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 4) online

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as pre-eminently before and above the Constitution.



(In the House of Representatives, Monday, March i6th, 1840, on the British
and Chinese Question — Noninterference of the United States)

1BEG leave to put a question to the chairman of the Committee
on Foreign Affairs [Mr. Pickens], in regard to a matter con-
cerning which misapprehension exists abroad, and which,
though it touches individually myself and a colleague of mine
now absent on a sick-bed [Mr, Lawrence], I should not have
troubled the House with, if it were not of great public importance
to the welfare and reputation of the United States.

[No objection being made, Mr. Cushing proceeded to say:]

I proposed a resolution early in the session, calling on the Ex-
ecutive for information as to our relations with China, which reso-
lution, being afterwards submitted to the Committee on Foreign
Affairs, was by them reported to the House, and adopted; and to
which the Executive has since responded, in a message now in
the possession of the House. My colleague [Mr. Lawrence] also
presented a memorial from the citizens of the United States in
China, relative to the same matter. These papers are now under
consideration in the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Meanwhile,
I am somewhat disturbed to learn, through the intelligence
brought by the Great Western, that these movements here are
construed in England as indicating a disposition on the part of
the American Government "to join heart and hand'^ — as the ex-
pression is in a paragraph of an English ministerial journal now
before me^ — *to join heart and hand with the British Govern-
ment, and endeavor to obtain commercial treaties from the au-
thorities in China." Now, so far as regards myself, I wish to
say that this is a great misconception, if it be not a willful per-
version, of what is contemplated here. I have, it is true, thought
that the present contingency, — when the Americans at Canton,
and they almost or quite alone, have manifested a proper respect
ror the laws and public rights of the Chinese Empire, in honora-
ble contrast with the outrageous misconduct of the English there
— and when the Chinese Government, grateful for the upright
deportment of the Americans, has manifested the best possible
feeling towards them — I have thought that these circumstances



afforded a favorable opportunity to endeavor to put the American
trade with China on a just and stable footing for the future.
But, God forbid that I should entertain the idea of co-operating
with the British Government in the purpose — if purpose it have
— of upholding the base cupidity and violence and high-handed
infraction of all law, human and divine, which have characterized
the operations of the British, individually and collectively, in the
seas of China. I disavow all sympathy with those operations. I
denounce them most emphatically.

(Delivered in the House of Representatives, February 6th, 1837)

THE fate of the Indians in every part of the United States has
been a deplorable one, from the first day of our intercourse
with them to the present hour. In Maine, the tribes so
conspicuous once in the wars of New England and of Canada are
sunk to a community of humble fishermen. In Massachusetts, in
Rhode Island, in Connecticut, the Mohicans, the Pequots, the
Narragansetts, names of pride and power, have dwindled to a
v/retched remnant. In New York, how few survive of that great
and famous confederacy of the Six Nations! The Delawares and
their kindred tribes have disappeared from Pennsylvania and Vir-
ginia. In the newer States, we see that process of decay or of
extinction now going on which is consummated in the old ones;
the Seminoles in arms on their native soil, fighting not for life
or land, but for vengeance, and vowed, it would seem, like the
Pequots, to a war of self-extermination; the Creeks, hurrying, in
broken bands, to the West; the Cherokees, the most cultivated of
the Southern tribes, pausing over their doomed exile, like the
waters of the cataract, which gather themselves on the edge of
the precipice, ere they leap into the inevitable abyss.

Is there no responsibility devolved on us by this state of
things ? That we are wholly responsible for it, I can by no
means admit. The condition in which we see the Indians has
arisen from the fact that they are savages; that they are savages
in contact with cultivated men; that they have not had the insti-
tutions of civilized life to guard their nationality and their prop-
erty against the frauds and the vices of rapacious traders and



land pirates, nor the arts of civilized life wherewith to gain sub-
sistence. These are obstacles to their preservation, which we, as
a people, in our efforts for their advantage, have perseveringly,
but as yet vainly, endeavored to overcome. Wars between them
and us have resulted almost inevitably from our contiguity. Yet
those wars are not imputable to any general spirit of unkindness
on our part; and we have strenuously endeavored to prevent
their arming among themselves to protect them against the frauds
and injustice of the lawless of our own people, and to impart to
them the blessings of civilization.

