DELIVERED AT CAMBRIDGE
IN THE HEARING
OF THE UNIVERSITY
APRIL 8, 1810.
BY DAVID OSGOOD, D.D.
PASTOR OF THE CHURCH IN MEDFORD.
PUBLISHED BY WILLIAM HILLIARD.
E. W. Metcalf, Printer.
This document was scanned from an original printing.
The text of this and other superb works are available on-line from:
The Willison Politics and Philosophy Resource Center
Reprint and digital file September 28, 2002.
To aid the reader, we have retained the original page numbers in brackets as shown here: [ 3 ]
This Discourse by David Osgood, D.D., is a work par-excellance by a master orator in the best New-England tradition. Dr. Osgood was regarded as one of the finest in this field by many of his contemporaries, and the printed version of his address even carries this across to the reader. One can almost feel the passion to his cause which Dr. Osgood projected nearly 200 years ago!
Dr. Osgood herein examines Napoleon's aggressions in Europe, and his intended destruction of England. To that end, he charges Jefferson and his friends with fostering that objective in our national government's policies. This
Work of Osgood is of immense value in understanding the underlying motives of those in power, and how they agitate the populace into riots and insurrections for the pernicious cause. The concepts are just as valid today. Clearly, Osgood's warning of Britain's potential to do the infant U.S. real harm here, via their Military was prophetic, to say the least!, and fulfilled in some measure in 1812.
David Osgood earned a degree from Harvard, (1771), and was awarded a Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.) from Yale in 1797.
The Following begins the original text:
Harvard University, April 9, 1810.
PURSUANT to a vote of the students of the University, we have the honour to express to you the high satisfaction with which they yesterday heard your impressive and valuable discourse; and, in their name, to request the favour of a copy for publication.
Accept, Sir, the assurances of our high respect and esteem.
GEORGE MOREY, Committee
JOHN A. HAVEN,
Rev. Dr. . OsGOOD.
II SAMUEL xv. 6.
—So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
WHEN we think of the character of David, the wisdom and rectitude of his government and the unexampled happiness and prosperity of his subjects during his reign; the success of Absalom in exciting so general a revolt and drawing over to the side of rebellion, so vast a majority of the people, is an event seemingly unaccountable. From his early youth David had shown himself the first of heroes and the first of patriots. His splendid achievements during the reign of Saul, had spread his fame throughout the nation: All Israel and Judah loved him. After a long series of the severest trials, by the suffrages of the whole nation, as well as by the appointment of God, he was made king over all the tribes. Being thus invested with the government, he speedily freed the nation from every foreign yoke, and amply avenged every hostile aggression. He never lost a battle, nor failed of success in any expedition. His arms were constantly and every where triumphant. He humbled and subdued, not the Philistines only, but, the Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites, Syrians, and all the former enemies of Israel. His subjects saw all the neighbouring nations who had hitherto so often oppressed them and, at all times, had been thorns in their sides, now made tributaries to them. The wealth of the adjacent countries centered in the land of Israel.
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In the civil administration of his government, David fed the people in the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skilfulness of his hand. Being just, he ruled in the fear of God; and the beneficial influences of his administration were as the light of the morning when the sun is rising; and his people flourished under them like the tender grass springing up under the warm showers of heaven. He adored the divine constitution of his country, and regulated its affairs with a scrupulous conformity to its institutions. His heart glowed with the love of God and of his law; and he so arranged the forms of public worship as to give them all the beauty of holiness. No people before or since, were ever more prosperous and happy, than the Israelites were at the very time when they conspired with an impious son, to depose and murder the best of kings and the most indulgent of fathers.
The text assures us that this change in their affections, was not occasioned by any motives of reason, any considerations which honor or honesty, which wisdom or goodness could approve. Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel—as a thief acts against all the rules of truth and justice, so, by the vilest intrigues, lies, and flatteries, Absalom attached to himself, the hearts of the people. So Absalom stole, refers to the preceding description of these his wicked arts of deception. The history insinuates that his success was facilitated by the engaging comeliness of his person and its exterior graces, his form being so perfect that, from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head, there was no blemish in him. In the choice of a king among the ancient Ethiopians, "the face availed much," says Lucretius. Many in every nation, are liable to be prepossessed by a beautiful outside. Even the
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prophet Samuel, when he looked on Eliab, said, surely the Lord’s anointed is before him. Undoubtedly Absalom’s beauty, aided by his polished manners and masterly address, had its influence among the less discerning part of the people.
Having attracted general admiration and become extremely popular, in concert with Ahitophel, the Machiavel of the age, he secretly resolved upon his nefarious design; and in its prosecution, left no arts of seduction unattempted. For a long time, it was his practice to rise early every morning, and throwing himself in the way of all those who, from any of the tribes, had any business at, court, or any controversy depending upon regal decision, he accosted each individual with the most condescending affability, entered into familiar conversation with them, inquired from what city or tribe they came? then remarking upon their business, lamented that he was not authorized to hear their cause, and implicitly censured his father’s government as negligent of the public good in withholding from the people the rich services which he would be glad to render them in the capacity of judge. As often as any person noticed him, or made obeisance to him; immediately he took that man by the hand, embraced and kissed him. On this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: and so, by these methods, lie stole their hearts.
His success is a melancholy proof of the strange infatuation and blindness to which men are liable with respect to the things pertaining to their present temporal peace and prosperity: It shows that the majority of a nation, even of a nation professing the true religion, are liable to be so inveigled, deluded and biassed by artful
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designing men as to be brought, not only to desert, but to turn against, their truest friends and benefactors; withdrawing from them their confidence and placing it in the most unprincipled and profligate characters; and at the hazard of their lives, supporting such characters in a long continued series of crimes, crimes tending, not only to their own reproach, but to their misery and ruin.
After the Israelites had made up their minds upon the politics of the day, and respectively chosen their sides; we may easily conceive the bitterness and virulence which the two parties, the continued adherents to David and the followers of Absalom, felt and expressed the one towards the other. Of these indeed we have a specimen in the slanders, imprecations and curses which Shimei poured forth upon David to his face, in the hearing of all his friends. Come out, come out, thou bloody man, thou man of Belial: The Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul in whose stead thou hart reigned and hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and behold, thou art taken in thy mischief because thou art a bloody man. In this strain, we may suppose, all the orators and emissaries of Absalom at every club-meeting in every city throughout the tribes, declaimed against David, depreciating all his virtues and good deeds and at the same time, equally aggravating and emblazoning every mistake, infirmity or defect either in his private character or in his administration of the government. To these slanders David alludes in the Psalms which he composed upon this occasion, in which he complains, that their tongues were drawn swords—that the poison of asps was under their lips, and that they heaped iniquity upon him.
