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The Village Schoolhouse - Behold yon simple building near the crossing of the village road! It is small and of rude construction, but stands in a pleasant and quiet spot. A magnificent old elm spreads its broad arms above and seems to lean towards it, as a strong man bends to shelter and protect a child. A brook runs through the meadow near, and hard by there is an orchard,- but the trees have suffered much and bear no fruit, except upon the most remote and inaccessible branches. From within its walls comes a busy hum, such as you may hear in a disturbed beehive. Now peep through yonder window and you will see a hundred children, with rosy cheeks, mischievous eyes and demure faces, all engaged, or pretending to be so, in their little lessons. It is the public school, -the free, the common school,-provided by law; open to all; claimed from the community as a right, not accepted as a bounty. Here the children of the rich and poor, high and low, meet upon perfect equality, and commence under the same auspices the race of life. Here the sustenance of the mind is served up to all alike, as the Spartans served their food upon the public table. Here young Ambition climbs his little ladder, and boyish Genius plumes his half-fledged wing. From among these laughing children will go forth the men who are to control the destinies of their age and country; the statesman whose wisdom is to guide the Senate, the poet who will take captive the hearts of the people and bind them together with immortal song, the philosopher who, boldly seizing upon the elements themselves, will compel them to his wishes, and, through new combinations of their primal laws, by some great discovery, revolutionize both art and science.
The common village school is New England's fairest boast, the brightest jewel that adorns her brow. The principle that society is bound to provide for its members' education as well as protection, so that none need be ignorant except from choice, is the most important that belongs to modern philosophy. It is essential to a republican government. Universal education
is not only the best and surest, but the only sure foundation for free institutions. True liberty is the child of knowledge; she pines away and dies in the arms of ignorance.--(1845.)
The Spoils of Office-Since the avowal, Mr. Chairman, of that unprincipled and barbarian motto, that "to the victors belong the spoils, " office, which was intended for the service and benefit of the people, has become but the plunder of party. Patronage is waved like a huge magnet over the land; and demagogues, like iron-filings, attracted by a law of their nature, gather and cluster around its poles. Never yet lived the demagogue who would not take office. The whole frame of our government, all the institutions of the country, are thus prostituted to the uses of party. Office is conferred as the reward of partisan service; and what is the consequence? The incumbents, being taught that all moneys in their possession belong, not to the people, but to the party, it requires but small exertion of casuistry to bring them to the conclusion that they have a right to retain what they may conceive to be the value of their political services, just as a lawyer holds back his commissions.
Liberty and Eloquence- Liberty and eloquence are united, in all ages. Where the sovereign power is found in the public mind and the public heart, eloquence is the obvious approach to it. Power and honor, and all that can attract ardent and aspiring natures, attend it. The noblest instinct is to propagate the spirit, "to make our mind the mind of other men. >>>
Pulteney, William (England, 1684-1764.)
"The Gentlemen of the Army"- In all countries where a standing army has been long kept up, and the rest of the people bred up to a total disuse of arms, the gentlemen of the army are apt to begin to look upon themselves, not as the servants, but as the lords and masters of the people; therefore they are apt to take such liberties with the people as ought not to be indulged in any society; and if the king, by an equal and impartial distribution of justice, should take care to prevent or put a stop to their taking any such liberties, they will probably think he does them injustice by not allowing them to make use of that right which they may think belongs to them as lords and masters of the people. In every such case, if the people have neither skill nor courage to defend their king and protector, he must necessarily fall a sacrifice to the resentment of his army, and for this reason we find that in all governments where a standing army has been long kept up, the king or chief magistrate generally despises the affections of the people and minds nothing but the affections of the army, for the securing of which it becomes absolutely necessary for him to look upon the people in the same light his army does. They join in considering the people
Pulteney, William - Continued
as their slaves only, and they join in treating them accordingly.—(1738.)
The Soldier and His Orders-I always have been, sir, and always shall be, against a standing army of any kind. To me it is a terrible thing. Whether under that of a parliamentary or any other designation, a standing army is still a standing army, whatever name it be called by. They are a body of men distinct from the body of the people. They are governed by different laws; and blind obedience, and an entire submission to the orders of their commanding officer is their only principle. It is, indeed, impossible that the liberties of the people can be preserved in any country where a numerous standing army is kept up. By the military law, the administration of justice is so quick, and the punishment so severe, that neither officer nor soldier dares offer to dispute the orders of his supreme commander. If an officer were commanded to pull his own father out of this house, he must do it. Immediate death would be the sure consequence of the least grumbling. — ( 1732.)
