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EXTRACT FROM ROBERT IIALL'S SERMON
WAR WITII NAPOLEON.
In other wars we have been a divided people: the effect of our external operations has been in some measure weakened by intestine dissension. When peace has returned, the breach has widened, while parties have been formed on the merits of particular men, or of particular measures. The sentiment of self-preservation, the first law which nature has impressed, has absorbed every other feeling; and the fire of liberty has melted down the discordant sentiments and minds of the British Empire into one mass, and propelled them in one direction. While we feel solicitude, let us not betray dejection, nor be alarmed at the past successes of our enemy, which are more dangerous to himself than to us, since they have raised him from obscurity to an elevation which has made him giddy, and tempted him to suppose everything within his power.
“ Bene habet. Dii pium movere bellum. Quid cessatis, Quirites, arma capere diis ducibus?"
Livy. Bk. viii. Ch. 6.
Semper in aliis bellis adeo inter nos discordes fuimus ut quæ foris agerentur, propter simultates intestinas, minus prospere succederent: quæ quidem, pace rursus facta, multo maiores statim exstitere quum alii alios homines, alii alias sententias, in republica sequeremur. Sed fuerunt, fuerunt inquam, huiuscemodi omnia, inimicitias privatas reipublicæ temporibus permisimus, huic uni omnes alias naturæ conciliationes posthabuimus ut nobis ipsis caveremus; libertatis enim ardore, velut flamma quadam, tot sententiis in unum conflatis eodem universi instigamur.
Nos autem, quum graviter commoveamur, ne animum demittere videamur, neque felicitatem præsentem istius tantopere obstupeamus, quippe quæ sibi ipsi quam nobis sit funestior, quum humili e loco hominem eo dignitatis extulerit ut vertigine quadam mentis affectus prorsus omnia se posse arbitretur.
The intoxication of his success is the omen of his fall. What though he has carried the flames of war throughout Europe, he has yet to try his fortune in another field; he has yet to contend on a soil filled with the monuments of freedom, enriched with the blood of its defenders; with a people who, animated with one soul, and inflamed with zeal for their laws and for their prince, are armed in defence of all that is dear or venerable—their wives, their parents, their children, the sanctuary of God, and the sepulchre of their fathers. We will not suppose there is one who will be deterred from exerting himself in such a cause, by pusillanimous regard to his safety, when he reflects that he has already lived too long who has survived the ruin of his country; and that he who can enjoy life after such an event, deserves not to have lived at all.
It will suffice us, if our mortal existence, which is at most but a span, be co-extended with that of the nation which gave us birth. We will gladly quit the scene, with all that is noble and august, innocent and holy; and instead of wishing to survive the oppression of weakness, the violation of beauty, and the extinction of everything on which the heart can repose, welcome the shade which will hide from our view such horrors. To form an adequate idea of the duties of this crisis, it will be necessary to raise your minds to a level with your station, to extend your views to a distant futurity, and to consequences the most certain, though most remote. By a series of criminal enterprises, by the successes of guilty ambition, the liberties of Europe have been gradually extinguished; and we are the only people in the eastern hemisphere who are in possession of equal laws and à free constitution. Freedom, driven from every spot on the continent, has sought an asylum in a country which she always chose for her favourite abode; but she is pursued even here, and threatened with destruction.
Quid enim ? Nonne verum successu demens ad ruinam proximam destinaturx. Nonne vel omnibus Europæ terris flamma ferroque pervastatis, una adhuc dimicatio superest? Nonne adhuc in terra pugnandum quæ, quum libertatis monumentis aucta, tum propugnatorum sanguine nobilitata est ? Nonne cum populo etiam pugnandum, qui et legum suarum et regis sui caritate accensi, uno animo arma capient, ut quodcumque carum est, quodcumque sacrum, ut uxores, ut liberos, ut parentes, ut deorum aras, ut sepulchra maiorum suorum, corporibus suis tutentur,
Neque vero quemquam tam pigrum esse crediderimus, qui suæ saluti timens universos in tali tempore pro virili parte defendere non ausus sit, si illud tantum secum reputârit, eum hominem nimium iam vitam perduxisse qui patriæ eversæ superfuerit, eum vero ne vivere quidem debuisse cui post eiusmodi calamitatem vita ulla sit tolerabilis ; satis profecto superque erit nobis si una cum hac civitate in qua nati simus hac vita, qualiscumque est, excesserimus, nos profecto libentissime tum emoriemur quum quicquid usquam præclarum est, quicquid excelsum, quicquid sanctum, quicquid castum delebitur, nos, vexari imbecillos, pudicitiam violari, eripi ea omnia quibus delectamur videamus, tenebras subire æternas iuvabit quæ rerum tantam deformitatem ab oculis nostris abscondant.
Sed ut ea recte æstimetis quae a vobis tali tempore quærantur necesse est animos ad temporum præsentium contemplationem erigatis, necesse est posteritatem ex longinquo cogitatione præcipiatis, necesse est denique ea provideatis, quæ quantocumque distant tempore factum tamen iri aliquando est certissimum. Facinorum iam serie sceleratorum et felicitate rerum impie appetitarum, omnibus Europæ gentibus paullatim libertas est erepta, solique nos eorum populorum qui cis Oceanum habitant æquis legibus et libera adhuc civitate fruimur. Ab omnibus Europa terris expulsa Libertas ad hanc regionem tanquam ad arcem salutis confugit quam unam libentissime semper coluit, sed huc quoque hostes sequuntur et fugienti exitium minantur.