Journal of Dr GFW
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The anxiety of mind this morning I leave to conjecture as I am incapable to describe it; now in a few hours to rise up before a congregation of strangers in a strange country and address on a subject relating to our Independence, before those, too, who have been conversant with the whole transaction during the struggle and since. When you have pledged yourself, it is your duty to act your part to the best of your abilities. One thing alone gave me some relief as it came from one more acquainted with the improvement of our country than I am. It was at the Revered I.C. Jacobson's and this was the first time I ever saw Mrs. Jacobson, and was there expressing some concern as to my performance being satisfactory to any as I was sure it would not be to myself. Oh! Doctor, give yourself no uneasiness about that. There will be few capable of judging of the merit or the demerit. The time of assembling was at two o'clock, which soon arrived, and the people began to assemble at the church in which I delivered the oration to a large collection of people who had assembled to hear what the new Doctor could say.
Believing that I am more indebted to your partiality than any merit of my own, in selecting me from this body of superior talent with which I am surrounded; from those too whose daily avocations prepare them to do that justice to the subject of which I am incapable; and were I forbidden to presume on your kindness and generosity should feel no small degree of embarrassment. Again when I survey this assembly and behold many of those aged patriots standing here, though at that period were not sufficiently advanced in life to take an active part in the struggle, which the day we are met to commemorate gave birth, yet saw and well remember the portentous moment when the Declaration was made, we are "determined to live free or die." It is in attempting to address such men, men who have not only superior information, but have traveled with our country in every step to her present greatness, combining two of the most perfect qualities of human superiority, knowledge, and experience, that I feel as though I had arrogated to myself the honor you have been pleased to confer. Under such circumstances the most experienced would hesitate, and with how much greater reluctance one who is unaccustomed to address a public assembly. Relying, therefore, on your charity I approach with diffidence the task your generosity has imposed.
We have met to celebrate the day that gave birth to all the blessing of freedom we enjoy. We have assembled, not only to commemorate the day but to perpetuate the memory and names of those illustrious patriots who in defiance of all the disheartening superiority and formidable appearance of our country's oppressor, made and proclaimed to the world the declaration you have just heard. How sublime and determined is the Declaration made by our forefathers, "We are determined to live free or die." What can subdue such people/ Not the feeble hand of man; it must be the omnipotent faith of God. It is not merely for our own present gratification that we pay this tribute of respect to the anniversary of our national existence, and those who achieved the glorious work, but is instilled into the bosoms of the rising generations, those pure principles of patriotism which filled the minds of our forefathers and conducted them triumphantly through the arduous and unequal struggle. And as we venerate the glory they acquired the magnitude of the achievement, or the beneficial result, so may our children learn from our examples to catch the same flame of patriotism and from our precepts to venerate the deeds of those who achieved the glorious boon of freedom we now enjoy. And thus in regular succession shall this day be hailed with rapture and commemorated with gratitude to those departed heroes who spilled their blood and sacrificed their lives to free us from the yoke of the Tyrant and foreign oppression. In turning over the pages of history, both ancient and modern, ewe are there presented with the rise and fall of nations once more powerful than our own. All have fallen and nothing remaining but the name. You look back to the period when this country was loaded with oppression; no, you go further back, back to the time when the first settlers of this country were beyond the briny ocean. You now ask, What induced them to leave their native land and to commit themselves to the dangers of a tempestuous sea, to leave a land where civilized life had shed her blessings to encounter the inhospitable wilds of North America? Was it in their own country they enjoyed that equal right and privilege so dear to us all? Was it there that justice overspread her balmy wing and gave equal protection to every individual? Was it there they could speak without fear the true sentiments and firm convictions of the mind on those subjects that legal tribunals should never decide? No, none of these inestimable blessings and privileges were there to be enjoyed. Unjust and unfeeling oppression was the great efficient cause that forced from home, kindred, and country the first settlers of this now happy country.
