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custom has not been adopted, but sneered at, benefits may have resulted from it, by means of the connexion of the States and the intercourse of the people.

But if days set apart for thanksgiving, poorly as they have been observed, have been productive of good; what would have been the sum of good produced, had they been observed by all, as we hope and trust they have been by some. More regard, perhaps, is usually had in the preparation of the banquet, and in the use of it to the gratification of the appetite, than to the glory of him whose bounties are spread profusely on the table; and though public worship is attended by some, dancing, riding, racing, gambling, drinking, shooting, and things of the like kind, are by many, thought to be indispensable employments, for the rest of the week. Whether it is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord in this way of performing the service, it is submitted to you to decide. We know that when the Israelites, in the instance under consideration, pretended to keep a feast to the Lord, his anger was most terribly manifested towards them for mingling idolatry, and festivity, with his worship.

Let us shun their evil example. Let us keep a feast to the Lord. We have nothing to do here, at this time, unless we can render unto God thanksgiving. Motives to this business are abundant and too numerous to be all mentioned; and too often brought into view, to allow of much novelty in their exhibition.

It has been repeatedly said from high authority, but it is no less a truth on that account, nor less deserving of grateful recollection, that the lines are fallen to us in pleasant places and that we have a goodly heritage. The soils of our country are various, and the climates; the productions are of many kinds, and abundant; the accommodations for intercourse, and traffic, are extraordinary; the means of subsistence, and of knowledge, are within the reach of all classes of the people; and the civil, and religious institutions with which we are favored, would probably appear to advantage, in comparison with the best that can be found.

It is about two centuries since this land began to be peopled from Europe. How generally has war been there, and how small a proportion of the time has this land been de

prived of the blessings of peace? Who has made us to differ? He certainly who builds up, and throws down, at his pleasure; and who holds in his hand the reins of universal government. Perhaps, from all our wars, some good has resulted.

By the war of the revolution, we know our independence was effected. In our independence we greatly glory, whether properly disposed or not; and every year, we celebrate the great event, much as we differ in political opinions. The war which raised us from dependant colonies to an independent nation, has ever been pronounced, with a very few dissenting voices, a necessary war; and being necessary, it was prospered; and being prospered, it was glorious: though the expense was great, both of treasure, and of blood.

For the war which preceded that of the revolution, there was sufficient reason; and for the result of it, we have great cause to be thankful; as has appeared more of late years than at any previous period.

This year has witnessed the interposition of Providence in our behalf, to deliver us from a war which multitudes, if not most of the people, considered unnecessary; unjust; and impolitic: and which rulers; and subjects; those who made it, and those who made opposition to it, rejoiced to see brought to a close.

For the peace which we now have, we have been called upon to keep a national Thanksgiving; and that by the voice, of him who led his council to the declaration of war. So great was the blessing, in the estimation of our chief magistrate, and of the two houses of congress; that they could not wait for the time to arrive, when the State Executives, according to their custom, where there has been any such custom, would issue their proclamations, calling upon the people to render thanks to God for his mercies, including peace in the catalogue.

Such an unexpected change took place in European affairs, after our late war commenced, that it was hardly to be expected; and indeed, it was not much expected here, by the government or the people, that such a treaty of peace could be obtained as that a remnant should be saved to us, either of interest or of honor.

The nation with which we were contending, powerful against a world in arms, was much more to be dreaded when left without a single foe but ourselves; and we had reason to calculate, that the common principle of selfishness would induce her to a continuance of hostilities with us, when revenge was so easy, and her gain, and our loss, so certain.

This seems to have been the calculation of those who entertain the most unfavorable opinion of the English nation and the English government; and even those who ever thought, that the war was reluctantly begun, and reluctantly prosecuted, on the part of the nation, lately styled our enemy, had their fears, lest the principle of rectitude should prove too feeble, and ineffectual, in the councils of a triumphant and aspiring people, to admit of terms upon which even a truce could be settled.

