northern nations protected the young republic by an
armed neutrality; while the catholic and feudal monarchies of France
, children of the Middle Age
, were wonderfully swayed to open the gates of futurity to the new empire of democracy; so that, in human affairs, God never showed more visibly his gracious providence and love.
Yet the thirteen colonies, in whom was involved the futurity of our race, were feeble settlements in the wilderness, scattered along the coast of a continent, little connected with each other, little heeded by their metropolis, almost unknown to the world.
They were bound together only as British America, that part of the Western
hemisphere which the English
mind had appropriated.
was the mother of its language, the home of its traditions, the source of its laws, and the land on which its affections centred.
And yet it was an offset from England
, rather than an integral part of it; an empire of itself, free from nobility and prelacy, not only Protestant, but by a vast majority dissenting from the Church of England; attracting the commoners and plebeian sects of the parent country, and rendered cosmopolitan by recruits from the nations of the European
By the benignity of the law, the natives of other lands were received as citizens; and political liberty, as a birthright, was the talisman, that harmoniously blended all differences and inspired a new public life, dearer than their native tongue, their memories and their kindred.
, Swede and German
, renounced their nationality, to claim the rights of Englishmen.
The extent of those rights, as held by the colonists, had never been precisely ascertained.