resistless eloquence of that young, devoted spirit! He must be silenced, this audacious trib'une, this questioner of the incorruptibility of the privileged classes, this friend and leader of the people; - he must be silenced! A bloody revenge must be taken for the fears, which he has made these plunderers endure, of being deprived of their illegally-got possessions.

7. Alas! the foul deed was done. In a tumult, instigated for the purpose, your illustrious trib'une, this champion of the poor, this friend of the friendless, was slain. His very body, which his friends sought from his murderers, was refused them; and your sacred river was made more sacred by receiving in its bosom all of Tiberius Gracchus that could perish.

8. And now, men of Rome, if you ask, as those who fear me have asked, why I have left my quěstorship in Sardinia without leave from the Senate, here is my answer: I must either have come to you without leave, or not at all. And if you ask why I have come at all, here is my reply: I have come to present myself for the office my brother held, and for serving you in which he was brutally murdered.

9. I have come to vindicate his memory, to reïnaugurate his policy. I have come-I avow it frankly to strip the privileged classes of their privileges, to


restore popular rights, to uplift the crushed, to bring down the oppressor.


10. I come with clean hands, O Romans! — with no coffers filled with gold from desolated provinces and a ruined people. I can offer no bribe for votes. I come back poor as I went, - poor in all but hatred of tyrants, and zeal to serve my country. Shall I be your trib'une ? *

[ocr errors]


SLEDGE, n., a sled; a sleigh.
ANXIOUS, a., concerned; uneasy.
WAY'FAR-ER, n., a traveler.
GRAD'U-AL-LY, ad., by degrees.,

BAY'O-NET, n., a dagger fixed at the
end of a gun.
SAT'IS-FIED, pp., made content.
THREAT EN-ING, ppr., menacing.
PEOPLE, n., persons in general.

RE-COV'ERED, v. t., regained.

Pronounce the u in Russian like u in rule; exhaust, egz-hawst' (not ex-awst').

1. A FEW days before Christmas, in the year 1840, a Russian clergyman was going home, from a place at some distance from the village where he lived. Evening was fast approaching, and the weather was so bitterly cold that it was almost dangerous for any one to be out. The good man was wrapped in a fur cloak, and traveled in a sledge, drawn at great speed, by a single horse, over the hard, smooth snow.

2. As the clergyman drove along, he saw something lying on the ground, and stopped to see what it was. He found that it was the body of a soldier, who seemed to have fallen down exhausted with the cold, and was, to all appearance, dead. The clergyman, however, would not leave him on the road, but lifted him and the gun lying beside him into the sledge, and, cheer

*Caius Gracchus was elected tribune B. C. 124. He entered boldly upon his patriotic policy, and carried out many important reforms; but the aristocracy, growing desperate, induced a creature of their own to outbid him in extreme measures, and brought about a state of things which resulted in the defeat and subsequent death of Caius Gracchus.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

ing on his horse, drove as fast as he could to the next inn, which it took about half an hour to reach.

3. Although anxious to be at home, the clergyman was not satisfied with leaving the poor soldier in the care of the people at the inn. He stayed for an hour, directing and helping them to do all that was possible in order to bring the man to conscious life again. And at length their endeavors were successful. Gradually the half-frozen wayfarer recovered his senses and the use of his limbs.

4. Then the clergyman set off homeward, having first rewarded the people of the inn, and also given them money to pay for a good meal for the soldier. As soon as the latter was refreshed, and felt able to go, he insisted on doing so, although the people did all they could to persuade him not to venture out again that night. But he said that he was carrying important letters, and must not delay any longer than was necessary.

5. So, taking his gun, he proceeded on his way, which he found would very soon bring him to the vil lage where lived the clergyman to whom he owed his life. On reaching the place, though it was now very late at night, he could not forbear going to the clergyman's house, that he might, if possible, see and thank the good old man for what he had done.

6. As the honest soldier went up to the house, he saw that, though it was so late, there were still lights in it; and, as he came nearer, he heard loud voices and great confusion within. He ran to the door, but it was fastened. Without waiting Without waiting to knock, he went to the window close by, and, looking in, saw the clergyman surrounded by four armed robbers. They had just tied his hands and feet, and were threatening to murder him if he would not tell them where his money was to be found.

7. The soldier instantly forced his way in, and fired his gun at one of the robbers, wounding him severely. The others attacked the new comer, but he disabled one with his bayonet, and the other two, becoming alarmed, rushed out of the house, leaving the clergyman, as may be supposed, overpowered by astonishment and gratitude at his sudden deliverance. And then his still deeper and happier feelings may be imagined when he found that the poor man, whose life he had saved only a few hours before, had now been made the means of preserving his own!

Cinnie Robinson


PHRASE (frāze), n., a form of speech. | VO-CA'TION, n., calling; trade.
SCOURGE (skurj), n., a torturing whip. MED'I-TATE, v., to muse; think.
MAR'TIAL, α., pertaining to war. EP'I-TAPH (ep'e-taf), n., an inscrip-
SPECIES, n., a sort; class; kind.
tion on a tombstone.
BRILLIANT, a., shining; splendid. IN-DOM'I-TA-BLE, a., not to be suh
BE-QUEATH', v. t., to give by will.

Do not say re-nyown for re-nown'; appint for ap-point'. See Exercises on the Elementary Sounds, paragraphs 15 and 16. The mark over the second e in blessed is a diæresis, and indicates that there is a separation from the preceding syllable in the sound of the vowel, thus: bless'ed. Sound the h in hum'ble. Pronounce Broughor Broom.

1. THERE is nothing which the ad'versaries of improvement are more wont to make themselves merry with, than what is termed the "march of intellect;" and here I will confess that I think, as far as the phrase goes, they are in the right. It is a very absurd, because a very incorrect, expression. It is little calculated to describe the operation in question.

2. It does not picture an image at all resembling the proceeding of the true friends of mankind. It much more resembles the progress of the enemy to all improvement. The conqueror moves in a march. He stalks onward with the "pride, pomp, and circum

[merged small][ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »