Napoleon Bonaparte’s Testimony of Jesus Christ and Christianity

Napoleon Bonaparte quotes regarding Jesus Christ

Napoleon Bonaparte regarding Jesus Christ [Click to enlarge]

Editors Note: The comments of Napoleon are recorded in various instances and I haven’t found any two that record them in exactly the same way; therefore I am providing you with two different instances here that have some similarities and yet are different, the differences being so diverse and profound I find it necessary to provide them both.

GEN. W. W. BURNS, Asst. Commissary General, U.S.A., sends us, with the request that we should publish, Napoleon’s remarkable testimony to the mysterious power of Christianity, which has become famous through the report of Las Casas. Though it is no doubt familiar to many readers, it is so eloquent an acknowledgment by one of the greatest of men of the existence of a greater than man, that we reproduce it here as requested. In sending it Gen. Burns says:

“The disposition of education is to substitute reason for faith in religion. The intellect, proud of its achievements in science and philosophy, assumes celestial wings, and, like Icarus, would mount to the spheres to find out infinity. The first flight of infidelity makes essay upon the divinity of Christ. The conception by the Virgin was above the known laws of nature, and therefore beyond the finite reason of man. The major premise of a logical syllogism being a mystery and not a received axiom is, to reason, a false assumption from which philosophical truth cannot be deduced. Logic is stopped at the base, and the gods of reason, without faith, must sweep the “divinity of Christ from their horizon.” Mystery, not being a received finite axiom, is false. Nature is admitted true, and deduction, follow, that man is but an animal dies when his heart ceases to beat. Faith is a delusive hope; there is no place for a soul beyond the grave. Since reasoners accept only received deductions from grater reasoners, the fall of ingenious Icarus may be checked to save from destruction by spreading opinions from the acknowledged greatest mind the world has known, and, because of its greatness, associated with infidelity. The following from the lips of Napoleon to Las Casas (himself an infidel), may, therefore, be timely. Nothing could be added without weakening this almost divine discourse.”

There exists an infinite Being compared with whom I, Napoleon, with all my genius, am truly a pure nothing. I perceive him, God; I see him; have need of him; I believe in him. . . . I know men, and I affirm that Jesus, Christ, was not a man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires the gods of other religions; that resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and whatever other religion the distance of infinity. The religion of Christ is a mystery which subsists by its own force, and proceeds from a mind which is not a human mind. We find in it a marked individuality, which originated a train of words and maxims unknown before. Jesus borrowed nothing from our knowledge. He exhibited in himself the perfect example of his precepts. Jesus is not a philosopher; for his proofs are miracles, and from the first his disciples adored him. In fact learning and philosophy are of no use for salvation; and Jesus came into the world to reveal the mysteries of heaven and the laws of the Spirit. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires; but upon what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ alone founded his empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for him, It was not a day or a battle which achieved the triumph of the Christian religion in the world. No, it was a long war, a contest of three centuries, begun by the apostles, then continued by the flood of Christian generations. In this war all the kings and potentates of the earth were on one side; on the other I see no army, but a mysterious force: some men scattered here and there in all parts of the world, and who have no other rallying point than a common faith in the mysteries of the cross. I die before my time, and my body will be given back to the earth to become food for worms. Such is the fate which so soon awaits him who has been called the Great Napoleon. Paganism is the work of man, Numa, Lycurgus, Memphis, Confucius; Mahommed, and the gods I recognize as beings like myself .. legislators, lawgivers (nothing announced them as divine), with foibles and errors which ally them to humanity. It is not so with Christ; every thing in him astonishes me. His spirit overawes me, and his will confounds me. Between him and whoever else in the world there is no possible term of comparison. He is truly a Being by himself. His ideas, His sentiments, the truths which he announces, His manner of convincing, are not explained, either by human organization or by the nature of things. His birth and the history of his life; the profundity of his doctrine, which grapples the mightiest difficulties, and which is, of those difficulties, the most admirable solution. His gospel, His apparition, His empire, His march across the ages and the realms—everything is, for me, a prodigy. A mystery insoluble, which plunges me into a reverie from which I cannot escape; a mystery which is before my eyes, there, a mystery which I can neither deny nor explain. Here I see nothing human—the nearer I approach the more carefully I examine; every thing is above me—everything remains grand, of a grandeur which overpowers me. His religion is a revelation from an intelligence which certainly is not of man. There is there a profound originality which has created a series of words and of maxims before unknown. Jesus borrowed nothing from our sciences. One can find absolutely nowhere, but in him alone, the imitation of the example of his life. He is not a philosopher, since he advances by miracles, and from the commencement his disciples worshiped him. He persuades them far more by an appeal to the heart than by any display of method and of logic. Neither did he impose upon them any preliminary studies or any knowledge of letters. All his religion consisted in believing. In fact, the sciences and philosophy avail nothing for salvation, and Jesus came into the world to reveal the mysteries of heaven and the laws of the spirit. Also, he has nothing to do but with the soul and to that alone he brings his Gospel. The soul is sufficient for him as he is sufficient for the soul. Before him the soul was nothing; matter and time were the masters of the world. At his voice everything returns to order; science and philosophy become secondary. The soul has recognized its sovereignty. All the scholastic scaffolding falls as an edifice ruined before one single word—faith. What a master! and what a word ‘ which can effect such a revolution. With what authority does he teach us to pray! He imposes his belief and no one, thus far, has been able to contradict him: first, because the Gospel contains the purest morality, and also because the doctrine which it contains, of obscurity, is only the proclamation and the temple of that which exists where no eye can see and no reason can penetrate. Who is the insensate who will say no to that intrepid voyageur who records the marvels of the icy peaks which he alone has had the boldness to visit? Christ is that bold voyageur. One can doubtless remain incredulous, but no one can venture to say, it is not so. Unquestionably, with the skill of thinking, one can seize the key of the philosophy of Socrates and Plato, but to do this, it is necessary to be a metaphysician, and moreover with years of study one must possess special aptitude. But good sense alone, the heart, an honest spirit, are sufficient to comprehend Christianity. The Christian religion is neither idealogy nor metaphysics, but a practical rule, which directs the actions of man, corrects him, counsels him, and assists him in all his conduct. I search in vain in history to find the similar to Jesus Christ or anything which can approach the Gospel. Neither history nor humanity, nor the ages nor nature, can offer me anything with which I am able to compare it or explain it. Here everything is extraordinary. The more I consider the Gospel, the more I am assured that there is nothing there which is not beyond the march of events and above the human mind. Even the impious themselves have never dared to deny the sublimity of the gospel, which inspires them with a sort of compulsory veneration. What happiness that book procures for those who believe it I What marvels those admire there who reflect upon it!

All the words there are embedded, and joined one upon another, like the stones of an edifice. The spirit which binds these words together is a divine cement, which now reveals the sense, and again vails it from the mind. Each phrase has a sense complete, which traces the perfection of unity, and the profundity of the whole. Book unique where the mind finds moral beauty before unknown. and an idea of the Supreme, superior even to that which nature suggests. Who but God could produce that type, that ideal, of perfection, equally exclusive and original?……..

Christ proposed to our faith a series of mysteries. He commands with authority, giving no other reason than those tremendous words—I am God… He, declares it. What, an abyss he creates by that declaration between himself and all fabrications of religion. What audacity, what sacrilege, what blasphemy, if it were not true! I say more: the universal triumph of an affirmation of that kind, if the triumph were not really that of God himself, would be a plausible atheism, an excuse and a reason for it.

Moreover, in propounding mysteries, Christ is harmonious with nature, which is profoundly mysterious. Human life is a mystery, in its origin, it organization, and its end. In man and out of man everything in nature is mysterious. The creation and the destiny of the world are an unfathomable abyss, as also the creation and destiny of each individual. Can one wish that religion should not also be mysterious? The Gospel is not a book, it is a living being, with an action, a power which invades everything that opposes its extension. . . . What a proof of the divinity of Christ: with an empire so absolute, he has but a single end-the spiritual amelioration of individuals the purity of conscience, the union to that which is true—the holiness of the soul. Christ speaks and at once generations become his, by stricter, closer ties than blood–by the most sacred, the most indissoluble of all unions. He lights up the flames of love, which consumes self-love, and prevails over every other love. The founders of other religious never conceived of this mystic love, which is the essence of Christianity, and is beautifully called charity. In every attempt to effect this thing, namely, to make himself beloved, man deeply feels his own impotence. Christ’s greatest miracle, therefore, is the reign of charity.

What an abyss between my deep misery, and the eternal kingdom of Christ, which is proclaimed, loved, and adored, and which is extending over the whole earth! Call you this dying? Is it not living rather? The death of Christ is the death of a God, which would be the annihilation of the universe.

It is also recorded one day, Napoleon was speaking of the Divinity of Christ; when General Bertrand said:—

“I can not conceive, sire, how a great man like you can believe that the Supreme Being ever exhibited himself to men under a human form, with a body, a face, mouth, and eyes. Let Jesus be whatever you please,—the highest intelligence, the purest heart, the most profound legislator, and, in all respects, the most singular being who has ever existed: I grant it. Still, he was simply a man, who taught his disciples, and deluded credulous people, as did Orpheus, Confucius, Brahma. Jesus caused himself to be adored, because his predecessors, Isis and Osiris, Jupiter and Juno, had proudly made themselves objects of worship. The ascendency of Jesus over his time was like the ascendency of the gods and the heroes of fable. If Jesus has impassioned and attached to his chariot the multitude, if he has revolutionized the world, I see in that only the power of genius, and the action of a commanding spirit, which vanquishes the world, as so many conquerors have done—Alexander, Caesar, you, sire, and Mohammed—with a sword.”

Napoleon replied:—

“I know men; and I tell you that Jesus Christ is not a man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires, and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and whatever other religions the distance of infinity.

“We can say to the authors of every other religion, ‘You are neither gods, nor the agents of the Deity. You are but missionaries of falsehood, moulded from the same clay with the rest of mortals. You are made with all the passions and vices inseparable from them. Your temples and your priests proclaim your origin.’ Such will be the judgment, the cry of conscience, of whoever examines the gods and the temples of paganism.

“Paganism was never accepted as truth by the wise men of Greece; neither by Socrates, Pythagoras, Plato, Anaxagoras, or Pericles. On the other side, the loftiest intellects, since the advent of Christianity, have had faith, a living faith, a practical faith, in the mysteries and the doctrines of the gospel; not only Bossuet and Fenelon, who were preachers, but Descartes and Newton, Leibnitz and Pascal, Corneille and Racine, Charlemagne and Louis XIV.

“Paganism is the work of man. One can here read but our imbecility. What do these gods, so boastful, know more than other mortals; these legislators, Greek or Roman; this Numa; this Lycurgus; these priests of India or of Memphis; this Confucius; this Mohammed’?-absolutely nothing. They have made a perfect chaos of mortals. There is not one among them all who has said any thing new in reference to our future destiny, to the soul, to the essence of God, to the creation. Enter the sanctuaries of paganism: you there find perfect chaos, a thousand contradictions, war between the gods, the immobility of sculpture, the division and the rending of unity, the parceling out of the divine attributes mutilated or denied in their essence, the sophisms of ignorance and presumption, polluted fêtes, impurity and abomination adored, all sorts of corruption festering in the thick shades, with the rotten wood, the idol, and the priest. Does this honor God, or does it dishonor him? Are these religions and these gods to be compared with Christianity?

“As for me, I say, No. I summon entire Olympus to my tribunal. I judge the gods, but am far from prostrating myself before their vain images. The gods, the legislators of India and of China, of Rome and of Athens, have nothing which can overawe me. Not that I am unjust to them. No: I appreciate them, because I know their value. Undeniably, princes, whose existence is fixed in the memory as an image of order and of power, as the ideal of force and beauty: such princes were no ordinary men.

“I see, in Lycurgus, Numa, and Mohammed, only legislators, who have the first rank in the State; have sought the best solution of the social problem: but I see nothing there which reveals Divinity. They themselves have never raised their pretensions so high. As for me, I recognize the gods, and these great men, as beings like myself. They have performed a lofty part in their times, as I have done. Nothing announces them divine. On the contrary, there are numerous resemblances between them and myself,—foibles and errors which ally them to me and to humanity.

“It is not so with Christ. Every thing in him astonishes me. His spirit overawes me, and his will confounds me. Between him and whoever else in the world there is no possible term of comparison. He is truly a being by himself. His ideas and his sentiments, the truths which he announces, his manner of convincing, are not explained either by human organization or by the nature of things.

“His birth, and the history of his life; the profundity of his doctrine, which grapples the mightiest difficulties, and which is of those difficulties the most admirable solution; his gospel, his apparition, his empire, his march across the ages and the realms,—every thing is for me a prodigy, a mystery insoluble, which plunges me into reveries which I can not escape; a mystery which is there before my eyes; a mystery which I can neither deny nor explain. Here I see nothing human.

“The nearer I approach, the more carefully I examine, every thing is above me; every thing remains grand,—of a grandeur which overpowers. His religion is a revelation from an intelligence which certainly is not that of man. There is there a profound originality which has created a series of words and of maxims before unknown. Jesus borrowed nothing from our science. One can absolutely find nowhere, but in him alone, the imitation or the example of his life. He is not a philosopher, since he advances by miracles; and, from the commencement, his disciples worshiped him. He persuaded them far more by an appeal to the heart than by any display of method and of logic. Neither did he impose upon them any preliminary studies, or any knowledge of letters. All his religion consists in believing.

“In fact, the sciences and philosophy avail nothing for salvation; and Jesus came into the world to reveal the mysteries of heaven and the laws of the spirit. Also he has nothing to do but with the soul; and to that alone he brings his gospel. The soul is sufficient for him, as he is sufficient for the soul. Before him, the soul was nothing. Matter and time were the masters of the world. At his voice, every thing returns to order. Science and philosophy become secondary. The soul has reconquered its sovereignty. All the scholastic scaffolding falls, as an edifice ruined, before one single word,—faith.

“What a master, and what a word, which can effect such a revolution! With what authority does he teach men to pray! He imposes his belief; and no one, thus far, has been able to contradict him: first, because the gospel contains the purest morality; and also because the doctrine which it contains of obscurity is only the proclamation and the truth of that which exists where no eye can see, and no reason can penetrate. Who is the insensate who will say ‘No’ to the intrepid voyager who recounts the marvels of the icy peaks which he alone has had the boldness to visit? Christ is that bold voyager. One can, doubtless, remain incredulous; but no one can venture to say, ‘It is not so.’

“Moreover, consult the philosophers upon those mysterious questions which relate to the essence of man and the essence of religion. What is their response? Where is the man of good sense who has never learned any thing from the system of metaphysics; ancient or modern, which is not truly a vain and pompous ideology, without any connection with our domestic life, with our passions? Unquestionably, with skill in thinking, one can seize the key of the philosophy of Socrates and Plato. But, to do this, it is necessary to be a metaphysician; and moreover, with years of study, one must possess special aptitude. But good sense alone, the heart, an honest spirit, are sufficient to comprehend Christianity. The Christian religion is neither ideology nor metaphysics, but a practical rule which directs the actions of man, corrects him, counsels him, and assists him in all his conduct. The Bible contains a complete series of facts and of historical men, to explain time and eternity, such as no other religion has to offer. If it is not the true religion, one is very excusable in being deceived; for every thing in it is grand, and worthy of God. I search in vain in history to find the similar to Jesus Christ, or any thing which can approach the gospel. Neither history, nor humanity, nor the ages, nor nature, offer me any thing with which I am able to compare it or to explain it. Here every thing is extraordinary. The more I consider the gospel, the more I am assured that there is nothing there which is not beyond the march of events, and above the human mind. Even the impious themselves have never dared to deny the sublimity of the gospel, which inspires them with a sort of compulsory veneration. What happiness that book procures for those who believe it I What marvels those admire there who reflect upon it!

