Ye shades of ancient heroes! ye who toil'd
Through long successive ages to build up
A laboring plan of state, behold at once
The wonder done!

MOUNT-PLEASANT: (County of West-Chester—State of New-York.) PRINTED BY WILLIAM DURELL—1798.



A view of the condition of the human species before the American Revolution, with animadversions on Civil and Ecclesiastical tyrants.

An account of the principles of the first settlers of north America. Causes assigned for their migration from Europe.

A sketch of the Revolution. The beneficial consequences arising from it. Its important effects towards an universal emancipation of mankind.

Observations on Patriotism. Conclusion.




IN countries debased by slavery, it has been a cus­tom prevalent for many ages, to celebrate the annual return of the birth-day of some mischievous despot, some sceptered robber, or some cannonized fanatic, who had been distinguished from the rest of mankind by his unparralled injustice, or cruel su­perstition. But happily, CITIZENS, such is not the nature of our meeting: We assemble here from motives diametrically opposite.—We come to commemorate the establishment of that Indepen­dence, which has in its magnitude and importance eclipsed the greatest actions recorded in history, and which had for its object the most glorious of all pursuits, that of breaking the fetters of lawless power, and thereby rendering a people free and happy.

Before I proceed to dwell particularly on the transactions which were immediately connected with this great national event; permit me to animadvert [Page 4] on the condition of our species a few centuries back, as delineated upon the historic page.

IN taking a tetrospective view of the condition of Man in past ages; what do we contemplate but the most frightful tyrannies exercised over the hu­man mind? What do we behold but the under­standing▪ the genius, the intellect of man depressed and shackled; every faculty of the soul enchained; her noblest powers either annihilated or prostituted to the most despicable purposes of rapacity, power and ambition? A dark shade of ignorance overwhel­ming the empire of reason, and chasing away every ray of wisdom, of science, of public and private worth. When we read of the insults and injuries tyrants have heaped upon man, because fortune has placed upon their heads baubles named crowns.—when we hear how the energies of intellect have been absorbed in the meanest servility to these execrable monsters; how the astonishing active powers of which the human mind is possessed have been ren­dered torpid, and as senseless as an automaton, or perverted so as to admire, and even penegyrize the nefarious systems of feudal laws, divine heriditary and indefeasable right—systems which have render­ed him wretched. When we consider the enormi­ties, the cool and deliberate enormities committed under these imposing authorities; but, more pain­ful to mention, when we think how they have whetted the poignards of war, and taught him the science of human butchery!! What breast but feels oppressed with woe at the bare recital?

YET in these days of evil import to the happiness of mankind; nations were then in being, estimabl [...] for their virtues, and for their love of liberty.—The Grecian and Roman republic's existed at a [Page 5] time, when the most insupportable tyranny was ex­ercised over the inhabitants in the east. England under the generous code of the glorious Alfred, felt the good effects of freedom, when all Europe and Asia groaned under the burden of despotism, and the people of Holland and Switzerland enjoyed the blessings which liberty diffuses, when the rest of mankind were in the most deplorable state of slavery. The rights of man thus recognized, and cherished in these countries; they became the favorite residences of trade, the powerful seats of domi­nion, or the happy mansions of public felicity; such is the unalterable connection between the free­dom and well being of states.

ON the other hand, under most of the old Gov­ernments of Europe a double despotism usurped over the people, they were alternately the victim of civil and religious despots and frequently of both to­gether; sometimes terrified by the anathemas of a persecuting fanaticism into the most abject submis­sion; at other times scourged nearly beyond the pa­tience of the most dispirited slavery, by the scor­pion thong of imperious and unrelenting civil op­pression; and often church & state would combine and form villainous leagues to rob man of his dear­est rights. In despite of this combination of moral and political depravity. Notwithstanding the ob­sticles to improvement, men then appeared whose noble minds were above the prejudices which en­slaved the world; whose virtuous souls could never be subjugated, neither the threats of sanguinary tyrants, nor the terrors of bloody inquisitors, could prevent them from tearing the veil from before imposture, and advocating the cause of human rights, and injured humanity!

[Page 6] THE writings of the philanthrophists, patriots, and philosophers, who lived under the odious Stu­arts inspired the most virtuous of their countrymen with exalted ideas of human rights; altho the fran­tic Laud & his coadjutors made every effort to impede the progress of intellectual improvements, but all their exertions had an effect contrary to their expectations, and only added to the flame which at last consumed them. The commotions in England at that period made many fly from per­secution to this western hemisphere, then a wilder­ness inhabited by untutored aborigines and the de­structive animals of the forest, exposed to the great­est hardships and assailed by a multitude of evils and misfortunes almost too much for mortals to in­dure: yet to minds so enlightened, to people whose choice was to exercise the right of thinking for themselves even in penury, rather than live luxuri­ously in their native country under a Government that rendered it a crime of the first magnitude to assert that right; their calamities they conceived as light and trivial.

