PRINTED BY JOHN CARTER.
THE Committee of Arrangements, for the Celebration of the Anniversary of Independence, in behalf of the Town, request the Rev. Mr. Bowen to accept their thanks for the elegant ORATION delivered by him yesterday, and solicit him to favour them with a copy of it for immediate publication.
Providence July 6, 1802
I could not refuse to acquiesce in your desire, without infringing a custom that has long existed among you, and disappointing the expectations of my fellow citizens. Unwilling to do this, I will overlook the personal considerations which forbid the publication of the hasty production delivered at your request and give it to be disposed of at your pleasure.
With respect, I am,
Gentlemen, yours, &c.
The Committee of Arrangements for the
Celebration of the Anniversary, &c.
Providence, July 6, 1802.
ONCE more the revolving sun of our political year brings round the anniversary of our Independence. Liberty, still holding in America her abode, again lifts up her voice in our streets, and calls upon her sons to "shout for joy." The loud acclamation rings through our wide-spread territory and having re-echoed along our extended coast breaks across the ocean, and calls the attention of an admiring world to those memorable events which made Columbia free.
Again you have assembled here to celebrate the festival of your country's birth. Heaven must smile benignant on a scene like this.--Those solemn offices, hallowing this day at once to religious gratitude and political rejoicing, in which your hearts have just been raised to the Throne of Grace, must prove an acceptable incense there. Fondly would we cherish the hope that the heart of no American beats higher with joy for his country's good, than with gratitude to Heaven for it. To the tribunal of eternal justice the Fathers of our country appealed, when they solemnly declared the American colonies free, sovereign and independent States. To Him, who rules supreme among the nations, they confidently committed the interests of their cause. His just and all-wise direction they traced and acknowledged [3/4] through the various incidents with which their arduous contest was attended--and it was their pride, in the midst of all the triumph that crowned their toils, to give Heaven the glory of their success.--Never may their posterity forget, that to riot in the blessings of freedom, and ungratefully forget the hand that gave them, would betray the most degrading unworthiness of these blessings, and destroy their title to their continuance. May this day, then, like the festival hallowed to the dawning of the sun of righteousness upon the world, be a day as sacred as it is joyous.--May every American father, who gathers his sons around him to recount the glories which we celebrate, be no less solicitous to make their bosoms glow with adoration of that high Being who ordained them, than that they shall swear inviolable fidelity to freedom's and their country's cause.
The occasion calls our attention to a subject the most interesting and sublime.--The American revolution holds a high and distinguished place among those events that most adorn the history, and honour the nature of man. It makes one of the brightest of those few shining eras, which, scattered at distant intervals in the long track of human record, light and cheer the mind through the darkness in which vice and passion have inveloped it.--The world had never indeed been unacquainted with civil revolutions; but they had been revolutions to which the worst of passions instigated, in which the worst of vices triumphed, and by which the miseries of mankind were enhanced.--They flashed indeed a sudden gleam of light through the gloom that overhung the condition of humanity, but left the scene darker and more dismal than before. Private ambition had often sought its end amidst the tumult which itself had raised--a nation's peace had often been the only sacrifice that could appease the haughty individual's vengeance; and monsters had often quenched their thirst for blood in firearms that flowed [4/5] from their country's veins.