Still, indirectly, it is clear, we have to answer for the present
degradation of the Indians, since we sought them, not they us;
and if no Europeans had come hither, the aboriginal inhabitants
of the country would have retained their independence and their
sovereignty. Abstractly considered, our conduct towards them,
and the doctrines of public right which govern it, are marked by
many traits of injustice. You take possession of their country
by what you call " the right of discovery, '' or by conquest. ^^ We
pay them for it,'^ do you say? Yes, you purchase land enough
for the domicile of a nation with a string of beads. And it is
impossible to adjust to the standard of abstract justice a domin-
ion built on the bones and cemented with the blood of van-
quished and extinguished tribes. You must offend against their
natural rights, when your power could not otherwise stand. They
feel as did the Indian described by Erskine: ^'Who is it,'^ said
the jealous ruler of the desert, encroached upon by the restless
foot of transatlantic adventure — " who is it that causes this river
to rise in the high mountains and to empty itself into the
ocean ? Who is it that makes the loud winds of winter to blow,
and that calms them again in the summer.? Who is it that rears
up the shade of these lofty forests, and that blasts them with
the quick lightning at his pleasure ? The same Being who gave
to you a country beyond the water, and gave ours to us ! ** " And
by this title we will defend it,'^ said the warrior, throwing down
his tomahawk on the ground and raising the war cry of his nation.
These are the feelings of subjugated men everywhere, civilized
or uncivilized. These are the feelings which produce the scenes
now occurring in Florida. They are the feelings in violation of
which our empire in the New World was founded. Yet, will you
abandon the land now by nativity yours, the homes of 37-our kin-
dred and your affection ? You will not ? But your dominion


over the country has no root in abstract equity, and it is ex-
tended and upheld only by your superior strength and art, not
by their gratitude or their attachment for benefits received. And
it behooves you to make reparation for the injury your very ex-
istence here inflicts on the Indian by promoting, in all possible
ways, his welfare, civiHzation, and peace.

Every consideration of policy calls upon us to conciliate, if
we may, the Indians within our jurisdiction. We have com-
pacted together in the West emigrant Indians from various quar-
ters, tribes unfriendly, inimical to each other, sections of tribes
reciprocally hostile, and all embittered, more or less, against us,
by whom they have been driven from their own ancient abodes
and stripped of their long-descended independence. Can savage
warriors, the captives of battle, transported to the West, as chiefs
of the hostile Creeks have recently been, as prisoners of war in
irons — can such men, constituted as they are, fail to nourish the
vindictive and jealous feelings which belong to their nature ?
Will we take no pains to remove or allay these feelings of irrita-
tion ? Will we deal justly with them hereafter? Will our equity
and our mercy be manifested as signally as our power ? Will we
secure these victims of our destiny in their new lands; guard
them against the intrusion of our own people, and from hostility
among themselves ? Will we redeem our promise of protection
and political fellowship ? It is but the question whether we shall
enjoy peace and prosperity on our western frontier, or whether
the Indian shall send his yell into the heart of our settlements,
ravage our lands, burn our dwellings, massacre our wives and
children. Would you rally his tribes to the flaming sign of war ?
Would you see the thirsty prairies soaked with the mingling
blood of the red man and the white ? If not, be warned in time
by the spectacle of desolation and carnage in the South.

