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be ready to conclude, that Americans, above all others, would most affectionately remember a favor so great and unexpected. Yet, to our shame be it spoken, when our enemies were gone, we neglected the God of our deliverance. But he soon made it evident, by another alarming providence, that he had not forgotten our past transgressions, and that he did not overlook our present unthankfulness. The enviable blessings which his bounty bestowed, we had reason to fear would again be torn from us. The storm once more thickened, and lowered, and threatened. Four years, from the restoration of
peace, had not elapsed, when the reflecting patriot foresaw the rapid approach of danger more formidable than that which we had escaped. The bond of general union proved too feeble for the important purposes for which it was formed. Clashing interests and turbulent spirits foreboded the introduction of Anarchy, with all the curses that follow in his train. But the Lord, long suffering, did not pour out upon us the fury of his anger. He shook the rod over us that we might observe it; and laid it aside without chastising. Loth to make us the monuments of his wrath, and willing to reclaim us from our guilty indifference, he tried the arguments of mercy. He dissipated the blackening clouds, and gave us a constitution which secures, to all ranks of
citizens, every species of right; which combines wisdom with energy; and connects the dignity of the government, with the safety and happiness of the individual. The prospect of evil had awakened the sensibility of the public mind, and the prompt salvation obliged even politicians to acknowledge “ the finger of God." But when the panic subsided, the devotion subsided with it: and America quickly relapsed into her former lethargy.
To chastise the hypocrisy, and cure the indifference, which all orders of men had betrayed, Jehovah commissioned his army, against which valor and skill are no defense, to avenge
quarrel. A host of destructive insects, sporting with the puny efforts of human exertion, traversed the country, and mowed down, in their march, the staff of life. “ The land was as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness." Had they continued their devas
” tations, we could have expected little but“cleanness of teeth in all our dwellings." Startled at the alarming progress of this minute yet invincible foe, our citizens who were not wholly dead to religious principle, were constrained to remark the judgment of the Most High, and to implore the aid of him whom they had offended. But
* See the history of the Hessian Fly, in the American Museum, Vol. iv. p. 302.
the pang of penitence was no longer felt when the affliction ceased, and the return of prosperity was accompanied with a return of transgression.
To remind us of our sin and of our duty, the monitions of Providence were again employed. In just indignation, God sent upon our frontiers the Indian tribes. War lighted, once more, his hostile torch, and Death unfurled his banners. Our western brethren were exposed to the indescribable horrors of a savage warfare: a warfare of which the unvarying maxim is, an indiscriminate murder of every age and sex. Elated with the persuasion that their power was irresistible by the hordes of the wilderness, the state resolved to crush, at a blow, the troublesome combination which was formed against them. But they trusted in an arm of flesh; the God of battles fought for their enemies, and what was the issue? Let the banks of St. Mary, and the adjacent grounds which now whiten with the bones of our youth, tell the tale of wo!* From that disastrous period to this, the vengeful barbarian has more or less committed depredations on our borders; pillaging the property and destroying the lives of our citizens. What shall we say to the present aspect of Providence ? You all know the deplorable condition of our neighboring city. A few weeks ago she was a city of prosperity and joy--Commerce crowded her harbor and thronged her streets-Mechanic industry boasted her useful, though humbler toil-Literature saw, with delight, her growing honors—Amusement led
* The affecting catastrophe here alluded to, happened on the 4th of November, 1791. On that inauspicious day, the American army which General St. Clair led against the western Indians was entirely defeated. The battle was fought at the river St. Mary, about fifteen miles from the Miami village. The army consisted of about 1400 effective men. No less than 38 officers and above 1100 men were killed : and it was with difficulty that the miserable remnant made good their retreat. See, General St. Clair's official letter, American Museum, vol. 10, appendix. Quarter-Master Hodgdon's return of the officers killed and wounded, p. 28. The
up her sportive train—Jollity assembled the sons of mirth: All was life-all was ardor. But, how sad the change! The hurry of business has ceased–The hands of industry are idle—Gayety is fled. All faces gather blackness; and the theatre of pleasure is converted into one great house of mourning. " The mirth of tabrets ceaseth : the noise of them that rejoice endeth : the joy of the harp ceaseth: They shall not drink wine with a song : strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it :-every house is shut up, that
, no man may come in. In the city is left desolation; and the gate is smitten with destruction." Death has erected, in the midst of her, his gloomy throne.
With fury uncontrolled, he
Report of a committee of congress respecting the failure of the expedition under General St. Clair,” ib. vol. 9, appendix 2d, p. 79—82; and also appendix 3d, p. 2.
rages through all descriptions of men. In all directions fly the shafts of this unerring archer. Every day he multiplies his triumphs. The young, the old, the honorable, and the vile, fall the undistinguished prey of this remorseless tyrant. Vain, as yet, have been all human expedients to arrest his progress, and baffle his power. He mocks opposition—He strews the earth with slain-He numbers among his victims even the “masters of the healing art.”
Let none consider this dire calamity as an event in which only the immediate sufferers are concerned. To punish their iniquities it has, doubtless, been sent. But are they single in trans, gression ? Have we escaped because we are better than they? No, in no wise. A sovereign
? God has made them an example of his righteous vengeance. The evil under which they languish is one of those awful dispensations by which Jehovah speaks, in thunder, to a guilty people. The destroying Angel, who is now executing upon our fellow-citizens and fellow-sinners the awards of Heaven, looks terribly on us, looks terribly on all.—Whether he will bend his course hither, God only knows.
Now, my brethren, lay all these things together, and ask your own consciences, whether the Lord has not been, and is not at this moment, dealing with us in wrath ? Assuredly, "for all