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DISCOURSE

DELIVERED BEFORE THE

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NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY,

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AT THEIR ANNIVERSARY MEETING,

recommendation to read this discours

1811.

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BY THE HONOURABLE DE WITT CLINTON,

ONE OF THE VICE-PRESIDENTS OF THE SOCIETY.

Checked
May 1913

NEW-YORK:

PUBLISHED BY JAMES EASTBURN, AND FOR SALE AT
THE STORE OF THE LATE EZRA SARGEANT,

OPPOSITE TRINITY CHURCH.

1812.

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ict of New-York, ss.

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seventh year of the Independence of the United States of America, James Eastburn, of the said district, hath deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as proprietor, in the words following, to wit: Discourse delivered before the New-York Historical Society, at their anniversary meeting, 6th December 18 By the honourable De Witt Clinton, one of the vice-presidents of the Society conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, "An act for the encouragement of "learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books to the authors "and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned." And also to an Act, entitled "An Act supplementary to an Act entitled an Act for "the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, "and Books to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times "therein mentioned, and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of design"ing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."

CHARLES CLINTON,

Clerk of the District of New-York.

Printed by D. & G. BRUCE, Slote-lane.

NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

DECEMBER 6th, 1811.

RESOLVED, that the thanks of this Society be presented to the Honourable De Witt Clinton for the Discourse delivered, this day, before the Society; and that the Reverend Doctor Miller, Doctor Hosack and Mr. Thomas Eddy be appointed a committee to express the same, and to request a copy for publication.

Extract from the minutes,

JOHN PINTARD,
Recording Secretary.

DISCOURSE,
&c.

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Historical Society, THERE is a strong propensity in the human mind to trace up our ancestry to as high and as remote a source as possible; and if our pride and our ambition cannot be gratified by a real statement of facts, fable is substituted for truth, and the imagination is taxed to supply the deficiency. This principle of our nature, although liable to great perversion and frequently the source of well founded ridicule, may, if rightly directed, become the parent of great actions. The origin and progress of individuals, of families, and of nations, constitute Biography and History, two of the most interesting departments of human knowledge. Allied to this principle, springing from the same causes, and producing the same benign effects, is that curiosity we feel in tracing the history of the nations, which have occupied the same territory before us, although not connected with us in any other respect.* "To abstract the mind from all local emotion, says an eminent moralist, would be impossible if it were endeavoured, and it would be foolish if it were possible." The places where great events have been performed—where great virtues have been exhibited-where great crimes have been perpetrated, will always excite kindred emotions of admiration or horror: And if "that man is little to be envied whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plains of Marathon or whose piety would not grow warmer among the

* Johnson's Tour to the Hebrides.

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