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Richard Green Parker.

Exercises in rhetorical reading : with a series of introductory lessons, particularly designed to familiarize readers with the pauses and other marks in general use, and lead them to the practice of modulation and inflection of the voice online

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their reaching America, left their native land within about
5 a year of each other ; but under what widely different cir-
cumstances did they embark !

The former set sail from the port of the metropolis, in a
squadron of three vessels, under an experienced com-
mander, under the patronage of a wealthy and powerful

10 corporation, and with an ample patent from the crown.

The latter betook themselves to their solitary bark, by
stealth, under cover of the night, and from a bleak and
desert heath in Lincolnshire, while a band of armed horse-
men, rushing down upon them before the embarkation was

15 completed, made prisoners of all who were not already on
board, and condemned husbands and wives, and parents
and children, to a cruel and almost hopeless separation.

Nor did their respective arrivals on the American shores,
though divided by a period of thirteen years, present a less

20 signal contrast. The Virginia colony entered the harbor
of Jamestown about the middle of May, and never could
that lovely Queen of Spring have seemed lovelier than
when she put on her flowery kirtle and her wreath of
clusters, to welcome those admiring strangers to the enjoy-

25 ment of her luxuriant vegetation.

There were no Mayflowers for the Pilgrims, save the
name, written, as in mockery, on the stern of their treach-
erous ship. They entered the harbor of Plymouth on the
shortest day in the year, in this last quarter of Decem-

30 her, — and when could the rigid Winter-King have looked
more repulsive, than when, shrouded with snow and
crowned with ice, he admitted those shivering wanderers
within the realms of his dreary domination ?

But mark the sequel. From a soil teeming with every

35 variety of production for food, for fragrance, for beauty, for
profit, the Jamestown colonists reaped only disappointment,
discord, wretchedness. Having failed in the great object
of their adventure — the discovery of gold — they soon grew
weary of their condition, and within three years after their

40 arrival are found on the point of abandoning the country.

Indeed, they are actually embarked, one and all, with

this intent, and are already at the mouth of the river,

when, falling in with new hands and fresh supplies which

have been sent to their relief, they are induced to return

45 once more to their deserted village.



EX. LXXV.] RHETORICAL READING. *^ni

But even up to the very year in which the pilgrims
landed, ten years after this renewal of their designs, they
" had hardly become settled in their minds," had hardly
abandoned the purpose of ultimately returning to Eng-
5 land ; and their condition may be illustrated by the fact,
that in 1619, and again in 1621, cargoes of young women,
(a commodity of which there was scarcely a sample in the
whole plantation — and would to God that all the traffic
in human flesh on the Virginian coast, even at this early

10 period, had been as innocent in itself and as beneficial in

its results ! — ) were sent out by the corporation in London

and sold to the planters for wives, at from one hundred and

twenty to one hundred and fifty pounds of tobacco apiece !

Nor was the political condition of the Jamestown colony

15 much in advance of its social state. The charter under
which they came out contained not a single element of
popular liberty, and secured not a single right or franchise
to those who lived under it.

And, though a gleam of freedom seemed to dawn upon

20 them in 1619, when they instituted a Colonial Assembly
and introduced the representative system for the first time
into the new world, the precarious character of their
popular institutions, and the slender foundation of their
popular liberties, at a much later period, even as far down

25 as 1671, may be understood from that extraordinary declar-
ation of Sir William Berkeley, then Governor of Virginia,
to the Lords Commissioners : — "I thank God, there are
no free schools nor printing, and I hope we shall not
have these hundred years; for learning has brought

30 disobedience and heresy and sects into the world, and
printing has divulged them and libels against the best
government. God keep us from both."

But how was it with 4he pilgrims ? From a soil of
comparative barrenness, they gathered a rich harvest of

35 contentment, harmony and happiness. Coming to it for
no purpose of commerce or adventure, they found all they
sought — religious freedom — and that made the wilderness
to them like Eden, and the desert as the garden of the
Lord.

40 Of quitting it, from the very hour of their arrival,
they seem never once to have entertained, or even con-
ceived, a thought. The first foot that leaped gently but
fearlessly on Plymouth rock was a pledge that there would
be no retreating — tradition tells us that it was the foot



332 pakker's exercises in [ex. lxxv.

of Mary Chilton. They have brought their wives and
their little ones with them ; and what other assurance could
they give that they have come to their home ?

