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

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uments and to abolish the liturgy of the dead ;
on a soldier's desertion of his post and avoid-
ance of his duty — for he did not place his
personal service at the disposal of the generals
Who, then, will acquit this man, — who wil;
condone misdeeds which were deliberate .'
Who is so foolish as, by saving this man, to
place his own safety at the mercy of cowardly
deserters, — who will show compassion to this
man, and so elect to die unpitied at the hands
of the enemy ? Who will conciliate the grati-
tude of his country's betrayer in order to make



himself obnoxious to the vengeance of the

In the cause of my country, of the temples,
and of the laws, I have fairly and justly set
forth the issue, without disparaging or vilifying
the defendant's private life or bringing any ir-
relevant accusation. You must reflect, every
one of you, that to acquit Leocrates is to pass
sentence of death and enslavement on your
country. Two urns are before you, and the
votes which you give are, in the one case, for
the overthrow of j'our city ; in the other, for its
safety and its domestic welfare. If you ab-
solve Leocrates, you will vote for betraying the
city, the temples, and the ships — if you put
him to death, you will exhort men to cherish
and preserve their countr)-, her revenues, and
her prosperity. Deem, then, Athenians, that a
prayer goes up to you from the very land and
all its groves, from the harbors, from the ar-
senals, from the walls of the city; deem that
the shrines and holy places are summoning you
to protect them, and, remembering the charges
against him, make Leocrates a proof that com-
passion and tears do not prevail with you over
solicitude for the laws and for the common-
weal. — Delivered at Athens.

]|/lanliood — H. W. Hilliard : A really great
^ * man is the grandest object which this
world ever exhibits. The heavens in their
magnificence — the ocean in its sublime im-
mensity — mountains standing firm upon their
granite foundations — all are less imposing than
a living man in the possession of his highest
faculties. — Fro7n a speech on Webster in 1834.

Marie Antoinette as the Morning Star —
Edmund Burke : It is now sixteen or seven-
teen years since I saw the Queen of France,
then the Dauphiness, at Versailles ; and surely
never lighted on this orb, which she hardly
seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I
saw her just above the horizon, decorating
and cheering the elevated sphere she just be-
gan to move in, — glittering like the morning
star, full of life and splendor and joy.

Marvin, Bishop E. M.— Christ and the
Church : How sweet and fragrant is the at-
mosphere of that home which is kept in the odor
of purity by a chaste wife ! No matter how
protracted the absence of her husband, her in-
stinctive purity preserves inviolate the sancti-
ties of the place ; the modest dignity of her
spirit removes her utterly from temptation; no
lustful dalliance dares attempt her hand; evil
avoids the threshold ; even in his absence, her
husband's name is another word for honor; no
presence is allowed, no word is spoken, that
would shame him if he were there. . . .

I have seen a young man, the noble son of
a noble sire, when he brought his bride home
to his father's house; he had chosen her from
among all the women in the world ; he loved
her with all the fullness of an uncorrupted heart ;
it was the mighty outgoing of a fresh, strong
nature. She was fit to be the wife of such a

man ; she was as complete in her womanliness
as he in his manliness; and now, at this su-
preme moment of her destiny, her whole nature,
soul and body, had been fused into sensibility ;
her face was lit with the chaste warmth of brida!
consciousness ; her light, airy, elegant form was
embodied gracefulness and poetry in every at-
titude, in every slightest movement; when she
leaned upon her husband's arm, and looked up
into his face, she was the picture of rapture in
repose. The son had the full approbation of
his father ; of all the women he knew, he would
have chosen this one to be the wife of his first-

What a day was that when her husband
brought her home to his father's house ! what
preparations had been made to receive her!
The house had been renovated, from top to bot-
tom ; the premises had been in an uproar for a
week, making ready for the event ; if it had
been a queen that was coming, interest could
not have been more intense ; everything on the
place had turned to heart; every nerve tingled
a delicious welcome to the newcomer.

The day arrives, at last, and the hour; the
bridegroom has come, with his bride ; the wel-
come would be clamorous, if it were not so deep;
the feeling of the younger children and of the
servants has a touch of awe in it.