--But such was not the revolution that gave Independence to America. It was not the mere effervescence of causeless discontent, exhibiting a deluded people, wading through blood and tumult, in pursuit of some phantom of imaginary amelioration of condition, seen only through the mists of passion. It was not the melancholy spectacle of an injured people, duped by the specious artifices of pretended friendship to their cause, following a deceiver to the scaffold to see their monarch bleed, then to the throne from which he had been hurled, to receive from the polluted hands of usurpation still heavier chains than those they just had broken. It was not the wild and ungovernable frenzy of a nation bursting asunder every bond of social and moral, human and divine restraint, abolishing the whole constitution of their country, barbarously murdering a mild and virtuous sovereign, then stifling in their breasts every feeling that belongs to human nature, and rioting in each other's blood, till glutted fury could no more. The prejudices of enmity against the one, and of blind admiration of the other, have indeed pretended to ascribe corresponding principles and objects to the revolution in which our country glories, and that which tore down the venerable edifice of Gallic monarchy.--Who, for the sake of humanity, but must with that some resemblance could be found! But, alas! You must turn with horror from the comparison. It insults the plainest reason, and wounds the best feelings of the heart.--
What resemblance can you trace between an outrageous and inhuman rebellion, and a calm though determined resistance to encroachments upon acknowledged privileges and inherited rights--between the cool, resolute vindication of liberty, sounded in reason and controuled by law; and the frantic pursuit of indefinite rights of man, through a thousand varying scenes of havoc and of crime? [5/6] Americans!--'tis the distinguishing glory of the revolution which has given you freedom and independence, that it has not deepened the shades of human misery--It originated in the purest motives, and was governed by the sacred laws of truth, justice and humanity--and never, through its protracted scenes of misery and embarrassment, were these laws forgotten, or any visionary systems of metaphysical subtilty called in to aid its purposes, by refining away all distinctions between moral right and wrong into mere instruments of political expediency.--No scaffolds here streamed with the blood of those who would not espouse the cause of revolution.--No political heresy of sentiment was here made a watch-word for brutal slaughter, or miserable exile--and though, "in the confusion of the moment, the impulse of necessity or the eruptions of the passions might have caused some individuals and families to feel the heavy hand of revolution and war," yet never did any universal system of injustice, revenge and persecution, shew that Americans were ignorant of the liberties for which they were contending. Humanity herself, as she peruses the records of your revolutionary transactions, can feel no emotion but of pleasure, no sentiment but of approbation.--She will frown upon that Spirit of wanton domination, that would have riveted the yoke of "unconditional submission" on an enterprizing, virtuous and faithful people.--Her heart will bleed at the thousand wrongs, indignities and miseries, you suffered, before your struggle was crowned with freedom and with glory. But she will not charge you with the addition of one crime to the bloody catalogue, with which the revolutions of states have deformed the history of mankind.--Indignant at a thousand insults offered to her cause, she will wish to tear from the polluted volume the page that records the cruel pretensions of the unnatural mother country, to the fruition of advantages she had neither assisted your [6/7] father to obtain, nor you to defend; and that iniquitous extortion, that would have wrung from your hands the hard-earned fruits of industry and toil, to replenish coffers exhausted by long and expensive wars, in which an infatuated ministry had involved their country. But that moderation, which, by respectful remonstrance, would have kept back the oppressor's grasp--that calm resolution, with which, when the last drop in the cup of conciliation was exhausted, and the last word, spent in vain, that fidelity could dictate or justice sanction, you prepared to maintain your freedom, or perish in the attempt--that unbroken fortitude of soul, with which, through every misery that nature could endure, or the hand of powerful cruelty inflict, your struggle was sustained--these she would deeply engrave on imperishable monuments to your glory. To these she will point mankind for their instruction and admiration, while freedom is dear, or any embers of virtue are unextinguished in the human heart.