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In this abuse of him, all his known friends came in for their share. Those ministers of religion and those men of understanding and judgment, of fixed principles and steady habits, all the Barzillais throughout the country, who still retained their loyalty, were stigmatized as tories, friends to an arbitrary and unjust government, to a cruel and bloody tyranny, the supporters of a wicked usurper, of an old vile adulterer and the atrocious murderer of the brave Uriah. Thousands and thousands listened with the most eager attention to the enchanting and captivating eloquence displayed upon these topics; and had their passions worked up to phrenzy against the adherents to such a monster of wickedness.—Undoubtedly the partisans of David retaliated in their turn, and were not sparing in applying to their adversaries, the appellations of rebels, traitors, parricides, miscreants, unprincipled disorganizers, seditious disturbers of the public peace, and the mad destroyers of their country.—Thus the two parties went on mutually reviling and abusing each other till the sword, drawn by brother against brother, father against son and son against father, decided the contest in the slaughter of twenty thousand of their brethren in one day—all occasioned by the restless ambition of one man. We are not to suppose that all David’s adherents were men of piety, nor that the followers of Absalom, were all equally wicked with himself. The text implies the contrary; their hearts being stolen by him, imports their having been misled and deceived by his flattery and guile.
My hearers, you already anticipate the application of these things to the present state of our own country and nation; and perhaps some of you may think that a
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minister of religion had better forbear touching upon topics with reference to which different parties have so deep and quick a sensibility. This is the common language of the dominant party at the present day; but the time was, when the public voice highly applauded the clergy of the country for their noble exertions in its political concerns. Their influence was universally acknowledged and extolled in bringing about that revolution by which our independence and liberties were obtained. Why are they now desired to be silent? The reason is obvious. It is known that the character of the present national rulers and the measures which they have adopted, are disapproved by the great body of the clergy throughout the United States. Such men would never have been entrusted with the government and such measures would never have been adopted, could the voice of the clergy have been heard. The prophets of the Lord throughout the laud of Israel, with Nathan and Gad at their head; and the priests and Levites, with the high priests, Zadock and Abiathar at their head, were not more firmly attached to the government of David and more fully opposed to the usurpation and rebellion of Absalom, than the clergy of this country are attached to the character and principles of Washington and opposed to those of Jefferson and his adherents. In the opinion of the clergy, the former bore the image, all the principal features of the man after God’s own heart, while the latter was deemed capable of all the guile and dishonesty of an Absalom.
As the ministers of religion are known thus to differ from the abettors and supporters of the present rulers, they are desired to abstain from all political discussions
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in the pulpit. But should not they who are thus earnest to impose silence upon their teachers, reflect whether there be not something suspicious in this their desire ? It is essential to an honest and good heart, always to hold itself open to the evidence of truth from whatever quarter it may be offered; while it is the nature of prejudice and of every ill bias, to hate, at first sight, the appearance of opposition. Have not their religious teachers as much at stake as themselves, as great an interest in the public weal? Is it possible for them, to prefer one set of rulers to another from any other motive but a conviction of their being better men or better qualified to serve the Public? As men of information and learning, the clergy may be supposed to possess advantages superior to the generality of their parishioners, for forming a correct judgment of public characters and of public affairs. The leaders of parties have often a private interest distinct from that of the public, to promote; but the clergy can have no such interest. Thus circumstanced, might it not be naturally expected that their people would wish to be informed of their judgment upon these complex yet interesting concerns? To whom can the farmer, the mechanic, or the tradesman apply for information with so much confidence as to his minister? I remember the time when this was generally practised, and the opinion of the clergy, to a great degree, guided that of their people. If for some years past, it has ceased, has it not been for the same reason that it ceased among the Israelites after Absalom had stolen their hearts? Infatuated and blinded by the spirit of party, by the flattery, guile and falsehood of artful, interested and designing politicians, men give themselves up exclusively to the passions and prejudices thus produced.
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In such a state of things however, whether men hear or whether they forbear, the faithful minister of the gospel feels himself under an obligation superior to that of any human authority, to testify against all unrighteousness in government, as well as in other concerns; and against wicked rulers, as well as against wicked subjects. The word of God obliges him to cry aloud and not spare, lifting up his voice like a trumpet, against the crying sins of the land; and calling upon all ranks of men to forsake their false and evil ways and reform whatever has been amiss in their politics, as well as in every other part of their conduct. Their political faults and follies, more frequently perhaps than any others, have been the immediate cause of prejudice to religion, as well as of detriment to their own civil interests. Had the Israelites hearkened to their prophets and priests, had they possessed knowledge and virtue sufficient to resist the cunning and subtilty of Ahitophel, the flattery and guile of Absalom; what direful calamities might they have escaped!—To my apprehension, similar calamities, but probably of much longer continuance, are now hanging over our country, brought on precisely by the same arts which originated Absalom’s rebellion. We are hurrying on in a career apparently leading to the same conclusion. Does it not become us as rational reflecting beings, as men, and much more, as christians, to pause, and seriously and solemnly inquire whether we are right, whether we may not be under some wrong bias, whether there may not be a lie in our right hand!
Could men be persuaded to such a dispassionate inquiry, there would be room for hope; but when a party spirit has once taken possession of their hearts, from that
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moment, their ears are stopped against all the impressions of truth, of reason, and of argument.
Nothing which the friends of David could say had the least effect upon the partisans of Absalom.
In vain were they told that David was the Lord’s anointed, and to rebel against him, was to rebel
against God. The power of God can overcome the prejudices of men, but his authority avails
nothing against them. Be the divine commands what they may, prejudice always interprets
them in favor of itself. The followers of Absalom were confident that Jehovah was on their side.
His name was boldly introduced as sanctioning all their proceedings, even the very curses of
Shimiei. No arguments will gain the attention of men greatly prejudiced. When St. Paul
apologized for himself at Jerusalem, the assembly, says the historian, gave him audience unto
this word; meaning a word which bore directly upon their prejudices. When instantly lifting up
their voices, they exclaimed, Away with such a fellow from the earth; for it is not fit that he
should live. After the same manner they also treated the martyr Stephen— crying out and
stopping their ears.
