Original Document
Original Document
Address of the Young Men of the City of Philadelphia, the District of Southwark, and the Northern Liberties, May 1798


At a period so interesting to the United States, permit us to believe that an address from the youth of Philadelphia, anxious to preserve the honor and independence of their country, will not be unwelcome to their chief magistrate.

Actuated by the same principles on which our forefathers achieved their Independence, the recent attempts of a foreign power to derogate from the dignity and rights of our country awaken our liveliest sensibility and our strongest indignation.

The executive of the United States, filled with a spirit of friendship towards the whole world, has resorted to every just and honorable means of conciliating the affections of the French Republic, who have received their propositions of peace with determined hostility and contempt, have wounded our national independence by insulting its representatives, and calumniated the honor and virtue of our citizens by insinuating that we were a divided, insubordinate people.

The youth of the American nation will claim some share of the difficulty, danger, and glory of its defense; and although we do not hold ourselves competent to form an opinion respecting the tendency of every measure, yet we have no hesitation in declaring that we place the most entire confidence in your wisdom, integrity, and patriotism; that we regard our liberty and independence as the richest portion given to us by our ancestors; that we perceive no difference between the illegal and oppressive measures of one government and the insolent attempts now made to usurp our rights by another; that as our ancestors have magnanimously resisted the encroachments of the one, we will no less vigorously oppose the attacks of the other; that at the call of our country we will assemble with promptitude, obey the orders of the constituted authorities with alacrity, and on every occasion act with all the exertion of which we are capable; and for this we pledge ourselves to you, to our country, and to the world.

7 May 1798

Nothing of the kind could be more welcome to me than this address from the ingenuous youth of Philadelphia in their virtuous anxiety to preserve the honor and independence of their country.

Credit: Lance Banning, ed., Liberty and Order: The First American Party Struggle, (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2004).
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