David J. (David Josiah) Brewer.

Crowned masterpieces of eloquence, representing the advance of civilization, as collected in The world's best orations, from the earliest period to the present time (Volume 10) online

. (page 29 of 56)
Online LibraryDavid J. (David Josiah) BrewerCrowned masterpieces of eloquence, representing the advance of civilization, as collected in The world's best orations, from the earliest period to the present time (Volume 10) → online text (page 29 of 56)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

all Lombardy. The Dukes of JParma and Mo-
dena are indebted for their political existence
only to your generosity.

The army, which so proudly menaced you,
has had no other barrier than its dissolution
to oppose your invincible courage. The Po,
the Tessen, the Adda, could not retard you a
single day. The vaunted bulwarks of Italy
were insufficient. You swept them with the
same rapidity that you did the Apennines.
Those successes have carried joy into the
bosom of your country. Your representatives
decreed a festival dedicated to your victories,
and to be celebrated throughout all the com-
munes of the republic. Now your fathers, your
mothers, your wives, and your sisters will re-
joice in your success, and take pride in their
relation to you.

All Men Fit for Freedom— Father «Tom»
Burke : The Parliament of 1872 was a failure,
I grant it. Mr. Froude says that that Parlia-
ment was a failure because the Irish are in-
capable of self-legislation. It is a serious charge
to make now against any people, my friends. I
who am not supposed to be a philosopher, and,
because of the habit that I wear, am supposed
not to be a man of very large mind — I stand
up here to-night and I assert my conviction
that there is not a nation or a race under the
sun that is not capable of self-legislation, and
that has not a right to the inheritance of free-
dom. — From his reply to Froude, New York, 1872.

Altruism — Henry D. Estabrooke : I need
scarcely to explain to this audience that the
deep moral principle underlying the War of
the Rebellion, its motive and real provocative,
was altogether obscured in the fierce jargon
of polemical debates and constitutional refine-
ments. No party could have hoped to win
with "Abolition" in its platform. Yet God
knew, Lincoln knew. Grant knew, the subcon-
sciousness of the people realized, that slavery
must go. Was ever such a masquerade with
fate ? But oh! my friends, it is one thing to
fight for one's own manhood — our forefathers
did that; Patrick Henry proclaimed it; and
Washington vindicated the proclamation ; it is
quite another thing to fight for manhood in the
abstract — for the freedom of others, and they
the weakest, forlornest, most unfriended of all
creatures. It was precisely this altruistic awak-
ening which made the War of the Rebellion the
holiest of all time. It stands unique, the one
unselfish warfare in the history of the world.

Selfishness has been the motive force of life
since Adam delved and Eve spun. We have
been taught that « talons and claws » is Nature's
supremest law. So it could not have been
wholly a human impulse which drove man to
pour out their blood « like dust," as Job puts
it, in defense of a sentiment they scarcely un-
derstood — so novel that it bewildered con-
sciousness. No, it was the Golden Rule grown
militant. — From an address delivered at Galetia,
III., i8qs.

Andocides — Against Epichares, One of the
Thirty Tyrants : Speak, slanderer, accursed
knave — is this law valid or not valid? In-
valid, I imagine, only for this reason, — that
tlie operation of the laws must be dated from
the archonship of Eucleides. So you live, and
walk about this city, as you little deserve to
do ; you who, under the democracy, lived by




pettifofTfrinfr, and under the oligarchy — lest you
should be (orcod to eive back all the prohts
of that trade — became the instrument of the


The truth is, judges, that as I sat here, while
he accused me, and as I looked at him, I
fancied myself nothing else than a prisoner at
the bar of the Thirty. Had this trial been in
their time, who would have been accusing me ?
Was not this man ready to accuse, if I had not
given him money ? He has done it now. . . .

Can you suppose, judges, that my fate, as
your champion, would have been other than
this, if I had been caught by the Tyrants ? 1
should have been destroyed by them, as they
destroyed many others, for having done no
wrong to Athens. — i^roOT the speech on the
Mysteries, delivered at Athens, c. 417 B. C.

