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AN ORATION, PRONOUNCED JULY 4th, 1792, AT THE REQUEST OF THE INHABITANTS OF THE TOWN OF BOSTON, IN COMMEMORATION OF THE ANNIVERSARY OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE,

By Joseph Blake, jun.

—"HAEC OLIM MEMINISSE JUVABIT."

PRINTED BY BENJAMIN RUSSELL, IN BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS. MDCCXCII.

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At a Meeting of the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the Town of BOSTON, duly qualified and legally warned, in publick Town-Meeting, assembled at FANUEIL HALL, on Wednesday the 4th of July, A. D. 1792.

VOTED, THAT the SELECTMEN be and hereby are appoint­ed a Committee to wait on Mr. JOSEPH BLAKE, jun. and in the name of the Town to thank him for the spirited and e­legant ORATION, this Day delivered by him, at the request of the Town, upon the ANNIVERSARY OF THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA—in which, according to the Institution of the Town, he considered the feelings, manners, and principles which led to that Great National E­vent—and to request of him a Copy thereof for the Press.

Attest, WILLIAM COOPER, Town-Clerk.
GENTLEMEN,

ASSURED that readers the most capable of criticism, will be the most disposed to liberality, in compliance with your request, a Copy of the ORATION, pronounced the 4th inst. for the Press, is submitted by, Gentlemen,

With the utmost respect, Your very humble servant, THE AUTHOR.
July 9, 1792.
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AN ORATION.

AMERICANS!

THIS morning recalls the moment which inspir­ed our country with a new existence.—The moment when thus inspired, she rose triumphant to the em­pire of herself!

OPPRESSION was the assistant, not the sole cause of this glorious event. So early as 1688 * shot through the island of Britain a beam of light which first open­ed the way to Revolutions. Crossing the Atlantick it afterwards diffused within these Colonies that fer­vid spirit which alone must have dissolved their con­nection. With an anxious eye she watched its se­cret progress. Her expedients to extinguish, tended however directly to inkindle it. She attempted to invelope their mind in ignorance, but the ray of in­telligence shone upon it with brighter effulgence.— [Page 4] She loaded them with taxes, arbitrarily withholding the right of representation: It served only to exhibit her oppression in more vivid colours. Thus irritated, the spark first began to glimmer within the province of New-York. * At subsequent periods, for nearly 80 years, new pressures had been as new combustibles.— At length it grew into a flame—expanded, spread, glowed, throughout the Continent!

HER arbitrary statutes no longer alarming to the ear, she displayed upon our defenceless shore the more terrific engines of war.

IN 1770, within this peaceful town, she opened the first sanguinary scene. But I recal not the fifth of March, and nineteenth of April—too often already has the eye reviewed them in tears.

THAT Britain first unsheathed the sword, while the memory shall recollect the tongue dare not deny.— That we exhibited patience under oppression, her own Statesmen acknowledged. Her CHATHAM and CAMBDEN with anxiety observed her measures. With [Page 5] all the charms of eloquence they plead in our behalf. But at that infatuated moment Eloquence had lost her charms. The feeble voice of petition could not as­cend the summit of her imperious throne. Thus si­tuated, in 1776 Congress pronounced the Declaration of Independence.

OUR pen, like the thunderbolt, in an instant shook her court. From its language was she convinced that within the American vein thrilled a spirit too ardent for her controul. A spirit which would burst the firmest walls of imprisonment.

MOST affecting, however, was the situation of our country. Although separated by an immense ocean she had been incorporated with Britain as with a pa­rent. Like the helpless babe she had clung around her, with all the warmth of affection. In the tone of real anguish she had lisped her grievances:—But in vain. The tender ties of consanguinity Britain had disregarded. Her filial duty repaid with parental austerity. Her intreaties for relief goaded with fresh tortures. Reclining in innocent security upon her bosom, she had attempted most unnaturally to termi­nate her existence!

UNAVOIDABLE although painful then was resist­ance. [Page 6] She at length conquered her affections. Rose superiour to the common awe of British omnipo­tence. With ardour sprang to the standard of war!

THERE is an enthusiasm sometimes inkindled with­in the bosom by unprovoked oppression which rises above every idea of impossibility. It was this which although in the cradle, gave our country the spring of manhood. This which diminished to a point the most mountainous difficulty. This which bore her in triumph above every obstacle.

BY unity in exertion we repaired deficiency in re­source. Despair at times darkened the prospect but all the sinews of the country collected into one arm, and this arm invigorated and strengthened by the friendly assistance of France, Britain at length yeild­ed us the palm.

