Address to the electors of New York, 9 March 1813
It is not to the arbitrary mandates of despotic power, that your submission is demanded; it is not to the seductive wiles and artful blandishments of the corrupt minions of aristocracy, that your attention is called—but to an expression and discussion of the wishes and feelings of your representatives.
You are invited to listen with calmness and impartiality, to the sentiments and opinions of men who claim no right superior to yours,—who claim no authority to address you save that of custom,—who would scorn to obtain the coincidence of your opinion by force or stratagem, and who seek no influence with you, except that which arises from conscious recitude, from a community of hopes and of fears, of rights and of interests.
In making this appeal, which is sanctioned by usage, and the necessity of which is rendered imperious by the situation of our common country, we feel it to be our duty, as it is our wish, to speak to you in the language which alone becomes freeman to use—the language to which alone it becomes freeman to listen, the language of truth and sincerity;—to speak to you of things as they are, and as they should be,—to speak to you with unrestrained freedom, of your rights and your duties,—and if by so doing we shall be so fortunate as to convince you of the correctness of the opinions we hold; to communicate to you the anxious solicitude we feel for our country and its rights, to turn your attention from the minor considerations which have hitherto divided, distracted and disgraced the American people, and to direct it exclusively to the contemplation and support of your national honor and national interest, our first and only object will be effected.
That tempest of passion and of lawless violence, which has hitherto almost exclusively raged in the countries of the old world,—which has ravaged the fairest portions of the earth, and caused her sons to drink deep of the cup of human misery—not satisfied by the myriads of victims which have been sacrificed at its shrine, has reached our heretofore peaceable shores. After years of forbearance, in despite of concessions without number, and we had almost said without limitation, that cruel and unrelenting spirit of oppression and injustice, which has for centuries characterized the spirit of the British cabinet, overwhelmed nation after nation, and caused humanity to shed tears of blood, has involved us in a war,—on the termination of which are staked the present honor and the future welfare of America.
While thus engaged in an arduous and interesting struggle with the open enemies of our land from without, the formation of your government requires that you should exercise the elective franchise,—a right which in every other country has been destroyed by the ruthless hand of power, or blasted by the unhallowed touch of corruption; but which, by the blessings of a munificent Providence, has as yet been preserved to you in its purity.
The selection of your most important functionaries is at hand. In a government like ours, where all power and sovereignty rests with the people, the exercise of this right, and the consequent expression of public interest and public feeling, is on ordinary occasions, a matter of deep concern, but at a period like the present, of vital importance;—to satisfy you of that importance and to advise you in its exercise is the object of this address.
Fellow-Citizens, your country is at war, and G. Britain is her enemy. Indulge us in a brief examination of the causes which have led to it, and brief as from the necessary limits of an address it must be,—we yet hope it will be found sufficient to convince every honest man, of the high justice and indispensible necessity of the attitude which our government has taken; of the sacred duty of every real American to support it in that attitude, and of the parricidical views of those who refuse to do so.
The struggle which gave birth to our independence, and made us a nation, emancipated a country whose natural situation was a sure pledge of her future greatness;—A country inhabited by a people eminently calculated to exalt her prosperity to the highest eminence; and to advance her name to the most distinguished renown. G. Britain, with the penetration which has generally distinguished her cabinet, saw our rising prosperity, and saw, or thought she saw, its future inteference with her own. The acknowledgment of our independence was not the result of choice but of force—the same spirit which rendered that acknowledgment the most galling to the pride, the most aggravating to the rancor- of her ministers, still existed; it was her power alone you had subdued, her feelings and her resentments were left in arms.
