Page images

zeal to fill our place as becomes our station and ourselves, we ought to auspicatel all our public proceedings on America with the old warning of the Church, Sursum corda ! 2 We ought to elevate our minds to the greatness of that trust to which the order of Providence has called us. By adverting to the dignity of this high calling, our ancestors have turned a savage wilderness into a glorious empire, and have made the most extensive and the only honorable conquests, not by destroying, but by promoting the wealth, the number, the happiness of the human race. Let us get an American revenue as we have got an American empire. English privileges have made it all that it is : English privileges alone will make it all it can be.


[The following is an extract from Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France (published in 1790), to which reference has been made in the Introduction. Its purpose is to contrast the license of the revolutionary spirit, as shown in the treatment of the king and royal family of France, with the spirit of old European manners and opinions.)

HISTORY will record that, on the morning of the 6th of October, 1789, the king and queen of France,

1 auspicate. See Webster. ian mob to Versailles, and the con

2 Sursum corda! These words pulsory “Joyous Entry” of the are from the old Latin Communion- king and royal family, see SwinOffice of the Church. The English ton's Outlines of History, pp. 409-418. of them is, “Lift up your hearts." Carlyle's marvelous account of the

3 History will record, etc. For journey from Versailles to Paris. a summary of revolutionary events See the History of the French Revolupreceding the march of the Paris- tion, Book VII., Chap. XI.

after a day of confusion, alarm, dismay, and slaughter, · lay down, under the pledged security of public faith, to indulge nature in a few hours of respite, and troubled, melancholy repose.

From this sleep the queen was first startled by the voice of the sentinel at her door, who cried out to her to save herself by flight; that this was the last proof of fidelity he could give; that they were upon him, and he was dead. Instantly he was cut down. A band of cruel ruffians and assassins, reeking with his blood, rushed into the chamber of the queen, and pierced with a hundred strokes of bayonets and poniards the bed, from whence this persecuted woman had but just time to fly almost naked, and, through ways unknown to the murderers, had escaped to seek refuge at the feet of a king and husband not secure of his own life for a moment.

This king, to say no more of him, and this queen, and their infant children (who once would have been the pride and hope of a great and generous people), were then forced to abandon the sanctuary of the most

1 sentinel at her door, etc. M. has nevertheless crawled hither; de Miomandre. “Lo, another voice and shall live, honored of loyal shouts far through the outermost France.” — CARLYLE. door, “Save the queen!' and the 2 pierced ... the bed. This has door is shut. It is brave Mio been denied; it is impossible to say mandre's voice that shouts this whether it is true. Once for all it second warning. He has stormed should be observed, that Burke's across imminent death to do it; narrative must be taken with many fronts imminent death, having qualifications. He was too near done it. . . . But did brave Mio- the events (he wrote within a few mandre perish then, at the queen's months of their occurrence) to outer door? No, he was fractured, know the exact truth. slashed, lacerated, left for dead: he 3 sanctuary. Sec Glossary.

splendid palace in the world, which they left swimming in blood, polluted by massacre, and strewed with scattered limbs and mutilated carcasses. Thence they were conducted into the capital of their kingdom.

Two had been selected 2 from the unprovoked, unresisted, promiscuous slaughter which was made of the gentlemen of birth and family who composed the king's body-guard. These two gentlemen, with all the parade of an execution of justice, were cruelly and publicly dragged to the block, and beheaded in the great court of the palace. Their heads were stuck upon spears, and led the procession; whilst the royal captives who followed in the train were slowly moved along, amidst the horrid yells, and shrilling : screams, and frantic dances, and infamous contumelies, and all the unutterable abominations of the furies of hell, in the abused shape of the vilest of women. After they had been made to taste, drop by drop, more than the bitterness of death, in the slow torture of a journey of twelve miles protracted to six hours, they were, under a guard composed of those very soldiers who had thus conducted them through this famous triumph, lodged in one of the old palaces 4 of Paris, now converted into a Bastile for kings.

i capital of their kingdom. Re 3 shrilling.

Give the modern member that the royal residence form. was at Versailles, twelve miles from 4 one of the old palaces. The Paris.

Tuileries, where Louis XVI. was 2 Two had been selected. M. whilst Burke was writing, — for the de Huttes and M. Varicourt, two king had not then been executed. of the guards.

5 Bastile for kings. Explain.

Although this work of our new light and knowledge did not go to the length that in all probability it was intended to be carried, yet I must think that such treatment of any human creatures must be shocking to any but those who are made for accomplishing revolutions. But I can not stop here. Influenced by the inborn feelings of my nature, and not being illuminated by a single ray of this new-sprung modern light, I confess to you, sir, that the exalted rank of the persons suffering, and particularly the sex, the beauty, and the amiable qualities of the descendant 2 of so many kings and emperors, with the tender age of royal infants, insensible only through infancy and innocence of the cruel outrages to which their parents were exposed, instead of being a subject of exultation, adds not a little to my sensibility on that most melancholy occasion.

I hear that the august person, who was the principal object of our preacher's triumph, though he supported himself, felt much on that shameful occasion. As a man, it became him to feel for his wife and his children, and the faithful guards of his person that were massacred in cold blood about him: as a prince, it became him to feel for the strange and frightful transformation of his civilized subjects, and to be more grieved for them than solicitous for himself. It dero


new light and knowledge. 3 of our preacher's triumph. Ironical. Point out another use The reference is to Dr. Price, who of irony in this paragraph. had lately published a sermon

2 the descendant, etc. The glorifying the doings of the French queen, Marie Antoinette.


gates 1 little from his fortitude, while it adds infinitely to the honor of his humanity. I am very sorry to say it, very sorry indeed, that such personages are in a situation in which it is not unbecoming in us to praise the virtues of the great.

I hear, and I rejoice to hear, that the great lady, the other object of the triumph, has borne that day (one is interested that beings made for suffering should suffer well), and that she bears all the succeeding days, that she bears the imprisonment of her husband, and her own captivity, and the exile of her friends, and the insulting adulation of addresses, and the whole weight of her accumulated wrongs, with a serene patience, in a manner suited to her rank and race, and becoming the offspring of a sovereign : distinguished for her piety and her courage; that like her she has lofty sentiments; that she feels with the dignity of a Roman matron; that in the last extremity 4 she will save herself from the last disgrace, and that, if she must fall, she will fall by no ignoble 5 hand. — It is now 6 sixteen or

i derogates. Give a synonym. 6 It is now, etc. This “vision"

2 I hear, etc. What kind of of Marie Antoinette is one of the sentence (grammatically) is this most gorgeous pages in English litparagraph ? Is it a period or a erature. Robert Hall, the distinloose sentence?

guished Baptist minister, a man 8 offspring of a sovereign, etc. of great eloquence and power, but Marie Antoinette was the daughter utterly opposed to Burke's opinof Maria Theresa, the heroic Em- ions, gave it as his judgment, that press of Austria.

“those who could read without 4 in the last extremity, etc. rapture what Burke had written Alluding to the queen's carrying of the unhappy queen of France, poison about with her.

might have merits as reasoners, 5 ignoble. What is the prefix? but ought at once to resign all pre

« PreviousContinue »