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INDEPENDENCE DAY—Rev. L. Parmely.
AN ADDRESS TO AMERICAN YOUTH.
"The Fourth of July, 1776, will be the most remarkable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generatious as the great anniversary festival."
John Adams, in a letter to his wife, July 7th, 1776.
Independence Day! The booming cannon and rattling fire-arms! It is not the wrath of battle; but only echothunders, rolling back upon us from the great war-tempest of 76. Nor are these sounds now mingled with the cries of the wounded and groans of the dying—mournfully terrific, swelling up from the field of blood. The report of guns and voice of artillery that fall on our ears to-day are all mellowed down into notes of enchanting music, and sweetly chime in with the glorious, triumphal anthem of our national jubilee.
Upon the youth of America is conferred the noblest birthright in the whole world. The stars under which you were born beam with brightest promise, and kindle loftiest hope. The principles declared and defended by our forefathers, "amid the confused noise of warriors, and garments rolled i n blood,"—the great principle," that all men were created equal," is the broad and only foundation of true greatness. The warguns of 76 exploded that long venerated theory, that royalty must flow alone through the veins of crowned lineage, and that princes could spring from the loins of kings. While in this land it is not possible for you to inherit a single drop of royal blood, yet in each of your bosoms is implanted the germ of a self-born sovereign. Before you all, without an} miserable and silly distinction of ancestry or estate, is placed the brightest diadem of moral dignity, intellectual greatness, and civil honor. This country is, morally, a "free soil" empire. Here the young man—it matters not whether his nursery was in the gilded palace or in the "low thatched rottage"—has before him the same privileges and inducements. and as wide and free an avenue to glory; and his gray hairs may possess the fresh dew of his country's benediction, and his name be enrolled among earth's true nobility.
But while full and equal encouragement is before you all, without respect of rank or circumstance, still the prize is only
crowned head. The great men of America are intrinsically great—independent of their civil honors, they possess the power of intellectual giants.
And above all, let us remember that religion was the early harbinger, and continues the guardian angel of the American's birthright. The note of religious freedom struck on the rock of Plymouth, and was the grand prelude to the swelling anthem of civil liberty. None surely can doubt that the voice of the Almighty moved on the dark waters of the revolutionary struggle, and that His hand was in that sublime destiny which brought out on the blackest night of oppression the brightest star of empire! And now, the war-storm over, and the battle-thunder ceased, the precious blood of our forefathers that was poured out as a free shower upon the earth—those peerless drops are gathered over us in a bright bow of promise, spanning a continent, and resting on two oceans, attracting a world to " the land of the free and the home of the brave." But the fear of God is the great keystone in this bow of national hope—take away this, and the sunlit arch will vanish into the blackness of a second moral deluge.
THE BATTLE OF THE KEGS.—Feancis Hopkinson.
Iu "Historical Collections of Pennsylvania " we find different accounts of this wonderful battle; one being an extract of a letter dated Philadelphia, Jan. 9, 1778, is as follows: "Sometime last week, a keg of singular construction wai observed floating in the river. The crew of a barge attempting to take it up, it exploded, killed four of the hands, and wounded the rest. On Monday last, some kegs of a similar construction made their appearance. The alarm win Immediately given. Various reports prevailed in the city, filling the royal troops with unspeakable consternation. Hostilities were commenced without much ceremony, and it was surprising to behotd the incessant firing that was poured upon the enemy's kegs, both officers and men exhibited unparalleled skill and prowess on the occasion; whilst the citizens stood gaping, u solemn witnesses of this dreadful scene. In truth, not a chip, stick, or drift-log passed by with•at experiencing the vigor of the British arms. The English commander wai Sir William Howe.
Gallants, attend, and hear a friend
Trill forth harmonious ditty:
In Philadelphia city.
Twas early day, as poets say,
Just when the sun was rising,
And saw a thmg surprising.
As in amaze he stood to Raze,
(The truth can't be denied, sir,)
Come floating down the tide, sir.
A sailor, too, in jerkin blue,
First rubbed his eyes in great surprise,
-" These kegs, I'm told, the rebels hold,
The soldier flew, the sailor too,
Wore out their shoes to spread the news,
Now, up and down, throughout the town,
And some ran here, and others there>
Some fire cried, which some denied,
And girls and boys, with hideous noise,
Sir William he, snug as a flea,
I.ay all this time a snoring;
The land of dreams exploring.
Now, in a fright, he starts upright,
Awaked by such u clatter;
"For God's sake, what's the matter?"
At his bedside he then espied
Upon one foot he had one boot,
"Arise, arise!" Sir Erskine cries}
Without a boat are all afloat,
"The motley crew in vessels new,
Packed up in bags, or wooden kegi,
'Therefore prepare for bloody war—
Or surely we despised shall be,
The royal band now ready stand,
All ranged in dread array, sir, With stomachs stout to see it out,
And make a bloody day, sir.
The cannons roar from shore to shore;
The small-arms loud did rattle: Since wars began, I'm sure no man
E'er saw so strange a battle.
The rebel dales, the rebel vales,
With rebel trees surrounded,
With rebel echoes sounded.
The fish below swam to and fro,
Attacked from every quarter: Why, sure, thought they, the devil's to pay
'Mongst folks above the water.
The kegs, 'tis said, though strongly made
Of rebel staves and hoops, sir,
The conquering British troops, sir.
From morn till night, these men of might
Displayed amazing courage;
Retired to sup their porridge.
A hundred men, with each a pen,
Or more, upon my word, sir,
Their valor to record, sir.
Such feats did they perform that day,
That, years to come, if they get home,