Is not East Florida laid waste ? Have not millions upon mil-
lions been expended already in the as yet unavailing endeavor to
subdue a fragment of the Seminoles? But what do we care for
money ? It is the sufferings of our own fellow-citizens, the lives
of the brave men of our army and militia, perishing amid the
pestilential swamps of that fatal region, the destruction of the
deluded Indians themselves, the tarnished honor of our country,
and not the treasure exhausted in war, which I deplore. How
many generals have left that field of war baffled, if not defeated.
Nay, is not the whole army of the United States thrown into


distraction, and half-dissolved by the contentions of rank, the
competition of service, the criminations and recriminations which
have sprung up in such rank abundance, like some noxious
growth of the tropics, out of the soil of East Florida ? and if the
desperation of a few Seminoles, either by their own efforts or
the contagion of their example, can excite a war that can sum-
mon regiment after regiment of troops, to the amount, it is
reported to us first and last, of some twenty-five thousand men,
what would be the consequence if injustice or mismanagement
should kindle a similar flame among the Cherokees, the Creeks,
and the great body of the emigrant Indians ? God forbid that
such a calamity should descend upon our beloved country!

Dictates of duty in this matter are not less imperative than
arguments of policy. The Indians are in our hands. They have
been sunk to what they are, if not by us, yet through us. We
have assumed the guardianship of them, and have pledged our-
selves by stipulation after stipulation to watch over their welfare.
I invoke the faith of treaties, I appeal to the honor of the
nation, I demand of its truth and justice, if there be any sense
of right in civilized communities, that we act decidedly and
promptly in the execution of some well-digested plan for the
benefit of the Indians subject to our authority. Let us not
speak to them only as conquerors and in the language of relent-
less vigor, but to the vigor that shall overawe and control, let
us join the justice that shall command respect and the clemency
that shall conciliate affection.



Ihascius Ci^ciLius Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, beheaded in
258 A.D., during the Valerian persecution, began life as a
teacher of rhetoric and oratory at Carthage. It is said that
he was passionately fond of eloquence and, on being converted to
Christianity at the age of forty-eight, he quickly attained eminence
in the church at a time when it could easily mean martyrdom — as it
did in his case. It is said that he did more than any other early
writer except possibly Saint Augustine, ^Ho give form and character
to the doctrine and practice of the Latin Church.'^ His style as an
orator is characterized by earnestness and directness, rather than by
ornament. He was born about the year 200.

(From a Sermon on the Lord's Prayer)

IT IS our prayer that the will of God may be done both in
heaven and in earth; each of which bears toward the accom-
plishment of our health and salvation. Having a body from
the earth, and a spirit from heaven, we are both earth and
heaven; in both, that is, both in body and spirit, we pray that
God's will may be done. Flesh and spirit have a strife between
them, a daily encounter from their mutual quarrel, so that we
cannot do the things that we would, because the spirit seeks
things heavenly and divine, the flesh desires things earthly and
temporal. Hence it is our earnest prayer that by God's help and
aid a peace may be established between these two; that by the
doing of God's will, both in the spirit and flesh, that soul may
be preserved which has been born again through him. This the
Apostle Paul, in distinct and manifest words, sets forth: <<The
flesh, >> saith he, ^^lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against
the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other, so that
ye cannot do the things that ye would. Now the works of the
flesh are manifest, which are these, adulteries, fornications, un-
cleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, murders, hatred,




variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings,
drunkenness, reveling, and such like, of the which I tell you be-
fore, as I have also told you in times past, that they which do
such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit
of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, magnanimity, goodness, faith,
kindness, continence, chastity.*^ For this cause we make it our
daily, yea, our unceasing petition, that God's will in us may be
done, both in heaven and earth; for this is the will of God, that
the earthly should give way to the heavenly, that spiritual and
divine things should become supreme. . . .

