Page images
PDF
EPUB

States Gazette' of February 23d, contained a puff positive of his eloquence, as he informs us, in the style and manner following, viz:

"Mr. Buckingham addressed the audience in a strain of surpassing eloquence, such as we have rarely heard equalled, for nearly two hours, and was listened to throughout with the most flattering attention. He dwelt, with much emphasis, on the importance of temperance in promoting the prosperity and happiness of mankind, adverting to the crime and misery, the beggared victims and ruined families, resulting from intemperance, and bringing forward, in the course of his address, an immense amount and variety of statistical evidence, going to furnish strong, if not conclusive data, on which to form some estimate of the loss sustained by the fires, shipwrecks, and other casualties originating in the use of intoxicating liquors.

"Mr. Buckingham mentioned, in support of this portion of his argument, that, while officiating as chairman of a committee appointed by the House of Commons in England to make investigations on this subject, he had estimated the loss positively sustained by the people of Great Britain at one sixth part of its entire productive industry, which one sixth portion would amount to 50,000,000 pounds sterling, or two hundred and fifty millions of dollars. But the loss in time, health, and other causes not enumerated, but proceeding and arising directly from intem perance, would swell this amount to a much more enormous extent. In conclusion, he adverted, in pointed terms, to the exceedingly beneficial effects of temperance, speaking, he said, from his own actual experience and the ample testimony of his friends. His allusions to Washington, upon whose birthday this great festival was held, were received with the most deafening and enthusiastic applause. Vol. i., p. 179.

The next puff of the same extraordinary and wonderful speech of the member from Oldham, which he quotes himself, in his own behalf, is from the Pennsylvanian,' of the 24th February, and is couched in the following grandiloquent phraseology:

“Mr. Buckingham, the celebrated lecturer, addressed the company. He spoke upwards of two hours, and it has rarely been our fortune to hear an address which gave more satisfaction, or more completely riveted the attention. As a speaker, he possesses remarkable ease, fluency and readiness, combined with a graceful, unaffected manner, which invests his subject with additional interest, and immediately enlists the feelings of the hearer. His address was characterized by great variety. The occasional statistical detail was relieved by the fervent appeal and the pertinent anecdote, and again the speaker would indulge in a humorous delineation of the difficulties which beset

his path, especially in the British House of Commons, when setting forth as a pioneer in the cause of total abstinence. The sketches of scenes of this nature, were dashed off with a vividness and graphic force, and at the same time with a freedom from all appearance of straining at effect, which rendered them truly delightful, and elicited, as indeed the speech did throughout, the most enthusiastic applause. It is a difficult matter to fix the attention of a large and mixed audience for any length of time, especially when, as in a theatre, their restlessnes does not subject them to observation; and it must have been truly gratifying to Mr. Buckingham to see his perfect success in this respect. The only feeling among his hearers, when he had concluded, was that of regret, that his remarks were not extended to a greater length. With such advocates, the cause he has epoused cannot fail in making rapid progress. At the conclusion of Mr. Buckingham's speech, refreshments were served from the long table, which extended the whole length of the theatre." Vol. i., p, 180 181.

6

6

We think a two hours' speech of Mr. Buckingham, or of any other man, even of more surpassing eloquence' than the celebrated lecturer, ought to have satisfied a Philadelphia audience. But we, Americans, never tire in our admiration of foreigners. We think, when a monarchist comes among us, it is an incumbent duty to bend the knee, to throw up our caps and cry, 'Hear! hear!' though the first thing he does when he gets home, is to try and spit in the faces of those, who have hung upon his skirts and paid him obeisance.

6

A third paper,' Mr. Buckingham tells us, the Pennsylvania Herald,'-'contained a still longer article than any of its contemporaries. The following, which is but a small portion of the whole, will show the 'concurrent opinion of the Philadelphia Press :'

"Mr. Buckingham concluded his most eloquent, diversified, powerful, and convincing address by expressing, in warm and affectionate terms, his grateful and heartfelt acknowledgments for the high honour which had been conferred upon him in this 'City of Brotherly Love.' Mr. B. sat down amid the warmest demonstrations of applause." Vol. i., p. 181.

[ocr errors]

These three flattering notices of Mr. Buckingham's speech, transferred from the columns of the ephemeral newspapers to his own book on America, Historical, Statistical and Descriptive,'-a work intended for two

