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vidual. Happy people, happy government! will you give up, will you not defend such blessings? We are also perhaps the only genuine republic which, since the days of the ancients, has taken up arms against a foreign foe in defence of its rights and its liberties. Animating thought! warmed with the fire of ancient freedom, may we not expect to see the valor of Thermopylæ and Marathon again displayed? The Congress of eighteen hundred and twelve, here, within these august walls, have proclaimed to the world that other feelings than those of servility, avarice, or fear, pervade the American bosom; that in the hope and purity of youth, we are not debased by the passions of a corrupt old age; that our sensibilities are other than sordid ; that we are ambitious of the dignified port of freemen; that while pacific we know the value of national rights and national justice, and with the spirit, due to our lasting prosperity as a republic, design to repel authenticated outrages upon either. That we will and dare act as becomes a free, an enlightened, and a brave people. Mustrious Congress! worthy to have your names recounted with the illustrious fathers of our revolution ! for what grievances were those that led to the great act which made us a nation, that have not been equalled, shall I say have not been surpassed, by those which moved to your deed ? And what noble hazards did they encounter which you ought not to brave?
If we are not fully prepared for war, let the sublime spectacle be soon exhibited, that a free and a valiant nation, with our numbers, and a just cause, is always a powerful nation; is always ready to defend its essential rights! The Congress of '76 declared Independence and hurled defiance at this same insatiate foe, six and thirty years ago, with an army of seventeen thousand hostile troops just landed upon our shores; and shall we now hesitate? Shall we bow our necks in submission, shall we make an ignominious surrender of our birthright under the plea that we are not pre, pared to defend it ? No, Americans! Yours has been a pacific republic, and therefore has not exhibited military preparation; but it is a free republic, and therefore will it now, as before, soon command battalions, discipline, courage! Could a general of old by only stamping on the earth raise up armies, and shall a whole nation of freemen, at such a time, know not where to look for them? The soldiers of Bunker's hill, the soldiers of Bennington, the soldiers of the Wabash, the seamen of Tripoli contradict it ! .
By one of the surviving patriots of our revolution I have been told, that in the Congress of 1774, among other arguments used to prevent a war, and separation from Great Britain, the danger of having our towns battered down and burnt was zealously urged. The venerable Christopher Gadsden, of South Carolina, rose and replied to it in these memorable words: 66 Our seaport towns, Mr. President, are composed of brick and wood. If they are destroyed, we have clay and timber enough in our country to rebuild them. But, if the liberties of our country are destroyed, where shall we find the materials to replace them?” Be. hold in this an example of virtuous sentiment fit to be imitated.
Indulge me with another illustration of American patriotism, derived from the same source. During the siege at Boston, general Washington consulted Congress upon the propriety of bombarding the town. Mr. Hancock was then President of Congress. After general Washington's letter was read, a solemn silence ensued. This was broken by a member making a motion that the House should resolve itself into a committee of the whole, in order that Mr. Hancock might give his opinion upon the important subject, as he was so deeply interested from having all his estate in Boston. After he left the chair, he addressed the chairman of the committee of the whole in the following words: “ It is true, sir, nearly all the property I have in the world is in houses and other real estate in
the town of Boston; but if the expulsion of the British army from it, and the liberties of our country require their being burnt to ashes, issue the order for that purpose immediately.”
What has ancient or modern story to boast beyond such elevated specimens of public virtue; and what inspiring lessons of duty do they teach to us? War, fellow-citizens, is not the greatest of evils. Long submission to injustice is worse. Peace, a long peace, a peace purchased by mean and inglorious sacrifices, is worse, is far worse. War takes away a life destined by nature to death. It produces chiefly bodily evils. But when ignoble peace robs us of virtue, debases the mind and chills its best feelings, it renders life a living death, and makes us offensive above ground. The evils of ignoble peace are, an inordinate love of money; rage of party spirit; and a willingness to endure even slavery itself, rather than bear pecuniary deprivations or brave manly hazards. The states of Holland and of Italy will be found, at several stages of their history, strikingly to exemplify this remark.
War in a just cause produces patriotism: witness the speech of Gadsden! It produces the most noble disinterestedness where our country is concerned : witness the speech of Hancock! It serves to destroy party spirit, which may become worse than war. In war death is produced without personal hatred; but under the influence of party spirit inflamed by the sordid desires of an inglorious peace, the most malignant passions are generated, and we hate with the spirit of murderers.
Could the departed heroes of the revolution rise from their sleep and behold their descendants hanging contentedly over hoards of money, or casting up British invoices, while so long a list of wrongs still looked them in the face, calling for retribution, what would they say? Would they not hasten back to their tombs, now more welcome than ever, since they would conceal from their view the base conduct of those sons for whom they so gallantly fought, and so gallantly fell? But stop, return, return, illustrious band! stay and behold, stay and applaud what we too are doing ! we will not dishonor your noble achievements, we will defend the inheritance you bequeathed us, we will wipe away all past stains, we will maintain our rights at the sword, or, like you, we will die! Then shall we render our ashes worthy to mingle with yours.
Sacred in our celebrations be this day to the end of time! Revered be the memories of the statesmen and orators whose wisdom led to the act of Independence, and of the gallant soldiers who sealed it with their blood! May the fires of their genius and courage animate and sustain us in our contest, and bring it to a like glorious result! May it be carried on with singleness to the objects that alone summoned us to it; as a great and imperious duty, irksome yet necessary! May there be a willing, a joyful, immolation of all selfish passions on the altar of a common country! May the hearts of our combatants be bold, and, under a propitious heaven, their swords flash victory! May a speedy peace bless us and the passions of war go off, leaving in their place a stronger love of country and of each other! Then may pacific glories, accumulating and beaming from the excitement of the national mind, long be ours; a roused intellect, a spirit of patriotic improvement in whatever can gild the American name; in arts, in literature, in science, in manufactures, in agriculture, in legislation, in morals, in imbuing our admirable forms of polity with still more and more perfection; may these then and long be ours! may common perils and common triumphs bind us more closely together! may the era furnish names to our annals “on whom late time a kindling eye shall turn !" Revered be the dust of those who fall, sweet their memories !--their country vindicated, their duty done,
an honorable renown, the regrets of a nation, the eulogies of friendship, the slow and moving dirges of the camp, the tears of beauty_all, all, will sanctify their doom! Honored be those who outlive the strife of arms! our rights established, justice secured, a haughty foe taught to respect the freemen she had abused and plundered; to survive to such recollections and such a consciousness, is there, can there be, a nobler reward!