1808 2

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Ode to Columbia
[Thomas Stott]
The Hull Packet (March 22, 1808)

COLUMBIA! hast thou ears to hear?
COLUMBIA! hast thou eyes to see?
Is INDEPENDENCE to thee dear,
And dear the name of LIBERTY?

By Washington's immortal fame!
By all that Freedom ought to prize,
Quench headstrong Passion's frantic flame:
Be cool, be cautious, and be wise.

Be not cajoled by treacherous GAUL;
Pin not thy faith on Falsehood's sleeve:
By Europe's folly—Europe's fall,
Learn whom to doubt—whom to believe.

Has Britain wronged thee?—Seek redress
By fair complaint, by bold demand:
But till refused it, still repress
The hostile threat, the hostile band.

"Tis Britain's interest—and 'tis thine,
The bond of friendship to renew,
When Europe's tyrants all combine
Freedom's last refuge to subdue.

Were Britain once put down by France,
And sunk among her list of slaves,
Would not fell Gallia soon advance,
To SHACKLE THEE, across the waves?

Would He, whose ever-plodding brain
Ambition's boldest projects prong,
Permit COLUMBIA to remain,
Unfetter'd, unmolested, long?

Read the Oppressor's fierce decrees,
In fury forged, in vengeance hurl'd,
Against the Mistress of the Seas,
Against the Commerce of the World. [1]

Does he deserve thy confidence,
Who bullies all,—who all annoys;
Who cares not where he gives offence,
Who cares not what his rage destroys.

Let WISDOM, then, direct thy choice:
With BRITAIN stand, with BRITAIN fall,
In spite of Faction's furious voice,
In spite of Clamour's fatal call.

March, 1808.


1. The British Orders in Council and Napoleon's Decrees of 1807 restricting trade left neutral nations with a prospect of being taken at sea by the British or in port by the French. On December 22, 1807, the United States imposed an embargo on countries at war which restricted trade by neutrals. This was damaging to the British, but favorable to the French, since the French carried on their trade by use of neutral vessels. The effect of the U.S. embargo was to contribute to the economic crisis which overtook Britain in 1808.

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