“All the words there are embedded, and joined one upon another, like the stones of an edifice. The spirit which binds these words together is a divine cement, which now reveals the sense, and again vails it from the mind. Each phrase has a sense complete, which traces the perfection of unity, and the profundity of the whole. Book unique! where the mind finds a moral beauty before unknown; and an idea of the Supreme, superior even to that which creation suggests. Who but God could produce that type, that idea of perfection, equally exclusive and original?

“Christ, having but a few weak disciples, was condemned to death. He died the object of the wrath of the Jewish priests, and of the contempt of the nation, and abandoned and denied by his own disciples.

“‘They are about to take me, and to crucify me,’ said he. ‘I shall be abandoned of all the world. My chief disciples will deny me at the commencement of my punishment. I shall be left to the wicked. But then, divine justice being satisfied, original sin being expiated by my sufferings, the bond of man to God will be renewed, and my death will be the life of my disciples. Then they will be more strong without me than with me; for they shall see me rise again. I shall ascend to the skies, and I shall send to them from heaven a Spirit who will instruct them. The Spirit of the Cross will enable them to understand my gospel. In fine, they will believe it; they will preach it; and they will convert the world.’

“And this strange promise, so aptly called by Paul ‘the foolishness of the cross,’ this prediction of one miserably crucified, is literally accomplished; and the mode of the accomplishment is perhaps more prodigious than the promise.

“It is not a day, nor a battle, which has decided it. Is it the lifetime of a man? No: it is a war, a long combat, of three hundred years, commenced by the apostles, and continued by their successors and by succeeding generations of Christians. In this conflict, all the kings and all the forces of the earth were arrayed on one side. Upon the other, I see no army but a mysterious energy, individuals scattered here and there, in all parts of the globe, having no other rallying sign than a common faith in the mysteries of the cross.

“What a mysterious symbol, the instrument of the punishment of the Man-God! His disciples were armed with it. ‘The Christ,’ they said, ‘God, has died for the salvation of men.’ What a strife, what a tempest, these simple words have raised around the humble standard of the punishment of the Man-God! On the one side, we see rage and all the furies of hatred and violence; on the other, there are gentleness, moral courage, infinite resignation. For three hundred years, spirit struggled against the brutality of sense, conscience against despotism, the soul against the body, virtue against all the vices. The blood of Christians flowed in torrents. They died kissing the hand which slew them. The soul alone protested, while the body surrendered itself to all tortures. Everywhere Christians fell, and everywhere they triumphed.

“You speak of Caesar, of Alexander, of their conquests, and of the enthusiasm which they enkindled in the hearts of their soldiers; but can you conceive of a dead man making conquests, with an army faithful, and entirely devoted to his memory. My armies have forgotten me even while living, as the Carthaginian army forgot Hannibal. Such is our power! A single battle lost crushes us, and adversity scatters our friends.

“Can you conceive of Cæsar as the eternal emperor of the Roman senate, and, from the depth of his mausoleum, governing the empire, watching over the destinies of Rome? Such is the history of the invasion and conquest of the world by Christianity; such is the power of the God of the Christians; and such is the perpetual miracle of the progress of the faith, and of the government of his Church. Nations pass away, thrones crumble; but the Church remains. What is, then, the power which has protected this Church, thus assailed by the furious billows of rage and the hostility of ages? Whose is the arm, which, for eighteen hundred years, has protected the Church from so many storms which have threatened to ingulf it?

“Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ alone founded his empire upon love; and, at this hour, millions of men would die for him.

“In every other existence but that of Christ, how many imperfections! Where is the character which has not yielded, vanquished by obstacles? Where is the individual who has never been governed by circumstances or places; who has never succumbed to the influences of the times; who has never compounded with any customs or passions? From the first day to the last, he is the same, always the same; majestic and simple; infinitely firm, and infinitely gentle.

“Truth should embrace the universe. Such is Christianity,—the only religion which destroys sectional prejudices; the only one which proclaims the unity and the absolute brotherhood of the whole human family; the only one which is purely spiritual; in fine, the only one which assigns to all, without distinction, for a true country, the bosom of the Creator, God. Christ proved that he was the Son of the Eternal by his disregard of time. All his doctrines signify one only and the same thing,—eternity.

“It is true that Christ proposes to our faith a series of mysteries. He commands with authority, that we should believe them,—giving no other reason than those tremendous words, ‘I am God.’ He declares it. What an abyss he creates by that declaration between himself’ and all the fabricators of religion! What audacity, what sacrilege, what blasphemy, if it were not true! I say more: The universal triumph of an affirmation of that kind, if the triumph were not really that of God himself, would be a plausible excuse, and the proof of atheism.

“Moreover, in propounding mysteries, Christ is harmonious with Nature, which is profoundly mysterious. From whence do I come? whither do I go? who am I? Human life is a mystery in its origin, its organization, and its end. In man and out of man, in Nature, every thing is mysterious. And can one wish that religion should not be mysterious? The creation and the destiny of the world are an unfathomable abyss, as also are the creation and destiny of each individual. Christianity at least does not evade these great questions; it meets them boldly: and our doctrines are a solution of them for every one who believes.

“The gospel possesses a secret virtue, a mysterious efficacy, a warmth which penetrates and soothes the heart. One finds, in meditating upon it, that which one experiences in contemplating the heavens. The gospel is not a book: it is a living being, with an action, a power, which invades every thing that opposes its extension. Behold! it is upon this table: this book, surpassing all others [here the emperor deferentially placed his hand upon it], I never omit to read it, and every day with the same pleasure.

“Nowhere is to be found such a series of beautiful ideas; admirable moral maxims, which pass before us like the battalions of a celestial army, and which produce in our soul the same emotions which one experiences in contemplating the infinite expanse of the skies, resplendent in a summer’s night with all the brilliance of the stars. Not only is our mind absorbed; it is controlled: and the soul can never go astray with this book for its guide. Once master of our spirit, the faithful gospel loves us. God even is our friend, our father, and truly our God. The mother has no greater care for the infant whom she nurses.

“What a proof of the Divinity of Christ! With an empire so absolute, he has but one single end,—the spiritual melioration of individuals, the purity of the conscience, the union to that which is true, the holiness of the soul.

“Christ speaks, and at once generations become his by stricter, closer ties than those of blood,—by the most sacred, the most indissoluble, of unions. He lights up the flames of a love which prevails over every other love. The founders of other religions never conceived of this mystical love, which is the essence of Christianity, and is beautifully called charity. In every attempt to affect this thing, viz. to make himself beloved, man deeply feels his own impotence. So that Christ’s greatest miracle undoubtedly is the reign of charity.

“I have so inspired multitudes, that they would die for me. God forbid that I should form any comparison between the enthusiasm of the soldier and Christian charity, which are as unlike as their cause!

“But, after all, my presence was necessary: the lightning of my eye, my voice, a word from me, then the sacred fire was kindled in their hearts. I do, indeed, possess the secret of this magical power which lifts the soul; but I could never impart it to any one. None of my generals ever learned it from me. Nor have I the means of perpetuating my name and love for me in the hearts of men, and to effect these things without physical means.

“Now that I am at St. Helena, now that I am alone, chained upon this rock, who fights and wins empires for me? who are the courtiers of my misfortune? who thinks of me? who makes effort for me in Europe? Where are my friends? Yes: two or three, whom your fidelity immortalizes, you share, you console, my exile.”

Here the emperor’s voice trembled with emotion, and for a moment he was silent. He then continued:—

“Yes: our life once shone with all the brilliance of the diadem and the throne; and yours, Bertrand, reflected that splendor, as the dome of the Invalides, gilt by us, reflects the rays of the sun. But disaster came: the gold gradually became dim. The rain of misfortune and outrage, with which I am daily deluged, has effaced all the brightness. We are mere lead now, General Bertrand; and soon I shall be in my grave.

“Such is the fate of great men! So it was with Caesar and Alexander. And I, too, am forgotten; and the name of a conqueror and an emperor is a college theme! Our exploits are tasks given to pupils by their tutors, who sit in judgment upon us, awarding censure or praise. And mark what is soon to become of me: assassinated by the English oligarchy, I die before my time; and my dead body, too, must return to the earth, to become food for worms. Behold the destiny, near at hand, of him whom the world called the great Napoleon! What an abyss between my deep misery and the eternal reign of Christ, which is proclaimed, loved, adored, and which is extending over all the earth! Is this to die? is it not rather to live? The death of Christ—it is the death of God!

For a moment the emperor was silent. As General Bertrand made no reply, he solemnly added, “If you do not perceive that Jesus Christ is God, very well: then I did wrong to make you a general.”

Whatever else one may say in response, it is difficult to explain this away as mere eloquence. In fact, it was to counter mere eloquence and such artificial power that Napoleon said what he did. With unbelievable insight, he saw how Jesus Christ conquered. It was not by force, but by winning the heart.

Sources: Army, Navy, Air Force Journal & Register, Volume 18, 1881 and numerous other sources that record various instances of Napoleon’s words concerning Jesus including the Christian Classics Ethereal Library @ http://www.ccel.org/

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Quote by Thomas Jefferson You’ll Never Hear From The Democrats

JeffersonContrary to what liberals, democrats, progressive and the revisers of history say Jefferson most definitely believed in God, served the Lord and followed the precepts of Jesus Christ. You’ll notice he says “our” when referring to the Christian religion as in this example: the Holy Author of our religion” as a further example continue to read…He was against forcing people to serve God, yet I must point out the Bible itself teaches that God wants willing servants, serving out of love, not slaves serving out of fear or the whip.

Mr. Jefferson has observed in one of his private letters, “that the writer of these essays was the first man who ever called in question his religious sentiments, and much more, that ever branded him with the appellation of Atheist” He further observes, ” from my earliest youth I have ever had a great and reverential regard, for religion and for the ordinances of God: but at the same time, I do believe that there are those who are set for a defense of the gospel, who abuse its privileges, and trample upon the sacred rights of conscience. For it will be acknowledged by all, that conscience is the throne of God in the heart of man; and whoever requires a violation of conscience, requires more than ever God did: But it was to guard against these trampler’s upon the rights of conscience, that the bill for establishing religious Freedom in this state, was introduced into the house: and whether it will prove beneficial or injurious to society generally, must be left to God and posterity.” As the previous remarks quoted from the pamphlet, were principally founded on the bill for establishing religious freedom in the state of Virginia, we will subjoin the act for the benefit of our readers, many of whom, perhaps, have never seen it: An ACT for establishing Religious Freedom, passed in the assembly of Virginia, in the beginning of the year 1786.

Shepard“Well aware that Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments’ or burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do; that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world, and through all time that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher not of his own persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the ministry those temporal rewards, which proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labors for the instruction of mankind; that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, more than oyx opinions, in physics or geometry; that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which in common with his fellow citizens he has a natural right; that it tends also to corrupt the principles that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing, with a monopoly of worldly honors and emoluments, those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though indeed these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles, on supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge that tendency, will make his opinions the rule judgment, and approve or condemn the sentients of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own; that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally, that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them.

Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

And though we will know that this assembly, elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding assemblies, constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable, would be of no effect in law, yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.”

source: The life of Thomas Jefferson: esq., LL. D., late ex president of the United States
See also: Thomas Jefferson Biography
Thomas Jefferson Notes of Religion October 1776
THE GREAT SEAL OF THE UNITED STATES
Thomas Jefferson Concerning Jesus and Plato
Thomas Jefferson Defines What a True Republic Is
Thomas Jefferson Notes on the Illuminati and Free Masons
MORALITY OF GOVERNMENT by Thomas Jefferson 1810
The Importance of Free Speech and The Free Press in America
Eulogy of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams by Daniel Webster
Patrick Henry may well be proved a Prophet as well as a Statesman
Thomas Jefferson: Encroaches on Liberty & Rights by Government
Thomas Jefferson First Annual Message as President December 1801
Thomas Jefferson Concerning the Political Party Divisions of the Nation
Jefferson Foresaw and Prophesied about This Time in American History
Thomas Jefferson Constitutional Powers Usurped by the Supreme Court
THOMAS JEFFERSON CONCERNING IMMIGRATION and IMMIGRANTS
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams Explain Why Muslims Turn to Terrorism
RELIGIOUS VIEWS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON; source: The Jefferson Bible
Prophetic Letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison; Paris Dec 20, 1787
Passage of the Potomac through the Blue Ridge Mountains by Thomas Jefferson
THOMAS JEFFERSON: VIRGINIA BILL FOR ESTABLISHING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
 
A SUMMARY VIEW OF THE RIGHTS OF BRITISH AMERICA by Thomas Jefferson 1774
Preface To Resolutions of Virginia and Kentucky by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson
KENTUCKY RESOLUTIONS by Thomas Jefferson 1798
Virginia Protest Prepared by Jefferson for the Legislature of Virginia
Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart on Amending the Virginia Constitution
Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry and Henry’s Virginia Resolutions of 1765
 
 
The Truth about the current political parties in America and their origins by Thomas Jefferson and others

Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle & Randy Thomas

father-and-daughter

Butterfly Kisses
There’s two things I know for sure.
She was sent here from heaven,
and she’s daddy’s little girl.
As I drop to my knees by her bed at night,
she talks to Jesus, and I close my eyes.
And I thank God for all of the joy in
my life, But most of all, for…

Butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer.
Stickin’ little white flowers all up in her hair.
“Walk beside the pony daddy,
it’s my first ride.”
“I know the cake looks funny,
daddy, but I sure tried.”
Oh, with all that I’ve done wrong,
I must have done something right
To deserve a hug every morning,
And butterfly kisses at night.

Sweet sixteen today,
She’s looking like her momma
a little more everyday.
One part woman, the other part girl.
To perfume and makeup,
form ribbons and curls.
Trying her wings out
in a great big world. But I remember…

Butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer.
Stickin’ little white flowers all up in her hair.
“You know how much I love you daddy,
But if you don’t mind,
I’m only going to kiss you on
the cheek this time.”
With all that I’ve done wrong
I must have done something right.
To deserve her love every morning,
And butterfly kisses at night.

All the precious time
Like the wind, the years go by
Precious butterfly
Spread your wings and fly

She’ll change her name today.
She’ll make a promise,
and I’ll give her away.
Standing in the bride room
just staring at her,
she asked me what I’m thinking,
and I said “I’m not sure,
I just feel like I’m losing my baby girl.”
Then she leaned over….and gave me….