Oppression! that monster of human invention, that poisoner of happiness, peace, and freedom. It is that cold-blooded assassin which has destroyed the lives of innocent thousands. But, it destroys itself in many instances by its unfeeling exercise of power, which fortunately for us was the case in reference to the colonial situation of this country. Its ultimate termination, contrary to the expectation of the Mother Country, has been productive, a more extensive benefit to a greater number of individuals, and this is the general operation when extended beyond certain lines. It produces in the minds of the oppressed disaffection and dissatisfaction against the power that wields it; and the mind of civilized man will not long endure the degradating submission to the deprivation of his most dear and inalienable rights and privileges. In every community where this is the case, the least opportunity attended, even with but the faint glimmering of hope, is grasped, and put in operation to free themselves from the unjust and degrading grasp of the oppressor. The moment that a prohibition is placed on a community depriving them of privileges that every man should enjoy, that moment you create disquietude and they begin to examine the case and will, at last, become acquainted with it; and if it be within the reach of possibilities they will accomplish it at the price of any sacrifice. When we hear men begin to examine and ask themselves, Are we not born with these privileges? Does the good of the community require a surrender? Are we under any moral or Religious obligation to surrender these rights? And the answer to all these just questions is, No! He will immediately say, Who exercises such authority over me without my consent, and exercises a control which every species of justice unequivocally forbids. Here we see that oppression leads to investigation. It causes men to investigate the principle that ought to govern them. It awakens a spirit of inquiry in every mind that feels its baleful influence, and creates a just and noble ambition in the benevolent bosom of the patriot to seek the best method of restoring to himself and all mankind the right of which they are deprived. It awakens an ambition that will grasp the first opportunity presented to extricate themselves from those unjust grievances, the injustice of which have become insupportable. Is it probable that her, in this Transatlantic region, the first germ of American liberty, began to vegetate and was transplanted and nourished here by the first settlers of this country in a more congenial clime, freed from the shade of despotism it raised its lovely from gradually from beneath the rubbish of Tyranny until it reached the acme of maturity? But as the peaceful tree of Liberty was here flourishing, diffusing her radiant beams of happiness on all, producing smiles of prosperity on every individual; extending her divine blessings to all that sought repose under the refreshing shade. She was sought to be trampled under the foot and hurled from existence. The luminous sparks radiating from the splendor of her form in every direction. The unrelenting hand of Tyranny endeavored to extinguish her. Even in an imperfect state, the colonies were fast increasing in wealth, population, and resources. Arts began to make their appearance and industry caused every department of wealth to flourish and increase with rapidity. Intelligence, ornament of the social compact in all ages, breathing a deleterious odor to the despot, molesting the free respiration of the Tyrant was inhaled by those born on these wide and western shores, and under the combined influence of industry and intelligence, the natural products of freedom, wealth was the consequence. The Mother Country, beholding the Spirit and Enterprise of her Colonies, changed her policy, which she might have seen would result to her disadvantage if carried too far, but happily for us and for all mankind, she was blind to their own interest and regardless of consequences, determined to force her unjust policies in every particular, and continued in these measures until she learned from sad and mortifying experience, that freemen were not to be driven into submission to injustice. This policy was to keep the colonies not only dependent but tributary. They themselves were to monopolize the commerce of the colonies, cripple the manufactures so in every respect render them contributary to the wealth and aggrandizement of the Mother Country, entirely regardless of the rights of the colonies, and diametrically in opposition to the wishes of the colonies themselves. They rigorously followed these unjustifiable measures in proportion to the increase of population and wealth, and a jealous apprehension of the ultimate independence of the colonies excited alarm. Such illiberal measure led to their natural consequences, a separation which resulted in the independence of these United States. Here blind oppression raised her deformed head to breathe her last gasp on the shores of our beloved country. Here she raised the glittering steel, which liberty wrested from her iron grasp and plunged into her own callous heart, never again as I hope to be withdrawn to spill one drop of blood on these happy, peaceful shores of America. Our country, luxuriant in almost every variety of climate, soil, and production, within whose circumference lofty mountains and majestic rivers abound, is no less prolific in the modulation of men whose steadfast minds were not to be daunted in the hour of danger or intimidated at the threats of the Tyrant. Men on whose heads the garland of virtue, uncontaminated, ever shone, and in whose minds Liberty was interwoven and so strongly entwined that no power on earth could tear them from the place where nature had planted them. They had tasted the balm of liberty and inhaled the atmosphere of freedom, purified in a degree from the contaminating respiration of despotic power. They saw the beneficial result arising from this source and could not, no nor should not suffer it to be wrested from them without making a manly and determined resistance to any power that might have the audacity to molest the fountain of that placid and salubrious stream of whose pure water they had drunk. Such men and such minds were growing while the colonies were yet subject to the laws of the Mother Country and that country regardless of justice and humanity, instead of endeavoring to advance the prosperity and respectability of the colonies, loaded them with grievances, imposed on her colloquial subjects, burdens which the patriotic feelings of her sons could not endure. They besought them with paternal respect to remit the severity of injustice, but all in vain; deaf to every solicitation and determined to force obedience. The dearest rights of man were implicated and translated by the oppressor. Two alternatives alone remained and one must be taken, either to submit to the degrading, unjust requisition of the British Parliament and wear the galling chains of slavery, and be subject to the capricious whims of Tyranny; or make the manly, bold and daring declaration of independence. They chose the latter.