It is the laudable design of this institution, to record in the mind of every American a lasting remembrance of the principles of our revolution, and to induce correspondent sentiments and manners.--In conformity to this design, it has been the pleasing talk of many, on this occasion, to lay before you a recital, suited to make the heart beat high with mingled emotions of pride and joy. In no less conformity, however, it is hoped, to the purpose of the anniversary, and with as strict a regard to utility, your attention will now be turned into another channel. Something more is required of every one, than to dwell on the past glories of his country, or to cherish feelings that may be excited by a review of the scenes through which you passed, before those glories were achieved. The time has been, indeed, when to have associated serious thought with the festive joy of this day, would have been a task too high for human frailty. When first the [7/8] vanquished enemy left your shores, when first for eight long years you could indulge the pleasing thought of becoming the proprietors of your fathers soil, of reaping yourselves the harvest of your own industry, and resting your wearied limbs under your own vines and fig trees, it would have been vain and unreasonable to have sought to check the full current of the soul with the cold speculations of political prudence. The season, however, now has passed in which such rejoicings are either timely or useful. At a period like the present, when stability, not change, is the object of every true lover of his country, it becomes us to caution you against the too high indulgence of revolutionary feelings; which can be proper only when a revolution is intended. Time enough has now elapsed for high transports to have subsided, and for events which call upon you to mingle with your joy for your freedom and independence, some serious attention to the causes that may endanger and the principles that may secure those privileges and blessings, for which you paid so dear a price.
The peace, the independence and the safety of every nation, are to be viewed with a reference to foreign relations and domestic circumstances.--America, by the successful issue of her contest, having obtained a high and important rank among the empires of the earth, necessarily contracted those relations which the common wants and the common laws of nations have founded between free and independent states. So long as those relations remain, (remote as is her situation) she never can be destitute of an interest in the political occurrences of Europe. However successfully we may pursue the wise and happy policy of disclaiming any share in foreign contests, still must our feelings as men, as well as our interests as a nation, have ever a lively concern in the affairs of the transatlantic world.
When the harsh clarion's sound awaked the world [8/9] to war, when the tumult of discord thickened on every side, and every proud stream that courses through the plains of Europe was pouring the mangled corpses of slaughtered thousands into the ocean, America could not remain an unconcerned spectator of these scenes of havoc and misery. Too recently had she felt the wounds of war herself, to behold them with indifference. Taught by her own bitter experience, she knew how to estimate and feel the sufferings of others. From her distant shores she beheld the raging storm, and mourned the suffering cause of man. Are these feelings banished from her bosom? When peace, returning from her long and distant exile, calls home the patriot from the fields of blood to the bosom of his country, bids the innumerable widows of slaughtered soldiers now seek the means of sustenance for their wretched orphans, the emaciated warrior, as he vents in cheerful songs his joy, beat the sword into the ploughshare to till his long neglected field, and the glad voice of millions raise the hymn of gratitude to Heaven; amidst all this happiness and exultation, shall America be heard to mutter the sullen and malignant complaint, that the miseries of other nations are suspended too soon for her benefit? Americans! this is morally detestable; it cannot be politically right. The sufferings of poverty, and the confusion of embarrassment, are sometimes made an apology for outrage against humanity and justice.--We have no such apology to hide the guilt of repining at the peace of our brethren of mankind. Let the piratical rovers of the southern shores of the Mediterranean curse the day that will give none of the plunder by which they live into their hands, but let a Christian and enlightened people shudder at the thought of wishing a protraction of the miseries of war, for the aggrandizement of themselves.--Beware, Americans, of the inhumanity of national avarice. The same temper which would repine at [9/10] the peace of mankind, because it may turn the course of some streams of wealth from our reservoirs, would justify us in breaking up the banks of our internal peace, to let in the torrent of war upon our country, whenever it might promote the immediate welfare of our individual district. It would make the securer inhabitants of the north behold, without concern, our southern territory deluged in the blood of domestic massacre.
