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REVOLUTION IN AMERICA:
OR, AN ATTEMPT
TO COLLECT AND PRESERVE SOME OF THE
SPEECHES, ORATIONS, & PROCEEDINGS,
WITH SKETCHES AND REMARKS
MEN AND THINGS,
AND OTHER FUGITIVE OR NEGLECTED PIECES,
BELONGING TO THE
REVOLUTIONARY PERIOD IN THE UNITED STATES;
WHICH, HAPPILY, TERMINATED IN THE
ESTABLISHMENT OF THEIR LIBERTIES:
WITH A VIEW
TO REPRESENT THE FEELINGS THAT PREVAILED IN THE "TIMES THAT TRIED,
TO VIGILANCE, AS THE CONDITION ON WHICH IT is granted.
That they may be encouraged to adhere to the simplicity of Truth,
AS SET FORTH BY THE
Baltimore, April, 1822.
PRINCIPLES AND ACTS OF THEIR FATHERS,
AND EMULATE THE NOBLEST DEEDS WHEN THE
LIBERTIES OF THEIR COUNTRY ARE ENDANGERED,
BY FOREIGN ENEMIES OR DOMESTIC ENCROACHMENTS;
THE BLESSINGS WHICH THESE PATRIOTS WON
MAY DESCEND TO POSTERITY,
And our Republic forever continue to be the Pride of Humanity, and an Asylum for the
OPPRESSED OF ALL NATIONS:
BY THEIR SINCERE FRIEND,
It is with unaffected diffidence, that the editor now presents his long-expected volume to the people of the United States, from an apprehension that its contents will not accord with the hopes entertained by those who felt interested in the publication. Self-love, or self-respect, seems to demand that some account of the origin and progress of this work should be submitted, that the real merits or demerits of the case may be understood..
On the 23d of November, 1816, a letter was published in the WEEKLy Register, (of which the editor of this work is also the editor and proprietor), from an anonymous correspondent, from which the following is an extract:
"Among the patriots whose efforts have tended to give stability to our institutions, no one is more entitled to the best wishes of his fellow-citizens, and no one has rendered himself more honorably known, than yourself. The steady zeal with which you have prosecuted your valuable work, has made it as a light to the people, by which they see their true interests, and discover the certain means of preserv ing and improving their unparalleled freedom and its attendant blessings. I am satisfied that you take pleasure in an American offering you his thoughts on any subject of a public nature, however little merit may be in his suggestions. I am, therefore, led to propose to your consideration an undertaking which no one is so well qualified to accomplish as yourself-it is to collect and print handsomely a volume of speeches and orations of our revolution: you can make the supplement to one of your volumes such a book. The present is a most propitious period; the feelings and sentiments of 76 were never so prevalent as at present. The moment and opportunity may pass and not immediately return; the events of the late war have imparted a glow of national feeling for every thing republican. Let us then avail ourselves of the circumstance to make some deep impression. What better impression can we make than by rendering the opinions and conduct of our fathers familiar? An opportunity for such a work exists now-which, we know, is but transient, as but six Americans Who witnessed the great debate remain. Now, can a doubt arise that Mr. Jefferson, or Mr. Adams, or Mr. Thompson, would not take delight in furnishing materials?-the speeches themselves, and a view of the proceedings and different characters of the speakers. We have one selection of American speeches, made by a British emissary-if such men are to select our political lessons, I need not tell you what must be the opinions of the rising generation, nor of their certain degradation."
Then followed a promise to communicate sundry articles, and some hints of the writer to obtain others.
This letter was spread before the readers of the REGISTER to gather public sentiment on the subject, and form some opinion, through communications solicited, of the supply of materials that could be obtained, with very little prospect, at that time, of accomplishing the wishes of my correspondent, though there was not any want of zeal to satisfy them. I apprenended that the supply of matter would be short-for I had, myself, been an eager collector of such things for many years, and seemingly had some right to judge of the quantity that remained for edification and improvement, in a recurrence to first principles. But it soon appeared that many were desirous that the collection should be attempted, and certain distinguished persons held out flattering prospects of success, urging me forward by the presentation of motives which they were pleased to think had an irresistible influence on my conduct: but I still hesitated, because of the deficiency of materials, until January, 1819, when it was announced that the volume would be put to press in an address that contained the annexed remarks:
"It is much to be regretted that very few of the soul-stirring orations and speeches of the revolu tionary period remain to claim the admiration of a blessed posterity: Still, some good things are left 10 us,-and, by a liberal enlargement of the plan originally proposed, we feel pretty confident of presenting an acceptable gift to the American people, by rescuing from oblivion a great variety of fleeting, cattered articles, belonging to the history of our country anterior to the sublime epoch of the revolution, during its continuance, and immediately after its glorious termination, whilst its feelings were fresh upon the heart and understanding of our heroes and sages. As heretofore observed, our collection of materials is somewhat extensive, our resources promise some rich additional supplies,-and no effort shall be left untried to increase our store: so that, on the whole, though the collection will, douotless be defective, and, perhaps, not equal the expectations of some, we are consoled with a belief that it will not be unworthy of the patronage of an enlightened public-zealous to catch a "spark from the altar of '76." and prepared to enter into the spirit of past times.
"The volume will be slowly printed as the matter presents itself, and be concluded as soon as the nature of things will admit of-but shall not be hurried. Order in its arrangement can hardly be hoped for; but it will not, on that account, suffer much depreciation of value.”
Since ascertained to be BENJAMIN ELLIOT, esq. of Charleston, S. C. whose name I take the lib to mention as the projector of the undertaking; and the merit of it belongs to him.