The father receives her with quiet dignity,
but the respectful kiss is the seal of purest af-
fection, and the deep bass of his voice, slightly
tremulous, gives her a daughter's quiet con-
sciousness in his presence at once ; she looks
into his face, and sees the glow of his counte-
nance ; from that hour her heart is at peace
under his roof. The younger children come
hesitatingly about her chair, and timidly finger
the fringes of her garments; if she looks at
one with a smile, he can scarcely contain him-
self for an hour; a kiss upon the forehead is
enough to put him into ecstasies for a week.
With what sensitive eagerness they speak to
her, in tremulous undertone, calling her sister !
The word never had such a meaning before,
nor the syllables of it so sweet a sound; it is
another word for tenderness and beauty. The
very servants move about with unwonted ac-
tivity and interest — for there were black domes-
tics in the house, born and bred on the place ;
they have caught the infection of love and in-
terest and joy; everything the young mistress
touches seems almost sacred to them; they
sweep the carpet with greater care, because
she is to tread upon it ; the very stairway
seems different after she has tripped up and
down it once ; everything seems different ; a
new expression is in everjlhing; the light is
purer, and as the sunshine from the window
lies upon the carpet, you might imagine it to
be the bright shadow of God's peace that came
into the house with the bride.

After nightfall she walks to and fro over
the greensward, under the shade trees and in
the light of the full moon, leaning on the arm
of her husband, and talking with him in low
tones ; the very moon looks purer, as it floats



above her head, and the grass more brightly
green after her robe has swept over it. There
was never a joy so great or so diffusive in that

The day comes when the heavenly Bride-
groom will bring his Bride home to the Father's
house; he is there now, making ready — pre-
paring a place for her before he comes again
to bring her away. That will be the day of
days, even in heaven ; it has been looked to
from the dawn of creation ; angel-ministers
have been engaged in preparation ; God the
Father looks upon the Bride with approval ;
the last earth-stain has been washed from her
garments by the blood of the Lamb ; a vast
concourse of the sons of immortality is com-
ing to join the procession ; the frame of nature
throughout the universe is to be taken down
and built anew, in more perfect forms of beauty
and grandeur, in honor of the event ; ^' the
Lord himself shall descend from heaven with
a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and
with the trump of God.>> Then shall he return
with the risen and glorified Church ; the gates
of the celestial city are in sight; they are
thrown open ; the family of heaven are grouped
and waiting ; a new feeling of tenderness and
interest deepens the sensibilities even of that
world; the Church, redeemed with blood, is
coming home with her Redeemer, radiant with
his glory ; nearest his person, and most fully
in his likeness of all created things, she is the
centre of interest and in the place of honor;
she was created from his side, and the glory
of his nature is upon her brow; she enters,
leaning on her Beloved ; angels, quivering with
delight, and eager to do her service, hover
about her way ; they will bear messages to and
fro, swift as lightning ; they will sweep the in-
visible dust of the golden pavement with their
wings, before her white-shod feet shall pass;
the celestial glory is heightened by the glow
of her countenance, as she looks into the face
of her Lord; her passing form is mirrored in
the sea of glass; the princes and potentates
of glory avvait her coming with their homage ;
she passes into the palace of the Great King,
still leaning on her Lord ; the Father smiles ;
she is at home : the Son takes the throne with
the Father ; the Bride is with him, throned at
his side; all the harps and voices of heaven
break forth with a new song, and the music
deepens, swells, and vibrates, till the verj'-
thrones tremble to the melody; the crown is
brought forth — the crown of life; the triumph-
ant hand of her Lord places it on her head;
it is gemmed with diamonds, cut at ten thou-
sand angles, every flaming facet flashing back
and augmenting the celestial radiance ; at the
right hand of her King she sits, regnant in
beaut3% with the port of an empress and the
heart of a bride, to reign with him forever ; in
the Father's house, like a child at home, she
shall go in and out, diffusing beauty and iove
and blessedness.

The purposes of God are consummated; cre-
ated being has reached its highest expression

through the agony of the God-man; the Cre-
ator sees himself mirrored in the creature, and
the glorified Church is the crown and joy of
heaven. Even the angels come to a higher
destiny in the household of the Bride ; they
find a deeper joy in her transcendent destiny,
and through her find places nearer to the Lord.