At the close of the revolution the war with this country was in the highest degree odious to the British nation; the strong current of public opinion for a season suppressed that spirit of intolerance and cupidity which had before and has since distinguished the conduct of her ministers. As early however as the year 1793, the French revolution furnished them with a pretext to adopt regulations which were calculated, and had for their object, the destruction of the trade of neutrals, of which ours was infinitely the most considerable. While the states of Europe were engaged in forming plans of mutual destruction, we, preserving a strict and honest neutrality, were progressing with a sure and steady step to the highest pitch of national opulence; that spirit of hostility which had been smothered, but not extinguished, broke out afresh;—that jealousy of our rising prosperity which had never ceased to exist, became heedless and uncontrollable. From that period to the present, notwithstanding Mr. Jay's treaty, every measure of the British cabinet towards this country has been marked by the most deep rooted hostility. Possessed of a naval supremacy which enabled her to enforce whatever mandates she might choose to adopt—she in that year entered into formal treates with Russia, with Prussia, with Spain, and with Austria, which were in terms, "to take any measures in their power to injure the commerce of France, and under the pretence of effecting that, to prevent powers not implicated in the war, to give any protection whatever in consequence of their neutrality, to the commerce or property of the French, on the seas or in her ports"—but which were intended, and in effect led to the most unparalleled depredations on the extensive commerce we then enjoyed. The rigor in the decision of her prize-courts, kept pace with the extension of her pretensions: the injustice of those pretensions, and the unblushing tyranny with which they were enforced, roused a spirit of indignation—which directed by the father of his country, in 1794, brought the British ministry not to a sense of justice, not to a disposition to cherish and preserve the friendly relations formally restored between the two countries, but to a treaty with which no American was well satisfied, which however it was thought adviseable by that great and good man, who then presided over the destinies of our country, to accept, and to which the great weight and personal influence of Washington, alone enforced the acquiescence of the American people. Bad as its provisions were, they were however but temporary; the truce produced by it was as short as it was unprofitable and dishonorable.
As early as the year 1798, by instructions to her armed vessels, regulations were established detrimental and embarrassing to the commerce of neutrals, and continued from that period, interspersed with the blockades of various ports,—all distinguished by a prominent disregard to the rights of neutrals, and by the most disgusting insolence, arising from a conviction of her naval superiority, until January, 1807, when, by an order in council, she interdicted neutrals from "the coasting trade from one port of France "to another;" and in the subsequent month of November, by another set of orders, she declared "all the ports and places of France and her allies, or of any other country at war with his majesty, and all other ports or places in Europe, from which, though not at war with his majesty, the British flag was excluded, and all the places in the colonies belonging to his majesty's enemies, to be in a state of blockade"—not by actual investment, but in virtue of that order; and compelling all neutrals bound to those countries, to touch at English ports and pay a duty to the English government for the privilege of traversing the great highway of nations, or to be subjected to capture and condemnation.
The flagrant iniquity and unhallowed tyranny of those orders beggar all comment. However they were sought to be extenuated by their authors and their adherents at the time,—in every part of the civilized world where they have been heard, the seal of condemnation has been put upon them. There is now no man who, as it respects the rights of neutral nations, dare attempt to justify, or seek to palliate them. The torch of threatened insurrection has lit the way to their abolition in the country in which they originated, and the latest posterity will point to the period of their adoption, as the era from which to date the abolition of the law of nations.
By these orders we were, as it was intended we should be, more effected than any other nation—Nor were we backward in our expression of the feelings they produced: For so effectually was the fiend of party spirit silenced by their supreme iniquity, that in 1809, the Representatives of the American nation, in Congress assembled, with but two dissenting voices, "Resolved, that the United States could not, without a sacrifice of their rights, honor and independence, submit to the late edicts of Great Britain and France."
Fellow-Citizens,—In whatever point of view the adoption of this resolution was considered, it was of the first importance, and furnishes matter of the purest felicitation. As evidence of a correct discernment, and just appreciation of our country's rights and duties, it was highly creditable to the representatives of the last republic on earth; as evidence of a then existing disposition, on the part of those representatives, to bury their party animosities in the grave of their country's violated rights,—it was in the highest degree gratifying: As it respected the questions of local politics, which unfortunately agitated the country, it was of inestimable value, inasmuch as it clearly proved, that whatever differences of opinion had existed before as to the causes of complaint against the belligerents—a crisis had now arrived which imperiously and peremptorily demanded the sacrifice of those differences; that their aggressions had assumed a cast which left the question for the American people singly between a surrender of their sovereignty, or an open and efficient support of their rights: All parties united for once in the sentiment, that the hostile orders and decrees of the warring powers of Europe must be resisted, or our national honor, our national character, and our national rights abandoned.
