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STRAFFORD ON HIS WAY TO EXECUTION.
Engraved by A. H. Payne after the Painting by Paul De La Roche, 1835.
HE impeachment of Strafford was the occasion for several of the most remarkable speeches of the seventeenth century. Strafford's own defeuse was one of the masterpieces of the century. The painting by De La Roche, a very celebrated one, now in Strafford House, London, shows the condemned earl kneeling to receive the blessing of the imprisoned Archbishop Laud, whose hands are seen extended through the bars of his cell.
Sumner, Charles- Continued
injunction, "Know thyself," still speaks to an ignorant world from the distant letters of gold at Delphi; know thyself; know that the moral nature is the most noble part of man; transcending far that part which is the seat of passion, strife, and war; nobler than the intellect itself. Suppose war to be decided by force, where is the glory? Suppose it to be decided by chance, where is the glory? No; true greatness consists in imitating, as near as is possible for finite man, the perfections of an Infinite Creator; above all, in cultivating those highest perfections, justice and love; justice, which like that of St. Louis, shall not swerve to the right or to the left; love, which like that of William Penn, shall regard all mankind of kin. "God is angry," says Plato, "when anyone censures a man like himself, or praises a man of an opposite character. And the Godlike man is the good man." And again, in another of those lovely dialogues, vocal with immortal truth: "Nothing resembles God more than that man among us who has arrived at the highest degree of justice." The true greatness of nations is in those qualities which constitute the greatness of the individual. It is not to be found in extent of territory; nor in vastness of population, nor in wealth; not in fortifications, or armies, or navies; not in the phosphorescent glare of fields of battle; not in Golgothas, though covered by monuments that kiss the clouds; for all these are the creatures and representatives of those qualities of our nature which are unlike anything in God's nature.
Nor is the greatness of nations to be found in triumphs of the intellect alone, in literature, learning, science, or art. The polished Greeks, the world's masters in the delights of language and in range of thought, and the commanding Romans, overawing the earth with their power, were little more than splendid savages; and the age of Louis XIV., of France, spanning so long a period of ordinary worldly magnificence, thronged by marshals bending under military laurels, enlivened by the unsurpassed comedy of Molière, dignified by the tragic genius of Corneille, illumined by the splendors of Bossuet, is degraded by immoralities that cannot be mentioned without a blush, by a heartlessness in comparison with which the ice of Nova Zembla is warm, and by a succession of deeds of injustice not to be washed out by the tears of all the recording angels of heaven.
The true greatness of a nation cannot be in triumphs of the intellect alone. Literature and art may widen the sphere of its influence; they may adorn it; but they are in their nature but accessories. The true grandeur of humanity is in moral elevation, sustained, enlightened, and decorated by the intellect of man. The truest tokens of this grandeur in a state are the diffusion of the greatest happiness among the greatest number, and that passionless Godlike justice, which controls the relations of the state to other states, and to all the people who are committed to its charge.
But war crushes with bloody heel all justice, all happiness, all that is Godlike in man. - (From the "World's Best Orations.» 1845.)
Freedom Above Union-Not that I love the Union less, but freedom more, do I now, in pleading this great cause, insist that freedom, at all hazards, shall be preserved. God forbid that for the sake of the Union, we should sacrifice the very thing for which the Union was made. (From a speech at Faneuil Hall, Boston, November 2d, 1855.)
Swing, David (American, 1830-1894.)
Apothegms-Let us learn to be content with what we have, with the place we have in life. Let us get rid of our false estimates, let us throw down the god money from its pedestal, trample that senseless idol under foot, set up all the higher ideals, a neat home, vines of our own planting, a few books full of the inspiration of genius, a few friends worthy of being loved, and able to love us in return; a hundred innocent pleasures that bring no pain or remorse, a devotion to the right that will never swerve, a simple religion empty of all bigotry, full of hope and trust and love, and to such a philosophy this world will give up all the joy it has.
Talfourd, Sir Thomas Noon (England, 17951854.)
Shelley's Genius as an Evidence of God's Creative Order- Here is a spectacle which angels may admire and weep over! Here is a poet of fancy the most ethereal,- feelings the most devout, charity the most Christian,-enthralled by opinions the most cold, hollow, and debasing! Here is a youth endowed with that sensibility to the beautiful and the grand which peoples his minutes with the perceptions of years, who, with a spirit of self-sacrifice which the eldest Christianity might exult in if found in one of its martyrs, is ready to lay down that intellectual being,-to be lost in loss itself,-if by annihilation he could multiply the enjoyments and hasten the progress of his species, and yet, with strange willfulness, rejecting that religion in form to which in essence he is imperishably allied! Observe these radiant fancies,- pure and cold as frostwork,- how would they be kindled by the warmth of Christian love! Track those "thoughts that wander through eternity," and think how they would repose in
their proper home! And trace the inspired, yet erring youth, poem after poem,-year after year, month after month,- how shall you see the icy fetters which encircle his genius gradually dissolve; the wreaths of mist ascend from his path; and the distance spread out before him peopled with human affections and skirted by angel wings! See how this seeming atheist begins to adore,-how the Divine image of suffering and love presented at Calvary, never unfelt, begins to be seen, and in its contemplation the softened, not yet convinced poet exclaims in his "Prometheus," of the followers of Christ :
"The wise, the pure, the lofty, and the just, Whom thy slaves hate-for being like to thee!"
