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not unusual to advert to it as an indication of the justice and generosity of the British! The very act, which, to an abstract judgment, should be taken as stamping a seal upon the outrage, by the acknowledgment it implies from themselves of the atrocity, because the unlawfulness of the seizure, is thus converted into a medium of homage and of praise! Inverted patriotism! drooping, downcast, honor! to derive a pleasurable sensation from the insulting confession of a crime!
Next to a just war, fellow-citizens, we wage a defensive one. This is its true and only character. Our fields were not, indeed, invaded, or our towns entered and sacked. But still it is purely a war of defence. It was to stop reiterated encroachment we took up arms. Persons, property, rights, character, sovereignty, justice, all these were contumaciously invaded at our hands. Let impartial truth say, if it were for ambition, or conquest, or plunder, or through any false estimate of character, or pride that we appealed to the sword. No, Americans ! No! Republicans, there will rest no such blot upon your moderate, your pacific councils. It is an imperfect view of this question which considers as a defensive war, only that which is entered upon when the assailant is bursting through your doors and levelling the musket at the bosoms of your women and children. Think how a nation may be abridged, may be dismantled of its rights, may be cut down in its liberties, this side of an open attack. The Athenian law punished seduction of female honor more severely than it did force. And the nation, that would adopt it as a maxim to lie by under whatever curtailments of its sovereignty, resolving upon no 'resistance until the actual investment of its soil, might find itself too fatally trenched upon, too exhausted in resources, or too enfeebled in spirit, to rouse itself when the foe was rushing through the gates.
The war-whoop of the Indian had, indeed, been
heard in the habitations of our frontier; and it is impossible to abstain from imputing to the agency of our enemy this horrid species of invasion. Their hand must be in it. For although it may not be directly instigated by their government on the other side of the water, yet past proofs make it to the last degree probable that the intrigues of their sub-agents in the Canadas are instrumental to the wickedness. Nor will a rational mind hesitate to infer, that the same spirit which, froin that quarter at least, could send, for the most nefarious purposes, a polished spy through our cities, would also, varying the form of its iniquity, let loose upon us the hatchet and the scalping knife. Great Britain, indeed, had not declared war against us in form, but she had made it upon us in fact. She had plundered us of our property, she had imprisoned our citizens; nor can any accommodation now erase from our memories, although it may from our public discussions, the bloody memorials of her attack upon the Chesapeake.
Since, fellow-citizens, that through all these motives a war with Britain has been forced upon us, while bcaring up, against whatever of pressure it may bring, with the energy and the hope of our fathers, let us deduce also this of consolation: that it will, more than any thing else, have a tendency to break the sway which that nation is enabled to hold over us. I would address myself on this point to the candid minds of our countrymen, and to all such among them as have bosoms penetrated with a genuine love for our republican systems. We form, probably for the first time in all history, the instance of a nation descended, and politically detached from another, but still keeping up the most intimate connexions with the original and once parent stock. The similarity of our manners and customs; our language being one, and our religion nearly one; the entire identity in individual appearance, and in all things else, which is spread before the American and the English eye; our boundless social intercommunicaVOL V.
tion; the very personal respectability, in so many instances, of those of that nation who, in such numbers, come to this; pecuniary connexions so universal and unlimited; dependent upon her loom, dependent upon her fashions, dependent upon her judicature, dependent upon her drama: reading none but her books, or scarcely any others; taking up her character and actions chiefly at the hands of her own annalists or panegyrists; nothing in fine that comes from that quarter being regarded as foreign, but as well her inhabitants as her modes of life and all her usages, being taken to be as of our own; these complicated similitudes operate like clamps and holdings to bind us insensibly to her sides, yielding to her an easy, an increasing, and an unsuspected ascendency.