The nature of prejudice is the same in all ages and upon every subject, political, as well as religious; and they who are most under its influence, are least sensible of it, and wholly unaware of the absurd lengths to which they may be drawn. Many persons who, during Washington’s administration, joined in censuring his measures, explicitly approbate them now ; but they still confide in the very men by whom they were then deceived. Is it not wonderful that they are not sensible of the inconsistency—that they do not blush to remember the many ludicrous follies into which they have been betrayed by their
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artful leaders? Amidst the universal clamour which these leaders had the address to excite against Mr. Jay’s treaty with Britain, how many of our country towns exposed their ignorance and folly by publishing strictures and resolves upon that subject? In some places, the matter was carried to a much greater extravagance. In one of the counties of the state of New York, nearly a whole congregation of professed christians became so agitated that they committed great disturbances. They paraded the streets, burned Mr. Jay in effigy, and erected liberty-poles with a French red cap on their tops and absurd devices on their bottoms; which liberty-poles, a few months since, were still standing. the monuments of the knavery and wickedness of the men who are now our national rulers. Those honest christians who were worked up to such a phrenzy, knew no more about treaties than they did about Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia ; but the Absaloms and Ahitophels of the day, who were then attempting to dethrone Washington, had stolen their hearts and their understandings. On a Lord’s day during these their riotous proceedings, their minister read for their edification, the thirteenth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, the seven first verses of which are so many precepts enjoining civil order and government. A great proportion of the congregation grew very angry; and the chapter being read, they declared, "THE NEW TESTAMENT WAS WRITTEN ONLY FOR SLAVES UNDER A MONARCHY, AND WAS NEVER INTENDED FOR INDEPENDENT REPUBLICANS. "—Thus the word of God itself is renounced by professed believers when it stands in the way of their party-prejudices and passions.
What then shall be done? When we see and know
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that our friends and fellow-citizens, deluded and blinded by the sophistry and guile of wicked Absaloms, are hurrying on in the career to ruin, and are carrying ourselves along with them; are we to be silent? are we to forbear every attempt to open their eyes and disabuse them ?— My hearers, I enter upon this attempt with the feelings of one going upon a forlorn hope. God is my witness that I would not upon any consideration, willingly or unnecessarily wound the feelings of, or give offence to, an individual in this assembly. My aim is to address you in the words of truth and soberness. If a single assertion should escape me which is not true, I pledge myself on conviction, to recall it as publicly as it may be made. Will you not then give me your candid hearing while I open to you what appears to me the true state of our national affairs ?
The cloud which now darkens our horizon, began to appear at the period when the first embassador from the French republic, unfortunately reached our shores. As the object of his mission was, to unite this nation with his own in war against England; the men who are now our rulers, were well disposed to comply with his wishes, Immediately French emissaries spread themselves from one extremity of the continent to the other, many newspapers were engaged to aid their cause, and many partisans in all the states, especially in the southern ones, appeared clamouring for war. So great was their influence in congress, that one of its members, in a letter dated more than sixteen years ago, expressed himself to this effect, "I shall congratulate my country if we can get through the session without a declaration of war." The wise and upright Washington issued his proclamation of
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neutrality; but for some time, it remained doubtful whether he would be able to support it against the influence of the war-party.
The leaders of that party have never lost sight of their object. Before they reached the helm of state, their influence was constantly and uniformly exerted in favor of France against England. Washington made a treaty with the latter, in consequence of which a vast property was restored to our citizens, and the commercial prosperity of the country through the course of more than ten years, continued rising to an height before unexampled. Yet this treaty, so unspeakably advantageous to the country, brought upon Washington and Jay, the utmost venom of slander and abuse from the men now in power. Such was their influence then in congress that, for a long time, no act of the legislature could be obtained making provision for carrying the treaty into effect. It was, at last, obtained by the petitions and remonstrances of the merchants in our great cities.
At the period when this treaty expired, the sun of our country’s glory had sitten, Washington was no more. His insidious and malignant opponents had burst the doors of public confidence and seated themselves at the head of our affairs. The commerce of the country and its immense advantages from a good understanding with England, were matters of no consideration with them. The British cabinet offered to renew the treaty, but they spurned the proposal. The philosophical Jefferson had a variety of experiments which he wished to try, the projects of his own fruitful invention; dry-docks, gunboats, non-importation acts, embargoes, non-intercourse laws, torpedoes, with, I know not, how many other contrivances
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for bringing down the spirit of the nation to a temperament suitable to the views of those who now guided their counsels. In the pursuit of these projects, the commerce of the country has been destroyed, its infant navy reduced and neglected, its prosperity blasted, its wealth dissipated, its treasury, what was not first plundered by the creatures of administration, wholly exhausted; the spirits of parties inflamed and sharpened against each other, and foreign war provoked by a continued series of insults against the only power which has hitherto stood between us and the great ravager of the human race.
Amidst these experiments, permission was, at length, given to our envoys at London, to negotiate a treaty upon conditions which their instructers had little reason to expect would be conceded. By a change in the British ministry remarkably favorable to this country, those conditions were essentially obtained. Mr. Jefferson was disappointed. In that treaty he saw the derangement of his favorite schemes, and, what affected him still more, the loss of the friendship of France. Bonaparte had just.decreed the destruction of the British commerce, and imperiously demanded the aid of America. Jefferson’s heart was with him, but this new treaty stood in his way. What should he do ? The constitution required the treaty to be laid before the Senate of the United States. The president knew that if submitted to them, it would certainly be sanctioned. Thus situated, would any man whose heart was not that of an Absalom, of a desperado, have taken upon himself, in contempt of the constitution, the responsibility of rejecting and indignantly sending back, a treaty so essential to the peace and prosperity of his country? Would he have thus put to hazard, the
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immense property of his fellow-citizens at that moment floating upon the ocean, a tempting prey to more than a thousand British cruisers?
But this was the desired opportunity for Jefferson’s experiments. Of course, they were put in immediate operation; but as they consisted in a most flagrant violation, not of the federal constitution only, but of those first principles which unite men in society, and were a stretch of despotism unparalleled and unexampled in the history of the world; no circumstance attending them, occasioned to my mind more gloomy apprehensions, than to see my fellow-citizens so humbled and lost to a sense of their civil rights, the rules of morality, and the laws of God as to be capable of yielding their necks one moment to such horrible impositions. Their infatuation upon this subject, exceeded in absurdity, the stupidity of the Israelites in suffering their hearts to be stolen by Absalom. The utter futility of those experiments to answer their pretended purposes, had been demonstrated by their opponents both in and out of congress with a light clear as the noon-tide sun; yet the whole party shut their eyes against this light, and one of our great men, whose influence in favor of the embargo-laws, had more weight than that of any other individual in New England, said to me; doubting of their efficacy, "I know they will be effectual." This he repeated in the same peremptory tone over and over again.—Notwithstanding this high confidence, after they had been in force eight months, our minister at Paris, wrote to his employers, "That in France the embargo was not felt and in England forgotten." By our wise rulers however, it was continued ten months longer to the gratification and applause of the French government.
