For many years following America’s war for independence, it was traditional to offer a series of toasts to those involved living or dead, to our country and to our leadership. The American Centuries web site states that in the early days of our country, these toasting events were accompanied by ‘riotous drunkenness,’ and they give additional examples, very similar to the ones I have provided here, from a New Hampshire newspaper. These toasts were also often a time to knock those with opposing political views. After reading the following formal and general toasts, think about what or who would you have offered a toast to?
–TOASTS MADE AT HANCOCK, NEW HAMPSHIRE–
By David Patten, 1st Vice President. The people of the United States–“they have not been born with saddles on their backs–nor the favored few booted and spurred ready to ride them legitimately by the grace of God.”
By Benjamin Russell, Esq. of Sharon. The government of the United States–the best in the world, the free choice of a free people–may it be perpetuated till the elements shall melt with fervent heat.
By Maj. J. Brooks, a soldier of the revolution. May the time soon come when the inhabitants of the United States shall be of one mind–one judgement–speaking the same things.
By John L. Hodgman, of Francestown. The tree of liberty planted by our forefathers–may it have a soil to flourish in better than that of Clay.
By Gardner Nay. Our departed revolutionary heroes–peaceful be their rest, their deeds are on record, inviting all nations to the temple of freedom.
By Lewis W. Alcock. The Constitution of the United States–it knows no sect but equal rights to all.
By A. Rose of Lyndeborough, a revolutionary soldier. Lafayette–The brave commander whom I have followed in many a charge. I was inm his first company at Yorktown, when we took the redoubts with our flints in our pouches.
By Putnam Tyler, of Milford. The democracy of the United States— Liberty’s last refuge. Let our motto be union, friendship and liberty.
By Merrick Wentworth. The surviving officers and soldiers of the revolution. When they shall be discharged from their warfare in this world–may they be enrolled where a rich and enduring bounty shall await them, “well done good and faithful servant.”
By Hon. I. Hill. The Ladies of Hillsborough County. No less patriotic than their fathers and brothers; may they all become mothers of sons who shall not disgrace their sires.
—TOASTS MADE AT WENTWORTH NH—
By the President, Wm. D. McQueston. The day we celebrate–May it ever be unencumbered of every other principle save that of liberty, independence and equal rights.
Theodore Dame, Esq. 2d Vice President. State of New Hampshire–Though small in compass and few in numbers, yet she has graced with her sons the halls of legislation and the cabinet of our country, with stars of the first magnitude.
Col. John S. Bryant of Bristol. The patriotic citizens of Wentworth and vicinity. Foremont in the ranks to keep in perpetual remembrance, the birth day of our nation’s freedom. May they continue to appreciate its worth and watch with parental care and guard with veteran strength that liberty which is granted to man only on condition of eternal vigilance.
1. The day we celebrate. The progress of time in repeating the successive anniversaries of this happy day, does not in any degree diminish the joyful sensation which every return is certain to inspire. | and | May it be kept in eternal remembrance.
2. The memory of Washington
3. The extinction of our National debt. That apparition so long unseen on the earth a great nation free from debt! stands revealed to the astonished vision of a wondering world! May this great and rare event, the consummation of all hopes; the exultation of all hearts prove the admonition to sacred duties.
4. The Young Men of America. The rising hopes of the nation–sons of our soil–educated in the land of freedom–the only safe depository of national substantial virtue.
5. The American Flag. First raised in the cause of right and of liberty, in that cause alone may it forever spread out its streaming blazonry to the battle and the storm, in whatever country it is planted–then will freedom have a strong hold–humanity a brave champion, and religion an altar.
6. American Benefactors. May American freemen never cease to revere her great Benefactors–never forget the gallant spirits who bled and suffered in freedom’s cause! Bid the sun to hide, the winds to be still, the ocean’s tide to stay–America has never yet proved ungrateful.
7. American Eagle. Long may she soar in the pure air of freedom.
8. Democracy of the Union. Opposed in principle to consolidation, nullification and all chartered monopolies.
9. National Conventions. In union there is strength, and in deliberation, wisdom and safety.
10. The Union of the States. Associated under the political covenant of our revolutionary fathers, chartered by the federal convention, perpetuated by one common interest; whilst liberty is cherished by the brotherhood of the brave it will remain inseparable.
11. The rights of suffrage. The first element of a free government formidable only to tyrants.
12. The United and separate States. Each sovereign to the extent of its delegated or reserved powers, and upon the exercise of them, and them alone will finally depend on the perpetuity of the Union
13. Our wives and sweet hearts.