Butterfly kisses, with her mama there
Sticking little flowers all up in her hair
“Walk me down the aisle, daddy,
it’s just about time.”
“Does my wedding gown look pretty, daddy?”
“Daddy, don’t cry.”
With all that I’ve done wrong,
I must have done something right
To deserve her love every morning,
And butterfly kisses
I couldn’t ask God for more, man, this is what love is
I know I’ve gotta let her go, but I’ll always remember
Every hug in the morning, and butterfly kisses…
Bob Carlisle & Randy Thomas

love-quotes-father-and-daughter

Daddy’s Girl
When you were young, pony-tailed,
face full of playful freckles,
were you a daddy’s girl?
I was. I still am.
Did you look to him for your security,
for love and attention,
for the understanding, and the patience you lacked
as a child?
My daddy was the center of my small world,
the focus of my affections,
the star that lit my life, shining bright.
Shining still in my heart.
The years have led me here,
weathered with maturity and responsibilities,
and I see more clearly now.
The hardships, burdens of love,
and all the small sacrifices he made for me,
for our family.
He created stability, a place to call home.
All the photographs I browse through
of a child long forgotten, scarcely remembered
smiling, so happy and so loved.
The mere thought of becoming that role model
is enough to send me cowering, afraid…
looking for guidance.
Turning to my father and my more for support,
advice, wise counsel, and for approval.
Grown up, I see differently now…
A new perspective of a man I have always known.
My heart is full, my emotions overpowering
just in the certainty of that bond.
He’s been there for me through all the conflicts
helping me over the rough, ragged stones of growing up.
My respect for him is unending,
faith is unbound, and love is unquestioning.
Even in the midst of all my imperfections, he is lenient,
ignoring the pitfalls, the downfalls, the shortcomings,
he just accepted me as I was, as I am.
The sheer purity of it leaves me awe-struck
and it lifts me up, it holds my head a little higher,
it keeps me in balance,
harmonizing with the world around me
beautifully, like an inspired masterpiece from the soul
of an honest man.
I am honored to know him, to love him, to be of him.
He’s my hero, and I am his daughter, his little girl.

THE INFLUENCE OF POPULAR EDUCATION UPON THE NATION

founding_fathersTHE INFLUENCE OF POPULAR EDUCATION UPON THE NATION An Address By Prof. S. S. Rockwood, Of The Wisconsin State Normal School. Delivered At Janesville, Wisconsin, July 4th, 1876.

Mr. President, Ladies And Gentlemen,—I know very well what I am expected to say, I know what is the proper and conventional story to tell you. I know that the emblematic bird must be plucked to-day in your very presence until he looks like a Thanksgiving turkey on the morning of that inevitable Thursday in November. I know as well as tongue can tell that nothing less than filling the air about you with his Centennial plumes will satisfy your patriotic demands. Nothing less than the veritable “Old Abe” himself, fluttering and screaming in your faces, will fully come up to the requirements of this occasion. But there are two insuperable reasons that stand in my way. In the first place, the glorious old “.War Eagle of the Eighth Wis. Vol.,” is at this moment playing a star engagement at Philadelphia, where he is flapping his broad wings in the face of the world; and in the second place, in the division of labor for this day, the centennialism has been handed over to the silver-tongued lawyers and orators who are to follow me, and quiet themes have been assigned the schoolmasters.

I have always thought that great occasions are never wanting to those who are equal to them, and that fame and honor and the abiding confidence of the country wait upon the man who proves himself equal to every occasion.

I still believe in that doctrine, and on the other hand, I see the oblivion that shall hide the man who speaks on this occasion, and this day, the day of all other days, the occasion of all occasions that have seen the light in this country for a hundred years.

But where is the man who can utter the thought of this supreme moment? Who shall fitly speak the word Columbia has waited a century to hear?

FranklinIt is not you, my friends and fellow-citizens, who alone participate in these exercises; the living heroes of the past, whom we call dead, are coming up from every part of the land and world, to make an unseen audience into whose listening ears the words of every speaker must fall this day.

I consider myself fortunate in the theme assigned me. The last great thought of the world is popular education. The ripe fruit of the wisdom of all the ages is the enlightenment and consequent elevation of the masses.

To have discovered the grand laws of the stellar universe and marked out the paths of the planets, to have, invented movable type, to have solved the riddle of the circulation of the blood, to have tamed the lightning, and turned steam into a beast of burden, to have invented poetry and song, and developed art, were mighty things for mighty men to do, but to have discovered that the divine use of all these was for the education and refinement of the toiling millions, was the mightiest service of all. Knowledge is not only power, it is hope, it is consolation; but the wisdom of its application to the advancement of the common people, is the chiefest treasure of all time.

benjamin-rush

The ultimate effects of the education of the people, no man can foretell. The gift of prophesy is gone with the lost arts, and therefore I only propose to notice a few results already achieved, and point out what seem to me a few of its chief tendencies. I shall not attempt a history of the idea. I take the district school as a perfectly familiar and accepted fact. I take education by the State as a conceded reality. I shall not try to show how it falls short of a true ideal, nor shall I discuss the means and methods for improvement. I wish to discover, if I can, some reasons for being better satisfied with the past, better contented with the present, and more hopeful for the future.

In the growth of civilization, from time to time, have arisen great enterprises, enormous needs which no private means however freely contributed, were able to achieve, and their attainment has rightfully been among the true functions of government, and the education of the masses is the last great labor of that kind.

It seems to me that the idea of popular education is the outgrowth of the great truth, that, after providing for the support of life, the chief aim of mankind should be spiritual and intellectual culture, and some day we shall all defend education by the State on this high ground.

What is the effect of the enlightenment of the masses in the Old World as far as already felt?

Why, sir, you know and the world knows that it is fast making kings and emperors mere figure-heads; the scepter is rapidly becoming as hollow and brittle as a bamboo walking-stick, and the lack of it puts a nation into the condition of Spain, with its enlightened leaders whom the people cannot follow; or into that of poor old Turkey, where an enlightened and progressive government is unable to keep step with the century because of the ignorant prejudice and degrading superstition of the people.

It was once supposed that he who made the songs of a people was mightier than he who made their laws.

Thirty-six years ago this very summer, the hard-cider and log cabin songs carried “Old Tippecanoe and Tyler too” into the Presidential chair, but where is the imbecile who supposes that could be repeated this summer? Just imagine, if you can, the people of to-day swept along and consumed by the fire of such a purely emotional awakening. Since that time, the school-master has been abroad in the land, and the appeal this summer is to our understanding, and not to our emotions. The political speaker, now, who carries his points and wins our votes, must give us reasons, not sentiments; he must give us logic, not emotion; he must give us facts, not mere fancies; in a word, he must convince our judgments and not simply inflame our passions and prejudices. The influence of popular education, therefore, is to enable the people to do their own thinking.

I know very well that certain would-be philosophers stoutly maintain that the idea of the people’s thinking for themselves is the merest moonshine and nonsense. They declare that you can’t talk with a man ten minutes without knowing what papers he reads and what church he attends, and so can tell who furnishes him his religious and who his political opinions.

In the first place the assertion is only the shadow, ten feet high, of a truth, and a shadow may be cast on a wall ten feet high by a jumping-jack as well as by a man, and though a man has intelligence enough to make him read the papers and go to church, and although he agrees with both his editor and his pastor to-day, it by no means follows that he will not disagree with one or both tomorrow, and for reasons he can state quite as cogently as either of them.

And here let me say that the newspaper of to-day is itself a reality, because the people have been to school, and for the same reason we shall never have imposed upon us a State religion.

To educate the people is to make the state a servant, it is to make the government an employ, and loyalty to the flag becomes fealty to yourselves. To educate the people is to abolish caste. In the district school the problem of race-influence, which is not in the books, is being solved unconsciously, while others of less importance that are in them occupy the thoughts of the scholars.

Benjamin Rush GospelTo educate all is to make each secure. The true relations of mine and thine are appreciated only by an enlightened people. The reign of brute force goes out with ignorance, and the benign reign of law comes in with intelligence. What we put into our schools we shall willingly enjoy in our government. If the men and women who go into the common schools shall teach by precept and example that which gives probity of individual character, there can be only one result to the nation.

The tendency of popular education is to enable the people to know a patriot from a demagogue, a statesman from a mere politician. I think even now we are beginning to discriminate between the master of political questions and the mere juggler with party issues. I am glad to say to you that it appears very much as though the people can tell, even now, the man who can devise and run governmental organisms from the “Boss” who can simply invent and run party machines.

To educate the populace is to make the civilization more complex, and like the animal organism, the more complex the higher. To educate a people is to increase their power of enjoyment, and therefore to increase their wants. What could Shakespeare be to a Modoc, Raphael to a Patagonian, or Beethoven to a Fiji Islander?

Do you say that prisons and poor-houses have multiplied with the increase of schools? You forget that where there are no schools, the beggars and lepers throng the streets, and the thieves and robbers lie in wait for you at every turn. The stimulus to care for the one, and restrain the other class, is the outgrowth of enlightened sympathy on the one hand, and of intelligent justice on the other.

To educate the people is not to make the college man less, but the common man more; it is to level up, and not down.

The effect is not to cheapen culture, but to elevate our standards; it does not impoverish the few, but enriches the many; it only prevents the mountain peaks from appearing so lofty by the mighty uplifting of the foot-hills.

And, finally, my friends, it seems to me that any element in the social and civil economy of a nation, that produces such results and tendencies as I have hinted at, is not only worthy of exaltation and glorification on her hundredth birthday, but on all her birthdays to the end of time.

 

The Life of Founder John Adams

adams_lgJohn Adams was born at Quincy, then part of the ancient town of Braintree, on the 19th day of October, old style, 1735. He was a descendant of the Puritans, his ancestors having early emigrated from England, and settled in Massachusetts. Discovering early a strong love of rending and of knowledge, proper care was taken by his father to provide for his education. His youthful studies were prosecuted in Braintree, under Mr. Marsh, a gentleman whose fortune it was to instruct several children, who in manhood were destined to act a conspicuous part in the scenes of the revolution.

He became a member of Harvard College, 1751, and was graduated in course in 1755: with what degree of reputation he left the university is not now precisely known; we only know that he was distinguished in a class of which the Reverend Dr. Hemmenway was a member, who bore honorable testimony to the openness and decision of his character, and to the strength and activity of his mind.

Having chosen the law for his profession, he commenced and prosecuted its studies under the direction of Samuel Putnam, a barrister of eminence at Worcester. By him he was introduced to the celebrated Jeremy Gridley, then attorney general of the province of Massachusetts Bay. At the first interview they became friends; Gridley at once proposed Mr. Adams for admission to the bar of Suffolk, and took him into special favor. Soon after his admission, Mr. Gridley led his young friend into a private chamber with an air of secrecy, and, pointing to a book case, said, “Sir, there is the secret of my eminence, and of which you may avail yourself as you please.” It was a pretty good collection of treatises of the civil law. In this place Mr. Adams spent his days and nights, until he had made himself master of the principles of the code.

AdamsArmsFrom early life, the bent of his mind was towards politics, a propensity which the state of the times, if it did not create, doubtless very much strengthened. While a resident at Worcester, he wrote a letter of which the following is an extract. The letter was dated October 12th, 1755. “Soon after the reformation, a few people came over into this new world for conscience sake: perhaps this apparently trivial incident may transfer the great seat of empire into America. It looks likely to me; for, if we can remove the turbulent Gallicks, our people, according to the exactest computations, will in another century become more numerous than England itself. Should this be the case, since we have, I may say, all the naval stores of the nation in our hands, it will be easy to obtain a mastery of the seas; and the united force of all Europe will not be able to subdue us. The only way to keep us from setting up for ourselves is to disunite us.

“Be not surprised that I am turned politician. This whole town is immersed in politics. The interests of nations and all the dira of war make the subject of every conversation. I sit and hear, and after having been led through a maze of sage observations, I sometimes retire, and lay things together, and form some reflections pleasing to myself. The produce of one of these reveries you have read.”

This prognostication of independence, and of so vast an increase of numbers, and of naval force, as might defy all Europe, is remarkable, especially as coming from so young a man, and so early in the history of the country. It is more remarkable that its author should have lived to see fulfilled to the letter, what would have seemed to others at the time, but the extravagance of youthful fancy. His early political feelings were thus strongly American, and from this ardent attachment to his native soil he never departed.

In 1758 he was admitted to the bar, and commenced business in Braintrce. He is understood to have made his first considerable effort, or to have obtained his most signal success, at Plymouth, in a jury trial, and a criminal cause. In 1765, Mr. Adams laid before the public his “Essay on the Canon and Feudal Law,” [A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law] a work distinguished for its power and eloquence. The object of this work was to show, that our New-England ancestors, in consenting to exile themselves from their native land, were actuated mainly by the desire of delivering themselves from the power of the hierarchy, and from the monarchical, aristocratical, and political system of the other continent; and to make this truth bear with effect on the politics of the times. Its tone is uncommonly bold and animated for that period. He calls on the people not only to defend, but to study and understand their rights and privileges; and urges earnestly the necessity of diffusing general knowledge.

In conclusion, he exclaims, “let the pulpit resound with the doctrines and sentiments of religious liberty. Let us hear the danger of thraldom [One who is intellectually or morally enslaved; slave, serf] to our consciences, from ignorance, extreme poverty and dependence, in short, from civil and political slavery. Let us see delineated before us, the true map of man—let us hear the dignity of his nature, and the noble rank he holds among the works of God! That consenting to slavery is a sacrilegious breach of trust, as offensive in the sight of God, as it is derogatory from our own honor, or interest, or happiness; and that God Almighty has promulgated from heaven, liberty, peace, and good will to man.

John-Adams-Poster-Principles-of-FreedomLet the bar proclaim the laws, the rights, the generous plan of power delivered down from remote antiquity; inform the world of the mighty struggles and numberless sacrifices made by our ancestors in the defence of freedom. Let it be known that British liberties are not the grants of princes or parliaments, but original rights, conditions of original contracts, coequal with prerogative, and coeval with government. That many of our rights are inherent and essential, agreed on as maxims and established as preliminaries even before a parliament existed. Let them search for the foundation of British laws and government in the frame of human nature, in the constitution of the intellectual and moral world. There let us see that truth, liberty, justice, and benevolence, are its everlasting basis; and if these could be removed, the superstructure is overthrown of course.

Let the colleges join their harmony in the same delightful concert. Let every declamation turn upon the beauty of liberty and virtue, and the deformity, turpitude, and malignity of slavery and vice. Let the public disputations become researches into the grounds, nature, and ends of government, and the means of preserving the good and demolishing the evil. Let the dialogues and all the exercises become the instruments of impressing on the tender mind, and of spreading and distributing far and wide the ideas of right, and the sensations of freedom.”

In 1766, Mr. Adams removed his residence to Boston, still continuing his attendance on the neighboring circuits, and not infrequently called to remote parts of the province.

In 1770 occurred, as has already been noticed, the “Boston massacre.” Mr. Adams was solicited by the British officers and soldiers to undertake their defence, on the indictment found against them, for their share in that tragical scene. This was a severe test of his professional firmness, He was well aware of the popular indignation against these prisoners, and he was at that time a representative of Boston in the general court, an office which depended entirely upon popular favor. But he knew that it was due to his profession, and to himself, to undertake their defence, and to hazard the consequences. “The trial was well managed. The captain was severed in his trial from the soldiers, who were tried first, and their defence rested in part upon the orders, real or supposed, given by the officer to  his men to fire. This was in a good measure successful. On the trial of Capt. Preston, no such order to fire could be proved. The result was, as it should have been, an acquittal. It was a glorious thing that the counsel and jury had nerve sufficient to breast the torrent of public feeling. It showed Britain that she had not a mere mob to deal with, but resolute and determined men, who could restrain themselves. Such men are dangerous to arbitrary power.”

