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Joseph Howe

We may smile at these matters, but they are melancholy illustrations.

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Will you permit the sacred fire of liberty, brought by your fathers from the venerable temples of Britain, to be quenched and trodden out on the simple altars they have raised?

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They have shrunk from inquiry, though they have strained after punishment. I have in every shape dared the one, that I might, so far as lay in my power, be able to secure the other.

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Will you, my countrymen, the descendants of these men, warmed by their blood, inheriting their language, and having the principles for which they struggled confided to your care, allow them to be violated in your hands?

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My public life is before you; and I know you will believe me when I say, that when I sit down in solitude to the labours of my profession, the only questions I ask myself are, What is right? What is just? What is for the public good?

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My books are very few, but then the world is before me - a library open to all - from which poverty of purse cannot exclude me - in which the meanest and most paltry volume is sure to furnish something to amuse, if not to instruct and improve.

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Such a prostitution of judicial power can never occur again under the shadow of the British law, for no jury within the wide circle of the empire would submit to such an infraction of their privilege, even if a judge could be found daring enough to attempt it.

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Once More I Put my Bonnet On

Once more I put my bonnet on,
And tie the ribbons blue,
My showy poplin dress I don,
That's just as good as new,
And smooth and stately as a swan
Go sailing to my pew.
Once more, Ah! me, how oft, how oft,
Shall I the scene repeat?
With graceful ease and manner soft
I sink into my seat,
And round the congregation waft
The sense of odors sweet.

A finer form, a fairer face
Ne'er bent before the stole,
With more restraint, no spotless lace
Did firmer orbs control,
I shine, the Beauty of the place,
And yet I look all soul.

[...] Read more

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To the Town Clock

Thou grave old Time Piece, many a time and oft
I've been your debtor for the time of day;
And every time I cast my eyes aloft,
And swell the debt--I think 'tis time to pay.
Thou, like a sentinel upon a tower,
Hast thou still announced "the enemy's" retreat,
And now that I have got a leisure hour,
Thy praise, thou old Repeater, I'll repeat.
A very striking object, all must own,
For years you've been, and may for years remain,
And though fierce storms around your head have blown,
Your form erect, and clear and mellow tone,
Despite their violence, you still retain.

A "double face," some foolishly believe,
Of gross deception is a certain sign;
But thy four faces may their fears relieve,
For who can boast so frank a life as thine.
You ne'er disguised your thoughts for purpose mean,
You ne'er conceal'd your knowledge from the crowd,

[...] Read more

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Sable Island

Dark Isle of Mourning--aptly art thou named,
For thou hast been the cause of many a tear;
For deeds of treacherous strife too justly famed,
The Atlantic's charnel--desolate and drear;
A thing none love--though wand'ring thousands fear--
If for a moment rests the Muse's wing
Where through the waves thy sandy wastes appear,
'Tis that she may one strain of horror sing,
Wild as the dashing waves that tempests o'er thee fling.

The winds have been thy minstrels--the rent shrouds
Of hapless barks, twanging at dead of night,
Thy fav'rite harp strings--the shriek of crowds
Clinging around them feebly in their fright,
The song in which thou long hast had delight,
Dark child of ocean, at thy feasts of blood;
When mangled forms, shown by Heaven's lurid light,
Rose to thy lip upon the swelling flood,
While Death, with horrid front, beside thee gloating stood.

[...] Read more

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