Page images

Sir G. I think she loved me; but I must search into this story of the drummer, before I discover myself to her. I have put on this habit of a conjuror, Vellum, in order to introduce myself. Now you must recommend me as a most profound person, that by my great knowledge in the curious arts, can silence the drummer and dispossess the house of the ghost. Now [resuming his cloak and beard] go, and try, too, to get what information you can out of Abigail, and bring me word what success you have, and I'll meet you here again. Vel. It shall all be done. Farewell, my honored master. [Exeunt.]


Extract from Peleg Sprague's Speech, on a bill for the relief of the sur viving Officers of the Army of the Revolution, delivered in the House of Representatives of the United States, April 25, 1826.

Mr. Chairman,-IN relation to the bill now before us, the amendment of which provides for the relief of the soldiers of the Revolution, I would ask, sir, who are the men whom we have thus grievously wronged? Are they mere hirelings, to whom we should be content to weigh out justice by the grain and scruple? or are they our greatest earthly benefactors? They were actuated by higher and purer motives than any soldiers that ever assembled, and exhibited a spectacle of unyielding fortitude and self-denying magnanimity unequalled in the annals of mankind. Others, under a momentary enthusiasm, or in the hurrying fever of battle, have fought as desperately. Others, when, far from succor, and from their country, have endured and persevered for individual self preservation. But where, in all history, is an example of a soldiery, with no power to control them, who, in a single day, perhaps, could have reached their homes in safety, voluntarily continuing to endure such protracted miseries, from no motive but inward principles and a sense of duty? They were imbued with a loftier and more expanded spirit of patriotism and philanthropy, and achieved more for the happiness of

their country and of mankind, than any army that ever existed. And where is there an example of moral sublimity equal to their last act of self-devotion, after peace and independence had been acquired? That army, who had dared the power and humbled the pride of Britain, and wrested a nation from her grasp; that army, with swords in their hands, need not have sued and begged for justice. No, sir, they could have righted their own wrongs, and meted out their own rewards. The country was prostrate before them; and if they had raised their arms, and proclaimed themselves sovereign, where was the power that could have resisted their sway? They were not unconscious of their strength, nor did they want incitements to use it.

The author of the celebrated Newburg letters told them, your country disdains your cries, and tramples upon your distresses. He conjured them, in the most eloquent and energetic language, to exert the power which they held, and never to lay down their arms until ample justice had been obtained. What was their answer? With one voice, they spurned the dark suggestions, voluntarily surrendered their arms, and submitted themselves unconditionally to the civil power. They quietly dispersed, and parted for their homes, in every part of your wide domain, unrewarded, pennyless, carrying with them nothing but the proud consciousness of the purity and dignity of their conduct, and a firm reliance upon their country's honor and their country's faith. And what return has been made to them? Have they not found your high-blown honor a painted bubble, and your plighted faith a broken reed? Have not the petitions of the soldiers of the revolution been disregarded? Have they not grown old in poverty? Do they not now owe the miserable remnant of their lives to charity? Sir, if we change not our conduct towards them, it must crimson with shame the front of history.


Extract from the same Speech.

Mr. Chairman,-Ir has been said by the gentleman from Virginia, that we have already made provision for the poor and the necessitous, and, that we ought to go no further. Sir, the soldiers of the revolution have a claim of right upon us, and I would do equal and ample justice to all, and not mete it out with a stinted and partial hand. I would not make the payment of our debts to depend upon the poverty of our creditors. No, sir, I would not say to the heroes, who fought our battles, and, in the dark hour of our adversity, wrought out our political salvation, and to whom we delivered only tattered rags, and called them, in mockery, payment for their services; men, whose disinterested achievements are not transcended in all the annals of chivalry, and who, for us, confronted horrors not surpassed in all the histories of all the martyrs to these men, of honor most cherished, and sentiments most exalted--our fathers, the authors of our being-I would not now say, come before us in the garb of mendicants; bow your proud spirits in the dust; tear open the wounds of the heart, which you have concealed from every eye, and expose your nakedness to a cold, unfeeling world, and put all upon record, as a perpetual memorial of your country's ingratitude; and then, we will bestow a pittance. in charity! You talk of erecting statues, and marble memorials of the Father of his country. It is well. But could his spirit now be heard within these walls, would it not tell you, that, to answer his fervent prayers, and verify his confident predictions of your gratitude to his companions in arms, would be a sweeter incense, a more grateful homage to his memory, than the most splendid mausoleum? You gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Lafayette. It was well; and the whole country resounded amen. But is not the citizen soldier, who fought by his side, who devoted every thing to your service, and has been deprived of his promised reward, equally entitled, I will not say, to your liberality, but to your justice?


Yet, some gentlemen tell us, that even the present law is too liberal; that it goes too far, and they would repeal it. They would take back even the little which they have given ! And is this possible? Look abroad upon this widely extended land, upon its wealth, its happiness, its hopes; and then turn to the aged soldier, who gave you all, and see him descend, in neglect and poverty to the tomb! The time is short. few years, and these remnants of a former age will no longer be seen. Then we shall indulge unavailing regrets for our present apathy: for, how can the ingenuous mind look upon How poignant the rethe of an injured benefactor? grave flection, that the time for reparation and atonement has gone for ever! In what bitterness of soul, shall we look back upon the infatuation, which shall have cast aside an opportunity, which never can return, to give peace to our consciences! We shall then endeavor to stifle our convictions, by empty We shall raise high the monument, honors to their bones. and trumpet loud their deeds, but it will be all in vain. It cannot warm the hearts, which shall have sunk cold and comfortless to the earth. This is no illusion. How often do we see, in our public gazettes, a pompous display of honors to the memory of some veteran patriot, who was suffered to linger out his latter days in unregarded penury!

"How proud we can press to the funeral array

Of him whom we shunn'd in his sickness and sorrow ;-
And bailiffs may seize his last blanket to-day,

Whose pall shall be borne up by nobles to-morrow."

We are profuse in our expressions of gratitude to the soldiers of the Revolution. We can speak long and loud in their praise, but when asked to bestow something substantial upon To them we owe every thing, them, we hesitate and palter. even the soil which we tread, and the air of freedom which we breathe. Let us not turn them houseless from habitations which they have erected, and refuse them even a pittance from the exuberant fruits of their own labors.


J. G. Percival.

Now launch the boat upon the wave-
The wind is blowing off the shore--
I will not live, a cowering slave,

In these polluted islands more. Beyond the wild, dark-heaving sea, There is a better home for me.

The wind is blowing off the shore,

And out to sea the streamers fly-
My music is the dashing roar,

My canopy the stainless sky-
It bends above so fair a blue,
That heaven seems opening to my view.

I will not live a cowering slave,

Though all the charms of life may shine Around me, and the land, the wave,

And sky be drawn in tints divineGive lowering skies and rocks to me, If there my spirit can be free.

Sweeter than spicy gales that blow

From orange groves with wooing breath, The winds may from these islands flow,— But, 'tis an atmosphere of death,The lotus, which transform'd the brave And haughty, to a willing slave.

Softer than Minder's winding stream,

The wave may ripple on this coast,
And brighter than the morning beam,
In golden swell be round it tost-
Give me a rude and stormy shore,
So power can never threat me more.

Brighter than all the tales, they tell
Of Eastern, somp and pageantry,

« PreviousContinue »