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ILIII.TUB RESFONSIBILITY DEVOLVING ON THE AYERICAN
Extract from a Discourse delirered at Yale College, Nov. 29, 1837, by
Professor Eleazer T. Fitch.
The world, my friends, is before us, as Americans, preBenting its claims. Here the experiment is happily begun, whether a nation may not perpetuate its existence and pros. perity with free institutions ; and the people who groan in bondage, or sigh for more liberal measures in other nations, look hither for sympathy and encouragernent, and for the dawning of a brighter day. They watch anxiously the is. sues of an experiment which is the world's last hope for the success of freedom. If we are so unfaithful as to alienate these blessings from our land, and cause God who has con. ferred them to withdraw from us in indignation ; if, I say, the experiment fails in our hands; what despondency must weigh down the hearts of all the friends of freedom in the earth! They will reproach us with their doom, as they descend into a dark and hopeless night of despotism. And our shame shall be recorded on the annals of the world, as an ungrateful republic which thrusted from her the richess boon of Heaven.
Posterity appear before us, urging their cluims. Wo hold in trust the privileges of their birth-right. If we alien. ate the precious trust, how will they reproach our memories that we robbed them of their inheritance! My friends, enlightened piety is, under God, the hope of this nation. Let the sentiment be deeply engraven on your hearts, that the American citizen must honor the God of his fathers, if he would eflectually consult the welfare of his country. And to you, who are preparing for important influence, and are soon to enter upon responsible stations in this community, the subject is addressed with peculiar force. With you, are soon to be deposited the hopes of other generations. If you, and the generation who are rising upon the siage of life with you, shall, in your varicus stations, wait on God and fulfil your appointed duties, the God of our fathers will bless you. Jehovah shall dwell in the land, its glory and defence. Iniquity shall retire it his presence, with her train of deformity and crime. The hearts of all shall be blessed with unity and joy. And from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the unnumbered millions yet to inhabit this continent, shall rejoice in inherit. ing the rich legacy of your institutions.
XLIV.—THE OBLIGATIONS OF AMERICA TO ENGLAND.
Extract from an Oration delivered at Plymouth, December 22, 1824,
by Edward Everett.
WHEN we think, my friends, of the history of the South American states, by what people many of them have been colonized, and what is their present state, who is there that is not grateful in the contrast which our history presents ? Who does not feel, what reflecting American does not acknowledge, the incalculable advantages derived to this land, out of the deep fountains of civil, intellectual, and moral truth, from which we have drawn in England ?- What American does not feel proud that he is descended from the countrymen of Bacon, of Newton, and of Locke? Who does not know, that while every pulse of civil liberty in the heart of the British empire beat warm and full in the bosom of our fathers ; the sobriety, the firmness, and the dignity with which the cause of free principles struggled into existence here, constantly found encouragement aud countenance from the sons of liberty there?- Who does not remember that when the pilgrims went over the sea, the prayers of the faithful British confessors, in all the quarters of their dispersion, went over with them, while their aching eyes were strained, till the star of hope should go up in the western skies ?— And who will ever forget, that in that eventful struggle, which severed this mighty empire from the British crown, there was not heard, throughout our continent in arms, a voice which. spoke louder for the rights of America, than that of Burke or of Chatham, within the walls of the British parliament, and at the foot of the British tirone ?-No, for myself, I can truly say, that after my native land, I feel a tenderness and a reverence for that of my fathers. The pride I take in my own country makes me respect that from which we are sprung. In touching the soil of England, I seem to return like a descendant to the old family seat ;-to come back to the abode of an aged, the tomb of a departed parent. I acknowledge this great consanguinity of nations. The sound of my native language beyond the sea, is a music to my ear, beyond the richest strains of Tuscan softness, or Castilian majesty, I am not yet in a land of strangers, while surrounded by the manners, the habits, the forms, in which I have been brought up. I wander delighted through a thousand scenes, which the historians, the poets have made familiar to us,—of which the names are interwoven with our earliest as. sociations. I tread with reverence the spots, where I can retrace the footsteps of our suffering fathers; the pleasant land of their birth has a claim on my heart. It seems to me a classic, yea, a holy land, rich in the memories of the great and good ; the martyrs of liberty, the exiled heralds of truth ; and richer as the parent of this land of promise in the west.
