« PreviousContinue »
ing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance?
4. I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men. •And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, sir, in the Sacred Writings, that “ except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it."
5. I firmly believe this; and I also believe, that without his concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel : we shall be divided by our little, partial, local interests ; our projects will be confounded; and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a by-word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.
6. I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers, imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.
EMINENT STATESMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. – Srarks.
[See Rule 1, p. 154.] 1. The acts of the Revolution derive dignity and interest from the character of the actors, and the nature and magni
Babel, a celebrated tower supposed to have stood on the site of ancient Babylon, whose completion was defeated by God's confounding the language of ita builders. The term Babel signifies confusion.
tude of the events. It has been remarked, that in all great political revolutions, men have arisen possessed of extraordinary endowments, adequate to the exigency of the time: and no period has been adorned with examples more illustrious, or more perfectly adapted to the high destiny awaiting them, than that of the American Revolution.
2. Statesmen were at hand, who, if not skilled in the art of governing empires, were thoroughly imbued with the principles of just government, intimately acquainted with the history of former ages, and above all, with the condition, sentiments, and feelings of their countrymen.
3. The eloquence and the internal counsels of the old Congress, were never recorded ; we know them only in their results ; but that assembly, with no other power than that conferred by the suffrages of the people, with no other influence than that of their public virtue and talents, and, without precedent to guide their deliberations, unsupported, even by the arm of law or of ancient usages, - that assembly levied troops, imposed taxes, and, for years, not only retained the confidence and upheld the civil existence of a distracted country, but carried through a perilous war under its most aggravating burdens of sacrifice and suffering.
4. Can we imagine a situation, in which were required higher moral courage, more intelligence and talent, a deeper insight into human nature and the principles of social and political organizations, or, indeed, any of those qualities which constitute greatness of character in a statesman ? See, likewise, that work of wonder, the Confederation, a Union of independent States, constructed in the very heart of a desolating war, but with a beauty and strength, imperfect as it was, of which the ancient leagues of the Amphictyons, *
• Am-phic'ty-ons, a council of deputies from the different States of Greece, to do - "iberate on the common interest of the nation.
the Achæans,* the Lycians, † and the modern confederacies of Germany, Holland, and Switzerland, afford neither exemplar nor parallel.
5. Happy was it for America, happy for the world, that a great name, a guardian genius, presided over her destinies in war, combining more than the virtues of the Roman Fabius and the Theban Epaminondas ; $ and, compared with whom, the conquerors of the world, the Alexanders | and Cæsars, s are but pageants crimsoned with blood, and decked with the trophies of slaughter, -objects equally of the woider and the execration of mankind. The hero of America was the conqueror only of his country's foes, and the hearts of his countrymen. To the one, he was a terror, and in the other, he gained an ascendency, supreme, unrivaled, — the tribute of admiring gratitude, the reward of a nation's love.
'1. Bird of the heavens! whose matchless eye
Alone can front the blaze of day,
Ne'er from the sunlight turns away ;
• A-chæ'ans, ancient people of Achaia, in Greece.
E-pam-i-non'das, a famous Theban general, who defeated the Spartans at the celebrated battle of Leuctra, about 371 B.C.
|| Al-ex-an'der, see note, p. 198.
** Ea'gle, one of the largest species of birds; and, on account of the elevation and rapidity of his flight, and of his great strength, he is called the king of birds. Hence, an eagle with spread wings, is the principal figure in the arms of the United States of America, and a significant emblem of her progressive, national greatness, power, and glory.
Whose ample wing was made to rist
Majestic o'er the loftiest peak,
Around thy nest, in tempests speak;
2. Bird of the cliffs ! thy noble form
Might well be thought almost divine ;
The mountain and the rock are thine.
The earliest tints of dawn are known;
The monarch mount his gorgeous throne,
That half impedes his glorious way,
E'en what he is, - the king of day!
Men shrink, and veil their dazzled eyes ;
Hast kingly rank as well as he;
Thou meet'st the splendor of his blaze.
3. Bird of Columbia ! well art thou
An emblem of our native land;
Among the nations doomed to stand;
Like her own rivers, wandering free;
The joyous shout of liberty!
She stands in unbought majesty,
With spreading wing, untired and strong,
4. The admiration of the earth,
In grand simplicity she stands ;
And she was nursed by rugged bands;
Her rising fame new glory brings;
To seek the shelter of her wings.
Mighty as Rome, - more nobly free! 5. My native land! my native land !
To her my thoughts will fondly turn;
For her the heart with fears will yearn.
Proud eagle of the rocky wild,
By rank, by faction, unbeguiled;
“ Guard it well."