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CELEBRATED PASSAGES FROM THE BEST ORATIONS
ANCIENT AND MODERN
(495 B, C.-1900 A. D.)
HE «Celebrated Passages » which follow cannot be expected to do more
than suggest the nature of the complete orations from which they are
taken. It is hoped, however, that in what they suggest of the purposes and scope of oratory they will have great educational value, aside from their obvious use for ready and constant reference. While no attempt has been made to give complete speeches, as a rule, the entire text of the «Address of Mazzini to the Young Men of Italy,»* of the «Speech” of Robert Emmet before Lord Norbury, and the celebrated “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death » speech of Patrick Henry (March 23d, 1775 ), have been given in full, as illustrations of the natural arrangement of the parts of an oration. In several other instances brief speeches are given in full, but the rule has been to include the largest possible number of celebrated passages at the expense of the exclusion of all passages not celebrated.
The work of collection began with the “Oration of Pericles over the Athenian Dead,” which, as it is given in Thucydides, may be fairly accepted as the first oration authentically reported. It may have been composed instead of reported by Thucydides, as he certainly did compose others; but Pericles may be credited with it as safely as Patrick Henry may with Wirt's version (the only one on record) of his greatest speech. From Pericles to the twentieth century, the collection gives extracts which it is believed lawyers, clergymen, and all other public speakers, will find permanently useful for reference. The needs of all classes of professional speakers have been kept in view, and the compilation is intended also to give everything necessary to introduce students of law, divinity, and of literature in general to the great masterpieces of the great orators represented. It will be found by reference to Burke, Bossuet, Brougham, Calhoun, Cicero, Chatham, Clay, Curran, Demosthenes, Fénelon, Mirabeau, Webster, and other orators of the first raok, as they follow in alphabetical order, that a special effort has been made to include all those famous sayings and passages which have attained even an approximation to
It is certainly one of
*This is considered by some the best speech of the nineteenth centary. the best ever delivered.
general currency. The rule has been to include celebrated passages only from orations (speeches, sermons, lectures, etc.), but in the cases of great orators who are also great writers, celebrated passages from essays or other forms of written prose have not been rigorously excluded. As no such collection as this, covering the entire range of oratory, has been attempted before, it is hoped that, in connection with the department of celebrated passages from poets most generally quoted by public speakers, it will give every student of oratory and every professional speaker what he most needs in the way of suggestion and illustration. The arrangement throughout is alphabetical by authors, so that it will be not less useful for reading than for reference, – the great advantage of the arrangement by authors being that it impresses on the memory the name of the author in connection with the source of the thought and the form of its expression.
While celebrated phrases are frequently given without their context, the rule has been to give as often as possible with the phrase a representative extract from the original text long enough not merely to explain the phrase, but to suggest the character of the oration, and to show the writer's purpose. *
While many works have been used in preparing this collection, its heaviest obligation is to • The World's Best Orations" (F. P. Kaiser, St. Louis, ten volumes ), and to the works of Epes Sargent, that unpretentious poet and compiler whose work as a student of oratory in the first half of the nineteenth century made him the greatest popular educator of his generation in America.
CELEBRATED PASSAGES FROM THE BEST ORATIONS
Abélard, Plerre (France, 1079-1142 A. D.) agony of defeat, and we have supped full with
Greatness of Soul -- He that fears the death the pleasures of victory. We have proved ourof the body, in whatever part of the body he selves equal to great deeds, and have learnt may suffer, however much he may be ashamed what qualities were in us, which in more
it peaceful times we ourselves did not suspect. to the physician, and setting it forth, so that it may be cured. However rough, however address a few words to such of you, if any hard may be the remedy, he avoids it not, so such are here, who, like myself, may have been that he may escape death. Whatever he has soldiers during the War of the Rebellion. We that is most precious, he makes no hesitation should never more be partisans. We have in giving it, if only for a little while he may been a part of great events in the service of put off the death of the body. What, then, the common country, we have worn her uniought we to do for the death of the soul ? form, we have received her pay, and devoted For this, however terrible, may be forever pre- ourselves to the death, if need be, in her servvented, without such great labor, without such ice. When we were blackened by the smoke great expense. The Lord seeks us ourselves, of Antietam, we did not ask or care whether and not what is ours. He stands in no need those who stood shoulder to shoulder beside of our wealth who bestows all things. For it us, whether he who led us, whether those who is he to whom it is said, « My goods are sustained us, were Democrats or Republicans, nothing unto thee.” With him a man is by conservatives or radicals; we asked only that so much the greater, as, in his own judgment they might prove as true as was the steel we he is less. With him a man is as much the grasped, and as brave as we ourselves would more righteous, as in his own opinion he is fain have been. When we stood like a wall the more guilty. In his eyes we hide our of stone vomiting fire from the heights of faults all the more, the more that by confes- Gettysburg, – nailed to our position through sion we manifest them. — (From a sermon on three long days of mortal Hell, - did we ask the "Resurrection of Lazarus.) Text from the each other whether that brave officer who fell «World's Best Orations.")
while gallantly leading the counter-charge
whether that cool gunner steadily serving his Adams, Charles Francis, Sr. (American, piece before us amid the storm of shot and 1807-1886.)
shell – whether the poor wounded, mangled, The Rights of Massachusetts - If I have, I gasping comrades, crushed and torn, and dyin any way, succeeded in mastering the pri- ing in agony around us,- had voted for Lin. mary elements of our forms of government, the coln or Douglas, for Breckenridge or Bell? first and fundamental idea is, the reservation We then were full of other thoughts. We to the people of the respective States of every prized men for what they were worth to the power of regulating their own affairs not spe- common country of us all, and recked not of cifically surrendered in the Constitution. The empty words. Was the man true, was he security of the State governments depends brave, was he earnest, was all we thought of upon the fidelity with which this principle is then ;- not, did he vote or think with us, or observed. Even the intimation of any such label himself with our party name? This lesson interference as I have mentioned by way of ex- let us try to remember. — (From the World's ample could not be made in earnest without Best Orations.) at once shaking the entire foundation of the whole confederated Union. No man shall exceed
Adams, John (American, 1735-1826.) me in jealousy of affection for the State rights
In Behalf of the Hated of Massachusetts.
