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 7) online

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Photogravure after the Painting by P. F. Rothermel.

[nder the Eighteenth century law of treason, such language as
Patrick Henry used in the celebrated speech of 1765, in the Vir-
ginia House of Burgesses, made him liable to be drawn, hanged,
and quartered. The painter, entering into the spirit of the times, suggests,
but does not exaggerate, the excitement necessarily produced by stich a
speech at such a time. Rothermel was a well-known American artist, born
in 1817.

Victoria Edition

Crovvneb /Iftaetcrptecee




As Collected in

^be 1KIlorl^'0 IBcst ©rations

From the Earliest Period
to the Present Time


With Special Introductions by






Ifnternatfonal ITlniversiti^ Society



Registered at Stationers' Hall
london, england
All Rights Reserved

Copyright 1910



H. K. JUDD & CO., Ltd


London, E. C.







Henry, Patrick



"Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death"

"We the People" or "We the States?^'

"A Nation, — Not a Federation"

The Bill of Rights

Liberty or Empire ?

Herder, Johann Gottfried von

The Meaning of Inspiration

1744- 1803

On His Defeat as a Union Candidate
His Defense at the Bar of the House

Hughes, Charles Evans

The Rights of Manhood



Hildebert, Archbishop oe Tours

c. 1055-1134


Rebecca at the Well

Hill, Benjamin Harvey

I 823- I 882


"A Little Personal History"

Hill, James J.



A Canadian Lesson for the United States

Hoar, George Frisbie

1826- 1 904


The Great Men of Massachusetts

Holborne, Sir Robert

c. 1 594- 1 647


In Defense of John Hampden

Houston, Samuel




lived page

Hughes, Thomas 1823-1896 87

The Highest Manhood

Hugo, Victor 1802- 1885 93

Oration on Honore de Balzac
The Liberty Tree in Paris
On the Centennial of Voltaire's Death
Moral Force in World Politics.

Huxley, Thomas Henry 1825-1895 104

The Threefold Unity of Life

Hyde, Edward, Earl oe Clarendon ' 1608-1674 no

"Discretion" as Despotism
In John Hampden's. Case

Indian Orators . 115

Ti;cuMSEH — Address to General Proctor
Logan — Speech on the Murder of His Family
Old Tassel — His Plea for His Home
WeatherEord — Speech to General Jackson
Red Jacket — Missionary Effort

Ingalls, John J. 1833-1900 122

The Undiscovered Country

Ingersoll, Robert G. 1833-1899 125

Blaine, the Plumed Knight
Oration at His Brother's Grave
A Picture of War
The Grave of Napoleon
The Imagination

ISOCRATES 436-338 B. C. 137

'Areopagiticus' — "A Few Wise Laws Wisely

Jackson, Andrew 1767-1845 144

Second Inaugural Address — State Rights and
Federal Sovereignty





1745- I 829


I 743- I 826


I 663- I 738


1808- I 875



James, Henry, Baron James of Hereford
Old Whig Principles

Jay, John

Protest against Colonial Government

Jefferson, Thomas

"Jeffersonian Democracy" Defined

Jekyll, Sir Joseph

Resistance to Unlawful Authority

Johnson, Andrew

Inaugural Address

The St. Louis Speech for which He Was Impeached

At Cleveland in 1866

Kelvin, William Thomson, Lord 1824-1907 189

Inspiration and the Llighest Education

King Rufus 1755-1827 193

For Federal Government by the People

KiNGSLEY, Charles 1819-1875 196

Human Soot

Knott, J. Proctor

The Glories of Duluth

Knox, John

Against Tyrants

Kossuth, Louis

Local Self- Government

Labori, Maitre Fernand

The Conspiracy against Dreyfus

Lacordaire, Jean BapTiste Henri

The Sacred Cause of the Human Race
Rationalism and Miracles





1 802- 1 894


c. 1859-







Lamartine, Alphonse: Marie Louis
The Revolution of 1848

1 790- 1 869


Lang^ Most Rev. Cosmo Gordon, Archbishop of York

Socialism in England


Lansdowne, The Marquis oe 1845-
"Predatory Taxation" and "Nationalizing" Land
Coercion and Repression as Imperial Policies


Lansing, John

Answering Alexander Hamilton

1 754- 1 829


Lardner, Dionysius

The Plurality of Worlds



Latimer, Hugh

c. 1490-1555


Duties and Respect of Judges

The Sermon of the Plow

On the Pickings of Officeholders

Laurier, Sir WilErid 1841- 292

"Daughter Nations," Not Satellites
The British Flag in Csesar's City
The Character and Work of Gladstone
Canada, England, and the United States

Lee, Henry



Funeral Oration for Washington

Lee, Richard Henry



Address to the People of England

/ Leighton, Robert




Lenthael, William



Opening the Long Parliament under

Charles I.

