Page images

We hold these institutions of government, religion, and learning, to be transmitted as well as enjoyed. We are in the line of conveyance through which whatever has been obtained by the spirit and efforts of our ancestors, is to be 5 communicated to our children.


We are bound to maintain public liberty, and, by the example of our own systems, to convince the world that order and law, religion and morality, the rights of conscience, the rights of persons, and the rights of property, 10 may all be preserved and secured in the most perfect manner, by a government entirely and purely elective. If we fail in this, our disaster will be signal, and will furnish an argument, stronger than has yet been found, in support of those opinions which maintain that government can rest 15 safely on nothing but power and coercion.

As far as experience may show errors in our establishments, we are bound to correct them; and if any practices exist contrary to the principles of justice and humanity, within the reach of our laws or our influence, we are inex20 cusable if we do not exert ourselves to restrain and abolish


I deem it my duty on this occasion to suggest that the land is not yet wholly free from the contamination of a traffic at which every feeling of humanity must revolt — I 25 mean the African slave-trade. Neither public sentiment

nor the law has yet been able entirely to put an end to this odious and abominable trade. At the moment when God in his mercy has blessed the world with a universal peace, there is reason to fear, that, to the disgrace of the Chris30 tian name and character, new efforts are making for the extension of this trade, by subjects and citizens of Christian states, in whose hearts no sentiment of justice inhabits, and over whom neither the fear of God nor the fear of man exercises a control.

In the sight of our law, the Africa slave-trader is a pirate and a felon; and in the sight of Heaven, an offender

far beyond the ordinary depth of human guilt. There is no brighter part of our history than that which records the measures which have been adopted by the government, at an early day, and at different times since, for the sup5 pression of this traffic; and I would call upon all the true sons of New England to co-operate with the laws of man and the justice of Heaven.

If there be, within the extent of our knowledge or influence, any participation in this traffic, let us pledge our10 selves here, upon the Rock of Plymouth, to extirpate and destroy it. It is not fit that the land of the Pilgrims should bear the shame longer. I hear the sound of the hammer I see the smoke of the furnaces where manacles and fetters are still forged for human limbs. I see the 15 visages of those, who by stealth, and at midnight, labor in

this work of hell, foul and dark, as may become the artificers of such instruments of misery and torture. Let that spot be purified, or let it cease to be of New England. Let it be purified, or let it be set aside from the Christian 20 world; let it be put out of the circle of human sympathies and human regards; and let civilized man henceforth have no communion with it.

I would invoke those who fill the seats of justice, and all who minister at her altar, that they execute the whole25 some and necessary severity of the law. I invoke the ministers of our religion, that they proclaim its denunciation of these crimes, and add its solemn sanctions to the authority of human laws. If the pulpit be silent, whenever or wherever there may be a sinner, bloody with this 30 guilt, within the hearing of its voice, the pulpit is false to

its trust.

I call on the fair merchant, who has reaped his harvest upon the seas, that he assist in scourging from those seas the worst pirates that ever infested them. That ocean 35 which seems to wave with a gentle magnificence, to waft the burdens of an honest commerce, and to roll its treas

ures with a conscious pride; that ocean which hardy industry regards, even when the winds have ruffled its surface, as a field of grateful toil,—what is it to the victim of this oppression when he is brought to its shores, and looks 5 forth upon it for the first time from beneath chains, and bleeding with stripes? What is it to him, but a widespread prospect of suffering, anguish, and death? Nor do the skies smile longer; nor is the air fragrant to him. The sun is cast down from heaven. An inhuman and 10 cursed traffic has cut him off in his manhood, or in his youth, from every enjoyment belonging to his being, and every blessing which his Creator intended for him.