SUCH, CITIZENS, were principally the forefathers of Americans; and surely from such fires, it was na­tural to expect in the common course of things for a RACE OF HEROES to proceed, who would il­lume the earth with the rays of knowledge; and develope the principles of POLITICAL JUSTICE. The succeeding age proved these expectations to be well­founded, and exhibited to the world that their off­spring inherited all the virtues of their progenitors, combined with the improved state of the human understanding in the Eighteenth Century.

ON the contrary, Britain was visibly degenerat­ing from her original purity, and the spirit of free­dom [Page 7] which once animated that Isle, was then no more!

HER Sovereign, regardless of the interest of his subjects, hearkened with avidity to the poisonous suggestions of a corrupt and desperate ministry for enslaving Americans, by introducing among them, as system of taxation without their consent by repre­sentation.

THE PARLIAMENT, chiefly composed of placemen, pensioners and the sycophants of St. James' meanly acquiesced in the measure, and ap­plauded the utility of the design, while the PEO­PLE vainly immagined, that they would be partly alleviated from the devouring & vulturous appetite of their rulers, by suffering them to feed upon the co­lonies; but the voice of experience might have taught them, that nothing can satisfy ministerial ra­pacity, that the greater the extent for it to ravage, the more its destructive powers will be displayed. The Daemon at length appeared, which the Go­vernors of England had been long conjuring up to place in the New World, and the reception which it met with, will form a memorable epoch in the annals of virtuous resistance, as long as patrio­tism is beloved, honored and esteemed.

THE votaries of liberty determined not to sub­mit supinely to an invasion on their rights. The cry of resistance resounded from all parts, and every house, & even cottage reverberated with the charm­ing accents. Never was the world presented with a spectacle more truly great, and more worthy of im­itation; it is true, nations have at different periods cut the cords with which they were previously bound; but we have not a single example in history when a people opposed the first approach of tyran­ny, [Page 8] and would not admit of its advances however specious and deceitful the pretext.

MINISTERS, instead of abandoning their projects, which prudence would have dictated, pursued their delirium still to a greater height, by conveying a horde of armed mercinary assassins across the Atlan­tic to enforce their arbitrary proceedings, in open violation of every principle of humanity, justice, and good government. Ignorant of the people whom they wished to enslave, thinking their op­position only a momentary capriciousness, which would cease on the first visible appearance of dan­ger: insolently supposing that a standing army, that pest of human society; that baneful engine made use of by oppressors to support their unwarrantable designs, would be adequate to annihilate the spirit of freedom, that imperishable spark, which for a time may be smothered; but which eternity cannot to­tally extinguish!

IT was now that military despotism appeared clo­thed in all the horrors of its insignia, bathed in the blood issuing from the wounds which its daggers encised in the bosoms of American freemen; repeated acts of carnage impelled them in return, to use those destructive weapons which hasten the desolution of life, or, suffer the miserable object on whom they have been employed to drag out a pitiful existence.

IT is needless to pursue the detail of cruelty, fol­ly, and wickedness on one part; of heroism, perse­verence and fortitude on the other, until the RE­PRESENTATIVES of the Thirteen American Provinces, favoring the wishes of their constituents, pronounced the decree of eternal seperation, and se­vered the gordian knot which had connected them with England, by declaring THE UNITED COLONIES [Page 9] FREE, SOVEREIGN, AND INDEPENDENT STATES!!

LET us pause for a moment, and indulge our­selves in the pleasures of mental perception.—Let us imagine that we are now viewing those venerable sages, those brave asserters of equal rights, announ­cing the first period of our national existence; pro­claiming the establishment of LIBERTY and EQUALITY to THREE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE worthy of the beneficient system, and resolved to support it, or DIE in the attempt!

THE tongue of genuine Republicanism knows not how to utter the language of adulation; destitute of the corrupt materials, and a stranger to the manner in which they are employed, it promises as the most acceptable manner of expressing its gratitude to those ILLUSTRIOUS ARTIFICERS, who raised the sacred EDIFICE, to preserve IT as an in­heritance, invaluable, inestimable, unalienable.—And you, ye true heroes, who cemented it with your blood; who rallied round the ALTAR of FREE­DOM, and formed the Patriot Phalanx that over­threw the armies of tyrants; your generous efforts in our behalf are engraven on our hearts with the noblest title mortals can attain, that of being the PA­TRESPATRIA, the saviours of our country.