The event proved, that as he judged well for his own reputation, so he judged well for the interest and permanent fame of his country. The same year he was elected one of the representatives in the general assembly, an honor to which the people would not have called him, had he lost their confidence and affection.

In the year 1773, and 1774, he was chosen a counselor by the members of the general court; but was rejected by Governor Hutchinson, in the former of these years, and by Governor Gage, in the latter.

In this latter year, he was appointed a member of the continental congress, from Massachusetts. “This appointment was made at Salem, where the general court had been convened by Governor Gage, in the last hour of the existence of a house of representatives, under the provincial charter While engaged in this important business, the governor having been informed of what was passing, sent his secretary with a message, dissolving the general court. The secretary finding the door locked, directed the messenger to go in, and inform the speaker that the secretary was at the door, with a message from the governor. The messenger returned, and informed the secretary that the orders of the house were, that the doors should be kept fast; whereupon the secretary soon after read a proclamation, dissolving the general court, upon the stairs. Thus terminated, forever, the actual exercise of the political power of England in or over Massachusetts.”

On the meeting of congress in Philadelphia, 1774, Mr. Adams appeared and took his seat. To talents of the highest order, and the most commanding eloquence, he added an honest devotion to the cause of his country, and a firmness of character, for which he was distinguished through life. Prior to that period he had, upon all occasions, stood forth openly in defence of the rights of his country, and in opposition to the injustice and encroachments of Great Britain. He boldly opposed them by his advice, his actions, and his eloquence; and, with other worthies, succeeded in spreading among the people a proper alarm for their liberties. Mr. Adams was placed upon the first and most important committees. During the first year, addresses were prepared to the king, to the people of England, of Ireland, Canada, and Jamaica. The name of Mr. Adams is found upon almost all those important committees. His firmness and eloquence in debate, soon gave him a standing among the highest in that august body.

john-adams-on-the-american-revThe proceedings of this congress have already passed in review. Among the members, a variety of opinions seem to have prevailed, as to the probable issue of the contest, in which the country was engaged. On this subject, Mr. Adams, a few years before his death, expressed himself, in a letter to a friend, as follows: “When congress had finished their business, as they thought, in the autumn of 1774, I had with Mr. Henry, before we took leave of each other, some familiar conversation, in which I expressed a full conviction that our resolves, declaration of rights, enumeration of wrongs, petitions, remonstrances, and addresses, associations, and non-importation agreements, however they might be viewed in America, and however necessary to cement the union of the colonies, would be but waste water in England. Mr. Henry said, they might make some impression among the people of England, but agreed with me, that they would be totally lost upon the government. I had but just received a short and hasty letter, written to me by Major Joseph Hawley, of Northampton, containing a few broken hints, as he called them, of what he thought was proper to be done, and concluding with these words, ‘after all, we must fight.’ This letter I read to Mr. Henry, who listened with great attention, and as soon as I had pronounced the words, ‘after all, we must fight,’ he raised his head, and, with an energy and vehemence that I can never forget, broke out with, ‘I am of that man’s mind.’ I put the letter into his hand, and when he had read it he returned it to me, with an equally solemn asseveration, that he agreed entirely in opinion with the writer.

“The other delegates from Virginia returned to their state in full confidence that all our grievances would be redressed. The last words that Mr. Richard Henry Lee said to me, when we parted, were, ‘we shall infallibly carry all our points. You will be completely relieved; all the offensive acts will be repealed; the army and fleet will be recalled, and Britain will give up her foolish project.’

“Washington only was in doubt. He never spoke in public. In private, he joined with those who advocated a non-exportation, as well as a non-importation agreement. With both, he thought we should prevail; without either, he thought it doubtful. [Patrick] Henry was clear in one opinion, Richard Henry Lee in an opposite opinion, and Washington doubted between the two.”

On the 15th day of June, the continental congress appointed General Washington commander in chief of the American armies. To Mr. Adams is ascribed the honour of having suggested and advocated the choice of this illustrious man. When first suggested by Mr. Adams, to a few of his confidential friends in Congress, the proposition was received with a marked disapprobation. Washington, at this time, was almost a stranger to them; and, besides, to elevate a man who had never held a higher military rank than that of colonel, over officers of the highest grade in the militia, and those, too, already in the field, appeared not only irregular, but likely to produce much dissatisfaction among them, and the people at large. To Mr. Adams, however, the greatest advantage appeared likely to result from the choice of Washington, whose character and peculiar fitness for the station he well understood. Samuel Adams, his distinguished colleague, coincided with him in these views, and through their instrumentality this felicitous choice was effected. When a majority in congress had been secured, Mr. Adams introduced the subject of appointing a commander in chief of the armies, and having sketched the qualifications which should be found in the man to be elevated to so responsible a station, he concluded by nominating George Washington, of Virginia, to the office.

To Washington, himself, nothing could have been more unexpected. Until that moment he was ignorant of the intended nomination. The proposal was seconded by Samuel Adams, and the following day it received the unanimous approbation of congress.

When Mr. Adams was first made a member of the continental congress, it was hinted that he, at that time, inclined to a separation of the colonies from England, and the establishment of an independent government. On his way to Philadelphia, he was warned, by several advisers, not to introduce a subject of so delicate a character, until the affairs of the country should wear a different aspect. Whether Mr. Adams needed this admonition or not, will not, in this place, be determined. But in 1776, the affairs of the colonies, it could no longer be questioned, demanded at least the candid discussion of the subject. On the 6th of May, of that year, Mr. Adams offered, in committee of the whole, a resolution that the colonies should form governments independent of the crown. On the 10th of May, this resolution was adopted, in the following shape: “That it be recommended to all the colonies, which had not already established governments suited to the exigencies of their case, to adopt such governments as would, in the opinion of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and Americans in general.”

Vigilance-2“This significant vote was soon followed by the direct proposition, which Richard Henry Lee had the honor to submit to congress, by resolution, on the 7th day of June. The published journal does not expressly state it, but there is no doubt that this resolution was in the same words, when originally submitted by Mr. Lee, as when finally passed. Having been discussed on Saturday the 8th, and Monday the 10th of June, this resolution was, on the last mentioned day, postponed for further consideration to the first day of July , and at the same time it was voted, that a committee be appointed to prepare a Declaration, to the effect of the resolution. This committee was elected by ballot on the following day, and consisted of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston.”

It is usual when committees are elected by ballot, that their members are arranged in order, according to the number of votes which each has received. Mr. Jefferson, therefore, probably received the highest, and Mr. Adams the next highest number of votes. The difference is said to have been but a single vote.

Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Adams, standing thus at the head of the committee, were requested by the other members, to act as a sub-committee to prepare the draft; and Mr. Jefferson drew up the paper. The original draft, as brought by him from his study, and submitted to the other members of the committee, with interlineations in the hand writing of Dr. Franklin, and others in that of Mr. Adams, was in Mr. Jefferson’s possession at the time of his death. The merit of this paper is Mr. Jefferson’s. Some changes were made in it, on the suggestion of other members of the committee, and others by Congress, while it was under discussion. But none of them altered the tone, the frame, the arrangement, or the general character of the instrument. As a composition, the declaration is Mr. Jefferson’s. It is the production of his mind, and the high honor of it belongs to him clearly and absolutely.

“While Mr. Jefferson was the author of the declaration itself, Mr. Adams was its great supporter on the floor of Congress. This was the unequivocal testimony of Mr. Jefferson. ‘John Adams,’ said he, on one occasion, ‘was our Colossus on the floor; not graceful, not elegant, not always fluent in his public addresses, he yet came out with a power, both of thought and of expression, that moved us from our seats;” and at another time, he said, ‘John Adams was the pillar of its support on the floor of Congress; its ablest advocate and defender against the multifarious assaults, which were made against it.'”

On the second day of July, the resolution of independence was adopted, and on the fourth, the declaration itself was unanimously agreed to. Language can scarcely describe the transport of Mr. Adams at this time. He has best described them himself, in a letter written the day following, to his wife. “Yesterday,” says he, “the greatest question was decided that was ever debated in America; and greater, perhaps, never was or will be decided among men. A resolution was passed, without one dissenting colony, ‘ That these United States are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states.’ The day is passed. The 4th of July, 1776, will be a memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to Almighty God. It ought to be solemnized with pomp, shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward, forever. You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states; yet through all the gloom, I can see the rays of light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means; and that posterity will triumph, although you and I may rue, which I hope we shall not.”

About the time of the declaration of independence, occurred the disastrous battle of Flatbush on Long Island. The victory thus gained by the British, was considered by Lord Howe as a favorable moment for proposing to congress an accommodation; and for this purpose, he requested an interview with some of the members. In the deliberations of congress, Mr. Adams opposed this proposal, on the ground that no accommodation could thus be effected.

john_adams_constitutionA committee, however, was appointed to wait on Lord Howe, consisting of himself, Dr. Franklin, and Mr. Rutledge. On being apprised of their intended interview, Lord Howe sent one of his principal officers as a hostage, but the commissioners taking him with them, fearlessly repaired to the British camp. On their arrival, they were conducted through an army of twenty thousand men, drawn up for the purpose of show and impression. But the display was lost on the commissioners, who studiously avoided all signs of wonder or anxiety. As had been predicted by Mr. Adams, the interview terminated without any beneficial result. On being introduced, Lord Howe informed them that he could not treat with them as a committee of congress, but only as private gentlemen of influence in the colonies; to which Mr. Adams replied, “You may view me in any light you please, sir, except that of a British subject.”

During the remainder of the year 1776, and all 1777, Mr. Adams was deeply engaged in the affairs of congress. He served as a member of ninety different committees, and was chairman of twenty-five committees. From his multiform and severe labors he was relieved in December of the latter year, by the appointment of commissioner to France, in the place of Silas Deane.

In February, 1778, he embarked for that country on board of the frigate Boston. On his arrival in France, he found that Dr. Franklin, and Arthur Lee, who had been appointed commissioners the preceding year, and were then in France, had already concluded a treaty with the French government. Little business, therefore, of a public nature was left him to do. In the summer of 1779, he returned to America.

About the time of his arrival, the people of Massachusetts were adopting measures for calling a convention to form a new state constitution. Of this convention he was elected a member, and was also a member of the committee appointed by the convention to report a plan for their consideration. A plan which he drew up was accepted, and was made the basis of the constitution of that state.

In the August following, in consequence of an informal suggestion from the court of St. James, he received the appointment of minister plenipotentiary for negotiating a treaty of peace, and a treaty of commerce, with Great Britain. A salary of twenty-five hundred pounds sterling was voted him. In the month of October, he embarked on board the French ship La Sensible, and after a tedious voyage was landed at Ferrol, in Spain, whence he proceeded to Paris, where he arrived in the month of February. He there communicated with Dr. Franklin, who was at that time envoy of the United States at the court of France, and with the Count de Vergennes, the French prime minister. But the British government, it was found, were not disposed to peace, and the day seemed far distant when any negotiation could be opened with a hope of success. Mr. Adams, however, was so useful in various ways, that towards the close of the year, congress honored him by a vote of thanks, “for his industrious attention to the interest and honor of these United States abroad.”

In June, 1780, congress being informed that Mr. Laurens, who had been appointed to negotiate a loan in Holland for the United States, had been taken prisoner by the English, forwarded a commission to Mr. Adams to proceed to Holland, for the above purpose. To this, soon after, was added the new appointment of commissioner to conclude a treaty of amity and commerce with the States General of Holland; and, at the same time, authority was given him to pledge the faith of the United States to the “armed neutrality” proposed by the Russian government.

Mr. Adams repaired with promptitude to Holland, and engaged with great zeal in the business of his commission. From this station he was suddenly summoned by the Count de Vergennes, to consult, at Paris, with regard to a project for a general peace, suggested by the courts of Vienna and St. Petersburgh.

Adams-2-waysThis was one of the most anxious periods in the eventful life of Mr. Adams. France was, indeed, ready to fulfill her guaranty of independence to the United States; but it was the politic aim of the Count de Vergennes, to secure important advantages for his own country, in the settlement of American difficulties. Hence, no effort was spared to make Mr. Adams, in this important matter, the subordinate agent of the French cabinet. He, on the other hand, regarded solely the interests of the United States, and the instructions of congress; and his obstinate independence, unshaken by the alternate threats and blandishments of the court of Versailles, occasioned an effort by the Count de Vergennes to obtain, through the French minister in Philadelphia, such a modification of the instructions to Mr. Adams, as should subject him to the direction of the French cabinet.

The effect of this artful and strenuous measure was, a determination on the part of congress, that Mr. Adams should hold the most confidential intercourse with the French ministers; and should “undertake nothing in the negotiation of a peace, or truce, without their knowledge and concurrence.

Under these humiliating restrictions, the independent and decisive spirit of Mr. Adams was severely tried. The imperial mediators proposed an armistice, but without any withdrawal of troops from America. Mr. Adams firmly opposed this stipulation; and the negotiation proceeded no farther at that time.

It was, obviously, the policy of the French minister, not to facilitate the peace between Great Britain and the United States, without previously securing to France a large share in the fisheries; and at the same time so establishing the western boundary, as to sacrifice the interests of the United States to those of Spain.

Finding all attempts at negotiation unavailing, Mr. Adams returned to Holland.

Meantime, the apprehensions of congress being much excised by the insinuations of the French minister in Philadelphia, they added to the commission for forming a treaty with Great Britain, Dr. Franklin, then plenipotentiary at Paris; Mr. Jay, the minister at Madrid; Mr. Henry Laurens, who had recently been appointed special minister to France; and Mr. Jefferson. The whole were instructed to govern themselves by the advice and opinion of the ministers of the king of France. This unaccountable and dishonorable concession, in effect, made the Count de Vergennes minister plenipotentiary for the United States.

But the indefatigable exertions of Mr. Adams in Holland, had a most important bearing upon the proposed negotiations. By a laborious and striking exhibition of the situation and resources of the United States, he succeeded in so far influencing public opinion, as to obtain a loan of eight millions of guilders, on reasonable terms. This loan, effected in the autumn of 1782, was soon followed by a treaty of amity and commerce with Holland, recognizing the United States as independent and sovereign states.

The disposition towards peace, on the part of the English ministry, was wonderfully quickened by the favorable negotiation of this loan. During Lord Shelburne’s administration, the independence of the states was unconditionally acknowledged, and the first effectual steps were taken to put an end to the war.

During the negotiations that followed, the disposition of France again evinced itself, to cut off the United States from a share of the fisheries, and to transfer a portion of the American territory to Spain. The American commissioners, therefore, were not a little embarrassed by their instructions from congress, to govern themselves by the opinion and advice of the French minister. But, as Mr. Adams had, on a former occasion, found it necessary to depart from instructions of a similar import; the other commissioners now joined with him, in the determination to secure the best interests of their country, regardless of the interference of the French minister, and of the inconsiderate restrictions imposed on them by congress.