From this established, this conceded axiom in our politics, permit your Representatives to lead you to a dispassionate consideration of the measures of your government—to a contemplation of the merits of their conduct, and the demirits of their inveterate adversaries. In this examination, fellow-citizens, we approach you with an entire and complete conviction, that your unbiassed judgment will approbate the former, and deeply and inexorably condemn the latter.
The deadly attacks which had been made upon our rights, were to be resisted; the almost mortal wound which had been given to our commerce, was to be avenged; the manner in which it was to be done, was the only question for the government to decide. That it should be done, the Representatives of the nation had with one accord decreed. One of two courses was alone presented: an immediate and open war, or a system of restrictive and precautionary measures. After years of peace, destitute of large military establishments, which the local situation of our country, and pacific disposition of our government, rendered unnecessary—to have plunged the country into instant war,—however just it might have been,—would have been assuming a responsibility which could not reasonably have been required of the administration. The fact, moreover, that the hostile edicts by which we were oppressed, had been adopted by the belligerents during a period of malignant convulsion, and lawless contention, without a parallel in the annals of the world—that, maddened by the violence of their collisions, they were under the influence of "intoxicated councils," and deaf, like Festus, "to the words of soberness and truth,"—rendered it desirable to avoid, as long as practicable, "a resort to the last appeal of nations."
To give time to the aggressing nations, therefore, for reflection—instead of open war—government, officially informed of the order in council of January, 1807, and fully apprized of the contents of that of November, and of the hostile construction adopted by France of her decrees,—in December, 1807, adopted a measure which, under nearly similar circumstances, had been adopted by the immortal Washington—a measure which many of the wisest statesmen our country had as yet produced, always believed to be of sufficient efficacy to enforce justice from the powers of Europe,—the much abused measure of the Embargo, which at its very entrance into the world, was accompanied from the representative hall, and through its whole course was assailed, by the most inveterate and unprincipled opposition that ever disgraced a free country.
To evince a determination, on the part of our government, to avoid the calamities of war, and to keep the avenues to reconciliation open—the President was authorized to suspend the Embargo, as to the nation who should rescind her edicts. The proposition was forthwith made, and to Great Britain, in particular, that on her rescinding her orders as to us, the embargo would be suspended as to her, and our ports remain shut as to France, unless she also abandoned her decrees. This proposition, the reason and justice of which is now universally admitted, was rejected by the British ministry, and her obnoxious measures persisted in. In March, 1809, the embargo being rendered ineffecacious by the opposition it received, and the evasions of it which were encouraged, an act prohibiting intercourse between this country and Great Britain and France, vesting similar powers in the President as to a suspension of its provisions, was passed. In the succeeding April, Erskine's arrangement was concluded.
The first symptoms of returning justice in the British cabinet were seized with avidity, and a convention, in part, embracing and leading to a satisfactory adjustment of all the matters in difference between the two nations, instantly agreed upon. Relying on the faith and credit due to the compact of an accredited minister of the British king, free intercourse was immediately restored between the two countries; the pressing wants of our enemy were thereby relieved; when, by an act of perfidy which stamped dishonor on the British character, which must continue to hold her up to the detestation of every enlightened nation, as long as public faith is deemed estimable, or national honor worthy of preservation; she disavowed the acts of her minister; baffled, insulted, and abused. Still anxious to avoid war, non-intercourse was again renewed, as to England. The non-intercourse act was repealed in May, 1810, without any other substitute than a legislative declaration, that against the nation who should omit, by a limited period, to cease her unjust and unnatural violation of our rights, measures of retaliation should be adopted. One more opportunity is offered to the belligerents to avoid the course which must inevitably lead to war. France abandoned the ground she had taken, as to us—Great Britain persisted. Still war is not declared. Time is still given to render it unnecessary: a non-importation act, as it respects the goods, manufactures and produce of Great Britain, is passed. Thus affairs were suffered to remain until the Prince Regent, by his official declaration, pronounces the orders in council of January and November, 1807, to form a part of the law of the British empire.