BRITAIN, that collossul power whose pride by re­cent conquests (before her impolitic attempts on the liberties of America) had been wound up to the highest pitch of agrandizement, after expending in the course of seven years hostility near an hundred millions of treasure, and immolating at the shrine of vengeance above an hundred thousand of human lives, was at last compelled to abandon her object, and relinquish a claim which she was unable to [Page 10] maintain either by the voice of reason, or by an ap­peal to the sword. With sullen impotence she yielded to the heroism of our republican soldiers, who overthrew all the machinations of her atrocious policy, and forced her to close a war, in which,—"She had often been the object, and rarely the ac­tor of a triumph." Twenty two times has this spacious orb revolved round the great axle of hea­ven, and received the benign effects of its prolific radiance, since the event took place which we now commemorate; and from that data the abettors of tyranny have had to sing the funeral dirge over their departed system, while other nations fired with the same generous enthusiasm:—filled with the same happy spirit, have broken the sorcerous talisman, and raised themselves from the degrading epithets of vassals, and slaves, to the more dignified names of MEN and CITIZENS. The United States from their birth appear to have been designed the political redeemers of mankind! as instruments dropped by the hand of Wisdom to be the safeguard of the whole human race, and destined to defend the temple of freedom a palladium coeval with time itself; but which the royal plunderers, and ecclesiastical impostors of the earth, with too much success had concealed, and forcibly compressed the active elas­ticity of its disposition.

THE vast accession to moral, scientific as well as po­litical improvements, resulting from the American Revolution, are in their nature indefinite; among those that are most beneficial, may be reckoned the negation to that unnatural system which has prevail­ed in all countries, and interwoven in all the consti­tutions of government▪ ancient and modern which had ever been formed prior to the American; of [Page 11] uniting the strongest religious sect with the politi­cal institution, and investing it with exclusive privi­ledges, always sufficiently formidable to organize tests, and such like restrictive laws; and sometimes powerful enough to prescribe certain modes of faith, creeds, and other articles of belief for the rest of their fellow subjects; which on not being complied with by conscientious men, begat persecutions, and often ended in slaughters, or general massacres.—Princes and those who ought to have been the guar­dians of the public weal, excited by the sacerdotal order, became the executioners of part of their sub­jects, and believed it to be a sacred duty to tyran­nize over the thought, to overwhelm and to crush all those whose opinions did not harmonize with those of the priests. Immaginary crimes were more ab­horred than those committed by assassins, oppres­sors, robbers, corruptors or seducers. The greatest of all wickedness was to despise that which the es­tablished church held to be sacred, or to dispute the infallibility of its canons. They punished in the most atrocious manner, all men who prefered fol­lowing the sober dictates of reason, to the blind de­lirium of a fanatical clergy. But decreed nothing against the deceivers of innocence, cheats or calumni­ators. If the revolution had been productive of no other good than the rejection of these precedents so absurd, mischievous, and yet so universal, it would have still been regarded as an object the most advantageous that ever was attained for mankind and celebrated with every species of ceremonial, which could possibly testify a sense of the happiness derived from the transcendent action.

ADVERTING further to its influence on the reno­vating state of politics, we are immediately led to [Page 12] pronounce the momentous affairs which have sub­sequently taken place on the eastern continent the production of the American Revolution; then was rehearsed, the important drama in which all Europe have acted and in which Galia has appeared as the HERO of the piece. It was by fighting the bat­tles of liberty, that taught the subjects of an arbitrary monarch those instructive lessons, that the whole of legitimate authority rests on the consent of the people, that no power on earth can legally deprive them of their rights, and that the PUBLIC WILL is alone the LAW; by an application of these prin­ciples to their own case, the spell of perscriptive des­potism was instantaneously dissolved; the gilded trappings, and splendid pageantry of their monarchy was immediately crushed into atoms.

WHATEVER may be the event of the present commotions in Europe, it is certain the systems of Gothic Government have received an irrecoverable wound. The fusty edicts of barbarous ages which have retarded progressive improvements are rent, and if the present prospects be not delusive, we may anticipate the period when the lawgiver will never attempt to lead the people but by the silken thread of reason—when a beauteous temple of liberty shall be raised, whose ample base shall lodge, and whose roof shall cover the united family of mankind! univer­sal peace will then reign—every part of the globe will echo back the heavenly proclamation of general happiness; the heart of man will beat in unison with the divine sound; nations will then live in harmony with each other, and the organiza­tion of equal laws will be powerful incentives to pri­vate virtue. Visions of bliss! may ye be speedily realized.