Accordingly, provisional articles were signed by them, on the 30th of November, 1782; and this measure was followed by an advantageous definitive treaty in September, 1783.

Mr. Adams spent a part of the year 1784 in Holland, but returned eventually to Paris, on being placed at the head of a commission, with Dr. Franklin and Mr. Jefferson as coad jutors, to negotiate several commercial treaties with different foreign nations.

Near the commencement of the year 1785, congress resolved to send a minister plenipotentiary to represent the United States at the court of St. James. To this responsible station, rendered peculiarly delicate by the fact that the United States had so recently and reluctantly been acknowledged as an independent nation, Mr. Adams was appointed. It was doubtful in what manner and with what spirit an American minister would be received by the British government. On leaving America, Mr. Jay, the then secretary of state, among other instructions, used the following language: “The manner of your reception at that court, and its temper, views, and dispositions respecting American objects, are matters concerning which particular information might be no less useful than interesting. Your letters will, I am persuaded, remove all suspense on those points.”

In accordance with this direction, Mr. Adams subsequently forwarded to Mr. Jay the following interesting account of his presentation to the king.

“During my interview with the marquis of Carmarthen, he told me it was customary for every foreign minister, at his first presentation to the king, to make his majesty some compliments conformable to the spirit of his credentials; and when Sir Clement Cottrel Dormer, the master of ceremonies, came to inform me that he should accompany me to the secretary of state, and to court, he said, that every foreign minister whom he had attended to the queen, had always made an harangue to her majesty, and he understood, though he had not been present, that they always harangued the king. On Tuesday evening, the Baron de Lynden (Dutch ambassador) called upon me, and said he came from the Baron de Nolkin, (Swedish envoy,) and had been conversing upon the singular situation I was in, and they agreed in opinion that it was indispensable that I should make a speech, and that it should be as complimentary as possible. All this was parallel to the advice lately given by the Count de Vergennes to Mr. Jefferson. So that finding it was a custom established at both these great courts, that this court and the foreign ministers expected it, I thought I could not avoid it, although my first thought and inclination had been to deliver my credentials silently and retire. At one, on Wednesday the first of June, the master of ceremonies called at my house, and went with me to the secretary of state’s office, in Cleveland Row, where the marquis of Carmarthen received me, and introduced me to Mr. Frazier, his under secretary, who had been, as his lordship said, uninterruptedly in that office through all the changes in administration for thirty years, having first been appointed by the earl of Holderness. After a short conversation upon the subject of importing my effects from Holland and France, free of duty, which Mr. Frazier himself introduced, Lord Carmarthen invited me to go with him in his coach to court. When we arrived in the antechamber, the œil de bœuf [Oeil-de-boeuf, French literally means, ‘eye of the steer’] of St. James’s, the master of the ceremonies met me, and attended me, while the secretary of state went to take the commands of the king. While I stood in this place, where it seems all ministers stand on such occasions, always attended by the master of ceremonies, the room very full of courtiers, as well as the next room, which is the king’s bed chamber, you may well suppose, that I was the focus of all eyes.

“I was relieved, however, from the embarrassment of it by the Swedish and Dutch ministers, who came to me and entertained me in a very agreeable conversation during the whole time. Some other gentlemen whom I had seen before came to make their compliments too, until the marquis of Carmarthen returned, and desired me to go with him to his majesty: I went with his lordship through the levee room into the king’s closet; the door was shut, and I was left with his majesty and the secretary of state alone. I made the three reverences, one at the door, another about half way, and the third before the presence, according to the usage established at this and all the northern courts of Europe, and then addressed myself to his majesty in the following words:

“Sir, the United States have appointed me their minister plenipotentiary to your majesty, and have directed me to deliver to your majesty this letter, which contains the evidence of it. It is in obedience to their express commands, that I have the honor to assure your majesty of their unanimous disposition and desire to cultivate the most friendly and liberal intercourse between your majesty’s subjects and their citizens, and of their best wishes for your majesty’s health and happiness, and for that of your royal family.

“The appointment of a minister from the United States to your majesty’s court, will form an epoch in the history of England and America. I think myself more fortunate than all my fellow citizens, in having the distinguished honor to be the first to stand in your majesty’s royal presence in a diplomatic character; and I shall esteem myself the happiest of men, if I can be instrumental in recommending my country more and more to your majesty’s royal benevolence, and of restoring an entire esteem, confidence, and affection, or in better words, ‘the old good nature, and the old good humor,’ between people who, though separated by an ocean, and under different governments, have the same language, a similar religion, and kindred blood. I beg your majesty’s permission to add, that although I have sometimes before been entrusted by my country, it was never, in my whole life, in a manner so agreeable to myself.’

“The king listened to every word I said, with dignity, it is true, but with an apparent emotion. Whether it was the nature of the interview, or whether it was my visible agitation, for I felt more than I did or could express, that touched him, I cannot say, but he was much affected, and answered me with more tremor than I had spoken with, and said:

“Sir, the circumstances of this audience are so extraordinary, the language you have now held is so extremely proper, and the feelings you have discovered so justly adapted to the occasion, that I must say, that I not only receive with pleasure the assurances of the friendly disposition of the people of the United States, but that I am very glad the choice has fallen upon you to be their minister. I wish you, sir, to believe, and that it may be understood in America, that I have done nothing in the late contest but what I thought myself indispensably bound to do, by the duty which I owed to my people. I will be very frank with you. I was the last to conform to the separation; but the separation having been made, and having become inevitable, I have always said, as I say now, that I would be the first to meet the friendship of the United States, as an independent power. The moment I see such sentiments and language as yours prevail, and a disposition to give this country the preference, that moment I shall say, let the circumstances of language, religion, and blood, have their natural and full effect.’

“I dare not say that these were the king’s precise words, and it is even possible that I may have, in some particular, mistaken his meaning; for although his pronunciation is as distinct as I ever heard, he hesitated sometimes between his periods, and between the members of the same period. He was, indeed, much affected, and I was not less so; and, therefore, I cannot be certain that I was so attentive, heard so clearly, and understood so perfectly, as to be confident of all his words or sense; this I do say, that the foregoing is his majesty’s meaning, as I then understood it, and his own words, as nearly as I can recollect.”

The year following, 1788, Mr. Adams requested permission to resign his office, which, being granted, after an absence of between eight and nine years, he returned to his native country. The new government was, at that time, about going into operation. In the autumn of 1788, he was elected vice president of the United States, a situation which he filled, with reputation for eight years.

On the retirement of General Washington from the presidency, in 1796, Mr. Adams was a candidate for that elevated station. At this time, two parties had been formed in the United States. At the head of one stood Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Adams, and at the head of the other stood Mr. Jefferson. After a close contest between these two parties, Mr. Adams was elected president, having received seventy-one of the electoral votes, and Mr. Jefferson sixty-eight. In March, 1797, these gentlemen entered upon their respective offices of president and vice president of the United States.

Of the administration of Mr. Adams we shall not, in this place, give a detailed account. Many circumstances conspired to render it unpopular. An unhappy dispute with France had arisen a little previously to his inauguration. In the management of this dispute, which had reference to aggressions by France upon American rights and commerce, the popularity of Mr. Adams was in no small degree affected, although the measures which he recommended for upholding the national character, were more moderate than congress, and a respectable portion of the people, thought the exigencies of the case required. Other circumstances, also, conspired to diminish his popularity. Restraints were imposed upon the press, and authority vested in the president to order aliens to depart out of the United States, when he should judge the peace and safety of the country required. To these measures, acts were added for raising a standing army, and imposing a direct tax and internal duties. These, and other causes, combined to weaken the strength of the party to whom he owed his elevation, and to prevent his re-election. He was succeeded by Mr. Jefferson, in 1801.

On retiring from the presidency he removed to his former residence at Quincy, where, in quiet, he spent the remainder of his days. In 1820, he voted as elector of president and vice president; and, in the same year, at the advanced age of 85, he was a member of the convention of Massachusetts, assembled to revise the constitution of that commonwealth.

Mr. Adams retained the faculties of his mind, in remarkable perfection, to the end of his long life. His unabated love of reading and contemplation, added to an interesting circle of friendship and affection, were sources of felicity in declining years, which seldom fall to the lot of any one.

“But,” to use the language of a distinguished eulogist Webster, “he had other enjoyments. He saw around him that prosperity and general happiness, which had been the object of his public cares and labours. No man ever beheld more clearly, and for a longer time, the great and beneficial effects of the services rendered by himself to his country. That liberty, which he so early defended, that independence, of which he was so able an advocate and supporter, he saw, we trust, firmly and securely established. The population of the country thickened around him faster, and extended wider, than his own sanguine predictions had anticipated; and the wealth, respectability, and power of the nation, sprang up to a magnitude, which it is quite impossible he could have expected to witness, in his day. He lived, also, to behold those principles of civil freedom, which had been developed, established, and practically applied in America, attract attention, command respect, and awaken imitation, in other regions of the globe; and well might, and well did he exclaim, ‘Where will the consequences of the American revolution end!’

“If any thing yet remains to fill this cup of happiness, let it be added, that he lived to see a great and intelligent people bestow the highest honor in their gift, where he had bestowed his own kindest parental affections, and lodged his fondest hopes.

“At length the day approached when this eminent patriot was to be summoned to another world; and, as if to render that day forever memorable in the annals of American history, it was the day on which the illustrious Jefferson was himself, also, to terminate his distinguished earthly career. That day was the fiftieth anniversary of the declaration of independence.

“Until within a few days previous, Mr. Adams had exhibited no indications of a rapid decline. The morning of the fourth of July, 1826, he was unable to rise from his bed. Neither to himself, or his friends, however, was his dissolution supposed to be so near. He was asked to suggest a toast, appropriate to the celebration of the day. His mind seemed to glance back to the hour in which, fifty years before, he had voted for the declaration of independence, and with the spirit with which he then raised his hand, he now exclaimed, ‘Independence forever.‘ At four o’clock in the afternoon he expired. Mr. Jefferson had departed a few hours before him.”

We close this imperfect sketch of the life of this distinguished man in the language of one who, from the relation in which he stood to the subject of this memoir, must have felt, more than any other individual, the impressiveness of the event. “They, (Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson,) departed cheered by the benediction of their country, to whom they left the inheritance of their fame, and the memory of their bright example. If we turn our thoughts to the condition of their country, in the contrast of the first and last day of that half century, how resplendent and sublime is the transition from gloom to glory! Then, glancing through the same lapse of time, in the condition of the individuals, we see the first day marked with the fulness and vigor of youth, in the pledge of their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, to the cause of freedom and of mankind. And on the last, extended on the bed of death, with but sense and sensibility left to breathe a last aspiration to heaven of blessing upon their country; may we not humbly hope, that to them, too, it was a pledge of transition from gloom to glory; and that while their mortal vestments were sinking into the clod of the valley, their emancipated spirits were ascending to the bosom of their God!”

See also:
Eulogy of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams by Daniel Webster
The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 1: Novanglus Papers
The Consequence of Bad Legal Precedent in American Legislation
THE COST OF POPULAR LIBERTY by Brooks Adams July 4th 1876
 PATRIOT SONS OF PATRIOT SIRES by Rev. Samuel Francis Smith 1808-1895
RISE OF CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERTY by Dr. Richard Salter Storrs July 4 1876
THE FIRST CENTURY OF THE REPUBLIC by Judge Isaac W Smith 1876
Wide Spread And Growing Corruption In The Public Service Of The States And Nation
WHAT HISTORY TEACHES US ABOUT AMERICAN DIPLOMACY Addressed in 1876
THE SOURCE AND SECURITY OF AMERICAN FREEDOM AND PROGRESS by Courtlandt Parker 1876

THE COST OF POPULAR LIBERTY by Brooks Adams July 4th 1876

Brooks_Adams,_c._1910THE COST OF POPULAR LIBERTY, A SPEECH BY BROOKS ADAMS, ESQ., DELIVERED AT THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION AT BINGHAM, MASS., JULY 4th, 1876. Youngest son of Charles Francis Adams, also great grandson of John Adams.

Fellow-citizens: On this solemn anniversary we do not come together—if I understand our feelings rightly—to indulge in vainglorious self-praise of our fathers or ourselves. Nor do we come here to lash ourselves once more into anger over the well known story of the wrongs our fathers suffered at the hands of the English people. We come here neither in pride nor bitterness. We bear malice towards none. We are at peace with all the world. What we do come for is to celebrate what we believe to have been a great era in the world’s history, to call to mind the principles which were declared one hundred years ago to-day, to rejoice over the blessings which this people have inherited through the patriotism and the wisdom of our forefathers, and above all to ask ourselves on this Centennial day whether we have been acting up to the standard they laid down for us, and whether we are doing our duty by our country and our age. That three millions of people should have been able to contend with the whole power of Great Britain, and to wring from her an acknowledgment of their independence, is indeed surprising, but that alone would throw but a comparatively feeble light upon the early patriots. Other colonies have also gained their independence, whose people have little reason to celebrate their nation’s birthday. What makes this day remarkable is not so much that on it our independence was declared as that on its birth was given to popular government, and the glory of our ancestors lies not so much in having waged a successful war as in having been the first to teach the lesson to mankind that institutions resting safely on the popular will can endure. Yet the men of that day were neither dreamers nor enthusiasts. They did not want independence for its own sake. They would have been perfectly content to have remained English subjects had they been allowed to manage their little governments as they had been accustomed, and to enjoy the rights they had always enjoyed. But they were not a race of men to endure oppression patiently. They loved liberty as they understood it, and as we understand it, more than anything on earth, and to preserve it they were willing to brave the greatest power of the world.

II. The Beginning of Government

We all know the history of the war, how it begun at Lexington and Concord and dragged through seven, bloody, weary years, and until it closed on the day when Gen. Lincoln, of Hingham, received the sword of Lord Cornwallis on the surrender of Yorktown. During those years this State and this town did their part, as they have always done in the time of trial, and as they probably always will do so long as the old Puritan stock remains. Meanwhile the colonies, having thrown off their old Government, went on to organize a new one. Peace found the country ravaged, war-worn, ruined, and under Confederation. The Declaration of Independence had boldly declared not only the right but the capacity of the people for self-government. The task yet remained before them of reconstructing their Government and thus redeeming the boast that had been made. For the first time in the world’s history popular institutions were really upon trial, and it seemed as though they were doomed to meet with disastrous failure. How can I describe that wretched interval, the gloomiest years in American history. The confederation hardly deserved the name of Government. There were enemies abroad, there was dissension at home. Congress had no power to levy taxes, so that not only the interest on the public debt, but the most ordinary expenses remained unpaid. There was a debased currency, there were endless jealousies between the States, there was mutiny in the army, imbecility in Congress—the people were poor and discontented, and at length a rebellion broke at her in Massachusetts which threatened to overthrow the foundation of society. The greatest and best of men—Washington, himself, was in despair. It was then that the intelligence and power of the American people showed itself, it was then that they justified the boast of the Declaration of Independene, it was then that they established Government.

