AN EULOGIUM OF THE BRAVE MEN WHO HAVE FALLEN IN THE CONTEST WITH GREAT-BRITAIN: DELIVERED ON MONDAY, July 5. 1779.
BEFORE A Numerous and Respectable ASSEMBLY of CITIZENS and FOREIGNERS, in the German Calvinist Church, PHILADELPHIA.
BY HUGH M. BRACKENRIDGE, A. M.
PHILADELPHIA: PRINTED BY F. BAILEY, IN MARKET-STREET.
TO THOSE CITIZENS OF THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA, AT WHOSE REQUEST THE FOLLOWING EULOGIUM WAS DRAWN UP AND DELIVERED,
IT IS NOW RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED, BY THEIR MOST OBEDIENT, AND VERY HUMBLE SERVANT, THE AUTHOR.
An EULOGIUM, &c.
IT is the high reward of those who have risked their lives in a just and necessary war, that their names are sweet in the mouths of men, and every age shall know their actions. I am happy in having it in my power, before a polite assembly, to express what I think of those who have risked their lives in the war of America. I know my abilities rise not to a level with so great a subject, but I love the memory of the men, and it is my hope that the affection which I feel, will be to me instead of genius, and give me warm words to advance their praises.
I CONCEIVE it as the first honour of these men, that before they engaged in the war, they saw it to be just and necessary. They were not the vassals of a proud Page 8 chieftain, rousing them, in barbarous times, by the blind impulse of attachment to his family, or engaging them to espouse his quarrel, by the music and enter|tainments of his ball. They were themselves the chieftains of their own cause, highly instructed in the nature of it, and, from the best principles of patriotism, resolute to defend it. They had heard the declaration of the court and parliament of Great-Britain, claiming the authority of binding them in all cases whatsoever. They had examined this claim, and found it to be, as to its foundation, groundless, as to its nature, tyranni|cal, and as to its consequences, ruinous to the peace and happiness of both countries. On this clear appre|hension and decided judgment of the cause, ascertain|ed by their own reason, and collected from the best writers, it was the noble purpose of their minds to stand forth in its defence.
THESE brave men were not soldiers by profession, bred to arms, and from a habit of military life attach|ed to it. They were the mechanics of the city, the merchants of the counting-house, the youths engaged in literary studies, and the husbandmen the peaceful cultivators of the soil. Happy in the sociability and conversation of the town, the simplicity and innocence of the country village, the philosophic ease of acade|mic leisure, and the sweets of rural life, they wish|ed not a change of these scenes of pleasure, for the dangers and calamities of war. It was the pure love of virtue and of freedom, burning bright within their minds, that alone could engage them to embark in the bold and perilous undertaking.
Page 9THESE brave men were not unacquainted with the circumstances of their situation, and their unprepared state for war. Not a bayonet was anvilled out, not a fire-arm manufactured, and scarcely a charge for a fire-arm was in their possession. No redoubt was cast up to secure the city, no fort was erected to resist inva|sion, no gun mounted on the deck of any vessel, and no vessel launched upon the stream of any river.
THE power of Britain, on the other hand, was well known, and by the lightning of her orators, in a thou|sand writings and harangues, had been thrown, in full force, upon their minds. They were taught to believe her (what indeed she was) old in arts and in arms, and enriched with the spoils of a thousand victories deriv|ed from the ancient captains and the heroes of her isle. Embraced by the ocean as her favourite, her commerce was extensive, and she sent out her ships of war to every sea. Her thunder was heard in the East-Indies and the West, and no fort or battery on the shore had been proof to her assault. Abounding in men, her armies were in full force, her fleets were compleatly manned, her discipline was regular, and the spirit of her enterprize by sea and land, had, in most cases, in|sured her success.
THE idea of resistance to the power of Britain was indeed great; but the mighty soul of the patriot drank it in, and, like the eagle on the summit of the moun|tain, collected magnanimity from the very prospect of the height to which he meant to soar. Like the steed, who swallows the distant ground with his fierceness *, Page 10 he attempted the career, and poured himself upon the race.