Shall we be there, blood-washed, to sin no
more ? we, so weak, so polluted, now ?

Yes, even we may have hope ! But only the
power of God can keep us against that day. —
By permission Jrom sermons of E. M. JMarvin.
Copyright by the M. E. Church, South Nashville,

Militarism and Progress — Jobn Ser-
geant : I would ask: What did Cromwell, with
all his military genius, do for England ? He
overthrew the monarchy, and he established
dictatorial power in his own person. And what
happened next ? Another soldier overthrew the
dictatorship, and restored the monarchy. The
sword effected both. Cromwell made one rev-
olution, and Monk another. And what did the
people of England gain by it ? Nothing. Ab-
solutely nothing !

Monroe Doctrine — James Monroe: In the

wars of the European powers in matters relat-
ing to themselves, we have never taken any
part, nor does it comport with our policy so
to do. It is only when our rights are invaded,
or seriously menaced, that we resent injuries,
or make preparations for our defense. With
the movements in this hemisphere, we are, of
necessity, more immediately connected, and by
causes which must be obvious to all enlight-
ened and impartial observers. The political
system of the Allied Powers is essentiall)- dif-
ferent in this respect from that of America.
This difference proceeds from that which ex-
ists in their respective governments ; and to the
defense of our own, which has been achieved
by the loss of so much blood and treasure, and
matured by the wisdom of their most enlight-
ened citizens, and under which we have en-
joyed unexampled felicity, this whole nation is

We owe it, therefore, to candor, and to the
amicable relations existing between the United
States and those European Powers, to declare
that we should consider any attempt on their
part to extend their system to any portion of
this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and

With the existing Colonies or dependencies
of any European Power, we have not inter-
fered, and shall not interfere. But with the
governments who have declared their independ-
ence and maintained it, and whose independ-
ence we have, on great consideration and on
just principles, acknowledged, we could not view
any interposition for the purpose of oppressing
them, or controlling in any other manner their
destiny by any European power, in any other
light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly
disposition toward the United States. — Fro7}t the
message of December 1823.



Moral Infiuenees— Albert Pite: There are
single passages in tiie writings of Daniel Web-
ster that will exercise more influence upon the
youth of America than all the statutes of this
Union. There are songs written by men whose
names are now forgotten that are more to the
American people than a regiment of bayonets.
« Let him who will make the laws of a nation,
if I may but make its songs,»^ was well and
truly said. The apparently trifling song of
Lillibullero was the chief cause of the down-
fall of James IL How much influence do you
imagine the songs of our own country are ex-
erting ? Do you imagine that we should make
a profitable bargain in case of a new war, by
exchanging the song of Yankee Doodle for
fifty thousand foreign soldiers led by a field
marshal ? This is a kind of property you can
not trade away with profit. You cannot prof-
itably part with your lofty thoughts and noble
sentiments any more than we can profitably
part with our own souls. — From a speech de-
livered in /8jJ.

Mudsills — James H. Hammond: In all so-
cial systems there must be a class to do the
mean duties, to perform the drudgery of life ;
that is, a class requiring but a low order of
intellect and but little skill. Its requisites are
vigor, docility, fidelity. Such a class you must
have, or you would not have that other class
which leads progress, refinement, and civiliza-
tion. It constitutes the very mudsills of so-
ciety and of political government; and you
might as well attempt to build a house in the
air as to build either the one or the other
except on the mudsills. Fortunately for the
South, she found a race adapted to that pur-
pose to her hand — a race inferior to herself,
but eminently qualified in temper, in vigor, in
docility, in capacity to stand the climate, to
answer all her purposes. We use them for
the purpose and call them slaves. We are
old-fashioned at the South yet ; it is a word dis-
carded now by ears polite ; but I will not char-
acterize that class at the North with that term ;
but you have it ; it is there ; it is everywhere ;
it is eternal. — From a speech in the United States
Senate, i8jS.

Mugwumps — Horace Porter: A Mugwump
is a person educated beyond his intellect. —
Said in 18S4.

