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United States. Planted here by the hand of the Most High, and even kings for a time (softened by that Being, in whose hands are all hearts) protecting fathers, our increase was rapid, until the nation, under whose shadow we grew, regarding with envy our growing greatness, devised means to render our prosperity subservient to their ambitious purposes. But that sovereign disposer of events, whose purposes are not to be defeated, and who still frustrates the artful devices of designing men, raised up among ourselves men, nerved by dauntless valour for our defenders, and he endowed them with that wisdom and true heroism, which enabled them to make a vigorous stand against the encroachments of arbitrary power. Threatened with the vengeance of incensed majesty, whose ministers prepared to execute his sanguinary decrees, and whose nilitary veterans swarmed in our capitals, our people nevertheless felt themselves at home; and they were almost universally strangers to fear.
It was at this period, in the time of the greatest danger, that the arm of the LORD was especially revealed in the choice, made by infinite wisdom of that illustrious character, who headed the virtuous band of patriot heroes. The leader of our armies, like the celebrated Roman chief, studied to gain the victory over his own and his country's foes, not by taking, but by preserving their lives. The breast of the patriot warrior was uniformly nerved by more than Fabian virtue, until at length, under the auspices of the protecting arm of the Almighty, a period was put to the lengthened scene of sorrow, by the commencement of peace.
Pausing for a moment, let us, at this period, take a retrospective view. Without money, justly appellated the sinews of war, without military materials, without internal strength or external aid; strange as it may appear, the people were inspired with resolution to go forward: when the humane monarch of the Gallic nation beheld us with sympathizing concern, his aid was timely, his armies, his navy appeared on our land, and on our coast; and we sang praises to our God. On the conclusion of the war, these armies, this navy quitted our shores, and we magnified his name with thanksgiving.
I am, my friends, aware, that these are subjects upon which I can give you no information; but upon such a day as this, we may be allowed to retrace the splendid events, which illume our
annals. It becomes us to summon the powers of recollection, to dwell upon the distinguishing goodness of him, who presideth in the heavens, that we may thus feel ourselves impelled with grateful joy to praise the name of our God with a song, and to magnify him with thanksgiving.
The illustrious chief, who led our patriot bands through all the rugged scenes of military life, conducted the victorious troops to a triumphant close, nor separated himself from the embattled hosts, until enwreathed with the blessings of peace, they were at liberty to seek her calm retreats. We mark with superior pleasure the intrepid warrior combining the sublime wisdom of the legislator with that skilful valor, which led our confederated bands to decisive victory; eminently qualified, he is judiciously placed at the head of the civil department, and he will point our citizens to those sure paths, in which they may secure the advantages contemplated from returning peace.
Peace attained, we fancied ourselves at the end of our labours, that we had already obtained the summit of that eminence, for which we are this day to praise the name of God with a song, and to magnify him with thanksgiving. But many revolving months rolled on before our wishes were crowned with a government, at K once the boast and envy of the world.
Our government is not monarchical, it is not aristocratical, it is not democratical, but it is infinitely preferable to all, it is FED
Our federal constitution, being a collection of constitutions, is on earth, what the galaxy or milky way, is in the heavens, where the combining lustre of the stars form one glorious splendor, which instead of diminishing the light of any particular luminary, adds to the transcendent brightness of the whole. How greatly are we indebted to the divine goodness for inspiring the same men with abilities to plan this government, to whom he had before given that intrepid valor and dauntless bravery, which procured and guaranteed our independence. Blessed above the nations of the earth in our local circumstances; more than three thousand miles removed from those ambitious Europeans, whose interest it would be to embarrass and interrupt our prosperity; our arms were no sooner laid by, than we were enabled to attend calmly to the important business of legislation,well knowing, that good government was the only sure means of ascertain
ing the enjoyment of the blessings of peace. Our government was not formed under the eye or influence of aliens, of open or secret enemies; it was formed by ourselves, and fraternal confidence was the order of that auspicious era. Perhaps no period in the annals of time, hath marked a group of such illustrious characters assembled for deliberation replete with consequences so truly interesting, so extensively important. With ineffable delight, we recognize, as leaders of the meritorious band, a WASHINGTON, a FRANKLIN, an ADAMS, nor although the federal government resulted from the united wisdom of those heaven taught sages, although it was replete with excellence, yet it was not either by force or ingenious device pressed upon the people. The inhabitants of the several States, in their several capacities, were summoned to deliberate thereon. Wisdom dictated every step, and like every other work of God, the closer the survey, the fuller the investigation; the stricter the scrutiny, the more were the beauties and excellence of the constitution discovered, until being supposed to possess all the good of every government without the evil, the true ore being separated from the dross, it was received with grateful transport, as heaven's last best gift to a world, which had long anticipated the mighty blessing. And for this we will praise the name of God with a song, and magnify him with thanksgiving.