THE patriot quits his shop, his farm, his office, and his counting-house, and with every hope and every anxious thought prepares himself for war. The mate|rials of gun-powder are extracted from the earth; the bayonet is anvilled out; the fire arm is manufactured in the shop; the manual exercise is taught; the com|pany is formed in battalion; the battalion is instructed to manoeuvre on the field; the brigade is drawn forth; and the standard of defiance is planted on the soil.
SHALL I mention the circumstances of the day when the sword was drawn, and the first blood was shed; and shall I trace the progress of the war in the course of five campaigns: The war of the enemy, which, like the ocean whence it came, rolled its angry waves and beat upon our coasts, now ebbing and retiring to it|self; and now swelling, with a refluent tide, the several bays that open to receive the rivers of America: The war of the American, which, like the bold and steady winds that pass his mountains, met and tempested the ocean, whose waves were seen to roll, and break, and dash upon the shore. Or shall I drop the figure, and relate, in simple language, in what manner it has been fought from Canada to Georgia, and from Geor|gia to Canada; from the ocean to the mountain, and from the mountain to the ocean.
THE narration would require the space of an intire day: I can mention but the sum of things; and only tell you that the inroad of the foe has been sustained upon Page 11 the plain, and the forward and impetuous bands have been driven over the disdaining ground which they had measured in advance. The hill has been defended, and the rallying and repulsed, and repulsed and rallying foe, has been taught to understand that the valour of Ame|rica was worthy of the cause which her freemen had espoused. The wilderness has been penetrated, and the current of the river has been stemmed, and the ridge of hills has been surmounted in the march. The north|ern plains have been rendered hostile to the Briton, and the proud city, thought impregnable, was scarcely safe, when, by the combined fury of the two advancing bands, she was made to shake beneath the storm of winter and of war. The southern plains have been rendered hostile to the Briton, and the insurrection has been quelled, and the island and the fort has been defended. The mid-land plains have been rendered hostile to the Bri|ton, and here it has been fought, foot to foot, and point to point, in skirmishes, and night-surprizes, and in pitched battles, with alternate hope, and dubious success for many hours. The enemy, beaten in one state has retired to a second, and beaten in the second he has returned to the first; and beaten in every state he has sought the water, and like a sea monster roll|ing to his native element, the deep, has washed his wounds in the brine of ocean: Rising from the ocean he has sought the land, and advanced with a slow and suspicious step upon the hostile territory. War has again arisen, and it has been fought from spring to autumn, and from autumn to the spring, through the heats of summer, and the inclemencies of winter, with Page 12 the most unabated ardour, and unshaken perseverance. What tract of country has not been 〈◊〉 with the vestiges of war? What ground has not been cut with trenches? What hill has not been covered with re|doubts? What plain has not been made the scene of the engagement? What soil of the whole earth has not been sowed with ball?
GREAT, in the mean time, have been the labours of the soldier marching to receive the enemy in every state. Desisting from the march for a short night, he has slept without tent or covering, expos|ed to summer winds and autumnal dews; or in the solstitial month, he has built his hut, without nail or hammer, and, on the bleak hill, has outwatched the cold stars, centinels of the winter sky.
THESE have been the toils of the heroes of our army: But those brave souls whom we this day more parti|cularly celebrate, have added more than toils resulting from the calamities of life, even life itself. They have withdrawn from the embraces of their friends; quit|ted every fond hope of eminence in life, an idea very dear and flattering to the minds of men; they have bid farewel to the sun and moon, and the sweet changes of the varied year; they have rushed to war, and have fallen in the contest.
THESE of them have fallen in the long and labori|ous march, worn out with the toils of the protrac|ted and severe campaign. These have fallen by the fever of the camp, amidst the unavailing tears of their companions. These have fallen by the slow approach of wasting hunger, when, for many days, it has been Page 13 heard in the prison-ship 〈◊〉, "There is no bread." These of them have fallen by wounds not at once mortal. These have fallen when advancing on the enemy, they have received the bayonet in their breast; or high in hope, and anxious of victory *, they have instantly dropt, by the cannon or the musket ball.