EACH year have fresh garlands been offered to deco­rate the brow of those splendid characters who by u­niting wisdom in the cabinet with bravery in the field—thus secured to us this palm. The task I de­cline, but while the heart shall recollect, forever will it yield them the voluntary tribute of gratitude.

NATIONS, like individuals, from turbulence natu­rally settle into quietude. To the loud thunders of [Page 7] war succeeded the mild whispers of peace. Amidst this calm several years rolled imperceptibly away.— The mind at length rising from sleep, observed in our possession the trophy for which we had waded through fields of blood. Our government appearing inadequate to its preservation, we again rose with u­nanimity to strengthen and improve it.

THAT awful reverence for ancient institutions which too often checks innovation, did not blind our eye—Imperfection pervading each atom of hu­manity, we dared to trace its impression within our old system.

OTHER circumstances conspired to extend this boldness of thought. It was natural that a change in situation should require a change in government. — An enlargement of objects in the one, an elargement of powers in the other.

THUS rose into existence our Federal Constitution.

THE comparision of this new fabrick with others of ancient and modern architecture, so fashionable on those occasions—I forbear.

EXPERIMENT can only prove the perfection of po­litical institutions. Already has this proved our high­est [Page 8] joy that which in theory was by some contem­plated as our ruin. While those too, who so wisely constructed it, now administer its laws, we may continue to cherish hopes without fears.

THE sword which has secured the freedom of a world, now wears engraven upon its scabbard their universal gratitude.

DAZZLING to the eye may have been the starry throne of an Alexander, splendid the triumphal car of a Caesar, but more grateful to a Washington, that throne which will never tarnish within the memory of man!

CIRCUMSTANCES both natural and political will conspire to the longevity of our government.

MOST favourable is the situation of this continent. It stands a world by itself. Barricaded from exter­nal danger on one side by vast regions of soil. On the other by wide plains of ocean. The Atlantick upon her bosom may undulate riches to its shore▪ but all the artillery in Europe cannot shake it to its cen­tre.

INNUMERABLE rivers like veins and arteries circu­late life and health throughout the States. The broad bay of Chesepeak, the majestick Hudson and Delaware, [Page 9] rolling into various channels this vital fluid, fertilize while they bind the different regions in perpetual in­timacy.

NOR less important our political advantages. — Within its circuitous arm our system already embra­ces fifteen independent states. To each extending alike all the rights which dignify a nation. That right, so dear to Republicans, the FREEDOM OF THE PRESS—that wise institution of humanity, the TRIAL BY JURY—above all, that blessing so long sought for but in vain, EQUAL LIBERTY.

AFTER all upon ourselves will depend the pros­perity of our nation.

CLOUDS may gather round this bright prospect, and like the tempest upon the clear face of the Heavens, in an instant wrapt it in darkness.

BY our conduct however we may retard, perhaps forever prevent, this gloomy catastrophe.

RUINS of empires have generally appeared within the dreary regions of ignorance and barbarity. like some solitary tree within the wildnerness, far distant from the hand of culture, they have denied their fruit or fallen lifeless to the ground.

[Page 10] *SCIENCE and the ARTS, like rivulets will revive their expiring fibres, push to maturity their fruit, pre­vent their sudden decay.

NATIONAL competency can flow only from na­tional frugality. It is not the depth but the prudent management of resources which can insure wealth to a nation. Within each acre of our soil might spring a mine of Peru, but prodigality might drain it of its treasures. This prodigality once indulged, we in­stantly abandon the path of innocence, slide head­long down the precipice of luxury, perish in the to­rent below.

BUT of all injunctions no one can be so important as the necessity of a strict attention to our elections. More important under our present than under our former government. Within the sovereignty of the Union will exist a natural prosperity to absorb by degrees the sovereignty of the states. An unrelax­ed vigilance may perhaps prevent this almost im­perceptable encroachment, but a careless security ac­celerating the evil, our rights one after another, like [Page 11] drops around the attractive margin of a vortex, will be drawn in and buried forever.

SECURE as may be our situation still may the whis­pers of jealousy assail the ear. In all communities some few amongst the many will murmer without cause, criminate without offence, but from such complaints men of discernment will draw no infer­ences unfavourable to government.

OUR military establishment upon the western frontiers has fed profusely this jealous disposition.— Sensibility has censured in language the most appro­bious—but reason vindicates with fairness the justice of our cause.