It were a self-contradicting and incompatible thing for us,
who pray that the kingdom of God may quickly come, to be
looking unto long life in the world below. Thus, also, the
blessed Apostle instructs us, forming and establishing the stead-
fastness of our hope and faith: ^^We brought nothing into this
world, and neither can we carry anything out. Having, there-
fore, food and raiment, let us herewith be content. But they
that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare and into many
and hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.
For the love of money is the root of all evil, which, while some
coveted after, they have made shipwreck from the faith, and
pierced themselves through with many sorrows. ^^ He teaches us
that not only are riches despicable, but are also dangerous; that
in them is the root of seductive evils, misleading the blindness of
the human heart by a concealed deception. Wherefore also God
judges that rich fool whose thoughts were for his earthly stores,
and who boasted himself in the multitude of his abundant gath-
ering: ^^Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee;
then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided ? **
The fool made merry in his stores, even that night when he was
to die; and while life was ceasing from his hand, life's multiplied
provision still employed his thought. The Lord, on the other
hand, teaches us that he becomes the perfect and accomplished
Christian who, by selling all he has and giving to the poor,
stores up for himself a treasure in heaven. That man, he says,
it is that can follow him and imitate the glory of the Passion of
the Lord, who unimpeded and close-girt, involved in no shackle
of worldly possessions, is enabled in unrestraint and freedom
himself to follow after these his possessions, which he has already
sent before to God. In order that each of us may train himself
to this, he may learn to offer a prayer corresponding to his doing



SO, and may be taught from the standard which his prayer
puts before him the manner of man that he ought to be. The
just man can never be in want for his daily bread since it is
written, * The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to
famish. * And again, ^^ I have been young, and now am old, yet
have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging
bread.* The Lord also makes promise and says: "Take no
thought, saying, what shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or
wherewithal shall we be clothed ? For after all these things do
the Gentiles seek; for your Father knoweth that ye have need
of all these things. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his
righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.»
He promises to those who seek God's kingdom and righteous-
ness, that all other things shall be added. For since all things
are of God, to him that has God there will nothing fail, if him-
self be not failing unto God. Thus Daniel had a meal miracu-
lously provided, when he was shut up by the command of the
king in the den of lions; and among wild beasts hungering, yet
sparing him, the man of God was nourished. Thus Elijah re-
ceived sustenance in his flight, and was fed through persecution
by ravens that ministered to him in his solitude, and birds that
bare him meat. And oh! the horrid cruelty of human wicked-
ness! the wild beasts spare, and the birds give food, while it is
men that lurk and rage. . . .

He has added the rule besides, binding us under the fixed
condition and responsibility that we are to ask for our sins to be
forgiven in such sort as we forgive them that are in debt to us,
knowing that our entreaties for sin will have no acceptance
unless we deal toward our debtors in like manner. Hence, in
another place, he says, * With what measure ye mete, it shall be
measured to you again ; * and the servant who, after being forgiven
all his debt by his Lord, refused to forgive his fellow-servant,
was cast back into prison; on refusing to yield to his fellow-
servant, he lost what his Lord had previously yielded to him.
These things Christ still more impressively sets forth in his
commandments, in the fuller force of his authority: "When ye
stand praying, forgive if ye have aught against any, that your
Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your tres-
passes. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which
is in heaven forgive your trespasses.'* No excuse will abide you
in the day of ludgment, when you will be judged by your own


sentence, and as you have dealt toward others will be dealt with
yourself. For God commands us to be peacemakers, and dwell
with one heart and one mind in his house; and what he made
us by our second nativity, such he would have us continue
when new-born, that having become sons of God, we may abide
in God's peace, and partake as of one spirit, so of but one heart
and one mind. Hence it is that God accepts not the sacrifice of
the unreconciled, and commands him to return first and agree
with his brother, that the prayers of the peacemaker may set
him at peace with God. . . .