Looking around they saw home, kindred, and country involved in ruin, freedom, justice, and liberty, forever lost if they yielded in submission. The idea of home and country and strongly implanted in our nature and cannot easily be eradicated, they cling to every individual with incredible tenacity. Home and country are ever dear to us all, and it is with the greatest reluctance we forgo their pleasures. This induces the natives to adhere to the wilderness, rather than enjoy the pleasures and advantages of civilization. It is this that induces the inhabitants of Siberia to wander amid fields of perpetual snow, and to undergo almost every deprivation rather than enjoy the influence of a more congenial clime. It is these strong feelings which bind the slave to his master so firmly that the pains of severe torture cannot drive him from the door. The martyr who dies in the most excruciating agony is filled with these principles; exultingly he expires to prove that justice in a good cause will never yield. They are principles and feelings that should fill every man's bosom, the band of union in all communities, and the power and strength of every country. Let us cherish them.
It was such feelings and sentiments that inspired the small states of Athens and Lacedaemon in ancient times to meet and defeat the formidable army of Persia and save from destruction a land, a home more dear than life itself and called forth this noble true and manly expression, that no “Country was worth acceptance unless won by virtue.” This was the principle that moved the arm of Leoninus and freed the bosom of the Spartan phalanx at the Straits of Thermophylea to bid defiance to millions of Heroes (?). Here stood this little band of heroes invulnerable to every assault determined never to admit a foreign and hostile enemy to devastate their country unless that enemy passed over their lifeless forms, all for the sake of home and country, justice and freedom. How glorious, how transcendentally great and good are such deeds of valor. Do they fill the mind of every true American? Do you, my dear countrymen, not feel on this day as though your life would be freely given to preserve your home and country if assailed by a foreign foe? Me-thinks I see the spirit of seventy-six beam from the orb of the aged patriot and sparkle in the eye of the youth, and while we retain these principles in their purity, our beloved country is safe. Such sentiments spread their rays through almost every bosom in the British colonies, and as combustion is produced by severe friction, so oppression at last burst into a flame which warmed the mind of the patriot, and prepared the inhabitants to shake off the yoke of British degradation. The harmonious and lovely sound... FREEDOM, LIBERTY, and JUSTICE... was heard and reverberated from one extremity of the colonies to the other, her voice and charms were eagerly caught by the sons of America. They called on every man who held sacred home and country to arise and gird on the armor of destruction and make one manly and determined effort to repel the unjust aggression before stretching out the hand in submission, to receive the degrading manacles of tyrannical oppression. It was this spirit which animated the departed sages of seventy-six as they raised the standard of liberty and for the support of which they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and sacred honor. The Star-Spangled Banner of American independence was raised by men determined to live free or die fluttering in the salubrious air of freedom. And the landmark of liberty, served as a rallying for those heroes who gloriously fought and died in its defense. Joined in one common tie of kindred and country, no discouragement daunt their courage or induce them to abandon the pledge they had made. Led by a Washington, at the recital of whose name every individual must feel the ecstatic throb of patriotism thrill through his breast, conducted by such a man they could, destitute of shoes and warm apparel, ascend the rugged hills amid frost and snow to meet the invader and drive the oppressor from their country. I need not recite to you the battle of Bunker Hill or refer you to the plains of Lexington, where the principle of freedom contested the regular discipline of Tyranny with more than Spartan valor or Athenian courage; no, your minds have visited every place where the standard of liberty gained the laurels of victory or opposed the daring arm of the despot. Reading the eventful history of this date, who can withhold the just tribute of veneration for men who for seven long years withstood the disciplined assault of the most powerful nation and maintained unshaken fidelity to the Declaration, we are determined to live free or die, we have appealed to God for the justness of our cause, and pledged our lives, our fortunes, and sacred honors, never, no never to abandon the claims of humanity and the glorious standard of liberty and independence until death has swept us to the silent tomb. Who stands as the guardian of such men and foremost in the sacred pledge? Fellow citizens, it is your beloved and justly admired Washington, a name dear to every American and every philanthropist in the whole world. Where is there a bosom so insensible, so callous, that he does not feel the patriotic thrill emulate his feeling, creating raptures of ecstasy at the mere recital of the name of Washington? And is there a youth within the bounds of our country who does not feel in his pliant bosom the flame of patriotism kindle and glow with emulation, determined to follow the same just and glorious path as did our venerated and departed Washington? If our country should ever again be called on to drive a foreign and hostile foe from our shores and never let