FOR what cause did these brave men sacrifice their lives? For that cause which, in all ages, has engaged the hopes, the wishes, and endeavours of the best men, the cause of Liberty. LIBERTY! thou art indeed va|luable; the source of all that is good and great upon the earth! For thee, the wise and the brave of every age have contended. For thee, the patriot of America has drawn his sword, and has fought, and has fallen.
WHAT was in our power we have done with regard to the bodies of these men: we have paid them mi|litary honours: we have placed them in their native earth; and it is with veneration that we yet view their tombs upon the furzy glade, or on the distant hill. Ask me not the names of these. The muses shall tell you of them, and the bards shall woo * them to their songs. The verse which shall be so happy as to embrace the name of one of these shall be immortal. The names of these shall be read with the names of Pelopidas, Epa|minondas, and the worthies of the world. Posterity shall quote them for parallels, and for example. When they mean to dress the hero with the fairest praise, they shall say he was gallant and distinguished in his early fall, as Warren; he was virtuous, and prudent, and intrepid, as Montgomery; he was young, and Page 14 faithful, and generous, as Macpherson; he fell in the bold and resolute advance, like Haslet and like Mercer; he saw the honour which his valour had ac|quired, and fainted in the arms of victory, like Har|kimer; having gallantly repulsed the foe, he fell co|vered with wounds, in his old age, like Wooster.
The names of these brave men shall be read; and the earth shall be happy, where their bodies are depo|sited. Happy hills of Boston, where the God of arms gave uncommon valour to the patriot. Here the muses shall observe the night, and hymn heroic acts, and trim their lighted lamps to the dawn of morning. The little babbling Mystic brook, shall hear the me|lody, and, stealing with a silver foot, shall tell it to the ocean. Happy hills within prospect of New-York, where the enemy, rejoicing in his early strength, ad|ventured and fought, and where, detracting the en|gagement, he fled, with precipitation to his ships: On these hills the tomb of the hero is beheld, and fancy walking round covers it with wild and romantic shades. Happy grounds in the neighbourhood of Phi|ladelphia, where the foreigner shall enquire the field of battle, and the citizen shall say with conscious pride, as if the honour was his own, this is the tomb of Witherspoon; that is the ground where the noble Nash fell, Happy plains washed by the Ashley and the Cooper, and before the walls of Charlestown, where the brave Lincoln now turns away the fury of the enemy *: Here has the hero fallen, or rather he has risen to eternal honour, and his birth-place shall be immortal. His fame, like a vestal lamp, is lighted up: Page 15 It shall burn, with the world for its temple; and the fair assemblies of the earth shall trim it with their praise.
I WILL felicitate America through all her plains, and on all her bending rivers: Rivers over whom did the shade of silence brood, and, rolling down, you had it not to tell of feats of valour to the listening groves. The Kennebec could not tell of an adventrous band which had stemmed his current, and from the cataract and the ridge of hills, had advanced beyond his source. The great St. Lawrence could not tell of naval bat|tles which had been fought upon his lakes, or of engagements near his tide; but moved silent, though majestical, along the antient Huron, and Algonquin plains. The Hudson could convey no account from the heights where the valiant Gates was successful: heights where though the tombs of the enemy are chiefly seen, yet because they were brave, I will admit you to renown, and clothe you with my praises *: Even there shall the foot of bards wander, and the muses shall delight to dwell. The Delaware, noble river, that rolls by these walls *, could relate of no fort de|fended on his island, or fort defended on his bank: The fort of Red-bank, where Donop, advancing, fell with three hundred of his followers, and on the eighth day, expiring with his wounds, penitentially exclaim|ed,
Page 16BUT why drop a tear? I will lift my eye to fairer prospects, the woods, and the plains, and the rivers of America. Smile, O woods! exult, O plains! and be not insensible, O rivers! of the fame to which you are advanced. When, O rivers! you roll your waters to the ocean, tell her that she wake not the heroes who sleep upon your banks; chide her, that she roll her billows softly to the shores. Nay, chide her not; for she herself has become partial to our shores: The ocean has beheld the timber cut from the mountain, the vessel rising on the stocks, launched upon the stream, and maintaining an equal combat, on the Bri|tish seas, with the ship of superior force. The ocean has beheld the valour of our noble captains: when they have fallen, she has embraced their bodies, and has borne them to the rising springs and the green caves concealed beneath her surface. Ocean! thou didst embrace the body of the gallant Weeks, the intrepid Mugford, the adventrous Campbel: Ocean! thou didst embrace the body of the noble Biddle. Why should the heroes be disturbed with storms? Ocean! let thy flow be calm over them: Soothe them on thy coral beds, and kiss them with thy waves.