No achievement of any people is more wonderful than this. “Without force or bloodshed, but by means of fair agreement alone difficulties were solved which had seemed to admit of no solution. At this distance of time we can look back calmly, and we can appreciate the wisdom and self-control of men who could endure such trials and pass through action without an appeal to arms. And they had their awards. Nothing has ever equaled the splendor of their success. From the year 1789 to the year 1860, no nation has ever known a more unbounded prosperity, a fuller space of happiness. In the short space of 70 years, within the turn of a single life, the nation, poor, weak and despised, raised itself to the pinnacle of power and of glory.

At the outbreak of the Revolution 3,000,000 of people, a far smaller number than the population of New York now, were scattered along the Atlantic Coast from Maine to Georgia. There were no interior settlements. Where the great cities of Buffalo and Rochester now are there were then only Indians and deer. Boston had but 14,000 inhabitants, there were no manufactures, everything was imported from abroad. Within those 70 or 80 years all changed as if by magic. Population increased ten-fold, cities sprang up in the wilderness, manufactures were established, wealth grew beyond all computation. And better than mere material prosperity, our history was stainad by no violence. We had no State executions, no reigning terror, no guillotine, no massacre. We tolerated all religious beliefs. There was perfect liberty and security for all men. Nor is this the highest praise to which our people are justly due. No purer men or greater statesmen ever lived than those whose lives adorn the early history of the Republic. Men who had never seen a great city, men whose whole experience had not extended further than the local assembly of their colony or the provincial corn-fields, wrote the Declaration of Independence, and framed the Constitution of our States. We read their writings now, we wonder at them, but we do not dream equaling them ourselves. There seemed no end to them. Orators, statesmen, judges, Washington and Jefferson, Franklin and Marshall, men who will be remembered and honored so long as our language shall endure.

III. Slavery

But with all the blessings we inherited from our ancestors we, inherited a curse also—the curse of negro slavery. It is easy now to see how the bitterness of the South as we should wish to be received were we Southerners. Let us rather remember that they fought by our fathers’ side through seven long years in the war of the Revolution, and that a year ago Southern soldiers marched through the streets of Boston under the old flag to celebrate with us the victory of Bunker Hill. And now on this our nation’s birthday, in the midst of peace, with our country more wealthy and more populous than ever before, are we content? Can we look over the United States and honestly tell ourselves that all things are well within us? We cannot conceal from ourselves that all things are not well. For the last ten years a shameless corruption has gone on about us. We see it on every side. We read of it daily in the newspapers until we sicken with disgust. It has not been confined to any section or state, or city, to either political party, or to any department of Government. It has been all-pervading.

IV. Political Party

One hundred years ago to-day birth was given to this nation in its struggle for the rights of men. On this day, if on n0 other we can rise above our party ties, we can feel that we are all citizens of a common country striving for a common cause, members of a common party, all Republicans, all Democrats. We may differ as to the means but we agree upon the end. We all long for a great and respected country, for a happy and united people between the North and South slowly grew until it burst into civil war. And truly that war did continue until every drop of blood drawn by the lost had been repaid by another drawn by the sword. Though years have passed by, which of us does not remember the awful agony of that struggle, the joy at the news of victory, the gloom after defeat. Even now when we recall those days we feel the old rage arise within us, the old bitterness return. Not far from these doors stands the statue of Massachusetts’ greatest Governor—Mr. Andrews. Truly his life should teach us that as men are good and brave, so are they kind and forgiving. Surely he would not have cherished resentment toward a conquered foe. Surely he would have been the last to preach the doctrine of internal hate. Surely Mr. Lincoln was full of kindness toward the South. If ever we are again to have a united people, we must learn to feel as he felt. We must remember men will never be good citizens who are treated with suspicion and distrust. We must, above all things, teach ourselves to be just. We must remember that the foundation of this government is equal laws for all, and that there cannot be one law for Massachusetts and another for Virginia.

The issues of the war are dead; Slavery is abolished, never to be revived; it is forbidden by the Constitution, and we have the means to enforce obedience should any disobey. No State will ever again support the cause which has been trampled in the dust by national armies. Let us then remember this Centennial year by forgetting sectional differences. Let us receive them as brothers. There are certain duties which the citizen owes this country that cannot be thrown aside, and the first of these duties is to see that the Government is pure. The struggles of the Democrats and Federalists of three-quarters of a century ago no longer excites us. Yet we see two parties, each believing in themselves in the right, and each fighting fiercely for what they believe. We know what the Democrats were. “We know that under their will the country was prosperous and happy, and we are justified in believing that had victory been reversed, the country would have prospered still. What matters it to us to which political party Washington, Jefferson, Madison, or Jay belonged? We know that they were great and wise, and we honor them and love them as American citizens. What does it matter to us if the people and the men they chose to govern them were intelligent and honest, and made the American name feared and respected throughout the world.

There may not be among us men equal to the early patriots, men whose names will still be remembered when this nation has passed away, but we have men whose honor is as stainless, whose lives are as pure, and who, if they cannot bring genius, can at least bring integrity and devotion to the public service. We have no standing army, no aristocracy. The whole future of our society rests on the respect the people feel for law. Laws can only be respected when the laws themselves, the men who make them, and the men who administer them command our respect. If the time shall ever come when American judges shall habitually sell justice, when American legislators shall sell their votes, and the public servants the nation’s honor, all respect for our institutions will die in the minds of our people, and the Government born one hundred years ago to-day will be about to pass away.

V. Official corruption

The question even now forces itself upon us, what do the things that are about us portend? Is all that we have seen and heard, only the sign of a passing evil, which we may hope to cure, or does it show that we are already the victims of that terrible disease which has so often been the ruin of republics? Is the very glory and splendor of the nation to prevent its ruin, and do its wealth and prosperity bear out, then, the seeds of decay? Our fathers were small and scattered people—sober, frugal and industrious. There was no great wealth, nor was their extreme poverty. Most men were farmers, and had that best and most practical of all education —the management of their own property, the process of government comparatively simple, and the temptations comparatively small. In a century all this has changed; we are forty millions of people instead of three millions; we are crowded together in great cities; we have railways and manufactures; we have huge aspirations, vast wealth. But side by side with our beautiful churches and rich colleges there exists, where the population is dense, much poverty and ignorance. On the other hand, men are assailed by all the tempations of a rich and complex society. In the history of the past few years that evil has slowly gained strength; a class of men are beginning to hold office, with the approbation of the people, whose object is plunder; a class who look upon the public revenues as a fund from which to steal—nay, more, who seek public offices for motives of private gain by using their influence to make money for themselves.

VI. Necessity of Change

There we already see the beginning of the end. No popular government can endure which does not do justice, a much less one which is systematically perverted. No government can endure which allows the property of its citizens to be taken from them under the guise of taxes, not for profitable purposes, but to satisfy private greed. These abuses came with ring rule, and there is hardly a rich city or a great State in the Union which does not know the meaning of government by rings(1). Corrupt courts, enormous taxes, ruinous debts, impure politics, are the consequences, and the consequences we have seen. If we have now arrived at the point where we feel ring government gradually closing in upon us; if the majority of the people has not the power or the intelligence, or the will, not only to protect themselves against fresh assaults, but to purify society from taint, this is for us indeed a gloomy anniversary, and our hope can be but small. In such a struggle to stand still is to be conquered. Nothing in the world is stationary, and if government does not diminish it will assuredly increase.

I do not believe there is excuse for gloom. We know the people with whom we have always lived, and we know that they are neither dishonest nor ignorant, and I do not believe that the people of the other States in the Union are behind the people of Massachusetts. But there are also other better reasons for confidence. This the generation which carried through the war; no sterner test could be applied to any people. There was no constraint upon them; peace was always within their reach; it could have been attained at any time had the majority desired it.

After brief allusions to the prominent causes for hope, the speaker concluded as follows: Fellow-citizens, believing as I do that our institutions are wise and good, believing as I do that, properly administered, they yield to us the fullest measure of happiness, believing that our people are essentially the same as the people of one hundred years ago—equally honest, equally intelligent, equally self-sacrificing—I see no cause for despondency in the future, I see reason for brightest hope. Provided we remember that our responsibilities are as great now as they ever have been during our history—provided we keep in mind the warning of Washington, that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance—provided we are awake to the knowledge that abuses which are tolerated may in time overpower us—there lies before this Republic the happiest future which any nation has ever been permitted to enjoy; a future as happy and as glorious as its past. Let us then, in this centennial year, putting aside all personal ambition and all selfish aims, firmly resolve that we will strive honestly, patiently, humbly, in the position in which God has placed us, to regain that noble purity in which our nation was born, preeminent to the end that our children, at another centennial, may say of us that they too had their ink well in the world’s history, and through them this Government of the people for the people by the people still endureth.

“If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” – Samuel Adams

Footnotes
(1) Government by rings definition: Also called government by lottery, or convention system of government. That government where political bosses are in control and we the people have no real say in who is chosen to represent us, whether it be in the political offices and bureaucracies of nation, state or local. It is also where the seats of bureaucracy are filled by the winner of elections as in political appointees, where the reins of society and government are given over to lobbyists and special interests who have more sway with legislation than we the people do.

From the Journal of the Senate of the State of Michigan, Volume 2 (1879)

As illustrating the operations of the ring, I quote from the Buffalo Express, one of the ablest papers published in the United States:

“Books have been multiplied to serve the profits of publishers rather than the training of scholars, and every large city, where tens of thousands of children must have each a half-dozen or more of books, has become a gold-mine, to be worked to the utmost by the publishers who hold it, and to be strenuously fought for by the publishers whose works are now excluded. Any fair and unbiased opportunity to judge of text-books solely upon their merits, and adopt them because of those merits, is prevented by the manipulations of book agents, who push the works published by the houses in whose pay they are, in season and out of season, and too often bring to the notice of the officials interested arguments quite apart from any consideration of the contents of the book. According to the Detroit Free Press, the matter took this shape in a southern city:

“The Louisville, Ky., school-men have been grievously tempted by a geography agent. One member resigned because he had been offered $75 to vote for a particular geography,and he did not wish the offense repeated. Another said that §200 had been offered him to vote for the same work. Thus doth the great cause of education stride along.”

Who knows how soon such bribery may be resorted to in Buffalo and other cities? Could there be a grosser scandal than this making merchandise of the training, and therefore, to no trilling extent, of the future happiness of one’s children, the dearest interests that can appeal to the heart of man and woman?

Is it not about time that the people of this State, if not of the country, should adopt some settled, uniform, legalized method as to school-books which might better serve the training of pupils, might lessen the cost to parents, and might put an end to a great and growing scandal? Must it be admitted that no such plan can be devised, and that public education has become the foot-ball of the mercantile interests of publishers, beyond all remedy? That would be a humiliating confession—a confession, indeed, which would go far to cast doubt upon the boasted capacity of the American people for self-government. If we cannot protect ourselves from imposition and intrigue, in a matter as to which our love for our children and our regard for the future welfare of the country—two of the strongest sentiments of our being —conspire to quicken our invention and give decision to our action, then we might as well confess that government by rings is the normal condition of American society, and that we are helplessly given over to the spoiler.”

Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.”- Thomas Paine

See also: 
Wide Spread And Growing Corruption In The Public Service Of The States And Nation
The Practical Advance Of Human Freedom Under The Trumpet Call Made In 1776 by Charles F Adams
WHAT HISTORY TEACHES US ABOUT AMERICAN DIPLOMACY Addressed in 1876
Corruption In Politics and Society: Corrupters Of America! by John Hancock 1770
Political Evils and the Remedy for them by Noah Webster 1834
Founders on the 2nd Amendment
 

The Practical Advance Of Human Freedom Under The Trumpet Call Made In 1776 by Charles F Adams

Charles Francis AdamsThe practical advance of human freedom under the trumpet call made one hundred years ago, and the Example of George Washington, by Charles Francis Adams 1876, US Congressman, US Diplomat. The son of 6th United States President John Quincy Adams and grandson of 2nd United States President John Adams. Continued from WHAT HISTORY TEACHES US ABOUT AMERICAN DIPLOMACY Addressed in 1876

“I come now to a fourth and more stupendous measure following that call. The world-wide famous author of it [The Declaration of Independence] had not been slow to grasp the conception that the abolition of all trade in slaves must absolutely follow as a corollary from’ his general principle. The strongest proof of it is found in the original draft of his paper, wherein he directly charged it as one of the greatest grievances inflicted upon liberty by the king, that he had countenanced the trade. The passage is one of the finest in the paper, and deserves to be repeated to-day. It is in these words:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the person of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death on their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian [As King of England, George III was the supreme head of the Church of England, this is one of the reasons for Amendment 1 of the Constitution] King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain the execrable commerce.(1)

There is no passage so fine as this in the Declaration. Unfortunately it hit too hard on some interests close at home which proved strong enough to have it dropped from the final draft. But though lost there, its essence almost coeval with the first publication of Granville Sharp in England on the same subject undoubtedly pervaded the agitation which never ceased in either country until legislation secured a final triumph The labors of Sharp and Wilberforce, of Clarkson and Buxton, and their companions, have placed them upon an eminence of honor throughout the world.

Freedom5 But their struggle which began in 1787, was not terminated for a period of twenty years. On the other hand, it appears in the statute book in 1794, that it was enacted by the Congress of the United States: “That no vessel shall be fitted for the purpose of earning on any traffic in slaves to any foreign country, or for procuring from any foreign country the inhabitants thereof to be disposed of as slaves.” This act was followed in due course by others, which, harmonizing with the action of foreign nations, is believed to have put an effective and permanent stop to one of the vilest abominations, as conducted on the ocean, that was ever tolerated in the records of time.

But all this laborious effort had been directed only against the cruelties practiced in the transportation of negro slaves over the seas. It did not touch the question of his existing condition or of his right to be free.

This brings me to the fifth and greatest of all fruits of the charter of Independence, the proclamation of liberty to the captive through a great part of the globe.

The seed that had been sown broadcast over the world fell much as described in the Scripture, some of it sprouting too early, as in France, and yielding none but bitter fruit, but more, after living in the ground many years, producing results most propitious to the advancement of mankind. It would be tedious for me to go into details describing the progress of a movement that has changed the face of civilization. The principle enunciated in our precious scroll has done its work in Great Britain and in France, and most of all in the immense expanse of the territories of the Autocrat of all the Russias, who of his own mere motion proclaimed that noble decree which liberated from serfdom at one stroke twenty-three millions of the human race. This noble act will remain forever one of the grandest steps toward the elevation of mankind ever taken by the will of a sovereign of any race in any age.

But though freely conceding the spontaneous volition of the Czar in this instance, I do not hesitate to affirm that but for the subtle essence infused into the political conscience of the age by the great Declaration of 1776, he would never have been inspired with the lofty magnanimity essential to the completion of so great a work.

i-prefer-dangerous-freedom-over-peaceful-slaveryI come next and last to the remembrance of the fearful conflict for the complete establishment of the grand principle to which we had pledged ourselves at the very outset of our national career, and out of which we have, by the blessing of the Almighty, come safe and sound. The history is so fresh in our minds that there is no need of recalling its details, neither would I do so if there were, on a day like this consecrated wholly to the harmony of the nation. Never was the first aspect of any contention surrounded by darker clouds; yet viewing as we must its actual issue, at no time has there ever been more reason to rejoice in the present and look forward with confidence to a still more brilliant future. Now that the agony is over, who is there that will not admit that he is not relieved by the removal of the ponderous burden which weighed down our spirits in earlier days? The great law proclaimed at the beginning has been at last fully carried out. No more apologies for inconsistency to caviling and evil-minded objectors. No more unwelcome comparisons with the superior liberality of absolute monarchs in distant regions of the earth. Thank God, now there is not a man who treads the soil of this broad land, void of offense, who in the eye of the law does not stand on the same level with every other man. If the memorable words of Thomas Jefferson, that true Apostle of Liberty, had done only this it would alone serve to carry him aloft, high up among the benefactors of mankind. Not America alone, but Europe and Asia, and above all Africa, nay the great globe itself, move in an orbit never so resplendent as on this very day.

