The thrilling subject of American Independence is ever welcome to the patriot and philanthropist. The annual celebration of the event is calculated to perpetuate a kindred feeling and a kindred love of liberty. The time may arrive when the day may not be celebrated, but to the end of time the event, and the names of those who achieved it, will be handed down on the historic page with pride and veneration.
It is a fact worthy of remark, that many of the most eminent sages of the American revolution were devoted and consistent professors of christianity, and some of them ministers of the cross. They all seem to have been actuated by motives pure as Heaven, and influenced alone by the demands of imperious duty, based upon the inalienable rights of man. They were not prompted to action from a love of conquest or of military glory. Their pilgrim fathers fled from the clanking chains of servile oppression, and planted the standard of civilization in the new world, that they might enjoy FREEDOM in its native purity, and transmit the rich behest to their offspring. The principles of rational liberty were enforced upon the minds of each rising generation, and when tyranny reared its hydra head, they readily recognised the monster, and resolved, nobly resolved, to drive from their shores the invading foe.
The man who places his confidence in the Supreme Ruler of revolving worlds, leans upon a sure support, that earth can neither give nor take away. When we can appeal to Heaven with clean hands for aid in our undertakings, faith bids us fear no danger. A large portion of the patriots of the revolution were pious men; and I am not apprised that one among them, who became conspicuous, was a disbeliever in an overruling Providence. Several of them were devoted ministers of the Gospel, among whom was John Witherspoon…
Party spirit when based on selfishness, unhallowed ambition and venal corruption, is a gangrene in the body politic. Its history is red with blood—blackened by the darkest crimes, its career has been marked with all the terrific horrors that demons could plan and wicked men execute. It rides upon the whirlwind of faction; it is wafted on the tornado of fanaticism; it is fanned by fell revenge and delights in human gore. It has been the mighty conqueror of nations; its burning lava has consumed kingdoms and empires; the fairest portions of creation have been blighted by its rankling poison; countless millions have fallen by its murderous hand; and, fearful thought! its end has not yet come.
Thomas Jefferson: The first bill he introduced was aimed at the slave trade, and prohibited the farther importation of negroes into Virginia. This act alone is a triumphant confutation of the accusation often reiterated against Mr. Jefferson, that he was an advocate of slavery. To its principles he was always opposed, and submitted to it practically only by entail. That he struck the first blow at the unhallowed trade of importing human beings for the purpose of consigning them to bondage, is a fact beyond dispute. That this was the first grand step towards a correction of the most cruel features of the traffic, will not be denied.
Ben Franklin: The moral principles deeply planted in his bosom by parental instruction during his childhood, were as lasting as his life; a happy illustration of the good effects of faithfulness in parents towards their children.
Let ignorance, corruption, and fanaticism predominate, and the fair fabric of our freedom, reared by the valour, and cemented by the blood of the revolutionary patriots, will tremble, totter, and fall. Chaos will mount the car of discord, sound the dread clarion of death, and LIBERTY will expire amidst the smoking ruins of her own citadel. Remember that “knowledge is power,” wealth “the sinews of power,” and that honesty, virtue, and integrity are the regulators of them both. Remember that intrigue, fanaticism, and faction may prostrate, at one bold stroke, the fairest, noblest work of years.