The waves of ocean, and the native earth, shall em|brace the bodies of entombed heroes; but the praise of men shall embrace their fame. The praise of France shall embrace the fame of the heroes of America; for having early hailed the rising stars of these states, she will love those, who on these shores, first observed their course. The praise of America, with reciprocal affection, shall embrace the fame of France; for having early hailed the Page 17 virtue of her chiefs, who, with the speed and the pleasant breath of the vernal gales over the Atlantic wave, rushed to our assistance, she has loved them; and when they have fallen, she has placed their bodies with her own heroes, and their fame in the western heavens, that it may remain to tell to future husband|men what we owe to the illustrious house of Bourbon. France! with the laurels acquired on our soil, thou hast planted sprigs of the cypress: But let it not re|pent thee to have shed thy blood in the noble cause of America. In this thou hast become Protector of the rights of mankind; and the fame of Louis XVI. is lighted up for immortality. It shall burn above the circle of the night, and the wide fields of heaven shall retain its lustre.
HAVING paid that respect to the memory of these men, which the annual return of this day demanded, it remains that we soothe the griefs of those who have been deprived of a father, bereaved of a son, or who have lost a brother, a husband, or a lover in the con|test. Fathers, whose heroic sons have offered up their lives in the debate; it is yours to recollect, that their lives were given them for the service of their country. They have paid the debt; and they shall be sensible of joy, when, with you, in a state of nobler and more blissful existence, they shall behold their name▪ written on the jasper walls and pearl shining 〈…〉* of heaven. The angel of America shall write, with his diamond point, the names of those who have fought at Lexington, at Bunker's-hill, on the lakes of Canada, at Three Rivers, Page 18 and before Quebec; the names of those who have fought at Danbury, at Fort Stanwix, Fort Montgomery, Fort Washington; at the German Flats, at Bennington, and on the heights adjacent to the heights of Saratoga: The names of those who have fought at Trenton, at Princeton, at the Ash-swamp, at the battle of the Short-hills, at Monmouth, and on every field of bold encounter and successful action on the pleasant farms and cultivated soil of Jersey: The names of those who have fought at Moore's Bridge in North-Carolina, at the Great-Bridge in Virginia, at Couch's mill, at Brandywine, at Germantown, on the Schuylkill river, on the islands of the Delaware, and in every scene of glorious action in the state of Pennsylvania: The names of those who have fought the Indian, the mer|cenary of Hesse, of Brunswick, of Waldeck, of Anspach, the horrid Briton, and the American him|self leagued in thoughts of hostility and murder, with the foreign enemy. The names of these shall be read in the languages of heaven; in all langua|ges that are, that have been, or that yet shall spring from the use of men: They shall be read by Moses, by Joshua, by David, by Daniel; by Phocion, Philo|poemen, Cleomenes, Aristides, Plato, and by Xeno|phen: They shall be read by Cincinnatus, Camillus, Fabricus, Brutus, Cato, Cicero, and Caesar himself, who, though a tyrant, yet, from the greatness of his mind, shall admire our atchievements: They shall be read by Albuquerque, Ximenes, Father Daniel, Sully, Henry IV. of France, Montesquieu, and Villars: They shall be read by More, Harrington, Hampden, Sid|ney, Page 19 Russel, Locke, and Newton, who, while he casts his eyes upon the orbs of heaven, shall sometimes drop his attention to their mighty revolutions, and shall read the inscription. Great souls of ancient, and great souls of modern time! You shall read the names of a Gardiner, a Parker, a Cheesman, a Hendricks, a Vesey, a Bowey, a Perry, a Knolton: The names of a Leech, a Waters, a Baxter, a Yates, a Morris, a Fleming, an Anderson: The names of a Bush, a Houston, a White, a Shelburne, a Bonner, a Haymond, a Dickinson, a Huger, and a Roberts: The names of a thousand officers and soldiers, worthies of the earth, and bright lights of heaven; who, by the cruelty of the enemy, the mistake of the centinel, or the bold emprize * of valour, have fallen in the cause of America. You shall read the names of these cut in glorious capitals, with the fair panegyric of their actions. You shall admire the examples of that virtue which you know your|selves to have possessed, and which has brightly beamed forth in others. You shall exult; and joining in the acclamations of heaven, its arches shall ring with an Eulogium.