Pym, John (England, 1584-1643.)
Law Against Arbitrary Power-The law is that which puts a difference betwixt good and evil,- betwixt just and unjust. If you take away the law, all things will fall into a confusion. Every man will become a law to himself, which, in the depraved condition of human nature, must needs produce many great enormities. Lust will become a law, and envy will become a law; covetousness and ambition will become laws; and what dictates, what decisions such laws will produce may easily be discerned in the late government of Ireland! The law hath a power to prevent, to restrain, to repair evils; without this, all kind of mischief and distempers will break in upon a state.
It is the law that doth entitle the king to the allegiance and service of his people; it entitles the people to the protection and justice of the king. It is God alone who subsists by himself, all other things subsist in a mutual dependence and relation. He was a wise man that said that the king subsisted by the field that is tilled; it is the labor of the people that supports the crown; if you take away the protection of the king, the vigor and cheerfulness of allegiance will be taken away, though the obligation remains.
The law is the boundary, the measure between the king's prerogative and the people's liberty; while these move in their own orbs, they are a support and a security to one another; the prerogative a cover and defense to the liberty of the people, and the people by their liberty are enabled to be a foundation to the prerogative; but if these bounds be so removed that they enter into contention and conflict, one of these mischiefs must ensue; if the prerogative of the king overwhelms the liberty of the people, it will be turned into tyranny; if liberty
undermine the prerogative, it will grow into anarchy.
The law is the safeguard, the custody of all private interest. Your honors, your lives, your liberties and estates, are all in the keeping of the law; without this, every man hath a like right to anything. This is the condition into which the Irish were brought by the Earl of Strafford; and the reason which he gave for it hath more mischief in it than the thing itself,they were a conquered nation. There cannot be a word more pregnant and fruitful in treason than that word is. There are few nations in the world that have not been conquered, and no doubt but the conqueror may give what laws he pleases to those that are conquered, but if the succeeding pacts and agreements do not limit and restrain that right, what people can be secure? England hath been conquered, Wales hath been conquered, and by this reason will be in little better case than Ireland; if the king by right of a conqueror give laws to his people, shall not the people by the same reason be restored to the right of the conquered, to recover their liberty if they can? What can be more hurtful, more pernicious to both, than such propositions as these? And in these particulars is determined the first consideration.-(Impeaching Strafford. 1641.)
Quincy, Josiah (American, 1744-1775.)
Force Without Right - Mr. Locke will tell you, gentlemen, in his essay on "Government," "that all manner of force without right puts man in a state of war with the aggressor; and, of consequence, that being in such a state of war, he may lawfully kill him who put him under this unnatural restraint." According to this doctrine, we should have nothing to do but inquire whether here was "force without right." — ( 1770.)
Quincy, Josiah, Jr.
(American, 1772-1864. )
Peaceably, if Possible; Violently, if Necessary-I am compelled to declare it as my deliberate opinion that if this bill passes, the bonds of this Union are virtually dissolved; that the States which compose it are free from their moral obligations, and that as it will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some, to prepare, definitely, for a separation; amicably, if they can; violently, if they must. -(From a speech on the admission of Louisiana in 1811.)
Quintilian (Rome, 35–95 A. D.)
Brilliancy in Oratory-Brilliant thoughts I reckon the eyes of eloquence. But I would not have the body all eyes.
"Pectus et Vis Mentis»- Heart and strength of intellect make men eloquent. Even the most ignorant man when he is strongly moved can find words to express himself.
Oratory and Virtue - Now, according to my definition, no man can be a perfect orator unless he is also a good man.
Randall, S. J. (American, 1828-1890.)
Protection and Free Trade Under the Constitution - I do not favor a tariff enacted upon the ground of protection simply for the sake of protection, because I doubt the existence of any constitutional warrant for any such construction or the grant of any such power. It would manifestly be in the nature of class legislation, and to such legislation, favoring one class at the expense of any other, I have always been opposed.
In my judgment the question of free trade will not arise practically in this country during our lives, if ever, so long as we continue to raise revenue by duties on imports, and, therefore, the discussion of that principle is an absolute waste of time. After our public debt is paid in full, our expenditures can hardly be much below two hundred million dollars, and if this is levied in a business-like and intelligent manner it will afford adequate protection to every industrial interest in the United States. The assertion that the Constitution permits the levying of duties in favor of protection "for the sake of protection" is equally uncalled for and unnecessary. Both are alike delusory and not involved in any practical administrative policy. If brought to the test, I believe neither would stand for a day. Protection for the sake of protection is prohibition pure and simple of importation, and if there be no importation, there will be no duties collected, and consequently no revenue, leaving the necessary expenses of the government to be collected by direct taxes. − ( From a speech in Congress, May 5th, 1882.)
ever there is a beginning of a crime, it shall be punished lest it should grow to maturity! Is this the spirit of American legislation and American justice? Is it the spirit of its free Constitution to consider the germ as the consummation of an offense? the intention, so difficult to be ascertained and so easy to be misrepresented and misunderstood, as the act itself? (At the trial of Aaron Burr. 1807.)
Randolph, Edmund (American, 1753-1813.)
The Charity of the Law - According to what has often been observed in the course of this trial, crime consists of the beginning, the progress, and consummation, in the course of which some force must be exhibited. A man might begin a crime and stop short, and be far from committing the act. He might go on one step still further, without incurring guilt. It is only the completion of the crime that the law punishes. When a man is punished for a robbery, it is because a person has been put in fear and his property taken from him without his consent. So it is with respect to every other crime; while it is in an incipient state, it is disregarded. No person is punishable who is only charged with such an inchoate, incomplete offense. The intention is never punished. In such cases time is allowed for repentance, at any time before its consummation. Such an offense as this is never punishable, unless in the case of a conspiracy; and even on a prosecution charging that offense specially, the act of conspiring must be satisfactorily established. Here no injury has arisen to the commonwealth. No crime has been perpetrated. The answer to this is, that there were preparations to commit it. As far as communications have been made to the government, there is no possibility of proving a complete act, yet those accused must be punished. Then their rule of law is that wher
Randolph, John (American, 1773-1833. )
"The Union of Puritan and Blackleg » — Sir, in what book is it, you know better than I,-in what parliamentary debate was it, that, upon a certain union between Lord Sandwich, one of the most corrupt and profligate of men in all the relations of life, and the sanctimonious, puritanical Lord Mansfield, and the other ministerial leaders, -on what occasion was it that Junius said, after Lord Chatham had Isaid it before him, that it reminded him of the union between Blifil and Black George?
I was defeated, horse, foot, and dragoons, cut up and clean broke down,-by the coalition of Blifil and Black George,-by the combination, unheard of till then, of the Puritan with the blackleg.-(Denouncing John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay. 1826.)
English Literature in America-In what school did the worthies of our land, - the Washingtons, Henrys, Hancocks, Franklins, Rutledges, of America, - learn those principles of civil liberty which were so nobly asserted by their wisdom and valor? American resistance to British usurpation has not been more warmly cherished by these great men and their compatriots, -not more by Washington, Hancock, and Henry, than by Chatham and his illustrious associates in the British Parliament. It ought to be remembered, too, that the heart of the English people was with us. It was a selfish and corrupt ministry, and their servile tools, to whom we were not more opposed than they were. I trust that none such may ever exist among us; for tools will never be wanting to subserve the purposes, however ruinous or wicked, of kings and ministers of state. I acknowledge the influence of a Shakespeare and a Milton upon my imagination; of a Locke, upon my understanding; of a Sidney, upon my political principles; of a Chatham, upon qualities which would to God I possessed in common with that illustrious man! of a Tillotson, a Sherlock, and a Porteus, upon my religion. This is a British influence which I can never shake off. — ( 1811.)
"The Gamecock of Europe » — Sir, I am afraid that along with some most excellent attributes and qualities, the love of liberty, jury trial, the writ of habeas corpus, and all the blessings of free government, that we have derived from our Anglo-Saxon ancestors, - -we have got not a little of their John Bull, or, rather, bulldog spirit, their readiness to fight for anybody, and on any occasion. Sir, England has been for centuries the gamecock of Europe.
Randolph, John - Continued
It is impossible to specify the wars in which she has been engaged for contrary purposes; and she will, with great pleasure, see us take off her shoulders the labor of preserving the balance of power. We find her fighting now for the Queen of Hungary, then, for her inveterate foe, the King of Prussia; now at war for the restoration of the Bourbons, - and now on the eve of war with them, for the liberties of Spain. These lines on the subject were never more applicable than they have now become:
"Now Europe's balanced neither side prevails; For nothing's left in either of the scales. " - ( 1824.) National Debt as a Curse-A President of the United States would, in my apprehension, occupy a prouder place in history, who, when he retires from office, can say to the people who elected him, I leave you without a debt, than if he had fought as many pitched battles as Cæsar, or achieved as many naval victories as Nelson. And what, sir, is debt? In an individual it is slavery. It is slavery of the worst sort, surpassing that of the West India Islands, for it enslaves the mind as well as it enslaves the body; and the creature who can be abject enough to incur and to submit to it receives in that condition of his being an adequate punishment. — ( 1824. )
Raynor, Kenneth (American, Nineteenth Century.)
Revolutionists of Seventy-Six-The extension of our country's limits; the rapid progress of our civilization, our freedom, our religion, and our laws; the triumphs of our arms; the advancement of our commerce; our wonderful improvements in literature, in arts, and in industrial enterprise; in fact, the teeming wealth and luxury and comfort of our boundless resources, and the numberless blessings with which kind Heaven has favored us,- for the germ and development of all these, our revolutionary benefactors, who appealed to Heaven for the rectitude of their intentions, uttered the declaration: "Let this nation be free;" and lo! it was free! Sir, can we, their posterity, feel gratitude warm enough to requite the boon they bequeathed us? Can we speak in language glowing enough duly to sound their praise? Can we build monuments high enough to tell the story of their deeds? (From a speech in the North Carolina legislature, January 20th, 1855.)
Reed, Thomas B. (American, 1839-.)
The Bond of Universal Humanity - All things, including our own natures, bind us together for deep and unrelenting purposes.
Think what we should be, who are unlearned and brutish, if the wise, the learned, and the good, could separate themselves from us; were free from our superstitions and vague and foolish fears, and stood loftily by themselves, wrapped in their own superior wisdom. There
fore hath it been wisely ordained that no set of creatures of our race shall be beyond the reach of their helping hand, -so lofty that they will not fear our reproaches, or so mighty as to be beyond our reach. If the lofty and the learned do not lift us up, we drag them down. But unity is not the only watchword; there must be progress also. Since, by a law we cannot evade, we are to keep together, and since we are to progress, we must do it together, and nobody must be left behind. This is not a matter of philosophy; it is a matter of fact. No progress which did not lift all, ever lifted any. If we let the poison of filthy diseases percolate through the hovels of the poor, Death knocks at the palace gates. If we leave to the greater horror of ignorance any portion of our race, the consequences of ignorance strike us all, and there is no escape. We must all move, but we must all keep together. It is only when the rearguard comes up that the vanguard can go on. (Girard College, 1898. From the text of the "World's Best Orations.")
Robespierre, Maximilien Marie Isidore (France, 1758-1794.)
"Solemn Crimes Committed by Law". Outside of civil society, let an inveterate enemy attempt to take my life, or, twenty times repulsed, let him again return to devastate the field my hands have cultivated, inasmuch as I can only oppose my individual strength to his, I must perish or I must kill him, and the law of natural defense justifies and approves me. But in society, when the strength of all is armed against one single individual, what principle of justice can authorize it to put him to death? What necessity can there be to absolve it? A conqueror who causes the death of his captive enemies is called a barbarian! A man who causes a child that he can disarm and punish, to be strangled, appears to us a monster! A prisoner that society convicts is at the utmost to that society but a vanquished, powerless, and harmless enemy. He is before it weaker than a child before a full-grown man.
Therefore, in the eyes of truth and justice, these death scenes which it orders with so much preparation are but cowardly assassinations,solemn crimes committed, not by individuals, but by entire nations, with due legal forms. — (1791.)
Public Morals and Law The first duty of the lawmaker is to form and to conserve public morals, as the source of all liberty, the source of all social happiness. When, to attain some special aim, he loses sight of this general and essential object, he commits the grossest and most fatal of errors. Therefore, the laws must ever present to the people the purest model of justice and of reason. If, in lieu of this puissant severity, of this moderate calmness which should characterize them, they replace it by anger and vengeance; if they cause human blood to flow which they can prevent,- which they have no right to spill; if they exhibit to the eyes of the people cruel scenes and corpses bruised by tor
Robespierre, Maximilien Marie Isidore Continued
tures, then they change in the hearts of the citizens all ideas of the just and of the unjust; they cause to germinate in the bosom of society ferocious prejudices which in their turn again produce others.—(1791.)
"If God Did Not Exist, It Would Be Necessary to Invent Him » - There are men who under the guise of destroying superstition, would establish atheism itself. Every philosopher, every individual, is at liberty to adopt whatever opinion he pleases, but the legislator would be a thousand times blamable who adopted such a system. The Convention abhors all such attempts; it is no maker of metaphysical theories; it is a popular body, whose mission is to cause, not only the rights, but the character of the French people to be respected. Not in vain has it proclaimed the rights of man in the presence of the Supreme Being.
The idea of a Supreme Being, who watches over oppressed innocence, and punishes triumphant crime, is altogether popular. The people, the unfortunate, will always applaud me. shall find detractors only among the rich and the guilty. I have from my youth upwards been but an indifferent Catholic, but I have never been a cold friend, or a faithless defender of humanity. I am even more strongly attached to moral than I am to political truth. If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him. (Jacobin Club. 1793.)
Rollins, James Sidney (American, 1812-1888.)
Southern Patriotism - Washington and Jefferson, Madison, Clay, and Jackson were not only Southern men, but they were all slaveholders; while if you will trace the history of slavery on this continent, you will find that the people of the Northern States were as largely instrumental, and profited as much, in the establishment of African slavery here as did the Southern people. Whatever guilt attaches to it in a moral or political point of view must be forever shared equally by the North and South. Sir, the great men of the South need no defense at my hands. There is not a page in your country's history that is not illuminated and adorned by their wisdom, their patriotism, and their valor. From the time that the first blow was struck in the cause of American independence until the breaking out of this "accursed rebellion," there is scarcely a battlefield whose sands were not moistened by the blood of patriotic Southern men. To them the world is largely indebted for the establishment of free government on this continent. And the cause of humanity and liberty in the distant regions of the earth has had no truer and warmer advocates in this Capitol than Southern men, whose eloquent words came,
So softly that, like flakes of feathered snow, They melted as they fell. "
(From a speech delivered in the House of Representatives, April 24th, 1862.)
Rousseau, Jean Jacques (France, 1712-1778.) Immortality the Reward of Life-Let us not exact the prize before the victory, nor the wages before the labor. It is not on the course, says Plutarch, that the conquerors in our games are crowned; it is after they have gone over it. If the soul is immaterial, it can survive the body; and, in that survival, Providence is justified. Though I were to have no other proof of the immateriality of the soul than the triumph of the wicked and the oppression of the just in this world, that spectacle alone would prevent my doubting the reality of the life after death. So shocking a dissonance in this universal harmony would make me seek to explain it. I should say to myself: "All does not finish for me with this mortal life; what succeeds shall make concord of what went before."
"No Man Born With a Saddle on His Back" - Gentlemen and brethren, it is for all men that come into the world once to die; and after death the judgment! And since death is a debt that all of us must pay, it is but a matter of small moment what way it be done. Seeing the Lord is pleased in this manner to take me to himself, I confess, something hard to flesh and blood, yet blessed be his name, who hath made me not only willing, but thankful for his honoring me to lay down the life he gave, for his name; in which, were every hair in this head and beard of mine a life, I should joyfully sacrifice them for it, as I do this. Providence having brought me hither, I think it most necessary to clear myself of some aspersions laid on my name; and, first, that I should have had so horrid an intention of destroying the king and his brother. . . . It was also laid to my charge that I was antimonarchical. It was ever my thoughts that kingly government was the best of all where justly executed; I mean, such as it was by our ancient laws; that is, a king, and a legal, freechosen Parliament,-the king having, as I conceive, power enough to make him great; the people also as much property as to make them happy; they being, as it were, contracted to one another! And who will deny me that this was not the justly-constituted government of our nation? How absurd is it, then, for men of sense to maintain that though the one party of his contract breaketh all conditions, the other should be obliged to perform their part? No; this error is contrary to the law of God, the law of nations, and the law of I am sure there was no man born marked of God above another; for none comes into the world with a saddle on his back, neither any booted and spurred to ride him; not but that I am well satisfied that God hath wisely ordered different stations for men in the world, as I have already said; kings having as much power as to make them great and the people as much property as to make them happy. And to conclude, I shall