We will rejoice, then, in the prospect of a return of peace to harrassed and distracted Europe: and though some distant rumblings seem yet to foretel another eruption of the volcano, rather cherish the hope that they may be but the remaining echoes of the last. More pleased, too, to hope that the powerful and successful may, by some stricter regard to the claims of justice and humanity, yet extinguish the last spark of discord that might be blown into a flame, let us beware of those too lively sympathies and animosities, which a review of the respective circumstances and conduct of nations may excite. 'Tis true, that to reflect on the degraded and desolate condition in which many of the fairest and happiest states of Europe have been left, and not abhor the authors of their wrongs and ruin, is an effort almost too high for human infirmity. But we must remember that to give these emotions an unrestrained indulgence would endanger that neutrality of feeling, which both our national dignity and independence demand. You all remember well the parting words of the immortal Sage and Hero of America. [* Farewell Address.] "The nation that indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave." Every one has too lively a remembrance of his country's happy rescue from the danger of exemplifying the slavery of this national friendship, to need any other argument to [10/11] convince him. Long may this experience prove the land-mark of our safety, from those shoals on which the bark of our republic was so nearly wrecked.--From one as well as the other of those states, whose quarrels have shaken to the centre the whole eastern world, our country has suffered insults, abuse and wrongs. Justice may not, perhaps, with equal reason be expelled, where political transactions have yet no fixed and settled foundation, as where they still have a basis in eternal and immutable principles. But our own, and the experience of the world, must convince us, that national friendships can exist but in the dream of the visionary; or the imagination of the enthusiast.
What yet may await America, from the varying politics of European governments, it belongs only to the high and mighty Ruler of the universe to know. The cloud that from the east spread its sable mantle over our political atmosphere, and so long threatened to burst over our heads, has not yet wholly disappeared. Urged by that ambition which not even the humiliation of every power of Europe could satiate, the Caesar of modern Gaul may find his work unfinished, till a blow has been aimed at the tranquility of America. Even among those high in popular affection and respect, he may find remaining some of that partiality, which no principle of patriotism, of reason or policy, can explain, that has followed France round a whole circle of violation of all national, public and private right, and still beholds in her all the essential characteristics of congenial republicanism. Encouraged by that success with which all his other projects have been attended, he yet may avail himself of these friendly dispositions, and their effects, for the execution of some design hostile to our security. Suspicions such as these, it is thought, are by no means groundless. No mark of amity has ever been exhibited by the rulers of that nation, since first the [11/12] faithful guardians of the sacred trust refused to requite her vaunted friendship to our suffering cause, with the surrender of our independence: and their too near approach with an unprincipled army, long inured to scenes of outrage and devastation, has not unreasonably excited some apprehension of a design to put to the utmost test our power to defend what we had so resolutely refused to resign. May Heaven frustrate the too credible prediction of one of the wisest of the British Parliament, that "by the cession of Louisiana a serpent has been placed at our feet, by which we shall ultimately be devoured."
Yet could the most timid anxiety for our country's safety find no cause for fear from the most formidable enemy that might sound the alarm of hostility on our frontier, were all well within. Did that spirit now burn in the bosom of America, which twenty-six years ago lighted the flame of opposition to foreign insult and aggression--did that unanimity now reign in our public councils, which at that glorious period, with one heart and one voice, resolved to maintain inviolate the freedom and honour of our country--did the same ready and clear discernment between their true and their pretended friends, now mark the decisions of the people which then consigned to the disgrace of their honest contempt every masked dissembler; were such at the present day our happy case, in vain would foreign artifice or foreign violence attempt our independence. Strong in the power of hardy millions, and the pride of liberty, we might smile at the envy of the world, and contemn the threats of the proudest foe. But, alas! the same spirit of party which had persecuted liberty from her every favourite abode on earth, has hither, too, pursued her flight. Here have her altars been erected and her deluded votaries sought, amidst the smoke ascending from her incense, to sacrifice the peace, the honour, the safety of America. You have seen, you have felt, you have lamented her [12/13] malignant influence. Blasted by her pestiferous breath, you have seen the laurels wither on the tree your fathers planted, and your brothers watered with their blood. Like the fallen father of all falsehood and all crime, you have seen her wrest the best, no less than the worst passions and feelings of the human heart, into instruments of her dark and treacherous purposes. Ambition and avarice were inflamed into hostility against a system of things, by which their hopes were disappointed. An amiable sense of foreign services, which the unsuspecting integrity of America would not allow her to ascribe their true motive, was swelled into a friendship, which not even the very first law of nature should be suffered to obstruct. The honest zeal, with which every American regarded the dear-bought liberty of his country, was made the plenteous source of suspicions against men who had well merited the confidence of the people, and of alarm at measures honestly designed, in perilous seasons, to give energy at home, and respectability abroad.