And accordingly they proceed at once to invest it with
5 all the attributes of home, and to make it a free and a
happy home. The compact, of their own adoption, under
which they landed, remained the sole guide of their gov-
ernment for nine years ; and though it was then superseded
by a charter from the corporation within whose limits they

10 had fallen, it was a charter of a liberal and comprehensive
character, and under its provisions they continued to lay
broad and deep the foundations of civil freedom.

The trial by jury was established by the pilgrims within
three years after their arrival, and constitutes the appro-

15 priate opening to the first chapter of their legislation. The
education of their children, as we have seen, was one of
their main motives for leaving Holland, and there is abun-
dant evidence that it was among the earliest subjects of
their attention ; while the planters of Massachusetts, who

20 need not be distinguished from the planters of Plymouth
for any purposes of this comparison, founded the college at
Cambridge in 1636 — set up a printing press at the same
place in 1639, which " divulged," in its first workings, at
least, nothing more libellous or heretical than a psalm-book

25 and an almanac — and as early as 1647 had instituted, by
an ever memorable statute, that noble system of New
England free schools, which constitutes at this moment
the best security of liberty wherever liberty exists, and its
best hope wherever it is still to be established.

30 It would carry me far beyond the allowable limits of this
address, if, indeed, I have not already exceeded them, to
contrast in detail the respective influences upon our coun-
try, and, through it, upon the world, of these two original
colonies. The elements for such a contrast I have already

35 suggested, and I shall content myself with only adding
further upon this point the recent and very remarkable tes-
timony of two most intelligent French travellers, whose
writings upon the United States have justly received such
distinguished notice on both sides the Atlantic.

40 " I have already observed," says De Tocqueville, that
" the origin of the American settlements may be looked
upon as the first and most efficacious cause to which the
present prosperity of the United States may be attributed.
# # # When I reflect upon the consequences of this pri-



EX. LXXV.] RHETORICAL READING. 333

mary circumstance, methinks I see the destiny of America
embodied in the first Puritan who landed on these shores,
just as the human race was represented by the first man."
" If we wished," says Chevalier, " to form a single type,
5 representing the American character of the present moment
as a single whole, it would be necessary to take at least
three-fourths of the Yankee race and to mix it with hardly
one-fourth of the Virginian."

But the Virginia type was not complete w^hen it first

10 appeared on the coast of Jamestown, and I must not omit,
before bringing these remarks to a conclusion, to allude to
one other element of any just comparison between the two
colonies.

The year 1620 was unquestionably the great epoch of

15 American destinies. Within its latter half were included
the two events which have exercised incomparably the
most controlling influence on the character and fortunes of
our country. At the very time the Mayflower, with its
precious burden, was engaged in its perilous voyage to

20 Plymouth, another ship, far otherwise laden, was approach-
ing the harbor of Virginia.

It was a Dutch man-of-war, and its cargo consisted in
part of twenty slaves, which were subjected to sale on their
arrival, and with which the foundations of domestic slavery

25 in North America were laid.

I see those two fate-freighted vessels, laboring under the
divided destinies of the same nation, and striving against
the billows of the same sea, like the principles of good and
evil advancing side by side on the same great ocean of

30 human life.

I hear from the one the sighs of wretchedness, the
groans of despair, the curses and clankings of struggling
captivity, sounding and swelling on the same gale which
bears only from the other the pleasant voices of prayer and

35 praise, the cheerful melody of contentment and happiness,
the glad, the glorious "anthem of the free."

Oh, could some angel arm, like that which seems to
guide and guard the pilgrim bark, be now interposed to
arrest, avert, dash down and overwhelm, its accursed com-

10 peer ! But it may not be. They have both reached in
safety the place of their destination. Freedom and Slavery,
in one and the same year, have landed on these American
shores. And American liberty, like the victor of ancient
Rome, is doomed — let us hope not forever — to endure



334 Parker's exercises in [ex. lxxv.

the presence of a fettered captive as a companion in her
car of triumph !

tP ^ -J^ ^ -jv- ^

It has been suggested, gentlemen, by one of the French
travellers whose opinions I have just cited, that though the
5 Yankee has set his mark on the United States during the
last half century, and though " he still rules the nation,"
that yet the physical labor of civilization is now nearly
brought to an end, the physical basis of society entirely
laid, and that other influences are soon about to predomi-

10 nate in rearing up the social superstructure of our nation.

