« AnteriorContinuar »
O, then, exult that God forever reigneth;
Shout louder praises.
Then to the wisdom of my Lord and Master
When called to yield it.
Now, Mars, I dare thee, clad in smoky pillars, Bursting from bomb-shells, roaring from the cannon, Rattling in grape-shot like a storm of hailstones,
Up the bleak heavens let the spreading flames rise,
Wantonly burned down.
While all their hearts quick palpitate for havoc,
Dreadful as demons!
Let oceans waft on all your floating castles,
Bear down to battle.
From the dire caverns, made by ghostly miners,
Quick to destruction.
Still shall the banner of the King of Heaven
War, I defy thee.
Fame and dear freedom lure me on to battle, While a fell despot, grimmer than a death's-head, Stings me with serpents, fiercer than Medusa's,
To the encounter.
Life, for my country and the cause of freedom,
Life is redoubled.
BORN at “Shadwell,” Albemarle Co., Va., 1743. Dies at Monticello, Va., 1826.
PASSAGES FROM HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY.
[The Writings of Thomas Jefferson. Edited by H. A. Washington. 1854.]
CONCERNING THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
IT appearing in the course of these debates, that the colonies of New
York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and South Carolina were not yet matured for falling from the parent stem, but that they were fast advancing to that state, it was thought most prudent to wait a while for them, and to postpone the final decision to July 1st; but, that this might occasion as little delay as possible, a committee was ap. pointed to prepare a Declaration of Independence. The committee were John Adams, Dr. Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, and myself. Committees were also appointed, at the same time, to prepare a plan of confederation for the colonies, and to state the terms proper to be proposed for foreign alliance. The committee for drawing the Declaration of Independence desired me to do it. It was accordingly done, and being approved by them, I reported it to the House on Friday, the 28th of June, when it was read, and ordered to lie on the table. On Monday, the 1st of July, the House resolved itself into a committee of the whole, and resumed the consideration of the original motion made by the dele. gates of Virginia, which, being again debated through the day, was carried in the affirmative by the votes of New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia. South Carolina and Pennsylvania voted against it
. Delaware had but two members present, and they were divided. The delegates from New York declared they were for it themselves, and were assured their constituents were for it; but that their instructions having been drawn near a twelvemonth before, when reconciliation was still the general object, they were enjoined by them to do nothing which should impede that object. They, therefore, thought themselves not justifiable in voting on either side, and asked leave to withdraw from the question; which was given them. The committee rose and reported their resolution to the House. Mr. Edward Rutledge, of South Carolina, then requested the determination might be put off to the next day, as he believed his colleagues, though they disapproved of the resolution, would then join in it for the sake of unanimity. The ultimate question, whether the House would agree to the resolution of the committee, was accord
ingly postponed to the next day, when it was again moved, and South Carolina concurred in voting for it. In the mean time, a third member had come post from the Delaware counties, and turned the vote of that colony in favor of the resolution. Members of a different sentiment attending that morning from Pennsylvania also, her vote was changed, so that the whole twelve colonies who were authorized to vote at all gave their voices for it; and, within a few days, the convention of New York approved of it, and thus supplied the void occasioned by the withdraw. ing of her delegates from the vote.
Congress proceeded the same day to consider the Declaration of Inde pendence, which had been reported and laid on the table the Friday preceding, and on Monday referred to a committee of the whole. The pusillanimous idea that we had friends in England worth keeping terms with, still haunted the minds of many. For this reason, those passages which conveyed censures on the people of England were struck out, lest they should give them offence. The clause, too, reprobating the enslaving the inhabitants of Africa was struck out, in complaisance to South Carolina and Georgia, who had never attempted to restrain the importation of slaves, and who, on the contrary, still wished to continue it Our northern brethren also, I believe, felt a little tender under those censures ; for though their people had very few slaves themselves, yet they had been pretty considerable carriers of them to others. The de. bates, having taken up the greater parts of the 2d, 3d, and 4th days of July, were, on the evening of the last, closed; the Declaration was reported by the committee, agreed to by the House, and signed by every member present, except Mr. Dickinson.
CHARACTER OF JAMES MADISON.
Mr. Madison came into the House in 1776, a new member and young; which circumstances, concurring with his extreme modesty, prevented his venturing himself in debate before his removal to the Council of State, in November, '77. From thence he went to Congress, then consisting of few members. Trained in these successive schools, he acquired a habit of self-possession which placed at ready command the rich resources of his luminous and discriminating mind, and of his extensive information, and rendered him the first of every assembly afterward, of which he became a member. Never wandering from his subject into vain declamation, but pursuing it closely, in language pure, classical and copious, soothing always the feelings of his adversaries by civilities and softness of expression, he rose to the eminent station which he held in the great National Convention of 1787; and in that of Virginia which followed, he sustained the new constitution in all its parts,