America Seated Among The Nations (1780)

By Jonathan Mason, Oration at Boston, March 5, 1780

The rising sun of this Western Hemisphere is already announced, and she is summoned to her seat among the nations of the earth. We have publicly declared ourselves convinced of the destructive tendencies of standing armies. We have acknowledged the necessity of public spirit and the love of virtue to the happiness of any people, and we profess to be sensible of the great blessings that flow from them. Let us not act unworthily of the reputable character we now sustain. Let integrity of heart, the spirit of freedom, and rigid virtue be seen to actuate every member of the commonwealth.

The trial of our patriotism is yet before us, and we have reason to thank heaven that its principles are so well known and diffused. Exercise towards each other the benevolent feelings of friendship, and let that unity of sentiment which has shone in the field be equally animating in our councils. Remember that prosperity is dangerous; that, though successful, we are not infallible.

Let this sacred maxim make the deepest impression upon our minds, that if avarice, if extortion, if luxury and political corruption are suffered to become popular among us, civil discord and the ruin of our country will be the speedy consequence of such fatal vices. But while patriotism is the leading principle, and our laws are contrived with wisdom and executed with vigor; while industry, frugality, and temperance are held in estimation, and we depend upon public spirit and the love of virtue for our social happiness, peace and affluence will throw their smiles upon the brow of individuals, our commonwealth will flourish, our land will become a land of liberty, and America an asylum for the oppressed.

survey for ushistory.org

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