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the increased profit of British commerce, and the distress of our own citizens. At last, it was given up by its very authors and abettors; but were they ashamed of their sin and folly? No; they were not ashamed: They immediately had recourse to other experiments of the same general nature; and to this day, their theory is not exhausted; they have still further projects in contemplation.
But, as a preacher of righteousness, authorized by the word of God, I announce to them, that from what they have done already, a load of guilt and a long train of evils both natural and moral, have been produced which will one day, whatever may be their present insensibility and stupefaction, gnaw their souls to the quick and pierce their very joints and marrow. Besides the misery and mischief to the multitudes immediately oppressed; in the sight of that Being whose eyes are every where beholding the evil and the good, many persons, either in evading or executing the embargo-laws were, from first to last, slaughtered; divers murders and perjuries were committed, innumerable false oaths taken, crimes of blackest dye perpetrated, and scenes of violence and guilt acted along the whole extent of our frontier, as well as in every port and harbour on the coast. All these atrocious enormities are still crying to Heaven for vengeance upon those evil counsels and unrighteous decrees which, in their effects, were so many snares of hell for the consciences and souls of men. Hardened infidels may sneer at these denunciations, but though men may mock, God is not mocked. In the issue of things, it will be found that, as there is a reward for the righteous, so a strange punishment is in reserve for the workers
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of iniquity. The heaviest woes hang over those who decree unrighteous decrees—and attempt to establish a city or a government by iniquity.
0 that I were made judge in the land! was among the arts of Absalom. The same insidious arts covered the march of our present rulers to the helm of State. Nothing answered their purpose better, than reproaches against their predecessors for their want of economy, for the enormous salaries which they had appropriated to themselves, and for their general profusion of the people’s money. Upon this string all the newspapers devoted to their interest, were constantly playing. In a letter to a citizen during Washington’s administration, Mr. Jefferson expressed his dread of the patronage of the Executive, "because it enlisted on his side all those whom he could interest, and doomed the laboring citizens to toil and sweat for useless pageantry."
With such professions previously made, he and his coadjutors gained possession of the public chest. What has been their economy? During the eight years preceding his administration, the average appropriation for the civil list, annually fell short of half a million of dollars. During the same term of his and Madison’s administration, it exceeded the double of that sum. Mr. Hamilton whose labors and talents originated the whole system of revenue, received a salary of thirty five hundred dollars. His present successor in the same office, receives five thousand dollars.—It is well known that all the subordinate officers in the government were displaced by Mr. Jefferson to make room for his friends, the true republicans, as they are called, men of economy who are willing to straiten themselves to spare the mouth
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of labor. Among these republicans, General Wilkinson makes a most conspicuous figure. The expenses of this man’s table for the space of about four months only, cost the United States six thousand six hundred nineteen dollars. When I read the particulars of this and his other accounts in the public papers, I could not conceive, that such charges would be allowed. Extravagant as they were, they were paid by Mr. Jefferson’s order in violation of the law. Is the suspicion unfounded that he feared to provoke Wilkinson, lest he should betray secrets prejudicial to the party? Among the capable and honest republicans introduced by Jefferson to places of public trust, one at New Orleans has lately absconded with one hundred thousand dollars of the public money; another at the Eastward, with thirty thousand;
A secretary of state, an attorney-general, a collector of our first sea-port, and a clerk of the house of representatives are on the list of defaulters." A report of the comptroller of the treasury brings in Mr. Jefferson’s officers delinquent to the amount of half a million of dollars, exclusive of the defalcations during the three last years, as yet unknown. Besides these absolute losses, the sums are immense and incalculable which Mr. Jefferson’s experiments have cost the country. I know not how many millions were expended in building and equipping his fleet of one hundred and three gun-boats which, when finished, he himself acknowledged to be useless. Was there ever before, under the name of defence, so cruel a mockery practised upon any people ?— In short, Mr. Jefferson, throughout his administration, treated the people as though they were less than children, more easily deceived and destitute of all intellect. In
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his very last message to congress he affected to be at a loss how to dispose of the surplusage of revenue, and to solicit advice whether it should be laid out in roads, canals, &c—when he knew that, in consequence of his measures, the wheels of government must stop within a twelve month unless there should be a loan of four millions of dollars. Such shameless effrontery is hardly paralleled in the history of tyrants.—Mr. John Randolph, a Virginia member of congress and formerly a zealous friend of the late President, has become so thoroughly convinced of his dishonesty that, in one of his publications, after observing that he returned from his mission to France "in dress, taste, politics, philosophy, and religion, a finished Frenchman"—he goes on to compare him in his messages to congress and public documents, to the insidious and dark minded Tiberius, and says of him, "that he died politically with a lie in his mouth."
My brethren, when the people of these United States, chose this man for their chief ruler, I did at the time and do still, firmly believe that they sinned against Heaven in a grievous and aggravated manner. By that sin they have brought upon themselves the displeasure of Almighty God, the effects of which they are now suffering, being given up to eat of the fruit of their own ways, and to be filled with their own devices, their public counsels being turned into foolishness, their transgressions made to correct them, and their backslidings to reprove them.
We call ourselves a Christian nation. God has distinguished us from many other nations by giving us the inestimable treasure of his word to direct us in all our conduct, and especially in our political concerns. This word enjoins it upon us, in the choice of rulers, to give
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our suffrages for such and such only as fear Him, men of truth, as well as of ability, eminent for religion and probity, as well as for knowledge and wisdom. These commands are, not only abundantly repeated both in the Old Testament and in the New, but are illustrated in many striking examples of good and bad statesmen and rulers, of Davids and Absaloms, of Samuels and Ahitophels, of Gideons and Abimelechs throughout the whole inspired history. This nation, when their religious teachers set before them the revealed will of God upon this subject, and admonished them not to act in contradiction to their christian principles and profession—this nation turned a deaf ear, declared against being priest-ridden, imposed silence upon their pastors at the peril of being deserted by their flocks and turned out of their livings: The answer was," whether he believe in one God or in twenty, whether he be a believer or a deist, the friend of Jesus Christ or of Thomas Paine ;—it is sufficient for us that he is a true republican, and for that reason, the man of our choice." The sentence of Heaven was passed up on them: Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone. The Lord gave them their request; but sent leanness into their souls.