We will not, however, attempt to pursue this spirit of disunion through the various intricacies of her course, or to review the thousand fallacies which she sought to impose on the American mind. I know not that I am forbidden to do this by the unquestionable truth of that remarkable creed, which denies a numerous class of citizens the right of political opinion; or at least makes their defence of principles which they deem intimately connected with the welfare and virtue of their country, nothing else than "stirring up all the angry and destructive passions of the human mind." But stripped of "the venerable robes of patriotism" she assumes, as well as of philanthropy and philosophy, faction has already, by other and stronger hands, been held up in the true character to your view. Nor is it so necessary to dwell on the evils she has produced, as to turn our attention to those weak places in our walls, [13/14] which, falling before the enchantment of her sounds, have given her admittance to our citadel. Distraction in our public councils, opposition in our political views, instability in the measures of government, are the alarming evils of which all complain. But 'tis idle to stand gazing at the foulness of the stream. Let us search and examine the source.
It is an old doctrine in politics, founded in the plainest reason, and established by the testimony of experience, that every government of a popular form must have its support in the sense and virtue of the people.--It were as absurd to expect a regular administration of a free government to be supported by a vicious and unenlightened people, as that an impartial and judicious distribution of your charity would be made by an almoner, who had neither the common discernment necessary to distinguish worthy subjects of his commission, nor honesty enough for the faithful execution of his trust. The reason is clear and simple. In such a government, the right of choosing their rulers belongs indisputably to the people. If, then, the people are too ignorant to understand their rights and interests, or too depraved to feel the duties they owe their country, what is to prevent their choosing such rulers as will pamper their vices, or deceive their ignorance, to obtain their suffrage? And what is to prevent rulers from abusing the confidence of the people to their subjugation and ruin, who, to obtain that confidence, had first been base enough to have recourse to bribery and deception?
To every real and enlightened friend, then, to American liberty, the diffusion of virtue and knowledge through the whole social body, must be an object of the liveliest concern: not indeed of that knowledge which would be necessary to make every citizen a politician, teach him to understand the complicate machinery of government, and ascertain [14/15] the use and tendency of its movements. On these subjects, to which the greatest preparations of science and experience are scarcely competent, he knows the best knowledge we can be taught is the knowledge of our ignorance. But that degree of knowledge, which is necessary to enable a people to distinguish between plain truths and palpable falsehoods, between the measures of a faction and the arrangements of sound policy, he knows to be indispensable to civil liberty and peace. The demagogue, who is ever but the worst of tyrants in disguise, may strive to withhold from the people that light by which his dark and perfidious purposes would be exposed. But not so the real patriot. Looking into the course of things around him, if in one place he finds that wretched venality which will gladly barter away a suffrage for a share in the electioneering carousal, he pities and he trembles for his country. If in another quarter be beholds some vagrant sufferer in the cause of "oppressed humanity," by duping the credulity of popular ignorance raised to some public post of high and important responsibility, his cheek will glow with mingled shame and indignation. Roused by their loud calls within him, with a laudable zeal he will resolve, and with an honest ardour he will strive, that these things shall not continue to disgrace his country. With an aspect illumined by a just and noble enthusiasm, with the fire of indignant patriotism sparkling in his eye, he will stand forth and intreat the attention of his countrymen. "Forsake the miserable error" (he will say to that portion of his fellow-citizens who are lamenting the effects of popular delusion) "forsake the miserable error of complaining of the public disease, without endeavouring to remove its cause: why rest in second causes, without extending your attention to the original sources of your evils? In vain do you sue for armies to defend your frontiers, fleets to rescue your commerce from the grasp of foreign plunder, [15/16] magistracies to defend your persons and your property at home. All these may be had, and still much be wanting to your happiness and security, if there is not knowledge and virtue in the people. Guard, then, guard with holy zeal and constant vigilance, these important posts of union and of safety. The people who are not enlightened, will and must be slaves. The people who are not virtuous, will as willingly be slaves as free. Listen to the voice of the experience of elder times. For full five hundred years Sparta was the mistress and the pride of Greece; but the institutions of Lycurgus, which by a continual stream of wise and virtuous instruction kept pure the public mind, were abandoned; and then, not till then, the enervation of private and public virtue called up the tyrannical oligarchy of the Ephori. "Long years roll'd on by many a battle stain'd," and Athens yet was independent and invincible. Invaded on every side from without, harrassed and distracted within, her people yet had that virtue left by which a Conon, an Aristides, an Agesilaus, could maintain her independence, or restore her liberty and peace. But corruption poured out to her the intoxicating draught. She took it, and sunk to sleep. She awoke to Macedonian slavery.