Is it within your recollection that a peace has ever been established between two nations at war when the advantages of one over the other were so many, and so great? Has the Power which we have been in alliance with, and which was long so formidable in Europe, in one instance, done a thing of the like kind? There is but one way of accounting for an event so welcome as peace was to all; and so beyond the expectation of all, as that was when it took place. The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord; as the rivers of water, he turneth it whithersoever he will. If we do not adopt this sentiment, and apply it to explain this affair, we have a mystery in the fact before us. Until we can believe that water, whose natural course is downward, will, taking its own direction, run from the valleys to the tops of the hills, we cannot, consistently, suppose, that a nation, or a government, actuated by nothing but a selfish principle, will, in any case, act against itself. We must either suppose the president's call upon the people to keep a day of Thanksgiving to be without any meaning, or, we must conclude him to be impressed with the belief, that the hand of God was visible in bringing the contest to a ter


But how was the hand of God visible in this business? Can he have an agency in human affairs, except by acting

upon, and inclining, those who are instruments in his hand,
to conduct these affairs. The war under contemplation,
like other things, was begun by men; carried on by men;
and terminated by men.
From motives of interest we can
see, that the losing party, having no prospect of better
success, would wish to put an end to the game which they
had with ill founded hopes, and too little foresight, begun;
but interested motives would have prompted to a different
wish the party winning continually, and in a fair way to
win all.

With all the corruption therefore, that there is in the English nation, and in the English court, we must grant, or be unreasonable, that there was some influence of heaven, to which the result, so favorable to us as a people, is to be attributed. Those who do not believe this might be inquired of why they obey the call of any magistrate of the nation, or of the state, to give thanks to God for this affair; for according to their scheme, Jehovah has had no more to do with it than Jupiter. That we ought to bring our thank offering to God for the blessing of peace is very apparent; and this blessing will appear the greater if we look back upon the war and consider some of its effects.

During the war, short as it was, thousands, it will never be known how many, came to an untimely end by the sword, or in some other manner. Whether we call the slain friends or enemies, they were our fellow creatures, immortal and accountable; taken from a state of probation to a state of retribution; and probably, many of them quite unprepared. If we take no interest in the fall of any who were not our countrymen, it may be said that thousands of them have fallen; and fallen not only into the dust, but perhaps into the pit, from which there is no rising, and in which there is no hope. Surviving friends are left in mourning; parents, widows, fatherless children, brothers and sisters; and other relatives, and connexions.

In some instances the sting of death has been peculiarly poignant in the heart of the living, in consequence of the circumstances attending it. What feeling mother do you think can ever refrain from tears, when she recollects, that her son was shot, not in the field of battle; but on his own


parade; not by the hand of an enemy; but with the muskets of his fellow soldiers, reluctantly obeying the orders of their superiors; not for a crime of the deepest die; but for deserting; cold, hungry, and pennyless. Should we fall into company with such a mother, who must be indeed a woman of a sorrowful spirit, would she not spend a long evening of winter, in giving us an account of her journey to the camp; of the arguments, and entreaties, which she used, to procure a pardon for her incautious stripling; of the hard speeches which were returned, instead of compliance or condolence; and of the anguish of the parting scene, the last farewell!

While the generation now acting on the stage shall be living, our country will be patrolled by the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind; whose names are on the pension list; whose scars of honor, and whose rewards for service, will be but a meager compensation for the damage they have sustained. Who, that has a whole body, could be persuaded to set a price upon his leg, his arm, or his eye; a price which he would take, and give up either, to any one who should ask it of him. Such remnants of themselves we have many of us seen, and if we have no pity for them, we should all be quite loath to be placed under the same disadvantages.

The pecuniary expense of the war is a matter understood by all classes of the people; and it is a burden, which if not felt equally, is felt universally. We are sensible of it in what we eat, and drink and wear. A few years since the debts of our country were diminishing so fast, that the diminution held a conspicuous place in every Presidential message. But, the millions which are now charged to our account, are so many, that all hope of ever being free is taken away from this generation. Tax gatherers are so many, and taxation is so heavy, that we shall be in danger of adopting the same mode of speaking which was common among the Jews, living under the Roman government, in the time of our Savior; who mentioned publicans and sinners, together, concluding that they must form but one


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