[Page 13] MAY we soon be enabled to hail that happy aera of human felicity, which is the ardent desire of phi­lanthrophy, and which the enraptured muses have titled the return of the golden age. If these are no more than the wishes and dreams of benevolence—the philosophers stone of humanity; if even it be true that man can never attain his appointed summit of knowledge and happiness. It is nevertheless requisite for him to approach as near perfectability as the constitution of his nature will permit. Let not therefore the gloomy spirit of misanthrophy; the cold and inanimate doctrine of scepticism chill the bosom of philanthrophic expectation. Let not those who subsist on the miseries of mankind; on the corruption & abuses of the governments under which they live, flatter themselves that what has ta­ken place since the birth day of American Indepen­dence is but the fever of the moment—No!—the seeds of freedom are plentifully sown. The soil how­ever barren; the climate however severe, such is the natural exuberance of the herb, that it will even­tually soar above the weeds which combine to ob­struct its growth. Tyrants may labor, but they will labor in vain! "as well may they imagine, that by placing their feet upon the earth, they can stop its diurnal motion, as by efforts the most virulent, or pertinacious to extinguish the light of reason and philosophy which happily for mankind is, every where spreading around us*" In order for them to effect a counter-revolution in the human mind, they must prevent all means of social intercourse; they must put an end to all manner of trade; they must destroy every mark of the mariners compass; [Page 14] every book must be consigned to the flames:—The conduit of intelligence and channel of information, must be entirely closed up, by obliterating every ves­tige of the press, in fine, they must drive truth, rea­son, and science from the residence of mortals; then, and not before then, can they triumph over us.

AMERICANS! unite in rendering aristocracy odious—drag from their entrenchment those disturbers of society who would propagate anarchy amongst us; to them discussion is dangerous; sage reason furnishes us with arms which their sophistry would do well to shun. Pity while you attempt to convince those men whose weakness has made them subject to the snares of faction, that to be good citizens is to res­pect the honor and interest of the PUBLIC; prove to them that policy not founded upon principles of rectitude, can never be truly beneficial; inspire them with just sentiments, by shewing them the reward of patriotism whose object is the conservation, the peace, and the welfare of the whole community; its re­compenses are affection and glory, or in their failure contentment of mind and merited self-esteem, of which nothing is able to deprive virtuous souls.—Shew them on the other hand, how those various state criminals are tormented who devour the sub­sistance of the poor; who involve their countries in distress. Let them descend into the recesses of their hearts and they will find the tyrant encircled with flatterers, knows not the sweets of friendship, nor the pleasures of being beloved, he is unconscious of the hatred which his oppressions excite and of the secret contempt which his inutility, his vices and his debaucheries create. See! the haughty courtier blush for the insults he endures, and those meanesses by which he obtains favor. View! the barbarous [Page 15] conquerer triumph in sorrow over smoaking ruins, over uncultivated solitudes, and over unhappy wretches whose bitter imprecations stun his ears.—Behold! the ambitious tortured with an unhappy ardor which nothing can extinguish, and lastly, ob­serve! the sacreligious impostor shrink from in­vestigation, and even tremble at the name of formi­dable truth. Let it not be said that in thus doing we depart from our necessary duties; rather ac­knowledge it to be the prominent characteristic of the good citizen to employ a portion of his time and talents in enlightening his fellow men, drawing them from the abyss of prejudice and watching over governmental affairs. It is the business of monar­chies to confine the faculties of the individual, by laying restrictions on the speech and on the press; and by granting an order of beings favorable to the views of corruption the sole power of conducting the understanding and presiding over the public bu­siness. In Republics the obligations of patriotism, are as universal as those of justice, charity, grati­tude, or any other virtuous propensity of the hu­man heart, and the man who neglects the concerns of his country, is as criminal as the magistrate who usurps authority not given him by the laws, because the one sanctions by his silence, the vile conduct of the other. Error has indeed long labored to prove that the peasant, and artificer has no right to inter­fere with civil affairs; but for the honor of human nature towards the close of the Eighteenth Century, we find this dogma only supported by the con­temptable remains of monarchial folly.

THE progress which man will make in emelio­rating his condition, and improving his intellectual state, will be in exact proportion to the cognizance he [Page 16] takes of liberal enquiry; this truth was not per­ceived, till the American Revolution aroused to ac­tion, his dormant faculties, and produced those en­ergetic exertions which have been made for his e­mancipation. Had the impulse been received sooner, it is impossible to say to what degree of perfection he might not by this time have attained.

AT present he feels the dignity of his nature; he comprehends the order and intent of his being and the time may arrive as has been already observed, when he will perfectly understand and practice his obligations, his duties and his rights.—O ye adorable Daughters VIRTUE, REASON, and TRUTH, continue to assist him in his just pur­suits. Virtue! inspire him with all that is noble, generous, and good. Reason! guide his wavering steps through the path of life. Truth! let him receive the rays of thy enlightening torch, till all the nations of the earth hail ye Americans as their bro­thers, and your country as the elder production of Freedom!


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