May It Please Your Honor, and You, Gentle
men of the Jury > Adams, Charles Francis, Jr. (American, I am for the prisoners at the bar, and shall 1835-)
apologize for it only in the words of the MarThe Civil War Generation - Our genera- quis Beccaria :tion, - yes, we ourselves have been a part of
"If I can but be the instrument of preserving great things. We have suffered greatly and
one life, his blessings and tears of transport greatly rejoiced; we have drunk deep of the shall be a sufficient consolation for me for the cup of joy and of sorrow; we have tasted the contempt of all mankind. »
made for all future times, by the impulse of affection for his progeny. Under the influence of these principles "Existence sees him spurn her bounded reign."
They redeem his nature from the subjection of time and space; he is no longer a “puny insect shivering at a breeze”; he is the glory of creation, formed to occupy all time and all extent; bounded, during his residence upon earth, only to the boundaries of the worid, and destined to life and immortality in brighter regions, when the fabric of nature itself shall dissolve and perish. -(Exordium of the oration delivered at Ply. mouth, December 22d, 1802.)
As the prisoners stand before you for their lives, it may be proper to recollect with what temper the law requires we should proceed to this trial. The form of proceeding at their arraignment has discovered that the spirit of the law upon such occasions is conformable to hu. manity, to common sense and feeling; that it is all benignity and candor. And the trial commences with the prayer of the court, expressed by the clerk, to the Supreme Judge of judges, empires, and worlds, «God send you a good deliverance. »
We find in the rules laid down by the greatest English judges, who have been the brightest of mankind: We are to look upon it as more beneficial that many guilty persons should escape unpunished than one innocent should suffer. The reason is, because it is of more importance to the community that innocence should be protected than it is that guilt should be punished; for guilt and crimes are so frequent in the world that all of them cannot be punished; and many times they happen in such a manner that it is not of much consequence to the public whether they are punished or not. But when innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, especially to die, the subject will exclaim, "It is imma. terial to me whether I behave well or ill, for virtue itself is no security.” And if such a sentiment as this should take place in the mind of the subject, there would be an end to all security whatsoever. - (Exordium of a first day's speech in defense of the British soldiers accused of murdering Attucks, Gray, and others, in the Boston Riot of 1770.
Principles as Empire Builders — When the persecuted companions of Robinson, exiles from their native land, anxiously sued for the privi. lege of removing a thousand leagues more distant to an untried soil, a rigorous climate, and a savage wilderness, for the sake of reconciling their sense of religious duty with their affections for their country, few, perhaps none of them, formed a conception of what would be, within two centuries, the result of their undertaking. When the jealous and niggardly policy of their British sovereign denied them even that humblest of requests, and instead of liberty would barely consent to promise connivance, neither he nor they might be aware that they were lay. ing the foundations of a power, and that he was sowing the seeds of a spirit, which, in less than two hundred years, would stagger the throne of his descendants, and shake his united kingdoms to the centre. So far is it from the ordinary habits of mankind to calculate the importance of events in their elementary principles, that had the first colonists of our country ever intimated as a part of their designs the project of founding a great and mighty nation, the finger of scorn would have pointed them to the cells of bedlam as an abode more suitable for hatching vain empires than the solitude of a transatlantic desert.—(From the Plymouth Oration.") Adams, Samuel (American, 1722-1803.)
Liberty Ordained of God - Truth loves an appeal to the common sense of mankind. Your unperverted understandings can best determine on subjects of a practical nature. The positions and plans which are said to be above the comprehension of the multitude may be always suspected to be visionary and fruitless. He who made all men hath made the truths necessary to human happiness obvious to all.
Adams, John Quincy (American, 1767-1848.)
Man and His Immortality - Among the sentiments of most powerful operation upon the human heart, and most highly honorable to the human character, are those of veneration for our forefathers, and of love for our posterity. They form the connecting links between the selfish and the social passions. By the fundamental principle of Christianity, the happiness of the individual is interwoven, by innumerable and imperceptible ties, with that of his contemporaries. By the power of filial reverence and parental affection individual existence is extended beyond the limits of individual life, and the happiness of every age is chained in mutual dependence upon that of every other. Respect for his ancestors excites, in the breast of man, interest in their history, attachment to their characters, concern for their errors, involuntary pride in their virtues. Love for his posterity spurs him to exertion for their support, stimulates him to virtue for their example, and fills him with the tenderest solicitude for their welfare.
Man, therefore, was not made for himself alone. No; he was made for his country by the obligations of the social compact; he was made for his species the Christian duties of universal charity; he was made for all ages past, by the sentiment of reverence for his forefathers; and he was
We have explored the temple of royalty, and found that the idol we have bowed down to has eyes which see not, ears that hear not our prayers, and a heart like the nether millstone. We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and with a propitious eye beholds his subjects assuming that freedom of thought and dignity of self-direction which he