XLV.-THE SUFFERING OF THE PILGRIMS.
Extract from the same Oration.
Let us now, my friends, advert to that period when our Pilgrim Fathers left their country and their homes for this then unknown shore. Methinks I see that one solitary, ad. venturous vessel, freighted with the prospects of a future state, and bound across the unknown sea. I behold it pur. suing, with a thousand misgivings, the uncertain, the tedious voyage. Suns rise and set, and weeks and months pass,
and winter surprises them on the deep, but brings them not the sight of the wished for shore. I see them now scantily supplied with provisions, crowded almost to suffocation in their ill-stored prison, delayed by calms, pursuing a circuitous route ;-and now driven in fury before the raging tempest, on the high and giddy waves. The awful voice of the storm howls through the rigging. The laboring masts seem strain. ing from their base ;—the dismal sound of the pumps is heard ;-the ship leaps, as it were, madly from billow to bilo low ;-the ocean breaks, and settles with engulfing floods over the floating deck, and beats with deadening, shivering weight, against the staggered vessel. I see them, escaped from these perils, pursuing their all but desperate under. taking, and landing at last, after a five months passage, on the ice-clad rocks of Plymouth,--weak and weary from the voy. age,-poorly armed, scantily provisioned, depending on the charity of their ship-master for a draught of beer on board, drinking nothing but water on shore, without shelter, without means,--surrounded by hostile tribes. Shut now the volume of history, and tell me, on any principle of human probability, what shall be the fate of this handful of adven. iurers.—'Tell me, man of military science, in how many months were they all swept off by the thirty savage tribes, enumerated within the early limits of New England ? Tell me, politician, how long did this shadow of a colony, on which your conventions and treaties had not smiled, languish on the distant coast? Student of history, compare for me the baffled projects, the deserted settlements, the abandoned adventures of other times, and find the parallel of this. Was it the winter's storm, beating upon the houseless heads of wo. men and children? was it hard labor and spare meals ?_was it disease ? was it the tomahawk ? was it the deep malady of a blighted hope, a ruined enterprise, and a broken heart, aching in its last moments, at the recollection of the loved and left, beyond the sea ? was it some, or all of these united, that hurried this forsaken company to their melancholy fate? And is it possible that neither of these causes, that not all combined, were able to blast this bud of hope ?—Is it possi. ble, that from a beginning so feeble, so frail, so worthy, not so much of admiration as of pity, there has gone forth a pro. gress so steady, a growth so wonderful, an expansion so am. ple, a reality so important, a promise, yet to be fulfilled, so glorious ?
XLVI.-THE LANDING OF THE PILGRIM FATHERS.
Mr:. Hemans. Written, 1825.
The breaking waves dashed high
On a stern and rock.bound coast;
Their giant branches tossed ;
And the heavy night hung dark,
The hills and waters o'er,
On the wild New England shore.
Not as the conque comes,
They, the true-hearted, came ; Not with the roll of the stirring drums,
And the trumpet that sings of fame ;
Not as the flying come,
3 They shook the depths of the desert's gloom,
With their hymns of lofty cheer.
Amidst the storm they sang,
And the stars heard, and the sea; And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang
To the anthem of the free.
The ocean-eagle soared
From his nest, by the white wave's foam, And the rocking pines of the forest roared ;**
This was their welcome home.
There were men with hoary hair
Amidst that pilgrim band;
Away from their childhood's land ?
There was woman's fearless eye,
Lit by her deep love's truth ;
And the fiery heart of youth.
What sought they thus afar?
Bright jewels of the mine?
They sought a faith's pure shrine.