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The natural movements of his mind are full of grace; and the most indifferent sentiment which falls from his pen has that simple elegance which it is as difficult to define as it is easy to perceive. His level passages are never tame, and his fine ones are never superfine. His style, with matchless flexibility, rises and falls with his subject, and is alternately easy, vivid, elevated, ornamental, or picturesque, adapting itself to the dominant mood of the mind, as an instrument responds to the touch of a master's hand. His knowledge is so extensive, and the field of his allusions so wide, that the most familiar views, in passing through his hands, gather such a halo of luminous illustrations, that their likeness seems transformed, and we entertain doubts of their identity. Especially in reading these orations, do we perceive the power which comes from an accurate knowledge of history. No one wields an historical argument with more skill; no one is more fruitful in effective historical parallels and applications. He has, in perfection, the historical eye, if we may so speak; the power of running over an epoch and seizing upon its characteristic expression, and of distinguishing the events by which that expression is most decidedly manifested. His picturesque narrative is also one of his most striking accomplishments. This is seen most happily in his Plymouth and Bloody Brook Orations.

"His style appears to us a nearly perfect specimen of a rhetorical and ornamental style. Certainly it is so, if the just definition of a good style be, proper words in proper places. He is as careful to select the right word, as a workman in mosaic is to pick out the exact shade of color which he requires. His orations abound with these delicious cadences, which thrill through the veins like a strain of fine music, and cling spontaneously to the memory. Where can we find the English language molded into more graceful forms, than in such sentences as these?

"The sound of my native language beyond the sea, is a music to my ear, beyond the richest strains of Tuscan softness or Cas tilian majesty.'

"No vineyards. as now, clothed our inhospitable hill-sides; no blooming orchards. as at the present day, wore the livery of Eden, and loaded the breeze with sweet odors; no rich pastures, nor waving crops, stretched beneath the eye, along the wayside, from village to village, as if Nature had been spreading her halis with a carpet, fit to be pressed by the footsteps of her descending God!'

"The passage which describes the forlorn condition of the Pilgrims, on their voyage and at their landing, is singularly expressive and beautiful.

"The extracts we have made or referred to from Mr. Everett's volume of Orations, are specimens of that magnificent declamation which is one of his most obvious characteristics; but some of his discourses are of a practical cast, and display a corresponding style. His singular power of illustration enables him to give dignity to the lowest, and interest to the dryest subject, while that unerring taste, which, in his highest flights, insures him temperance and smoothness, preserves him from the unpardonable sin of being heavy, commonplace, and prosaic. His brilliant intellectual accomplishments and his fine taste rest upon a granite foundation of vigorous good sense. Read his speech on the subject of the Western Rail-road for an illustration of these remarks."


The eloquence of Webster is of a less elaborate character than that of Everett, but it makes its way more easily to the understanding and the heart. At the completion of the Bunker Hill Monument, he delivered, June 17, 1843, an admirable address, in the presence of many thousands, displaying great variety of style in its several parts. The following extracts are from that address:

"Yes! Bunker Hill Monument is completed. Here it stands, fortunate in the natural eminence on which it is erected; majestic in its object and purpose. Behold it there! rising over the land and the sea, visible at this moment to three hundred thou. sand of the citizens of Massachusetts. It stands a memorial of the past, a monitor to the present and to all succeeding generations of men.

"I have spoken of its purpose; for if it had been without other purpose than the erection of a mere work of art, the granite of which it is composed would have continued to sleep in its native bed! That purpose gives it its dignity and causes us to look up to it with emotions of awe, and invests it with attributes of a great intellectual personage. It is itself the great orator of this occasion. It is not from my lips, or from any human lips that the stream of eloquence is to flow, which shall be competent to express the emotions of this vast multitude. The po tent speaker stands motionless before you. It is a plain shaft. It bears no inscription, fronting the rising sun, from which a future antiquarian shall be employed to wipe away the dust-nor

does the rising sun awaken strains of music from its summit. But there it stands, and at the rising of the sun, and at its setting, in the blaze of noonday, and under the milder effulgence of lunar light, it looks, speaks, acts to the full comprehension of every American mind, and awaking the highest enthusiasm in every true American heart. Its silent but awful utterance-the deep pathos with which, as we look upon it, it brings before us the 17th of June, 1775-the consequences which resulted from the events of that day, to us, to this continent, and to the worldconsequences which we know must continue, and rain their influence on the destinies of mankind to the end of time, surpass all the most arduous study of the closet, and even the inspiration of genius. To-day-to-day it speaks to us. Its future auditory will be found in the succeeding generations of men, as they rise before it, and gather round it. It speaks, and will ever speak, of courage and patriotism, of religion, liberty, and good government, and of the renown of those who sacrificed themselves for the good of their country. In the older world many gigantic fabrics are still in existence, reared by human hands, the mystery of whose erection is lost in the darkness of ages. They are monu ments of nothing but the power of man. The mighty pyramid itself, which has stood for thousands of years, amid the sands of Africa, brings down and reports to us nothing but the power of kings, and the servitude of their people. As to any high sentiment-any noble admonition, or wise lesson of instruction, or any great end of existence, it is as silent as the million of human beings who lie in the dust at its base or slumber in the catacombs around it. There is no just object now known, to accomplish which the hands of mankind raised its immense proportions to heaven, and its contemplation excites in the human mind, in our day, no feeling but of power and of wonder. But if our present civil institutions, founded as they are on solid science, high attainments in art, deep knowledge of nature, enlightened moral sentiment, and the elevating truths of the Christian religion, are destined to perish, this monument, and the fame of those whose deeds it is to honor and commemorate, will still be dear to the heart of every true American. Its object will be known till that dreadful hour shall come, and that knowledge will not even then fade from the minds of our race. If civilization is destined to be again overcome by another deluge of barbarism, still the memory of Bunker Hill, and of the events with which it is connected, will be the part and parcel of the elements of light and civilization, which shall remain in the mind of the last man to whom the influence of the Christian religion and of civilization shall extend."