I hail the existence of this association, and of others like

it in all parts of the Union, bound together by the noble

cords of " friendship, charity, and mutual assistance," as a

pledge that New England principles, whether in ascen-

15 dency or under depression in the nation at large, will never
stand in need of warm hearts and bold tongues to cherish
and vindicate them.

But, at any rate, let us rejoice that they have so long
pervaded the country and prevailed in her institutions.

20 Let us rejoice that the basis of her society has been laid
by Yankee arms. Let us rejoice that the corner-stone of
our republican edifice was hewn out from the old, original,
primitive, Plymouth quarry.

In what remains to be done, either in finishing or in

25 ornamenting that edifice, softer and more pliable materials
may, perhaps, be preferred; the New England granite
may be thought too rough and unwieldy ; the architects
may condemn it, the builders may reject it; but still,
still, it will remain the deep and enduring foundation, not

30 to be removed without undermining the whole fabric.

A-nd should that fabric be destined to stand, even when
bad government shall descend upon it like the rains, and
corruption come round about it like the floods, and faction,
discord, disunion and anarchy, blow and beat upon it like

35 the winds, — as God grant it may stand forever ! — it will
still owe its stability to no more effective earthly influence
than that it was founded on Pilgrim Rock.

Hon. R. C. Winthrop.



EX. LXXVII.] UHETORICAL READING. 335

EXERCISE LXXVI.
Description of Mob, Queen of the Fairies.

She is the fancy's midwife : and she comes

In shape no bigger than an agate-stone

On the fore-finger of an alderman,

Drawn with a team of Httle atomies,
5 Athwart men's noses, as they lie asleep ;

Her wagon spokes made of long spinners' legs ;

The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers ;

The traces, of the smallest spider's web ;

The collar 's of the moonshine's watery beams ;
10 Her whip, of cricket's bone ; the lash, of film ;

Her wagoner, a small gray-coated gnat ;

Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut.

Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,

Time out of mind the fairies' coachmakers.
15 And in this state she shallops, night by night,

Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love :

O'er lav^ryers' fingers, who straight dream on fees :

O'er ladies' lips, who straight on kisses dream :

And sometimes comes she with a tithe-pig's tail,
20 Tickling the parson as he lies asleep :

Then dreams he of another benefice.

Sometimes she driveth o'er a soldier's neck ;

And then he dreams of cutting foreign throats,

Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades ;
25 Of healths five fathoms deep : and then, anon,

Drums in his ears ; at which he starts and wakes ;

And, being thus frighted, swears a prayer or two —

And sleeps again. Shakspeare.



EXERCISE LXXVII.

Progress of Freedom.

Various have been the efforts in the old world at pop-
30 ular forms of government, but, from some cause or other,
they have failed; and however time, a wider intercourse,
a greater familiarity with the practical duties of represent-
ation, and, not least of all, our own auspicious example,
may prepare the European mind for the possession of re-
35 publican freedom, it is very certain that, at the present
moment, Europe is not the place for republics.



*^36 Parker's exercises in [ex. lxxvu.

The true soil for these is our own continent, the new
world, the last of the three great geographical divisions
of which we have spoken. This is the spot on which the
beautiful theories of the European philosopher — who

5 had risen to the full freedom of speculation, while action
was controlled — have been reduced to practice. The
atmosphere here seems as fatal to the arbitrary institutions
of the old world as that has been to the democratic
forms of our own. It seems scarcely possible that any

10 other organization than these latter should exist here.

In three centuries from the discovery of the country, the
various races by which it is tenanted — some of them from
the least liberal of the European monarchies — have, with
few exceptions, come into the adoption of institutions of a

15 republican character. Toleration, civil and religious, has
been proclaimed, and enjoyed to an extent unknown since
the world began, throughout the wide borders of this vast
continent. Alas for those portions which have assumed
the exercise of these rights without fully comprehending

20 their import ! who have been intoxicated with the fumes
of freedom, instead of drawing nourishment from its living
principle !

