An Address delivered at the request of a committee of the citizens of Washington: on the occasion of reading the Declaration of Independence, on the Fourth of July, 1821
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It is not, let me repeat, fellow-citizens, it is not the long enumeration of intolerable wrongs concentrated in this Declaration ; it is not the melancholy catalogue of alternate oppression and entreaty, of reciprocated indignity and remonstrance, upon which, in the celebration of this anniversary, your memory delights to dwell. Nor is it yet that the justice of your cause was vindicated by the God of Battles ; that in a conflict of seven years, the history of the war by which you maintained that Declaration, became the history of the civilized world ; that the unanimous voice of enlightened Europe, and the verdict of an after age, have sanctioned your assumption of sovereign power ; and that the name of your WASHINGTON is enrolled upon the records of time, first hi the glorious line of heroic virtue. It is not that the monarch himself, who had been your oppressor, was compelled to recognise you as a sovereign and independent people, and that the nation, whose feelings of fraternity for you had slumbered in the lap of pride, was awakened in the arms of humiliation to your equal and no longer contested rights. The primary purpose of this Declaration, the proclamation to the world of the causes of our Revolution, is “with the years beyond the flood.” It is of no more interest to us than the chastity of Lucretia, or the apple on the head of the child of Tell. Little less than forty years have revolved since the struggle for independence was closed; another generation has arisen ; and, in the assembly of nations, our Republic is already a matron of mature age. The cause of your independence is no longer upon trial ; the final sentence upon it has long been passed upon earth and ratified in Heaven.