The Man Who Cursed His Country
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
THE unhappy result of even a momentary and heedless lapse from patriotism is well illustrated by Edward Everett Hale's story, The Man Without a Country, which, while it reads like history, has in reality no foundation on fact. Philip Nolan is a young soldier, on duty at Fort Adams, and is charmed by the manner and character of Aaron Burr. After Burr's trial for treason, the soldiers at Fort Adams whiled away their monotony holding mock court-martials. Nolan was accused of being tired of the service, and being found guilty, was asked if he had anything to say for himself. He cursed the United States and said, " I wish I may never hear of the United States again." The soldier was taken at his word and placed on board ship, with' orders that he was never to see the United States again, nor ever to hear its name mentioned. From that day in 1807 till the day he died in 1863, he was a man without a country.
The day before he died he called one of the officers on the ship to him, told him of his wretchedness, and of his real love for his country. He saw thirty-four stars on the flag, and begged to know the names of the States that had been admitted and of the progress of the country. That night he died, and in his Bible this text was marked, " They desire a better country, that is an heavenly : wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for them a city."
Human government is a Divine institution. In a good government loyalty to country is made out of the same material as loyalty to God. There are some who have a very poor estimate of the value of American citizenship. They have not the faintest idea of the privileges and responsibilities which it implies. Some who come to our shores with false notions of authority, seem, by some Satanic frenzy, to cry out and fight against the very institutions that offer them the richest blessings. And some who are born in our own land are poisoned by the same spirit, and they do not hesitate to slay the officers of the law, and are happiest when the Chief Executive, the model ruler, the idol of the nation, is stricken down. It is time for the shame and crime to cease. The country is waking up, alas ! too tardily, to the task of keeping or sending away from the shelter and sight of our flag, those who hate it so much.