Napoleon After the Battle of Leipsic- —
George Canning : How was their pros-
pect changed ! In those countries where, at
most, a short struggle had been terminated by
a result disastrous to their wishes, if not alto-
gether closing in despair, they had now to
contemplate a very different aspect of affairs.
Germany crouched no longer trembling at the
feet of the tyrant, but maintained a balanced
contest The mighty deluge by which the con-
tinent had been overwhelmed is subsiding.
The limits of the nation are again visible, and
the spires and turrets of ancient establishments
are beginning to reappear above the subsiding

National Debt a National Blessing— Alex-
ander Hamilton : A national debt, if it ;s not
excessive, will be to us a national blessing. —
From a Letter to Robert Morris, April 30th, /781.

Nobility of Ascent — Henry Codman Pot-
ter : If there be no nobility of descent, all the
more indispensable is it that there should be
nobility of ascent — a character in them that
bear rule, so fine and high and pure, that as
men come within the circle of its influence, they
involuntarily pay homage to that which is the
one pre-eminent distinction, the Royalty of Vir-

No South, No North, No East, No West —
Henry Clay : I have heard something said
about allegiance to tlie South. I know no
South, no North, no East, no West, to which
I owe any allegiance. — In the United States
Senate, 1848.

/^Id-Line Whigs — Edward Bates: An Old-
^^ IJne W'hig is one who takes his whisky
regularly, and votes the Democratic ticket oc-

Palmer, Benjamin M. — Lee and Washing-
ton : What is that combination of influ-
ences, partly physical, partly intellectual, but
somewhat more moral, which should make a
particular country productive of men great over
all others on earth, and to all ages of time ?
Ancient Greece, with her indented coast, invit-
ing to maritime adventures, from her earliest
period was the mother of heroes in war, of
poets in song, of sculptors and artists, and
stands up after the lapse of centuries the edu-
cator of mankind, living in the grandeur of her
works and in the immortal productions of
minds which modern civilization, with all its
cultivation and refinement and science, never
surpassed and scarcely equaled. And why, in
the three h'undred years of American history,
it should be given to the Old Dominion to be
the grandmother, not only of States, but of the
men by whom States and empires are formed,
it might be curious, were it possible for us to
inquire. Unquestionably, Mr. President, there is
in this problem the element of race ; for he is
blind to all the truths of history, to all the
revelations of the past, who does not recognize
a select race as we recognize a select indi-
vidual of a race, to make all history. But pre-
termitting all speculation of that sort, when
Virginia unfolds the scroll of her immortal sons
— not because illustrious men did not precede
him gathering in constellations and clusters,
but because the name shines out through those
constellations and clusters in all its peerless
grandeur — we read first the name of George
Washington. And then, Mr. President, after
the interval of three-quarters of a century, when
your jealous eye has ranged down the record
and traced the names that history will never
let die, you come to the name — the only name
in all the annals of history that can be name*^
in the perilous connection — of Robert E. Lee,
tlie second Washington. Well mav old Vir.



ginia be proud of her twin sons, born almost
a century apart, but shiningf like those binary
stars which open their glory and shed their
splendor on the darkness of the world. — From
an address delivered at a meeting of the citi-
zens of New Orleans, October i^th, rSjo, the
Funeral Day of General Robert E. Lee.

Passing of the Indians — Josepli Story :

There is something in their hearts which passes
speech. There is something in their looks,
not of vengeance or submission, but of hard
necessity, which stifles both ; which chokes all
utterance. It is courage, absorbed in despair.
They linger but for a moment. Their look is
onward. They have passed the fatal stream.
It shall never be repassed by them, — no, never.
They know and feel that there is for them still
one remove further, not distant, nor unseen. It
is to the general burial ground of their race.

Patriotism— Henry Clay: The high, the
exalted, the sublime emotions of a patriotism
which, soarmg towards heaven, rises far above
all mean, low, or selfish things, and is absorbed
by one soul-transporting thought of the good
and the glory of one's country, are never felt
in his impenetrable bosom. That patriotism
which, catching its inspirations from the im-
mortal God, and, leaving at an immeasurable
distance below all lesser, groveling, personal
interests and feelings animates and prompts to
deeds of self-sacrifice, of valor, of devotion, and
of death itself, — that is public virtue; that is
the noblest, the sublimest of all public virtues !

