페이지 이미지

ted, that brings to the dwelling of every citizen, all the blessings of civil society, and makes it dear to man. Little has the private citizen to do with the other branches of government. What to him are the great and splendid events that aggrandize a few eminent men and make a figure in history? His domestic happiness is not less real because it will not be recorded for posterity: but this happiness is his no longer than courts of justice protect it. It is true, injuries cannot always be prevented; but while the fountains of justice are pure, the sufferer is sure of a recompense.

Contemplate the intermediate horrors and final despotism, that must result from mutual deeds of vengeance, when there is no longer an impartial judiciary, to which contending parties may appeal, with full confidence that principles will be respected. Fearful must be the interval of anarchy; fierce the alternate pangs of rage and terror; till one party shall destroy the other, and a gloomy despotism terminate the struggles of conflicting faction. Again, I beseech you to abjure your prejudices. In the language once addressed from Heaven to the Hebrew prophet, "Put off your shoes for the ground on which you stand is holy." You are the open friends, the devoted worshippers of civil liberty; will you violate her sanctuary? Will you profane her temple of justice? Will you commit sacrilege while you kneel at her altar?

Section II.


It is the opinion of many, that self-love is the grand impelling spring in the human machine. This sentiment is either utterly false, or the principle, as displayed in some actions, becomes so exceedingly refined, as to merit a much more engaging name. For D d

if the man, who weeps in secret for the miseries of others and privately tenders relief; who sacrifices his ease, his property, his health, his reputation, and even his life, to save his country, be actuated by self love ; it is a principle inferior only to that, which prompted the Saviour of the world to die for man; and is but another name for perfect disinterestedness.

Patriotism, whether we reflect upon the benevolence which gives it birth, the magnitude of its object, the happy effect which it produces, or the height to which it exalts the human character, by the glorious actions of which it is the cause, must be considered as the noblest of all the social virtues. The patriot is influenced by love for his fellow men, and an ardent desire to preserve sacred and inviolate their natural rights. His philanthropic views, not onfined to the small circle of his private friends, are so extensive, as to embrace the liberty and happiness of a whole nation.That he may be instrumental under heaven to maintain and secure these invaluable blessings to his country, he devotes his wealth, his fame, his life, his all; glorious sacrifice! what more noble !

To the honour of humanity, the histories of almost every age and nation are replete with examples of this elevated character. Every period of the world has afforded its heroes and patriots: men who could soar above the narrow views and grovelling principles, which actuate so great a part of the human species, and drown every selfish consideration in the love of their country. But we need not advert to the annals of other ages and nations, as the history of our own country points with so much pleasure, veneration, and gratitude, to the illustrious WASHINGTON. Before him the heroes of antiquity, shorn of their beams, like stars before the rising sun, hide their heads with shame. Uniting in his own character, the courage and enterprising spirit of Hannibal, the prudent wisdom of Fabius, the disinterestedness of Cincinnatus, and the virtues and military talents of the Scipios, he could not fail to succeed in the glorious undertaking

of giving liberty and happiness to a people who dared to be free. Whilst he lived, he proved a rich blessing to his country, a bright example to the dawning patriotism of the old world, the terror of despotisin, and the delight and admiration of all mankind.

Section III.


Had it pleased God to continue to me the hopes of succession, I should have been, according to my mediocrity, and the mediocrity of the age I live in, a sort of founder of a family; I should have left a son, who, in all the points in which personal merit can be viewed, in science, in erudition, in genius, in taste, in honour, in generosity, in humanity, in every liberal sentiment, and every liberal accomplishment, would not have shewn himself inferior to the duke of Bedford, or to any of those whom he traces in his line. His grace very soon would have wanted all plausibility in his attack upon that provision which belonged more to mine than to me. He would soon have supplied every deficiency, and symmetrized every disproportion. It would not have been for that successor to resort to any stagnant wasting reservoir of merit in me, or in any ancestry. He had in himself a salient, living spring, of generous and manly action. Every day he lived he would have re-purchased the bounty of the crown, and ten times more, if ten times more he had received. He was made a public creature; and had no enjoyment whatever, but in the performance of some duty. At this exigent moment, the loss of a finished man is not easily supplied.

But a Disposer whose power we are little able to resist, and whose wisdom it behoves us not at all to dispute; has ordained it in another manner, and

(whatever my querulous weakness might suggest) a far better. The storm has gone over me; and I lie like one of those old oaks which the late hurricane has scattered about me. I am stripped of all my honours ; I am torn up by the roots, and lie prostrate on the earth! There, and prostrate there, I most unfeignedly recognize the divine justice, and in some degree submit to it. But while I humble myself before God, I do not know that it is forbidden to repel the attacks of unjust and inconsiderate men. The patience of Job is proverbial. After some of the convulsive struggles of our irritable nature, he submitted himself, and repented in dust and ashes. But even so, I do not find him blamed for reprehending, and with a considerable degree of verbal asperity, those ill-natured neighbours of his, who visited his dunghill to read moral, political, and economical lectures on his inisery. I am alone, I have none to meet my enemies in the gate. Indeed, my lord, I greatly deceive myself, if in this hard season I would give a peck of refuse wheat for all that is called fame and honour in this world. This is the appetite but of a few. It is a luxury; it is a privilege; it is an indulgence for those who are at their ease. But we are all of us made to shun disgrace, as we are made to shrink from pain, and poverty, and disease. It is an instinct; and under the direction of reason, instinct is always in the right. I lived in an inverted order. They who ought to have succeeded me are gone before me. They who should have been to me as posterity, are in the place of ancestors. I owe to the dearest relation (which ever must subsist in memory) that act of piety which he would have performed to me; I owe it to him to shew that he was not descended, as the Duke of Bedford would have it, from an unworthy parent.

Section IV.


It has often given me pleasure to observe, that independent America was not composed of detached and distant territories, but that one connected, fertile, wide-spreading country, was the portion of our western sons of liberty. Providence has in a particular manner blessed it with a variety of soils and productions, and watered it with innumerable streams, for the delight and accommodation of its inhabitants. A succession of navigable waters form a kind of chain round its borders, as if to bind it together; while the most noble rivers in the world, running at convenient distances, present them with highways for the easy communication of friendly aids, and the mutual transportation and exchange of their various commodities.

With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice, that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people; a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs; and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side, throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established their general liberty and independence.

This country and this people seem to have been made for each other; and it appears as if it was the design of Providence, that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren, united to each. other by the strongest ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties. Similar sentiments have hitherto prevailed among all orders and denominations of men among us. all general purposes, we have uniformly been one peo


« 이전계속 »