Let me then sum up in brief the results arrived at by the enunciation of the great law of liberty in 1776:

1. It opened the way to the present condition of France.

2. It brought about perfect security for liberty on the broad and narrow seas.

3. It set the example of abolishing the slave trade, which in its turn, prompted the abolition of slavery itself by Great Britain, France, Russia, and last of all, by our own country too.

Standing now on this vantage ground, gained from the severe straggle of the past, the inquiry naturally presents itself, What have we loft for us to do? To which I will frankly answer much. It is no part of my disposition, even on the brightest of our festival days, to deal in indiscriminate laudation, or even to cast a flimsy veil over the less favorable aspects of our national position. I will not deny that many of the events that have happened since our escape from the last great peril, indicate more forcibly than I care to admit, some decline from that high standard of moral and political purity for which we have ever before been distinguished. The adoration of Mammon, described by the poet as the

“least erected spirit that fell
From Heaven; for e’en in Heaven his looks and thoughts
Were always downward bent.”

has done something to impair the glory earned by all our preceding sacrifices. For myself, while sincerely mourning the mere possibility of stain touching our garments, I feel not the less certainty that the heart of the people remains as pure as ever.

One of the strongest muniments to save us from all harm it gives me pride to remind you of, especially on this day—I mean the memory of the example of Washington.

Whatever misfortunes may betide us, of one thing we may be sure that the study of that model by the rising youth of our land can never fail to create a sanative force potent enough to counteract every poisonous element in the political atmosphere.

Permit me for a few moments to dwell upon this topic, for I regard it as closely intertwined with much of the success we have hitherto enjoyed as an independent people. Far be it for me to raise a visionary idol. I have lived too long to trust in mere panegyric. Fulsome eulogy of any man raises with me only a smile. Indiscriminate laudation is equivalent to falsehood. Washington, as I understand him was gifted with nothing ordinarily defined as genius, and he had not had great advantages of education. His intellectual powers were clear, but not much above the average men of his time. What knowledge he possessed had been gained from association with others in his long career, rather than by study. As an actor he scarcely distinguished himself by more than one brilliant stroke; as a writer, the greater part of his correspondence discloses nothing more than average natural good sense; on the field of battle his powers pale before the splendid strategy of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Yet, notwithstanding all these deductions, the thread of his life from youth to age displays a maturity of judgment, a consistency of principle, a firmness of purpose, a steadiness of action, a discriminating wisdom and a purity of intention hardly found united to the same extent in any other instance I can recall in history. Of his entire disinterestedness in all his pecuniary relations with the public it is needless for me to speak. Who ever suspected him of a stain? More than all and above all, he was throughout master of himself. If there be one quality more than another in his character which may exercise a useful control over the men of the present hour, it is the total disregard of self, when in the most exalted positions for influence and example.

In order to more fully illustrate my position, let me for one moment contrast his course with that of the great military chief I have already named. The star of Napoleon was just rising to its zenith as that of Washington passed away. In point of military genius Napoleon probably equaled if he did not exceed any person known in history. In regard to the direction of the interests of a nation he may be admitted to have held a very high place. He inspired an energy and a vigor in the veins of the French people which they sadly needed after the demoralizing sway of generations of Bourbon kings With even a small modicum of the wisdom so prominent in Washington, he too might have left a people to honor his memory down to the latest times. But it was not to be. Do you ask the reason? It is this. His motives of action always centered in self. His example gives a warning but not a guide. For when selfishness animates a ruler there is no cause of wonder if he sacrifice, without scruple, an entire generation of men as a holocaust to the great principle of evil, merely to maintain or extend his sway. Had Napoleon copied the example of Washington he might have been justly the idol of all later generations in France. For Washington to have copied the example of Napoleon would have been simply impossible.

Let us then, discarding all inferior strife, hold up to our children the example of Washington as the symbol not merely of wisdom, but of purity and truth.

Let us labor continually to keep the advance in civilization a3 it becomes us to do after the struggles of the past, so that the rights to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which we have honorably secured, may be firmly entailed upon the ever enlarging generations of mankind.

And what is it, I pray you tell me, that has brought us to the celebration of this most memorable day? Is it not the steady cry of Excelsior up to the most elevated regions of political purity, secured to us by the memory of those who have passed before us and consecrated the very ground occupied by their ashes? Glorious indeed may it be said of it in the words of the poet:

What’s hallow’d ground? ‘Tis what gives birth
To sacred thoughts in souls of worth—
Peace! Independence! Truth! go forth
Earth’s compass round,
And your high priesthood shall make earth
All Hallowed Ground

end quote

Footnotes:
(1) Jefferson (Thomas) Included this in his original draft of the Declaration of Independence. The delegations from slave-holding states of George and South Carolina objected, and the offending passage was removed. The complete text is:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither.  This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain.  Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce.  And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he has obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed again the Liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.

See also: American Statesman: Tribute to President George Washington Part 1
Christianity and the Founding of the United States the Simple Truth
The Consequence of Bad Legal Precedent in American Legislation
THE SOURCE AND SECURITY OF AMERICAN FREEDOM AND PROGRESS by Courtlandt Parker 1876
Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of America from the Ancient Authors Part 1
POLITICAL CONSTITUTIONS by Johannes Von Muller (1832)
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English)
Advice to Young People from Noah Webster Father of American Education
The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster
Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God
The Excellence of the Christian Religion by Noah Webster Published 1834 Part 1
THE GRAND MISSION OF AMERICA by Joseph H. Twitchell, July 4, 1876

The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster

The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster, Father of American Education. (In plain English so even lawyers and politicians can understand)

The Universe, — In viewing and contemplating the works of creation, we are struck with astonishment at the magnitude, the variety and the beauty of the bodies which compose the visible Universe. Innumerable resplendent orbs, stationed in the vast extent of space, at inconceivable distances from each other, so as to appear like mere spangles in the sky, though a thousand times larger than this earth, fill us with admiration and amazement. We shrink even from an effort to reach in thought the boundless extent of such a scene; or to comprehend the stupendous power of the creator.

Creation

See also: Advice to Young People from Noah Webster Father of American Education
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English so even lawyers and politicians can understand)
THE HAND OF GOD IN AMERICAN HISTORY by Rev Morgan Dix July 4th 1876 NYC
Non Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of Jesus Christ by Johannes von Müller 1832
The Superior Excellence of the Christian Religion by Noah Webster Published 1834 Part 1
Political Evils and the Remedy for them by Noah Webster 1834
The Superior Excellence of the Christian Religion by Noah Webster Published 1834 Part 2

 

 The fixed stars. — The fixed stars, which shine by their own light and are distinguished from planets by their twinkling, have always the same relative position; and therefore are supposed to be suns or centers of systems. They appear to have no immediate connection with our Solar system; but they adorn the vast concave over our heads, enliven the gloom of night, and delight the eye with their sparkling radiance.

 Solar System. — The system of orbs, of which this earth is a part, consists of the Sun, and several planets, primary and secondary. The Sun is stationed in or near the center of this system, and around it revolve the primary planets at different but vast distances and in different periods of time. Some of these planets are attended with smaller orbs, which revolve about them, and are called secondary planets. One of these is the moon, an orb that revolves around the earth. These planets receive their light from the sun.

 The Earth. — The earth, like the other planets, is round or nearly spherical. It is about ninety five million miles from the sun, the center of the system. It has two motions, by one of which are caused the day and night; and by the other, is determined what we call the year. These movements are regular.

 Day and Night. — To form the day and night, the earth is made to revolve on an imaginary line, called its axis. It makes one complete revolution from west to east in twenty four hours. This is called a diurnal or daily revolution, during which the whole surface of the globe is presented to the sun. That half of the surface which is enlightened by the sun has day; and that half which is turned from the sun has night. The darkness of night therefore is the shade of the earth.

 Uses of the Day and Night. — The division of time into day and night is a most benevolent provision for the convenience and comfort, not only of men, but of many species of animals. The light of the sun is necessary to enable men to perform their labors, at the same time, the heat of the sun’s rays is necessary or useful in promoting vegetation. Night, on the other hand, is necessary or useful for rest; darkness and stillness being favorable for sleep. Beasts, for the most part, feed in the day time, and sleep at night. This division of time therefore is a proof of the goodness of the creator, in adapting his works and laws to the welfare of his creatures.

 The Year. — The earth revolves around the sun once in three hundred and sixty five days, and about six hours. This revolution constitutes the year, and is called its annual revolution. And by the inclination of its axis to the plane of the ecliptic or path of the sun, so called, the earth receives at one time, the rays of the sun in such a direction as to be much heated, and this heat constitutes summer. In another part of the year, the rays of the sun strike the earth more obliquely, and produce little heat. This defect of heat constitutes winter. But the sun is always so nearly vertical to the parts of the earth near the equator, as to constitute perpetual summer.

 The Moon, — The small orb which we call the Moon is a secondary planet revolving round the earth once in about twenty nine days, which period constitutes a lunar month. It receives light from the sun, a portion of which is reflected to the earth, illuminating the night with a faint light. When the moon comes directly between the earth and the sun, it hides a part or the whole of the disk of the sun from the inhabitants of the earth. This is a solar eclipse. When the moon, in its revolution, passes through the shadow of the earth, a part or the whole of its face is obscured; and this is a lunar eclipse.

Remarks on the Solar System. — The admirable adjustment of the solar system to its purposes, is very striking. By the revolution of the earth on its axis, we have a constant succession of day and night; the one for labor, business and action, the other for rest to refresh the wearied body. The revolution of the earth round the sun determines the year, a regular division of time, highly important and useful; while the position of its axis varies the seasons, causing summer and winter in due succession. While we admire the beauty, order, and uses of this arrangement, we cannot but be surprised at the simplicity of the laws by which it is effected. All the works of God manifest his infinite wisdom, as well as his unlimited power.

 The Earth. — The structure of the earth every where exhibits the wise purposes of the creator. The surface of the earth consists of dry land, or land covered with water, and hence the earth is called terraqueous. The land is intended for the habitation of men, and of various animals, many of which are evidently intended for the immediate use of men, and others are doubtless intended to answer some other useful purposes in the economy of the natural world.

 Subsistence of men and animals, — The principal part of the food of man and beast is produced by the earth ; and the first thing to be noticed is the soil which covers a great portion of its surface. The soil is various; but well adapted to produce different kinds of plants. It is naturally or capable of being made, so loose and soft as to admit the growth and extension of roots, which serve the double purpose of conveying nutriment to plants, and of supporting them in an upright position. The soil is chiefly loam, clay or sand or a mixture of all, and different soils are best adapted to produce different trees and herbage.

Vegetable productions, — The wisdom and benevolence of the creator are wonderfully manifested in the variety and uses of plants. In the first ages of the world, men fed upon acorns and nuts, the seeds of trees, produced without labor. This mode of subsistence was, in some measure, necessary for mankind, before they had invented tools or learned the cultivation of the soil. When men had multiplied, and learned the uses of grain, then commenced agriculture, the most important occupation of men, and the chief source of subsistence and wealth.

Beauty of plants, — The goodness of the creator is manifested also in the beauty of the vegetable kingdom. The most common color of growing herbage and the leaves of trees is green; a color not injurious to the eye, and the more agreeable as being connected with growth and vigor. But nothing can equal the beauty of vegetable blossoms; the variety, richness and delicacy of the flowers which adorn the earth, in the proper seasons, baffle all human art and all attempts to do them justice in description.

Propagation of plants, — The modes by which plants continue their species, are a wonderful proof of the divine purpose and wisdom. The chief mode is by seeds, which each plant produces, and which fall to the earth, when the plant dies, or at the close of each summer. Each seed contains the germ of a new plant of the same species, which is defended from injury by a hard shell or firm coat, and thus protected, the germ may continue for years, perhaps for ages, until the seed is placed in a condition to germinate. The seed of some plants is a bulb, growing in the earth, as in the potato, the onion and the tulip. Some seeds are feathered that they may be wafted to a distance by wind. Many small seeds are the food of birds, and by them are dispersed. The seeds of rice, wheat and other plants are the chief support of mankind.

Variety of Animals. — For the use of man, and other purposes God created a great variety of animals having bodily powers as perfect as those of mankind, but with intellectual powers much inferior. Their faculties are adapted to their condition. They have what is called instinct, a faculty of directing them without any process of reasoning to the means of support and safety. Some of them appear to have powers similar to human reason, as the elephant. Many of them intended for the use of men, are capable of being tamed and taught to perform labor, and various services for mankind.

 Land Animals, — Animals destined to live on land have lungs or organs of life as mankind have, and live by respiration. Their bodies are composed of like materials, bones, flesh, and blood. They move by means of legs and feet, by wings, or by creeping. They are mostly furnished with instruments by which they defend themselves from their enemies, as horns, hoofs, teeth and stings, some of them subsist on herbage and fruits, particularly such as are intended for the use of man, as horses, oxen, cows, sheep, camels and elephants. These are called herbivorous or graminivorous animals.

 Forms of animals, — The first thing to be observed in the animal kingdom, is the adaptation of the form and propensities of each species to its modes of life, and to its uses. The camel, the horse, the ox and the sheep have four legs, and walk with their heads in a line with their bodies, so that they can take their food from the earth with the mouth, as they stand or walk. The elephant’s neck is short, but he has a strong muscular trunk, with which he can feed himself. Most of the large quadrupeds have hoofs consisting of a horny substance for walking on rough ground. But the elephant and camel have a tough musculus foot for walking on sand; thus being fitted for traversing the deserts of Asia and Africa.

 The bovine kind and sheep. — The ox is peculiarly fitted for draft, either by the neck or head and horns, his body is very strong and his neck remarkably thick and muscular. The female is formed for giving milk, and both male and female are easily tamed and very manageable. These animals feed by twisting off the grass or herbage, which they swallow, and when filled, they lie down and chew the cud; that is, they throw up the grass or hay from the stomach and chew it leisurely for more easy digestion. The sheep feeds much in the same manner.

 The horse. — The horse is fitted for draft as well as the ox; but he is also fitted to bear burdens on his back, and his form is more beautiful than that of the ox. His neck is elegant and his gait noble. In the harness or under the saddle, the horse exhibits an elegant form and motions. The motion of the ox is slow and well adapted to draw heavy burdens or plow rough ground. The horse moves with more rapidity and is most useful on good roads for rapid conveyance, either upon his back or on wheels or runners.

The form and habits of these animals manifest most clearly the purpose of the creator, in fitting them for the use of mankind.

