« ElőzőTovább »
while we avoid entangling participation in their intrigues, their passions, and their wars. Our national resources are developed by an earnest culture of the arts of peace. Every man may enjoy the fruits of his industry; every mind is free to publish his convictions.
4. Our government, by its organization, is necessarily identified with the interests of the people, and relies exclu. sively on their attachment for its durability and support. Nor is the constitution a dead letter, unalterably fixed; it has the capacity for improvement; adopting whatever changes time and the public will may require, and safe from decay, so long as that will retains its energy.
5. New states are forming in the wilderness; canals, intersecting our plains and crossing our highlands, open numerous channels to internal commerce; manufactures prosper along our watercourses; the use of steam on our rivers and railroads annihilates distance by the acceleration of speed. Our wealth and pupulation, already giving us a place in the first rank of nations, are so rapidly cumulative," that the former is increased foursold, and the latter is doubled, in every period of twentytwo or twenty-three years.
6. There is no national debt; the community is opulent; the government economical; and the public treasury full. Religion, neither persecuted nor paid by the state, is sustained by the regard for public morals and the convictions of an enlightened faith. Intelligence is diffused with unparalleled universality; a free press teems with the choicest productions of all nations and ages. There are more daily journals in the United States than in the world beside.
7. A public document of general interest is, within a month, reproduced in at least a million of copies, and is brought within the reach of every freeman in the country. An immense concourse of emigrants of the most various lineage is perpetually crowding to our shores; and the principles of liberty, uniting all interests by the operation of equal laws, blend the discordant elements into harmonious union. 8. Other governments are convulsed by the innovations and
• Cu'mulative; augmenting.
reforms of neighboring states; our constitution, fixed in the affections of the people, from whose choice it has sprung, neu. tralizes the influence of foreign principles, and fearlessly opens an asylum to the virtuous, the unfortunate, and the oppressed of every nation.
9. And yet it is but little more than two centuries, since the oldest of our states received its first permanent colony. Before that time the whole territory was an unproductive waste. Throughout its wide extent, the arts had not erected a monument.
10. Its only inhabitants were a few scattered tribes of feeble barbarians, destitute of commerce and of political connection. The ax and the plowshare were unknown. The soil, which had been gathering fertility from the repose of centuries, was lavishing its strength in magnificent but useless vegetation. In the view of civilization, the iinmense domain' was a solitude.
THE LAST NIGHT OF THE VOYAGE.
1. THOSE who have deserved the most at the hands of this world, have often fared the worst. Poverty and persecution have been the lot of genius; the stake and the cross, the reward of piety. We have a striking illustration of this, in the treatment which Christopher Columbus received from his fellow-men. 2. A nobler man never breathed this air; and
yet, murdered with obloquy!! He whose merit a crown could not have met, was glad of a refuge in the grave. Succeeding generations have made retribution to his memory; but justice is mockery to the dead. The repose of Columbus would have been as sweet, and his eternal glory as great, without our fruitless homage.
3. We have followed this wonderful man with growing in
b Oh'loquy; disgrace. Retribu'tion; recon pense
a Domain'; national dominion.
terest, from the beginning to the end of his career. We have watched him from the first faint glimmer of his grand conception, until it shone upon him with the burning brightness of a sun, filling the whole heavens with its glory, and drowning every feebler luminary in its light. But if we were searching his life for a scene of surpassing sublimity, we would fix on the last night of his voyage. .
4. Man never started on an enterprise more grand or perilous than Columbus. He was about to search the wide wastes of an unexplored ocean, for a world which even the most sanguine only dared to hope had an existence. Columbus left Spain with three vessels, so small and poorly constructed, that a madman at the present day would hardly venture in them a hundred miles from land. Two of them had no decks in the center; and the other, which carried the High Admiral,“ was but little better fitted to meet the storm.
5. In such plight as this, on Friday, the third of August, 1492, after almost eighteen years of fruitless supplication, Columbus and his followers set sail from the port of Palos." Day after day they keep on their course to the West. They reach waters which no keel had plowed, no line sounded; and still, no signs of land !