It may be said this is an advantageous ascendency; that, as a young people, we may profit of the intimacy, have her arts and her manners copy her many meliorations of existence, eat of her intellectual food and get stamina the more quickly upon its nourishment. But stop Americans! do you not know that this same people are the subjects of an old and luxurious monarchy, with all the corrupt attachments to which it leads; that if not their duty, it is naturally their practice to breathe the praise and inculcate the love of their own forms of polity? Do you not know, that if not the correlative duty, it is, as certainly, their correlative practice, to deal out disapprobation, even contempt for our own, and the habits which alone they should superinduce ? And is there not cause for apprehension that the superiority, which we so easily, often so slavishly, choose to yield her on all other points, that the moral prostration in which we consent to fall before her footstool, may also trench upon the reverence due to our own public institutions, producing results at which all our fears should startle? If, fellow-citizens, our freedom, our republican freedom, which, to make lasting, we should cherish with uninterrupted constancy and the purest love, has a foe more deadly than any other, it is probably this; this is the destroying spirit which can make its way slowly and unperceived, but surely and fatally. If we stood further off, much further off, from Britain, we should still be near enough to derive all that she has valuable, while we should be more safe from the poison of her political touch. Just as, at this day, we can draw upon the repositories of genius and literature among the ancients, while we escape the vices of paganism and the errors of their misleading philosophy. But if Athenian citizens filled our towns; if we spoke their language, wore their dress, took them to our homes; if we kept looking up to them with general imitation and subserviency, the truths of Christianity themselves would be in danger of yielding to the adoration of the false gods!
This war may produce, auspiciously and forever, the effect of throwing us at a safer distance from so contaminating an intimacy, making our liberty thrive more securely, and ourselves more independent-privately and politically. From no other nation are we in danger in the same way; for, with no other nation, have we the same affinities, but, on the contrary, numerous points of repulsion that interpose as our guard. Let us have a shy connexion with them all, for history gives the admonition, that for the last twenty years, every nation of the world that has come too close in friendship with either our present enemy, or her neighbor, the ferocious giant of the land, has lost its liberties, been prostrated, or been ravaged. After the war of our revolution, we were still so much in the feebleness of youth as to take the outstretched hand of Britain, who could establish our industry, shape our occupations, and give them, involuntarily to ourselves, the direction advantageous to her views. But, henceforth, we shall stand upon a pedestal whose base is fixed among ourselves, whence we may proudly look around and afar-from the ocean to the mountains, from the mountains to the farthest west, beholding our fruitful fields, listening to the hammer of our workshops, the cheerful noise of our looms: where the view, on all sides, of native numbers, opulence and skill, will enable us to stamp more at pleasure the future destinies of our happy land. Possibly, also, the sameness of our pursuits in so many things, with Britain, instead of pointing to close connexions with her, as her politicians so steadily hold up, will at length. indicate to the foresight of our own statesmen unalterable reasons to an intercourse more restrained-it may be the elements of a lasting rivalship.
Animated by all the motives which demand and justify this contest, let us advance to it with resolute and high beating hearts, supported by the devotion to our beloved country, which wishes for her triumphs cannot fail to kindle. Dear to us is this beloved country, far dearer than we can express, for all the true blessings that flourish within her bosom; the country of our fathers, the country of our children, the scene of our dearest affections—whose rights and liberties have been consecrated by the blood whose current runs so fresh in our own veins. Who shall touch such a country, and not fire the patriotism and unsheath the swords of us all? No, Americans ! while you reserve your independent privilege of rendering, at all times, your suffrages as you please, let our proud foe be undeceived. Let her, let the world learn, now and forever, that the voice of our nation, when once legitimately expressed, is holy-is imperious! that it is a summons of duty to every citizen; that when we strike at a foreign foe, the sacred bond of country becomes the pledge of a concentrated effort; that in such a cause, and at such a crisis, we feel with but one heart and strike with our whole strength! We are the only nation in the world, fellow-citizens, where the people and the government stand, in all things, identified; where all the acts of the latter are immediately submitted to the superior revision of the former ; where every blow at the general safety becomes the personal concern of each indi