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.—a term in general most barbarously misapplied. Murderers have been stiled heroes, and conquerors gods. To immortalize their memory, mausoleums have been raised, the arts of invention ransacked, and the imagination of genius exhausted; while the real benefactor of mankind, cast during his mortal pilgrimage in an humble sphere, may after death, continue to rot in an obscure, neglected grave, without any honourable memorial to preserve his name from oblivion; but it is time such unnatural prejudices and unjust distinctions should cease. Every generous spirit aspires to fame. It should be the virtuous study of philosophy to give to public gratitude a proper direction. Too long have genius and talents been prostituted at the footstool of power, to adulate the crimes of Conquerors and Kings. A brighter example is due. Let us justly bestow the meed of Fame.

Let us strew choicest flowers o’er the tombs of virtue; let us venerate with pious sorrow and affectionate gratitude, the blessed shades of Hampden, Sidney, and Milton, those true heroes, who, during life, had virtue to resist, and fortitude to endure, the fiercest malice of tyrannic power. Let us consecrate to immortality, the memory of all those patriots, who have suffered and bled for the sacred cause of Freedom.

Let us also be liberal in our praise and benefactions towards those generous martyrs for righteousness’ sake, who are now groaning in cruel bondage, banished to a far distant, barren, and inhospitable shore, the victims of a most ferocious despotism, Let us pour the calm of consolation on their wounded souls, and ensure to them the noblest enjoyments to which they aspire;—the praise of their fellow-citizens, the applause and admiration of posterity.

Let ’em remember that they carry with them the regret, the esteem, the affection of their countrymen;—of such, at least, whose hearts are not dead to humanity and justice.

Let them cherish the grateful hope, that the system of delusion and tyranny is about to expire, that their sufferings will be of short duration, that their chains will be broken on the heads of their oppressors, and that their return will be hailed with acclamations of joy, by an applauding and regenerated people.

Let ’em also reflect that the breasts of the merciless tyrants who torture them, are themselves tortured;—not by the pangs of sensibility and remorse, but by the scorpion stings of terror, anxiety and alarm, which incessantly goad them, and that, amidst the tempestuous billows of the ocean, with all the devoted victims of evil Government and misfortune before their eyes, they enjoy more serenity of mind, more fearless slumbers, than the unrighteous, hardened J—g—s who passed the sentence against them, or than the inexorable M—g—t—e who consented to the execution of that sentence.

Tremble, ye cruel Potentates, who plunge your subjects in misery and tears, who desolate nations, and convert the fruitful earth into a sterile burying ground. Tremble for your impending fate! It requires not the spirit of prophecy to foretell your d—f—l is at hand. Shudder at the sanguinary traits with which history, incensed, will unfold your characters to future ages,—neither your splendid monuments, nor your imposing victories, nor your unnumbered armies, will prevent posterity from insulting over your execrable remains, and avenging their ancestors on your horrible transgressions.

Such will be your inevitable doom on the approaching æra of light, which promises to break in upon us;—while the virtues that ye have proscribed and banished shall be rewarded, and the memory of the martyrs to those virtues, be consecrated by the grateful voice of just and unperishable fame. They will be remembered by remotest ages, for having stood forth, in a most eventful and dangerous crisis, the intrepid champions of Liberty and Truth;—while you will be only recollected as examples of horror, from the cruelties and enormities ye have committed, under the mask of Piety and Religion: ye shall be consigned to eternal infamy, while they (as we have often repeated) shall flourish in everlasting fame.

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Entry taken from A Political Dictionary, by Charles Pigott, 1795.

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