By this last act the doors of conciliation were effectually closed. The American people,—a people rich in resources, possessed of a high sense of national honor, the only free people on earth,—had resolved, in the face of an observing world, that these orders were a direct attack upon their sovereignty; that a submission to them involved a surrender of their independence—and a solemn determination to adhere to them, was officially declared by the ruler of the British nation. Thus situated, what was your government to do? Was there room for doubt or hesitation as to the hostile views of England? No: Least such doubts might prevent a rupture, to acts of violent injustice, were continually added acts of the most opprobrious insult.—While the formal relations of amity remained yet unbroken,—while peace was yet supposed to exist,—in cool blood an unprovoked attack is made upon one of your national ships, and several American citizens basely and cowardly murdered. At the moment your feelings were at the highest pitch of irritation, in consequence of the perfidious disavowal of Erskine's agreement, a minister is sent, not to minister to your rights—not to extenuate the conduct of his predecessor; but to beard your executive—to add insult to injury; and to fling contumely and reproach in the face of the executive of the American nation, in the presence of the American people.
To cap the climax of her iniquity; to fill up the measure of our wrongs; she resolved to persist in another measure, surpassed by none in flagrant enormity—a measure, which, of itself, was adequate cause of war—a measure which had excited the liveliest solicitude, and received the unremitting attention of every administration of our government, from the time of Washington to the present day: the wicked, the odious and detestable practice of impressing American seamen into her service; of entombing our sons within the walls of her ships of war; compelling them to waste their lives, and spill their blood, in the service of a foreign government—a practice which subjected every brave American tar to the violence and petty tyranny of a British midshipman, and many of them to a life of the most galling servitude—a practice, which never can be submitted to by a nation professing claims to freedom; which never can be acquiesced in by government, without rescinding the great article of our safety, the reciprocity of obedience and protection, between the rulers and the ruled.
Under such accumulated circumstances of insult and of injury, we ask again, what was your government to do? We put the question not "to the faction which misrepresents the government to the people, and the people to the government; traduces one half of the nation to cajole the other—and by keeping up distrust and division, wishes to become the proud arbiter of the fortune and fate of America"—not to them, but to every sound head and honest heart in the nation, it is that we put the question, What was your government to do? Was she basely and ingloriously to abandon the rights for which you and your fathers had fought and bled? Was she so early to cower to the nation who had sought to strangle us in our infancy, and who has never ceased to retard our approach to manhood? No: We will not for a moment doubt, that every man who is in truth and fact an American, will say that war, and war alone, was our only refuge from national degradation,—our only course to national prosperity.
Fellow-Citizens, throughout the whole period of the political struggles, which, if they have not absolutely disgraced, have certainly not exhalted, our character, no remark was more common—no expectation more cheerfully indulged in—than that those severe and malevolent contentions would only be sustained in time of peace; that when the country should be involved in war, every wish, and every sentiment, would be exclusively American. But, unfortunately for our country, those reasonable expectations have not been realized, notwithstanding every one knows, that the power of declaring war, and the duty of supporting it, belongs to the general government; notwithstanding that the constitutional remedy for the removal of the men to whom this power is thus delegated, has recently been afforded; notwithstanding the re-election of the same President, by whom this war was commenced, and a majority of representatives, whose estimate of our rights, and whose views, are similar to those who first declared it; men, who by the provisions of the constitution must retain their respective stations for a period of such duration, as precludes a continued opposition of their measures without a complete destruction of our national interest—an opposition, at once unceasing and malignant, is still continued, to every measure of the administration.
Fellow-citizens, these things will not do; they are intrinsically wrong; your country has engaged in a war in the last degree unavoidable; it is not waged to the destruction of the rights of others; but in defence of our own; it is, therefore, your bounded duty to support her. You should lay down the character of partizans, and become patriots; for in every country "war becomes an occasional duty, though it ought never to be made an occupation. Every man should become a soldier in defense of his rights; no man ought to continue a soldier for offending the rights of others." In despite of truths so self-evident, of incentives to a vigorous support of government so pressing, we yet have to deplore the existence of a faction in the bosom of our land, whose perseverance and industry, is exceeded only by their inveteracy; who seek, through every avenue, to mislead your judgment, and to inflame your passions.
(TO BE CONTINUED.)
