American Eloquence, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 227 pages of information about American Eloquence, Volume 1.
What do they imply?  That Great Britain has a right to seize all who are not provided with them.  From their very nature, they must be liable to abuse on both sides.  If Great Britain desires a mark, by which she can know her own subjects, let her give them an ear-mark.  The colors that float from the mast-head should be the credentials of our seamen.  There is no safety to us, and the gentlemen have shown it, but in the rule that all who sail under the flag (not being enemies), are protected by the flag.  It is impossible that this country should ever abandon the gallant tars who have won for us such splendid trophies.  Let me suppose that the genius of Columbia should visit one of them in his oppressor’s prison, and attempt to reconcile him to his forlorn and wretched condition.  She would say to him, in the language of gentlemen on the other side:  “Great Britain intends you no harm; she did not mean to impress you, but one of her own subjects; having taken you by mistake, I will remonstrate, and try to prevail upon her, by peaceable means, to release you; but I cannot, my son, fight for you.”  If he did not consider this mere mockery, the poor tar would address her judgment and say:  “You owe me, my country, protection; I owe you, in return, obedience.  I am no British subject; I am a native of old Massachusetts, where lived my aged father, my wife, my children.  I have faithfully discharged my duty.  Will you refuse to do yours?” Appealing to her passions, he would continue:  “I lost this eye in fighting under Truxton, with the Insurgence; I got this scar before Tripoli; I broke this leg on board the Constitution, when the Guerriere struck.” * * * I will not imagine the dreadful catastrophe to which he would be driven by an abandonment of him to his oppressor.  It will not be, it cannot be, that his country will refuse him protection. * * *

An honorable peace is attainable only by an efficient war.  My plan would be to call out the ample resources of the country, give them a judicious direction, prosecute the war with the utmost vigor, strike wherever we can reach the enemy, at sea or on land, and negotiate the terms of a peace at Quebec or at Halifax.  We are told that England is a proud and lofty nation, which, disdaining to wait for danger, meets it half way.  Haughty as she is we triumphed over her once, and, if we do not listen to the counsels of timidity and despair, we shall again prevail.  In such a cause, with the aid of Providence, we must come out crowned with success; but, if we fail, let us fail like men, lash ourselves to our gallant tars, and expire together in one common struggle, fighting for free trade and SEAMEN’S rights.


In spite of execrable financial management, of the criminal blunders of political army officers, and of consequent defeats on land, and quite apart from brilliant sea-fights and the New Orleans victory, the war of 1812 was of incalculable benefit to the United States.  It marks more particularly the point at which the already established democracy began to shade off into a real nationality.

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American Eloquence, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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