  Wild animals. — Many species of animals live in the forest, and subsist upon herbage or upon the flesh of other animals, without the care of man. Some of these are tamable. Animals which subsist wholly or chiefly on flesh are called carnivorous. These are more rapacious and difficult to tame, than the herbivorous species. Yet the cat and the dog, which are carnivorous, are domesticated, and in some respects very useful to mankind. Carnivorous animals are formed for their mode of subsistence; having hooked claws for seizing their prey, and sharp pointed teeth for tearing their flesh.

 Animals for food and clothing. — Many animals are useful to mankind for food and clothing. The ox, the sheep and swine, supply men with a large portion of their provisions. Among rude nations, the skins of animals, with little or no dressing, furnish a warm covering for the body, and skins were the first clothing of Adam and Eve. The wool of the sheep constitutes a principal material for cloth, and next to fur is the warmest covering. Furs are taken from animals inhabiting the cold regions of the earth. These are the most perfect non-conductors of heat, that is, they best prevent the heat of the body from escaping, and are therefore the warmest clothing.

 Reflections. [on animals]— In the animal as well as vegetable kingdom, we see the wonderful wisdom and goodness of God. The animals which are most useful to man are easily tamed and subsisted. Some of them assist him in cultivating the earth and carrying on his business; and when they are too old for these services, they are fattened for slaughter, and their skins are dressed for use. Many wild beasts subsist without the care of men, but their skins and furs are converted to important uses. Furs, the warmest covering, are found in the coldest climates. Wool, next to furs in protecting the body from, cold, is produced chiefly in the temperate latitudes, where it is most wanted. These facts prove the wisdom of God, and his goodness, in providing for the wants of his intelligent creatures.

 Fowls, — Fowls or birds are winged animals, destined to move with velocity through the air. For this purpose their bodies are made light, and so shaped as to pass through the air in the most advantageous manner; that is, with the least resistance. Their wings are extremely strong, and are easily moved with surprising rapidity; the large feathers or quills being so placed as to form a suitable angle for propelling the body forward; while the small feathers which cover the body and keep it warm, are so laid back one upon another, as to offer no resistance to the air.

Mouth and feet of fowls. — As fowls are destined to subsist on different species of food, their mouths are fitted for the purpose. Those which feed on small seeds and little insects have generally bills or beaks which are straight and pointed. Those which subsist on flesh have hooked bills for seizing small animals and tearing their flesh. The feet of fowls are also admirably fitted for their modes of life. Those which are destined to light on trees, have toes with sharp nails, which enable them to cling to the small twigs; and some species use their nails for scratching the earth in search of food.

 Aquatic fowls. — Fowls destined to frequent water, and to subsist on fish, have forms adapted to these purposes. Some of them have long beaks for seizing and holding fish; some have longer legs than other fowls, and wade in shallow water in search of food. Others have webbed toes, or palmated feet, that is, the toes are connected by a membrane, which serves as an oar or paddle for propelling them in swimming. The bodies of aquatic fowls form a model, in some measure, for the body of ships; being fitted to move through the water with the least resistance.

 Uses of fowls, — Many fowls are used as food; and some of them constitute our most delicate dishes. Not only the flesh, but the eggs of the domestic species, enter into various articles of cookery. Their feathers form our softest beds, and their quills, in the form of pens, record the events of life, and are made the instruments of preserving and communicating sacred and profane writings to distant nations and ages. The plumage of birds, presenting a variety of the richest colors, is among the most elegant ornaments of creation; some of the winged race often delight us in our dwellings with their varied notes, while others cause the solitary forest to resound with the melody of their songs. In this department of creation, we discover abundant proofs of the wisdom and benevolence of the creator.

 Fishes. — Fishes are formed to inhabit the waters of the ocean, of rivers and lakes; and for this purpose they have a peculiar structure. They have not lungs like those of land animals, as no air can be imbibed in water, except such as the water contains. Some of them imbibe air with water by their gills; others occasionally rise to the surface of the water and imbibe air; and some species of animals are amphibious, being able to live a long time under water, then betaking themselves to the land.

 Form of fishes, — Fishes being destined to move in a fluid more dense than air, and of course making more resistance to motion, are formed with slender bodies, with a pointed mouth, the body swelling to its full thickness at or near the head, and then gradually sloping to the tail. The body is furnished with fins ; those on the back and sides serving to balance the body and keep it in a proper position, while a strong tail, ending in a fin, serves as an oar to propel the body forward.

 Uses of fish, — Many species of fish are used as food, and some of them constitute an important article of commerce. They are produced in the deep in inexhaustible abundance, and cost nothing except the time and labor of catching and curing them. The largest species, the whale, supplies us with oil for lamps and for various other uses. Our houses and streets are lighted, and the machinery of our manufactures is kept in order, and its movements facilitated by oil formed in the bosom of the ocean, and perhaps on the opposite side of the globe.

 Man, — The last species of living beings created by God, was man. This species differs from all other orders of animals in external form, and still more in mental endowments. The form of man is erect and dignified; his body and his limbs are equally distinguished for strength, for beauty and for convenient action. The head at the upper end of his body contains the eyes or organs of sight. These are placed in orbits which protect them from injury; and the better to see in various directions, they are movable by muscles, which turn the balls in a moment. These delicate organs are defended also by lids which may be instantaneously closed to cover them; and the eye-lashes, while they add beauty to the face, serve to protect the eyes from dust and insects.

The mouth, nose and ears. — The mouth is the aperture by which food is taken for nourishment. In this are the teeth for breaking and masticating the food, and the tongue, the principal instrument of taste and of speech. The nose is penetrated with apertures or nostrils, by which air is received and communicated to the lungs, and as respiration cannot be interrupted without loss of life, and as the nostrils may casually be obstructed, the creator has provided that air may be inhaled by the mouth, that life may not depend on a single orifice. The ears, organs of hearing, have a wide aperture for receiving vibrations of air, and conveying sound to the auditory nerve.

The neck and body, — The neck which connects the head with the body is smaller than the body, and so flexible as to permit the head to be turned. The chest or thorax, the upper part of the body, contains the lungs and heart, organs indispensable to life, which are defended from injury by the ribs and sternum or breast bone.

The arms. — To the upper part of the body are attached the arms, by a joint at the shoulder. By means of this joint, the arm may be moved in any direction. Near the middle of the arm is the elbow, a joint by means of which the arm may be bent for embracing, holding and carrying things. At the wrist is another joint, for turning the hand. The hand at the extremity of the arm has five fingers, each of which has three joints by means of which they may be bent for grasping objects. As the thumb is intended to encounter the strength of the four fingers on the opposite side of an object, it is made much thicker and is sustained in exertion by a larger and stronger muscle.

The lower limbs, — The lower limbs are attached to the body by a joint that admits of a forward motion for walking; while the joint at the knee permits the limb to be bent. To the end of the leg is attached the foot which is so broad as to support the body in a steady position. The ankle joint permits the foot to be turned and raised for the convenience of stepping. The firm muscular substance of the heel, and that at the first joint of the great toe, are well fitted to support the body, or receive its weight in stepping. The motions of the legs are dependent on some of the strongest muscles and tendons in the body. Muscles are firm fleshy substances, and tendons are the cords by which the muscles are attached to the bones.

Bones and skin. — The frame of the body consists of bones, hard firm substances, which support the softer flesh and viscera. The bones, for enabling animals to move and exert power in various ways, are connected by joints, so fitted as to permit the limbs to move; the round end of one bone being placed in the hollow of another, or otherwise inserted so as to be movable. The flesh is a softer substance, but the muscular part is that which gives active strength and vigor to the limbs. The whole frame is invested with skin, a tough substance, covered with a cuticle. The firmness of the skin defends the flesh from injury, while its extreme sensitiveness serves to give us notice of any external annoyance, and put us on our guard.

Of the viscera and blood. — The principal viscera are the heart, and lungs, in the thorax or chest, and the liver and bowels in the abdomen. The lungs support life by receiving and expelling air at every breath. The fresh air conveys the living principle to the lungs, and the foul air is expelled. The heart by its motion drives the blood into the arteries, which convey it to every part of the body and limbs, and the veins receive it at the extremities and re-convey it to the heart. By the blood, heat is communicated to all parts of the body.

Intellect and soul, — Wonderful as is the structure of the animal body, and the adaptation of its parts to support life, still more astonishing is the existence of intellect, a soul and moral faculties, with the matter which composes the body. We can, without much difficulty, conceive of mechanical powers exerted in respiration and the circulation of the blood; but we can have no idea how the powers of understanding, and reasoning can be united with matter which is by itself inert and insensible. There is perhaps no fact in the universe, which, to us, is so utterly inexplicable, and which so forcibly impresses upon our minds the agency of almighty power. The existence of human intellect is by itself absolute demonstration of the being of an infinite God, and of his exclusive agency in our creation.

Seat of the intellect. — The brain is evidently the seat of the understanding. This is a soft delicate substance, inclosed in the skull, which consists of bones, and defends the brain from injury. From the brain proceeds the spinal marrow, which extends through the back-bone, and from which branches of nerves extend to different parts of the body. The nerves are supposed to be the organs of sensation and perception. Any serious injury or disordered state of the brain destroys the regular exercise of reason, and a separation of the spine is followed by instant death.

 Structure of the earth, Land, — That part of the earth which is not covered with water consists of a variety of soils, and contains a variety of mineral substances. Its general division is into hills or mountains and plains. Hills or elevations of moderate size are composed sometimes of sand, clay or other earthy matters, without rocks; but often their base is a body of rocks and stones. But vast masses of rock are usually the bases of mountains; and not infrequently the whole mass is rock not even covered with earthy matter.

Uses of mountains. — Mountains are useful or necessary for the purpose of forming slopes and declivities, in land, which are necessary to give currency to water. If the surface of the land were perfectly level, there could be no rivers; and water falling upon the earth must be stagnant, until absorbed or evaporated. Hence we observe that continents or large tracts of land, on which rivers must be of great length, in order to reach the ocean or other reservoir, contain high mountains. The reason is obvious; the sources of long rivers must be in very elevated regions, or there would not be a sufficient declivity or descent, to conduct streams to the sea.

Other uses of mountains, — The rocks which form the bases of mountains are often useful for various purposes. Such are limestone, slate and granite. They often contain iron, and other valuable metals. They embosom reservoirs of pure water which issues in springs, which are the sources of rivers. Many mountains are covered with earth sufficient for producing forests of trees for fuel and timber. On them also grow medicinal plants for the use of man; and the forest is the habitation of wild beasts whose flesh may feed, or whose fur may warm some part of the human race.

Minerals, — The earth abounds with mineral substances, which are of immense importance to mankind. Of these the most useful are salt and coal. It is remarkable that in many countries, remote from the ocean, the earth embosoms vast masses of salt, for the supply of the inhabitants. Such is the fact in Poland, whose mines of salt are a wonder. And where salt already crystallized, is not taken from mines, it may be obtained from water saturated with salt, raised from natural reservoirs in the earth, as in Onondago, in the State of New York. This is a benevolent provision of the Creator, for the comfort of men, in places remote from the sea.

Coal — The vast beds of coal found in the earth are another proof of divine goodness. Some countries, without this mineral, would not be habitable or at least not populous for a long period of time. Such is the case with England. That country has long since been destitute of wood for fuel, and without coal, not only must many of its manufactures cease, but its population must be reduced. The immense treasures of coal in the United States, such as those in Pennsylvania, are among the most valuable gifts of Providence to mankind.

Metals. — Among the most useful substances contained in the earth are the metals. Of these iron is the most necessary to mankind; so necessary indeed that without it men must have remained in a half-barbarous state. To this must be added gold and silver which are the instruments of commerce among all civilized nations. Being scarce, they can never lose their value by superabundance, being very hard, they are not liable to be worn away, and not being liable to rust, they retain their luster and their substance, a long time, unimpaired. To these may be added lead, tin, copper and zink, all of great value in the arts.

 Air and Water. — It is observable, that God, in his wisdom and benevolence, has created not only what men want, but has created in the greatest abundance, what is most necessary, or essential to their existence. Thus air, which is indispensable to life, invests the whole globe. Wherever men go, they find air for respiration. Next to air the most necessary substance, is water, and this is abundant in most parts of the earth. And the better to preserve the purity of these fluids, provision is made in the economy of the creation, to keep them almost continually in motion.

Winds. — By the laws of nature, heat expands air and puts it in motion. When air is
rarefied, it becomes lighter than in its usual state, and the denser or heavier air rushes to the place where it is rarefied. This is one of the general causes of winds, which blow from land to the ocean or from the ocean to land, according to the state of heat. At certain times, when the earth is heated, cold air rushes from the regions of the clouds, with rain or hail, cooling and refreshing the heated earth. Violent winds frequently agitate the ocean and currents continually carry water from one climate to another.

Water, — The ocean is the great reservoir of water on the earth; there are also inland seas, lakes and rivers. The water of the ocean is salt, but in evaporation the salt is separated and left behind, and fresh water only rises in vapor. Wonderful is the process of evaporation and generation of rain. By the heat of the sun or drying winds, water is raised from the ocean and the earth, but in an invisible state, so that the labors of man are not impeded by evaporation. When raised into the cold regions of the atmosphere, the watery particles are condensed into clouds, which cast the water back upon the earth. This interrupts the labors of the husbandman, but for a short time only, and it is remarkable that rain ordinarily falls in small drops, that do no injury even to the most tender plants.

Form of the surface of the earth. — It is worthy of special notice that the two continents are so formed that both terminate in navigable latitudes. On the north, the continents extend into the polar regions, and if any passage by water exists between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, it is usually or always obstructed by ice. But in the southern hemisphere, Africa on the east and America on the west of the Atlantic, terminate in navigable latitudes. Hence, since the southern termination of the American continent, at Cape Horn, has been discovered, ships are continually passing from Europe and the United States round that Cape and visiting the isles of the vast Pacific on their way to China, and the Indies.

Advantages of this form of the earth. — Had the two continents been extended from pole to pole, the navigation from one side of the globe to the other would have been prevented. And had the continents extended east and west, the intercourse between the northern and southern climates, would have been limited, so that the fruits of the cold and temperate regions could not have had a ready exchange for those of the tropical latitudes, and vice versa. But in the present positions of the continents and ocean, the navigation between the climates is not interrupted: The sugar, the rice and the oranges of the warm climates are easily conveyed to the frigid zone; while the furs, the fish, the timber and the metals of the north are borne to the equatorial regions. In all this arrangement we cannot but see the purposes of a benevolent creator.

Moral purposes of this form of the earth, — It is obvious that the Creator adapted all parts of creation to important purposes, moral as well as physical. The form of the continents is fitted to favor commerce, and the free intercourse of nations. This commerce contributes greatly to the convenience of mankind. At the same time, commerce is made the handmaid of civilization, and the instrument of evangelizing pagan nations. In the structure of the globe we have evident proofs that the creator had it in his counsels to provide the means of recalling mankind from their national alienation and wandering from his service into a communion of Christian brethren.

Excerpts taken from book Value of the Bible and the Excellence of the Christian Religion by Noah Webster 1758-1843 published 1834

See also: A testament of the love, of the Lord Jesus
A Further Testament of the Love of our Lord Jesus Christ as shown in my life