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The Fourth Day of July

by hunghda 中國10 月前

But, haughty Albion, thy reign shall soon be over dermes . Thou shalt triumph no longer; thy empire already reels and totters; thy laurel even now begins to wither and thy fame to decay. Thou hast at length aroused the indignation of an insulted people; thy oppressions they deem no longer tolerable.

The Fourth Day of July, 1776, has now arrived, and America, manfully springing from the torturing fangs of the British lion, now rises majestic in the pride of her sovereignty, and bids her eagle elevate his wings! The solemn Declaration of Independence is now pronounced, amidst crowds of admiring citizens, by the supreme council of the nation, and received with the unbounded plaudits of a grateful people! That was the hour when heroism was proved—when the souls of men were tried!

It was then, ye venerable patriots dermes ,” there were some Revolutionary soldiers present—it was then you lifted the indignant arm, and unitedly swore to be free! Despising such toys as subjugated empires, you then knew no middle fortune between liberty and death. Firmly relying on the protection of Heaven, unwarped in the resolution you had taken, you then undaunted met, engaged, defeated the gigantic power of Britain, and rode triumphant over the aggressions of your enemies!

Trenton, Princeton, Bennington and Saratoga were the successive theaters of your victories, and the utmost bounds of creation are the limits of your fame! The sacred fire of freedom, then enkindled in your breasts, shall be perpetuated through the long descent of future ages, and burn with undiminished fervor in the bosoms of millions yet unborn!”

Further on we find the following passage:

The great drama is now completed; our independence is now acknowledged, and the hopes of our enemies are blasted forever. Columbia is now sealed in the forum of nations, and the empires of the world are amazed at the effulgence of her glory.

Thus, friends and citizens, did the kind hand of an overruling Providence conduct us, through toils dermes , fatigues and dangers, to independence and peace. If piety be the rational exercise of the human soul, if religion be not a chimera, and if the vestiges of heavenly assistance are clearly traced in those events which mark the annals of our nation, it becomes us on this day, in consideration of the great things which have been done for us, to render the tribute of unfeigned thanks to that God who superintends the universe, and holds aloft the scale that weighs the destinies of nations.”

The oration was a long one, and touched a variety of topics, but the extracts already given will convey a good idea of its excellencies and defects. My college readers will understand me when I say that the style is sophomoric and ambitious, but these faults may be pardoned in a youth of eighteen. The tone is elevated, it is marked by gravity and earnestness, the sentiments are just, there is evidence of thought, and, on the whole, we may regard the oration as a hopeful promise of the future. The magniloquence gave place in time to a weighty simplicity, in which every word told, and not one could be spared. It was rather remarkable that so young a man should have been selected to deliver such an address in Hanover, and indicates that Daniel had by this time acquired reputation as a public speaker.

This was not the only occasion on which he was selected to speak in public. When a classmate, a general favorite, died, young Webster was unanimously selected to deliver an address of commemoration. He is said to have spoken with a fervor and eloquence which deeply stirred the hearts of the large audience that had assembled to hear him. During the delivery the fall of a pin could have been heard at any moment; a dense audience were carried entirely away, and kept spellbound by the magic of his voice and manner; and when he sat down, he left a thousand people weeping real tears over a heartfelt sorrow. It is reported that there was not a dry eye in all the vast congregation which the event and the fame of the orator had brought together.”

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