Antiphon— Unjust Prosecutions: The God,
when it was his will to create mankind, begat
the earliest of our race and gave us for nour-
ishers the earth and sea, that we might not
die, for want of needful sustenance, before the
term of old age. Whoever, then, having been
deemed worthy of these things by the God,
lawlessly robs any one among us of life, is
impious towards heaven and confounds the or-
dinances of men. The dead man, robbed of
the God's gift, necessarily bequeaths, as that
God's punishment, the anger of avenging spir-
its — anger which unjust judges or false wit-
nesses, becoming partners in the impiety of the
murderer, bring, as a self-sought defilement,
into their own houses. We, the champions of
the muidered, if for any collateral enmity we
prosecute innocent persons, shall find, by our
failure to vindicate the dead, dread avengers
in the spirits which hear his curse ; while, by
putting the pure to a wrongful death, we be-
come liable to the penalties of murder, and, in
persuading you to violate the law, responsible
for your sin &\?,o.— From the Third Tetralogy
of Atitiphon (born at Athens, c. 480 B. C.)

Arbitrary Power Anarchical— Edmund
Burke : Law and arbitrary power are in eter-
nal enmity. Name me a magistrate, and I
will name property; name me power, and I will
name protection. It is a contradiction in terms,
it is blasphemy in religion, it is wickedness in
politics, to say that any man can have arbi-
trary power.

Arbitrary Power and Conquest — Edmund
Burke : Arbitrary power is not to be had by
conquest. Nor can any sovereign have it by
succession ; for no man can succeed to fraud,
rapine, and violence. Those who give and
those who receive arbitrary power are alike
criminal ; and there is no man but is bound to
resist it to the best of his power, wherever it
shall show its face to the world.

Armament not Necessary — Richard Cob-
den : I sometimes quote the United States of
America ; and I think in this matter of national
defense, they set us a very good example.
Does anj'body dare to attack that nation ?
There is not a more formidable power, in every

sense of the word, — although you may talk of
France and Russia, — than the United States
of America ; and there is not a statesman with
a head on his shoulders who does not know
it, and yet the policy of the United States has
been to keep a very small amount of armed
force in existence. At the present moment,
they have not a line-of-battle ship afloat, not-
withstanding the vast extension of their com-
mercial marine. — From a speech delivered in

Bancroft, George — Individual Sovereignty
and Vested Right in Slaves : The slave
born on our soil always owed allegiance to the
General Government. It may in time past have
been a qualified allegiance, manifested through
his master, as the allegiance of a ward through
its guardian, or of an infant through its parent.
But when the master became false to his alle-
giance, the slave stood face to face with his
country ; and his allegiance, which may before
have been a qualified one, became direct and
immediate. His chains fell off, and he rose at
once in the presence of the nation, bound, like
the rest of us, to its defense. Mr. Lincoln's
proclamation did but take notice of the already
existing right of the bondman to freedom. The
treason of the master made it a public crime
for the slave to continue his obedience ; the
treason of a state set free the collective bond-
men of that state.

This doctrine is supported by the analogy of
precedents. In the times of feudalism the trea-
son of the lord of the manor deprived him of
his serfs; the spurious feudalism that existed
among us differs in many respects from the
feudalism of the Middle Ages, but so far the
precedent runs parallel with the present case ;
for treason tlie master then, for treason the
master now, loses his slaves.

In the Middle Ages the sovereign appointed
another lord over the serfs and the lands which
they cultivated ; in our day the sovereign makes
them masters of their own persons, lords over
themselves. — From a speech on the death oj
President Lincoln in iSb^.

Bayonets as Agencies of Reconciliation —
Chatham : How can America trust you, with
the bayonet at her breast ? How can she sup-
pose that you mean less than bondage or
death ? I therefore move that an address be
presented to his Majesty, advising that imme-
diate orders be despatched to General Gage, for
removing his Majesty's forces from the town
of Boston. The way must be immediately
opened for reconciliation.

Beck, James M. — Expansion and the Span-
ish War : Our nation is to-day feeling that
instinct of expansion which is the predominant
characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon race. It is
bred in our bone and courses with our life-
blood, and the statesmen of our day must take
it into account and endeavor to wisely control
it. There is with us, as with our great mother
empire, a national instinct for territorial growth,
"so powerful and accurate, that statesmen of



». «rv "school, willing or unwilling, have found
ti^^nselves carried along by a tendency which
n„ individuality can resist or greatly modify."
Ws could as hopefully bid the Mississippi cease
its flow toward the sea, or the Missouri to re-
main chained within its rocky sources, as to
prevent the onward movement of this great,
proud, generous, and aggressive people. This
was true of the day of our weakness, it is true
in this, the day of our strength. — From an ora-
tion at the Ot?iaka Expositio7i in i8g8.

