Page images




1. THE secretary stood alone: modern degeneracy had not reached him. Original and unaccommodating, the features of his character had the hardihood of antiquity. His august mind overawed majesty; and one of his sovereigns thought royalty so impaired in his presence, that he conspired to remove him, in order to be relieved from his superiority. No state chicanery, no narrow system of vicious politics, no idle contest for ministerial victories, sank him to the vulgar level of the great; but, overbearing, persuasive, and impracticable, his object was England, his ambition was fame. Without dividing, he destroyed party; without corrupting, he made a venal age unanimous.

2. France sunk beneath him. With one hand he smote the house of Bourbon, and wielded in the other the democracy of England. The sight of his mind was infinite; and his schemes were to affect, not England, not the present age only, but Europe and posterity. Wonderful were the means by which these schemes were accomplished; always seasonable, always adequate, the suggestions of an understanding animated by ardor and enlightened by prophecy.

3. The ordinary feelings which make life amiable and indolent were unknown to him. No domestic difficulties, no domestic weakness, reached him; but, aloof from the sordid occurrences of life, and unsullied by its intercourse, he came occasionally into our system, to counsel and to decide. A character so exalted, so strenuous, so various, so authoritative, astonished a corrupt age, and the treasury trembled at the name of Pitt, through all her classes of venality.

4. Corruption imagined, indeed, that she had found defects in this statesman, and talked much of the inconsistency of his glory, and much of the ruin of his victories; but the history of his country, and the calamities of the enemy, answered and refuted her. Nor were his political abilities his only talents. His eloquence was an era in the senate; peculiar, and spontaneous; familiarly expressing gigantic sentiments and instinctive wisdom; not like the torrent of Demosthenes, or the splendid conflagration of Tully: it resembled sometimes the thunder, and sometimes the music of the spheres. He did not conduct the understand

ing through the painful subtilty of argumentation, nor was he forever on the rack of exertion; but rather lightened upon the subject, and reached the point by the flashings of the mind, which, like those of his eye, were felt, but could not be followed.

5. Upon the whole, there was in this man something that could create, subvert, or reform; an understanding, a spirit, and an eloquence, to summon mankind to society, or to break the bonds of slavery asunder, and to rule the wilderness of free minds with unbounded authority; something that could establish or overwhelm empires, and strike a blow in the world that should resound through the universe.




NOTE. In this and many of the following lessons, such inflections are marked as will serve to illustrate the rules for inflection found in the first part of this book. Let the pupil's attention be gradually directed to these inflections, and he will soon become so familiar with the rules that he can apply them with facility.

1. DON'T you remember sweet Alice, Ben Bolt'?
Sweet Alice whose hair was so brown'?

Who wept with delight when you gave her a smile,
And trembled with fear at your frown'?

In the old churchyard in the valley, Ben Bolt,
In a corner obscure and alone,

They have fitted a slab of the granite so gray,
And Alice lies under the stone.

2. Under the hickory-tree, Ben Bolt,

Which stood at the foot of the hill,
Together we've lain in the noonday shade,
And listen'd to Appleton's mill:

The mill-wheel has fallen to pieces, Ben Bolt,

The rafters have tumbled in,

And a quiet which crawls round the walls as you gáze
Has follow'd the olden din.

3. Do you mind the cabin of logs, Ben Bolt,
At the edge of the pathless wood'?

And the buttonball-tree, with its
Which nigh by the door-step

motley limbs,


The cabin to ruin has gone, Ben Bolt,
The tree you would seek in vain ;
And where once the lords of the forest waved,
Grows grass and the golden grain.

4. And don't you remember the school, Ben Bolt,
With the master so cruel and grim'?
And the shaded nook in the running brook,
Where the children went to swim'?
Grass grows on the master's

Ben Bolt;

The spring of the brook is dry;
And of all the boys who were schoolmates then
There are only you and I.

5. There is change in the things I loved, Ben Bolt;
They have changed from the old to the new;
But I feel in the deeps of my spirit the truth,
There never was change in you.
Twelvemonths twenty have pass'd, Ben Bolt,
Since first we were friends; yet I hail
Thy presence a blessing, thy friendship a truth,
Ben Bolt of the salt-sea gale.




WHEREFORE rejoice that Cæsar comes in triumph`?
What conquest brings he home'?

What tributaries follow him to Rome,

To grace in captive bonds his chariot-wheels'?
You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!
O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
Knew you not Pompey'? Many a time and oft
Have you climb'd up to walls and battlements,
To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops,
Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
The livelong day, with patient expectation,
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome:
And when you saw his chariot but appear,
Have you not made a universal shout,
That Tiber trembled underneath her banks,

To hear the replication of your sounds
Made in her concave shores'?

And do you now put on your best attire'?
And do you now cull out a holiday'?
And do you now strew flowers in his way
That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood'?

Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
Pray to the gods to intermit the plague
That needs must light on this ingratitude.




PATRICK HENRY was born in Virginia in 1736, and died in 1799. He was elected Governor of Virginia a number of times, and held other offices of trust in his native State. He was a distinguished lawyer, and

an orator of the highest order.

At a convention which met to deliberate upon measures to be taken to resist the aggressions of Great Britain, he made the following bold, vehement, and eloquent speech.

1. MR. PRESIDENT :—It is natural for 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 the 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.

2. 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 gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the house? Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received'? Trust it not, sir: it will prove a snare to your feet.

[ocr errors]

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 reconciled, that force must be called in to win back our love'?

3. 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.

4. 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 any thing new to offer upon the subject'? 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 that have not been already exhausted'? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer. Sir, we have done every thing that could be done, to avert the storm that 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.

5. 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 inestimable 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 ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained,-we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us.

6. 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

« PreviousContinue »