After these things, at the conclusion of the prayer, comes a
sentence comprising shortly and collectively the whole of our
petitions and desires. We end by saying, ^* Deliver us from evil,*^
comprehending all adverse things which the enemy in this world
devises against us; wherefrom we have a faithful and firm pro-
tection, if God deliver us, and grant his aid to our entreaties and
complaints. But having said, '^ Deliver us from evil, *^ there re-
mains nothing beyond for us to ask for, after petition made for
God's protection from evil; for that gained, we stand secure and
safe against all things that the devil and the world work against
us. What fear hath he from this life, who has God through life
for his guardian ? We need not wonder, dearest brethren, that
this is God's prayer, seeing how his instruction comprises all
our petitioning in one saving sentence. This had already been
prophesied by Isaiah the prophet, when, filled with the Holy
Spirit, he spoke concerning the majesty and mercy of God;
* summing up and cutting short his word, in righteousness, be-
cause a short word will God make in the whole earth.** For
when the word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, came unto ail,
and, gathering together alike the learned and the unlearned, did
to every sex and age set forth the precepts of salvation, he made
a full compendium of his instructions, that the memory of the
scholars might not labor in the heavenly discipline, but accept
with readiness whatsoever was necessary unto a simple faith.
Thus, when he taught what is life eternal, he gathered the mys-
tery of life within an especial and divine brevity. *'This,** said
he, «is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true
God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.* In like manner,
when he gathered forth from the law and prophets what were
the first and greatest commandments, he said, " Hear, O Israel,
the Lord thy God is one God. And thou shalt love the Lord



thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all
thy strength: this is the first and great commandment. And the
second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
And again, ^* Whatever good things ye would that men should
do unto you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the
prophets. ^^ . . .

Those who pray ought to come to God, not with unfruitful or
naked prayers. Vainly we ask, when it is a barren petition that
is given to God. For since *^ every tree not bringing forth good
fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire," surely words also
which bring no fruit must fail of favor with God, seeing they
are joined with no productiveness in righteous deeds. Hence Di-
vine Scripture instructs us, saying, ^^ Prayer is good, with fasting
and alms." For he who, in the day of judgment, will render to
us a reward for our good works and alms is also a gracious lis-
tener to any that approach him in prayer, with the company of
good works. Thus was it that the Centurion Cornelius, when he
prayed, found a title to be heard. For he was one " that did
many alms-deeds toward the people, and ever prayed to God."
To him, when he was praying about the ninth hour, an angel
came nigh, rendering testimony to his deeds, and saying, ^* Cor-
nelius, thy prayers and thine alms are gone up in remembrance
before God." Quickly do prayers go up to God, when the claims
of our good works introduce them before him. Thus, also, the
angel Raphael bare witness to the continual praying and con-
tinual alms-deeds of Tobias, saying, * It is honorable to reveal
and confess the works of God. For when thou didst pray, and
Sara, I did bring the remembrance of your prayers before the
holiness of God. And when thou didst bury the dead, I was
with thee likewise; and because thou didst not delay to rise up
and leave thy dinner, to go and cover the dead, I was sent to
prove thee; and now God hath sent me to heal thee and Jona,
thy daughter-in-law. For I am Raphael, one of the seven holy
angels, which go in and out before the glory of God." By
Isaiah, likewise, the Lord admonishes and teaches us like things,
thus testifying: "Loosen every knot of unrighteousness; release
the oppression of contracts which have no power. Let the trou-
bled go in peace, and break every unjust engagement. Deal
thy bread to the hungry, and bring the poor that are cast
out to thy house. When thou seest the naked, cover him, and


despise not them of thine own flesh. Then shall thy light break
forth in season, and thy raiment shall spring forth speedily, and
righteousness shall go before thee, and the glory of God shall
cover thee. Then shalt thou call, and God shall hear thee, and
while thou shalt yet speak, he shall say, Here I am.^^ He prom-
ises that he is nigh, and hears and protects those who, loosening
the knots of unrighteousness from the heart, and giving alms
among the household of God, according to his commandment,
do, by hearkening to what God claims of them, themselves ac-
quire a title to be heard of him. The blessed Paul, having been
assisted by the brethren in a needfiil time of pressure, declared
that good works performed were sacrifices to God. ^^ I am full,^^
saith he, "having received of Epaphroditus the things which

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 4) → online text (page 35 of 39)