It was fortunate, or, to speak more properly, a providen-
tial thing, that the discovery of the new world was post-
25 poned to the precise period when it occurred. Had it
taken place at an earlier time — during the flourishing
period of the feudal ages, for example — the old institu-
tions of Europe, with their hallowed abuses, might have
been ingrafted on this new stock, and, instead of the fruit

30 of the tree of life, we should have furnished only varie-
ties of a kind already far exhausted and hastening to
decay.

But, happily, some important discoveries in science,
and, above all, the glorious Reformation, gave an electric

35 shock to the intellect, long benumbed under the influence
of a tyrannical priesthood. It taught men to distrust
authority, to trace effects back to their causes, to search for
themselves, and to take no guide but the reason which God
had given them. It taught them to claim the right of

40 free inquiry as their inalienable birthright, and, with free
inquiry, freedom of action. The sixteenth and seven-
teenth centuries were the period of the mighty struggle
between the conflicting elements of religion, as the eigh-
teenth and nineteenth have been that of the great contest

45 for ci*?*l liberty.



EX. LXXVII.] RHETORICAL READING. 337

It was in the midst of this universal ferment, and in
consequence of it, that these shores were first peopled by
our Puritan ancestors. Here they found a world where
they might verify the value of those theories which had
5 been derided as visionary, or denounced as dangerous, in
their own land. All around was free — free as nature
herself: the mighty streams rolling on in their majesty,
as they had continued to roll from the creation ; the for-
ests, which no hand had violated, flourishing in primeval

10 grandeur and beauty — their only tenants the wild animals,
or the Indians, nearly as wild, scarcely held together by
any tie of social polity.

Nowhere was the trace of civilized man or of his curi-
ous contrivances. Here was no Star Chamber nor Court

15 of High Commission ; no racks, nor jails, nor gibbets ; no
feudal tyrant, to grind the poor man to the dust on which
he toiled ; no Inquisition, to pierce into the thought, and
to make thought a crime. The only eye that was upon
them was the eye of Heaven.

20 True, indeed, in the first heats of suffering enthusiasm,
they did not extend that charity to others which they
claimed for themselves. It was a blot on their characters,
but one which they share in common with most reformers.
The zeal requisite for great revolutions, whether in church

25 or state, is rarely attended by charity for difference of
opinion. Those who are willing to do and to suffer brave-
ly for their own doctrines attach a value to them which
makes them impatient of opposition from others.

The martyr for conscience' sake cannot comprehend the

30 necessity of leniency to those who denounce those truths
for which he is prepared to lay down his own life. If he
set so little value on his own life, is it natural he should
set more on that of others ? The Dominican, who dragged
his victims to the fires of the Inquisition in Spain, freely

35 gave up his ease and his life to the duties of a missionary
among the heathen. The Jesuits, who suffered martyrdoci
among the American savages in the propagation of theii
faith, stimulated those very savages to their horrid massa
cres of the Protestant settlements of New England. GoU

40 has not often combined charity with enthusiasm. When
he has done so, he has produced his noblest work — a
More, or a Fenelon.

But if the first settlers were intolerant in practice, they
brought with them the living principle of freedom, which
29



338 Parker's exercises in [ex. lxxviii.

would survive when their generation had passed away.
They could not avoid it; for their coming here was in
itself an assertion of that principle. They came for con-
science' sake — to worship God in their own way. Free-
5 dom of political institutions they at once avowed. Every
citizen took his part in the political scheme, and enjoyed
all the consideration of an equal participation in civil priv-
ileges : and liberty in political matters gradually brought
with it a corresponding liberty in religious concerns.

10 In their subsequent contest with the mother country
they learned a reason for their faith, and the best manner
of defending it. Their liberties struck a deep root in the
soil, amid storms which shook but could not prostrate
them. It is this struggle with the mother country, this

15 constant assertion of the right of self-government, this ten-
dency — feeble in its beginning, increasing with increasing
age — towards republican institutions, which connects the
colonial history with that of the Union, and forms the
true point of view from which it is to be regarded.

