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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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 34 of 56)
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South Carolina was one. Sir, there is a great
difference between preserv^ing union and pre-
serving government; the Union may be anni-
hilated, yet government preserved ; but under
such a government no man ought to desire to
live. — From the debate in the United States Sett-
ate on the Revenue Collection Bill of 1833.

I jnion, not Nation — John C. Calhoun: I
'^ never use the word « Nation >> in speaking
of the Uni.ed States; I always use the word
<'Union,» or « Confederacy. » We are not a
Nation, but a Union, a confederacy of equal
and sovereign States. England is a nation,
Austria is a nation, Russia is a nation, but the
United States are not a nation.

"Wan Buren Martin — Expansion Before the
^ Mexican and Civil Wars : Certain danger
was foretold from the extension of our territory,
the multiplication of States, and the increase
of population. Our system was supposed to be

adapted only to boundaries comparatively nar-
row. These have been widened beyond con-
jecture ; the members of our confederacy arg
already doubled ; and the numbers of our peo-
ple are incredibly augmented. The alleged
causes of danger have long surpassed antici-
pation, but none of the consequences have fol-
lowed. The power and influence of the Republic
have risen to a height obvious to all mankind ;
respect for its authority was not more apparent
at its ancient than it is at its present limits ;
new and inexhaustible sources of general pros-
perity have been opened ; the effects of distance
have been averted by the inventive genius of
our people, developed and fostered by the
spirit of our institutions, and the enlarged
variety and amount of interests, productions,
and pursuits have strengthened the chain of
mutual dependence, and formed a circle of
mutual benefits too apparent ever to be over-
looked. — From his first annucd message, 1837.

Vest, George Graham — The Ligament
of Union : As I said the other day, I have
never risen myself to that solar region, that
high philosophical lunar altitude where I could
overlook the people who sent me here and the
State which did me the honor to give me a
place on this floor. While I am a Senator of
the United States, I am not here to take care
especially of Massachusetts or Pennsylvania,
when they have Senators upon this floor who,
more ably than I can possibly do, look to those
interests. I believe, as a Democrat, that the
ligament which binds these States together to
a common prosperity and in a glorious Union
is the ligament based upon State interests,
local interests, and the fact that every local
interest is represented upon this floor and in
the chamber of the other house. — Fi'om a
speech in the Senate in 1883.

Vinet, Alexander — The Meaning of Reli-
gion : Wiiat is religion ? It is God putting
himself in communication with man ; the Cre-
ator with the creature, the infinite with the fi-
nite. There already, without going further, is
a mystery ; a mystery common to all religions,
impenetrable in all, religions. If then, every
thing which is a mystery offends you, you are
arrested on the threshold, I will not say of
Christianity, but of every religion ; I say, even
of that religion which is called natural,
it rejects revelation and miracles ; for it neces-
sarily implies, at the very least, a connection,
a communication of some sort between God
and man — the contrary being equivalent to
atheism. Your claim prevents you from hav-
ing any belief ; and because you have not been
willing to be Christians, it will not allow you
to be Deists. — From a sermon on I. Corinthians
xi. g.

Voices from the Grave — Victor Hugo: It
is not the will of God that liberty, wliich is his
word, should be silent. Citizens ! the moment
that triumphant despots believe that they have
forever taken the power of speech from ideas,
it is restored by the Almighty. This tribune



destroyed, he reconstructs it. Not in the midst
of the public square — not with granite or mar-
ble ; there is no need of that. He reconstructs
it in solitude ; he reconstructs it with the grass
of the cemetery, with the shade of the cypress,
with the gloomy hillock made by the cofUns
buried in the earth — and from this solitude,
this grass, this cypress, these hidden coffins,
know you, citizens, what proceeds ? There
comes the heartrending cry of humanity — •
there comes denunciation and testimony — there
comes the inexorable accusation which causes
the crowned criminal to turn pale — there comes
the terrible protest of the dead !

