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Otsego Herald

March 6, 2014

A futile patriotism

From the Otsego Herald

for Sat., March 5, 1814

Compiled, with comments

“REPUBLICAN ELOQUENCE”

SPEECH OF THE HON. MR. HOLMES, in the Senate of Massachusetts, During the Debate on the reported Answer the Governor/s Speech [A Republican State Senator, John Holmes strongly objected to the anti-war attitude taken by the Federalist-controlled State of Massachusetts].

After having, during a war of eighteen months, taken their ground against their country and in favor of its enemy; after having condemned their own government, and justified the aggressions and atrocities of the enemy, in every particular, without a solitary exception, an attempt to dissuade them from this course, must in this case be desperate. I might as well attempt to convert an Atheist by scripture; I might as well go into the church yard, rebuke the tombs, and expostulate with the sleeping ashes of the dead.

No, sir, it is not them, whom I expect to convince or edify; it is an apprehension, that silence may be deemed an acquiescence in these inflammatory proceedings; it is for the sake of my political friends, that I stand forth the advocate of my injured country.

In the commencement of a war, slander and abuse are wonderfully successful. There was danger for a while, that the outrages of party might drive the administration from office, or compel them to make an ignominious peace. But truth prevailed. Notwithstanding every attempt to throw a stumbling block in the way of the administration...their popularity has increased, and the people are more united than at the commencement of the war.

You speak of the growing discontents of the people: Where is your evidence? [Even] in the city of New York, at a very late election, the American cause prevailed by a change that was truly astonishing. And all this in time of war against the incessant clamors and slanders of party, without any sedition act, or other act to screen the administration.

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