Lewis, David, Bishop oe Llandafe



His Speech on the Scaffold




Lincoln, Abraham

I 809- I 865


The House Divided against Itself

Interrogating Douglas

\ On John Brown

! The Gettysburg Address

Second Inaugural Address

His Speech before Death

Livingston, Robert R. 1746-1813 361

Wealth and Poverty, Aristocracy and Republicanism

Lloyd-George, David 1863- 368

The Signs of a Fair Day Coming
/ Clearing Jebusites Out of the Land

/ Modern Issues in Ancient Welsh

A Campaign Guide for Conservatives

Lodge, Sir Oliver Joseph 185 i- 382

Electrons and the Infinity of the Universe

Lowell, James Russell 1819-1891 385

The Poetical and the Practical in America
Pope and His Times

Lubbock, Sir John (Lord Avebury) 1834- 396

The Hundred Best Books

Luther, Martin 1483-1546 405

Address to the Diet at Worms
"The Pith of Paul's Chief Doctrine"

Lyndhurst, Lord 1772-1863 419

Russia and the Crimean War

Lysias c. 459-380 B.C. 428

Against Eratosthenes for Murder

Lytton, Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer, Baron

I 803- I 873 431

Demosthenes and the Nobility of the Classics


Patrick Henry Delivering Hts Speech of 1765 page

(Photogravure) Frontispiece

Victor Hugo (Portrait. Photogravure) 93

Louis Kossuth (Portrait, Photogravure) 223

Sir Wilfrid Laurier (Portrait, Photogravure) 292

Lincoln and His Early Home (Photogravure) 335



|he first great orator produced by the American spirit of re-
sistance to arbitrary power, Patrick Henry, has had a narrow
escape from Bolingbroke's fate of surviving in a reputation
for great eloquence rather than in the authentic text of his really
representative orations. The speech which made him his first reputa-
tion, forced him into leadership, and did so much to force issues with
England, is not reported at all. It was delivered in the "Parson's
Cause >* of 1763 against the claims of the church establishment in
Virginia to use the taxing power of the State. From it dates church
disestablishment in America — a charge almost as great as the Union
of Church and State under Constantine. His next great speech, < Give
Me Liberty or Give Me Death,* delivered in the Virginia Convention
of March 1775, is represented by a version which has become an
American classic. It has Wirt as authority for its accuracy. But
from this time until 1788, when he poured out a flood of vehement
argument against the adoption of the Federal Constitution, Henry is
practically unreported. This is due, in a large part, to his great power
as an orator. He is one of the very few men in history so quick in
apprehension, and so prompt in expression, as to be really capable at
all times of speaking extemporaneously and at the same time with
their own greatest possibilities of effectiveness. Most men — most
even of those who deserve to be called great orators — have had the
gift of fluent delivery only as an incident of ability to prepare them-
selves in advance by severe and connected thought — an ability which
is rarer even than that of eloquence. That a man on the spur of
the moment should speak as logically, as consistently, as effectively
as most men of great intellect can only after preparation, is so ex-
traordinary that it would be incredible if men like Patrick Henry
had not lived to demonstrate it. Such eloquence has in it something
of the force of the primitive ® Rhapsodists," the unlettered poets and
prophets whose extemporaneous outbursts of higher intelligence forced
its first civilization on Europe.

Patrick Henry was born May 29th, 1736, in Hanover County, Vir-
ginia. He was the son of John Henry, a Scotchman of the humblest
class, and it was not until after he had achieved his great success as
an orator that he became identified with the landholding element