Peaceably, if Possible ; Violently, if Neces-
sary — Josiah Quincy : I am compelled to de-
clare it as my deliberate opinion that if this
bill passes, the bonds of this Union are virtu-
ally dissolved; that the States which compose
it are free from their moral obligations, and that
as it will be the right of all, so it will be the
duty of some to prepare, definitely, for a sepa-
ration ; amicably, if they can ; violently, if they
must. — From a speech on the admissioti of Louis-
iana in 1811.

Pectus et Vis Mentis — Quintilian : Heart
and strength of intellect make men eloquent.
Even the most ignorant man when he is strongly
moved can find words to express himself.

Pierrepont, Edwards — Equality in Amer-
ica : Equality is the central idea with our peo-
ple, and I dare say that in this large audience
there are many benevolent persons who would
make all equally rich ; but it would come to
about the same to make all equally poor. The
rich man would not do the menial workjof an-
other rich man, and the rich woman would not
wash and cook for the rich man's wife ; the
poor man will not brush the shoes of another
poor man who can give him no pay, and all
the social wheels would be ablock. Equality
before the laws we can have ; equality of con-
dition is impossible. — From an oration at Yale,
jfune 22d, 1874.

Pioneers of the Pacific Coast — George H,

Williams : We can look back and see, in the
dim distance, the slowly-moving train; the
wagons with their once white, but now dingy
covers ; the patient oxen, measuring their weary
steps ; men travel-stained and bronzed by ex-
posure ; women with mingled hope and care
depicted upon their anxious faces ; and children
peering from their uneasy abodes, and wonder-
ing when their discomforts will cease. These are
pioneers on their way to the promised land.
Moons wax and wane, again and again ; but
day after day the toilsome march is resumed.
Sometimes there are Indian scares and depre-
dations; unbridged streams are encountered;
rugged ascents and steep declivities occur;
teams give out and wagons break down : but
finally, through « moving accidents by flood and
field, '^ and when the year has glided into the
gold and russet of autumn, they reach the long-
looked-for end of their journey. To some, all
this did not happen ; to others, more than this
happened. And there were those who looked
back with sad hearts, and remembered where
they had left the wild winds to chant their
funeral requiem over a lonely and deserted

When the pioneers arrived here, they found
a land of marvelous beauty. They found ex-
tended prairies, rich with luxuriant verdure.
They found grand and gloomy forests, majestic
rivers, and mountains covered with eternal
snow; but they found no friends to greet them,
no homes to go to, nothing but the genial
heavens and the generous earth to give them
consolation and hope. — From an address de-
livered at Portland, Oregon, in March iSqS-

Pliny the Younger— Liberty and Order:

What is better than civil order ? What is more
precious than liberty ? How base then must
he be who turns order into anarchy and liberty
into slavery.

Politics on the Bench — Chief-Justice
Mansfield : The Constitution does not allow
reasons of state to influence our judgments.
God forbid it should ! We must not regard
political consequences, how formidable soever
they might be ; if rebellion was the certain
consequence, we are bound to say, " Fiat jus-
titia, ruat ccelum?'* We are to say what we
take the law to be ; if we do not speak our
real opinions, we prevaricate with God and
our own consciences. — In the case of Wilkes.

Popular Government — Daniel Webster :
The people's government, made for the people,
made by the people, and answerable to the
people. — Frotn a speech in the United States
Senate, 1830.

Power Without Justice — Louis Kossuth :

Nations, proud of your momentary power;
proud of your freedom ; proud of your pros-
perity ! your power is vain, your freedom is
vain, your industry, your wealth, your prosperity
are vain ; all this will not save you from shar-
ing the mournful fate of those old nations not

3 TO


less powerful than you, not less free, not less
prosperous than you,— and still fallen, as you
yourself shall fall,— all vanished as you shall
vanish, like a bubble thrown up from the deep !
There is only the law of Christ, there are only
the duties of Christianity which can secure
your future, by securing at the same time hu-

Prayer and Providence — Benjamin Frank-
lin : In this situation of this assembly,— grop-

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 32 of 56)