Many people seem to think that though a man should not be a believer in christianity, he may notwithstanding be a man of good morals and a wise and good ruler ;— there having been many such among the ancient Greeks and Romans before the publication of christianity. But they who thus argue, forget that there is a wide difference between deists in a pagan, and deists in a christian, country. Pagan deists upon whom the light of revelation never shone, were never guilty of bating and rejecting this
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divine light. For this reason, they may be supposed to retain a much deeper sense of moral obligation, than those men who have apostatized from the gospel. The latter, though professing belief in God, are practical atheists. Robespierre, as also Thomas Paine, professed belief in a supreme Being; but they were both practical atheists. They left their supreme Being to slumber in supine apathy and indifference, while they pursued the career, the one of his passions, the other of his appetites, insensible of and careless about all future consequences. I do not say that all deists are equally unrestrained in vice with these two most profligate characters. Many, no doubt, are held back by natural affection, by a sense of decency, by public opinion, by a regard to reputation, and by other similar considerations; but not by principle, not by any deep governing sense of their accountableness to God. Never in my life did I meet with a deist who appeared in his actions or conversation, to be influenced by a reverential awe of God; nor do I imagine such an one to be found in all christendom. The seed of the gospel never falls upon an honest and good heart without being received and taking root. Its light never shines upon those whose deeds are not evil, without being welcomed as pleasant and delightful. But those men whose minds, after being enlightened by education and science, are yet so blinded by their passions and lusts as to hate the light of revelation, are never in their practice afterwards guided by the light of nature and reason. Divine providence suffers this inferior light to be extinguished in those who wilfully reject the superior and greater light of revelation. Such men are usually given over to a reprobate mind and seared conscience. As temptations
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occur, they often go from bad to worse till they become desperate in wickedness. Hence it comes to pass that such men in christian countries, are often guilty of crimes not named among the heathens, more vile and atrocious than those of pagan idolaters. It may be doubted whether the crimes of the latter, of all the pagan nations over the whole earth during the lapse of ages, have equalled in magnitude and horror, those of the infidel French since the commencement of their revolutionary career.
But to go on with our political discussion. I remember to have read in the Monthly Reviews of London during Washington’s administration, a panegyric upon his strict and scrupulous observance of the rules of neutrality; but by this neutrality he drew upon himself, the displeasure of Jefferson, Giles, Madison, and their whole party. Jefferson said of him, "that he was attached to the whore of England ;" Giles* publicly abused him on the floor of congress; and Madison exerted all his abilities in the national councils, to defeat his neutrality by a law making a discrimination in favor of France against England. The spirit of this proposed law consisted in rendering the United States tributary to France by compelling them against
* Giles, I mention this man because his influence in congress for some years past, seems to have been irresistible, and originated the most, if not all, those measures which have brought reproach, as well as distress, upon the nation. These fruits are agreeable to the nature of the tree producing them. Fifteen years ago, a highly respectable senator from this commonwealth, gave me a character of this man which is but confirmed by a late Virginia publication, representing him in heart and head as the counterpart of Ahitophel; totally destitute of honor and principle, capable of the blackest perfidy; " with the mention of whose name," says the writer, "nothing could induce me to stain my paper or pollute my lips, but the power which he seems to have acquired of being hurtful to my country." What are we to expect from a national legislature under the influence of such a leader?
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their interest and to a great loss of profit, to trade with her rather than with England. Thus evidently did Mr. Madison then, prefer the interest of France, not only to that of England, but to that of his own country; and so shameless was he in this partiality that he openly avowed it in these words: "What must be the feelings of France, between whom and the United States the most friendly relations exist, when she sees not only the balance of trade against her, but that what is obtained from her, flows into the coffers of one of her most jealous rivals." It was in the year 1794 when Mr. Madison thus spoke of the most friendly relations subsisting between France and the United States. At that very time, all the agents and engines of French influence were in full operation to revolutionize this country and overthrow the government of Washington. So general was their success that we stood tottering on the verge of a rebellion altogether as absurd and criminal as was that of Absalom. Thus circumstanced, is it conceivable that Mr. Madison would have made such a speech had he not enlisted himself among the prime agents for France? Is he not the same man still? What proofs have we to the contrary? Did he not uniformly oppose all the precautions of his own government against France up to the very time when he himself became a member of the administration?
How he has conducted since, I will endeavour briefly to state, so far as my knowledge extends. Previous to this period, in a manner the most provoking and outrageous, France had plundered an immense property from our merchants, no part of which was ever restored. Bonaparte had usurped the government of that country and had the direction of its affairs at the time when the last
[ 25 ]
treaty was negotiated. It has since appeared that he had no other view in forming it but to gain the opportunity of yet further plunder by alluring our property within his grasp. When seventeen millions of dollars, according to the statement of our embassador, had thus at unawares, fallen within his reach, he suddenly seized upon the whole. Spurning the obligations of the most solemn treaties, he issued his Berlin, Milan, and Bayonne decress—decrees whose nature outrages every principle of humanity, as well as of reason and morality; and for capricious ferocity and cruelty, are unequalled and unexampled in the annals of despotism itself. These decrees are rigidly carried into execution upon our citizens. All the power of France and her allies is uninterruptedly employed in depredations upon our property and commerce, in capturing, plundering and burning our ships ; and throwing their crews into prison. Hundreds of our seamen are now lingering and perishing in the gaols of France. The humble, meek and submissive remonstrances of our embassador, are unnoticed and unanswered, or answered only with haughty contemptuous reflections upon our country, insults upon our government and menaces against us for not taking an active part in the war against England. Bonaparte has declared to the world, that there shall be no neutrals. To the Portuguese embassador he said explicitly, "I will trample under foot all the principles of neutrality;" and so he has in his whole conduct towards this country.
In what manner and with what spirit our rulers have resisted these aggressions and insults, we have but a partial and imperfect knowledge, because they have not dared to let us see any thing more than some scattered detached fragments of their correspondence with France. From these fragments we can only learn that they have
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expressed their concern, at her high tone towards us lest it should prove prejudicial to the
French interest and lessen the number of their friends. Speaking of the French decrees, Mr.
Madison seems to regret them as casting "a cloud over the amity between the two countries ;"
and directs our embassador to ask for some "explanations," which may serve to soften the spirits
of the people here, but at the same time, cautions him to use his "disretion "in so asking as not to
My hearers, if you mistake the timidity, meanness, servility and abject submission of dependents and slaves for the gospel virtues of humility and meekness; you may rank our national rulers among the most exemplary saints, who, being smitten on the one cheek, turn the other also; and being robbed of their coat, surrender their cloak also. But real saints are always consistent and show the same good temper towards all parties. Let us then, look upon the other side. Have they shown the same meekness in their language and conduct towards Great Britain? To her they have said in a questionable case, "The United States cannot for a moment submit to such infractions of their rights." Had this language been held towards France, we should have escaped all controversy with Britain. While Mr. Madison affects to see nothing in the French decrees but an empty cloud passing over "the amity between the two countries," he says of the British orders, "that they violated our rights, stabbed our interests, and superadded a blow at our national independence, and a mockery of our understanding." The submission of our rulers to the decrees of France for a whole twelvemonth, at last compelled the British cabinet in their own defence, to issue those orders of which Mr. Madison speaks in such spirited terms.
