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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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barrenness of topics.  The orator treats of the objects and uses of love.  He descants on love as a religious feeling, on benevolence and patriotism, on parental, filial, and connubial love, and traces the consequences of this all pervading principle on the order of nature and condition of men.

Let his own words speak for him on one point, the love of country.  `It is not a mere something we are unacquainted with, that renders our natal soil so peculiarly agreeable, it is our friends, our relations, parents, children, laws, religion.  Aided by the force of these considerations, reason impresses a love of country upon the heart of every social being.  Nay, there is some secret principle within us, some innate tenderness for that spot where we first drew our breath, first saw the light, the scene of our infant joys, some gentle effusion of divinity congenial with the soul, which enforces it far beyond the power of reason.  This is a universal principle of patriotism confined by no bounds.  It rules in all countries, and in all nations.  The sons of tyranny acknowledge it; the meanest slave has through this, an affection for his country.  What then must be his love, who has tasted liberty at the fountain, who lives under a Constitution dispensing the joys of freedom wherever it prevails, who possesses the sacred rights of a British subject, rights torn from the heart of tyranny, nourished with the best blood of his ancestors, and transmitted to him on the point of their swords?  A Britain's love of country is fixed on the solid basis of freedom.  Liberty!  Nurse of heroes!  Parent of worth !  Best blessing of society! Long continue to smile upon this happy soil.  Grant that my countrymen may feel the fulness of thy influence, that they may nobly advance under the shadow of thy wings in the pursuit of true glory, rise virtuously superior to the ills of fortune, and attain to that perfection in attempting to acquire which the Romans failed.  May they ever be loyal, may they ever be free.'

We here discover the germs, which grew into strength and maturity, as the young orator advanced in years, and particularly when he was called not long afterwards to put in practice


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From The Life of Gouverneur Morris: With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers; Detailing Events in the American Revolution, The French Revolution, and in the Political History of the United States, by Jared Sparks, Volume 1, Boston: Gray & Bowen, 1832, p 12. Some minor edits may have been made, but an attempt has been made to preserve the original spelling. Although some effort has been made to correct the limitations of OCR technology, if you find an error please report it to jvinci@colonialhall.com.

 
 


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Last modified August 20, 2006