6. Week follows week, until thousands of miles stretch between them and their native shores; and still, no signs of land! Their provisions are nearly gone; the sails hang in rags about the spars; the vessels groan as they mount each succeeding wave; and still, no signs of land! Faith, weary with watching, ceases to expect. Hope, worn by its vigils, no longer looks.
7. Never did a darker night overtake man, than the last night of that gloomy voyage. To-morrow, by mutual agree. ment between the Admiral and his crews, if no land appear, they are to turn their bows toward Spain. But even this scarcely afforded hope. Before they could reach the nearest port, their provisions might be exhausted, or the relentless tempest might send their shattered barks to the bottom.
a High Admiral; chief commander of a fleet. b Pä'los; a port in Spain. - Vig'ils; watchings,
They turn into their hammocks ;a but not to sleep. Sad re. membrances, gloomy forebodings, weigh down their souls.
8. They chide the folly which allured them from Spain. They think of the friends who stood on the beach and waved an ominous farewell; and, oh! they must meet them again no more, until the sea give up the dead that are in it. But, ah! as they turn on their faces and abandon themselves to despair, what. sound is that which comes from the deck! It is the voice of their leader; it is the electric cry, “Land ! land!” Yes, “ Land ! land!” rises for the first time over that unsounded sea.
9. They leap from their hammocks; they rush to the decks; and, gazing with strained eye-balls over the bows, see a faint light in the distance, moving, as it seems, from place to place. Hoping, hardly daring to hope, they wait for morning; when, lo! as it breaks, one of those fair isles which stud the ocean rises from the shades of receding night.
10. It rises in native loveliness, unmarred by man, unprofaned by the ax, its fields kissing the waters, its forests saluting the clouds. Transported with joy, forgetful of the past, anticipating the glory of the future,- they simultaneously break forth in praise to God. From every vessel, from every tongue, one glad song ascends to Heaven; and the “ Te Deum "b swells where waves had roared and wild winds wailed.
RETURN AND RECEPTION OF COLUMBUS.
1. The fame of his discovery had resounded throughout the nation, and as his route lay through several of the finest and most populous provinces of Spain, his journey appeared like the progress of a sovereign. Wherever he passed, the surrounding country poured forth its inhabitants, who lined the road and thronged the villages.
2. In the large towns, the streets, windows, and balconies,
a llam'mocks; sailors' beds.
o Te De'um; a hymn of thanksgiving.
were filled with eager spectators, who rent the air with acclamations. His journey was continually impeded by the multitude pressing to gain a sight of him, and of the Indians," who were regarded with as much admiration as if they were natives of another planet.
3. It was impossible to satisfy the craving curiosity which assailed himself and his attendants, at every stage, with innu. merable questions; popular rumor, as usual, had exaggerated the truth, and had filled the newly found country with all kinds of wonders. It was about the middle of April, that Columbus arrived at Barcelona, where every preparation had been made to give him a solemn and magnificent reception.
4. The beauty and serenity of the weather, in that genial season and favored climate, contributed to give splendor to this memorable ceremony.
As he drew near the place, many of the more youthful courtiers, together with a vast concourse of the populace, came forth to welcome him. His entrance into this noble city has been compared to one of those triumphs, which the Romans were accustomed to decree to conquerors.
5. First were paraded the Indians, painted according to their savage fashion, and decorated with tropical feathers, and with their national ornaments of gold; after these were borne various kinds of live parrots, together with stuffed birds and animals of unknown species, and rare plants, supposed to be of precious qualities; while great care was taken to make a conspicuous display of Indian coronets, bracelets, and other decorations of gold, which might give an idea of the wealth of the newly discovered regions.
6. After these followed Columbus, on horseback, surrounded by a brilliant cavalcade' of Spanish chivalry. The streets were almost impassable from the countless multitude; the windows and balconiese were crowded with the fair; the very roofs were covered with spectators. It seemed, as if
• Indian; (Ind'yan.) b Court'iers, (kört'yurs:) attendants on courts. ornamental head-dresses. d Cavalcade'; a procession on horseback. galleries in front of houses.
c Coronets; e Balconies;