Chapter 12. Admonition (1819) - Recollections of An Old Soldier - the Life of Captain David Perry (1741-1826).

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Revolutionary soldier by A. Chappel

(Chapters Eleven through Twelve Inclusive.)  

Chapter XII
Admonition to Future Generations (1819).
The War of 1812 (end) 
[Editor's Note.] 
[To order a hard copy of Recollections click here.]
[Read Introduction in Excerpts]
["Fact or Fiction: References to David Perry's Words".]

jump desire it may never be forgotten by my posterity, for whom I have written these memoirs, that there was once a time, when party spirit raged to an extent that threatened the destruction of those liberties, which I had some small share in establishing. I hope they will never forget, that when war was declared to maintain those liberties, there were men claiming all the wealth, talents and religion of the country, who, from party, or worse motives, held back their resources from Government, and did all in their power to keep those who were disposed to lend an assisting hand, from entering into their country's service. In the time of the Revolution we had a few such men among us, who set much by the British Government, and we drove them out of the country, or confined them at home, so that they could not meet in Convention•, in the heart of the land, to plot against the government, and divide the Union. And I desire it may be remembered, that notwithstanding they boasted of their talents and religion, the Lord stood by us and put our enemies to flight in a marvellous manner, and wrought wonders for us as a nation: and we have the greatest reason to bless and praise his holy name, of any people on the earth. -- Let it be remembered, as a warning to future generations, of the dangerous effect of party spirit, when carried to excess, that a governor• of Vermont [Martin Chittenden•], at a time when the enemy threatened a powerful invasion of our frontier towns, with the avowed intention of laying them in ruins, stood on the shores of the lake, discouraging our [valiant] freemen from going to the assistance of their brethren, by telling them they would be killed if they went over -- when he, and every other person of common sense, knew, that it would not be more than six hours before the enemy would be at Burlington, if he beat our men at Plattsburgh.  But let it also, with gratitude, be remembered, that while the chief magistrate was thus employed, the gallant Col. Fassett encouraged and prevailed on them to go forward -- and they did go forward to participate in a glorious battle and victory, which preserved our towns from conflagration, and wiped the foul stain from the character of our state, which the conduct of this Governor would otherwise have brought upon it.  


While the enemy were thus discomfited by land, we beheld the British fleet on the lake• heaving in sight of the little squadron• of the invincible Macdonough•, who was on his knees, praying to his God; and He answered him by fire, as in former times* -- and notwithstanding the enemies' superior force, they were obliged to strike• -- and on that ever-memorableeleventh of September,• the Lord discomfited* their whole force, and returned them back* from whence they came*: so that we may see, that the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much*: and that the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord.* -- For the great men of a great state said, that it was unbecoming a moral and religious people to pray for the success of our arms, and that we must not fight the British, because they were "the Bulwark of our Religion." But I cannot but think, that they were deluded and blinded by party prejudices, and that the good hand of God was discernible at Baltimore,•* New-Orleans,• and Plattsburgh,• -- on Lake Erie,• and Lake Champlain,• and everywhere else that a traitor did not command. Had not the Lord been on our side, and fought our battles,* we must have failed to maintain our liberties against so potent a foe• from abroad, aided by so many of our misguided people at home -- and it becomes us as a people, (as I have before said,) to bless and praise his Holy name forever, that He caused us to overcome our powerful enemies in two wars for our independence, and that there seems now to be so happy a union taking place among ourselves -- that those of our fellow-citizens who have been thus deluded and deceived, are sensible of their errors, and appear ready to unite with all real friends of their country's honor and prosperity. -- And I pray God that this bond of union may continue to grow firmer and stronger, till every American citizen will be of one heart and one mind, in a determination to support our Republican form of Government to the latest posterity. May we all remember the maxim of our illustrious Washington: "United we stand; divided we fall." -- When we reflect back to our Revolutionary war, and see how much blood and treasure were spent to gain our independence, shall we, after so long an experience of the advantages arising from so good a government, be any more deceived by internal or foreign enemies? Shall we contrast the mildness of our government, and the civil and religious liberty• that we enjoy under it, with the bigotry and tyranny which prevails under the monarchies of Europe, and say we are willing to exchange the former for the latter? I dare say not. Then let me conjure my posterity to stand by this government of our choice, and never be deceived by political or ecclesiastical demagogues. Let the people keep the right and power of election; always in their own hands, and at their annual freemen's meetings be sure to choose men into office, who are true friends of a Republican Government. Let them encourage all the arts and sciences that are necessary in a Republic, and none others, -- and in this way they may perpetuate their liberties. -- But if they are ambitious to ape the follies, extravagance, and luxury of European countries, their freedom can have but a short duration. But, above all, let us as a nation dedicate ourselves to God, and pray that he would have us in his holy keeping, and so direct the councils of our nation, as may tend to preserve its free institutions, to the latest period of time; which is the ardent prayer of  

David Perry
Chelsea, Vt. 1819
(David Perry.
Chelsea, Vt. 1819.

[See Excerpt with notes]  


[Editor's note:  At the time of his memoir's publication (1822), Capt. David Perry and his wife Anna Bliss had at least 51 direct descendants :  8 children (all living), at least 30 grandchildren (most of whom were living) and 13 great-grandchildren.*   Today they have several thousand descendants scattered across the United States and around the world. 
David Perry died 2 May 1826 at Ira, Vermont [photo], at the home of his youngest son Nathaniel Green Perry [photo] with whom he and Anna had been residing. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Ira [photo], not far from his 3rd-great-granddaughter�s home.  His grave has two markers, one placed there by his family, and one by the State of Connecticut in recognition of his patriotic service to his country during the Revolutionary War.  The editor of this electronic edition is the 5th- great- granddaughter of David Perry and gratefully acknowledges his legacy.]    
* This total reflects only those research has identified up to to January 2000.

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