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HistRevolV2_601-650.indd 27 3/16/12 12:03 PM C H A P T E R X X X A Survey of the Situation of America on the Conclusion of the War with Britain • Observations on the Declaration of Independence • Withdraw ofthe British Troops from New York-A few Observations on the Detention of the Western Posts • The American Army disbanded, after the Commander in Chief had addressed the Public, and taken Leave of his FellowSoldiers -General Washington resigns his Commission to Congress [300] We have seen the banners of Albion displayed, and the pendants CHAP. xxx of her proud navy waving over the waters of the western world, and 1 7 s 3 threatening terror, servitude, or desolation, to resisting millions. We have seen through the tragic tale of war, all political connexion with Great Britain broken off, the authority of the parent state renounced, and the independence of the American states sealed by the definitive treaty. The mind now willingly draws a veil over the unpleasing part of the drama, and indulges the imagination in future prospects of peace and felicity; when the soldier shall retreat from the field, lay by the sword, and resume the implements of husbandry-the mechanic return to his former occupation, and the merchant rejoice in the prosperous view of commerce; when trade shall not be restricted [301] by the unjust or partial regulations of foreigners; and when the ports of America shall be thrown open to all the world, and an intercourse kept free, to reap the advantages of commerce extended to all nations. The young government of this newly established nation had, by the recent articles of peace, a claim to a jurisdiction over a vast territory, reaching from the St. Mary's on the south, to the river St. Croix, the extreme boundary of the east, containing a line of postroads of eighteen hundred miles, exclusive of the northern and western wilds, but partially settled, and whose limits have not yet been explored. Not the Lycian league, nor any of the combinations of the Grecian states, encircled such an extent of territory; nor does modern 627 HistRevolV2_601-650.indd 28 3/16/12 12:03 PM 628 W A R R E N ' S H I S T 0 R Y 0 F T H E R E V 0 L U T I 0 N CHAP. xxx history furnish any example of a confederacy of equal magnitude and 1 1 s 3 respectability with that of the United States of America. We look back with astonishment when we reflect, that it was only in the beginning of the seventeenth century, that the first Europeans landed in Virginia, and that nearly at the same time, a few wandering strangers coasted about the unknown bay of Massachusetts, until they found a footing in Plymouth. Only a century and an half had elapsed, before their numbers and their strength accumulated, until they bade defiance to foreign oppression, and stood ready [302] to meet the power of Britain, with courage and magnanimity scarcely paralleled by the progeny of nations, who had been used to every degree of subordination and obedience. The most vivid imagination cannot realize the contrast, when it surveys the vast surface of America now enrobed with fruitful fields, and the rich herbage of the pastures, which had been so recently covered with a thick mattress of woods; when it beholds the cultivated vista, the orchards and the beautiful gardens which have arisen within the limits of the Atlantic states, where the deep embrowned, melancholy forest, had from time immemorial sheltered only the wandering savage; where the sweet notes of the feathered race, that follow the track of cultivation, had never chanted their melodious songs: the wild waste had been a haunt only for the hoarse birds of prey, and the prowling quadrupeds that filled the forest. In a country like America, including a vast variety of soil and climate, producing every thing necessary for convenience and pleasure, every man might be lord of his own acquisition. It was a country where the standard of freedom had recently been erected, to allure the liberal minded to her shores, and to receive and to protect the persecuted subjects of arbitrary power, who might there seek an asylum from the chains of servitude to which they had [303] been subjected in any part of the globe. Here it might rationally be expected, that beside the natural increase, the emigration to a land...


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