War — Horace Binney : War is a tremendous
evil. Come when it will, unless it shall
come in the necessary defense of our national
security, or of that honor under whose protection
national security reposes, it will come too soon ;
• — too soon for our national prosperity ; too soon
for our individual happiness ; too soon for the
frugal, industrious, and virtuous habits of our
citizens ; too soon, perhaps, for our most pre-
cious institutions. The man who, for any cause,
save the sacred cause of public security, which
makes all wars defensive, — the man who, for
any cause but this, shall promote or compel this
final and terrible resort, assumes a responsibil-
ity second to none, — nay, transcendently deeper
and higher than any, — which man can assume
before his fellow-raen, or in the presence of God
his Creator.

, War and Military Cliieftains — Jobn B.
Henderson : V/ar is not the customary busi-
ness of nations. It is abnormal. War is frenzy
and it brings with it pain, poverty, and desti-
tution. Peace is happiness, and brings in its
train wealth, civilization, education, morality,
religion. It was the arts of peace that the col-
onists would cultivate. They were wise men
and selected the instrumentalities for the
purpose. This was the Golden Age of Ameri-
can history.

After the late War of the Rebellion, the same
conditions existed that followed the Revolu-
tionary struggle. As the colonists honored
Washington, so a grateful nation properly hon-
ored General Grant, — one was the hero of the
first great war, the other the hero of the sec-
ond. Each has been honored alike. The fame
of Washington is secure. The fame of Grant
will be best secured by following the example
of Washington. It is enough for any man that
his honors are equal to those of Washington;
the ambition that seeks for more may well be

The questions affecting our interests now are
questions of political economy. They belong
to the statesman and not to the soldier. When
we are sick we call in the physician ; when our
rights of property are in dispute we call upon
the lawyer ; when wars prevail and armies are
to be commanded, we need the soldier; but
when great commercial or financial problems
are to be solved, we should appeal to the states-
man. If there be anarchists, socialists, and labor

reformers in the land, they are the outgrowth of
the hard times which invariably follow upon the
heels of war. . . . To remove these complaints
is the work of statesmen. The military chieftain
is as little qualified to treat such disorders as
he is to treat the wounded soldiers upon the
battlefield of his victories. — From a speech made
at Chillicothe, Missouri, against a third term in
the presidency.

War and the Constitution — Edgar E. Bry-
ant : Wars have grafted constructions on the
constitutions of every nation under the sun, and
so our great civil strife forcibly and forever
construed and interpreted our Constitution. It
was in itself no question of moral right or wrong
that was involved in the problem ; it was sim-
ply a question of the true spirit and intention
of the constitutional contract and the meaning
of this Union. The question of moral right or
wrong can only enter to test the sincerity or
insincerity of the advocacy of the respective
views. If both were sincere, then both were
patriotic, and the one was right and the other
was not wrong. If our fathers were sincere,
earnest, and honest in their views of govern-
ment, if they fought for what they believed to
be right, for what they believed to be the true
intent, spirit, and meaning of the Constitution,
they cannot in history be denied the meed of
highest honor for patriotic purposes. — From an
address to Arkansas Fx-Confederates in i8gs.

Wasliington — R. C. Winthrop : The Repub-
lic may perish ; the wide arch of our raised
Union may fall ; star by star its glories may
expire ; stone after stone its columns and its
capitol may molder and crumble ; all other
names which adorn its annals may be forgot-
ten ; but as long as human hearts shall any-
where pant, or human tongue shall anywhere
plead, for a sure, rational, constitutional liberty,
those hearts shall enshrine the memory and
those tongues shall prolong the fame, of George
Washington. — At the laying of the co7-ner-stone
of the Washington monument.

Water — Jolin B. Gougli : Sweet, beautiful
water! — brewed in the running brook, the rip-
pling fountain, and the laughing rill — in the
limpid cascade, as it joyfully leaps down the
side of the mountain. Brewed in yonder mount-
ain top, whose granite peaks glitter like gold
bathed in the morning sun — brev/ed in the
sparkling dewdrop : sweet, beautiful water! —
brewed in the crested wave of the ocean deeps,
driven by the storm, breathing its terrible an-
them to the God of the Sea — brewed in the
fleecy foam, and the whitened spray as it hangs
like a speck over the distant cataract — brewed
in the clouds of heaven : sweet, beautiful water !
As it sings in the rain shower and dances in
the hail storm ^ as it comes sweeping down in
feathery flakes, clothing the earth in a spotless
mantle of white — always beautiful! Distilled
in the golden tissues that paint the western sky
at the setting of the sun, and the silvery tissues
that veil the midnight moon — sweet, health-



giving, beautiful water 1 Distilled in the rain-
bow of promise, wliose warp is the raindrop
of earth, and whose woof is the sunbeam of
hcavan — sweet, beautiful water ! — iv-£i/« his
temperance lectures.

