« AnteriorContinuar »
DESTRUCTION OF SCIO.-Webster.
It was in April, of this year, 1822, that the destruction of Scio took place. That island, a sort of appanage of the Sultana mother, enjoyed many privileges peculiar to itself. In a population of one hundred and thirty thousand, or one hundred and forty thousand, it had no more than two thousand or three thousand Turks; indeed, by some accounts, not near as many. The absence of these ruffian masters, had, in some degree, allowed opportunity for the promotion of knowledge, the accumulation of wealth, and the general cultivation of society. Here was the seat of the modern Greek literature; here were libraries, printing presses, and other establishments, which indicate some advancement in refinement and knowledge. Certain of the inhabitants of Samos, it would seem, envious of this comparative happiness of Scio, landed upon the island, in an irregular multitude, for the purpose of compelling its inhabitants to make common cause with their countrymen against their oppressors. These, being joined by the peasantry, marched to the city, and drove the Turks into the castle. The Turkish fleet, lately reinforced from Egypt, happened to be in the neighboring seas, and learning these events, landed a force on the island of fifteen thousand men. There was nothing to resist such an army. These troops immediately entered the city, and began an indiscriminate massacre. The city was fired; and, in four days, the fire and the sword of the Turk, rendered the beautiful Scio a clotted mass of blood and ashes. The details are too shocking to be recited. Forty thousand women and children, unhappily saved from the general destruction, were afterwards sold in the market of Smyrna, and sent off into distant and hopeless servitude.. Even on the wharves of our own cities, it has been said, have been sold the utensils of those hearths which now exist no longer. Of the whole population which I have
mentioned, not above nine hundred persons were left living upon the island. I will only repeat sir, that these tragical scenes were as fully known at the Congress of Verona, as they are now known to us; and is it not too much to call on the powers that constituted that Congress, in the name of conscience, and in the name of humanity, to tell us, if there be nothing even in these unparalleled excesses of Turkish barbarity, to excite a sentiment of compassion; nothing which they regard as so objectionable as even the very idea of popular resistance to power.
POTENT AGENCY OF STEAM.-Daniel Webster.
But if the history of the progress of the mechanical arts be interesting, still more so, doubtless, would be the exhibition of their present state, and a full display of the extent to which they are now carried. This field is much too wide even to be entered, on this occasion. The briefest outline even, would exceed its limits; and the whole subject will regularly fall to hands much more able to sustain it. The slightest glance, however, must convince us, that mechanical power and mechanical skill, as they are now exhibited in Europe and America, mark an epoch in human history, worthy of all admiration. Machinery is made to perform what has formerly been the toil of human hands, to an extent that astonishes the most sanguine, with a degree of power to which no number of human arms is equal, and with such precision and exactness as almost to suggest the notion of reason and intelligence in the machines themselves. Every natural agent is put unrelentingly to the task. The winds work, the waters work, the elasticity of metals work: gravity is solicited into a thousand new forms of action: levers are multiplied upon levers; wheels revolve on the peripheries of other wheels; the saw and the plane are tortured into
an accommodation to new uses, and, last of all, with inimitaand with "whirlwind sound," comes the potent agency of steam. In comparison with the past, what centuries of improvement has this single agent comprised in the short compass of fifty years! Every where practicable, every where efficient, it has an arm a thousand times stronger than that of Hercules, and to which human ingenuity is capable of fitting a thousand times as many hands as belonged to Briareus. Steam is found, in triumphant operation, on the seas; and under the influence of its strong propulsion, the gallant ship,
"Against the wind, against the tide,
Still steadies with an upright keel."
It is on the rivers, and the boatman may repose on his oars; it is in highways, and begins to exert itself along the courses of land conveyance; it is at the bottom of mines, a thousand feet below the earth's surface; it is in the mill, and in the workshops of the trades. It rows, it pumps, it excavates, it carries, it draws, it lifts, it hammers, it spins, it weaves, it prints. It seems to say to men, at least to the class of artisans, "Leave off your manual labor, give over your bodily toil; bestow but your skill and reason to the directing of my power, and I will bear the toil,-with no muscle to grow weary, no nerve to relax; no breast to feel faintness." What further improvements may still be made in the use of this astonishing power, it is impossible to know, and it were vain to conjecture. What we do know, is, that it has most essentially altered the face of affairs, and that no visible limit yet appears, beyond which its progress is seen to be impossible. If its power were now to be annihilated, if we were to miss it on the water and in the mills, it would seem as if we were going back to rude ages.
CONCLUSION OF THE REV. ROBERT HALL'S SERMON, BEFORE THE VOLUNTEERS AT BRISTOL, IN THE PROSPECT OF AN INVASION BY FRANCE.
To form an adequate idea of the duties of this crisis, you must raise your minds to a level with your station, and extend your views to a distant futurity; to consequences the most certain, though remote. By a series of criminal enterprises, by the successes of guilty ambition, the liberties of Europe have been gradually extinguished the subjugation of Holland, Switzerland, and the free towns of Germany, has completed that çatastrophe; and we are the only people in the eastern hemisphere who are in possession of equal laws, and a free constitution. But the inundation of lawless power, after covering the rest of Europe, threatens England; and we are most exactly, most critically placed in the only aperture where it can be successfully repelled, in the Thermopyla of the universe. As far as the interests of freedom are concerned, the most important by far of sublunary interests, you, my countrymen, stand in the capacity of the federal representatives of the human race; for with you it is to determine (under God) in what condition the latest posterity shall be born; their fortunes are entrusted to your care, and on your conduct at this moment depends the color and complexion of their destiny. If liberty, after being extinguished on the continent, is suffered to expire here, whence is it ever to emerge in the midst of that thick night that will invest it. It remains with you then to decide whether that freedom, at whose voice the kingdoms of Europe awoke from the sleep of ages, to run a career of virtuous emulation in every thing great and good; the freedom which dispelled the mists of superstition, and invited the nations to behold their God; whose magic touch kindled the rays of genius, the enthusiasm of poetry, and the flame of eloquence; the freedom which poured into our lap of
opulence and arts, and embellished life with innumerable institutions and improvements, till it became a theater of wonders; it is for you to decide whether this freedom shall yet survive, or perish forever. But you have decided. With such a trust, every thought of what is afflicting in warfare, every apprehension of danger must vanish, and you are impatient to mingle in the battle of of the civilized world.
Go, then, ye defenders of your country, accompanied with every auspicious omen; advance with alacrity into the field, where God himself musters the hosts of war. Religion is too much interested in your success, not to lend you her aid; she will shed over your enterprise her selectest influence. While you are engaged in the field many will repair to the closet, many to the sanctuary; the faithful of every name will employ that prayer which has power with God; the feeble hands which are unequal to any other weapon, will grasp the sword of the Spirit; and from the myriads of humble, contrite hearts, the voice of intercession, supplication, and weeping, will mingle in its ascent to heaven with the shouts of battle and the shock of arms.
My brethren, I cannot but imagine the virtuous heroes, legislators, and patriots, of every age and country, are bending from their elevated seats to witness this contest, incapable, till it be brought to a favorable issue, of enjoying their eternal repose. Enjoy that repose, illustrious immortals! Your mantle fell when you ascended; and thousands, inflamed with your spirit, and impatient to tread in your steps, are ready to swear by Him that sitteth upon the throne, and liveth forever and ever, that they will protect freedom in her last asylum, and never desert that cause which you sustained by your labors, and cemented with your blood.
And thou, sole Ruler among the children of men, to whom the shields of the earth belong, gird on thy sword, thou Most Mighty; go forth with our hosts in the day of battle! Impart, in addition to their hereditary valor, that