W. H. Frescott.



EXERCISE LXXVIII.

The Meeting of the Waters.

20 There is not in the wide world a valley so sweet
As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet;
Oh ! the last rays of feeling and life must depart.
Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart.
Yet it was not that nature had shed o'er the scene
25 Her purest of crystal, the brightest of green ;
'Twas not the soft magic of streamlet or hill,
Oh! no — it was something more exquisite still.

'T was that friends, the beloved of my bosom, were near,
Who made each dear scene of enchantment more dear,
30 And who felt how the best charms of nature improve,
When we see them reflected from looks that we love.

Sweet vale of Ovoca ! how calm could I rest
In thy bosom of shade with the friends I love best.
Where the storms which we feel in this cold world should
35 cease,

And our hearts, like thy waters, be mingled in peace !

T. Moore,



BX. LXXIX.] KHETOKICAL READING. 339

EXERCISE LXXIX.

Extracts from the Inaugural Address of the Mayor of
Boston.

Our municipal charter requires that the mayor shall
communicate to the two branches of the City Council
such information, and recommend such measures, as may
promote the improvement and substantial interests of
5 Boston. It is not becoming that I should enter even upon
this minor and incipient duty without tendering, as 1 now
do, through you, to my fellow-citizens, my grateful acknowl-
edgments for the confidence with which they have seen
fit to honor me.

10 At present, all that I can offer in exchange for an un-
sought and unexpected demonstration of popular favor, is
the solemn promise that I will faithfully devote whatever
energies I possess to the promotion of the public welfare,
unswayed by any other considerations or influence than

15 my deliberate convictions of right.

I am fully aware that in the discharge of my official
duties I must come in collision with the interests, the
prejudices, the passions, of a greater or less number of
my constituents, and am perfectly content to abide the re-

20 suit. Such has been the fortune of all my predecessors,
and I cannot expect to fare better than they.

Much as I value the good will and love of the people
among whom I have dwelt these thirty winters, yet, if it
happen that, in consequence of pursuing the course which

25 my judgment and conscience may approve, my adminis-
tration should fail to be acceptable to the popular majority,
I shall retire to private life with far more pleasure than I
experience in assuming the responsibilities of office.

Boston and its environs, within a radius of five miles,

30 contains at least two hundred and ten thousand inhabit-
ants. The city proper has about one hundred and thirty
thousand inhabitants, with an assessed valuation of one
hundred and sixty-seven millions of dollars. So large an
accumulation of people and wealth on a single spot, within

35 a region of our country so little favored by nature, could
hardly have been anticipated.

The sterile soil, the rugged surface, the stern climate,
and the want of navigable streams, in New England, would
seem to have rendered it improbable that it would ever be

40 considerably peopled, or that any great commercial mart



340 Parker's exercises in [ex. lxxix.

should arise within its borders. It would seem that
such would exist only within the more central or south-
erly portions of the Union, under more genial skies, and
in the vicinity of the great natural routes of intercom-
5 munication.

But the resolution and intelligent industry of our fathers
surmounted every obstacle. The region, sneeringly stig-
matized as having no natural productions for export but
" granite and ice," now teems with three millions of the

10 children of freedom, abounding in the comforts of civil-
ized life — and its metropolis ranks with the great cities
of the globe.

It is to be borne in mind also, that that metropolis be-
came an important city long before science and art had

15 cut in sunder the hills, elevated the vales, and spanned
the running waters, to unite her commerce in easy and
rapid communication with more favored climes. If our
people could achieve a position so prominent while desti-
tute of any of the facilities of intercourse with the inte-

20 rior with which the cities of the sunny South are so
abundantly blessed, what may we not expect of the future
destiny of Boston, now that her iron highways, extending
in all directions, bring her into convenient proximity with
every section of the land ?

25 They who could effect so much under the most repel-
ling circumstances may be depended upon to avail them-



Online LibraryRichard Green ParkerExercises in rhetorical reading : with a series of introductory lessons, particularly designed to familiarize readers with the pauses and other marks in general use, and lead them to the practice of modulation and inflection of the voice → online text (page 29 of 38)