Benevolent Assimilation — * William Mc-
Einley : Finally it should be the earnest and
paramount aim of the military administration
to win the confidence, respect, and affection of
the inhabitants of the Philippines by so saving
them in every possible way that full measure
of individual rights and liberty which is the
heritage of free people, and by proving to
them that the mission of the United States is
one of benevolent assimilation, substituting the
mild sway of justice and right for arbitrary
rule. — From instructions sent to General Otis,
December 2yth, i8g8, signed by the President,
December 21st.

Benevolent Assimilation and Manifest
Providence — Reverend Doctor Wayland
Hoyt, of Philadelphia: Christ is the solution
of the difficulty regarding national expansion.
There never was a more manifest Providence
than the waving of Old Glory over the Philip-
pines. The only thing we can do is to thrash
the natives until they understand who we are. I
believe every bullet sent, every cannon shot, every
flag waved means righteousness. — March iSgg.

Beveridge, A. J.— Just Government and
tlie Consent of the Governed : The Declara-
tion of Independence does not forbid us to do
our part in the regeneration of the world. If
it did, the Declaration would be wrong, just as
the Articles of Confederation drafted by the very
same men who signed the Declaration was
found wrong. The Declaration has no
application to the present situation. It was
written by self-governing men for self-governing
men. It was written by men who, for a cen-
tury and a half, had been experimenting in
self-government on this continent, and whose
ancestors for hundreds of years before had been
gradually developing toward that high and holy
estate. The Declaration applies only to people
capable of self-government. How dare any man
prostitute this expression of the very elect of
self-governing peoples to a race of Malay child-
ren of barbarism, schooled in Spanish methods
and ideas ? And you, who say the Declaration
applies to all men, how dare you deny its ap-
plication to the American Indian ? And if you
deny it to the Indian at home, how dare you
grant it to the Malay abroad ?

The Declaration does not contemplate that
all government must have the consent of the
governed. It announces that man's << inalien-
able rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness ; that to secure these rights govern-

*« Beneficent " in some versions.

ments are established among men deriving theii
just powers from the consent of the governed ;
that when any form of government becomes
destructive of those rights, it is the right of the
people to alter or abolish \0'> <* Life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness » are the import-
ant things ; << consent of the governed >^ is one
of the means to those ends. If " any form of
government becomes destructive of those ends,
it is the right of the people to alter or abolish
it,» says the Declaration. <'Any form >> includes
all forms. Thus the Declaration itself recog-
nizes other forms of government than those
resting on the consent of the governed. The
word << consent >^ itself recognizes other forms,
for « consent " means the understanding of the
thing to which the " consent " is given ; and
there are people in the world who do not un-
derstand any form of government. And the
sense in which « consent >^ is used in the Dec-
laration is broader than mere understanding ;
for ** consent,'' in the Declaration, means par-
ticipation in the government <* consented >' to.
And yet these people who are not capable of
^< consenting " to any form of government must
be governed. And so, the Declaration contem-
plates all forms of government which secure
the fundamental rights of life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness ; self-government, when
that will best secure these ends, as in the case
of people capable of self-government ; otflier
appropriate forms when people are not capable
of self-government. — From a speech in the United
States Senate, January loth, /goo, supporting
a resolution to retain the Philippine Islands un-
der such government as the situation demands.

Bible and Sharp's Eifles — Henry Ward
Beecher : You might just as well read the
Bible to buffaloes as to those fellows who fol-
low Atchison and Stringfellow ; but they have
a supreme respect for the logic that is embodied
in Sharp's rifles. — From a speech to a Kansas
Immigration Meeting at Plymouth Church.

Blifil and Black George — John Randolph :

I was defeated — by the coalition of Blifil and
Black George — by the combination, unheard
of till then, of the Puritan with the blackleg.

— 182b.

Boston the Hub — Oliver Wendell Holmes :

Boston statehouse is the hub of the solar sys-
tem.— /c?5<?.

Brilliancy in Oratory — Quintilian: Brill-
iant thoughts I reckon the eyes of eloquence.
But I would not have the body all eyes.