which then governed Virginia. When at the age of twenty-four he
applied for admission to the bar, he had failed in several previous
attempts to make a start in life, and it is said that his knowledge of
law was derived from a six weeks' course of study in it. Yet such
was his natural ability to learn from every one and everything, that
the most throughly trained lawyers in that day of severe legal train-
ing were no match for him in debate on the abstract principles of
law. As a member of the House of Burgesses of Virginia in 1765,
he forced the colony into open opposition to England and, in connec-
tion with Thomas Jefferson and others, he led in the work of forming
the first colonial Union. He served in the Continental Congress of
1774, and the next year, in the Virginia Convention, made his greatest
speech — the speech which made retrogression impossible for Virginia
and converted those who had been Loyalists to the mother country
into traitors to the Commonwealth. His record as Governor of Vir-
ginia between 1776 and 1786 has little to do with his history as an
orator, but in 1788, when it was proposed to adopt a Federal Consti-
tution, uniting not the States themselves, but the people, he opposed
it with the most extraordinary vehemence and brilliancy ever wit-
nessed in really extemporaneous oratory. He was a Federalist in the
sense of desiring a « Federal Union » — that is a Union by treaty —
among the States, but he reasoned that a Union of the people of the
States as proposed in the preamble of the Constitution was a com-
plete consolidation in the presence of which the claim of State sov-
ereignty and actual autonomy would be folly.

Losing on the main issue, the contest he had made resulted in
the adoption of the first ten amendments. In 1799, on the issue
against the Alien and Sedition Laws, the followers of Jefferson took
the same position Henry had taken in the Virginia Convention, he
sided against Jefferson and declared that since « unlimited power
over sword and purse » had been intrusted to the Federal Govern-
ment, there was nothing to do except submit to its exercise. The
only remedy remaining, he said, was revolution, never to be resorted
to except in the last extremity, and when resorted to, necessarily
productive of conditions under which Americans «may bid adieu for-
ever to representative government. >^

Henry died June 6th, 1799. He was one of the most remarkable
men of modern times — unfortunate politically in his own generation
only because he saw further into the future than any other man of
his time dared attempt to see.



(Delivered at Richmond, in the Virginia Convention, on a Resolution to put
the Commonwealth into a State of Defense, March 23d, 1775)

Afr. President : —

No MAN thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as
well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have
just addressed the house. But different men often see the
same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not
be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen, if, entertaining as I
do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak
forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time
for ceremony. The question before the house is one of awful
moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as
nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in pro-
portion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom
of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive
at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God
and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a
time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself
as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of dis-
loyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all
earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions
of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth,
and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into
beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and
arduous struggle for liberty ? Are we disposed to be of the
number of those, who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear
not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation ?
For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing
to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide
for it.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that
is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the
future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to
know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry
for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentle-
men have been pleased to solace themselves and the house. Is



it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately re-
ceived ? Trust it not, sir ; it will prove a snare to your feet.
Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves
how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those
warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our
land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and
reconciliation ? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be rec-
onciled, that force must be called in to win back our love ? Let
us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war
and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask
gentlemen, sir, What means this martial array, if its purpose be
not to force us to submission ? Can gentlemen assign any other
possible motive for it ? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this
quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies
and armies ? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us :
they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind
and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have
been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them ?
Shall we try argument ? Sir, we have been trying that for the
last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the sub-
ject .? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of
which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort
to entreaty and humble supplication ? What terms shall we find,
which have not been already exhausted ? Let us not, I be-
seech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer. Sir, we have done
everything that could be done, to avert the storm which is now
coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have
supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and
have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of
the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted;
our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult;
our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been
spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain,
after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and
reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we
wish to be free — if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestim-
able privileges for which we have been so long contending — if
we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we
have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged our-
selves never to abandon, until the glorious object of our contest
shall be obtained — we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we mus*


fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is
left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so
formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger ? Will
it be the next week, or the next year ? Will it be when we are
totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in
every house ? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and in-
action ? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by
lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom
of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot ?
Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means
which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three mil-
lions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such
a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force
which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not
fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over
the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight
our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it
is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have
no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too
late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat, but in sub-
mission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking
may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable —
and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may
cry, Peace, Peace — but there is no peace. The war is actually
begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring
to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are al-
ready in the field ! Why stand we here idle ? What is it that
gentlemen wish ? What would they have ? Is life so dear, or
peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and
slavery ? Forbid it, Almighty God ! I know not what course
others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me
death !