THE names of these shall be read more especially by the early navigators and the first discoverers of Ame|rica: The great Columbus, who with heaven-taught sagacity and mighty reach of thought, conceived the apprehension of a continent towards the west; with unconquerable fortitude of mind explored the sea un|known, big with storms; and with greatly-merited success, attained these shores: Americo Vesputius Page 20 the Florentine, who from the pleasing relation which he writ of his voyages, subsequent to the discovery of Columbus, was fortunate to give his name to this continent: Cabot, who coasted North-America from the bay of Mexico to the cold seas, where the icy mountains roll; Raleigh, who first hailed the native of Guiana, and the native at the mouth of the Roanoque: You, mighty souls! shall behold the rising glory of the new world, which you had discovered: You shall hail the independence of the States, and shall read the names of those who have assisted to establish them.
THE names of these shall be read with equal admi|ration by the early settlers of America: Men pious, and virtuous, and simple in their mode of life; who hating tyranny, and loving liberty civil and religious; quitted▪ their native island, adventured on the ocean, penetrated to these shores, and chose a residence at once the boundary and the object of their emigrati|on: Men patient and laborious, who with industry cut the tree from the mountain, swept the forest from the soil, erected habitations, and changed the wilder|ness to fields of pasture and to cultivated vallies: A re|solute and bold band of brothers, who roused the ser|pent in the brake, the indian, and the wild beast, and fought against the warrior of Europe, rendered hostile because of their connection with Britain, once fondly called the Mother-Country: An unwearied, a vigilant, a deceased, but immortal race of men, who, as hewn pillars at the bottom of the building, have supported the strength and dignity and riches, and gradually-rising renown of America. O sky-inhabiting progenitors! Page 21 you shall read the exertions of these your immediate descendents, who have retributed to Britain for the injuries and oppressions, and disdains you had received from her: Who have quelled her invasion, quenched her fire *, repelled her hosts, humbled her spirit, de|jected her arrogance, and erected a trophy on the ample and distinguished field of gloriously purchased victory. You shall arrive amongst the multitude of nations, and kindred and people * who shall pore, with the affec|tions of a lover for the name of his mistress, on the names inscribed by the angel. Fathers! dismiss every shade of grief, and let the rays of immortal pleasure spring within your minds. You are happy in having been the parent of him who is written with the he|roes of his country.
SONS, whose heroic fathers have early left you, and, in the conflict of the war, have mixed with departed heroes; be congratulated on the fair inheritance of fame which you are entitled to possess. If it is at all lawful to array ourselves in borrowed honour, surely it is best drawn from those who have acted a distin|guished part in the service of their country. If it is at all consistent with the feelings of philosophy and rea|son to boast of lineal glory, surely it is most allowable in those who boast of it as flowing from truly patriot ancestors. We shall despise the uninstructed mind of that man who shall obtrude upon our ears the idea of a vain ancestral honour; but we shall love the youth, and transfer to him the reputation of his father, who, when the rich and haughty citizen shall frown upon him as ignobly descended, shall only say with modesty. Page 22 I had a father who has fallen in the service of his country.
SISTERS of the youth who has fallen in the contest with the tyrant: He was yours in his early bloom, and in his more advanced years; he was yours in the evening walk; at the morning hour; in the several hours of unclouded happiness: He was yours while he could be yours consistent with the will of heaven, that he should be ranked with the heroes of his coun|try. Sisters! weep not the youth as the sisters wept Phaeton on the banks of Eridanus: He also was ad|ventrous, and mounted, aspiringly, a glorious car; but no foul ambition entered to his mind; and no devious error marked his way. Serene and unmoved from his course, he illumined the tract through which he rode; and though his orb is set, it is but to new-dress his beams *, and to flame with fresh-spangled lustre in the forehead * of a brighter sky.