OUR right in the soil now in contention has been established both by grant and by occupancy. This right we have transferred and guaranteed to others. Our friends in possession upon the banks of Ohio and in other settlements have been hourly harrassed.— The wilderness has been incrimsoned with their blood. To prevent the further effusion, to relieve the distant voice of distress, repeated have been our treaties. But treaties with the Indian are inef­fectual. He will propose with fairness, but the same instant violate them with effrontry. Thus impell­ed, [Page 12] we have reluctantly drawn the sword from its scabbard. We have waged a war justifiable by the law of nations, still more powerfully b, that of na­ture. A war for the establishment of personal security with undisturbed peace.

YOU will pardon this deviation from the path as­signed me. I have wished only to divert the slan­derous arrow from the fair bosom of authority. An arrow which would not at this time have sped with so much venom from its bow, but for the late fall of our friends. In which fall, we have all, with PHILE­NIA, shed the tear of friendship:

"NOT crimson War, nor Valour's glitt'ring wreath,
"To the pale Corse restores the quivering breath;
"'Tis the mild power of seraph Peace alone
"Can charm each grief, and every wrong atone;
"Her healing hand shall wast oblivion round,
"And pour her opiates through each gushing wound;
"O'er the cold ghost her mantling Olive spread,
"And shade the sod that laps the glorious dead."

FAR is it from my intention to close entirely the watchful eye of jealousy. I only urge a gene­rous confidence in government as most productive of publick peace, at the same time not dangerous to publick security.

[Page 13]I NEED not, however, start fears which cannot of themselves exist within this enlightened commu­nity. We elect with caution, but once elected we dare think our rulers honest. They are a part of our­selves—in the abuse of our rights they equally abuse their own. As naturally then might an individual wish to deluge the bark, when the very billow which bears it, must instantly bury himself in the same grave with his companions.

THIS confidence so necessary to the harmony of government will in this country, I trust, exist in its proper latitude. It certainly will so long as wisdom shall continue the pole-star in our elections.

AS the guardian of our rights within this state, an­nually have we chosen the man, who in the cause of his country has nobly scorned the mandate of power, the sceptre of tyranny. Could the luxuries of health now unite with the honours of a grateful country, bright to himself would be the evening of his life — as to us have been his meridian services.

AMERICANS!

THUS glorious our Revolution!—Royalty has rear­ed [Page 14] an altar, upon which reason had been the sacrifice —the rights of man the incense. This aera has dis­pelled the film from the eye of nations. Although first rising within this western hemisphere, like the Aurora Borealis, it has instantly flashed throughout the political concave. It has melted the diadem from the imperial blow. Tumbled from its deep footsteps the huge Colossus of tyranny. In time will annihilate the massy chain which has so long separat­ed nations!

THIS noble discovery we justly claim as our own. * Nations yet unborn will with gratitude revere the exertions which gave it birth. Even now are they richly repaid by our present prospects.

UNDER the direction of a HAMILTON our credit ri­sing abroad, has at home already opened all the springs of wealth. At a period not far remote, the tide which has hitherto set so rapidly to foreign shores [Page 15] will return, and with the fertility of the Nile, enliven and inrich our own.

LIKE the subtle fluid has our commercial spirit penetrated the most secret avenue of trade. Waves the most distant swell with pride beneath our ships! Winds in climes the most foreign with joy unfurl our flag!

EXTENSIVE as has been this intercourse with nations, thank Heaven, we yet retain our native Purity. Our exchange has been that of commodities, not of morals. In the contrast of character we ever have, I hope, ever shall, with undaunted pride, support our own.

THIS vivid spirit for a period in deep sleep, begins now to wake to its usual activity. The bubble of speculation so long sustained in air by the mere breath of infatuation has at length burst. Fatal to individu­als may have been its explosion — copious may have been the tears of humanity;—but misfortunes are sometimes lessons—mankind will in future stand a­loof or approach it with caution.

EVERY branch of business will again revive and [Page 16] industry wear upon her brow new smiles of cheer­fulness.

ALREADY have bridges vast and magnificent, drawn into close embrace distant fields of fertility with flourishing towns of commerce. Future improve­ments of equal utility will succeed to wild pursuits— and arts agricultural, manufactural, mechanical, se­dulously employ the mind.

CONVULSION abroad will croud with emigrants our peaceful shores, nor will they ever desert them for the frozen regions of Canada and Nova-Scotia.

THUS restrained from further emigration by the insurmountable barriers of nature, soon will the hand of culture brighten every feature in the broad face of this continent. Soon will the darkest forest be­come a crouded town! The most desert field a lap for harvest! The most distant lake a bosom for navi­gation!

AMERICANS!

How vast the future magnitude of this rising em­pire! Nations afar will behold it with wonder—like the branches of a mighty family, its inhabitants widely dispersed yet closely united by the invisible tie of consanguinity. Uninterrupted in its situation, its government, its laws, its liberty.!!!

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