« ForrigeFortsett »
burning cottage; the storm, the sack, and the ruin of cities: If we desire to unchain the furious passions of jealousy and selfishness, of hatred, revenge and ambition, those lions, that now sleep harmless in their den: If we desire, that the lake, the river, the ocean, should blush with the blood of brothers; that the winds should wall; from the land to the sea, from the sea to the land, the rear and the smoke of battle; that the very mountaintops should become altars for the sacrifice of brothers; if we desire that these, and such as these—the elements to an incredible extent, of the Literature of the old world—should be the elements of our Literature, then, but then only, let us hurl from its pedestal the majestic statue of our union, and scatter its fragments over all our land. But, if we covet for our country the noblest, purest, loveliest Literature, the world has ever seen, such a Literature as shall honor God, and bless ll/Iankind; a Literature, whose smiles might play upon an Angel’s face, whose tears “ would not stain an Angel’s cheek;” then let us cling to the union of these States, with a patriot’s love, with a scholar’s enthusiasm, with a christian’s hope. In her heavenly character, as a holocaust self-sacrificed to God; at the height of her glory,vas the ornament ofa free, educated, peaceful, christian people, Jlmerican Literature will find that THE INTELLECTUAL SPIRIT IS HER VERY TREE or LIFE, AND THAT UNION,, HER. GARDEN 0F PARADISE.
Such was the state of things under which the Congress of 1776 assembled, when Adams and Jefferson again met; It was, as you know, in this Congress, that the question of American Independence came, for the first time, to be discussed; and never, certainly, has a more momentous question been discussed in any age or in any country; for, it was fraught, not only with the destinies of this wide extended continent, but as the event has shown, and is still showing, with the destinies of man all over the world.
Amid this appalling array that surrounded them, the first to enter the breach, sword in hand, was John Adems—the vision of his youth at his heart, and his country in every nerve. On the sixth of May, he offered, in committee of the whole, the significant resolution, that the colonies should form governments independent of the crown. This was the harbinger of more important measures, and seems to have been put forward to feel the pulse of “ the House. The resolution, after a severe struggle, was adopted on the 15th of May following. On the 7th of June, by previous concert, Richard Henry Lee moved the great resolution of Independence, and was seconded by John Adams; and “then came the tug of war.” The debate upon it was continued from the 7th to the 10th, when the further consideration of it was postponed to the 1st of July, and at the same time a committee of five was appointed to prepare, pro-s visionally, a draught of a Declaration of Independence. At the head of this important committee, which was then appointed by a vote ofthe House, although he was probably the oungest member, and one of the youngest men in the I'Iouse, for he had served only part of the former session, and was but thirty-two years of age, stands the name of Thomas Jefferson—Mr. Adams stands next. And these two gentlemen, having been deputed a subcommittee to prepare the draught, that draught, at Mr. Adams’s earnest importunity, was prepared by his more youthful friend. Of this transaction hIr. Adams is himself the historian, and the authorship of the Declaration, though once disputed, is thus placed forever beyond the reach of question. __;
The final debate on the resolution was postponed as we have seen, for nearly a month. In the meantime, all who are conversant with the course of action of all deliberative bodies, know how much is done by conver— sation among the members. It is not often, indeed, that proselytes are made on great questions by public debate. ,On such questions, opinions are far more frequently formed in private, and so formed, that debate is seldom known to change them. Hence the value of the out-ofdoor talent of chamber consultation, where objections, candidly stated, are candidly, calmly, and mildly discussed; where neither pride, nor shame, nor anger take
part in the discussion, nor stand in the way of a correct conclusion: but where every thing being conducted frankly, delicately, respectfully, and kindly, the better cause and the better reasoner are almost always sure of success. In this kind of service, as. well as in all that depended on the power of composition, Mr. Jefferson was as much a master-magician, as his eloquent friend Adams was in debate. They were, in truth, hem"v pheres of the same golden globe, and required only to be brought and put together, to prove that they were parts of the same heaven-formed whole.