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Not again to mention Mr. Jefferson’s haughty rejection of a treaty framed by his own commissioners, and in their judgment, essentially conformable to his instructions; did our rulers show their pacific temper in that unaccommodating, sullen and morose behaviour towards the British naval officers which provoked their unwarranted attack upon our frigate? Had the same facility in recovering deserters, been afforded to the British which was never denied to the French; that attack and all its subsequent evils would have been avoided. Did the meekness of our rulers appear in the immediate vengeance inflicted upon the British government while that government was as yet totally ignorant and guiltless of the wrong done by its servants? Did it appear in their refusal to cease that vengeance as the condition of receiving proffered compensation; and in their insolent rejection of a special and extraordinary envoy sent on purpose to make us all reasonable satisfaction? Did it appear in the irritating and provoking language used in the arrangement with Mr. Erskine ?—language in itself a sufficient and justifying reason for any independent government, sensible of its own dignity, to disown and set aside, an arrangement carrying on its very face such insulting rudeness. Did their meek and pacific temper appear in their treatment of the successor of Mr. Erskine ?—in their first forbidding him to speak in their presence? and in their refusing afterward to receive any communication from him whatever either verbal or written, on account of a pretended offence in his writing, which offence no eyes but their own can discern ?—What a glaring contrast do these particulars in the words and actions of our rulers, form to their tame and submissive tone towards France under injuries in comparably greater and more aggravated?
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While a war with England is thus perseveringly provoked, our rulers well know that it is in her power to do us more harm in one month, than we can receive in an age from France—the trident of the ocean continuing, with its present possessor. We can account for their conduct upon no other principle but this, that they have persuaded themselves that England is now making her last expiring efforts, and must soon fall and be lost in the general wreck and rubbish of the other governments of Europe. Under this persuasion, they wax bold in venting their long cherished hatred of England; and think it good policy to placate the conqueror by crouching at his feet. At an interview with the minister of Austria preceding the last war with that power, Bonaparte made this declaration—" I have sworn the destruction of England and I will accomplish it." Mr. Jefferson has always doubted of the word of God; but as a proof of his full faith in the word of Bonaparte, on the eighteenth day of December 1807 he said in a public company, that BRITAIN WOULD CEASE TO BE A NATION IN LESS THAN TWO YEARS. In such positive language men are not accustomed to predict events unpleasant to their feelings. Instead of contemplating the accomplishment of this prediction with the horror which all wise and good men must feel at the bare apprehension of it; Mr. Jefferson, his cabinet, and whole party at the southward, seem to have anticipated it with joy and exultation. It has been often reported that the victories of Bonaparte are celebrated at Washington with as much eclat as at Paris. You would not doubt of the truth of these reports, were you to read the government paper printed in that city. In all countries, the paper under the patronage of the chief rulers, is supposed to echo their sentiments, feelings and views
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I therefore ask your attention to the following extract from such a paper printed at Washington: "Austria is annihilated, forever subjugated beneath the dominion of France. We sincerely rejoice, not only because she dared to oppose France; but because she is now, and long has been, an ally of Britain, by whose speedy destruction alone can the world find repose, and the United States in particular gain wealth and power. Britain, the grand corrupter of the world, the common robber,, the tyrant of the ocean, the dastardly plunderer of defenceless nations ;— Britain, whose speedy and inevitable destruction is now laid open to the arms of the sagacious conqueror; of Napoleon, who has always treated these United States with the most perfect friendliness and magnanimity." You will mark these last words, " the most perfect friendliness and magnanimity !" The whole needs no comment, and cannot be more explicit. But are these the sentiments and feelings of a neutral government? In adulation of the tyrant and in hostility against the English, they never were nor can be exceeded in any publication at Paris. Will it still be said that there is no French influence, no partiality for France at Washington?
My brethren, as we are republicans, and at this juncture, the only republican people in the world; does it not belong to our character, might it not be expected from us rather than from any other country, that we should exert ourselves in the cause of general liberty by sympathizing with oppressed communities, by pleading the rights of suffering humanity, by declaiming against all unjust wars undertaken by ambition, or by a thirst for plunder; and by bearing our indignant testimony against every act of ruffian violence, every form of arbitrary power, every invasion of the rights of independent nations? If partiality
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is to be shown upon any side, should it not be on the sick of the cases now described?
Permit me to bring before you the case of the Spanish patriots. You are sensible that all the forces of their country and all its revenues were at the devotion of France from the year 1795 to the year 1808. Whatever France asked, Spain readily gave: No matter of complaint or controversy subsisted. The one commanded—the other submissively obeyed.—All this did not satisfy the ruler of France. He coveted the Spanish throne for one of his family, and the treasures hoarded in their churches and in the coffers of their nobility, to be distributed among his myrmidons. For the attainment of these objects, this bold, cunning, unrelenting conqueror planned the subjugation and pillage of Spain. His intriguers, as so many pioneers, were sent forward to prepare the way; or rather, they were already upon the ground. For they are planted in every country, our own not excepted. "Inaccessible as we are at this moment to any other mode of aggression, this engine of subjection is urged against us with redoubled force and adroitness. These agents never loiter in the discharge of their functions, or sleep upon their watch. No means or instruments, however contemptible in appearance, are neglected in the prosecution of their plans."
In Spain they spread themselves every where and mingled with all the grades of society, putting their various and complicated arts and wiles in operation; at one time, flattering promises; at another, ambiguous threatenings; alternately advancing or retreating, as circumstances seemed to require; now coming forward with bare faced unblushing falsehoods; and anon, using open violence. "Like the lion hunters of old, Bonaparte drew his
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victims on in the course which he had prepared for them, by cajoling and by irritation; by soothing their appetites and exciting their spirits, till at last, by trick and by open violence, the royal beasts were driven into his toils, and placed completely at the disposal of their stern and artful pursuer." In the mean while he had, under various pretexts and the most specious delusions, introduced his legions into the heart of the country—its own soldiers having been previously withdrawn into foreign and far distant regions. Thus he gained peaceable possession of the strong holds, fortified cities, docks, arsenals, magazines, and all the treasures of the country. Having completely laid the snare, finished the plot in all its parts, he threw off the mask and openly avowed his perfidy.
