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"Gentlemen have been too liberal in dealing out reflections against me; in any question where England is right, I will support her, where she is wrong, I will oppose her injustice; and in advoeating the just cause of America, or of any other power against the van advocating the cause of my em
ASTOR, LENOX AND
Book I. line 301, for "their camps” read “their factious camps." 355, for "guile" read "guide."
V. Argument, for "Owen" read "Omen."
VIII. line 27, for "So" read "To."
347, for "Deed" read "Deep."
Western America from the Pacific to th Mountains, a Description of Oregon, Was Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, large plates. Thick 8°, cloth (margins cut fro leaves), 6
Ir is an observation of professor Schütz, that the objects which Eschylus appears to have had in view when he wrote his patriotick tragedy of Prometheus, were to confirm the Athenians in the ardent love of that liberty which they so enviably enjoyed, and to inspire them with an utter detestation of despotism, and a determined resistance to oppression. In the voluptuous monarchy of Persia the pect saw enough to disgust him with tyranny; and the contrast exhibited between the miseries attendant upon such a form of government, and the happiness arising from Athenian freedom, was' a cause sufficiently powerful to raise to an exertion almost more than human the genius of the Shakespear of Greece. Such too is the object of the author of the present work. Born and educated in a land of liberty; descended from ancestors who, in the senates of their country, have with invariable
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uniformity given their voices* in defence of its rights, and for the preservation of its liberties, he could not but feel, in common with every British patriot, his whole indignation roused at the attempt of a weak and wicked administration to subjugate his free brethren in America, and thus not only to destroy one of the first principles of the British constitution, but to pave the way to the introduction of despotick power at home. If enthusiasm has any where influenced my pen, let the reader reflect that it is an enthusiasm if not caused, yet aggravated by the proclaimed increase of the influence of the crown, and the gigantick strides of modern corruption, Let him reflect too that it is directed to the best of objects, the recovery of the past, the preservation of the present, and the security, of our future liberties. That my work will in these times escape censure and abuse, is neither to be unexpected, nor regretted; for abuse is nothing more than the malignant effusion of that corruption, against which my pen has been uniformly, I wish I could add, efficaciously employed. If some passages of the poem
* See the divisions at the end of Chandler's Debates, vol. viii, and xii.
should seem not immediately to relate to the period in which they meet the publick eye, let it be remembered that those passages were written some years ago amid suspensions of the Habeas Corpus act, amid treason and sedition bills, amidst the imprisonments of learned and patriotick men, and above all under a system of spies and informers, that tended, among other evils, to diminish the chief source of buman happiness, the endearments of domestick life.
In respect to the plan and nature of the poem, I have but little to observe. It will probably be remarked, as it has been of the Pharsalia, that its subject is too near my own times; be it so; the enlightened reader will perceive an endeavour to remedy that defect; and let him remember that human life is short, and had the validity of this objection been allowed, the poem would never have been written. Some criticks will perhaps object to the length of the episodes; but the same objection has been made to the best of poets in the best of times. If malice, or ignorance should suggest that the Americans were the enemies of my country, I positively deny the assertion. The American war was the war
of a corrupt administration in direct opposition to the voice of the most enlightened patriots of the British nation. The Americans have been justly called our children, and our brethren, they have boasted of Old England as their home*, and the concessions ultimately made to them have manifested the original injustice of the war. They took up arms in defence of the same rights and liberties, which Englishmen themselves defended at their glorious revolution, and a similar success attended both. These are not the poet's sentiments only, they are the sentiments of a Rockingham, a Saville, a Camden and a Chatham +. It is true that lord North, and his associates stamped the Americans with the name of rebels, but "the term rebel (as Mr. Fox observed in the House of Commons, March 14th, 1776) was no certain mark of disgrace; for that all the great assertors of liberty, the saviours of their country, the benefactors of mankind, in all ages have been called rebels; that they even owed the constitu tion which enabled them to sit in that house to a rebellion."
See the note, b. iv. ver. 156.
See the notes, b. iv. ver. 75. 145. 148. 158. 164. 182. 188, 203 V. 61. 96. 109. 112. 128.