Watterson, Henry — Opening the "World's
Fair: ^Ve look before and after, and we see
through tlie half-drawn folds of time as through
the solemn archways of some grand cathedral
the long procession passes, as silent and as real
as-a dream ; the caravels, tossing upon Atlantic
billows, have their sails refilled from the East
and bear away to the West ; the land is reached,
and fulfilled is the vision whose actualities are
to be gathered by other hands than his who
planned the voyage and steered the bark of
discovery ; the long-sought golden day has come
to Spain at last, and Castilian conquests tread
one upon another fast enough to pile up per-
petual power and riches.

But even as simple justice was denied Co-
lumbus, was lasting tenure denied the Spaniard.

We look again, and we see in the far North-
east the Old World struggle between the
French and English transferred to the New,
ending in the tragedy upon the heights above
Quebec; we see the sturdy Puritans in bell-
crowned hats and sable garments assail in
unequal battle the savage and the elements,
overcoming both to rise against a mightier foe ;
we see the gay but dauntless cavaliers, to the
southward, join hands with the Roundheads in
holy rebellion. And, lo, down from the green-
walled hills of New England, out of the swamps
of the Carolinas, come faintly to the ear like
far-away forest leaves stirred to music by au-
tumn winds, the drum taps of the Revolution ;
the tramp of the minute-men, Israel Putnam
riding before; the hoot beats of Sumter's horse
galloping to the front; the thunder of Stark's
guns in spirit battle ; the gleam of Marion's
watch-fires in ghostly bivouac ; and there, there
in serried, saint-like ranks on Fame's eternal
camping ground stand —

"The old Continentals —
In their ragged regimentals,
Yielding not » —

as, amid the singing of angels in heaven, the
scene is shut out from our mortal vision by
proud and happy tears.

We sec the rise of the young Republic, and
the gentlemen in knee breeches and powdered
wigs who made the Constitution. We see the
little nation menaced from without. We see
the riflemen in hunting shirt and buckskin
swarm from the cabin in the wilderness to
the rescue of country and home ; and our
hearts swell to see the second and final decree
of independence won by the prowess and valor
of American arms upon the land and sea.

And then, and then — since there is no life
of nations or of men without its shadow and its
sorrow — there comes a day when the spirits
of the fathers no longer walk upon the battle-
ments of freedom ; and all is dark ; and all
seems lost save liberty and honor, and, praise

God ! our blessed Union. With these surviv-
ing, who shall marvel at what we see to-day —
this land filled with the treasures of earth ; this
city, snatched from the ashes to rise in splen-
dor and renown, passing the mind to precon-

Truly, out of trial comes the strength of
man ; out of disaster comes the glory of the
State. — From the dedicatory address at the
World's Fair in Chicago, October 21st, i8g2.

Weakness not Natural — Patrick Henry:

Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use
of those means which the God of nature hath
placed in our power.

Weaver, James B.— Brethren in Unity:

We have had in this controversy everything
that was nauseating, everything that was sick-
ening to the public taste, brought in and har-
rowed up by the discussion ; the invasion of
bleeding Kansas ; John Brown and the capture
of Harper's Ferry ; the entry of Boston by Fed-
eral troops to capture or kidnap Bums ; the
riots in New York ; the destruction of the
orphan asylum, and Governor Seymour's speech
to his " friends >> ; and some gentleman spoke,
I believe, in a serio-comic way of the invasion
of the sacred soil of Pennsylvania by George
Washington to suppress the whisky riot. I
would suggest to my venerable friend from
Pennsylvania [Mr. Wright] that when an ap-
propriation is asked for the Washington mon-
ument, he should not let that pass until he has
George Washington's conduct in that matter
fully investigated.