Burke, Father « Tom » — America and Ire-
land : There is another nation that understands
Ireland, whose statesmen have always spoken
words of brave encouragement, of tender sym-
pathy, and of manly hope for Ireland in her
dark days, and that nation is the United States
of America — the mighty land placed by the
Omnipotent Hand between the Far East on the
one side, to which she stretches out her glorious
arms over the broad Pacific, while on the other
side she sweeps with uplifted hand over thi?



Atlantic and touches p:urope. A mighty land,
iHcluiling in her ample bosom untold resources
of every form of commercial and mineral wealth ;
a mighty land, with room for three hundred mil-
lions'" of men. The oppressed of all the world
over are flying to her more than imperial bosom,
there to find liberty and the sacred right of civil
and religious freedom. Is there not reason to
suppose that in tlie future which we cannot see
to-day, but which lies before us, that America
will be to the whole world what Rome was in
the ancient days, what England was a few
years ago, the great storehouse of the world,
the great ruler — pacific ruler by justice of the
whole world, her manufacturing power dispens-
ing from out her mighty bosom all the neces-
saries and all the luxuries of life to the whole
world around her ? She may be destined, and
I believe she is, to rise rapidly into that gigan-
tic power that will overshadow all other na-

When that conclusion does come to pass, what
is more natural than that Ireland — now I sup-
pose mistress of her destinies — should turn and
stretch all the arms of her sympathy and love
across the intervening waves of the Atlantic,
and be received an independent State into the
mighty confederation of America ? Mind, I am
not speaking treason. Remember I said dis-
tinctly that all this is to come to pass after
Macaulay's New Zealander has arrived. Amer-
ica will require an emporium for her European
trade, and Ireland lies there right between her
and Europe with her ample rivers and vast
harbors, alile to shelter the vessels and fleets.
America may require a great European store-
house, a great European hive for her manufac-
tures. Ireland has enormous water power, now
flowing idly to the sea, but which will in the
future be used in turning the wheels set to these
streams by American-Irish capital and Irish in-
dustrj-. If ever that day come, if ever that union
come, it will be no degradation to Ireland to
join hands with America, because America
does not enslave her States; she accepts them
on terms of glorious equality ; she respects their
rights, and blesses all who cast their lot with
her. — Peroration of the fifth address against
Froude, New York, 1872.

But One Life to Lose— Nathan Hale: I

only regret that I have but one life to lose for
my country. — Last words on the scaffold, New
York, September 22d, 1776.

Canuleius — Against the Patricians ( Para-
phrased from Livy): This is not the first
time, O Romans, that patrician arrogance has
denied to us the rights of a common humanity.
What do we now demand ? First, the right of
intermarriage; and then that the people may
confer honors on whom they please. And why,
in the nam.e of Romnn manhood, my country-
men, — why should these poor boons be refused ?
Why for claiming them, was I near being as-
saulted, just now in the senate house ? Will the
city no longer stand, — will the empire be dis-
solved, — because we claim that plebeians shall

no longer be excluded from the consulship ?
Truly the patricians will, by and by, begrudge
us a participation in the light of day; they
will be indignant that we breathe the same air;
that we share with them the faculty of speech ;
that we wear the forms of human beings!

Capital Punishment for Crimes Fostered
by Misgovernment; — Lord Byron: Are there
not capital punishments sufficient in your stat-
utes ? Is there not blood enough upon your
penal code, that more must be poured forth,
to ascend to heaven and testify against you ?
How will you carry this bill into effect ? Can
you commit a whole country to their own
prison ? Will you erect a gibbet in ever)' field,
and hang up men like scarecrows ? or will you
proceed — as you must, to bring this measure
into effect — by decimation; place the country
under martial law; depopulate and lay waste
all around you; and restore Sherwood Forest
as an acceptable gift to the Crown, in its former
condition of a royal chase, and an asylum for
outlaws ? Are these the remedies for a starv-
ing and desperate populace ? Will the fam-
ished wretch who has braved your bayonets
be appalled by your gibbets ? When death is
a relief, and the only relief, it appears, that
you will afford him, will he be dragooned into
tranquillity ? Will that which could not be ef-
fected by your grenadiers be accomplished by
your executioners ?