--But you are, perhaps, unwilling to be referred to examples so remote. Behold, then, the ruined, degraded, miserable condition of Switzerland, once happy in the peace of virtue, and the possession of every blessing liberty could bestow. Holland, defended as strongly by the spirit of liberty, and the simple virtue of her citizens, from the attacks of foreign liberty, as by her dykes from the terrible fury of the ocean. The vulture of revolution did not make them her prey, till she was allured by the putrefaction of members which infidel philosophy had poisoned.--France herself did not become one field of blood, till a coal, taken from the temple of infidelity, that blazed with incense to an idol of vice in the guise of reason, had burned asunder every tie by [16/17] by which men are held together in society.
Will none of these examples move you? Will you suffer the warning voice of past experience still to cry in vain? Look forward, then, and anticipate the time, when quenched by the intoxication of virtue and peace, virtue shall be extinguished in the bosom of Americans. The time may come, when, lost to that true love of country which absorbs every private and unworthy passion, they shall move only at the pleasure of the factious leader's will. When to that laudable gratitude which would reward with lasting honours the faithful services of their true friends, shall succeed that shameful inconstancy, which will tamely suffer calumny to blast the laurels which adorn the brow of the warrior who fought their battles, and the statesman who gave them laws, security and peace.--When, instead of glowing with its hallowed zeal, the bosoms of your sons shall beat at the sound of liberty no more. The time may come, when unable to detect the artifices of political deception, or to distinguish between true patriotism and false, Americans will look for true patriotism in those ardent professions of regard for the rights and liberties of the people, which flatter them into confidence, and then make that confidence an instrument of revenge upon political opponent. The time may come, when they shall even mistake for true patriotism that excessive zeal of party animosity, which will deafen men to the common claims of humanity and justice; which will establish heresies in politics, from whose punishment no honesty, no faithfulness, will give exemption; which in the blind pursuit of its gratification, forgetting the public benefit, and national and social security, will fill up the best sources of the one, and throw down every barrier by which the other could be defended.
Americans! we celebrate but the twenty-sixth anniversary of our independence, and already ('tis not, I know, a pleasant reflection, but you will not therefore reject it) already circumstances mark the [17/18] condition of our republic, which in many others have shortly preceded the last fatal mutation government could undergo.--Already the animosities of party sour social intercourse.--Already local antipathies and contending interests threaten the disruption of the federal tie,-- Already we behold diametrical opposition of opinion on questions that affect the very fundamental principles of our constitution.--Already we behold a relaxation of zeal for the public good, proportioned to the personal inconvenience and mortification with which its exercise may be attended; and citizens, whose talents and whose virtues were the best bulwark of their country, retiring to forget the public WEAL in the busy schemes of private interest, or in gloomy musings to despair of the republic.--Already (ah! whose heart does not bleed at the reflection?) already we forget those heroes and those patriots who fought, and bled, and toiled, and watched for their country; who, amidst the tempests of revolution and of faction, seemed like the electric rod to defend the building beneath, by attracting the fury of the elements upon themselves.--Even those honours which gratitude, patriotism, justice, loudly demand for the memory of WASHINGTON, the Epaminondas of our country, are given with tardy reluctance:--and we patiently behold the public ingratitude, reflected in a mirror, held up by private liberality to the world. Just Heaven! are there things suffered thus early to supply experience that may guide us to our future safety, or is the last day of American liberty already near at hand! My countrymen! to fear the last, would but produce despair. Hope the former, and, under the smiles of indulgent heaven, we yet may enjoy an unclouded sky of liberty.