Toward the close of the address, speaking of what America had done for the world, he remarks:

"But, my friends, America has done more-America has fur nished to Europe the character of Washington. And if our insti tutions had done nothing else, they would have deserved the re

spect of mankind. Washington, first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen-Washington is all our own and the veneration and love entertained for him by the people of the United States are proofs that they are worthy of such a countryman. I would cheerfully put the question to-day to the intelligent men of all Europe-I will say, to the intellect of the whole world-what character of any country stands out in the relief of history most pure, most respectable, most sublime? I doubt not that by a suffrage approaching to unanimity, the answer would be, Washington. That monument itself is not an unfit em blem of his character, in its uprightness, its solidity, its durability. His public virtues and his private principles were as firm and fixed as the earth on which it rests. His personal motives were as pure as the serene heaven in which its summit is lost.

"Yet, indeed, although a fit, it is not an adequate emblem. "Towering far above the columns our hands have built-beheld not by the inhabitants of a single city or a single state alone, but by all the families of men, ascends in colossal grandeur the char acter of Washington. In all its constituent parts, acts, effects, titles to universal love, and admiration, and renown, it is an American product. Born upon our soil-of parents born upon our soil-never having had for a single day a sight of the Old World-reared amid our gigantic scenery-instructed according to the modes of the time in plain, solid, wholesome elementary knowledge, which is furnished to all our children--brought up among and fostered by the genuine influences of American so ciety-partaking of our great destiny of labor-partaking in and leading our agony of glory, the war of our Independence-partaking and leading in that victory of Freedom which ended in the establishment of our present Constitution-behold him, and benold him altogether an American. That crowded and glorious life in which we see a multitude of virtues, each contending to be foremost in the throng, and yet seem to be making room for a greater multitude to come-that life, in all its purity, in all its elevation, in all its grandeur, was the life of an American citizen. I claim him, Washington, wholly for America. And amid the peril and the darkened hours of the State-in the midst of the reproaches of enemies and the misgivings of friends, I turn to that transcendent name for courage and for consolation. To him who denies that our fervid Transatlantic liberty can be combined with law and order-to him who denies that America has contributed any thing to the world's stock of great lessons and great examples-to all these, I would reply by pointing to the character, and to the great example of Washington."

It will be interesting and profitable here to present to the student a criticism upon three of perhaps the most distinguished of American orators now living, CALHOUN, CLAY, and WEBSTER. It is extracted from the American Biblical Repository for 1840:

Mr. Calhoun is the acknowledged chief of metaphysical orators. His mind is uncommonly acute, with a rare faculty of seeing or making distinctions. His reasoning is equally subtle and plausible. He loves to revel and soar in the airy regions of abstraction. He is the great Des Cartes of the Political Academy. His theory is always curious-often beautiful-sometimes sublime; but it is a theory of "vortices."

Not so with Mr. Clay. He loves to move on the surface of our earth, and amid the throng of fellow-men; or if at any time disposed to climb, 'tis only to some sunny hill-top, that he may get a wider view of the busy, happy scene below. He is the orator of popular principles and of common sense. His views are expansive rather than deep-his grasp of subject not so strong as it is broad. He needs no interpreter to make more clear his meaning, nor any other index to the kindness of his character than his homely, but open and expressive face. As a speaker, his style is Ciceronean; graceful and winning, rather than impetuous. Witty and powerful at repartee, he is more skillful and ready in the skir mish of debate than either of his great competitors.

One remains. In all the qualities of the orator and statesman. fitted to confer present power and lasting fame, Mr. Webster's

pre-eminence will be denied by few. *





His style is remarkable for its simplicity. To utter thoughts of the highest order, in language perfectly simple; by lucid arrangement and apt words, to make abstract reasoning, and the most recondite principles of commerce, politics, and law, plain to the humblest capacity, is a privilege and power in which Mr. Webster is equalled, probably, by no living man. This simplicity, which is thought so easy of attainment, is, nevertheless, in this as in most cases, undoubtedly the result of uncommon care. Like the great Athenian orator, Mr. W. is always full of his subject. Like him, when most simple in his diction, he is yet admirably select. Like him, too, he can adorn where ornament is appropriate, and kindle, when occasion calls, into the most touching pathos, or loftiest sublime.

As a public man, Mr. W. is eminently American. His speeches breathe the purest spirit of a broad and generous patriotism. The institutions of learning and liberty which nurtured him to greatness, it has been his filial pride to cherish: his manly privilege to defend, if not to save.

For specimens of these and other American orators, we must refer to Lovell's United States Speaker, and other collections.


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