Carrying War Into Africa— Scipio : In fact
even though the war were not to be brought
to a speedier conclusion by the method which
I propose, still it would concern the dignity of
the Roman people, and their reputation among
foreign kings and nations, that we should ap-
pear to have spirit, not only to defend Italy,
but to carry our arms into Africa; and that it
should not be spread abroad, and believed, that
no Roman general dared what Hannibal had
dared; and that, in the former Punic War, when
the contest was about Sicily, Africa had been
often attacked by our fleets and armies ; but
that now, when the contest is about Italy, Af-
rica should enjoy peace. Let Italy, so long
harassed, enjoy at length some repose ; let Af-
rica, in its turn, feel fire and sword. Let the
Roman camp press on the very gates of Carth-
age, rather than that we, a second time, should
behold our walls the rampart of that of the
enemy. Let Africa, in short, be the seat of the
remainder of the war : thither be removed ter-
ror and flight, devastation of lands, revolt of
allies, and all the other calamities with which,
for fourteen years, we have been afflicted. It is
sufficient that I have delivered my sentiments
on those matters which affect the state, the
dispute in which we are involved, and the prov-
inces under consideration : my discourse would
be tedious and unsuitable to this audience, if,
as Quintus Fabius has depreciated my services
in Spain, I should, on the other hand, endeavor
in like manner to disparage his glory and ex-
tol my own. I shall do neither, conscript fath-
ers ; but young as I am, I will show that I



excel that Scige, if in nothing else, yet certainly
in modesty and temperance of language. Such
has been my life and conduct, that I can, in
silence, rest perfectly satisfied with that char-
acter which your own judgments have formed
of me. — Fro}ti an oration reported m Livy.

Cent Per Cent in New England— Jolin
Higginson : My fathers and brethren, this is
never to be forgotten, that New England is
originally a plantation of religion, not a plan-
tation of trade. Let merchants and such as
are increasing cent per cent remember this.
Let others that have come over since at sev-
eral times remember this, that worldly gain
was not the end and design of the people
of New England, but religion. And if any
amongst us make religion as twelve, and the
world as thirteen, let such a one know he
hath neither the spirit of a true New England
man, nor yet of a sincere Christian. — From a
sermon at Cambridge, i66_^.

Cliatliaia, Lord — On Lord North : Such are
your well-known characters and abilities, that
sure I am that any plan of reconciliation,
however moderate, wise, and feasible, must fail
in your hands. Who, then, can wonder that
you should put a negative on any measure
which must annihilate your power, deprive
you of your emoluments, and at once reduce
you to that state of insignificance for which
God and nature designed you ?

Christian Oratory — V ill emaine: The
Christian orator, with his mastery over the
minds of his hearers, elevating and startling
them by turns, can reveal to them a destiny
grander than glory, — more terrible than death.
From the highest heavens he can draw dovra an
eternal hope to the tomb, where Pericles could
bring only tributary lamentations and tears.
If, with the Roman orator, he commemorates
the warrior fallen on the field of battle, he
gives to the soul of the departed that immor-
tality which Cicero dared promise only to his
renown, and charges Deity itself with the ac-
quittal of a country's gratitude.

Clay's Moral Force — Thomas F. Marshall :

He needs no statue — he desired none. It was
the image of his soul he wished to perpetuate,
and he has stamped it himself in lines of flame
upon the souls of his countrymen.

Not all the marbles of Carrara, fashioned by
the sculptor's chisel into the mimicry of breath-
ing life, could convey to the senses a likeness
so perfect of himself as that which he has left
upon the minds of men. He carved his own
statue ; he built his own monument.

Coercion and Union — John C. Calhoun:

You cannot keep the States united in their con-
stitutional and federal bonds by force. Has rea-
son fled from our borders ? Have we ceased to
reflect ? It is madness to suppose that the Un-
ion can be preserved by force.

Cohesive Power of Capital — John C. Cal-
houn : A power has risen up in the Government
greater than the people themselves, consisting of

many, and various, and powerful interests, com-
bined into one mass, and held together by the
cohesive power of the vast surplus in the banks.
This mighty combination will be opposed to any
change ; and it is to be feared that such is its in-
fluence, no measure to which it is opposed can
become a law, however expedient and neces-

Online LibraryDavid J. (David Josiah) BrewerCrowned masterpieces of eloquence, representing the advance of civilization, as collected in The world's best orations, from the earliest period to the present time (Volume 10) → online text (page 29 of 56)