6

·

hemispheres, and wrought with a special eye, not only to the present age, but to all coming times, will doubtless seal his title to immortality and render his eloquence famous and surpassing when cloud capp'd towers' and 'monumental marble' are blended in common dust. It is unfortunate for this immortal orator, that his voice is very deficient in compass. We once had the exceeding honor of trying to listen to one of his 'celebrated' lectures in a theatre of much smaller dimensions than that of the city of brotherly love,' but all our efforts to hear the wonderful tales of the travelled' dignitary, were rewarded with only partial success. In our bitter anguish, we were ready to exclaim, What a beautiful bird! What magnificent plumage! What a pity that it has no voice! Perhaps the Philadelphia auditors were deaf, and carried speaking-trumpets with them, so that they lost nothing of importance. As regards this public welcome in America,' if the Temperance Festival in Philadelphia, was really got up in order to confer upon Mr. Buckingham such honor, he should, also, have borne in mind, that he had himself previously contributed to the public expectation, by sending a trumpet before him to announce his approach, and that all who heard its powerful blast, reasonably anticipated, that pomp, majesty, glory and surpassing eloquence' would soon answer to the echo of its reverberation through the land. Upon his arrival in New York, he published, through the newspapers, an Address to the People of the United States,' which, as a specimen of gratuitous assumption and disgusting self-exaltation, has never been surpassed in the annals of modern quackery. In it, he tells us, that it has fallen to his lot, to traverse a larger portion of the earth's surface, and to visit a greater number and variety of countries, than almost any man living of his age; that in so extensive and varied a track as this, the personal adventures he experienced, were as varied, as they were numerous; that he may assert with confidence, that privation and suffering had been endured by him in almost every form, in hunger, thirst, nakedness, imprisonment, shipwreck, battle and disease! Our sympathies are, doubtless, deeply moved by this touching tale of human suffering, and we are ready to admit, without argument, that if such a character does not, like St. Paul, deserve the crown of a

[ocr errors]

martyr, it will not be because he lacks 'confidence' to boast that he deserves it.

Mr. Buckingham, also, in the same certificate of his virtues, tells us that he loves liberty:

“No length of travel, no amount of suffering, no blandishments of pleasure, no intimidations of tyranny, no debilitation of climate, no variety of institutions, have been sufficient to abate in me in the slightest degree, that ardour of attachment to liberty, civil, political, and religious, which God and Nature implanted in my breast from the cradle, which experience fanned into maturity with manhood, and which Providence, I trust, will keep alive in my heart to the latest period of my advancing age." Vol. i., p. 488.

This enthusiastic love of liberty, and of free institutions, was certainly well calculated to recommend him to the favor of American citizens.

6

We are, also, informed by our author, of the persecutions he experienced when in India; how he was banished from that country; and how his property was destroyed, to the extent of not less than two hundred thousand dollars, with the prospective certainty of an equal sum, at least, cut off and annihilated at a single blow;' and all this because he loved liberty. If, after such representations, the people of the United States would not open their purses wide, and flock to his lectures in crowds, they must, certainly, have had ‘hearts harder than the nether millstone.'

He says, that 'with the details of this atrocity it is not his intention to trouble' us, but the overt act of troubling us with 'the details,' which the work contains in extenso, shows us what a difference there often is, between the delicate consideration which words imply, and the positive annoyance of the conduct of those who utter them. If we judge from his acts, which speak louder than his promises of forbearance, it never was the intention of Mr. Buckingham, when he sat down to write his 'America,' to withhold a single syllable of the transaction of which he so loudly complains, from any of his readers, whether in America or in England, but, on the contrary, to turn the whole story of his banishment and of the confiscation of his goods,whether deserved or otherwise, to as profitable an account as might be. He tells us, that a Parliamentary committee unanimously pronoumced their condemnation' of

6

VOL. I.-NO. I.

30

the treatment he had received from the East India Company, but he does not tells us, that this committee consisted of his own special friends,—nor, what is still more to the purpose, he does not tell us that Parliament, in consequence of their Report, did nothing whatever in the premises. He has, however, given us four or five closely printed pages of the details,' with which he declined troubling us in the

address to the People of the United States,—and concluded them with six stanzas of poetry, the offspring of his own muse, written just as he was leaving the shores of England' for the United States, and intended to embody, as he tells us, the feelings of indignant disappointment' with which he was inspired by the bad faith of the ministers of the crown in England.’

We give a specimen of the 'indignant' outpouring of his wrathful vials:

"While from the tall mast the blue signal's still waving,

And the breeze fills the sails that the morn saw unfurl'd,
A pang, half indignant, swells my bosom while leaving

Thy shores, once so famed as the hope of the world;
For though to the slave thou canst liberty give,

And mediate for justice when nations demand,
Thine own children, when plunder'd, oppress'd and deceiv'd,
Find nor justice, nor mercy, nor truth at thy hand.
Believe me, ye faithful and fondly-lov'd few!

That wherever my track, at the Line or the Pole,
The pleasures of Hope, like the Spring's early dew,
Will cheer, and refresh, and invig'rate my soul.
Yes! though driven from Justice, though exiled from friends,
My heart spurns with scorn base Subserviency's chain;
And where'er my dark course through this banishment bends,
It will bound with the hope of our meeting again.
Yet it shall not be always thus heartless and cold

That thy rulers shall falsely and faithlessly sway;
The spirit of freedom which fill'd thee of old,

Shall call to thy councils men nobler than they.
Then Party and Faction, together cast down,

Shall fall before Knowledge and Justice combined,
And coronet, mitre, and ermine and crown,

Shall yield to the influence of Virtue and Mind." Vol. i., p. 486. When this English revolution, which is to result from the combination and triumph of 'knowledge and justice'

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »