Page images

Why, the other day, when I endeavoured to address you, why was the sword which I aimed at my breast, why in that moment was it wrested from me? Oh! my mistaken friends! The man who presented his sword, dealt more kindly by me. I could then have closed my eyes in peace. I should not have lived to see the disgrace of the legions, and all the horrors that followed. After my death, you would have chosen another general, regardless indeed of my unhappy lot, but still of spirit to revenge the massacre of Varus and his three legions. May that revenge be still reserved for the Roman sword; and may the gods withhold from the Belgic states, though now they court the opportunity, the vast renown of vindicating the Roman name, and humbling the pride of the German nations! and may thy departed spirit, adored Augustus! who now art ranked among the gods; and may thy image Drusus, my ever honoured father! may thy memory inspire these unhappy men, whom I now see touched with remorse! May your active energy blot out the disgrace that sits heavy upon them; and may the rage of civil discord discharge itself on the enemies of Rome! And you, my fellow-soldiers! whom I behold with altered looks, whose hearts begin to melt with sorrow and repentance, if you mean to preserve the ambassadors of the senate; if you intend to remain faithful to your prince, and to restore my wife and children; detach yourselves at once from the contagion of guilty men; withdraw from the seditious: that act will be a proof of your remorse, an earnest of returning virtue.

DR. NOTT on the Death of Gen. HAMILTON.

He yielded to the force of an imperious custom. And yielding, he sacrificed a life in which all had an interest-and he is lost-lost to his country-lost to his family-lost to us.

For this............act, because he disclaimed it, and was penitent, I forgive him. But there are those whom I cannot forgive.

I mean not his antagonist. Over whose erring steps, if there be tears in heaven, a pious mother looks down and weeps. If he be capable of feeling, he suffers already all that humanity can suffer. Suffers, and wherever he may fly will suffer, with the poignant recollection, of having taken the life of one who was too magnanimous in return to attempt his own. Had he have known this, it must have paralyzed his arm while it pointed, at so incorruptible a bosom, the instrument of death,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Does he know this now, his heart, if it be not adamant, must soften-if it be not ice, it must melt...

But on this article I forbear. Stained with blood as he is, if he be penitent, I forgive him—and if he be not, before these altars, where all of us appear as suppliants, I wish not to excite your vengeance, but rather, in behalf of an object rendered wretched and pitiable by crime, to wake your prayers.

But I have said, and I repeat it, there are those whom I cannot forgive.

I cannot forgive that minister at the altar, who has hitherto forborne to remonstrate on this subject. I cannot forgive that public prosecutor, who entrusted with the duty of avenging his country's wrongs, has seen those wrongs, and taken no measures to avenge them. I cannot forgive that judge upon the bench, or that governor in the chair of state, who has lightly passed over such offences. I cannot forgive the public, in whose opinion the duellist finds a sanctuary. I cannot forgive you, my brethren, who till this late hour have been silent, whilst successive murders were committed. No; I cannot forgive you, that you have not in common with the freemen of this state, raised your voice to the powers that be, and loudly and explicitly demanded an execution of your laws. Demanded this in a manner, which if it did not reach the ear of government, would at least have reached the heavens, and plead your excuse before the GOD that filleth them. In whose presence as I stand, I should not feel myself innocent of the blood which crieth against us, had I been silent. But I have not been silent. Many of you who hear me are my witnesses—the walls of yonder temple, where I have heretofore addressed you, are my witnesses, how freely I have animadverted on this subject, in the presence both of those who have violated the laws, and of those whose indispensable duty it is to see the laws executed on those who violate them.

I enjoy another opportunity; and would to GOD, I might be permitted to approach for once the late scene of death. Would to God, I could there assemble on the one side, the disconsolate mother with her seven fatherless children-and on the other those who administer the justice of my country. Could I do this, I would point them to these sad objects. I would entreat them, by the agonies of bereaved fondness, to listen to the widow's heartfelt groans; to mark the orphan's sighs and tears-And having done this, I would uncover the breathless corpse of HAMILTON-I would lift from his gaping wound his bloody MANTLE-I would hold it up to heaven before them,

and I would ask, in the name of GOD I would ask, whether at the sight of IT they felt no compunction.

You will ask perhaps, what can be done, to arrest the progress of a practice which has yet so many advocates ? I answer nothing-If it be the deliberate intention to do NOTHING. But if otherwise, much is within our power.

Let then the governor see that the laws are executed-Let the council displace the man who offends against their majesty. Let courts of justice frown from their bar, as unworthy to appear before them, the murderer and his accomplices. Let the people declare him unworthy of their confidence who engages in such sanguinary contests. Let this be done, and should life still be taken in single combat, then the governor, the council, the court, the people, looking up to the Avenger of sin, "we are innocent-we are innocent."

may say,

Do you ask how proof can be obtained? How can it be avoided?—The parties return, hold up before our eyes the instruments of death, publish to the world the circumstances of their interview, and even, with an air of insulting triumph, boast, how cooly and how deliberately they proceeded in violating one of the most sacred laws of earth and heaven.

Ah! ye tragic shores of Hoboken, crimsoned with the richest blood, I tremble at the crimes you record against us-the annual register of murders, which you keep and send up to GOD! Place of inhuman cruelty! beyond the limits of reason, of duty, and of religion, where man assumes a more barbarous nature, and ceases to be man. What poignant, lingering sorrows do thy lawless combats occasion to surviving relatives!

Ye who have hearts of pity-ye who have experienced the anguish of dissolving friendship-who have wept, and still weep over the mouldering ruins of departed kindred, ye can enter into this reflection.

O thou disconsolate widow ! robbed, so cruelly robbed, and, in so short a time, both of a husband and a son, what must be the plenitude of thy sufferings! Could we approach thee, gladly would we drop the tear of sympathy, and pour into thy bleeding bosom the balm of consolation. But how could we comfort her whom God hath not comforted! To his throne, let us lift up our voice and weep. O God! if thou art still the widow's husband, and the father of the fatherless-if in the fulness of thy goodness there be yet mercies in store for miserable mortals, pity, O pity this afflicted mother, and grant that her hapless orphans may find a friend, a benefactor, a father in THEE !

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Mr. AMES' Speech on the British Treaty.

But am I reduced to the necessity of proving this point? Certainly the very men who charged the Indian war on the detention of the posts, will call for no other proof than the recital of their own speeches. It is remembered with what emphasis, with what acrimony, they expatiated on the burden of taxes, and the drain of blood and treasure into the western country, in consequence of Britain's holding the posts. Until the posts are restored, they exclaimed, the treasury and the frontiers must bleed.

If any, against all these proofs, should maintain that the peace with the Indians will be stable without the posts, to them I will urge another reply. From arguments calculated to produce conviction, I will appeal directly to the hearts of those who hear me, and ask, whether it is not already planted there? I resort especially to the convictions of the western gentlemen, whether, supposing no posts and no treaty, the settlers will remain in security? Can they take it upon them to say, that an Indian peace, under these circumstances, will prove firm? No, sir, it will not be peace, but a sword: it will be no better than a lure to draw victims within the reach of the tomahawk.

On this theme, my emotions are unutterable. If I could find words for them, if my powers bore any proportion to my zeal, I would swell my voice to such a note of remonstrance, it should reach every log-house beyond the mountains. I would say to the inhabitants, wake from your false security: your cruel dangers, your more cruel apprehensions, are soon to be renewed; the wounds, yet unhealed, are to be torn open again: in the day time, your path through the woods will be ambushed: the darkness of midnight will glitter with the blaze of your dwellings. You are a father-the blood of your sons shall fatyour cornfield: you are a mother--the war-whoop shall wake the sleep of the cradle.


On this subject you need not suspect any deception on your feelings. It is a spectacle of horror, which cannot be overdrawn. If you have nature in your hearts, it will speak a language, compared with which all I have said or can say will be poor and frigid.

Will it be whispered that the treaty has made me a new champion for the protection of the frontiers? It is known that my voice as well as vote have been uniformly given in conformity with the ideas I have expressed. 'Protection is the right of the frontiers; it is our duty to give it.

Who will accuse me of wandering out of the subject? Who will say that I exaggerate the tendencies of our measures? Will any one answer by a sneer, that all this is idle preaching? Will any one deny, that we are bound, and I would hope to good purpose, by the most solemn sanctions of duty for the vote we give? Are despots alone to be reproached for unfeeling indifference to the tears and blood of their subjects? Are republicans unresponsible? Have the principles, on which you ground the reproach upon cabinets and kings, no practical influence, no binding force? Are they merely themes of idle declamation, introduced to decorate the morality of a newspaper essay, or to furnish pretty topics of harangue from the windows of that state-house? I trust it is neither too presumptuous nor too late to ask; can you put the dearest interest of society at risk without guilt, and without remorse?


It is vain to offer as an excuse, that public men are not to be reproached for the evils that may happen to ensue from their measures. This is very true, where they are unforseen or inevitable. Those I ha depicted are not unforseen; they are so far from inevitable, we are going to bring them into being by We choose the consequences, and become as justly answerable for them as for the measure that we know will produce them.

our vote.

By rejecting the posts, we light the savage fires, we bind the victims. This day we undertake to render account to the widows and orphans whom our decision will make, to the wretches that will be roasted at the stake, to our country, and I do not deem it too serious to say, to conscience and to God. We are answerable, and if duty be any thing more than a word of imposture, if conscience be not a bugbear, we are preparing to make ourselves as wretched as our country.

There is no mistake in this case, there can be none. Experience has already been the prophet of events, and the cries of our future victims have already reached us. The western inhabitants are not a silent and uncomplaining sacrifice. The voice of humanity issues from the shade of their wilderness. It exclaims, that while one hand is held up to reject this treaty, the other grasps a tomahawk. It summons our imagination to the scenes that will open. It is no great effort of the imagination to conceive, that events so near are already begun. I can fancy that I listen to the yells of savage vengeance, and the shrieks of torture. Already they seem to sigh in the west wind-already they mingle with every echo from the moun tains,

« PreviousContinue »