MATRONS once joined in the bliss of connubial af|fection; but with attentive eye you have not beheld the the husband of your fond expectation returning from war *. You will call to mind the delinquent lapse of those first hours, when the pulse of early love throbed high in the breast; you will call to mind the once pleasing scenes of the tenderest recollection, when un|checked and unlimited confiance poured every secret to your souls: you will call to mind his attentive cor|respondence, and the last letter which he writ: you will call to mind every act, every word of the hero: you will call to mind these, and you will weep, even Page 23 though he has departed to Elysium. But why should you weep? The praises of your country, and of the world shall console you It is now yours to direct alone the education of your children: The sphere of honour is but enlarged to you; and the path is laid open by which you may ascend to memory in future ages, and be ranked with Cornelia amongst the Ro|mans.
VIRGINS, whom in a few revolving moons the Hy|meneal chain was to bind; but the youth who had long sighed for you, and thought to deserve you by his valour, has rushed to the war, and has fallen in the battle: Virgins! I do not mean to restrain your tears, or to say that you shall not mourn: I only ask that you bend not in sorrow o'er the earth where the hero is entombed. Here, can the hero be entombed? He lives, O Virgins! he lives in yonder heavens: His fame kin|dles bright above you: His worth shall be mentioned to your honour: His valour shall array you in perpetual smiles: The shade of age, abashed, shall not dare to to approach you: and men shall ever prize her beauty whom a hero loved.
SIGHS for departed heroes take their rise in the sor|rows of the heart; but they are arrayed by the object which they mourn, like the blue mists of the early day, which are tinged by the splendent beams of the rising sun. Cease, gentle sighs! though your bosoms are ar|rayed with light: I cannot hail you now: I mean to address myself to the surviving heroes of my country. You, I know, weep not the fortune of these men; you rather envy them. But why, my countrymen, Page 24 shall envy of immortal actions touch your breasts? Your wounds and services are honourable also. You have met the inroad of the bold invasion; you have mixed in the rising and renewed war. Venturing on the burning edge of the engagement, you have closed the furrowed ranks: And when the enemy have pres|sed advantage, you have gallantly restored the battle; and the day won against hostile numbers, and boasted discipline has crowned you with the ever-greens of ho|nour; and when after times shall speak of these who have risen to renown, you also shall be mentioned with them. I will charge it to the golden-winged and silver-tongued bards, that they recollect and set in order eve|ry circumstance; the causes of the war; your early and just exertions; your many toils; your hazardous at|chievements; your noble resolution; your unshaken perseverence; your unabated ardour; your hopes in the worst of times; your triumphs in the days of victory; your humanity, and god-like spirit of for|giveness to an undeserving enemy: All these will I charge it, that they recollect and set in order, and give them bright and unsullied to the coming ages. The bards, I know will hear me, and will give them bright and unsullied, and preserved from the least breath of detraction. With peculiar pleasure they shall convey the fame of WASHINGTON, and of you, my gallant country|men, who now repel the enemy upon the plains clothed with your former victories: Washington, on whose early brow the honours of a former war had budded: who had drawn fire and experience from the valour he resisted, contending with the noble power of France: Page 25 who embarked a statesman in the cause of America; shone out a soldier in the war with Great-Britain; by equanimity and sweetness of temper, won the hearts of his soldiery; by humanity and truth, commanded the unwilling esteem of the enemy; and by prudence and courage, and fortitude, and perseverance, has become the deliverer of his country: You, heroic chief, and you, my gallant countrymen, shall go down to poste|rity with exceeding honour. Your fame shall appear on the current of the stream of time: It shall rise and play with the breezes of the morning: Men at rest, in the cool age of life, from the fury of a thousand wars finished by their fathers, shall observe the spread|ing ensign: They shall hail it, as it waves with varie|gated glories; and feeling, exultingly, all the warm rapture of the heart, shall give their plaudit from the shores.