On this day, then, sacred to the past, swear on that altar of freedom which Heaven has erected for you, that your warmest affections and your best exertions shall be devoted to the future glory of your country.--Strive to root out from the American [18/19] mind every germ of dissension, and make that union spring and flourish there, which shall cover our whole land with its shade--and yield the wholesome and delicious fruits of national honour and security--social order, harmony and love.--Think not to effect this by indulging that spirit of party rancour, which by inflammatory invectives would hurl a political adversary from the seat of power. The cause of truth, you know, can derive but little benefit from violence; and your use of irritating measures in its defence, will but produce outrage against it,--Rather expect union and harmony to be the effect of a diffusion among the people of a knowledge of their rights and duties, and of the reasons in which those duties and those rights are founded:--a knowledge that need no where else be sought, than in that school where light shines from above to direct men through the path-way of virtue to happiness and Heaven. The power of true religion can alone give a lasting existence to our republic. Antient popular governments were of short and precarious duration, principally perhaps because, wanting true religion, they had not access to the only sources of that virtue which can alone make rulers faithful, and their people happy. Let the higher advantages reserved by Heaven for later days, be improved by Americans. Let every one who loves his country, strive to spread and strengthen the power of that religion among his fellow-citizens, which by sanctions drawn from eternity enforces piety, industry, sobriety, moderation, benevolence and peace.--The people who are distinguished by these virtues cannot be enslaved.
What though the promotion of the public good, by an habitual regard to such means of it, may engross time that might with advantage be given to your immediate personal interests: are you or are you not desirous to be long the free, independent, and happy citizens of a free, independent and happy country? If you value not the privileges of freedom, 'tis no wonder that you are indifferent to the [19/20] means of giving permanency to those interests which you had rather commit to the safe keeping of absolute authority.--But if freedom and tranquility are dear to you, remember they are "the richest bounty of indulgent Heaven"--and that, like every blessing bestowed by Heaven on man, they must be merited and preserved by a virtue and vigilance equal to their value. Let this reflection
"Elevate your minds:
"Each low and partial passion thence dispel,
"Till this great truth in every heart be known,
"That none but those who aid the public cause
"Can shield their country or themselves from chains."
Can any thing more than a just estimation of the privileges and blessings you enjoy be required to make the flame of patriotism burn forever in your hearts?--Think, then, O! think of the price they cost. Think of the precious blood that was shed, the toils and miseries that were endured, to make your country free.--Do you not hear a voice from the tombs of thousands who fell fighting for the independence you now celebrate, loudly call upon you to awake and watch? Think, too, of your fellow-men throughout the world. With awful expectation wondering nations wait the issue of the important experiment you have made.--Shall America, like France, be added to the long catalogue of evidences, by which tyrants prove that man must not be free?--Heaven, reason, humanity forbid!--Who would not rather have died in glorious battles of our revolution, or envy the fate of the numbers of those who since have gone down into the dark chambers of the earth, than live to see the day when warring factions shall trample upon the bleeding liberties of this country; when the cruel despot, turning a look of malignant triumph towards America, shall closer and closer press the rivets of his chains upon the galled neck of slavery; and when Columbia's younger sons, who traverse foreign climes, amidst the proud vaunts of the enemies and the bitter murmurs of the friends of liberty, shall blush to own their country?