[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]


[THOMAS CAMPBELL was born in Glasgow, July 27, 1777, and died in Boulogne, France, June 15, 1844. His first poem, "The Pleasures of Hope," was published in 1799, and was universally read and admired. His "Gertrude of Wyoming" was published in 1809, and was received with equal favor. It contains passages of great descriptive beauty, and the concluding portions are full of pathos; but the story moves languidly, and there is a want of truth in the costume, and of probability in the incidents. His genius is seen to greater advantage in his shorter poems, such as "O'Connor's Child," "Lochiel's Warning," "Hohenlinden," "The Battle of the Baltic," and "Ye Mariners of England." These are matchless poems, with a ring and power that stir the blood, and at the same time a magic of expression which fastens the words forever to the memory.

[ocr errors]

No other poet of our times has contributed so much, in proportion to the extent of his writings, to that stock of established quotations which pass from lip to lip, and from pen to pen, without any thought as to their origin. Campbell lived, during the greater part of his life, after early manhood, in London or its neighborhood, and was for some years editor of the "New Monthly Magazine." He wrote in prose with grace and animation. The preliminary essay prefixed to his Specimens of the British Poets (first published in 1819) is an admirable piece of criticism, and is earnestly commended to all who wish to comprehend the wealth of the poetical literature of England. Campbell's dignity of character was hardly equal to his intellectual gifts; and shadows of infirmity sometimes darkened the bright disk of his genius. He was much tried in his domestic relations. His wife, whom he tenderly loved, died many years before him; and of two sons, his whole family, one died in childhood, and the other, who survived his father, was of infirm mind from his birth.

More detailed accounts of Campbell's life and writings may be found in his Life and Letters, by Dr. William Beattie, and in a good biographical sketch

by Mr. Epes Sargent, prefixed to an edition of his poems published by Phi lips, Sampson and Co., of Boston, in 1854.

Hohenlinden (two German words meaning high lime-trees) is the name of a village in Bavaria near which the Austrians, under the Archduke John, were defeated by the French and Bavarians, under General Moreau, December 3, 1800. A snow-storm had fallen in the night before the battle, and had hardly ceased when its first movements began. It is only by virtue of a poetical license that the river Iser (pronounced ĕ'zer) is made a part of the scenery f the contest as, in point of fact, it is several miles distant.]

1 ON Linden, when the sun was low,

All bloodless lay the untrodden snow;
And dark as winter was the flow
Of Iser, rolling rapidly.

2 But Linden saw another sight,
When the drum beat, at dead of night,
Commanding fires of death to light
The darkness of her scenery.

3 By torch and trumpet fast arrayed,
Each horseman drew his battle-blade,
And furious every charger neighed
To join the dreadful revelry.

4 Then shook the hills with thunder riven,
Then rushed the steed to battle driven,
And louder than the bolts of Heaven
Far flashed the red artillery.

5 But redder yet that light shall glow
On Linden's hills of stainéd snow,
And bloodier yet the torrent flow
Of Iser, rolling rapidly.

6 'Tis morn, but scarce yon level sun
Can pierce the war-clouds, rolling dun
Where furious Frank, and fiery Hun,
Shout in their sulphurous canopy.

[ocr errors]

7 The combat deepens. On, ye brave,
Who rush to glory, or the grave!
Wave, Munich! all thy banners wave,
And charge with all thy chivalry!

8 Few, few shall part where many meet!
The snow shall be their winding-sheet,
And every turf beneath their feet
Shall be a soldier's sepulchre.



[JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, in 1808. He has written much in prose and verse; and his writings are characterized by earnestness of tone, high moral purpose, and energy of expression. His spirit is that of a sincere and fearless reformer; and his fervent appeals are the true utterances of a brave and loving heart. The themes of his poetry have been drawn, in a great measure, from the history, traditions, manners, and scenery of New England; and he has found the elements of poetical interest among them without doing any violence to truth. He describes natural scenery correctly and beautifully; and a vein of genuine tenderness runs through his writings.]

1 HEAP high the farmer's wintry hoard!
Heap high the golden corn!

No richer gift has Autumn poured
From out her lavish horn.

2 Let other lands, exulting, glean
The apple from the pine,
The orange from its glossy green,
The cluster from the vine:

8 We better love the hardy gift
Our rugged vales bestow,

To cheer us when the storm shall drift
Our harvest-fields with snow.

« PreviousContinue »