When I heard, Mr. Chairman, the bugle call
of the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Garfield] to
his <* skirmishers," and when I saw him grace-
fully bow his shoulder that that << chip » might
fall off, if perchance some Democratic champion
did not knock it off, and when I heard the gen-
tleman from Mississippi [Mr. Chalmers] in a
regretful manner complain that the Confederacy
had been shot to death, and saw him gallantly
fire a parting shot at John Brown, as the soul of
that patriot went marching on ; and then when I
looked to my right and saw the gallant com-
mander of that grand march to the sea sitting
on this floor, and on hastily looking around
saw sitting in my rear the greatest living com-
mander of the late forces of the Confederacy,

— it was the first time he was ever in my rear

— I must confess to you I felt the martial
spirit rising again in my breast. I could al-
most liear the shout of the victor and the roar
of the musketry. I <<felt that stern joy that
warriors feel in foemen worthy of their steel."
But I controlled my feelings, Mr. Chairman,
and reflected that of late )'ears the distinguished
commander who led the Union forces to the sea
and the distinguished gentleman from Virginia
I Mr. Johnston] have both taken anew the oath
of allegiance to the Constitution, and are both
drawing handsome salaries under the same Gov-
ernment, payable in greenbacks. Then that
V)]essed quotation came into my mind : << How
good and how pleasant it is for brethren to



dwell together in unity." — From a speech of
April 2d, 187Q, delivered in the House of Rep-
resentatives on the Artny Bill.

We Must Hang Together— Benjamin
Franklin : We must all hang together, or as-
suredly we shall all hang separately. — Said at
the signing of the Declaration of Independence,
July 4th, 1776.

What Are We Here For — Wetster M.

Flanagan : What are we here for but the of-
fices?—^/ the Republican National Conven-
tion, Chicago, 18S0.

Wnig Spirit of the Eighteenth Century —
Chatham : The spirit which now resists your
taxation in America is the same which for-
merly opposed loans, benevolences, and Ship
Money in England ; the same spirit which
called all England on its legs, and by the Bill
of Rights vindicated the English Constitution ;
the same spirit which established the great
fundamental essential maxim of your liberties,
that no subject of England shall be taxed but
by his own consent. This glorious Whig spirit
animates three millions in America who pre-
fer poverty with liberty to gilded chains and
sordid affluence, and who will die in defense
of their rights as men, as freemen.

Why Not Let Well Enough Alone? — John
B. Henderson : We are now entering upon
an untried experiment in our system of gov-
ernment. Why not let well enough alone ?

Imperialism contains more armed soldiers
than the fabled wooden horse of Troy. Im-
perialism reverses the entire theory of self-
government. It discards the wisdom of our
fathers, repudiates, without shame, the Monroe
Doctrine, and joins hands with the execrated
Holy Alliance. It rejects the civil equality of
men and accepts, without protest, the oppres-
sions and despotism of the sixteenth century.
This war in the Philippines brings us back
into the shadows of the Dark Ages. It is a war
for which no justilication can be urged. As no
reasons could be assigned for its existence, Con-
gress was ashamed to make up any record of
its declaration. It has scarcely better excuse
than the wars of subjugation waged by im-
perial Rome, whose object was to plunder, and
enslave the weak, and whose result was, in the
language of its own historian, to make a desert
of other lands and call it peace. — From an
address delivered at St. Louis, February i8qq, on

Wilmot, David—" Fanaticism » and « Prop-
erty Rights >^ : The instincts of money are the
same the world over — the same here as in the
most grinding despotism of Europe. Money is
cold, selfish, heartless. It has no pulse of hu-
manity, no feelings of pity or of love. Inter-
est, gain, accumulation, are the sole instincts of
its nature ; and it is the same, whether invested
in manufacturing stock, bank stock, or the black
stock of the South. Intent on its own inter-
est, it is utterly regardless of the rights of hu-
manity. It would coin dividends out of the