the garland of liberty be tarnished which our ancestors bequeathed to us as the rich legacy of their valor from which we now reap the great harvest of Peace and pleasure. Again, when we read the history of the revolution and see the inducements which led to the Declaration of Independence, and the aggravated causes during that period operation on every humane and benevolent feeling, we do not wonder that our forefathers continued this firm and unshaken in their determination never to lay down their arms until their country was free. We behold in the records of the day that perpetration of deeds the cruelty and injustice of which have not a parallel in the annals of the civilized world. At the very idea the mind recoils with indignant horror from the barbarous scene of bloody cruelty, and just indignation is tenaciously held against that power which was and could be accessory to these base and barbarous deeds. We see and almost yet hear the groans and shrieks of the innocent victims falling a sacrifice to savage cruelty. Behold, the savage hordes of Indians instigated and set on like bloodhounds on innocent lambs, by rewards from the Mother Country butchering innocent, defenseless inhabitants, infants snatched and torn from the tender and fond bosom of a kind mother whose angelic soul is frantic and beats in the sweetest agony at the fate of her darling child. See the merciless tomahawk of still more unfeeling savage cruelty inflich the mortal fatal blows on the naked head; see the crimson current, how pure and warm trickles down the lifeless child and the fond mother still clinging and fondly embracing her expiring child, falls by the same instrument, yet warm and glittering in gore, lifeless at the feet of the murderer. Who of us would have hesitated or would not hesitate even for one moment to pledge our lives, our fortunes, and sacred honor to hurl indignantly from our shores and enemy perpetuating such monstrous cruely? Every one would rise with undaunted courage and never lay down the weapons of defense until your country was freed and innocence reposed on the basis of peace. You would rally round the standard of liberty as did those departed heroes whose glorious deeds and unprecedented valor erected on the ruins of Tyranny and oppression, freedom and independence. It is to commemorate the achievements of these departed sages that we have this day met, and join with thousands of our countrymen who now surround the festive board and show to the world that we are not unmindful of those patriots who applied their blood in defending the inalienable rights of men the fruits of which we ourselves are now reaping in peace. Though their spirits are now departed and have been wafted on Angelic wings to the pure regions of endless felicity and there to receive the just reward of him to whom they appealed for the justness of their cause. They are not forgotten. No! Far be it from every American bosom to forget the deeds of our Ancestors. No! When the cold marmorean monuments, that now stand erected as mementos of their valor, shall have been crumbled to dust and scattered to the four winds of Heaven, by the destroying hand of time, the glorious and immortal deeds of the departed heroes of seventy-six will be chaunted with acclamations of joy and burn fresh in the memory of millions yet unborn. Yes, my countrymen, while liberty has her votaries and freedom finds an advocate the achievements of the American Sages and the Declaration of Independence will never be forgotten. May time roll her wheels in vain to sink in the dark gulf of forgetfulness or oblivion the name of Washington; so long as the seasons return in regular succession and the earth continued her diurnal revolution or the glorious luminary of day remains suspended in the vault of Heaven, may the name, principle, and virtue of Washington live to inspire the bosom of the patriot.
Having now viewed the progress of the revolution in the most disastrous and discouraging period, and seen the firm unconquerable integrity of our forefathers, we now behold the clouds that for a long time hung over and darkened our political horizon, beginning to give way and the oriental beams of a more pure and brighter light illuminate the western world and a prospect of peace begins to cheer the mind, the deliverers of their country are hailed with gratitude, and in congratulation even at the prospect, pure and rapturous streams burst from every heart. The bold Eagle of American Independence has curbed the roaring Lion of England and bears triumphant the laurels of history. In contemplating the sages of our country at this period, I know not to which belong the greatest tribute of praise, their heroic valor in arms or the magnitude and wisdom of their councils. Both stand conspicuous and unprecedented on the page of history. Though we were now acknowledged free and independent, and the enemy had abandoned our country, there were yet difficulties to encounter in forming a political union that should confer an equal burden on all, and stand as a fixed basis on which the infant Republic could rest in security. To perform this required the most pure patriotism and consummate wisdom, to establish the principle of the sacred compact on which depended the permanency of the victory we had just gained and none were more likely to give general satisfaction and none better calculated to do it than those who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and sacred honor to secure the privileges they now enjoyed. Here, Washington, ever great and magnanimous, laid at the feet of the proper tribunal, the Laurel wreaths that clothed him, authority and despotic chains severed by his own valiant sword. The regulation here adopted laid the foundation of our present prosperity.
