A speech in the Missouri Legislature.
We call immediate attention to the following speech.
We commend the eloquent remarks to the studious perusal of all the patriots of the land:
Speech of Gen. Riley, in the House of Representatives of Missouri, February 8, 1861.
After a long and heated discussion on the reference of a bill amending the charter of the city of Carondolet to a standing committee of the House
obtained the floor and addressed the House
: Everybody is pitching into this matter like toad frogs into a willow swamp, on a lovely evening in the balmy month of June, when the mellow light of the full moon fills with a delicious flood the thin, ethereal atmospheric air. [Applause.] Sir, I want to put in a word, or perhaps a word and a half.
There seems to be a disposition to fight.
I say, if there is any fighting to be done, come on with your corn-cobs and lightning-bugs!--[Applause.] In the language of the ancient Roman
"Come one, come all, this rock shall fly. From its firm base, in a pig's eye."
Now, there has been a great deal of bombast here to-day.
I call it bombast from "Alpha to Omega
." (I don't understand the meaning of the words, though.) Sir, the question to refer is a great and magnificent question.--It is the all-absorbing question — like a sponge, sir — a large unmeasurable sponge, of globe shape, in a small tumbler of water — it sucks up everything.
Sir, I stand here with the weapons I have designated, to defend the rights of St. Louis county
, the rights of any other county — even the county of Cedar
[Laughter and applause.] Sir, the debate has assumed a latitudinosity.
We have had a little black jack buncombe, a little two-bit buncombe, bombast buncombe, bung-hole buncombe, and the devil and his grandmother knows what other kind of buncombe.
Why, sir, just give some of 'em a little Southern soap and a little Northern water, and quicker than a hound pup can lick a skillet they will make enough buncombe-lather to wash the golden flock that roams abroad the azure meads of heaven.
[Cheers and laughter.] I allude to the starry firmament.
The Speaker — The gentleman is out of order.
He must confine himself to the question.
--Just retain your linen if you please.
I'll stick to the text as close as a pitch plaster to a pine plank, or a lean pig to a hot jam rock.
[Cries of ‘"go on,"’ ‘"you'll do."’
I want to say to these carboniferous gentlemen, these igneous individuals, these detonating demons factors, these pereginous volcanoes, come on with your combustibles!
If I don't — well I'll suck the Gulf of Mexico
through a goose quill.
[Laughter and applause.] Perhaps you think I am diminutive, tubers and sparse in the mundane elevation.
You may discover, gentlemen, you are laboring under as great a misapprehension as though you had incinerated your inner vestment.
In the language of the noble bird,
‘"I was not born in a thicket To be scared by a cricket."’ [Applause.]
Sir, we have lost our proper position.
Our proper position is to the zenith and nadir — our heads to the one, our heels to the other, at right angle with the horizon, spanded by that Ozure are of the Instrous firmament, bright with the curruscitions of innumerable constellations, and proud as a speckled stud horse on county court day. [Cheers]
"But how have the mighty failed," in the language of the poet Silversmith.
We have lost our proper position.
We have assumed a sloshindicular or a demonological position. --And what is the cause?
answers "buncombe" sir, "buncombe. " The people have been fed on buncombe while a lot of spavined, ringboned, hamstrung, wind-galled swyneyed, split-hoofed, distempered, pollevilled, pot-bellied politicians have had their noses in the public crib until there ain't fodder enough left to make a gruel for a sick grasshopper.-- [Cheers and laughter.]
Sir, these hungry brats keep tugging at the public pap. They say, "let down your milk, Sucky, or you'll have a split bag." Do they think they can stuff such buncombe down our craw?
No, sir, you might as well try to stuff butter in a wild cat with a hot awl. [Continued laughter.] The thing can't be did.
The public grindstone is a great institution, sir — yes, sir, a great institution.
One of the greatest perhaps that ever rose, reigned or fell.
But, sir, there is too much private cutlery ground.
The thing won't pay. Occasionally a big axe is brought in to be fixed up, ostensibly for the purpose of hewing down the gnarled trunk of error and clearing out the brush wood of ignorance and folly that obstruct the public highway of progress.
The machine whirls; the axe is applied.
The lookers-on are enchanted with the brilliant sparks elicited.
The tool is polished; keenly edged; and while the public stare in gaping expectancy of seeing the road cleared, the implement is slyly taken off to improve the private acres of some "faithful friend of the people." What is the result?
The obstructions remain unmoved.
The people curse because the car lags — or, if it does move, 'tis at the expense of a broken wheel and jaded and sore-backed team.
I tell you, the thing won't pay. The time will come when the nasal promontories of these disinterested grinders will be put to the stone, instead of their hardware.
[Applause.] I am mighty afraid the machine is going to stop.
The grease is giving out thundering fast.
It is beginning to creak on its axis.
Gentlemen, it is my private on confidentially expressed, that all the "grit is pretty near worn off." [Applause.]
, you must excuse me for my latitudinosity and circumlocutoriness.
My old blunderbuss scatters amazingly, but if anybody gets peppered, it ain't my fault if they are in the way.
Sir, these dandiacal, supercritical, mahogany-faced gentry — what do they know about the blessings of freedom?
About as much, sir, as a toad-frog does of high glory.
Do they think they can escape me?
I'll follow them through pandemonium and high water!
[Cheers and laughter.]
These are the ones that has got our liberty pole off its perpendicularity.
'Tis they who would rend the stars and stripes — that noble flag, the blood of our revolutionary fathers emblemed in its red. The purity of the cause for which they died — denoted by the white; the blue — the freedom they attained, like the azure air that wraps their native hills and lingers on their lovely plains.
[Cheers.] The high bird of liberty sits perched on the topmost branch, but there is secession salt on his glorious tail.
I fear he will no more spread his noble pinions to soar beyond the azure regions of the boreal pole.
But let not Missouri
pull the nest feather from his sheltering wing to plume a shaft to pierce his noble breast; or, what is the same, make a pen to sign a secession ordinance.
[Applause.] Alas, poor bird, if they drive you from the branches of the hemlock of the North
, and the palmetto of the South
, come over to the gum tree of the West
, and we will protect your noble birdship, while water grows and grass runs.
[Immense applause.] Mr. Speaker
, I subside for the present.