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“ Here sleeps their dust : 't is holy ground,
the children of the brave,
To lay our offering on their grave.
“ Free as the winds that round us blow,
Free as yon waves before us spread,
Its shadow on their sacred bed.
“But on their deeds no shade shall fall
While o'er their couch thy sun shall flame.
And thy right hand shall guard their fame.”
XC. — PERSONAL INFLUENCE.
WILLIAM R. WILLIAMS, D. D.
WILLIAM R. WILLIAMS, D. D., an American clergyman, was born in the city of New York, October 14, 1804. He was graduated at Columbia College in 1822. He studied law and was admitted to practice, but soon after embraced the clerical profession, and was settled in 1831 over the Baptist congregation in Amity Street, New York, where he has since resided. He has published “Lectures on the Lord's Prayer,” “Religious Progress," and a volume of miscellaneous addresses.
He has a high reputation as an earnest and eloquent preacher of the gospel.
THE world is filled with the countless and interlacing
filaments of influence, which spread from individual to individual, over the whole face and framework of society. The infant, wailing and helpless in the arms of his mother, already wields an influence felt through the whole household, his fretfulness disturbing or his serene smiles gladdening that entire home. And as, with added years, his faculties are expanded, and the sphere of his activity widens itself, his influence increases. Every man whom he meets, much more whom he molds and governs, becomes the more happy or the more wretched, the better or the worse, according to the character of his spirit and example.
Nor can he strip from himself this influence. If he flee away from the society of his fellows to dwell alone in the wilderness, he leaves behind him the example of neglected duty, and the memory of disregarded love, to afflict the family he has abandoned. Even in the pathless desert, he finds his own feet caught in the torn and entangled web of influence that bound him to society ; and its cords remain wherever he was once known, sending home to the hearts that twined around him sorrow and pain. Nor can the possessor of it expect it to go down into the grave with him. The sepulcher may have closed in silence over him, and his name may have perished from among men; yet his influence, nameless as it is, and untraceable by human eye, is floating over the face of society.
No man leaves the world in all things such as he found it. The habits which he was instrumental in forming may go on from century to century, an heirloom for good or for evil, doing their work of misery or of happiness, blasting or blessing the country that has now lost all record of his memory. In the case of some, this influence is most sensible.
Every age beholds and owns their power. And thus it is, that, although centuries have rolled their intervening tide between the age of their birth and our own, and the empires under which they flourished have long since moldered away from the soil whence they sprung, and the material frame of the author himself has been trampled down into undistinguishable dust, the writers of classical antiquity are still living and laboring among us. The glorious dreams of Plato still float before the eye of the metaphysician, and the genius of Homer tinges with its own light the whole firmament of modern invention.
Nor, unhappily, is this all. Corruption is yet oozing out, in lessons of profligacy and atheism, from the pages of an Ovid and a Lucretius, and, as if from their graves, streams forth the undecaying rankness of vice and falsehood, although the dominion of the world has long since passed from the halls of their Cæsars, and the very language they employed has died away from the lips of man.
The Church yet feels, throughout all lands, the influence of the thoughts that passed, in the solitude of midnight, through the bosom of Paul, as he sat in the shadows of his prison, a lone, unbefriended man, — thoughts which, lifting his manacled hand, he spread in his epistles before the eyes of men, there to remain forever. It feels yet the effect of the pious meditations of David, when roaming on the hillside a humble shepherd lad, of the family piety of Abraham, and of the religious nurture that trained up the infancy of Moses. Every nation is affected at this moment by the moral power that emanated from the despised Noah, as that preacher of righteousness sat among his family, perhaps dejected and faint from unsuccessful toil, teaching them to call upon God when all the families of the earth beside had forgotten him.