[continued in Albany (NY) Argus, 26 March 1813, pg. 2]
When your government pursues a pacific policy, it becomes the object of their scorn and derision; the want of energy in your rulers is decried, as a matter of alarming consideration; the injuries of your country are admitted, and the fact is triumphantly alledged, "that the administration cannot be kicked into a war." When they are impelled to a forcible vindication of our rights, the cry of enmity to peace, of a wish to war with England to serve France, is immediately resounded through the land. When war is declared, public opinion is sought to be prejudiced against the measure, as evincing a disposition unnecessarily to shed your blood, and waste your treasures. When it is discovered, that that declaration is accompanyed with a proposition, a just and equitable proposition, to the enemy, on which hostilities may cease and peace be restored; that proposition is derided, as evidence of the most disgraceful pusillanimity. No falsehood is considered too glaring, no misrepresentations too flagitious, to impose on your credulity, and seduce your affections from your native land.
Least general allegations might fail to effect their unholy purposes, and consummate their dark designs, specific charges are resorted to—calumnies which have again and again met the detestation of an enlightened public, are periodically brought forward, new dressed, and with new authorities to give them credence with you. Among the most prominent of those charges is that of enmity to commerce, on the part of the Republican administration. Never was there a calumny more wicked. Enmity to commerce! we ask, and we ask emphatically, where is the evidence of it? What is the basis on which they rest their claim to public confidence? It is that the administration is engaged in a war which they claim to be unpopular. What are the causes for which this war is waged, and which have hitherto imbroiled us with the nations of Europe? They are the violation of our Commercial rights, and the impressment of our seamen!—The administration then, are jeopardizing their influence with the people; they furnish weapons of offence to their adversaries; they brave all dangers for the maintainence and support of our commercial rights, and yet they are the enemies of Commerce! Can such base sophistry, such contemptible nonsense, impose on the credulity, or pervert the understanding of a single honest man?
As auxiliary to this unfounded aspersion, the oft exploded, the ten thousand times refuted tale of French influence, is ever and anon brought upon the carpet. It would be insulting to your understandings to detain you by a discussion of this odious and insulting insinuation. Was it evidence of French influence, on the adoption of every measure of commercial restriction, to place both France and England on the same footing? Was it evidence of French influence to cause it to be officially notified to the court of St. James, on the adoption of each of those measures, that in case they rescinded their orders in council the U. States would assume a hostile attitude towards France? was it evidence of French influence to embrace the earliest opportunity to conclude the arrangement with Erskine—leaving our affairs with France in a hostile attitude? If not, where, then, is the evidence to support this impudent censure? Is it to be found in a similarity of manners, of language or of feeling? "When an Englishman visits your country, is he not received with the familiarity, and cherished with the hospitality of a friend? Is a Frenchman ever treated by you otherwise than as a stranger?" Away, then, with those whining, canting professions, of fears and apprehensions of the danger of French influence. Intelligence must reject, and integrity abhor them.
But to crown this picture of folly and of mischief, they approach you under a garb which at once evinces their contempt for your understanding, and their total want of confidence in your patriotism; under a garb which should receive the most distinct marks of your detestation: they are "the friends of peace!" While our enemies are waging against us a cruel and bloody war, they cry "peace." While our western wilds are whitening with the bones of our murdered women and children—while their blood is yet trickling down the walls of their former habitations—while the Indian war-whoop, and the British drum, are in unison saluting the ears, and the British dagger and the Indian tomahawk suspended over the heads of our citizens—at such a time, when the soul of every man who has sensibility to feel his country's wrongs, and spirit to defend her rights, should be in arms—it is that they cry peace!" While the brave American tar, the intrepid defender of our rights, and redeemer of our national character, the present boast and future honor of our land—is impressed by force into a service which he detests, which compels brother to imbrue his hands in a brother's blood—while he is yet "tossing upon the surface of the ocean, and mingling his groans with those tempests less savage than his persecutors, that waft him to a returnless distance from his family and his home"—it is at such a period, "when there is no peace, when there can be no peace, without sacrificing every thing valuable—that our feelings are insulted, the public arm paralized, and the public ear stunned by the dastardly and incessant cry of peace!—What, fellow-citizens, must be the opinion which they entertain of you, who thus assail you? Can any man be so stupid as not to perceive that it is an appeal to your fears, to your avarice, and to all the baser passions which actuate the human heart? that it is approaching you in the manner in which alone those puny politicians who buz about you and thicken the political atmosphere, say you are accessible, through your fears and your pockets? Can any American citizen be so profligate as not to spurn indignant at the base libel upon his character?
