Historically Speaking: July 4, 1807 Oration

From “An Oration Pronounced at the Meeting House in Hartland on the Fourth of July”, 1807 by Hosea Ballou, American Independence Hartland (Vermont_ July 6, 1807).

Last Saturday, the anniversary of our Independence was celebrated at the meeting house in this town, to the great satisfaction of the numerous concourse of people who attended on the occasion. The rising of the fun was announced by the discharge of the cannon.

At eleven o’clock, a very respectable procession was formed, preceded by the orator and Officers of the day, aided by Capt. Campbell’s company of Artillery, (who did themselves great honor) and marched to the meeting house, with locked arms, where the Declaration of Independence was read, and an Oration by the Rev. Hosea Ballou, well adapted to the occasion. The devotional parts of the exercise were composed of solemn prayer and singing, which were both fervent and patriotic. Vocal and instrumental music formed a part of the exercises of the day.

At half past 2 o’clock the procession again formed, and were conducted to a bower, where they partook of a generous repast, well provided for the occasion, by Mr. E. Campbell. After dinner, the following Toasts were drunk, accompanied by discharges of cannon, and cheers of martial music.

  1. The day we celebrate,- How animating to every friend of liberty is the remembrance of that glorious era; may the birth-day of equal liberty and the rights of man never be forgotten.
  2. The sovereignty of the People, - May it no longer be insulted by Aristocrats, Tyrants nor Traitors.
  3. The Constitution of the United States, - Like the golden lamp, may it never cease burning.
  4. The President of the United States, - Whose wisdom has conducted the ark of our safety through the storms and whirlpools of the contending powers, and hath moored us safe in the haven of peace and happiness.
  5. The Militia our only defense, - may they be, like the ancient Spartans, sufficient for our protection, without walls or fleets.
  6. The American Navy, - May it yet be able to set bounds to the present Tyrants of the sea.
  7. American Heroes …
  8. The Tree of Liberty …
  9. The Freemen of Vermont, - May their next election fill the several offices of State with men most noted for wisdom and genuine republicanism.
  10. Agriculture …
  11. The Agricultural Society of Vermont …
  12. Commerce and Manufacture …
  13. The State Bank of Vermont …
  14. The American Eagle, - May she soar above all contending parties, and carry with her the olive branch of peace.
  15. The Press -May it’s conductors be men of science and liberty, and it’s patrons whose of wisdom and harmony.
  16. Abolition of Slavery, - May the sons of Columbia be philanthropists in practice, and never abate in their indeavors (sic) to annihilate the practice of making slaves of the human race.
  17. The Western Territory …
  18. The Fair Daughters of Columbia, - May virtue form their moral character, modesty be their charms, and faithful republicans their husbands.

This being the first anniversary of this kind ever celebrated in this town, and the whole proceedings being attended with that harmony and regularity which rendered the day joyous, we think it well worthy the imitation of all good citizens.

Reprinted from the Vermont Standard,  “Historically Speaking” by Carol Mowry.

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