And if the mind, taking its flight from the narrow precincts of these walls, were to wander abroad along the peopled highways and to the farthest hamlets of our own land, and, passing the seas to traverse distant realms and barbarous coasts, every man whom its travels met, nay, every being of human mould that has ever trodden this earth in earlier ages, or is now to be found among its moving myriads, has felt or is feeling the influence of the thoughts of a solitary woman, who, centuries ago, stood debating the claims of conscience and of sin, amid the verdant glories of the yet unforfeited Paradise.
XCI. - SPEECH ON THE AMERICAN WAR
WILLIAX PITT, Earl of Chatham, was born in Boconnoc, in the county of Cornwall, England, November 15, 1708 ; and died at Hayes, in Kent, May 11, 1778. He entered the House of Commons in 1735, became Secretary of State, and substantially Prime Minister, in December, 1756; and continued to hold this office, with a brief interval, till October, 1761. In 1766 he received the office of Lord Privy Seal, and was elevated to the peerage with the title of Earl of Chatham. He resigned the Privy Seal in 1768, and subsequently took a leading part in many popular questions.
Chatham's name is one of the most illustrious in English history. Dr. Franklin said that in the course of his life he had sometimes seen eloquence without wisdom, and often wisdom without eloquence ; in Lord Chatham alone had he seen both united. His eloquence, vivid, impetuous, and daring, was aided by uncommon personal advantages,
- a commanding presence, an eye of fire, and a voice of equal sweetness and power. His character was lofty, his private life was spotless, and his motives high. His temper was somewhat wayward, and he was impatient of opposition or contradiction. His memory is cherished with peculiar reverence in our country, because of his earnest and consistent support of the rights of the Colonies against the measures of Lord North's administration.
The following speech was delivered in the House of Lords, November 18, 1777. The king had opened the session of Parliament with a speech from the throne, recommending a further and more energetic prosecution of the war to reduce the American Colonies to submission. To the address in reply to this speech, and simply echoing its sentiments, Chatham offered an amendment, proposing an immediate cessation of hostilities, and adequate measures of conciliation. The birth of the Princess Sophia, one of the daughters of George III., had recently taken place, and was alluded to in the address.
I RISE, my lords, to declare my sentiments on this
. It has imposed a load upon my mind, which, I fear, nothing can remove, but which impels me to endeavor its alleviation, by a free and unreserved communication of my sentiments,
In the first part of the address I have the honor of heartily concurring with the noble earl who moved it. No man feels sincerer joy than I do; none can offer more genuine congratulations on every accession of strength to the Protestant succession. I therefore join in every congratulation on the birth of another princess, and the happy recovery of her Majesty.
But I must stop here. My courtly complaisance will
carry me no further. I will not join in congratulation on misfortune and disgrace. I cannot concur in a blind and servile address, which approves and endeavors to sanctify the monstrous measures which have heaped disgrace and misfortune upon us. This, my lords, is a perilous and tremendous moment! It is not a time for adulation. The smoothness of flattery cannot now avail,
cannot save us in this rugged and awful crisis. It is now necessary to instruct the Throne in the language of truth. We must dispel the illusion and the darkness which envelop it, and display in its full danger and true colors the ruin that is brought to our doors.
This, my lords, is our duty. It is the proper function of this noble assembly, sitting, as we do, upon our honors in this house, the hereditary council of the Crown. Who is the minister, where is the minister, that has dared to suggest to the Throne the contrary, unconstitutional language this day delivered from it? The accustomed language from the Throne has been application to Parliament for advice, and a reliance on its constitutional advice and assistance. As it is the right of Parliament to give, so it is the duty of the Crown to ask it. But on this day, and in this extreme momentous exigency, no reliance is reposed on our constitutional counsels ! no advice is asked from the sober and enlightened care of Parliament ! But the Crown, from itself and by itself, declares an unalterable determination to pursue measures,
and what measures, my lords ? The measures that have produced the imminent perils that threaten us; the measures that have brought ruin to our doors.
Can the minister of the day now presume to expect a continuance of support in this ruinous infatuation? Can Parliament be so dead to its dignity and its duty as to