A half century has now passed into the ocean of eternity since the light of liberty has illuminated these United States, and the union formed at this time directed us to our present elevated standing. No nation can boast of more rapid progress in every art and science calculated to adorn the mind or ameliorate the condition of society. Industry, the characteristic of our countrymen, has leveled the rude forests and its stead large and extensive fields spread their civilized grandeur. Places once the resort of Savage barbarity are now teeming with civilized inhabitants, and looking on every side, we see flowing the pure perennial spring of domestic pleasure. Our internal improvements astonish the European world. Our manufactories improving and increasing every day, equaling in many respects those of the Mother Country. Large and commer9cial cities line the western shore of the Atlantic, opening their ports to every Nation. American canvas whitens every sea bringing wealth and the productions of every clime for our enjoyment. The energy of the sons of freedom is not paralyzed or their courage daunted by any danger. But the brightest and most valuable gem that ornaments our country is the extensive dissemination of education among every class of the community, both rich and poor, in many portions of our country receive the benefit, education. And where I asked, in what the permanency and strength of the United States? I would not refer the inquirer to the large and populous cities to be found in every part of the Union, to the extent of our canals, to the magnitude of our manufactories, to fortified ports that defend our extensive sea coast, or to the number of vessels that sail the wide ocean. In the first place, I would conduct him to our common school, where our children receive the first rudiments of education, when the elements of liberty are early instilled into the young and pliant mind, when infusion are made the most desirable and the intellectual faculties expand as bodily vigor increases. From these direct him to our Academies, raised in a great number of our where a more extensive view of our policy is obtained and the minds of our youth become enamored with and initiated into the spirit of liberty and independence, all growing and increasing in beauty and loveliness, in exact proportion, to his advancement to manhood. From these we would examine our higher literary institutions, where could be seen our sons diligently following the paths of every department of science. Republicanism and liberal principles are here disseminated and take an unshaken place in the effection, and can never be eradicated. Here the mind is free and not chained down by the cords of superstition or awed by the power of the despot. It is as free as the air we breathe, at perfect liberty to investigate every subject and to express freely at any time and place the honest conviction of the mind arising from such investigation. Nor would I stop here, he should accompany me to the legislative halls of our country and the bar where eternal justice is weighted and equally distributed for all. He would find here no privileged order seeking favors at the expense of the poor. At the judicial tribunals of our country he would hear the thunders of Columbian eloquence in pleading the cause of justice and innocence; he would here find men full of the eloquence of liberty that would stand a comparison with either Grecian or Roman greatness; he would here see the energy of Demosthenes hearing all abstractions, and the sweet loveliness of virtue and black deformity of vice, each depicted in appropriate colors, and held in the clear sunshine of reason, or behold the Ciceroes of American elocution, like the mild zephyrs of spring bearing truth smoothly down the placid stream of true philosophy and sophistry stand mute at the bar of justice. These are the secrets of our greatness and union. These are the cords that bind us together. We all participate in the affairs of state because we are free and govern ourselves.
Early taught the value of liberty, and that its duration depends on ourselves and that if one is unjustly enslaved we all feel the degradation, and stake our lives for his liberty, thus we all feel as one family and as Brother. In youth we imbibe the sentiments of humanity and despise oppression, we hold all mankind as enemies in war, in peace friends, it is the dissemination of such ideas and the extent of education, through the great mass of our population that forms the rock of American liberty; here all are acquainted with the policy of our government, every man should understand the principles of legislation; equality thus united and informed we stand firm and unmoved as the rock of the ocean, against which the waves beat in vain, and if we are true to ourselves and just to posterity we may sit and see the political waves of empires and kingdoms beat with all their fury and topple to the ground, while we remain unmoved and undisturbed.
