« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
than to keep in their view from the first dawil of reason, the virtues which have raised the benefactors of their country to immortality.”
“ The American revolution constitutes one of the epochs from which will be dated a vast amelioration in the destiny of man; and the fame of many illustrious men who were engaged in its cause, will continually increase as the operation of its consequences is extended. Their talents and virtues were exhibited in the senate or the camp, in the forum or the field, with undaunted zeal and heroic constancy. They were courageous, moderate, plain, and incorruptible. They were imbued with a deep sense of religion, which guided and guaranteed all their conduct. They were of unyielding principles, which made them the ornaments of their own age, and will secure to them the admiration of posterity,
110 sluuy can be more useful to the ingenuous youth of the United States, than that of their own history, nor any example more interesting or more safe for their contemplation, than those of the great founders of the republic. Yet, it is feared that this department is too much neglected by them, or only superficiaily examined. There are certain senti. ments indeed, that are learned by rote, while a few prominert names and facts are known and repeated exclusively. When a well-known.foreign journal, in all the triumph of insolent.ignoraitce, asked,
who Patrick Henry was?" ye.only smiled at its impertinence. But are we evitareis exempt from the reproach of neglecting out own annals, for less valuable history?"*::::::::::::
Of those who took part in the revolution, it has been emphatically said, "there were giants in these days.” We would implant their memory in the hearts of our children, to be handed down to their children, in proud remembrance, of the virtues
* Tudor's life of Otis.
and talents of men who never had their superiors. 6. Never,” says the elegant biographer of the eloquent Patrick Henry, in any country or in any age, did there exist, a race of men, whose souls were better fitted to endure the trial. Patient in suffering, firm in adversity, calm and collected amidst the dangers which pressed around them, cool in council, and brave in battle, they were worthy of the cause, and the cause was worthy of them.'
In contemplating the characters of such men, our youth will have before them, models of every public and private virtue. Here he who is ambitious of acting a distinguished part in the cabinet, may learn to imitate a Franklin, a Henry, an Adams, a Hancock, and others. Here the soldier, whose ambition is patriotism and glory; may be stimulated to acquire the laurels gained by a Washington, a Greene, a Montgomery, a Wayne, a Warren, a Gates, and their compatriots. And here the seaman may dwell with delight and satisfaction, on the heroic actions of a Biddle and others. It has been well observed that from the galaxy of greatness displayed in our revolution, many a subsequent rising star in our firmament of glory has borrowed much of its splendour. The recital of the deeds of the heroes of ’76, has a fascinating influence over the mind of the hearer. The child is beguiled of its tears in listening to the enraptured tales of other times; the youth feels all the influence of patriotic fervour and heroic ardour; and maturer age may be taught, by their example, how to love and serve their country. Nor will the perusal of the rare and valuable state papers, now published, setting forth the causes of the separation from the mother country, be less instructive. From them we learn the true principles of government, “ which was instituted to protect man in his life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed.”.
The introduction contains a succinct account of the events which led to the rupture between Great Britain and her then colonies. The declaration of 1775, and the other papers which emanated from eongress, during the revolutionary contest, contain the manful remonstrances of freemen against oppression; an elegant and eloquent exposition of the rights of the people, and of the causes which impelled our fathers to the separation. The biographies of the sages and heroes, contain much instructive history of the revolution; calculated to incite the young, instruct the old, and improve the moral character of the nation, by holding up to public view and imitation, portraits of virtue and patriotism, of which the history of mankind affords no brighter examples. To which is added the farewell address of WASHINGTON, in which we may read with delight and instruction, the advice of the father of our country, and the importance and necessity of preserving the union of our confederated republic.
Such is the work, and such the views of the compiler. The former edition having been disposed of, the present, considerably improved, is now offered as a class book, in our schools and other seminaries of learning. He conceives it eminently fitted for an American School Book; well suited to the capacity of youth, and inculcating principles which correspond with our institutions. Placed in the hands of our youth, he trusts it may excite their minds to emulate the patriots, sages, and statesmen, whose memory it commemorates, and lead them to seek for models of excellence at home instead of abroad. It is in fact a National work, calculated to promote a national feeling in the youthful mind, as well as to interest those who are more advanced in years.
As the present edition is intended for the use of schools, and as it is calculated to give the youth a correct account of the transactions which took place, as well as a biographical sketch, of many of those illustrious patriots, whose wisdom in council and valour in battle, . obtained the independence of our country, it may be well, in a summary mode, to trace the current of events, from the origin of the plan of taxing America, up to July 6, 1775, when the declaration setting forth the causes and necessity of taking up arms, was issued. Tudor, in his life of Otis, gives us the following interesting anecdote: “When president Adams was minister at the court of St. James, he often saw his countryman, Benjamin West, the late president of the royal academy. Mr. West always retained a strong and unyielding affection for his native land. Mr. West one day asked Mr. Adams, if he should like to take a walk with him, and see the cause of the American revolution. The minister having known something of this matter, smiled at the proposal, but told him that he should be glad to see the cause of that revolution, and to take a walk with his friend West, any where. The next morning he called according to agreement, and took Mr. Adams into Hyde Park, to a spot near the Serpentine river, where he gave him the following narrative. The king came to the throne a young man, surrounded by flattering courtiers; one of whose frequent topics it was, to declaim against the meanness of his palace, which was wholly unworthy a monarch of such a country as England. They said that there was not a sovereign in Europe who was lodged so poorly, that his sorry, dingy, old, brick palace of St. James, looked like a stable, and that he ought to build a palace suitable to his kingdom. The king was fond of archi
tecture, and would therefore more readily listen to suggestions, which were in fact all true. This spot that you see here, was selected for the site, between this and this point, which were marked out. The king applied to his ministers on the subject; they inquired what sum would be wanted by his majesty, who said, that he would begin with a million; they stated the expenses of the war, and the poverty of the treasury, but that hismajesty's wishes should be taken into full consideration. Some time afterwards the king was informed, that the wants of the treasury were too urgent to admit of a supply from their present means, but that a revenue might be raised in America to supply all the king's wishes. This suggestion was followed up, and the king was in this way first led to consider, and then to consent, to the scheme for taxing the colonies.”
In 1764, the British parliament passed resolutions, preparatory to laying a tax on the colonies, by a stamp act. In March, 1765, the famous stamp act was passed, to take effect in the colonies on the first of November following. This was the first act of the mother country, which created alarm, and which eventually caused a separation of these states from Great Britain. It passed the house of Commons by a majority of two hundred votes. The bill met with no opposition in the house of lords. The very night the act passed, Dr. Franklin, who was then in London, wrote to Charles Thompson, afterwards secretary to congress:“The sun of liberty is set; the Americans must light the lamps of industry and economy." To which Mr. Thompson answered: “Be assured we will light torches of quite another sort.” He here predicted the opposition and convulsions, that were about to follow that odious act. The torch of the revolution was indeed very soon lighted. When the information of the passage of the act reached the colonies, the assembly of Virginia was the only