Suffer yourselves not to be deceived by the pretence, that because Great Britain has been forced by her subjects to make a qualified repeal of her orders, our government ought to abandon her ground. That ground was taken to resist two great and crying grievances, the destruction of our commerce, and the impressment of our seamen. The latter is the most important, in proportion as we prefer the liberty and lives of our citizens to their property. Distrust, therefore, the man who could advise your government, at any time, and more especially at this time—when your brave sailors are exciting the admiration and forcing the respect of an astonished world, when their deeds of heroic valor make old ocean smile at the humiliation of her ancient tyrant—at such a time, we say again, mark the man who would countenance government in commuting our sailor's rights for the safety of our merchant's goods.
Next to the cry for peace the most potent spell which has been resorted to, to alarm your fears and to pervert your understanding—is the alledged distresses of the country. Fellow-citizens, it has been our object, it is our wish to treat you fairly, to appeal to your judgments, not to your passions, and as we hope our address to you hitherto has been marked by that character—it is to your judgment and your consciences then that we appeal upon this subject—Is not this clamour most unfounded, most ungrateful? If you doubt that it is so, if you hesitate to believe that it originates exclusively with the ambitious and designing—spend one moment in comparing your situation with that of the major part of the civilized world—Look at England, threatened with insurrection from her own subjects in almost every quarter—thousands of those subjects reduced to the lowest state of despair and misery—loaded with a national debt which it is admitted she can never pay; engaged in wars which have no prospect of a termination, reduced to the dreadful alternative of being compelled to continue those wars, to direct the attention of her subjects abroad, to preclude enquiry at home—convinced that a period of peace, of settlement, of retribution between government and subject, must bring with it a period of national bankruptcy, and of national convulsion.—Look at ireland, unhappy Ireland—the history of whose woes is engraven on the heart of every man of reading and reflection, in which, to use the language of one of her favorite sons, "the instruments of government have almost been simplified to the tax gatherer and the hangman." Look at france—subjected to the despotism of a tyrant, who, while he raises her fame and extends her domains, lavishes her blood and her treasures in the indulgence of his own criminal ambition—who has deluged the plains and crimsoned the fields of Europe with the blood of his subjects—who has established a despotism which has in its overwhelming vortex absorbed all private rights and individual privileges. For one moment turn your attention to Austria and Prussia; see them prostrate at his feet, holding every thing they yet enjoy by the frail tenure of his will and his caprice. Look at Russia, reflect on the heart rending distress which pervades every section of that vast empire, the unparalleled misery which afflicts all classes of her subjects. Behold them flying from their homes and their fire sides, conducted in their wretched flight by the conflagration of her ancient city, of the asylum of their fathers. For an instant turn your attention to Spain: not a foot of her territory but what has been manured by the blood of her subjects; presenting to the observing eye one dreary waste, one unvaried scene of horrid desolation and black despair. Look at the whole map of Europe, contrast your own situation with theirs, and then answer us, is it not impious and wicked to repine at our enviable lot.
Fellow-Citizens—Should those political witlings, who are not only ignorant themselves of the leading points of controversy in our disputes with the belligerents, but who are uniformly assailing you as men destitute at once of spirit and of judgment—should they point to the wars which agitate and have convulsed Europe, as arguments against the prosecution of that just and necessary one which has been forced upon us—we know that you will indignantly repel the unfounded suggestion. The wars of Europe are waged by monarchs, to gratify their individual malice, their individual caprice, and to satiate their lawless ambition. Ours is in defence of rights which must be defended, or our glory as a nation will be extinguished—the sun of our greatness will set for ever. As well might it have been said, during the revolution, that war should not be waged, because wars had desolated Europe. The same rights you then fought to obtain, you must now fight to preserve—the contest is the same now as it was then—and the feelings which then agitated the public mind, which on the one hand supported and on the other sought to destroy the liberties of the country, will be seen and felt in the conduct of the men of this day.