Light and knowledge have always been the dread of despotic tyranny – and the life of liberty – our constant endeavor should be to free the mind from moral darkness which will add as bright a luster to American Independence as did the extraordinary achievements of our patriots in freeing us from British oppression. The bondage of mind is the most degrading and humiliating kind of Slavery, and where this is the case that country is not sufficiently emancipated. Religious intolerance and despotic government are entirely incompatible with liberty of mind, the former are sure to curb the free exercise of intellect and this important fact did not escape the vigilant eye of those who declared, that all men by nature were equal, possessing a perfect right, in matters of opinion, to follow that course in worship which to them appeared just and acceptable. And under our free institutions, no subject is deemed by law to osacred for investigation. And we see by this wise provision, that despotism is mortally wounded by the arrows of civil and religious liberty, fleeing in agony back to the place from whence she came. It is education under the enjoyment of this freedom that has raised our country to her present standing, and this will form the capstone of our political edifice, whose sure foundation and unyielding structure will forever reflect the sunlight of truth and freedom. If then education forms the foundation, the very basis on which our political superstructure must stand, if our union, strength, respectability, patriotism, and liberty stand on it, it is a subject of the first and greatest importance, and should be nourished, supported, and strongly cherished by every individual in the community. No extent of wealth can, with propriety, be compared to it. No laurel gained by victory so unfaining. No monument so imperishable, and free republican government can long stand without it. It is the light of liberty and landmark of independence. If then we are actuated by proper motives in all our national improvements and endeavor to enlighten all, the great mass of our population, we can with propriety and forever exclaim, as an eminent barrister of Europe did, “Oh! Happy proud America! The riches of earth could not seduce your patriotisms and the lightnings from heaven were your playthings” - or vary the declamation of the Roman Orator, Oh liberty, sound delightful to every American ear, now sacred and so shall forever remain.
The spirit of liberty and independence did not repose in lethargic slumber after we took our stand among the nations of the earth, but with electric rapidity she spread far and wide her lovely form, the shining light she carried in one hand and the almost resistless power she wielded in the other threatened for a while the destruction of despotism. The power she wielded in the other threatened for a while the destruction of despotism. The monarchs beheld her lovely form and were mortified at their own deformity and trembled with fear. And the diamonds of kinds were reputed playthings, such was the power of her influence after it was known what she had done for us. She now revisits her ancient dwelling place, from which she had long wandered, to find a spot whereon to repose. Here she found that despotism had devastated all the lovely features of that country over which once she presided as guardian, that country once the depository of arts and science, and sunk down to the shades of ignorance. A place once the nursery of eloquence, and at one period so elevated that a whole nation would grasp the arm of defense at the declamation of the soul-touching orator. Liberty's sacred flame began to warm the minds of the oppressed inhabitants and the spirits of those heroes, who died on the plains of Marathon and those that bled at the Straits of Thermopylea, rose and animated the minds of the Grecians calling on all, that were descendants from such illustrious ancestors, no longer to submit, to be made slaves, and wear the chains of bondage but declare that no country is worth possessing unless won by virtue. Shake off the yoke of Turkish bondage, and usurpation and declare for freedom. Again from here she to the western hemisphere and awakens the patriot in South America. The light of liberty now flashes over the Southern world. The inhabitants can no longer endure the severity of Spanish bondage; the intelligence of liberty has penetrated the
hiding place of ignorance, the charm of freedom awakens the mind, justice holds the scale equipoised, her patriots light the torch and oppression is sacrificed at the alter of liberty, and with reluctance yields up her power at the bar of public opinion. The heroes of our country, the patriots of seventy-six, set the example, that other nations might follow the same just path. And we, their descendants, have proved that freedom and justice go hand in hand. Our country is now respected by every civilized nation, all people here find protection and an asylum from oppression.
My fellow countrymen and young companions, it now devolves on us to support the dignity and character of our country, those who have borne it down to us and still with tottering limbs give it support at the present moment, must ere long be laid in the silent tomb, they deliver it into our hands pure and unsullied, its laurels are not faded, they glow with the freshness of vernal beaut. Let us then receive them with a firm determination to follow the same road which our ancestors have marked out. Let us be guided in filling every department by real genuine Republican Merit, and forever hold sacred freedom and justice. Let us march on with the same steady progress in every beneficial improvement so that when we have to resign the station we now occupy, to the generation which will follow, we can do it with pleasure and as pure and free as we received it. And if our horizon becomes darkened with the prospects of war, and we are called upon to defend its rights, let us go forth in the bonds of union and rally round the standard of liberty, determine to live free or die; pledge our lives, our fortunes, and sacred honors, to defend our country and home. And then shall the Declaration of Independence, the achievements of our departed heroes, stand unshaken by the revolutions of time, and forever remain inscribed in the archives of American liberty. If we thus proceed, our country will outshine all that have ever preceded it. Justice and freedom shal stand on the imperishable basis of independence, until the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and nature full as the baseless vision of day, and the whole would dissolve in undistinguished ruin.
Geo. F. Wilson