Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

NORTHERN LABORERS.

39

The heirs of an immortal mind
For equal freedom were designed,”
'Till every land and every sea
Resounds the cry of Liberty.

18. NORTHERN LABORERS.

THE

THE gentleman has misconceived the spirit and

tendency of northern institutions. He is ignorant of northern character. He has forgotten the history of his country. Preach insurrection to the northern laborers ! Who are the northern laborers ? The history of your country is their history. The renowp of your country is their renown. The brightness of their doings is emblazoned on its every page. Blot from your annals the deeds and the doings of northern laborers, and the history of your country presents but a universal blank.

Who was he that disarmed the thunderer ; wrested from his grasp the bolts of Jove; calmed the troubled ocean ; became the central sun of the philosophical system of his age, shedding his brightness and effulgence on the whole civilized world ; participated in the achievement of your independence ; prominently assisted in moulding your free institutions, and the beneficial effects of whose wisdom will be felt to the last moment of “recorded time"? Who, I ask, was he? A northern laborer, a Yankee tallow-chandler's son, a printer's runaway boy!

And who, let me ask the honorable gentleman, who was he that, in the days of our Revolution, led forth a northern army,

- yes, an army of northern laborers,

40

NORTHERN LABORERS.

- and aided the chivalry of South Carolina in their defence against British aggression, drove the spoilers from their firesides, and redeemed her fair fields from foreign invaders ? Who was he? A northern laborer, a Rhode Island blacksmith, - the gallant General Greene, — who left his hammer and his forge, and went forth conquering and to conquer in the battle for our independence! And will you preach insurrection to men like these ?

Our country is full of the achievements of northern laborers! Where are Concord, and Lexington, and Princeton, and Trenton, and Saratoga, and Bunker Hill, but in the north ? And what has shed an imperishable renown on the never-dying names of those ballowed spots but the blood and the struggles, the high daring and patriotism, and sublime courage of northern laborers ? The whole north is an everlasting monument of the freedom, virtue, intelligence, and indomitable independence of northern laborers ! Go, preach insurrection to men like these !

The fortitude of the men of the north, under intense suffering for liberty's sake, has been almost godlike! History has so recorded it. Who comprised that gallant army, that, without food, without pay, shelterless, shoeless, penniless, and almost naked, in that dreadful winter, -the midnight of our Revolution, whose wanderings could be traced by their

blood-tracks in the snow, whom no arts could seduce, no appeal lead astray, no sufferings disaffect, but who, true to their country and its holy cause, continued to fight the good fight of liberty, until it finally triumphed? Who were these men ? Why, northern laborers !

THE LAST CHARGE OF NEY.

41

19. THE LAST CHARGE OF NEY.

THE

THE whole continental struggle exhibited no sub

limer spectacle than the last great effort of Napoleon to save his sinking empire. Europe had been put upon the plains of Waterloo to be battled for. The greatest military energy and skill the world possessed had been tasked to the utmost during the day. Thrones were tottering on the ensanguined field, and the shadows of fugitive kings flitted through the smoke of battle. Bonaparte's star trembled in the zenith, now blazing out in its ancient splendor, now suddenly paling before his anxious eye.

At length, when the Prussians appeared on the field, he resolved to stake Europe on one bold throw. He committed himself and France to Ney, and saw his empire rest on a single charge. The intense anxiety with which he watched the advance of the column, the terrible suspense he suffered when the smoke of battle concealed it from sight, and the utter despair of his great heart when the curtain lifted over a fugitive army, and the despairing shriek rang out on every

“ La garde recule, La garde recule,” inake us, for the moment, forget all the carnage, in sympathy with his distress.

Ney felt the pressure of the immense responsibility on his brave heart, and resolved not to prove unworthy of the great trust committed to his care. Nothing could be more imposing than the movement of the grand column to the assault. That guard had never yet recoiled before a human foe; and the allied forces beheld with awe its firm and terrible advance to the final charge.

side,

42

THE LAST CHARGE OF NEY.

For a moment the batteries stopped playing, and the firing ceased along the British lines, as without the beating of a drum, or the blast of a bugle, they moved in dead silence over the plain. The next moment the artillery opened, and the head of the gallant column seemed to sink down; yet they neither stopped nor faltered. Dissolving squadrons and whole battalions disappearing, one after another, in the destructive fire, affected not their steady courage. The ranks closed up as before, and each, treading over his fallen comrade, pressed firmly on. The horse which Ney rode fell under him, and he had scarcely mounted another, before it also sank to the earth. Again and again did that unflinching man feel his steed sink down, till five had been shot under him. Then, with his uniform riddled with bullets, and his face singed and blackened with powder, he marched on foot, with drawn sabre, at the head of his men.

In vain did the artillery hurl its storm of fire and lead into that living mass ; up to the very muzzles they pressed, and driving the artillery-men from their places, pushed on through the English lines. But at that moment a file of soldiers, who had lain flat on the ground behind a low ridge of earth, suddenly rose and poured a volley into their very faces. Another and another followed, till one broad sheet of flame rolled on their bosoms, and in such a fierce and unexpected flow, that human courage could not withstand it. They reeled, shook, staggered back, then turned and fled.

The fate of Napoleon was writ. The star that had blazed so brightly over the world, went down in blood; and the Bravest of the Brave had fought his last battle.

SYMPATHY WITH THE NORTH.

43

20. SYMPATHY WITH THE NORTHERN

STATES.

THERE

comes

CHERE is one question I will ask you. How

it that on the continent of Europe there is not a liberal newspaper, nor a liberal politician, that has said, or has thought of saying, a word in favor of this portentous and monstrous shape which now asks to be received into the family of nations ?

Take the great Italian minister, Count Cavour. You read, some time ago, part of a despatch which he wrote on the question of America : he had no difficulty in deciding.

Ask Garibaldi. Is there in Europe a more disinterested and generous friend of freedom than Garibaldi ? Ask that illustrious Hungarian, whose marvellous eloquence has been heard in both continents. Will he tell you that slavery has nothing to do with the American conflict ?

Ask Victor Ilugo, the poet of freedom — the exponent, may I not call him, of the yearnings of all mankind for a better time? Ask any man in Europe, who opens his lips for 'freedom ; who dips his pen in ink, that he may indite a sentence for freedom ; whoever has a sympathy for freedom warm in his own heart, – ask him: he will have no difficulty in telling you on which side your sympathies should lie.

The free States are the home of the working-men. In that land there are no six millions of grown men

- I speak of the free States --- excluded from the constitution of their country and its electoral franchise ; there

you will find a free church, a free school, free

« AnteriorContinuar »