7 — 2



(Delivered in the Virginia Convention, June 4th, 1788, on the Preamble and
the First Two Sections of the First Article of the Federal Constitution)

Mr. CJiairman : —

THE public mind, as well as my own, is extremely uneasy at
the proposed change of government. Give me leave to
form one of the number of those who wish to be thor-
oughly acquainted with the reasons of this perilous and uneasy
situation, and why we are brought hither to decide on this great
national question. I consider myself as the servant of the peo-
ple of this Commonwealth, as a sentinel over their rights, liberty,
and happiness, I represent their feelings when I say that they
are exceedingly uneasy, being brought from that state of full se-
curity, which they enjoy, to the present delusive appearance of
things. Before the meeting of the late Federal Convention at
Philadelphia, a general peace and a universal tranquillity pre-
vailed in this country, and the minds of our citizens were at per-
fect repose; but since that period, they are exceedingly uneasy
and disquieted. When I wished for an appointment to this con-
vention, my mind was extremely agitated for the situation of
public affairs. I conceive the Republic to be in extreme danger.
If our situation be thus uneasy, whence has arisen this fearful
jeopardy ? It arises from this fatal system ; it arises from a pro-
posal to change our government — a proposal that goes to the
utter annihilation of the most solemn engagements of the States
— a proposal of establishing nine States into a confederacy, to
the eventual exclusion of four States. It goes to the annihilation
of those solemn treaties we have formed with foreign nations.
The present circumstances of France, the good offices rendered
us by that kingdom, require our most faithful and most punctual
adherence to our treaty with her. We are in alliance with
the Spaniards, the Dutch, the Prussians: those treaties bound
us as thirteen States, confederated together. Yet here is a
proposal to sever that confederacy. Is it possible that we shall
abandon all our treaties and national engagements ? And for
what ? I expected to have heard the reasons of an event so
unexpected to my mind, and many others. Was our civil pol-
ity, or public justice, endangered or sapped ? Was the real ex-
istence of the country threatened, or was this preceded by a


mournful progression of events ? This proposal of altering- our
Federal Government is of a most alarming nature; make the
best of this new Government — say it is composed of anything
but inspiration — you ought to be extremely cautious, watchful,
jealous of your* liberty ; for, instead of securing- your rights, you
may lose them forever. If a wrong step be now made, the Re-
public may be lost forever. If this new Government will not
come up to the expectation of the people, and they should be
disappointed, their liberty will be lost, and tyranny must and will
arise. I repeat it again, and I beg gentlemen to consider, that a
wrong step, made now, will plunge us into misery, and our Re-
public will be lost. It will be necessary for this convention to
have a faithful historical detail of the facts that preceded the
session of the Federal Convention, and the reasons that actuated
its members in proposing an entire alteration of government —
and to demonstrate the dangers that awaited us. If they were
of such awful magnitude as to warrant a proposal so extremely
perilous as this, I must assert that this convention has an ab-
solute right to a thorough discovery of every circumstance rela-
tive to this great event. And here I would make this inquiry
of those worthy characters who composed a part of the late Fed-
eral Convention. I am sure they were fully impressed with the
necessity of forming a great consolidated government, instead
of a confederation. That this is a consolidated government is
demonstrably clear, and the danger of such a government is, to
my mind, very striking. I have the highest veneration for those
gentlemen; but, sir, give me leave to demand what right had
they to say, " We, the People ^^ ? My political curiosity, exclusive
of my anxious solicitude for the public welfare, leads me to ask
who authorized them to speak the language of "We, the People,'*
instead of « We, the States '' ? States are the characteristics and
the soul of a confederation. If the States be not the agents of
this compact, it must be one great consolidated national govern-
ment of the people of all the States. I have the highest respect
for those gentlemen who formed the convention; and were some
of them not here, I would express some testimonial of esteem for
them. America had, on a former occasion, put the utmost confi-
dence in them — a confidence which was well placed; and I am
sure, sir, I would give up anything to them; I would cheerfully
confide in them as my representatives. But, sir, on this great
occasion, I would demand the cause of their conduct. Even from


that illustrious man, who saved us by his valor, I would have a
reason for his conduct; that liberty which he has given us by
his valor tells me to ask this reason, and sure I am, were he
here, he would give us that reason: but there are other gentle-
men here who can give us this information. The people gave
them no power to use their name. That they exceeded their
power is perfectly clear. It is not mere curiosity that actuates
me; I wish to hear the real, actual, existing danger, which should
lead us to take those steps so dangerous in my conception. Dis-
orders have arisen in other parts of America, but here, sir, no
dangers, no insurrection or tumult, has happened; everythmg has
been calm and tranquil. But notwithstanding this, we are wan-
dering on the great ocean of human affairs. I see no landmark

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 7) → online text (page 1 of 41)