destruction of souls. Here, then, sir, we have
sixteen hundred millions of capital — heartless,
unfeeling capital, intent on its own pecuniary
advancement. It is here, sir, in these halls, in
desperate conflict with the rights of humanity
and of free labor. It is struggling to clutch in
its iron grasp the soil of the country — that
soil which is man's inheritance, and which of
right should belong to him who labors upon
it. Sixteen hundred millions of dollars de-
mands the soil of our territories in perpetuity,
for its human chattels — to drive back the free
laborer from his rightful field of enterprise —
from his lawful and God-given inheritance.
Slavery must have a wider field, or the money
value of flesh and blood will deteriorate. Ad-
ditional security and strength must be given
to the holders of human stock. What though
humanity should shriek and wail ? Money is
insatiate — capital is deaf to the voice of its
pleadings. To oppose the extension of slav-
ery — to resist in the councils of the nation
the demands of this huge money power — to
advocate the rights of humanity and of free
labor is, in the estimation of the gentleman
from Illinois, to be sectional and fanatical. To
bow down to this money power — to do its
bidding — to be its instrument and its tool, is
doubtless, in the esteem of the gentleman, to
stand upon a "broad and national platform.'*
Freedom and humanity, truth and justice, is a
platform too narrow for his enlarged and com-
prehensive mind, — the universality of slavery
can alone fill its capacious powers. Slavery is
democratic — freedom fanatical! Sir, the gen-
tleman no doubt sees fanaticism in a bold and
fearless advocacy of the right. With some
minds nothing is rational and practical except
that which pays well. — From a speech in Con-
gress, July 24th, i8j6.

Winthrop, Robert C— The Union of i776:

Our fathers were no propagandists of republi-
can institutions in the abstract. Their own
adoption of a republican form was, at the mo-
ment, almost as much a matter of chance as of
choice, of necessity as of preference. The thir-
teen colonies had, happily, been too long ac-
customed to manage their ovm affairs, and were
too widely jealous of each other, also, to admit
for an instant any idea of centralization ; and
without centralization a monarchy, or any other
form of arbitrary government, was out of the
question. Union was then, as it is now, the
only safety for liberty ; but it could only be a
constitutional union, a limited and restricted
union, founded on compromises and mutual con-
cessions ; a union recognizing a large measure
of State rights — resting not only on the division
of powers among legislative and executive de-
partments, but resting also on the distribution
of powers between the States and the Nation,
both deriving their original authority from the
people, and exercising that authority for the
people. This was the system contemplated by
the declaration of 1776. This was the sys-
tem approximated to by the confederation of



1778-81. This was the system finally consum-
mated by the Constitution of 1789. And under
this system our gre:it example of self-government
has been held up before the nations, fulfilling,
so far as it has fulfdled it, that lofty mission
which is recognized to-day as "liberty enlight-
ening the world.** — From his Centennial ora-
tion delivered in Boston, July 4th, 1876.

Woman's Eights — Cato the Elder: If,
Romans, every individual among us had made
it a rule to maintain the prerogative and au-
thority of a husband with respect to his own
wife, we should have less trouble with the
whole sex. But now, our privileges, overpow-
ered at home by female contumacy, are, even
here in the forum, spurned and trodden under
foot; and because we are unable to withstand
each separately, we now dread their collective
body. I was accustomed to think it a fabu-
lous and fictitious tale, that, in a certain island,
the whole race of males was utterly extirpated
by a conspiracy of the women. But the ut-
most danger may be apprehended equally from
either sex, if you suffer cabals and secret con-
sultations to be held ; scarcely, indeed, can I
determine, in my own mind, whether the act
itself, or the precedent that it affords, is of
more pernicious tendency. The latter of these
more particularly concerns us consuls, and the
other magistrates ; the former, you, my fellow-
citizens : for, whether the measure proposed to
your consideration be profitable to the State or
not, is to be detennined by you, who are to
vote on the occasion. As to the outrageous
behavior of these women, whether it be merely
an act of their own, or owing to your instiga-
tions, Marcus Fundanius and Lucius Valerius,
it unquestionably implies culpable conduct in
magistrates. I know not whether it reflects
greater disgrace on you, tribunes, or on the
consuls : on you certainly, if you have brought
these women hither for the purpose of raising
tribunitian sedition ; on us, if we suffer laws to
be imposed upon us by a secession of women,
as was done formerly by that of the common
people. It was not without painful emotions
of shame, that I, just now, made my way into
the forum through the midst of a band of
women. Had I not been restrained by respect
for the modesty and dignity of some individ-
uals among them, rather than of the whole
number, and been unwilling that they should
be seen rebuked by a consul, I should not have
refrained from saying to them: ^^What sort of
practice is this, of running out into the public,
besetting the streets, and addressing other
women's husbands ? Could not each have
made the same request to her husband at home ?

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 34 of 56)