On the present occasion, however, much still remained to be effected by debate. The first of July came, and the great debate on the resolution for independence was resumed with fresh spirit. The discussion was again protracted for two days, which, in addition to the former three, were sufficient, in that age, to call out all the speaking talent of the House. * * * *
Mr. Jefferson has told us that “the Colossus of that Congress—the great pillar of support to the Declaration of Independence, and its ablest advocate and champion on the floor of the House, was John Adams.” it» dli =X= it 9(< 3K =ll= 1F 1*
The resolution having been carried, the draught of the Declaration came to be examined in detail; and, so faultless had it issued from the hands of its author, that it was adopted as he had prepared it, pruned only of a few of its brightest inherent beauties, through a prudent deference to some ofthe States. It was adopted about noon of the Fourth, and proclaimed to an exulting nation, on the evening of the same day.
That brave and animated band who signed it—where are they now? What heart does not sink at the question? One only survives: CHARLES CARROLL, of Carrollton—a noble specimen of the age that has gone by, and now the single object of that age, on whom the veneration and prayers of his country are concentrated.
for any government, against any people who may resist it. Be the state of the people what it may, they shall not rise; be the government what it will, it shall not be opposed. The practical commentary has correponded with the plain language of the text. Look at Spain and at Greece. If men may not resist the Spanish inquisition, and the Turkish scimitar, what is there to which humanity must not submit? Stronger cases can never arise—Is it not proper for us, at all times—is it not our duty, at this time, to come forth, and deny, and condemn,- these monstrous principles? Where, but here and in one other place, are they likely to be resisted? They are advancing with equal coolness and boldness; and they are supported by immense power. The timid will shrink and give way—and many of the brave may be compelled to yield to force. Human liberty may yet, perhaps, be obliged to repose its principal hopes on the intelligence and the vigour of the Saxon race. As far as depends on us, at least, I trust those hopes will not be disappointed; and that, to the extent which may consist with our own settled, pacific policy, our opinions and sentiments may be brought to act on the right side, and to' the right end, on an occasion which is, in truth, nothing less than a momentous question between an intelligent age, full of knowledge, thirsting for improvement, and quickened by a thousand impulses, and the most arbitrary pretensions, sustained by unprecedented power.
In four days, the fire and the sword of the Turk, rendered the beautiful Scio a clotted mass of blood and ash
es. The details are too shocking to be recited. Forty '
thousand women and children, unhappily saved from the general destruction, were afterwards sold in the market of Smyrna, and sent off into distant and hopeless servitude. Even on the wharves of our own cities, it has been said, have been sold the utensils of those hearths which now exist no longer. Of the whole population which I have mentioned, not above 900 persons were left living upon the island. I will only repeat, sir, that these tragical scenes were as fully known at the Congress of Verona, as they are now known to us; and it is not too much to call on the powers that constituted that Congress, in the name of conscience, and in the name
of humanity, to tell us if there be nothing even in these unparalleled excesses of Turkish barbarity, to excite a sentiment of compassion; nothing which they regard as so objectionable as even the very idea of popular resistance to arbitrary power. * * * *t *
I close, then, sir, with repeating, that the object of this resolution is, to avail ourselves of the interesting occasion of the Greek revolution, to make our prot t against the doctrines of the Allied Powers; both as they are laid down in principle, and as they are applied in practice.
I think it right, too, sir, not to be unseasonable in the expression of our regard, and, as far as that goes, in a ministration of our consolation to a long oppressed and now struggling people. I am not of those who Would in the hour of utmost peril, withhold such encouragement as might be properly and lawfully given, and when the crisis should be passed, overwhelm the rescued sufferer with kindness and caresses. The Greeks address the civilized world with a pathos not easy to be resisted They invoke our favour by more moving considerations than can well belong to the condition of any other people. They stretch out their arms to the Christian com
-rnunities of the earth, beseeching them, by a generous
recollection of their ancestors, by the consideration of ' their own desolated and ruined cities and villages, by
their wives and children, sold into an accursed slavery, ' by their own blood, which they seem willing to pour out
like water, by the common faith, and in the Name, which
unites all Christians, that they would extend to them,
at least some token of compassionate regard.
Whatever may be said scotfingly, or in earnest, about the march of intellect, the age in which we live is more distinguished than perhaps any other, by the march and triumph of enlightened, religious, and moral principle. Even the world itself seems to have forebodings of an approaching change; all creatures sigh to be renewed; the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in