But, alas! Such is the nature of man in its present depraved state, that either through weakness or through wickedness some will endeavour to elevate themselves on the ruin of others; thus as far as they are able interrupting the order of things, and breaking the peace of society. It was with deep regret, that we witnessed, even in this enlightened state, something of this sort. Our political horizon became clouded, its aspect was alarming, and we dreaded the effect of pernicious and innovating influence; but the wisdom of a Bowdoin, and the lenient measures of a Hancock, (names which will be forever dear to the citizens of this Commonwealth) not only checked the progress, but, as we trust, entirely eradicated the evil.
The body politic has frequently been compared to the natural body. Our federal government contains the head and heart of this body; the State governments may be considered as the members in their various descriptions, and as the blood, which is said to be the life of the creature, comes from the heart, and circulat
ing to the extremities, returns to the heart again; so, ever since the establishment of the federal government, the life of the body hath appeared in this direction, and it is to this, under God, that we owe the health and vigour of the body. But as the head and heart would be useless without the rest of the body, we are to give God thanks for the constitutions of government, which unite, and by their union establish liberty with order. Without this order it is obvious, that the existence of the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT would be no more, and hence the necessity of paying attention to the parts, for the preservation of the whole.
"When," saith our illustrious President," we review the calamities, which afflict so many other nations; the present condition of the United States affords much matter of consolation and satisfaction. Our exemption hitherto from foreign wars, an increasing prospect of that exemption, the great degree of internal tranquillity we have enjoyed, the recent confirmation of that tranquillity, by the suppression of an insurrection, that so wantonly threatened it, the happy course of our publick affairs in general, the unexampled prosperity of all classes of our citizens, are circumstances, which peculiarly mark our situation with indications of the Divine Beneficence toward us."
How pleasing these enumerations, how animating to hear the head of our government, after a review of the foregoing state of things, calling upon his beloved fellow citizens throughout the Union, to acknowledge with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, their many and great obligations to Almighty God, and to implore him to continue, and to confirm to us the blessings we at present experience. How inexpressibly delightful to behold the heart of this truly great man, suitably and deeply impressed with sentiments so proper and so becoming. How alluringly persua sive his patriotic voice; thus, in the language of paternal affection, inviting all religious societies, and denominations, and all persons whomsoever within the United States, although they may belong to no religious society or denomination, on this day to meet together, and render their sincere and heart-felt thanks to the great Ruler of nations, for the manifold and signal mercies, which distinguish our lot as a nation. Can we forbear persuading ourselves, that each individual attending to such precepts, and under the influence of such an example, will spontaneously and ardently call upon his spirit to bless the God of his salvation,
crying with holy transport, "Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits."
To remember all the manifold mercies of Jehovah, would be impossible; they are more in number than the hairs of our head; they are the coevals of our existence, and every breath we draw is an added proof of immeasurable gondness. But it is indeed true, as has been frequently observed, that the most acceptable way of improving the mercies of our God is, to receive them with thanksgiving; and it is undoubtedly incumbent upon us to engrave upon the memory as many of the innumerable benefits, which we derive from the inexhaustible source of divine munificence, as the limited conception of frail mortality can grasp.
Among the first of our temporal blessings, upon this occasion, we cannot but trace, (and it is with heart-felt gratitude,) we cannot but acknowledge, that divine interposition, which hath so graciously wrought for us the preservation of our peace, foreign and domestic. Inestimable are the blessings of tranquillity. Our sympathizing hearts have suffered from wars, although we were afflicted only by the hearing of the ear. How dreadful then to be drawn into the vortex of this desolating calamity, and how much are we indebted to the object of our filial reverence, who, in the hands of our God and Father, hath been made an instrument of preserving us from this great evil, and all the direful consequences, that follow in its train. But although foreign war is a calamity ever to be deprecated; domestic or civil war combines a catalogue of yet greater ills: many of us have had an apportunity of forming some faint idea of this desolating evil among ourselves. But very faint indeed must be the idea we can form from any thing, which we have ever witnessed in this highly distinguished nation, when compared with what we have been informed of in other countries, both in ancient, and in modern times.
We were sometime since alarmed by the dread apprehension of the contagious spread of this desolating and truly shocking ravager; but the timely suppression of this insurrection, as well as the manner in which it was suppressed, inspires us, upon this auspi cious occasion, with unceasing gratitude. How must the patriotic mind, the federal bosom have swelled with conscious pleasure, to view so large a collection of virtuous citizens leaving the calm retreat of their peaceful homes, and marching forward in a cool, dispassionate manner, with the bright example of their be