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Vain, vain all the pomp of Napoleon's pride,
I sat at the second story corner window of a wine house in Paris on the 14th of July, 1789, and gazed on the infuriated, surging mob of a hundred thousand Frenchmen, as they stormed the
and struck a grand and lasting blow against the cruel minions of monarchy, raising the banner of equal right, and God-given liberty for all mankind.
Five hundred years of royal wrong and imperial lordly wickedness were avenged in an hour, and the liberty cap of the people thrown high in the air of freedom to bid defiance to government by tyranny.
Then for four bloody years the surging sea of wealth and power against the common people, muscle and manhood, defying royalty, I saw thousands of heads go to the block, the executioner of to-day being the executed of to-morrow, until a river of blood drenched the gutters of Paris, with the people at last on top and triumphant as they shall ever be adown the circling ages!
I stood near the guillotine of
LOUIS THE SIXTEENTH
as his head went off on the 21st of January, 1793, and then alternately, royalist and commoner were imprisoned and killed by the "committee of safety!"
Marie Antoinette, Charlotte Corday, Marat, Madame Roland, Danton, Robespierre and one hundred thousand other mortals, rich and poor, went down in the insane, frantic effort for equal rights and eternal justice.
The French Revolution following so soon upon the great American Revolution, shouldered the people's cause ahead more than a thousand years, and was worth every drop of blood spilled in the triumphal march of freedom!
The blood of the martyr has always watered the roots of the tree of Liberty; and in a few more years the devilish hoards of "Divine Right" robbers and murderers will be swept into the rubbish heaps of oblivion. God grant their speedy destruction! Wolves devouring the provender of the people!
On the 22d of February, 1732, I saw rise out of the rolling hills of Virginia, a glowing light that sparkled and spread, as it shone in the heaven of Colonial advancement.
"first in war, first in peace and in the hearts of his countrymen," was the God-given vidette of American freedom; and from the time he took command of the Continental Army at Boston on the 3d of July, 1775, until he laid down his commission, after nine years of trial and blood, with Cornwallis and King George defeated forever, he was the same great and good man and President, without a stain on his sword or character.
Standing by his bedside at Mount Vernon, on the 31st of December, 1799, I watched his great
soul as it took flight for heaven, and heard his last words on earth, ""Tis well!"
Like some grand mountain shining from afar,
Age after age will sweep its course away
The greatest pioneer of Colonial patriotism and independence, the Demosthenes of the American Continent, was the eloquent orator,
whose meteors of thought dazzled the nations and made tyrants tremble on their thrones.
How well I remember that March morning in 1775, as he rose in the legislative halls of Virginia, and uttered that impassioned oration against tyranny and the minions of King George.
Even now those eloquent phrases sound in mine ears, and waft me back to the scenes and men that made the Republic:
"I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past, and judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the brutal British ministry for the past ten years to justify the hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the house.
"Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded, and we have been spurned with contempt from the foot of the throne.
"The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone, it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Our chains are forged; their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston. The war is inevitable; and let it come. I repeat it, let it come.
"Our brethren are already in the field; why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased by the price of chains and slavery?
"Forbid it, Almighty God!
"I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me Liberty or give me Death!"
The patriotism of the cavaliers of Virginia was fermenting to overflowing, while that of the Puritans of Massachusetts was boiling with intense heat as the stamp-stampers and tea-tossers of Boston prepared for a deadly reception to the robbers and murders of King George on the plains of Lexington and Concord on the 19th of April, 1775. Never can I forget the midnight ride I took with
on beholding the two lanterns displayed on the belfry of the "Old North Church"; I told the tale to Mr. Longfellow, and he forthwith immortalized the heroic Paul:
"A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark, And beneath from the pebbles, in passing, a spark Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet; That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light
The fate of a nation was riding that night, And the spark struck out by that steed in his flight
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
"You know the rest, in the books you have read,