The whole nation awoke as from a dream, thunderstruck and astonished. They rent the heavens with their cries. Fury and despair prompted them to fight even without arms. They proclaimed their wrongs to the universe. They called upon every people and nation for aid. They even crossed the Atlantic and, knowing that these United States had once been in similar circumstances Of distress, they came knocking at our doors, crying for help against their most insidious, cruel and ferocious oppressor.—In what manner did our government receive them? Blush, 0 ye heavens, at the tale! So powerful, not to say, infernal, is the French influence among us, that our true republicans, so far from sympathizing with this oppressed people, seemed rather to congratulate the success of their invader, and turning a deaf ear to the cries of his victims, frowned upon their agonizing efforts. All honorable men wished the nation to express some sense of their injuries, some feeling for their sufferings; but when they addressed the chief magistrate upon the subject, Mr. Jefferson
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"coldly and barbarously replied, that THE CONTEST IN SPAIN WAS A MERE STRUGGLE FOR POWER. Thus placing upon equal ground the generous exertions of a free people to throw off the yoke of a foreign tyrant, and the most shameful example of perfidy and unprincipled force which the world had ever witnessed."
But, my hearers, for a more full disclosure of the sentiments and feelings of Our cabinet towards the British nation, as well as towards the Spanish patriots, I must ask your attention to another extract from their paper, written, not improbably, by some or other of themselves: It is thus addressed to us all : " Citizens of the United States, free and independent, virtuous and enlightened republicans, be not deceived; listen not to accounts from England, the grand arsenal in which lies are forged for universal diffusion over the whole earth, respecting Spain: the cowardly Spaniards are bribed by that whore of Babylon, England, who has made all the nations of the world drunk with her abominations, her fasts, her blasphemies, her murders, her piracies, her impieties, her cowardly monopolies; the base, fraudulent Spaniards, I say, are bribed by England to resist the powerful domination of the mighty Napoleon, whose whole life and actions have been directed to ameliorate the condition of suffering humanity, to break the fetters of feudal despotism, and to enable the natural energies of man once more to walk abroad, and to render perfect in happiness the whole federal commonwealth of nations."
"But the vagabond banditti, Spaniards, corrupted by the gold and the false promises of Britain, resist in vain; Napoleon by the chastening corrective of war, will soon subdue the whole peninsula, and purify its every corner by the presence of his numerous and invincible
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legions. Then will he quickly turn upon the British Isles, and with one irresistible invasion annihilate their existence forever, and scatter all their inhabitants as outcasts and vagabonds.—Britain is now destined to immediate and richly merited vengeance and extermination."
"Is there an honest democrat—is there one real, genuine, pure republican, whose bosom does not beat high with exultation at the unparalleled successes of France, and the approaching inevitable destruction of the whole British nation ?"
My hearers, till I met with this publication, I could not have conceived that there was any corner of the civilized world where such sentiments would have been broached. That they should have been written by republicans—that they should have issued from a city bearing the name of Washington, a name associated with whatever is honest, just, true, humane, liberal, generous, noble, virtuous and praise-worthy—is a most melancholy proof that beings more malignant and infernal inhabit that city now, than were those who dwelt in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah of old. If Jefferson, Giles, and company—if the true republicans of Virginia and the southern states, be men of such sentiments and affections; I have much charity for those bearing the same name in New England, as fully to believe that, did they know the real character of these their southern brethren, they would detest them as heartily as did the late Hon. Fisher Ames, who knew them well.
As a proof that the practice of these true republicans at the southward, corresponds with their principles, I will bring to your recollection a notorious fact published, not perhaps in the Independent Chronicle and Patriot of Boston, but in all the federal papers, the truth of which fact I
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have however learnt from a source still more authentic. During the course of the last year a poor man at Baltimore, said upon some occasion, "that he hoped Bonaparte would never be able to conquer and enslave England." This being heard the honest democrats of that city, they collected about him, stript him naked, covered him with tar and feathers, and tore out one of his eyes. Eight of these rioters were afterward indicted ."During their trial, the mob surrounded the Court house, and threatened to murder the lawyers, judges and jury, if their brother patriots were not immediately acquitted.—The prisoners however were found guilty, and condemned to pay a paltry fine, and be imprisoned a few months." Mr. Wright, the governor of that State, a gentleman who has heretofore been distinguished in Congress for his true republicanism—in conformity to the example of his admired friend Mr. Jefferson, in pardoning a man convicted of forgery, reversing the sentence of the law against Callender and remitting to him his fine after it had become the property of the nation, and in arbitrarily and illegally stopping the prosecution ordered by the Senate of the United States against the infamous Duane ;—Governor Wright, treading in these steps of President Jefferson, pardoned those eight jacobin butchers, remitting their fines and discharging them from prison, that they might continue their useful operations in the cause of liberty. This motive for his conduct he openly avowed and published in the newspapers, observing, " That he did not, in the present critical state of the world, deem it expedient to check the generous enthusiasm of the people of Maryland in favor of liberty."—You will observe that the liberty here meant by Governor Wright, consists in wishing that France may conquer and enslave England.
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Thus neutral are our rulers, thus impartial towards the belligerents, thus free from all French influence!
Conquer and enslave England! What can these maniacs, not to call them fiends, mean by thus breathing the spirit of the ravager of Europe? In one of those quotations from the cabinet paper at Washington just recited, you may remember, were these words, "by whose speedy destruction alone (meaning that of Britain) can these United States gain wealth and power." Do our true republicans then, expect to share with the conqueror, the plunder of that kingdom? Aaron Burr who, a few years since was, in their esteem, the second best man in the United States, now a wanderer in Europe and not unlikely to fall into the ranks of Bonaparte; should he be in at the death of the British lion, may perhaps obtain his part in the spoil; but for the rest of Bonaparte’s friends at Washington, whatever promises he may have made them, the probability is that, in those promises they will realize Gallic faith. Seriously their expectations upon this score, cannot be very sanguine. We must search deeper for their motives.
The British are a great mercantile nation. Above all the other occupations and pursuits of
men, a great and extended commerce spreads and circulates general information, generates habits of liberal and useful research, creates a love of industry and of the arts of peace, fortifies the moral virtues of truth, justice and good faith; produces a spirit of independence and the love of liberty; gives a latitude to the discussions of men, and. furnishes them with the means and opportunities of comparison ; renders them averse to violence and rapine, jealous of their natural and civil rights, and indignant at every species of oppression. All these effects of commerce bear
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hard upon the personal character of Bonaparte, and in their nature and tendency, are calculated to undermine the very foundations of his power, of both his domestic and foreign despotism. For these reasons, commerce is the object of his utmost hatred. To a deputation of merchants at Hamburgh some years since, he said, "I detest commerce and all its concerns."* To his own subjects he has often repeated the same language. To a petition of the Bordeaux merchants in the year 1808, this was his reply, "that it was the emperor’s will not to have any commerce, but to restore Europe to the condition of the fourth century."
