front, the banks of the stream being fortified in convenient places.
I need not remind you of the battle of White Plains
on the 28th October, 1776, where Alexander Hamilton
distinguished himself as a captain of artillery, nor of the heights of Newcastle
to which Washington
repaired after the battle.
, where we hold our farms under Indian titles, bearing the mark of Katonah
, sagamore, that were confirmed by patent of Queen Anne, some houses were burned in ‘79 by Lieut.-Colonel Tarleton
heading a detachment of the Queen
's Rangers, as related in his despatch to Sir Guy Carleton
At Poundridge and Hitching's corner occurred bloody skirmishes.
Then, there are near by us Mile-square, where the Americans
kept a strong guard; Pine's Bridge, which served as the principal communication between the hostile lines, and where Enoch Crosby
, the Westchester spy — known to all readers of our great novelist as Harvey Birch
, commenced his career of secret service; King's Bridge
, the barrier of the British
lines on the Harlem River
, commanded in New York by Lord Cathcart, where the Cow-boys made their rendezvous when they had plundered the surrounding hills, and where a battle was fought between the Continentals and the Hessians.
Indeed the whole of the “neutral ground,” as portrayed by Fenimore Cooper
, extending to the Croton
, the banks of the Hudson
, Northcastle, and Salem
, connected with the sad drama of Andre
, and the, till recently, unsurpassed treason of Arnold
, all abound with revolutionary incidents; not forgetting Valentine's Hill, at Mile-square, where Washington
was encamped in ‘76, Sir William Erskine
in ‘78, and where in ‘82, as Mr. Bolton
tells us, a grand foray was made with some 6,000 men by Sir Guy Carleton
in person, attended, among other officers of note, by the young Duke
of Clarence, afterwards William the Fourth.
Dwelling as you do amid scenes so suggestive, there should be no traitors in Westchester
, unless, indeed, they are the descendants of the Cow-boys and Skinners, those pests of the Revolution, who were at once selfish, treacherous, cowardly, and cruel; and if any traitors should again be found in our borders — men ready, for their own selfish interests, to betray either the national principles or the national integrity, that our fathers bought for us at so great a price, do not forget to remind them that the “Cow-boy oak” yet stands near Yonkers
, on which their traitorous ancestors were suspended with “a short shrift and a sure cord;” and that equally patriotic oaks in every part of Westchester
send forth their broad arms ready to perform for our country, should its safety at any time unhappily demand it, the same excellent service.
You are familiar also with the history of our Constitution and with those marked lines of distinction between the authority of the States and that of the Federal Government
, which to some of the statesmen and authors of England
seem so difficult of comprehension; and in regard to which, perhaps naturally enough, they occasionally fall into blunders, which unfortunately are not always as harmless as the droll liberties they are accustomed to take with our history, our geography, and our nomenclature.
If ever the constitutional history of America
shall receive in the education of English gentlemen a tithe of the attention bestowed on the constitutions of Greece
, or a share of that devoted to the fabulous heroes, the gods and goddesses of classic mythology, the British Senate
may occasionally find a familiarity with our institutions of no slight value, especially if it shall save them from rashly interrupting the cordial friendship of a kindred people.
The universality of such knowledge here, makes us perhaps more ready to remark the want of it in foreign critics.
said during the last century, and the progress of education and improvements in our newspapers have made the remark more true of the present than of the past,--“We are more thoroughly an enlightened people with regard to our political interests than perhaps any other under heaven.”
You remember that in 1774 the members of the first Congress at Philadelphia
, on behalf of the colonies which they represented, entered into certain articles of association “under the sacred ties of virtue, honor, and love of country.”
That in 1778 the States united in a confederacy, or what they called “a firm league of friendship with each other,” under the title of the United States
, and that under this league made by the States they continued until 1789, when, “in order to form a more perfect union,” --not the States--but “We, the people of the United States
,” ordained and established the present Federal Constitution.
You remember that from the date of the peace in ‘83, when we were a mere league of petty sovereignties, we sank rapidly, in the words of Mr. Motley
, whose conclusive essay in the London Times
has enlightened Europe
, “into a condition of utter impotence, imbecility, and anarchy,” which continued until we were rescued from it by “The Constitution of the United States
,” which made us, in every sense, one nation — with one supreme Government, although for convenience we retained the plural title under which we had achieved our independence, of “The United States
Any argument, therefore, addressed to you upon the constitutional right alleged by the rebels, of a State to secede from the Union
would be quite superfluous.
Men have been allowed to talk of State sovereignty as it liked them, because ours is a free country, and in ordinary times the utmost liberty of speech is permissible, but the doctrine has not even a respectable foothold.
, as if foreseeing the evil it has assisted to bring forth, denounced it as “that monster, state sovereignty.”
successively demolished it, and the argument now insolently