And thus he proceeds,-with light shining more and more towards the perfect day, which he was not permitted to realize in this world. As you trace this progress, alas! Death veils it,-veils it, not stops it, and this perturbed, imperfect, but glorious being is hidden from us-"Till the sea shall give up its dead!" What say you now to the book which exhibits this spectacle, and stops with this catastrophe? Is it a libel on religion and God? Talk of proofs of Divine existence in the wonders of the material universe, there is nothing in any-nor in all-compared to the proof which this indicted volume conveys! What can the telescope disclose of worlds, and suns, and systems, in the heavens above us, or the microscope detect in the descending scale of various life, endowed with a speech and a language like that with which Shelley, being dead, here speaks? Not even do the most serene productions of poets, whose faculties in this world have attained comparative harmony, strongly as they plead for the immortality of the mind which produced them,— afford so unanswerable a proof of a life to come, as the mighty embryo which this book exhibits; -as the course, the frailty, the imperfection, with the dark curtain dropped on all! It is, indeed, when best surveyed, but the infancy of an eternal being; an infancy wayward but gigantic; an infancy which we shall never fully understand, till we behold its development "when time shall be no more »-when doubt shall be dissolved in vision -"when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and when this mortal shall have put on immorfality!"-(Queen against Moxon in 1841, detending Shelley's publisher against an indictment for publishing blasphemies.)
Taylor, Jeremy (England, 1613-1667.)
The Punishment of Tyranny - When God takes away all comfort from us, nothing to support our spirit is left us; when sorrow is our food, and tears our drink; when it is eternal night, without sun, or star, or lamp, or sleep; when we burn with fire without light, that is, are laden with sadness without remedy, or hope of ease; and that this wrath is to be expressed and to fall upon us, in spiritual, immaterial, but most accursed, most pungent, and dolorous emanations; then we feel what it is to lose a soul.
We may guess at it by the terrors of a guilty conscience, those verbera et laniatus, those secret "lashings and whips" of the exterminating angel, those thorns in the soul, when a man is haunted by an evil spirit; those butchers -which the soul of a tyrant, or a violent or a vicious person, when he falls into fear or any calamity, does feel are the infinite arguments, that hell-which is the consummation of the torment of conscience, just as manhood is the consummation of infancy, or as glory is the perfection of grace- is an infliction greater than the bulk of heaven and earth.
The Foolish Exchange-A soul, in God's account, is valued at the price of the blood, and shame, and tortures of the Son of God; and yet we throw it away for the exchange of sins that a man is naturally ashamed to own; we lose it for the pleasure, the sottish, beastly pleasure of a night. (From a sermon in the "World's Best Orations.")
Taylor, Robert L.
Irish Heroism-If I were a sculptor, I would chisel from the marble my ideal of a hero. I would make it the figure of an Irishman sacrificing his hopes and his life on the altar of his country, and I would carve on its pedestal the name of Robert Emmet.
If I were a painter, I would make the canvas eloquent with the deeds of the bravest people who ever lived, whose proud spirit no power can ever conquer and whose loyalty and devotion to the hopes of free government no tyrant can ever crush. And I would write under the picture "Ireland."
If I were a poet, I would melt the world to tears with the pathos of my song. I would touch the heart of humanity with the mournful threnody of Ireland's wrongs and Erin's woes. I would weave the shamrock and the rose into garlands of glory for the Emerald Isle, the land of martyrs and memories, the cradle of heroes, the nursery of liberty.
Tortured in dungeons and murdered on scaffolds, robbed of the fruits of their sweat and toil, scourged by famine and plundered by the avarice of heartless power, driven like the leaves of autumn before the keen winter winds, this sturdy race of Erin's sons and daughters have been scattered over the face of the earth, homeless only in the land of their nativity, but princes and lords in every other land where merit is the measure of the man.
Thiers, Louis Adolphe (France, 1797-1877.)
Foreign War and Domestic Abuses-Since our new institutions have diminished the share which our nation took in managing its own affairs, it was feared that the activity of mind with which I am reproached might be dangerous, unless means should be found to occupy the attention of the country. These means, sometimes dangerous, always odious, have been wars abroad, and enormous expenditure and great speculations at home. After great wars came