We cannot much wonder if the motives by which Bonaparte is influenced, have some weight with the slave holders and slave drivers in our southern states, and lead them, in a degree, to coalesce with him in the, hatred, of commerce.. But neither he nor they can hope for its extirpation while England continues, to exhibit to the rest of the world such an alluring example of its advantages. If Bonaparte thought himself not safe while any of the members of the house of Bourbon sat upon a, throne in Europe, he has infinitely more to dread from the
* This is precisely what might be expected from the first born son of author of all.evil : It is perfectly in character for him to wish the nations of the world, to exercise, in the accurate language of President Madison, their "restrictive energies" in standing aloof from one another, having no intercourse either by land or water; and never visiting only as Bonaparte does for the purposes of violence and rapine. But, to the imagination of the christian or the philanthropist, no idea can be more delightful, than that of men dispersed over the face of the whole earth and inhabiting all its different regions, carrying on a friendly intercourse with one another, reciprocally accommodating each other with whatever is peculiar to their respective climates, geniuses, arts, and invention. When all the tribes of the earth shall be thus employed, thus mutually benefitting each other—we may believe that their common Father in heaven, will look down upon them with a degree of that complacency which his countenance beams upon the myriads of happy beings in the world above.
commerce of such a nation as the British, accompanied, as it is, with the highest improvements in knowledge and in liberty. Hence he has vowed, their destruction; and by his intrigues universally extended, has brought his friends in this, and in every other country, to favor his. design.
Many, no doubt, in all the neighbouring countries, envy the astonishing prosperity of Britain; but envy is a passion of demons, wholly unfounded in nature and reason. The late Hon. Thomas Russell was for some years, the most successful and eminent merchant in our neighbouring capital. Bad men might envy him, but all good men esteemed him an honor and a blessing to his country, the extent of his business furnishing employment to numbers; its profits, in one way and another, benefitting yet greater numbers; and his skill and industry holding forth an example to all, exciting emulation and encouraging enterprise. What such an individual is to his town and country, a nation highly commercial above others, is to the neighbouring nations and to the whole world. Her commercial prosperity, so far from injuring any, benefits all. Great Britain is at this moment, the main spring of motion to the great mercantile machine, the whole trading economy of the world. Were she destroyed, more than half the commerce of this country would perish with her, and all our privileges and happiness would soon be buried in her tomb. Even France herself would suffer incalculable damage, and "the aggregate of the whole world’s wealth, industry, spirit, enterprise, intelligence, morality, religion and every thing which conduces to man’s happiness, would be dreadfully diminished." A most frightful void, a horrible chasm would be made in the great fund of human excellence and happiness.
During the last seventeen years, though engaged in a
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most expensive war for the preservation of the order and civilization of the world, Britain has expended annually more than twelve millions of pounds sterling in feeding, clothing, and instructing the poor. Nor have her benefactions and charities been confined to her own subjects. They have been extended in a rich profusion, to thousands of French fugitives, and occasionally spread among the various nations of Italy, Germany, and Spain, suffering under the ravages of war. During this period too, she has abolished the slave trade, broken many of the old yokes of oppression, and set on foot numerous plans for extending the blessings of civilization and true religion among barbarous and pagan nations dwelling in all quarters of the globe. Societies for these purposes, have been formed over the whole British empire, humane, missionary and bible societies, more than I can enumerate. Immense sums have been expended in sending the Bible into cottages and prisons, among seamen and soldiers, to all descriptions of the lower classes of people. They have also made editions of it in all the languages of Europe and dispersed it in every country. They are now translating it into the various languages of Asia and Africa, and sending this heavenly light into all the dark regions of the globe. While England has been bringing forth these fruits of righteousness for the general benefit of the human race, some late accounts from that country state, that a spirit of piety and morality has revived and is now apparently flourishing among the various sects of christians composing her own subjects, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Dissenters, Baptists and Methodists.
The Lord blesseth the labor of the righteous and establisheth the work of their hands. They shall be recompensed in the earth. To what extent the British as a
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nation, have entitled themselves to this blessing, is perfectly known to God only; but he has most visibly bestowed it upon them by enabling them to stand erect and undismayed amidst the fall and ruin of all the other nations and kingdoms around them. He has also wonderfully prospered their industry and enterprise, and given them whatever exalts a nation, whatever contributes to its honor and happiness. A native of our own country lately returned from exploring that, says, "there does not exist and never has existed elsewhere so beautiful and perfect a model of public and private prosperity; so magnificent and, at the same time, so solid a fabric of social happiness and national grandeur." He then adds, " it appears something not less than impious to desire the ruin of this people; and when we recollect that it is from them we derive the principal merit of our own character, the best of our own institutions, the sources of our highest enjoyments and the light of freedom itself—it is worse than ingratitude not to sympathize with them in their present struggle."
This however is the people, whose destruction Bonaparte has sworn and Jefferson has predicted.— "We thank thee, 0 Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast not suffered the oath of the one or the prophecy of the other, to be accomplished—that thou hast poured contempt upon the wrath of man, upon the open hostility of France and the secret covered grudge and malice of the American government, so over-ruling the French decrees and the American embargoes, devised on purpose for the ruin of Britain, as to render them subservient to the increase of her revenue and the extension of her commerce !"
Besides the measures and plots already mentioned;
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through the influence and management of our Ahitophels and Absaloms, half the newspapers of this country, copying after that of the government, of which I have just given you specimens; have been for years past, constantly filled with the grossest abuse of England, and with the most impudent unblushing falsehoods in favor of France, studiously and systematically vindicating all her measures, denying or excusing all her atrocities; while the whole has been greedily swallowed by their deluded readers, and all better information wilfully and obstinately rejected. Thus all moral distinctions have been confounded, and darkness put for light and light for darkness in a sense the most criminal and aggravatedly guilty. These things, as a minister of religion, I solemnly denounce as the crying sins of the land, a treading in on in the steps of the Father of lies, the Accuser of the brethren, of Apollyon the destroyer. These sins have brought reproach and infamy upon the country already; and if persisted in, will prove its ruin, the loss, not of its commerce only, but of all its privileges and happiness. They are a manifest siding with the great adversary of God and man. The strong prepossessions of so great a proportion of my fellow-citizens in favor of a race of demons and against a nation of more religion, virtue, good faith, generosity, and beneficence, than any other that now is or ever has been upon the face of the earth, wring my soul with anguish and fill my heart with apprehension and terror of the judgments of Heaven upon this sinful people.