Fellow-Citizens,—We are compelled to close this appeal to you; the limits of an address will not permit us to do justice to the various subjects which should occupy your attention. We are aware that this has been already unreasonably extended; but the period has arrived when mere words and idle declarations must be unavailing. We have, therefore, felt it our duty to give you, as far as practicable, a clear view of your true situation, of your legitimate duties.—Unfortunately for us, when we ought to be a united, we are a divided people: the divisions which agitate us are not as to men only but to principle. You will be called on at the next election, to choose between different candidates, not only for the two great offices of state, Governor and Lieutenant-Governor, but for every other elective office—to make a selection which the actual situation of your country renders of infinite importance.
We are divided between the supporters and opposers of our government. We have witnessed the distressing truth, that it is not in the power of circumstances to destroy the virulence of party spirit. The opposition offer for your support, men, who whatever their private wishes may be, are devoted to the support of a party whose views and whose conduct we have attempted to delineate. In opposition to them, we respectfully solicit your support for the men whose nomination accompanies this address, one of whom has for six years served you in the capacity for which we now offer him; the other has for many years served you in the most responsible situations. The notoriety of their merits superscedes the necessity of our eulogium—their lives are their best encomiums; they are the true friends of commerce; their views are, and their conduct will be, in unison with the measures of the general government; they are the sincere friends of an honorable peace, the firm and energetic opposers of a base surrender of our rights.
We respectfully solicit for them your undivided support; we solemnly conjure every real friend to his country, to reflect on the danger of abandoning his government at a period so perilous; to reflect on the impropriety of even indirectly aiding the views of our enemies by continuing his opposition to government at a period so eventful.
To those of our fellow-citizens who advocated Mr. Clinton's election to the presidency, we take the liberty to say a word in particular. Many of us who now address you, were foremost in his support. He was supported under an impression of his superior fitness to direct the energies of the nation; to the maintenance of the principles we contend for. That question is put at rest; a continued opposition would be an attack, not on the administration, but on our country. We now demonstrate the sincerity of the professions we then made, and cordially invite you to do the same—we solicit the honest men of all parties—to remember that ours is the last republic—that all the influence of the crowned heads of Europe has been exerted to propagate the doctrine, that a government like ours can never stand the rude shock of war; to reflect that this is the first occasion in which this government has been engaged in a war, and that the great and interesting questions, whether man is capable of self-government, whether our republic must go the way of its predecessors, or whether, supported by the hearts and arms of her free citizens, she shall deride the revilings, and defeat the machinations of her enemies, is now to be tried.
Fellow-Citizens,—In the result of our elections during the continuance of this war, these important considerations are involved,—the question of who is for his country or against his country, must now be tried—the eyes of Europe are directed towards us—the efficacy of your mild and wholesome form of government is put to the test. To the Polls, then, and by a united and vigorous support of the candidates we submit to you, discharge the great duty you owe to your country, preserve for your posterity the rich inheritance which has been left you by your ancestors,—that future ages may triumphantly point to the course you pursued on this interesting occasion, as evidence that time had not as yet extinguished that spirit which actuated the heroes of Breed's-hill and York-town; of those who fell at Camden, and of those who conquered on the plains of Saratoga.
|James W. Wilkin,
|Martin Van Beuren,
|Henry Yates, jun.
|Francis A. Bloodgood,
|Archibald S. Clark,
|Casper M. Rouse,
|Benjamin F. Thompson,
|Ulster and Sullivan.
|Abm. J. Hardenbergh,
|John Blake, Jun.
|Peter S. Van Orden,
|Andrew Craig, Jun.
|Robert R. Clarke,
|John W. Taylor,
|Peter A. Hilton,
|John C. Vanderveer,
|Rudolph J. Shoemaker,
|Steuben and Allegany.
|William C. Bennett,
|Niagara, Chatauque and Cataragus.
The conclusion of the address was printed in Albany (NY) Argus: 26 March 1813, pg. 2.